Archive | October, 2010

Sock Pig

26 Oct

Since I have to break from the gym, I have a lot more time do to make things:

fun with socks

I’m taking a break from the crochet for a little while, so I’m focusing my efforts on sock things. It’s easier on the RSI. This is a sock pig.

Who knew socks could be so fun?

Going Mad

26 Oct

Your new secretary.

Not lazy, just injured.

26 Oct

It’s been a long time since I posted a before/after photo. It’s not because I’ve gained 20lbs or grown warts all over my face though. No, it’s because I have been taking mini-vacations in countries famous for food (France and Italy) and then hurt myself. Was this during a weight lifting class? No.

It was Zumba.

It was a class that I’ve been taking 2-3 per week for the past 12 weeks. It was just a little twinge, what I thought was a pinched nerve. I fought my way through 20 more minutes of the class and had to give up and retreat half-way through. The pain was so awful that Grant had to undo my shoes, coat, etc. He very nearly almost had to feed me because I couldn’t lift either of my arms more than a few centimetres.

The next day, the pin-point pain had turned into a searing streak across my upper-back. I went to work and cried out in pain while reaching for the phone. I couldn’t get a physio appointment until a day later. I had 40 minutes of excruciating deep-tissue massage and was told that I had ruptured a muscle in my back.

Rest.

How long?

At least three weeks.

TWIST. blurgh.

And now, I’m trying not to beat myself up. The Amanda of 2009 would have been overjoyed at having such a great excuse to avoid the gym. Amanda in 2010 feels extremely guilty and anxious about it.

So, unfortunately, a three week vacation in Canada (where I actually did work out 5 times), followed by a mini-vacations in France and Italy was followed by an injury.

There hasn’t been much ‘after’ difference since my last update to post. Instead, I’ll be posting more about my Halloween costume (involving lots of plastic baby parts), and my first foray into baking for money.

Stay tuned.

Just. grrrr. But something good came from it.

13 Oct

I had a frustrating experience today that left me thinking ‘this…again?’ You know, the feeling that your effort/initiative/work is totally for nothing and that you’ve been in that situation before and hoped it would just get better. Yeah, that feeling.

Let’s call it a third life crisis.

I biked home today raging, RAGING. It’s a good thing a tourist didn’t dart in front of me today as I rampaged through the cobblestoned streets, my plastic bike crate hammering away against the frame. And I’m really glad that I came home to an empty apartment, because surely poor Grant would have been the victim of my frustration.

Normally, I would have come home, slumped on the couch, turned on Oprah and shoved whatever food we had in the fridge down my throat.

What did I do instead?

I ran around the park listening to Rage Against the Machine. First I ran my usual moderate pace, and then I sprinted until my head was pounding.

It felt good.

Apple Pecan Cinnamon Buns

4 Oct

For those gloomy Monday mornings...

I made Apple Pecan Cinnamon Buns this weekend. And I would make them again.

The Expat Curse – Friends that Leave

4 Oct

There are many great benefits of being expatriated from your native country. Since leaving Canada six years ago, I have grown to love the laid-back lifestyle of European living. Better pay, a bigger social safety net, a healthier work-life balance, and the ease and relative cheapness of travel are just a few of the many reasons why I love living in Amsterdam.

On the downside – the weather, the Dutch language conundrum of Amsterdam expats, and the EXPAT CURSE.

Your friends leave and never come back.

One of the hardest parts of moving to a new country is making new friends again. When we first moved here, we both worked in places with a high expat-to-Dutch ratio. If you spoke English and were within a certain age bracket and liked to have a drink, chances are you’d start hanging out eventually. This was fine for the first few months, but then after awhile, I grew tired of the bar scene and the limited conversation topics. I just couldn’t see myself forming a bond with any of these people, and so I didn’t bother going out just for the sake of it.

When I changed jobs, I met another expat named Kate, and shortly afterwards, her boyfriend, Pauley. We quickly became good friends, hell, they were pretty much our only friends. But then, a year later, they went travelling, moved to London, and then back to New Zealand. I sat at a friendless ‘square one’ for a few months before another Kiwi joined the company (and the Netherlands) with her soon-to-be Dutch husband. Because we worked so closely together, Erica and I found that we got along quite well and became friends.

Then our very good friend named Adam (who is sporting a rather dashing moustache currently) moved over to the land of clogs, cheese and tulips. Later that summer, Liz & Colin (Liz’s older sister is Erica’s best friend) moved to Amsterdam and, holy shit, we suddenly had a CIRCLE OF AWESOME FRIENDS!!

Then, it got even better, ’cause Nikki & Aidan came into the fold…also Kiwis, what gives?! We now had a big enough circle of friends to have house parties, FUN house parties.

I always knew in the back of my mind that Liz & Colin and Erica & Aris would call Amsterdam home only temporarily, but a part of me hoped they would just love it so much that they would never leave.

Well, you know, it’s Amsterdam, not the Maldives. Or Portland.

And guess what?

They left.

Liz & Colin left on a 4-month European roadtrip in a old VW van called Bumblee (see: Bumblebee takes Europe). I’m a cryer, and Liz is a cryer, and so I had a pretty babyish cry when they left in August.

We said goodbye to Erica & Aris last night, and also to Damian, their beautiful 8-month-old, blue-eyed prince. Luckily, Erica’s not a cryer, so I was able to hold it together. I will miss them a lot.

Erica and a particularly cheerful Little D.

And now that quirky Welshman, Ben, is taking off at the end of the year.

So, look: Rochelle & Maarten, Nikki & Aidan, Adam & Karl – YOU CAN”T GO ANYWHERE (at least for a couple years).