Monday, August 29, 2011

Something "Wicked" This Way Comes...

That is, Wicked itself of course!

Elsie and I were lucky enough to be able to get tickets to the showing of Wicked at TCU Place in Saskatoon on August 17th.

We weren't allowed to take any pictures, but I will include a few pictures from other renditions of the play - our viewing was just as intense and emotive as these.

It was, to say the least, spellbinding. No pun intended. While it was a bit long for my tired out self, the effects were amazing, and the cast did an outstanding job.

That said, I think I may have been a bit jaded. See, for many many years, ever since I saw a documentary about the making of Wicked, I have wanted to see the play. And over the years, I think that I gained unrealistic expectations of the play and what it would be. By the time the play actually came to Saskatoon, it was very... Cirque du Soleil in my mind.

As expected though, the costumes and effects were outstanding, and the acting was outstanding as well. Ironically, it was the storyline that caught me. Huh.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Love's Labour Lost (Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan) - Review

This post has been a long time coming - I apologize for the delay, I am a few events behind!

Elsie and I went to see Love's Labour Lost on August 9th, braving the sweltering heat to see our second Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan show of the year. While admittedly the show was also very good, it forced me to come to the conclusion that I prefer Shakespeare in its original form, rather than modernized.

While it was refreshing to see the production try to take a new approach to traditional Shakespearean theatre, I found the contrast between the modern stylings and the old-style language to be quite jarring. In my experience, Shakespeare is hard to follow in the best of times, but when the characters are removed from the original scene and placed into the 'modern day', it adds a layer of difficulty - a 'lost in translation' effect.

That said, the play was very humorous, and the actors/actresses did very well with what they had. Each character was played with heart and exuberance, and all of the depictions were very thorough and well thought out.

I did find the first half of the play to be quite dry, but again - 'tis the nature of the tale. The second half on the other hand, I found much more engaging and humorous.

Overall I did prefer The Winter's Tale to Love's Labour Lost, however I still greatly enjoyed myself, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good 'bout of Shakespeare.

Unfortunately, the shows are now done for the season, but I look forward to seeing what they come up with next year!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Bit of Picture Fun

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Pinterest Search.
b. Choose the top left picture that shows up for each search.
c. Link each picture to its originating Pinterest.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name? Chantelle
2. What is your favorite food? Spaghetti
3. What high school did you go to? Gravelbourg High School
4. What is your favorite color? Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Chris Hemsworth
6. Favorite drink? Mike's Hard
7. Dream vacation? Bora Bora
8. Favorite dessert? Chocolate Lava Cake
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Happy
10. What do you love most in life? Family and Friends Time
11. One word to describe you. Creative

I hope you enjoyed this little experiment - feel free to try it yourself!

Weight Loss

I have done this in the past but wanted to share it here. An idea of how I would look at different weights. Also included: my major goal weights.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Adventure that was Thunder Bay, Ontario. (picture heavy)

I have been debating for the last week over how best to share our trip to Thunder Bay. Let me start by saying this. While I have ridden in a minivan with my parents all the way down to Los Angeles, I have never been further west than Crow's Nest Pass, Alberta (also with my family) and never further east than Winnipeg (with Gilles, and I made my first trip to Winnipeg only a few years ago. Suffice to say, my travel experience is limited.

Something that most people know about me is that I am plan-obsessive. Many people have stared at me in shock when I tell them our honeymoon plan to 'backpack' Montreal, and not have places to sleep booked. (Yes, but there is a concrete plan built into the suggested lack of plan). But this was different.

On the weeks and then the days leading up to this trip, I was getting more and more edgy, due to the fact that there was no definitive plan. My questions: "Where are we supposed to be staying when we are there?" "How many people are we travelling with?" "Whose vehicle are we taking?" "How are you going to get your tux far enough in advance?" "Are we supposed to bring food?" "Will I have access to electricity?" etc., were all met with plaintiff I don't know's. By the time Wednesday rolled around, I was seriously getting frustrated. (Having to buy camping stuff in case you camp, and sit in line for 2 hours to change the oil in your husband's car in case it is being driving all the way to Thunder Bay, and having to pack for camping and/or staying in a hotel and/or staying at someone's house plus your husband's week long guy's trip (and having to pack as light as possible so you can fit the stuff of multiple people), will do that to you. Or at least it will do that to me.) By the time we hit the road, we had the trunk of Gilles' car full, plus half of the back seat. And trust me, that was light packing. (Our list included everything from multiple pairs of shoes for the mountains to a tent, to a wedding gift, to a bike rack.)

We got out of the city at approximately 7:00PM, leaving for Winnipeg. Here's where that weird jag in the map comes in. At this point in the trip, both Gilles and I were driving our own vehicles, because (as I mentioned earlier), he would be continuing on to Kananaskis, Alberta on the way back but I would not. So we drove both our our vehicles down to Moose Jaw, where we left mine. This added about an hour to the trip. We drove and drove and drove, (okay, Gilles drove and drove and drove, and I did my best to stay awake, but fell asleep about an hour before Brandon - at which point we stopped for gas and I forced myself to stay awake for the rest of the trip to help Gilles stay awake. We got to Gilles' cousin's place in Winnipeg at about 3:30AM Saskatcehwan time - 4:30AM Manitoba time. When we got there, we learned that they planned to get up and hit the road at 6:20AM. There was a "bed" set up for us on the floor, so we bunkered down for our... uh... nap.

When we got up, we learned that we would maybe be staying in the bride's uncle's basement. (Or they thought maybe that would be the case anyway). It was determined that we would be staying indoors anyway, so either we would be throwing down the cash for a hotel room or staying at someone's house - but we wouldn't need the camping stuff.

There was then some debate over whether we would take one vehicle or two. The guys (Oh yeah, did I mention that it was me and four guys?) couldn't make up their minds, and at this point I was tired and frustrated, so I finally said pointedly - 'you guys already have your stuff packed in C's car - let's see if Gilles and my stuff fits and then go from there.' I honestly didn't think that it would fit, or I'm not sure that I would have made that suggestion. ... It fit.

So, five of us climbed into C's two door Sunfire with no air conditioning. Prior to climbing in, I made it clear that under no circumstances was I sitting in the middle. I know that I sound high maintenance at this point, but there was no way that I was going to get dumped in the middle just because I was the only girl. Plus, I needed sleep and the window was looking awfully comfortable at this point.

A couple pictures of us in the car (there wasn't enough room to put my shoulders both back on the seat!)

The scenery was gorgeous. Much of the TransCanada highway in Manitoba and that section of Ontario is carved out of volcanic rock. 

We only stopped twice the entire drive - once for lunch at McDonald's (I had a salad with grilled chicken, hold the dressing - despite my nearly painful urge to get a Double Quarter Pounder combo with large fries), and once at a gas station (where I also resisted the urge to get either A) a bag of chips, or B) an ice cream cone - despite the rest of the vehicle mashing on cones).

By the time we got there, my arthritis was SCREAMING. At one point I actually had to stick my right leg out of the passenger window in front of me because it felt like my leg was going to implode. It took a day and a half for my knees to return to normal, during which time I was limping as though I was injured.

The weekend as a whole went quite well, despite the fact that we ended up staying in the bride's uncle's basement, in a house that had no working bath or shower. I have an issue with approaching people that I don't know, and making small talk. Quite frankly, it scares the bajeebus out of me. As a result, I spent most of my weekend following around Gilles and the other groomsmen, and being the awkward 5th wheel (Or 6-7th at some points).

The day of the wedding all of the groomsmen left first thing in the morning to go get ready in a place where they could actually shower. This left me at the uncle's house to fend for myself. I spent the entire morning getting ready, so it went by sort of fast, although I was keenly aware that I was in a place I didn't know, by myself, and about to drive a car that wasn't mine, through a city that I don't know. Then I had to go to a hotel, and get the room number of Gilles' aunt and uncle, who I would sit with at the wedding. (Did I mention that I not knowing things makes me anxious?)

The church was absolutely beautiful (Some of these pictures are taken at the rehearsal the night before the wedding, hence the empty seats). 

The men were dressed up in full tuxes. Did I mention that I have a thing for suspenders? No idea why. But wow, are they ever sexy.

The boys line up and wait for the bridemaids to walk down the aisle. From left to right, Gilles and his cousin Caleb.

Most of the wedding party: there were five groomsmen and five bridesmaids!

They had a "first dance" for the wedding party. I stole Gilles for the rest of the night after this though! I love dancing.

The bride and groom spared little expense for their wedding, which had 3x the budget as ours! The hotel was lavishly decorated, and they even had an open bar, and a candy bar! (Which I am proud to say that I did not touch!)

The favors - very cute. The photo almost looked like it was in front of a screen, the scenery is so beautiful. It wasn't though...

Four groomsmen and a bridesmaid pose for me.

I get a "schoolboy-esque" picture of Gilles - I want to remember this, as it will likely be the only time that I get to see Gilles in a tux!

The evening was a lot of fun - we danced the night away. The bride's flower girl caught her bouquet. Before the groom could do the garter toss, he had to feel the calf of 20 different people and pick his bride out of the lineup. Both Gilles and I were lined up - but not chosen. The groom chose his bride's aunt! Keep it in the family I guess... haha.

A final treat for you guys - Four of the groomsmen and the groom sang Bohemian Rhapsody to everyone - see it below!

Friday, August 12, 2011


I sometimes wonder what the difference between an over-active imagination and insanity is. After all, one could certainly lead to the other.

Gilles is in Kananaskis for a week. He is hiking, roller blading, white water canoeing, and kayaking with his dad and two uncles.

Before they left, Gilles' dad gave this big speal on how they might not make it back, how if the canoe tips over and they get caught in the current, it's over. There's nothing any of them can do. This is the exact opposite of what I needed right before they left - I was already having a hard time with Gilles going to the mountains for a week, knowing the dangers.

I suppose it wouldn't be as bad if Gilles would be able to send a quick text in the evening, letting me know that all is well. But he can't - or won't. He told me before he left that I wouldn't hear from him again until he returned on Sunday. I'm glad that it hasn't been that bad - he has texted me a couple times. When he does text, I do feel somewhat better, knowing that they are okay so far.

They say that people know when someone they love is in trouble, or is dying. That it is instinctual. Well my 'trouble radar' has been going off almost constantly since Gilles left, allowing me to think of little else. I've been trying to control my thoughts and keep this 'alarm system' tamed, but it seems to pervade my very being. I just keep picturing their canoe tipping over, and Gilles either hitting his head on a rock and falling unconscious, or getting trapped in the current. I am scared that every time I hear from him will be the last.

I know that I'm being melodramatic. I'm aware that I'm overreacting, and that there is nothing I can do now to prevent it. I can't seem to help it. It's like a roller coaster ride that I just can't seem to get off of.

I am trying to console myself in saying that the guys have done most everything now, and are getting used to the area and how to react when something doesn't go right. I am trying to tell myself that they will be tired of being on the water, and stick to biking and hiking.

I know that it is wishful thinking. I know these guys. I know that they will push for bigger and better things, that as the week goes on and they gain confidence, they will push themselves harder and harder, and into more and more dangerous territory. I also know that none of them are in good enough shape that they can do this for an entire week without being completely exhausted by this point, and thus their reaction time is slowed, and they are already tapping into their adrenaline to perform their feats - that if something happens there will be no extra store of energy to tap into.

I also know in my heart that Gilles will make it home. He has to. I know that he will be an aching, groaning, shell of a man when he gets home. He won't be willing to talk, he won't be willing to even discuss their week. That is, if he gets home at a decent hour and not 3-4AM. I am aware that this will result in a fight, as he and I will both be overtired, him from his trip, and myself from my lack of sleep over worry. I know that if he doesn't get home early enough to talk on Sunday, that I will nag him to talk on Monday. I know this, because I have a list of things that we need to talk about, and a list of things that need to get done before he leaves again, on Thursday. Even though I know that it will end up in a fight, my trying to talk to him about everything that came up while he was gone (even if I avoid the subject of the trip altogether), and the last thing that I want is for us to fight when we hardly spend enough time together lately as it is, I also know that it is necessary. I know that there is nothing worse than if we don't talk at all.

As I mentioned earlier, Gilles did text a couple of times which I greatly appreciated. He texted last night, and left me with a couple pictures from a kayaking trip they did yesterday afternoon. He says it is beautiful. I am inclined to agree, and wish that I could be with them for those portions of the trip. The safe portions. Here are the pictures that he sent:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Weighty Health *Warning: Not for the squeemish*

It is no secret that I have (minor) health problems.

I have known since I was young that I have mitral valve prolapse (MVP). But I have also known that it isn't necessarily serious. After all, 1 in every 1000 women in North America supposedly have it, and only 1 in every 100,000 actually know that they have it (usually as a result of testing for angina-like pain). After several X-rays and blood tests, it was finally found as the reason for my pain through the use of an ultrasound of the heart. The blood does not backflow, so it isn't considered to be a very serious case. The pain seems to come most often when I am stressed or tired, but is not consistent.

I have also known since about my second year in university that I have arthritis in my knees. It is assumed that this is a result of injuries that I gave myself in high school, although one can't be sure. My blood count numbers are low, so it could be one of two types of arthritis. They said that as long as I don't want to treat it with more serious medications than over the counter painkillers, it is not necessary to be able to specify which kind it is, except for determining whether or not it is rheumatoid. (It isn't.)

Until now, I have been able to say 'Yeah, but it doesn't really mean anything.' 'Yeah, but they're nothing to worry about.' 'Yeah, but it's just to know that it's there.'

For the last month I have been having some digestive issues. I'm going to be frank. I've had diarrhea for a month. And at first that's all it was. I simply blamed it on my body having a hard time adjusting to my eating 80% vegetables. But then some blood started showing up in it. At first it was easy to dismiss. 'Oh, I must have cut myself.' 'Oh, it's near my time of month, I must be spotting.' But eventually it had grown from a speck to the size of a quarter, and I still had diarrhea.

To compound this, I was also having heart burn on a daily basis, which had never been an issue for me before, and I has burping up acid several times per day.

I was scared that I had a bleeding ulcer.

The whole thing came to a head when I was camping with Gilles. There were only outhouses nearby, and each were about a block's walk. The closest flush toilet was about the equivalent of 8-10 blocks away. I started noticing just how much I was running to the bathroom, and just how urgent and sudden it was every time.

As soon as we got back to the city and unpacked, I went to the doctor. He told me that it could be any number of things, as serious as cancer, or as simple as diet change. He decided to treat me for the simplest treatable problem, and then work his way up if that didn't work. So to begin, he gave me acid reduction pills for my stomach, and hemerhoid cream for the other problem. (Gah!)

But it worked. The most embarrassing problem in the world, but, I'm glad that it wasn't anything more serious.

Another thing that he mentioned while I was there, however, is that I have to lose weight.

He said that I wouldn't be having the problem with the acid if I wasn't so heavy - that it was caused by my fat putting pressure up onto my stomach. He didn't specify that the... uh... other problem... was caused by weight, but he did tell me that the added weight is increasing my blood pressure, and while it is still in the normal, healthy range, if I continue to gain weight it won't be. This added blood pressure is a problem when combined with my MVP. And he didn't have to tell me that the weight loss would also help my arthritis. I already know that from the last time I lost down to 180 lbs. I was 35 lbs heavier than that at my wedding.

I am being restricted to 1300 calories per day until I lose the first 10 lbs (205 lbs), and then I can eat 1500 calories per day until I lose the rest. My ultimate goal weight is 150 lbs, but I have several goals (and rewards in between). I will tell you about my weight loss strategy in another post, but until then, know this. I am going to be accountable. I am going to lose this weight, and be healthy again.

Those of you who read my blog right on the website will notice that there is a new ticker added. This ticker is started the day of my wedding at my heaviest weight, and extends to the ultimate goal of 150 lbs. I will update it frequently. I can do this.

ETA: The ticker is on the bottom of the page. I have decided to go with one that links directly to the calorie counting site that I use, so that I only need to track my weight in one place. You'll note that it says that I've gained weight right now instead of having lost weight - this is because I have been tracking my weight on and off on this site since 2009, so it considers my first entry as my beginning weight.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Limit of Sharing

There have been a few things that have been bothering me for the last week or so, things that we ran into while we were in Ontario (which I will post about next). Some of these things are simple(ish) and straightforward to talk about, like the fact that Gilles is currently out in the mountains risking his life every day, and has no way to communicate with me. Yeah, that is bothering me.

Other things... are things that I don't want on the world wide web. Nor are they things that I am okay with the world knowing.

Being an avid blog reader, I see all sorts of extremes in what people will post. Some people post every thought that comes to their mind, as though there are no consequences. Others will post only updates related to projects that they are working on, and not include anything personal.

I want this blog to be somewhere in the middle. I am not ready for the entire world to know my every problem, nor am I okay with that. There has to be some measure of privacy. At the same time, I don't want this blog to be cold and impersonal either, as it is meant to be a channel for my thoughts.

This leads me to a question.

Lately, the internet has become my main channel for thoughts. I facebook, I Twitter, and I blog. At times I will go to friends for support if I have a big decision to make. This thing that is bothering me... I have made my decision. And while I think that I have made the right decision, it still doesn't sit well with me. I am sure that most of you have had to face that type of decision before. Tell me - when you aren't willing for the world to know what is bothering you, and it is something that you can't talk about with your friends, where do you turn? Where do you go to channel your thoughts, so that they don't sit there, festering?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Camping! *Warning: Picture Heavy*

As I mentioned in my last post, Gilles and I got to go camping with just the two of us, for just the sake of camping, for the first time ever over the August long weekend. Boy, was it ever worth it! I can feel the difference even sitting here. And no, I don't mean my slight sunburn, I'm talking about how relaxed I feel. I don't feel like jumping out of my seat and sprinting down the street just to get outdoors. I don't feel antsy, like I'm not getting to enjoy the summer. Even better, I don't feel stressed about the number of things I need to get done (which are considerable, as I am only going to be at work for a day and a half this week, and then I'm gone for an entire week.

While we didn't get to do everything that we had planned (there was no paved roads so Gilles wasn't able to teach me to roller blade - also, we did absolutely no sporting activities that required energy whatsoever - no frisbee, kites, or Air Hogs. ;) )

What we did do was relax. We spent most of the weekend laying around. Reading, playing games, napping, fishing... We slept in every day, and were in bed before midnight every night. It was glorious. I don't remember the last time I've actually felt rested like I do now. (If only it could last!) Here are some pictures from the trip...

Our brand new tent! We got this as a wedding gift from my brother and sister. This picture doesn't show it well, but it is HUGE. I just have to tilt my head a little to stand in the main part, and it has an extra little porch area, where we put our coolers, etc. Ironically, the first night I kept waking up because despite the fact that we had this huge tent, I was jammed up tight in the corner, and Gilles was sleeping right up against me. There was MILES of tent that was free for the taking. I ended up getting up and sleeping on the other side of him!

Of course, I wouldn't be a true camper if I didn't take the obligatory fire pictures. Above is a picture taken to show just the flame, and below shows the pit as well. The pit was made from a cut-off piece of culvert, and there was an old barbeque rack serving as the grill.

We tried to cook scrambled eggs over the fire, but the wood was wet inside and we were having a hell of a time getting it start. So we finally gave up and cooked the eggs on our brand new propane stove, also a wedding gift! They were delish. 

Of course, shortly after we gave up on the fire and left it to die of its own accord (about the same time I actually figured out how to connect the propane tank and run the stove), the fire started up of its own accord. So, I plunked a mug full of water on top of the grill, determined to get some use out of it. (Hence the blackness of the cup - it's not dirty, it's black from the fire! Soot, I think?) Yum, fire coffee.

Another picture of my fire coffee, this time to show that I was actually also reading - this is a general picture of what most of the weekend looked like (minus the coffee for the most part).

Above is one of the meals we ate (I think it was about 10PM?) To those concerned about camping ruining my diet - Yes, I did eat junk food. But no, I didn't sabotage my diet - it was so hot for most of the weekend that I was hardly hungry at all. I don't think I finished a single meal all weekend.

Gilles' leg, with his hunting knife strapped to it. (He wore it around the campsite for a bit, but never actually left our site with it.) He collects knives, and despite the fact that this one isn't decorative like the rest, it is one of his favorites because it is so sharp. It came in handy when I realized that I hadn't brought a can opener! (But he tells me that he won't be opening any more cans for me, because he could already feel his knife getting duller.) The tattoo on his leg is of a green dragon.

I had to get a 'domestic' picture of Gilles cooking. He didn't actually cook for long, I just asked him to stir while I ran into the tent, but it was a nice view all the same.

Me, fishing. Gilles was actually fishing as well, but I was starting to notice that all the pictures were of him, so I asked him to take this one :) We didn't catch any fish this time.

This picture doesn't tell you much, so I'll have to explain. Before this trip, Gilles had never eaten a bush pie. He didn't even know what they were. (Shocker, right?) So I packed the very basics - his was just Nutella between two pieces of bread. Thinking on it, I should have done something more impressive, as he commented that it just tasted like toast with Nutella, but there's always next time. I'm thinking bush pie pizza for a meal in Thunder Bay.

This is my bush pie - raspberry jam. I could barely eat a quarter of it though - it wasn't a jam that I had tried before, and it was sickeningly sweet. 

This is Gilles, and the elephant ear that we shared at the concession. It was absolutely loaded in icing sugar, and delicious. I haven't had one of these in many years, and don't expect to again for another many years.

That's it for pictures! We take off for another camping trip and a wedding over in Thunder Bay tomorrow, so I'll have more camping pictures/stories to share with you soon!
November 30th, 2011 - Present

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