Thursday, 29 May 2003

aaaand we're back

Did you miss us? Photos, stories, all the dirt - coming soon!

Okay, a quick summary for you in the meantime:

  • La Jolla is gorgeous. The San Diego area has lots of outlet malls. We now have lots of new clothes and shoes.

  • Vegas is such a blast, but can only really be tolerated for about 2 days. I didn't find Celine to give her a wedgie. Sorry, folks.

  • We drove through the Sierra Nevada - how very cool that was.

  • Napa: excellent food, fantastic wine, wonderfully friendly people at the wineries, and absolutely beautiful scenery. Would go there again for a longer time in future.

  • San Fransciso was foggy and cold, but fun! We had the best Japanese meal ever.

  • L.A. isn't really anything spectacular, and the people there are just as bizarre as you'd imagine. Universal Studios was a riot, though. The new Shrek ride rocked.

  • We're both extremely jet lagged and grossed out by two weeks of eating American-sized portions of restaurant food. Not complaining, though - I freely admit that I was happily enjoying meals at IHOP and Red Lobster.

Lots of pics and tales coming very soon. Need to sleep now...

Tuesday, 20 May 2003

viva las vegas

How unique - blogging from a combination Kosher deli and Internet cafe in Vegas. So far, our holiday has been super duper excellent. It's like a kajillion degrees here, and I'm now a lovely shade of pink. Slightly disappointed at the lack of both Sigfried/Roy and Elvis, but have been highly entertained by fountain shows, gondola rides, and pirate shows. We're off to make our way towards San Francisco tomorrow (we wanted to go through Yosemite park but apparently, the main road is still buried under several feet of snow).

Anyhoo, just a quick update to say we're here, we're having a blast, and it's only just begun. Wheeeee!

Tuesday, 13 May 2003

hooray for boobie pics

Pictures from the Moonwalk can be found here. Enjoy!

See you in June with a bad sunburn, too many outlet mall purchases, an extra 5 lbs., and a Californian accent.

Monday, 12 May 2003


I think I can actually type a bit more today; apologies for the pithy walk report yesterday. Right, so here's the scoop for those of you who are interested.

We got to Playtex City (I kid you not, that's what the walker's section of Battersea Park was called. It was pink and had lots of images of bras.) and met up with the rest of our team. We were divided up into three groups, based on our estimated walk times. We spent around 3 hours in a very large marquee listening to music, admiring costumes, eating pasta, and taking a few pictures. I just really really really wanted to get going with the walk - hey, 11pm is late for me. We endured a very long and boring message from Prince Charles (who didn't even lean out the windows of the palace to cheer us on, the old git) and another very long and boring message from Lorraine Kelly (Scottish TV presenter that no one outside of the UK will know) before the countdown. Heather was singing the theme to I Dream of Jeannie which led to me telling her "That bloke in the bra next to you thinks that you're being weird" (yes, it was meant to be ironic). The bloke in the bra next to us chatted with us while we waited, which was nice. Surreal, but nice.

It wasn't nearly as slow as I thought it would be, but then again, we were in the fastest heat out of the three. There were some serious walkers out there: people who actually pump their arms, clench their buttocks, and go "Phew phew phew phew phew" in rhythm to their steps. The first few miles were great, we were filled with energy and enjoyed the gorgeous views of late night London from along the Thames. Firemen waved at us from outside the station (wheee!), cars drove by and honked, busloads of people gaped at us in wonder, and drunk people staggered onto the pavement and wondered if we were a figment of their lager-filled imaginations (this is the problem with starting an event like this at closing time, unfortunately). At one point, a limo parked at the side of the road and a tipsy middle aged man jumped out, opened the door, and started gesturing towards the inside of the limo. Upon looking into the limo, we noticed a few other men inside, some of whom were actually passed out on the floor. Niiiiice. At around mile 5, Paul and Jack met us to cheer us on and provide motivational hugs and smooches. Judging from Paul's pictures, I'd say that they were both suitably entertained while they waited for us. We carried on past more drunken (but appreciative) onlookers and honking drivers. Jack said that there was some guy hanging out of a car window shouting "Somebody PLEASE sleep with me!!" at the walkers. Got to give a guy credit for trying.

The marhsalls were absolutely fantastic; they cheered us on and really kept me feeling motivated. Even the police who directed us across busy intersections were encouraging. This was extremely important as we got to around mile 10 and something evil happened to a muscle in my hip. I think it's called "overexertion". Coupled with an existing neck and back injury, this was not a good thing. I hobbled, limped, swore, and dragged myself along for the last 3 miles (and they really were the longest miles I've ever walked in my life). Heather slowed down and stopped and streched with me, let me take her arm and kept telling me how well I was doing. The miles were long and painful, but the encouraging words of the marshalls were brilliant. We finally made it to the finish line (which I swear was another 10 miles after we passed the final 13 mile sign), and we got medals and a goody bag. I hobbled out of the park to the car, and promptly fell asleep until we arrived atJack and Heather's house in Cambridge.

Sunday morning I was cold, tired, in great amounts of pain, grumpy, hungry, and miserable. Paul asked if I felt like I had accomplished something and at that point, I couldn't say that I did. Although it all seems a little surreal and the night is a bit of a blur, I do feel like I did something significant. 13 miles isn't a lot for some people, but for me, it was. We walked for 4 1/2 hours on no sleep, in the chill of an English spring night, in our bras. Would I do it again? I don't think so, but I'm telling you, I will happily donate a hefty sum to anyone I know who does. It was an excellent experience and I'm very proud that I took part. Well done, ladies!

Holiday time! We've packed up our suitcases and will stay overnight at a hotel near Heathrow tomorrow. By this time on Wednesday, we'll be most of the way across the Atlantic. Another thing I have gotten from doing this walk - an excuse to pig out at Red Lobster when we get to San Diego. What? A girl has to reward herself! I may also have to congratulate myself with a shopping spree at several outlet malls. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

See? Charity - it's a good thing. Everyone wins.

Sunday, 11 May 2003

ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow

Legs hurt. Back hurts. Feet hurt. Bum hurts. Head hurts. Had lots of fun (except when Heather had to practically carry me over the finish line, the sweetheart). Firemen waved at us. Prince Charles televised a prerecorded message that bored us all. Had Quorn pasta before the walk (that one was for you, Wallace). We belly danced at people who told us they loved our costumes. Paul and Jack got to see boobies all night long. Raised lots of money. Glad I did the walk. A good time was had by all. Need to go back to bed now.

P.S. Happy (North American) Mother's Day to all you fabulous Moms out there, and especially to my Mom. She's the lady who sends me care packages (a little pricier to send than when I lived in Montreal, but she still sends them anyway), has discovered email and sends me all the news from home, keeps my workmates happy with regular shipments of Canadian chocolate, and who takes very good care of me even though I am 3,000 miles from home. Thanks, Mom.

Friday, 9 May 2003

walking the walk

Since this will probably be the last post before the marathon tomorrow night, I thought I'd blather on about it now. I'm excited about it, but very nervous at the same time - I've never done anything like this before. I'm a 34-year-old slightly pudgy ex-smoker who will be walking for 13 miles starting at 11pm. I'm old. I don't do all nighters anymore (unless they involve transatlantic flights, and I get really grumpy afterwards). I'm not terribly athletic. I'm also a huge wimp. I think that I'll get caught up in the moment, energised by the excitement of 15,000 other walkers, and all will go well. We'll have chocolate; that's the only thing I need to keep me going.

I really need to thank a lot of people (in a non-Oscars ceremony kind of way, 'cos that's just annoying), in no particular order:

  • All of you who made a donation. I am very happy to say that I will be handing over more than 1,000 pounds sterling plus the 1,000 euros (that's around 650 pounds) matched by Citrix. Your good luck wishes and support have meant the world to me.

  • Extra smooches and hugs to Barbara, Wallace (and Julie), Adrian, Lisa H. and Lisa S. These are people who sponsored me, and who have never even met me. I also must mention my workmates from our office in Chalfont who also donated and sent brilliant notes of encouragement. Again, these are people who have never met me in person and yet shelled out some shillings for me. I cannot tell you enough how fabulous that makes you all.

  • The Canadians - I know the exchange rate is horrible, and I never expected any donations from you because of that. You guys gave me ten to fifty (!) pounds each; I know that this made huge dents in your Canuck wallets. This goes for you gorgeous Americans too - I know that the exchange rate isn't exactly in your favour either.

  • Chris G. and Dean who posted my marathon details to other sites. You two are stars.

  • ...and I'd like to thank the academy for this lovely award. Oh, wait. Sorry.

And a man who gets a paragraph all to himself, my Paul. He trained with me since January, encouraged me when I swore with frustration during our lunchtime runs, rubbed my aching muscles, took me to the running shop to get a decent pair of trainers, listened to me whinge and complain more times than I care to remember, and supported me in countless other ways. He will be standing and waiting around for 3 hours before the walk starts, waiting around for another 3-3 1/2 hours for the walk to finish, and then will drive us back to Cambridge afterwards. I never needed to ask him for anything; he simply did all of this because he's such a fantastic person. The best, ever.

As an incentive for reading through all this soppyness, I shall show my appreciation by promising to post pictures here after the walk. Hooray for boobies!
actually, it's not much worse than most other diet and fitness plans

Jack asked if I had any special pre-marathon plans for tomorrow, and I said that I'll avoid junk food and booze. Jack replied, "Damn right. Then we give you a big-ass shot of bourbon ten seconds before the whistle goes, and press a tortilla into your hand on the way across the line. Woo hoo!" He better not be joking 'cos Heather and I are bringing flasks.

Thursday, 8 May 2003

what's in a name, part 2

Are you a stripper or drag queen and can't come up with a name? Perhaps you're about to give birth to a little girl and can't find a suitable moniker? Fret no more. Here is a list of names I came up with while chatting to my friend Paul G.:

  • Nutella

  • Lactancia

  • Coco Butter

  • Velveeta

  • Poutine Dion

    And my personal favourite,

  • Honey Doughnuts

We have way too much free time on our hands. And it shows.
we're all going on a...Californian holiday

6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! 6 more days! Woowoowooowooooo!

Wednesday, 7 May 2003

for your googling needs

I present yet another installation of Lisa Answers Your Google Queries. This is where I look at the search strings that have led to this site, and not wanting to disappoint my public (*cough*), I attempt to fulfil your Internet search needs.

"pics of canadians in mini skirts"

"giant stuffed moose"

"excellent sideburns pictures"
are we there yet?

Why do stressful things always happen just before I go on holiday? Is it someone's way of ensuring that I truly enjoy my break by giving me a week of cack beforehand? If it is, stop it! Stop, I say! A project at work is dragging on and snowballing into something I probably won't be able to close in the working days I have left. We're still waiting to hear about the mortgage. I've got to walk around London in my bra on Saturday night, and couldn't get in my final training walks because I did something evil to my neck. I have to pack. I discovered a big zit on my person last night. I realised that I haven't driven in North America in a very long time, and we're about to embark on a 2 week driving holiday. (Right right right, remember to keep to the right.)

I'm thinking that listening to The Smiths today probably isn't helping. Must switch to more jovial music. Like Joy Division.

Tuesday, 6 May 2003

just wait until we have kids

Friends of ours and their cocker spaniel came over on Saturday and stayed the night. This visit taught me one important thing: I have the potential to become an annoying puppy owner. I found myself asking our friends about how often they walk their dog, and thinking that it wasn't as much as the books said. I spoke about crate training, like I knew all about it, simply based on what I've read in the books. As the dog jumped up on me, sat and begged for food as we ate, cried when I got up to go to the bathroom and woke him up in the middle of the night, I thought that our dog will be far better behaved because we have both read the books and will be able to train the puppy well. We don't even have a dog yet, and I already think I'm an expert. See? Annoying.

Similarly, I hereby promise that when we get a dog I will not:

  • tell people endless boring stories about the puppy, especially tales about its housebreaking progress.

  • refer to myself as its "mummy" or Paul as its "daddy".

  • dress it up in bandanas, sweaters, little booties, or any item of clothing for that matter.

One thing that Jake the dog taught me this weekend is how fantastically therapeutic it is to have a pet. I hurt my neck and shoulder this weekend (by doing the daring act known as "getting out of bed"), and spent most of Sunday in agony on the sofa. Jake sat by my feet the entire time, jumping up and looking very concerned whenever I'd go "Ow ow ow" while trying to find a comfortable position to sit. He followed me around the house all day, even waiting for me outside the bathroom door. You simply cannot feel miserable and sorry for yourself when you have a dog (or any pet - don't get upset with me, you cat people) around you.