Author Archives: 50statecanuck

About 50statecanuck

A runner from Canada with the goal of running a half or full marathon in each of the 50 US states...oh, and I love chocolate and my ridiculously cute dog, Abby.

TG meets some Hobbits, a week in paradise and Abby tales.

Last week I was on my annual vacation – a week up at the cottage…aka paradise.

This is how I started every morning…along with a huge box of kleenex. Yup, this girl, who hasn’t been sick in I don’t know how long, managed to get herself a big ol’ brutal head cold for her week of vacation.


Poor TG had to deal with a snot nose all week…and I probably wasn’t the most fun person to be around because of it! But let’s be honest, it didn’t really change my activities all that much…I lay on the dock and read 5 books. Which is what I would have done anyway! TG alternated between reading and fishing…more of the latter.

Abby meanwhile, worked very hard to NOT SIT STILL and drove me crazy much of the time!

My beer cooler was basically her attitude to me!

And I have no idea WHY this is where she liked to curl up but she whenever she chose to rest for 2 minutes, this is where she would do it!

TG ended each day with some fishing…

Before we went up to the cottage, TG started the job of replacing my VERY rotted out back stairs…I didn’t get to take a before pic before he ripped them out, but you can see here that they were not in good shape!

I worked very hard at supervising the demolition and re-build…

And Abby and Dolly were definitely checking in on TG’s workmanship!

My absolute favorite part was when we went to the lumber store and TG was served by Hobbits!!

(they were actually my height!!)

The stairs aren’t quite yet finished (isn’t that always the case when you do it “yourself” vs, hire contractors??) but I will be sure to post a pic when they are – they are gonna look beautiful!!

As I sit at my desk this week back at work, I will be trying to imagine that this is actually my view…

Happy Tuesday!!

Giant Spider invades my downtown…and a Dragon-Horse…and then there’s Aqua-Abby.

We’re celebrating, all year, Canada’s 150th birthday…and as I live in the country’s capital, we have some pretty neat things going on but, what happened over the weekend was nothing short of spectacularly incredible: we had a GIANT Dragon-Horse and Spider loose in downtown Ottawa!!


It’s a street theatre company called La Machine (originally from France and now touring the world) and it made it’s debut in North America in Ottawa this past weekend where, over 4-days, a story-line unfolded between these two beasts with frequent battle scenes…all in the heart of downtown. Here are some more pics of the the Dragon-Horse and a video:

And here is a shot of how many people were downtown – just on this street alone. Close to a million people came to witness this event…and a real million, not a Trump million!!

At the same time the Dragon-Horse is roaming, so is my worst nightmare – and yes, the spider hisses at you while spraying water from her belly!

Look at that spider!!!! You can see, on both of them, the number of people involved – for every leg, there is a human control on board (below you can see them underneath the “belly” of the spider).I went and watched the drama Friday night and then headed up to the cottage for the rest of the weekend on Saturday morning…have I told you that it’s my favorite place on earth? Especially the mornings when Abby and I get out on the water before the world is stirring.We’re headed up there for all of next week – and TG is coming with us! Abby will temporarily become Aqua-Abby.

Remember how I was fixing up that old stand? Check out the final product!! I am LOVING it and cannot believe that it turned out this good!!

And a for any GOT fans out there…there is a road called the James Snow Parkway about 4 hours southwest of here…a driver noticed that it briefly had its name changed earlier this week…so awesome!!!

As I was getting into bed last night I had to deal with a cranky wiener dog who did not understand why she needed to move over for me!

Happy Tuesday (and I’ll see you in two weeks once I’m back from vacay – no internet up at the cottage!! WOOHOO!!)

The cool factor on our run yesterday, Abby the ham and double win for me at the football game!

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done since the winter…I did a long run with my teammates. Yup, my hammie felt like it could maybe handle it so I went for it…but made my teammates agree to not do any big hills as that’s when my hammie freaks out and goes on full on strike – funny, none of them were opposed this idea! LOL!

We ran 11.5 miles and this included a stop at an INCREDIBLE temporary display that we have here in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday. I had heard great things about it and had high expectations and was not disappointed. Here are some pics from what are basically LIVING SCULPTURES…the talent to create these and maintain them is mind boggling!!

This one was called Mother earth…it’s so good that my camera detected the sculpture’s face as a face!!

Aren’t they incredible??!! And there were tons more but that was probably already too many for you!

Saturday marked the first time since last October that we had had 5 days in a row without precipitation (!!!!)…but that ended yesterday, on Sunday…you can see the overcast skies we had for our run…the rain was not far behind! But that view of Parliament never gets old!!

I spent the rest of Sunday stretching the h*ll out of my right leg (the one that owns the belligerent hamstring) and at one point I got up to get something to drink and when I came back…this is what was happening…she IS a ham!

Last Wednesday I went to a football game with my dad…FINALLY we won a game this season! And, almost just as good, I didn’t have to drink Bud at the game!

Thursday night was field hockey…I did not stay fully in position like last week…

…we had post game celebratory drinks again

But one thing I was NOT celebrating was how my BRAND NEW STICK held up. This should NEVER happen to a stick like this, let alone on its first night!! It’ll be sent back to the company!

I started a little home improvement project on the weekend…need a new little stand in my guest bedroom and my mom gave me some old piece of sh*t from the cottage (not even sure where it was up there!)

And, after some “Goo be Gone” and elbow grease, a coat of primer and 2 coats of paint, it is just one more coat away (and new hardware for the drawer) from being a perfect stand for the room!

Ok, so last week I ran Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday (field hockey), Saturday and Sunday…and my hamstring hasn’t gone on strike!!! PROGRESS people, PROGRESS!! It’s low mileage and it’s slow…but it’s better than nothing and I’m smiling!

Happy Monday!

Mental health break, dachshund water sport and proof that you’re never too old for hockey!

I had a REALLY stressful week and so a weekend at the cottage with no access to internet is JUST what my mental health needed!!

And Abby was, as usual, my faithful co-captain

And my faithful swimming buddy whether I want her there or not (insert eye roll!)

Abby continued working on dachshund diving and water running

Saturday night when I was ready to go to bed, I couldn’t find her anywhere in the cottage…until I walked into my room and realized she had already put herself to bed!! She was EXHAUSTED! lol

I enjoyed some bevies on the dock…this one is special because it’s the cider we drank while in Namibia (it’s a South African product)…and I found it at our local liquor store!!

Speaking of bevies…last Thursday we had our annual over vs. under field hockey game where we split the club up by age – this year’s median age was 35 so we played 35+ vs. under 35…and for the first time ever, us seniors dominated the youngin’s!!! It felt amazing!! So, naturally, I had extra celebratory bevies! lol

Now, let’s be clear…we played HARD. I normally run 4-5 km per game…for this game, my garmin tells me I ran 7km! And check out the map…our team was so in sync that I was able to stay fully in my position of right wing for both halves of the game – not sure that has ever happened before – lol!!!! (We don’t need to talk about how sore I was the next day!!!)

Hoping that with the stress from last week being (I think) at an end and my hamstring continuing to feel better, I’ll be able to start to get back to running this week…fingers crossed!!

Happy Monday!

TG gets introduced to the cottage and the flying Abbygator!

Well, TG (and his daughter, the Little One) was introduced to the cottage this past weekend and while the weather forecast going into the weekend was dismal (rain, rain, and yup, more rain), it turned out to be a fantastic weekend with warm temps and very little rain -and lots of swimming!

Abby knew something was up on Friday after work as I was packing things up…and she planted herself at the front door to make sure I didn’t forget to pack her – she has no idea where we’re going, but wants to make sure she isn’t left behind! I literally have to pack her in the car first otherwise she is frantic as I’m carrying stuff out to the car! lol

I drove up on my own (Dave and his daughter came up a bit later) and about 20 minutes from the cottage, Abby suddenly caught her first smell of where we were going and looked at me with pure excitement + disbelief that we are FINALLY getting back up there!

For both of us, the cottage is our favorite place on earth.

We got up there just in time to see the sun set and enjoy a FRESH beer – check out that “packaged on” date!

The rest of the weekend was filled with time on the dock and water play…

I found this app called Prism that turns photos into what kinda looks like a painting…

LOVE this photo of the Little One as she’s playing with lily-pads…

And this one of TG as he sits on the edge of the dock fishing…

Speaking of fishing…he nearly killed me this weekend…ok, he says I’m being dramatic, but concedes he nearly blinded me this weekend. I was sitting next to him in that chair you can see in the above pic as he’s casting for fish…one cast (and not the first one this weekend) gets caught in a tree and not wanting to leave a long piece of fishing line hanging from the tree, he automatically (and WITHOUT THINKING), yanks REALLY hard on the line and…

Yes, just as you’re assuming, BOING, it comes FLYING back towards us and hooks itself right into my shorts. While I know he felt TERRIBLE (and immediately realized how dumb that was), I will be reminding him if this daily. lol

As the sun was starting to set at the end of a fabulous weekend…

We packed up the cars and headed home…with Abby passing out immediately…she was still groggy when I left for work this morning!

Happy Monday!


Canada Day, my running, Abby and The Giant.

Ok, so I guess it’s back to reality now…no more trips to exotic lands in my near future…and it’s time to get serious about fixing my leg. Yup, I’m still a gimp. However, there is some improvement…I can run without excruciating pain but it’s still very tight, I have limited range of motion, I can only run every other day…and WOW, has my fitness level decreased. I know it’ll come back, so right now I’m trying to take it day by and enjoy the summer running weather…

Ok, but I’ll be honest…the weather in June SUCKED here. We had 10 days without rain (see pic of above) and we just finished 8 straight storm days. So many of my runs have actually looked more like this

And that’s if I didn’t wimp out and just run on my treadmill!! The only good thing about all this rain is that we have had soooo many rainbows!!! Last week I met up with FG for a 7 mile run in a a downpour…but we got to chase this at the end!

This past weekend we celebrated Canada Day (July 1st). It’s a special year for Canada as it’s our 150th anniversary of Confederation. As I live in the capital, it was predicted to be madness downtown…liiiike, if you wanted to be on Parliament Hill for the show that started at 11am, we were being told to start lining up at 6am. Crowds + fear of terrorism = chaos. TG and I still wanted to go downtown and experience the insanity, but given I can be on the Hill any day, I was fine to miss that, and was happy to just wander around the downtown core. However, as per usual this year, we awoke to an absolute downpour….sooo, my desire to celebrate the day quickly turned to a couch party on my couch!

I stole these pics from online…this was the set-up on the Hill the night before Canada Day

This is a girl making her parents proud (sarcasm) on Canada Day as this image was broadcast nationally.

And this is just before the fireworks (amazing photo by @WSchlote)…of course there was another storm. Annnnd, let’s be honest, the fireworks were at 11pm so I had been asleep for almost 2 hours by then!! lol

Quick random tangent…I made my photo album for Japan (click here if you missed the post!) and this time I did it through Mixbook and OMG, amazing!! Will definitely use them again! So many themes, layout options, fun tools…and the price was great as well – plus, they always have discount coupons floating around! Here is the cover and one of the inside pages!

Ok, now for some Abby…

While she loves TG, she is not pleased that he takes HER SPOT in the bed, and so despite his size, tries to still keep some of it…

And then when she finally decides that she risks being crushed by sleeping there, she then comes over to my side and…well, you can see what happens…utter ridiculousness.

As I’ve shown you, her cheek fur is getting out of control…but now it’s also her feet…

Yes, that’s her PAW!!!!

TG and I went to Mucho Burrito this weekend…guess which one was his!? lol

Am hoping my leg continues to get better, that the sun starts to shine more and that you all have a Happy Wednesday!!!

Japan! The land of the amazing sites – thank god I have video to prove it!!

Bah. I need to stop avoiding this post and just do it. But how do I describe my trip to Japan…a trip that really blew me out of the water in terms of WOW, this is like being on a different planet. Ok, here goes…

First of all, Japan is REALLY FAR AWAY. Like, over 6000 miles away far. And it’s 13 hours ahead of my time zone. That alone were some mind boggling facts to deal with. On top of that was the fact that a) there are very few non-Japanese (I’m used to living in a multicultural society with lots of different coloured people all around me…so THIS was bizarre!!) and b) there really wasn’t all that much English – which was humbling. We pretty much had to rely on my Lonely Planet guide book to understand what we were looking at when visiting sites. And as for understanding menus…well, I’ll get to that!

I flew from Ottawa to Calgary, Calgary to Tokyo…and by the time I went to bed in my hotel in Tokyo I had basically been away for over 24 hours – save the maybe 2 hours of sleep I had on one of the flights. The good part of that is that I slept for 8 hours straight the first night and when I woke up the next morning, I was on Tokyo time – easiest time change adjustment EVER.

We were in Tokyo the first 3 days and the last 2 days, and spent the 4 days in between in Kyoto, Nara and Hakone.

I think I’ll categorize things as a way to try and share my experiences in some kind of coherent manner…

Temples & Shrines – seriously, I have never seen so many in my life and some of the ones we saw were absolutely incredible structures. Below are a short description and pictures of some of the more significant ones we visited.

Meiji-jingu – a Shinto shrine dedicated to deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken (1920)


Senso-ji – Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple (and just steps away from our hotel). Founded in 645 (bombed & destroyed in WW1 and rebuilt).

Kiyomizu-dero – Founded in 778, present buildings constructed in 1633 – not a single nail was used. The temple takes its name from the waterfall within the complex which runs off the nearby hills – kiyomizu means “clear water” or “pure water”. And yes, I managed to time my picture perfectly – took it just as three girls beautifully dressed in their Kimonos walked through the gates!

Fushimi Inari Tasiha Head shrine of the Inari (spirit of fertility, tea, rice, sake, agriculture and industry). Main shrine structure built in 1499.Thousands of torii (orange arches/gates), marking the transition from profane to sacred, line the 4km walk up the mountain.

This one was my favorite —-> Todai-Ji’s Daibutsuden – Largest wooden structure in the world and houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Daibutsu – originally cast in 746. The Buddha is 15m in height and weighs 500 tonnes. Once inside, we found ourselves needing to sit down to try and absorb what we were looking at.

Crazy fun things – like I said, it’s a different world.

The Robot Show. I don’t even have anything else to say other than THIS IS JAPAN. It was an hour long show and I put together a short montage of it…it was just as crazy as it seems lol

Shibuya Crossing – this is a famous BUSY intersection where, when the pedestrian crosswalk is on, there are people crossing in EVERY direction…so I was filming it but it turned out that that wasn’t what made my video so memorable…check out the horror movie character in it!!

Goldfish Game – It’s called Kingyo-Sukui and it’s a traditional Japanese game in which a player scoops goldfish with a special scooper where the “net” is made of paper and tears after only a few tries! Traditionally you would get to take the goldfish home with you…thankfully that was not an expectation with the 2 fish I caught – I actually tied the high score of the day with my catch!

Sumo Wrestling. Seriously, this was a highlight. We were not there during tournament season and thought we were out of luck for seeing any sumo wrestling but then our hotel told us about a sumo club who allowed outsiders to view their practices from outside on the street through windows into their training rooms. IT. WAS. INCREDIBLE!

The aggressively friendly deer of Nara – oh lord this was hilarious…but somewhat scary at the time. In the town of Nara, the deer run the show. And when they discover you have snacks for them (which I did) they DO NOT leave you alone…in fact they will bite nibble on your bum to get your attention!

Mt. Fuji – yes, we tried to catch a glimpse of this elusive mountain…but alas, we were not there on one of the ~80 days per year it reveals itself. So I drew it in to show you where it should have been! lol

But the town of Hakone, from where we tried to see Fuji, was beautiful!!

Toilets – yes a whole section devoted to them…because you either had DELUXE toilets with front and rear bidet functions AND a heated seat (ohhhh, how I miss the heated seat!!!)…and public ones had a “privacy” button that would emit a sound (usually a flushing sound) so that others around you didn’t hear your bathroom sounds. Amazing, right?

Yeah, until one night at a restaurant on my way to the ladies room I first had to pass behind men peeing, out in the open, in a trough…and then when I found the ladies area, I found a hole in the ground…although, for holes in the ground, it was pretty fancy! lol Yup, squat and pee…and yes, I could only assume that was what it looks like around the hole!! EWWWW!!

Food – let me be very clear. I am NOT a foodie and given my STRONG dislike for fish/seafood, I knew that Japan would be an issue for me…but I never really factored in the language barrier on top of that! Some restaurants had ZERO english, some had a little, some had a lot. It was really hit and miss and sometimes we didn’t have a choice – we had to just go in blindly. I will admit that I ate a McDonald’s 3 times while there! lol!!!!

Some of our of favorite lost in translation examples…or at least we hope they were!

But we had the most delicious dumplings while in Kyoto…And I wish I could find someone back home who could make deep fried pumpkin and camembert balls!

And skewers cooked right in front of you…soooo good!!

And did you know how many emoji’s are Japanese related??? The mystery of this emoji is one that has been bothering me forEVER…mystery solved – it’s deep fried rice with a little “handle” of seaweed.

And I would also like to say that Japan (and this includes Tokyo which has a population larger than Canada itself!!) is THE CLEANEST country. I want to wear a hazmat suit in subways here in Canada…in Tokyo, if my ice cream cone fell on the ground in the subway, I would pick it up and still eat it. Seriously. Here, we saw shopkeepers out in the morning SCRUBBING down the sidewalk in front of their shops – they would even get down on their hands and knees to scrape something off the pavement!!

There is still so much I could share about our trip but I fear this post is already too long! I though that nothing could top Africa and it’s not that Japan was better, it was just more different than I could have imagined!! Am so grateful to have had the opportunity to experience it!!

Happy Monday!