Monday, June 27, 2005


I've been having serious bouts of bike envy over the past while. Watching the Cannondales, Treks and Cervelos whip past me at the 1/2 Iron, not to mention Andrea's recent acquisition of a brand new bike from La Bicicletta has me pining for something lighter and more high-end. I'm not saying that the bike will make such a huge difference in my bike time, that will have to come from my weeeeee lil' quads! But my bike is really entry level and I figure I'm worthy of something nicer. Okay, okay, and I secretly hope that it might make a tiny difference if my quads decide to stay little!

Nice timing though. My company announced this morning that their US employees are taking pay cuts to avoid further layoffs (10% of our staff were cut today) and they're appealing to the Canadian counterparts to do the same thing, voluntarily. My stock options are currently selling for 10 cents lower than the price at which I was issued them. I'm getting married in August and the wedding costs are high, even though we're getting a ton of freebies and lucky breaks. I still owe my parents money I borrowed for my condo downpayment. The list goes on and on...

The sad truth is though that you live the majority of your life in debt. Anyone who has a mortgage can tell you that! I choose to contribute to my RRSPs, I choose to keep my condo as a rental investment. I could cash in either of those and not have to ride the bus, or buy a wedding dress on consignment, or live the pseudo "paycheck to paycheck" lifestyle I've adopted. I could quit my job and travel the world with Jason and Bella! But I don't. Why? Because I'm practical. Or grown-up, or lame, or too responsible. However you want to look at it, that's what I am.

I have lots of friends that make way less than me and live far more frivolous lifestyles. Maybe I should live a little and let loose the purse strings? Nope. Instead I will find a nice used bike, to go with my secondhand wedding dress! Sigh.

I'm currently investigating a beautiful blue 2004 Trek 2200 WSD... 43cm! Sounds too good to be true, I hope everything checks out. The Cannondale Multisport 2000 (48cm) that I tried was way too big. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Klutzy McSpazzerson

This morning on my bike into work, I got a boo-boo. I was slowing to a stop at an intersection, then eeking my way out onto the road so I could see past the parked cars... I clipped out on my right side (which is a no-no, since I normally use my left) and as I tried to shift my balance, I couldn't unclip my left side. I fell over. From a dead stop. With one foot free. I just fell over.

And I wasn't by myself. There was another cyclist there, plus the car that had stopped to let me cross.

So embarassing.

Luckily I am the first aid attendant at my office and can tend to my own wounds without having to explain to anyone what happened!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Religion Quiz... Interesting

You scored as Buddhism. Your beliefs most closely resemble those of Buddhism. Do more research on Buddhism and possibly consider becoming Buddhist, if you are not already.

In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths: (1) Life is suffering. (2) All suffering is caused by ignorance of the nature of reality and the craving, attachment, and grasping that result from such ignorance. (3) Suffering can be ended by overcoming ignorance and attachment. (4) The path to the suppression of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right contemplation. These eight are usually divided into three categories that base the Buddhist faith: morality, wisdom, and samadhi, or concentration. In Buddhism, there is no hierarchy, nor caste system; the Buddha taught that one's spiritual worth is not based on birth.



















Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Baby Ashley! Posted by Hello

Etiquette Schmetiquette

People who know me know that I stick my foot in my mouth on a regular basis. Even in the best of times, I can say and do stupid things! I like to blame it on going through years of schooling and work with lots of introverts, but that excuse is wearing thin! This wedding stuff is stretching my etiquette knowledge to the limit.

So it goes like this... I have lots of friends, but most of them live outside Vancouver. The friends I have that do live in Vancouver sort of know each other, but not well enough to hang out or anything (with a few exceptions). My "best girl" (since matron of honour sounds dreadful) is my sister Karen, and she is waaaaaaaaaaaaay up north where there are igloos. Okay, maybe not that far, but she is flying in the day of the wedding.

My dilemna? I want a wedding shower! No, it's not an excuse to get presents, I want my friends to meet each other! So can I just plan one myself? Will that make people say "Too bad about Callie, having to plan her own shower, no friends I guess..."

Am I the lamest ever?

I would like to do something while my mom is in town, so that means I should invite my future mom-in-law too, right? And then my future step-mom-in-law too? I'm pretty sure they get along...

Anyone know any fun ideas? Spa night? Chocolate fondue?

Monday, June 20, 2005

2km swim, 91.8km bike, 20km run...

Medals!! Posted by Hello

4:30:02am: ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzztttt! Wha? Huhn?

4:35am: Hit shower, lazily shave legs and armpits with hotel soap.
4:45am: Put in contact lenses (one inside out), take antihistamines.
4:51am: Noisily gulp down Cytomax. Shovel oatmeal into mouth.
5:06am: Start heaping wetsuits, shoes, helmets, bikes, race bibs, pumps, computers, etc into back of the truck.
5:15am: Hurriedly rescue and resuscitate waterbottles that got driven over by truck! (*#@^$*$@!!)
5:22am: Head for Elk Lake.

5:45am - 6:40am: Pump tires, set up bikes in transition, get body marking, hit the can.
6:41am: Freak out, watch heartbeat climb to 128BPM while standing still!

The race hadn't even started yet and I could feel the adrenalin pumping like crazy! There were so many "real" athletes everywhere, with high-end bikes and fancy wetsuits... As the countless Treks and Cervelos swarmed the transition area, I gave my lil' Canadian Devinci a few love pats and whispered to her that we would be just fiiiiiiiiiine. Jason was a rock, barely nervous, nice low and steady heartrate. Me, not so much!

The men's wave was to start first at 6:45. At about 6:38, Jason starts talking about needing to hit the can... eyeing the lineup, he quickly dodges into the bushes. I lose sight of him and wander down to the beach, where the men are donning their lime green caps and wading in to get their warmups underway. The next sight I see is Jason walking towards me from waist-deep water. It's 6:42 and his wetsuit is not fully on. As he's pulling his hands through the arms, I look behind his knees... "Jason, it's pretty wrinkly behind your knees, are you okay like that?" Then I look up, and he looks down. His wetsuit zipper is in the front and his suit is on backwards!!! As he's madly trying to pull his suit off, and then on again, the commentator in the background is counting down the seconds to the wave start! As the bell goes off and hundreds of men splash around, I am trying to zip him up. Now who has the steady heartrate?! He's zipped in, and dips into the water. I'm watching as he stands up, turns around and starts walking back towards me... What is he doing???

He leans over and gives me a kiss. MY MAN!

He's off again! My heart rate soars towards 160BPM!

At 6:49, I start wandering towards the water, where women in red caps and goggles are zipping up wetsuits and splashing around. Quite a playful group, dunking each other and spitting water! My heartrate starts to drop... I take a couple tenative strokes and feel almost okay! As 6:55 approaches, I weave my way into the throng of women in the water, waiting for that air horn to blow!


I'm right in the thick of things, trying to slice through the water amidst the churn of arms and legs! My legs are bobbing like corks, thanks to my wetsuit, and my butt is lifted to the surface almost effortlessly. Stroke, stroke, reach & breathe... I realize that I'm not really doing any sighting, but rather relying on the women around me for direction... That buoy seems so far away! I look up, turn slightly and bump into people... whoops! This pattern seems to repeat itself as I turn the rectangular course into somewhat of an oval with my TERRIBLE sighting. (#1: Work on sighting)

00:41:45 has passed, not bad!

Coming out of the water, my feet are slightly numb and my ears are filled with water. Putting on my bike shoes is a chore, and my gloves nearly impossible! I tie my red bandana on and throw on my glasses and helmet while walking out of transition (no running!!!).

00:03:51 in T1, not terrible...

First things first, let's get hydrated! You'd think that by swimming in a lake, you wouldn't be thirsty! Downing Cytomax, I try and put my waterbottle back into its holster and drop it! Of course, being the rookie I am, I stop to pick it up! On the 13km start, I feel like a bloodthirsty carnivore as I tear into my PowerBar package with my teeth. I gorge myself, trying not to puke as I eat while exerting... (#2: Pre-open PowerBars)

This bike course is a bitch! It's kicking my ass! My quads feel like they're going to split my skin open, they are hard as rocks as the endless pedalling causes my lower back to contort. I watch the others on aero-bars and wonder if it makes it easier on the long haul. I call out to other people "Nice work Barbara", "Lookin' strong Trevor" because I can read their names on the signs. As people do the same for me, I feel my spirits buoy.

50km in, it's time for PowerBar # 2. Rarr!

On the last 25km loop, I am accompanied by only a few. There are no more slick bikes whizzing past me on the left, and the "tri police" have let up. We are cheering each other on, and definitely feeling the burn. I think to myself "I train... I just choose to have a life as well!" It's okay, I'm still under the time goal I had set for myself... the last 5 km seems to drag, but finally I can hear the crowd cheering, waiting to welcome us into transition!

03:44:49 on the bike...

I try to squeeze my eggplant-sized feet into my runners.

00:01:58 in T2...

I can't feel my feet! As I hobble to the start, I am sipping on the liquid sugar of a vanilla PowerGel (yick) and desparately trying to find a gait that works! I can't believe I'm going to try running, I haven't run more than 8k since February due to a bum knee. But I decided to ditch the inserts made by my physio and here I am... RUNNING! The first 10k is hard, I am both incredulous and scared. I stop to walk down hills. I stretch every 10 minutes when I stop to walk. I treat my body with respect. I can feel blisters forming on my insteps from my sweaty socks (#3: Put on new socks). I drink water and keep up a slow and steady pace.

At the 10k loop, I run past the crowd yelling and screaming at those finishing their race. My brother runs up to me as I begin my second loop, cheering me on. I am again accompanied by only a few people. We cheer for each other, swap stories, share cookies... very cool. At 16k, I am running with a 56 yr old woman who has done this race a few times before. How inspiring is that??? She stops to stretch and I carry on... I can hear the crowd, then see them ahead!

See Callie run. Run, Callie, run!  Posted by Hello

I see my brother first, then Kristi. There is this man dressed in black taking my picture... I don't recognize him until he yells "TANK GIRL!!!!" as I run towards the finish line! As I cross over and get my medal, Jason runs up to me and lifts me up in a hug. I'm crying and sweating and mostly incoherent! I'm so happy!!!!

02:08:44 for the run...

A grand total of 06:41:05 for my very first 1/2 Iron-distance triathlon!!!!

This morning I can't get out of chairs fast, or walk down stairs. I have three toenails that are going to fall off and two giant blisters. I came in 21/25 in my division, 173/214 women... I couldn't be any happier!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Exciting Times!

It seems my week is filled with excitement! This morning at 5:30am, my sister called me from Alberta to say that she had FINALLY had her very first baby girl! I'm still not sure of the spelling, but Ashley Gray Chovan arrived with a crown of fine dark hair and grey eyes, accompanied by some long fingers and big feet... not quite sure where she'd get big feet from, but the rest fits! I was a little groggy on the phone and think her birth weight was 6lbs, 12oz and that she measured 50cm. Great news! Baby, mom and dad are doing fine. Karen had been having false labour for days and was 6cm dialated when she went to the hospital at 3:00am... three hours later she's calling family with a little bundle cuddled up in her lap! To top it off, today was actually her due date! Amazing!

I am one proud auntie! I can't wait to meet the little 'un! I can almost feel my knitting needles clicking away with something PINK!


Last night there was a temporary tsunami warning for the West coast of Vancouver Island. My parents run a campsite very close to the edge of a verrrrrrrrry large inlet on the island, and live in Port Alberni. You can imagine my worry, and then relief, when the tsunami alert was raised and then removed!

Monday night I successfully taught my first ever 15-minutes of yoga and BOY was I nervous! There I was, telling everyone to relax and breathe while my heart was hammering away in my chest and my hands were clenching and unclenching. It's such a strange thing that I have no problem asserting myself as an engineer on a daily basis, but that something as relaxing as yoga can stress me out so much! Anyways, I started off with some relaxation breathing to get everyone to "check in"... I got a few breaths in before I realized that it's not that much different than my regular classes, except slooooooooooooowerrrrrrrrr. Instead of rambling off all the memorized instructional and safety cues, I just looked at my own hands and feet. And then when I got people into pose, I looked at their hands and feet to see what I missed. I still sound "like an aerobics instructor" but I think that will get better with time. Thankfully my class is patient and understanding, not to mention supportive!

BTW Brian, the class is from 5:15 - 6:45 and it's beginner's Hatha.

This weekend is the 1/2 Ironman and I'm still getting over the tail end of this cold. SNIFFLE, sneeze, cough... the next few days are complete rest days for me to get fueled up and stretched out. I think I've come to terms with the fact that I *might* not be able to finish the run. But that is okay, there will be other years and other races. My promise to myself is to have fun, enjoy the experience and take what I can from it.

In wedding news, the party just keeps growing! Jason and I decided to go with a bit of a Caribbean theme, in tune with our travels there with his family over the past Christmas break. KillerBee rum punches for the toast and a steel band to play the wedding march! Both the ceremony and reception are being held at his dad's beautiful house. We've also decided to cater it ourselves, with help from Melina (my future step-mom-in-law) and my mom, then servers the night of the wedding. Melina is also making our cake, which I know will look like it came from a pro! Beer & wine is decided, dress and wedding bands are bought. Lisa, my fave photographer, is secured for the evening. Even the dishes are on order. Invites are out! The only things left are to get flowers and the JP.

Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

Monday, June 13, 2005

There is no OM in Spin

Today I am mokay... mostly okay. I still sniffle and cough, but I'm not taking any drugs and am able to think clearly and work productively. After all, I took THREE days off last week! I don't know if I've ever taken that many sick days in a row before! Over the weekend I taught a spin class and I taught my step class this morning. I have this problem with being sick... I don't know how to "shut down" physically. For some reason I think that working out will make me feel better, as it usually does when I'm well. Not so much when I'm sick! Adrenaline helps me power through the class - motivating my participants, challenging them, cheering them on - and then I come down from my "high" and realize that I overdid it. In my defense, I was subbing the spin class and it's hard to find a sub when you're already a sub! But I should have taught from the floor...

And just when you were ready to stop rolling your eyes at me, I went for a little burn around UBC with Jason and Neil, the next-door-neighbour, on our road bikes. I bought a new (not to mention, pricey!) Italia gel seat for my ride in prep for this weekend's 1/2 Iron. A little giftie for my tushie. It's so nice! I also added a double waterbottle holder off the back of my seat to hold Cytomax and water for the ride, as well as a smaller pump, which I hopefully will NOT need to use! Jason and Neil agreed to take it pretty easy on the ride, so I was feeling fine afterwards.

Regardless, I seem to be on the mend, and just in time to enjoy my taper a bit. Tonight I am teaching the first 15 minutes of my mentor's yoga class, my first EVER yoga teaching experience. I am so nervous! It's not the moves themselves, that I can do. And the adjustments? Well I've been apprenticing for a few weeks doing only adjustments, so I'm okay with that. It's the tutti-frutti, airy-fairy mumbo-jumbo that I'm nervous about pulling off.

Usually I get people sweating buckets to help take their mind off their out-of-control children, nagging bosses or Wednesday blahs. We don't talk about feelings, nor do I guide them through relaxation breathing or meditation... there is no OM in Spin!!!

So tonight I must connect with my spiritual side and broadcast it to the class.

Take a deeeeep breath in through the nose and exhale gently, letting a Haaaaaaaaaah sound escape from your mouth...

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Sick and Tired

I stayed home from work the last few days because I was sick. Not deathly ill, but definitely sick enough to warrant schlepping around the house in jammies, with a tissue clutched in my hand most of the time. I couldn't sleep properly either, and so a nap was also warranted here and there.

And although I'm sick, I am also nervous about my upcoming race (less than 2 weeks!) and have been trying to cram a bit. That is stupid, considering I'm sick and also that I should be tapering. But for some silly reason, I think last-minute flipturns and stroke drills are going to make my 2k open-water performance top notch! Or that maybe a 10k bike to work will make my 92k bike leg so much easier! How about 8k on a treadmill?

Did I mention that I'm sick?

So today is my reality check. I have the "hots and colds". I am sniffling and sneezing and wheezing. Downing ColdFX is NOT helping. Advil Cold&Sinus is NOT helping. Going to work is NOT helping. And stressing about the race, or my wedding, or my yoga apprenticeship is NOT helping.

I can't train while I'm sick. And now I really AM sick.

So now I have to do nothing. Sit on my patootie and get better. Because if I don't, the race will be awful. And I guess I just have to have confidence that my little body will come through for me, even though I didn't train quite enough, even though my knee is not quite 100%, and even though my quads will be jelly by the end of the bike leg.

Funny how the swim used to be my big hurdle. Now that's the part that I'm the least afraid of!

Thinking healthy thoughts...

Sunday, June 5, 2005

No Preview!

Sorry ladies, I had to delete the pic that I drew of my wedding dress so Jason wouldn't see it...

Okay, so I lied...

Remember that post about me not wanting a big girlie dress? Yah. Right.

After visiting some friends in New West for a BBQ, they mentioned that it was wedding-dress-land all in and around the skytrain station. Cool! I was getting pretty freaked out about not having a dress yet, so I thought I might do a little window shopping...

Store after store plied me with floofy gowns full of sparkly beads and sequins. I was overwhelmed. Questions like "Did you want white, or diamond white?" and "Train or bustle?" EGAD! I had no idea what I was doing, no idea what size I was, and my hair and glasses didn't seem to mesh with anything. But I have to admit, having three people fuss over you at once (even making a size 10 dress fit my size 2 frame) was pretty fun. Much like in "Pretty Woman" when they realize that Julia Roberts has money! Even though I didn't... the price tags on these things were $900 and up, crazy. I didn't know it would be so expensive. Not only that, but with a wedding date quickly approaching, the ever-so-helpful sales staff assured me that I would have to get rush orders, or buy off-the-rack...

So I was feeling a little empty as I left the last store - both in my heart and my pocket book.

And then, on the horizon, I saw something that I didn't even know existed... a consignment bridal store! A store full of dresses that had already made the cut! Pre-edited! And within my budget! It was serve-yourself style (man, did my arms get a workout) with super-helpful sales staff and a totally informal atmosphere. I was surrounded by women having weddings on-the-cheap, women getting hitched at the last minute... I felt like I was part of a little bridal family. We complimented each other, gave each other the thumbs-down when necessary, it was FUN! I tried on dress after dress that needed no alteration either than a hem. I even found two that I liked and was going to come back to see with SnowVixen on Thursday! So as I was about to leave, I passed by the size 6 aisle and saw THE DRESS.

It was massive, with a crinoline and yards and yards of SILK, gorgeous soft and flowing ivory silk that felt exquisite to the touch. And I tried it on and it FIT to a T, no alterations except for the hem. This was the neckline I had been looking for all morning, this was the pretty open back. And there's BLUE on it! So pretty and unique! Even the crinoline is blue!

This wedding dress came with a story. The owner had it made at "Something Blue" in Yaletown, apparently a verrrrrrrrrry posh place, for $3500 (OMIGOD) and NEVER WORE IT. Ouch. Poor dress has never seen the aisle. She's been trying to sell it, but it's too little (I don't think it's really a size 6?) and kinda different. I think different-cool. It was selling for $600!

I couldn't take the dress off, it was THE DRESS. I had initially thought that I wanted something with a tighter mermaid skirt - the aerobics instructor in me liking tight things - but then I realized that brides are supposed to be pretty, not sexy. Or maybe a little of both. But more pretty. I also found that all the strapless styles would require me to wear those awful jelly -boobs. Yuk. If it ain't mine, I don't want it in my dress! Plus I'd be one of those brides that would be walking down the aisle, and sweating so much that the jelly-boob would slip out, fall out of my dress and quiver on the floor just close enough to me to make it into the pictures.

I told Jason about it over the phone last night (he is in Kelowna this weekend) and he laughed at me, turning into Bridezilla. Now my sister will have to get a fancier dress, which is hard since she's having a baby any day now (yay!) and won't be able to buy something until she hits Edmonton a few weeks prior to the big day. But I'm not worried, things have a way of falling into place it seems.

Yay! I get to be a princess for a day!

Thursday, June 2, 2005

The Soon-to-Be Mrs. Camp

Here's the pic of me with Jason, bawling after he proposed (with bling) 

So Jason and I have decided to get married this summer, possibly August 20th. Nothing crazy, just a JP ceremony at the house with 60 or so people, a giant BBQ and lots of fun. No harp player, no hoop-skirted dress, no giant wedding parties with matching dresses or anything of the sort.

Something we both agree on is that we want it to be FUN. So I don't have to wear awful nylons and heels, nor do we need to worry about who's sitting next to whom... we want pictures of everyone filling their faces and laughing more than we want pictures of us in the standard wedding poses with dorky grins plastered on our faces. Mostly we want the day to reflect the way that we are, and what we both enjoy doing - having people over to enjoy the sunset on the deck with good food and good wine, kids and dogs welcome.

Jason and I in front of Burghausen, the castle where he proposed  

BUT, a certain amount of planning still needs to take place... invitations, wedding clothes, wedding bands, Justice of the Peace, you can imagine! We only have a few months!

So yesterday I started to panic a bit.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have zero fashion sense, I live in jeans and t-shirts. Shopping for things like shoes and dresses, doing my hair (EGAD) and applying makeup artfully are not things I am very good at. I have NO IDEA where to go in Vancouver for a wedding dress - whether it makes sense to buy off-the-rack for my 5' frame, or get one made. And I don't think I can wear a frou-frou veil or anything, and my hair is in a permanent up-do since it's only a few inches long!

I think I can handle the wedding band part, I've always been attracted to shiny things. Much like a crow... CAW CAW!

Thankfully my friend Jen, shopper extraordinaire, is coming to town next week. If there are three things Jen likes, it's shopping, shiny things and weddings. Little does she know the arduous tasks she has assigned already...

Thanks in advance, SnowVixen!

If anyone knows of the "where-to-go's" in Vancouver, PLEASE COMMENT!!!!

The "best of" shots of our trip can be found here (14 shots) and the rest of them here (117 shots).

Cesky Krumlov, by night