Monthly Archives: May 2014

The weekend

A weekend of moving soil and of running a half marathon!

So, I’ll keep it short. Yesterday, Saturday, we had 2 raised beds delivered (they are nice, but I think next time I’ll try to make them myself – I think I could actually do it!),


and then had 3 yards of garden soil and 1 yard of mulch delivered.

May24f2014  May24e2014

This was all before noon. So, we ate lunch, and then paid a visit to my friend’s garden (she is going to help us think of things for our garden), then it was home again to move all the soil and mulch off the driveway and into the garden area where we can spread it at our leisure (since our carpenter needs to get into the driveway – although it’s probably best we didn’t get lazy and just leave it there as where it is now is at least where some of it will stay).



(almost done…)


And we also filled out new raised beds, so I can now pick out the veggies I want to plant in them!


So, that was Saturday. 4+ hours of shifting soil.

Then Sunday, I ran a half marathon. I treated it like a training run, since it really is just another long run on my way to the marathon, so I wasn’t in a hurry. But, as I was talking to a gentleman about training (he does 9 and 1s, while I do 4 and 1s, meaning 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking) a woman from Charlotte North Carolina came up and asked if she could run with me because she didn’t have a plan, and my plan sounded really good to her. And since I was not in a hurry (I am NEVER in a hurry when running), I said sure, so we ran together for the whole rest of the race (which was about 15 K of the race). It was great weather (cloudy, but not raining or windy, and not too cold, but not hot either), and it was nice to have someone to talk to the whole way. I didn’t hit a wall at all, although, that last little hill before the downhill into the finish line felt a bit tough. But, all in all, a pleasant and slow half marathon!


And then it was coffee time!


So, I’ve proven to myself I can go half the full distance 5 months out from the full marathon, so I’m feeling good!

Porch and back yard updates

So, a couple of small updates on the house this week. First, the backyard. Yes, I FINALLY finished digging up the backyard for the new gardens. So, I have basically dug up the grass, and edged the border with bricks – roughly, as I still want to refine this. This weekend the plan is to have soil and mulch delivered so I can tackle the weeds with paper and soil and really dig in, getting the area ready to start planting a few things that I have sitting patiently in pots. I am also having 2 raised beds delivered Saturday, which will go on the side of the house (pictures to come once they’re here and in place), be filled with soil, and have veggies of an assortment yet to be determined planted within them.

So, to remind you, here is the backyard before digging ever began.




And here it is now that I’ve dug it up (basically – still needs refining)






The porch has reached the almost-end stage. Yes. The vinyl was laid yesterday! It looks so good, and it will look even better once the siding is replaced (and, of course, it will look even better next year once we can have the house painted!).

Here is the porch right before vinyl went down




And here it is after




So, the plan this weekend, after we dig and move soil around, is to sit on the bench on our newly-vinyled porch and sip wonderful beverages!

Sunday, May 18: Things I saw on my run today

So, today was a 15 K run (next week is the Oak Bay half marathon…now THAT should be fun). It was a beautiful, sunny, but not too warm morning for a run, and I decided to try and take picture during my walk breaks today. I did for most of them, when I wasn’t spending my one minute walks drinking water. Anyway, here are some of the things I saw along the way, out and back, this morning.

So, here is the path heading out along the water.  This is just over 1K into the run, and heading into the off-leash dog park section of the run.


Now I can see Clover Point coming up, well, in a bit.  Clover Point is about 2.5K into the run, but that’s only a small part of the run today.


Now I’m past Clover Point and running along the sea wall.  What a beautiful day for a run!


This is the other side


Where bright flowers grow on the rock wall!


Now passing Ross Bay Cemetery – a peek through the shrubs…


This stuff is all over the ground right now.  You don’t want to run on it because it’s VERY slippery!


And here is where I make sure to stay along the “sightseeing” route – means it’s a bit busier, but really nice along the ocean.


And now, getting ready to go up the hill – the largest hill for today’s route…


And like the sign below says, it is kind of straight up (but not long).


I like taking pictures of markers…this is one of many along the way.


And here is what you see beyond the marker…


Whatever these trees are, they are blooming big time right now.


Another random view – getting closer to the halfway mark.


Another marker along the way.


And going up another short hill – meadow, beach and water in view.


And I reach halfway – 7.5K…


which marks the most beautiful golf course in the city (and the windiest!)


So, now I turn around and head back.  Here is a random really big clematis along the way.


Houses up on the hill I will be shortly running back up…sigh…


Wild roses – I LOVE the way these smell, and the bees love them too!


Looking back to the hill I just came up.  Yes, you go up on the way out (then down and up again), and then reverse the way back.  At least you know what’s coming on the way back!


At the top of the hill…a water fountain…whew!


More random flowers.


Another peek at the cemetery, through some kind of cool flowering shrubbery that I can’t name.


Here I am going up another short hill, lined with cool grasses.


A view of Clover Point from the other side, at the top of that little hill.


Heading down the path, off-leash land again, on the way back home.


The final cool down walk, and some random flowers…



And some tired feet – although I have to say I find it interesting that I started to feel really good at about the 2 hour mark.  I think that will make next weekend’s 1/2 marathon something to look forward to!


The final block towards home.


Home sweet home!  Now for a stretch, a gallon of water, some well-deserved coffee and a long hot shower!!


All in all, a good 15K run!


Things I saw on my walk

For today, to kick start my blogging again, I thought I would post things I saw on my walk, not today but on Wednesday – it’s just taken me a few days to get time on my computer to post them!

I work, since November, for a College that has 2 campuses. The one I am normally at is in a rural area, close to the city. There are some really nice walking and running route nearby, many of which are great for hill training.

My favourite lunchtime walking route is a small hill route past some small farms and parks. It’s been fun seeing it change as the seasons change (I’ve worked out there since November), and this week it was alive with flowers, insects and birds, as well as deer (wild), sheep, llamas and horses (not wilds). I know there are also cows and assorted other farm animals wandering around as well, but I didn’t see them this week. Here, however, is a sampling of what I saw on my walk this week.


One of a few barns I see on the walk.  I thought this view was perfect for a quick pic as I marched uphill.

flowers on rocks

Things grow on rock here.  I often wonder how…


These horses belong to a dude ranch of some kind.  I think they were expecting treats because when I stopped to take some pictures, they moved right up to as close to me as they could get (although I did not move right up to them – not too sure around really large animals…)




And then there were the flowers.  Lots of flowers, and here is only a small sampling of what is in bloom right now.

I’ll have to find a new route to try next week so I can see what else is blooming and roaming around these hills!


Porch Update!

Ok, a return to one of my A to Z challenge days – I believe it was Q (for Quaint Front Porch). So, a bit of an update for you: here is the porch with the exterior all done and primed! It won’t be painted until next year probably, but it is all sealed and open for the world to see!

porch1  porch2

porch3  porch4

And here is the deck of the porch, inside siding off and almost ready for getting the vinyl put on the floor – guess we better order it soon!

porch5  porch6


Monday morning

Well, I am regrouping since the A to Z Challenge, and just getting back into taking and posting a picture a day. Also, thinking of looking into some of those fun photo challenges out there.

But, for today, thought I would share a little bit about my opera experience of yesterday: The Marriage of Figaro, presented by Pacific Opera Victoria.

Marriage of Figaro

Now, I can take or leave the opera. I used to play the string bass in orchestras so have played my fair share of operas, and when I was a singer I even performed in the chorus in a few (Madama Butterfly, La Traviata). But sometimes they are just long, overblown, and full of people singing as they die. But not Marriage of Figaro. Stands the test of time. And this production was great. Great sets, beautiful costumes, and the cast – really wonderful. Especially Cherubino.

Now, Cherubino is an interesting character in the opera. It is a male role that is traditionally played by a woman (a “trouser role”) and has a range of a soprano. But this time, it was played by a counter tenor, and he was amazing! His name is Ray Chenez, and here’s a link to his bio, and a video clip: – yes, he IS a man! Wish I had a clip of his Cherubino!

If you want to know about the story behind the opera, Marriage of Figaro, there is information out there. I myself was most interesting in knowing more about Figaro as a story, because I knew there was another opera, The Barber of Seville by Rossini, which was based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais (which was apparently banned).  The Marriage of Figaro is a continuation of that story, and is also from a play by Beaumarchais. There is apparently one more play, creating a Figaro Trilogy (shades of Star Wars and other movies that appear in sets of three), but I don’t know if an opera was composed based on that play (which was called The Guilty Mother). Oh, oh…I just checked and there were operas based on this play, but like the play, these did not become popular like the first two in the trilogy. Go figure (see earlier statement about movies in threes…)

But, enough rambling for today. To finish off this short post, here is a link to the Pacific Opera Victoria’s site on their production of Marriage of Figaro:, which was worth the three hours on a Sunday afternoon!