Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Life in Florence

pretty marzipanBeautiful Windows

Florence is a huge change from noisy, dirty Rome. Alex and I both like Florence a lot more. It is so much more laid back than Rome and fewer people suit us both!

ponte vecchio in the distanceShanalex with Ponte Vecchio in the distance

Plus we found an amazing restaurant right near our hotel and I think if we could we'd just eat there ALL THE TIME! For three whole days...It's a good thing it's only open for dinner - we ate there last night and tonight. MMMMMmmmm....

gnocchiTastiness (and a requisite food shot!)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gelato anyone?

Rome is all about eating. Yum!



more gelatoMore gelato

pasta and wine and masha and lucaPasta and wine (with our lovely hosts Masha and Luca)

Roman Fanny Packs

As we've wandered the city the past few days, we've noticed a lot of men with fanny packs (sorry non-Canadian/non-American readers). Many of them were carrying the fanny packs instead of wearing them. I thought they might be tourists, maybe with decoy fanny packs, but today as we rode into the city, we saw lots of Romans wearing these beautiful fashion accessories. My favourite was the guy in an Armani suit, smart, highly polished shoes and a beat up old fanny pack.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Note to Self: Read previous note to Self

Which means noon to four is a bad time to visit places in Italy!

This morning we ventured east to the Adriatic and then to Chieti where my great-grandfather came from.

We had hoped to see the Adriatic, but we were super pressed for time because we have to catch a very early bus to Rome in the morning. It was also a miserable day and the idea of being at the sea side was not a pleasant one!

Chieti is a very picturesque town with an amazing view.

shannon in chietiShannon in Chieti

chieti streetChieti Street

Too bad it wasn't a clear day!

Everything was closed when we arrived, but we had a very pleasant wander thought the streets. It was hard to even find an open restaurant - lots of bars and caffe, but we wanted to sit and we wanted pasta!

We finally found Ristorante Venturini tucked behind the local theatre. We had delicious chitarra de Abruzzenese, a yummy local dish. We're pretty sure it was a local restaurant that didn't usually see many tourists. Everyone was quite curious when we walked into the restaurant.

We had debated renting a car and a couple of times I wish we had so we could have stopped in some the smaller towns, but overall I'm glad saner heads prevailed. It was pouring rain when we came back to L'Aquila and the roads were quite treacherous. Just outside of the L'Aquila we even encountered a car going the wrong way in a roundabout.

Oh, Italian drivers!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Note to Self

From L'Aquila

Arriving between noon at 4:00 pm in a small Italian town that is NOT a tourist destination is not recommended if you are planning on doing anything that day. In true Italian style, everything except for a few restaurants, bars and caffe is closed! And the market is over.

But it's all good. We wandered around town and meandered around the Forte di Spagnolo. While Alex watched Italian afternoon TV (yup, soap operas and strange game shows), I tried to regulate the jet lag with a bit of a nap.

Now we're off, still at an early hour for the locals, in search of some yummy regional cuisine.


From Rome

We're here! We're in Rome! After a long trip, it's nice to be here finally. Sleeping in chairs in airport lounges and on airplanes is not much fun.

The trip was uneventful, but surprisingly pleasant since I've now been awake 32+ hours and spent more than 26 of them travelling.

Oh, and we saw members of the South African Championship Rugby Team - Paula we paparazzied them just for you!

Monday, October 22, 2007


from London Heathrow

It's over. Saturday was perfect! It went better than I ever could have imagined!

Anyone who was in Kelowna in the week leading up to the wedding knows the weather was miserable and looked less than promising for Saturday.

Friday night as our out of town guests left the house a PRECISELY 9:00 (yeah, yeah, so my dad kicked them out so that I could get some sleep), the stars were out and shining hard. Saturday morning, Kelsey and I went for our pre-wedding walk and it was still nice - a bit chilly, but dry.

While we were getting our hair done, it got cloudy, but by the time the photographer arrived, the sun was shining!

The ceremony was short and exactly what we both wanted. The venue was spectacular with all its fall colours.

Happy, happy, happy. I'm still over the moon two days later.

The reception was a lot of fun! We both had an absolute blast!

Thank you to everyone who helped us get here - my bridesmaids, Mom and Dad, Kelsey, Rebecca and Jared, Alex's parents and brothers, Stacey, my rather large, but very special extended family, and our friends who helped with everything from getting me ready, to calming nerves, to feeding us and doing dishes the morning of the wedding, to ensuring everyone was on time, that the venues were ready and that all the little details were looked after. We couldn't have pulled our big day off without a lot of help!

A selection of photos from the big day:

pre ceremonyphoto credit: Fiona
With my parents, pre ceremony

going to get marriedphoto credit: Neil and Melissa
Going to get married

first kissphoto credit: Kate
First Kiss

the mulvigirlsphoto credit: Fiona
The Mulvigirls

with the lyons familyphoto credit: Mikey
With the Lyons family

with our parentsphoto credit: Mikey
With our parents

husband and wifephoto credit: Fiona
Husband and wife

the girliesphoto credit: Fiona
the girlies

more husband and wifephoto credit: Fiona
more husband and wife

the dishesphoto credit: Mikey
The oh so famous Dishes

the lyonses and auntie stellaThe Lyonses and Auntie Stella do the YMCA

fraser and rebecca doing the YMCAFraser and Rebecca YMCA it

the cakeThe beautiful, yummy cake Auntie Susan made

sistersphoto credit: Rebecca

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Amazing people in my life!

I have an amazing family (and amazing friends too!)

Somehow I managed to get organized to go to Kelowna for a week, organized for Alex and I to go to Europe for two weeks, organized for company to arrive today and catch a few hours sleep last night.

I was up before it was light out to catch my flight to Kelowna. I landed and the week of errands started with a bang!

Then I was looking forward to a relaxed and quiet evening with my sisters, but strange things started happening. Auntie Jenny, organized aunt, called at 6:30 to see if we were the keepers of the travelling family cutlery for a dinner party she was having tonight at 8:30. Not like her at all, but okay. Kelsey said we could drop it off on our way out because it was on our way to where we were going and that we'd be by around 7:30.

When we got there, Kelsey and Rebecca made me come with them because I hadn't seen Auntie Jenny in a while. Which kinda maybe sorta made sense. Except that she had company.

Then she asked us to come in. Which made no sense at all. Until I she dragged me around the corner to where my mom (who had gone to dinner at a "friend's" house with my dad), my other aunts, cousins and Fiona's mom were waiting. For a shower. A surprise shower. Complete with great food, amazing company, and a super duper vacuum!

So I have amazing friends and family. Hands down. No doubt about it! Four showers, three of them surprises. You're the best! All of you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pedometric Challenges

Yes, they continue. At least I obsessively check the pedometer, so I can add the biggest numbers together when the stupid thing restarts itself compulsively. Like this morning. My bus stop is over 1 km from my office. Apparently I've only walked 64 steps this morning. Ya, right...I had major issues with it yesterday too.


My goal of 8,000 wasn't hard to get to on Friday, but on Saturday and Sunday when it was rainy and gross and I wanted to eat turkey and not go outside, well, it was different story. I find though, that once I hit 8,000, I really want to get to 10,000, so the incentive factor is working. I might splurge and pick up a proper pedometer this afternoon so that I can better participate and not mess up my team's totals...and to motivate myself to keep moving. I'm also interested in seeing how far I walk when I'm travelling.

And because I'm a dork and apparently don't have enough to do (HA!), I made a pretty chart showing my steps vs my goal.

shannon's step stats
Yup, dork...here's the team standings too (Marcie's training for a half marathon....)

park house prima donnas


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again...turkey, trimmings, family...all good things.

It's almost time for us to leave to pick up Alex's grandma and take her to his parents' for Thanksgiving dinner with the family and while I have a few quick minutes to myself and we all know how much I like (no, need) to make lists, I thought I'd make my second annual what I'm thankful for at Thanksgiving list...in no particular order and without referring to last year's list:
  • Alex
  • our extremely supportive families
  • two families that now make my one family
  • a back that is almost 100% healed
  • pain-free days and now more often than not, pain-free weeks
  • wedding planning that has gone extremely smoothly...which means that the wedding will go smoothly!
  • Alex's mom's health continuing to improve
  • a healthy new niece
  • an awesome group of friends who looked after me last winter and who have done a whole bunch of special things for me in the last few months
  • people coming to k-town from around the world to spend a very special day with us in a few weeks
  • that lack of garbage pick up is probably the biggest issue (read: inconvenience) in our lives right now
  • being able to pick up the phone and talk to my family pretty much whenever I need to
  • being happy
  • the nervous-excited feeling that's been in the pit of my stomach for the last few weeks
  • a great medical team
  • a great boss and super coworkers!
  • rainy afternoons and sunny mornings
  • thermostat control
  • awesome paramedics
There's lots to be thankful for this year...actually, there's always lots to be thankful for, but this year either I'm more thankful or there really is more!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Stupid pedometer and the overuse and abuse of the word so

My pedometer sucks. I walked all over yesterday and by the time I got home only about 1,200 steps had registered...not even close to the 4,000 that was my goal.

So I checked the calibration like the instructions said. I walked my 20 steps and if it was calibrated the thing should have read between 19 and 21 steps. I did it five or six times. The counter moved, oh, five steps over the course of 100+ steps. Not good.

So I figured the next step was to reset it and if that didn't work, I'd pop the battery in and out and if THAT didn't work, I'd take it back this morning.

So I pushed the reset button and held for four seconds as instructed. And then the screen showed 12008 except somehow I must have broken it because the bottom bar on the 8 was missing.

So I made a cup of tea.

After a while I thought I'd try to reset it again and if that didn't work, I'd take the battery out. Reset didn't work. The cover didn't come off. But the numbers had changed. It now said 12258 and the 8 was still missing the bottom bar.

So I gave up and went to bed.

This morning I realized that my single function pedometer has ghosts because it's a clock. That thing, it's a clock! It was reading 09348 with a missing bottom bar this morning and a few minutes later, it was reading 09398. Which means the 8 is an A for am. I got the cover off, popped the battery out and reset the thing. It's working. My little walk to work this morning brought me close to 2,000 - already a better showing than half a day yesterday!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pedometer Challenge

The Healthy, Safety and Environment Department has decided to do a walking/running challenge with the staff on campus. It is of course completely voluntary. We tried to have a friendly two team competition in our office, but only one team got signed up in time. The challenge started yesterday - we didn't manage to get our pedometers until half way through today, but I'm sure we'll make up for lost time!

Interesting (or not) pedometer facts
  • There are approximately 1320 steps in a kilometer for a person with an average stride length of 76 centimeters
  • Under 5000 steps/day could indicate you have a sedentary lifestyle
  • 5,000-7,499 steps/day could indicate daily activity excluding sports/exercise and could indicate a lifestyle with a low activity level
  • 7,500-9,999 steps/day likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and could indicate a somewhat active lifestyle
  • 10,000 steps/day could classifies individuals as having an active lifestyle
  • More than 12,500 steps/day could indicate a highly active lifestyle
  • The number of steps and the type of lifestyle indicated change with weight, height, age and indication of chronic illness
The challenge from the Health, Safety and Environment Office is to walk from here to the other campus.
  • Distance between campuses: 395 km or so.
  • Number of steps between campuses: 521,400 steps
  • Number of steps on my pedometer right now (having only wandered around the office for two hours): 431
  • Today's goal (being that it's only part of a day and I have a class tonight): 4,000
  • Tomorrow's goal (not knowing what my average steps are anyway) : 8,000