The Other Stuff

I realized that at first glance, this blog appears to be written by a person who is consumed with riding and blogging – it seems as though there not much else going on… Well, I thought that I’d take a break from telling you about my escapades in the basement riding the trainer or out stumbling around in the snow on my snowshoes – today I’m going to let you in on all the other stuff I do and that interests me. (Hold on tight – you never know what you’re going to learn here…)

Job?

Yes, I do have a job. I work as a technical writer for a local Ottawa software company. I work with very cool and smart people. My job is both challenging and rewarding. I also appreciate that it rates fairly low on the stressometer (just made this word up). I like going to work. I only work at this place four days a week. On the fifth day I flex my writing muscles and write a range of content for a bunch of freelance clients – professional blogs, article summaries, whitepapers, etc. This writing keeps me learning and thinking – it also gives me a chance to have my fingers in a lot of different industries and interests.

Books?

I like to read. Problem is, I’m a slow reader. Always have been and always will be. It seems to take me an inordinate amount of time to read a book. But I’m okay with this. I read books on my Kindle. I heart my Kindle. Currently I’m reading Canada by Richard Ford – a top-notch read. I recently finished 419 by Will Ferguson – another great read. Some of my favourite authors include: Angie Abdou, Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett. I’m not a fan of mystery – though I did become extremely addicted to Gone Girl – this was fantastic. Occasionally I read memoirs and non-fiction – one such book that I think is most excellent is Wild by Cheryl Strayed and I’m  just about to download Sugar Salt Fat by Michael Moss.

Magazines?

Truth be told, I used to be a magazine whore. I bought every magazine under the sun. So many magazines that I didn’t have time to read my books and eventually the magazine pile just became too big. But then when I took a break from full-time work to focus on riding my bike, I learned an important lesson – magazines are expensive. So I stopped buying them. Instead I would go to the big box book store and read them for free (deal!). But now that I have some disposable income again, I like to purchase a magazine or 17… No really, I have cut back a lot and often will choose to keep my $9 and read the magazine for free… But if I were to loosen the purse strings and spend, you’d likely find magazines like Outside, Peloton, Singletrack, The New Yorker, Ryerson Review of Journalism, and a new-to-me magazine Cyclist in my hot little hands. In fact, I bought Cyclist yesterday and I did so for one very specific article – a profile of Marianne Vos (my fave cyclist).

TV?

We don’t have traditional television here. We have a nice fancy flat panel tv (thanks mom and dad) but if you turn it on it doesn’t do much. We watch tv thanks to Netflix and some acquiring of programs. The rotation include House of Cards (love Kevin Spacey), Homeland (yes, it jumped the shark but so what), The Amazing Race, anything TopChef, anything MasterChef (though the New Zealand hosts are a bit lame), Modern Family, and a smattering of food-related documentaries. I do most of my tv watching while riding the trainer. So I expect in the coming weeks, this digital consumption will grind to a halt – and I’m okay with this. I don’t miss conventional tv – in fact I’m glad we got rid of our 200 channels. I find I’m less compelled to buy things since I don’t have advertisements shoved down my throat, I’m not in touch with popular culture and I’m okay with this, and I don’t find myself sitting in one spot staring at the black screen in the corner for hours on end. (Though I do admit that when we travel to races and stay in hotels, I quickly become a Food Network zombie and Marc is left to fend for himself.)

Radio?

Love the radio. Love CBC. Love NPR. As a kid I hated CBC radio – I felt it was boring and just for “grown-ups”. Well, I guess I’m a grown-up now since I really like to have CBC radio on all day when I’m home. When Marc was in Belgium, I found myself talking back to the CBC radio hosts and guests – yes even Murphy the cat raised his eyebrows when this happened. Due to my affinity for the radio, I also find myself listening to a lot of podcasts. Some people listen to music when they ride – not me, I’m all over talk radio and talk podcasts. Even for interval work-outs I listen to podcasts. If you looked at one of my ride playlists you’d find stuff like: CBC Radio’s Q, CBC Radio’s DNTO, NPR’s Fresh Air, the ClifCast, NPR’s All Songs Considered, CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter, and anything else that gets my brain churning.

Food?

I like to eat. I like to learn about food. I like to try new recipes (in fact I try to cook one new recipe a week). I eat a primarily vegan diet – this transition has happened over the last few years. This happened mostly due to my health concerns and trying to figure out how to keep myself in an ulcerative colitis remission. I’ve also found that since I’ve become sick, I just can’t handle digesting as much meat as I could in the past. I try to eat a mostly gluten-free diet and I’m most definitely dairy-free (added some in due to the recent dance with gout but the side effects of the dairy were unpleasant). I do eat meat once-a-week – this is on advice of my doctor and his concerns for my B12 levels. Along this journey of changing my diet I’ve read a lot of books and learned a lot about how valuable it is to achieve an alkaline state. Some books that have taught me a lot are Brendan Brazier’s books, Scott Jurek’s book, Natasha Kyssa’s book The Simply Raw Living Foods Detox Manual, and the book Becoming Vegan. So what do I eat? Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some grains – this means I drink smoothies, make super salads for lunch, make amazing veggie soups, stews and other meals, and for dessert I might have fruit, a date ball thingy, or chocolate. This might sound boring but it isn’t. Thanks to some awesome cookbooks and food sites, I eat awesome food. I just made my own rice milk – thanks to a recipe posted by cyclo-cross superstar Mo Bruno Roy on her site The Vegan Delicious and yesterday I also made my own sunflower seed butter (so darn good).

What Else?

Hmm, I’m not sure what else there is to know. Life is good. And I try to keep things simple. We don’t go to fancy restaurants (though we do like to eat out – big fans of anything Asian, the odd Shwarma Palace visit, and a hearty burger (veggie for me) from The Works). I like to hang out at coffee shops – drinking a decaf latte and reading or chatting with friends. Weekends are pretty chilled out – training, reading, groceries, cooking for the week and hanging out with friends. We have a cat – he is old (18) and he is our pride and joy – Murphy is just a big ball of love. So that’s really about it.

Now you know a lot about me. I hope I haven’t scared you off from returning to this site…

 

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