plans & goals, it seems

Well hey!

Where did we leave off?
Work, work, work.

On my day off last week, I planned something wonderful! It was seriously exhausting and I don’t know how travel agents are travel agents. I have five pages filled in my notebook with prices, times, locations, vehicle dimensions, distances, etc. But I did it! I planned the adventure to Alaska from Alberta.

Jessica, my love, and I will be meeting in either St. Albert, Alberta or Prince Rupert, B.C.
From Prince Rupert, we’re adventuring on a ferry ride into Alaska! AHH! Want to see what we’ll be seeing? Check out their photo gallery here: http://www.alaskaferry.com/Gallery/AlaskaPhotos.aspx

From Juneau, Alaska, we’ll be ferrying to Haines, Alaska, and from there we will drive to Fairbanks!
WHERE I WILL BE LIVING COME AUGUST.

I can’t decide if I am going to be taking the American way home, or the Canadian way I came up with back in June. The American way is a lot faster and I know it like the back of my hand, plus I’d get to see my Michigan friends again, and gas is cheaper (I might have just convinced myself…), but the Canadian way has the Winnie-the-Pooh statue and maple syrup and lots of trees and photo opportunities. I don’t know. Hopefully the answer will just come to me in a dream or something like that.

I got my camera! So, you see… I need photo ops.

Amazon gift wrap. I love it.

Amazon gift wrap. I love it.

I am now the proud owner of a Canon Rebel t3i D1100 camera, and I can’t contain my excitement. I just want to soak up as much knowledge as possible. My friend Reid, well-versed in the world of photographs, made some recommendations on learning tools for me (AKA some very energetic guy with crazy hair on YouTube that speaks human and not DSLR).

The weekend prior to my camera arrival, Uncle B began building a new deck my demo-ing the old one! I took an panoramic shot of the old deck on my phone. The before and after is going to be SWEET, but this is what it looked like before…

IMG_4168

This weekend, I believe that my ever-so-talented Uncle is going to finish it up. It’s pretty amazing how quickly projects can go by if you just have it set in your mind that you WILL get it done. The dogs, however, are not very fond of the project. The poor children have been on the fritz since the night before demo. Even Brandy, the biggest of them all, is having her moments…

Hitchin' a ride.

Hitchin’ a ride.

Upon finishing the removal of the old deck boards and crushing all of the bamboo stuff that was outside, Uncle B found some… uh… inhabitants that would make my stepdad and Abigail (the youngest of the Lunsford Ladies) run for the hills. Uncle Brady, instead, grabbed a leaf blower and just relocated them. Aunt Andrea and I tried to fight for the cause of the bees and conserve the honeycomb, but we weren’t so successful in our argument. We could hear them working in the wall – pulled back the insulation and STILL couldn’t find them. Finally, Uncle Brady located the small comb of theirs, and handed it to me for further investigation. Being the big science nerd that I am, I found it interesting to dissect the honeycomb and see what I came across. Well, the result was bee eggs (they were TEENY tiny), larvae, some almost fully-developed bees, and honeyyyy! I can’t believe how much honey those things hold. Check it out.

Ah, the life cycle of a bee.

Ah, the life cycle of a bee.

Nice and cozy - in the wall.

Nice and cozy – in the wall.

Honey and combs. Honeycombs!

Honey and combs. Honeycombs!

Sunday was an incredibly long day. I worked from 11:30 AM straight through to 9:30 PM. I surpassed the feeling of hunger and wasn’t even tired anymore. It’s amazing what happens when adrenaline gets to you. Serving is very fast-paced. I love the grind of it all. I love that you go in at 11:30, before you know it the lunch rush is done, you roll silverware, and then BOOM – it’s dinner time! People flood in, and your alertness is revamped. Albeit, I have had my bouts with the cash out at the end of the night. But hey. You can blame my mother for my issues with electronics. I definitely inherited her overabundance of body-generated electricity that disables machines from properly functioning…

Anyways, Shae-Lyn and I took a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. We ventured to Ajax first where we spent some money on clothes and Star Wars stickers. Shae-Lyn was feeling slightly adventurous, and while I was trying to find comfort in clothes (which is never possible, since I HATE CLOTHING), she was being a goof ball. These pants were actually for sale… and well. She rocks the poncho.

"You look like a taco!" -Andrea Tunall

“You look like a taco!” -Andrea Tunall

We tried out a new thai restaurant because the Mexican place next door was closed (I was angry). In my opinion, the coconut cashew pad-see-whatever you call it was delicious. Shae, on the other hand, wasn’t as fond of their chicken fried rice. She is loyal to the other thai place in Uxbridge. Note to self: NEVER ask for “spicier” pad-thai there again. Ever.

From Ajax, we took the GoTrain to Toronto’s Union Station and walked to the aquarium. It’s conveniently located right under the CN tower, so after being disoriented for a brief moment… we walked towards the giant pointy thing that’s really, really tall.

The CN Tower. I will never be going up there. Nope.

The CN Tower. I will never be going up there. Nope.

The aquarium was really fun! We saw starfish, sea urchins, anemone, jellyfish, stingrays, sharks, turtles, lake fish, ocean fish, school fish, tropical fish, big fish, little fish… okay. I’ll stop. I will say, it was a bit expensive, and I wish that the marine life had a bit more space. But! Those who opened it up did a good job at promoting conservation and how we can play a decent role in caring for the environment.

Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites.

Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites.

Shark selfies and less-than-amateur photography.

Shark selfies and less-than-amateur photography.

IMG_1844

“Starfish, where are you going? Was it The Chad?”

Best friends.

Best friends.

Shae-Lyn and I really did have a blast there. We’ve been trying to go for weeks, so it was nice to finally check it off of the list. Imagine my delight when, upon exiting the area of the aquarium, we stumbled across a sculpture of giant woodpeckers! The bird nerd in me freaked out a bit, and I snapped a couple of photos. From what I can tell, they are downy woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens). It is called “Woodpecker Column” and is located near the south entrance to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This piece of art was constructed by two people working collaboratively under the name “Fastwürms”, back in 1997. Why am I just hearing about this giant bird statue!?

Woodpecker Column.

Woodpecker Column.

After being total tourists for awhile longer, Shae and I headed home. What a day!

I finally went for another run the other day, and it was long. I am trying to make it to the end of Sunderland Rd. and back by the end of my time here. It’s 5.6 km (or 3.48 miles there). I’ve run about 5 in total before, so we shall see! I might set up some water bottles along the way the night before I decide I can accomplish that goal. We will see!

I love my On Cloudrunners.

I love my On Cloudrunners.

In efforts to better my sleep regime, as well as feel less crappy about myself, I decided to stop drinking for awhile. I need a good little detox. Even if I drink once a week or something… I’m chillin’ out on the booze front. It’s just not necessary for me. Plus, I’m “broke”. Save save save. It will help me with my goals if I write them in here for all of my 5 readers to see. Whatever works, right?

Yesterday I made some epic protein pancakes (I’m obsessed, okay?) and started an at-home workout program that is known to kick serious ass. Sophie Gray is a girl from St. Albert (where my family lives), and she started out posting things on Instagram. Now, this girl has an ebook that is only 10 bucks, and let me tell you… I’m already sore. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) exercises are known to be metabolic rate enhancers. They kick your fat-burning system into gear, and before you know it, you’ve got lean muscle and a crap ton of energy! I’m trying to a full month of her program and seeing where it gets me. I’ll keep you posted!

1 banana. 1 whole egg + another egg white. Hemp hearts. BLEND.

1 banana. 1 whole egg + another egg white. Hemp hearts. BLEND.

Enough about fitness and stuff though – I have goals. You get it.
Alongside the goals, there IS room for a little fun. I’m trying to find that mental balance for myself, encouraged by my mommy and Blaine (my older sister). Yesterday, the fam jam and I went to a free concert in Peterborough, Ontario. Colin James is a Canadian singer-songwriter from Saskatchewan. I got to know some of his most popular tunes from my days as a DJ for Goldenwest Radio in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. You probably know him for “Voodoo Thing”.

Anyways, prior to the show, we went to a place called “The Works: Gourmet Burger Bistro”. Basically, there were about 5 bazillion toppings, and a whole bunch of differently designed stacks. They had veggie burgers and gluten-free buns, so already… I was in heaven. I had one called “Grills Gone Wild”. There was a roasted eggplant on it, with salsa, feta, and avocado. It was good, but if I were to go again, I’d definitely try something different. Nonetheless, it was a great experience… and I wish it was closer!

Awarded and everything!

Awarded and everything!

Smashed that,  by the way.

Smashed that, by the way.

Colin James was great live, and of course, live music is great for the soul. I am so thankful I got last night off. Time with my family is so much more important to me than making stacks of cash. Yes, I need it. But nights like last night, and experiences with the people I love will last a lot longer than a $100 bill.

Sentiment, sentiment, sentiment.

Thanks for reading!
Here’s a photo of me being a tourist!

Fish make me so excited!

Fish make me so excited!

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