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Sunday mornings

When I was training for my first half marathon over a year and a half ago, I dreaded the early morning Sunday run. I whined and complained how could it be POSSIBLE that I rise early and head out to face over 10kms?

I used to do some of the long runs on  my own in the afternoon, just so I could get a bit of a lie in on the token day of rest.

I was thinking of those times this morning, as I eagerly woke at 730 to grab a quick breakfast of salad (great way to start the day: ruffage but doesn't fill you up to the point you can't go and exercise right away) and a hot water and lemon before I set off to meet my friend A to the P and head out on our 30km Sunday morning bike ride.

It's a little tradition the two of us started, mostly because she has to work at 11:30, so the only time she could do it was bright and early.

We head down the Shell Road path towards the water, chatting away and catching up about our weeks. We managed through the woods just before the waterside, exchang…

A Moment

We only had two weeks in Thailand during our six month trek through Asia and Russia, which in hindsight was certainly not enough time but at least a put-together tourist place like these islands made it easy for us to relax.


Anyone who has been to Thailand will tell you of ‘must go’ places; specific islands that your trip will be lost without. But in reality, as with all destinations, each island has its own magic, similar to each other in the same fantastical ways and yet special and unique enough to help create a very personal experience.

We spent three nights on Koh Tao during our short trip, at the suggestion of a friend, who later revealed to me that this moment I shared with this man and his fishing rod, is one she was privileged to experience as well.

It’s easy to get caught up in the tourist flow of a place, especially Thailand. Everywhere you look, there is something for YOU. Scuba diving lessons, ENGLISH breakfast, cheap room rates, FREE Internet with purchase of coffee. It…

Everything IS bigger in Dallas

I spent the month of August in Dallas (potentially not the BEST month to visit Texas, however..) for work and did manage to learn a few things about the lovely, wonderful people of that grand state .. or at least the Dallas area.


1. You will be called Ma’am.

Street art
As a Canadian, I’m used to politeness but there is something significantly special about the way the people in Texas converse with each other and people they’ve just met. Their every word appears to just drip with southern kindness topped off with a lovely smile and “you have a nice day now you hear and come back real soon.”
2. You better enjoy meats. And large potatoes. And very large amounts of food.
Lunch? The portion sizes are always a shock for us Canadians but I’ve got family in northern States and I’m not certain that I’ve ever seen as much food presented as a one-person meal as I’ve ever seen in my life. The BBQ’ed anything was to die for and the steaks were thicker than my head. Oh and did I mention the MEXICAN FOOD…

Making the most of it

Being somewhere means you have an opportunity to experience something.

That means, if you are on a beach in Mexico, you have as many margaritas as you can and eat as much tortilla as humanly possible. If you’re hiking the Mournes in Northern Ireland, you make sure to stop when the sun comes out to admire a rare view. And if you’re at home, where you live, where you work, where you don’t necessarily think of yourself on vacation, you find the things that make the place where you are incredibly special and you make sure you soak in all of those places.

I’ve heard it called a ‘staycation’, which I like, though I would go further than that and say this is more a state of mind. Sure, it’s easier to explore when you have multiple days off in a row but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience at least some form of discovery each day.



I am lucky that I do have the hours in my day to make this possible. I don’t commute as I have a home office and I don’t have children that need me. Both of these…

Reading and Roaming

I've been taking an accidental holiday from updating this blog, due mostly to the fact that I've been busy with work, travel and most importantly, spending as much time outside as possible.

But I have been thinking a lot about this space and how it needs to grow with me and where I'm at in my life now. I'm beginning to see ways in which my current-future travel experiences will eventually intersect with the world of words.

Recently I've been gabbing with some fantastically talented indivduals who are soon to be part of an exciting collaboration that sprung from the genius mind of Sean Cranbury of Books on the Radio.

And it got me thinking, mostly about the way I read books set in places I've actually been to and the way I read books set in places I've yet to go. I've been mulling this over and over in my brain about how experience changes perceptions and how this affects you as a reader.

When I am travelling, I'm living in the moment. Taking it all…

It's All Gravy

Last week, I was wandering through a bookstore, soaking in all the wonderful-ness that comes with wandering around a store filled with stories, I was hit with a bit of inspiration.

I've certainly been at a cross roads before. Certainly had the opportunity to make a choice one way or the other way. And for many years, my perfectionist self consistently want to make sure I was doing things the RIGHT way.

Whether it's age or experiences or the west coast air, I think I've slowly come to the realization that in essence, it doesn't really matter which path you take as long as you're always moving forward.

I tweeted "Accept that your life could go in many directions, all fulfiling, and you will fear less about making mistakes...".

And since today I emerged from a bit of virus hell (sorry all those who may have had to come along the ride with me) I was reminded of this tweet and it made me think about it all over again.

I could be a travel writer. I could be a p…

Planes Buses and Planes again

I've been having an extrordinarily amazing time in Ontario and Chicago visiting the two cutest new little people you could ever meet.

Every day I am prouder of each of my sisters in what they have accomplished as women and as mothers. For all you mothers out there, it take a whole whack load of strength and patience to do what you do and after watching it first hand I understand even less how you have the will to do it. You all rock my world.

It has been hard to be away from D. I mostly try to forget that I'm not seeing him every day or experiencing the excruciating minutia alongside him but I do take comfort in the fact that distance does make the heart (and the libido!) grow stronger and that I'll be with him again in a few short days.


I suppose that brings a bittersweetness to the fact that I will be saying goodbye to a lot of little and big people before I journey home. I feel lucky to have been here for so long and think the length of the stay was just ri…

Another Welcome and the Best Birthday Gift Ever

For the second time in a week, my vibrating phone has woken me.

Those of you who know me, know that I like my sleep and I'm not a great one to wake up. And yes, stop drooling that on Saturdays and Sundays and MY BIRTHDAY I am probably still sleeping at 9am. The perks of being childless and not training for a half marathon.

So when the vibration started this morning, this the day of my 34th birthday, I was seriously hoping someone had just done the math wrong with timezones and would quickly hang up.

Then I looked who it was. "Mom" flashed back at me. Mom. Can you ever not answer the phone when your mom is calling?

It was for my birthday wishes, I figured, and yes also figured she hadn't got the math right.

Until, well, until she had other great news.

Other great news???? WHAT???

My sister H had gone into labour 7 hours earlier and I was going to have a niece born on my birthday.

Now that was news worth waking up for.

We giddily spoke about our excitement and then sig…

Welcome to the World LDC

My lovely sister C went into labour in the wee hour of Saturday morning, 2 hours before she was headed into the hospital to have labour induced.

Nature works in mysterious ways.

The expansion of our family tickles me to no end. What was more touching and inspiring was seeing pictures of her 2 and a half year old meet his little brother for the first time.

Since I am also 2 and half years older then my sister, the momentousness of this moment is not lost on me.

There was a time when my mother, sat on a hospital bed and introduced me to someone that solidfied that I would never be alone again.

And I saw that moment today in that picture of my sister introducing her new little boy, LDC, born just before 10am EST on Saturday morning, to her first born MGC, who couldn't stop saying 'I want to hold him'.

You're a lucky little boy, LDC. I can't wait to meet you.

Confession Monday #3

This process of revealing is becoming a cathartic way to get the week started right. It's almost like letting a truth out about yourself and watching it float away like a balloon.


If it weren't for D, I would be a hoarder. Hands. Down.

As previously stated, I've got a little addiction to reality TV. And when I was watching one of the most recent episodes of people who have their homes stacked with stuff, I had an uncomfortable revelation.

The 'patient' ie hoarder who we are exploiting as we peer into her life began explaining to the doctor why she did not want to throw a stuffed animal she had gotten for her 13 year old son when he was 2 away.

(paraphrased)

Patient: This toy brings back good memories
Doctor: So, is there another way to honour those memories than keeping the stuffed toy?
P: Well, when I look at it, it reminds me of all the times that were good when he was little.
D: You'll still have those times.
P: Yes but I have a bad memory and I might forget …

How the Bike brought me Back

D and I recently purchased a couple of used bikes to take advantage of the glorious weather that appears to happen year round this end of the country.



I was always a big bike rider when I was younger - I suppose one should use the word 'cyclist' but that sounds a little too advanced for what I'm talking about. Cyclists probably have strategy and stamina and lots of bike bling. Me? I just used to get on my bike and go.

During my pre-teens I had the bestest friend ever. L.C.

Looking back at those years, L.C and I were inseperable. I was so lucky during that period of my life to have someone who was such a dedicated friend. She made me laugh, always had my back (can you say bullies??) and generally just made my life better.

We used to spend weekends listening to 60s music, playing cards and going for bike rides. And we used to relish swearing in her house. Her mom is a fantastically creative person, a piano teacher and someone who didn't let words really affect her. We co…

Bragging rights

And then there was 2.

That's right, the woman who decided to be a goalie in high school because she HATED RUNNING has now two lovely half marathon medals to her name.



That's me, people. Yes, it really is. And you know what? I have to keep looking at this picture to remind myself that it WAS me, it IS me and I am a half marathon runner.

It's an intensely humbling and emotionally indescribable feeling to train for, run in and complete a run of that distance.

When I set out to do this originally, it was for myself. It was to give myself a challenge. It was because it was something I didn't think I could do.

We had just gotten home after being away for over 6 years I was eager to try something that living a nomadic lifestyle does not really allow you to do. Training for a long distance run seems liked one of those things.

It was with the encouragement of some good friends that I decided to train for my first 10km.

After another couple of 10kms, it was time for the next step…

Confession Monday #2

I had envisioned that I would have written something between the two Monday confessions however with a project wrapping up at work and my half marathon prep, I simply just did not get back to this lovely page until today.

And so, in its second installment, I bring you my confession Monday

I use a Neti pot to clear out my sinuses and survive allergy season.

This isn't necessarily a very evil aspect about  myself, but I guess more revealing and um perhaps a bit embarrassingly personal?

For those of you who do not know what  Neti pot is, you are probably wondering why this may be something a bit embarrassing to admit. Here I'll show you:



I love in this video how she says it's not that bad. Define BAD.

I mean, no there isn't any stinging and yes the 'return' liquid is clear as well but essentially using water to flush out your sinuses is about as, well, awkward as it sounds.

But so is flossing but that doesn't mean you don't do it right?

And since my allergi…

Confession Mondays

I decided I need to purge a bit of all that is evil about myself.

*blink* *blink*

Okay, so MAYBE a bit melodramatic, but I thought it might be fun to throw out a confession about myself every Monday so that everyone else who is struggling with Monday can feel just a little better about themselves.

See? Aren't I nice? Taking one for the team on Mondays.

So, quick and dirty, here it goes.

Since buying the upgraded HD cable package, I watch WAY too much TLC.

Cake Boss. Yes to the Dress. Little People Big World. 300 kids and Counting. Geckos that can't Climb.

If D is studying, I am sneaking some shows about people's lives. And there are SOOO MANY of these shows. They even branch out from TLC - the National Geographic channel is constantly playing Dog Whisperer. I knew I was also in trouble on the weekend when I was giddy about another show on the NG channel (cause that's what you call it when you watch it more than 5 hours a week) called Dog Rescue Ink or something like tha…

The Debut Post of the Fantabulous Flashback Fridays

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I decided that I needed to really give myself a bit of inspiration and structure to get this blog back on its feet.

I have more time, now that I'm not commuting and don't really know anyone so don't really do anything (did I just make myself sound pathetic?) and so I may as well take this opportunity to get as many stories down as I can before I forget that they even happened.

But of course, I have also given myself a safety net so that I will not forget what happened.

This, ladies and gents, is a box which D has come to refer to as 'the box we continue to move around with'. I, on the other hand, have a very different name for this box  - it's the Scrapbooking Box.


Yes, that's right, it's the box that holds ALL of the things that one day I will put into a scrapbook and no longer have the box for. And it's a subtle reminder that if not for D, I would probably have many more of these boxes and need to call the experts a…

Fantabulous Flashback Fridays update

I noticed that it's been over a month since I decided to take a few trips down memory lane and write about some of our travels.

I haven't been slacking, although I suppose it may seem that way since I have yet to post anything Flackback-ish.

A few weeks ago, when I started to compile my first post, I was led down a worm hole of frustrating discovery: we had somehow misplaced multiple travel pictures. I say multiple, I'm talking MONTHS of collection - MISSING.

I leave it to you all to picture just how WELL I took this discovery and leave it at that.

And so I was a little blocked creatively and got sidetracked with running and visitors and general lazy-ness but can now report was was once lost is now found.

D's lovely parents came to stay with us for a couple of days and in addition to some much needed familiar faces, they also brought a couple of CDs that appeared to be travel snaps.

Praise be to the sky - they were!! - and now all is right with the world. Because betwe…

Who am I again?

This morning, I set my alarm for earlier than I would to get up for work. That's right. On the 'day of rest' I set my alarm to make me stop resting earlier.

And last night, I sipped caffeine free tea and popped myself into bed at 10pm. Same time as if I was getting up for a hard days work.

One of my biggest fears in life is that I would never stop loving smoking. That I would always like it and therefore always smoke because my mantra is to do what I love to do (within reason, people).

And just as my hate-on for smoking surprised me, so has my desire to get up early.

I don't get up early. And I say this in the Tom Hanks-League of their Own-"There's no crying in baseball" voice.

And yet, guess what? I do.

Not only do I get up early, but I throw on some fitness gear, fill up my running belt bottles and head out to conquer the road, 1km at a time.

This morning met me with glorious sunshine, so much so that I didn't need all the layers I had piled on ear…

Another Mountain Shot Attempt

I'm not really sure I can describe the awesome-ness that is seeing mountains towering behind a beautiful cityscape and after once again this weekend taking the camera out, I'm not sure that I'll ever get to SHOW it either.

I'm sure one of you savvy picture taking peeps could probably enlighten me on how to pull the mountains out of this shot and make them 'pop' in the way that it makes my readers feel like they're RIGHT THERE with me.

But then, perhaps that is more Mother Nature's point - you actually have to BE there. Because as hard as I try, I can never get those mountains to look as spectacularly LARGE in a picture as they do when I stare at them. I mean, they're awe-inspiring. I just can't stop staring at them.

And so, spent another weekend saying, "Oh my god will you LOOK at those mountains?", so much so that D finally huffed as I was midway through the sentence for the 2034th time and said YES YES  I SEE THEM and I've been h…

Positive Energy

I have had quite a few people surrounding me - online and offline - who are in need of a whack of positive energy. I figured I'd throw it out to the Internet-verse to see if I could muster up as much as I possibly could to help them along the paths that they are currently facing.

I've been going through a bit of a transition myself lately, one that I'm quite familiar with and one that is not all that great to weed through but always leaves me feeling much stronger as I get out the other side.

I've talked about the 3 month hump before - the strange period that seems to hit after I've lived somewhere for 3 months where I feel just at a bit of a loss - missing those things I left behind, perhaps eager to discover more about the place I am currently and the general sense of uncertainty, unknown, insecurity.

I find it painfully hard, mostly because I AM a very confident, outgoing person and feeling hesitant makes me irritable.

I think it also stems from coming from a la…

Discovery

I've been practicing yoga on and off now for about 7 years. And when I say 'on and off' I basically mean once a week at a gym during those times when I HAD a gym membership and as well as the occasional at home attempt which usually led to me asleep on the floor (according to D).

And so, when I discovered there was yoga at D's school and that it was FIVE CANADIAN DOLLARS a class, I decided it was well worth my time and money to sign up.

The best part was that rate also included a drop in rate. So, literally I would buy up a bunch of tokens to use at my leisure and not feel tied into going every week at a certain time. Because guess what? They're even MORE flexible - the classes are on 3 different days during the week, at different times. And lets face it, it's a FIVE MINUTE walk from my house.

I expected to stretch my muscles out a bit, help build some strength for my half marathon (support me here!!) and just generally have an excuse to get out of the house.

W…

Whadabaoucha?

In honour of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I would walk myself down memory lane from the first time we spent the holiday in Europe.We were living in Leeds and took off for a long weekend, not to Dublin, but to Belfast.

We had no idea that the 4 days we spent there would inspire us to want to move there.

Regardless of the political and religious undertones of the holiday and the city we spent it in, it became more for us our next beginning.

We stayed in a youth hostel right near the city centre area. We even got our own beds:

We were taken up the coast by my lovely cousins:


Saw beautiful scenery

Including the Giant's Causeway
Found a cute little pub (that quite quickly became on of our locals after we arrived)
Joined the crowds outside city hall
And of course, waved an Irish flag

And in all of this, somewhere amongst the revelry and finding of old relatives, we decided this would be a great place to continue our adventure abroad.
In the years that followed, I spent many a St. Paddy…

What I'm learning the second time around

Training for a half marathon? Challenging.

Training for your SECOND half marathon? Harder then you thought.

I can't deny it - some strange section of my brain was taking for granted the fact that since I had already run a half marathon, the training for the SECOND half marathon was going to be a breeze.

Needless to say, I've been humbled - er well that part of my brain that was being so cocky has been humbled.

And even saying it or writing it down makes it so so obviously true that I'm wondering how that part of my brain actually got control of my thoughts anyway - how were all the other smarter brain cells not strong enough to overpower them? What? Too much red wine you say? Ok well when you put it like that...

Regardless, I'm all caught up now - yes, it IS actually just as hard, if not harder to 'get back on the horse' so to speak and go out there and train for something.

After a dismal 14km 2 weeks ago, I was a bit nervous about the 16km this past Saturday. …

Fantabulous Flashback Fridays

I'm not sure I'm going to run out and patent that but I am going to get myself writing here a bit more regularly.

Good friends of mine are headed off on a 3 month trek around Asia and combine that with D's desire for me to GO THROUGH THAT SCRAPBOOKING BOX that I have forced him to move around the world and you get me wanting to write about travel again.

Since I'm not currently in a position to GO travelling, I thought I would venture back in time, piece by piece, through some of the stories - good and bad - that have happened to the two of us along the way.

And in the process, I might actually get to DOING something with all of those momentos that doesn't involve resealing them in ziplock baggies.

Stay tuned ....

Fresh Space = Fresh Start

After being happily swallowed up by the Olympics over the past 2 weeks, I'm getting myself back to normal here in our new home.

There had been some anticipation and 'wait until after the Olympics' type actions here since we arrived in January. Now that we've lived through that spectacular chapter, it's time to get down to the business of really digging into some of the things I've been wanting to do for a couple of years now.

Running


I've commited myself to another half marathon here in Vancouver at the beginning of May. I'm hoping for a personal best and am continuing to raise funds for a great cause - you can read more about it here:

http://www.canadahelps.org/GivingPages/GivingPage.aspx?gpID=6777

The weather has helped with my training immensely - as have the yoga and spin classes I'm able to attend. The serotonin is doing wonders for my mind and the physical aspects are allowing me to fit into my pants again.

Reading


I've started to keep tw…

Pride

I have been in many countries around the world and in every one of them, I wore a bag that had a Canadian flag on my backpack. Each new place I would visit would make me more proud than the last to be a Canadian.

It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the places or the people I was visiting, just that you realise you are who you are because of where you're from and it makes you feel even stronger about where you're from.

I don't know if it's because I'm here in the city of the Olympics or because age and travel have made me realise even more how great this country is or even if it is the nostalgia that comes with remembering the young girl who used to pump her fists at the end of a lap 'pracitcing' winning a gold medal or if in fact, it is all these reasons, but I have never felt prouder to be Canadian.

There is a sea of red everywhere you turn. Gloves. Hats. T-shirts. Sweatshirts. Painted chests. You name it. All red.

There are outburst of 'G…