“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

― Albert Einstein

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!

I have always loved the New Year! This year is no different.

Did you know that in every month of the year there is someone somewhere in the world, of some religion, or culture, or nation that celebrates their New Year! We all have different seasons, calendars, rulers, etc - so it only makes sense. Celebrating the New Year is probably one of the most ancient of holidays we all celebrate.

Curious as I am, I was reading about Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year that happens in September or October. It is a 10 day long celebration!! It is full of rituals and traditions - like eating apples dipped in honey reminding them of all that is sweet in life. In these 10 days families get together, they eat, pray, they blow the Shofar (ram's horn) which is to call people to repentance and some believe that God opens his book of fates and writes what will happen in the coming year and on the last day, Yom Kippur, this book is closed. I guess it matters how you behave in those 10 days matters! : ) I read that Yom Kippur is considered the most solemn day of the year and celebrates closeness with God and is a day to look at the past year and plan for the one ahead. Now I'm no expert and I'm not Jewish, so the above is only my outsider's superficial perspective. I am sure there is more to it. But even though I am not Jewish, I am adding the apples and honey to my New Year's Eve!

Part of my work here is to gather music for us to sing at "In The Key of Community". (I do really love my job!) And as I began searching this week for New Year's music, I found that the pickin's are slim! But there is a great Ella Fitztgerald song, "What are you doin New Year's Eve?" It's been covered by loads of people, but her version is the best.

So while I am looking back at 2010 and ahead to 2011, I have decided that I really have done a lot of amazing things this year! And while I am not opposed to new years resolutions, I have decided that I have already set enough goals for myself!! I still have some things to tick off my list of 40 New Things and I have my list of 40 Things I have Started and want to Finish. I mean seriously, that's enough. I haven't posted these lists yet, for lack of time and really who wants to read my to-do list anyway?? It's more interesting to read about their completion! I will say this though, there are three areas of my personal life that I continue to focus on - my physical health, my finances and the paper clutter at my house. As always I am taking the soft and loving approach to these - acknowledging that the situation is basically good, just needs a little more attention and tweaking is all! : )

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you make 2011 an amazing year in your life!

Have a listen to Ella at this link http://http//www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYkjz-6nic8

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

life is what happens when you are making other plans?

So while there are moments when I feel that old unsettling discomfort at the knowing that 40 is only a little over 6 months away, most of the time I am really running off my feet busy and caught up in drama that usually turns out to be a figment.

I do often think of the 19 more new things I am longing to do, or the 40 things I've started that I want to finish and the 40 books I want to read this year but reality is reality. The kids need tending to, as do my friends, my family, the pets, the house, the yard and of course my job. So while I'd love to do the 19 new things, love to finish the 40 things and most days would love nothing more than to curl up and be carried away with a book... really, l love tending to all the things that need tending.

i am not abandoning these goals of 40s, I am just reminding myself to enjoy the path on my journey to get there. sometimes in my efforts to really make the most of things, i can't over look how great things already are. and sometimes in my real desires and goals to change and accomplish things i forget to be gentle with myself and not "make war" on myself as Pema says.

oh and by the way i have read about 10 novels... mostly escapist romances : ) that i am not sure i can own to having read. (haha!) i am still knitting those scarves and i sang and played at a coffee house (nerve wracking). the rest of it though is only in the "thought about it stages".... c'est la vie. Also i went to a writers workshop two weeks ago and i am writing more now... mostly poetry and free writing, but i am loving it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

oh, the shame....

i am a very bad blogger indeed. i haven't posted anything since May... you'd think i didn't think there was anyone reading and that having not reached my initial goal of 39 new things i am hiding away? (please note: previous sentence is marked with extreme sarcasm!)

while it's true those things are part of it, it's also true that i haven't had much time, energy or inspiration. summer is also very distracting to me---all i want to do is play. :)

so to review... i'm in my 40th year. yup. now what to do to make turning 40 fun and feeling good? that's the question!! so i have decided a couple of, well for lack of a better word, challenges to pose to myself.

  • The first is to read 40 books this year (reading list to be posted shortly - if anyone reads this and has recommendations please let me know because i LOVE a GOOD book!)

  • The second to review and make sure that i have swam, canoed or fished in 40 lakes/bodies of water over the course of my lifetime before my 40th year is over. (again - list to be posted)

  • And third to finish 40 things that i have started... you may think i'm joking - that i couldn't possibly have 40 unfinished things to do. hahaha!! but you'd be mistaken. i'm the kind of person with so many ideas that in my lifetime i couldn't possibly do them all, but i try anyway. i don't get down on myself about this characteristic - i think it's great, interesting and i actually do (and finish) more than many people i know. so this list of 40 is being generated and will be posted soon. and the first thing on the list - though they won't be completed in order - is to do 19 more new things to finish my 39 new things goal!

Just for kicks I have added a sat. image of where i live.... you can see the 40 lakes goal, won't be that hard to do - in fact throughout my life i think have already reached it! but i'd like to add a few more and swimming is out from Oct- May so i'd better get on it .... oh, i don't do the "polar bear swim" thing and no that will not be on my list of things to do...EVER.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


okay so my 39th birthday has come and gone. the days leading up to it were ...well, hard! i was emotional, anxious and felt miserable. i realized that this was definitely a mid-life crisis and acknowledged such. but i woke the morning of my birthday ready for this surprise adventure. i had a pretty good idea of what was coming, but that just made me more excited for the day!

i had such a good time that day. time for reflection. time with the kids. time to let go and let things unfold as they would. somewhere along this day something started to feel different. like the mid-life crisis turned to a mid-life awakening.

i realized how much my own expectations had been causing my funky mood. for me it's not others expectations and the fear of disappointing them that gets in my way. and it's not feeling less because i'm not keeping up with the Jones's that gets me down. it's my own made up ideas and ideals that cause me to "should" on myself. so coming up to the end of my 39th year and the beginning of the 40th, it wasn't the wrinkles or life's impermanence that was getting me into my tail spin, it was all this "should-ing". thoughts like, "by this age i should have my act more together", "i should have traveled more", "i should have myself more established." all of this i made up in my own head. And then you know what follows all this "should-ing" ... yup, blaming, "why me" and wishing.

so i let it all go! snap! just like that. i decided to just let life unfold like i did the day of my birthday. now, we did set out with a desire and an intention. and we did have a plan, which changed throughout the day, which required flexibility, spontaneity and letting go of artificial timelines. and the day required us to slow down appreciate things along the way, keep in mind the desire and intention we set out with and be patient. and most of all i let go of all expectations and just loved and laughed all along the way. using this approach there was no way to fail or fall short, just set out on a path and see how it unfolds. it's interesting and so much more enjoyable!

i'm still going to keep on going with my orginal intention of doing 39 new things. and now that i'm in my 40th year of life there are lots of things i plan to do this year to really celebrate and enjoy this landmark year! embrace it, savor it and love every minute of it! i have some fun things i'd like to try and i'm curious as ever to see how it will all pan out!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

21- caliper lake and a float plane (39th Birthday)

hard to believe living where i live that i've never been in a float plane, but it's true. not because i don't like small planes, not because i haven't known people who've owned them... really it's hard to explain. if you don't have a reason to go, money to go, or someone who will graciously invite you for a ride it just doesn't happen. i guess because the gas is costly. or maybe because so many people would ask... but it's always seemed like something "other" people did, like you had to be invited into the club.

Jer arranged the whole thing as a surprise on my birthday, apparently not so unattainable after all!

Jer figured if we were going to pay someone, we may as well pay family, so initially he asked my cousin Mike. Mike doesn't really do scenic rides and he was really busy with orders for his business that day, so he recommended we go to Northwest Flying Inc. just down the road from Mike's place in Nestor Falls. I always like going to Nestor Falls ... there is so much family history there and it is so beautiful.

Before we went to for the ride we went to Caliper Lake Provincial Park. I have driven by so many times, always saying "someday, we'll make time to stop." I am told we have stopped there when we were kids but i have no memory of that - so it kind of counts as a first.

though there was a wind, it was still warm and sunny. we had the whole beach, playground and everything all to ourselves. i was grateful because i didn't want to blind anyone with the reflection of the sun off my winter white nordic skin! the fairness of my skin is always shocking in the spring! :-) i am trying to follow through on this 30 day meditation challenge - so first i sat on a picnic table, but quickly moved into the sand... first time i have practiced outside. i learned i need to do it alone ... :-) I did go for my first lake swim... and on my birthday too!

After the beach we went back for the ride. The wait was worth it. To see from above the land and the lakes that i have zipped over and by all of these years was an amazing new perspective. Things i never knew were there, seeing the lake and river i have paddled a canoe down, seeing the expanse of the area of Lake of the Woods, so full of islands and inlets that it was hard to realize that it was all one lake and not dozens of separate ones like on the other side of the highway. i never knew Crow Lake was so huge. during the flight i thought of my mom and dad - they both worked in Nestor Falls when they were young. i thought of my grandfathers and their guiding on the lake. and i thought about my uncles and aunts who have worked and lived there. The man who owned Northwest Flying Inc, said he knew Keith and Ronnie, and Alfred of course... so I thought of all of them. Flying over Crow Lake I thought of Keith and his smile - his jovial spirit and ready smile set him apart from most people i've met.

my favourite part of the flight was the take off - the sound of the engines pulling us up and away from the earth and feeling the amazement of over coming the law of gravity. the great thing was we took off down this narrowish channel, with rocks and trees on either side. as we climbed over the tree tops it was like peeking over a fence into a totally new perspective of lush green forests. then as we got higher to see more and more water - blue and green and aqua, sometimes glistening and sometimes black. Seeing the world from that perspective really does change things - and maybe it was only for that flight, but for those moments i left my cares behind me.

ps - i was really glad we didn't crash! all of us really enjoyed our first float plane ride. oh, and the landing was as smooth as any landing I have ever felt!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Number 20 - a mural

At work I'm involved with painting a wall mural! I've painted walls before ... but with a roller, not a paint brush! It is so much fun. I wish I could take people through the process ... but it only makes sense if you see it. I know I didn't really get it until we did it. Now i want to paint a mural in every room of my house -- plain walls seem so drab to me!

So if you have a chance stop by the Kenora Recreation Centre, go to the first floor and walk the hallway to the New Horizon's Senior's Centre and then you will see what I mean.

When it's all done, I'll post some photos of it!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Number 19 - a duet

Now I have done a lot of singing in my life - I sing to myself all the time actually. In the car and in the shower, at church, at work, at play ... But it's not very often that I get asked to "perform" for a paying audience. So, I was absolutely honoured and humbled to be asked to sing a duet at the G-Clef Choir and Music Men's Spring Show! I love singing duets, I love the richness and the depth of the harmony. The song was in a challenging key for me - quite high (an F), but it was a beautiful love song called "If"! This song was actually written the year I was born and first sung by the group "Bread". I loved the arrangement we sang and loved the parts when we sang a phrase in unison and then broke into harmony! And my duet partner Pat... she made me sound so good!

We did two shows, I'm not sure how many were in the audience - over 200 each night I'd guess. There are so many talented and beautiful voices in that choir, the people behind me were the first to hear me sing and they were the audience I was most nervous to sing for. But they were all so supportive and encouraging. After I had sung in front of them so many times at rehearsal, singing for the town audience was not nerve racking at all. Rather it was my absolute pleasure and honour to sing for them.

I'm always so sad when a show ends. After so many months of rehearsal and then ... it's over and done. And the songs we sang this year!! So many favourites of mine... it was a really great show and I'm so grateful that in Kenora there exists this amazing choir that I get to sing with!

I wish I could transport you all to see and hear that show! It was great! I absolutely loved every single minute of it!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Number 18 - Olympic Gold medalists!

Well this first happened on my trip to Winnipeg with Ellie and the other Keewatin Figure Skating Club "Stars on Ice" fans!

I was so looking forward to seeing Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skate! Finding out that they were on the tour sealed the deal for me - Ellie and I were absolutely going to see them! I didn't even care who else was on the ticket. We had watched them, taped them and watched them again at the Olympics this year, so to see them live ... well it simply was not to be missed. My niece Clara was really excited to see Joannie Rochette - she's been following her for the past couple of years.

Well when we got there I was even more thrilled to see that Kurt Browning and Jamie Salle and David Pelletier were skating too!!! I love them! There was also Jeffery Buttle, Shawn Sawyer, Cynthia Phaneuf, Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon and an up-and-coming junior skater, Adam Rippon!

Kurt Browning did a number to "I Did It My Way", ... in hockey skates! Virtue and Moir did their signature move called "The Goose". Virtue poses with her knee on Moir's back, arms spread and transitions to a one-rotation jump off. Salle and Pelletier were amazing as well. They did this awesome routine to a Micheal Jackson song! All of them were spectacular!!

And we were so close, only six rows up, we could see their expressions clearly ... and that was fun to see! The lights, music, and group numbers were amazing too. I tried to take a few photos...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Number 17 - me and Ellie

Finally, Ellie got her turn!!! And this was a first for so many reasons! Ellie and I went on a bus filled with Keewatin Figure Skating Club, family and friends. Even though we were with other people, Ellie and I really spent the time one on one. And just as I found with Erik and Cole, she talked and talked and I discovered new things about my growing little girl.

This trip was truly a girls trip, because it's focus was shopping and seeing "Stars on Ice"!! I am not a typical girl who loves to shop, but there are some shopping principles that I need to pass on to my daughter even if I don't love the past time like most. And it was so good that it was just her and I so that I could spend the time with her giving her a full shopping experience! I was having many flashbacks to the ways my mother and sisters shop - going through the entire sales racks, trying thing on, putting outfits together, doing complete outfits, showing how things can be mixed and matched, talking about pricing and value of buying things on sale and considerations to make when making the final decision of what comes home and what stays in the store. There were moment that were quite funny - of mother and daughter at odds, Ellie rejecting some of my selections, me telling her "no, we aren't going to buy that because _____." Though the above description doesn't sound fun (well at least not to me, but I don't like to shop), Ellie loved it, got some really cute outfits and went bouncing out of the store!

On this trip my little girl, who just got her ears pierced a few weeks before, bought her first pair of dangling earrings and her first pair of lace up shoes!! Both of these purchased were very important to her. And I did with her many of the same things that I did with Erik and Cole.

We had a great time the whole trip and I can see the beginning of some new traditions!

Number 16- me and Cole

As promised Cole was the next to have his trip to Winnipeg. And he was dying to go because when Erik went Erik got a build a bear - a timber wolf actually and a jedi costume for the wolf, complete with light saber. We had some major sibling rivalry issues for a few days after Erik's trip. So it came up that I had some time off, Tillie needed to get back home and Cole needed his turn to Winnipeg.

He was so funny in the car! He talked and talked, telling me how he understood things, retelling me stories, making jokes and planning what we were going to do. He has quite the sense of humour and he is such a cuddly little guy. And just like the trip with Erik, I discovered things about him that were new. I saw how much he has matured and grown. There were still some five year old moments that required some skillful parenting, but I was glad that I could focus on just him for the teaching moment.

Before we went and throughout the trip he would say, "Are we going to do ______ just like Erik?" He wanted to be sure he had just as good of time and that we didn't skip any of the fun stuff. And he would just gush with giddiness and say, "just me and mom!" He really had a good time and it was fun to hang out with him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Number 15 - me and Erik

For the first time since...well since Ellie was born, Erik and I took an overnight trip to Winnipeg- just the two of us. Doing one on one things with the kids is always difficult, mostly because the others feel so left out. The catalyst to make this happen was that Erik had a medical test up in Winnipeg. It was going to be a pretty quick trip and I thought Cole and Ellie wouldn't have much fun. When Erik and I left the two of them were in tears, really upset!! I promised each of them they would have their own day with me and Jer promised to make their time with him really fun too.

It is interesting having one child. It is so easy!!! They get all of your attention so there really isn't any attention seeking behaviour. I didn't have to break up any fights. Of course there was still the need to negotiate things - "I don't think we'll be buying that." and "sorry bud, we have to go." But I found it really interesting to spend so much time with just Erik. He talked and talked. And I discovered things about him that were new. There were three times when he was a really good navigator - pointing out which way to go. We did some fun stuff. And we ate at places we don't have in Kenora or Keewatin. My favourite of getting a smoothie, some popcorn, going to a book store and a music store. Erik and I spent some time in the Mac store and drooled over the electronics! It was fun. And of course we did a photo booth. Most of this was unplanned, it was just what spontaneously happened!

It was such a great time I really look forward to doing it again and to taking Ellie and Cole on their trips to Winnipeg!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

number 14 - some stylin' socks

Several weeks ago I made an appointment with my new doctor. My knee has been acting weird and some new trouble with my shoulder. But when the appointment time came around my legs were swollen too - this being a week after my long car rides to and from Idaho, I really thought the swelling should have resolved.

I was pretty sure she was going to recommend I wear those compression socks on long trips, which she has. As she was turned to the computer to type things in, I muttered under my breath something about "old lady socks"! :-) Showing her sense of humour, my new doctor, who is several years younger than me, turned part way in her chair and pulled up her pant leg to show me her socks! "You wear them too?" I was stunned. She said that because she sits all day, she thinks it's a good idea. I sit most of the day too - so she and I both thought it'd be a good idea I try out the old lady socks! I thought that trying new socks is definitely a new thing!

As she was reviewing the treatment plan, one point was, "and you're going to join the club and get some socks." haha! YES I did! Pictured below are the navy blue ones! ;-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Number 13 - old dog learning a new trick

I have a niece who loves to knit. I have crocheted a couple of things - poorly i may add, but I have never knitted and I have always wanted to. Something about the clicking of the needles and the growing mass of beautifully knotted yarn has always facinated me.

So, when I realized that Clara and I would be on a road trip together I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for her to teach me to knit! I decided a scarf would be an achievable and easy thing for a beginner. Clara got me started and then let me go. It is fun. And I like being able to do something new that I couldn't do before. This is something you think I would have learned a long time ago - through Four-H Club, Young Women's, or somewhere. My roommate Debra could knit and crochet beautifully - but I never thought I had time for such things and was afraid to start yet another project that I wouldn't finish! :-)

Now I am about 10 inches along on a beautiful moss green scarf made of organic cotton wool. It will be lovely when it's done. I'll post a photo when I'm done!

number 12 - you could say we are both long winded.

This may be the longest converstaion i have ever had. For those of you who know me this may be hard to believe... and maybe i have had longer conversations but I don't remember them and I certainly haven't had this long of a conversation with Mike.

Very shortly after Carly's graduation, Mike, Clara and I set off to get back to Canada. We wanted to get back in time for the Keewatin Figure Skating Club's Ice Show. Ellie and Cole were in it. And Clara really wanted to get there to be in it too. It is a 18 hour car ride - without any stopping. Mike has a big diesel engine truck - it gets great gas mileage, so we hardly stopped at all! About 19 and a half hours after we left, we arrived at our destination. And except for about a half hour just before the Canadian Border we were both up and talked the whole way!! This will likely never happen again. But I have to say it was a great conversation! I won't bore you with the details, but we talked about just about every subject you can imagine!

So I know it's not a world record but talking for 16 hours straight then my little half hour nap and then talking for another 3 hours... that is up there in my record books.

Thanks Mike, for getting us home safely, in time for the Ice Show and for the conversation along the way.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Number 11 - land of the big spuds!

My first trip to BYU Idaho. Although I have zoomed past Rexburg Idaho I've never spent any time there. Carly has been there for a few years now, Josie too, both going to BYU-Idaho. Carly informs me that it is far better than BYU-Provo, so I'm glad I got to check it out for myself.

It is quite a pretty little campus. I always thought it's be pretty windy there, and it was. I was glad I was there in April and not January! There was some construction going on - I think that may always be happening. And the city that has sprung up around the university is a fun little town. They have amazing Mexican food - in fact I had the best Mexican food of my life there. I'm not exaggerating either. It was amazing!

But the real reason for making the trip was to attend Carly's graduation. She has really re-defined for me what being a "good" students means. She studied hard and graduated in the top of her class. She is an amazing student and now she is a teacher. I loved Carly's answer to the often asked question of "so, what are you going to do now?" She'd simply answer, "Anything I want." I am proud of her.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Number 10 - Quality time: one on one!

I am the fourth of five children. There has never been a time in my life that I have gone on vacation with my parents and I was the only "kid" along. But this past weekend that was the case. And it was fun! I love my parents, they are great people. We drove to my nieces graduation and along the way spent a night, just the three of us in one room. I was wondering how that would be. Dad snored and part way through the night Mum climbed in with me because Dad was so dead tired he couldn't be budged from the middle of the bed. Then we spent another night at the hotel in Rexburg. Funny thing, both nights I came in late and I was reminded of sneaking in as a teenager! Opening and closing the door as quietly as possible, tip-toeing around and navigating in the dark, and silently slipping under the cover. Now I know that I'm a woman now and part of me just simply didn't want to disrupt their slumber, but another part really didn't want the grief the next day about how late I was! It was fun though. The trip was a bit of a whirl wind adventure, but it was very fun. They were great to travel with.

My favourite memory as a kid is climbing into bed with them in the middle of the night. I remember squeezing in between them and hoping that they wouldn't make me go back to my bed. I remember the warmth, their breathing, and that feeling of letting go now that I was safe and secure from whatever had scared me that night. Sometimes I wish I had a place to go to like that now... no monsters, no fears, let go and relax, feeling safe and secure. But now I provide that for my nighttime visitors. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

number 9 - so long my friend.

This has been on my to-do list for a very long time. For many years now I have had a constant companion, a "friend" of sorts - though I have tried many tactics to rid myself of it. On my right index finger, on the outside between my first and second knuckle, I have a small wart. I can't even remember how many years it has been there. I think I may have had it as early as 1992... definately long before I got married.

When I haven't been pregnant or nursing, I have employed all over the counter, perscription and home remedies to attack and make my body recognize the invader, evict it and repair the damage. I won't go into all the remedies I have tried, but it has gotten close to surgery at home at times. I wonder how much is scare tissue from all of my failed attempts.

A few years ago I brought Erik in for "wart removal" day at the clinic to get rid of a couple on his feet and at the time I was tempted to ask Dr. Harland to splash a little dot of liquid nitrogen my way - but I never want to be a bother so I never spoke up.

Finally, when contemplating this goal to do 39 new things - I thought that this is one thing I ought to take care of - imagine being 39 and no wart on my finger. So I finally got around to calling the clinic last week and imagine my luck the liquid nitrogen had just arrived that day - wart freezing day was the next day! I was thinking it would be quite painful, but I actually ended up asking her to do it a few more times because I didn't think it was taking. Then she ripped open a bandaid and a Dora the Explorer bandaid fell out. "Once it's open we've got to use it" is what I usually tell my kids. So there I am, aging and all, with a Dora bandaid. My post treatment instructions were to keep a bandaid on it for a few days, then cover it with duct tape for the next two weeks.

postscript - After the first treatment it looked like it was alive and well and in no way leaving, so I returned for a second two weeks later. The nurse kind of scolded me for not continuously wearing the duct tape... like I was a non-compliant patient, not following the treatment plan. So I have been wearing the duct tape now! And I have also been helping things along with some salacylic acid...oh, yeah!

"nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, hey good-bye".

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Number Eight - Join to Lose

Okay, I have always been very health conscious. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Health Sciences. Health matters to me and healthy lifestyle choices matter to me. When I was a teenager and dancing ballet and jazz I was very conscious of nurition. This continued all through University. I still care about it today and yet somehow I find myself in the place of seriously needing to lose some weight. What galls me is that I can't even blame it on having three children! I gained what I have today in the four years between graduation and weighing in at my first pre-natal appointment. I have lost ten pounds here and there over the years since, but I always wind up right back at the same weight I was when I stepped on that scale at the pre-natal appointment in November 1999. It is almost as if my body has preset this number as the new norm. Some may say that's okay, but it's not when it is 25 pounds over my previous, pre-marriage normal!

Anyway, I have been back to work full time for three years now. I work in a field that mostly employs women - the programs I work in being 99.9 % women. So of course we talk about dieting. A lot, actually. There was this one diet, The Fat Flush, that was adopted by many people in the office. And it was hard not to jump on board - the results were astonishing! But I have never adopted a diet plan. I have looked at many of them. Read lots of books. And then I pick and chose the parts that make sense and seem like they are maintainable, basically making up my own way of eating. And I see success like I said before - I'll loose 10-15 pounds. But then I stop exercising or have some injury or some reason why I can't exercise. And then refraining from the sweets has always been my nemesis!! I love chocolate and I love ice cream, so the pounds creep back on.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a co-worker and our office is starting a KACL version of "The Biggest Loser". I have never joined a weight loss program. Certainly not one with a weekly weigh in!! But that is what this is. Here are the "rules" sent in the email from my co-worker.

"Hi Everyone and welcome to the first day of the biggest loser!

Today will be the first day of the weigh in. Sue will be supervising all the weigh ins, so feel free to drop by when you get a chance to step on the scale. I have also made some packages for everyone with some helpful starter tools. So here are the rules:

  • 1) $15.00 Start up fee (Can be paid to myself or Sue. $5.00 will go to the purchasing of prizes, $9.00 will go to the pot to win at the end of the month, and $1.00 will go to the endowment fund)
  • 2) Weigh in every Thursday
  • 3) The person with the biggest percentage of weight loss each week will receive a prize
  • 4) Should you gain weight it will cost you $2.00 (This money will go to weekly prizes)
  • 5) Eat right
  • 6) Drink lots of water
  • 7) Exercise
  • 8) HAVE FUN!!
  • 9) At the end of the month, the person with the greatest percentage of weight loss for the whole month will win 90% of the money from the sign up.

The other 10% will be donated to the endowment fund

Thanks for joining everyone!"

So far there are no photos to go with this post. There may never be. I feel exposed enough with the before and after shots of my hair. But wish me luck!! Hopefully this time the loss sticks!!.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Number Seven - A Shade of ???

On Saturday I went in for my annual (yes annual) hair highlighting appointment. I was born with very blonde hair and like most blondes it has gotten a shade darker every decade until I was about 25. My hairdressers have said that my natural colour is technically around a 7 ash blonde. For years now I have been getting my hair highlighted 2 shades lighter and a different tone. Like golden blonde or platinum blonde. So this time I thought I'd get something new. A new look.

Here are the BEFORE pictures.... and the DURING .... (from the bathroom- HA!) and the AFTER .....

I actually LOVE IT!!! And I can't believe that I have waited so long to change my hair colour!! No more blonde!! I wonder if this will mean no more blonde jokes? (ha!) I have gotten so many compliments -- i guess that can be expected looking at the before photos. :( Many people saying that it matches my skin tone, eye colour and eye brows. And many have said that the cut changes my whole appearance. All I can say is that I love it AND I am so glad that Karen is back at Keric Funk!! Thanks Karen!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Number Six - Acrylic on Canvas

Last June my life took on a new adventure when I was reassigned at work to be a part of the community arts programs at KACL. These programs now include Art Partners, Rise to the Rhythm, In the Key of Community and coming soon Community Gardening. I attended an Art Partner session as a participant a couple of years ago - so I have explored doing art a bit. But actually outside of crafting with the kids - I haven't really tried my hand at art since I was in the eighth grade.

Going to work every day being immersed in an atmosphere of art has built in me a desire to try my hand at painting. I have dabbled a bit with acrylic paint on group painting - mostly abstract stuff. A while ago I bought some paint and canvases for the kids. They all love art. So when I went to buy the last set of canvases I bought one for myself. After watching the Art Partner consultants prep canvases, paint, etc. I had an idea. So for the first time in my life I was going to attempt to paint a landscape acrylic on canvas.

As I picked up the canvas I thought of the guy on PBS that I used to watch in amazement. He made it look so easy. ... i wondered how i would do. I decided I would let go! Adopting the Art Partner philosophy I let go of judgement and let go of expectation and just went for it. It was freeing, relaxing.... it was one of those activities that I constantly seek. The ones that require you to be present, that require your whole thought, your whole mind ... that you loose yourself in. Like a meditation. It was so much fun!!

So even though the result to me is irrelevant, here it is.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Number Five - the world of blogging

Number Five is starting this blog. Being someone who loves story telling - I've always thought blogging was another method to tell a story. So while I've thought of starting many times before, it was just another in the long list of things that I'll get around to ... later sometime.

As always I have to research things a bit first. I love google. It makes everyone smarter. So I googled which blogging site was the best and found a really comprehensive list the 10 best - with a really comprehensive list of criteria. I went to a couple of the sites I was interested in and looked at their features and people who blog on their site. And then I posted the question on Facebook and got some advice there. Wordpress, Blogger and Live journal all seemed pretty comparable. So in the end I just picked one.

Then there was the name.... what should I call this blog? You should know that the naming of my three children was a studious and thoughtful process that took me more than the entire pregnancy. Names for my children was something I had been reflecting on since childhood and an ongoing lifetime list usually had the last page in the journal I was keeping. And after they were born I would spend some time alone with babe discussing with them the name they would be known as for their life. It's pretty huge.

Naming a blog is not nearly so weighty, so after a day and a half it was settled. And I guess here is were I have to give some creative credit to a friend who I brainstormed with. I always think that any idea has more depth, beauty and soundness when it is created not just by one person, but through a process of sharing ideas. So thanks Kurt.

And so Aurora Wanderings was named. Aurora for the night time wonder that I have been lucky enough to see many times in my life. The best night ever was a night with purples, blues, pinks and greens that were dancing directly above us as we lay on our backs and floated in the lake and watched them for a very long time. Another night that really stands out they were that greenish white colour dancing from the northern horizon and arching two-thirds of the way over the entire sky. I look for them always - hoping again to see then in their splendour as I have seen them before. And Wanderings ... well kind of speaks the journey.

So let the blogging begin. :-)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Number Four - Qunizee Camping

For the past five years we have made a quinzee - a type of snow hut similar in shape to an igloo, but constructed differently and not as long lasting. This year for the first time, we hauled out the sleeping bags and blankets to make a go of winter "camping". (I think it qualifies even while we were only in our backyard.)

The kids were enthusiastic!! There were 4 who began the night nestled all snug in our winter snow cave. It was a cold, clear night with a bit of a breeze. We got dressed in our winter gear,with many layers underneath that. Got all our sleeping bags and ended up using almost every blanket in the house. Why bother you ask? Simply... we are Canadian. And while the kids have enjoyed playing and having picnics inside their quinzee every year they have been dying to sleep in it! So this was the our first year to try it.

I hate to admit that I was the first to go inside!! I only lasted four and half hours! But in my defense. With every moan or stir of the blankets, I was up! I was up to put Cole's mitts on again. I was up to re-tuck Ellie. I was up to re-secure the door coverings. I was up to go back inside for more clothes and blankets. Up again to redress Ellie as I tried to convince her to sleep inside, that she had done enough outside. She insisted on going out again. And up again to pull Erik's hood over his head. So I can't even really say that I slept much in those 4 1/2 hours. But Jerry joined us a couple hours in, so when I went in he was willing to stay out with the kids. Ellie came in shortly after me. Cole followed less than an hour after her. But when Erik came inside in the morning he announced that it was "the best sleep of his life!" Jerry didn't share his sentiment. :-)

the link below is a site I found with information about quinzee building.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Number Three - Festival!

On the same weekend we went skating at the Forks we went to Festival du Voaguer! Another regional right of passage I had somehow bypassed until now. I don't know if it was the name, the costumes, the hosts or all the music and snow sculptures, but it felt festive!! And it felt surreal. Stepping into a world of costumed people, speaking French and surrounded by these huge snow sculptures really felt like I was removed from my usual "Ground-Hog Day" repetitive existence.

The kids loved it! They just ran from place to place! And sadly could only peek into the music venue tents. They loved to see every part of the Fort too. Erik took over the photographer duties to compile his own collection of photos of the sculptures.

They had so much fun climbing the "mountain" of snow and going through the snow maze!

And of course, we had to go down the toboggan run! And while I am no faint hearted person, it was kind of nerve racking to go down the toboggan run....the beginning of it is ice. ICE! I think it was kind of luge like. We waited in line for several minutes, the kids anxious and raring to go. Ellie insisted that she go alone. Aggghh! And then Cole said he did - no way! I'll admit I was nervous as I stood at the top and watched Erik go first, by himself. And then I went down with Cole. It was fast!! And bumpy! When we got to the bottom, I only got to feel a flash of relief for our safe end, to turn around and see my baby girl getting on her fast sled. Oh my!! To say I was terrified for her is an understatement and there is nothing like watching your progyny come speeding and bouncing down an ice hill. In my mind I was pleading "hold on to the sled for the bump", "keep your arms in", "don't tip", "please don't break a bone". Ellie is my totally fearless one. At 6 years she did all the roller coasters and rides at Disney World - so the Festival du Voageur toboggan ice run was no big deal to her. However, we didn't stand in line again.

While the event is over now - here's the link - http://festivalvoyageur.mb.ca/wp/.

And remember there is always next year!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Number Two - Skating on the Red River

I am kind of ashamed to admit that this right of passage is a new thing for me. Even though I have skated on out door rinks and on Lake of the Woods a couple times, I have never made the trip up to the Forks in Winnipeg. The Forks is a place where the Red River and the Assiniboine River meet. Every year they make skating trails on the rivers and on the land. It all connects together. I had no idea how big the whole set up was, until the kids and I went there on Valentine's Day.

Erik, Ellie and I skated down this ice trail and then gingerly walked, in skates, down to the river. On the day we were there they had free hot chocolate, there were story tellers and musicians. They were giving away ice hearts that they would carve your name into and then decorate for you, they had coloured ice blocks out for kids to build with and for some reason they had suspended this huge orange ball from a bridge. The kids and I sat inside for a ride.

I was a proud, rugged feeling Canadian that day. Not only had I gotten to sling my skates over my shoulder as I walked to and from the park bench and skate way down the Red River and back, I also got to brave the cold, reminding myself that I have Viking blood in my veins. The funny thing was, knowing that I was going to be outside for most of the day I had dressed really warm. Wore my thickest socks. Which were so thick I couldn't fit my feet into my skates. I ended up skating barefoot that day - another first. The blisters were worth it though! (ha!)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Number One - changing taste buds

This first new thing is a little lame. But back in January we at work all went out for a birthday lunch at the Plaza. For those of you not familiar the Plaza is a great family owned and run Greek restaurant. It's really good. I got lemon soup, gyros and half order fries and half order of Greek salad. All of it was fabulous! As I got to the end of my meal. I looked down at the green olive I had been pushing around my plate and contemplated what to do with it.

I have never liked olives. While I have eaten the black ones chopped up, disguised and hidden under a load of cheese, they aren't something I seek out. Certainly not something I would eat straight up all on it's own, like a pickle or something. But I never want to be that kind of person who turns their nose up at food. And passed down to me through the generations I have a practical, frugal and non-wasting mindset, likely inherited from my grandmothers who struggled through the Great Depression with very young families. So not wanting to be a food snob or be wasteful, what to do with the lone green olive on my plate?

Every few years I have given them a second shot, thinking it's only fair and maybe my taste buds have changed? So, I looked at this olive and thought, "Well, this would be a new thing. But I'm not just going to eat it, I'm going to savor it!" And you know what, I did! And at first I'll be honest, it tasted beyond sour, but after a few minutes it was actually tasty! So a chewed, savored and sucked the pit, thinking that it wasn't that bad. A first, actually eating a whole olive all on it's own.

(Incidentally, just last week I was at Boston Pizza and was again confronted with an olive on my plate. I decided to give that one a go and it was promptly and discretely rejected into my napkin. I guess my taste buds haven't changed. Or maybe all the Greek food, had prepped my palate for the olive I liked. Or maybe Plaza's olives are just better. And since then I have browsed Safeway's bulk olives wondering if I could take a sample of each kind and figure out once and for all which olives I like, if any at all. But I think I need an olive sherpa to guide me on that journey.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Rules to the Challenge

I figure that if I'm going to attempt to experience 39 NEW things before I turn 39 (May 21st) I should document it - hence the blog. And I should set some parameters that I will follow. Also, IF anyone happens to read this then you will know the "rules" too and if you should feel inclined to suggest something you'll know my limits. They are:

1. It has to be something I have never done before.

2. It can be something simple and free or it can be something more complex and costly.

3. I won't do anything involving drinking, smoking, trying drugs, having anyone see me naked (eww!) or anything that will permanently alter my physical appearance.

So there you go, them's the rules.

I have about a dozen or so new experiences in mind - but please, I need some suggestions!!


Friday, March 19, 2010


Hmmm... my first ever blog. I feel the pressure to write something impressive.

First, I should say what has brought me here. While I always liked the idea of having a forum to share ideas and experiences, I am finally doing it because of my upcoming 39th birthday.

A new unease set in just after ringing in 2010 and I began to not like the idea of turning 39. Not because 39 is awful, but because it's the last of the 30's. Now let me be clear, it's not that I mind aging - I actually think there are stories to be told in wrinkles and I find grey hair very sexy. I see beauty in people of all ages. And I've never been overly attached to my appearance as a definer of who I am, so losing my youthful beauty really doesn't shake my sense of self. And it's not that I'm afraid to die. I'm actually okay with life's impermanence. One of my favourite quotes is "none of us are getting out of here alive". But with the recent death of a cousin of mine - I am reminded that time could be very short here.

It took me some reflection to realize what was underlying my chagrin of the number soon to be attached to me. It is the feeling that I hadn't done enough, hadn't lived enough, hadn't gotten everything out of this ride! And I realized that if I wanted to be "okay" with 39, so that I could be "okay" with 40 I needed to not just accept the inevitable, but I need to embrace it and celebrate it.

How to do that? There were many draft plans I concocted. But what I decided a couple months ago was that I would attempt to do 39 things I have never done before. Next year's celebration may be a 40 day countdown, or finishing 40 things I have started, who knows!

I'm getting a slow start, with a self imposed deadline fast approaching. Starting this blog is only #5. So, over the weekend - I am going to catch up the blog entries. One per new thing.

Wish me luck!!