Monday, 25 January 2010

Ten Things That Make Me Happy...

"Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest." ~ Sri Chinmoy

Okay so I was pseudo tagged by Keith to write ten things that make me happy. My thoughts, 'Only ten?!' Where to begin?? I think I have some top ones narrowed down though, so here they go.

In no particular order:

8. Hot chocolate with mini marshmellows on top.

2. All creatures great and small.

10. Sharing a deep belly laugh with my family and/or friends.

7. Sitting with the parental unit and having a good cuppa.

4. The feel of the warm beautiful sun on my face.

1. Being greeted with unconditional love by a furry friend (or semi-conditional love as is the case with felines).

6. Smiling Buddha.

3. Being in, on or near the ocean with all it's wonderful sights and smells.

9. Hugging a tree.

5. Smiling warmly at a stranger and seeing a light come into their eyes as they smile back.

Now I suppose with these types of lists, one must tag another. However, I think this is a good exercise for one and all to do, regardless if you write it down or not.

So...what's your on your list? What makes you happy?

Peace out my wondefully happy friends!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Soul Food...

"Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you." ~ Oscar Wilde

Balance. I am constantly striving for balance in life. Body, spirit, mind. So far I'm not doing too badly on the body and mind part. I have a set schedule of work now - important when you work from your home. And I am working out regularly - also important when you don't have a race schedule and are no longer calling yourself a triathlete.

What I have been lacking in, sadly, is the spirit part of the equation. Okay, so I practice mindfulness throughout the day. It still doesn't touch me deep in the root of my soul. Rather, it's a constant reminder that I need to go deeper...

One step I took to remedy the situation was to return to my beautiful sangha. I hadn't been going as I hadn't been in town to go, but I knew I was needing a good dose of meditation - not to mention the energy my sangha brings.

So I went. And I sat. It was heavenly. Only one problem there would seem that I only sit (ie sitting meditation) when I'm with the group. Here's the silly thing - I know it brings me great peace and it feeds my soul/spirit, and yet I don't sit on my own! Why is this?? I have done it before, but I never seem to keep up the practice.

Therefore, I'm going to put this out there, I am going to bring my sitting meditation time up to 2-3 times a week. There, I wrote it so now I have to be accountable for it. This means one night with the sangha, and two more times ON MY OWN. (Gulp.) Oh, and I'll just confess right now that I though about sitting meditation a lot this week, but never managed to get it done. Hopefully the accountability thing will work. Wait, that doesn't sound too committed does it?

Anyways, the other method of feeding ones soul, at least my soul, is with yoga. It had been so long since I've been to a class that when Keith's wife, Linda, asked if I wanted to join her, I jumped at the chance. The class was held in a wonderful little space in an area that one would think least likely to find a yoga space. I was curious how this would all unfold.

Of course as soon as I walked in the room and saw all the Buddhist statues, especially Avalokiteshvara, I knew I was in the right spot.

The moves our Yogi, Helen, had us doing were exactly what I needed to work out some issues both internally and externally. It was pure heaven. I'm actually going to be going back again this Friday for a class and, mindfully, can't wait! I'm also going to try out one of the local yoga studios in my wee town this week. One of my pool mermen, Garney, mentioned the class is on Tuesday nights, so I'm going to attend this week!

There you have it. Soul food. Without it, one cannot strike a balance in life. At least I can't.

Peace out my beautiful friends.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

How High Up???

"Don't be afraid to go out on a limb. That's where the fruit is." ~ H. Jackson Browne

I finally made it back into the pool last Thursday morning. It was my first swim of 2010 and I managed a solid 2000 m. Huh. In hindsight I should have swum 2010 m!

The best part of going to the pool is seeing my fellow mermen and mermaids there. It was so good seeing the gang there. It's funny because even though it can seem like a bit of a social event, having a little chat or laugh here and there, they actually push me to swim better. Just knowing Sue is at my feet or Garney is pushing off at the same time in the next lane, or Chris is checking to see if Sue and I are chatting rather than swimming! That keeps me going and trying to improve.

I can't express how much I'm going to miss them when I move back to BC. Maybe I can pack them all up and take them with me?!

The evening held other adventures with me...this time on land. Sort of.

I had mentioned to my fellow search and rescue (SAR) buddy, Jim, that I was hoping to do more indoor climbing this year as a way to face my fear of heights. I've been only twice before - the last time in October.

He has been climbing for years so offered to have me join him and his group on Thursdays. They climb at The Crux in Calgary. I'd never been to the Crux so I looked it up on the internet to see what it was like.

Oh, look at that....the Crux's claim to fame being one of the tallest climbing gyms in North America. Exactly how high up is one of the tallest climbing gyms?? It didn't take me long to find that information. Holy hannah, it has 72 ft tall walls!! Gulp.... This could be interesting.

Jim and I carpooled to the gym and I mentioned again my fear of heights but my enthusiasm for learning how to climb. He was undaunted and enthusiastic. Just wait till we get to the gym I thought!

We got there, I signed my life away and got ready for the belay test. For anyone who hasn't climbed indoors before, the belay test is essentially where the gym tests the fact that you know how to hold on to the rope that your partner is dangling from and that even if they fall you WILL NOT LET GO! Oh, and also it tests that you know how to tie yourself in using a figure eight knot that won't undo while you are dangling from a 'make my cry' height.

Before Sean, my tester, came by, Jim showed me the gym. This is what it looks like from the ground...
My knees started to shake and I wasn't even off the ground yet!

It was test time. I tied my knot fine. Then it was time for Jim to start climbing as I belayed. (Note: they make your buddy do the climbing so you REALLY won't want them to fall and hate you forever!) He started climbing and Sean said 'Ok let go of the rocks' to Jim. He was good enough to do this while Jim wasn't too far off the ground.

Jim let go. But I held on and he didn't fall.

Then Sean instructed Jim to start climbing again and to let go 'whenever'. The bigger test. Making sure you don't let go of the rope and drop your partner if he/she takes a slip.

Jim can climb pretty fast. I was watching like a hawk waiting for him to 'fall'. He was up a fair distance when vwoop! He let go. Next thing I knew my feet weren't touching the ground and I was sailing through the air towards the wall! Aiyeeee! I stopped myself from hitting the wall by putting my legs straight out and hitting it with my feet. You'll be happy to know, as Jim was, that I never go of the rope through all of this. Even though I couldn't touch the mats. Phew.

I even had to lower Jim while I was hanging around. Both of us made it to the mats safe and sound though. Honestly, it was a good thing to have happen so I know what it feels like. Just a side note; they have tethers in the floor so you can attach yourself in order to prevent that from happening when you are belaying someone heavier than you.

I passed the test so now it was my turn to climb. I started climbing but almost from the start my heart was pounding and my hands were sweaty. I made it maybe half way and I asked Jim to lower me. I had to get a grip on my fear! When I got down to terra firma I apologized for being such a wuss. Jim said not to worry and asked if he could give me a couple of pointers that help me. Of course I accepted!

We moved over to another spot in the gym so Jim could climb. Then it was my turn again. This time armed with my tips I had a much better climb. I was still shaking a bit and had to stop at one point to get my breathing under control. I started climbing and was near the top when I slipped. It still amazes me that I slipped because normally I'm clinging to the rocks.

I gotta say, I have no idea how guys climb. You see when I slipped, my harness hiked up nice and close on me. Not a big deal for me because I have girl junk. And girl junk can handle some squishing. Guy junk though? How is it they fall and get squished and don't let out a blood curtling scream is beyond me. I mean that harness was SNUG people. And that's all I'll say about I that.

Now here is something I am most proud of. I didn't scream when I fell! Granted I did emit a rather loud EEP! which Jim claims he heard aprproximately 65 ft below. Still though, it was not a scream! I kept climbing and I managed to climb almost to the top! My arms were tired though and I couldn't find a good foot hold so asked to be lowered. Dang, I was only one rock away!!

The next time up Jim suggested I let go and 'hang around' a bit to give my arms a break. Riiiight. LET GO?! I knew it would help though. So I tried again and when I got tired I yelled 'take' and then let go. I thought for sure my heart was going to pump right out of my chest. I could hear Jim saying 'okay, now shake your arms a bit!' ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS MAN?? So I shook them. Kind of. Then I grabbed hold of the rocks. Then let go and shook again. And I didn't die. Always a good thing.

I am still not sure how I managed all this without fainiting, but I did. I never did make it to the top - I tried hard though! I need to build some strength up I think. I was close twice though and to me that counts. Plus, it gives me something to strive for.

The gang meets every Monday and Thursday. I can't go on Mondays, but I will be going on Thursdays. At some point I will make it to the top! Then maybe I can try climbing just the taped rocks!

By comparison the rest of the weekend was rather tame. I managed a solid set of legs and back (P90X) and the rest of the time I spent in a First Aid course. So other than the fact that I had various body parts in splints, there are no other adventures to report.

Peace out my friends.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


"An obstacle may be either a stepping stone or a stumbling block." -Unknown

Monday morning I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for the day. I got out of bed and had a big old arms waaaay up in the air stretch...aaaaaaaah. In the blink of an eye my aaaaah... went to gaaargh! Or something like that. Something in my back, between my ribs to be exact kinda went 'ping!'. After trying to move it would appear that I had lost most of my capability to inhale and to twist.

Oh for the love of pete! This was supposed to be my first "offical" day of starting P90X. Okay, I had dabbled with it over Christmas, but I came up with a plan you see...

It all started when I realized last year that I needed to simplify my life. I needed balance. Mind, body and spiritual balance that is. I had mulled over how exactly to achieve this and came up with the following - I need a schedule.

Yes, yes. I know. Being on a schedule was rather loathsome for me last year. However, I realized it was loathsome because I had these big almighty goals and I always felt like if I strayed from the schedule that the world would end. This year goals. Well, not 'no goals'. I mean I have the goal to be healthy, and there's the whole mind/body/spirit balance thing, but no goals that would cause guilt or world devastation if I faltered...

So. The plan. The plan is this... I will get up early and do P90X during the week, with the exception of some Tuesdays and Thursdays where I will swim (because I got pretty good at swimming last year and I'd hate to lose that). On Thursday nights, I shall climb! Indoor climbing that is (because I started that last year and I love how it makes one feel like wee child again).

As for the weekends...well the weekends are a free for all! As it is winter and rather snowy out, I shall xcountry ski! Or perhaps I will try some snowshoeing. Maybe even get in a little downhill. And maybe, just maybe, I will do nothing. Yep, you read that correctly. I will just chill. Read a book. Go for a walk. Nourish my soul a bit. Then when summer comes....well, we'll figure that out when the time comes.

Right. Now that that's all explained - back to the 'my official first day!' part. I tried to twist a bit, to see if anything loosened up. This movement caused a very sharp intake of air and a 'garp' sound to emerge. I was not to be discouraged though. I very carefully put on my workout gear, then went downstairs and got the DVD in. The program for the day was 'Chest and Back plus Abripper X'.

Chest and Back eh...oh my. What the heck, I thought. Maybe this would loosen things up a bit? Afterall, the twisting test did...uh...nothing. Oh well.

So I started the warmup...gingerly. So far so good. Sheesh. Lots of pushups in this workout! Chest workout indeed! Things were still ok though. I don't have the strength to do chin ups yet, so rigged my exercise band so I could do pulldowns instead. All was working quite well. In fact, it was only when I had to get up off the floor (where I sat doing the pulldowns) that caused further sharp intakes of air and garp noises. Not bad!

I managed to get through the program AND do the abripper X, although I couldn't do all of the exercises due to the back. The rest of the day I still had discomfort, and couldn't inhale deeply, but it wasn't worse than it was.

That night I was about to get into bed when I did a big arms in the air stretch and heard 'POP!' The pop noise came from the vicinity of my ribs and spine. I kind of stood there for a bit with my arms in the air afraid to take them down. Finally I did. Huh. What's this? I can move more. I can twist without making 'garp' noises! Cool!

So who knows what was going on back there, but all seems well now. Thankfully.

The next day I got through the Plyometrics DVD. I'm not a very bouncy gal I have come to realize. In fact, the term 'white girls can't jump' is really all about me. I did try my best though and my legs were burning so I had to have been doing something right. Later on in the day I started to feel Mondays workout and the mornings workout as well. It was all good though.

Today my alarm went off signalling me it was time to P90X. I was kind of sleepy though so in the name of balance and making sure all systems get equal time - I decided to skip the workout and sleep for another hour. What the heck!

I think I can really get used to not having any race plans or schedules this year! Aaaaaaah.

Peace out my lovely friends!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Lynn Canyon...

"The person who lives life fully, glowing with life's energy, is the person who lives a successful life." -Daisaku Ikeda

The day after my little skate ski adventure I could feel all that I had done to my muscles. Come to think of it, make that the evening of my skate ski adventure I could feel it...

I was out with some friends enjoying a feast of sushi - no surprise there! After the allotted two hour limit of staying there, we were kindly asked to pay up. (Fear not, we made the most of the all you can eat in 2 hours guidelines!!) After dinner I tried to stand and realized this activity was going to be a) a challenge and 2) painful. And it wasn't because I ate my weight in sushi either! I was actually walking worse than my friend John, who was there and who was recovering from knee surgery! I even let him go down the stairs, to get out of the restaurant first as I figured I'd hold him up. Sheesh.

It was very apparant that my muscles were not used to doing activities like P90X or skate skiing. How terribly sad!

So when I woke up and realized there was the distinct possibility I'd need someone to help me out of bed, I decided I needed to do something to get my legs moving and hopefully flushing out some of the guck that was causing the pain. What better activity than walking!

At that point crawling was more what I wanted to do, but the challenge of walking beckoned so I asked my Moeder (mom) if she wanted to accompany me to Lynn Canyon.

I have been wanting to go to Lynn Canyon for the longest time. Even in the summer when I was out visiting. Don't know why - was just being pulled there - so I had to go. Unfortunately I never made it out, till now.

My Moeder took me to this area when I was a wee one. First you cross a suspension bridge - which has always been a bit of a nemesis to me. Then there are trails you can take that either bring you to some falls if you turn right, or a pool of glacier water if you turn left. When I was a kid we'd head to the glacier pool for a dip when it was hot out. One only really needed to dip a toe in to be refreshed because the water was that cold! It was also the most beautiful green colour and crystal clear.

Today we wouldn't be swimming in the pool, but walking to it under the protection of trees that stood as tall as the eye could see. If there was any question about the Lower Mainland of BC being a rain forest - one only needed to visit this area to realize it was true. Everything is green, green, green. I LOVE IT!

I managed to make it over the suspension bridge quite well. My technique is to look down at the bridge deck and not anywhere that I can see how high up we were and how much it would hurt to fall on the rocks and river below. Eeep. Luckily there was no one jumping up and down to make the bridge do a Galloping Gerdy move. I would have had to plow past them!

It actually didn't take to long to trek to the pool of water where the cliffs are. I spent most of the walk chatting with Moeder and taking deep breaths because it smelt so wonderful in there. I looked up at where people used to cliff jump, but it's grown over now. So I'm not sure if anyone still does that. It's rather tricky as there is a heck of a current that will pull you under, not to mention several rocks jutting out at rather inconvenient locations. Needless to say, there have been a few to lose their lives while trying to gain a spot in the Darwin awards.

After milling about there for a bit, I decided we should hike up the stairs nearby and see what's there. The stairs weren't installed when I was a kid, but I guess they wanted to make sure people stayed on one path rather than plodding along willy nilly. Not to mention it's rather steep so the stairs are quite handy.

After taking the first few steps I realized this might not be the best idea as my legs were complaining. As always, I ignored their complaints and kept going up, and up, and up. Not sure how many steps there were in this set of stairs, but I counted the second set, which were shorter, and there were 80 steps. So I figured we climbed at least 180 steps. Not too shabby I think!

There was more wilderness at the top that we walked through. We weren't really sure where we were going but managed to find our way back down to the bridge on a loop trail. No stairs on the way down either. Just before the entrance to the bridge we saw a wee doggie (with a very attractive raincoat, I might add) making a break for it - AWAY from the bridge. Seems I'm not the only one with a bit of trepidation! They finally got the little dog on the bridge and he and I pretty much raced along side each other to get to the other side. Thing is I didn't have a leash on me holding me back so I was able to beat him. Suckah!

After our walk we headed to a new little cafe they have in the park area. There is also an ecological building and learning centre too. I figured we deserved to have a treat so we got two hot cocoa's with chocolate drizzle and mini marshmellows. Very yummy. A good thing they were so good as the two of them cost a total of $9. I managed not to say 'Seriously???' to the young girl who robbed me. I mean, took my money.

My legs felt a bit better after the walk. The main point though was I had a great day with me Moeder and loved every minute of walking in the woods.

Some of the day in photos...

Photo 1: The Bridge...yipes....

Photos 2, 3 and 4: Everything is so GREEN!

Photo 5: Me Moeder with her fuzzy ear muffs!

Photo 6: A snippet of the river that runs through here.

Photos 7 and 8: The pool...check out the colour of that water!

Photo 9: This was the short section of stairs...

Photo 10: Looking down...gulp!

Photo 10: The reward! Yum.

Peace out my wonderful friends!