Monday, July 18, 2016

Head on over to Warm Heart Initiatives

Hi Folks,

I know that there are a few people who are continuing to read this site... And, I appreciate you.  I also appreciate this site, and know that I have been neglecting it. I have thought and drafted a few posts that I will eventually get to, but for now, I want you to head over to Warm Heart Initiatives. 

I'm doing a walking challenge right now, and I would appreciate your support!  I am aiming to walk 500km in 50 days (basically), and raise 1500$.  So far fundraising has been slow, but walking has been awesome.  It is amazing how much you see and how much you think about when you are walking. I live in this incredible spot of the world, which makes walking "easy."  However, doing something consistently day after day is a challenge.  So, please join me in this journey.

Meanwhile... some photos from a weekend camping trip I did up to Joffre lakes with some girls. It was walking, it was just not during my walking challenge!!!


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Living in Squamish

Its pretty hard to believe that I have lived in Squamish for 8 months!  We seem like such new residents, and it is so strange to continually have conversations about "how long have you been here, wow! ok!"  There is no question in my mind that this was a bad decision.  However, lets talk about the good and the bad.

The Good:

  1. Mountains. 
  2. We see lots of animals: bears, salmon, bald eagles, deer, mysterious animals in the forest that you cant see, birds, snakes.
  3.  There is so much to do!  Being outside is Squawesome, and it is so much fun to learn new things.  Mountain biking is great, and challenging. Trail running is way better than road running.  I want to paddle board, I want to get back into camping.
  4. Our neighbourhood is awesome.  Almost like the condo community in Vancouver, but with yards houses.  Good Facebook group, lovely conversations while walking the trails around our house.
  5. Farmers markets, and craft markets.  Such a good, local scene here.
  6. Mountains.
  7. Lots and lots of people our age, with similar interests to us. Everyone has super adorable kids who do awesome active stuff.
  8. The dog has so many great places to explore and sniff and run.  She is basically in doggie heaven. 
  9. Mountains.


The Bad:

  1. There are way too many things to do.  How am I to choose if I have mountain and road biking, swimming, fishing, climbing, paddle boarding, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing!?
  2. We have not found a church:  however, we have heard sermons that deny the resurrection of Christ, believe that the United Nations is representative of "the one world government" and symbolic that the armageddon is coming, or have misogynistic/homophobic tones.  It really makes me uncomfortable and sad.  I miss church and having a good community of Christians to have dialogue with... and, not going to lie, I miss not having to explain my traditional background.
  3. Trying new things is dangerous.  I have rolled my ankle real bad, and it sucks.  Sean has fallen on his bike, and he got hurt.  Having fun outside can be dangerous.
  4. I miss my triathlon team.  Being in a team builds community.   I miss that.  I miss the routine of training with others. I miss seeing people on a regular basis.
  5. it is hard to make appointments.  It basically requires a whole day off work.  And, things are randomly quite spread out. 
  6. Everyone has kids. its hard to hang out. 
  7. The commute: even though it is the most beautiful commute in canada, it still sucks 2-2.5 hours out of your day. 
SO, basically, Squamish is awesome. But, I still don't feel like I/we have built a community though, and I know that we both long for one. Here are a few shots from over the past few months.

pax.





Friday, January 1, 2016

100 awesome items from 2016

1. being told with a great big hug "it's only 2 km.  You will make it, run over that finish line" at IMC
2. Being asked from one portopottie to another: are you OK? At IMC.
3. Trampoline with Swartz kids
4. Cessna plane ride with Zach driving,
5. Buying XC Skis.
6. The lake at Oliver half following a scorching hot day.
7. Buying a mountain bike.
8. Buying a house in Squamish.
9. Obtaining bruises while mountain biking in Squamish.
10. Seeing just how far my dog can run while I am cycling.
11. Watching sean and Sam come off the Alaska ferry.
12. Getting on global news Edmonton during my sister's public inquiry.
13. Having my sisters public inquiry covered in the Edmonton journal, here and here.
14.  Playing ticket to ride with the Greenaway-Robbins.
15. Finally finishing our bible study of the book of Luke... 2.5 yrs after we started!
16. Mandatory hi-fives at Alice lake after an epic training weekend with Jill.
17. Running a st patty's day 5km with sean.
18. Meeting new nursing friends from province wide up in Prince George.
19. The velvet decorations at my host home in Prince George.
20. Getting the middle finger flashed at me at the top of burrard st bridge by Smadar.
21. Going on a tour of brittania mine museum with my dad.
22. The privilege of praying for Kirsten and Elizabeth and the grace that can be provided in devastating times. 
23. Half Nelson.
24. Team Betty designs.
25. Dave watt's magic fingers.
26. Incredible JamJar of the drive lunches.
27. Giving out Narcan kits, so people can save lives.
28. Breakfast wih Donna in Atlanta.
29. Catching up with an old friend in Atlanta.
30. Little five points Halloween parade.
31. Training weekends in Whistler.
32. Canada day swim at sasamat lake.
33. Wine tasting in Napa.
34. Outreach nursing.
35. Madison's graduation.
36. Nighttime Beach running at Hilton head.
37. Fountains in Savannah, Georgia.
38. Watching Trainwreck in whistler.
39. Mad max fury road.
40. Getting a new job.
41. Being a clinical coordinator.
42. Meeting lots of people under five years old.
43. Jill nunns' run at whistler.
44. So long, Stephen Harper.
45. NDP victory in Alberta.
46. Christmas carolling with neighbours in Squamish.
47. Snow at the top of sea to sky gondola.
48. Getting a sewing machine for my birthday.
49. Sewing lessons, particularly button holes and zipper installations.
50. Gingerbread house.
51. New carpets.
52. New bathroom.
53. The sparkling bright courageous encouraging women on #teambetty2015
54. Seeing Raisen stuck in the second floor hallway.
55. Rob and ginenne's wedding.
56. Risha and Wren's wedding.
57. Nicole and Chris' wedding.
58. Jasper national park in August.
59. Watching auntie Maureen dance and blow bubbles at Rob's wedding.
60. Stars and Hey Rosetta.
62. The lion king musical.
63. Ditching TD and moving to Squamish savings credit union.
64. Starting to invest.
65. The Tacoma zoo with my dad.
66. Wednesday night spin classes.
67. Fergies
68. Biting the bullet and registering for the Squamish 50k.
69. Not having cancer.
70. Being mentioned on CBC radio On the Coast.
71. Giraffe at the Atlanta zoo.
72. The great work at the Atlants belt line.
73. Seeing my bestie Christina.
74. Seeing my other besties, Zach and Donna.
75. Rowing reunion.
76. Watching the salmon run up close.
77. Aldea having a baby.
78. Morgantown, WV.
79. Seeing a goofy happy toothless dog at a local park.
80. Home made croissants.
81. Getting a BCP for Christmas.
82. Sean's humour in the last 500meters of the st pat's race.
83. Beer on bike rides.
84. Morning training with Keighty at Tightclub.  The future is tight, indeed!
85. My niece and nephews in Duncan.
86. Clara Hughes' book. 
87. Earnest icecream.
88. Being on LETC board.
89. Resigning from LETC board.
90. Getting a ride to the Pittsburgh airport from K-Shon.
91. Beating the bounds of St James Parish.
92. DNTO live in East Van.
93. Ticket to ride with the Greenaway-Robbins.
94. Thanksgiving dinner in Vancouver with the Birches.
95. Knowing that I live in bear country.
96. Watching my dog trot along in her booties.
97. Back scratches from Sean.
98. Watching Seahawks games in Tacoma.
99. The rare Ilala snuggles.
100. Keeping on with Supporting Malawi & Warm Heart Initiatives.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A little thought to sleep on.

It's the eve of Ironman Canada, and I will close my eyes in 3 minutes.

People keep asking if his is my first ironman.  I did challenge penticton in 2013, so no.  Somehow this feels very different.  I think I have greater expectations.  I've put more forward onto this race.  When I toe the line tomorrow AM with 100 other women in my age group, and far more other competitors, I will just be so thankful and grateful and excited. 

There are going to be a lot of fast women out there.  I am going to do the journey, controlling all that I can, and letting go all that I can't.  I will fill the dark spaces with flowers and rainbows, and high rive as many people a possible.  I will try to dance down the finish chute.

Thank you for doing this journey with me.  For believing in me, for pushing me, for laughing with me.  For not getting annoyed with me and ironman talk. For feeding me lots of food, and forgiving me when I'm too tired.  Thank you for inspiring me with your words and your own training, and your support of one another.  Thank you for leading me, for teaching me and for loving me.

The journey has been going for a long time.  This is where it rolls out, and I am so so so stoked to be on it!



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dear Media in Edmonton:

Hello,  

I am wanting to write about a public inquiry that is happening this week at the Edmonton courts, with the hopes that it might get covered in the news. My sister, Shaunnie Rebecca Payne, passed away in September 2012, while she was under care at Alberta Hospital.

Rebecca was 31 when she passed away, after years going in and out of different facilities.  She was diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder, and had all the difficulties associated with it: couldn't hold down a job, difficult family relationships, housing troubles, substance use, etc. etc.  At any rate, long story short is that she was in Alberta Hospital in intensive care; after having been taken off her medications and started on Clozapine, she passed away suddenly.  On a Friday, she had a physical assessment by an MD, and then she was found dead in her bed on a Sunday morning. The post-mortem indicated that she had a toxic amount of clozapine in her blood. No one knows “why,” and thus, our family called for a public inquiry. 

As someone who works with, and cares a lot for, folks who live with Mental illness and substance use, I am very interested in advocating for better care for this population.  My hope in the inquiry process is that there will be recommendations that will be made, which cannot be ignored.  People should not die while they are in psychiatric intensive care.  I want the public to be made aware, and I don’t want other people to die from the same (possible) mistakes that were made. 

I see media as being a very powerful tool to help with these types of this, hence my reaching out to local media. People with mental illness should be in the hospital to when they need to improve, heal and be kept safe.  Medications provided to any patient should have the keenest of knowledge around them.  Policies surrounding staff competency, staffing levels, and observational rounds should be rigorous and promote safety for clients.  People should not spontaneously die while in a psychiatric ICU.   

My sisters death will hopefully open a door to preventing accidental deaths in controlled psychiatric environments.  No one going forward should die from a toxic level of their anti-psychotic medication in their blood serum. Health care needs to be kept accountable, and this should not be kept quiet. The inquiry is at the courts in Edmonton Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Please feel free to be in touch, my phone number is 778-628-1909, and I am around! (Though, on the road today from Vancouver, so coverage is spotty.)

Cheers, 
Amelia Birch, RN, MSc. 
Sent from some sort of handheld electronic device