Tuesday, December 28, 2010

so very tired, yet so very happy!

there is something about having people you love, meet people that you love. Christmas was amazing, and relaxing, and so lovely. Santa brought me running stuff, and lots of chocolate, and a hand died scarf from Laos. Christmas has brought me laughs and good people and good food. it has brought me a time that i am very happy to be having.

and, yesterday, the holiday brought me back to Whistler-Blackcomb to use up my last day on my "Edge card." I am quite sad that I am not able to be riding more out here, but alas, Quebec calls. And, i can't ride Whistler, if I live in QC. but, I *can* use my card for a discount at tremblant, which is nice. Today was so different than my two days of riding prior to christmas. There has been so much snow in the last few days (200+ cm), and it is those days between christmas and new years where everyone and their grandma decide to come up and ski. The lines going up the gondola were insanity. On whistler it was quite awful, and if it was to stay like that for the full day, I am not sure if even the amazing snow could've made it worth it.

but, over on Blackcomb, the conditions were still great, and the lines were much shorter. As well to say that I was able to meet up with friends at lunch, and ride with them for the afternoon. which was lovely.

and that, brings me onto the main point.

There should have been a good chance that i was going to be staying the whole time in Victoria with the family of the boy that I like. And, that would've been nice. But, long-lost-american-army-best-friend-from-West Virginia University-Days was up in Whistler with his younger bro, and some of his friends. in fact, today is actually his 27th B-Day. Happy Birthday Zachy! So, boy I like and I drove over here yesterday, met them for dinner, and hung out today. And, I LOVE it when people I love, meet people I love.

because there is something about the people who are the closest too you. They are able to tell others a little more about who you are. Because each person might know a little something which is a different part of you. I am not sure if that makes sense. But, people are able to bring out different aspects to personalities, depending on who they are.

SO, all that to be said... I have loved having boy i like meet Zach. And, I have loved having Zach meet boy I like. Now, I don't know what either of them really thinks of the other. and, when it comes down to it, it doesn't really matter. but, it is nice. it brings worlds together. now when I talk about either of them to the other person, they are not a stranger. and, i like that.

but, i am EXHAUSTED from the day of snowboarding, and not getting as much sleep and wanted last night. and my body hurts. the legs and the core. but, that hurt is from powder. so, no complaining here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the night before christmas

And yesterday I didn't write thrive thursday, but, I have been thinking about it. So, Here it goes. But, first, hit the play button on the video to have a christmas song playing while you read!

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, I want to comment on Christmas.

Christmas to me has been a time of year which is generally not very consistent. the only consistency is that I know that I am able to spend time with people that I love. and, to me, that is one of the most important things about this time of year. spending it with people you love. so, let me reflect back on the christmases past:
2010: Victoria with the Birch Family.
2009: Missisauga with the Patterson Family
2008: Road Trip with Anya to Georgia and Florida.
2007: Whistler with Christina, Zach, and Ben
2006: Down to Tacoma with my Dad.
2005: On MercyShips, in Liberia.
2004: Road trip with Christina to the Southern States
2003: this is where i start to forget...

While I don't have much to say about christmas, because we all know what it is about...Christmas is a lot of "do nothing" time. And, it is amazing, because in doing nothing, and being with people you love, you feel like you can actually bask in what life really should be. Relationships, and time just "being." And, we are able to thrive because at times like this, we are able to get down to the roots of who and what we are. We are able to reflect on where we have been, and where we are going. We are able to reflect on faith, and on giving, and on traditions.

oh, and not to mention. we get to eat lots of good food, and drink yummy drinks.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dress Shopping and tragic hoodie loss

So, i understand that i am a bit of a tom-boy. I always have been, and I'm okay with that. But, i am becoming more and more in love with wearing dresses... especially when riding bikes, or running! doing a sport in a dress/skirt makes me feel incredibly feminine and it's fun :)

There are so many dresses out there that suit my personality, and such. but, dress shopping has always been difficult for me. I am not little, I am athletic, and often, I don't have a super great idea of if it actually looks good or not. i have a general idea, but I always appreciate a 2nd opinion. However, today, i decided to take a litt
le stroll up Main Street where there is a lot of great little shops that carry mostly local and mostly sustainable clothing. And, you KNOW how much local and sustainable makes me happy.

which reminds me... this past
weekend snowboarding, i have lost one of my most FAVOURITE articles of clothing (though, I should really call the youth hostel). In 2007, I bought in Tofino a totally unique Hoodie (which you can see in the photo on the left). I
gulped as i paid the 100$+tax, but then i proceeded to wear that hoodie pretty much every day for the next 3.5 years. the huge hood. the fact that it is "one of a kind." the fact that it is purple. and now... gone. SAD DAY. :( pout.

Ok, back to the point. I walked into this store, with the aim of buying a inexpensive, pretty "christmas dress." because, there is something about christmas that screams "buy a dress!" I found two cute ones, and one cute corduroy skirt. Bring them into the change room, and am moderately pleased with the first, except for my armpit fat. so, i put the second on. It is a little tighter, due to the fact that it is strapless. but, whatever, up, over the head, and wiggle my way into it, and straighten the silk underlayer. I realize by this time that it is slightly too small, Mostly due to my outrageously large ex-rower/swimmer/current triathlete shoulders. (if you want huge lats and rhomboids? do the sports I have done. start with swimming at age 6. quit swimming, and row for 8 years. then try to get rid of that muscle with triathlon. it doesn't work.)

very modified story to follow. this entire process was about 20-30mins.

so, fine. nice dress, ask if they have a size larger (XL... really!? i am *not* extra large, TRUST ME.) and, sadly, none. So, i then proceed to try and take this sucker off. i go to pull it down. nada. not fitting over my butt/thighs. i try to pull it up (like, taking off... say, a sweater... "skinning the cat?"). nothing again. wont fit over my back. shit. damn it. how do i get this dress off?

sweat. panic. try again.

"um.... excuse me. (open the curtain slightly, poke my head out.) um, excuse me sir. i have a little bit of a embarrasing situation here." (he looks at me...) "um... yup, so, this dress went on, but, i can't get it off... it just doesn't work. i need help."
"errr. well, i have a girl working at the other store, across the street. maybe i can get her?"
"sure. yup, that would be great" (ARGH! how am i so inept at this to not beable to get a dress off!??!)
man on phone "um, right. so, you have customers. okay, well, we need a girl working over here right now." (me thinking... why is it that the guy is working in the girl's clothing store, and the girl is working in the men's clothing store!?!?) "oh, ok. well. come over as soon as you can."
man to me: "so, she might be a while. she has customers."
me: oh. ok. well, i'll wait.
him "well, i suppose I can go over, and lock you in here, and she and i can switch places. do you mind being locked in the store?"
me: "sigh. no. no problem." (hear him leave, door locks)

wait. wait. door opens.

"oh hi there. sorry about this. it is a little embarrassing."
her: oh, no worries. how did you get it on?
me: over my head. i have no idea how it is not coming off. i don't understand that how i can put something on, and not take it off.

i have to kneel down, since I am 6inches taller than her. arms up, over the head, deep exhale to empty the lungs. pull. budges a little. sweat. makes it more difficult, due to the stickiness of silk. repeat. OH! yes. moves more.. inch by inch. wiggle.

YESSSSS! i am free.

"um yeah. sorry about that. thanks for the help. at least i have a funny story now to tell at christmas."


and yes. i will buy this corduroy skirt. but not that dress. definently not the dress.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

my body hurts...

so, i wish i had a few photos to post from the last two days, because it was fab. as soon as I get my friend to send them my way, you will see the delight.

one of the great things about vancouver is the proximity to the mountains. And really, to me, that is one of the best things about the city... it is just so dang easy to take off to the mountains, for a snowshoe, a snowboard, or just a little hike hike. and, as you know from the large sporting event that recently took place in the city, last feburary, the other close attraction is Whistler-Blackcomb. You may remember that a few years ago, I spent christmas up there with some of the people I love the most in this world. it may actually might have been the best christmas I have ever had. Now, I have not been able to spend much time snowboarding at whistler in my life, just because it is expensive. but, I LOVE snowboarding.

so, friday morning, I hopped on the greyhound and got myself up to the mountain. It was a bright clear, beautiful day. and that is kinda rare on the west coast. So, after stuffing my stuff into a small, expensive locker, I was up for a few warm up runs. I got a text message from my good friend Brian, who was up a day early. We were on the same lift, so I met up with him (and his other friend brian) and rode for the rest of the day. There was not too much new snow, but a good amount of snow anyway. and, it was pure joy.

I stayed the night in the brand new hostelling international youth hostel in the athlete's village, and on saturday, got to the hill a little earlier for a 9:30 start. The weather was definitely not as nice as the day before, but, it was good again. And, it was so great to catch up with Brian about life, and relationships, and laughing, and just chilling. and, man oh man... was it good to feel the core and the burning in my thighs from 2 full days of riding.

top 10 things that I found interesting/thought about while riding over the past 2 days.
  1. i find it funny that when you mention "yeah, I am in nursing" how people (like random dude on chairlift) feels the need to divulge health issues and/or ask medical questions.
  2. it takes me at least a day to find my snowboarding legs.
  3. my triathlon muscles do not translate into snowboarding muscles. and that equates into massive muscle soreness today.
  4. after a day of snowboarding, I have no restraint in what I eat. everything looks amazing. especially beer and potato wedges.
  5. mental note: when riding through trees, do not stick your hands out in front of you to break a fall. you have done that before with a truck, while on a bike. it doesn't work out very well.
  6. it seems that as I am not 12 years old anymore, a helmet seems way more appropriate to allow me to feel safe.
  7. you will DEFINITELY run into someone you know, while at the hill. doesn't matter if there are 1000's of people there, spread over acres of mountain terrain. you will most likely see them on a lift, or in a restaurant at the end of the day.
  8. don't worry about "being that person" who holds the other's up. but, also remember to know your limits. ask what the run will be like before you follow people into the "out of boundary" trees.
  9. don't be disappointed about how much you "don't get to do this." be thankful for the time you do get to spend having loads of fun.
  10. dang. i gotta do this more. this is loads of fun.

oh yes: and this week's numbers...
Swim: 1.5 hrs
bike: 2.1 hrs
run: 2.1hrs
strength: 1hr
snowshoeing: 1hr
snowboarding: 2 days.
total: 7.5hrs + snowboarding!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thrive thursday: Home

This is a on going series that is posted on thursday's, to answer the question: "What helps you to thrive in your environment?" The series is written by myself, and a variety of guest Contributors. This week, I want to comment on how feeling like you are home can make you thrive.

i know, i know. it has been a while. I have been EXCEPTIONALLY busy, as you have probably gathered from my lack of posting. I left Montreal last friday, still with two papers to hand in (for monday). It was kinda nice to be leaving, but sucked knowing that I had to hermit myself until I would be done my papers. I spent saturday-monday at coffee shops full time. from open to close, with a little break for a dinner with friend on saturday, church on sunday. and sleep. of course sleep. I wanted to get off to the mountains on tuesday, but, alas. I was not yet done. At 4 pm on tuesday afternoon, I handed in my last paper for the semester. It was about a "caring theory." it may possibly have been 15 pages filled with nonsense, but it was 15 pages of something. and, with THAT, i am officially 1/2 WAY DONE MY DEGREE! wooooooOOOOOooooooo!

with that celebration done (which, in itself could be a post that makes me feel like I am thriving), i will move on to what is the hot topic of my life these days: being "home."

as you may know, I am a bit of a nomad. I effectively moved away from my family home at age 15. since then, I have never lived more than 4 years in one place. people may see it as unsettled, and sometimes it feels like that. But, i see it as learning opportunities, and chances to meet amazing people, and have incredible adventures, and learn about cultures. but, there is something about home... something that makes me thrive.

it is a long answer when people ask me "where is home?" or "Where are you from?" the second is easier, but answering that question is quite accurate about where i feel at home... cause where I am from does not necessarily feel like home. Nor does montreal feel like home. I know africa feels like a home, but, it is not totally home either; in africa, I will always be an outsider. but here, in western canada, in Vancouver, I feel the more at home than anywhere I have in my life. (and, i am not saying that i am going to 100% settle here. I am just saying that the west coast culture fits with me... it feels like coming home when I am here.)

to me, home is where my people are. home is where I can feel 100% in my own skin, or like I can have some roots set, and or go to a place where i feel like things flow naturally. home, to me, is where you can meet for coffee with friends, and not feel like time has passed. it is where you can stay at a friends, and not feel like you are being a burden. it is where you see places that you can know that your passions can be engaged. it is where you know that no matter how long you go away for, you can come back, knowing that you have a community. you can leave, knowing that when you return, you have comforts. home has a sense of comfort.

and, it is in this christmas season, where I hope that YOU can feel "at home." where ever that is... if home is people, or home is a location. I have had, amazingly, over the past few years many times to feel like I am spending christmas "At home." and, not once, has it been in the same location.

home should help us thrive in our environment. or maybe it is that if you find a place that you feel like you are thriving, maybe you should consider making it your home. either way, to me it seems as if it goes hand in hand. home is settling. home is warm. home should allow you to flourish and prosper and thrive.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

just to keep you reading...

so, i have one more exam tomorrow (STATS... ugh! but, i only have to get 12/100 to pass the course. however, i would like to do better than just pass...) and two more papers due on monday (group research proposal and 15 page "analytical note" for nursing seminar class). I am off to Vancouver on Friday afternoon, which i am so anxious for. I haven't been there for a good period of time since fall 2009, and i miss being there.

I miss running on the sea wall. I miss my friends. i miss the mountains and the ocean. i miss my home church in skid row. I miss my favourite restaurants and coffee shops. i miss the green, and the cherry blossoms in the spring. but, i will get 10 days, and I am very happy about that.

this week, the bible verse that has been circulating my head is "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us." i wonder if that was written for students in exam time. HA! cause it certainly seems applicable.

as you can see, in procrastination this week, I joined twitter. what was i thinking?

this week, Montreal got a HUGE snow storm. the first one of the season. and guess what? i KEPT ON RIDING my bike. it is a winter wonderland. and, riding your bike in this snow is fricken HARD! it makes me feel like I am living on the edge. on the edge of what, i am not quite sure. but, it is hilarious, and it is a really good core workout, because you have to contract your entire core to make sure you do not bite the dust on a corner, or bike into the side of a very slow moving vehicle. and, you have this very strange camaraderie with others who are just as crazy as you. finally, i like walking into snowbanks to dig out a bike rack, then place your bike in the bank to lock it up to the inch of rack that is uncovered, to "ensure security." hilarious.

that is all. back to "studying."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

5km race report and Christmas dinner

So, I ran my icey, and windy 5km this morning.

It was not fast. and, my intestines did not like me eating a bowl of oats and greek yougurt (i didn't have any bagels, which is my regular pre-race breakfast) less than 2 hrs in advance. (this is the second time that eating oats has made me want to chuck while on a run... mental note. no oats pre-run). Anyway, after riding up to the race with my friend Ben (and, i mean UP! the "camillien houde" road up the mountain is rough), we were definitely warmed up.

So, we shuffled ourselves away, in the opposite direction from last year. so, the uphill part of the race (About 3km) was more broken up this year. not sure if i prefer it or not. It was quite icey, since we have not had any real snow yet this year, but plenty of cold rain. stomach was in knots about 3km in. but, stuck at it, and at the turn around, realized i was in #1, but with #2 girl (a former rower of mine) right on my heels. She is 130lbs, so up the final hill she went, leaving me about 100m behind her at the finish. (i laughed becasue i think i should've given her a 45lbs backpack to carry. see how that goes ;)

2nd place finish, in a time of 24:45. which, oddly... is EXACTLY the same time as last year. heh. but, last year, i was about 10th. it is a small race, but any victory feels good, right?

now, it is time to settle in and do some studying, while a turkey is baking. I bought a bird from Jean-Talon Market, St Vincent Meats. I feel fantastic that my bird is organic, and local. but, i do no feel good that i had to cut it in half to be able to afford it. but, really, it's okay, because i love giving food to people, which exactly what this dinner is about. friends, food, and taking a break from the stress.

things i will make for tonight:
Chocolate Nut Treats (the last recipe!)

others will bring: yummy salad, paleo dessert, veggie dish and potentially a hannukah potato latkes.

so, YUM! looking forward to studying with the smells in the background!

Friday, December 3, 2010

:knock knock: can I get my life back?

so, it has been a very stressy and long week. i have been a study hermit.

I have had at least two days where I got back to my house at 2:30 am. and, that always sucks when it was not due to being out with friends.

but, classes are done, and at this time next week, i will be in lovely vancouver. between now and then, i have 3 exams. after those 3 exams, i have 2 papers to finish. so, still lots of work to do, but things are getting picked away at.

tomorrow, i will race a 5km santa shuffle. It is not feeling very christmasy around here. TOday i commuted on my bike, in a skirt. I love riding bikes in dresses, but who would ever think i would be able to do that on the 3rd of december!??! something is not quite right with that.

I have never tapered for a 5km before. but, unintentionally, i have this week. just too much work, that pretty much, i have not exercised for 3.5 days straight. at 1:30 am yesterday, i was also forced to eat vending machine food.

i hate what the end of semesters does to you. but, not going to lie. the work we have done this semester has been rigorous. And, grad studies are meant to be rigorous. they are meant to transform the way you think. and, with exercises like this research methods proposal and presentation, i think it is succeeding in doing that... we are learning, that is for sure.

so, off to studying for a medical-surgery illness management, and research methods finals that will happen on monday! and, on that note, i would like to share with you a facebook event.