Sunday, March 25, 2012


In Celebration of the official first day of spring, that happened 5 days ago, I present to you a time-lapse video of flowers blooming.  I really like how some go super fast, and some are slower.  And how they all go with the catchy background music.  It just makes you feel good.

Couple of big things going on.

#1: it has been BEAUTIFUL in Montreal this last week.  We had a couple days of 20+ weather.  All the snow has melted, and little sprouts are coming out of the ground.  the most disapointing thing, though, is that i only have winter shoes.  and my toes want to be free.  yet, they can't be, because my sandals are in vancouver.  I think that makes a big difference in training, because you just want to be outside.  Despite the HUGE amount of school work that is happening right now, I was able to get a quality 14 hour week in.  but, it has now returned to the seasonal norms, which means: training goes back inside, and toes are not as jealous anymore.

#2: I am going to new york city this week!
I Will be heading out on wednesday night, and back to Montreal on next monday.  at least 2 full days in NYC, and maybe even a little weekend roadtrip to WV/VA/DC.  yet to be determined, but, it will be great to see the city, and hopefully some of my old WVU friends.  oh how I miss them.  It might even include watching a boat race.  can we talk about nostalgia?  its not all fun, but the excuse is that it is for school.  I will be presenting my manuscript on North South Institutional Graduate Nurse Education Partnerships for at an Education Conference at NYU : "Advancing Education in Austere times."  Pretty excited to be presenting at my first conference.  And, I have some pretty smashing clothes to be presenting in.

#3: NOLA 70.3 is a mere 4 weeks away. 
not much to be said about that, other than the overwhelming amount of work to be done between now and then.  Mostly school work.  but also quality training work.  that being said: I am feeling good.  I am hitting my long workouts effectively and efficiently.  it especially feels as if my running has been improving a lot.  and, that makes me happy.  so, we'll see.  I have a big goal for NOLA, but, it has been such a hectic january to now, that i honestly have NO idea if it is a feasible goal.  I've only been outside on my bike 2x as well, so far this year (THIS WEEK!  well, thanks, weather!)   which makes me a little "errrrrr...."

That is about it for now.  because i have to do some of that said work.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

roweramo's photostream

Always nice to include a little bit of photography love. Some of the recent photos from roweramo's photostream on Flickr.  Just cause it is occasionally changing, and always filled with love.

Cafe KubalHolding handsWindows in a windowNoah CovertNkhota Kota MoonriseCraft Coffee House
Great Rift ValleyDavid Gordon Memorial Hospital Nyika PlateauPark wardenNyika Plateau CampsiteUp the ridgeline
Children of the coffee fieldsManchewe WaterfallSmiling boysWatch where you stepBoys at Manchewe WaterfallSignpost
Boys and birdClocktowerGiraffesZebrasCook PotsWorkshop paints

Monday, March 19, 2012

Things in the near future!

Things are certainly busy these days.

But, thus is life for a graduate in the last month (yep. last month.) of a degree.

Papers are being written and revised again and again and again.
Literature is being searched.
Assignments for the class i am TAing are being graded.
training is putting along (hitting about 13.5 hrs on my biggest week thus far).

I leave Montreal on the 18th of April to race in New Orleans on the 22nd of April and then go back to live in Vancouver.
Those dates are really soon.

But, with all that is going on, there is something about st paddy's day that causes a social obligation to engage in shenanigans and tomfoolery.  I finished an epic 3hr and 40 minute triple brick on saturday morning, only to meet a classmate on my way out of the gym.  Apparently, we were meeting at 2pm to start celebrating this made-up holiday.

2pm?!?!?  really? ugh.  ok, fine.  BUT my social obligations do not require me to stay all night long, FYI. So, some pictures of the tomfoolery with the lovely ladies of the graduate nursing program at McGill are included.  Aren't these girls beautiful!?  I am so proud to be graduating with them on June 5th!  When all you do is spend every day writing papers for 11hrs a day... you gotta give yourself time to go out into the sun with friends, and have a beer or two.  But, one thing that is annoying, is how much garbage is on the streets after all the partying this weekend!!!  so disgusting.  this city looks like a garbage dump along st. Catherine street!

Also, to be mentioned.  the weather in montreal right now is outrageous.  Like summer-time outrage.  Sunny and dry and 18-22 degrees (Celsius, people...)  I was sad on sunday that I have no sandals here to allow my toes to breathe.  But, if that is all I can complain about these days (oh right.  i can complain about my school work as well), life is very very good.

And, also, the roommates.  this girls are fab to.  They are dressed far to warmly for the temperature outside this night.  but, I don't judge, cause they look cute on the stairs.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tipperary Hill Shamrock run

This weekend, I made a nice little "annual" roadtrip down to syracuse NY with my friend Annie to go and visit our friend and coach Kelly Covert.  

the excuse to visit was the annual Tipperary Hill Shamrock run.  Of course, it is a mostly fun, somewhat serious, significantly hilly (i saw a shirt that said "any hill that has its own name is going to be a push."), 4-mile (6.5 km) race.  Having had a recovery week this week, I was feeling good.  It was snowy (worried about ice!) and cold.  but super fun.

It wasn't the fastest I have ever run (31:35), but it was the highest placing ("percentage wise") that I have ever gotten in running.  I placed 15th of 303 (top 4.9%) in my age group, and 87/1680 (top 5.1%) in females.  so, not so shabby.

but, since i am overwhelmed with work, it was a short race, and i have not much else to say other than it was a great weekend, here are some photos.  back to the stressful life of a graduate student (ARGH!)
Nothing like cute kids holding hands in the snow

Nothing like a cute Noah Covert.

Great friends to spend the weekend with!  Such a wonderful family.

All Smiles before the race:  Kelly Jepsen Covert, Annie Lampron, Amelia Payne 
i have nothing to say.  these are legs.  and lots of green.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Personal change initiative

it is pretty rare that you want to post a school assignment on your blog.  However, I thought this was pretty applicable.  I am taking a "professional issues in nursing" class, in which we are examining everything from leadership, to power differentials, to unions, to.... you name it, it's there.  At the start of the semester, we were coming up with the class outline, and one of the aspects that we added to the class outline was a personal change initiative.

it is not a "super serious" assignment, but one which is good to reflect on.   I always laugh about the aspect of "reflective practice" that occurs in nursing.  just sit, and think about what you did, and what could've been different.  :) anyway, this is how the assignment was described: "Leaders must embrace change and model change in order to encourage others to do so.  Learners will submit a 3-page, double spaced, 12 font description of a personal change initiative undertaken during the semester on March 30, 2012. Value of this assignment is 5%."  

so, since I didn't come up with new years resolutions this year, I present you with my "personal change initiative" assignment...

Since arriving back from Malawi, and settling into my life again as a student in Montreal, I have experienced an absolute growing together of both academics, and personal life.  In many ways, being in a southern country allows you to realize many of the things that you appreciate about your own life, which you do not think about on a day-to-day basis while in your home environment.  Academically, I am in a stage of transition: papers are being written, classes are coming together to build off each other and other concepts that have been learnt over the past three years, and my nine and a half stint as a student is coming to an end.  Finally, this year includes moving back to Vancouver, finding employment, and getting married.  Needless to say, it is a year filled with transitions, new situations to anticipate, and experiences to learn from and build upon.   With all these things coming together, I have a sense of anticipation that is brewing in me, and also a sense that it is a good time to be able to put effort on some of the areas in my life which need improvement, or change.
The first area that I want to work on is “quieting” myself.  In Malawi, there is a lot of time to do “nothing.”  To sit and observe the world going by, to take time and talk with strangers, to read in a chair, to journal, to walk slowly back from school or work.  There are a lot of times that force extroverts like myself to self-reflect and “be still.”  Upon returning to Canada, this was one of the areas in which I struggled the most.  My schedule was so jammed with “things to do” that I felt as if I was rushing from one thing to another, never having enough time to fit everything in.  Not that I was doing things that I don’t enjoy, or are not beneficial, but trying to do too many of those things.  Forgetting to take the time and focus on my personal life, and the environment around me.  I have known for a long time that I try to take on a lot (or, too many) different tasks; as a result, I often overstretch myself. 
The first area of personal growth this year, is to purposely give myself time each day (at least 30 minutes) of being quiet:  to unplug from electronics and conversation, but to engage in self-examination, and plug into the environment around me.  Part of this desire has rooted from reading “Ordering your private world,” (MacDonald, 2003), in which the premise is that if an individual’s “private world” is in order, it will be because the inner (spiritual) world is able to govern the outer world of activity.  In my personal life, I think it fosters the ability to live life from the “inside out,” allowing engaging the inner accomplishments that are necessary for public effectiveness.  I tend to suspect that the more my “private world” is in order, the more I will be able to effectively manage my public life and the occupations that I engage in (whether those be school, employment, sport, or relationship). 
The second area of personal growth that I am attempting to engage this year, is listening more, and being more direct with my use of anecdotal comparisons (i.e. story telling).  In both academic writing, as well as inter-personal conversations, I have had a consistent emphasis this year on how much can be said while using fewer words.  Marshall (2011) stated that active listening is useful in such things as effective communication (pp. 107), dealing with conflict (pp. 111), showing presence in leadership (pg. 31), taking courage in visionary leadership (pp. 36), and motivating others (pp. 118). I want to use the skills that I have strengthened through this program to be able to listen more effectively to what people are saying, and use my love of stories as short anecdotes to build relationship. Listening not only includes being able to “help” or “lead” other people, but in seeking my own mentorship and guidance. 
Finally, the last thing that I want to engage in more is reading outside of my discipline and reading works of “current great minds” (Marshall, 2011, pp. 64, 93).  Despite the difficulty of doing this during school, I believe that reading outside of our discipline allows us to a) foster entrepreneurial thinking and habits, b) engage in productive and open discussions with individuals of other fields, b) expand our world views, strengthening our ability to collaborate and have a broader understanding of other areas of knowledge.  Adding extra things to schedules that seem to have a less direct impact on our current engagements may be easily dropped; because of this, I tend to think that extra reading does not necessarily need to be “a lot,” but a little, frequently.  Definitely upon graduation, I hope to be able to give myself time to read more.
As I was writing this, I was able to reflect upon how picking aspects in my own life that need to be “changed” is very goal orientated, and could possibly add extra (un-needed) stress.  Essentially, adding different things into my life, when really I want to do is be able to simplify.  However, when I think about these three things, they are areas in which I can add, that should ultimately simplify everything else in life.  Being a goal oriented individual, I believe that I give myself small, and large goals to obtain.  It is my hope that in adding these three different things into my life, I will be able to move one step closer to achieving my ultimate goal in life of better serving and helping other people.

MacDonald, G. (2003).  Ordering your private world.  Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers. 
Marshall, E.S. (2011). Transformational leadership in Nursing.  New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

11 things

My Friend Kelly at  recently tagged me in "11 things."  and, in the spirit of procrastination, as well as the spirit of "i have not blogged in a while," I decided to do this today!

1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people! 

11 Random Things about me:

  1. When driving a standard, I avoid driving east on King Edward, in Vancouver, purely because of the risk of having to stop at a red light on the hill leading up to fraser street.
  2. i eat 2 eggs almost every single day.
  3. i love to do my long run on sunday nights... it is a good way to end the weekend, start a new week, and it almost feels like the morning, because there is no one out.
  4. every single merino wool shirt that i own (4 of them) is a shade of light blue.  
  5. I met one of my closest friends in life, in an online forum.
  6. i like looking for "the strange in the regular, and the regular in the strange." 
  7. i'll get all of 37.38$ on my federal tax return this year.  awesome. 
  8. I have a deep love for a deep shade of pink/fushia
  9. I have never lived alone.  I went from my family, to a boarding school, to university dorms, to roommates, to (soon to be) spouse.  
  10. Despite being a strong extrovert, i love and need quiet, alone time on a regular basis.
  11. I kinda wish that my life could feasibly include working at a summer camp in the mountains every year.  
Answer the questions set for you in their post
  1. What is the thing in your life you are most proud of?  I would have to say that I am really proud of being able to admit that I didn't actually what to pursue a medical degree, and I am so much happier with pursuing nursing.  
  2. What is your biggest regret? I try not to live with regrets... but, I have to admit that I could probably be a better sister to my own sister.  
  3. If you had to eat just one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Berries.  all types of berries.  except for maraschino cherries.
  4. Do you give up things for Lent? If so, what are you giving up this year and why? yes, absolutely.  It is my favourite season in the christian year.  This year, I am giving up facebook, and taking on a 30 minute of "quietness" per day... which is difficult to do.  
  5. What is your perfect evening? could include something like a delicious dinner out with wine, dancing in the street, an outside hottub, and then a snuggle under a blanket.  this should be done in the company of at least one other person, but could also include up to 3 other people.  
  6. Do you have siblings? If so, do you buy into the whole birth order thing? yes, two of them (both older than me).  I have not looked much into the birth order thing, but (like almost everything), I tend to suspect that there is some realm of truth to it.  
  7. What is your favorite thing to cook? I love cooking vegetarian meals for non-vegetarians.
  8. In what kind of social situation do you feel most comfortable?  ones in which an activity is involved, such as a sport, a boardgame, a food gathering, etc. 
  9. In what kind of social situation do you feel most awkward? spontaneous gatherings of the complete Payne family. 
  10. If you could go back to college, would you? HA!  i've never left college. 
  11. What quality do you possess that makes you a good friend? i like to think despite being somewhat "picky" in my friendships, that I have the quality to maintain friendships over time and distance.  which makes the majority of my friendships lifetime friends.
Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer:
  1. Fill in the blank:  I would rather be_______
  2. Would you rather be attacked by two full grown lions, or 70 house cats?
  3. What is the best holiday you have taken in your life?  Who was it with?
  4. how old were you when you first really kissed someone? (i.e. not your mum or dad) who was it with?
  5. Do you find emotional satisfaction in your employment?  or, is work just work?
  6. If you could live in another other country other than the one you do, where would that be?
  7. what is the most memorable music album that someone has recommended, given, or bought for you?
  8. How do you feel about television?  is that different from movies?
  9. if you are an athlete, do you consider yourself an athlete in another sport as well?  (i.e. i now consider myself a triathlete.  but, in many ways, I also consider myself a rower... definitely an ex-rower.  but, despite playing soccer when I was younger, I would not consider myself an ex-soccer player)
  10. you are given a round-the-world ticket, with 5 cities that you can visit, traveling around the world in an eastern direction.  what are those 5 cities? 
  11. what is your favourite charity that you donate to? why?
People I am tagging:
  1. sam at Lost in Alaska
  2. Carole at Maman Carre
  3. Jenny at Jenny and Sean
  4. Bethany at Me and He
  5. Megan at Arresting Developments
  6. Frank at Izzy Ironman
  7. Selena and Terry at Chalk on Blocks
  8. Ruth at myjourneywithlove
  9. Juan at Mistaken for Trees
  10. Julie at Daniels adventures
  11. Bonnie at bonnieupnorth