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Archive for the ‘miscellaneous’ Category

As you can see I have taken a six-month sabbatical from posting. It has been busy and I have been focusing on my children and new adventures with my family which meant something had to give. I’ve also been thinking a bit about what direction I am taking as a writer and blogger. I figured it was about time I posted an update as well as a little about the changes that are coming.

The children are growing up so fast. My son Tobias is now 16. I am very proud of the young man he has become. Little Kaia will be 7 soon. She has such a kind heart and a big stubborn streak that I think she gets from me her Dad. The time goes by so quickly. My children are part of the reason that I choose to work from home. It’s a luxury and there are sacrifices but it gives me the opportunity to spend more time with them. My Mom was the same. I can’t remember a time where she wasn’t there when I came home from school.

The first change will be in this blog. The plan is to archive Finding My Inner Possible and redirect the domain to where my new WordPress site will live. I’ll keep the archive accessible, of course. Inner Possible started out as a weight loss and fitness journey. While that lifestyle theme is still a big part of my life, there are also many other facets that I want to share with readers. I’ll be self-hosting as well which will give faster load times and even better… no ads! It will cover everything from fitness, camping, and photography to travel, recipes, and knitting. Keep an eye out for an announcement here when the project launches.

I’m not running right now and will need a complete restart. I had an awful winter full of setbacks. Bronchitis. Flu. Pneumonia. Eye infection. Stress. My immunity took a big hit and I gained weight. When I wasn’t sick, I was taking care of someone sick. A few weeks ago, a CT scan revealed bone lesions on my skull. I’m going for a bone scan in just over a week and then I’ll know a bit more about what I am dealing with. Right now I am in “need more information” mode but I’m avoiding Dr. Google and trying to live in the moment until I have some concrete answers. With all that having happened, something had to go on the backburner. It’s all good though. The big thing is that I am not going to beat myself up for any of this. It’s where life is at now is by no means a permanent thing—I’ll be back to running soon enough.

sv azura

As a distraction from the looming unknown, I’ve been writing about our family adventures with a sailboat named Azura. Only our family would purchase a 31-foot yacht without knowing how to sail. Nothing like throwing caution to the wind. I bought sailing lessons for Bryan as a birthday gift and he starts those in a few weeks. Azura was transported during our last snowfall and put in the water a few weeks ago. There were a few hiccups but she’s now at her new home. This weekend I will be sanding and working on the trim. Bryan is rebuilding the hatches, cockpit floor and dorade boxes. Our children are helping but also spending time exploring the parks and trails nearby. On Easter weekend, we had our first meals from the galley. It was quite enjoyable and reminded me of camp cooking in many ways. If you’d like to read more please visit SailingAzura.com.

I’ve been reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s writings. The book I have my nose stuck in right now is called You Are Here. I love the whole concept of being mindful and I’m bringing that into every aspect of my life. I’m also trying to minimize what is in our home. Seriously, I do not need enough camping gear to outfit an entire Scout Troop. The only collection that will remain off limits from being reduced is my yarn stash… there are some things that you just don’t mess with.

Speaking of yarn… knitting has been very therapeutic for me too. I love that it is practical as well as creative. If you are curious about what I’ve had on the needles feel free to browse my ravelry page.

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I’ve been away from the blog for a while as you’ve likely noticed and for good reason. I’ve been happily busying myself with other projects.

I’m still working on that third book but it will go into the publisher before the end of April. I’m excited to be nearing the finish line with the book and moving onto the next book project. I have two different books in mind so when this current manuscript goes to print I’ll need to narrow down which proposal to submit first.

Bryan has been travelling a great deal for work which is nothing new. The abundance of travel leaves me handling most of the household and school related parent responsibilities. Most of what I do is the same from week to week… making lunches, cooking dinners, walking my wee one to school, laundry, dishes, housework and such.

There were a few other things too.

I had the two wisdom teeth on the left side removed. Ouch. Things weren’t so bad until the freezing came out. I took it easy for a week and immersed myself in starting to read the Outlander series. I missed the gym and running but sometimes a rest is good for the body and the mind.

A few weeks ago Brantford saw record breaking low temperatures which resulted in a drain freezing as well as a big mess in the basement of our 1870’s home. Last week there was yet another substantial puddle which turned out to be a washer hose. Then, because Mom always said things happen in threes, there was one more bit of mysterious water on the basement floor. After days of trial and error we realized that the gasket in the drain of the soaker tub needs replaced. Home ownership is always an adventure especially when it is a Victorian gem.

I’ve been preoccupied with another hobby. Knitting. Friends who’ve known me since my school days know how I loathed knitting. In fact, I coerced my mother into doing my knitting project for my Grade 8 Family Studies class. Funny that knitting was right up there with running… things you would never catch me doing. Truth be known, I’m enjoying it immensely, so much so that I’ve even collected a stash of gorgeous yarns and queued dozens of projects on a web resource named Ravelry. So far I’ve made scarves for the kids and cowls for a few of my friends. A couple weeks ago I found out that a dear friend is expecting so I’m also knitting a baby blanket or three. I’m almost halfway through the first pattern. Next up… a poncho for my little girl, some yoga socks, a lace shawl for a very special woman, and more baby things.

Other than that, I’ve been procrastibaking. This is the act of baking when you really should be doing something more constructive. I could blame my pregnant friend who has cravings for baked goods, or I could blame the chilly clime and below seasonal deep freeze, but the truth is simply that I wanted to avoid folding another basket of laundry. The kids and Bryan have been really enjoying my being in this domestic diva sort of mood.

What else? Ah yes, I’ve been trying to cut back on coffee and with that in mind drinking lovely teas from a local tea shop called Sandalwood Teas. Right now I can’t decide which I like better… Lemon Cream or Hibiscus.

So that’s the update. Tomorrow I’ll post something related to my journey—a bit about why I started re-evaluating relationships.

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I want to share something with you this morning… the story of one of the truest and most meaningful friendships I have ever had.

If I had a time machine I would take you back to 1990. I was just coming out of a very abusive relationship. I was in university and I needed employment desperately. There was an advertisement in the local paper for a management position at a local brass bed and décor shop. This would be a short-term position while the manager was off for sick leave. I applied and was hired.

Enter Sandi. She was the manager who I would be filling in for. I was in my very early twenties and I was told she was in her thirties. She wasn’t. That always makes me smile because we are close to the same age, I was just really gullible back in the day. Sandi went off on leave and when she returned I was kept on as a salesperson. It was a crappy job but I had an apartment and tuition to pay for. Sandi and I started to do things outside of work.

Sandi was different than any of the friends I had ever had before. She was a little lot wilder and had this fun way of just embracing life. I was extremely shy and for the most part, a goody two shoes. I also embarrassed easily. One day I came into work late. I had been having an awful time dealing with the police charging my ex for assaulting me and whatnot. The mall where the store was had fines if you didn’t open shop on time. Great. Just add that to an already wonderful week. I came in and flipped on the power and at that moment I almost peed my pants. You see, Sandi had rigged the cassette player to come on full blast playing I Feel Good by James Brown. Once my heart rate returned to normal I had a really great laugh—you know the kind of laugh that brings you to uncontrollable tears. Best. Medicine. Ever. In some ways this epitomizes how her friendship makes me feel.

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t always been rosy between us and there were times where we both felt the need to get some space for whatever reason. We always found our way back and our friendship has grown beyond that. Even though we had times where we drifted we always managed to be there for one another when chips were down. Sandi, and her husband Phil were there for us when our home burned to the ground in the spring of 2001… without hesitation. They took us in for pretty much the remainder of that year and it wasn’t easy for them. Imagine two couples, two big dogs and three cats in a two-bedroom town-house. It was nuts. In 2013 they were dealing with the biggest battle of their lives when their son Tyrel needed a kidney transplant. It was our turn to be there for them in whatever way we could be.

I think I can safely say that both Sandi and I are looking forward to some more quiet moments in our friendship. Now that it has been six months since Tyrel got his new kidney we are doing some other things. Sandi started running recently because she wants to participate in the Waterloo Transplant Trot as a way of giving back. I will be there right by her side every step of the way because I know this cause means the world to her. She’s training hard and to say she inspires me would be an understatement. Our sons, Tyrel and Tobias, are going to hangout and walk the course together too. It will be such a fun day with so many of our friends coming out to lend support. It will be great reuniting with people that I haven’t seen in quite a few years.

Sandi possesses everything I cherish in a friend. She has a huge heart and she knows how to be honest while kind at the same time. She’s loyal but will stand her ground if she needs to. She has this way of making me crack a smile even in the worst of situations and she always has my back. Sandi is the friend that will tell me I look absolutely horrendous if I try on something that does not suit me. We’ve laughed together and cried together . We’ve also shared some pretty deep, dark secrets and have enough dirt on each other to grow quite the garden… lol.

24 years. It seems like just yesterday I was standing next to the electrical panel in the back room of the décor store laughing hysterically at her little prank. That was the start of something really special.

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Today Bell Canada is hosting Let’s Talk and it is described as “a wide-reaching, multi-year program designed to break the silence around mental illness and support mental health all across Canada.

So let’s talk…

My foray into mental illness started after our home burned to the ground in June 2001. We had been sleeping when the fire started and I woke up, for a reason I will never know, before the flames touched the second storey apartment we were living in. No one was hurt and for seven months we lived with some incredible people as we put our lives back together. When the house was rebuilt we moved back in. That’s when it all hit the fan.

The nightmares were incredible and seemed so real. I would wake my husband Bryan up and make him check the entire house. This happened several times a week. My landlady, who lived downstairs, would burn something on the stove and I would go into full-fledged panic mode. I’d run down the stairs and my heart would be beating so fast that it felt like it was going to leap right out of my chest. If someone had a fire in their fireplace or a campfire in the backyard, I would check all over the house to make sure it wasn’t our home. No more candles. No more incense. I would see a photo of a fire, even if it wasn’t one of our home, and I would start to smell the burning. Suddenly it would be hard to breath. I would sweat and feel like I was going to vomit. I was in a constant state of red-alert and the anxiety levels were high. We would come home from shopping and I would almost hold my breath as we came up the highway towards the house because I kept expecting to see it on fire again. I lost interest in hobbies, in friends, and life in general. I stayed up almost all night and half the time slept on the couch. My marriage was teetering on the edge and I was hiding from the world.

About a year and a half after the fire there was a day I felt so low that I just wanted to walk away from my life, in Christopher McCandless fashion, and never look back. I almost did. It was in that moment that I knew I had reached rock bottom and that I needed support. I talked with the one person who has always been my best friend, my husband. I started with acknowledging that I was not okay. Bryan helped me pick up my life and move forward in a very gentle way and thankfully it worked.

We walked and talked. We backpacked and went on long multi-day canoe trips. He listened whenever I needed him to. I decided to do some volunteer work and fundraising. I forced myself to get back into photography and started shooting weddings again. I made an effort to climb into bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. I started eating healthier. It helped tremendously and I was reconnecting with my life but I was still struggling. I surrounded myself with positive people. I clung to each moment of happiness like it would slip through my fingers. Finally I reached a point where joy was in the forefront and I started to feel whole again.

For a while I thought that what I was suffering with was a normal response to our lives being turned upside down but as time progressed I realized it was much deeper than that. In hindsight, I now know that I was likely dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something which I only thought happened to people who went to war.

I’m sharing my story today so that I can help break the stigmas surrounding mental illness… so that if you find yourself mired in the depths of something like depression or PTSD, that you know you are not alone.

There is a song that resonates with me although I am not sure the writer meant it in quite the way I interpret it.

Don’t lose who you are in the blur of the stars!
Seeing is deceiving, dreaming is believing,
It’s okay not to be okay…

Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart.
Tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising,
Just be true to who you are!

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I’m taking a small break from running and some of my other fitness activities because I managed to inadvertently  injure myself. I am notorious for being a bit of a klutz and it always seems to be the left foot that is the problem. During training for my first half marathon I dropped a cutting board on my left foot. I twisted my ankle on our bike trip through the Laurentiens this past summer. Then a few weeks ago I strained the ankle at a trail running event. That’s not what has me on the injured list though.

A few weeks ago I decided to purchase some new five pound hand weights. I used them on Saturday morning and then sat them beside my big oak desk with the intent of putting them away. Later in the day I saw that my three year old daughter Kaia was about to do something that would cause her to get hurt so I leapt out of my chair and slammed my left foot directly into one of the weights. I held back the expletives that were about to roll off the tip of my tongue. I continued on and took care of the issue with Little Miss Chevious. Then I finally looked down at my foot.

What I saw reminded me of Spock doing the Vulcan V thing with his hand. The toe next to my big toe was in its normal position but the middle toe was leaning drastically towards the outside of my foot. Crap! I taped the middle toe to another toe and hobbled around for the remainder of the afternoon.  By evening my foot started to turn all kinds of funky shades of blue and purple. The throbbing was intense and with that I decided to go to the emergency ward. I tucked Kaia safely in her bed. My friend Laurie came over to keep an eye on the kids and my friend Carla dropped me off at the hospital. I knew that there wasn’t much that could be done but I am also diabetic and I needed the piece of mind that there wasn’t going to be an issue where I could possibly have an infection.

A few hours later the doctor sent me for an x-ray and confirmed what I had feared. I had a pretty good lateral fracture in the middle toe and a tiny fracture in the toe next to my big toe. He re-taped them and told me that I may not be able to run for as long as 8 to 10 weeks. After speaking with many runners and my own doctor it seems 4 to 5 weeks is a more realistic timeline. Phew! Good thing because the thought of not running for 10 weeks makes me shudder. Go figure… me; the same person who hated anything physical is now totally ticked about not being able to put on shoes on and go for a run. Not to mention that I have a slew of races coming up in the New Year including my second half-marathon in early March.

It has been almost a week and the toes are finally starting to feel better. Today I could get a shoe on for the first time since I did this to myself. Who knows, maybe the break is a good thing (I mean the time off and not the toes). I will certainly be thankful when I can run again. I figure sometimes things happen in life to remind us of what brings us joy and to help us appreciate that more.

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It seems like I haven’t posted in quite some time, much to my surprise. I didn’t realize that it had been so long but I have had an adventurous summer and time to blog has been scarce. So many things have happened since July 16th and here is a little bit about what I’ve been doing with myself…

The Family Adventure

chutes aux iroquois - Labelle, QC

chutes aux iroquois – Labelle, QC

In mid-August, my husband Bryan, the kids, and I embarked on a cycling adventure in the Laurentiens with our dear friend Mandi. We biked with gear trailers from campground to campground. Well, I had my daughter in a child trailer behind me but everyone else towed gear. Around the 120K mark, after two days of cycling in a lot of rain, we decided to switch things up and we camped next to a gorgeous waterfall for the remainder of the trip. Mandi left on schedule via a shuttle back to the start of the trail. Bryan went back to the start with her and then returned to the campground with our Jeep.  We even played on the beach at Chutes aux Iroquois.

The trip was beautiful, despite the rain and we will return to explore the region a little more next year.  I have fond memories of peddling past Mont Tremblant in the downpour and riding along Lac Mercier.  There was one spot, past Tremblant, where there were horses in a field which was dotted with big hay bales. The hills were in the background and the mist was dancing near their rounded tops. It was almost magical in some strange way. If it hadn’t been so rainy I would have loved to have taken some photos. We had some delicious meals at little bistros along the trail. In all, our Quebec adventure was a wonderful one and although it didn’t turn out quite the we had anticipated, we learned a few lessons that will be applied to future bike-packing excursions.

Giving Back

Team Tyrel

Team Tyrel

Bryan and I have friends, Sandi and Phil, who have helped us through so many difficult times including our house fire. I’ve been friends with Sandi for a very long time—since my days at university and before I even met Bryan. Sandi and I have been there for each other over the years but this has been the toughest thing Phil and her have had to deal with. You see, their 13-year old little boy, Tyrel, was in renal failure. This required hemodialysis 3 times a week and being put on a transplant list. He wasn’t on that list long and the transplant happened shortly after we returned from camping in Quebec.  Everything transpired very quickly. Sadly, even though much of the expense is covered in Ontario, there are some things that aren’t and it is starting to mount for the family. These include loss of work, transportation, fuel, modifications to the home and such. Once he is home there are medications that aren’t covered by the family’s prescription benefits. I don’t have the means to help as much as I is needed and I felt helpless. However…

There were a few things I could do. I could be a friend and offer emotional support but I wanted to do more than that. I thought about how I could raise money in a way that people could afford and that would make it interesting for Tyrel—something that could make him smile. Thanks to some inspiration from a fellow runner named Laura Ingalls, who is founder of the Happy Races, I came up with a great idea to host a virtual 5K run/walk!! With Laura’s help I made our event a reality and now runners and walkers all over the globe are helping out. You can find out more at www.racemenu.com/teamtyrel and if you could sign up, that would be great! It’s fun for Tyrel and his family to see runners, from countries around the world, sending in their photos.

Health

In August I went back to the cardiologist, Dr. J., for another set of tests including an echocardiogram. In February 2012 I was diagnosed with LVH or Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (enlargement of the left side of the heart). That has been reversed and the mild aortic stenosis I’ve been dealing with is vastly improved. This just shows the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle. In the words of Dr. J., “Laurie, I’m pleased to tell you that your heart is very happy!” He gave me the go ahead to train for a full-marathon or any other distance as long as I keep it under 50K. Yay!

Training & Fitness

While I’ve kept my fitness up, I haven’t been training as hard as I probably needed to. That’s okay; I’m on track for my next race that takes place later this month. It’s the 10K ZooRun in Toronto and I’m participating with friends so it will be great fun. In October I’m also running in a 50K relay named Run for the Toad, the 5K Colours of Hope, and finally 5K at Horror Hill. That will be it for races until the New Year. I think.

Last year at this time I was extremely excited because I was anticipating training for my first half marathon. I’m going to run the same half marathon in 2014 but my big goal race for next year is the Sulphur Springs 25K trail run. I loved running in that area during training for the TREAD relay in 2012 so it will be a beautiful place to participate in an event.

I’m tossing around the idea of taking my first climbing lesson and becoming certified to belay at the Guelph Grotto. Bryan and I have also been discussing the possibility of joining a local boxing gym. Both would be quite fun although I might have to get over my extreme and irrational fear of gravity if I am to even consider climbing.

Career

I finally ditched the business name GJ Studios. I’ve never been keen on the name since it was first registered in the nineties. It was time for a change and one that suited the direction in which I’ve been working. My company is now named Outdoor Adventure Press and I couldn’t be happier with this new business identity. The new brand will better reflect the adventure related publications, camping cookbooks, and my other freelance writing projects. It’s exciting and there are a few new things in the works.

I’m still working on that third manuscript and having great fun with it. The book should be complete by the New Year and then I’ll embark on the tedious task of the final round of editing. I’ve been having issues getting great photos for the work because it always seems to rain when I am cooking at camp.

The Big Basket of Peaches

Remind me next time my darling friend, Kristin, sends out an open invitation to come over with a basket and take home some peaches, that it will be a crap-load of peaches! I had expected the typical quart basket worth of yummy deliciousness. It was practically a bushel! I happily took her up on the offer and spent an enjoyable morning in her kitchen before I went home to embark on the process of preserving what she had given me. I ended up with several large Ziplocs of frozen peach slices, three 1L jars of canned peach slices, four 500ml jars of freezer jam, and days of heavenly fresh peach eating. I had never canned peaches before so it was a learning experience. It was also the first time I had ever made freezer jam. Kristin canned a considerable amount and I was quite inspired by her dedication to the project. Thanks Kristin!!

So, that is where life has taken me since I last wrote on my little blog.

Have a Happy Tuesday!

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I have a friend who is fairly new to running and lately she and I have been chatting about what music is on our iPods. I thought it might be neat to post some of what I listen to when I am running, especially given that my musical tastes are all over the map. I’ll try to do this every few weeks as time permits.

As you’ve likely read, I’m training for a half marathon. The event is a mere 38 days off and I’m up to 17 K for my Saturday runs. I’ll be scaling back to 15K this week to give my body a rest. Here are three of the songs that will be on my playlist as I run along the Grand River.


Kamikaze – Tenpenny Joke

This one is a definite favorite. I first heard it when I was looking up videos on Canadian Trail Running. It gets me in the right rhythm to pick up the pace and I love this part of the lyrics…

“don’t look behind you; gotta keep on running, run ‘til your lungs burn”

Because We Can – Bon Jovi

I loved this song from the second it came out. I find it a great tune when I’m running a long distance and the title reminds me that I can do this training. The words that stand out most for me are…

“I don’t wanna be another wave in the ocean; I am a rock, not just another grain of sand”

Inner Ninja – Classified feat. David Myles

I love to chat with my 11-year old son and see what cool things he’s listening to. He shared this one and I find it fun to run to. That said, there have been a few times I’ve had to restrain myself from dancing while I run. It’s not good for my form…lol. I love this part…

“no matter how hard they tryin’; nobody’s gonna bring me down”

I could always use a little inspiration when it comes to expanding my playlist, so feel free to share some of your favourites by posting a comment.

Have a great long weekend.

(B)e positive!

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