Monday, January 27, 2014

I just feel like looking at photos

I'm on day 4 of a 4 day bed rest order. Hopefully I'll be able to stop coughing enough to fake being healthy at my practicum tomorrow. I've completed my online school work. I think. I'll check later.

Right now I'll post some photos I've taken over the years that I really like to look at.

The Columbia Icefields are on the highway between Banff and Jasper...right smack up the centre of the Rocky Mountains.

 The Columbia Icefields in 2010. I wonder if I have one from my High School Geography XII field trip there. It has shrunk considerably since I first went to it in 1976. If I took the same photo from the same position then as in 2010 the ice would be past the bottom of the frame.

That ridge/arete (accent over first e) was where some of the students climbed. I can still hear one kid calling out "I haaavvvee nooothhinng to hoold onnn toooo" as he slid down it. He was fine. The glacier wasn't at the bottom of it there. Despite being a less cautious era, we were FORBIDDEN to climb on or near the glacier. The glacier was a lot closer then than now though! We could easily see how huge it was from our vantage point at it's foot. Couldn't touch it, that would be too close.

Then there is Mt. Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies at 3954m. (that's a lot of feet!). Apparently it is a great hiking mountain...I've never done it. I take photos of it when you can see the top. I've even taken a couple when you can't. It is a delight to see the top as it is not a usual sight.

Yep, Mt. Robson in it's usual state.

Just west of Mt. Robson is Moose Lake. It is a mountain lake that is cold all year! In the heat of the summer it is refreshing. In the winter, not so much.

 Looking west

Shoreline looking west


Winter from the front seat of our car looking west

July from the front seat of our car looking east

Friday, December 13, 2013

Procrastination Breeds Creativity

I'm writing my last paper for this semester...and obviously it isn't going smoothly. Writing on social action and social justice is ok, but the references I'm to use don't relate to my experience-which is what the paper is about. Or is suppose to be about. 
Now if I could figure out how creating Christmas villages and cards with my Silhouette or baking gingerbread cookies is a social action I'd be, well, still stumped. I just don't have a lot to say or at least 6-8 pages worth. Thankfully that is double spaced 6-8 pages.

So while I, um, mull things over I'm posting a card I made:

This card is the second one I made...apparently dripping water on the printing makes it all mushy and blurry.

I find that sometimes remaking things creates a better item and sometimes it doesn't. But that is only in the creator's eye because someone else may find it the other way around.

I volunteer at the local Children's Hospital and we wear red smocks so that is what the red top represents. It isn't dirt, it's gold ink that is on it. I pressed too hard in one spot so had to repeat that elsewhere so it wasn't so obvious a oops.

I've made a paper house I believe is called a puntz house. Eaton's and Simpson's Sears used to sell them in sets of 10 and were lit up with mini-lights. I made my own as a teen so when these showed up-or I noticed them-I decided to use my trusty Silhouette to create new ones (the original are long gone). I've made two and are sitting on the mantle now. With battery operated candles now I don't have to string lights between them or have them near an outlet. They are nestled among a number of paper 3-D trees I also made...all but two trees are from white cardstock. I'll have to add a photo to this after I buy more white cardstock and make more trees.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Laugh more than once a week!

I've been idly doing some "next blog"ging and came across a couple of blogs that were aimed at a 50+ audience. They were very different, one is by a 50ish woman who needs to relax and laugh more and the other by one in her 80's who knew how to relax. Both had husbands, the former's is still living with her albeit she states he's a bit bigger than he needs be. The older lady's husband is wheelchair bound with Alzheimer's living in a care centre (she called the other residents "inmates"). I suppose I must say that the older lady recently died at 85 and her daughter wrote the last blog posts telling us this. I read some of her earlier posts and she did enjoy life, especially with her children et al and at the lake in the Green Bay area.

The younger woman seemed to be a no-nonsense type of person-I'll leave it at that because I really don't know her, but she seemed to be very critical-and vocal about her views. I do know people like that and unfortunately that can be very alienating. I do so hope she really is more uplifting in real life-though she stated that laughing once a week is more than enough. Really? Gosh, I think it's a bad day if I don't do it once a DAY! Time to stop the starching of the undershorts!

Life is too short to laugh only once a week...and there are too many things that happen that could make you rip your hair out. Or the person's next to you. I prefer to hear a clerk say thanks for understanding than them thinking "she's really almost scary when she's mad".

Hubs & I are puppy sitting our 'grand-puppy' Diesel-dog (our pet name for him). He's a miniature dachshund and loves to give doggy-kisses...I've had a walk-by licking from him. He's sleeping on my lap right now. I love that. Our last pet, Alice the white Persian cat died last February (she would have been 20 in May)

Alice sleeping in a random box
and the year before Miranda the grey tabby (our son's cat who he chose in 1992) and Dakota the lab/shepherd/collie died about 5 years ago. So we've been pet-less for a while, there is less cat/dog hair found each month-er,  day, yes, I vacuum every room every day (riiiiggghht & the North Pole is a rainforest). No taking a dog for a walk in -30C weather or vet bills. Also no enthusiastic (or indifference from the cats) welcome when we come home or purring and stretching out on the fabric I'm cutting or newspaper I'm reading. Diesel-dog gives us that injection of pure unconditional love we sometimes crave. Even the standing out in the cold icy backyard wondering if he's going to 'go' then or we'll find a treasure somewhere in the house during the upcoming week is fine.

This is Annabelle, our 'grand-hedgehog' on her co-owner's birthday...I made party hats for both of them. Just a cute photo of up our weekly 'smile' quota.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yes, I actually DID ride in the Niagara Falls Gran Fondo

This is not me, just the view from the back of the pack. That is American Falls we see. It is just about 6:45am.

The front of the pack...not my category

My view of the riders in front of me.

And the riders behind me. I think the people in florescent orange are non-timed riders...official type people that did ride beside me encouraging me and just chatting before finding some other slow-poke to encourage & chat with.

My bike behind another in the St. John Ambulance mobile first aid unit. I rode about 89km out of the 124km route. At the fifth rest stop a group of us (about 15) were told we were being pulled off the course because the tunnel under the Welland Canal was opened to traffic was 11:50am and we had until 3pm to cross the finish line. Sooooo not happy campers (er riders) and anarchy works its magic. We are allowed to continue but with an escort and are suppose to stay together. Yeah, that 'staying together' didn't last at all. Like maybe for 10 feet. The 'new' route had us go north of the tunnel and around. I was tired at the rest stop but someone said it was only 35km to go & I thought, "I can do 35km more"...but this new route used up that 35km and I was falling farther behind the dude in front of me who was alone. The motorcyclist escort was staying a respectful distance behind me. 
I had told another rider earlier that I was going to ride until I fell over. And I did. Almost. I stopped and told the escort that there is a time when it is time to stop. I had lost the mental game. I was discouraged, the cara fina had passed me twice while I was going 20km/hr., the tunnel being inaccessible (we should've used it anyway), my wrist was hurting (the drugs had worn off), my inner thighs had tossed in the towel near the start of the ride and I was tired. I also had absolutely no idea where I was. Well, outside of the Niagara region. On the positive, I was able to get off my bike without falling over! 
The St. John unit was pulling up behind the motorcycle and so they loaded up my bike along with the one that was put there at rest stop #5 (that lady knew when to stop before it got hairy). An icepack and a ride to the finish line. 

I got out and wanted a photo with my 'first aider' (whose name escapes me). She rocked.

79.0 KM
Elizabeth OlsonCalgary, CAN
79.0 KM 
Then I hopped on my bike and rode over the finish line with my timing chip. My split time holds, as does the KOM (king of the mountain) but the final time isn't.

The after ride music rocked with Barney Bental,  

Jim Cuddy 
Luke Ducette

Who all rode then sang and played for a few hours. These dudes are definitely fitter than me! (and they can sing too!) A wonderful time in the sun.

With the exception of the politics around the need for the detour, I really enjoyed it. And I did really well for someone who was riding with a broken wrist, numerous bruises and a semi-stable knee. The landscape was amazing, so varied, unlike southern Alberta- ("oh there's a farmer's field. And another one. And I can see Saskatchewan"). 

I'll post the photos I took the next day of part of the route. Effingham Hill where the KOM took place does not photograph well, it's a deceptive hill.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

And the Countdown Begins--Gran Fondo Niagara Falls, Ontario

Five days and I ride my first Gran Fondo, in fact, my first big ride since doing the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer in 2012. I was on track to be much fitter and prepared for this ride than that one but with a broken wrist that is gone. At least this is only one day. And I have about 8hrs. in which to ride 124km so I believe I can do it.

My wrist is healing according to the latest X-ray, it feels better too. Still is painful but that could be the sprain that most likely occurred at the same time. We never discussed if it was in fact sprained, but it is the same pain & area as my left hand. The ankle is still tender but no pain unless my medical team pokes it. The bruising is gone from my chin, thigh and knee.

I've only riden outside once since being told I can ride (and only once between riding immediately after the crash and being told it is broken). The other times I've used my trainer set up. The first day I set it up outside and watched "The Philadelphia Story" (with Katherine Hepburn). I then set it up in the living room facing outside. I find it boring so I don't seem to last more than a movie, which have been just under 2 hrs. That worries me. Endurance is a major need for this ride. There is also one nasty hill- Effingham. There is a jersey for the fastest time up the hill. Since it'll go to an elite cyclist, I was thinking that it should go to the person in the 6+ seed group who actually rode it up without stopping or walking!

I'm to stop in at the Medical trailer and say hi to the co-ordinator. He was hired to do all three Gran Fondos by GFCanada. Hopefully it will be a friendly visit and not a "need to" visit.  After viewing nasty ripped apart fingers, I'm going to wear my gloves with fingers. I can put the brace on over the glove. That is the joy of a brace and not a cast, I can remove it. Which is nice because it'll get sweaty under it during the ride.

Here's to the ride! I'm still pumped even with my health concerns.

Here I come Ontario! I love the Niagara region, so beautiful. So hope there are peaches left for me to eat.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Banff Gran Fondo 2013--views from the first aid trailer

While my husband rode the 144km route through Banff National Park I was at the start/finish line in the first aid trailer. I spent the first hour organizing it after the other team members filled their backpacks with supplies and the two other supply chests were taken to their locations. I had my first casualty around 9am--two hours after the first batch of riders (the elite) left. He was brought in by motorcycle.

The funny part (from my point of view) was when I told him that I would have to cut his shorts to expose the road rash on his thigh. There were two rather medium sized holes (3" across) with a small seam between them right over the injury. He says ok then asks his fiancee if she could sew them! She was silent and I said, "no, they don't think so". I heard a quiet release of breath behind me. So cute.
Points to give other riders: when in a tight group or just a group of cyclists, point out hazards on the road! This dude was about 6" from the guy in front & the guy in front just swerved without indicating a hazard so my cyclist hits the traffic cone & ends up in my trailer after ride! I told him that he needed to trash his helmet also since he hit his head.

I had a great vantage point for when the riders came in. The trailer was beside the dismount point where the timing chips were snipped off.
Shawn Bunnin (left) was first at 3:29:01 with an ave. pace of 41.3km/hr.
Mackenzie Gurvis of Calgary (left) arrived #14 with a time of 3:29:08. Ave. pace is also 41.3km/hr. Peter Wuerr of Vancouver (centre) #8 at 3:28:56
 Team Smartstop from North Carolina joined the timed mass ride as a training ride (!!) for the Tour of Alberta coming up September 3-8, 2013. Most of them did not have numbers so I can't match a number up with a name & time. The first rider came in at 10:29am-Shawn Bunnin of Calgary. I'm thrilled that I was actually able to catch the first batch of riders barrelling down the 'slow down' lane. Check out the time between #1 & #14! Seconds! Their average speed is amazing (for me) at 41km/hr. I only reach that speed going downhill on a smooth straight road!
Team Smartstop & other elite racers at timing chip removal area
I was alone until about noon or 1pm...and busy! I was amazed how many of the riders crashed early in the ride only to pick themselves up and finish the ride. One crashed 40km in and had smashed his fingers pretty good. In fact with the exception of the young rider (16yrs.) who didn't see the speed bump in the slow down zone, all riders I treated after the first had crashed but finished. Hmm the one with the busted helmet...did he finish wearing a broken helmet (I'm talking almost two pieces)? I think he told me he finished the ride.

I suppose I'm almost like them, my wrist has a broken bone (3mm fracture) and I want a cast that is molded such that I can grasp my hood & reach the gears/brake. I'm riding in the Niagara Falls Gran Fondo September 14 and, well, I AM planning on riding it! Other than all the money we've spent so we can go, it is the inaugural event and I want to participate. I don't want to end up being a spectator & watching my husband cross the line again. I want him to watch me (after he crosses a couple of hours before) cross the finish line.
Waiting for the final riders at the end of the day

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

When SAHMs Need a Break

This article is insightful and gives a taste of what it is like to try to explain how it is to be home and on-call 24/7 for your children and family.

The comments are telling and really tiresome. It IS different being a working mom and a SAHM. I would guess some work-at-home parents could relate more with the article than the outside-the-home parents. It is the writer's perspective, not a generalized "everyone must feel this way" article even though she does say this is what SAHM (maybe I should say SAHParent) mean when we say we need a break.

One commenter said "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" which illustrates the need for 'mama' to take care of herself.

Do I agree with everything she says? No, sometimes staring in space/zoning out for a few minutes was a break. Our family is a big believer in when you are doing things you love to do, it isn't work (though it still is employment).

Yes you are a parent even when you aren't in the home for 9 or so hours but it is different when you are 'at your paid employment' and not at home with the kids during those hours. It would be similar if you worked with children and never left your place of employment. Just ask anyone who spends all day with other people's children! It is exhausting, physically and mentally to work with children and at the end of the day, no matter how much fun you had that day, it is nice to 'have a break' from it.

SAHM/P moms don't leave after 7 or 12 hours. They are there and on call for every hour of every day for years on end. Even as an empty nester I'm still a mom, but the daily pressure isn't there as it is for SAHM/P.

Soooo, if you know or are a SAHM/P, give them a break. That break can be whatever you two decide on is a break, there are no fixed ideas, just kindness to someone who needs to recharge their mental batteries.