Friday, December 31, 2010

calling my heart's desires for 2011

in spite of a few beautiful memories, this has been a tough year. and so, i don't think i'll be sorry to see you go, 2010...

several times over the last few weeks people and books and movies have suggested/reinforced the idea that one has to put ones' hopes and goals out into the universe in order to attract what one wishes to have manifest in the coming year... in life in general, really.

and so, here's my little wish list for 2011... call it my "to do" list, my "bucket list" for 2011... call it "dream a little dream"... call it what you will, these are things that i hope will come into my life this year:

  • a job. preferably one that is soul satisfying, but i'm not too fussy at this point.
  • a car. doesn't have to be new and shiny, i'm just longing for greater mobility in my life... 
  • a little self-acceptance. i haven't been feeling overly thrilled with myself this year. i need to work on that.
  • babies. okay, so... this doesn't have to happen in 2011 exactly. but in this life time would be great. preferably while i'm still young and healthy enough to enjoy them. also, doesn't have to be plural all at once.

that's it. short and sweet...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010


it's Thanksgiving here in the U. S. of A. and i've got a lot to be thankful for... and so, a list (in no particular order)...

  • i am thankful that i got to spend Canadian Thanksgiving in Canada with my family last month
  • i am thankful that we'll have friends to share in our Thanksgiving feast here
  • i am thankful that my Grandad's cancer treatments are going well
  • i am thankful that the on-going saga of screw-ups by the former owner of our home appears to be coming to a close... or at least slowing down considerably!
  • i am thankful for the love and support of family and friends
  • i am thankful for the cool autumn weather
  • i am thankful for my nephews, in particular the safe arrival of the newest one a couple weeks ago
  • i am thankful that the toenails that turned purple and threatened to drop off after the Marine Corps Marathon are still hanging on
  • i am thankful for the neighbourhood cat who comes over to chat on my front steps every day
  • i am thankful for the orange bush blossoming in our meditation room
  • i am thankful for my relative good health
  • i am thankful for rediscovering old favourites... music, books & friends
  • i am thankful my sweetheart, who continues to challenge and support and love me
  • i am thankful for all this, and so much more...

eclectic soundtrack to my list of thanks:  Short Skirt/Long Jacket ~ Cake, Groove Is In The Heart ~ Deee-lite,  On My Way ~ Danny Michel, Island In The Sun ~ Weezer, I Don't Know ~ Ryan Bingham, Something Pretty ~ Patrick Park, Hold On Hold On ~ Neko Case, Don't Wait Too Long ~ Madeleine Peyroux, Ya Habibi ~ Alkisti Protopsalti, Waiting For The Miracle ~ Leonard Cohen, Me Gustas Tu ~ Manu Chao, New Shoes ~ Paolo Nutini, Craving (Bollywood Remix) ~ Tatu, Paper Planes ~ M.I.A., La Realite ~ Amadou et Mariam, 52 Pickup ~ Ballistic Mystic

Friday, October 1, 2010

adventures in airport

11:27 am

As a general rule, I like airports… There’s the “love actually” people watching moments, where you see the joyful hellos and the sorrow of goodbyes, and the broad spectrum of public displays of love.

There’s also the excitement of going to a difference place. I’ve always loved that about air travel… You get in, time passes, and when you get out you’re somewhere totally different.  You might see some clouds go by or the sun come up or go down… but unlike road or train travel, you don’t really see the transition from one place to the next. It’s kind of like magic.  You board the plane in the familiar, read your book and snooze a while, and suddenly the landscape has profoundly changed.

Then there is that satisfying sense of being almost home… of knowing that you’ll go out those doors and be back in the familiar once again. That sleeping in your own bed is just a short drive away. That when you get out of the shower you’ll have a whole wardrobe to choose from, and not just those three shirts to choose from.

But there are times when my fondness for airports can wear a little thin. Like the time I was flying across Canada to visit my family for the weekend.  Fly out Friday night, and back Sunday afternoon. Which meant that if all went well, I’d have one solid day of visiting, plus a melancholic morning of knowing I’d have to leave in a few hours… and two nights of not much sleep. Only to get half way across the country, land in the middle of a blizzard and get stuck in the Toronto airport for 18 hours… only to fly home without ever having made it the rest of the way. No visit with the family to make the long hours on the plane and even longer hours in the airport worthwhile.

Or right now. Can’t say that I’m loving the Dulles Airport at this very moment.

Between my volunteer driver oversleeping, and heavy rain that slowed traffic en route to the airport down to a frustrating crawl… I arrived 90 seconds too late to check in for my 6:25am flight. Less than two minutes, and they wouldn’t let me check my bag for the flight. If I’d had no luggage, they would have let me get on.

So, for a fee, they rebooked me on a later flight. One that would get me to my destination just two hours later than planned…That’s not so bad.  So I wrote an e-mail to my friend who was supposed to pick me up at the airport, had a coffee, called my sweetheart at work and chatted for a few minutes… and that hour and a half delay just flew by.

We boarded the plane only to have the airline staff tell us that the seal around the door was leaking water… and if it was leaking water, it may well also leak pressure (and air) while in flight… So they called maintenance to come take a look.

After a while, they told us that we could get off the plane, as they didn’t know how long it was going to take to repair. And then, as more time went by… they started rebooking people who were not going to make their connecting flights. I was one of those people.

By the time I got to the counter, any chance of booking me on an early-ish flight to Edmonton had already come and gone.  My luggage, meanwhile, went on to Cincinnati  (and ultimately, Edmonton) without me.

I’ve been here for five hours now, and have another four to go before I catch the first flight of my third attempt to get to Edmonton today. The muzak that was pleasant enough for 20 minutes while you wait to board is starting to rub my already somewhat frazzled nerves in the wrong direction… You know that feeling when you’ve been wearing a hat that’s a little too tight for a little too long and when you take it off your hair hurts? It’s like that…

12:23 pm

They’ve finally posted the gate for my next flight. It’s not at this terminal. Sigh.

1:47 pm

So, after a another train and a long walk down long and crowded corridors I finally found my gate. Only to be told that I had to go to customer service to get my boarding pass.  I arrived at customer service  mere moments after the crowd of people whose flight to San Francisco had been cancelled. Stood in line for an hour to get my boarding pass printed. And now (*insert  sound of angels here*), I am scheduled to board my flight in about 40 minutes. HUZZAH!!!

3:30 pm

Spoke too soon. Wouldn’t you know it.
Starting to lose my sense of humour now…..

3:50 pm

I’m getting on a plane., hoping it will actually take off. AND really hoping it lands in time for me to make my connecting flight.

Post Script... I arrived in Denver with ten minutes to dash through the airport to make my flight. And arrived in Edmonton 11 hours later than planned.  However, have had a lovely, short but sweet visit with my friend and her new baby... and am now on the bus (with free wi-fi!! a service the Dulles Airport can not match) to Calgary. I'm talking clear and cold outside, rolling farmland and golden fields, and the promise of mountains on the horizon.

Feels great.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

having gratitude problems...

i've be very grumpy lately...

part of it is the infernal heat and humidity.

part of it is the stress of the house situation, which has not changed even slightly since last i wrote...

part of it is the "eternally unemployed doldrums"

all of the above mentioned parts have put a bit of a strain on my relationship with my husband... which has led to further grumpiness. and some weepiness.

and so, even though i've a lot to be grateful for... rather than sharing those things with you, i've been wallowing in my grump.

this will change.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

yes, i'm grateful - day 10

and with this post... i am finally caught up.


so... my husband has this gift for knowing what people need to hear. i don't know how he does it, but he can turn a hostile and defensive government employee into a friendly face on the turn of a dime.

we had a meeting scheduled with the Health Dept this morning... to discuss the logistics of altering our screened porch and deck so that they might meet the state standards (and so we don't have to tear them down)... when i made the appointment over the phone, she had seemed very pleasant. accommodating and helpful, at least.

but from the moment we walked in the door this morning she was on the attack. and i felt attacked! here we are, trying to make right the situation... trying to fix it so that she's happy, the state and county officials are happy... and we have a home that is safe to live in. and rather than just sit down and say "this is what you need to do..." she started yelling about all the things we have not yet done. things that have not been in our control.

it made me feel like a child being scolded... small and helpless, confused and indignant... and not sure how to defend myself.

my husband, on the other hand, nodded, said things like "so what you're telling us is this...." and "we just need to know exactly what it is you need for us to do..." and "you should be having a lovely day, did you see that mountain of goodies out on the counter that someone brought in for you?"

that last comment stopped her in her tracks.
she had no idea what to say, or why he had brought it up.

two minutes later she's smiling, the two of them are having a laugh... and she's a whole new woman.

i am SO grateful he has this talent.... because i certainly don't!

yes, i'm grateful - day 9

chatted online with an old girl friend of mine last night. one that i have not seen in a little over ten years... we were snowboarding buddies, road tripping to music festivals buddies, housemates for a time... and then estranged friends for a time, because we both had some growing up to do.

in the years where we didn't really communicate, i really missed her. i missed the closeness and deep affection of our earlier friendship. i missed her laugh and her enthusiasm for spontaneous activity. i missed being needed by her, and i missed having her to rely on when i was in need. i regretted the hurtful things i had said and done... and the hurtful things that she had said and done receded from my memory.

and then along came Facebook and we found each other again.

she now lives in another country, as do i. we both moved to said "other country" because we followed our hearts there. she understands the feelings of isolation and longing for those familiar faces and places that i have been feeling.

our friendship is not as close as it once was, nor as intense. but there is something very rich and deep and satisfying about how it is evolving... and i am so grateful for that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

yes, i'm grateful - day 8

Sunday's moment of gratitude...

a couple of cool things happened yesterday. the first being the fact that there is a rather large hawk that has taken up residence in the trees around our place. my husband and i were out on the deck having our morning coffee, and it landed on the fence.

here he is, photo take two days later...

we were admiring its size and plumage, when suddenly it lifted off the fence and dropped like a stone, out of sight.

next thing we knew, it was sitting on the fence again... dining on some small creature that it held between its talons.

a little gruesome moment of gratitude, i suppose. but a rather clear demonstration of the circle of life... it's always good to be reminded of one's own mortality from time to time.

and, i don't mind if the hawk is taking care of critters that might become a nuisance in my home if allowed to run amok with nothing to keep them in check. better a hawk than having to lay down rat poison, i say...

on a cheerier note, we had a bit of a 4th of July party. about half of the people who said they were coming didn't, in fact, show up. so it was a small but lively group of people.... with far too much to eat and drink.

and it was good.

and i have left-overs for lunch today. also good.

yes, i'm grateful - day 7

behind again! ack!!

okay, Saturday's post...

got up early (as usual on Saturday mornings when in training)... drove to Burke Lake to meet 9 other TNT folk (we were scheduled to run on our own due to the holiday)... and it was not only lovely and cool, but CHILLY even!! heavenly!

had a thoroughly enjoyable run, and then came home and woke up the household. i don't even remember now what i did on Saturday, aside from a little lounging on the couch with my sweetheart, and some general tidying up.

but if i can't remember anything to complain about, it had to be a good day, right?
so, i'm grateful for that.

Friday, July 2, 2010

yes, i'm grateful - day 6

it was lovely and cool again yesterday morning... and i got up early to meet my favourite former TNT coach for a 5 mile run around the lake.  i haven't seen him since the end of April, and we've never hung out  outside of TNT events, so it was really nice to catch up with no distractions.

he also runs faster than i do, so i was surprised to find myself back at the parking lot much quicker than usual...

then, on my way to pick up my sweetheart from work, i stopped in at a "new to me" garden centre on the way. most of the garden centres near me are a little bigger, but this one was surprisingly well stocked, with very good looking plants (the ones near me are pretty picked over, and a lot of the smaller plants look worse for wear after all this heat)... so it was really nice to find a place that still seems fresh and healthy.

and they have chickens running around all over the place! i guess the owners live next door, and when you look into their back yard, they have geese and chickens... and it just had such a great feel about the place.

what a great start to my day.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

yes, i'm grateful - day 5

it is lovely and cool today... sun is still shining, but the humidity has dropped and I'M LOVING IT!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

yes, i'm grateful - day 4

i spent a few hours volunteering at the Life With Cancer Family Centre Monday afternoon.
every time i am there i am reminded how precariously we are balanced on the edge of "good health," and at any moment we could drop.

all those children who have been affected by cancer... either they have it, their brother or sister has it, a parent has it.... and it's not as though they have done anything to bring it on themselves. it's not like they were ever smokers... for example.

i have had my ups and downs with my health, but for the most part, i'm doing pretty well. and i'm so grateful for that.

Monday, June 28, 2010

yes, i'm grateful - day 3

♪♫♪ Sunday Sunday... so good to me  ♪♫♪

it was stinking hot when i woke up... and although i had had some illusions of "getting stuff done," they quickly went out the window. 

Sunday was a day for lounging, curled up on the couch in the air conditioning, enjoying a cup of coffee with my hung over husband.... long chats on skype with friends... watching the soccer game with the roommate (who just got back from playing soccer in France, incidentally)... i didn't even cook dinner!

so a lazy day altogether. and i loved it.

yes, i'm grateful - day 2

okay... playing catch up now...

daily gratitude didn't last long now did it!!

so, gratitude from Saturday:

started the day with a 7 mile run with Team In Training.... we met at 7am, and i was no only on time, but fifteen minutes early. normally i roar into the parking lot moments before we're supposed to already be on the trail. so i'm grateful for getting there on time.

it was a relatively cool morning, though horrendously humid. but in spite of the sweat pouring off of me, some trail side sign told me i was looking good!!

my husband got home from work not too long after i got home from my run, and while he slept i found some shady spots to get some yard work done.

when he woke up, we went to have a glass of wine with a colleague of his.... and stayed for four bottles! i was designated driver, but enjoyed their drunken company (which isn't always the case when drunk and sober mingle)...

so an altogether pleasant day  :o)

Friday, June 25, 2010

yes, i'm grateful - day 1

it's quiet here this morning.... the little red dog and i were out and about before the sun hit full force... you know, barking at squirrels and watering the plants.

ask and ye shall receive, it seems.

i posted a little note on Facebook a couple nights ago about missing far away friends, because i've been feeling quite lonely the last few weeks. yesterday i had an e-mail with a phone number for an old friend that i've not seen in about two decades, and we have a phone date for the weekend. this morning i had letters in the mail... and an hour long phone call with a friend who's just had a baby and for the first time in ages had time to talk.

i feel re-connected.

funny how little it takes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

i think it's time...

to do another month of gratitude postings, because i'm feeling decidedly ungrateful these days.

GRATITUDE THIS WAY COMES!!!.......... starting tomorrow 'cos i'm really too grumpy to think of any to get the ball rolling tonight.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

fairy lights...

i have never lived in a place where fireflies lived, until i moved to Virginia...  last summer we were in a pretty urban area, and i got all excited to see the odd one here or there, but here in the wilds of the new home... we have SERIOUS fireflies!!

my husband calls them lightning bugs...

there's something quite magical about them... little green glows, popping up here and there, flashing on for a moment and then off again, like morse code.

i wonder what they're telling each other... is it like the bee dance, indicating the good gathering grounds?

i was just out taking the dog for his last stroll of the day, and as i walked down our road there were a cluster of trees that were lit up like they were strung with the daintiest of blinking Christmas lights.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


a couple years ago, not long after my husband announced our engagement to his parents... his dad found a piano at an estate sale, and haggled the sellers down from $125 to $100 -- for the piano and bench, a little piano top lamp and a metronome...

which he then stored in the back of his SUV for a couple weeks until we went for a visit and he was able to surprise me with his gift.

i was thrilled and delighted, as i used to play but have not had a piano in my home since i left home to go to university. lets just say that it has been more than a decade... and i was delighted that he was so excited to have found this lovely gift for me, the daughter-in-law to be...

who knows how long it sat neglected before he bought it, but it has been moved three times since then... and although everything technically works, it is dreadfully out of tune.

and so... the tuner comes today.


Monday, June 14, 2010

tick, tick, tick, tick...

so, the little red dog and i were out in the back yard for several hours yesterday.

he was eating acorns, and possibly some bugs... and then napping in a pile of leaves, and i was pulling weeds. i felt a little pinch on my arm, and gave it a swat thinking it was just one amongst many mosquitos biting... and then it pinched again, so i had a closer look.

and it was a little reddish-brown tick... looking suspiciously like a freckle on my arm. i tried to smear him off (aka, kill him) but seconds later he was continuing his march across my wrist to find a tender place to make himself (or herself, i suppose) comfortable. it took several attempts to get him off of me, and then i mushed him between two rocks until i was sure he wouldn't just bounce back again.

i decided it was time to go in and have a shower... only to feel that pinch again, this time inside my shirt... on my stomach.

might i just say "ew. ew. ew. ew. ew!"

this one came off easier, thank goodness. but as i was about to take the dog inside, it occurred to me that he'd been lounging in the same tick-infested woods that i had been working in.... and since the ticks were tiny and pretty much exactly the same colour as his fur... i took the brush to him for a good hour before letting him into the house.

his owner left mediation to put on his skin once a month to deter (aka kill) ticks and fleas and lice and other such nuisances.... so i'm not so worried about him.

but i am wondering if they make a similar product for us humans (cos there are parts of me that i just can't see, and wouldn't you just know it but i can feel things crawling on me there right now!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

things that make me happy

right now, at this very moment, i'm feeling pretty happy.

  • the sun is shining, but it is still cool outside
  • the birds are singing on all sides of the house
  • the coffee turned out juuuust right this morning (you know how sometimes it's good and sometimes it's great? today it's divine)
  • after a nice long walk, the little red dog is curled up by the front door snoozing
  • i'm not too stiff and sore from Sunday's half marathon, but i'm booked in for a massage in an hour anyway
  • my sweetheart and i went out for dinner with some friends on Sunday, and then lounged over coffees in their back yard. they have a beautiful little pond full of simple plants and goldfish, and i'm feeling re-inspired about getting the work on my flower beds done.
  • i ordered some piano music online, and it has arrived.... and the piano tuner is coming later this week. so i am committed to getting back to playing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

best visit home ever....

in point form

1. mom had absolutely no idea that we were coming... and was overwhelmed to see us

2. Blue Nose (half) Marathon was an absolute hoot.

3. golfing with four generations... loved it!

4. bumped into old friends that i'd not seen in close to a decade... very unexpected, and wonderful.

sad to say goodbye this morning... but also delighted to see my sweetheart.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

i am not a violent person... i'm just having violent feeeeelings!

okay, so i need to vent a little.

this has been a long time coming, and i'm afraid that if i don't do a little precautionary venting now, the whole thing might explode later on, and i'll be the next spewing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.... only somewhat human.

so, here's the deal.

we bought a house six months ago. you knew that.

a few days before we closed on the sale, the builder informed us that there might be an issue with the above ground pool and part of the deck... something about them being to close to the septic system, but he promised he would "make it right"... and so we bought the house anyway.

after the fact, we find out there there is no "might be" involved here. he's received notice from the health department that the pool and the deck and a few other things are in violation of the health code and misc other building codes and permits and piles of building debris and GAH!!! does it never end????

still, we have in writing that he's going to make things right. he's going to remove the pool and deck at his own expense, and compensate us for the loss...... but he's going to take his sweet time about it.

meanwhile we have visits from the county zoning department, who inform us that the cute little shed in front of the house (which is strangely wired for internet, but barely big enough to stand up in) is in violation of county regulations and has to be removed.

then phone calls and letters from the health department take place to discuss the plans for removing the offending items....

finally the former owner comes to the house, after several missed appointments (because he got help up, or it was raining, or it might snow...), takes the back of a hammer to the side of the above ground pool... rips a hole in it and drains thousands of gallons of stagnant water out in to the neighbour's yard.

like us, the neighbour is on well water.... and is not impressed with the inches of stinky pool water now sitting in a pond around his well.

he's screaming mad, in fact....

but having put said hole in the pool, the former owner is now long gone.... so i got the screaming neighbour full force in my face.

once the pool was finally removed, there were just two small offending items left to be resolved... two supporting posts for the screened in porch and upper deck.... they just have to be moved. he promised to draw up plans for us to submit to the county.... and once approved, he would do the work.

haven't heard a peep out of him in weeks....

was just in the process of writing him a WTF e-mail this afternoon, when there was a knock on my door....

and it's a new person from another department of the county building development office, come to inform us that the former owner never applied for an occupancy permit, which is a criminal offense...

how does a man who builds homes for a living not have enough brains to get the appropriate building permits and inspections as he builds his own home?????

WTF, my friends ????!!!!!!

i really want to know!

fortunately, the criminal part of this particular offense does not transfer to us. but we still have to take care of getting the appropriate permits... and the kind gentleman who dropped by today kindly and gently informed me that even from just standing in the back yard looking at the house, there are structural issues that would have to be resolved before we could get approval from the building inspector to even apply for the occupancy permit.

we bought a fucking lemon.

i love our house... it's not its fault that it was built by a moron, but it is a lemon nonetheless.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

three things i love about camping...

whiskey around the campfire....

morning coffee around the campfire... 

lounging in the hammock with a book and not feeling like there is anything else i should be doing at that very moment...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

the ants came marching two by two...

anyone know how to get rid of ants that have built an enormous nest right around the edge of your well cover?

since it is literally on top of my drinking water, i can't use anything too toxic....


Monday, May 10, 2010

going home, and coming home..

i'm going home to see my family in a couple of weeks, just in time for my mother's 60th birthday (i'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog, but if she does... hi mom, sorry for ruining the surprise!)

it's always a funny thing to talk about "going home" when the place that you're going to isn't home.

my home town, where i grew up, is a little village in northern British Columbia...
i'm going "home" to see my family who now live in Nova Scotia, where i also lived for a time...
at one time, i went "home" to my apartment in Paris, after visiting my family back "home" in Canada...
currently my home is here, this house that my husband and i recently bought in Virginia...
but in my heart, "home" is Jasper Alberta, where i spent many of my so called formative years.... figuring out who i was going to be as an adult.

what is home, anyway? is it a location? a feeling?

anyway, i'm going home to see my family in a week and a half. only my dad and my sister know i'm coming. i'm excited to be going to see them... i'm going to run another half marathon while i'm there, because my mom and my brother are going to be volunteering at the event anyway... so why not. running marathons is something i've never done at "home"...  (that will make for a ten miler, four half marathons and a marathon this year so far... six races in twelve weeks. maybe that's too much....)

can't wait to see my nephews...

recent "chat" with six year old nephew who can now read and write well enough to enjoy chatting online...

Me: (in response to something Ian says)... that would be super!
Ian: auntie megs, you're super.... because you're smell like a skunk!
Me: super stinky?
Ian's mom: (insert hysterical giggles here... the boys are practically rolling on the floor)
Ian: auntie stinky!

yeah, that FEELS like going home.

can't wait.

Monday, April 26, 2010

crazy weekend

this past weekend I :

~ joined 500 other Team In Training runner in Nashville to run the Country Music Marathon (and half marathon).... we raised over 1.25 million dollars for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, putting our Team Fundraising Total (over all the years) at over a billion dollars.

~ went to hear a concert at the Ryman Auditorium... original home of the Grand Ol' Opry.

~ ate a lot of barbeque

~ resisted the urge to buy pretty cowboy boots, 'cos i know i'll never wear them once i get them home... but i sure did want them at the time! all the other cool kids were buying them...

~ met John "the penguin" Bingham while picking up a bagel at Panera for Saturday morning's 4:30 am start

~ arrived at the race starting place in the dark, in the rain, with lightning dancing across the sky.... and a tornado warning threatening to cancel the race

~ skies cleared and the elite runners were off the mark by 7 am... there were over 33 thousand other runners to cross the starting line, so it was 7:26 by the time I got started

~ it was a hot and humid morning, until the clouds rolled back in and the winds picked up... and the racers were all diverted back to the finish line, no matter where they were on the course.

~ shed a tear or two and said a few bad words that are not fit for public consumption

~ accepted my marathon finishers medal, but didn't much feel like i had earned it

~ ate more barbeque in the pouring rain, thunder and lightning

~ had an awesome phone call of support from my six year old nephew

~ drank quite a lot of gin and tonics, participated in some line dancing lessons at the post-race party, and danced the night away (something i likely would not have been able to do if i had been allowed to run the full marathon!... hello silver lining)

~ got a ride home from the airport with my coach and friend, only to find that i had brought the wrong key and was locked out of the house for the next 5 hours or so, until my husband got home from work at 11:30pm

~ feel like a million bucks today, and am looking for another full marathon to attempt in the next couple of weeks, to make up for not being allowed to complete the one i had trained for.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

taking it off

so, as you may know, i have been training to run a marathon at the end of this month, and trying to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. last week, in order to stimulate a flurry of donations, i made the commitment to cut off all my hair and donate it to the Locks Of Love, to make wigs for children who have lost their hair due to medical treatment... as long as i made my fundraising goal by today.

well, i have made my goal of raising $3000... even though it doesn't all show up yet on my fundraising website. it takes a while to process donations that were not made online...

so, i will be cutting off all the hair that it has taken me two years to grow... and sending it to Locks of Love for someone who cannot grow their own.

i thought it was a fine idea at the time, but now that i actually have to do it... i have been looking at the box of hair clips and pins and elastics and sticks and ties, etc sitting on the shelf in my bathroom and finding myself feeling nostalgic for long hair already. even though i still have it... and even though i was looking forward to how cool i was going to feel in the heat of the summer.

will post photos next week when i get it cut. and in the mean time, i think i'll go brush it for a while... maybe give myself an up-do or something... celebrate the fact that i have long hair for a few more days.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

so it's been a while...

i kind of like it when life is busy enough that there doesn't seem to be much time for blogging...
i've been involved in a few more volunteer sessions at the Life With Cancer Family Center... i've been organizing and hosting some fundraisers for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society...

i've been training for the marathon that i will run in less than two weeks time...

i've been dealing with the former owner of the house in what seems like a never-ending cycle of being told he'll do the work on this day, then this day, then this day....

i've hosted a house-warming party (at last!), and had a birthday...

i've been working on planning and building and preparing flower and vegetable gardens...

i've been dealing with some health issues...

and i've been supporting some friends who are going through personal crises of their own...

that almost makes up for not blogging, don't you think?

Monday, March 22, 2010

favourite signs of the weekend

Martin, rallying the TNT troops for the start of the National Marathon and National Half Marathon in Washington DC, March 20, 2010

Around Mile 6, climbing the seemingly never ending hill at Dupont....

"Extreme Chafing Ahead" & "Hurry Up, We Want To
Go Back To Bed"

Near Mile 7

"Pavement Fears You"

Approaching Mile 8

"Zombies Are Chasing You! RUN!!!"

On the hill approaching Mile 13 (downhill), and also Mile 14 (uphill) for the full marathoners...

"Embrace The Suck"

And the best of all....... FINISH!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

families are tricky business

we're headed to New Jersey tomorrow, to spend a couple days with my husband's family.

when i suggested that we go this week, since he has the time off anyway, my husband reluctantly agreed.

when i called my father-in-law to tell him we were coming to visit, he wasn't sure that he'd have time to see us, but would try to drop in one evening...

when i e-mailed my sister-in-law to tell her we were coming, she wrote back to say they'd love to see us, and to invite us to stay at their house...

when i spoke with her this afternoon to confirm times and days, i mentioned that we'd like to either cook a nice dinner or take them out for dinner while we were there, and while my father-in-law was over.... and she said okay.

not one of them has mentioned anything about the fact that this week marks the anniversary of my mother-in-law's death.

and i feel a little strange about that.

does it go without saying? are they simply choosing not to acknowledge the date? do they not realize?

learning how to be part of someone else's family is tricky business.
i'd like to do something special in her memory... but is it my place to bring it up?
or do i just wait and see if any of them even mentions it?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

heavy hearted

i know i said this wasn't going to a be a boo hoo blog... this is a blog that celebrates those wonderful moments in the day that remind me that life is surprising and joyful and wondrous and full of delight.

however, that said... my heart is heavy these days, and it is heavy on behalf of someone that i love, someone who i have always connected well with, in part because he also celebrates those moments in his daily life.

this friend was recently diagnosed with throat cancer... it's already at an advanced stage, and is said to be "aggressive."

he's newly engaged, recently bought a house, started a great new job just a few months ago.... the world appeared to be his oyster. and now this.

i don't know what else i want or need to say.

my heart is heavy... but still hopeful.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

red birds

there is something singularly wonderful about a flash of red in the trees...

or in the bird feeder!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I almost never read the electronic updates I receive from Runners World.... I get the magazine in the mail every month, and find it much more satisfying to hold it in my hands and flip the pages. Much nicer than staring at the computer screen and scrolling down....

However, for some unexplainable reason, when the Runners World update landed in my inbox this morning, I opened it... clicked on some random links (and registered for a draw to win some yoga gear, and a new car!)... and then came across an article about stolen moments. I have of course since then deleted the e-mail, and cannot now find the article on their website... but, in essence it was a story about unexpected gifts. Little bits of time that turn out differently from the way in which you had planned or expected... snow days where you get to stay home with the kids and realize just how much you've been missing them; begrudgingly taking the dog out for a quick walk on a cold and blustery day, and having it turn into an awesome run that left you feeling exhilarated and excited to do it again...

And she finished her article with the following quote:

I love when joy is tucked into a corner of life like a note, and I unfold it.
Kristin Armstrong, Runners World

It's always there, isn't it? We just have to keep our eyes and minds open enough to recognize that note when we see it, and then to remember to unfold it...

This is something of a continuation of my post yesterday... about really getting into life, and taking your mind and your heart to new places. It reminds us to really see the world, to be aware of the beauty in every day life. And it takes us to those places where joy is tucked in like a little note.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

seeking new adventures

so, i was just doing a little online catch-up with a long lost friend (aka, reading the blog of someone i used to work with 12 years ago... back in the days when i didn't read blogs or do e-mail and never would have imagined that this would become such an important part of my daily connection with friends)

anyway, his most recent post was a little something about climbing 60 or so feet up into a 100 foot cedar and how scary and exhilarating it was...

click here if you want to see Ty up in his tree

his post ends with the following:

Just a reminder to try really different things and scare yourself a little bit. It will take your mind to new places and it’s awesome for the soul. All creative people (aka EVERYONE) should be seeking new adventures weekly.

i used to do this all the time. but over the last couple of years, the scary things i have engaged in have not been a little bit scary but a huge bit scary.... move to a new country, get married, try to find a job in a crashing economy, buy a house....

all good and important things. all worth doing. but taken all at once, and without my usual support of a close network of family and friends.... it has been at times overwhelming, and more than a little scary. (it should be said that i still have that network of family and friends, and i'm enormously grateful for them.... but they're not here, not even close).

and so i stopped doing exciting and a little bit scary things for a while. because it's not really fun or stimulating to scare yourself a little more when you're already paralyzed by fear.

except that it is.... because doing those things that scare you a little bit, but are exciting and stimulating and sometimes fun... they help you to put the big scary things into perspective.

so, i'm going to go back to scaring myself a little bit... because it is revitalising and replenishing and invigorating. and as Ty said... it's awesome for the soul.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Blue Monday...

a good friend of mine posted the following as her status update on Facebook this morning:

Third Monday in January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. So let's conquer that by thinking about what we are looking forward to in 2010! What's on your 'look forward to' list?

i immediately wondered who it was that had decided today was the most depressing day of the year ('cos i'm not feeling it, and anyway... who gets to decide these things????), so i did a tiny bit of research online and this is what i found... excerpted from an article called "The Most Depressing Day of the Year" at

Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher from Cardiff University, [determined] that the third Monday of the month (Jan. 21, this year) — a day he calls Blue Monday — will be our most depressing day of the year. Arnall bases his yearly prediction on a formula he developed, which factors in the weather, consumer debt from holiday spending and failed New Year's resolutions and arrives at that conclusion that we'll hit rock bottom on Monday the 21st.

clearly it is not the 21st today, so this must have been written some other year... but it is still the third Monday, and therefore we're supposed to be feeling blue.

as i said, i'm just not feeling it... it's a beautiful sunny day and i'm feeling pretty good. and i am looking forward to things....

things like: i'm looking forward to going to Nashville Tennessee for the first time, to run a marathon! looking forward to creating a garden and growing my own herbs & veggies:) looking forward to kayaking on the lake near our new house, looking forward to camping.... and looking forward to a visit from one of my Jasper girl friends in the fall. and maybe, just maybe... i might be looking forward to having a little bit more snow and winter before all these other things happen.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

day thirty....


it was a rainy old day here... but soft. just enough to make the grass slippery. just enough that i had a hard time seeing through my glasses when i went out to get the mail. just enough that the birds were going nuts in the yard. a flame red cardinal.. sweet little grey things that i don't know what they are... a flashy blue jay...

so it was a good day to putter about. i cleaned some things. i cooked some things. i played plant doctor and did a little orchid surgery....

and when my sweetheart woke up we worked out together with our new dvd's that are so far totally kicking my butt. his butt too.... we're both hurting. but, in a good way.

and now, he's gone to work... i'm going to tidy up the kitchen and stretch out in front of a movie.

even though it was just a puttering about the house kind of day... it was a good one :)

and there ends 30 days of gratitude.... spread out over a month and a half because i had no internet for a while, and because i missed a few days here and there....

i might make it a long month... 31 days, just for a treat.

day twenty-nine


where HAVE i been?? as i said a few weeks ago... i'm not very good at this "blogging everyday" thing, but i've gotten much better about the "gratitude every day" part and really, that's the important bit.

so, lets see....

Friday i was feeling quite a lot better, and even took my bike out for a short ride.... the sun was shining and it felt like spring.

Saturday i got up early and went to meet the Team for a run... it was still cool, but much warmer than the last few weeks, and it was so nice to run and not be cold. heck, it was nice to run and not be totally snotty too!! was scheduled to run 8 miles, but had hardly moved all week.... so i was pretty happy with the fact that i managed 7...

then, went to see Avatar with my sweetheart and a couple friends in the afternoon. i don't know that i would rave about it the way some people i know are raving about it.... but i did enjoy it. i thought the special effects were fantastic, and the planet that they created was beautiful. but the storyline kind of reminded me of Ferngully.... look at what we are destroying, look at how all life is interconnected, the story of the "noble savage" who understands all this better than we greedy civilized folk.... not that i disagree in principle with the message, it just isn't anything particularly new.

then dinner with the same friends, home late, and a long sleep in this morning...

and i'm grateful for all of it....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day twenty-eight


okay... so i kind of fell of the map for a couple of days. but they were rather unremarkable days of feeling sick... so it kind of would have been just a repeated mantra of "i'm grateful for orange juice and vitamin c..."

today was a much better sort of day... one with much more energy, and far less achey head and runny nose. one of sunshine and juice freshly made with our new juicer. one of sitting in a warm window and watching the birds that have suddenly and truly discovered our feeder (we even had woodpeckers! i didn't know woodpeckers had a fondness for seeds, but there you go...)

it was a day complete with yummy meals, and finally an appetite...
it was a day off for my sweetheart so we puttered about the house together.

and i'm just feeling better.

and i'm grateful.

Monday, January 11, 2010

day twenty - seven


i'm still a snot-factory (as my six year old nephew would say)... and feeling rather miserable.

but the sun was shining all afternoon, and i was watching the birds come and go from the yard. i think i'm going to have to find myself a "birds of Virginia" book of some sort so that i can tell what i'm looking at.

my sweetheart dragged me out of the house yesterday, ostensibly to get some air.... and whilst visiting the hardware store (!!! so glad i got out of bed for a visit to the hardware store!) we picked out some rather lovely sounding wind chimes. they're hanging out in the yard, just waiting for the wind to pick up. i'm going to enjoy listening to them... just hope they don't annoy the hell out of the neighbours.

so, the sun was shining and there were birds, and the potential for wind chimes.... and it was a good day, in spite of the abundance of snot in my head.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

day twenty - six


if the box didn't automatically fill itself in as whatever i wrote last time, i'd have no idea what day of gratitude i'm supposed to be on. all i know is that i didn't write yesterday, and with a head full of mucus and drugs, i'm not entirely sure what i'm grateful about at the moment...

orange juice, i suppose.
rosehip & hibiscus tea
kleenex with lotion for my poor sore nose
my husband, who forced me back into bed, and keeps yelling from the living room to ask if i want or need anything...

that'll do for now, don't you think?

Friday, January 8, 2010

day twenty - five...


i miss my husband on the days that he works night shift. it's not so much at night when he's not home and i find myself waking up and feeling his absence (although there is that too)... i miss him more during the day. even though he's home, sleeping in the next room.

i think it is because when he gets home from night shift he's normally asleep on his feet... we chat for a few minutes, and then he goes to sleep and i don't see him again until i wake him up for dinner around 8pm... we have less than an hour together, much of which is taken up with showering and shaving and dressing and checking personal e-mails and phone messages that he can't access at work... and then he's gone again.

even though he's gone for the same amount of time when he works day shift, i feel as though i get more time with him.

he slept longer than usual yesterday, and stayed late at work this morning... but when he got home he stayed up for a while, chatting about his busy night, about plans for the weekend, about day to day stuff... sitting at opposite ends of the couch, legs tangled together....

hardly romantic... but it felt like such a treat to have that hour together.

the house is quiet now, he's sleeping... and i'm not missing him.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

day twenty- four...


i rescued some enormous orchids from the Asian grocery store.... they were crowded together on a shelf, far from any natural light... tightly wound up in plastic sleeves, under a sign that said 50% off.

i know that stress can cause any plant to flower profusely... it's kind of a last ditch effort to produce offspring before their system fails, so to speak.

and these are flowering very profusely.

so i bought the two healthiest looking ones, and brought them home to see if a little TLC might pull them back from the brink.

the tips of the leaves were turning black... supposedly a sign that the soil has become too saline. so i flushed the pots thoroughly in fresh water. i cleaned off all the dead bits, and rinsed the leaves free of dust and residue.

they now look clean and fresh, and hopeful somehow.

i am hopeful.

and even if they don't survive... i think it would cost almost as much to simply purchase the same abundance of orchid flowers in a flower shop. so i will enjoy them while they last, and be grateful for their last hurrah.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

day twenty-three...


i'll get to the gratitude eventually, so bear with me...

i wrote, back on the first day of gratitude, of finding some wonderful paintings at our local framing shop whilst taking a print in to be framed. my husband in particular was enamored of this artist, and purchased several... and then several more.

one of which we promptly had framed... the others we were keeping at the store until after our move, so that we could have them framed with a specific room in mind.

today, i made the drive back to Alexandria to the frame shop, to pick them up.... only to find the frame shop in ruins, burnt to the ground.

selfishly, i am deeply disappointed and sad that our beautiful artwork that we had so looked forward to putting on our walls is now gone.

then i think of the poor woman who owned the business.... how she must be feeling, what she has lost... and i just feel sick on her behalf.

and the people who had brought family treasures in to be repaired or reframed... treasures that will leave empty spaces on otherwise full walls... now lost.

i just feel sick about it all.

and in trying to find that fragment of gratitude in the day... i am so very grateful that the painting i loved the best is here with us now, safely framed and hanging beautifully on our wall.

day twenty-two...


i missed day #22... what else is new? i'm much better at writing first thing in the morning than waiting to see what all might happen in a day that i might be grateful for... because then evening comes and i go to bed, forgetting all about writing.

yesterday, we drove a fair distance to find an eco-store that sells ecologically sustainable and healthy beds. personally, i had hoped to find myself luxuriating in comfort on a tempurpedic bed in short order, because they're so damned comfy... but apparently they let off gases, and are made mostly from petroleum products... and my husband was keen to get something a little more wholesome.

so, we found this eco-store and ordered an enormously comfortable bed, made of latex and organic cotton and organic wool.... and it will be here in a week or so.

i shall be soooo grateful when it arrives!

Monday, January 4, 2010

day twenty-one...


we spent the day today doing housey things.... doing laundry and dishes, putting up heavy drapes to block out the cold, testing out mattresses in our quest for a new bed, wandering through Ikea getting ideas about things we do and do not want in our home... picked up a few plants, including a glorious orchid which totally reminds me of my mother....

and every day it feels more and more like home.

home is a good feeling :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

day twenty...


it's funny how sharing things can make them seem just a little more real and a little less of a dream, don't you think?

my friend Donna and i were volunteering for a Team In Training event together this morning, after which she dropped me off at home and came in to have a quick peek around the house... and it felt so great to be able to show it to her.

and then my friend Marni and i were chatting on Skype, and i was able to show her at least some of the rooms in the house by webcam.... again, it felt really nice to be able to share it with her.

day nineteen...


it was a blustery cold morning to go out for a run with my Team In Training buddies.
rather hard to drag myself out of bed at 6am, in fact...

but there was a beautiful sunrise as i was driving in to DC. and we ran on trail i had never been on before, so i've found a new place to run (even though it's rather far away)... and after 5 miles and a handful of M&M's, getting back into the car to drive home felt wonderful.

hot shower felt even better...

and then, i was enormously grateful that i had arrived home in time to have a hot shower before the power went out for a few hours.

so i cozied up in a sunny spot, wrapped myself up in my down duvet, and read for a few hours until the power came back on.

rather a lovely day, actually :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

day eighteen.. a day late again


in spite of being married for almost a year and a half... and in spite of being a couple for the last four New Year's Eves... this was our first New Year's Eve together. and we spent it blissfully at home.

drank some whiskey, ate some yummy food, shot some pool, listened to some music... i even got him to dance with me a little....

it was the perfect way to ring in the new year.

i love our new house. i love him. i love how happy this home makes him... and i am so very grateful for it all.