Weighty Issues

I only wanted to know how many calories are in a banana, but the website had an Ideal Weight Calculator and since I felt like wasting some time needed a break from cleaning house on this frigid February morning, I thought ‘OK, I’ll play!’

According to them, my ideal weight should be 108 pounds. Um…sure, if my goal is to be a supermodel or maybe a two-dimensional cartoon character. But for a real live person like myself who likes to do stuff and eat food, that’s just ridiculous.

So I checked my BMI and that calculation wasn’t nearly as dire. My actual happy-place goal is to lose 15 lbs. Maybe 20. The BMI confirmed what my experience, my mirror, and my common sense tell me.

But I poked around the website some more just for fun and discovered their body fat calculator. This one was a doozy . . . it estimated that I am comprised almost entirely of  unnecessary fat. OK, they actually credited me with 107 lbs of lean meat. But wait … they say I should weigh 108 lbs. So, if I reached my ideal weight, I would have just 1lb of fat left on my entire body? That’s like … 1% body fat!

Just for the record, 108 lbs on the BMI is the lowest number I could go and still be called healthy – that’s what this website (which shall remain nameless) chose as my ‘ideal weight’, the very least I could weigh without jeopardizing my health.

That particular website is run by two women who say they are just trying to help other women achieve their best self. There are no pictures or bios of them, so I’m not sure who they are, but I suspect maybe hangry supermodels or 2-dimensional cartoon characters?



Arctic Front

So, this is what was happening here last night …


That”s -35 Celsius (-30 for those of you speaking Fahrenheit).

Hubby wanted to know what that feels like and he talked me into joining him and we stepped out on the deck in our pj’s…for a couple minutes…I can’t breathe air that cold, it kind of skids into my lungs and then scratches it’s way back out. Unpleasant. Unsustainable. Eyeballs want to freeze over. The sensation on skin is interesting though. Some years back, we spent a weekend at Sparkling Hill in Kelowna and tried the Cryo Cold Treatment at KurSpa … that was colder and I was wearing less clothes, plus this was free! So … kinda like a spa day?

At -35, my bathroom window looks like this …bathroom window

… from the inside.

But we stayed toasty warmish because we cranked the little pellet stove to new heights last night and it did a great job. This old house was a symphony of snaps and groans, but today the thermometer is reading a balmy -20 and the sun is shining and I feel like a real northerner again. Ain’t nothin’ but a cold snap!

roaring fire



Here’s a weird little tidbit about me: I’ve always wanted to run a marathon. That’s not weird, you say, Lot’s of people run marathons.

It’s weird because I am not an athletic person and I really don’t enjoy exercise. And being mildly asthmatic and having Multiple Sclerosis adds another level of challenge for me, but I’ve had this fixation since I was a kid and was inspired by a TV movie about a middle-aged woman who ran in the Boston Marathon. A few years ago I lowered my expectations to running a 10K by the time I was 50. I bought a new pair of shoes and started training for the Vancouver Sun Run. Very slowly at first, long walks, then long-fast walks, then long-fast-uphill walks. My husband walked with me; we irritated each other into action if necessary.

Wildfire season challenged my asthma over the summer. I had to be diligent about managing my energy because of my MS, sometimes adjusting the regimen so as not to overtax and aggravate my condition. But I was getting stronger and more resilient week by week. 10K was completely do-able. And then it was time to start introducing the running.

The synchronized rhythm of feet pounding and arms pumping and breath moving in and out. The pure exhilaration of your body, on it’s own power, cutting through the air so that you feel it moving over your sweat-beaded skin like wind. Persevering through the discipline part to get to the primal sensory experience of running.

I never got there.

My knees started to hurt. Then my knees started to swell. Then my knees took a considerable amount of time and patience and anti-inflammatory treatment to simply get back to doing yoga and walking without pain. Osteoarthritis runs strong in my family, so common sense said it was time to ease up and let this one go for the sake of future mobility.

I went back to my journal and on the January page where I had listed my resolutions for the year, next to *run 1/2 marathon, I wrote (gave it my best shot!) 

I’m alright with that! There’s no shame in failing, as long as you gave it your best effort. But from my deck I can see, just now, a runner on the path across the creek, each out-breath making little plumes of vapour in the winter air …. I watch them until they almost disappear and then I close my eyes and live vicariously for a moment. *Smile*



ms walk 2010
.  MS Walk in Douglas Park, Langley, BC 2010. This was after a very challenging winter spent walking with a cane due to a nasty relapse. I was exhausted after a 1.5K walk, but I did it!


Words for a New Year

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver


I read that Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize winning poet, recently passed away. I’m not that familiar with her work, so in poking around the internet to see what else she wrote that I may have read, I came across her poem “The Summer Day”.

I realize that this is probably the most pintrested and quoted line she ever wrote (which says a lot, because she wrote so many powerful/inspiring lines!) But at the awakening of this new year, at this point in my personal trajectory, this was the question I needed to ask myself.

You see, I woke up, having reached a certain age, to find that I’m not all that comfortable in my own life because it was designed for different circumstances, for things that never became part of my story. And there was no room for some things that did. I spent 50 years knitting a life that doesn’t fit me and I feel like I’ve been working way to hard at it!

Then I read a poem, and it asked me a question that I realized it was time to answer. This time based on what is real for me now, what is possible for my life, and what I really want to do. And it doesn’t mean throwing everything out … it means knitting a new ‘suit’, one that fits who I am (still working on that) and all that I hold dear. One with enough stretch to comfortably accommodate all the wonder and joy that I have yet to take in. I will love, I will learn, I will create beauty, I will dance, I will sing, I will write.

What do I plan to do with my one wild and precious life? I plan to love it. That will do for now.



Of Tu-Tu’s and Tap Shoes

Ever since I can remember (and I can remember waaaay back) I have loved to dance. I have wanted to dance. As a teenager I had a secret nerdy dream of dancing tap.  But mine was not the kind of family that could afford things like dance classes and  tap shoes. I never even asked. I watched old musicals with extravagant dance numbers and televised ballets when I got the chance, hoping to just absorb something.

I dreamed of being a ballerina, as most little girls did. The closest I ever came was wearing a tutu in the school Christmas play in the second grade. Spinning around with my hair in a tight top-knot with a bunch of other little girls in colourful tutus – we were the northern lights. It’s adorable, but it’s not quite dancing. (If anyone has a picture of that, I would LOVE to have it!)

Fast forward a few decades and this evening I took my first dance class. Just a simple beginner ballroom class with my husband and four other couples at the Integris Community Centre. The cost is incredibly affordable, the instructors (Mark & Doris) are amazing and supportive, and the music was so much fun. The results were a little bit funny and really exhausting. The urge to revert to a comfortable eighth-grade-shuffle was strong at times, but we learned the basic steps for a waltz and jive tonight.

In spite of, or maybe because of, the fact I am still recovering from bronchitis and Randy is still coping with a muscle spasm in his back, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously. And we had fun. And that’s what it’s really about, because no one is going to show up at this point and whisk me away to star in the next ‘La La Land’ anyway. So the pressure is off!  😉  Can’t wait for next week.

“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.” 
― Martha Graham

Getting Real

Cabin fever.

Bronchitis and antibiotics and asthma inhalers.

Freezing temperatures (-25C the other night) or huge dumps of snow.

Haven’t done any writing in weeks.

Feeling lonely and exhausted and regretful.

An inglorious start to a new year.

This is where I’m supposed to bring it all together in some neat little package,  ‘staying positive’ or making it humorous or something like that. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in all that crap, but just now I need to allow myself to feel what I feel. How disappointed I am by the year behind me. How much it hurts and angers and humiliates me. (Too real?)

I need to recalculate, I know. I will. But I need to stop avoiding it; I think I’m going to sit with my sadness for a while. And I know I say this a lot, but … I’m going to see if it has anything to teach me.

i wish i had a river ...

When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life hands you a snowstorm . . .

…make a snowman!

He has one blue eye (water jug) and one green eye (Margarita mix, yeah!) He’s in the backyard, on the edge of the embankment overlooking the creek. He should be visible from the hiking trails, so give ‘im a wave if you see him there!

When I wasn’t building snowman today, I was shoveling snow. Mostly the shoveling thing. Oh yes. It kept snowing all night long and that means we had to clear snow 3 times in 24 hours. I don’t know what the official snowfall was, but on my deck it was around 24 inches in 24 hours. Overnight the temperature came up around 0 Celsius and the snowblower couldn’t handle all that wet snow in the morning – we had to move it all by hand.

*This snow storm feels just like a West Coast snow storm – tons of snow overnight and then the sun came out today and it was warm and melty (just for the afternoon. This snow will not be gone in a few days, it’s here to stay.)

*This snow storm is nothing like a West Coast snow storm – it did not bring the town to a stand-still. Trucks were out clearing first thing in the morning and life went on almost as usual.  Also, in Surrey this might happen once in a winter, maybe twice but possibly not at all. Here we know this is just the first of many likely snow storms. Button up, kiddies!

Today there was a lot of talk between Randy and myself along the lines of ‘will we survive this kind of winter?’ ‘Do we want to learn to survive this kind of winter?’ In spite of all that and our incredibly achy backs, we had a good day. Shoveling snow. In the sunshine. And I have a snowman. All in all (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) a fun day!