Paradise, my inner Katniss, and playing lead Yogi.

This is the paradise that I was fortunate enough to be able to  immerse myself in this weekend.

When I was in my teens and early 20’s, I was fortunate enough to be a camper and counselor at an incredible summer camp in Quebec. What I have realized in the years since, is that camp (as a camper you’d go there for a month at a time!) allowed me to discover who I was. What my skills & strengths were. It built my self-esteem and a positive body image. I spent my summers leading canoe trips with teenagers through provincial parks – talk about learning responsibility!!…I wish everyone could have the opportunity I was given.

In the fall, the owner of the camp offers “Women Retreats”. Groups of girlfriends register for a weekend up there where they have access to some of the camp’s facilities: climbing wall, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, arts & crafts, archery…

Yup, they have a climbing wall - and I made it to the top to ring the bell up there!

I made it to the top to ring the bell up there!

Channeling my inner Katniss (don't judge the poor elbow form!)

Channeling my inner Katniss (don’t judge the poor elbow form!)

…and yoga/fitness classes – which is where I come in. I was brought in as the yoga/fitness instructor (and have been in previous years as well) – I taught 2 classes on Saturday and one on Sunday in this gorgeous 95 year old log building:

It’s cold up there in the mornings, so we had a roaring fire to warm the place up for my morning classes

I slept in this cabin

This was my corner for the weekend

And when I wasn’t teaching, I was able to enjoy the activities the clients had access to. As you saw, I did some climbing and archery…and another unique one was hilarious – a mushroom walk!

This woman in the middle is a wee bit (to put it mildly) eccentric, and is FASCINATED by mushrooms. She took us all over camp and we picked mushrooms and she showed us which were edible and which were poisonous. These are the ones we picked!

Seriously – how hilarious is that?!

We were also treated to some incredible sunsets…

I had a good weekend of relaxation…and more healing. Everyday is one day further away from this past summer. And that is good.

Abby, however, threw a tantrum as I was packing the car to leave on Friday

But was very happy to see me yesterday when I got home…and was VERY amused as I poured MY cereal into HER bowl this morning! Sigh.

I clearly need to get back to reality! lol

Happy Monday!

Mysterious selfless act of kindness, Jelly Belly challenge and the Beer Run.

In some ways I want to solve this mystery, and in other ways, I kinda don’t. I got home Sunday morning from the cottage and as I was unpacking my car, a small truck pulled up in front of my house…and out popped a man carrying a bouquet of flowers. I was just about to tell him, literally, that he had the wrong house, when he said, “Jane? These are for you”. I was completely baffled and surprised. I accepted the flowers and headed inside…

When I read the card, I immediately burst into tears. What an incredibly thoughtful thing to do…and when I asked the people I assumed it was from, they have all denied it. So either it’s someone else or they are just being very selfless and doing a purely good deed and not looking for anything in return. Either way, I feel extremely lucky. Whoever you are, THANK YOU.

I was up at the cottage for Saturday day and night – weather wasn’t great, but we had my aunt (visiting from Toronto) and my cousin up for the day which was fun. And I brought the most hilarious “game” up for us to play.

You spin the dial and whatever jelly belly colour it lands on, you have to pick it out and eat it…but it could taste like, for example, the orange one: Peach or Barf. And trust me, it tastes like Barf.I have never laughed so hard in my life. Here is my cousin learning whether she got the Chocolate Pudding or Canned Dog Food:

I literally learned what stinky socks tastes like this weekend. lol

I came back into the city Sunday morning because I was participating in Ottawa’s Annual Beer Run. This is my third time doing it – and with the same group each year. It’s hilarious. We started down at the Lowertown Brewery and had our “free beer” – this is me and @kyledesormeaux (who, fyi, is debuting in the marathon distance this October with a goal time of 2:35. Sick, eh? He’s a speedy one!)

Then we had our longest “run” of 5k to the next brewery – Tooth & Nail.

Now, let’s be clear here…the running is a jog…and chaotic with 125 people per wave of runners…no streets are closed down so we’re completely disrupting traffic and pedestrians and cyclists. But we don’t care – we want our beer! lol

Then it was on to the Kichessipi and Big Rig breweries

And we finished off at the Beyond the Pale brewery

Where I met up with @rebeccaruns as well!🙂

It was nice to be out with good friends, with good beer and good weather!🙂

Hope you all had a good weekend, and thank you for, from the bottom of my heart, for the love that you showed me last week. It was overwhelming…in a good way.

Happy Monday!

Trying to forget…

First of all, I want everyone to know that Abby is ok. She is on a boat load of meds, but is relatively stable & normal…as you can see lol

And continues to preside over the ‘hood with her loyal subjects…

As for me….I’m ok. But August is a month I would like to forget. I’m working hard to forget it so that I don’t cry, so that I can sleep at night…so that I can laugh again. It’s why I had to go off line. I need my posts and tweets to be honest…genuine…and I just can’t share what I’ve been going through…at least not now. I have an amazing support group here at home, so I haven’t been alone…

I’m still not quite sure I’m ready to jump back into life as I knew it…or as much as it can be as I knew it…but I’m going to try. I started with getting back into running this week….something I pretty much had lost. And today I want to try posting again. One of the things it does is make me take pictures of things that are important to me or beautiful or make me laugh. And I think I need to start looking for those things…finding them…enjoying them again.

So it’s September, right? Here is what my long weekend looked like…

Sunrise in the morning up at the cottage…

Morning paddle…

And sunset…

And a sunset paddle…

(someone had had a long day of swimming and chasing, entirely unsuccessfully, fish)

It was a weekend to try and reset…and the weather certainly helped with that.

On a fun note (’cause god knows this post needs it!), in an effort to distract me from the turmoil, I’ve started staining some furniture in my house…the end goal is to stain my kitchen cupboards, but am testing out the stain and my skill on some cheap Ikea furniture in one of my spare bedrooms…

Before…

One coat and 30 minutes later…
img_6696And here is the chair to go with this table (which actually serves as a desk) with two coats on it

Am so proud of myself! lol

Anyway, I wanted to use this post as a way of explaining where I’ve been…for those of you who reached out, concerned, over the past month, I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

Happy Wednesday🙂

Getting back to normal, some Yin torture and heading into vacay mode!!

Guess what?! I am on vacation next week!! I’m going to stay in town this weekend doing chores around the house and then there’s a Redblacks game on Sunday…then on Monday, I head up to the cottage until Thursday…and I CANNOT wait. No cell reception/internet and no TV means UNPLUGGING…and it is going to recharge my soul and allow me a whole lot of time to do this:

And I must say, this week has been a lot more normal compared the last few weeks.

Abby has been almost sleeping through the night completely which has meant that I’ve been able to get workouts done in the morning…and I’ve been trying to be smart about them.

Monday night I had to go to physio because my glutes were a mess and for obvious reasons – I was running randomly and had not done strength training in a while and stretching was practically non-existent.

So, after a solid 13km run on Tuesday morning, I did a good strength training session on Wednesday

Felt so good to be doing this again.

Then on Thursday morning I did a solo track workout:

3 sets of:
4oom, 2x 200m, 800m
1 min rest between 400s, 200s and 4 mins rest between sets

And then Thursday night I had field hockey…I actually showed up early for once! lol

And that got me another 7km for a total of 19km yesterday.

This morning was definitely a stretching day…so I chose to do my Yin Yoga DVD – the “Hips & Pelvis” segment which I had never done before.

OMG. It was tough.

These stretches normally feel great on my tight hip flexors…but not when you hold them for 3-5 minutes!! Good lord, I was dying!!! lol But my legs felt so much better afterwards.

I started my last day of work, before vacation, with a bike ride with one of my patients.

25km total – 13 of them with my patient (I bike to and from his house). Below is our turn around spot. As a teenage boy, he really doesn’t appreciate this view the way I do!! But I make him stop and stare out over the water for a few minutes anyway! lol

Abby had a decrease in one of her meds this week so am glad I’ll be able to be with her 24/7 next week to keep a close eye on her and be able to catch it quickly if she starts to head in the wrong direction. And how is she handling all this?

As per usual. Very little stress in her life. Which is just the way it should be, right?

As I said, I’m up at the cottage all next week and then away at a a very dear friend’s wedding in Southern Ontario next weekend…lots to update you on when I get back, I’m sure!!

Happy Friday!

 

Heat waves, snow piles and my Abby.

Thank you for all your kinds words over the last few days – Abby is holding steady and my worries, while still present, are feeling less suffocating.

We are having just about the best summer – so, so, so hot and humid. I love it. Saturday’s long run was no exception – met up with some teammates for a lovely 11 miles in the early morning blistering heat.

And so when we passed by a hockey arena and saw a pile of beautiful snow outside on the ground, I don’t think one word was exchanged – we just all changed course and head over to the pile and rolled in it for a few seconds!

After the run I packed up the car and joined my parents up at the cottage.

Abby’s medications make her more sensitive to the heat and sun so, while normally she’d choose to be baking in the sunshine, I set up the umbrella so she could have some shade and still cuddle up to me.

In the late afternoon, with the sun less blazing, she was happy to sit out and survey the lake.

IMG_6061One of the great things about being up at the cottage when my parents are there is that my mom cooks great meals. Saturday night we had delicious Cornish hens on the bbq with hickory chips giving it such a yummy flavor!

While we’re less than an hour from the city, the weather can be so different up there. It was sweltering in the city overnight, but up there it got down to 12C/54F and after an hour’s paddle around the lake in a long sleeve and pants on Sunday morning

I then spent the rest of Sunday morning under a wool blanket reading my book and then in the afternoon, it still wasn’t all that warm,  so I spent my time on the screened in front porch with my mom doing some adult colouring! My mom is obsessed with Jane Austen and her BFF gave her a Jane Austen themed colouring book. This was my masterpiece…seriously, it took me almost 3 hours. I might now have carpal tunnel.

Got back into the city late Sunday afternoon…back into the sweltering temps of the city. God, I love it!! lol

Abby had me up a couple of times Sunday night so when my alarm went off for my run in the morning, I just couldn’t do it. So missed yesterday’s workout. But last night Abby only had me up at midnight so I had more continuous sleep and was able to make it out for my run this morning…and am so happy I was able to – it’s ridiculously gorgeous outside these days! These are taken over on the Quebec side looking across the river on the back of Parliament.

I’ve been doing some major clearing out of my office at home…and yesterday I came across this relic! It was the first GPS I had for running. Probably circa 2003. Seriously, it was soooooo fancy at the time.

And it didn’t at all seem cumbersome to have to wear that honking piece around my arm! The watch still works…need to find some AAA batteries to know if the GPS portion still works! lol

One of the side effects of one of her new drugs is that it can be sedating….

Yeah, I didn’t think Abby could get more sedate, but she is!! But she seems happy so that’s all the matters. I lowered, as per the vet’s instructions, one of her meds today…she has follow-up with him next Thursday to see if she is tolerating this decrease…fingers crossed – this is the drug that has her waking me up throughout the night. Decreasing it would be good for both of us!!

Happy Tuesday!

When your best (canine) buddy is down, you can’t run…but you get to judge beer.

I don’t even know what to write here…my mind is such a jumbled mess. I am so tired. And because of that, I’ve been missing more than half of my workouts…which then only makes things worse because I’ve lost that stress reliever. It’s a vicious cycle.

Abby had another seizure last week. So we found ourselves back again with the neurologist yesterday.

While what is going on is very serious, notice that Abby is looking back at the door – waiting for whoever it is that is going to walk in the exam room…but facing the counter where she knows (from previous visits) that there is jar of treats. She doesn’t want to miss either thing. She cracks me up.

But she also has been the cause of so many tears. The recommended treatment is adding more medication…costly medication…with really time-consuming and schedule restricting administration instructions (numerous pills at home and frequent trips to vet for injections). The cost is creeping up so much that the neurologist (who works at the top clinic in Ottawa…and by far the most expensive…some might call it robbery) advised me to get one of her new meds at Costco.

Yup, Abby is now a registered client at its pharmacy. lol

So I’m stressed about the additional meds and their side effects, the restrictive administration routine and, of course, the cost. Plus, it’s all a reminder that Abby is not well. And so far has not responded well to treatment. And that this condition is fatal. But what choice do I have?
I would do anything for her. And other than the seizures, she is her usual self and looks to me to keep her safe.

As it is for many, I find stress relief through physical activity. But I am so tired these days from nights of frequent sleep interruptions, that I can barely do that.

Yesterday I managed to get out in the morning. 7 miles.

Can I tell you how healing this was?

I felt so much better yesterday at work – so much more alive.

And then we went to the neurologist last night.

And I barely slept last night. And so no workout this morning other than hitting snooze a million times.

I have field hockey tonight which I know will do me a world of good. And my plan is to do yoga tomorrow morning. And then, cottage time for the weekend. I so need that.

Ok, fun story to cap off this depressing post…at the family reunion we had our customary “Best Beer” contest. There were 15 submissions and three people were chosen to be the judges. I was one of them…obviously. Winner gets to be in possession of the plastic dinosaur until the next reunion.

We were blinded as to who had submitted each beer and when we revealed the winner, the crowd went nuts when it was my 82-year old aunt who stepped forward to claim the prize!

Such good times with family!

Happy Friday🙂

My weekend included prison time and hanging out with giants.

Warning, I didn’t run once this weekend…so don’t expect any running stories!🙂

This weekend was our bi-annual family reunion and, as per usual, was sooooo much fun! It was held in Kingston this year (it’s held somewhere different every time) which is a beautiful little city 2 hours away from Ottawa. And, the highlights of my weekend were spending time with my nephew Jackson…

And my niece, Jillian…

Kinda totally ridiculously cute, no?

And let me tell you, I’m not the only one under Jackson’s spell of cuteness. He pretty much ran the show all weekend. And when Jillian starts talking, I’m sure she will too!

My father bought Jackson a wooden toy rifle after his successful training at Kingston’s historic Fort Henry on Saturday morning…

…for hours, literally, he had David play that he was a zombie so that he, Jackson, could shoot him dead with this toy wooden rifle

And then with Alex and Nick (both conveniently lifeguards and swim instructors), he had two perfect pool mates

But really, Nick and Alex can find entertainment just with themselves…

And here is Nick giving his mother an underduck (or underdog is that’s what you call it)

Oh, and I did I tell you that they are each 6’6? They have FINALLY stopped growing. lol

Other than just hanging out and catching up with family members, we did have a group outing to the newly opened tourist attraction…the Kingston Penitentiary.

Opened in 1835 and closed in 2013, this historic (and oddly beautiful) prison has housed some of Canada’s most notorious killers (Clifford Olson, Paul Bernardo and Russel Williams). And what makes this tour all the more impressive is that instead of just having a summer student, who has received 8 hours of training, giving you a tour, you have retired correctional officers who spent some or all of their careers working within these walls.

These tough old men, talked about how terrifying it was, everyday, to walk in through the prison gates as they never knew what would face them that day.

This tank of shanks, taken from another prison in Ontario, gives you some insight on the dangers of working in a prison.

Below is where manual labor took place – the guard on the stairs had some pretty crazy stories to tell as this is where inmates had access to the materials that could be used to make weapons or escape equipment.IMG_5801And when you have a lot of time on your hands, humans can build some pretty impressive things with some toothbrushes and pen casings!The most disturbing part was in the museum where they had, on display, “tools” used to punish prisoners in the late 19th and even 20th century. It was completely barbaric and shocking to me that some of it was still being used just a few years before I was born!

Inmates were tied to this “Triangle” and whipped

IMG_5822Old way of water boarding…prisoners would sit with their heads locked in that lower barrel while water was dumped into it from above. This form of punishment was abandoned after only a few years of use…because too many prisoners were dying during it.

This was the rec yard…

But only in use during the warmer months – during winter, inmates were kept inside. I’m sure that does wonders for moods and aggression.

Anyway – they have tours of this prison happening until October 31st of this year…after that, it will be decided whether they make it an official historic attraction…or whether they tear it down to build condos as it sits on prime real estate. Sigh. I fear it will be the latter. So, if you’re in the area, I strongly recommend getting to it soon!

Random pic…Jackson showing me his “huge muscles”. lol

It was a fantastic weekend, but am looking forward to getting back into the routine of things this week! Happy Monday!!