Monday, December 09, 2013

Half-Lazy

I feel like I *need* to blog. Because I know people like to read and see what is up, but I don't have any particularly funny stories or experiences to share with you. But maybe instead I'll tell you a true story about why I love being lazy.

Well, to be fair, only half lazy. :)

Last spring I decided that I needed a break from full time teaching. I'm a pretty talented teacher (humble too) and I work hard to provide a fun, educational environment for the students that I teach each year. But after 8 years of middle school teaching, I had had it. To be truthful, after 7 years I was done, but my practical side told me to keep going. Oh I could write you a long list of reasons why I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, but that is not fair, because many of my days were good, my school was good, my fellow staff was good. But the constant pressure to do more, be more, spend more, etc combined with the pressure of less help, less funding, more special needs students weighed heavily on me until I realized I could not fully serve the students in my classroom. Not the way I was trained, and not the way I wanted. I was tired. So so so tired. And so I took a break.

It has been one of the best decisions I have made for myself. The only downside is that I don't have a regular income. The benefits: free time ALL.THE.TIME Whenever I want. I also get to travel, not work at home, not stress out about kids under-performing and blaming myself, not dealing with stressed out parents (contrary to popular belief you child is not the only student I teach... sorry.), not do extra work I'm not paid to do etc. It's fantastic.

So what do I do with all this wonderful free time? I do crafts. I read. I spend far too much time on facebook. I watch TV, I work out, I spend time with my man. I go shopping, I write letters, I nap. OH do I nap. So much napping.

So how does a grown woman provide for herself with no job? A combination of things. I get a little bit of money I have been investing in over the past fifteen years through an organization known as EI, I substitute teach, and I waitress. And I make more money waitressing than I did teaching. I think it's sad that people care more about someone bringing food to their table then educating their children.

It's great though. I love the half-lazy life I lead. I like not crying in my shower at the end of a long day. I like working when I feel like it. I like having a life with zero pressure in it. I LOVE making sweet tips waitressing, I like just doing things, stuff, whatever, whenever.  I feel so much healthier and happier and relaxed. Will I go back to teaching? Probably - because that is where my gifting is and I do enjoy it. But I'm not ready yet. Right now I'm happy with my low key half-lazy existence.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

And That's How a Canadian Gets to Work

They predicted snow.

But they had predicted it before and nothing came.

I went to bed with no snow in my area and woke up to 20cm in my yard, on my car, down the road. The snow was higher than the clearance under my car. I bravely attempted to get to work, and failed 7 feet later.

When I called my boyfriend to laugh and confirm his prediction of my driving failure he offered to drive me to work. Because he is awesome like that. And plus, he drives a snowplow. Nothing could stop us! We are unstoppable and so awesome. 
 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Most Terrifying Sound (aka Shopping for Pepper Spray)



I’ve had a very good life. Thinking back on it, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have actually been scared. There was the time I thought I had enough time to pass the truck in front of me before oncoming traffic would hit me. There wasn’t – resulting in me going off into the shoulder of oncoming traffic to avoid a collision. There was the time the scary words ‘worst case scenario – cancer’ came out of my doctors mouth which resulted in a strict diet of no red meat, fiber, lots of water, and Welches Grape Juice. (The Welches grape juice might not ‘technically’ have been on the doctors list, but the Redeemer food store was SUPER stingy with their sale of it and only gave it to people on special diets, so I exaggerated my new diet plan... just a tad...Welches Grape Juice is DELICIOUS.) There was the time in my 20s when I thought I was invincible and decided to travel Eastern Europe on my own and ended up sharing a sleeping car on a train with the most terrifyingly large Russian Mafia Man that movies or my imagination could not possibly have thought up.  I’ve had very few close encounters with actual fear. 

Until Thursday night. 

The day and evening were uneventful. I spent a nice evening with my boyfriend before saying goodbye at the scandalous hour of 10pm. (Hitting 30 last year really made me a party animal). I crawled into my warm bed content with life and fell into a satisfied sleep. 

Two hours later I woke up to banging on my door. This would not be too shocking in general, but only two people in this town know how to get to my house. My boyfriend and my neighbour/friend down the road. I am new to this town. I have a basement suite with an entrance around the back of the house and down a flight of stairs. It’s not the main entryway. Also, no one has lived upstairs in this house for the better part of two months.  Who could possibly be knocking at my door at such an unusual hour? 

My family can attest that when I am woken from a deep sleep I am very stupid. Things are blurry and don’t make sense. My first instinct was that my boyfriend had forgotten something and come back. I looked at my phone, 11:47pm. No way would he do that. He was sleeping in his own bed 15 minutes away, anything he forgot he would grab the next time I saw him. The knocking continued – as did the sound of someone jiggling the doorknob and pushing on the door. Then I knew something was up. If Arron needed into my apartment, he could have let himself in with the spare key he has. I still didn’t believe it wasn’t him so I peeked out the window to see if his car was outside. It wasn’t. However in the eerie glow of the streetlights and late night fog I saw a young man wandering around my property. The banging persisted as did the efforts of someone trying to get into my house. 

Cue the panic. 

I started to shake, crawled into a ball in the corner of my bed farthest away from any windows and hastily dialed 911 whispering to the operator that someone was trying to break into my house. She was very calm and helpful but those minutes of waiting for the police to arrive were some of the most breathless and terrifying I have ever experienced. After hanging up with the operator I didn’t move, and simply waited for the police. Silence. My heart pounding. Flashlights are being shone through my windows now. 

At this point it is by complete fluke that I did not wet my pants. The safest spot for me to hide from the prying flashlights is obviously under my covers. So I did that and re-dialed 911 to tell them that the intruder had flashlights and was more aggressively trying to get into my house. As I curled there under my blankets shaking like a leaf the operator assured me that the flashlights were the police officers who were now on scene. 

They stopped by my door to talk to me and even called me 10 minutes after they left to let me know that although they had not caught the perpetrator, they suspected that it was a drunk man who was simply trying to get into the house next door that his cousin’s had moved into that day. A house nearly identical to mine. 

And then I called my boyfriend and made him get out of bed and come to my house to protect me the rest of the night. Which he gladly did because he’s wonderful. 

And today I’m going pepper spray shopping.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Call me a cow.



                I’m from Ontario. I was born there, I was raised there, I lived there until I was in my early mid – 20’s. There are certain things that I did there every year that were normal. I even had the opportunity to recreate my old life there this past summer while I was visiting my good friend Karmyn.
                Every spring, my family, my grandparents, my neighbours, my friends, would at some point during the month of June head out to the local strawberry field and pick berries. We’d eat them as we picked, warm from the early summer sun, we’d take them home and eat them for dinner. We’d make jam, pies, tarts, sauces, and freeze bags of them to enjoy throughout the year. This was a regular thing. This summer Karmyn, Ben, and Ellie took me to their local strawberry field to pick berries. We grossly overestimated how many berries we would need and ended up with this many:



No worries though. We made jam. And tarts, and froze some. And we laughed because no two and a half people can eat that much jam and berries in one year.
                Fast forward two months. I’m back in BC and I’ve learned that in certain areas people go out ‘corn-pickin’. It’s just like strawberry picking, only you pick, you guessed it, corn. I thought this was a great idea. In Ontario we eat fresh corn all the time – but we usually just throw our twoonie in the bucket and take our corn from the table at the end of some farmers laneway. Going out and picking it myself? Sounds like something new, and something fun.
                So on the hottest of hot, hot, hot, days we prepared to go corn-picking with a group of friends from the church.
                I should have known RIGHT AWAY that something strange was about to happen. You see, I have this thing… where if I don’t eat regularly I get a bit crabby. And by “crabby” anyone close to me will willingly explain that actually means unrealistic-ranting-raving-mad-useless-Bi&$#y. :D. So before we left I made myself a little sandwich. We were in a rush and Arron was all, “hey, we gotta go.” And I calmly reminded him about my, ahem, condition and how I knew that we were clearly skipping lunch and wouldn’t have dinner for at least 6 more hours. I was just preventing a catastrophe. Arron looked at me and calmly responded, “babe, we’re going to eat corn.”
                “Not until at least six or seven pm by the time we get back and cook it, I can’t wait that long,” I responded.
                “No, like we’re going to eat corn when we get there. That’s part of the deal. You can eat as many raw cobs as you want for free, and just pay for the ones you take home.”
                I gave him a look, “raw cobs of corn?”
                “Yeah, they have THE BEST corn in the world. It’s so good. Trust me.”
                “I’m not eating raw corn. I’m not a cow.”
                “Are you saying me and all my friends are cows because we are going to eat raw corn?”
                “Yes. Yes I am.”
                And guys, I’m not going to lie to you. Once we got out there and everyone was eating their raw cobs of corn, I felt left out. So I caved to the peer pressure and I ate some raw corn. AND IT WAS DELICIOUS. I kid you not. Amazing. RAW-FREAKING-CORN, warm, just ripped off the stalk, standing in the sunshine, healthy and loving life, the corn was freaking amazing. Didn’t need butter. Didn’t need salt. Didn’t even need to be cooked.
                Call me a cow. That day, and the raw corn, and the people I was with, it was great.
Pickin' corn

Sometimes I can't believe this is where I live.

A feast of raw corn.

Monday, August 26, 2013

It Was A Blue One

One of the benefits of having... ahem... 'friends' (ok, I'll be honest, he's no 'friend'), is that for the sake of our, uhhh... 'friendship' I get to pick up a new hobby. You know, so we have something fun to do together.

In all honesty, learning how to dirt bike has been on my bucket list for about 6 years now, and having someone who is more than willing to teach me his favourite thing to do, with only hugs and kisses required for payment was super handy.

I'm not going to lie,
my first day riding sucked.
SO much.

My "Friend"
Maybe it's because I'm a teacher and apparently teachers make the worst students. But I could.not.get.the.hang.of.it.for.the.life.of.me. 

Oh, I got started a couple of times (like actually a couple of times), but most of the afternoon was me stalling, or moving one foot before stalling. And then after I did that, I would stall. I was having major problems. And it sucked. Because dirt biking is something that I wanted to learn to do, and want to be able to do well. And everyone knows that you can learn to ride a bike in one day right? Right?

Growl.

So at the end of the day I sent Arron back on the bike, and I threw myself a little pity-cry party in the car before meeting him back in town.

But today was a new day.

And fun fact that I didn't know yesterday, the gears go 5,4,3,2,N,1 NOT 1,N,2,3,4,5. So I realized that my frustration about not being able to start in first gear was me being in FIFTH GEAR all afternoon!!! Laugh at me. Do it. I'm fine with it. Because today I was awesome.

So awesome in fact that not only can I start and stop whenever I want (without stalling, holla!), I can also go into second gear! Yeah baby! And then, when I'm feeling really crazy, I can go back down into first! And then go back into second. Hells yeah!

After practicing starting and stopping and going from first to second gear in an open field for an hour, we braved a trail. With hills! And gravel! And rocks! And sand! It was craaaaaziness! We ended up in a pond/swamp/gravel pit and played around for the rest of the afternoon.

We took some video's, I was feeling so awesome, and then I watched the video. Not gonna lie, I totally know that I look like a little handicapped kid on a wee little bike. But I am so proud of myself! Second gear, going up a steep hill, so rockin' awesome. I also might have screamed sometimes going down the hill, but whatever, I did it. And I only fell off my bike once - which by the way, is on video. It's a pretty girlie fall, but it's still a fall. :)

(For those of you who are curious about the bike I was driving. It was a blue one. Hahahah. Ok, it was a YZ80 2 stroke. I don't know what the means. It was blue and cute).



ME FALLING OFF THE DIRT BIKE



video



video



 (This is Arron almost loosing it when he hit a big mud hole, but recovering quite nicely)


Saturday, August 24, 2013

I didn't even know that existed!

Ok,
No joke, I have been wanting to share this adventure with you for almost two months. Summer has been awesome and crazy and wonderful and today I have at my disposal a computer, a piece of cold pizza, a house to myself, and the desire to sit in my PJ's and blog.

You have met my friend Christy  before.

Quick recap: She has made it her goal to learn 25 new things this year. I have been privileged to guest star in three of her blogs now. The week before I headed back to Ontario for a visit, Christy e-mailed me and asked me if I would like to participate in two more of her blogs. One was a surprise, and the other one required me to bring work out clothes and a bathing suit. My first thought was, "oh no, Christy is all into triathalons, I hope she doesn't make me do one. I am so not fit enough for that."

Little did I know I was about to not only learn something new, but learn something new that I didn't even know existed!

Stand-up Paddle Boarding Yoga.

Yes it is a combo of stand up paddle boarding while doing yoga at the same time. Ridiculous. And awesome. So, if you fall out of a pose, or loose your balance, you fall into the lake. It takes an extra amount of strength, coordination, and balance to be able to do yoga while on a paddle board.

It was amazing. So fun, so hilarious, so relaxing, so wonderful. Christy and I pretty much had an instructor to ourselves and it was a great evening to be out on a lake stretching, relaxing, working out, balancing, and enjoying nature.Try it once, just to say you did. It was so random, and such a great evening.


This is Christy being the most awesome person in the world. She had never done yoga EVER before, and she was able to do a headstand. The instructor was flabbergasted. Christy is a superstar in every sense of the word.





Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Ahoy!

I was never the child that dreamed I would be a pirate. It just never was my life goal or aspiration - not until Sunday that is.

On Sunday morning I headed with my dear friend the Chief down to the Hamilton Harbour where a number of Tall Ships (aka Pirate Ships) were docked for the weekend. The sun was shining, the crowds were out, the breeze was coming in off Lake Ontario, it was a beautiful day.

The ships are amazing. SO massive, so much rigging, so beautiful. I figure I will never be rich enough to own one, but I could take up pirateering (pirate-ing? Piratizing?) and possibly get one that way. I mentioned that to a friend who legitimately works at sea and was reminded that becoming a pirate requires a violent and STD filled lifestyle. So for now, I'll pass on becoming a pirate.


BUT NOW A GAME I CALL: "YOU SUCK AT BEING A HISTORICAL INTERPRETER" 
This game is brought to you by my second home in Barkerville, BC and is dedicated to my Barkerville Family.
Using this picture, as well as what I saw and heard that afternoon, I will tell you why these people should be ashamed of their 'historical' interpretation of the War of 1812.

1. French Manicure.
2. Straws
3. Paper Cups
4. Discussion about yoga
5. Canada Flags
6. Don't even get me started on the fiddle player.


Ontario is awesome. My visit is awesome. My friends are awesome. Banana Popsicles are the awesomest.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

He got fired. Weird.

Niagara Falls. June 29, 2013. Possibly the nicest picture of me ever. :D
You know, I have been to Niagara Falls a few times over the course of my life and it never ceases to amaze me how... well... amazing it is.

This cataract pumps over 900 000 cubic feet of water per second! And that is only 1/3 of the flow it is capable of! The other 2/3 of it is diverted to produce hydro electricity for Ontario and New York State. It has an amazing history which I won't bore you with right now, but if you ever get the chance to come to Ontario, make sure you stop in Niagara Falls. Oh yes, it is a complete tourist trap, it totally is, but it's worth it to go there at least once in your life.

On Saturday night my two besties from University and I headed to Niagara for an evening of laughing, walking, friendship and our traditional Possee Pizza. (Shout out to Pizza Dave who got us hooked).

 Possee Pizza started during university. The years when students tend to be unhealthy and not think that eating pizza regularly at 2am was probably not a good idea. We'd all be studying or working or having pillow fights (because that is what girls in university do all day long) and one of us would suggest a Pizza Pizza run. We'd load up the car and head to Pizza Pizza and our best bud Pizza Dave who would let us make our own pizzas, give us free dipping sauces and pop and generally let us have the run of the Pizza Pizza store he worked at. And then one day Pizza Dave wasn't there. He got fired. Weird.

Pizza Pizza only exists in Ontario. So every time I come back, we three head out for our Possee Pizza Special - chicken, feta, sun dried tomatoes. A delicious tradition.

I love my friends. I love that they are hosting me, and caring for me, and love me, and are taking time off to spend time with me while I'm here. They make me happy.




Friday, June 28, 2013

Only Porn Stars Rollerblade

 My friend was laughing at me today telling me that I needed to blog more. She was saying that she checks my blog regularly and yelled at me, "I get it, Vancouver Kills Your Soul, write something else!" I laughed and looked around and said, "Well, I could write one called 'Why Toronto Kills My Soul."

Only it doesn't.

It has revived me, and my joy.

I arrived in Toronto at 11pm on Wednesday night after a fairly uneventful 6 hour journey from Kamloops. (Isn't it astounding that I can get across the country in six hours?) My first year college roommate and ten-year-friend of awesomeness Jacci picked me up and was stoked to play tourguide to me regardless of the fact that I grew up three hours from Toronto and have been there many, many, many times. We stayed up late giggling and talking and the next morning after a really sweaty run through High Park we headed out to be tourists.

Side note: It is ridiculously humid here. My curly hair loves it, my skin doesn't and is breaking out, AND I find it ridiculous that I wake up with a cold shower, and before even getting dressed you can literally SEE beads of sweat on my nose and forehead.

Anyways, Jacci and I tourist-ed it up with a stop at Old Fort York which has buildings dating back to the war of 1812. We wandered around the site (which used to be right up on the water line - which is now over a km away), learned some things (did you know that an amputation used to take less than one minute to perform?), giggled and took some pictures (I'm convinced I have a picture of an orb. We even did research when we came home to see if it was.) I like this picture on the right because it is at the Fort, and the city of Toronto has been built right around it - or on top of it as you can see the Gardner Expressway.


After Old Fort York Jacci took me to The Distillery District, which is quite similar to Granville Island in Vancouver. Old breweries and distillery's and factories that have been turned into cutsey shops and boutiques and restaurants. Lunch, wandering, shopping, laughing, all things I enjoy.

We finished off our day with a super romantic, smog-filled, cloudy-sunset, walk down the boardwalk on the smelly shores of Lake Ontario where we laughed at rollerbladers. (Jacci says the only excuse to wear rollerbades is if you are in a porn movie or 1992, if you are not in either of those you shouldn't rollerblade). And to be fair, we didn't just laugh at rollerbladers, we also laughed at *that* tanned, ripped, guy who just HAD to go running with no shirt on.

So far I feel rested, relaxed, happy, positive, and stoked about life. Things I haven't felt for a long time. And better things are yet to come, I've only been here two days!




Monday, May 20, 2013

Why Vancouver Kills My Soul.

You either love Vancouver, or you hate Vancouver. For those of you who love Vancouver: a) I'm sorry, and b) you are delusional.

I don't "hate" Vancouver par-say. But I definitely am not a fan. I'm indifferent. Wait, that's a lie. The title of this post is 'Why Vancouver Kills My Soul" clearly I have problems with it.

To be fair though, Vancouver has some pretty cool things such as:
Concerts
The Aquarium
Granville Island
The Improv Centre
People like Meghan, Chris & Katrina, Robyn, Aleida (sometimes), Amber, and some family.
Commercial Drive
Lush Gardens
Fort Langley (which I KNOW is in Langley, but seriously people, everything west of Hope is considered Vancouver to me).
Sea Otters

And I don't hate it when I go to Vancouver, I find good people and good things to do. But a little piece of me dies every time I spend time in that city. And here's an incomplete list of why.

1. Rain
Constantly.
All the time.
Never stopping.
A constant drizzle.
Of the 87 or so times that I have been to Vancouver at various times in the year, it has not rained a grand total of one time. 

2. Parking
I can handle that there is no parking. It is a city after all. I understand that city planners plan for only 3000 people in a city of 3 million to have a car. I get it. And I can even accept driving around for a ridiculous amount of time looking for a parking spot. What kills my soul, is when I have to wait in line to PAY for the parking spot that I so graciously waited for. Waiting in line to pay!!!! And then I do pay. And then I get a ticket anyways. Curse you Stanley Park. Curse you and your freaking cute sea otters.

3. Bottled Water.
On the best of days I hate bottled water. Don't even get me started on my bottled water rant and how it is destroying the world. But it kills my soul when I am thirsty and have to resort to buying bottled water and it is $1.50 more than a large pop. Why are people obese? Because water is more expensive than calorie filled pop. Unbelievable.

4. Unmarked one-way streets
Yes. I drove down one the wrong way. And it was a big one - four lanes of one way traffic. This *might* have been my fault and not Vancouver's...

5. The Canucks.
I don't care about hockey, but out of love for my sister Bethany I will add in that they are also a part of Vancouver's suck-i-ness.

Oh I will continue to go back to Vancouver occassionally, and I'm sure I will find new things to do each time. And I will do them happily (soaking wet and poor and thirsty) but each time I go the little part of me that likes it a bit more, will compete with the bigger part of me that has found a new thing to dislike.



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thankful for my Booty

Beth and I just wanted to go for a nice little walk.
For quite some time I had been wanting to check out an area in Kamloops known simply as The Hoodoos. I thought it looked pretty neat and wanted to check it out. So on Saturday afternoon we left for a nice little jaunt through the hills.
 
(These are Hoodoos. They look small, don't be deceived, they are massive.)
 
 
It was not a jaunt.
And it wasn't very nice either.
 
What I had been told was a nice little walk, was a hike. The first part of our hike took us along the side of a mountain. I'd classify this area as a moderate trail. Fairly narrow, a steady incline, loose rocks etc. Nothing unmanageable for us. We reached the mid-point on the mountain and had the decision to continue down, or keep going up to the top of the bluffs. After humming and hawing for a few minutes we realized that it was unlikely that we would ever do this hike again in the near future, and we were already (what we thought was) halfway there. And so we continued. 
 
At this point the trail definitely became difficult. Trails were narrow paths on the sides of steep drops, loose gravel and rocks, climbing up gravel and dirtslides using roots, grass, trees, shrubs and the occassional solid rock to get footing as we climbed the never ending hill. In the end we ended up at the top of the bluffs seen in the background of the following picture (not the first set of bluffs, but the ones in the background).
 
(in the foreground/centre is the hoodoos, see how small they are? There's a picture later on showing how big they are)

It was very challenging getting to the top. Every once in a while a rock would come loose and start tumbling down the side of the hill, and it would fall, and fall, and fall, and fall. The only thing that kept me going at points was the fact that there was a sixty year old lady on the trail a few hundred yards behind me, and I was determined to not let her beat me to the top.

The top was pretty magnificent. It was a beautiful, sunny, windy day. The perfect day for our hike really, the sun was out and the breeze kept us cool.

 (please ignore the crazy wind-swept hair of awesomeness)

(That is Kamloops in the background)

 
 
And then it was time to go down.
And here is where the adventure begins.
 
First of all, we had to climb down all the treacherous-deathly-slopes that we had climbed up half an hour before. We pretty much surfed down gravel slides. As we were going down we kept joking that a fall only counted if our butt actually touched the ground, if we landed on our heels or hands first, it didn't count as a fall. I lost track of how many times I slipped and fell or almost-fell. It was funny and we laughed a lot throughout this process.
 
The problem came when we reached the mountain mid-point where we had originally stopped. There was a fork in the trail - go back the way we had came, or take the other route that also led to the bottom. We opted for a different way down. It was a much more difficult way down than the way we had taken up. Lots of gullies, and rocks, and boulders and sand. And that was when we were officially ON the trail.
 
Then we somehow were kinda on the trail, kinda not on the trail. Mostly we were making our own way down the slopes or through an almost dry creek bed. Boulders, rocks, gravel, sand, bushes. It was not plesant, doable, but definitely not the trail system we were supposed to be on. I wasn't worried though because I could see the truck and knew we were going the right way, we were near water, we had lots of daylight left, it was all good, sucky travelling, but no worries.
 
So we are hiking down through this dry creek bed and we come to a fairly steep 15 foot drop water-fall area that we had to climb down. Like I said, the water is mostly dried up, and the waterfall has step-like rocks going down it. It's steep, but with the right footing Bethany shimmied across it and down the side. My turn. I did OK, for about 3 feet. Then the rocks disintigrated and I fell the rest of the way down. See, hoodoos are deceptively not made of rock. They are made of hard-packed rock-like sand. And beause it is still spring, the water they absorbed over the winter, combined with the recent rains we have had, made them quite a bit weaker than they would be in the summer after being baked in Kamloops desert heat all day every day.
 
So anyways, I fell down the waterfall into the bottom of the ravine/creek bed. It was terrifying. As I was falling the only thing I was screaming in my head was, "don't break a bone, don't break a bone. Kamloops Search and Rescue better have HAWT volunteers this year to come save me!" When I finally hit the bottom, I litterally laid there, in the water, and asked myself if I was still alive. When I realized I was still alive, I checked to see if I was broken anywhere. Luckily, I was not broken, sore and ripped up, definitely, but not broken. I think yesterday was the only day I was actually happy with the fact that I am not super skinny and still have a booty. It took the brunt of that fall.
 
Anyways, I did not break anything, but there is not a doubt in my mind that if I had broken something we would have had to call Search and Rescue. We were in such a remote ravine. And then on the radio tomorrow we would have been the "two inexperienced hikers took on more than they could chew at Cinnamon Ridge" that the radio would have made fun of and an example of.
 

Yeah, get out of that with a broken leg or arm.
We kept going down the creek bed after I stopped shaking, and I almost cried when our creekbed turned into a legit waterfall that was impossible to get over. And so we hiked back up. Which was good, because then we found a trail and were able to get down with no more problems.

I have mixed feelings about yesterday. On the one hand, I was super proud that we hiked up and down that entire thing - and mostly without the help of a trail system, but on the other hand, it was pretty sucky. Do I need to do it again? Probably not. :)
 

 



Sunday, April 07, 2013

"You do know they are h.core right?"

Every once in a while a few random strangers end up sleeping on my couch. I love it! It's usually people we hear about through the church who need a place to stay for a few days, sometimes it is friends of friends who need a place to crash. My sisters and I have an unspoken pact that our door is always open to whoever need it so long as they have a good reference.

Last year Bethany spent a few months backpacking through Thailand and Cambodia. Our guests this weekend were people she had connected with through that trip.

As we were sitting around on Friday afternoon talking and chatting I learned that our guests had brought their bikes with them, being the generous, outgoing host that I am, I excitedly exclaimed that I would LOVE to go biking with them on Saturday morning. Everyone laughed and was happy. As was I, until 4 seconds later when Bethany asked, "you do know that they are h.core downhill mountain bikers right?"

I didn't.

But I had already committed.

So the next morning we loaded up the bikes and drove to Kamloops Bike Ranch where my new (and incredibly patient) friends taught me how to downhill mountain bike.

Rule 1. Don't sit down.
(So grateful this was rule one or my dreams of one day having children would be squashed)

Rule 2. Keep your weight back.
(I'm thinking this was my problem in August when I tried downhill biking and fell off my bike)

Rule 3. It is ok to go slow (or walk) down certain areas until you are comfortable.
(Thank you!)

I was excited to learn and to try this new sport. They loaned me a sweet top-of-the-line bike, and it looked awesome with my dinky little bike helmet. After unloading the bikes at the top of the mountain, learning the rules and starting down the road I started to get nervous. Especially as we picked up speed and headed toward some very steep birms (tight corners). Things were not looking good for me.  But I pushed through my fears, walked a bit, biked a bit, and made it down the mountain without crashing or dying.

Round two, I was going so incredibly h.core down a double black diamond, doing flips and jumps, and totally ripping things up, (yeah right) I got a flat tire.

And on the third time down, low and behold we realized that we had been going down blue and black runs, and that there were actually green runs available for newbies like me. Someone had smashed the signs! (hooligans). I put myself on the green run and the rest of my morning was GREAT. I'm not saying the green runs were 'easy', but I definitely only felt like I cheated death three times on the way down instead of constantly on the other runs.
 
The view from the top. Looking west toward Kamloops

 
This is part of the ranch. Notice how there are many different ridges. You do not want to end up on the wrong one or you will have a hard time getting back to where you need to be.

 
Finially got the hang of it! This here is right after a narrow (i.e. 1 foot wide) section of trail that ran up the side of the bluff. If you fell off the trail you fell down the side of the cliff oh... probably 200 feet into a rocky ravine. I'm pretty happy in this picture. Having tons of fun.


Remember what I said about getting on the wrong ridge? Yeah... I don't know how I got onto this one, but I did. It took some work to get back to the main trail and in-bounds area. Not as much work as 20minutes later when I REALLY got lost and had to do a big hike to get back to where I wanted to be.
 
All in all, it was a fantastic morning. I had a lot of fun, tried something new, laughed a lot, screamed a bit, and totally want to do it again! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Christy Came!

I've mentioned them before - those people that I consider my 'Always Friends'.

And this one time, last month, one of them super awesomely, and super randomly showed up on my doorstep.

It all started when my uber motivated friend Christy decided that in the year 2013 she was going to learn to do 25 new things. She asked for suggestions from friends and family of what they would like to teach her and she said that she would arrange travelling to the location as well as the cost of any supplies. I jokingly suggested she fly 3000km to Kamloops where I would gladly teach her to snowboard. And so she hopped on a plane and came.

You can read her story here.

It was great. Christy also teaches grade 5, so she taught a few fun classes for me, I observed her teaching skills, she watched me, I gave her a personal tour of Kamloops and then on my couch, over a bowl of rice krispy squares, we talked, and talked, and talked. Ten years of friendship, three years since we saw each other last. We talked. We talked about happy things, we discussed solutions to stressful things, we giggled, we reminiced, we laughed, she let me mourn and be angry and held my hand as I poured out the last few unhappy months. She was my friend and she came to me to learn, to have fun, to let me be sad, and to cheer me up. I have so much love for her and am so thankful for her role in my life story.

And then I taught her to snowboard. And she was actually impressively amazing, a natural. Really. But read her story to hear about it. I know that the snowboarding was the reason she came, but to me it was secondary. To me the important part was sharing a thing that I love, in a place that I love, and spending time with a person I love.

I love always friends.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Open to suggestions...

Well, officially the word went out this week.
I need a change.
And so next September I will not be returning to teaching.
What I'm doing is still up in the air. My only criteria is that is can't be teaching, it has to be something new, and should involve some sort of adventure. I have no idea what to do and I am taking suggestions.

Such as the following ones from my students.

Go to Hollywood
Go to Hollywood and meet Zac Efron
Go on a Disney cruise with Zac Efron
Kiss Zac Efron (hmmm. I'm sensing a theme)
Meet Zac Efron, snowboard in the winter, 3 weeks at Disney World, get a boyfriend. (Ok. I'll get right on that...)
You should be a firefighter because there are a lot of hot fire fighter men. Wink... wink...
Be a famous trivia show host
Become popular and be crazy with money and buy a year supply of bacon (bacon is delicious)
Hunt Yeti in Alaska (would be good research for my book)
Belly button lint collector
Bungee jump off the grand canyon (I would pee my pants, but it would be amazing)
Be a model in a magazine
Give tips to girls/boys about dating (to which my response was a very sarcastic 'oh yeah, because clearly I am sooooo good at dating...)
Travel to Guatemala and be a missionary for a month
Be a lonely and crazy old cat lady (currently in progress)
Go to Mexico and pet dolphins and zipline and take a tour of the tekela (tequila) factory
Go to Peru and see Machu Pichu
Be a stunt double
Find Bigfoot
Work in Las Vegas (I would be a terrible showgirl)

 If you have an idea, let me know!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Top 10 February

I was thinking this week about how I haven't blogged much. And then I thought about how it is *that time* of year when life just all around is no fun. It reminded me of this post from last year.

So I was going to write another list of my top ten sucky moments of February 2013, but I don't like to be like that. I like to be happy. And so, tonight I bring you in photo's, reasons why February doesn't actually suck as much as I think it does.
#1 Night Skiing
 #2 Snowboarding
 #3 Falling off a cliff into out-of-bounds and narrowly escaping death by tree-smashing, only to find this view of the Rockies.
 #4 Adult Jolly Jumpers.
(Apparently this was my favourite thing to do as a baby. Coincidentally, I still love it)
 #5 Being an awesome teacher and dissecting fish for my students.
 #6 Seeing this instead of the front of a church on a Sunday morning.
 7. Many, many, many, long drives, with views in the distance.
 8. Sunsets that pictures can not capture.
 9. Sharing special days with lovely people.
 9. Funny winter art (and my super awesome jacket that I love)
10. Old Friends who are Always Friends who come visit from the other side of the country for whirlwind visits.