Camping at Sharbot Lake – July 2014

I’ve been a bad wife and a bad mother. I’ve been working so hard and focused so much on my new projects at work (both exciting and stressful at the same time) that I wanted to do a stay-cation and work part time from home. Mind you, I did plan on making sure we did fun things during the day but I figured I would still wake up at the same time every morning, head to the gym while everyone slept so I could join them for breakfast or brunch when they woke. Then we would do something fun in the city (or just outside the city). Work would have been when we got home before dinner and after dinner. Or after breakfast if we were having a late start of the day.

But my husband put a stop to this mad way of thinking. He asked what the point of a vacation was if I wasn’t really going to take a true break from work? Yes, he had a point. This is a special year though as we re-build and re-brand ourselves in so many ways. Being the new marketing manager makes me pretty much accountable for all of this.

And so, he convinced me to go camping for a few days. There’s no WIFI during camping and therefore, no way for me to connect.

Now, I do have my Asana app which links me to my team. Any updates on our projects would be notified to me through this app. Yet my boss, the VP, gave me orders to not do any work or think about work. He must have told this to the rest of the team because I received no notifications until Sunday, the day before heading back to the office.

Anyway, we found ourselves at Sharbot Lake, thankful we were able to get a great site since we were going mid-week. It was so beautiful and we definitely plan to head back there again.

Sharbot LakeWe spent one day hiking the Discovery Trail. While only just over 2 km which is nothing compared to the usual distance we hike now, the terrain was on the more rugged side which I love! It also walked us through several different types of scenery and landscapes. Chaeli noted that this made the whole hike much more interesting as we got to see many things.

Sharbot Lake camping - toadWe encountered a lot of different wildlife – all small types, though. The first morning, Doug nearly stepped on a toad just outside our trailer. I picked it up and gave it over to Chaeli to release in the woods. Hobbes got a chance to sniff (and lick) it. I am guessing toads give off a bitter taste as part of their defense mechanism because Hobbes backed up quickly and shook his head vigorously in disgust.

Hobbes encountered many squirrels and chipmunks – including one that came running across our campsite. It probably did not see Hobbes or maybe it was on a suicide mission because Hobbes, waiting for the right moment, pounced without a sound and intersected the poor squirrel. The squirrel was unharmed but did get flipped into the air before it scurried away and ran up a tree – making a lot of noise along the way!

trailer campingChaeli was wiped every night we were there. Not only did we remain fairly active, but she also would join the neighbouring kids for a game of soccer or tag whenever they gathered in the big field behind our camp site. It was an ideal spot for us because she was constantly in our view.

camping foodcamping foodI always tell people – just because we’re camping doesn’t mean we have to rely on just hot dogs and canned food. And because of my diabetes, I have to remain healthy even while vacationing, camping or not.

Luckily, we have an electric cooler and we were staying at a hydro site. This made packing mixed spring greens easier, as well as other veggies. I prepared all the veggies before leaving though – I cut up carrots, celery, bell peppers, cauliflower and broccoli then threwg them into Ziplock bags the day before we left. This allowed also for easy snacking access for healthier food options.

And nothing compares to a thick, juicy steak that’s grilled over an open flame.

Sharbot Lake fishingWe spent one afternoon canoeing and fishing. But none of us had even a nibble. It was pathetic.

The next day, just for a last attempt, Doug took Chaeli to the unused campsite across from us which was next to the lake. They just stayed on shore to cast their line in. While Doug caught some very small fish he released right away, Chaeli snagged this 2lb Large Mouth Bass with just her dinky Mickey Mouse rod we bought for her from Canadian Tire of all places!

Sharbot Lake canoeingIt was a great vacation. We arrived home Friday afternoon which still gave me a couple of days for a mini-stay-cation to round up my week off. I managed not to log on my laptop for at least two days after we made it home but did check email Sunday late afternoon (I knew I would have a lot of emails and just wanted to start filtering out all the junk and reading some important emails).

nostalgia of a san francisco nightclub

nightclub

hanging with tko

the photo i posted in yesterday’s post, completely brought back some very nostalgic feelings of my youth. not long after i published that post, i emailed T (back in the days, his alias on my then blog(s) was ‘tko’) asking if he had any photos from that one crazy night when we found ourselves in a nightclub, surrounded by very, very new friends (lots of them knew me from my blog but i hadn’t met them yet, aside from my friend and main connection to the bay area, gordon a.k.a. mad-boy).

a couple of hours later, i got a response – with a folder of photos! they are small but you can still make out everyone from them.

T, rvx and i were on a californian road trip, which started in the bay area, next to monterey bay, then along the coast via highway 1, stopping at LA and then finally, san diego. with a side trip to tijuana.

bay area nightclub

the 3 amigos!

that first day/night was a bit overboard for us. all three of us were ready for a release from long days and weeks at work. it was the second half of our winter season and nothing felt better than to leave the dreary weather behind.

i think our first mistake was taking advantage of the free alcohol in the VIP airport lounge (T was a frequent flyer for business and had the ability to get two guest passes for us). then the drinks continued on the plane – big mistake. alcohol volume, apparently, doubles or even triples in one’s blood stream due to the air pressure.

bay area night club

that’s me in the blue dress!

when we landed, i think we had a quick bite to eat before checking in to our hotel, getting ready, and then heading out again.

mad-boy took us to this pretty cool club where we met all these people for the first time. don’t ask me for even half of the names. i remember some key people only because i had interacted with them through my then blog and email before arriving in california.

hans was one of them and sometimes i wonder how he is doing. i remember he was also into dragon boating – very nice guy. good looking, too!

bay area nightclub

me and hans

there was also martin – he was a writer/journalist. i believe he had some work published in the sfgate. super intelligent and down-to-earth guy. though the last drink i had was purchased by him. and it did not sit well with me. to this day, i still can not even go near anything with sambuca in it.

both T and i had to visit the washroom as we were pretty green by the end of the night. i will have to admit that while the night was very memorable, that part, obviously, was not. thankfully, nights like that were quite rare as i started to learn to pace myself. but i had no idea what the air pressure could do to one’s body, not just during the flight but hours later, when alcohol is running through the blood stream. lesson learned for sure.

bay area nightclub

end of the night group shot

still, it was a fun night with great dancing!

and somewhat very different in contrast to the 2nd night, where mad-boy took us to more of an after-hour party in oakland.

he wasn’t aware that the part was being held at a swinger’s motel, even though he had gone to the promotional honey’s parties before (his friend, one of the guys amongst our group during our visit, was the promoter of this company – and honey was a transvestite that mc-ed the parties). the promotional party group always threw amazing parties finding the best locations week after week.

bay area nightclub

tko and i having a bit too much fun (i.e. more than one too many drinks)

that party, though… yeesh. music was not bad but the scene got pretty seedy as the night went down. there were interesting sights to behold.

but we were also afraid of touching anything with our bare hands.

anyway, these photos T sent me do make me smile (and laugh for some – like this one to the right ->). it makes me happy to know that i did these things. because it’s not something i have any desire to do now but the memories do make me happy.

certain feelings of nostalgia can live with you forever.

treating myself

mid-winter indulgence shopping

i admit it, i’ve been giving into small indulgences. some of the mid-winter sales are a bit hard to resist. above are my recent purchases. aside  from the travel mug, everything else was pretty much a steal.

note – i tend to go on for a very long time between shopping for myself unless they are truly things that i need. for example, last weekend, i finally went shopping for underwear at costco. 6 cotton, undies – $2 each! comfortable but no granny-panties. all pastel colours of pink, peach, yellow, baby blue, etc. why pastel? i am a woman that tends to wear a lot of black, grey and other neutral/earthy colours. i try to add splashes of colours into my wardrobe and while i’m succeeding at it, some colours i can only wear unseen underneath my clothes.

i’m sure you wanted to know that.

as i was saying about my underwear purchase, i had to. i really had to buckle down and get some underwear. i had a bunch from my drawer that i try to wear on weekends as they are too big, but it was getting ridiculous. when one walks, they should not feel their underwear moving in all sorts of directions. when one stands up from bending over or sitting, one should not need to always hitch their underwear back up. when one changes out of pants, the underwear should not come off with the said pair of pants. underwear needs to be comfortable, yes, but it also needs to be functional. and my old pairs of underwear, perhaps 2 sizes too large, were not functional anymore.

that was definitely a tangent to what i meant to post, but there you have it. that is my underwear story.

anyway, the above purchases were:

  1. Aqua Finley Leather Journal
    • my therapist agreed that i should keep a journal. my friend, ada, gave me the idea about making sure i purchase a journal that feels right to me. not only did i love the colour, which reminds me of some of the aqua-blue colours of the ocean during our cruise, but the texture feels good in my hands.
  2. Starbucks Double Wall Faceted Mug
    • go team canada! i couldn’t resist the red and white colours – totally fitting to the olympic spirit during the sochi winter games. i have a larger, more durable travel mug with a handle. but sometimes, if i’m going to the library or needing a cup of hot beverage to take in the car with me, i just want a simple, small tumbler. and the weight of the ceramic feels good to hold.
  3. Women’s Old Navy Active 1/4-Zip Jackets
    • once in awhile, it is a bit cold in the basement or fitness studio during one of my yoga practices. i had talked about getting an active, long sleeve layer with holes in the sleeve for my thumbs. that way, i can wear it as an outer layer to shed once my body warms up. it would also be great as an inner layer for snowboarding. the thing is that even a cheaper brand costs $30. old navy had a sale plus an additional 30% off so in the end, i bought this for $12! TWELVE DOLLARS! i should have bought one in every colour at that price.
  4. Women’s Heart-Icon Hoodies
    • perhaps to continue with the team canada’s olympic spirit but more because i wanted a white hoodie and i wanted something with a heart on it. i don’t tend to have things that are ‘girly’ like that so this is reaching out a bit from my comfort zone. the price made it easier to go ahead with the purchase.
  5. Blue Marble Leather Journal
    • another leather journal ready and in place once the aqua-blue one is filled. same reason as to why i bought the other journal – i loved the look and feel to this one as well. i couldn’t decide between the two but as they were both on the clearance rack, i decided to get both.

finding joy, not order

i simply love this post from dooce:

I was recently having a conversation with a friend about the things in my life that make me joyous in an effort to experience more of that emotion in my life. She was very specific to point out that my anxiety likes to confuse feelings of joy with feelings of safety, and for me to really dig deep and make the distinction. That’s the really shitty thing about anxiety, it can take the kid inside you who used to marvel at rainbows and dance around in public and tell her that there is way too much to worry about to ever feel like that again. continue reading…

she goes on about how she finds joy in daily things such as exercising, diet, organizing… but in the end, all those things she listed were really just relief from the order it gave her life.

i am, as i am discovering, the exact same way. i suppose on some level, i really do enjoy some aspects of my workout… such as yoga. it gives me joy simply because when i am doing yoga, my body feels so alive and, well, loved. i’m giving many moments during my yoga practice to be kind to my body. and therefore, show myself how much i do love the inner me.

and while i think a lot of other things i do in my fitness regime is fun, the bottom line is that i like the order it creates in my daily grind. it’s a way to control something… in this case, it’s having some control over my body.

she also goes on to explain how one true joy is the laughter of her children – and i couldn’t agree more. and so, one way she finds joy in her everyday life is to add some level of silliness with her children.

this brought me back to our last trip to disney world.

to be honest, the exact moment and location escapes me. but basically, doug, chaeli and i were sitting at some restaurant within one of the theme parks, talking about what we planned to do that day. i believe we had plans to head into epcot and how we would make sure to drop by and see crush the talking turtle. (and yes, he talks to the kids in the audience, this animated turtle on a screen that looks like you’re looking into an aquarium, in real time – apparently, it uses digital-puppetry.)

doug and i both started to talk like crush the turtle and this set chaeli into fits of giggles. sure, people were probably walking by, thinking we were nuts. then again, this was disney. people who go to disney and love disney and want to wrap themselves in all-things-disney GET it. no need to explain. “see those people? they get being here. they’re happy. why wouldn’t they be talking like crush the turtle?”

i look back in my ten years and honestly, it’s like i’ve forgotten how to just be in that moment where i find joy. and it’s always over the small stuff. it’s not like a big production is needed. at all.

dooce is right. anxiety really does take the kid out of a person.

and it’s times like these that i realize that the best teacher to teach me about how to have that type of fun again… is my own kid.

dreaming of someplace else

st kitts beach vancouver

st. kitts beach, vancouver

i had my 3rd blood test today within the four months of learning i have diabetes type 2. as usual, i got there around 7:30am – half an hour before the lab opens for business. i learned long ago not to be even five minutes past this time. it’s the only way to ensure that i’m one of the first 3 people, and therefore, the only way to ensure little waiting time. by quarter-to, the line-up was standing people were already down the hall and arround the corner where the elevators were located.

i had folded up my old, long black coat into a cushion to sit on. i had my book, friendship, hateship, courtship, loveship, marriage by alice munro with me to help pass time.

being first in line, i was received into the room almost right away. the tiny room that seemed more like stalls as each person was instructed to go in and wait. with no food in our stomachs and worse, no coffee, most of the patients there were weary-eyed and tired. maybe a little weak, too.

i felt fine, though. fasting for 12 hours is nothing to me. in fact, i was only starting to feel a little hungry before entering the waiting area.

and so the process begins. an elastic band is tied tightly around my lower bicep area. i make a fist as the technician taps around for my vein. you have small veins, is the usual comment. yes, i know. it’s one of the things i worry about as i get older and maybe one day, will require an IV for a lengthy period of time. and the nurses will comment again about how my veins are too small and that there might be a problem.

but she finally finds one to tap into. after a slight prick, i watch as my blood flows down a tube into the three separate vials. my blood is flowing slower today. much slower and i’m not sure what to make of it. a mental note, perhaps, to ask my doctor when i visit him about my results.

afterwards, i find a tim hortons close by. believe me, i would have rather have found a starbucks. but it wasn’t so much as filling my empty stomach as it was to find a place for me to have my breakfast so i can also take my meds. meds must be accompanied by food.

as usual, it’s not always easy for me to order at a fast food place while being mindful of my diabetic lifestyle. thankfully, they have egg white and turkey sausage now. only, i asked the tim hortons’ employee, would it be possible to get the egg white and turkey sausage on the multi-grain flat bread they use for the panini breakfast sandwich.

i have not yet mastered how to ask for this specific order without causing confusion. it’s not confusing, really, but for whatever reason, anytime i go to tim hortons to make a request regarding the bread type for my breakfast sandwich, i end up having to wait for the employee to go to their supervisor/manager. as they are not sure if this request is allowed. or how to enter it on the cash register.

but it’s always allowed.

one time, i had such great difficulties asking for this request that i waited a very long time as the supervisor was busy. the cashier next to me, while i was waiting, put in the exact order for the gentleman beside me.

*sigh* it should be easier than this.

alas, i found myself a stool by the window where i could look out at the cold, winter scenery. the sandwich, even with all the trouble it took to receive it, was good. and while the coffee tasted like the usual water-down coffee tim hortons is famous for, the warmth served its purpose.

as i looked out onto the snow, i was suddenly reminded of our time spent in vancouver a couple of summers ago. i remember how being there for only several days, i felt completely like it was home to me. in an instant i felt a strong nostalgic pull towards all the wonderful memories made on that trip.

i miss the food, the people, the sights and sound. i miss the culture and the lifestyle. i miss being just a walk away from the beach one direction, granville island another direction, and just steps away from the city bus which took us downtown (a mere 10-15 minutes ride compared the 45-60min commute i would need to head to the heart of the city here in toronto).

perhaps i also miss how simple life was just two years ago. i didn’t know it at the time, but compared to so much that’s going on now, those were definitely simpler times.