Saturday, December 31, 2011

So long 2011!

It was a great year and just in the nick of time I'm posting my final 'month-in-review' layout. It was a great little recap of our year and I'm glad I kept it up! That ticks of #32 on my 2011 manifesto!

Talking of my 2011 manifesto - I am pretty pleased with my accomplishments. 37 items on my list and I've ticked off 33 - I fell short by just 4! Its funny how something as simple as this list has somehow kept me accountable. That classic 'I must do that', 'I should've done that' or 'I really wish I could...'. were converted into items on this list at the end of last year and I've enjoyed checking off things as I've gone.

Here's a final look at my 2011 list;
  1. Make chocolate chip cookies from scratch
  2. Log 600 miles running - upped to 700 miles!
  3. Paint a wall
  4. Visit a new country
  5. Blog at least once a month
  6. Take a ski lesson
  7. Make wall art (and actually display it!)
  8. Go on a picnic
  9. Learn something new
  10. Grow vegetables
  11. Play mini golf
  12. Go for a bike ride (the type with pedals and hard graft!)
  13. Rent a boat
  14. Bake a loaf of bread
  15. Relax in a candlelit bubble-bath
  16. Go to a hockey game
  17. Take a yoga class
  18. Make business cards
  19. Visit a national park
  20. Go camping
  21. Ice-skate outside
  22. Give 3 handmade gifts
  23. Sew something
  24. Stay in Harvey
  25. Make gazpacho
  26. Try a new restaurant
  27. Go to a live comedy show
  28. Run a sub 56' 10km
  29. Read 2 non-fiction books
  30. Spray paint something
  31. Feed the ducks
  32. Do a scrapbook page every month (month-in-review)
  33. Make money from my new business venture
  34. Give to charity
  35. Listen to live music
  36. Cook and master 12 new recipes
  37. Complete a Gratitude journal

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Currently: End of Year 2011

listening: Abercrombie & Fitch playlists online
reading: Lost on planet China by J. Maarten Troost (chrimbo pressie from Chris!)
eating: Baguette with pate, cheese and piccalilli
drinking: water
wearing: lululemon leggings, long cardigan and cozy uggs
feeling: full - permanently full and over-indulged since Christmas!
weather: warm it's +8 in December!! - crazy
needing: to exercise
enjoying: this music
wondering: how long before I can run again

So on the 19th December I had a little run-in with Jillean Michaels. Put me out of action and on crutches for Christmas week....which was nice....NOT! Now with the Christmas indulgences stacking up (specifically around the middle region!) plus crazy warm +8 temps I'm itching to get out there and run. And I can't. I really can't. And I'm getting fed up with that. Having been blessed with an injury free running life so far I really am not handling it all that well! Sometimes I do wonder if it's the fact that I can't making me want to go out even more (after all I was more than happy last year to retire for the cold, wintery months) but I don't think so....

So here I am, willing in the new year and hope that I have a healed and stronger ankle ready to carry me (ideally about 5 less pounds of me than right now - damn those Christmas chocolates!) into a happy and fit new year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

November in review

Not so many pictures for us this month, so I struggled a bit pulling it together! Can't believe it's nearly the end of the year and I've managed to keep this up. Looking forward to embarking on a new way of recording our everyday life next year. I am excited to start using Project Life!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We survived!!

(and if you read too many race reports about this one you'll understand that could have been an achievement in itself!!)

2:17:00 - Well it certainly wasn't a record breaking time, but I never expected it to be. But the important thing for us was that we had a blast! We totally rocked the strip at night at the 2011 Rock n' Rock Las Vegas Half Marathon!

We got back from our mini vacation late on Wednesday night but the run itself happened Sunday evening - starting at 5.30pm - so yes completely dark. What I wasn't really anticipating was how flippin' cold it was. It was more the biting wind that really kept it chilly. The race was crazy busy as we anticipated - 44,000 people will do that! I ended up slipping an extra layer under my running shirt and never once regretted that move. It got a little better once we were huddled into our corrals at the start line - I don't really think that 1000 people should have been in that small a space but the body heat certainly helped whilst we waited for our wave to cross the start line!
Once we got going it was a fairly steady pace - a little slower than I'd normally set off, but later in the race I think it was a wise (if unintentional!) move! It wasn't as light/bright as I thought it'd be, but it was awesome to be running along such a famous stretch of road, completely closed to traffic for the evening! The bright lights of all the casinos were all the light we had. We passed the Bellagio just as the fountains were going, and I may have glimpsed a volcano erupting too! At the northern end of the strip we looped around a little through the 'older' downtown area - I know it's undergoing lots of regeneration plans now, and certainly Chris and I visited Fremont Street in a past trip (Which is awesome!). There were less spectators in this area but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in enthusiasm! I'm not sure if they were an 'official' band on the course but some of the best music I heard on the way was up near Fremont Street with little set-up and speakers blasting out their tunes!

The last 5 miles I was cruising. I'm curious if it was the slow steady start or that I tried out fuelling with Gu for the first time during a long run (always been nervous about what it might 'do' to me and my digestive system, but with this race I felt so relaxed and pressure free I didn't really care either way!). It was a first for me to be encouraging Chris along  (bless him, I think I may have forced the 'old' man into this a little - what with his injury and complete lack of training and not having run the distance in 15 years it was quite the achievement for him!) I loved running with him, and excited for me to have felt 'so good' later in the race - it was a great learning curve for me.

So onto the 'fiasco' that was the post-race. Actually NO. If you want to read about that go elsewhere (you won't have to look too far). WE had an AWESOME race. There was 44,000 people - it was always going to be busy and hectic and crowded. It was nothing more than I'd expected. Post race we got our fabulous chunky heavy medals, a Mylar blanket (Which heck did I need!) plenty of water, cytomax, granola bars, bagels and bananas (which I will concede to the mass complaints, were a little green!). We hot-footed it inside the convention centre to pick up our bags and change into some warmer, drier clothes and then started walking up the strip to eat, then back to our hotel. The bag check (though badly signed) was very organised - and the plus points was our low corral & bib numbers meant our bags were right up front!!
Loved these mirrors at the expo! - what fun!!
The expo prior to the race was awesome too. I'd never been to a 'big' expo before but we just strolled around picking up freebies and samples left, right and centre (hey, I'm always a sucker for freebies!). I also got to listen to the ladies from 'Run Like a Mother' present a short talk on the stage and we got our snazzy race tees - love that they had womens sizes (now I just need to wait till next spring before I can wear a short sleeve shirt again!)

Vegas itself, well, what can I say?! It's bright, bold and brash but it always entertains me! We strolled for miles, ran for miles, actually didn't do that much shopping (I know?! shock!!), but took in the Criss Angel Illusionist show at the Luxor, along with the Titanic exhibition, a gluttonous Champagne Brunch at the Bellagio and altogether way too much eating and drinking (and seriously $16 for a cocktail ?!)

That saying 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas'? - I'm just hoping that applies to calories too!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Less than a week to go!

Less than a week to go till we'll be running the 'Strip at Night' in Vegas with 44,000 other people. I'm super excited. Not only is it vacation time for us (after all who doesn't love a vacation!) but I'm so looking forward to the vibes and atmosphere of a really big race. The OK 1/2 marathon I've done the last 2 years has something like 2000 runners! We have both run a 'big race' - the Vancouver Sun Run has around 50,000 people so we know what it's like - and yes it's crazy busy, but I love it!!
Chris has struggled with a calf strain (well that's the problem we're not sure it's a strain it's just pain!) for months now so hasn't really been training for this at all! I've certainly tapered off a lot since my October race aswell (It's been tough for me to keep up the motivation and pace I think - I've yet to figure out how not to have that 'dip' after the culmination of training for one race)

We both agreed pretty early on that we'd run it together. And that most importantly we'd soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the moment. And for me, I'm happy to not run competively. I want to be able to take photos along the way and have fun. I want to Elvis-spot, and enjoy the bands playing along the course and I want to experience it all with Chris at my side. So we're going to take it easy (we're on vacation right?!) Making that decision made it easier this last month (since the clocks went back really) with not pressurising myself to train in the same way. I still haven't totally figured out snowy dark training runs. (Cold I can handle but the dark nights and icy roads and idiot drivers which I can't control still leaving me sitting at home in the warmth on the couch!!)

Less than a week to go.....I can't wait!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


A couple of weekends back we took a long weekend trip to Seattle. We've been there countless times now, and invariably end up at the same spots but I love it each and every time! The weekend started with a trip from hell being stuck on the Coquihalla for 3.5 hours while it shut down to traffic due to adverse weather conditions (in mid-November - this is why any of our winter guests are strongly advised to fly right on into Kelowna!). So what should have been a 5.5hr journey was 9 hours!

We wanted to put in some tourist time on this trip, rather than just shopping till the credit card reaches it's limit. (But we did spend some time at the mall and I feel awesome because 80% of the Christmas shopping is done - in mid-November!! A very successful day and presents have even been mailed!!)

Pike Place Market on a easy Sunday morning
We drove downtown for a lazy Sunday morning stroll - and lucked out with a car parking spot RIGHT in front of the original Starbucks at Pike Place Market! We weren't even trying, we just got stuck in traffic and someone pulled out right in front of us! It would have been rude to pass up the opportunity!

We also stopped by the EMP museum in the Seattle Centre. For starters it's the most incredibly funky looking building on the outside - reminds me of a giant space age jellybean sitting at the foot of the Seattle Space Needle!! Inside it's all about Music, Sci-Fi and Pop Culture. There were exhibits about Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix (both Pacific Northwest artists) plus an Battlestar Galactica exhibition with costumes, full size ships, interactive exhibits and props. A great basement exhibit about the Lure of Horror films with clips, artifacts and recorded interviews. But probably my favourite bit was the Avatar Exhibition - with tonnes of information about the creation of the film, behind the scenes footage of filming, interviews and props  - we watched clips of the film with the final version and several of the in process versions running concurrently so you could really see how it developed into such a polished finished product - an amazing film (And to think at the time I really wasn't bothered about going to watch it!)

So nice to get away! To spend some time together away from work and regular life!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catching Up...

I'm just wondering how many posts I've called 'Catching up' this year?!!! Seems to be a constant process! Ho hum!! And only a few days left of November before I'll have another page to do!

Taking photos has become a little easier for me finally since I got my new phone - hooray I'm in the 21st century with the latest iPhone - I'd been waiting a long time for this, making do with a crummy old flip-up phone. It's been fun playing and trying out so many apps with lots of funky filters to try - you may well start noticing a lot of square photos around here - they seem to be back in fashion!! Hilarious really that we have this crazy advanced technology and we're all picking apps that make our photos look like they were back in the 70's!!

After worrying that I wasn't going to acheive my goal of running 600 miles this year (#2) I ended up blowing it out the water! Reached my goal in late October - so I'm (belatedly!) annoucing I've upped the ante and decided to make it to 700miles (belated because I'm only 35 miles of reaching that too now!)

I also finally got that loaf of bread baked (#14) and I've been baking ever since. We now nearly always have dough ready made to go in the fridge - I love that we're eating something so natural (compared to the bought stuff with ingredient lists as long as my arm!)

Here are my layouts for September and October.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Zip-lining the Okanagan!

Last Sunday we took a drive up to a new attraction here in the Okanagan - the Zip Zone! Our friends Julia and Peter had invited us along to check it out. We were blessed with a beautiful sunny but crisp fall day and after the waiver signing we got kitted up into harnesses and got going. Chris and I had both zip-lined before in Whistler, BC but once we set eyes on this set-up it was in a whole different league! Hazy memories of before but this seemed much bigger and longer - we were excited to get going!

After feeling so blase about it, I had a moment of nerves standing at the platform for the first line. We'd all opted not to take our handles, but I think that first one I kept a firm hold of the webbing line anyway! Of course the moment you're going it's the greatest buzz! And the views......stunning!

All 6 lines criss-cross back and forth across Deep Creek Canyon and you can see right down the canyon into the distance and even get a faint glimpse of the creek waters at the bottom (it's tough cause it's only a small creek and the canyon walls and steep and narrow). The canyon was dotted with the yellow fall leaves on the trees and it was so peaceful! (well apart from the zipping!)

Zip Zone apparently has the highest zip lines in Canada (at around 380ft above the canyon floor), and combined there was around 2km of zipping to be had! Some long, some short, some fast and, probably the best....some that you ride upside down!! (well, it wasn't my idea - I was just going with the flow!)
The whole 'experience' was 2 hours of pure fun and adrenalin, and a little hiking between lines thrown in for good measure! Lots of fun, and all polished off with a spicy Caesar and Burger at The Blind Angler pub in Peachland, with fantastic views of Lake Okanagan to catch our breath!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hot & Smoky Beef Stew

Our new favourite recipe!
I finally invested in a slow cooker! Amazing really that I'd never had one before so after being inspired by lots of recipes I'd been seeing on Pinterest I finally bought one. And then it sat in the cupboard in a sealed box for another month. But this weekend I finally cracked it open to see what it could do. I was kinda paranoid about having something bubbling away all day whilst I was out so I wanted the first time to at least be when I was home so the long weekend was the perfect opportunity!

After having no clue about cooking times and how much liquid, and how full it should be, and after all those recipes I'd been pinning I did what any normal person would do and made something up! It was based very loosely on this recipe.

Here's my slow cooker version;

Hot and Smoky Beef Stew (Slow Cooker) serves 4

  • 750g Chuck Beef
  • 6 rashers Smoked Bacon
  • 1 Large Red Onion
  • 4 Medium (7-8") Carrots
  • 400g potatos
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Chipotle Pepper (I used the canned type with some of the juices thrown in for good measure!)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Smoked Paprika powder
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • Crumbled Blue Cheese
  • Chives
Chop everything up, throw in the crockpot, pour over the wine and cook on Low for 8 hours. Sprinkle Blue Cheese and Chives on top to serve.

I stirred it up a couple of times later in the cooking. The meat absolutely crumbles apart on touch when it's done! There's a definate kick of flavour here so feel free to reduce the paprika and chipotle accordingly (but try not to omit completely because it does help with the rich smokiness of the dish)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A new PR!!

Sunday I ran my second 1/2 Marathon.

Saturday I was all jitters and nervous. After having been completely cool, calm and collected about running 13.1m (in one go!) this year it crept up on me and the day before I was full of mixed feelings. Last year I had nothing to prove - I just wanted to complete it. This year I had a benchmark. I had done it before, on the same course and I had a time to beat or fall short of. Since training this year I was consistently slower than last year, I carried around several extra pounds for much of the summer and despite all my best intentions I never really got out there and did any true speedwork as part of my things weren't really looking good. And a sweet debut time of 2:04:39 from last year was a tough one to live up to.

Sunday dawned cloudy, grey and a bit drizzly - so even the conditions were pretty much an exact replica of last year! Temps were around 12 degrees and I've become quite fond of a little drizzly rain to keep me cool :-) I was all in a 'kerfuffle' when it was 1 minute to the start, they'd finished singing the national anthem and I was still waiting for Chris at the porta potty line. We rushed to the start corral where I was right at the back. I'd wanted to be nearer the 2hr pace bunny but that idea was long gone and I hurriedly handed over my bag to Chris and said a teary and panicked goodbye - I just didn't feel ready or prepared.

Of course I was all OK once I got going, and I settled into what I know I can do and love. I admit I completely ignored those final words from Chris to not try and catch up any of the pace bunnies and sped through the crowds and popped off the 2.30 and 2.15 bunnies within the first couple of kms (after all so I should - I didn't want to be behind them!) I knew I was going a fair pace (read too fast) but I felt so great I just wanted to see where it would take me. Note: I always vehemently maintain I do not have a race pace. I have pretty much always ran the same pace regardless of distance or circumstance. But today I was pushing it a little harder for a little longer and it felt OK.

For this race I'd been begrudgingly lovingly lent Chris's iPhone so I could use the Nike+GPS app to monitor my pace. Every km it told me my distance, elapsed time and average pace. I loved having it! and it was truly so helpful to better keep track of how I was going (since I am lousy at trying to gauge a pace otherwise!)

I passed over the timing mat for the 10km distance in 55mins and 20 seconds! A new PR for the 10km for me - I was stoked! And was still feeling awesome!

Really I felt great for most of distance. My pace was slowly slipping each km but since I'd started out at a 5:26 that was hardly surprising! I was beginning to realise that a new PR was possible and the extra push I'd found for the day was carrying me through. That last 4-5 kms got tough but by then it was the home straight, and I knew I could keep it going long enough to do it!

All I needed to see in that finishes tunnel was a time on the clock less that 2:04:39 - that was last years time and I knew I'd crossed the start line some way after the gun went off. The time was showing 2:02 something - I'd done it!

I AM THRILLED! 2:00:17 was my official chip time! (more than 4 minutes quicker than last year!)
But enough about me.....I was also thrilled to cross the finish line and find Chris in the crowds and find out about HIS race. He's only just started training again (ok so I think he's been to the gym 3 times so far!) so entered the 10km - and finished in 46 minutes! Un-flippin'-believable awesome job! Also a relief to hear the calf pain he's been suffering from lately hadn't flared up for the race.

It was a well deserved lardy lunch all round! After heading home to shower and freshen up we went off to a local pub to replenish as many of those calories (and then some!) as we could!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Currently: October

listening: to the sound of bubbling boiling water and the popping of the cans containing my freshly made salsa, and the heating periodically blowing (set to 22) 
reading: finished this morning; Run like a Girl by Mina Samuels - slow going but a great inspirational read (by slow I mean it's been on the go for the last 2 months!)
eating: freshly made salsa of course! with corn tortilla chips (pasta rucola for dinner this evening)
drinking: rock creek cider
wearing: jeans and a cosy brushed cotton plaid shirt
feeling: excited about having my name printed on my race bib!
weather: rain, rain go away
needing: my man home so I can get this evening started
enjoying: life
wondering: what the weather will be like for the race this sunday

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Catching up...

Just realised I hadn't posted the last few month in review pages. So here they are!
(found myself with extra photos on some months so I've been adding in a 6x12 page too!) 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hotel Camping...

...haven't you heard? - it's the latest rage! At least it is when September weather in BC didn't get the memo about our weekend plans!

We had planned a little long weekend trip about a few hours NE of us - to Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks for a spot of camping and hiking - because frankly it's been waaay too long since we did either. We left Saturday night after Chris finished work, and really we could have figured the first night was going to be a bit of a gong show - it was late, and man, have the nights suddenly started getting darker quicker all of a sudden?! We were in Sicamous around 8pm, still about 2 hours away from our planned campsite and still needing to stop for something to eat. So we ate, then drove on another hour and then bundled into a motel room in Revelstoke! And Sunday morning woke up to rain (good thing we weren't in a tent!) - lots of rain and very dark grey skies. Mountains? - what mountains?! - couldn't see anything above 100ft from ground level the clouds were so low!

We decided not to rush on to our planned destination of Rogers Pass straight away and instead stayed warm and cozy in the car and took a drive up the Meadows in the Sky parkway in Mount Revelstoke National Park (on the faint off-chance we'd actually get above the clouds!!) Rain or shine it's still a beautiful 25km winding road up the mountain. At the 25km marker you have to get out your car and make your way up the final kilometre to the summit - it was flippin' cold! We bundled up in winter gear I was really not anticipating using for at least a couple more months and made our way up the trail.

Once at the summit we took a backcountry trail onward to Eva Lake - the promise of a lakeside cabin in which to have our lunch was incredibly appealing. The cabin was a godsend! We cosied up as best we could, cracked open the wine (medicinal of course - we needed warming up from the inside out!) and had our lunch - great hunks of cheesy bread and pasta (Which would have been even more fabulous had I remembered to bring a fork to eat it with!) There were still plenty of beautiful, colourful wild flowers out on the trails and I loved the raindrops on these leaves! 16km later we were back at the car feeling great! (but still very wet!)

We headed east to Rogers Pass and stopped by the visitor centre to grab some trail info and maps and to make our decision about where we would stay that night - the original Plan A campsite was just up the road, and was the trailhead for many of the trails we'd had our eye on for the next day. But in the end Plan Z came into play - a warm motel bed and restaurant fare. We headed yet further east to Golden. And discovered a very fabulous restaurant called The Island where we whiled away our evening and toasted our 'great outdoors weekend adventure' with many glasses of wine! 

Monday morning dawned a little groggily and and for me a little hobbled - my hiking boots had given me grief on the previous day's hike and I had a raw and bloody sore on my heel the size of a quarter. 2 great reasons to not aim high with today's hiking - and the 3000ft elevation gain on our proposed hike seemed a little ambitious! Instead we headed out on a short trail to Great Glacier - even the 1000ft gain seemed tough going but we ended up way up the mountain with a few peeks of the glacier every now and then as the clouds shifted and more fabulous views below us where we could see the Trans Canada Highway twisting its way through the mountain pass waaaay below us. In some ways it might seem like because you could see it, it didn't give you the sense of the wilderness but actually for me it seemed to put it in perspective. It was great to see just how high we'd come and actually marvel at the feat of engineering building that road was - ridiculous to think that's the main route across this great country!

Rogers Pass is a National Historic area, and as we hiked back to the car at we passed by the ruins of the Glacier House Hotel and the old rail bed. When they forged their way across Canada building the railway the CPR built a mountain hotel for travellers and brought in Swiss mountain guides to lead visitors on trails and mountain summits. However the Rogers Pass area was savage in winter and was prone to avalanches - after one particularly bad avalanche where 30-odd people perished whilst clearing the rails from a previous slide the CPR conceded to the weather gods and set about constructing a tunnel under the worst area - thus bypassing the hotel. 10 years after the tunnel opened the hotel eventually closed down and was demolished - but today you can still see remains of the garden landscaping and the foundations of the buildings. There's a great little interpretive trail with numerous photos of the hotel in it's heyday and with a squint of the eye you can really imagine what it must have been like 80 years ago. I LOVE old history like this, so I was quite captivated!

Despite at the rain we had a great weekend. This is exactly what we loved doing for so long when we were travelling - getting to a new area, stopping by the visitor centre and picking up maps and trail guides, then spending the evening devouring them to decide where we would hike and explore during our stay in the area. It's so easy when you're settled and living in a real home (as opposed to one on wheels!) to not get out there and explore, but I do miss hiking and I do miss the mountains - proper pointy, jaggedy big mountains - and a combination of the two.... I really, really miss. This weekend had all that I love, and even a spot a rain wasn't going to dampen my spirits.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mascot Gold Mine at Hedley

Last weekend we explored a little known gem of a tourist attration here in the interior of BC - Mascot Mine at Hedley, in the gorgeous Similkameen Valley. Never having heard of it 3 days prior to our visit I did a little reading on their website. One glance at the photos and I realised it would be best not to mention the exact position of the mines in advance to Mum!

The drive itself is a day out all of it's own. (Especially when you have a new soft top sports car to drive around in!) On the way there we saw bears right on the side of the road (this is the second or third time we've seen bears on Green Mountain Road!) - Chris and Liz (in the sports car) saw 3 bears briefly, and Mum, Dad and I (in the 'scabby old' rental car trailing some way behind at this point!) were treated to this fella'.
Bear on Green Mountain Road, Penticton
He wasn't the least bit bothered by our presence, had a little look at us, then proceeded into the shrubs to chomp away at his breakfast. Then came back out into the road and eventually wandered off. To give you an idea of how long we were gazing at him - this photo was taken with my camera (obviously). Which was in the trunk of the car. In my bag (or so I thought - so a bit of extra faffing trying to feel for it), then my standard lens wasn't great so I rooted around some more for the zoom lens. Fitted it and hey presto - EVENTUALLY a photo! So cool!

Once in the Similkameen Valley there are an incredible abundance of farm shops along the roads. We're pretty lucky here in the central Okanagan, but this is something else! On our way home we picked up some super sweet juicy apricots, cherries, plums and a cute little spaghetti squash (perfect meal for 2 size!)

Mascot Mine
Hedley itself is a tiny little community these days. Back in it's heyday when the mines were roaring it had a population of 12,000 and 7 hotels! We parked up and way, waaaaaay up in the hills above us (about 3000ft up!) you could just about make out a little dot on the cliffside - that's where we were headed!!

The winding road up the hill (if only it were paved it would make an awesome biking road!!)
The 4.5 hour tour started at the Snaza'ist Discovery Centre in Hedley with a short film, then we took a mini bus up the 13km winding Nickel Plate Forest Road with a suberb guide - she talked just about the whole way - explaining the history, the landscape, the stories, First Nation lore - she was fascinating and so enthusiastic and went a long way to making the tour just so great! We had about a 1/2 km hike from the roads' end down to the top of the mine steps. And then 300-something steps down again to get to the mine entrance. At this point you really got a sense of just how 'on the edge' you were. The mine's position almost defies gravity!

Looking down at the mine (we're already 1/2 way down!)
Once down at the mine site we explored the historic buildings - the cookhouse, bunkhouse, mine offices and machinery rooms. We were guided through the operation and given a great insight into what life was like for the 130 men that worked there at any one time. We heard stories of the parties they held, and free time activities they enjoyed. Life was good there - they were earning $4.75 a day plus free keep and the mine owners ensured excellent working and living conditions for the men - but they certinaly couldn't suffer from vertigo! We walked a little way into the mine tunnel - but at 8 degrees (compared to the balmy 30 degree day we were enjoying) it was a little too icy for me! The blast of cold air as you walked towards the entrance was quite enough - so just a quick jaunt in as far as a dynamite store for us!

On the way back down the hill we stopped for a couple of photo opportunities - and were (yet again) blown away by the fabulous views up and down the valley. I can't beleieve I've lived here over 2 years and never heard of this place! But it was such an excellent day out - well worth it!
Mum and Dad at the overlook

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Over the hump!

Progress on my 2011 Manifesto has been going grand this last month or so. July has been my busiest month so far for ticking things off the list - 6 items in just 3 weeks! And now I have checked off more than half - 21 items out of the 37, plus I still have an additional 6 items that are 'in progress'.I have enjoyed the focus that making this list has given me. I am all too guilty of sitting on the sofa reeling off all the things that we could've, should've done! (but at the time I was obviously preferring to sit right there, and I'm OK with that too for the most part!) But it does remind me of my favourite quote of all time 'You'll never regret the things you do as much as the things you don't' and let's face it, I don't often look back and grumble that I would've rather spent my time chillin' out at home on the sofa!

The 'Growing my own vegetables' item (#10) was 'in progress' for a while. But finally this month I thought it deserved to be checked off! I successfully harvested green onions, leeks, lettuce, arugula and peppers (and so far just one baby cherry tomato - but lots of others are ripening as we speak!) This was the first year I had my own veggie beds so I was excited to get stuck's been a huge learning curve for me. After a month of eating lettuce for nearly every meal I have figured out I will need to pace it out next year! I will also plant LOTS more onions as they've been awesome! I would also like to try some squash next year (and although they were OK, I wouldn't bother with the leeks again - they were very small)

There are a few items I have some concerns about achieving- and they involve exercise! Whilst I'm now only a little behind schedule on the logging 600miles running/walking this year, I am a long way off my pace from last year. I'm wondering if the few extra pounds I'm carrying this year is enough to make that difference, it's that or I'm getting old(er!) The sub 56' 10km could have been overly ambitious, but we'll see. Yoga and a Bike ride....uh, yes no plans for either at the moment - must figure something out!

We did get to see a very funny live comedy show (#27) at a local golf club - the Hacks Comedy tour (With a quartet of comedians off the telly apparently - I'd never heard of them, but then I don't watch TV, so...!). And as well as being great entertainment we got a steal of a deal - $10 per ticket including our first drink! A very cheap and entertaining date!

A couple of weeks back we went camping (#20) A group of us from Chris's work all took off on the motorcycles (About 10 bikes) for a weekend. It was supposed to be a 2-nighter, but I got to 2 days before we were heading off before I realised I had to be at work on the Monday so we just had the one night camping, and a full days riding in Washington! A fun night with half a dozen tents crammed into one camping spot right by the river in Midway, BC! (there were 3 basic choices when pitching your tent - either the street lamp, the snorers or the the slope of the river bank!) - we plumped for the street lamp and got a reasonable nights sleep, before packing up the tent the next morning with Chris's wallet still inside! (it was packed up and strapped to the bike before we realised - doh!)

And this month I also finished reading my second non-fiction book this year (item #29 check!). Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Loved this book. Wishing I'd bought my own copy rather than borrowing from the library. A fascinating account of the Tarahumara tribe of the Copper Canyon of Mexico - plus some interesting debates on the topic of barefoot running and injury free running. As well, just a truly uplifting and inspiring 'story' of ultra-runners (crazy, crazy people who run races upwards of 100m - for fun -like I said - crazy!) and the Mexican tribe they travel to race with.

Some good progress, now it's just those nitty gritty 'why did I publicy state I'd do those things' left to go!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dirty Feet

Last Sunday I got Dirty Feet! It was my first ever trail race (the Dirty Fee trail race series), being held locally in the gorgeous Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. Kal' Lake was named by National Geographic as one of the 10 most beautiful lakes in the world, and I certainly couldn't disagree. It's one of our favourite hiking spots with spectacular views and only a few minutes drive from our house (in fact we can also hike straight from our front door up the hill to get an awesome view of Kal Lake - that along with Okanagan Lake, Woods Lake and Duck Lake - hey we live in 'Lake Country' right?!)But back to the race. They had several distances but due to a certain amount of apprehension on my part I decided to start 'easy (?!)' and just signed up for the 5km run. Whilst I'm running regularly these days I run on the road, and (more to the point) I run on pretty flat terrain. The idea of hills and trail was enough to make me run - in the opposite direction! Chris encouraged me by agreeing to take part as well (what a good egg, since he hasn't trained!) So....
Bright and breezy on a decidedly overcast Sunday morning there we were. The start/finish line was right at the beach and there were 200 other daft people hanging around. It was a fabulously organised event with awesome sponsorship from North Face, Probar and Valhalla Sports (a great local outdoor clothing shop which likes to eat pay cheques for breakfast!). The 10k-ers and half marathoners headed off then it was our turn.

We set off a a surprisingly sedate pace (normally in road races everyone sprints away like gazelles!). Being narrow tracks there was little option for over-taking to start but since the hill climb started almost immediately after the first bend in the track it didn't matter, and I was thankful to discover that trail runners don't run all the time....and so the walking up hills bit started. And mostly went on for the next 2km.

Now I am lucky that so far in my limited running 'career' I have had the good fortune to be able to run downhill without pain (is that going to be the kiss of death now? - I AM touching wood?!) So once we got as high as we were going, I was in fine form. In fact I loved the second half of the race! My pace increased significantly and I was flying. There were three other people around me, and from time to time we would overtake each other, then get overtaken - back and forth! (And that little competitiveness in me was rather pleased I finally pipped the one couple to the finish line in the last 1/4km! - but thanks guys for the pacing along the way!)

I was pretty surprised and delighted to finish in just over 36 mins - 13th place! (lucky for some!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lettuce Wraps

We've been enjoying out lettuce harvest direct from the garden over the last few weeks. Normally we're not lettuce-y people - sticking more to spinach and arugula, but I fancied trying my hand at growing a variety of things this summer and heads of lettuce was one of them.

Of course that meant we had to come up with some new ways to enjoy it....
Lettuce Wraps Recipe
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 green onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2" slice of ginger, finely chopped
350g minced chicken breast
1/2 red pepper chopped
100g water chesnuts, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 tbsp soy/tameri sauce
Chopped peanuts
Thai Style Peanut sauce (I used Gluten free San-J  brand)
  • Heat oil in the pan and lightly fry onions, garlic and ginger. Add chicken and cook till browned, constantly bashing to break up as much as possible.
  • Empty mixture onto plate and set aside.
  • Add peppers, water chesnuts and celery to pan and lightly fry (heat through rather than cook till soft!), add the soy sauce.
  • Add back in the chicken and mix, together with the peanut sauce.
Serve into lettuce leaves, top with shredded carrot and chopped peanuts.
Serves 2 (about 6 lettuce wraps)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Have wings will travel

I'm currently having fun and learning more crafty techniques in Claudine Hellmuth's latest class 'Composition for Collage'. It's surprising how many of the techniques can translate into the scrapbooking and card making world - it think it'll even be useful for home decor! It's just a 4 week class, and even then I manage to fall behind on the homework assignments. But I did manage to make this little pretty!
This is an old photo of me! I was holding a little plastic ball, but I cut around my hands and fingers so I could insert something else (the photo was the starting point - and I liked the idea of changing what was in my hands - the rest of the piece just flowed from that!). So I've been fortunate to travel a lot, I love to travel and travelling brought me to my new home country. So I added a little globe. And tore the page out of an old dictionary with the words globe and gloebtrotter on them (I highlighted that with the blue gems). Then came the wings, and the words, and my favourite go-to craft supply of late - my airmail washi tape! (love this stuff!). I uploaded my first attempt to the class gallery so I could get feedback from my class peers and Claudine herself and tweaked a few things. I thought the end result was kinda cute!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yay! Up to date!

Just finished off April & May's month-in-review. That sounds suspiciously like I'm up-to-date!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ride for Dad

On Sunday we took our first long ride of the season, all in aid of the fight against Prostate Cancer. Ride for Dad is an annual ride which Chris has taken part in the last couple of years. After a slow start to our riding season and a lovely weather day on the horizon I tagged along for the ride this year aswell!
The atmosphere when you first set off was awesome! Over 300 riders have a police escort through town - it's quite the sight, especially as we headed over the bridge to West Kelowna! It was a fun, tiring day out with friends - good times :-)

Mixed Media Canvas

Tried out a whole new thing for me on Saturday - Mixed Media Art! Signed myself up for a 3 hours class to make a canvas for the home. And I love the results. Definately something I will be trying again with a few new skills and techniques under my belt.
Used lots of paints, stamps, masks & rub-ons and volia! It was such a fun, freeing style of work - no right or wrong way of doing it.
I think this can qualify as #9 on my list!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We have progress!

Finally I bit the bullet and purchased myself some Cathy Zielske digital templates to do my month-in-review scrapbook pages. There was a 30% off sale last week so it made sense. And you know what? It was worth it, since it actually motivated me to get these done. And I'm so happy I did!

So here we have January, February and March...and the enthusiasm to not leave it so long for the upcoming months! (well, hopefully!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In March & April...

So as far as my 2011 manifesto goes I may have been slacking. Just a little. There are a number of items on my list that require slow and steady progress and cannot and will not be completed until the end of the year. Frustrating for someone like me who loves lists, more specifially ticking things off lists!

So actually myabe I have been making some progress. The gratitude album is so far still going strong (though I wonder if it will be so interesting or perhaps rather telling that I'm consistently grateful for fridays, long weekends, a day off work, getting home early etc, etc - a rather distinct pattern forming there don't you think?!)

I'm not sure if I've truly signed off on any new recipies though I'm having a hard time defining this to myself. I'm not really one to follow recipies I just make things up with whatever's on hand so you could say I've done this a hundred times over already. But this month's Cedar Planked salmon was a roaring hit (with Asian sesame seasoning) so I might count that one!

Scrapbooking a layout a month....uh...and moving on....

Clocking 600 miles. How very ambitious of me?! Crazy more like. I don't even remember where I got this hair-brained figure from! So in theory it's only 50 miles a month right?! But since the couch and I were BFF for the whole of January and February I'm a little behind. (if only my behind were little too! - consequences of sitting on the couch too long I guess) Things picked up OK in March and I clocked 50+ miles running. April I put the running on the back-burner a little and spent more time with Chris walking and hiking. I truly believe that it's a way better fat burner anyhow and we both need a little help after a cozy Canadian winter (read = inactive & potentially unhealthy!) Again we clocked 50+ miles and enjoying it. And if it's recorded on my Nike + it counts (running or walking I'm not fussy about how I get to 600 anymore!)

But not to finish on a low note. I have accomplished. I have ticked some items off the list. I have taken a candelit bubble bath #15 (thanks to my lovely husband for planning it - actually I think he may have just wanted a quiet hour or so to himself!) And whilst it sounds like a simple pleasure (which of course it is) It is the first bath I've taken since we got the hot-tub. Whenever I want to warm up we just hop in the hot tub these days. But you can't beat some nice scented bubbles and not smelling of chlorine afterwards so I really should do it more often! I also ticked off #19 - Visit a National Park - the Olympic National Park in Washington was where we spent our wedding anniversary in April.

So slow, but sure progress....I'm loving having a list to keep my focus and get me doing the things that normally I just talk about and now I'm actually doing!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crazy Ptarmigan attacks hapless hikers in Fairmont (and other stories)

So Easter weekend we traded one beautiful part of BC for another. This one had lots of craggy mountains which I love and miss. Fairmont Hot Springs is in the Columbia Valley wedged between the Purcell mountains to the west and Canadian Rockies to the East. It’s a slither of a valley with lakes, forests and a few natural hot springs thrown in for good measure. (and an inordinate amount of golf courses and hence timeshare units) We stayed in a lovely property right on the golf course with log fireplace, cute mezzanine bedroom and a freezer on steroids (this was important for making ice for the margaritas so you can see why it’s worthy of a mention).

Anyhow. Long Easter weekend, 2 buddies to party with, hiking gear packed and a trusty bottle of tequila (or 2) and we were set for the 6 hour drive from home on the Thursday. After forgetting that there was a time zone change between home and Fairmont we made it to check-in minutes before they went home for the night and promptly settled in. Since Krystina and Amos were sleeping on a sofa bed we had to get them just a little tipsy so they wouldn’t complain too much! And so our Easter weekend began.

For the next 3 days we spent a great time chilling out, sleeping in, hiking, soaking in the hot springs, BBQing and maybe raising a glass to our luck and fortune on this fair Easter weekend. The weather was A-MA-ZING! We hiked a wonderful 10km along the shores of frozen Alces & Whiteswan lakes on the Friday and another hike directly up a ski hill to the most spectacular lookout on Saturday. It was pretty hard going on the way up but thanks to a couple of emergency blankets found in Amos’ pack it was a pretty swift and amusing ride back down! Who says you need a toboggan to toboggan??! Pah!
It was here we encountered the bad-assed Ptarmigan. Seemingly sweet and cute at first glance it came over to say hello and didn’t seem particularly scared of 4 humans taking photos. It even seemed charming when it started following us along the trail a little. But then the demon set in and no matter how quickly we walked it followed with a look in it’s eyes that said it wanted blood, more specifically from the ankle region of Amos’ leg….I admit we might have started running in terror at one point. It took a full kilometer to shake the darn thing off and we spent the rest of the hike down the hill glancing over our shoulders in fear.

Thanks to M&D for arranging our accommodation, Krystina and Amos for the great company and the Honey Badger for a weekend full of laughs (unfortunately it’s certainly a ‘had to be there’ moment but feel free to watch this you tube video. You will probably need to be on at least your sixth margarita and have a severe case of the giggles to appreciate this, but then….the honey badger don’t care….and so neither will I!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Vancouver Sun Run

This weekend we spent in Vancouver. I had foolishly signed both Chris and I up for the 2011 Vancouver Sun Run 10km race. This was back in mid-winter when running a spring 10km seemed like a great idea and I was sure I’d be back into the swing of things in terms of training after my winter hibernation. Oh, how wrong can a girl be?!My spring training has been slow in getting started it must be said. I have the willing, just lacking in the motivation and get-up-and-go to actually go. I did clock 50 miles in March which I grant you is not too shabby, and ran 4 days a week. However my pace is much slower than when I started running last year and I’ve struggled with any kind of distance – sticking mostly to 5-7 km runs.

However none of that changed the fact both Chris and I had entry to the second largest timed road race in the world (a neat fact, but so far I’ve been unable to find out what the largest is). A weekend in a hotel in the city did add a little sugar coating to the ordeal so off we went.Vancouver put on its bestest, brightest, sunniest face to welcome us, so things really were looking better and better. We collected our race bibs, timing chips and tees and then spent an awesome afternoon on Saturday strolling along the seawall, along Robson Street and around the city. The blossom was out, the sun was shining, the mountains still had a lovely sprinkling of snow on the tops and life was good. We were in high spirits.But then, it was getting close to dinner time. And what better way to relax than to have a drink before dinner? Or two, oh go on have another, well just one more before we move for dinner, a drink with your dinner sir? – oh go on then! And before we knew it we were stumbling back to our hotel for – hic - a restless nights sleep – hic. burp…

Ah joy. Chris had sportingly agreed to walk like a snail and plod along with me for this race. His last 10km was in Spring 2006 so he wasn’t exactly planning a PR and I loved the idea I finally had a running partner. However he’s had a few issues with a tight hamstring lately so between the hangover and the concern for his hamstring we were getting close to agreeing just to have a nice ‘Sunday morning stroll in the city’ and just walk the course. I also had no expectations about beating my ’06 Sun Run time but even so, come 9am I was game for a little light jogging!
Seriously I love this event. 50,000 people getting out there, running, some in fancy dress, all in high spirits does that to you! And I am so glad to have been a part of it. We did not set any records. But I had a blast. I didn’t have to stop and walk. The previous night’s dinner did not make an appearance. The sun DID! And we ran along to the sounds of everything from rock n’roll to traditional native drummers.
The Vancouver Sun Run rocks! And I just did my longest run since November last year!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anniversary weekend in Washington

We spent last weekend celebrating our ninth wedding anniversary. Not exactly a new country this year but to open up the game a little we’ve decided to split the provinces and states of Canada & the US respectively – so it WAS a new state!- Washington. Having already enjoyed a week away in the sun this year we opted for something a little chillier and wetter – the Olympic Peninsula. We visited for a few days back in October 2005 so knew what to expect (rain perhaps?!) especially since the accommodation I was booking was situated in a temperate rainforest.
The weekend started early for us and we got to Bellingham, WA on Friday in time for a pint at the Chuckanut Brewpub right down by the waterfront in old downtown Bellingham – such a great little find with some seriously tempting food – we resisted but did leave with a 64oz Growler full of their finest Red Ale ready for the rest of the weekend! Next morning we headed south and headed for Quinault, right on the edge of the Olympic National Park. We stayed at the wonderful historic Lake Quinault Lodge. We treated ourselves to one of their fireplace rooms overlooking the lake and were not disappointed. Everything about the place was perfect and we loved every minute of our stay! We spent plenty of time sitting by the fire, drinking and reading and glancing up every so often to gaze at the view and pinch ourselves to remind us how perfect it all was. We were so wonderfully lazy that both nights we ended up eating at the Lodge restaurant – once visited by FD Roosevelt himself and hence now called the Roosevelt Room, again with views of the lake and some early season hummingbirds feeding right outside the windows. We donned our waterproofs and boots for a hike through the rainforest and along the lake. (Definately a worthy recipient of this award - Best place to Kiss!! - and perfect for an anniversary getaway!)
Monday we said goodbye to Quinault and headed north (the only road encircling the Olympic NP). We passed windswept beaches full of driftwood (and rain), passed through Forks (home of Twilight, Vampires and all that jazz – no peculiar sightings today – perhaps the incessant rain kept them at home for the day!) and Port Angeles. We ended up in Port Townsend for the evening. PT is a charming historic port town with some beautiful old Victorian buildings – in fact most the district is designated a national Historic Landmark.Our final day we caught the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island and then north to Canada. We lucked out a little when I noticed that the annual Skagit Valley tulip festival takes place during the month of April. Still a little early for the tulips the daffodils were in full bloom and we took a detour to pass through field upon field of bright yellow blooms – so pretty.
It really was such a fabulous weekend. And thank you to my wonderful husband of nine years for giving me the excuse for another mini-vacation!
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