Tuesday, 27 August 2013

On The Year That Was

     So here I sit, on my deck watching the sun go down on my final day of this incredible year.   I feel many things; fortunate,  rested, content, but mostly oh, so very grateful.  What a fantastic gift these last 423 days have been. 
     People have asked me if it went fast or slow and I have to answer that it was a strange combination of both.  In many ways, the time seemed to fly by but when I stop and think and look back on all the things that I did, many of the events seemed to have happened oh so long ago.  While I experienced some very significant loss this year, I also reconnected with friends from childhood, high school, university, UWP and work and I got to meet some very cool and interesting new people as well.
     The gift of time is such a luxury.  To have been able to do what I wanted when I wanted to do it is something that I don't think I fully appreciate even yet.  It has been really interesting to chronicle the events of this time fairly regularly.  I wanted to do it for a couple of reasons.  One is to be able to have a record of events from the year, but the other reason was to force me to look back on all the things I did fairly regularly so that everything didn't just become one big blur, which it totally would have! 
     Highlights from the year include (in no particular order):  running 1600 miles, reading 28 books and going to 16 eclectic live concert events, driving through the New England States in the fall, a whirlwind weekend in New York City, a sunset sail in Boston Harbor, going to Salem, Massachusetts during Halloween season, a week in Washington, DC, leaving New England days before Hurricane Sandy hit, a great Kootenay mountain stay in Kimberly, BC, annual summer days in Fort Macleod, 4 trips to San Diego (!!), "Electric Run"ning, chasing the sun in Mexico, California, Phoenix and Costa Rica during this heinous winter, buying a leather coat in Tijuana,  Bredenbury's Centennial Cele
bration, spending time with family and friends.  I could go on and on.
     And of course, what year in review would be complete without a Top Ten List?!

10.  Parasailing in Nuevo Vallarta-November

9.  Helicopter ride over Manhattan- October
8.  Overcoming fear of height (and speed) to
zipline (Superman-style) in Costa Rica- March
7.  January in California
6.  Loon Hollows, Orrington, Maine- October
5.  Any time spent at Torrey Pines State Park
and Sunset Cliffs, San Diego-July, September, January, February, June

4.  A week with my sister Wendy and brother-in-law in Puerta Vallarta- November

a week with my sister Brenda in San Diego in January

3.  Oceanfront apartment and pool house accommodations in San Diego-
September, January, February and June

2.  Not having to get up on cold, winter morning at home-December, March, April, May
(no photo available)

1.  Losing Dad-July 2, 2013
Profound and life altering experience
     So thank you for checking in, regularly or occasionally, and sharing this wonderful experience with me. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I feel so blessed to have done it.  And now, on the the eve of returning to work, I look forward to seeing what is out there for me once again.  Carpe diem!

Running Review or How I Got 0.06 The Way Around The World In 423 Days

     One of the things I wanted to accomplish this year was to increase my exercise and so I thought I would see how many miles and in how many places I could run before it was over. 
     I was never much of a runner growing up, but several years ago I trained for and completed a marathon, then fell off the "running wagon", started up again, completed a half-marathon and then continued with it.
     I bought a Nikeplus running sensor and that really motivated me as it kept a running total for me.  It worked fairly smoothly, with just a few technical glitches throughout the year and it has recorded that, as of today, the last day of my leave, I completed exactly 1600 miles in the last 14 months!
     I can't believe that I ran that much.  I'm so glad that I did.

September:  500 miles-San Diego

January-1,000 miles- San Diego

June-1,500 miles-Beach at Torrey Pines, San Diego
August 27, 2013:  The Last Day In The Year Of Bob-1,600 Mile Grand Total
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Mission accomplished!!!
     Looking back, I had some great runs in some interesting places. 

California beaches in September:  30 above
Saskatchewan city streets in December:  30 below

Less preferred

More preferred
(I ran every single day in the month of January in California)
Electric Run in February:   Del Mar Race Track, San Diego

Caught in a torrential downpour in November:  Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Lovely fall morning run:  Orrington, Maine
     So after 6 pairs of running shoes, 3 sets of headphones and countless ipod playlists, I am so glad that I kept it up over these past 14 months as it has left me feeling healthier and happier for the effort. 
     According to another site I used called DailyMile.com, which broke down my efforts in other ways, 1600 miles of running is also equivalent to the following:
Total Time:  268.34
Pounds Burned:  66
Total Workouts:  219
Around The World:  0.06
Televisions Powered:  3,853
Gas Saved:  84.20
Donuts Burned:  1,264 (this one's my favorite!)
Average Distance:  7.2 miles

Thursday, 22 August 2013

A Little Mountain Therapy

          Realizing that the days of this fantastic year are becoming numbered, more precious and fewer, I decided for one more road trip to the west for some time in the mountains before the shackles of employment are upon me once again.  I had hoped to get to the mountains skiing this winter, but it just didn't happen, mostly because it was so damn cold.  Instead, I hit a hot spell in the summer for my visit.  Even better. 
     No trip out west is complete without my annual stop in Fort Macleod to see Lee, Stella and Clive.  As per usual, fun was had my all.  (merp!)

Our nightly entertainment--drinks around an evening fire
Annual "Book End" Pictures:
August 2012-

August 2013:
Can you tell the difference?? 

     Then, on to Radium Hot Springs for an evening in the healing waters, and then off the next day for lunch and a hike in Lake Louise and the rest of the day hiking around Bow Falls and enjoying the rest of Banff with some walking around town and drinks with Kara and Brian, a great couple I met on my trip to Costa Rica.  Such a beautiful part of the world.

Picturesque Lake Louise

Bow Falls in Banff

       A very rejuvenating week.  Great friends, great weather, great views.  A nice get away before having to do more than just think about going back to work next week.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

A Soft Place To Land

     I just spent a month back in my hometown after Dad passed away.  Part of the reason for staying so long was practical and part of the reason was healing. I enjoyed being 'home' again although I haven't lived there for 30 years!  

Casa Cowan
      Another reason for the extended stay was so to attend the Centennial Homecoming Celebration on the August long weekend.  Small towns do celebrations like this up right?  It was a great weekend that saw close to 1000 people there over the course of the long weekend.  It was great to get reacquainted with so many people!

Waiting for the parade

RCMP march kicks off the parade
Bredenbury Cougars

Reconnecting with life long friends;  it doesn't get better than that!
     I called this entry "A Soft Place To Land" because that is how I felt all month; comforted by familiar surroundings and loving, caring people.  What a blessing it was to spend this time there.  Dog River has nothing on Bredenbury!  :)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Great Garage Purge of '13

     Today is the first time in 18 days, that my sisters and I had a day of rest because the work we had to do was done. Our greatest accomplishment was cleaning out 60 years of living from Dad's garage, shop and yard.  It was a huge undertaking that we managed to complete in two very full days.  It felt good having done it and having it done.

Garage-Before and After

Shop-Before and After
The Yard-Before and After

The "Process"
"Keep", "Throw", "Recycle"

60 years of treasures from a life well lived

One of two loads taken away

21 hours later...
voila, mission accomplished!!!