Saturday, December 19, 2009

December

As it often happens, I have gotten wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the season and have forgotten to inform my wonderful followers as to what I have been up to! Although time has passed, it seems that not much has changed. I guess the only valid news is that I have a stress fracture in my left foot. This was caused by the massive amounts of running I did prior to and during the 1/2 marathon in November (in which I beat my personal best by 2 mins and 30 seconds!). I really didn't think anything was wrong with it at first, I thought I pulled a muscle or something. A month passes and it still hurts. I decide to go to a physio guy and see what I can do to help the healing of this muscle... turns out that I have a stress fracture and the prescription to heal it is rest and no running and elevate it... totally sucky because that means I shouldnt run until February! I guess I will just have to try and keep the base I have up until then by swimming and biking.

Christmas is almost upon us and my folks are driving as we speak to come down and spend the holidays with us. It is going to be wonderful having the whole family together and having a good visit! I miss my parents when they are at home, and I am very thankful that they manage to come down here often enough for visits - even if it is a passing through visit on their way to somewhere exotic!

So, other than Christmas is comin' and the foot situation, nothing new to report! Be good to eachother this holiday season, remember that there are many people who have much less than you around the world. Try to be kind to your family and friends, they help support you in so many ways through out the year. Most of all, be good to yourself! Try and do something for YOU this holiday season... so often we get wrapped up in the season and doing things for other people that we forget about ourselves. Be kind to everyone... including you!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The beginning of the end

Well folks, in 2 days it will be Dec 1 - which means, for those of you who do not know, that the begining of the Christmas season is upon us. For me, I try to hold off getting Christmas-ified until AFTER Dec 1st but this year I am finding it so very hard to hold back. I want to start singing jolly songs and decorating so things look all happy and Christmas-y. Even if I live with the Grinch, I still have so much spirit I make up for it! :o)

Having said this, it also means that it is the beginning of the end of the year! Before we know it, we will be popping Champagne corks, singing "Auld Lang Syne" while streamers fall around us and our closest friends! It is time to start to take a look at the year that has passed, see if any or all of the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year have been fulfilled or not, see if you are where you want to be in life, look at the mistakes and joys and hardships and laughter and adventure in the past year; revel in all of it - you have survived another year of life and that is something not everyone can say. It is time to be thankful for what you have, set higher goals, look for more adventure, seek greater love and joy, find more things that make you happy, spend more time with your family and friends, worry less about the bottom line or the corporate jargon we all bring home - it is time to remember to live.

We get wrapped up in our routines at this time of year - shopping, getting that perfect present, wrapping, decorating, baking, going parties - that we sometimes forget the greatest gift of all; life. So when you are wrapping presents, baking or trimming that yuletide tree, remember to relax, smile, and sing along to the jolly songs. Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, love, peace and hope and we should all remember and practice this. Start planning the amazing adventures the next year will include. For us, a trip to Iceland, perhaps a career change for one or both of us, perhaps a trip to Toronto to visit family, perhaps a trip to Arizona to visit friends and explore the tunnel more. I know for a fact, that Derek and I will be exploring this new year with hope of things to come, joy for things that are, love for each other, and peace in our hearts for those things that didn't go our way or for those family ties that help remind us who we are and why we are the way we are.

So, sing loudly, those joyful songs of the season, live in love and hope for things to come and spread peace by smiling and taking time to relax and enjoy. After all - we are coming upon the last month in this decade... something to celebrate and think about!

Friday, November 06, 2009

The flu bug... darn thing :o(

This year there is this HUGE hype about this nasty little flu bug called H1N1 or the Swine flu. It has been in the news for weeks now and has solicited some very emotional responses from a LOT of people; mostly with regards to the vaccine. There was a shortage (which we all knew was coming as they only had 3 million for Canada as a whole on the onset) but what they didn't anticipate was the immensely long lineups and panic and anger displayed from some members of the public. It boggles my mind how people can make such a big thing out of something that isn't as deadly as the seasonal flu and how they can be mad at the fact that the government is trying to help people. If we lived in America, we would have to have health insurance or pay for the vaccine. Thankfully we are in Canada so we don't. If we lived in 3rd world countries, we wouldn't even be thought of. We are thought of, however, thanks to the Government. So what, Canada, are you complaining about? The fact that you had to wait in line 8 hours to get a shot? It was your choice so just be glad that you have the choice! Are you mad that only pregnant women and children are able to get the shot now? Relax, they are the ones that are most susceptible and honestly, the ones that spread illness the most. SO - Stop complaining, wash your hands, don't cough on people and you will be fine! Sheesh! Rant done!

Having said all that, I have caught a bit of a flu bug myself. Although I some flu symptoms, I feel well enough to function. I am not achy or nauseous like most flu bound folks are, so I am thinking this is just an average, run of the mill cold. Fingers crossed... lots of fluids, lots of rest and plenty of hand washing, coughing in my sleeve and sanitizer and I will be A-ok! :o)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Settling in for winter

It is that time of year, when all the leaves have fallen to their demise, the days feel shorter because they are, and there is an ominous gray colour to the light. It is officially fall, and really close to winter I would say. It is the time of year when the sweaters come out of their summer hiding places and the summer clothes get stashed for another season. It is the time when the air is chilly and scarves and mittens provide comfort, and when soup is a lunch staple, hot chocolate is like a hug and Chili is a necessity! It is the time where birds fly south, chipmunks store nuts and people begin to snuggle into their fire place ladened houses. It is the time where we start to hibernate, and only go outside when necessary or when spring comes, whichever it first. I don't know why, but I love this time of year. Perhaps it reminds me that all things come to an end and after the end comes a glorious new beginning. Perhaps it is because it brings me back to the days when life was so much less complicated, blissful and always happy. Or, perhaps it is because I like the way the cool air feels on my face and the smell of the fallen leaves as they crunch beneath my feet.


This past weekend, along with 400 other crazies like myself (and 4 friends whom I convinced with my dashing smile and clever wit) ran in the "Halloween Howler". It was 10K for me and 5K for my friends. It was, well, interesting. My friend Jenn brought her darling little girl and dressed her like a little flower. It was very cute. But, 1K into the run she started howling... she was covered HEAD TO TOE in snow. See, we are all crazy because it was snowing and slushie and cold. It was -1 Celsius and did I mention wet and cold? I managed to run, however, and beat any time that I have had in Calgary this year! I did 10K in 1:05:26 and to make things better, I blew by 2 girls just before the finish line... made me feel so great! (Very sick, I know, happy that I beat 2 lovely ladies - but seriously, one was in a pink tu-tu... how could I let her beat me?) I actually sprinted for the last 100 metres or so and it felt so good... The last 4K I picked up my pace too and passed quite a few people who were petering out at the end. Nothing like preying on the weakened... I sound evil! (insert evil laugh here!)

Other than running A LOT (last 1/2 marathon this season on November 15th), and working I have been crafting. A while back I stopped at my cousin Cathie's house and she - being a crafter extraordinaire - revived that urge in me to create. So, I have a couple projects on the go, some that are still 1/2 done from my un-employed era and some new ones. It is nice being able to craft again - not sure why I put it all away and stopped! I will try and post pictures when I am done some of my projects!

My brother and sister-in-law are in Egypt right now and I have to admit, I am green with envy. It is horrible being jealous of them as they really need a vacation. It is great that Rowan was healthy and happy enough for them to go. I know that they will worry about their children while their gone, but they are going to have a great time, and they will learn a lot about ancient days, and they will rest... they will see amazing things and be places that I have dreamed about seeing. So... wishing them happy and safe travels, super jealous but I will get over it. After all, we are going to Iceland in August, so I can't complain that much! :o)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Fall has arrived

The chill in the air, the frost on the car windshield, the leaves rustling beneath my feet indicate that fall has arrived. Fall often reminds me of being a little girl and going to school, the new clothes and fresh scribblers, the start of the skating season. Fall makes me feel very nostalgic.

THIS fall, looking into the future, sees me working, finishing my course and running a lot. I am working towards a 1/2 marathon in November and after that I am free until March (maybe) of next year! It is nice to train for something and have a plan, but it is nice knowing there is an end in sight. I am looking forward to this race as it is flat, I have a great training plan, and I have a group of people that will be cheering me on... it is going to be super fun!

I am moving along with the course that I have right now... 1/2 way through it actually and although I haven't gotten any marks back (as I sent them in one after the other) I feel good about it! :o) I am not sure if I will be taking another class right after this one ends, but if things go like I wish them to I just may! :o)

Lots of potential change on the horizon in that I am looking for a new job - and not necissarily in Calgary. Turns out that the job I have isn't very fulfilling and really doesn't pay me what I should be making. I want something that is more challenging and of course pays more, so I am out there again, looking, scouraging for a new opportunity that I can sink my eager, young teeth into and learn. Here's hoping something comes to fruitition! :o)

That's all I have for you cool cats! You have a great Canadian Thanksgiving this coming weekend. D and I are headed to my bro's for some good eating and a visit. Although it won't be the typical "Turkey dinner" it will be delish! ( Thanks for the invite bro!!!) Ciao and remember that we have a lot to be thankful for. If you can read this, you are blessed in more ways that you think! You have access to a computer, you have power, you can read... all things we take for granted every day. Time to be thankful folks and be safe!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Our Anniversary week!

The first Anniversary came and went and it was a great time!

On the actual day, we hung out and spent the evening curled up on the couch watching a flick and eating pizza... I know, not the romantic ideal of an anniversary but it was so relaxing and wonderful! We did watch our wedding video again however, and Derek's vow's that he wrote all by himself still bring tears to my eyes. It was such a beautiful day and I am SO very glad that Jeff the videographer extraordinare got it all - the feel, the action, the emotion... the beauty of the day! (Thanks again Jeff!)

The next day, my husband surprised me with a massage at home. We had a massuse come to our house and give the both of us a massage. It was glorious. We lit some candels, put on some tunes and spent the 2.5 hours in wonderful, painful, relaxation. It was pure bliss!

The following day found us on a flight to Chi-town or Chicago for a weekend get-a-way for the celebration of one fabulous year of marriage. We did ALL sorts of things... rode segways, visited museums, saw amazing architecture, visited the 3rd tallest building in the world (Sears Tower), went on a sail on a tall ship and spent 3 fantastic days getting lost in a totally new city. We were exhausted by the time our little heads hit the pillows in the morning, but judging from all the pictures, it was SOOO worth it!

A couple highlights, the Segway tour - so fun!; The Tall Ship - since seeing "White Squall" I have always wanted to board a sailboat and hoist sails; eating Deep Dish Pizza - it has changed my take on pizza forever; and spending a wonderful weekend connecting again with my husband. It was a great trip; fun, fulfilling, action packed and worth every penny!

I am not sure if we could have spent the weekend in a more delightful, and "Us" way than traveling, spending quality time with eachother and just enjoying our surroundings and our life together...

I don't think we (as in the world) take enough time to just enjoy where we are and what we are in that given moment, and be thankful for it... we should be more thankful for what we have and what we are able to do... all of us. I know that I am very thankful for a wonderful husband, strong and rewarding marriage and a life that I could only have dreamed about.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

One Year ago today

One year ago, today, the man I love and I climbed into a helicopter with some friends that were professional video, camera and rescue people and flew to the top of a mountain. We hiked down that mountain while engaging in a sacred union that will unite us forever... we got married. ONE YEAR has already passed in our lives of wedded bliss, I can hardly believe it, and it seems like so much has happened, yet the days flew by without me knowing it and lo and behold we are standing at the threshold of one year.

One year means a lot to me. It shows that we do still really like eachother and get along well enough to stay married. It says that we are united, and even though many have said the first year is the easiest, we are still the same Heather and Derek that helicoptered to the top of Mt. Charles Stewart that beautiful day. It is a mark in time that shows we have some history, and that the best is yet to come. One year means I am in this for good... I am happy, healthy, being present in my life and sharing every moment I can with someone whom I love more than I thought possible... One year means there is more, and it only gets better!

I want to say Thanks to my husband. Thanks for putting up with me when I am grumpy, sad, stubborn, indecicive, scared, sobby, and well, bitchy (I know, it never happens! :o)). Marrying you was the best decision I ever made and I am so very lucky to have you in my life. As I said one year ago today... "having you in my life makes me feel whole". Thank you for everything you do for me - you are the best husband I could have asked for! Please remember "For all eternity, I love you".

Monday, August 31, 2009

The blogging world, Banff and an Ice Cream Truck

I recently saw the movie "Julie & Julia" which is about a young woman (about my age) who is an aspiring writer and she blogs about how she is working her way through Julia Child's book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". While that is something I would NEVER conceive of doing (seeing as I would eat about 3 things made from that book and all of them without some ingredient or other) the idea struck me as wonderful. Why should a person who is putting their heart and soul on the line (and on the web) and not get some recognition!? God knows there are enough bloggers out there, and some REALLY great ones at that, that should get some recognition! Although my dreams of being one of those people is very limited (I am not sure what would make my writings stand out amongst the millions) I have to admit that I fancy the thought of one day being world renown for my writings, I will have to seriously re-evaluate this blog if that were to happen... as in, there is no topic that I write about ALL the time... it is, you have to admit, pretty random.

The past week I was in Banff for a couple days (one evening of which was spent in the movie theatre watching the aforementioned movie) visiting the husby (my new nickname for the husband) as he was working out there. I have realized, as I always do when I spend time out in the mountains, how much I love it out there... the air is so fresh, the views so inspiring, humbling and quiet. We are so incredibly lucky to live so close to the amazing mountains, and as I was saying to Derek, we don't spend enough time out there! I was thinking and chuckling to myself of how wonderful it is to be close to a place that people save YEARS to come and see... I mean, if it blows me away every time I see the mountains, and I live here... imagine what THEY must feel. The other day I was sitting down town having lunch with my sister-in-law and we saw some tourists posing like they had their hand on top of the Calgary tower... kind of like what you see people doing to the Pyramids of Giza or the Leaning tower of Pisa... and the thought came to me... Is that what we look like when we are in foreign lands? How different is it to look at tourists in your own country and appreciate what they are going through from what you have experienced in your own travels! This is what I was thinking about when I was in the mountains... could the feeling that I got when I did yoga on Manchu Picchu or saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time, could they be having the SAME feeling when they drive to the mountains? I have so many things on my bucket list, but how many people LONG to see the Rocky's and have them on THEIR lists... how lucky we are to have them in our back yard! And how we should enjoy them more... Derek and I really want to spend more time out there - and hopefully our schedule will oblige a bit in the fall (unlikely but somewhat possible!?)

While spending some quality time in the mountains, I went for a run on one of the mornings I was out there - a quick little 6K that had me begging for mercy by the time I was done. I am not sure if it was the altitude difference (2000 ft higher than home) or the cold that I was developing (and am still recovering from) or the fact that I had just worked a night shift, driven to Banff only to find out that we couldn't check in until 1pm (so the obvious thing to do was go for a run....) Anyway, this run that was supposed to be enjoyable and scenic has me worried to the maximum seeing as the race I am running is IN BANFF and is in 3.5 weeks (and .5 of those weeks we will be in Chicago!!!). I am worried, not that I won't finish... the bull will not be defeated, but that my time will suck, I will hurt myself and that it will be 2.25 of the most painful, death take me now, hours I have ever endured. SO... what am I doing about this you ask? Why... working nights, eating cereal, apples and popcorn and sleeping until the stupid ice cream truck's*** silly jingle wakes me up mid evening, all to do it over again! Yes, this bull may have to run through agonizing pain in a little over 3 weeks... but... I won't let one bad training program get me down! I will do better, starting... er... Wednesday? I am not busy Wednesday!!!

As I have said before in previous posts, it seems like we over plan our lives (there IS such a thing, and even I am saying it...) and we seem to want to do everything on our lists. Sometimes, we don't get to do everything we want due to finances, obligations like work or family, or the fact that there aren't enough hours in the day sometimes. Although this is the case, and we have to pick out the things that we REALLY must do and want to do, we can still do the things that we are passionate about - we can still do what motivates us and drives us... but these things have to be a priority. People spend holidays with their families because they make it a priority, athletes get gold medals because their training is a priority, sick people get better because their health becomes their priority. SO... what are my priorities? My husband, first and foremost... he is my family, my best friend and the person who helps make all my fears go away. Second, my family... they helped shape who I am today and I am pretty happy with the result, how could I abandon them now?! :o). Third, my running - and although this has been put on the back burner I need to re-light the front burner and get some serious training in before the big race in Banff!! Although I am on nights for the next 3 weeks, and I am really quite busy on top of that, I making a commitment and making it a priority to get some runs in - log some distance - and thus feel better about the upcoming 'doom-fest' that is Melissa's Run in Banff... wish me luck on the next 3.5 weeks, I am sure going to need it!

*** Just a note about the effing Ice Cream Truck... this guy drives around all day (and I mean ALL DAY) around our neighbourhood playing his high-pitched annoying-as-all-get-out anthem that makes all the kiddies come and run for ice cream. He drives by our house at LEAST 20 times a day on a hot Saturday or Sunday which makes it next to impossible to sleep when on nights. On the day that I actually decided to succumb to the ice cream anthem and ran up to meet and greet the man, he drove right past me, thus leaving my broken heart frustrated and ice cream-less. It is tragic... effing ice cream truck, he should be banned!!!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summer is here, and almost gone

It is amazing to me how much faster time goes now that I am a big person. Seriously, time NEVER went this fast - especially during summer - when I was little. Sometimes, ok quite often, I long for those lazy summer days when I was a kid where I would ride my bike all over the place and play war with my brother and the neighbourhood boys. I recall how summer faded gently into fall and how not only the chill in the air would mark the change, but the smell of the air. Nothing makes me think of my youth like the smell of the air in fall... such good memories come to mind.

Looking at our calendar, fall will be here before we know it. We have the next 2 weeks fully booked (and Derek is away for most of it) and then we are off to Chicago for our first wedding anniversary (see what I mean about time moving so quickly!). Sometimes, I fear that we get so caught up in what we have to do, or what our schedule says and loose the moment that we are living in. I know this happens actually... we both (Derek and I) need to live in the moment more. I really felt this last week as Derek grew very busy with work and preparing for his week long course in BC. There was so much prep to do and so much that we had to organize, that we missed out on some quality time with eachother before he left. Sometimes this can't be helped... but I can't help but think that we could have MADE time... even if that means I didn't get the full 7 hours of sleep, or all the laundry didn't get done. Sometimes, we just have to make the time.

I have started my course via correspondence, and it is interesting and exciting. It is Mass Communication and the Media... should be a good time! :o) I am looking forward to diving into the whole process, so far I have unit 1 read... now for the questions! I hope that I will have the determination to stick to the courses and finish with a communications degree... but as I told myself when I went into this... every course I finish, they can't take back and I can eventually use it for something!

Five and a half weeks until the big race in Banff... yikes, I feel really un-prepared. I haven't been running as much as I should be, can't seem to get motivated this time around! I have revised my schedule to hopefully help me get to the finish line in around 2:10:00 but I have to stick to it to pull off a personal best! Right now, it is ALL about interval training and hills... it has to be... otherwise I think I would die on a hilly course! Exhibit A - the road from the Travelodge in Stoney Plain to Eden... HILLY and boy was it HOT... +26 C in the mid-day sun... 2.5 litres of water didn't hold out for the 2:45:00 it took me to run 20.6K... it was a LONG and HARD run - but I finished and although I wanted to curl up in a little ball and sleep for a year, I did it and know that if I need to I can pull out a 21.1K from sheer determination... the Bull will not be defeated as a friend of mine says when racing... determined like a bull!

I have also realized as time is passing that I have to get in gear and put together my fundraisers for the fall... I was hoping to have a comedy night or something along with another silent auction - I just hope this time people will show! I also want to do a "crave cupcake bake sale" or something in the office... and water bottles I think - I could make some serious money if I sold 200+ of those things... not sure I want to fork out the doe to begin with tho! SO much to think about and plan for, and if I want to make my goal of $12,000 then I have to kick it up and make sure I get my ducks in a row! As I said before... we get so lost in the things that we have to do - we need to take time to be in the moment!

So, friends, I will leave you with this thought... "The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases." - Carl Jung. I picked this quote for 2 very obvious reasons... one, it is about shoes and two, it is so incredibly true... what is good for one person isn't always true for another. One person may look at our life and the craziness it is (especally in summer) and say "you're crazy, I would never live like that" and then we look at it and think that we have a great little life going on. It is like fashion... not everyone wants to wear the same clothes, not everything fits and suits everyone... that is why there is so much selection! SO, my advice (like you need it) is to go with what you love, live the life you want... no one can tell you you're doing it wrong! As I have said so many times before... live the life you imagine! Be free, live in the moment and enjoy the beautiful life we were given... that is my goal for the remainder of the year!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Those rainy days...

It is those rainy days that make me feel all cozy and warm inside, desperately wanting to laze around during the day in my big woolen sweater with a cup of tea and read... it has been a rainy week and I get a little nostalgic about days when I used to be able to sit on my couch and watch days like today pass. It is days like today that make me thankful that I don't live in Seattle or Vancouver... not sure if I could handle days on end of this gloomy, hazy, damp drizzle. I know for certain that I couldn't run everyday in this... I would die I think!

Since last I wrote, we have been to the Family reunion. It was great to see the whole family again, but it is weird in that I never feel like I can sit and get to know any of them well... we all seem to be just skimming the surface of each others' lives and not knowing each other. I did get to chat about my up coming run in Iceland tho, as I was selling Calendars. It was a great icebreaker and I got some great advice because of it - apparently I need to focus on my core and upper body more as it more beneficial that I thought it was... who would have thunk it! :o)

I sold many Calendars, so that is great but I have a bit of work to do on it. It all seems to be going along just fine - I have some great photos that Derek and I took at the farm to use and I got most of the birthdays confirmed so they are accurate. It will be a great way to celebrate the centennial year of the farm. NOW... I should make something for the Hamilton family to purchase... fair is fair! :o) I am thinking of getting some metal water bottles made with "Heather's Road to Reykjavik" (or something) on them and selling them... not sure if I want to put out the coin to buy a whole bunch of them and have no one buy them... we shall see!

We are heading up to Edmonton this weekend... Derek is teaching a course and I am hoping to get in a 16K run and some reading... With any luck, my course package will be in and I can get some of THAT reading done (although I still have over 900 books on "The List" that need my attention... this weeks book "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"). Next week we will be hanging out and then Derek is off to Comox for his annual August jump camp with the SAR boys... I think he is looking forward to it, as I think he feels like he has been too busy to be a serious "skydiver" this year!

We are getting excited for our anniversary and have scheduled a get-away to Chicago... why Chicago? Because we have never been there before, I could get free accommodations and it is the 3rd largest, most densely populated city in the US... why would we NOT want to see it. There are so many things to do that we are going to have to narrow down the list... one thing is for sure - I want Chicago Deep Dish pizza and I would LOVE to see Wrigley Field... I am sure that I will fill you in with all the dirty details once we are back...

Until next time Mi Armoure... have a great day, enjoy the weather where ever you are... and live life to the fullest, you never know what this day will bring!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The end is nigh

The end of July is within our reach and it seems that so much has happened!

After Hay River, we both got in a groove with working and spending some time playing! I have been reading and working on my tan on patio's around Calgary and Derek has been skydiving.

We had a guest for a week by the name of Honey - she is the kitty of one of our friends who needed a cat sitter while away on holidays. She was a playful, delight to have around and I really missed having a cat. Now that she's gone, you can almost hear the faint echo of her meowing in the empty rooms.

Derek went off to Montreal to do some "Master Course Facilitator" work and was treated to a stint in the Montreal Wind tunnel... lucky bugger! He had a great time, was treated like the Prince he is, and brought me back a fantastic t-shirt. Thanks to Mario and Minon for treating him like a million bucks and for getting him home to me safe! :o)

While Derek was away, I helped my brother and his family move into their new home in the NW. It is a cute little place that will be nice and cozy for their growing family. We painted for a couple days and then moved in their stuff... it is amazing how much stuff people can accumulate, but they do have 2 little girls so I guess it is a given. It was nice to spend so much time with their family tho!

On Saturday, I went up to Sylvan Lake to watch 2 of my good friends swim, bike and run their way through a 1/2 Iron man... wow is that a feat! Swimming 2K, Biking 80K, and running 21.1K - and they both did it in under 6 hours!!! It was great to be able to cheer them on (I even made them a sign!). I am not sure if I could do a 1/2 iron man... it is quite physically demanding, but something was sparked in me that Triathlon might be something I'd like to try... perhaps in a year or two when I am done with the whole "Marathon in Iceland" thing...

Now we are gearing up for the Annual family Reunion in Vilna. We should be there for the festivities on Friday eve - and unfortunately will have to leave on Sunday as we both have to work on Monday... I should have my fantastic Calendar ready for viewing by then so everyone can buy one and I can make mooola for Team D! :o)

Other than all of this, I have been getting excited about my course package coming in from Athabasca U... I hope to have my Communications degree by this time next year (or maybe Dec of next year)... we shall see how it goes! I am really looking forward to getting this project started, because the sooner I get started, the sooner I have this degree and I can then work as the press secretary for the Prime Minister or something! :o) Here's to new experiences and upcoming opportunities!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy July...

This July has brought a ton of events already... and we're only 1/2 way through it!

We went to Westlock for Derek's skydiving provincials at the very beginning of this month. The weather wasn't as cooperative as it could have been, but they managed to get all 6 rounds in and place 2nd - the team that got first place has been jumping together for years and spends a lot of time and money in the wind tunnels of the south... much more than Derek's team. Maybe next year they will over-take them! :o)

After the event was completed, we drove 9 more hours to the land of the midnight sun - yes, we returned to Hay River for a visit with the folks... it was relaxing and restful and eventful and really a nice visit! It rained 1/2 the days we were there, one of them being the day we decided to rent kayak's and cruise down the lake from Paradise Gardens to the beach... we put the boats in the water and sure enough 30 mins after they were in it started to rain... and at times the wind picked up so much that if we stopped paddling we went backwards! It was still fun, tho, and despite the cold, we managed to make it to my parents house before hauling the boats out of the water (and up the giant embankment)... We could have made it all the way to the beach had we BOTH had rain jackets (thanks to Derek for giving me the one he brought for himself) and gloves... our hands were frozen. A shower never felt so good tho, and we were warmed up in no time!

We also took some time to go on a couple nature walks... I refrain from calling them hikes as they are really "nature walks" and we weren't really hiking up anything per say. They were great fun, and on the trails the bugs didn't seem that bad... it was when we got to the road that the bugs came out. The walk between the 2 falls was great - relaxing and very pretty and the Rotary walk starting at the school I graduated from was like I remembered it. It was interesting to see where the ice road starts and stops in the summer and Derek thought that was very interesting. We went to Dad's jail for a tour and a coffee as well as to Jen's work and took a picture with Derek and the now famous and on a stamp Inuksuk... over all, our trip was great. I got to spend QT with the parental units, show Derek around my town, see my Jen and relax all in the same week. Ahhh, the sound of a relaxed human!

Now on to the projects Mom and I concocted while in the Hay for Team Diabetes... I am working on a Calendar... I hope to sell it at the family reunion this year... fingers crossed!

OH... a quote I found on a friends blog " Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things it will come and sit softly on your shoulder..." Thoreau - I just thought this was a beautiful thought and so very true about the Happiness that I have found in my life! Sometimes letting things be is the best method for finding out how to be happy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Liberating or devastating?

What I thought would be a liberating move, turned out to be a devastating event... I deleted most of my facebook page... and by most of it, I mean all the photos, my profile information, my quotes... and I thought that I would be happy about it... feel free from having people look at my life with scrutiny and commenting on the ins and outs of my life. BUT - it feels like I have lost a small part of me. Derek looked at me with his beautiful sad eyes and said "all those memories... poof... gone!" and right he is.

I have endless e-mails sent out to all the facebook and help people I can find in hopes that they help me... I have checked my cookies to see if I had a saved version of the page prior to the mass exodus of the info - no luck - there HAS to be a way... we live in the land of technology - where anything is possible - they can send people to the MOON and stuff, can't they find my pictures on the inter-web??? siiiiiiigh...

I will keep you posted on this dilemma - that I created for myself... silly, lame me!

What I do know is that this blog will never - ever - ever - ever be deleted... it has too much of me and who I am in it... how could I delete that!?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What does it mean when you google OCD?

Does it mean that you are SOOO OCD that you just neeeeeed to find out if you are infact OCD? - OR, it is a result of having WAY too much time on your hands to look up random facts via google?

I am not sure if I would be considered OCD, but I am sure that I would make a couple shrinks shake their heads... I have things... weird things, that can't be changed or I feel weird. An example, cupboard doors... they can't be open - I have caught myself getting up from the supper table at friends houses to close their cupboard doors all the while chatting like I am all normal and like I am doing nothing wrong... some days I think myself to be certifiable!

However, when your google-ing at 4am (and google-ing OCD amongst all things) interesting things pop up and you realize that you are in fact normal and the majority of the world that posts comments on forums are nuts - loony - just bonkers! I am not talking about washing hands excessively I am talking about stalking, reading spouses e-mail, cracking into computers to satisfy their compulsions CRAZY! It made me realize that A - I am some what almost normal (what is normal anyway?) and B - I can get over any small compulsion I have, I just have to get it out in the open and change my mind about it... to use a phrase I coined in Grade 10 - "It's all Psychological!"

So... I am making a clean slate, getting my obsessions out in the open and dealing with them, making it so I see them for what they are - crazy - and then change them! Wish me luck on this endeavour!

Another thing to note... Training resumes!

Sunday (which is technically today - but to my body - tomorrow) is the start of my new and more intense training program. I have rest days on Tuesday and Fridays this go-round and as such, will be running 5 days a week... lets hope it sticks!

It should be interesting training for the first 2 weeks seeing as I am on nights currently (note time stamp of this posting!) as well as we will be travelling to Derek's competition (GO Vertical Express GO!!!) and then moving on to Hay River to visit the Parental units and Jen (my dear, sweet friend). As hard as I try... I can't imagine a hill in Hay River that will aid me in the "hills" portion of my training... interesting. I am looking forward to the Kayaking and Hiking that Derek and I have planned and the visiting and general camaraderie and tomfoolery that comes with a visit to the Hay... Life is good - busy and good!

A quote that I thought was amusing... "There is no "I" in "team" there is, however, an "I" in "initiative" - in fact, there are four of them, so chew on that, you dull little sheep" - it just made me giggle and is from a book I bought Derek called "A Dictionary of Bullsh*t..." by Diane Law. It is about stupid "Buzz words" in the corporate world that drive Derek crazy... it was good for a laugh! Pick it up if you have a chance!

(Having re-read this, I notice how random and piece-meal it is... lots going on in this noggin I suppose! :o))

Monday, June 22, 2009

Isn't it funny

When you have time on your hands, isn't it funny what you end up doing?

Take for instance, a night shift in front of a computer and a phone that rings on average 1.5 times per shift... one can find some pretty interesting things to do. I find myself roaming Facebook for - honestly - hours looking at pictures of people whom I have no interest in... I also roam the Internet looking up everything and anything that seems interesting. Tonight, I found a gem really... a blog about a guy who is RUNNING across Europe - how I found it I may never know but I have just spent about an hour reading about his journey. He is running with only an extra change of clothes, a rain suit, a toothbrush and a phone that takes pictures, had GPS and world-wide capabilities. He is NOT staying in hotels but is "couch surfing" http://www.couchsurfing.net and basically asking for places to stay along the way. He is 31 days in as of today and has yet to not find a place to sleep. What a great adventure that would be... makes me want to go and travel like a gypsy - once we have some things organized perhaps! Check out this dudes crazy journey if you want a good read! http://ryanrunseurope.blogspot.com

Another thing I found my self doing tonight was voting for my favorite Robert Munsch book... I love Munsch... The favorite seems to be "I love you Forever" which is undoubtedly an amazing book. My favorite however, is "Moira's Birthday" - the picture of Moira's dad is SOOOO Mr. Green - and the fact that they live IN A GREEN HOUSE... just amazing... I loved that I used to walk to school with Moira every day in Grade 9... There is a Munsch exhibit going on right now at the Telus World of Science... perhaps I should go and show my Munsch love!!!

Well folks, on to viewing more interesting things on this crazy interweb... very cool how a few mouse clicks and a cup of coffee can keep me occupied for hours! :o)

Enjoy the sunshine... while on nights, I sleep with the blinds drawn and come out when it is getting dark... feeling almost like a vampire! :o)

Monday, June 15, 2009

The race was run


This is me... crossing the finish line of the 1/2 Marathon I ran this weekend. It was a great relief, sense of pride, sense of sadness and happiness all in the same stride across the mat.

After 15 weeks of training, it is a relief to know that I did it, the training paid off when it should have (the last 3 - 4 km's and up hills). It was a great sense of pride as not everyone can say they've ran 21.1km's and lived to tell about it. A sense of happiness that it is over and on to the next race, but a sense of sadness as I didn't reach the goal I set for myself. In runners' terms, I wasn't even close - 10 mins off is HUGE - that's about 2KM's behind in your pace... how do you get that behind your pace... all I can say is - I did it, I have my first one under my belt and on to beat that time (and blow it out of the water!)

My next race is 22K in Banff (which has higher elevation and is hillier) and I am running it with a friend who runs at a 2hour 1/2 Marathon pace... If I am going to keep up with her at all, I am going to have to get a move on! I have a training program all ready to go - and it is more intense, and more targeted to being faster and more effective at hills. I think I have this one ready to go! I am also working on a nutrition plan so that I don't sabotage my training with milkshakes and licorice! :o) Oh my weaknesses are great! I am not sure how training will work with my new schedule - as you may be able to tell, I am on nights - which makes it difficult to go for that "after work" run or the "before work run" as I am totally tuckered when I hit the sack in the AM and it is dark by the time I would be ready to run... only time will tell I suppose!

I guess I should tell you about the run. Nothing too exciting to report actually... I put one foot in front of the other. I kept hydrated with thanks to my wonderful husband who brought my 2nd water bottle to the 1/2 way mark. He was sitting there with the volunteers as I zipped past throwing my empty at him and grabbing my full bottle. He is my biggest fan and keeps me in line when I want to stop at Pete's Drive in for a milkshake. He encourages me on those long runs, and with out him I am certain that some of them would not have been as successful or as long. So, thanks Husband/coach/cheerleader extraordinare... you are wonderful, you believe in me and I couldn't thank you enough for helping me these past weeks.

At about the 1 mile mark, I came up over a hill and behold... a pipe band of about 10 playing the tunes of my ancestors with vigor and such rythm. It was so inspirational and emotional when I realized that they were playing "Amazing Grace". This song was played at my Grandfather's funeral almost 11 years ago, and 9 years ago I recall my father and I standing on a street corner in Edinburgh listening to the same song played by a blind piper and his faithful dog. Having just ran about 19K I was pumped with endorphines and emotion of almost being done and thus... the water works started. I was bawling for a good 500 metres and the poor guy that I passed as I ran probly thought I was in agony. It was nice to have that gentle kick at the end - as I knew that my Grandpa was smiling down at me encouraging me and being proud of me. I felt his encouragement in those last kilometres...

So, I get to the finish line (but not before I kick it up a notch and pass about 3 people in the last 500m) exhausted, nausious and so happy to be done. I couldn't help but feel disapointment with my time... I get an idea in my head and I am peeved if it turns out different. BUT... I know that next race I will do better, train better and thus get a better time! As Charles C. Noble said "You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures." My long term goal is to A. Stay fit and healthy B. Run a Marathon at least once in my life and C. Run until I don't enjoy it anymore. I did get my first finisher's medal which is great (and it has feet on it which is so very cool to me) and so the collection begins!

Training begins for the next race in 2 weeks... Time will tell how that goes, but until then... I am going to rest up, relax, eat and be merry - the 2 weeks will be gone before I know it and it will be in full training mode again! :o)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I have a job

So literally, a day after I posted the last post... (and to be honest, I didn't even post it on that day) I got a call from a potential employer and went in for an interview. I got asked to go in for a secondary interview and "voila"!! I now am employed... phew, thought I was going to have to resort to something like a walking the street in a banana suit! - long story, don't ask! :o)

I am working now as a Data Support Analyst for a technology company... I will have to work shift work, but it will help pay the bills and give me something to do! :o) Besides, it is a foot in the door with a great up and coming company and that never hurts!

About 3.5 days until the 1/2 marathon and I am confident that I will finish it... in the time that I want, perhaps not, but it is my first one and I was injured for 2 training weeks so I feel confident that I won't be the last one to cross the finish line. That is my main goal. Really, however, I would love to cross the finish line in 2 hours, but would settle for 2 hours 10 mins (and really, secretly, as long as I beat 2 hours 20 mins I will be happy!).

SO... Quote of the day time! "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different" - Coco Chanel. Now, for those of you that know me well know that when I was 16 years old I went to France and fell in love with the perfume "Coco Chanel", named after - you guessed it - the creator of the Chanel brand - Coco. It is unique and different and everything I wanted to be at 16 and even now, ehem, 12 years later, I still love putting on my Chanel perfume because it is different and unique and everything I want to be at 28! I fell in love with that quote when I first saw it, just like I fell in love with that perfume when I first smelt it.

Another piece of giggle from me this fine day... again, for those that know me, know that I have a THING against the colour purple... I have gotten HEAPS better but still am not crazy about the colour. I saw this when I was reading a blog that I often peruse "For a long time all the girls I met who loooooved purple were... well, how do I put this... crazy. So, when I say happy PURPLE weekend, well, you know what I mean. " - it made me giggle... the ladies who love purple are crazy, so, lets substitute Crazy for Purple... LOVES IT!!!

Hope this brings you love, happiness and a life that is unique and different! May we live lives that are irreplaceable, as Coco Chanel wishes us to! :o)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Time flies when your unemployed!

So, it has been over a month without an update to speak of... what have I been up to you ask? NOTHING... ugh, this not having a job is for the birds... I mean what does one DO all day when they aren't working... I still haven't figured that out and with 5 months of unemployed "bliss?" checked off the calendar, one would think that I have some semblence of a routine... nope, not even the slightest!

I have been running a lot, trying to achieve my goal of running a 1/2 marathon in 2 hours... the race is in "gulp" 1 week and 5 days and I feel so un-prepared and not able to run in my goal time... so, I have adjusted it so that my goal is 2 hrs and 10 mins... I am pretty sure I can do this! Why do I feel un-prepared? Well... I had to take 1.5 weeks off of training because my right hip was sore. This hampered my training in the peak weeks so I feel out of shape and under-prepared... why was I so lazy at the begining of the 15 weeks? eeek!

So... I have been sitting and waiting for the call for an interview... sending in 50 resume's to potential employers per day... what makes me so un-employable? Is it my charm and good looks? Nope, they don't even see me... perhaps I should attach a headshot!

Anyways, lets all keep our fingers crossed for me shall we?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A quick journey, a weird week!

I always find it interesting how the lives of people who know eachother criss-cross around each other's lives. It is like an endless braiding of stories that touch eachother but never fully unite to form a product or relationship. I also find it interesting who this blog reaches, and it is always the most interesting and least expected people. Sometimes it makes me angry if someone I don't want to gets a glimpse of my life... but then I think, why am I writing this for but to share with the WORLD my life and everything that is in it. SO, with that... read away all you who must and share in the journey that is my life... :o)

This past week saw my friend Jen in Edmonton for some tests. We had a great time relaxing in the hotel after and dying my hair and chatting about what has happened in our lives since we last saw eachother... I must admit, despite the fact that I have travelled for almost 2 months this year and gotten married, she still won. That is one tough cookie... and despite her trials and tribulations this past 1.5 years, she has remained a rockstar and solid to the core. We should all aspire to be Jen's in my mind. So, after much chatting and discussing how she was to get back to Hay River we decided that she was going to come with me on a trip to the past. We had a great trip up, 11 hours of solid driving and reminising. It was a trip that shockingly we had never done in the 15 years of friendship, so it was long over due. We fell into our friendship like we hadn't missed a day - and to me, that is what life long friends are; friends that can go a year without seeing eachother but not skip a beat when the day comes that we see eachother again. It was so nice to have the opportunity to spend 2 whole days with my bestest girl friend in the world!

3 hours short of hitting Hay River we decided to call my mom seeing as it would be 11:30pm by the time we rolled into town. She was elated and shocked that we were on our way and so very close. Mom and I stayed up and chatted until the wee hours in the morning even though Mom had to get up early for work. Jen and I spent the next day driving around and visiting all our old hang outs and checking out what had changed. It is weird going back to the place that you grew up and realizing that everyone has grown up and bought houses, cars, boats and had kids. It makes you feel OLD! That evening mom and I spent the whole night chatting and really had an excellent visit; I would say the best visit we've had in years! Friday saw Mom and I spend the day shopping and visiting and trying to get rid of our headaches because of all the wine we drank the night before. Friday also saw us going to pick up Dad at the airport as he flew in from YK. He was shocked and so happy that I was there, even if I was leaving the next day. We had a great, but quick visit.

The supposed 15 hour drive home was quick and easy and honestly - Fun. I love to drive and I really don't mind driving alone, that way I can turn up the tunes and play all the Country Music I want! It was great to meet up with Derek just South of Edmonton and convoy home.

Although it is nice to be home, it was nice to visit the place that my parents live and will always feel like "going home" to me. Althought they have renovated, the house still feels the same as it did when I was a tiresome teenager, and the memories of creeping in later than cerfew or shaving my head in the kitchen still run in my head as I walk through the kitchen. I have nothing but warm memories from that house, and it was great to have some more wonderful memories to add to the arsenal. Love you Mom and Dad and thanks for the great time! I always get treated like royalty when I stay with you!

In one of the shops in Hay River; Emmanuels, there was a quote by Dr. Seuss it said "There's no one alive who is youer than you" - isn't that the truth.

Friday, April 10, 2009

When I was a little girl...

We would play this game on road trips where we tried to find as many license plates on cars that were different from our own... well, this past road trip Derek and I (ok, it was mostly me, but he helped) played this game. I am sure that Mom and Dad just used it as a way to keep us quiet but it worked and it was fun and I still do it... so, without further ado, here is the final tally:

40 = US States
6 = Canadian Provinces
2 = Canadian Territories
3 = Mexico Plates (I couldn't read Spanish so I didn't know what province/state they were from)

Here is a list:
US STATES:
Washington, Oregon, California, Wisconsin, Idaho, Alaska, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Connecticut, Virginia, Michigan, New York, Colorado, New Mexico, Iowa, HAWAII, Mississippi, Indiana, Nebraska, Tennessee, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maine, New England, Vermont, Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia

Canadian Provinces/Territories:
NWT, Alberta, BC, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Yukon.

There you have it friends, the biggest list of license plates that I have ever gotten... I was so pleased when I found Hawaii... I have NEVER seen a Hawaii license plate, we were in California so that could be why! By the end of the trip, this list had almost become an obsession - you see, I wanted to get ALL the states! We have time to get all the provinces as we will one day drive across Canada, but ALL the states, that is just a goal that must be achieved!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The traveller has stopped - for now!

Hey there friends, long time no post... I didn't realize how LONG it has actually been since I last wrote!

What has happened since I last wrote you ask? Well... a lot has happened! Montreal was wonderful, I spent some quality time with old Montreal and have grown to love it with it's quite European style, Canadiana, and amazing views. It is a city not to be missed in Canada, that's for sure! We didn't get to fly in the wind tunnel as it was still in construction BUT we (rather Derek) won some time in it so we shall be back! :o) Derek's meetings were stressful and it wasn't truly a holiday for him as it was for me. I had the opportunity to tour around with a friend who is french and that made it SO much easier... she took me to the BEST burger joint ever! C'est Magnifique!

The weekend after Montreal I ran in a 10KM run in Lethbridge. It was so wonderful running in a place that I felt so lost for so long. It was great to have the "new me" run there and achieve a goal I had set for myself... to run a 10K in under an hour. I managed to run it in 56:24 which was AWESOME! I had Grandma, Aunty J, Aunty M, Aunty Connie and Uncle Jim all there to cheer me on as I crossed the finish line and hug me in congratulations for achieving my goal! It was a great trip to Lethbridge and I really got to spend some QT with the family! Derek was so sad that he couldn't come as he was working that weekend... next time for sure! My next goal is to run a 1/2 marathon in June. It will be in Cochrane and it will be up a long gradual hill (I may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, but it is big!)... but it will be good! My goal is to run it in 2 hours or less... my training had started and I am officially in week 3. I started running hills, which consist of running up hills as fast as you can repetitively until you feel like you might throw up or die... not a lot of fun, but a GREAT work out and it builds different muscles in your legs that you need for running up hills! I have joined a Tuesday run group that runs hills and does other kind of muscle building drills, and they all seem really nice and supportive so I am happy to have some motivation and running buddies if nothing else!

The weekend after Lethbridge, I took a flight up to Yellowknife to help Tom and Leigh Anne pack for their move to Alberta. It was great catching up with them and seeing Mom and Dad (who were there too!) It was great family time, and my only sadness was that Derek couldn't be there for it... flying to YK is costly and had I not had a cheap ticket I got from an online auction months before, I would not have gone either. We packed up all the memories we had as a family into a U-Haul and Tom and Leigh Anne's truck and away we went. Three days (long days I am sure) later, I got a call from Tom saying that they were in town and the journey of having my brother in the same city as me again begins. It has been 10 years since we lived in the same city... it will be great to get in some QT with him and his family!

Since then, I have been trying to get as much done around the house and in our world as possible. I am still looking for a contract, so hopefully something comes up soon... I hope, I hope! I have been putting in a lot of effort to raise funds for my Team Diabetes event. I am hosting an online auction to raise money for the Canadian Diabetes Association. I will be running in Iceland August 2010 (a full marathon of 42.2KM's) and so I have to raise money for them. My goal is to raise $12000. If you would like to help me obtain my goal, please come to Swan's (1336 9th Ave, Calgary) on May 30th and bid on something at the silent auction. To get in the door, it is $10 bucks and all of that goes towards the Canadian Diabetes Association! If you can't make it and still want to contribute, please click on this link... anything helps!https://ocp.diabetes.ca/pledge/cspledge.asp?prId=td&oId=1212131&tId=10824 (OK, shameless promotion over!)

Well friends, that in a nutshell is me for the past month. I am sure that there have been minuscule things that have come up, but in a nutshell, that is it... it is a pretty big nutshell! :o)

Until next time... as Denis Watley says "The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them."

Monday, March 02, 2009

Still trucking...

Well, I have made the journey - one giant loop - and back to where I started temporarily... I fly out to Montreal tonight (well tomorrow morning really - 1am departure time!) Here you will see the path that I have completed in the past 3 weeks! What a trip this has been!!!

Near 7800 kilometers of driving put on our shiny new Rav 4 makes it not so new anymore - I think we can say that Timmy is officially broken in! In the past 3.5 weeks, Timmy (along with Derek and I) have seen 8 States and 2 Provinces! WOW!!

Not sure what to say about the trip... The Oregon coast was amazing, Reno was disappointing, Vegas was WOW, Eloy was HOT and fun and relaxing... 3 books and 1.5 hours in the wind tunnel - I would say it was good! ... the drive home was long but really great as I saw the Grand Canyon (which was on my bucket list!). So, it was a great trip! I am ready to get going on the next part of the adventure which is Montreal where I will be exploring the inner workings of the city, hiding out in cafe's and reading, practicing my French and just being in Montreal.

On the drive home, as I mentioned above, I went and saw the Grand Canyon... let me tell you, this is one BIG hole in the planet! It was amazing to just sit and stare at the geological marvel it is, makes me wish that I paid more attention in "Rocks for Jocks" or Geology in College - then I could have been able to say - "Oh, that is a blah, blah formation caused by the tectonic plates shifting while undergoing a geological heat transference with in the sub-radial layer" or something intelligent sounding like that... all I could come up with is "WOW, that is a GIANT hole in the Earth!" Either way, I am sure that the tourists thought I was the Crazy lady who talked to herself in a T-shirt! :o) The rest of Arizona is stunning, the red rock showing itself by the cliff load, winding roads leading up and down these rock faces to a desert that is so flat you wonder where it came from!

Then there is Utah... it is uneventful, until you get to Salt Lake where you could convert to Mormonism just by pumping your gas... it is THAT prevalent. Try finding a Starbucks in the land of Mormon... not impossible, I found it and lived to tell you where it is... it only took me 30 minutes! (For those of you who don't know, Mormon's don't drink anything with Caffeine, it is against their beliefs). After Salt Lake, it was driving, driving, and more driving through Idaho and Montana which are well, Prairies and once you've seen 'em once, you've seen them. I got to the US/Canada border in good time and called up Grandma asking if she had a couch that I could sleep on in Lethbridge for the night... she did better and made up the spare room for me! We had a great visit and I caught up on all the gossip in Lethbridge! I miss the days when I would visit Grandma after work every couple days. We would sit there and talk about what was in the Newspaper or watch curling... it was great to relive that memory!

Today I drove the last 2 hours back to Calgary... they were quick, painless, and got me thinking about the past as I went through some of my old "Neck of the woods"... brought back some really great memories like the one with my Grandma, or driving out to Raymond for the Poutine, or the feeling in the air in Spring when you smell the ground defrosting and you know that you only have a couple more months to the semester and you can work (and have money again!)... the crazy days of being a student, oh how I miss you!

Since being back, I have unloaded the SUV (when I pulled up and had the first load of luggage and saw the "Out of Order" sign on the elevator, I knew this was going to be a feat!), washed the car (I had been bugging me for 8 states and 2 provinces but I resisted washing it!), completed all the laundry and put it away, packed for the next 7 days in Montreal, booked flights to Yellowknife to help my Bro and Sis-in-law move here (YAHOOOOO!!!) and am about to embark on a conference call for the Adult Skating committee I am a part of for CFSA - ALL this without a GoFast (like a Red Bull but better!)... It feels good to be productive again!

What more can I tell you other than life is good... I am going to have been in 4 countries, 8 US states, 3 Canadian provinces and one Canadian Territory by the time this month ends... WOW - I wish it could be like this all the time! Until then Mi Amigos - "A journey of 1000 miles begins with one step" - when will you take your first step to adventure?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Arizona days

Well, we have been in Arizona (specifically Eloy) for well over a week now and the sun has been shining, winds have been minimal and the days lazy and relaxing. It is great down here!

We left Reno after a fantastic session on the first Skydive on Mount Everest and the worlds worst banquet dinner I have EVER been to (it cost $35 per ticket - Derek got one with his registration to the conference, I paid... Derek got the better deal!). The speeches were irrelevant and long, the wine was horrid (Putrid even) and the food was sub-par if edible. The highlight of the dinner was chatting with some old friends and meeting some new. We were seated with the lady that was the first Female to Freefall over Everest so that was very interesting. Other than that, so long Reno, hope we never see you again!

We drove to Vegas on Feb 14 and the roads were clear and good the whole way. We stayed at the MGM Grand (which is more massive than it looks, it is CRAZY big) and we went to a couple shows - Anthony Cool the Hypnotist which was hilarious and so very entertaining and Zumanity, the Cirque de Solei show that focuses on sexuality. It was incredibly interesting and entertaining and not at all like an "average" cirque show. It was a jam packed day in Vegas as we cruised the strip for a small amount of time before hitting our shows. I saw the water show at the Belagio finally - the water moved to the music of the "Lord of the Dance" song I remember singing when I was little. It was a great night in Vegas!

We drove to Eloy from Vegas the next day and have been here at the Drop Zone ever since. I have spent about 45 mins of glorious time in the wind tunnel since we got here a week and 2 days ago and I have soaked up some sun, read 3 books and continued my training with a vengeance. It has been such a nice and relaxing time chatting with the SARTECH's and other friends that we have down here. Some more of our friends from back home are coming today, which is exciting, and Derek's 4-way skydiving team is supposed to arrive today as well. They are flying in the wind tunnel today (as am I) so they better show! :o) I am heading into Phoenix to pick up Don, one of the team mates, today and am starting to get things organized for my trip home. I start the drive Saturday morning and hopefully hit the Grand Canyon sometime around noon, then off to Salt Lake City - maybe in the same day, maybe not. I am going to take it easy and see how far I get each day. I have 3 days to do the 24 hours of driving so I am certain it will be a good slow drive.

I fly out to Montreal on the 3rd of March technically but it is a 1 am flight, so I won't be sleeping until I am on the plane... makes for a long day but short flight! Derek flys from here the same day and gets in around supper time, I will certainly have time for a nap before he gets there! We will be in Montreal for 6 days and although there are rumors of the wind tunnel not being complete by then, I will still have a great time roaming the beautiful streets and eating beaver tails, drinking cappuccino's and poutine... I love Montreal! Derek will be in meetings, sucker! hahahaha!

Well, I best get the day started as I have some organizing before the team gets here (the hotel room looks like a bomb went off in here! :o) I can hardly believe that it is the last week of February... time really does go so quickly! Until next time, peace, love, and adventure!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2 Provinces and 4 States later

Well, the journey is in full swing - almost a whole week has passed so it is high time that I update you on the trip!

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate a blogging friend on becoming a "blog of note" - this is when they take the best blogs and showcase it for all the bloggers to see, well done Anna! I truly know why they picked it as it is a witty, clever and well written blog. For all you interested, here is the link... http://www.almostdailyexploits.com/

So, the trip... we left Calgary around noon on Friday Feb 6th and drove to Kamloops (an 8 hour drive) and stayed at a hotel there... we were supposed to meet up with Derek's team mate and stay at his mansion, but his friend was out of town so we stayed in a hotel. The next day we drove to Vancouver (3 more hours) and spent the afternoon with Derek's mom and sister. The drive was stunning as the mountains popped out of the crystal clear blue sky. It seems that in winter (or when it is cold) the mountains seem to pop out so much more... it makes me want to climb them when they are so prominent and bold. It was a stunning drive. The visit was great, we got to have lunch with Derek's mom and sister and visit each a bit at their homes before heading across the United States border and on to Seattle.

In Seattle we stayed in a wonderful Kimpton hotel that was themed according to the 500+ vineyards in Washington. Did you know that Washington has the 2nd most vineyards in the states? I didn't even know that Washington made wine!!! We stayed at the Hotel Triton in San Fransisco and that was a Kimpton hotel. They are inexpensive for the quality of service... here is their web page: http://www.kimptonhotels.com/ - so in Seattle, we took an early morning stroll to see the World Famous Pikes Place Fish market. I must admit, I was very disappointed... it WAS Sunday morning but I thought that the fish market was bigger and more prominently displayed... it was a fish counter in a market place... I was very disappointed. SO, to ease our sadness, we had a hearty breakfast and then went to the first Starbucks - the very first place that had a Venti, non-fat, earl grey, vanilla tea misto... it was small and very efficient as they are incredibly busy. So, I got my drink and we walked back to the hotel, packed down our 17 bags (as we are taking some gear down for Derek's Team mates) and then hit the road to Portland.

In Portland we stopped and had coffee with Derek's uncle George whom he hadn't seen in about 15 years. WOW - Can't imagine not seeing an aunt or uncle in 15 years. Anyways, it was great to meet Uncle George and hear his story. He was a chef before he retired and he told us stories of his travel on cruise ships and up north and to the Azores and Maldives (now very much on my "must travel to" list). He is a quiet, soft spoken man who is similar to Derek in that he doesn't like fuss and is reserved. It was a great visit and we plan on keeping in touch. After Portland (which was about a 3 hour drive from Seattle) we drove to the coast of Oregon and started our drive down the 101 along the coast. By the time we hit the actual 101 it was near dark and considering the fact that we had to be in Reno the next day, we traveled a large portion of the coast in the dark (8 more hours) which was quite disappointing to us. We stayed in a small little village for the night paying $40 US which is so incredibly cheap!!! The view the next morning was breathtaking, even if it was pouring rain. It was gorgeous all along the coast and we were sad that we couldn't stop and take in the views. When we hit California we drove through the Red Wood Forest and although we didn't stop (but should have) we saw some spectacular trees and views. It is absolutly amazing that we could see coast and then these GIANT trees that are hundreds of years old and then coast again. Blew my mind!

Once we hit Eureka in California, we went inland towards Reno. The whole day of driving was about 10 hours. The drive along the Northern California was amazing as well. The roads were amazingly windy (sometimes having to slow down to 25 mph to get around a corner) but the scenery was spectacluar. Further along the road, Orchards became incredibly prominent, growing everything from Oranges to Pistachios (mmm, my fav!). Some of the Orchards we incredibly old and it was very interesting to see the different trees and styles of orchards - who knew!? It was getting dark just as we were hitting the hills of California that lead to Nevada. It looked like a winter wonderland with amazingly tall evergreen trees coated with fresh, sticky snow. It was spectacular until we hit the blizzard that brought the fresh, sticky snow... we hit all kinds of weather in a 10 hour drive, torrential rain, sunshine, snow, fog... what a spectacular show Mother Nature put on for us. Good thing the snow only lasted about 30 mins! After the blizzard, it was straight on to Reno and we thankfully made it - a little tired and weary, but happy that we did such an amazing trip - next time we will plan to go slower so we can take it all in!

Now that we are in Reno, and Derek is in full Conference mode, I am happy that I came. I know that I will never go to Reno for a holiday - it is a little sketchy here... the people that I have encountered are either 4000 years old, homeless or members of a gang. Needless to say I have not ventured out much and don't anticipate doing so. I have been and saw Reno, thanks for the tack in the map, on to the next destination!!!

We leave for Vegas on Saturday morning - until then, it will be chatting with skydivers about all things skydiving and having supper with good friends as well as making new ones. It is very relaxing to spend the days walking the strip, hanging out reading or watching T.V., working out (gotta keep that training schedule) and spending time with Derek. It has been a great trip so far... I hope the fun continues! :o)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

And the packing begins...

So, in 3 more sleeps, Derek and I will be packing up our beloved Timmy (our shiny Rav4) and taking him on his first real road trip to Arizona. We are going to BC to visit Derek's Mom and then down to Seattle then down the coast until we hit Reno! After 5 days in Reno while Derek attends a conference and I spend my time leisurely training for my next 10K run and reading a BILLION books that I have staring at me asking to be opened and enjoyed! Oh, and I will job hunting down there too... you never know, I could score a SWEET job in Reno or something and have to live down there! There are worse things that could happen!! :o)

One we are done with Reno, we will be heading to Arizona via Vegas... we have tickets to a show already so we will be staying there one night. If you have never been to Vegas, it is simply unreal. It is so big and bold and outlandish and off the hook... there seems to be no real theme other than to out do the last hotel/casino that was erected. The last time we were there (Feb 2007), many new hotels were being built on the strip so it will be interesting to see how they are coming along or if they are done! Always good to see progress! Once in Arizona the typical tomfoolery begins and I spend the days packing parachutes, entertaining the military people with my stories, wit and charm and fly in the wind tunnel!

I will be driving back to Calgary only to board a plane for Montreal as there is a conference there that Derek is attending and I am going to visit some friends, see the city and speak french... oh and play in the brand new wind tunnel! :o)

It will be a grand adventure and I hope to get in lots of running and hiking in Arizona as well as some good rest so that I can come back to Calgary with a job in hand and a future in store! :o) Wishful thinking I suppose, but it isn't totally out of the question!

For now, I am concentrating on organizing our house and our stuff so that Derek and I can have a mass packing event on Thursday. I am going to load everything into Timmy and hopefully go and pick Derek up at noon and hit the road! It will be great going on a road trip... I think last year driving down to Arizona was that last great road trip I was on... that and Jasper at Thanksgiving but that was a SHORT road trip.

I will for sure keep you all posted on the goings on while away in the states... I can hardly wait to add some more tacks in our map of the world! :o) 2 more states checked off the list! :o)

Until then - Audieu, sionara, au revoir, ciao, aloha, good bye, ta-ta - chat soon!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Trip Down Memory Lane

Today I drove to Cochrane to visit my aunt who just got out of the hospital. She is doing well and is lively and chatty and as close to her old self as her ticker will let her be right now... all she needs is time!

As many of you may know, my family and I lived in Cochrane for a couple years when I was smaller (I think I was around 12 - 13 years old). I managed to spend some time today driving around looking at our old houses and neighbourhoods, drove the streets I would bike to school on, and even hit one of my old haunts for a well known treat of Hot Chocolate! It was a delightful afternoon drive and we are just so lucky to be so close to the mountains that you can see the them on clear winter days!

I noticed today that the hills seem smaller and the roads seem shorter. This could be because I am bigger, but I swear some of those hills I used to climb with my bike were GIANT and now, they seem to hardly incline! Oh how time makes you forget! The thing that shocked me the most however, was when I drove by an old friend's house. I used to spend hours at Sarah's house in Bears Paw and when I saw it today the house looked just as I has left it 15 years ago (WOW... 15 years!!). The thing that shocked me was how I didn't remember the amazing view that house had - it is absolutely stellar in the mid-evening dusk, showing the hills slowly become mountains in the distance and their fields decline to a beautiful river valley; all seemed close enough to touch. I don't recall ever sitting on their wrap around veranda and soaking in the surroundings, nor did we hike down to the river which seems like such a short hike and an obvious location for two young girls to discover and explore.

I so very much wanted to knock on the door and see if Sarah's parents still lived there but decided to just drive by instead... perhaps on the next trip! I remember so fondly catching butterflies in her fields or watching Disney movies until we could recite them or sewing in her attic. The endless summer days of youthful laziness that I now long for; when you didn't have a pressing urge to achieve something in a day... ahhh, to be young again!

It was delightful to take a trip into the past and remember the happiness I felt when Sarah and I would play. It was also bittersweet in that a connection that was so strong in the past has dwindled to nothingness in the present. How time passes and changes everything! It is nice to visit happy places from your past, but I have to admit, I love coming home to the present!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Did this work?













I am hoping that this works so that I can show everyone where I have been... :) Lets hope it works 'cause it is kinda cool!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Last Lecture - The first speach

So, Derek had a meeting tonight with his team and I think to myself... "Self, time to get the computer cleaned off and organized" as I have many things on here that I just don't need... This gets me looking into things that I haven't in well, quite a long time. Tonight, I stumbled upon the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Stumbling upon this link that I have saved brought a smile to my face. It is an hour long lecture about achieving your dreams, living your life fully, and what makes this man so unique is that he, when filming this, was dying of Cancer. He died this past July, but before he did he passed on this amazing, unique, and energetic epilogue of why and how you should achieve your childhood dreams. Before speaking, Pausch received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students that had gathered. When he motioned them to sit down, saying, "Make me earn it," someone in the audience shouted back, "You did! I warn you that this may be long, but it will make you laugh, make you smile and make you think. It will help you look at your life differently, and for me, it inspired me to continue to live life with passion and purpose. It makes me want to check off the items on the bucket list!
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5700431505846055184
Click the link and watch if you have some time.

Some things that made me smile from this that are quotes he shares with us as he is explaining his childhood dreams, how he got to achieve them and what he learned along the way. "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want" - how many times can each of us prove that statement!? "Decide if your a Tigger or an Eyore" - Decide if you are going to be full of life or sit on the sidelines and be a martyr. "Don't complain; Just work harder" - That is a lesson we all could heed and when you want to stop to complain we need to remember that we are so blessed with what we have, we should keep our heads down, shut up and work harder. No one wants to listen to a complainer anyways.

So, if this clip doesn't get you to remember to live your dreams, today was the Inaugeration of President Obama. A man who from humble beginnings inspired and inspires a nation to join together by the thousands. He speaks to all of us, I feel, and grabs our hearts and makes us feel like we to can change the world, just as he is promising us he will. He calls on us all to be better, more productive, kinder, gentler humans and to live our lives with purpose and passion, and he has shown us he has done this - he has lead by example. He has proven that dreams do come true.
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Barack_Obamas_full_inaugural_speech_0120.html

"Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations." Such powerful words, and although this rhetoric is full of propaganda, it isn't bad. It isn't a bad thing that he spurs his nation to action, to passion, to purpose. It is what we all need, it is what should happen with our leaders - that is why we call them leaders, we should want to follow them!

So, on this historic day - one that I will never forget - I remember 2 men, very different, but with the same message. Be kind, be honest, work hard, live with passion, live with purpose and follow your dreams. Who can say it better than these 2 men?

Friday, January 16, 2009

We are home, sad but true!

Where we left off... we had one more day in Bali... boy did we make the most of it!

We spent the morning of January 9th in Candidasa hanging out and figuring out what we were going to do for the day and then in Taipei when we arrived there. We relaxed, re-packed and had lunch before Jumblo came to pick us up. He drove us to Kuta (the place we spent our first night in Bali) and we decided to see if we could try our hand at surfing... it is after all on my bucket list! We found a place, and after realizing that Derek's swim trunks were in the back of Jumblo's car, we signed me up with lessons and got me going out to the ocean with "Big Kahuna Surf School"... Derek was the photographer and videographer extraordinaire! It was so fun, it was so amazing, and what topped it off was I stood up on my first (very, very first) wave! I was so jacked!!! After the surfing, we went to a spa and got a nice massage... it was a great way to cool off, dry off and relax! We then went and walked around for a bit, did a bit of browsing (more than shopping) and I managed to squeeze in a pedicure (Derek got a great foot massage!). It was a great day in Kuta!

Jumblo came and picked us up at around 10:30 that night and we headed to the airport! We changed into our clothes for a warmer climate (I was sad to see the sandals go!) and we waited to board our plane. Before we knew it we were in Taipei (7am Jan 10 after a 5 hour flight from Bali) and after showers at the airport (they were the most amazing showers of our whole trip... it was I think the best shower of my life!) we found a tourist desk, got maps of the transit system and were off exploring like bandits! We went to Taipei 101 which is the tallest building in the world and checked that out but everything was closed! We then went to the Chaing Kai-shek Memorial Park. Chaing Kai-shek was the guy that brought democracy to the Republic of China - or what we know as Taiwan. It was fascinating to see the history and the architecture was amazing! We spent some good quality time there and then we wandered and explored the streets of Taipei. We stopped in at the computer market, where you could buy anything and everything electronic... we thought about buying something but the prices weren't bargain enough for us so we just looked. Time was running out, so we went back to Taipei 101 for the amazing night view... we spent time wandering the stores and we both lost ourselves in the GIANT bookstore that had so many English books. Before we knew it, we were back to the airport and ready to board our 10.5 hour flight (11pm Jan 10) to San Fransisco.

A mere 10.5 hours later, we landed in San Fran (6pm, Jan 10) and made our way to our favorite San Fran hotel, Hotel Triton. We grabbed some good food, a beer and then we were fast asleep! We woke INSANELY early (damn jet lag) and got ready for the tunnel. We missed our spot in the tunnel when we first got to San Fran due to the day delay, but we moved our time to the end of the trip so we didn't loose the deposit! It was well worth it! We took the transit system to the closest place we could and then a 10 dollar cab ride got us to the tunnel... we had so much fun. My new suit works so well and looks so good! :) I was able to get WAY more stable and in a better flying position, it was such a success for me... Derek and I even managed to turn some points! Yeah us! We took our time getting out of our gear and then scooted across the parking lot to a book store (we do love those!) and a restaurant for some grub! Once we were fed and watered, we grabbed a cab, and hopped on the transit/train system and back to the airport we went... back home... it made us sad!

This was such a great holiday, relaxing, adventurous, spontaneous and fulfilling! I have been thinking a lot about this holiday and this is what I think... It hits you like a ton of bricks when you look out at the big blue ocean listening to its lapping waves and tasting the salty air coat your lips, and then you look at the person who is next to you and you see someone that perhaps isn’t the most perfect, the most handsome or charming in the entire world but realize that they are the most perfect, handsome and charming person to you. They are the person that smiles at the things you smile at, laughs at the things you laugh at, and is saddened by the things that make you sad. They are the person that gets you, understands you, and accepts you when you are happy, goofy, pensive, grumpy or just plain you. That, in my mind is what happiness is. When you look forward to tomorrow and have someone that looks forward to the same tomorrow; that is happiness. When you see your goals and dreams and know that you have someone that will cheer you on from the sidelines no matter if it is a marathon, election, or a silly game show; that is happiness. All of these things, they show what happiness is. This shows what love is, and in my mind, they have grown to be one in the same. I know for myself, that in order to have happiness I must have love and in order to fully love, I must have happiness. It is the cyclical world that I am in, but it is my world and I have finally come to realize what it is that I want and have, thankfully and with a grateful heart, found it.

We may be home, we may be back to the grind, but we are happy, healthy and ready for more adventures... for us, that is what life is about! Bring it on 2009!!!

From Canada... Love you all, Heather and Derek

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Quick update

Hey there everyone... just wanted to give everyone a quick update to let you know that we made it back to San Fransisco! We had an amazing final day in Bali and a great day in Taipei, Taiwan... we arrived here a little tired (OK A LOT tired) and confused about what day it was... but we got in last night and had a nice rest at our fabulous and favorite hotel in San Fran - Hotel Triton! We are heading off this morning to go and fly in the tunnel and then it is off to our home - Yeah for our own bed, clean clothes and hot showers!!! :)

I will make sure I get all the details about our final days of the holiday to you when we get back to Calgary... hope you can wait until then! :) I will also post some pictures so you can see some of the amazing things we did!!! :)

Love you all, Heather and Derek!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Still here and loving it!

We are still in Candidasa and loving it. Today we got up and after our yummy banana pancakes, we went for a 6km walk to a small village called Langanan. Here they have kept their traditional Balinese ways and it was remarkable to hear about their traditions. For example, when men reach the age of 25 and girls around 22, they stand on either side of a big wall - guys on one side, girls on the other. The guys then throw a flower over the wall and the girl that catches the flower will be that guy's wife. WOW... and I thought our process of choosing a mate was difficult at times!

We managed to hike to and from the village at high noon, through the humid jungle, and not die of heat exhaustion... lucky us! It was really refreshing to return to our hotel and have a dip in the pool and a shower - not to mention lunch! We feel our time is winding down here... and it makes me sad, but ironically, our conversation's direction is on where we will go next! Oh how we love to travel! We haven't even finished this adventure and we are planning the next one! :)

Hope this finds you all well. I am sure that we will not post for the next couple of days, seeing as tomorrow we leave for Tai Pei for 16 hours then San Fransisco for about 24. I will for sure post when we have reached home, Calgary, but will try to squeeze a posting in from San Fran! Just to let you all know we are safe and sound!

Love you all, Cheers and Happy Travelling!

Derek and Heather

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

We are in Candidasa

This place is wonderful... days filled with laying poolside or splashing in the ocean or snorkeling in the blue lagoon... it is heaven on earth and we have certainly found it!

We left Ubud, the cultural centre with a bit of reluctance but happily as we were craving a change of pace from the constant driving and hopping in and out of the car. We originally wanted to go to Pandi Bai, but upon arrival, we saw that it was nothing but a port town to Lombok and since we decided to not go to Lombok we felt there was nothing there for us. Jombu suggested that we come to Candidasa instead and here we are, happily baked by the sun.

Upon arrival yesterday, we took our sweet time enjoying the cooler (but still hot) ocean breeze and enjoyed a delicious meal of Nagi Goreng and pasta... then we settled on some beach chairs and read for a while... good thing we bought some more books in San Fran!!! We ate again - and had delightful music from a live band that played really old rock - Mom and Dad would have loved it! The guys were singing English songs and every once and awhile, they would mispronounce a word... it was funny!

The next day - which is today - we got up and had yummy banana pancakes! If you have never had these, try them immediately! They are so delicious! We have had them almost every morning we have been here... I am TOTALLY going to make this my specialty! :) After yummy banana pancakes (bring in the Jack Johnson!) we boarded this small boat - about the size of a canoe with poles on either side to prevent it from tipping in the ocean - and headed out to the blue lagoon. We bounced our way to the spot via the canoe like boat and it's motor. By the time we got to our destination (which was the middle of a cove) we were soaked from the boat trip. We got ready to get in, flippers on... masks on... snorkels on... we were set! Derek got in first and I slipped in reluctantly behind him... I had never been snorkeling and the prospect of all the fish I could see from the boat had me a little on edge! I got in the water and put my head in to see and OH MY GOSH... there were HUNDREDS of the little buggers all over the place... I kinda freaked out a little, but once we were moving (and knowing that Derek had my hand the whole time) I was fine and really enjoyed myself... the colours were spectacular and the coral was amazing... who knew it crackled like that! We snorkeled until our underwater camera ran out and then a little bit more. We hopped back into the boat and bounced our way back to the villa - just in time too as we could see a storm brewing where we were so we are glad that we got out when we did.

The rest of the day has been relaxing and eating and strolling about Candidasa. There isn't much to see here, but the scenery is spectacular - especially from the water when the clouds have parted just enough so you can see the top of the volcano poking through the hills. It is amazingly beautiful country here, and we are so glad that we chose it as our destination. We both want to come back here, and we haven't even left yet! :)

Tomorrow we think we may take an excursion to a little village on the outskirts of this town known for it being a real glimpse into what Traditional Balinese life was like. We may also go snorkeling again... time will tell.

Our time is wrapping up here - on this island we both have grown to love. It is always sad when a trip ends, but we still have so much to look forward to. A day in Tai Pei and another day in San Fran where we will FINALLY be able to play in the tunnel! So much still to do, but we have done so much in the days past... We have plenty of pictures tho, and I am certain we will be knocking down your doors to show our amazing trip to you picture by picture. Until then... please stay tuned as the adventure (as it always does) continues!

Love Heather and Derek