Adventures in cycling

Well here we are, a month after our wedding and that means 4 long weeks of my daily grind commute. To be honest (shhhh), it hasn’t been that bad. Probably has VERYTHING to do with my walk through the park every morning by the meandering gurgling Bow River. the sound of a vast trickle tickling my ears is music far better than any iPod could ever relay. I know, I know, I hear you asking about my huge plans to cycle to work everyday. I’ve been asking myself that question each time I spend money on the LRT. However, with each passing thought, my knees start throbbing and the pain literally kicks me back to the reality of my weary aching aging body. Sigh.

Happy cycling!So to say that I’ve been a little antsy to start riding to work is an understatement. And so, on this cold Autumn morning (just below zero. Brrr!), I brushed off the cobwebs from the mountain bike, burrowed for my winter gloves and hat and bundled up, hastily making for any exit out the door (albeit later than I had hoped to depart). This morning, I had not a care in the world. I grabbed the world by my handlebar horns and ‘tinged, tinged’ my way through traffic (that would be the sound of my bell). Go figure that it was the coldest morning yet … Brrr! Have to learn to dress better for these cold mornings.

My glorious bike ride was about 45 minutes from door to door. The only hill so far that I have faced is the 5th Avenue road going up to the school, not far off the beaten path. Not too bad really in the lowest gear; however, I am in dire need of a tune-up of some sort on my brakes. When I’m whizzing at fast-ish speeds (not to be confused with fascist), my brain starts thinking weird thoughts of how my wheels could come flying off or worse, me going flying. Ahhh! I do love flying, don’t get me wrong, but I prefer a bit of space between me and the ground. Probably why I never took up mountain or road biking to any extent after training on the Laguna Seca race tracks in Monterey California. Me and the pavement already have too intimate of an acquaintance, and I care not to reawaken the beast. Been there, done that.

It was an amazing start to my day. Riding home was a bit more weary driven, and my knees were actually paining me. Sadly, this means giving my body some time … to heal, to mend. Maybe try it again in 2 weeks? I’ll let you know if I do, and how it goes. Happy cycling!

Connecting with the Homeless

It was my 3rd Friday off this past weekend and I relished knowing that this was ME time. A time to relax, feel inspired and expressive. A time to catch up on items longstanding through the week and a time to potentially catch up on sleep. But what made this weekend so exciting and special was the time that I set aside for an incredibly worthwhile project … Homeless Connect (HC2) at the City Hall, downtown Calgary. HC is a city initiative at attempting to end homelessness by the year 2010. Noble and lofty goals indeed. Having lived here for the past 2 years, witnessing the dire circumstances of many people (50% of whom have jobs) who just can’t afford to house themselves, I see the mass difficulties that the city faces. The occupancy rate in Calgary is extremely high, and with the price of accommodation through the roof, trying to come up with first & last months rent + a security deposit is an impossible task for many, considering that the Landlords here in Alberta seem to have all the rights over tenants; it seems like the proverbial 1-way street in the way of rights and legalities favouring the home owners. But that’s another story ….

sKYflowerSI have always enjoyed volunteering, giving of myself to another without anything expected in return. And in every circumstance that I’ve donated to such causes, I often get back more than I actually give. This however is not about who comes out ahead. Rather it’s about giving of myself and offering a hand up (rather than a handout) to those in need. Feeling so blessed in my life with the world falling into place in every sense of the word, I have everything plus my love and time to give. One could say that I am ‘overflowing’. To this extent, I jumped at the chance at helping out with this quarterly event (the 2nd of its kind – I was unable to make the first, last Spring).

So early Saturday morning, I followed the same schedule of readiness, as if it were a normal workday, and made my way downtown, with a smile on my face and a skip in my step. I didn’t really know what to expect, beyond the unexpected. So to arrive and discover that I was offering my cre8tive services to the Arts and Culture (‘This Is My City’ initiative) booth left me giddy and happy at the possibilities that would unveil themselves. Basically “This Is My City” offered an enticing artist trading card workshop where anyone who was interested could cre8te their own powerful piece of art, on 2 x 3 inch cardstock. This initiative was sponsored by the Arts and Culture Department of the City of Calgary.

I discovered that, at first, most people were leery and skeptical of particpating, saying that they lacked experience and / or any artistic skill … the desire really didn’t hit them that day, nor did they often feel inspired in the harsh world they exist in, every single day. This doesn’t lend itself to invoking a sudden yearning to paint / sketch / cre8te. The homeless people who came to this event were in search of help, resources and connection, rather than offering to participate on this type of ‘frivolous’ level. Art seemed to be the last thing on their minds. Trying to convince people that a spontaneous artist existed within each of us, regardless of the experience, was a difficult, awkward and hard sell.

With the mindset that inspiration is a far better leader than coercion or bribery (why can’t politicians grasp this concept?), I sat down for 4 hours and literally explored, divulging my soul through many a mixed media, and played! Given every sort of cre8tive material imaginable, I painted with acrylics, and drew with chalk, oil pastels, markers, pencil crayons and glitter. I collaged with magazine photos and art paper. I wrote poetry and weaved it into a colourful song on paper. There was no end to my non-digital cre8tivity! And oh how I loved the freedom to express, on such a pure, non-demanding level. Who knew that I would find such joy and gratitude in today’s event? I haven’t been this free to cre8te (with such a plethora of materials) since I was probably in kindergarten. And with my earnest attempts to be as colourful and flamboyant as I could be with no holds barred in my art, people started to enquire, inquisitive about this young girl focused so intently on having fun. I felt like a child given the permission to run rampant with my imagination. And all the tools were provided to express my outlet. And slowly, slowly, people came to sit down and speak with me. Opening up about their childhood dreams, their cre8tive pasts, their addictions which often hampered any possibility of cre8tive expression. And with a little coaxing, I managed to inspire the uninspired into weaving their story on to paper. The art and colour which emerged was incredibly beautiful. The stories, the music, the cre8tivity inspired was an artistic masterpiece which burned itself deep into my soul. The images below are some of the art that was inspired and produced.

words of the homeless

words of the homeless

The impact made on me can be expressed with a few sentences:
“Every Man, Woman or Child, regardless of race, religion, colour or financial status has a heart bursting to be explored, expressed and admired. Art is the pathway and mirror to the soul. And we are all beautiful, with our own story to tell. The possibilities and variability’s are endless, boundless. We are all unique, in need of the freedom of expression, and we are all worthy.”

  • Live artfully.
  • DreAm beautifully.
  • Live blissfully.

Explore, find joy, breathe deeply and savour. Now go cre8te and explore your heart in the vast expanse of life’s colour.

Thoughts on drinking and driving

No drinking and driving. Ever!
All this information is quoted directly from the website: Think! Road Safety
Here’s a powerful video on YouTube … if this doesn’t inspire you to think seriously before you drink & drive, nothing will.

NOT ONE, NOT ONCE, NOT EVER BEFORE YOU DRIVE.

Even one beer or one spliff makes your driving worse. They slow reaction times and make it easier for you to make bad decisions that could cost your life or someone else’s. At the very least, driving drunk or on drugs makes you an idiot and could get you sent to prison. The effects can include:
    • slower reactions
    • increased stopping distance
    • poorer judgement of speed and distance
    • reduced field of vision
Alcohol also tends to make you feel over-confident and more likely to take risks when driving, which increases the danger to all road users, including yourself.

There is no failsafe guide as to how to stay under the legal alcohol limit or how much you can drink and still drive safely. The only safe option is not to drink if you plan to drive.
No drinking and driving. Ever!

You can’t calculate your alcohol limit, so don’t try.
Any amount of alcohol affects your ability to drive safely.

No drinks, no excuses

‘I had a drink, but it was at lunchtime.’
–> Even a small drink at lunchtime makes you sleepier and impairs your driving.

‘I feel fine to drive.’
–> Any amount of alcohol affects your judgement.

‘I’ve only had a couple.’
–> Even a single drink makes you drive less well.

‘I’ve had a meal.’
–> Alcohol still gets into your system and affects your driving.’

‘I can handle my drink.’
–> Alcohol affects everbody’s driving for the worse. It creates a feeling of overconfidence, makes judging distance and speed more difficult and slows your reactions so it takes longer to stop.

‘I’m only going down the road.’
–> A large proportion of all drink drive crashes occur within three miles of the start of the journey.

‘I’m driving slowly and carefully.’
–> Alcohol actually makes you less alert and careful, however slowly you drive.

Choices …. solo journeys

soloRight now, I am pissed, hurt and angry. Some rules are meant to be followed, for the safety of everybody’s sake. And when a line is crossed, in my book, I am the first to say what’s on my mind, whether it be ‘right or wrong’. And usually someone gets hurt. At least, I’m being real and true, to what I feel.

Sometimes with choice and at other times not, I take the time to give myself some space. Breath, think, breath some more. Connect with the source of my issue and anxiety. And then Explore. Learn. Grow.

I’m still not happy AT ALL about the actions this person favoured. But I have come to terms that I have no control, over anyone except myself and what I do. I really don’t, even when I dearly want it. We are each of us alone, solo in our journey. I can not make the choices of another, and when that person makes unwise decisions, they will have to live with their actions for the rest of their existence.

And then I step back and think ….

  • Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right.
  • Love the ones who don’t just because you can. Believe everything happens for a reason.
  • If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.
  • Kiss slowly. Forgive quickly.
  • Breath, connect and then speak.

xo

Wedding photos a-go gO!

Adobe LightroomOh what a glorious weekend! The weather was spectacular and I spent all of my day Saturday sitting at the computer, editing our wedding photos (adding special effects at times) and creating a home to host my burgeoning dreams of a huge photo gallery.

I used Adobe Lightroom to launch me into the Professional area of cataloguing, editing and designing. It’s been a really fun experiment at learning a new program. And what better method of tooling around than using our beloved wedding photographs to experiment on. Strolling through 1800 photos has been an incredible joy, a journey down memory lane (only a month ago, so still fresh and vivid and tangible — to relive that day is like experiencing a piece of heaven, over and over). Editing them has been a rather full-on task that has sucked up every spare moment that I may have to offer in my day, beyond the working hours. Logging consistently long evenings up and beyond midnight has left me rather ‘dog-tired’ when the 5am phone alarm sounds on slaDE~s cell. We have become masters of the snooze, allotting ourselves an hour or so of time just to slowly wake. However, when as tired as I have become, every sound-sleeping moment is revered and sought for. It’s at times like these that I would gently and lovingly want to throw the cell phone out the bedroom door and subtly into the toilet. But I am only half of the equation with this viewpoint, and it’s important not to have a rushed husband in the morning :), struggling to get out the door in time.

procrastinatorSo instead, I have mastered a method of procrastination which keeps me in bed until the very last moment (alone time in our small bed is precious — oh Airstream king-sized bed, I can not wait for your return!), usually gasping for air as I rush through my morning tasks (brush teeth, wash face, apply sunscreen, throw a lunch together, get dressed and run!) before either heading to yoga, physio or work. I’m pushing the time boundaries here and skating in, usually just in the nick of time. Some things never change.

So back to my Saturday, I finally pieced through all of Mike’s photo and cre8ted a flash photo gallery @ rvthereyet.ca/gallery.html (a flash player is needed in your browser to see the pix), on our new website rvthereyet.ca. This site will be a continually evolving, open-aired window that gives a glimpse into our traveling world on board our Airstream, chronicling from the time we purchased our ‘dream bus’ and beyond. I’m hoping to maintain my livejournal blog in a different manner (different anecdotes, pictures, quotes, videos, etc), but I guess we’ll see how much time I have on my hands in keeping both up-to-date. One will pertain to my life as I know it and the rvthereyet blog will be about our journey together. We’ll see … I’m sure they’ll be some overlap and I’m still not certain of the parameters, per se.

photo cre8tivityI’m really happy with both the gallery (cre8ted in Lightroom, my trial version) and the layout of the site itself. I ‘cheated’ (being a cre8tive web designer) in that I used a template in the design. I’m thinking that I need to buy some blog software (manually cre8ting dates and entries is a real pain!) or learn how to use wordpress. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while now, but it seems that other projects get in the way. There is ALWAYS something new to learn (in my field of design work, and of course, beyond) and perpetual digital projects to do (programs to learn / photos to edit / cre8tive photoshop works of art to birth). I must admit, I’m feeling quite guilty of late for not keeping my portfolio up to date. To be honest, it hasn’t been updated since I left school 7 years ago. I’ve used my resume as my platform for a digital portfolio of my web clients, but I need to refocus my time into both my aromatherapy and web business. Once our wedding ‘stuff’ is out of the way (thank you cards, photo books, videos watched and edited, etc), I can shift gears and step up to the digital work plate.

As I’ve quoted to many friends: “enjoying the journey is half the fun …. as it’s not just about the destination. RVThereYet is about exploring the world, one breath at a time. So I should approach all my digital tasks … a journey to be enjoyed and savoured.

Time sure flies

Oh how time flies! The summer is almost gone and SO much has happened. I’ll have to backdate my posts: our trip to Nelson; our birthday wedding; Aaron and Otto’s union. Just not enough time in the days, especially with a full-time job and yoga on the side.

I am the first to admit, it was truly the summer to top all summers. I have enough spectacular love-filled memories to carry me through to my next life, to be sure 🙂

It’s really difficult, at times, to feel in tune and at peace with life when it seems that time is flying by so quick, that opportunities might have been missed. Especially when it comes to summer in Canada (for me anyway); cloning of oneself would be an advantage during this time :). Personally I wish that the warmest season of the year could be everyday. I’m not the ‘winter baby’ that slaDE~ is. My body rebels at the first inklings of a long-standing bone-chilling cold snap that sometimes accompanies the ending of the dog days associated with my favourite season (especially here in ALberta; it feels as if we skip Fall and directly leap into Winter! And Autumn was always my favourite season).

But I must admit, we made the most of this years summer, from the moment that the clocks turned back an hour earlier until now. My body is finally start to relax after the chaos that resembled the past 4 months. It was tremendously thrilling and so much fun, I must confess.

For me, there are no ‘would have, could have, should haves’. Experience has shown me (through many tears and feelings of loss) that there is no changing the past as I so lovingly or not so lovingly have navigated through it.

The key to fitting everything in (as Bruno suggests ) is in the planning. “Making decisions and following through on them. It’s true of everything that is important in our life that we have to decide where we want to go and when and how.”

I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is.
– Donald Trump

Chris, a friend of Bruno, asks these 2 quesions of himself, every breathing and living day:

1. What am I doing, that I shouldn’t be doing, but am?
2. What am I not doing, that I should be doing, but am not?

It's about timeI actually tried asking myself these 2 questions this morning. And with great honesty and a solemn deep breath, I sighed and went to yoga with my beloved husband and returned to my computer and my cherished blog; I’ve truly missed writing, capturing the glorious memories of summer and sharing each living moment with my ardent fans. Amidst all the hustle and bustle, I forgot to revel in the moment and take the time to sit down to write.

Next time that I question whether I have the energy to write or go to yoga class, I’ll ask myself these questions and hopefully stay true to my sometimes neglected passions, getting back on track, focussing on the present moment rather than on the past or future (or my weary body).