Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hack, Hack... And I'm Not Talking About My Writing.

It's been just over a month and I am sick again. Knocked down, dragged out sick. I'm at the tail end of it now (although my cough might make you think otherwise) but there was a good four days when I barely left the apartment. Frustrating doesn't even begin to cover the annoyance of being stuck inside on beautiful, sunny days. We won't have many of those left in Victoria with winter fast approaching and I spent them watching shows on my laptop I have no desire to ever see again because I was too sick to even concentrate on reading for longer than 15 minutes. Thankfully, crappy sit-coms don't involve much thought.

I missed both my flamenco and my west african dance classes this week which bums me out. I know that physically there was no way I could have even gotten myself to those classes, let alone actually partake in them, but they're the part of my workout schedule I look forward to the most. Not one second of those classes feels like work yet my body is dripping with sweat once I'm done and I miss that. I hope I didn't miss too much.

I'm finally feeling better and am back to work. Hopefully, I'll be 100% by this weekend and will be able to get back into the swing of things... and hopefully avoid getting sick for the remainder of the year because two times was more than enough!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thank You For Being a Friend!

Every time I tell a friend about my plan, they are supportive. I am reminded, again and again, of how awesome my friends are. This coming weekend, I have to say good bye to one of my biggest supporters: THR. Her husband is a shift worker in Vancouver (four days on, four days off) and has been commuting back and forth. As of this weekend, they will call Vancouver home and I miss her already.

THR on a Girl's Weekend in Parksville. That was the year we went in February.
THR has always been willing to go along with my crazy ideas and support me in any way she can. Boot camp? She signed up as well. Running? She's game for giving it a try. Dancing? Well, she left that one for me. I can honestly say that if THR hadn't joined me, I don't think I'd have stuck with running. I love it now, but I probably never would have gotten off the couch if she hadn't committed to going with me.

The start of another Girl's Weekend. This time we took the Washington State Ferry to Friday Harbour.
Best start-of-the-weekend-coffees EVER!

I'm going to miss THR. Not just for being an awesome friend, but also because I'll miss having someone to talk to when we're warming up, to push me when I start to lag, and to hold me accountable to my workouts. I won't laugh as often or as hard, and I will no longer be able to use my workouts to vent about issues in my life. In short, workouts will be more difficult.

I don't know anyone else who thinks that Edgar Allan Poe totally belongs at a Cinco de Mayo party.
For that (and a million other reasons) I will always love THR.

I wish you well, THR, in all that comes your way. I will miss you more than I could ever put into words but I know this is the first step towards you doing what you really want. I'll be over to visit as often as I can. Maybe we can run walk the Sea Wall.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Can't Run so I Will Cook

I am slowly setting up my apartment with equipment for a make-shift 'at home' gym-type-like thingy. I headed out this weekend to pick up some resistance bands and heavier weights to compliment the lighter weights, balance ball and yoga mat I already have. I'm not done but what I have will do for now. In the meantime, I want to set up an area for the equipment so I don't have to keep lugging it from my closet to the living room every time... although that is a good workout.

Fall is definitely here and I love it. I really do have a strange love for rain and going out in it and getting wet. I even like camping in the rain. I also prefer to work out in the Fall because I'm a big sissy when it comes to getting really hot and that's never a concern in the Fall!

Fog from my balcony

The only downside is that we're coming up to the workout weather I like best just as I am temporarily stopping the running. I've been having some knee issues since the Spring. Well, that's a lie. I've been having these problems since I was a teenager, but I noticed an increase in the regularity of it since the Spring. My knees don't hurt but I've been noticing that they don't feel right, if that makes sense. It almost feels like the joint has shifted but I know it hasn't. Anyway, I've been given a bunch of knee/surround muscle exercises to do (boo yay lunges!!) and have been advised to stick to low impact cardio for the time being.

The change in weather is also telling me it's time to start cooking some of my favourite meals. There's something about fall that makes me want to cook. The heat of summer is over, I need something that's more of an internal hug than a salad, and staying inside to cook when it's dark out just seems nice. I'm hoping to get some of the meals up on here to share. First up, Schnitz und Drunder (I tried to find an English link to the recipe, but alas, you'll just have to wait) which almost replaces a cheese fondue for my favourite Swiss meal.

Who am I kidding? I have an annual fondue party. This will always be my favourite Swiss meal.
Cheese melted in wine? Um, you had me at cheese! Yummy!

Anyone else have favourite Fall meals they're looking forward to?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Photo Highlights

It has been an emotional roller coaster of a week. As a result, healthy habits and nutritious food choices have often been put on the back burner. I'm through the worst of it. At the very least, the rain seems to be keeping the partiers across the road at bay tonight so hopefully I'll get a good night sleep. It hasn't been all doom and gloom, but I 'mtoo tired to write, so photos will have to do.

I had my first 'real' flamenco class. Love! It! Olé!

I hiked Wiffen Spit (Sooke) in the drizzle with a friend.
I'm a West Coast girl; I love the rain and fog in ways I can't explain.

I canned peaches with my mom. It reminded me of being a child.

I caught a momma raccoon giving her two babies a few life lessons until she spotted me.
After that she taught them the life lesson 'avoid the people'.

I experimented more with my camera.

I will allow myself one more day of questionable choices (only because I want popcorn at the movie) and then I'm back on the healthy bandwagon. Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

When Friends Aren't Supportive

I'm loving my WW meetings these days. When I first joined there was only one other person under the age of 40 and she was two weeks away from getting lifetime so she wasn't around much once that happened. I really enjoyed the other ladies and have struck up a great friendship with one of them, but sometimes it was odd being the only one who wasn't married and had children yet. In the last eight weeks, however, six other 'under 40's' have joined and we get along very well.

At our last week, one of the girl's was visibly upset when talking in the meeting. A best friend who knows she's doing WW invited her over for dinner and the healthiest option was the Caesar salad onto which the friend dumped half a cup of cheese. She ate very little, ended up having to eat a second dinner when she got home, and finished the day feeling like her friend was trying to sabotage her healthy eating habits. What made the scenario even more unsettling was that almost everyone I've talked to on this journey has had at least one of those people in their lives.

In this case, the friend in question is a bigger girl than my friend, SW, at WW. SW taking the steps to change her life and to get healthy and fit is a reminder to her bigger friend that she is ultimately choosing to remain fat. Some people would use SW as inspiration and start taking some steps towards healthy living. Others, like her friend, want to sabotage her because SW failing is just one more reason for them not to bother trying.

It's not just the fat friends who may be unhappy with a successful weight-loss journey. Fit friends may resent that you're becoming 'the hot one'. Old friends may resent the new life you're creating for yourself. No matter who it is, it hurts when you realise someone you call a friend is not being supportive.

After the meeting, the under 40's hung around and talked about reasons why a friend might not be supportive. In the end, the reason always came back to the friend's own fears and insecurities. It was some comfort to SW to know that she's not the only one who has had friends react like this and that it's not her fault. Hopefully, the information will help her be better prepared next time she is invited for dinner.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It was the Labour Day Long Weekend (or Labor if you're from the States) and I can honestly say that I spent the weekend labouring. If you don't believe that a weekend of West African Drumming and Dancing isn't a workout, no matter how fun it is, than you should really get yourself to a class so you can re-evaluate your beliefs.

Sunrise over Shawnigan on our first morning

The weekend was held at Camp Pringle on the beautiful Shawnigan Lake. The location was a bit of a highlight for me as I used to attend Camp Pringle as a camper way back in the day. Surprisingly, it hasn't changed a whole lot since I was there (although current construction will mean big changes by next year's Denbaya should we return).

The event is often touted as 'mini-Guinea' as all the instructors are originally from there. This year we had Mohamad and Marielle Duranteau, N'nato Camara, Manimou Camara, and Aboubacar Camara (who surprisingly doesn't have a webpage despite insisting that he's the life of the party) who all originally hail from Guinea but now make their homes in Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle.

Mohamed, Manimou, Aboubacar, and N'nato having a laugh

Our days were filled with dance and drum lessons until our feet blistered and our fingers cracked. Yet everyone kept coming back for more. We found rest during food breaks and during our preciously little downtime which always seemed to disappear into class time... or practice time.

Practicing djole during the down time before dinner

Saturday night was a traditional Guinean meal cooked by Mohamed. The dinner was open to the public (for a fee) followed by a Cross-Cultural Forum and then a Doundounba where all the instructors performed. We ended the night standing around the unscheduled camp fire while learning songs in Susu from Aboubacar. After all the craziness which is a Doundounba, I couldn't think of a better way to end the day.

Sunday was more of the same. Drumming, dancing, eating, drumming, dancing, crying about sore muscles. Moondance treated us all to dinner at the West Arm Pub (we were responsible for our beverages). In true Guinean style, the instructors brought a few instruments. People actually got up from their tables to come watch us. It was a great feeling to be in the middle of it.

Despite the hangovers a few most people were nursing, we were right back into the drumming and dancing on the Monday morning before breaking camp and heading back to our respective towns. I have never been so sore in my life but I can honestly say that it was completely and utterly worth it. I got to hang out with cool people from all over Western Canada and Washington State who shared my love of West African music and dance. It was a fantastic opportunity and I'm already itching for next year's Denbaya.

Djembes waiting for the next lesson

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The End of Summer is Nigh!

You will forgive me, dear Readers (all two of you), for being a little remiss with my blog updates as of late. While the East Coast slowly roasts itself into the next Sahara, the West Coast is welcoming Fall. When the sun's out and I'm not at my desk, I've been frantically trying to fit in as many enjoyable outdoor activities as I can.

I've been taking it easy when it comes to workouts this week. This is due in part because my running partner is under the weather so she's limited to walks. In one month I lose her to Vancouver. I want to maximize my THR time while I can! I'm also willing to just walk because this weekend I'll be going up to Shawnigan Lake to take part in MoonDance's Denbaya West African Intensive. There is the potential for 14 hours of intense cardio over three days. Granted, some of those classes can also be instrument classes, but the potential is there! To give you an idea of how awesome a cardio workout West African dance is this video is of Wontanara, MoonDance's partner Performance Troupe.

Yeah. I feel okay with not running this week.

Through increasing the number of blogs I stalk follow on my reader, I stumbled across Tina's 30 Days of Self-Love yesterday. I think it's a fantastic idea which deserves to be shared. I know some many amazing women with so many enviable qualities which they never see in themselves because all they see are their body issues, work issues, marital status issues, etc. Is it too much to ask of ourselves to take 30 days to focus on loving ourselves as we are? I will be talking about it more at a later day when I've had a bit more time to sort out my thoughts and ideas. In the meantime, click the link above (or on the side--coming soon) to find out more information and to join.