Child’s Play

…Charlie O’Shields from Doodlewash calls colouring with paint child’s play

This is day three from Sketchbook Revival. Charlie O’Shield is trying to get us to tap into our inner child. First I sketched the flowers with my fountain pen and then I added watercolour. The goal was to use only three colours and vary the intensity with water to create a range of shades.fullsizeoutput-7790

The Roster Spring Run-Off

….following in her father’s footsteps

When my husband was in his twenties to thirties he was considered an elite runner. He specialized in long distances, anywhere from 10k to marathons. As he got older he decided that in order to continue to improve it would mean making more sacrifices that would negatively affect our family. He made the decision to quit running because the sacrifice wasn’t worth it.

We never pushed our children into running but our son seemed to have a natural gift and in his early teens he pursued running until he started to suffer pain and he had to make a decision between a music career and being a runner. He chose his cello over his running shoes.

Our oldest daughter took an interest in running in her 30s. Over the years she has participated in numerous races, anywhere from 5k to half a marathon. Every year she steadily gets better. Her wife also started running with her.

Today we attended a race that holds special memories for my husband. The Spring Run-off is held every year in High Park and some 35 years ago or more Kevin ran in this race as a member of the Brooks Racing Team. The race then was known as the Brook’s Spring Run-off.

Today Andrea and Josie joined some 2600 runners to take part in this challenging 8k race. The challenge is in the hills that this race covers. Andrea was aiming to complete the race in 40 minutes and did it in 39 minutes and change. Out of 900 women participating today she placed 8th in her age category. She was delighted with her accomplishment.


As you can see the race attracts all ages. My daughter is the young lady on left in the above photo with the blue sunglasses. Here a few more of her throughout the race (one of Josie #1927)



….hooray, hooray!!!!

Today was the first day in a long time that I was able to go for a long walk and actually take photos. It was cold but the sun was so bright and beautiful that I hardly felt it. I managed to get in an extra 3000 steps and now only have another 4500 to meet my goal of 10 000 steps a day. I’ve been very bad as of late. I’ve just wanted to hunker down and veg in front of the TV or my computer screen.

Here are a few of the shots that I managed to take today.

The best part of the walk was that for the first time in almost two months I was able to take Frances with me. This is the farthest she’s walked with me willingly without my husband at our sides. Hopefully she’s turned a corner and I’ll be able to get her out more often now.

From Record Breaking Highs in February to Bone Chilling Temps in March

….it was too good to be true….winter is still with us

In February we set records for the warmest February ever in Toronto and southern Ontario. People were wearing spring jackets, tee shirts and some brave souls wore shorts. In Toronto all the snow had melted but north of the city there was lots of snow and skiers were enjoying spring skiing conditions.

Every year our physical education teacher organizes two cross country ski trips for our grade 4 and grade 5 students. It is usually the only time I go skiing but I love it, so when I was asked if I wanted to go again to supervise the students I jumped at the chance. The first group went on the 22nd of February and the second group went the next day. Both days were exceptionally warm, 15 degrees celsius. Luckily Hardwood Hills had a lot of snow this winter so the base was good and the conditions were excellent.

I went on the second day so I was warned that I wouldn’t need heavy clothing. I packed three tops and extra socks. I’m glad I did because every time I came inside I had to change my top and socks because I was soaked through from perspiration. Many of the kids skied  with only their tee shirts on. It was a beautiful day and the more I skied the more confident I became. My goal was to not fall. I’m happy to report that I met that goal and I skied the equivalent of 13 000 steps and 50 flights of stairs.

March 1st didn’t enter like a lion but by the evening the temperatures had plummeted from double digits above zero to minus zero in a matter of hours. Today and yesterday the temperatures went even lower to minus 13 celsius. The good news is that warmer temperatures are forecast for this coming week. The ice that formed along the water’s edge will give you some idea of just how cold the last few days have been.

A Great Day for a Race

….the conditions were perfect

Back in August I signed up for the Railpath Community Run. Initially I thought I would do the walk but every year for the last three years I end up running the course. I guess the term running is debatable in my case but once I start I don’t stop to walk. I’m not very fast, in fact I know people who can walk faster than I run.

On Thursday, my daughter and I made our way to the Henderson Brewery where the running packages could be picked up. This is the first year that the micro brewery, situated on the rail path hosted the event. We stayed and sampled some of the beer after picking up our numbers and t-shirts.

My husband has been coaching a group of boys, ages nine to thirteen, for the last four weeks to prepare them for this year’s cross country run at their school. We’ve known most of the boys for 10 years and we consider them family. Despite my husband’s current medical condition, going out two to three times a week to work with the boys has been a very uplifting experience for him. In his younger days my husband was considered a world class marathon runner.

This past week K has been flat on his back with debilitating pain in his knees and ankles. At the hospital they thought he was suffering from an onset of severe rheumatoid arthritis and they sent him home with a prescription for morphine and a phone number for a rheumatologist. To make a long story short, he was able to get dressed today and make his way to the race to watch his team run.

There were 13 of us from the ‘family’ running  and I was the only one who had signed up for the walk, which was after the run. Instead of making everyone wait for me to finish the Community Walk I decided to do the run section instead. I learned a new term today that applies to me. I’m a ‘snurtle’ which means I run slower than a turtle. My only goal today was not to be the last one on the course.

Well I reached my goal. There were four women slower than me and I ran a personal best. The run is 45 minutes long and I was about 200 metres shy of the 5k mark. I figured I would have hit the mark in about 47 minutes. In past races I’ve never run better than a 50 minute 5k.

The boys all ran 8K, some faster than others but in the end three of them took first, second and third place in the under 18 category. Pretty impressive. My daughter, A, ran 8K as well and my daughter-in-law, J, ran 7K. We were all happy with our results and after the race we hung around and had a drink at the brewery. We also stayed for the draw prizes and three of the boys walked away with a gift and I won a prize. Not a bad way to end an event.

Next year I’m going to aim to get to that 5K mark before the 45 minutes are up. It will probably mean losing some more weight and running more often but I’m confident that I can do it. Who would have thought at my age I would become a runner.


Walking, the Bike Show, Drawing and More Walking

….Saturday was a great walking day

The temperatures are starting to rise but not enough for the snow to become a slushy mess. That will happen later today and definitely tomorrow as we head into double digits above the freezing mark.

Saturday was perfect for a long walk with the dog. Frances loves the snow. We did walk through the field with her but for the most part we stayed on the paths where the snow had been shovelled or had already melted away. It was a fun morning and I was able to play with my new camera. We came across a sad little snowman and I tried shooting it from different angles.

When we got home I checked my fitness device and discovered we had walked about 6000 steps. Not our longest walk but it was a good start to the day. I made us a hardy breakfast that I knew would sustain us through lunch and then we got ready to take a trip to the bike show.

Every year at this time, The Toronto Bike Show takes place at the CNE grounds. It’s a very busy show and we had to park a fair distance from the building but that was okay because we knew we were going to rack up a lot more steps. My husband was a little disappointed in the show. He felt that there wasn’t as much to see this year. The show certainly is quite large and if you’re in the market for a new bike there were some deals to be had. I think because we had been at the show last year it felt like there wasn’t as much in the way of new products or at least things that were significantly different from the year before.

There were lots of bikes with large attached carriers, Dutch style, fat bikes, racing bikes, electric assist bikes, bicycle accessories, booths promoting bicycle tours and races and bikes for the littlest of riders. We came across a little boy (11 months old) who was checking out a bike that he could be riding in a couple of years.

As we walked back to the car my Jawbone Up signalled me that I had reached my goal of 10,000 steps for the day and it was only mid-afternoon. We rang up our oldest daughter and found out that she was home and happy for some company so we headed over to her house. We had a nice visit with her. At one point I suggested we go for a walk in her neighbourhood but my husband was content to just sit for a bit.

After a couple of hours, we continued on our way home and arrived just in time to take the dog for another walk. Correction…. I took her for another walk. This one was considerably shorter and I would be doing this at least one more time before I went to bed.

We enjoyed a simple supper of left overs and then started watching the new season of House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. I can only do this for couple of hours before I need a change of scene. I made my way to my sketch books and art materials which at the moment are on my dining room table. I watched a few more art lessons on my computer and then I cracked open my sketch book and got my ink and pen ready to draw. I came across a photo of a cow on one of the blogs I follow and decided that would be my subject for the day. I’ve always wanted to draw cows so today was the day.


After posting this sketch on Facebook for my daily sketching challenge I took the dog for one last walk and then did the dishes. I can never leave dishes overnight so no matter how late it gets I end up cleaning before crawling into bed. I checked my walking progress and was happy to see that for the day I had taken 14 270 steps. Ten days in a row now I’ve reached my 10 000 steps/day goal.

How was your weekend? Did you reach any goals or do something interesting?

Time to get ready to visit our other daughter in Hamilton. We’re babysitting today. Yay!



Share Your World 2015 – Week 39

…..thanks Cee for more great questions

Which way does the toilet paper roll go? Over or under?

I used to think that it didn’t matter but recently I converted to the over method. I found that  when I had the roll go under the roll would sometimes unroll itself. Does that make sense?

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?

If I were a crayon I would be red. It’s my favourite colour.

You are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

There are stretches of time where I sit for a long time but I’m usually writing or reading on my computer or I’m watching TV. I can’t say that I’m comfortable doing nothing for long stretches of time. I become antsy and need to get out of the house.

Rather: Would you accept $5,000 to shave your head or die it bright lime green and continue your normal activities while not explaining the reason for your haircut or color?

I don’t think I would shave my head but I would colour it bright lime green. It would take a long time for my hair to grow back but I could recolour it soon after I dyed it.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for successfully participating in the Railpath Run on Saturday with my daughter, A and her partner, J. It’s a timed race where you run for 45 minutes and a device on your number clocks the time you run or walk at 1k intervals. I had planned on only walking this year because I hadn’t run since last year but I started to run right at the beginning and I didn’t stop for the entire run. I managed to ‘run’ 4.5 K in 45 minutes. I’m not fast but I have a steady and consistent pace. I’m also grateful that I didn’t hurt too much in the next few days. My leg muscles were a little sore but it didn’t stop me from my daily walking regime. For the last few weeks I’ve been averaging over 11 000 steps a day and I’ve reached my walking goal 11 days in a row.

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I’m also grateful for spending time with friends from high school. Every time we meet someone new joins us. There were only five of us this time when we met for lunch but it was CM’s first visit and we had a lot of catching up to do. It was a lot of fun.

This week I’m looking forward to celebrating my husband’s birthday. We’re all going to my daughter’s house in Hamilton. Her baby is due any day now and she wanted to host the party at her place so that she would be close to her hospital in case the baby decided to make an appearance during the festivities. Most of all I’m looking forward to the birth of our first grandchild. I may be saying this again next week if she decides to be fashionably late.


A Minor Setback, a Trip to Dundas and More Steps

….a trip to the doctor, relief, enjoying the rest of the day

This morning my husband woke up with terrible pain in his foot. A quick trip to the clinic confirmed that he was suffering from gout probably brought on from the morphine he had been given after his surgery. Luckily the problem was quickly fixed with another medication.

We had planned, earlier in the week, to visit our daughter in Hamilton. K could feel the pills were starting to work so we took a chance and made the trip. It was raining when we left but by the time we drove into our daughter’s driveway the sun had come out. G suggested that we take a short drive to Dundas where we could walk along the quaint main street and take in some of the unique stores and enjoy a coffee in one of the popular cafes.

Dundas is a formerly independent town and now a constituent community in the city of Hamilton. It is home to about 27 000 people and is nicknamed the Valley Town because it is located at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment on the western edge of Lake Ontario.

We spent a couple of hours walking around the area and enjoyed a light lunch on a wonderful outdoor patio. Here are some photos of our day trip.

We headed back to Toronto during rush hour but traffic moved fairly well. After a simple dinner of sausage and a couple of salads that we purchased at the local butcher shop in Dundas I took Frances for a much needed walk. It was another beautiful evening and we walked through the Humber College grounds. Total steps for the day: 10 500.

Week One – Averaged Over 10,000 Steps a Day

….I’ve owned my Jawbone Up for almost a year

On August 29, 2014 I uploaded my new Jawbone Up to my iPhone and set a walking goal of 10 000 steps a day and 8 hours of sleep a night. I’ve struggled when trying to reach either of these goals throughout the year. I have reached both of them but never consistently and for some reason when I have a good walking day I don’t have a good sleep and visa versa. IMG_5601

Last week when I started writing about my walking goals I started to achieve them. For five days I walked 10 000 steps or more and I averaged 10 500 steps a day. This is the best week I’ve had since getting my tracking device.

My husband came home from the hospital today. I got a phone call at 7:30 this morning from K asking me to pick him up because he was being released. I quickly got dressed and drove to the hospital only to find K still in his bed. He wasn’t even dressed. He was still waiting for the paperwork to be done so that he could be released.

I walked to the other end of the hospital to get myself a coffee and something to eat. When I returned K had decided to get dressed but we still had to wait for final instructions before we could go home.

By the time we left the hospital and picked up K’s pain medications from the drug store it was almost noon and the day had really started to heat up. The dog and I hadn’t been out for our walk but I knew that we wouldn’t get very far in this heat so I waited till this evening to go for our ‘long’ walk.

I’m glad I waited. I had managed to get in almost 5000 steps just watering the garden, doing laundry and going shopping. I knew that to reach 10 000 steps I would have to do the entire length of the park and back again. It was starting to get dark and I notice a sign warning about the coyotes that are in the park so I decided to stay on the walkways that were more frequently used by the public. It was nice changing up the route and seeing different parts of the park. When we finally got home I had added over 6000 more steps for a daily total of 11 100 steps.

Here are a few of the sights we saw on tonight’s walk.

The Hardest Day Yet

… would think that the worst was over

I’m not sure why today was so emotional. My husband’s surgery was successful and he appears to be on the mend.

The morning started with text messages from the hospital from my husband. When was I coming? How was the dog? Breakfast was awful. I need a good cup of tea, etc. etc.

There were several emails asking about the outcome of the surgery that I felt I needed to answer right away so that people wouldn’t worry. Frances needed her morning walk and frankly so did I. It was a beautiful morning and I could tell it was going to be a warm day. I wasn’t going to take the dog the full distance today but I thought that I should go as far as the beach so that she could have a bit of a swim and cool off. Of course she loved it and she found a couple of spots to roll in.

After making sure that the pets had food and water for the day I grabbed the paper and K’s recharged iPod and headed out the door. I stopped at the local farmers’ market which was on the way to the hospital and I foolishly neglected to buy some parking time in the lot I parked in. I picked up a few things that I thought K might enjoy and when I got back to the car I found a ticket under the wiper blade. Rats! and I was only gone for about 15 minutes.

When I got to the hospital, K had already eaten his breakfast and lunch and he really wasn’t interested in the goodies that I brought him. I took them home again. Even though it’s only his second day in the hospital I know that not being able to get out of bed is becoming increasingly uncomfortable for my husband and it made him a little bit irritable. At least the oxygen tubes were gone. The one thing that he did appreciate was the big cup of tea that I brought in for him.

I left the hospital shortly after I arrived so that K could get some rest and I needed to do some laundry at home. I talked to a couple of friends who gave me moral support and my daughter sent me a reminder about a race she wanted me to participate in with her. I decided to register and take advantage of the early bird special. I haven’t run very much in the last year so I thought that having another fitness goal might be just the thing I need to get me out of this slump.

My daughter also asked me if I wanted to join her and J for dinner after visiting with her Papa so I accepted. I made another trip to the hospital. K was in a better mood. A friend of his had come by for a visit and when A and J arrived they brought J’s father along. What a nice surprise. My husband was truly touched.

The girls and I left for dinner and we promised to save some pizza for my husband. We walked from the hospital to the restaurant and had a very enjoyable meal. I did save half my pizza for K but when we returned to the hospital it was already pretty late and he asked my to take the pizza home and save it for him there. He will enjoy it when he comes home on Monday. It’s in the freezer as I write this so that I won’t be tempted to eat it.

The day certainly ended on a brighter note than it began on and I managed to walk 12 000 steps. Hopefully tomorrow will be easier. My daughter and I have already planned to visit my husband together, just before noon and then spend some time together in the afternoon. We’re hoping to get in a little bit of driving practice before she takes her test this Tuesday and maybe do a little bit of gardening.

Wishing you all a lovely Sunday. Cheers!