Sunday, May 27, 2012

10K Race

Today was the big 10K race here in Ottawa and since it was a treadmill day I thought I’d see if I could do it. One and one half hours later I was done – 10K (6.25 miles). I was tired, but after a short rest and an electrolyte replacing smoothie (coconut water, banana, almond butter, and a bit of almond milk) I could have done some more (I didn’t!).

The dogs watched me (when they weren’t sound asleep) from the comfort of the futon – I think they might need their own treadmill so that they can start to get fitter.

I think I’ll put a long walk into my regime once every week or so. It might increase my endurance. I will also start working more on speed – I haven’t done any more running since I did the 1 mile in four little bursts… time to get back at that. Imagine being able to jog/run 10K… a girl can dream can’t she!

Birds-BlueEggs-vintageimage-Graphics-FairyI got plenty of time to watch the robins in the tree outside the treadmill window. I think the babies hatched last night or this morning. They grow so quickly – I think they’ll be gone in less than 2 weeks. Much different from the parrot babies which would be weaned at 12 – 16 weeks at the earliest.

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
Walt Whitman

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Taking Back the Deck

We got back home yesterday afternoon. The dogs quickly flaked out on the futon, barely even getting up to eat their supper. I’d forgotten how tired they get! Even this morning they were reluctant to go on our morning walk – Spike even took a shortcut back to the house.

In just the 4 nights we were away the path became over-grown.




20120526_flowers_002I've woken up the last few days feeling anxious and somewhat depressed. I haven't had this sort of start to my day for quite a while, and honestly  it comes as a surprise to me. I have spent each day fighting this mood deviation with all that I have. Cognitive thinking, exercise, mantras, they've all been put into play - perhaps if necessary, tomorrow a trip to Dairy Queen for a blizzard fix. I  think what I have done is  working - I'm not getting worse thru the day... also I realized this morning that I haven't had my omega 3's for a few days so took 2 right away, just in case. Tomorrow morning will tell.

This afternoon Grace and I headed outside for some swing time. I noticed that one of the robins from the nest just above the deck had flown the coop, and another was sitting on the nest edge. I put Grace in her cage and sat down beside her - well... the parents went berserk. I thought they'd settle down but when they started to dive bomb Grace it was clear we were not welcome. After these babies have fledged we will make sure to take our deck back and make sure no more babies are hatched so close to where we want to be. There are limits after all!


The wish for healing has always been half of health.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Instruments of Torture

Today was another beautiful day - hot and sunny with a bit of breeze. After having our smoothies (yes even Carm although I swap out the spinach for a banana) we headed out for a mid-morning walk. It was lovely but hot and humid at times - the heavy dew evaporating made for a high humidex. The dogs were hot and dragging at the end even though we stopped part way for a little dip.

Carm played his first round of golf this afternoon, plenty of sunscreen and bottles of water in his bag. We have been very environmentally unsound this year with our plethora of bottled water. But our pipes still taste of RV antifreeze (non-toxic).

The dogs and I tried to go out for a 4pm walk, but only lasted 20 minutes. I knew from the start that it would be a short one when they all walked behind me, dragging along. Even Bella the ever keen!

I saw some pictures of Fiorgyn's new baby, born today. It seems like just yesterday that she was born herself and I was imprinting her. She was the culmination of our breeding plans. Her dam, Valena, was the first North American filly by Flotren. Valena was a beauty (and I'm sure still is) with a playful personality. Fiorgyn's sire was Felix, a fantastic stallion imported from Norway and owned by four of us. Our hopes were high for this breeding and Fiorgyn didn't let us down. I'll post some pictures of her in the next few days (when I feel like spending time on my computer going thru the 1000s).

This afternoon campers started rolling in and filling the spots - I started having panic attacks thinking it was Friday and someone was going to show up for our spot... luckily it is still Thursday and no one did show up. Tomorrow is tear down day though :-(  I always feel sad about that.

I read a blog post today about dog training which named several training devices as instruments of torture, including the prong collar. I'll come clean right away - we use prong collars when we are camping. The two big dogs are very powerful, and the little guy has a surprising amount of strength - if they see a squirrel or deer they can pull me right over. With the prongs on they are perfect on the leash and our walks are so much more pleasant. We are always careful how we use them and do our up most to ensure they are comfortable. Before the prongs I tried halties - the "positive" trainers solution. My dogs used to run and hide when they saw them come out - they hated them! While with the prongs they all come  and stand quietly. I guess they voted! Instruments of torture, perhaps not...

Golf is a good walk spoiled.
Mark Twain

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finish Each Day

Today is sunny with a cool breeze - perfect for long walks - not so great for sitting under the awning, a sweater is required for that.


The park is beautiful with lush green grass and towering trees. It is a parkland style park which means the sites are open and grassy with large trees dotted about. We are on our favourite site for May, and then again late September/ early October. It gets full sun all day which is great when the weather can be iffy and cool. Not good in the summer though - it's an oven then! We do have a lovely view of the water, including the big Lakers going by.


Our healthy eating day took a big detour to the Bierstube restaurant with some friends. Oops… schnitzel is hardly plant based, fat-free cuisine! The problem (of which there are actually many) is that after having a beer my will-power disappears and visions of luscious desserts loom in front of my eyes. But! It is always nice to spend time with friends :-)


Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit
to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Small Good Things

I love waking up to the sound of rain on the camper roof, but did I mention that I hate waking up to the sound of rain on the camper roof... You see the dogs have to go out first thing in the morning which means a soaking wet trip to somewhere suitable for them to pee. Kabira is NOT HAPPY about getting wet so it's hard to get her to concentrate on the job at hand. Then it's back into the camper with Carm waiting by the door with towels for feet and wet bodies. What a fun start to the day! Dogs are so simple though, once back in they are happy and excited - such JOY - perhaps it's a lesson that we could learn from them - live in the moment and enjoy even the small good things.


Our new internet service at home is HSPA+ (the same as cell phone service), which means we can bring our router with us camping and have the same wireless network as we have at home. It's great! We are junkies and can now easily get our technology fix! And I'm LOVING my Asus Transformer TF101 tablet (aka prune - productivity unit extraordinaire) . It's got an attached keyboard (which I rarely detach) and sits nicely on my lap for convenient viewing and typing. The keyboard is awesome and fits my fingers just perfectly. I loved it this winter at home, and I love it even more now.

It's been raining off and on all day - we had a short break in the morning to get the dogs out for a trip to the pooping field, but have been camper bound the rest of the time. Every time the rain stops I think I'll get out for a good long walk and as soon as I finish that thought it is raining again... I was a bit antsy - I'm used to getting at least 2 or 3 miles in everyday. The refrain of the day... "I'm hungry". All this sitting around creates quite an appetite! And the rain put the kibosh on our slightly healthy bbq’d supper instead sending Carm to a local take-out place: pizza for Carm, hamburger and fries for me! Tomorrow will be a better day both weather wise and food wise.
Your life is what your thoughts make it.
Marcus Aurelius

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's Off to Camp We go!

We are here at our "regular" close to home campground for the first camp of the season. We are all set up, the first beer and snack consumed, out for a walk and onto the internet. Everything went smoothly which isn't always the case on the first outing - I think last year we forgot to disconnect from the power and antenna at home before pulling away... a few very minor repairs required. So far it seems that we've only forgotten one thing (toaster oven - it's been added to the packing list for next time). I have a spreadsheet that I fill out for each trip, it really helps.

Once we started the final load up of the camper, and Carm mentioned in passing to the dogs that we were going for a car ride to go camping the dogs were crazy! We could barely get out the door without them escaping to stand near the truck. When we managed to get out of the house without them they'd stand by the door the whole time. When we were in the house they ran between us, getting more excited by the minute. Even Grace got caught up in the excitement, whistling and whooping. Singing Hi Ho, hi ho just upped the frenzy.

Finally it was time to go. I got out Grace's carrier and she leapt onto my hand when I went to get her. She was keen! The dogs stood stock still to get their camping collars and then ran to the truck and as soon as the door was open (and they got the go ahead) they all jumped in, heads out the window, ready to roll. We did the final light check and away we went. It felt good to get onto the road.

After a short 45 minute drive we arrived at the campground to check in. The next step after driving to our site is backing in. This can be acrimonious... there have been many times when we've ended up shouting at each other - how dumb! We are not alone in this... However, today was easy peasy and we were parked and unhitched in no time. Then comes the set up: hookup electrical, unlock all doors, unload the white panels, the chairs, carpet, dog bed, unload and setup the fence, setup the bbq, setup the satellite, hookup the water, put out the slide, setup inside, take Grace's big cage out... make a snack and open beers. And finally... drink beers and eat snack. It takes us just over an hour before we are enjoying that cold beverage. Whew... and by then we deserve it. As you can see we don't exactly rough it!

We sat around for a little while getting into the camping groove and then headed out for our first walk. Not too far today, just 1 1/4 hours, it's awfully hot. We broke the walk up by stopping to visit a few people, it is nice to renew acquaintances!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Turtles Turtles Rah Rah Rah

Turtles and cows! Both new occupants of our property. The cows moved in yesterday – it was nice to see their white patched hides as they are surely a sign of summer.


Yesterday I noticed a few lumps on a rock in the pond. Closer examination (actually not that close at all) showed that there were three turtles. The biggest one is covered with a green algae, the medium is brown and the smallest one was perched on top of the medium one. Strange cause he looked like a different kind. Perhaps the fellowship of the turtles. Between the turtles, the heron, and the kingfisher, I imagine the goldfish population of our pond is going to be drastically reduced.


The path that I take for my walk is quickly growing over. I think that if I miss a few days I won’t be able to find it anymore. What will happen when we are gone camping?


Other happenings: the robins near the kitchen window have fledged. This morning we saw the last one to leave the nest wobbling on the drain spout, and when we returned it was gone. The robins near the treadmill window are sitting tightly on eggs. She almost disappears she sits so tight. Birds everywhere are busy building nests, or feeding babies – the yard is hub of avian activity!

20110223_house_009Dorothy commented the other day about the treadmill. She thought it was a big machine and it is, once it is in its place I really don’t want to move it. I love it though… I can decide to do 30 minutes (which is my minimum) but then if I feel good I can increase the time without ended up far from home. I can increase the intensity and know just how much I’m challenging myself. Having time, distance and calories on the display gives me something to work for. I’ve found out that I’m pretty competitive! Every day I want to do a bit better, and push myself a bit more. This has increased my fitness tons! When I started 6 weeks ago, I could barely make 30 minutes, with 0 incline and about 3.5 mph. Yesterday I did 80 minutes, mostly at a 4% incline and and average of 4.0 mph. That’s a big difference! And I didn’t end up too far from home and exhausted.

It's easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top.
Henry Ward Beecher

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life Stands Before Me

Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.
Carl Friedrich Gauss

I had a few teary moments on the treadmill this morning - over the 5 1/4 miles, I actually ran (jogged) one whole mile!!! I never dreamed I'd be able to do this, but it just shows that perseverance pays off. I'm seeing progress in the other strength training exercises, but my gosh it is slow. I am SO out of shape it is shocking.


With the change in medications, the exercise, some productive thought, good nutrition especially omega 3s, and mantras I feel as good as, if not better than before I got sick 8 years ago. It pains me to write that, as it seems that those were 8 wasted years, but there is no point in lamenting the past, instead it is better to celebrate the present and dream for the future, for life stands before me. And it’s looking pretty good right now.

We moved our patio furniture, and Grace's summer cage out to the back deck yesterday. Sitting down on the swing it hit me that yes, it is summer now! I think we scared away the robins that were building the nest. I was looking forward to watching life unfold as I walked (and ran!) on the treadmill. Perhaps they'll come back, but I doubt it.


Merikay left a comment the other day about having periods of depression herself. I would be surprised if there were anyone who wasn't either touched themselves or knew someone who experienced it. There are two books that have helped me tremendously. I am sure that I would have far more periods of darkness if it weren't for these two books. 

The first is "The Mindful Way through Depression" by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, and Jon Kabat-Zinn. It talks a lot about the harmful self-talk that we all partake in. This kind of thinking makes us sick! Not only do they address these conversations, they also give advice on how to change. It is a form of cognitive behaviour therapy. As a bonus there is a cd with meditations on it. I think it is well worth the money.

The other book is "Spontaneous Happiness" by Andrew Weil. I've talked a lot about it on this blog. It is another fantastic book that gives so many tools for managing your own illness, without anti-depressants. His is a holistic approach that includes nutrition, herbal supplements, mediations and mantras, among other things. I think the two books pair well together. I don't even lend either of these as I refer to them on a regular basis (same with my Eat to Live book), but I have purchased them for loved ones as I think they are just that good!


The good thing about these books? They give us some control over our lives. They empower us.


Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
Charlotte Whitton

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Let the Love Flow to the Top

This morning I was powering along on the treadmill this morning, looking out the window and daydreaming, lost in my own internal world. A flicker of motion in the tree outside the window caught my attention. I looked closely and saw, in the crook of two branches, a robin building her nest. She paused, looking around carefully, before she darted off for the next bit of mud and grass. Back and forth she went, the nest getting bigger with each trip. Every now and again a resplendent looking male robin perched on a lower branch. His chest was so deep orange, the top of his head so dark, his beak so bright, he was just so full of life. He seemed to be patrolling the area, making sure it was safe from intruders.

Little Robin Redbreast sat upon a tree,
Up went pussy cat, and down went he!
Down came pussy, and away Robin ran;
Says little Robin Redbreast, "Catch me if you can!"

Little Robin Redbreast flew upon a wall,
Pussy cat jumped after him, and almost got a fall!
Little Robin chirped and sang, and what did pussy say?
Pussy cat said, "Mew," and Robin flew away.

Watching all this take place drew my attention outside. I started noticing the greenness of the grass, the strength of the tree branches with its green leaves bursting forth, the birds (oh so many birds) - I was struck with the life force of Nature. I let my imagination go and could feel the energy flow through my limbs, like I was connected with Nature in a visceral way. I was energized and upped the speed a notch. One of the songs that I have gotten a mantra from was playing... "let the love flow to the top" - suddenly it got more meaning - Nature is the love and her love rises up through me - the mantra has even more meaning for me now, and I've paired the words with the incredible feeling of peace and energy that I experienced today.

There is so much life in the land this time of year, it's hard not to get caught up in its energy - let the love flow to the top.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I am Blessed

This morning as soon as I walked out the door for our little walk I was blessed with the fragrant spring scent of apple blossoms. Walking down the tree lined lane way I couldn't help but realize how lucky I am. The grass was a brilliant green, the trees were covered with white and pink blossoms, the birds were singing in the trees. Don't people write poetry about times like these? I wanted to emblazon the feeling onto my soul so that I can conjure it up during darker times.


We walked both  loops this morning - the hay field, with its green grass and Norway Spruce border, it has a good view of the river as well. Then (after walking past the apple trees again) we walked the lower pond paddock. It has trees and shrubs growing in it. The chocolate trees with their rich dark bark were awash in delicate white flowers, the hawthorns were likewise adorned. Some other trees, that I don't know the names of also had some buds. Everywhere I walked I breathed in the scent of sweet flowers and growing green things. There must have been hundreds of birds, all singing their songs. The contrast from the stark days of winter makes my head reel. Oh my gosh I could go on and on.


Later in the morning we drove to the local health food store. I hadn't been there for years so wanted to see what they had. I saw lots of interesting things but only picked up a package of Kamut, a grain that is called for in some of the recipes in the new book I have. To get there we had to drive down a country lane that we don't travel very frequently. Everything looks so green and lush.


Our "big" job of the day was to put down a rubber mat underneath the washer and dryer. After emptying all the stuff out of the room, except the heavy washer (why do we have so many shoes?) we got the mat down. Carm grunted and groaned to get the washer back in place. It's a good thing he still has his young muscles :-)  We had to do a test right away to see how much the mat will help with the shake, rattle &  roll of the washer. It worked! I was surprised just how much it was quieted down.


Then we were back outside for some planting and just enjoying our property. Of course I had to wax poetic the whole time we were outside. Mother Nature breathes life back into the earth, and I think some of it was also blown back into me.

Flowers grow out of dark moments.
Corita Kent

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Do I Feel Fortunate?

It was raining all day yesterday so I took advantage of the dreariness to get the poodles all clipped up. It had been over 6 weeks so they were really looking scruffy, and also were hot all the time. Not so now! They are so good and put up with the process quite well, though sometimes it is hard to do their faces. Yesterday both were on their best behaviour.


The rain brought out more May flowers - I so love this time of year when everything is bursting with vigorous life. I can almost feel it in the air. The robins that are nesting just outside the kitchen window have been busy these past few days feeding their babies. I can't see into the nest, but however many there are they are hungry!


I've vacuumed up about 100,000 flies out in the camper - every nook and craney that I wash out seems to have a few more. And spider webs... I've only seen one tiny living spider, but could have made a sweater with all the webs I've vacuumed/washed up.


I read an article today about the positive benefits of having bipolar (thanks Dorothy). The article mentioned that many of the people they interviewed felt fortunate to have the illness and found that it gave them benefits that others did not have. I would have to agree as I have experienced many of these benefits in the past. When I am hypo manic I can accomplish so much - I'm super-charged! My thinking is faster and I seem to think in a whole other plane, problem solving is enhanced, and I'm much more creative, I'm outgoing and (I think) funny. My perception of the world around me changes. Everything seems stunningly beautiful. I have an incredible sense of well-being or euphoria.


Unfortunately hypomania is all too often followed by depression, where everything is seen through a grey fog and life seems bleak and even unbearable.


Medications even some of that out. When I was first on medications I couldn't understand why everything was so pale and flat but was told that what I was experiencing was "normal". It seemed impossible that people could live such flat lives, and I railed against it.  But I knew that the alternative, with depression was too dangerous for me so I acquiesced and took my meds. Now that I am on a bit less medication I get hints of what I was like in the past (unfortunately depression at times too), so it is a little easier for me to accept this more "normal" me.

So... do I feel fortunate to have bipolar? I would say yes.


In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.
Robert Frost

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Garishly Green

That’s the colour the green seems against the brilliant blue sky. It isn’t quite green day, which is strange cause I thought for sure by now but Nature is her own boss.


I saw the woodcock chicks this morning. We were out for our walk and just heading into the lower pond paddock when the dogs started sniffing around just off the path. I walked over to see what they were looking at but didn’t see anything. Looked a bit closer and there was one chick. I sent the dogs away and continued to look in the leaf litter to see if there was more than one and indeed there was. All four chicks are alive and well. Talk about well camouflaged. Even when I knew what I was looking for they were hard to spot. Lucky for them they were off the path or I would have stepped right on them. As I left this house for the walk I almost didn’t pick up my camera but thankfully I didn’t let my lazy self rule!



Dorothy mentioned in a comment that she’d probably get bored putting her food into the calorie counter. That may well be, but I find it a challenge or a puzzle. I sit down in the morning and plan out my foods for the day and try to make them work within the calorie range and to meet all my nutritional needs. It’s not easy. But it is possible, even without meat and dairy. Eating lots of leafy greens is the key!


I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
e. e. cummings

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sweating to the Oldies

Today was a beautiful day, just the kind of day that we have been expecting for weeks. Carm got out there and got the grass cut - none too soon that's for sure, it was thick and long in places. I got out for a short walk with the dogs.


The other day I posted with a heading of Swallows Swooping, and then forgot to mention anything at all about them. To my delight the swallows are back and have taken over the barn again. I have a good view of the barn from the kitchen window and get so much pleasure of watching them swoop about. There is something very uplifting about the freedom from gravity that they seem to have.


We've had a good spring of bird watching so far with many different species spotted. Just off the top of my head we've seen: Canada Geese, Turkey, Mallard ducks, robins, red-wing blackbirds, northern flicker,  some sort of small woodpecker with a red head, grackles, crows, cardinals, barn swallows, morning doves, tiny little finch like birds that we haven't identified, little brown sparrows, great blue heron, kingfisher.  All from the kitchen window :-)

20120505_laura-workout_003Here's a picture that will shock you - I've just gotten off the treadmill (77 minutes for 5.25 miles). Yes that is actual sweat! I actually ran (a bit)! I don't do this but now I am and I'm loving it! I love seeing how hard I can press myself. I can actually start to feel muscle building (very little)! It's been years since I've had any. Life is good :-) 

After all that working out I rested for a bit and then headed out to the camper with the vacuum cleaner. The slide came out for the first time this year and I start to get it back in shape from the long winter. I always give it a good clean before putting it to bed for the winter, but honestly it is a wasted effort as it gets so dirty over the winter. Where do all those dead flies come from? And why are there new spider webs on the ceiling? And why does everything feel dusty? Who knows why but it is. So off came the sofa slipcover to go straight into the washer, then the vacuum started, then clothes returned to their designated spots (I empty everything into a mouse proof plastic bin in the fall), when whew... I've had it for the day. I'd love to sit down with a cold beer and a bag of chips... but instead settled for some lemon water and 3 pita chips.


News Flash! I just got off the phone with my brother Olaf – he is now a dad and I am an auntie. It seems unbelievable as it was just yesterday that he was born. I was 14 at the time and remember him being a day old infant clearly. So welcome Freya Violet. I guess you are a kiwi, but hopefully you’ll become a Canadian sometime in your future.

Since it was Audrey Hepburn’s birthday yesterday – Freya’s birthday I’ll share a quote from her.

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Swallows Swooping

After an incredibly early dentist appointment in town (7:15 am!!!), we did a bit of grocery shopping (it never ends when you are eating so many vegetables) and then headed home. Arriving about the time that we would normally be getting up. uggh


The good thing about that is we were able to do our normal morning routine, including getting on the treadmill – 73 minutes for 600 calories and 4 3/4 miles. Man oh man I had to work hard to get that done. Even my eyelids were sweating. I must have hit the zone though cause the last bit got quite easy, if I had a bottle of water to sip from I could have gone for ages more (yeah right).


The walks around the property have been nice. I love seeing everything coming back to life. I suppose it mirrors my own “rebirth”, although hopefully not quite so green.



Dorothy asked about my morning smoothie. Don’t get me started!! Too late… It sounds gross but I LOVE it! Ingredients: 85g tofu, 1-2 cups spinach, 1 cup frozen blueberries (must be frozen to get that good smoothie feel), 1T ground flax and finally 1T blackstrap molasses (it has to be blackstrap as it has a ton of calcium and iron). I can’t believe how much better I feel having this rather than toast. Below shows the nutritional analysis of just the smoothie and how it starts my day. By the end of the day, if I make the right choices, all the red bars have turned green.


Here’s what the analysis page of calorie counter looks like. I find it really useful for making sure I’m getting all the nutrition that I should. I should note that I probably never did, even when I was eating animal products (including dairy). What a tool Winking smile


The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.
Henry Ward Beecher