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Celestial Glory

Two entries in one day... try not to have a heart attack or anything. Truth is, I'm all packed and its only 4:30 (I don't leave until 7:30 tomorrow morning).

So... I need to update you all on "Celestial Glory" (I think most of you know what that is).

In January I was challenged to "revamp" the game and look into printing/distributing it. Well, after over a hundred hours of artwork, design work, and research, the game is ready AND a fairly decent looking prototype was made (box and all).

This weekend Toronto hosted its first "Time Out for Women" (which is run by Deseret Bookstore ... the distributor I really want). A few weeks ago we learned that Sheri Dew would be the keynote speaker on the Friday evening. I'm assuming you all know who she is, but if not, she is the president/CEO of Deseret bookstore).

While I thought nothing of this, a friend (Terry) decided this was the perfect opportunity. She pushed me to get a good prototype ready before yesterday. Terry put the game in a gift bag, with some printouts from the new website (celestialglorygame.com) ... including how the inspiration of the game happened, and the "spiritual reasons behind all the rules). She included a card to Sheri explaining that she (Terry) wanted to know what she thought, and let us know where we should go next with it. I'm not sure what else she wrote in that card because she sealed it and told me I didn't need to know (I trust her completely, but that doesn't mean I don't want to know what she wrote!!!)

Terry went to the conference early last night... and yes, she went right up to Sheri Dew the minute she saw her, and gave her the bag! Ok, I would NEVER have been able to do that! No way... just not me! Needless to say, I'm very grateful for Terry's boldness, and willingness.

Of course, I have no idea what will come of this. All I know is that its exciting (and somewhat scary) to think that Sheri Dew has a copy of this game!!!
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Whatever is going to Newfoundland

Well, apparently its been six weeks since I posted (obviously need to get back into the habbit of it). Well, this might just happen this week. My mom and I are going on another adventure. If you remember our Peru adventure, you might remember that it was actually "Whatever's" (the bear) trip and that Mom and I were just his escorts. Well, tomorrow morning we leave and will be gone for 2 weeks. We are taking her laptop, so hopefully I will be able to share some of the adventure along the way.

And just for your enjoyment... this is a letter my mom sent out to her friends (written from Whatever's perspective). Enjoy. (sorry, don't remember how to do "cuts")

****
After 3 years of staring wistfully out of the window with only distant memories of lands far away, I recently became agitated and started grumbling about not going on any trips since Peru. I did get an outing to New Hampshire the same year I ventured off to Peru, but it was less than satisfying as I spent most of my time trapped in an overheated van watching boats going round and round on a pond. Not exactly the heightened adventure I had experienced a few months earlier.

My new home in the kitchen afforded me the opportunity to observe Rissa spending endless hours searching the Internet for trip ideas (as is often the case) and when Clare got involved my little imaginary heart took a leap and I just knew it might involve me too. Surely they wouldn't go without me.

So…..on June 1st we will be off to Newfoundland and Labrador for two weeks. I am a little disconcerted that I had no part in the planning but do feel that Rissa and Clare will probably have made it interesting. Most tourists head for St John's on the east coast where they can observe millions of sea birds (mainly puffins and gannets) all vying to occupy the same cliff top real estate, and visit places named Hearts Delight, Hearts Content, Witless Bay, Goobies and Dildo but they have decided to concentrate on the west coast which is reputed to be mountainous and very scenic.

I have decided that I will be the judge of that - after all - I have been to Peru!!!!!

We will fly into Deer Lake then head an hour or so down the coast to Blow Me Down Park for a couple of nights (wouldn't you want to visit a place with this name) before heading up to Rocky Harbour and Gros Morne Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site no less. The Tablelands is an excellent example of plate tectonics in which 470 million year old ultrabasic rock was brought to the earth's surface as a result of faulting’. WOW. What does that mean? Simply put - it is what the world would look like if we turned it inside out. Fascinating!!

There are also fiords that can't be called fiords because they don't open to the sea but that apparently rival any that can be seen in Norway. Fortunately we won't have to make the exhausting climb up Gros Morne Mountain as it is closed until the end of June while caribou, arctic hare and something else are bearing their young. I’m not complaining nor is Rissa (although I think Clare wanted to compare it to our climb up Hyuana Piccu - I guess she'll never know). The view out over the fiords is supposed to be breathtaking. We'll take their word for it.

From there, we will head up the long and lonely coastal road, known as the Viking Trail, to St Barbe from where we will take the ferry over to Labrador. We couldn’t be so close to one of the most isolated areas of the world and not pop over for a visit. We will take a brief sojourn on the very short 50 miles of the only bit of paved road along the southern coast of Labrador to Red Bay, another heritage site of an old abandoned Basque Whaling station, once the largest whaling station in the world; and then overnight in Labrador, before taking the ferry back and then continuing on up to the very tip of northern Newfoundland.

Here we will abandon the rental car (and most of our luggage) and with only back packs we will be ferried over to Quirpon Island (you should see the landing area and ladder (?) stairs up to what looks like a fair hike across the corner of the island) where we will spend 2 nights in the old lighthouse keeper’s home, hopefully observing icebergs. These icebergs are the main reason for choosing this time of year and the western side of Newfoundland. Currently there are plenty of them majestically ‘bobbing’ their way along 'iceberg alley' that brings them down from Greenland. I am quite excited at the prospect of possibly accompanying Clare out in a kayak for a closer view of an iceberg - assuming the weather cooperates and there are any close enough to the island - off the island – so to speak. I find this an interesting concept. Living on the vast continent of America, the thought of going to an island off an island is quite novel. However, when Rissa lived in the UK that is just what she did when she went to the Isles of Scilly, and it didn’t seem an interesting concept at all.

I should mention here that weather will likely have a huge influence on our enjoyment of this trip. The Rock, as Newfoundland is affectionately called, has a well earned reputation for fickle weather that can change in an instant. We may well see none of the much touted scenery if we are enveloped in fog for much of the time. If the capelin (little fish) are running, which is highly possible, they bring the whales but also the fog. That would be a bit if a bummer. However, as Clare and Rissa found great amusement in going to the top of the CN Tower when it was shrouded in cloud, I am sure they will find a way to enjoy photographing fog. Not sure I will appreciate it, but on the other hand, I am at least going on an adventure again.

After a couple of days on Quirpon Island, we will head back to the Newfoundland mainland and stay in St Anthony for 3 nights. We had wanted to stay at the Tickle Inn B/B on Cape Onion near Ha Ha Bay (wouldn’t you) but Rissa found a loft cottage (read apartment) in St Anthony that had a washer/dryer which got her quite excited. After several days of sharing bathrooms on Quirpon Island and many days unable to clean her clothes, she seems to be fixated on a private bathroom and washing clothes. I find this quite tiresome but I guess I don’t fully understand human needs.

From St Anthony we can take a boat tour for another opportunity for a close encounter with icebergs - assuming all the things already mentioned come together or don’t interfere. Nearby there are also several small outports (old fishing villages that at one time had no roads leading to them), do some hiking and visit L’Anse aux Meadows – another UNESCO World Heritage Site no less – where over a 1000 years ago (before Columbus and Cabot), Vikings made their first landing and built sod huts to protect them from the elements. Unfortunately, it did not protect them from the native residents and finding the land inhospitable in all ways, they abandoned the site and went home.

Then sadly it will be time to head back to reality but we will be spending 3 more nights somewhere along the Viking Trail, maybe Shallow Bay or back in Rocky Harbour, before dragging our probably weary (and no doubt reluctant) bodies to the airport for our flight home. I might be able to convince Clare and Rissa to make one diversion on our way – to the renowned Newfoundland Insectarium – the highlight of Deer Lake (and maybe our trip if it’s been foggy every day)!!!!!

Whatever
******

(I'm beginning to think I need to make a livejournal account for the darn bear!!!
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Long time no write!

Hey all! I was working on some Peru memories today and realized that I have no journal entries for the trip! Then I remembered that every night I wrote the entire story in my live journal so I logged on to copy all the old entries! What a trip down memory lane that was!

So... good news in my life. My new doctor and I finally found the right combination of meds and I am now experiencing life as I never thought I would again. I have not felt like this in over 17 years (in fact better than back then since now I've dealt with all my crap).

I'm not kidding myself into thinking I'm "all better" since I'm taking 3 different meds to keep me here, but I DON'T CARE!! All I know is I feel great, and maybe now I can show people the ME I've wanted them to see all along!
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My excuses...

My computer crashed and I was without one for two weeks. When I did get it running again, I'd lost everything (including the wedding photos for a friend). That was all over Christmas, which was way too busy and rather stressful, so I won't bother boring you with details. I finished off the Christmas holidays with a "bang" as Ariel threw yet another tantrum and nearly got me kicked out of my house! Yup, its been an exciting few weeks!

Ariel is currently living with her mom again, but I don't know how long that will last. Mom and her want to try, so F&CS are trying to support that, but I can hear the stress in Mom's voice when I talk to her, and there have been a couple of "close calls" already. My landlords don't want her back here, so the next option is looking like the psychiatric residential school in London (I hate to say it, but I can see that becoming reality before the summer). I love the kid, but there is only so much one person can do, you know

Now that I'm alone in my house again, I am trying to get my own life back on track. I have registered for a half marathon in May and so I'm trying to get ready for that. I'm excited and nervous! Of course, if I could stop eating so much junk food, I'd probably lose weight a little faster... gotta work on that.

That's the general update anyways. Hopefully I'll be able to stay more on top of things now that I've got the computer to myself again (both updating my own LJ as well as keeping up-to-date with everyone elses).
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Yes, I'm still alive

I've had a few questions recently, so I figured I'd better find a few minutes and actually update you all...

Ariel is out of school temporarily (and thus with me 24-7 again).  We are in the midst of getting her back into regular school (which was supposed to happen by the end of last week, but it hasn't yet).  I am still in the process of being assessed as a Foster Parent, so I haven't seen any money yet (but it's all retroactive, so it should be a nice first cheque when I finally DO see it).  Ariel is doing okay on the whole, and I'm enjoying having her here (even if it does mean sharing the computer).

Dealing with Family and Children's Services is a whole different beast!  They were supposed to have my evaluation done over a month ago!  They inform me of meetings that were planned weeks in advance the day before!  I deal with three workers... one is the "family" worker (technically Lea's worker, but she oversees the whole case so I get calls from her from time to time); then there is the "children's services" worker (technically Ariel's worker, so obviously she and I are in touch a fair bit); and then I get my very own "resources" worker (whom I've hardly ever seen, which is why my evaluation still isn't done).  The whole thing is rather frustrating!  I almost think it WAS better last year (wait, nope, I take that back!)

On a whole different note; my sister had a melt down last weekend (I got a call at 1am from my Mom)!  My poor brother-in-law was in tears and didn't know what to do.  It all came out that she got herself addicted to cocaine (on top of the alcoholism that I already suspected).  She hadn't had any all weekend and she was beside herself, totally drunk, and screaming about police in the house coming to get her.  Needless to say, it wasn't pretty!  By the time I called Bryan she was asleep, so we didn't do anything that night.  They stayed home from work on Monday, and I went over to visit and had a long talk with them about addictions, and what to expect next.  I tried to be kind, but I did not beat around the bush at all!  My sister needs help!  I knew this a few years ago when she admitted she had a sex addiction, but she wouldn't do anything.  This time round I was making sure she understood!

Since then, she has made some calls and is getting herself into therapy.  Of course, this is a little nerve-wrecking to my parents.  Although they haven't said a work, their moods when I've spoken to them has shown me that they are really struggling.  My personal opinion; they are both terrified of what she might bring up in therapy (after all, look what happened when I went to therapy).  I don't know if my sister was hurt the way I was, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was.

So, I'm trying to be the strength that my family needs right now, without trying to "fix" it (since I know I can't) and still support Ariel and her family.  I'm holding my own, but I can't say I'm doing "fine"!  I'm just glad that I'm healthy enough to be able to do all of this (with the help of some very supportive friends of course!)!!!
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Ariel's Back

I just realized that I haven't updated you all on the great Ariel soap opera!

Just after Thanksgiving Family & Children's Services (FCS) spoke to me about taking Ariel into care again.  She is still in her residential school during the week, but weekend visits at home were not going well (more often than not she was ending up at my house after police calls anyway).  At first my reaction was NO WAY, but I realized that a lot has changed (Ariel is working very hard at all they are teaching her) and it would only be weekends and holidays.  So, I started to consider what I would need if I said yes.

One of my biggest concerns was financial assistance.  Although there were agreements last year, Ariel was never "officially" in my care and the only financial assistance I was entitled to was whatever the mom gave me.  So, I spoke to the worker, and told her I would only consider it if Ariel was "officially" in my care (meaning both Mom and Ariel would have to sign a contract to agree to it all). 

I also considered the violence issue very carefully, and spoke with friends as well as certain workers on this team as to how I would handle those (both physically and emotionally).  I spent a LOT of time praying and seriously thinking through all of the implications of making this agreement.  If I did it, I was going to be committing to the 6 month (minimum) contract as well, and I was NOT going to end it the way I did in February.  I put things in place with FCS, with Ariel's school, with the Mental Health Clinic that's on this case, with a few of my friends, and even set up rules for myself (ie making sure I spend the week doing "my" work to stay healthy for her)!

In the end, I felt really good about everything, and last Monday the papers were all signed.  It was a hard day for all of us, and Mom is still not doing well about the whole thing (but she did sign willingly).  As I said before, its a 6 month contract; it will all be reviewed at that time and we'll see what happens next.

In the meantime, I'm a mommy again... officially this time :)
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More Running... setting goals can be hazardous for my health

So, I haven't updated in a while.  Not much has changed since last time.  Well Ariel might be in my care again after tomorrow (so I'll have to update you on that when I know more)...

Running has become fun (who woulda thought it!)!  I usually run about 4 miles 4 or 5 times a week.  Not every run is great, but the ones that are make up for the ones that aren't.  I belong to a runners forum for beginners and have made some great friends there!  They are encouraging and we have lots of good laughs.  A bunch of us are all planning to go to the Cincinnati "Flying Pig" race weekend (they have a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon)... (side note; t-shirts say "I'll run a marathon when pigs fly"  I love it!

So, my fellow forumites convinced me that I could be ready for a half marathon by May, and I have decided to take up the challenge!  I registered for a 10k training class at the running store by my house, and plan to run the 10k "Resolution Run" on December 31st.  If that goes okay, I will either take a half marathon class or I will just keep training on my own, and do the half in May.

THEN.... someone on the forum shared the brochure for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January.  I've never cared about the "elite" marathons like Boston, but THIS one took my fancy.  I read the booklet from cover to cover and said "I'M GOING TO DO THAT!"  Of course, I'm looking at 2008 to do it, but still; its a pretty fun goal!

My family (parents, sister and her family and I) have been planning to go to Disney World for a few years now but never get our act together. So, this weekend I told them all I was going to run the marathon and I wanted them all to come with me. I figured we might actually get there this way... and hey, accountability, right?

So, today I went on one of the mapping sites to see just how far 26.2 miles is on streets that I know well. First I measured the distance to my parents house all the way across town... nope, that's not far enough. In fact I'd have to go to their house AND BACK to come just shy of a HALF marathon. Suddenly I was questioning my sanity for even considering the half in May!

I then started a whole different route. By suggestion of Ariel, I mapped all the way to her school, which near St. Jacob's (north of Waterloo). That came up 26 miles (never mind the .2)!  She and I both stared at the route that I've driven with her many times! THAT'S 26 miles!!!!

For the first time I really understood what I was getting myself into, and seriously wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew (I guess its a good thing I didn't look at that before I told my family what I was planning).

I just keep shaking my head, thinking about that distance. Oh my! Oh my!
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because I have nothing else to write about

you get to hear about running AGAIN!

Experiencing "runner's high" last week really set off a whole chain of events.  The following day, I didn't feel like looking at my stopwatch all the time, so I decided to see just how far I could go.  The last time I did this, I ran 10 minutes and I already knew I could beat that since I ran 16:27 the other day when I timed a mile.  So, I kept my pace nice and easy, and just kept going. 

I kept setting goals along the way "if I just make it to that board walk, or the group of trees around then next bend" and each time I reached that location I decided I could keep going.  I refused to look at my stopwatch, even when I hit the end of the trail and turned around.  I WANTED to keep going, and that was an amazing feeling!

Before I knew it, I was back at my starting point.  I had been running non-stop for 50 minutes!  Including the 5 minute warm-up and cool-down walks I'd been out an hour and had gone almost 4 miles!  I felt great!

I've done that route a few times now, and I don't take walking breaks any more.  I guess I can say I've officially graduated from the run/walk program.  I am running, not fast, but I am actually going the distance.  Who woulda thought it!

Last night I tried my one mile time again.  I hadn't really pushed last week since I was just focusing on running the whole thing, so last night I pushed a little harder (not all out, but more than usual) and I finished in 15:11!  Not only that, but I still felt good, so I ran the mile a second time (slower) before going home.

I never dreamed I would actually start enjoying this.  I was only looking for a cheap fitness option that was OUTSIDE!  I did it for mental and physical health; that was all.  This is a bonus!
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Where did THAT come from?

I've heard it written about, but I honestly thought I was a long way from experiencing it myself! All I can say is if I didn't just experience "runners high" then I can not imagine what it will feel like when I DO!

I set out to run 7min runs (3 sets), but I got to my half way point and didn't feel like turning around, so I didn't. I reached the end of the trail, considered going down a side trail but I've been lost in this park before and decided better of it, so I turned around. I'd already finished my 3 sets of 7 minutes (with 2 minute walks in between), but I didn't feel like stopping. I ran another 7 minutes then walked for two.

Then something happened; I was running my fourth set of seven minutes and a cool song came on. Without realizing, I was jogging along to the beat of the music (a faster pace than usual), singing silently and just loving the view (trees are starting to change colour).

I felt like I was floating over the ground. I wasn't thinking about my breathing, or how my feet hit the ground. I wasn't really thinking about the music either. I was in a whole different world, one that I DID NOT want to come back from!

Absolutely Amazing!
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It's all in the Perspective

I just posted this on my "beginners" forum for running, but I thought I should share it here too:

Okay, so about 6 weeks ago I thought it would be fun to time my first mile (which some of you may remember). I didn't have any preconceived ideas about how long it should take, and I didn't care if I ended up walking parts of it; I just wanted a time. I felt good doing it, and shared my time of 12:15 here (which you all told me was a great time even though I said I was really slow).

Well, today I learned that having a preconceived idea of how long a mile should take would have been a good idea that day! You see, I obviously read my (analogue) watch wrong that day, and I was too naive to know that the time I finished it in was WAY TOO FAST for the pace I ran!!!!

Here's the story (its good for a laugh);

Six weeks ago I was run/walking 2min(run)/ 2min(walk) and now I am up to 7min runs and I ran 10 minutes one day without stopping, so when I set out to time another mile (the first in six weeks) I figured I MUST be able to beat that old time. I was VERY excited to see how much I had improved! My only goal was to run the whole mile without stopping. Again, I didn't care how fast I was, only that I didn't stop. I figured that this would be enough to see a change in the old time, and I had high hopes.

I jogged the whole thing, not fast, but NO walking, so I was grinning as I pulled the stopwatch (a feature on my mp3 player) from my waistband to see the results. I stared at the 16:27 and shook my head. I stopped and read it again. Nope, definitely a 16! I was SO angry I nearly threw it into the trees. I'd been having a really crappy day already, and this was supposed to boost my ego not destroy it! Unable to handle it on top of the other events of the day, I burst into tears, disappointment completely taking over. I cried the whole 5 minute walk home.

I got in the house and immediately compared my stopwatch and watch for five minutes. There was no significant difference, and since I took the exact same route, I knew there wasn't a conflict in distance. The only other explanation was that I'd misread my watch the first time I timed it; possibly forgetting that I started five minutes earlier than I recorded. Of course, that would mean that my original time was 17:15, but I have no way of knowing that so it wasn't very comforting.

However... when I recorded today's run in my logbook, I tried to comfort myself by commenting that I HAD indeed gone the whole mile without walking which WAS a definite improvement, which then made me realize that it also meant that I had just gone 16.5 minutes non-stop ... and I was UPSET about this! look I ended up in one heck of a giggle fit. Big Grin

Oh my, what perception can do to us! I almost missed one heck of a milestone because I had been focused on the wrong thing! So, 16:27 may not be a great time for one mile, it is MY time and I am thrilled with it
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