Friday, February 25, 2011


My take home assignment from Andrew this week is the word, boundless. "Do with it as I may," he said.

Boundless reminds me of one 9 month period of my life in 2003. It was the year I went from walking 5 km daily to running the Washington D.C. Marine Corps Marathon in October, 9 months after I joined a marathon running group - that's 26.2 miles/42 km to you and me.

It was a year of tunnel vision. I can do it. I can get to the bridge on time. I can actually run. I can finish it. And, I did finish it and proudly have the medal to prove it. It was a period of empowerment. A women's marathon running group called Jeansmarines, whose sole purpose was to empower women through bonding and running got me there. Our leader, Jean Marmoreo, the Jean of  Jeansmarines, is a Family Physician in Toronto, specializing in middle aged women's "issues" who wanted women to be empowered. She got it.

I was part of Jean's second year group. Year one Jean had 50 friends join her in Washington. My year had well over 200 lovely ladies happily donning the streets of Washington and Georgetown. We were aged 25 to 73. We were tall, small, plump & skinny. We were women of determination & focus. A group of Type A's by admission of desire to do this event. I would have never called myself a Type A. B- maybe.

My entire 9 months pre-race revolved around training schedules, eating properly, hydrating properly, hill training, speed work and lots of camaraderie. I was focused on this event, like I couldn't believe. I had never been a runner, don't look like a runner and never particularly enjoyed running, but I wanted the prize - the medal. I remember running up the final bridge around the 21 mile mark, and read a sign held by a smiling young woman saying, "You can now call yourself a marathoner." Another read, "Most people won't drive 26.2 miles today, be proud." Those signs helped me through the final portion of the race, when I wasn't sure if I was under or over hydrated, was weaving, my feet were killing me and I felt like puking. Those signs have stayed with me. I am indeed a marathoner.

I clearly was boundless in my determination that year, as I never thought I would, could, cared about being a runner, but became fixated on that medal at the finish line in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. As "my" marine put the medal over my head and gave me a hug, I waved to my Mom standing proudly in the seating area. Sweetness never tasted so good.

Boundless to me = the empowerment my training for the 2003 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. gave me.

Jeansmarines 2003 in front of the White House the day before the marathon.
I'm in the second row, crouching at the end far right.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who knew..

That when I rubbed this Buddha's belly for good luck on my first evening in Shanghai in 2009, that I would be going to the land of Buddha, Nepal, to teach Monks English, 2 years later to the day, in 2011.

And that my partner in volunteerism is someone I met on that fateful trip to China.

Life unfolds in mysterious ways...

- Preplanning - Inoculations in check (typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Twinrix, Tetanus/ Diphtheria/Polio booster) - Prescriptions still need to be filled (malaria, dukoral & cipro) - Study aids purchased (dictionaries & word find books) - New camera? - Consulted friends and friends of friends who have been - Rupees or US dollars? - Mosquito netting? - Living a Monk's life by day - Lots of rice - 5,500 feet above sea level - One request made for medium sized Monk's robes (was it the Scotch talking?)  - Himalayan backdrop - "I think I'm going to Kathmandu", sang Bob Seger  & me - Anticipation...

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Conjures up many thoughts, ideas & dreams (this is my take home assignment from Andrew for this week) 

- Colour - Travel - Family - The company of friends - My garden - Broadway - The movies - My "girls" Lily & Gretel - New adventures - New experiences - Learning - Magazines (I can physically flip) - Good design - Sharing a wonderful meal - The full moon - Tulips - Birch trees - Sense of fun - High Park - High spirits - Extra dark chocolate - Pizza - Florence - New York City - London

My favorite flower the Japanese Tree Peony, Gelato, Fulani Wedding Beads, Pizza in Brooklyn

The Tuscan countryside, Liberty fabrics, Travel books, Theatre programs

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter funk...

- What causes it? - Months of short grey days that seem endless -  More importantly, how can I shake it? - Not an easy task - Frequent favorite places - Fresh cut flowers in my house - Be around positive people - Enjoy every moment I have with the sun when it graces me with its presence - Go for a walk, even in the snow - Change my mindset, by then spring should be here - A work in progress...

In front of the beautiful Art Deco Sunnyside bathing pavilion. How long till summer?
Note the snow flying.

Lovely Saturday morning on the shores of Lake Ontario with the inner harbour frozen.
 One of my favorite places to be: High Park in Toronto. Here I am walking beside a frozen Grenadier Pond.

Old Man winter looks tired too.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The reality...

- Member of the Toronto Bead Society - Enamored by beads of all shapes colours & backgrounds (I really don't discriminate) - Would be happy fossicking the world in search of them - Fossicking (new word I learnt in Tucson) - Set income so therefore set fossicking allowed - Love my new word, fossicking (can you tell?) - Enjoyed spending time with like minded bead enthusiasts - Those said bead enthusiasts (TBS members) are really generous with their time to support causes that matter, through beading - All in all, a pretty uncomplicated yet satisfying hobby - So many beads, so little time

Me & Laurie-Anne at Toronto Bead Society Meeting last night with a sampling of her & her partner Beth's beads for sale. Notice my wonderful "fat ass" necklaces plus my gorgeous Navajo ring I brought back from Tucson.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


- With the Kate & Andrew workshop part deux on, I wonder what I'm missing - More canyons - More plundering of antique malls - More photography - More daily assignments - Alas, I can only dream...

This is a sample of my "shadow" assignment from our workshop.
Doesn't it look like humming birds in flight?
In reality a beautiful cactus in the Old Artisans Town.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Why are short work weeks so long?

- Two days feel like 5 days - Why is that?  - Travel can be exhausting (all that sitting and waiting and anticipating I guess) - Pining away for all those beads I saw in Tucson - That's why there is always next year - Thinking of projects to make with what I have purchased in Tucson (some funky "pringles" shaped silver) - Happy with my Sleeping Beauty turquoise purchase - Banks really do watch your transactions for irregularities - Hold put on my debit card due to withdrawals in Tucson - Confirmed those were indeed my debits and hold lifted from debit card, all while standing at check-out at Old Navy - Arizona is biggest credit card fraud state - Researching next trip - First round of Japanese Encephalitis shots done - Typhoid shot done (sore shoulder to prove it) - Malaria & dukoral prescription picked up - Looking forward to whoever shows up in High Park tomorrow morning for our 10 km walk - Curling up with "the girls" this weekend (my Mom was a great babysitter for Lily & Gretel) - Beautiful bouquet (thanks Mom) and the girls make me smile in the living room

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day in Toronto

- Was I really in Tucson just yesterday morning? - Schools actually closed in Toronto (first time since 1999 when the army was called in to clear the snow) - Time for reflection - Miss my lovely Atomic Ranch lunches - Wonder how my fellow workshop mates are doing - Made a snow angel - Time to fire up the snow blower ...again

Day Six in Tucson - Homeward Bound

- Ever have one of those days when it starts bad and just goes downhill? - Overslept - Cab arrived 15 minutes early to take me to the airport - Left my beautiful new turquoise ring in bunkie (noticed en route to airport) - Dallas airport closed?! - Scheduled through Dallas as I thought that was a safe haven from snow, wrong - Re-scheduled for a day later departure or alternatively run from the American Airlines' to the United check-in in 6 minutes to make a flight to Denver - Put my jeansmarines training to work running with a suitcase in tow - -11˚F in Denver - Mechanical plane problems - Gate shifted - Flight delayed - Gate says Calgary, but actually Toronto? - Sitting with spring jacket zipped up in airport with cold air spilling in from the gates boarding and disembarking - Never got a chance to apply lipstick all day - Flew through the eye of the storm over Chicago with great turbulence - Longest line I've ever seen at customs in Toronto (30 minutes) - Baggage carousel had actually stopped because it took me so long to get through customs - To blog or to sleep? - Bisbee-made lemon square enjoyed in jammies before bed - Lights out

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day Five in Tucson - Tombstone really does look like it does in the movies

- I figured out wireless hook-up in the bunkie (thanks Ellen for your notes) - First cloud covered morning - Last full day in the beautiful Arizona - Very relaxed - Dare I say, fondness for my PC - More westerns back to back on AMC (getting me in the mood for Tombstone) - Road trip planned - Tumble weeds actually hitting our car on Highway 10 - Bisbee - Single lane, non turn around old mining road - Amazing driving by Beth - Snow in Bisbee's elevation of 5,000 feet - Orange landscape in Bisbee - Met up with more Cdns for lunch - Doc Holliday gives me the once over - The site of the OK Corral - They actually wear guns in Tombstone - Incredibly beautiful scenery in Tombstone (not a bad vista to be had) - Tangible history - Apache country - Border patrols