#24 – Make a Floral Arrangement

I am hosting the Yacht Clubs’ Ladies Luncheon this month and decided to make a floral arrangement to celebrate fall and to add decoration to the table of treats. Fall is my favorite time of year for the colors, the cool mornings and the sunny afternoons.

When I make flower arrangements, there is nothing I enjoy more then going for a walk specifically to find natural things that can be used to add interest to the arrangement. “Salal” grows wild along many of the trails I walk and is a great filler. So are twigs, leafy branches and dried ferns.  I always go to the local Thrift store to find the vases I use and without fail found a red rectangular vase for .99¢. Perfect!

Getting Started

My finds to start creating

I love creating with my hands and I think if I were to find a part time job it would be in a florist shop.

Finished Arrangement

Finished arrangement

Side View

Side view

#20 – Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

The parking lot is empty, no one in sight

Up the steps, tap the door on the right.

My cause today, is one worthwhile

I’m welcomed, a handshake, a smile.

———-

I’m shown the kitchen, utensils and safety

Tasked to make a salad so fresh and tasty.

Given an apron, a knife and a bowl

With donated food, that is my goal.

 ———-

15 volunteers all in good cheer

To prepare a meal, serve and clear.

Doors swing open just at eleven

Thank the Lord, our God in heaven.

———-

They come from here and from there

Maybe they come from nowhere.

Some lonely, some together, some with child

Some eager, some meek, others mild.

———-

They sit, they chat, and eat peacefully

Appreciate the warm meal lovingly.

They leave with a loaf and a few sweet treats

Say thank you and head back to the streets.

———-

I’m blessed, I’m grateful for all I own

No reason for me to bemoan.

I’m glad I can lend this helping hand

For those less fortunate and in demand.

#37 – Ride a Horse

Out of my bike saddle and on to the next. This one was much more comfortable but I wasn’t so sure about the whole riding thing while in the ring getting used to the horse, the commands and who was in charge. My sister looked comfortable with her steed, poised, sitting tall, hands holding the reins comfortably. She has ridden before. Bev, our guide and owner told us the horses would test us and they did.

The Ring

Practising in the ring

Bev is the proprietor of Paradise Acres Ranch  located just around the corner from where we live. Her and her husband own 11 horses and board another 47. Their property is spectacular and spacious tucked away between Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Moriarty on Vancouver Island.

Avalanche was the name of my horse, a white Cremello with big blue eyes. My sisters’ was Blazen, a grey Arabian Quarter horse with large brown eyes.

Horses

Jackson, Pony Dots, Blazen and Avalanche

To get Avalanche going I had to do a clicking sound with my cheeks. Problem was that my instinct was to pull on the reins at the same time. Bev told me that that was sending a mixed message to the horse because pulling on the reins is asking the horse to slow down. Poor thing, I can imagine what he was thinking, “Ok lady, stop or go, make up your mind”. A simple “whoa” with a tug on the reins made the horse stop and then you released the reins again. Your legs should be relaxed at the knees with the heel of your foot pushing downwards. I had a tendency of squeezing my legs, which made Avalanche go faster. Oops!

Getting Going

Getting ready and heading into the trails

Our horses obviously knew the route and when Bev’s horse Jackson started to trot, they all did. When trotting, the reins are shortened for better grip because you get bounced around, up and down, out of the saddle a bit. It’s a whole new experience and you have to wonder who really is in control. I tried to go with the flow of my horse’s trot and started to laugh because my head was now like a bobble head. I can’t imagine what a full gallop would be like but apparently it is a lot smoother and quicker. I didn’t need that my first time out.

In the first hour we were both getting used to our horses and how they reacted to our movements and commands for turning left and right, adjusting our postures forward or back depending on whether we were going up or down hills. Through the narrow trails, low-lying branches, fallen tree trunks, I was amazed at how smart and agile these animals are for their size. They have instinct and are able to negotiate the paths even with a ditch on the side. How do they not slide off or take a misstep?

Home

Back at the ranch, legs don’t fail me know

After 2 hours we both felt much more in control and I think the horses also stepped into a grove. They also knew when we were heading home because they started to speed up. “Whoa”, “whoa”…. They knew what was waiting for them, a soothing brush down and an apple treat. They did not want to hang around for pictures either at the end of the ride. And it is really hard to take pictures while riding a horse. I can visualize me working on a ranch but auditioning for “Heartland”, that’s out of the question.

#31 – Vote for a Liberal

Monday October 19, 2015, I voted. I hope all eligible Canadians do too.

My father was a staunch Liberal and I remember going around the neighborhood with him handing out pins and pamphlets for the Liberal candidate. It was an easy sell because the majority were all Liberal supporters, until we got to “Matilda’s” house, the hairdresser. She spoke a mean streak and her and Dad would get into some pretty heated discussions. She was my hairdresser and the more she talked, the more she cut. I would go in for a trim and come out looking like a boy.

In the last few elections, the Northeastern riding in the Acadian Peninsula has been won by the NDP. I’m sure Dad has turned over in his grave.

Politics are not my forte but I do think the Americans have it right. After 2 consecutive runs of 4 years, the President has to step down. Not like in Canada.

I will be glued to the TV watching the results and I hope they won’t announce a winner before all ballots are counted across Canada. It has happened in the past after voting was over in Ontario.

I really want the government to change. And I know, “Just…. T…. he man”.

Oh Canada

READY!

#28 – Bike to Courtenay

I challenged myself at the end of my first year at university to bike home from Fredericton to Caraquet – 290 kilometers or 180 miles. My high school volleyball coach said I couldn’t do it. My teammate who also lived in Caraquet and went to UNB was game to ride too. It took us 2 days. Luckily my oldest sister was working in Chatham NB at the time, which is a little more than half way, and we stayed with her for the night. When we rode into Caraquet, we went directly to our coach’s house to prove we had just completed the trip. I remember him standing there, looking at us, shaking his head and being totally impressed.

I have always wanted to ride around Prince Edward Island but never have. I have always wanted to participate in a “Tour of Something” and haven’t signed up for that yet. So it is no surprise that I added a long bike ride on my list. I chose Courtenay on Vancouver Island because you can ride the back roads with less traffic and the scenery is beautiful along the water.

First stop

First stop Union Bay to repair flat and take in scenery

We rode in reverse (same difference) from Courtenay to Parksville for 2 reasons, 1) our drive was only available in the morning and 2) psychologically it’s easier to ride towards home then away from home.

Qualicum trail

Qualicum Beach Trail

The trip was 84 kilometers or 52 miles and it took us 5 hours. The actual bike time was more like 4 hours because we had to stop twice to repair flat tires, a half hour lunch, some quick shopping and picture taking along the route. It was another glorious fall day with lots of sunshine, little wind, traffic steady but kind. The trip rounded up with a cold one at our local pub, The Black Goose.

Reward

Enjoying a cold one at The Black Goose

Cycling on Vancouver Island is the best!

#15 – Lose 6 lbs

During high school and all throughout university, I weighed the same, 110lbs. When I applied for work as a flight attendant with Air Canada, they had a height/weight chart they followed rigorously. You had to be over 5’2”. I just made it at 5’2 ¾”. It got me in and to this day when someone asks me how tall I am, I always include the ¾”. Depending on your height, you had to weigh a certain amount. To my surprise, I had to lose something like 5+ lbs before I returned to Montreal for training. I think that was the start of a dislike on diets and weighing myself.

AC

Air Canada Graduation 1976 – I’m front row 3rd from left

Now in adulthood and after kids, my body has changed and the 110lb weight is a thing of the past. Nowadays, that I can no longer run marathons, the six-pack is gone and the wine pouch is in. It was bound to happen gaining a few pounds here and there, pants and skirts feeling tighter.  I decided to slim down a bit so I set myself a reasonable goal.

I think the kick-start to the weight lost was not a diet at all but when we went sailing. My husband calls it the “Sea Going Diet” – no dessert, few chips, lots of water. I noticed the cloths fitting better and since back I have upped the exercise. I have lost the 6lbs and feel good and comfortable at 127lbs.

#38 Bike on the Galloping Goose

It’s a picture perfect sunny autumn Sunday and I am out with my daughter, son-in-law, grandson, and husband biking the Galloping Goose in the city of Victoria.

bikers

Heading out

The last time I did this was 15 years ago. The Galloping Goose/Lochside trail stretches from Sidney to Sooke, a distance of 80kms. We rode the section from West Victoria to Mattick’s farm, 24 kms round trip. Over 450,000 people have enjoyed the trail so far this year. At midday when we went by the counter, 844 people had already been through.

Sunday is not our favorite day of the week because we often long for our kids and family. But this Sunday was special because we were together.

 

IMG_1772

As we left the city, the trail became a tunnel of bowing trees in their splendid colors of orange, red, yellow. The trail was scenic from a stream filled with Canada Geese, to horses grazing in the fields, and vegetable and flower stands along the way.

Bike Ride

The Juan de Fuca Strait comes in sight and then there is Mattick’s Farm that caters to bikers. It’s a beautiful farm market with funky boutiques, a restaurant and ice cream stand.

Mattick's

Mattick’s Farm

I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than being outside in the fresh air enjoying a family outing and exercising while at it. And no bike ride would be complete without having to fix a punctured tire.

Puncture

Like a true Scout, “Be Prepared”

#22 – Ride a Zip Line

My husband didn’t want to join me on this one and neither did my daughter but my son-in-law was totally game and eager to try this out.

We arrived early which gave us time to walk around and take a good look at what Wild Play was all about. I was puzzled at first because I thought we were just going to ride zip lines. This was an obstacle course nestled high up in the trees. It reminded me of the “Amazing Race”.

Monkey Pants

Monkey pants

 

We were fitted with our Monkey Pants and given a learner course. You couldn’t move onto the actual course until you proved you knew how to stay safe. We passed with flying colors and off we went.

 

At first the obstacles were low to the ground and apparatus evenly spaced out. As we progressed, the obstacles became harder and more challenging as we climbed higher into the trees.

Slamming

Navigating poles and slamming into cargo net

The zip lines were short and sweet at first but as we got higher they became longer and faster. What a thrill with arms extended, back and legs straight out, as you whizzed down the line. It helped to bend your knees slightly as you punched the safety bag on the platform to come to a stop.

Hanging on

Riding the zip line and hanging on

We completed the Classic Course and then proceeded to the Extreme Course – higher and harder. Not for the faint of heart. The logs swung more and were not as evenly spaced. The cargo nets were more challenging and the apparatus were such that you had to look down. Oh gosh! Yikes!

Wild1

Obstacles on the Classic and Extreme courses

Wild2

More obstacles

I was glad for the last zipline that brought us back to the base where it all started. I found the uneven logs spaced out vertically and horizontally the hardest. My son-in-law found the cargo nets the biggest rush. We both loved the challenge and the 2 hours it took to complete the courses went by like a flash.

The billboard advertised “Primal Fun and Games”. I think my son-in-law summed it up when he said, “I think primal is appropriate because you are exercising your inner monkey”. How true after playing on ladders, cargo nets, wobbly bridges and logs, riding the zip lines and swinging from the trees like Tarzan.

I had just completed the hike on Mount Benson where my quads were still sore from that experience, now my arms and core are sore. I guess that makes me a total sore package. Well worth it and we both would do it again!