The Best Kind of Day

Yup – a day spent with long-time best friends – people you really love and who accept you exactly as you are (they’ve seen every damn wart you possess and they’re there for you anyway) – that qualifies as the best kind of day.

So wonderful to have a glorious day to walk in the sunshine – down to the beach, lunch at a neat little pub, going to a farm market, talking and talking and talking about everything – the best kind of day.

And then I got home and poor Abby – she tried to hold it – for only (if I remember correctly) the second time in her life, she couldn’t hold it. She tried – she got close to the door. But it was not pretty.

I will spare the details.

I can only tell you that I cleaned for a long time when I got home. Thoroughly. With lots of cleaner. And I’m putting the cleaning cloths through the washer on the boiling hot cycle.

And now – if you really want to know how good it was to see my beautiful friends today – even poor Abby’s “accident” didn’t change a thing – still one of the best days ever. (and it didn’t even involve hiking!)

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Still Crud

Yeah – I am working on my third or fourth man-size hankie today.

But – and here’s the good news – I detect improvement. And yes, I cancelled another hike. It has to be pretty damn bad for me to cancel a day in the mountains. Anyone who knows me will tell you, this is truth.

And for the second day in a row I had to strip the bed and wash all the bedding. Cold, clammy sweats. Yech!

Yes – I will get to some good stuff soon but first I want to whine. And it’s my blog so I can do that. So there.

Here it comes:

My nose hurts.

My taste buds have disappeared and I am not even enjoying chocolate. (and what is life without chocolate?)

My stomach is aching.

My energy is at its lowest ebb in recent-ish memory.

I am feeling very sorry for myself.

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, taking Abby for two little walks today in the back 40 did me good. And when I mentioned to Paul that my bridge into the park next door seemed to have disappeared, he immediately got out one of his machines (he has every farm man-toy you can think of) and cleared away the brush and voila! With a little bit of help with my clippers, a bridge to the park! Restored! No more climbing over the fence.

So I am full of gratitude. Paul and Patty are, quite simply, the absolute best.

I am intensely grateful for the amazing, humbling message I received from Germana, whose story I am writing. I am grateful for Mike’s kind words. I am full of gratitude for my friends.

Yeah – why whine when there’s so much to be grateful for? I know – that’s rhetorical question. But I’m going to answer it anyway. Why whine? Because dammit – it felt good to get it out of my system.


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Eating/Body Image Disorder

I was 29 years old. My marriage had been falling apart for a while. To cope, I began eating. I would go to the corner store, buy a box of a dozen donuts and eat them all. Or the German bakery – every tasty pastry I could find. And I would gobble them down. And I wouldn’t eat them slowly, savouring every bite – I would cram them into my face.

In very short order I went from 118 pound to about 130. I went up a couple of clothes sizes – and I hated the way I looked and felt. But I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

Then I left him, piling all my possessions into my brother’s station wagon and driving to a snazzy apartment in downtown Toronto. The first thing I did was take charge of my life – and taking charge meant mostly my body. First there was the food – more importantly – exercise. I created a set of rules that I followed religiously: no sugar of any kind; no junk food; no snacks; carefully measured portions of lean food. And then the running – I worked up to about 8 – 10K every day, getting up at 4 a.m. and doing my runs through the deserted city streets. It didn’t matter what the weather was – I ran. And believe me, in Toronto, it can get pretty damn cold. Then there were my daily aerobics classes – sometimes twice daily. And on weekends I walked through the park system 8 – 10 hours. n the summer, I flew to Switzerland and hiked.

The pounds melted off me. I got down to 85. Looking back at photos I have of me back then, I look skeletal. At the time, I didn’t see it. I would look at myself in the mirror and see a fat person.

I stopped ovulating – I didn’t care. If someone told me I was skinny, I was proud – took it as a compliment.

My anorexia isolated me as well – I spent a lot of time alone.

And then, at age 38, I had a gradual awakening. I can’t say that I had single “aha” moment – but I began to slowly see – perhaps this wasn’t good. Or normal. Did a doctor tell me? Did I begin to listen to friends and family? I honestly can’t say.

But one day I decided maybe I should do something. But what? It could have been that very day or a couple of days later when I was shopping in a health food store that I glanced at the bulletin board. There was an ad with those tear-off phone numbers – Reiki treatment. What the hell was Reiki? I think I may have heard about it briefly at some point and connected it to healing touch but not actually touch – hands just hovered over your body.

I tore off a phone number, came home and called. I had an appointment almost immediately.

And so I went to this lovely woman’s house. Everything about her studio was serene, peaceful – safe, warm. I lay down on the table, fully clothed and closed my eyes, listening to the very soft new-age music in the background. The practitioner didn’t say a word. I could feel the heat from her hands, starting at my head and slowly working her way down my body. It was a slow, gentle, peaceful process.

Then her hands hovered above my uterus – and I started to cry – not silent tears – I burst into full-blown body-wracking sobs. I was howling. The Reiki practitioner, I think, said “It’s okay” – and I cried even harder.

And then the session was over. I left and walked one block to the main street, found a diner, and ate a huge cheeseburger with fries.

It wasn’t easy to do that – but it also wasn’t hard. Whatever had shifted – something had happened.

I think I went back for one more session but that first one altered my trajectory.

And so now, what I know is that like many disorders/addictions – it never disappears completely. I still have rules for eating. I still refuse to snack unless it’s chocolate in the afternoon. I still pride myself on being pretty tiny. Today, I weighed myself for the first time in months and realized I’d lost some weight with being sick with the cold/flu – and I felt good about that. There’s a warning flag. I still feel the need to exercise but at least now, it’s doing what I love – hiking and scrambling. But that too comes with a caveat: I won’t be going out tomorrow and I feel bad about that – “Oh no! I will lose all my muscle tone and be in terrible shape!”

I still have voices. The good thing is that I recognize them. I know them. They can’t beat me or send me into a funk.

I don’t have the answer to anyone else’s exercise/eating/body image disorder. I can only say what worked for me. And, as is so often the case, step one is acknowledgement.

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Serious Crud


I know it’s serious when for once, hiking is not the answer.

I thought it would be. After a night of getting up at least 8 time to pee (I lost count after 8) I got up at 6 with the alarm. I noticed pretty much right away that I was not in top form. However, I said to myself – just give me an hour and all will be fine.

So I had breakfast, got my pack ready and then answered the phone when Mike called at about 7. And – well – I couldn’t talk. I had no voice. Not even a squeak.

Well, I thought to myself, that can’t be good.

And then I picked my Divine card for today and what did I get? “I am divine acceptance.”

Right. Hmmm. But still, I figured, I’ll drive to the meeting place and all may be well by the time I get there. Sadly, all was  not well. Carol took one look at me and said, “Yeah – you’re not going.”

True. Dammit. I was already starting to shake with cold even though I was wearing many warm layers.

And so I drove back home, stopping en route to buy honey for my ginger tea and ginger and squash soup for later today. Soup is all I can manage. I made the mistake of eating a bit of chocolate earlier today and almost puked.

I took Abby into the back 40 twice today and you know, those two walks were harder than going up Benson the other day. I could not get warm – and all my joints are aching.

I spent pretty much the entire morning on the couch under layers of down, sleeping. And then, after a small lunch, more sleeping. And Now I’ve had a hot bath and I am feeling a touch more human. My voice has even come back – yes, a deep, sexy voice. Oh boy!

All of this catches me by surprise because I really get sick so rarely. But boy, this one has hit me with a huge punch.

Still – I think things are improving a touch. I plan on more sleeping – more tea – more sleeping.

And I shall try not to feel too sorry for myself.

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The Crud

What with Web MD, self-diagnosis has become exceedingly popular. Never one to be left behind from new trends, I too looked into this thing that is going on with my body and have come up with the defining illness.

I have The Crud.

This is a scientific term you may not be familiar with but I can explain: symptoms include scratchy throat, drippy nose, a general feeling of malaise, dollops of annoyance (and possibly being annoying), and an overriding desire to have somebody tuck you up on the sofa whilst bringing a constant stream of herbal teas and bowls of broth. Foot massages are also recommended.

Alas, the best I have been able to do to alleviate these dire symptoms is go to the store, buy some herbal tea and brew it myself. I also prescribed a dog walk with Julie and organizing a hike for tomorrow because (and I know I have mentioned this) the answer to everything is hiking.

So that’s it – my report for the day. I am now going to lie on the couch and read and whine quietly – quietly because no one can hear anyway.


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Mount Benson

What I am thinking about today is gratitude. I have so damn much of it.

Reading a fabulous book – “Lost Connections” – at one point the author, citing recent stats, says that the majority of Americans don’t have even one friend they can call on no matter what. As I scrambled up Mount Benson today, I starting counting and got as far as 12 when I stopped.

Really – I have at least 12 people who I know will be there for me.


Also – so grateful for my health – yes, my throat is scratchy today and I’m not in top form, but I got myself up Mount Benson on the Climber’s Route – and let me tell you, the top was cold as ice with huge winds (notice how straight the flag is in the last photo – only a good ripping wind will do that!) and snow.

But I got myself to the top without seeing a single person – then back down the Te’Tuxw’Tun route, where I got out of the cloud and wind and the sun was shining again.

More gratitude: I got home and Paul offered to change out my tires for me. I wish I could have taken him up on it but one of my rims is busted and I need a new one. Still, he lugged them all into my car and I’m ready to head to Kal Tire tomorrow.

Gratitude: for my warm home and my sweetie of a dog and for my early morning phone call – a man shouting “Ich Liebe Dich!” down the line. Because, as we all know, life is short so you should tell people that you love them -but it’s also confusing and terrifying so you should shout it at them in German.

So yeah – I’m grateful for that too.

My gratitude goes on and on – little things and big things – grateful for my hot bubble bath and for Kathleen putting up with me again next week and for seeing Cathy and Nancy and Annette this Sunday (!!!!!) and for every breath I take.

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Existential Crisis

All right, I exaggerated: I’m not having a crisis; I could more accurately describe this as existential angst. I woke up this morning feeling melancholy – and for no particular reason that I could discern.

Mike was feeling the same, (comforting to know) and attributed it to Monday.

I don’t think he was being entirely serious (pretty darn sure he was not) – but yet, it was Monday and the day was grey and I just had this feeling of “What’s it all about anyway? I mean, in the grand scheme of things – what’s it for?”

That feeling is still with me, although, at the same time, I know that this will change and all will be well again.

But right now – well, I’m glad I walked the trails of Harewood Plains this afternoon. After all, the answer to everything is hiking. Right?

Mike and I decided that a part of this entire thing is the human need we have for connection. We have a need to not only be understood – not only to have our hearts and souls touched – but a real need for physical touch. We can’t separate our minds, hearts and souls from our bodies – we are all of these things and all of them need to be nurtured.

So I walked on the trails with Abby and connected to nature and Abby had a good time, which included sitting and then lying down in a mud puddle. Yup – that’s my Abby.

And now I’ll make a sandwich for hiking tomorrow. And somewhere along the line, this will all change.

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