24 August 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear pilots...thanks for getting me to and from Kansas City safely this week.

Dear K...it was so good to meet you!  You are an inspiration!

Dear Daniel and Amanda...good luck...Chicago is going to miss you!

Dear C...thanks for stopping by today and letting me vent.  I needed that...you are a great friend.

Dear Mom and Dad...I love your spontaneity and the way you love one another.  Enjoy the vacation!

Dear Self...figure out what you need to major and minor in.  Then make it happen!

21 August 2012


This infographic is brilliant!

I've never seen it explained...so...so...WELL!

"Kirstin is a marketing professional / graphic designer (and former public relations rep) from Coquitlam, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. During the day, she works for a renovation company, handling all aspects of their online and offline presence. When she's not at work, Kirstin loves anything and everything creative -- she bakes, sews, knits, quilts, maintains her blog  (www.theoliveseed.com), and designs graphics."



20 August 2012

Skype Dates a Go-Go

You've got to get creative with dating when your significant other is over a border away.

Let us introduce the art...of the Skype date.

We pick a recipe to make together.
This weekend, it was Yotam Ottolenghi's broiled eggplant over lentils.
Uh, yeah...super-delish!

You can find the uber-fabulous recipe here.

How it's supposed to look!

Our Skype dates mean we cook "together" in the kitchen, starting prep work at the same time, playing music in the background and sweating through new and unfamiliar recipes.  We crack a bottle of wine, or brew, depending on what the recipe - and occasion - calls for.

We stir, chop, mix and saute together while we talk about our week, how things are being seasoned to taste, and how much we wish we were in the same space together.

It all comes together and we "sit" down across from each other.  Skype window to Skype window, clink our beverages together against the video cam and proceed to chow down as a couple.  This is usually followed by a "joint viewing" of the latest episode of Modern Family or Whale Wars, depending on how we are feeling that night...or, better yet...lots of  hours of talking and reconnecting using 0s and 1s to transmit our images, voices and feelings across the internet.

I love that we Skype date.  It's the perfect way to spend a Saturday night in across the miles.

On the note of love...

Happy Anniversary to M+P and C+M!

Mushy eggplant
Yummy lentils
Finished (blurry) product...what...I was hungry and couldn't wait to eat it! 
And to all a Good Skype Date!!!

17 August 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear Sister...I am thinking of you.  You are amazing and you are strong.

Dear Self...what a week!  Let's get ready to rumble on the training runs this weekend.  Shake it off!

Dear Mother Nature...thank you for cool, wonderful, fall-like weather this week.  It's been lovely!

Dear Husband...thank you for "Paddling North."  It's an inspiration.

Dear Sarah...thank you for our nights of comfort guacamole...it's a good reminder of a wonderful, solid friendship.

Dear Chris...I am so happy to hear that you are home.  You are a fighter!

Happy Friday, everyone!

13 August 2012

Flashback to Canada - Part Two

From Canmore to Moose Jaw. 
We had to introduce Mom and Dad to Mac the Moose, take them on a Moose Jaw Tunnels Tour and, overall, just show them what the Jaw has to offer.

We had a great time and it was fun being a tourist in town for a bit.

On the first day, we decided to tackle the Tunnels of Moose Jaw and find out if Al Capone and his cronies really did operate their moonshine business from here to Chicago.   There are actors who take you on a simulated tour that includes everything from starting off in a hidden speakeasy to checking out "Capone's closet."  It was fun to check it out and see what Moose Jaw's claim to Chicago is all about.  In short, I don't think they were operating their  business out of the Jaw, but we enjoyed the Tunnels tour and the history of the town was fascinating to learn about.

I took them to Java Express for some goodies and we even took advantage of the Temple Gardens Spa - soaking in the hot springs and once again reminiscing about travels past.

While in town for the week, we took time to take in the Yvette Moore Art Gallery.  The art there depicts local scenes of prairie life as well as featuring local artists who specialize in blown glass and jewelry.   We even took a little drive out to the Sukanen Ship Pioneer Village and Museum.  I'd always seen signs for it, and having my parents in town seemed like the perfect excuse to head out past base and check it out!  It's a fascinating place that contains space upon space full of memories of the past.

I really can't describe it well.  You have to see it to believe it.

They have set up a village of "houses" and "stores" where they collect everything from old washers and dryers to steamer trunks and postcards.  There are old printing presses and telegraph machines, signs and bottles of medicine.  It's quite the collection and if you are ever out in Saskatchewan, I highly recommend a visit.  

It's pretty incredible...

Ghost town...

Um, no buses stop here.  Just sayin'.

Medicines and soaps.

In an old train car at the Village.

Of course they have a boat!  Why wouldn't they!

That's right kids...leave your firearms at home.

I took my parents for a little walk around Wakamow Valley in the heat so they could get a taste of the beautiful side of Moose Jaw and the trails I run on a regular basis when I am home.

Mom and I at the turtle!

Enjoying the trails...

My parents got a full-fledged tour of where Dave works on base.  While there are no pictures due to the rules, I can assure that my parents were treated to a day of jets and good times.  

On their last day in town, we ventured into Regina to show off Legislature and take a walk around Wascana Park.  We actually ended up taking a tour of the legislative building and learned about the history of the structure and how they conduct business (let's just say it involves a big gavel and a lot of formality!).  The day was hot and we decided to cool off in the evening over a tapas dinner at our old standby favourite, La Bodega.

Inside Legislature.

Walk around Wascana

Family photo!
In all, it was a fantastic visit and Mom and Dad are saying they want to make it annual trek!

Here's to next year!

12 August 2012

Flashback to Canada

So when I said I'd post tomorrow...I meant Sunday. 


Back in July, I made the hike up to Canada to enjoy time with friends at a wedding in the mountains.  Dave and I then hosted my folks for a week, showing them Canmore and Banff as well as Moose Jaw.  
We had a great time and they are now talking about making Canada an annual trip!  


The wedding was gorgeous and we got to check out a couple of new places in Canmore while we were there including Communitea and Harvest.  We grabbed a pint at the Grizzly Paw Brewing Company and caught up with a good friend.

Ready for a wedding...
YAY for love!
 While we were there, we had the chance to take a short trail run.  The weather was perfect, the mountains spectacular and I was in seventh heaven.

The day after the wedding, we met my folks in Calgary and showed them a little of Kensington Village - a great neighbourhood in the city - before heading back out to the mountains to show them how Canada does the Rockies.  We had a great time in town eating meals at Tapas and Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company and taking long walks.  We took my parents up to Grassi Lakes which was a huge success and watched as rock climbers scaled their way up the craggy face of the rock.

Dad at Grassi Lakes

The next day of their trip, we took them into Banff.  We did a short trail hike along the river and then enjoyed being in town and showing off the wares of the Hudson's Bay Company.  The weather in the morning had started off warm and sunny, but by mid-afternoon, we were running for cover as the temperatures dropped and the rain moved in.

That meant it was perfect weather for checking out the Banff Hot Springs.  Mom, Dad and I (Dave had some work to take care of) soaked our limbs in the springs, recalling our previous travels and just enjoying the view from the pool.
Loving the Rockies life!
After drying off, it was back to Canmore to pack up and prep to leave for Moose Jaw!  

More on that later...

07 August 2012

My Meditation...Running for a Cause

I'll be blogging about my last two weeks in Canada tomorrow.

However, my mind is focused on some pretty big events coming up later this year and in early 2013.
I've been in full training mode now...hitting the pavement and flexing my, erm, muscles to make the Chicago Marathon, the Chicago Ultra 50K (both in October), and the Walt Disney's Race and a Half Challenge (a half-marathon followed by a full marathon the next day) successes.

The training schedule is amping up.  Every morning I get up early and head out the door.  My nutrition is front and center, making sure I am giving my body the fuel and energy it needs to keep up with the miles I am taking out of it.

I've been digging the Patagonia wear this travel season...here's what I've been wearing along the Lakefront path...and, friends, let's just say...I've tried the running skirt and I LOVE IT!

Here is my dream gear.  It calls for a super-crisp fall day with crunching leaves underfoot.  Yup, I'm getting my fall buzz on...it's time, Mother Nature...it's time.

All that being said, I am running for a great cause...Women for Women International and their Run for Congo Women program.  The goal is to raise funds to help women in the Congo who have been affected by the war in Eastern Congo.

You can watch a video about the effort below.  If you are incline to give $1, $5, or even $10, please click on the link to the right and make a donation.  I will dedicate a mile to you during the Chicago 50K and will be sharing a list of names with you all on the blog!

Thank you for your generosity and happy running, walking and rolling to all!

03 August 2012

Friday's Letters

Dear G Adventures, thanks for posting the image above and giving me some inspiration.

Dear body, thanks for finally getting over that nasty cold.  Now let's go running!

Dear mom and dad, thanks for coming out for a great visit. It was awesome getting to spend some quality time with you.

Dear Moose Jaw, thanks for being my haven away from the big city.

Dear patience, thanks for teaching me a thing or two this week.

Dear husband, thanks for all you do.  You are amazing.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

02 August 2012

Connections Across Distances

Legislature in Regina before a run around Wascana Lake
Being in between has its ups and downs.  I get the best of small town and big city life.  I get to experience long, lazy summer nights on quiet walks around town parks and go out to some of the best restaurants on crowded and tourist-filled sidewalks.  I get to hang out with friends in Canada and the United States and I am reminded constantly that I live a pretty incredible life.

Dave and I have spent this week thinking about our future, taking walks and just catching up on "us."  You know, the us that is us as best friends, husband and wife, partners in life and so on. 

I've had a chance to slow down this week...taking some long runs through Wakamow Valley, getting over a nasty cold and just listening to the sweet quiet of our Canadian life wrap around me like a cozy blanket.  I think I was overdue for a break from the hustle and bustle of a busy travel schedule.

Canada holds a lot for me.  When my parents were up here, I was commenting that, for me, Canada is the one place out of all of the places we've been (military kid - moved around a lot!) that I truly feel a sense of belonging.  The culture, the people, the space the approach to life all seem to fit me in a way that no other place has before.  I am very lucky to have found Canada...in more ways that one.

I think about myself growing up...
I considered myself to be shy and awkward.  I didn't have very many friends and oftentimes was better friends with my teachers than with other kids my age.  We moved often enough that forming close friendships was a struggle and making a connection to any one place felt, well, out of place.  My sense of belonging was tied to my family.  We were a four-person unit that trekked across the country and across borders together - always having each other's backs and making sure we - all of us - were doing okay.  I was tethered to my family in a way I can't really describe...it was close, and warm, and comforting.  We were each other's best friends.

That being said, I was terrified of being separated from my family unit! 

When I moved to Ohio from Germany to go to college, it was a huge transition for me.  The tether was lengthened across the Atlantic.  I was sepearated from our four-person unit...and, for the first time, had to go it alone.  My freshman year was intense (as it is for most!), but I started coming into my own.  I began to recognize that you don't need your unit right by your side in the physical sense...they can be there for you across the miles as well. 

As I continued to come into my own, I began to realize that my family, and our ability to remain close despite our distances from one another, was incredibly unique.  It taught me that relationships built on physical distance aren't the real ones that matter...the ones that are lasting are those that can withstand the gaps of distance and time.

And that's where I find my comfort.  I know that my long-distance marriage will succeed because our love is stronger than a border separating one country from another.  I know our friendships with those in Denmark, Italy and England will endure because there is a tether there that the Atlantic can't break.  I know as our friends and family journey from one end of Canada and the United States to another, we will always pick up right where we left off when we see one another again.  It's just the way it works (and it gives us a lot more exciting places to visit in the future!).

As my two weeks back in Canada wind down, I find myself reflecting on these things.  What I'm doing now, how I'm living my life and what I want things to look like down the road.  At the same time...I am taking stock of the awesomeness I have right before me and how lucky I am for the bonds that keep me connected to others across the way...