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the coffeehouse vs. the coffeeshop

imagesthe coffeehouse experience is a rich and as bold as the coffee it brews.  so what makes a true coffeehouse? hmmm…

you will know a coffeehouse the moment you step inside, it hums and vibrates with connections and conversations, and there are bumps…the physical and the metaphoric. the clientele is a kaleidoscope and collision of ages and destinations.  there is coffee to go for those heading to work, and coffee mugs for those arriving to work, to sit, and to socialize. there is a subtle steam and sweat that emanates here–not from the espresso machine but from those  bodies that are post run or bike. although there are a handful of heels and suits in this house, more than anything there is an abundance of denim, spandex and gortex.

sliding into line you often navigate the young and the old (old in age, but young at heart) as a random order unfolds while coffees and hot chocolates are called–some with a a side of the sweet some with savory. despite the number of steamed and heated cups  ferried from counter to tables and out the doors there are seldom any spills.  it’s as though a magical dance takes place between all those who enter the ‘house.’  a heightened awareness, friendliness and appreciation for the moment allows everyone to bob and weave as though choreographed.

if you have arrived alone planning to get some creative, head down work done, you will.  you’ll receive a few taps on the shoulder and a quick wave or nod but you won’t be bothered because the laptop signifies a universal ‘work in progress.’ conversely if you are seeking out a coffee partner you need only to wait a few minutes before someone you know invites you to join them.

a coffeeshop fills cups and carafes as people file in and out, some in twos some alone. there is a noise, a thrum that is disconnected–it is perhaps like a house that is not yet a home–one waiting to be filled with that special blend of energy. the spark that moves dominoes from static to spiraling.

sometimes a coffehouse is lurking in the shadows of a coffeeshop awaiting the hour where it transforms–sometimes it is only glimpsed in the late evening or mid-afternoon, but if you have a coffeehouse of your own you know what i am talking about.

what’s your favourite coffeehouse?

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3 weeks to crazy

september was not my month. i’m sure a few of you might  raise your hands and say ‘me too!’

yes, september can be a rough one. summer is slipping away and dusk dances across the horizon much earlier, its inevitable temperatures cool and pedi’s fade. it is back to school and work. it can be exhausting, exhilarating and invigorating–all at the same time.

not one to miss out, i embraced september with a ‘let’s kick this into high gear’ attitude. i decided to get down to brass tacks– i opted for a treatment (medication) that i had been avoiding for 4 years. on september 11 (that mighta been a tip-off)  i went for it.

it took 3 weeks to get me to crazy.  it wasn’t a slow and subtle transformation, i went from 0-100k in 3 days…sort of like a roller-coaster ride… the slow anticipation as you climb to the top and then as the nose points downwards you start to smile, then scream, and before you know it you are hanging on for dear life.

it was as if overnight i became irritable, irrational, impatient and a little bit angry all of the time. moreover, i was plagued with lower back pain, hot flashes, anxiety, heart palpitations, mild to splitting headaches and bone and muscle aches. best of all, i was getting fat! medically this might be defined as “water retention,” but when your jeans are snug and your face is puffy…there is not a medical term in the world that can right that wrong.

on october 2 i called a cease and desist. no more treatment. if that was a fix i would rather be broken.

so what did i learn in my 3 weeks to crazy?  well…

1>i can trust my body and myself.

2>i am so thankful for my support system. i didn’t want to live with me, so i thank those who did.

3>when you are diagnosed with anything you need to have your doctor on your side. my doctor is an angel, but i went through a few before i found her. we tried and failed, but she was on my side when i said no more!

4>my body beats to its own drum–yes i succumbed to some of the noted side effects (only seen in about 1-3% of all women) but i produced a few of my own–so i am pretty confident the side effects were not a self-fulfilling prophecy

5>i have the power to help and share with others some of the tips and tricks i’ve learned to be  happier and healthier

so what is it that has me a little bit broken? i like many other women have endometriosis a condition, disorder or disease depending on who is defining it.  it is one of those ‘things’ we don’t talk about it over coffee or dinner because it involves lady parts. the best way to explain it–it is like ‘weeds in the garden’–there are cells growing outside of the uterus.  let me assure you, you don’t want them there.  from insufferable infertility and crippling pain that morphine or oxycodone can’t touch, the road is a little bumpy. and although there are courses of  ‘treatment’ there is no cure.

a while ago i was trying to figure out what would light my fire? well after 3 weeks to crazy  i know that was a ride i would have skipped. after 23 years i’ve got a pretty good perspective on endo (as i call it) and i know i’ve got it within me to advocate, to educate and to share.

next steps, i am going to  share the good the bad and the ugly…not here (i’ll spare you that) but in a space and place where perhaps i can ‘tell it like it is’ and help other women find their way to better health and healing

it ain’t an easy ride (they never are) but if i can prevent one more 3 week ride to crazy i will. stay tuned.

9 lives are only for cats

puffy eyes, twinges where they shouldn’t be or a headache that swims under the surface are nuances. but  however brief they should not be brushed aside like an errant piece of lint.  these  random attacks are your body’s way of talking to you. most likely something you are doing, or more likely, not doing must change.

if your body isn’t getting what it needs it will let you know. a dull ache, a sense of heaviness, or a tightness here and there are the first whispers and wakening to something that just isn’t right. our bodies can’t be beaten down day after day and banished into a chair starved of natural light and nourishment. they are perishable and to flourish they need water, movement and love.

even those of us who know better (and we do) know sometimes need to take a moment to reconnect and remember what is good for us. ironically what is good for us, also makes us feel good. if the weight of the world needs moved off of your shoulder find a new parking lot with long term parking.  get moving, get breathing and drink some water. no one knows your body better than you… so if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

trust & respect it… and remember 9 lives are only for cats. you aren’t a cat are you?

do more of what makes you happy

Do what makes you happy

bask in the sun, run for miles, make lists, make goals, dream, read a book, have coffee with a friend…smile.

do more of what makes you happy and less of what doesn’t–ok maybe you have to cook dinners and clean the house, but figure out how you are going to make yourself happier about it.

i love, love, love a clean bathroom so i always head there first when cleaning… i get into a groove and the rest of the clean-up is designed to catch up with my sparkling clean and minty bathrooms.  although, i haven’t quite figured out how to love cooking i’ve decided i need a new plan. i’m going to set out a training schedule…. (stay-tuned for details). i figure if i can train to run 21km i can figure out how to make feeding my body a little easier!

so as the summer comes into a close and i savour every moment of freedom and sun i’m recognizing the summer was a time of wisdom and a bit of wonder. summer usually mellows me out, probably because i get to go outside every day and do awesome things!!! over the summer i fell of the grid, probably because i started it in the winter months.  those days where the rain is incessant and darkness comes early.  i was floundering in the evenings–tv and random internet surfing beckoned so i started to write…and then summer arrived. i had to wait for it…yes, those of you who follow me, know it took a while before arriving, but when it did  i made the most of my summer days. the computer got tucked away.

we went weekend tripping from tofino to twin lakes, paddle boarded, camped out, roasted marshmallows and had bonfires. i biked, i ran, i swam, i surfed, i trained and i lounged with friends and family, talking late into the evening with a glass (or a few) of wine. as the summer passed and my birthday came and went i realized i was enjoying the moment…really, really, really enjoying it. i’ll catch you up on some of those moments, including my fabulous 40th.

as september looms i feel the tide is shifting….i’m going to make a list of what i love about summer and figure out how to work it into the next few months.

any hints on how to hang on to the sun?

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a body in motion

legs pumping, lungs burning, and a lot of heavy breathing pushes me up the hill. i’m not alone out here, i’m tailing my girlfriend who’s is training for a 122km ride…oh yeah, with 1700 metres of elevation, thus the hill.  as we climb and climb, and the sweat starts to trickle down my back, a few thoughts are flitting around.

1> why am i riding with a woman clearly in training….ok….that flitted in and out pretty quickly and kinda made me smile

2> does this hill ever get easier…will i ever really ride it without breaking a sweat…probably not

3> this is amazing….and that is the thought that i hung on to for the rest of the ride

what amazes me is the sheer power of our body. it can do brilliant things. we bend, scrape, push and pull it, and sometimes even warp and break it…but it is resilient, and time and time again bounces back.

my feet and legs are strong, they have carried me up and over mountain tops and down the other side. whether traversing trails in italy, trekking along the west coast, or portaging a canoe through the serenity of bowron lakes, i can count on them to take me where i want to go. sometimes it is a simple as putting one foot in front of the other.

holding my breath and diving down below the waters surface, has given me a chance to brush my fingertips over the oceans floor. kicking my feet and pushing water has allowed me to float and flounder like a fish. and even the steady beat of the ocean drum picking me up and dumping me off my board (over and over)  filling my mouth and stinging my eyes with the saltiest of waters has made me smile, laugh and hiccup at the same time.

pedalling through the mud and muck, and over the rocks and mini rivers has unveiled a forest so magical and magnificent it has silenced and humbled the chattiest of chatters. those trails hold the secrets, the dreams, plans, confessions and everyday stories and fables of those who traverse them. there is a reverence here, where the forest and the trees nourish us. they fill us with fresh air and a calm, that if bottled, could save the world.

today we climbed. then we hit the yellow brick road of riding–10k of paved and carless road through a towering forest.  whether in and out once, or lapping it, the scenery is decidedly delicious. at the end of our ride, after all of the effort, while our sweat cooled and we sipped our water i was struck once again by the power of motion.

our bodies are machines, as powerful and as herculean as those mighty steam engines, and more finely tuned, agile and able than any shiny automobile. no matter how we chose to propel ourselves forward, even if it is just putting one foot in front of the other and moving, it is ingenious.

suffused in this revelation, there are a few golden rules that go along with keeping a body in motion.

1> have fun…do more of what makes you happy!!
2> go as far as you can
3> treat you body right
4> your body can do anything
5> keep breathing

get moving!

ps.  always say ‘yes’ to that invitation from friend to get out there, you won’t regret it. thanks for the ride e!