Physical activity, I love to walk, hike in nature, dance, garden, as a kid and teenager I loved gymnastics, running fast and doing the hurdles.

I remember running a 5 km race with my 2 sisters and my Dad, a family effort. I was the sprinter, quick to get started, but a 5k is definitely suited more for the tortoise and hare story, soon enough they past me and I was huffing and puffing behind them. We still won an ice cream maker and that was pretty cool.

I loved gymnastics, especially floor work and the uneven parallel bars, not so much the balance beam, that could hurt if you fell, but the other two it was almost like you were air borne. At one time in high school my gymnastic coach took the great big school bus just to take me to meets over an hour away, just her and I on that big bus. It seemed silly to me at the time, but I guess for insurance reasons that was the way to go. Nadia Comaneci was the gymnastic star of the time, from Romania. We watched her performance one there was one move that my coach said, “Yvette, I bet you could do that”, and so we tried, sure enough after some effort I could. My Uncle loved it when we went to visit. “Yvette, you just sit there in front of the TV and I am going to call my friend over, once he is here a bit just jump up and do that thing that you do, it will shock the heck out of him”. And it did, me the trick pony, oh well it was fun. The last time I tried to do a simple walk over, which always came so easily to me I was probably 28ish, I practically ripped my arms out! Ouch. Lost that flexibility and probably developed too much upper arm strength, carrying kids around.

Embarrassingly enough, I also recall camping at Waterton National park, my favorite National Park to date . This day we were picnicking near the tennis courts when someone hit a high one and the ball escaped the caged enclosure. No problem, I ran to get it and throw it back…opps, it landed behind me. Try again, only laughing so hard, I don’t know how I managed to get it the second time.

I was taken to a couple of hockey games when our towns team was doing really well. They have a puck throw to raise money, my beau at the time bought me a puck to throw, wow, I did so well, actually I think I was closest to the spot, but darn, no one wins unless you are right on the spot and the pot just continues to grow. Still I was pretty proud of myself.

The second time, at the next  home game he again bought me a puck, this time they called us to throw when he was off doing something. I threw the puck, and…..I don’t think it even got over the barrier, OMG!!! Now that is embarrassing, I think I actually quickly looked around like did anyone see that? Don’t think I said anything when he came back accept that no, I didn’t do as well as last time, LOL.

Also need to learn how to throw a frisbee with more control, but both throwing balls and frisbees I really don’t have much experience with. Have you ever played disc golf? I did once, I must admit, I may again, even though as you probably guessed, I need a LOT more practice. Oh well, I’m sure it’s the most tries that wins right?

It is always good to be able to laugh at yourself. In some sports like golf not counting the swings is much less stressful, and I am sure I play a better game that way. I’m just out there to have fun with friends.

Bit by bit I learn a little more about sports, how many periods, ends, matches, sets….what does “Love” mean, “A birdie” or “Eagle”, how about the “5 hole”? Actually I always thought the saying the whole 9 yards had to do with football, wrong, it has to do with determining the quality of a kilt, it should be made with 9 yards(meters) of material! That’s a lot of material.


How about you, any embarrassing sports stories to tell?



Team sports/relationships

I went to watch university volleyball the other day, I don’t know that I have ever done that before? It was a nice change, but curiously what had me most bewildered was how often they touched each other, I mean I’ve watched some hockey, soccer, even football and yes when someone scores  there is tons of raw hurrah, butting heads, high fiving, belly bouncing, butt slapping, that kind of thing. Basically puffing themselves all up because they are the best, most ferocious, fastest animal on the Sahara. Chest thumping kind of stuff, after all most of us belief we  have evolved from chimps. But watching volleyball, everytime, everytime … a serve ends, which I suppose also means a point is scored so I suppose like a goal, …but there are soooo many of them, 25 for each match/set what ever they are called and then there are 5 of them. So there is a lot of bum patting, hugging, high fiving etc, and it is kind of like having a glass of wine and making a toast and trying to chink glasses with everyone, every single time, each member of the team tries to have some physical contact with each and every team member, and that is whether their team got the point or the other team? Okay good for them, they don’t want any one to feel bad for missing the ball, hitting the net while serving or what ever. To me that seems kind of like when we celebrate “Graduation” from Day Care, Kindergarten, etc, not just High School or College or University, a little over kill. Or it’s like your child playing sports and no one wins or loses, they just get participation awards…..To me this seemed very strange, but then I am not much of a team sport kind of person. I was on the gymnastic team and on the track team, but there you still preform as an individual, “The Team” would not necessarily feel let down if I didn’t place in hurdles, or the 100 yard dash.

Since this seemed rather unusual to me, it had me wondering past that, the last relationship I was in the fellow was a team sport kind of guy, to me he needed reinforcement, “That a boy” type of encouragement for even the smallest of things, I wasn’t really use to that and found it needy, different perspectives, he had played Volleyball and Hockey, maybe this was just what he saw as normal? He insisted that I back him, even if he was wrong, in front of others (support the team I guess kind of mentality)….not going to happen. This was an interesting way of looking at our differences and why maybe they existed. If I did something and took on a project he would refer to it as “We” did what ever it was.

I have all my life been a very independent person, not a crowd follower, not someone who succumbs to peer pressure. I march to my own drum, I am true to myself. I remember one of my friends in high school said that if I wasn’t going to drink when we went out to a party, I could at least “pretend” to be drunk….how silly, no I would not be doing that. Heck, even my Mom, one drive into Vancouver said to me, “You know Yvette, it’s okay to have a drink when your out” Wow, a Mom encouraging their child to drink! She was concerned I guess about me fitting in. Yes, everyone probably wants to feel like they “belong” but to me I wasn’t going to sacrifice my beliefs just to fit in. What did I believe? I believed I could have fun, enjoy myself with out drugs or alcohol. I’m not saying I never ever drank or had experiences with alcohol that weren’t stellar, but I certainly never drank, just because others were and I didn’t drink often.

Too me, being a sheep, a follower, just wasn’t something I admired. That’s how all kinds of horrible things have happened in history, genocides, mob riots, gang rapes… to me it is much more important that people think for themselves, and follow their hearts and own morals.

I bet I have hit a few cords with others on this one, but that is what makes this world so interesting, isn’t it? We are all so different.


Normal? What is your’s?

All of us, or pretty much all of us look at our own individual lives as ‘normal’, even people that are differently able probably see their life’s as ‘normal’ for their circumstance. It is from this vantage point that we view where/how others live. Where we try to understand/judge how others live if different than our own ‘normal’, as we assume ‘most people’ live just like us.

We accept hardships and/or luxuries as ‘normal’ if we have always experienced them. As when Mary-Antoinette, a queen in France, when she reportedly told that her people could no longer even afford bread, she replied, “Then, let them eat cake.” Was she really this callus? I imagine she just really had no idea, what life was like outside her ‘world’, her royal life was her ‘normal’.

I just watched the movie, “Breathe”, about a polio survivor  who was now a paraplegic. His ‘normal’ changed overnight, a huge adjustment, but then his new ‘normal’ that of a paraplegic, he and his family in time wondered did they really have to accept this new normal? From that normal, they started imaging a different one.

It is imagining the different life, the one not normal from where we currently are when we make change. Sometimes this means being exposed to someone else’s normal, to see a different way. Sometimes it takes a huge unforeseen change in our normal, a loss of a job, a death, illness, natural disaster, war to create a change. Not all change is for the better, or at least some at the time can’t be seen as good changes at the moment. Sometimes things need to get really bad before people are willing to put an effort into change, to rising up. As humans I think it is always our goal to rise up.

17 Global Goals

Is the world really better than ever?

Why the world is better than you think

Yes, some of us accept where we are, and see no reason for change, “It was like that when I grew up, and I didn’t turn out that bad”. Or we look around at our situation, see our family circumstance and how our families past has been, and with comments from our elders reinforcing the thought, this is just how it is for us folks, many believe, accept their ‘normal’. They may complain about it, like the story of a hound dog laying on a nail and groaning because it hurts, but not willing to move from that spot on the floor, because he would have to make a change and he is not willing to do so, instead he will just complain.

I believe that big changes can be made with little steps.This can be picking up litter, recycling, smiling, helping another even in a small way, …being the best person we can be. Being creative, looking at things from new ways, seeing new connections from unusual things. Most importantly imagining a new way, a new normal, and working towards that, believing in it until it is. 2 steps forward one step back….fine….sideways,…. fine, but always forward, always improving the ‘normal’ for an even brighter future.

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. Carol Burnett

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Barack Obama
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. Robin Williams


16722410_10158248774290501_1439403914849664656_oPlanning my trip to Guatemala in the fall of 2014, I figured I should nail down accommodations for over Christmas and New Years before maybe there weren’t any or they were out of my price range. I thought I would like to spend that time in Antigua, Guatemala and a World Heritage site. I found a place through AirBnB I believe, it sounded perfect but it said those dates weren’t available. I decided to send them a note anyways seeing if they might suggest other accommodations for that time. The owner got back to me, that since I was a single lady, I could stay there during that time any ways, she had booked it off as her child “Oliver” was coming at that time. Oh, I thought, and replied, maybe since this was such a special time for her I shouldn’t impose. Initially I understood by how she replied that she was pregnant and expecting her first child, so I offered to help in any way I could with cooking and cleaning at that time to help her. Then when she kept referring him to him as “Oliver” I thought maybe I misunderstood, maybe he was already born, and she just got to visit with him at that time. So I started telling her a bit about my children and how old they were. She replied then, that no he had not been born yet, and indeed was expected to arrive at that time. I had a place to stay. A wonderful family, and her Mom was going to be staying with them as well to help out and be there for the birth.

I felt like part of the family, the first day there I got to attend a baby shower at their church. I was there when the priest came to visit at their home prior to the birth. They were not yet married yet even though they had been together for sometime as there were problems due to Daniel being from Germany I believe. (Guatemala is very religious with something like 97% being Roman Catholic.) That was another question I was asked from place to place as I arrived, was I religious? My answer, “No”, but I was brought up Roman Catholic.

Antigua is a wonderful place to be around the Christmas/New Years holidays, lots of extra activities happening. There was the evening before Christmas when a procession went by at night, maybe a rendition of them looking for a room for the Virgin Mary, I’m not sure but the lanterns, etc were a nice surprise, and it was very small scale, intimate. Video of procession

Paola had been hoping to give birth at home with a mid wife, but just before Christmas, she learned that the baby was breech, the midwife tried moving it, but he was too comfortable, or big. Paola tried crawling around a bit as she was told this might get the little fellow motivated to move but it just wasn’t happening. Plan B, a doctor and hospital, to find one in a place that she felt comfortable in. That done, now the doctor was trying to encourage her to have it before Christmas, but she really didn’t want to, even though her husband was anxious to see the little guy. I thought the Doctor just didn’t want to be disturbed during the holidays? There was also the thought of schooling and where that would put him in the school year when that time came. Paola decided she would plan for Jan 2, if the baby decided it could wait that long. (Daniel had painted from time to time, images on Paolo’s growing stomach, the one I remember most, the cat’s back end, and  a cracked egg. They also wanted to make a cast of her stomach just before “Oliver” was born. I’m not sure if that happened, but I think so. Very creative.)

On Christmas Eve, which is the day they celebrate or on the stroke of midnight, Paola’s mother Isabelle, Paola, Daniel and myself all sat down to help make tamales, a Costa-rican version as that was where her Mom was from. Quite the assembly line we had going, and by the end we had made over 100.

Making tamales 

(Making cost ricin tamales for new years
Plantain leave, masa with garlic, salt and pork fat, then rice with achiote or paprika , spoonful of peas, pork slice and pork fat, 2 slices of tomatoes and carrot, 6 raisins,1 prune, 1 olive, wrap it all up and bake for 1 1/2 -2 hours at 325′)

Then there was Mass, which Daniel asked why I wanted to come if I wasn’t really religious, part of the experience I told him. A grand church, with a nativity scene that they had brought in dirt from the various areas around so that all were represented.. Then we went home for the meal and gifts, they even got me a journal, with a cover that had local weaving on it. Then I heard it, that strange sound… What could it be? I finally asked, “that rumbling noise, what was it?” It sounded, I said, like someone rolling a barrel of ice down the cobblestone hill. Her brother looked at me, curiously amused. “Only a Canadian would come up with something like that. It was fireworks.”…Okay, I have to admit that did make a lot more sense, and then we went up to the roof top to see. All over the city fireworks were being set off at midnight, not in just one spot, the whole sky was alive with them. I was told that they would set off fireworks at midnight, 6am, noon and 6pm, that’s a lot of fireworks!! I know how expensive they were back home so I asked about that there. Yes they said, they were expensive there as well, but everyone saved up to set off fireworks, rich to poor. On Christmas day I called home to talk to my son on Facetime just before noon, and I was up on the roof top showing him the view when the fireworks started, “Get down, Mom!!!” he shouted, as he thought it was gun fire, no I assured him, just fireworks.

I couldn’t believe all the firework debris along the streets. Then came the New Years celebration, the central street in Antigua was filled with performers, it was alive, and of course a big fireworks display.

The next day, January 2nd, time for “Oliver”, they told me the address of the small hospital, so when I thought enough time had passed, I wandered down, my Spanish not being very good, I managed to let them know what I was there for, and down the hall I went. Very different than our hospitals. There she was with little, or not so little, “Oliver”, one proud father, who I couldn’t believe how much this new born looked like!!!! He seemed all Dad and no, or very little Mom. A mini me, for Daniel. Also a very proud Grandma, and 2 brothers, her younger one was VERY excited even before hand and let Paola know, he already had a car seat so he could take him for rides.

So I was the very first person to hold that first born child, after the Mom, Dad, Grandma and Uncles, pretty special. Such a short time ago now, and he is such a big boy now at 3, (especially for that country, but there comes into play his German father), still looks the spitting image of his dad, who unfortunately, past away last year but will always be remembered, a kind caring person.

Sumac Champagne, Guatemala

I was off to Flors via taxi, to a public shuttle, crossed a river on a barge, told to transfer to a different shuttle, and then a small bus to Sumac Champagne. Reminded me of logging road, very steep, and buses that didn’t make it, down at the bottom, after many hours of driving in the middle of no where and dark, we stopped at one very small town and we got off but this wasn’t my stop, no. Next I was in the back of a truck, as the driver at one point shouted out a place, I wasn’t exactly sure if that was my spot but with some confusion with everyone involved, I got off. It wasn’t my spot but they had room, and I had travelled enough, besides the ride was gone. Did I mention that all this was done without speaking Spanish, on public shuttles., all except  the last “kind of” tourist bus, well one filled with tourists anyways.
I had seen pictures of Sumac Champagne and I was determined to see it, many layered waterfalls, I had seen pictures and my daughter had talked about as she had been a few years before. I hiked to it the next morning, quite a trek I was told there was a shorter route through the jungle but when I started on that path it was muddy and not a very visible path so decided to stick to the gravel road.
When I arrived then more hiking and I soon learned that when it said Miradora this way, that meant you were going to be going up, it was a place to check out the view. I met the odd person who was busy sweeping the trail or tending to it. Having lived on the prairies for several years my body wasn’t exactly accustomed to these elevations, and one worker, eyed me as I stopped from time to time to catch my breath before I continued on. He seemed quite proud of me or at least gave me an encouraging smile when I finally made it to the top and offered to take my picture, proof, that I had made it. Well I could see the waterfall now with all its shallow aqua coloured pools but now it was far below me. Off I started down the trail again, into the woods with the howler monkeys, at least this time I knew what those noises were, lol.
I finally made it down to where the waterfalls started, much easier than going up. There were several people there locals and tourists, playing in the shallow pools, sliding sometimes from one to the other, it was a wonderful day. I will post some pictures someday.
The road less traveled to a place you’ve dreamed about, where is some place you’ve taken on an adventure to get to a special place or person?