Sunday, March 25, 2018

First Christie Lake Climb for Kids Fundraiser Event

Last Friday, we had our first group fundraising event for Christie Lake Kids: a night out at Fatboys Restaurant - with live music, a silent auction and a raffle.

A week before the event, we were a little worried because only 30 tickets had been sold -we were expecting to sell at least 60... that is a bit worrisome...  The night finally arrived and wow!  What a turn out!  The place was packed!  We sold more tickets than our intended 60.  The totals have yet come out...I'm sure there was was at least 75 people.  The place was buzzing with friends, laughter and chit chats!

Music started at about 7:45.  The band was called First Bass- they were fantastic!  They played a nice variety of music -which made it even better!

The silent auction had many wonderful items -from paintings, to gift certificates at restaurants, massages, facials, gas, scarves, a beautiful wooden bench to name a few.  We bid on a few items - a beautiful piece of art and a birding outing and won both those items.  We were outbid on a couple more items... such is life!

Overall - Fantastic turn out!  Better yet - lots of money raised for our charity of choice! 

Looking forward to the next event - I have no idea what it's about - we should find out soon!

Here's my fundraising page... Please consider donating - 100% goes to the charity...

Saturday, March 17, 2018


What a fun week I've had!  On Monday morning, I got up early to catch a flight to Santa Ana California to visit my cousin Esther.  Our plan was to go hiking and running in the trails there.  On Tuesday, we got up and drove to Cucamango Peak where we ascended the mountain.  There were some pretty scary parts but I managed to get through them.  Unfortunately we were not able to make it to the peak.  The weather changes quickly on mountains.  We turned a corner and all of a sudden the wind was really strong and clouds had rolled in and we couldn't see where we were going.  We opted to stay safe and turn around.  It's too bad as we had about 2 km to go.  It was useless to keep going as there wouldn't have been a view anyways...  Next time!  On our way down, you get to a certain point where you can go left or right.  We had come up from the right so we decided to go down through the left.  Boy!  The view was amazing!  The trail was even thinner than the other side - but I did it!  When we go to the car, the rain started to pour!  We made it back just in time!

The next day, we went for a 12 km run in the trails around Laguna Beach.  Beautiful and challenging trails!  Much more difficult than here with the ups and downs!  I didn't see any snakes, lizards or cougars!

On Thursday we were supposed to ascend Mt. Wilson but my calves were hurting real bad!  Not being used to hills just killed them!  We decided to just go walking in trails in the area and take it easy.  Well... 10km later -up and down, up and down, my calves had warmed up and weren't hurting as bad... but boy!  We saw rabbits, quails, other birds and funny rocks - but no cougars, snakes or lizards.  We went out for dinner and a movie.

Friday morning was time to go home... which is a little sad as I know what I'm going to... snow and cold... yuck!

I had a great time in California!  66km, 1 mountain, multiple trails, great food and company!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Peru Training

Paul managed to find a personal trainer to get us started on our journey to get read y for our high altitude trek through the mountains of Peru.  Byron has hike in high altitudes before and so has a pretty good idea of what we are getting ourselves into.

Tonight's workout was all about the upper legs and hips.  Front lunges, back lunges, side lunges, squats, a bit of stair work, more lunges this way and that way!   That's how it went for an hour.  I'm pretty sure I will feel this workout for the next couple of days!

We had 9 people present for the training session.  Sophie was missing as she had an exam the next morning and wanted to study.

Update - in the morning, I really didn't feel sore at all - the quads were just a tiny bit tender.  As the day went on, I could feel my legs more and more.  By Saturday morning - OUCH in full swing!  I'm sure these DOMS will all be worth it come August!

Training update:  March 25
Our training is going well!  I can already feel a difference in my legs.  We are all working hard and enjoying the workouts prepared by Byron and Shaun.  It's funny how the body gets used to and adapts to the workouts.  There is no more soreness the next day - unless there is a new muscle group being worked on -ie. shoulders and arms!

Sunday, February 11, 2018


Our team is finally complete!  16 of us (including Remi and Sophie) will be trekking through the mountains of Peru on an adventure of a lifetime!

The planning, training and fundraising are underway!   We are raising money for Christie Lake Kids - a non-profit organization that delivers various programs to under privileged children.  My goal is to raise at least $1000.

The planning is pretty much all done for us as we are working with Merit Travel Agency -I just have to plan what I'm bringing with me!

The training part will be underway starting Thursday.  We have a personal trainer to help us get started.  Come spring, Gatineau Park it will be for hill training and hiking.

Here is my fundraising page in case you are feeling generous and want to help out.  100% of the money is going to Christie Lake Kids.  I will match donations up to $500.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New York -our comings and goings

Let me start by saying that traveling with Sophie is different!  She's 18 and has always traveled with us.  This year, she's on an adventure of her own...

This is our second time in the Big Apple.  We've decided to not plan anything and to just go and enjoy.  Well, I should rephrase... I decided to not plan anything.  The only planned activity was the Damon Runyon Yankee Stadium Race on Saturday morning... so let's start there.

Yankee Stadium Race
Race morning - we are ready for it!  We take the subway as we have to make our way to the Bronx from Manhattan.  This was the easy part!  The race itself was great!  We ran 2 loops around the first floor, made our way to the warning track and went around twice taking pictures and videos on the way.  We then had to make our way up, up, up the stairs were we ran around the second floor twice - going up and down and up and down.  Those stairs sure were killers!! All in all, the race was 5km.  We ended the race, got our medal, t-shirts and snack and off we went to shower and change.  Our ride home was more eventful than the ride there.  All of a sudden, a group of 6 young African American climbed on.  They politely asked us to move so they could do a performance.  The boom box went on and off they were!  Dancing using the poles and hats... interesting to say the least!  I wish I could have gotten it on film - but I didn't want to attract any attention as I didn't have any money to give them.

During our week we took the subway a couple of times -even changing trains - which made Remi think we were now pros... I was quick to say nope - you have to go through Central Station before saying you are a pro!

The other things we did -  in no particular order:

  • walked around Time Square, Central Park, Battery Park, Downtown -you get the picture - we walked A LOT! 
  • ran in Central Park a couple of times
  • had breakfast at the Kellogg's NYC - fun and worthwhile! 
  • had a bellini at our hotel lounge - absolutely disgusting!  Not what I was expecting - there was no slush! It was not the Milestones kind of Bellini! 
  • had lunch at Ellen's Stardust -the funniest thing is for over a month I thought I was going to eat at Ellen's (Degeneres) restaurant.  Reading the menu, I quickly figured out it was NOT the same Ellen!  Seeing the sign I also wondered why Ellen would have such a tacky sign!  We sure had a good laugh at that!  The food was ok - the entertainment was great! Worth going. 
  • We decided not to go see a Broadway show - I didn't feel like it and I didn't see any that really interested me. 
  • did the Radio City Music Hall Tour - was very interesting!  Enjoyed learning the history of this place! 
  • Had dinner at Junior's so we could have cheesecake.  We should've just had cheesecake.  Food was ok - but sure was expensive!  One plate would've been good to feed a whole family! 
  • We took the subway to I can't remember where and walked the rest to the start of the High Line - an old railway transformed into a walkway.  We walked the whole thing to the end and back.  
  • We had Pizza at Arturo's - it was ok... not the best pizza I've ever had... Then we walked all the way back to our hotel - all the way from lower than 1st to 51st. 
  • We did have dinner at Chopt - fabulous!!  It was a salad place... yum! 
  • Took the subway to Brooklyn so we could purchase some rainbow bagels.  They taste kind of sweet! 
  • visited the big Cathedral

A couple pics...

High Line

Hotel Lounge
What they call urban garden

The moon forgot to go to bed!

Radio City

Sunday, July 9, 2017

New York City

Time for a new trip! Return to NYC!

Since Sophie is gone to Nicaragua for the month of July, and we did a big trip last summer, Remi and I decided to return to return to New York City for a few days.  Much to Remi's chagrine we are not planning much.  We will be experiencing taking the subway/bus/feet to get wherever we need to get to.  Don't plan on doing any tourist things as we did them last time we were there.

What we did plan:

  • We are registered to do the Damon Runyon Yankee Stadium Race -this should be a blast!  Running around the the warning track, up the stairs, through the park, back down and around again for a total of 5 km. 
  • Eating at Ellen's dinner Stardust- sure looks like fun! 
  • There is another restaurant that interests me - Jekyll and Hyde Club. Hopefully we get to go.
Other than that, I just want to relax and enjoy the city!  Spending lots of time in Central park, and walking the High Line.

Looking forward to next week!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Day 14 - our last day

Well, today is a sad day... it's our last day in Iceland - paradise on earth (except for the cold).

We got up a little later this morning, 7:45 or so, since we didn't have any plans except for lunch.  When we went up for breakfast, we noticed that a group of French people had taken all the tables (leaving empty spots at each table) so we had no place to sit -which we didn't really care about, no big deal as it's not really a sit down meal.  So we prepared our bread (without plates as we weren't sure which were available) and started to eat, standing up.  Let me tell you, when the owners saw us standing there eating our breakfast, they were not happy.  They made the French move to make room that they weren't going to have guests standing to eat.  The French were insulted (not sure why, they were the rude ones).  It was quite the sight!  Let's say that the Icelandic people don't all seem very friendly - they are, you just don't get that warm fuzzy feeling at first...It sounded like they were really angry, when in fact they were just telling them to make room, that they weren't going to have guests treated like this.  So, we sat, ate our breakfast and left for downtown Reykjavik at around 9:00.

The owner of the guesthouse had told us this restaurant (3 Frakkar) served puffin meat, which we wanted to try... so we walked around for a while, waiting for it to open so we could have lunch before leaving.  Stores open late in Iceland.  Nothing (except for the tourist stores) open before 11-11:30. So walking around is the only option.  We go in and out of the few shops that are open, by a couple t-shirts and chocolate. We make our way to the restaurant to see it doesn't open until 11:30.  We sit in the little "park" across the street and wait.  It's 11:00.  As we were waiting, we notice this sign - had fun trying to figure out what it meant!

At 11:30 - doors open! Yahoo! We finally get to try puffin - we've been looking for it for 2 weeks now!  We enter to find a quaint little restaurant - like all the other places we went to.  On the menu, fermented shark (we didn't have any), puffin breast, and guillemot breast (another wild bird), lots of different fish, fin whale, horse meat, and of course lamb.  Perfect! Exactly what we had been looking for!  We order a plate of puffin, a plate of cormorant and garlic bread to share.

The garlic bread was delicious!  Yummy!!  The puffin really doesn't taste like much of anything.  The texture is bizarre as the fish is sort of raw - it's smoked but really you can say it's raw. Not what I expected!!  I was thinking we would be getting a miniature chicken breast... but nope!  It's dark red meat, cut in strips!  The plate was very pretty.  The guillemot was yummy.  I didn't care for the texture.  It's sort of like duck meat - but it's bloody - cooked medium rare.  The sauce that accompanied the bird was good.  As for the taste, I thought it tasted like beef...with an odd texture.  I'm glad I got to try both.  Don't think I would order them again though...

We leave the restaurant, it's about 12:30 (Times are important in this post... I hope you are paying attention!).  We walk to the car, takes about 30 minutes.  Gives us lots of time since our flight leaves at 5pm.

After our meal, we make our way to Keflavik to drop off the car it takes about 1/2 an hour.  We get to the car rental place to drop off the car - no problem, all goes well.  It's now about1:30.  We go outside wait for the shuttle bus.  It takes about 15 minutes.  We finally get to the airport, it's now about 2:00 and we make our way to the tax refund booth to get our refund.  This took about 15 minutes as we had to fill out all the forms. We then make our way to the long line so we can get our tickets.

The line moves pretty fast.  We get our tickets, start making our way to security when I look down at my ticket.  It says boarding time is at 2:40 and the plane leaves at 3:15.  I look at my watch, it's 2:40!!! Panic starts setting in.  There is 50 people in front of us! I'm feeling a little stressed (not much stresses me like this).  Remi says "it's not possible, I booked for 5 pm".  Well, look again- it clearly says flight is at 15:15!  OMG! We are going to miss our flight for sure!  We get through security in not much time - it felt like an hour but it probably took 5 to 10 minutes.

We start RUNNING through the airport as our gate is the last one at the end - D26 and the sign says it takes 15 minutes to get there.  As much as I loved Iceland, I don't want to miss my flight!  Run, run, run!  We turn a corner and what do we see? Another line up!  We suddenly have to go through another checkpoint - another line!  Oh no!  We get through this line and off we go running again.  It's now 3:10 - we surely have missed it...

We finally get to our gate to find out they were having problems with a machine of some kind so they had just started boarding the plane!  OMG!! Thank you for technological glitches!!!  If it wasn't for that we would still be in Iceland!  I don't know what happens when you miss your flight, if you have to pay for another? Do they just place you on next flight? I don't really want to find out this way!

We get on the bus and off we go to our plane.

During our flight, I got to sit beside a lovely young German girl that was coming to explore Canada.  We chatted the whole way (a 5 hour flight) about Germany and Canada and what she could expect, what she has to eat and see.  I invited her to come stay with us for a few days while in Ottawa.  She was very excited about this - that way she can save a few dollars - a 23 year old just starting out - I'm sure she doesn't have much money!  I found out she's an Educational Assistant - so we had lots in common.  Great flight with no issues.

We got our luggage and made our way to our car.  As you can see, Remi was quite happy to see our car!  We had paid for parking in advance.  When we got to get out, we hadn't gotten in the right way - great - find the cabin to fix our problem.  Phew! I'm guessing it's not the first time someone does that -problem fixed in a minute and off we were - destination Home.

What a fabulous time we had!  Already looking forward to our new adventure!

I might have one or two entries more to write - keep your eyes open!