Monday, 9 July 2012

Wanakita I miss you!

By tradition this should be our first full day of family camp at Camp Wanakita in Ontario. This is the second year we are living in the west and missing our friends and family at camp. Maybe, just maybe, we may need to think about going one more time.

Meanwhile I will cherish the words from the opening and closing campfires.
We who have been before challenge you, who are the present, to make new friends, renew old friendships, experience new skills, discover and appreciate nature and the outdoor life, to participate fully in all activities that are offered to you, and to create memories that last a lifetime.

You are challenged to learn that YMCA Wanakita is not just the buildings, the land and the lake, but the people. It is the people that become so much a part of us while we are here.

Finally, we challenge you to keep your sense of fun and adventure, that no matter what your age, to be healthy in spirit, mind and body, and to make YMCA Wanakita what it really is...
A place to have the time of your life!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Books for Friday (BFF) Personal Health

The author addresses the fact that books about personal health are too numerous to count, yet she promises to differentiate herself. Does she succeed? To a large degree she does, by breaking the process down into truly small, manageable steps. For example, in the chapter on exercise she suggests: Consistently do more than what is normal for you. So if you are a couch potato, then anything is more- she suggests ten minutes of conscious movement, a goal that might actually seem achievable to a couch potato.

Her tone is casual, not preachy and she gives examples of her own struggles. I liked her small steps concept- for alcohol she suggests two or less drink on most days of the week. Many get fit manuals say give up alcohol completely, just to start, but if someone refuses to give up their occasional drink, then they never start that program. Another tidbit is: eat breakfast even just a few days a week. Chances are if you do not eat breakfast now, starting to do it every day might seem too much, but with this approach you might say to yourself, I can do a few days, and once you see the increased energy you might keep adding days.
There are a few success stories sprinkled throughout the book. I would have liked more and I also would have liked photos- for me they bring the subject to life and I found this book a bit text heavy.

What I enjoyed most about this book and what I think differentiates it, is the focus on the mental aspects of energy. Three of 13 chapters are devoted a section called Feed Your Spirit. The chapters deal with topics such as happiness, kindness and passion. Yes, most of it we know, but we do it? Do we laugh every day, do we buy ourselves flowers, do we smile at strangers, do we hold the door? Did you know kindness is good for your immune system? Say good morning, thank you and have a great day as often as you can. Wouldn't that make your community a better place to live?
 It seems to me if we attacked the spirit part first our energy would increase, then doing the eating and fitness chapters would be easier.
I would recommend this book to someone who feels they need a change in their life but feels too overwhelmed to start.

Keeping with the personal health theme, I highly recommend this learn to run book. It is based on the SportMedBC's 13-week program that has its roots in what is now one of the world's most popular 10-K events, the Vancouver Sun Run.

I have a sentimental attachment to both this program and race. It was the program my husband and I used to get us to our first 10-km race (aforementioned Sun Run) many years ago when we lived in Vancouver, BC. On race day he looked at me and said, "There are more people running here today than lived in Charlottetown, PEI", the city from which we had recently moved.

At the time I swore I would never "learn" to run again. How naive. Life gets in the way. So here I am learning to run again for maybe the third time. I was thrilled when I picked up this book and it was based on the program that got me hooked the first time.

Why is it a great book? It has a program that is geared to injury prevention, a gradual increase in intensity and  like the "Energy Now!" book, it focuses on small, manageable steps.

For now my step are small and slow- but they are steps in the right direction.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Books for Friday (BFF): The Middlesteins

I really enjoyed this book which is scheduled for release in fall 2012. As a character-driven book, it is filled with a rich cast surrounding the obese, central character, Edie: a wife, mother and grandmother.  I found myself rooting for her to gain control of her health and life. I was as frustrated with her inability to address her health as was her family in the book, yet I understood the need she was trying to fill with food. Attenberg has written Edie with great sympathy and lets us see her angry and passionate side.

There are moments of humour in the novel that illustrate the ridiculousness we might see if we could see ourselves from an exterior view. At one point, Edie's daughter-in-law lists all the lies she has told her husband; one being that she doesn't tell him that she goes to movies during the day. Then we learn that the husband thinks his wife has no sense of humour as she never laughs at the funny movies- because she has already seen them.

I loved these intimate insights into several marriages and other love relationships. Attenberg paints the complexity of these human interactions from different perspectives, reminding the reader that we only ever truly know things from our perspective.
Watch for this book. I am going to read some other books by this author.
Any recommendations?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Have you made anyone smile yet today?

Yesterday, I took my returnables to the depot. It's a job I always enjoy completing as it frees up space in the garage, but do I enjoy it? I never gave it much thought until my interaction with a stranger at the depot yesterday.

A white-haired woman, dressed in casual, light blue pants and a matching, striped shirt was ahead of me in line. She turned to chat with me, her eyes sparkling, her body vibrating with excitement. "Can you believe it, they give you money for nothing here?" she asked. Then she proceeded to tell me how she and her great grandchildren collect what others discard. " All that bending keeps me young she chuckled, quickly dropping down to touch her toes in case I did not believe it. "I'll be 89 on my next birthday," she bragged, and rightfully so.

Her joy made me smile and that feeling stayed with me all day. Oh to be so joyful, at any age, no matter what chore you are doing.

How might you share your joy today?

Friday, 4 May 2012

Books for Friday (BFF)- Books Galore at Calgary Reads

No review this week, instead a promo for the Calgary Reads Book Sale. I volunteered to sort books a couple of times this week and let me assure you, there are mountains of book. Lots of fabulous titles have me planning to purchase books for this worthwhile cause.

They are still looking for donations, volunteers for book sorting and assisting during the three-day sale event. Visit Calgary Reads for more information.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Books for Friday (BFF)

This is the first Anne Lamott book that I have read, but it will not be my last. Lamott, along with her son Sam, has written a memoir of her first grandchild. She  details her love affair with her grandson and her struggles to let her young son and his girlfriend sort out this parenting gig. Reading it made me grateful yet again for my supportive mother-in-law. If she struggled with any of Lamott's issues she has kept them well hidden- thanks Mom T.

If you are a plot driven reader you will not likely enjoy this memoir. But if you enjoy wonderfully descriptive writing and learning about someone struggling to find her way spiritually, or you want insight into the depth of grandparent love, you will enjoy this book. Just as we do not appreciate the power of parental love until we become parents; I suspect the same is true of the grandparent bond.

One of the many passages I adored in this book is about Lamott's effort to restrain from meddling. "Life is already an obstacle course, and when you're adding your own impediments (thinking they're helping), you really crazy it up. You make it harder to even just cross the room. You should not bring more items and hurdles to the obstacle course." A great lesson for us all.

This is a memoir I read for an on line book club, the Beyond Busy Global Monthly Book Club with Chrsitina Katz. I highly recommend the book club, managed by Christina who is an author and writing teacher. Her questions and discussion around our last book, Wild, were thought-provoking and insightful. Great for people who find themselves too busy to attend a regular book club. 

Or those of us in new places who have not replicated our old book club- yet.