Friday, February 24, 2012


Very little words can express the sorrow I feel for a family I know.
I cannot even begin to imagine what they are going through (most recent news article here), but I do hope they know there are many, MANY, of us out there who will always be there for them... opening our arms.

I was asked to stay quiet in the midst of all the crazy media hype.. having had a call on our phone from the media with questions regarding this incident the day after.

My tears can no longer stay silent.

There is a new little angel who will be watching over this family.
Also in the event that you may see this blog.. cyber hugs are sent your way Rob and Rhonda.

And for those who wish to show their support, here is a terrific cause. Alberta Childrens Hospital.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Life is full of tough twists and turns and I've done well to hold my head up, take a deep breath, and carry on knowing that I can make it to the next junction safely.
Yet for some unknown reason something deep within my grey matter mis-fires sending me on a journey that is dark and bleak. I live with this daily.
Lately however I have been working very hard at keeping away from this direction... and without the help from any medical intervention.

There are many reasons to allow myself to fall into misery and sadness, but whose life doesn't include some depressing menace lurking just out of reach willing to bring you down into the darkness?   It's not allowing it to happen that separates us all.
Each and every morning I work on positive affirmations while mentally walking through my day.

It was a recent tragedy that was close to home, and the sad loss of a great uncle that I have not seen in years that made me start to seriously think about my time here.

I / We have no control over when, where or how we will die...

We cannot choose how.

Or when.

We CAN decide how we want to live.

I want to live each moment in the NOW.
I am not going to wish for things I do not have, what I have NOW is perfect.
Right NOW I have family and friends who love me, I will not worry about those who don't, they do not matter.

If I am dealing with my Fibro pain, it is ONLY right now... breath... and cuddle with dogs... it will pass.

And play... like a kid... get outside and make snow angels,  go for a walk, watch the sun rise, set or both, take a moon bath... just go out and enjoy what nature gives us for free.

I shall remember the words of a man long since gone....

If you are going through hell, keep going.
~ Winston Churchill

That all said... I'm going outside to play with my fur babies...

Have a wonderful, awesome, delicious kind of day!

Monday, February 20, 2012


I discovered this quote today.

"Excellence is being willing to take risks. Perfectionism is being overly cautious and fearful."

This sums up my holiday Monday perfectly.

 We were suppose to go into the mountains today and use a trail on Spray Lakes.  It is a 3 hour drive for us one way and would be so worth it to be able to run the dogs in front of the sled on snow for a change.
However I awoke to a fresh layer of snow blanketing my world this morning.

I began to weigh my options.

 On one Hand: It is beautiful scenery, and we would meet up with a musher friend, in the fresh crisp air.

On the other Hand: The school yard IS just down the road and we ARE only going to run 2 miles maximum anyway. We DID get a fresh layer of snow.  AND driving puppies that haven't driven longer than 45 minutes in a dog box for 6 hours seems harsh.

BUT on the other Hand: Did it snow enough? It looks like enough snow.

However: It IS beautiful scenery.
                                                                                                                                                                        Decision made, we thought it would be easier on everyone.. dogs and humans alike if we stuck close to home and ran the school field.
A few weeks back I used my skis and trekked out a path that gave us about 1.5 miles to run.. perfect for training the puppies on. Most of it follows a fence line.. so I figured I didn't need to trekk out a path with skis this time.

Being a cooler than normal morning we thought it would be best to wear our Cabela coats so we would not be cold at all and could concentrate on the dogs fully.
We also decided to harness the dogs at home so that they wouldn't be on the drop chains for any length of time keeping the howling and barking down to a minimum while hooking up.

For you keen observers out there let us look at the above comments and dissect them shall we?

#1."It looks like enough snow".... LOOKS and what is out there are two different terms when it comes to dog sledding.  Skijouring maybe, but sledding?   Perhaps if the ground was not frozen into a grass covered ice rink under said layer of snow.

#2. "I figured I didn't need to trekk out a path with skis" ... um... uh huh.

#3. "Most of it follows a fence line" ... key word here is Most.

#4. "decided to harness the dogs at home"  ...  Putting a harness on a puppy who has only run twice in one and then putting him into a box locked in with his sister even if it is for only 10 or 15 minutes is NOT a good idea.

I am not even sure how to proceed with the rest of this adventure.....

I can tell you that Rigby becomes a screaming maniac when he is put on line, he got out of his collar and his harness at the same time (thankfully hubby had ahold of him).
I can also tell you that Penny and Hubba Bubba do not know how to hold the line tight at all and after a couple times turning around I finally tied them to a bike rack so they could not move.
I will also further tell you that adding these two new Alaskan puppies to the mix adds a strength and speed that this team has never NEVER felt before.

So let us do the math now...
2 Ramped up puppies (because now Elly is pretty excited too) + 2 lead dogs who are wandering all over the place + Added super strength of Alaskans + frozen hard ground + skiff of snow to frozen hard ground = potential disaster.

Once we were on our way Hubby had to hold the leaders and direct them in the path we wanted to go.  We did a beauty Gee at the first corner which led to a gate opening, meaning Hubby had to then jump off the sled and show them the Haw we wanted them to do which was nowhere as exciting as the gate opening ahead.
If you will now look at #3, "Most of it follows fence line"....
Straight ahead is a county highway and NO fence which is where the dogs decided to go, which was where I discovered that my brakes, were completely useless on the hard frozen ground meaning I had to tip the sled and try using my body to bring the team to a stop. (look at #1)
Luckily Hubby made it to the front as they were slowing down and turned them Haw again  then hopped on the runners behind me to give his added weight to the sled.

After a couple changes which put Rocky and Penny in lead and Hubba Bubba in wheel with Elly we were off.
I had to run ahead or beside the dogs for the most part in order to give them direction. If I had just run the course with the skis this could have been a different story (see #2)
Also keep in mind that I had my good for -40 coat on, and was drenched by the time we got back to the truck.

Excellence is willing to take Risks...

Well we certainly did this today and I am pretty sure the pups all had fun.  We stopped many times to sort dogs and harnesses and lines out so there was plenty of time for praise and cuddles.. although Rigby screamed every time we stopped.

Not sure what Rocky is up to here.. he gave a little hop just as I took the picture.
And you can see Penny's tail in front of Rigby.

Working hard and 'hopefully' having fun.

Next time we will be heading to Spray Lakes for sure.  In the meantime... I have some sewing to do... sigh.
AND my camera is struggling.  I think when I tipped the sled the lens was damaged and it will no longer work on Automatic, yet will not focus on manual either... double sigh.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dream Big or Go Home

The Yukon Quest is on.

In another life time I would have been one of those Rookies behind a team of incredible athletes racing along those 1000 miles.

I've been amazingly lucky in having the experience and JOY of standing on the runners behind 8 wonderful furry friends for a 30 mile run under the night sky.  More than once thanks to my mentors, the W's.
However it has made me yearn for more.

I will just have to continue to dream, and when I do I dream big!
Living up north with access to miles of trails right out of my yard.  A yard that houses 20 of my furriest best friends.
Money to pull together this dream which includes full time training and attending lots of mid distance races that lead us to this one big race.

I love dreaming.

Right now I just dream about a good dump of snow this next week.. or at the very least this next month.

One day I shall attend this race.... as a volunteer.... I just have to be there.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dog Kisses

I sit outside with my dogs everyday.

It is the first thing I do when I get home from work.. head out and let the furry kids out of their runs so that they may stretch their legs and have a play amongst each other.
It is also the time that they get their loves from their human mom.

Penny loves having her cheeks rubbed and under her collar.
Rocky enjoys his butt scratched under his big curly tail, he also likes to rub himself all over me just about pushing me over.
Hubba.... well, Hubba will take anything, he just likes to be touched... ALL the time.
Elly loves a good belly rub and enjoys her face being stroked.
Rigby IF he ever sits still likes getting his backside scratched.

It is my one time in the day that I un-wind.  If anything negative is happening it all dissolves with just one kiss from my fur babies and stays that way the entire time I'm hanging out with them.

Yesterday was no exception.

The air was laced with a hint of the winter we have been deprived of this year.  The tip of it's icy teeth gently brushing my cheeks.
Purple and reds in the sky seemed to intertwine in amongst the dark bare branches of our trees as the sun crept away to end another day.

I sat at the empty fire pit, my elbows resting on my knees chin in my hands, reflecting on the many gatherings that have been had in this very spot.
Sadness takes hold as I picture the kids in their younger days roasting marshmallows and singing camp songs.  Or as teenagers with their friends, a circle of invincibility that the adults could not penetrate.
Christmas Eves with the family as we sing songs and are wrapped in a cloak of warmth and security knowing we will always be there for each other.

I feel sad.  Missing my kids.

A wet nose and warm tongue pull me out of my thoughts and the sadness flutters to the ground.

A dog knows when a kiss or hug is needed.
How can anyone live without a dog?

or two?

or three?

or four?

or five?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Act Your Age!!"

I seriously have the best job in the world.

We got to go skiing at Nakiska with the kids yesterday. With temperatures hovering in the 0 degree range, light falling snow on and off, and an absolutely incredible group of kids it was a perfect day.
I have never really been downhill skiing before, not counting the one time I went without lessons flipping and falling all the way down with my little sister many years ago.  SO considering my age it was decided lessons were in order this time.

Having just supervised almost 200 kids getting boots and skis on I was late for lessons and not sure which group I was suppose to join, so making my way over I joined the first one in which I recognized kids from our school.
Standing at the end of the line and having my poles removed from me I was the tallest kid there and probably 35 years or so older than most of them.
I missed some of the instruction but was a quick learner and a keen student and was lucky enough to have the cute instructor with the Australian accent stand with me in line while we waited to go up the 'bunny hill'.  It was here that I gained some one on one with great tips on how to use my feet to help with my turns.

After lessons I decided to practice at least once more down the bunny hill.
Easy peasy.

Back in the lodge I found another co-worker who had only skied once before and a couple who were experienced to come with me to the Bronze Runs.

At the top I was a tad nervous, but confident that I could do this without a problem.
After all looking good in my black ski jacket and snow pants,it was just a matter of keeping up appearances and swooshing down that mountain... besides the run ran under the chair lift that carried the students I work with and I HAD to set a good example.

Off we went.

The two experienced skiers flew ahead looking just as I was planning to look like.... the other one was taking it slow and steady holding her snow plow stance to keep an even run enjoying the scenery and able to chat it up with the kids around us.
I on the other hand went screaming down the steep drop ahead of me full speed ahead.
Honestly I couldn't hear the voice in my head telling me how I was suppose to slow down... but hey... those turns were perfect.  
Oh yeah.. I looked pro.. at least I would have if it wasn't for the scream coming out of my mouth, that and the fact that I went for the most amazing tumble ever ending up on my back  and sliding a few hundred feet before coming to a stop.

However anyone can take a tumble, it was icy where I went for the spill.
It was trying to get UP from a downed position that killed my image completely.
That was what I missed showing up late for my lessons, I'm sure of it now.

I eventually gave up, squatted on my skis and came down full speed ahead toboggan style to where my co-workers were waiting for me. 

I am happy to say that the first run of the day was my 'learning' one and I was pretty pro after that, meaning that there wasn't another spectacular tumble.   Although I did learn that I am unable to keep it as slow and steady as my ski buddy can.  Not sure if I'm honestly doing something wrong or if sub consciously I love the speed and the thrill of knowing I could lose control at any minute.

It was decided that I do not act my age (as if that was ever an option in my opinion), and couldn't get enough while I dragged anyone willing out with me on the runs.  It was all I could do to sit and have a coffee break with the 'adults' in my group.

This morning however I do FEEL my age as every muscle from my neck down yells at me in pain.... will I ever learn?
NO WAY!!!  I just wish it wasn't so expensive to go skiing... I'd be there every weekend if I could!

After all... I have to get to that point of looking good swooshing down that mountain for next year when I head out with the kids again... although I do plan on hitting the Silver runs and heard they were much steeper and longer which means more screaming down the hill I suppose.