Wildness is a necessity

I am loosing precious days. I am degenerating into a machine for making money. I am learning nothing in this trivial world of men. I must break away and get out into the mountains to learn the news.   

– JOHN MUIR

I took a screen shot of this quote from Instagram awhile ago. I do that. My camera roll is half full of these things. Sometimes words like this, stop me dead in my tracks and I don’t always know why. I tuck them away for future reference. Everything falls into place, eventually.

The quest for a piece of “wildness”, is not a journey I was consciously aware I was on. I didn’t know I was missing it in my life. I’ve always fancied myself a city girl. My parents have tried to show me the benefits of living further afield, where life is a bit less tamed by the constraints of civic rules and regulations. I’ve been curious, but never enough to commit. 

Recently, on a trip to Cortes Island, something in me shifted. Luckily something similar tugged at my husbands heartstrings. Timing is everything. We didn’t seriously speak of it until almost the end of our stay. We toured a piecce of waterfront land and all the pieces clicked into place. We both knew, this is it. Of course, this is not a movie, we don’t pan from that moment to a view of us happily sipping coffee, enjoying the view. Real life has many more hoops to jump through to get from “A” to “Z”. I’m not sure which letter we are on just now, but we are getting towards the end.

Eventually, we will join the cast of characters which have commited to steward a piece of wildness. The memories of those who have come before remains strong on Cortes. There are remnants of the past everywhere you look and it is a rich legacy. But you have to really look, in order to see. For many people from the city, a shell midden or an old orchard, the wild mint and oregano, these things blend into the rest. For me they are symbols of the industry those who came before had. The fortitude to carve out a life in a place so beautiful, it takes your breath away. But a place of wildness. Not for the faint of heart. 

Of course, we are not pioneers trying to clear the land with hand tools. We are not up against the hard deadline of the approaching winter. We don’t worry about the fruitfullness of the crop and the extremely hard work of preserving sustanence for the dormant season. We have the luxury of time, resources and distance. It could take us years to create permanent living quarters. We will only be able to enjoy weeks at a time, rather than months. We can purchase what we need from as far away as we like. This is a different era.

But our quest for wildness knows no time. It is more primal. It is something all humans crave. Even if you don’t realize it. There are riches to be discovered, which are priceless. That is what we have found.

  

Handmade business cards

Business Card Making Assembly Lin

Who hand makes a business card these days? Creative people. Artists. Someone with a lot of time on their hands. Turns out, I am not really any of those kind of people and yet I’ve just finished my first batch of handmade business cards.

I have to say, I really liked the process. I’ve been collecting ideas and thinking about this for a long time. But the deadline is looming. WDS 2015, (World Domination Summit), in Portland starts in just a few days. I’m not going to be caught short again this year.

In truth, I didn’t mention my blog until the closing party at about 9pm. The person I was chatting with replied, “Wow, that is a really good concept”. Of course I did not have a card to give her. Wow! Rookie mistake.

There have been so many moments since then, when I could have used a card. The URL is the name of the blog, but it requires memory, which I certainly don’t possess. Hardly can expect the attention span from anyone else.

Business cards are probably still in use just to save the brain cells required to remember yet another thing. If you have the card, it is so easy to make an association to meeting the person from whence it came. At least, I find them to be useful in this way. And I have a neat little box on my desk where the new cards go. After a year or so, the cards are sorted and filed away appropriately.

I love to see who has taken the card design to the next level. Unfortunately it is few and far between, where any kind of creativity comes into play. You would think people would be trying to stand out in this area of branding, just as they do in all other areas. Maybe I’m attending the wrong kind of events. And maybe I need to speak up at the right kind of events!

So I’ve made 30 cards. It seems like quite a few. Especially when I only might have given out one or two last year. I suppose if I make it a goal to give out 30, then I’ll be so far ahead. But, let’s face it, my efforts to date have been pretty pathetic. Self promotion is not my strong suit. However, my husband is with me this year and he is my #1 fan. So at least I can give him one. Maybe I’ll make a few more!

What I did was super easy. Picked a really nice card stock. Metallic finish, premium card stock, 65 lb. paper. Then I found some see through vellum in the 25 cents bin at my local art supply store. After I had created my funky design, I printed it on the vellum. (I designed the page myself in illustrator). Then I cut out both pages, the card stock was true size and the vellum was a little smaller. I used a good ruler and an OLFA knife. And glue.

The whole operation took me back to my college days. When I was design school, there was no auto-cad. We did everything by hand. The best I might have done then was hand draw the first one and then make multiple photo copies. But the cutting and pasting are the same. I love the way they turned out. Now to get a nice little case for them.

Interesting links about business cards:

Business Card Making Top Sheet

 

Business Card Making Progress

Business Card Making Finished

Oh I hope there are no spelling mistakes! At lunch time, when I was well into it, I double checked “flourish”. It started to look wrong to me!

 

Before & After

I’m nearing the end of my second round of “6-Weeks to a New Body”, and I thought it might be time to show some pictures. A few things to consider, as these pictures scroll up.

  • The photos of me are 10 years apart. I thought it might be nice to reach back in time when I still had little ones running around. The time gap is a nice round number.
  • I wanted to show real contrast, and to make myself feel really amazing.
  • I was clearly in a “costume” for the after photo’s. I do not run around getting photo’s taken with a wig on.
  • The costume theme was, “someone famous from the year you were born”. I was going for Goldie Hawn from the TV series Laugh In. (OK, maybe a stretch…)

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  • It is an odd sensation to create the “before & after” photo’s of yourself. When these kind of images are put up by magazines it is easy to dismiss them as fake. I’m telling you, this is the real deal.
  • I’m not done yet. I’ve made progress, clearly. But I want more. Not so much for the photo’s, but for the amazing feeling of being able to move my body around with so much less of me in the way!

This journey has not been easy. I could have accomplished the milestones more quickly with a higher level of dedication. It would have meant far more sacrifice. I’ve never been one to do things exactly as I’m told. So, I’m getting there, at my own pace. At a slow and steady rate of change, the efforts are manageable, the pain less severe. Maybe this way will be more sustainable over the long haul. At least, that is my story and I’m sticking to it.

CW Sitting B&A CW Standing B&A

9 hours catch up

But who is counting? Actually, it bears the question, who can count after flying through so many time zones? The experience is like that birthday party game for children, where you are spun around with your eyes closed, then stumble around disoriented for a time. Instead we kind of subject ourselves to a low grade version of this in the form of time and distance travel by air. We don’t usually stumble around afterwards, but our mind sure can!

 

Yesterday, I arrived back in Vancouver about 4pm, after about 20 hours of travel. That calculation took several minutes to compute, my brain still being somewhat compromised on a deep cognitive level. Honestly, there should be an app for that! But my point is how disorienting this time travel is. You are gaining back some time or loosing it, depending on the direction of travel. I find that difficult to reconcile.

I also find it difficult to concentrate. My mind, just now, wandered over to thoughts about the coconut milk in my coffee. So I stopped writing and cruised over to the web and ran through a few blogs with recipes for how to make it at home. Last night while grocery shopping, we realized there is some kind of shortage of our favourite coffee creamer. All of that distraction because I looked over at my coffee cup! Jeesh.

After all those hours of wandering through corridors, relaxing in lounges, sitting on planes, it was so welcome to be in the fresh air again. So I tried something new yesterday. Dug out my running shoes and went for a run, then did strength training. It was windy and chilly and sunny all at that same time. The strength training seemed to take away the puffiness that collects in my ankles, (or so it seemed). I figured I was good to go for the rest of the night, yeah! But slowly and surely as the minutes turned into hours, I was fast asleep by 8pm.

I think it is fair to say, there is no trick here. At least none that have worked for me, so far. You can spin your body around the world, but your mind will take more time to right itself!

Business Class on Air Canada

I have been fortunate enough to fly in business class on various occasions. It is not, however, a confirmed event. I get in, almost by chance. Sometimes, I work hard to stack the deck in my favor, sometimes not. My husband thinks I spend far too much time thinking and talking about it. But I like turning left!

Air Canada has a great program for upgrades. Although, we are entering year 2 of “service fees”. That means a cash component on top of the other requirements. But the difference in cost, to just buying a seat up front, is considerable.

The program is like most others out there. A loyalty based system which rewards you at intervals the more you fly. Sometimes the rewards are things like lounge passes, or lounge access. Sometimes the rewards are e-upgrades. Those are the keys to the castle of business class.

That is where I found myself on a recent flight from Toronto to Munich. But the process was very strange this time. Usually when the flight closes, the “J” class empty slots are filled with people on “the list”. To be high on the list you need premium status and you need to make the electronic request at the stroke of the earliest time you are allowed to. (For me, not the highest status and for this flight, did not request as soon as I could have).

When I approached the counter, the agent said “sorry”, not tonight. After boarding, I settled into my bulk head seat to be slightly harassed by a young mother with a very tiny infant who had the rest of her family sitting 10 rows back. She was determined to have me switch with one of her family or be sure to make my flight as unpleasant as possible, (that was what she said to me – “I’m going to be bothering you the whole flight”). I was texting with my husband about her, when luck came my way. A flight attendant gave me a boarding pass for 7 rows up in my very own pod. So we were both lucky.

I’ve taken a bunch of photos and I’m going to explain what it is like to spend some time in the pods.

First is a choice of juice, water or champagne while you look over the dinner menu. On this flight, there was also a card to fill out for your breakfast choices. As luck would have it, they handed out shiny Air Canada pens to complete the task. And even though I was the last one seated in the front, I got my first choice for dinner, salmon.

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The personal TV’s are quite large and need to be deployed for the safety announcements. All this while, I was snugly wrapped in my cotton comforter style blanket. Warm and cozy, ready for the journey ahead. Socks from my supply kit, already on.

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Some people are sitting up front to take full advantage of sleeping. As we took off, it was 3am at our destination. However, at my origin of Vancouver, it was just dinner time. So my routine is to eat the first meal, while watching a movie. Then get some sleep. Wake about an hour and a half out and eat breakfast. Then I’m on the new time zone. I’m not super sharp, but it works.

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This flight was fairly smooth. Can be rather bumpy going up over the top of the world from Vancouver. I had a nice sleep in my little cocoon. Might be my last time in these pod style seats. Mainly because Air Canada is over hauling the fleet and the new business class seats are a different style of lay flat design. And I also don’t usually decide that the service fee on my own account is worth it. Most times I log miles in the back.

But when I can treat myself to a much nicer seat, I feel a huge wave of gratitude. Not only do I have the privilege of traveling for my work, meeting people from all over the world, I can sometimes arrive feeling a little lighter.

Delayed

My BFF’S challenged me to write a post on this blog that was not based upon a situation which started out good. Could I take a not so happy experience and turn it around. So here it goes:

Part of the magic of living 2 days in one, is the second chance of it. I have not always seen it that way. Maybe I won’t in the future. But yesterday, (eventually) I did.

I don’t enjoy getting up at 3am, no matter which time zone I am in. When considering what time I went to bed, it was no surprise I felt tired. A little cognitively challenged. For a routine travel day, that is an acceptable state of mind. When there are no problems.

But this first part of my Saturday did not go so well. Suffice to say that due to a delay in Oslo and what felt like a 2 kilometer sprint through Frankfurt on the advise of the Lufthansa staff, I was in rough shape for only 10am. Even though I knew it was a long shot to make the flight connection, when the experts on the ground tell you to run, there seems a sense of hope.

It was not meant to be.

Who knows why the staff always seem to forget to announce the Canadian connection details in European cities. Maybe the word, “Vancouver” is too difficult to pronounce. It is extremely disappointing to be the only passengers to have such problems. Of course I know that is not 100% truth. I know. Just feels like it.

I should mention at this point that 2 Norwegians were a few steps ahead of us on the sprint and the re-booking. We would have a lovely chat later in the lounge. And they would be seated right beside us on the final flight of the day.

The re-booking which Lufthansa had already done, (but neglected to mention before the 2km run), was no slam dunk. The new flight(s) were oversold. At least the first leg. The seemingly helpful ladies in the Air Canada lounge kept telling us to stay in the lounge, even after the boarding had started. We would be called. This was a foreign concept and I could see us missing this flight as well, just sitting around. Finally at the gate, we were scolded in German for not turning up on time to claim seats.

Even though I was super grateful to be on the plane, I was fuming about how badly the day had been so far. As I was trying to settle into my middle seat I was seriously wondering how I could last the flight and the rest of the day in such a bad mood.

Then I turned on a movie. “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” I kind of suspected it would cheer me up and I had received a recommendation the night before. The movie did just the trick. Without giving anything away, the main character goes on a research trip and writes about what makes people happy. Starting in China. As you can imagine, he learns about people who have very little and extreme happiness and people who have so very much and no happiness. I really liked it, not just because it was the perfect thing to happen to me at that moment, but these topics are right up my alley on a regular day.

So my second Saturday started as I watched a movie and remembered to be grateful. The ice in my heart melted away as I watched the depiction of all the people in the world with far more real problems. How could I sit and fume? My anger tipped completely over. I even felt a little remorse for being so terse to the people who were just trying to help. (But not to the Lufthansa staff who would not let us board the flight to Vancouver which was standing at the gate with the doors still open, no not them).

Sometimes I feel pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I can’t really complain about a situation and get a sense of retribution. Which is a pretty egotistical way to think, anyhow. Plus, that wouldn’t make me feel better. What brings me comfort is to stop for a moment and be kind. Offer a helping hand to a fellow passenger. Give a smile. I control how I perceive life. As I practice being grateful, mindfulness, remaining calm as much as I can, it is far easier to pop out the other side in a pleasant mood.

As a footnote, the travel connections didn’t get much better. Landed safely in Calgary, but had to get our checked luggage, clear customs and security, for the third time that day. Of course that cannot be done in 40 minutes. Luckily we made it on the next flight only an hour later. By the time that flight was delayed to let a passenger off and the winds were so high, the whole thing took about twice as long as normal, we couldn’t muster up the energy to comment. By the time I got home, it was a 25 hour journey door to door.

Waved bye to the Norwegians who were off for an adventure downtown Vancouver and then a flight Sunday up to Terrace B.C. for heli skiing. I was praying to ULLR, the God of snow, for them.

Rookie mistake

After all the miles I have travelled, after the hours spent in airport line ups and most particularly the security clearance area, it is amazing to me what happened in Phoenix this week.

Maybe it was my mind still being on vacation while my body was making its way back. But I clearly lost my edge, somehow. I hope this is not a permanent change. Or maybe it is and I am going to be more relaxed all the time.

We all know the drill, at least anyone who has been on a plane in the last 7 or 8 years. Who honestly has to be told, yet again, no liquids!

First up was my daughter. Upon reflection, she might be the weak link in our travelling family. She insisted on being first, in some cases running ahead beyond where we could even see her. Who does that? Kind of strange really. Anyway, as she put her bag onto the scanning belt and it went through, the attendant called out for a physical check – “there are liquids in this one”.

I should also mention that we somehow ended up in TSA pre-check. I have not been in one of these lines before. So there were a bunch of new rules, most of which make the whole thing go faster. So the moment when you haul up your bag and take out all the offending items has been taken away. Zip, right through. In all honesty, I’m not sure this final check would have helped us.

Then we put through a bag of souvenirs purchased at the Los Cabos airport earlier that day. These were my purchases. As the bag went through and was pulled aside I knew exactly what offending item was in there. And my heart sank. Oh well, take your lumps. I stood on the other side waiting my turn.

My son was next, no problems. Which is where our attention had been when packing in Mexico. Was his switch blade looking comb in his carry on? No it was not.

Finally my husband. He was carrying another bag of souvenirs and other odd things. That bag too was set aside. Of 7 carry on pieces we had 3 to deal with. I couldn’t believe it.

My daughter had a bottle of soda. My husband had a bottle of water. When the examiner looked at the screen, he could not find my bag. I was not jumping up and down to open it up and show him the precious liquid inside. He proclaimed a mistake had been made and handed my bag to me, unopened. Amazing!

As a side note – I usually don’t buy so many souvenirs. This trip we picked up all sorts of things. In the photo below is a butter dish, since our new cat will devour butter left without a lid. And why not have such a pretty vessel from Mexico on our counter? But who would have thought that the item to cause the most problem was that lovely cup? Turns out it is not meant to hold hot liquids like coffee. As I found out this morning. It is amazing how far a full cup of coffee can go as it sprays off the edge of the kitchen counter. But the crack is a clean one at the base. So the cup is now going to hold a candle. Repurpose instead of throwing away. That is what someone in Mexico would likely¬†do.

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