Packing and Preparation

Packing a suitcase usually done last minute– this trip has had us packing and preparing for one year.  Last night we finished after a final 4 hour marathon to make it all fit, to remove what seemed to be oh so very necessary, to add things that likely are really necessary and still…I wonder what I’ve forgotten.  Packing for all the seasons, packing light, thinking about layering, adding items that likely can’t be purchased are just some of the many considerations.

Glitches will occur, but how we respond to each will make or break the moment. I’m aiming for allowing mishaps and misadventures to roll off my back and adopting the serenity prayer for the majority of the trip.  Last night my camera decided to break.  Today we will buy a new one, lucky that we can, fortunate that it broke last night, and finally its one of three cameras that will be making the journey–so it never would have been a large problem.  We could not check in on Air Canada, but we are not alone in that concern, we will check in at the airport and deal with it that time.

The neighbors are taking care of our home and cats and we are so very fortunate to have a subdivision of neighbors that we call friends.  Our puppies are off to have their vacation at their kennel.  I’ve paid our bills, organized our bills for the next few weeks, suspended services and done all that is needed to leave the country.  We have downloaded movies, books, and games to keep us occupied.  We have figured out when to take our malaria pills and have read through one more time the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness.

While we are gone, the world will keep on.  Our second grandchild will be born sometime on this trip.  We pray for health and wellness of our family’s newest addition, and fervently hope that one day our children and grandchildren will continue to have opportunities for adventure in their lives.

The last few weeks we have received so many messages of good will via email, text, phone call or in person.  We will take each of you with us as we journey to the roof of Africa, adventure on Safari and rest on the beaches of Zanzibar. It will certainly be an incredible journey.  To the top!

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Climbing Kilimanjaro

Destination Kilimanjaro.  It was a year ago that I read that email.

Preparing for this great adventure has been a lesson in delaying gratification.  The entire year has been devoted to working, training and planning for a trip that will commence in just three short days.  I had been looking for something to challenge me, to take me out of the comfortable cocoon that had become my life–I knew at first read that this was the opportunity.  The search was over!

I remember the first time I decided on a minus 30 degree day to climb the stairs in my home.  I did this without hiking boots and pack, just in socks.  I went up and down the stairs for 20 minutes.  I was crippled for days after this challenge.  Who knew that months later I would climb 1600 stairs in 30 minutes on my lunch break and that some weeks I would do this 3 times in a week without any pain during or after.

I recall hiking in the winter and how sore I was after just a few short hours.  I was so pleased  with the level of fitness attained since, when just a few weeks ago I hiked for nearly 9 hours and was disappointed that we had to finish the hike as it was getting dark.

I had many illnesses and injuries, but I do know that I did all that I could to achieve this great goal.  I worked hard and at times three different jobs were juggled to make it all fit to pay for this trip.  I worked hard at our home, staining and painting the house, maintaining the garden, doing yard work, dealing with the dogs, cats, house and all that is required for Summertime at the acreage.

I cycled, biked, hiked, ran, stair climbed, hill climbed and mountain climbed. I woke up at 0300 and drove to hike in Nordegg, then drove home to care for the dogs.  I hiked with lung infections, sore knees, sore hips, sore feet and when exhausted to prepare for Kilimanjaro tough.  I read books about this great mountain, visualized the route, practiced breathing,  meditated and did yoga.  I prayed that we will finish the climb together, that our group will all make the journey to the top,  and asked anyone I met to pray for us.  I kept a journal, a calendar to keep track of my training and another to keep track of my jobs.  Preparing to climb Kilimanjaro was a priority for my life this past year.  When I could not make group workouts, I did more at home to make up for the fact that I did not attend. When walking was difficult due to one of the many injuries, I did core exercises twice per day to strengthen–it worked.  I went to my doctor more than I have in any recent year.   To determine the nature of my pain, I had a bone scan, x-ray and consult with a Sports physician. Convinced I was likely too fat for my body,  I lost over 30 pounds and many inches and that is what made all the difference.  I’ve met many great new friends and learned some of the stories of their lives as we hiked together.  I hope that we will remain friends after we have shared this amazing experience together

I know that the mountain will change me. I am hoping to leave some of my less admiral traits on the roof of Africa.  I will take people with me in spirit–my grandparents, parents, patients that have passed and patients that I currently care and have the honor of being a part of their lives at present.  I will think of my daughters, my grandson and new grandchild and hope that their lives will always be full of adventure, that they will never allow their live to be limited and that they will always aim high.

I will use this as a launch to the next chapter of my life.

I have no idea what the future brings–how many more years that I have left to live, but I do know that I will continue to live every day with intent and purpose.  I will continue to challenge myself physically, mentally and spiritually.  I will not sleep walk through life, nor take the days for granted.  I will continue to learn, grow and develop to become the best that I can be in this life.

I do know that I have done all that I can to achieve this great feat and I’m ready.  To the Top!

Remembering Robin Williams

What is Right in the World Today is that Robin Williams lived. 

I was so sad to hear of the ending of Robin Williams’ life.  Then I smiled as I remembered his smile, his laugh, both contagious, both full of mischief.  He would have wanted us to remember the good.

Like the vast majority of people mourning his passing, I knew him on stage, in film and the voice of many Disney films. I loved his humor, his quick wit and his acting.  I did know that he struggled with mental illness and addiction.  I did not know him, but I wish that I did.

I thought of the movie, Aladdin and how I once heard an interview where Disney had a script that was nothing like the end result.  Robin Williams started to read the script, and then he began to improvise.  Disney tried to rein him in; alas they could not–they let him continue.  The result was rapid fire genius.

I watched him in more serious movies and admired his versatility and talent.  He poured into each a piece of himself and the results were real and raw.  I wonder if he could ever fathom how many people he touched in his life.  Interviews that I saw were always of a humble man.  I wonder if he knows how many people laughed, how many cried and the legacy that he would leave behind.

He continues to reach out to us, sharing an intimate portrait of his struggle, putting a face to mental illness and allowing it into the light.  The stigma is lifting, but it still exists.  Perhaps because of this tragedy someone struggling today will reach out for help, saying, “Me too.”

Unfortunately we lost him too soon, but a quote from him reaches from beyond and offers hope. “You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

Rest easy Mr Williams.

 

 

Roomba

What is right in the world?  The Roomba.

For those of you that do not know what this is–its a robotic vacuum.  Its been around for awhile and I suspect that the reason that everyone does not own one or three of these gems is because its difficult to believe that this could actually live up to one’s expectations.

Now if you spend some time with my daughters’ and ask what vacuuming around our house was like, they would regale you with stories, some true, others likely have been embellished with time.  At some point in the telling, they would inform you that they were afraid of the vacuum because I was never happy when I used the device.  This last point is true.  I always felt that I was being taken advantage

I have two hairy dogs and two equally hairy cats and it seems as though they spend the better part of every waking moment shedding.  I own a Dyson and while it works well, it requires my input.  I hired a cleaning lady, and initially she did a good job, though this  required my husband and I spending the better part of an evening prior to her arrival tackling the hair in the house.  Later her work was less than stellar so we let her go.  Her parting comments, “there is too much hair.”  She couldn’t keep up either!

I was at Costco and there was the Roomba, the price was reasonable so I loaded it into my cart.  I thought that it was likely a mistake.  On the contrary it has been one of my best decisions.  My daughter’s each own one now and I’ve been busy spreading the word.

The Roomba exceeded my expectations.  It knows not to fall down the stairs, it untangles itself from cords and returns to its mother ship to be charged.  It goes under furniture, moves from hardwood to carpet and then to tile with ease and is on a cleaning schedule that only initially required my input.

Thanks to the Roomba I have the commodity of time on my hands.  Time to read, plan and do anything other than vacuum.  Roomba– it is what is right in the world today.

How many of you knew about this gem?  What else has saved you time?  Please share.

 

 

What is Right in the World Today

 

There is much that is negative in the world.  It seems as though it is always the bad that gets press and the good is just not newsworthy.  I’ve noticed though on Christmas day the good is finally reported, but for the other 364 days we fill our minds, our souls and our hearts with sadness.  Each day it wears us down, each day it takes something from each of us.

We need more positive in the world.  I’m not suggesting that we look at the world through “rose colored glasses,” but rather look to find the good in the world every day.  This is a challenge some days for certain and other days it will seem as though its difficult to pick only one thing.  Here is the best news of all, we do not need to limit ourselves, but rather write down or think on the all that is right in the world.

We are so very fortunate.  Most of us have enough to eat, enough clean water to drink and a roof over our heads.  We have the ability to speak up and out and are not censored or persecuted for our beliefs.  We have laws that protect us, healthcare that is affordable and safe structures.  Generally, we can go to a grocery store and have choice. Most of us  can fly across the province, country, or world safely and easily.

We have choice and free will.  We can change ourselves, our circumstances, our surroundings as we deem necessary.  We have access to courses, careers.  We can learn a second language or a third or more.  We can choose to try harder or to adjust our sails and try again.

Draw inspiration from others’ around you.  If we take the time to really listen and understand we are humbled.

Take the time today to look for what is right in the world today!