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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

the Year of Being Active

The past year I have made some pretty big changes in my life. Having to deal with chronic pain and fatigue was really starting to get old and I needed to try to do something to help with that battle. Something that wasn’t just a prescription from a doctor. I am tired being a slave to medication so I decided to be active and not passive in my own physical well being. With the added excitement in my life this year (the jumper guy, the layoff, and other fun things) I needed to channel all my negative energy some new way. Sitting on the couch reading – my usual method of escape – wasn’t cutting it any more.

Last September I started doing Aqua Fit through a staff fitness program at work. Turns out I have been missing that from my life. It was low-impact and suddenly most of my pain issues were managed in a much better way and I my flexibility had started to come back. It was enough at the time for me to start rebuilding my body’s strength. In January I challenged myself to do x-number of push up and crunches each night before bed. That helped me a lot with the upper body strength. I added stretching in as well to help with my constant back and hip pain. I did something similar in February. I also tried to do the ab challenge over the summer (making it only 15 days out of 30, but I just didn’t have the TIME in the day to get 100+ crunches in. Goodness!) With the surprise trauma I experienced in March, I was strong enough (thanks to the aqua fit) to add running into my weekly exercise schedule. The running hasn’t been easy, but it helped me in so many ways. Sure, I haven’t been out in over a month but I haven’t stopped the activity. In fact, I’ve stepped it up a notch!

Me & Elissa – October 27

Enter Elissa.

At the end of August/early September, I kept seeing this one name in my FB newsfeed over and over. I noticed that this person and I had almost 20 friends in common and everyone was praising her spirit and fitness motivation. Turns out this was right before she was about to start offering weekly fitness classes. Bonus – the classes are literally a block a way from my house. Talk about a sign! So I dropped into the first class to see how I’d like it and I was immediately filled with a sense of contentment. Everyone was laughing and smiling and friendly and Elissa was so effervescenty and warm. So I bought a card for 15 sessions and have been going to the indoor AND out door classes. I have gotten to know Elissa even more in the last two months and am possibly ready to be the President of her fanclub. Even though we grew up not even 5 minutes from each other, I never met her until this fall and I am so happy that I did.

Sometimes you get lucky and people come into your life at just the right time and that’s what happened to me when I met Elissa and joined her fitness classes. She inspires me, helps motivate me and is just an amazing new friend in my life. She’ll even brave the chilly cold October weather to train us outdoors because we want to do it! I am enjoying her classes and her friendship so much. This is someone who had four children and and a husband (who helps out with each class, too! He’s an unsung hero in my books) and she makes time to help others and is always smiling. ALWAYS. And so positive! What an inspiration.

So with Elissa in my corner and my newly found love of staying active I am feeling better both mentally and physically and I am stronger than I have been in both ways, too. Life is still throwing curve balls and things are difficult but I’m not letting it get me down and I am focusing on my health. I have muscle definition (amazing!) and I can lift weights that I couldn’t even hold a month ago.

I’m not reading much at all and I rarely hide my head inside the laptop any more, but right now I need to be active and not passive. So, I’m being active and I have found a group of wonderful people who are helping me stay inspired and motivated and…well… I’m even officially signed up to suffer – er participate – in the Spartan Run in May 2014 with a group from the fitness class. Elissa did it last year and survived – so I guess I can too? 😉

So, I have had a Year of Going Place and a Year of Doing Things. This year is officially my Year of Being Active. I will beat this fibro business and I will be pain-free and stronger eventually. That is my goal. This is SPARTA! Or, a reasonable facsimile thereof.


erin walker 1977-1994

erin walker :: august 6, 1977 – october 23, 1994

when i close my eyes

she’s too young to be forgotten
her world has only just begun
her future is an empty slate
waiting to be filled
and i see her
standing there
when i close my eyes

dancing in the sky
over moonbeams, around clouds
starlight in her eyes
angels in her hair
and i see her
when i close my eyes

child of the sunlight
daughter of the day
sleeping on bed of roses
with flowers in her hair

the wind it softly kissed her cheek
the raindrops fell like tears

and i see her
when i close my eyes

a thousand white candles
their flames dancing with the air
as rocks play tag with ocean

she’s fast asleep
never to be woken

and i see her
when i close my eyes

© catherine healy
October 23, 1994


You know what I think about the most on today’s anniversary? That next year it will be 20 years since the accident. Twenty. It has been longer (even now) since then than the number of years I knew Erin and had her as a friend.

I am no longer the 18-year old girl I was when this accident happened. I am nineteen years older. I am less innocent. I am a lot more jaded. Yet, there’s rarely a month that goes by that I don’t think of Erin and wonder what sort of 30-something woman she’d be now. What she would think of current events, fashion choices. How she’d be as a mother – because I know she’d have been a mother by now and I would have loved to have watch her children grow up. Even though I don’t want any of my own. Even though I am not particularly a fan of children myself… it’s just something that has been on my mind lately. Probably because I am surrounded by mothers – new and old and at my age everyone seems to have kids.

My mother and Heather grew up together. They had children. Erin and I grew up together, though I guess we never finished growing up since her life was cut short at only 17. These two women made such an impact on so many people. They are always remembered fondly and people smile when their names are mentioned. I still have trouble talking about either of them with the father and brother who were left behind. I am still not comfortable bringing up memories or their names even though others do. It’s just not something I feel like I can speak about. But the need to talk is there.

I’m often surprised by how strongly I still feel this loss all these years later. It doesn’t seem like 19 years ago. It seems so much closer than farther away. Still, to this day. I suppose this was my first really traumatic moment in my life and it will forever be seared into my mind.  When you’re expecting someone to show up at choir practice because you’d just said “see you tomorrow” the night before… and you’ve never had anything else this shocking happen in your 18 years of life… it sticks with you.

I wasn’t blood family, but that’s not always the only way to define family. Erin was special to me and such a close friend. I still wish she could have been in my wedding in 2005. I’m still bewildered that she wasn’t. Sometimes I still think she’s just a phone call away (or, I guess in this day and age, a text away). I think she’d have loved texting and instagram and be annoyed by facebook like the rest of us are.

I still feel so much all these years later. I suppose I always will. I don’t only think of these two in October. Erin is always on my mind. I oddly always think of her mother when we make Kraft Dinner (Heather made the BEST Kraft Dinner I have ever had!) and when I see really great photography.

19 years later and you are both still missed so much and loved so very, very strongly.

(Next year I swear I will have a recording of this song to go with the post. A real one. It’s my goal.)

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What to do When You Can’t Read? Purge Your Book Piles!

I’ve been sick this week. I’ve also been swamped with work and school projects. I’m also STILL not reading. (*weeps*) I have three books on their way to me that I am really anxious for, and had any of them arrived before the weekend, I’d have been reading all weekend I am sure. Alas, they didn’t make it and will probably show up Monday when I am back at work and in the middle of a new school project. Curses! Meanwhile I was super out of sorts today and so I thought, why not purge my books like I have been meaning to do since JUNE.

Then I discovered we were out of boxes. One quick trip to the office supply store later, I was upstairs in the guest room sorting out books I wanted to keep, books I wanted to re-home and from those regular books vs. ARCs. Two of the 5 boxes pictured above are filled with nothing but ARCs. Those are tricky to get rid of. I can’t sell them. I can’t give them to the library (besides, the libraries around here don’t even want my shiny, new English books. No way they’d want ARCs.) I’m at 5 boxes of books from just one room and a total of 134 books so far. I have yet to tackle the basement. This room only holds YA and MG books. And I only have one bookshelf, so the rest are in the closet. Or were in piles randomly strewn about the house.

I still have to get into the basement and go through those books. The basement holds all of our Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mystery and Fiction books. It also holds all the random books we have collected – non-fiction, art books, faerie art books, faerie puzzles, faerie collections, faerie..well, you get the idea I’m sure. The last time I went through all of my books and gave a bunch to the local church bazaar, I was a lot more emotionally attached to the books. It took about two years for that feeling to change. When it came to the YA/MG books I was purging, I was semi-ruthless. I kept all of the books I really, truly loved reading. The others went into boxes. Some I started to put in boxes and then changed my mind at the last second. Some I thought I might see if my sister wanted for her kids. Some books I’m just not ready to part with yet.

I’m sort of an odd duck and while I still feel connected to something, I can’t get rid of it. The second that connection is gone, the item is out of my house. But until then… I need to keep it around. Thankfully I’ve been disconnecting from a lot of the clutter we have hanging around and we’ve done quite a few purges in the last 6 months. Our kitchen cupboards are more organized and less full (why did 2 people need about 30 mugs!?) and our living space is a little cleaner. It’s hard to do but once I’m on a roll, I’m ready to de-clutter and make our space a happier one.

Not to mention, I only have about 3 book shelves. Two of those are “normal” sized. I only have one in the guest room where I have all the YA/MG books. Once I boxed up those 134 books, I started reorganizing my shelf. I managed to get authors A-N on that shelf in the photo. Go, me! (Only to realize I will have three new books arriving this week and I have about 6 or 7 lent out to friends. Drat!) A few of those books are unread, but most of the unread books I had lying around have been boxed up and ready to find new homes. That was a big one. If I’d had the book in the house for over 3 years and still hadn’t read it? I pretty much tossed it in the box. The odd time I didn’t even remember I had the book and so I kept it because I remembered that I had really wanted to read it. I give those books another year. If I have not read them by the end of summer next year? A-re-homing they go!

Young Adult and Middle Grade authors O-Z are back in the closet. But I have a lot fewer books in the closet now than I did. So, yay, me! I realized as I was alphabetizing my books that I still wanted to get the newly released editions of Harry Potter from this year. Then I’ll have two copies of each book. But that’s ok. Eventually I want a room that is ONLY library and I will have a space for fancy boxed sets of books. That’s my dream. Those books are like collectors things to me and I still have connections to them! AND I will reread them. Books I like to re-read, I keep.

All those books I couldn’t finish and kept thinking, “Maybe it’ll be better if I try it this time?” or that I just haven’t read. Or that I read and really didn’t like, so why was I holding on to the series and getting more? Those are all boxed up. I will see if friends with kids want them and if not, I’ll be passing most of them on to the church bazaar again this year. The ARCs? Well, I’ll probably recycle what I can’t re-home. And I am not shipping anything to anyone because I have no money (or patience!) for that.

Bonus to purging the books today? I found all of my bookmarks!

I couldn’t understand where they all went! I used to have bookmarks all over the house and lately I’m just using scraps of paper because I can’t find any of them! Turns out they were mostly all in books I hadn’t finished. Or that I had finished and forgot to take them out of. Oops. But now I have real actual bookmarks to use in the books I will HOPEFULLY be reading soon. (I haven’t read a book since the middle of August! OMG!)

sometimes we find lost dogs & other stories

It was a short work week this week due to Thanksgiving weekend last weekend. Of course my week was made even shorter with the addition of a wonderful gastro flu thing. I was at work for all of 2 days out of four. Go me. Ugh.

Tuesday morning as I was getting ready to leave for work there was a dog party in the street. Cars and people and dogs. We thought it was just people walking their dogs until I was leaving the house and saw that one of the dogs was still around when all humans and cars had vanished. She was a tall, gangly Husky and she came right up and gave me kisses before galloping away from me.

I asked Shawn to see if he could help catch her as I was on my way to the bus, but she ran off. He was going to go look for her but suddenly she found her way to the street I was on while waiting for the bus and after almost getting hit by a car, she ran up to me SO HAPPY to see me again! OMG! BEST FRIENDS! I was first in line for my bus with three other people behind me. I was trying to hold onto this dog, dropped my lunch bag, trying to open my phone and call Shawn to come meet me with a leash – and do you think ONE person offered to help me? No. Instead, what happened as I fell down into the WET grass while holding on to the dog, they all just MOVED UP ONE STEP to TAKE MY PLACE IN LINE.


None of them answered me when I asked them if the dog looked familiar. Not a one. One girl said “Guess you have to make a choice – play with your dog or go to work.” She wasn’t my dog, idiot girl! I was telling you she was LOST and we didn’t want her running around. Ugh. So Shawn met me with the leash, I missed my bus  but who cares (I got the next one and it was less crowded. So there.) and another woman pulled up saying she was also looking for the dog to take her to a vet since she’d been running loose for a while. Shawn ended up taking her home – she loved people but was terrified of dogs. And as he was trying to coax her into our house so he could watch her and call the police to let them know about the lost dog, a woman called out to her. Apparently she gets loose all the time. I wonder why? Couldn’t possibly be because the woman walked away WITHOUT A LEASH FOR THE DOG and just let her bound around freely. OH MY GOD. What is wrong with people.

Regardless, the day started out exciting and wasn’t such a horrible day after that. We find a lot of lost dogs in our neighbourhood. People don’t seem to care for them very well.

(Turns out, we find lost dogs every second year, in odd-numbered years. First there was Hassenpfeffer in 2009, then Smooches in 2011 and now this lovely Husky girl whom we did not have long enough to find a name for. 😉 And because I find this now happens way too frequently, I’m making a tag for these posts so I can refer to them easier when I find a new dog. Jeez.)


It was my father-in-law’s birthday over Thanksgiving weekend and I made him a card.

I’m quite happy with this card. I am still amused by the party hats I put on the animal stickers. Even a week later and it still makes me giggle. Heh. I now need to replenish my animal and party hat stickers. I didn’t have any hunter stickers so I had to make my father-in-law by hand. (and I cut out all those trees from fancy paper.) I need to get back to work on my Christmas card making. They will not be this detailed though. 😉


As I mentioned I was sick towards the end of this week. I started feeling bad on the bus ride into work on Thursday and was so sick once I got to the office. So sick that Shawn drove into town to come pick me up and I left 45 minutes after getting in. Spent the rest of the day in bed or the bathroom. Felt slightly better Friday but still  had an upset stomach and nothing panicks me more than having stomach issues at work. Ugh. My super wonderful boss said I could work from home if I wanted to and I was actually quite productive. Imagine that. Without annoying coworkers coming to ask me to do things that they don’t want to do themselves. I should work from home more often. =P

I also spent part of last weekend and some nights this week making book covers front, back and spine for a class project. I’m no graphic artist and I was doing the best I could with images borrowed from the internet and photoshop but I had a fun time making them. This assignment is now submitted and it was a fun group project. We’ve got 3 more to work on before the semester is done, but I’m enjoying this class immensely. It’s all about sales & marketing for book publishers and has pretty much solidified my desire to move into this field when I am done. (Or maybe I’ll make book covers!)

Anyhow, I’m still sick today, only it seems to have morphed into a head cold (with occasional cough). Boo. I am sick enough that I skipped my outdoor fitness class this morning. I really don’t want to be doing intense cardio when my stomach is still iffy. That just won’t end well for anyone. Yeesh. I will be posting about my fitness classes though! I have a post in my head and I still need to finish that post about the label I am giving this year! I have had it in drafts since the summer. Bad me!


That’s it really. Nothing much else exciting. Oh! We did get some awesome tacky bed sheets at Target yesterday. (I’m surprised we bought anything since Target has not impressed us one bit since it opened in our province. But we were desperate for sheets that weren’t ripped! And it’s easier to get to (less of a traffic headache) than the Wal-Mart. I really, really miss Zellers. Sigh)

These sheets remind me of sleeping at my grandparents’ place. They remind Shawn of sleeping in the country. Either way, we both seemed to have slept wonderfully last night and I am attributing that to these sheets. 😉