**I was looking through Aszjeca's Halloween series of photos, and just started writing this in mid-thought...all in one shot, unedited and raw, as is the way I will often write.
It's not even just about what she does with her skills, there is just something about the way Aszjeca captures her creations in how she poses in her photos. They're not just straight photos of the make up and then done, she knows how to bring them to life even more by adding other layers of depth.
(This is the photo that put my mind into writing mode)
I haven't read the original thing I wrote about Aszjeca last year since I did it.
I kinda just write and move on. I do believe I said something along the lines of me not being a make-up kinda guy. I love natural beauty and don't think it should be covered up. Aszjeca is the exception that makes me a total hypocrite though, because what she does is unreal!!
After seeing her Halloween series this year I kinda got sad that it was over. It was then that I realized that Aszjeca is my favourite artist in this area. There is a very deep and rich community of artists around here, and I don't want to disrespect any of them because this place has some damned talent...my goodness does it ever have talent, but she is on a different level.
(This photo deserves to be full size...that shit's crazy!)
Aszjeca's skills are off the charts fantastic, and so is her imagination for what she comes up with to create. She never ceases to blow my mind that way. The thing that takes it further though is that extra layered depth she gets through knowing how to capture each moment in a photo.
It may not seem like it to many, but I am a very artsy person, and in anything I do I pour everything I have into it, and look for as many ways to add layers of depth as I can. I stretch my imagination beyond what I know to do. I venture into the unknown through my art, quite often by mistake, but I love the pursuit of uniqueness as it is often the thing that drives me.
It's in that realm of thought where my mind goes when I see the way Aszjeca captures her creations...whether that be through wearing a wig, or onsie lookin' thing, the way she has her hair, or just through the way she poses. She brings in several aspects of art all at once, and it is just so damned mind blowing.
The thing that is even more excellent is the way that once she is done, she cleans it off and that's that! I liken it similarly to Buddhist Monks doing those absolutely stunning sand mandalas. Their creations are so gorgeous, and leave one completely in awe. Then once they are done, the monks just sweep up the mandala...and that's that! Countless hours just gone. I know those mandalas are all about the journey, and not the destination; but the odd time I will think about that likeness between Aszjeca's art and that of a Buddhist Monk's sand mandala...a stunning piece of work that gets washed away. It all seems crazy, but it is really just wrapped in brilliance.
Within the notion of her art, the simplest thing I can say is that I am a guy who straight-up doesn't like make up, but I am always looking forward to what she is gonna do next. Aszjeca is just that fuckin' good!
Yesterday (November 2nd) I sent her this message:
"I'm assuming your Halloween series is over now? You gonna do a Christmas one?"
She told me she is for sure, so stay tuned 'cause Christmas is coming fast!
Here is Aszjeca's info again!
Her page on Younique Beauty Products. (She has been killing it with this stuff!):
Aura Spa & Salon at The Hume Hotel in Nelson, BC, Canada:
Bonus photo she posted beginning of November...
"Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground ✨" - Aszjeca
LaRae has popped back up on the radar a few times over the past few days. I was fortunate enough to have seen her a couple times, and sitting her reflecting on that a bit right now I kinda feel like this really overdue.
I usually write things in their own time without much thought. Get hit by something, sit down and write it! Just like that. I don't even read or go through half the shit I write. I just fire it off in one shot and move on. This one feels different though, and I feel kinda shitty for taking so long.
LaRae is fuckin' something maaaan!
It's really hard to encapsulate how she came into my life...and maybe that's why it has taken me so long to do this.
A couple years ago, I stood on a stage with tears rolling down my face in front of about 200 people when I was at a cancer fundraiser. Listening to the speech being given, I kinda just broke down.
While I was standing there with those tears, some girl came up to me and took my hand in one of hers, and then wrapped her other arm around me...and squeezed. I didn't even flinch to look and see who it was because all my attention was for the person speaking on stage.
This mystery person completely latched onto me in a very loving way. She gave me a kiss on the cheek a few different times while holding tight the entire time.
Even though I didn't even look at her, and had no idea who she was, I got filled with this deeply profound feeling of love for another human being coming from her. At times, in that moment on that stage, all I could see was that love she was expressing. It was unreal! Whoever it was, you could tell she just cared, and she really, really fuckin' meant it! A complete stranger to a complete stranger in a crazy moment. It was actually quite overwhelming.
When the speech was over, she gave me the biggest hug ever...I mean, loooong hug! Squeezing real fuckin' tight! This person crammed an eternity of love in a moment, and then with one last little kiss on the cheek, vanished back into the crowd...
Just like that!
She came outta nowhere, created this unreal amount of love, and then vanished.
I don't know why I didn't look at her in that moment, but I fully engrossed in the emotion she was sharing. I've never experienced anything like it, and given the levity of all that night entailed, I know I'll never experience anything like that again. I knew it at the time too, and I savoured in it. The weight of it all did not escape me. I was in the midst of something special and I reveled in it...even in tears in front of a couple hundred people.
I found out who LaRae was a couple days later. I had just met her cousin about month earlier, and I asked her who that person was, because she was really nice to me, and I just wanted to say thanks.
That's how I met LaRae!
She will forever be one of the most special people to me in my entire life because of how we met. Even if we had never seen each other again that would still hold true.
I've been very blessed with a lot of really good people in my life. No matter where I go, they just keep appearing. LaRae is something else though. Getting to know her since, everything about the way we met just made sense.
Crystal. Fuckin'. Clear!
The vibrancy of this woman is insane! She is like walking sunshine! It doesn't matter what you're going through, her presence just fills everything with life, love, radiance her profound, profound vibrancy!
LaRae has this thirst for life, and goes right the fuck after it! She is a mountain top standing, laketime kayaking, waterfall finding, snowboard riding, festival going, pure love creating absolutely gorgeous soul! She is one of the good ones.
If you're lucky enough to have LaRae come anywhere near your life, count your blessings because she is an angel sent from the divine of whatever your trip is. A true gift of everything that is good in life!
I hardly ever see her, but she makes every single moment seem like a life time. She appears...and disappears! Appears...and disappears...but leaves you totally blown away every time! If only everyone let their vibrancy shine like she does, I can guarantee a lotta hurt in this world would be mended.
I love the special soul that LaRae is. I love knowing that someone like her exists. She put the truth of the humanity in her heart on full display standing next to that stranger on that stage, and it's the only thing I'll ever see in her.
The word 'astonishing' should be reserved solely for LaRae because she is everything that word dreams to become!
LaRae = Best! Hugs! Everrrr!
From September 18, 2018
When I was on my way to the Okanagan for the last of my three triathlon trips this summer I hit a deer just before I got into Grand Forks. I was absolutely horrified by the accident as it was a little spotted fawn. I'll save that story for another time.
I stopped in town to assess the damage before I kept rolling down the road, especially since it was somewhere between 3:00 -4:00am.
There was only some minor damage to my front driver side light and signal light that I was gonna need to get sorted, but nothing serious, so I kept on my way. When I got home from the weekend I got in touch with Joe & Al to set up an appointment to get some lovin’ for my van.
When I pulled up to their shop at Steel Toe Joe’s in Krestova I was greeted by Rosie in the driveway as soon as I got outta my van. She saw my dogs, and had to immediately 'cess the situation with who these fuckers were at her place. (I had Paul's doggie, Cecelia, while he was away at Red Rocks in Colorado for a Greensky Bluegrass show).
Rosie the shop dawg!
Rosie is pretty excellent. As Fennario is my work's hotel doggie, Rosie is the shop doggie at Steel Toe Joe's! She even has her own seat that she seems to have taken complete ownership of.
My appointment was at 2:00pm, and I guess I rolled in at 1:58pm. I knew this because they were half shocked about it.
Porter: "Who in the Kootenays is ever on time?!"
(Jon) Porter works for Joe in the shop. He is a super good guy. He just grinds away at what he's doin', and then every-so-often you'll hear him start gigglin' at our meandering conversations.
As casual as I am, and as much as I don’t like to hurry for pretty much anything, I do try to be on time for appointments as I find it prudent to be considerate of those who may be in front or behind me.
Joe was out test driving some guy's pick-up truck when it was my turn, so Porter hopped right in my van, drove it into the shop, and got right at it. Pronto service!
It wasn't too hard for him to figure out what headlight was messed up from the little deer because as soon as he popped the hood and lifted it up, the light fell right out.
He started laughing, “Found it!”
I got Porter to put on my snow tires while I was there too.
Joe came and went, working on this and that, and searching through the computer for parts while Al did her desk-y work. Al is the duty manager...also Joe's wife.
Joe and Al are amazing. Just really, really great people! I've known them for 15 years now, and they have become some of my closest friends.
First photo is Al trying to act angry that I took her photo. Second one is when I called bullshit on her being angry.
Over the years I have watched Joe's whole progression towards someday having his own shop at his home. While doing his apprenticeship, he had to go away to Cranbrook for school, and then to Kelowna over a period of four years. It was a bummer having to be away from his wife and kids, but it was all a part of the grander vision and he was doing what he had to do.
Joe worked, and worked, and just ground it out...even towing truck for three or four years. He would be in the shop from 8am - 5pm, and then be on call for the rest of the 24 hours...often being called out in the middle of the night. He did all this while having a family with Al and their three young children!
A family affair! Ollie (their youngest) helping mom and dad.
Joe is the epitome of a hard worker. On top of that, he is as solid as they come. When I think of what a good human is, he is one of the first people who comes to mind. In an industry that is widely known to have scammers and just a lotta shittiness, Joe is the one who stands out above the rest. There is no one more honest than him, and there is nothing he can't fix.
When I say there is nothing he can’t fix, I’m talking far beyond just vehicles. I once had a problem with my bike that no local bike shops could fix, nor could bike shops in Calgary and the Okanagan. It was a loose rivet that was the issue. I was sent to the riveting specialist in Nelson and even he couldn't do it, so I took it to Joe. He was working at Western Auto Wreckers at the time. I dropped off my bike, came back in a couple days, and it was good to go! Back racing triathlons again! (When I dropped it off, Corey and Perry came out and slobbered over the awesomeness of it.)
(Clint, Corey and the rest of the boys at Western Auto had always been real good to me. It always felt like they would give me a tad bit of special treatment there. With the exhaustion so deep in my body, there had even been times when I would pass out on their desk in the office, and they didn't mind. They were always into and entertained by what I was doing. They even used to sponsor me when I raced hard years ago.)
In a way I was a bit sad to see Joe leave Western because I liked the guys there, but when he told me he was finally goin' for it with his shop I was super psyched for him. Nothing in the past mattered at that point, because I was aware of the whole journey and what it truly meant to him to finally arrive at the foot of his dream.
Although the road to that whole dream of the home-based shop was not always an easy one, it came together real fast when Joe and Al found the amazing new home they bought in June of 2015. It is in Krestova on several acres of land, and had a shop on it.
For the first couple years the shop was designated as their social hangout. It was great for that! They had Thanksgiving in it in 2015 and called it, "Shopsgiving." They also had Christmas there one year and called it, "Shopsmas." I mean, how good is that?!
Joe's dream of his home shop persisted though, but it always seemed like a bit of a distant thing even though they had most of the pieces in place. Then, just like that, one day he said, "Fuck it!" and went for it.
Talking with him about it, it was all just the whole concept of having the courage to just dive into the unknown and go.
He had to do some reno's to his shop to get it full business ready, but nothing too crazy. He ripped out a small couple walls, raised a section in the roof so he could put in a lift, and put in a bigger sliding door on the front. Just like that, he was ready to go!
After the school year was done at the end of this past June, Al finished up with her old job that she had been doing for many years, and joined Joe in the shop as the Duty Manager.
In all the 15 years I have known them, and all the fun and shenanigans we have had together, Joe said my favourite thing I have ever heard him say at an annual party they had on the second weekend of August.
Deep into the night he and I were talking a bit about the shop, and I asked him how it was with Al there...how she liked it, how they flowed together in a working environment, etc.
Joe said, "It's great! I love my wife, and she loves me! We get along so well, and all day long we get to see each other. I love it!"
I don't really need to say how amazing that is, do I?! It was definitely one of those moments where you just get happy for other people's happiness.
I've seen Joe and Al in the serious grind of some of the earlier years just trying to make it all work, and now, without exception, every time I am here I just get happy for them because they are both truly living their dream. There is not a time that I go to their place that that thought does not enter my mind…regardless of why I am there.
The environment they have created in their Steel Toe Joe's Automotive shop is warm, inviting, friendly, yet very professional. They are both the kindest people ever, and absolutely freakin' hilarious too!
I know that sometimes women can feel intimidated at automotive shops. I’ve seen that kind of thing through advertisements and such of the rare auto shop that is owned and operated by women…where part of their advertising pitch is about their shop being a place where women can feel safe and comfortable.
I’m not gonna get into what I think of all that here, but what I will say is that no woman will ever feel that at Steel Toe Joe’s. Ever! It doesn’t matter who you are, when you are at their shop they will make you feel at ease. As I eluded to above, Joe is one of the first people who comes to mind when I think of what a good human is, and Al…shiiit…I don’t think there is a more caring person on this planet, not that I have ever come across anyway!
It just feels like home, like you’re hanging out with good friends while Joe and Porter take care of your vehicles and Al takes care of you personally. I’m not just saying that because I am their friend, but because I am very observant towards who they are. (I’m only their friend because of the good people they are.)
There is no way I could possibly recommend anyone higher if you are in the area from Nelson to Castlegar and the lower Slocan Valley. If you don't live in this area and you have car problems, it totally sucks to be you! I kinda feel sorry for you!
Steel Toe Joe's staff...some of the best people you will ever meet!
Left to right: Joe & Al Shaw, Jon Porter
Steel Toe Joe's Automotive is the shit! The best of the best! Honest, reliable, and the ass-whuppin'est car fixin'est mutha-fuckas there are!
You leave there happy, entertained, and with your car all patched up.
You can find them at:
3804 Pine Road
On Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Steel-Toe-Joes-Automotive-Repair-587555518068314/
Google Maps Link:
September 2, 2018: A Grateful Fail!
Montreal Smoked Hash
$13.65 after tax, before tip (I can't believe I tipped them 15% let alone at all!)
I'm not too sure when I first heard of the Grateful Fed restaurant. It was a few years ago at least, but I had not been out of the West Kootenay at that time. Needless to say, I was freakin' psyched to go there sometime. I had to go there!
I had three Okanagan trips for this little triathlon pack I put together for myself this summer, all taking me through Kelowna, so there is no way I would not be going to the Fed at least once.
Today was the day...the last of my triathlon tips. I just finished my last race in Summerland a couple hours ago, and was stopping here on my way back through town.
Like the idiot I am, I forgot to write down the address before I left home, but I had a pretty good idea of where it was. At least I thought it was on a road that started with 'B' that ran parallel to the main road coming off the bridge. I just had to turn left when I got into town and I should be OK as I remembered it to be a few blocks.
I found it easier that I thought I might. I definitely had some anticipation flowing when I located this place from the street. The real challenging part was finding a shaded parking spot for Fennario. After a few laps, trying to keep my wits to stay close to where I needed to be I got my parking sorted though...and only a block away from the restaurant.
So, here I was about to quench a multi year thirst of curiosity. Exciting!
I didn't wanna sit out on the patio because I wanted to see what it was like inside...straight through the door I went!
It only took about 2 or 3 seconds to be completely let down. It should just be called some kinda classic rock thing regurgitated thing. There is barely any Grateful Dead anywhere. The only damned actual record I see of theirs is Skeleton's From The Closet. If you know your shit, you know that is the shittiest record the boys ever put out. A crap-ass best of released by a label after they left it to capitalize on their back catalogue. (DO NOT LISTEN TO THE "TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT" ON THAT RECORD! They took that beauty, edited the shit outta it, and turned it into an absolute abomination!) Speaking of an abomination, they put it right next to a Coors Light neon sign. I'm not even a beer guy, but I know that shit is absolute garbage!
I went to the washroom when I first walked in though and it was way down the hall at the back of the building. I had to walk past the kitchen. I took a quick glance when I passed by. Daaaaamn...shit just keeps gettin' gnarlier!
(An offshoot part of my job is to inspect the kitchen where I work, so I know what to look for, and this one...Shit maaaan...those guys don't want me walking through there, that's for damned sure!)
I took a photo of the only real Dead section on the wall, but I couldn't sit beside it 'cause they were rolling cutlery into napkins. This place seemed to be a crash course on how to shitty even shittier real fast! I sat beside the Beatles section because of a couple Beatles nut friends of mine. An old-school bro, Dave, and a newer friend, Kelly. Thinkin' of those two were the most positive experience in there.
The music they are playing hurts my ears and definitely licks balls! Of course it wasn't Grateful Dead, or any of the post-Jerry group arrangements, nor was it any of the boys' solo groups. Not even anything close like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Doors, etc, etc, etc. It was some ball lickin' metal(ish) music that made me wanna stick ice picks in my ears just to take my mind off of the torture I had to sit through!
Although it is 1:30pm, there is no lunch menu, only breakfast. Total bummer again. I did not sleep in and am hung over, I want some lunch, not breakfast in the afternoon, but oh well, take what you can get I guess!
The tiny menu was very limited and not very appealing either. I got a Montreal Smoked Hash. Outside of thinkin' 'bout Dave and Kelly, pretty much the only positive so far is how fast the food came.
I needed to send a message to a friend who was possibly meeting me there, so when she brought me my food I asked if they had wi-fi.
The password was one they did not deserve: fedheads
I didn't even have to punch in the password though as it just connected automatically. Surprise, surprise...they can't even do that right!
I immediately put a post on my facecrack account:
"At The Grateful Fed in Kelowna right now. Talk about false advertising. Wonder if I can sue for that shit!"
The server said she would bring me some jams for my toast, but didn't do that. Oh well...par for the course. I'm just gonna plow this food into my face so I can get the hell outta here.
As for the food itself...
Where's the ooooooze?!
There is definitely a smokey flavour to the food, but let's face facts, this shit ain't hard to make or fuck up!
Food OK, but overall rating:
Oops...I was wrong...food is salty as fuck and I didn't even put anything on that shit. Also...eggs over easy my ass! Eggs over cooked more like it! This place can suck it!
When the server brought my bill to me, she got all excited about the sticker on my laptop: The Funk Hunters. I told her it came with my laptop, that I bought it from my friend. Then I told her, if I put a sticker on it, it would be like the shirt on my back, which was a Grateful Dead tour shirt.
Was I shocked that this girl got psyched on Funk Hunters and couldn't give a shit about the Grateful Dead in a restaurant called, The Grateful Fed? Not at this point.
When I left I saw they had packed up the patio. I guess it was a short day which is why no lunch menu. Seemed strange to close so early on a sunny Sunday of a long weekend, but was no surprise.
What a total fuckin' joke! The food sucked! The kitchen was a disgrace! The decor licked balls! The music made me want to kill myself!
...and they couldn't give one sweet fuck about the Grateful Dead!
As a true connoisseur of all things Grateful Dead, I found the Grateful Fed nothing short of absolutely insulting!
I didn't take a photo of the outside front of the place when I left, because at that point I just couldn't give a shit!
When I got to my van I apologized to Fennario for the waste of time. (I wonder if any of them would even know the significance of my doggie's name...oops...I don't have to wonder that. Of course they wouldn't!)
I got in my van and popped in an old tape from 12-12-73 and blared it. I needed to knock that shit outta my head and get it straight with what the Grateful Dead really meant!
July 27, 2018
I lost the past couple days of my challenge because of circumstance at work. I was at work for 15 hours, and then came home and had a broken up sleep for 2 hours, then went back and was there for 16 hours.
Although the time restricted eating thing wasn't really a problem, I didn't care that it was my last day of this challenge. After putting in this crazy little stretch of work I decided to say, "Fuck it" and got a Dairy Queen cone.
(Still no plastic! No new plastic was easy.)
The first thing I noticed when I pulled up to my home was a garden of dying sunflowers as it has been hot and I hadn't been able to water them because of my time at work. Damn!
I didn't get right at that though because first thing is first: Go get in the river!
When I came up from swimming I got right at watering my garden. The poor bastid has taken a beating. (Elk and deer have been eating several of my sunflowers.) I don't have a tap at my house, so I can't water with a hose. I have to fill water cans in my bathroom tub. For a garden that dry and dying, I had to soak it pretty well, which means a whack load of trips in and outta my home.
I was so exhausted when I was done that I decided to kick back in my reclining gravity lawn chair. (Or whatever you call it.) I was sinking into it nicely under the sun on my deck. It felt good to stretch out, mellow out, and take a load off. My plan was to pass out if that's what happened. I was hoping for that at least.
Right when I was hitting that stride of bliss I got bitten three times by hornets. Even while I was getting beat up by those lil' fuckers, I was realizing that they must have been building a nest inside the piping of the chair.
After the swarm mellowed out a bit, I flipped the chair over and sure enough, the army was alerted and a big-ass swarm of hornets followed. When I saw that I started thinking of the walk with the hornet-y chair down to the river to throw it in and sink it for enough time to sort that problem. I'll do that soon enough. The new topic for the moment was to cut my grass.
I gassed up my lawnmower and got right at it. Within the first minute of cutting my grass I ran over something I didn't see even though I was looking right down where I was cutting. It was right beside the wall of my home, and was nothing I hadn't cut over and over, so I was a tad baffled as to what it was.
I just heard the noise, but didn't see anything, so I kept on going. A few strides later I started feeling a sensation in my foot, so I looked down and saw a drop of blood. It was nothing...just tiny. I kept on going.
It was really windy, so I thought perhaps whatever it was blew into my path. I looked down at my foot again and was kinda impressed with how it happened as whatever it was launched up through the bottom of my foot through my sandal...perfect timing in my stride to be hit the way I was. Some rain started coming down sideways to accompany the wind, so I put my lawnmower away and came inside.
I promptly crawled into bed and passed out. When I woke up my foot was totally fucked. I didn't care about the walking part. I can deal with being all gibbled just fine. The only thing on my mind was not being able to ride my bike, because there is no way I can do it right now.
It feels like whatever it was that I ran over with the lawnmower pierced through and hit the big plantar fascia ligament in the bottom of my foot. It's like a perfect strike to a pressure point that has caused a rippling effect in my foot.
I'm limping and can't walk on it properly, but that is fine for me. I can't stand on ball of foot on tip toes, etc, which is exactly how riding is done. My already slow-ass running speed will be chopped down at least 50%, but probably more. I'm pretty choked right now at the thought of having racing disappear just like that. Gotta figure out how to see if I can heal it fast if I wanna chance to get out and give 'er.
I'm gonna write more about what this means for the racing I had shaping up, and also to sum up my 31 day challenge for myself.
I have been altering my fitness program as I have gotten deeper into this challenge. Yes, I had a few stumbles because of what my body has thrown at me, but I'm still cruising along really well.
I'm still keeping the weight program at 5 sets consistent across the board. My hill charges have mostly stuck at 4 reps, but sometimes I do one or two more. I started out really struggling with push-ups, but now those are feeling pretty good. Instead of doing a target goal of 42 a day I have pushed that up to 50+, so it's nice to have some more thrown in there.
My bike has climbed up quite a bit. My original schedule started me off at 7 minutes on my trainer for a few days, and then working my way up to 30 minutes. I have blown past that by 25% by riding 40 minutes in a gear higher, so it burns some more for longer.
I don't really like riding on my winter trainer. It doesn't take long for it to start hurting me a lot. My feet and butt all get so sore and go completely numb. When I am out on the road I can at least coast and shake off my feet every now and again; and for my ass, I can stand up and pedal. You can't do that on a winter trainer, so it's pure suffering.
Of course, my quads get chewed up too. When everything is going numb and unbearably sore, the thing I think about most is Travis. A lotta local people know who I am talking about, but for those who do not, the easy thing to say is that he is a real good friend of mine. The place I draw inspiration from him though is the way that fucker charges on a mountain bike. Two easy examples:
In 2011 he got sponsored to go down to Costa Rica to do the La Ruta. It is a 4 day stage race that I believe is the hardest in the world. Travis made the podium in his age group.
Travis charging in Leaders Jersey - La Ruta (2011)
Yesterday (July 21, 2018), he just won his category at the Canadian XCO Championships in Canmore, Alberta. Here is the link to his results:
Travis at the Canadian XCO Championships
(Photos by John Gibson: gibsonpictures.com/ )
I know how much time he puts in on his bike...in groups, or on his own. He does insane shit like it ain't no thing! In order to do what he does, and as well as he does, you just know he charges straight into the burn head on...looks at adversity straight in the eyes and punches it right in the mouth, and then rides over it.
(He really should be nicknamed, "Podium!")
So, when I am on my winter trainer and everything is feeling shitty and falling apart it is inevitable that I will get flashes of Travis pass through my mind.
I need to get my bike out on the road soon to see how my hernia reacts to riding proper. I'm hoping that there will be a big difference now that I have put in the time I have into my body through this fitness end of my challenge.
I wanna feel the roll on the road!
I wanna stand up and charge!
I wanna dig into some hills!
I've decided to extend my 31 day challenge longer, at least until August 16th; but when the initial 31 days are up I will be pulling my bike off my trainer and getting it out on the road, because I need to put that time in.
I haven't just increased some numbers within the exercises I have been doing, I added a new element too: Treading water!
The river has finally warmed up enough to properly get into it, so I have gotten straight at treading water. I'm only in the beginning days of that, but I started with about 12 minutes, then 16, and increasing from there. The water is still cold enough to leave me feeling it by the time I get out, but it is nice for the hot sun as it really drops my core temperature.
I will start swimming any day now as well. I am feeling a lotta pressure to get on top of that because I am running out of time to do so. It is definitely on my mind though, because I have tried a bit, and my right shoulder is really messed up. I have to figure out how to modify my already limited stroke so I can swim most efficiently for how screwed up I am. I just need to put the time in and then I will find my way through the pain. I always do.
The reason for the pressure I have been feeling from swimming, and that firm date of August 16th that I mentioned above is because I have just signed up for a weekend of racing in Penticton from August 17-19. I will be doing all three days.
The Super League Triathlon in Penticton is a new one since my last days of racing in 2012. It is on the same weekend of the legendary Kelowna Apple Triathlon...most often our National Championships!
(The Super League event in Pentiction: superleaguecanada.com/ )
I was looking to do the Apple when I started thinking about racing again not too long ago. When I went on the Tri-BC website for the first time since 2012 to check it out, I saw this Penticton 3 day event! Shiiiiiiit!
Even though the Apple is hosting the National Championships again on the same weekend, I wanna charge three days in Penticton. Why do one day when I can do three?! I can do the first two in Penticton and then go up to Kelowna for the Apple, but I wanna complete the whole Penticton race. Besides, even though they are the same distance over all:
I like the format in Penticton of doing back to back Sprint Triathlons:
I'm also interested to see what the course is like in Penticton. When I raced the Peach there, the run had a crazy long uphill after a flat to warm up the legs. The ride was nice and rolling too. The Peach was a full Olympic distance though, so not sure if the course will follow the same basic routes for a double Sprint. I am curious for sure!
There is also a beautiful thing about Penticton with triathlon. Yes, the National Triathlon Centre is in Victoria as is the home of 3 time Kona (Ironman Hawaii) winner Peter Reid, and Simon Whitfield lives on Saltspring Island and trained out of the pool in Sidney BC (The Commonwealth Pool from the 1994 Victoria games.), but anyone who knows anything knows that the Okanagan is the beating heart of triathlon in Canada. That was always anchored by the Ironman Canada which was held in Penticton for 27 years until it moved to Whistler in 2013.
Regardless of the move, when you go to Penticton, the thumbprint of Ironman is all over the place, especially at the park where the transition zone is and racing is competed from. I absolutely loved racing there.
There's something about those ghosts of years past. It's a real special feeling racing in Penticton. I don't even give a shit that I finish last place, all that means is I get to be out on course soaking it up for longer than anyone. In a strange way I always looked at the winners as the poor bastards who got to have fun for much less time than I did. I never liked finishing races because it just forced me to stop having fun.
I left my racing life behind on a sour note, and I am starting to feel that there is no more fitting place to get back out there than this three day event in Penticton. I have no idea how my body will respond to it, and I know my body will be nowhere near where I would like it to be, but I don't care 'cause I'm goin' for it!
Rest assured, when the pain sets in, that speedy lil' fucker, Travis will float through my mind. It will make me smile and dig in even more!
Racing in the Okanagan again will feel like coming home, and just through the process of writing this just now, I have realized how much I can't wait to get back out on the track again!
Just got back from treading water. I don't really time myself traditionally. I count in blocks of 100. I timed how long it takes me to count to 100 at the general pace I do, and it is just over 2 minutes.
Today I did an 1199 count. Screw 1200! I wanted #99 (Wayne Gretzky) and #11 (Mark Messier). Divide Gretzky by Messier and you get Gordie Howe and The Rocket! (#9). So...I'll take Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Elbows and The Rocket over 1200 any day!
Around minutes 15-16 (between the 750-800 count) I really felt my ankles getting very sore, so I had to kick much less. Shortly after that I felt a slight pull in my right lat muscle...the same one I have been having problems with from push-ups. I don't really mind those kinds of injuries though. They feel like home to me, so I just suck it up and go longer.
When I was done I did a bit of floating and splashing around on my back gigglin' in the sunny water. Then I went for a quick toot around on my paddle board.
My hernia has been hurting so badly that I have had to take a break from the fitness side of my challenge. Daniella actually caught me crunched over my desk at work wincing and groaning in pain because of it. It takes a lot for that to happen. She didn't really like seeing me like that.
I am not good at doing anything except lying down while putting pressure on the lump to hold it in. If I am upright it really fucks with me quite a bit.
The nature of the matter has slowed me down with my fitness challenge. I can handle the pain, that’s not the real issue. It’s not the same as something like arthritis. That shit’s no big deal for the most part. Yeah, it hurts like crazy, but it doesn’t really injure me so-to-say. I just gotta toughen up, and then keep going.
Of course my body has the ultimate veto on everything with my arthritis-y stuff…or anything for that matter. Having lost so many years worth of time, I know that as well as anyone. I can push through unimaginable depths of that pain and limited function though. It isn’t even that hard even though it takes everything in me to do. A hernia is different though. I know that with a hernia I can easily rupture or burst it, and if that happens I am in trouble. If it bursts I’ll have shit going all over the place inside that shouldn’t be there and it can cause all sorts of problems.
Having my hernia hurt bad enough to have me crunched over my desk at work wincing in pain told me I should slow it down a bit with my fitness stuff. I wasn’t happy about that at all. I have had really great momentum and it has been feeling good, not just in my body, but also in my mind.
I was on hold for several days. I was pretty upset about it at first, especially having lost a bit of time early on and having to work so hard to crawl outta the holes I put myself in.
I was psyched to get myself back level with everything, so falling back down even worse was not something that felt good. I’m so hard on myself too that I instinctively started beating myself up for failing myself. It ate at my mind and ate at my mind; and the more it did the more I got pissed off and let down.
Every time I would move around my pain would just elevate and elevate. It took over my conscious because of not just how it felt, but how it was sabotaging my challenge. I was pissed!
The fitness end of my challenge has been eating all of my time though. It has been the only thing I do at home when I am not at work. I have definitely neglected a few home life chores and such because of it. One thing I did do, even though it kicked my ass, was cut my grass. I had to do that with one hand on the lawnmower and the other holding my guts in. It was a tough one, but I got ‘er done.
The extra time that freed up though gave my mind a bit more freedom to think of other things. This inevitable caused me to go into a bit of reflecting upon the beginning of my challenge and the quick changes I experienced, as well as all the unforeseen little lessons…like how removing plastics can drastically reduce sugar from ones life.
I started to look at the time when my right hand and wrist were going through the changes to inevitably end up with permanent damage. When that was happening, I was desperately trying to do a single push-up against my kitchen counter while standing. Not a chance! I bought a 2lb dumbbell to try to do some curls, and I couldn’t even come close. The frame of my wrist was so bad I couldn’t handle two stinkin’ pounds!
It is in times like this that I can use the history of my body to show me where I am at and appreciate what I have in the simplest form.
Yeah, my busted up guts have slowed me down and hurt, but I’m still so much further along than so many times in my life. That should be worth something to be OK about.
Thinking about that I started to ease up a bit on myself rather than being so hard on myself. My concern then became whether I was using this as an excuse to justify taking a break because of the pain. I didn’t like that thought though because I felt it did have some merit to it and began to hold some weight in my mind; so now I was faced with how to proceed. How was I gonna make everything OK?
I wasn’t about to stop the fitness end of my challenge, but my belly was so sore it was hindering everything. The option I came up with is to mellow out in my mind a bit, and do the best I could for what I could do. After all, it is my challenge! Who said I have to stop anyway? I can just keep going past the 31 days. I can do whatever I want!
I decided to alter my perception within it all and just look at all of this as a kind of learning experience to begin the shift of a lifestyle change! Most of that came within the plastic realizations and the time restricted eating. The fitness end of things will never leave me. It has been at the root of who I am longer than anything else in my life. I will never let go of it, nor will I ever move on from it.
With this in mind I figured I’d just get back at it as soon as my body felt kind of OK, and do what I could. I mean, can I really ask any more of myself? I will pull what I can out from within. I’m pretty good at that, so that’s what I’ll do, and have to be good with that!
My hernia is obviously right front and center of my mind. I want to get it fixed at the end of September so I will have enough time for it to be fully healed by the time I have to start shoveling snow. I could get it done before then, but I don’t want to infringe on my swimming season. I wait for this every year. It is only a short two month window, and I don’t wanna lose any of it…not even for some shitty pain.
After my trip to the hospital and seeing that doctor about my foot on Saturday, I knew right away that he didn’t have a clue what he was talking, so I went in to see Dr. Link at the walk-in clinic yesterday. (Monday) I wanted to see what she had to say about my foot and get a move on my hernia.
Dr. Link is amazing! I have seen well over 200 healers in the 25 years my body has been all messed up. There is a reason she is the only medical doctor I trust. I have been with her for I think 16 years. The only time I consider anyone else is like the other day when I went to the emergency room on the weekend. Talking to that doctor reaffirmed me once again as to why I have long taken the stance I have in regards to Dr. Link.
We started talking about my hernia. She brought up my file as it has been a persistent thing from a botched operation by Dr. Schumacher in Trail in April 2016. She said the first time before my original operation it was as big as a grape. The last time we spoke about it last summer when it came back, it had grown and was as big as a plum. This time was different.
As soon as I lifted my shirt, Dr. Link’s eyes widened and she was half shocked at how large my hernia had become. She immediately grabbed a tape measure at first sight of my belly. The combination of her expression, grabbing the tape measure and what she was saying about the size of it gave me a greater glimpse into the situation. It was worse than I thought. It is 6 or 7 centimetres…enough to cause the reaction it did from her.
We got right into talking about it, and how I wanted to go about things. I told her my timeline I preferred, and told her with 100% certainty that Dr. Schumacher was not gonna be the guy.
“He had his shot and blew it…he’s not getting a second chance!”
Dr. Link took notice of that and said she would send me to someone else.
The next thing she asked was my weight and height. She said I looked like I had dropped weight, which was good. Last summer I was carrying too much weight to get operated on as they don’t like you to be too big for that kind of operation. I told her my rough weight and height. (My frame is 5’7”, but I can’t stand up straight anymore, so I am currently around 5’5”.) She said my BMI is at 29, which put me inside the window of weight where they wouldn’t bug me to drop more. I assured her anyway that I would drop more by then for sure, and told her about my 31 Day Challenge.
Dr. Link was funny about it. She seemed to try to think of every way she could to get me to eat treats. “…but high end chocolates come in paper wrappers,” she said with a big fatty excited smile on her face. It was pretty excellent! I freakin’ love her!
After we finished with my hernia stuff, she asked me if there was anything else. I simply showed her my foot without saying anything. She got right into that. As she finished talking I told her I had gone to the hospital on Saturday. When I told her that, she asked me what they said. I simply gave her the prescription, to which she immediately said it was the wrong thing. Once again…Dr. Link crushing it! The other guy in the ER was so transparent with not knowing what the hell was up with my foot, and Dr. Link was all over it. She gave me a new prescription (more plastic), and in one day my foot is already showing signs of getting better. Just like that!
If you need a doctor in Nelson, go see Dr. Link at the Walk-in Clinic! She is amazing!
On my way out of her office I put myself on the scale. Turns out I haven’t lost too much weight at all since I began this 31 Day Challenge. That is because I am building muscle at basically the same rate I am dropping fat. It shows the flaws in the BMI (Body Mass Index) reading as well as the serious flaw in simply reading a scale. The proper determination of the ideal way to be has to factor in muscle mass vs body fat on top of body weight and height…then you have resting heart rates and VO2 Max, blood pressure, etc. A full well rounded picture to measure the state of ones body takes many things into account. Simply stepping on a scale and putting that next to your height is very limited and therefore flawed, of which I just showed yesterday.
One of the girls I work with just randomly told me this morning that I have lost weight. I was armed with my up to date knowledge that I hadn’t really because of the muscle building thing, but it was good to know that I have been dropping away the sludge from my body. I can’t really tell, but apparently it is noticeable to others. All I care about though is getting back on track with my challenge even with the lost time, and newer outlook within it all. I’ll keep charging along, and whatever results will take care of themselves!
The new bonus is swimming as the river has finally warmed up somewhat. I can tread water OK, but it hurts my belly too. I tried swimming a few strokes and it tore my right shoulder apart. That pissed me off though as I am still looking ahead to doing some triathlons at the end of August. I am not sure how I can do that though with my shoulder in the state that it is in. I know I won’t be able to get into my wetsuit by a long shot, but I will simply have to toughen up to the water. My shoulder is the only real concern…possibly my belly on my bike, but I can’t make a call on that until I get back out on the road and off my winter trainer. I will do that in August. Once again…Time will tell!
Time restricted eating has been pretty easy. Once I busted through the first couple days of my body adjusting, the rest was pretty smooth sailing. My fitness thing has hit some walls, but I will address that later.
No new plastic has been the easiest part of all of this. Sure it has cut back on some things I like, simple things such as the bananas and avocados that I keep mentioning, but overall it isn’t too challenging at all. I do know I will be bringing plastic once this is all done obviously, but I will address that at the end of my challenge. I was, however, forced into breaking my no-plastic thing for an unavoidable reason:
Something strange has been happening with the top of my right foot. It was like a little burn or something that kind of lingered. Nothing noticeable happened to kick it off. I didn't hit it on anything, didn't get bit by a spider or whatever, no scratches, or burns...no nothin'! It just appeared from outta nowhere. It would always start healing itself up by the end of my weekend as I walk around barefoot all weekend. It’s when I would go back to work and have to put on footwear again that the healing it was doing would become undone.
I hate wearing things on my feet as it is. I also have a hard time reaching my feet for years now because of the chaos in my spine and pelvis. Putting on socks and shoes is a real challenge for me. I am a flip flop kinda guy anyway though…even in the snow. I wear those fuckers year ‘round! Yes, I am a beach guy, but they are also comfortable, and easy on, easy off to wear too.
Luckily, I get to wear flip flops at work. I have them kicked off and go barefoot in my office for the most part unless I have to get up and answer the door or leave the office. I like that. Even still, having to wear them that much would always hinder the progression of the healing of the little spot on the top of my foot that didn’t wanna seem to heal properly!
At first I was using a herbal salve that worked great. Soon it didn’t really have any affect. The wound got a bit bigger and felt like a healing scab, so I started putting on some hydrogen peroxide that I had. That seemed to be helping too for a bit. On Friday though, when I was floating in the water I noticed that it had just exploded in size.
The wound was indented like a little crater, and was pretty symmetrical. It seemed to be expanding outward from the middle. After seeing it like that in that angle of the sun with the water on it, I knew something was up that had to get checked out, so I went to the hospital yesterday.
Of course the doctor had never seen that kind of wound before. I am used to that. I’m just that guy that doesn’t just have so much different shit wrong with him, but always things that are rare that doctors haven’t seen or say there is nothing that can be done. This was just another one of those moments!
He gave me a prescription and told me if it didn’t get better in a week that it would need further investigation. It was the first prescription I had gotten in many years. I was given a prescription for pain killers when I had a hernia operation in the spring of 2016, but I didn’t need them and gave them away. Other than that though, I can’t remember the last time I have gotten a prescription for myself…It might be close to 20 years…at least 15! I’m pretty natural that way!
The cream that the doctor gave me came in a plastic container though, so that was my unavoidable moment of breaking my no-plastic part of my challenge. I don’t feel horrible about it though considering the nature of the reason behind it. My foot is gnarly and it was the first time in 15-20 years that I have gotten a prescription to use.
Other than that, the no new plastic thing has been a breeze. It has also been a real eye opener towards how much plastic we really bring into our lives on any given day. I’m starting to walk through the stores and look at products differently. Even when I am in a line-up to pay for something I see what everyone else is getting too. Maaaaan…that shit is everywhere!
I went to the Kootenay Country Co-Op today. I hadn't been there for awhile. I thought it was time to go grab some food there as I have been to the Wednesday Market, Evergreen Natural Foods, and Safeway in Nelson.
The Co-Op has recently moved locations to their long anticipated new building. It is much, much bigger than it was before, offering much more selection of goods. I was psyched to see what I could get there as I have been on a pretty limited grocery list for my diet.
I was in there early in the morning, which was nice as it wasn't too busy. Long ago, I used to have a self imposed rule to never go there on a Friday afternoon as it would be so busy I would just bail on what I needed and try again after the weekend.
I was quite surprised by the limited amount of produce available to me. They had plastic tags and stickers on so much of their stuff too. Although this no new plastic thing is much easier than I anticipated going in, I kinda can't wait for it to be done so I can eat some damned bananas and avocados again.
Right out front of their door was a display of peaches that I wanted to get. They were in the Pulp Fibre cartons. I was psyched. I grabbed a pack and had a fatty smile on my face. Then I remembered that my time restricted eating schedule was for when I was at work.
I immediately started picturing myself eating peaches at work and knew that sticky fruit hands were not gonna be at all conducive to my work environment, so sadly I put them down. I might go back on Friday to get some for the weekend, but can't say for sure as I might just go somewhere else instead
I poked around the produce and got some stuff that would be good for me and that I could bring to work. Before I left I needed to grab some more rice as I was out. I also decided on a bit of elbow pasta too. I got the ultra-hippy kind too: Quinoa-Rice pasta elbows!
I brought the worng lids to the containers I had with me, and couldn't get new ones, but I did have a couple old bags that I have used for a long time. **I only bring a few new bags into my house per year as it is...just reuse the crap outta them.
Once I had the rice and pasta, I was set enough for myself, and headed towards the checkout. On my way there I passed by the salad bar cafe stands. They didn't have much out for serving yet because it was so early, but they did have something that caught my eye: Enchiladas!
Those fuckers looked good. Before committing to getting some in my mind I had to check on the packaging. They had the hard papery recyclable take away packaging, so I was goin' for it. They weren't too big, but I only grabbed a couple.
Now, armed with those, I was ready to make my break to the checkout, pay for my food, and get the hell outta town so I could crawl into bed for some sleep.
I unloaded everything to get rung through, then walked around to the other side of the till to start packaging up. Once the girl was done with my stuff she leveled me with the bad news:
In my head all I was thinking was, "Are you fuckin' kidding me?! SEVENTY TWO FREAKIN' FIFTY FUCKIN' FOUR! Who in their right gawd damned mind thinks this is OK?!"
I was looking at the food I had. Here is the list:
-A little bit of Carrots
-A small amount of rice and elbow pasta
-2 Heads of Broccoli
-1 Bunch of Celery
-2 Bulbs of Garlic
-3 Small Red Onions
-2 Small Enchiladas from their Salad Bar thing
No matter how I looked at it, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how this small amount of food could cost this much gawd damned money! These people are outta their damned minds if they think this is acceptable. There's no need to wonder why people can't afford to shop and eat at this place. I was just glad I had some cash left over from a Gift Card thing I bought as a fundraiser one of my friend's kids was doing.
I'm all for supporting local business and stuff, but this makes ridiculous look awesome!
Many years ago, when I was on a small disability of about $450/month after my rent portion I was able to shop exclusively at the Co-Op. Now I bust my ass workin' like a mutha-fucka and I can't afford to shop here exclusively. The new Co-Op is outta freakin' control with this kinda shit goin' on, that's for damned sure! I'll keep goin' there for the odd thing I can't get elsewhere in town, but for staples, this place can go to hell! They sure talk a lot about being community oriented, but this says the exact opposite. My goodness!
(This was actually Day 10, but for some reason I cannot change the title.)
I put in another long night at work, and instead of leaving at 7:00am, I walked out of there something like 1pm. When I got home I knocked off my push-ups straight away. I was tired, but it was pretty warm out and mid-afternoon, so I finished blowing up the recliner water float-y that I had started blowing up a couple weeks ago and never really got around to finishing as I'd use my Stand Up Paddler instead of lounging.
Now, with this challenge of mine I haven't had any time to do anything else. Today I said, "Fuck it!", and finished blowing the thing up. (Yes, I know it is plastic, but it falls in the loophole of no new plastic...I bought it last summer, and have had it sitting on the floor half blown up for awhile.)
I took it down to the water to lounge around floating for a bit. La la laaaa..
I've started noticing that my swim shorts are startin' to smell like old stank-ass hockey gear that hasn't been cleaned for a season. it is nasty, but warmly embracing. I really do love the gnarly athlete within me where things like this hold a beautific essence in my mind. Blood, sweat and beat up injury is the place I feel most at home...that and Grateful Dead shows!
(Speaking of Grateful Dead shows... A real close bro of mine from Dead Tour days, who I haven't seen since then, just had a baby. I'm so happy about it that I kinda can't believe it. There has always been something different about people I did Grateful Dead Tour with. I was living in Toronto, Derek was from outside of Detroit, and we met in Ohio. We clicked right from the moment we met, and have been lifelong bros ever since. Shortly after Tour ended when Jerry Garcia died, Derek moved west to just outside of Vail, and within weeks, I headed west to British Columbia. When he had his baby the other day I had a rush come over me. I'm just so happy about it. I fuckin' love that guy! Grateful Dead...bringing worlds together!)
It was nice to float for a bit, but I was exhausted and needed real siesta time, so I packed 'er in and went up to my place and crawled into bed despite it being mid-afternoon of a beauty day.
LaRae is pretty amazing! She's always living life right to the max.
I had some thick cobwebs when I woke up, so I spontaneously took my doggie for a hike to the waterfall nearby. I've had it in my head for a few days since I messaged LaRae about it when she was looking for local hike recommendations.
It was a nice walk. The water isn't rushing as hard now, so i could walk out onto a nice slab rock right at the base of it. There was a stiff wet breeze blowing off from the spray. It was super refreshing. I enjoyed that for sure.
I stood there thinkin' about and sendin' out some huggy-smiles across the air to another friend who has been feelin' down lately. I didn't stay too long though 'cause dusk was waking up for another night and I wanted to get home and do my hills.
when i got back to the bottom after my second hill i noticed my heart and chest doesn't feel the same pain doing the hills, so instead of just walking quickly...my version of quickly...I ran the third and fourth ones tonight. I felt good, and more reveled in doing it barefoot in the dark...although I always do it barefoot.
It's nice to feel progressions, even just small victories. You know how it is when you string together and add up a bunch of small victories, you end up with something special.
The one thing I am looking at in my mind though is that it is 10:00pm as I write this and I have only completed my push-ups and hills so far. The big hurdle in this moment is the chunk of time on my bike, especially with my legs all chewed up from hike and hills. Once I get through that the rest is smooth sailing. I just know it is gonna be a long night though 'cause I need to sit down for awhile though before I crack into any more of this.
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.