Monday, June 18, 2018

Lisa Goes For A Run

There was this one time on another blog a hundred years ago that I tried to explain what running meant to me. Why I run. How I felt while I was running, what I was thinking...

It did a good job, I did a good job, but I don't think I got everything in there. I don't think that's possible.

At the same time as running is "just running", it is also something more.

I am not a spiritual person (no matter how much I "try" or pretend to be), but running is the closest I get to a spiritual feeling, or what I believe a spiritual feeling must feel like!
Sometimes I feel “guilty” for the time I spend running. (I think this is a mom/woman/emotional work thing) Could I be using that time for something more productive? For activism? And then I remember that I probably spend more time on Instagram in a day than I do running. And then I remember that I run for my health. And then I remember that I run for my self care. And that self care isn’t selfish. And then I stop feeling guilty.

(But honestly, that time spent/wasted on Instagram is a BIG THING for me lately & I’m just muddling through and doing the best I can)

I have in the past had a “disordered” (not sure I love that word, but I’ve seen it used so I’m using it too…for now) relationship with my body. I’m not ashamed. Society tells me to hate how my body looked, so I hated how my body looked. I know that many folks use exercise to FIGHT (again, not the best word, but bear with me) their body & make it fit to western (aka cis-hetero-white) ridiculous standards of beauty. And I also know that the fitness industry can be super cis-hetero-white (+ male) focused and only “celebrate” “other” bodies when they feel they can profit off of them, and not in actual support of and to the benefit of the identities who inhabit those bodies. And that the body positive movement on social media does this too, under the guise of helping (mostly) women love their bodies, but maybe also convincing us to buy something.

And I know that so many folks of all genders and backgrounds struggle with the messages they get, and what it looks like to stay true to themselves and do what’s best for them (and their bodies…regardless of health and beauty needs/wants).

This is all to say that IT’S FUCKING COMPLICATED and I am very aware of my privilege in even speaking about this in this way.

This is also to say that my running is an individual experiences that also exists inside all of these other systems.


At any rate, I love running. I want running to be accessible to any folks out there who might want to try it. And I want people to feel safe and happy while exploring this sport. Is this a sport? Am I a sportsperson now? Talk about identity shifts…


Queer Flex is an amazing gym in Edmonton that specifically welcomes folks from the LGBTQIA2S+ community. I love their IG feed.

Unlikely Hikers is an amazing community created by Jenny Bruso for folks who don't feel like they "fit" in the standard idea of what a hiker is or looks like.

Creating More Inclusive Exercise Groups - While this article isn't about running specifically, it does address the unique need and challenges to hosting an exercise group for folks of different abilities.

If you have other resources for inclusive exercise, running, etc. I would love to hear more! Comment below, or shoot me an email!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Running Adventure

Last Sunday, I ran 10km in the Rocky Mountain Soap Company's Women's Run in Canmore, Alberta. Here is my story.

I've only been in Canmore two times. One was for a pit stop on our way to BC, and the other was for a stagette, so I've never seen much of town! We drove down on Saturday, arriving at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge - basic accommodations, super clean, great location - around dinner time. This is the view from where we parked the car in the motel/hotel parking lot.

BFF & I headed downtown for dinner at the Grizzle Paw Brewing Company, and ended up having quite the large meal! I mean, check out his side of poutine!

Am I the only person who stops on a railroad track for a selfie with the mountains in behind?

I was super nervous, and couldn't get to sleep. But before I knew it, it was time to get up for Race Day! Due to the fact that I can't read instructions, we were up way too early. Dan had time to wander up the road to McDonald's for breakfast, while I ate my pre-made oatmeal out on a bench watching the sun come up over the mountains.

The site of the run was the Canmore Nordic Centre, which is located up above the townsite. The organizers ran shuttle buses from their partner hotels (ours was one), up to the site, so we didn't have to worry about driving. Although, that meant that Dan took on the role of pack mule for the rest of the morning! The site is absolutely lovely, and the organizers did a great job. There were a few vendors, a massage area for after the race, a sunscreen top-up booth,

We waited in a very long line to pick up my race bib, and then I got the best biggest squeeze from my Jasper-sweetheart Nicole! That's her in the middle, and her friend Evan on the left. They made the trek down to run this morning as well, but they camped last night! 

And then it was time to get my game face on, because it was time to run! The course was beautiful and challenging, with lots of hills. The heat of the day made it a little tougher as well. The 10k runners were out of the gate first, with the 5k on our heels. There were a few water stations on the course, and lots of well-wishers cheering us on.
There was one section of the course where the tree cover opened up and you could see the whole town of Canmore! It was so breathtaking, that I just had to stop. So I slowed down, got that big goofy grin plastered to my face, and drank in the sight.

This next sign is super important. Every step past this sign, is the farthest I have ever run in one go.

There was a gal that I was keeping pace with for the final lap. She gave me a nice smile when I stopped at this sign.

The finish line in sight! Finally! My face matches my shirt colour cause that's what all the cool kids are doing...?

I didn't get any photos of myself crossing the finish line BUT I would like to point out that I had the best, loudest, handsomest person calling my name as soon as I got close. And once I entered the chute, there were Nicole and Eva cheering for me too! Gosh, that was fabulous. Just the push I needed to finish strong.

And when I finished I got a sweet goodie bag full of Rocky Mountain Soup Company goodies, and an ice cold washcloth that smelled divine. And Organic Box was there with free fruit.

I am so grateful for being able to hang with Nicole & Eva, and for them cheering me through the finish line. I am so stinking proud of myself for completing the 10km, and just for pushing through all the stuff in life to make this a commitment I could see through.

Unfortunately, the chip in my bib didn't work, so my time wasn't registered officially. BUT BUT BUT BUT IT STILL COUNTS IN MY HEART GUYS! Corntastic.

But seriously, I have the running bug, and now that I've got my first 10k under my belt, I just wanna sign up for every 10k that crosses my lap! Anybody out there need a running buddy?


My trucker hat is from One Lane Road
My awesome purple bandanna is from apriltwoeighty quilts

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lisa (& Lucas) Reads

When I first became a Mom I had no expectations of who my child would become.

But I secretly hoped I would have a serious reader on my hands.

When he finds a book he loves, he dives in deep. But his personality most often has him reaching for silly comics, or books far below his reading level.

I know I should be happy that he wants to read at all, and I am, but I also want to see him push himself in this area because I know he can handle it and I know he would benefit from it.

Enter audio books.

We listen to them in the car, and this ensures a captive audience. We are reading titles that are long, and that might normally intimidate him in paperback. Plus, I love that we can enjoy them together. It has really changed his reading habits, and I am thankful that I can expose him to some different titles without making a huge deal out of it.

We have a few series that we keep turning back to, despite the idiocy of Percy Jackson.

Percy Jackson - Greek mythology + teenagers. Oh man, Percy Jackson is a big dummy, and if it weren't for his clever (girl)friend, he would have died in book one. (Gee, why does that sound familiar...?....)

Harry Potter - Dude has watched the first three movies, but we just started the first book. And so far it's a hit!

Deltora Quest - We discovered this series a few years ago, and it was the first audiobook that Dude & I listened to together.

Rangers Apprentice - This is another series that we found a few years ago. The first few books were excellent, but we had to stop at #5 because the boring factor increased by eleventy billion. I found a "prequel" series that I am excited to try next.

Warriors - I grabbed this one for Dude one year because the characters are all cats, and he loves cats. These ones are his chosen picks for school reading, and he just blows through them.

If you too have a young reader in your life, I would love to hear about some of your favourites, either to read together, or titles that you think Dude might enjoy on his own.


In my 2018 Book List, I have been specifically noting which audio books Lucas & I are reading together.

Friday, May 04, 2018

The 100 Day Project - 100 Days of Carving Patterns

I just passed the 4 week mark in my current 100 Day Project! That's 30+ days of creating (almost) everyday.

It was started by Michael Beirut - a graphic designer & educator - and has been resurrected by artists/creators Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson, and is a free global movement that anyone can participate in! Essentially, you pick a thing to do every day for 100 days, and then you do it and document it online to share with the global community of fellow 100-dayers.

I am carving one stamp every day for the 100 days. I decided that I wanted a tighter parameter than my last 100 Days of Stamp Carving, so I am specifically carving patterns.

I am using tools that I already had on hand, and my only purchase will be additional carving rubber. Documentation is half the fun, and I am using these little notebooks and Instagram.

This is a skill that I love to practice, and I have already seen first hand how daily practice contributes to my improvement. I am good at this, but I want to be great at it.

I find that I am much more forgiving of myself this time around if I feel like I need to miss a day. So far I have missed two days, carving two stamps the next day to make up for it. And I definitely don't feel bad about it. Partly because this is meant to be a fun project, and I am the only person demanding anything of myself. And partly because now that I have had success & failure at my 100 Day Projects in the past, I know that missing one day isn't going to derail me or invalidate this specific work for me.

I still have 70-ish days to complete, and I am looking forward to seeing how I improve, not only in my skill but in my creativity as well.

Have you ever started/completed/attempted a 100 Day Project? What did you do? Did you love it or hate it?


The 100 Day Project
Louis Chew (The Writing Cooperative) - You Have Permission to Suck
Not Ladylike - 100 Days of Stamp Carving (Summary)
Not Ladylike - #100daysofstampcarving
Not Ladylike - #100dayproject

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Lisa Reads - April 2018

I only* read three books in April, which might be my lowest month in awhile!**

And of those three books, one was blargh, one was fantastical and fabulous, and one was the heaviest non-fiction I have read in awhile!

Let's recap!

CONTENT NOTE: Blood and Earth deals with real life stories of human slavery, including child abuse, child sexual abuse, torture, and inhumane conditions.

In The Unlikely Event // Oh Judy Blume, what was this even? Most of the book takes place in the early 50s, after a very disjointed introduction to the main character 35 years later. This character - Miri - is a good Jewish girl living in a small New Jersey town that experiences 3 terrible plane crashes, back when air travel was new and glamorous. The story follows every damn person in that town, and their experiences during this time. There were too many characters, the lead was annoying, her boyfriend was a dumbass, and the era just bugged me. I do love Ms Blume's ability to talk about mundane events that happen in every girl's life - first kiss, getting your period, shopping with your friends, having sex - but otherwise this book was a long slog with a ridiculous "happy ending".

If you like Judy Blume, this book might surprise you!...because it's bad.

Golden Age & Other Stories // Set in the same world as her Temeraire series, these stories take place in an alternate 19th century where dragons exist alongside famous historical figures. Clever, witty, and beautifully written.

If you like history with a bit of fantasy thrown in for good measure, Naomi's entire Temeraire series is wonderful. She plays magnificently with the existence of dragons and their use in the navy during the Napoleonic Wars.

Blood and Earth // There is no way I am going to do this book justice with my write up. So here is a blurb from Goodreads:

"...a powerful and captivating examination of two entwined global crises: environmental destruction and human trafficking—and an inspiring, bold plan for how we can solve them."

If you like non-fiction about climate change I recommend This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein, while The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead was fascinating fictional look at slavery in America.

I am so ready for some lighter fare in May, but the two books I have on the go are non-fiction titles! I am going to have to scroll through my TBR lists and see what I can find in the "dystopian fiction" genre to give my brain a break!


My full 2018 Book List is linked here. I am at 25 books so far this year!


* I realize that "only" is a terrible word to write here, as some people struggle to read three books in a year! Let alone a month. And to be honest, I am still happy and proud and whatever that I read three books, because the last time I checked, three is still a larger number than zero.
** My last lowest book month was February 2015 when I read 2 books.