Left Gasping

It’s Quadrille Monday on dVerse today and De Jackson (aka WhimsyGizmo) is hosting.  The word (or variation thereof) today is “Gasp”.  It’s all Merril’s fault that I went where I did and not where I thought I would.


Friends, south of the 49th

leave me gasping

their purple crocus and

yellow daffodils

blooming since February!


Sun shines, sometimes;

just above freezing, occasionally

bicycle path partially clear, for now

first run of the year

Gasping, I push on

Spring is coming, right?


Done and Done and… What’s Next?

I am, in general, an excellent starter.  Finisher? Not so much.  Not that I don’t finish anything – each of my parents and my grandmother got a needlepoint I made for each of them.  My grandmother has one because she had the bright idea of taking up needlepoint but instead of buying herself a nice little 4″ X 6″ as a starter, bought a big-ass one (like 18″ X 24″ or is it 24″ X 36″). She figured her granddaughter (me) would teach her how to do it.  Easy-peasy. After doing one one-inch square (too tight, by the way), she gave it to me with a “I don’t have the patience for this!” So I did it and then gave it back to her for Mother’s day. My mother’s contribution was to pay for the framing.  She wrote on the back “To be returned to Dale upon my death”. Well, Mémère died twelve years ago and my aunt lives in the house now.  When she tried to give it back to me, I told her to keep it.  When she sells, we’ll determine what to do with it then.

As usual, I have detoured to China on my way to New York…

So. Back to the reason for this post. Today marks my 365th day, like, in a row (sorry, David, had to steal it!) of doing my 10,000 steps per day.  10K steps.  Every. Day.  The funny thing is, I didn’t decide when I started this on January 3, 2020, to do it for one year.  I actually decided to start it on a Sunday (simply to avoid starting it on the first of the year), and merged it with the 68-day challenge they do at work, which started on the Monday.  Two birds, one stone.  But then a funny thing happened.  The last day of the work challenge came and went and I was still on a mission.  I don’t know when hey, let me try to do this for a whole year came to be but suffice it to say, that it did. And I did it. I had my cheerleader and co-participant Marc, who actually had been doing 10K per day for months before I started and just joined in, determined to keep me company till the end. Thank gawd.  There were days where his “Go, Q, Go” was the difference between planting my butt on the sofa and getting out there.  I like to think there were days where I did the same for him.

I’ve gone from running in intervals of one minute run/one minute walk, for 10-16  sets to one 1:45 run, one minute walk, for 10-16 sets or plus.  I have also gone from doing increasing (by fifteen seconds) intervals starting at one minute run up to one two minutes and back with one minute walk in between each to 1:45 up to 2:45 and back with the one minute walk between each – that makes for a 47:15 total run/walk Pretty damn good as I was never a runner. 100 metre sprint? No problem. Run just to run? Not so much. So this gradual increase has been something I’m rather proud of.  I shall not be quitting any time soon and shall keep trying to increase my run times.

I’ve been chased by dogs and almost run over by absent-minded driver doing an “American stop”. I’ve run in the rain and on snow and in ridiculous heat and pretty frigid cold.  I’m still rather surprised at myself, that I did all that, tell you what.

I had a little minor surgery on my back to remove a chunk of fat called a lipoma on December 15th.  The surgeon asked me to not run for a few days.  Which turned into two weeks because the weather just wasn’t conducive to running – I don’t do slush/ice/snow which hides ice/ridiculous cold, etc.  So I walked outside and marched inside while watching episodes of shows.  Sometimes my steps went way over the goal and other times I just barely made it. I’ve had a few times where I prepare to go to bed, check my steps and gasp! Still have 1500 or so to go… March, march, march! Then sleep.

Saturday I was finally able to run, opting for the 1:45/1:00 X 14 sets for a total of 40 minutes 45 seconds (all my runs include a 15 sec prep and a two-minute cool-down.)  I also had to change routes as the only place I was pretty much guaranteed asphalt was on the main drags – not a pretty place to run.  Not a pretty day at all. We haven’t seen the sun in ages.

There was a lot of internal dialogue going on. A LOT.  The first set I thought, this is gonna be hell.  By set number five, I was convincing myself that I would go to six and turn around. 12 sets was nothing to be ashamed of.  By the sixth, I saw I was a ways from the overpass so why not go to seven as planned? It’s not like I would have to run up the damn thing. The photo does not do it justice. It’s the type of slope that even by bike, you want to speed up before the climb because by the top, your thighs are burning.  The voice in my head changed to Marc’s.  “You’ve got this, Q.  Last run day. FINISH STRONG.” I lost count for which set I was back on my return.  The Universe’s way of encouraging me to just keep on.  No point in quitting now.  When I hit the curve, I knew I’d soon be seeing my street. Yay! One more hurdle and done and done!

January 2, 2022, was my last day of my challenge.  I was awakened by the incessant sound of snowploughs going to and fro. First the streets, then the sidewalks, then my driveway, then the streets again…. I got the message and got out of bed!  A couple coffees, a late breakfast and I bundled up and headed out just as the snow was slowing down.

Almost as soon as I stepped out, I found myself in a snow globe.  What a perfect day to end my challenge!

What’s my next challenge?  Not sure yet. Will keep you posted!


Weekend Writing Prompt #238 – Familiar

Yesterday turned out to be way lazier than I had planned. Don’t you just love that?  Well, I do, anyway 🙂

So it may not be the weekend but hey, does it really matter?  A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. Thank you, Sammi, for hosting!


wk 238 familiar


Why don’t you run on a different route? they ask. Aren’t you tired of the same-old, same-old? Don’t you want to see something different?

What they don’t understand is there is something special that happens when you choose the familiar.  Rather than not see what is there, you notice every little change.  There is a shift in light as the seasons morph from one to another and nothing looks the same. I  am in continuous awe of it all.

Dude, Where is My Air? Times Two

I could nor would I ever call myself a runner.  Oh, back in high school I did the 100-metre dash and was good enough to win first prize, once Rachel Dalpé left for another school after Secondary 3 (Grade 9).  The 200-metre was too long for me.  So to run, as in jog? Nope.  Dunno that I’ll ever experience the “runner’s high” I read about.

Way back when I did karate, we had to run around the dojo for what seemed like hours (probably longest was ten minutes) and sometimes we trained outside where we ran in a park.  Lord, take me now…

When running for more than two minutes at a time was easy-peasy

So, what am I doing trying to run now? Can’t explain other than to try and fulfill my doc’s recommendation that I up my cardio for at least fifteen minutes per day.  Well… that was one year ago and I’ve nothing to report.  My long walks with Zeke are a good thing but not something to give the ole heart a workout.  And now, the old guy is slowing down and our walks have become meanders so I felt I had to start doing something.  Plus, let’s face it… since March I have been cooking up a storm and don’t want the results to land in my posterior, thighs, belly… There needs to be some balance!  I am NOT gonna become one of those memes that are all over the Internets…

I started slow. Real slow. While walking Zeke, I would “jog” mostly in place, because I didn’t want to force Zeke to run, for one minute, walk for two… run for two, walk for two and a half – all counting my time in my head.  When we got to a park, I’d take his leash off and run around him while he sniffed around, sometimes trotting beside me, other times standing there looking at me like I was some sort of freak.  I was happy to see my knees held out, feeling no pain that night nor the next day

I found an interval app for my phone and set it for 5 intervals: 2 minutes of running, 2.5 minutes of walking.  Still, with Zeke on leash, I used my running mostly in place and was pleased with myself.

I am not pushing my luck so I run only every other day.  The last time I brought Zeke with me I did my five intervals, which have by now been changed to 2/2.  Felt energetic and added another 2 intervals.  Hmm… walked for a bit and thought, why not do another three to make it a total of ten? And I did.

Good gawd… that was quite a preamble for what I wanted to say and the reason for my title!!

On Tuesday, I decided to leave Zeke behind and see what I could achieve.  Plus, the weather was warm enough for me to wear leggings that stop at my knees (reminding me that, while I’ve no one to show off my legs to, warm times equal shorts and skirts and feeling the wind through my hair should be limited to my head) and a simple long-sleeved sports shirt. I kept things at two minutes run, two minutes walk because I knew that running “for realz” would not be the same thing as I’d been doing.  So I set my app for 10 X 2/2 and off I went. The first five intervals went reasonably well even as I cursed the need for two sports bras to keep the girls in check and not bounce willy-nilly.  Ladies with small boobs, be happy.  I could barely breathe from the pressure but I was pleased.  By interval six, I felt a small cramp in my side.  I pressed my hand against it and slowed my pace, breathing deeply (well, trying to) and made it to my walk time.  Just as I sort of caught my breath it was time for number seven.  It started off rocky but then all was good. By interval eight, I got a call from my mother-in-law’s social worker advising me that she (Jean) was being put on Covid-19 alert and would be tested.  Fuck.  I told them to keep me posted and resumed my run, trying not to think about her because there is not a blessed thing I can do about it.  The last two intervals were not easy but I made it.  When I got home, Zeke was waiting for me so I couldn’t refuse him, could I?  Off we went for a decent walk which I also dubbed the cool-down.

I was surprisingly still energetic and passed the vacuum all over the main floor, adding to my work-out! The boys did their share by mopping and vacuuming the basement. All was good.

Yesterday I woke up to rain. Dammit. I’m on a mission to go every other day so I knew this was not going to be fun.  I waited for a bit and it abated enough for me to be willing to go out.  The wind, though. Man, do I understand why you don’t like to run in the wind, B.  I walked briskly for a few minutes and then started my “programme”.  Yes, it is still 10 X 2/2.  The skies were kind and stopped dropping rain but it was rather chilly.  The wind was in my face and after about thirty seconds into my first interval I was thinking, nope… this is not gonna work.  I was thisclose to upchucking.  Gave myself a peptalk until the buzzer for walk started. Gawd almighty… what am I doing? Second was no better but I managed.  Halfway through the third one I had convinced myself that it was okay if I only managed to do six in total. Give myself a chance, yanno?

By then I’m near “my” willow tree and the wind was no longer in my face so I think bullshit.  I run back and forth along the gravel road to and from it for two more intervals.  I tell ya. When one is determined, one does what one must.

Pretend this was taken on a cloudy day…

As I head back towards home, I find myself watching the clock, telling myself to go, go, go. Don’t give up.  By the time I reach interval 9, I realise that I hadn’t checked the clock this time, nor the last. Wooot!  I’m no longer feeling the cold either…

I get home just as I finish.  Open the door, grab the leash, Zeke comes out all joyous and my buzzer goes off. What? Dammit.  One more to do.  However, as I have Zeke, it’s that little jog in place that I must do.

And I ain’t complaining one bit.




Ya gotta start somewhere

So, this is my third blog and have decided to start afresh (again). I am pretty much the mistress of Start and the empress of Unfinished & Incomplete and I want to stop this pattern. I have challenged myself to blog every day for one week, just to see how it fits and to give myself a small goal.

Baby steps.

I must practice what I preach. Just this last Saturday I “coached” someone recently and told her to breathe, slow down and to take one step at a time because she was totally overwhelmed, discouraged and depressed that she wasn’t where she wanted to be. Why the quotation marks, you ask? I cannot give myself a title I have never trained for nor have the official qualifications for in any way! No matter how much I seem to attract those who feel they can talk to me. Maybe I give good counsel or listen well – I’m not sure! She asked me if I had a minute to chat and I said yes. After a good 20 minutes or so, she thanked me for my time and felt that she could re-align herself. I asked her what had propelled her to approach me in the first place. She said it was because of my beautiful smile (wow, I love that!) and that she felt that I had a kind heart. Well… I was beyond touched. And inspired. And maybe I just stood a little taller.

I’ve thought about this off and on over the years and have come to realise that this was not an isolated incident. This has been something that has been going on for years. Take my office. Folks never just stand in the doorway to say “Hey, what’s shakin’?” They walk in, sit in my guest chair and chat away. I love it and encourage it so maybe there is some kind of coach inside of me! Have I thought of taking coaching classes? Yes indeed. Have I done so? Hell no! Very costly, I don’t have some of the pre-requisite courses, there is no place close to home, and well, I guess what that really means is it is not something that I truly feel compelled to be doing full-time.

Holy cow. I just let my fingers go and have totally gotten off-topic! Welcome to my crazy head. Where was I?

Oh yeah. Baby steps. One blog post at a time. No quitting. No unfinished business! Oh, and no excuses. I have not even “prettified” this blog page yet so do expect some changes as I go along!

One final note: I also have another new beginning. I decided to join my man for a morning run. You must understand that I am SO not a runner so this is definitely another challenge I’ve decided to put myself through! We’ve agreed that Monday, Wednesday, Friday we’ll run and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, we’ll bike. As I usually leave for work at 6:15 am that means we have to get up bloody early to get in a half hour!

5:00 am we were off. We ended up doing a total of about 3.5 km. I did manage to run all the way to the end point but admit I needed slow down to a walk (fast!) 3 times on the way back. Still, quite proud of myself for breaking in my new runners and on Wednesday, I aim for only 2 stops!