Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fitness Challenge #1

This is where I will document the details of my first-ever tracked, publicly announced, personal fitness challenge. 

I am a great 'starter', always enjoy starting new things...finishing, not always so good.  I should clarify, that the 'biggies' in life, I definitely finish what I start.  It's the smaller projects, such as fitness challenges, new artistic projects, house decoration projects.  It's time to work on finishing what I start.

Three consecutive days have already been successfully completed...this is good...

I think this is a great time to start this, with second year nursing school just around the corner.  Another week and a bit of summer vacation.  By the time nursing classes, labs and clinical rotations start, this daily 30 minutes of movement will hopefully be starting to become a habit!

                                            (from the amazing collection at

40 Day Fitness Challenge #1  August 26 - October 4, 2012
Goal: some form of exercise for 30 minutes every day, for 40 consecutive days

Day 1 (Aug. 26) : cycle (16 km, 60 min), swim (60 min)
Day 2 (Aug. 27) : run (20 min, 2.24 km), walk (20 min)
Day 3 (Aug. 28) : run (30 min, 3.36 km), cycle (15 minutes -- to the park & back)
Day 4 (Aug. 29) : power yoga (30 min, almost did me in!)
Day 5 (Aug. 30) : run (25 min, 3.01 km), swim (25 min)
Day 6 (Aug. 31) : run (20 min, 2.51 km)
Day 7 (Sept. 1) : power walk (35 min, 3.22 km)
Day 8 (Sept. 2) : run & power walk
Day 9 (Sept. 3) : run (4.02 km!!!), swim
Day 10 (Sept. 4): lots of walking, no actual 'work out', but lots of movement
Day 11 (Sept. 5): run (31 min, 4.13 km)
Day 12 (Sept. 6): run (31.30 min, 4.20 km)
Day 13 (Sept. 7): power walk
Day 14 (Sept. 8): ran a slow 5 km without stopping, in 44 min 47 sec! WAHOO!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting back into fitness

I went for a 16 km bike ride yesterday, and managed to run 2 km today!  Gotta get moving again.

I. Feel. Great.

I am challenging myself to get fit. My goal is to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes every day for forty days.  Nothing complicated.  After forty days, it had better have become a habit!!!  
Follow my fitness challenge progress on the sidebar! (And thank you 'smilewithyourheart' for the sidebar idea!)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Medical humour!

OK, perhaps these cookies will help inspire my 'summer brain' to come back to nursing school reality!

This is great!  My Christmas baking may never look the same again...

For this photo, and plenty more medical gems, visit:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A different perspective on "having it all"

The scope of my blog is evolving.  I am evolving.  Everyone is (hopefully) evolving in at least some small way.  The primary focus remains on career change to nursing (second year starts up in a few short weeks!).  But changing careers, choosing to change careers to a completely new field, does not happen in a vacuum.

There are so many other factors involved in making the decision to leave a stable, successful career. There are so many considerations to think about, so many scenarios to imagine (good and scary!), and so many people who could be affected by such a change.  A change of this magnitude most certainly does not happen in a vacuum!

And this is why I need to branch out in my writing, to include these other considerations.  I have recently been reading several blogs I find to be very inspirational, for different reasons.  Hands Free Mama focuses on the importance of being present and not distracted by our BlackBerry when being a parent.  Smile With Your Heart (I hope the author starts writing again soon!!!), is very inspirational about healthy living, fitness, and community involvement.  Plus there is the bonus factor that the author is a nurse, and it shows me all the various volunteer  and travel opportunities nursing provides.  I am energized, motivated and simply feel better when I read these blogs.  (Links to both are in my blog's sidebar, and I hope to add more in the future.)

That is why I realized I need to evolve my blog, and include more positive, encouraging messages in my writing too. 

Ever since I became a mom, work/life balance has been at the forefront of my mind. I think being a nurse will definitely help improve this quest to gain balance, particularly if I end up working part-time (and picking up the odd extra shifts).

However, the mythical work-life balance dilemma is very much a reality in our society.  And I am certain it will continue to be a significant factor in our life, even with the career change.  As the children get older, their needs change and our roles adapt to their changing needs.  But the limited amount of time we have together does not change. 

The article I've chosen to highlight, represents a completely different perspective about priorities and what is truly 'important' in life. 

The author summed up this perspective beautifully, in the following sentence:
"We are chasing the wrong things, asking ourselves the wrong questions. It is not, "Can we have it all?" -- with "all" being some kind of undefined marker that shall forever be moved upwards out of reach just a little bit with each new blessing. We should ask instead, "Do we have enough?"

I hope you enjoy the article, and thinking about a different spin on what it means to have it all.

It made me realize I truly 'have it all', a million times over.  I have more than enough. I have so much I need to reach out and share with others. 

And I am, and always have been, regardless of my situation and station in life, extremely grateful.

Future Nurse Kate


What My Son's Disabilities Taught Me About 'Having It All'

Because of her child's problems, the author will never have a tidy, peaceful life. But none of this keeps her from being happy -- as long as she asks herself the right questions.
marie-son.jpgThe author on a walk with her son (Photo by Karl H. Jacoby)

Women in the Workplace Debate bug
A debate on career and family See full coverage
As someone in her 40s, unequivocally in middle age, I find myself and my friends in that stage of life that seems to auger constant assessment -- am I happy? Am I doing the right thing with my life?
Evidenced by the number of times Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic piece "Why Women Still Can't Have It All" was posted on Facebook, it served as a cri de coeur of the collective unconscious of those of us swimming in the Gen X/Baby Boomer estuary, last stop before becoming truly elderly. (It's apparently also the most-read article in the magazine's 155-year history.) Slaughter rightly questions why having a family complicates the career ladder for women in a way that it does not for men. But the hidden heart of the article, I believe, is its hinting at that unspoken yearning for that perfect life that has been promised to us by ... someone? Ads? TV? Ms. Magazine? Those ATHLETA catalogs?

Let me compare and contrast that with a typical incident that happened just last week in my own 40-something working mother life. My husband and I were sitting in the office of a neuropsychologist who had just run an assessment on our 12-year-old son who has a variety of disabilities and medical problems.
While our friends worry about middle schools, we bring our son to the ER to get stitches after he puts his head through a window.
"You know cognitively, he's functioning at the bottom 1 percent of children his age," he said.

I nodded.

"That means 99 percent of children are doing better than he is."

I nodded again. (Yes, I can do the math.)

He waited, seemingly perplexed. "Having seen what I saw, and of course you have to be with your son all the time -- I have to ask you, how do you have the patience?"

I looked at him. He's my son. It was so obvious, I did not say it.

"I mean, really. How do you do it?" He looked to my husband, who gave him the same look. He tried a different tack: "Well, with all this stress, how are you two doing?"

"Fine," we said, and meant it. He handed us the thick report, still shaking his head.

This is, sadly, a very typical exchange, not just with the experts in our lives, but even close friends: How do we stand our hellish life with a child who functions at 1 percent and starts to bite and hit when he is in situations he doesn't understand -- often, multiple times a day? Once, watching our son having a hard time, a friend even blurted, "I'm so glad this didn't happen to us!"

While our friends worry about the quality of middle schools, our parental duties include bringing our son to the ER to get stitches after he puts his head through a window, then arranging for a window replacement and for a special treatment for all the glass in our house so it won't shatter -- at a pretty penny. Other friends declare, "I couldn't do what you do." If I am to conform to their expectations, I'm not sure what I am supposed to do: Beat my son? Kill myself? (Sadly, parents with kids like my son have done exactly that.)

Maybe it's my Buddhist outlook, but I'm not consumed with worry and frenzy and despair like I'm "supposed" to be. I don't enjoy that my 12-year-old son is still in diapers and sometimes purposely makes a mess in the bathroom. Or that he dumped his Thanksgiving dinner on my sister-in-law's pregnant belly. Or that he screams in the parking lot of Whole Foods until people call the cops on us. On the other hand, he is my son, and he is what I have. And he has a nice smile.

To read the entire article, please click here:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Inspirational thought for today

I came across this gem of a quote this morning. 

It simply needed to be included in my blog about career change to nursing. 

However, it can be applied to any change you want to make in your life -- be it huge or tiny.  Just set a goal, and take at least one step towards making that change, towards your goal.  And then another, and another.  And before you've realized it, you'll be needing to set new goals to work towards and achieve.  (I'll be writing a lot more about this theme in the weeks and months to come!!!)

Thank you, merci, M. Thoreau.

Friday, August 10, 2012

B.C. teens, twenty-somethings turn to Botox for forever 21 look


Teenagers and twenty-somethings having 'pre-emptive' Botox injections???  How sad. 

Here is a recent article from the Vancouver Sun.


VANCOUVER — Carly Roberts's forehead is smooth as a baby's bottom. The skin around her blue-green eyes is equally wrinkle-free.

Sure, she's just 25 years old. But there's something else going on, too.

"I'm Bo-jacked," the Vancouver sales associate said.

Roberts has been unapologetically using Botox — a widely used drug, made famous by youth-seeking Hollywood stars and certain reality-show housewives, that weakens or paralyzes muscles — to fend off wrinkles and skin creases for two years now.

Along with injections between her eyes and forehead, she also regularly uses Botox under her arms to reduce sweating.

Is such devotion to a drug excessive at such a young age? Roberts doesn't think so.

"I still have a little bit of expression left. Not huge . . . But my face isn't frozen or anything like that," she said.

Roberts is part of a growing number of B.C. women in their teens and 20s who say they are turning to the toxin to pre-empt signs of aging, despite the financial cost and health concerns around its use.

"I see 20-year-old women not wanting to have wrinkles," said Dr. Warren Roberts, Carly's father and an oral surgeon who is licensed to administer Botox in the province.

Roberts said the majority of his patients tend to be women between the ages of 35 and 60, but estimated roughly 25 per cent of his clients are teenage girls or women under 30.

"I couldn't give an exact amount, but it's increasing," he said.

Botox procedures among teenagers in the U.S. increased nearly 800 per cent between 2008 and 2010, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Among women in their 20s, injections increased by more than 11 per cent to 78,000 in 2010 alone.

Statistics for Canadian procedures are unavailable publicly.

Read more (link to entire article) : B.C. teens, twenty-somethings turn to Botox for forever 21 look

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our Body - the Universe Within

I am impressed that I still remembered how to log-in to my blog, it has been that long since I last wrote! 

We had a great vacation to the US, specifically Maine and Vermont.

While in Burlington, VT, we visited a neat little science/nature centre, called ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Centre -- -- on Lake Champlain.

They had a fascinating temporary exhibit that I had to go see, called "Our Body -- the Universe Within".  (  It is an exhibit prepared in partnership with the University of Vermont's School of Medicine.

It was INCREDIBLE.  I saw for myself so many of the body parts we'd learned in anatomy class, that I had just seen in the textbook or on the computer.  And there they were, right in front of my eyes. 

It was astounding.  How I wished we could have had access to something like this display when we were learning our anatomy and physiology classes.  Not even to dissect them ourselves, but just to have access to see them for real. 

I would look at a kidney, for example, and see all the veins in one filled in, and in another kidney, see all the arteries filled in.  And I would think back to renal physiology, and think what complex changes take place in each of the various parts of the one million nephrons found in each kidney.  It was almost overwhelming to see it, as I said, right there in front of me, for real.

It was eerily beautiful.  Dark, sombre lighting, mellow music playing in the background, and the gift that these people gave, so that we could marvel at our inner universe. 

It was a great exhibit, well worth the price of admission.  I even got a 'student discount' when I showed them my university nursing student card -- that has not happened in years (and years!).  I would not recomment children to see it, as it is very graphic, (or easily queasy adults!)