December 30, 2020
Well hello! It’s been awhile since I last posted an update. You must be wondering how this Awesome Mountain Girl has been doing this year what with quarantine and all.
Well I’ve been just fantastic and I really hope you have been too!
I had a head start figuring out how to spend so much free time, as you know I’ve had lots of it these past few years as I’ve successfully recovered from stroke. My routine has served me well through that. And that’s what I’ve been doing, my routine. Days, weeks, months. The time has flown. and I keep improving.
I’ve been cocooning at home all year with my husband, the Silver Fox (Dave) and small black awesome mountain pug (Roop). They still call me Kitten (Heather).
As I worked my way through the days, weeks and months, I haven’t been bored at all. I like to read and you can’t ever be bored when there is a good book waiting to be read. Right now I’m into Friends and Enemies by Barbara Amiel in hardcover (not loving it at all) and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry on Audible (most excellent reading and listening). I have dozens of books on kindle should I wish to chase a squirrel or two. In between reading and listening, I have lots to keep me busy:
I maintain a three day a week schedule with my Awesome Mountain Trainer, Sarah. I’m sure you’ve been wondering about my awesome mountain trainer, so here is her picture. She was just out and about doing random awesome things with her family when they took this picture of Sarah in tree pose.
This is the world we live in here in our little piece of mountain paradise. I aspire to be as awesome as Sarah is. Hiking to that remote ledge above the Elk River was no doubt a challenge. But look at her. Try to feel what she was feeling, standing like a tall tree, gazing out at the world. I want to do that sometime. Maybe next year.
This year we continued our one hour sessions of mixed cardio and strength. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are my favourite times of the week. Sarah’s infectious joie de vivre keeps spirits high even on “Tabada Tuesday” when we go all out on HIIT for our session. I’m sweaty and tired at the end, just like you are when you finish a tough workout. Get-ups are going just fine. 15 per workout plus the extra 3 she’s snuck in with a new exercise called kick-backs. We are currently working a plan to modify the getup into a downward dog, that we call the “half-down-dog” so I can try to get back into a yoga practice. Like everything it’s an incremental journey. Practice a bit every day and it gets a little easier. It’s early days and I am just able to get my knees off the ground in a plank position, using my forearms for leverage. I expect to have it mastered by this time next year.
I started weekly acupuncture at the suggestion of an old friend earlier this year. One hour every Wednesday. Focus has been on left side tricep, hamstring and parts in between. I’ve also used it to successfully treat a recurring headache I had late this summer. I highly recommend you lean into it, as with anything else, you can’t win if you don’t play.
3. Personal care
(hair salon and spa) is weekly and monthly. You might think this is a bit self indulgent and perhaps it is but there is more to well-being than just physical health. Mental health and well-being are equally if not more important. Weekly hair wash and blowout with Rachel at ET Hair Salon in downtown Fernie along with a bi monthly manicure. Monthly massage and waxing at Spa 901 in the East end of town is pure pleasure (the massage, not the waxing.)
4. Weekly Chiropractic
Adjustment with Dr Eric at Pure Life every Thursday afternoon. This is preventative. And I consider it fundamental to a holistic approach to wellness and a better YOU. It’s amazing how good you feel after, taller, straighter, more balanced. I try to practice walking with my head high, shoulders back. It makes this 5’2” Mountain girl feel and look taller, since I no longer have the benefit of high heels. Good standing and sitting posture is also helpful to your overall wellness. Do you slump forward or sideways whilst sitting in your favourite chair? Stop it! Sit straight, head high. Practice regularly. you can do this while reading a book.
5. General cleanliness and skincare
It’s never too early to practice good skincare. My wee Scottish Auntie “I” is 83 and looks great. Cleanser, Toner, Moisturizer. Every morning and night before bed.
Make it a twice a day ritual and soon it will be a habit you just can’t break. I use the Guerlain skincare line supplemented now and then with a few other products like Viva Amaze exfoliating gel ( available on Amazon) and Viva hydraleuronic acid for an extra moisture boost. Find a system you like and stick to it.
A lovely scent will make you and others happy. I like Chanel No5, D&G Light Blue and most fragrances by Jo Malone but my favourite is Blackberry & Bay.
I picked up some candles at a pottery Barn in Calgary earlier this year when it was still safe and easy to do so. I like the paper whites scent which is sometimes hard to find. I also splurged on a Jo Malone candle in the eucalyptus and pine fragrance. I burned it on Christmas morning and it was lovely.
5. Cooking and nutritional health
Yes I try to eat reasonably and mindfully. I still follow a weight watchers plan (purple) because it keeps me healthy and trim. Plus I like the discipline and accountability I get from tracking and monitoring. I am back to my pre-stroke weight but I have a few more pounds I’d like to lose, just because.
I’ve started to think about things I can add on to my days for example lunch on Thursdays. This Singleton has been going for lunch alone on Thursdays. First at Infinitea in the old Royal Hotel in town and lately Tandoori Grill in The Stanford Hotel on the outskirts of town. I often try to talk myself out of it but in the end I decide that it’s good to pursue some freedoms while we still have them. It would be good to have company for lunch but that’s just not on at the moment.
I plan to get to know my local Librarian this Winter and perhaps get to our town’s Aquatic Centre for some Gentle Fit if it re-opens again after this round of lock down. Maybe your town has some things that you can get out and do on your own. Get out there. Take a short walk. Or even just get on your treadmill.
I’ve been investing again with my tax free savings account at Investorline. Serious money is with a full service broker. I just play with my annual “travel” budget where I take $5 or $10k and try to turn it into $15 or $20k. Slowly over the course of a year. I’m cautious and conservative with these investments. When I was younger and worked at BMO Nesbitt Burns developing Full Service Online/Gateway we laughed and laughed at people who had “money to play with”. But I do have some and play with it every year to build a travel account with enough money to do what I want in good style every year without decreasing retirement capital.
Last year I did my first solo driving trip, about 4,000 kms round trip to Thunder Bay. This drive or one like it will become an annual August event. This 2021 year, I’m heading further into Ontario to Kingston, Toronto or Muskoka. Perhaps all three. I’m not sure yet. I’ll get my beauty out of storage and it ready for a ride in July, perhaps do a couple of shorter driving trips into the BC Interior as practice runs. All of this is covid-permitting. I’ll begin building my 2021 playlist this winter.
5. Plans for the future
And I want to really sink into retirement. Once we are all vaccinated and it’s safe to travel, I’m going to be leaving on a jetplane every winter. I want to get myself back to Portugal for a few weeks and to Miami for some stone crab at Joe’s or the Islamorada Fish Company in the Keys and later to California, perhaps pausing at Big Sur, I had a good time there once.
My very best wishes to you and your fine family and loved ones for a more normal 2021!
I hope you are enjoying your little piece of Paradise, wherever that is. I will be nestled in my house with my Silver Fox and our Small Black Pug, in my lovely, authentic little mountain town in Fernie, BC. We are almost always at home these days. Working, living, loving and laughing our way through the days. We are never sad and rarely get angry with each other.
And as we sink further into winter and each other, we are enjoying our modest routines, while continuing to dream ambitiously.
New Years Eve will find us with a charcuterie board, a bottle of really good champagne and each other. Roop will squeeze his fine self in between us looking for a biscuit or two.
I am Awesome, and so are you!
Happy New Year!
Next time I will tell you more about my goals for 2021. Here’s some pictures from 2020 to close.