Actually Here is now actually over there

Actually Here

I’ve finally done it! I’ve moved off to my own site. Please start following me at All my new posts are on the new site.  Unfortunately, I can’t move my community of followers so I have my fingers crossed  you will sign up once again.

Actually Here is a bit of a work in progress so some features, like my slide shows (grr….not working!), are still not functioning. I’m not a techy so this whole exercise has been one of frustration. Several times I’ve gone for a walk…and then come back to try again. Its not for the faint of heart…or for those who don’t like going for walks with purpose.

In the end, I’m pretty happy with the look and feel and I hope you are too. See you there!


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Why sometimes its good to complain

Sometimes it really is good to complain. This is not to be confused with self indulgent whining which we all can admit to doing even if briefly. Complaining is different and can be necessary.

Here’s a case in point. Someone in my family, who I love dearly, recently had a 4 hour surgery for her lung. It’s serious stuff. She is immobile, hitched up to tubes draining fluid from her lungs and her breathing is laboured. She is worried too. A year ago, similar surgery resulted in a life and death fight with a superbug she contacted while in hospital.

Not long after her surgery the hospital staff move her to a co-ed shared room. Her roommate is an older man who is most certainly mobile as are all his male friends that are coming to visit. From the smell brought with them into the room, its obvious they are all smokers.  To top it off, the little curtain between their beds doesn’t block off her view of the roommate or his view of her. I should add she is a beauty… a hospital gown that doesn’t promote modesty.

Her stress level is rising. Her blood pressure is too high and the surgeon has asked her to not get stressed. She asks to move rooms. Wouldn’t  you? Did I mention she can’t sleep as her room mate keeps the light on all night?

What do the hospital staff note on her chart? Not that she is under stress. No, they note that she is a ‘complainer’. They meant it as a negative descriptive and in this case that is SO wrong.

While complaining can be unwarranted, it also is a way of looking after yourself..and in the most positive way. Its a healthy sign of self-esteem to make sure your health, your boundaries, your rights etc are respected. So complain away. And thank yourself for it. Its a good thing.

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Its a rainy day in the Neighbourhood

There is no denying it..we are officially in wet season here on the coast of BC. From now until spring, there will be dark days with deluges of rain. 

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What to do? Plan a getaway to a beautiful, cozy hotel…indulge in sleeping in, hot steamy.. breakfasts (you thought I was going to say something else?), don your wet gear and go for long walks on the beaches and after a soak in the hot tub linger over a delicious dinner with a stellar bottle of BC wine.

I prefer to leave the big city behind and head to Vancouver Island for my hideaways. Here are some favs guaranteed to relax and rejuvenate.

Black Rock Oceanfront Resort,  Ucluelet                                                                       Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino                                                                                                Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa outside Victoria                                                                   Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa, Sidney

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Lights on Denman Street

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This past week I submitted these images for a photographic exhibition and sale. Only 50 photos were accepted and mine were not. But I like them anyway so I thought I would share.

These were taken on a rainy, cold evening last February but when I look at them I see only the warmth of the neon lights.

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Why you should visit the Vancouver Aquarium

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Vancouver is blessed with a world class Aquarium. This is a personal opinion but I’ve been to aquariums in Monaco, London (England) and Sydney and the one here in Stanley Park is not only comparable but I give it high scores for variety, the overall appearance (including the flow of visitors and cleanliness) and a 10 out of 10 on the sheer fun-o-meter.

When you visit, try to catch the Beluga show, the Seal show, the new Penguin Point exhibit and a good 15 minutes at the Otter pool where “aww……they’re so cute” will be said numerous times by anyone who sees them. Oh..and to my friend the gift shop the “Otter bottles” are back!

Go to Vancouver Aquarium to learn more about this incredible marine sanctuary.

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My Top 8 Diet Secrets of all time Part II

If you are new to my blog,  check out “8 Diet Secrets Part I”.  In no particular order here are my ‘secrets’.

1. Your diet is what you eat everyday. It started when you were born and it will end when you die. It’s not 2 weeks or 2 months in duration. It’s everyday…for your whole life. Once you figure that out you can decide what you can live with. And how you want to live.

2. Food is your friend. Food is fuel and you are designed to need this fuel. So recognize its value and respect what it can do for you. That goes for your appetite too. Its job is to make sure you are always fuelled up and ready to go. It’s like the gas gage in your car. Be thankful that you have both an appetite and good food.

3. Eat when you are hungry. This one is SO important. It’s how I stopped struggling with diet. If you starve yourself on a diet you are putting your body into a life saving mode of conserving calories. And your body is really good at what it does. It  will slow down your metabolism to a snail’s pace to make sure you can live through lean times. The best way to boost your metabolism? EAT!

4. Aim for 7 to 8 servings of fruit and vegetables everyday. Kind of self-explanatory but this does a few things. It gives you the best nutrients, keeps you full on fewer calories and putting more veggies on your plate means there is less room to eat junk. I lost 5 pounds one winter just by eating more veggies.

5. Eat some protein at every meal. Protein satisfies hunger like nobodies business.

6. Get outside. Okay this isn’t anything to do with food but its helps get your body moving and it contributes to good mental health.

7. Exercise for health not appearance. Looking great is a side benefit of working out. But it can also be demotivating if  you are exercising to be beautiful and the results you get are not what you expect. Instead focus on what is really important – all the benefits you get on the inside.

8. Be ‘au naturel’ when putting stuff in your body. Forget low fat, zero fat crap. Yes, its crap. If you want your body to be your friend you can’t give it chemicals, tons of sugar and bad fats. Eat crap, be crap. Eat well, be well.

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My Top 8 Diet Secrets of all time! Part I

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Yes! Get your secrets here! Ok the title to this post is a bit of a joke. But it’s not far off from all those crazy, blaring magazine headlines you see when you are waiting in line at the grocery store. Headlines like “6 Foods that will melt fat” or “Lose those last 10 pounds in a week” or from this month’s Cosmo “Burn 200 calories in 3 minutes”. Good grief! It all makes you there some freakin epidemic going on?

And sorry to say the answer is yes. We have an obsession with our weight and yet our weight is going up. According to Stats Canada, obesity in our population is hovering around 25%. And sadly the number of overweight or obese adolescents has doubled since 1978.

I am lucky to have genetics on my side for staying slim but even I have struggled with an unhealthy relationship to food. When I was young, my mom (who has dieted most of her life) told me I would have to do the same. When adolescence hit and my hips gained shape the diet began. Monday to Friday I ate minimal calories but by the weekend  my starving body demanded food and I gave it what it wanted …and more. Then the guilt and shame would settle in. I felt I had no self control, no will power and my body was still hanging on to a good 10 pounds it didn’t need. Even worse I wasn’t enjoying food. I viewed it as the enemy out to destroy me! An invite to a restaurant meant a whole, obsessive strategy of what I could possibly eat from a temptation riddled menu. I hated it and I hated myself for it.

Eventually, I figured it all out and now I love food. Its a gift of nature and it has my gratiude and respect. Out of my diet journey,  I do have 8 ideas to share and if they help great. I pray they will. If not…well.. sometimes you have to try different things until something works its magic for you. Don’t give up!

For those 8 ideas check out my next blog post “Top 8 Diet Secrets! Part II”

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Hiking Mt Finlayson near Victoria

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Yesterday I took an early ferry (7am..omg that’s early but great sunrise) to Vancouver Island to visit friends in Victoria. Luckily they are outdoorsy types so we took advantage of the warm, sunny day and dragged the kids on a hike up the backside of Mt. Finlayson in Goldstream Park.

You can scramble up the front side which is the most popular way to scale the 420m elevation but the last bit is steep and you have to cling to the cliff to make the last 100m. Not a good idea for anyone with a fear of heights. The backside doesn’t have the views but you get there just the same. Its 2km so not a big hike but perfect for families or occasional hikers. We did have in our group a foreign student from Shanghai who made the trek but not happily. We loved the hike but for her it was a slog. Apparently, they don’t have hills in Shanghai.

We also stopped a few times on the way up the mountain to geocache. This is basically looking for treasure that other geocachers have hidden. The treasure isn’t really treasure but it gets you off the trail and because sometimes you have to follow clever rules to find the cache it gets the brain going too.

You will notice in the photo with the BC Parks sign board there also is a bright yellow sign saying a cougar is in the area. I’m happy to report we didn’t see one.

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Celebrate Success

A few days ago I suddenly realized I had to celebrate. I won’t tell you why and it doesn’t really matter why. But when you have reached a milestone, taken a risk (whether or not it gave you what you wanted), stepped bravely into the unknown, or just feel like you’ve done your best..then its time to celebrate.

Maybe this is a part of Thanksgiving – being thankful to ourselves. So I bought some beautiful flowers and I am relishing their colour and presence in my living space. I really LOVE flowers. Enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend. Be thankful for successes, big or small and celebrate the richness of life.

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A Short Hike on Dog Mountain

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Vancouver is full of outdoorsy types and for good reason. The ocean, the mountains and everything in between makes getting outside a piece of cake. And you don’t have to go far or be a super athlete. There are hikes on the local hills that everyone can tackle and one of those is the 2 hour hike to Dog Mountain.

The trail has enough ups and downs to get the heart pounding a few times. And yes, there are rocks and wieldy roots from giant trees that you have to scramble over from time to time so you feel like you are doing a genuine hike. But its still only 2 hours and it comes with the prerequisite of any good hike – a spectacular view at the top!

It was a perfect day with blue, sunny skies, lots of smiles from friendly hikers with their dogs, and a good friend along to share the trail and spice it up with conversation. Oh..and a stop at the new MEC store on the way home to check out the coming winter’s new outdoor gear. A perfect Vancouver day.

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