Nov 25, 2009

Walking keeps me happy, ISPs keep me humble

I track my steps online because I find it strangely rewarding. I don't expect anything tangible like a prize - it's enough just to see my progress on my graph. So I don't need the website to congratulate me or give me a gold star when I log my steps every morning. Still, I expect better treatment than I got last Saturday when I tried to log Friday's steps:

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Uh, Forbidden? Whose permission do I need? What's going on?

Turns out our hosting company had some problems when they tried to migrate the site to a new server. We're told that ours is the only site affected, but it's taking them a while to figure out how to get it back online. Meanwhile, loyal walkers are contacting us to ask what's up - has the site been taken down, is Walkabout over?

No and no. Walkabout is very much not over! We're in it for the long haul because our vision is to revitalize a culture of walking in this province, and that takes time. However, it also takes outreach, and our interactive website has been a great part of that. We've missed it these past few days, and we know lots of you have too. I'm sorry about that. I don't know how to fix the DNS issues myself - all I know is to keep the pressure on the host to fix it soon because Nova Scotians have invested in this initiative. And when you log on to record your progress, you deserve better than a cold error message.

Every day we reach our goals is a small triumph, and another step on the road to making Nova Scotia a walker's province. So for now, jot your steps down with pen and paper, take the opportunity to put a gold star beside your best day(s), and keep checking the website for updates. When the site is restored, we can rejoin our virtual walking groups online, enter several days' worth of steps logged, watch our collective progress numbers jump, and remember that we're part of a provincial movement.

And... does anyone know a reliable website hosting company? Apparently "99.9% uptime" is not reliable enough!

Nov 4, 2009

Walk around the River

Monday was a great fall day. Lots of sunshine, crisp temperature, and a great place to go. I was on my way to Walk around the River in River Bourgeois. The group meets Monday and Wednesday mornings at 10 am at 102 South side river and chooses the direction in which to walk. We went left,right and then returned. It,as you can see in the picture above,was a beautiful walk with a view many people only wish they could see. (We actually met a professional Photographer out for a few shots.)

On this day, we were 4 generations of women,but men are also welcome and encouraged,ages ranged from 40's to 70's,some used Nordic Walking poles and some did not,and there was lots to talk about. I even learned one of my neighbours hailed from that area.

Since it is November , information about the Veterans group showed an amazing coincidence.The area from Holland where one of our group was born had been liberated by several members of the River Bourgeois Veterans group. It is a small world.

And Walking takes you all over it, even if you only go 3-4 Kilometers !

Oct 27, 2009

It should be fun

I just read jorunner's blog and I agree sometimes it is difficult to make that choice to move. But I also read the new report about ninth graders who have serious risk factors for heart disease and strokes ,so we have to get people motivated. So here is the fun in the motivation:

Click on this link

Oct 22, 2009

Motivation to move and write.

I've been MIA for the past several months. I've been to Europe and back, and I've settled into another fall routine with work, school and activity. However, I've been struggling with motivation to move and this has translated into a lack of inspiration to write.

How do we get out of the funk and actually inspire ourselves to move more? Walkabout helps provide the resources to support individuals in taking the first step, however what actually motivates someone to want to step on the bridge and support change? As I struggle to find time for activity - in my case running and going to the gym - in the midst of my busy day, I received a sobering thought: we all struggle with our lives and the health messages we receive to be active. However, knowing what to do and doing what you need to do are often two different things. And, even when you know what to do, and take steps to do it, there's the cold hard fact that the supports and environments required to support the decision are not always in place.

This is what I pondered as I pushed myself to go for a run yesterday. I didn't want to run. I wanted to sleep, or watch TV --- anything other than the physical act of running. It was a mental battle. I had to negotiate with myself: I will just put my sneakers on and go outside; I don't HAVE to run. I can just walk, or sit outside, but I have to get outside. Twenty minutes later I convinced myself to get out the door, and I headed to Point Pleasant Park. I tried to focus on the fresh fall smell and the colors outside to distract myself from the nagging feeling that I didn't want to be active. I'm not going to lie - the truth is, it didn't help. I was well aware that my body was screaming for me to stop and no amount of re framing of the other benefits of this active experience was going to override that reality.

This is my journey. And I'm sharing it with you. Research tells us that social supports are important in steps to behavior change. So, my step today is to acknowledge how I feel and to try to identify what's affecting my motivation. This may be one of the first steps on the road to change and to finding my passion for moving and writing again.

Walk the Marconi Rail Trail

Bridge on The Marconi Rail Trail The wild life is returning to the ponds at the former heavy water plant

Sunday 01 November, Guided Walk Event

Registration: 1:30pm, Start Time: 2:00pm

Marconi Towers Trail (My name for this portion of the S&L Railroad)

5/10k Rated 1C, note our original assessment of this trail was 2C however the new SP for this year has made it much easier then previous walk s on this trail.

Start Point: 755 Hwy 255 (Donkin/Glace Bay Hwy)

The start point for this walk event is the “former Heavy Water Plant” parking lot in front of building #1 and please note that there are signs indicating the highway is closed except for “local traffic”. The road is open to the former plant and we will have signs directing you to the parking lot.

Walk Leader: Rollie Coombes, 849-0747,

Oct 15, 2009

More Celtic Colors fun


Gather your family and friends to enjoy the Scenery and Beauty along the Coxheath Hills Trail

When: Saturday, October 17th, 1 - 4 pm

What: The sound of Cape Breton music will be ini the air from pipers and fiddlers and experts will be along the trail to answer questions about the wildlife.

After the hike, join the Ceilidh in Knox Hall with fiddler Hanna Stockey and Kolten MadConeell on keyboard. Refreshments will be on hand.

Note: The trail and hall are located on Coxheath Road at the Blackett's Lake turnoff. Contact 564-6352 for more info.

I'll be there with Grandkids in tow!

Oct 6, 2009

Celtic Colors and all things fun in CB

Well we are headed for the Thanksgiving weekend in CB ad we all know what that means...too much turkey, so I'm suggesting a few other things to gladden your heart rather than feeding it too much.
For starters there is the Celtic Colors festival. How can you not get moving when you hear all those great Celtic tunes? And there are venues all over the Island from Port Hawkesbury to Sydney around to Ingonish. Take in any one of them and you will be rubbing elbows with the International visitors who can't believe our good fortune to live in this wonderful province! For you choices visit

For myself I've planned a couple of Walkabout celebrations to drop in on this week and weekend. You'll see some Walkabout participants strolling along with their Nordic Walking sticks in Inverness Town on the 8th and on the weekend , after the big concert at the Joan Harris Pavilion, more Walkabout leaders willl be joining in the ISle MAdame Eco Trail Family fun day . Visit to find out more about this fabulous trail. We'll be leaving on the Blue Trail at the boudreauville entrance at 2:00 PM on Sunday and there are many family activities planned for the afternoon.

Of course there is always the great pumpkin walk. Find a local patch and walk through with your kids until you find the perfect one!

Sep 11, 2009

More fun in Cape Breton

Hike the highlands Festival

Festival Updates
Important Messages

1) Hikers are expected to be at the trailhead at least 30 minutes before the hike starts to check in.

2) Opening ceremonies on Friday, Sept. 11th will start when hikers come back from Middle Head between 7:30 pm. - 8:00 pm.

3) Outdoor Nature Photography workshop on Friday, Sept. 11th on the first weekend will take place at Jack Pine Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Meet at Jack Pine parking lot at Black Brook area at 1:30 pm.

4) Outdoor Nature Photography workshop on second weekend of the festival will be on Smokey Towers trail. Meet at Cape Smokey Provincial Park parking lot at 1:30 pm.

5) Introduction to GPS workshop will take at Brook Brook area - meet at Jack Pine Parking lot - 4:15 pm.

6) On Monday, Sept. 14 at NHN Trails, Cape North - There are two events a) There will be a guided hike- 4kms for hikers at NHN trails beginning at 10:00am. b) The Nordic Walking workshop - hiking with poles, a different event, will take place at 10:00 am and hikers will do another trail hiking with their poles. Please be there 30 minutes before the hike or workshop to check in. A barbecue will follow at 11:30 am. for hikers on the hike as well the Nordic Walking workshop.

7) Hikers are encouraged to pick up their Hike the Highlands festival Pass & National Park pass at the festival headquarters at Glenghorm Beach Resort, Ingonish. If you would like to pick them up at trailhead registration please e-mail

Festival Headquarters
Hours of Operation

Festival headquarters and registration desk is located at the conference room downstairs just past Thirsty Hiker Pub. Hours of operation during the festival :

Friday, September 11th -
12:00 pm. – 9:00 pm.
Saturday, September 12th
- 8:00 am. – 8:00 pm.
Sunday, September 13th
- 8:00 am.– 11:00 am., 5:30 pm. – 8:00 pm.
Monday, September 14th -
8:00 am. – 10:00 am. 6:00 pm. – 8:00 pm.
Tuesday, September 15th-
8:00 am. – 10:00 am. 6:00 pm. – 8:00 pm
Wednesday, September 16th - 8:00 am. – 10:00 am. Thursday, September 17th - 8:00 am. – 10:00 am.
Friday, September 18th-
8:00 am. – 10:00 pm 6:00 pm. – 8:00 pm
Saturday, September 19th-
8:00 am. – 12:00 pm. 5:00 pm. – 8:00 pm.
Sunday, September 20th - Closed/ Cleanup in afternoon

2009 Photo Contest
All Hikers are Encourage to Enter

All hikers in the 6th Annual Hike the Highlands festival are encourage to take pictures throughout the festival and entered the photo contest in the following categories 1) Flora, 2) Fauna, 3) People, 4)Scenery and 5) Humour. 1st place winners will receive a free Hike the Highlands Pass for 2010 festival and photos display on the website, and festival blog. 2nd & 3rd place winners will be displayed on the website. Contest details will be available at the festival headquarters.

Sep 10, 2009

Walk like a man...down Memory lane

I’ve done a lot of walking on my holidays this year. One of the most fun was the walk to see Jersey Boys,the musical of the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.These boys from Jersey were just hitting their stride as I was getting into my teens although my better half and I were more of the Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin era. That made very little difference as we heard the old favorites like Walk like a man, Big girls don’t cry and of course Sherry Baby. It helped that some of the back stage personnel were sharing our box so we knew it had to be good when they laughed at the jokes too! It didn’t seem to matter how old you were, we saw Grandmothers ( like me) with kids in their teens and everyone was singing along. By the way they make great walking tunes for your ipod! Check it out at

As we were in the city of Toronto, I was thinking, if I lived here I wouldn’t need a car. Lots of Public Transit, lots of green spaces to walk,and a picnic in Hyde Park made me a tad jealous, but traffic whizzing by, lots of people in line for subways, and the constant sound of emergency vehicles made me glad I was just a visitor.
There are just so many places to visit in this country and in this province, I'm sorry I can't see more of them. However , this weekend , I'll be walking like myself down the Trans Canada Trail in Inverness County in the CB Island Hoppers walking Marathon. Start out in Troy, register by 10 am for the 5, 10 or 15 k, earlier by 9 if you want to do the full marathon, Hope I see you there. I'll be one of the folks in the lime green Walkabout T-shirts. Stop and say hi, and I'll try not to sing old Frankie Valli tunes!

Sep 2, 2009

Important walks in life

Important walks indeed! I've been thinking about all those little babies who are taking that first step towards independence today in the HRM.

Granddaughter Number 3 took a long walk up the road to get her first ride in the School bus today. I am sure her father then jumped on his bike and followed the bus to the school to make sure all went well. I'll be watching my email closely for the pictures. Her big brother took the same walk not too many years ago so he was able to be the fountain of knowledge to answer her questions and to guide her along the way.

One of my colleagues was walking her daughter to school for the first time! How exciting for her little girl, how emotional for the mom. But how wonderful to WALK together instead of jumping in the car. All the way there, just think of the conversation..who will be the teacher, where is the classroom, who will she play with, when can she eat her lunch.
Maybe we should all be thinking about Walking School buses in our neighbourhoods so we can share more of those moments together.

I also attended another important first step in a long walk this summer. My niece got married. She and her Dad took that long walk down the aisle. Again think of the conversation. ( I'm sure he was saying we love your choice but if you want we can walk right out the door! and she was saying this is a great first step in a long life together) . And yes they did stop at the appointed spot and everyone was delighted to watch the ceremony.

So while all the steps we take aren't quite so momentous, there are some steps this weekend you can take with your family and friends. I found a great little walk/run in Tatamagouche that is a great way to end the summer. Take a peek at

It seems like a lot of fun. Maybe I'll see you there.

Jul 20, 2009

Walking along the waterfront

If your feet could take you, Monday's sights along the waterfront were certainly worth the walk! Tall ships flooded the harbour in Halifax this past weekend and were a treat for the eyes and feet. Monday morning I left home early and meandered along the waterfront on my way to work! What an amazing way to start the day; aside from the treat of seeing dozens of tall ships grazing on top of the sun-kissed ocean, it was very calming to see the sights and sounds along the water in the peaceful early morning before the hustle and bustle of the day. (Un)fortunately, not many people who can take advantage of the scenic and pedestrian-friendly places to walk in Halifax actually do (myself included)!

For the remainder of July, my goal will be to take a different path to work at least twice a week. Given that I like structure and routine, shaking up my walking route to work will not only allow me to see different parts of the city but it will also allow me to push my structural boundaries as well. The rewards are also breathtaking - yesterday my walking detour allowed me to catch the tall ships before the parade of sail, which took place in the afternoon (thanks to Lenn for playing photographer!).

ps. the walking challenge is progressing... and it's safe to say I am leading. While I can't claim victory yet, I did log over 20,000 steps on Friday and I am consistently hitting 10,000 steps or better on a daily basis. It looks like I will be the benefactor of a beck-and-call-person after all!

Reigning in Queensland

This is a look at what one of my favorite beaches is like on a normal summer day. Since Numbers 1& 3 grandchildren live nearby, we often spend a lot of time there . I usually rule the beach from my favorite camp chair and watch the world go by.Well, I just got back from another girls' road trip. Loaded Numbers 2 & 4 in the car and headed for Hubbards NS to visit Numbers 1& 3. Imagine how thrilled I was to leave the sun behind in Truro and drive into the rain ...for days! I couldn't believe it, my only trip to Queensland beach ( one of the most beautiful spots in the province)this summer and I chose the rain. But did that stop the intrepid swimmers? Not on your life. Friday am , we loaded up the old granny ( me) with a chair ( good for putting your gear on to keep it out of the sand but never for sitting on) , snacks, life jackets( great for wearing in the breakers) dry towels, sweaters, and did I mention snacks? and off to the beach we went. It is a bit of a walk so we had to get the rules down pat. Since there are no sidewalks, we had to follow the red light-green light method. If a car is coming Red Light..everyone stands off to the side of the ditch and doesn't move. Green light occurs when the car goes by. Needless to say it took a while to get to the beach. Luckily on a foggy day there weren't too many cars.
Once on the beach we were thrilled to have it pretty much to ourselves. Air temp of 19 and Water temp of 17 degrees meant we were the only ones really in the water. From my vantage point the lifeguards seemed to be wearing their snow suits but that was only because I wished I had one myself.I congratulate them on staying put on their post when the day was so dismal .Discouraging for most but not the little otters, I call grand kids. We played in the waves until one or two of us were turning blue and than called it a day. Then the whole procession proceeded back up the hill yelling red light -green light until we hit the home front. Along the way we had to have a little detour into the wild strawberry patch. I've not seen one so large with so many berries in a long time. So I still think I was in a little bit of heaven, even though it was not a sunny day. I'm still the queen of my realm and my loyal subjects still think gramma is ok.

I highly recommend finding your way to this lovely spot of NS when it is sunny and go for a long walk along the sandy shores. Its great for the kid in all of us. You can read about it and other great NS beaches at

Jul 6, 2009

Pedometer challenges!!!

So, I'm a bit competitive. Albeit, mostly with myself, however, if I'm faced with a challenge I generally won't shy away. When there's prizing, incentives or even bragging rights involved, I will also try my very hardest to rise to the challenge. I tell you this to set the context for what I'm going to say next.

I've entered into a friendly challenge with a close friend of mind - over the course of the next month we are tracking our steps and the person who has accumulated the fewest steps will have to be a 'beck-and-call-person' for a day. This is NOT a challenge I intend to lose. I'm already plotting the extra steps I can gain through taking the stairs and running. We've both agreed that we won't convert other activities to steps, so it's my feet that will be doing the work this month to help me with this challenge. However, my biggest weakness will be remembering to put on my pedometer; it's day 2 and my memory seems to be holding so far. For the next month I'm going to share my progress with you. I am sure there will be high and low points!

Even if you're not the competitive type, there's lots of activities taking place this summer that you can take part in if you're looking for a new way to look at walking:

Kool FM recently announced a fun challenge through Heart&Stroke Walkabout - if you track your steps in their Kool walking group for a month you have the chance to win fun prizes including new sneakers and gift-certificates just for participating! So, even if you're not into competitive challenges this is an example of a challenge where you can be a winner for participating at your own pace! Check it our here:

Nova Scotia CAP sites have also launched friendly walking challenges to encourage communities to be active this summer. People can win individual and community prizes for most steps and just for participating. Find out more here: .

Or, if non-competitive challenges are your thing, I invite you to share your steps and journey with me! I'll share where I walk and what I sights I see, and I would love to hear about your walking summer as well! Fingers crossed, I hope my journey involves a soon-to-be-declared-pampering day as a result of winning my own walking challenge.

Jul 2, 2009

Heading out across the flats

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A look at the runners/walkers as they make their way through the mud out to the island.

coming back from the mud run by boat

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Coming back across the flats by boat ( tide has turned)

Mud continued

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A picture of how the shoes looked at the end of the run!

Jul 1, 2009

more mud

My bragging rights have been somewhat curtailed. While I can continue to brag about my intrepid daughter, grandchildren and colleagues for their great runs at the Not since Moses, it seems I am as Proud as a fancy pheasant not a peacock!

Jun 28, 2009

not stuck in the mud

Imagine how proud as a peacock I was on Saturday when Grandkids number 1&3 did the Not since Moses basket run!With much slipping and sticking (shoes) in the mud they rounded the finish line with Dad and puppy in tow in time to get the basket run medals.
Then on up the hill to see the Heart and Stroke gang ( basket cases really) getting ready to launch off on the 10 k . Sunday my better half and I volunteered in the Minas Basin while daughter number 2 ran her 10 k.It couldn't have been better.In fact five hours later there was 41 feet of water where I was Standing! How cool!
Check out the front page of the CH Sunday edition to see what 350-400 muddy runners /walkers look like.
Oh and by the way, I saw a peacock in full color on the way out of Five Islands. I guess he was proud of them too! Check the walkabout facebook site for picturs later in the week.

Jun 24, 2009

fun look at Mud run

If you are wondering what in the world will this thing be like, look at the videos and descriptions in these helpful sites:

Jun 22, 2009

Walking, rocking, radio and more...

As my bio indicates, I work at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia. I spend a lot of time ensuring that Walkabout is consistent in its look, and true to its being: supporting Nova Scotians in walking, and providing the tools and resources to support the pitter-patter of steps.

I also get to work on creative projects as well. One of the components of Walkabout includes a campaign focused on changing the way we think about walking. Walking is not glamorous. I know. However, here's the thing: I also think it is one of our best kept secrets - it can bring friends together for an evening, allow you to connect with your pet dog (or someone else's), helps you clear your head, and the lists goes on. Part of what we're focusing on is bringing that magic back.

We recently developed radio spots to support the Walkabout message. These cheeky, light-hearted pieces are engaging and pack a lot of punch. I invite you to listen to them here. Venture down the page to the bottom where the links are to the radio commercials! The main message is about walking, but there are also virtual ways to share this message: send an e-card, join the Facebook fan page, share interesting information you find on Twitter or other sites. Think of it as virtual walking 8--)

Where does walking take you? For me, I walk to and from work everyday (well - there was an exception when it was raining, if you'll recall from an earlier post), and I use the time to get lost in my head or work through work or home issues on my plate. Where does walking take you? I'd love to know, so share your walking secrets with a comment to this post!


According to Helen Keller, it is better to walk in the dark with a friend than to walk alone. ( Yes I did the cryptoquote this morning) . But how true it is. I'm looking forward to walking with the Grand kids again at the Not since Moses walk in Parrsborro NS this weekend. If anyone has any pull with the weather person, please use it for Sat and Sun. Check it out at and check out the Walkabout team as they walk/run/slip their way to the islands on Sunday

Jun 19, 2009

Scenic Main a Dieu

I had the pleasure not long ago to combine two of my favorite things ... Library visit and walking. What more could you ask for? Well I got it. I was privileged to walk with some of the Main a Dieu folks who were and are responsible for the fabulous Main A Dieu Coastal Discovery centre(You can find out more at ).We went for a talk and walk on the first warm CB day, and while it was warm and sunny in Sydney, it was sunny in Main a Dieu and I was glad to have my sunhat to keep my head warm. But I could feel the warmth of the sun on my face while we walked down the beach around the boardwalk. All the sunshine makes the solar panels on the front of the building an understandable renovation. All along the boardwalk, there are look off nooks to see wild vegetation and to gaze out into the deep blue water. I can't think of anything more inviting than this beach on a July day. Then you could spend the day swimming, picnicking, poking around the local C@P site ( where you could borrow a walkabout pedometer) , touring the museum, and finishing up by borrowing a book from the library on site,. If you forget your picnic lunch, you could pop into the restaurant where the fish chowder makes the visit memorable in its own right.
And if you go down to the end of the Harbor, Moque Head Trail is an easy hour walk.

By the way, my goal this summer is to hit all of the CB groups who are walking for Walkabout and join them at least once. Let me know where you are and I'll come along for a walk.

Jun 18, 2009

CB Youth Fiddlers Run/Walk

My weekend was made a roaring success, not only because all four grand kids were in residence, but because all four decided to take part in the Dr's NS CB Fiddlers Youth run. While I made my way to the volunteer lines at 8:00 am , four little folks found runners, hats, and sunscreen and made their way in for the 11 am start. Over 600 youth from just about 3 years of age to Junior High were in the Joan Harris Pavilion next to the big fiddle to set out. I had the privilege to hang out with a very enthusiastic bunch of Grade 3 students before the official start.
Grand kid Number 1 was initially pointed in the Tots Run but stepped up to run with the elementary school kids.You couldn't have seen a happier face when he arrived at the finish line, and arrived before some of the big Junior High kids finished their run He and his Mom had a great time. And so did all other 599 participants. Lots of green T-shirts arrived at schools on Monday with the medal for proud display!

Meanwhile back at the Tot Trot, there were over 40 little folks who ran, walked, or toddled through the bubbles around the five laps to come in for a big finish to medals and cheers. I don't know who had the most fun, the runners or the watchers!

Jun 13, 2009

Walk the stress away

Walking seems so simple and uninteresting. I mean it's just one foot in front of the other until you reach your destination. Not very many people think of how complex it really is. For something you learn when you're very young it sure is useful. Walking can be used for something as simple as going to get the mail or as difficult as going across Canada. Today I decided walking would be used as a stress reliever. With exams starting on Monday and other issues building up, I could barely think. I didn't think that any amount of spa treatment could possibly help me now. I seemed to have everything going wrong precisely when school had to be my number one priority if I wanted to pass exams. Of course there wasn't much I could do about most of these problems but bite my finger nails and worry. There wasn't much I could do about anything I, after all I was just a kid to the majority of people. This morning though I decided that everything was going to be forgotten and today was going to be my me day. I had studied so much that I swore I could take the English exam on Monday in my sleep. I always had tomorrow to cram a little more. I could definitely afford and use a me day. In movies and novels 'me days' usually consisted of shopping and going out to lunch. I do not only find shopping unbelievably boring but fast food makes me feel sick so these things were not for me. I decided this morning that maybe my 'me day' could start with a picnic on the beach with nothing but my black lab Sasha. Surprisingly there wasn't many people on the beach this morning. I guess most people wait until a little later in the day to show up. The sound of waves crashing and fresh air was just what I needed to forget about everything on my mind. Walking across the sandy beach may not seem like much but when you have the beautiful scenery, the nice sounds and the wonderful feeling of the fresh air going through your lungs it really is something. Relaxing doesn't always have to be on a couch watching t.v or in a spa getting a massage, it could be walking down the beach letting the cool breeze massage and relax every tense muscle in your body.
- Sarah

Jun 12, 2009

Running away for the day

There are a few times a year when I just run away from home...just for a day. Saturday was one of those days. No one had a job for me to do, I had no obligations, and I found myself in Truro with no plans. So I just let my nose take me where it would.( It is spring after all and the blossoms are coming out.)

You know I have a few bad habits... and gardening is just one...Spending money is another, so when I can combine the two, how perfect. I started the day at the Truro Farmers market. ( Farm Markets are an entire subject unto themselves) . But since I have a gardening habit, it was mainly for the plants I went. And what a selection of vendors there was. Trees, native species, little gems I don't yet have. What more could I hope for? Well there was some great coffee and a a few crafts that called out my name as I passed by.

Next I hit a few antique shops , luckily no room for furniture in the vehicle. But lots to see.

Then a great little bistro near Margolians . I think it may even be in the same spot I used to buy fabric for my Quilting volunteers in another life. Then the highlight was up to AC to see the rock garden.The last time I was there, it was a work in progress. Now it is just a wonderful spot to go . I could walk around it all day and still see some flowers I missed on the last pass. And I was drooling over a pasque flower. ( Fate had it that my daughter bought one for me at the Halifax Farmers market , so I am now thinking about where to put it at home.) But there are samples of a scree garden that might have an influence on me too! Anyway if you want to go, checkout this site, and it includes directions. Or else visit to take a peek. Then put your shoes on and take a walk to AC.

May 29, 2009

Nova Scotia election candidates on the move!

Great news - Walkabout's election challenge has sparked interest across the province, resulting in a flurry of candidates signing on for their own informal walking challenge. For the rest of the campaign (and possibly beyond), they will wear Walkabout pedometers, track their steps online for a friendly competition, and hopefully spark conversations about the issues this brings to light, issues like infrastructure, health and healthcare costs, active transportation, gas prices, the environment, and community safety. Here's the news release, and here's the great part of the story as far as I'm concerned:
Politics is not a drive-by sport. These folks know that, if you want to really connect with people, you've got to do it on foot. I learned a similar lesson on a personal level when I gave up most driving for short distances - I got to know my neighbourhood a lot better, and I enjoy it a lot more. But more on that later....

In other news.... with the warmer weather, beautiful "street parties" are popping up all over the place, including in some extreme places - like Times Square, which is typically wall-to-wall cars. Check out these pictures of pedestrians reclaiming the street!

... and from the sounds of it, it may become permanent. What I would call a pedestriarchy.

Makes me want to get out my white paint can and claim my own street for a sunny stroll this weekend. Instead I will settle for some HRM Bike Week activities ( . Walkers bike and cyclists walk - streets which are friendly to cyclists are very much in the Walkabout spirit. It's true - walk and roll can save the world :)

May 22, 2009

Walking takes me... to the finish line

This was a big day. I sprint-walked-sprint-walked the course. It wouldn't have been possible without building up my endurance through the simple act of walking every day.
This was the Bluenose 10k. Now that I know that I can go further by breaking up my sprints with walking - and that, mind-blowingly, this can give me the same average speed as many of those hardy souls who jog the whole way - I'm game for more marathons, maybe even longer distances. And that just blows me away. I'm a walker, not a runner! But walking helped take me there.
Turns out there's whole communities of people who have already discovered this. Check out With proper preparation, you can walk a whole marathon. My entire worldview has shifted...

May 13, 2009

Olympics now and then

I was at a meeting in Richmond county and my colleagues and I were chatting about the Olympics.One of the group felt that the cost of training elite athletes was just not worth it; it was not beneficial enough for the general population to keep doing it year and year. Needless to say that began a lively discussion about Physical Activity and motivation! Some were pro , some were con. As I was making my way home again, I was musing on this very topic when I came around the bend to my family's kilometer. Now why does my family have a kilometer of our very own? Well, it is a most beautiful little spot of paradise on Route 4 including a beautiful little church and a road leading to Salmon River. We ran it, together, in the dark, with the gods of Olympus with us( or at least their flame).

Back in the day, during the 88 Olympics build up, a gasoline company offered the chance to run in the torch run to anyone who entered a contest. My youngest must have filled out a hundred entries. And because she was too young to go to the service station alone, her Dad filled out some too. Unfortunately for her, her name wasn't picked but her Dad's was. So it became a multi generation , neighbourhood event. Our elderly next door neighbour came along . Dad's kilometer was about an hour away from home, and on a cold,crisp night we waited by the side of the road for the torch to come along. As he was passed the torch, the organizers said to the girls "you can run along with your Dad for awhile". How exciting for a little girl and her sister. To touch the torch was a thrill. To run together was a thrill. And afterwards in the Hall in the local community, other families celebrated that same thrill . Pictures of everyone holding the Olympic flame were taken, hot chocolate was drunk, and stories told. Was it money wasted? I think not. Even today, as I drive that section of highway with an acquaintance , I always say " This is our kilometer"

And research does show that children who have active parents are more likely to remain active into adulthood. And if our daughter is an example, it's true!

May 6, 2009

Summer is coming

So is it really pre-summer or was that just a teaser last week?
We think it is really going to happen. So many firsts. The first slug crawling up the driveway, the first ladybug on the bikes, the first bonfire of the season, the first earwig. As you can see many of these firsts are not at all my favorites but... the best is watching the magnolia tree blossom. And you can just see it , bit by bit, all day as the blossoms slowly open up. I have to tell you the magnolia is a stunner. And I can sit in my old rocking chair and see it even when I am not outside. I consider this spot of ground a little bit of paradise ; but I am sure others have their own spots to think about.

And I can think of one.
Really I don't ever think that I'd like to live in the "big city" but I am a little jealous when I hear that the Halifax Public Gardens are going to open tomorrow. Check it out at I think it is one of my favorite gardens to walk about. If I lived in Halifax I'd be grabbing my sun screen, my hat,my lunch, and heading over to the gardens every noon hour to see what's in bloom, what's new with the ducks, and who is entertaining in the grandstand. But for those of you who live there, take a walk over for me and take a look around at the spectacular beauty that has withstood the storms of this century and last, the pressure from developers, and the wonderful planning of the designer! While I, at home in the country, will enjoy a scenic vista a little less grand but almost as satisfying. This week Number 3 has been picking flowers with wild abandon. Her mother chastised her and told her not to take any more flowers into the house. So when I went outside , every puddle and the birdbath had a lovely daffodil arranged nicely in it!

So take a walk to wherever your heart leads you and enjoy your surroundings!

May 5, 2009

The little engine that could (walk, run, play...)

The annual Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon is just around the corner and I have signed up to run the half marathon. Now, 21 km is no joke. After completing this run, I will have three half marathons logged with my running sneakers. However, the training - mentally and physically - doesn't get any easier.

The way I see it, whether you're running 21km or walking 21 km, there's a certain amount of focus and commitment required. Not to mention, a whole lot of steps logged, water consumed and memories made. For the first time, I've kept a journal about my running experience. And while there's still two weeks to go, upon reflection, I've come to realize that the real learning isn't in the distance I've logged, but in the thoughts I've kept, the people I've seen and the places I've been.
I've witnessed pure, raw friendship that comes from a congratulatory high-five or hug after a long run. I have thought about why I'm running, and the negative demons that can haunt my steps. I've seen rain drops dance along the pavement and I've seen the sun glisten off citidal hill after a snowfall. I've even seen my running partner throw-up. Now that's dedication.

So, while I've logged many kilometers, and countless steps, the journey has also been emotional as well. This year, I will be running with my brother, and taking part in the kids run with my niece. So, while the training has been long, it's the journey (and destination) that's worth a thousand words.

I'm not sure how many of you are participating in this year's marathon weekend, but for all you runners and walkers, I wish you happiness and good luck! Whether you're running or walking the 5, 10, 21 or 42 km, there's distance to be covered and memories to be made. So relish in it.

Steps to ponder:
  • 10 days, 29 hours, 29 minutes until the marathon.

  • This year, if you're participating in the Blue Nose Marathon, you can also join a charity challenge team. I'm on the the Heart and Stroke Foundation team. If you're walking or running, you can join our team as well! Or you can pledge to support the team (shameless team promotion I know 8--)

  • There once was a little train engine with some very wise words: "I think I can. I think I can!"

  • Good luck!

Apr 29, 2009

I think I'll stick with walking.

As my sister and I walked down the faded grey road we talked about normal things, normal for us anyway. We thought it would be a good day for a nice stroll down the road, so we geared up and started toward the street. After we got walking we were oblivious to how much exercise we were getting. After a while, we found ourselves gawking at a retired doctor's property. The landscaping around his enormous house was gorgeous but there was one thing in particular that caught my eye. A red paved square to the side of his back yard with a big grey fence around it. A tennis court. So, right away my sister and I turned around and walked home, we were pretty physicked after seeing two people running around hitting tennis balls at each other. When we arrived at my house I went straight to the garage and grabbed two tennis rackets and a green tennis ball. We were already geared up in sneakers and gym clothes so we got ready to play some tennis. After we found a good place in my drive way to play we realized a simple fact... neither of us have ever played tennis before in our lives. We decided that if we could play it on the Wii then it couldn't be too difficult, right? Wrong! We're not sport people so after a few blunt head injuries, a small encounter with the Atlantic ocean and a minor dent in mom's Nissan we decided to call it a day. Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Walking takes you places :) but just because it doesn't look like it requires skill doesn't always mean unskilled people can do it although we had lots of fun trying. We have both decided we're going to stick with walking and volleyball for physical activity.
Can you see the world from your car window?

Apr 27, 2009

Spring is here

Spring is here.

What are the signs? Kids playing in the water.( #s 1 & 3 were playing in the ocean this weekend) Ducks playing in the water. I caught a glimpse of these ducks in the ditch on the road by my house. Scared of the flock of Canada Geese in the lake perhaps?

Bees buzzing around the flowers. These croci were home to the first sighting at our house this year.

And I’m glad that the bees are back. Across North America over 1/3 of the cultivated populations are being hit with some sort of illness which wipes the colony out. What would we do without these industrious little fellows? Most of our veggies at the local markets are pollinated by these little fliers. They’ve had a bad reputation but really are so necessary to life as we know it.

And the true sign of spring. As I look out my window, my trusty better half is busily pruning (or slashing ) down my favorite smoke bush . One guy's pruning is another plants massacre.

Apr 23, 2009

Lucky Pennies

So, there I was walking with my head in the clouds making my way to work when my random thoughts about spring ran smack up against a more pressing thought about keys.

That's right, suddenly my tranquil thoughts about running a half-marathon were disrupted by more a more serious thought about whether I put my keys in my backpack.

Responding as I do to such immediate, annoying thoughts, I stopped to search my backpack. That's when a pleasant, soft-spoken elderly woman interrupted me.

"I have to give these to you," she says with her hand extended out to me with two tarnished pennies laying flat in her palm.

“What,” I ask staring at her, then the pennies, then at her again. “The pennies?”

“Yes, I have to give these pennies to you in order for it to be lucky,” she responds.

“Sorry,” I ask, not sure what act of superstition I am about to partake in.

“If you find pennies, you have to give them away for luck. And I found these ones back there” she tells me, pointing back to the sidewalk behind us.

“Okay, sure,” I say, “I’ve never heard of this, but I’ll take them, maybe they will bring me luck today.”

I thanked her, placed the pennies in my pocket, and returned to my search. She smiled and walked off relieved that she had passed on her pennies to someone. Finding my keys, I returned to my walk when my mind turned to thoughts about pennies.

Curious, I decided to find out more about pennies when I got to work. According to the Royal Canadian Mint, the penny is composed of the following: 94 per cent steel, 1.5 per cent nickel, and 4.5 per cent copper plating or copper plated zinc. It weighs 2.35 grams and is 19.05 mm in diameter and 1.45 mm in thickness. The Royal Canadian Mint minted 846,420,000 in 2007 and 928,434,000 in 2001.

On 10 October 2007, the Royal Canadian Mint released a study on the future of the penny in Canada. The findings show that most small retailers were slightly in favour of removing the penny while consumers were split on the issue.

You can find out more about the penny’s future at

I say we keep the penny. For, were it not for the penny, I would not have met this elderly woman eager to ensure I had a lucky day.

Apr 15, 2009

Rain Rain stay today little children love to play

Well the rain can mean different things to all of us. I was sitting in my rocking chair as befits an old gramma on Easter Sunday lamenting about the rain, when I realized number 4 grandchild was quietly putting on her boots ,over her night attire,and taking her new umbrella for a walk. (Apparently the Easter bunny also has a thing for umbrellas.) Now she did not see the same challenges I did. Her challenge was to sneak by the adults and get out the door without being told to get dressed!
And again I marvel at how we put obstacles in our way when none really is there. (I too own boots and an umbrella, but was not prepared to use them on such a cold drizzly day)

And it is amazing how the word spread.
Soon One, Two, and Three were in their boots, slickers and umbrellas and away they went on an adventure. Apparently it is a lot of fun to get really, really wet.
Again I thought of how social walking is, how much fun they were having, and how just one little girl (just 3 years old) could inspire an entire family to get on the move. (If only to run for the camera so we’d have a good shot of the adventure gang!)

So her song is “rain rain don’t go away”.

Apr 11, 2009

Wait, Think, Go

Sure we were cold from walking in the rain. But there we were, taking pictures of what we thought was interesting. Or, I should say, my nephew was taking pictures of what he thought was interesting.

For me, holding back as he took pictures, I found it to be an easy way to talk to him for in between me showing him how to change my camera's settings I was able to ask him about what he was doing lately. See, the thing of it all is his girlfriend
just broke up with him.

The loss of your first love is always difficult. Surprisingly, my approach worked for he wasn't as guarded as he normally is when I ask him questions.

Who knows, maybe the "so, you want to push that button on the left three times" interspersed with "so,
how are you feeling about everything" was an easy - or seamless - enough distraction to him that it didn't seem like his uncle was prying, but rather making sure he was okay.

He took these traffic light pictures, I simply told him where to stand and what to look for when we was ready. I like the photos for two reasons: first, it showed me what he thought was interesting on a windy, rainy, weekend afternoon on our way to get something to eat and second, it captured how we should approach life.

The red light means we
should stop to take time out for ourselves and for those important to us in life.

The yellow
light means we should proceed with some caution about big decisions in life.

And the green light means that if something or someone is important to us then we should go after them in life.

You never know what you'll find out or what you will see when you start to ask questions or view the world through the eyes of another when you go for a walk.

I found out that he's upset about the break up. He found out that he'll be okay.

He found out that he has an uncle he can talk to. I found out I have a nephew who likes cameras.

By talking and by walking, you'll eventually get to where you're going.

Apr 2, 2009

Umbrellas and such

An umbrella or parasol (sometimes colloquially, gamp, brolly, umbrellery, or bumbershoot) is a canopy designed to protect against precipitation or sunlight. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)An umbrella or parasol (sometimes colloquially, gamp, brolly, umbrellery, or bumbershoot) is a canopy designed to protect against precipitation or sunlight. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

I’ve been thinking about umbrellas and how we use them; mostly because I expected sun today but maybe it might shower in a bit. I just came back from a spot where the umbrella is definitely used as sun protection. And as I watched folks using them, I thought there may be a fair amount of wisdom that we could take from these people.
For example: Our bus ride which would have been a quick 2 hour ride here in NS, was almost 4 hours. Why? Not just because the roads were bumpy (they were), but because we were heading through towns at noon, everyone was fetching their kids from school. On foot…with parasols (such a great word) and guess what? Busses yield to pedestrian traffic! And in areas of heavy population, the sidewalks were in better shape than the road. Walking is a way of life. Walking is important transportation for the population, and walking deserves some consideration.
So as I get ready to go to a meeting, I’m tucking my umbrella in my pack and hoping I’ll need it as a parasol not for avoiding the rain!

Mar 31, 2009

I’ve just recently come back from one of those vacations that are heavenly for us folks who have the winter blahs. Here’s a shot of what the coast looks like on a breezy day.

But of course I had to let reality creep in. I took a walk on the beach, but not at the resort. Down the coast and around the turn. We were able to walk for about 30 kms (but only went 5). We saw a stretch of beach they call the Seashell cemetery. A spot where the waves pound so hard the conch shells wash up and eventually disintegrate. Beautiful to see but think of the power of that water. Last year when we were there (on the same beach) there was a fisherman and his family who lived in a traditional home. Concrete slab, wooden structure, gardens…the usual family home on the coast. Then along came a hurricane. No more house, no more concrete pad, no more trees, no more boat. Hard to be a fisherman with no boat. He is now living well back from the site in a plastic hut. Poles strung from the trees, with plastic tarp over the frame, and it was a cold winter this year. Which leads me to think about how lucky we are here in my area. Yes we have a two day storm raging around us, but when it is over, my house will still be here, I’ll still have supplies to purchase and life will go on.

Mar 30, 2009

They’re tearing down a church in the Hydrostone. Do you want to walk by it?

“They’re tearing down St. Joseph’s Church in the Hydrostone. It will make for some interesting photos! Do you want to go for a walk to see it?”

Who wouldn’t, really? I mean, it’s got the makings of a great day out: coffee, friends, history, not to mention a bit of walking and a hint of destruction. For someone who lives near but not in that area, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw among the twisted metal, broken concrete, and splintered wood. While I walk a lot in Halifax I haven’t happen to come by this area for some time during my walks.

Of course, I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t excited by the photographic opportunities in the scene I saw, but truth be told I also was saddened by the historical losses I witnessed.

This church has a story to tell. St. Joseph’s Church is situated in Halifax’s North End at the corner of Russell Street and Gottingen Street, which is in the vicinity of Halifax’s Hydrostone area. That location alone meant that the church would have been destroyed by the Halifax Explosion.

But there was more to this church. So, with some investigation, I came to learn that on Thursday 6 December 1917 – the year the Halifax Explosion occurred – more than 400 parishioners of this church were killed, representing about half of the parish at that time. Still, determined to rebuild, the area’s parishioners and residents began reconstructing the church, first as a basement church in the 1920s and later with the final construction of the upper structure in 1960s.

Declining attendance finally led to St. Joseph’s Church’s closure last summer. You never know what you’ll learn about this city when you get a phone call to go for a walk. You may see interesting sites, but you may also see history fade.

Weather detour

I typically walk to and from work everyday. One could even say that being active is part of my everyday life. I am fortunate to live in a community that is well-lit and includes sidewalks, and I try to take advantage of it through active transportation as well as running.

However, life isn't always about smelling the roses, and it's not always easy to do the right thing (maybe that's why life is about perseverance, but that's a topic for a different blog!). Despite being well aware of the benefits I receive from walking - from contributing to my health and the environment to connecting with friends and helping me work through issues - it's not always easy to do the 'right' thing.
So, here's the truth. I didn't walk to work today. I live a 12-15 min walk to work, and I took my car. I know. Not cool. However, I just couldn't face the rain today. The weather made me want to reach for a book to read, not my walking shoes.

My question to you and for myself: How do we fight the weather? Even with all of the awesome reasons to walk, the great places to walk and the resources to support walking decisions, how do we overcome the weather? Weather is one of the most common barriers to walking - my morning story is an example of that. What are weather-walking strategies to turn the detour into a much needed change of plan?

Mar 23, 2009

Walking Feeds the Imagination

I’m interested in the doors I see during my walks.

I find them interesting not only because they tell interesting stories of care and neglect, but also because they hide historical secrets either innocuous or serious. For example, take this door, which I photographed recently one Saturday afternoon during a walkabout of the Halifax Citadel. The paint on the door – faded, blistered, and peeled – reveals character and history. Who knows, maybe the faded initials are the result of an enamored worker; the pockmarked imperfections the result of a misplaced hammer; and the rusted metal the result of a harsh winter.

I don’t know the initials, the pockmarks, and the metal that make up the door, but I can try to imagine those who built it and fixed it and it could go like this: a Parks Canada employee applied a layer of paint to a door years ago placed there by a Canadian Forces corporal a century ago. The two individuals separated by time are connected by the object. For the employee, the door is old. For the corporal, the door was new. The employee a student of preservation; the corporal a student of engineering. The employee a young student working to pay for school; the engineer a young corporal working to protect the fortress. The employee, soon after, graduated school and left; the engineer, soon after, was transferred overseas and killed.

Doors are important because they hide secrets not just behind them but also about them. This door is important because for three separate days it occupied the attention of three separate individuals: the photographer, the employee, and the engineer.

I can’t tell you how much this city has to offer to those with active imaginations. Clearly, it does. However, to let that happen for you, you need to get close to them, study them. And to do that you need to get out of your vehicle and out of your house. By valuing the historical spaces around us, we can begin to appreciate them, honour them, and preserve them, to say nothing about letting our minds wonder about them.