Monday, June 29, 2015

A Physiotherapist Named Ilsa

Today I met with my physiotherapist Ilsa. I don't think she weighs more than 90 pounds but boy that doesn’t stop her from inflicting PAIN as she knows where all the right spot are.
She started easy, making me feel like it was not a big deal. She just put a little pressure on my shoulder and asked if everything was fine. Everything was very fine, I was so relax. Slowly she started to poke her fingers deeper, and deeper under my arm. Everything was still fine but I was a little uneasy with her touch however I sucked it up, I'm a man, I can take the pain, right?
She probably thought I didn't shed enough tears, so she said: “please turn on your belly” in her soft singing voice. Well when I say soft singing voice I mean in an authoritarian voice that you don't care challenge.
Did you know that, a long time ago, the continents separated? Well I was getting a hands on experience on the subject as Ilsa wanted to separate my left blade shoulder from my right! “Every thing is OK Mr. Richard?” I didn't answer, it's not that I am a bad patient, it's that when you apply enough pressure on my back and my lungs are collapsing, talking is just not one of the option I can do!
After 3 hours of my half hour session, I regained enough air in my lung and told her: “That feel good … when you stop!” She laughed! I think it's a sure sign that she is a psychopath!
Tomorrow will be a much better day, how couldn't it be!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Buffalo By Bike

The first night we spent in our trailer in Fort Erie was quiet and calm, NOT! All hell broke loose. There was a thunderstorm that was so close that our whole house shook and our neighbor's car alarm activated in the middle of the night. It lasted pretty much the whole night! I don't mind a little thunder now and then but that was like being in the spin cycle of a washing machine with a stroboscopic light going crazy... just not that comfortable when you are in a home with walls no thicker than a butterfly wings.
The morning after, there were a few puddles but the sun came up and with it; the promise of a gorgeous day.
We decided to go to Buffalo on our bikes. This was not even on my radar, all I knew about Buffalo was it's the home of the Buffalo Sabres. We parked the truck in the same park as the previous day, got the bikes off the rack and pedaled toward the bridge. On the bridge, we were not allowed to ride our bikes so we walked them all the way to the U.S. of A.
At the border, we were greeted by a US Custom and Border agent who spoke French. This was the first time ever that we crossed over to the States and encountered a French speaking agent! It was quite a surprise as we were not even close to Quebec. After making sure we didn't have $10,000 on us and inquiring about the purpose of our trip, he opened the gate and we were in the States. Speaking of US customs, lately, the agents ask us a funny question: “Do you have alcohol?” Why would any one bring alcohol to the US is beyond me! For example a bottle of wine we pay $13 in our overtaxed country is $5 in the States... but being polite and not wanting any problem, I try to keep a straight face and always say NO without showing any sarcasm, but this is testing me pretty bad, I'm telling you!
We didn't have a clue where to go so we biked toward the river and lucky for us we found a bike path. It was a lovely ride, we ended up just beside where the Sabres play. It's summer so there was no hockey game going on but now that I’ve seen where they play, if I'm ever in hockey withdrawal and we are near Buffalo, I’ll know where to go!
After a few hours of biking, we turned back and biked downtown Buffalo (which is uphill, trust me on this, you notice this when on a bike). Other than the bike path by the river, Buffalo was not bike friendly, we often were on the sidewalk. But we were not in a rushed so we took our time and stayed safe.
We stopped at a pizzeria for lunch, it was pretty good. I would have preferred to try a brewery but when we saw one it was too early and then we couldn't find another one later on. Didn't see a place with Buffalo Wings either... just thought I’d mention that!
Surprisingly, we easily found our way to the border. We de-embarked from our bikes to cross the bridge again. We were not too sure where we were supposed to cross the Canadian border with our bikes. We found a marked path for pedestrian and bikers and then ended up right where all the cars were lined up at the custom booths. There were no more indication for pedestrians and bikers lanes. I looked around and tried to find a gate but there was none. I approached one of the booth and the agent told me to use any of the other booths further down.
So we had to use a car lane. We waited and as soon as a car left we walked to the agent, cutting in the line. I was not about to walk back and wait behind cars. The agent was courteous and kept us there for a while talking about biking in Buffalo, meanwhile there were cars waiting behind us but the agent seemed to enjoy himself so why not let him. We had nothing to declare! He asked us where we were staying? Why did he care? We are citizens, we could live underneath a bridge, he had to let us back in, right?

Peace Bridge


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tripping in Niagara

Last year, last month, last week we decided to take our travel home on the road and drove South West. Our destination was a little place called: Niagara Falls. You might have heard of it, it's right at the Canadian US border. The best way to describe it is with pictures, I'll post a lot of them here.
We left Saturday, drove an hour to a Walmart in Gatineau (Quebec), parked the house and the truck and walked to our daughter's to spend the night there. It was a practice run to confirm everything was performing as it should, and it did.
On Sunday, we drove the remaining 600 KM (370 Miles) leaving our daughter's home at 05:00 AM. We drove by Kingston, home of our first prime minister (Sir John Alexander Macdonald ) and now home of our Canadian bloggist extraordinaire (Sir-ette Martha). We waved at her from the highway but like with a lot of celebrities, she didn't wave back, didn't even acknowledge us, sheeeesshh!
Have you ever driven a truck pulling a 21 foot trailer on an highway through a mega city jammed pack with traffic? I did just that driving through Toronto. Sometimes there were 9 lanes, sometimes there were only 5. After years of abstinence, I picked up praying... but I kept my white-knuckled hands on the steering wheel at all time. After what seemed to me like 10 hours, we were out of Toronto and going down the Niagara peninsula.
We arrived at our camping in Fort Erie, unhooked and setup the trailer. By the time we were done it was around 2:00 PM. In the past, prior to getting  back in shape, we would have just stayed put for the night... not anymore! We drove to town to do some exploring. We found a nice park, right by the Niagara river. To my surprise across from us was Buffalo, NY. In my mind Buffalo should have been somewhere else, but hey, when did I start trusting my mind!
There was a nice walking/biking path so we decided to walk for a while. To answer Ivy’s question yes my wife walks too. We often walk together but sometimes she just stays home and walks on the spot in front of the TV. I don't really care to walk inside, so even if the weather is not too good, I'm outside.
When we returned to the truck, we went for a nice drive around the area. The drive brought us to the Falls, we didn't stop as we wanted to keep that for another day, but from the road, we could see the falls and we were excited.
Tomorrow I'll talk more about our trip but I want to get back to the subject of being fit. After all it's a blog about health and not so much about traveling.
I have mentioned that we embarked on this health journey to be fit, it's not only a matter of losing weight it's also about having a better quality of life which is a bit of an abstract concept. But on this trip, we enjoyed being in a better shape; we walked and biked and had plenty of energy to do so. We could really take advantage of our surroundings. In the past we would have been beaten after an hour.
Mind you, this change didn't happen overnight, it happened in over 5 months but boy do we reap the benefits RIGHT NOW.

 The peace bridge between Fort Erie and Buffalo

 It's hazy but this is part of Buffalo

Buffalo's water plant

The view from the truck

Saturday, June 20, 2015

When Internet fail

Bonjour folks,

Just a quick note to let you know that our internet when kaput on us. So I'm really late plus now we are on the road to *******.

Hopefully I can get back with a connection, otherwise see you all when we come back (could be in 2 days, could be 4, could be 2 weeks... we are retired so we will see :)

Like someone famous would say: "Thanks for reading & boogie boogie :-)"

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Living in the wild

Our summer home is surrounded by wild animals. It's now part of my routine to check out the wild activities that’s going on.

I found something unusual. As you can see on the picture, there is a gap underneath my shed. Cautiously, I walked to the gap and aimed my camera. What you see is one of the three beast living there. They even hissed at me! I was so scared I backed away! Those three (3-4 inches) kittens are not friendly.

 I also saw them just outside the shed the other day but had no time to take a picture.

To be continued

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

One Hundred Posts

Woohoo this is my hundredth post this year. I have been on Blogger since 2011 and my biggest year was 2014 with 91 posts. There is still more than half a year left, I could double that, crazy hey?

Retirement is hard folks, we have been so busy lately, we’ve decided to take a vacation. So next Sunday, we are going to hook the trailer to the truck and drive away toward the setting sun or...

I won't tell you where but I'll tell you that according to Google map, if I take the most direct route, it's 6h33 minutes from us. 

If you could see my browser right now there are several tabs opened to our destination. We are going to bring our bikes and our passports but we might not need the passports.
The plan is to go for 4-5 days but who knows, once we are on the road, we might just extend our holiday as there is no where we have to be.

Any guess where we are going?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Where did I go wrong?

Yesterday my daughter asked if I had a sock that was about to be dump... I didn't know what she had in mind but I gave her one. Here is some pics and her comments I found out on facebook.

Oh boy, oh boy. Sockpuppet Rodriguez is one handsome sockpuppet.    

Rodriguez and my plant, Leafen King.

Hangin' out with Dash.

Yum yum yum!

Monday, June 15, 2015

All About Fun

Laughter is the best medicine.  It has been proven in many researches. Today I decided to play doctor and prescribed myself a healthy dose of it.
At the oncology department at the hospital we went to, they played “Just for Laugh” videos in the waiting room. Now, if there is a place where you can use some humor, this is it. Here is a link to Youtube, just click here.
On our way to Florida, while in the hotel we came upon this jewel of humor “Impractical Jokers. WARNING: Highly addictive, please consult your doctor if you have any side effect. I have inserted a link to one of their show. It's an hour long, it includes the introduction which explains what the show is about, just click here.
One of my blogging pal, always posts cartoons on Monday. This morning they were especially good. Here’s her link.
Two more cartoons from Facebook, fresh off the morning batch:

For full disclosure, I have to admit that I have a “stupid” gene in my DNA. Last year I participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, here is the clip. WARNING: I am at my supersize self and you have to put up with my “light” French accent. Just click here.
If you have links to good humor sites, please share, we all could use more medicine. Have a good week.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lost it again

Have you ever lost your keys or wallet to find them right there in plain view?
It happens to me regularly but that's not what I want to talk about.
Have you lost your mind?
It also happens to me regularly but that's not what I want to talk about either.
This morning, after a speedy number 1, I found out I lost 2.2 lbs in a week. My weight is now 172.2 lbs.
Since Feb first, it has happened to me regularly and that's what I wanted to talk about.
I hate to brag about something that is such a struggle for some but it looks like I just need to think about losing weight to get the pounds off my back (well maybe off my tummy would be truer).
Because it is easy for me, it just doesn’t make for good blogging material... I'll have to accept my lot and keep my head high and my tummy smaller.
Just a reminder of how I do it: No refined sugar, No alcohol (sigh), eat less, and exercise (no running yet but boy do I walk a lot!). I think that's the secret but please keep that between you and I.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Back to running?

Lately I'm under a lot of pressure. Even my environment is sending me messages.
I want to get back to training to run 5 K but I would like to do it when I'm ready. I keep putting until later, maybe I'm waiting for a clear sign to start...
 Well maybe I need something clearer than that!
I'm all about listening to my body, but this is ridiculous!
Have a great weekend folks!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Back on the Journey

For the past 4 weeks, I have been working on maintaining my weight. I'm not really happy with that, I listened to my doctor’s bullshit, I listened to my shoulder, I listened to my reasoning but in reality I am just not happy yet.
So I'm saying the heck with all of it, I'm going back on the losing path! Starting right NOW, I'm going to eat and exercise the way I successfully did before I saw the doctor.
It means no fries (yesterday we shared a small fries and we ate it all), no wine, no sugar, I will not try to substitute anything with something else. I bought some “chips” from Kellog, they are not bad but they are not good either.

Yesterday my wife made fudge with healthier ingredients: natural PB, coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa, honey, vanilla and sea salt, not bad right? But I will not have any. Our neighbor brought some jam, I will not enjoy any more of it (too much sugar).
I find it so much easier to go without than trying to manage my habits right now when I'm not yet where I want to be. It's easy because I don't need to think “Can I have a piece of that?” the decision is already taken, no inner battle, the answer will always be NO!
I won't just cut everything off, I will increase the daily amount of fruits and vegetables I eat. I won’t be licking butter but I will not cut off eggs or cheese as my doctor told me to do. So if my cholesterol is bad, I'll take the damn pill.
I am a goal oriented guy so my goal will be to lose 1.5 lb per week for the next 10 weeks. I'll weight myself tomorrow and share with you.
I am so excited, I feel like I'm taking back my life, anyone else wants to join in this weight drop-othon?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Final Chapter

Last week a fire department in a mid size town in Quebec organized a half marathon for firefighters from all over. A 21 years old fireman died while running. This young man was fit, he had previously run half marathons. I'm sure because of his job, he must have passed medical tests to gain employment. But he died! 21 years old.
The organization had everything ready for any emergencies, hey they are firemen, they had doctors, defibrillators, ambulance, but it was not enough to save this young man.
If you think about it; The young fireman could have died when going into a burning house to rescue someone. His heart was the problem, he was a ticking bomb. His death had nothing to do with running, it could easily have happened while doing his job and might even have added another victim!
When I joined the Canadian Armed Forces, I was 17. Every year we had to run a mile and a half. Men had to complete it in 12 minutes and women in 14 ½  minutes. I never had any problem running, I could run it in less than 10 minutes. I would do my run and then I would run along my wife who you couldn't call Speedy Gonzales... Running was just not her thangs, you could say. Running beside her, she would focus on my footsteps and it distracted her from the run itself and it allowed  her to qualify. In the eighties, the run was canceled after someone died while running it.
You might think in conclusion that running can be a risky business, but it's not the case. I believe more people get a better quality of life because they are training then there are who die from it.
I meant to talk about running training but I'll keep that for another post and I'll continue with death. Strange where my mind goes sometimes...
The reality is that we are all going to die, some too young but never too old. You can't let death be your driving force, even if you stay home in a padded room, you will not survive.
People die while eating at their favorite restaurant. Often they choke on food and to not get embarrassed they go to the washroom to clear their throat. Unfortunately, no one sees how serious it is and they choke to death.
You can get killed crossing the street. I have been to London and on the side walk they had written “Look right for traffic” for us tourist. Maybe it's thanks to those indications that I'm still breathing!

I remembered one statistic I read mentioning you had a better chance to die from a lightning strike than winning the big one at the lotteries.
I don't know if you’ve seen this before but it cracks me up every time:
This man was in an accident (work accident, not car accident), so he filled out an insurance claim. The insurance company contacted him and asked for more information. This was his response:
I am writing in response to your request for additional information for block number 3 of the accident reporting form. I put 'poor planning' as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust the following detail will be sufficient.
I am an amateur radio operator and on the day of the accident, I was working alone on the top section of my new 80 foot tower. When I had completed my work, I discovered that I had, over the course of several trips up the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and spare hardware.
Rather than carry the now un-needed tools and material down by hand, I decided to lower the items down in a small barrel by using a pulley, which was fortunately attached to the gin pole at the top of the tower. Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and material into the barrel.
Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 300 pounds of tools. You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh only 155 pounds. Due to my surprise of being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.
Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.
Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold onto the rope in spite of my pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel.
Devoid of the weight of the tools, the barrel now weighed approximately 20 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower.
In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, and the lacerations of my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the tools, in pain, unable to stand and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind. I let go of the rope . . .