Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9-11

Ten years ago today I had just started my work day at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, where if I remember correctly, my job consisted mainly of eight hours a day of data entry for a graduate program audit (my, how some things have changed). 

At around 8:50, when my friend Steve walked over to tell me "Two planes have just hit the World Trade Center and half of the States are under attack," I thought he was kidding - it just sounded so implausible, but he assured me it was true. I remember the tingle of fear and anxiety that washed over me. In the minutes immediately after the planes hit, so much of what we were going on was speculation, because most news sites had been shut down due to the overwhelming volume of traffic of folks trying to get information.

Not long after, someone  wheeled a TV into the lounge, and staff and faculty sat watching the screen, many of us with tears in our eyes, not believing what we were seeing. It felt like our whole world was under attack and beyond the sadness of the day, there was just so much fear and anxiety about the situation. 

In that faculty where so many of us were there because we wanted to help change the world, we were of course deeply saddened by the needless and tragic losses of lives. However, we hoped this event would be a catalyst for change on a global level, and allow us to examine the root causes of what had possessed the attackers to launch this assault on our continent. 

Ten years later, so much of the stories we are hearing is about remembering those who were lost and celebrating the heroes who came to the rescue at Ground Zero. But I haven't seen anything in the coverage discussing the root causes of why these events happened. The individuals who were responsible for this tragedy wished to cause a sensation to shake us up and send us a message.

But I'm not sure if we're any farther ahead today than where we were 10 years ago in addressing what happened on that tragic day and in understanding their message...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sunday Scribblings: Hitched (Or, Tilting at blue skies)

Dear Mom,

Do you remember the flowers you bought me for $1.99, that time you came 
to keep me company after my operation? 
They were so anemic-looking then.
Dried up and weedy, and not a bud in sight.

It was difficult to imagine they'd one day turn beautiful,
but you told me they'd come back, so I believed you.

We planted them in rows, watered them, then had tea on the balcony,
listening to wind in the leaves.

Now, they've hitched themselves to the sun.
Delicate petals of yellow and purple,
tilting at blue skies and fluffy clouds.

I see them and think of you,
even though we are provinces apart.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Scribblings: The gift

The morning had passed in a blur of bright lights on the TV screen: talk shows, reality shows and canned laughter tracks. Pleasant, numbness distraction, only inches away from the comfort of her bed. All she needed to do was reach out her fingers and change the channel if the numbness got too - mind-numbing.

It was all so effortless.

Until the young girl with the frizzy blond hair interrupted.

"Do you think you might want to try sitting up?" the girl asked innocently.

It seemed like an easy enough task.

Slowly, the athlete rolled onto her side. With every muscle straining, she pushed herself onto her elbow. Then, using every ounce of strength, she pulled herself to sitting.

Focused on breathing deeply and slowly, then placed one foot, then the other into the waiting pink slippers.

"Maybe you want to try walking over to the chair?"

Once again, it seemed like an easy enough task.

Inhaling, she drew together every last ounce of strength, then pushed herself to standing. Shuffled one foot, then the other forward. Her slippers making shushing sounds on the floor; whispered secrets on cracked white linoleum.

Just a few more steps, and she was at the chair -- utilitarian, grey pleather, with hard wooden armrests worn with the palms of others who had rested there before her.

The young woman watched her silently.

Reaching back, she placed her hands on the armrails and winced, lowering into the chair.

It was at that point that the room began to spin. Sparkling lights flashed behind her eyes, and she broke into a cold sweat.

The young woman brought a cold towel from the bathroom, as she closed her eyes and willed the world to stop on its axis.

Five steps from the bed to the chair -- only moments ago, it had seemed so easy. Only weeks ago, she'd run a marathon.

Now, here she sat, having barely been able to walk from bed to chair without passing out.

Suddenly, the new weakness in her body scared her so much, she started to panic.

Placed the cold towel around the back of her neck.

Inhaled, exhaled.

Until the world stopped spinning.

She opened her eyes, and looked at the nurse.

"I'm feeling better now," she reassured.

It would take a few more hours before she'd be able to walk from chair to bed, then bathroom, without feeling like passing out.

Two days after her myomectomy, she is released.

Now, the athlete can't wait until she can run again. With each day,  she looks forward to the moment she can run around the block without pain. Step by step, she feels herself getting stronger.

And she cherishes the gift that good health is; looking forward to the day that she can move from walking to running again.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

My balcony garden project

While our backyard is under construction (an ambitious five-year plan that we as new homeowners attacked enthusiastically and now realize is much more complicated than we'd anticipated), I've decided to spend some time prettying up the balcony ajdoining our kitchen this year. It's extended our outdoor usable space, and become a place for us to observe birds up close - juncos, goldfinches, a curious chickadee and greedy doves now visit our balcony on a daily basis.

With a few easy steps, a barren balcony becomes a pleasing outdoor space.

Here's how I did it (bear in mind, it's a work in progress):

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday Scribblings: The next step

When the gun explodes, her heart flutters in nervous anticipation.

This is the day she has been looking forward to for months. She's trained for this moment and she feels ready. She is proud of herself. As she crosses the line with just over 100 other men and women of all ages, tears of happiness and nervousness forming in the corner of her eyes. She lets out a cheer with others around her, then focuses on the task at hand.

Lady Gaga is singing on her iPod, and she has stored a few hours' worth of songs to accompany her on this journey.

As they file down Main Street, the sun poking between highrises, she wills herself to relax and not start out too strong. Glancing down at her watch, she sees she has started out too fast, so she backs off. The leader she had hoped to follow isn't around, so she simply settles into a comfortable rhythm and tries to be in the moment, not thinking about the next few hours or when she will finish.

They head off the roads and onto the trails, eventually turning into the gravel paths through the marshes. The ground crunches under her shoes as they hit it in a steady rhythm.

Within a few kilometres, she begins to worry that something is not quite right.

Her left achille's tendon has starten to tighten up. Now, her left foot has started to fall asleep. It feels like pins and needles poking through her foot. As though she's running on a stump. Although her foot is asleep, it's strangely painful.

Worry and anxiety begin to gnaw at her mind. She begins to slow down, and more and more of the group begins to pass her by. The confidence and strength she felt only half an hour ago begin to fade away.

Something is wrong.

Should she stop?

Just keep going to the next station. If it's still bad, she can stop there.

Meanwhile, although the sun is rising, she worries that she may not have dressed warmly enough. Her hands are chilled, and her arms. But she tells herself to trust in her preparations. It will get warmer, soon. She hopes.

This isn't the way it was supposed to be. 

Despite the crowds who have gathered on the boardwalk to cheer them on, she feels trapped inside her own mental struggle.

She wants to quit.

The wind rustles through dry cattails beside the path.

Why is she doing this?  

As she passes the halfway mark, suddenly she remembers a Chinese proverb one of her friends had sent her before she set out:

“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a  time, but we must keep on stepping.”

It's then, at the moment where she could have given up and walked back to the start line, that she looks down at the gravel path, takes a deep breath, and takes the next step.

Two and a half hours later, she finishes her first marathon, exhausted and drained. Her husband holds her in his arms, telling her how proud he is.

It will take months for her to come to terms with the fact that she did not meet her initial goals, and to realize that the biggest achievement was in putting her head down and putting one foot in front of the other, when all she wanted to do was quit.

Eventually, she feels pride again for the perseverance that made her take that next step.


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Perfect peach pie & sunshine on a balcony

I'll never forget that afternoon
road trip with mom and dad through Niagara on the Lake

sudden discovery of a café
tucked into the front room of quaint clapboard house

I normally choose cake
but that day a slice of peach pie
a pot of tea
sounds lovely

on the wraparound porch, wrought iron tables & chairs
breeze flutters gently
sun warm on arms
bumble bees buzz from flower to flower
legs heavy with pollen
dozy kind of afternoon

fork slicing through pastry
crumbling just right
sweet Ontario peaches
mouthful of golden sunshine
syrupy ooze on porcelain plates

I'll never forget that afternoon

now, ever questing
for the perfect peach pie

~ Ceebie

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Week six: I *heart* two-degree weather, and the importance of cross-training

Yay!!! I just checked The Weather Network, and for the first time in weeks, the forecast is 2 degrees and there's no snow or rain. Funny how we have such short-term memories that we forget what running in warm weather feels like.

I plan to embrace tonight's run and enjoy this momentary respite from the messy cold white stuff. Sure, I was poetic last time and talked about how it was all icing sugar heavy on trees. But after weeks of frigid, tush-freezing cold, nothing beats a run in zero to 15 degree weather (although I'm also partial to running in the rain...but more on that some other time).

Since Sunday was Day-Before-Valentine's-Day and Monday was Valentine's Day, I opted to miss a few runs while spending time with hubby. Just picture us now -- holding hands, staring googly-eyed at each other, little pink and red hearts floating out of the tops of our heads as we enjoyed brunch at Chez Tess (Eggs Benedict Crepe and Croque Madame, yum!). And my legs blissfully folded under my chair, not whirling beneath me like a very slow Road Runner.

What I've come to realize is that I'm no Olympic athlete (don't worry, it didn't take me long to realize that -- I've never had illusions ofgrandeur when it came to my abilities as a speedy runner), so it's all about balance. Sometimes, it's ok to enjoy a brunch or Valentine's Day dinner with your hubby, significant other or friends.

That's  not to say that I've been potatoed on my sofa doing nothing. I've supplemented some run days with cross-training like Zumba (oh how I love to dance -- I did use to have illusions of becoming a famous dancer, but how famous can you be at five foot nothing?), step class, yoga and strength training. Ever since my first half marathon (where all I did was run -- back then it was just about getting in the runs and building up the strength in my legs), I've learned that cross-training is important to help you develop other muscle groups like your back and core, so that you're not just running around with massive runner thighs but feeble spaghetti arms.

As this article from explains, cross-training is also a great way to boost your cardiovascular fitness, because you're bumping your heart rate at different rates than when you're just running. Our bodies are incredibly resilient, so if you're always only ever doing the same thing, your body can get acclimatized to it. Mixing it up helps to keep your body alert and challenges you in different ways. Of course, all of that helps to reduce the risk of injury.

Finally, mixing it up also keeps you interested and motivated, so you don't get bored and quit altogether.

But on nights like this, when the sun is setting on the harbour and the mercury's hovering at around 2, I'm anxious to get into my running gear, lace on my shoes and get out there.

Signing out and lacing on my shoes now!

~ Ceebie

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Canadian writers speak out on Bill C-32

Canadian writers and creative people (that includes photographers or anyone whose intellectual property is able to be photocopied by educational institutions): if you haven't heard about Bill C-32 and how it might affect you, take a look at this video put together by the Writers' Union of Canada:

I'm a writer in my day and evening jobs. I've been a writer for as long as I can remember. And while the actual writing itself doesn't make up most of my income because I'm an in-house staff, for thousands of writers and creators across the country, it does. And theirs isn't a glamorous job - they depend on income not only from book sales or magazine contracts, but also from things like the income they receive when universities, schools and other educational institutions copy their work.

If Bill C-32 allows educational institutions to copy these materials free of charge, it means that these creators (and me) will have to subsist on just that much less.

Copyright exists to protect our roles as creators. Let's make sure it continues to do that. Please help ensure that the voices of Canada's creators are heard, and spread the word.

~ Ceebie

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Morning Grand Marnier French Toast

Woke up early and made this for today for our first married Valentine's Day...Forgot to take photos but it was oh so pretty (and yummy too!). Adapted from a recipe my friend Susy gave me.

What you'll need:

3 eggs
1/3 c.  orange juice
1/6 c.  Grand Marnier
1/6 c.  milk
1 1/2 Tbsp.  sugar  (optional)
1/8 tsp.  vanilla
1/8 tsp.  salt
finely grated peel of half an orange
icing sugar
a whole lotta lovin'

Cut bread into heart shapes (note: the bread will shrink with cooking so best to cut out big hearts full of love and tenderness :) ).

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add orange juice, G.M., milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and peel and mix well. Heat fry pan at high heat, melt butter, then lower to medium heat.

Drop bread into pan and fry until each side is golden brown and egg mixture has dried out.

Drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Serve with love and a kiss.

(note: you can also opt to make with French bread cut to 1 1/2" thickness, dipped in the mixture and left in the fridge overnight)

~ Ceebie

Monday, February 07, 2011

Week four: Whatever it is, find something to kick your butt out that door

Well, I am into week five of the 18-week marathon training program, and week four is now complete. I'm not gonna lie and say that I've been the perfect runner and done every single run on the schedule. Sometimes a girl just needs a night off to watch stupid TV and lounge on the sofa.

Winter has moved in to the city like a messy roommate, leaving snowbanks and icy sidewalks lying around like dirty socks (although the snow was pretty in the aftermath of the storm, all icing sugar heavy on trees and bushes). And although Groundhog Day was last week, I'm pretty confident that our local groundhogs didn't see their shadows that day. It was no Snowpocalypse, but there was enough snow dumped on us over a 24-hour period that our snowbanks are now higher than me (which for those who know me isn't saying much,'s saying something). Which makes road running a little interesting.

Take last night, for instance. While my hubby settled in for the opening ceremonies of the SuperBowl, I found that inner shoe to kick my butt into gear and headed out the door at around 5:00pm for a leisurely 16k run. And boy did I need that kick in the pants.

As I skirted the dirty snow on Herring Cove road, relishing in the downhill stretch before the long uphill climb on Joe Howe Drive, I soon realized that what looked like wet pavement was actually black ice. Each time my foot struck the pavement where it looked slightly wet, I felt a little slip. So I soon started breaking into this little tip-of-my-toe run, much like I would look  like if I were running in high heels, whenever I spotted wet pavement. And where there wasn't ice, every so often there were these impassable puddles that you had no choice but to run through, cold water sloshing in your sneakers as you continued.

At least it wasn't miserably cold out like it had been the previous Monday (-13 degrees, without the wind chill), but as it was my first 16k in months, the thought of the distance yet to be run seemed like it would stretch on forever. That's the funny thing about running: so much of it is mental. You build on the distance, week by week, until what seemed impossibly far all of a sudden seems small -- because just last week you ran only 2k less.

The important thing is to get out there on those days when all you'd rather do is snuggle up on the sofa and watch TV. You need to find that kick in the pants that will get you out that door; whether it's your hubby reminding you of all the work you've already put in and how proud he is of you for sticking with it, your running buddy who you promised to meet for the run, your weight loss goal or simply the thought of a warm bath and a hot meal when you get home (with an extra little treat to reward yourself for the calories you just burned). Make sure there's a shoe at your behind that kicks you out there on those days when the sky is gray, the sidewalks slippery and the weather chilly.

Because when you finish that run, the feeling of accomplishment is such a high, you'll be grateful that you kicked your butt out the door to do it.

~ Ceebie

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Week three of my marathon journey: snow, rain, ice,'s all good

Well, we are into week three of training. And it is definitely winter now. There's been snow. There's been rain. There's been ice. And it's been cold. But if you dress smart (ie for warmth rather than tush learned that the hard way last Sunday when I wore my Lulu Lemon jacket in -17 weather rather than my sensible running jacket -- you know the ones with the bum flap that all the runners wear, looking like a bunch of rainbow-coloured lemmings) it's actually not too bad. Running in the winter is a great way to stay active through the cold months and to get some fresh air (and in my case, it's a good way to start shedding some of those 12 pounds of Christmas :) ). And the motivating factor is that once you're out there, the colder it is, the more you want to run just to get warm.

The danger with running in winter is those little patches of black ice that hide under the thinnest layer of snow. But winter runners know that you quickly learn to jump over puddles rather than run through them, or do a little shuffle-step-hop at the point where the sidewalk meets road. Running in winter definitely takes some creative movement, alertness and humour. Cause if you can't laugh at yourself when you look like a bundled up snow bunny (or as Halifax Broad puts it more eloquently than I ever could, "a lesbian broomball champion from Parry Sound") hopping about in zig-zagging fashion through Halifax's snow-ridden streets (meanwhile hoping no one you know sees you...but you know they have and just aren't telling you because they don't want to embarrass you), when can you?

In addition to getting up close and personal (my frozen tush being a case in point) with winter running again, this was also week two of my marathon clinic at the Running Room. Our group this time around is a nice mix of seasoned veterans who have run eight marathons, and newbies who've never run the distance before.
Figuring out what pace group you should be in can be a little agonizing. Not only does it have a lot to do with who you're running with (though really I've never met a runner I didn't enjoy running with), your pace group leader sets the tone for the group too. I once had a group leader who would bark/yell at us if we went too fast. It was ruining what for me should have been an enjoyable experience, so I pushed myself up to the faster group, even though I struggled to keep up with them. Your pace group choice basically dictates how painful or enjoyable your runs are going to be, and whether you're going to kill yourself trying to keep up with a group that's pushing you just a tad too fast, or get frustrated with a group that you feel is slowing you down. I'm still waffling - 4hr, or 4:05 group? I'll let you know what I decide.

Coming soon...I'll be launching my new running blog, with interviews with local runners, reviews of routes and races, tips and tricks, recipes and product reviews. Stay tuned!

~ Ceebie

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Week one: great tempo, speed bumps and keeping on...

Well, week one of my marathon training is done. Just 17 more to go. Week one called for 10/6/10/6/6. In reality it looked more like 14/6/curling/yoga. But that's ok.

Why, you ask? Because sometimes, despite our best intentions, life gets in the way. But you have to take those speed bumps and use them as learning opportunities in your marathon journey. And then, as the Chinese proverb says (not sure which wise man it was who said it, but I'm pretty sure he was Chinese): to get to your destination, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, until eventually you get there.

The mental block is lifted:
For the last couple of months, ever since my first marathon, I'd been struggling with a mental block. No matter that I'd just run a distance less than one percent of the population has ever run, but even the shortest run seemed like a gargantuan task. Just the idea of lacing on my shoes was exhausting, and I didn't believe that I'd be able to run 5k, let alone 42.2.

But thanks to the support of my husband and running buddies, and the fact that I'd just signed up for another clinic starting next week, I forced myself to head out for a tempo run on Tuesday. And while the first few minutes had me wondering whether my legs could handle the pace, after the first kilometre or so, as I ran around the Commons and enjoyed the sight of families heading to the Oval to watch the speed skaters train, I found that I was only running about 10 seconds or so slower than I used to before my last marathon. And it felt great!

Sometimes, you just need a great run to get you motivated again and believe in your legs and yourself. And while there's no doubt that I'll probably have difficult runs again, where every step feels like agony and inside I'm just dying to stop and walk, you keep on keeping on because you know that every so often, you'll have a run where you just feel like you're floating. And that is the best feeling.

Yet despite my best intentions last week that I was going to run every run in the training schedule, that did not happen this week.

My speed bumps this week:

1) a work-related road trip to Fredericton. Normally, that isn't a big deal, because the nice thing about running is that there are roads/trails everywhere. All you need is your runners and you're good to go (ok you also need weather-appropriate, water-repellant clothing...unless you live in a nudist colony, which I don't, nor do I have any urgest to do so). Given that I was able to stay on track with my first marathon training schedule (for the most part) this summer while travelling for my wedding and honeymoon, I wasn't concerned about traveling. I'd even packed my running gear and was ready to explore Fredericton by foot, ecept for:

2) a blizzard (or at least lots and lots of snow) that dumped 30 or so centimetres of snow on Fredericton, making the unplowed sidewalks a little treacherous. And while running in snow is a good workout (it exercises different muscle groups and is actually a harder workout than running on dry ground, much like running in sand), I was a little tired after our drive, the sidewalks weren't plowed, I didn't know the city and so on and so forth.

3) a busy schedule, much of which was taken up by work, travel or other commitments. Like our curling match on Thursday night -- which I discovered is still a great workout, and lots of fun too! In any case, cross-training is always important in any running program, as it helps you build other core muscles that contribute to your strength and endurance.

4) a painless migraine on Saturday. What is that, you ask? Well, it's where you start getting these pretty little sparkles in your eyes and it feels like you've got tunnel vision and blind spots. So needless to say, I thought it wise to abstain from running until such time as I could see properly again. Though I did substitute the run with a great yoga class -- another opportunity for some cross-training and strength building.

Anyways, despite the road blocks this week I joined my running buds this morning for this Sunday's Long Slow Distance. Most of us had not made it out for more than a run or two last week due to the weather conditions. What's important is not to let those slight speed bumps get you down, and find other opportunities to get some training in, whether it be curling, yoga or other.

Although we ran down Novalea this week, the run seemed a little more challenging compared to last Sunday's, mostly because the surfaces were a lot slipperier, with a thin coating of ice or snow on the sidewalk. By kilometre 14, my legs felt like lead, so I headed back to the Running Room -- very, very slowly.

This week's schedule: 10/6/10/6/6

Tuesday night, the marathon clinic begins at the Running Room. I'm looking forward to starting another training program with my running friends, and making new friends and acquaintances as well.

~ Ceebie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Those first steps on my journey of 952.2 kilometres

You know that old clichéd adage:

A journey of 1,000 miles begins with just one step.

Ok technically my journey will be 42.2 kilometres, but by the time I will have finished my second marathon training program, I should have run about 952.2 km. Which works out to 592 miles. And that ain't half bad, even if it's only a little more than half a journey in the eyes of that old adage (but 1,000 miles just seems so random anyway).

Vital stats of my GoodLife journey:

Race: GoodLife Toronto Marathon
Date: May 15, 2011
Time goal: 4 hrs (30 minutes faster than my first marathon)

Those first steps

Last Sunday was our first day of training and called for a 10k Long Slow Distance. I'd been a lazy bum ever since running my first marathon in October, and my legs (and waist) were starting to show it. But when my phone rang its annoying chirp at 7:30 (I'll admit, I've been too lazy to try and find a better alarm sound), I pushed myself upright, swung my legs out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom...where I very nearly fell asleep on the toilet. But didn't.

Toothpaste froth flying as I grumbled to myself under my breath wondering why the heck I was doing this, I glared at myself in the mirror as I brushed my teeth. But I knew there was no backing out today. I'd stood my running buddies up way too many times in the last several weeks, and I was beginning to feel guilty about it.

Halifax's streets were quiet in the early morning gloom as I drove downtown, with cars neatly parked in their driveways -- everyone was likely enjoying a lazy Sunday, I thought to myself resentfully. But when I walked into the Running Room, a few runners had already started gathering, and more continued to trickle through the doors for the next 15 minutes, until we were crammed in there, shoulder to shoulder -- a roomfull of inspiration for lazy me.

I joined the 18k group with running buds Wendy, Andrea and Jenn, hoping I could keep up with them (especially up the long hill at Devonshire Ave - thanks, Bruce!). The first few kilometres for me are always about warming up and settling into the groove of the run, and I was glad that I'd decided to come out this Sunday.

As we crested the long hill (thanks again, Bruce ;) ), my legs feeling the strain, I used the pain as a reminder not to ever get complacent again. Who would have thought that only a month and a half ago, I was sprinting around the track at The Tower like a little gazelle? (Ok not really a gazelle. To those watching me I was more like a slow short woman huffing and puffing around a track...but I liked to imagine I looked gazelle-like nonetheless). It is so easy to get out of shape.

At around 6k, the snowflakes started to fall. Big, chunky fluffs of white that stuck to my eyelashes and pretty soon had us wincing in pain as the wind drove them sideways into our faces and down our open mouths to the backs of our throats. I'd forgotten what it was to run in snow again -- that slight loss of purchase with each step, slipping back and not knowing whether the night step might -- whoops! -- be on a patch of ice.

But we continued on, around the Halifax Shopping Centre and through to Quinpool, then onward to Oxford. Running in snow might be harder, but Halifax in winter is so much prettier under the snow. As we chatted about holidays, work, husbands, boyfriends and shopping, I felt so grateful to have found such a great group of running friends.

I'd only planned to do about 14k, so at Cobourg I waved the rest of the group on, and stepped onto the intersection, only to glance at my left and see a big truck skidding downhill toward me, its rear tires fishtailing out to the side in slow motion. Stepping back, I yelled out to the rest of the group to be careful, and watched the truck driver come to a stop on the other side of the intersection.

I headed back to the Running Room slowly, picking my way uphill along Cobourg, then past the Public Gardens. My wooly mittens were sheathed in white, as was my hair, which I'd left untied and now looked like a dripping rat's nest.

We figured that all of the slipping back probably accounted for a few extra kilometres, so I like to think that my first step actually consisted of about 16k on a snowy morning in January. Only 890.2k left to go!

~ Ceebie