Time Flies!

Here is a pictorial update of the last few weeks. Enjoy!

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Less than 4 weeks till departure day!

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When did beer pong become a kit?

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Happy Canada Day!

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Gone GAGA!

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Sunday was a drag (in a good way)

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Ease on down, ease on down the road

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The Green Machine

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Can things get too sparkly?

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Even the flowers were Proud

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TPD Blue (and red and orange and yellow……)

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Who doesn’t love a man (or woman) in uniform?

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Auntie Harvey

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Remembering Granny Neva xo

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Bert and Ernie got a little more R E S P E C T

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Did you order your dog tag/wine charm/drain chain/earing…?

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Team Trouble in training

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And it rained, and rained, and ….

“Can you hear it?” “It’s getting closer”

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The final countdown!

Is your front wheel going backwards?

Is your front wheel going backwards?

What’s getting closer? The Bike Rally of course. That and, the fundraising deadline! Thought it was going to be easier to get the donations required, than the actual ride itself, but fundraising is harder than I thought.

Paste-ee whiteness

First training ride start minus 6 degrees!

First training ride start minus 6 degrees!

So far I have completed the required attendance to several seminars and training rides in the last little while but I’m still struggling with the fundraising side of things. Not sure what it is that has led me to this but, hopefully things will pick up soon. I have a minimum level of $2500.00 to be able to participate. But, set my goal higher to $6000.00 after seeing what the Toronto People With Aids Foundation does with the little money that is raised each year through this event. I was surprised to learn that half of the foundation operating budget comes from the Bike Rally itself.

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My new team name

I have been pleasantly surprised though, that the people I thought wouldn’t be interested, were my biggest contributors! Just goes to show you, ya never know.

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Nutrition Seminar

Anywho, an update. Since I last wrote, two months ago, I have purchased a new bike (actually my parents bought me a bike, thank you Mom and Dad) which was a $1500.00 donation from my parents. Then there is other items to participate. Shorts $175.00 x 3, Jersey $60.00 x 4, Shoes $175.00 Helmet $50.00, Tools and Extra gear $50.00. I still have to purchase a tent, mattress, sleeping bag etc, but that will have to wait till next pay cheque. I originally saw the list of suggested items to have for the duration of the 660km, 6 day event and thought, I should just donate the money I would spend on equipment, to the bike rally. This was met, from the participants from previous years, by a resounding, ” No, you won’t have as much fun! We’ll see how I feel on Day 4

Soakin me weary bones after 40kms

Soakin me weary bones after 40kms

New ow-ee for the ride

New ow-ee for the ride

Fix a Flat Seminar

Fix a Flat Seminar

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Is this covered by the Automobile Club?

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Jersey try on sizing

Today was the Bike Rally Expo, an afternoon of information and hands on demos to prepare us for the big event. Lots more information for my head to absorb and more friendships  have begun.

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Urban camping mock up

The journey continues…

Big Wheels Keep on Turning, Proud Mary’s Legs are Burning!

Hello Again! Happy Family Day! (if you live in Ontario)

Remember Me? All of my tens of followers! It’s been over three months since my last confession and I thought I’d fill you in on what’s happening.

Let’s see, family is doing fine as can be expected and have all gone back to their routine. Parents are settled but,  adjusting to the changes of the last few months.15th Annual Friends for Life Bike Rally

15th Annual Friends for Life Bike Rally

I’ve just finished my first official workout of my training and only have about 3000 kilometers to go. I’ve stuck to my Primal/Paleo eating plan for about 5 months now and as of today, dropped 50 pounds. Glad to be rid of that extra baggage before the Friends for Life Bike Rally, as this mornings one hour ride on a stationary bike, felt like, to heck and back. Hey, that would be a great name for a blog.

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The only thing I’m freaking about is the fund-raising side of it. I went to a meeting at the Toronto People with Aids Foundation and was really surprised how much they offer their clients with the tight annual budget that they have. I had originally thought that they were just providing counselling but, they cover the whole gamut of services from, housing, legal aid, medical care, food bank, and financial aid to those in need and living with HIV/AIDS.

Many people have forgotten about AIDS and that it is still a real threat to thousands of people. Over 19,000 people have been diagnosed in Toronto alone. For some, it is not the quick death sentence that it first was but, living with the disease is no picnic either. Biggest obstacle that I see is the stigma and discrimination that people are still dealing with. Next is the costs associated with treating the disease. I was surprised to learn, some of the medications can run as high as three thousand dollars a month!

As a result of my visit, I went home and pledged another one hundred dollars and raised my fund-raising goal to $6000 dollars. Not only do I get a snazzy jersey, I can help a lot more people.

I have been placed in the as yet unnamed, Team #9 and look forward to meeting my fellow team members at our upcoming pot luck. One of the things I’ve noticed about this charity is, that they really look after the riders and crew. I was worried how I was going to figure everything out on my own but, they really help us through the process and that has put my mind at ease. Well, almost. How the heck am I going to raise 6000 dollars? Then, the bi weekly spinning classes, the 15 weekends of training rides, and the 660 km big event in July? One step, or revolution, at a time I guess.

Now, what I need from you, is help with fundraising ideas. Do you know of any novel ideas to really get people to participate and donate? I want some events that will really make an impact and stand out from the usual bake sales etc. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.

If you yourself would like to support my cause, please click on the link provided and give what you can. Every little bit helps so, give what you can, and don’t forget to send me your fundraising ideas.

 

Now, I need to go stretch my 48-year-old body before it seizes up.

Next stop, Happytown

It’s 11:15am and I’m still lying in bed at my parents house. I ended up here a week and a half ago to help out both them through a rough patch. My Mom had a retina detach and my Dad had a stroke.

This has happened to both of them previously but, this time it’s different. I think mainly because of their age now compared to the first time. The stroke hit my Dad a lot harder this time and he has ended up in a rehab hospital and my Mom can not see in one eye and lost a lot of sight in the other.

Finger crossed, they will both make great strides in recovering and be able to enjoy the winter together. They were to leave for their winter home last week and then this all happened on the same weekend.

This is the most time I have spent with either of them in a long time and I really notice how much time has affected us. It has made me realize how important it is to take full advantage of every moment you have been given.

Dad has always been a very active man who loved gardening, reading, banking and endless tinkering around the house. He has always been the guy in the neighbourhood to help everyone else when they needed it. He has a wealth of knowledge in a lot of things and was always willing to give advice when they needed it. He always enjoys a good laugh and although shy when first meeting people, easily carries on a conversation.

Mom is someone who has always wanted to do so many things but hasn’t always been able to. Whether it was for financial reasons or health problems, she has had to pass on a lot of wishes and dreams in her life. Always a great listener and like myself, a great talker. She is a caring ear to your problems and concerns and a voice of reason with advice to give you. Whether it was what you wanted to hear or not, her heart was always in the right place. She is ever supportive of my sisters and I and just wants us to be happy in our lives, whatever we choose.

The events of the last week have continued to make me more aware that as I approach my 50th birthday, ugh, that I need to make the most of every day.

The bike rally commitment was my first step towards doing things to enrich my soul and not just live each day counting the minutes till my day off. I want to make the most of my work day, because its 40 hours of my week and I unless I win the lottery, I have to be there so I might as well make the best of it.

I especially want to make the most of my free time and not waste what little I have, stressing about things that don’t really matter in the end. My husband and I get to spend very little time together due to his 60 hour a week work habit and our ever changing schedules that continually screw with our plans. I want to really enjoy our time together and find friends that we can both depend on and give as much as they get from mostly my hubby but also from me.

Next I want to make a better me, both physically and mentally. I’ve got to take better care of myself physically and I’m the only one who can make that happen. I also want to stop wasting time on people and things that don’t mean anything in the end. No more worrying about what I don’t have and enjoying what I do have. No more poison personalities to use up my time and, feeling guilty about not being more understanding to the reasons they are the way they are. I don’t have time to waste.

Look out world, here I come! (Picture me spinning around in the middle of the road in Minneapolis throwing my handmade knit tam in the air, a la Mary Tyler Moore) But first, I have to take the garbage out.

Baby steps…….

Jules' Fuel

“The good news is that food connects us. The bad news is that food can divide us.

The highly personal and cultural food preferences discussed in Part 1 have set the stage for an even deeper delve into the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde role that food plays in our lives.

As if dealing with food disparities in public wasn’t enough, many of us have our own, private battles with food going on underneath our very own skin.

Our Greatest Battle: The Private Wars Within?

Like a bi-polar tennis match, one day, we confidently continue on a path of eating well; the next, triggered by some event or emotion, we spiral downward, justifying our gluttony, or for others, harsh deprivation.

Silence. Defeat. Embarrassment. Shame.

Can you relate?

The stronghold of guilt that food can play in our lives can be paralyzing. I’ve been there, and I’ve seen it firsthand.

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Keep this in mind the next time you entertain or socialize with others around food. Try to embrace other people’s preferences and don’t get offended if they’re not the same as yours. Cheers!

Jules' Fuel

Religion, politics, social gatherings.

No doubt, these do not traditionally mix, unless while literally at a religious or political gathering, respectively.

Why? Shenanigans could arise.

People’s morals and values deeply rooted in these subject matters come out of the woodworks, triggering hot-headed responses to opposing views.

Sure, it is possible to engage in civil debates, but let’s be honest, 99% of the time, it will be a case of “Let’s agree to disagree.”

I’m sure you’re nodding your head right now, thinking about the presidential debates, media reports, and, well, obsessive Facebook political posts every 2 seconds.

Are you that guy posting your political viewpoints daily, like we’re all supposed to agree? Well, it quite possibly ain’t gonna happen; but hey, I credit you for expressing your passionate beliefs in line with who you are.

But, I digress…

Amongst these landmark topics of debate includes another highly underrated subject FULL…

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And in this corner, weighing in at 236 lbs!

It happened. I broke the 240lb barrier and found myself at 236lbs.Sweet.

Well, no sweet, no caffeine, no wheat, no booze, no chocolate, no lactose and pretty much, no problem. First off, the main reason for limiting the above, had more to do with this new-found stomach problem I developed this summer and less to do with losing my goal of 50 lbs. I figure 50 lbs less to pedal will really be noticeable by the second day of the bike rally.

It all started one beautiful warm breezy day in June when I spotted a soft ice cream and decided I needed one. Before I finished the swirly twirly goodness I had the sensation that something was amiss and found myself sprinting to get home before the inevitable.

I’ve removed a whole host of things from my diet to find relief. Turns out, the drugs I was taking previous to this, had made my stomach too acidic and I was put on another med for 6 weeks and told to basically not eat anything but boiled rice and newspaper. This helped but about a month after the meds ended I was having problems again. Anywho, as a result of all this, I’m down 14 pounds.

I went out in my shorts today, refusing to give in to the 41 degree cold (before windchill) as this would mean I was admitting that, summer is in fact over. Two blocks later, I decide, its time to buy pants. Normally I wear my shorts from the first day of Spring, till my birthday in November. This has sort of become a tradition and helps me make Summer longer than the two months that it is.

Arriving at the mall, I find it packed, for a Thursday afternoon. Let me say that, I hate shopping for clothes and even more in a crowd of zombie shoppers. They wander aimlessly, unaware of anyone around them and generally annoy me. I head to my fallback casual, slightly dressier than sweat pants store and after trying on the usual, discover they don’t fit.

Turns out this seasons pants, have a lower rise than my bootylicious lower body and creates, the sexy “plumber butt”. Perhaps I could pair it with T bar underwear to finish the look. Are the Traveling Pants a myth?

I’m thinking of being one of these for Halloween.

On to the competition and I am immediately greeted by a touque and headphone mic wearing young guy who sees me staring at the 11 foot by 300 foot wall of jeans. He offers to find me a size and selects something from the “slim fit straight leg” section. I immediately tell him that we need to move to the “fat fit gay leg” section if we’re going to find me anything. He laughs and says, “Gurl, lets see what we can find” We pull two sizes from the “loose” section and I try them on. I am able to comfortably fit into the smaller size, which means I’ve dropped a size. Apparently I’m not as loose as I use to be. Ba dum bum, psh! It’s probably because they are making jeans bigger this year in Vietnam, but I’ll take them just for the number on the label and will worry about sitting down in them later.

He shows me another “wash” in the same style, and informs me that they are on sale for the “buy one get one 50% off” promo and then shows me how they appear more faded in the seat and thigh area and I comment, “cause that’s where all the action is” and we both giggle like the store should be called, “The Gay” and I take them as well.

I was so impressed with the customer service and left a happy camper. I work in retail and I’m so tired of crappy service everywhere I go, that I could have spent more time and money on clothing than I have in a long time.

I also picked up some workout gear as I figure I’ve put off the actually lifting weights and cardio part of weight loss long enough. I have been using the excuse that I didn’t have my new 500 dollar insoles that the doctor calls, orthotics in order to charge half a grand for. They are 4 times the price of shoes they are in, which has always kind of irked me.I have put them in the shoes and made it through the required “break in” period and ready for action.

Heres to not being able to wear my new jeans anymore, cause they’re too big.

Sticker Shock Sunday

I went to my first bike rally event. When I read the email I was thinking it was a meeting but, by the end of it, I realised it was a social event.

It was a celebration of the fundraising efforts of this year and a kickoff to the 2013 rally.

I knew no one there so I picked up the reading material, that was left out for anyone to take. Three pages in, I found a list of recommended items to purchase for the rally.

Three single spaced columns of equipment with about 40 items in total. Number one on the list was a bike in good condition. Just then I was approached by a girl who asked if this was my first time. Pun intended. She told me that the most important thing to spend my money on was, a bike and cycling shorts. She really stressed the shorts and I asked why? She said, by the end of day two, you’ll know why.

Next, I asked about her bike and what she spent on it. She told me she got a deal and paid around 1200 dollars for hers! She then explained that she had participated in the ride as a crew member but this was her first year riding, and that’s why she kept to a lower priced bike.

In my head I’m thinking, my last car cost 5000 dollars and it had four doors, a roof and a radio! Wow! We were then joined by a guy who was riding for the 5th time, and he said he made the mistake the first year of going cheap on his bike. He said he was miserable through all the training and the full 660 km ride, with mechanical problems and the heavy weight of the bike.

I told them I thought of maybe just donating the money I was going to spend on the equipment and not do the ride. They both replied in unison, “But its not as much fun!”

One thing I forgot to mention was, this “meeting” was being held in a gay bar.

I was introduced to about 10 different people over the course of the event and had the best laugh I’ve had in a long time. There were waiters, dressed in kilts, serving free beer from a local brewery, Mc something or other, a drag show and a speech or two.

One of the organisers got up and said that to date, this past summers ride, had raised 1.3 million dollars. This may not seem liked a lot at first but, there were only a group of 300 riders! Imagine if there had been double that number of people participating.

A lot of these people had completed three or four rides already and more than one had participated since the first event 15 years ago.

After what seemed like an entire evening but, was only two hours, it was time to head home. Great time had by all and they made me feel very welcome. Kinda nice for a change, to be so easily taken into a group of people who have known each other for years.

I’m now mentally doing the math in my head and I will be 62 in fifteen years and so were the guys who have been there since the beginning. It works out to 100 dollars a year for the initial cost of the bike, and about 40,000 dollars raised by each of them during that time.

I think that’s a pretty good return on the initial investment, don’t you?