Turning 45 today

I turned 45 today.  It was a quiet day because a) I am now as old as dirt and b) I am sicker than a sick dog.

I woke up to some great presents.  Mark and Oliver gave me the new Taylor Swift album 1989.

I didn’t think I would like the album as much as I have.  Then again I’ll just shake it off.

Then Jordon gave me a new Fitbit Flex.

FitBit Flex

So now I can track every part of my life.  When I am walking, how much I am drinking (water folks), and the quality of my sleep.

Since all of us are still quite ill, instead of going out, we ordered in and watched Guardians of the Galaxy which I picked up at Red Box.

Instead of a teddy bear growing up, Jordon had a toy raccoon.  I guess we know what happened to it.

After that we all of to bed.  Jordon and Oliver are partially deaf and I am still battling this cold/flu.  I have laryngitis but have avoided what Jordon and Oliver have had.

It is my party and I can go to bed early if I want to….  thanks for the nice wishes and birthday greetings.  It’s appreciated.

Lefse

Lefse being cooked on a griddle

This is what I spent my night making.  Lefse.  Its a Scandinavian flat bread made popular by the Norwegians.  I make tynnlefse which is common in Central Norway.  Jordon’s family loved it and I am told that Jordon’s (Norwegian) grandmother used to make one ice cream pail for each day leading up to Christmas and the Cooper family would devour it.   After making it for hours and having no where close to an ice cream pail full, much respect goes out to Grandma Cooper.  That being said if it was me, I would have rationed it more and invested in a Taser or cattle prod to keep back the hordes of Cooper’s trying to get some.

In case you are looking for a good Norwegian Lefse recipe, you can find on The Cooking Blog.  It’s been proven to work for several Christmases in my kitchen.

Think you can hike? What you need to know before pulling your own Wild

If you are looking to take a life changing hike, here is what you need to know before you start

If you are looking to take a life changing hike, here is what you need to know before you start

DON’T WEIGH YOURSELF DOWN

Strayed turned her backpack into a character by calling it “the Monster” after she got down on the floor of her motel room the night before setting out and couldn’t lift her pack at all, let alone stand up with it. A week later, a trail veteran took her aside at a campsite and told her to throw out stuff she didn’t need – from an axe to a saw to a book, or at least the parts she’d already read. The Monster lost 4.5 kilograms. We could relate. Our toilet paper was tree moss.

MAIL YOURSELF CARE PACKAGES

Strayed often walked into a backwoods town or ranger station to pick up a box of food and clothing she’d sent herself before setting out. In each one was a note from her ex-boyfriend charting her progress: “If you’ve made it this far, you’ve just hiked 100 miles across the Mojave Desert.”

We did the same and after a week of packaged trail food (not so great in 1992), we lusted for the instant rice, powdered milk, canned tuna and sauces in those boxes. Also, think about mailing an extra camp stove and footwear. We went through five stoves in our 1,600-kilometre journey (slow learners) and everyone will go through at least two pairs of boots.

YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY BOOTS

In the opening scene of the book and the movie, one of Strayed’s boots falls over a mountain ledge. She’d taken them off when she sat down to enjoy the view, and the Monster toppled on to them. Thirty eight days into her journey, she’d lost the most important thing every hiker must have. Damning her fate, she threw her other boot over the edge as well. So, she Duck-taped her sandals to the top of her feet and slogged on. She also ordered new boots at her next stop from REI, a U.S. recreational equipment outfitter, and had them mailed to her at the next town.

YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT AND SMELL BAD

Running a marathon burns about 3,500 calories. Hiking 10 hours a day with an 18-kilogram pack burns up 5,000 calories. No wonder we lost tons of weight. When we went for dinner off the trail one night in Tennessee, we split a barrel of Kentucky Fried Chicken. For us, it was health food; we needed plenty of salt and fat.

When Strayed buys lipstick in anticipation of a hot date in a trail town, the sales lady tells her that she should always look out for her personal hygiene – code for: “You smell incredibly bad!”
When we arrived at the last stop on our journey in Tyringham, Mass., we decided to splurge by staying that night at a country inn. Alas, the sign outside said: “No hikers!” We knew why.

HITCHHIKING IS FUN AND DANGEROUS

Strayed gets a lift from a carload of aging hippies. They look threatening – a slice of America we rarely see. A few days later, she gets picked up after dark by a guy who wants to take her back to his house. She resists. He persists. She walks in and – meets his wife. It’s the start of a beautiful friendship.

Every 10th day, we would hike down off the mountain trail and hitchhike into a backwoods town to get food, do laundry and have a shower. We were picked up by all kinds of odd-balls, many with rifles and Confederate flags in their pickups. Most of them thought we were crazy, too. And that mutual curiosity created some amazing conversations.

This isn’t to say that if you’re hitchhiking alone, you shouldn’t be extra careful. But time and again, when we got lost, or blew up a stove, or ran out of water, or were in a hut with a bunch of rowdy teenagers, people came to our aid, often like magic.

WHEN IT’S ALL DONE, YOU’LL BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

After finishing her hike at the Bridge of the Gods on the Columbia River on the Oregon-Washington border, Strayed shared her triumph with a stranger. She writes:

“‘I walked over eleven hundred miles,’ I said, too excited to contain myself. ‘I just finished my trip this morning.’

“‘Really?’

“I nodded and laughed.

“‘That’s incredible. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. A big journey.’

“‘You could. You should. Believe me, if I can do this, anyone can.’”

Believe us, she’s right.

An early Christmas

We generally get together on Christmas Day with Jerry & Gloria Reimer and Kristy.  This year Christmas Day isn’t going to work so we got together tonight for a fabulous Christmas dinner.  There was turkey, green bean casserole, potatoes, stuffing, wine, and amazing farmer’s sausage from Valley Meat Processors.

After dinner we exchanged gifts and had a lot of fun.  They gave Jordon the book Legacy of Worship: Sacred Places in Rural Saskatchewan.

Legacy of Worship

I can’t wait to read this book.

We got a couple of great couple gifts.  A night at the movies (from Kristy) some tickets to the Saskatoon Blades (as a family) and some tickets to Persephone Theatre.  I also was given a wonderful day at Just For You Day Spa.

They spoiled Oliver with a big interactive puzzle showing the planets, Lego, more Lego and an old school children’s book.  Mark was tormented with some brain teasers, a book, and a Amazon.ca gift card (which he just spent on a Monocular and some cases for his lens).  He was really excited.  

We gave Gloria some Sennheisser headphones and Charlie LeDuff’s book Detroit: An American Autopsy.  We gave Jerry a bluetooth speaker and Stuck in the Middle and we gave Kristy a purse, Nikon 24-70 f2.8 lens mug, and a collection of recipes for when you are cooking with Coca-Cola.

It was a really nice evening and a great way to kick off our Christmas season.