Enjoy Your Here and Now

Dear in-the-near-future Me,

I know you are probably wishing you were back in Florida right now.  It’s only natural that you would miss the palm trees, beautiful beaches, warm weather and of course your son and bonus daughter.

I’m writing this to you to remind you of some of the details you have probably already forgotten.

While you were here for the past two weeks, you worked long hour’s everyday scrubbing dirty toilets, greasy ovens, and filthy floors.  You sprayed poison on weeds, dug holes and awkwardly crouched, bent over, in the extreme heat to plant new varieties of flora.  Your skin was pierced by sharp barbs hiding innocently on those pretty palm trees which then left their poison to swell your flesh in unattractive welts. Ants dined on your toes and mosquitoes dined on any open skin they landed on.  You kept one eye nervously scanning for the long black snakes you’d seen before you began digging and the big thick-as-your-arm snake you “heard” lurks near the edge of the yard. And although you never saw any reptiles while you worked, you did worry about the safety of the bunnies you glimpsed that one night grazing at sun down; you remember… the bunnies that you never saw again after that night.  Oh, and that dead racoon you saw in the lagoon probably died of old age.

Yes, the evenings here in Florida are hard to beat when the sun starts to dip down over the ocean and the sky turns brilliant orange and red and yes, it was amazing to see so many varieties of birds, but I must remind you that while you were here you were missing your friends and family back home too.  You were missing the beauty of Vernon and Okanagan Lake and sitting at the end of your dock watching the sun dip over the mountain while sipping a glass of wine.

So, I thought I’d just remind you to look around and enjoy every moment of being back home again, surrounded by a different kind of beauty.  You have different types of spiders and snakes to keep an eye on as well as racoons and copious amounts of deer to ooh and aw over.  Enjoy it all.  And, you don’t have to gag while you clean your house; it’s your dirt in there not someone else’s so it won’t be as gross to clean.

Florida is just as you left it, waiting for your Canadian winter to nip at your heels and send you back down here again.  In the mean time, enjoy your here and now. 🙂


Your not-so-long-ago You!






You’re Awesome in a Wheelchair Josh!

“Follow your dreams and you will discover your true potential.” Josh Dueck

I haven’t met Josh yet.  I know people who know him because I live in Vernon and he is a local Vernonite.  I saw locals buying “Go Josh Go” tee shirts around town and I was curious.  People were really stoked about Josh’s run for medals at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics.  They weren’t disappointed when Josh captured a silver medal yesterday in his first of four events.  Way to go Josh!!

In fact about 50 people from Kimberly, his home town, and from Vernon, where he lives now, stayed to cheer him on even through three steady hours of afternoon snow and after at least half of the crowd of 4,000 had called it quits, they were still there when their sit-skiing hero earned a surprise silver medal. Dueck said it was “huge” to feel the crowd’s energy. “I put a little bit in my back pocket just for those moments when I needed it.”

Josh learned to ski at thirteen and dreamed of becoming a professional skier.  He made the B.C. freestyle team, working to qualify for Canada’s national development team.

The financial demands of competition led Josh to coaching and sharing his passion for sport as head coach of the Silver Star Freestyle Ski Club in Vernon. It was then that the dream crash-landed.

Preparing students for the 2004 Canadian junior nationals, Josh was too fast on a demonstration jump. “Intuition said stop, but my ego made me go,” he remembers.

Overshooting the landing hill, he dropped 100 feet and completely smashed his body —breaking his back and flipping his world upside-down. Bent in an impossible direction, the spine was severed. At 23, Josh was paralyzed from the waist down.

Josh’s focus, dedication and commitment are so incredibly inspiring.  All the athletes competing in the Paralympics truly demonstrate to the world that the human Spirit is so much greater than our physical selves.  Congratulations to everyone competing and thank you for inspiring all of us.


Olympic Spirit and Community Pride

I was an Olympic gymnastic athlete in 1976.  I wore my black leotard and performed a near perfect floor routine but my real talent was on the uneven bars.  I could fly around the bars, chalk dust puffing into the air with every grab.  People all over the world would hold their breath, gasp and then burst into applause at my incredible dismounts.  Yes, it was glorious to stand on the peak of the podium with my bouquet of flowers and bow to accept another gold medal around my neck.  Ahhh…it’s wonderful to have an imagination when you are a kid isn’t it?  The Olympic spirit caught me back in the 70’s when I watched my first summer Olympics.  I was in gymnastics at the time and so I’d run in and change into my leotard when I got home from school before I turned on the tv to watch.  I tried to imitate what I saw which must have looked pretty strange without the actual equipment, but I loved it! The Olympics were in Montreal and I was a homesick Canadian living in Australia then.  I had just been bitten by a love for gymnastics and this was none other than the year Nadia Comeneci obtained a perfect score…on the uneven bars…my favourite apparatus!

It's uncanny how alike we were!

I guess I peaked early though because my career in gymnastics kind of fizzled after that, but I still always loved watching the Olympics.  In recent years the excitement around the games took on a whole new meaning for me when my husbands company, Sitka Log Homes, was chosen to build three lodges for the Salt Lake City winter Olympics.  The biggest thrill came when we were hired to build a log house to send to Turino, Italy for the last winter Olympics in 2006.  It was used to promote our own upcoming winter Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler and as meeting place for all the Canadian athletes competing in Italy.

Cindy Klassen in our house!

Today, I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to feel the Olympic spirit first hand in my own community.  I’m a volunteer at the flame lighting ceremony here in Vernon.  My job, apparently, is to protect the ice castle that has been created in the park for the ceremony.  I knew all those years of karate and various martial arts would come in handy!  Beware children…I know some moves and I’m not afraid to use them.

When I see that Olympic torch come jogging into my community I know my heart will swell with pride for our Canadian athletes and for our home province who, I have no doubt, will put on a great show and make all Canadians proud.  Now just let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


I Gotta Feeling!

Bonnie Johnson's PostThis song by the Black Eyed Peas has been a big hit this past summer.  It’s special to me too because Tracy and I heard it for the first time during her stay with me here in Vernon in July.  The two of us would “seat dance” to it if we heard it on the radio while we were driving somewhere.  This would always embarrass her son but her daughter joined in enthusiastically.  Ahhh…passing along our goofy moves to the innocent while distressing an eleven year old boy was too much fun!

I have had the song stuck in my head all summer and that’s not a bad thing.  It feels like a great mantra really.

“I gotta feeling… that today’s going to be a good day,… that today’s going to be a good good day… Woo Hoo.”

What a great thing to sing to yourself!  It’s impossible to not want to move along to the music.  It’s too full of fun and freedom.  I was excited when I found this video of the Black Eyed Peas performing a special live version of I Gotta Feeling for Oprah while a flash mob of synchronized dancers groove on Michigan Avenue downtown Chicago, IL USA. The performance was at Oprah’s 24th Season Kickoff Party on September 8, 2009.

I’m sure that if everyone sang this song to themselves at the beginning of everyday (and perhaps a few times during) they could only have a good day.  Give it a try.  Sing the words and make it your new mantra.  And if anyone is interested in learning how to dance like the crowd in the clip, follow this link for a lesson.


This ones for you Trayc! Mazal tov!




Bonnie's PostI’m so over the top excited for the Pittsburgh Penguins right now.  They just won the coveted Stanley Cup Championship!!  I know, I know, I’m a Canucks fan and I cheered them on right up until until they dropped out of the second round, but then I had to decide who I wanted to see hoist the Stanley Cup if it wasn’t going to be the Canucks and I chose Pittsburgh!   So YAY!!! Pittsburgh!!

Sweet Victory!

Sweet Victory!

Why did I choose Pittsburgh?  Well, there are a few reasons that I will share with you.  I’m an emotional being so bare with me here, but the biggest reason was because they lost to Detroit last year and I really felt it was their turn to win that beautiful big silver cup this year.    I just like the world to be fair sometimes and it’s only right that the Penguins get to taste the glory after having to swallow that bitter defeat last year.

mario-lemieuxThen there is co-owner/chairman and Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux.  The Montreal native led the Penguins to two Stanley Cups (1990-91 and 1991-92) while winning six NHL scoring titles, three league Most Valuable Player awards and two Conn Smythe trophies as playoff MVP.  He did all this despite a series of serious medical setbacks that included multiple back surgeries over the years and a well-publicized battle with hodgkin’s disease in 1993.  So ya, I’m quite fond of him too.

Exactly half the team is Canadian!  Woot Woot!

matt-cookeMatt Cooke or as I like to call him, Cookie, was once my favourite Canuck and even as a Penquin he still holds a special place in my heart.  The funniest moment during the CBC interviews of the players was when Matts 5 year old son piped up and proclaimed “I skipped school!”  I think he’ll be forgiven.  Soooo cute!

eric-godard-28And last, but not least, is 29 year old Eric Godard who just happens to be born in Vernon, BC.  Oh ya baby, I’m thinking that means that we Vernonites may just get another visist from Lord Stanleys Cup.  So cool…unless you are not a hockey fan, in which case why are still reading this post??

To be honest, I get a little misty eyed watching whichever team wins the Stanley Cup.  I know it’s such a long hard fought battle to get them to this point and it is very touching to see the ear to ear grins when they each do their victory skate with the cup over their heads.