Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A to Z Blog Challenge -- A is for 'A For Adventure'



Welcome to A Piece of My Mind!

I'm a longtime blogger, having launched this blog in 2007.

I'm also a fan of taking part in challenges. This is my 5th year doing the A to Z Challenge, and I'm so glad to be along for the ride again this year.

I'll take a moment to introduce myself.

I'm an indie author with two self-published books which I'll present  for 'B' and 'D' days. I write in the dark fantasy and vampire genre.

I've recently served on the executive of my writers' group, and have co-presented panels alongside fellow paranormal author Shawna Romkey at our local sci-fi/fantasy convention Hal-Con.

It's fairly safe to say that I've been more inclined to be an indoors sort of person, even though my childhood was happily spent camping, roaming the rocky eastern coastline while my dad went scuba diving, and going for walks in the woods.

As an aspect of his rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, my husband also suffers from agoraphobia. For Brad, this means that he has always struggled to cross the threshhold in order to leave the house.

Being outside can shoot his anxiety levels up into full-blown panic mode. Over the years, we've developed coping mechanisms including timing his Atavan dosage to about half an hour before leaving the house, in order to make that threshhold easier to cross. The only time it ever becomes 'okay' is when he's in a mania stage.

Fast-forward to last spring.

I read an article in my local paper about a challenge to go on 100 days of adventure in a row. Any sort of adventure, big or small, as long as it took place outside in a quest to reconnect people with the natural world.

The pace of that challenge was too much for my husband, but when I suggested stretching the 100 days over a year, he felt that was doable. Because we couldn't do the 100-days-in-a-row, we added an extra challenge element of going for 100 walks in 100 different places. We signed up for the challenge on the A for Adventure website and began our adventures on June 1st, 2014.



As requested by the two men who began the challenge, Jan Sebastian LaPierre and Chris Surette, we posted our adventures on social media with the hashtag #AForAdventure. Soon we had a loyal following on Facebook and Twitter as we posted photos of our walks hither and yon.

To say that this past year has been transformative is putting it mildly.

Brad has managed to actually enjoy himself on all of these outside adventures, even though -- depending on his cycling bipolar disorder -- he continues to struggle to get outside, at times. Besides Brad's health issues, I have my own chronic pain problems. Our walks have helped me increase my stamina gradually as we've explored our home province in a way we hadn't done before.

I just want to thank Jan and Chris for launching this challenge. You've sparked an amazing year for Brad and me.

The great thing about A for Adventure? You can do it wherever you are and at any fitness level. Do you love to spend time outside, kayaking and cross-country skiing? This challenge was made for you. Do you spend most of your time at a desk? Is your idea of the great outdoors something you see within a game screen? A for Adventure is still for you -- if two hobbling couch potatoes like Brad and me could greet New Year's Day with a walk in the snow, then absolutely anything is possible.

Here's a taste of our year so far. We're just about to hit the 3/4 mark, having completed our 74th adventure on Monday.



Day 1 -- Lawrencetown Beach




Day 4 -- heading out on the bus




Day 10 -- heading out on the ferry




Day 16 -- heading out in our very first car!
Bought it two months into our challenge at a car auction.




Day 19 -- We've gone on urban walks




Day 73 -- Rural walks




Day 31 -- Walks in the woods




Day 24 -- Walks by the sea




Day 17 -- Walks beside lakes




Day 21 -- Walks in the summer




Day 47 -- Walks in the winter


Friday, March 27, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 265 -- The Lion Edition




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

It's set to snow tomorrow.




Here in Nova Scotia, we've already experienced a record-breaking winter. That's me doing an archaeological dig to free my mom's car from all the snow during the massive 'March Madness' storm in mid-March. The Ides of March, actually.

My city is still buried under three feet of snow, which includes several layers of cement-like ice, created during a storm that included a mix of freezing rain.

To say that folks in these parts aren't looking forward to another 15 cm/half a foot of snow is putting it mildly.

For myself, I'm the sort of person who thinks a March snowfall is just as pretty as a Christmastime December snowfall. I tend to keep that to myself, however, out of respect for the Seasonal Affective Disorder people who see the snow and experience a wave of depression.

This year, that old saying 'In like a lion, out like a lamb' seems to have gone on strike. March arrived roaring like the most ferocious lion imaginable, and is certainly refusing to go gently into that good night.

For this week's 5 on Friday, I give you the Lion Edition.





1 - The Lion Sleeps Tonight - The Tokens 







2 - Wondering Where the Lions Are - Bruce Cockburn 







3 - Lion in the Morning Sun - Will and The People 







4 - Iron Lion Zion - Bob Marley







5 - Jungle Lion - Lee Perry and The Upsetters 



Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm blogging at The Popculturedivas today



Join me at The Popculturedivas for Success Leads to Success.

Friday, March 20, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 264 -- International Day of Happiness Edition




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.


This is only the third annual celebration of this initiative, which seeks to balance the persistent drive to measure a nation's or a people's success in terms of economic output, with its citizens' sense of wellbeing.

One could be extremely jaded and point to a deep savings in national spending for such a measurement. After all, when a population is unhappy, there is more individual use of alcohol and recreational drugs, more medical costs to treat addiction and its ripple effects, more lost days at work, and if the unrest is at high levels, more risk for riots, which adds to spending on police forces and infrastructure rebuilding.

I feel that the International Day of Happiness is a combination of those factors as well as the real desire for nations to recognize that higher individual happiness leads to a higher-performing nation, overall.

You may have encountered this line of thinking in the corporate world already. A happier workforce, as it turns out, is far more energized and of course profitable.


  

This year, the Day of Happiness is looking to build "the world's happiest playlist". Here is my 5 on Friday contribution. All of the tracks remind me of a time in my life when things were hopeful, even when there were mountain-sized obstacles to climb.



1 - Quantum Utopia - Goran Bregovic featuring Eugene Hutz 








2 - All This Time - Sting 







3 - E=MC2 - Big Audio Dynamite 








4 - Temptation Waits - Garbage






5 - Bliss - Muse 





Thursday, March 19, 2015

I'm blogging at The Popculturedivas today



Join me at The Popculturedivas for I Love the Way Technology Has Turned Average People Into Folksy Journalists and a look at the east coast's #snowmageddon2015. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

5 on Friday -- Set 263




Spinning Friday tunes since 2010...

For anyone who wants to join in, simply choose five pieces of music and post them for other bloggers to enjoy. Then check out the set posted by the other 5 on Friday blogger -- you can sign in over at Golch Central's Rambling Stuff.

This week we're going to get all Peace - Love - Unity - Respect and trance out when the beat drops. 



1 - Living For Love - Madonna 

First of all, this track is sitting in the top ten of Billboard's dance club songs this week. It's March, 2015. Madonna's first Billboard Hot 100 appearance was in 1983 for Holiday. Just sayin'. 






2 - Chiggy Wiggy - Kylie Minogue featuring Sonu Nigam 







3 - Don't Get it Twisted - Gwen Stefani 







4 - Groovejet(If This Ain't Love) - Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor





5 - I'm an Albatraoz - AronChupa 

Note: some language in this one



Thursday, March 12, 2015

I'm blogging at The Popculturedivas today



Join me at The Popculturedivas for #Droughtlander -- The Final Days, where the countdown begins for the April 4th/5th premiere of the final half of Outlander, season 1.