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The 3rd Monday in January is the day where it all comes to a sad peak of the post-holiday blues, credit card bills, dark nights and perhaps health concerns from all the rich food.
There is definitely something to this, we think.
Everyone is excited about the summer.
Autumn is about getting ready for school, hunkering down for winter.
Winter can be beautiful with snow here in P-N-dubs. But, in the lower mainland, the snow quickly becomes an unpalatable mess of mud, salt, slushy snow and rain. Yuck!
So, we look forward to the Christmas festivities. Takes our mind off of the gross weather and on to the pleasantries of baking, shopping, wrapping, eating & partying. Of course, this year, Ommi forced us to retreat to our safe bubbles. No work parties, no Secret Sanat, no extravagant dinners with a bunch of fab friends…
Reality sets in… hence Blue Monday.
What can I do about it if it’s reality?
We’re not saying you should ignore reality. What we’re saying is that this is a good time to get reacquainted with self-care & joy.
Connect with loved ones virtually
Engage in self care
Get back to healthy eatingTry exercising – especially walks on the brighter weather days
Take your medications as prescribed (when feeling blue, it’s easy to forge
Talk to your health professional about the SAD lamp or other ways to copeKeep a regular sleeping schedule
Enjoy what you have. Be mindful.
Put your worries in a box for a few hours. Worrying all day will not help solve anything.
Talk about it or journal
Think about fun stuff to do. When was the last time you painted? Sledded? Collaged? Read a novel? Took your pups or kids out for a fun walk? Played a video game? Made a snowperson? Made a slideshow of photos? Snuggled your pet or loved one?
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Some of these suggestions might not even float your boat. And that’s okay. But you’ve got some other ideas in that noggin of yours. So get to steppin, you beautiful beast.
This list might be overwhelming. Pick 1 or 2 things that seem interesting and go from there.
What are Nals & Kells doing?
I’m getting back into writing this blog. Kells is still recoveringfrom Christmas cheer. & we are both doing another session of burly classes this month.
Kells & I were in Palm Springs🔗 last year for our annual birthday jaunt.
We had dinner at Tac/Quila🔗. This restaurant has a nifty story. A lawyer couple decided to change careers. They popped their restauranteur cherry by opening FARM🔗. Then came the second baby Tac/Quila🔗.
Kells & I shared a flight of margaritas (Kiwi Mint, Watermelon, Pineapple, Blackberry, Lime). I’m not particularly fond of tequila but I do love cold fruity drinks. And boy these went down smooth. (Good thing we shared or we’d’ve been in trouble with our own flight.) They all had distinct flavours that we loved. Kiwi Mint, Watermelon & Pineapple were our top 3.
Kells ordered Calamari and a couple tacos (al pastor, chicken). I ordered 3 tacos – carne asada, calabacitas & carnitas. The food was delicious.
Each taco had a distinct focus and accoutrements. Truly enjoyable.
Restaurant had inside and outside seating. However, because of the layout, it seemed like 1 seamless area. There was something to look at everywhere from the ceilings, walls, tables… foliage, people, food or funky carpentry. There was a bustling lively energy in the air. The waitstaff were great.
You must get the flight of margaritas for sharing. Tacos and calamari are bang on. We’d definitely come to Tac/Quila🔗 again.
Foots ¹We had access to the larger pre-pandemic menu last year. But this miniaturized menu is a pretty good cross-section.
We ordered🔗: tempura battered Fish n Chips (Halibut) and a Tacone (albacore tuna). Halibut tasted good but a bit soggy. Tacone was delightful with perfectly seared tuna. Tortilla was a bit sticky. Maybe if it was warmed, it would’ve been better.
Kells had been here before with The Mr. He enjoyed the Halibut & chips as well.
We’d probably come here again… if we were in the area, and hungry. The setting was gorgeous. And we’ll be sure to have ice cream bars from 🇨🇦Rogers Chocolates🔗!
We had a discussion about hikes versus walks🔗. We both think the term hike means a walk-with-attitude. So immediately you know it won’t be as easy as walking to the corner store. Thus, for folks with mobility or health issues, hikes will generally be harder.
If you have concerns… We recommend you research a hike site well, before you go. Reviews are a good source of secret info. You will need to consider access to: Help/Rescue, rangers/guides, cell service, water availability, transport, seaaonal access, etc.
What we love in a hike…
…good exercise, solace, lovely things to see and peaceful to hear. So, doing the Grouse Grind🔗 (in Vancouver, Canada) with crowds, unvaried scenery and a sense of urgency doesn’t appeal to either K or I.
The Cross🔗 is a walk-up, upside big hills† with windy, narrow★ dirt paths. Some parts have rocks, shrubs. Others have a baby-bluff for respite and to take in the scenery.You end up at the summit with a… You guessed it: a big cross.
I’m not in phenomenal shape. But I do cardio 6-7x/week. And, I was quite surprised that I was dying on the Mount Everest-esque hills leading up to the Cross’d summit.
Later, we realized it was 39C, dry blazing sun. I should have drunk more water before heading out.
So our plan for the next day’s hike was to get out earlier to avoid blazing sun. And I’d have more water beforehand.
(And yes, this helped immensely!)
7 Sisters (Water)Falls
There are several beautiful hikes available through the Indian Canyons 🔗.
Kells chose the 7 Sisters Falls hike. The hike took us across a varied landscape. We went from desert dryness to an Oasis to shaded green majestic tree’d areas to big climbable rocks and the soothing waterfalls.
TBH considering it was called The 7 Sisters Falls, I was kind of something explosive. It was definitely enchanting but don’t expect Niagara Falls.
(Kells did this hike with one of her besties last year, and with her infink nephew in a bjorn… And though lovely, it was unfortunately too dry to see the Falls.)
This hike was challenging for me not because it was hard per se. It was more about challenging my own anxieties. I had to cross waters by balance-walking on logs. I had to climb across smooth rocks (smooth=no friction=trouble for Nals). Lots of fallen vegetation around, which creates fab hiding spots for biting, stinging creatures. So yeah… There was that.
I left a piece of myself in 7 Sisters that fateful morning. And, I will always have a piece of 7 in me.
As I was surveying the sheer rockface that I was to climb (that K just basically hopped on like a baby goat), I noticed a nemesis lodged in the rocky outcrop. I said to this stick “we will be like ships in the night, you and I…” Unfortunately, it had other ideas. As I climbed that rockface, I promptly stuck the stick promptly stuck itself into my knee. This gd stick. Just a half-inch diameter. A fallen child trapped in a rock world. Shriveled. Dry. Pathetically beige. And fierce enough to almost penetrate my knee cap. Touché my friend. Touché¹.
The road Runner Trail
The Road Runner Trail is an oddball hike. It’s on the outskirts of the city, near some ritzy hotel and regular streets. Seems like it’d be an easy stroll with nicely planted flowers and shrubs.
Except it’s not… There is a collection of rancid hills that you ascend (then descend). You aimlessly traverse these rando hills for eons. (Remeniscent of that movie The Cube🔗.) And suddenly, you’ve got an amazing bird’s eye view of the area. It’s surreal!
You must become one with the narrow★ trails.
There were times where the precariously-gravelled trail was flanked by (guaranteed) steep falls into one rock abyss or another. In a Black Swan ballet move, some of the gravel seemed fall away at the trail edges, at the same moment I was approaching it. Like a warning. Or a taunt. I paused. Time stood still. Eerie crackle-sounds of the falling gravel. Puffs of dust billowed as each piece bounced off the land, and twirled up again. My stomach lodged in my throat. That gravel bit could be me in a heartbeat. I was quite concerned that it may be idiot-proofed, but not Nals-proofed. It all turned out okay. But it got dicey².
Kells & I loved all of these “easy” hikes.
Side effect: We’ve known each other now for over a decade. We need know each other well. But during the quiet peace of the hikes, we shared some new and interesting thoughts with one another. So yeah, hikes are definitely worth the effort!
Footnotes *For some perspective: The Vancouver walks that Nals has been on were at Burnaby Lake, Deer Lake, etc. There’s the Coquitlam Crunch. I would consider this a hard walk (or easier hike). The actual hikes I’ve previously done were at Deep Cove, or upside a volcano in Costa Rica. Those I’d consider easy but towards the harder side of easy. † I don’t know the difference between a hill and a mountain but this was a big ass mofo hill. So let’s just call it a mountain. With no trees, minimal shrubs and hot dry dirt. ★so narrow that if another person was coming in the opposite direction, one of you needed to hug the wall. And there wasn’t always a “wall” to hug. If you’re afraid of heights then you may want to avoid this one. ¹I survived to tell my tale. How did it happen, Nals? What a weirdo, freaky thing, Nals. This is the life that Nals has come to call her own… Where physics meets magic meets the exact opposite of what Nals was thinking. ²Dicey in my head. Sure, one should be cautious. But, I wasn’t going to let my anxiety rule me.
Nals was in an anniversary trip in the Okanagan last month. And of course, we had to do a little dipsy doodle around a couple of wineries.
The Mr was my designated driver so I only went to a couple wineries in the area. Lake Country has a whole host of wineries including Gray Monk Estate Winery.
Tastings are $5-7 for 5. You can choose from a selection of say 10 wines. If you purchase bottles, then the fee is typically used towards the purchase.
Blind Tiger is a newer winery. It is a small family run certified organic winery that opened to the public in 2015.
My sommelier* was fantastic. He was a young energetic fellow who excitedly talked about the various wine-related outtings that he had recently been on. He was an absolute delight! He asked what wines I like, suggested some and off we went. He was the perfect sommelier: funny, warm and also left room for me to explore the tasting notes.
Where to buy: Only through their winery or virtual store.
At Blind Tiger I got: Pinot Gris (2017), Reserve Pinot Noir (2017) & Speakeasy Red (2014).
Ex Nihilo has great range of wines and especially full-bodied reds.
Tasting wasn’t the nicest experience. It was a larger bustling winery. The sommelier’s lukewarm detached demeanor led me to one conclusion: That she was a rogue ex-operative from an Archer-esque outfit… and her arch nemesis Barry finally got her 20**.
Where to buy: since the ex-operative was not chatty, I have no idea if they have shops that carry their goods in the GVA.
At Ex Nihilio, I got: Chaos Rosso Red (2018) and Reisling (2017).
I loved Blind Tiger because they were friendly & non-pretentious. Reminded me of the delightful Les Corcelettes in Oliver.
El Nihilo had delicious wines as well, but this was not a warm and fuzzy tasting experience. I also wanted to buy the Voignier… but both the tasting & purchase was reserved for “members”. I don’t know what this means but the sommelier didn’t invite or tell me how to become a member. I guess as long one leaves with delicious bottles of wine… What else matters?
Let’s Play Footsie-notes *Not sure if sommelier is the correct term. I thought it was better than Taster Guy or Taster Attendant. **The Ex Nihilio sommelier wasn’t rude per se. She answered my questions albeit in a detached fashion… with an underlying je ne sais quoi. Something else clearly had her attention. Eyes darted around, preoccupied energy, latency of responses… The only conclusion is that her rival finally sniffed out her shoddily-disguised witness protection deets.
Some career opportunities have come up and so a rehaul was due.
A few years ago, I made a huge change. I left the comfort of my full-time job in mental health, to go to a part-time job in the medical field. I needed to switch gears. And the leftover time would allow me to pursue my business idea and some extras.
This was a brilliant move!
Then things started to feel a little stale. Burlesque, getaways and fitness made things a bit exciting and now we’re back to a feeling a bit stagnant.
So, I took a leap of faith on some opportunities that happened to come my way. And, it’s official: I’m back full-time in mental health!
Overall, this is a good move for me and my future. Then why do I feel this anxiety, which is overwhelming at times?
Did you know that stress is multidimensional?
It affects our cognitive, physical, behavioural and social dimensions.
have a positive (eustress) and/or negative (distress) nature,
have a time frame: acute or chronic (or even acute on chronic),
be planned or unexpected.
There are pros and cons to everything. And that’s okay. It’s in how you process it and to find appropriate supports.
For me, the CBT approach works best. I know that I ruminate in my feelings like a dog rolls around in a rotting carcass**. My previous negative experiences roll into it. And all these feelings become overwhelming. They overwhelm my logic and I sink farther into the well. I also have a tendency to bottle it all up°.
What works for me
I recognize there’s a problem°°,
I label my feelings and thought distortions,
I use logic to break my thought cycles,
I talk it out with a trusted support person.
If you are new to CBT or its tenets don’t quite resonate, N&K encourage you to research different techniques. And then to get appropriate support.
Here is a list of clickable resources to get you N&Kers started:
Footnotes: *Winning a competition can be positive. But, there can be negatives too such as feeling more pressure to win the next comp and feeling like the need to train harder. But maybe you don’t have the resources or social support for this. *An example of acute on chronic is: having a large distressing debt and then all of a sudden, my car breaks down. I don’t have the money to fix it but I need my car to get to work to help pay down the debt. **Except I don’t want to roll around in it. °Not sure why I bottled shit up. It’s probably rooted in not being able to trust. But I’ve learned that I have lots of supportive people around, and I can trust them. °°It took me a long time to realize that feelings are not fact. Feelings can be overwhelming. There are a lot of tools to help me manage. And I know I can manage when I recognize there’s an issue.
The Mr and I went away to Kelowna for our anniversary.
There is something to do for everyone from outdoorsy stuff like hiking and water sports, R&R’ing, winetasting (also beer and ciders), eating locally-grown stonefruits, festivals and simply enjoying the scenery.
So as per usual, the spontaneous Mr doesn’t book ahead, which leads me to do it last minute’. So the well-priced rooms, funky finds, one-of-a-kinds are probably gone! However, I ended up finding accommodations at UBC.
G e n e r a l I m p r e s s i o n
We were in the Queen Studio room** in the Monashee Residence*. It is a straight-up clean room with no bells and whistles. No fancy soaps, luggage racks, room safes or artwork. There was a double bed, a desk, table & chairs and full kitchen. The bathroom had a narrow shower stall, with sink outside. They provide towels, kitchenware and very basic toiletries. It felt dorm-y but also home-y. There are tons of pictures available on their website and from other reviewers.
T h e P r o s
The building and room require fob entry so it feels secure.
Each room has its owninclusive wifi.
The room was large and airy with one small screened-window.
The setting is gorgeous – very peaceful.
Laundry is available. Purchase cards at Guest Accommodations.
The awesome staff is available 24/7 at 1290 International Mews.
T h e N o n – P r o s
There is no in-room TV or telephone so bring your own electronics. There isn’t a lot of counterspace.
Sink & toilet were slow to drain (perhaps just in this particular room). Showerhead is not adjustable (problem for short or tall poppies).
The bed was a bit small. (We are used to Queen.) It was also not supportive so whenever the Mr flopped, I felt it. The pillows were flat.
There weren’t extra pillows or blankets. This was major for me because sometimes I’m a bit colder or want more pillows.
P a r k i n g and Transport
Parking is 50% discounted for guests. Parking options are close by. During summer it’s slow. But during the school year – likely a different story.
If you want to sight-see or pick up larger grocery items/clothing, you will need transport: a vehicle or take transit (stops on-campus).
S u r r o u n d i n g s
Surroundings are beautiful and serene. UBC Okanagan sits on top of a hill so you get a great view of the city. There’s a bit of green space for hikes (be mindful of the bear warnings).
On the other side of highway, there’s permanent housing, a little convenience store, liquor store, pub and Chinese restaurant.
R e c o m m e n d a t i o n
The whole point is to sleep well in a hotel room. And we didn’t sleep well on the first night”. But, if we stay overnight in Kelowna again, I will ask them if there are firm-bed options. I love the idea of staying away from the downtown core in a beautiful setting, so I wouldn’t discount this option in the future. Also, UBC is the Mr.’s and my alma mater.
N&K T i p s
Double check that linens, kitchenware is included in your room.
You don’t need to download HONK app for parking, if you have a credit/debit card. Just make surr yiu choose the 24- or multiple-hour accommodation parking option.
Make sure you get the guest coupon code for parking.
Take the time to walk around the campus. It really was serenely beautiful.
in our room, coffee was provided. I brought my stovetop espresso machine with my own coffee. Bring tea PRN.
I’d recommend picking up basic snack, tea and breakfast groceries before checking in. That way, you can get to exploring as soon as you’ve settled in!
* This building was assigned to us. There were several other options. Not sure how they make the allotments. Maybe based on room types? Length of stay? ** If we had booked ahead, our options would be greater . I see there are king beds available. Not sure if mattress quality is the same? ‘ He doesn’t like to be tied down because a better deal could be around the corner. Or, maybe something off-the-beaten path. Read about our last-straw Portland adventure here … which we didn’t book ahead but turned out pretty good. ” For the following night, we slept well because we were so zonked.
As you N&Kers know, both K&I are taking burlesque classes through Vancouver Burlesque Company. In fact, 2 each this term! So, this will be K’s 2nd & 3rd performances. And my 3rd & 4th performances.
When I first started burlesque, I was shy about telling people.
I thought I would be judged for the type of dance, or that I would dare to do it because I don’t have a dancer’s body. And culturally speaking, I was taught to be modest. Prancing around in your undergarments is not modest. I’m also too old to take on something like burlesque! And lastly, there are only a handful of visible minorities in burlesque. I definitely felt out-of-place. This translated into me being shy about talking about it.
Holy batman! All these internal battles!
Rectifying internal battles
Type of dance: I try to educate people on the burly history. It’s not just about shaking your tail feathers. This is another way to express how you’re processing society’s zeitgeist. Don’t believe me? Then look at all the sub-genres: nerdlesque, contemporary, chair, etc.
Dancer’s body: Burlesque initially came out because poor folks poked fun at the richie-rich operas/shows. With burlesque, essentially, anything goes. Different bodies, shapes, colours, abilities… it is about you telling your story. How are you interacting with the audience?
Too old: Yes, I’m older than my instructors and classmates. But, the only person who has made me feel ‘too old’ is me. Last showcase, there was a 60+-year-old woman who did a saucy chair solo. She was fantastic!
Modesty: This term means to act demure, and can include dressing in a non-sexually aggressive manner. Is it a vehicle of oppression? Perhaps it is to be deliciously explored in future burlesque?
… I talk about being in burlesque all the time. I’m excited that I can be part of it! I’ve got access with Vancouver Burlesque Company. (Screaming Chicken, K&I are coming for you, soon!) It’s affordable both financially and timewise.
I’m engaging in self-care. I’m getting fitter and honing in on different fitness goals. I get to dress up, make costumes, have fun, learn to move, meet new people, dance with Kells, listen to music, feel inspired, feel empowered, feel confident, have a creative outlet and be around positivity.
I’ve learned that I’m not as klutzy as I thought I was. I’ve got a bit of rhythm. I’ve learned that I can jellybean, plank off of a chair, go from a standing position to the floor then do an inchworm push up in heels… all in rhythm to music!
Performing on stage isn’t for everyone. With VBC, you can actually just take the class without doing the final show. And, last Fall when I took my first class, I didn’t plan on performing. But by the end, I thought: why the frig not?
Being on stage is simply exhilarating. Hearing the audience cheer and whistle. Feeling those positive vibes. Performers excited and buzzing with adrenaline. It is a fabulous feeling!
So, if you are remotely interested in this genre, K&I encourage you to take a class with VBC (or SC). Or in the very least, come and check us out. Tickets available online here.