May 30, 2012

Photo challenged.

When things get hectic, something's gotta give. The "something" in this case is, or rather, was the May Photo Challenge. 

I think it all started to fall apart at the half-way point. At first I was one day behind, then two, and then before I knew it, I was 14 days behind. A couple of missing or late pics is acceptable (and, lets face it, easy to fake to get caught up),  but two week's worth is a lost cause. So, with that, I am admitting defeat. May, you win.

That said, June is just around the corner and unless something that rhymes with spit hits the fan, I am going to take on and complete the challenge once again. 

May 23, 2012

Camp-versations with the Mascot

With summer right around the corner, the Mascot's excitement about camp is nearing a fever pitch. A couple of weeks ago, he had the opportunity to spend an afternoon in a local park with some MPC counselors and campers. On our way home from the reunion, I took the opportunity to grill him about exactly what he loves about camp. Some of his answers were really surprising (he looks *forward* to cabin clean-up?) and some were exactly as I would have answered them 25 years ago (except we called grilled cheese "chilled grease", the charming young ladies that we were).

How many years have you gone to Pioneer Camp? Two
Are you looking forward to #3? Yeah, buddy!
Were you scared the first time you went? Kinda, but then I made some friends and it was OK. 
When do you start getting ready for camp? We make a list and then I start packing few weeks before I leave so that I don't forget anything.
What are your camp essentials? Books, camo clothing, and a water bottle. The water bottle is a must.
Is there anything that you can't take? Electronics
Do you miss your computer, video games, etc when you're at camp? Nope. There is so much fun stuff to do there that I forget about them. When I get home, I go "Oh, yeah...cell phones...."
What are your favourite things about Pioneer Camp? Meeting new people, and the food.
The food? Really? What's your all-time favourite camp meal? The epic fish-fry we had on Cash Island.
Was there anything you didn't like? Salad and something called "Thanksgiving Leftovers". It was sketchy. It wasn't even leftovers - they just called it that!
What is your best camp memory? Cliff diving on my first canoe trip. 
Worst camp memory? Year 2, canoeing in a storm. The weather sucked on that trip.
Anything else you would like tell new campers? You have to sing if you get a package or 3 pieces of mail at the same time. :rolls eyes:
Describe your perfect day. OK!

The Mascot's Perfect Day at Camp
Wake up early, chill in cabin, no morning dip.
Breakfast - hard boiled eggs, cereal (Rice Krispies with brown sugar), orange juice
Watch skits in dining hall.
Cabin clean-up (if your cabin wins you get awesome prizes, like pie!)
Canoeing lessons - soloing is the best.
Bible study. (What? Really?) "There is no way out of bible study!"
Wilderness studies, especially fire because you get to cook stuff.
Lunch - grilled cheese and tomato soup
Rest hour, reading in cabin.
Clubs. Comic book club was the bomb.
Free swim in the lake, then an activity like archery.
Dinner - Pasta and Jello. (Really? Jello?) Yeah, buddy!
Evening program, maybe a game like Royal Roll.
Bedtime snack. It's usually dessert-y, but one time we had nachos.
Songs and stories in Bill Mason Place, then we brush our teeth and head to bed.

I have to admit, that does sound like a perfect day (despite the lack of crafts and a trip to the camp tuck shop). If you want to give your kid their perfect* camp experience in an incredible lake setting, I highly recommend that you check out Manitoba Pioneer Camp. The smallest of the camps in the inter-varsity family, MPC takes advantage of its surroundings with a wide variety of programs - from the "classic" boys and girls 1 and 2 week camps, to specialty camps, such as fishing camp, a co-ed sailing camp, an LIT program, and longer, more extensive (5-20 day) tripping/wilderness camps. To check out the 2012 schedule and a description of the different camps, please visit the MPC website.

I have posted a link to this contest before, but here's another chance to enter for your chance to win a session at Manitoba Pioneer Camp PLUS a trip for two to Punta Cana. (Why should the kids have all of the fun??)

...and if horses are more your kid's thing, Circle Square Ranch is also offering a chance to win a session at camp for the kids, plus a trip to Punta Cana for you! Click here to enter! Giddy up!

I am proud to be an ambassador and alumni of Manitoba Pioneer Camp!
This post has been compensated; however, all opinions are sincere and all my own. 

May 16, 2012

Living My Moksha - Week 2 "Be AccessibleI"

Day 1 - Tuesday, May 8

When I read that this week's challenge was about being accessible, I wracked my brain trying to figure out what that would mean. While looking through the information package that came early this morning, I quickly realized that this was indeed going to be a challenge. Apparently being accessible has everything to do with "active listening". Huh? Sorry... what was that?

Active listening involves a set of interrelated skills: open-ended questioning, paraphrasing, acknowledging feelings, non-verbal encouragers and summarizing. When used together they effectively communicate to the other person that you want to listen to them and to understand how they see the issue.

As someone who has been criticized for her bad listening skills, I don't like the sound of this.

In my own defense, I don't completely agree that I am a bad listener. I do listen. Really. I just happen to throw my two cents in, albeit 50 cents at a time. I think that somewhere along the way I have picked up the habit of "relating". You know, someone tells a story about a memorable meal or a crazy relative and I chime in with one of my own. So, clearly, I have work to do.

I think that the best way to approach this is to break it down into manageable chunks - one of the above skills at a time. My apologies in advance to those that I will be practicing on.

Day 2 - Wednesday, May 9

Did I mention that part of this week's challenge is to journal every night? Ha! Check!

Yesterday's foray into Active Listening was a bit of a wash.

First of all, my "listenee" was less than willing to bare his soul, and, full-disclosure I may or may not have been 75% hysterical at the time. Or 90%. What can I was an emotional day.

Today I focused on Active Listening Skill #1 - Using Open-ended Questions
Open-ended questions invite people into the discussion and require an individual response. They cannot be answered with merely a “yes” or “no”. Open-ended questions often begin with “What” or “How” such as, “What did you think about that?” or “How was what I did a problem for you?” Open-ended questions also help the other person consider what is important to them about the issue.

I can't say if I did ok on this challenge or not; I really didn't have that many opportunities to practice. Save for about an hour spent with my fella (most of it in rush-hour traffic), and a quick snack break with my bestie, I spent the day either completely alone or in front of a Group Power class with a mic strapped to my head. And, trust me, it's hard to ask open-ended questions when you're telling people what to do.

Day 3 - Thursday, May 10

Active Listening Skill #2 - Paraphrasing
Miscommunication happens when we assume we understand, but haven’t checked out that assumption. When we do, we may find that we are misinterpreting some of what was said, or missing some key element that is important to the other person. Paraphrasing not only checks for clarity and accuracy of understanding, but also lets the other person know they have been heard and understood.

Since I didn't get much of a chance for meaningful conversation yesterday, I offered my fella a ride to work. While I had him captive in the passenger seat, I hit him with the one-two punch of open-ended questions and paraphrasing. And he just thought I was paying attention.

But, seriously, it really did make a difference in our conversation. A couple of times, I wanted to jump in with an anecdote, but I caught myself and let R continue. And, you know what? The universe didn't stop because I didn't share my pithy observations. Go fig.

What did I learn? Asking the right kinds of questions PLUS paraphrasing helped me to understand the more technical details of the conversation. Maybe there is something to this after all...

Day 4 - Friday, May 11

Active Listening Skill #3 - Acknowledging Feelings

Active listening requires the acknowledgement of not only the meaning of what people say but also the other person’s emotional response. Acknowledging emotion deepens our understanding of the issue and the meaning it has for the other person. It also communicates to the other person that you not only understand their words but also their feelings.
Examples are,
“I can see you are still feeling a bit angry about what happened the other day.”
“You are proud of the improvements you made and feel that they haven’t been acknowledged.”
“You are worried about what new demands may be made on you.”

Did I do this? Um... no, probably not. I say "probably not" because, to be honest, I wasn't really paying attention. Just too busy enjoying the day off with my fella.

I will say, though, that actually *thinking* about listening has made a big difference in how I approach conversations. I find myself slowing down more and waiting for the other person to speak, rather than trying to move the conversation along, or change the topic.

Day 5 - Saturday, May 12

When you are working on bettering something about yourself, such as active listening skills, there comes a point when you realize that not everyone is on the road to self-improvement and your efforts are not being mirrored. As much as I want to get better at this, sometimes I feel like I'm not being listened to and, in all honesty, it made me wonder why I am bothering with this whole business.

It's something that I struggle with from time to time, and I don't know if it's a matter of not being heard, or just simply poor retention on the part of the listener. I used to have a friend who would pull key words or phrases out of a conversation and remember them, but out of context or with the wrong supporting info. After sitting down to more than one dinner that I was allergic to, or being excluded from yet another activity that she "thought I wouldn't be interested in" (but was really something that I loved to do), I gave up.

I don't know why I am bringing this up now. I guess it's just weighing on my mind lately. I guess that's the danger of too much introspection. It's kinda like cleaning out the attic - you never know what you'll find hidden under an old coat or a dusty scrapbook.

Day 6 - Sunday, May 13

Today was Mother's Day (or, for some, Smother's Day)! Since I wouldn't be a mother without the Mascot, I let him plan the whole day - from sleeping-in (him, not me), to burgers for lunch (if you can call a giant mushroom a burger...and I can), to an afternoon of theatre (ok, an afternoon *in* a theatre watching The Avengers), to a fancy home-cooked meal (part of it was cooked the day before, so sue me). When all was said and done, the boy declared it the best Mother's Day ever. I didn't get a tea party, an afternoon of gallery hopping, or a manicure, but kinda have to agree. It was a lot of fun...and, as a bonus, it has given me a whole pocketful of ammo to use for future activities.

What has all of this got to do with listening? Not much, but part of my assignment this week is journalling, and this has everything to do with that.

Since I am here, though, I suppose that I could touch on:

Active Listening Skill #4 - Non-verbal Encouragers
Saying the right words means very little if our body is sending out a different message. If we really want to listen to the other person and understand things from her/his point of view we naturally face the person, make culturally appropriate eye contact, nod our head and lean toward the person slightly. These non-verbal encouragers help us demonstrate to the other person that we are listening and care about what is being said.

This is one of the easiest, yet is sometimes the hardest for me. With our crazy schedules, my fella and I sometimes only get 30 minutes out of a whole day to spend together, and that half hour is often spent in the car, where staring straight ahead and being preoccupied is the norm. Not the best for important conversations, to say the least. Part of our challenge in long-term relationship success will be to find, or make, time to have proper, non-moving conversations. We do side-by-side really well - in the car, running, watching tv - but we probably could use a little more practice with the face-to-face.

Day 7 - Monday, May 14

Active Listening Skill #4 - Summarizing
Summarizing is about pulling together what has been said over a period of time in a concise manner. It provides an opportunity, like with paraphrasing, for your understanding to be corrected or fine-tuned by the other person. It is also useful to demonstrate the progress that has been made and where you are in your discussion.

To summarize, I made some real progress this week. At least I *think* I have. The next step will be to sit down with my fella and see if he noticed a difference. Face-to-face, of course.

Mother's Day 2012

5 things that made this a very excellent day:

1. While the mascot was getting his teenage beauty sleep, I snuck off to the gym. I usually don't get to go on Mother's Day because I am too busy getting breakfasted in bed, but this year we thought we'd start the celebrations a little later. #win

2. I didn't expect a gift from my fella (I am not his mother, after all), but I was very happy when he showed up to mow my lawn. The Mascot, who was obligated to shower me with gifts, gave me a tin of my favourite tea from David's. #doublewin

3. Unburger! I had my usual (the Bella, hold the mayo), plus half of a double order of fries (regular and yam). Happiness on a (multigrain) bun.

4. The Avengers in 3D with my fella to my left, the Mascot to the right, and a bag of popcorn all to myself! Bonus: someone shared his Aero Bubbles with me.

5. This:

May 14, 2012

Day 14 - Flag

A maple leaf flying proudly on the front of our country's oldest company? How very Canadian of me!

May 13, 2012

Day 13 - Your Mother

With almost 40 years of practice, my mother (aka Mumji) has the whole "maternal instinct" thing down to an art. Or is it a science?

Either way, she has this crazy sixth sense for knowing when I need a push, a shove, a hand-up, or a hand-out. And, if that's not enough, she can also say 1000 things in just three little words.

May 12, 2012

Day 12 - Birds

Art from around our home:

When I was little, my mother had an impressive collection of owls. Not the actual birds, but prints, paintings, drawings, figures, and even the 70s favourite, the macramé owl. I am pretty sure that's why I have this odd compulsion to buy owl pictures. The other bird art can only be blamed on myself. And Portlandia.

May 11, 2012

Day 11 - Moonlight

This was supposed to be "moonlight", but I took a picture of some pretty roses instead. Deal.

May 10, 2012

Day 10 - Happiest Memory

My biggest stress today? I had trouble choosing a "happiest memory". What does that tell you?

After rejecting numerous celebrations and vacations, I finally settled on my trip to Hawaii (1981).

I remember everything about that trip, from our first breakfast in Maui (eggs, Portuguese sausages, Hawaiian sweet bread) to trying out my new roller skates in the parking lot of our condo (I wore a pair of my dad's tube socks, pulled right up over my disco!)

We had this photo taken at one of those antique photo places in Lahaina. My dad is supposed to be a wealthy ship captain or something. I love the look on my mother's face.

May 9, 2012

Day 9 - Work

Before you say "eww", I took this shot because the sweat on my top looked exactly like an elephant (see the ears, tusks and trunk?), not because I am gross.

Ok, I am a little gross, but at least I came by that sweat honestly. In addition to being a solo-parent and a fabulous girlfriend, my life used to be all about working and working out. These days, however, working out *is* my work. I figured that since I was always at the gym in my spare time anyway, I might as well get paid to sweat. At first it was a class or two a week, but lately it has been 3 or 4. Or 5. Sometimes 6...

No matter how many classes I teach, though, I always make sure that I am always working hard up there. After all, I wasn't, how could I expect my participants to give it their all? I couldn't, that's how.

May 8, 2012

Day 8 - No Socks


Living My Moksha - Week 1 "Be Healthy"

The Living My Moksha Challenge is a 7 week challenge that explores the 7 pillars of the Moksha practice. The first week of the challenge is all about living healthy - eating non-processed foods and reducing toxins in the home. Challenge bonus: practice every day.

Day 1 - Tuesday, May 1
I received my information package yesterday, which was, of course, the busiest day ever. I did a quick scan through the challenge info and realized that I am in no way prepared for this. No processed foods? No toxins in the home? We're already living pretty clean, but I'd need at least a week to eat all of the Crispy Minis in the pantry. (It would be wasteful to throw them out, no?)

As far as my meals were concerned, I think I did pretty well. That said, I have to admit that I didn't change much. Organic oats and a side of melon for breakfast, a heap of steamed veggies with miso sauce and a salad for lunch, a red Thai curry with tofu and veggies for dinner, and a bowl of homemade brown rice pudding for dessert. Overall, not bad, right? I think it just depends on what you consider "processed" food. Was the tofu, miso, curry paste and almond milk processed? Yes. Did I feel any less virtuous for eating them? No. The handful of Hershey's Kisses and Redrageous Mike and Ikes are another story.

I didn't make it to yoga today, but I taught a Group Power class, took an indoor rowing class, and ran 3 miles.

Day 2 - Wednesday, May 2
I ran into my step-sister (and challenge teammate) at the gym today. We both agreed that my meals yesterday were in keeping with the spirit of the challenge and, therefore, perfectly acceptable. I didn't mention the candy.

To satisfy my sweet tooth without dipping into the aforementioned Ikes, I whipped up a batch of Amazeballs! before breakfast. The real challenge this week will be making them last until Monday Sunday Saturday tomorrow.

Completely forgetting about that whole "reduce toxins" business, I recklessly used a Costco cleaning wipe on my stove. D'oh! Maybe my new dye- and phosphate-free dish soap will make up for that gaffe.

No yoga again today. I taught Group Power at 6:15am and then went on my first outside run of 2012, with my fella, no less. We ran an easy 3.5 miles in the glorious, glorious sunshine. Take that, indoors.

What did I eat? Oatmeal and melon for breakfast, steamed artichokes with lemon-tahini sauce for lunch, and spaghetti squash with a tomato and tuna sauce for dinner. And maybe a ball or four.

Day 3 - Thursday, May 3
I think it took me longer to decide what to have for breakfast this morning than it took to eat it. Inspired by the appearance of a very cute bunny in my front yard, I finally settled on one of my favourites - Carrot Cake Oatmeal.

This morning, while the mascot and I were watching TV, we saw a commercial for Nestle Pure Springs bottled water. In it, a father and young son are sitting on the couch drinking cans of soda. The mother looks over, realizes that there is something terribly wrong with this scene, and then replaces their unfinished cans of soda with... two bottles of water. Bottles. I get that the commercial is supposed to be about making healthier choices, but shouldn't that choice have been made at the time the soda was purchased? The fact that she is now creating more packaging waste gets swept up under the rug by her sudden concern for her family's health. It's so downright heartwarming that one almost forgets to point out that she's standing in a room with a TAP and glasses. Oh, advertising.

Anyway, enough about that. I ate 12 vegetables (and a fruit) for lunch. It was the perfect display of my "eat every colour" rule... except I don't usually eat them all at once. Dinner was baked falafel in a pita with lettuce, tomato and homemade tzatziki. The falafel were pre-made, but I checked the ingredient list and they were made of real, pronounceable ingredients.

Also, I drank a beer.

Day 4 - Friday, May 4
I'm starting to think that I am not really challenging myself. So far, the only big changes that I have made are not polishing my nails and not washing my kitchen floor with my favourite (and possibly toxic) floor cleaner. So, now I have boring hands and linoleum that is stretching the limits of the 3-second rule.

My breakfast was the same-old-same-old (I could start the Oatmeal & Melon blog), but my lunch was a surprisingly delicious take on the classic Salad Nicoise. My version was steamed cauliflower, green beans and red peppers, topped with tuna, black olives and a poached egg, dressed with a dash of cava wine vinegar and dijon, and served warm. Do you think I can still get away with the black olives and dijon and still call it eating "clean"? (It was worth it either way.) Dinner was... well... dinner was mushroom and rice burgers from the organic store. So, sue me. It's been a long week. At least the homemade buffalo chips were made from real, free range potatoes.

Still haven't made it to yoga, but I ran a solid 4 miles around the track. If nothing else, it made a good dent in my "50 miles in 30 days" running challenge.

I may or may not have had a Diet Coke.

Day 5 - Saturday, May 5
My teammate/step-sister, Nicole, was in Group Power class with me this morning. We laughed while we were comparing notes about the past 4 days' activities. We both swear to do better next week.

Tonight my fella and I went to Cafe Carlo for dinner. I had the vegetarian "Spag Boo", which was delicious and only a little naughty. The plate of lightly-breaded calamari that we shared, however, was full-on decadent...but so worth it. Plus, I think that the aioli that came with it was homemade; I can't feel that bad about it.

The Milk Duds, Swedish Berries, and Fresca that I had during the movie, on the other hand...

Day 6 - Sunday, May 6
Ok, so unless otherwise noted, breakfast is oatmeal and fruit. Doesn't matter if I am home and have all the time in the world, or if I'm on the run from gym to Costco on a Saturday morning. It's hard to improve on perfection. Unless, of course, you discover, say, a new brand of oven-toasted, organic oats that is so good you are left wondering how you managed to slog through bowl after bowl of inferior, grocery store brand oats for the past 1000 mornings or so (give or take a few).

This morning's Group Power class was especially punishing. I was in the mood to push myself, and push myself I did. I surprised everyone (myself included) by loading my bar with the big-bigs (aka 10kg plates x2) for chest and then by rocking the push-ups off of my toes...even 8/8 and 2/8 of the fancy hand-switchy ones. It was hard, but not that hard. Hooray for progress! After class, I downed an "all-natural" protein shake and went for a run, outside in the pouring rain. To keep myself motivated, I chose R's house as my turn-around point and stopped in to say hi, get a smooch, and dry off my glasses. It was cold and soggy, but not entirely miserable. Plus, it knocked another 3 miles off my 50 mile challenge.

To meet our need for both entertainment and nourishment, the mascot and I drove up to the Red River General Store to buy local organic veggies, fresh baked goods, homemade no-sugar added jams, and a few little treats. When we got home, we feasted on fresh tomato sandwiches and scones, then made our own peanut butter. Because we can.

Dinner was green beans, maple-glazed butternut squash, local butter lettuce and some curried cous cous from the organic grocery store. Convenient, yes. Processed? No.

Still no yoga. I think I have lost sight of my drishti. It was here somewhere...

Day 7 - Monday, May 7
Guess what I had for breakfast! Yeah, don't bother. It was oatmeal. (An insanely good bowl of pumpkin-spice, made with organic pumpkin, but still...)

As I write this, I am still waiting for the details of my Week 2 challenge. All I know is that the theme is "Be Accessible". It might as well be "Be Vague", because I have no idea what is in store for us. I'm assuming that we won't need any special supplies, such as a stocked pantry and a wide assortment of non-toxic household products. Speaking of which, I caved and used nail polish on Saturday night.

I spent the day in a bit of a funk, which was compounded with a nasty headache. It ended up delaying my workout until 7pm and it wasn't until I was on my way home that I realized how dehydrated I was. Usually I'll drink several big bottles of water at the gym in the morning or afternoon; being at home all day totally screwed that up.

And, what did I do all day at home? Well, besides eating an inordinate amount of bread, I finally bit the bullet and tidied up my craft room. It had been ignored for way too long and had become a hazard unto itself. Maybe next week's challenge is about making rooms more accessible...nah, probably not.

No yoga AGAIN, but the tofu and green pea curry that I made for dinner was worthy of a "Namaste".

May 7, 2012

Day 7 - Love

When I got my first tattoo, the tattoo artist handed me this little card and said "Here. This is how to take care of your heart."

I know that he meant my heart-shaped tattoo, but, if you think about it, I suppose that the directions could be applied to one's own heart. Follow them to the letter and all should be fine as you put your heart and yourself out there to be loved..

Most important: don't pick at it.

Day 6 - Nature

I don't have what you would call a green thumb, but I do love digging in the dirt. I think it goes back to my childhood of playing in sandboxes and forests (yes, forests), and helping my parents plant our annual flower beds and containers.

This picture marks my very first plunge into the garden in 2012. While my fella did his good deeds for the day (mowing my lawn and fixing the hinge on my gate), I ripped out all of the old, dried leaves and plant matter from the two raised beds in my front yard. 

My lilies were already leafy and thriving, and my ferns are starting to unfurl, but I was so relieved to discover that hidden underneath all of the dead stuff was the beginnings of an epic display of Hostas. I don't know why I worry; ignore them as I may in the summer, they always seem to come back in the spring, bigger and better than the year before. 

While I was working in the dirt, a Robin supervised me from the rooftop next door. Once I had finished, he swooped down into the garden for a little clean-up (read: snack) of his own. Sorry, Mr Worm. :-/

May 6, 2012

Day 5 - Something I Couldn't Live Without

Well, I probably *could* live without wine...but why even try?

When we go out, my fella and I usually order a couple of (different) glasses of wine to share. That way, we get to try and compare different kinds, and our chances for picking something good are doubled.

This picture, with all of its low-light cheesiness and wonky composition, was taken at Cafe Carlo on Saturday night. The white is a Canadian Reisling and the red is a Carmeniere/Shiraz and, despite the fact that they were both a long time in coming, they were lovely.

May 4, 2012

Day 4 - Lines

Today I followed these lines around and around the track until I had followed them for 4 miles. 

When I reached the 4 mile mark, part of me wanted to keep going, but I reigned myself in and slowed to a walk. Tomorrow is another day to run between the lines.

Note: To keep myself entertained, I played the entire Bird and the Bee album, "Interpreting the Masters, Vol 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oats" on my iPod. Should you have the means (and a mutual nostalgia for Maneater), I highly suggest that you pick it up.

May 3, 2012

Day 3 - My Hometown

Assiniboine Park Duck Pond, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

May 2, 2012

Day 2 - Favourite Colour

Red has been my favourite colour for as long as I can remember. Needless to say, I have a few red things around the house (including a red front door *on* the house.)

These three "reds" are housed in an antique cabinet in my living room, along with a vintage-looking red radio.

May 1, 2012

Day 1 - Self Portrait

Me. Age thirty-nine and three-quarters. Three months and twenty-three days until my fortieth birthday. No make-up. No filter. The dimples cancel out the wrinkles.

May Challenge(s)

As if being a solo-parent of a teenage boy wasn't enough...

After MUCH careful consideration, and with the help of Mrs Mabus, I have decided on my photo challenge for May. There are so many of these lists going around, but I figure this one is the most-interesting of the bunch. Besides the all-Madonna one, of course. I wish I knew who to credit it to, though...

And, in addition to the photo challenge, I am doing a 7 week challenge at Moksha Yoga and the Dig In Manitoba challenge. Oh, and a 50 mile running challenge. In the interest of keeping things as simple as possible, I'll be posting my photos daily and updating the other challenges as I complete each week. It's going to be a crazy-fun month!