A Thirst For The #summerofrich

I had planned to give this as a gift to Rich for Father’s Day but (spoiler alert) I guess I just couldn’t wait that long, LOL!

I made it for him and in honour of him. 

So from now on whatever trails our #summerofrich adventures lead us to Rich will always be well hydrated with his new, “one of a kind”, personalized and insulated water bottle that will keep his drinks really cold and refreshing no matter how lost we may get or how hot it is outside.  

Every summer since its conception about five years ago now I like to give a brief synopsis of what #summerofrich is for any newcomers to my page who may be wondering what the heck it is exactly. 

It began with a simple exclamation one (very) early Friday morning at the end of June as we stood waving goodbye to our three kids as they drove away on the bus to camp for the next seven and a half glorious weeks (I actually think 2 of them were staff at the time and may have already left for camp, but not important!).

They were barely out of the parking lot yet when Rich turned to me with the biggest smile on his face and shouted “It’s the Summer of Rich”!, and wasted no time at all getting started. Our first activity on the #summerofrich agenda that year (and every year after that until last summer) was already scheduled for later that morning. We were off to the spa for pedicures.

The #summerofrich meant that he now had a seven plus week break; a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break from the burdensome (I use that term, not him) role he plays as both mom and dad, chef, psychologist, schlepper, grocery bagger and much, much more for the other forty something weeks of the year; a role which he has so selflessly taken on for the better part of seven years now.

Last summer when the devastating (yes it was devastating to many) announcement came that overnight camps would not be running due to Covid-19 I thought for a brief moment that we should cancel the #summerofrich all together seeing as Rich would not be getting his well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break. Then I realized that we don’t have to cancel it at all, we just needed to pivot somewhat, after all we no longer had all three kids away for the summer anymore anyways.

And tada, the #summerofrich 2.0 was born. This past year we pivoted a lot due to Covid restrictions. And although our summers may not be as carefree as they once we’re, the #summerofrich has become an incredible outlet for the both of us. If you were to tell me 5 years ago that I’d be enjoying the great outdoors, hiking trails all over our beautiful Province of Ontario and exploring the beauty of nature I’d have said you were crazy.

It’s now become the perfect way to take care of our mental health, have fun and discover places we never imagined before. 

What a healthy outlet we have found to do together and I’m so glad that sharing our adventures brings so much joy to others as well. Hashtag #summerofrich has created quite a following!

I’m a planner and I love spending time researching and finding new and adventurous things for us to do. I take my job very seriously (hey, you never know but maybe one day we will even complete the entire length of the Bruce Trail, all 900 KMs of it!).

But most of all when we needed to pivot last summer, the #summerofrich 2.0 took on a whole new life of its own and has made many of our adventures that much more meaningful and memorable too. Our kids have even learned to embrace our passion in small doses, call it “Pandemic boredom” but hey, I’ll take it! 

Yes, the #summerofrich may have started out as a well deserved, much needed and VERY much earned break for Rich during the seven or eight weeks that the kids were away at camp but it’s become so much bigger than that, so much so that as we pivoted this past year we also continued to discover even more adventures with every changing season.  Me and winter do NOT get along but if you add the hashtag #summerofrich next to it then count me in! (And it’s a good thing that his new water bottle can also keep his drinks nice and warm as well!!)

#twopointoh #learntopivot #insulatedwaterbottle #earlyfathersdaypresent #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #nature #hiking #getmoving #yourmentalhealthmatters #youareenough #family #relationshipgoals

To My Dear American Friends and Family

How is it that I have never lost any sleep over Canadian politics yet for the last month I have literally been glued to the tv watching CNN (just ask my family) and refreshing my Twitter feeds (and tweeting the President of the United States) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week due to an out of control level of anxiety and sadness over an election I’m not even eligible to vote in! 


This election is no longer about whose policies or campaign promises are better anymore, its simply and sadly about a country so divided by fear and hatred. 


I hope today will be a “Great” day for my  American friends and family and that of the millions of ballots cast it will decidedly bring with it a shift in mindset and a spirit back to the America that the rest of the world once looked upon with fondness and “Great” envy.


Vote today (if you haven’t already) like your life depends on it because it does,  and frankly so does ours!! And also seeing as our borders are still closed for who knows how long it’s gonna make it so much harder for you to gain access to all the “Greatness” our glorious Country has to offer (I know we ain’t perfect but…)! 


Your vote matters!


*picture attached is from the Origami Owl jewellry Collection

#yourvotematters #staysafe #election2020 #makeamericagreatagain #forrealthistime #ohcanada #proudtobecanadian #canadaisntperfectbut #ineedagoodnightssleep #origamiowljewelry 

https://kimfluxgold.origamiowl.ca 

Dear Teachers, Educators, Parents and Children:

***Grab a tissue before you watch*** 

Listen closely to the real “experts” tell us how they are feeling right now as they prepare to head back to the classroom (either virtually or in person).  Listen closely to the real “experts” talk about their fears of the unknown ahead and their growing uncertainty of the future. And listen very closely as they send a genuine, sincere and incredibly powerful message to our teachers about how important they are to them and just how much of an impact our educators can make on a child’s health and wellbeing. 

These “experts” of all ages, races and ethnicities are speaking with truth and honesty from their heart on behalf of youth everywhere to let teachers know how truly missed and respected they are and how much their guidance and support keeps them feeling hopeful both in the classroom and beyond. Thank you to our teachers for giving our children a safe and inclusive place to turn.

Don’t forget to grab your tissue first; you’ve been warned!

#schoolmentalhealthontario #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #kindness #goteachers #staysafe #youvegotthis #youareenough #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone #kindnessmatters 

School: To Be Or Not To Be?

You’ve probably heard the saying before “You can’t please all the people all the time.” It’s nearly impossible for anyone to be able to please everyone at the same time because we are all unique individuals with our own unique set of expectations, experiences and perceptions and that’s perfectly okay. 

This fall will be the first time in almost 20 years that I won’t have a child in my home entering a new school year in the Pre to K, Primary or Secondary School system. Both of my daughters fate were determined for them several months ago as the Post Secondary Educational systems all made the decision early on to begin the upcoming school year mostly online, but right now many other anxious Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff and children are eagerly awaiting their own fate as to whether or not schools will reopen, will continue online or will do a combination of both.

As a parent I am quite torn with the decision that was predetermined for my girls months ago and especially for my youngest daughter who has already lost so much in her graduating year from High School to now not be able to experience the excitement and comradary that comes along with this next milestone in her life. 

Sadly there is no right or wrong, risk-free decision as to whether or not or even how our kids can safely return to the classroom this fall or if they should continue their studies online, nor am I here to debate it either way but I know that when the decision is finally announced there will be plenty of Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff and children cheering in support of the decision and many more yelling with rage.

Whatever decision is made (there will be no clear winner or loser), just remember that everyone has a right to their own opinion and even if that opinion differs from yours that no one has the right to judge you for that. We’re all in this together but as I said before we will never be able to please everyone all of the time.

Therefore it is more important than ever, no matter what the outcome is, that we focus our attention on keeping our children (and family’s) mental health and wellness in check above all else right now which may very likely look a whole lot different for each of us as our expectations, our experiences and our perceptions are all unique to us, and guess what; that’s perfectly okay.

#cantpleaseeveryone #ouryouthmatter #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #bekind #kindnessmatters #schoolkids #distancelearning #backtoschool #wearamask

Anti-Semitism Should Never Be Tolerated

Yesterday I posted a picture of the 500 stairs I was about to climb up along the Bruce Trail (Canada’s oldest and longest footpath; 890 km to be exact) and part of the Niagara Escarpment. I didn’t realize when I took the picture and posted it that the graffiti on the signage next to the steps was Anti-Semitic as I was too busy at the moment trying to figure out how I was about to get to the top of the steps without collapsing or having a panic attack from the height. My beautiful cousin Susan first noticed it a short time after I posted it and let me know. Thank you❤!

First thing this morning Rich emailed the picture to a couple of organizations within the Jewish community informing them of the hate speech and within an hour of receiving his email, the Hamilton Jewish Federation (which is where this trail is) got back to Rich to let him know that the local police were already contacted and will be taking the necessary action immediately. (Read email attached)

There should absolutely never be any excuse or tolerance for hate or racism of any kind; never ever!

#antisemitismshouldneverbetolerated #hamiltonjewishfederation #ontariothebeautiful #brucetrail #canada #bestcountryintheworld #notolerance

Remembering Terry Fox


Today we set out for a #summerofrich adventure in honour of Terry Fox who passed away 39 years ago today after his courageous and well-fought battle with Cancer that he so bravely united Canadians around the world with as he ran his Marathon of Hope across Canada with a prostetic leg, never allowing anything to get in his way of raising money for Cancer Research. 

Our #summerofrich adventure didn’t go as I had planned today (that is a whole other story) which left me feeling quite defeated but then I began to reflect back to that little 10 year old girl in me who still remembers the day in early July 1981 when I received a letter in the mail from my parents (while I was away at camp) telling me of Terry Fox’s death. I remember feeling a great sense of sadness (like so many other proud Canadians) upon hearing the news of his death as I had been following his remarkable and inspirational journey since the beginning. 

If I have learned anything from my own journey over the last 6 years it’s that life doesn’t always go as we plan and that sometimes we may feel defeated but Terry Fox’s strength, spirit, determination, courage and bravery has taught us that it’s ok to accept defeat sometimes and that we need to learn to forgive ourselves sometimes because somethings you just cannot avoid.
That reflection is what helped me to hold back many tears today as I honoured Terry Fox’s legacy, someone who still remains to be seen as one of the greatest and most prominent heroes in Canadian history as he reminds us that anything is truly possible if you try. 

#onthisday #marathonofhope #theterryfoxfoundation #terryfox #fuckcancer #youareenough #youarenotalone 

A Mitzvah

I have a really hard time accepting help from others, that is everyone except for maybe Rich. What does that exactly mean though; well it means that if I allow someone to help me or do something nice for me then that would mean that I’m weak and incapable of doing it myself, right? And wouldn’t it also mean that I’m a failure too?

I know that most people only offer their help without any ulterior motives in mind and that for every 1 person whose willingness to help others may have ill intentions in mind I also know that there are ten more people who are wanting to show their support or lend a helping hand because they genuinely want to help and it actually gives them great joy when doing so.

In the Jewish faith this would be considered a “Mitzvah” or in the English translation it is considered to be a “good deed” to help someone with a conscious act or emphasis on kindness and empathy.

Throughout my journey I have had no shortage of kindness and empathy or heartfelt sentiments being offered up to me and my family at any given time but it’s always hard for me to let others help me and most of the time I honestly can’t even explain the reason why. 

I know my illness has a lot to do with it as I am constantly telling myself that I’m weak, I’m incapable, I’m a failure, I’m unworthy, I’m undeserving and I’m useless. I feel as though I have no control over my life whatsoever and then to allow others to help me feels like I am giving up complete control all together and making me feel even more vulnerable. Oh and my favourite of course is the guilty feeling I get when someone does something kind for me. 

Over the last few weeks and even more so this week I have recieved an abundance of kindness from loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers, offering to help me in whatever capacity they can with my Initiative. Maybe now would be the perfect time for me to embrace the moment and give others the opportunity to feel the same way I feel every time I brighten up a young person’s day!!

#mitzvah #kindness #kindnessmatters #empathy #joy #helpinghands #youareenough #noshame #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone 

Modern Family Farewell

MODERN FAMILY FAREWELL

Who else watched the series finale of Modern Family last night? If you have been following the series for the last 11 seasons then last night did not disappoint with its usual silly humour and quirkiness mixed in with an emotional tribute and send off. 

I loved watching Modern Family all these years for how very relatable it was for so many families and how it taught us about inclusivity and how being different is okay, it taught us that no 2 families are the same and that too is more than okay. It also taught us about love and acceptance and most importantly it taught us that we are all imperfectly perfect.  

I simply loved the ending as they showed the outside exteriors to each of the three homes turning off their porch light, but quickly flipping one of the lights back on as a nod to a scene earlier in the show when dad Phil tells his family that no matter how near or far they venture away from home, the porch light will always be left on in order for them to find their way back home; basically letting the audience know that family is number one and that no matter what, we will always be there for one another because that’s what family does. 

And when we get through all this I know there will be millions of porch lights left on to help each and every one of us find our way back.

And if you’re wondering, I had a really good cry as I sat curled up on the couch next to my family who I’m pretty sure already know that our porch light will always be turned on.

#modernfamily #sitcom #family #familymatters #youarenotalone #youareenough #anothergreatserieshasended #checkonyourlovedones #togetherapart #stayhome 

It’s Okay To Cry Over Spilt Milk


Last night I had a meltdown of epic proportions. I knew that it being my 6 year Anniversary since the onset of my illness yesterday (See blog “The Anniversary Effect”; April 4, 2020) that it wasn’t gonna be an easy day. But I did just what any good doctor would order me to do and got out of bed (eventually), took a 2 hour walk through my neighborhood and then treated myself to a warm bubble bath when we got home. 

But like clockwork everything changed without a moment’s notice and almost as soon as I stepped out of the bathtub I found myself crying over “spilt milk” again, even if most of what I was crying over wasn’t really worth getting upset about at all; but you see, the truth is, it really feels like there is plenty of spilt milk to cry over these days.

At any given moment we may find ourselves feeling sad, scared, disappointed, angry, worried, distracted, exhausted, restless, short tempered or impatient (did I cover enough adjectives?). I find that since first becoming ill my patience has become next to nil which can often stir up plenty of other emotions quickly. And now with each passing day I’m pretty sure that most of us are finding ourselves losing their patience too in some way or another or with someone or another. In other words, we are all starting to get on each other’s nerves.

It’s ok if you’re not quite ready to admit to it yet though and since there is no real guidebook for us to follow on how we should feel during a Pandemic, we all get a free pass. So with no Playbook or guidelines to follow on how we should react or be feeling right now let me reassure you that whatever the heck you are feeling is perfectly valid. 

Even if you’re living with June Cleaver from “Leave It To Beaver” we are all learning together how to coexist with others on a much different level than we were before and you may be feeling very claustrophobic, frustrated, on edge and downright snappy toward one another as we test each other’s patience and deal with each other’s anxieties and ever changing moods. 

It’s hard, it’s super fucking hard right now but “we’re all in this together” and the one thing that is gonna make this nightmare just a tad bit easier is ensuring that we all work together as a team, within our individual homes, and create a Playbook with your home team. (I really do miss sports)

This experience is no doubt gonna change us all and we are all going to have to make some changes in order to get through this Pandemic together and maybe a good place to start is by developing a “Playbook” for your home team and make sure it includes several “strategies” and “plays” that can help reduce some of your household stressors and anxieties. 

Ask your teammates what you need from them right now and moving forward to help make this time together more successful and remember that it’s still ok to cry over spilt milk while figuring it out, but by figuring it out together hopefully we will create some stronger, more adhesive family units by the time this is all over.

So what are some things you need in your Playbook?

#wereallinthistogether #family #playbook #teamwork #teammates #youareenough #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #anxiety #depression #spiltmilk #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #checkonyourstrongfriends #covid19 #coronavirus #togetherapart #flattenthecurve #socialdistancing #unitedasone