Dose of Awesome # 252

1. Awesome was reaching my first weight loss goal this week – 5 pounds. I can feel, and see a difference already.

15 to go.

2. Awesome was experiencing a huge leap in my cardio workouts. Recently, I decided to try jogging/sprinting intervals (something I’ve always been a bit afraid to do, having always jogged long distances at a steady pace, for fear that I’d get tired too fast and not run long enough). It seemed like in no time I worked my way up to alternating between jogging and sprinting (1 minute each) for 20 solid minutes. I like to top that off with 20 minutes of spin bike intervals and some ab exercises.

3. Awesome is seeing great things happen for someone you love. I’m really proud.

Dose of Awesome # 251

1. Awesome is the right perspective.

Sometimes – when my workout doesn’t go as well as I’d like, or I eat something I feel guilty about later – I get discouraged with myself.

I forget that there was once a time that I weighed almost 250 pounds. I never worked out. I walked to and sometimes from work, and that was it. In fact, once, 8 or 9 years ago, I walked an hour up a mountain and cried because I was uncomfortably winded. It took me about 3 hours to get to the top. That was the only time I hiked it that summer. The next summer, I hiked the same mountain week after week, until I could do it in less than an hour. Now, I can hike for 10 days up and down mountains five times higher, and still crave more.

2. Awesome are celebrations with friends – this time in the form of baby showers.

3. Awesome are signs of spring – be it through the birds chirping, the snow melting, or the fact that, even though the temperature is still hovering around the -20s, you can definitely feel the heat of the sun. In fact, Even though I was wearing my parka,  I still managed to get a bit of a sunburn on Friday, during our annual school spring picnic at Stewart Lake.

Dose of Awesome # 250

1. Awesome is the moment a trip starts to really feel real. Today, I experienced that moment when I booked my flight to Reykjavik, Iceland!

2. Awesome is feeling healthy and in control. Two weeks ago, after straying away from it ever so gradually over the past year and a half, I re-familiarized myself with Weight Watchers. Thankfully, there’s not a whole lot of damage to be undone, but I do want to go back to practicing more strictly some of the healthy habits I’ve let slide. I’ve tried to do this before, but never got very far – letting loose a little more after forgettig each attempt.

This time, however, I’m determined. I feel it is going well.

3. Awesome is a new and exciting challenge.

I enjoy what I am doing in my job. I’ve been teaching grade 6 for four out of my five years of teaching (two years in a multilevel class setting, and two grade 6 alone). However, after some thought, I decided that I would really enjoy teaching grade 4. I feel that the style of teaching required to teach a younger grade better fits my personality and my own style of teaching, and I feel like the challenge of changing tasks comes with good timing.

So, I put in the request – learning just before my vacation started a little over a week ago, that my request was approved.

Dose of Awesome # 249

1. Awesome was a chilly, but glorious afternoon of snowshoeing.

Last weekend, we planned on going snowshoeing at “Muskox Point” (a beautiful little plateau near a small lake, which I call “Muskox Point” because this is exactly where I came face-to-face with a small herd of muskoxen on 2 occasions last year). But since weather conditions grew blizzardy the farther north I drove, we decided to change our plans and snowshoe around the marina instead. This weekend, the weather was significantly better. Though cold, it was much less windy. We gave “Muskox Point” another try and it turned out to be quite satisfying.

Kuujjuaq 108

Old photo, same place…

2. Awesome are adventure stories. I love a good narrative about someone’s crazy life-changing trek. Currently I’m reading A Long Trek Home: 4000 Miles By Boot, Raft and Ski by Erin McKittrick.

3. Awesome was an afternoon of lattes, delicious snacks, and board games with friends. Games on the menu included Dumbass (or Smartass, I forget), Anomia, and Dixit.

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Waiting for friends to arrive with the board games…

Dose of Awesome # 248

1. Awesome was a brief, but much needed vacation in Montréal. I wanted to save some money for my upcoming trek in Iceland, but needed a few days in the city, so I took 4 of my 12 days of March break to go “south”. I got a haircut, had a massage and a manicure, did some shopping, took care of some less exciting appointments, and ate delicious food with friends. Now I’m back in Kuujjuaq, ready to spend the rest of my holiday snowshoeing, reading, cooking and making art.

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2. Awesome is a quick comeback after a long break from the gym. I grew bored of doing the same old cardio, lacked motivation to walk to and from the gym in -50 degree temperatures, and craved a change of scenery. I took to doing yoga at home. Over time, however, I grew bored of that, too. Not to mention, I could sense my cardio endurance waning (which will do me no good come trek time).

Recently, I returned to the gym, and it feels so good to be running again. I’ve been running in intervals. I started a few weeks ago with jogging 2 minutes/walking 1 minute at an incline of 2, for 40 minutes. I increased both the speed and the length of time jogging each week. Now I’m at jogging 5 minutes/walking 1 minute. Next, I plan to increase the incline, as I find the intervals not only give me a better workout, but they definitely break up a run and make it less boring (because, I’m not going to lie, running on a treadmill is really boring).

3. Awesome is getting more requests to have portraits drawn. I just finished another, and have 3 more requests pending.

I also finished another portrait – a portrait of my aunt, who passed away over Christmas. I drew it fo a gift for my mom.

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Dose of Awesome # 247

1. Awesome was not only finishing my first drawing contract, but also finishing the most challenging portrait I’ve drawn thus far – 6 people standing in front of a fully decorated Christmas tree, from a photo that not only printed darkly (is darkly a word?), but was made even darker by the fact that 5 out of the 6 people were dressed head-to-toe in black (or dark grey). It took awhile, but this contract both kept me busy over the past few months, and made me close to 300$. Not too shabby for a hobby :)

2. Awesome was receiving my new bread maker (which I ordered after a third consecutive trip to the grocery store in search of baguette or something of the sort, to find that the only bread product in the entire store was a stale bag of pitas. I took my bread maker for a spin yesterday, and made a delicious loaf of honey whole wheat bread to go with the chili that I also spent yesterday afternoon cooking.

3. Awesome was sharing said bread and chili with my boyfriend and friends before we watched the hockey game yesterday evening.

Dose of Awesome # 246

1. Awesome was selling another print. I wouldn’t be able to make a living off of it, but it feels good to earn a little extra spending money off of something that I love to do as a hobby.

2. I don’t know what’s more awesome – the story of the polar bear that made a brief “appearance” in Kuujjuaq Thursday evening, or the fact that the story was not true.

I signed onto Facebook Thursday evening to see a polar bear alert for the village, on the village’s local page. Within the hour, my news feed exploded with statuses from fellow Kuujjuamiut about it. Friends went on polar bear sighting adventures, Aqpik Road bustled with hunters, police and rangers driving out to find it, and the mayor went on the FM more than once to report on the situation.

It turned out to be a false alarm (for which I am thankful, as I don’t think I’d feel comfortable going on a hike or out snowshoeing again had there really been a polar bear)..

3. Awesome was another fantastic potluck with friends, full of conversation about travelling, trekking, and Iceland. It’s still awhile away, but last night, my upcoming, yet far off trekking trip to Iceland began to feel real.