The journey of 1200 kilometres begins with a single step.

Most mornings, my day begins by listening to the local CBC radio station here in Saint John.  I especially enjoy Information Morning, which is a nice mix of news, community information, and music.  I like it because the host, Julia Wright, is serious when she needs to be and not so serious when she doesn’t.  The chemistry between her and Cindy Grant (her on-air partner in crime) makes it feel like I’m having morning coffee with friends.

Well, yesterday morning, there was a segment called “Walk, run, snowshoe around the province virtually.”  My ears perked up.

The short version is that, in an effort to inspire New Brunswickers to be more active, RunNB is hosting the 2021 RunNB Challenge, in which the goal is to (virtually) walk, run, or snowshoe a route around the entire province.  (By Canadian standards, New Brunswick is small.  But by world standards, we’re about the same size as Ireland.)

Well, dear readers, I am not a runner.  Some days I’m not even a walker, depending on what my autoimmune disease is up to.  But I know that if I can move, I should move, because as painful as it is to put one  set of twisted toes after the other, moving will keep things from getting even worse.  I know this, but I will not exercise for the sake of exercise.  I would rather perform my own root canal.  But if you dangle a goal in front of me, well, then …

2021 RunNB Challenge Medal

There is a medal for completing the challenge!

So 5:30 this morning found me sitting on the floor next to my dusty treadmill, sawing open a bottle of belt lubricant and hoping the Internet manual I’d found was the same model as my machine.  I’d woken up at 4:30 AM, excited to register for the challenge as soon as my pay hit my bank account (I know! I don’t know who I am right now either!), and I was ready.

I find nothing motivates me quite like accountability, and I figured “Go big, or go home.”  So yesterday, when I decided to do this, I tweeted to Julia Wright/Information Morning, Duran Duran, and the rest of the world that I was going to commit to the challenge.  That way I couldn’t back out.  (Let down Simon LeBon?  No way.)

Tweet Screen Capture

I’m not sure who groaned more — me or the treadmill — when I climbed aboard, but I had my phone in my pocket, my headphones on, and I was going to do it come hell or high water.  After crunching the numbers, I realized that if I averaged 4 km a day, I’d finish it with room to spare come December 31.

Given that I’m not exactly an athlete (I’ve walked two 5Ks, but many days my Fitbit doesn’t register quadruple digits of steps), I figured I would start small this first week, and see how it felt.  Whatever I managed today, I’d do for a few days, then add 0.5 km, do that for a few days, and so on, until I got up to 4 km per day.

After about what seemed like six hours on the treadmill (but was more like 12 minutes), I heard Cindy read my tweet on the radio!  Moments later, I felt a rush of energy flood through me as Duran Duran began singing (Reach Up for the) Sunrise in my ears.  My radio friends were cheering me on!  I could do this!  I would not die!  Not today!

As the song ended, and I could hear “You go, girl!” coming across the radio, I glanced down at the time and distance.  I had managed more than I thought I could.

Okay, folks.  Watch this space.  I am in it to win it!

This post was also shared on Two Writing TeachersSlice of Life Challenge for January 26, 2021.




A silly little poem.

My Giraffe Just Left for the Zoo

My giraffe just left for the zoo,
After asking, "Do you want to come too?"
But alas, I declined;
No bus fare could I find,
Among the "under couch cushions" goo.

The giraffe was meeting a goat,
Who was going to the zoo by boat.
He'd planned to take the bus,
But the driver kicked up a fuss:
"You don't ride the bus with no coat."

Together they paid at the gate.
(The goat asked to pay the kid's rate.)
The giraffe paid full price,
And bought a lemonade ice,
Declaring it well worth the wait.

The visitors were much varied in age,
With helium balloons all the rage.
"I think I'd like one,"
Said the goat, but before done,
He and Giraffe found themselves in a cage.

So I headed to the zoo to post bail.
(My giraffe had to eat from a pail!)
And the goat begged me too,
"Get me out of this zoo!"
So I did, rather than listen to him wail.

They were hungry, so home to dinner we'd go.
The goat rolled his eyes -- "I don't like ham, though!"
"Next week," mused the giraffe,
With a wink and a laugh,
"I think we should go to Lambeau."

Blitz Poem #1: Town of Life

Last Tuesday at a Poetry and Prompts group, a friend of mine wrote and read a blitz poem.  I had never heard of this poetry form before, but I really enjoyed hearing it, and so I looked it up.

Here is my first blitz poem.  It was fun to write.

Town of Life

university days
university town
town so small
town by the tides
tides of change
tides ebb and flow
flow in as students
flow out as adults
adults with ideas
adults with opinions
opinions of ideas
opinions of people
people who cry
people who laugh
laugh at children
laugh at Fate
Fate rolls the dice
Fate ain't always nice
nice little town
nice little shops
shops for the students
shops for the professors
professors of chemistry
professors of history
history in the town
history all around
around the town
around the harbour
harbour the houses
harbour the books
books in the library
books in the classes
classes of people
classes of animals
animals on the farms
animals in the bars
bars on campus
bars on streets
streets lined with shops
streets lines with homes
homes for a lifetime
homes for seasons
seasons with snow
seasons come and go
go back to campus
go on to real life
life lessons earned
life well learned

Poetry and Prompts on Tuesday

A local friend of mine has been hosting “Poetry and Prompts” on Tuesdays for quite some time now.  (I’m thinking years.)  Except for one failed attempt, when I tried from Starbucks but didn’t realize we would be reading aloud, I hadn’t attended.  Since I decided I would be focusing much more on my writing in 2021, I made sure to go today.

The poetry prompt we used today was “Happy _______.”

Sometimes, if I have a poem rattling around in my head, I can just write one, but I usually need a structure to write poetry on demand.  My friend Heather has recently introduced me to the nonet, so I decided I would go with that for today.

A nonet is a nine-line poem which has a structure based on syllables,  The first line has nine syllables, the second has eight, with each line decreasing by a syllable, all the way down to the last line, which has just one syllable.

Here is the poem I wrote:


The train rolls to a lumbering stop
The conductor drops down the step
Eager passengers detrain
We wait in line to board
Finally seated
Feel brakes let go
On my way