Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Conserva-tueur Harper

These comments, made by Prime Minister Harper yesterday have made my blood boil this morning. Apparently Canada is full of "rich artists" and arts funding is a niche issue. He is such an ass I can hardly stand to listen to the clip. Dion may not be inspiring and Layton is full of one-liners, but please...let's elect anyone but Harper in October.

Oh - and if my blog title doesn't make sense to you, it's taken from an NDP ad that ran in Montreal. In French, the Conservatives are "ConservaTUERS" and the NDP turned the name into "ConservaTUEURS de la culture" or culture killers. So good.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Last _________

Fill in the blank because I have been hyper aware of this being my last week in the Yukon. With almost everything I do, I think to myself "this is my last _____" in Whitehorse. Then I get all choked up and teary. It's not a lot of fun, to be honest.

I had imagined I would post about all my favourite Yukon things and what I will miss about living here. But it gets me so depressed I'm not sure I can do it. Vancouver is going to be great - I know it is - I'm just not ready to move back there yet. I'm sad because I know that even if we ever move back here to Whitehorse, it won't be the same life that I have had for the last year and a half. It's true what they say: you can never go home again. I may come back to live here, but if I come back, it won't be coming back to the exact set of circumstances - the same job, the same friends, the same house - which have made being here so awesome. Things change. Friends will have kids, houses are bought and sold, jobs change, weekend activities are modified. I would never want my life to be frozen in time, but this has been a really happy period in my life and I'm sad to see it go. Life goes on, but I'm having trouble accepting that this week.

The one thing that seems to consistently make me emotional, however, is our gorgeous, gorgeous landscape. I think that is what I am most in love with here. I can't explain it. There are possibly places more beautiful, but the Yukon has crawled under my skin and affects my psyche more than any other place ever has. I cry first because it is so beautiful and then because I have to leave it. I thought I would end this blog post with a few of my favourite images of the Yukon to make my point in a way that I seem unable to do with language.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Media and the US Election

This cartoon makes me laugh. I received it via email so I can't give credit other than the obvious (that the artisit is Bilicki):
And this article makes me want to cry. It sounds a note of truth that worries me. Again, I'm not a US citizen, so can't vote in November, but as a neighbour I am most certianly hoping that Barack Obama wins the 2008 election. The USA is filled with so many remarkable, brilliant, interesting, progressive people I can never figure out just why that country has so many right-wing politicians. I put it down to religion, but that's another post.

From the Huffington Post:
"This isn't a game of Monopoly or Survivor. There are real truths that exist outside of the spin they are given and have an effect on lives. 250,000 Iraqi civilians are dead because we let our reality be distorted by the most effective propaganda machine in fifty years, the corporate American press."

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Once again, the Klondike Road Relay was fun. This surprises me a bit as I was worried about my leg of the race. I thought it was going to be really hard and I thought I was just too busy to bother making the trip to Skagway in order to run 14km, turn around and drive back to Whitehorse only to board an airplane for a wedding in Vancouver. Well, I was wrong. This event is super fun and it totally treated my FOMO disease (more on that shortly).
For some reason, our team started at 8:30pm, or in the 4th heat. I figured we should have been starting first as we expected to finish close to last, but regardless I got to run in the daylight, which was great. The race starter checked me in and he laughed at our team name (Moving at the Speed of Government), which made my day. I mean, we thought it was funny so it's nice that someone else did too. The race began (as it does every year) with a White Pass & Yukon Route steam engine whistle and cheers from the small, but enthusiastic crowd. The route follows the trail of the gold rush stampeders of 1898 who made their way from Skagway to Whitehorse over the White Pass. From the KRR website, this is a description of my leg:

* Total Distance - 14.0 km (8.8 miles)
* Total Elevation Gain - 454 m (1489 feet)
From the start, runners proceed north through town on Broadway Street, turning left on 7th Avenue, right on State Street and across the Skagway River Bridge where they will join their support vehicles. At Kilometre 4.1 the road begins to climb up into the White Pass, past both old and new U.S. Customs Checkpoints, to the check point at the White Pass Viewpoint at KM 14.1.

The hills, which I thought would kill me, weren't that bad. In fact, somewhere around kilometer 7 I was thinking "next year I am signing up for the 26km leg" I felt so great. Now, granted, that probably means I should have run faster since I was neither that tired at the end, nor particularly sore the next day. I was also not particularly fast since it took me 1:37 which placed me 99th/121 overall. But you know what? I don't care. I had one of those runs where I was in love with running. I don't usually listen to music and I spent my race listening to all the thoughts in my head which were about the gorgeous scenery, the sweet smelling air, the other race participants who cheered me on, and the fact that I felt great. The sun set while I was on the road and I was in a great headspace.

After supporting our leg 2 and 3 runners, I headed back to Whitehorse in order to grab a couple hours of sleep before heading to the airport. My first sighting of northern lights this fall took place during the drive home, which just made me ache even more about leaving the Yukon. The aurora was not particularly strong nor colourful that night, but it is still such a cool thing. I'm so glad I didn't back out of the event. I love doing things with a group of like-minded, fun people and the KRR certainly fits the bill. Last week a friend suggested that I suffer from FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out and it's totally true. It's kind of lame, but true. I love being part of the group and I can't wait for 2009. I really want to be one of the teams in an RV next year and I am going to start recruiting early. So, if you happen to be reading this, you happen to live in Alaska or the Yukon (or want to come up here to run), you are a recreational runner (I can't stress the recreational part enough), and you want to Move at the Speed of Government...then drop me a line.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Preparing for the KRR

I suppose I am, like many bloggers, using this space as a place to tell tales about my life that really interest no one but myself or perhaps close friends and family. If this blogging thing is going to continue, I'd like it to focus on something relevant, useful, or dare I say it...interesting. Until I manage to figure out how to do that, I'll continue with the "it's personal" theme.

This upcoming weekend is the Klondike Road Relay or the Trail of '98 running event where teams of 10 people make their way, by foot, from Skagway to Whitehorse. This year I'm running leg 1. I thought I would be excited about this event, but instead I find myself obsessing with the upcoming move, worrying about work, and generally wanting to sit on my ass instead of going for a run. Today should have been a long run up and down the hills of Miles Canyon. But, by 730pm I still had not left the house and I was giving up on myself. Ben convinced me that all I needed to do was go out for a short run, elevate my heart rate and relax about it. Mingus still needed a walk, so I managed to drag myself to a run though the trails of Hillcrest.

Lesson to self: doing this always makes me feel better. I don't think I have ever returned from a bike ride or a run feeling worse than when I left. So why the hesitation?

The leaves are turning gold and orange and the fireweed punctuates the ground with flashes of red. It was gorgeous out there. Mingus loves running outside with me and I take great pleasure in watching him rush past me on the trail when he realizes his berry snuffling or stick eating is leaving him behind. I ran a short loop (I'm guessing around 5km) that Ben showed me last year. It's so funny that I used to feel almost lost when I would run or bike here last summer and now these woods feel like they are my very own. I'm not sure I've ever run in to anyone on this trail, although clearly it is used regularly because it's well-worn.

Maybe the trails don't look like much, but they are amazing. The ground is soft and usually dry, the terrain is varied and the best part is that I almost never encounter another person while I'm out here. It is tremendously satisfying to be outdoors and to feel totally alone. The woods smell amazing and they are, for the most part, silent too. I'm still going to be slow as molasses in the KRR on Friday. The portion of my leg that is uphill (the last 9km of it) is going to be hellish, it really is. But I've decided that my last weeks here in Whitehorse should be filled with the things I will miss most and, although I wouldn't have believed this a year ago,

one of those things is trail running behind my house. Reason #4 that I will miss living here.