The Goal is to be an ‘Unreasonable Person’


Pink circle indicates where sign originally stood

My new best friend at the Vancouver city sign department: John. He moved a stop sign at my request. As a citizen of the city, I had made a difference.

As George Bernard Shaw said:

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

I want to be that (wo)man. To see a problem in the world and try to change it because it doesn’t work for me. I am tired of saying: “that’s ok, I’ll adjust and be more aware .”

But no longer. I am making changes to the world I live in – albeit small ones.

Move that STOP Sign

A stop sign, placed in an ill-thought-out position, needed to be moved. Where a bike path crossed a sidewalk, a stop sign was situated after the sidewalk, not before.  After numerous mornings of walking along the sidewalk and almost being careened by cyclists barreling across my path, I was feeling ‘unreasonable.’

I phoned the city’s 311 number and requested that the sign be moved to a more logical place. No more stopping for cyclists, I wanted them to ‘STOP’ for me. Oh, let me clarify – they paused to check for vehicles, because being hit by a car would ruin the cyclist’s day.

And to further my ‘unreasonableness,’ I ask: would a cyclist feel bad about hurting or even startling someone? The word I’m looking for is empathy – a misunderstood word. My definition:

Who the hell wants to be hit or startled by a fast-moving bicycle while walking on the sidewalk?

I don’t.

Since the sign was re-positioned, now a cyclist must watch for pedestrians (not just for the cars that may hit him/her/cyclist). But the foreign concept of stopping – so as not to maim a pedestrian, (also known as a pregnant woman, an old lady, an old man, a child, a human being) casually strolling along the sidewalk – still seems as complicated as a mathematical formula expressing a theory in quantum physics.

Stop \ˈstäp\: to not do something you had been doing before.

Maybe the stop sign should be bigger to make room for the definition since the meaning seems to have been lost.

My head is held high when I walk by the Chilco Parkette. Even though some would say I was being unreasonable in my need to be noticed, I believe it made somewhat of a difference.

Now all I have to do is get the city to trim the branches of the tree so the stop sign isn’t hidden from view. Oh well…

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Discipline: the mysterious element that gets things done

discipline_imageWhat is discipline?

Doing without excuses.

Do something, not because someone tells you to do it, but because you need to do it.

Is that discipline?

There is no greater reason for doing it than getting it done. Not thinking reward, or accomplishment, but completion. Doing something at a steady pace, constantly, religiously – a belief – is discipline a belief?

What is the force that is discipline?

The magical element is first in the head, then in the limbs – moving, lifting, shifting, but most importantly:

  • not talking yourself out of doing;
  • banning the words: ‘don’t feel like it‘ or ‘I’m not in the mood’.

What does it take to accomplish anything?

Placing fingers on a keyboard to write the first line for a blog entry or the first line to a new novel – the heaviness is almost paralyzing until discipline takes hold. It lightens the effort, it boosts the energy, it says: keep going. And before you know it, it’s done (as if by magic or… discipline).

You know you are disciplined when:

  • awakened by the radio alarm at 6:00am and the pinging sound of rain hitting the bedroom window, you hide your head for a moment before throwing off the covers and pushing yourself out of bed;
  • with eyes barely open, you stagger to the toilet to pee and wash those sleep encrusted eyes;
  • then to the living-room, you lay down on the carpet and start stretching your glutes, while rolling a ball on your back to get the kinks out, still half asleep;
  • continue stretching and yoga poses before a final warrior pose gets you to the kitchen for coffee and half a bagel with peanut butter.

Find running gear and head out the door for a run in the rain.

Discipline is aggressive, pushy, overbearing, and bold – exactly what I need it to be.

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Growing Iris – Released from Limbo


Set in Vancouver’s West End, Growing Iris delivers a comedic adventure where karmic balance is sought through pumpkins and prosciutto.

After weeks of quietly existing among the thousands of books on Amazon, my book Growing Iris is ready for purchase and Iris is prepared to meet the world!

Growing Iris – available at your local computer – follow the links:


Paperback (5.25″x8″)


If interested, just click away.



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Half-Marathon Race in the Heat

half_blogAs an eight-time marathoner, I wanted to say that the Scotiabank half-marathon race was a breeze, but I can’t. It was a harder run than anticipated. I blame my slowness mostly on the heat, which was intense, but it was also a slack training schedule that made me perceive the last kilometre as 42 instead of 21.

Feeling cavalier and confident, I wanted to go for a PB (personal best), but at the starting area, the announcer warned against pushing for PBs – and I’m glad he did. Since the run started along a stretch of highway where the tarmac emitted heat at 7:30 am, I slowed considerably realizing it would only get hotter and the hills ahead would be steeper.

And so many hills!

Somehow I misread the description of the race – believing it was more downhill than uphill. Wrong! And of course, the ups were in the sun. I veered to the shade of any tree I saw, and in a city known for its huge trees, they seemed to have disappeared. But at least I could count on a breeze along NW Marine Drive parallel to Spanish Banks. Yet today the air was still.

A few extra water stops, a run through a sprinkler at the side of the road and a sigh (relieved it wasn’t a full marathon) – I came to the last leg along Beach Avenue.

At two hundred metres from the finish line, and feeling like a snail, I saw my little girl waving and cheering me on, which surged me towards the red Scotiabank banner and glory(?!) Finding energy for a final burst of speed, I lifted my knees and pumped my arms and ran as if I was qualifying for the Olympics. But suddenly the woman beside me veered left and cut me off! I barely caught myself from tripping on her. She didn’t even notice me.

“Hey – watch it lady!” I yelled at her. She said nothing.

I shook off my annoyance and finished with more of a grimace than a smile on my face. But what would a race be without the unexpected? That’s what keeps me signing up for more.

PS… if you want to achieve a half-marathon PB, train as if running a full marathon.

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Run Stronger, Not Farther

running_shoesIt’s time for a new running challenge – the half marathon – 21 kilometres seems like a breeze compared to a full marathon. By running 8 marathons, I’ve also run 8 halves. Knowing that the first half is easier than the second – I shouldn’t have a problem. But I still need to train as if I’ve never run a marathon, and try not to be glib about the new distance.

Psyching Myself Up After Achieving a Big Goal

The first race after Boston – feeling burnt out having put all my energy into accomplishing that feat – I needed to set new goals. For the longest time I felt as if the half was a cop out – that I was too lazy to train for the full, but now I realize that it is a strength challenge – can I finish looking as if I had run a casual 5 k?

To find my pace is the key. Not to start too fast, but to build to a strong finish is always the best strategy. I have to set my mind to understanding the distance.

The goal: run with good form, less pressure and more fun.

A week to go before the Race…

In full training mode – no wine and more sleep. It is the training mindset that gets me out the door on the mornings that I really don’t feel like it.

If I had any glibness, it is gone. I am feeling the heaviness of the kilometres.

My mind is hindering me more than my body. It hasn’t been cooperating – it keeps asking me – “why do you need to keep pushing yourself?” And the answer is “because not pushing myself would be boring.”

Yes, I’d love a glass of red wine and an extra scoop of ice cream, but I can wait until next Sunday (I will appreciate it so much more after the run). Training for a race gives me a sense of strength and discipline that is necessary for my competitive nature to thrive.

I am growing more fond of the number 21 – it is doable without too much pain.

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Run Through Othello-Quintette Tunnels

othello_7The five dark forboding Othello Tunnels (named after Shakespeare’s character) in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, British Columbia wait upon me to pass through. Actually, run through.

It is a quiet Sunday in June. No one around. Hot sun on my head. Running along the winding trail through trees – I curve left and then right where the sound of a rushing river and birds calling are the only sounds. And just ahead is the tall, dark entrance to the first of the five railway tunnels. Having walked through the previous day with my partner and little girl, I know what to expect, but now that I am alone it feels more intimidating. I am not fond of dark tunnels or caves so this is a challenge.

othello_5I pause slightly checking if my flashlight works and then  – go for it. The light in the blackness adds nothing to my vision. Now I point the light at my shoes and I can see a few feet in front of me.

It’s cold. I keep moving watching my feet guided by the dim light. It seems longer than the day before. I can see the exit but I am in the middle of nowhere in the dark. I start to yell.

“Whoooo, whoooo, oh yeah, yeah, yeah!”

I am moving faster along the uneven graveled surface. I yell louder and breath faster. Time has slowed down, but I feel like I am running very fast and getting nowhere.

Finally, I am outside surrounded by canyon rock walls, othello_6with the rushing Coquihalla River gorge below me.

The hot sun feels comforting and I am relieved that I persevered. But should I continue? If I don’t, I will have to go back through – too soon. othello_2I continue through the next tunnel, which is shorter and I am slightly braver. Done. I can run easily along the wooden bridged othello_4trellis with ease until I reach tunnel 3. Exhausted (even though I haven’t run very far), I give myself a pep talk: “no one is around, don’t let your imagination get to you!”

I keep going. Focusing on my feet, I reach the end and another wooden walkway. Determined, I go through 4 and finally tunnel 5. Challenge completed, but I still have to go back the way I came. I could continue running to the town of Hope (5 kms), and take a taxi back to the campground (highly improbable).

I turn around and stare down the darkness from whence I came. Feeling less panicked I sprint back through the four tunnels until I reach the first – the longest.

othello_1Plunging into the abyss again, my light catches the dripping water, but in my mind the water is transformed into blood, and any minute a vampire will jump out at me.  I run faster. The dripping continues. My heart is pounding heavily in my chest and I start singing: “jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…” Louder and louder until I am out and in the sunshine.

The longest (short) run I have ever done.

Never again.


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A Novel Looking for a Purpose


Novel sits alone on a shelf

Did anyone hear that sigh?

That’s me – a novel frustrated by its lack of purpose in the world.

I’m not feeling sorry for myself, but the potential ridicule (for being unworthy amongst a myriad of superior books) makes me want to pull out my pages and start again!

To be published, or not to be published – that is the question. If I wait too long, my words will fade and my spine may break. No, I am strong and I am woman – I am Iris, Growing Iris that is. (If Bridget Jones had a  daughter with Buster Keaton, she could be me, Iris.)

Now that I have released my angst, I am ready to throw myself off the shelf and on to the site of Amazon to see what unfolds. With my fonts held high, I’m convinced that I can entertain and possibly, enlighten.

Stay tuned for the next installment of: where will I (Growing Iris) end up – stuck in digital purgatory or pondering life on the author’s bookshelf?


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