Change #87: All In A Weekend, Pretending To Fly A Plane, And Playing Pool

I’ve always liked the idea of being in control of a flight; one of those free birds that learns how to fly all on your on. I would chart my course before  a trip and wing off to any location in a Cessna plane. New York? Yup. Los Angeles? I’m your girl. Australia? Just ring me.

Ok, you can’t go that far in a Cessna. But hey, it’s my dream.

The only reason why I know as much as I do about flying is because of my husband.  He practices on a flight simulator at home, but more importantly, has  flown a plane and logged numerous hours towards a pilot’s license. I, on the other hand, just continue to dream about such things.

I did take one flight a few years ago (I believe it was called an intro flight) where I got to take the controls for a short time on a small plane. My husband sat in the backseat, and with the instructor seated beside me, we flew over Ottawa on a clear evening night. The small dots of lights were the only means to light our way. It was dazzling. 

But once I had the controls clenched tightly between my fingers, my face turned red, and I started to sweat like a person with the flu, the only thing I could think of was going down in a fireball. I believe I lasted all of 10 minutes before returning the controls to the instructor.

After that day, I never went back.

This past weekend, we travelled to Atlanta, Georgia to try out a Level D 737-200 training flight simulator at the Delta Flight Museum. This would be my first time in a flight simulator, and in truth, I’ve never even played on one at home but my hubby wanted me to be his co-pilot. How could I refuse? I expected to simply sit beside him and towel off sweat from his brow. Imagine my horror when a few days before we were scheduled to fly out to Atlanta, my hubby turned to me and said, “Oh, before we go I want to show you a few things.”

My instant reaction was, What? I thought I was just going to sit there?  Nonetheless, it was a busy week and the day we finally went over what I was required to do in terms of sitting in the co-pilot chair – turned out to be Friday night. I cupped a glass of red wine in my hands, as he reviewed that on take off I needed to call out certain speeds starting at 80 knots up to 120 knots. Apparently, there’s a speed at which you can abort a flight. Before the speed of 80 knots you can abort for minor things.

Once you reach V1 (V1 is dependent on the weight of the plane etc, but for our purposes it was around 120 knots) you can abort for major things. Over V1, you must take off. (Fire in the engine or not.)

I’m sure there were other things that he told me, but as I drank my Cabernet Sauvignon I wondered what exactly I had gotten myself into.  I know flight simulators are expensive pieces of equipment. I was worried that this would be my one and only time I would be allowed to play at the museum. I envisioned being banned for life as the single kid who broke the toy.

The day of or flight simulator experience, I was nervous and kept trying to go over things with hubby. Questions I asked over and over again were: What speed do I count at? Why am I doing this?  Flaps? What?  My husband reassured me that there was a pause button that the instructor could hit and stop the simulation if things were not going well. I nodded my head and tried to calm down. But I did not believe him.

When we were in the simulator on that day I required a great deal of instruction and it kind of went like this with the instructor in the back saying: flaps up! gear down! no gear up! 

From my side occasionally I would start doing things correctly with the: 80, 90, 100, …oopps..130! (as it past 145!) At some point I was to say rotate. Even after, on this day, I still have no idea when that was to be.

Should flying be my career?

I think not. There are pilots that can point out landmarks at night using only lights. They can point in the direction of the Empire State Building, will know where the Ottawa River is, and will not misjudge the suburban community of Barrhaven for downtown Ottawa.  I can not read a road map to save my life, and can barely follow a GPS correctly during the day whether with signs, or with Tim Horton’s on a corner. As well, being a pilot requires mathematical skills of adding and subtracting numbers when calculating the heading that I can’t do, and certainly can’t do under pressure. (I believe heading, is direction.)

The instructor we had provided MUCH NEEDED guidance to me and was ever helpful and it was much appreciated. My husband on the other hand, required very little.  We attempted to land with crosswinds, and flew in with a single engine and despite all the alarms that went off (yeah, it’s pretty noisy in a cockpit when things aren’t going well) I would have preferred to throw my hands up in a panic. Mu husband stayed calm and attempted to land the plane as best he can, despite his lack of co-pilot.


Yeah, who can fly a plane? Certainly, not me!
My certificate that shows I did not break the flight simulator. Hubby’s certificate asks, “Why aren’t you a pilot?”

After we were we took a look around the rest of the museum and checked out the 747 that they just recently opened for the public. We finished the day with dinner and drinks at the bar in our hotel. When dinner was nearly over, my husband noticed a pool table at the back of the bar and asked, “Do you want to play pool after?”

“Yeah!” I answered. It’s only been 10 years. Why not?  (I love pool!)

Hubby proceeded to kick my butt at playing pool too. (Because I suck.)


  • Many thanks to hubby for reviewing this entry. I had put 80 miles/hour. Apparently it’s 80 knots. My bad.
  • No pictures of us playing pool. I forgot to take some. My bad.
  • If there are any errors in How to Fly 101, it’s all on me. (Because I didn’t get hubby to review this full blog post.)

Change #86: Register for the Badass Dash Event

After the CN Tower Climb I felt invincible as if underneath my  insulation that I worked on during the winter, I was secretly Supergirl. I had spent the last year rotating between sitting at my keyboard during the day, on weekends, and evenings only to mix it up with sitting on my couch and binge-watching various TV shows. (I see you Prison Break and Downtown Abbey.)

For these reasons, I was genuinely terrified of the CN Tower Climb very much expecting that after the 5th flight of stairs I would collapse on one of the landings, wave my hand to Hubby and say, no you go on! leave me!, and wait for the paramedic to arrive to carry me down to the bottom.

Hubby attempted to reassure me that I would be ok. I had good cardio from all the running I did. (Past tense.) I would not believe him. I felt as if he was just trying to reassure me so that I didn’t quit before I even started.

Then on the day of the climb something incredible happened. It turned out that I really was OK. It was still challenging; I was not one of the elite climbers that completed all 1776 steps in 9 minutes.   But I did make it to the top, with some energy to spare.

Last weekend there was a nearby community in need, and I wanted to go out and help. The community needed people to do some heavy lifting. I was certain I was their girl.  When I told Hubby about my plans, he warned that it would be hard work, it would be lots of heaving lifting, and exhausting.

Not to be deterred, I went anyways certain that he got this wrong. After all, I was the girl who did the CN Tower Climb and didn’t die. I was convinced with the help of fairies I had managed to maintain some level of fitness in the last year regardless of my eating/TV watching/sitting at my computer marathon sessions.

I don’t know why I don’t listen to him. He knows be better than I know myself.  I lifted one or two items and realized instantly I had 0 upper body strength.  Ask me to lift a 5 lb bag of potatoes, no problem. Ask me to lift 8 lbs, and I have a problem. 

Nonetheless, I only volunteered for perhaps a total of 1 hour. My arms felt like rubber, and the next morning in the shower, I could barely lift them to put the shampoo and conditioner in my hair. One hour of heaving lifting, and I was in pain, moody, and exhausted for 3 days.

That was my wake-up call. I still NEED to write, and to relax. (Hello, TV!) But I also need to hit the gym so that when the occasion arises when family, friends or the larger community that I live in need help, I can contribute more than 1 hour on a Saturday.

I began browsing for Mud Run Events. I know a couple of people that have done them. Then, I stumbled across a few running/obstacle courses that included mud. Last night I found the Badass Dash Event, and I thought – Ha! Perfect, to get my butt in shape!  

And I registered for it. 

The idea behind this event is that it’s a 7 KM run with obstacles, and after the Polar Plunge in Kingston, and the CN Tower Climb in, well, Toronto – I wanted something local. This one happens right in Ottawa. (Beautiful.) More importantly they have different levels of difficulty and one of them was a Recreational Event. (That’s me!) And, if you can’t do a particular challenge (oh boy, please no gigantic walls to climb over) they will make you do something else such as push-ups. 🙂

I have no idea how to train for this. I suspect, running (yes) and biking will help get my cardio up. Lifting weights will hopefully help my upper body.  Otherwise, I think I just hope for the best. If anyone has any suggestions, I am open to it.

Below is the link, just in case someone else wants to do it. They also have other events in other cities.

Participant: Penelope Hawtrey
Date: 26 August, 2017
Location: 411 Corkstown Road
Ottawa, Ontario K2K 0J5
Registration category
and price type:
Badass Dash Ottawa – Recreational Division – Individual Registration

If there are no tips, you will find me on my floor, working on my push-ups.

Let’s Celebrate The End of the Streaking Life!

Everyone raise your hands, if you thought I would never make it 21 days of running 2 KM each day?

There’s at least one hand up. It’s mine. Because, I was sure I would flop this challenge. 

Below are the distance, and times for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday:

I think now is a good time to evaluate what I’ve learned from running 2 KM/day for the last 21 days. And the best way to do that: a Top 10 List.

The Top 10 Things I Learned:  

10. Stretching is important. (Wish I would have done it. )

9. Run in the morning, that way no matter what happens during the day, you’ve got your run in. (I did that most days. With the exception of a few days. Today, being one of them.)

8. Running a little bit each day, really, is not that hard.

7. Working out a little bit each day improves my mood. (Normally.)

6. Running in rain is not a big deal. Or snow for that matter. Even if it’s May.

5. I can run without music.

4. I can run without running pants. (Sweat pants, from Walmart, work too! No logo branded gear such as Nike, or Adidas are required.)

3. I can run without a running shirt. (Yup! Freebie cotton shirts from various other running/fundraising events means I am good to go!)

2. I can run WITH glasses

1.  I really do love to run.

I have gone 21 days of streaking and the question I needed to ask myself is: would I do it again?

My answer: I don’t know.

It’s a lot of pressure to commit to running every day. While for the most part running made me calmer, and I  found myself reaching a little less for sweets, and I’ve just given you 10 positives related to this experience; a small part of me did wonder when I became increasingly snappy towards hubby and puppy over the last 5 days, if it was related to never giving myself a break from running. There were some days when I was exhausted and I really needed to/wanted to do other things. On those days, I leaned quite heavily towards skipping the run.

But I didn’t. 

While exercise is good for me in high or low doses, when I am faced with never giving myself a chance to stop, reflect, breathe and relax the early signs of burnout begin to manifest themselves in my cantankerous behaviour.

Exercise is much needed by me, and my body.

But, both body and mind also require time off. Some people may sum this up to laziness.

Sure. But for me, it’s about moderation. I can do the: sweat-loaded-feel-my-calves-burning-ouch!-I-have-a-stitch-in-my-side-for-the-last-100-meters 10 KM run. Shortly after though, I appreciate if it is followed with an evening in a candle lit Italian bistro with me eating buttered bread, sipping a spicy aromatic glass of pinot noir, while waiting for my cheese filled canneloni to arrive.

Moderation works best for me.

Now to celebrate the successful completion of this challenge, I am off to Dairy Queen!

I do believe I’ve earned it.


By accident, I ran 21 days of 2 KM (and then a little more on some days) and that equals more than 42 KM.

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Wikipedia:

“The marathon is a long-distance running race with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 miles, or 26 miles 385 yards).”

Huh? I’ve run a marathon in a month. That’s the most exercise I think I’ve done in a year. That seems like a pretty good baseline to begin a regular exercise routine. What do you think?

Running The Last 400 Meters of the Race

How did I compute 400 meters? I still have runs to do on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. For me, 4 days is equivalent to 400 meters even if it is just 2 KM every day for the last 21 days.

It’s been hard to be committed every night. But after awhile, you get quite use to getting wet every day thanks to all the rain we’ve had. Yes, I probably should have done this challenge in the summer. It would have been easier to streak in sunshine. But hey, it’s called Pushing Boundaries for a reason.

Oh, and killer allergies? I don’t care! You are not taking me down! 

Even though I have come home soaked and chilled to the bone many times, it’s also been a wonderful experience, exhilarating and refreshing. It’s nice be outside and to make time for myself. This run takes me less than 20 minutes to complete, (others can do it much faster, I know) but it helps me cope with the rest of my day and anything that life may throw at me.

I have completed my runs from May 2nd – 5th.

Enter slideshow…

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When It Looks Bad To Begin With

Fickle fingers yank and pull at the zipper at the crack of dawn this morning in a pathetic attempt to try to zip the winter parka up. I never did. I buttoned it up instead.

No, we were not under a -45 degree Celsius warning where Environment Canada shrieks, unexposed fingers will fall off in a matter of seconds! Damn it, where 14 pairs of mitts, if you must go outside!  

I’m kidding. You only need 13 pairs of mitts in order to protect your fingers from those temperatures.

What I did need the parka for this morning – was to protect me from our very own monsoon season. A torrential downpour greeted me and pup on our morning AM walk  (ok, pup is 9 years old, but he’s still my baby)  and neither of us were impressed.  LBM spent a great deal of time wiping his face on my pants in pure disgust about how much water was on his coat.

I decided this morning I would not rush on our walk. Since my streaking days began I’ve been dragging LBM around the block in a hurry saying, “Come on! I have to get my run in!” I decided this rainy Monday cold morning, on garbage day, neither of us needed that.

So we strolled and meandered around, played ball, got soaked several times by various intensity of showers, and then made it back home. As I looked at the clock I thought, Hmmm…I had time? Maybe I should go. After all, I was already wet. As well, I seriously questioned whether I would have the stamina by the end of a full work day, to go splashing out in the cold deluge for an evening run.

It seemed most unlikely. 

So I went. I went without proper running attire (i.e I had clothes on – enter sweat pants and cotton shirt! But not the latest, trendiest sports pants and shirt.) with only my running shoes, running socks, and running watch. These were the only items that I could complete on  a checklist for running gear.

I went without The Script, Adele, Ed, or One Republic singing sweet lullabies in my ear. I went without a hat and gloves, because I was already wet, and didn’t care.

Because some days when you already know it’s going to be bad, you say, I’m going to go anyways, so there!


Running, Running, Running…Just Keep on Running…

Ok, technically it should be “swimming, swimming, swimming…” and yeah, that’s from the movie, Finding Nemo. 

But hey, I think running, running, running, works too.

Times from April 27th & 28th:

And here are the times from April 29th & 30th:


As previously mentioned in an earlier post, a few years ago I attempted to go 30 days streaking, and made it all of 11 days.

Today, April 30th – marks 12 days of streaking! Only 9 days left of this challenge. Hang on blog followers, I might actually reach this goal!

If I successfully reach this goal, I will have weathered rain, unseasonably warm temperatures, to running this morning with my hat and gloves on because it’s cold. Again.

Not to mention, best of all, my seasonal allergies kicked in on a brutal scale last week. This means that I sometimes run now while congested, sneezing, or in a blur because of the goo in my eyes. Oh, and sometimes it’s really difficult not to trip over my own feet because I’m that tired from pollen.

Run, run, run!

Change #84: Another Challenge Bites The Dust

Has everyone heard that song from the 80’s by Queen?

It seemed appropriate. I fail, fail, and fail challenges. It’s my thing to do.

Wait a sec. What’s that below?

Ha! I got ya!

Below is my time from my morning AM run on Monday, April 24th. Ok, don’t look at the bottom number. Otherwise, all you’ll think is: she must have walked the whole way. 

When I returned from my run that morning, I inadvertently left the watch sitting on the dining room table and forgot to hit the stop button on the timer. Nonetheless, it skewed the bottom number that shows how fast I ran.

My bad.

Besides, it doesn’t matter, I’m getting out there and making an effort. More of an effort than I’ve made in quite some time.

April 24th Run

And below are my 8:30 PM results of my run after a BIG salad and an itsy, bitsy glass of wine, in the twilight hours of the day with rain soaked sidewalks that meant I nearly fell on my face.

Again. (If you’re confused by the statement of “falling on my face”, check out the blog post called Gravity Sucks.)

Apparently, I might make salad and wine my new fuel food for all runs in the future. Weather being wet and miserable, I had a good run. But then again, I always love running at night. I’m normally pretty tired, but there’s something that feels like you’re in another world when you run in the dark. I know it’s weird. I’ve always loved it.

April 25th Run

Finally, this morning’s run. What day are we on?

April 26th, I think?

April 26th  – this morning….

How am I feeling about streaking? Pretty good actually. While I haven’t lost a pound, I feel like I’m stronger. My body (in particular my mid-section) seems a little smaller. Emotionally, I still have my good and bad days, but I’m keeping more perspective and even if things aren’t going quite perfectly (does that ever happen, for anyone? I think not) I’m remaining positive regardless of the challenges I am facing.

One thing though. I MUST STRETCH MORE. My butt is getting tighter. Not in a good way. 

I believe I’ve conquered 7 days of streaking. I’m 1/3 of the way there.

Change #85: Fulfill the Reading Quest of Completing 10 Books By The Close of This Blog

Last year I posted on my Goodreads account I would read 5 books.

I read 3. To be fair, I posted it in July of last year, but still….

This year as I started my challenge in January, I thought I would aim for 10 books to be read by the close of the year. So far, if you include The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fizgerald that I started last year, I have read one. I have started two, but still….

Things are not looking so good. 

Here’s my challenge: I will read 10 books by the end of this blog (October 20th, 2017)

These are the books I have either received as gifts or purchased:

  1. My Not So Perfect Life
  2. Valour at Vimy Ridge 
  3. Her Darling Boy
  4. Furiously Happy 

These books are the ones that I will aim to complete. Once I run out of reading material, I will find additional books and add them to my Goodreads account.

So that we don’t lose track, I will add this change on the sidebar of this blog.

As well, as I complete a book, it will be updated on my Goodreads account.

Now off I go. I have reading to do.


The Running Streak has been successful so far.

Although, my Saturday run started off as a run, but digressed into more of a walk. But hey, I got out there, attempted a run, and did not choose to stay on the couch.

Some days, that’s all you can ask for.

Day 4 & 5:

The last day for My Streaking Life, will be May 9th. (I had to figure out the end date, because honestly, I’m going to lose track.)

The Streaking Sensation

I would be lying to you if I said I haven’t already had days when I didn’t want to run. Yesterday, I was too tired. And today, well, it was Friday. It seems wrong to do it on a Friday.

Proof of Run – Day 2:


Day 3:

Did I mention it’s raining this morning in Ottawa? And it’s not a warm rain. You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s the summer rain that we get, where it’s hard to differentiate the difference between perspiration and rain. It feels exactly the same.

No, this morning with Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran cranked on my MP3 player, and my beeping watch going off indicating my 10’s and 1’s, (hmmm…actually scrap that. I couldn’t hear it because my music was up so loud) I splashed through puddles (Why you ask? I was already going to get wet) with cold rain smacking me in the face, soaking my brown mane, as droplets of rain stuck to my eyeglasses making it difficult to see the the road ahead of me. Near the conclusion of my run, I looked down at my uncovered hand, and it was red from the rain and cold.

Ahhhh, springtime. 

Rain be damned, Friday excuses pushed aside, I still ran.

Ok, people. In case you scroll back and you see my first post on this change, you’ll see that the distance is exactly the same. 2.18 KM as today’s picture. Look at the bottom number. I ran faster.

I try to be a trooper about getting wet, but seriously, I didn’t want to be out there longer than I needed to be.


For those people just joining me now, and thought I was running naked, read change #84. 

Change #84: 21 Days Of The Streaking Life


Option 1: long, thin lines of a different color from their surroundings, especially on dyed hair. ~ Taken from Google Search (Yeah, it won’t tell me where specifically this definition comes from)

Option 2:  Streaking is the act of running naked through a public place as a prank, dare or an act of protest. ~Wikipedia

Here’s my guidelines for streaking:

  1. I must run a minimum of 2 KM
  2. I can run any time of day. (Although morning would be ideal before I get too constrained by societal norms, requirements and expectations.)
  3. I must have some way of measuring the distance I ran. The easiest way to measure would be to use my sport watch. But if this fails me, (it happens, I don’t know why) I can use Google Maps and calculate the distance based on Google’s calculations. However, I must under these circumstances, run at least 2.5 KM, in the odd extreme case, Google maps has logged an incorrect amount of 2 KM when in reality it is only 1.5 KM.
  4. I must streak for the next 21 days consecutively. NOT ONE DAY SHALL BE MISSED. If I fail to meet this requirement, I lose this challenge and we subtract one. AGAIN. (Anyone keeping track? How many changes have I failed to meet so far in Pushing Boundaries?)
  5. Proper running attire is not a requirement. I need only wear my running shoes. (Oh, and sport watch!)

I’m calling them guidelines, NOT RULES, for a reason. The reason is this: I believe that I am a rule breaker.  Tell me I can’t do it, and I will do it. It’s a guarantee.

And these are the guidelines I will adhere to in order to complete 21 days streaking.


NO! Surely, NOT! 

Sure, the blog is called Pushing Boundaries, but as Captain Picard said in Star Trek, “THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HERE!” (Oh, and now Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory says it too!)

And that’s one line I WILL NOT CROSS. In case anyone out there had any doubt. I thought I would just say it.

Ok, that’s done.

There is a 3rd definition for streaking and this comes from the website for Runner’s World:

“The goal is simple: Run at least one mile per day, every day, starting on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 24) and ending on New Year’s …”

Now, you will notice we are nowhere near Thanksgiving either in Canada or the USA. But, I read about this a few years ago in a Runner’s World Magazine and they suggested it be done for 30 days and when I read it, it was splat in the middle of summer. And I thought, What a great idea!

Then I did it!

Well, for all of 11 days….

And I’ve decided now would be a good time to try this again. I’ve been thinking about this challenge for several months; however with the training for the CN Tower Stair Climb that wrecked my ability to climb even a single flight of stairs and prevented me from walking anywhere for several days after “training”, to applying makeup for 30 days, to the blonde hair – I simply could not realistically see me completing more than 2 days of running 2 KM in a row. I deferred the challenge, deferred it again, waited, and reconsidered how to tackle this blog so I could get some of the bigger things done.

Now we’ve cleared those things away, ENTER STREAKING….

You’re probably wondering why only 21 days though, right? Well, it’s because I’m going away in a few weeks for a weekend, and I honestly don’t know if I will have access to a treadmill, or if I will be able to run outside.

Sure, I’m being strategic. But I do want to succeed at this challenge.

I love to run. It makes me happy, relaxes me, helps me sleep better, and I think I might be smarter when I run. There is so much clarity and peace. I miss that. 

This morning was Day 1. Remember the concept of: I do not need proper running attire? I made that decision this morning. I decided I make things WAAAYYY too complicated!

This morning I ran in a cotton t-shirt (it was my CN Tower Stair Climb Shirt), sweat pants, and a regular bra.

I really need to simplify things.

And here’s my proof:

Although, I think next time, I will make the effort to use a sports bra. Ladies, you know what it’s like trying to work out without one. Men – just use your imaginations.

And just for the record, I’m not being completely strategic with this challenge. If I was, I would have waited until the summer when the forecast was for a full week of sunshine.

Instead, below is the Ottawa weather “guess” for the next week:

Thu, 20 Apr Mainly cloudy. High 11. UV index 5 or moderate.
Night Cloudy. Periods of rain beginning in the evening. Wind becoming east 30 km/h in the evening. Low 7.
Fri, 21 Apr A mix of sun and cloud with 60 percent chance of showers. High 15.
Night Cloudy periods with 30 percent chance of showers. Low plus 5.
Sat, 22 Apr Sunny. High 12.
Night Clear. Low plus 2.
Sun, 23 Apr A mix of sun and cloud with 40 percent chance of showers. High 16.
Night Cloudy periods. Low plus 2.
Mon, 24 Apr A mix of sun and cloud. High 12.
Night Cloudy periods. Low zero.
Tue, 25 Apr A mix of sun and cloud. High 13.

We are all over the map: RAIN! It’s warm! It’s below zero. Sunny! RAIN!

Let the good times roll!


Same rules go for this post, as with applying makeup daily. I will post updates intermittently.

If I fail, you’ll know.