2011 in Review

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Every year, I like to do a summary of how the year went, what was good, what was bad and what I’m looking forward to. So here goes!

The Fire Department

I have been really active on the fire department, particularly in the winter and fall (paddling off-season). I’ve literally lost count of how many calls I’ve been on, but it’s a lot! I’ve been to MVCs, building fires, a great mock-accident at the High School, a few fire alarms and medical assist calls. I spent nine hours on the roof of Extra Foods for a fundraiser, and yes, I can add that to the list of Weird and Unusual Places I Have Peed (that will have to be another post)! I’ve helped out with some fire hall tours — I always have fun with the little people. I’m not a newbie any more; we had eleven new recruits start in fall, so I have actually been giving some advice and help to them, both in the hall and on calls. I’m in that netherland between newbie and experienced firefighter. I’ve gone to lots of training, and I now know enough to be dangerous! Seriously, I have learned a lot, but there is still so much more to know. I started taking the Emergency Medical Responder course, but unfortunately had to drop out. It was a good course, and it covered a lot more than I expected. Even though I only did about a third of it, I’m glad I went — now on medical calls, I have a much better idea of what the EMRs and EMTs are doing, and I can help out more. I’m getting fairly good at a few simple tasks, but I am still challenged on virtually every call, which is why I joined the department in the first place! Never a dull moment — and that’s what’s life’s all about! | Fire Dept posts |

Personal Life

I’ve got to say, my personal life has been great this year. I’ve been surrounded by friends, and even when I was stressed about deadlines and completing the York boat on time (photos here), I still had people around me, notably my friend Michelle’s parents in Calgary, who gave me a place to stay for two weeks, fed me, and were so amazingly generous and kind. My relationship with my husband has been great, and we’ve been connecting better all the time. I enjoy our late-night pillow talk; we just chat about whatever has been on our minds. When I am stressed, I can tell him about it and we figure out something that will help. I am so loved by friends and family, sometimes it just amazes me… I am so full of gratitude and appreciation!

Business Success

Flow North had a great year! After doing the Paddling the Peace River guide for GeoTourism Canada, I was hired to run the York boat project, and then I got to be the Captain of the boat on the big, 18-day expedition. It was fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a better crew, although at times, looking for a crew stressed me out the most. In the end, it worked out so incredibly well, one could only say I was blessed. I’ve got 5 more best friends than I had before the month of June. Beyond the York boat, I got to run a couple of canoe camps, several canoe parties, expeditions, and had lots of fun at our weekly “Family Canoe Nights” as well. What a *great* summer we had! It didn’t hurt that, as usual, we had the nicest summer weather of the province, and perhaps even in all of Canada! Not much rain, lots of sun!
canoeing on the Chinchaga river

A Few Struggles

That’s not to say it was all sunshine and roses. There were a few struggles in the fall, with some bills from the summer piling up and expenses from the York boat not being paid. Things got a bit slim, but that’s what happens some times when you’re in business for yourself. We have exchanged time freedom for money freedom — we have plenty of the first and less of the second, whereas most people have very little time freedom, but more money to work with. We created a few websites in the fall, which was great. I’m really quite proud of what we did: Northern Express, Fox Haven Golf and Country Club, Patrick Cameron
Even though we have time freedom, I still felt the crunch of not enough a few times. I am still volunteering as the secretary of the Northern Lights Forest Education Society, which is developing new trails and busy with various other activities. I am also a board member of the Mackenzie Frontier Tourist Association, which has taken up a bit of time on web development and other duties (I’m not ready to share that website yet — it still needs a lot of work)! On the other hand, I stood up for myself when the workload was getting too big and said “I can’t keep doing this for free. Normally, I charge for this work.” There is always good in the bad!

The Coming Year

There are lots of changes a-coming, which I won’t go into right now. But my vision for the year includes:

    being more consistent in exercising
    planning our meals better so I feel more organized
    continuing to learn more about fire fighting
    getting a part-time job doing radio work, either dispatching or in air traffic services again (woo hoo!)
    expanding my business and being amazed at my success, yet again!
    doing lots of fun things with my husband and friends!
    being more carefree and playful (and helping my friend publish a book all about play!)

So, most of the time, I am excited and eagerly anticipating the year to come. When I’m not? When I get caught up in the business of life and my to-do list. Nothing new there! Stay tuned for more adventures!

Hello 2011!

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It’s hard to believe it’s actually 2011. Not long ago, it was weird to write “2010” on things, instead of “200_” and now 2010 is gone. What a year! Here are a few highlights from my life!

No more Flight Service. I worked my last day for Nav Canada on December 31, 2009. Only a few times in 2010 did I miss it… and I don’t regret the decision I made to strike out on my own. I don’t hold any bad feelings towards Nav Can, so all in all, it was a great experience! I would even consider going back… In all honesty, I sometimes miss telling people “I’m like an air traffic controller.” But I do not miss the shift work! Or getting up at 6 am to go to work when it’s -30 C in a snowstorm! But those were good times too, in their own way! Always an adventure!

Starting my own business. Starting Flow North Paddling Company was a huge highlight of 2010, and a heck of a lot of work! I loved setting things up, working on the website, ordering business cards, getting a new vehicle and then getting it covered in lettering. I’m having a lot of fun being my own boss, although it has its challenges too. There’s nobody pushing me to get out of bed early to go to work, except me! Then again, I have to live with the pushy part of myself (which usually kicks in at 8 pm or so) that wants to get this-or-that task finished…

Paddling the Peace River. I was so very blessed to paddle about 800 km of the Peace River, 430 km of that in a solo kayak, on my own in the wilderness. It was a challenge and a journey, but most of all, a blessing to be able to do it. It took 19 days, and if I worked for someone else, I would not have had that much time off! It was “research” but it was also a sort of quest. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I found it! Peace, serenity, focus and clarity.

Joining the volunteer fire department. In the fall, I signed up for the volunteer fire department in my town. It has been another challenging and awesome experience. The people are great, I enjoy learning all kinds of new things, and I have made many new friends! I feel really well-suited to the work and enjoyed my first calls (what a day that was)! It gets my heart pounding, and hey, isn’t that what life is about?!?

Writing a paddling guide. Using a completely different skill set — researching, scouring through details, graphic designing, and writing — I have been creating a comprehensive paddling guide for the Peace River. It will be available online in the spring, through GeoTourism Canada’s website. They are paying me to write it, to make it available for free for all of you! I’ve enjoyed it, on the whole, although at times, it’s been challenging too. It’ll be great when it’s done! It’s been a priority for the last couple of months, so I’ll be glad to be done and have time for other things!

Almost finishing my book. In January 2010, I found an illustrator for my book. I started working on the finishing steps. Then, spring came and I got too busy with the paddling business to work on anything else. I took a little time in August to work on my book, and the paddling business slumped. I refocused, and the business came back a little. It’s amazing how one’s focus affects success! I had a friend do some editing for me… and when winter returned and the canoes and kayaks were put to bed, I resumed the formatting and other finishing work. I’m so close to finishing I can smell it. Hopefully by the end of next week!

Hmmm… it would seem like the theme of this year was challenges! Maybe it’s the theme for my life… in any case, I’m ready for another year, whatever it will bring! Book success! Canoe trips! Making more new friends! More writing! I know, I’m a week late, but let’s raise a glass to 2011!