I haven't enjoyed the title of this blog since...oh right after I picked it. The idea of starting over or changing the title but leaving the address didn't appeal to me though. Out of curiosity, I looked up synonyms for "sustain". I liked most of the words that came up, antonyms are in brackets. Being nourishing and supportive sounds good. Prolonged aid sounds less awesome.


carry on
keep up
keep going


keep you going

Still no brilliant blog title ideas. I also need to do some serious maintenance on my links, as if anyone notices.


Blue November

It's been the worst month around here in recent memory. I've felt completely snowed under. Death, sadness, stress, workload and a seriously worn out body. Today I feel like I'm slowly coming back into myself. I've been too busy to feel as deeply as I know I will. Protecting myself for a time, to absorb it in degrees.

Neither of these amazing women was a close part of my daily life in the past while but both had great impact and are sadly missed.

Marj, mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to so, so many. Always happy to have a baby on one hip and camera on the other. The survivor who taught us how to grieve. Her beloved family left to muddle their way through the dark days, again, but without their matriarch and cornerstone. Her kids had the most amazing tribute at her funeral. She and Jim done good and they have all chosen wisdom over bitterness. It is inspiring and heartbreaking.

My dear children are used to a quiet life, as most of the people around them are somewhat introverted. They were never quite sure what to make of it when they heard Marj was coming to town. I remember how she howled when she saw us dutifully strapping our firstborn daughter into a highchair that was nearly impossible to fall out of in the first place. Several of Ivy's first foods came courtesy of Marj when mama wasn't looking. She teased them with great glee and once actually had them believing a black feather boa was a severed cat's tail. By the time the kids got a bit older they caught on to her games and they had a rousing round of "space garbage" going on one of her last visits. It involved kids getting stuffed into a toy bin of some sort with lots of shrieking. She and Ezra understood each other right from the start.


And then so shortly after, Gayle left this world. We lost a beautiful, courageous, quirky woman who was a powerful, fiercely protective mother to her 8 year old son, Spencer. She was sick for less than two years. It probably felt like an eternity of treatment, hospitals and pain for her but still, so short. So young. One of her later facebook status updates was this:

clearing my schedule left right and center. simplifying. sticking to the essentials. remembering to dispense tickles, hugs and kisses.

She knew where her priorities lay, and the closer she got to the end, the more she stuck with it. Gayle had a clear sense of how she wanted to spend her very precious days and I admire her all the more for it.

I will never forget when Spencer was pre-school age and it was common to see Gayle sitting patiently with him on a bench at a busy 4-way stop, checking out cars. He could name nearly every one. She took the time to do what he wanted and I suspect she put in more hours of lego in the last few years than most of us combined.

Two amazing, strong women. Gone. I have so much to be thankful for, and to go and do. May I always remember to play, take time for friends and focus on what is really important.

I raise my glass (preferably Blasted Church Pinot Gris)to Gayle and to Marj. They are loved and sorely missed.



I had my hands on this clay once before but now I'm smitten. I started my class with Trezlie Brooks today and loved it. The homework I was given was to find 5 artists I admire and find 5 of each of their works I particularly like. I'm going to collect links here that catch my eye and see what I come up with over the week (not necessarily all porcelain, but forms that I like).

The first 5ish are ones that I found tonight. This post is a mess of bad spacing, I realize. I'm linking back to the artists whose pictures I use and hope that's politically correct. I'd love to contact them all but can't promise I'll get to that!

Ebon Grace 1

Zen Garden 3

Porcelain Pro's "Zen Garden" series and Smoked Porcelain Vessels

Brenda McMahon

- Vessels

small bowls and a birds nest

Karin Eriksson

Shino Handled Bowl with Toner Decals

Mudstuffing - Keith Phillips
Etsy store

Tom and Elaine Coleman

Creative Creek Artisans



Four out of 5 Hieberts dressed up for Halloween. The 5th member kindly took our photos, even though he wasn't really into the whole thing.

The grad dress, revamped into some sort of goth inspired ensemble. Although I'm delighted I can still wear it, it says something about my age that it's become a "dress-up" dress, not "dressy".

Both girls chose characters from favourite books
(Tonks from Harry Potter and Holly Short from Artemis Fowl)

The dreaded pirate underbite.

Nymphadora Tonks casting a mischievous looking spell...

Holly Short, first female officer of the L.E.P. Recon Unit. You'd have to read the book to understand but maybe it's enough to know that Ivy chose to dress as a character that's a laser-toting, groundbreaking, spunky feminist elf.


Fall Habits

When I did the Challenge over summer I was really excited about the changes I made in my diet. I feel better when I eat well and got very quick results. Lately though I've been getting lazier and I feel it. I'm trying to figure out why, since it's obviously good for me! I've concluded that a fair bit of it has to do with the changing season for a few reasons.

- I'm drinking less water. When the weather cools down, I drink more coffee and less water. That's not a good combo for me and I'm more often tempted by sweet snacks when I'm sitting down with my coffee.

- I'm busier and eating LESS. That leaves me feeling hungry/thirsty pretty often when I'm on the run between kids classes (or my classes). I don't tend to reach for the best snacks under these circumstances. I'm not either spending the same amount of planning time on meals and it shows.

- When the weather cools down and it gets darker out I crave more carbs. They're still good quality food but my balance shifts away from fresh fruit and veggies and tips towards whole grain breads, rice & potatoes. I don't think that's a bad thing overall but something I need to be aware of throughout the day to keep things even. Once in a while I still go back to log a few days on Vitabot. It gives me a clear sense of where I've been missing nutrition and of course, I eat better on days I know I'm logging!

Now that I've spent the time thinking about it, it's much easier to go back and remember those fantasic habits I started months ago but have somehow let slide. I want to encourage everyone that feels like they're not "on" with their eating to let yesterday go and start fresh now!


September Madness

Between starting this blog and getting back to this blog, I haven't taken much time for this space.

We're sorting out our back-to-routine fall activities - Ella wants to take voice lessons and a gymnastics/hip hop combo class, Ivy is going to return to violin/Fiddlekidz and possibly take a dance class too.

On top of that I've started the boot camp. We're having fun and working HARD, I love seeing the effort everyone is willing to put into getting fit(ter)! The space has been great so far and the kids have been doing well with the format - phew. I love grabbing a coffee (black of course) and hitting the park with friends afterwards. We'll have to do something about healthier snacks though!

And hockey started last night. This is the least sore I've ever been after the first skate of the year and I attribute it to the boot camp plyometrics. Then again, tomorrow morning might feel different!


Boot Camp

I think I'm finally organized...I'm ready to start running the Tyson Method BootCamp4Moms! After getting such great results I chose to take the training and am now excited to teach!

The clases are a fun way to get in shape, spend time with other women and let the kids play, all at the same time. It's often hard to cram fitness into the spaces of time before kids get up or other stolen moments during the day. I love this class because you bring them with you - no need for a babysitter or working out at awkward times. It sometimes takes the kids (and moms) a few sessions to get used to it but for the most part moms end up with a workout and the kids end up with friends. All women are welcome, just know that this is a child-friendly atmosphere! I'm hoping the Tuesday time slot means that moms & kids who are interested can take advantage of both the boot camp and Tumble Time just 2 blocks away.

Here are the details:

Days: Tuesday/Friday
Time: 9-10am
Location: IOOF Hall (Rebekah Lodge)
9536 Main Street, Summerland
Start date: Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Cost: $99/month

The cost for the first half month of September is $49, payment is on the first of the month after that. You don't need to decide more than one month at a time...however we do have an incentive to sign up for the 90 Day Challenge! By committing to 3 months you give yourself a good start on healthy, lasting, habits. You also get access to all e-bootcamps (live, skype style) and the library of class videos online. It's perfect for someone that wants an extra workout a week or can't always make that time slot. There is a promo on the nutrition program as well, I had great success with that and can highly recommend it from personal experience.

The classes incorporate a variety of disciplines which keeps your body guessing. This is more than just a straight up fitness class - we integrate personal training principles like spending time going over your needs & goals. I ask everybody to do a fit test, a "before" picture, and take their measuements at the beginning, it is so worth it. We are emotional creatures and on any given day, can feel like super heroes or lazy lumps. Those concrete numbers and pictures can really help us keep our perspective on how far we've come or let us know if something isn't working the way we'd hoped.

If you want to get a flavour of what classes are like and what women are saying about them, check out this video. We won't have this much gear and might not get outdoors much until spring but it's where we're headed! All you need to bring is a mat or towel for floor work and some days we'll use light weights (3-5lbs).

The Tyson Method blog has success stories posted as well as updates from other trainers and sessions that are running in Canada and LA.

I realize that a lot of moms work and this time slot isn't convenient for you - if there is enough interest I will look into running an earlier morning on the same days, probably 6:30-7:30. I'd need a minimum of 6 people so let me know if that's a better match for you.

Update: Marketing guru over here forgot to put in the part where I ask you to contact me if you're interested. So just in case you don't have this info...

Phone: 250.494.8929
Email: tanhiebert@gmail.com


more rash talk...

...because that's all that's going on for me these days really. Today I feel like I made some progress (in the right direction) and have some hope of re-joining the world in a normal way by Monday. I hope. This crazy skin thing has been so up and down though that I'm not counting on anything.

Through some fancy short cuts (ie showing up in his office and bursting into tears), I managed to get in to see a dermatologist on Friday. He confirmed that the poison ivy was spreading under my skin in some way, I didn't quite grasp the concept, I was so exhausted. That explains why all the psychotic washing of bedding, clothes and anything I touched wasn't helping. I reluctantly agreed to start taking oral steroids in order to keep my mind. I reacted really badly at first but seem to have it mostly sorted out now. I don't like being on them or dealing with the side effects but heck, I can sleep and wear clothes. Always a trade off. I'm going to keep looking into alternative options and know I'll be needing to build my body back up after all this. I so rarely need medication of any kind that I feel humbled.

I felt good enough today to do most of a tae bo workout and it was very pleasing to release so much frustration with punches and kicks.


atopic junk

It's been a long week here at the Hiebert ranch. I acquired some sort of "atopic dermatitis", which is fancy lingo for "itchy rash that morphed into hives and is driving me mental". According to two different doctors it's either definitely NOT poison ivy or certainly IS. Could be an allergic reaction to bug bites or something in the lake water (ie swimmers itch). Nobody has a clue and I've been miserable. The worst of it is slowly healing I think but new spots keep appearing. Ivy has a few patches now too and we hope it doesn't spread like mine. My family has been very tolerant, I hope to be less whiny again someday soon.

Despite feeling physically very low there were lots of good things about the week. We hosted an informal meteor viewing night on the lawn and had a great time. Good company and a clear, warm evening. The Perseids were kind and we saw more "shooting stars" than usual. I don't think the kids had had that experience before. Even Ezra stayed up until 11 snuggling on the futon-on-the-lawn and was delighted.

I had a few hours to myself late this afternoon while Jeremy took the kids to the beach. I relished the quiet time and puttered in the garden and cooked a mean pasta sauce (tomatoes, zucchini, basil and oregano all freshly picked). I followed it up with a glass of wine while I sat outside in the golden light and gazed out over the lake.

I've had to put exercise on hold most of the week and found it hard. Sometimes I'm happy for an excuse to take a day or two off but I sure don't feel that way now. I did a half workout today so that's progress. It's a bit limiting to have to find clothes that don't rub on the waistline and to do only exercises that don't require lying down, bending at the waist or impact of any kind. That kind of left me with mostly naked push-ups but the neighbours didn't call the cops so we're okay.

Big thank you's to Jeremy & the kids for extending me all kinds of grace this week, to my parents & siblings for checking in with me every few days and to Gerald & Dianne for the unexpected gifts and a visit to cheer me up!



Sorry folks, I'm turning on comment moderation, at least for a while. Tired of the foreign spam that keeps turning up.


general update

This is one of those blanket posts about nothing and everything. The kids pottery class did go well, about as expected. They were well behaved, creative and funny. And I was exhausted. Ten awesome kids with wonderful ideas is a lot for my brain. They are picking up their treasures this week and in between all the various firings I've slowly started working on my own things again. I am really enjoying getting back into that groove, I've missed pottery during the time I've focussed on the class. The irony is painful.

I finally got out on the bike trails again this weekend, thanks to Kim. I've been working out regularly, enjoying working on the Tyson Method certification for teaching the BootCamp4Moms but haven't been out riding nearly as much. The certification process is refreshing the theory I learned when I took my personal training course in the late 90's. It is a different way of looking at things though, it's a cross between personal training and teaching a group class. We encourage moms to bring their kids along, that is a unique challenge too! Based on the reports of women already teaching this, it takes the kids (and moms) a few times to get the hang of it and then they look forward to the playtime. I'm hoping to start a 6 week boot camp in fall so let me know if you're up for it! Still working on locations...I'd love to do outdoors as long as possible and then move in when we have to. Here's Tami talking about the method they've created, with glimpses of the classes and a few kind words from clients.

On other fronts, Ezra turned 3 last week! He's starting to get much more creative in his play, incorporating pretend stuff all over. We're loving his relative independence and the fact that he's so reliably potty trained. The hitting, yelling, and general belligerence we could do without. Can't have it all.

The kids have been doing a few summer camps in addition to the pottery class. Ella participated in a one week, full-day drama course and loved it.
This week she's busy at her half-day gymnastics camp and begging to stay the full day, her energy is astounding!

Ivy's been reluctant to commit to the full day scene, as she gets tired of so much action around her for that long. She is looking forward to taking the next level of the whittling class next week though. The girl loves her jack knife and makes some pretty cool stuff!

My family has committed to meeting in Canmore at Thanksgiving, a la 2008! It's a long ways off but fun to look forward to.


crazy potter

I signed up to teach a kids pottery class that happens next week. What was I thinking? I'm moderately prepared but have no idea what they're going to throw at me, hopefully not literally but it happens. The theme is "magical quest" and it could be a lot of fun...if presented properly and I'm prepared. We'll make wands, goblets and then wing it from there. Plates, candle holders, sculptures, amulets, or full suits of armour (kidding). The demand for this class was so high that they added another section and it's also full with a waiting list. Thank goodness someone else was willing to take on the teaching, I'm not up for committment level yet.

It's guaranteed to be an adventure -I guess that's why I'm doing it, I bet we'll have a blast playing with mud!

Did it!

Here's the scoop on the boot camp. It was over last week and I did before & after fit tests and measurements. I lost 5 1/2 inches and 11 lbs! Most of it came off the hips & thighs, and that is a good thing. I can see a lot more muscle than I used to. I'm back in what I consider my ideal weight range and feel fantastic. I can do 26 push-ups instead of 5. I've really improved my eating habits and although it's always easy to be critical, I'm really pleased about it in general. I've had so much fun and am so happy about how I feel that I'm going to stay on with Tami and learn to be a trainer! Good times...

This is evidence of how much I love Tami - I'm going to post the before/after photos. I tried to keep the same pose although I'd rather show off my "new" arms. The difference I feel in strength and confidence is a lot more dramatic than photos can show. It's not ALL about looks. Really.


Bike Camp

Fun. Tired. Busy riding, few photos.

Bridges, manuals, dirt jumps, rocks. Sore muscles.

Meet the instructors. Two hulas and a nun. Awesome.

Sunday morning muster, feeling a little tired but ready to roll.

This is what you wear for "bling" day at a bike camp. Apparently we wanted to be distinguished in some way from the guys on BMX's nailing the huge gap jumps beside us.

Bush Pilot Biking photos from last year if you want to see the style of trails we were riding.


The Tyson Method Challenge

Sometimes I talk tough about getting really fit. Right now, I'm actually doing it. My friend Tami and her husband Charles have developed The Tyson Method of fitness. She's been running her Bootcamp4Moms in LA for years and it has been a great success. I was fortunate to get in on her 6 week bootcamp challenge. I work out with her and a small group of women online, 3x/week. The workouts focus a lot on the core muscles and she keeps the cardio rocking. I was dripping sweat yesterday. Did you want to know that? After the first class I was sore for 4 days and quite happy about it. To switch things up Charles teaches some of the classes or portions of them. I've only done one with him and he also got me working hard but on different challenges - keeps it interesting! Have you ever done a spiderman pushup combined with yoga moves? Me neither.

The exercise is only part of the program though. I, for the first time in my life, am tracking my nutrition. Whatever I eat gets logged into a program online and it shows me not only calories but vitamins, minerals etc. I've always avoided counting calories like the plague, having seen so many people whose enjoyment of food seems to have been ruined by it. It has been an awakening to realize it can be used for good, as well as evil. I needed to know that I get almost no vitamin B12 in my diet and that I don't eat nearly as many carbs as I thought. My calcium and iron both tend to be low too.

I knew Tami was a great instructor 15 years ago already but she's built on that to become amazing! Her ability to connect with each person, her passion, intuition, feedback, knowledge and attention to detail (on form) are all remarkable. Thanks Tami! She's passed on some of her secrets and wisdom to Lisa, who is now teaching in Rosenort...I know that she'll be awesome too but I'll have to wait a while before getting to one of her classes.

I'll try to post updates occasionally. A head cold hit me hard today so I'm feeling blah, glad it was a recovery day. All I wanted to do was sit in bed, read, drink tea and eat a bag of s&v chips. I got a short nap and some tea so I think that went rather well.



Not my strong point but it didn't stop me from enjoying a wonderfully staged show in Penticton this week. I went with a good friend and met a lot of other people I knew there...good times, small town.

Andrea Hill (below) was the mastermind behind it and the show was in her mother's honour. Knowing a bit of that back story made for some emotional moments, even without knowing the family personally. Andrea's sister Jana was also modelling and they were both fantastic. Yes, that's my head slightly below and left of the beach ball, just to prove I was there.

As I understand it, the clothes were largely provided by Vintage & Vogue on Main St. in Penticton. The retro vibe was refreshing, if that's not an oxymoron. To my untrained eye it was high style but not in an "I'm a cooler designer than you" kind of way.

This pseudo-film shot captures the mood of the show.

A few of Jeremy's Flickr friends were down in the paparazzi pit and that's where these great shots came from. Check out this set and another to see more clothes and how much fun the models were having. If there are more photos around I haven't seen them yet. I am amazed by all of these - I have trouble with any lighting less than perfectly diffused daylight, I have no idea how they do it. What's even worse is when I read the explanation of how they did it, I still don't get it.


mud madness

*With apologies going out to Mr. Baker for the desecration of the sun porch. It looks fine now and we've got the splash pan set up properly for next time.

One of the founding members of the guild needed a temporary home for her old school (but motorized) "Wrangler", as the wheel has been dubbed, and was kind enough to offer it to us. I spent the afternoon doing some wheel coaching with the family. The girls each got a bowl out of it and are looking forward to trimming them. It was fun to introduce them to my obsession but I'm secretly hoping nobody else loves it as much as I do, I'm selfish with my wheel time!





Thanks to Jeremy for taking the photos...none of him on the wheel but I'll get some one of these days.


I don't even know what to say to that

I took the kids to the big city today (that would be Kelowna to us country bumpkins) so I went a little crazy and wore my hair down, put on hoop earrings and a little bit of makeup. I got the stare down and 3rd degree from Ivy. Turns out that when I do things like that I look like I'm trying to be the same as all the other moms out there which is boring and conformist.


Princeton tournament

Here's the hockey team I play on, in all our post-tournament victory glory. I'm pretty sure we were laughing and not in severe pain, as some expressions may imply. One tournament left on Easter weekend before we retire the gear for the summer.



Last weekend I had a chance to participate in my first raku firing where we use the reduction process. It was the kind of event where it feels like a party, you get to play with fire and ideally get something cool out of the deal. It was sunny, plenty of coffee was consumed and we enjoyed pizza for lunch. And possibly some cold beverages were involved.

(this vase is NOT mine but was one of the better pictures...will post mine if I remember to take photos in daylight).

The temperature of the kiln when pieces come out is about 1800 F which requires good nerves and steady hands. The items are in the kiln until the glaze is molten, then when they are taken out we place them in the garbage cans that are lined with newspaper (in this case). The paper ignites almost immediately and the flames draw the oxides out of the glazes, causing what's called a reduction. The lid is closed before the fire burns down so that the pieces don't have a chance to re-oxidize. They are opened about 20 minutes later when they are significantly cooler. The water spraying cools them rapidly down to air temperature so once again, they don't have a chance to re-oxidize (which would change the colours significantly). At least that's the way I understand the process so far. Feel free to research...


slow posting

Not much to report that is out of the ordinary and warrants a post. Still enjoying home schooling and pottery when I can get there. I occasionally read when the house is quiet in the evenings and am limiting screen time to a certain degree. Life is good, I like the routines we're in. We've even seen the sun twice this week and that's good for the soul.

I have a few books out from the library that I believe I may have commented on before but the search on my blog stinks and I don't have the gusto to dig through it. The theory I had was that if I'd blog about them I'd be able to find them again someday...hmm. Better tags would help.

"Food Not Lawns" by Heather C. Flores. Pretty self-explanatory. There's a whole network that been developed along with it and encourages doing the activism thing in your own home town. It's something I'm passionate about but need to either start small or stop being afraid of hard work and/or failure.

"Superbia - 31 ways to create sustainable neighbourhoods", Dan Chiras and Dave Wann. I've read it before and get a kick out of their scathing opinion of suburbia. What I like even more is that they try to come up with ideas to make it more functional. Similar vibe to Food Not Lawns.

"Off the Grid Homes: Case Studies for Sustainable Living" by Lori Ryker. Beautiful, carefully crafted homes that incorporate alternative energy ideas and smart design. It's generally as lame as all the other pretty books showcasing executive-priced homes well in excess of 2000 sq. ft that claim somehow to be the paragon of "sustainability". There are neat ideas but if you have a budget and want to build small it would be a discouraging.