Browsing Tag


My Hiking Wake-up Call. It's time for Contact Lenses

beauty, FAM, GEAR, health By July 29, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Seeing Clearly with Disposable LensesAs a woman and a mother there are a few things that top my priority list.  One is health for the whole family – being active, having regular checkups and doing a mental health scan every so often.  The other big priority I have is to be a well-rounded, confident woman.  My kids need to see that.  I want to be a role model and inspiration.

Sometimes I get a ‘wake-up’ call that I am falling short of meeting my own expectations.  Not long ago I did a four-hour hike without my eyeglasses.  They are cumbersome, steam up when I sweat and make it difficult to see bears and things out of the periphery.  (Only half joking).  A crazy thing happened.  I grew very dizzy.  My confidence plummeted.  I almost fell and tripped several times.  Nearing tears, I made a decision: I have a responsibility to care for myself and it was time for contact lenses.

With glaucoma in my family I have been diligent about getting my eyes checked and was astounded as a teenager to learn that I suffered from astygmatism.  At that time, glasses were my only option and I wore them on and off.  Mostly off.  The frames made me feel as if I was hiding from truly connecting with others, and they would generally end up on top of my head to keep my hair back.  I would play tennis, take dance classes and ski while accepting my distorted vision.  To wear glasses under ski goggles?  Not terribly fashionable or practical.  Prescription goggles and sunglasses were expensive and I always found that sunglasses slid off my face during sport, fogged up and limited my peripheral vision.

I have also been secretly terrified of contacts.  I pass by the drugstore aisles with solutions, lens cases and cleaners and look the other way.  It’s much like tiling a bathroom.  Could I do it?  Yes.  But would I rather never learn because it seems complicated?  Definitely.  My husband wore contact lenses and constantly complained of dry eyes and running out of solution.

When I had the hike experience and after several near-misses with trees while skiing, I knew it was time for contact lenses.  The best news I’ve heard in years is that they now not only fit my eyes but come in disposables. Technology has advanced so much and  with daily disposable lenses, the maintenance isn’t an issue.  As a busy mom, I can’t afford to add any extra time into my routine and this option is ideal.  Less squinting, fewer wrinkles and everyone around me is much safer!! 

For teenagers in sport, Softlens disposable contact lenses are a perfect option.  Though I can’t ever pretend to excel at sport like Kaylyn Kyle does, I do know that as a teenager, so many factors toyed with my confidence.  Insecurity, acne, body image concerns, decisions about the future… As adults and parents we must facilitate making this a gentle time for our children.  This is the time in your life when our kids begin to define a self-concept.  We have come so far in science and are so blessed that teens have so many more resources that we once did.  I’m embracing my newfound confidence as a mother and woman, and am so proud that I’ve taken care of myself.  See you on the slopes!  (I will no longer be the one falling into tree wells…)

 Disclosure: This is a sponsored article from Bosch & Lomb. As always, our opinions are our own.


The Youth of Claratown, Monrovia Liberia

charity, FAM, International, ROAM By March 4, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

Claratown MonroviaAfter hours of games – in one spot 40 kids had been selected to participate and over 300 showed up – I was able to really see the theories behind Right To Play.  It is genius and the youth of Claratown, Monrovia, Liberia showed me the learning and laughter produced by Right To Play.  I keep thinking of the parallels it has to the theatre sports of my youth and university years, teaching  attention to detail, conversational abilities, control of the body and leadership.  After every game (not a soccer match, but a shorter activity such as ‘What time is it Mr. Wolf’ or ‘Find the person in the circle who is leading the activity’ or ‘find whose hand the stone is hidden in’ – there is a very deep discussion about the lessons learned.  Some games invite you to state your name proudly as you go around the circle.  I did that one in theatre school continually.  Others ask you to say the name of a country or boy’s name in a claratown schoolmetronome-like tempo – the trick being you can’t repeat one said already.  Bails of laughter resounded when I hesitated and shouted ‘Britney’ for a girl’s name.  They all thought I was perfect, as I was white.  But no.  You should have seen their faces when they had to mimic an action and I chose the Gangam Style jumps!

There are also other games that I played like Mosquito Tag that teach about issues pertaining to the local culture: sleep under a mosquito net, reduce garbage and don’t leave water standing.  In others, we talked about the meaning of discrimination, segregation and equality.  With the smaller kids we worked on left and right, body parts, physicality and focus as well as healthy eating (the fruit salad game!).

Claratown OuthouseIt was so special to have the opportunity to speak with locals.  They think we have no problems in North America.  I explained the homeless in Vancouver, the sexual assault, poverty and murders throughout our country.  They were shocked.  I talked about food banks and violence and they realized that perhaps we are not as shiny as we may seem.  I watched them cook and set up individual businesses buying bleach or grain in bulk and selling it in small packets for a profit.  This was not only a poverty-stricken society, but almost operated as if it were 1800 – the cell phone charging stations aside.

After two vigourous play sessions, I attended a two and a half- hour forum on drugs and youth. It was lengthy and – wow – the West African accents are hard to understand!  But I was floored.  These youth leaders – from teens to mid-thirties – arranged this event with guests.  Our Claratown vendorsCanadian group of 7 were special attendees.  But the mayor and governor of the region also attended.  And two representatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency.  I hadn’t been in such a formal atmosphere since student government days at Queen’s.  The Queen’s students had nothing on these statesmen.  Points were discussed, debated, restated and analyzed.

IClara Town Youth Meeting came to a realization.  This conversation and articulation was the next logical phase of the Right to Play programs in which I was participating.  After being kids, people become youth leaders and then full-on volunteers who run groups all over Monrovia.  In Westpoint there were 9 circles of at least 40 kids.  The leaders were better than most counselors I have had in my life (don’t make me tell you how many).  And they were jobless.  They volunteer their time because they realize that if they don’t, their community will implode once these kids reach a certain age.

At the meeting, six-time Olympian Clara Hughes spoke for our group about her drug use as a teen.  A pin could have dropped.  These topics are not discussed in West Africa.  There are trucks that sell shoe polish to ensure appearances are tidy and yet there is no affordable way to go to the bathroom.  She then talked about determination and the blessings she received by having leaders, coaches and trainers.  And how, despite her difficult past, went to to win Olympic medals for Canada during both the summer and winter games.

History was made at this meeting.  I kept thinking of the French Revolution.  Seeing fourty people who have been through a recent war, and whose brothers and parents now suffer the effects of cocaine and marijuana, I could feel change bubbling within the room.  And these people all experienced Right To Play programs after being through a horrific war.  I would argue that my children cannot articulate in public the way the children involved in Right To Play programs had as we ‘played’.  And at the meeting?  I wish I could hire the whole lot of them to negotiate for me and run my company.

Claratown childrenAfter the discussions we were blessed with African drumming and dance of some local children outside the building.  There was a 3 year old who couldn’t control herself and followed along.  The hope extended from inside to out.

In case you missed the first travel article focused on West Point it is archived here.