Posted by: ramblinpat | September 2, 2013

Labour Day, a Convenient Milestone for Change…..

It’s an arbitrary milestone for me.  Labour Day has significance for others in terms of celebrating workers, back-to-school, end of summer or whatever, but for me it is a convenient transition point.  Maybe it’s even an optional transition point that I use when I sense that I need to make a change.  This time I’m using it for some physical changes.  

I need to drop some weight, reduce blood pressure and get generally healthier.  the issues that surround being overweight are obvious; we hear about them every day.  Although my brain has been working hard to justify my bad habits, I now have to take action to change my own internal programming to adjust those habits as they are cutting years off of my life.  So, starting tomorrow  (No, not today.  Shut up…I know what you’re thinking!) I’ll be adjusting my eating habits.  I’m just going for multiple meals, smaller portions, more colourful veggies and less meat – especially red meat.  I’ll make a few changes in cooking techiques – more raw and less frying.  And I’m tracking my meals using with its iPhone app.  

An exercise program is critical but it’s going to be a little complicated for the moment.  My default exercise is walking but I have a knee injury that hasn’t quite been diagnosed yet, so walking is not an option at this point.  I just had an MRI yesterday, so I should be hearing soon about the specifics of the injury and the treatment.  That will help clarify what exercise program is going to work for me.  For the moment I am going to do what I can to exercise without involving my knee.  Luckily, the internet comes through again!  I searched for “exercise with an injured knee” and there are lots of options.  So, it looks like I’ll be spending some time in the gym and using those dumb bells and kettle bells that I have at home.  

I don’t drink alcohol a lot, so I don’t need to make any significant changes there.  I will take a two week period of no drinking at all and then I’ll relax and allow a couple of adult beverages on the weekends.  

I’m not going to go crazy with health-kick changes, because I’ve done that before and it doesn’t work.  The human brain doesn’t like big changes and it will work against you to maintain its less than healthy habits.  So, I’m going to make little changes to eat better, exercise better and get better.  The key is small changes.  Multiple small changes over time will result in continuous improvement which leads to major change.  If you keep improving – even just a little bit – you will eventually make huge changes.  You just have to make the changes small enough and palatable enough so that your brain doesn’t notice them.  If the change is too big, it will fight you.  If you normally eat 2300 calories a day and you suddenly drop to 1500 calories your system (your brain) will be very unhappy and you will crave calories, and the likelihood of maintaining this change will be minimal.  Try reducing your calories to 2200 per day.  Not much of a difference, right?  Your brain probably won’t even notice, but you will start to lose weight slowly – 100 calories a day = 10 pounds per year.  This may be too slow for most people, but if you make this change and then let your brain get used to it you can make the same change again in a few weeks, and again your brain won’t notice it.  Now you’ve cropped 200 calories/day from your meals = 20 pounds per year.  If you want to lose a pound a week you have to re-balance your intake by 500 calories per day.  I say re-balance because you have options when it comes to calorie consumption.  You can either not consume them by not eating them, or you can burn them with exercise.  For example:  A 180 pound man can consume 150-200 calories by simply walking for 30 minutes…A bran muffin is 270 calories…so a 180 pound man can re-balance 470 calories by walking 30 minutes and avoiding the equivalent of one bran muffin or one ham sandwich each day.    

For those of you who haven’t done it, try tracking your intake and exercise outputs.  I’m willing to bet that if you simply track food and exercise, you will unconsciously make changes because you will become conscious of some little bad habits.  You will become conscious of the net effect of that bowl of ice cream (1 cup = 260 cals), or bag of chips (28 gram bag = 160 cals) or even that bran muffin (270 cals) that we ate just because it was there.  Just for fun, take one thing that you ate today, find out it’s calorie content and multiply it by 365 then divide it by 3500 to find it’s net impact if you eat that every day for a year.  For example, if you eat a bran muffin every day and you stop doing that without adding or subtracting anything else, you will re-balance your intake by 98,000 calories and lose over 25 pounds.  

There are a bunch of lifestyle trackers out there, but I use and it works for me.  

Anyway, it’s time to get a little healthier by making some changes.  Wish me luck!

Posted by: ramblinpat | August 27, 2013

Can Canadian Politics Be Salvaged?

I have to start by saying that I have been completely apolitical for decades – even anti-political.  I have felt that our Canadian political system is so seriously flawed that it has done more harm than good.  If the purpose of government is to represent the people, it doesn’t seem to be fulfilling it’s purpose.  It seems to be representing a small group of influential people who are using politics to manipulate the system to gain their own ends and accumulate wealth and control.  Elections seem to be the one time that politicians pay attention to people and offer promises to be representative of constituents so as to be re-elected into positions of power.

I am proud of Canada, but that pride is becoming fatigued.  I find myself faced with a choice:  Should I make an effort to make things better on the larger scale, or simply give up and do my best to make my smaller, personal world better?   It would certainly be easier to step back and live out my life while avoiding the complications of government.  But that wouldn’t help my children and all of the rest of the people that will be impacted by the mess that is growing today.  

Have a look at a TED video about the responsibility that we Boomers should feel –  I both thank and curse Dr. John Izzo for this talk at TEDx Vancouver.  I have been feeling that responsibility since hearing him speak and now I feel that I have to do something about it.  

I’ve decided to get involved in politics.  Not as a candidate, because in all honesty I don’t think that I would be very good at it.  I am going to learn about politics by getting involved at the policy level – it all begins with Policy.  I’ve chosen a political party that I think is closest to my principles and become a party member.  I have made myself available to become part of the core structure of the party so that I can understand the system to the point of being able to judge for myself whether the system can be salvaged, or not.  I will be attending the Biennial Convention this fall and participating in good faith in the process of preparing the Party for the next election.  

At some point during this process, I will be able to come to some conclusions about Canadian politics.  I want to make an informed decision; Can the system be salvaged, or should it be scrapped and replaced?  After having made that fundamental decision, I will decide the ‘next steps’.  

I will be posting here about my adventures in the political machine.  


Ramblin’ Pat

Posted by: ramblinpat | September 25, 2012

Cafe Medina – Best Breakfast In Ages!!

Went looking for breakfast this morning and found Cafe Medina, 556 Beatty Street, Vancouver. This place has just about the best menu that I’ve seen in a long time. A truly unique selection of eclectic alternatives. I won’t list the menu, you can look at it on their website – – and I can say that I wasn’t disappointed with any of our choices. We shared the Granola, Fruit & Yogurt, the Fricasse and their signature dish, the waffle with caramel sauce and sea salt – all great! We accompanied it with the Chai Latte and a White Chocolate-Pistachio-Rosewater Mocha. I wasn’t sure about the Rosewater part, but there was a nice subtle undertone that rounded out the full flavour.

All in all – 5 stars! You need to go here and enjoy!

Posted by: ramblinpat | September 12, 2012

Great Day on Van Isle!

Perfect weather for a drive in the Namaimo-Parksville-Coombes area!

Posted by: ramblinpat | May 1, 2012

Almost time to begin again…..

The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay is nearing the finish line. We have three weeks to go and they promise to be the busiest of the entire 273 day Relay. Stay tuned to

I have been conspicuously absent from Ramblin’ Canada for many months and I will continue to be too busy to write for the next few weeks. But when we get this project wrapped, it will be time for Ramblin’ Pat to get busy and launch the next adventure.

Coming up….

Tough Mudder in Whistler
Bike racing in Quesnel
Art and music festival in Wells
Barkerville Days

As well as my reviews of unique locally owned places to eat, sleep, drink and play!

Stay tuned…Rambling’ Canada will be back online soon!

Posted by: ramblinpat | August 29, 2011

Cape Spear, Newfoundland-Labrador

If you look just a little farther to the east, you will see the west coast of Ireland.

It’s not often that you can be among the first people in North America who see the sun, so I had to see the sunrise at Cape Spear, the easternmost point of land in Canada the closest land to the east is the west coast of Ireland. A couple of years ago my son and I stood on that point in Ireland so it is an interesting feeling to have been on those beaches on either side of the north atlantic.

At 5:45 it was pre-dawn with a coral colored sky in the east. Over a period of 2-3 minutes everything shifted from pre-dawn grays to the vivid colours of the ocean shoreline in the bright morning sun.

If you haven’t been to Cape Spear in Newfoundland-Labrador, you should put it on your list, and you should be there Feeling Canada’s first rays of sun on your face is one of the best ways to start a day!

Posted by: ramblinpat | August 5, 2011

It’s almost time to launch!

It’s been incredibly busy for the last few weeks and it’s almost time to head for the Atlantic and begin the 9 month cross-Canada trek – The Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay. It’s been 25 years since Rick’s Man in Motion World Tour. We will be following Rick’s original route across the country and stopping in the same places. This time there will be 7000 participants carrying and passing the Rick Hansen Medal from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Vancouver, BC. You can find information about the Relay at and also find links to follow on FaceBook and Twitter.

Next week I’m heading to Halifax, Nova Scotia for a 2-day mini vacation and then meeting our team of drivers to drive our large vehicles to North Sydney, NS. From there we will board the Marine Atlantic Ferry to Channel Porte-aux-Basques and then we drive across Newfoundland to St. John’s. Watch for TV coverage of the opening ceremonies on August 24 and launch of the Relay with the first Medal-Bearer from Cape Spear…the eastern-most point of land in Canada.

If you have suggestions for sights to see along the way, leave a comment. I’m always interested in finding interesting places along the road.

More to come soon!

Ramblin’ Pat

Posted by: ramblinpat | April 16, 2011

Startin’ out…

At this point, I will be spending most of my time in Beautiful British Columbia.  I have a major Canadian trip on the horizon but in the meantime I will be practicing with the WordPress blogging platform. 

For the next couple of months I will be seeking out the hidden treasures of the southwest corner of B.C. and bring pictures and information back to these pages. 

Bear with me as I get up to speed.


Ramblin’ Pat

Posted by: ramblinpat | April 15, 2011

What it’s all about….

Ramblin’ Canada will chronicle my travel experiences around Canada and from time to time will include some posts from friends and guests. 

Last year I had the huge honour of traveling from coast to coast across Canada with the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay and I rediscovered that Canada and Canadians are awesome – in the truest sense of the word.  This country is filled with treasures – some on a grand scale, and some hidden.  I will find them and bring back the details. 

It could be the rustic cafe in Mortlach, Saskatchewan where you can get a great soup and sandwich, or the festival experiences of St. John’s, Newfoundland-Labrador.  It could be the oldest restaurant in Quebec City or the best vantage point to get a beach sunset picture in Tofino, B.C.  Or it could be pics of Nanaimo Harbour from a buddy’s sundeck.  If it’s unique, intriguing and worth visiting, I’ll tell you about it. 

So, come back and visit and I’ll keep you posted on some of the great things hidden in the Great White North. 


Ramblin’ Pat