a.o.k. moves...

If you're looking for a.o.k., you won't find me here much anymore.

I've moved to http://www.okwithandrea.com/ where I hope to blog more regularly, and always candidly about the good, the bad, the simple and the complicated...

I hope you'll follow me there...


My very own TEN30

A couple of years ago a new shopping and residential area filled what was a large field at the intersection of highway TEN and highway THIRTY. Today, the DIX30 (or TEN30) is a trendy place to shop (and live) and is still growing with new commences, restaurants, condos, mansions, etc. building up and around.

There’s really no connection to the shopping experience or restaurants… but with my 30th birthday coming in October 2011, I’m thinking it’s time to undertake my very own TEN30 project.

I made this decision while I was climbing and living on my mountain… (What? you didn’t know Kilimanjaro was my mountain? :-) Well... this is how Layla is always referring to it… so now I do too!).

Anyways, I don’t remember if it was before or after reaching the summit that I thought of it… but basically my idea is this:

Every month from now (January) until my birthday (October), I want to challenge myself to do something that I’ve never done before. It doesn’t need to be big or fancy, I’ve already climbed ONE mountain this year (!) - but it has to be something new, and maybe even something that scares me a little.

January is obviously all taken care of (despite the fact that I was NOT planning this) with climbing Kilimanjaro for the first time. Not to mention that… I’ve never (1) visited Tanzania, (2) climbed higher than 6,288 ft (that’s Mt-Washington, the highest peak in the North-Eastern United States), (3) gone without a shower for 10 days … and as you can imagine, the list of “firsts” could go on.

This month (February) I’m going to visit a high end salon in Montreal and get a new look. I’ve had my hair cut before, so that’s no big deal, but the “first time” experience still fits because I’ll be donating my pony tail to locks of love. My hair was looking particularly good yesterday, so trust me, there is definitely an element of sacrifice to this small gesture. I’ve been joking that I’m going short and blond – which would be a huge change – but we’ll wait and see what they (my very own colorist and stylist!) suggest when I meet them this morning (yes today!)

The next 8 months remain TBD… but I’m hoping to cap off my 30th year with first sky diving experience. Cliché? Maybe a little. Thrilling? Uh… yeah! Scary? Well of course… that’s part of the thrill, right?

If you have any ideas for something new to try – let me know!


Sunscreen and other words of wisdom...

I heard this song for the first time at the end of a "spin" class last week, while we were stretching. I have to share it... because it speaks to a lot of the things that I've been thinking about lately...

I've posted the lyrics below...

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.

But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked…

You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own..

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on to, work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard;

live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders. Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…

A little rest to get a little perspective

It's hardly a secret that this fall has been particularly busy for me. In fact, I'm starting to feel kinda like a broken record...

I remember telling someone that I was the kind of busy where, when other people would tell me how busy they were, all I could think was "Are you kidding me? You have no idea what busy is!". I'm embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I felt this way because I know how awful it sounds... and I also know that I'm not the only person with a lot on her plate... obviously...

I'm not the only mom who has taken on too much...
(It just felt that way sometimes.)
But in the thick of my work projects, fundraising, training, etc. PERSPECTIVE was hard to FEEL. All I could see were the days rolling one into the next, the time that I didn't have, the things that I wanted or needed to get done - that I didn't know where I would possibly fit them in.

It's now been two weeks since the crazyness at work has started to fade a little; and a week since my final fundraising event... and a couple of days "off" later, I'm finally starting to feel a little bit more like myself.

I want to cook again. For the past couple of months cooking has been a chore (forget a recipe... or attempting to try a new one... I think both Brandon and I were happy if we managed to get a decent and healthy meal on the table by 6 p.m. most evenings). The importance of meal planning became more obvious than ever. There were a couple of weeks where we hadn't planned specific meals and supper was often a last minute, thrown together... and altogether a not so fantastic affair (!)

My libido has returned. I know - too much information right? But seriously, I was starting to be concerned that there was something seriously wrong with me. For almost a month I was simply not interested. A couple of weeks ago I came to the realisation that I was just too physically exhausted and stressed. I threw it out there as an excuse with promises that things would get better once life slowed down a little. I didn't realise just how right I was. Fatigue and stress are not good for my sex life. Good to know. Time to make up for it ;-)
I'm enjoying simple things like you wouldn't believe. Taking a couple of hours to go to the hairdresser,  eating breakfast with the family, watching the girls run around the yard with Brandon (on a beautiful fall day)... I even took the time to straighten my hair this week.... and it's not all that surprising that I feel much less overwhelmed by the loads of laundry to be done of the course of the weekend...
And I'm really hoping to start writing more regularly again. Despite the business and the extra work, the Fall has been a time of learning for me. Learning about myself, learning about what I'm good (and not good) at... learning to take a step back to gain a little perspective that isn't so wrapped up around my own belly button (sometimes this is the hardest lesson to learn... and re-learn...and re-learn!).

Summit for Wishes (An update)

It may be quiet on AOK these days, but you should head over to AOK "summit for wishes" and check out my latest posts there...

(1) My search for the perfect boots brought me to these pair of LOWA VIVIONE boots. They're very good quality and are treating my feet well. Click here to read more...  
(2) I'm inviting as many people as I can to try and get a decent crowd out for an evening fundraiser "Soirée for Wishes". If you're interested... contact me! :-) Click here to read more...

(3) I continue to be touched and humbled by the display of support from family, friends and colleagues. Some serious donations on Thanksgiving weekend brought my fundraising total close to $13 000 and the kids of some good friends planned their own little fundraiser "breakfast for donations" this past weekend...
Click here to

(4) And most recently (as in yesterday) I headed down to hike Mt-Washington with some of the gang from Make-A-Wish and Summit for Wishes. A big DAY trip for sure... but lots of fun. There's a short video of the crazy wind that kept us from going further and reaching the summit. Click here to read more...

What a great project!

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