When Life Pops Your Knee… Make Lemonade.


I’ve never been good with remembering idioms but as long as you’re picking up what I’m putting down then it doesn’t really matter.

Three weeks ago my knee went “pop” when I landed a tiny jump from setting a volleyball. I remember contacting the ball, hearing the pop, thinking “omg my knee is dislocated,” and then curling into a fetal position clutching my right knee trying to force myself to breath but not being able to. 

I remember hearing voices far away “are you okay?” “What happened?” “Can you move?” It seemed liked an enternity before my head stopped spinning and for me to realize I was holding my breath. 

My team mate Mel assessed my knee and being experienced in orthopedics she quickly informed me it wasn’t looking good. 


I booked an appointment the next day to the Acute Knee Injury Clinic and then went straight to my family physician to prescribe me radiographs and an ultrasound.  Initially it seemed it may have been a minor tear and my heart was happy.

A week later at my Acute Knee assessment I was informed that it was confirmed as a full anterior cruciate ligament tear. 

“What?” 

I don’t think I heard her correctly. She said the MCL and LCL looked great and then she said something about something. 

“How do you know? Do I need an MRI?” 

“No you don’t need an MRI because we knows it’s fully severed.”

I don’t know why but I’m pretty sure my eyes started tearing up. All the hopes and dreams of the summer … climbing…. paddling … surfing, seemed to collapse around my little heart and squeeze.

I gritted my teeth, shifted my jaw and tried to absorb this new intel. 

I asked what was next. What the expected healing process was and how long. 

Apparently many people including athletes can continue life without an ACL as long as they wear a brace whenever they are engaging in sports. Some people choose to have the surgery and it could take 3-9months for surgery and up to year to fully heal. 

You can imagine what was going on in my brain. Math. I was mathing out the next 2 years of my life.  3 months to heal from this initial tear. Then surgery. Then  healing all over again. 

Over the years I’ve trained myself to better deal with obstacles thrown in my face. I give myself time to absorb and process the information, grieve and then onwards and upwards.


The first week and a half I spent elevating, icingy knee and taking anti inflammatories. I ordered a K2 Comfortlite custom knee brace immediately, which arrived a few days later.


The second week I began to increase mobility with the assistance of a hiking pole and resumed playing discgolf. I went back to work. No word of a lie I think disc golf helped expedite the rehabilitation of my knee. Low impact activities to promote mobility. It’s easy to want to stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself but the stiffness that follows is what is truly debilatating.

Now in the third week, I’ve begun to climb easy routes, hike short easy to moderate terrain and continue disc golfing. My followup appointment to see my progress and initiate a consultation for surgery will be happening in the next couple days. 


I’m more motivated now to actively develop my leg muscles and push hard to strengthen my legs before my upcoming surgery, and also so I can climb and paddle this year. If all goes well I’ll have surgery booked for the late fall of 2017 and I’ll spend all my off time making chalk bags and painting

All in all for those going through the same thing, I want you to know yes, it sucks but if you want it bad enough you can get back to where you were before and maybe even become stronger than ever. 32 is going to be the most epic ACLrecovery year ever. 

Follow me on Instagram @Melba_Seto and Facebook @MelbasToast.com to see what someone without an ACL can accomplish. 

Facing Fears Is Harder As an Adult 


There are many of us that spend our time always wishing we could do the things our adventurous, outdoorsy friends seem to do so easily. There’s always that person in your circle of friends that’s traveling or jumping into some crazy new activity or artistic endeavor. There’s a secret to how they do that, and I’m going to share it with you.

Last year I bought a used set of cross country skis. There’s two styles classic skiing (where you typically see skiers slide forward by pushing their skies parallel to the snow) and skate skiing (they kind where you see biathletes push off to the sides to propel themselves, similar to how one would skate on ice – hence the term “skate skis”).

I wanted skate skis because long, long time ago I competed in biathlon, for one season, when I was a member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.


I’ve often thought back to those days, the first time we put on those skinny little skis we fell left and right trying to balance ourselves.  It took a few training sessions before we could even ski on them. I ended up competing in a short race somewhere in Edmonton and somehow placed high enough that I made it to the provincial competition.

We were the laughing stock of all the other competing squadrons. The little misfit squadron with second hand clothes and skis and none of us matching. I remember everyone else was wearing these spandex racing suits and here I was in my neon pink Sun Ice jacket with tights. 

Provincials were at the Canmore Nordic Centre and I threw up before the race. Nerves. I don’t remember much, except being passed a lot and having to take penalty laps because I couldn’t see through my glasses when shooting at the targets. 

I ended up getting mild hypothermia because apparently tights aren’t the same as racing spandex. 

We raced as individuals and as a team. It was called the Patrol race. Where the team comprised of three members that had to be within a certain distance apart at all times. It was a long time ago but all I remember is that Carie- Ann and I and the third girl came in third. It was definitely one of the most memorable times of my life. 

Then the individual places were announced… Cari-Anne came in 10th, I came in 13th and the other girl 15th in the entire province. Turns out little misfit 699 Jasper Place Squadron was holding out! 

Fast forward to now, I guess I’m hitting the mid life crisis kind of stage. Wanting to relive the old glory days. 

It’s been a year since I bought those skis and besides piddling around with them a couple times I really haven’t used them. 

It’s because I’ve been scared. Intimidated. There’s a huge part of me that knows my body is no longer conditioned for it and I’ll probably not be able to go very far.  
I guess I’ve felt like “what’s the point?” “Why would I drive 45min to a trail to only ski for 30min?”

Why? Because you have to. 

This is the hardest part of being an adult, we develop these insecurities about our abilities and we no longer can be swayed by others that we can do it. We’re set in our ways and afraid to fail. So why try? 

In children we promise them success and support when they try their hardest. We give them love and hugs and they trust us. Somewhere along the way of becoming an adult we often think it’s too much work to try and we tell ourselves that we’re happy staying where we are as we are. We no longer trust others when they say we can do it and often dismiss their encouragements as false promises.


That is why facing challenges and fears are so much harder as an adult. Ultimately you are responsible for motivating yourself to grow. 
Pining for things will never bring you joy. The outcome of your happiness is directly related to your effort. 

Take a page from my little experience today. There was no one there to pack my hot tea and lunch. No one there to drive my ass to the Nordic Centre.No one there to buy my trail pass and no one there to clip in my boots and says “let’s go.” 

There’s was only me. I know it’s not easy getting off our asses and doing things but we have to. If we want to become that person that inspires us to be better, stronger, healthier we have motivate ourselves and push ourselves. 

In the end I finally got myself onto the trail into my skis and though I was as graceful as a baby giraffe, I’m happy that I did it. 

To Feed You is to Love You.

There is nothing I detest more than feeding someone I do not respect. To many this probably seems like an odd proclamation but to those who know the meaning of food, it is not so crazy a statement.

I learned this particular aspect of myself a few years ago. While travelling with an organized climbing group called Hot Rock, in South America. We all had certain daily duties to perform as well as a rotational roster for cooking duties. I won’t go into details but essentially over the course of the trip I learned that there was one particular person I absolutely resented cooking for. She was the one non – climber on the climbing trip whose sole purpose was to cause trouble and tension between everyone else. Yeah… you know the one.

Anyways, we always shared our cooking duties with one other climber so it would be less laborious for one person. Every time it was my turn to cook the mean girl would never thank me for my food and would exaggerate her gratefulness to the other cook, (on top of other mean things she would do). Thus began my realization of how much love I put into my food and how hard it was to feed someone I did not love.

I began cooking at the age of 6 and I have always loved to feed other people. Since that experience on that trip, I have interestingly enough, put more love into my food than ever before. It has become increasingly apparent to me how much I value people in my life. I have always tried my best to recognize and verbalize the great qualities I see in the people around me, but in recent years I have redoubled my efforts.


This Pies for You.

Lately, I’ve been addicted to making pies. Not the sweet pies but the savoury ones. I love savoury food and even more so savoury pies! However, these aren’t your traditional pies. It has suddenly dawned on me that I can put whatever the heck I want inside a flakey pastry. ANYTHING! Mind blown right?

Today I have made three different kinds of pies.
1. Beef Stroganoff with Wild Shaggy Mane mushrooms picked by yours truly.
2. Butten Chicken with A Twist (Cottage Cheese instead of Paneer)
3. Cream of Bacon, Beer, Aged white Cheddar and Shrimp.


I spent the morning making the pastry, using a dumpling technique I saw a the Ginger Beef Restaurant. I cut the butter, crumbed it into the flour and gently kneaded some milk into it. I made large coils of the dough and tore off little balls of dough, of which I made into flat circular pieces. I stuck those babies in the fridge while I began making the Stroganoff filling. The butter chicken was already ready from the day before.


Thinking of you.

While all these amazing things were happening, I started thinking.

I thought of you. My friends, my family. I thought about what you were doing for the holidays and I was hoping that maybe i’ll get a chance to see you. I thought about how wonderful you were and all the good things you have done and all the things you have achieved thus far in life.

I thought about how excited you would be to see me and let me put yummy things in your belly.


Time to chill the fillings. I put these out on the balcony as I prepare to wrap the first batch of pies. I thought about who would love the wild mushrooms in the Stroganoff. I also started to think about how lucky I was to have so many creative, loving, adventurous, open minded and intelligent people in my life.


I started to preheat the over to 400 degrees F. I began to wrap the butter chicken pies. I thought about who would like these and that I better make sure there’s a little piece of chicken in each one. Crap that ones leaking. Oh well someone will eat it.

I thought, crap I didn’t make any vegan or vegetarian option. I usually do. Exactly, I usually do and in those cases those people get special treatment so this time the meat and dairy people get a turn! I still feel bad.

Then I started thinking about the Veggie people in my life. I wonder what kind of pies I can make them next time. How will I make the crust? Im starting to fill the Stroganoff pies. I tried a coconut oil crust last time but it was so dry. I’ll figure it out. I miss my Veggie people. One of my best friends is a Veggie and she’s all the way down in Texas. My other Veggie friends are Kiwis and they’re so far away too. I hope they’re all having a good time doing stuff and things right now.

I realized I still had a bunch of pastry left, what else could I do? Bacon. Everyone loves bacon! Then I began to make the third filling. Bacon with mashed yam in a creamy cheesy filling. Yum. I put the other pies in the oven.


By the time I finished the third filling I was getting fatigued from all the cooking and wrapping. Instead of waiting for the filling to cool I just started spooning the hot creamy stuff into my pastry. I forgot the yams. Damn It. Ouch! Crap I’m burning my fingers! I modified my technique and finished the Bacon pies. They look a little wonky but thats okay it will make them easier to distinguish.

Finally Pies.

After a few hours, my pies are almost done. I am sitting here sharing this odd post with you all because I wanted to share a glimpse of what goes on in my mind when I’m cooking. You.


I think of you when I’m cooking. Cutting, Simmering, Boiling, sautéing and burning myself. I think of you when I put in spice or no spice. Meat or no meat. Onion or no onions. I think of you when I wash all the many dishes that come along with cooking, so that when you come visit me there’s a nice clean kitchen. And when I pack these up, I’m going to try make sure they don’t get crushed or broken, because I’m thinking of you.


This is what it means to me when I feed you. Every time I cook I think of all the people I enjoy feeding and how mush happiness we have brought into each others lives. So next time you take a bite of my food. I did it because I love you, and when I say I feed you because I love you, know that it’s true.

The secret ingredient is Love – of course – but it’s not a secret. I feed you because I love you. End of discussion.

Into the Deep End. 

You know when they say you can tell a lot about a person by the state of their room or desk? Well I’ve realized that diving is the true unveilor of a persons character.

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Stettler to Drumheller: Paddling the Red Deer River.


It feels as though it’s been ages since our last canoe trip. Since we’ve met, Adam and I have made it a tradition to do at least one paddling trip a year. Last year with over 30 days paddling, during the Woods Canada Cross Canada Journey, I feel as though I’ve short changed myself this year.  Continue reading

Homemade Cat Toys: Nip Fish & Mice


Dragon is not just any kitten. He’s on a training program to be the most epic adventure cat ever.

His other purpose is to inspire all of us “indoor cat” types to get outside and try something new.

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You Kan Do It. 

Paddling the Kananaskis is not something you wake up one day and think “yeah I’m going to do that.” Then again there’s a hundred other things that I once also felt the same way about.


I am going to share with you the secrets on how to take the first steps to doing things you never thought you could.

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Be Like Mike. 

 

mike bannerEveryone wants to be like Mike. The world is full of “I wish I could, ” “I want to do that,” and “if only,” kind of people. I am here to tell you, that you can, you will and you are. It’s up to you to say “Yes. ” Read my post about The Importance of Yes Friends.

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