Saturday, May 30, 2009

Readin' Ritin' 'n Rithmetic (and more)

That about sums up what is on my agenda this weekend.

Reading? Last night, when I realized the obligations that were piling up on me with only 48 hours to fulfill them ... I decided to take a night off to read. It was fantastic (what was not so great was the hand-to-mouth-disease that accompanied it ... I ate nonstop for almost 3 hours). So much to eat ... too much time.

Ritin'? I must grab my little recorder and transcribe those taped conversations at every free moment. I want to update my blogs. I have emails to send. So much to write ... so little time.

Ritmetic? I have book keeping work coming out my ears. She dropped it off, telling me to work at my own pace. But when I see such a pile of work, I first ... panic. Overwhelmed and overloaded. Then ... I work. I must get a momentum going that reduces that pile this weekend. So much work ... where will I find time?

And more? I have a lawn to mow, a 'date' with Dale, a birthday party to attend and exercise is a priority this weekend (I had a very, very, very bad food consumption week). There is not enough time!

I have a few spare moments before Dale is due to arrive ... I wonder if I have time to update another blog. "I've still got time" (My all time favorite Disney quote from 'The Incredibles')

Gotta run before I'm out of time!

Friday, May 29, 2009


I have to admit that I've had it pretty easy in the parenting department lately. Having 2 adult children certainly helps.

That leaves 'Son #3'. He has been an easy guy to raise. He has grown up in a house full of children, hearing my voice govern the masses who have grown up in our home. It seems rare that I have had to address him on minor issues because he has simply learned with the other kids in my care. He idolizes 'Son #2' and I can see him aspiring to be like him in many ways. We've had a good run these past 11 years.

So when the vice principal of the school called me yesterday afternoon and told me of the infraction that happened after school, I was taken completely off guard. In a word, I was disappointed. A second word to describe my emotions would be surprised.

I've had 15 hours to ponder the crime and its aftermath and I must admit that I'm glad we are dealing with a relatively minor infraction. There are many lessons in peer pressure that this incident gives us a chance to address before the outcome becomes much more serious.

He was given a writing assignment to explain the who/what/why of the incident; what he should have done differently; and how he can get the staff to trust him again. The teacher invited me to add onto this assignment and I asked him to write about what he would do if he was the parent or the teacher who was dealing with this behaviour.

He couldn't make eye contact with me after this incident and the words were stuck in his throat. But he could write.

He wrote about what he did, how it was no one's fault but his own, he had no explanation as to why he did it. The best he could come up with was "... I was just being stupid, I guess ..."

He wrote that he felt that he deserves whatever punishment he gets. When he doled out the punishment that he thought the school and I should give him, he was much harder on himself than I was prepared to be.

I commented on what I agreed with and remained mum on the extra punishments he inflicted on himself. We'll leave that for discussion.

I talked to him about the dangers of not making good decisions when you are with friends. When one takes this 'group mentality' a step further, it is what leads into vandalism, theft, bullying (or standing by and accepting a bully's behaviour) and the list goes on.

In the light of day, I'm relieved that this was a cheap lesson. He took responsibility for his actions and told the truth even under duress. I am incredibly relieved to hear his conscience speak loudly through what he wrote.

I have had pivotal moments like this with each of my sons that preceded this.

Son #1 wasn't a talker, so when we had a crisis moment and he wouldn't speak to me I was at a loss as what to do. Simply put ... I lost it. I made bad parenting choices that (I believe) changed the course of our mother/son relationship. I wish that I had had the insight to find a way for him to communicate his thoughts in a different way.

Son #2 was a talker. Granted, there were many moments that weren't fun to endure but we cleared the air. We knew where we stood with each other and the end result was a good one. We talk through everything to this day.

I've been working on my parenting career for almost 31 years now. And I'm still learning.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Turning Over a New Leaf

Yesterday was a good one. I made myself some goals at the onset of the day and accomplished most of what I set out to do.

I'm a little bit weary this morning but fueled by that feeling of accomplishment, I jumped out of bed without hitting the snooze button. I may not have hit the ground running but I am definitely moving in the direction of having another day with purpose.

As I opened the blinds to let in the new day, I was thrilled that my blinds no longer have their winter coat of 'fur' on them. As I looked out the window, I savored the sunshine that came through my windows that are no longer 'filtered' with dirt and grime.

It is a bright and shiny brand new day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Changing the Outcome of the Day

I don't know what my problem is. In fact, I don't think I have a problem. I read about everyone else's lives and what they are facing and I know for a fact that I have it good. Very, very good. But I'm in a bad rut this week.

So I've decided to try and change the way this day plays out. I am taking a 'weekend break' first thing in the morning (in lieu of exercising) and putting myself first. Time to savor that second and third cup of coffee; time to send an email; time to blog. Just time ... before my day gets off and running.

My eating patterns have been over the top the past few days.

Last night was the worst. I couldn't help myself. I stopped and bought a bag of chips on my way home from dancing. I was an anonymous shopper in a different grocery store than I usually shop in. I thought I could get away with my 'crime' (only junk food in my grocery bag) unnoticed. Not so. I ran into the instructors from the dance studio as I left with my goods (darn those see through grocery bags). I stopped in my tracks and confessed. They fessed up too - they were going in to buy all sorts of healthy foods.

The only thing that saved me was that I bought 'kettle cooked' potato chips (trying to be healthy, you know). They were gross. That didn't stop me from eating half of the bag. But a few hours after I tucked them away for the next emergency, I ceremoniously threw them in the garbage. I don't need them! No more bad food choice options at my fingertips.

In order to accomplish that goal (no bad food choices in the house), I ate the rest of them. I have found that the taste of something sweet on my tongue releases more sugar cravings than I can bear. So I ate every last one of the 45 calorie fudgicles that I had in the house. I believe that there were at least 5 of them (I didn't count, but I could count the wrappers in the garbage this morning). These low cal treats are divine. I have no idea how they shaved the calorie count down to 45 without trading off the flavor sensation that felt purely sinful.

I have an empty agenda tonight. This spells disaster in my world. My hand to mouth disease (called over eating) is insatiable. The act of putting food in my mouth and devouring the flavors, textures and feeling of filling the void within is a purely addictive act. It has absolutely nothing to do with hunger. So ... my plan for tonight is to exercise instead of eat.

This morning, I am filling my quiet time nurturing myself. Taking time out to do what I enjoy, before my house fills up with kids. I have caught myself turning to food every time I face a 'moment' with the kids. Every time I hear my name called in a 4 syllable lilt "Col ee ee een", I physically cringe. "Now what?" is my immediate thought. Then I shovel something into my mouth. My day job is getting to me.

I have a small amount of little things piling up in my mind (those 'impossible things' that make me feel overwhelmed when I ignore them ... and invincible when I face up to them). So I must confront them in the down moments of my day.

My to-do list for today:

Give myself the gift of time this morning.
Shave one small impossible thing off of my worry list during the day.
Spend as much time as possible outside.
Eat only healthy foods.
Exercise tonight.

And this ... shall change the outcome of my day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Slow Motion

As I worked my way through my exercises this morning, I simply couldn't beat or keep up to my prior scores (on the 'Wii Fit'). Last night, as I forced myself to work on the 'AE Active' (my newest Wii fitness purchase), I only achieved a 72% achievement (as compared to the 90+% that I achieved on Sunday). I think I'm tuckering out.

I ate all day yesterday. It was a terrible day for eating sensibly. I still tracked my food and calorie consumption and I vowed that today is a new day. But yesterday was a bad one.

I sat down to transcribe some of my taped conversations yesterday afternoon. I managed to get about 3 minutes written out (only 342 minutes left to go on that 'interview'), and then I fell asleep sitting up.

As I sat on the bench to oversee the kids playing outside yesterday, the waves of exhaustion were hitting me with such force that I could barely resist them. I looked at the long grass under the bench and could have cried when I realized that I must mow the grass after the kids left (when did the grass have a chance to grow with this winter-like weather we have been having??).

I am starting a good book and I just wanted to sit down and read last night. But the food cravings were distracting me. I let myself succumb to them all. I thought if I ate what my body was craving, that I would eventually stop eating. Not. I wanted potato chips in the worst way but I didn't have them in the house.

So I decided it was time to exercise. You can't eat if you are exercising. No ... but the the moment I was finished, I was still searching the cupboards trying to satisfy my cravings.

Finally, I surrendered to my need for sleep. I went to bed thinking that I was wide awake, but I don't think I lasted a page (I took my book to bed with me instead of food). I was out.

As I tried to rev myself up with exercise this morning, I thought that my body is telling me it needs a rest. I have the option of attending 1 1/2 hours of group dance classes tonight. I think that I'll follow through on that idea in lieu of my 'Wii Fit' and take the rest that the 'AE Active' program has been telling me to take for the past 2 days.

I shall go with the flow of the day ... take the kids for a walk ... sit outside and breathe some fresh air ... dance ... and eat reasonably. I'm going to live this day in slow motion and see how that works for me.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Angels All Around Me

As I ended the weekend, I found a comment from a relative about the family history/story that I'm putting together. It never ceases to amaze me that every single time I get a little overwhelmed on projects like these, I get reinspired when I least expect it.

I often follow through on contacting someone who keeps surfacing to the top of my consciousness and it amazes me just how often that person was either thinking of calling me or just how well timed that phone call (or email or letter) was, to the person on the receiving end.

That is what I love about the written word. You can write up a note or email and the person on the receiving end can open it up and read it when they have time. Something in writing can be read, reread and saved to reread at a later date.

That doesn't undermine the value of a phone call or a visit. In this world where it seems that everyone is eternally busy, I am always very conscious of trying not to call at a bad time. But there is such a value in hearing a person's voice, having a two way conversation and immediate response to your contact.

A friend called out of the blue last night and her voice radiated through the phone line like a ray of sunshine. She is a friend that is eternally busy, but someone that I felt an immediate connection to when we met. Our lives have gone in 2 separate directions, but every time our paths cross we pick up from where we last left off and we are off and running. I am blessed to have many friends like that.

Angels all around me ... inspire and encourage me when I need it the most. Little does a person know that a well timed phone call, letter, visit or email can make such a vast difference in another person's life.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Family Speak

The unspoken language of family is precious.

There is the joy of a shared history and a genetic predisposition to understanding each other. The inside jokes and little knowing ways, that make the ordinary extraordinary. To share the same sense of humor, knowing and feeling understood makes an every day conversation go far beyond the surface.

There is the quiet understanding and intuitiveness that goes far beyond words and miles. Mom was marvelling at the way our family 'gets' each other yesterday and said something to the effect that no one else really understands us in that same capacity. The true gift that I have found in my life, is that I am surrounded with friends that do 'get' me. I have friends that I call sister-friends because there is a bond beyond the friendship. But Mom is right about one thing - our family does share a deep understanding and empathy for each other.

When a family member is hurting or struggling, we seem to pick up on what is beyond the surface. You feel their discomfort but have the ability to look at things from an outer perspective. And you just want to do something to alleviate that pain.

When a member of the family is joyous, you feel that too. I am very fortunate to have a family that celebrates each others glories without feeling envious or jealous. I see something unique within each member of my family and strive to attain a little of that within myself. We are all at different stages of our lives and our challenges and triumphs are vastly different. But as Mom has always said, all she truly wants for any of her children ... is for them to be happy. I have inherited that feeling from her.

The down side of being so sensitive and in tune with your family, is that very sensitivity that makes our relationship so special brings its own risks. When a person is so intuitive that they pick up on the unspoken words and feelings, this can also work against them. Because they are so acutely aware of the body language and all of the inner workings and feelings ... they pick up on the negative vibes as well. Words have the ability to cut like a knife, just as easily as they can bring a sense of closeness.

I am fortunate to be sitting in a very good spot in my life right now and looking at my family with a renewed sense of appreciation. They have rallied beside me at the most excrutiating turning points in my life.

My 'white knights' (that I call my sisters), have rescued me on several occasions. If only to lend an ear, they have miraculously appeared at my side even when they didn't truly understand what was going on at the time. They simply 'knew' that I needed a friendly ear. And they were there.

Mom has been my staunchest supporter - always believing that I am better than I truly am. But because she believed it, I aspired to be who she thought that I was.

My brother and I were the fiercest of enemies at one point in our lives. But as we grew into adulthood, we forged a close bond that is unique and special in every way.

I think I feel very much as Mom does, in my wish to sprinkle 'happy dust' all over those that I hold near and dear to me. I want to make the hurt and discomfort of some of the hurdles of life go away. I want to help in some capacity. I'm in a safe and happy spot right now and I have an excess within, that I want to share. I want to give back some of the wonder that my family has given to me.

We may speak a different dialect from time to time, but we still speak the same language - the language of a family that transcends words.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Taking 'Five'

I savored the ability to sleep in a little this morning and I've got myself running behind the schedule I had set out for myself today.

When I did get out of bed, I thought I should start the day with exercise. Getting motivated to move is a funny thing. When you take too long to think about it, it is very easy to talk yourself out of it. It's best just to start and see where things go from there.

I've gone downstairs several mornings thinking that I'll just weigh in and leave it at that. But I feel so good when I stretch a little in the morning, so 99% of the time I will at least do some yoga before I head back upstairs and face the day. It doesn't even feel like work. Maybe I'm doing something wrong or not challenging myself enough, but I figure to move a little is better than not to move at all.

This morning I was a little bit more motivated than that and I had set aside 2 hours for exercise. I slept in an hour, so some days I would use that as an excuse to shave an hour off of my exercise commitment. But once I get moving (as long as I have the time), momentum and a little bit of the competitive spirit (as I track my time, calories burned and try to beat my best scores on the 'Wii Fit') keeps me going.

I spent just over 2 1/2 hours exercising this morning. After going on a food binge late last night (I have taken food to bed with me on one occasion last week and the urge to do the same was so strong last night that it took all of my will power to restrain myself), I had the mindset that I must exercise harder today.

The good thing about my binges (late night snacking is my worst enemy) is that I've been eating sunflower seeds instead of my usual favorite foods (chips, popcorn, ice cream, chocolate and anything in sugar form). It takes just over 45 minutes to eat 1/2 cup of shelled sunflower seeds (I know this because that is how long a 1 hour show is, when you fast forward through the commercials and I usually have some sunflower seeds left over after I watch one taped show).

Last night, I wanted to stay awake to watch a movie. Thank goodness the movie was only 90 minutes long - that equated to 1 cup of sunflower seeds (340 calories). It is the 3 Fruit Roll Ups (240 calories) that I consumed in quick succession after the movie and the sunflower seeds were gone that concerns me. I seem to have the need to end my day on a sugar high lately. What's with that?

As the hours of my day become more committed, I refuse to lose out on that wind-down that I take for myself at the end of every day. I sit down and watch whatever TV program that I may have taped. In order to stay awake to watch it, I must eat. This seems very obvious to me. Go to sleep instead of watching that TV show. But that is 'my time' that I relish. It is my reward for getting through the day. It is my 'prize'. But when I must eat in order to stay awake and receive that prize ... is that a good thing?

That is why I'm 'Taking 5' this morning. I'm grabbing my reward while I'm wide awake and able to receive it without consuming 1/2 a days worth of calories. I shall grab a second cup of coffee and find some poor soul to send an email to instead ...

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Wonders of a Power Outage

We had a scheduled 2 hour power outage in our neighborhood yesterday. We had been forewarned that this would happen but the notice came out so long ago I had temporarily forgotten about it.

It happened right as I headed outside with the kids after school yesterday afternoon. We got through snack time and all of the 'bathrooming' necessary to take 8 kids outside (there isn't a window in our bathroom, so it was a blessing that the kids weren't required to use a flashlight or any alternate light source).

But the true miracle was the fact that Kurt couldn't spend those hours downstairs in his favorite room full of all of our technological wonders. The TV, X-Box and computer were all out of commission and it was pitch black in the room. He was 'forced' to come outside with us.

He was purely disgusted at this inconvenience to his life. He plunked himself down beside me with a heavy sigh, determined to make me feel his pain. But instead ... we had a conversation.

I had an ever-growing list of things that I wanted to talk to him about, but in our world where he heads downstairs and immerses himself in video/TV/computer land .... and where I am either busy writing/exercising/working/running errands/making movies/or watching TV, we rarely sit down and chat. Any discussion we have seems to be with one of the two of us standing and raring to take off to our next most important task we have in mind. I believe it is the tragedy of our times. Too much technology, too little 'time'.

We had some interesting ground to cover, as I asked him about what he would like to do for his upcoming birthday. Then there are our summer holidays that I wanted to ask for his input. We are also planning to do some major moving and shaking around here as we move bedrooms/play areas/TV rooms all around over our summer holidays. I did have the nasty job of bringing up one 'parenting issue' that we have been skirting all week. But this conversation, placed in the middle of a sit-down-and-talk scenario went very well.

Oprah had a show on this very topic (making do with less - ridding your house of all technology, not going out to eat and sitting down at the supper table as a family) this week. As Kurt and I spent 2 hours in the void of power, I knew that our little family is falling prey to this disconnected feeling because of all of the 'toys' in our midst. I am no less at fault than Kurt on this issue. The thought of unplugging the computer, TV, DVD player, camera, video & tape recorder and my 'Wii Fit' game causes no small amount of anxiety within me.

At the end of our 2 hour vacation from technology, our life returned to normal. He went about his evening in his favorite oasis of the wonders of power. I heated up his supper in the microwave and raced through my after supper chores as I headed out to my dance lesson. Our return to our world as we knew it went seamlessly.

But I couldn't help but wonder at the miracle of those 2 hours that we spent without any other distractions.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Opening the Door to a New Day

As I ceremoniously opened the blinds, unlocked and opened the door as I awaited the arrivals of the children that define my days this morning ... I realized just how lucky I am. I am simply facing another day of 'normal'.

I seem to be stumbling across blogs that are being written by people going through extreme pain and loss in their lives this past while. As these people write through their pain and I can scroll back and see the lives that they led prior to their present agony, I couldn't help but think how glad any one of these people would be ecstatic to be facing 'just another day' ...

I seem to be fretting about things that truly don't matter these days. Lack of time, excess weight, taking on too much, snow in May ... not one item on my worry list is really worth worrying about.

I am blessed to have 3 children - alive, happy and healthy. All at various ages and stages in their lives ... some needing less of me than others. But I have my children.

I have my health. Sure, I have more pounds sitting on my frame than I did 2 years ago. Maybe that is a reserve for a time when I may need to draw on it. A savings account perhaps? There were times in my life when the stress levels in my life ate up every calorie I consumed. I wouldn't trade that skinny and stressed body for the relaxed and serene one that I've gained, in a moment.

I am employed. No, I don't love what I do every moment of every day. But I work from home, I work for some of the best parents in the (daycare) business, I am in control of my days and for the most part ... when I look back on (most of) my days, I feel like I do a decent job and wouldn't trade it for the world. This 'career path' does more than pay the bills. It is a lifestyle. It has brought out sides of me that I didn't know existed (not all good, not all bad). I get paid to 'be a mom'. Who could ask for more?

I am living my life with passion. I have dreams, goals and aspirations. I see where I want my life to go and I am putting every ounce of spare energy that I have towards living my dream. I'm not focused on the end result, I am zeroing in on the passion that I feel at the moment as I pursue one more impossible dream. When my relationships didn't weather the storms of life, it was when I lost the ability to dream ... that I finally gave up on the relationship. Everyone needs a dream.

I wake up in the morning and know that the day will not be long enough for all that I hope to accomplish in that day. Even though some days, the aspirations are as small as reading a good book and having time to breathe ... I still get out of bed every day knowing that the day is going to be full of whatever I choose to fill it with.

I have people all around me. Even though I isolated myself this past weekend and faced some lack lustre moments as I didn't interact with other adult beings ... it was a choice. I saw it, I wrote about it, I went on living my days ... and miraculously people have been coming to me ever since. Even though I seem to feel that I don't have energy to pick up the phone and dial it, I do have the time to answer it. I always seem to have a friend that picks just the right moment to call.

Last night, Dale told me that he planned to win the $45 million dollar lottery last night. He said that he would give me $2 million ... and what would I do with it?

The first things that came to mind were:
#1 - quit babysitting
#2 - buy a Bed and Breakfast
#3 - buy a bedroom suite

Those were the Top 3 items that came to mind. And even after a little more thought they remained there.

I am fortunate to be in an internal and external 'place' where money isn't the end all solution to all of my problems. As I think about the people that I am reading about in Blog Land that are facing excruciating loss in their lives ... they have lost what no amount of money in the world could buy. The life of someone they loved with their entire heart.

As I face this day of normal ... I feel blessed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Unexpected Benefits of Budgeting Calories

I have been journaling my food/calorie intake for a month now. I've charted my calorie intake - the good, the bad and the ugly. I've kept track of my weight fluctuations (many!) and I've recorded any exercise that I've done.

I had some really bad days ... some really good ones ... but on the average, I would simply say that I am a whole lot better off than I was a month ago.

The 'Wii Fit' charts my weight. This morning I took a look at the 3 month overall view. My weight fluctuates widely, but what I noticed this morning is that the past month it has hovered in a lower quadrant on the chart. I am still 2 pounds heavier than my lightest weight charted ... but almost 10 pounds lower than my high.

I am becoming addicted to exercise. Even when I wake up exhausted and my body doesn't want to move, I think of checking in with my 'Wii trainer'. I talk myself into weighing in and then just doing a little yoga to stretch. Yoga feels great in the morning.

I can watch TV programs as I do the 'basic step' or run on the spot. Last night, as I watched the 2 hour finale of Dancing With the Stars, I 'ran' for 20 minutes and 'walked' for 90 minutes. The real bonus of that scenario is that I didn't eat a bag of chips, a bowl of ice cream and a handful of cookies!

Then ... there is the is the point that I intended to make when I titled this blog - the unexpected benefits I have been reaping during this past month.

My spending has decreased incredibly. I've spent a little bit more on the food in the 'outer aisles' of the grocery store. But I've saved a fortune on chips, ice cream, chocolate and the various snack items that I used to inhale on a regular basis.

It was getting so bad that I asked Kurt to hide the junk food from me. He would go to get a snack and the junk food spot would be empty. I ate the entire bag of Easter eggs that I had gotten for him (no loss to him - he didn't know I'd bought them anyway). But when I ate the rest of his solid chocolate Easter bunny without his permission, I knew I had a problem.

Then ... there is the take-out habit that I kicked the minute I saw how many calories were in my favorite food choices. I studied those nutritional information sheets over and over again and the only true way of getting the most from your calories at a fast food place, is to order a basic salad instead of fries. Hey, I can make a better salad at home for a fraction of the cost. Thus ... I have easily opted out of going out for a quick bite to eat.

The other thing that I should have charted was the cost savings that I have reaped during the month.

My success far exceeds a (slightly) lower number on the scale. A healthier frame of mind (gained by eating healthier and moving more) and a very healthy budget are a reward unto themselves.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Too Many Impossible Things

I had such high hopes for this past long weekend. I had hoped to completely scratch a few big jobs off of my never ending to-do list. As yesterday was drawing to a close and the biggest job of all was far from complete ... I was a little deflated.

All in all, I put my focus where I needed it to be. A relaxed pace, time for exercise and eating properly, time spent with Kurt, a few 'impossible things' that I can't do when I have a house full of kids are done, I put in a day of book-keeping work and I got a good start at transcribing the taped conversations that I have, into writing.

I didn't waste my time, nor did I fly through the days in a frantic pace. I accomplished a lot. I just set my sights on an impossible goal.

The big jobs are the heaviest toll on my energy. I just have to admit that I must break it down into small pieces and accomplish a little every day. I love tackling a job head on and finishing it. The slow and steady pace just isn't my style. But I must concede that it is the route I must take in tackling the 4 hours (that I have left) worth of 'memories' that I want to put in writing.

As the weekend was 2/3rds of the way over, I knew what I was lacking. People. I had a 10 minute phone conversation and possibly a 5 minute face to face encounter with another adult being to that point. I felt dull and lifeless. Even in my kid-oriented weekday world, I have a relatively steady flow of adult conversation as the parents come and go.

My thoughts had gone stale and the words that came out of my fingertips weren't worth sharing. I tried writing a few emails and I ended up deleting them. Even I was bored with the words that sat in front of me as I typed.

It's all about balance. Some work, some R & R, some play and some contact with people is the best combination to ensure a good mixture of everything one needs to keep a healthy state of mind.

Not that I'm complaining. This weekend played out exactly how I had it choreographed in my mind. I just should have added a bit of company into the mix.

Onward. Take what I've learned and pay it forward.

#1 - Big jobs are best tackled one step at a time
#2 - I am not an island. I need people in my life

I must now focus on all that I did accomplish and whittle the big jobs down to a manageable level. Tackling those impossible things feels great. Getting overwhelmed by those same tasks isn't quite so wonderful.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I love when life slows down and the natural prioritization of my life falls blissfully into place ...

The second day of this 3 day weekend started off slowly. I had done 1 1/2 hours of aerobic exercise after supper last night so I wasn't too eager to jump back and exercise first thing this morning.

I sat with my breakfast smoothie and the requisite 2 cups of morning coffee and watched Michael J. Fox's documentary. It is based on the optimism he has embraced within his Parkinson's disease diagnosis and promotes the book that he wrote 'Always Looking Up'. Lots of morsels of insight and quotes, to delve into further another day. It was a perfect way to start the day.

I jumped straight into my exercise clothes (I love having 'exercise clothes' that signal a good, healthy work-out in my mind) and went straight downstairs to my Wii trainer. He is so supportive when I show up every day. Unfortunately, I skipped 2 days entirely last week so he didn't (as he usually does, if I've been faithfully working out) suggest that I take the Sunday off of exercising. That's okay. I didn't deserve the break. I was determined to make up for my bad eating habits that I fell into last week, by working that much harder.

I grabbed a healthy snack (wheat thins and half of an apple) to curb my appetite before I went grocery shopping. I carefully perused the aisles and put down many bad food choices after I checked the calorie load. I did splurge on some 45 calorie sugar-free fudgicles though. As long as I don't sit down and eat 5 of them at a time, that is a good deal (good for the 'calorie budget').

I just finished my lunch - spinach salad, sprinkled with some slivered almonds, strawberries and only 1 tablespoon of my favorite poppy seed salad dressing. So far, the calorie intake for the day has been reasonable.

I've taken out chicken for supper tonight. I seem to be craving protein and I've recently savored the taste sensation of flaked white tuna sprinkled on a salad. I have been indulging myself in bad food choices all week, so I'm quite excited that my body is finally yearning for something that is healthy.

The house and chores are in order. My stomach is satisfied. The next priority of the day is to sit down to listen and record the many memories that I've been collecting these past few weeks.

Ahhh ... this is the good life! Following my whims and feeling good about all that is taking priority in my life.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Sensations

I have a million things to do today. One of them, I get paid to do. Another task, I must get on top of. But the rest ... can wait if they must.

Dirty windows just get dirty again. The dust on the blinds will start to build up the moment I clean them. The grass will grow all year. The car won't stay clean either. So if those jobs get put to the wayside, so be it.

I had planned on being hard at work by 8:00 this morning. As I woke up before 5:30 am, I thought that if I wanted to keep to that plan I should get up. But it was Saturday ... so I didn't.

I laid in bed for another hour or so and then I fulfilled my promise to myself and exercised for an hour. I hope to get back to that later. But an hour of physical activity is a very good way to start the day.

9:00 would be a good time to get cracking. Well ... it's important to take the time to savor breakfast and 2 cups of coffee before getting a busy day underway, right? Right. So I sat down and enjoyed a show I had taped. Ahhh ... weekends. I love them.

I tabled my 9:00 get-to-work-plan until 10:00. I sat down at the computer and thought I just want to savor these last moments before I tend to my work. Once the momentum starts, I don't like to stop it. So I've delayed the starting process this morning.

I love the life of (temporarily) delayed deadlines. The sense of peace of knowing that the work will all get done in due time (especially when I have 3 days in which to do it). I have no desire to prolong the work once I begin. Once started, it must be completed. And it will feel great.

The second big job that I am tackling this weekend will be enjoyable once I actually sit down and do it. I must relisten to the hours and hours of taped conversations (stories for the history book) that I have collected the past few weeks. I will walk down memory lane and savor the moments. I want to visualize the book that I am starting to work on and the best way to put together the stories that I collect. I will write down the questions that I still want to seek answers for. I get excited about this project every single time I take a step in a forward direction on my mission.

The clock is ticking as I sit. The morning is getting away on me. 10:30 will be the right time to start my work day.

Oh ... I love Saturday mornings!! Time to take a breath before officially beginning the day. It is so nice not to hit the ground running as I begin this 3 day weekend.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Taking a Step Out of the Ordinary

I have been racing through the days and weeks lately. It seems that I have been out of the house far too much - running errands, visiting family, collecting memories and dancing.

I was supposed to go to a group dance lesson last night. When I mentioned it to Kurt (with the intent of letting his response guide my decision whether or not to go), he replied "Don't you think you've been pushing this going out a little bit?" That was my answer.

We went out. It all started with a trip to WalMart as he had been craving snacks all week and I hadn't bought any (even with all of my errand running and guilt attached to that). He desperately needs some new clothes, so we made a bargain. We would get a snack and he had some allowance that he was free to spend, if only he would come and look at clothes with me.

One thing led to the next and thanks to a miscommunication (he thought it was Friday night because there is no school today) and a tentative plan to try and see a movie 'Friday night' ... we ended up going out to see a show. On a Thursday night.

We spent a completely untypical Thursday night together, which gave it the flavor of 'the weekend'. What a truly unexpected gift that was!

We have been anticipating going to see this show (it came out 2 weeks ago and we simply haven't had a free day to go and see it) and it has been far too long since we had a Mom/son outing. I was relaxed, he was happy to go with the flow of the evening and it couldn't have worked out better if we had planned every moment.

I went to sleep and woke up with a sense of relaxation and ease that I never feel on a weekday. It was incredible to take an ordinary Thursday night and turn it into a Friday. I feel like I'm getting a bonus weekend day this upcoming long weekend.

Who knew that something so simple, could make such a difference?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Snow Day ... Again???

I've said it before, and I'll say it again ...
"When is the warm weather here to stay??"

If You Don't Have Anything Good to Say ...

I visited some one that inspires me, last night.

I have always felt a connection to this person. Their life took some detours that weren't the readily accepted by society at that time. My life took a parallel detour so I have compassion for some of what I can relate to in their life.

This person lived through the depression era and knew what it was like to make do with little. They grew up knowing that hard work and sacrifice were a part of life. They had aspirations and went after them.

This person married into 'the right family'. They worked hard and raised their family. From all outward appearances, it would seem that it was a good life.

But there is always more to the story. Theirs is a story that has been played close to their chest. It is not a tell-all-expose. They were divorced in an era where divorce was not an option often chosen.

It is simply something that they have never spoken about. There may be a multitude of reasons for that silence. But to me, there is much more than meets the eye.

There are 2 sides to every story. In a case where someone walks away from what appears to be a perfect life, makes a choice that was unaccepted socially and doesn't justify it with a lot of excuses ... there is a reason that they made that choice.

Our conversation led us to a place where this person had the opportunity to talk or not talk about their first marriage. In their manner, I could see the determination to stay mute on the topic. The few words that were spoken, were positive ones. Anything that was stated, was wrapped up in a two-person description, as any discussion about their ex, was in context with another family member.

As a person who has overcome 2 failed relationships and an inability not to be 'mute' on the subject, I admire this person's stand. I have been a part of relationships that were physically and psychologically unhealthy for me. I personally know that I was just as much at fault for the relationship's demise as my partner despite the fact that my 'allies' could side with me, from the information they knew.

There are two sides to every story. I admire someone who can say nothing when it is one's natural instinct to defend themselves when under fire.

A person doesn't marry someone unless they see some redeeming qualities within them. A person doesn't divorce someone unless there are some qualities within that same person, that makes a life of 'forever' feel impossible.

No one person is ever at fault for a failed marriage. But when it does fail, if a wounded party can walk away from that without harming the character of the person they have left ... they have my admiration. No matter what the story may be ...

Impossible Things

I like to do my 'impossible things' (things that take the greatest amount of psychological and physical energy) in the mornings. The hard-to-do-items on my agenda are best done early in the day. Once I've climbed a mountain or two before lunch, it's amazing how much positive energy oozes out of me for the remainder of the day.

All week, I've had a rough time getting those tough goals accomplished throughout the entirety of the day - let alone in the morning.

I've been unmotivated to exercise. Little tasks that I can usually accomplish in no time are taking forever as it seems like I have 100 interruptions that side track me. The daycare-world has been more demanding as we deal with a diarrhea epidemic, on top of school kids staying home (sick with cold/flu like symptoms) and a few changes to our regularly scheduled day. I feel like I've been quite literally running in circles.

The biggest hurdle was the 'impossible thing' that I scheduled early in the week. I called Monday morning, to arrange an interview (to collect memories for Dad's family's story) on Wednesday evening. I was a little uncomfortable about this meeting. Not because I was uncomfortable talking with this person ... but because I was afraid I may be asking too much of her. I had 3 full days to let my insecurities simmer.

What did I do? I ate. Then I ate some more. Finally I decided that if I just ate every tempting food item in the house maybe I could put this bad eating pattern behind me. How do I feel? Gross and disappointed in myself.

This morning, I have a clean slate. The 'impossible thing' is behind me (and it went very well). I have very few food temptations left in the house (unfortunately, I've still got some cookies that I may have to donate to a needy cause to get them out of harms way). But the emotional turmoil within, is lessened.

I have an upcoming long weekend that is getting me out of bed in the mornings. There are several 'impossible things' slated for the weekend. But without the interruptions of my daycare world, everything should be possible.

I like to push myself out of my comfort zone and do things that feel a little bit impossible. I don't like when I let insecurities and unaccomplished tasks weigh me down. This week has been one of those weeks. I have a few uncompleted tasks that I must cross off the 'impossible things' list.

My hope is that those 'impossible things' weigh about 6 pounds. It must be the weight on my shoulders that is contributing to the out of control weight gain this week. It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that I've been consuming twice as much (bad) food as I need to consume in a day ... could it??

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Excited and Exhausted

Every time I think about the journey that I have embarked on (in collecting memories from my dad's family), I am infused with enthusiasm and excitement. The stories that I have started to collect, the people that I have talked to and the ideas I have for this 'book' are many (and growing). I want to talk to more people, collect a full range of memories, paint a vivid picture of my dad's family and somehow find a way to put this all together so that the (eventual) reader will feel my excitement.

The time it takes to co-ordinate 'all of the above' is limited. I am taking every opportunity that I have, to talk to people. I hope that the enthusiasm that I feel for this project is contagious and that I can spread that energy to the people that I am in contact with.

It feels invigorating to feel so passionate about something. I believe that it has put a bounce in my step, a sparkle in my eye and is a great contributing factor the the happiness that I feel within. To do something out of choice, rather than obligation creates an excitement inside of me.

I wish that I could devote myself to this project without distraction. I'm sure life's many distractions serve a purpose - so that this project gets some breathing room as it grows. But at the moment those very distractions are at the root of an exhaustion that is seeping into my bones.

Life goes on. I have a life that keeps me fairly busy ... and now I'm trying to work in an hour or two of exercise into that schedule. I am finding that the exercise fuels me and keeps my body running longer. But it has a price.

I've been failing at the 'calorie budget' that I have had such success with the past few weeks. I sit down at the end of a busy day and I'm not ready to fall asleep. So ... I eat. I have been craving food and the sensation that I get eating, chewing, tasting and simply filling up. I haven't stopped recording what I eat and trying to tally up the total amount of calories that I consume in a day. But it has escalated. It feels out of control.

I feel like exhaustion that is the contributing factor to my excessive eating this week. I'm happy, content and fulfilled in every way. The only thing that I am lacking, is down-time. And sleep.

I am so grateful for the uncommitted long weekend that is in store. I hope to fill my reserves and catch up on some R & R. I have already started a list of what I hope to accomplish with my 3 free days. One of those items is to take Kurt to see a movie that we simply haven't had time to see. If I spend the time surrounding that movie with must-do tasks, I won't have time to eat before we go and I should be able to 'splurge' on some theatre popcorn.

The success that I was feeling and seeing as I charted my progress of calorie intake, calories used and my weight has taken a nose dive. The weight that I thought that I lost ... is almost all back. Not a case of 'easy come, easy go'. Much more the opposite. 'Hard to go, easy to gain!'

I'm not giving up easily. I plan to fill my 'sleep tank' and hope that the food cravings subside.

It is exhausting being so excited about life. I hope to find the balance that works for me and keep on moving ahead.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Give Yourself a Break Today

"When you do not treat yourself the way you want others to treat you, you can never change the way things are." - The Secret

I read this quote from 'The Secret' a few days ago and it has been resonating in my mind ever since.

I've learned to be kinder to myself over the course of my life. In doing so, I seem to find myself being treated better by everyone around me. Thus, this statement rings very true.

Yes, I still beat myself up over things that I have the ability to improve. There are traits within me, that are simply a part of my being ... that I've learned to accept. Or else I voice them, so that there is a consciousness that I am aware of my many imperfections.

I've had a history of relationships where I believe that I was treated the way I treated myself at the time. Over the years, I've learned that I deserve to be treated better. So ... I started that process by treating myself better.

I have (unconsciously) found myself surrounded in positive, healthy relationships. I have filled my life with people who make me feel good. Uplifting, positive, encouraging souls fuel me.

If a person truly believes that they are the best that they can be, no one should have the power to make them believe any less than that.

Everyone has their limitations. Even (especially) those who sit in a place and judge others, are no more perfect than anyone else.

Why do some people have a habit of bringing down those around them? What joy is there in creating sorrow in others? If we believe in ourselves enough ... we should be able to weather some storms and still come out with our self esteem intact.

I was recently told that I look happy. I've been a pretty sombre person for a lot of my life ... so to hear that someone sees joy within me was a huge compliment. More than that, I think it is something that absolutely everyone deserves.

I wish I had a recipe for that happiness. If you don't believe in yourself, who will? It must start from within. Every single person that walks this earth has value.

Small steps - immersing yourself in positive vibes is the best place to start. The people who make you laugh and smile, are the people worth investing your time and energy on. There will be people who are a part of your life that sap your reserves ... but if you have a good supply of self esteem and positiveness within ... they can't bring you down for long.

Celebrate yourself and let yourself off the hook. Just give yourself a break today (yes ... I do often go to McDonald's, as their theme song goes through my mind on 'days like those' where you really do need a pick-me-up).

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I am moments away from getting together with my sisters for a family-fun-filled Mother's Day weekend. I'm all a glistening from the inside out with anticipation for the 36 hours (more or less) that we have in store.

What are our plans? Absolutely nothing more than getting together with our brother and Mom to go out for supper tonight. Mom and her children.

We are so incredibly blessed. There is no underlying tension among any one of us. We are each other's cheering section, support system, friend, confidant and ... we just so happen to be related. I could not have hand picked a better family to be a part of. And, as with a tremendous group of friends that I know ... I sit back in awe, at times. Marvelling that I am part of such a special group.

As I begin the process of collecting memories for Dad's family's history book and I've already gone through the process of collecting Mom's memories ... I love hearing of the people that they were before they were married.

I listen to Dad's traits and stories that my uncles tell me about him. I've listened to Mom recall many of her childhood memories and the person she was as a child. I have heard how about my grandparents morals, work ethics, personalities and beliefs formed their families and how many of these traits were carried on through Mom and Dad, in raising us. I love what I hear ... and I love how I feel a part of this family because I feel and act very similar.

Is it in the genes ... or is it the environment in which we were raised? Perhaps a little of both. But from what I know and what I feel, I could not ask for a better family to be a part of. My only hope is that I can pass this down to my own children. What better legacy to leave behind, than that of family ...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now

It's like I've been living in a haze.

Lately, I've been wondering ...

Why I am having such a hard time with balance at my dance lessons? Why haven't I had a good hair day in 2 months? What's with this continual upward spiral my weight has been taking?

This is just a small sampling on the things that have been playing havoc with my mind lately. If this is the most that I have to worry about, I am the luckiest person alive.

The answers started coming to me fast and furious this past week.

I honestly thought that I couldn't balance at dancing anymore because of my weight gain. I assumed that my equilibrium just couldn't keep up with the pounds that were adding up every week. Then I admitted my inability to balance, at my dance lesson last week and my instructor assured me that it had nothing to do with my weight and most assuredly had something to do with my shoes. Sure enough, the lifts on the heels of my shoes had worn down in such a way that it was a fight to simply stand on my shoes, let alone dance/turn in them. Solution: new heel lifts. I pick up my repaired shoes today.

My hair! I was getting so frustrated with it. Every day was a bad hair day. I blamed my last haircut for the problem. Then I finally realized that the brush I was using to blow dry my hair was too small for the length that my hair has grown to. Sure enough! Upon browsing the hair brushes in the store last night, there were different sized brushes for various styling needs. I bought a new 'straightening' brush and couldn't wait to try it out. Outcome: the first good hair day since I can't remember when!

The weight gain. The more I fretted, the more I ate. The more I ate, the less I felt like moving. The lack of physical movement and excess of food somehow kept translating to more weight gain. Go figure.

I tried different types of 'cleansing' where there were many 'forbidden foods' to avoid. That was a recipe for disaster, since I tend to crave what I cannot have.

I tried many combinations of adding and subtracting good and bad food and exercise habits into my life gradually ... to be 'rewarded' by extra weight being added on at the end of the week.

After that, I convinced myself that I must have a thyroid problem. I discovered that I had 1/2 of the symptoms of an under active thyroid and it gave me a small amount of solace to have an excuse.

Then ... I came up with my 'calorie budget' plan. I found a chart that let me know how the maximum amount of calories I could consume in a day, to lose "X" amount of weight in "X" amount of time. If I was active, I could consume more calories. If I wasn't as active, I had a smaller amount of calories that I could consume. It's amazing how much easier it is to exercise, when it is part of that mathematical calculation. I enjoy eating. I'm not into starvation or depriving myself. I chose to move.

Now ... consuming less and moving more has finally started the downward descent of my weight. Again, this is so obvious it's embarrassing to admit that it is a revelation to me. I've exercised (lightly) before. I've cut back on food portions (slightly) before. In those days, it worked. As the years are gaining on me, I do have to exercise a little harder and eat a lot wiser. Another revelation.

As these obvious solutions start revealing themselves to me, I wonder what was causing my hazy vision. Looking for answers instead of excuses is the first step to clarity.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Friend is ...

I just received a forwarded email and this little motto at the end seemed share worthy:
A Friend Is Like A Good Bra....
Hard to Find
Always Lifts You Up
Never Lets You Down or
Leaves You Hanging
And Is Always Close To Your Heart!!!

Too Busy to Blog

I'm 'living my life' these days ... and it sure is time consuming!

I have yet another day with a busy agenda ahead of me today. A new family to adjust to, in my daycare world ... month end and year end busyness in my book-keeping job ... Dad's family history that I'm starting to collect ... the usual errands to run (I wish my groceries would just magically replenish themselves) ... plans for the weekend ... and exercise.

I've prioritized the exercise portion of that paragraph. When I have 2 big jobs ahead of me, I will exercise first. I know that if it gets put off, it won't get done. Not to mention, usually the 2 big jobs have been 'exercise' and 'book keeping'. The book keeping is a job, a responsibility and I get paid for it. So there is no way that it will not get done. So, I put exercise ahead of that and both big jobs are getting accomplished. That didn't feel like such a wise choice at 10:15 last night, when I looked at the 15 minutes worth of work that I still had to face. But ... it got finished.

Prying myself out of bed a little bit earlier in the morning to squeeze in 1/2 an hour of exercise before the day begins has been a challenge. But ... it's a 1/2 hour that I wouldn't find at any other point in the day. So it gets done.

My mind is so busy with my dad's family's memories whenever it has a chance to idle. Oh, how I would love to put the rest of my life on hold and just immerse myself in that! I am so excited about where I want this 'story' to go ... the people I want to talk to ... the time that I want to spend on this to do it right.

I can visualize myself living my dream. I can picture myself right now ... running a little 'inn' ... and curling up with a pen and pad (or computer) and helping people 'tell their story' as I compiled family stories and put them together in my spare time.

Spare time ... that sounds pretty good right now.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Racing Against Time

The day passed in a blur ... so much for my time budget!

I had an agenda for the day and now that it's almost midnight, I can finally say that I accomplished almost everything that I had hoped to.

I'm feeling rather euphoric about my life. I feel back in control. Busy, motivated and under just enough pressure to keep me moving. An active mind is a happy mind.

It was a busy and productive day. Before I go itemizing the day's events, it's best just to wrap it up by saying that I'm glad I don't have to do it all again tomorrow!

I am off to meet up with my uncles and collect some family history and memories tomorrow. Another chapter of my life begins ...