Friday, March 25, 2011

Off Again

This time I knew in advance that I would be leaving. I never did completely unpack my suitcase and I've been adding to it all week.

As it stands, my suitcase is full of miscellaneous items to occupy my time in the quietness of Mom's home. I packed a book. I haven't read a book in eons! I picked up a few cheap movies (chick flicks) - light and easy entertainment value. The past 2 weeks of Sunday papers (I haven't had time to read them or do the crossword puzzles). A writing pad and pen.

Oh ... how I wish I was packing a lap top. Oh well. It's good for me to be unconnected for a little while so that I have a chance to appreciate the finer parts of life-without-an-Internet-connection.

What is not in my suitcase? Clothes. Why? Because our two week old drier quit last night shortly after I loaded it with a load of clothes.

Wet clothes (in the washing machine) was my only issue when we made our last minute trip the last time. Wet clothes (in a broken drier) is once again my only issue. Even when I plan in advance, wet clothes seem to be my nemesis. What is the lesson here? I don't know yet. Certainly there is something to be learned. Just buy new clothes perhaps??

I have accomplished a lot with the four days that I have been home. I hope that I feel that same sense of accomplishment after a week out at Mom's.

I'm on a mission. We are in search of answers to questions and solutions to whatever the doctors may uncover. I know that this is out of my hands, but I will do my best. I will taxi Mom around the city to her various appointments and hopefully we will find some answers on our travels.

I guess this means radio silence for a while as I go and fulfill the role of "Driving Miss Margaret" around her fair city. I do believe that she wished for a chauffeur that lived in her garage and simply came a-running when she needed them. Since it is still pretty chilly outside, I do hope that indoor accommodations will be provided.

I  jest, of course. I'm actually looking forward to the honor of having this week with Mom. I know that it will be a week to remember.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Dad

I have been thinking about Dad a lot lately. Much of my thinking has been spurred on because of our concern with Mom's health.

Almost 28 years ago to the day that Dad suffered a heart attack that changed life as we knew it, Mom had a 'spell' that has led us down the path that we have been walking the past few weeks. When I called my sister to talk with her about Mom, I couldn't shake the feeling that this time was 'different'.

My emotions have been all over the map. Me, the stoic one who doesn't cry. Tears come at the drop of a hat lately. I will be driving along and there I go again.

The rational part of my brain is fine. I know that we are doing all that we can do to try and find solutions so that Mom can continue to live in her home. A home that stands for so much more than shelter from the elements. She has put her heart and soul into her home. Memories of family gatherings emanate from those walls. Home is where she wants to be ...

We felt helpless to help Dad when he became ill and returning home was not even a consideration. In all reality, he should have died in his home. He did die. His heart stopped beating for 15 minutes. But he was revived and his brain did not survive fully intact. We lost our dad that night ...

Mom has told us on numerous occasions that she does not want heroic measures taken if it comes down to a situation such as we lived with Dad. When she talks of people that she has known well, that have died in their homes ... died as they lived ... we hear her. This is what she wants. She wants to remain in her home.

I want what Mom wants. If she wants to live independently in her home, that is what we must fight for. I fully understand that she is aging and with that, comes limitations. The fact that her health is deteriorating is something that I comprehend.

But it is a symptom that is threatening her desire to continue to live an independent life. A symptom that is telling us that there is an underlying cause, that has been swept under the carpet for ten months that has me wanting to put up the good fight and fight for what Mom wants. Let's fix this one thing ....

Emotionally, I am not that strong. I understand that life does not always go as we hope. I know that life and death is a day to day reality and we can lose what we take for granted in the blink of an eye. Emotionally ... I am scared and I felt like a young child when we spoke with Mom's doctor and basically said, "She is strong and vital. She is worth fixing!!"

My mind keeps being drawn back to Dad. I wish I would have fought harder, been more and done more after he became confined to a life that he never wanted to live. Life without living is not what we want. We didn't ever want that for our dad and we most definitely don't want that for Mom.

She's a feisty one and takes a lot of pride in her strengths. If she wants to live at home, I'm willing to help her fight the fight and make that her reality.

Dad, sometimes I feel your quiet, gentle hand on my shoulder. When the road becomes a little frightening to travel, I never feel alone. When little things go right, I like to believe that I have my own personal angel helping little miracles happen. When my heart is happy and full whenever I am in the home that you and Mom made for us, you are always with me. When I let myself believe that 'whatever will be, will be' and we truly have little control over such matters ... I hope that Mom also feels that presence and you are quietly walking by her side when she feels alone.

Dad, you would be so proud of your family. We are strong and united no matter what life throws at us. We have rallied the troups and been there whenever we felt we were needed. The bond between us is strong and unshakeable. You and Mom have created something magical and special. As the phone continues to ring at Mom's house, with family members checking in and asking if they can come out to see her ... it is plain to see that this miracle of family that we share is being passed down through the generations.

Dad, please walk at Mom's side and comfort her in a way that we cannot. She's strong and appears to be invincible ... but she is only human. I wish you were here right now, but even if all you can do, is to continue to guide us down a road that is new to us, I would be eternally grateful.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Word Soup

I tried to sit down to write a blog post yesterday and the words didn't come. The words "Breathe In ... Breathe Out" were all I could come up with. So I deleted it and continued to 'breathe' throughout the day.

Life as I knew it was waiting for me upon my arrival home on Sunday. There is nothing wrong with that, because my life is very good. But work issues that had come to the surface before I left were waiting for me the next morning.

Monday was a day of transition. I needed to be home and become grounded. I needed to feel in control of my destiny that day. So even though I was well aware that my boss wanted me to do my work at the shop, I packed it in and did it at home. When I was ready. I wasn't ready until 8:00 p.m. ... but I completed the task at hand (as well as a few of my own need-to-do chores).

Yesterday (Tuesday) morning was rough. I woke up with an overwhelming list of work issues at the tip of my consciousness. I sat down and wrote. As usual, putting words to the page (or computer screen) is therapy for me. I release the words, they come to life on the page and things become more manageable when the emotions behind the words are released.

I completely forgot that I had an appointment to donate blood at 8:00 a.m., so I raced out the door at 7:50 a.m. and left my 'words' at home (initially I had thought that I would print off the letter to my bosses and  hand it to them). As life threw me a curve ball that I should have been expecting, I quickly realized that those words needed time to breathe. 'Life' saved me from reacting too quickly.

I need to take time to take a breath before I react. Lately, I seem to go to sleep with issues on my mind. When I wake up the next morning, I feel ready to confront them head on. But I must realize that perhaps I should simply vent quietly and privately before I take the final step and put a voice to my thoughts. Yesterday, 'life' saved me from myself. The issues are still valid. But I need to delete the emotion from my letter-to-my-bosses.

As I tried to write about this (in the form of a blog post) yesterday afternoon, the words in my head started swirling around and I couldn't put them together coherently. This morning, I am putting together the 'word soup' that I started preparing yesterday. Hopefully it is more palatable after waiting a day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

We Have Two Small Requests ...

"I lied. I'm not ready. I'm packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. But I'm not ready."

I had barely hit the "Publish Post" button of my last blog entry when the phone rang. It was my brother. Mom was on the way to the hospital by ambulance as we spoke.

When I headed out to meet up with My Oldest Sister so that we could travel the rest of the five hour trip together, I had no idea where that old familiar highway would take us.

Within two hours of my brother's initial call, he phoned again. I knew that the phone would not ring if it was bad news. And I was right. Mom was sitting up in her hospital bed and My Brother said "If she could get to the phone right now, she'd tell you to turn around and go home". I'm glad we were already headed in her direction.

Mom was home long before we arrived. The past week had taken a toll, but she was home (where I'm quite sure that she wanted to be). All of us were exactly where we wanted to be - together.

Things feel stabilized for the moment. Tests have been ordered, appointments are scheduled and now it is a bit of a waiting game.

My Other Sister met many friends on her solo trip (by bus) to go to Mom's last Sunday. One of those friends was speaking of the miracle of prayer (there is an entire back story and not quite as somber as the preceding phrase would allude to) and that you must be very specific in your requests.

Our request is simple. Not only do we hope that they soon find the root of this health issue for Mom ... but we ask that whatever they may find, may be fixable.

I feel like a young, naive child again when I implore to the skies above, "Just fix her ... she is worth fixing!"

So we are doing what we can, as we wait. We are not only asking for answers ... but we are hoping the answers lead us to solutions.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The more things change ... the more I remember how much I don't enjoy the transition.

When we had to get a new hard drive on the computer a few weeks ago, it took me three hours to get things back to where they were before our computer breakdown. There are still a few things that I can't get back to normal and it's slightly annoying to me.

We replaced our dryer last week. We ended up getting one with the lint tray on the top of the dryer. I hate it. It's messy, awkward and annoying. I liked our old dryer.

Then the slide out drawer on our computer desk broke. I could have easily lived with the desk as it was, but my kind son replaced it yesterday. It's a beautiful desk and I'm quite certain that if I'd been the one out shopping, that it is one that I would have chosen. But it doesn't have a drawer or a few of the handy dandy features of our old one. I like it. But I liked the old one better.

Work. I can't even go there. Expectations changed without warning. I am struggling through and trying to find the silver lining. But I liked it the way it was before. Lack of hours or not ... it was something that I could deal with, when I was working out of my home. If I must work outside of these four walls, this is not a place that I would choose to work.

Overall, life-as-I-know it is very good. I see the possibility of that changing and it frightens me. I hope that the fear doesn't sabotage the potential for what lies ahead. I will breathe deeply, tread slowly, talk my way through this ... and see where it goes.

Then there is my mom. My strong, vital, healthy, feisty mom. Her health is a great concern to us right now. I told my sister "It is different this time". I tried to talk myself out of it but I couldn't. Emotions overwhelmed and enveloped me at the thought of what lies ahead.

I reread yesterday's post at the end of my day and it left me feeling quite unsettled. "Whether it is good or bad ... surprise me. I'm ready. Bring it on!!"

I lied. I'm not ready. I'm packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. But I'm not ready.

Change is inevitable. The transition period is tough. Usually the end result is worth the struggle. But sometimes ... I just want to fix what works for me and forge ahead with new 30 day guarantee ... renew and replace as necessary. But please don't take away what works for me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bring it On!

I have picked myself up, dusted myself off and I'm ready for whatever this week has in store. As it is with each bright and shiny new day, anything is possible.

There have been times when I have wished for a crystal ball to help me see past a dark time, far into the future. Just to know if there is a happy ending in there somewhere.

The more life I experience, the more I appreciate the fact that we have no idea what is coming.

The good wouldn't be so great if we were expecting it. Happy little surprises in life are like little windfalls. The unexpected turns an ordinary moment into the extraordinary.

What if we did know that some personal catastrophe was headed our way? If life-as-I-know-it has a tragic event around the corner, I do not want to see it coming.

I choose to live my life appreciating the fact that I don't know what life has in store for me. I acknowledge my blessings regularly. It has become a habit to me.

What if something were to happen to me? Heaven forbid that something were to happen to someone else ...  I want those who touch my life to know what they mean to me.

Life is precious. I handle it with care.

Yes, this week is yet to unfold. I don't know what to expect ... but I do know that I have nothing but hope. Hope of new beginnings, being enveloped in family moments and a dose of day-to-day living tossed in ... just to keep me on my toes.

Whether it is good or bad ... surprise me. I'm ready. Bring it on!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Time to Make Some Changes

It is weeks like the week that I have just lived, that propel me forward in life.

Challenges force me to confront issues. One always has a choice in life. Do I choose to do nothing and expect nothing to change? Do I have any control over any aspect of this situation? Is there any way that a compromise can be made? Do I have the courage to make a change?

Sometimes the only control a person has, is how they react to the situation. I'm afraid that I have failed miserably in that regard this past week.

I have felt too much coming at me from too many different angles. My work, my mom's health, I have allowed 'the past' into my present (and it doesn't belong there!!), finances, education and trying to fit too much into my week.

I cracked. Unfortunately ... there were witnesses.

Today is a new day and (as soon as I get home from my class this afternoon), I am going to sit down and write out an action plan.

It's time to make some changes. Or compromises. Because if I sit here and do nothing ... nothing will change.

It is time.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

When Life as You Know It .... Isn't

Yesterday ... I cried. I am not given to crying.

I cried once about 4 years ago, when my past came back to envelope me in a way that I had never experienced before.

The last time I cried was in November of 2009. I believe that was a result of an adrenaline crash (I've been cautious how I handle my excitement ever since).

I am not a crier.

I was driving to the dry cleaners yesterday when I found myself crying. I found it ironic that I was driving in the same neighborhood I was in when, I broke down 4 years ago .

The ground is trembling beneath me and it has nothing to do with the earthquakes and tsunamis that are threatening the safety of so many.

Life as we know it ... is changing. It is my sincerest hope in that we will soon find the blessing in this.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Been a Very Good Week

This week has been a little of the mundane, some challenge, some discomfort, a little bit of life, a lot of activity and a little dose of wonder ...

Mundane, tedious and inconsequential tasks that I've been dealing with at work. Necessary, but they don't provide that sense of accomplishment that I crave. That's life.

Challenge, as I stopped my employer yesterday morning before she ran off to her desk. "I just want to talk with you for a minute, to be sure we are on the same page with job expectations ...", was how I started that conversation. We were most definitely on different pages. That explains a lot. I'm not sure that I love this 'book' we are in. Perhaps several chapters later will be good, but I've been saying that for 2 1/2 years. At least I know where I stand. That is important.

Discomfort, as my feet have been causing me a little bit of distress. Nothing that a nice little dose of 'doctoring' couldn't cure. But two hours in my dance shoes last night was a little excessive. I'm grateful that I don't have to tax these tender tootsies until Monday night.

Life - that which happens when you are making other plans. The dryer quit last night. Last week it was the computer. Small little things. Last year I decided that a student on a budget should not buy a new dryer, if repairing it was an option. It turns out that I was richer as a student than I am, as a working person. My dryer is one of a dying breed and they don't make parts for it any more. So a new dryer it is. Sigh ...

Just the right amount of activity. Zumba, dancing, working, the '30 Day Shred', errands and filling all of the nooks and crannies of the day with something-to-do. It's been a good pace. I'm energized and pushing through. It's good to be busy.

A little dose of wonder as I explore a new friendship. Making a friend is a wonderful thing. The people that come and go through our lives ... the Reason, Season or Lifetime poem comes to mind when I meet new people. A friend is a friend and I'm grateful for any opportunity to add a new one into my life. This enjoyable distraction has made a somewhat challenging week a little bit easier.

All in all, I've had a very good week. Life is very good when there is a balance of the good, the bad and the ugly. You mix it all together and overall ... it is pretty good.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Bounce in My Step

The bounce is back ... after a week of hobbling.

My feet simply were not meant to be restrained. Two months of abuse in running shoes and trying my best to give it all at my Zumba classes equals pain.

I went to my friendly neighborhood podiatrist yesterday morning and he tended to my tender tootsies. Thanks to some 'home doctoring' of my own, they were more of a mess than they were the first time I visited his office. He filed off the dead skin, applied some magical cream, some padding between the two offending toes, bandaged me up and sent me on my way.

I 'Zumba'ed' to my heart's content last night. And my tender toes, wrapped in their oh-so-magical bandages were happy.

I wondered aloud if my bandaged toes would fit into my dance shoes and My Youngest said "I don't really think looks matter, if they feel better ..." True. Very true. But I don't think my bandages will survive a shower, so I'll doctor up my fragile little toes and take them out dancing tonight.

Yes, the bounce is back in my step. In more ways than one ...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ten Impossible Things Before Lunch

If I am confronted with something that is hard for me to do, I must do it in the morning.

It's amazing how wonderful it feels to face those Impossible Things. I think that must be where super heroes get their strength.

A small amount of invincibility creeps into one's being when you cross off the tough things-to-do early in your day. It clears the slate for an easy afternoon when the tough jobs are behind you or the biggest challenges have been confronted.

Yesterday morning, I sat here and wrote a wish list of how I hoped my day would unfold. The day went nothing like I had planned.

But that early morning to-do-list prevailed throughout the day. It took until 9:30 last night to do what I had set out to do ... but (eventually) I did it. Plus I worked. So I actually got paid for my day. Bonus!

This morning, I have a new list.

I have crossed off one item and must face a few more Impossible Things before lunch. Hopefully, this afternoon will be clear sailing and I will return from a 'day at the office' revitalized and raring to make the most of what remains of the day.

This day is not without its share of challenges. It is up to me, to stare them in the eye and confront them. And I will ... before lunch.

Today will be a most excellent day because I will have faced up to my (perhaps it is only three) Impossible Things before lunch.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just For Today ...

Is it too much to hope that today is quiet and uneventful? That I don't get called into work? Is it thoughts like these that continue to prevent me from putting in full time hours??

I'm not loving my job. Most especially when I am not working from home and it feels like I am being a bother, continually asking for more work.

I have shredded paper (about a four hour job - there was so much); I have put three baskets of papers in numerical order; I have gone through the archives and pulled out 'yellow copies' of memos and filed those in order; I have sorted through the excesses of a filing cabinet, sorted, organized and made file folders with tabs; and other equally mundane jobs.

I don't feel like I'm making a difference. I feel like I am a pain in the neck. Always asking for/needing work. All that I ask for, is to have a roster of responsibilities which I could handle on my own without being spoon fed - one, small portion at a time.

At least when I'm working for this company out of my home, I don't feel like I am a looming 'presence' and an annoyance. I work at my own pace, get the work done, listen to my music as I deal with the monotony of the task at hand. Yesterday I asked if they minded if I listened to music while I worked. The answer? "As long as we can't hear it" (I work upstairs with the furnace, spare parts and storage). I feel like an inadequate child in their presence. I'm not loving the sensation.

Three months. I will reassess this situation in three months. After I am home from my holiday. After I have cleared some of the things-I-want-to-do in my life. Things that I do have time to do, because of the irregularity of my work hours.

Today? I just want to stay home. I have a few hours worth of work to clean up. I can double check and send off our income tax returns. I need to buy groceries. I'd love to pick up the phone and call my sister. My feet are a mess and I am hoping that I can be squeezed in at the podiatrist's office.

Just for today. Can I hope for idleness so that I can tend to the loose ends in my life? Not tomorrow and the rest of the week &/or month. Just for today ...

Monday, March 7, 2011

A New Week Dawning

This time, last week I knew exactly what to expect from the week ahead. It was laid out clearly before me. I wasn't exactly excited about everything that was upcoming. But I knew what was coming.

This week? Anything could happen.

I walked away from the computer a moment ago ... and returned to find an email saying "You'd better come into work today". I guess I'm working. I didn't know that five minutes ago.

The 'ding' of yet another incoming email, as I wrote the previous paragraph. A brief message from the friend we met up with yesterday, returning my sentiments about what a wonderful visit we had (a friendship that has grown even better with age).

This week, it feels like anything is possible.

It could be a lot of nothing special ... which is special unto itself, because I've had so much going on within my head lately.

Each morning will be an unknown gift that is opened as I walk into the day set out before me. Who knows what the day will bring?

I've been living life, looking forward lately. I love the view. I glance in the 'rearview mirror of life' and I'm grateful for what I have learned and the experiences I've gained. But for the most part, I am watching the road ahead and glancing off into the horizon.

I see the infinite sky and know that anything could happen. It's great to have hopes, dreams and aspirations. It is also good to look forward and know that you really have no idea what is around the next corner.

I have a feeling it's going to be a very good week.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekends Like These ...

If every weekend was like this, it wouldn't be special. This weekend stands out because it is different from the ones that have preceded it ... and the committed weekends ahead.

This weekend ...

I had time to stop and do our family's income taxes. I'm happy to announce that all of us have won the tax lottery. We are getting a portion of our own money back. A small amount of our hard earned cash is finding its way back home!

I puttered. I haven't puttered for years (or so it feels). Any time that I have had things to do around the house of late, it has been with a mission, dead-line and a reason. Or else I have done nothing at all. There has been no happy medium. I have worked or I haven't. This weekend? I puttered. I accomplished more than I set out to do. And it feels marvelous!!

I started my '29 Day Shred'. I am ready to get back on the exercise treadmill the very moment that I finish this post. I have taken my measurements and I'm ready to see if a regular exercise routine (plus a little saner eating habits) will shed a portion of an inch here and there. It simply feels good to move. And if I am brutally honest with myself, my body is pretty happy to be ridding itself of the junk-food toxins that had taken over the past few months. I'm going to do my best to make healthy-living a lifestyle, not a passing fancy.

This morning, we are going to be heading out on a short road trip and meeting a friend for lunch. This would be a little bit more fun if the weather was bright and springy. But who cares? We are hitting the highway. Going on an adventure. Visiting with a good friend. It is a most excellent way to pass (yet another) wintry day! I'm looking forward to it.

This weekend, I've had time to breathe. Time to putter. Time to relish in my home and family. Time to win the Income Tax Lottery!

It's been great. And I would not appreciate the splendor in such small things, if every weekend was like this. This weekend stands out from the rest, because it is different.

It is the contrasts in life that help us appreciate the small stuff. If we had no challenges to overcome, weekends like this would simply be the norm. There would be nothing outstanding about it.

Weekends like 'these' ... make weeks like 'those' worth the effort!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Safety Nets

S.M.A.R.T. - Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology

This amazing computer technology saved the day. I had no idea that this safety net was working quietly behind the scenes within our computer to keep our files safe before the hard drive 'crashed and burned'.

I don't understand computers enough to write about the topic. What I do appreciate is that all of our files were not lost. While that is not a catastrophic event unto itself, it's an inconvenience that I'm grateful we didn't have to endure.

I cannot begin to fathom the technology that makes a computer work. It is beyond my realm of comprehension. We turn on the computer from the comfort of our homes (or cars or pretty much anywhere these days) and we have fingertip access to 'the world'. Yet, when we have to wait more than a few seconds for the information to appear magically before us, we are frustrated.

This instantaneous and convenient access is something that we take for granted ... when it works. When systems fail and we lose everything on our hard drive, it is then that we tend to realize that we should have taken precautions ahead of time.

As it is with our health.

When we are hale and hearty, we take our bodies for granted. We jump out of bed each and every morning, go through the paces of our day and there is much that we don't even have to think about.

Our brain fires messages to our muscles and we walk, talk, breath and have a heart beat without a conscious thought. We are equipped with a structure of bones, muscles and an internal 'hard drive' that runs automatically. As a general rule, all we must do is provide our 'system' with adequate nourishment and rest, take some precautions and safety measures ... and if we are very, very lucky we will continue to wake up each and every day to life-as-we-know-it.

As I studied the intricacies of how our bodies function, I was in awe of the miracle of life. When you break down the processes that are required to sustain life and provide us with mobility, the multitude of unconscious processes that our body takes care of for us, plus our ability to make conscious decisions and the gift that we have to enhance what we have all been 'given' ... it is astounding.

Certainly, there are 'viruses' that sneak by our antivirus protection and create havoc. Some bugs are easier to cure than others.

The human body is equipped with a free immunity protection. Sometimes this system fails and attacks healthy organs. When our immune system works as it was meant to do, it is a blessing that we tend to take for granted. We are fortunate to live in a world where extra 'virus protection' is available. It helps to prevent viruses from spreading.

S.M.A.R.T.  This is not only a tool that our computers can utilize to help prevent an all out failure. It is something that each and every one of us has available to utilize.

Self monitoring analysis - being watchful for any changes to the norm. When our bodies aren't running efficiently, do we have the ability to change any variables to stabilize any negative changes? If not, we have our medical system and a wide variety of information and professionals to assist us.

Reporting technology - in Canada, we are blessed with a health care system where we can quickly report any 'technological' changes. The doctors have checks and balances to alert them to any critical system failures. If we present a full report of what went wrong, how, when and any additional information ... it helps our experts narrow down the field so that they can (hopefully) zero in on the origin of what is going awry.

Just as I neglected to back up our computer, I have also skipped an annual physical medical exam on more than one occasion. If I want my body's S.M.A.R.T. hard drive feature to work efficiently, it is best to take a few precautions. Sometimes the safety nets in life will prevent an all out failure. But we can't rely on them to save us from everything.

Stay safe ... don't rely on the safety features at our disposal. They are a back up system. Our best defense is to stay proactive.

Take time to 'back up your system'.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm Ready For a Weekend

Ahhh! Let the weekend begin ...

I have put in a productive week and I'm ready for the weekend. And the best part about the upcoming two days? I don't have any responsibilities.

No course to read, assignment to complete or studying to be done.

My work is complete. I didn't take work home with me; nor is any forthcoming on the weekend.

So my slate is clear to begin my '30 Day Shred'. It finally arrived in the mail today.

Bright and early tomorrow morning, I shall begin. I have 29 days before I must squeeze into my ballgown so we'll see what a '29 Day Shred' will accomplish.

Not much to ramble on about today. After working out of the house for three, full, consecutive days ... I'm just ready to settle in and enjoy being home.

Let the weekend begin!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

No Stress = No Cravings

It has been very ironic that while I have been busily crossing off the things-to-do to get my Group Fitness Certification ... that I have been sitting more than ever. And my eating habits? Down right embarrassing.

I did whatever it took to get through the course I was taking. Self induced bribery (chips and chocolate bars) kept me awake ... got me through ... they were my reward and my basic meal plan.

I was studying about becoming physically fit. And I was sitting idle as I learned all of the benefits of fitness.

I was studying about proper nourishment, as I wolfed down Pringles, popcorn, candy, chocolate and coffee.

I started craving sugar over 'real' food. I was becoming everything that I was learning not to be.

Then I wrote the exam.

I was in the grocery section of WalMart last night and I was not even tempted to wander down the sugar and chip aisles. The cravings have passed!!

All that I learned has finally seeped through the sugar rush and salt cravings!

For a mere $47.00, I could have downloaded a diet plan 'to beat belly fat'. In their brief intro, they stated two facts for free: (1) Sugar is your enemy; (2) Processed foods are also your enemy.

I saved $47.00 and decided that taking fact #1 and #2 alone, would propel me in the direction that I wanted to go. That, plus exercise. Maybe a few extra vegetables and protein too.

The lack of stress has created a healthier mind set for me. I no longer feel the need to treat myself, just to endure what I feel that I must do. My life is my own once again.

Sugar, you are my enemy! I do not crave you any more ...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Funny How Things Work Out

It was a mere three days ago that I was dreading the very thought of the week before me. I can't remember the last time that I felt like that. It was a very, very long time ago.

So far, the week has been good. Better than good. I leapt over a few hurdles (okay ... not leapt, I struggled). None the less, those hurdles are history. Onward!

I knew that I had a full day of work to face at the end of my exam yesterday. It is done. Complete. I did that too!

It is the last three days of the week which brought the sickening yucky feeling to the pit of my stomach. I must work. That is good. All day. Even better. For the rest of the week. Bring it on! At the shop. Awful feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I worked at the shop on Friday. It was not a good day. I felt like a fish, laying on the beach ... waiting, waiting, waiting for the tide to come in and return me to the water. After an endless day, the tide finally came in and I got to go home. And I haven't wanted to leave it since.

Then life happened.

My 'work' computer (at home) has been acting funny for a long, long time. I called in my computer guy quite some time ago. He cleaned up many, many files and was certain it should be okay. It wasn't. But I could still do what I wanted to do (it  just took forever to do it), and apparently (I thought) he didn't know what the problem was.

I finally called my friendly computer guy again this week. He came over yesterday afternoon. He left with the computer.

It is sick. Very sick. Not a bug ... but something to do with the hard drive. Something that meant that I was 'this close' to losing everything. Everything!

He safely escorted 'my baby' to the computer hospital (his home) by ambulance (his car) and has promised to do his best for the least amount of money. He is very certain that the hard drive will be covered by warranty and I will simply owe  him his 'time'.

Okay, back to my story about the week I've been dreading ....

As I heard the diagnosis for the computer and was told that he would do his best to get it back to me by Friday, a wave of gratitude washed over me. I couldn't have worked from home for the rest of the week, without the computer. I was given a solution before I even knew there was a problem!! I could not be more grateful.

Yes, I must work in a place where I feel like a fish out of water. But it will get better, the more I adapt to 'life on the beach'. I still get to 'swim with the fishes' at the end of the day when the tide rushes in and takes me back to life-as-I-know-it.

I've been complaining about the lack of work in my world. A lot. I have been given an opportunity. I have three days left in this week. Three days to turn my attitude around and show my employers just how valuable I am.

This week was a gift in disguise. Who knew??

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Pressure is Off!

It's Tuesday. The week's scorecard is tallying up nicely. I'm 2 for 2.

Yessiree!! I earned a passing grade on my closed book exam.

I can close those books and tuck them away in a closet. That has always been cause for celebration in my world. The clearing off of the kitchen table after an intense study period (just in time to work on the statements which I need/want to complete before the day is through).

The pressure is easing. All of a sudden the rest of the week doesn't seem as daunting as it did at the onset.

Time will tell. But I'm aiming for at least a 4 out of 5 day success rate. I'll leave room for error ... but strive for perfection. It's been working for me so far...

I'm Doing It!

My 'Zumba Family' experiences continue to grow ...

Monday night is my two hour Zumba-fest of the week. Our instructor is second to none in every regard - she has it 'all'. She inspires, she 'does', she is young, vital and fun. She has many loyal students, but I am new to the fold.

I'm getting to know a few of the other ladies a little bit. It's easy to talk to people when you share the Zumba-passion. Bit by bit, you get to know a tiny little bit about the people that share the energy in the room.

After I mentioned that I had been studying, I was asked what course I was taking. And we were off and running. Talking about my aspiration to become a certified Group Fitness Instructor has been the catalyst of many conversations of late. I am always a tad apprehensive to tell people what I'm doing. I'm 50 years old. I have not been a fitness guru my whole life. Who do I think I am??? ... is the question that keeps coming to mind when I admit my goals to someone new.

These ladies that I talked to last night were beyond supportive. "I have wanted to do that for the last 10 years, but I never did" .... "It's inspirational to others to see someone who is 'not 25' (years old) leading a class"...

I continue to qualify my hopes, dreams and goals with the statement that "no matter where things go from here ... this is all good information to learn" and "I just keep taking one step at a time and I will see where this takes me". I continue to receive support and encouragement from those I talk to.

What has pushed me into this place that I have found myself? My son, whose words continue to resonate in my mind to this day. "Don't just say you are going to do something. Do it!!"

I'm doing it. Today's exam will take me to the 3/5 portion of things-to-do-to-become-certified. All I have to do is pass.

Zumba has propelled me in a brand new direction. I keep taking forward steps. I have a feeling that I am forging a brand new path that will take me places that I had never dreamed.

If the end result is simply that I have a healthier heart and body ... I will have succeeded.