Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratefulness

Is that a word?

For some reason, the word 'grateful' has come up a lot lately. I'm reading it and hearing about gratefulness all over the place. I always take these things as being some sort of sign, so I figured I should be thinking about and talking about gratefulness. This post is very much inspired by many happy posts I've read of late.

I'm grateful for so many things - let me share:

~ I live with the kindest, more tolerant, gentle, generous man I could ask to share my life with.
~ I have a wonderful family - we love each other more and more every day. Our newest little family member is really changing our lives for the better. We are so lucky to be blessed with her.
~ We are healthy, and happy, and very fortunate.
~ I have more people that I consider friends than I ever have before, no matter how far apart we are from each other physically.
~ My dog. I love that fuzzy little being. He's made me a better person.
~ My job. I may not always jump out of bed eager to go to work, but I have great co-workers and a very good job - certainly nothing I should be complaining much about.


So there you have it. What more can a person ask for?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday Menu - I know, another boring food list

I know it's Tuesday, but I want to talk about yesterday's food too. I'm looking for suggestions and critiques. I'm trying to eat "cleaner" and incorporate more whole foods and more protein.

Here's what I ate:

Breakfast: Oats with greek yogurt and raisins, coffee
Snack: none (still full)
Lunch: Salad (spinach, tomatoes, mixed beans, feta stuffed peppers, flax meal, vinaigrette)
Snack: 2 Turkey Bites
Dinner: Turkey Burger (whole wheat bun, cranberry chutney, and grainy mustard), sweet potato fries with herb mayo for dipping
Snack: 3 Clementines

Because I don't trust myself not to overeat, I'm still figuring out my nutritional totals:
1530 cals, 197 grams carbohydrates, 46 grams fat, 95 grams protein

I think the only thing I ate that wouldn't be considered "clean" was the mayo, and maybe the kaiser roll I had my burger on. It was from a local bakery, but it doesn't list ingredients.

Thoughts?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This Week's Grocery List

I've really been trying harder to focus on whole foods and shopping the perimeter of the store. Here are today's finds:

Light Eggnog
1% Milk
Light Cream (for a specific FFwD recipe)
Coffee Cream (for a specific FFwD recipe)
Fresh Salmon
Lean Ground Beef
Ground Turkey
Orange Juice
Sugar
Fat-Free Greek Yogurt - Plain
Fat-Free Greek Yogurt - Strawberry (!!!)
Low-Fat Olive Oil Mayonnaise
Canned Crushed Tomatoes
Swiss Cheese
Tassimo Lattes
Garlic
Old Dutch All-Dressed Potato Chips (I have no idea how they got in the cart - Steve?)
Clementines
Onions
Honeycrisp Apples
Green Peppers
Baby Spinach
Baby Lettuce
Portabella Mushrooms
Roast Beef
Whole Grain Artisan Bread
Coarse Salt
Smoked Tuna
Multigrain Hamburger Buns
Cranberry Orange Chutney
Chili Oil
Coke Zero
C-Plus Orange

I cannot wait to have turkey burgers for supper this week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Take Some Time to Think

I went for a run today at lunch, all by my lonesome. It's been quite a while since I'd done that, come to think of it. I'm usually out with the tall geeks from the other side of my floor, one of whom is learning to run. Needless to say, I haven't been challenging myself as much as I should be.

Today I decided I'd go by myself - completely all alone, by myself. No distractions. This also means no music. I also made sure I wasn't wearing any gear that would drive me insane while I was on my solo journey. It was just me and my garmin.

It was great just listening to myself breathing. Nice rhythmic breathing. And I took time to think about my body - where my shoulders were, whether any part of me felt tighter than it should have, and whether my shoes were comfortable.

I also thought about which parts of my body were actually getting tired, and when I really analyzed the whole thing, I found that I could actually keep going longer. Can your legs handle a couple more minutes? Yup. Can your lungs handle a couple more minutes? Yup. Better keep going then.

It was great. I need to do that just a bit more often.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Silence is Golden

Have you ever had times when it seems like you're saying everything wrong? As soon as you open your mouth and say something you wish you hadn't?

I am very much in that space now. I am regretting everything I'm saying, not necessarily because I don't feel it, but I just feel like I'm saying everything wrong.

I sound needy, and whiny, sensitive, and insecure. I am saying the wrong things to the wrong people.

Even my comments on Facebook and my emails sound all wrong.

Please, everyone, give me the benefit of the doubt. I'm a good person, I'm confident, and I really meant for that to sound better than it did. Really.

I think I'll just keep my mouth shut.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sh!t My Boyfriend Says

We're watching TV. The dog is curled up on his bed on the floor.

Him: "What do you think of the dog?"
Me: "He looks suspicious, doesn't he?" *grinning - our dog is adorable*
Him: "I think he looks like a gnome dog."
Me: "You mean he looks like gnome? That's not very nice."
Him: "But if a gnome had a dog, it would look like him, you know?"

*sigh*

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sh!t My Boyfriend Says

We're driving.

Him: "Do you smell something funny?"
Me: "No. What do you mean funny?"
Him: "Oh nothing, I just thought I smelled a toot."
Me: "Are you asking if I tooted?"
Him: "No, maybe we just drove through a toot or something."

This is my life.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Week's Grocery List

This one definitely looks a little better than the last couple...
  • frozen vegetables
  • old white cheddar
  • flax oil
  • butter
  • tzatziki sauce
  • sugar
  • 100 calorie snacks (for Steve's lunch)
  • canned tomatoes
  • vegetable broth
  • low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
  • low-fat cream of broccoli soup
  • 2% evaporated milk
  • lean ground beef
  • extra lean ground turkey
  • brown eggs
  • unsweetened soy milk
  • chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream
  • toothpaste
  • dog food
  • simply bars
  • 1% milk
  • spinach (2 bags)
  • red onion
  • garlic
  • yellow potatoes
  • milkbones (for the fuzzy man of the house)
  • canned pumpkin
  • broccoli
  • green pepper
  • bananas
  • granny smith apples
  • coffee
  • papier de toilette
I think I'll be in much better shape this week.

If you hadn't already noticed, I'll be making some green monsters for breakfast.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Personal Happiness Project

Is it selfish to want more happiness for yourself? To put other people aside for a bit and focus on what you want and who you want to be, then set out to do what you need to do to achieve those things?

I don't think so.

I've recently decided to embark on a personal happiness project. I plan on changing the things in my life that don't make me happy, so that I can ultimately be happier and a better person to the other people in my life.

My happiness project isn't an original idea. My soul sista Jan turned me on to a great book by Gretchen Rubin called, 'The Happiness Project'. We both agreed that we don't usually tune ourselves in to books like this - you know the ones, the self-help, change your life types. We also realized that not everything in this book will ring true to both or either of us, but the book has proven to be a great read and a bit of an eye opener.

I hope no one has the wrong impression about my level of happiness. I'm generally a very happy person with more than one person should have the privilege of being thankful for. I have a loving, wonderful, healthy family; a great guy who loves me unconditionally and a fuzzy animal to keep us laughing; friends, near and far, whom I love and who will always be a huge part of my life; a warm, safe, stable home; a good job; a full tummy; and plenty of everything to spare. I have nothing to complain about.

Even though I have an enviable life, there are lots of things I'd love to change about it. I'd like to feel more accomplished. I'd like to find more time to read. I'd like to be a bit more easygoing. I'd like to do less rushing around and more savouring. I can do better, and I can be better to myself.

I have a plan for achieving some of these goals. I realize this isn't something that can happen quickly. I know some of these changes won't be easy for me, and that a lot of them will make me uncomfortable. I also know that small changes can make big differences and that no one ever got better at anything without some discomfort and some effort.

Mark my words, change is a comin'. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 3, 2010

It's Been a Week Already? This Week's Grocery Shop

It's already been another week come and gone. Not quite, but almost.

Steve and I decided to get groceries before Hurricane Earl hit so that we can stay in tomorrow and do nothing but eat delicious snacks, you know, in the name of survival.

Here is the list of purchases today:

  • Reese Peanut Butter Puffs cereal
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (I can't believe these are the first two things on the list)
  • Blue Menu angus burgers
  • Light sour cream
  • Hot pepperoni
  • Whole wheat macaroni
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Coffee
  • Dog food
  • Root beer
  • Whole wheat english muffins
  • Hamburger buns
  • Whipped peanut butter (whipped!)
  • Dill pickles
  • Cool ranch doritos
  • Renee's ranch dressing
  • Renee's Light caesar dressing
  • Tassimo chai tea lattes (FREE)
  • Tassimo Starbucks cappuccino (FREE)
  • Yves original veggie ground round
  • Vachon Ah Caramel cakes
  • Maple pepper smoked salmon
  • Rainbow trout
  • Honey oat bread
  • Ancient grains bread
  • Coffee cake
  • Kibbles
  • Plums
  • White mushrooms
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Cauliflower
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Buttercup squash
  • Vidalia onion
  • Green pepper

So in hindsight, I guess I didn't make stellar choices. I yelled at Steve when he put the coffee cake in our cart.

There were two things I couldn't wait to try. I dug into them as soon as we got home: the smoked salmon (not because I don't know what it tastes like, but because I LOVE it and I was famished). I also had to try the whipped peanut butter.

I know, I'm eight years old.

We spent $138.



Sunday, August 29, 2010

Today's Grocery Shop

I love food and I love to see what's in peoples' grocery carts at the store, what's in their refrigerators and their cupboards.

In light of that, I'm sharing my grocery shop today. Here's what we came home with:

chicken breast (2 packs - they were BOGO)
ground beef (for the dog's food)
a pot roast (for dinner tonight)
diet pepsi
cream soda
orange c-plus
light sour cream
vanilla greek yogurt (I'm very excited about this!)
tassimo single serve coffee pods
light cream cheese
light spinach cream cheese
velveeta shells and cheese
whole wheat KD
baby shrimp
2% milk
2 packages of bagels (BOGO)
unbleached all-purpose flour
spinach nuggets
falafel
Old Dutch all-dressed chips
2 packs mushrooms (BOGO)
yellow onions
green bell pepper
broccoli
turnip
multigrain tostitos
whole wheat pitas
oatmeal brown bread
multigrain bread

So there - that's it, in all its delicious glory. Some good, some bad. I also just made a trip to the Costco, so we've got lots of great stuff here to add on to what we picked up.

We spent $125.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

You're Such a Card!

Another strange thing about me. I get a HUGE kick out of greeting cards. It's a bit unnatural, actually.

Today's great finds:

This is actually a tablet of citations:








I laughed out loud at this one:





Now that I've revealed a couple of strange things about me, why don't you tell me something strange about you? It'll make me feel better. :-S




Excited to Run?

I'm excited to run tomorrow.

I'm sure this is just a weird thing about me, but I'll share anyway. Sometimes when I go grocery shopping I buy really good stuff, the stuff I love to eat. Then when I get home, I want to eat it all right then because it's good. It doesn't even have to be junky food - it can be healthy food too. It's like I'm thinking, "I'm going to eat all of these blueberries and yogurt right now. The more I eat of it, the healthier I'll be." Funny, huh?

I just want to go out running right now because I'm really looking forward to my run tomorrow morning.

I'm that kind of weird.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sometimes You Just Need to Have a Good Cry

If you know me, you know that I'm pretty tough, and that I've got spunk and a lot of attitude. If that's bad, I don't care. It's me. I'm stubborn, and a perfectionist, and I like getting what I want. I'm a very determined lady and once I have a goal in mind, you'd might as well hand it over to me - I'm that kind of stubborn and determined girl. Don't tell me I can't have something, or that I can't do something - it will become my life's mission to prove you wrong.

I'm also sentimental (although not often openly). I'm hard on myself and I carry a lot of insecurities that I try not to let show. At least I'll admit that, right? I have too much love for other people and although I try to show them with kindness, generosity, and humour, it scares the heck out of me to show anyone love. I also have a lot of love for myself, but I don't express it the same way I express my love to others. I think I'm harder on myself because even though other people can always leave my life, I'll never escape myself.

Where is this going?

Lately I've really been feeling like I'm letting other people I love down. I'm letting myself down. I'm getting very overwhelmed by all of this thinking about it. So...

Yesterday, I knew just what I needed - a run. I had been looking forward to it all week, waiting for Sunday's run. I love running. I do most of my best thinking while running. I feel my best during a run, at least most of the time, but running serves another purpose for me too. For me, running has this ability to bring to the surface those tiny things I've been trying to keep down.

I ran one of the worst runs I can remember running yesterday. I have a run like that about once every four to six months, and I know it's because I'm not in a good head space, and something needs to bubble up to the surface so I can face it. I got a good look at it about twenty minutes in to my run yesterday. I had a little cry (don't tell anyone that). I exhausted myself both physically and emotionally.

Today is better. I think I'm better equipped to face the world again. You can bet I won't be missing my run next week either. I need to check back to make sure I'm heading where I need to be going.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 4

Hump day, so to speak.

Today was not fun. I was woken up by a phone call from my co-worker Brian.

I wore skinny jeans to work (yes, I did buy a pair - we have a love-hate relationship).

My entire workday was a bust, and I'm really frustrated about it, but that's another vent for another time.

Somehow I managed to keep my arse in the boat:

Breakfast - a breakfast quesadilla and copious amounts of coffee
Snack - a cup of blueberries
Lunch - salad with lots of greens, tomatoes, cheddar, lean ham, an egg white, and cucumbers. Also a granola bar.
Dinner - a veggie burger on a thin bun and sweet potato fries
Snack - a slice of zucchini bread

Tomorrow morning, Steve and I are off to the market to meet Sarah King (!) and J. I expect we'll buy some great cheese and samosas. They also have these wonderful new things - cinnamon roasted nuts. I'm betting I'll be bringing those home too. Tomorrow will also include a grocery run.

Oh, and of course, there was a realization today:

My work will set me off enough to eat. Today was very stressful and anxiety-provoking. It was nearly enough for me to grab a chocolate bar, or pick up fast food on the way home. But I didn't. I did however, consciously recognize what was going on. That's pretty big for me. It'll be important for me to stay on top of this, since my work is incredibly demanding a lot of the time.

I deflected my "food reward" for a cookbook reward instead. I managed to find the time to run to a bookstore between phone calls this evening to pick up two new cookbooks. *beams*

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Wouldn't Want to Come Home to This Little Monster?

This is what greets me every day when I get home from work...

Day 3

*Sigh*

So I'm just going to get this right out of the way. I ate terribly today. I made bad choices. I was tempted and caved. Meh.

Breakfast: Blueberry oatmeal muffin

Lunch: Bowl of corn chowder

Afternoon snack: sugar-free Jones soda, cup of blueberries

Dinner: a footlong Subway lobster sub


Did everyone catch that I ate an entire footlong sub for dinner?

Let me tell you today's Subway story. Stephen suggested we have Subway for dinner. I used to pick up Subway for us once a week, which I've gotten out of the habit of doing. It has been very hot here this week though, and I didn't feel like cooking, so I agreed.

I went out for a run after work like a good little weight losing runner. I parked in the Subway parking lot and hit the trail that runs just behind it for my run. This way I could just grab Subway after the run and head home.

The Subway is packed. I wait a few minutes, no big deal, and people continue to file in after me. I order our subs - mine being a lobster sub, Stephen's being a steak and bacon melt. The people are great making our subs really quickly, but the person in front of me had issues with his debit card and we all got held up at the cash.

It was at this time that the lady behind me in line leans over and says, "I hope the steak tastes better than it looks."

Um, what? Now I know that the Subway steak subs aren't made with filet mignon. But I've eaten the Subway steak and quite like it. It looked the same it always does, and when you put bacon and melted cheese on it, I couldn't see how that would taste bad.

It really made me wonder something. We all meet people in this world who are arses. But, do the arses in this world have people they consider to be arses? How arsey are those people?

I did have a small victory today that I'd like to tell you about too. I realized today that I would need to stop at the store and buy new ice cream if I planned on having my regular half cup for a snack tonight. Yes, this is how much I think about ice cream. I didn't stop to get any. It wasn't because I forgot either. I just didn't stop.

There is ice cream on the list of things to pick up tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 2

Day 2's been better than day 1.

I don't feel quite as hungry. My arms are firmly attached.

I was telling my friend Jan awhile ago that I've been running with some guys from work three lunch hours a week for quite a while now, and today was one of the first days I questioned whether I could continue. See, they're tall, and fast. It's getting harder and harder to keep up as we get into longer running intervals. I'm going to keep going with them until I just really can't do it anymore. Hopefully as the summer heat subsides, I'll be able to continue.

Here's today's menu:

Breakfast: an oatcake (not my best choice, I know)

Lunch: vegetable soup and a turkey sandwich on whole wheat

Afternoon snack: granola bar and a perrier

Dinner: buffalo chicken salad (lettuce, cherry tomatoes, sauteed peppers/mushrooms/onions/tofu, Frank's buffalo wing sauce, cheese)

Snack: Handful of fritos corn chips (so far)


Last night's snack was ice cream, and I expect that'll happen again tonight. I will measure a half a cup of PC Loads of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and eat it out of the measuring cup, as I do every single night of my life.

I'm already off to a great start this week. I consider myself having a good week if I'm on the plus side in terms of points. At this moment, I've used 4 flex points, but I've already earned 5 in APs this week, so I'm at a +1 right now. This is fantastic for my second day in. If I can make it through day 3 or 4 at near even, I'm good to go.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 1

No one fails on day 1. Things don't start to go awry until at least day 4. That's kind of funny to me too, considering I spend my first few days "on plan", hungry.

So today was good. I hope tomorrow will be easier.

Breakfast was yogurt, berries, and coffee.

Morning snack was a banana.

Lunch was a salad with greens, peppers, cucumber, egg whites, ham, and feta. Salad was followed by a nectarine.

Afternoon snack was another nectarine and a small granola bar.

Before my run I had some blueberries.

Dinner was two veggie dogs, one wheat bun, onions fried in olive oil, and broccoli.

I've got lots of room left for a snack again later. :-)


I know a lot of you are probably not happy about reading what I'm eating. If you don't like it, don't read it. I think that putting it out there will help me make better choices and will help me be more accountable.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Need Help

There, I've said it. I need help.

I've gained a bit of weight, and I haven't done a thing about it. This has gone on long enough.

I need to do something about it now.

Lisa and I have decided to do this together, a couple of weeks ago. My first couple of weeks were great, then last week I went on vacation.

Well, no more.

I'm back.

I will be following my own guidelines for this, very challenge-like. I've put a request out there to the GDT, but I don't think this will work for me if I'm accountable to a group of mostly strangers. I need help from those who know and whom I'm hoping love me, at least a little. This will work for me because I won't want to disappoint you.

My challenge starts tomorrow morning, with a WI. There are almost 10 weeks left before I'm in Toronto. I will be 12-15 lbs lighter by then. That would make me a very happy girl, and much more comfortable in my own skin.

Knowing myself better than anyone, I am not going to be expecting perfection. I am going to be expecting healthy eating and increased exercise.

I'm going to be accountable to all of you, and I am going to be successful.

Love yous,
Tara

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Facebook Friend Policy

Guidelines for removing or keeping facebook friends (some of which belong to myself, some to others):


If you walk right past me in the mall, and don't say hi - we are no longer facebook friends.

If I am too lazy to type 'Happy Birthday' on your wall on your birthday - we are no longer facebook friends. If you get deleted from my facebook friend list on your birthday, this is the category you've fallen into. If your birthday has passed and we're still facebook friends, I'm sorry I didn't get to write 'Happy Birthday' on your wall. I'm actually sincerely sorry - I try my best to keep up with these things.

If I avoid an aisle in the grocery store because you're in it and I don't want to interact with you, we are no longer facebook friends.


Any others?

Friday, July 9, 2010

For You, M

I really do have pictures of my friends and family at the office:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Office

I have so much to blog about just sitting up there in my head. When there's too much to say, I get overwhelmed and have a hard time getting it out.

Strangely, I've had a rather action packed life lately. I think I caused it myself though, as I think I do on occasion when I feel like things are getting stale. When you're bored, why not buy and sell a couple of houses? Or maybe you'd rather build a house? Take a new course?

What ever happened to re-arranging furniture when you get a little bored with your everyday life? ;-)

One of the many things that's happened lately is the change in my job, or at least my work environment. Recently, my office has moved from a very old office building to a newer office building. From a big cubicle with my own air conditioner and a window that opens, to a 7x7 cubicle with a nice view of a gorgeous church over my shoulder but no window of my own.

With the new environment comes new duties. I don't think I'll be doing as much Oracle work anymore, which I'm alright with. I'll now be working with web and communications tools, taking me back to my roots and allowing me to use my multimedia degree. I'm very excited about the new beginning, and a little bit sad about what is ending.

In the interest of blogging being about sharing some of our lives, I took some pictures of my new cubicle. Now you'll all be able to picture me there, typing, sighing, and giggling at all of you.

This first one is a picture of the full cube, as you would walk in:

















This is what I look at all day:

















Vive le beave! My stuffed beaver, Bud Gnawwood:

















This needs no words:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just Call Me Dex

If you watch Dexter, you'll know that he's a serial killer who only kills serial killers

I like to think of myself as the Dexter of the road.

I like to play this game every once in a while when I'm driving. If I see another driver on the road who is just being a general pain in the butt to everyone else, either by driving really fast, tailgating, constantly changing lanes - you know, just generally being a bad driver. When I see a driver like this, I LOVE driving them insane on the road.

I got to play this game today. There was a guy driving up one of the busiest streets in Fredericton during a pretty busy time. He's driving a huge SUV and swerving back and forth between lanes, trying desperately to get a couple of feet ahead.

Perfect. My kind of annoying driver.

First chance I got, I cut him off. Then I drove painfully slow in front of him, while keeping pace with the car in the next lane so that he couldn't possibly get past us. He was losing it. I was extremely happy about this.

Steve and I pull off the road into our exit to the mall. High fives all around

Saw the crazy driver in the mall a few minutes later.

Clearly, he must have been in a HUGE hurry.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Piece of My Childhood

Not all that long ago, my parents really started cleaning out their basement so that they can use it. See, the basement was always filled with boxes of things belonging to my sister and I. A few at a time, my parents were dropping off these boxes of forgotten treasures. Now I have a full basement of boxes.

Among these treasures were a lot of books I had forgotten about. I have so many books it's almost embarrassing. In more recent years, I've tried to cut down on the amount I bring into the house, now refusing to purchase novels and other books I'm only going to look at once. This only makes sense to me, since it helps reduce clutter and the requirement to store these books, and getting them from the library saves me money. Win, win.

Back to my original story... amongst the boxes from my parents I found some of my most favourite books, including my 15 volume set of Charlie Brown 'Cyclopedias, written circa 1980. I loved these books. I read every single one cover to cover when I was around the age of 8. I was a very anxious kid, and reading seemed to help me escape my anxiety, so books like this that made me think and learn were perfect for me.



Now here's the sad part of the story... upon further investigation, I realized I was missing one of my beloved 'cyclopedias. Volume 8, the one about the stars and planets. I was devastated. I called my mom to tell her of my plight and to ask her where she had originally obtained these literary gems. She seemed to think she may have collected them one at a time from a local grocery store or something. She suggested I check eBay for a replacement.

Why didn't I think of that? I'm the IT professional in the family and didn't think to use modern technology to get what I want?!? Clearly, this indicates that I'm in the wrong profession.

I log onto eBay and lo and behold - my Charlie Brown 'Cyclopedia Volume 8, featuring Stars and Planets, for $3.99 USD. YES! I ended up buying it for $3, plus $5 shipping. I couldn't be happier. Thank you eBay!

I cannot wait to read the entire set all over again. It's funny how something like that can bring back such good feelings. Thanks for the 'cyclopedias Mom. Sorry for causing you and Dad so much grief being such an anxious kid - that couldn't have been easy to deal with.

What books did you love as a kid?

Friday, June 18, 2010

These are a few of my favourite things

I'm not usually one to blog about the particulars of my day, but today was a day when I did a lot of my favourite things, so I'm going to share.

I got up nice and early today, around 6.15am or so. I made coffee for Steve and I. This is a big deal. I'm never the one who makes the coffee - I'm always the one still in bed. Making the coffee in the morning really makes me feel good.

I worked half the day. Working half a day is great. I think 4 hours is the perfect length for a workday. It's enough to make you not get entirely fed up. It's been a bit of a rough week at work this week, so I welcomed the short day today.

I made the BEST lunch for Stephen and I today. I got home before he did (he only worked half the day today too), so I made lunch. Making coffee AND lunch in one day for both of us is a VERY good day. We dined on ciabatta paninis filled with roasted chicken breast (real chicken, not the sliced deli stuff), asparagus, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and herbed mayo (made with fresh basil and parsley from our herb garden). They were delicious.

After lunch, we decided on a kayak. It was 30C here today, but the river we chose to paddle is nice and shady, so we packed some water and went. It was gorgeous. Usually we see some beaver, which slap the river with their tails and put on quite a show. Today we saw a fisherman, and came upon two men and a dog on a bit of an island with a radio and a cooler full of beer. We stopped to chat for a minute. Nice guys.



Stephen barbecued for dinner - we had T-Bones and Caesar salad. Very delicious. Samson got the remains of my steak with his dinner, about half of it. He was a very happy puppy.

I know what you're thinking - how can she possibly fit any more good into this day, it's near perfect.

I'll tell you how - go to a garden centre! I LOVE garden centres! I managed to get out having only bought the following: 2 fuschia hanging baskets, 2 boxes of seed tape, pumpkin starters, a ground cherry starter, and a glass hummingbird feeder - all for under $60. Total. Score.

Finally, Steve took me for ice cream. He knows this is really the way to my heart. I over-indulged with a scoop of Dark Chocolate Shiver and a scoop of Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfait. I also tried a new kind called Gold Mine - so good. I can never find my favourite kind anymore, which is a bit sad, but I know it's out there somewhere, and I'll DIE trying to find it. ;-) If I can't find it, I'll try all the kinds I can in vain, only to be pleasantly disappointed.

Couch time before bed.

*sigh*

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today's Random Thought

Why do we try to make water taste like anything other than water? If you would like to taste a peach, why don't you eat a peach?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cranberry Orange Muffins: Orange Muffins Filled With Pretty Red Gems

I love it when I discover something in the freezer that I have forgotten to use. Today I found some frozen cranberries that I bought on sale. I often pick things up on sale with the idea of using them later. Sometimes I forget to do that. Luckily, today was one of those days.

Cranberries are a gorgeous fruit. They're so pretty, you almost want to put them on some tiny hooks and wear them as earrings. Today I chose to put them in muffins.

I'm still thinking about the earrings though.




Cranberry Orange Muffins


2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Large Egg
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Oil
1 Cup Cranberries, Chopped (I used frozen)
3/4 Cup Orange Juice (the juice of 1 large range, plus frozen concentrated orange juice to top up the 3/4 cup)
Grated Zest of One Large Orange

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Measure first 4 ingredients into large bowl. Stir. Make a well in the centre. Set aside.

Beat next 3 ingredients in medium bowl.

Add remaining 3 ingredients. Stir well. Add to well in the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Fill 12 greased muffin cups almost full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until wooden toothpick inserted in centre of a muffin comes out clean. Let stand in pan for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This is Me

It's scary to be honest sometimes. But if I really want you to know me I know I have to open up a bit about who I really am. The only way to have and keep close friends is to be open to having close friends. I want to give you a glimpse into my life by telling you some things you couldn't know about me unless you were a very close friend.



I would live off pizza, burgers, ice cream, cheese, coffee, and cake, not in that order. This fact will never change.

I am late for nearly everything. If I'm not late, it's because I tried VERY hard not to be late. That's a big deal.

In my head, no one really likes me that much, like I'm alright, but I'm no one's favourite. This makes me try way too hard, and it's exhausting. I've also recently realized that it makes it very hard for me to admit that I don't like someone else, since I'm afraid I might somehow be pushing away someone who might actually like me. It's messed up.

I am a crazy animal lover. I cannot handle hearing about sick or abused animals. It is nearly impossible for me to kill an insect. I lose sleep over stories in the news that involve animal abuse. I've lost sleep over the recent oil spill and the effect it has on the animals and the ecosystems involved. I would probably collect puppies.

I've always been Dad's girl. I am pretty much a copy of him.

I love numbers and working with money. I budget like a mad woman.

My absolute favourite things to do on the weekend are bake, get outside to run/hike/geocache/swim/kayak, or read.

I don't like watching movies at home. I'm trying to get better at it.

I love graveyards. I know that may sound morbid, but it's true. I love them - they're so interesting. I love checking the names and the dates on tombstones. I visit new and interesting graveyards any chance I get.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Mixed Tape

You're driving in to work, or listening to the radio while you're cleaning the kitchen on Saturday morning, or you walk by a community car wash with students washing cars to raise money for their trip to basketball provincials. You hear a song. Instantly you're taken to...


















Black Hole Sun, Soundgarden - released April 1994

I was 14 years old when this song was released. That's over half my life ago. *sigh*

The song instantly reminds me of my very best friend back then, Stewart. Stewie. Stew moved to my tiny little hometown with his mom and sister from Whitby, Ontario after his parents divorced. I was 13. He was 12. He didn't know anyone, and I needed a friend, so we were a perfect pair.

Stew and I were inseparable. We had a couple more friends we did stuff with too. But he was at my house almost every single day, and if we weren't together we were on the phone. We played volleyball, went to the arcade, to the beach, or just hung out listening to music and watching TV. He was a crazy good soccer player, and I remember watching the World Cup with him. I even bought a World Cup t-shirt to let people know how cool I was because I was paying attention to World Cup soccer and I knew all about it.

That summer was one of the best summers I can remember. I was so happy. It was like 3 months of my life lit up during a time I remember as being very dark otherwise. I felt comfortable and accepted. For a little while I didn't worry about how pudgy I was, or how I wasn't good enough for the group of girls I had tried being friends with, but never really belonged to. It was like it was just our little group of friends, and Stewart and I, two people who didn't belong to anyone else, who somehow belonged with each other. That summer brought new friends and new feelings and it was awesome.

I started high school that fall, which meant that Stewart and I would be going to different schools. He would stay with our friends Natalie, Justin, and Nick while I would move on to another school with our friend Diana. Naturally, Stewart and I didn't see as much of each other anymore. Diana and I had a complete falling out over something completely foolish (as 14 years old tend to do), and it began years of agony for me, being harassed by she and her friends.

Stew became a chef (my dream). Until recently, he worked at the restaurant across the street from my office. I'd see him every once in a while after work, while walking to my car. I loved those rare moments, just because I got to say hi to him. We never stayed as close after that summer, but I still feel the same way when I see him. I just wanted to run right over to him and give him a great big hug, and say "Remember when...". And we'd laugh. Then laugh some more.

He recently moved west to continue his career out there with Justin (mentioned above, also became a chef). I hope he finds everything he's ever wanted somewhere out there, he deserves every bit of it, plus.

I miss 1994, but I still have brief visits with Stewart every time I hear Chris Cornell droning on, "Black hole sun, won't you come...".

I still have a hat that was his too, packed away in a box. Maybe I'll post a picture of it later. And maybe I'll send him an email, just to say hi.

As for Diana, she apologized to me a few years ago for all the grief she put me through back then. I'm now friends with her and a lot of the friends she enlisted to help torture me back then. Life's so funny sometimes.

You know what else is funny? I just realized that today is one of those friends' birthdays. That's like Twilight Zone weird.


What's one of the songs on your mixed tape?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

10 Universal Truths

The beautiful thing about blogging is that you can say whatever you want, and people can choose to read it or not. Today I thought I should share with you, my dedicated readers, ten universal truths that I live by, or some advice, if I may. I really hope this aren't too harsh, but then again, you are under no obligation to care about them anyway.

1. There is zero point in drinking empty calories. Zero. Things like sugared soda, "juice" that isn't juice like Tang, and Kool Aid. All useless. I won't even get into why they're not only useless, but extremely counter productive. I'm sure we all know why.

2. You never put hand soap that smells like food in your bathroom. Why should your bathroom smell like a latte? Seriously.

3. You should never, EVER cut off or pull out in front of a driver that clearly has somewhere to be if you do not. Nothing is more infuriating than getting cut off by someone who plans on driving very slowly in front of you.

4. Never choose fake entertainment over real entertainment. I'm saying this, and I don't even think I'm that great with people, and would often choose to be alone over socializing. If someone asks you to go for coffee, but you're hesitating because you'll miss a favourite television show, get real. Don't be an arse, go for coffee, even if you don't want to. What if you never get the chance to go with that person ever again? Will that episode of The Bachelorette have been worth it?

5. Every single one of your favourite foods can be made into a salad, a healthier alternative. Think about it.

6. Never let meat go to waste. Something had to DIE for that, you know. Honour that animal by using it's life to do good for your life.

7. Don't buy things you know you'll never consume or use. We all have that internal dialogue with ourselves when we reach for that grocery item on the shelf, or go to the cash to pay for a shirt. You KNOW whether or not you're wasting money right at that moment, don't you? Why are you buying things wastefully? Why do we take free samples we have no intention of using?

8. Go to your library. Libraries may not be around forever, and they're such a wonderful resource. And free. Something fabulous and free.

9. Supporting local endeavours is always good. We plant a garden every year, and it is really hard work. Farmers work very hard to produce what they do, so we shouldn't take that for granted. If you get a chance, visit a local farm, or plant a small garden, and you'll see what I mean. The good news for farmers is that I'm sure they get a lot of satisfaction from doing what they do. It's pretty amazing stuff. I know there's nothing like the feeling we get from using our own produce in the kitchen. That's pretty cool.

10. Try to believe that there is more good in the world than bad. There is. Give people the benefit of the doubt when you might not normally do that. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gratitude: Day 1

I went running at lunch time today, and just as I was getting on the trail, I saw my cousin running just a few feet away from me. I yell a hello to him, thinking he'd just keep going. When he said he was going one direction, I purposefully said I was going in the opposite direction, hoping he wouldn't suggest running together. I was wrong, he suggested he run my route with me.

Please understand that I'm not always a complete bitch, and that I'm a nice person for the most part. I just like doing things alone. A lot. I was petrified that he wanted to come with me, partly because this is one of those social situations that generally make me nervous, making small talk with a cousin I haven't talked to in months, and partly because he's a great runner, a regular runner, a fast runner. I knew this would be difficult.

It was difficult. There's really no sugar coating it. I thought I may die at least 3 times in the 18 minutes it took us to run 3.25K.

It was nice. We had a really great chat and I just got a great feeling while we were out there. He's my family, and I love him. He'll always be my family and he'll always feel a bit like home to me.

I'm thankful I met him on the trail today. I'm thankful he changed his route to come with me. I'm thankful for feelings that hit you on a random day, doing a random activity, that make you feel fuzzy on the inside.

Love ya Trav. Thanks again for the run today.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Running with Yoda

Oh. My. Lanta.

My body hurts all over. We put in the majority of this year's garden this past weekend (pics to follow, once it stops raining here) and I tried a new weight loss yoga video yesterday. Ow. Yeah, yoga hurts.

I skipped my run today too. I had the WORST day at work today (the WORST), I'm sore, and it was cold and rainy. Yeah, I know, I'm an inspiration.

Had a conversation with a friend of mine yesterday. She's a runner, she lives in another city, so we have to chat online if we want to have any kind of ongoing discussion these days. When I hit her up for a chat, usually to ask her questions about running she could answer in her sleep, I always feel like I'm driving her insane with boredom, so I try to avoid doing that. I'm sure most of you can guess who she is.

I chatted this friend up yesterday with a couple of training questions, as I'm now hoping to train for a half, but would like to try running a couple more 10K races in the meantime. In all actuality, this is usually when I quit something. Once I've accomplished a goal like my 10K race last weekend, I come down hard. I'm hoping to break the pattern this time.

This whole coming down hard thing is real for me and I know it. I've been waiting for it to get here actually. Tomorrow's the day I figure out whether or not I'm going to let it happen again. This is exactly why I scoffed at her when my friend said to me, "People are proud of you for running that race, you're an inspiration".

I'm going to address this concept of "inspiration" right now. I'm no inspiration. I trained for one race and I ran it. Big. Flippin'. Deal. Anyone can do that. Oprah did it - she trained for one freakin' marathon. One marathon, a single race. She's not runnin' no marathons anymore. Now the contestants on The Biggest Loser run a marathon. Ugh. I hate how these things make it seem like running a marathon just ain't no thang.

Running a marathon is a thang, a big thang. I'm not inspired by the people who run one marathon, or one race of any kind. I'm inspired by people like my friend Mouser, who has continued training and racing for a few years now, continually. That's inspiration. It takes a lot to keep doing this. It's stressful to put your body through running training. Geez, Marie just ran two half marathons in in eight days! Eight days! That's inspiration. She's the one who makes me want to put my shoes on everyday and get out there on the trail. I take her, my own little Yoda, running with me every time I go. I want to have that kind of work ethic and that kind of drive. I want it, just like she has it. I want it, long-term. I'm going to have it too.

When I finally run my marathon, that will be inspirational. That will be the result of a lot of training, a lot of frustrating days, a few tears, and a few pairs of spent running shoes.

One race does not a runner make. One dedicated runner, on the other hand...

Friday, May 28, 2010

The 'Before' Bucket List, and the 'After' Bucket List

Let's talk about death for a minute or two. Don't like talking about death? Does it make you uncomfortable? If so, you might want to wait for tomorrow's post then.

Alright, is the room clear of those who are hoping we all live forever and/or those who don't want to think about the fact that we don't?

Good. Let's go then.

We were driving on the highway to my parents' house today and on that highway were crosses marking places where people have died in various accidents over the years. My friend Tommy's memory is commemorated on that highway by a cross. The 7th anniversary of his death was last month. He was one of the best people I'd ever known, bar none.

The crosses on the highway got me thinking. I'm not the least bit afraid of dying, not even a little bit. I think there are lots of great things to look forward to after I kick the bucket. We should be making 'Before' bucket lists, and 'After' bucket lists. It also made me realize that even in death, I'm going to be a bit particular about what I want:

1. If I die in an accident on a highway, I DO NOT want anyone to place a cross where I passed to commemorate my memory. I think that it is fine for those who have done that for a family member that has passed, but I don't want anyone doing it for me. I don't want those who love me to be forever reminded of where I took my last breath on this earth. I also don't want anyone to have to care for this "monument" so that it doesn't lose it's luster over the years. And in all honesty, it would hurt my feelings even in death to watch the monument diminish over time because no one still cares for it.

2. When I die, I would like my body to be used in the best way possible, all of it. If the death of my body can breathe new life into someone else's, I think that's a wonderful thing. Imagine all of the lives that can be changed that way, and the ripple effect. It's just phenomenal. I'll smile down from Heaven at that. Oh, and you can just cremate whatever is left over.

3. If you'd like to cry when I die, I'm not going to tell you not too. I think that's completely unreasonable. I think it's important to cry. I mean, think about how many people get messed up because they weren't allowed to cry, or were told not to cry. I'm not contributing to that kind of emotional catastrophe. That nastiness can seep into generations of non-emotionally-traumatized people.

4. I'd really like to have a say in what will be served at my funeral reception. Typically, where I'm from, this includes a myriad of little sandwiches and pickles, followed by little cookies and tea. I'm OK with a lot of that, since I know this is pretty customary. At the very least though, I'd like the following sandwiches to be served: asparagus, ham and cheese, and PB and jam. And funeral pickles - gherkins. That's what I'd like if we have to stick to the customary stuff.

If I really had my choice of food at my funeral reception, we'd eat the following: corn on the cob with blue cheese butter, grilled eggplant sandwiches with goat cheese on rye, cheese paninis, margherita pizza, smores, and cake and ice cream. All in copious amounts. Among other things. Food is just too delicious to be limited, especially if it's the meal AFTER your last meal.

So there, now you know. Don't you think about your death?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Foods and Their Stupid Sounds

Holy monkey, I'm ornery today. For no obvious reason though. Isn't that always the way?

There's something you should know about me. The thing that drives me the most batty in the universe is having to listen to someone else eat. I can't stand the chewing sounds. Usually at lunch time, I have to get away from the other eaters, for fear of having to listen to them crunch and smack and spit their way to fullness.

I just can't listen to the sounds - my neighbour continually scraping the bottom of his yogurt container for the last little stripe of creamy goodness at the bottom; the granola bar wrapper that someone refuses to take their whole granola bar out of, but instead chooses to take one piece out at a time, over the course of what seems like 7 hours, so I get to listen to every single crinkle that wrapper makes; slurping of hot coffee; the person next door who crunches 17 pounds of raw vegetables between the hours of 1pm and 4pm.

Gah!

Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, slurp <-- my co-worker eating an apple
Slurp, slurp, thump <-- another co-worker drinking coffee and putting down their mug
Scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape, *pause*, scrape, scrape, scrape, *pause*, scrape, scrape, scrape <-- isn't that freakin' yogurt gone yet?!?

Today, things that normally don't bother me are driving me insane. Yeah, I know we all gotta eat - I get it. I eat too.

There it is again, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, slurp, thump.

Is it time to go home yet?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

If you get a chance...

Swing on over to Ang's blog and enter for a chance to win a box of Honey Bars! These bars are delicious! I don't know how she managed to do it, but she shared one with me, and I've wanted another ever since. :-(

On To The Next One

Ah Jay-Z, how I love you...

I think I've finally come down from the high that was Bluenose Weekend 2010. As I'm sure most of you know, I ran my maiden 10K race this past Sunday. I wore bib #3943, and crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:06:03, a few minutes under my goal of 1:10:00. That puts me at 305 out of the 469 females between the ages of 30 and 39, and 926 out of the 1460 females who ran the race. I'm pleased.

It was a great weekend too. I got to meet a lot of fantastic ladies - Niffer (my newest partner in crime who also took on the 10K), Jaime, Angie, Lynn, Tash, Jen, Cat, Les, and Lex. I also got to spend some time with my favourite Mouse, who was brave enough to tackle the half-marathon and Serpentine Hill.



Now I'm wondering what to do next. Foolishly, I've reached out for my next training program, a half-marathon. Am I insane? We'll see in the fall.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Post Long-Overdue: Winnipeg

It's been hard for me to gather my thoughts into a post about my trip to Winnipeg. I get a little emotional about it.

I visited Winnipeg last month to visit some close friends. I'm happy I can call them close friends since I've been there.

I haven't been the same since that trip.

I knew Jan and Lisa are two very special ladies, but I had no idea how great they really are until they shared their lives with me for those few days - honestly, some of the happiest days I had had in a quite a while. They opened up their hearts and their homes to a few of us that weekend.

I had the pleasure of staying with Jan during my visit, in her home. There's something to be said about staying at someone's home. It's something that makes you somehow closer to them, it's a glimpse into their life that you can't get otherwise. It's something that lets you know how they live their private life.

Staying with Jan only reinforced what I already knew about her - that she's warm, funny, generous to a fault, comforting, playful, and supportive. Those gorgeous blue eyes of hers are windows to a beautiful, beautiful soul. I felt so at home that I could have been sitting in my own living room and wouldn't have known the difference. We were able to share many comfortable silences, rare moments between friends. Since I've left, I've longed to share a morning coffee with her, out of a Tinkerbell mug in our pyjamas on her couch. It is the best coffee I've ever had. I know I can never find beans to make that kind of coffee.

Jan's family was nothing but wonderful, and I felt completely welcome while I stayed with them. I am very thankful to them for being so kind and giving.

While Jan was kind enough to host me, Ms. Lisa was hosting the lovely JMegs.

Lisa is a lady that can only be described as elegant, fiery, talented, and vivacious. For those of you who may not know her or know her well, you may not immediately realize the size of this woman's heart. She has enough heart for a hundred people - it's overwhelming. She organized us, drove us around, and cooked for all of us at her home - all the while looking after everyone else in her life. And damn that woman can light a fire!

Lisa's that person who is there for you before you know you need her. She's beautiful and I'm extremely lucky to have her in my life.

The weekend was a whirlwind of laughter, fun, exploring, kinship, and surprises.

We ate well, we drank well, and we shared ourselves. And cake, we shared a LOT of cake. ;-)

Thanks to Jan, Ken, The Kiddo, Lisa, Megan, Jocelyn, Adrian, Vanessa, Joni, Tamara, Jodie at Rock Road Tattoo (who is fabulous), Shelley, and all others that I had the opportunity to spend time with during my stay.

I hope to have the chance to repay all of you for your kindnesses. You will always have a tiny Easterner in your back pocket when you need her.

My trip to Winnipeg may have lasted only a few days, but the memories are on my heart forever. Cake, rye bread, scarves, Chucks, wine, chocolate for breakfast, Jan's award for "Best Actress in a Spider Roll", and lip gloss...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

That's No Coincidence

There was an interesting thread on the GDT today about running with a runny nose. A hilarious conversation ensued about what exactly you should or shouldn't do while running, so as not to be "gross". I'm sorry, but I don't really care much about what I do with my runny nose while I'm running, and I said so.

The experience I had during tonight's run was no coincidence.

It was hot here today, so I avoided running. I wasn't going to go at all, but that's just not in my character, so off I went after the heat had subsided a bit.

I figured I'd stick close to home for my run tonight, since I was just going to take it easy and didn't plan on going far. I somehow forget though that I live on a cliff, and hills abound. That's OK, I'm only taking my time anyway, right? Off I go.

I realize at about the half way point that I'm already completely exhausted (due to the heat and hills), and that I'm being swarmed by blackflies. That's OK, I'm over halfway and on my way home, right? Suuure. Until a blackfly flies into my mouth and down my throat. Immediately, I start gagging. I proceed to move to the side of the road where I gag and cough and hack while hunched over the ditch, with cars passing and watching me the whole time. So much for worrying about a runny nose.

I couldn't shake the idea and the feeling of the blackfly in my throat. I gagged and hacked a lot more when I got home. Nice.

Having said all that, do you think they should post signs like this on running trails?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Just Around This Corner

Am I a runner?

I've realized recently that I've made a pretty dramatic switch in terms of my attitude towards running. For me, running used to be the way I could burn calories the fastest. Period. I might have looked forward to a run once in a blue moon, but those times were few and far between, and certainly weren't often enough to develop much of a love for running.

In May 2007, I was asked to run a 5K race with an acquaintance. I was extremely apprehensive, but reluctantly said that I would run with her. I didn't prepare, although I had no idea I could have prepared anymore than I had before the race. I wasn't ready, neither physically nor emotionally.

I don't want to blow this out of proportion. A 5K race isn't an insurmountable distance for a beginning runner, by any means. A 5K race is something that many random people off the street could run on a good day. It is funny though, how something so small can do so much damage.

Here I am, exactly three years later, still dealing with that 5K race. Isn't that funny?

About two months ago, I was asked by a friend of mine, a very good friend, if I were interested in racing another race. I jumped at the chance, partly because I needed incentive to get running more often and partly because I really wanted to catch the elusive running dragon. I wanted to "get" it. I wanted to do more than run a mindless 5K on the treadmill. I wanted to put that 5K demon behind me.

My 10K race is in less than two weeks now. I've really tried to prepare this time, the right way. I've been diligent and dedicated and anal and curious. I've been frustrated and sore and confused and anxious. Did I mention that I've been sore? Oh, and annoying. I've been annoying too. My apologies.

Will I finish this race? Absolutely. Will I meet my goal? I can't be sure.

Will I put that 5K demon behind me? I already have.

I can see the dragon's tail in the distance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Last Full Week of Training for the Bluenose

Today marks the first training run of the last full week of training before the Bluenose.

This is how this week's training looks:

Today - 8K steady run
Wed - 8K tempo
Thurs - 5K steady
Fri - Off
Sat - 6K steady
Sun - 13K LSD

Of all of them, tonight's and tomorrow's tempo run make me the most nervous. 8K still seems like a pretty long run to me to run on a regular evening, although I know that's all in my head. As far as tomorrow's goes, it's another 8K and it's a tempo run, which I've never run before. That should be interesting.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ahhh Friday, My Old Friend

I don't say this often, but thank goodness it's finally Friday. Not that this week was particularly crappy or anything, but I'm just really happy to see the weekend.

I just wanted to say that I'm really proud of myself this week. I've put more kilometers on these little legs than I ever have in a week before - 33 kms to be exact. And the fact that I'm still alive is a total bonus. The calorie burn isn't too shabby either.

The 10K race is now just two weeks away. I realized early this week that I had been following a not-so-great training schedule from the Running Room to train for this race. Thank goodness Mousie put me on the straight and narrow (and long and hilly) path. I hope it's not too late to save this training effort or this race. I guess we'll see in a couple of weeks. Thanks Mousie.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The View from the Back Deck

video

My Running Freak Out

I hate having a run like that - I just HATE it!

I started out feeling fantastic, like really really good, and I thought, "this will be an easy run for sure, it'll take no time". Those thoughts soon turned to, "I can't do this, I can't run a 10K, I'm so slow, this is embarrassing". It just got worse from there.

So I know I can run 10K. Geez, I'll make it through somehow, it's only 10K. Will I be able to finish in a respectable time? I doubt it. This just makes me not want to run it at all. I'm just going to be embarrassed, and I just can't handle that.

As a matter of fact, nothing's going right right now. Nothing. I'm eating well, but not losing weight, so I'm carrying around at least an extra 10lbs for no good reason. I'm getting more and more frustrated about eating well and not losing.

I'm honest to goodness following a training program for a 10K and have been for weeks now, and I'm not getting any better. I'm a slow runner and I hate it.

This just isn't fair.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Diggin' Up Bones

I've recently been digging as much as I can into my genealogy. I've no idea what made me do this. I've done some good work and got further on some of the branches than we did before. I think tomorrow I'll go find some graves in my hometown, in the hopes for a new lead or two.

I've been thinking a lot though, about what I'll be leaving behind for people to find when I die. It will be so much different for future generations to research family history, so much easier.

Thinking about the idea that someone down the line from me might want to know something about my life has made me realize that it's going to be important to leave more than just data and statistics behind.

What kinds of stories do you want future generations to hear about you?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Won't You Join Me for Dinner?

I read something interesting last night and it got me thinking. Think along with me, please.

Let's pretend you're coming to my house for dinner. Wouldn't that be nice? But there's a stipulation. We must also pretend that we both eat the way I would eat if I were alone and binging. How would this go? Let's open the refrigerator door and just stare in at the contents on the shelves. Should I open a couple of tupperware containers with leftovers in them, sniff them really hard, then pick a couple of pieces of food out of them with my fingers before I pass them to you? Maybe we could each eat a couple of scoops of ice cream right out of the carton? There are some stale crackers in the cupboard we could dip into a jar of salsa. And there's a frozen cake in the freezer we could stab at with a butter knife until a chunk falls off. What do you think? Is this how I eat when I'm all alone? Shouldn't we just be civilized about it and pull a chair right up to the refrigerator?

What does it look like when you eat alone? Would you let me come over to eat with you?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Back to Business

Today is the first day of normalcy for me in forever. I'm making sure it's going to stay that way.

It's been a very strange couple of weeks, and it continues to be really strange. But this is life, and we don't have the luxury of being able to shut down when things get tough. So I'm standing up today, ready for it. I have my morning latte here to help me.

Here goes nothin'...

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesteday

Earworm, sorry.

I'm not sure if anyone can tell this, but it's just after 6am in New Brunswick and I'm wide awake, blogging. That alone should give you some indication of where I am mentally. I've already been awake for an hour.

This has been a very strange week for me. It's like I've gone back in time eight years.

First a chat and email from a very old friend, and then last night.

I got a surprising email yesterday from an old friend of mine with whom I went to university. He and his wife were coming into town for the evening and were getting together with a group of friends of ours whom I hadn't seen in years. I hadn't even seen him since we graduated from school. Ryan, I know you'll never read this, but I really hope it doesn't take six years next time.

Seeing old friends is always good, and always a bit sad. Ryan didn't actually expect me to show up, and when I did he was so pleasantly surprised, it just warmed my heart. Around the tables, I saw so many familiar yet unfamiliar faces. It makes me sad that I live in the same city as many of these people and didn't even know it.

People are never quite the way you remember them if you don't see them often enough. On the rare occasions when I do run into an old friend, am I the only one who just wants to grab them and hug them close, in the hopes that it will light a tiny flame under all of our old memories and somehow take us back to a forgotten moment, if even for a minute?

I dreamed of one of these old friends last night, one I haven't seen in years. We had a falling out and we stopped speaking. We didn't make amends before he rode off into the sunset to continue living his life. Now we'll never make amends and my heart aches for that to happen. He is someone who was so close to me, then suddenly gone. It truly makes my heart hurt.

There are so many other friends who weren't there last night, at least not physically, but talking about them really stirred up a lot of emotion for me. They might as well have been there, as far as my heart is concerned.

Take some time today to contact an old friend, or a friend you don't get to see as often as you'd like to, or someone you don't think you still have a relationship with. Give them that feeling of a reminiscent hug; try to rebuild a bridge that burned a long time ago.

We might not always have these chances.

Monday, January 25, 2010

And on a Side Note

Picture of us taken by my friend Vaughana (in the background) on Saturday night at the Blue Rodeo concert:

The New Plan

Since Saturday I've been giving some serious thought to how I'm going to get stronger, faster. Circuit training. It's not easy, and it's not always fun, but it works, and I'm going to do it.

I am currently a member of Jillian Michaels' online plan (for another month) and I'm really going to take advantage of the resources. Jillian's plan outlines workouts to do each day of the week (including two rest days). They're tough workouts, but I'm gonna bet they get results.

Here's today's workout (in case you're following along):

Warm Up/Prep: at least 5 minutes of your choice

Circuit 1:
Close-Grip Push-Up (2 sets of 15)
One-Leg Squat (2 sets of 15)
Mountain Climbers (2 sets of 1 minute)

Circuit 2:
Dumbbell Chest Fly (2 sets of 15)
King Squat (2 sets of 15)
Mountain Climbers (2 sets of 1 minute)

Circuit 3:
Bench Dip (3 sets of 15)
Lateral Leg Raises (3 sets of 15)
Jumping Jacks (3 sets of 1 minute)

Circuit 4:
Anterior Shoulder Raise (2 sets of 15)
Weighted Crunch (2 sets of 15)
Jumping Jacks (2 sets of 1 minute)

Circuit 5:
Dumbbell Triceps Extension (3 sets of 15)
Scissors (3 sets of 15)
Jumping Jacks (3 sets of 1 minute)

Cool Down: 5 minutes

Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Boo on Fitness Assessments

Paid a visit to the gym this morning for my appointment for a general fitness assessment. I tried to time it so that I would be doing it around the time of beginning of the X-Weighted challenge, as well as the beginning of the "Don't Stop Believing" challenge we're doing on the WW boards.

Snap! Rude awakening much?

Here's how it went:

~ First Dan took my measurements:
~ Weight: 142.5 lbs
~ Body Fat Percentage: 27.9% (normal range is between 20-28%)
~ Fat Weight: 40 lbs
~ Lean Weight: 102.5 lbs
~ Based on this, my BMR is about 1230 calories/day
~ Shoulders: 41.5"
~ Arm: 10.75" (R), 10.5" (L)
~ Chest: 36" (sad, isn't it?)
~ Waist: 30.5"
~ Hips: 39.5"
~ Thigh: 22.75" (R), 22.75 (L)

~ Then we got into the good stuff, the fitness test stuff:
~ 5 minutes on the recumbent bike to get my VO2 Max, which was 38.7. He rated this as very good, but my sources tell me otherwise.
~ Push-up test: Do as many push-ups as you can for 1 minute. I did 31 or 32 (on my toes, he gave me the choice)
~ Sit-up test: Do as many as you can in 1 minute, all the way up and all the way down. I think I got just under 30. They were zero fun, zero. And a bit surprising.
~ Wall Sit Test: Wall sit for as long as you can at a perfect 90 degree angle. I got just a couple seconds over 2 minutes, which he said was really good. Most people don't make it past a minute - they give up more mentally than physically. He said he's actually seen one person get 5 minutes! What?!?

~ Then we did a circuit (3 times):
~ Walking lunges across the gym and back (I did 13 each way)
~ Kettle bell deadlifts (1 minute)
~ Tricep dips (1 minute)
~ Suspended Knee Pull-ups (10 of them)
~ Spider man kicks *hold plank and bring knees up to elbows, one at a time* (20 of them)

And then I was pretty tired.

My results: I suck in terms of physical strength, but I have pretty good cardio endurance. So more circuit training and weight lifting, which I figured would be the case.

If I lose 9.5 lbs, and increase my lean muscle mass over the next 12 weeks, I should be able to reach my goal. That would mean 10 lbs less of body fat, being exchanged for 6 lbs more of lean muscle mass, ie. a weight of 133 lbs. That's 3 lbs less than what I was shooting for, so we'll see how it goes.

Then I got on the step machine for a while. *sigh*

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thinking of Taking a Break

I think I need a break, from everything. I don't know why this happens to me sometimes, but it does. I always come out a bit shinier on the other side.

There's one small difference this time though. Usually I withdraw completely into myself, but I'm not going to go it alone this time. I'm tired of not feeling close to anyone, alone, and less than adequate. I'm going to try surrendering myself to the people closest to me, whom I should trust without question, and who love me.

I'm tired of trying to be what other people want me to be. I don't need their negative energy bringing me down and causing me to question how I feel and who I am. I'm done with that. I'm just fine, thank you very much.

So if you don't see me around the usual haunts, don't be alarmed. I'm not far.

But if you do see me, I miss you, and I love you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interesting Article

Read an interesting article about the food trends of the last decade on CBC. Here are some of them:

Allergies: Rising awareness about food allergies and disorders such as celiac disease forced chefs to adapt, says chef John Higgins, head of Toronto's George Brown College culinary school. But, he notes, the great chefs rose to the challenge. "It's mind over matter," he says.

My take on it: It's unbelievable how much restaurants and chefs will accommodate you now. You can ask for nearly anything and they know how to prepare it the way you need it. I think this is a huge step in the right direction. It also makes life so much easier for people with allergies and food intolerances. The variety and ingredient substitutions are almost endless. Awesome!

Portion control: Gone are the days when Sunday brunch equals a large buffet, says Higgins. Nowadays it's more common to find people ordering individual plates, which he adds is much more "normal dining experience."

My take on it: While I like the way they've presented this and I do think that it's good that we're moving away from the buffet mentality, portion control has introduced an entirely new beast, the 100-calorie pack. I loathe the thinking behind the 100-calorie pack. While I can't argue the fact that they are convenient and do present people with a reasonable portion of that particular food, I see them as a stepping stone on the path to healthy eating. A person will not be able to say they are in full control until they no longer need the 100-calorie pack and they can bring home the real deal. Besides, the added packaging is not very green.

Blending sweet and savoury: The mix of flavours took off in kitchens and store-bought goods alike. "Salted caramels and bacon-flavoured chocolates are de rigeur at chocolatiers and coffee houses," says McCauley.

My take on it: Hmmm... what else is there? Chocolate covered bacon, chocolate covered pretzels, peppered strawberries, any more that I'm missing? I love sweet savoury combinations!

Convenience: "We have wanted more and wanted it faster since World War II, when our housewives became Rosie the Riveters," said McCauley. "Convenience is still king." Today it takes the form of prewashed and cut vegetables, frozen desserts promising homemade qualities and coffee drive-thrus.

My take on it: My favourite convenience foods include bagged salads, pre-packaged veggies in steamer bags, fresh design-your-own salads, roast chickens at the deli...

Bubble tea: In the early part of the decade, shops devoted to the Taiwanese drink filled with tapioca pearls began popping up across North America.

My take on it: LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! I love this freaking sweet concoction! Strawberry milky slush with pearls please!



What are some food trends you're loving/hating lately?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hey Life, you wanna give me a break for a while?

I don't know if I've mentioned this to many of you (I know I've mentioned it to one of you), but I think I'm going to give up my regular Weight Watchers meeting. I just don't think I can do it anymore.

I have so much going on, I'm not even sure what to do with myself. I was back in the office today and all hell broke loose, like it does EVERY SINGLE DAY. I'm tired of it, and I'm exhausted. I was informed this morning that I am working tomorrow evening and on the weekend. Great. Welcome back. I forgot that my life belongs to all of you.

I also have my Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow night after my first 8 hours at the office.

Tomorrow will go something like this:
~ Wake up, get ready, take dog to daycare, get to the office by 8.30am
~ Get something ready for the weekend's work
~ Lunch *sigh*
~ Continue to work on the weekend's stuff
~ Run up to the hospital to visit gramma post-surgery (which I'm pretty anxious about)
~ Get to my WW meeting early so I can prepare the meeting ahead of time
~ Run my meeting, which is always chaos and runs late (through no fault of my own)
~ Snack, so I don't eat my arm off?
~ Go back to the office, work for another couple of hours if I get off lucky
~ Home for dinner circa 9.30pm

This entire situation is just no fun. It's constant chaos for me. It's not fair to me anymore, and it's definitely not fair to Stephen and the puppers. I'm out of the house at least 4 out of 5 weeknights during the week. That's just not right.

My meeting is the fastest growing meeting in the city and I do love my members. Besides all that, this meeting is mine and has been since it only had 3 members. I now have over 30. It will make me sad to let it go. There are lots of problems with it though. There is hardly a week that goes by that we leave the meeting on time. That just means that I get home for dinner extra late and very starving.

I just think I need more time for me and my boys. I spend too much time doing the things I think I should do and not the things that are the right things for me to do, like taking the time to look after myself.

I guess I don't know what to do. Advice?

Get Back!

Back to life, back to reality... *sing it with me people*

I'm back to the office today after a wonderful and knowledgeable week in Toronto. I had such a great experience there this time. Lots of great friends, good food, walking(!), and shopping. Oh and there was that course I was on too, that was pretty cool.

Today's the day I put all of that behind me and jump back into my regular life. I'm back at the office today, back at the gym tonight, and back to everything else the rest of the time.

Am I happy about it? Sure. I mean, my life is by no means exciting, but it isn't bad either.

Am I sad about it? A bit. I don't like thinking about not seeing my friends in the big city for a while. In fact, there's nothing in the works for a future visit yet. But I'm sure it won't be long.

On a side note, I weighed in this morning for the X-Weighted challenge I signed up for. I lost 1.4lbs last week. YES!