A Gift

I was gifted 4 hours yesterday. Four hours where I would have normally been otherwise engaged until such time as it was time to start cooking dinner. From 1:30 – 5:30 last night, I was FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! At around noon, the power lines outside of our office building came down in a huge ball of white flames. Arcing and firing and killing the power to our complex (ironic since we are a high voltage electrical service firm, LOL!). We all hung around chatting and wondering what was going to happen until around 1pm when I finally took it upon myself to go and talk to the utility line crew and ask what the ETA on restoration would be. “Several hours” was the answer…..and with that? FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So what does a high functioning woman such as myself DO with 4 whole hours of unspoken for time? The following list tore through my head (and yes, I did think I could get it all done if I just worked quick enough):


  • Mow the lawn
  • Weed the garden
  • Clean the house
  • Wash my bike
  • Vacuum my car
  • Go to the bookstore


Fortunately I had a solid 6 minute commute to come to my senses. No one knew I would be home. Just me. And my dog. And I would be no further behind than I was right at that moment if I did none of those things. And no one would ever know! So NOW what’s a woman to do? Whatever in the whole world I wanted (that took no more than 4 hours and didn’t cost any money).

The one thing that I have been missing a whole bunch lately is the time and sunshine to take my dog for a long and unhurried walk. I have a long route that I do as a treat from time to time and I have been itching to do for a couple of weeks now. A gorgeous and sunny bonus afternoon of secret time seemed like the perfect opportunity!


Since the point of the walk wasn’t to set any sort of speed record and I had as much time as I wanted, we set off at a nice moderate pace. No music, just sunshine and a breeze and my dog.


Our “destination” was Como Lake Park…a teensy little lake in tucked in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The actual path around the lake is not long, just a kilometer but it’s really pretty and you are right along the edge of the water.

Willow Lake

On the way there I’d spotted something out of the corner of my eye that I’d never seen before and wanted to take a look at it on the way back.


A beautiful (and VERY tall) totem pole on the grounds of a rec centre and at the entrance to a public rose garden. Of course none of the roses were up yet but the totem pole was really cool to see. At the base of the totem pole was a time capsule…..I should have taken a picture of that, woops. In all, a really neat little stop along our way back home.

Our 7.70km walk (4.8 miles) took us about an hour and a quarter…which included lots of sniff-stops for Gracie and the photos along the way. It was so enjoyable and it completely recharged my spirit. Once home and showered off, I still had over 2 hours to spend alone….so I listened to my heart and went and laid on the couch. Yes. My heart told me to go watch television. I haven’t watched TV in almost 3 weeks except for the news in the morning. But on this day, this bonus day of secret time……me, the PVR, a juicy gala apple and a handful of nuts. Oh yes! As much as my spirit needed the sunny walk with my dog, it also needed to sit undisturbed on the couch and do nothing.

Today, my secret time is but a memory; wiped away with the start of a new day. But while the time itself might be gone, the small spark that landed here within me stayed lit….and I feel good today. Great even. Energized and positive and free. I will take that!


In Practice

Just over a week ago I wrote a list of things that I could do that were solely for the purpose of showering myself with self-respect and care.  Things as big as going on a road trip (booked!) to as small as reading for 20 minutes before lights out.  Things like making a salt scrub or going on an evening coffee date.  Going tanning, attending the gym, getting a haircut, waxing my underarms, making my own kombucha & bone broth, filing my nails, waxing my legs, making my own shampoo, spending one evening a week laying on the couch, doing the Coquitlam Crunch.  I wrote the list on a scrap of paper and then stuffed it into my date book.  I haven’t looked at the list since then but it seems that simply writing it down was enough to bear fruit.


I have felt an attitude shift in the last week….nearly imperceptible but definitely there.  That spirit of keeping my commitments to myself and of doing things because I FEEL good after, it seems to be making a difference.  An excellent example of this has been my inner voice.  I’d decided earlier in the week that I would go to the gym on Sunday morning and when Sunday morning arrived it was nearly impossible to leave my cozy bed at 8:30 in the morning and get in my car to go and work hard.  But….my inner voice said to me, plain as day “You made the commitment, anything less than going is disrespectful.”  When there I did some interval training on the bike (thought I’d best get my bike legs going…more on this later) and then went rowing. My goal was 3,000 meters.  Normally I stop at each 1,000 meters for a rest but I didn’t feel that I needed to.  When I got to 2,000 I decided to push on to the end without stopping.  With around 750 meters to go my determination started to falter.  And then my inner voice kicked in.  It told me to picture rowing on water, picture the sun on my face and the gorgeous view, the oars in my hands (which is a bit strange since I’ve never rowed anywhere but a Concept2 in the gym).  Think of how proud I would feel when I made it to 3,000.  To remember how good my body feels when it’s fit and healthy.  I had me think of earning my breakfast and how good it would taste.  And that inner chat was on repeat.   Not once did it say a negative word.  It didn’t tell me I was fat so I deserved to suffer through the workout.  It didn’t tell me to think of losing weight.  It didn’t tell me that I was being punished for the bacon I ate the day before.  It just kept refreshing a beautiful summer water scene in my mind and the air from the flywheel was a summer breeze on my face as I glided across the water.  It kept reminding me that I was capable and to just get it done and I did.


It hasn’t been all “gym” successes though.  There’s been an early morning walk through the park with a coffee, there was an evening coffee date on a night when I was feeling bummed out, there’s been gorgeous fresh fruit and eggs for snacks, there’s been a nice glass of wine in the fading warmth of a nice day.





Obviously it’s not all sunshine and kitten kisses, some days it’s just downright hard to maintain an attitude of “on purpose” and to do the things that are right, but overall I’m starting to feel a bit brighter.

On a fun but also terrifying note,  I test rode my bicycle to work this past weekend.  My honest assessment will follow some pertinent points:

A)     I had attended the gym and did bike intervals and rowing that morning

B)     I had a large breakfast at 11am and a hard-boiled egg and some fruit around 2pm

C)     I gave myself a very false sense of confidence due to having the incorrect route in my head

So my assessment?  It was SO HARD….and it’s going to get SO MUCH HARDER!  The route to work is mostly downhill, it was 8.25km and it took me around 27 minutes.  There were a couple of hills in the route there that I had forgotten about and which sapped my confidence right off the start.  However, I made it to work safely and feel that I should be able to do that on a workday morning.  Ray met me down at my office in his truck in order to make sure I had backup if anything went wrong.  After a quick water stop and a banana, I hopped back on my bike and headed for home.  Bearing in mind that it was nearly 6pm, I knew that I wasn’t going to bike all the way home, I just wanted to get the “traffic-y” part out of the way so I knew my route.  I was SO glad that Ray and his truck were there because I was completely spent about a quarter of the way back home.  After arriving home I downloaded my ride and took a look at it and am by turns, really stoked and really nervous!


This is a map of the elevation of my ride to work…..and I’ve marked with two little arrows the “hills” I was referring to.  They are mere blips.  Now picture this graph in the reverse because that is the way home!  The only thing keeping me from selling my bicycle and never even considering this wacky “bicycle commuter” thing again, is the fact that I have actually done it before.  I successfully rode up this hill on that same bicycle about 3 years ago.  And I KNOW that it didn’t take me more than an hour.  So….I’m not in as excellent shape as I was back then……but I sure will be by the time summer rolls around!  My plan is to ride one day this week (Wednesday), two days next week and then three days each week thereafter….weather permitting, of course.  And, as a pre-success reward for myself, I bought new huge saddlebags (for my lunch and change of clothes), a new rear taillight and new riding gloves. I’m really excited to get this started!

I think that’s about all for me…..I’ve been putting My Passion Experiment into practice in tangible, measurable ways…and while I’m not actually measuring it, I can feel it starting to build and I’m so glad for that.

Eviction Notice

Tentatively and with a bit of fear, I put my scale away on Tuesday morning.  I weighed and then buried it in the linen closet where I meant for it to sit gathering dust until the end of January.  I have been a faithful weigher since September 4, 2007, the day that I first stood on the Weight Watchers scales.  5 and a half years I have stood on the scale at least weekly but mostly daily.  It’s a funny thing, that little digital number.  It’s either the permission to feel happy or it’s a little blue glow at 5am that steals away your happiness, comfort or satisfaction, whether it deserves to or not.  It’s justification for poor choices if the number shows up smaller than it ought to be and it’s punishment for not working hard enough, even when you’re giving it your all.

I have to admit that yesterday I had the urge to pull that scale out and step on it and see if the one (brutal) day so far in the year had yielded any lost weight.  You see, I have exercised sporadically since last May.  A month on, one off, a month on, two off, a week on and then a month long cold and then Christmas.  And with Christmas December came chocolate.  Alcohol.  Grain free cookies coated in chocolate. Chicken wings.  Alcohol.  Chips.  Rum balls.  Alcohol.  Zero exercise.  You get me?

And yet through the entire month of December, I didn’t gain a pound.  Yay scale! Thank you for telling me what was ultimately an enormous lie.  Sure, my actual weight stayed the same.  But the breadth of my thighs grew, muscle in my bum and arms turned soft, my belly turned from reasonably flat to reasonably fat.  The scale is bullshit information.  I say that knowing that for years it’s what drove me and for YEARS it’s what kept me at an acceptable weight.  But………things changed, my diet changed, my body changed, my thought processes changed.  And yet I stood on the same scale every day.  I hung my heart and mood and self worth and success or failure on something that doesn’t even tell the real story.

I was very grateful to newly discover a tool that does tell the truth, the whole story, the complete works?  It was me.  All along.  My eyes, my heart and my brain, they know.  And when the scale isn’t ripping truth out of my hands every morning with its little glowing number, I can hear what’s happening and I can relate what is happening to what I’ve been doing, good or bad!

I really believe that this was the final step in completely committing to my current lifestyle.  It’s been almost a year since I gave up grains and admittedly I think I always had one foot in my old life, just in case.  One foot that wasn’t quite sure that this radical (it is radical if you compare it to the average diet) way of living and eating could work.  I’m all in now though; tucking that scale into the closet was like closing the door on the past.  Any label that used to let define me is closed in there with it; former fatty, “was in a car accident”, lazy, not athletic.  They are all in there, locked away with the scale.  And while my original intent was to get it out on January 31st and “see how I did”, my current intent is to never get it out again. 

Happy Day Three!  One of my favorite quotes to leave you with this morning:  “There is no better way to combat weakness than with strength.”

In case you’re wondering about the muscle loss/weight gain, I’m not worried, it’s negligible in the grand scheme, it taught me a HUGE lesson that I needed to learn and I’ll have everything set back to rights in less than 45 days!

Many thanks to my dear friend, Tara, for blazing this trail months ago and putting the seed in my head.  And many more thanks to her for her beaming, genuine happiness when I told her what I’d done, definite confirmation that where I’ve come to is a good place to be!

What Makes A Bitch?

Rightfully or not, I’ve been feeling under attack lately.  Maybe it’s my own paranoia and too much self involved thinking that makes me believe that people spend more time thinking about and disliking me than they actually do.  But….I was attacked last week by a co-worker for an ‘infraction’ that definitely didn’t constitute her insane overreaction.  After a very short (and I mean short both in length and tone) conversation with her about borrowing her key to a manager’s office, she came back into my department, towered over me and started yelling at me that I was a child, that I had no ability to communicate, that any discomfort that I might have felt over the initial conversation was my problem.  She was vibrating she was so mad and the conversation ended with her repeatedly pointing her finger into my face.  Afterwards, I could not stop crying.  Seriously…I wanted to….but couldn’t.  I’m a strong enough person though, I put it behind me.  But over the last few days, different instances have come up where, it has occurred to me that perhaps I really am the bitch that people seem to think that I am.  I’m not overly upset about it though.
You see, “bitch” is a word that I actually do accept about myself….because I think that the majority of people that you encounter in your daily life are intimidated, scared of, confused by and not accepting of people who are in charge of their lives.  They don’t know what to do with people who take the hard road.  They don’t know how to interact with people who refuse to lay down….either to other people or to themselves.  And I think that that sort of fear and discomfort doesn’t easily fit in to most people’s emotional matrix and so they have to put you into a spot that they understand; “Bitch!”.
So what about me makes people so uncomfortable that I can’t seem to just have an easy relationship with people I come across?  Let’s see;
First, I don’t care to have any relationship with the majority of people.  Not the sort that society demands that you have.  I don’t do fake and I don’t pretend to care.  That tends not to be the social norm though.  It makes me appear standoffish and rude.  I’m not.  I just don’t think a business interaction requires me to know what your neighbor’s best friend’s kid dressed up as for Halloween and then pretend to care. 
Second, I believe my time and my money are valuable and I can be very free with them.  Because of that, I don’t accept shit.  Not in products or service.   I’m not averse to politely pointing out where my expectations have not been met when it is my hard earned money or valuable time that is taking the hit and then expecting that the error be corrected.  And if that doesn’t work, I am also not averse to notching it up. 
Third, I don’t do things I don’t want to do.  For the most part.  Obviously in my relationship and my life there are things that I do that I don’t super love but that need to be done.  But invite me to drive 45 minutes on a weeknight in the dark and rain to go for coffee?  No thanks.  Go eat at a restaurant that I don’t enjoy just because it’s the polite thing to do?  No thanks….see point 2 above regarding money and time. 
Fourth, I don’t believe that I should feel any great discomfort for something just so that someone else doesn’t have to.  Everyone has sucky days and bad traffic and money troubles, we all do.  I take mine in stride and I believe that everyone else should deal with their own shit.  In whatever way that they need to but I don’t think that I should have to take on anyone else’s burden unless it’s something that I want to do.  By this I mean, why should I suffer so you don’t have to?
And finally, I have assigned importance in my life to things that are hard.  I may struggle and groan about it and some days it doesn’t always work out.  I think that people who inately take the easy road find the people who take the hard road distasteful.  
So, in order to be someone who ‘fits in’ with everyone, I would simply have to be fake in my reactions to people so that they believe that I deeply care what colour they painted their walls before they’ll provide me with a document I need.  I would also need to accept mediocre products and services with a smile, go to every event that I’m invited to whether I want to or not, go out of my way to make sure that everyone else that I come into contact with has the easiest journey possible regardless of whether that impacts my enjoyment of my own life.  And finally I would have to give up.  On everything that is difficult or uncomfortable. 
So….super.  I think I’d rather be a bitch.