Easter Weekend, 2014!

If ever there was a classic example of ups and downs, this weekend was it!

Thursday morning I had my review at work where they raved about my efficiency, productivity and initiative and then gave me a 10% raise.  So I work somewhere with no stress, no commute, no dress code and I make more than I did at my previous job!  I’ll take that!

Thursday evening I was fortunate to get off work an hour early and went home to prepare the Easter Turkey.  Ray’s son picked me up a couple hours later and we met Ray and his mom at the restaurant for dinner.  Costco and then Thrifty’s and home to cook the turkey!  At that point the weekend was pretty much right on track.  Friday morning I slept in a little, made a nice breakfast (apple crisp, anyone?) and then decided to take Gracie on a long walk while Ray and his son worked on building a boat rack for their fishing trip coming up.  I wouldn’t normally drive somewhere to go for a walk since we have such nice walking right out of our front door….but I thought it would be nice to be truly “gone” for a couple of hours.  I drove us to Burnaby Lake and was anticipating doing about 7-8km.  At the head of the trail we parked near, there was a sign that the whole loop was 10.3km (6.5 miles) which was a bit further than I had planned….but we weren’t in a hurry so I thought, why not.  Burnaby Lake Loop is the most boring, anti-scenic, flat, dull, poorly marked walk I think I’ve ever been on…especially for over TEN KILOMETERS.  With no music, nothing to look at and no one to talk to, it seemed like the walk took us forever (1:49), it wouldn’t frigging end!  Plus, the back half of the loop backs onto Highway One so you end up hearing a lot of traffic noise for a good part of it.

Looks like you would be able to at least see the water....but you would be wrong!

Looks like you would be able to at least see the water….but you would be wrong!

This is as exciting as it got!

This is as exciting as it got!

 

With around 4.5km left to go (and no shortcuts, it’s all or nothing), Gracie started to slow down a bit.  We stopped so she could get a drink and wade around in a creek and then pushed on.  I didn’t think anything of it except for the fact that she was probably as bored as I was.  When we finally got back to the car, I turned off MapMyRun and got Gracie a drink of water…..during which time my phone slid off the roof of my car and smashed onto the gravel.  The back of it is shattered, thankfully the front is unharmed, this phone needs to survive until October when the iPhone 6 is released!

Anyway, walk done, phone smashed, home for beer in driveway.  I knew Gracie was tired from our trek but I didn’t realize just how exhausted.  She crawled up onto my lap and fell asleep in my arms, snoring away.  And….that’s where she stayed for most of the rest of Friday.  By Friday evening she was so stiff and sore that she could barely walk, couldn’t do the stairs and was crying in her sleep.  I know that she has some stiffness issues from her previous life but this was to the extreme.  We doped her up with some doggie pain meds that we had left over from previous dogs/issues and put her to bed.  She cried a bit during the night but fortunately by Saturday morning she was mostly recovered….but she spent the entire day sleeping.  What I didn’t know when I took her on an 11km walk was that Ray had already taken her for 4km before I got up…..so she had a total of 15km under her belt.  Too far, poor baby.

2. Nap

Saturday morning we were up early and welcomed our new downstairs fridge!  I am so in love with it!  It’s an all-fridge and it’s HUGE!

3. Fridge

Saturday afternoon my sister came over and we all went out to my mom’s for a family dinner.  Although we all live within 2 hours of each other (some closer, some further), we don’t get together very often as a group.  Given that my Grampa has been uwell lately, we thought it was high time to get some family pictures taken.

4. Us

I have many more pictures posted over on Half a Pear if you’re interested.  There are a lot of nearly-duplicates so that the family can pick the ones they want…but there are some cute ones in there too.

Sunday Ray let me sleep in extra and then we did a walk with Gracie and then our regular mall routine.  It was starting to cloud over in the afternoon so we decided to lay low and watch a movie (Legally Blonde…so dumb but perfect Sunday movie!).  During our movie we got a phone call that I had won an Easter basket at a store a couple of towns over so after dinner we went to go and pick it up!  Unfortunately you win some and you lose some because 20 minutes after I picked up the basket I’d won, we had a blowout 5 blocks from home.

5. Basket Tire

So….our little mishap is going to cost me around $400 to get fixed….plus since the dealership is the only place that will do those exact tires, I’m sure I’ll also have to do a full service since I’m running behind.  Stupid pothole, going to cost me a fortune!

6. Pothole

And finally, to finish the weekend, I had absolutely gruesome nightmares last night….really quite gory and I don’t appreciate that…so I’m not overly well rested or well settled today.  I’m drinking oodles of Orange Blossom Rooibos tea and taking it easy today….it’s very quiet at work since most people are also off today.  I find it funny that for as many ups and downs as there were this weekend, I’m not particularly stressed about any of it.  I surmise that this ability to handle whatever life throws is a result of not having chronic work stress eating away at me day after day.  I would never have wished what happened with our previous jobs…..but I am at the stage where I am mostly pleased with how things have turned out.

Have a great Monday!

Update:  I just made some calls regarding the blow out yesterday…..my city is willing to reimburse me for the cost of the replacement tire.  Since I reported the pothole and the damage, I can make a claim against the city and they will cover the charges.  As far as the actual replacement, the dealership will let me drop my blowout off tonight after work, they’ll mount the new tire onto the rim and balance it and then tomorrow after work I pop by and they mount it onto the car.  No wait, no hassle!  And….it’s a LOT cheaper than I predicted!

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My Passion Experiment – One Month Summary

A month ago I scratched a list onto a piece of paper of a bunch of things that I could do that would help to recharge me and keep me balanced and centered. Here’s the list. The items in blue were done at least once over the month and the items in green did not get done in March.

 

  • Make bone broth
  • Paint nails
  • Wax legs (I had this done professionally…will NEVER go back to doing it myself!)
  • Make salt scrub
  • Make shampoo
  • Do Coquitlam Crunch
  • Exercise 3/week
  • Go on an evening mid-week coffee date
  • Do Sunday mall
  • Go on road trip
  • Get haircut
  • Wax underarms
  • Read before bed
  • Enjoy couch time
  • Make kombucha
  • Go tanning

 

I did not make kombucha or bone broth although I did go so far as to buy jars for it…..but I decided against it due to cost at the moment. The cost of all those jars I would need add up! I did not make salt scrub because I totally forgot about that one. I did not hit the Coquitlam Crunch because, quite honestly, the weather has been so shitty that it wasn’t feasible. The nice days we did have, I rode my bicycle to work…climbing up the side of a mountain after that just seemed foolish!

 

Overall I’m pretty pleased with how the “experiment” has been going. Admittedly last week wasn’t tops for me, I had (& continue to have) horrible seasonal allergies and have been wasted on allergy medication for three weeks now. Add some ongoing difficult family issues to getting some very bad news about a good friend’s health and the final week of March sort of sucked. I felt out of sorts and blue and a bit off my game. Ray and I were bickering a bit (which is, honestly, completely out of character for us) and I was also recovering from riding nearly 65 kilometers (40 miles) over 7 days. Many of those kilometers were uphill. My body was also recovering from falling off of my bike and onto the road and/or trail and/or curb more times than I would like to admit. That definitely took a toll on me mentally as well as physically. Made me seriously question my crazy idea of riding my bike as a method of commuting!

 

Anyway, I don’t want to paint all of March with the same brush because most of it was really good. We did a lot of eating at the table, we did some after dinner dog walking, we conserved our money, we only ate out twice in the month. My social media usage has gone WAY DOWN during my at home hours (that is a huge one for me!).

 

I’m going to continue My Passion Experiment in April with a focus again on self-respect and awareness. I would like to see April contain more bicycle commuting, more weekend gym rowing, more tanning, a haircut, painted nails, dedicated couch time, our Sunday mall date, a massage (this is booked!), coffee with a friend (this is booked too, right Tara?), a family dinner, a blood donor appt and maybe depending on the weather, a motorcycle ride. I especially want to practice turning negative thoughts and feelings over to positive and, eventually, having a positive (or at least neutrally optimistic) attitude as my default. I want the majority of the things that I do (if not all of them) to be things that are done with the intent of adding passion to my inner self and value to my life overall.

 

As I enter April, I do not have a goals list ready to “guide me” along the way. Maybe that’s a mistake and if it is, I’ll be the first to admit it. I mostly want to go through April happy, healthy and active. If I can pull that off then everything else will fall into place!

Everything’s…..Fine…

Being a former fatty and someone who will always have a weight issue lurking in the background ready to leap, I always thought that I would be so happy if there ever came a day when I could maintain my weight, not count calories and not really put forth any real effort.  What I’ve realized is that in the last 5 months or so (not a hugely long time but it seems like forever) I’ve “achieved” that and in the last month the shine has completely worn off and now I just feel like I’m stagnating, like I’m falling apart on the inside.  The outside is still the same but the inside feels like it’s wasting away.  I feel like it wouldn’t take long for the outside to start showing how the inside feels, regardless of whether I’m wearing the same pants or not.

It’s not really about any one thing in particular, just that I am not experiencing any personal challenge with which to grow myself, learn myself and strengthen myself.  I do, of course, have personal challenges in my life: family, money, relationship etc; but I’m not actually challenging myself personally in any way at the moment.  I’m coasting. 

Part of it is the incredible Indian Summer we’re having (which is expected to carry on through the end of October) because it’s at odds with the crisp, fresh restart that usually comes in September.  Summer-Shanny is still drinking on patios and reading on sun decks and going camping.  Fall/Winter-Shanny hasn’t had the opportunity to get going on anything and the two of them are at odds. 

I’ve been craving challenge and subsequent success.  I’ve been craving the way I feel when I do something consistently that most people don’t do.  I’ve been craving discomfort and the bliss of relaxation that is earned.  Seriously, who craves discomfort?????  There’s parts of who I am that I’m really missing right now and it’s becoming a bit depressing.  I have no goals to work towards at the moment and no limits to test.  Everything is just….fine…..which turns out is not actually that great a place to be.  I’m missing out on sparking myself up and kicking some ass.  I’m missing out on being the Me that I am when I’m driving myself for no other reason than because I can.   I thought I was content….but content has taken a turn down a dark alley and is quickly catching up with complacent. 

The best way for me to challenge myself and to cultivate the part of me that I’m missing is with exercise.  A car accident in May derailed me slightly.  Getting our dog in July derailed me completely.  Illness, summer heat waves, alcohol, family, vacation, shift work and general laziness have all started pushing me towards an place where I can’t even see the rail let alone get back on it easily.  The trouble is?  My personal fire is stoked by personal challenge, it’s fed by determination and unwavering commitment to a goal or a plan.  The fire isn’t out yet but it sure feels like it’s dwindling.  I need to lay some kindling on, scrunch up some newspapers, throw on a bit of fuel and get that mother going!

Launched

Last night at about 7:00pm I launched my comeback.  I realize that a few weeks ago I attempted this however after two weeks of really struggling, I had to reassess.  Seems that I attempted to move forward while still holding on to the past with a death grip and I ended up not moving forward but actually a little backward (that past sure has a strong grip!). 

I don’t know why last night I made these realizations, but here they are:

A)     I cannot have it all.  Anyone who tells you that you can have it all is lying to you.  It is very rare the person who can eat whatever they want and exercise a little (or barely at all) and has the genetics to look like a bombshell.  Now, blogland would have you believe that this is more common than it actually is.  We normal folk need to choose between either eating crap and accepting the outcome or eating well and exercising and embracing the outcome.  I can’t eat chocolate and ice cream and drink beer and still expect to have all the same energy and dynamo as when I eat healthy. 

B)     I had a car accident and ended up injured.  I’ve spent the last couple of months being gentle and “taking it easy”.  At this point my “recovery” has stalled and I quasi-regularly have discomfort and pain when I do certain things.  Since lazing about (and losing hard-gained muscle) doesn’t seem to be helping I’m going to create pain to cure pain.  Get me?

C)     What I look back on and perceive as easy is actually hard work veiled in a haze of accomplishment and happy-endorphins.  It was never easy, it has always, always been difficult. 

I saw this quote come across my Twitter feed yesterday (if you don’t follow me on twitter, why not?) and it drove home everything that I’d been thinking about:  “Don’t talk about it.  Be about it.”  So ya….let actions do the talking…..because otherwise one runs the risk of becoming a has-been mouthpiece….you know, those people who walked the walk in the past but talk the talk now like it’s current? 

All that said, I knew getting up for the gym this morning was going to be difficult.  Just before bed I said out loud what I was going to do a couple of times and made sure I had everything ready.  I chanted affirmations about my comeback and my motivation while I fell asleep and then every time I woke up in the night I said them again to try and prevent turning my alarm clock off/resetting it prior to 4:30am.  It must’ve worked because at 4:29am I was out of bed and dressed, blearily tweeting my success and heading out the door.

I left Stage One behind and moved forward to Stage 2.  Part of my hold-up regarding starting it was the lack of equipment available in the ladies area to do the first move.  How dumb, right?  There are eight exercises in the Workout A and I couldn’t do the first one so I just stayed stuck?  I subbed in something similar for the first one and then got the rest of it underway.  And holy SMOKES, did I burn up my muscles, makes me realize I had completely adapted to Stage One’s exercises.  I could barely walk down the moving ramp when I left the gym, my legs were jittery jello and shampooing my hair & brushing my teeth was a challenge as well!  And I wouldn’t give that feeling up for the world. 

My comeback is securely launched this time, my head is in the right space, my system is detoxed of sugar and instead of unsure, hesitant, beaten down self talk I have powerful, positive mantras to replace it.  I refuse to give back one more fibre of my muscle, one more second of my time or one more ounce of my healthy weight to a crappy accident and a bunny overload.