Before I forget, I wanted to point out to you that along the top of the webpage there is now a tab called “FEED ME”.  This page will have my photos of various delicious recipes that I make.  Because they are my pictures but not my recipes, I set it up so that if you click on the picture you should be taken to that recipe on the website where I originally found it.  There are a couple on there already!  I’ll try to remember to put up a little note when I add something!

Now that I’ve gone and poured my coffee, let’s have a chat!

I ventured out into the snowy tundra at 4:12am this morning to hit the gym.  I will admit that last week when it was -17C windchill (1.4F), I did not go.  I truly didn’t think it was necessary and ya, I felt a little guilty at the end of the week when I’d missed those days but staying warm in bed when the wind was howling was more valuable to me.  Now that it’s just snow, I was game this morning!  I won’t pretend that it was easy to leap out from under a pillowy mountain of down softness….but….it’s not about being easy.  So since I’d made a three workout cycle, this morning was my first time trying it out.  And?  I nearly broke my ankle.  Sort of.  I was doing “mountain climbers” which I also call “sprinters”.  Here’s a picture of the general idea.

Mountain Climb


So ultimately you’re in a plank type position and you are rapidly doing a running in place motion.  Only…..when you get tired and your legs start turning to rubber, if you don’t pick your feet up high enough, your toes catch on the rubber flooring and you jam your ankle.  THEN, when you start doing donkey kicks and you’re kicking both feet up into the air behind you and SLAMMING them back down onto the floor, it makes you remember that you just jammed your ankle!  I guess the gym-angels were smiling down on me this morning though because I didn’t actually hurt myself, thank heavens!  So the gym felt good this morning and resolidified my goals and the fitness aspect of my balance.  Next date is either tomorrow and Friday or Thursday and Friday.  Or….given that my birthday weekend is this weekend, perhaps it should be all four days! Meh, we’ll see.

Tonight we’re having Ray’s son over for dinner and since it’s snowing and our house is all Christmassy and we’ll have a fire, I’m really looking forward to it, it’s very cozy!

In other Christmas news, as people who recently lost their jobs, gained new jobs (that pay less) and are still trying to recover financially, the sheer volume of requests for money and donations is overwhelming.  My new boss is very involved with his church and since he happens to own the business that we work for, he inundates the 15 employees with requests for time, money, goods etc.  Easily there’s an email every day when we get in asking us to buy tickets or come to an event or sponsor something or someone.  If I did everything that he’s emailed to us in the last month I would be down nearly $300 already!  The one thing that the company employees have committed to is sponsoring a family.  Only….after we all agreed, Boss has decided that we 15 people are going to put together not one hamper but TWO.  One for the family of 5 and one for a man recovering from some sort of addiction living in a residential facility.  It seems like a nice gesture….until you read the list of things that are on the “need” list.

NEED:  winter jacket, 2 pairs of jeans, techie gadget (eg. Ipod)

Don’t get me mistaken, I’m all for charity and Ray and I donate to lots of causes over the year that are important to us.  But a 45 yearold man recovering from addiction, living off the generosity of others needs an IPOD for his hamper??  Aside from how ridiculous that request even is, jeans are $40 Per Pair, a winter jacket is easily $100 and then we’re also supposed to provide toiletries, socks/underwear and also create a Christmas breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon etc) and a full Christmas dinner including a turkey or a large ham.  That’s for the ONE GUY.  Forget that we also have to put together the same two meals, toiletries and gifts for 3 teenage girls and their parents.  Seriously, I’m stressing out, who has this kind of money?  It’s absurd!  The smart decision would have been to offer ONE hamper, get each staff member to donate $20 and we would go and spend the $360 for One Family.   It is also somewhat distressing that at the end of the email about the hampers from the Pastor at the church that is organizing this, they have requested that each hamper gets “rounded out with a gift card so that the recipient(s) can buy something special.”  Theoretically this hamper donation thing could end up costing me more than I’m spending on members of my own family!  It makes me feel uncomfortable and like I’m stingy or uncharitable.  But I’m not going into debt on my credit card to help put an iPod into a recovering drug addict’s stocking.  Sorry, I’m just…not.

 I’ll leave you with a bit of a funny today.  These are two phone conversations that I had yesterday, back to back.

 Shannon:  Hi, Customer, we tried to mail you a Christmas card and it came back saying you’d moved.  The address I had was 1234 Marinaside Crescent.

Customer:  Oh, ya, we moved to a new building.

Shannon:  OK, great.  Could I get your address then?

Customer:  My email address?

Shannon:  Err….no……not your email address…………..


Shannon:  Hi, Customer, we tried to mail you a Christmas card and it came back saying we were missing the unit number portion of the address.

Customer:  Oh, I’m just the receptionist.

Shannon:  Err….OK… you think you could tell me the unit number of the business so I could mail the card?

Customer:  I don’t have the unit number.  How about if I just give you the address?

Shannon:  OK, let’s try that.

Customer:  OK, the address is Unit 1730, 10355 King George…….

Shannon:  OK….so Unit 1730 then?

Customer:  I’m not really sure.


Happy Snow Day, Beautiful People!


Dessert For Dinner

OK, great start to the morning so far, the boss’s son just pointed out to me that I might want to untuck the hem of my skirt from the back of my pantyhose.  Grrrreat.  At least he told me before I went outside and crossed over into our other unit….although I may have noticed myself when I felt the cold breeze up my backside!  This on the heels of locking myself in the bathroom yesterday and then later, completely losing one of the days of the week.  I swear, there’s a part of me that still has an intermittent brain injury caused by the events of the last year.


If you follow me on Instagram (ladyshanny) you’ll already know that I made and served a grain free apple crisp as our dinner last night. Don’t gasp, if you think about it, a grain free apple crisp isn’t bad!  Apples:  good.  Coconut:  good.  Pecans:  good.  Almond flour:  good.  A small amount of maple syrup:  not the worst thing in the world.  All baked up and warm and fragrant on a cold, dark night:  perfect.  Eaten in front of a roaring fire with the Christmas tree lit and 70lbs of dog on my feet:  too much good to talk about!


Tonight I have to do Costco (really starting to hate doing it by myself).  And, I just cancelled some Friday evening plans which is a bit disappointing.  My mom, sister and I were supposed to go to the Christmas Market in Vancouver.  It’s an outdoor event and it’s going to be extremely cold tomorrow night.  Add a Canucks home game and the annual tree lighting festival to the first-Friday-in-December Christmas market and you have a recipe for insane crowds, packed trains and long lines.  So…..while it would have been festive (and freezing), we have decided to nix the idea.  I was really looking forward to buying some hand crafted soap, kind of bummed.

In happier news though, my sister will be taking the train to my house on Saturday morning and we have a day of Christmas festivities planned including a wee bit of Christmas shopping, decorating the banister, looking at old (and apparently hilarious) photos and maybe a bit of baking.  We also plan to head over to the forest near my house and see if we can take some (or get Ray to take some) sister-pictures.  And then, after we’re frozen?  This:

We’re planning to make coconut milk hot chocolate with whipped coconut cream and candy cane stir sticks!

We’re planning to make coconut milk hot chocolate with whipped coconut cream and candy cane stir sticks!

Happy early weekend, beautiful people!  The sun is shining beautifully here and if you turn your heater on you can almost pretend it’s not winter!

Feeling Chattier (or Typier) Now

I’m going for a drink with someone from my past tonight.  I’m not overly jazzed about it, it’s one of those situations where I was “friends” with him because it was more conducive to overall peace in the workplace than to not be.  And in fairness, he has an amazing ability to coach and help you draw out solutions to your own issues.  The trouble is that he’s not overly trustworthy and he flips and flops and power trips. He texted me the other day and asked if I wanted to meet him for a drink to catch up.  And…I sort of do, if only out of curiosity to find out what’s going on in his life….and I know he wants the inside scoop on all that has gone on at my previous workplace.  So ya, I agreed to go.  And then I invited my hubby to meet me there when he gets off work because I won’t have time to make dinner and the pub is on his way home (it’s mere blocks from our house, too) and we like any opportunity to go there.  Yesterday when I texted Old Acquaintance to confirm we were still on for today, I also mentioned that I’d invited Ray to meet me there on his way home from work.  This means that the total amount of “catching up” time that we have is about an hour before Ray gets there.  And Old Acquaintance was annoyed.  I felt a bit bad because he’d invited me for this visit and he is coming all the way out to my neighborhood to meet up and I’ve gone and truncated the visit.  But then I gave my head a shake!  This whole thing makes me slightly uncomfortable anyway, I see Old Acquaintance less than once a year, we have a bit of a rocky past (in that he wanted to fire me during the 7 months that he was my boss) and to be honest?  I want to have dinner with my hubby at our favorite pub!  Why do I care so hard whether some nearly-random person from my past is upset with an adult decision that I’ve made?  So, instead of dreading the visit and feeling bad about anything, I’m going to give all the gossip he wants (what do I care, I don’t work there anymore) and then have a delicious meal with my man.


So, moving on.  Now that I’ve been back to the gym successfully for two weeks, I feel like it’s time to make things a bit more interesting.  Not stupidly difficult or obsessive or the way that I’ve been in the past.  No, I want some new things, things to make me excited and to get new “skills”.  So, below I’ve noted the workouts that I’m going to do for the next three weeks, three days a week (since that’s my commitment for now).

Day One

  • 10 minute warmup jog
  • 1000m row
  • BW – 3 x 20 – sprinters (that’s not what they’re called….I think they’re called mountain climbs but it uses the pre-sprint posture)
  • BW – 3 x 10 plies (this is a type of squat fm ballet….basically heels together, toes pointed out, butt tucked under (instead of bum way back like a normal squat)
  • BW – 3 x 15 two leg donkey kicks
  • 3 x 10 machine ham curls
  • 3 x 10 machine leg press
  • 3 x 10 machine inner thigh press
  • ABDOMINALS (I’ve been using the gym’s ab machine circuit and it just brutalizes my abs, I love it!)

Day Two

  • 25 minute treadmill sprint program (smthg I found online)
  • 3 x 10 machine lat pulldowns)
  • 3 x 10 dumbell tricep kickbacks
  • 3 x 10 reverse barbell curl
  • 3 x 10 machine seated rows
  • 3 x 10 dumbell shoulder raise

Day Three

  • Mile-row-mile (this is basically run a mile as quick as possible, get off and row 2000M as quick as possible and then get back on and run another mile.  It’s one of my favourite things…that I also hate!)
  • 3 x 15 weight-plate squat press
  • 3 x 8 weight-plate lunges (these lunges and squats last Friday nearly crippled me….in the best possible way, I could barely get out of bed on Saturday morning!)

So there it is….three weeks of workouts which pretty much brings me through my birthday and just about onto Christmas’s doorstep.  It’s only 3 days per week and each workout is just a little over 85 minutes including warmup & stretching. I’m excited about it, I’m looking forward to trying some new things and working out in a slightly different way than I have before.  I have treadmill sprints combined with an upper body day, some dynamic full body moves combined with a lower body day and then a good met-con combined with some full body exercises.  And……because I’ve always lamented that I’ve never had abs, I’ll be doing abdominals every visit! Seems dumb in hindsight that I would complain about not having abs when I have never, not one time, ever concentrated any significant effort on them!

Maybe in the New Year, depending on making sure that I maintain the nice balance that I’m cultivating here, I might try one of the programs that’s out there online, maybe Jamie Eason’s Live Fit program (minus the crackpot, completely fat free nutrition plan).

I think it is possible, with a bit of practice to maintain calm and balance while also wanting improvement and success.  I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. So I’ll work hard at the gym every time I go….and then leave it there.  Won and done.  And I’m going to make sure to re-evaluate regularly to make sure….because this whole “balanced life” thing is all new to me, remember?

My Car Analogy

I didn’t have a cookie last night.  This is to say, I bought grain free cashew cookies (holy crap they were expensive) the other day and gave myself permission to have a cookie in the evening if I feel like it.  If you’ve ever read my blog in the past you would know how I feel about sugar.  One tiny taste and I’m catapulted down the rabbit hole and it takes weeks or months for me to pull myself together and clean up!  Needless to say I was a little tentative when I bought the cookies but I felt that the enjoyment of a small cookie from time to time would be working with my desire to find and maintain balance.  From a purely financial point of view I refuse to share these cookies with Ray and I wondered if that would trigger my instinct to guard food.  My point is that why would I give him a $1.25 2” cookie when he can and chooses to eat whatever cookies or Halloween candy we have around whenever he feels like it.  No, the $15 cookies are mine.  The first night I sat down with my coffee and had a cookie.   The next night I had another cookie with my coffee while watching television.  Last night I didn’t, last night I had an orange with my coffee and then went to bed.  I noticed last night that now that I’ve got these little cookies in the fridge and that I am permitting myself to have one (every night if I want), they aren’t controlling me.  I don’t dream about them all day long at work and I don’t sneak eat them before Ray gets home.

I wondered this morning, have I never tried this?  Have I never given myself permission to have a treat that fits into my life without destroying anything else that I have going?  Not cheesecake every night or a handful of chocolates….but a cookie with evening coffee?  Really?  I’ve never done this?  Have I never allowed “healthy”, “gym” and “fitness” to coexist with “treat” and “enjoyment”??  I don’t think I ever have.  If I was in “enjoyment” mode then I was eating inappropriate treats too frequently and not doing anything considerable for exercise.  If I was in “healthy/fitness” mode then every thought in my head and action in my life somehow was directed towards that.

Honestly?  How exhausting!  Like stomping on the gas pedal, right to the floor and lurching forward at rocket speed (hopefully without getting injured) and then slamming hard on the brakes to come to a complete standstill (hopefully without putting my head through the windshield) and then putting my foot to the floor again and expecting, no demanding, to be at maximum speed immediately.  STOP!   GO!  STOP!  GOOO!

Jesus Murphy, seriously, stop.  Just stop.

I went to the gym on Wednesday and then again this morning.  This morning was the first weights workout I’ve done since August.  I’ve lost muscle.  I’ve lost strength.  I’ve lost definition.  But, considering that I’ve found my balance and my sanity, I was able to remind myself that since there is no more STOP-GO-STOP-GO-STOP anymore, it doesn’t really matter.  It doesn’t matter if I lose 1 pound of my 15 every week.  It doesn’t matter if it takes me two months (or three or four) to get back to lifting the weight that I was at previously.  And during the time that I’ll be losing that weight and building that muscle I’ll also be eating a cookie and drinking red wine and lying in bed reading a book and putting my head in my dog’s warm, squishy neck and taking a nap.  So will it all be slower?  You bet.  Will my results be different?  Maybe.  Will it be more enjoyable, less anxiety driven, more liveable?  Hell yes.

I don’t really know how I did it before, how I would get myself all ramped up from nothing to everything over and over again.  I do know that time and again I would become extremely frustrated because it always felt like I was starting again, like I never got anywhere, like I never could get any further than where I could get. It’s funny now, that I couldn’t see the flaw then.  I would stomp on the gas for the same general duration and then hit the brakes.  Stay stopped for around the same length of time while doing the same sort of things each time.  And then stomp the gas again until I couldn’t anymore.  And, surprise, I could never get any further.  You’re shocked, right?  I was.  Often.   Eventually the speed at which I was moving and the duration that I could keep going for were dramatically reduced until eventually I just ran out of fuel.  I kept trying to stomp on the gas and nothing would happen.  No go.  Stalled.

Eventually, through much self-reflection and asking for help to a few different people, I’ve been able to put a new kind of fuel in the tank (peace, kindness, realism) and by gently feathering on the gas pedal I’ve gotten moving again.  Gently.  Slowly.  Quietly.

Tonight we’re going to our favourite pub for dinner with Ray’s kids and then they’re coming back to our house to decorate our tree…with some drinks in hand.  I thought about what I would eat at the pub.  The trap with “balance” is that it’s easy to forget that sometimes you have to take things away to keep the equilibrium.  I’ve been adding cookies and couch time to bring back my ability to have enjoyment while still being healthy….but in this case I need to take away some indulgence at dinner time.  So….I will have a salmon salad at the pub (it’s so good anyway!) because lunch today was shepherd’s pie which was a bit heavy and we’ll be drinking which is extra intake as well.  French fries and a bunless egg & chorizo burger would have been delicious….but this time it just doesn’t fit in.  It’ll be there the next time around and when I do have it I’ll know that it’s because it fits.  We’re doing our Christmas shopping this weekend and going to one of our favourite salad bars for lunch.  We’ll also finish the decorating and I’ll do some cooking….of what I’m not quite sure yet.

Happy weekend!

Pressing Forward

HOW is it January 28th already?  I was reading a work email and someone referenced the date and right away I laughed inside thinking they had gotten a bit ahead of themselves on the calendar.  Apparantly it’s me who is behind!

Obviously this past weekend was hard and sad and exhausting.  This as a bookend to the last two weeks that have been exciting, sad, heartbreaking, sleepless and worrisome.  It’s no wonder that my brain is still stuck back on January 12th!  As we were laying in bed on Saturday and then laying on the couch on Saturday and then laying on a different couch on Sunday and then back in bed on Sunday, I remarked to my dear hubby that we may as well stop trying to “get some sleep” because extra sleep is not going to help us with the kind of tired that we’re feeling.  Just time and regular life will take care of that.  As silly as it may sound, the last two weeks have been traumatizing.  I know that we only had Snoopy for 11 days but what we went through with him was pretty intense so we’ll be recovering from it for a little while, I think. 


Saturday night, wiped out & sad.  Pajamas, sofa, red eyes.

Saturday night, wiped out & sad. Pajamas, sofa, red eyes.

We went to a 50th bday party on Saturday night, something we’d already committed to and it was actually a great distraction for us.  We took Ray’s son & daughter with us as the venue was an hour’s freeway drive away.  The birthday guy got there at 5 and by 7 they had him absolutely shittered, I felt SO bad for Future Birthday Guy, they were mixing shooters and cream drinks and beer.  We didn’t call and see how he was feeling the next day, I can only imagine!

Sunday we didn’t do much, it was absolutely pouring with rain so we did a couple errands and then hung out on the sofa for the rest of the day.  I was actually looking forward to coming to work today and I am REALLY looking forward to going to the gym tomorrow morning!  I was on hiatus this past week but my body and my mind really need to charge forward and keep building on the momentum that I started at the beginning of January!

We’re going out of town for the weekend on Friday after work so I really only have 2 workout days to get through this week but two is better than zero!  I may add a Friday morning one just to add fuel to my fire in light of this past week off.  We’ll see how my body feels by Friday!

Today is Day One that I’m adding creatine to my diet.  Creatine is an amino acid that your body produces normally but in the case of heavy lifting, supplementing with it can provide extra “food” for your muscles in order to get leaner, lift heavier and increase the rate at which you can build muscle.  I definitely want to maximize my time in the gym and taking a supplement such as this will definitely help me get there (the same as taking a protein drink within 30 minutes of muscle work).  If you’ve ever done any reading on weight lifting, body building or supplementing you may have heard that taking creatine can make you bloated and retain water.  Fortunately, technology and medicine has come a long way and there is now a revised version called buffered creatine or Kre Alkalyn.  This buffered creatine has a higher pH in order to avoid the acidity of the stomach from turning large quantities of it into the toxic byproduct creatinine.  Creatinine is what causes water retention, bloating and upset.  The conversion of creatine into creatinine is also why, in the past, people had to take huge quantities of the supplement to get the results…because after the degradation in the stomach, not a lot of usable supplement was left.  Now they’ve taken the creatine and buffered it to a higher pH such that the acidity of the stomach does not degrade it.  So a smaller supplement load with better absorption to the muscles and no side effects. 

Anyway, I’m excited and curious to see what, if any, results I have with this.  It’s possible that I don’t lift often or heavy enough to actually gain a measurable benefit from taking it, but I’m going to try it for awhile.  The bottle that I bought should last me a little over two months at which time I’ll make an assessment and either keep on or drop it.

Anyway, should probably run along and make some tea, eat some vegetables and do some work and remember:

Today is a brand new day.  Replace any negativity with positivity.  Think happy thoughts.  Exercise.  Drink lots of water.  Healthy is happy!

Sleepless In Coquitlam


I’ve been on a bit of a detour this week.  You can go to the blog that I share with my sister to get the details on what’s been going on (link right above).  Short and sweet is that Snoopy got very sick on Monday, I’m alone at night because Ray is on graveyards and Snoopy’s discomfort/condition seem to flare out of control in the dark hours.  So he screams and cries and burns up with fever while I try to comfort him all night.  It’s been a horrific game of trying to make him comfortable, anticipate his needs, try not to get bit while attempting to help him and understanding that into everyone’s life a little dog pee must soak ones pajama pants.  I make light of it but it’s actually been horrible and brutal and heart breaking.  It’s been picking him up off the lawn at 1:30am when he face plants into the grass because he’s unable to stand up.  It’s been listening to him shriek in pain through heavy duty narcotics.  It’s been trying to get him to eat, injecting water into his mouth every hour, petting and shushing him while crying myself.   All of this, all night long all by myself…and then going to work all day.


Anyway, Snoopy is now back with the vet, apparently he had a good night last night with minimal pain killers and is walking around much better.  He still has a high fever so there’s definitely something not right with him and they’re trying to figure it out. We’re trying to figure out what our decision about him will be going forward.  There are people in my family who tell me in no uncertain terms that Snoopy’s health and wellbeing comes dead last in the list of all the other things that I have to consider.  This from someone who actually has their own animal.  Along with everything else we’re dealing with, it’s startling when you discover that when the chips are down, people’s reactions to it are so different than what yours are or what you would expect of them.  Especially when it’s not even their own chips that are down; all they have to do is offer support and they can’t even do that. 


Our uncertainty about what’s going to happen going forward isn’t about whether or not we want to keep him, we certainly do, in a perfect world Snoopy is our second dog!  But whether or not his current needs & condition are something that we’re even logistically able to deal with?  If he needs constant supervision for the next two months…..well…..we both work, we have no ability to supervise him all day long.  Unfortunately when we agreed to take him, we agreed to take a healthy puppy that would be perfectly find staying home during the day with Grace.  Snoopy isn’t that puppy right now and it’s heart breaking.


OK, Snoopy aside.  No.  Wait.  There is no “Snoopy aside”.  He’s pretty much consumed my existence for the last week.  No gym, no exercise, barely functioning to cook.  Last night since he’s in the care of the vet, I came home and had a glass of wine, dinner, a scorching hot bath and a lovely blue sleeping pill and was dead to the world at 7:35 (went to bed at 7:30 and Ray came to ask me about making my lunch 5 minutes later and apparently couldn’t wake me up…zzzzzz).  So I got over 10 hours of dreamless sleep….and this morning I feel worse than I’ve felt the rest of the week.  A bit of sleeping pill still in my system plus an adrenaline hangover, I suspect. 


Last week (when things were still normal), I had done a lot of research regarding adding a new vitamin to my fitness routine.  I went out and spent quite a bit of money on it and was all raring to go this week, test it out, see how it made me feel, what my performance was like and if it did anything to give me further or different results.  I see the little pill mixed in with the rest of my vitamins each morning and it’s a bit of a kick in the pants when I have to pick it out and then throw it back in the container.  No weight lifting means no supplement! 


On the subject of vitamins, go and research Vitamin D.  It’s long been believed to prevent multiple sclerosis in women who live in the Northern Hemisphere but more and more research is indicating now that everyone should take the vitamin and in larger doses than was ever previously thought.  I currently take 5000IU daily and my hubby takes 2000IU…I’m working him up slowly, not because of reaction but because he’s a staunch supporter of “conventional wisdom” and doing what “they” prescribe.  (shakes head)

DISCLAIMER!  I’m not equipped to give dietary or vitamin or supplement recommendations, I can only speak for myself at this time. Proceed at your own discretion.

Anyway, I hope that next week things will be more normal and I can set my alarm for early gym and go and test out the new supplement.  Results/reactions I’ll post here!



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.

Four Day Break!

Holy, four days off seems like an eternity!  Where do I even start?  The gym was a write-off for the entire week, I am not proud to say.  Not proud at all.  Alas, there is nothing I can do to change that, I can only affect circumstances going forward!

Instead of hitting the gym on Thursday morning (my first day off), I slept in and then wandered around, washed my car, drank coffee, fussed with my flowers and then got ready for my mom’s graduation.  She graduated after 20+ years of night school with a BA in Adult Education!  Not bad!

My mom and I after she graduated University!

Thursday I didn’t get home until after 9pm from the graduation thing which sort of felt shitty since that day was also the 10 year anniversary of the day Ray’s dad passed away.  He took it a bit harder than he thought he would, especially with Father’s Day being right around the corner. 

Friday morning we decided we were not going to go camping as we had planned because the weather for our destination was predicted to be quite crappy.  Instead I did some errands and when Ray got home we walked 4km up to a pub for dinner and then walked home.  The beer that I’ve been loving there has been an apricot Heffewiezen (wheat beer).  I’ve had it a few times and not had any reaction to it so I figured I was in the clear.  About 4 years ago we drank a wheat beer while on a motorcycle trip and the agony and illness was intense and immediate.  Unfortunately this past Friday that came back to haunt me and I spent about 4 hours writing around on the couch.  So that’s pretty much the end of the apricot beer.  L

During the day on Friday, my dear friend Tara tweeted that she was up on her wine tour and had stopped in to one of my favorites along the way and loved it. And it got me to thinking……there is no reason that we can’t go on a day trip up there (it’s four hours up and four back) and stop at that winery and see if we can get together for lunch with Tara and Steve.  So, 7am we were in the car, noon we were parked in town and 1pm we were toasting a lovely day in a mediocre pub (good food and drinks, dreadful service!).  After lunch Ray and I headed for the soft ice cream store (over 25 flavours of soft ice cream and innumerable flavor combinations!) to burn off a bit of our lunch buzz before getting in the car and heading home.

Mine was a flavor mix of Coconut and German Chocolate. SO GOOD!

We stopped at the winery on the way home and bought a few new bottles.  Ray also bought me a pretty silver (not real) bracelet from that winery which I love. 

We were home by 9pm and while very tired, had a really great day.  Spontaneous road trip was a complete success!

Yesterday we slept and lounged around in bed until 10:45 and then sat around and drank coffee until noon.  Since it wasn’t raining we decided to go for a walk and ended up near Friday’s pub location but at a coffee shop.  Scrambled eggs and bacon for me, corn & bacon chowder for Ray and then we strolled home. 

Ray’s (adult) kids asked if they could go for dinner on Sunday night with him for Father’s Day and while I was invited I opted out.  He didn’t need me there for that and sometimes I think it’s nice for him to spend time with them alone.  So he went for dinner and I stayed home and made myself dinner….single-girl style.  Salad right out of the container and a glass of wine.  Easy, tasty, quick!

That pretty much concluded my four days off, bed by 9pm and at work bright and early in the morning. 

Unfortunately we did not get delivery of Olive on the weekend like we’d hoped, apparently her current owner isn’t quite ready to give her up.  We’re hoping for next weekend, the waiting is brutal!  We want her to have time to settle in and relax with us before the long weekend because we are going camping and she is coming with us.  In a way it’s good that we didn’t get her this weekend though, apparently Ray’s son had plans to be at our house when they came with her as well (he’s a HUGE boxer fan) and I completely disagreed with that.  This has given us (Ray) time to gently explain that we will be the only people there when she comes and when WE are ready for her to meet people, we’ll let him know.  Ray is also going to tell him that for the first little while he cannot just come over and take her on walks while we’re at work like he did with Brandy.  Olive needs some training and tonnes of consistency in her first few weeks and Kyle coming randomly does not fit with that plan.  Ray and I are going to implement rules for her right off the get go (eg. sit calmly before being fed, sit/lie down calmly before getting a leash on, no charging the crate-door or front door the second it gets opened etc) and Kyle doesn’t like giving dogs any rules, he thinks it makes them sad.  Obviously I/we disagree and think it makes them disciplined, stops them knocking people over or dragging them down the road and reminds the dog who is in charge.  If he won’t “play” by Olive’s set of rules, that just makes it so much harder and more time consuming on everyone, Olive included.

Anyway, it’ll all work out eventually, she just has to come!  

Tonight I have an at home appt with my waxist and tomorrow I have a tattoo consult.  I’m really wanting to get to the gym tomorrow morning and start the second stage of NROL since I’m pretty much back to my pre-accident weights in the first stage and I’m getting BORED!  I also would like to get to the trail and do a jog/walk outside this week to try and assess that situation, I haven’t jogged outside since the accident and only for 12-15 minutes at a time on the treadmill.  Ideally Olive and I will do a walk/jog combo a few mornings a week after she gets settled, especially the days when Ray and I are at work on dayshift so she’s tuckered out and can nap easily while we’re gone.  I should probably make sure this is actually possible from my end first!  😉

That’s it. Wish me luck getting out of bed tomorrow, I love the gym, I’m just finding it hard right now.

Packed Gym Bag!

Look! It’s a packed Gym Bag!!!!!!!

It’s sitting there, waiting for me.  Tomorrow is my first day back at the gym and I could not be more excited about it!  Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be a bit different than what I was used to a month ago but I don’t care.

I have a sneaking suspicion that tonight is going to be the first night that I get a proper sleep and there will be my alarm clock blaring away at 4:30am!  I’m all good though, I have my gym clothes laid out for me and my Shuffle all charged up.

It’s funny though, I feel like I’m going to the gym for a different reason than I was a month ago.  Sure, I want to gain muscle to lose excess fat and we all want to be slim, skinny, thinner all the time.  But I feel like now I’m going because my body and the muscle that I did have built up and the core strength that I have been working on all have contributed to the packed gym bag in the picture up above.  Some chic crashed into my car and for the speed of the impact and the damage to the cars and my body, I could be in a lot worse shape than I am.  I think back to if this happened when I was pushing 270 pounds and how maxed my body already was, taking a hit like that and stress like this would have been horrible.  Not that this hasn’t been bad, but I picture it all on my 270 pound, pack a day smoker, unfit self and I cringe!  So now I’m going to the gym to help repair my body and strengthen my system.  It feels different somehow.

Anyway, enough about that.  There’s going to be a bunch of stuff still to come, chiro, massage, physio, insurance company settlement etc.  There’s still pain and lack of sleep but I’m drawing my line under this last month and choosing to move forward.    If a person is not to get stuck, forever mired into their sadness and stress and pain, they have to pick a point, draw a line and choose to move forward.  I have seen too many times, people have an incident or a series of them and never get over it.  I figure, instead of being defined by trauma or pain or weakness choose to be defined by your fighting spirit, your will to forge ahead and your strength to stand tall.  And then buy gorgeous jewellry to represent it all! (yes, Noelle, I exerpted my own email that I sent to you this afternoon… said what I needed it to say………I’m a dork!) 

Noelle Munoz is the jeweler and it’s definitely a worthwhile click to go and see her offerings!  All of her original designs are gorgeous (and I would really love some special spouse to buy me the “Rivers” ring), but I saw “Leaf” on another blog late last week and I knew I had to have it.  Leaves and trees are amazing symbols of fresh starts and new life and perseverance (I think so, anyway) and this piece is so unique and beautiful that I chose to buy it as a symbol of this and every other “line” I’ll ever have to draw under things in order to always keep moving forward.  Go and visit her website, she has some beautiful stuff!

I’m headed for bed shortly, 4:30am comes very early……….and I’m so, SO GRATEFUL that I am in the position to be able to whine about getting up at o’dark-thirty and going to the gym!

I’ll leave you with a picture of the new car (2012 Volkswagen Jetta) and of a certain blanket thief that I babysat for a few days.


Sleepy George

Lost & Found

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.”
This quote was left in a comment on my blog post yesterday (thanks Claire!).  I have to say, I teared up when reading it.  It sums up everything that I’ve been feeling the last few days.  You see, I eliminated grains three months ago because I was not feeling well and I was having all sorts of symptoms.  I did it for my overall health and because I felt, somewhere within me, that this is what my body needed.  And as I was starting to read grain free and gluten free blogs in order to support myself, I started finding really wonderful blogs within the paleo and primal community.  The trouble is/was, that there are a lot of really fit people who are showcased in these blogs, either as the authors or as….well….showcases of what “you too can achieve!”.  No doubt that there are a zillion really positive benefits from being grain free and practicing paleo or primal (or a mutated combination of both as I prefer).  One thing that is not positive though is the illusion that is perpetrated that you can have it all.  Simply eat a lot of meat and fat, avoid bread and pasta and you can lean out, muscle up and get the body you’ve never had but always wanted.  And it’s true.  What I fail to remember (and maybe you, too) is that the body I’m going to get is still mine. I used to be almost 300 pounds and unfortunately there is some fallout (fall down?) from that which will never go away outside of cosmetic surgery.  I’m also in my mid thirties, not twenties.  Believe it or not, that makes a difference.  I also like beer on the weekends and a glass of wine on a Wednesday.  I like walking with my man at his pace (ever increasing, mind you!) rather than running alone.  I work hard at the gym but I don’t want to spend more than an hour and a half there at any one time.  
I’m afraid I may have been sucked in.  Sucked into believing that I could become someone that I’m not.  The fact that I didn’t/can’t achieve that became frustrating and disheartening. 
However!  Yesterday morning after I did early gym and was driving home I felt the most like myself that I have in weeks.  I actually said (to myself) “YES! I’m back!”.  I felt my determination and my fight.  Physically there is no reason for me to be feeling this way.  I’m a bit bloated and the scale is higher than I would prefer.  Any muscle gain that I’ve had isn’t visible to anyone but me.  I haven’t “leaned out”.  Hell, I haven’t even slimmed down!  
So why do I feel strong and successful?  Because I had forgotten who I was and where I came from and these past few days I’ve remembered and it feels good!  Last week and the beginning of this week I had been trying to figure out how I was going to avoid posting my results from NROL Stage 1…because it’s not dramatic and I wasn’t super pleased with how I’d done as far as losing some fat and gaining some muscle.  
But I am going to post the results, measurements and pictures. Here’s why.  I love all the paleo and primal blogs out there but I feel like I need to post my grain free, less than super-lean self.   Because I am succeeding at something difficult.  It is HARD to eliminate grains, beans etc in our culture.  I’ve found my way and cleaned up my insides and I feel good.  That was the point.  I also started a new kind of exercise (new to me, anyway) and my body appreciates it, I’m stronger and fitter and I feel good.  Again, that’s the point. 
So shouldn’t I promote that?  If I don’t want to perpetuate the “grain free makes you look like a fitness model” myth then shouldn’t I put my photo where my mouth is and show you what grain free and weight lifting looks like for me?  A before & after that is really a “ongoing forever”?  I think it’s important to know that you can work hard for three months and not be able to bounce a quarter off your abs and that’s alright.  It’s still a success!  You can eliminate grains and not lose 50 pounds in three months and that’s alright too.  Still successful!  You can be an average person who gets average results and that is most certainly a success story!
So when my Stage One is over in the next week or so, I will once again donne the Harley Davidson bikini that I took my before pictures in and get Ray to take an update.  Then I’ll break out the insanely long tape measure that I have and get measured up.
I got lost for a little while there, I allowed something exterior to completely change my definition of who I am rather than taking the new item and integrating it into my fabric.  That created a surprising amount of stress and frustration when who I believed I was going to become didn’t materialize.
I made fajitas last night.  I could not see using the packaged fajita seasoning that you buy at the store, that stuff has WAY too much salt and too many chemicals that neither one of us need.  So, I made my own fajita seasoning and it was absolutely perfect!  If you’re interested, comment me for the recipe.  Ray had his fajitas on soft tortillas and I had mine on leaf lettuce that I then spread with a healthy amount of mashed avocado and then topped with the fajita meat/veg.  Absolutely delicious!  And none of the bloat/yech that comes from using a packaged mix!

The homemade seasoning didn't taste at all like the packaged stuff, something different altogether.......but much more authentic and fresh tasting!