Monday, November 30, 2009

My inspiration

I was chatting with my sister tonight for a bit.  She's had a tough 10 years or so.  She was diagnosed with HOCUM (hypertropic obstructive cardiomyopathy) ... try saying THAT one 5 times quickly after a few drinks ... YEESH!  Anyway, it's a pretty serious heart condition.  And she needs to have her gall bladder removed.  Which, for most people is not a big deal.  It's laproscopic surgery.  In and out in a day or 2.  But because of her heart problems, she's at higher risk.  One of the side effects of this condition is not being able to be active.  So, like so many people, myself included, she eats.  She's gained a lot of weight in the past 10 years and a lot of the problem is, that unlike me, she's not able to get into an intense physical training program.

I remember reading the story of one of the Body for Life Champions.  His brother was in an accident, I think it was diving but I don't remember exactly.  He lost the use of his legs.  When the Champion was complaining of how hard it was to keep up with the workouts, his brother said "I would give anything to be able to actually do what you're doing".  The Champion felt like a schmuck.  How could he be so selfish?  So his  brother became his inspiration.

Which brings me back to my sister.  She's so hard on herself and while yes, part of the weight gain is her responsibility (too much food), part of it is her meds and part of it is her heart that keeps her from getting back to a healthier weight.  So when I think I'm not making as much progress as I want to or the program is a pain in any way, I try to remember that she's not able to do the things I CAN do, but don't always WANT to do.  That's my inspiration.

But good news ... while they're removing her gall bladder, she's also having gastric bypass surgery (I might have this a little wrong ... it's actually a "sleeve" that reduces the amount people can eat).  Which will get rid of the diabetes and the sleep apnea, which is very dangerous.  So she figures in about a year, she should be half the size she is now. And I will be there as much as I can to encourage her.

So no matter how "bad" we have it, there's always someone out there that has it worse.  Not that our challenges and frustrations aren't important; but it is a reminder to keep things in perspective.

Night all.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Getting fitter ...

So Saturday was my annual bakefest with my girl Jen.  This was our fourth year of baking together.  We met at work in Dec 05, ended up hanging out together at the Christmas party that year (I had only been with the company for 2 months), discovered we both love to cook and bake and have very similar decorating style.  So we became friends.  The first year was a little tenuous ... but she has matured into a wonderful woman who doesn't realize how amazing she is.  It really is a shame.  Her mom died the same month as my dad ... about 4 years apart.  I guess I'm also kinda the big sister she never had...

So after almost 8 hours on our feet, I did a little stretching for bed, drank lots of water and get plenty of sleep.  This was our longest bakefest by far.  If we had done this 9 months ago, I would have been in some serious pain this morning ... to the tune of break out the hot water bottle and ibuprofen.

But this morning I got up, worked out, made a nice brunch, got the jewellery show read and I felt fine through the whole thing.  I couldn't believe it!  I was so excited!  It's always good to get positive reinforcement ... something concrete ... to remind you how far you've come.  So it was a good weekend.

Friday, November 27, 2009

What I'm thankful for ...

Jennifer posed that question on her blog the other day.  So I thought I would answer that here...
  • I'm thankful for my health
  • I'm thankful for my wonderful husband and the amazing relationship we have
  • I'm thankful that I had terrific parents who taught me well
  • I'm thankful for my remaining family, even though I don't see them very often
  • I'm thankful to be employed and make a good living
  • I'm thankful for the beautiful home we share ... it's not extravagant but it's wonderfully peaceful
  • I'm thankful for my friends .. while there may not be huge numbers of them, the ones I have are very special
  • I'm thankful for my blogging friends ... I look forward to your posts and comments every day
  • I'm thankful that I've been given an opportunity to inspire and support others
In short, I am thankful for my life ... while it's nothing spectacular, I love it and I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to share it with you.

To my American friends, I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"The only way to truly fail is to quit trying"

I read that as yesterday's lesson for life and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Of course I could totally relate.  I've been working and working on getting fit and up until recently really didn't feel like I was seeing a lot of results.  I know my pictures showed results but there was over a year in between and I just didn't see enough results.

I'm not sure what happened.  All of a sudden I stopped fretting, stopped obsessing, stuck with one program instead of bouncing around trying different things and all of a sudden I'm seeing results.  Regularly..  People are noticing and commenting.  I'm having to keep updating my wardrobe (I know, quite a hardship) because I keep shrinking out of different pieces.  Of course my tops stay the same.  I wore the outfit below a week ago.  I couldn't believe it.  Must have been the undergarments....

But check the boots.  OMG ... pics don't do them justice AT ALL!  They are the sexiest things I've worn in a long time!

Imagine these boots with this outfit ....

Have I been having with the whole fashion, footwear, hair and makeup?  You be the judge ....

But I digress (shocker).  My point was I stuck it out.  I never gave up even when the scale didn't budge and the measurements were changing a lot.  My legs have slimmed down, muscled up, my arms are thinner and more toned, I'm getting a waist again.  I hadn't had the nerve to wear a belt in so long other than to keep my pants up.

I still have a long, long way to go.  Probably another about 50 pounds of fat.  But I know I'm on the right track so I just keep going for it.  I was starting to feel like I was never going to see my abs again, so I changed up my routine.  And it's working.  I can feel that they're tighter.  And consequently I can keep my tummy tucked in better so the belly isn't quite so noticable.  Of course having a large chest helps too.  Diverts attention.

Most of all, I think it's the confidence I exude most of the time.  I'm looking good and feeling great.  In fact, the leopard pants in the picture above ... I need a belt now.  In just a couple of weeks, they've gotten loose.

I remember many years ago, before I met hubby,  I was late 20's and anxious to meet someone special and say goodbye to the "club scene".  When I stopped caring when I met someone, enter Barry.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

My job ... OMG I was so frustrated.  I went from doing really fairly basic commercial lease documents to really senior level stuff without a lot of teaching in a matter of a month.  I felt like I was drowning.  But between eating healthy, exercising, taking time to learn, I have improved immensely.  My manager used to get really frustrated with me.  She knew I was totally capable ... I just had to learnn it myself.

So never give up.  Whether it's career related, a relationship, fitness, whatever, keep at it.  But if something isn't working, maybe you need a new approach.

You'll find that honouring self promises does wonders for boosting self confidence.

So enjoy life ... 'cause it can be gone in an instant.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank you

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you.  For your love and support.  For making me smile and laugh.  For making me think.  For understanding.

Melanie, I don't think anyone has made me cry with their comment.  I guess my emotions are still a little tenuous right now.  *HUGS BACK*  And thank you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's on your mind?

So many people have been so supportive, I wanted to throw it back to you and ask "what's on your mind"?  What makes you happy, sad, joyous, scared?

I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I must warn you, this is a rather heavy topic.  I got to work this morning feeling great.  A little tired (really busy weekend) but otherwise good.  Within 15 minutes, I was informed that we had received some very bad news.  One of my favourite people at work, although I don't know him really well but have so much respect for him, lost his 19 son (only child to boot) to suicide on Friday.  I don't know any details, have not had any contact with him.  He lives in Toronto from Mon-Thurs then goes home for the weekends.

We don't have children.  I cannot fathom how unbelievably devastating this must be for him and his wife.  To lose a child to illness or accident or even the unthinkable is bad enough ... but when someone so young takes his own life ... how do you cope?  I believe the young man had some mental health issues so it likely wasn't out of left field.  Who knows what other people are dealing with in their private lives...  needless to say it was a rather somber day in the office.

So I went out at lunch for some retail therapy .. almost ended up at Danier Leather but thought better of it and went to Reitman's instead (much, much cheaper), bought a new pair of black pants, black top and black and silver belt.  And I try to stay away from too much black ... guess it was a reflection of my mood.  Then I went to Pinstripe, got Barry a bright blue sweater and a purple striped shirt.  Even my trip to my shoe guy didn't help too much.

I guess I was thinking about one of my nephews.  He was diagnosed as schizophrenic, probably 15 years ago.  He's talked of suicide but he's deeply religious and since Catholics don't believe in suicide, I suspect that's one of the main reasons he's still alive.  But he's been distancing himself from the family.  He disowned his father.  He's becoming more paranoid.  I fear for his safety sometimes.  His mental health always.

I had a friend commit suicide about 25 years ago.  My former brother-in-law hung himself Dec 4th, probably 20 years ago.  The same nephew who's sick got married to a woman who was bipolar and she accidentally OD'd.  They figure she had a massive drop in seratonin level and she took too many pills trying to feel better.  But that's different.  She didn't plan it.  At least we don't think so.  It just seems like there's been far too much of this.

Is it in our wiring?  From what I know, it seems like it's a chemical inbalance in people that drives them to do terrible things to themselves.  And others.

Of course typical me, I'm solid as a rock during crisis ... then I fall apart when I'm alone.  I'm not sure why I do that.  Maybe I'm afraid to be vulnerable in front of others.  But that's not entirely true 'cause I waited until I was on the GO train with my girl Kandi before I couldn't keep it together any more.  Yeesh.  Maybe one day I'll learn to deal with things when they happen.  Or I'll explode.  I'm not sure which is gonna happen first.

So hug your spouse, your kids, your parents, your cat.   And enjoy life.  It's too short.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wanting to change ....

Part of my morning ritual is to read my lesson for life before my workout.  Today's lesson was "You have to want to change more than you want to stay the same."

It so easy sometimes to fall back into comfortable patterns of action ... keep doing what you've been doing ... it's easy, it's familiar.  And that's great if you want your life to stay just the same.  But life is about change.  It's about growing and evolving and learning and becoming a better person, which we can all do.  That's just life.

But if you keep doing what you've always done, then you'll continue to get the result results you've always gotten.  Whether it's fitness, fashion, work, relationships, it really doesn't matter.  It applies across the board.

And it's not easy to change.  I think we're wired to want to be comfortable.  To not rock the boat.  Status quo and the whole bit.  But man, if you want to change, and decide to change ('cause it's definitely a conscious decision) and work towards changing, the results can be amazing!

It's funny, my original main goal was to lose fat and get healthier.  In the process, my performance at work has improved immensely, my attitude is so much better, I don't dread going to work anymore, one of my goals is to encourage and help people in any way I can.  And I found myself again.  I can't tell you how odd it is, how fabulous it is, to meet that side to me that has been lost for a very long time.  And I so do NOT want to go back there!

So if there's something about your life you want to change, I encourage you to figure out what you need to do to accomplish that goal, set out a plan and stick with it.  It's so worth it.  And if you need a little encouragement along the way, please don't hesitate to let me know.  I will support you in any way I can.

Have a fabulous Sunday!

Friday, November 20, 2009


First of all, Jennifer, I love your comments, whether they're long or short so  never worry about leaving a long comment ... it's always enjoyed.  Miss reading your new posts girl!  And thanks so much for your encouragement.  I'm hosting my first jewellery show tomorrow (Sat).  The last one was a couple of years ago (can it really be that long ago, yeesh) and my sister and her daughter (the jewellery makers) took care of the sales etc.  This time, it's all me.  I'm excited and really looking forward to it.  I hope it's a good turnout without being too crazy.  I've got 3 altogether coming up and I really hope I clean out their stock so they have to work like crazy through the winter to re-stock for upcoming shows.  I'm trying to stay calm about the whole thing but man I'm excited!  Can you do me a favour ... I'd love to get an impartial opinion.  Can you check out her website and let me know what you think?  Of course pics don't do them justice, I was surprised at how much better they are in person.  I'd really appreciate it.

Melanie, I love your posts.  You always give me something to look forward to.  And I really appreciate your comments.  And if I can be a source of inspiration of help or support or whatever, I'm really happy to do so.  It's so easy to get caught up in my own life, it's nice to be able to step up for someone else and give them some support when they need it.

Cindy, if you're checking, I miss you!  It's been way too long girlie!  I know you must be swamped.  I'm looking forward to hearing from you and reading your thoughts.

Tony, it does my heart good to hear you more positive and congrats on the new job if I didn't mention it before.  I hope you've settled into the whole "I'm gonna be a dad again" role.  I'm sure you have.  And I could definitely give you some ideas on dressing ... LOL

S.C., haven't heard from you in a while.  I hope the pregnancy is going well.  Can wait to see you guys.  I'm sorry we haven't gotten together earlier ... it's just been crazy between our schedules.  Have you been following SYTYCD S6?   I was so disappointed with the Canadian S2.  *sigh*

LeeAnn - where you been girl?????  Haven't heard from you in ages.  I hope everythign is ok and we see you guys at the party.

And last but certainly not least ... Pookie (aka Barry), thank you so much for introducing me to blogging and to some great people.  It took me a while to get into it, but now that I am, it's hard to shut me up.  Your support means so much.

Stay tuned for pics and updates on the show tomorrow.  Oh yeah, I seem to have developed a little problem ... my leopard pants I just bought a couple of weeks ago ... they're getting big already.



One of the most important things we need to remember is to to forgive.  Ourselves, each other.

We need to forgive ourselves when we do something we promised ourselves we wouldn't.  Whether it's not following a nutrition plan, missing workouts or staying in a relationship that's toxic.   We need to accept the fact that we're not perfect and that we'll do things from time to time that we didn't want or mean to do.  So forgive yourself, move on and do your best going forward.

I'm not sure if it's harder to forgive ourselves or others.  But people are human.  We all make mistakes.  Some worse than others.  And yes, there are things that are basically unforgiveable.  And everyone's definition is something different.  But try to forgive others because one day, we're going to need someone's forgiveness for something that we did ... intentional or not.

All we can do is try to be the best person that we can possibly be.  Warts and all :)

Luv ya all!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A word about fashion ... and maturing

So this picture has nothing to do with the topic ... I just love chickadees.

First of all, I just wanted to say thank you to Jennifer and Melanie especially.  Your comments have been wonderful, I love your blogs and the only reason I don't comment regularly is because my available time in the evenings is so short.  But I know that since you follow my blog, I can usually get a message to you.  I appreciate you both very much.

And of course Barry is always my biggest supporter.  And for that I'm always grateful.

So I travel every evening with 3 other women.  There are 2 or 3 others who join us once in a while but there's usual Kandi, Jackie and Heather.  Kandi and I are friends outside the train (we met through neighbours) and I just seemed to pick up the rest of them on the train.  We're all 40-50.  We have some interesting conversations ... Heather has the quickest wit ... Jackie's a sweetheart and Kandi ... well ... Kandi's my girl.  And she's going through some challenging times so I try to be positive and encouraging  without being flip (I can inadvertently seem like that sometimes even though I don't mean it).

So our topic of discussion yesterday was on fashion.  I never would have seen Heather as having a shoe fetish ... but hey ... you learn something new about people all the time.  Since we're all over 40, the topic of dressing too young came up in the conversation.  I'm a firm believer that even as we mature (and I realize that most of the women reading this are in their 20's ... just you wait my darlings, your time will come) we can still dress youthfully without looking like we're trying to be 20.  Just because we're 40+ doesn't mean we have to dress like frumps.

This last 7 months has been rather interesting for me.  When I was growing up and well into my 20's, I was totally into fashion, hair, makeup, shoes, accessories, etc.  If I do say so myself, I looked pretty good back in the day.  Then I started really gaining weight, getting older and I somehow lost that.  Clothes were uncomfortable, the gaining of weight and losing of muscle and strength caused back problems so I couldn't wear heels anymore.  I ended up in "utility" shoes.  I started wearing pants all the time (rarely did when I was younger) because of the shoes 'cause really, utility shoes and a nice dress or skirt just didn't do it.  And I just kept spiralling down from there.

Last September I finally decided to do something.  My biggest stressor (my mom unfortunately) was gone, and it was finally time for me to take care of me.  I have a wonderfully self-sufficient husband so I've been free to take care of myself.  The fact that I do this at stupid o'clock really helps but he's very supportive.

Since I've been losing the fat (I say fat because I don't think the scale has moved) and gained the muscle back (explains the lack of scale movement), my back problems are under control and I'm back into 3 or 4" sexy shoes again.  Have I mentioned the boots????  OMG OMG OMG  I've gotten excited about footwear before (sexy red shoes) but these things are AWESOME!  Barry kinda likes them too.  Wearing them to bed came up ... can't imagine why. LOL

So now it's time to get back into fashion and looking my best.  I've been doing the hair and makeup for a while and the shoes are slowly coming back and the clothes (which is the biggest indicator of "age") are youthful, but still age appropriate.  Do I look like I'm almost 45?  I sure hope not.  Do I dress like I'm 21.  Not a chance.  'cause I'm not.  I don't have the body, nor do I want to be one of those 40+ women who people look at and think or say "OMG what was she thinking???"

So I'm going to start taking some pictures (or Barry is) of each other in our "outfits" ... he's becoming more fashion also .... of course the fact that I buy a lot of his clothes doesn't hurt ... even put them together for him once in a while ... remember the all black outfit.  I have a thing for men in all black.  I seem to have a thing for bald men.  This is all convenient since my hubby's bald (more or less) and dresses all in black sometimes when we go out. 

My shoe repair guy (who's just as big a flirt as hubby, maybe a little bigger and certainly likes me) is tall, bald, black man (40+), and today he walks into the shop wearing black shoes, black pants, black shirt, long black coat and smelling WONDERFUL!  Yes, Barry knows, he knows what I like, hell, he eggs me on sometimes ... we both do ... sign of a solid relationship in my mind.

One last thing ... Vitamin D ... my happy pills.  Today was a miserable, rainy, foggy, gross day.  Normally I am a wreck ... tired, listless, draggy, etc.  I met my naturopath a couple of days ago and he suggested upping my Vit D intake from 1,000 to 4,000 mg a day.  The past 2 days .. happy, happy camper.  Tons of energy, lots of smiles, humming away, bouncing off the walls, talking a mile a minute, not shutting up (can you tell???).

Let's see ... time management ... I guess if I read more and wrote less I'd probably comment more.

Thanks for your support everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ode to summer ...

For those of us who live in cooler climate, I thought I'd share some great pics from the summer....

Barry and my brother built this out of 4x4's and and old gazebo... now it's all black and looks amazing!

The forsythia out front.  Trimmed up for now.

Columbine - one of my favourite spring flowers.

The deck that Barry and Sandy built in 2008.

Hope you enjoyed.

It's what you do most of the time that determines success.

Widget (tabby) and Dante (black)
aren't they the cutest!

My Lesson for Life today was about what you do most of the time.  We all falter.  We all miss a workout, or have a bad nutrition day.  But it's important to just say "ok, I'll do better tomorrow" and get right back at it.  It's so easy to let one day become one week and on and on it goes.  But it's so important to just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on track.

The same can be true of work, relationships, school, whatever.  You strive to be your best.  There's really nothing more you can do than that.

Speaking of the best, did I mention last night that I have the bestest hubby in the whole wide world?  Or at least the best for me.

We're going into a very crazy time of year.  We all need to take a step back once in a while and realize we can't attend every party, say yes to every request.  We need to take care of ourselves.  And each other.  For those with significant others, we need to support each other; for those without, the time will come (Melanie) when someone truly special comes along.  I was 27 before I met my prince.  In the meantime, take care of yourselves and be thankful you don't have yet more commitments.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't ever settle for less than the best

They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.  Well, I kissed a lot of frogs ... but I definitely found my prince.

Ladies ... and I'm talking to the younger ones mostly.  Please do NOT settle.  If he doesn't treat you right, and I mean pretty much all the time ... kick him to the curb!  If he's a lazy sod who doesn't lift a finger to help, isn't emotionally supportive and selfish ... kick him to the curb.  Sooner than later.  You deserve better than that.

I have spoken to so many women lately whose "other halves" are lazy, useless, unsupportive and downright abusive.  And you don't need that.  My mother's generation and before her put up with abuse, neglect, etc. because they didn't have much option.  They grew up, got married, had kids, had grandkids and died.  They didn't work outside the house.  They didn't make their own money.  They didn't have much  say in matters.

Today's women, however, are different.  We're strong, independant, capable.  We don't need a man.  We can have several.  Maybe not at one time ....

Gentlemen ... please, please, please ... don't take your ladies for granted.  Appreciate them, respect them, don't let them down.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Don't quit ... ever ... and other stuff

So this post actually has 3 parts today 'cause there's too much going on in my head and I gotta get it down and I've been a little delinquent in a thank you.

1.  When pursuing your goals, whether fitness, work related, whatever, don't give up.  Times might get tough but that's when you've got to dig in your heels and just stick with it.  I've been having a little trouble with my nutrition lately.  Since my hysterectomy, of course I don't get my "friend".  The wicked problems I was having have pretty much disappeared.  Only problem is, I still get moderate PMS without the obvious.  Therefore I can't always tell what the problem is.  I get emotional, I get cravings, I eat stupid, I get bloated.  It's only when I'm pretty much near the end of the "cycle" that I finally clue into what's going on.  My nutrition has not been great.  One of the "tools" in Body for Life is crossing off each day ... "\" means I met my workout goal, "/" is nutrition and "-" is the Law of Reciprocation.  I'm missing a lot of /'s in the past 2 weeks.  Which is probably why I'm feeling a little thick through the middle.  Having identified that, as of tomorrow, it's nose to the grindstone, time to get refocused and diligent about the  nutrition.

2.  God help me.  I think I'm reverting back to 20 something.  mid-20 something.  I actually bought a copy of the latest In Style magazine today.  I haven't bought a fashion mag in YEARS!  I almost bought the book the other day.  Santa might bring it.  Hell, he even commented that the Louis Vuitton shoes that I really liked (but were $1,690 US) weren't nearly as nice as others by him for a lot less.  I think something's happening to both of us.  HELP!

3.  I must give a big thanks and shout out to Melanie's Randomness  for the Sugar Doll Award.  Check out her blog ... she's a total doll!  Thanks Melanie for the award ... you are so sweet!

So I guess that's all for today.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Morning

This was actually a picture taken by my talented photographer (otherwise known as hubby) on our 10th wedding anniversary weekend at Domain at Killien in Haliburton. Even though this was actually taken on the Friday morning, to me it epitomizes a beautiful Sunday morning breakfast.
We've been sitting here enjoying latte and I've been catching up on some blogs that I haven't had a chance to delve into too much yet. I actually have a confession to make. I am a TOTAL couch potato at night. I work with legal documents on all day so by the time I get home at night ... I become one with the couch. Not a great thing to do but I'm wiped when I get home. So we're going to start going for a 20-30 minute walk at night when we get home from work. Maybe that'll refresh me enough to keep up on the blogging. Barry's actually working on a post right now and I'm in the living room with the fireplace going (it's electric but it still gives that cozy feeling ... in fact ... here's a picture. We bought the wall unit and the electric insert but Barry built the surround for the fireplace. Out of 2x4's, floor tiles (we used in our entrances, kitchen and bathroom) and moulding. What a talented guy.

I tease him sometimes that I'll keep him ... at least until the renovations are done ... and at the rate we're going, they'll NEVER be done. But this winter we'll be finishing up all the trim work, painting doors, doing the finishing touches upstairs. It's been a while, but so much has happened.
This kinda sums up our attitude about life ... it's one of the walls in our dining room. I think I'll have to share some more of Barry's handiwork. And yes, I am his lovely assistant ... I'd certainly never expect him to do anything without my helping him ... especially this magnitude.
I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Setting up the Christmas Tree

Yes, I realize it's only November 14th. But we have a party on the 5th and the next 2 weekends are jam packed with jewellery shows, family intros, baking day with Jen, that I had to get this done this weekend. Tomorrow I work outside. And it's going to be about 14 degrees celsius. Or about 56 degrees Farenheit. Too warm for this.

So Barry was good enough to help me haul things out of storage. I had forgotten how brutal we were with getting rid of stuff we'll never use again. Oh well.

So while Barry was busy cleaning up downstairs, I put the tree up and white lights on. That was sad. The poor tree looked a little forlorn. So we went out and bought more lights...multicoloured this time. MUCH better. I was fine doing all that.

And then came the ornaments. Of course Barry was no where to be found ... downstairs actually, and he was working on something else. This is the second year without my mom. The last, I put up the tree and tried not to think about her. Christmas was a total non-event last year. We had our traditional breakfast and opened gifts (just the 2 of us) but otherwise hide from the day. I just couldn't deal with it last year. Mom died at the end of August and Christmas was her favourite time of the year. So I wimped out and ignored the day.

This year is supposed to be the exact opposite. Going up north to my sister's on Christmas Eve and returning Boxing Day, weather permitting. Her daughter and 2 grandsons live with her. The boys are almost 4. Barry and I have never spent Christmas with children. 17 years together and we've never had Christmas with children. How sad.

So there I was, listening to an assortment of music on my laptop (there's 1,334 songs on there ... yeesh) and putting up the ornaments on the tree. I was just fine with most of them because they're pretty recent. It was the ones that I had given mostly my mom, several to both my parents, that was the hard part. And it was the family ornaments that have been around for years ... they're the only real history on that tree. It's a very different style of tree than when my mom was around. It's much cleaner, no garland of any kind, it's all kinda generic for the most part.

I'm sitting here looking at the tree, and it's a nice tree, it looks good, Barry's happy with it. I'm ok with it. But something's missing. I just don't know what.

I really miss my mom.

Regrets ... what a waste of time

I must admit that it was hubby's last post (awesome post B) that inspired me to write this.

I learned a long time ago that regretting one's actions is a waste of time. That's not to say that we should just do whatever we want with no regard to anyone else's feelings or any fallout that can happen from our actions. I just mean that once something is done, it's kinda hard to take it back.

My mom regretted so much in life and consequently was very unhappy. I tried and tried to explain to her that regrets don't get you anyway. They just make you unhappy and miserable and it takes away the time that you have to be thankful for your life.

My mother-in-law does the same thing. Things seem somewhat better now ... at least we don't hear about it any more ... but for a while there ... OMG .. I thought I was listening to my own mother. We tried with her too ... to explain that regrets are a waste of time ... live in the present, not the past. It's done. You can't change it. Just get on with life and be the best you can be in the present and the future.

Trust me, I'm not all about roses and sunshine, although I must admit it takes up the majority of my thoughts and actions ... life's too short to get bogged down with the rest of the crap. I have my bad days ... days I wished I had done something else. But whether it's blowing off a workout (which I did yesterday) or blowing my nutrition (which I did Thursday night and all day Friday) or leaving a job (which it turns out was a really good decision) or being in a bad relationship (and trust me, I've had my fair share of those ... of course not the one I'm in now), or other questionable things I've done in my 20's, I can't regret any of it. I might not be particularly happy about it, might be a little embarassed about some of it.

But as I told my mother on many, many occasions, if I hadn't done what I did, experienced what I had, then I wouldn't be the person who I am. She, like most mothers, want to spare their children pain and heartache. I understand that. But it's through the pain and heartache that we learn about ourselves, that we grow and learn and become stronger people.

So try not to waste valuable emotion of looking back ... learn from your experiences but leave them in the past. You'll probably be much happier for it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Off for another adventure

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine sent out of invite for anyone who wanted to join her at a Flamenco show at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.

Of course I was in ... most forms of dance are fascinating to me but although I haven't been exposed to too much Flamenco, what I have seen, I like. It's very powerful and exciting. So I checked with Barry and he's in too. So it's Barry, Miss J and her friend Maria and me of course off to the flamenco show. Very exciting. So if you don't hear from me tomorrow, I trust you will understand.

So we've gone from spending 15 months of renovating, then recuperating through my surgery and broken ankle and building a deck and pergola and not doing much at all, to first the Tiesto concert, 3 weeks later is was Chris Botti, a couple of weeks after that was the Royal Winter Fair and now tomorrow it's Flamenco (which btw Miss J actually dances). Feast or famine it would seem.

The rest of the year is just as crazy. We were supposed to go to Ottawa to see family. Unfortunately his mother is dying and they have been in British Columbia for the past 3 weeks so we have to reschedule. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and hope that his mom goes peacefully.

So we ahve to finish raking and shutting the outside in preparation of the upcoming winter. Oh joy. Gonna put the Christmas lights up too. Barry's so happy, he doesn't have to put them on the roof any more. It's all about the rather large shrubs out front. And I'm not sure what else. And we've got to pull all of the Christmas stuff out of storage so I can take a look, figure out what I need and get organized.
So much to do, so little time. The moral of this story ... enjoy your life. Don't wait to do the stuff you've talked about doing for years ... grab the bull by the horns and go after your deams!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Combatting negativity

So I received a wonderful comment from Jennifer Fabulous on yesterday's post. Thank you so much Jennifer. You actually gave me my topic for today, which is combatting negativity. I'm kinda talking to Jennifer, but I hope others can take something from this as well.

It's unfortunate that parents can be so toxic. You look fabulous (appropriately enough) and while you may have gained weight in the past year, I'm sure you're still the same person. I sure hope so. And that's what's important for your parents to remember. Maybe you're not. Maybe there's been a lot of crap happening which has altered your outlook. the parents certainly aren't helping. But please, please, please, don't let them stop you from accomplishing what you want to do, whether it's lose weight, get healthier, whatever. My naturopath told me at I think it was our last meeting that if I focus on getting healthier, the weight will come off. Big tip btw, if you seriously want to get in better shape ... measure and weigh yourself once a month ... your body will change. I have no idea how many pounds I've lost. Everything just seems to be shifting, which is good, but society has basically convinced us that we have to look a certain way, meet certain criteria. Why, I have no idea.

How boring would it be if we all looked, acted and thought the same? there wouldn't be any need for more than 1 person because there would be no variety. I keep saying it, 'cause it's true (at least in my opinion) that we need to embrace our own uniqueness and just accept each other as we are. And if you don't feel like you're up to tackling your weight issue right now, then don't.

Bill always says not to wait until everything is perfect and the stars are aligned before starting on your quest. But I've tried many times to get fit when there's a pile of other crap happening ... and until you can truly make that commitment, it probably won't happen. And that's not meant to discourage anyone from trying. I'm just saying don't beat yourself up if you can't get it together quite yet. Just try to maintain until you're ready to commit.

But then there are others who can rise to the occasion and really harness their inner strength during adversity. I wish I had been one of them. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get it together until my chaotic life settled down.

On another note, it's been really tough lately to keep a positive attitude at work. There's been a lot of upheaval where I work. Fortunately things have calmed down in one respect but there's been some dissention within the ranks and it's really challenging to just go into work every day with a big smile on my face, stay positive, stay encouraging and ignore all the B.S.

I've been watching So You Think You Can Dance while I'm blogging (multi-tasker at work again), and one of the contestants just said that "purpose of us being here is to share with other people". OMG I love that quote. Because I really do believe that we are here to share and to uplift and encourage and empower each other; not tear each other down.

So let's all try to make this world just a little bit better by helping and encouraging each other and just ignore all the crap. My answer ... MP3 player. Works wonders...

Monday, November 9, 2009

"Open up and give it all you've got!"

What a great quote! It really doesn't matter what you're doing ... fitness, work, relationships, new challenges of any sort ... if you're gonna do it ... do it right and give it all you've got.

It's easy to approach things in life half-hearted. It doesn't require too much commitment. It's much easier to give up that way.

But commit to something (or someone) fully and with no compromises, and the very best of life is yours to take.

So don't hold back. Live life to its fullest. If you really want something, go for it. Don't let the naysayers (and there are many), deter you from pursuing your dreams.
It's only taken 7 months, but I've finally accepted that I have made a lot of progress ... I am accomplishing my goals ... despite the lack of pounds lost or whatever. I wore a pair of pants I bought a while ago (my first non-comfort fit pants from Reitmans - although they're a 15). When I bought them, they were very tight ... today they're comfortable. It's like all of a sudden people are noticing and commenting on my progress. And it feels great! So Barry and Jen convinced me to buy this hat ... isn't it cute! and then I was in Danier Leather with another girlfriend and found THE most amazing scarf! It's nothing fancy ... red, just like my hat ... but THE softest wool I've ever felt ... I'm not sure if it felt more like butter or silk.

We have a fabulous day yesterday (Sunday) at the Royal Winter Fair. Barry did his photojournal yesterday.

We have so much going on until the end of the year (can't believe I'm saying that) between hosting jewellery parties (BTW ... my sister and her daughter make THE most beautiful jewellery, hand-crafted, one of a kind ... attached is the link to their website .. Beauty by the Bead ), hosting our own Christmas party, baking day with Jen, a family Meet and Greet with my brother-in-law's future in-laws, oh yeah, putting up the tree, decorating the house ... and the list goes on. (this is one of my sister's creations and trust me, it doesn't do it just AT ALL)

But with all things ... I do it with passion and pride ... I've always been an "all or nothing" kind of gal ... some don't understand ... but that's when I feel the most alive. My mentor used to describe me as all peaks and valleys and that I should round out the peaks and shore up the valleys. I tried that. It didn't work for me. I became someone else. One of my favourite blogs that I follow is Pursuit of Something Real. A recent post dealt with just that issue.

I'm almost 45. Why would I want to be somebody other than who I really am? Why would anyone. We just need to accept each other for who we are ... weird, wonderful, unique, exciting ... people that we are.

So go for it! And always be true to yourself.

Oh yeah, for those who don't know my crazy husband ....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Measure succcess by what you gain, not what you lose."

You know how sometimes you just know stuff, and no matter how many times other people might tell you the same thing, sometimes all it takes is reading a quote or story or whatever and all of a sudden it's like EUREKA! You finally get it. It sinks in.

I read this quote for my daily Lesson-for-LIFE by Bill Phillips. I've been so hung up on losing pounds, fat, inches, and the fact that, go figure, it's not happening fast enough. Bill goes on to say that we need to concentrate on what we gain ... gaining strength, gaining muscle, gaining emergy, gaining self-respect, gaining self-awareness, gaining self-trust, gaining self-esteem, gaining back control of you life. And you know what ... I have gained all these things...and much more.

So I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has encouraged me, told me to be patient, congratulated me on my progress, hung in there with me despite my whining and griping and obsessing.

And especially to the love of my life who watched me over the years get bigger and bigger and bigger and never put me down, never made me feel like a failure, never insulted me, because that's just not who you are. Instead you accepted me for who I was, love me for who I am, rolls and bad eating habits, and being lazy, etc. etc. etc.

But those are things in the past and I have gained so much during the past 7 months. I'm feeling like I did 20 years ago when I actually loved and respected myself. It's so great to be back ....

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Body Image

This is an important picture. About a very important topic. Ladies. We really and truly are our own worst enemies. And critics. Notice this woman is smiling? My wish is to see each and every one of you do the same. In fact, you can send me a picture of yourself smiling. I need evidence that woman are not too hard on themselves and they love themselves just the way they are.

There's a British tv show called "How to Look Good Naked". I can't remember the guy's name ... but I totally love what he does for the woman. Regardless of what you look like, how over or under weight you are, how young or old, please, please, please remember that you are special. And important. And powerful. And fierce. And able to do any damned thing you want to do.

Society or the media or the fashion industry or all of the above (and yes, our mothers ... much as we love them to pieces ... they are the ones who start this whole thing for the most part) has decided that woman are supposed to be "a size" (BTW ... how can zero be a size?????), a look, whatever.

So woman already have body image issues ... I just bought a pair of size 14 pants (Lou Lou ... for Addition-Elle) ... yeah, right. If I can fit into a 16 at Reitman's I'm doing well. Hell, you take 2 pairs of the exact pair of pants by the same designer, make it a different colour and if the fabrics are different you can be a different size. My manager has 3 sizes in her wardrobe. They all fit ... it's just the fit, style, designer, whatever.

So please ladies ... it's ok to want to get fitter and firmer and stronger (I'm a HUGE advocate of women being strong physically ... we're already strong mentally and emotionally) ... but accept yourself for where you are at each stage of your journal.

Learn to love and accept yourself as you are ... and I promise I will do the same.

"Start driving and stop just going along for the ride."

I love this quote! As Bill says, those of us who are not in the best shape or health did not get there on purpose. Life gets in the way if you let it. It's so easy to let school, children, spouses, partying, work, whatever get in the way of our health and fitness. So I implore you all, put YOUR health first. If you get sick (even with a cold), you can't be your best and everyone who depends on you suffers, most of all you. Whatever it takes. Yes, I realize I'm the crazy one who gets up in the "middle of the night" by most people's standards to work out. When I first read about people doing that, I thought they were INSANE! Life happens. I kept trying and trying to get into a routine but it never seemed to work. When my mom was still around and healthy, Barry and I worked out at our local community centre gym on our way home from work, but when we got home dinner was waiting for us. Then I had to quit working out to take care of mom and after she went into the nursing home, I never really got back into it. I tried and tried and failed every time. When you get up at 5:30 a.m., leave at 7:15, get home (if coming straight home from work) at 6:00 p.m. and then have to fit everything in to 4 hours (which seems like a lot) and it's ok as long as you're not working out. I really don't know how people with kids who are in a lot of activities do it. I really don't. I have a hard enough time dealing with appointments and errands for the 2 of us. Yeesh.

Even eating healthy food. It takes time to prepare a meal to keep your health and fitness in check. But please take the time. I do wish I could get out of the rat race of working in Toronto. Unfortunately that's just not in the cards at the moment. That's where the money is. But I digress.

It's amazing what happens when you start planning, writing your plans down, following through with them, keeping self promises (that is a HUGE one ... trust me ... I never did and it got me further and further behind). Your confidence grows. You just become a better person all round. And I think that's really what all of us want ... just to be the best we can be.

On a totally frivolous note ... part of the whole girlie-girl thing ... I broke down and went back into Addition-Elle today. I swore I would never buy another thing from there. It sounds weird, but that store has represented a very bad time in my life. Almost 4 years ago, I got into the elevator at work ... of course there are mirrors in those elevators ... whose bright idea THAT was, I don't know. Anyway, I took one look at myself, and all I saw was a fat, tired, middle aged woman who looked like crap. So I went on a shopping spree and bought a whole new spring wardrobe ... beautiful clothes, wonderful fabrics and colours ... and started to feel a lot better about myself. It's amazing what that does to a girl. If you're carrying more fat than you'd like, there are ways to disguise the parts of your body you don't like. So for me , that store represents the worst I felt about myself, probably in my life. But anyway, my girlfriend wanted to go in and I thought I'd check out the accessories. Well, as soon as I walked in, I saw this pair of black, grey and white leopard print pants ... FIERCE! I tried on a 16. WAY to big. So I thoughth I'd try on a 14 ... AND THEY FIT!!!! YAY YAY YAY! They are wickedly cool ... totally my kind of pants ... and tight enough that I'll be able to wear them for a while and most likely be able to take them in. Along with the wine and black crocodile boots (not to be worn together ... leopards and crocs don't get along very well), I'm feeling pretty good about things.

So the moral of this story ... get those driving gloves and glasses on, grab that wheel, and pedal to the metal (so to speak). And don't ever give up!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Chicken Little strikes again....

Pretty much completely off-topic of my usual blogging, I cannot believe sometimes how much people are like chicken little. They run around, listening to the media, listening to each other and feeding off the negativity of each other. The molehill becomes an insurmountable mountain, fear reigns and we forget our sensibilities.

Of course the perfect example right now is H1N1. Before it was terrorism and anthrax. We had SARS a few back and a couple of decades ago it was AIDS. Are they trivial matters ... of course not. Do we need to keep our heads? You bet.

So I have a challenge to anyone who wishes to accept ... keep a positive outlook and forget the negativity and the doom and gloom. One better ... when you hear people acting like chicken little, set them straight. Put a positive, or realistic, spin on the issue. People (and I think we've probably all done it at one time (probably more) or another, but when one person makes a comment about a negative issue, a second person will agree, then a third persons joins in and before you know it, we've got a good old bitch session going on or we've escalated it to the point where it's the most tragic issue on earth.

So let's try to keep things in perspective. Let's lift each other up and instead of bringing each other down. That is my challenge to each of you (yes, including myself).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Goals give you the ability to be self-directed and in control"

This is something I am HORRIBLE at. I write them down. I don't always concentrate on achieving them. By writing them down, reading them, visualizing them, and making a real effort to achieve them ... that will lead to success.

My goals, while a little lofty, to be achieved by January 9, 2010 are:

  • lose 15 pounds

  • wear a size 12

  • Lose 3" off my tummy

  • reduce my caffeine intake to espresso only

How's it going so far (did I mention these have been my goals for the past 6 months?):

  • the scale is not my friend ... but muscle weighs a lot more than fat so I the proof is in the pudding (or in this case the pictures) so I'm not sure about this one.

  • still in a 15/16 (was up to 19/20 so I am making progress)

  • from March 22nd to October 17 - lost 1 1/2 inches - halfway there except that my start date for this 3" is Oct. 18th so I still really have 3 inches to go

  • reduce caffeine intake ... yeah, I seem to have a serious addiction. or maybe it's just habit. i'm able to resist on the weekend. the fact that I sit on my rear most of the day ... doesn't help my cause AT ALL.

Anyway, this isn't all about me ... I just want to encourage you to set goals, write them down, focus on them, work towards them ... and you'll be able to achieve anything you put your mind to.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Every transformation starts as a dream"
Bill Phillips talks about putting your dream list together. Things you'd love to accomplish. Things that make you feel excited, alive, optimistic and energized. He's not just talking about fitness, he's talking about life.

I think as we get older we get so bogged down by stuff we need to do. Things that are expected of us. The practical. Some of our dreams are attainable. Some are not. Mostly we are the only thing standing in our way of achieving our goals.

Even though I'm still very young at heart and have this crazy husband who keeps me from taking life and myself too seriously (best thing I ever did was answer his ad ... and propose of course), with my birthday approaching in 3 months, I seem to be getting a little introspective.

I forgot how much I enjoyed writing ... used to do a lot of it in my early 20's. I loved dance. I used to be so much into music ... I seem to be re-visiting my 20's. But in a good way. I know I'm not 20 something anymore. Doesnt' mean I can't be the absolute best me that I can be.

Speaking of transformations, I decided to post an updated profile picture. I'll have to get Barry's new pic on his profile. Oddly enough we don't have updated pictures of him or just us. It's on the list. The very long list.

So don't ever give up on your dreams. It might take a while to achieve them. But if they're important ... never give up.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Focus on the Positive

I was reading Viva magazine today and came across an awesome quote from Sheila Lewis of British Columbia. She was speaking with one of the contributors to the magaazine and said "Would you rather live your life keeping an inventory of self-hate, or look back on your life and count all the ways you found your life to be beautiful?"

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes we get so caught up in beating ourselves up and focusing on the negative aspects of our lives (fitness, work, relationships, whatever) that we forget to appreciate the positive aspects. As I've said before, we need to start giving ourselves (and others for that matter) a break. We're not perfect. We can strive to be the very best that we can be. But if we miss a goal, if we let someone down, we (and they) need to understand that we're not perfect. We can only be the best we can be. And that changes with every person. We all have our own unique qualities.

Sometimes I get really hard and down on myself. I'm not making the progress I want to make as fast as I want to make it. The important thing is I'm working on it. And that I don't quit. I've done that too many times in the past. But I'm on a roll and I think I've basically changed my outlook which has helped with everything else.

So remember ... instead of focusing on all the crap in your life ... focus on the beautiful things ... your friends, your family, sunrises, sunsets ... whatever makes you smile and feel good inside.