Monday, January 24, 2011

Cleaning out my Emotional Closet

Sunday I wrote about cleaning out our closets....literally. You know, tidying, tossing, organizing.  Today, it's the emotional closet. 

I think we all have things in our emotional closet that need to be dealt with.  Whether it's a memory, a person, a feeling, whatever.  And it's one of the hardest things to do.

I used to be a super hyper emotional person.  I took everything so personally, got so involved with other people's problems.  It just about did me in.  So I learned to not take things to heart as much.  At least not that I'll admit to it.  I've learned that I have to deal with my own stuff ... and so does everyone else.  I may seem not to care .. yeah, right ...

That is not to say for a moment that I don't care.  That I don't grieve for those who lose loved ones.  That I'm not outraged by the sheer stupidity and cruelty of some people.  I read about a woman in Toronto (67 suffering from dementia) who died from exposure.  She left the house around 2 a.m., got disoriented, must have fallen and tried to get up (her fingerprints were on the car she fell next to).  People heard her, someone even saw her, but no one called for help.  They didn't have to leave their cozy homes, all they had to do was call 911.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they thought someone else would call.  Problem is, when everyone thinks that, help never arrives. This happened the same day (or maybe it was the next) that a police officer inToronto was killed in the line of duty.  Oddly, the woman's plight hit me far harder than the officer.  Not to diminish his sacrifice for one instance  ... I have the utmost respect and admiration for our law enforcement team ... but he knew the risks he took ... even if his death was stupid and senseless .. but she was scared and alone and didn't truly understand what was happening.  Her family was looking for her ... she was a block away from home.  A woman finally called 911 but by then it was too late.  I couldn't watch the officer's funeral, couldn't watch any of the story .. I knew I would be a mess.  They had the funeral playing at work ... I put my headphones on and escaped into my own little world .... I knew I'd fall apart as soon as I heard Amazing Grace on the bagpipes ... that and TAPS, are 2 pieces I cannot listen to.  Under any circumstances.  Yes folks, I am still a big softy. 

Why has this hit me so hard?  Probably because my mom had dementia and that was one of my biggest fears for her ... to die alone and scared.  Fortunately she was in a nursing home, being well taken care of, and as the coroner told us, she just kinda petered out.  Nothing traumatic ... just went to sleep.  It's been a little over 2 years and I still haven't dealt with her death.  She could be hurtful, she could be frustrating, manipulative, toxic ... but she could also be a lot of fun and would do almost anything for me.  Perhaps it's because it was my decision to put her in the nursing home, even though I did so with my siblings' blessing.  Perhaps it's because I should have gone to see her more often.  Perhaps it's because I meant to go see her the Wednesday and Thursday before I got the call to get home to see her 'cauz the doctor didn't know how she was still alive.  She wasn't coherent by the time I saw her ... but I believe that she heard me.  Barry and I went to see her ... my cousin Deb was there ... my brother arrived the next day ... he just returned from Brazil to find out his mother was dying.  I try not to let guilt get the better of me.  But sometimes. 

There's me, going off on another one of my tangents .... I guess I needed to share that.  Perhaps that's part of cleaning out my closet.  The only other big thing is Vince.  Oddly, I feel like I finally have that closet under control.   If I can keep him "sort of" in my life from time to time, it won't be this big emotional roller coaster when we do connect.  I don't feel the emotional upheaval that I did when we first connected in September.  He still remembers me from my youth ... I don't remember much about us back then ... I remember us more in my 20's.  I remember the upheaval.  I remember the hurtful things that had been said.  The disappearances and the reappearances over the years.  I could have stayed hidden.  We could have gone to our deathbeds without ever seeing each other again ... but no ... I had to go and look him up on Facebook... and contact him no less.  I honestly didn't think he's respond.  It was an emotional couple of weeks ... but typically ... it burned itself out very quickly.  Where was Barry in all this?  Giving me the space I needed to deal with everything.  I don't know that I could have handled the situation if the roles were reversed with nearly as much calm and patience as he did.  Of course I didn't tell him a lot of what was going on in my head.  Vince is like being sucked into a vortex.  But I'm 14 years older than I was the last time he was in my life (he's in California so he'll only ever be a "virtual" friend) and I like to think that I have a better handle on things now.  I had a momentary lapse of reasoning.

It's amazing how difficult, and how therapeutic ... catharctic even ... it can be when you open the door to the closet, haul out all its contents, inspect them so see whether they are worth keeping or whether it's time to dispose of them ... and let yourself be free.

I keep opening the door ... peering in ... I take some of it out from time to time .. sometimes to reminisce, sometimes to try to deal, sometimes I even succeed.   I encourage you to do the same.  And if you need someone to talk to ... my door is always open.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cleaning out my Closet

I'm not sure why, but the song "Cleaning out my Closet" by Eminem popped into my head this afternoon and it seemed so appropriate for today's post.

I've been feeling for a while now  that life has been chaotic, out of control, that I'm trying to catch up to my life.  Then I realized it was because my physical life is chaotic.   My home office was a disaster.  I've been slowly cleaning and tidying up our house.  I was supposed to go to my niece's for "Christmas" on Saturday.  But we had snow ... again.  lots of it.  And she's about a 90 minute drive on a good day.  So we decided to send the gifts up ahead and schedule or visit for the end of March after the calves have been born.  So there we were with a day to accomplish some stuff around the house. 

Barry changed the old bathroom fan with a new, quieter, more powerful one (which we've had for about a year) and I decided to tackle my office.  I've been following a site called .  OMG ... if you have issues with chaos, (her definition of CHAOS btw ... "can't have anyone over syndrome" because the house is a mess) with procrastination, with organization ... check out her sight.  I get her email every morning, which I read on the way into work.  She encourages you to only work on something for 15 minutes at a time.  Baby steps.  So I worked on the office for 15 minutes, did something else, came back for 15 minutes, did something else, then got carried away and worked in the office for about 90 minutes straight and FINALLY I am organized.  It's not 100% .  I still have to "clean out my closet" in the office.  It's a book shelf and some floating shelves.  That's next weekend.

I still have the linen closet and the front hall closet to tackle.  One thing I have been pretty good with is my master bedroom closet (it's more like a room :) ) but the others ... YIKES!  So I will tackle each of those closets for 15 minutes at a time.  I don't know whether I'll get them today or not, but I can always work on one shelf at a time during the week.  Or tackle them next weekend while Barry and sanding and prepping the bathroom for re-painting.

FLYlady talks about "shining your sink".  It's one habit for the month.  And I've been doing it.  We make sure we get the dishes done every night right after dinner.  For the most part, we sit at our dining room table like adults and have a conversation.  Our living room is tidy.  I've been making the bed every morning.  I put my clothes and lingerie and jewellery out the night before, as well as my workout clothes.  I've even been keeping up with the ironing.  I even make up a meal plan once a week.

I can't tell you what a weight it's been off my shoulders.  Last week, my workouts were sketchy, my nutrition, not great.  Had 2 meals out last week.  And despite it all, my weight stayed the same.  YAY!  I was happy just not to go back up. 

It was such a colassal job to clean up this office that I was neglecting my blog.  I didn't want to be in the office.  And to write while watching TV ... I don't do my writing justice.  So I've "cleaned out my closet"  and cupboard and filing cabinets, etc. and my office is clean, tidy, organized, and cozy.  It's also our guest room.  We have a futon in the room in the form of a couch.  Great place to curl up and read a book.  And the room is purple (my fav colour).  Lighting is good.  I replaced my desk with a deeper, shorter one.  I can see what's happening on my printer finally.

I come from a long line of procrastinating pack rats.  I didn't want to be like that.  But I because what I didn't want to be.  But no longer.  I am reformed.    It's interesting, the discipline of my workouts have slowly been creeping into my job, my home, my mind.

So a HUGE shout out to my sister for recommending to me.  It's changed a lot of things.  Thanks Mo.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


This isn't a long post ... just a reminder to speak up ... when things are bothering you, when you're happy, when you're sad, when you're feeling insecure, when you're frustrated or angry.

Some of us (myself included I'm afraid to admit) keep things bottled up inside for far too long and then it erupts and those who are left in our wake are left wondering "WTF"?

I know it's hard to speak up for a lot of us ... to assert ourselves ... to tell others what we like or don't like, what we need or don't need.  And women are notorious for keeping things to ourselves and then having it come out at the worse possible times.

Today was a really, really rough day.  I haven't felt myself all day.  I didn't sleep well ... I blew off my cardio workout, missed my green tea on the train, had a small muffin (not on my list), got into the chocolates (definitely not on my list) and then had mac and cheese for dinner.  Comfort food anyone?

Well, today is just about over for me ... I'm off to bed in an hour ... feeling much better ... because I communicated ... of course "somebody else" may not be ... the joys of relationships.

When I say I hate winter ... I do not exaggerate ... it is a brutal time of year ... as it is for many people.  I've been low on my vitamin D and we've had a lot of rain and snow and clouds ... but at least I'll be back in the garden in about 2 months (hopefully less) ... and it's supposed to be sunny on Saturday ... maybe I'll just drink my way through the winter LOL  ... on second thought ... I think I'll just work out :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Extra Long Weekend

When we had our furnace replaced in the summer, we had to have an energy audit done in order to qualify for rebates.  And then a follow up appointment.  So I booked it for today, took the day off and decided to make it an extra long weekend so I was off Friday as well.  Barry took the day off too. 

I meant to get up and do my cardio Friday.  I slept in instead. Had a fairly leisurely day.  Nutrition wasn't great.  Saturday was a bit of a write off.  We did housework and nutrition wasn't bad until I got into the potato chips.  We had a great brunch with some fabulous friends on Sunday.  I was going to do cardio before the brunch but I hadn't done everything I needed to before the brunch so I was going to do it after.  That didn't happen.  I planned on getting up at 5 (I got up around 5:40) to do cardio before breakfast but I ddin't.  However ... I finally got my workout in after everything digested and before my energy audit guy showed up.  Even had a chance for a shower.  Nutrition was going along great ... and then I moderately blew it.  I'll be better tonight.

Tomorrow I get back into my routine of getting up at 4:30, workout, proper nutrition and staying focussed.  Apparently I need routine ... I seem to blow it when I don't.  *sigh*  oh well ... tomorrow is another day.  but I don't have any time to waste or I won't make my June 30th shopping day! 

I came across a couple of great websites (for organizational needs ... thanks Mo!) and for tracking food, exercise and goal setting.  I encourage you to check them out....

Until tomorrow :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words ... and a million memories ...

A very special friend of mine just sent me these pics.  I was somewhere between 14-16 when they were taken.  I was in modelling school at the time ... I'm not sure what happened to that girl ... she's in here somewhere ... I am determined to find her again ... maybe not the brown hair ....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Health Expo at Work Today

The company I work for hosted a "health expo" for the staff.  One of the local health clubs brought staff and equipment and set up "stations" for different areas.

I started off by finding out that my blood type is A negative.  Only 6% of the Canadian population is A neg. and only 15% of the population has a negative blood type at all.  Which is not great.  Positive blood types can accept blood from positives or negatives but negatives must receive blood from other negatives.  So ... I think I'm going to start donating blood.  Most phlebotomists (blood takers :) ) have a really tough time finding my veins but apparently you're supposed to eat and drink plenty of fluids.  This is on my list of things to do and one small way that I can give back.

Then I went to find my body composition.  Based on 214 lbs. at 5'7", my BMI is 33.5 and apparently I have 40% bodyfat according to a do-dad that I held that's supposed to run electrical current through the body to differentiate between fat and muscle.  I've had a bioimpedence analysis done with electrodes which I would tend to trust more.

Then my blood pressure was 152/90.  Rather high.  But this was after working out, espresso, coffee, food, and a rather stressful commute.  I am not worried.

The next station was great ... found out my blood sugar was 5.  "Normal" is 4-7 (my American friends ... I understand that blood sugar is measured very differently there but the point is I was within the "normal" range) ... fasting blood sugar had been 6.3 for years .... YAY

Then on to flexibility ... I was 14.5 which is quite good ... I stretch my hamstrings every day ... but my belly got in the way ...

My grip strength needs work ... a fair bit of it ... not unusual for someone who sits at a desk all day.

Postural analysis ... nothing new there ... just reminders about being more careful to turn my body instead of just my neck

While I was waiting for my next station, I somehow got roped into a Zumba lesson.  In 3" heels ... on carpet ... wearing too many clothes, no water.  Not a good combination for me.  But I think I could get into it. 

I saw the naturopath who did a tongue analysis ... she said mine was purple with a white coating and a spot in the middle ... all indicators of the presence of toxins.  When I showed her my tongue she said "interesting".  Always makes me nervous when people do that.  Then I told her I was doing a detox and which one and she said that it's obviously working because of the "spot" (kindly looks clear instead of white) but she couldn't tell me anything else.  I'll be going to see my regular naturopath when the detox is finished.

My last stop was the nutritionist.  She gave me so much great info, referred to me to and we talked briefly about a condition where you might present symptoms of thyroid issues but blood tests come back normal.  Or it could be horomonal changes that are causing me to be cold when I'm hungry and then get warm after I eat ...   She also told me to take the coffee withdrawal slowly.  Since I was up to 3 small coffee a day, this week ... 2.  Next week ... 1 a day.  I REALLY want to get off it.  Except for my espresso of course.

It was 90 minutes out of my workday that opened my eyes to a few things, confirmed a few things and provided me with new information.  2 or 3 of the staff was shocked when I said I work out at 4:30 A.M.  Dedicated they said.  I still think it's crazy but it's so much a part of my day I don't even think about it any more.  THAT is when you know that what you're doing has become a habit.

That was my day.  How was yours?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm still here ...

One of the important things for me this year is to stay in touch with you.  Both reading your blogs and commenting and posting on my own.

It appears that life is getting the better of me sometimes.  Between only having 4 hours from the time I get home until the time I go to bed, I have to fit in helping Barry with his circuits 2 days a week, making dinner, doing dishes ... I've come across a website ....organizational planning ... it's pretty cool, laundry, journaling, etc. etc. etc., something has to give from time to time.  Unfortunately sometimes it's blogging.

So while I try to catch up on my life, your patience is most appreciated.  I will post and comment as much as possible.  I read you more than you realize ... I just don't always comments.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Looking Forward ... and Back

I am a firm believer in looking forward to the future.  Too many people look back and dwell on the past and regret what they have or have not done with their life.  I refuse to do this.  This is my philosophy and I certainly don't expect anyone else to agree with me on this, although I know a lot of people do.  It's really hard not to look back with regret.  There will always be things that you have or have not done in your life that you will wish that you did, or didn't do.  I there there are those things for me too, I simply choose not to dwell, not to regret.  I cannot change the past, only the future.

One of my colleagues recently said she really looked up to me.  I can't tell you how much this meant to me.  She tends to take things very personally, to fret about things she cannot change and to get downright miserable sometimes, when in fact, she is simply withdrawing.  She asked me how I usually seem to just roll with the punches.  I told her that I used to be a lot like her, which is why I understand her better I guess.

Somewhere along the line, I don't know when, the end of 2008 (which was probably the worst year of my life) I think, I realized that most things are not worth getting worried or upset about.  The weather, changing company policies, the actions or reactions of others, world events, the list could go on and on.  My way of coping, of keeping my life on track, of keeping my sanity, is to simply accept what I cannot change.  I don't have to like it.  But there are some things we simply do not have any control over.  So why fret.  I may seem to not care to some people.  How wrong they are.  I care too deeply, and this is my coping mechanism.

But there are times that's it good to look back ... but only to remind yourself of what doesn't work ... not to dwell, but to learn.  I track my lifestyle change (nutrition, workouts, encouragement of others) on my calendar.  This way I can go back and see at a glance when and where I went wrong, or when I was spot on.  Winters are a challenge mostly because I've always gotten sick.  This year will be different.  Not only do I take a bunch of vitamins and eat healthy, I also use oil of oregano every day.  It tastes horrible but it works.  I pay more attention to my body.  If I'm feeling run down, I'll take it easy for a day or two and up my oregano; perhaps get a little more sleep.

My point on this matter is that while it's important to check back once in a while to make sure you're on track, to change the things that you can from the past (exercise, nutrition to name just two ... these are things you can change going foward), its vitally important to keep looking forward.  Rather than dwelling on the fact that you've tried and "failed" in the past, doesn't mean that you can't change the outcome in the future.  What the past might tell you though, is that what you did before didn't work ... and you need to change your plan of attack.

Life your life in the present ... don't forget about the past ... just learn from it.

To looking forward ....

This is me at 22.  Perfect example of looking back to what works (this is the shape I will be in by the end of this year) and what didn't (shoulder pads, short hair and lots of makeup)


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Running out of time ....

This business of Barry's regular workouts at night is leaving so little time at night.  Which is good and bad.  Good because it leaves me little time for watching tv.  Bad because that's my decompression time.  Although I am finding blogging, facebooking and journalling rather therapeutic.  And the fact that I'm up at stupid o'clock doesn't help at all.

This morning I missed my alarm altogether and by the time I was conscious enough to realize that I had hit the snooze button too many times, it was too late to get up and work out.  So I did 10 flights of stairs (10 steps per flight) in preparation of the CN Tower climb in the Fall.  I plan to add 5 flights every other day.  My sis in law and hubby and joining me.  We'll have to get a group together and make a fun event out of it.

Nutrition wasn't bad today.  Ate too much at lunch but ate lightly throughout the rest of the day.  Only had 1 coffee after my espresso.  I usually have espresso at 6:30, green tea at 7:30 on the GO train, then I used to have coffee at 8:30 when I got into work ... so I had a green tea instead.  I use honey in my tea but at least I didn't use a ton of cream and sugar.  Every little bit helps ... I had one coffee at 10:30 or so.  I didn't even enjoy it that much which is a very good sign.....

So tomorrow is another day ... I'll get a good night sleep (after some stretching and lots of water so my legs don't keep me awake), get up and work out and eat healthy tomorrow.  My meal plan is already done so I'm good to go.

But my bed is beckoning and I still have laundry to attend to so I must bid you adieu....until tomorrow...

this is our dining room wall

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meltdown ... and the aftermath ...

Usually when I'm at home alone, I pig out if there's unauthorized food in the house which, right after Christmas, of course there's stuff.

Yesterday was good ... For the most part. Everything was going along just fine, had breakfast, morning snack, great cardio workout and a sensible lunch. Then it hit me. I absolutely HAD to have chocolate which of course we had on hand. So I had 4 small chocolate goodies we made about 6 weeks ago (they were in the freezer). Usually that would trigger a binge ... For some reason it didn't. Maybe because I had a small apple right after that to help stabilize my blood sugar. At any rate the rest of the day was fine.

I'm not sure what happened. This was not a "I feel like chocolate" this was I HAVE to have this. And it was very specific. Odd....
Anyway, boy I was in pain today.  My upper, inner thighs (abductor I think) and core muscles were so freeking sore I had trouble walking.  It's getting better though.  And it's almost bedtime already.
Tuesday and Thursday nights are Barry's circuit training nights.  We didn't eat until about 8:00 ... not great ... but I just won't have my evening snack (yogurt and almonds).  I believe we're both more committed about Barry's workouts.  He's been really good with cardio days; not so much with weights.  I hope this has changed.  At least with circuit training it is both cardio (to some extent) and weights. 
On Barry's cardio nights, I have a task ... The goal is to climb the CN Tower (1,770 steps if I remember correctly).  I'm getting better at stairs but they've always been my nemesis.  I figured I have to walk 60 flights of the stairs from our basement to the main floor.  So tomorrow I'm starting with 5 flights.  And I'll add a couple of flights every other day.   Wish me luck?  I think I'll need it.....
Before I start rambling, I shall bid you adieu ... until tomorrow.  Actually ... just one more thing ...

I'm in LOVE with these shoes ... I want them.  I need them.  I have to have them ... kinda like those cookies ....

image via

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back pain and exercise

Back pain is something I have dealt with for many years.  Main reason ... weak abdominal and back muscles.

Before my little hiatus the past 3 weeks, I was doing great, hardly had low back pain due to stronger abdominal and back muscles.  I've done a few workouts where I engaged my abs.  My low back muscles however .... I'm only back into the swing of things this week and today is my cardio/yoga day so I'll be doing my low back strengthening muscles then. 

I encourage anyone with low back pain to talk to a health care professional (doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist) about strengthening exercises for coping with back pain.  Not everyone can do everything, depending on the cause of your pain.  I've learned what works for me.  You have to be safe and careful and smart about it because if you aren't, you could put yourself out completely.

Posture is another important aspect of back health.  The simple act of sitting, standing and walking correctly does wonders, not only for your appearance but, most importantly, it helps to strengthen your core.

I hope 2011 finds you well, determined to achieve your goals, whatever they are, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Getting Organized ... and Getting Back to Working Out

For some reason, I've been wanting to use my parents' original kitchen table.  I tried to replace our existing round glass table that if someone isn't careful and they brace themselves to get up, the whole tabletop tips.  We've had a couple of interesting situations.  My parents' table is nothing fancy.  It's starting to look her age ... I think my parents got her in about 1948.  So yeah, she's getting up there.  But until I can afford to get a new desk, she will work quite nicely.  We spent some time this afternoon removing the old desk (which wasn't really a desk after all ... it was a portion of a "U" shaped desk.  This table is deeper, sturdier and more leg room.  Woo hoo!

I had decided to clean up the office this weekend ... fortunately my weekend doesn't end until Tuesday morning.  Yay!  So tomorrow will be about getting food ready for the week, journalling and tidying up the office.  It's a mess. 

Today was my first real day back to my schedule ... my Day 1.  Circuit training.  It's a great workout.  I've never been a huge fan ... I prefer strength training.  But I know this will help me achieve my goals faster ... together with proper nutrition, lots of water and little coffee.  It felt great to get up, work out, have a shower, breakfast and I was set for the day.

Barry has decided to get serious about this.  So today was his Day 1 of circuit training.  I basically have him on the same program as mine ... with a few tweeks.  He enjoys the variety, which I admit I do too.  After a shower and dinner (meat loaf, sweet potatoes, asparagus and red wine), we're a chillin' for the evening.  He has to go back to work tomorrow. :(

I, however, will be up at 5, cardio and yoga (I know, odd combination but it works for me), shower, make brekkie and latte (last one until Saturday), then I'll get to work doing stuff I want to get done around here.

The Christmas tree and decorations are down and packed away.  Our house is back to "normal".  I feel so good about this year. The laundry is almost done, I'm focussed on getting myself and Barry (I have a LOT farther to go than he) in shape, getting back in touch with friends and family, entertaining frequently and just generally enjoying life.

Oh yeah, here's a picture of Barry and I at his brother's wedding.  I haven't felt this good about a picture since our wedding photo even though I'm still somewhat heavier than I was then.

Cheers :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well ... today's the first day of the new year ... and the last day of my slack eating.  Yesterday and today have been particularly bad.  Tomorrow, however, is another story altogether...

I keep a wall calendar up in my home gym ... each day I strive for a "star".  A workout = \; healthy eating = / and a blog post and leaving at least 2 comments = -------.  I reviewed last year's calendar ... some months were great; others were not.  No wonder I'm not where I want to be.

But that was last year ... we're into a new year now.  And I am focussed on achieving a VERY lofty goal, thank you very much  HHL!  How did I get myself roped into this?  That's ok, it's exactly the kick in the butt, lofty goal I needed.  I can't afford to not stay focussed.

So ... the workouts are recorded for tomorrow ...both mine and Barry's (he starts tomorrow too) .. the meal plan is done for tomorrow and started for the rest of the week.  I admit I tend to stick with similar foods each day ... it's just easier for me to stay on track that way.

Wish you all the very best that life has to offer in 2011 ... it will be an amazing year :)