Monday, November 1, 2010

When did I start to like this???

It's been an interesting, entertaining summer. I turned forty in June. Some interesting, entertaining people have come into my life from the strangest of places. What is most surprising to me though, is that something that started out as a way to get out of the house and have some time to myself has turned into a new hobby.

I've always hated exercise. Especially running. Something about it just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe that rubbing was my thighs... but whatever the reason, I just didn't "get" why people would go out and just run - not to anything, or from anything... just ... running.

Since July, I've been racking up a few kilometres on my overpriced sneakers. It started as a stroll around my neighbourhood, without a real goal in mind. It used to take me about 30 minutes to do the three kilometre loop. When I began tracking my time, I found myself pushing to go faster and faster. It's become a game. I've cracked the 26 minute mark, and can actually run for 10 minutes without hacking up a lung.

It's now November, and I'm still interested. My father jokes that I've finally snapped my lazy bone - maybe he's right. Maybe it's the incentive of wanting to justify the newly purchased treadmill in my basement. Frankly, I don't care what it is. All I know is that this is the most I've done to take care of myself in a long time. And it feels really, really good.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The 3k game

Last night I cracked the 30 minute mark on my 3 kilometre loop around the neighbourhood. I ran again. Twice, in fact.

Tonight was a little slower, but I met up with a friend on the way and we chatted as we walked. She's a runner who occasionally walks, so it's still a fairly brisk pace. I tend to walk slower when I'm with someone else, though, so I have to keep reminding myself why I'm out there.

It's going to be a good summer.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dread the Shred.

Well... I could blame it on the broken DVD player, but frankly that would be an excuse. To be honest, I hate exercising. So, when the DVD player really did die, I took it as a sign from someone that I needed to find another way to get my 40 year old ass in gear.

I've found it. There's a road that encircles my neighbourhood, and it is just over three kilometres round trip from my house. It's a lovely, well-lit road and very little traffic during my late-evening preferred walking time. It's beautiful.

I even (dare I say it) RAN for about 2 and a half minutes tonight, and I'm not barfing up a lung. Those of you who know me should realize what a monumental achievement that is.

I hope this is the start of a long relationship between my feet and the road, 'cause frankly, my ass and the couch have been far too snuggly for far too long.

Here's to a fabulous 40th year!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Level 2

Ok, so enough of level one. Time to really get serious. Day one of level two today, and it was HARD. But I still did it. And I will again tomorrow, and the next day... until the end of 10 days! Stay tuned...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Today is day 6

I'm almost a week into the 30 Day Shred, and I can now do 12 pushups in a row. On my knees, granted... but it's a start.

It's getting easier each day, but I still don't like exercise. I envy those people who find joy and fulfillment in being active, 'cause I'm not one of you! It's a grunt each and every frikken time I have to drag my sorry ass off the couch and into some sort of physical activity.

I don't know if that will ever change, and frankly, I really don't care! I don't need to "like" exercising; I just need to DO IT.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 3....

It's Shred, day 3, again... and tomorrow is day 4 :) Thanks Angela, and Bo and everyone else, including my kids - "Moooom! Did you do your shred yet???" - for helping drag me along.

I'm GOING to get to day 30. Thirty days. Consecutively.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Shred... again.

It seems my motivation level is even lower than my fitness level. Ugh. I am going to try YET AGAIN to get on track... we'll see how it goes on attempt number three.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Shred day 2

Knees were making really nasty, painful noises yesterday. Took some ibupro and wimped out.

So, here we are at day two. I'm still not fond of pushups, but they seem to be less hateful today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shred day... um... aw hell.

Well. I got 3 days in, then we took off to Scout camp for the weekend.

So, here I am at Day One again.

And I still hate pushups.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Shred Day 2

My daughters are watching me sweat it out in the living room. Youngest is running/dancing around. Oldest is taking video and doing colour commentary. I shall watch it later, laugh, and quickly delete it...

Monday, June 7, 2010

The things one does...

I'll be forty. In 2 days.

Since I no longer have any valid excuses to be packing all this junk in my trunk (my youngest is nearly 4!!) it's time I do something to change my shape.

I've started the shred.

This morning when I stepped on the scale I was a juicy 173 lb. Yikes.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I've heard of people celebrating half birthdays and un-birthdays, but never "other" birthdays. In my family we have one of those.

Every year on the first of May, I remember the day when my sisters and I "got our new baby brother".

Tomorrow is that day. May first. The start of a new chapter for my family and our newest member. I still recall saving every bit of spare change and pooling it with my two sisters to buy a stuffed dog for our new brother. Last time I checked, he still had it.

He's 30 now, and recently has made some really bad decisions about the people he associates with and the way he entertains himself.

After falling off the wagon again, he's looking to my parents for refuge. They're not sure they can handle having him back in their home.

It's not a matter of loving him; they most certainly still do.

All they want is for him to admit that he's an addict and to get some help.

Here's hoping that tomorrow, on his "other" birthday, my baby brother will get yet another chance to start over with the rest of my family.

Here's hoping that he will give himself and the rest of us another reason to celebrate May first.

Monday, March 1, 2010


My "first born" is not human.

Years before I had children, I had Squeaky. He came to us, air cargo, from Vancouver Island. My first encounter with him was peering through the mesh on the side of a plywood crate marked "live baby bird". He made an odd little sound, like the one that comes out of a squeaky toy when you squeeze it. At that point, he'd christened himself.

The first time he mimicked the word "hello", I thought I'd imagined it. And then he did it again... and pretty soon he was saying "Hello Squeaky" on a regular basis. When he'd hear my husband's truck pull up outside, he'd yell "HELLO SQUEAKY!!" at the top of his little avian lungs.

My Canadian friends of a certain age may remember a children's show called The Friendly Giant. At the beginning of the show, Friendly would whistle for his friend Gerome the Giraffe. Gradually, I taught Squeaky to whistle that call. He soon picked up a wolf whistle as well. It's really amusing when he sits on top of the shower door as I shampoo my hair in the morning, and whistles like a construction worker.

I've even taught him a trick. I know, crazy bird lady, right? Well, maybe. But if you've ever seen him perform you will agree - it's quite amusing. Squeaky will let me place him on his back in the palm of my hand. This alone is a true show of trust, as being belly up is a position birds usually only take when they have given up against a predator. But wait... there's more!! On command, he will drop his head back - "play dead". It makes me giggle every time he does it.

Sometime earlier this afternoon, Squeaky decided he'd had enough of his perch on top of the kitchen cabinets and flew down to the floor. As he has clipped flight feathers, his landing was less than perfect. His sternum hit the floor with a thud, and the skin on his stomach split. The vet's term for this was "splitting his keel".

My husband took him to the vet for what I imagined would be an application of surgical glue and a quick trip home. Not so. It seems the cut on his belly was worse than I thought. Stitches were required. Husband returned home without bird.

Shortly after husband returned sans bird, the vet called. She wanted to tell me that since Squeaky would have to be anesthetized for the stitching, I should know the risks involved. Small animals, such as birds, sometimes do not "handle being under very well". I was silent for a moment and then asked her, "So, you're saying, sometimes they don't wake up." She confirmed my suspicion. I handed the phone to my husband and tried to absorb what I had just been told.

That damn bird, whom I have cursed repeatedly for screeching for no apparent reason, crapping on nearly everything I own, and nearly re-piercing my left earlobe, was suddenly in peril of never waking up. He's been part of our family for over 10 years. I fell apart. Suddenly, the "dead bird" gag didn't seem so funny. As much as I complain about cleaning his cage or whine about listening to the cacophony of his screaming serenades, the thought of losing him turned me into a blubbering child.

My husband is on his way to the vet as I write this - he will bring home a small plastic carrier with my "live baby bird" inside. And I'll be damned if I let him perch on top of those kitchen cabinets again.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Red Tape

When my son was about 2 years old he did the most incredible thing.

Now, before you run screaming from reading this, let me say that I'm not generally the kind of parent who chirps about every tiny accomplishment made by my children. They are special, but I don't need to broadcast that fact to validate myself as a parent.

That being said, my son is quite unique.

He taught himself to read. Really.

My boy has an amazing memory and, for some reason, is gifted with language. He loves to play with words and understands subtle humour that many adults struggle with. Along with his linguistic prowess, he possesses a very short fuse. Frustration and anger are easily incited in him and he does not "cool off" as quickly or easily as most of his classmates.

Because of these anomalies, his father and I had him formally assessed a few years back, in an attempt to make some sense of how to best deal with his gifts. As a result, he has been officially designated as a gifted and talented student, according to the school board criteria.

Now his father and I are faced with some decisions: Do we keep him in his French Immersion school and continue with the existing program, or try to have him admitted to the Gifted And Talented Education program? We chose to apply for the GATE and see what happened.

We filled out various forms and submitted them along with an 18 page psych assessment report. It seems, though, that the report is not current enough, even though it falls within the 3 year range described in the program application package. They would like us to have another assessment done.

Apart from the fact that this means my son will have to undergo several more hours of testing, there is a tiny problem. It seems that the school board only allocates a certain number of assessments per school per year, and guessed it. My son's school has "none left". Now we're on the hook for arranging and paying for yet another round of testing by trained professionals, at a cost of at least $950! Needless to say, this does not make me happy.

I have worked for this school board. I understand the limitations of time and resources, both human and financial. There comes a time, however, when I become less than understanding and veer slightly closer to pissed off. I find myself searching for ways to politely ask for answers when what I would really like to do is grab someone by the shoulders and scream,"Why the hell are you making this so difficult? Can't you see my son just wants to be challenged at school?"

For the sake of my son, and my blood pressure, I will be calm. I will follow the proper channels. I will behave in a courteous and respectful manner, all the while wishing I could strangle someone with all this damn red tape.

Monday, January 11, 2010

33 years is a long time.

** I wrote this a year ago. It's now been 34 years, and the feelings are still the same. The only thing which has changed is that I've now been to 2 funerals, not just one. I'm hoping that's not a yearly trend. Thanks for reading, or re-reading. **

This morning as I was checking the fridge-mounted calendar, and my desk calendar, and the electronic calendar application on my computer, it dawned on me. Today is January 11.

Years tend to shrink and expand in relation to your milestones. Some anniversaries stack up rapidly, like those pesky birthdays - especially the ones ending in zero.

If you're talking life span, thirty-three years is not a long time. It's probably about the age when most adults are "grown up" enough to know where their lives are going. It's no where near middle age in terms of the life span of most people nowadays. At thirty-three you've likely met, and possibly married, your significant other. Maybe you've bought a home. A car (or several). Found your niche in the world.

In terms of marriage, thirty-three years means quite a bit more. It is a remarkable milestone. My parents have passed the 33 year mark and moved well past it. I hope to do so myself.

When measuring the years passed since the loss of a loved one, time is a strange concept. Thirty-three years ago today, my parents said goodbye to their daughter, my sister, at the age of barely 4 months old. She was born with a heart defect and did not survive the attempt to repair her tiny body.

I was only six years old, and yet I can still remember how strange it felt to have a baby sister one day, and none the next. Hers is the only funeral I have ever attended. I still recall seeing her tiny body in the casket and wishing I could make her wake up. I can't begin to imagine where my mother found the strength to come back to her three living children after burying one.

My second child shares her middle name. When my third child was born, I saw a physical resemblance I was almost afraid to acknowledge.

Every year on September 17, I think of how excited my sisters and I were to have a new baby in the house. And four months later, on January 11, today, I miss her.