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6 Intentions for My Holiday Season

December 1, 2014

It was my birthday yesterday. It was not really what I was hoping my birthday was going to be – early morning to take my daughter to hockey, my husband having to leave my birthday lunch early to deal with a renter, leftovers for supper. If I had been really concerned about my activities for the day, though, I suppose I would have put together a detailed agenda.

It’s now December, which means that the Christmas Countdown tradition I started for my kids a few years ago begins today. We’ll be decorating our Christmas tree, which we put up a couple of days ago. Strangely enough, more of the lights on our pre-lit Costco beauty seem to be working than last year. I’ll take it.

December means a full schedule, holiday parties, sugary treats, lights and decorations, carols playing, and generally thinking I should be doing MORE. I am not alone in this, I know. Rushing is not the way I want to start my 40th year, so this December, I am consciously focusing on:

  1. being present in the moment
  2. simplifying my plans
  3. accepting the changes to my plans as they arise (because they will arise)
  4. being grateful, and encouraging my family to be grateful
  5. practicing self-care to keep me healthy throughout the holiday season
  6. listening to my body and resting when I need to

What’s your December looking like?

The End of My 39th Year

November 16, 2014

I turn 39 this month, which means that I’m heading into my 40th year. I have that voice in my head telling me that I haven’t accomplished enough, that I should be farther ahead than I am, but I am deliberately not listening to it. I’m not saying that there aren’t things that I want to accomplish in my 40th year of life and beyond, but I am where I am, and that’s okay.

I’m sure I seem to have life sorted, but I don’t. My husband and I are both building businesses, which means that we’ve pretty much used up all of our available credit. We haven’t been doing a good job of budgeting (working on it) and I’ve been avoiding taking a hard look at the numbers in my business (working on that, too). I recently asked my mom for a loan for my business because the bank wasn’t a great option (we have assets but not steady incomes, so they weren’t going to be eager to loan us money), and while I am still dealing with the shame and embarrassment of having to borrow money from my mom at my age, I am dealing with it.

On the other hand, I have a whole lot to be grateful for:

  • my kids, who are mostly sweet and loving and funny (though sometimes I want to strangle them)
  • I have a home, food, and everything I need
  • my parents are in a position to lend me money when I need help and are willing to help
  • my husband works hard and helps out around the house way more than any other man I know
  • I am making friends
  • I’ve started doing yoga regularly, which I am proud of because it was one of my goals for this year
  • I am working with a life coach and it is making such a difference in my life
  • I have a massage booked for tomorrow, which means that I can get some relief from the tightness of my chest and back muscles that’s been plaguing me since my cold/bronchitis started mid-October (coughing is a b*tch on the thoracic musculature)
  • I am finally feeling better and getting over my bronchitis, which means my energy levels are increasing again
  • I have the day off from work tomorrow so that I can run some errands and practice self care
  • Christmas is coming!
  • I’ve been easing back into exercise and I feel good about that
  • I got to watch The Walking Dead without distractions tonight

As I countdown to my 39th birthday, I am thinking about what I want my life to look like. Of course, I am working with a life coach, so this is something I’ve been thinking about a lot already. I’ve started making changes: going out of my way to talk to people and build relationships; joining a women’s cross country skiing group to develop relationships, work on my fitness, and enjoy winter for a change; decluttering my house; practicing yoga on a more regular basis; developing an attitude of gratitude. I have been considering committing to a race sometime next year – a local one so that it’s easier on the budget – because I would like to get back to running and setting a bigger goal, like a half marathon, is often very motivating for me. At the same time, if I commit to such a big goal, I also have to give myself permission to listen to my body and take care of it with a healthy diet, yoga, sleep, and strengthening so that I don’t end up with a(nother) long-term injury. As I read somewhere, possibly Runner’s World, if a race entry of 50 bucks gets you running and healthier, it’s worth it, even if you don’t make it to the race. I couldn’t agree more.

Getting Organized for Halloween

October 31, 2014

Today is Halloween, one of my favourite days of the year. I am a horror movie, scary book, spooky story lover from way back, so for me, Halloween ranks right up there with Christmas. I wish I could tell you that I’m making witch finger cookies and am already decked out in my costume, but I’m actually waiting for a webinar to start and killing some time by doing what I love to do when my life is in a state of overwhelment: I’m going to write and make some lists in an effort to bring some sense of order to my life.

Update: I finished my webinar and am moving on with my day.

I took the day off from work today because as of last week I didn’t have any patients who wanted to book in on Halloween. (And they say Halloween is for kids…) Since two of my employees have kids, they were up for taking the day off, because we all know that getting ready for trick-or-treating takes time and can get crazy, what with the kids so excited to gather up all of that candy. What complicates things in my climate (Saskatoon) is that any trick-or-treating must be done in winter gear: boots, gloves/mitts, toque. Getting all of the extras over and under the costume tends to be quite a challenge and surprisingly time-consuming. Even though we’ve managed to make it to the end of October without snow, I want my kids to be warm, but I also want people to be able to see their costumes. I am not always successful in meeting those particular goals. Usually, they look like Canadian kids in winter gear with funny headwear (ninja masks, crowns, etc.) and smeared makeup.

I also try to get a family picture before the kids head out the door with their pillowcases in hand, and then there’s making my kids eat supper before they head out the door to race from house to house for goodies. Our tradition has become having mummy hot dogs for supper on Halloween (easy, kid-friendly, definitely not healthy), raw veggies on the side. My kids consider mummy hot dogs fun and junk food-y enough that they usually power through their meal pretty quickly.

In addition to preparing the kids for their evening of candy collecting, I will be dressing up, as is my tradition. This year, I grabbed “Day of the Dead” accessories from Target and plan to do my makeup something like this: It’s going to be fantastic!

The rest of today’s checklist:

  • 20 min walk, yoga, lift weights
  • shower
  • cut up veggies (carrots and celery)
  • prepare mummy dogs
  • do some work on notes for work
  • get out containers for the kids’ candy so they’re ready to go
  • pick up the kids from school
  • cook supper
  • take a family picture
  • have hot chocolate ready for the kids after they’re done trick-or-treating

My pie-in-the-sky, would love to do today list:

  • a couple of loads of laundry (one’s just about to get tossed into the dryer)
  • clean up the kitchen (it has been taken over by Halloween gear and random papers)
  • take a picture of the mantel I put together for Halloween
  • watch a scary movie
  • writing (I’m working on the synopsis of a zombie novel, my first attempt at writing fiction since English class in high school)

My weekend list:

  • buy myself some new skates, a helmet, and hockey gloves so I can help out with my daughter’s hockey team
  • take the kids to a couple of hockey practices
  • attend a couple of parties tomorrow night (well, I’m thinking I’ll be going to just the one, because I’m not fully recovered from my cold/bronchitis and I don’t want to end up sick again)
  • take down Halloween decorations and store
  • set up a dedicated space for Christmas planning, wrapping, etc.
  • clean off 1 shelf in the pantry

I’m mostly recovered from my bout of bronchitis. Wednesday was probably the first day I felt like myself in two and a half weeks. I still have a nasty-sounding cough, but it is slowly improving. I’m hacking up some nasty stuff from my lungs, though. I can not imagine what it would be like to be a smoker, because I’m sure it would be even worse than the gunk I’m coughing up.

Do you have any favourite scary movies or books that you enjoy at this time of year?

Caring, Respect, and Balance: Treating Myself Like a Friend

October 25, 2014

It’s Saturday, noon-ish, and I have several free hours ahead of me. My son has ball hockey and my daughter has hockey practice, but I’m otherwise available to do…stuff. My mind is awhirl with the many projects I’d like to tackle, from organizing the pantry to baking to practicing some yoga, and I know from experience that if I don’t make a plan for my day, I will fritter it away and be overcome with guilt and regret for my missed opportunity right around 7pm.

The Projects

  1. clean out and organize the pantry
  2. go for a walk
  3. practice yoga
  4. bake brownies with ghost Peeps on top
  5. spend half an hour working on my writing
  6. buy new skates, hockey gloves, and a helmet
  7. make a meal plan and shopping list for the next two weeks
  8. gather documents I need for the meeting I have at the bank on Monday
  9. watch a Halloween movie with the kids
  10. clean off 2 shelves in my closet
  11. prepare cards for our Halloween countdown activities for the next week
  12. work on the items I need to prepare for my life coaching session on Monday
  13. wash the living room throws
  14. bake some cookies – try a new recipe

Can I accomplish all of these today? Not a chance. I’m an unrealistic overachiever, but even I know that plowing through this list would be a herculean feat, so let’s break it down.

My Top 3 (start with these, and move on from there)

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Practice yoga
  3. Prepare cards for our Halloween countdown activities for the next week

My Top 10 (if I power through all of this, I’d be damned shocked)

  1. Go for a walk
  2. Practice yoga
  3. Prepare cards for our Halloween countdown activities for the next week
  4. Bake brownies with ghost Peeps on top
  5. Watch a Halloween movie with the kids
  6. Clean out and organize the panty
  7. Gather documents I need for the meeting I have at the bank on Monday
  8. Clean off 2 shelves in my closet
  9. Wash the living room throws
  10. Spend half an hour working on my writing

Though I love the feeling of accomplishment, I must, at the same time, balance it with my recovery from a nasty cold/flu that knocked me down about 2 weeks ago and continues to affect me. The satisfaction of a tidier house and personal progress certainly won’t be enough to counterbalance my chagrin at suffering a relapse and making myself sick(er) again. Caring for myself and respect for my body must come before everything else. “They,” whoever “they” are, say to treat yourself the way you would treat a friend, and that’s what I’m trying to do: treating myself with kindness and recognizing that my inner drive to feel productive is not going to do my body good. If I can manage to be kind to myself, then I will truly have accomplished something.

Insomniatic Drivel

September 4, 2014

Couldn’t sleep last night. Have been up since 3:30am, and have been watching Mad Men (though not since 3:30am – more like 5am). I’m in Season 4, in case you’re wondering. And, yes, I also know that you’re not supposed to watch TV when you have insomnia.

I used to be a great sleeper, but now I’m not. Too many things on my mind, I suppose. This balance stuff is bogus. Also, we need a new mattress, since the one we have dates back to when I moved out on my own in the fall of 1993. Jeez, when you put that in black and white, it sounds like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

It’s 7:30am and it’s time to get ready for work. Luckily, it’s a light day patient-wise. Maybe I can get a light nap in this morning. Or a walk. A walk would probably pay off more in terms of my sleep quality tonight. Must pack my runners and take them to work with me.

There’s something about a lack of sleep that puts me on edge. I’m talking beyond simply being tired. There’s that weird, tight, winding feeling that you get in your stomach – or I do, anyway. Maybe that’s not the lack of sleep; maybe that’s what’s keeping me up.

Must get going. Kids need to be dropped off at school and I have to find my runners…


First Day Madness

September 3, 2014

First full day of school today. Got into an argument with a woman who decided that it is okay to back out from her driveway onto the street while people are driving by on the street. Apparently, I was in the wrong for honking because she saw me (and I should have known that) and I just needed to be patient. HuFirst Day of Schoolh? Pretty sure I have the right of way if I’m driving on the street.

Got the kids settled into their classrooms and had gifts for their teachers: chocolate and Starbucks cards. Got the idea from pinterest, of course. Miss Lovie has some great free printables that you SO need to check out here. Nothing wrong with trying to suck up to the teacher on the first day, is there? LOL

Chatted with some parents I know, figured out who we know in our kids classes (friends are good), and I then helped out a lady who couldn’t remember where she was parked in the confusion of the morning. It was pretty crazy, I have to say.

Got home, decided against my run because in all the running around, I still hadn’t had breakfast. I can roll out of bed and go for a half an hour run, but 2 1/2 hours of errands and morning madness had depleted my energy and I know I’d end up with a migraine if I went for a run without properly fueling. So now I’m listening to some peppy music, paying bills, and getting ready to head into work.

Are you, or were you as a kid, a fan of the first day of school?

Beginning Runner Plans: A Comparison of What’s Out There

May 27, 2014

portrait of a mid adult woman jogging in a parkSpring has finally arrived here in Saskatchewan after what was (and definitely felt like) a long winter. Sadly, my running efforts so far have been weak. I allowed the weather to be an excuse not to run, and then had a legitimate reason not to run when I was dealing with traveller’s diarrhea for two weeks (gross and uncomfortable).

Now that I’m pretty much recovered from a gastrointestinal perspective, I’m ready to start running. I looked at joining a local “Learn to Run” group to increase my accountability, but nothing is starting in the near future, so I’m turning to online resources for a beginning running program. To be honest, I’ve started over running so many times, I could probably sit down and draft a reasonable plan on my own, but sometimes it’s nice not to have to do much thinking.

Without further ado, here’s a round-up of the best resources I found online.

1) Couch-to-5K

The Couch-to-5k plan has been around for years and now has an app (available on iTunes) to get you from a non-runner status to running a 5k in nine weeks. It provides a gradual increase in running time from week to week, which is good for letting your body tissues adapt to the stresses of running. I have never tried this plan, but having an app that I can download to my phone is appealing in terms of increasing motivation. It’s like having someone coaching you while you run.

Find the Couch-to-5k plan here.

2) Women’s Health Beginning Runner Program

This is is basic, but pretty consistent with other plans I’ve seen. It’s been designed by Jenny Hadfield, who writes for Runner’s World, and looks reasonable. The plan is slightly more flexible that the Couch-to-5k plan and allows you to choose whether you want to run three or four times per week. This plan builds up from running two minutes at a time to five minutes at a time over four weeks, and then provides guidelines on how to build your total running time from there. The other plus is that it includes a couple of days of cross-training so that you’re not just running. The downside is that it doesn’t have a table that you can print out and check off as you go along.

Find the Women’s Health Beginning Runner Plan here.

3) The Runner’s World 8-Week Beginner’s Program

I love Runner’s World magazine and look forward to its arrival in my mailbox monthly. Naturally, they’ve got an online running plan for beginners. I have to say that I’m not in love with this plan and I’ll tell you why: I think it adds too much running time too early. I don’t find running easy and I struggle through every cardio session I do, so to go from one minute of running at a time during the first week to four minutes of running in one shot during the second week seems daunting. I would feel like I’m going to puke up a lung. However, if you have a stronger cardio base, this plan offers a little more variety over the course of the plan and might be a good choice.

Find the Runner’s World 8-Week Beginner’s Plan here.

4) Skinny Ms. Running Program for Absolute Beginners

I love that this comes as a downloadable chart! The plan takes you from walking to running, which is nice. It also includes strength training, which I think is important. What doesn’t work for me is that, over the course of two weeks, you build up from running one minute at a time to running eight minutes at a time. Sorry, my cardio base sucks and that’s not going to work for me.

Find the Skinny Ms. plan here.

5) Super Skinny Me 10 Week Plan

I like this plan. It’s flexible, providing you with guidelines to run three to five times per week, and the running builds up gradually over the course of the ten weeks, ending with twenty minutes of running by the end. The chart isn’t so much a daily calendar as the instructions for the week, but it’s easy to understand.

Find the Super Skinny Me plan here.

Is there a beginning runner plan that you like or have used in the past?



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