Sunday, January 27, 2013

Own Your S**t !

The Lance Armstrong "confession" has been all over the news, and amid much discussion in my own circles and my own experiences, I've realized that there are far, far, far too many people who have no idea how to just be accountable for their own shoddy actions.

True, there are things in life that happen TO us that are crappy. There are abusive home lives, there are alcoholic parents, there are people who aim their aggression and hurt on us. Those things are out of our realm of control, their marks are lasting, and they can temper how we feel about our journey in life and our paths forward.

Equally, however, there are times when you can't boohoo about life having done you wrong, where you can't be hurt about a situation, cause you know what? YOU CAUSED IT. It's in those very dark hours that you need to buck up and not just use the 'ol: "Well, I've learned some hard lessons in life and I'm still learning and I'm growing and trying to figure out how to deal with it" because....ummm, the lesson is OWN YOUR S**T!"  When it's a situation that didn't have to happen and wouldn't have happened without your own hand,  there is nowhere to look and no one to blame but yourself. Yes, that's a hard pill to swallow.

The growth and learning happens when you take ownership in your part of what you created, and work out a mature, adult way to make amends to those you hurt. Period.

Lance Armstrong's hand was not forced to take illegal performance enhancing drugs. Even more so, whether people suggested it or even pushed for it, in the end, it was his decision to make. The greatest lessons, I believe, in life come from our mistakes. They come not from the MAKING of those mistakes, but in how we handle them afterwards. Do we stand up, unroll our spines, and admit we screwed up big time and we are willing and able to take the consequences, or do we recoil, hide and wish the whole thing would go away and be swept under the rug. Many a hurtful experience is never really resolved because of people being afraid to put their head up, their hand out, their heart on their sleeve and help where they left hurt.

I actually believe it's one of life's saddest moments when things just forever linger unnecessarily.Saying "I'm Sorry" may be some of the hardest words to utter, but truly ACTING sorry and helping to repair damage, even in the face of anger or recrimination, may be harder still. It's in those moments when people go from fallen, to lifted.

People can be and are forgiven every single day by others with kinder, gentler hearts than those that hurt them. Forgiveness is more readily given when you see that the hurt caused to you is also felt by those that did the hurting, and that their main goal is to relieve some of that pain by caring less about their own journey forward, and more about yours. You can't take it back, but you can make it right.

"Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright."  Anonymous

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Impressions

First impressions are funny business, aren't they? It's amazing to me how sometimes we can be so OFF about someone, and sometimes, we can see EXACTLY through their veneer to who they really are underneath.

I can usually tell within a short time of meeting someone if they will be my cup of tea. I guess that's not really a good thing because, I make the snap decision based on a first encounter. I'm trying to be more open minded and give people at least 3 chances to really "show me who they are," but as I'm not someone who lets many people in, generally, I don't want to waste a lot of time if it's just not going to "click" with us. All of that to say, I'm pretty easy going about folks. If you're kind and witty, we're usually good. I don't care if we have a ton in common like movies or books or walks on the sand. We're not dating!

Generally, I don't have a lot of time for a few characteristics in particular. I'm not in for shallow, because I don't care in the slightest what you make, where you live, what you drive, what you wear. Honest. That don't impress me much. (Thanks, Shania!)

I also hate overbearing and condescending. If you're coming on that strong the first time I meet you? That's probably not going to go over well in the long term.

Lastly, I don't "do" drama. Save it for your Mama! I don't want to gossip (except about celebs! C'mon! That's allowed!) about friends we have in common, I don't want to get involved in your squabbles with whomever, I don't want to watch you be a total jackass to the waiter/waitress/bus driver/teacher/fellow human being walking the Earth. 

That being said, I've learned in this lifetime that some people just don't make great first impressions, but have a heart of gold underneath. Maybe they are slightly socially awkward, maybe they're shy, maybe they just aren't very confident. Conversely, there are those that come across as "too" perfect, too put together, too high and mighty that, you guessed it, have a heart of gold underneath. In either situation, you can never know what someone is really like if you don't give it a second chance, at least.

I'm not shy. Like, at all. I can and do pretty much talk to anybody, anywhere, anytime. I am however, an introverted extrovert and at times like to just sit back and observe, or I feel kind of awkward in a new situation about how to act, how to not look like a dork, so my nerves get the better of me. That can go two ways-overcompensate by being chatty, or shut down and be uber quiet.

A neat experience is having others tell you what THEIR impression was of you when you first met. The one that cracks me up the hardest, that I got told recently, was when someone said they thought I was that kind of "has always been pretty and popular girl" that had led a charmed life. Whooooo boy. Oh, how I laughed. I've never been that girl that was super into my looks, dressed immaculately, had perfect hair, nails, clothes....anything. I'm always kind of a mess, actually, and hoodies and jeans are my life. They always have been. As to the charmed life, um, no. Don't even get me started on that. The fact that someone would be nervous to talk to me or think they weren't as "pretty" as me is so weird. Growing up, my sister was the beautiful one. I've honestly just never even seen myself in that light. I'll take the compliment for sure, who doesn't like to be called pretty? It's just not how I define myself.

All of this to say, take time to let people in a little, to let them reveal themselves to you. It may be the best friend you've ever met, or it may allow you to really make an informed call on if this new individual will fit into your life. 

First impressions aren't always be the lasting ones.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


As you saw from my last post, the past week was rather interesting. Lots of appointments happened, lots of fun ensued.

It seems that I'm very healthy and all is well, *except* for the pesky fact that I'm anemic and low in B12 and because I hadn't gone to the doctor since 2009 according to her records (oops!) there's no way of knowing quite HOW long I've been anemic. I can honestly say I don't remember a time when I haven't felt fatigued on the daily, so it might explain a lot.

I started the B12 and Ferrous Sulfate yesterday, and I wish I was joking when I say I am waiting for this miracle that is renewed energy. When my doctor called with the results, she said she couldn't even comprehend how I've been doing the things I have-like running 15k in a blizzard. I told her just to wait and see what I do when I'm not chronically a Zombie! I really don't even understand what that will look like!

I didn't get the results until AFTER I had donated a pint of my blood, which was probably NOT my smartest idea ever, but if I'm anything, it's stubborn. I was exhausted that evening and went to bed early. That feeling continued all the way through the rest of the week and into the weekend.

After a "dance off" party with my niece and daughter, my niece and I stayed up chatting and watching "Downton Abbey." As we got ready for bed, my daughter started throwing up. Greeeaaat. Fast forward to a night of vomit and no sleep. The good news is-my kids are awesome barfers. It's been a very, very rare occurrence that they don't  make it into the toilet. So, there's that.

We had a super quiet weekend, I blew off my LSD run of 12k today and we just lounged between loads of laundry. My husband was a rock star and did some of the groceries and made a yummy pork roast for dinner last night, too, along with some risotto for the win!

It was a strange, off routine week, so I'll be glad to get back at everything. I bought a bunch of iron and B12 rich foods in my groceries, got a great menu plan going, have a Book Club night and a Wine Club night in the rotation, and many workouts and runs.

Well, that is if I make it through the predicted -30C and 90km winds that they're predicting! Yuck! I kinda hate winter, and February is the month I hate the most, but at least we're almost there and Spring is around the corner!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Moving Forward...

January seems to be moving past at an alarming rate, no? If the whole year continues on this way, it may be over and done in the blink of an eye!

While I've been getting into my new workout and nutrition plans, I've also been doing some of that other "stuff" from my long, long, ignored "To Do" list.  One of those things was to um, see the doctor!

I'm a huge procrastinator when it comes to physicals, generally because it's often resulted in some sort of unwelcome news for me. I'm not even going to lie to you, I've also always hated stepping on the scale and have been embarrassed to see the number come up that did. I'm good at avoidance and denial, obviously.

In my current "Venturing" state, I grabbed the bull by the horns and made a long overdue appointment. Well, fun times ensued, I tell ya! They have a cool new digital scale that records your height, weight, and BMI all at once. Neat eh? It wasn't so bad, this time around. The nurse also did a waist circumference check at this visit, again something I've never had before and would have previously been mortified having to face. No sweat this visit!

However, with some of the issues I'd been experiencing, for years, my doctor felt a myriad of tests might be a good idea. I had several things checked in my blood work, and she scheduled a few ultrasounds. Ya, a few. 

My Dad had an aneurysm on his stomach which basically resulted in his passing away, due to complications from the surgery. Aneurysms can be hereditary, so she wanted a stomach ultrasound. We also did a pelvic to check for cysts or fibroids. Fun times! I had all of those today, and I am sporting some nice bruises from the blood work and the prodding today. I have a feeling my iron levels may come back low.

Tomorrow, I'm donating blood for the first time in forever, if, again, my iron levels are okay. 

All of these appointments and fasting seem to have thrown me off, and I've been feeling pretty run down. I didn't work out yesterday or today, and won't be able to tomorrow either after donating blood.  I'm okay with listening to my body, because a few days does not make or break a month or year long plan.

I'm following a half marathon training plan so I can be ready to kick some bootay come Spring. It's funny to me that at one point I was a nervous wreck about 5k, and now I run 10k easily, for "fun." What?   We did 11k on Sunday with Run Club, in the pouring rain, and I felt pretty okay except for being drenched! I've literally never been that soaked through ever, ever before! We sat at Starbucks in our sopping clothes (I was stupidly wearing cotton!) and chatted for a bit, but the chills set in pretty quickly. Once home, I showered, put on jammies, got under the covers, had soup and tea. I didn't get warm for hours. Again, my iron levels might be suspect here.

My husband has been running with me, and I've been pushing him out of his comfort zone a little. He still swears he "hates" running but he's up to 7k and I think could do 10k easily. He's not winded or  anything so I'm sure he's ready. He's also very competitive, so I know he HATES that I'm running further than him. That will propel him to get there. My not-so-secret plan is to keep pushing him so we can do the half together. I'd love to cross that finish together, hand in hand. It's, of course, symbolic, and as we are coming up on 20 years together, I just think it would be an awesome accomplishment for us to share. Honestly, I'd rather do THAT than a fancy date or dinner. Yes, I'm a freak.

Lastly, part of what keeps me inspired is that in February we are headed to SUNSHINE and warmth. We're going to Florida for a week and I cannot wait! I'm looking forward to swims and runs and the sun on my face instead of shivering in the cold. It will be a nice break in the winter drudgery and a mind pause from my constant rattling worries.

Plus, it will be a test to running in heat. It all comes back to that, right?

Monday, January 7, 2013

So It Begins....

I took a little run the other day, in the snowy, blowy weather, where we were getting dumped with yet another bazillion centimeters of  BLECH. Seriously, it's been snowing for what seems like FOREVER. Enough already!

I was supposed to go in the morning with my Run Club, but after a heinous night with little sleep, I woke up feeling dizzy and like I might be sick to my stomach. I decided to pull the plug on the run and go back to bed. An hour later, I was up and out the door to get groceries for the next two weeks.

I make my meal plans and shopping lists based on the flyers for stores in our area and what is on sale. Once I know what I'm buying, I can figure out a plan for what I'm going to be making. I break it up into categories:  one vegetarian meal per week, one fish, one casserole that will net leftovers, one soup and lunches. Then there are the standards and "whatever I feel like that day" openings.

I got what I needed, came home and unpacked it all, and laced up my sneakers.  Oh, my, goodness. I planned on 5k but by the time I FINALLY hit the 1k mark, I knew that might have been aiming too high! The sidewalks were largely unplowed, the road itself slippery and slick. I did my normal loop, at almost double my normal pace. As I got to the 3k mark I pretty much wanted to throw in the towel, but I was far enough from home that I needed to continue. As I rounded the corner to my street, my Nike app hit the 5k mark. Phew. I was soaking wet from snow pelting me in the face, my socks and shoes were wet, and my legs were exhausted! I was glad I was finished, but man! It seriously felt like slogging it out through molasses!

Once I warmed up and ate something, I got to work on some of my meal plans. That night's dinner was jambalaya, which is my husbands' favourite. It's a simple, quick recipe and makes a large enough batch that we have leftovers a day or two. Plus it's spicy and delicious! On the docket for the next two weeks is also a low fat corn chowder with chipotle, vegetarian cannelloni, curried chicken, a roast, and with the leftover roast and gravy-a homemade poutine. I also have muffins, rice krispie treats and a baked pumpkin oatmeal for breakfasts.

I've been detoxing off sugar and now am feeling pretty good since it's been a few days.  I'm also alcohol free since New Year's Eve. I've upped my water intake to twelve 8 oz glasses a day, minimum. The sleep has to improve though, darn it. I'm just not the best at getting to bed on time to get 8 or even 7 hours sleep.

I also hit the gym today for some weights action and upped my previous weight amount. It felt good to go and burn some calories and build some muscles! Well, hopefully, at least. I'm also doing a challenge on Facebook with various exercises that increase in repetitions every week-things like mountain climbers, push ups, plank and burpees.( NOOOOOOOOO)

All in all, things are moving along as well as I'd hoped as I try to get back into a routine. In a week or two, once I feel like it's a bit more solid, I'll start working on some of the other pieces in this "whole me" puzzle, but for now? I'm just gettin' started up in here!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cue The Theme Music....

The numerical value of this new year is "13" which many see as unlucky, but just as many view as supremely prosperous. I'm becoming quite the optimist, often full of hope, so I'm going to go with the latter, myself.

I read the other day, both on Twitter and through friends on Facebook, about this "one word" idea to set as the tone for your year. In 2012, without ever knowing about that concept, I did just that. (Dang it! If I publicized these thoughts I have before someone else, I'd be a millionaire by now!) I chose the word "LEAPING" for the duration, with my motto being "feel the fear, and do it any ways."  I knew I had lots of interests I wanted to pursue, things I'd dreamt about doing, but was often too nervous or afraid to do so. I wanted that to change. I decided to make it my goal to honour the emotions or anxieties I felt, to allow myself to feel them, but then to let them go and to plunge, shaky knees and butterfly tummy and all.

I'm proud of everything I did in 2012 and the way I was able to make important choices to get me there-whether it be in surrounding myself with incredible individuals to push me forward when I couldn't push myself, or by simply believing in my own ability.

As I reflected on the year ahead, I went through a few words and one kept coming back to me. It just felt "right."  That word is SEEK. It worked with other key concepts: seek and find, seek change, seek growth.  I've focused a lot on the physical, which obviously took much of the emotional and mental to accomplish, but I haven't explored all of the areas of that which will make me feel more whole. I let the "SEEK" ruminate in my heart and mind for a bit, when a thought came to me. Seeking is exactly what I need to do, to be sure, but I need to do MORE than just seek. I don't want to just "look" for the answers I need, I want to act on them as well. In this way, "SEEK" didn't seem as much of an action word as I'd hoped would reflect what I'd like to achieve.

I went to some of my very smart pals and asked for their help, exposing my thoughts and feelings, and hoping for some clarification, ideas or guidance. Of course I found all of that in spades, cause you know, I hang with the best of the best!

After discussing a few words and options, as well as delving into what I'd like this year to mean to me, it came to me. Heck, even the themed catch-phrase popped into my head. As I looked up the dictionary meaning, it became even more serendipitous that I had chosen the most significant word for me, because my word is also a synonym for "SEEK."



Definition of VENTURE

transitive verb
: to expose to hazard : risk, gamble <ventured a buck or two on the race>
: to undertake the risks and dangers of : brave <ventured the stormy sea>
: to offer at the risk of rebuff, rejection, or censure <venture an opinion>
intransitive verb
: to proceed especially in the face of danger 

My word for 2013 is "VENTURE."

 "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."  I also see venture in "adventure," which I hope to have many of as well. 

I loved the definitions because another word that had appeared in my thoughts was "brave" and to venture is to brave, at the risk of danger or rejection. It works with my continuing theme from last year, building and expanding on the idea of leaping, but it almost, in my opinion, pushes it even further in the risking. I need to do that in several areas this year.

I was getting very frustrated, in tears at one point, as I explored my goals for the year, because honestly, I can't yet put my finger on exactly what they are in some regards. They remain a little ambiguous, and will require quite a bit of deep soul searching, that I'm venturing for my OWN betterment, and not from outside pressures or a sense of guilty responsibility.  The idea isn't to resent what I undertake, but to flourish and embrace the change. It's supposed to be a total, personal, transformative undertaking, and that seems huge, but I feel like I'm standing on a pivotal precipice and that I'm *so* close to discovering my best self and living it. That can only be good, right? It scares and frustrates me because I have NO idea what some of this even looks like yet, and it may not be a "one year" endeavour, but I'm embarking on this journey again for as long as it takes.

I'm venturing and risking to get to a feeling of peace and contentment in all facets of my life, the physical being only one of those. I hope you'll all support, encourage and follow along as I document, struggle and challenge.

Venturing into 2013.