Thursday, February 28, 2013

About That Book....

Every 6 months or so, the book club I belong to decides on the next 6 months of books we'll be reading. People bring in their suggestions with a little write up regarding the plot line. It's always kind of nerve wracking because you are putting books out there that you are interested in and if everyone hates them? Well, that doesn't feel so great.

This last period, two of the books I suggested got picked. GULP. The first was "Jane Eyre" which, along with "Pride and Prejudice" is EASILY one of my most favourite books ever. I was surprised that not many of the group had read it, yet. I assumed everyone had during school, but as I was an English major, it could be I just was a keener and read it on my own, or read it in University. I don't exactly recall, but I know I love it!

I hosted book club that night, one of our largest turn outs, and was so shocked and relieved that almost every one REALLY enjoyed it! YAY!

Well, my second suggestion that got chosen was "What The Psychic Told The Pilgrim." A woman who belongs to one of my online groups had mentioned she was going on a pilgrimage, walking the Camino Trail in Spain. When she got back, I followed her blog along about her experience and fell in love with the idea of doing the same trek. I immediately started googling anything I could about it, seeking accounts of journeys, and came across this title. It drew me in, and as it is about a group of women setting out together on this adventure, at 50 years old (Canadian at that!) I thought we would all relate to its tale.

The San Camino Trail takes you walking from France, through Spain. It's approximately 800km and takes around, depending on how fast and how long you walk each day, about 40 days. You can do part of the trail, the whole trail-it's really a personal odyssey. While Roman Catholics used to do the pilgrimage for religious reasons, it's now quite a popular "Bucket List" item. Each village has a refugio, or hostel, where you sleep each night, packing up and heading out come the next morning. The idea is look into yourself as you wander, and to seek answers to questions only you can be asking internally. It's an arduous task, through heat and mountains and mud. It sounded absolutely incredible to me. It's now on MY list, no doubt!

I was really interested to hear what the other women thought, and if they were as psyched as I was to make this trip a reality somewhere down the line. Some were, like my friend Jay, who halfway through the book was researching tour groups and asking her husband if he'd mind if she went! Others already have plans to do the West Coast Trail (which to me is more about nature and roughing it than a pilgrimage of sorts) or the Appalachian Trail. Some enjoyed the book, some couldn't really relate to the main character.

The discussions in our group are always lively and I love hearing all of the different ideas and perspectives. Whether the book is a "winner" with everyone or not, the sharing is incredibly satisfying.

Needless to say, I'm in love with my book club and look forward every month to our meetings.

I've been dreaming about the Camino trail a few nights, and I'd love to add that to the "checked" stack on my ever growing "Bucket List."

One day!

Monday, February 25, 2013

And I Feel FINE.....

I woke up yesterday with plans to do a nice, easy, half walk and half run 5k. I thought that if my back felt better I'd "maybe" consider doing up to 7k with the walk breaks. I didn't want to push it since it had literally been a day, in total, that my back felt better but I also felt super antsy and ready to DO THIS THING.

My run partner was Christy, who I know "online" but have never met in real life. She was up for 5k and hadn't run in awhile.  That to say, she did the half on race weekend last May, and is a spinning and cross circuit'ing fiend.

We set off and found a good pace pretty quickly. It didn't feel like I was pushing it, but it didn't feel like I was being "easy" either. Usually I stop my Nike app at stoplights and such to get a more accurate time, but I didn't want to bother with that on a day I was just focusing on testing out my back. I let it go as we waited for lights and traffic, and while we crossed streets and such.

We got halfway to 5k and I asked Christy if she wanted to turn around and head back. She said she was feeling good and wouldn't be opposed to continuing on. I was feeling totally back in my element, and knew I could keep going as well. So, keep going we did.

It was a mild day out and we just chatted non-stop. Those are the kind of runs I love! You are running along but it's like you aren't even really aware that you're exercising, because you're just socially enjoying the moment and the company.

As we got back to our meet up point, I looked at my app. We'd done 6.34miles (over 10k) in 1:09, and that was including all the stops and crosses where I hadn't paused! Not bad for the first foray after a week off with the back injury. It also quelled my fears after feeling like 7k was strenuous in Florida. (dang heat. We are just NOT compatible!)

I got home feeling elated and like I was back on my game.

I made a plan then and there for my workouts for the next few months, at least getting me through Spring. I'll be doing 3 runs a week of various types. On alternate days, I'll be doing strength training (today I did arms) and also in there-I'll be trying some new and fun work to shock the 'ol metabolism, like spinning.

I'm feeling the old mojo shaking off the winter dust and rising from it's snowy slumber!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Back In The Saddle....

Today has been an interesting day, to say the least. Not so much in the "Hey, I did really cool and awesome stuff" because the truth is, I've pretty much done nothing but laundry, but in the "I wonder what this says about me" way.

My back is still not 100% and it's starting (okay, started on Day 1 actually) to really frustrate the crap out of me. I've tried massage, heat, Epsom salt baths, ice, stretching and finally resorted to muscle relaxants. The first muscle relaxant made me look like a junkie. I was literally shaking, jittery, my heart was pounding out of my chest, I was sweating and felt like I might throw up. So, needless to say, I didn't take THAT again.

Last night, after a recommendation from the pharmacist, I tried a Naproxen instead. I still got the weird jittery feeling, but much less than the first time, and I passed out cold, but other than that it seems to have helped a little. I'm going to try taking another tonight and hope and pray I wake up feeling like my old self.

By old self, I mean young self, because right now I feel about 80 years old. I don't even have a cool story to go with this wretched back. I slept on the floor on an air mattress for a week, then sat cramped in a plane followed by cramped in a car. That's just not cool, yo.

I even tried walking for an hour on the treadmill the other day when the thought of poking myself in the eye with hot tweezers sounded more appealing than laying around for one more minute. That was not so good either. I could feel each step jarring my back. Sigh.

What do you do, if you're me, and you've been sitting on the back burner for a week? You make plans. Big ones.

I have Book Club plans on Tuesday night. (more about this book to come!) On Friday night I have a "Girls Night In" with my injured (like, surgery required injured!) friend and cohorts, and on Sunday? I signed up for Pole Dancing classes. I'm not joking.

Did I mention I'm also going out with run club tomorrow? I cannot sit here any longer. Don't worry though (Alison! I know you will worry about me on this!) I have plans to do a shorter distance than the 12k planned, and I'll be walk/running, or even just walking if my back is total garbage. It won't be though! (please, please, please be better!)

So, in the span of the last day, I've signed up for Pole Dancing and a HALF MARATHON. Yes, yes, I did. I think my current activity plans for the month of March say something intriguing about who I am as a person.

-Sword Play classes
-Pole Dancing Classes
-Book Club
-Wine Club
-Girls Night In

It says I'm well rounded, right? Tough, sexy, nerdy, friendly, and a drunk?  I mean, cultured. Yes, that's what it says. Well, maybe crazy and delusional.

I'm okay with all of the above.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Speaking of the Big 4-0

My husband and I were just talking about my birthday and I threw out the comment, "I'm not planning my own birthday!" to which he made the (correct) statement that really, it was better if I DID, since I'm pretty much a control freak and will be disappointed if it's not what I wanted or isn't just "so."

The thing is, I don't really KNOW what I want to do for my 40th birthday. I guess the best idea is to eliminate plans that I know aren't me, such as a trip to Vegas. I know a lot of people would LOVE for that to happen, but it's really not my thang.

I also know I don't want my friends to give me gifts. It's not about that for me, and I think we're all at the age where we buy things for ourselves if we really want or need them. Well, most people do. I'm a bit of a martyr that way, I admit it.

I don't really feel like I want a big "to do" about it, but I don't want to let it go by unmarked in some memorable way, either.

My brother in law literally didn't want any party for his birthday. He made sure my sister was aware of his wishes and they spent his birthday how he wanted-which was low key and with their family. My sister wanted a party at their home with her friends, and she too had the type of party she was looking for, that suited her.

My husband just wanted a low key affair as well, we celebrated as a family and went to a pub with friends.

So, who am I and what do "I" want to do?

I'm not sure yet.

Part of me would like to go away for a long weekend with my husband. I don't mean anywhere crazy necessarily, maybe Boston or Maine or something. On the other hand, I don't like to not include my kids, so I guess that means I'd have to have TWO celebrations. :)

I love my friends, in all my different circles, but what it would look like combining all of those people in one big space-I don't know! It could be quite the party!

I had such an amazing 39th birthday, it really felt perfect. I don't know if going "big" could necessarily top it!

I have 6.5 months to decide, a little less time I guess if there is planning involved that will need to be done ahead of time! I also get to watch some of my friends turn 40 before me, and will be able to see how THEY choose to celebrate!

So, what would you love to do for your 40th birthday? What DID you do that you loved? What would you plan if you could have the "perfect" day?

Please share! All ideas are welcome!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Back From Retirement Living....

I just spent a gloriously hot and sunny week in Florida at the inlaw's trailer in a Seniors community near Orlando. I know "gloriously" and trailer park, heck even inlaws, don't seem to really go together most of the time, but this was pure bliss.

I mean, once landed and off the plane. I'm a VERY nervous flyer. I get super anxious and kind of freak out a little, or a lot, depending on your viewpoint. My family know the rule is to just get me past security and then they can talk to me again. I'm not even kidding. The moment I enter the building until I put my shoes back on is the blackout zone. I barely speak and I just try to move swiftly through the process.

Once I'm settled in my seat, I'm generally okay unless there is turbulence, and on touch down. I'm not going to lie, I cried landing in Orlando (bumpy landing!) and I cried in the air flying back home as we hit some not so great air. My husband tried to reassure me with a "It's fine, it's fine" but my irrational self answered, "It's NOT fine for ME! Do I look FINE?"  Poor fella might have also had a broken hand from how hard I was gripped onto it.

The week itself looked a little like this:

730am Wake up and throw on shorts/tshirt and runners. Hit the road to run at least 5k. (I ran 5k several times, a 6k and a 7k while there)  On alternate days, we'd run to the community center and use the awesome weight room. I'd use the Nautilus equipment, and then do some free weights, and then we'd run back home.

830am Breakfast. Mother in law would have it waiting when we got in and it generally consisted of whole wheat apple sauce pancakes, Chobani, fresh fruit, coffee and walnuts.

1030am Head to the pool for aquafit classes with mother in law and sometimes my eldest daughter, while my husband and youngest swam and laid in the sun.

*After aquafit was "lay in the sun time until our stomach's called for lunch" *

100pm Lunch time and then a walk after lunch

Afternoon activities included petanque, (my family all had never played and were surprisingly rock stars at this game! Even my youngest was a pro! We're thinking of having jerseys made!) bike rides, moped rides(my husband drove with me on the back and asked if I'd be his "old lady" and ride on the back of a motorcycle if he got one. Um, no), hikes in state parks through orange groves and alligator swamps (more anxiety! Saw one gator and almost took off running!), and a wee bit of shopping. More on that later.

530pm Dinner time

630pm Last walk of the day

8pm Setting up beds and watching a show or chatting

10pm Lights out. I'm not even kidding, and for those of you that know me and my lack of sleep tendencies, this should be shocking as heck. I was asleep by 11pm every night, most nights by 1030 even. I got a crazy amount of sleep,.but I also was super active all day long and the temperature every day was at least 80F and we were outside literally all day.

So, pretty much perfection, right?

We didn't plan on doing much shopping, the goal of the trip was just to go and spend a week doing as little of anything "planned" as possible, but I had two specific items I wanted to get if I could find them any cheaper. One was a running watch like the Garmin or Nike, and a bubble type Lululemon (or any brand, just as an example of the style I mean) tank or two. I actually went to the Lulu outlet and was HUGELY disappointed. There were no yoga pants at all, and only one row of bubble tanks-all of them size 4. Blah. I also checked at Nike for the watch, but it was the same price as in Canada so I didn't bother. I did get one item-a hoodie for eighteen dollars from Gap. That's it, that's all. My husband found new runners he desperately needed so that was a good thing.

My plan had been to muddle some things around in my mind while there, but truth be told I didn't really do much contemplation at all. Two nights my mind wouldn't shut off and I tossed and turned with pondering, but nothing fruitful came from that worry.

So, this is a long weekend and full of laundry, groceries, cleaning and family time. The next week ahead will have me riddling out my workout schedule, new goals, and path forward. I have exactly 6.5 months until I turn 40 and while I don't want to make that number larger than it needs to be, or give it more power than necessary, I do want to have certain things under my belt and laid to rest before embarking on Act II, so to speak.

While I'm hating that it's still cold here (which is depressing to me) I'm loving that I'm looking forward eagerly. As a girl who loves a plan, I just need to focus on making things happen.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Life...And Other Mysteries

Life certainly has a way of keeping us on our toes, huh? I live in this delusion where I think that I have my ducks in a row and things will FINALLY, FINALLY be status quo, and with one fell swoop Fate takes one look at me and laughs and laughs.

Fate doesn't like me much, apparently.

I've been spending quite a lot of time lamenting a whole big pile of ...yuck....that is in my life. My head is sort of all over the place and in that cyclical and ironic way that life seems to bring, one decision can't be made without another first being made and that first can't be made because of another that needs making and so on and so on and so on. It's enough to make one dizzy! Well, or cry, and drink.

When my mind falls down this well of despair and fear, I'm a big fan of talking to myself about all that is RIGHT in my world. I actually talk to myself out loud, which is not crazy at all. It's cathartic, okay! The list of gratitude is sometimes short, depending on my stubborn nature, but I still do a listing of sorts. The top is my health, my family, food and a home. Those basics being met really should be all one needs, but of course it's never quite that simple.

I need to pull the trigger on some of these decisions, and my problem is that I just really don't want to, but it's no longer a "want" but a "need" so pull I must. Pew Pew! (that's the sound that happens when you pull a trigger. D'uh!)

Every day I'm shocked by something unexpected and I keep wondering when that won't happen anymore. I'm not really sure if it's a good thing to be constantly surprised by life, or a bad thing. Maybe it would be monotonous without that element of WHAAAAT? I doubt I'll ever know.

Sometimes, I wait and wait for things to happen and they never do, and it's disappointing. Other times, I give up waiting and then they appear like magic. Hmm. Maybe THAT is the key.

Needless to say, this whole post is rather ambiguous and suffice it to say, I'm just hanging out here thinking and hovering over what needs to be done.

I'm giving myself a week of reprieve to mull everything over in my mind and let the thoughts and worries and anxieties and nerves work themselves up into a tizzy. I'm hoping from there they will clear away, the sky will part, and the answer will be sent forth with clarity and unmistakable insight.