My hair is matted and Cheetos are stuck to my face…but I have a plan

I laughed at my sister the day she received a kareokee machine for her birthday.

Not because she got a kareoke  machine, but because she knew at that moment she would never get anything done until she got over the binge use of that machine.

She laid on her sofa and demonstrated for me how she would look after weeks of use. It was as if she knew karaoke was her heroine. She leaned on the arm and feigned drool coming from her lips as she was singing Aerosmith or Show-tunes. Didn’t matter which tune it was, she had an addiction and she knew it.  I could envision dishes stacked to the ceiling and Cheetos stuck to her shirt with crusty food creased into her hip. She knew it and I knew it.

That night we sang for 8 hours. My voice was lost to every single from the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s. I pulled out tunes from the 60′s that I learned at the steering wheel of my Dad’s Montego MX, Jimmy Rogers and the Kingston Trio, then there was Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli and Barbara… Barbara doesn’t need a last name.

My voice was done for days afterwards. My sister? Well…she continued down that road of music addiction. Then one day it stopped.

I do not mock her or tease her about that problem she had because it could have easily have been me.

Wait…

It was me.

Since I have finished University Studies, I have been binge watching TV as if the world is about to end. Since December 3, 2013, I have found myself enjoying the delights of televisions series that challenge my interest, make me laugh in a subtle way that compliments my humour and I have been solving mysteries with finesse. Or at least that is what I tell myself after watching the show 3 times in order to figure out all the clues.

I have binged watch Sherlock, Call the Midwife, and most recent….Suits.

I come home from work, watch Suits. I wake up early to get an episode in before work, I have a day off – stay in my jambes and watch suits.

I find myself looking like Penny after she started playing on-line videos games….with Howard.

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Then as quickly as it happened, it was over.  I am caught up and the season doesn’t resume until AFTER THE OLYMPICS.  I found myself relating to Donna, coveting Jessica’s wardrobe  and having a soft spot for crazy Louis. I want to be on team LITT!  I want to wear Christian Loubatans to work and carry Prada bags. I want to have the trust and loyalty of a Harvey and I want an office dammit! I want an office with a view of Bernie Madoff’s old building. I would settle for an office with a view. Hell, at this point, I’d settle for an office.

What I do have is potential and possibility. What Suits has done for me has pointed out the people in my life who I trust and those who I need to guard myself against.

I have set new goals for 2014. I understand my vision NEVER turns out as planned. If you asked me 3 years ago if I knew I would be standing where I was, I would have laughed you out of the room. Therefore I am changing my focus. Where and what are out of the picture now. I can reach higher than that.

I really like my possibilities for 2015, besides…anything can happen.

Now…what to watch next…

Goodbye, Farewell, The End

In one month it will be the second anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project ( I woke up this morning and realized it is the third anniversary! WOW 3 years!).

I can no longer recognize the girl I use to be.

I began this site as a way to help me become accountable, take risks, heal the hurt and become the person I dreamed I could. I learned the difference between goals and dreams. A goal is a way to realize your dreams and wishes. I have learned the secret to goal achievement and it is satisfying in ways I never thought possible.

I will graduate in December. WOW. I once never dreamed I was smart enough for University. Now I find it mundane and limiting in my learning. Looking forward to having letters after my name. It automatically gets people’s attention when the reality is, I was just as smart before, but now I know how to put it all together. That is progress.

I say yes more often to try things and no more often when I have taken on too much or just really don’t want to do something.

I have traveled solo and figured out where I begin and my family ends. This was also important for me. I needed to learn boundaries.

I have learned and practice great nutrition. I have lost nearly 95lbs in two years. I have  another 90lbs to go, BUT it has become habit. Great food choices made of REAL food have taught me to listen to my body. I know what it needs and when it needs it. Eating gratuitous sugar because it is someones birthday is rarely worth the calories. It has to be OUTSTANDING before I will spend calories on sugar laden food because there are consequences to those actions. I either eat less, work out more or gain some temporary weight. Neither of those options are awesome. So I choose carefully.

I have learned that loving someone doesn’t mean it has to be a married relationship or a parental one. I love my girlfriends, fella friends, and family with a fierce intensity that I didn’t know existed within me. This has given me permission to spend time with those people and the ones I just like…get less time or none because my time is limited and valuable. It doesn’t mean you are not valuable it just means I am prioritising my life. I come first, then family, then friends, then school, then work. Work is last because it is a means to a lifestyle. However, it made the list so you can be sure work is filled with passion. If it isn’t on the list, it lacks passion. Without passion, I have no desire to put in an effort. That was my problem before the project. I had my priorities mixed up. I need to nurture me so I can nurture my passions.

That makes it simple.

I place me first for the reason listed above, however, I didn’t put into what ME means:

I have learned I am a social introvert. I like socializing but not all the time. Please don’t drop in on me, call first. There is a list of people who are welcome to drop in and that list includes my mom, dad, sister, my best friend and George Clooney. Call first or I get cranky.

I need to include fitness in my life for lots of reasons, but the big one is if I have to face surgery for my brain tumour, then I want to be as fit and healthy as possible. Death does not scare me, but my children still need their mommy for the time being and I intend to be there as they need me. Being THE MOM is a responsibility that I do believe I was created for. I take it seriously and approach it with humor and humility. I have raised amazing humans and can’t wait to see how they shape their future.

I need to read. I need to continue learning and I need to sit in stillness and reflect. This is what defines me. Include fitness in there and those things need to be done alone for me. That is my recharge time. People exhaust me, I love them but I need that space away – and often, like everyday.

I need to set goals to reach new dreams. Goal setting and dream achieving is simply amazeballs.

So does this means I am fixed and no longer need the Edmonton Tourist Project? Well?

I have been think about that a lot while I run. Running has become my focus and passion lately. Writing is my creative outlet. I am writing 2 books right now. They tumble out of me like movies. That leaves me with nothing left to say on the Edmonton Tourist Project. While my growth continues, I no longer feel blogging about it is the right platform.

That must mean this is the end.

I am so incredibly grateful to those of you who have supported me all the way along. I have met incredible bloggy friends along the way, some turned into real life friends, some have drifted away and others have died. This tells me that endings do not have to be bad. Happy endings are lovely too.

Is my blogging career over? NO WAY! I am devoting my writing over at my health and fitness blog called Me and MO. Mo is short for momentum. You can find it HERE or http://justmeandmo.wordpress.com/  It is the same me who looks at life slightly skewed with humor in her brain and wit on the tongue.

I get it if all that running and nutrition talk isn’t for you. I do understand that. It isn’t for everybody. For now it is where I need to be.

Soon I will close this site, revamp it and change it into something different. But I am taking the summer off.

This feels right. It is time to say goodbye to old me and embrace the me I really am. It kind of feels like the final episode of M*A*S*H* and I feel like BJ. Not wanting to say it but needing to.

Keep in touch friends.

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Lesson’s my Dad taught me: Happy Father’s Day

I was one of those lucky kids.

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You know the kind, I had a dad who would play with me. As a teacher I could always spot the kids who had a great relationship with their father, they would talk about him and tell stories or behave in such a way that reflected the good times they had together. I was one of those kids.

I learned plenty of great things and was fortunate enough to be scarred for life because of my Dad, so I decided I need to have a Dad Tribute today on my Dad’s 45th Father’s Day Milestone.

Things My Dad Taught Me by the Edmonton Tourist

  1. To love Superheroes: Sure my Dad is a Superman fan, and I think that is sad and pathetic because he is the WORST SUPERHERO EVER. But I was encouraged to be my own superhero. I was Danger Girl. I had my own cape and my own super powers. I stored lightning bolts in my chest and could throw them at a moments notice. I learned that I had my own inner power to conquer all things difficult. I just needed to put my mind to it and work for it.
  2. It never hurts to be kind: I was taught the kindness, manners and respect was a common courtesy that everyone should enjoy. This didn’t mean you had to like the people, but you had to be polite. It makes the world a better place. I’ve witnessed it.
  3. Appreciate other’s strengths: Life is too short to harbour jealousy. Everyone has a talent that should be celebrated. Embrace each other’s talent and be thankful they are good that things you are not. Work together and be a team, more can get done that way.
  4. Be a Reader: The fact that my Dad was an English Teacher is the reason I am a reader. Sure he would give me books and then talk to me about them, but that was because reading for pure joy will take you places you can never imagine. There is nothing more delightful than being so caught up in a book you think about the characters and places long after the book is over. Reading great novels has made me smarter through understanding, questioning and researching further to gain a greater understand of the events.
  5. Travel: I have been all over the world the seen things that only a handful of people have had the privilege to see. Dreams came true on holidays with my parents. I saw the Bird Lady feed the pigeons on the Steps of St. Paul, I’ve stood at the base of Vimy Ridge and felt the whispers of Canadian boys who died there so that I may live the life I have today, I learned how locks and channels work on a rare sunny evening in Amsterdam and learned about laughing until your sides hurt and tears spring from your eyes because being silly is way more fun on vacation than being serious.

Of course my dad has taught me many more life lessons, I just appreciate these ones the most and have taught my children the same life lessons.

The biggest and best lesson I learned from my Dad, is don’t take yourself to serious and laugh at yourself more often. Think about it, you are hilarious. Embrace it.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy! Love you! xxx

Me and Dadeo at the finish

Me and Dadeo at the finish

Defining Edmonton #50thingsyeg

The Edmonton Journal as a feature running until July 10 called Tell us what makes the city tick with 50 Things That Define Edmonton. The Summer of 2010 is when I became the Edmonton Tourist. I chose to live my life like I do when I am on vacation, take risks and explore my surroundings. Part of that included being a tourist in ETown.

I grew up with parents and a grandma who knew the importance of exploring your surroundings. From an educational and child development standpoint, exploring my surroundings increased my vocabulary, taught me about my City’s history and gave me a solid sense of family. I grew up learning that families do stuff together. Over the years we visited the Zoo, Fort Edmonton, Muttart Conservatory, the Royal Museum and Art gallery and went to shows and concerts at the Citadel, The Jubilee, Rexall (coliseum), and Commonwealth Stadium. I’ve curtsied to Royalty, hugged hockey players, conversed with artists, and chatted with fellow citizens. I think this makes me more than qualified to contribute to the 50 things that Define Edmonton.

But you guys know me so well, I won’t make a list of 50 things – just the 11 things that define Edmonton for me.

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Things that Define Edmonton

  1. The Edmonton River Valley: I have always love the valley. My family picnics there every Friday night and we utilize the park system on a regular basis. Since I have become a runner, I now want to move closer to the valley. Every season there is something spectacular about it. I love running through it 5 times a week. There are trails I have never explored and some that are my favorite. It is the only place I know of where you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere and yet you are downtown. End to end it is has more square feet than Central Park. Yet it is made up of hundreds of parks honoring great Edmontonians and Canadians. This is hands down, the number one thing that defines Edmonton.
  2. Volunteers: Every city brags about it’s citizens. True Story. But Edmonton has a community of volunteers that just come out of the woodwork to support events. It is nearly impossible to get a volunteer spot at the Edmonton folk Fest. When major sporting events come to town like the World Track and Field games, the Masters or the World Triathlon, volunteers put their hands up and say “I’d love to help!” Sure there are events where they just can’t get enough volunteers, but I think that has more to do with marketing than people not wanting to help. Edmontonians give back on a regular basis. True Story.
  3. Festivals: I’ll be honest, not every festival in Edmonton to fantastic. I have been to all of them – except any new ones that will pop up this summer. Some are duds. However, there are some festivals that are out of this world AMAZING and people (like me) plan their summer around them! Well, I plan around The Fringe Festival and the Canadian Derby Marathon. Marathon Weekend use to be Edmonton Festival Marathon, but now it’s name has change. The Fringe is a the largest Fringe Festival in North America and second largest in the world (Edinburgh is first). I can been seen DAILY down at the Fringe. As for the Derby Marathon Weekend? I am running on Saturday (5k) with my ChatterBox and on Sunday (21.1k) with a plethora of people – some friends and some strangers but we are all part of the running community!
  4. Hockey: I know not everyone is a fan (What???) but those who aren’t true fans are bandwagoners. True Story. When I say Hockey, I don’t just mean the Oilers, there are the Oil Kings, Minors, street hockey, pond hockey – you name it. It is all year, every day. The NHL lock out was hard on me, but there was enough of the other stuff to keep me happy. Edmonton has some pretty cool hockey memorabilia, like the giant Stanley Cup (engraved and everything!), Wayne Gretzky Drive (Cap freeway), Mark Messier Trail and the new arena controversy that keeps saying they are done but are they really? I think not. In fact, the papers are all full of the 25th Anniversary that Waynederful was traded to the L.A. Kings. And we have never been the same since. We have a new coach, but I am just going to keep hoping for a playoff spot and pray we don’t become Toronto (45 years since the last cup).
  5. Patio Seating: Weird right? Well, in Edmonton we have THE WORST weather. I am sick of rain and cold and before that I was sick of cold and snow, hopefully I will get sick of dry and hot. We don’t get much time to sit outside on patios drinking beverages with friends. So when we do, on a long summer evening, we try to maximize it. My favorite patio is one that has padded chairs because I will be there awhile. Those bistro chairs aren’t as comfy. Yes you will find Patio Heaters because in the fall and early spring it is cold but we just don’t want to admit that winter is around. All hail the PATIO!
  6. Construction: Before there was a guy named Mayor Mandel, we had a dude who wouldn’t spend money on infrastructure and we are paying the price now. But when it is done, we will finally have roads that can move the population around. Meanwhile, I cannot remember a time when potholes didn’t need filling, bridges are being built and road closures make summer driving hot and long. Which is why I am trying to be a long distance runner, it will be faster to run downtown than drive.
  7. Gardens: We don’t have Butchart Gardens, but since the season is so short, there are an awful lot of flowers in people’s yards. We can squeeze 4- 4.5 months of gardening in before the frost destroys everything. People go big with their gardens and I am one of them! I have huge patio containers in the back and planted beds in the front. I like flowering trees and running lately is a fragrant paradise! May Day trees and Lilacs fill the river valley. Beautiful!
  8. Golf: I don’t golf but I know by just living in Edmonton that lots of people do. There appears to be a golf course for every 5 citizens. They are pretty – maybe one day I will be a golfer. However, it just doesn’t make sense to me. There should be a goalie, THEN it would be a sport….whatever.
  9. Parks: Edmonton Parks are spectacular. The city does a great job keeping them sparkly and clean. The river valley does have great parks but they aren’t the only ones in town!
  10. Ponds: Actually they are reservoirs. They were created to assist the rain overflow to prevent basement overflow. And the result is fantastic wildlife pockets around the city. Geese, Herons, Ducks, and Bald Eagles can be spotted at some of these places. They are lovely spots of tranquillity splattered all over the city. And in the winter? Shiny or just skating happens. Skating on a frozen pond is a Canadian rite of passage. If you have never done it, embrace your heritage and do it!
  11. Recycle: Odd I know, but Edmonton is a world leader in Recycling. I notice it when I travel. We recycle everything and other cities barely recycle paper. Shocking. So happy we are doing our part.

There you have it, my personal opinion of what defines Edmonton. What would you choose?

Beyond Your Limits

I have been thinking a lot about pushing myself to the limit. Be it physical, mental or emotional. There seems to be no greater satisfaction than from those who are able to accomplish this feat.

Emotional limits, both positive and negative expression is not my favorite. I struggle with the pain of ending and heartbreak as do most of the humans I know. It is the hardest one for me to push.

I love pushing my mental limits, but being brain tired is the worst after emotional tired.

Yet there is something so completely satisfying about pushing your physical limits. It makes my mental juices flow and sends me to emotional heights that I am sure only George Clooney could equal.

This past month I have pushed my physical limits past the point I thought was my limit. I ran up Emily Murphy Hill 3 times, for the first time ever. She normally kills me after half way on the first time. Yet I conquered her. I ran in my first 10k race and set a personal time record. I was tired for 2 weeks but I knew it was because I left my guts out there on the road. I have set some pretty tough goals for myself this summer and I know the only way I will get there is by leaving pieces of me on the ground, in my books or on my sleeve. I will either be broken or exhilarated. Either way, pushing myself is my way of celebrating success.

A couple of years ago I never did anything that was hard. I never challenged myself through work, I never challenged myself through intellect, I never did anything physical that could test my limits. If it was hard, I avoided it and said no.

The Edmonton Tourist Project challenged me to say yes and try new things. I look back and don’t recognize that girl in the pictures. She looks different than I do now, but more importantly, her spirit was broken or harnessed by others. I said goodbye to her and the new and improved me is  - as my friend It’s Maevealous says – FIERCE. I love that word.

I am inspired by her intellect. She is knowledgeable in ways that humble me. She is insightful and brilliant, adventurous and fun. All things I wanted to be and now am achieving.

Through facebook I have become part of a running team WDW Radio Running Team for The Dream Team Project. I have met amazing athletes who are in different chapters of their book. I am just past the Introduction, while others are near their climax and some others are in their epilogue. Yet we all chEAR each other on and support through words, laughter and help. One of these athletes just became a 2 time IRONMAN. She is my hero. I am inspired by how she pushes herself to her physical limits and signs up for yet another IRONMAN because a teammate has decided to enter for the first time and so she will be there in full support. She is gracious enough to tell me her story, so look for that coming up soon.

Weeks ago I put my emotional struggles here on this page for all to read. The fat girl running faced bullies and went head to head with them. That blog post went near viral. Women all over the world read it to the tune of 15000 visits and countless shares. Local women came up to me and asked for my autograph. It was weird. But through that post I met a running mom who ran her first half marathon in Vancouver. She has inspired me to join Team in Training and pursue the San Francisco Marathon next year. I will be talking to her soon too about Team in Training and her exciting adventures about running in Vancouver with an injury!

And then there is my one of my dear best friends. She is a new friend but you know how some people just click? We did. Last year she entered a spin-a-thon event and cycled for 90 minutes. She had never pushed herself to do anything like that. Today she is riding 93km from Leduc to Camrose in the MS bike tour. I am so excited for her because I know she will never be the same after she feels what it is like to push yourself beyond limits. I am going to meet her at the finish line today. You don’t get a medal for this event, so I made her a giant chocolate chip cookie medal to hang around her neck – and then eat because I am sure she will be super hungry.

So when people ask me “how are you able to do that?” be it running, university, work, momming or reading a billion books for fun, I tell them because pushing yourself to limits is incredibly satisfying and it makes me

FIERCE

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The world is not flat and other revelations

Why did people think the Earth was flat? Clearly they never ran anywhere.

I can’t seem to run ANYWHERE without encountering hills. Not that this is a bad thing, it makes me stronger, makes my muscles shapely (ier) and it makes my heart healthy or it will give me a stroke – that is a toss up up there. But since I won’t wear my heart rate monitor, I tell myself that I am FINE.

I use to listen to nothing when I ran. But that was when I ran for 30 minutes. Now that my runs are longer I need more to pass the time away with. I like podcasts but now that the leaves are just beginning to break free in the valley, I feel like dancing – SO I started listening to music again and not just laying around on my floor like I did in high school. I listen to music WHILE I run!

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After a while, the rotation becomes uninspiring and I find myself looking for new music.

I have several different playlists.

One for hills, one for LSDs (Long Slow Distance) it would also be suitable for the ‘other’LSD, and one for motivation or increased tempo runs.

Then I have the POWER songs. I save them for the end of the run because sometimes (every single time) I need a kick in the pants to keep going.

Trooper fits that bill – weird I know, and so does Clara and her Hen party singing Cee Lo Greens’ Forget you – only its Buck buck buck instead of words. It makes me smile and energizes me.

Today I decided I needed new (ish or new to me) music for my ipod. So off I went in search of music that would kick me into gear, You know what I have discovered? I have very eclectic listening taste.

My two favorites from today that made me insert dance steps into my run along with some kickin’ head moves were Fatboy Slim’s Rockafeller Skank (Always have loved that one but never downloaded it) and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. Damn that song is sexy and I run sexier when I am listening to it. Okay, in my head I am running sexier…but you are with me so maybe you can imagine my sexy running – or not Dad, just keep scrolling.

I downloaded 14 new songs today and I had a fantastic run. There is something about great tunes that feed your soul. I need to remember this because the next time I am in a running slump, I am going to create a new running play list, one for sexy running, and one for sexy dance moves running. That should motivate me!

Happy Running!

Oh and in case you are interested in my odd ball sense of music to run to, take a gander at my list for Sunday’s 13k:

  1. Rockafeller Skank – Fatboy Slim
  2. Harder to Breathe – Maroon 5
  3. Pump it up – Elvis Costello
  4. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  5. Too bad about your girl – The Donnas
  6. Womaniser – Britney Spears
  7. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
  8. I love it – Icona Pop
  9. Feel this moment – Pit Bull
  10. Ho Hey – The Lumineers
  11. Stompa – Serena Ryder
  12. Gone Gone Gone – Philip Phillips
  13. It’s a beautiful Day – Michael Buble
  14. Locked out of heaven – Bruno Mars

I feel like dancing so lets listen to Fatboy Slim shall we? And yes that IS Usher from 1999.

 

 

Birds will be the death of me

Big Bird - Library of Congress, Living Legend ...

Big Bird – One of many muppet birds who don’t scare me like the real things do – not that Big Bird isn’t real, you know what I mean.

I get asked LOTS of questions here at the Edmonton Tourist. Usually they come from the ‘contact me‘ page, people will message me on my facebook page (hey come like me!) or they message me and chat away with me on twitter @edmontontourist. Sometimes I get asked questions directly in the comment section here on this blog or my Me and Mo Running blog. I get invitations to speak at gatherings, events and even summits (hello Canadian Medical Association!). But sometimes someone who I consider a bloggy friend, who morphed into a facebook friend asks me a question that has me stumped.

This is hard for me to take because I brag CONSTANTLY to my children about how I know EVERYTHING. Although now that they are approaching their adulthood – and quickly – they don’t believe me with the same intensity. If fact – sometimes I am called a LIAR. Shocking…but true. They have called me worse, but that might shock my grandma – so let’s just leave it at ‘liar’.

Mark Petruska, or should I say Author Mark Petruska who hails from Portland Vancouver, Washington asked me this:

Does your fear of birds stem from old Hitchcock movies? Scientific documentaries proclaiming that birds are descended from dinosaurs? Mitt Romney throwing Big Bird under the bus? Or is it something else entirely?

 

Hmmm. Good question Mark! I need to think about it.

For as long as I could remember, I feared birds in the “HOLY CRAP I AM GOING TO DIE!” way. Never in the “EWWW THEY ARE ICKY” way. Because Birds are not icky. Rodents are. Birds scare me in ways that I fear a stroke or a heart attack.

But the question remains WHY?

I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds when I was a teen, but I was already REALLY SUPER SCARED of birds by then. I would never pet chicks, never feed chickens, never feed ducks at the pond, and never EVER help grandpa fill his 9 billion bird feeders or paint any of his bird houses because I had no interest in those birds being anywhere near me – EVER.

Then a memory came to me. Then I realized I had REPRESSED this memory. Thinking about it TERRIFIES ME STILL.

I was 6 years old and living in Canada’s Arctic in a town called Yellowknife, North West Territories. Ravens were as bad as mosquitos. I kid you not. They were huge from my point of view and memory – so I looked them up. They are like flying chickens. My mom threatened to cook one for Thanksgiving one year. The problem with Ravens is they are smart. And not your usual “oh look a bird feeder” they are “hey fella’s, look over there, I see a grocery store. Let’s devise a plan to open the door and have a feast!”

I know you don’t believe me.

I remember walk home from school and my friend was eating a snack. The ravens swooped in, pulled my jacket so I was not in reaching distance of her. Another one flapped his wings in her face, while a third took the food out of her hands. It was scary.

Another time I was sitting in the window of our home and I watched two raven hover over a garbage can while a third one took the lid off. Then the other two went in and lifted the garbage bag out – first guy drops the lid and the 3 of them fly off with the garbage bag.

They would tease dogs for fun. I read about a raven working an automatic light and turning it on then wrapping its wings around the light to keep warm. These critters are smart. This was my first close encounter with birds. No wonder I am scared.

I saw a video of a Yellowknifer playing with a Raven. He would stick his finger out, say don’t peck me and of course the Raven would and the Raven would LAUGH! Are you kidding me? THAT BIRD LAUGHED! Fast forward after  you watch the beginning – PROOF!

These birds are far to smart for my liking, they will gesture to their pals, point with their feet, wings and beaks to hatch a hunting plan.

Now, I know they can talk but it isn’t the same as if Big Bird was speaking to me or if Clara and her hen party were singing at my birthday. These birds are normal in my eyes. Ravens have scarred me forever.

So now I need a little Muppet Happiness so I can sleep tonight.

 

News Flash! I just saw a picture of the Ex’s Wife and I feel FABULOUS!

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Have you ever creeped on Facebook to look up people from your past and are relieved that they haven’t adjusted their privacy settings so you can take a peek into their lives today? YOU HAVE SO…don’t lie.

I did it today.

I am very glad I did. Especially after Sunday’s incident.

I have struggled with body image issues forever and a day, largely in part to the men of my past. I know – what the hell was I thinking? Apparently I wasn’t.

The problem with memories, is they tend to be locked in time. So as I age – 45 and fabulous thank you very much – I become hyper aware of my skin, hair and body shape. When the ex and I split, a huge part of it had to do with my body image. It wasn’t his ideal and he let me know. I am one of those curvy girls, I will never be the anorexic super models. Today I learned that embracing who I am is as important as embracing what I look like.

I took a good look at the ex’s wife.

She looks like she could be any mom at the high school. She looks like she might be a friend of mine – maybe… I am fussy and only pick awesome friends.

She looks like she is smart – and neglects her appearance because she relies on her brains. Nothing wrong with that- I am a huge fan of brains. When I say she neglects her appearance, I just mean – she doesn’t focus on it. Nondescript dress, frizzy hair, no makeup, in other words plain.

I realized that I had been holding myself up to an imaginary standard. I pictured someone my ex would choose as tiny, petite drop dead gorgeous gal who had the perfect everything.

Then I saw her.

Lightbulb moment.

The guy is not George Clooney. He isn’t fabulously rich, brilliant or even empathetic. Why would he get a gal like that? Stacey Keibler she isn’t. But I bet she is right for him or what he thinks he deserves.

So why did I think lesser of myself because I wasn’t a supermodel? Good question. Why do women do that?

I can tell you he did talk A LOT about my body. I do know weight disgusted him because of the off colour remarks he would make. So obviously his current girl is rail thin. But she doesn’t have the healthy fitness glow I have. Her arms aren’t toned and I bet she can’t run 10k. My skin has WAY LESS wrinkles because good skin care starts from birth. Thank you ladies of my life who taught me how to take good care of my skin. I should BE so lucky to look like my Grandmother when I am in my 80′s. Her skin is fabulous. I am headed down the right track.

Looking at her picture (the ex’s wife) I also can see the wrinkles she does have are not laugh lines. That is sad. I know from other people she is less than enthusiastic about things that don’t involve her so smiling is sparse and when she does smile, it never reaches her eyes.  That makes me sad for her.

Of course this is all speculation and judgement on my part. I am more than my physical image and she is too.

I just wish it didn’t take me so long to figure that out. It makes me want to punch her husband with some good sense.

Life is a sum of all parts. Not just beauty. That fades.

And apparently, some of us get better with age…like a great wine.

I hope she is happy because that is all that really matters.

 

Once upon a time there was a little girl who could make babysitters cry…

06443029462bcbe897d59a3467928dc4_answer_6_xlarge10 o’clock at night and my girl is upstairs blasting Time Lord Rock while baking Rose Tyler esc cupcakes for a dear friend and fellow Whovian’s birthday. I have been told that she is quite capable of following the instructions and baking on her own. Agreed.

Then I hear “Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom, can I have your opinion on these cupcakes please? They are giant but liquid in the middle. How long should I put them back in for? And why do they taste like Cherry Cough Syrup?”

Good Question… Ask Grandma.

My mom was a good egg in lots of ways. She always let me listen the radio station of my choice when we were in the car. She didn’t care. Dad on the other hand would say “This stuff is utter crap, I can’t listen to this.” And the station would change to some oldie station playing Peter, Paul and Mary or the Limelighters. This would account for my obscure and amazing talent of knowing every song ever written between 1948 and 1989, this includes jingles and TV theme songs. It’s a handy talent for some great trivia games and for radio quiz shows where I get to win tickets to The Who and The Rolling Stones.

Mom would also encourage me to experiment in the kitchen. I learned the basics from her and my Aunty Mary Poppins, but the fine tuning I did on my own. I dad would eat ANYTHING I put in front of him and he would always say, “That is the best I ever had! Did I make it?” Between both my parents, that made me fearless in the kitchen. I am not a swell cook – but I am an AMAZING baker. There is a difference. I think some people can be great at both but often they are only good at one or the other.

My girl is a self proclaimed distraction in the kitchen. I let her do all kinds of baking and cooking experiments but there is usually some disaster that happens and we need to figure out how to fix it. To be honest, it isn’t always fixable, so we pack it up and give it to her Grandpa (my dad) who will eat ANYTHING and say it’s the best ever.

I remember baking on Friday nights when we had a babysitter because Mom and Dad were off Dancing  - I know…it was the olden days when people went dancing at the club – (as in country club) It sounds fancier than it was, but my parents loved it. We went through babysitters like some people go through socks. My brother and I were THE WORST KIDS EVER – not true  - were only bad if we didn’t like the babysitter. I liked the weak ones. The ones that were nice on the outside but I could make them cry in an instant. One time we had this gal, a neighbor of my grandma, she came over and wanted to play games or watch TV and I would say – no. I am baking cookies.

“Are you allowed to do that?”

Me: NO – are you kidding? Mom is going to kill you. “Yes, my mom lets me all the time.”

“Okay – call me if you need help”

Me: pfffff whatever – “okay”

I went into the pantry and pulled out all the ingredients for Quaker Oatmeal Cookies. The Just Add Water kind of cookie mix that mom would buy and add a billion things to for granola bars. I used an entire package (enough for 1000 cookies) and a gallon of water. I think it said one cup but the measuring cup was really big – I think it was 8 cups. But I filled it because it was still only one cup.

I had made cookie cake. It was liquid porridge. I couldn’t spoon it onto a cookie tray, it would run all over the place. So I left it in the bowl, put all the dirty dishes and baking garbage into the oven and shut the door.

I went to join the babysitter and my brother and said I changed my mind. I didn’t want to bake.

Later while I was fake sleeping, my mother called me into the kitchen.

She had the keen sense of Sherlock Holmes. There wasn’t a dish left out, yet she knew.

“What happened in here tonight?”

Me: I was fake tired and said “What???’ in my sleepy fake voice.

“This kitchen is a disaster!”

Me: What are you talking about? I hid the evidence. I knew I needed to stay silent.

“Were you making cookies?

Me: How does she know this stuff? Silence…………

“Where did you hide the stuff?” She looked around and likely saw a fingerprint on the oven door.

Then I remember the oven door opening and the angry voice lecturing me for what seemed like a week. But thankfully dad came home and sent me to bed.

Now that I am a parent myself, these are the thoughts that run through my head:

  1. Why would the babysitter let an 8 year old bake cookies unsupervised?
  2. Obviously mom saw the flour dust all over everything. What is clean to an 8 year old is not clean to a mom.
  3. Why didn’t my parents just lock us up under the stairs to go out? We tortured babysitters for fun. How we make it out of our childhood alive is beyond me.
  4. I always thought my mom was crazy about cleanliness – I still do.
  5. Why did my parents change babysitters so frequently? Did the girls just say no? I would – but to be fair, I could talk those girls into anything and I think they didn’t expect that from a kid. I was the evil emperor of kids needing supervision. Let’s face it, after every girl in Sherwood Park failed and became brainwashed by my charms, there wasn’t a whole lot for them to do. They became powerless. I would put my sister to bed, I would talk my brother into running away or hiding or really – anything to make the sitter never wanting to come back. I’m sure my parents paid well, but sometimes no job is EVER worth it.

Meanwhile, my daughter just made cupcakes that taste like cough syrup and I am proud like I am raising a little me. Luckily her grandfather lives a block from the school, so when her friends don’t eat the cupcakes – he will.

And the family tradition continues….only the dirty dishes better not be hidden in the stove.

Be Amazing

images (3)I follow  my kid’s school on twitter to get regular updates and happenings going on in and around the campus because here is a surprise, I don’t hear it from him until 35 seconds before I need to do something about it. Like bake for the theatre cast rehearsal.

The thing I like about those tweets is every morning they end with “Go out and be amazing today!”

I like that sentiment.

Last week was a hard week emotionally for me. I took the tragedy in Boston hard. I just found it profoundly sad that innocent people were hurt or killed and the bombers had a sucky social life and blamed Boston. I am not a vindictive person, perhaps it is my Canadian upbringing, but wow – that kid put the gun in his mouth on an apparent suicide attempt and karma still makes him face the consequences. I think about how his life might have been awesome last Monday had he did something different.

I am currently reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. The premise is the main character dies, the world goes dark and rewinds to the moment before her death with things changed slightly to prevent the death. It is an interesting concept. I think it will generate great discussion as to what moment could you change to slightly alter your life.

What would I do?

Well, I wouldn’t change anything I did last week. The events made me think about my life a little bit harder. I spent time with friends, I ran 33km, I had lots of mom time with my kids, I had a lovely dinner with the trusty steed, I made plans with dear friends, I spoke up when I felt hurt and did nice things to make others feel good. I was grateful, appreciative and thankful for my life events last week.

Weather was another story – But there was sunshine today! That always makes me smile.

So heading out into the new work week tomorrow, I am going to depart this little life changing tidbit:

Go out there and BE AMAZING this week!

routine-be-amazing