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Friday, April 17, 2015

Reflections on life and changes


Taking stock. It's good for me to just stop for a moment and reflect on things. 

My time is in increasingly high demand these days. 

Busy at work. Preparing to transition from one position to another. Obtaining top secret clearance for that new job. Social Committee events and translation of its posters, e-mails, and communications. Baking for the committee and the church. Walking for the church... daily on my own and as part of the group. Updating the church blog. Teaching others how to do the same to help me out. Training for the 5K race at the end of May. Taking Petite to Sparks. Selling Girl Guide cookies. Taking Petite to swimming class. Making sure I get to choir and practise as needed for our hymns. Seeing friends. Making sure our geriatric cat is well taken care of. Planning our vacay in July. Figuring out child care for Petite for the summer. Shopping for clothes that is sorely needed (down to 168 lbs!). Shopping for groceries. Making sure family back at home has necessary gifts and cards for various events. Helping Petite with homework (we have to build a puppet from recycled materials for the end of the month and in May it's her turn to bring the play-doh... gotta make that next weekend). Handling finances. Shopping for and celebrating Hubby's birthday last week. And more. 

Life is a bit insane right now. I still cannot wrap my head around the weight loss and how I actually look in the mirror and in my clothes. A girlfriend and I did go shopping last week. I indulged. Shoes. (Oh these florals make me feel positively sinful!) 



Frillies. Skirts. Pants. Blouses. Shirts and a gorgeous coral suit. I am stunned to find myself in size 10. THAT is nothing short of incredible. (This suit jacket is a bit big and needs tailoring but no smaller size was available.)



However the same old feelings are still there. Am I good enough? Am I "normal enough" now? I do not consider myself pretty (OMG hell no) but am I good enough, for once? The doc said I should take stock. Check in now and then with myself to see how I'm feeling. And she said I should poll others who know me to see what they would say about me. How would they describe me? What traits or characteristics would they attribute to me? (If you wish to chime on that in I would be grateful.) 

So here I am. Taking stock of a very busy life. I feel like I'm too busy to stop to even do that. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

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Microblog Mondays: Grief and more grief. When does it end?

Our dear Mel over at Stirrup Queens has begun a blog phenomenon... as she frequently does. 

Microblog Mondays. Writing in your own space. Something short and sweet. But it's meant to take back our bloggy space and call it our own. I am going to try to do this periodically. Life's hectic. So we'll see how long this lasts.
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Okay, okay, a day late and a dollar short. Sheesh. Shoot me.
 
We've been tied up with a number of things. Easter. An impromptu and definitely flying visit to The Big Apple with Petite to meet a gaming friend from Singapore. Visiting with friends from Toronto. Taking in a Sugar Bush meal (albeit somewhat restricted on my part). And the general rounds of sickness in the house. Ugh.
 
And deaths.
 
Again.
 
Note that I said "deaths" as in plural. Oh my.
 
 
Last week two people in my circles passed away.
 
I sing in a church choir. One of our choir member's wife was diagnosed months ago with an aggressive cancer. Treatments didn't keep it at bay and last week, the choir was told that she was rapidly declining... but that when the time came, they both wished the choir to sing at her funeral. She passed away on Monday, March 30. She was a lovely lady and very active in our church family. The service was held on Monday, April 6 and because Easter Monday is a holiday for me, I was able to attend and sing with the choir. It was a beautiful service and she would have really loved it. Rest in peace, Anne.
 
On Wednesday, April 1, I got a phone call from a former co-worker (a different location within our organization). I used to work with the group from 2010–13. She told me that one of the employees had committed suicide overnight onTuesday, March 31. I was in shock. This fellow was young (early 50s perhaps). Bright. Intelligent. Caring. A broad smile and a gentle nature, despite a physique that made him look like the roughest, toughest bouncer you could come across. He would sit in my office and chat about his cat (how he loved animals!) and his eyes would sparkle. He was a giving, sweet man, and I cannot fathom that he took his own life. The whole family in the branch he worked with is grieving; he was part of a small, skilled, elite team of counter intelligence and his presence will definitely be missed. We are all grieving. Today, April 7, I attend his funeral and I know many tears will be shed at this senseless loss. My heart goes out to his family and all his colleagues and friends. May he find the peace in death that he so sought in life. We love you Morgan. Good-bye dear friend.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Microblog Mondays: Looking for... Activities!

Our dear Mel over at Stirrup Queens has begun a blog phenomenon... as she frequently does. 

Microblog Mondays. Writing in your own space. Something short and sweet. But it's meant to take back our bloggy space and call it our own. I am going to try to do this periodically. Life's hectic. So we'll see how long this lasts.
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The calendar "says" that spring has arrived. Frankly, I've yet to see it. This morning we have a frostbite advisory. Soooo tired of the snowbanks and shivering my ass off. ENOUGH already! We've had the coldest winter on record in over 100 years and it just so happens to be the first winter after my VSG so I'm the coldest I personally have ever been as well. It's awful! 

However, I am trying to look on the bright side. Spring WILL eventually come. Right?! RIGHT!?!!!??!!! *threatens, shaking a fist* 

In the meantime, I'm looking for activities to do this spring and summer with my girl. While she and I were reading a story book last night, (Lego Friends) I read that "Olivia's parents make time to do things with her," such as going to movies, taking walks, going for bike rides, and helping her do her homework. Petite lamented, "See?! Her mommy and daddy make time to do things with her but you never do that for me!" She pouted, sulking a moment. (Being an only child, she frequently wants us to 'play' with her.) I reread the passage, noting the activities that Olivia's parents do with her. We already help with her homework. We already take her to movies. We can't yet go for many walks or bike rides (she can't keep up with us on bikes at the moment anyway; I'm debating buying a tow-style bar to attach her bike to mine... anyone have anything to report on those?) but that may come when spring finally does. 

I reiterated that Olivia's mommy and daddy do not necessarily "play" with her. It's not something that mommies and daddies do as well as kids do; our imaginations aren't quite what they used to be! But we do try now and then, much to Petite's delight.

So I'm looking for activities. I've been interested in Geocaching before and that sorta piques my interest again. I need to get outdoors to train for the 5K that I'll be running at the end of May. We are also going camping again this summer. But I am looking for ideas and activities that you do with your kids on a fairly regular basis that intrigue them and keep you involved. What do you do with and for your child? Gimme whatcha got!!! 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Microblog Mondays: Hell Hath Frozen Over

Our dear Mel over at Stirrup Queens has begun a blog phenomenon... as she frequently does. 

Microblog Mondays. Writing in your own space. Something short and sweet. But it's meant to take back our bloggy space and call it our own. I am going to try to do this periodically. Life's hectic. So we'll see how long this lasts.
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You know how I know that Hell has frozen over? Because the rest of this God forsaken frozen wasteland has too! Seriously. 

I live in Canada's capital. Last week, and this week, we're breaking records left, right, and centre. February has been the coldest month on record. Ever. We've hit temperatures colder than the Antarctic. We're bundled to within an inch of our lives. The temperature here is colder than it was on Mars for Pete's sake! No joke! 

Today is a semi-holiday here. It's Family Day. However, as a federal government employee, I'm supposed to be at work. (This holiday isn't in our contract yet so we don't have it off. Neither does my husband.) I say "supposed to be at work" because I am NOT at work today. I am sitting in my kitchen. Why, you ask? Let me tell you... 

Because it's so frakkin' cold in this frozen country, where the air hurts my face and stabs at my lungs this morning (we have a raw temperature of -27 but with the wind it was -40. Remember: -40 C = -40 F.) and my car decided it wasn't going to start. Not a gig. Not a whit. Not even a little bit of juice. 

I'll go one better; Hubby's car wouldn't start either! No joke. Two vehicles in our driveway, and both of them essentially said, "Nah, not so much." A friend of mine posted on Facebook that this is the universe's way of telling us to stay home and watch movies today. 

Sounds like a helluva plan. S'cuse me while I go turn on my heated blanket. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Microblog Mondays: Mental Health

Our dear Mel over at Stirrup Queens has begun a blog phenomenon... as she frequently does. 

Microblog Mondays. Writing in your own space. Something short and sweet. But it's meant to take back our bloggy space and call it our own. I am going to try to do this periodically. Life's hectic. So we'll see how long this lasts.


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I cannot possibly fathom writing about anything else this week. For ever since last Wednesday, February 4, my world has been shaken and forever changed.

It was an ordinary day. I went to work. I went to the gym; I ran 3.4 miles on the treadmill too! I picked up Petite after school. We went home. Hubby was working late so I took care of dinner, Petite's bath and getting her bedtime routine going. Hubby came home around 9:30, just as I was rousing from a little doze with Petite as she loves a cuddle with us before bed. (I think I fell asleep before she did though!)

And as I was waking and getting up and out of Petite's room, I got a Facebook PM. It was a group PM between me, Hubby and it was coming from our dear friend, MM. 

MM and her husband, RM, have been friends of ours for YEARS. RM and Hubby knew each other before Hubby and I met in 2000. They've been friends for about 18 years. And when RM met his wife-to-be, we were introduced and got along like a house afire. They're a wonderful couple. We saw them more frequently before Petite was born, but even after her arrival, we always kept in touch and we arranged to get together every few months, as schedules would permit. 

RM was a teacher. Graphic Web Design at a local college. He was well-loved and respected by peers and students. He was funny, very quick witted indeed. And one of the most intelligent men I knew. I admired him. Respected him greatly. He shared good news and bad with us over the years. 

But the Facebook message from his wife shook me to the core. RM passed away earlier on Wednesday afternoon at the age of 46. WHAT? How could that be?! My brain didn't compute that at all. Not possible. It's just not possible. It must be a joke. 

Hubby walked in the door, mouth agape (much as mine was) and I said, "We need to call her. Now. This has GOT to be a joke... He's suck a jokester. Someone must have gotten their hands on his account or hers or something. This isn't real..." 

We called MM, who was in shock, and tears. 

She had come home early as she had known RM was a little down about a medical issue. She found that he had committed suicide. She found her husband; he had hanged himself. She was alone. She was the one who had to call 911, cut him down, give him chest compressions, the whole nine yards. 

No one should ever have to do that to a loved one. Ever. She has that image in her head forever. With luck it will be replaced by happy thoughts in time, but for now, she is grieving. We are in shock. We are preparing to attend his funeral later this week but there are no words to describe how we feel. 

Talk to your loved ones. Talk to professionals. Open up about mental health issues. Because no one should ever feel at wits' end so as to make this choice to end it all. Too many people love you. Yes YOU. You are loved. Deeply. Please don't make this drastic choice. I beg. 

RM, we can but hope you find the peace you so desperately sought. But you will be sorely missed. Life will not be the same without you. We love you. 

Monday, February 02, 2015

Microblog Mondays: Growing Old(er)

Our dear Mel over at Stirrup Queens has begun a blog phenomenon... as she frequently does. 

Microblog Mondays. Writing in your own space. Something short and sweet. But it's meant to take back our bloggy space and call it our own. I am going to try to do this periodically. Life's hectic. So we'll see how long this lasts.


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This past weekend I was tied up with a number of rather 'domestic' things. Some baking. Some cooking. Lots of laundry (as usual). Some cleaning. Moving furniture. Disassembling and reassembling a table and a queen-sized bed. Some sewing. Some blogging (for a church initiative). Even writing and distributing a newsletter.

And as I'm doing all these things, I find the arthritis in my fingers acts up now and then. Or it's harder than it used to be to move the queen-sized mattress (yes, by myself... but just pulling it over the wood floor). And you know something? I needed my reading glasses to thread the needle for my sewing projects and to pick out the individual threads in the material. READING GLASSES people?!!! I'm not even 45 yet!

I realize I'm getting older and yet, I still think of myself as the insecure 16-year old who hides in the bathroom during lunch. I don't know if I've really "grown up" or if I'm just growing old.

Hubby and I have about 15-20 years to retirement. We are planning for that already. But I always wonder about how good my health will be when I get there. I had WLS last year to try to give me a leg up so my health is better into my old age.

But you just never know.

Case in point: a colleague/girlfriend. Two weeks before her retirement, she lost her brother suddenly. One week (to the day) after that, she had a heart attack. She survived (thank God!) but now realizes that she needs to take better care of herself to enjoy her retirement and to LIVE to be here for her family. Please heavens, I can do my utmost now to ensure my good health when I retire. Because I have plans and I have no intention of letting time or other factors take those plans away from me. (I know, I know. Wanna make God laugh? Tell him your plans for the future.)

Fingers crossed for these plans to come to fruition. Growing old(er) sucks. :(

Monday, January 19, 2015

Microblog Mondays: Internal Clocks

Our dear Mel over at Stirrup Queens has begun a blog phenomenon... as she frequently does. 

Microblog Mondays. Writing in your own space. Something short and sweet. But it's meant to take back our bloggy space and call it our own. I am going to try to do this periodically. Life's hectic. So we'll see how long this lasts.


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Mel wrote on the phenomenon of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome and while I don't think for a moment that I'm quite that extreme, I am most certainly a night owl. I have been for years. I've often said that whatever man (and you know it was a man! Just like it was a man who invented pantyhose... stupid things!) determined that the 'workday' would be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. should have been shot. Seriously.


I do not do well in the mornings. AT ALL. I am lethargic, in a foggy, sleep-induced haze without any capacity for rationale or functionality to any true extent. I so much prefer evenings or nights. My favourite working hours were when I worked a corner store in my late teens and early 20s; I started at 3 p.m. and finished at 11 p.m., winding down and heading to bed by 2 or 3 a.m. and waking at around 10 a.m. Fantastic! That rocked. HARD.

When I met Hubby, and started gaming, there'd be many nights I'd stay up until 2, 3 or 4 a.m. to finish something in my online game and then get up at 7 a.m. to go to work. I learned to function effectively on 5 hours of sleep. While I no longer game (as much) I still function on 5 or 5.5 hours of sleep per night during the week. I catch up a little (7 or 8 hours) on weekends but mostly, I do well with 5 hours. Though Hubby says I'm sleep-deprived and that it probably contributed to my significant weight problem as well. Heavens knows. Who can really say. But I do know that I am functional, creative, productive and alert in the evenings for the most part, when left to my own devices.

However, the conventions of the 'regular workday' and the fact that I now must adhere to a young child's schedule and needs have changed my own internal clock in recent years. Oh well. There'll be time to sleep in the future. For now, I am making the most of my time... whenever that happens to be!  

Monday, January 05, 2015

Microblog Mondays: What am I Missing Out On?

Our dear Mel over at Stirrup Queens has begun a blog phenomenon... as she frequently does. 

Microblog Mondays. Writing in your own space. Something short and sweet. But it's meant to take back our bloggy space and call it our own. I am going to try to do this periodically. Life's hectic. So we'll see how long this lasts.


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While many in the blogosphere are discussing the books or movies they would love to crawl into (if they could, and knowing they are safe from harm, of course), I'm not particularly comfortable revealing that side of myself so I will instead discuss the fact that now that I am tied up with Petite, I rarely get a chance to see movies or read books. 

Admittedly, prior to Petite, books were never my thing. I'd read them now and then, devouring them when I found one (or a series) that particularly appealed to me but that was a rare thing. My sister, on the other hand, did a great deal of reading for her degrees. Yes, I read for my degrees too, but I read Shakespeare, Chaucer, Whitman, Bronté, Zola, etc. Classics were my thing, not so much modern novels of the day. (I can still happily recite soliloquies from Shakespeare, losing myself in the imagery therein.) Likewise with movies... prior to Petite, I used to make it a point to see a movie at least once a month, sometimes more frequently if possible. But now, I am lucky if I get to one or two movies per YEAR. 

And similarly, I hear so many people discuss Sons of Anarchy, Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, Mad Men, The Good Wife, The Walking Dead, etc. I confess: I've never, ever, EVER seen a single episode of any of them. I don't get time, and I'm lucky if by the time I fall into bed, I get to watch the local news! It's THAT bad. 

My husband (being a techie and working where he does) got a superb discount on Crave TV (sorta like Netflix, a subscription based channel that offers series for your viewing pleasure... including the entire Friends run!) so he subscribed. I peeked at it last night and I would like to try my hand at watching a few of these to see what all the hullabaloo is about. I just hope I get the time... 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Microblog Mondays: Resolutions

Our dear Mel over at Stirrup Queens has begun a blog phenomenon... as she frequently does. 

Microblog Mondays. Writing in your own space. Something short and sweet. But it's meant to take back our bloggy space and call it our own. I am going to try to do this periodically. Life's hectic. So we'll see how long this lasts.


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As the new year is almost upon us, and as we are wont to do as the old year comes to a close, many of us are making resolutions for 2015.

Thanks to WLS this past February, I have achieved my resolution for this year: lose 100 lbs before Christmas. In fact, I have lost 120 lbs (or just beyond that in fact) since January 2014. I am thrilled about that. How many years has my resolution been "lose weight" and this year, with the help of a fantastic tool, I have done it! Quite an achievement really. Hard work, to be sure. Most days, I don't see it at all. I'm glad others do. (I put on a size 10 bathing suit last night and wow, I was shocked!) 

My resolutions for 2015:
  • finish losing the weight, and find a 'target' or 'goal' weight that I am happy with. Having no frame of reference for that makes this one tough. I've grappled with it. I still am.
  • find peace on the job and home front. I've been living in limbo for years, hoping to find work back at home, and wishing I were elsewhere. I need to resolve this, one way or the other, this year. Either I get the job I have applied for back in NL, or I take a deep breath and find peace with living where I currently do, and make a home for us here. (Notice that I still call The Rock "home"? This is starting to confuse Petite. She has asked me many times why our house here is not "home." Poor girl. I need to focus on her and her life now.)


Thank you for your well wishes on my last post. Christmas was good with my family down in WV at my sister's house. A long drive, to be sure, but well worth it. We had fun and the two kids had a blast. While there, we raised a glass to my eldest cousin; he passed away on December 12, 2014 at the young age of 58. My heart goes out to my uncle; no parent should ever have to bury their child, no matter the age.