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Monday, June 29, 2015

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Microblog Mondays: Be Careful What You Wish For

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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For many years now, I've sought to change jobs. For a plethora of reasons that I will not go into here. Suffice it to say, I really needed a change. Badly.
It's taken a couple of years for this particular competition (yes, government works very slowly to ensure that all the T's are crossed and all the I's are dotted). But I've finally transitioned into a new position that suits my skills quite well and keeps me on my toes. Lord knows, I love that aspect of things and it thrills me.
But wow, steep learning curve! It's a blast so far; I'm about two months in right now. And so far, so good. I'm truly loving it.
But the pace is insane! I arrive in the morning with nothing in my calendar and blammo! It fills up in the blink of an eye with a multitude of meetings and updates and conference calls and planning sessions, and, and, and... you get the drift.
Like I said, be careful what you wish for! But if you're ready for a challenge... wish away!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Microblog Mondays: An Excellent Reminder for Us All

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 wrote this on Facebook the other day. So many of my friends thought it was a wonderful, sweet anecdote and it needs to be shared. So here you go:


Today was a really warm, sunny day and we had planned to hit a park and a splash pad before running some errands. I put on the ONE pair of shorts that I own and I asked Hubby if he thought I could wear them out and about in public. (Side note: I never wear shorts out in public, only around the house or garden on my own property. I am so terribly self-conscious about my body, even post-surgery after losing 140 lbs. It's horrid.)


Petite overheard Hubby and me talking, and she peeked in the bedroom. Her words moved me.


"Mommy, it doesn't matter about the outside. It's the inside that counts."


One smart girl, right there.


I teared up a little, and hugged her tightly, telling her, "You know, you're absolutely right. Thank you sweetheart. I needed to hear that right now. It DOESN'T matter what anyone thinks, really... does it?"


And yes... I wore the shorts. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bedtime Looms...

I managed to get in a bike ride today. It was the first time on a bike for me in at least seven or eight years. Probably closer to ten though... truth be known. 

Wow. 10 years. And yet I managed to hop on and ride for 7 km in 32 minutes. That felt great! Mind you it would have felt better if it were a tad warmer. And if the rain hadn't cut my ride short. I had hoped to ride for 45 mins but the cold numbed my fingers and pouring rain was on the horizon so I booked it back to the house. I just pulled in the driveway when the first drops fell. 

I took care of Petite tonight as Hubby was out helping one of my coworkers with his computer. Petite had Sparks and then I got her nighttime routine done before calling my mom, editing a newsletter, figuring out lunch for tomorrow and writing out a menu for the week. Is it bedtime yet? 

Come on Friday!!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Microblog Mondays: Running... for a Reason

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 took my running outside yesterday.

Ouch. Did you know that running on pavement is VERY different from running on a treadmill? I knew it, but wow, I'm really feeling it this morning. I used muscles yesterday that I haven't used in ages. They are screaming at me today. It'll be worth it though.

I stood up in church yesterday and told them of my run. I screwed up my courage and went for it.

"Hi, my name is Gil. I sing in the choir and now and then I bring my daughter Petite with me, who seems to enjoy dancing at the front for your pleasure." (The congregation laughed, as Petite just can't help but move and shake when we start singing!)

I continued...

"Last year I set out to lose some weight. I've been pretty successful at it thus far. At that time, I had set myself a personal goal; I wanted to run a 5K — not WALK it as I've done before — but run a 5K before my 45th birthday. Well, I've registered for that run coming up at the end of May, a week before my birthday. I'm gonna do it. I WILL get through it. Originally, I thought I would just run it for myself, to see how well I could do. But on February 4, all of that changed."

I took a deep breath.

"On February 4, a dear friend of mine took his own life. His widow, his friends, his family, we are all still dealing with this. Then, three weeks ago, a colleague of mine did the same thing." I heard the audible intake of breath and the scattered sympathetic moan. And I took another breath.


"So, my friend's widow and I, and another friend of ours, we are running this 5K in my friend's honour, and to raise funds for the Royal Ottawa Hospital's Foundation for Mental Health. The name of our team is The Hamsters are Free! in a nod to Rob's stellar sense of humour," laughter rang out, "... and if you, your family or your friends have ever been affected by mental health issues, we would be happy to have your sponsorship to raise funds for this wonderful cause. Mental health is something that is still taboo to talk about but so many people around us are affected. More than we can possibly fathom. Today, I have with me some slips that have the information that will help you donate to the Foundation through a secure online form, or please feel free to speak with me to make other arrangements. Thank you for your time."

So, dear reader, if you would like to support me in this cause, here's the link for you.

The Hamsters are Free! - Scotiabank Charity Challenge




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

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.