Prepared

This time next week we will be three days into our epic UK Adventure. I am so excited right now I can barely concentrate on anything. Partially because I am in the throes of last minute list preparation. Yup, with tabs and colour-codes.

I have started to pack. Yes, I am aware we still have four sleeps to go. I think it may drive my husband crazy by the time we leave (read: *persternagpester* have you done this yet? *pesternagpester*). There is so much to do before Sunday, and all I can think about is “Will I forget anything? Did I remember to buy extra night time pants for the kids? Did I print enough copies of #alltheinfo for our trip? Did I list the comfy underwear? Should we have an extra toothbrush handy? Should I bring two scarves or one? Where are the light timers? Did husband inform the neighbours? I need to vacuum. Did I update my iPhone list with the changes I made on the spreadsheet? Should we take the whole shampoo bottle or buy travel sized?”

*flail* *gasp* *wheeze*

Yes, I am that kind of person.

I thrive off being over-prepared. I get positively giddy when I am packed and ready and I know I have covered the bases! Think of something you do that gives you immense satisfaction when it is complete (reading a book, cleaning the kitchen, wrestling the kids into bed…). That is how I feel when I am all packed for a trip two days early and with three of everything.

Remember, I showed horses. If I forgot to bring an extra pair of stirrup leathers, one would break. If I brought all the extra emergency bits and bobs, then the day would go smoothly. I used to keep a “show bin” ready with duplicates and second pairs of everything except my saddle (and horse… Heh). They would get re-arranged and counted before every show, even though nothing had been touched since the last show. A list was taped to the top. It was double-checked. The leather parts  would be cleaned each week the same as my primary show tack.

The day before the show, I was always scrubbing and oiling and polishing to exhaustion (Let’s not talk about the plaiting… That was always done with the midnight oil burning). Oi.

I think my need to plan like this has developed over time to be a superstition, long past my competitive days. If I do not have the “what if’s” covered, I don’t feel prepared, safe, and capable. I worry that if I don’t have the Advil packed, we will need some and will have to spend money. If I run out of underwear, and have nowhere to wash them, well… Eww. My worst fear is being somewhere and not having the right clothing, or enough of something to make do. God forbid we run out of money because we had to buy something that we should have packed! Poor planning, and failure on my part!

Let’s not go into how much &^%* I would lug to paintball tournaments, shall we? More than once I got labelled “Team Mom” because I had all the stuff people need at tournaments but would forget to bring. Yeah… Nothing like packing rolls of TP and having the security search your bags with a “WTF lady?” look on their face… Because hello… Porta potties never have enough and I didn’t want to break the budget to buy some when I got to where I was goin’.

No seriously… That was how tight I budgeted sometimes.

I am aware that likely, I would be fine, and buying an extra bottle of Advil is not really going to bust the travel budget now that we are way more financially strong… But from being broke for years, and traveling on literally nothing, old habits die hard. If I forgot a sweater and it got cold, there was usually no money to buy one, because I had to put gas in the car to get home. So I suffered. And that sucked, yo.

This has transferred over to parenthood, of course. I pack everything the kids might need. Extra undies. Extra wet wipes. Any and all medications that one could possibly need with small children. Their little bags bulge with the possibility of warm or cold or even rainy weather wear. Most of the time, we don’t need half of it… But in case one of my precious cargos develops a fever, gets covered in their lunch, get soaked in the rain, or has a hard day riding the potty train, I am covered. I am prepared. No one needs to suffer.

So now, with a trip far away from where I live, I am doing it again. I have to pack for the kids being at Grandma and Grandpa’s for the week, us going to Britain for a week, and organize all the important papers and things we need to get into the country we are visiting. I am wondering at what exactly I can bring and what I should leave. I am planning and re-planning outfits, footwear, hats and jewelry. I am allowing for a  bit of room to bring home awesome things for friends and family (and me! Can’t forget me!). I am doing the “what-ifs”.

But, by the end of it, on Sunday, I will be zen and happy, and satisfied with my efforts.

Why?

Because I am prepared. ♥

Reasons Why my Unicorns aren’t Farting Rainbows*

*Note: No Unicorns were harmed in the writing of this post. Their digestive tracts are just fine.*

It is apparently warming up this week.

A friend informed me this morning that it might rain. Ok, warmer weather means I might be able to get out and run, but rain? Come on now, is it too much to ask for non-freezing eyelashes AND sun? Obviously not. *grump* It has been a long, long, long cold and snowy winter for us here. If I have one more day where I am chilled to the bone on my legs and extremities by the time I get to work, but sweating inside every building I go into before I can take all the winter layers off… Well… Seriously, I don’t know what I’ll do, but it may involve foot stomping and fist-shaking.

In reality, I do not do temper tantrums very well. I’d be better served simply adhering Bitchy Resting Face™ and retreating into self-administered alone time on the bus until I feel as if I have stewed long enough over things I cannot control. *mumble* stupid Polar Vortex *mumble* living where air hurts my face *mumble* have you seen my stapler *mumble*

I had intentions of running last week and it did not happen. At all. I even put it out there to my fellow running friends, and… the Sabby Machine ran outta gas. I did not go. Why? I didn’t make it a priority. I couldn’t find the energy or time.

I didn’t want to.

I have not run in a month now. I haven’t yearned for it once, and haven’t had the energy to even contemplate it some days. It seems weird because I love it so much (and feel like I miss the idea of it, most days), but the thought of putting on all the clothes to go out the door and run makes me just sit right back down on the couch, grab my iPad, flip to a random mind-numbing, addictive game, and go “ugh”. Don’t even get me started on going to the gym to run on a treadmill… the few times I have, I have walked away and quietly cried in the shower afterwards because it felt so terrible. It hurt, it felt wrong, and it was hard as *^&% to simply just keep moving.

The one highlight of this was the running I did in January was wonderful, and the track workout I attended was really, really fun. New shoes work, it felt good to be active, and then… The bottom fell out.

I have a race in April. It is almost March and the last long run I did was 8k, which is half the distance I have to cover at the end of April. I am seriously thinking of selling my bib, or giving it to someone who wants the challenge. I will NOT be ready in time to run the whole thing. The idea of running a race, any race, is so exhausting I just don’t think about it. Or when I do, I stop because it leads to me being a Negative Nelly about myself because I am not pushing my fitness like every single other friend around me and how dare I even call myself a fit person anymore when I have gained ten pounds since Christmas and… *deep breath*

…Let’s not get into that whole “Inner Critic-Shut, Up!” business today. I feel like I have beaten that into the ground with the “Be positive! Be ready! You can DO EEEEET!” and I am tired of that, too. I have drained the bank with positive self talk, uplifting imagery, reminders of past accomplishments and all that stuff, but it does not matter when you have no motivation. No get-up-and-go. No power. Add life/family/work stress and WINTER… And that cocktail knocks you on your arse every time.

There are no words to describe how much I am looking forward to going to Britain in three weeks. They have Spring grass, even if it is temperate and rainy (and, I hope, receding floodwaters soon, dear friends)! GREEN GRASS, PEOPLE! *gasp…wheeze*

Finding the time to go has been hard too, for a multitude of reasons I won’t go into here, cuz really, we all deal with it and some of it is way personal, yo. After an “in the kitchen” chat with some girlfriends not too long ago, I detailed it all out. Cheaper than therapy, people. Find yourself a group of like-minded women (or men, y’all talk about this stuff when watching the game, right?) and throw your problem to them. They can sometimes see things you can’t. It can also be super intimidating to do, and it was scary to be in that group and having them tear my problems to pieces. I look up to these women. It was hard to let them see my failures. Some ouchy things were said (in a loving way) and it was good in the end, because I sorted out some *&^%. It was a tough evening, though. I got home and had a really big, messy, sobby sob-session. I didn’t even take off my makeup, so you can imagine what I looked like after that. *screams in terror*

The other factor that has kept me from physical activity in the past month or so is pain. Good old fashioned aching, hurting, creaking, tottery pain. I did not understand exactly why I was in pain until I saw a doctor last week.

I haven’t talked about it (especially around Husband who would just tell me I needed to get back on the exercise train. He has no motivation issues with his regime because Crossfit). I felt like maybe the pain was indeed the byproduct of not moving much (wasn’t convinced, I walk quite a bit every day to and fro work, from the bus etc). But doing a squat brings pain into my knees that lasts. Doing push ups makes my shoulders make that “poik” noise with each rep and ache for a day afterwards. Waking up and moving in the morning is a shuffle, then a slow hobble until I can actually open my eyes. If I sit for too long, I look like the Tin Man after a rainstorm when I walk. let’s not talk about Bad Bus Driver rides where I have sore arms from holding on. After my track workout, my abs were still quivering piles of ouch five days later, and I couldn’t lift my arm above my head for three on one side (aka: pulled somethin’-somethin’ in that there side muscle). My hands swell up like balloons if I do too much typing.

I know. Typing.

Don’t laugh. But y’all, it is my job. I’m a writer. Do you have any idea how much that sucks? I keep ice packs in the freezer at work to rest my hands on at regular intervals.

I have been living on Motrin and sometimes Aleve to ease the overwhelming day-after-day-after-day pain. I felt like I was falling apart, and thinking I was going to be dealing with this permanently. It was a new “normal” and it was, well… Depressing. Energy sapping. Etc. See above. Taxes and shipping are extra. Results not typical.

I saw my doctor earlier in the month, and he put me on a sleep medication that has been helping in a big way. Sleep is a wonderful thing, no? Then, last week, I saw another doctor and mentioned to her that the constant ache and pain was really wearing me down mentally and emotionally, on top of everything else. She put two and two together and went “Well, likely it is because you are depressed.”. Errr? Ok… Explain.

Apparently, with Seasonal Physical Depression (think similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD), body aches and pain are magnified, and sometimes a symptom of. Clinical depression can also cause such aches and pains. It has very little to do with not moving. It has nothing to do with exercising too hard. Sometimes exercising can bring it on worse, even (think DOMS + emotional/mental struggles = feeling worse). It can also suppress your immune system. Wait… What? *atchoo*

So cue the rolling snowball. Not wanting to move because it hurts, having no energy to move, feeling worse about yourself because you aren’t moving, then dealing with the hurt when you break down and move because you browbeat yourself into it… And if the real reason (depression) is not being addressed…

Where’s my Bikini?

There is a big ball of brightness up in the sky. If I look up, my breath fogs my sunglasses and I can’t see, but I feel this strange sensation hitting my hurting, pink cheeks.

Heat. Warmth.

I am standing outside this morning, soaking up the sun, even though it is -26 Celcius with the wind chill, and I realize I must look like a lunatic. So I quickly levelled my gaze, and lo and behold, about a billion people in the area where I was were doing the exact same thing (most on a smoke break, but I digress). We are all sun-worshipping in down parkas, toques and Sorel boots.

For anyone who lives in warmer climes, it might look a tad ridiculous. For us, it is just another mid-Winter day in Ottawa.

Depiste the normalcy of cold temperatures and a lack of sunlight, tt has been a brutal, brutal winter here. I have not been running. At all. Nor gymming it. Nada. Just getting through the day is an accomplishment at the moment, and I am happy if I have energy at the end of the day to do something other than sit on the couch and stare blankly at my husband, who is staring blankly back. I feel so unproductive and behind on #allthethings.

$&^*, Spring had better get here soon. I’m not sure how much more blank staring can happen before one of us snaps.

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Good Girl

When I was a child, I was told “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

I’ve always kept that at the back of my mind when tramplingfinding my way through social situations. I took it to mean “Don’t complain, don’t say mean things about others” etc. I also took it to mean “Keep your mouth shut and don’t participate because you are dumb, will sound stupid and people will hate you”. This attitude stems from many years of being told just that, and my own basement-level self-esteem holding me back at various points.

I truly thought I would never amount to anything like what I am now, a long time ago. I felt like I was indeed worthless, stupid, destined to a life of menial labour with no fulfillment, self-loathing abuse, and terrible life decisions. Slowly, over time, this has changed, and I am in a much better place. I have scars, and consequences of these decisions, but they are lessons and building blocks of where I am now (which is better, if you have kept up to my nattering so far).

However, I never said my Inner Critic followed the same advice. My Inner Critic, sometimes still thinks I am ridiculously fat, stupid, and worthless. She is beaten regularly to improve morale,  I assure you. Har-har-har. No, really…

Most of the time, I realize how ridiculous it is for me to believe these things about myself, and thankfully, the times when I truly do berate and whack myself about with such negative ideas has diminished in the past couple of years, significantly. Running, finally finding local female friends in the same place in life as myself, being solidly married, having the fulfillment of two tiny people who drive me nuts and elate me in a second’s time, and becoming much more accepting of my my post-babies body has helped immensely.

If my 20’s self could see my 30’s self, she would be horrified at how saggy various body parts have become, but also excited because my 30’s self is way happier in general.

But, despite all this personal growth to the positive side of the graph, I still have my moments, and I still deal with those terribly dark thoughts from time to time. **Honesty Alert** – I have been dealing with them in the past two months. Hard. I have been trying my best to not let it show, to stay upbeat, to remain sunny and positive on the outside.  No one likes a Debbie-Downer! No one wants to be around a morose person. Even my husband gets annoyed with me, tells me to “suck it up” or “snap out of it” (which really helps…).

Also? the crazy of Christmas does not help. I was very glad to see Christmas over this year. It was wonderful, I enjoyed being with my family, but when the tree left the house and the decorations were packed away, a whole weight of stress left with them. I breathed a sigh of relief when our schedule got back to normal. I have missed blogging, I had missed routine. I did not miss constant Christmas music…

But, it could also have been the allergic reaction I had to the tree left too making my entire body go “Thank the &^*% that is over!”… Jes sayin’…

When it comes to my blog and lack of blog posts, As I have mentioned before, I hate using it as a place to complain about stuff (unless with terrible jokes and in light of larger issues and fun). It all seems so trivial when I try to put it down on paper and justify why I feel so horrible about myself, or my current life. Do I have a right to be down and out? I have so much to feel blessed about. It would be rude of me to do woe and angst, when so many others have so much less than I, or are far less lucky in life than I. I should be ashamed for how I am feeling, right? No one needs to hear about my sadness, or my struggles. they all have their own &*^% to deal with. I can’t burden others. Besides, no one likes a complainer. So the blog stays quiet, like a pond in the morning sunrise *cue swelling music* and I didn’t write because I didn’t want to be negative.

Yeah. WTF, lady? Reach out, ask for help, vent to someone. It does good, remember? Writing it down makes you happier. Talking to people makes you more grounded. Durr…

So a week or so ago I did say something to someone (or several someone’s), and almost immediately the tension lifted. I felt better, I felt understood, and I mentally shook myself like a wet sheepdog. I realized I indeed don’t need to give in to the overwhelmed, tired and down monsters. I actually ran last week. Three times! And wrote! And am writing here! I also am sleeping better! And not having anxious, heart-pounding, sweaty panic attacks anymore (at least a week has gone by where I have not had one, now…)

Jeebus… Rollercoaster ride, anyone?

The amount that simply telling someone “I’ve had a hard time lately” helped was immediately noticeable. True, the lack of light, the beastly winter weather we’ve had, huge allergic reactions to dry air and the *&%^ing Christmas tree, constant cold after cold courtesy of my youngest, and various other stressful family and life situations have been wearing me down like water on a stone. But it helped.

The Dowager is hilarious, and I love her lines. But in reality, sometimes I need to stop worrying about being the “good girl” and just get it off my chest. I need to let others help me shake it loose. ♥

 

 

 

Bumpin’ Rum Bussin’ Hijinks

Happy Hump Day!

I almost added rum to my coffee this morning, when in a flash of absolute brilliance, I switched my 1% milk with some of the eggnog I brought home last night.

Oh yes… I was poised at the liquor cabinet. But I relented because well… That would really be irresponsible of me to put rum into my coffee. I mean come on, that would be wrong, right? To get on the bus, tempt folks with the heady rum-coffee aroma as I languorously open the top to breathe in the deliciousness… And not share.

Sharing is caring, everyone. So next time you want to bring a paper bag-disguised mickey of Jack Daniels onto your morning express downtown, remember that, k? (I kid you not, this happens from time to time)

I did not get much sleep last night, for various reasons (one of which I must remember to get decaf at Tim Horton’s  when I do evening coffee. What do they do to their grounds? not even espresso from Starbucks gets me that jittery). I have one eye that is puffed out like a prizefighter, my sinuses are slowly hardening into concrete, and my hip is hurting like a *^&%er. I was the picture of serene, rested, luminous beauty this morning (oh how I wish there was a sarcasm punctuation mark…).

In all seriousness, flirting with my Secret Pretend Bus Boyfriend was out of the question. Besides, I was really tired, had not even swiped on mascara (see puffy eye mention), and didn’t want to scare him. I left my sunglasses on (yes I am aware it was overcast and not one iota of sun was peeking through) and hid, thumbing through my phone, sipping my coffee and clutching my backpack to my lap for fear it touch the disgusting bus floor.

So basically I looked like an OCD, repentant cougar with a killer hangover. Super. All I need now is a Leopard-print Dr. Zhivago winter hat and I am ready to pounce. Meow? *sneeze*

Le Nordik saunas and whirlpools on Friday cannot come soon enough (Screw Calgon, I want Aufguss).

Walking in the snow on the sidewalks the past two days, in boots I really need to replace, has had a toll on yon IT Band across my hip. So yeah, I have been stretching, slowly doing some cubicle squats, and avoiding the gym because I really need to be healthy to start training in January for my race goal in April (OMGWTFBBQ… four months from now!). I’m also realizing that I just need to get through this month with sanity (hence Le Nordik being a necessity). Husband is stressed, I am stressed, the kids are overly- excited about Christmas and my son asks every damned day if tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I am still able to answer him civilly, so I’m not strung too tight yet. That is the barometer. If I snap, you know the stress got to me. If I am still able to say “No, sweetness-of-my-life, it is in two weeks” without twitching, I am ok.

Get back to me about that on Friday around noon… I may have a different answer. Wear armour. Bring chocolate. Be nice if I ask for a cuddle.

We may need to get some of these.

With the forecast showing us more snow, I am considering if the expense of yaktraks is warranted before I get paid next week, or if I should lump it, and ask for them to be my Christmas gift from my husband (I know… How romantic are rubber and spikes that you strap to your… Oh… Wait… Don’t answer that…). I am doing Bambi on Ice interpretive dance on the sidewalks the past three days (soft tissue injury, here I come!). With my red toque, and green backpack, I am sure someone is going to ask me if I am an elf from some Santa figure skating show. Seriously. I just need the pointy ear thingys. Think I can borrow Channing Tatum’s? (http://www.newnownext.com/channing-tatum-is-a-sexy-blond-um-elf-in-jupiter-rising-trailer-watch/12/2013/)

But its not just me that is sliding about. If we get much more snow in December, our poor OCTranspo busses will be the ones driving way more carefullydoing Bambi impressions, because their normal balding summer slicks slide in this greasy, slippy stuff. Like on Monday when my bus driver couldn’t stop in time and slammed face-first into the back of the bus in front of us, when we were downtown. A few folks fell over, a few bumped body parts. I had just sat down at the front of the bus. I was lucky.

I walked the rest of the way to work, doing Sidewalk Ballet, and by the time I got to work, I was exhausted. I think my hip likely said “Ohhh no, sweetling. We don’t do that anymore, see?” and called their union rep, because ow.

I could’ve used a shot of rum after that to calm the nerves, let me tell you. Too bad there wasn’t any to be had.

Base Zero and Metaphors

Holy *%^$balls, life went Kersplody.

Messy, happy, snotty, sick stuff everywhere. I’m still mopping up, and I am still deciding how to get through December without going bat@#$* crazy. The holidays are upon us. I have so far been able to avoid doing any cookie baking, and have done most of my shopping online. I have begun the Great House Purganization 2013, with some success. Now… If only the dust bunnies would move out (and take those darned Cheerio elves with them) and the Laundry Gods would continue to favour me, I could tackle the massive pile of baby stuff to sell, sort the toys currently lurking in the basement, and get that stain off the basement stairs carpet… We’d be almost back to base zero. Hoo! Think of the free time! Hah… Right.

I have ventured into a store or two for gift shopping, but at off-peak because I hate Christmas crowds. Also? I have no idea what to get my husband, so I am left wandering a lot, not inspired. Not a clue, honestly. And Dad? What do you want for Christmas this year? My creative batteries are on low, so let me know what would make you a happy Grandpa, and the kids and I will go get it.

We’ve also decided not to have a Christmas Open House this year. This will be the first year, since 2008, that we haven’t had one. We looked at cash, and time, and the fact that we are so stretched energy-wise that we’d be nuts to try and get the house company-clean and cook for that many people while maintaining the work/ home life schedule we have. I have to say I am completely relieved, but also sad. We love having people over, it is a chance to see as many of our friends as possible around Christmas, and provide some cheer. Plus, having 40 some odd people (17 of them kids in your basement watching TV) is quite an experience in a three-bedroom bungalow.

That said, friends are always welcome to give us a call, or come over for tea on the weekend. Just don’t mind the crumbs, constant noise, and bedlam, ok?

The past couple of weeks, truly, has been really great and really awful all at once. I have done a couple of runs, and they were awesome. I have been in the gym kicking butt. Also awesome. Missed a kick-butt Tupperware party. Not awesome.

The worst was that my wonderful, beautiful, never-replaceable Mustang Blue Running Room Run Jacket is gone/stolen (I think, since it is nowhere to be found and I was certain where I had left it). The realization, when it hit, made me break down sobbing. It was passed to me from a really awesome and inspiring friend, Ally (http://runningawaywithmyself.blogspot.ca/) and I am really at an emotional loss because that gift meant so very much to me.  I loved that jacket, it fit perfectly, and was a comfort on every run. I have to replace it, but I have to afford new running shoes too. *^&%. I am still looking for it, checking the lost and found at work periodically, but… Hope is fading.

Curse you, whomever took it out of the locker room at work, if that is what happened. CURSES UPON YOUR BLACKENED SOUL! *ahem*

Finally surfacing after my stomach flu is great, but with the massive green and red twinkling freight train of Christmas approaching, I want to dive back down. Let’s not talk about piles of snow, holes in my winter boots, tense school meetings about my son, my lack of gym visits in the past few days, or the entire family having colds all at once. I sound whiny. I’m not, really. Just tired. Really, really tired.

I think it is time to start Vitamin D and iron again. Blargh.

Finally, along with being bedridden and achy for the past few days, I’ve been thinking in metaphors, and I wrote some down in my flu-like haze. After re-reading them, I wanted to share some of them with y’all. I kind of liked them. Note, I am not sad. Ok, some of these may sound sad, or depressing, but they aren’t. Just snippets, ideas. Playing with the ideas. See after the More. ♥

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Peeling

I tried a purifying face mask the other night that you slather on your face, leave on for thirty minutes (while you breakdance, clean the hampster cage, or make dinner), then peel off. It was a sample, so I had to squeeze it out of this ridiculously peanuts-on-an-airplane hard to open packet. I suppose I could have used scissors, but I was lazy and there weren’t any in the bathroom, because my daughter can climb, and decided to “cut her hair” (she’s two) the other day, so we had to move them.

I haven’t really ever been a fussy 12,432 step skincare kind of person. I do the wash with water, rub in some lotion and go. Maybe some eye cream if I look like a Basset Hound, or a scrub if my skin is greyer than the November sky *cue dramatic pose*.

Besides, ain’t nobody got time for that with two toddlerists in the house. But, *sigh*, with the change of the seasons, my face has been flaking and freaking out like a molting snake.You’re welcome for that visual. Can’t say I’m not accommodating. (Freaky, Dude… That’s what she said… etc.)

The face mask was pitch black. The brand was Boscia, if you’re interested. Was supposed to purify me like the angel Gabriel, and make my skin glow like an LED Christmas bulb, and stuck to everything I touched. I am a dork, so it got everywhere. Yeah. On the mirror, the ceiling (don’t ask) and my (thankfully already ratty) shirt.

I was safely in my home, using Science!© to make my skin glow like a photoshopped model in Vogue, so it was not inappropriate… But yep, as I gazed at my husband-terrifying visage in the mirror (Uhh honey, what is wrong with your face?) I did think about Halloween and all of the ridiculous people who decided that wearing what has been coined as “Blackface” as a costume was ok. *shakes head* Ridiculous, and how on earth is that ever ok? Ever? Yikes. (Julianne Hough I’m pointing at you, dearie… Crazy Eyes or no, sweetheart…)

Thirty minutes later, I remembered why I never, ever use peel off masks. Like ever.

OW. %&^*$ity OWWWWW! I have too much peach-fuzzy hair on my face to be pulling that &^*% off. I think more hair came off than good went into my skin. *&^(. If I’d wanted to scream like Steve Carrell in the 40 Year Old Virgin, I would have gone and gotten a Brazilian. It was that painful. I was left with remnants of sooty facemask, red, angry skin where I had violently ripped hair out, and a lingering rage that I could not take out on anything.

It was after, when I read the packet, that I noticed “You can wash off, if preferred”. Derp. Double Derp, in fact.

You see what women do to look beautiful? Do you? Take note husbands, spouses, lovers… We poke, prod, stuff, tweeze, polish, scrub, puff, fluff, dye, strip, flip, scrape and peel ourselves to oblivion (and to empty wallets) to look beautiful. We apply strange ^*%& to our faces in hope it will have some modicum of change, deflate our puffy eyes, erase our wrinkles, even out our (likely already beautiful) skin tone.

And sometimes it *&^%ing hurts. So be nice to us. And buy us pretty things to soothe the lingering rage. ♥

Making it Up as I Go

A few mornings ago, I was about to apply mascara wand to my puny lashes when my daughter, dressed in her winter boots and coat, came into the bathroom. With mittens dangling out her sleeves, and her hood up, she announced “I have to put my makeup on!”.

It was adorable, I relented, and pulled her stool over to the counter. She climbed up, and I took out her “makeup” for her so I could continue to poke my eye out put my lashes on.

She is starting to want to do things with me, and explore her differences from her brother because “I am a girl!” gets announced frequently in our house (She also likes to announce she has a bum, a va-jay-jay, and sits down to pee). I am somewhat deer-in-the-headlights about it, and partially pleased she wants to do girl things with her dorky mom. She loves trucks and superheroes and idolizes her brother, but she does all the “boy” stuff in her Butterfly Princess dress and flashy pink Skechers.

Despite my endorsement of her purple, glittery tendencies, there is no way in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks I am letting her play around with my Dior, UD, or Clinique compacts, and I am not letting lipstick get smeared on everything in sight. Not only is that &^*% expensive, but higher end shadow or blusher pigment doesn’t come out of anything. Even with that stain remover hocked on TV by that dude who needs to stop yelling or he’ll pop a hernia.

Gathering the materials to make fake play makeup.

So, faced with her wanting to “Be like Mommy” at the tender age of two and a half, I dug through my old, dried out and cracked compacts a couple of weeks ago.  Armed with a Pinterest-gacked idea, and some spare time (I know! WOOO!) I made play makeup.

I picked up dollar-store nail polish (FYI, this stuff REEKED for days after I made the compacts. Air them in a well-ventilated area) and some stick on jewels (which are not very sticky) and prepared to do my best.

I was able to pop out the green eyeshadow duet easily (Seriously, green? What was I thinking? They never looked good on me.) and the Lise Watier popped out with minimal effort. The lip gloss/lipstick pallete, however, was greasy and stubborn.

The finished compacts, complete with bedazzled covers and brushes

May I suggest wearing gloves if you are cleaning out any kind of compact with lipstick, gloss, or otherwise oil-based makeup? My hands were a tinge of pink for a day after washing that puppy out. And let’s not talk about the glitter… (Herpes of the craft and makeup world, I tell ya)

Once I got them clean and dry, I poured the nail polish into the former makeup reservoirs. I filled them halfway, so that when they dried it would “coat” the inside of the compartment, and not “fill it” which would likely stay soft. Which would be bad news for anything within the vicinity of my daughter, once she got poking at them with a brush.

Nail polish fingerprints do not come off denim easily, youknowwhatI’msayin’?

Remember, as you pour, that there are those tiny ball-bearings in the bottles, and try not to drop them into the compact. I had to fish mine out with Q-Tips, and that was messy. I kept poking at them going “Stupid bubbles” wondering why they wouldn’t pop.

Bling
The compacts in all their blingy glory

They weren’t bubbles. Derp.

Next, you let it dry (ummm… Duh?). Which takes awhile (overnight). This is where you ensure you have placed them where they won’t make you pass out from the fumes, or have a little girl get into them. Yeah. *cough-snort* cheap nail polish = lots and lots of narsty smells. I was not about to use my OPI or more eco-friendly bottles though, and if this turned into a PinterestFail, I wouldn’t be out a ton of money.

Once dry, I stuck some jewels to the tops, to make them toddler-girl acceptable (I also used some of them on my own compacts… Because I felt left out and wanted bling). They don’t stay very well so I will have to go back and superglue them on. They keep coming off, and my daughter sticks them to other things, like her eyelid, or her tongue.

She loves them. She puts them into a little silver play purse and carries them around, puts them in the bathroom “Just like Mommy”. She paints the “glitter blusher” on her cheeks with a fierce focus, and the tiny brush that came with the gloss palette gets used to put her lipstick on. All the colours. Every time.

If it was real makeup, she might be mistaken for one of the citizens from the Capitol. But this is ok. She says her favorite is the glitter. Of course it is! I have glitter eyeliner that sometimes makes its way onto her cheek in the form of a star. She loves that. So every morning I am getting ready with the kids, she is beside me on a stool putting her “makeup” on.

I’m still getting used to this, being a mom to a girl. It felt like only yesterday I was at the hospital, having the ultrasound tech tell me I was having a girl and having a mini-internal freak out about massive hair bows and how I was going to deal with all the frouffy-frouf and tulle.

It has been easier in some ways, and harder in others. I am not used to the pink, the bows, the glitter, or the unflinching, glorious desire to be a princess. I am more used to the dresses, pretty shoes, and playing Dolly Tea Party (The best parties are when Dolly gets a tupper of single malt while we are having tea.. .or wait, is that me…). I have worn a tutu on my head, dealt with the chopped liver sensation when my little girl needs her Daddy more than me, and bought more pink and purple frilly things than I have ever before. I’ve even contemplated, while purchasing every day fun jewelry pieces, if they would be able to pass down to her at some point as play jewelry, and if the answer is no, putting it back.

Hopefully she knows (or will know) I am trying my best.

Trying to be a good example to her, foster her ability to be as girly/frilly/glittery a woman as she wants, yet have balls to take on the big things in life, and toe the line with the Boy’s Club if she needs to. I want her to be able to do all the Tom-Boy stuff she ever wants to do, but I will not say no if she completely geeks out over more female oriented toys and past times like those rainbow elastic looms that are giving all the cool kids carpel-tunnel.

I just want her to experience everything she can to help her find out who she is as she grows. I know she’s only two, but I have been thinking about it a lot the past few days (hence the long-winded navel-gazy post hidden in a tutorial). Call me crazy (wait, you already do…) but I feel like I need to ensure I have this right. If I do nothing else right, let me be the best role model for my children I possibly can.

Even though I really do feel like I am making it up as I go. ♥

Dammit…

I think the universe it trying to kill me. Or maybe just maim me. I should have stayed in bed.

This morning, while hefting to the bus at 5:56 AM, I stepped on the curb at the crosswalk to get to my bus stop, and my foot landed on one of a row of rocks someone had helpfully placed along the edge. Which I could not see in the pitch dark because my neighbourhood seems to think streetlights aren’t important.

Karma, why you gotta hate? I am a nice girl, I pay my taxes, I hold the door for people… Seriously.

Upon contact with one of the nefarious rocks, I took two crazy steps out, lost my balance, and fell smack dab in the middle of the intersection. As I was falling, “This is gonna hurt” flashed through my brain pan, and then the side of my head and jaw hit the pavement, along with my right arm and left knee.

I splatted out, dudes, in pure Bambi fashion. My lunch bag spilled everywhere, and I squished my banana. I lost my yogurt spoon somewhere in the dark. Since my bus was due any moment, I did a quick physical check of all hurty areas, gasped a few times, let a few tears out, and then scrambled to continue up to the bus stop.

The gentleman (may I use the term with sarcasm?) sitting at the stop saw the whole thing. He never even got up, or asked if I was ok as I limped up to the bench and sat down to make a more thorough check of my various whacked body parts. However, he did stare at me the whole time, like a stunned owl.

Thankfully, his bus came just before mine, and he left. Nice.

Oh, and for the record, no blood! Go me! I had no worries of vampires coming out of the gloom and attacking me because I suddenly smelled delicious. (This is both good and bad, I suppose *lesigh*)

Once downtown in the still pitch black, I got off a stop too early because a woman was spraying herself with perfume from the seat behind me. Spraying perfume! ON A BUS! What the *^&% are you thinking, lady? Half the bus emptied, people coughing and wiping their eyes. Several people informed the driver as we were all evacuating.

I swear, sometimes people can be such douche-canoes.

When I finally got to the gym, I was limping, ragey, and slightly worried I had sprained or broken my pinkie finger (it is not, thank God, I can move it just fine now, even though it is a bit sore). The thought of picking up a dumbbell was immediately dissuaded when I tried to put on my gloves. OW, %*^&ity, OW!

So I did some of my physio floor exercises and then a ten minute walk/jog on a treadmill (with a TV on it! OMG this gym is a palace compared to my normal location) to flush out my already aching legs.

Ok, so my whole body was aching at this point. I was hating every stinkin’ moment being in the gym so early. My jaw was sore. I was hungry. I needed caffeine. The fact that there was three flights of stairs to get back to the change rooms was making me want to punch things. I was feeling bloated and fat with all the tiny Lululemon’ed bodies prancing around.

Above all else? I was mad that I squished my banana.

It is supposed to get easier, right? I know I’m not a morning person bit ^*%&, cut me some slack, world. Let’s hope today gets better, alright?

*#@%.

Hump Day Drama

What an absolute &^*% of a week.

Seriously… If Friday had not gotten here today, I think I may have revolted. Or at least been mildly annoyed. It has been an up-and-down rollercoaster ride of crazy, funny, happy, and sad. My ever-lovin’ TV boyfriend Nathan over here sums it up best.

Right.

Over all, I’ve been feeling good all week despite the craziness that has happened. Bouncy, full of energy, alive, happy! The positive energy tap got turned on again, and it has been a lovely change from having no energy and having negative emotions swirling in my head. I have been trying to wake up, greet the day, and wear nice things so I feel good. I’ve even shopped the bargain jewelry rack at the Bay and found some really nice pieces to add to my collection for not much money. Yesterday I bought a ring for $4 that was normally $60.

Boo-yeah! I win deal of the week!

I think a main reason for this slow unravelling back to a more normal feeling is that I am pain free. No hip hurting, no leg pain at night, and my foot feels a bazillion times better than it has in months. Once I get my new running shoes all figured out (thank you Solefit!) I am going to be able to run again.

I know! I need a parade or something to commemorate this. TWO MONTHS of no running. TWO! *flail*

I am also feeling creative again. I am seeing art in every day things. I am noticing the colours of objects, the sun hitting a rooftop, the ebb and flow sounds of life around me. Being in pain really dulled me. I couldn’t muster effort to smile, slept badly, ate poorly because I was tired… And hello, blood sugars! How ’bout you freak out too! Stress receptors on overdrive + pain + lack of sleep…

The end of my summer was sucky.

But I am back now, or at least feel back. I want to listen to music again, I walk with a bounce in my step. While chatting with a random man in line at Starbucks on Tuesday, he asked me what I was doing for lunch, and if I wanted to join him. I politely declined, and waggled my left ring finger at him.

It made me feel pretty and stuff, being “hit on” like that. Hey, I’m contently married, but I ain’t dead! That hasn’t happened since my swim instructor last winter asked me to dinner (Its ok sweetie, I think he forgot I was married, I take my ring off to go in the pool, y’see).

Levity and flattery aside, the second half of my week, especially, has been a neon sign reminder of how precious life is, and how we must not let it pass us by. It has made me think of what I am doing, where I am going, how I can do better. Do those things I want to do that make a difference. not sure what that is exactly, but I’m werkin’ on it.

On Wednesday, I was driving my kids to their doctor’s appointment. I was on a very busy street, traffic stopped in either direction, me slowing down for the light. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a black blur shoot out between two stopped cars, right at me.

The black blur turned out to be a woman, running.

The front corner of my car, and her body met with a very heavy and frightening thud. I couldn’t swerve. I couldn’t stop in time. She just…

…Hit the car and fell. As I leapt out of my seat and bolted around the car, I was fearing the worst, her under my tires, massive injury… Or worse.

I am thankful for new brakes on my car, because I stopped very quickly. I am grateful that my kids didn’t see what happened, being engrossed with books in the back seat. I am beyond words of thanks for the nurse in the car beside me, and the military paramedic in traffic a few cars down who had his full kit with him. I am relieved that the woman’s coat got caught in the corner of my hood and came off of her instead of dragging her. We are blessed that no one was badly hurt.

The woman only hurt her leg, wasn’t bleeding anywhere we could see, and seemed completely aware. No one was put at fault.

I was a mess. Once I ensured the kids had fresh air in the car, and were distracted, I moved under a tree by the side of the street and lost it. Completely. Shaking, losing my breath, the whole kitten-kaboodle. Away from the kids because we don’t need more trauma. But I had to deal with what had just happened or I was going to explode.

I hit another human. With my car. I don’t recommend it.

That night, I spent a lot of time distracting myself with random videos and TV episodes (ok, so I was looking up random obscure movies starring actors I have recently come to obsess over admire). I was physically tired, and felt muffled. Numb. The moment of impact kept replaying in my mind, and my dreams that night were rather strange and disjointed. I woke up Thursday, took the morning to meditate, speak to someone about it, and then met friends for lunch before putting my game face on and going to work. I felt better, but was worried I was processing it too quickly, and shouldn’t feel this ok with what had happened. I was jumpy and cautious with myself.

Yeah… over-analyze much? Nah…

Today I feel normal again. I have indeed dealt with what happened, thanked God for watching over us, and tried my best to re-harness the happy that began the week. I think having this uptick in getting back to normal for me helped me deal with what happened on Wednesday in a much better way.

I felt guilty a bit this morning feeling happy and bubbly, but then reasoned with myself. I need to be this way. I need to get back to how amazing I was feeling, because when I do, I make better life choices, I feel better about myself, and to be honest, it is much less tiring. So again, the ruggedly handsome Captain Tightpants over here demonstrates my mood this afternoon as I contemplate a weekend of fun with my family, and a Sunday morning watching good friends achieve amazing things at their Triathlon.

I am alive, and it is good.

Creative Me

I’m in a funny mood this morning. Not sure if it is funny ha-ha, or funny-strange. And yes, that distinction does exist in my world. Pipe down over there, you. *stink eye*

For some reason, the alarm did not go off, and the first thing I was greeted with upon waking up was Grumpy Husband, sweaty and stinky from his morning sojourn to WOD-land (Crossfit, yo!) saying “get up!”.

&^%*. Great way to start off a Monday *grump*.

I was having the most luxuriously indulgent dream, and was ripped unceremoniously out of it by the needs of my family and the requirement to get my *&^ moving for work. *^(&. Buzzkill.

I used to, when allowed to wake up slowly, remember the dreams I had, and  wrote them down as book ideas or simply to remember them since they were so lovely. If I was ripped away from that, they dissipated into the air like mist on a humid summer morning. I liked to sometimes pull on dream memories throughout the day to calm, recenter, and build on them.

Sometimes they just had to stay in the recesses of my mind because I shouldn’t keep them, really, or I had to forget them to prevent hot flashes all day while I was supposed to be concentrating on the real world. (TMI? too bad.)

I haven’t remembered a dream in a long, long time. Since getting married, having kids, and generally having a lot less of my cycles to devote to this… Well, my dream remembering has gotten dusty. Heck, my writing has gotten dusty. I still do write, but when was the last time I actually finished something, or fleshed an idea out to the point where I could actually *write* it?

Yeah. Once I had my daughter, I relegated my idea of being a published writer to the back shelf. What time? What energy to be creative and emotional while living through people that only existed in my head?

HAH!

But…  Here is the thing (idea/debate/ridiculous hypothesis)…

My dreams give me surges of creativity, and I miss that. I want to write them down because I want to get it out of me onto “paper”, see it manifested, so that I can believe in their artistic merit. Is this a good idea? Is this something I would want to read in a book, or is it just my brain driveling out random awesomeness from the day just past? You can take that debate all the way to some deep, inner-workings melodrama, but sometimes your brain is just dumping the crap, not the world giving you plot bunnies. No need to over analyze that dream where you were flying on a mechanical pig into the Andes to find a McDonalds. Right… Best not to touch that one.

At all.

But sometimes, I did get gems. Dreams that were so vivid and beautiful that when I did sketch them out, and think back on the details, I received a sense of elation that I remembered them. That I could draw upon this creative moment for energy. It gave me a purpose other than the rat race compulsion to pick a career path that made money and paid the bills.

Creativity gives me energy, and I need to remember this. So the funny mood I am in today, where I can’t seem to sit still, and am sketching out the dream I still remember, even with the abrupt wake up…

Maybe it isn’t a funny feeling at all. Maybe this is me finding a little piece of the old me. I have been thinking a lot about that lately. Trying to find something to grasp onto. The creative me, the writer me. maybe that’s the ticket?

I have no idea. I could just need more coffee, or a good slap upside the head. It could be the recent spat of character-driven television shows I have been binge-watching making me miss my care-free 20’s. It could be the crispness of Fall making me look inward to cocoon from the impending winter snow. or maybe I just really need to get back to running…

But I’ll take it… And I hope it stays.

*As for the sexy reference GIF, you’re welcome. *grin*

Perspective

You know that thing that happens sometimes when you are overwhelmed? that thing where you go into some sort of quasi-survival mode, and simply get through the day with the least amount of distraction in the form of hobbies and fun?

Yup. That.

My days are blurring together, and the energy level I have at the end wouldn’t even power a toaster. Has anyone seen my clone? She went on strike, and hasn’t come back. I really need clean socks and a massage.

Seriously though. I feel so busy since my son started back to school that everything other than eating, working, parenting, and sleeping (or not sleeping at all… Damn you insomnia) take precedence. Also? Distraction is in the form of binge watching Netflix streams before trying to doze off. Perhaps that is part of the insomnia… Who knows.

My current obsession interest is a show about this tiny town that is literally awash in ridiculously beautiful people who are rich, 20-something, functionally alcoholic vampires. Their houses are expensive and massive, they never have to do laundry, or shop for their amazing wardrobes. Being tossed into various crazy situations doesn’t even smudge mascara.

I know, right?

I want to live there, because obviously they have magic houses that are always full of groceries and clean themselves. blood stains always come out of expensive Persian rugs. I think that it might be more of a fantasy to live there, rather than having the main sexy, vampire that broods about the screen pop up and whisk me away somewhere exotic and remote to have their way with me… where there are no children screaming, decisions to make, or carpets to vaccuum. (Yes, dear, I know. I already have a list in case this ever happens in real life. I will not forget extra socks for you while we pack, I promise.)

However. Perspective. That is TV-Magic-land, where everyone is perfect, life always has some form of HEA, and no one ever needs to pee. I live in the real world. I still have to sort my colours and whites, and buy milk with $5 left in my bank account before pay day.

I am kind of trying to cut back on my time on Facebook and social media a bit. I need some time to get myself organized up here *points at head* and perhaps this weekend spend some time away from the computer and tablet completely. I think I need it. We have to plant our garlic, I want to start cleaning out some of the baby stuff we don’t need, and spend some time with the kids. Real time, not herding-or-directing time. I need that too.

I just found out a friend I have not seen in a long time had a heart attack. I had no idea until she posted that she was finally home from the hospital. I asked what was wrong, and her son filled me in. Another friend is going in for surgery soon for a serious health condition, and my prayers have been with her and her husband for days and days now. They are part of our family, their stressful time has been weighing on me, and I wish we lived closer to them so we could support them by physically being there to hold hands, cook meals, and hug.

I’m staying away from social media, news, and local Internets because of the deadly bus and train crash that happened here in Ottawa two days ago. I just don’t want to see those pictures, or hear the replay of the 911 calls or dispatch chatter. It is too much, being that I live here, in the city. There is so much coverage, you can’t get away from it, but I am trying to just process and move on without being assaulted by pictures of a wrecked bus, theories, worries, and wrecked lives.

I do want to say that this is tragic, and unbelievable, and I feel so heartbroken for the families affected. We, as a city, are also affected and mourn with you. I mourn, I just choose not to consume vast news speculations and gory rehashing of details. May we all find peace and closure in the days to come.

So I have been absent from my friends, my social world online, and myself a bit too. I haven’t been able to run, or get to the gym, or even think about being active, simply trying to get through the day without ending up in tears on the couch. Gotta keep my &^%$ together, right?

Next week I can try to do more. Tomorrow I can be better. Today I just have to survive.

Perspective.

Fall

it is 2:30 in the afternoon and I am feeling like a disjointed tin man.

It has been a day.https://i2.wp.com/media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lvbcz08qCT1qafrh6.gif

Various body parts hurt, and I have two bandaids across my right knee that are not staying put. Kiddo #1 is off to school, I had a lovely stress-snark with husband, and got sandwiched on the bus by a man wearing far, far too much Axe body spray. My eyes were swollen shut by the time enough people could get off the &^%*ing bus and I could move away from the stench. My desk was used over the past two days by someone who had a leaky coffee cup, and they adjusted my chair. Let’s not talk about the deadline that got moved up two weeks to Monday…

So… Yeah, that kind of day.

The kind where you go and get a really chocolatey latté drink from the local coffee house, spy a brownie, and your hand reaches for it before your brain can register. Several large-wolfish bites later, and you have consumed the caloric equivalent to your entire dinner in a quietly sad and guilty manner.

https://i1.wp.com/25.media.tumblr.com/bd521b508045252056de77d2c0ea5fcb/tumblr_mpkplqdwJP1sz2gudo1_250.gif

See, apart from the culmination of bitty things all rolling into a big ball of Argh, the worst is this:

I had physio this morning. The hip was sore after the last physio session, and I was a bit worried. So we took it easy, I am to lay off strength until the weekend. Stretching and walking only. I got to experience a second dose of ultrasound on the hip, and then acupuncture! I had a needle, in my buttcheek for ten minutes this morning.

A very peculiar feeling, that.

But then I went and undid all the hard work not even two hours later. Walking around the outside of my building on my way to my desk, I tripped on a patio stone that someone had half-heaved up, and fell, in pure Bambi-like inspiration.

As I fell, I felt my left ankle tweak, and upon landing, shredded the front of my right knee into a big, angry, red mess. I sat there for a good five minutes, mad at the world, irritated at my hubs for stressing me out, angry at the patio stone that tripped me, exasperated at the dude with the Axe body spray for making me temporarily blind, pissed off at random office dude messin’ with my space, and…

I indulged in an all out, fists-pounding-air-hissy-fit-cry (thankfully no co-workers came by).

Damn right I had a brownie. *^&%, it was good.

https://mustangsabby.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/d0f50-hissy-fit-girl-crying.jpg

Squeezing Lemons

Today has me thinking about sizes. Specifically, for work out clothes.

Being a larger gal, I sometimes have trouble finding a size that fits me properly when I am buying running specific gear. Work out tops never fit the way they are supposed to, rolling up, fitting loose on the bust and tight at the belly. Pants are either too long in the leg when they fit the waist, assuming I am a 6′ giant if I have a waist that big, or so tight at the waist I’d have to wear spanx underneath them to get them to fit (which I have done… Don’t judge, people, I looked fierce and no one was the wiser). I have worn XXXL running pants, when my normal jean size at Old Navy is a 12 to 14. I kid you not. I cut the tag off, because they fit awesome and I liked them. Stupid numbers mean nothing, right?

It is frustrating though…. In my darker moments, I rant and rail at sports clothing companies who defer “plus” size to the back of the store, ignore it completely, or assume that plus size is something I would consider skinny. I get pissed off when I want to buy a brand I really like, but can’t because they don’t have my “size”. I mean come on! Fat girls run! Fat girls do yoga! Fat girls spin and weight train! AUGH! *flail*

It can really, really suck any positive self-esteem right out of you when you are shopping for cute work out clothes (or clothes in general, really) and none are to be had within your reach. Plus sized exercise clothing stores are out there, and more and more are coming on board, like Old Navy, Gap, H & M, Sportive Plus, http://www.junonia.com/… There are tons out there, Google is your friend. This is a good thing.

But are any as lucrative and sought after as popular brands that “everyone” wears? Are they as stylish and trendy as that popular brand? Hmmm…

The catalyst for this train of thought today is because I read an article about Lululemon coming under fire for “fat shaming”. http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2013/08/lululemon-under-fire-for-fat-shaming-marketing.html is the article. So I thought I would put down my own thoughts about this controversy, be they good or bad. I am aware some of what I think might seem disrespectful or slightly bitchy, or defending Lululemon without regard to how they make larger women feel… But remember, I am there with you. I jiggle my size 14 arse into that store and come away empty handed too. I love their styling, I love the colours, and sometimes wish I too could fit into those tiny stretchy shorts I see on every single other woman when I go to yoga.

For the record, I do not fit into Lululemon yoga pants. Their tops, their bras… but not the damned pants. It has caused me woe in the past, I won’t lie, and I have made mental fists at the Lululemon brand and said “You suck, make plus size!”. I don’t anymore though.

Continue reading

Trigger Guilt

I had a fat day yesterday. A full on “I am rotund and jiggly” internal monologue. And it made me feel guilty.

For feeling fat.

I know… Whut?

I was browsing through the myriad of pretty, feminine dresses at The Bay on the way home (70% off right now!) and realized that I had no idea what kind of dress would look good on me anymore, and the idea of trying one on in the heat of the day made me wilt. I always end up slightly flushed and frustrated in change rooms. trying on clothes can be a workout on its own. Also, lights in change rooms are evil. I swear they are chosen specifically for the type of light that will show off every flaw and blemish, and make you look washed out, dorky, and puffy…

Right. Moving on.

 

I left the alcove, headed towards the bus, feeling heavy, lumpy, and downtrodden. I liked some of the dresses there, but a lot of them, once on me would look very maternity-ish. My belly fat is in just the right place for folks to ask “How far along are you?” when I wear such things. *sigh*

I got asked just that last week, in the elevator at work. I was wearing a pair of leggings and my Gap slip-over dress. I looked right at the woman in question and said “3 years.” She looked puzzled so I added “My daughter is 2.” She looked embarrassed, but I followed it with a smile and a laugh so she did too. Truly, I felt mortified, but held it in. I waited until later to cry in the bathroom, the comment festering.

In truth, I was incredibly bloated for some reason, thinking desperately about what I had eaten that would cause that, and cranky because of it. How I did not go off on her, I don’t know. (Well, I do. I hate confrontation…)

I have found myself “feeling fat” way more often lately. I know I have put on a bit of weight, having no clear direction in my training, and my eating a bit out of whack with the crazy race schedule I am at the tail end of. But more than that, it is also that I have to walk through the mall every day to catch my bus. Ooooh, I know. Walking through a mall! Such hardship! Horrific circumstances there, sweetheart. *ahem*

Shopping malls are an emotional trigger for me, and have been for a long time. I feel large when I am clothes shopping in a mall, especially the mall downtown, where the  brands are bit expensive, and there seem to be a lot more thin, fashionable urban women walking around shopping in stores I have never set foot in, feeling out of place in them. I feel frumpy, walking beside women in cute, tiny sundresses and shoes, fancy bags on well sculpted shoulders, perfectly pulled together, while I notice a stain on my shirt, my jeans are wrinkled, and I am, as always, slightly sweaty. (I have a mild form of hyperhidrosis – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperhidrosis – have had for years and years. Lucky me?)

It is difficult to look into the store fronts and not feel inadequate. I am not inadequate, nor do I need any of these things to be amazing, but it can sometimes be hard when you are bombarded with images of “You should look this way!” or glance in the window and see your reflection, a complete opposite of the ridiculously thin mannequin starting blandly back out at you.

I sometimes even go to that dark place where I wonder how on earth my husband can stand me, or how gross I must look to others.

Society’s message about our bodies sucks, and even though I try to wade through the distorted pictures we are supposed to accept and emulate, I too am sometimes hit heavy with the expectation, and feel horrid about myself, then feel horrid for feeling horrid, because I have no reason to. I am doing great, my journey does not have a deadline.

But there it is. The guilt about feeling this way about myself. The stupidity of tearing myself down making me feel even worse.

I didn’t mean for this to be a negative post, I mean for it to make me think about why I go through these emotional rollercoasters, and allow myself to go to those places that are not a positive reinforcement for me or my journey. I need the reminder of how to simply say “NO!” to the familiar feeling of not being “thin” or “pretty” like everyone else. I need to remember that I am not a slave to my Inner Critic, and can silence her.

To remember Strong. Sometimes it is harder to do that, but I’m working on it… Perhaps it is time to start walking to another bus stop away from the mall.

 

 

 

Roadside

As I turned a corner on Saturday, running along a country road, I put my hand out unconsciously to run fingers through the waist high grass at the roadside. The seed pods rustled and flowed through my fingers, tickling my palms, undulating like water as I passed them.

I turned off my music to listen to the breeze shift through the beech trees further back in a field, watching the dappled summer green dance in the early summer morning light.

I hadn’t even realized I had stuck my hand out into the grass until I looked down at the tips poking through my fingers, and the sensation made me smile and keep it there, surfing the tops, an old habit from childhood, recovered from some un-accessed corner of my memories.

Suddenly the humidity, the leg pain, the lack-of-sleep discomfort, and shortness of breath all went away. I felt the sun, tasted the fresh air, and took comfort in the quietness of where I was, right then.

I felt my body shed tension like a shaggy dog emerging from water, shaking the vestiges of city dust and noise away like water droplets.

My run was hard. The comfort of where the run happened was easy.

I must remember that when running starts to be less joyful, I need to drag my *$% out to the country, pick a road, and run. Out there, I’ll find it again.

It works. ♥

 

No Luck

I don’t like wishing people “Good Luck!” for their races.

It feels wrong to me, so I stopped awhile ago. I don’t admonish anyone else for the sentiment, when uttered or written, th0ugh. I liken it to the appreciation someone has for being wished a “Merry Christmas”by someone who didn’t know they were Jewish. It is the sentiment that counts, right?

I know. I am mean, heartless witch. Such a nice way to offer support to friends and say “GOGOGO!”, and I am all “PFFFHT, no way, Sparky, you get nuthin'”.

Not exactly, and here is my explanation. I hope it makes sense.

I have been thinking about encouragement, and how I can best be that positive voice while staying true to myself and my beliefs, instead of an autobot cheerleader I feel I sometimes slip into. I want to be able to support my friends in an awesome way, just for them, each of them. Targeted and meaningful. I have a lot of friends that run now. Each of them have a special place as a positive influence in my life, each in a different way. So I want to acknowledge that.

Right… You can all call me nutty now… Writing this out makes it seem wayyyyy weirder than it sounds in my head. So… bear with me. Seriously… Why did I start writing this post again? Oh right, because I want to share my strange and sometimes off-beat thoughts with y’all…

*ahem*… Where was I…

Wishing someone luck on a race, for me, feels like I am telling them that I hope a random, chance influence has a positive outcome during their hard-fought effort. OK, so maybe that is an overthink, but I base it on my own experience and efforts. See, when I hop into that corral, or toe the start line, the journey to get there is incredible. I worked hard, I planned. When I participate, finishing is a foregone conclusion. I will succeed. The achievement is getting to the race. The race is the celebration.

Luck has nothing to do with it.

All that time spent sweating and pushing myself has lead to this point, so I don’t need luck. I own it already. Yeah, *&%^ can go wrong, and it can suck *%$ when you can’t complete the challenge you trained for. But all that training and working and thinking was not for naught. Pick up, dust off, do better, right? (Sometimes I have a hard time with this one, and not beating myself up, but it is getting easier… I learned a lot at Tough Mudder. I am trying to enforce this more positive attitude on my efforts at subsequent challenges.)

I assume this way of thinking for my friends too. I want to tell them I believe they own it too. That this race, what they are about to embark on, is the culmination of one heck of an achievement of miles logged, weights lifted, etc.

So instead of a “Good luck!”, I say “Have a great race!” or I focus my best wishes on an aspect of the challenge I know that friend is trying to meet. For example, if someone is trying to stay calm in the corral, I will say “Sending calming and happy thoughts for your race!” or if someone is trying to PR, I will say “Hoping your legs are super fast today!” or “You got this! RAHHH!” (or something to that effect, I may or may not do a little happydance if in person…).

It feels more personal for me to say that. it feels like I am providing my best support possible. Perhaps it is selfish, or silly, or I am a whackadoodle…

But it is me. And I hope it helps.

Chances

Folks who have been reading my blog for a bit may remember me talking about this guy: https://mustangsabby.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/walker/

I hadn’t seen him in awhile, and now that I am not driving to work, I was somewhat sad about that. he really would give me a smile every day, knowing he was out there, kicking %^$, and I missed that wee, one-sided routine we had. I know it sounds somewhat creepy, fixating on some random dude… Maybe… But those random people in our day to remind us of important things, or give us clarity…

I think that is totally not creepy, and awesome. Anyway… I digress, a little.

Today, I held a door open for him as we crossed paths in the Rideau Centre. I looked up just in time to register that it was him, and my heart just about leapt out of my chest.

I gave him a big smile, and looked waaaaay up (he is freakin’ tall, man!) and said “Good morning!”. I wanted to say “I think you are neat! I have seen you here and there and you are inspiring and awesome!” but that might have made him do the “Go away, tiny, crazy lady!” thing, so I kept it to a greeting.

He is still wearing the expensive brown shoes with the perfect black bows on them. His teeth are perfect and he has a lovely smile. Did I mention he is eleventy billion feet tall?

I was dragging my feet, tired from only 2hrs sleep, and wondering how I was going to get through the dreary, rainy day with sore shins, exhausted brains, and silly/needless worrying about “stuff” in my life. I was not wanting to walk the 1k from the Rideau Centre to my work, my hand sore from carrying my much-too-heavy laptop.

Seeing him has made my day, and my step was much lighter. With Sarah and Dimity chatting away on their latest Another Mother Runner podcast, suddenly the walk got easy.

Thank you, Mr. Walker. ❤

Virtual Hug – A Mini Post

I have another post I was working on today, but I had to get this one out there first.

I received such a whopping amount of kind words from my last post (https://mustangsabby.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/the-heavy-half/) both here and privately. It felt assuring to know I am not the only one who sometimes feels this way, and that none of my (non-virtual) friends think I am now a weirdo. (or at least, my weirdo factor hasn’t gone up… too much…)

I’ve often said this blog is my personal therapy, because writing *&^% down sometimes helps me to get it all organized in my head, and feel better afterwards. I do this blog mostly for myself, and to share my experiences with whomever wants to read out there in the world wide web. Will I ever want this place to go viral, like Beyoncé the 5ft metal chicken (Google it, folks), or become a full time gig? Nah… This is my space for me to simply put my words down, keep my writing muscle fresh, and share.

I’m so blessed to have such positive readers who do read, so to you, I say thank you.

I also want to say that because of the friends (some of who have commented here) I have made in this journey of running and fitness, I have been more my authentic self this past year than I have been in a long, long time. To be able to recognize when I wasn’t being truthful to who I was is a big step forward, giving me the courage to bust through the “you gotta’s” to just be me. Also meeting folks who are really 100% themselves helped me relax too. Maybe that is why I have been able to get back to blogging more consistently. I can express myself without fear of rejection. That lack of fear? Well, that has lead to me improving myself, not just being myself.

I was always too afraid to really proclaim my fun-love of rainbows and colour until getting back into running (Freak… Lesbian… Immature… what 30-something woman likes rainbows?). I used to be too nervous to go to group exercise classes (I won’t fit in… They’ll think I’m stupid… What if I can’t do it?). It had been a long time since I had met up with a group of strangers to go do fun things (I don’t know these people… I won’t be able to talk to them… they won’t talk to me…). Climb a wall or jump into water? (Heights… water… falling, drowning, dieing… Whaaaaaat?)

So all of that is pushing me forward and making me just “be”, even with some of the not so positive anxieties coming into play sometimes. All of this has got me here.

This is me, y’all. It is great. So thank you.

 

Bounce

Ok ladies… This post is for y’all who have issues with the “girls” when you run. So gentlemen, unless you enjoy reading about bouncing mammary glands, skip this one.(Who am I kidding?)

Yes, I am talking about my boobs online, in a public forum, which my family and random folks in my (non-online) life (maybe) read. Y’all, we call this an overshare.

You’re welcome.

The reason I am now melon-suppression-obsessed is that I watched the finish video of my 10k this morning as I perused my race photos (they are meh, likely not buying). I just about spit coffee all over my nice flatscreens at work and fell over laughing when I spied myself in the crowd of finishers.

Yes. Laughing. More like gigglesnorting and trying to suppress the out-loud guffaws and “Oh wow, I look ridiculous!” exclamations.

Now, many runners look at their finish photos and videos and go “EEK! Do I really look like that?” or “Ohhhh snap… terrible, terrible, terrible.” Although sometimes I think people like them, like I did after the Manotick Road Race (https://mustangsabby.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/proud/). Also? My husband’s photos are really nice. he always looks very manly and focused. Says me. I am biased. That is ok.

When I watched my video, I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than knowing my elbows would be out, my gait rather waddly, and a simple smile on my face. That would be fun to see, right? What I saw was bouncing. Swaying side-to-side, dramatic, waving-to-the-crowd breasteses. Yeah. I watched it twice to make sure it was indeed me. Wow. As my friend Katie has said (paraphrased), “It was rather National Geographic up in there”.

So, in that evidence there, I am now doubting my bra’s effectiveness. The bouncage was flying about more than what I actually feel when I run, and certainly, it was a heaping cupful more than I would like, based on the fact that I was wearing my favorite running bra. My industrial-strength Lululemon uniboober. My expensive Tata Tamer that feels snug and secure when I pry wrestle put it on. I love running in it, it is comfy, it feels nice, and I don’t chafe. But in that video is evidence it does nothing for my chest. Nothing.

How I am not in pain at the end of a run I have no idea because they had some serious momentum. Do I seriously not notice this at all when I run? I am cringing and body hugging myself as I watch the jolting up and down slamming of my sensitive bits. Ow.

So now, I ask the female Interwebs folk who come to my tiny corner and read my random wafflings… What do you wear to minimize the bounce? What brand of bra keeps you secure and immobile? Do you double up the uniboobers? KT Tape those babies down? And if you don’t have this problem, I am allowed, as a runner, to dislike you a little bit (just kidding, no hate, only love, yo…). I am now on the hunt for a better bra. Does it exist? Will I have to finance it if I do find it? (Who ever said running was inexpensive lied. LIED!)

As an end note, one thing I am very happy about today is that my first reaction was one of humour, instead of hiding behind my eyes and hating the images, and by proxy, myself. I think, in the last couple of weeks, post-Mudder, I’m starting to learn to let go of caring what others think when I am achieving, not worry about what I look like, because who cares, except me? I’ve left a lot of %$^& out there in the mud and on the pavement lately. Still a ways to go, because I still feel fat, short, and weird a lotsometimes… But I think I am learning to let the negativity bounce, and hold onto the good stuff that comes, with each achievement.