Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Snowed under

We're snowed under here. Not literally, mind you. In fact, it's nearly December and the sun is shining, there isn't a flake of snow left from October's storms and they're calling for plus temps through to the weekend.

No, my friends, we're snowed under by life right about now.

First off, don't start with the "I told you not to get a puppy when you've got a toddler blah blah blah" because, you know what? Pico is a doll. She's a doll! Yes, she's a puppy - she chews, jumps, pees now and then on the floor, but I've raised a few puppies in my day and none of them have been this keen to catch on to desired behavior. She's crated all night and only makes a sound when she hears me up with Chou. She's already spending an hour by herself outside digging, chewing, chasing and jumping. She comes when she's called. She loves Chou and they entertain the pants off each other.

Still, she is a puppy and having her here has changed the dynamic (for the better, but I'll get to that).

What's going on, really, is that our lives - work especially - are headed for busy town and there ain't no end until the spring. The husband is stressed out, pulled in a million directions at work and is feeling a bit over-run in paperwork. His physical well-being is suffering because he can't find the time to swim and work out. Our relationship consists mainly of chatting over dinner about what has yet to get done. The house is a disaster, the To Do list a mile long.

When the hubby's job gets busier, I've usually picked up the slack at home. The problem now is that my job is heading into its busy season. And when I say "busy season" I mean triple (I'm not kidding) the number of issues per month we did back in September. And we do that for three months straight. Add to that the farm shows and on-location coverage I'm supposed to do, plus a farm writers upcoming conference I'm on the board for, plus doula-ing, plus oh right WE HAVE A TODDLER, and well, both of us need a stiff drink at the end of the day (except that I'm trying to cut out booze. Which is just mean, universe).

This morning I took some time on the walk home to get mentally sorted out. Instead of forcing myself to write when I didn't feel like it, I organized my white board and created a new strategy for meeting my deadlines.

Then I got the greatest idea ever of leaving this all behind to start farming with Jen P and can you believe she turned me down? Something about not wanting to live in Saskatchewan. Unbelievable! :)

Oh, but guess what's taken a total back seat amidst all this tomfoolery? Yup, running. I missed Sunday's long run and haven't even trotted about for 30 minutes since.

I need an extra hour in the day.

And a maid.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I may have gone mad

But who could resist this face?

Meet Pico Pico (yes, her real name). A 2-month old Border terrier/Westie cross. I figure I'm wiping up pee anyway, may as well throw a new species in to liven things up. We picked her up this morning and already she's a joy to have around and is fitting in to Casa Wumpus. She eats everything off the floor and has chewed through two cardboard egg cartons. She also comes when we call and likes to follow Chou around. In other words, she's perfect.

She's also my answer to not having a running buddy. In a few months this beast and I will spend countless miles together, chasing deer. I doubt we'll catch any.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The week's tally

Let's just say that I stepped on the scale and could hear the boos from the crowd.


I'm not going to analyze it or deconstruct the week because, well, I ate too much of good stuff and while I did stay active, I managed to stay exactly the same weight. Yup, four weeks in and I've lost a whopping .2 lb. Yay? No. I know that I need to cut a measly 200-300 calories from my day to lose, but somehow I'm just not finding the place to do it. Add to that that I was at a farm show on Wednesday (meaning nothing but sugar, carbs and fatty meat to eat and drink for an entire day), and well, I'm not surprised.

Let's focus on the positive:

I managed all of my training runs, though one was .17 longer and another .47 short (side stitch, ate too close to running and felt gross). I will get some sort of workout in today, meaning I only took two days off. That's good.

The numbers:
Run: 14.88 miles
Walk: 7.5 miles
Shred: Once

(Will do Shred or Cardio or something today.)

I'm trying to focus on the good, but this whole weight maintenance thing? So not encouraging.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saving Chuck Bass

There's nothing quite like a toddler kick to the head to get you to remember your dreams.

Chou is in her big girl bed, sure, but she's not staying in it all night. Sometimes, yes, but with eye teeth coming in and a snotty nose, she's been miserable. She wakes at 2 in the morning snurgly and angry and in need of snuggle time. I try and keep her in her room, but at that hour all I want to do is go back to my warm bed. So I, being the weak mother, bring her back to our bed and get a few more blissful hours of sleep.

That is until she has one of her rearranging sessions and ends up sideways, upside down and flailing at 4 in the morning.

Did I mention she never ever slept in our bed until a few months ago? Those were the days.

The unexpected side effect to this early morning flail is that I'm remembering oh so many more of my dreams. I've always been a vivid dreamer and used to love waking up laughing or simply happy having enjoyed fun or excitement while I slept. Sure, there are the bad ones, but the good drastically outweigh the bad.

This morning, for instance, I dreamed I was Chuck Bass's lady love (you don't watch Gossip Girl? Shame on you!), and had to save him from imprisonment by a well-meaning aunt trying to get him to clean up his act. Most of the dream I spent on horseback, riding through a mansion, up stairs, over fallen tables and the like (I know, WTF?). Sad for me, but most of the dream was spent saving, and not smooching, Chuck. But I also penned a lovely letter to my trapped darling. I woke up giggling.

See? There's a good side to mummyhood and the sleep interruptions. Really, there is.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stuff I've learned about me

Have you ever had one of those moments where you surprised yourself? Not so much in the "I didn't think I could do that, and then I did" way but more in the "I'm this type of person but ohmygod really I like XYZ and never thought I would" way.

Let me explain.

Being a working (at a job other than parenting) mum sucks. There, I said it. Every day is a balancing act between what's best for your babe, you and your family. Every day is different - with Chou gone, sometimes I'm so relieved, am able to re-charge and be a better mum because she's been gone for a few hours. Some days she's so happy to go to care that I don't know if she notices I'm gone. And then there are the days when I think maybe she wants to stay home, or that I want her to stay home. There are the days when I just plain old miss her and would rather be finger painting with pudding rather than talking to some high falutin' CEO.

The reality is, I could stay home full time. We'd manage, we'd be OK. The other reality is that a) Chou would be miserable home with just me full time and b) I'd struggle without some projects to be working on.

But here's what I learned about me this week that shocked the pants off me. The first two insights are courtesy of my husband (he's a smart cookie); the second I realized while hashing out with him my unhappiness with our present situation.

1. I get my energy, drive and enthusiasm from those around me. Ergo (holy shit, did I just use that properly? I did!), working alone for going on two years is snuffing out my spirit, drive and work ethic.

2. It doesn't matter what job I do, I need to have ownership of what I'm doing. Currently, I'd say I have ownership of 50% to 60% of what I do. Not bad, not great.

And here's the kicker:

3. I do best when I'm very busy (not surprising) and WITHOUT A SCHEDULE.

Why is this so surprising? Because I'm an uber planner. Because I love order, symmetry and monotony.


The husband pointed out, from his point of view, when I've been happiest with work and life and really been thriving. It's always been when I was on the go, free to seize moments and opportunities and just do what needed to get done while it needed doing.

Do you see where I'm going with this? No? Me neither. But what I'm coming to realize is that my job is not a great fit. It's a good fit, but not a great fit when balanced with being a momma. Because feeling that I have to be at my desk, at my phone and in front of my computer during office hours is stifling me. I am alone in my house too many hours in a day. Too many.

To balance that, I made rye bread, worked out at lunch and put a lovely dinner on the table for my family. All things I couldn't have done if I had been at the office all day (or would have been bloody difficult to do). And that dinner, that my friends was the best part of my day.


Like many women, my hubby's job is going to dictate where we live, for how long and will have more sway on our standard of living. Presently, he and I make similar coin (similar, not the same), however his earning potential is just that much higher than mine. This I don't mind, however, it's put the whole "career goals" discussion in a much different light.

This is where I get a little selfish. Or not.

If I can't choose and shape my career as a life-long career because of extenuating circumstances, why shouldn't I do what I love to do rather than what brings in the most money?

Our life is always going to be a trade-off. We will move a lot. My job will have to be portable. We're going to be starting from scratch over and over. Most of running our household is always going to be on me. My husband works long hours and travels and that's not going to change.

And a little bit of me feels like the trade off should be that I get to do what I want in my everyday versus what I have to do.

Now, if I could pin down exactly what that is within the confines of a) minimum income needed, b) no less time with Chou and c) is mobile, I'd be ready to pull the rug out from under our lives and shake things up a bit.

Soon, my friends. Soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Montage

That afro? Totally gets it from me. I've already apologized. Several times.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


The three most adorable things my daughter does these days is Huck, Hmm and two. Huck, and I don't know why, means Again, as in "Let's do that again!" It took me more than a few tries to figure out what the hell she meant, but now we've got it and she'll even say it when it comes up in a book. I say "again" she echos - very enthusiastically - with Huck!

Then there's Hmm. Neither the husband nor I make this particular noise. It's that mulling over, consider, gee I wonder type of Hmm. It sort of goes up at the end HmmM. We couldn't figure out where she got this from, until the other day we were hanging out at the local antique store with T and her puppy (that Chou loves) and T said, Hmm. To which Chou echoed the exact same sound. T was downright giddy that wee Chou had picked up one of her mannerisms. I was too.

And finally, two. Chou's favorite number is two. Is it the only one she can say? Likely. But what's moe adorable is that any time she counts anything it's "Two, two, two!" But what I love is that when she sees letters she starts singing the ABCs and when she sees numbers she starts saying "Two!" She already knows the difference. Mind blowing.

Which brings us to this week's weight loss and fitness challenge round up.

Weight loss: 0 lb
Total loss to date: .2 lb

Week three, for an intents and purposes, has been a resounding success, except for that whole weight loss part. And I know exactly where I went wrong - the food and drink. I still haven't joined WW online and am not really counting points. I have to. This week has proven that.

Why? Because I worked my butt off this week, but clearly the few desserts, beer and a few glasses of wine tip the points balance too far off course. I recognize that this particular weight is one that my body is very happy staying at. I'm not entirely unhappy with that, but I think with a little effort I could kick up my fitness level and maintain a smaller dress size. It's just getting there.

To that end, my activity level this week was downright fantastic (especially in comparison to the first two weeks).

Running: 11.5 miles (woot woot!)
Walking: 5.25 miles
Biking: 4.94 miles
Cardio: once, plus I'll shred today

I also managed an hour ride yesterday that made my leg muscles scream in a good way. Gosh, it's lovely to be riding again.

I also signed up for the Hypothermic Half that goes Feb 28th and consider tomorrow day one of that training. And, even more exciting, I found a bootcamp-type class for mums with toddlers that starts mid-January. I can actually bring Chou to the class and get a fabulous workout in. I can't wait.

And now I realize that I haven't posted pictures in forever. Will remedy that shortly.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Like a fox

I might be crazy. Or stupid.

Guess what I did this week?

Wait, let's back up.

Both Jen P and Smithers were right. A) Airing your laziness on the Internets is quite motivating. Something about seeing how little I've done is enough to make it stop I guess, and B) It's not a competition and I'm the one who benefits most from moving about. It's about me, in so many ways, so I need to do this for me.

And that next day, I woke up and ran, and then the next day I did an uber hard cardio work out that made it hard to lift the milk jug the next day, then I ran again. Yes, I did. (as an aside, I also calculated that if I bring Chou to daycare and drop her off and pick her up by walking, I log just over 3 miles. I'm going to start keeping track. Also, I want/need new shoes. I walk a lot now and realize that I've likely put more wear and tear on these shoes than I thought. end of aside.)

My legs felt like lead by the second run, sure, and I feel weak as a kitten, but I got inspired enough to do something I've never done before.

I signed up for a race. In February. A half marathon to be exact.

After an entire calendar year of entering a total of two races and only running one, I'm bloody well signing up for races NEXT year. What the hell?

Just over 15 weeks to go until the Hypothermic Half, February 28. Pray it's not -40 (which, my friends, is TOTALLY possible).

Saturday, November 7, 2009

That's about right

I weighed in this morning after two weeks on my supposed health kick, 10 lb-loss-by Christmas eve thing. Before I tell you what my whopping weight loss was, let me tell you that it is more than fair for the amount of effort I've put in to the challenge thus far.


I've lost...drum roll please....

.2 pounds!

Yes! .2 pounds! Not even a half! And the crowd goes wild!

Ok. Enough, enough. Sit down.


Where to begin?

The good:

Managed to run with Jen P. It felt great, but clearly wasn't enough to overcome my inertia. I rode, also good and because I have a standing date there, will ride again. Also good. I've picked up the pace walking Chou to daycare and walked her all but one day out of the last seven drop offs (it's a solid 20-25 minutes twice a day when I bring her). This week has been quite good for my eating - lost of salads with dinner and I've purged the house of yucky stuff and left only the good stuff. I've even dusted off the WW recipes and I'm loving them.

The bad:

Um, Halloween and the trip to Winnipeg did nothing good for my eating habits. I've managed to cut down my liquor consumption, but still have not entirely cut it out (which for me, really helps). I'm still eating too much total and grazing too much and eating too few veggies.

The awful:

In the past two weeks here is my workout tally:

A 30 minute run



And I have no idea how to jump start this except with jumper cables, a cattle prod and an electric fence all while standing in water. Seriously folks, the level of inertia I feel morning, noon and night feels insurmountable right now.

I know others who are feeling lousy, are way busier or seriously knocked up who are literally running, lifting, biking and swimming circles around me.

I also know that now and again this happens. My mind has decided the body doesn't like moving and full stop, that's the end of it.

So what I need from you is encouragement. OK? And keep the swears to a minimum please.

The Inert One

Friday, November 6, 2009

To paraphrase Mr. Churchill

There is something about the outside of a horse that's good for my inner thigh muscles.

OK, that may warrant some unsavory types finding my blog through nasty google searches but what I mean is, wow, did I need that ride.

I finally - finally! - got a ride in. It's my first ride in months and months. After many false starts, I managed a riding lesson this week. A real, live, work until your legs feel like jelly ride. The sad part is, I lasted through maybe half of hour of exercises before the jelly set in and I was useless.

But, if I may pat myself on the back, my balance was really quite good, my hands were quiet, my seat, not bad. In short, while I may be weak as a kitten, the basics are all still there just waiting to work again.

Did I mention I rode English? Insert guffaws here, but I assure you I didn't wear skin tight breeches or a pink jacket. But I did ride with my pinkies up.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Hi. Here's what you shouldn't do on week one of a fitness and weight loss challenge: Go home for the first time in five months. At Halloween.

Why? Oh, because, you know, The Food.

Shit. Sorry, overuse of capitalization again.

It was so lovely to see friends and family, but equally un-lovely to miss out on several visits we tried to line up and couldn't. It's okay, though, because we'll be back in a few months with plenty of time to sit, sip coffee or beer, share meals, share stories, ride some ponies, all that. All those things.

But oh, the food. Greasy food, fatty food, way too many desserts. Meals out, meals in, coffee coffee coffee, Halloween candy. Ugh. The list goes on and on. So tasty. So not going to help lose even one pound, let alone ten.

Equally recommended, however, is being able to accompany your running buddy on a run. More to the point, her last run of this pregnancy, at just over 24 weeks gestation, on a beautiful evening, while the men watched our babies (and allowed one of them to fall down the stairs, allowing the other one to not keep it a secret. Hilarious).

I also highly recommend blogger buddies. Smithers, over at Embrace the Chaos, sent a note and a suggestion: get a mileage goal on the table too.

Here goes...Eight weeks until Christmas Eve. I commit to 10 miles a week. Sure, it's not a nice round 100 miles, but 10 miles a week with an approaching winter is going to be tough. To put it in perspective, many of my training weeks were only 12 to 15 miles total, so 10 is respectable in my book.

Oh, and secretly, I'd love to hit 100 miles, but 80 will do just fine, thank you.

Goals made public. On blogger. Highly recommended.