Sunday, 31 May 2015

I failed... again

I could only make it through 5 days of my 2nd attempt of my 2nd Whole30.

At first I was quite disappointed with myself. How could I make it through my first one, but haven't been able to get through a second one? The first time was also hard, but I was able to stick to it. Why not these last two times?

Then it dawned on me that maybe my timing was off. So I went through my history and confirmed that that was indeed the case. Although I started my first one on New Year's day which should have made it more difficult because of the tasty holiday food and drink, it was at a better time in my cycle. The last two times weren't. Cravings and moods can be quite harsh sometimes. Which is why the timing of the start date of the Whole30 can make a big difference.

A Whole30 is never easy. It takes commitment and good planning to get through it. The food industry is pretty much against you. You really have to "hunt" down the foods you can have on Whole30. There are not that many restaurants that cater to Whole30ers. The best thing is to make everything you eat from scratch. But there are times when that's difficult. Not because the task is difficult, but you have to start from a place of strength. At least, that's how it is for me.

Will I make a 3rd attempt for a 2nd Whole30? I don't know. What I do know is that I will do my best to eat a mostly clean diet. I really do want to be healthy and feed myself good foods.

Oh! Speaking of healthy... Today I took my 8-year-old nephew out for his "birthday date" with me. I prefer doing this over buying gifts. So I took him out to the Canadian Museum of Nature. We visited all four floors. We started on the ground floor checking out the fossils and dinosaurs. He was telling me facts about some of the things we saw. He named a dinosaur by his skeleton. One that I'd never heard of. This kid is so adorable and smart!

We then proceeded on to the 3rd floor. "Do you want to take the elevators or the stairs?" I asked him. "The stairs!" So up the stairs we went. Now normally, after one flight of stairs I'd be trying to catch my breath and my knees would be killing me. As I was going up I noticed that things weren't so bad. By the time we got to the 3rd floor (we visited the 4th floor after and 2nd floor last) I was a little winded, but nothing compared to how I would have been a couple of months before. The workouts are making a difference!! It was finally tangible for me!

I had been struggling with seeing the point of working out since it takes a while for the hard work to show. I knew I was getting healthier and stronger, but I think because I wasn't seeing any obvious physical results, it’s been hard to stay motivated. That changed today!

So I did fail my 2nd Whole30... again. But I'm not giving up on me. On my health. I know I'll get there.

Friday, 29 May 2015

My first professional massage

I treated myself tonight to my first professional massage!

I was very nervous about going through with it. I've been wanting one for a long time, but I always felt very intimidated by the thought of it. Going in to a strange place, not sure what to do or how to act. New situations make me feel a little self-conscious and awkward sometimes. But lately, I've been forcing myself to go ahead anyway. Like my friend Sue says, the magic happens outside of the comfort zone. Gotta love that Sue! :)

So I walked in and it kind of looked like a dental office. (Dental offices always seem a little nicer than medical offices.) It kind of comforted me. Not that I like going to the dentist, but since it looked like a familiar environment it put me at ease a little. The receptionist was friendly. I told her this was my first time. She handed me a medical history questionnaire to fill out.

Once I was done, my masseur was ready for me. He led me to a room and asked me what I wanted to focus on. "I don't know, I've never done this before" I told him. "Oh! Ok!" He asked me a few questions like if I hurt anywhere in particular, if I felt tension anywhere in particular. I told him that my neck, shoulders and back are usually very tense. But since I've never received a professional massage before, I wanted a full body massage.

He asked me to get undressed and get under the covers on the massage table. He stepped out of the room as I did so. When he came back in, I had to move up a bit on the table. I wasn't sure if I had to put my face in that little face donut cushion. Now I know. :)

He did concentrate a bit more on my back, shoulders and neck. At the beginning, my heart was pounding. I'm not sure if it was nerves or the tension he was releasing in my back that was making me react this way. I have a feeling it was mostly the tension release. As the massage was progressing, my heart calmed down and I relaxed. Once in a while I had to tell him to lower the intensity of the pressure he was using. It sometimes hurt. But I did tell him at the beginning that I expected to want medium to hard pressure.

When the session was done, he stepped out of the room as I got dressed. When he came back in, he gave me an assessment of where he noticed the most tension. My upper back, shoulders and neck (no surprise there), my hamstrings, and my right bicep. He showed me a few stretching exercises I could do to help relieve the tension. I had no idea that that was part of the experience. I'm glad it was.

So will I do it again? Absolutely! What have I learned from my first experience? 1 hour is not long enough for me. Next time, I'll book 1.5 hours. Also, next time I'll ask for medium pressure from the start. I will also remove all of my clothing. I had removed everything but my underwear because I wasn't exactly sure how it would go. But he was very respectful and only uncovered the area he was working on as he was working on it. And, now that I know what the experience is like, I'm sure I'll get way more out of the next session. I'll be much more relaxed about it all.

Seriously, if there's something you've always wanted to do but never had the nerve to do it, just do it! (As long as it's legal of course!) Don't wait until you can't! Feel the awkward and uncertainty. Speak up. Ask questions. And don't be hard on yourself. Everyone experiences a first time for whatever they've done.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Who's that woman?

I look in the mirror and it's like I'm seeing myself with new eyes. It's happened before. But it always surprises me when it does. It seems to happen when I'm feeling somewhat at peace with life. Coincidentally, it happened during my first Whole30

Now when I say I'm at peace, it doesn't mean that I'm not sad or struggling with a few issues. I think that's just part of life. It's actually more like I'm just accepting what I can't change, what I have no control over. I feel like I've done all that I could do. Other people's reactions, decisions, actions or inactions don't belong to me. I must accept that. It's not easy. However, I have no other choice. For example, I can't make anyone take better care of themselves. I can't bring anyone back from the dead. I can't make someone forgive. I can't make someone care.

Maybe this new way of seeing myself has something to do with the foods I've been eating. I'm on day 4 of my second Whole30. I started from a somewhat better place (food wise) than I did during my first. I know that food definitely affects us mentally. I know when I consume dairy or sugar I usually feel quite moody within a few minutes, and my body aches.

I was re-reading a few posts from my first Whole30 and realized that I had remembered the experience as being better than it actually was. I struggled. I had crazy food cravings. But I was also strong and stuck with it. This time around, I feel a little calmer about it. I did try a round two a few months ago. But I only managed to get to day 8. I gave up after that. I'm sticking with this second attempt at round 2.

I must admit that it started out a little rough. Because I've been so emotional, I actually regretted writing about doing another. I wanted to quit before I began. BUT, writing it here for all of you to read really seems to make me stick to my word. It's all about my ego. It can be a good thing sometimes. :)

So I'm sticking with it. The first two days were rough. The last two haven't been that bad even though I've been craving pop. Tuesday night I made the ranch dressing recipe from It Starts With Food. Man! That recipe is so tasty!! Making Tuesday night's meal kind of cheered me up a little.

So who's that woman staring back at me in the mirror? She's the woman kicking ass! Living her life regardless of the obstacles she faces. Discovering every day how strong she can be. The woman that manages to keep an open heart despite every heartbreak she's faced. The woman who keeps trying to grow and learn. The woman who keeps loving, who keeps caring, who keeps wanting. She's me!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Decluttering my heart

I've done something tonight that I didn't think I'd be able to do. I've let go of that man I broke up with at the end of April. I deleted all of our text messages. All of our emails. And I unfriended him on Facebook. I didn't want to, but I had to. If I want to be able to move on, I really have to let go. Let go of all of it.

Minimalism is a way of life. It's not about just owning less things. In the words of the Minimalists, "Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution."

While I was in the relationship with this man, the relationship truly did add value to my life. But now that it's over, hanging on to it doesn't.

Maybe some day I'll be able to be his friend.


(A little secret... I wrote this blog post before actually going through with unfriending him. I needed to convince myself. So let it be written, so let it be done!)

Goodbye sexy red shoes!

Goodbye sexy red shoes! Oh how I have loved you!


 
Look at them! Aren't they fantastic!
 
I fell in love with these shoes the moment I laid eyes on them. I was walking down the shoe aisle of a discount store and saw these beauties beckoning to me. I tried them on. They fit!! Woohoo! So I bought them. When I got home, I made up a song for them I loved them so much! "I love my shoes! I love my sexy shoes!" I sang it over and over again until my daughter yelled at me to stop. :)
 
Sadly, I've never been able to wear them for more than 5 minutes. The heals are too high for me. They hurt my ankles. I've had them for years. It's time to come to terms with the fact that I will never wear them. Therefore, I must set them free.
 
I've been reading The life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo which was suggested to me by my friend Laurin. One of the things the author mentions is instead of trying to pick things to get rid of, pick things to keep. Only keep the things that bring you joy. Just yesterday at work I told my awesome friend Christy that that's what I was planning to do. To go through my things and pick what I would want to bring with me if I moved. Everything else was out the door. The book inspired me and has made me feel ruthless and unapologetic in getting rid of things that no longer serve me. It reaffirmed my conviction.
 
Even though I had recently gone through my clothes and got rid of bags and bags of them, I went through them again and got rid of two more full size garbage bags. What I'm left with are the pieces I truly like, that fit me, and that I wear regularly.
 
Another thing the author recommends is not putting away seasonal clothes. We should have enough room in our closet and dressers to be able to store every item of clothing we own. I like that idea. Our weather has been cookie lately. One day it's 23 Celsius, the next, it's 5 Celsius. It's good to have easy access to the appropriate clothes for the weather of the day.
 
So by keeping only what I truly like and wear, I was able to get all of my seasonal clothing out of the storage bin and into my dresser and my closet, and with room to spare! Now I'll be able to see every item of clothing I own every day. There's no chance that I'll buy a duplicate because I know what I have.
 
It was difficult to get rid of some of the items. Even though I never wore them because they didn't fit right or were uncomfortable, I still loved them. But I love minimalism more. I love the joy of opening up my closet door or dresser drawers and seeing a tidy and organized space. It's totally worth the "heartache" of letting go.

Friday, 22 May 2015

I give up!

As you may know, I'm starting another whole30 on Monday and I've been working-out. This time around with the whole30, I'm not focussing at all on weight loss. If I lose weight, it will be a happy side effect of getting healthier.

Therefore, I give up on weighing or measuring myself. I won't do it before, I won't do it after. My clothes will let me know if I've lost weight and inches. That will be measurement enough. Who really cares about the number?! 

Another thing - I've recently been on two dates with two different men and they've just made me miss the previous man that much more. I'm obviously not ready.  So I've deleted my online dating profiles... again.

I give up on dating for a while. I'm not sure how long it will take before I get back in the game, but I'm not going to worry about it.


Was this blog title dramatic enough for you? ;)


 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Gratitude for my body

The dancing

"You're doing really well!" said my Lindy Hop dance instructor.

At Tuesday's class, the instructors danced with us so they could better tell how we were doing. I was thrilled! I had been feeling a little off during classes and was starting to think that I wasn't getting it. Even some of my dance partners were somewhat blaming me for moves not going as they should. Well, after dancing with the instructor, now I know it's not me. Good! I was getting very frustrated until then. He actually said just to be picky and find something to criticise he suggested that I could probably follow through with my turns a little more. Other than that, everything was great.

So I asked him to work on another move with me to see if it was my fault it wasn't going well. Nope, not me!

The workout

"Good job!" the trainor said to me tonight as I was doing push-ups. Who knew I could do push-ups, and do them well.

I warned him before the workout that I may end up crying and that he shouldn't worry about it. He said that it was fine, that it was going to be a tough workout and that he wants to make all of us cry. (He was kidding of course).

I didn't cry.

After the general conditioning class, I talked with him for about half an hour. He was telling me that I'm doing well. He asked which classes I would be attending and suggested a few. I'll follow his recommendation.

My body

I'm really blessed! My body is awesome. Even though I haven't been very kind to it over the years feeding it junk, not getting enough rest, being upset at the way it looks even though it's not it's fault, it's mine. Putting it through stress (some that I created myself).

Even though I haven't treated it well, every medical tests comes back with great results. When I ask it to do something, it usually does it. When I take care of it, it quickly falls in line happy that it's finally getting what it needs from me.

I know that it won't always be like this. Years of abuse will leave it too tired to be so awesome. Which is why I've been doing what I've been doing with everything this year. Whole30, minimalism, new social and physical activities - they're all part of it.


I have a feeling that tonight's workout is going to hurt tomorrow and the day after... cool!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Just say it!

We've all heard the saying "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". But what if you do have something nice to say. Do you say it?

I remember when I was a teen, I had these cool friends. I never had to announce that I was coming for a visit. I'd just show up. They always welcomed me. They ended up graduating from university and went back home. One was from Calgary, one was from Portugal. This was way before the internet as we know it and Facebook. We hadn't exchanged contact information. So we lost touch after they moved. I never told them how much I appreciated them. I know they knew, but I would have wanted to tell them out loud. After that, I resolved to always be forthcoming with nice comments. 

Last night I was feeling kind of low. Suddenly, my cell phone vibrates with a kind message from a friend. A few words of encouragement. I'm sure he had no idea that I needed those kind words. He just felt compelled to share his thoughts with me. When I thanked him and told him I needed those kind words he said "I find that the world is not so encouraging, so I try to reverse the trend".
 
So don't waste an opportunity. Who knows, your nice little comment could make someone's day!

Monday, 18 May 2015

I'm going to do it again

What am I going to do again? A Whole30 and a "no-buy" month. Why? Because I still need practice.

My diet has improved since doing my first Whole30 in January 2015. But things are slowly creeping back in, like cola, candy, bread, and other less healthy things. I've started going to the gym. If I'm working hard physically to change my body and to become stronger, I need to make sure I'm getting the right fuel for optimal results. No brainer. Also, even though it was tough at times, I never felt as good overall as when I was on my Whole30.

The "no-buy" month is also an area where I need more practice. Old habits of buying without thinking are creeping up. I've made a few purchases that I regret and that I can't return (some because they were final sales, or because I washed the clothes and removed the tags, or because I procrastinated and missed the return date).

I only have about 3 or so more months before I move to a smaller apartment. I want things to be drastically pared down by then for the move to be less expensive, quicker, and so that I can get a much smaller living space than the one I'm in now. Although last time I did end up buying a pair of shoes a few days before the month was over, I consider it a success.

I've been doing fairly well with minimalism. You may have read about all of the things I got rid of in a couple of previous posts when I did the 30-day minimalism game. I'm still a little surprised when I open kitchen cupboards and see a few empty shelves, and when I look at my linen closet and see a small and neat assortment of towels, face cloths and sheets. I also have an empty dresser in my room and the items in my vanity have been pared down quite a bit.

So when am I starting this? Well, I was going to wait until June 1st since June is a 30-day month. But even though I need to prepare, I don't want to wait that long. I will therefore start this Saturday. I plan on attending the Saturday morning general conditioning class. Then I'll make sure to fuel myself with only nutritious food from that point on. Well, I'll also start with a good breakfast before going.

As I said, I need more practice in these areas. So I will keep doing Whole30s and "no-buy" months until I don't feel the need to do them anymore. Who knows, maybe the second round will be all I'll need to make these habits more permanent...

Tiny update on tiny habits: Still making my bed. Still doing the smoothies (although these will have to stop during my Whole30), and as for wiping down the counter every day, I don't find it's necessary. I can do it twice a week and it's sufficient. So Wednesdays and Saturdays are my days.

May 20, 2015 - Amendment: I've decided to start the Whole30 and the "no-buy" month on Monday instead. We have a family supper for my nephew's birthday on Sunday. It will just be easier to start after that. Looking forward to it!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Why I cried during my workout and why it will probably happen again

As I mentioned in my previous post, I cried during my last workout. Not out of sadness. I was in a good mood. Happy to be there. Ready to get through the workout. But as I worked out, I just felt super emotional and started crying.

So I did a Google search and found this: https://experiencelife.com/article/laugh-cry-lift/

It's a rather long article. If you want the gist of it, basically, when we supress emotion during life, we end up storing it in our bodies.

"Pert believes that repressed emotions are stored throughout the body (not just in the brain) by means of peptides and that memories are stored in peptide receptor cells. In fact, it’s the emotional release through bodywork that she sees as direct evidence of emotions being repressed and stored in body tissues. Liberating these feelings through touch or other physical methods results in clear internal pathways and a sensation you experience as an energy release."

Therefore, this may be what happened to me during my workout. God knows I've been going through MUCH emotional stress over the past year. So many things going on. Many "negative" things that I just had to somehow deal with and move on. My dad dying. My mom moving in. My daughter's diagnosis with ADHD and dyscalculia (and other teen daughter related issues). A few "failed" romantic relationships. Moving. Stress at work. Turning 40. And also other "positive" events too. Sometimes it felt as though I couldn't take the time to go through the emotion I needed to. I just had to suck it up and keep going. People depended on me. So it had to come out. Better this way than have it turn into some stress provoked illness.

It looks like my workouts will be my therapy!

The first real workout and the date

I went to my first REAL general conditioning class this morning. "Welcome ladies!" fist bump from the owner.

The class I went to on Wednesday was just an assessment type class. This morning's hour long class was tough! I loved it, but it was tough.

I was able to get through the warm up. Then we got to the nitty-gritty of the workout. I managed to get through one round of the three round set the trainor wanted us to get through. 25 jumping jacks, 10 plank saws, 15 kettle-bell swings (with a 12 kg k-bell), another 10 plank saws, 10 push-ups, yet another 10 plank saws, 5 pulsing squats with the 12 kg k-bell. There were other things too. Many other things. At some points my vision darkened. I've never fainted before. I didn't today, but I think if I didn't listen to my body and pushed past the darkening vision instead of taking a breather, I may have experienced that today.

The instructor came to check up on me and encourage me. She said I was doing great, especially for a first-timer. I told her I felt like crying. She asked why. Then I burst into tears. Ridiculous! I wasn't feeling sad at all. I was actually surprised and proud of myself for doing as much as I was doing. I've never been the workout type. She said it was normal. That because I'm pushing my body, I'm releasing tension and hormones and that can make people emotional. She compared it to really good sex. How sometimes after great sex we can feel like crying and we don't know why. I thought it was a funny comparison and laughed, but it also made total sense to me.

After the class as I was walking out the owner asked how things went for me. "So, how's it going kiddo?" (I like being called kiddo by this big burly polar bear type man!) I told him what I went through. He gave me words of encouragement. "You hit the wall at one point, you took a breather and got right back into it. You should be proud." "Yeah, and I cried like a little girl!" "Hey! I cry like a little girl when I workout!" So cute!! He proceeded to encourage me. I felt like hugging him. He's a very huggable looking man.

I got into my car, and cried all the way home. Still not sad, but just letting the tears out. I've got a new blister on my elbow from the plank saws. I'm looking forward to going back on Monday!

Now about the date...

Online dating is so weird to me, even though I've been doing it off and on for years. Two random strangers start exchanging messages, decide to meet up and see if there's a connection to possibly pair up for life. I know not everyone is looking for a lifetime partner. Some are looking for shorter term relationships or even fun for just a night. I've dated many men that I've met through online dating websites and rarely felt a real connection. Some I've remained somewhat friendly with in the virtual world. Others I've never seen or heard from again, and that's a very good thing!

What's my point... well, I went on that first date last night with the new guy (lets call him Translator... because he is one)... It went well enough. The conversation was easy. We have a few things in common. Music. Reading topics. And on the more morbid side of things, Translator's dad has COPD. We talked about my dad and his struggle with it before he passed away in October 2014.

After wings and a couple of drinks, we went for a walk. When Translator took my hand as we were walking, I felt like I was cheating on the last guy. Ridiculous, I know. It may have been the stranger awkwardness. It may have been the unresolved feelings for the last guy... Now it did take me about 3 dates to fall for the last guy. So I guess I shouldn't dismiss Translator just yet.

I feel that I'm in a weird place right now. I'm in a place where I'm really liking the woman I'm becoming. I'm excited about all of the things I'm doing. About my new "life". Remember, I want to be cool like me! hehehe  But I'm also not completely over the last guy. Maybe it was too soon to go on a date with someone new...

So what now? Well I'll keep on keeping on. I'm definitely continuing with minimalism. After this month is over, there's a strong possibility that I'll sign up to the gym. I'll finish my Lindy Hop classes. I'll continue playing my ukulele. I'll continue reading and growing. I'll pursue my freelance translation business dream. And I'll let things happen as they will with the dating thing.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

I want to be cool like me!

OK, that title sounds a little ridiculous. It is. I'm just playing. But something happened tonight that I thought never would...

I went to my first general conditioning class. It was so much fun!! I was able to get through all of the exercises. I didn't expect I'd be able to. But I did it! I can't wait to go back! My legs and my glutes feel like jelly! I KNOW I'll be feeling it tomorrow. But I usually really enjoy the muscle aches after a workout. It's a good pain (in my opinion). Makes me feel more alive! lol

Anyway, after the workout, the instructor asked me what classes I'd be attending. The one I should be attending is on Wednesdays. However, for the next two Wednesdays, I have other plans and can't make it. I explained why. My daughter's music recital on one of the upcoming Wednesdays, and every 3rd Wednesday of the month, I have BUG. "Oh cool! You play the ukulele?!?!" she exclaimed. "I don't think I've ever met anyone who plays the ukulele before!" said the cute gym rat with the great smile from this past Monday. "Oh I'm sure you have, you just don't know it. We're everywhere..." I replied with a huge grin. So the female instructor said that because that was such a cool reason to miss class, I could attend another that's not part of the special.

I then told them that I'm also busy Tuesday nights (another possible workout night) with Lindy Hop swing dance. "Woah! Your life is so interesting! All we do is come here!" she said to me. ME! My life is so interesting to this cute 25-year-old gym instructor. Huh! Go figure... On the drive home from the workout, I couldn't stop smiling.

Also, today at work, a colleague of mine said I inspired him and he's now writing his own blog. (You go Howard! ;) )

I also have a date on Friday after work. A new guy. When he texted me tonight to confirm, I told him I had just got back from a conditioning class. "Workout class?! Cool! You seem active!" I guess I am... now.

Now about this new guy. It's not that the last guy didn't mean anything. He actually meant more to me than I expected him to. And I miss being with him. But it seems as though it wasn't meant to be (any longer than what it was). I must move on. So I am. I'm not expecting anything more than a good conversation with a (hopefully) nice guy (which is actually the only thing I was expecting with the last guy, but it turned into more). This new guy's a translator working for the government. I wonder what cool things I might learn from him...

Monday, 11 May 2015

Signed up to the wrong gym, and I'm totally fine with it!

Something weird happened. Last Friday, I researched kettlebell classes. I thought I had found something promising. I filled out an online request for information form and was communicating with a woman. This afternoon she invited me to come over tonight at 6:30 to try a free class and I could sign up after if I liked it. So off I went last minute to go try the class.

I arrived at the gym that was advertised on the website. There was no one that worked there by the name of the woman I was communicating with by email. I showed the guy at the counter the email exchange and the website I checked out. He said it was their old name but didn't understand what happened and had no idea who I was communicating with.

"Alright then, can you give me information about your gym?" I asked. "Sure!" he replied flashing a charming smile and sweet blue eyes. Adorable young blonde curly haired buff gym rat! Super friendly and excited about the gym, he proceeded to give me all of the information he could think of in an extremely rapid pace. As he was speaking to me, I was looking around at the class in session on one side of the gym. The women working out seemed as out of shape as me, and some were definitely older. That made me more comfortable.

I then looked over at the weights side of the room. Super fit men and women were working out. Patrons and staff seemed very friendly. I've never really been one for gyms, but since doing the swing dance classes, I'm craving other group exercise activities. Meeting new people and getting fit at the same time seems like something that would be good for me.

"So, any questions?" he asked flashing that smile again. I'm not sure I remember or understood everything, but I ended up signing up for a month trial for less than $34 tax included. I'm starting Wednesday attending an orientation class. I'll be doing a general conditioning class that incorporates kettlebell training. They also have dedicated kettlebell classes I'll be able to attend if I want to.

Last year, there's no way I would have gone into a gym like that. And if I did and was confronted to the same situation I would have walked away. But tonight, I just went with it and signed up. I'm making it happen for myself!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Self-indulgence


Today I was feeling overwhelmed. Feeling like my time wasn't my own. So I stole a few moments for myself. When I went to run an errand, I bought myself a treat - mixed berries - and drove to the river. I rolled down the window, ate my berries, and listened to the rapids and the birds and breathed deeply. 

I used to come down here often as a child and later as a teen. I'd daydream of what my life would be like. It's nothing at all what I thought or hoped it would be. But it is what it is. Don't worry, I'm not giving up. I still have dreams and I'm still working towards them. They've just changed, obviously. I suppose that's part of growing. Literally and figuratively speaking.
 
I was fantasizing out loud tonight with my daughter, niece, nephew and mom for an audience. The fantasy: my freelance translation business becomes successful enough within the next 3 years to allow me to take a year off of my government job and my daughter and I could travel the world during that year. I could keep working from anywhere. She'll have graduated high school by then. My daughter's reaction "JAPAN!". My mom's reaction "You're dreaming in colour" (sounds weird translated, but it's a common French Canadian expression... at least in my family it is...). Perhaps I am dreaming in colour. But it's a fun dream to fantasize about.
 
And reflecting on it now, I actually think it's possible. Minimize my belongings enough so that I could easily leave for a year and put what little I have in storage. Or possibly even give it all up. No need to keep an apartment here while we're away (the beauty and freedom of renting). Hmmm... this is a dream I'll enjoy planning I think... Whether I go through with it or not.

Friday, 8 May 2015

More!

More... to get rid of
I've done the 30-day minimalism game and got rid of many things. But I want to get rid of more!! I'm reconsidering the things I kept in my vanity. I was trying to think what I'd bring with me if I were to go on a trip. Surprisingly, not much. SO I'll do another 30 day experiment. I'll take everything out again and just chose the things I'd bring with me on a trip. If I don't miss any of the things I put away, they're gone! No going back this time. I pretty much always chose the same makeup to wear anyway. Eyeliner (with eye shadow sometimes), mascara, and lipstick. Same colour of lipstick too. Other colours are nice, but really not necessary. So, (even though it kind of pains me to say this), they're gone. I'm sure it'll be nice not to worry about what to put on my face.

Clothes
My awesome friend Christy has this "day of the week" outfit set up. Basically, every season she prepares an outfit for each day of the week and that's what she wears. Monday has an outfit, Tuesday has an outfit, and so on. I've done this too. It's quite freeing! But I let things go in that area. So I'm reigning it back in. I'll set up my day of the week wardrobe and stick to that.

Any "fantasy me" clothes will be gone. The things I bought hoping I'd lose weight to fit into them - I'll get rid of them. Even if I'm taking better care of what foods I put in my body and expect to lose weight, I don't want the clutter of the "some day I'll fit in this" clothes. Plus, if I'm building a minimalist wardrobe, most of those things wouldn't make the cut anyway.

I really want to find the "perfect" minimal amount of clothing that works for my lifestyle. I just read a blog called Project 333, and it inspired me. I don't know that I could actually follow it, but I'll give it a shot. It's basically that you live with only 33 items of clothing including shoes and jewelry for 3 months (so basically per season). It doesn't include underwear and workout clothes. And some items can be worn year-round.

I've been pondering the minimalist wardrobe idea for years now, even before I started my journey to simplicity. It's time I take action!

Tomorrow
I've "warned" my daughter that tomorrow we'll be attacking her clothing situation. She's not happy about it, but I bribed her saying that once we're done, we could go summer clothes shopping for her.

Cute thing - when I got home tonight, she asked if we could go Lindy Hopping. I wasn't in the mood for it tonight, but suggested we go tomorrow instead. So that's what I'll be up to tomorrow night - swing dancing with my little girl! :)

Tiny habits update
I've been sticking to the morning smoothie routine, but haven't always included the side of sulphur rich vegetables. And as for the bed making and the counter wiping, they're being complied with every morning. Pondering my next habit in both areas.

Make it happen update
We had our passport photos done yesterday. Now I just need to finalize filling out the form and getting my things ready to go apply for it.

I've found a seemingly good website to help me learn about becoming a freelance translator. I've started work on my website. I'm at the point where I'm struggling a bit to get it just right, but I know I'll figure it out.

I may be starting the kettle bell workouts on Monday. I've found a gym in my part of the city that offers weekly classes during the summer. I think during the rest of the year it may be twice a week, but once a week will be a good start. And if I get a kettle bell, I could workout at home using the exercises they'll be teaching me.

It's been a difficult week for me emotionally for many different reasons, but I got through it. Kind words of support from my awesome friends Christy and Susan helped. And writing the blog post tonight is helping me too. Even though I didn't feel like it, I kept going with everything this week. I'm glad I did, especially when I see it written out like this. Progress!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Awakenings

Lifetime of slumber
I noticed something today - I've been feeling like I woke up from a lifetime of slumber! (I'm actually yawning as I write this... oh the irony! hehehe) I don't know what it is that's making me feel this way now. Is it the minimalism? The swing dancing? The better diet? Is it losing my dad in October? All of the above?

Like I mentioned in a previous post, it's not that I haven't done anything in previous years. I have. But somehow things feel different now. 

Whatever it is, it feels good! And I hope that I can keep this up. It feels like I've finally given myself permission to live life the way I want. Not by doing what everyone expects me to do, but by doing what feels right to me. I've even started standing up for myself and speaking up when something is not to my liking. I'm moving away from being a people pleaser and moving towards respecting myself more. Things are not exactly how I want, but I'm definitely working towards that goal and I can see it as a real possibility.

Lindy Hop
Last night's Lindy Hop swing dance class was hard for me. We were doing kick steps. This big ol' body of mine doesn't easily obey to kick steps. See, in Lindy Hop, the point of the kick steps is to use them when the song is fast. And that happens often. But with the size I am at the moment, I can't go fast, try as I might! I was so very frustrated and upset with myself for not being able to keep up! I knew what to do. I could probably do it if I wasn't so heavy. So I had mixed emotions. I wanted to cry because I felt ashamed. I wanted to yell at myself for not taking better care of myself. I was excited because this dance is so much fun that I could see myself doing this for years. I was feeling inspired to finally take good care of myself. (I guess I'm not doing such a good job of that now considering that it's almost 11 pm and I have to wake up at 6 am for work.)

So instead of my usual self pity where I go home and "give up" and start eating what tastes good but is bad for me, I resolved to stop with the less healthy food and do my best to stick to the paleo/whole30 type diet. I enjoy it, so it shouldn't be a big deal. I'm mad and determined not to give in to bad food. Don't get me wrong, I'm realistic and I know that I won't always have such resolve. But I'm going to ride this wave until I can't anymore. And should I fall off this wave, I'll get right back on the next one!

Remember that guy I said I was dating for a while - well he had a good rule when it came to food. Only healthy foods are allowed in his home. No junk food, no takeout. However, I must admit that that is much easier to enforce when you're the only person living in your home. I have a sugar loving daughter and mother living with me at the moment.

I've asked my mother to keep her treats in her room. If they aren't in the kitchen, we won't think to have them. She seems to be on board with it, except she had me buy ice cream tonight AFTER I asked her about this. Anyway, it's not a big deal for me because I'm not much of an ice cream fan. But it is for my daughter.

Once mom is in her own apartment, it will be strictly only good healthy paleo/whole30 approved foods in my home. If my daughter wants junk food, she'll have to have it outside our home and use her allowance towards it. Same goes for me.

Make it happen
Another thing I admired about the guy I was dating - if he was interested in something and wanted to give it a try, he would. He's in Bali right now because of that make-it-happen attitude. I'm dancing the Lindy Hop right now because of his make-it-happen attitude. I really like that too! For years I've been fantasizing about all I want to do (Lindy Hop being one of those things). But I've never done anything much about it. And now thanks to him (and a couple of other make-it-happen men I've dated before him), I'm inspired to do the same. Not Bali, but the make it happen part. We have only one life to live, so make the most of it!

So what is on the make it happen list at the moment?
  • Tomorrow, my daughter and I are going to go get our photos taken for our passport applications.
  • I'm also looking into starting a kettle bell class. I want to do more exercise and this is an exercise I've been wanting to try for a while. I've researched kettle bell and zumba (another type of fitness class I've been wanting to try) classes today, but the ones I've found had schedules that conflicted with my swing dancing and my ukulele playing. So I may end up doing either or both of them at home. But I would much rather do the class thing for the social aspect. I like the social aspect of the swing dance classes, I'm assuming I will feel the same about kettle bell or zumba classes. I'll contact the gym tomorrow to find out more about the kettle bell class. (See, writing it here makes me follow through better. I want to keep my word. It's up here for everyone to see and call me out on. And I don't like to be called out on stuff. And my peeps reading this know and will call me out on it. I love them! :) )
  • Food! Tonight, with tons of left over resolve from last night, I made healthy food for the days to come. I'm still doing the smoothie habit (and that's been going very well). I made sure to have a healthy breakfast and lunch prepared for tomorrow. No excuse! I really want this to be my definitive attempt to be healthier. I desperately want to get my weight under control! I want to swing dance and keep up with the others! I want to be healthy and comfortable in my body.
Everything I've been reading and listening to lately have been telling me the same thing: be authentically you, behave in a way that leads you to the life you want, keep it simple, and have fun! I'm finally hearing these messages. I can't change the past, but I can make the present so much better and set myself up for a better future!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Tiny habits - update

I've mastered making my bed every morning. It's become automatic. I enjoy how my room looks when my bed is made. I like the colours of my bedspread. Look!


I know a week doesn't seem that long to claim that I've mastered a new habit. But I feel ready to take on something new. So for the keeping-a-tidier-house habits, now my second new habit will be to wipe down the counter and the the toilet after I brush my teeth. (It's not because I splash the counter and toilet with my tooth brushing, it's just to keep it looking clean and dust free.) I will use a new rag for that every morning.

As for the being healthier part. I haven't mastered that new habit yet. But today I bought kale and spinach, I have frozen berries and bananas. So I put a cup worth of the greens in every mason jar. I added a cup of berries. I've put them in the freezer. Every night before going up to bed, I will take out a jar to thaw on the counter to be ready for me in the morning for my smoothie. I will then add the frozen banana and the water (I may sometimes use coconut water or almond milk instead). I've also prepared a cup of sulphur rich vegetables to have with the smoothie. So there are my first 3 cups a day. I just need to make sure that I go through this routine every Sunday to prepare for the week ahead.


I've started reading The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles by Terry Whals M.D. She was able to drastically improve her multiple sclerosis and she claims that pretty much every autoimmune disease has basically the same root cause - our lifestyle (diet - exercise - stress management). The 9 cups of vegetables and fruit a day is inspired by her. I'm not done reading it yet. But I know I can't go wrong with eating more vegetables which is why I decided to at least incorporate that aspect of the Wahls Protocol to my diet. Maybe after reading the book I will be even more inspired and educated, which will make it that much easier for me to stick to this new habit.

I know these habits may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but to me, they'll make reaching my goals easier. If I don't have to think about them, if they become second nature, I'll get to where I want to be. Tiny habits lead to big change.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

The DVDs

As I mentioned in my April 30-day minimalism game challenge, I got rid of 123 DVDs. I've kept 70. Of the ones I kept, some I chose, some my daughter chose.

The criteria I used to choose my keepers: if I watch the DVDs a few times a year, I've kept them. Otherwise, they're gone. 

If the mood strikes me to watch a DVD I've gotten rid of, I can either borrow it from a family member or a friend, or I can most likely rent it online. They're not worth the real estate or the time and effort to keep them dust free. 

For the ones I've kept: if we watch them often enough, then renting them online could get quite expensive. In my opinion, they're worth holding on to... for now. 

I've gotten rid of so many books and DVDs that I can get rid of a bookcase and keep anything that's left in only one of them. So I'm getting rid of a bookcase too. It will be going to my mom who'll use it in her new apartment when she moves in August or September-ish. 

Before:



After:



You can see I have many CDs in my bookcase too. I will digitize all of them and get rid of the hard copies. Same goes for the photo albums.

That laptop on the bottom shelf, I'll go through it and transfer files. Once done, I'm going to get rid of that too. As for the books, my plan for most of them is to get rid of them once I've read them. I think that even this bookcase will be too big for what'll be left over. I may get rid of that one too and find a smaller alternative in the furniture I already own. I have a couple of ideas...

Minimalism is so much fun and liberating! Try it and see!