Getting my attitude in shape

Guys, I’ve been GROUCHY this week. Granted, I’ve had a couple rough days, and the time change takes a couple sleeps to get the body regulated, but some days I think my bad mood was feeding my bad mood.

My knees have been grouchy too. It’s not surprising that my already problematic knees would kick up a bit of a fight when they went from a couple-times-a-week sometimes high intensity, sometimes totally focusing on upper body workout routine to one that actually includes a comment make sure to stretch your back because all the jumping done through out the week might be compressing your spine (I’d love to check the science on that, but that’s for another day).

Monday morning, when the alarm clock went off at 4:40 body time, my eyes said no. My brain said no. My knees said no. And when they all agree, I tend to listen to them. So I slept for another hour. And as beautiful as that was, especially since M had been up that night for a block of 2 hours, I kind of regretted it. All day.

I regretted it when my day started with having to explain something to a coworker you never think you’ll have to explain.

I regretted it when my blood boiled when a comment from a coworker definitely crossed the line.

I regretted it when I was removing extraneous staples and they kept flying up and hitting me in the face.

I regretted it when a box of 1200 pencils was misplaced and the office who received it in error didn’t think “gee, if I didn’t order these, should I maybe check to see whose name is on the order requisition?”

I regretted it right up until I remembered at 9:00 at night that I had decided I was going to stretch and foam roll every night before bed.

It turns out that when you’re whinging in pain, you can’t really focus on the bad parts of your day, just the bad parts of your muscles.

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Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

Not For Chickens: Balance

Allow me to rant: promoted tweets are pretty much the worst. Last week, it was to the point where I almost quit the word bird. In particular, their decision that I just needed to know everything there was to know about keto diets.

And more importantly, it wanted me to know that there were way to make all my favourite sinful indulgences keto-compliant.

Those of you who follow my Twitter (@caredge) know that I responded with my favourite, and likely the most popular, Michael Polan quote:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Michael Polan – In Defense of Food

It’s really simple advice. But it’s also ridiculously hard when you realize that “food” means actual food and not these highly processed items.

But that processing? That’s pretty much the reason I am terribly opposed to a lot of these highly restrictive diets. You are not altering your eating habits as much as you are trying to trick your brain into believing you are eating that thing you love, when really it’s just a bastardization of it. While, again, I don’t so much endorse highly restrictive diets, I had to give Whole 30 some respect when I read a post of theirs that made me both giggle and nod in agreement:

To use an analogy we can all (probably) understand, the Paleo-ification of poor food choices is a little bit like having sex with your pants on. (source)

We’re not training our taste buds to really appreciate actually healthy food. We’re just teaching it that we can have our cake and eat it too, so long as we use coconut flour, a powdered low carb sweetener, xantham gum, and all the extracts we can find to mask the fact that low carb sweeteners taste like melted plastic.

But I’m not perfect. I’m far from perfect. I mock all these extreme diets for allowing people to live in the illusion that they are eating healthily, when me? Maybe not so much.

But I’m trying. I’m trying to find that balance between eating the junk that I love, and embracing the whole “eat food.  Not too much. Mostly plants”. And sometimes that means eating such a delicious quinoa salad that I can’t wait to make it again. And sometimes that means making pizza from scratch, and serving it with a side of salad (and a glass of wine). It’s recognizing not every meal is going to win the health awards, but it’s making sure that overall, ya, we’re doing all right.

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Intersectionality on International Women’s Day

A few weeks ago, I have a morose little girl at my supper table. Granted, she’d been working through something (no idea what) for a few days, but when supper was over, I snuggled on the couch with her and started asking her about her day. Finally something came out that shocked me: “I wasn’t allowed to play with the cars today because I was a girl.”

I was heartbroken for her. I was angry at her classmates. I was frustrated with the world.

And I was proud.

“Then Eva and I got out some more cars and played with them together because girls can play cars just as well as boys. And then some of the boys joined us, too”

I don’t know whether the situation played out exactly as she relayed it. I don’t know whether there was actually sexism at play, or simply a couple kids not wanting to share or change their game (my girl tends to try to be large and in charge and I get that isn’t always appreciated). But the fear is there: that she is experiencing inequality based on a predetermined factor when she is only 3 years old.

It’s kind of horrifying being a mom of two little girls when I hear all the stories about the disadvantages that they may face throughout her life. It’s also horrifying to know that despite these disadvantages, they will still experience far more privilege than others out there, simply because their skin is white, their parents bring in two incomes and they live in a democratic country with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But considering that the stories that I hear coming home from preschool tend to focus on C’s compassion, I hope that she will remain sensitive to making sure that any headway she makes in this world is not made on the backs of others.

I had to resist the urge to channel some Margaret Atwood and quote “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” (don’t let those bastards grind you down) that day on the couch, not just because it’s not quite age appropriate, and not really Latin, but because I didn’t have the translation for what I feel is an important addendum to the phrase: and don’t be the bastard that grinds other down.

The modern world has been built on the backs of women and I’m so proud that we’re taking strides to gain our rightful place in the world. But we also need to be careful that we’re not raising ourselves up without raising up other minority groups with us.

Categories: The new identity | 1 Comment

Currently: In March

Spring is so close, I can almost smell it! Assuming spring smells like a fresh pile of snow, that is. But I’m so glad to welcome March, even though it tends to be a cruel joke in which parts of this hemisphere begin to enter spring, and we are hit with at least one more blizzard. But enough of my complaints about Manitoba weather. This month I am…

Currently in March

…planning: to get more done during the evenings so we can have more fun during the weekends. Right now, it feels like weekends are only a device which we use to stop our life from spinning out of control during the week.

…seeing: hopefully a new laptop in my future. If we don’t get hit too hard when we finally do our taxes, it might just be time to get a new computer. I know I don’t need another Macbook, but I just love how it interfaces with the rest of my Apple universe.

…making: lots of “back to basics” meals. Hamburger soup. Turkey. Turns out toddlers are much more accepting of basics

…pretending: it’s spring with my floral dresses. Thank goodness for fleece lined tights.

…wearing: my baby. She’s going through a big daddy phase and since I’m still adjusting to being away my girl all day nearly every day, so I’m taking it rather rough.

Thanks Anne and Sarah for this month’s Currently link up!

 

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C Reads: February

Some classics, some fails and some solid repeats in this batch!

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Do BabyBug count as books? C loved (ok, still does) these magazines and M is getting into them as well. They’re short, and so I don’t hate when I see them come home from the library.

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Me and My Brother by Ruth Ohi was a strange pick for a household with two daughters and no intention of expanding any further. The pictures are sweet, but the words are sparse. Maybe in a few months, if we find Me and My Sister it will be good for M?

A Guinea Pig Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Alex Goodwin, and Tess Gammell is on the opposite end of the spectrum… so many words. We never made it past the third page.

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Christian the Hugging Lion by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell is a touching, sweet, gives-you-that-catch-in-the-back-of-my-throat kind of book. And the fact it’s based on a true story? Even sweeter.

Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson and Tiphanie Beeke is a decent book. Fletcher mistakes blossoms for snow flakes and sends the the forest creatures into a frenzy preparing for an extended winter.

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee is a stream of consciousness look at the importance of having something which you can look to during a tough time. I wasn’t crazy about it?

The Alphabet Thief by Bill Richardson and Roxanna Bikadoroff was an instant favourite with C though while she’s slowly getting into reading and spelling, the premise of this book went over her head. A thief is stealing letters, and so stare becomes star, team becomes tea (some letters resurface, but I don’t think I’m supposed to mention that). It’s long and I get tired of reading the lilting rhymes (and explaining why mice becomes ice), but it’s still probably my favourite of the bunch.

Categories: The new identity | 2 Comments

What are we doing? February

Can you believe February is almost over? What a whirlwind month. It’s really only 2 days shorter than roughly half the other months, but it always feels so fast. Here’s how what we got through this month

Personal

  • Finished another book
  • I practiced using my camera in manual mode, rather than automatic. Next time I won’t do that outside so maybe I can feel my fingers when I’m done.
  • I tried working out regularly, and jumped back into things after getting sick.

Home

  • Weekends were packed but we still managed to get ahead on somethings — some suppers in the freezer, and a few batches of muffins and homemade instant oatmeal
  • Other than bundling some cords, and solving the shifting mat issue, the home gym is set up.
  • I’m trying this thing where I make sure breakfast is all cleaned up before I go to work. I know, it’s revolutionary. But I feel it makes a difference, even if its all in my head (especially since no one is home to appreciate it)

Family

  • This month was ALL about family, at least the first half. We had to meet my brother-in-law’s new puppy, have pancakes with my family, and go to an out of town birthday party. We were also slated to help Scott’s other brother move, but they didn’t want our germs and toddlers, so we were let off the hook. Phew!
  • I planned Valentine’s day for Scott and I, which was a first in years. We even found a night to have a date night as well.
  • In came down to having to decide between it and going to a winter festival, but we finally made it to the ice castles, and Charlotte got to meet the “Winter Sisters” (the non-trademarked version of Elsa and Anna from Frozen).

Work

  • Wheels are finally starting to move that will hopefully mean some movement in our organization, so I’m spending a lot of time thinking about how to improve my resume.
  • I’ve become the “knowledge collector” in our department, learning as much as I can about the different things people do.

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Throwing Stones, or Modelling Good Behaviour

I asked C to put away some toys tonight that had made their way into the kitchen. She went to complain that there were too many toys to carry when she remembered a similar discussion the previous morning and the solution of using a basket to carry things. She ran to grab the basket, load the toys and disappeared into the living room. I smiled and mentally patted myself on the back for raising such a good kid… only to discover the basket was dropped two steps into the living room and not actually put away.

Of course, this discovery came only after she went to bed, so there was no reminder to finish a job once started. Instead, I sighed, picked it up from the basket of laundry it was placed on top of and put it down on the floor one step closer to its destination.

Gee, I wonder where she gets this from?

We are pretty terrible at finishing what we start. A 5 minute job in the basement ended up taking us all afternoon between getting distracted before we could finish one job, or being unable to move forward with the next step because we were missing key pieces that we know we put somewhere the last time we got halfway through this job.

Maybe it’s time to put a conscious effort into the follow through, both with finishing jobs I start, and making sure that C finishes jobs as well. And maybe most importantly, letting C know that it’s something I have to work on too and that it’s something we need to work on together. You know, really living that don’t throw stones in glass houses thing. Cuz really, that would suck to clean up.

Categories: The new identity | 4 Comments

Obstacles

I’m slowly going through all the clothes in my closet and trying to see why I do or don’t wear them. Some have legitimate reasons (fancy dresses aren’t exactly every day wear), but some do not (if it’s too big, why do I still have it?). But it’s not always easy to figure out why you reach past an item of clothing, especially when you love it.

Like these pants. Love the colour. Love the fit. Comfortable to boot. But it turns out that boots are the problem. Black boots seem to heavy. Brown boots don’t seem to be right either. I fear trying to match the grey.

It’s these small hiccups that colour an outfit for me and I never know whether it’s best to just cut them loose or keep trying to find something to make them work.

Is it really worth keeping something you love, if you need to buy more things to make them work?

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Cara Reads: Etta and Otto and Russell and James

A couple years ago, I spent some time in a bookstore aimlessly wandering, trying to find new books to read since everything I seemed to read was Canadian Women Writers, and while there is a good selection, it wasn’t the richest tapestry. I grabbed Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper because I liked the spine design (you can’t judge based on the cover, but can you based on the spine?).

Fast forward a few years and I not wanting to read one of my usual Canadian Women Writers, I grabbed this book. That’s weird, I thought, I didn’t realize it was written by a woman.  Wait, is that an endorsement from Maclean’s, the Canadian news magazine?

My interests are SO diverse!

The fragmented narration of this tale makes it a quick read. There are flashbacks, letters and multiple narrators. Primarily, the story follows Etta, who, in her 82nd year, decides to see the ocean. She wakes one night and begins her journey on foot. Otto, her husband, and Russell, her neighbour deal with the fall out of her absence.

It takes a strange turn at the end — Etta’s dementia has her reliving parts of Otto’s life that she wasn’t present for — but is otherwise a good read. The aged woman’s quest for water as she loses her mental faculties and nears death is certainly not a new Canadian trope, but it was refreshing to see it through the perspective of someone who wasn’t generally malicious.

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Five Things Friday

My mother-in-law is horrified every time she asks me to remind her how early our day starts.

Me: I’m up at 5:45 for a workout. Scott’s alarm doesn’t go off too much after that.

M-I-L: When are the girls up?

Me: usually about 6:30.

M-I-L: oh, I just feel so bad for you. I always let the boys sleep in. That must be so rough.

Ah, the joys of working for yourself in a small town, where her commute was 5 minutes, and no one yelled at her if she was late*. But here’s the thing: it’s no rougher than when I was home with the girls and we had to get somewhere. The fights are all the same. The chaos is all the same. It’s just the time on the clock that’s different. If anything, I almost like it better. And not just because Scott takes the lead on the kids. Here’s why:

  1. When you’re tired, it doesn’t matter if it’s 5:45, 6:45 or 7:45 (especially in winter). It’s dark and your bed is warm and the world is harsh. As a mom of two, I never feel rested, even after an 8 hour sleep, so why not take advantage of always feeling tired and get something done?
  2. Sometimes Madeline is already up. It feels less early when she wakes at 6 and you’re usually up than when she wakes at 6 and you’re counting on another hour of sleep.
  3. C is never awake which is good because we can usually dress her before she becomes fully able to control her body and fight against whatever “roughily” (her word for not fleecy soft) outfit she chose herself last night (#threenager)
  4. I get to work anywhere from 10-30 minutes before my start time, so even on the most rushed days, I still have time to stop and grab breakfast, vent to a coworker, or zone out in front of my computer screen before I need to get down to business.
  5. We all are home by 5:15. 5:25 in a bad day.

Don’t worry. I know my mother-in-law means no judgment by it. We are both well aware we have different lifestyles and parenting styles. While they are still chaotic, rushed and feel too early, they work for us and that’s all that really matters.

*Disclaimer: my boss wouldn’t yell if I was late. She’d likely call me into her office to make sure everything is ok, because I am perpetually early and am often quoted as saying “if you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re already late”

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