Friday, 25 November 2011

My Christmas present to myself

It is exactly one month until Christmas and my present to myself is to be in the 160's for Christmas. This is do-able. I'm sitting at 176lbs right now so I just need to lose a minimum of 7lbs in a month.

I spent a good chunk of the fall in denial. I'd miss going to the Y and think "next time" over and over again. My son would ask if he could go across the street and pick up a treat and I'd say "sure". Then he'd come home with a bag of chips or a carton of ice cream for us to share. This was happening several times a week.

One day my belt at work was a bit snug. I chalked it up to PMS and moved the belt to the second hole instead of the third. And there it sat... for a month. At the end of October I had a "what the hell am I doing?" moment and weighed myself, then realized I was up to 182lbs.

Over the past three weeks I've gone to the Y every time my son's had swimming lessons (minus our community group night) and have exercised with the My Fitness Coach almost every morning. I refuse to get up early enough to exercise on mornings when I have to be AT work for 6am (that's maybe twice a month) and I missed last Saturday. I've lost 6lbs and, even better, my work uniform is now loose and I'm *this* close to having my belt on the fourth hole! My energy levels are a lot better and I'm simply just feeling better about myself.

I can't wait to see how much better I feel by Christmas!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

My Christmas Wish

I love Christmas. It's, hands down, my most favourite holiday. I love the lights, the music, the decorations, the candles, picking out presents for family and friends, writing cards, receiving cards (and finding out how friends and family have fared over the previous year), baking, and spending time with family and friends. I've got bins of candles and decorations. Each year I swear I'm going to wait until November 25th before I start decorating. Each year I cave about a week early.

But what I love the most about the holiday is the spirit. I love how this holiday brings everyone together no matter what their culture or religion. I'm sure there are people out there who hate the holiday but I have yet to met one. I've got coworkers who come to work one week with their hands decorated for Eid and the next week they're oohing over Christmas ornaments and which ones to get. I've got friends who go right from celebrating Hanukkah to stuffing stockings for the kids. Christmas is ingrained in our culture.

The only thing I hate about Christmas are the emails and messages determined to turn the holiday into an "us against them" situation. The mildest are the "show you're going to put the CHRIST into CHRISTmas" forwards and shares. I know Christians celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25... even though it wasn't the actual day of his birth. If someone wants to celebrate Christmas with minimal fuss and decorations, remembering Christ as their saviour, and attending church during their holiday, that is their choice and I respect it. What I don't respect is the underlying divisiveness. Show that you put Christ in Christmas (unlike some others). I thought it was part of the Christian religion to be meek and never boastful about your faith. To pray quietly and privately. Giant shout outs to prove who celebrates Christ the most seems neither meek or private.

The emails that bother me the most are the truly divisive ones that start off announcing they don't care who they offend and usually end with an "if you don't like this, move back to your own country". When on earth did prejudice and racism become part of Christmas?

I don't know anyone who refers to a Christmas tree as a Holiday tree. The emails go around constantly every holiday season yet the only time I've ever heard of a "holiday tree" was years ago in Toronto. And, from what I remember, it was a group of white Christians who were worried they might offend others if they called it a Christmas tree (despite the tree standing without complaint for years).

I know that some schools have Holiday or Winter Concerts instead of Christmas Concerts. Our elementary school was very multi-cultural and had a Winter Concert. We still had a bunch of kindergarten kids singing "Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer" (if they weren't talking to each other, waving at family, or picking their noses), grade one kids singing "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" and grade two kids singing "I'm getting nutting for Christmas". Somewhere, I think there's a law stating those three songs are mandatory in concerts. I've heard that some schools don't allow any Christmas carols at all in the concerts. I think that's a shame. A winter concert should have songs from all sorts of cultures... and that includes Christmas carols.

As for people who look at advertisements to *prove* Christmas is turning into a generic holiday season... just pardon me while I laugh for a minute...

... okay... advertisements are written by people who want to sell products. They don't really care who's buying the product. They don't care if you're buying that doll as a Christmas present or a Hanukkah gift or for Kwanzaa... they just want the darn thing sold. I spent years teaching my kids not to look to advertising for facts, only to find out there's adults who look at Wal-Mart ads to find proof of how their holiday is celebrated.

And then there's the people who believe they own Christmas and list demands of who is allowed and not allowed to celebrate *their* holiday. How on earth could my tree, stockings, and decorations offend anyone? Scroll up... do they look horribly offensive?

So my biggest wish this holiday season is for my friends to celebrate which ever holiday (or holidays) they choose and to have a great time. Spend time with the people you care about... show them you love them... and stop frigging worrying about whether everyone else is celebrating the same way as you. Let them celebrate the way they want. I assure you that your own holidays will be a lot more enjoyable.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Great levels of derpness

Story of my life...

I went to the Y with my son today with the goal of working out on the elliptical while he was taking his swimming lessons. We had a 20 minute bus ride then a 5 minute walk. In the 5 minute walk I realized I really needed to use the bathroom.

I dug my Y card out to scan, then stuck it in my coat pocket. I zipped the pocket because with my luck the card would fall into the toilet. Went to my usual locker and started digging out my exercise clothes. I went to put the card into the locker... tugged on the zipper. It wouldn't open. Wedged tight with fabric.

Okay, no problem. I'll just close it a bit, push away the fabric, then pull the zipper back down. Except the fabric still stayed jammed. Ten freaking minutes later I admitted defeat and went to get a guest pass so I could use the locker while I still had time to exercise. My Y card is still in my pocket. Thankfully my keys and cell phone were in the OTHER pocket.

A few days ago I was at work. We have a sweet hot drink topped with a whipped topping and drizzle. The whipped topping comes in a plastic bag with a nozzle at the end. The bag was *almost* empty and I was squeezing the last little bit out when, wham, the nozzle shot out and hit the side of the cup. Of course the cup wobbled and all the whipped topping poured out onto the packets of sugar and sweetener on the counter. I attempted to grab it, I don't know why, and ended up knocking the whole cup over. Customer's watching me.

Okay, I'll try that again. Get a new cup, turn on the beverage machine, get a new bag of whipped topping, go find scissors to cut it open. Customer asks if I'm almost done. I start to say "yes" then look at the cup filled with brownish water. We're out of the powdered beverage mix.

Yep... I've got a line up, an impatient customer, no whipped topping, and I need to fill the beverage container AND clean off the counter AND replace all the sugars and sweeteners. That's my life.

The last one really showcases my derpness. It's pretty much derpness squared. I have a habit of saying "Got to stop smoking the crack" when I make a mistake. I say this if I mistype something on the cash register or tell someone they ordered $7.64 worth of items when they ordered $4.67. Basically I say this multiple times a day.

It's dark and early one morning and I'm ringing in a breakfast order. Type the wrong thing in again and make my crack announcement. Look up at two very confused looking police officers. Blink a bit.

"Umm... the bagels will be at that counter."

Whisper to co-worker "Crack is smoked right?" The officers looked so confused I couldn't tell if it was because I said I smoked crack to them or because I said it and that's not what you do with it. And in that case I'd been saying it wrong to a whole lot of people. Apparently it is smoked.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Another good day...

Every morning I stand at work and look out the windows at the trees and the sunshine and think "I wish I was out walking in the woods". Today I woke up just before 7am and decided today would be the day. I was outside, waiting for the bus, just after 8am. The trail I walk is not really "woods". It's right off a minor highway and I could hear the traffic on the 401 (a major highway) for the entire walk. Plus there's subdivisions on both sides of the trail, hidden behind the trees. But it feels like the woods when I'm walking and that's enough for me. It was chilly this morning and the grass and leaves were trimmed with frost. The brisk walk kept me warm, even though I stopped to take a few pictures.

I decided to go out to our favourite restaurant for lunch today. They have an amazing lunch special and I order the same meal every time. A bowl of vegetarian hot and sour soup for the appetizer and vegetable golden curry with rice and two vegetable spring rolls. I thought about lunch today. I love the hot and sour soup and it's a healthy choice. The spring rolls and curry, not so much (as much as I love them too). Today I ordered the appetizer mango salad with a larger bowl of curry. It was just as good and I didn't leave feeling overly stuffed (like usual).

After lunch we went to the mall. Often, when we're at the mall, we pick up a treat. Last time we went to Cinnabon for a minibon and a container of icing. According to the information I found online, the minibon is 300 calories (not including the extra tub of icing). I went to Purdys instead and picked up a 100 calorie chocolate peanut butter bar.

My other treat was a trip to Teaopia for a tin of chocolate mint rooibos tea. If you click on the link it leads you to the tea and to the nifty little tin I got to hold it in. That's what I'm sipping on now as a before bed treat.

I've spent a lot of my adult life making excuses for needing treats. I worked hard and deserve a cinnabon. It's been a stressful day and curry from iThai would be the perfect way to relax. All those *treats* ended up with me being 72lbs overweight... and that wasn't a treat. I worked hard at changing those habits and managed to lose 40lbs. But then I sat on a plateau for a year... struggling with the *treat* mentality and regained 10lbs this fall. Now I'm determined to change my views on treats. Treats shouldn't shorten my life. Treats shouldn't weaken me. And every day I'm going to continue to push myself to treat myself better. Today I succeeded. Now I need to work on tomorrow.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Murder presents

I have three cats, the youngest is Oreo. He is the goofball of the three, as you can see from his picture. He routinely sleeps on his back with all four paws in the air. He was stretching and yawning in this picture, I love the shot because I think it looks like he's singing opera.

Out of the three cats, Oreo is our cat most likely to hunt mice. He comes from a family of barn cats so I guess that's to be expected. What's less expected is that we'd get any mice here. We live in a high rise apartment building and not on the first floor. And we've lived here for 7 years without seeing any mice other than the ones attached to our computer... until this summer at least.

I was in the bathroom in August and Oreo was staring, rather intently, at the litter box. I figured there was a bug of some sort behind it. Probably a big one like a beetle, or even a spider. I moved the box so he could kill it and discovered there was a mouse crouched behind the box. Neither Oreo or I caught that mouse then as it quickly bolted under the bathroom vanity.

A day later I noticed my bedside mat had a lump underneath it. I figured it was a crumpled Kleenex (the garbage can was right near the lump). It was a very flat mouse. My guess was that Oreo crouched, waiting for the mouse to appear... on the mouse.

A week or so later I was woken up, on my day off, by Oreo and Blackie stalking around my bedroom. They were trying to paw behind my filing cabinet. After I went into the living room they moved to the front hall closet. Then Oreo walked toward me with a tail hanging out of his mouth. I took the tail and told him to "drop it". Thankfully he did. Even more thankfully, there was a mouse attached to the tail and said mouse was alive.

Son and I took the mouse to the greenspace across the road and released it. Said road is a minor highway... I don't think that particular mouse is coming back.

We didn't see signs of any more mice after that so I figured we were done with them. Then last night rolled around. I walked into my bedroom and found another very flat mouse on my floor. Very flat and very dead. It appears Oreo is giving me some special presents...

Picture is from here

Although to be honest, considering the flatness of the poor things, I'm not sure if Oreo's trying to kill them or he's just snuggling them to death.

Generation gap

Last night my son and I were talking at the dinner table. Son is very worried about the elevators in our building. He's regularly concerned the cords are going to snap, sending everyone inside plummeting to their doom.

After several minutes of elevator talk I told my son he was like Chicken Little, trumpeting "the sky is falling".

Son looked at me blankly then said, "Yes, but Chicken Little was right at the end".

"No he wasn't," I reminded him, slightly puzzled. "It just turned out to be an acorn."

"Yes," son insisted. "It was an acorn at the beginning but then the aliens came."

Aliens? I seriously began questioning my son's sanity at this point. What aliens? There's no aliens in the book...

That was when the light bulb lit. There was a movie, which I'd never seen but apparently son had.

"No, son," I explained. "Not the movie, the book."

That was his turn to look confused while I explained the book to him. I guess that was one book I missed in his childhood.

It's funny how you can talk to someone, think you're both talking about the same thing, and discover you both have something completely different in mind.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tried something new today

I saw a recipe for stove top lasagna last week and thought it looked interesting. However it called for broken lasagna noodles and a lot of cheese. We're selling lasagna casserole at work these days too and that one's with egg noodles. I decided to fiddle around with ingredients and make my own today and it turned out really well.

2 cups water
carton or jar strained tomatoes
package of Yves veggie ground (equivalent of two pounds ground beef)
2tsp pureed garlic
1 container fat free cottage cheese
a whole whack of spices (I used liberal shakes of Mrs Dash spicy pepper blend and table shake and President's Choice salt-free sun-dried tomatoes and herbs)
1 package extra-broad egg noodles
a bit of Havarti

I brought all the ingredients, minus the noodles and Havarti, to a boil in a big electric skillet. Then I dumped in the noodles, put on the lid, and let it boil for 10 minutes... stirring occasionally.

Once the ten minutes was up I diced up some Havarti (three slices, each about 2cm thick) and sprinkled it into the mixture. Then put the lid back on for another minute until the cheese melted.

It was good and my son almost inhaled it. I'll definitely be making it again. If you're making this with minced dead cow I'd fry that first. Veggie ground is pre-cooked.

I found these treats at our local dollar store today for $2!

Each square is a decent size and about 67 calories (the serving size is 3 squares at 200 calories)... and they're yummy! It's nice to have something small to stick into my work bag for lunch. I think I'll go back and pick up another bag.

Son is off at swimming lessons. I was looking forward to going to the Y with him tonight and using the elliptical for a half hour, then I remembered our community group meets tonight. I'll have to go to the Y on Friday evening for sure!

It's been a good day and I'm aiming for just as good a day tomorrow!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A productive day today!

I had the day off so exercised for a half-hour with the Wii My Fitness Coach instead of my usual 15 minutes. I then went out for a walk in the park across the street. As you can tell by the picture, our part of Ontario isn't know for gorgeous fall colours. Most of the leaves on the ground today were still green. It was a good walk though.

I bought a big container of hemp oil at SuperStore last week and whipped up a container of salad dressing. Hemp oil is a good source of both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, I try to get a tablespoon a day since I don't eat fish. I also made chocolate banana muffins (with flax and cocoa) for desserts.

I cleaned up the living room today. I can't stand mess and three cats and two guinea pigs tend to scatter a lot of mess around. As the saying goes, I swept up enough fur to make a new cat. I also put away our Hallowe'en decorations; it's hard to believe I'll be putting up our Christmas decorations in about three weeks!

I think my biggest challenge is going to be keeping up staying organized. So far I've been doing really well this week. I'm totally ready for bed, the dishes are washed, and my breakfast and lunch stuff is ready for tomorrow. I've even got my work shoes untied beside the computer desk. It feels good knowing everything is ready and I don't have to rush.