Tag Archives: humour

More or Less Sober October??

Cheers!

Cheers!

Wondering how I’m doing with my very brave “Sober October” manifesto?

We are halfway through the month… And in the interest of full disclosure – I did drink over Thanksgiving weekend – that was my hall pass. What have I observed about this process?

That some people think I’m nuts! And I get it! Why can’t I just not drink during the week and then have a glass on the weekend? Well…. As I said in my earlier post (https://mypuzzledlife.com/2015/09/30/sober-october/), the summer cocktail party had to end. But also – if I like something, I just want MORE! “That’s the best meatloaf I’ve ever had!” I want more. “That’s a very tasty cocktail!” Great! Give me another one! “That might be the best mini cupcake I’ve tasted since the last time I had a mini cupcake!” I had 3…. (which was noticed and pointed out to me by a friend’s husband – very appreciated…)

I think I have an obsessive/compulsive personality. This is good in some instances… It has allowed me to quietly and obsessively slog away at a yoga practise that I’m not very good at – I have attacked and learned a game which is quite hard to learn at an older age – when I have a project in front of me, I try to peck away at it methodically. But when I like something, I WANT MORE!!!!

And I do like my wine – and gin and tonics – and who doesn’t like champagne??!! So – I am going to try to persevere in October – more or less….

In the Nick of Time…

Time is of the essence....

Time is of the essence….

So – where are we at with Henry and could our luck be turning? It depends on how you look at it – and I’m looking at it with a “glass half full”.

A week ago Wednesday, we were still debating options for Henry. It had pretty much been decided that he would drop out of his university courses… His confidence had been so shaken – he kept saying that he wasn’t sure he was cut out for it – that he didn’t know if he could do it – what happens if??? So, I began to make phone calls. First – to the residence people. If he dropped out of classes, but was returning in January, could he stay in residence in the meantime? Left Brain and I agreed that he was better off at school with friends, and in the environment of the intelligentsia (!!!), than upstairs in his room by himself for 2 months. And Henry wanted to stay at school – he loves his independence – and as he pointed out to me… “You know, I do have friends here and stuff to do…” Okay – great.

So – they said yes. As long as he didn’t party too much and disturb the other kids. I almost snorted into the phone. I told her, that although she might want to take it with a grain of salt, as it was coming from his mother and all…. Henry is not a party-er – and he definitely would not disturb anyone. One thing down….

Next up – talk to the Admissions people at the college to find out what his options were for January. So keep in mind… this was Wednesday that I made phone calls, and/or sent emails. Late Friday afternoon, I heard from the Admissions people that indeed, he could start some programs in January (I had asked specifically about 4 or 5 programs); but the deadline for applying for said programs was THE NEXT DAY!!! Cripes! Okay…

Thank goodness that everything these days is done online. And since he had been a student of the college last year, they already had high school transcripts and his marks from the first year. So he made his applications – although he was beyond stressed that he had to do it at 7:00 p.m. on a Friday night. So to simplify things, I picked two programs for him that I thought were up his alley, and he picked a third (horticultural practises or something – where’s the job in that if you’re not a farmer??!! Perhaps I’m being shortsighted, but I think he was grasping at straws… And I wasn’t prepared for a debate on his long-term goals at that point!)

Then on Monday, I called the Admissions people (again…) to make sure that there wasn’t anything that they needed for these applications to be considered. Everything was fine. And so we waited.

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I am happy to report that he has been accepted into every program for January. And we start all over again. That glass is definitely half full!

Sober October

Aaaahhhh....

Aaaahhhh….

Recently, I spent a night at a friend’s, with a bunch of other gals after a delightful day of golf, to be followed up with some bridge. Our host suggested that October be dubbed “Sober October”.

I found this intriguing. My summer party has lasted into September – and there has to be an end in sight. Some discipline needs to be enforced!!!

Needless to say, the negotiations that ensued were quite hilarious… After the initial collective gasp of horror, we debated the merits of this notion. One proposal was reasonably suggested that wouldn’t it be enough to just not drink during the week? Well – of course, the definition of “the week” continued. I thought to myself that “the week” would be Monday – Thursday (that’s including Thursday). But one gal pointed out that a lot of social activity happens on Thursday nights – so how about no drinking Monday – Wednesday?

This continued down a path (away from sobriety) – wouldn’t it be enough to just drink one glass per night? And then – who are we fooling? – let’s be realistic and all agree to not drink more than 2/night.

There is one thing that we all agreed on wholeheartedly. We all need new doctors/trainers/nutritionists who won’t force us to lie about our habits! That would let go of a lot of needless anxiety – which probably contributes to the drinking in the first place, right?!

Having said all that… I really am going to try. What with everything going on with Henry right now, I need all the sleep/rest/calm/Zen I can get! This does come with a rider however… Thanksgiving is approaching (in Canada), and there’s NO WAY I’m hosting Thanksgiving without drinking!

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s the last day of September – and if I have any hope at all of achieving my goal, I need to go and get my fill before tomorrow!

Dance Like No One’s Watching!!!

Dance with abandon – with joy – with a carefree spirit! Dance like no one’s watching. Because you can – and you should when there is something worth celebrating. And this is how I feel.

I'm a dancing fool!

I’m a dancing fool!

Now – just on the dance… I did try to upload the Elaine dance from Seinfeld, but I couldn’t find a clip that didn’t come with ads. And I must say – I do a mean rendition of the Elaine dance – but I’ve had to pull back on some of the moves, because I don’t want to put out my back!!!

So – why am I so happy?! Is there a calorie-free chocolate fudge sundae out there? Have I discovered that I actually can eat Blizzards whenever I want without retribution on the scale? Did I shoot 72? Uh – no…. This is even better. We made it!!! Henry and I – that is.

First – Henry. He made it through his debut year of college. He passed everything and gained entry into his program of choice at university. And what is the program? Biological Science… Holy Cow!!! He had to maintain a combined average of over 70% in the math and sciences to get into this program. And this is the kid that I wasn’t sure was ever going to “get” math. When I think of the hours we spent trying to figure out how to explain math word problems. Talk about a double whammy!!!

And he managed residence and living on his own. Was this without some anxiety spells and many calls home? No – but who cares? He stuck with it, put his nose to the grind and got it done.

Secondly – me. My first year with an empty nest. Did I shrivel up and die? Did I drown myself in a mountain of Oreo’s? Although I wanted to at times, instead, I embarked on the “I’m Worth It” project (see https://mypuzzledlife.com/2014/11/). I’m down 30 lbs. and feel fantastic. I feel like me again – when there was just a me. Now I have Super-Duper Me, plus my wonderful boys (FYI – that’s the kids and Left Brain).

So – hooray for Henry! I’m so proud of this kid. So I’m dancing like no one’s watching!!!

Letting Go – Part 3 – Cleaning House

The stuff - before it gets donated....

The stuff – before it gets donated….

This can conjure all sorts of images – but for me – it feels like new beginnings. And it’s a pretty powerful feeling saying goodbye to fat pants (and shirts, and shorts, and golf clothes that I never felt good in….) So – what makes the cut and what doesn’t? Well obviously – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Meaning – if it still looks good and makes me feel pretty – then it stays. But otherwise – be brutal!!! If it’s just okay – if you can’t bear to get rid of it because there’s nothing wrong with it (other than the fact that you never felt good in it, or it doesn’t look that great); then get rid of it!! There are others who will enjoy it.

When I was a kid, right before school began again in September, my mother made us all do a “spring” cleaning of our desks, bureaus and closets. My sister went in her room, closed the door, and immediately went to sleep. I, of course, being the diligent daughter, painstakingly went through everything. Could this be my OCD at work? Definitely another characteristic I share with my mother. It makes me feel GREAT to get rid of stuff – detritus – junk – crap. Whatever you call it – it feels good.

Now while I was going through this process, Left Brain was observing with some trepidation. He comes from stockpilers – he’s one of those people who have stacks everywhere in their office, but miraculously know where everything is. Or, at least, that’s what he tells me. He finally issued this statement…. “You can throw out all my s–t, as long as I can stay…” And his golf clubs of course. Can’t be messing with the equipment graveyard. There’s any one of 6 putters to choose from…

But I’ll give him credit – he wholeheartedly got into the act and got rid of a bunch of worn out, sad looking items in his wardrobe. He even went through his office and discarded some of the piles.

The golf clubs remain… Oh – and he’s still here too!!

Letting Go – Part 1 – The Kids

If you're wondering...  that is NOT me....

If you’re wondering… that is NOT me….

As part of the I’m Worth It Project (see https://mypuzzledlife.com/2014/11/25/im-worth-it/), I assembled a team. Recently, I was in to see my hypnotist, who is also a life coach. (Check her out at http://www.georginacannon.com) As I was speaking about various issues that are troubling me at the moment, she very quietly handed me this poem…

Letting Go

Letting go does not mean to stop caring
it means
I can’t do it for someone else
It is not to cut myself off
it means realizing I can’t control another
it means to admit I am powerless
so the outcome is in God’s hands – not mine.

To let go is not to enable
but to allow the other to learn from natural consequences
To let go is not to blame or change another,
it is to make the most of myself

To let go is not to care for, but care about
It is not to ‘fix’, but be supportive
It’s not to judge to ‘allow’ another human being
It’s not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their destiny

To let go is not to be protective but to let another face reality
It is not to deny, but to accept
To let go is not to nag, scold or argue
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them
And it is not to adjust everything to my desires
but to take each day as it comes
and to cherish myself in it.

Author Unknown (with grateful thanks)

The last paragraph of the above is a killer – for any parent. Having children changes your life forever…There’s a great line from the movie, Carnage, uttered by the character played by John C. Reilly (and forgive me if I don’t get this absolutely perfect); “Kids suck the life out of you and leave you with nothing.” Now I don’t share his sense of doom when it comes to having children. I can’t imagine my life without them – they have brought me so much joy. But let’s face it – we’ve parented our children quite differently than our parents did. I don’t think my mother had much trouble Letting Go when it came to me and my siblings. But there’s definitely got to be a middle ground.

Even when your kids are out of the house, you still worry. But you have to let them live their own lives and make their own decisions – good or bad. That’s the only way they’re going to learn. But upon reading this poem for the first time, I thought to myself – how does a parent of a special needs child let go? I don’t think we can ever truly let go – especially when there’s been so much work and advocacy from Day One – that just doesn’t end. But there are degrees to which we can let go. Saying goodbye on the first day of school, walking behind him the first time he walked to school on his own and darting behind street signs (as if those poles hid me!) so he would think that he was, indeed, walking to school “by my own”; letting them go on a sleepover (where you keep your phone handy and don’t go out or drink anything because you might have to pick them up at a moment’s notice); waving to them as the bus for sleep-away camp pulls away (and then sobbing pitiably for 2 hours after – and of course, pre-posting cards and care packages so they’ll be there when they get to camp…); and the big and most recent Letting Go – moving him into residence at college.

And of course, there’s a trust issue when you’re Letting Go. You have to trust that you have laid a foundation that will enable your kids to find the correct, and more importantly, the right path, for them. Who knows how it will turn out? There will be more instances of me having to Let Go – but I will always, always be there in the background for both of them. And hopefully, they will not ask for my help.

The. Best. Kitchen. Gadget. EVER!!!!

Big talk you say… What could this gadget possibly be? Would it be the super awesome Nespresso machine, which makes creamy cappuccinos on demand? Could it be the Bullet, which smooshes and squishes a bunch of stuff into a superfood smoothie? Or perhaps a really good knife (which is indispensable – I have my favourite and routinely pass over it’s inferior cousins to the left and right in my knife drawer…) Well – without further ado – and before I lose your attention, it’s this….

It's super cool!!

It’s super cool!!

It’s called a Spiralizer!!! Just to remind everyone of what I’ve been doing lately – no wheat, sugar or dairy. Most people recoil in horror when I share this – but trust me – once you’ve started, it’s really not that hard to do. So – how do I live without pasta? I don’t – well kind of – but not really. Let me explain.

If I’m really craving something, we go to our favourite Italian restaurant at midday, and I order the Linguine Milano. I ALWAYS order the Linguine Milano. It has linguine (duh), chicken, snow peas in a cream sauce and I dump tons of fresh grated parmesan over it – and of course, they now have corn pasta, which at least, is gluten free. But for the day to day, and to continue my weight loss wellness journey, it’s verboten to have any grains at night. So what to do when you’re making something with a sauce that begs to be soaked up by rice, pasta or couscous?

Enter The Spiralizer!!! I’ve used it so far to make endless zucchini noodles and skinny sweet potato fries. Trust me on the zucchini noodles…. they are delicious. We ate them with a bolognese sauce, and they soaked up the sauce beautifully. We felt like we’d had a huge bowl of pasta, without that bloated, yucky feeling afterwards. I don’t eat them raw – I put them in a wok and stir fry with a bit of olive oil, before topping with the sauce. Yum… And the other night, topping them with shrimp curry…

Zucchini noodles topped with shrimp curry!

Zucchini noodles topped with shrimp curry!

This making you hungry? Give it a go!

I’m Worth It – Part 3 – What I’ve Learned So Far

Hello Jaw Line - it's nice to meet you...  It's been a few years!!

Hello Jaw Line – it’s nice to meet you… It’s been a few years!!

OK – so not the best title… too long.  But I am 2 1/2 months into this process and thought that some of you out there might be interested in my progress.  I am down 25 lbs.!!  Wow!!  That’s a pretty big turkey!  Just to remind you – I’ve been off sugar, wheat and dairy.  Here is what I’ve learned so far.

  • You absolutely cannot undertake a process to overhaul yourself without the unwavering support and loyalty of your biggest fan (that would be Left Brain).  When I’ve been discouraged, he’s there to listen.  When I’m celebrating, he there’s applauding.  When I’m trying out new recipes that might be kind of yucky, he eats thankfully.  I don’t think I’ve gotten one negative vibe from him during this whole process.
  • Surround yourself with a good team.  Besides your partner (who is the most important person), find the right team.  My nutritionist Krissy is awesome – she is encouraging, down to earth, and provides me with lots of new inspiration and ideas when I visit her (find her at http://eatplaylivenutrition.ca.)   I have also been seeing a hypnotist; because I figured that there had to be subconscious reasons why I continued to lapse into the same old bad habits and I wanted to unlock that.
  • I like kale!  Who knew?!  But there are some tricks to kale…  My first kale salad was an exercise in mastication…  As I was building up my jaw muscles, I looked over at Left Brain and he was patiently chewing; and chewing; and chewing….  I read somewhere once that you’re supposed to chew every mouthful 25 times.  Have you ever tried it?  I did – once.  It’s gross…  Not doing it….  You need to chop up the pieces really small so that the vinaigrette can soak in…  And kale chips are great!  But don’t use baby kale – the leaves are too delicate to stand up to baking at 400…
  • Being over 50 is living in a new eco-system.  Things that you could get away with in your 30’s and 40’s just ain’t happening anymore.  So – have a moment of silence for your dearly departed tolerance for alcohol, or sugar, or wheat or whatever… and move on.  I can only surmise that this state of being will only get worse the older I get.  Something to look forward to!
  • Shopping is fun when you have a myriad of choices.  It’s also fun to fit back into stuff that you really liked at one time.  I have a whole collection of golf clothes from LoudMouth – really fun colours and patterns that I haven’t been able to wear in about 2 years.  We’re going to California in a couple of weeks to golf, and I’m looking forward to wearing my new “old” wardrobe!
  • Some people are seemingly threatened when you decide to improve yourself.  If you hear the words, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”, guaranteed – you’re not going to like what comes next!  Run!  Run away from these people – they are dealing with their own s–t – which has nothing to do with your s–t!
  • Like Cortez, who burned all of his ships after reaching the New World, I am getting rid of all of my “big lady” clothes.  In the same way that I have made this journey public, by ridding myself of the seeming security blanket of a bigger wardrobe that I can slip into, should I slip back into my old ways – I’m getting rid of the possibility.  I will concentrate on how great I feel!
  • If somebody tells you that they can eat or drink whatever they want with no consequences, you need to stop being friends with this person.  Because they suck….  Even if the above were true, they should have the bloody good sense to keep that little tidbit to themselves…  And it’s bulls–t…  Enough said.
  • I have become slightly OCD, with regard to eating on time.  I absolutely have to have my snacks, and if I don’t, I eat like a ravenous wolf at dinner, and beyond.  DON’T skip your snacks – it will bite you in the ass in the end.
  • Now this might horrify all oenophiles out there (better spell check that one…), but I got through the entire holiday season by imbibing…. red wine spritzers.  Now hold on – before you recoil in horror and immediately shut down this website… they’re actually pretty good.  Use lemon or grapefruit Perrier, and lots of limes.  They taste like a non-sweet sangria.  Why bother, you say?  Well – if you’re strong enough to just not drink at all – then good for you – and bugger off….  This was a good compromise.  And just as a general rule, no drinking during the week – unless there’s something going on….  I try to stick to the “No Drinking At Home” rule – which actually hasn’t been that hard.  Left Brain is not drinking wine anymore – he was over served about a year ago and that was that…  He drinks beer – which I hate – so no problem.
  • So – has this been hard?  YES!  At the beginning – but I’m Worth It!

What is my Deal?

This week I’ve been feeling kind of low…  I injured my back in yoga this week, and as Left Brain keeps reminding me, “You are turning 53 and we are getting older and you have to expect this kind of thing once in a while…”  Whoa, whoa, whoa….  First of all, I’m turning 52 next week, NOT 53….  He has to be reminded once in a while that he did indeed marry a trophy babe – he is waaay older than me – he’s turning 56 this year….  And after making that comment, he was pleasantly surprised by the response time of the EMS team…  But back to the injury…  I am pissed that I’ve been waylaid for the week, but the blues I’ve been feeling are a little more than that.

So, I tried to figure it out this afternoon – while I cranked the tunes to continue painting the basement TV room – which is basically only used by Son # 1 – Left Brain likes to call it the room where our son has sex in (!!!!)  OK – ew…  Even if I do acknowledge that in the far reaches of my mind, I don’t need it pointed out to me!  I’m repainting because I have to look at this room on my way by to the laundry room!  And I might use it occasionally, because Left Brain and I do not always agree on the Netflix selection for the evening – which he maintains has saved our marriage since the kids left in the fall….  But I digress…  Back to the tunes – I had Supertramp going (I didn’t realize as a teenager how deep some of those lyrics are!), Phantom of the Opera (because what’s a work session without some show tunes?), and finally, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra for those out there who were born after 1975…).  By the way, I challenge anyone not to “air drum” at the beginning of Evil Woman – listen to it again – you can’t do it!!

1977 - the era of the music...  I'm wearing my railroad overalls - cool, man!

1977 – the era of the music… I’m wearing my railroad overalls – cool, man!

But while I was working and singing away, my subconscious was figuring out this latest problem.  Why have I been so bummed out?  While I was out in the car doing errands this morning, I called both of the boys (relax – I have Bluetooth…)  And then it hit me.  I’m missing them all over again.  It’s like September again…  I feel like I’m experiencing the Empty Nest all over again.  I thought I had re-adjusted – but I guess not.  Anyways, just figuring this out made me feel better – and belting out all those old tunes!