Thursday, June 26, 2014

One of those weeks…

Ever have one of those weeks where things just aren’t going quite right?

I seem to have them every now and then. Nothing goes terribly wrong, but just enough to leave me feeling uneasy and discontent.  A vent session always helps…

For starters, my satellite dish has been acting wonky again. I know what you’re thinking. Oh, no, not the satellite woes AGAIN. We can’t deal with more of Jill’s dish woes!!

Well, to you I say… TELL ME ABOUT IT.

I could have cried the night I came home and discovered that I had no signal last week. Thankfully, my friend Lindsay loaned me her hubby, and after he wiggled the dish a bit, I was back in action, and I was so grateful to him. A few hours later, though, it was down again. This time, I dragged one of my kitchen chairs outside, climbed up, and wiggled it myself. Signal returns. I felt very empowered. I don’t need no boy to wiggle my dish!

This time, it worked for a few days, and I was starting to think the issue had been permanently solved. But alas, no. I lost my signal again on Monday night. I performed the same kitchen chair operation again, and so far, so good, but I’m now living in fear of my signal going out again, and worrying that there might be a serious issue here. Perhaps it’s the growing trees in my back yard? A faulty connection? I really have no clue. All I know for sure is that it’s not normal to have to drag a kitchen chair out to the back of my house every couple of days to realign my dish…

I can’t miss any more Jimmy Fallon, you guys. This is serious in my world.

Next on the list of things that are bothering me: my floody basement. We had torrential rains Tuesday, and it seems that anytime we get any kind of rain at all, I have water problems in my basement. Of course, during the Tuesday monsoons, my sump-pump seized, and the next thing I knew, water was pouring in and rising quickly. I’m lucky in that I have an unfinished basement, but it also houses things such as the washer, dryer, freezer, hot water tank, and furnace, so…we don’t want that water getting too high. I felt so terrible calling Rolly – he’s the one who always gets my panicky “SOMETHING’S WRONG WITH MY HOUSE!!!” phone calls, and I always feel so guilty about it.

As usual, Rolly bailed me out – literally! – and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him. Now, as always after a basement flood, I have the musty basement smell that I have to do battle with. I swear, each time it happens, the smell sinks into the rest of the house just a little bit more and I’m afraid that someday I’ll never get rid of it…

Let’s add insult to injury, shall we? As my basement filled with water, I discovered my first earwig of the season in my living room. Followed moments later by yet another in the kitchen.

I mothertruckin’ HATE EARWIGS!!!!!


Once the flood was finally under control, and I had stopped imagining earwigs crawling all over me, I settled down to watch my final episode of Dexter.

And let’s just say… I didn’t get the happy ending I wanted.

I suppose I never should have expected one in a show that has a serial killer working for the police department, should I?

I need a good weekend, here, folks. Some nice weather, some down time, and no more calamities, for just a few days.

A girl can hope…

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

If I were at home today…

Today is a holiday for most people in the province of Quebec – la Fete Nationale (aka St-Jean Baptiste Day) – however, it’s a holiday that I personally have never observed, and coincidentally, the company I work for doesn’t either, even though we are based out of Quebec. We collectively agree to work it, and instead take the long weekend in August that Ontario takes. Ordinarily, I don’t mind this at all – I’d rather have my summer long weekends spread out rather than two back-to-back (next week we’ll get Canada Day off). But today is a rainy, gloomy day, the phones are quiet because most of our Quebec clients are off, and all I keep thinking of is how I wish I were at home.

Normally a summer holiday like this is perfect for a beach day, swimming, suntanning, drinking, BBQ’ing or a picnic… for anyone looking forward to that kind of a day, they might be disappointed. However, I quite enjoy the occasional rainy day.

If I were at home right now, I could be…

… getting my workout done so I don’t have to do it later on!

… hanging out at my mom’s, because my niece and nephew are staying with her today. I imagine I could come in handy keeping them entertained on a day when they may very well be driving her a bit crazy! Haha!

… curled up on the couch with a second mug of coffee (Hazlenut-flavoured today, I think), and getting lost in the pages of Orange is the New Black: A Memoir by Piper Kerman.

orange is the new black

… sifting through my DVD collection, trying to find an old favourite that I haven’t watched in a while. It kind of feels like a Dirty Dancing or Pretty Woman kind of day, doesn’t it?


… or perhaps forgo my own DVD collection, and take a quick trip down to the store to rent one I haven’t seen yet. American Hustle, perhaps? Or maybe finally see that last Paranormal Activity flick that supposedly has the good twist ending? Kind of perfect for that kind of movie – dark gloomy weather, yet still “daylight” – I’d be good to go by bedtime tonight!

paranormal activity the marked ones

… in between movies, I could be flicking through the many shows I have PVR’d – maybe go back to some of those Criminal Minds marathon episodes I never finished during the winter.

… or switching it to Teletoon Retro!  One of my FAVOURITE things to do on a gloomy day is watch cartoons from my youth.  Garfield, Inspector Gadget, the Flintstones, the Jetsons, the Smurfs, Scooby Doo…


… washing my bed sheets. It’s a job that really should get done someday soon…

… going through my old clothes and deciding what to do with them (if I got ambitious). I have literally piles of clothing that I just don’t know what to do with – try to sell? Give away? Some of it is practically brand new, and in great shape. I could be sorting, washing, and figuring out what to do with all of it – because I don’t intend on needing those clothes ever again!

… thumbing through my recipe collection and choosing a perfect “rainy day recipe” to make. Right now, I’m thinking of the Creamy Roasted Red Pepper soup recipe I printed off a few weeks ago that sounds a lot like the soup I fell in love with at Relay for Life. Mmmm… I’m dying to make it, but it just hasn’t been soup-making weather lately. Today would be perfect, though!


…or baking.  Oh, how I long to bake!  I have some over-ripe bananas lying on my counter, just dyyyying to be made into Banana Nut Scones.  Unfortunately, due to the Six Week Plan, I don’t think I’d be able to do that anyways…

banana nut scones

…brewing a cup of tea. I have all of these tea leaves that I bought at a Steeped Tea party a long time ago, and I rarely take the time to brew a good cup. Honestly, I keep forgetting about them. But today just feels like a tea day, right?

steeped tea

… finishing Dexter. I have one episode left. The second-last episode, which I watched last night, left on such a cliff-hanger that I’m dying to find out how it all ends. Oh yes, if I were at home right now, I’d definitely be with Dexter.

dexter season 8

… hanging out in my bedroom (the only place in my house that has a VCR) and watching The Beach Boys movie I recorded years ago. Ever since I mentioned Dennis Wilson last week, I’ve been wanting to watch it again!


… dancing around in my kitchen while I make that soup, blasting my Beach Boys greatest hits CD… it might not be beach weather outside, but that music can brighten up any day!!

What would you be doing if you were at home today?

Or if you ARE at home today, how are you taking advantage of the day off?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Obsessed. And making no apologies.

The other morning, I was listening to my favourite radio morning show as I got ready for work, and they brought up the subject of how people who are on a diet or fitness program or any kind of “healthy lifestyle path” seem to love to talk about it. They love to tell their friends and family members and the neighbour’s damn dog about what they’re eating, what exercises they’re doing, how wonderfully it’s all going, and how they all should be doing the same thing.

And then they talked about how goddamn freakin’ annoying those people are.

I cringed.

Uh-oh. They’re talking about me.

We’ve discussed my obsessive personality here before. When I’m “into” something, I’m really “into” it, and I make no bones about that. Wade Redden. Muddy Buddies. Elvis. Prison Break. Chips & dip. The Tragically Hip. Tea. Jimmy Fallon.

And, yes. Healthy food and fitness.

As they gave examples on the radio of the annoying things these “health-minded” people do – talk about how they’ve lost weight, talk about what they eat on a daily basis, talk about how they’ve managed to fit working out into their busy lives, talk about how “if I can do it, anyone can do it!” – I literally shuddered.

I am that annoying person. I know it. I actually vividly saw myself in each example they listed. Sitting around a campfire at Relay for Life, bringing up different workout programs I wanted to try. At book club with the girls, telling them about my new favourite healthy recipes. The email I sent out to my siblings a few weeks ago, begging them to all get onboard with me as I embarked on a 30-Day Ab Challenge for the month of June. The eight million blog posts I wrote when I gave up sugar for Lent.

I could literally hear my own annoying voice, and it made me feel so sorry for all of the people who have to listen to me ramble on and on and on ad nauseum about my health and fitness over the past year and a half (that includes you, my poor blog pals… )

The fact is, when I’m so immersed in it (like I am right now, with my Six Week Plan), I spend so much time thinking about it and researching it that I can’t help but talk about it with anyone and everyone who will listen, even if they are just being polite.

And to be honest, being obsessed about this is a good thing – it bodes well for me and my success. One of my “keys to victory” in all of this is to stay away from temptation, and that includes Pinterest and recipe blogs. When I’m soaking up all of that stuff, then I’m being tempted. Why put myself through that kind of torture? Instead, I’ve been researching healthy meal plans, reading up on macros and how to balance the foods I eat in order to hit those macros. When I have a spare moment, I’ve been googling healthy ways to lose “the last 10 pounds” and trying to figure out what’s even possible to accomplish within my Six Week Plan.

Call it obsessed if you want – I do, I admit it – but at the end of the day, I’ve decided I’m not going to apologize for it. The same as I didn’t apologize to all the poor people who had to hear me wax poetic back in my college days about my deep and utter love for Dennis Wilson. (Yes. Dennis Wilson. Drummer for the Beach Boys. It did not matter that he was dead, I loved him, truly, madly, deeply, for several months.)

dennis wilson 2

This is just what I’m into right now.

Does it make my family members roll their eyes? Of course. Do my friends dread me bringing up the subject? Quite likely. Have I lost some blog followers who grew weary of my on-going posts on the topic? No doubt.

I get that it’s probably a total pain in the ass for many people.

But at the end of the day, I really don’t care. I’m doing something good for me, and I should be proud of that, not apologetic.

Hey, it could be worse.

…I could still be in love with a dead drummer from the ‘60’s.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


It’s accountability time.  Again. *sigh*

Guys, I’ve been slipping. Big time. A few weeks ago, I wrote one of my “I can do this!!” posts and vowed to be in a bikini – no matter what!! – on July 28th for my 31st birthday.

And since then, all I’ve done is eat. And eat, and eat, and eat.

My God, I love food. Especially really, really bad food.

And I love LOTS of it.

I’ve always said that I need to treat myself from time to time if I hope to keep myself on track, but the treats have been happening far too often. My willpower with food has slipped to practically non-existent.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Every Monday I swear it’s the beginning of getting myself back in the healthy-eating game. And I usually do pretty well from Monday to Thursday. But then Friday hits, and it’s all out the window again, no matter how great my intentions are. The weekends are one big mess of eating out, grabbing chip stand grub, ravenous snacking, and a constant losing battle with desserts and sweets.

Every Monday morning when I weigh myself, I’ve gained another pound or two. And those pounds are adding up far too quickly.

People keep telling me not to worry about it, they can’t even notice. But I notice. I feel the snugness in my pants and I could almost cry. I don’t feel good anymore, not on a regular basis like I had been. How can I let a whole year of hard work just slip away like this? I just can’t let it continue.

As we all know, I do well when faced with a challenge. And I do really well when I put in a plan into place.

So this is the start of THE SIX-WEEK PLAN.

On Friday evening, I hosted book club at my place, where I over-indulged majorly on the snacks I had prepared. (I intended to make them healthy, but somewhere along the way, that intention flew out the window.) At one point, as I sat feeling very stuffed on my couch, my friend Sharon mentioned the bikini project, and I laughed. “Yeah. Probably not gonna happen. I just love food too much!”

And that admission made me feel very, very blue. Not the fact that I was admitting that I probably wouldn’t be wearing a bikini on my birthday – I’ve never been 100% confident that I could get there and feel comfortable in it – but because I had realized it was pretty much too late to even try.

I was still thinking about it on Saturday – about how I didn’t have enough time to reach that goal anymore – when I looked it up to see how many weeks I had before my birthday.

And that’s when I discovered that Monday of this week marked exactly six weeks before the big 3-1.

I thought to myself, There’s still time. You may still not get there – you may never get there – but you still have time to at least make a valiant attempt. You just have to really bear down and give it your all for six weeks. Anyone can do ANYthing for six weeks, right??

I truly believe that. Anyone can do anything for six weeks.

So here’s the plan:

· To continue working out, as I have been, without fail. Keep up with the work-out schedule, especially focusing on cardio and abdominal exercises.

· To eat clean as much as possible, as well as eliminate sugar and artificial sweeteners from my diet. I’ve done this before. I completed a one-week clean eating challenge earlier this year, and I also went all of Lent without sugar and artificial sweeteners – I can do it again.

· No junk – nothing deep-fried at ALL. When eating out, go with salads. FORGET THE FRIES!!

· No more snacking – plan ahead for each day/week, and don’t allow myself to stray.

· If a “cheat” must happen – birthday parties, celebrations involving food - plan accordingly for it. Make sure the whole day doesn’t become a cheat. I can’t afford to lose a whole day at this point.

· Watch portions!! Measure, measure, measure!!

· Continue tracking everything – food, exercise, and water – on MyFitnessPal – and DON’T take the weekends off!

· Pack my own snacks – especially fruit – if I’m going somewhere that I think dessert will be a temptation.

· Keep drinking tons of water and getting 8 hours of sleep.

· Keep the fridge and cupboards stocked with healthy foods ONLY.

· Don’t let temptation twist my arm. Dig deep. Stay focused. COMMIT.

· Don’t eat out of boredom, stress, or to self-soothe. Find something else to do – go for a walk, read, write, clean… just keep busy.

· Water, tea, and one coffee a day – no pop, no diet pop, no booze.

· Avoid recipe blogs and stay off Pinterest.

· NO peanut butter and honey. NO chocolate mug cakes.

I already follow most of these “rules” on a regular basis. I’ve still never missed a work-out, I drink water like it’s going out of style, I get a good night’s sleep, I don’t drink… but the food. The food is killing me. And I can’t let that happen anymore.

THE SIX WEEK PLAN kicked off yesterday. I took my photos and measurements, I created a detailed food and exercise schedule to follow, and I committed.

Day 1 went very well. But “Day 1” always goes very well. It’s the weekend that will be the true test. I feel like if I can get through one weekend successfully, the rest will be a walk in the park.

At the end of the day, this isn’t so much about the bikini as it is about teaching myself all over again how to be a healthy and mindful eater.

I mean, how silly is this, you guys? I’ve done this before. I’VE DONE THIS!!! How absolutely ridiculous is it that I’ve let this slide so badly? How pathetic is it that I feel like I have to start all over again, like a little kid that’s forgotten how to ride a bike?

The truth is I always knew this was possible. It’s that little niggling fear that has always been there deep inside of me. I know I’m addicted to food, and I know the battle will never be over. I know that gluttonous girl still lives in there.

It’s time to beat her back down again.

Six weeks.

Anyone can do anything for six weeks.

Here we go.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I wanna go home and READ!!!

It feels like it’s been forever, but I’ve finally been sucked in by a book. And the book that has sucked me in – has me wishing I could call in sick just to stay home and read – is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.


I’ve been hearing about Gone Girl for quite a while now. I’ve read reviews on it on a million different blogs in the past year or so, and most of the time, the reviews were very favourable. So favourable, in fact, that I purchased it last fall and it’s been sitting on my book shelf ever since, waiting for the right time.

My problem lately has been that I read the selections we have for book club, and not much else. And while I’ve enjoyed some of the book club books, others have gravely disappointed me. When I’m not rapt by a book, it takes me a long time to plod through it. For instance, our most recent selection: The Naughty Girls Book Club by Sophie Hart. I had high hopes for this book. I was expecting a fun and sexy romp that I’d get all wrapped in, a la Fifty Shades or Bared To You. But this one just didn’t do it for me like those books did. It was a book filled with characters that I just felt meh about and their stories never really captured me. And it wasn’t as…erm… thrilling, if you know what I mean.

the naughty girls book club

But I got it done in the nick of time (actually, even more so since book club was postponed one week), and then I had to decide what to do. I have a good many books on my shelf that I’m anxious to read, but I keep putting them off because if I don’t move on to the next book club selection, I might not get it done in time.

This time, however, I had a feeling I’d be able to squeeze in another read before the next one, because I’m already pretty certain our next book – Orange is the New Black, which we’ll meet over in August – is going to be up my alley. I was pretty sure I had time to try Gone Girl before starting it.

So why Gone Girl right now? Mainly because my sister’s mother-in-law and I have discovered we both are in the same boat: we both love going to the movies, and often can’t find anyone to go with us. So we’ve decided we should go together!! We saw The Butler last fall, and Noah this spring, and she informed me recently that Gone Girl is being made into a movie and she wants to see it. She read the book awhile back, and when I told her it was just sitting on a shelf waiting on me, she said, “Oh, Jill. You have to read it!!!”

gone girl ew PS – the movie stars Ben Affleck.  I’m IN!!!!

Annnddd…..Badda boom, badda bing. Four days after starting it, I’m already over half-way through.

And over half-way through, I can honestly say I don’t know what to think about this book. All I know is that I just want to keep reading.

It is told from two different perspectives – the chapters alternate between present-day husband Nick, who’s wife has gone missing and he’s in the midst of the police investigation, looking more and more like the culprit with each passing day; and past diary entries from his missing wife, Amy, detailing different stages of their relationship and how she feels about him, from when she first meets to him, to dating him, to different stages of their five years of marriage.

I really can’t say how I feel about either of the main characters. I don’t relate all that much to Amy, and while Nick originally seemed like the kinda guy Jill falls for, the more and more he talks, the less wonderful he seems. Normally, I need to connect with a character – relate to the girl, or fall in love with the boy – to be this captivated.

On top of it all, the story is kind of creepy. Not scary like a horror story or some murder mysteries can be. Just… eerie.

Yet, it’s all told in this first-person-way that is so totally captivating. I mean, it’s the kind of writing style that I wish I’d been born with. It just flows, and yet it’s so witty and smart. And almost every chapter ends in a way that has me totally intrigued, dying to find out what happens next.

Last night, I just finished Part One and moved into Part Two, which reveals this whole big twist that makes me even MORE anxious to get home and get reading!

I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’m fascinated. I’m even forgoing valuable evening TV time to read.

And that, for me, is a sure sign that I’ve hit the literary jackpot.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I <3 Muddy Buddies

In my Relay for Life recap, I mentioned that my new favourite treat in the whole wide world is Chex Cookies & Cream Muddy Buddies.

muddy buddies

And when I get my heart set on something, I can’t think about much else. Last week, all I did was think about those delicious, mouth-watering little sugary treats… And wondered if I could make my own at home.

Internet to the rescue! Google led me to a recipe on the Betty Crocker website, and it sounded easy enough for this kid to try out. And while it wasn’t the Cookies & Cream version, it did involve both chocolate AND peanut butter, so I wasn’t exactly disappointed… (PB + Chocolate = Jill’s new biggest weakness. I sometimes still daydream about all those Easter Eggs I had in my life for a glorious week back in April.)

I already had almost all of the ingredients I needed in my cupboards at home – all I needed was to pick up a box of Chex cereal during my weekly grocery run. I decided to whip them up on Saturday afternoon, to bring to our church picnic on Sunday. Let’s just say, it’s kind of a miracle I managed to save some to take to the picnic! These little buggers are lethal.

And by ‘lethal’, I actually mean irresistible.

Seriously. Coulda eaten the whole lot all by myself. In one shot.

But I did manage to reserve a container to bring to the picnic, and they seemed to be a hit with quite a few people. One of the ladies told me she’s not a chip person, she’d far rather have a sweet munchie snack like these. I told her I’m one of those extra-special people that can’t seem to keep my paws out of either kind of snack when it’s under my nose. I was always a salty-snack girl, but in recent years, I’ve developed quite a sweet tooth.

For that reason, Muddy Buddies will have to become a once-in-a-blue-moon-special-occasion-treat. Or else I’ll be in really big trouble.

Anyways, without further ado… here’s how I made my PB & Chocolate Muddy Buddies:


9 cups of Chex cereal (any kind, I used the only variety available at the grocery store I shop at, and they were Honey Nut flavoured)

1 cup of chocolate chips (recipe called for semi-sweet, I only had milk chocolate – didn’t seem to matter!)

1/2 cup of peanut butter

1/4 cup of butter or margarine

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups of icing sugar


Measure out cereal into a very large bowl. (The box I bought was exactly 9 cups worth of Chex). In a 1 qt. microwavable bowl, add the butter, chocolate chips, and peanut butter. Microwave for 1 minute, and stir well. Return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir until mixture is smooth. (I didn’t need to give it any more time in the microwave, but if yours is still lumpy, just keep adding it back in for 30 seconds at a time until it’s smooth.) Stire in the vanilla.  Pour over the cereal and stir carefully until well-coated. Then pour the coated cereal into a large Ziploc bag. Add icing sugar and shake until well-coated. (I had to do this in two installments – my large Ziploc bags weren’t big enough to hold the whole go.) Pour out onto a large baking sheet lined with wax paper to cool. I put mine in the fridge, and discovered I love cold Muddy Buddies even MORE than I love regular Muddy Buddies!

muddy buddies 2

This was seriously way too easy to make. And it’s way too addictive. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Let me tell you the best part about homemade Muddy Buddies (or, at least, my homemade Muddy Buddies): the clumps. The peanutbutterychocolatey CLUMPS! See, I guess I wasn’t so crash-hot at stirring carefully to evenly coat the cereal. My bowl wasn’t really big enough, so it was a little tricky, and eventually I gave up stirring carefully. That resulted in some of the pieces of cereal not having much coating on them… and other pieces of cereal clumping together. Toss that shizz in icing sugar, and you end up with big delicious Muddy Buddy CLUMPS.


I think next time I would purposely do the same thing, just to get the clumps.

I’ve googled more Muddy Buddy recipes, and next time I think I’m going to get more adventurous. There are literally a million different combinations of things to try. Candy bar pieces and pretzels and candy melts and canned icing and cookies and cake mixes…

Drooling. I’m drooling.

Now I just need to find an excuse for a special occasion to try them…  ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A beautiful sunny day turned wrong…

Saturday was a beautiful day.  It was hot.  It was sunny.  And it was filled with fun activities.

It was the perfect day.

Riiiight up until it wasn’t.

When things go wrong in my world, they all seem to happen in clumps.  And boy, was Saturday afternoon and evening all one big string of things going wrong.

It had been a great day, everything running along all tickety-boo.  But it the bad started when I was unloading the dishwasher late Saturday afternoon.  I had a stack of plates that I was lifting up to put into the cupboard over the counter when a glass plate in the pile suddenly, and quite literally, exploded.  I have no idea how or why it happened, but it literally burst into a million little shards of glass.

They were in the cupboards.  They were on the counter.  They were in the open dishwasher.  They were scattered from one end of the kitchen to another.  They were even in my bra, for crying out loud.

It took forever to clean it all up.  I’m still not convinced I got them all.  I have the feeling I’ll be finding little bits of glass around my house for years…

I was already in a huff about that when I went to my mom’s, where my sister’s kids were staying for the night.  We decided to get food from the chipstand for supper (I console myself with food, remember?), and so Danica and I went down street to pick it up.  As we sat waiting for our order, she was playing with my phone and not being extremely careful about it, so I warned her, “Danica, please don’t break my phone.  Everything else in my life is broken, I don’t need a broken phone too.”  (and yes, by “everything else in my life”, I did just mean one stupid plate.  I can be a tad melodramatic when I want to be.)

Literally 30 seconds later, the leg of my favourite sunglasses just fell off.  Right off my face.  Completely snapped.  I hadn’t even been touching them or anything.

I suppose I should be grateful it wasn’t my phone, though, right?


After supper, I was debating on whether or not I should go up to Shawville for a few hours to watch some of the ball games at the DIFD tournament going on.  I was hesitant – I couldn’t think of anyone to ask to come with me, and I hate going into things like that alone.  But I knew my friend Lynn was up there, she’d been texting me telling me to get my ass up to the ball field, so finally I got up the nerve to just go.  People keep telling me I never go anywhere anymore, that I’m turning into a hermit… I thought, Well!  I’ll show them!

So I arrive at the ball field, and quickly spot Lynn sitting up in the bleachers with a group of friends – she waved me over, I climbed on up, and I had hardly settled in until – get this – a frigging seagull SHIT on me.

I’m not even kidding.  The only good news is that it shit on Lynn too.  If I hadn’t had her to share in the pain of the incident, I might have burst into tears and fled for home immediately.

I swear to GOD!!!!!  These things only happen to ME!!!!!

(Well… and Lynn too, I guess.)

(yes.  melodramatic.)

I was fortunate in that the bird shit landed pretty much all on my bare shoulder, which made clean up fairly easy.  And we did laugh a lot as we got ourselves cleaned up in the bathroom.  It also made for quite a conversation piece, as we could barely move two feet without someone else coming up to us and saying, “Is it true a bird shit on you guys?”

Why, yes.  Yes, it did.

And that was almost always followed by, “Well, you know, it’s supposed to be good luck!”

Which I’m convinced is something people just say to you after a BIRD SHITS ON YOU to make you feel better.

I haven’t run into any fantastic good luck since then, anyways.  I’ll be sure to let you know if I do, though.

These weren’t the only “shitty” things that happened to me in that short span of hours on Saturday, but they are the only blog-worthy ones.  And I fear that’s just about enough whining and complaining from me for one day anyways, isn’t it?

Onwards & upwards, friends.  Onwards & upwards.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

My creaky old lady knees

Ah, the signs of aging. We just can’t escape them, can we?

Most days, I still feel like a kid. I look at my friends who have husbands and kids, and think to myself, I don’t know if I’m in the same place as them. I don’t know if I’m old enough to have those responsibilities…I’m still a kid myself!

When I remember that I’m almost 31, I have to shake my head in disbelief. Most days, I definitely don’t feel old.

But the signs are there. I can see it in the wrinkles that are showing up around my eyes (smile lines! They’re just SMILE LINES, Mom!), I can feel it in the vaguely nagging pain of my heel spurs, and I know it by the fact that my neck and upper back muscles are still stiff and sore almost a month after my tumble out of bed.

And I can most certainly feel it in my creaky old lady knees.

Here’s the kicker, though: these creaky old lady knees of mine? I’ve had ‘em since I was a little kid.

I blame my creaky old lady knees on my weight. For the majority of my life, I was very overweight. I’d say from the age of 5 or 6, my love for junk food caught up to me, and from then until the age of 30, I carried around a lot of extra pounds on my body. And my knees have suffered for it.

I’ve always known my knees were crappy. But I had a discussion with my doctor about it years ago, and he basically shrugged and told me there wasn’t much he could do about it. I’m too young to have surgery or knee replacements, and they don’t cause me any chronic pain, so he said I basically just have to live with my crappy knees. I think he also mildly suggested losing weight at the time might help. I’ve done that, and while I think it’s definitely helped, they are still far from perfect.

The damage has been done. And it was never so apparent to me as it was one night last year at Yoga. My sister-in-law Amanda was our instructor, and she told us to go into this pose… I don’t remember what it was called, but we started by reaching arms up in the air, then lowering ourselves down on our haunches as far as we could go with are hands folded prayer-like in front of us.

I moved through the pose, sinking down as far as my knees and tight quads would allow. I was gritting my teeth because it hurt, breathing hard and deep as I suffered through it. After a few moments of struggling, I glanced around to see if anyone else was having the same trouble (even though we’re not supposed to look at each other) – and was shocked. Absolutely shocked. The other five or six girls in the class were all riiiight down on their haunches. Down in complete back catcher stances. Some of them had sunk down so low their butts were touching the floor.

And there I was, basically leaned over at the hips with elbows resting on my knees, and MY ass was hovering a good two feet off the ground.

I looked like I was sitting in an invisible chair, for crying out loud.

Chair pose is a classic Yoga pose. But it was not the one I was supposed to be in.

I can’t crouch down to eye level when a little kid is trying to talk to me. I can’t bend down easily to get things out of low cupboards or drawers. Lord knows I could NEVER in a million years be a back catcher (and I quite marvel at the men who can sink down so easily and make it look like a piece of cake – and then stay that way for as long as they do. Baffles me. Absolutely baffles me.)

When I first started jogging a year ago, people warned me that it would be hard on my knees. I figured, What the hell, they’re already toast anyways, how much worse can I make ‘em? And oddly enough, my knees don’t hurt when I run. Not even a twinge. Never have. I’ve been lucky in that way – perhaps I’m not pushing myself hard enough or running far enough, but I’ve never dealt with any of the usual runner problems. No shin splints, no blisters, no sore knees. Of course, I plod through the pain in my heels, but that’s something I deal with all day long, running or not, and it’s usually only a real pain first thing in the morning. It actually gets better the farther I go.

I remember my mom marveling at my grandmother, then in her early ‘90’s, getting down on the floor to play with my baby nephew Caden – her first great-grandchild. She loved to get down beside him on the floor while he lay on a blanket, kicking and cooing. She’d talk to him and murmur nursery rhymes while rubbing his tummy. “Mom, be careful,” my mother would gently admonish. “What are you going to do if you get down there and you can’t get back up?”

But she always got back up. And, considering her age, she did so with relative ease.

I think of that now and wonder, if I’m ever so blessed to live to such a ripe old age, and be in decent health, with grandchildren and, perhaps, even great-grandchildren… will I be able to do that, like Grandma? Will I even be able to come close?

OK, guys. Your turn. Make me feel better. Tell me about your aches and pains. Your signs of aging. I can’t be alone in this, right?


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Relay for Life 2014

It’s taken a few days, but I finally feel like I’ve returned to “the land of the living” after this year’s Relay for Life.

Relay is an amazing experience, but if you stay all night – and stay awake all night (as I’ve made a tradition of doing these past three years) – it can take a while before you start to feel normal again once the big event is over.

The first year I participated, it was only a few short months after my dad lost his battle to cancer, and emotions were raw. While I was glad I took part, I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d go back for another round. I ached like a 95-year-old woman for days afterwards, and it was also an emotionally draining experience. However, the following year, a group of friends were rallying to form a team, and I decided, “What the heck… might as well.” It turned out that the next go-round with “The Slipper Sisters” was so much fun that even though I was beat when it was over, I couldn’t wait for the next Relay for Life!

So for the past few months, I fundraised and anxiously anticipated yet another fun night with my team. I have to say, I was absolutely blown away by the support I received from my amazing family and friends. I set an initial goal of raising $500, and after “launching” my fundraising campaign on Facebook and via email back in early April, I had already surpassed that goal in less than 2 days. I then re-set my goal to $750, and with a few weeks left before the May 31st walk, I had surpassed that as well. I ended up with $1,200 in donations. I still can’t believe it! This was by far the most money I’ve raised for the Canadian Cancer Society via the Relay for Life, and I’m so blessed and proud and humbled.

All I can say to all of you out there who sponsored me is this: Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

I imagine that if Dad knew I’d raised that much money in his honour, he’d be blown away too. I can just see him shaking his head!!

So late Saturday afternoon, I packed up and headed to Shawville with my friend and teammate Brenda. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the BBQ, and then quickly changed into our running shoes and our Relay T-shirts, and got ready for a full night of walking!

And walk, we did. And we chatted. And laughed. And danced. And sang. And ate. (Oh LORD, did I eat! Two new favourite things: the Roasted Red Pepper soup I tried out when the midnight soup was served… DYING to try making it myself!!; and Chex Muddy Buddies. Holy smokes, you guys, have you ever TRIED Muddy Buddies??? My new favourite treat!!! I’m drooling just thinking about them!!!  Thanks Kerry & Brenda for introducing them to me!)

muddy buddies

I could try telling some of the stories that had us busting a gut laughing, but I’m afraid they’re the “you had to be there” kind of stories. Let’s just say it was fun x 1000.

not sure Early morning giggles – photo stolen from Brenda

Of course, there were the poignant moments, as well. The Survivors Victory Lap gets me every year, as the cancer survivors and their caregivers make the first lap around the track to the music of bagpipes, while the rest of us line the track and applaud them. They are truly remarkable and inspiring people of all walks of life, and it always gives me a lump in my throat.

BR455-2014-_CLP1450That’s my teammate Leslie in the centre – a truly incredible woman!  Photo credit to 

The ceremony for lighting the luminaries at dark is equally heart-wrenching, as Phil Holmes sings Amazing Grace and families and friends gather to light the luminaries they’ve purchased in memory and in honour of loved ones. This was the part I struggled with the most my first year at Relay, but since then, it has gotten easier. My mom made it up this year to see the luminaries being lit, and I know it meant a lot to her to see the series of them there in memory of Dad.



Both photos credited to

It’s a bittersweet moment watching that track light up. They are beautiful to see, yet it is heart-breaking that there are so many.

That’s the reason I walk. In the hopes that one day, we will have raised enough money that a cure is found. That no more families are shattered by this dreaded disease.

And that one day, there are no more luminaries to be lit.

Until then, we’ll keep walking.

I’m already looking forward to 2015 with my Slipper Sisters!!! :)

Relay for Life 2014