Running Solo

It was just last week  temperatures plummeted to below-20 with a wind chill factor of -36. It was on those cold days I would bundle up and run. On most of the runs, I was fairly warm, with the right gear.  I enjoyed the brisk air, the snow-covered trees, and quiet trails.

I loved that there was not a soul in sight. I would just run with my thoughts and focus on my breathing. The problem maybe I enjoyed running solo a little too much.

Grace and I signed on to do the Resolution Run together. She doesn’t love running,  isn’t enjoying the cold weather, and since our last run she has become a bit of a thorn in my side.

We went out for a group run, the temperature plummeted, and it was obvious from her body language that she didn’t want to be there…The moment we embarked on our run, she started to complain, couldn’t breathe,too cold, her glasses were fogging up. I kept trying to be the cheerleader. But it wasn’t working. I could feel her negative energy seeping through her pores, festering all towards me.

I was beginning to get cranky, tired of cheering, being positive, and just wanted to get work out everything in my own head. It was hill training, it was hard, and I needed to focus on myself. The more she complained, the more tired I would become, within in minutes it all went downhill and became a very bad run. She just wasn’t in the right frame of mind and I didn’t have anymore energy to help her change her mind.  I would run ahead and then run back to check on her every few minutes. I was frustrated with her, and frustrated with myself for not being as patient or understanding as I should have been that night.

Needless, to say after we finished that run. She wasn’t happy, started to complain, I turned my ear, and went in a separate direction. The day had already been stressful with compromising with Mr. MBA, negotiating with the kids, and dealing other family issues. I just didn’t need anymore, all I wanted to do by this point was stretch, soak in a hot tub, and go to bed.

It was the  next morning she sent me a very nice email thanking me for cheering her on, checking on her, and she realized  that maybe she shouldn’t have run that night. She also recognized it wasn’t my fault that she was cold,  and her glasses kept fogging up. She also pointed out that all of her anger was festering from past  childhood experiences in phys ed.class, and I had become the target of it. I think this reflection was good. But for me it also made me realize maybe I’m better running on my own. It’s my time and I don’t have to deal with emotions, or other people’s baggage. Is it wrong to think this way?

The weather, has finally warmed, once again, but we decided to take a break from each other for the rest of the week. And maybe next week will be our week? It was our last run together which taught me  that sometimes running with a partner is like a marriage, it takes compromise, patience, and communication. But sometimes I just don’t want to compromise, communicate, or be patient. Sometimes,  I just want to run.

What do you prefer running solo? Or with a partner?

Procrastination Rears Its Ugly Head

One first draft of a novella, two half-finished short stories, and one personal essay, all looking at me, waiting for me to edit, rework, rewrite and then start the whole evil  cycle over, once again. Unfortunately, editing has become one of those  tedious labours which my red pen keeps getting interrupted by the telephone, the anxious dog, and the thumping of the washing machine. I’m looking, at the papers, looking at my red pen, and then looking out the window.

Heck! I’m even blogging about not editing! If this is not full-out procrastination - I don’t know what is? I do however know that my stuff needs work!  Lots of work!  The message I’m attempting to convey on paper  is not coming out  the way I visualize in my head! I wonder if today is one of those days in which  I should just throw my red pen down, step away, and take a break. Or, do I keep bamming my head against the brick wall?

I know if I walked into my sisters office and start bemoaning this whole neurotic issue to her. Her eyes would roll to the back of her head, she might sigh, and  then  respond with her most  compassionate tone,   “Quit moaning, suck it up, and finish writing the frickin’ thing!”

Trust me! She never glosses anything over and she’s right!  Time to pick up that red pen,  and start slashing!

What do you to overcome procrastination?

Guest Host Moxie Mom Saves the Day!

Moxie Mom has  stopped by my blog to  give some helpful Thanksgiving  tips to help you survive this holiday with lots of gusto and fun! I personally believe  tip  number 6  to “drink heavily” is important to survive any holiday function. So, just in case you are wondering – who is Moxie Mom?

Drumroll! Please! It’s now time to welcome Moxie Mom to my little Blog! (Imagine Cheers from Blogger audience)

Now visualize Moxie Mom walking to the Mic in her casual red dress with funky polka dot apron and martini in hand…

Thanks so much for the guest post. To introduce me I’m Margee Moore mom, blogger and author of the iPhone book app, Sleeping With the Laundry. I’ve been writing humorous essays for over 10 years and I’m a newly-avid-jogger too! I blog at www.sleepingwiththelaundry.com and on blogher.com. For your readers I’ll keep Sleeping With the Laundry at $.99 for the holiday week!

Woohoo! Isn’t she great! Now kick back! Relax! and Enjoy her Turkey Day Tips!

Top Turkey Day Tips!

How to Handle a House Full of Guests, Sweet-Potato-Casserole-High Kids and a 50-lb Bird with Style

By Margee Moore

There’s a chill in the air, a blaze of color in the leaves and a slew of baking items on every retail endcap. Ah yes, ‘tis the holiday season. And whether you’re hosting your entire family or going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house you go, the holidays require tips – lots and lots of tips. Tips to help you navigate family gatherings with aplomb…tips to help you plan ahead…tips to help you keep your cool.

These are not those tips. These are tips to help you feel better and more organized than one other person on the planet, me. Enjoy.

Tip #1: Get Your Dad (or other relative) to Cook the Bird

This may sound like a cop-out for “the 50-lb bird handling” promised in the headline, but accomplishing this is nothing short of an art form.

In every family there is a Turkey Lover (or TL), someone whose entire holiday can be ruined by just the hint of dry turkey. In my family, that TL would be my dad.

The strategic method for getting someone else to cook the bird requires your TL (a.k.a. Intended Bird-Cooker, or TL/IBC) to arrive a day or two before T-Day. Then ply your TL/IBC with oddball lunches and dinners such as lasagna with broccoli substituted for the meat, tofu pancakes and organic macaroni and cheese (this really exists).

Then, the day before Thanksgiving, drop the bird in the sink to defrost (a bacteria’s dream) and walk away. Just walk away.

Last year, my dad took over the abandoned bird speed-racer style. I awoke pre-dawn Thanksgiving morning to the smells of sautéing onions and sage. The bird was stuffed, prepped and in the oven before I even set foot in the kitchen. 50-lb bird. Check.

Tip #2: Tie Up the Kids

Figuratively, please. At large family gatherings, worrying about your kids can get in the way of a good holiday-punch-bowl buzz. So plan ahead.

One tip for dinnertime peace is to roll out craft paper over your tablecloth and place washable markers around the table. But if locating craft paper gives you a nervous tic (What is it anyway?), find a tablecloth to sacrifice instead. Make sure to place a liner underneath and raid your work-supply cabinet for permanent markers in advance. At the big dinner, have kids and grownups write notes of inspiration and thanks. And, be sure to date those notes and bring out the cloth every year.

After the meal, pay off a family teenager to organize games of tag, hide-and-seek and kick-the-can. Those games are still fun – and even more fun when turkey-stuffed grownups join in, too. And if things get really crazy, have A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving queued up from Netflix.

 Tip #3: Respect All Local Law

 Last year, my family rented an old beach house in the Carolinas so we could all fit in one place. I have two brothers and two sisters, and we all have kids or dogs. It was a blast.

 On Thanksgiving Day, we sent my brother-in-law Craig, from New York City, to the store on the little island for some rutabaga and other Thanksgiving essentials (you know, more beer). Unfamiliar with the area, and evidently its traffic laws, he turned into the grocery store parking lot incorrectly. Normally, this may have been forgiven. But Craig thought the ticket was dumb. And granted, most are. However, he made the mistake of showing it by rolling his eyes…whoops. Or, perhaps it was the New York license plate. Anyway, he came home with a whopping $250 ticket, and I don’t think he’s welcome on the island anymore.

 Tip #4: Skip the Touch Football

 Sure, the JFK Bunch back in the ‘60s made it look so all-American to toss the pigskin on the beach; but couch-sitting…that’s American, too. And nobody gets lasting injuries or hurt feelings.

 Tip #5: Be Present

 Yes, the holidays may be stressful, but in the grand scheme there will be so few of them in your lifetime. But if you’re just simply not going to enjoy the day, know that there are plenty of out-of-work actors who would love the job. That’s right. Outsource.

 Sarcasm aside, the holidays go fast. Some years, everyone will be there. But eventually, more will be missing than present. I miss my mom, my husband’s dad, my best friend. We’re all fleeting. Life’s a journey, and time flies too fast. So slow down, relish and remember.

 Tip #6: Drink Heavily

 Finally, if being present and in-the-moment fails, hit the punch bowl.

Margee Moore is an advertising copywriter and mother of two. When she is not busy writing non-sarcastic tips for companies, she works to promote her book app, “Sleeping with the Laundry.” Check out her Facebook feed: http://on.fb.me/c9Eb4Y or visit www.sleepingwiththelaundry.com.

Trash Talk Tuesday: It’s All About H20

It’s Trash Talk Tuesday! We could debate global warming! Or, I could knock you over the head with why idling your SUV in the Tim Horton’s line-up is bad for the environment? Or discuss an already fiery eyed topic like the Tar Sands? But I’m not… The topic of the week is water conservation!

I believe water conservation is the last thing on our minds in the cold depths of winter. The weather is freezing, there is no forest fires looming, no gardens to water, and no nasty brown spots on the lawn to battle with…The last thing, everyone is thinking is how do we conserve more water?  Am I right?  Of course! I am!  

But water is important necessity to everyone all year round! Environment Canada points out:

“water is the lifeblood of the planet. Without a steady supply of clean, fresh water, all life, including human, would cease to exist.’

Would you like a glass of water, coffee, tea, juice, wine, or pop to swallow this little thought down? It’s true water is our lifeline. I believe as Canadians we sometime take one of our most precious resources for granted.  But did you know  it is estimated in 2004 the average Canadian domestic use was 329 litres. So when you think about it the average household uses over 438 wine bottles per day. That’s a lot of  wine! Eer! I mean water!

So to improve my households water consumption I checked out Water Use It Wisely, 100 Ways to Conserve, as I scrolled through – I felt rather smug been there, done, that, doing that,  I assume all of you are too!  Plus,  I live in a stinking cold climate and don’t own a pool!

So, I studied the list a little  harder and realized there was several things that I don’t actually do! And I have a confession! I never reuse the hotel towel!

 I know! Gasp! But by the time, I think of it, read the sign on the door, it’s too late the towel is on the floor!  After that I visualize the person who may have walked across that floor with their stinky feet, and presto the used towel is sent off to la-la land, only to be replaced by another bountiful, fresh towel.

So – from this day forward,  I promise I will make more  conscientious effort to reuse my hotel towels.

Now,that I  have given you my lurid confession – what do you or don’t do to conserve water? Do have any tips?

Running in the Winter

It was just this past summer I developed a new-found love for running. It has slowly become a healthy habit that I enjoy which does not involve a glass of red wine. However, as late fall arrived, so did the cold weather. I made a pact with myself that I would not let the cold weather defeat me. I would embrace the onslaught of this cold winter and run my little heart out.

 I decided the best way to stay motivated was to sign-up for a Running Room Clinic.  Once a week, a group of us meet up for a discussion on running, and then go for a group run. It is this group run which has kept me motivated to maintain my daily runs and to meet my goal to participate in the  New Years Day Resolution Run.

Nop! It's not a Ninja! Just me...

Unfortunately,this last week, the cold weather has hit with a vengeance. But lucky for me - I have been drinking the Running Room kool-aid! I was unsure if I could run in -20 degree weather but our instructor ensured us with the right gear – you can do it!

So, one balaclava, one pair of technical wool socks, one pair of thermal lined mittens, and two base layers of thermal clothing  later. I was ready to hit the snowy trails!

At first, I  was skeptical that I wouldn’t be warm enough, fearful of frost bite, and admit defeat to mother nature.  But after the first ten minutes into my run…I was sweating! I wondered to myself,  how could I have possibly over dressed in -24 degree weather? But I did! I was pleased that I could run 5km in comfort.

I loved every minute of it! It was just me and the open trail. I thought I would be shivering, cranky,  but the peace of this cold morning’s run brought me inner contentment.  I was able to enjoy the snow-covered trees, frosty blue sky,and clear my head from the stress of the week.  It’s the quiet moments, when there is not a soul around, you begin to appreciate the silence, and  rejuvenate your spirit.

I know, to the passers-by in their vehicles,  I may look like a  slow-moving ninja. But too me every penny spent on cold weather gear was worth it! Lookout resolution run! Here I come!

Trash Talk Tuesday: Advice from the Little People

Last night my little Robert  read to me his take home book from school “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” He read each page slowly, soaked in the pictures, and when he finished he beamed with pride. Mom,” We do all of this! We recycle!” 

His excitement peaked my interest and I was curious to see what advice my little guys could for making our lifestyle more green. So, I piped up “What else do you think we could do to help the environment?”

My oldest son Alex exclaimed, “Clean our rooms!”

I looked befuddled at his response and replied, “What does that mean?”

“It means that we would have a cleaner bedroom, and a better smelling environment!”

“Ha! Ha! Very creative! But what really should we do to help the earth?”

Robert sat quietly, “I know if you see trash from the side of the road, pick it up, and put it in the recycle bin. Nobody likes a litter bug!”

“Very true! Alex, do you have any suggestions?”

“Yes Mom! I notice you take too many showers maybe you should cut back to conserve water.”

“You want me to cut back on showers? But I’ll stink!”

“So, it would be better for the environment!”

“I don’t know about that one…You might not want to sit next to me!”

“I know!’ piped up Robert,”How about we reuse plastic bags to save the fish!”

“That’s a very good idea! And we do it already!”

Alex than eyes brightened ” We should plant more trees so we can have fresh air. But mom you have to work on you gardening skills because you killed the last one.”

“Thanks for the reminder, sweet pea!”

“Also Mom, maybe we should email Santa instead of sending him a letter. That way we can save on paper! Do you think Santa has an email address?”

“We can see.  I’m not really sure how up to date Santa is on technology.”

“Oh!” responded Alex.

“So, guys, why do you think it’s so important to do all of this?”

Alex chimed in, “So we can breathe clean air and protect our trees.”

Robert sat their quietly thinking and replied, “Also, to keep the world safe and protect it for God. He wouldn’t like it if we hurt it. “

It with that the conversation ended and the kids slowly got ready for bed. I always find there point of view a refreshing outlook on life.

Christmas in November: It’s Not Just for December

This past weekend I escaped to a refreshing getaway at the The Fairmont Jasper Lodge celebrating Christmas in November. Yes for all you cynics - I did just say Christmas in November! And I have to confess it was a great weekend! 

I was convinced by one of  my closest friends to attend this event. At first, I was skeptical about all of this Christmas business! I think I may even said something along the lines as to “isn’t this something old women do?” And almost gawfed at her when she wanted to take the tour bus up to the lodge. Once again, I rolled my “Isn’t that something old people do?”

She laughed at me,  “Yes there are lots of Q-Tips that attend and some  young gals as well.  Try it! It will be fun!”

I took her advice and booked the trip with skeptical fear. 

  Maggie, her mom, aunt, and I hopped on the Christmas in November bus and headed to Jasper for a weekend of Christmas fun! And Oh! The fun we had! I think we might of laughed, drank, and ate the whole trip. We didn’t have a care in the world. Except for making it to the seminars on time!

As soon as we arrived we were greeted with cookies and hot chocolate as the bell boys whisked our luggage off to our cabins. We enjoyed a beautiful view of the Rockies amongst Lac Beauvert and admired the elk sauntering through the resorts grounds. We enjoyed the warmth of a rustic cabin, several bottles of complimentary Cedar Creek wine, and sorted through our gift box of Rocky Mountain soaps. I knew at that very moment  - it would be a wonderful weekend!

The first evening was a lovely welcome reception were we enjoyed an abundance of wine, martini’s, and food. If you can imagine it, it was there… My mouth is still watering from the lamb chops and my waistline has expanded by two inches. We mingled, ate, laughed, drank, and finally staggered  back to our room. We knew  we would need some rest before the mornings seminars.

The first on our agenda was Bikini Boot Camp with Lindsay Nealon and Dawn Kosloski. It was the perfect way to spend the early morning learning how to work our core with simple standing exercises. Needless, to say they are my new favorite fitness Guru’s and I now know how to do standing ab work while I do the dishes or type on the computer. They were energetic, friendly, and encouraging about making fitness a priority in your life.

Soon after,  we headed to the next seminar with interior designer Karl Lohnes, on “Decorating the Christmas Tree.” I know the moment you read the title of the seminar you might begin to snore. But I have to tell you he was funny, engaging, and full of great ideas. He demonstrated three different themes for Christmas and everything came from Canadian Tire where you “spend like Santa and save like Scrooge.” He also gave great tips on painting 101 and wall hanging 102. I  now wish he would come to my home and redesign every inch of it. If only I could find a genie in a bottle to make this wish come true!

Sadly, we had to break for lunch! Oh! And a feast it was! We filled our bellies and I was ready for a nap! But of course, this craft  challenge  had crafting! I wondered what hour of hell did Maggie sign us up for? Was this a cruel joke?

In the end, our crafting hostess with the mostess was  Chris Stranding and  I was pleasantly surprised to find I was enjoying the process of making my own garland.  The materials she selected where simplistic and elegant. I followed her step by step instruction and with ease my garland actually turned out! Lookout Martha Stewart because Chris Stranding might be in running for your show! Mrs. Stranding might actually show you how to make a craft and have it turn-out! You can believe it if she ever said the words “Very fine” or “Very easy!”

We ended our day with a bang! We took mixology 101 with Micah Dew. The moment we walked in I knew we were in trouble we were each handed a glass of Candy Cane Martini which went down too fast. It was delish! and we got to sample a variety of drinks from a berry mojito to a horny wallbanger. Needless to say,by the end of the day, I was in full Christmas spirit and good cheer!

 The night flew by fast with  cocktails, a festive supper, dancing, and more cocktails. The end of the night was a blur, lots of laughing, and an interesting conversation with one of the bell boys (I will save for  a later date).  The next morning we awoke with a strong headache, we summoned the hangover gods, loaded up on Tylenol, and moved slowly to our last session of the weekend with Chef Michael Smith.

He was funny, entertaining, and made cooking look like fun. I ended up enjoying cup of mulled apple cider. learned I could put curry in my sugar cookies and it will taste great! Plus have a new favorite recipe “Roast Chicken with apple, Onion, Rosemary Pan Stew.” The only problem now is I have to try to make it!

The weekend ended with a massive brunch, we hopped on the bus, and headed home. Was this a weekend just for Q-Tips? Hell no! It was a fun engaging weekend and the best pat of the bus ride – I got to sleep my hangover off the whole way home! Will I do it again next year? Hell Yes! Sign-me up and I’ll be there with bells on!

If it Looks like a Crosswalk, It is a Crosswalk! Imagine that…

Hello Fellow Drivers,

I hope you are enjoying the last beautiful days of fall! As, I walk to school with my children, I’ve noticed many of you speed through the crosswalk zone.  I’m assuming it is  because you must be too busy admiring all of the beautiful fall foliage. So, I just wanted to send out a nice reminder that when you are speeding through a community filled with children , walking to school, that there will be these things called crosswalks. So just in case your brain is fuzzy about this whole crosswalk business.  I looked up the definition for you!

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary – A crosswalk is:

‘a specially paved or marked path for pedestrians crossing a street and road’

Unfortunately from my in-depth crosswalk experience I’ve noticed that you, my fellow driver,  fail to see the children crossing the street on this paved and marked road with a sign that indicates -  it is a crosswalk.!  Yes that marked white sign on the corner of the street indicates the white lines painted across the pavement is indeed a crosswalk. Now it may come to a surprise to you that there is a crosswalk on the street which is the direct pathway to a school, and if you look up from your text messaging you might recognize an abundance of  children walking to this school.

As,  a concerned parent who walks her children to this school every morning, I’ve witnessed some near death experiences with myself and others who attempt to cross this street.  Maybe you are busy texting, slurping on your latte, or slept in late and are now in the mad dash  of your life to get to work on time. But there are other issues at hand like my children and my neighbors children safety.

Perhaps, you could be more alert, remember to stop, let us cross the street, and  then drive on you merry way. It doesn’t hurt to be courteous and it really doesn’t slow you down! So, suck it up and watch how you drive. Winter is coming, roads will become icy, and it will be that much harder to stop. So for the safety of the children please be cautions in our school zones, and stop at the frickin’ crosswalk!

Sincerely,

Mom Suffering from Crosswalk Rage

Trash Talk Tuesday: Plastic Bags Have Forced My Kitchen into Purgatory!

Did you know that over 55 million bags a week  are used in Canada fo our day-to-day shopping habits? When you think about it that’s a lot of non recyclable bags clogging up our landfills, blowing in our urban streets, and invading our oceans. It’s one of those facts that at times I have ignored with my own day to-day shopping habits.  Now, as I look in my kitchen, I see an abundance of non biodegradable plastic bags taking over my kitchen space and I have no clue what to do with them.

Usually, I store my cloth totes in my car,but I’m not always diligent in returning them back to the car after my last visit to the grocery store. Totes are never on my mind while I run out the door with the last of my sanity, my hands full of hockey gear,  as  I’m rushing two  energetic kids to hockey practise . The unplanned  last minute grocery stop and tote bags just don’t register on my mind…

That is  until I’m at the  grocery store in line, at the check-out and have the guilty surge that once again I forgot the elusive tote bag.  I’m stuck in the conundrum do I buy more tote bags or do I suck it up and carry out the plastic? Generally, being a  frugal-minded  gal I refuse to spend anymore money on tote bags because I have an abundance invading my kitchen closet.

 Currently,  my kitchen is in Bag Purgatory!  The angelic tote bags, shining bright in my closet and the evil plastic bags hovering in the dark corner of my kitchen. What’s a girl to do?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do…I have made a pact with myself and pledge to always put my angelic totes in the back of my car, I will make the extra effort to always use the tote, and I will place a hex on all plastic bags. 

Now, with that pledge – what do I do with all of those plastic bags? Christmas is coming, perhaps I could make a stuffed Santa out of plastic bags? Plastic Bag Wreath? Snow Flakes?  Any crafty suggestion’s?

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