Monday, April 26, 2010

Motivation Mondays #2: One week down, one million to go

So, week 1 of the weight loss project is officially done. At first, it went really well and I felt really good about it, but by the end of the week, instead of 5 or 6 days it had felt like 50.

I actually did quite well Monday to Thursday - I only went over my daily points slightly here and there and ate very healthily at work. I brought veggie soup (zero points!) each day for lunch, and fruit/veggies, low-fat items for snacks. I had good dinners too - mostly rice and chicken, and sushi one night (which actually is not bad - only 4 pts for 12 small pieces!) and didn't have any sweets or bread.

Then on Friday, we had a staff meeting over lunch and they ordered Quizno's subs and sweets. This is a much healthier lunch than, say, Swiss Chalet or pizza, especially since the subs were quite small (about a quarter of a sub). However, I ended up having 5 of them plus several cookie pieces and squares (probably about 6 altogether). Ugh I was so mad at myself! Sweets are the worst for me - that's the hardest thing to resist when it's put right in front of me. I brought my usual soup and such that day too, and could have heated it up and eaten that instead. I realize you have to allow yourself a treat once in a while, but I went overboard. Plus, I really wanted to diet 100% for the first two weeks to get a good momentum going for weight loss right out of the gate.

Then that night I got together with friends and ate pizza. We DID go for for an hour long walk in the park with my friend's dog, so I got a good workout there, but the next day (Saturday) is what really did me in. I stayed overnight at my friend's, so unfortunately did not have many breakfast choices - I ended up having waffles with syrup and butter (and yogurt) and then we went to a morning movie and I ended up getting popcorn! Movie theatre popcorn with butter and seasoning! Gah! That's like one of the worst things you can eat. I really enjoyed it but I didn't set myself a good precedence for the day and so didn't do very well with eating that afternoon/evening either. Went to another movie late that night with mom and had a frozen yogurt, which I suppose isn't so bad, but still not good. AND I didn't do any exercising.

Sunday, I bounced back a little - had cereal and fruit for breakfast and a stirfry for supper, but I also had 8 crackers with peanut butter and two WW treats (one chocolate brownie and one lemon cake - total of 3 points) but I did do a boot camp workout dvd for 45 mins. Man, that was a workout - I was tired out by the end and some of my muscles hurt today. I was proud that I fit that into my day.

Considering the week I had (minus Friday and Saturday), I assumed I had probably lost at least ONE pound. Heck I would have been happy with only one pound, at least it would be something. But I got on the scale last night and realized I had lost only 0.6 OF A POUND! My first reaction, literally, was WTF?! I mean I didn't do amazing this week but I sure ate better and exercised more than I usually do and I lost HALF A POUND?! Really?!


I know, I know, I shouldn't let it get me down - at least I didn't GAIN weight, it's only the first week, blah blah blah...but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I didn't lose sleep over it or anything - I'm not naive; I know that it's going to take a bit of time before I see major weight loss, but still there was a part of me that thought I had lost a couple of lbs and was hoping for that. I need to learn not to expect this obviously because my disappointment causes me to get down on myself and eat bad foods - like I did this morning with a bagel and cream cheese. I should have known this would be a problem for me - I tend to put high expectations on myself (not intentionally!). But all that aside, I still can't believe I didn't at least lost one pound. I might as well have lost nothing. And I have to put at least SOME high expectations on myself or I won't achieve anything! If I just say, "oh, it's ok, you don't have to work that hard or put that much thought into your diet" than I won't eat right or exercise at all!

I know I'm being a real downer, but I can't help but be disappointed. Ultimately, it's "whatever"; tomorrow's another day, this is another week and I'm the last person to let a setback get in my way. I'm going to get back on the horse and try again, try even harder. But for now, I'm mad at myself and disappointed and I'm going to allow myself (and ask that you please allow me, without judgment) to sit in this moment of self-pity for a while. In a wierd way, it might actually be motivating.

I think a problem for me is going to be social eating - eating out with friends or having lunch with a group. It's obviously hard for me to participate in these kinds of things in moderation. I don't believe I should just NOT participate in this kind of eating, but I need to work harder to prevent overindulgence - to have one or two subs instead of 5 and no sweets. To eat a salad first to fill me up and prevent me from eating too much pizza. Or to work in a longer, more instense workout that day to balance my overeating. I really like hanging out with friends to eat, or whatever, and want to focus on enjoying the company and not what I'm eating, but at the same time I have to make sure I don't reach for food and put it in my mouth mindlessly. That will have to be a long term goal of mine.

As for a short-term goal (i.e. just this week), I think I'm going to try and exercise more. I think the dieting is enough to maintain where I'm at (i.e. not put any EXTRA pounds on) and/or take off a bit, but I need to exercise a bit more to have more noticeable poundage come off. I did probably 4 workouts last week, but a couple of them were really only 20 mins or so and that's not really enough to make a difference. I won't go nuts or anything, but I'm going to try my best to work out for 40 + mins 4 times this week. I need to stop making excuses and kick myself in the butt harder! Hopefully the scale will tell a different story this time next week.

Starting weight: 173lbs
Current weight: 172.4 lbs
Weight lost: .6 lbs

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop #2: Divorce Dreams

Mama's Losin' It
This topic from this week's Writer's Workshop list caught my eye right away, because as a child of divorce, I understand first-hand what it's like to go through that experience. And my parent's divorce was a profound event in my life that changed me and, I feel, molded me into the person I am today.

I realize this question is kinda directed more so at people who are married, and I'm not, but I felt compelled to share my unique perspective on this issue.
To say that my parents' divorce was a surprise would not be an understatement. My parent's weren't exactly "lovey-dovey" and, in fact, I would wake up nights and here them fighting in the basement. However, being only 11 or 12 when they split, I wasn't old enough to comprehend the complexities of adult relationships and so divorce never really entered my mind. I remember them (well, my mom) sitting us down to tell us like it was yesterday (and I don't have a very good memory normally). I remember feeling angry and not understanding (and storming off to my room).

Not only was it hard to comprehend, but it was embarassing. None of my friends' parents were divorced so in my tight, suburban neighbourhood I felt like a freakshow. Refreshingly, my parent's were actually very mature about it at first, really trying to make the transition for my sister and I easier; I remember my dad coming by regularly and actually coming over at Christmas with a gift for my mom (wtf?!). And the first few years I saw my dad once or twice a month and would have sleepovers with friends at his new home (with his former mistress, now live-in girlfriend. Mm hm. Yeah. Again, 11...didn't clue in then).

But that didn't last long. I really haven't had a relationship with my dad since I was 15 years old (looooong story which I won't get into here) and haven't seen or talked to him in several years now (even though he lives in the same city as me), so basically I grew up without a dad. He wasn't there during the critical time in my adolescence when I needed a male influence, and that still affects me to this day.

I don't mean this to turn into a big "poor me" story, but I'm not going to sugar-coat it - the divorce was a traumatic experience. However, growing up with a single mom and an older sister with a disability taught me maturity and independence and responsibility early on. It was hard and sometimes I resented it so bad I wanted to scream, but it made me into the person I am - a self-sufficient, rational, mature, independent and giving person. I have my mom to thank for that - not having my dad in the picture made her my sole role model, and I couldn't have asked for a better one. I was never want for anything and had a great life - I was never abused or neglected or told I couldn't do things. Many children are not so lucky.

Now, this doesn't really speak to the topic of the post, which is "divorce dreams", but I'm getting to that! My feelings about divorce are obviously very complex and I'm not someone who believes in telling others what to do. Plus, I do feel that divorce is often necessary; sometimes marriages can literally be emotional and mental "traps" for the people in them and sometimes two people can be far more dysfunctional together than apart. Trust me, even though it was hard for me to understand at the time, I realize now that my parent's were RIGHT to get divorced; in fact, I would even venture to say they should have gotten divorced earlier (they were together 18 years before they split). Even though deep down my dad was a good person, he was a philandering alcoholic and I know now that my mom was drowning and despairing being his wife.

This being said, I also do not believe in running for the hills as soon as any problems appear in a relationship. All relationship have problems and that can't be avoided. But all too often nowadays I think people expect this perfect Hollywood rom-com marriage and when they don't get it, they want to quit. Obviously, some problems, behaviour and treatment should never be tolerated from your spouse, but it seems to me that many problems couples experience either are very small and blown out of proportion, or start very small then grow and grow due to avoidance and lack of communication. Everyone has annoying habits and personality traits that can get more and more irritating over time, but most problems if dealt with properly early on can be solved if both people are willing to do so.

Obviously, I realize this is not always realistic and that, not being married or being a parent, I have no concept of what it's like to deal with those kinds of problems. In the interest of not getting a huge amount of backlash from the previous paragraph, let me clarify that my arguments against divorce are more directed at couples with children. However, I'm not saying that divorce should or shouldn't be considered in ANY cases; you have to do what you feel is best for you. All I'm saying is, it's not a decision I would be too hasty to make, especially if you have children. Because I may not be married or be a parent, but I do know what it's like to be a child watching your parent's - the foundation of your very existence in some ways - break apart and grow to hate each other. It's not pretty. Kids survive, but they also pick up on more than you think and they carry it with them; they remember. So, just keep that in mind next time you and your spouse are arguing about taking out the garbage.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Motivation Mondays #1: The Beginning of a New Me

I've had a bit of an epiphany in the past week or so. I have been wanting to lose weight for a while now; in the 7 years since I graduated from high school I've gradually put on about 40-50 lbs of extra fat and I would guess about 15-20lbs of that in the past two years or so. I know it's due to life changes and therefore stress causing me to eat more, and eat more crap. Plus, once I got into University I just became more busy and more sedentary.

I currently stand at 173 lbs according to the new scale I bought yesterday. Which means my BMI is in the 30's (for the record for my age and height it should be between 20-25). Yikes.

Since I have a small frame, I look smaller than I do; I know you're thinking "lucky you", but this is not necessarily a good thing because it means I didn't realize how big and unhealthy I truly was until it got way out of hand. I haven't been happy with my body for years now but the real wake-up call has finally come to me.

For one, Wednesday afternoon in Boston I literally went out and walked ALL DAY. I've done this before so this is nothing new, but the difference this time is I felt like I had been run over by a truck by the time I got back to the hotel in the evening. My ankles and legs/hips hurt and were so stiff I had trouble walking the rest of my time there. Sure, it's only natural to feel tired and worn out after walking all day but someone who is only 25 years old and in good health should NOT be having joint pain and should not be THAT tired. It was not only my legs, but my back and neck that felt the tension. To make a long story short, this trip made me realize how out of shape I really am. I mean I knew I was, but didn't realize the extent. I've totally been in denial.

For two, I was in a clothing store last week and tried on a pair of pants I really wanted (and were not cut slim, I might add) and found that the Size 14 did not fit. It was so tight around my butt and hips I could barely get them up. When faced with putting on a Size 16, I was completely disgusted. I've never had to wear that size in my entire life. Now, I realize that different stores' clothes are sized differently and that everyone has different body types; I'm not trying to say that anyone who wears a Size 16 is disgusting - ABSOLUTELY NOT. You can be just as healthy at a Size 16 as at a Size 8 - it depends on your build. But this was a store that that sells clothes made for curvy women, first of all, and second of all I'm only 5 feet tall and have a small frame so a Size 16 for me is not normal.

Furthermore, I am starting to carry a large amount of my extra fat on my tummy, and not only does this make me feel unattractive, it's also extremely dangerous to my health considering heart disease runs in my family, and carrying fat around the middle is a huge risk factor for heart problems.

Needless to say I left that store in a bad mood and with no new pants under my arm. I was angry with myself and fed up with feeling fat and tired. I decided I really needed to make a change, and make it now before I develop chronic health problems, like diabetes, that I'm stuck with for life. Also, my best friend's wedding is in June and I don't want to look at the wedding photos for years to come and just be thinking about how fat I look (how sad would that be?!).

These experiences and thoughts were stewing in my mind when I read a blog post by one of my favourite bloggers, Selective Potential, about her experience losing 35+ lbs and doing it all on her own with Weight Watchers. I am NOT someone who believes in fad diets - I believe the only way to truly lose weight in a healthy way is by eating right (and in smaller portions) and exercising. I'm also not someone who likes rules or being told what to do, and I have to have freedom and flexibility in my life or I go insane. I'm also notoriously impatient and bad at sticking with things; it's not strange for me to give something a week then give it up when I don't see results like INSTANTLY. So, you can imagine how well my personality lends itself to diet and exercising.

However, one thing about me is that once something becomes routine for me, I can stick with it really well. Reading Tieka's story, and talking to my mom (who has done WW a few times before) made me realize that doing WW on my own could be just the thing that works for me. Yes, you have "rules" and have to record whatever you eat, but you also have flexibility; you can essentially eat what you want, you just need to watch portion control, and balance out the "bad" things with the good. You don't have to live like a rabbit and eat lettuce all day. Plus, all of the points values for foods are already laid out for you, so there's no guessing. You just look up the food item and record the number. Also, you have some extra points each week that you can dip into, so if you want to go out to a pub with friends and have a plate of fries you can, as long as you do it in moderation. You can still live your life and enjoy eating.

Aside from this, WW will provide me some accountability more than anything - having to write down what I eat each day will keep me "honest" and will allow me to see what exactly I'm putting in my body (which is something that's easy to ignore). Plus, my mom is going to do it with me so I will be accountable to her as well. We've agreed to talk each day about what we ate and any issues we have experienced. If I have a deathly craving, I know I can call her and she'll talk me out of it. It will be really motivating to have a "buddy" to keep me on track and share my success with.

So, starting today I will be recording everything I eat and the points values, and completing 30-40 minutes of activity daily. I would like to ultimately get down to about 125lbs, as that is considered a healthy weight for my height and age, but I know if I focus on losing 50 lbs in a certain timeframe that I will just be intimidated and disconcerted and have no chance of sticking with it. Instead, I'm only focusing on the first two weeks and the first 10lbs. I'm giving myself two weeks to be really good, to stick 100% to my diet and exercise plan. I figure if I can make it through the first two weeks, I will be more likely to stick with it in the long term because it will become routine. Plus, I figure losing 5 lbs in that amount of time is realistic and doing this will be both a boost to my ego and make a huge change in how I feel and look. 10lbs will make an even bigger difference, and because it is a perfectly attainable starting goal, won't overwhelm me and cause me to give up before seeing any results. I hope to lose 10lbs in the next month to 6 weeks and I'm not allowing myself to buy ANY new clothes until I reach that goal. I figure you can never have too much incentive!

I should mention for the record that this will be more about how I feel and how my clothes fit than the number on the scale. Scales and numbers can be deceiving and depend on many factors. I'm really just hoping to see a noticeable difference in how I look and feel in the next 4-6 weeks. I know I'm not as confident a person as I could be because I'm really not happy with how I look and feel. As shallow as it sounds, this affects how I interact with others and how I present myself. I'm not naive and think that losing 10, 20 or even 40lbs will cure all of my self-consciousness and make my entire life better, but I'm just hoping that I will gain at least gain some confidence and will feel more comfortable putting myself out there.

Wow, sorry to blab on. I usually am long-winded (no wonder no one reads this silly blog!) but I'm more so today because I'm really excited about this! I really feel like I'm going to stick with it this time. I realize it's only day 1 and I'm prepared for my motivation to go down the tubes in coming days, but I feel deep-down I really really want it this time, and that's going to make all the difference. I plan on writing a post each Monday with my results, thoughts, worries, accomplishments and issues from the previous week as this will be another great motivator for me and a way to share my experience as I'm sure there are many others like me out there who are struggling with weight as well. Not to say that my way is the right way - I really believe you have to find the right plan for you, tailored to your lifestyle and personality - but it's one way. I'm not exactly proud of the fact that I've let myself get to this size and have taken my health so for granted, but at least I'm taking charge now, and again it all goes back to accountability and writing my experiences on this blog will be another "check-and-balance".

In fact, I'd really appreciate any comments you have about your own experiences along these lines. Have you had similar weight issues? What did you do or are you doing to combat this? Please feel free to share - we are all in this together!

Wish me luck! New me - here I come!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Howdya Like THEM Apples??

This is a very quick post to say that I will be AWOL from the blog until this weekend because *drumroll, please* I will be AWAY IN BOSTON!

That's right - I'll be chillin here:

Aaaaaand here:

And definitely here:

Heck, I'm just happy to be going SOMEWHERE! Let alone a place I've always wanted to visit. And best of all my mom's going for work so I get to crash with her at the Intercontinental on the waterfront for free! Shiibbby!!

Anyway, I look forward to sharing my photos and adventures when I return. But until then, I bid you adieu :)

*For the record I do realize my blog title is not a song, but for some reason when I think of Boston, I think of Good Will Hunting (and Matt Damon..mmmm yum). Plus this is one of the best movie lines of all time, so deal with it*

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday, Monday (can't trust that day)

Today's posting is brought to you by the Mama's and the Papa's:

It is also brought to you by the letter "S" for SUCK. Monday's suck. Get it?

Ok so this one isn't so bad so far I guess, but it did come around rather quickly, which definitely does suck (how does this happen?! I swear we enter some kind of time continuum when the weekend comes). Anyway, the good news is that even though it is Monday, I have a lovely weekend behind me.

Friday my mom picked me up from work (yay, no bus!) and I went to pick up a printer that I found on Kijiji. It's a year-old Epson printer/scanner/copier and I got it for $50 which I think is a pretty sweet deal.

Then I went to see the movie Date Night with my best friend, Nicole. It was great to catch up and the movie was really funny! I'm not too picky with movies - it has to be pretty bad for me to not like it but this one was funny with "heart", if that makes sense. I like Steve Carell and Tina Fey to begin with as they are really witty and they had great chemistry in this movie (what a sweet line at the end! "I'd choose you every time" aww). They just seem REAL, you know? They aren't perfect-looking and seem very down-to-earth and intelligent which is so refreshing. The movie was also refreshing in that it portrayed marriage in a very real way - it showed that marriage isn't always fun and sometimes it can be downright boring, but it's important to remember the reason you got together in the first place and appreciate your partner for everything that they do. It may not be earth-shattering but it's a concept that is not often celebrated and that's unfortunate.

Saturday morning I got up at 8:30am and met a couple of friends downtown at the Farmer's Market. This is one of my favourite Halifax sites and one that every tourist should visit. It's usually packed but the atmosphere is so great with people of all ages walking around, musicians performing, amazing food smells wafting, colours of the fresh produce and crafts jumping out at you, soldiering through the wonky layout and haphazard halls/levels and vendors tucked into every nook and cranny. I didn't buy anything but it's just nice to walk around and look and let your senses take in all of the sites and sounds. The market is moving into a large waterfront space down the road next year, which will make the market much more spacious and accessible but alas will (I think) also remove some of the character and quirk that makes the market what it is. Ah well, such is life...

(This isn't my photo, obviously. I was too caught up in the food smells to remember to take any)

We strolled up to Spring Garden Road from there, aimlessly going into stores and looking around. I got a cat mat for Nutty filled with cat nap (which she promptly molested when I got it home and put it on the futon) and got some free cat food from the cashier because the debit machine was having issues (is it sad that that made my day? Such a small thing but it meant a lot). Got a flatbread pizza at Quizno's, then wandered to Sweet Janes and bought some yummy candy. What an awesome store; another Halifax favourite. Then we wandered back downtown to visit yet ANOTHER fav store, Feroz Design, which sells the most unique and beautiful jewelry that is all handmade on the spot. I got a lovely necklace and earring set for $25 (uh, hello!), which I'm happily wearing today (if I can't enjoy Monday I can at least look good doing it!).

After our little jaunt, I went home for a few hours to do some cleaning and writing (submitted an article proposal to a fashion journal based in Ontario! Fingers crossed that they will contact me about actually publishing the article in their next issue!). Mom and sister picked me up around 6 and we headed to Bowlarama for the SPCA Alley Cat Bowl, a fundraiser that two co-workers and I put in a team for (plus their guys to make a team of 5). We played two strings to qualify for prizes, then one free and fun one. We kinda sucked - most of our turns saw only 2 to 5 pins falling, though I DID get a spare on a spare (yes, that's right) - but the important thing is we had fun. I'm SO not a competitive person anyway. I can't play any kind of sport because I have like ZERO athletic ability, but even if I did I don't have the spirit for it. I care more about having fun than who wins. The ladies in the lane next to us were the total opposite - they brought their own balls and got kinda snippy when Alice went to grab one and use it by accident. They also told us that someone has to sit in the "score-keeping" chair at all times. Yeesh. I mean lighten up! It's a charity event for god's sake. I just roll my eyes and shake my head at people like that and ignore them.

My coworkers are great - Jenn in particular is awesome. She's this bouncy, energetic person that's always smiling and laughing. Great to be around! I'm sad I'll only be working with them for a couple more months, but hopefully we'll still hang out.

After bowling, I drove out to the "sticks" for my friend's 80's theme party! It looked like a pile of highlighters and leggings had exploded in her basement when I walked in! Everyone looked like huge dorks, which was really entertaining. We didn't go to sleep until 4:30am!! Had some great chats and a bit of drama (a little bit never hurt anyone!). Then 5 of us trooped out for a yummy breakfast the next day (well, technically lunch considering the late hour we finally dragged ourselves there :)

I went to my mom's after and she, my sister, her student currently living with her from Korea, Jung, and I all went shopping for a bit. I bought a pair of sneakers but nothing else. Wasn't in much of a shopping mood, which is SO WIERD for me! Like, I was seeing things I liked but the motivation to buy just wasn't there. Plus it seemed like all the stores had slight variations of the same stuff. I like to be trendy, but in my own way, I don't want to look like every other 20-something girl walking down the street, so this bugs me. My mom commented that I should go shopping hungover and sleep-deprived more often! I'm sure my bank account would appreciate it.

Then I came home and got some stuff done around the house, relaxed and watched the Amazing Race and got ready for today! It was a great weekend - full but not too full, things to do but not so many that I didn't have fun. Ugh, but then of course Monday had to come along.

I'm not just on edge today because it's Monday - I have to take my cat to the vet tonight for a check-up and that always makes me nervous because she's 14 years old so you never know what they're going to find wrong. Plus, I felt a little lump on her left side that worries me. I'm absolutely dreading going, but it has to be done. Also, I was supposed to travel to Boston this Wed to Fri (my mom's going for business and I was going to tag along as I've always wanted to visit there) but now she might not be going so it's a waiting game til she has a meeting today and finds out. Needless to say I'll be really pissed if I have to cancel my ticket after spending the money (won't get a refund, only a credit. Thanks for nothing, Air Canada) AND looking forward to going away for like a month! I've been feeling the itch to go somewhere for a while and really felt like I needed this trip; to get away and have a change of scene. I guess we'll see...

Wow, what a long rant. Good on you if you got this far! I'm sure you've either fallen asleep or given up on reading all this shit by now. Heck, I have too. Now off to the gym (did I mention Monday's suck??).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

She's So Heavy

I commented on my last blog entry that I've realized most of my entries here are rather serious and reflective. They also don't say much about me and my life, at least not aside from what goes on in my head. This isn't a bad thing, but I'm certainly not serious and reflective ALL THE TIME. So, I decided that I needed to lighten up a bit and share a bit of who I am (but not TOO much) when I'm not in my head reflecting.

Besides, what's in my head can be, frankly, a tad scary. You don't wanna spend too much time in there.

One thing I really didn't want to do with this blog is get too personal. Not to be rude, but there are a fair amount of blogs out there that are little more than vanity projects for people to vent every single detail about everything that happens to them and sometimes it's just TMI, ya know? I don't mind talking about details of my life on here, but I prefer to be more vague, i.e. not use people's names or give too much away. This all being said, I realized that people reading this will be able to relate to me a lot better if I put myself out there a little more. This is something I need to work on anyway - I tend to put walls up against people and it's silly. It's not like the universe will implode if I tell people about myself! (it won't, right?)

Anyway, long story short, I wanted to change gears a little today and tell you a bit about me!
This is me:

Cute, eh? (yes, I said 'eh'; can you guess where I'm from?). Here's what my normal face looks like:

Well, I wouldn't say normal as I don't normally look like I just rolled out of bed (except when I've just rolled out of bed). Forgive the scruffiness - pulled my hair back and put comfy clothes on to go for a walk as SOON as I got home it was so warm and sunny. Got my hair cut yesterday and I think he made my bangs too short and shaggy, but just think I need to get used them. Anyway, just wanted to make sure you realize my hair is pulled behind my head where you can't see it; I CANNOT and therefore DO NOT rock short hair without looking like a fat-faced, 13 year old boy.

Here's my roomie:

Isn't she pretty?! :D Her name is Nut-Nut (DON'T look at me - she was originally my brother's cat and he named her. I call her Nutty - and she is kinda, so it's fitting). She's an old, cranky lady but she's sweet. And best of all she doesn't leave the toilet seat up.

This is my city:
Halifax, Nova Scotia. Yes, it's a real place, and no I don't know Buddy MacDonald-whats-his-name. This place isn't THAT small. There's about 400,000 people in the whole city (though, granted the boundaries stretch out pretty far). It's actually made up of a bunch of smaller cities mashed together. I'm actually from the city on the other side of the harbour called Dartmouth. To give some context to the uninitiated, Dartmouth contains a small community called Cole Harbour which has the distinction of being the birthplace (and growing up place) of hockey superstar Sidney Crosby. And, no I didn't go to high school with him.

I like it - it's not Toronto or Vancouver but it's big enough that there are things to do and small enough that people smile and say hi to you when they walk by and hold doors open for you. I live in the North End of the city, which was almost totally flattened by the Halifax Explosion of 1917 (if you have never heard of this, good lord read a book!). The house where my flat is was one of the group built after the disaster to house the homeless so it's a bout 90 years old, which is pretty cool. It's a quiet tree-lined street with lots of young, hip, artsy families and great coffee shops and restaurants. It's still a ghetto in areas, but it's improving. I love the character of it and can't wait for the trees to all bloom again because it's so pretty!!

This is my mommy:

You can see where I get my huge, bemused eyes from. She'll probably kill me for putting this photo up because she hates all photos of herself (though I don't understand WHY). Seriously though, my mom's more like my friend; we hang out all the time and we're so alike it's scary. She always gives great advice and she's taught me to always be independent and self-sufficient. She basically raised 4 kids all by herself! She's amazing.

This is my sister:

She's 5 years older than me and has Down's Syndrome. She's actually very high-functioning compared to some others with her condition. She's very quiet and shy but also very sweet. Don't get me wrong, there are many times she makes me so mad I want to smack her, but she wouldn't be my sister if that wasn't the case, right?! I'd be lying if I said it was easy growing up in the shadow of a disabled sibling, but one thing's for sure it wasn't boring! And I wouldn't trade my quirky little family for anything because it's made me into a very open-minded, tolerant person. If only everyone else in the world were so accepting of people who are "different". I think "different" people are WAY cooler to hang out with than normal people. Normal is boring.

Well I could go on and on but, considering these photos are taking EONS to load and my brain is slowly shutting down, I think I'll stop. Plus, I think this gives enough of an idea of who I am that you can (hopefully) relate to me better. Again, I'm planning on doing more posts like this - more "fluffy" and funny ones - just to mix it up a bit! Hope you enjoyed learning about my boring life - hah!

In conclusion I'd like to share this with you:

For no other reason than it's awesome. Yay for afternoon cupcake and latte breaks! (though, I must say Starbucks, your cupcake was rather dry and therefore disappointing. Think I'll stick to Susie's, thanks).

*A useless little tidbit you might like to know about my blog - I always title my posts after songs and/or song lyrics. I'm not sure why, I just think it's fun. I guess I was inspired by one of my fav shows True Blood - every episode is named after a song and that song is always played at the end during the closing credits. Anyway, makes me think a little bit and adds a little something different to my posts, I think*

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Way We Were

Little slow with the posts the past few days. I think once Thursday hit I went into "long weekend mode" and didn't feel like doing anything that stretched my brain too much. Plus the weekend was like SUMMER here in Nova Scotia, i.e. 20+ degrees! (That's celsius for you non-metric folks). To give you an idea of how awesome that is, the average temp for this time of year is normally 7 degrees! (Word)

So, anyway I tried to get outside as much as I could and not sit in front of the computer. I had a serious Vitamin D deficiency that needed to be remedied, stat!

Anyway, I was inspired to write today after reading Sandy B's post comparing her life one year ago to her life today. It got me thinking because my life one year ago was SO different than my life now it's not even funny. SO much has happened to me in that short period of time, some bad but mostly good, that it's hard to believe it was only a year ago.

Sandy asks:

This time last year…
What were you doing?
Where were you working?
Where were you living?
Who were you loving?
And how has your life changed since then?

This time last year I was spending most of my time applying for jobs and the rest of the time stressing about money and said job applications. At the beginning of March last year, I was let go from my first job out of University COMPLETELY out of nowhere. It was through no fault of my own (there was some restructuring at my organization and my position was only a contract and therefore - apparently - expendable), but it was still done unprofessionally. I had no idea it was coming and I wasn't even able to finish working the rest of the week (I was let go on a Tuesday at the end of the work day and had to clean out my desk on the spot).

I was heartbroken. I felt worthless that I could be dumped so unceremoniously, and angry that I wasn't respected enough to be given at least SOME notice. I had never been let go from a job in my life, and I have always prided myself on my ability to work hard, even if I didn't particularly like my job. I didn't like this one. But, this job was at a very prominent arts organization in my city that I was very proud to be associated with, so despite the fact that I wasn't enjoying myself, it hurt to essentially be "rejected" from a place I held in such high esteem.

Anyway, needless to say this was a turning point for me. I realized that nothing is permanent, that you always have to be prepared and that even though a job sounds great on paper it can be very different in reality. I also learned to budget! I was let go approx. one month after moving into my first apartment, and my boyfriend at the time lost his full time job just after I did. That period in my life brought new meaning to the expression "bad timing". I also realized that boredom DRIVES ME NUTS! I was unemployed for 2 months, and was practically climbing the walls with restlessness by the time I finally found work.

Aside from my dire financial situation, I was also not happy in my personal life. I was in a relationship that was already starting to crumble in spots and began to crumble even faster in the weeks and months following my being laid off. The stress of our emotional issues piled onto the stress of career (or lack thereof) created a huge pile of anxiety and worry that just kept growing and unfortunately our connection couldn't withstand the weight.

This time last year (March to May last year) was a really low point in my life. So, to say that my life has changed for the better is the understatement of the century!

I'm now living in my own place (the same place as a year ago, but a much more loved place that it's mine alone) - an apartment and a neighbourhood that I love and feel comfortable in, with a cat that I love dearly and has been the best roomie anyone could ask for. I have a job that I really enjoy where I work with people that I really respect and have lots of laughs with. I have made a few new friends and have become more involved in some activities that I feel passionately about. Generally, I feel really good about where I am right now in life and I'm happy.

Soon I'll be faced with entering the workforce to find a job all over again, but at least this time it will be on my own terms and I'm armed with a year of great experience and references that will be a huge help to me. In fact, I've already applied for a great job that I'm crossing my fingers for! I also have the summer sun and fun outings with friends to look forward to, as well as the possibility of a new romantic relationship that will (hopefully) go somewhere in the long term. I'm much closer to knowing what I want out of life and I've learned to manage my expectations and to be more patient (well, at least I'm trying to learn these things. It's a process!).

There are a lot of question marks in my life right now - I have no idea where I'll be working, who I'll be with, or where I'll be living (by JUNE let alone a year from now!), and that's really frustrating. But I'm happy. I'm confident that life will work itself out and answers will come if I let them. I feel like the things I've been striding toward are finally coming within reach. I may have question marks, but I also have many options and that's kind of exciting! Options are not something I felt I had a year ago.

So, this time next year perhaps I'll have a car, perhaps I'll have a boyfriend, perhaps I'll be living in a completely different city or even country! Who knows! I just hope that I'm still at least as happy as I am now, and that I'm nowhere near the place I was this time last year (*shudder*). But even if I am, I know I'll be able to get through it. I already did it once!

*I gotta say - I've realized I'm always quite serious and philosophical in my posts and I need to work on that - I'm going to try and post some more fun and frivolous things in the future. I mean, lordy, I'm not serious all the time in real life so why should I be on here? Not everything has to be an analytical essay, Kim! Yeesh. Anyway, something I'm going to work on FYI. Stay tuned :) *