August 26, 2013

I've been running very slowly

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Yeah, that is basically the update to this point. I've been running - very slowly. But I still think it counts for something. I think it counts so much that I've decided that I didn't want my running, slow running, to go undocumented.

What I've learned from blogging is that this is pretty much my little sliver of the world wide interwebs and I can write whatever I want. You don't have to read it. But writing it down is kind of helpful for me. It helped me to deal with the impending birth of my first child, and the emotional roller coaster that proceeded it. And just like making a "blog announcement" to basically no readers that I was going to "be a mom" and I thought it would be fitting to use this space to announce that I'm going to "be a runner".  I'm kind of, like, in my first trimester.

Here's the deal....

I know a lot of runners - friends, co-workers, family members. I have a lot of running gear - shoes, shorts, tees, half zips, jackets. I would say that I have always been moderately physically active, playing sports and what not. I've run for years - around the block a few times, at the outdoor track, on many a treadmill.

A few years ago a signed up for my first race. It was a 5km. I did it on a complete whim, with and perhaps for a friend. I didn't train. I wasn't sure that I needed to, and I didn't know how. And I sucked at this race. I sucked hard. It was terrible and painful. The next weekend I did a 10km. I must have been drinking heavily to sign up for that one. It was more than twice as painful and terrible. A few months later I did another slow and painful half marathon.

These people that organize road races are very intelligent. They do a great job of suckering you into it. The free t-shirt. The way the crowds gather at the start in anticipation. The big countdown to the start. Off you go feeling fantastic, happy, feeling like someone special. Sometimes there are people cheering on the side of the road with funny signs. There are nice volunteers at water stations that tell you how great you're doing. It's fantastic. And then you get the finish and maybe, depending on the race, you can run into a big inflated arch, get congratulated by total strangers, have a medal placed triumphantly around your neck. You're handed a banana. It's the most delicious banana you've ever had. Sign me up for the next one.

A year ago I challenged myself....

I am a race groupie. I didn't take me too long to figure out that I had a problem. (Even you knew I had a problem just four paragraphs into this blog post!) First, I really like races. As a self-described mediocre athlete it was basically the most awesome thing ever. I love the running community. I love the energy around running. I love how running makes me feel - mostly after the hurting stops. But I found that if I wasn't signed up, committed to, training for a race, I lacked the motivation and discipline to keep training. I wanted to experience a lot more races.

I set a goal to run a race a month last year. The week after I came up with the idea I started to tell people. I knew that the more people I told, the more accountable to the goal I would be. I started to research events and plan out the schedule. I realized that I would need to double up on events during a few months in order to get in 12 races for the year.

I just completed my goal. Here are the races that I finished:

  1. - Night Race Toronto, 5km (September 2012)
  2. - Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, 5km (October 2012)
  3. - Niagara Falls International Marathon, 5km (October 2012)
  4. - Road to Hope in Hamilton, 5km (November 2012)
  5. - Don Rowing Club Christmas Run, 10km (December 2012)
  6. - Resolution Run, 5km (January 2013)
  7. - Family Day Fun Run in Edmonton, 5km (February 2013)
  8. - Toronto Yonge Street, 10km (April 2013) 
  9. - Portland Rock n Roll Marathon, 21.1km (May 2013)
  10. - Sole Sisters Women's Race, 5km (June 2013)
  11. - Run for Women Toronto, 10km (June 2013)
  12. - Toronto Women's Race, 10km (August 2013)

I have a few more races on the horizon for this Fall, after all I love it. But as I look ahead at the next year, I recognize that I could have been even more committed and consistent. Look forward to setting another goal that keeps me finishing with my hands held high and smile on my face. Even if I'm a little slow....

~ Humps

March 19, 2012

Waiting, Not Writing, and Lots in Between

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I have no idea how a year has passed since I’ve blogged here! Over a year! It’s now two thousand and twelve!! 2-0-1-2.

And well, I do have some idea that so much time has passed. I have to admit that there have been times that I’ve come here. This website. Blogger.com. To write. And I’ve pressed the “new post” button. Sometimes sitting in front of the computer with the screen empty and the blinking of that skinny line where words are supposed to be. And I was paralyzed.

Writing Block?

I won’t call it a writing block so much. No. Not at all. I had things to talk about. I had a beginning, middle and end crafted into what should have been an easy to write prose of few hundred words. Divided neatly into paragraphs. It had my opinions, and things that were happening and had happened. And I’m quite sure that the grammar would have been meticulous. You would have thought that it was well written and witty, insightful and inspiring. As you can see, that post, the thoughts and musing, the pouring of my soul into words and punctuation didn’t happen.

When Do You Start?

There’s something that happens when time passes. When life happens. When life doesn’t happen like you think that it should. I have to admit that I have been left feeling like I don’t know where to start. I don’t know where to start not just in writing but in living sometimes. I don’t know where to start to chase my goals, to change situations, to share my feelings, to make good on promises, to live. And when you feel like you don’t know where to start, it is really really easy not to do anything. It’s easy to say, I’ll wait. Like waiting for a package of initiative to be delivered by mail. Like waiting for insight to pop up like a 70’s toaster oven. Like waiting for a 360 degree change to sweep you along like a rotating door.

Start Somewhere?

Do something!! Try something!! Write something!! I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolution of new commitments and programs and goals. But there is something powerful that happens with the arrival of Spring that makes you want to clear out the clutter, the cobwebs, to open the windows and cast light into dark corners, to shed layers of false security and to come out of hibernation. I’m not going to fight that. That’s bigger than I am. That may just be the initiative package, toaster oven and rotating door that I’ve been waiting for.


~ humps

February 11, 2011

Baggage

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I’m in the airport.

That’s not particularly notable. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in airplanes, airports - travelling to and through them. Since BABY was born, we’ve traveled a fair bit. We’ve got the hang of maneuvering through airplanes and airports with strollers and car seats, and baby bags and bottles. Throughout the years I’ve done my fair share of business travel for work.

But this is week was the first time I have traveled for work since having the kid. This story is less about airports and airplanes, it’s more about baggage. Of the emotional variety. Because although I don’t have to worry about gate checked strollers and bottles in carry-ons and lap child holding positions, I have enough emotional baggage to put me overweight – metaphorically and literally.

I’ve never been away from BABY for more than a night, much less a week. And I’m gutted. I’m taking this pretty hard. I’m taking it much hard than she is. And I’ve coped by drinking lots of wine and telling everyone who crosses path about the little bugger. I’ve showed lots of strangers baby pictures - whether they’re interested or not.

If I could make the plane fly faster I would. But most of all, I can’t wait to get home for my fill of hugs and kisses and cuddles. By the suitcase-load.

February 6, 2011

Now and Then, Again

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When does it hit you that the life that you are living now is different from the life that you once had – maybe one year, two years, five years ago? Maybe ten. We all go through this, I’m sure, in the process of growing up and finding that our priorities, lifestyle, people around us change. I can’t speak for every woman who is now a mother. I don’t know if as a collective we all feel that life is different. But I do. It’s different for me.

I was driving on a Saturday afternoon in the summertime, BABY in the car seat behind me. I had the window cracked just a little bit – more and tissue paper peaking out of the gift bag on my passenger seat would have been disturbed. I was flipping through songs on the children’s CD that played through the speakers. Wheels on the Bus? Old MacDonald? We were on our way to a children’s birthday party. I was looking forward to it more than she was.

My cell started to ring and I reached into my bag to get it. I looked at the Caller ID. It was a close friend in Miami. Before I even answered the phone, my life flashed before my eyes. I thought about what she would be doing on her weekend (young, single, having lots of fun) and what I used to do (young, single, having an ok amount of fun) and how that wasn’t very long ago. And now the highlight of my weekend – ok of the month, let’s be honest here – was going to a children’s party and listening to kids music on the way there.

***

Today we had another children’s birthday party that I’d have to admit was the highlight of not only the day but the month. Now BABY and I sing along to Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald together – it’s not just me. I’ve settled into the new priorities, lifestyle and people around me. But the flashbacks still surface. And it happened again today. Long after the party was over. Long after the loot bag was played with, the nap was complete, and dinner and bath and bed were behind us.

In a casual conversation over text I asked a friend what they were doing tonight. “Nothing much, prob play some cards with the boys.” Flash! Flash to the set of poker chips in a box somewhere, the felt table cover that I used during poker nights at my place, the shot glasses that made an appearance by the end of it all. Flash to the marathon Texas Hold’ Em tournament at a cottage for the weekend. Flash to the night that I cleaned up at Black Jack, flash to the casino games I played in the Dominican with an ex boyfriend, flash to the night I went All-In in strip poker. End with the realization that it changed so fast, so suddenly. End with the realization that I haven’t even shuffled a deck of cards since I (knew I) was pregnant. I forgot that somewhere outside my life, with the baby, and the kids party and the Wheels on the Bus, that people still did that.

Is that strange?

If you’ve read to this point, I don’t want you to think that I was ultra reckless. But I didn’t have much of a transition from being the person I was then to the mother I am now. I was in my twenties, living in downtown Toronto, so in love with my boyfriend but also with a healthy social life. I was investing in my career but still meeting friends at the Thursday happy hour. It was about me. It was about freedom and independence. And then boom. Like the Road Runner barreling into a hard brick wall, life changed. There was no playing house with a new husband. No figuring out that we didn’t like the same colour towels, or turkey bacon or the thermostat at 75. No babying each other before an actual baby. No practice puppy. Just the very real positive pregnancy test, and everything else that comes after that.

I can’t help be sobered by the thought of then and now. My life.

~ humps

December 30, 2010

Homing from Work

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I am a full time working mom. Both full time mom-ing and full time work-ing. And today I have been, similar to many days in the last few months, writing blog posts in my mind. Writing blog post in my mind is not quite as fulfilling as chair dancing but it's surprisingly efficient.

I can write blog posts in my mind while taking a shower, getting BABY ready for daycare, commuting. I can write blog posts in my mind during status meetings and presentations. I can write blog posts in my mind while grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking. My best blog posts in my mind are crafted during those hazy moments before I go I settle into REM sleep or just between snooze one and snooze two in the morning.

Just this past week I have dreamt up engaging blog posts about the holiday, love and marriage, a recent visit to Florida for a family member's funeral, the second Christmas for BABY, Kwanzaa, a year in review, New Years Resolutions, why I need a vacation. And today, I thought of a couple more blog posts as I rolled into the office. Yes, I am one of the few brave souls that is working today. (It seemed like a good idea at the time).

As one of the brave souls holding down the fort at our office this week, I had to physically be here. Since my daughter has a doctor's appointment this afternoon I thought it would be easier if I brought her to the office with me. Afterall, I'm one of the only ones here anyway. Her doctor is close to my office. And, there's no way I can leave her, pick her up from daycare and make the appointment in time. Bringing a toddler to the office is something that I must blog about - outloud that is.

How has my day been so far? Well...

9:05 am - Arrive at office.

9:13 am - Bang funnybone on desk trying to unload huge purse with laptop, gym bag with BABY gear, one toddler in full winter gear. Try not to drop toddler in full winter gear.

9:16 am - Greet Vice President as she pass your office and laughs out loud at the hilarity. Turn on computer so that you can look at least partially productive.

9:18 am - Set up BABY in chair beside desk with paper and crayons.

9:21 am - Remove crayons that BABY is now trying to eat. Replace with Playdough, cookie cutters and other plastic tools.

9:22 am - Empty gym bag of all toys in hopes that something will catch her attention. Realize that the usual suspects - those loud toys with the lights and songs and silly phrases do not compare to a brand new, never been drolled on - well maybe a couple times - office.

9:29 am - Create fort using office chairs, toys, stacks of books, aforementioned toddler winter gear.

9:33 am - Break out the snacks!!

9:35 am - Clean up ground Cheerios, Goldfish and Blueberries from Carpet.

9:45 am - Allow toddler to play with phone, keyboard, pens, calculator. Hope that this can hold attention for the next seven hours.

9:55 am - Realize that not even an hour has passed.

9:56 am - Visit coworkers around the office. Allow toddler to run down hallways. Hope this feel mean an early naptime.

10:21 am - Try to talk unsuspecting coworker into babysitting for a few minutes. Or hours. Doesn't work.

10:38 am - Find other office supplies that can double as toddler play things.

10:41 am - Snacks? Anything left? Snacks!

10:51 am - Reintroduce toys. Look at your own toy laptop and cellphone!

11:37 am - Lunch time!

11:59 pm - Regret bringing lunch that is sooo messy.

12:00 pm - Turn off lights in office, put in lullaby CD and pray.

12:29 pm - Put BABY into stroller to sleep beside desk.

12:31 pm - Begin blog post and importantly countdown to quiting time in my mind.

Let's see how the rest of the day shapes up.

~humps

September 2, 2010

It's the little things like this that make me happy!

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Have you ever come across something and were so impressed that you wanted to tell everyone about it? Yes! Well that just happened to me about 30 minutes ago.

This is not a sponsored post. This is genuine blog loving.

I'm pretty close to becoming a professional bridesmaid. I'm the maid of honour in one of my best friend's wedding at the end of October. I am absolutely over the moon for her. So in love with her husband to be (he's already my daughter God Father) and eager to do anything that I can to help. Another one of my close friends has asked me to be a bridesmaid in her weddding - set for next summer.

Planning the bridal shower for wedding number 1 right now, and just like I did for baby's first birthday, soaking up as much online inspiration as I can. In the process I came across Printable Press. They're a great online source of invitations. They allow you to customize invitation themes, and then print them yourself.

Just choose the theme, it can be customized in as early as a week, download the final files as a PDF and print yourself. Whether it's 20 or 200 your costs are the same. With pricing like $70 for the invitation, $30 for the response card and insert card, $40 save the date, you can't go wrong.

My only disclaimer is that I have't ordered it myself. But with designs like these how can you not be excited!




Beautiful and genius. Not only will I tell my bride to be friends, I also wanted to share with you too.

~ humps

August 13, 2010

Deflated

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I was bent over. Arms reaching in opposite directions. Trying to fold my right leg diagonally to the left and my left leg to the right. My head was touching the ground. It was like that round of Twister in my high-school atrium, just 60 pounds heaver with mom boobs and greying hair.

I was deflating the kiddie pool. Or should I say, the kiddie pool was deflating me.

When they say hindsight is 20/20, I think they are specifically addressing Wal-Mart purchases. In the aisle of their seasonal section that hot day, the big inflatable pool seemed like the best possible option. And those extra features! Oh boy! The inflatable arches. The momma dinosaur with inflatable head and tail. The inflatable toys. How amazing. BABY will just love it. This will make her summer.

It started to become clearer that this might be a bad idea when I took that purchase home. When I took the pool out of the package and tried to unfold the bright coloured plastic, I noticed those many many air valves in the various crevaces in the many locations on the pool. And, to make a scary situation even scarier, ten of my biggest and hottest breaths of air made no difference to the pool's lifeless state.

I got in the car with that pool in the backseat - beside the carseat - and drove to the gas station. I pulled up beside the air pump. Did you know that you have to PAY for air at the gas station now-a-days? Not really sure when that started or why. I took out my walet, plugged quarters into the machine, and started to get to work our brand new inflatable pool. Many dollars and rounds of purchased air later, I was craming an inflated pool - arches, dinosaur head, toys and all - into the trunk and folded down seats of my sedan, beside the carseat. As I slowly drove back home, I held my breath (that I still had thankfully) and prayed that the inflatable pool, now somewhat tucked into my car but not really, wouldn't pick up the wind and blow away on the busy throughway from the gas station to our house.

The memories were flooding back this weekend. While I was on mission pool deflation, thinking that I was letting out some pretty expensive air, I tried to calculate the time that my daughter actually spent playing in the pool. I tried to count the number of air valves for those wonderful extra features: the inflatable arches, the momma dinosaur with inflatable head and tail, the inflatable toys. I tried to map out where to hold and grab and step and twist to get the air out. I tried to count the time that it would to get it deflated.

And as I lay on my back in the grass, with my right arm reaching to the right and the left arm reaching to the left I couldn't help but smile. Can't wait to do it all again next year.

~ humps

July 7, 2010

The Humidity Diet

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It's freaking hot. Northeastern US and Central Canada - including where I am in Toronto - are under the vice of a heat wave that has lasted for the past few days. There are extreme heat alerts, heat advisories, UV warnings, smog advisories, humidex advisories. However you slice it, the weather is making even the most die-hard fans of warm summers days, like myself, run for cover in the air conditioning. Yesterday, I went out over the lunch period and feared, to be quite honest with you, that I might melt into asphalt. It was sick and disturbing.

As I sat under the AC vent in my office with my blouse unbuttoned to career-limiting degrees, it occurred to me - a miraculous benefit to the crazy weather. A benefit it is much need and surely will be embraced by many. I'd like to call it the Humidity Diet. There are just three key elements:

1. Avoid any extraneous physical activity to acquire food, such as going to the grocery store, grocery shopping, packing groceries and loading groceries into a vehicle.

- This will encourage you to optimize the food that you do have on hand. It requires true creativity to make a family meal with tuna, condensed soup, pie filling and saltine crackers. Think of it as a culinary experiment and opportunity to watch those calories. Plus slaving over the stove must be good too.

2. Don't go anywhere. If you are fortunate enough to be able to spend your daytime hours in an air conditioned environment, don't go anywhere. If you are home, stay home. If you are at work, stay at work. Waiting out the peak period is a blessing. You can re-emerge in the evening, when you are less likely to melt into the asphalt.

- There are waistline benefits of this too. You are encourage to plan and prepare lunches ahead of time. Your organizational skills will blow others away and increase your confidence. Not going outside can only boost your productivity. I see a raise in your future.

- If you have forgotten to bring a lunch, you can still benefit. Scrounging around the office for lunch - that granola bar in your desk drawer, cheese stick in your purse, peppermints on your co-worker's desk and cup of coffee could be a suitable, impromptu meal and great lesson in portion control.

3. If you do go outside, aim for the hottest time of the day - noon! If you're lucky, you will happen upon other lunch-goers on the roads, in the parking lots, and food establishments of your community. Bonding with others and fostering your patience and empathy, particularly during extremely uncomfortable temperatures, is great for your personal development.

- The potential weight loss benefits are numerous! The sweltering midday humidity has been known to suppress appetites. Chances are that you will opt for a lighter lunch or skip the meal all together. (Zero calories are the best kind of calories.) Plus, you'll be sweating a whole lot too. That's good for at least a few pounds of water weight. A portable sauna, for free!

I encourage to you embrace the humidly this summer and think of it as an opportunity to shed a few lbs. Please note: like any new diet or fitness regime, consult your doctor.

~ humps

July 5, 2010

Confessions of a Man-Hater

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I am not a bust the windows of your car, throw your clothes out of the window, light your house on fire type of woman. I wouldn't say that I am a woman scorned. I tend not to use loaded, overly passionate words like Hate too often.

I am a single parent. I raise my hand as a person with relationship issues (because I am either a terrible judge of character or naive, and someone who can't "make it work".) I am jaded. I am skeptical. Where I once believed in love at first sight and happily ever after, I sit in the cold, wet reality on the outside of that fairytale. "Snap out of it kid. Life doesn't work like that."

Although I can go on and on about how these feelings are internalized, I am very comfortable admitting that I blame men for these issues. Not a man, or a few men, I blame MEN. All of them. I blame MEN when it comes to relationships.

MEN are dogs. MEN suck. MEN are selfish. MEN will break your hearts, if you let them.

Sure they are good, great even, at lots of things. They have wonderful qualities. I'm not convinced, though, that MEN can do one to one relationships. Not sure how to explain why I feel that way other than to say that I'm holding out for evidence. I have lots of examples to the negative, not many examples to the positive. Generalization? Yes.

Yes, I am extrapolating the experiences from one and cascading it to the billions. I am generalizing a gender. I have used my great wisdom earned from just a few broken hearts to fuel blacklisting of many.

I may not say it out loud but I am living in my "man hating world" when I meet your husband, boyfriend, fiance. Through my voice you'll hear "Nice to meet you!" or "How's it going?" but there's a fairly good chance that I'm thinking "He seems ok for now" or "Hope he doesn't fuck up" or "This is not going to end well".

This post is called Confessions of a Man-Hater for a reason. I am a closet man hater. I am a man hater who you would never suspect could be slinging such man hate.

Is there hope yet for me to escape my man-hating ways? I hope so. I hope that somehow this dark, abandonned heart will be warmed. I hope that I will wake up to the sun shining into my window and forget what it feels like to say "you suck" under my breath. I hope that I will turn the corner one day, moving forward to the horizon hate-free. I hope that I will put on my coat from seasons' past to find my rose-colored glasses in the side pocket and I will love love more than I hate men.

But right now I am wallowing in my untrusting, unbiased, unwaivering, funky to the core, brickwalls too high to surpass man hate.

These are just my confessions as a man-hater.

June 14, 2010

When do working moms blog?

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I went back to work and fell off the face of the earth. Not just on this blog. Not just on Twitter. Not just in the many areas that have filled my time since BABY was born. Everywhere. To everyone. I went back to work and don't know how I am able to write this message. I am tired.

I returned to work after a wonderful year of maternity leave. I had an amazing, rewarding, special, unforgettable year off when BABY was born. I feel so luck to have been able to take that time for the little one. Given the current state of my bank account and credit rating, I knew that the fun was coming to an end. All things considered, I was excited about returning back to the working world.

To say that it is an adjustment is an understatement of severe portions. I am exhausted. I am stressed. I miss my daughter terribly. There's no better way to put it.

Knowing that my return was during a very busy time of year for my job, I was expecting some level of craziness. To be completely honest, I wasn't prepared for how different life would be as a working mom.

No one told me how crazy it would be! So, I compiled a list.

Top 10 things no one tells you about being a working mom:
1. "Priorities" and "Work-Life Balance" take on a new meaning and a regular place in your vocabulary.
2. You will feel guilty every minute that you are away from your kid.
3. Make-work and things that waste your time will be more frustrating than ever before.
4. You will do all that you can to get home in time to see the look of shear elation on your kid's face each night.
5. Your single coworkers will think you're a slacker for leaving work "early".
6. You will need to take many days off for doctor's appointments, sick days, tummy bugs, fevers - both you and the kid.
7. Your single coworkers will think you're a slacker for working at home.
8. Working at home is nearly impossible with a screaming one year old.
9. Between the high cost of daycare and other baby related expenses it will feel like you are working for free.
10. You will miss blogging.

Fellow moms at work now muse about the adjustments. All I can ask is where was this information before?

~ humps

May 9, 2010

Having A Child

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"Making the decision to have a child -it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." -Elizabeth Stone

Happy Mother's Day. Hope that all of the mother's in your life had a great day.

May 3, 2010

And then she was ONE...

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I woke up one morning and I had a one year old. I don't quite know how it all happened. I really didn't see it coming. I was still in the 8-month old stage. I was still in the baby cuddles, sleeping on my chest, holding my finger as tight as possible stage. I was still in the needing me for everything stage.

But now I have a one year old. I have a toddler. I have an independent, let me do it, try to catch me if you can, I need to figure it out one year old. My baby girl is not a baby anymore. She's a one year old...





~ humps
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