Before & After

I’m nearing the end of my second round of “6-Weeks to a New Body”, and I thought it might be time to show some pictures. A few things to consider, as these pictures scroll up.

  • The photos of me are 10 years apart. I thought it might be nice to reach back in time when I still had little ones running around. The time gap is a nice round number.
  • I wanted to show real contrast, and to make myself feel really amazing.
  • I was clearly in a “costume” for the after photo’s. I do not run around getting photo’s taken with a wig on.
  • The costume theme was, “someone famous from the year you were born”. I was going for Goldie Hawn from the TV series Laugh In. (OK, maybe a stretch…)

340233601ee95867f6a1fde8660569a6

  • It is an odd sensation to create the “before & after” photo’s of yourself. When these kind of images are put up by magazines it is easy to dismiss them as fake. I’m telling you, this is the real deal.
  • I’m not done yet. I’ve made progress, clearly. But I want more. Not so much for the photo’s, but for the amazing feeling of being able to move my body around with so much less of me in the way!

This journey has not been easy. I could have accomplished the milestones more quickly with a higher level of dedication. It would have meant far more sacrifice. I’ve never been one to do things exactly as I’m told. So, I’m getting there, at my own pace. At a slow and steady rate of change, the efforts are manageable, the pain less severe. Maybe this way will be more sustainable over the long haul. At least, that is my story and I’m sticking to it.

CW Sitting B&A CW Standing B&A

Rookie mistake

After all the miles I have travelled, after the hours spent in airport line ups and most particularly the security clearance area, it is amazing to me what happened in Phoenix this week.

Maybe it was my mind still being on vacation while my body was making its way back. But I clearly lost my edge, somehow. I hope this is not a permanent change. Or maybe it is and I am going to be more relaxed all the time.

We all know the drill, at least anyone who has been on a plane in the last 7 or 8 years. Who honestly has to be told, yet again, no liquids!

First up was my daughter. Upon reflection, she might be the weak link in our travelling family. She insisted on being first, in some cases running ahead beyond where we could even see her. Who does that? Kind of strange really. Anyway, as she put her bag onto the scanning belt and it went through, the attendant called out for a physical check – “there are liquids in this one”.

I should also mention that we somehow ended up in TSA pre-check. I have not been in one of these lines before. So there were a bunch of new rules, most of which make the whole thing go faster. So the moment when you haul up your bag and take out all the offending items has been taken away. Zip, right through. In all honesty, I’m not sure this final check would have helped us.

Then we put through a bag of souvenirs purchased at the Los Cabos airport earlier that day. These were my purchases. As the bag went through and was pulled aside I knew exactly what offending item was in there. And my heart sank. Oh well, take your lumps. I stood on the other side waiting my turn.

My son was next, no problems. Which is where our attention had been when packing in Mexico. Was his switch blade looking comb in his carry on? No it was not.

Finally my husband. He was carrying another bag of souvenirs and other odd things. That bag too was set aside. Of 7 carry on pieces we had 3 to deal with. I couldn’t believe it.

My daughter had a bottle of soda. My husband had a bottle of water. When the examiner looked at the screen, he could not find my bag. I was not jumping up and down to open it up and show him the precious liquid inside. He proclaimed a mistake had been made and handed my bag to me, unopened. Amazing!

As a side note – I usually don’t buy so many souvenirs. This trip we picked up all sorts of things. In the photo below is a butter dish, since our new cat will devour butter left without a lid. And why not have such a pretty vessel from Mexico on our counter? But who would have thought that the item to cause the most problem was that lovely cup? Turns out it is not meant to hold hot liquids like coffee. As I found out this morning. It is amazing how far a full cup of coffee can go as it sprays off the edge of the kitchen counter. But the crack is a clean one at the base. So the cup is now going to hold a candle. Repurpose instead of throwing away. That is what someone in Mexico would likely do.

Mexico Vanilla_web

Flight no. 2015

My Dad sent an email version of this to me and I had to share it. I’ve taken so many flights over the past 20 years and never once had this message. But, I’ll think about this from now on.

The Boarding of Flight no. 2015 has been announced.

Your luggage should be safely stowed and only contain the best souvenirs from 2014. All unwanted items, including the bad and sad moments should be left in the trash.

The duration of the flight will be 12 months. So, tighten your seatbelt. The stop-overs will be:
*Health
*Love
*Joy
*Harmony
*Well-being
*Peace

The captain offers you the following menu which will be served during the flight:
*A Cocktail of Friendship
*A Supreme of Health
*A Gratin of Prosperity
*A Bowl of Excellent News
*A salad of Success
*A Cake of Happiness
*All accompanied by bursts of laughter

Wishing you an enjoyable trip on board of flight no. 2015.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a50/20663480/files/2015/01/img_0223.jpg

Blog housekeeping

“Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counter productivity.”  ~Erma Bombeck

No wonder I have been putting off this task for so long! At the same time, like regular housework, there is something that gnaws at me. I have this little gremlin at the back of my mind, reminding me in a not-so-nice-way, you owe me. I can’t walk by that terribly dirty bathroom one more time, it is getting pretty bad by now, even gross and maybe unsanitary?

Bathrooms are not the issue right now. My blog has gotten big. There is a bunch of content here. I knew the categories were not really helping anyone who wanted to find something. The whole thing was becoming unruly. Each time I added something else, there was another little pang of, eshhh I’m only making this worse.

However, until today I had no idea how to fix it. I had an overarching map of the ideas I wanted to group everything under. But very little experience with web design. WordPress tries to make everything very easy, but I’ve had mixed results in the past. Hence the avoidance and my level of anxiety ever-increasing.

Categories_web

The last thing my husband said to me last night was, “I think you are quite smart and can figure this out yourself”. I put my computer away doubting that statement, but something happened in my sleep. Sunday morning at 6:30am, I’m wide awake. I figured it out somehow in the night.

It’s not such a big deal, but it means a lot to me. I’ve organized the menu categories and there is drop down lists below them! It is not done yet, but the confidence and renewed energy this has given me is amazing.

So welcome to “The Good Life List 2.0”

Cheers!

Check engine light

There are fewer rules down in Mexico than we are used to back home in Canada. Traffic rules like coming to a complete stop at the sign, merely a suggestion. Rolling stop, or a yield is more the norm.

You might come upon an obstruction in the road, like a big hole and the marker will be a spikey metal thing without any kind of reflection on it. Driving into the spike or the hole, would be a toss up which one was worse.

Rental cars are always a bit shabby. Even if the vehicle is low mileage and a late model, it will be worn hard. The sun is brutal on the exterior, the road conditions, the drivers – it all takes its toll on the look and sometimes performance of the rental. Missing internal pieces, or broken gadgets, completely expected.

And the check engine light. My husband marveled yesterday as we got into our rental at San Jose Del Cabo airport, the ubiquitous light is on in this vehicle too! He did ask the attendant if that was OK and neither side might have been clear about the question/answer. The Mexican maybe didn’t understand the question and my husband assuming the answer.

Off we went. Happy to be back in the sunshine. Flight was in early, we knew where our lunch stop would be, tummies grumbling. Then there was another sort of noise. Seemed to coincide with the pedal being pressed on the gas. My husband thought it was a rattle. Don’t worry.

For the next set of events, I need to explain my husband and cars. He was a resourceful and creative mechanic and could fix a multitude of failures on cars in a pinch. The other term my Dad likes to use is, “limping a car”. That is when there has been an almost near shut down of a major component on a car and you can barely “limp” it along by driving in a certain way.

So we are heading up our first big hill and the engine starts to overheat and shuts off. We are on a very small shoulder with cars blasting past us. Now I’m scrambling to figure out how to call the the “guy” who needs to get us out of this jam. At the same time, my husband starts to react. We can’t stay here, he says. So off goes the air conditioning and after 3 tries, the engine turns over. And we are moving again.

We limp it back to the airport where a new van is waiting for us. It all happened so quickly and seamlessly that my daughter asked what was happening as we changed over? She had been playing a video game the whole time and had no idea. This is the same child that can remember every detail of a conversation she over hears a year later.

But our children have never experienced the sheer volume of car failure that my husband and I have. As I left home in an old Chevy Monza my Dad said, find a boyfriend who can fix that thing. (My Dad had been fixing it for three years at that time).

As luck would have it, I found my husband on the beach in White Rock and he battled with that Monza for a few more years. We had some equally challenging moments in some of his cars. Our joint vehicle purchases have all been interesting.

So our new rule is – the check engine light probably does mean something!

20131223-081350.jpg

What’s burning?

This post in an homage to “The Bloggess” a.k.a. Jenny Lawson. Those of you that know her, this needs no explanations. Those of you who don’t, look her up. I could say more about her, but I can’t. My blog doesn’t run with that kind of language. So this is really more inspired by Jenny.

I just found myself burning paper in my bathroom. In fact, there is a pretty strong smell in there right now. Of ashes. Who knew they could be so stinky? Reason for the need to burn paper? Well its complicated.

Step back a bit. Quite a bit, really.

For many, many years, I have carried around a notebook that contains all my passwords. Some important and some, who cares. But for the sake of being efficient, they were all in one place. My husband would become completely appalled each time we had a conversation about this. How could I be so irresponsible, what happens if, etc. And then some time would go by, nothing would change and I would be blissfully adding new passwords to my little book. Some were on post-it-notes, some had been changed many times, the book was in a bit of a mess.

Then, this week, I decided to get a password manager app. Almost seems more dangerous than carrying them around. For starters, I have no idea what level of encryption is good enough. iCloud back ups? Storage in Switzerland, my husband thought that one was crazy. Should you take the best free option, which makes you wonder how secure can a free app be? Or pay a subscription or a one time fee? The options are seriously endless.

So I did as much research as I could tolerate and picked a one time fee for under $20. I don’t know, I was making up the criteria for success as I went along. After a bunch of the data was entered, I ended up with the paper that contained all my precious passwords. What to do with it?

My husband thought I could cut it into tiny bits and put it in the recycling. But that didn’t seem grand enough. The sensitivity of it all, called for a more final disposal. I had mentioned burning to my husband and he scoffed at me. So while he was out of the house, I burned those wretched papers. But I did not expect such a strong smell of camp fire right there in the bathroom. Not sure if the fan is powerful enough to take that smell away before my husband gets home from the gym.

And when he asks, “what is that smell….have you been burning something in here?” I hope I will have thought up a response as clever, or crazy as Jenny would say to her husband.

Experiences

“Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior.”   ~Marshall McLuhan

I think this would be a good summary of the book titled, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” by Jenny Lawson. Some of her experiences make you laugh to the point of crying and some bring tears on their own. I suppose we all have tales to tell, but hers are a bit more extreme than mine, (not that this is a competition I am sad to lose).

If swearing is offensive to you, don’t read this book. But you might use a few profanities if you walked a mile in her shoes. If you are a smart ass, like to have the last word and think arguing with your husband is an OK thing, read this book. (Their arguments are epic and hilarious.)

If you love your family, even when they are acting crazy, this book is for you. Because, let’s face it, we can all act a little strange at times. And one can only hope to experience, but a few of the moments Jenny has, in a lifetime.

While I agree that these experiences are what define us as individuals, there are some things I would rather read about. My trials and tribulations of growing up, are not worthy of a novel. They are just not that severe or strange. But they molded my character, just the same.

I was describing one of the stories from Jenny’s life, involving a dead dog, at my hair salon the other day. One of the stylists jumped in with a story that had us all rolling with laughter. As far as I know, this is completely true.

A friend was looking after a dog for a couple that were away on holiday. I’m not sure if all parties knew the dog was not well and could die. We create a “DNR”, (do not resuscitate) order for our cat every time we go away. She has lived through 3 of those so far. But I digress. Anyway, this dog dies. Not a problem if you have a car. But this woman did not. So she decided to put the dog in a suitcase to take it on the bus. You meet some strange people on the bus, or so I am told. A random guy says to her “what do you have in that suitcase?” She replies, “some computer equipment”. (Quick thinking) Then the guy pulls the stop cord and STEALS the suitcase! She doesn’t run after him. Problem solved really.

Check out: The Bloggess by Jenny Lawson