Been a long time since I posted and not sure what my status on this blog will be.  I have had quite a few changes over the last 16 months. It has been really busy but then who isn’t busy.

We spent a lot of time traveling to visit my FIL (1.5 hours one way) who was moved from the acute bed near my MIL to a care facility in a town far away.  We would pick him up and take him 45 minutes to visit my MIL then back to the town he was living in, have supper and then drive home.  Made for a long road trip every couple of weeks.  We were also still working on cleaning out their home which was 45 minutes away and was on a separate time.  On January 5th of this year we sold their home (possession date Feb 23) and 2 hours later my MIL passed away at the age of 89.  She had suffered with Alzheimer’s for many years a week or two before, started going downhill in responsiveness.  We had a lovely service for here near home.

Zayal’s dance studio had arranged a trip to LA and we had decided to join along with Chadya.  Sirdar and I ended up making plans with our friends Rhonda and Dan (who we had gone to Cuba last year in February) to take a one week cruise out of Houston.  So we used airmiles to book the girls flights to LA and our round trip flights to LA and bought a flight from there to Houston and back.  We had a lovely trip visiting Roatan, Belize and Cozumel along the way, then went back to LA, stayed near the airport, met our girls the next day and took the shuttle together to Disney.  Zayal danced with her group on a Disney stage one day, had a workshop at the Edge Studio and we all did a city tour and went to Universal as well as days at Disney.  It was a great experience.

When we got back we finished my in-laws house.  We then had one place to travel to and the burden was so much lighter.  My FIL who turned 87 in May was ailing and complaining and we felt helpless waiting for him to be transferred to a facility closer to us.  By May he was using his wheelchair most of the time within the home and when we took him out as well.  He could stand to go into the vehicle and out but still we were using the chair for most things and he was weak and exhausted after we took him out for supper (could have been his supper meds).  We got a call in August letting us know it was time to move him to the (place of our choice) which is 15 minutes from our country home.  We were excited and he a little apprehensive about the change but we pushed forward.  The move was great!  Within 2 days he was walking most of the time and he uses his wheelchair to sit in to watch TV.  He goes to the workout room daily and visits with the other people in the building.  He is living again and our hearts filled with joy seeing his new lease on life.  He was able to come to our grandson’s second birthday, used a cane in the house and got his own plate of food and carried it to the other room.  He was able to come to my parent’s place for thanksgiving (both places too far to travel before) and stay for hours and hours and although tired after had a great time.

This thanksgiving was a little different for us.  Sirdar, Jacinta, Traftan and I travelled early in the day 3.5 hours for a small memorial for his other mom.  We didn’t know her really well and she suffered from dementia in the last few years.  She passed away September 25, 92 and half (and a day) years from her birth.  She didn’t want a funeral and her ashes were buried with her second husband whose family took care of her and knew her well.  We were able to meet them and thank them for being there for her and their kindness.  We then travelled out to my parent’s/brother’s place for dinner and our annual thanksgiving walk with the family.  This year our grandson was old enough to run around on the bales (with help) and got to walk much of the way.  He is old enough to want to keep up with our 3 year old nephew and be part of the crowd.  It is such a joy watching him.

On to our family.  Jacinta and Darius are living in the same city my FIL is which would be considered our home town since it is in our country address.  They have a lovely home they bought just before they got married.  They have two grey kitties who are adorable of course.  Traftan and Karissa live on an acreage just outside the neighbouring town 8 km away from them.  They have the little guy and a new baby on the way this month or early next month; not long now.  Chadya is going to university taking Early childhood learning and childcare and doing very well.  The last couple of years she has worked in a school as a TA for special needs kids and had 2-3 junior high students she worked with most of the time.  Chadya’s boyfriend of 3 years has been working in Washington DC for the last 1.5 years and Chadya has had lots of travel opportunities.  Zayal is in a different university majoring in psychology and her minor keeps changing.  She is doing well also. She focused a lot last year on dance, music and performing arts.  For the June production of A Mermaid Tale, she was a mermaid sister and was in numerous scenes and around 8 dances.

That means this year I am no longer home schooling (I technically was last year even though Zayal took some university courses as well).  Last school year with all that was going one, I decided to try some new things.  Because I was no longer running the sports program (I had run it for 5 years), I was free on Tuesday nights to finally join adult hiphop at the studio Zayal has danced at for years.  Chadya also joined which was a new experience for both of us who had never danced before. We also tried out the adult contemporary class and stayed with it for the year, another interesting yet different experience. The adult hip hop class was in the production in June which again was an amazing experience being part of something so big and complicated.  I also worked the water in some of the scenes and was a changer for Zayal along with her friend.  The Theatre bought the rights to the show and the show was remounted on Oct 15 and 16 for three shows which meant a few rehearsals through summer and a recognition on how rusty one can get as well as how fast it can come back.  I am in adult hip hop again this year and we will be doing Marida the Brave in June.

I also started learning Spanish on Duolingo after returning from Cuba 1.5 years ago.  I have been pretty consistent with it yet takes me awhile to understand/formulate a response to my Spanish friends in person.  I can read it not bad though.  Zayal asked me to play piano for her worship team last fall as well and it didn’t take me many minutes to realize I was in over my head with no notes to use as a guideline.  Although 20 years ago when I played at church, I played by chording, it was with some notes to guide me and I had an idea of timing from them.  This was way different especially since many of the songs have off-beats and she didn’t always have a drummer.  I took lessons for 6 weeks and struggle through a couple times of doing it.  It was so tough and piano lesson day fell on the same day as both dance classes I was struggling to wrap my brain around.

At the same time, I was finishing up my sports nutrition course.  I had signed up the January of last year and thought I would have lots of time but then life happened with my FIL’s heart attack in March and so it went.  I had to get the course done by the end beginning of January and by September had done only 30% of it.  I did finish the course with a 93% which I was happy with.

So, that is what I have been doing over the last year.  I kept up with volleyball, wallyball, basketball and some running.  I played racquetball regularly for awhile until my playing partner moved and I went snowboarding regularly in the winter (but not as much as I wanted to).  Last summer we (Sirdar and I) did no cycling (went out 3 times in spring) and it was depressing.  This summer we got out there and we did our third leg on our journey across Canada.  We did Whiterock to Calgary 3 years ago, then 2 years ago, Calgary to Winnipeg and this summer we went from Winnipeg to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.  It was a grand adventure and we look forward to the next leg of the journey.  We also did the Tour de l’Alberta, an untimed recreational ride.  We did the 160 km route which was actually 168 km.  I lived to tell about it.  Sirdar did much better and was my rock when I was feeling spent.

Now that I am not home schooling I have been trying to do a bit of catch up around the place.  There is so much that got out of hand when we were taking care of other things and daily I do just a little here and there.  We have had a fabulous summer and fall and I have made some strides in the yard.  I have so much to organize in the house and have been a regular visitor to Goodwill for dropping off things.  I have been writing an article for a home school magazine under health for the last 2.5 years and want to continue that.  I have been thinking for the last couple of years about what I want to do as an encore job.  I am going to take a personal trainer course starting in November.   With the things I have been doing over the years that are fitness related, I believe I can inspire people to do more.  I am working on a FB page and another blog which will be more public.  This is my personal blog and I have friends who might notice I post and visit.  I am undecided how public I want to be with this one so may at some time make it private.  I may just let it go.  Everything is transitioning now and I have some direction but not all the details are mapped out.  I will link my other blog to FB but still have a bunch of work to do on it.  I have forgotten how to navigate as an admin so came over here to figure things out and decided to share here first.  I do have one post up on the blog I started last night which is MUCH shorter than this one🙂 .  Here is the link: A New Dawn

Keep watching folks.  You never know what I may do next.

Burning The Past, Building The Future

We have been spending at least one day a week and sometimes more cleaning Sirdar’s parents home.  It has been a bit of a crazy couple weeks and in some ways the home looks more messy now than when we started however as with any major cleaning situation there is progress in the mess.

My MIL was very organized.  Their home was always neat and tidy despite the many items they collected over the years.  It is in going in to clean and purge one finds out just how much stuff they had.  The closets in the home are full of boxes, and clothes.  There are dressers and cabinets all full of clothes and paper.  The filing of paperwork was meticulous with a new file for everything, each and every year.  This was evidenced as we went through the files that started back in 1972.  Because it is not necessary to have a file of car repairs with one receipt in it from 1972, we are able to discard these items.  We are doing this via fire.  July 1st, rather than go out celebrating, we sat by our fire pit and and threw files into the fire, one at a time until the 5 boxes we brought home were consumed.  We have since collected 3-4 more boxes, some of which are files and other paper that has been saved.  We are careful what we discard, sorting through boxes and drawers making sure to keep things of interest and of value.  There are historical papers that are quite fascinating and when we can take some time and breathe we would like to take more time to read “the story”.  We all have a story and the amazing part of sorting through someone’s past is the opportunity to see, hear, feel their story.  I seem to think in the present and have a difficult time sometimes considering older people being young or having gone to school.  It was so interesting to find a school binder of my MIL (who is 89) with her notes from physics, math and French and to see her meticulous notes.  A quick browse let me know what the leather, zippered binder contained and it has been put away to puruse another day.  With the amount of stuff in their home we are currently just trying to clean and get rid of some of the boxes and clothes and take out trash, and recycling and good will items.  Once we list the home and it sells we will clean it out completely.  With all the other stuff going on, we are just doing what we can to get to a goal.

Still on the topic of my in-laws, we were informed today that my FIL will be moved from the hospital acute bed (which the system needs freed up) to a care facility and hour and 45 minutes from us.  This means not only will he be 45 minutes from where he lived before and where we are trying to clean his home, but we will be traveling there to take care of the things he needs and perhaps drive him to appointments in the city.  He is still on the waiting list to be close to us, but we are not sure how long that will take.  It is stressful for us because he is not doing well with his attitude and demeanour.  It seems he will never improve and he doesn’t want to.  Living 45 minutes from his wife and his only reason for living is not going to improve his life and this is stressing us.  The good new is we don’t have to move him until next Tuesday.  My concern was we would have to do that this week which would have been just beyond crazy.

Before I talk about this week, I have to mention last week.  On the 5th we went to Olds to my cousin’s son’s wedding.  It was a lovely wedding and we had a great time with family.  My cousins (dad’s brother’s kids), grew up a few km from us and we all went to school and church together and youth.  When my cousin K was in grade 8, and I in grade 7, there was one of us in every grade down to one, alternating between our families.  As adults we have been fortunate that one of the aunt’s (dad’s sister) has a lake cabin and every year hosts a family reunion and we have only missed one over the last 20 some years.  This has allowed cousins to keep in touch and the kids to meet and keep in touch and FB also helps.  A couple of the this particular family live a few hours north, one lives in southern Alberta and the youngest J and his family live in Missouri.  J and J came up with their 5 kids and 2 guests and in the past have stayed at our home and our kids and theirs have always really connected.  They haven’t been up for 8 years so it was great to see them and last week they were coming to our area in their whirlwind trip and going to the mall and wanted to see my family.  I took this as my parents and siblings so decided to host a midweek bbq for 28 people.  The cousins (all 9 of them) were staying that night and leaving for home in the morning.  My family all showed up but my sister who was on business out of town.  It went well despite the many little things that seemed to go wrong (dog puking, running out of propane to name a couple).  Anyway, the cousins were thrilled and touched that everyone would show up, and we had a splendid time with them.  Chadya and I even got to spend some time at the mall and we got dresses for Jacinta’s wedding.

Jacinta’s wedding is coming up in 5 days.  I had ordered a dress according to my measurements but it was too small.  So last minute I am looking in stores for a dress.  Thankfully I found one.  Today we went to get Sirdar a shirt and tie to fit in with the rest of us.  We are all wearing blue which is not the wedding colours.  The wedding colours is light tangerine with grey.  The family photos will look great.  Apart from shopping which was a minor part of wedding stuff, we have had some last minute things to get done.  I am working on decorating the guest book and gathering the ‘where we came from’ photos.  Thankfully my mom had a frame on her wall with my grandparents and some of my great grandparents in the frame so were are using it as is with labels.   And I found a photo of Sirdar’s grandparents also.  The favours still need to be finished and the hall decorated on Friday.  I went for my hair appointment today with my mom and sister as is our custom and now that there is a dog grooming place attached, took George for a hair cut too.  I am getting nails done on Wednesday and you know, just because I am busy with other things, doesn’t mean things here don’t continue.  For instance, I still have to feed my chickens, wash eggs, and make food, and I haven’t done a proper grocery run in a couple of weeks.  The weather has been spectacular and warm here and we are counting on the forecast for Saturday to be accurate and to have a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding.  I am feeling stressed but have prayed for God’s spirit daily and I have felt abundant peace through all the crazy days.  In a few days the wedding will be done; the beginning of our daughter and her husband’s new life together.  They are going to an all inclusive for a week to just relax.  They need it.  Jacinta has been going strong for quite awhile.  Her last semester had an extra course/part time work and then she went straight into a full time job from school plus taking another course in the evening for 6 weeks.  With that, they were looking for a house and had some problems in the end but finally got their home and have been moving stuff in the last couple weeks along with cleaning.  And of course all the last minute wedding stuff.

So, on Saturday, July 19th, we will have Jacinta and Darius’ wedding, we will celebrate Jacinta’s 23rd birthday and we will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary.  Actually, we will probably go out a different night for our anniversary since the focus will be on Jacinta and Darius.  It will be a great anniversary though.

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day.  I was out in the garden today thinking I should write a blog post.  It has been so long and I have so much to say.  So, here I am, after a good day gardening and sitting by the fire getting good a smoky, I came in and had a shower and relaxing decided it was a good time to do some writing.  Six months into the year and things have changed so much since the last time I posted.  

The winter months seemed to drag on, but at least it wasn’t too cold.  I tend not to get to bent out of shape about winter anyway.  I did get to go snowboarding regularly since I was running the sports program.  I was excited in March to go find a new snowboard.  It is new to me anyway; went to one of those sports stores that do second hand sports equipment.  I got new boots a couple years ago when there was a big sale at a sports store closing out.  The board I found didn’t have bindings but I was able to pick up some really nice new ones at the store where I got the board for a really big discounted price.  Love the whole set up.  Since I got it in March, I only got to use it a couple times so I am not against winter coming again in November.  

At the beginning of January, my friend RJ started bugging me to have Sirdar and I go with her and her husband on a trip.  She started researching and by the third week of January we were convinced to go to Cuba with them; a relaxing all inclusive vacation.  We booked our two week trip on January 27th and left on February 11th.  The weather there was amazing.  We did a couple excursions, the first one, a plane ride to Havana for the day (we were 400 km from Havana, at Cayo Santa Maria).  That was a good long day.  A couple days later, we did a catamaran trip.  That was fun.  The snorkelling was pretty good.  I didn’t go because I can’t swim and had not learned to use my snorkelling stuff before going out.  We were happy to have our excursions done because that night, Sirdar and RJ ended up with food poisoning.  We believed it was from the seafood restaurant we ate at the night before.  RJ and Sirdar had all the same things, seafood salad, seafood soup, and lobster.  RJ’s husband DJ and I had tomato salad, pumpkin bisque and chicken.  They were pretty sick the first night.  RJ through up but Sirdar didn’t.  They were sick and recovering for a week and still had ‘days’ when we got back.  It wasn’t too bad after the first couple days; they were able to enjoy lying around in the sun at the pool and beach.  Sirdar said it was probably good because it slowed down his eating at the buffet.  The trip was very nice.  It was our first winter, tropical vacation.  We had great company; I wasn’t sure how it would go, traveling with another couple, but we didn’t get on each other’s nerves and I would definitely go somewhere with them again.  People ask if we would go back to Cuba.  I definitely would, but there are so many places to go and there are lots of people who have been suggesting trips to do together, so we will just have to see what happens.

When we returned from Cuba, I decided to embark on another new thing.  Many of my friends from other countries have been suggesting rather strongly that I (along with other mutual friends), learn Spanish.  So when I got back, I downloaded an app (Duolingo) to my phone and my journey began.  Habit is the best way to learn something new so I started doing a bit each night.  I got to 85 consecutive days and even though I had worked on it day 86, I didn’t complete a round so I had to start again.  I have only purposely missed one day, due to a late concert and so I am about 4.5 months in and doing pretty good.  It is a little overwhelming and my memory isn’t that great to remember all the words (and sometimes I mix it up with the little bit of French I learned in high school), but it is coming slowly.  

Aside from learning Spanish, I also signed up for a sports nutrition course at the beginning of January.  I was going pretty good on it until spring and it has been on hold for a couple months.  I have a year to complete it and I am thinking come fall, I will go hard on it to get it done.  It am familiar with a lot of it and the science so it isn’t like learning something completely new.

I took a spin class again this spring (did one a couple years ago for the first time).  This one was easier, probably because of our bike trips the last couple of years.  My first ride outside in May was with Sirdar, and a friend who does triathlons.  As per usual going with a new guy, there seems to be a bit of push to do well, so of course I tried to keep up too.  It all worked out, but we ended up going 53 km with an average pace of 25 km/hr and I for one was pretty tired when we got home.  I have only been out a couple times since then.  More on that in a bit.

I kept up with volleyball, wallyball, and basketball through spring and winter.  They all ended here in the last couple weeks in June.  I haven’t kept up too much on exercise, but hopefully will get back in the swing soon.  Last summer Sirdar and I joined a ball team; my first time playing since a teen.  It was fun, but didn’t have a team this year.  I have subbed for a team once this spring and on call for when they need me again.  I am hoping to get on my bike a little more but not feeling overly motivated.  We cancelled our bike trip this year.  We went from Calgary to Winnipeg last summer and planned to go from Winnipeg to Sault St. Marie this summer, leaving June 26 but unfortunately it didn’t pan out.  Hopefully next year.

Sirdar’s dad had a heart attack the beginning of May.  He had one in March 3 years ago which is when Sirdar’s mom ended up going into extended care due to her Alzheimer’s.  We postponed our first bike trip that year and did it the following year.  Sirdar’s dad had rented an apartment in the manor attached to the hospital and auxiliary hospital (where mom is) in case he lost his licence or there was a storm and he couldn’t drive the 13 km home to his house.  We were very thankful he had it when he got out of the hospital.  We got home care going and it lasted a day or two and he was in the hospital.  They didn’t feel he was able to care for himself and he was struggling with some health issues.  He is now being placed with mom (with less care) when there is space, and we are working on getting them moved to our town.  Currently they are an hour and a quarter highway drive from us.  

So with all that going on, as well as me going to pick him up a couple times to take him to appointments in the city (45 min to an hour drive from where I pick him up) and back.  Also, we need to sell his house.  He and mom lived in it for 3 years after their car accident with her having Alzheimer’s and then he lived there 3 years after the last heart attack.  He didn’t up keep well, although I must say it could have been worse.  It is a rather decent sized bungalow with a basement and the house is full.

I planted a garden.  The spring seemed cold and rainy and I got my garden in late.  Didn’t worry much since it was so cold.  It is doing pretty good now with a decent amount of rain and some heat.  Someone told me I shouldn’t have a garden considering the other stuff going on, but having a garden is one thing that brings me joy and without going on our trip, I am able to keep the weeds at bay.  

I got new chickens last week.  The babies are growing fast.  We got both egg layers and meat chickens.  In the past the meat chickens have been at my parents but they are getting older and with coordinating families for the final day was getting more difficult.  We are each doing our own and giving some to my parents and brother for supplying the feed.  We will be doing that in September.  

In less than 3 weeks we have a wedding.  Actually we are going to my cousin’s son’s wedding this weekend, then next weekend going to a family friend’s wedding and the following weekend, our daughter will be getting married.  She has a family friend who stepped up to help with the planning so I haven’t been too involved, but there are things to do and we have spent a couple of Sunday’s at her two wedding showers plus a Saturday evening at a shower for the friend of the family.  There are hair and other appointments coming up and hopefully the dress that is arriving tomorrow will fit or there will be alterations to get done.  

Alrighty then, that is my last 6 months in a nutshell.  Gotta go.




This Is Not a Resolution

First things first, Happy New Year.  Next you are probably wondering, “Where the heck have you been?”  I’ve been around and those who are friends with me on fb have seen me pop up here and there.  I have been busy because that is how I roll.  I have been disorganized in some things, again because that is how I roll.  This post is not an effort to make sure I write in my blog regularly.  In fact, I may not write again for another 1.5 years.  I hope that isn’t the case and as usual, have some better intentions than that.  

I have been writing some articles for our home school magazine.  I might try and post them here.  I have somehow ended up as admin on a Fb group as well as on a FB page.  I am figuring out some of that stuff too.  My kids are about all growed up so life is taking a big switcheroo.  I am trying to find my way around the changes.  I’m not one of those mom’s in a panic about an empty nest or feeling depressed by it, but still there are changes and when your kids are all close in age, the changes come fast and furious.

I’m coming to the close of my time running the home school sports program.  I will hand it over to someone come May.  I am trying to figure out what I want to do for an encore.  There have been exciting things happening in my life too.  Biggest things of last year; I have a grandson, I have a future son-in-law and I have new eyes.

Our grandson was born in October to our son and daughter-in-law, a day after their second anniversary.  Our oldest daughter became engaged this summer to the man she met the night of our son’s wedding.  They will be married in July on our both her birthday and our anniversary.  I had eye surgery in November 1st which was the first birthday of my new nephew who I haven’t written about.  He is my youngest sister TK’s son and brother to 3 older sisters.  I had laser eye surgery to correct my near sightedness.  I had bad eyesight so the experience was exciting and life changing.  Sirdar had one eye done a couple weeks ago so he has mono vision.  His eyes weren’t as bad but he can now see near and far.  

I also got a laptop.  Sirdar took advantage of a black Friday special and got me one.  I have been on the computer a little more recreationally than before.  I was using my phone for Fb and some looking up of info but the lap top is way more handy for that and although I tried to get onto my blog to potentially post from my phone, I never did figure it out.  

My husband’s aunt passed away back in June at the age of 95.  We were looking after her needs while she was in the home and took care of funeral arrangements.  Sirdar’s parents are still doing okay despite my MIL having Alzheimers and both of them aging.

We did the second leg of our cycling trip from coast to coast going from Calgary to Winnipeg, 1372 km in 13 days.  Would love to do a detailed account but that’s where I got stuck a year and a half ago.  I have had so much to write about but overwhelmed myself with life and the ideas to write about.  So, I am going with the advice my sister has for having a great marriage, and applying it to myself.  That advice, ‘lower your expectations’.  Hopefully with low expectations of my posts, I will get more done.  Or maybe not; my expectations are really low🙂 .

And on that note, I am going to end this post.  Happy New Year.

The Last Few Months

I wrote my last post in February, well, the one before my weight loss one.  I didn’t suffer from any colds or bugs since February.  I had my birthday in March and turned 49.  Happy to say, with my fitness level people are consistently shocked by my age and guess me to be 10 years younger.  That’s a pretty good ego boost.

I upped my activity a bit.  I started running more and ended up doing my first half marathon in our river valley on April 29th.  My time was 2 hours 28 minutes.  The hills got me a bit as I was running mostly flats when working up to the 21.1 km distance.  I haven’t signed up for any other runs and have only done a couple runs since then.  I have been busy with other things.  I couldn’t do Zumba when the new sessions started as it was changed to a different night.  I did sign up again for the bootcamp class but it was switched to outside.  That has been a new experience with a lot more cardio.  We do jogging and the squats and push ups outside and things at the playground plus hill sprints.  Always a good workout.  The instructor decided to do some classes at her church which is where I play volleyball on Monday nights.  It was in-expensive to do them too.  I signed up for a boot camp similar to Wednesday’s class which was on Monday mornings.  It has since finished.  She also had a core class which ran on Tuesday mornings.  There is one more but I will be missing it.  I played wallyball every Thursday and a couple of Tuesdays.  Basketball just became more fun and I have improved and it has been good.  We are taking a summer break from that.  I added Tuesday night volleyball once our sports program for the home school kids ended in May.  I have missed a few though.  I have been cycling.  Not as much as I would have liked, partly due to weather, partly too busy.  I have ridden to some of my activities, like the core class and volleyball as well as to church one week and we went for breakfast a couple times.  My legs are pretty strong.  I switched from the racing bike to the touring bike as I will be riding that for the next couple of weeks.  I will switch back to the racing bike before doing the Tour de l’Alberta on July 22.

I run the kids sports program so as the year comes to an end there are many things to get done.  Always a relief when the program ends for the summer and doesn’t have to consume me.  Got inundated with registrations this year so it has been a bit more consuming than usual.  I will deal with that in a couple of weeks.  The girls were in Big Drum this year again and went on tour at the beginning of May.  I was one of the drivers and we had a good time.  They did really well and we didn’t go as far as last year making it less tiring.  Although, when we got home, Zayal had a dance competition that evening on the other side of the city so we were in and out again which makes for a tiring schedule.  The girls had a piano recital and Chadya had a theory and practical exam for grade 7.  They finished up handbells on the mother’s day weekend with 2 concerts.  Zayal just had her dance performances mid June.  They did a great rendition of Alice in Wonderland.

I planted a garden in May.  We have been getting a decent amount of rain and it is coming up wonderfully.  If only I could get the dog to know where not to walk and dig.  I also did some more mulching, got some tilled this year and I am trying something new with some of the potatoes.  We have had a little trouble getting the yard cleaned up.  Sirdar has been working on the lawn mower to no avail.  The riding mower has worked but there are areas that can’t be done with the riding mower.  We finally picked up a walk behind mower from a neighbour and the yard started to look much better.  That was before we left on vacation.  It rained while we were gone and everything grew; the grass, the garden and the weeds in the garden.  Much weeding to do.  It has been really hot since we returned but still I have done some of the weeding.

My youngest sister moved from town to an acreage at the end of May.  She has three little girls and is expecting in November.  They found out last week they will be having a boy.  Their acreage has a few pastures in need of grazing and our horse and donkey had our hill cleaned in no time so they went out to visit my sister’s family.  They are quite content and will be when they get home with all the grass that has replenished itself.

We spent a couple of Sundays out at the farm working with the cattle.  Never fun, but a necessity.  We rode our bikes home the one week.  It was 47 km and with the wind at our backs and despite the hills we did it in and hour forty minutes.  It was a good ride.

I had to take Sirdar’s aunt to appointments this spring as well.  We postponed one appointment but I ended up spending a day in the day ward with her while she got a transfusion; hospital requirement she have a companion.  Sirdar’s aunt is 94 and sharp as a tack.  Sirdar’s parents are doing okay.  His mom is in the home and recognizes us when we come to visit.  Never fun when people are getting old and failing in health. Thankfully we were all pretty healthy through spring and the busy time.

It was a busy spring as usual.  I always look forward to July.  It is my favourite month of the year and goes way to fast.  As I mentioned, we went on vacation.  I had hoped to be writing along the way but only got some facebook status’ up.  We rode our bikes from White Rock BC to Calgary.  It was 961 km in 11 days.  The girls were our support vehicle so we didn’t have to pack our stuff.  The weather wasn’t great but could have been worse had it followed the forecast daily.  We got stronger as we went and hope to do the next leg of our trip next summer.

That’s what I have been up to and if I can, I will write more of our trip in another post.

My Weight Loss Journey

It has been a long journey and it seems a year or more I have been talking about writing this post.  Unfortunately, I felt I needed something to write about before I could write it.  Losing 5 or 10 pounds total didn’t seem like it warranted a post when I really needed to lose a lot more.  So, I have done it.  I have lost enough weight to be in a place I would be content with for the rest of my life.  Are we ever really happy with that little fat roll?  I don’t think so, but I look pretty good so that’s good enough.  Having said that, I still would be happy to be rid of the extra skin left over from the weight loss…but all in good time.

I want to start with my struggle.  I think I mentioned in previous posts I had gained weight after each child and then some more.  I capped out at 196 pounds a million years ago, but went down to a more reasonable 185 in winter, and 180 in summer for a whole bunch of years between then and now.  I think occasionally I crept above that winter weight but not by much.  Over a 12 year period I was pretty good at maintaining my weight within a 5-8 pound radius.

This was me at the end of summer 2009.

I tried so many things.  I was able to lose some weight in summer because I was cycling a lot and gardening and doing outdoor work.  I couldn’t lose much and I would keep it off for a couple months then it would creep back on for me to start again in summer.  A couple years ago, I decided to mix things up a bit and began exercising in winter too.  That worked great.  I stayed at the summer weight.  I varied my exercise to keep it interesting and so my body wouldn’t get too complacent with the activities.  I was able to lose an extra 5 pounds through last winter.  That was great and I started to think I might have a weight loss journey, then stress and illness happened over the course of a month and a bit.  Although I didn’t eat more and continued with some exercise, I gained 5 pounds in the month.  I was discouraged; no, frustrated by the whole thing.

Food was another thing I was working on through that time.  I had given up bread a few years back due to reaction to yeast.  That helped me at the time to lose a little weight.  I also started preparing 2 vegetables for supper.  I then added a third vegetable dish for the meal.  We ate less pasta and more whole grains.  I prepared, much to my family’s chagrin, quinioa, bulgar wheat or buckwheat for some of our meals.  I watched my portion sizes and tried to eat low glycemic.  I have never been a huge snacker so that wasn’t an issue either.  I still couldn’t break that barrier and continue to drop pounds.  We are talking a whole lot of years of being the same weight and nothing was working.  I had people tell me that perhaps my body was meant to be that weight and that’s why I couldn’t lose weight.  I was frustrated but thankfully I just became more tenacious.  I increased my exercise some, made more whole grains, made and ate more vegetables.  Then it happened.

Well, a couple things happened.  I was anticipating my son getting married and had a friend whose daughter was getting married and who seemed to lose quite a bit of weight in a short time.  She had always looked the same to me, but then, over the course of a few months had lost 30 pounds.  I asked her how she did it.  She told me she would tell me but did not want to tell a mutual friend, because she didn’t want to be judged.  I feel the same way, which is why I did some earlier posts in January leading up to this one; because no one knows what it is like to try everything else and have no success, unless they have done that.  And still those people will judge as well.

So here it is!  Starting last July I went on the Dukan Diet.  You can google it.  I did the little survey to find out my goal weight and I started.  Well, honestly, I modified it and didn’t do the first phase.  I started trying things out a couple days before July 1st but didn’t really do it until July 2nd because July 1st was our friends’ daughter’s wedding.  I followed it pretty close after that for not having read the book, but then had some cheat days after a couple months, because our son was getting married and we had 4 showers and a shower and wedding for our other friends’ daughter.  I followed it after our son’s wedding, and got to my goal weight at the beginning of December.  I relaxed through December especially the end and in January went full force to see if I could lose just a little more.  I got down to 146 but as weight does, it fluctuates a couple pounds above that.  At 5 foot 5, I think I could weigh less, but after January decided it would be okay to stay there.

Those who aren’t googling the diet at this moment, I will tell you about it in a nutshell.  It is a high protein, almost no carb diet.  Oat bran is essential every day; it is much needed fibre and it has the added bonus of lowering cholesterol and taking extra fat out of your system.  You eat low fat protein only, then in the second phase you start adding vegetables to your diet.  There is a list.  They have to be low carb vegetables.  Low fat protein is important because you don’t want to be making up for carbs with fat.  This is a low calorie diet simply because for each gram of protein, you get 4 calories and for each gram of fat or carbs you get 9 calories.  You can snack on approved proteins.  Beans are out as they are high in carbs.  Nuts are high in fat so they are out.  It is a restrictive diet but for those of us who like eggs and meat, it is pretty easy.  The easiest part is the lack of hunger and cravings.  The best part is when you are full you don’t want to keep eating and you stay full longer and don’t always think about food.  I don’t mind protein powder and found one that has 35% protein and one gram of carbs.  I eat my oat bran as a cereal, cooked in the microwave with water, then I add a scoop of protein powder.  If I had it for a snack and craved chocolate, I added pure cocoa and it was like dark chocolate pudding.  I don’t like how sweet the protein powder is and always get vanilla for versatility, so have also added some cinnamon to the oat bran/protein powder mix.

There are lots of protein diets out there.  I know people on different ones or who have been on them.  I also know people who gained all their weight back, as so many people have kindly informed me I should be aware that it would happen to me too.  I eat carbs now.  I really kept to the diet well for 3 months and then more sporadically.  The key is to learn something from the experience.  I learned a lot from eating differently.  I found what made me feel good, and what didn’t.  I figured out portion size.  I ate more broccoli and cauliflower than I imagined possible, and I began to love it.  I learned self control because I wasn’t hungry and it transferred to ‘eating normal’.

When I got my iPhone in December, I added an app called My Fitness Pal.  It asks for info and at the time, I wanted to lose 10 pounds so my calorie intake is suppose to be 1530 per day.  I haven’t changed it.  I input my food and exercise and try to stay under that goal.  I have about 1 day in 10 that goes over, my weekly totals are always quite a bit under, but still have not lost weight.  It doesn’t matter, but I have learned a few things from using the app.  I am more conscious about portion size.  I know how much a tablespoon really is.  I know half an hour of moderate exercise might allow me a cookie, or two if they are small, but not an ice cream sundae.  I found out it is difficult to eat a protein diet and keep the fat low.  I found out you can eat a whole lot of cauliflower or broccoli, or salad greens without bringing up the calorie intake a whole lot.  Of course the salad dressing and what you put on them can make the calories go up really fast.

I also got a heart rate monitor.  I have found that different exercises burn different amounts of calories.  Despite what My Fitness Pal app says, I don’t burn as many calories in some of the activities as it says.  Some things I am not as intense in, others more.  As I have become more fit, and my cardio has improved, the calorie burn from my activities are not as much as they used to be.  The more fit you get the more it takes to feel like you have had a good workout.  I used to get winded walking up the stairs, now it would take me a few runs up and down to get me winded.  And I am okay with that.

I learned to look at food differently.  All in all my diet was a success.

I started this post shortly after I finished the one in February.  I got busy and didn’t finish it because I would have to find photos/take photos of me to post and that was a little overwhelming, not because I can’t do it, but it has been awhile and my time has been limited.  I am not going to do post more photos in this post.  I am finishing this post here and now because I want to get on to other things.  There will be photos coming up as I go on a great vacation adventure and post photos.  I am posting this now so I can do a summary of what has been consuming my time in the last couple of months and then do a log of our vacation.  We are leaving in a couple days so besides FB I want to post here occasionally even if I have to wait to post some when I get home.  We will be gone for almost two weeks.  For those who don’t already know, you will have to wait to find out what we are up to.

And I’m Feeling Fine

It’s been over a month since I last posted.  I wasn’t sick the whole time.  I did have a head cold for about 3 weeks.  It seemed to be completely gone after a week and a half or so, then I started sneezing and thought I was allergic to something.  The next morning it was apparent I had my head cold back; that or I had a new one.

Despite the head cold, I kept up my workouts.  I would wake up every morning feeling I was on the mend; not stuffy or feeling bad, so I would go boost my immunity with a workout and feel great.  Unfortunately by evening I would feel tired and stuffy.  My conclusion is inconclusive…did I feel good in the morning from the immunity boost, or would I have recovered quicker without the workouts?  I know some people who recovered in less time but also some who had it for 3 weeks.  Also, if I had 2 different ones my recoveries may have been on par with others but I felt better most of the time I had it.  I am glad I kept my workouts going even though they weren’t as effective.

I have my regular activities I have been doing for the last year, Zumba and volleyball on Mondays.  I have been playing wally ball on Thursdays this whole winter and have been called a number of times to sub on Tuesday mornings too.  I have my Wednesday morning body blast class which despite the torture has been a really great experience overall.  A year ago, a friend approached me about playing basketball.  I have been putting it out there to others and finally got a few interested.  So my friend and I have been going most Wednesday afternoons to shoot hoops and hopefully get a game in.  We had my daughters join and were able to do 2 on 2 a couple weeks, had to take a couple weeks off due to the gym being booked and last week had a new person out.  It looks like today will bring out a few others.  I am quite excited we are getting more interest.  Of course it could be my constant badgering reminders on FB and when I see them on a regular basis.

Our church built a new gym and in January activities were planned.  I have Mondays and Tuesdays booked so can’t make it to floor hockey or volleyball.  There is nothing Wednesday yet but I have a friend from Brazil who was a professional handball player so she wants (me) to organize ladies hand ball.  That would be fun and a good workout.  On Thursday nights is mixed basketball.  I had a meeting the first week I was going to go, then the next week I texted a friend and he said there had only been guys from the Spanish church and no girls.  My assumption was the guys were in their 20’s and I didn’t know most of them so didn’t go.  I was encouraged before the next week to go anyway because girls won’t go if there aren’t girls there.  I did go; I was the only non Spanish person there, the only girl but not the only old person.  There was a dad there who is slightly older than me, but the rest of them were in their 20’s or younger.  Despite that, I joined in and it was good.  I got a great workout, got some baskets and got a lot of accolades from some surprised young men.  Last week I had my hour of wally ball in the morning then went straight to the ski hill for snowboarding.  It was my 3rd day of snowboarding having one in January and one at the beginning of February.  It’s a good workout because I am learning new skills and still ride my heel edge down the hill working those quads and calves.  I was there all day, did a fair amount of sitting too plus the time in the chalet.  I got home at 6:00 made supper then went out to the ‘mixed’ basketball.  I wasn’t as on my game that night but still got a basket or two in the hour and half of playing.  It was a good day.

This weekend was Family Day weekend.  As we usually do, we went out to my sisters’ and bil’s place for skating/hockey and spending time together.  I am not a skilled skater but got better over time as I was playing hockey.  My 8 year old nephew took me out and I have a good bruise on my hip.  It goes with the big bruise not far from it, from falling during snowboarding.  Our good friends came out for the evening as well.  My friend is just learning to skate but we got her playing hockey.  They had a great time.

I have been trying to get some runs in too.  It is difficult to get them in with the other things I am doing.  I am not too worried about the short runs since I am playing basketball.  I had a problem with my IT band but after talking to a guy who does triathlons, I was able to work it out and get my distance back up.  I ran outside last Sunday (a week and a half ago) and went 10 km in an hour and 7 minutes.  I am going to do 12 km next long slow run.  I am thinking of doing a half marathon in our city this spring.  I haven’t signed up yet, just started thinking about it and putting it out there.  I have asked a few people to join me and my sister seems to have the most interest.  She has always run, never stopped even when having kids.  As per my post on My Fitness Journey, I went a long time without running and had to start again.  After a year of drudgery and hating it, last fall I started wanting to run and started calling myself a runner.

While I had my head cold, I had a lot of stuff going on with my volunteer positions.  Not only were there some physical/time demands but also some mental strain in dealing with things.  I am happy to say that time is past.  I was feeling very tired and at the end of my rope and despite knowing it would pass and knowing it had a lot to do with my head cold, it was a great struggle.  Things are running smoothly now and the demands not so great.  I have even got some organizing done around home.

We got Zayal’s room mudded.  I decided to hire someone to do it because although I can do it, have done it a fair amount in the past and can do a good job, I just wasn’t up to doing the job.  I am so glad we got it done and will do the priming, painting and finishing ourselves.  Zayal will do most of it and it will be part of her home schooling.

We have spent our Saturday evenings with friends.  We have some great friends and there are times we phone someone up last minutes and get together.  This weekend we went out to visit Sirdar’s mom.  She was doing pretty good when we were there.  We called up some friends on our way back and stopped in at 9:00 pm and had a great visit.  We still haven’t got together with our friends who went to Hawaii and took Jacinta along.

I am keeping with my diet most of the time but can be a bit more flexible having reached the goal set out for me.  I am still trying to lose more and I am finding I am toning up despite not losing much if anything at all.  Sirdar is doing well on the diet and has about 10 more pounds to go.  We are both looking forward to spring and getting out on our bikes again.

We went to the opera a couple weeks ago.  Got to see The Mikado.  It was very good; much different than many we have gone to with elaborate sets.  This one had elaborate costumes and was quite modern.  It was amusing and entertaining.  We enjoyed it very much.  We have another opera to attend in April but can’t remember which one at the moment.

The winter has been great, need more snow but the temperatures have been very moderate.  We had a very cold 5 days in January but that was a small amount of time compared to last year.  It is suppose to get a little colder this weekend but nice again for the beginning of March which will be great again for snowboarding on the 2nd.

Hoping to get a post about my weight loss up soon, now that I am feeling better and under less stress.  I am getting my energy back, getting some things done, looking forward to spring…and I’m feeling fine.


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