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Archive | August, 2018

I Sometimes Listen

31 Aug

Do you listen to what your body wants? I sometimes do, I’m kinda working on it, some days…

trust my body

I find that I often tell myself I have to do this, or my responsibility is to that, when really, my decisions should be based more on what cues my body is giving me, what it is saying it needs, than what pressures I feel from others or myself to fulfill certain obligations or duties.

That is harder for me to do when the activity is something I usually enjoy, and in general, look forward to.

Like my Friday night workouts.

I work two jobs on Fridays, after job number 2 I head to the gym, usually start my work out around 10pm and depending on what muscle groups I am working end up home around 11:30pm or midnight. Midnight is more because I’m trying some new moves or took extra long stretching, or maybe fit in some extra cardio, generally I aim to be there an hour and a half.

My personal rule is that I go every Friday, the only exceptions being if I race the next day, have picked up an early morning shift the next day, or am sick or injured. Otherwise, rain or shine (or snow!), feeling energized or kinda sleepy, I go. I’ve never regretted going, never regretted a workout, even if some of them are definitely not me at my peak, lol. I figure a workout, any workout, is better than none, and to not go is me giving in to my lazy side, which fyi, my lazy side is loud and demanding and must be reigned in often lol.

Tonight however, even though I had my gym bag with me and was planning on going to the gym after work, I was tired, and kind of didn’t want to. Ok, no “kind of” about it, I really wasn’t feeling the idea of going to the gym. I tried convincing myself that once I was there I’d be fine, even better than fine. I told myself to just go through the motions of getting changed, follow the routine, get in that gym and everything will fall in to place and I’ll have a good workout.

Nothing I said made a dent in the yawning, or the tiredness that I was feeling. Hell, the person who replaced me at work even mentioned I looked really tired.Β There was no good reason for me to be so tired, I slept my normal amount last night, I always work two jobs on Fridays, today was my normal routine, but today it was hitting me harder than usual.

I told myself I would aim for home but when I was passing the gym if I felt like it I’d stop. Then, when walking to my car it was so nice out I thought that if I didn’t stop at the gym the least I could do would be to go for a walk. I like walking at night, and I feel I should take advantage of the warm weather while I can since fall is sneaking up on us and soon I’ll need another layer *rolls eyes*.

Confession time, I did neither. I drove past the gym, got home, hopped in the shower, felt like I could have dozed off in the warm spray, got cozy in my pj’s, and curled up with my book, a cup of tea, and the cat. Aaaaand that is pretty much where I have stayed since I got home.

My body was sending me all these signals that working out, even if it is my normal Friday night routine, was not at all what it wanted to do this evening. Normally I would have ignored it, had a not so great workout where I most likely would have put myself at a higher risk of injury because of being less focused while working out, or I would have just drawn a blank when at the gym for what to do because my brain wasn’t functioning at full capacity, and what is the point in that?

Where is the harm in listening to the signals my body is sending, paying attention when it says it is tired and needs a break, and then giving it that break?

Admittedly, a big part of me feels like I’ve failed in some way, failed because I always work out on a Friday and my not working out tonight wasn’t because of any of my previously mentioned reasons. But…it isn’t a failure to take care of myself. If anything I think I might count it as some sort of personal growth. Imagine that, personal growth! How adult of me lol

can not adult

I think a lot of people stop listening to what their bodies are telling them. We get in to our routines, we go on auto pilot and hit the gym or the hiking trail or the running path or the whatever, not when our bodies are wanting to go but when it fits in our schedule. I get that, I do, not like I can skip out of work half way through my shift to have a workout because that is when my energy peaks. So we make sacrifices, we go after work, or fit it in early morning, or do extra on our days off, and probably, for the most part, that is ok. Our bodies are adaptable, which is a handy perk, but even an adaptable body needs a break every now and then. Needs an early night curled up on a comfy chair resting.

I’m working on feeling comfort in my quiet evening, not guilt for a missed workout. Feeling glad that I could understand what my body was saying it needed, not worry this will be the beginning of a trend of missed workouts. I’m reminding myself the gym will always be there, there will always be another chance to work out, and one night off won’t be the end of my workout plan, or my active-ish lifestyle.

Basically, I’m working on listening to my body, following through to give it what it needs, and accept that is the right choice. Friday night gym session be damned! πŸ˜‰

 

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Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

28 Aug

dear amy book

I just finished this book and wanted to chat about it, while trying to not give away any spoilers…let’s see how well I do! lol

If you just want a quick yes or no, I vote yes. Is it the best book I have ever read? Well, no, but it was good, an easy read, bit of a mystery to solve. I enjoyed the main character, her name is Margot. She is a bit of a spazz, due to her history, which I can’t get in to without giving things away, but trust me, she is the way she is because of legitimate reasons.

In some ways it is a very stereotypical story. Margot is going through a big life change she doesn’t want at the beginning of the story, something happens to her which gives her the choice of action or inaction, she takes a deep breath and chooses action, meets a guy she likes but for many reasons she doesn’t approach in that way, people doubt her, she doubts herself, personal life trouble rears its ugly head to complicate things, her resolve eventually strengthens but perhaps a tad too late to solve the big story arc problem…or maybe not!

There was a twist, isn’t there always? Only thing was, I figured out the twist before it was revealed. Either I’m especially intuitive or just cynical and well read enough to see where the story was going. Figuring it out first didn’t ruin it for me though, and probably won’t ruin it for you if you figure it out first, because it is well executed.

Something I didn’t realize when I borrowed the book from a friend is it is set in England, which doesn’t actually matter, I’m just so used to books being set in the States that when I clued in where the story was happening it took me a page or two to adjust my thinking and give all the characters appropriate accents in my head…am I the only one who does that?

This was a book that took a while to read, not because it was hard or boring or I didn’t want to read it, but because it is so perfect for carrying around and whipping out of my bag when I am in a waiting room, or have a couple minutes to kill because I got somewhere early, that I kept not reading it at home so I would have it for various outings. Life being what it is though, whenever I remembered to take it I ended up not having the waiting time I anticipated having so I never pulled the book out. Figures right? In the end I decided I wanted to finish the book more than I wanted to save it for the next time I was going somewhere so I sat and finished it at home, comfy in the living room, cup of tea at my elbow and the cat on my lap. Which for me is a fairly perfect way to spend some time…the cat doesn’t seem to mind either! πŸ˜‰

 

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

23 Aug

A classic is a classic for a reason, and sometimes, when you feel like baking you don’t want to fiddle with some annoying recipe but you want a forgiving one, that yields an almost guaranteed tasty treat. A classic.

I really wanted to bake oatmeal cookies, just plain, nothing fancy, old school, soft oatmeal cookies. Thing is, I don’t have a recipe for that. I have oatmeal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I have cranberry oatmeal, chocolate chip oatmeal, walnut oatmeal, and more. Many of those also come with the option of drizzling melted chocolate on top, or melted peanut butter, or melted whatever you think sounds good.

But none of those were what I wanted to bake. So I did what anybody in need of a new recipe would do, I googled. A lot of the oatmeal cookie recipes I found included other things, mostly chocolate or nuts, but eventually I found a soft oatmeal cookie recipe that wasn’t plain sounding, but also not a fidgety annoying recipe I would regret trying.

They turned out great!

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The Recipe:

  • 1 Cup butter, room temp
  • 1 Cup white sugar
  • 1 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 Cups quick cooking oats

In a large bowl, cream together butter and both sugars. Beat in eggs. Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add this mixture in to the creamed mixture.

Mix in oats.

Cover and chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, place two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Dip a large fork in to white sugar and use to flatten each cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before lifting them off and placing on a cooling rack.

This is the recipe I found, and I would provide you a link to it but I found this recipe when searching on another computer and I can’t seem to find it again. If I find the original I’ll add a link to it in an edit on the bottom of this post.

Some things I noted when I was trying this recipe out: My oven took 8 minutes for all but the last sheet of cookies I put in the oven (that last sheet took 10 minutes). You don’t need to grease the cookie sheet after each batch. On one cookie sheet I used a silicone mat so I didn’t need to grease that, on the other sheet I greased once and after that each batch lifted off just fine. Don’t flatten the cookies too much, you still want them a bit thick. The flatter the cookie the less chewy / soft it will be.

Oh, and it makes a lot of cookies! I don’t have an exact count because as soon as they were cooled I packaged the majority of the cookies up and gifted them to my landlords as a thank you present (they took care of my cat while I was away a couple weekends ago). The original recipe says it makes 24 cookies, I used a cookie scoop, like an ice cream scoop only smaller and meant for scooping cookie dough, and I got a heck of a lot more than 24 cookies. Next time I’ll count them.

So there we have it, a good ol’ fashioned soft oatmeal cookie recipe. A definite keeper!

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My Best Time – So Far!

19 Aug

I have made a habit of hiking the Coquitlam Crunch one to two times a week for I dunno, a couple months or so? A friend suggested it and I got hooked.

It is described on the city website as a steep urban trail that offers a great workout, which I’d say is fairly accurate. The city website also says it takes 1.5 hours to complete, but they always overestimate for the trails.

The first time my friend and I went we were around the one hour and fifteen minute mark I think…I don’t really count the first attempt at a new trail though because you don’t always know where you are going, and there end up being pauses to figure out are you turning left or right because the trail branches off both ways, reading signs, stuff like that. Second attempt and onward though, those get tracked and turned in to times to beat!…not that I’m competitive with my stats or anything lol

This trail has three road crossings, and depending on if traffic stops or not that can really affect your time, which sucks. There have also been two times where I paused to watch deer, but only on the way down. Pretty much nothing stops me on the way up, I have a mission and am determined to keep moving! The first time we went up I paused to read all the signs, they mostly have blurbs about the area, the wildlife, things like that.

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There is one section with stairs, looks like this…

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Well, actually, I’m sorta lying. Oops! There are two sections of stairs, they are at the same section though, just one set is to the left the other set is to the right. I tend to go up the set to the left and down the set on the right. I find the set on the right easier because there are more flat spots so I save it for my way down when my legs are tired. On the way up I want as many steps crammed in together with fewer flat resting spots as I can get.

Pictures don’t do the Crunch justice. There are power lines the entire length of the trail and in pictures they dominate what you see, but when you are there it is easy to ignore them and just enjoy the view.

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My best time had been one hour and two minutes and I was determined to get it under an hour, even if all I managed was 59:59, I wanted it under an hour!

This past week I went and had no confidence in my ability to beat my best time, I was going to be happy if I managed to hit one hour and four minutes. It was mid-day, the worst time of day for me, I wasn’t as hydrated as normal, there is poor air quality thanks to fires, and my legs hurt from my previous days workout. If I hadn’t been in the area I don’t know that I would have gone to do the Crunch at all that day, but I was in the area, and if I am there I can’t pass up an opportunity to go up, so up I went!

Something about not putting pressure on myself to beat my best time seems to generate results. I only asked my body for the best it could do that day, and was going to be happy with whatever that was, and lo and behold, I got my best time, and it wasn’t 59 minutes!

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56:26!

Do you see that Fit Bit info? I completed the Crunch in 56 minutes and 26 seconds! wOOt! wOOt!

I don’t care if it is rude to celebrate yourself, I am happy with that! πŸ˜€

Yes I know there are people who can do the whole thing in a much shorter span of time, and yay for them, but for me, in this moment, I am excited I completed the Crunch in 56:26. And really, there will always be someone who can do what you are doing better, and that’s fine. I only compete against myself, I only look to beat my time, not the person next to me, as my coach says, race your own race.

So now the time to beat is 56:26…talk about setting myself up for a challenge!

Paddle Boarding, Attempt 1

18 Aug

I do not have great balance, in fact I have pretty sucky balance, but did that stop me from taking my friend up on the offer to try out her paddle board? No, of course not, because where would the fun be if I said no to new things?

So we went paddle boarding. I didn’t fall! Of course, I also didn’t stand, but let’s not get nit picky ok? πŸ˜‰

We each went out a couple times, the first time I stayed within the rope & buoy markers and stayed kneeling low to the board. The fear of tipping over was real I tell ya!

Me

My first attempt.

Kat

My friend Kat looking fierce!

That is my friend, using the paddle board as it is meant to be used. She is much better than I am – granted, it is her paddle board so she should be better at using it than me lol

She is also a great teacher, helping me get on and off, giving tips on how to turn, things like that. Though, she did wait until I was on the water and trying to figure out how to turn before she explained it to me, but hey, thinking you’re going to crash just keeps things interesting, right? πŸ˜‰

Me 2

You can’t tell, because I am a blip in the distance, but that is me, on the paddle board, beyond the buoy and rope divider. There wasn’t much danger since the only other people on the water were either also on paddle boards or were the two people you can see in the canoe in the above picture and they were not moving, just sorta floating along, chatting, having what seemed like a lovely date. Not that I eavesdropped or anything… *whistles innocently*

I didn’t get all the way to standing up but I did raise up so I was, I dunno how to describe it, kneeling, but not as low down as in the first picture of me. So, raised kneeling? If my knees were my feet, I was standing on them, does that make sense? Or just give you a weird mental picture? Probably both lol

Alice Lake BC

I took a panorama picture of the lake to try to give you an idea of how beautiful it was there. Just to the right is a little creek that feeds in to the lake so you had the constant sound of trickling water, and crickets making little cricket noises, and the sounds of paddles gently moving through water. It was tranquil, and soothing, and would be lovely to hang out at for longer periods of time. There are camp grounds near there so I imagine during the day it is louder because of people jumping off the docks, and swimming and all that but right then, at that time of evening, it was chill and relaxing…even if there was the constant worry of me falling in the water lol

Hopefully I get to go again, and if I do, hopefully I take a chance and stand up on the board!

 

Pirate Pak Day

17 Aug

White Spot is a restaurant chain that has a kid’s meal called the Pirate Pak. It is basically a kid’s meal that comes in a cardboard pirate ship and is accompanied by a gold coin. What pirate ship is complete without a treasure I ask you?

white-spot-pirate-pak-day

Once a year, maybe it is twice I’m not really sure, they have Pirate Pak Day, which is when adults can also order a Pirate Pak and $2 from every sale goes to the Zajac Ranch for Children, a summer camp for children and young adults with serious medical conditions. According to White Spot’s website they have raised over $660,000 for Zajac Ranch over the years. If you eat-in a portion of sales from alcoholic drinks also goes to the Zajac Ranch, so bottoms up! πŸ˜‰

I guess the idea is to appeal to the nostalgia of adults who grew up eating Pirate Pak’s as a kid, which I have to admit, is smart marketing. I however did not grow up eating them. While White Spot is in Alberta now, it wasn’t when I was growing up, or if it was it wasn’t in my city, so I only learned about them when I moved to BC.

The restaurant is a family type of place, good food but nothing fancy, decent prices, a chill atmosphere. I tend to go there with friends if we are looking for a quick meal before going to a movie, situations like that.

I’ve never had some driving urge to order a Pirate Pak, probably because I’ve never looked at the children’s menu lol πŸ˜‰ Since this past Wednesday was Pirate Pak Day I thought why not? Let’s see what all the fuss is about!

The adult’s Pirate Pak is portioned for adults and your choices are a variety of burgers, fish & chips, a beef dip, chicken fingers & fries, or a club sandwich.Β  I chose the legendary burger, it came with fries, coleslaw, and a can of pop. On top of that it also came with my choice of ice cream, I opted for strawberry, and there was even a gold coin at the bottom of my take-away bag.

Yay for pirate booty!

Not gonna lie, I was kinda hoping for a pirate ship, even if it would end up in my recycle bin by the end of the night lol

The burger was delish, as their burgers always are, and don’t snub your nose at that little coleslaw, it is simple and perfect every time. I haven’t eaten the gold coin, they tend to be made out of cheap chocolate and I have never liked them in the past so I see no reason to test this one out to see if it is any different, even if finding it in the bag did make me grin.

Seriously, it is the little things that can take a normal thing (like your take-away meal) from normal to a bit more fun and smile inducing.

Find the little things people, they help you smile! And if you’re near a White Spot maybe try a Pirate Pak next time they have Pirate Pak Day, you help make camp possible for some very sick kids and you get a tasty meal, an efficient use of time and money – if you want to think all grown-up about it. πŸ˜‰ lol

0.317

16 Aug

Last weekend my dragon boat team and I competed at the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival. So many things happen at these away races and I always struggle on how to write about them. Do I focus on the races? The food? The general merriment? The travel? Sometimes there is one huge thing that stands out, so it becomes obvious what story I want to tell, other times the entire weekend is fun and I wish I could find a way to talk about everything.

I thought I’d try breaking things down in to categories…maybe that will help?

So, the food!

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This isn’t all the food I ate over the course of the trip, there was dinner on the ferry ride home, and a random banana or slices of toast here and there, but the best food deserved to be photographed and shared.

Pictures of Victoria!

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I took some random, kinda touristy, pictures of Victoria while there. I can’t really tell you all that much about them lol I just took them because I liked how they looked.

General hi-jinks!

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So yeah, I realized I didn’t ask anybody if I could put their pictures on my blog and it is late at night right now so I’m not going to wake them up with texts asking, which means you’re stuck with pictures of me. Sorry!

Last, but definitely not least, is the actual racing!

Each team raced twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday. We had the option to race in something called Guts & Glory but it happens later in the day on Sunday and we wanted to be on as early of a ferry as possible so we opted out. It was nice to qualify though. πŸ™‚

We won Bronze in Division A, or as this festival calls it, Diamond Division!

You may be wondering about the title of this post, 0.317.

0.317 is how far behind we were from the team that won Silver. So we were thiiiiiiis close to winning silver. Which for some people might make the bronze seem less special, or might make winning the Bronze sad, because instead of thinking we Won bronze the thought becomes we Lost silver. I get it, I do! So many races are won and lost by hundredths of a second and when you are on the losing side of that number it can hurt. To know that you were so close and didn’t make it sucks. It doesn’t help that when you tell people you won Bronze they dismiss it, or joke about you not winning silver or gold, or make any number of comments that I guess they think are funny. Weirdos.

It happens when you win silver, people comment about you getting gold next time, things like that. *rolls eyes*

Instead of celebrating the medal we earned, the time we got, it becomes about being apologetic we didn’t do better. To that, I am calling bullshit. That’s right, you heard me.

We have been training for months, since February in case you were curious. We train in cold, in rain, in wind, in polluted waters, in poor air quality, in blistering heat, in hail. We train when we are tired, sick, injured, sad. We have been working our butts off for the better part of a year, and we’ll keep training because it is what we do. We train on the water, we compete in other sports, we go to the gym, hike trails, do all sorts of things to stay strong and keep fit, in part so we can bring a strong and useful version of ourselves to the boat.

All of that counts for something, at least to me it does, and I’m proud of our Bronze medal. We worked hard for that, we earned it! My team accomplished something in Victoria, we came together and showed that we could work as a team and earn some hardware. I am proud of all of them. πŸ™‚

Ok so I didn’t actually get permission from any of them yet to show the team picture so I’m just gonna cross my fingers none of them mind! lol

That in a nutshell is my Victoria weekend. We went. We ate a lot of food. We raced. We won bronze. I bought a hat that is over priced but looks so good on me. None of us got sunburned (that’s mostly a concern for me, the pale one in the group lol). We had a fun time. πŸ˜€

 

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