Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A 15 Minute Epiphany

I've talked about Flylady a lot because what she says about taking baby steps and using a timer make so much sense.  I'm the kind of person that has to prove the rule wrong though.  It's not always intentional, but when I try things, they don't always work.  And I've tried using a timer on more than one occasion.  I even had to buy a second timer because the first one got lost somewhere in my house (and yes, I know how bad that sounds!).

I've been using a timer more lately and even started using it for my oldest daughter.  She doesn't mind picking up her room or reading a book if she knows that she only has to do it until the timer goes off.  Tonight I made some muffins so that we would have some fresh (somewhat) healthy snacks for our road trip tomorrow.  Once I put them in the oven, my first thought was to get on my computer.  Instead, I put away all the stuff I used, then I decided to wash the dishes since I wanted to stay close to the oven because I haven't made this recipe before.  Now washing the dishes may not seem like a big thing, but it gets to be crazy here.  I am not home most nights for dinner and hubby cooks dinner and feeds the kids, he just doesn't do the dishes afterward.  Instead, the pots get piled around the kitchen and stress me out.

Seriously, I get so angry about these pots and pans sitting there, but I let the stress build instead of doing anything about it.  What a waste of emotional energy!  I got those pots and pans washed and looked at the timer on the muffins.  Guess how much time I spent cleaning the kitchen.  That's right! Fifteen measly minutes.  If I had just done them and gotten it over with, they would have been done, the kitchen would not be a minefield and I wouldn't have been stressed out about it.

Who knew that 15 minutes could make such a difference?  I even did some of my writing in 15 minute blocks this week, alternating with chores I had been putting off.  I will get this clutter tamed, 15 minutes at a time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go by Lucille O'Neal

Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go is a candid account of Lucille O'Neal's life; being raised by strict grandparents, being an unwed mother, later being a military wife and trotting her family across the globe, being the mother of a star NBA player, getting out of an unhappy marriage, getting sober and staying that way, getting the education that she so desired for her children. 

I found the book was very hard to put down in the beginning.  It was so interesting to see life from a different culture and what obstacles O'Neal had to overcome, especially being an unwed mother at the time that Shaquille was born.  As the story progressed, I was really interested to find out how O'Neal conquered her alcohol addiction and I was surprised that her recovery process was so simple:  "During my mother's illness, I'd stopped drinking after some twenty years of doing so regularly...I didn't have to join AA, although I know it's a wonderful program that helps many people; I just relied on my faith in God to get me through those nights I wanted a drink so bad I could taste the white zinfandel on my lips." (p. 165-166).  I put the book down for quite awhile because O'Neal's recovery just seemed too easy.  I would really like to know more about how she made it through those nights.  Did she read scripture?  Did she pray?  How did it happen?  Was it hard to make it through?

Overall, I enjoyed the book, even though I am not a basketball fan.  It was good to see O'Neal become a strong woman and to use what she learned through her trials to help others.  Walking this journey with her showed me that God can and does use the hard times to make us stronger.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Weight Watchers or Bust!

How to Overcome Depression

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again.  Depression Sucks!  I keep getting caught in this cycle of wanting and trying to make changes in my life and then the depression pops in and I go back to being apathetic, positive that no change is going to make any difference in my life-ever.  And then there are the times when I try to make positive changes and the entire world conspires against me.

My latest foray into getting healthy is to re-join Weight Watchers.  I used the online program two years ago.  It was a birthday present I gave myself that year and I lost 14 pounds just tracking my food and points.  Then my job changed for a couple months and my schedule changed and that was it.  I lost all the ground I had gained and then I felt demoralized and ultimately gave up.

Recently, my mother was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.  That means in my immediate family, I am the only one without diabetes.  My mom and dad are Type II and my brother is Type I.  I am a ticking time bomb.  I get my blood sugars tested regularly, but given my family history and the fact that I carry all my weight around my belly, I need to make some changes to keep myself healthy.
scale at buttes chaumont
Mom joined Weight Watchers after her diagnosis.  She started going to meetings and found it really helpful.  The group she was going to was on Thursday nights (my day off), so I was going to join up.  I talked to hubby and he agreed that it would be a great opportunity for me, especially since some of the fees could be claimed back from my work's wellness benefit.  I was going to join up the next Thursday.  On Monday, we went to talk to a tutoring center for some French lessons for our oldest daughter.  Know when her classes are?  That's right, Thursdays.  Hubby signed her up without blinking, so I sighed quietly and decided I'd go to a different class that was on Saturday mornings.

Mom came back from her class on Thursday and told me the pricing options were changing and were going to be much better.  I was even more ready for Saturday, and then hubby told me he was working Saturday morning.  Not only would I have to drive him to his client, I was going to have the two girls with me.  I reminded him that I was going to WW and he was sweet enough to arrange for Grandma to watch the girls so we could both do what we needed to do.  I found the location, waited in the car until it was time to start, then headed in to the clinic.

As a first timer, I had no idea where to go or what to do.  I found the table that was for newcomers, filled out the form and waited in line for my turn at the desk.  Only to be told that I was going to have to pay a start up fee plus a meeting fee.  When I mentioned that I had seen the new pricing, (no start up fee and monthly rates) I was informed that it started on Monday, and did I want to come back then?  Seriously?  Why not.  I wasn't going to pay $47 that was going to be useless two days from now.  I left and did grocery shopping alone instead (a rare treat for me!).

(137/365) Busy mindNow should be the part where I say that I did go back and signed up that I've been going for a few weeks now.  But that wouldn't be my life, would it?  Nope, I've got the form in my car, but I haven't gone back.  What's stopping me?  Mostly just my life.  I know, I should make my health a priority, but since I'm the only insured driver in the house, everyone else's life is coming before mine right now.  Between speech therapy, French tutoring, doctors appointments, hubby's work and just trying to keep the kids busy this summer, I've used up pretty much all of my energy (and that's before I go to work in the evenings).  I've got my work/life balance pretty set, it's my life/life balance I can't seem to figure out.  I haven't even been out walking with the gals because my Wednesdays are usually shot.  I know that I've been self-defeating and just given up.  I've let the weight creep up on me to the extent that my "fat" clothes are now getting too tight. 

I'm not giving up on joining Weight Watchers, but I'm starting to realize that this might not happen until the kids go back to school in September. In the meantime, I'm choosing healthier options for eating. I'm incorporating more vegetables and salads into my diet and I'm increasing my water intake. I'm also trying to get more sleep and to be more active in the day. I know that depression is trying to keep me stagnant, so I really have to make a conscious effort to get beyond that and try to fight it. It may also be time to chat with my doctor about my treatments and see if there is anything else I can do to minimize the impact that depression has on my life.

Friday, July 2, 2010

We are a World Cup Family

World Cup matchball history

I started to notice a trend over the last few weeks. A lot of things in my life have happened around World Cup time. Really. We got married 12 years ago on a very hot June day. During the picture taking at the park, my cousins were listening to the Italy game. I don't know who they were playing, but we did pose for a picture with all of my cousins and the Italian flag (and we all had to say "Forza Azzurri!" instead of "Cheese!"). Italy won that day.

We spent our honeymoon in Montreal, one street away from the famous Ste Catharine's Street. Every night during that week, cars drove up and down Ste Catharine blaring their horns. The only difference was the colour of the flag flying.

Flash ahead a few years now. In 2006, Italy was in the finals of World Cup. Hubby and I were planning to go over to my parents' house to watch the game with my brother (our parents were away) on Sunday. I was very pregnant at the time, but not due for a few more weeks. All day Saturday, I was complaining of Braxton-Hicks contractions. Hubby looked at me as I again winced from the uncomfortable feeling and looked at his watch. "You're getting those every five minutes, you know." Yep, I was in the beginning stages of labour. The game was on Sunday, and I was in the hospital for most of that day. Hubby called my brother to let him know we'd be missing the game. Italy won and the next morning, we had a beautiful second daughter.


Now that I think of it, our first daughter was born in a World Cup year as well. She was born before World Cup started that year and I was honestly too busy and too tired to care, much like any other first time mom.

This World Cup has been a little boring for me mostly because I really haven't had time to follow the games. Of course, it doesn't help that Italy was knocked out in the first round. The very first time I knew anything about World Cup, we were visiting our grandparents in a little city called Guelph. Italy had won, and Dad bought my brother and I Italian flags. We were thrilled to be walking up and down the sidewalk waving our flags. I still remember that this lady came up to my brother who was just a little guy at the time and asked him why he was waving an Italian flag when he was Canadian. My brother looked at her like she had two heads. Of course he was Canadian, but he was Italian too!