Monday, May 24, 2010

Another Welcome and the Best Birthday Gift Ever

For the second time in a week, my vibrating phone has woken me.

Those of you who know me, know that I like my sleep and I'm not a great one to wake up. And yes, stop drooling that on Saturdays and Sundays and MY BIRTHDAY I am probably still sleeping at 9am. The perks of being childless and not training for a half marathon.

So when the vibration started this morning, this the day of my 34th birthday, I was seriously hoping someone had just done the math wrong with timezones and would quickly hang up.

Then I looked who it was. "Mom" flashed back at me. Mom. Can you ever not answer the phone when your mom is calling?

It was for my birthday wishes, I figured, and yes also figured she hadn't got the math right.

Until, well, until she had other great news.

Other great news???? WHAT???

My sister H had gone into labour 7 hours earlier and I was going to have a niece born on my birthday.

Now that was news worth waking up for.

We giddily spoke about our excitement and then signed off as I started my birthday with the best news I could have imagined. Within 20 minutes, I got another call to say my sister H had welcomed her little girl into the world. I was so glad I spent over an hour on the phone with her the day before just chatting and now, she's a mother of two.

Welcome to the world HJD. You are the first granddaughter to join our growing family and have a lot of older boys to take care of you when you turn 16. And I can't imagine a better birthday gift.

Can't wait to meet you. And spoil you.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Welcome to the World LDC

My lovely sister C went into labour in the wee hour of Saturday morning, 2 hours before she was headed into the hospital to have labour induced.

Nature works in mysterious ways.

The expansion of our family tickles me to no end. What was more touching and inspiring was seeing pictures of her 2 and a half year old meet his little brother for the first time.

Since I am also 2 and half years older then my sister, the momentousness of this moment is not lost on me.

There was a time when my mother, sat on a hospital bed and introduced me to someone that solidfied that I would never be alone again.

And I saw that moment today in that picture of my sister introducing her new little boy, LDC, born just before 10am EST on Saturday morning, to her first born MGC, who couldn't stop saying 'I want to hold him'.

You're a lucky little boy, LDC. I can't wait to meet you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Confession Monday #3

This process of revealing is becoming a cathartic way to get the week started right. It's almost like letting a truth out about yourself and watching it float away like a balloon.

If it weren't for D, I would be a hoarder. Hands. Down.

As previously stated, I've got a little addiction to reality TV. And when I was watching one of the most recent episodes of people who have their homes stacked with stuff, I had an uncomfortable revelation.

The 'patient' ie hoarder who we are exploiting as we peer into her life began explaining to the doctor why she did not want to throw a stuffed animal she had gotten for her 13 year old son when he was 2 away.


Patient: This toy brings back good memories
Doctor: So, is there another way to honour those memories than keeping the stuffed toy?
P: Well, when I look at it, it reminds me of all the times that were good when he was little.
D: You'll still have those times.
P: Yes but I have a bad memory and I might forget them. This toy helps me remember.

*blink* *blink* *blink*

I think if D was in the room he would have enthusiastically started pointing his finger directly at me shouting "SEE? SEE??? SEEEEEEEEEEE??" in an effort to demonstrate that keeping things because you have a bad memory and you don't want to forget is NOT a good reason to KEEP SOMETHING.

It probably didn't help that I was nodding in agreement before I realized that I potentially had something in common with this woman who's 3 bedroom home has to eat dinner in the small space she has cleared away in her living room.

And it got me thinking - perhaps too much? - am I a hoarder? Even a little bit of one? Because, that totally sounded like a logical reason to me.I mean, I'VE SAID THAT BEFORE about items I need to keep. And hey, LOOK AT HER HOUSE. Is that where I'll get to??

Over the years, we have packed up things and stored them places (Thanks D's parents!) and returned to try to clear things away. I always start the process of going through those boxes and deciding what to keep and what to throw away with energy and enthusiasm. Knowing that I will be freeing space in a box for new memories or even just giving someone their garage back.

But having D stand beside me with a garbage bag waiting for me to throw things in it always raised my tension level just a little bit. We would banter back and forth, me usually explaining why I needed it, him explaining why I didn't, until eventually, I would get to a point where I was to frustrated to argue and throw it all away.

Then there was the moping phase, where I would be angry that it had been thrown out and I felt forced to get rid of precious mementos that I didn't want to. That I didn't know existed. That I was keeping for that moment of "oh, I remember this" to then only place it back in the box filled with other items that I may one day want to pull out and 'remember' something by.

And it was through watching this episode that I became aware of the possibility that perhaps my attachment to little movie stubs and theatre programs may not actually be all that, well healthy.

So there, I've said it. I've thrown it out there. I may actually be someone who keeps too much stuff and could potentially end up under a pile of it all if I don't keep it in check. And I suppose moving every couple of years will certainly help to curb my collection.

And the silver lining? Well, the fact that reality TV got a purpose. Ha. So. There. Time NOT wasted.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

How the Bike brought me Back

D and I recently purchased a couple of used bikes to take advantage of the glorious weather that appears to happen year round this end of the country.

I was always a big bike rider when I was younger - I suppose one should use the word 'cyclist' but that sounds a little too advanced for what I'm talking about. Cyclists probably have strategy and stamina and lots of bike bling. Me? I just used to get on my bike and go.

During my pre-teens I had the bestest friend ever. L.C.

Looking back at those years, L.C and I were inseperable. I was so lucky during that period of my life to have someone who was such a dedicated friend. She made me laugh, always had my back (can you say bullies??) and generally just made my life better.

We used to spend weekends listening to 60s music, playing cards and going for bike rides. And we used to relish swearing in her house. Her mom is a fantastically creative person, a piano teacher and someone who didn't let words really affect her. We could SWEAR in her house. Like THE F WORD. And when you're 12, that's a big deal.

Our bike ride distances started to become a bit of a challenge. We would pack up food and snacks and head out to what appeared to be far away places  In small town Ontario, you could easily find yourself in the countryside without going too far, but for us, it was the ultimate adventure.

Yesterday made me miss L.C. We drifted apart in high school, with different interests and all the politics involved in being a teenager. I don't know that I handled it well, was probably more evil then necessary and adult-me looks back and cringes on the way teenage-me handled the dissolution of our friendship.

The biking helped me remember the enjoyable times. I was almost transported back to those days of biking around with L.C. The feeling of independence, of being all grown up, of setting off on an adventure together without supervision.

Views of the mountains yesterday certainly brought me back to reality. And made me reflect of course over all of the things that have changed since those summertime carefree days of youth bike riding.

We don't often stop enough to assess what we have and how far we've come. There isn't time in a day filled up with work and groceries and laundry and sleep. And if you have children, you know your list is longer.

But I'm glad I've found the vehicle (literally) that can help me get to that place. A place of calm reflection. Of remembrance. Of celebration. And of the realisation that the more things change, the more they DO stay the same.

My life choices have given me such opportunity for adventure. For a journey. For a path of discovery.

Most importantly, I'm still lucky to have my best friend to ride by my side.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bragging rights

And then there was 2.

That's right, the woman who decided to be a goalie in high school because she HATED RUNNING has now two lovely half marathon medals to her name.

That's me, people. Yes, it really is. And you know what? I have to keep looking at this picture to remind myself that it WAS me, it IS me and I am a half marathon runner.

It's an intensely humbling and emotionally indescribable feeling to train for, run in and complete a run of that distance.

When I set out to do this originally, it was for myself. It was to give myself a challenge. It was because it was something I didn't think I could do.

We had just gotten home after being away for over 6 years I was eager to try something that living a nomadic lifestyle does not really allow you to do. Training for a long distance run seems liked one of those things.

It was with the encouragement of some good friends that I decided to train for my first 10km.

After another couple of 10kms, it was time for the next step.

I stalked the Scotiabank Marathon website for weeks before finally just entering and clicking 'register'. And then it was done.

The Running Room clinic helped me learn how to run, how to train, what type of runner I was and was going to be.

And I completed that first half with such pride, exhilaration and a LOT of adrenaline.

I wrote earlier about the second time around here, how it felt different. How it felt like I was training to do the same thing again and yet it was going to be something completely different.

Sunday proved me right (and you know how much I like to be right). It was different, in so many ways.

It rained the entire time. And it was totally fine. Because in that moment, the only thing you are focused on is doing what you did in training. Pacing yourself for specific KMs, watching the clock to find out when to drink water, when to suck back some energy gels, when you'll get that 1 min break for every 10 min.

I started late. And I didn't care. Because I knew, all that mattered to me was my chip time. So there weren't enough porta potties - so WHAT? I knew what was going to happen, I would just start late, like the hundreds of others stuck in the line, and then I'd not worry about the race time anyway because my chip would define where I really ended up in the race.

There was a big ass hill in the middle of it. I'm talking BIG ... ASS. Prospect Point in Stanley Park is not for the faint of heart, even if you're walking. So guess what Internet, that's just what I did - I WALKED most of it. Because I knew, that at 13km, I had a long way to get to 21km and there was no point in wearing my legs out over an hour before I was set to finish the race.

It made me a half marathon runner. After I finished the first one, I knew technically I was a half marathon runner. I had completed a distance that not many, although a good number of people have achieved. For me, it was the second one that made it all that  more real. It was no longer this challenge I set for myself. It was now just a reality. Not only am I a runner, but I am a long distance runner.

And that's sometimes hard to get my head around. Because 10 years ago, I smoked ate McDonalds and mostly didn't really care about physical exercise. Maybe it's because I was in my 20s or maybe it's because I just wasn't a runner then. Which is what makes it all the more surreal to write that I am.

And probably, if you are a runner, you may not actually think this is a big deal, because you've been stating that you ARE a runner for a long time. But I do know that we have it in common.

That feeling you get when your not quite sure you can go on, when the next 4km seem like an eternity, when you wonder why you decided to do this in the first place and when each step becomes like a marathon itself. When you start to second guess whether this was the right choice.

And then comes that second chance. The person shouting your name on the sidelines. The water station. The turn in the road. Maybe even the finish line. And you realised you made it. Your there. You did it.

And you're just as surprised and excited as everyone else is to watch you cross it. Because even though you knew you would get there, even though you were confident your training was going to get you through, you still lived through those moments that made you realise this was a feat. This was a challenge. And whether it was your 2nd time or you 222nd time, there's always going to be a point where you wonder if you can.

And then you do. And you can't stop smiling for the rest of the day.

Start running. It will change your life.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Confession Monday #2

I had envisioned that I would have written something between the two Monday confessions however with a project wrapping up at work and my half marathon prep, I simply just did not get back to this lovely page until today.

And so, in its second installment, I bring you my confession Monday

I use a Neti pot to clear out my sinuses and survive allergy season.

This isn't necessarily a very evil aspect about  myself, but I guess more revealing and um perhaps a bit embarrassingly personal?

For those of you who do not know what  Neti pot is, you are probably wondering why this may be something a bit embarrassing to admit. Here I'll show you:

I love in this video how she says it's not that bad. Define BAD.

I mean, no there isn't any stinging and yes the 'return' liquid is clear as well but essentially using water to flush out your sinuses is about as, well, awkward as it sounds.

But so is flossing but that doesn't mean you don't do it right?

And since my allergies this year have been paining me worse than plugging my nose and rubbing acid in my eyes, I was pretty much up for anything that didn't make me feel like the guy on the Reactine commercial - you know the one that points out saying JUST ALLERGIES is about as accurate as say it's JUST LABOUR.

(At this stage I suppose it's obvious to point out that I have actually tried many drugs to make the symptoms go away, Aerius being the only one that works however I still need to Neti pot myself in combination with a daily tab.)

And so, over the past couple of weeks before I go to bed I pour an entire plastic blue tea pot's worth of water (mixed with the special saline solution) through my two nostrils.

And you know what? I can breathe again. My eyes are not redder than my Canada t-shirt.

And I actually dare any of you who have not tried to TRY IT and then try to NOT do it and see what happens. Because the result in my experience is a little similar to going on a diet or denying yourself something for 30 days - all you do is think about how much BETTER it would be if you JUST could have that ONE THING ...

...a Neti pot clean out.