Saturday, November 27, 2010

Doing Life

Oooh - what's this in my mailbox? :-)

This was a crazy busy week. Lots of fun but oh boy does this time of year make me nuts. So many events to attend, and so much to get done before my son's December birthday and Christmas. Have to remind myself to keep breathing, get things done when I can, and enjoy the ride.

You guys know who Ben Davis is, right? He's the Ben Does Life guy and he's been a great source of inspiration for me. Instead of getting crazy over how busy the season is, I'm reminding myself that I'm doing life. I ordered one of his stickers a week or so ago, and it arrived in my mailbox this week on an afternoon when I was feeling a bit dark. Totally brightened my day, and got me to get over myself. I need that kick in the pants every so often!

Here's a recap from this week:
Andrews Family - all together at last! November 2010

Saturday - Rode my bike to Curves (5K round trip), worked out. Went to my parents for the weekend for a big surprise party for my step-father's 70th birthday. First time seeing my stepbrother, stepsister and nephews in a long time - they came from England for a surprise - and the first time that all 5 grandchildren have ever been together. So great!

Sunday - Oh my, that was quite a party. I forgot how long and hard the Brits go when they get together. No exercise today, but plenty of comfort food and taking it easy. Oh my my my.

Monday - Fresh start. Stairs to 7 in the AM; lunchtime power walk of about 1.75K. Power half-hour at Curves after dinner.

My wall at work - with my new 'Do Life' sticker!
November 2010
 Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM; lunchtime power walk of about 2K.

Wednesday - Stairs to 7 in AM. Took the afternoon off of work; walked 1K to a mall and ran errands for a few hours. Curves workout after dinner.

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM. Quick walk to the Four Season's Centre to catch a free lunchtime concert (Cuban Jazz) - about 700m round trip. After dinner, went the the school's fall soiree. Parked at my friend's house; power walked to the hall and back (1K each way).

Friday - Late for work so had to skip the stairs. Lunchtime power walk to the mall and back (about 1.5K round trip). After work...Date night! My husband and I saw Royal Wood and Hannah Gerogas at the Queen Elizabeth Theater. Fantastic show!!!

What I'm reading: 'Tis by Frank McCourt. Have read it a few times before, was time to read it again.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

In Appreciation of Professional Performers

Jackie Burns as Elphaba, Chandra Lee Schwartz as Glinda
Toronto production of Wicked - November 2010
I've been fortunate enough to take in two stellar live performances this month. I saw the musical Wicked with my sister-in-law last week, and this week took my daughter to the National Ballet's Cinderella.

Both have got me thinking about discipline and determination. I am pretty good about getting daily exercise and working hard at the gym, but I'm not pushing myself much further than I can already go. Don't get me wrong - I'm much, much fitter than I was 2 years ago, but my progress has been very slow and steady. There's decent exercise but not a dramatic amount of challenge in a lunchtime walk, a few flights of stairs, 30 minutes in a circuit. I've never trained for a marathon, half-marathon or anything like that, and have a hard time understanding just how much sheer determination it takes to train, rehearse and prepare for a competition or for a series of physical performances.

Sonja Rodriguez as Cinderella 
National Ballet of Canada, November 2010
The Toronto Star published the following about ballet dancers this week. I've never come anywhere close to anything like this - you?

In rehearsal — seven hours a day, five days a week — dancers pursue beauty, some call it transcendence. Still, it stems from an earthbound work ethic, sweat beading above arched eyebrows and streaking along exquisite jaw lines. T-shirts darken at the neck and in the small of the back. Breathing hardens. There is pain. It always hurts, dancers say. Bunions, corns, tendinitis, stress fractures, aching backs. Toes, red and swollen, are bandaged. Slender calves are on ice. Some roll foam cylinders up and down their thighs.

...In rehearsal, dancers work to the point where they don’t have to think about each step, [Principal Dancer Sonja] Rodriquez explains. At 37, she is delicately constructed, doll-like, but with muscle and sinew. “You do it over and over until the mechanics become second nature, so you get past the point where your brain is thinking so much about what the body has to do and where muscle memory takes over.”

Wow. Here's a recap from this week -

Love the poster from the Toronto production - 2010
Saturday - Beautiful day. Rode my bike to Curves and back (5K round trip), worked out. Hopped on the subway with my daughter in the afternoon to catch the Cinderella matinee.

Sunday - Amost had a lazy day...but got off my butt in the afternoon and rode my bike to the grocery store and back, a 6K round trip. Feeling great! 

Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 0.75km walk + stairs to 7 at lunch; hit Curves after dinner for a special Monday "power half hour". My abs felt great after!

Tuesday - Feeling stiff this morning! Stairs to 7 in AM, 2.25km power walk at lunch, light Curves workout after dinner.

Wednesday - Still oh, so stiff. That power half hour kicked my butt. Skipped the stairs (sore hamstrings), but went for a lunchtime powerwalk with Lynda. We hit 2.64km in 22 minutes. We are officially in training for the Santa Shuffle on 12/4. GO GO GO!

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM; power walk to my doctor's office (checkup) and back at lunch. 2.0K round trip, 9 minutes each way. Wow, are my abs feeling strong with this power walking. My doctor is very pleased with me :-)
Friday - Walk to work from my doctor's office in the AM (1K), power walk with Lynda at lunch (2.65K in 22 minutes), Curves workout after work. TIRED NOW!
What I'm reading this week - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Talk about discipline and determination - Lisbeth Salader has epic amounts of both! Also reading Growing Up Jung by Micah Toub - one man's story of what adolescence is like when both of your parents are Jungian therapists.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do you eat enough plants?

Kids and I grew a watermelon - in our shady Toronto backyard!
It wasa teeny but tasty. October 2010
I've been a vegetarian for 20 years, but until recently I didn't eat enough plants. I ate a lot of carbs, a lot of cheeeeeese and a lot of treats. Surprise, surprise - I put on a lot of weight. 

I've overhauled my diet in the last two years and definintely eat a more balanced diet. I regularly struggle with keeping on track after so many years of bad habits, but overall I'm eating well.

Meanwhile - my children are also vegetarians, and I've always made sure to feed them well even in the days when I wasn't taking as good care of myself. We talk a lot about nutrition and healthy eating, and I hope I'm giving them the tools to make good choices about what they eat.

So far, so good. My favourite part of summer is watching the kids go out to the garden to snack on the fruits and veg that we grow in our teeny back yard. We don't have a lot of space, but we've made room for a raspberry bush, a blueberry bush, a strawberry patch, an apple tree and a cherry tree. Every spring, I also have the kids choose a plant or two that they want to grow. This year, they planted snow peas, cucumbers, carrots and watermelon in addition to the tomatoes and red peppers that I planted. All of this variety means that from May to September, there's always something ready to be picked and nibbled on.

Ahhh summer. You seem so very far away. Oh well. Winter gives me time to plan out the changes that I want to make in the flower gardens in the spring :-)

Here's a recap of this week:

Last raspberry of the season - October 2010
Saturday - Curves workout in the morning; took the kids swimming for an hour in the afternoon.

Sunday - Nothin' much. Cleaned the house, then subway'd it downtown with my sister-in-law to catch a performance of Wicked. Great show!!!

Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM; 1.1K walk and stairs to 12 at lunchtime.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM; 1K walk and stairs to 12 at lunchtime; Curves workout after dinner. Parked the car a few blocks away from the gym so got in a 6 block round trip walk in too.

Wendnesday - Day off. 1K walk at lunch.

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 1.5K walk and stairs to 7 at lunch. Curves workout after dinner.

Friday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 1K walk and stairs to 7 at lunch. Starting to get bored with this routine so better start shakin' things up a bit. Good news - only 2 more weeks until the skating rinks open!

What I'm reading this week: The Girl Who Played with Fire. Looks like I'll be reading the entire series.

Friday, November 5, 2010

To Answer the Question: "What's Next?"

Registration confirmation - October 2010
I signed up for a 5K power walk for December!

I'm also seriously considering doing the Tower Climb again in April...and am trying to find something to do in the gap between the 5K and the Tower.

Even after nearly 2 years of being reasonably active...sometimes I don't recognize myself.

Full-time couch potato no more.

I'm doing this event with a few ladies from work and I'm really looking forward to it. Meanwhile - my husband logged an amazing 23km of walking home from work this week. WAY TO GO!

Here's how this week went:

Saturday - Curves workout in the AM.

Sunday - Happy Halloween! Took my daughter trick-or-treating, about a 1.2km walk.

Happy Halloween! October 2010
Monday - Need to work off some of the treats from yesterday...stairs to 7 in AM, stairs to 12 at lunch.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM and again at lunch; power walked over to a lunch seminar (2K round trip) with guest speaker Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook: It's All About People

Wednesday - 1K power walk + stairs to 12 at lunch, Curves workout after dinner.

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 1.1km power walk + stairs to 12 at lunch, Curves workout after dinner

Friday -  Tired today. 1km power walk + stairs to 7 at lunch.

Total - Gym 3 times, 5.3km of lunch time walks, 1260 stairs. Not bad, not bad...but it will barely balance out all of Halloween treats that I dipped into. Sigh.

What I'm reading this week - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Am I the last person in the world to read this?