Something To Think About

I haven’t posted anything about the death of Robin Williams mostly because I didn’t know the man, and part of me gets annoyed when people go on and on about celebrity deaths. Sure, they touched our lives, but there are millions of others out there dying that never get our thoughts or prayers just because they weren’t famous, and that feels cruel to me. Still, I found this while I was surfing the web yesterday and it really suck with me. I have had a lot of personal experience with depression and even suicide (not me, but family members) and the following really hit home with me.

“If someone were to die at the age of 63 after a lifelong battle with MS or Sickle Cell, we’d all say they were a “fighter” or an “inspiration.” But when someone dies after a lifelong battle with severe mental illness and drug addiction, we say it was a tragedy and tell everyone “don’t be like him, please seek help.” That’s bullshit. Robin Williams sought help his entire life. He saw a psychiatrist. He quit drinking. He went to rehab. He did this for decades. That’s HOW he made it to 63. For some people, 63 is a fucking miracle. I know several people who didn’t make it past 23 and I’d do anything to have 40 more years with them.”

 – anonymous reader on The Dish

Lessons from Bachelor In Paradise

Okay, so I don’t really watch The Bachelor. I think its pathetic, exploitative, and I just cannot bear to hear 22-year-old waitress/models complain about being single. I have seen a few seasons because we used to watch it at Judgy Monday, but unless I am with a group of people actively mocking the show it just seems sad. With that being said I somehow got talked into watching Bachelor In Paradise.

Bachelor In Paradise

For those not familiar, it’s  essentially sexual musical chairs. Each week couples go on dates and at the end of the week one gender gives out roses to the other gender (it switches each week). The catch is that there are not enough roses for all the men or women and those left without a rose in their hand are sent home. Obviously this breeds panic as the week progresses and certain people couple off while others are left unattached. This panic is exacerbated when new singles show up throughout the week and throw the numbers off again. Basically, it’s a hot mess. And yes, it is still exploitative and pathetic, but at least in this iteration of the series some of the cast members seem in on the joke. They say they are there for love, but seem aware that they may not find love but at least they will be on tv! Also – for those left wondering, most of these singles know each other well before the filming begins. The bachelor casts are notorious for hooking up with one another at wrap parties, social mixers and other engagements, so if they do find love (or herpes) with one another, it had nothing to do with the show you are currently watching.

Anyway, last night I was that crazy girl yelling at my TV while watching Bachelor in Paradise. I want to shake these girls! They are SO stupid. At first I thought, “huh, maybe these are just the craziest girls they could find” but then I realized that they are not that different from some (one specific) girls I know in real life. Then I got angry at the Bachelor producers for perpetuating certain lies girls believe as truth. Let’s review some of these…

  • Following a guy on Instagram (or Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.) is not the same as dating him.
  • Telling a guy you want him to meet your family before you have had your first date is going to weird a guy out. Actually, it’s going to terrify him
  • Sleeping with a guy does not make him your boyfriend. Even if you let him do really, really dirty stuff to you. You may wake up thinking, “awesome! That secures our relationship!” but he wakes up thinking, “awesome! I barely had to talk her into any of that!”
  • Eyelash extensions just accentuate crazy eyes.
  • A man is not your silver lining, your rainbow or your solution. If all it takes to change your life is a boyfriend, you need therapy, not sex.
  • Sure, you may only have one arm and feel lost in a sea of pretty, seemingly perfect girls but we all feel insecure and not good enough. Keep in mind, it’s better to be sane than pretty (and for the record, Sarah is beautiful, regardless of how many arms she has)
  • Sequined string bikinis – in case being almost naked isn’t getting you the attention you want.

See? With a bit of effort we can even find some education in The Bachelor! I wish I could tell you that I wont be tuning in next week, but it’s a “groundbreaking two night Bachelor event of the season!” Advertisements have promised me that I “wont want to miss the most dramatic night in Bachelor history”. How can I resist?

Frustration

I have been focusing a lot on my weight lately. I have been doing my best to eat well and exercise more, and I honestly, thought I was doing a good job.

Then I weighed myself this morning.

I was up a pound and a half. Now, I know it’s not that much, but this is another pound on top of the twenty or so that I have already put on in the past year, and at a time when I am actively trying to lose weight. I have been eating better, and getting to the gym more often.

A typical work day diet looks like this -

  • natural peanut butter on a whole wheat english muffin for breakfast
  • grapefruit cup for snack
  • salad for lunch – romaine with veggies and ground turkey in taco seasoning, cherry tomatoes and chickpeas with basil and balsamic over romaine, or, this week it was this chickpea and cucumber salad
  • humus and pita chips for snack
  • meat, starch and veg for dinner

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Fairly balanced, no? I have a cup or two of coffee a day with soy milk, and I try to only drink on weekends, but sometimes I will have a glass mid-week. I do not drink juice or soda.

I try to get to the gym three times a week, and I will walk/jog for a half hour, but lately I have only been going twice a week. Still, its more than I was doing 3 months ago (nothing!), and before I moved I was eating out for lunch about 3-4 times a week either at a restaurant or in our office cafeteria. I really thought the changes I have made would be helping to take some pounds off, or at least keep my weight stable, so seeing the increase was really discouraging. I have always been pretty loose on weekends, realizing that this is when I usually go out with friends and have dinner or drinks, but I think I will need to be more regimented about my weekend and take advantage of the time to make healthier meals and get more active.

I’m really trying to keep a positive spirit, and recognize my faults. Hopefully I will have some good news to report soon.

New Erin Condren Planner

I did it again! Ordered a ridiculously expensive Erin Condren Life Planner. I couldn’t help myself. I love my old one and use it all the time, which obviously justifies the $50 expense. Also, I ordered with a few other girls, which helped cut the $50 shipping cost.

Anyway, since last year’s review is easily one of my most popular posts, I will be posting a review of this years planner as well. Until then…

The waiting is the hardest part.

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Ottawa

So behind on posting….

A few weeks ago I was sitting at my desk dreaming about getting away for a weekend. I would love to go back to New York, but with just buying a new place and saving for Europe next year, I decided that I should probably save my pennies and go somewhere a little closer to home. Ottawa was my first choice, as its drivable in a half a day, and I had only been once when I was about 12.

So, I called my favourite travel buddy (my mum) and we booked a trip for two weeks later.

I really didn’t have many expectations about what Ottawa would hold. I barely remembered it, but all I was really looking for was a weekend away. New streets to wander down, and new faces to see. As it turns out, I LOVED Ottawa. It was such a great city! So beautiful, easily walkable, with a million things to do. Between the Parliament buildings, history, museums, shopping and trails there really is something for everyone.

We went up to the top of the Peace Tower, where we saw beautiful views of the city below.

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We wandered around the locks to the Ottawa River.

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We took a boat cruise along the Ottawa River and saw the most famous address in Canada, 24 Sussex Drive, from the water.

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We spent the morning in the National Gallery,where I created my own work of art.

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We saw the amazing Mosaika show on Parliament Hill. This really surprised me. I was expecting an okay show, but the effects, the lights and the whole tone of the show were amazing. It is every night in the summer on the Hill, and it is completely free. You just plunk yourself down on the grass and watch.

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Of course no trip to Ottawa is complete without a Beaver Tail! My absolute favourite is the Kilaloe Sunrise, cinnamon sugar sprinkled over hot, chewy pastry, then squirted with fresh lemon for a little zing. I could eat them all day long.

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Our trip to Ottawa was short but sweet. We were able to see and learn so many great things, but still sit on a patio with a glass of wine and people watch. Sam has been saying for years that he wants to move to Ottawa, and now I finally see what he was talking about. It feels like a small town, with all the benefits of a big city. If it weren’t a 6 hour drive from everyone I love, I would move there in a heartbeat myself.

Resolutions – The Halfway Point

At the beginning of the year I made a list of resolutions – two large and a bunch of smaller ones. Well, it’s half way through the year, so it’s just about time to check in and see how much progress is being made.

1. Lose 20 lbs – Okay, just like last time, this one isn’t great. I committed to focusing more on this goal after my move and I am really holding myself to it. So much so, that I think there will be a lot more health and fitness posts coming in the future. I have no plans to turn this into a Healthy Living Blog but this blog focuses on my life, and health will be a big part of my life in the upcoming months. I have made some changes recently that I am proud of. I have started bringing my lunch to work much more often (like 3-4 times a week as opposed to maybe once every two weeks) and the lunches I bring are healthy. Frequently in my lunch bag you will see salads with chicken, or ground chicken taco meat (my fave!) over romaine with lotsa veggies, humus and pretzel crisps, sliced red peppers, grapefruit and apples. My work has an awesome cafeteria with a great salad bar, but they also have hot entrees that heavily feature french fries as a side dish. When I don’t bring my lunch, I have to get in a line and more frequently than not I was picking the french fry line. Now I don’t give myself the option. I am also being more conscious about what I eat when I am out for dinner. Last week Misty thought I was texting at the table but really I was comparing calorie counts between salads! I still allow myself treats because I know that completely overhauling a diet is doomed to fail – life without wine is no life at all, but I know these small changes are going to start paying off.

I am also hitting the gym more often. Now that I drive to work, I pass my gym on the way home. At least three nights a week I go in for a work out. I tell myself I have to go for a half an hour. After that I can leave, but I am committed for at least a half hour. This is enough time to get a good sweat on without really impacting my life. I get home at 5:30 and still have a full evening ahead of me. This habit is fairly new, so I am not really seeing any results from it yet, but again, it’s all about starting small and growing.

2. Reduce my credit card debt by 25% – Done! Paid off with a loan at a lower interest rate. I still use my credit card but I am learning to use it responsibly. It gets paid off each month and is only used for big purchases like my new coffee tables or my weekend get away to Ottawa. Honestly, there is no way an 18-year-old should be allowed to have a credit card! I have yet to meet one who knows how to use it responsibly.

Smaller Goals

These are goals that are less measurable than the big ones above, and with the exception of one, are kind of done or not done. Not really a path I am following, but just little things I would like to accomplish by this time next year.

  • Read 20 books – 6 of 20. Big progress since the last update, but I’m a little stalled lately. Need to pick that book back up.
  • Go to the farmers market at 7:00 am (right when it opens!) – Done! When I wrote this goal I though I would go to the Guelph farmer’s market, but I actually went to the big one in St. Jacobs on my staycation.
  • Run a 5k – this will be scheduled in the fall after I have all summer to enjoy running outside
  • purge all the junk in my bedroom that I have been meaning to throw away since I moved – done!
  • organize the corner cupboard with all the pots and pans (seriously, its like the worlds worst game of Jenga in that cupboard) – Done!I have beautiful new corner cupboards in the new place that never get disorganized.
  • do NaNoWriMo – In November (that’s the No of NaNoWriMo)
  • one week completely TV free – I’m thinking this will happen in Nov to help with NaNoWriMo
  • get an “excellent” on my French report card –Done! I actually got two on my most recent report. I was very excited to see them!

I can see that my focus has shifted from money to weight. It’s really no surprise that these two issues go hand in hand and I can tell you with absolute certainty that getting a handle on my finances has really motivated me to get a handle on my weight. Again, I think you will start to see this trend in the blog. Another update will be coming around the end of September, after all the summer fun and my birthday. Hopefully there will be some good news to share.

How are you doing with your goals, Blogsters?

Wednesday, I Own You

Today was a good day! Why? Well, last night I packed up my work stuffs, packed a healthy lunch (taco salad, FTW), packed a gym bag and even set the coffee to brew at 6:20 am. That means today, I woke up to a fresh pot of coffee, worked hard, ate a healthy balanced lunch, went to the gym (!!!), came home and did chores before settling down to watch Big Brother. Oh, in the midst of all this I also planned and booked a mini-break to Ottawa.

Life? I’ve got this.