Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A whole new chapter on a completely new level.

Well I got a huge surprise on Tuesday, I was packaged out.

Didn't see it coming at all, took me totally by surprise but mind  you it was a package and a tremendous amount of outplacement support.

I then got wind of others let go as well so I can only guess the restructuring finally hit my group. I've seen it happening in other area and always figured it would hit us soon enough and tada. Is it sad that I felt better finding out I wasn't the only one.

I will not say one bad thing about my old company, I learned a lot and met great people and can only look at this as a new opportunity.

Of course emotions have been all over the place. My survival instinct kicked in. I secured references, updated my resume and already applied for 2 jobs just because they closed while I'm at Disney World. Sent my resume to my old boss to take a look at it.

Last night my mind was all over the place:

I just bought a car! - It's ok you have the money and this will actually open up opportunities as you won't need to rely on transit or have to take 2 buses and a train or something like that.

OMG I booked 6 months of yard work - it's o.k you can swing it and it's still good to get the lawn in good condition. Plus this frees you up to take care of Dad's house.

OMG I have runs booked from now till November - it's o.k they are all paid for including the travel, we will find a new job that is ok with those long weekends

I do feel this is going to be a new adventure and a new opportunity to learn more. Spread my wings I guess.

My gym membership is paid for the year, I can check out all the classes I couldn't otherwise. Heck I could focus a whole lot of time on me getting fitter. I'll keep WW. I remember years ago when I had to job hunt WW got cut but I think it's a priority for me so I don't wallow. Last time I wallowed and almost gained every pound back.

I was touched by the outpouring of support messages I got, I'm happy I left a positive impression.

God will never give you something you can't handle.

It could be worse this could have happened 10 months ago and I'd be 100% wrapped in grief and having to look into a new job. It could be really worse and not get a package, by getting a package this means without cause.

I'm blessed that financially I'm ok for awhile if need be but I won't wait to get hunting as you never know when the right opportunity comes your way.

I do leave for Disney World tomorrow so I'll be in the happiest place on earth.

Today I also go the final assessment on my Dad's taxes so I can go onto the final step - the clearance certificate. The first anniversary is 8 weeks away, I can't believe a year has almost passed.

Heck having the vehicle may mean I don't need to rent a bin, just do mini trips and room by room haul the garbage back home to dispose of. I'm planning on doing an estate sale at any rate before I deal with any furniture. Then even look at donating items that are in good condition. The first pass will be for stuff I want to keep and I know that's minimal. By keeping it to shorter trips that might be better for me anyway as it freaks me out staying there for long periods. It's very very isolated and way too quiet.

Of course I'll be more mindful with spending.

I know I need to stay focused and positive. I could not sleep last night my mind was spinning so I started reading Robin Sharma's Greatness guide. It was just what I needed. The chapters are short but I felt better as I read. I'll keep reminding me of this.

My mind would go down a dark path, I now have no family and no job but no that does not define me. I define me.

So let this completely new chapter begin - first up Expedition Everest Challenge at Disney World. I guess the timing couldn't have been better. Then when I get home I will put together the plan.

I know a new adventure is just around the corner

Friday, April 25, 2014

What a week

What a week.


It was the first full work week in a while as I took that last two Fridays off so I woke up on Wednesday thinking it was Thursday. A bit of a disappointment that’s for sure.


Tuesday was the last group grief counselling session and they asked us to plan a get together on our own. I’m conflicted about that as part of me feels that I’m in a far better place now than I was when I started.


In the group people are still in different stages understandably as grief is different for everyone.


I am kind of happy to have my Tuesday nights back as I head into half marathons roughly 4-6 weeks apart. We do have a date and time booked so I’ll probably go to the first one and see.


When we wrap up we do a sort of round table and I said that despite the randomness of how we all got together based on each having a traumatic event, I really appreciated all of their support and sharing of their situations. Further down some one said it’s not random it was meant to be. I get that.  The thing holding me back from being part of a continuing group is the continual reminder of loss, it’s not like I don’t think about my Dad or my Mom on a regular basis.


This week has been a bit bananas at work as we wrap up the last of the big projects for the year.


While this job and my last job involved getting people to do things by a due date, I find the people I deal with now who should know better are sometimes far more difficult to herd. In fact yesterday was particularly painful. I really try to be attentive and respond to requests quickly so it drives me a little bonkers when I don’t receive the same.


I’m noticing a very cold shoulder from one group who I had to tell had more work to do.


I realize I need to let that go and I’ve been really focusing on keeping positive, being kind and polite, like thanking the guy handing out the free Metro every morning at the train station.


Life is too short to hold grudges.


When I went home last night I was still really rattled, disappointed and a bit mad that someone else was jeopardizing my project. That did result in some stupid food decisions like Doritos, mac n cheese, ice cream and a beer. Oh yes because I skipped the gym which probably would have been a better idea to work out the anger.


I’ll be at the gym tonight after all weigh in is tomorrow.


Tomorrow is off to the Calgary Expo, Calgary’s version of comic con. I’m heading into it a wee disappointed as two of the actors I really wanted to see cancelled. None of the seminars are all that appealing to me either. This is the tough part you buy the passes before all that is locked down.


It started on Thursday and they’ve been posting pictures of costumes, wow the creativity is amazing and the effort people put in absolutely incredible. Feeling a wee intimidated as me and my R2D2 hoody are not quite up to snuff.


I don’t even know if I’ll go on Saturday and Sunday we shall see. I do have the goal to experience as much as I can.


Next week will be short as I’m leaving at noon on Wednesday to try and nap before my red eye flight to Toronto on to Orlando for Expedition Everest Challenge.


I should start packing this weekend too.


Have a great weekend everybody!!




Saturday, April 19, 2014

A new chapter

I did it, I went and bought a car today well more specifically an SUV. Yes in my defense after this past winter and the fact I do need to go to a rural area plus thinking about getting a dog more specifically a German Shepherd it made sense to go for an SUV.

My sales dude was great, I asked intelligent questions and think we bonded in some way. There was one close to what I wanted in the city but it has a sunroof. I have no interest in a sunroof, mostly based on the fact that I've had skin cancer so open windows above my head not something I enjoy and we can get monster hail storms, and probably more importantly I don't see myself using it so not so interested in window on the roof and it would cost more moolah.

So now it's being factory ordered and should look about like this, it's being built somewhere in North America. They'll let me know when it gets on a train and it's journey to the dealership. Holy guacamole I bought a car today. Best guess right now is end of May.

Finally a home for these which I bought last summer, though I'm now thinking Vader and Yoda will go on the back windshield. Princess Leia will have another home. It bugs me that she doesn't have a lightsaber, as in the books following Return of the Jedi she does become a Jedi.

One of my friends called this the next chapter and in so many ways I'm entering a new chapter, not just the car it's a new chapter in my whole life as right now the only person I need to take care of is me.

It's taken me awhile to get my head around that. Like I said the other day the fog is lifting.

I feel a new different kind of motivation to get this weight loss battle over with. That's a big part in the taking care of me. I picked up another book by John Izzo, Second Innocence, it's about rediscovering the sense of wonder we tend to replace by cynicism as we grow older. I decided to finish this book before I finish the 5 lessons we must learn before we die.

This is all tieing together for me.
Figuring out who I am. Focusing on the positive and never taking a moment for granted.

At WI I was down 1 lb which was awesome as I never stepped into the gym once last week. That changes this week. Actually my gym is open regular hours tomorrow as Easter Sunday is not a statutory holiday (Good Friday is). I'm planning to go in as I need to do my weight routine and I think it will be good to get a wee more familiar with the weight set up on a slower day.

I have a half marathon in 6 weeks and head off to the Expedition Everest Challenge in less than 2 weeks. Next weekend is Calgary Expo but I'm a bit disappointed already. I was super excited to see Karl Urban - he dropped out, then I was super excited for Kristin Bauer (Pam from True Blood) and now she's dropped out. So we'll see what happens.

Also in my quest for the ideal gym bag I'm taking this one this week.

I love Lug bags and my go to purse is from Lug, what I like is it's easy to clean, multiple pockets and super practical. I've been using a backpack up till  now which is fine but I seem to have to wrestle it into a locker and wanted something a wee more professional looking while at the same time not heavy empty. We shall see how it goes. I fell in love with the cranberry colour. I had been watching women with them for a while and while in Starbucks I asked one woman her thoughts on the bag and it was based on her review that I ordered one.

I do want to wish all of you a Happy Easter and take care of yourselves this weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The fog is lifting

This week I had my last appointment with my individual grief counsellor, she’s off to a new opportunity. She offered to transfer my file to someone else but after I finish group counselling next week I think I’ll see how it goes.


She did say she saw a change in me and that I seemed well lighter and brighter. I did feel a shift in the past week. For the longest time it felt like my personality was on mute and I was in a fog. The fog feels like it’s lifting, not gone but not lost in it.


While last week was nuts I think the remembering the funny stuff about my Dad at memento night was the key and then the inspirational key note speaker at the conference when he talked about the effects of positive actions and thoughts to the ratio of negative thoughts and actions.


Dr. John Izzo who was the key note on day 2 and I had the opportunity to introduce him for his follow up session wrote a book called “The five secrets you must discover before you die”, morbid title but not morbid book. He interviewed 200 people between the ages of 60 and 160 that were identified by family, friends and acquaintances as “the one person who found happiness and meaning”. They started with over 10,000 recommendations and narrowed it down to 200 based on pre-interviews.


The people he interviewed are from all types of backgrounds like barbers to CEOs, men and women, immigrants and native people.


I read half of it while waiting for group to start last night.


He asks things like:

What brought you the greatest happiness?

What do you wish you learned sooner?


There are funny parts and moving parts I’m really glad I bought it as I think it’s something I’ll go back to again and again.


The other giant aha shift in the last week is I decided to buy a car. Now I got my learner’s when I was 16, my license at 25 as that was when my Dad got sick and it became more of a priority to know how to drive. I have never owned a vehicle before. It was never a priority. In fact I’ve never felt the burning need to own a car. I drove Dad’s vehicles and of course more recently been renting.


As I thought about soon I’d be going up to his house for a week and rent again, I stopped and thought why rent again? If I buy I don’t need to worry about when I leave or when I come back or filling the tank before returning and etc.


I’m thinking more and more of getting a dog.


I kept saying well I’ll wait for the estate to be settledbefore looking for a vehicle. A big part of my delay was I had planned to buy but it was something that Dad and I would do together.


I did say in group last night that it’s probably best we didn’t do it together as he’d probably think some of the features I want are not necessary J I remember telling Dad his next car should have power steering. His was response what for. Then he had a car with power steering and noticed the difference.


I’ve been researching it for a while so I know what I want so on Saturday I’m going to see a dealer. I found a google+ review that highly recommended this one dealer so I emailed him (contact info was on the dealership website) and asked if he worked Saturdays. He responded saying he works this Saturday.


Yesterday I called my insurance folks to start looking at options and if bundling with my house insurance really gets me a better deal.


Thought about getting a personalized plate based on my Dad’s plate number but I can’t justify the $150 to Dad or myself. I do have an art project plan for his old plates.


So will I leave a vehicle owner on Saturday? Maybeand maybe not, we will see how it goes. I will walk away if the deal doesn’t feel right.


I have been asking for people’s advice and it’s kind of funny about what’s important to people. Like:


Make sure you play it cool– Make sure you say what you want


Don’t let them talk you into undercoating or paint protector


You should get a sunroof- But I don’t want a sunroof….what?


Definitely get the navigation system – don’t get the navigation system Garmin works just fine


and it goes on.


Kind of like asking people what’s the best pizza, we all have our own convictions.


Last night we got coated in a nice layer of ice and itsrain/snow ice so thicker. I’m standing at the shuttle bus stop this morning with my bus buddies and said I wonder how bad it will be today with lots of people having removed their snow tires. This prompted the discussion on when should you take off your snowtires….the consensus after May long weekend (which is Victoria Day in Canada – roughly 3rd week of May) that is also my rule for planting flowers as we usually get some sort of killing frost before May long weekend.


I have noticed the tulips I hastily planted in fall are starting to pop up, though I think this continuous snow confuses them and the rest of us.


Hope your week is going well.





Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week from HE - double hockey sticks

Oy vey last week was a challenge.

Monday night was a quick rehearsal for the conference, I was there early but luckily that worked out and I got all my stuff and didn't need to wait till 5pm.

Tuesday was memento night at Group Grief Counselling, I struggled with this. One I knew it would difficult to talk about my Dad and two I had no idea what to bring. My Dad didn't like attention so I know I'd keep it simple so I took a picture off my desk. Not to mention it was also the 12th anniversary of my Mom's passing it was a rough day.

 There were less people at group counselling and I can see why this was a difficult exercise. I totally burst into tears while I was talking about my Dad and I despise crying in front of people, I felt bad as I was the first person to really lose it during their presentation but after me loads of others did so maybe I made them feel comfortable.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday I had to get hosiery for the conference so I ran to the Bay at lunch, I ran past this purse and thought this is perfect for Stampede as the whole downtown core dresses western for 10 days. There was only one so I told myself if it's still there on my way back it's mine and well it was.

Hello fringe!!

Wednesday and Thursday was the conference and I managed to introduce my 4 speakers without incident and the key note speaker on the 2nd day actually made my little grey cells snap to attention, quite frankly up till then everything seemed a little meh. On the last day I did volunteer to do the speaker selection again in 2016 (next time Calgary hosts) as I learned a lot and thought of things I'd do differently.

I took Friday off as I had some more emotional errands to run. The first one was to pick up the vase I ordered for Dad. I was a nice day so I decided to walk back to the train which was about a 30 minute walk. I passed some views I haven't taken time to admire in a while.

 Lions gate bridge, these lions used to be stone but as they were deteriorating the city removed them to a safe place and replaced them with these that are made out of stronger material, though they are still as majestic.

 A glimpse into Chinatown surrounded by downtown towers and the Chinese Cultural Centre.
 The Bow River
The iconic Calgary Tower now dwarfed by the Bow Tower and Suncor Energy Centre, it actually shoots flame from the top since we hosted the Olympic in 1988.

I also visited H&R Block to do Dad's terminal return and my tax return, I finally found someone who was well versed in terminal returns and she offered to help me with the clearance certificate step as well.

Saturday was weigh in and I was up .8, but I kind of expected that. This week I'm bound and determined for a loss. I thought about joining a summer challenge on facebook but then decided against it. I don't do well in group challenges but there's no reason I can't challenge myself.

I already made my lunch for tomorrow and it's in the fridge. It's super salad week. I'm not a fan of lettuce so my salad is tomatoes, cucumber, orange pepper, red onion, mushrooms, ham and boiled egg. Sort of my version of the chopped salad.

Tomorrow I have my last individual grief counselling appointment, originally that was scheduled for after group finished but my counsellor is off to a new opportunity and I really liked her so I'm glad I can see her again.

Tuesday is another group grief counselling and it's the 2nd last one. I can't say I've learned a lot of new things but even my individual counsellor said I had done my research on grief. I have really appreciated hearing the stories of the group though and really knowing I'm not alone.

Well I need go get laundry out of the dryer, breakfast is organized and ready to go for tomorrow.

This will be a good week.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Strength training - oh boy

Today marked my 1st strength workout of my 10 week training program.

My original plan was to go to the gym but I realized that I forgot to pack bottoms in my workout bag....oops.

However I did realize I had what I needed at home so that was my plan.

I got home changed into workout clothes and did 2 sets of the exercises and whoa am I out of shape.

It's been months since I've done any type of strength workout and it was super evident so that just fuels me even more.

Tomorrow I head back to the gym for run day 3 of this week and I'll do strength again on Saturday.  The bottoms are in the gym bag right now.

In other news I also finalized by travel details for Wine & Dine and the Avengers so 2014 is sorted with the exception of airport transfers. I was more worried about flights and hotels.

Next year I think I'll just try to do Tink and Princess (The Glass Slipper Challenge) of course if they add Star Wars I'm in for that but my focus is turning to more races inside Canada. There are some pretty cool ones like Army Run, Niagara Falls (maybe I'll attempt the full and run across the border), plus I've never done a Rock N Roll race and there is one in Montreal - I love Montreal.

I think I really want to do a Disney Cruise for Christmas, I'm still not ready to stay home for that season.

Next week in Group Grief Counselling it's momento week so I need to give that some thought.

Just short and sweet today but I do hope all of you are doing well.


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Finding Patterns & Motivation

Hello my friends,


I was feeling a little down as I’ve now seen 2 gains back to back so I sat myself down to think about what’s changed.


I was on a roll. Losses for 5 weeks in a row then whammy a rather big gain and last week was a .6 gain only rescued by 3 trips to the gym.


Then I realized what’s different for the past two weeks.


Grief counselling


Before when I had the two individual appointments they were sporadic, this will be week 3 in a row of having these sessions and of course the group vibe is completely different.


I’m in a room filled with grieving people which while makes me feel comforted as they get what I’m going through but at the same time hearing their stories makes me want to hug them.


The good news I’ve recognized the trigger and I have another session tonight but I absolutely refuse to see a 3rd gain. I’m righting the ship my friends.


Even at the gym I was walking the indoor track, my plan at first was just to get used to the new surface but I kept walking never inserting a run.


On Monday I went back to Run/Walk ratios and I’ll admit the first few were not feeling so great but the more I took my mind of the negative and focused on staying loose and letting the muscles flow I was at 4 miles before I even knew it.


I’ve been reading “Why Does Olga Run” and that too is serving as inspiration, if you’ve never heard of OlgaKotelko, she’s rather amazing. She’s 95 years old and competes in track and field (Senior’s track and field but still). She does the 100m dash, javelin and long jump. Bruce Grierson is the author and it’s not just about Olga but how we age and how exercise especially strength exercise can positively impact that process.


I have to say strength training has not been part of my training. I have good intentions but fail on the execution.


I was debating on what to do, hire a trainer at the gym to create a strength routine, go through the multitude of books I have but then it hit me.


Last fall I signed up for a 10 week training program targeted at women over 40, I admit I wasn’t all that in to it while I found it highly educational my motivation was lacking and I realize that was part of the grief process. I’m finding it hard to believe that 9 months have passed since Dad passed.


This whole grief counselling thing is also bringing up memories of Mom and I find she is bringing tears to my eyes just as often as Dad is. Of course one week from today is the anniversary date of her passing.


Let me get back to the 10 week online training. It’s designed by Tamara Grand also known as Fitknitchick and you can find her at Not only is she a pretty awesome trainer but I’m jealous of her knitting skills.


I kept everything from the first round of the program. I even built a binder that I call the Tamara binder. So I brushed it all off and I’m starting at week 1 and this time I will see it through till week 10. My first strength workout of Week 1 is scheduled for tomorrow as tonight is group grief counselling session 3 – half way through.


The 10 weeks of the training program will take me till the first week of June, just in time for the Calgary Half Marathon and my 42nd birthday.


I still get people who think I’m substantially younger and now I just don’t correct them J I’d like my inside to line up with my outside.


I do have a reward in mind for keeping to the 10 weeks.


I’ve been eyeing these since last Stampede


When I make it to week 10 they will be mine.


On the WW Fit Group front it seems like we had a good start and it’s starting to fizzle. From the 10 people who were interested, 6 gave numbers for Week 1. 3 gave numbers for Week 2 so far and I’m wondering if I’ll get anyone else’s for Week 3.


I already know I’ll keep going till I hit Newfoundlandeven if it’s on my own.


I did put up the map last week and asked my leader to keep it up if at all possible as I think it might get other meetings interested in joining the crew. Hey I bought a map for this.


The most powerful motivation is intrinsic, from the inside so that’s what I’m focusing on. Of course the boots are probably more extrinsic but hey whatever works right?