• March Madness*

    Sweet mother of pearl, I’ve done it! Two months of posting every. single. day.

    (Sick of me yet? ha).

    It’s been a marvelous journey and little bit of a comeback for me. I made a goal to post every day for a year two years ago, but I had failed miserably by February and gave up. Somehow, this time feels different. Tackling each month as I go seems so much more manageable… and every day that I post my drive to keep writing only increases.

    So, in case you were wondering–I’ve decided to keep going and give March a go!  It’s only another 31 days, and that’s not so long. March also marks the beginning of my quest to find Six Dresses in Six Months… I’ve already found my first dress and I’m really excited to show you! It’s completely different from anything I own, and I feel like it has a bit of a 1960’s vibe to it.

    In case you’ve forgotten, I also made another goal for February: to be sugar & yeast free. Well, I didn’t make it all the way through, but I did make it 16 days before I found it too difficult to keep up. I feel great, and it helped kick start me into thinking about food differently, and has helped me want to take the time to prepare food that is good for me. So, while I didn’t make it as long as I wanted to, I’m proud of what I did do.

    And on a similar note, I’ve decided to make a goal for March. Now that the weather is beginning to get nicer and the snow is melting, I’m running out of excuses not to exercise. Amber’s goal January Yoga challenge really inspired me, and I’m going to take on a similar one:

    I want to run 6 days a week for the entire month of March.

    When I stopped running last fall, I was comfortable running 6km in under an hour. It’s only been 6 months, but I know that I’m terribly out of shape and I need a bit of a boot camp. I plan to get out and run Monday – Saturday for the next four weeks.

    Now then–I’m no inexperienced runner, and I know it’s not necessarily a good thing to run hard every day. I plan to alternate the intensity and lengths, but I want to get out every day. Sundays will be my day of rest, but beginning tomorrow I’m going to don my woolies and hit the pavement. Wish me luck and please send me lots of encouragement… I’m the best at making excuses not to do things that are hard. haha

    So, there you have it. I feel like March is going to be a very exciting month, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

  • Gratitude*

    (Courtesy of: http://trackingwonder.com/a-hut-of-questions/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/gratitude-rainbowspiral1.jpg)

    Life is busy. Hard. Stressful.

    There are days when there is so much to do that it doesn’t feel like there is time to even sit still for a moment from dawn until dusk. When there is so much to do that you go into auto-pilot mode–buzzing from task to task just to get things done and off your to-do list.

    But when your focus is solely on doing things for the sake of getting them done, you miss out on so, so much.

    Auto pilot busy-ness isn’t always a bad thing, but neither is taking the time to pause and enjoy the journey.

    Last week was an auto-pilot week for me. I had assignments due, work was busy, and there were events to plan, organize and prepare for. By Wednesday night I was completely in auto-pilot mode. I’m not even sure if I was registering what I was doing, my body just kicked into gear and got it done.

    My brain was pretty much broken, and my spirit was low. I felt a bit like I was drowning beneath all the things I was “obligated” to do.

    That’s exactly how I saw them. Obligations.

    …and then, as I zoned in and out of the talks on Wednesday night (I was running on very little sleep), I zoned in to hear a story about a man who found himself in a situation very similar to mine. In an attempt to find happiness, he tried to set up small goals where he believed happiness could be achieved upon completion.

    Things like…

    “If I can just survive the morning and make it to lunch, I’ll be happy.”

    “If I can complete two things on my to-do list, I’ll be happy.”

    “If I can go an hour without fighting with {insert person here}, I’ll be happy.”

    “Once this day is done, I’ll be happy.”

    …sound familiar?

    As the speaker listed off this man’s goals, I had flashbacks of myself saying them over and over in my day-to-day life, especially during busy weeks.

    The problem is, completing those things usually only brings a temporary happiness, that disappears once things pile up again and life gets busy. Then it’s back to the list, and back to the If / Then statements.

    This man didn’t experience true happiness until he made time to enjoy the doing. The joy in the work. The joy of results. The joy in knowing that what you do makes a difference.

    He realized that happiness is in the journey, not the destination.

    As I listened intently, I felt a little ashamed. I have absolutely nothing to complain about–sure, life is hard sometimes, but there is also so. much. joy. And I need to focus on that.

    So, as I reflected on the message and ways that I can apply it to my own life, I’ve decided to have a new Sunday post:

    A Gratitude Journal.

    Every Sunday I’ll write ten things I’m grateful for. They may be big things, or (depending on the week) they may be small things. But I hope it will help me be more aware of the many joys in my life, and to be grateful for them.

    I hope it will help me enjoy the journey.

    ———-

    Today I am thankful for…

    1) Patches of beautiful brown grass.
    2) Family.
    3) Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    4) My husband, and how after almost six years of marriage his hand still reaches for mine when we’re out walking.
    5) Our “sauna house”.
    6) Brownies.
    7) Gumpos.
    8) Unexpected words of encouragement.
    9) Good jobs.
    10) Quiet, peaceful moments.

     

  • Best Friends*

    I had the most marvellous day.

    This week has been insane. I seriously felt like I was drowning beneath the million things I had to do, and as each day melted into the next I felt like it was impossible to keep up. When I finally left work on Friday and realized that I had two days that were just mine to do with as I please, it was absolutely exhilarating.

    The Hubster and I enjoyed a lovely date night of dinner & a movie last night as he introduced me to The Bodyguard–somehow I’ve lived all these years and have never seen it. I LOVED it. I haven’t been that riveted through a movie in a long time, and it was the perfect blend of action, romance and music.

    And then I got to spend this afternoon with two of my favourite people in the whole world. Bo Bandy and Star are my best friends from my first year of university, and we finally managed to all get together today.

    (It only took us 4 weeks to plan it. haha)

    Star and Bo Bandy prepared a fabulous pasta lunch, and we spent hours catching and talking up.

    Seriously.

    We spent three hours talking before we realized just how much time had passed. Star and I are both teachers, and Bo Bandy will be joining us when he graduates teacher’s college this spring. I kind of wish that we had all been able to go to teacher’s college together at the same time as our one year together at Ghetto U was one of the best years of my life, but, alas, it wasn’t to be.

    I love spending time with them because it’s just so… easy. Maybe that sounds a little strange, but we just fit so well together. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, as soon as we sit down it’s like we’re family.

    We don’t see each other nearly as often as I’d like, but I hope to remedy that in the future.

    And I’m secretly-no-so-secretly hoping that Bo Bandy will find his dream job in my school board and move out here! Then the two of us and peer pressure Star into transferring and moving out here too… then we can all work in the same school and live happily ever after.

    The end.

  • I Cried at a Rob Zombie Concert*

    (Courtesy of: http://rzr.online.fr/docs/zombie/gfx/Rob_Zombie-2006-Educated_Horses.jpg)

    I’m about to tell you a story that I’ve only ever told two people.

    It’s a little bit embarrassing.

    (Okay, a lot bit embarrassing.)

    But because I love you dearly, I’ve decided it’s time to come clean and tell you the truth:

    I went to a Rob Zombie Concert… and I cried.

    I’m not talking tears of overwhelming joy at being able to see Rob Zombie—I’m no groupie—I’m talking full on panic attack, hysterical tears… at a Rob Zombie concert.

    Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

    To begin with, it probably sounds strange that I, a shoe-loving, Mormon high school English teacher would even end up with Rob Zombie tickets. When I announced that I was going to the concert on Facebook, most of my friends laughed and didn’t believe me. The ones that did believe me could barely contain their shock.

    Confession: I love Rob Zombie. I know he’s not the most uplifting character, but I love the music and just try and avoid his songs that are especially dark.

    It started when I was in grade 7. A couple of times a week we had these “elective” periods where we would rotate through a variety of classes like shop, music and Legos. (Seriously.) In the Lego class, where we had to follow instructions and build complex structures, my teacher loved having music on in the background.

    And one day he played Dragula by Rob Zombie. I fell in love with it immediately.

    Flash forward 10 years, and the Hubster discovers that I have not only heard of Rob Zombie, but actually sort of like his music. One thing led to another, and he saw that he was coming to Toronto and bought three tickets: one for him, his friend, and me.

    In the days leading up to the concert, I was really excited. We hadn’t been to a concert in years, and I have always loved going to them. His friend drove in from out of town, and off we went.

    The concert was being held at a venue I hadn’t ever heard of before. I’ve really only ever attended concerts at the Air Canada Centre, which has lovely rows and seats that scale up so that regardless of where you are, you can see the stage.

    (Sometimes the people on it are just reeeeeeeeeeally tiny.)

    We punched the address into our GPS, and as we got closer I felt like we were entering the setting for the perfect horror film: the hall was down by the docks, the streets were poorly lit, and it was in a heavily industrial neighbourhood. It was really creepy, but I was so excited to go that I tried not to dwell on it.

    We were really early, so we bundled up and got in line.

    As I watched the line-up lengthen, I was really surprised by the… uhm,  variety of people I saw there. I honestly expected to look a little out of place, but mingled in with the fishnets and black make-up were a lot of other ordinary people in jeans and t-shirts.

    Once the doors opened, we slowly made our way inside and I noticed the first problem…

    There were no seats.

    I was staring at a giant, empty, one floored room with a stage at one end, a bar to the side and a “store” or sorts at the back. I quietly nudged the Hubster:

    Me: “Umm… where are the seats?”

    Him: “…there aren’t any.”

    His friend: “Yup! Just lots of room for dancing!!”

    I was not happy about the arrangement, but luckily I had worn semi-comfortable shoes and standing for several hours wouldn’t be a huge issue.

    …except for the fact that I was a little 5’5” girl in a sea of enormous guys and girls in tall boots. We started off way in the back, but as the first opening band started to play I realized that I couldn’t see a thing. The Hubster had told me that the last Rob Zombie concert he went to was almost more of a show than just a concert—complete with a giant dancing robot—so I wanted to make sure that I could at least see the stage.

    So, I did what any inexperienced Rob Zombie concert go-er would do: I started edging forward. The Hubster warned me against getting too close, but I was so determined to see that I pushed forward. At that point the crowd was just a sea of bopping heads, so I thought, “what the big deal?”

    As the second opening band took the stage the whole room surged forward and it was harder to get through. When we stopped moving I was only a few rows from the front, and while it was crowded, the masses were still bopping in place and it wasn’t anything terrible.

    It was actually kind of exciting being in the middle of an enormous throng of people like that. Crowded, but exciting.

    …and then, Rob Zombie took the stage.

    It was like the sea of bopping zombies (ha) came alive when their leader took the stage.

    The audience exploded. The bopping became frenzied dancing and arms and elbows began flying through the air. The tiny bubble of personal space I had vanished as people surged forward toward the stage. I felt myself being pushed forward in the movement and I frantically tried to hang on to the Hubster, who began pulling me in the opposite direction. I felt panic rising in my throat as the energy in the crowd intensified.

    After several minutes of pushing we made our way sideways to the bar, which had a little more space, but a lot more drunk people. I looked around in despair, and clung to the Hubster as we tried to find a pathway to the back of the room, where the mood was a little calmer. Every time we took a step, we were pushed two steps back and… I panicked.

    I cried.

    It started as a few tears, but as we started trying to push out to the back I was a giant, hot mess. When we finally stopped and it hit me that I was out of the crowd I started sobbing so hard that my whole body shook. Tears, running make-up, hiccups, the whole bit.

    In the middle of a Rob Zombie concert.

    The Hubster pulled me aside to a quiet(er) corner in the back of the room and held me in a bear hug while I calmed down, ready to take me home as soon as I said the word. But despite my body’s reaction to the experience, I really did want to stay and see the show. I spent the rest of the concert hanging out with the old folks at the back of the room. Although we could barely see the stage from where we ended up, we still heard everything and Rob Zombie ended up coming out and doing a tour of the crowd and passed by just 10ft from where we stood.

    By the time the concert ended, I had regained some of my enthusiasm (and dignity), though I made sure that we were in the first wave of people to leave as I didn’t want to get caught in another rush.

    We eventually found the Hubster’s friend, whom we had accidentally left behind in the crowd when I began my panicked exit to safety. Though he was bewildered by our sudden disappearance, he rolled with the situation and ended up making some friends in the rowdy crowd.

    So, though this particular concert wasn’t my favourite, I still enjoy his music and would be open to seeing him live again.

    …but only if there are seats… and an old people section.

    (and kleenex.)

  • Thrifty Thursday – Pink Pumps*

    Last weekend the Hubster and I went north to see my family and meet my beautiful new nephew, Hugh.

    After a long visit with Peeah at her house, we all left so that she and her husband could get the kids to bed. It was roughly 8pm, and my dad (who is a pro thrifter–he finds amazing deals) asked me if I had made it to Goodwill yet that day. When I answered that I hadn’t had time, he reminded me that it was a 50% off day and asked me if I wanted to go.

    We dropped the Hubster off at their house, then my mom, dad and I headed out for a mini late-night thrift store adventure.

    I did what I always do: I bee-lined for the shoes. (It’s a compulsion. I can’t help it.) I saw a wicked pair of 3.5″ brown Aldo pumps, but the toes were a little more scuffed than I like. I also spied a beautiful pair of black Nine West flats, but they were a bit too big for me.

    Then, in the sea of black and beige shoes, I saw a flash of pink. Hiding beneath a hideous grandma shoe was a pair of pink Steve Madden pumps. I knew in that moment that I absolutely needed pink shoes. I mean, really–doesn’t everyone?

    I grabbed them off the shelf and slid one on my foot, praying that it would fit.

    …it was a Cinderella moment. (Well, minus the prince. He was at home, letting me shop in thrift story glory. Isn’t that prince-like?)

    They fit perfectly! I was so excited to throw them in my cart, and they ended up being the only thing I bought that night. The best part? They cost me a whopping $3.50. *swoon*

    They have a bit of a scuffed, worn look to them that I actually really like. It makes the pink not so pink and looks kind of cool.

    Seriously–how fun are these? I cannot wait to wear them.

    ———-

    In other news, I’m about to start my new Thrifty Adventure! After seeing the results from my poll, I’ll be beginning Six Months + Six Dresses next week! On the first Thursday of each month I’ll post my dress for the month. I am so excited to take on this challenge–I love dresses, but I am always afraid to buy them and wear them. This will force me out of my comfort zone and I hope to add some cute dresses to my closet.

    So tune in next week to see my first thrifted dress!

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