Day 17 – 18 — I’m not gonna be able to purge no more

Yesterday and today have been taken up with getting ourselves to Miami where we will embark on Friday for our two week Panama cruise. I can’t wait to leave.

Being able to purge is really not feasible, considering that we had to be very particular about what we packed.  If I toss anything out it could lead to catastrophe.

But if I had to say I’ve purged anything over the  last two days it would be: Stress and anxiety. Stress because getting ready for a trip is always an ordeal – did I pay the all bills that need paying; did I remember to pack everything; did I get all the documents in order that we need for the trip? Anxiety because, well, even though I’m getting better at letting shit go I still have to keep working on it.

Yesterday though I was quite pleased with myself. After making sure the suitcases were finally organized and packed once and for all, I laid down for a nap, and then I went for a walk. It was such a beautiful Alberta chinook-y day that I couldn’t resist.

Dad and I talked and walked and enjoyed the sunshine.  I saw a friend at the post office who I hadn’t seen in ages and we had a wonderful conversation. It was so nice to see her and get caught up on her life.

Then, before I knew it, it was time to head to the airport. After nearly  7 hours of flights and a two hour stop in Toronto, we landed in Miami. We’re only here for one night and then we embark on the Norwegian Star tomorrow at 2 pm. It’s been a good day of getting to know our cruise mates a little better over food and drink (and a little synchro swimming by my husband and one of the other guys at the hotel pool).

To the lady who yelled at her kids to grab their towels and then barked “we’re leaving” all I can say is: lighten up, life’s to short to not enjoy every moment of it whenever you can.

Bon voyage!

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Purge, the 16th

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Photo courtesy Google free images

I’m discovering that purging can take many forms.

Today’s purging involved finances. Tim and I are now at that stage in life when we want things to be super simple, and that includes our money (what little we have, ha).

The topic of money is such a volatile one. We all want it, we want LOTS of it, and we don’t want to have to worry about it. We have different ideas about money and what it can do for our lives. Some of us, like me, are savers, and some, like my husband are spenders.

Some clarification: I am a saver, but I am also a spender, but the way I choose to spend my money is much different from the way Tim chooses. Tim is a spender who likes the idea of saving – it just happens to clash with his wants, needs and desires. So, fundamentally, we have opposing views when it comes to what we should do with our money.

What I think money can do for me is: Provide me with a secure, comfortable, well-established and maintained home; take me on vacations to warm places every winter for two weeks or longer; allow me to indulge my grandchildren, son and daughter-in-law when I want to; give me the opportunity to plan trips with my family; provide a little for those less fortunate than we are. That’s not a complete list, but those are probably the most important things on it.

Yesterday we had to go to the bank and make some decisions on the best way to ensure that we’re getting the biggest bang for our bucks as possible. In the past this could lead to some pretty heated arguments between Tim and I. But yesterday I made the conscious decision to not get upset just because Tim’s and my opinions don’t agree. I think he did, too, because it was actually pretty painless. And I think we made some pretty good decisions.

Or, maybe it’s just that we’re getting old(er) and realize that some things, like money, just aren’t worth fighting about.

Day 15 of The Purge

Today was `blue` Monday.  That day in January when people tend to feel more depressed, more blah, more blue, than any other day of the year.

I know I certainly did. I didn`t know it was blue Monday until the radio announcer mentioned it as I was driving on my way to see my doctor. I looked over at Tim and said `well, that explains a lot.` He didn`t say anything back.

I purged my blues by going to get my hair done this afternoon. I`ve been feeling kind of dragged out and just plain old-looking lately, and going to see Agnes, my hairdresser (I love that I can say that!) was the perfect remedy for my blues.

I`ve been seeing Agnes for over 20 years. I don`t know what I`ll do if she ever retires. Just go grey and get myself a bowl, I guess.

I was her only customer today and we spent the afternoon talking about our families, books, the fact that we`re getting older and fatter and not too happy about it, and a million other little things while she transformed me from frumpy and glum into stylish and cheery. The Cointreau she put in my tea might have helped just a little bit with the mood change!

If I ever have enough money to have indulgences – let alone satisfy them – I think the one thing I`d definitely splurge on would be a personal hairdresser. And I would hope that hairdresser could be Agnes.

Day 13 and Day 14 — Purging along

I didn′t get around to blogging yesterday about my purging efforts. Not that there was much to write about, though.

We were supposed to leave yesterday morning to get home early so that we could do some packing and errands prior to us leaving on our cruise. (I am sooo excited for this cruise!) However, there was a power outage in our building and we wound up having to stick around much longer than we planned. Tim even got stuck in the elevator once!

When we did finally get on the road it was 4:30 which put us in BA around 8:30. We went straight to the hotel where my DIL had planned a surprise birthday party for our son. We stayed til about 11 o`clock and when we got home I was so tired the last thing on my mind was to sit down and try to write.

This is what I purged yesterday: some face care product samples that I`d got at The Body Shop a while ago. I didn′t care for them, but I was forcing myself to use them because they were free and well, I felt obligated. Which is a little crazy, I know. So, yesterday when I was packing to come home I saw them and I thought throw these out! For a millisecond I considered not doing it, but then I walked over to the garbage can and let ′em go.

I also tossed my poinsettia. Every year I buy one and every year I say this year this thing is going to live. And every year it dies. I try to nurse them along, but it never works. I keep them around usually until Spring and then I plant them out in the garden and hope like hell that they`ll make a miraculous recovery. It′s never worked. So, I spared myself all that watering and agony and just dropped the poor thing in the trash. At least it will turn into compost.

Today, which is day 14 was a busy day. A birthday dinner for my son and his family. Shopping, dealing with a shattered patio window and problems with my brand new front door.

We spent a good chunk of our day getting things ready to go on our cruise. The purging involved in that has been weeding out what not to pack. I tend to pack light, but I′ve never cruised before and I`m a bit nervous about exactly what I need to take.

I began with just about every item of summer clothing I own, plus a few new things that I′ve bought in anticipation of our adventure. I plan well, and know that I`ll be doing some hand washing, but, holy crap does it ever seem like a lot! My stomach is in knots and will be until we are on our way.

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On the twelfth day of purging

The purge was pretty minimal today.

A pair of dollar store insoles. That’s what I get for trying to save a couple of bucks. I wasted them instead.

Something I know I need to purge myself of is weight. I am about 30 lbs overweight right now. I’ve gained this weight over the last couple of years. Somehow it just seemed to creep up on me and now, regardless of my efforts, I can’t get rid of it.

Wait a minute! Regardless of my efforts? My efforts have been pretty feeble if I’m going to be perfectly honest. Sure, I go out for a walk everyday – except today – it stayed around -33 all day and I just couldn’t convince myself that it was a good idea to go out in that kind of cold.

But I did do push-ups.  Five really hard push-ups. Tomorrow I’m aiming for six.

I’ve decided to add another 100 day challenge to my list. Push-ups. I think they’re like doing mini planks. Planks are good, so push-ups must be even better.

I really need to figure out a strategy for losing this weight, though. I know what I need to do to lose it. I need to find my will power again, and, I need to let go of this self- defeating notion that, just because I’m a few months away from being 60, I can eat what ever I want and exercise as little as I want.  Afterall, who’s gonna care?

Well, a bunch of people, I hope, but, most importantly, me.

 

Day 11

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Photo courtesy Google free gallery

Once again, today was basically a non-purge day. There’s just nothing physical here I can throw out. We haven’t lived here long enough to accumulate enough crap that I have to get rid of it.

On an emotional level I’m doing pretty good, though. My daily walks are certainly helping with that.

One thing I have noticed about my personal well-being since starting my purging goal is that I’m feeling more secure about how I feel and how I react to situations that tend to cause me anxiety. I hope that makes sense.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that I’m not worrying so much about what other people might think about what I say or do, or, not do.

All my life I’ve been a worrier. I like to joke and say “if I don’t have something to worry about I’m not happy.” On the one hand I am great at saying how much I don’t care what people think of me, or the things I do, but secretly I worry about it all the time.

By performing small, easily managed tasks like tossing out magazines and old hair care products, and letting go of anger and guilt for things from my past, both distant and recent, I’ve made myself feel like I’m in control.

The very idea of being in control is such an illusory ideal, but it’s something we all long to achieve.

By focusing every day on one thing that is important to me for that day, regardless of how trivial it might seem, I am letting go of so much unnecessary worry and the self-recrimination that comes along with it.

 

Purge – Day 10 or, I’m one tenth of the way to making my goal!

20171209_204647.jpgWow.  Ten days. In a row. I haven’t written this much, or this steadily in a long, long time.

For my tenth day of purging, let’s just say I thought about it. If you consider housework – vacuuming, washing floors and dusting – purging, then that’s what I did today.

I did manage to get outside for a short walk. In the -28 degree weather. It was a SHORT walk. Fifteen minutes. But it counts. I figure I must burn twice as many calories walking when it’s this cold because of all the extra layers I put on and the speedy pace I set.

Tim came with me. He complained most of the time. “I thought this was supposed to be a short walk?” “My nose is frozen. I think I’ve got frostbite” “Where are you going!? That way is longer!” “I can’t feel my legs.”

Honestly.  I took him by the hand and told him we’d be okay.

I told dad that Tim was being a whiner. I’m sure he had a good chuckle. But I’m glad he came all the same. It was nice to hold his hand as we trudged through the dark and the cold.

Purge 9 of 100

Nothing physical purged today.  All mental and emotional.

I rid myself of these three things today: sadness, lethargy and malaise.

I’ll start with lethargy and malaise. It was -24, windy and snowing today. I could have easily chosen to stay inside and not go for my walk today. A couple of weeks ago I probably would have done just that.

But today I set a goal of leaving the apartment after 2 pm (that’s when the mail is delivered) and I didn’t hesitate once when it came time to go. I bundled up and away we (Dad and I) went.

And you know what? It wasn’t that bad. Sure, it was cold and the wind blowing in my face took my breath away once or twice, but honestly, it wasn’t bad. I talked to dad as I trudged through the drifting snow, glad I had him to keep me company. I walked up to the little shopping centre a few blocks from our building, completed my few errands and was home again by 3:30. A nice hot cup of tea and I was comfy, cozy and content.

Now for sadness. Despite feeling incrementally better these past couple of weeks I still find myself dealing with moments of incredible sadness. Writing this blog is helping with that, as are my daily walks and conversations with my father.

As I walked today I told dad that I wished I’d had it in me to talk to him the way I do now when he was alive. The wind was blowing really hard, so if he answered me, I didn’t hear him. Instead of feeling sad I actually felt a sense of joy.

There’s a story in our family of how my father once walked through a blizzard carrying my younger sister and I after his car got stuck in a snow drift. We lived out in the country and there was no traffic and no where for him to find shelter to wait out the storm. He knew we’d likely freeze if he didn’t get us home, so he bundled us up inside his big green army coat – one on his back, one in front and he set out in the direction of our home.

I wish I could remember that experience. I wish I could remember feeling his heart beating against mine as he struggled to get us to safety. I wish I could remember if he talked to us, told us stories to help us stay awake and calm. But, as with so much of my early life, I remember nothing. I know this story, and that he probably saved our lives only because my younger sister remembers and so did my dad and its been told numerous times.

I used to feel so sad because I couldn’t remember. And that there must be something wrong with me because I didn’t. Today, I felt that sadness and guilt lifted up and out of me on the blowing wind and swirling snow.

Thanks again dad.

Purge away – Day 8

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Because I’m up in Fort McMurray it’s a little hard for me to do any really meaningful or substantive purging. But I tried.

I got rid of last year’s calendars. And put up our new ones.

Last year’s calendars were full of birthdays, appointments, holidays and the usual stuff we write on calendars. I imagine yours are just like mine. I like to go back through them and see what we did over the previous 12 months before tossing them out. It’s a nice reminder of how we used our time.

The calendars we use these days are a lot different than the ones we used to have. We don’t just get the free ones anymore from the bank or the local Chinese food restaurant. (Though I do still take them. After all, they’re free!)

My DIL usually makes us one that features their family. That’s always my favorite.  This year I made my own calendar that has everyone’s birthdays, our holidays and other important dates pre-printed on it. Life is so much easier when I don’t have to try and remember everything.

Also this year, I made a calendar for my mom that has pictures from the last year of dad’s life.  Snapshots of some of the great moments of us all together one last time, some poignant shots of the two of them enjoying the little time they had left – decked out in their matching Maple Leaf’s pajamas, always a smile on their faces.

I like calendars. I like them not just for their practicality, but for the pictures,  as well – especially the ones of family. This year, the one from Lee’s Restaurant in Gibbons has pictures of animals on it. Who doesn’t like pictures of cute puppies and kittens, colorful birds and glittering fish?

The free calendar is a standard size with decent sized squares for jotting appointment times and birthday reminders in. The family calendar, however, is fantastic. It’s a big one, with lots of room for writing on it.  And seeing my grandkids’s smiling faces each day brings me immeasurable joy. Just no way to beat that combination of form and function.

I know this was a small act of purging today, and really, all I did was make room for replacements. But I figure not all purging has to be about making a permanent hole in the stuff we collect, sometimes it can be about opening up a little more space for possibilities.

 

Purge – Day 7

Today’s act of purging was to let go of anger. I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been experiencing random bouts of unexplainable anger.

Poor Tim. I’m usually taking it out on him. (Not that he doesn’t sometimes deserve it. Lol.)

We had to head back up to Fort Mac today. It’s only for a week, but leaving my home always makes me a little testy. I’ve been able to be home for about three weeks so leaving today was extra hard.

We didn’t leave at the time I had hoped to. That didn’t help. I had to kick Tim’s butt out of bed. That didn’t help. I had to start loading the car myself to get him away from the tv. That DEFINITELY didn’t help.

Once we were out the door I told him I’d drive the first leg. I thought if I just had something to focus on besides my anger I’d be ok. It helped. A little.

I think most of this anger comes from feeling like I have no control. Which puzzles me, because lately I’ve been taking all these steps towards regaining control. Purging is certainly helping.

The problem today, I think, is that I resented having to leave home, my grandkids, my comfort zone. I know there is so much more I need to take care of there, and now,  because we have to go to Ft. Mac, I won’t be able to get it done.

Sigh. And get over myself.

Because in a little over a week we are going on a two-week cruise of the Panama Canal.

So, once we got back to our home away from home and I got supper in the oven, I put on my boots and coat and hat and gloves and went for my walk. I told dad how angry I was feeling, how frustrated and upset I was. I heard him tell me that it was okay.

As I walked I kept talking, kept voicing everything I’d been feeling all day. Gradually I felt my shoulders loosening up, the knot in my stomach and chest letting go and my breathing become easier and slower.

As the afternoon darkened I felt calm for the first time all day. With a smile I turned and headed back to the apartment.

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