Day 54 – and I’m feeling like I’ve cheated

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When I set out on this endeavour my goal was to write about purging every day for 100 days. I haven’t met that goal, and now I’m past the midway point.

So, how do I address this?  Do I make excuses, recount the partial successes,  or simply say: such is life?

To be honest, I’m happy with what I have accomplished. I’ve got myself back into a habit of writing and because of that am actually considering getting back into other forms of writing. (I haven’t started – but I’m doing some serious thinking.)

The original point of my little project was to see what I could purge from my life that was weighing me down and holding me back. Clogging the arteries, so to speak.

I’ve done a fair bit of that, and it’s been mainly the metaphysical sort. I’m feeling better – stronger, more confident, content in my own skin – for the first time in a long, long time.

Oh, there are days when I need to remind myself to tend my own garden, to leave others’ alone; days when I have to work at being happy and remind myself I’m not responsible for someone else’s happiness; and there have been days that I’ve struggled to get through simply because no matter what I did it wasn’t going to be enough.  That day.

But I knew that there would be a tomorrow and that tomorrow could be good. If I wanted it to be.

I always wanted it to be.

I count that as A HUGE success of this little undertaking.

I’ve also rid myself and our home of some very unnecessary clutter. Doing this in two places hasn’t been easy, or even (sometimes) very noticeable, but the feeling of just letting things go has been very empowering.

The significant other and I have VERY different ideas about what should be purged and what shouldn’t, and that’s something else I’ve learned along the way – how to be flexible without compromising.

As we move ever closer to Spring and that sense of the world renewing itself I feel myself being pulled to do more, to start accomplishing, to work harder at attaining my goals. I have to remind myself – Spring is just a season. It will pass. Don’t get caught up in the rush of it.

I need to maintain my balance, keep going one day at a time. Spring will move towards Summer as it always does, then Fall will return to remind me that Winter is on its way.

100 days out of 365. I can do that.

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#48

pexels-photo-259200.jpegWhat’s this? Posting two days in a row?  What the.  .  .?

Purging will be simple today – it’s just venting.

Vent # 1- aquafit/aquasize/water aerobics – whatever you want to call it last night. It was my second class. Because last Friday’s got cancelled. I had rushed to get there all enthusiastic and everything (and a little late, too) only to be told it was cancelled due to the Alberta Winter Games.

Well.

I knew the games were on but the instructor never said anything when she was telling us that our next class was to be held in a different pool because the one we were in needed some maintenance.

You know what they say about assuming things.  .  .?

Anyway, I made plans to go with someone to a class last night. (Double checked that the class was running, first.) We arrived and stood around looking lost because we had no idea where the class was being held – no signs to indicate which pool, no milling crowd of excited participants – just us shivering on the edge feeling conspicuous in front of the row of men sitting outside the steam room and the sauna. (We come to watch!)

Finally, I asked where the class was taking place. The instructor shows up and we get in to the water. The cold water. The deep, cold water. We were standing on our toes, water lapping at our chins.  Ever tried doing a skiers lunge in water that’s nearly over your head? Ha ha ha ha. We toughed it out, but were pretty chilled by the end of the hour.

This is what was great about the class – I got out for the evening, I spent a lot of time laughing, I got to spend a bit more time with a new friend, I got some exercise and I got to sit in a hot tub afterwards.

Vent #2 – Rewards programs.

Like 99% of the population I like rewards. I like the feeling that I’m getting a little something extra for my loyalty as a consumer.

Hence, we collect Airmiles. At the rate of about 10 a year. We have 2 travel points credit cards – which get used quite regularly, and which have been extremely beneficial. We also have a PC/Optimum card for groceries and whatever.

Generally, I don’t complain about these programs because I figure, hey,  it’s a bonus and it’s better than getting nothing. Right?

Riiiight.

In the last year our travel VISA through TD has changed the way you earn and redeem points. These were tagged as ‘new’ and ‘important’ changes.  Essentially what it means is that we earn fewer points per purchase but it costs us more points when we want to redeem.

I did the irate consumer thing and called to voice my dissatisfaction. All that got me was a “We value your opinion and we’ll be sure to pass along your comments” platitude. Despite my threat to cut the card up I’ve still got it, because, well, you know, something is always better than nothing. Right?

Recently, I’ve been forced into the PC Optimum program. This is an amalgamation of the President’s Choice family of companies and Shoppers Drug Mart.

I shopped at Shoppers quite a lot, and had earned a swack of points. I didn’t really shop at Superstore that much, just occasionally, even though I had a PC points card. So I really didn’t earn many points there.

When the switcheroo came my points transferred over and I thought nothing of it. Other than – now that the two programs are joined I might as well shop more often at Superstore, and any other stores affiliated with the PC Optimum program.

And that’s how they get you. Because you think there’s a benefit in it for you.  Well, not so much.

Now I no longer earn points on every dollar I spend. I only earn points on those items they choose to send me offers for. And most of those offers are for things I’d never purchase.

It’s an ingenious marketing strategy, and one I’m sure many producers are paying handsomely to be part of. Because now they can directly target consumers and entice them to buy their products through the promise of points that they can redeem for more of their products.

So many people use these points programs to enhance the quality of their lives. It allows them to put more food on their tables, take vacations, buy gifts they might not otherwise be able to afford.

When I consider this I can’t help wondering: if, instead of spending trillions of dollars creating these ‘loyalty’ programs, companies simply lowered their prices so that consumers could actually afford to purchase what they needed and wanted – wouldn’t that in itself create loyalty?

It’s a long one today – glad I got it all out.

47 rhymes with heaven. . . But not purging.

Well, that was just silly. But it made me smile. So.

Four days since my last post. I had a bit of a stomach thing going on this weekend. Did not feel like doing a damned thing. Seems, though, I have managed to purge myself of whatever it was, ’cause I’m feeling fine now.

Fine enough that I went grocery shopping.

I’m not one of those people who hates grocery shopping. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. I like checking out what’s fresh, what’s on sale and discovering new foods to try.

But today was a trial.

I swear every dough-head in town was in Superstore this afternoon. They parked their carts in the middle of every aisle I went down – and looked peeved when they were asked to move.

They stood smack-dab in front of the dairy coolers, doors open while they chatted on the phone, completely mindless that other shoppers wanted in.

They blocked the aisle ends so no one could get past while they stood there, gazing skyward in search of God only knows what.

They man-handled the produce to the point of obscenity. Seriously.

What I had set out upon thinking it would be a leisurely afternoon of browsing for groceries turned into an exercise in frustration.

Some days.

Glad I purged that out of my system!

My 43rd day of purging– sorta kinda

Physically here’s what I’ve gotten rid of over the past couple of days.

  • Old flyers for pizza and hamburger joints – these, aside from being out of date are not good for us to have around when we’re trying so hard to lose weight, eat healthier and get in shape. I’ll admit I was sorely tempted as I leafed longingly through them before tossing them – all that ooey, gooey cheesy goodness just flaunting itself in front of my tearfilled eyes.
  • A beer can, a beer bottle and numerous candy wrappers, chip bags and takeout coffee lids while out walking. Doing this makes Tim cringe – he thinks I’m going to contract some horrible disease or something. I’m wearing gloves, for Pete’s sake and I wash them when I get home. It’s not like I’m checking those bottles and cans for a little sip – sheesh!
  • Another pound. Losing weight is so much harder than it used to be. Still, a pound is a pound and I’m happy that my efforts are paying off. And I’m extra happy because Tim took me out for supper to The Keg for Valentine’s Day. I only ate half of everything I ordered, but it was still a LOT of calories. Mostly of the fat kind. I just keep channeling Oprah and her wheel barrow full of butter.

Now, for some other stuff I need to get rid of.

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The debate over changing Canada’s national anthem so that it’s gender-neutral. All I can say is:  How is this even an issue?

Political correctness and feminism. That’s how.

I think both of those causes are worthy and necessary. And a lot of really good changes to society have been advanced as a result of people championing them. Changing our anthem is not one of those.

As far as I’m concerned it’s petty, and specious. A small group of ‘concerned’ women who have deemed it their mission in life to exact a meaningless change to something that reflects who we are, and more importantly, speaks to our national pride. They say the lyrics exclude and deliberately fail to acknowledge that women have played as important a role in Canadian history as men.

Bullshit. It’s an anthem.  noun 1. A rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause. (Google on-line dictionary). In this case that group would be Canadians – all of them. Which I’m pretty damned sure when we all sing it at public events we’re including everyone who is a Canadian. Be they indigenous, immigrant, black, white, pink, purple or green. Whether they are gay, straight, queer or any derivation thereof possible. Whether they served as a soldier, a line cook, nurse, mother, father or field hand. If you’re Canadian this song is for you. And it should be left alone.

If some people feel the need to be offended by the use of ‘in all our sons’ command,’ then they should feel free to sing whatever word they wish to substitute whenever they sing the anthem – if they can get past their self-righteousness, that is.

We are, after all, a democracy, and we will support their right to do so. Because that’s what Canadians do.

41st Purge

pexels-photo-235474.jpegThe weather has been very odd the last few days.

First, it’s blisteringly cold. Then it warms up to the point it was raining last night. Today it’s bloody cold again.

I get tired of saying, ah well, winter in Alberta, but really.  . .

Today I started an aquafit class. It was a lot tougher than I thought. Trying to force foam dumbbells through the water while holding them at waist height is not as easy as you’d think. A couple of times I felt like I was going to lose control and one or both of my arms would just go rocketing up out of the water and I’d look like a drunk synchronised swimmer. Thankfully, our instructor seemed to know exactly when we’d reached our limit and she’d let us have a millisecond of rest.

Another thing that’s way hard in the water? Jogging. Fast. She had us do the equivalent of wind sprints all the while exhorting us to keep our shoulders back, our heads up, our backs straight and our stomachs in. Seriously. Water torture.

Never mind my whining. I enjoyed the class and I’m looking forward to continuing.

You know what else I enjoyed? Getting the senior discount! I don’t want to brag or nothin’, but I saved 75% of the regular cost. Ha, ha. Take that. I think I’m going to like being 60.

Well, I’m trying to convince myself that I will. Think young to stay young.

Day 41 of The Purge

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Confession: I don’t think I should say this blog is about purging anymore. Although.  .  .

Tim and I talked about purging yesterday. It didn’t go well. More in a bit.

The last four days were what I consider ‘good’ days. The weather was decent; I got some great walks in (Tim even came with me once).

We took some dance lessons on Friday night. Learned the two-step, which I pretty much knew how to do, but they taught us how to twirl and do the cuddle. We need more practice, but we had fun and met some nice people.

Saturday was an incredibly lazy day. The most I did was make this weight watchers loaded cauliflower bake. We visited with some friends in the evening and I wanted to give this recipe a try. It was actually very good. Lo-carb and (fairly) lo-cal. The important thing is it had cheese and bacon in it.

Sunday, I spent the morning on the phone.  Easy to do when you have seven siblings. Then Tim and I indulged ourselves and went to Cora’s for brunch.

I never used to be a Cora’s fan, but I tell you, I sure am now.

After our leisurely brunch – where the subject of purging raised its ugly head – we went for a long walk in the cold, but very sunny afternoon. Lovely.

So now about the purging.

And it occurs to me that I have discovered another way that I am actively purging, but I’ll get to that after this.

While we were waiting for our meals at Cora’s we began discussing the future. As in three years from now when Tim retires again.

One of our main plans is to have our house completely retirement ready. All repairs and reno’s done so that we don’t have to spend our time, energy and limited income on doing them when we have nothing but time on our hands.

To do that we have to really clean house. Tim and I have VERY different ideas about what that means.

I would like to get one of those rent-a-dumpsters and just go to town.

Tim is all for saving every thing. He considers all the stuff we’ve accumulated over 39 years together as’ history’.

You see the problem.

The more we (I) talked the more agitated he got. Finally, it got to the point where he told me he wasn’t going to talk about it anymore. Which annoyed the crap out of me. So I asked him what could we talk about. Nothing, he said. So, what, we’re just going to sit here staring at one another? I asked. I guess, he said.

So that’s what I did. I made my eyes as big as I could and I stared right at him. He was studiously ignoring me, but he finally had to look in my direction. The second his eyes caught mine he started to laugh. You’re such a jerk, he said.

After that we had a great time. However, I wisely left the subject of purging alone.

Now, the way in which I am actively doing some purging is while I’m walking. I get so tired of seeing garbage on the street and walkways and I always complain about it.  Last week I decided to stop complaining. Instead, I pick it up.

Fort McMurray is a wonderful town for having an abundance of garbage cans and receptacles on its streets. And for the most part its citizens are very good about using them. Still, there is always some garbage littering the ground. Generally, it’s plastic stuff. Stuff that won’t break down or biodegrade.

It’s such an easy thing to do to bend down and pick it up and carry it the few feet to the next garbage can.

There you have it. It won’t save the world, but it’ll keep a little more waste out of the river and the trees and maybe it’ll save a bird or a fish.

Gotta love the urge to purge.

Purgey, purgey, purge. Day 37

 

I’ve been busy getting back into the swing of things. Thank God I’m no longer working! I’d be completely useless. That’s not to say I haven’t been busy – I have – it’s just that I seem to require frequent rests in between chores.

My purging right now is focused on health and diet. Tim and I are both seriously over-weight and out of shape. On Monday we both started restricting calories, eating healthier and doing some form of exercise every day. This has not been a painless process.

Going from what was a very high-fat diet to one low in fat, high in protein, fibre and vegetables has taken some serious adjusting.

Then there is the restriction of alcohol to be considered.  . .

Even before our cruise with the all-inclusive drink package that came with it (which we took full advantage of, let me tell you) we were in the habit of having at least two drinks/day.

We had convinced ourselves that a couple of drinks a day wouldn’t hurt us – they were,  in fact, actually good for us. They helped us relax, they provided us with time to connect at the end of Tim’s work day, and, because we needed to believe there was some good in drinking every day we bought into some ‘research’ that said consuming one to two alcoholic drinks per day was shown to have numerous health benefits.

If we were running a marathon every day, maybe. All it did was help make us fatter, lazier and less interested in being healthy.

We have not completely sworn off booze. Oh, no! We like it – a lot – and we especially like consuming it when we socialize. It’s just our approach to it has changed. We will reserve the pleasures of imbibing for those special occasions when we’re with family or friends.

And we will not needlessly or purposely create ‘special’ occasions.

Exercise has been a challenge, too. It requires us to get up quite a bit earlier than we’ve become accustomed to. We each have a half hour routine we do in the morning. It’s a good way to start the day – grunting and groaning, huffing and puffing – but we definitely have more energy and a more positive attitude when we’re done.

Trying to fit some form of exercise in to our evenings is more of a challenge. So far this week we’re 0 for 3. We’ve decided that swimming would be a good choice. It’s just getting our carcasses to the pool that’s the problem. This morning, because we both slept in and missed our workout, we’re definitely committed to going. Maybe. Hopefully.

I’m proud of us, for recognizing that our lifestyle was seriously unhealthy and for choosing to make changes. Change is never easy, and I find that the older I get the easier it is to convince myself that it’s unnecessary and pointless.

Following the death of my father this attitude became constant and predominant. What was the point, I asked myself. If life could be taken from someone as big, strong and gregarious as our father, someone who did not drink to excess, someone who either walled, biked or golfed every day, then why should I concern myself with having a few drinks or doing nothing more strenuous than taking a stroll around the block now and again?

And then I thought of what dad’s reaction would have been to me thinking like that. He wouldn’t have chastised, judged or reprimanded. He would have simply given me that look that said “come on, Kathy Marie, you know better than that.” And then he would have probably said, “let’s go for a walk”.

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And I begin again. . .day 36 of 100

Well, really that should be day 19, because I missed a whole bunch of days while I was busy cruising through the Panama Canal!

What an absolutely amazing experience that was! We saw six countries in 14 days.

Had a ton of fun on the ship – from eating and drinking to dancing, playing Deal or No Deal, eating and drinking, watching great entertainment every night, playing numerous games of backgammon and Racko, eating and drinking, visiting exotic ports of call and swimming, soaking in hot tubs and enjoying meeting so many nice people – we did it all.

Aside from some mild sea-sickness I enjoyed every moment of it.

I’d guess the only purging I did while on our trip was of the reality kind, as in I left reality at home. Cruising really is the great escape.

It’s very expensive to have your phone on all the time – $7.00 a minute to make a call, plus roaming charges. Internet is available at the bargain price of $1.00 per minute – if you buy the 15 minute/day package. So the only thing I used my phone for was the camera and to hold my room key. It was actually quite liberating.

I thought I’d be able to blog while we were in port but I was so busy with excursions and trying to keep to deadlines, plus the fact that I didn’t travel all that way to miss out on the sights, that I simply decided blogging could wait. I’m glad I made that decision. The last thing I want is for this blog to become an obligation, something I feel anxious or uptight about doing.

Today, I knew I was ready to get back at it. I wanted to sit down and get my thoughts out.

So let the 100 days begin again.

Here a few photos from our fabulous trip.