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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Day 4 of the purge

Today was a simple day. I went for my third walk. The weather was beautiful and there was a huge flock of waxwings that seemed to be following me around town. I scared them out of a couple of spruce trees as I walked past and from there they just seemed to wheel overhead wherever I went. They were a delight to watch.

I heard a little chickadee singing his Spring song and I said to him, sorry, little guy, but Spring is still a long way off. Hearing his little song made me feel hopeful, though.

Today I got rid of old hair products that I’ve had for longer than I can remember. I buy hair products usually after I’ve visited with my sisters. They are all great with hair and they take it upon themselves to do my hair whenever we’re together. I love it. I love the attention and the conversations we have while they transform me.

I’ve never been one to fuss and primp, but those girls can get me thinking that I should.

So, once our visits are over I go out and buy hairspray and mousse and serum and god-knows-what-all and fuss with my hair for a week or two. Then, it just gets to be too much work, and without them, no fun. The products get stuck in a closet or under the bed or in a drawer that I don’t use. Occasionally I’ll decide to try again, but then I wonder about chemical breakdown and whether using them could damage my hair.

But throw them out? No. That would be wasteful. Today, though, I grabbed that fifteen year old bottle of leave in conditioner that has been in my medicine cabinet since the day I bought it and I threw it in to the hazardous wastes container. Along with some twenty year old mineral make up that I only kept because it had a nice brush. That I used maybe twice.

Then I got rid of some more food stuff from the fridge. What did I think I was going to do with that single tablespoon of cherry preserves? Obviously, I forgot because it was just mouldy sludge in the bottom of the jar when I dug it out from the back of the fridge. It looked like something that Stephen King might have written about in his younger years. I was tempted to pitch the whole jar, but I couldn’t do it. It’s a glass canning jar, after all, and I can re-use it. (My purging only goes so far.)

Then there was the container of homemade chocolate sauce — maybe enough left for one dish of ice cream. I don’t remember when I made it, but I know I made it for my grand-kids. It got shoved in the back on the second shelf behind a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and some jars of bouillon. When I opened it the top was all speckly and pitted. It looked more like congealed gravy than chocolate sauce. Again, I saved the container.

I know why I hang on to things for as long as I do. It’s not because I’m thrifty, or lazy or just forgetful. It’s because these things have in some way brought me pleasure. They remind me of simple moments of joy shared with people I love.

I’m only four days in on this 100 days of purging, but I’m learning that letting go of things does not mean letting go of memories.

Day 3 — the purge continues

20180103_204556Every time I write the word purge I laugh a little. It reminds me of the terrible The Purge movie we watched a few years ago. It was worse than dreadful — it was violent and boring. I couldn’t wait for it to end.

Now, of course, there are sequels. Go figure.

The word purge is an ugly word. It sounds ugly when you say it; it’s ugly when written. Even the meaning is ugly.

Purge (noun)

:an act of removing by cleansing; ridding of sediment or other undesired elements
:the act of clearing yourself (or another) from some stigma or charge
:rinse, clean, or empty with a liquid – purge the old gas tank
:eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth – He purged continuously
:make pure or free from sin or guilt
:an abrupt or sudden removal of a person or group from an organisation or place – he died in a purge by Stalin
:clear of a charge
:excrete or evacuate (someone’s bowels or body) – The doctor decided that the patient must be purged
:oust politically – Deng Xiao Ping was purged several times throughout his lifetime
:rid of impurities – purge the water – purge your mind
But my intent to purge my life of unnecessary things is not ugly. It is liberating. Like some forms of purging listed above, it is actually a good thing.
Today I rid myself of magazines. I have hung on to these magazines for ages. Some of them were from the early 1990s. I kept some of them in the bathroom in case someone needed reading material. I, personally, wouldn’t touch them. And as far as I know neither did anyone else. They were dusty, wrinkled from constantly being steamed from the shower, and out of date.
Dr. Oz’s advice on how to stock your refrigerator so you’ll lose weight is only good for one reading as far as I’m concerned. When I picked up the women-only fitness magazine and leafed through it I thought for one brief moment that I should try some of the workouts, but then I remembered that I went for a walk this morning. That’s good enough at my age.
It’s not like I ever want to wear a bikini again — no, a nice high-waisted tankini with tummy control, waist minimizer and boob support is my style these days. Something I can walk around the resort, beach, deck in with a glass of wine in one hand and a book in the other. My pretty-young-thing days are all behind me and I’m happy.
I also got rid of Christmas and holiday magazines. I had been clinging to these as though they were precious artefacts. These magazines represented the romanticized versions of the holidays that I always tried to create. I made a few of the crafts, tried out recipes, and read inspirational stories of stranger’s special holiday memories. So many times I felt dissatisfied after the holidays were over because they had not lived up to the expectations I’d borrowed from the glitzy pages of those magazines.
This year I wasn’t home for Thanksgiving; I spent it with my parents and some of my siblings. I didn’t have to do a thing. It was my dad’s last turkey dinner and I felt blessed just to be able to be there and share that moment.
Christmastime, I was home, but because I spend half my time living in Fort McMurray where my husband works I didn’t decorate or put up a tree this year. I said I didn’t have time. Honestly, I just didn’t feel like decorating.
I didn’t go through my usual routine of replacing my dishes with Christmas ones, putting out Christmas linens or stringing garlands all over the place. The Dickens’ village didn’t get set up and didn’t have Christmas blankets and teddies strewn all over.
We spent Christmas morning at my son’s house and enjoyed all the festive decorating my daughter in law does. Their tree was lovely. We opened presents, we had our traditional eggs-benny breakfast and then my husband and I went home. None of it was inspired by a picture or article from a magazine. It was genuine, it was memorable and it made me happy.
When I saw all those magazines today it occurred to me that they are meaningless. Holidays are not about how your house looks, or how your table is dressed. It’s not about decorating advice from the pros or how to host the best Thanksgiving dinner – EVER! It’s about family, creating memories and sharing love and laughter, tears and joy.
I didn’t even break a sweat as I carried all those magazines down to the recycle bin.

100 days of purges

January 1, 2018 — Day 1

I purged the left over sticky toffee pudding that I made for Christmas dessert.

It was lovely. It was fattening. It was made with 1 and 1/2 pounds of butter, copious amounts of sugar and smothered with a sauce made from more butter, cream and sugar. I had made a huge pan of it because we were expecting 22 for dinner on Christmas Day at my brother’s house. Only 15 could make it, so there was a lot of leftover pudding. (I am baffled as to why this dish is called pudding, because it is not at all pudding-like. Unless it is drowned in delicious sauce.)

I’ve been having ‘a little piece’ every other day or so, because I didn’t want it to go to waste. Instead, it’s been going to my waist.

So, this morning when I was considering what to purge I immediately thought of my pudding. Before I could have time to rationalise my decision I picked up the plate, flipped open the garbage can and let all that artery-clogging goodness go. My husband hollered in horror — “I could have taken that to work!” He doesn’t need it, nor do his co-workers, any more than I do. I felt good about saving them/us.

From there I threw out the stale sugar cookies, a jar of dill pickles I’d made in 2014 and which had been languishing in the fridge since about 2015.

I also did some emotional purging. I wrote on Facebook about 2017.

It was a year of milestones. My father turned 80 in July. He and my mother celebrated their 60th anniversary on October 18th. My grandchildren flew for the first time to attend our family reunion — the last one my father would attend. He died in October of kidney cancer after being diagnosed in May. My seven siblings and I were all in the same place for the first time in many years. We settled stuff. We bonded in grief and heartache and sadness and anger. We realized the depth of our love for one another and how we owe so much to our parents.

That was day 1.

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

KLarson©2010

Setting Goals

At the beginning of every new year I sit down and write out some goals for myself — things I want to accomplish, things I think I need to do.  Most of the time they get forgotten, but a couple of years ago I came up with this list of writing goals.  I keep a copy of it taped to the wall beside my desk as a daily reminder of what I hope to accomplish as a writer. 

Have I managed yet to double my income as a writer?  No.  In fact, I’ve made no income as a writer, but I don’t let it get me down.  I have, however, stuck to my goal to write for at least one hour everyday (most days) and I have written quite a bit of work that if I would develop a back bone I could submit. 

No matter how much I write, though, there’s still this nasty little voice inside me that says:  they won’t like it, they won’t buy it, they won’t read it — why would anyone want to read THAT?  I tell it to shut-up and leave me alone, but like all bullies, it’s pretty persistent. 

Still, though, I keep trying.  I’ve had successes in the past, and I’ll have successes again – it’s just about developing my confidence and refusing to give up. 

More than anything I use this list of goals to remind myself that I have to keep trying in order to keep growing.  It’s also helpful whenever I start listening to that little voice as though it’s telling the truth, to weigh what I have accomplished against what it’s telling me I haven’t.  Pursuing goals is tough, hard work and it’s tempting sometimes to want to give in to that little voice that’s telling you you’re wasting time.  Having a visual reminder of what’s important and why has been a huge help to me. 

This little list could be adapted for any goal.  Feel free to ‘borrow’ it and make it your own if it’s something you feel can help you achieve yours. 

Wishing you much success in whatever you pursue.

 

 Writing Goals for 2010

  • I am going to become a successful writer this year.
  • I am going to be making enough money writing that I will double my income.
  • I am going to do what I’ve always wanted to do, and what I was born to do – write. 
  • My focus will be short stories and personal essays.
  • I will target magazines and on-line publications that publish these forms of writing.
  • I will publish my children’s book and write another one.
  • I will spend at least one hour every day writing, but more when I can manage it. 
  • I will make whatever personal sacrifices I must to achieve the above goal.
  • I will make writing my main priority, second only to family, in my life.  Work and school will become third and fourth.
  • I am a writer and I am successful.