#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.

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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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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.

Day 5 and the purge goes on. . .

It was a busy day today, so my purging was pretty limited.

Today I threw out:

a bunch of tuna cans, and a big tin that once had those rolled up Italian style cookies in it.

The tuna cans were for this project:

great idea!!! these are tuna cans!! would be so pretty for christmas in gold and red scrap paper around the outside, or new years in silver and white paper on the outside!! or paint the insides different bright colors, with bold patterened papper wrapped on the outside!

Cute isn’t it? Well I collected those tuna cans about three or four years ago. They were in a basket by my recycling and every so often I’d look at them and think about how I should get started on turning them into these delightful candle holders. Thinking about it was as far as I ever got. So – boom! – into the recycle bin they went. I’ll keep this picture — it’s on one of my Pinterest boards — and who knows? Maybe someday I’ll save me some more tuna cans.

The cookie tin I kept because, well, it was a good-sized tin can with a lid. Perfect for storing all kinds of things. The only thing it managed to store was some dust and a couple of dead spiders. When it hit the tuna cans in the recycle bin I smiled ruefully – ’cause I got another one of those cookie tins upstairs in my pantry. Those Pirouline cookies are so good!

 

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.

Just a little rant. . .

It’s been a while. But I’ve got something to say and this is quite likely the best place to say it.

I wish to GOD that people would stop posting all those melodramatic posts about what it means to be a mother.

Don’t get me wrong – I know being a mom is a tough (tuff) job – but come on people! It’s not like you’re working in the salt mines or digging ditches in 100 degree heat all day!

The tone of all these posts that get circulated on the internet is that somehow being a mother is akin to being in shackles and that there is absolutely no respite or appreciation or compensation for the job.

I call bullshit!

I don’t get why all these women who wanted a home and family are now so bent on getting attention and recognition for their ‘sacrifices’.  It wasn’t a sacrifice — it was a choice. A choice women since the dawn of time have made. And they made it knowing that it would change their lives. Mostly for the better.

Despite all the mewling and whining and ‘woe-is-me’ out there, I believe most women who have been mothers or are mothers just get on with the job of being mom. That includes being wife, housecleaner and chief bottle washer. They get up each morning with a smile and greet their families without the marks of self-flaggelation upon their backs.

You don’t see a gazillion weepy-penned articles or posts about what it means to be a dad.  If all these women crying the blues think they’ve got it so bad, think they’re so under-appreciated and under-valued, why don’t they try being the dad for awhile. Gain a little perspective, then talk about sacrifice.

I was a mom. I loved it. Not every day did I love it, but 93% of the time I have to say, I completely loved my job. To me, it was the most important thing I could ever do in my life. Raising a child, teaching him, guiding him, providing for him. I chose that, no one forced me into it.

I was lucky, I had a husband who worked full time while I stayed home. Occasionally I worked at a part-time job when we wanted extra money for holidays or some big purchase. But mostly, I got to be at home – a place I took pride in, a place I felt blessed to have, a place I knew was my responsibility to keep clean and maintain as a trade-off for being a stay-at-home wife and mother.

I don’t get how the women in these posts and articles feel they need all this validation. They’re constantly bemoaning the fact hat their husbands come home and question them about what they did all day when they walk in the door to chaos and no supper. Well, I question that, too.

What the hell are they doing all day? Surfing Pinterest for the next great birthday theme so that they can impress all the other whiny-mommies? Or, perhaps it’s searching for butt and ab exercise routines that can be done in under 20 minutes? No, more than likely it’s for smoothie recipes to help them lose weight.

And, if it’s not Pinterest, then they’re probably on FaceBook or Twitter or just texting to complain about how hard their little lives are. Meanwhile their kids are being ignored, the house is a mess and they don’t get why their husbands are  no longer attracted to them.

It’s time for women to stop acting like martyrs. Time for them to step up, do their job, and do it well. Time for them to stop begging on social medial for respect and acknowledgement. Nobody, except movies stars and athletes, gets to do that.

You’re a mom — get used to it.

 

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