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Car Rental (mini) Rant

My parents are over from the UK for the next couple of weeks, and as I don’t have a car, they’ve rented one so we can go on a mini-Maritimes road trip next week. Ever since I passed my driving test I’ve become a bit of a bad passenger for long car journeys, something to do with not being in control (maybe I am a control freak), because I’m fine travelling backwards on a train, flying – not an issue, but then I can’t fly a plane or drive a train! So I asked my dad if he could put me as a name driver on the car too. Off he went and rang up the car rental people, and came back and said a great big NO! It was going to cost an awful lot of money to add me – the reason why – because I had a Canadian drivers licence now not a UK one. 

Hang on – doesn’t that mean I’ll be more likely to know what I’m doing on the roads here than them?? (Please note I did say “more likely” instead of a definite “know” as all I had to do was surrender my UK licence for the Canadian one!). 

So I just asked my dad that when they pick up the car here they casually ask to add my name to it, sent him a copy of my licence etc. They arrived yesterday, and my first question after all the “Have you had a good flight” etc are out of the way – “Can I drive the car?”. Woo hoo – good news – I can, and how much did it cost extra – nada, nothing, zip, zero!

If you were a shape, what shape would you be???

There is a very good song by a band called The Fratellis called My Friend John http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFe_b1H0wAo and it starts with the question – “If you were a shape, what shape would you be?”

While I was in the gym this morning stretching out – more specifically in the Down Dog position – the song started playing on my iPod, and with my mind being fairly empty of thoughts I started thinking what shape I’d be, I know what shape I’d like to be – think Marilyn Monroe curvaceous yet still sexy, and I am on my way to it – but then I thought a bit more. And I’ve come to the simple conclusion – a triangle (maybe the yoga position influenced this)! I’m a little odd and rather pointy at times, if you want to go deeper – an irregular triangle as I try not to be a sheep and follow most of society, as my friend told me yesterday, I have my own style.

So why not something more complicated like a dodecahedron (yes I did have to use Google to find out how to spell that) and again the simple answer – I’m just not that complicated a person.

So – what shape are you?

Morning walkies

What better way to spend a sunny Sunday part way through a long weekend, than breakfast and a walk in the park.

One of my hobbies is photography and while I’m still learning, I love to play with the photos in photoshop, and recently have discovered a love for black and white. I’ve always loved black and white photos of broken and abandoned buildings, but they are quite hard to shoot – mainly because you can’t get access to them for safety reasons, and from outside I probably need a better lens than I’ve got – or lessons in how to use what I’ve got better. For now though while I’m “stuck” in this beautiful country I’ll make do with the scenery and fauna (another favourite topic to shoot). One thing I think makes black and white a little more interesting is colour popping if a photo has a bright vibrant flower or item in it.

Photos from my morning walk in the Hemlock Ravine Park, hope you enjoy.

And Relax…..

According to my father – “There’s no such thing as stress”.  While I agree partly with him that “Stress” is an easy answer to why you might be feeling overwhelmed by work (mostly claimed by those with really bad time management in my experience), there are the times when we do truly feel stressed.

Well I’ve had one of ‘those’ weeks – I had an urgent deadline to meet by Tuesday (of next week) for a rather large piece of work that was messed up totally from the beginning and due to office politics made it all worse (client screaming and shouting and about to spit their dummy out of the pram!), and thanks to the luck of the draw, the work ended up on my desk. So if you’re wondering why I’m moaning on a Friday about a deadline the coming Tuesday, here in Canada we have Monday off for Victoria Day, and after this week I could really use the 3 days off! I work for a large organisation with people all over the world, so the person who initiated the work is in India (generally around till 1.30pm my time), the people who run the actual project are in America (in about 3 different locations). So getting information from them proves interesting at times as we rely on electronic communication, as most of these folks are in and out of meetings all day too.

Having listened to my father over the years I’ve been taught always ask questions – “assumption is the mother of all fuck ups’s”  not quite his words but a more favourite saying of mine. Also that when faced with a big challenge, break it down into more manageable chunks and take on a bit at a time, these 2 ways have got me through some projects and challenges that others would have found stressful.

FSurvivorollowing these words of wisdom (and lots of deep breaths) I’ve managed to complete the project but the last few weeks have certainly be ‘trying’, and luckily for me, this evening as part of my nutrition plan I’m having a cheat meal – I’m thinking coconut pancakes with bananas, chocolate and nuts for dessert.

So remember when you’re feeling stressed – it’s only desserts spelt backwards!

To Canada

Today I celebrate my 1 year Canniversary – I arrived in Canada 1 year ago today and in fact weather wise it was a day much like today, I left a very foggy London Gatwick airport  and arrived in an equally foggy Halifax airport!

It all started around 2004, when I met my ex-husband. Before him I’d never even thought of leaving England, I wanted to travel lots but not move somewhere else.

I didn’t really think too much more on what my ex had said about moving (as we’d only been going out for a couple of months) but after a year or so and more chats about how nice it’d be move out of England the idea of going started to turn into more of ‘well lets explore how to go about moving’. Canada seemed like a natural choice – he is a BIG Ice Hockey fan and introduced me to the game, and I have family all over Canada. 

At the time one of the options was to apply for Permanent Residence – we could move without having to have a job lined up, just needed enough moolah to survive jobless for 6 months! So we decided to go for it – you only live once and the chance to live somewhere else and experience all it has to offer was just to good to pass up. Long story short – it took us 4 years to get the PR visa’s and jump all the hurdles and red tape that the Canadian High Commision throws at you. Made even more fun was the fact that we had married – do you know how many times I tried to tell them my name had changed – my visa still came through with my maiden name on – the passport they put it in even had my married name in it! 

He had a hankering to live near the ocean – think he really wanted a house where we could sit out in the garden and hear the waves crashing against the rocks – still appeals to me. So having a bit of family living in Nova Scotia we started looking into the province. And we loved it on our first visit here. Our 2nd visit opened our eyes a bit more – Hurricane Earl hit while we were here! 

In 2011 we sadly split up, and it was time for me to think about the future again – you think you have it figured out and then BANG – think again! Over xmas I decided that seeing as I had my PR status for Canada it seemed such a shame to waste it. Wasn’t sure if I could do it on my own. I’d only told a few people at work about my idea to move, and one guy was always joking with me saying “You’ll never do it”. First day back at work in January 2012 I booked my flights – yes it was part whim, part planned. My friend came back in after his lunch and he was so happy for me that I’d booked my flight! 5 months till my flight – so much to do and plan! It’s not easy going from having a house full of possessions to deciding what to take and what to leave. Step 1 had been kind of done for me, before xmas I had moved into my friends house and out of the house I’d shared with my ex, so the bulky stuff had been left behind. But I still had 31 years of crap that I had gathered! Time to start thinning it down. 

By May I was down to 75kg of stuff plus some extra bits that are clogging up my parents loft at the moment! It’s quite liberating really going through all your old bits and pieces and sure it’d be nice to keep hold of everything you’ve had but who has space for all that? 

Thankfully I have a wonderful cousin (well 2nd cousin if you’re being picky) and her family who put up with me for 2 months till I found somewhere of my own to live. Certainly don’t think I could have done it without them, it was a weight off my mind knowing I had a roof over my head to move to.

My folks are coming out to visit me next month and I’m so stoked to be showing them my new home, I hope they like it as much as I do.

PANCAKES

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It’s been a while since I’ve had pancakes (hence a wee bit of excitement and the title being in capitals). Seeing as I’d had a good day food and exercise wise (a full 90 mins in the gym and an hour of skating in the sunshine :-)) I thought that I’d treat myself to these rather yummy sounding pancakes http://paleospirit.com/2011/coconut-flour-paleo-pancakes/ and to top it off, melted chocolate and chopped hazelnut and some berries!! 

The Weighty Topic

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Like most other people weight is an issue for me! This photo was me back when I was about 15 or 16 years old, I’d just quit competitive swimming because I was never going to get very far in it – Mother Nature had blessed me boobs and hips (glad now) but not a good combination for a swimmer (drag coefficients and all that) .  From swimming I made a change to go and play rugby, but this was also at the age I found boys and pubs – I think this photo is actually from a collection of me and my friends getting ready to go out! I don’t think all those pints of cider and black and lager and lime were offset with the drunken dancing I was doing! I certainly wasn’t doing the same amount of exercise I had been when I had been swimming – the rugby team didn’t last very long before it had to fold.

Then off I went to University – cooking for myself and taking in all that university life had to offer – more pints of cider & black – plus the fact that my boyfriend at the time was a fantastic pastry chef! My weight started to rocket – I did sign up to the university rugby team but injuries plagued my attempt to play!

 

I’m not one for fad diets but my mother had me doing good old weight watchers, and for a while it worked – then I hit the plateau, and lost interest – carried on like this for the best part of 10 years, every time I stopped I’d regain the weight I’d lost and then put on more!
fat

This is me in Seville in June 2011 probably at my heaviest when I was pushing 19st (266lbs). Not long after this my husband and I split up and I decided that I’d carry on with our plans to move to Canada on my own – time to start anew.

One of the things I was most looking forward to about moving to Canada was doing more outdoor activities, hiking, kayaking and eventually I’ll get round to learning to ski/snowboard! One thing I didn’t want to do was re-join a gym – I’d spent the last 6-7 years sweating it out in a gym.

Once I’d got myself set up in my new city I found the www.meetup.com website which is home to lots of different interest groups, who knew that throwing a frisbee around in a game of Ultimate could be so much fun!

Then I started my new job and part of the perks package was a corporate discount at the local gym. Figured I’d sell my soul again and join up – hey the winters aren’t ideal for outdoor activities – frisbee’s don’t fly too well in the wind either! So I thought I’ll do some of the classes – the gym is right near work (it’s a 5 min walk from my office to the gym and I don’t even have to go outside!) What excuse can I come up with to not go – I was miserable about my weight, everything else in life was going great – time to fix it once and for all! Ok so I’ve said that about 5 times in the past 10 years, but something was different this time, this time I was ready to do it! Some of the other perks with the corporate membership was a free personal training induction! Figured what the hell, I knew there was going to be a hard sell bit involved but I’d just tell them I wasn’t interested, I just wanted to see what was what! I’d seen the PT’s at my old gym and to be honest they didn’t instill confidence in me – one of my friends had a block of 10 sessions with 1 and after 8 she had had enough and had given me her last 2 sessions. In the space of the 8 sessions she had completed her trainer had changed once and the current 1 was leaving after her 8th session, she said “I can’t be bothered to break in another 1”. So I had no intention of signing up for it. I met with the gym manager and she put me through my paces – I’m one of these lucky soles that go bright red as soon as I set foot in a gym – it’s such an attractive look! She does a few measurements – ugh the scales – I had lost a few pounds since moving – so much walking and exploring of the city – plus I think I’d lost about 5lbs in sweat due to the high humidity I wasn’t used to. But the biggest shock I think was the body fat machine – 41% body fat! I almost wanted to cry!

After much cajoling – yes I signed up! Did I want a male of female trainer? Hmm, after a bit of thought – it doesn’t matter to me. My biggest fear was the being watched and having my body scrutinised as I did squats and other exercises but I figured, this person is a professional, I’m sure they’ve seen it all before! I just prayed that they didn’t just stick me on a treadmill for an hour!

100_0582 She assigned me a trainer and I was all set to come in and start twice a week with them, nervous much – hell yeah, but it’s too late I’m signed up – and hey what (apart from weight) have I got to lose – it’s better than surgery!

Well this is me now – 8 months and 100 sessions later and 50lbs lighter! I’m so happy that she assigned me the most awesome guy possible! Someone who had also been through the rigmarole of having lots of weight to lose. I’m about half way to my goal – I don’t have an exact weight in mind to aim for! But I’ve learnt so much from him and he’s made gym exercise fun – no he didn’t just leave me on the cardio machines for an hour – I’ve been thoroughly introduced to squats, burpees (hated these at first, but now not so bad, shh though don’t tell him) and planks to name just a few. But also I got a few weeks of weight lifting – think my max deadlift was 205lbs! Still rather chuffed with that! And more recently lots of body weight exercises as I’ve entered into the local Mud Hero event in July – 6km run/walk with 16 obstacles, I’m really looking forward to this!

So the next phase starts soon – no more in the gym trainer as he’s leaving the gym to set up privately, and yes I’m sticking with him – why stop something that’s working!

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