Saturday, February 28, 2009

Of wine and words

So I am reading a book I found on the shelves of our 'SAS library' at work called A Fool and Forty Acres about how a Toronto urbanite picked up his family and moved to farmland in Prince Edward County (an unlikely, but increasingly popular new wine region in Ontario just around the start of the 1000 Islands area in between Kingston and Toronto) in order to plant vines and see what happens.

I am not usually much for memoirs and non-fiction in general, but the premise of this man's journey intrigued me, and for obvious reasons, the subject appealed to me. And it is a good read, as I reach about the half way point. I can't wait to discover how his initial attempts to graft roots and vines and manage all the natural elements pan out. I also like his slightly poetic, lilting style of writing - it almost conjurs the pace and feel of the life and land around him.

What I don't like has been the occasional and painfully long segments of the book that break into history lessons, reviewing Loyalist settlers and colonialist mindset back in the 1800's etc. I am reminded (oh, gawd, it was hell) of suffering through Susannah Moodie's Roughing it in the Bush for our Canadian literature class in my first year of university (it was a requirement for journalism students - ???). I'm sorry, but I don't care that it was extremely rare to have a female settler of the day actually able to read and write, let alone write 600 pages of SCINTILLATING day to day stories of the trials and tribulations of life in Canada at the time. Actually, you could have just told me about how cool that was, and that would have been all I needed to take away from that. Hated. it.

So yeah...I love this book, OUTSIDE of the Moodie-esque ramblings. When he gets back to tales of his travails and the characters he comes across live and in person, he's got me. What's especially cool is that just this week I received an email from Huff estate and inn offering a great weekend stay and 'play' package, and to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, husband and I are heading there in person to explore unchartered territory, and visit some of these estates and try these wines. And in doing so, a lot of the people mentioned in the book will likely be kicking around the community when we get there. I think that is pretty neat, and it is adding a whole new dimension to why I am excited to go. We love Niagara, and I am curious to see how the wines of this new region measure up.

I just love how little layers in life converge, making for fun and meaningful memories. Should be fun.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

On rolls and rolling rims

Yesterday morning wasn't my best morning ever. I have really been struggling to improve my attitude, my happiness levels, and my health in particular. It has been a very tough winter, and emotional eating and excuses have been my MO lo' these past few months, to the point where I am seeing rolls where there were previously nice curves and some somewhat defined muscles. The thing is, I don't know how the downward spiral began, and I can't pinpoint why it began, but I sure can look back at why it got worse! Life events played a big factor, but more than that, I got tired. Tired of being so busy my life felt like one big schedule. Tired of forcing myself to sleep less, work out at specific times, and struggle with myself to eat foods that weren't appealing to me.

Winter doesn't help. It is a proven fact that each winter, Canadians on average gain weight because it is a natural tendancy to eat heartier, heavier food when temperatures go down in order to have more insulation against the elements. So to try to eat light and healthy is a real struggle sometimes.

And finally, I think I have a hard time accepting that it is impossible for me to eat what I want, when I want and simply live and active life and look the way I want to look. It is a harsh reality to realize that if I have expectations of maintaining a certain body, that it will take continuous and constant sacrifice. It kinda feels like a jail sentence, and let me tell you, for someone who loves food, it takes a lot of ongoing creativity to figure out how to cook food that will satisfy the health quotient AND be tasty too. For three years I did well, but then again, I had a few favourite items that I ate a lot of, and now I am sick of them, so what now?

Does anyone have any ideas? Any good recipes that have good protein, low saturated fat, some good Omega fats, low sugar and sodium (although sodium is not as big a deal) but still taste delicious? Send me ideas!!!

But back to my day yesterday. As bad as it was, there was one very lovely highlight, and that was the fact that as I pulled up to the window in my car in line at the drivethru at Tim Horton's, I was told that my coffee had been bought for me by the woman in the SUV in front of me in line.

I didn't know her, I had never seen her in my life. And I guess, she simply wanted to do something nice for someone, and I happened to be that person...???

Random acts of kindness don't happen often and when they do, boy, do they ever make an impact.

I should try it sometime. It might go a long way to make me feel better about myself.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Who does that?

Okay...I just got a call from my hubby and sometime between leaving my driveway this morning and now someone put a big dent in our new car's front bumper. I can't even figure out how it is even possible to have done that where I was parked, so it had to have been deliberate, but regardless, it is a new friggin' car, and I am pissed. Seriously maddened. I had my older Camry for 7 years and other than your usual light car door dings, NOTHING. But now that we have a new beautiful 2009 Camry Hybrid, some schmuck decides to damage it.

OH! I'm MAD!

Okay....five minutes have passed, and I just found out it is roll up the rim to win time at Tim Horton's. Doesn't make up for this, but at least I could win another car...right?

Catty claws and reality romance

Ah...the women tell all episode of The Bachelor. Okay, what? The old singles from all the old episodes of Bachelor/Bachelorette get together and GET TOGETHER? Actually....they all are perfect for each other. They all should join the Beautiful People website. Awwww...there's real love there! wow, that is cheezy.

So. who's it going to be? He's either going to make the wrong choice and go with the cutesy girl-woman Melissa, or he'll go with the wide-eyed balanced and much too good for him Molly. I just don't know what it is, but this Jason dude is trying much too hard to look perfect, and I am not biting. I mean, I seem to recall that Jason's home during his first appearance with Deanna was a normal apartment on LAND, and not a Sleapless in Seattle love boat, don't you? And he never seems to mention that he has shared custody with his boy, and isn't the 24-7 single sacrificing Pappy that he claims to be. I really liked my gal pal Jillian from northern Alberta, though. She came from Peace River, which is really close to where my Mom grew up, in a small wheat town called Hythe, near Beaverlodge (yup, you guessed it. They have a massive sculpture of a beaver as you enter town).

Well...the ladies are finally going to weigh in. Here we go - release the jungle cats and sharpen the claws....!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

ten minutes

Ten minutes before I have to drag my sorry butt out for another late volleyball match after another intensely stressful day at work. As I have said, I am loving the challenge, but not so much the 9-10 hour days with no lunch or break and intense mental workouts all day long. But I am making slow and steady progress, even WITH the monumentally fabulously insanely ridiculous approval processes we have to go through.

So here's my question...does anyone out there get really selfish about the time they have with their loved ones? Do you resent if OTHER family or visitors take away your time with the family members you haven't seen in a long time? Maybe it is the emotional rollercoaster I have been through over the last 4 months or so (have a baby, lose a baby, try for a baby, think you have a baby again but find out you don't....repeat....without another actual baby of course), but the week that I get to spend with my Mom and Dad is supposed to be mine alone, and not shared with a bunch of other people. Plus...I selfishly just want to be alone, relaxed, sunbathing under the sun with nothing more to do than chill with a very small group of very close family members. That is what we paid for. Right?

God, I feel selfish.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hanging on by my fingernails

I am just........barely........holding......on.

If I can get to bed early, sleep soundly, and just get through 1.5 more days of the rat race I have been facing at work the world will once again be a friendly place and the sun will be mine.

Bring. It. ON.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Slam

I gorged myself on reality TV today. Each Sunday repeats of all the television I miss during the week play, and on those lovely, lazy last day of the weekends, I plunk myself down on my cozy couch, pour a glass of wine, cover up with a nice fleece blankie and watch the most hideous, peurile and indulgent crap that is on offer on television...and love it. Not surprisingly, the bulk of it is on MTV, and I wonder if they realize this secret demographic that exists of highly professional, approaching middle age (okay....that doesn't sound good, but I guess it is more the OLD middle age than the new) intelligent and active happy women are in love with the crap they pass as programming.

I mean, it was fabulous! Brody Jenner found romance with a new bro from Boston. Whitney had ethical pains trying to decide between siding with a fashion mogul critical of the emancipation of a model, and the model herself (aside: is that not a bit hypocritical of her? She hires them and works in that industry...????). OOOOOO - and the best was that Rikki and Nikki picked the love of their life, except that it was the same dude. Poor bisextual Nikki...losing out on love by the hands of her also bisexual sister. What is a bisexual to do? I know....go back on reality television with a new concept and another search for love!!! Any guesses as to what the show will be called and how soon it will be on? Yup - A Double Shot at Love has to be the worst show I have yet to see on television. FANtastic.

So...what shows do you catch up on on Sundays? How do you recover from a long week of work and relax to face another?

And if you haven't seen any of the above could you miss them????

My roots at 24 frames per second

You know, every now and again I go back in time a bit to a world I used to inhabit, live, breathe, and struggle in. It was a time of intense creativity, flagrant mistreatment of my body, and relative poverty where I used a line of credit to pay my rent for months at a time...but it was great. Really , really great.

This video that I have seen featured on youtube for a while now, illustrates how film and photography coupled with vision and ingenuity, can create a really compelling piece of art. It is lovely - beautiful, fun and one of the best videos I have seen in a long time. And maybe because I see it from a filmmmaker's eyes, I know just how much effort and VERY careful orchestration went into this excellent piece. I hope it leads to great things for the creator, because it is really well done. Here it is:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Is 8 more than enough?

Okay. I heard about this story the other day, and while I didn't know all the details, I did think even when I first heard the story, that it was at the very least foolhardy. I rational and/or financially feasible (and environmentally responsible, frankly) is it to give birth to 8 children when you already have 6? Fourteen children...I mean, REALLY....

So here is the article that I just read, and now I find out that the woman is living single with her mother with these 14 children and get a bit of the 'lead up' to how it is that she became pregnant with 8 children at once (2 sets of twins)...I have visions of sows and bitches (pigs and doggies) at this point. Harsh, I know, but it is simply not natural and having read the background now, I take issue with the system, with her, with the risks she has taken and will take to raise these children. I mean, the article is rife with her deep-seated issues. Issues that now become these 14 hapless souls' issues.

Irresponsible. Totally.

Do you agree?

YES - It's the WEEKEND!

that's all. It's just great to be home and know it is Friday night. We're having BBQ steak because the weather has finally 'broke' and the hubby is able to weather it outside and grill them up. A little wine, some is sooooooo verrrrrry gooooooood!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

White hot chocolate

Yes, it is one of those nights. Came home in the icy cold. Headed back out in the icy cold, then came home again in the icy cold, and now I am curled up under a cozy fleece blanket, watching the hockey game and sipping on a white hot chocolate, getting ready for the time when I can snuggle into bed.

I gotta admit that life just has a way of balancing itself out, you know? I mean, I had the insanest of days at work today, and really REALLY did not want to go out to play volleyball, and yet the match was easy, we won and moved up to a tier we haven't reached all year, we got home earlier than expected because we won easily, and now I am enjoying a bit of me time before bed. AND tomorrow is friday, so hey...


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Alec lightens the mood...

This was posted by a good friend, so it's a bit of a copycat, but I had to share...

From murky waters to potable water

Seemed like a good analogy. With the valuable assistance of a VIP (very intelligent person), what seemed like a very challenging, confusing and potentially issue-laden project may now have a clear path of least resistance. Should the approach work, it could mean establishing a new and better way forward on processes that are (very) likely to be needed again.

If I ever had any advice for young, career minded individuals, it would be to gather, grow and maximize your network of professional contacts. If you think about each of your contacts' unique knowledge, perspective and experience, and add them to your own (i.e. use their knowlege), you've got one hell of a whack of opportunity, man!

In fact, I don't believe many kids or even us, as adults, put enough stock in the relationship-building aspect of career growth. We think that it is all about doing our job really well, going it alone, even, to independently try to achieve great things. I am coming around to a totally different perspective, and that is that you will get a hell of a lot further by being genuine, asking for input and assistance, utilizing as many of others' resources to bolster one's own abilities, and illustrating a better way forward with a holistic view of your environment that is based on knowledge gleaned not just independently, but by getting information from others and using that information, combined with your own vision, most effectively.

Maybe others will think I am overstating this, but I think it is amazing the amount we can learn from others, no matter who they are. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Perfectionism sucks

Big mistakes at work. Damn. I thought I had it all under control. It sucks, but boy, is the response ever different where I am versus where I have been. Or maybe I have changed...? Quite possible, as I have learned a great many things since I left my previous position and changed career paths.

That said...could approval processes in the government be more complicated? Hard to imagine.

Tomorrow's another day, right? Time for dinner, a late volleyball match, missing Biggest Loser yet again, and then up at 5:30ish to do this again!

Monday, February 2, 2009

When hunger gets to be too much...

The biggest - huge - mistake when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle (assuming you are on that lifestyle path...I mean, there are many MANY worse things you can do if you are NOT trying to be healthy) is to wait until you are truly famished before eating something. I mean, I am very well aware that the key to maintaining my body's energy stores and to stopping binge eating is to eat small, healthy meals all day long, but...uh...that didn't happen this afternoon, and now I am bloody stinking hungry. Visions of sugarplums, Big Macs, meat lovers pizzas and ketchup chips are dancing in my head, and boy, they are wedged pretty tight in there. But wait! Will the bouncer let in an Elgin Street diner smoked meat poutine platter? Why, yes it will!

That saying, I just managed to force myself to eat some fresh zucchini while my spaghetti sauce thaws, and at least I can have some whole wheat spaghetti...and the massive hunger pangs are subsiding now....

But if you were to place a plate of that poutine in front of me, I'd pay you a LOT of money still to be allowed to eat it.

I'm only human.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Warm up for Superbowl

Ready for the kick-off? We are heading off for a little pre-superbowl bowling party, followed by the game on the big screen at our favourite pub, the Blackburn Arms. Should be a great time, and as a lead up to the big event, I thought it would be fun to showcase the best part of last year's game....the commercials!