Saturday, August 20, 2005

Nine hundred and seventy six

There’s good news, and there’s bad news.

The good news is I seem to be down a couple of pounds this week, to a new low, though I’ll have to wait till I weigh in on Monday to see if it’s real, if it sticks around.

The bad news is I haven’t done much to earn such a loss this week. Haven’t been tracking my food, haven’t been getting planned exercise.

The good news is I’ve been getting plenty of incidental exercise. Three to four hours of walking Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, plus plenty of standing and other activity Thursday and Friday.

The bad news is I’ve had the opportunity for all this exercise because the public broadcaster I work for has locked out the union I’m in. Me and 5,499 other journalists and technicians, all locked out across Canada. Turns out you can burn around 976 calories in three hours of walking the picket line.

I am trying hard not to freak out. And some days, that’s ok. Taco is playing many many gigs this month, and will make rather a lot of money. I’m doing some freelancing, plus there’s my strike pay, plus a bit of an inheritance that’s coming my way this month, plus some money one of our friends borrowed earlier this summer and is able to pay back in a couple of weeks. Financially, we’ll be fine, so long as the lock out doesn’t go much beyond, say, mid-October. Either way, I’m going to look at the picket duty as the crappy part-time job I have to do while I launch my freelance career. That way, when the lock out ends, I can choose. Will I go back to work, or will I simply freelance? If I can build enough of a career, with enough opportunities for income, I might just be picking door number two.

But it’s not perfect, that’s for sure. One of the ways in which it’s least perfect is that suddenly, I have no routine. And oh god, me without a routine? Not a good scene, man. I haven’t made it to yoga once this week. I haven’t been getting enough water in the course of a day. I haven’t been logging my food, or taking time for myself, making time to exercise.

This can’t continue, obviously. It makes me feel very squirrelly, and when the scale insists on going down every couple of days, well, that doesn’t help, strangely. I feel like I’m getting away with something I’ve no business getting away with. And beyond that, I start to get a little depressed when I don’t exercise. I kind of thought I learned this from being on vacation, but the sad truth is that being locked out by one’s employer can really throw a spanner in the works.

I will have to be extra vigilant. Our renovations have progressed to the point that we have new floors now, and the TV is hooked up again, and it will be a pleasure to do pilates and yoga now. So tomorrow, one or both. And a walk. My picket duty tomorrow will amount to a one-hour meeting, and maybe a bit of committee work out of it, but I should be able to set aside some time for myself, as well. Taco is in France right now, so I only need to worry about myself.

Somehow, though, when he’s home, I’m better at making time to take care of myself. It’s like I need to know I’m being observed in order to actually get cracking and look out for myself. That is ridiculous, isn’t it? Yes, yes, it is.

So, ok, tomorrow, exercise. Food I’m actually doing pretty well at. Eating whatever vegetables are on my plate first, and staying away from picket line doughnuts, except for the gourmet ones that were dropped off to us earlier this week. I think the one I had was made with whole wheat flour, so I’m not sweating it, you know? But today Tombag took me out for lunch, and I ordered veggies on the side of my roast beef sandwich instead of fries, and I didn’t even feel sad about that. I think that’s a really good thing. Also, it has come to my attention that I am horrible deficient in vitamin B, and when I checked out it told me I should eat more meat. So, roast beef for lunch today, and turkey burgers barbecued for supper tonight. I also bought an organic t-bone steak at the farmers’ market this morning, and I think that’ll be tomorrow night’s supper.

Bit by bit, I will turn this ship around. At least I’m still losing, but ultimately, that’s meaningless if I’m not doing it healthily. And picket duty may burn calories, but it’s not exercise. Must remember that.

Oh yeah, and solidarity forever.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Half in the saddle

Vacation. Now that’s something that can throw a girl right off her plan. I was doing ok with the eating and the exercising, and then for a while, I wasn’t. Nothing too terrible, but enough of it that it made a difference in the wrong direction. I was at 205 when we left Halifax and am now at 208. It’s not a perfect set of circumstances, but in my pollyanna way, I have decided things could be much much worse. For instance, I could have gained the three pounds and learned nothing.

Instead, here are some things I learned on my summer vacation:
· Five days without exercise now feels like five months. I love exercise, even just my simple one-hour evening walks. I cannot go five days without at least one of those.
· When I eat poorly, I feel bad. Not emotionally bad, though I feel a bit of that, but full-on physically bad. Tired, unmotivated, bloated, foggy, b-a-d bad. Bad! But when I eat well, I feel great. This is very simple, old dog, so get on learning this one new trick.
· There will always be a lot of borderline-healthy food at the ancestral palace, as well as stuff that is actually good for me. In other news, there are several grocery stores five minutes away by car, and I am a grown adult with a driver’s license, an ABM card and a positively astonishing ability to cook.
· The good news is that in restaurants, nine times out of ten, I will choose the healthiest thing I can find on the menu.
· The single most important thing I learned? I must make myself a priority, even on vacation. Maybe especially on vacation, particularly those spent at the ancestral palace.

This one is huge. My time at home, especially over the last…what…seven years? has mostly been focused around the sick, the dying and the grieving. Ah, good times. Chris got sick about seven years ago, and died five years ago, and then Dad got sick(er) right after that and died in December. And so those visits have been about spending time Chris or Dad, attending memorials for them, hanging out with my family and, well, grieving, basically. It hasn’t been all tears. But some of it has. A lot of it has. And I’m the fixer in my family. The one who talks sense to those who need sense talked to them. The one who mediates, the one who is the voice of reason. It’s ok, I’m good at it. But being the fixer so often means I don’t take the time to fix myself. I don’t make my own needs and desires a priority. I see to everyone else first, and then, if there’s any energy left for myself, I see to myself. Rarely, however, does this involve 90 minutes of exercise, or a nice bowl of quinoa and brown rice.

And of course I don’t resent it, any of it. And if I could change anything (besides, you know, not having so many dead people in my family) I would change it so I could have spent more time with Chris, more time with Dad, more time helping out my mother.

But I’m no good to anyone if I’m not good to myself. If I feel like I can’t keep my eyes open past 8pm. If my mind is too foggy to concentrate on even a board game.

Also, of course, fixing is my role, but not my job. I don’t have to take it on. They won’t fire me. No one’s going to call me selfish if I go for a walk. And they love it when I cook, actually, as do I.

And now it’s back to normal. Made it to yoga yesterday morning, where it felt so, so good to sweat for 90 minutes. Today, my muscles feel pleasantly worked. Last night’s supper involved quinoa and brown rice and chickpeas, and tomatoes and zucchini from Mom’s garden, plus fresh mint from mine. Tonight there will be a big walk, and today there will be lots of incidental exercise. And water, so much water.

The vacation was good. But in some ways, coming home is even better.

(And, of course, there’s the engagement: Still exciting! Thanks for all your congratulations. We’re very pleased. Thinking about a wedding next fall…September or October. Maybe a green dress. Don’t care what Taco wears, so long as he’s clothed. The rest remains to be decided, but so far, so good.)

Monday, August 01, 2005

Otherwise engaged

A quick update, my fine feathered friends.

I am at the ancestral palace, on vacation. There are lot of chips here, people! But I'm not eating many of them. I am getting plenty of exercise (both planned and incidental...lots of shopping to do, and chasing my nieces around the swimming pool), and it looks like I'm at least maintaining. Actually, it looks like I've lost, but I know that the ancestral palace scale weighs about two pounds lighter than the official home scale. Yes, I am weighing myself often and blissing out on those smaller, though admittedly fake, numbers. Whee, vacation,

Oh, and also? I am engaged. Whee, engagement!

I popped the question in room 448 of the Quality Inn in Edmundston, New Brunswick. If you've never been, rest assured, the proposal and subsequent acceptance? Probably the most interesting, exciting thing ever to happen there. Sorry if you're from Edmundston. But admit it, it's true.

Anyhow, no dates set yet or details worked out, except the obvious important ones: right person, right time.