A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

So close to the finish line... dammit.

'I Didn’t Phone It In'

I really wanted this to be the title of my post at the end of the 30 Day Shred. ‘Don’t phone it in’ is a phrase Jillian often uses when she is encouraging you not to quit.

Unfortunately, I have to report that I’ve been a bad girl and I’ve let myself down something terrible. The rational side of me is telling me to be reasonable, that 27 days in a row is not ‘phoning it in’; that I have been more committed to this program than a lot of other people ever could be, and that I have worked so hard. Up until yesterday.

Some of you who are friends with me on FaceBook may be aware that it snowed in our local area yesterday. Yes people, for the first time in many years North East Lincolnshire has received a fair amount of snowfall in November. Most people are complaining about the snow, the cold and especially the driving conditions including traffic, however yours truly was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to go out and romp around in it. My husband cheerfully joined me and Molly, saying the only thing that would have made it more fun for him was if I had been wearing only my boots and scarf whilst I made snow-angels for him. God knows I was so excited by the snow that I entertained the thought momentarily; I probably wouldn’t have noticed my nakedness, at least not for the first 20 seconds. However I’m veering off topic here, the wild and erratic path my husband’s brain leads him down is not what I set out to tell you about.

My point is this: if you put a boy and a girl out in the snow it can only lead to trouble; and it did. Andy and I couldn’t resists throwing the odd snowball or two, and naturally he couldn’t help himself and had to rub the cold stuff in my face (not that I get overly wound up about this – you don’t grow up walking to and from school in rural Nova Scotia a virgin to having your face rubbed in copious amounts of snow by stupid boys). It was during one of these moments that we lost our footing and went down. I had the misfortune to land on the bottom, taking the full weight of my beloved who happens to outweigh me by at least 50 lbs.


Let’s jump ahead five hours; I’d had a wee nap and had taken a few ibuprofens but was still sore with back, knee and head-ache. On top of that, it felt like I’d slightly sprained my ankle. Let’s face it readers I’m not 15 anymore. Hell I’m not even 25 anymore. My body was suffering the effects of the afternoon and because I’d stupidly not done my exercise that morning I was now facing it at 8:00 at night. We all know that I’ve done my work-out much later than 8:00 pm, I’ve been that devoted. However last night I just couldn’t do it. And for that I’m so disappointed. I desperately wanted to get the 30 days in without missing one shred. But alas, it is not to be. I thought about doing it, but modifying the moves significantly, or doing level 1, however I really couldn’t bring myself to do it, I worried that I would hurt myself even more. So there you have it, I’m a quitter. Well sort of. Rational Jody says that I am NOT a quitter. My body was strained and sore and if I had pushed it I wouldn’t have been able to jump back on the band wagon tonight. Because I will. I’m seeing this through (I’ve read about people who have completed this shred by doing it five days a week and taking a break at the weekend – and I've done even better than that). I will just work out one day extra at the end. And just so you know, once I’ve completed the 30 days I’m not giving it up completely. It will form part of my regular work-out regime, because trust me, I am seeing results – my legs have never been firmer.

It’s just so disappointing because I was almosts there. When I finished on Saturday I knew I only had three more days to go and I would have made it through and could boast to you all about completing the 30 Day Shred in 30 Days! I mean, I had finished 27 days, what’s another three? Mentally I had already crossed the finish line and drafted my final post. And now I won’t be able to publish that post.

Yet at the same time I realistically have to be proud of what I’ve accomplished so far and not berate myself for missing one day, or eating a chocolate bar or having the odd glass of wine over a 30 day stretch of time.

But its really hard not to.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Christmas Wish List - 2010 Edition

Andy kindly put together a wish list of what he'd like to find under our tree on Christmas morning (which makes shopping for him so much easier).  At his request I have put together a few items that I would be absolutely thrilled with:

Ken is one of my favourite authors
(Amazon has it, as well as Tesco's)

(I think this is the cookbook my sister has that I was coveting in October)
It can be found at Amazon.co.uk or at Tesco's :)

I could only find this picture, however I prefer Control Freak (green bottles).  These can be found online usually on offer for £20.  Last year there was a stall uptown in our local shopping mall selling sets at this price... hope they come back this year.
In the clothing department:
Joe Brown's Irresistible Top - £12.90

Joe Browns Throw On Anywhere Shirt - £22.95

Joe Brown's Epitomy Dress - £29.95

Of course I love creams and lotions, especially the coco butter/vanilla scents. La Senza and Victoria Secrets also do some beautiful body lotions/butters but they aren't so easily accessible in our area.

Naturally I'm easily pleased and would be happy to receive only a few items off this list, most of which can be found on Amazon (including the clothes) - easy shopping for sure.  

Oh wait,

I absolutely adore this hat:

but at £26 from Monsoon Accessorize I'd really need a jacket/coat to actually wear it with, and unfortunately I don't have one. 

So maybe I will put the hat and this beauty of a coat on my birthday wish list (since my birthday is in January):

Joe Browns Ultimate Coat


This electric low fat fryer isn't on my wish list for Christmas, but I do think its a must have for next year: 

I'm never short on ideas, that's for sure.  Call me easy, I don't mind :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

We all have our issues...

Last night Andy and I were laying in bed doing our usual (before you sexy minded folk get those brain cogs whirling, let me throw a spanner in there straight away - sorry to disappoint): I was reading, Andy was doing his crossword and feeling guilty over the fact that he had left our dog out in the boot of the SUV for 2 hours after dropping Connor off at his mother’s. Perhaps it was my statement that I would never have done such a thing that made my husband reach over and put his hand on my neck in a pretend choke hold. Now if you know me at all, you know this is one action you do not undertake, ever. Real or pretend.

Warning:  what your are about to read next may contain violence of a nature you are uncomfortable with.
I don’t know how many times I’ve asked my husband not to do this.  If he still insists on doing it, I cannot be held accountable for my reaction; and he knows this. I’m sorry but he knows how much I hate it; actually it terrifies me for reasons I can't understand, yet he and the boys find amusing.  The fear that runs through me when I even see a hand come near my neck is reason enough why I cannot say sorry when I punch him between the eyes as a result. It’s a knee-jerk reaction but very justified as far as I’m concerned. He wouldn’t like it if I reached down his pants and squeezed hard, so I don't, no matter how hard I have to fight the urge sometimes. One of these days he will wake up to the fact that it might be his nose next time, and if my fist connects as hard as it did last night his nose could end up broken and would that really be my fault? 
I know I'm not the only one with a peculiar issue; I have a friend who cannot bear to have someone else's feet touch her, or lots of people are scared of spiders. Some people eat in sections i.e. finish their fries before they start their burger, or worse, if eating from a plate, one veg cannot touch another.  Ok, maybe that last one pertains more to five year olds but I think you get what I'm saying. 

I reckon Andy is probably slightly relieved now that we are going to be apart again through the week.  In the last month or so he has only had to be away 1-2 nights but from today his being away Monday-Friday will be the norm.  It will take some getting used to for sure but at least he's still in the country and only three hours away if I need him to come home in order to prevent me causing serious bodily harm to the 18 year old who drops in for the occasional shower and rummage through the fridge.   (I'm not a brute, honestly... the men-folk in my house would drive anyone to pull their hair out, drink copious amounts of liquor, or punch someone.  Yet violence should never be the answer.  Ever.  Well, unless you touch my neck.)

In other news, I made a minor adjustment to the colour of my hair:

You can be honest if you don’t like it, although I’ve gotten a lot of positive response at work today. I think I might keep it this colour for awhile. I’ve been blond for over 18 months which is a record for me.

I will spare you talk of my shred until another day this week. 

Hope you are all enjoying your Monday... only four more days till Friday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can there ever be too much sex???

Sunday evening Andy and I finally went to the cinema to see The Kids Are All Right. I've been waiting months to see this film due to the fact that the release dates in the UK are often a few months behind North America, at least for films that aren't British.

I was really surprised that the movie was showing in the Hayworth Suite, the smallest theatre. Even more surprising, there was only one other couple watching it. I realize it was a Sunday evening but this movie had great reviews and a great cast of characters so I was expecting it to be more of a big deal. I mean seriously, Mark Ruffalo should have brought at least 50 more people out on a cold Sunday night. Perhaps people don't realize how much sex is actually in this movie, not only between the women, but between Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore – hot, funny sex. (Not that this was what made me decide to see the movie, I thought it looked fantastic right from the very first trailer I viewed back in the summer, but it was an added bonus ;) It was a good movie, one of the best we’ve seen in a long time, full of human emotion.

Apparently the older, middle-aged couple sitting in the theatre with us didn’t agree, because half-way through the movie, they got up and left. I think it was during a scene where Julianne and Mark had just rumpled the bed clothes yet again to the great amusement and confusion of the gardener. Didn’t they like all the sex? Andy and I couldn’t help but laugh at their indignant walk and found ourselves sitting in the theatre giggling like a couple of school kids. Andy started to say something to me and I chuckled and informed him that there was no longer any need to whisper, since we were alone. I love being in a theatre when there are no other movie goers - it feels like your own private viewing. (Even if it is a bit sad that no one else thinks the movie is worth going to see).

In other news (if my shred updates are boring you, here is your cue to go do something else, I won’t be offended):

Last Thursday I reported that Level 2 might get the best of me, however I was wrong. I have persevered and have already completed seven of the 10 workouts. It has gotten a little easier, although I will be perfectly honest (as usual) and say that last night I had a real battle with myself to actually get changed and do the workout. I had a headache and was feeling achy and tired. I did do it, however it wasn’t up to my normal standard and I had to do a couple of ‘modified’ exercises, which really disappoints me. I’m not going to berate myself too much for this though because a lot of people probably would have given up by now.

On Monday night, for various reasons, I wasn’t even able to get to the DVD until 9:40 pm, yet still did it. Most evenings I enjoy doing it (just a little bit), and am really proud of what I have achieved so far. I must say, I do like the weekends better when I can do it earlier in the day, before or after I get back from the gym. (I’ve taken the week-days off from the gym as I’m finding it a little hard to get everything in).

I’ve been more or less watching what I eat, haven’t had a glass of wine in over two weeks, but on the weekends I do have a few treats. I will confess that last night I did give in to a chocolate craving. This in itself doesn’t worry me too much, however what is worrying me is the fact that as I’m quickly approaching Level 3, my time of the month is also approaching. I’m making sure I have strong Ibuprofen on hand as my legs and back can really give me grief when I’m on, but I’m crossing my fingers that I can successfully get through it, even if I have to do a few modified sessions. Let’s hope that being on my period won’t result in my throwing the remote straight at Jillian’s head (or maybe even Amanda, the girl with smoking hot abs who never stops smiling throughout the whole video. At least Natalie, who works much harder, messes up every now and then).

Although I haven’t been losing very much weight, I have lost inches already and am looking forward to sharing the final results with you in two weeks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

One lesson having siblings taught me early in life...

My dad always used to keep a 2 litre bottle of Pepsi in a bottom cupboard in the kitchen; it was often next to his pint of rum. We were always told not to drink this pop under any circumstance, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a bit stingy - he could have at least offered to share his rum. Mom pretty much let us have whatever we wanted yet Dad wouldn’t ever let us touch that Pepsi. If any of us five kids had drank tea, it might have been another issue if we’d emptied mom’s teabag canister. Yet if there was no milk for her tea, Mom would often just nip to the shop to buy another carton. I think it would be a safe bet to say she’d probably just do the same with her tea.

However a fact came to light as I grew older, (especially when I inherited boy-children), was that Dad had a reason to keep that bottle for himself. Children, teenagers especially, have a way of making drinks/food disappear faster than you can say ‘Who drank my diet coke?’

Andy and I often buy Alex a stash of his own pop, squash and more recently his own carton(s) of orange juice. If we don’t do this, he will drain every carton/bottle of liquid within the house and leave us with nothing aside from water. He learned the hard way to stay out of my diet coke. If he asks I often don’t have a problem with sharing, but sneaking the odd 2-3 tins just won’t sit well with me, especially when I’m trying to cut down and make a case last two weeks. Especially when he was bought his own; it’s not my fault he can’t control himself and has to drink every can and eat every biscuit until its all gone; The boy would never have survived in my childhood home where my parents only did a grocery shop every two weeks.

On the weekend I cooked up a big batch of lemon chicken. There was plenty left over to give Alex something to snack on later that evening when he finally returned home, and the rest I put in a container for Monday’s lunch with a salad. Silly me, I forgot to put a big label on it, or better yet just tell the boy that I was saving that chicken for my lunch, a lunch that I was really looking forward to. Yesterday when I got home from the gym and saw the empty container in the sink, I really shouldn’t have been surprised; and I wasn’t, to an extent. I just calmly explained to myself that I should know better by now and let it go (I have come a long way in recent months let me tell you).  To add insult to injury, when I later pointed out that he had eaten my pack up, Alex said with a grin "If its any consolation, it was quite tasty'.  Perhaps its my own fault for being such a queen in the kitchen.  At least we were both smiling.

My sister found it hard to share a bedroom with me growing up as she didn’t really have a space that was all her own (none of us save my brother did). I’m sorry, but siblings are nothing compared to teenage refuge bins. If ours isn’t eating our ‘snacks’, he’s using our shower, and even worse – my towel. Even though he gets his own ‘treats’, has his own shower, and there is a closet full of fresh towels in the closet next to his room. Sorry, teenage children trump siblings for sucking the personal enjoyment out of certain aspects of life. Yet my sister is probably smiling as she reads this, thinking payback is a bitch. And it is… it is.

Let’s just say our Little Dustbin is lucky I love him and that I don’t have a problem repeating myself – many times; And over time I’ve gotten used to hiding my stash. Having four siblings teaches one to share, but at the same time, it also gives you an education on how to ensure some things remain your own.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

They weren't lying...

First, before I begin I would like to take a moment to thank all the veterans who have fought so hard, in so many different wars, and still continue to fight for what we call home; wherever home may be. 

Now:  A Letter to Jillian

Dear Jillian,

They told me that the whole 30 Day Shred was tremendously hard work;  they warned me that I might not lose a large amount of weight, but that I would definitely see a difference in my endurance and strength, and would likely drop a dress size.  They have said that although Level 1 was hard, it was nothing compared to Level 2.  I scoffed as I read those reports, thinking to myself that it really couldn't be that much harder (although deep down I was slightly nervous).  Guess what?  I had every right to be.  Level 2 is a downright bitch.  I hate it.  It didn't help that I seem to have pulled a muscle in my left quad yesterday, but I know, that's just an excuse.

In recent years I have come to consider myself relatively fit.  I might not be slender, yet I work out regularly and can more than keep up in body pump and kick boxing classes.  Sure I get my sweat on, but those classes are an hour long and really push your endurance; the wetter my clothes, the better I feel. It's true. 

In all the classes I have ever done, out of the few trainers I have had over the last 12 years, no one has ever made me hate my workout more.  It is 20 minutes of hell.  When I finished I seriously felt sick. The only thing that kept me going during a certain moment was thinking about all those terribly obese and un-fit people that don't quit when being put through the ringer on the Biggest Loser.  If they can do it, then I can do it, even if I don't have your gorgeous self standing right over me, screaming obscenities and urging me on.

So, tomorrow I will put the damn DVD back in and get ready to hate you once more.  Well not really.  I can't hate you, but I'm sure going to have fun pretending I do every time I do this...  Maybe I will find it a bit easier mid-way through. In all likelihood I will; I do know what can happen when you actually stick with a program,  I just can't see it right now.   I honestly didn't find Level 1 that hard at all and kind of chuckled at the people who did.  I'm sorry about that.  I really am.  

I wanted to take a sneak peek at Level 3 when I finished, just to see what was going to come next (I didn't preview Level 2, and good thing!) but my husband convinced me not to.  He is behind me all the way in this and has a lot of faith in me to see this through, however he is probably right in thinking that a preview of what's to come might not be the best plan. 

So, here I am, 11 days in, 19 to go.  Let's hope I can stick with you till the end. 

Monday, November 08, 2010

Just don't make me empty promises

Yesterday marked the seventh day of my 30 Day Shred.  I haven't skipped one work out,  I've been taking Molly for longer walks, I've been watching everything I eat very carefully, and on Saturday and Sunday I even did a 45 minute cardio stint at the gym, followed by more abs.

Because I have been so faithful I decided I owed myself a treat.  So I will not tell you a lie:  on Saturday night I indulged in a glass three glasses of pinot grigio and a Crunchy Bar.  When I lost 28 lbs in 2003 I used to have one free day a week and it worked, so I figured it couldn't hurt.

Today I stepped on the scale and was absolutely appalled to see I've put on two pounds. So it probably did hurt. A lot.

Every day for the past week I have sweated my ass off.  I'm walking around trying to ignore the fact that it feels like I have steel rods inserted in my thighs.  Although it can be tiring and each night I need a hot bath to relieve the strain I am putting on my aching muscles, I'm actually enjoying the work-outs and the challenge of this program. 

Did I think I would see results instantly?  No, I didn't.  And I keep trying to tell myself that muscle weighs more than fat;  however I know that you don't build muscle up in a week.  However I do know that this shred is not your typical work out program and I actually feel different already.  They have promised that results will be achieved quicker than if I were just working out at the gym, because of the stress that is put on the body.  Andy has reported that my legs are already feeling firmer and maybe they are.  I'm not sure. I'm just confused at this moment and time.  Part of me wants to quit, but I won't.  I will see this through and find out for myself how 'real' this shred is. 

I will try to ignore the scales and if I come out of this down a size in clothing and much stronger, then I will feel like it all hasn't been for nothing. 

Friday, November 05, 2010

Guy Fawkes, you're no friend of ours...

I really should be getting used to the fact that come this time every year I have to choose the lesser of two evils and medicate Molly.  The only other alternative is to watch her panting so hard her tongue is almost cleaning the floor, as she looks around for somewhere suitable to hide;  however the only way she would find comfort in a hiding place is if I were to ship her over to my mother and sister for the week as you cannot go anywhere in England without hearing the hiss and pop of fireworks all evening long.  Honestly, I think sometimes her heart is going to explode straight out her chest, sending a slew of her own fireworks all over us.  Poor girl. 

If I hadn't actually been to where she' originated from, there is no way you could convince me that she was from good old English gun stock.  No way, Nada, uh uh.  

So this afternoon, while it was still slightly light out I dragged her on to the field.  She temporarily forgot about the impending dark and what it brings whilst romping around with Jet & Bisto (two other labs who obviously didn't give a damn).  Naturally it was only about 10 minutes later when some idiot set off a firework (it wasn't even dark yet - come on people, really?), and it was homeward bound for us to break into the stash of meds that would calm Molly's racing heart and take her far away from it all.  She's finally sleeping peacefully in her hiding spot as I type this post.   

Thursday, November 04, 2010

20 Years Later

Late this past summer Andy's sister Alison and her partner Scott shared the news that they were having a baby.  They had been trying unsuccessfully for the past 18 months and even though Alison was approaching her 16th week, she was still apprehensive and slightly in disbelief that this pregnancy was actually sticking.  It wasn't until after her second scan (ultra-sound) that she started to believe that everything was going to be ok.  Ali and Scott have been through the ringer over the last few years, I won't go into details as I don't want to intrude on their privacy any more than I have already, lets just say that the arrival of this baby is something for everyone to look forward to.  Alison, naturally is glowing.    They are due on the same day as our beautiful Clara, which also happens to also be my father-in-law's birthday.  (This family seems to have a way of sharing birthdays: Alison, her twin Adrian and Scott all have the same birthday; as mentioned, my father-in-law and Clara were born on the same day 68 years apart and my brother and mother-in-law were born on the 14th March...  much easier for remembering birthdays!) 

Connor and his hero

Because this year marks their 20th together, they informed us they would be having a celebration dinner with both their families at the end of October, after Andy and I had returned from our vacation.  We'd known about this meal back in August, but it wasn't until September that we found out they'd actually eloped to Italy.  Both sets of parents had been let in on their secret but the rest of us were surprised and delighted when we received their texts on the day of.  I think my husband was secretly a little sad that he didn't get to see his baby sister get married, however after 20 years together it really was the perfect way to tie the knot. 

 Mum & Daughter

 Ali, Dave, Wendy & Scott

The wedding luncheon was held at a beautiful restaurant called Charlotte House in Lincoln.  All 19 members of both families were present and accounted for, with the exception of our Claire as it would have been too much for her.  Everyone looked fabulous with their beautiful clothes and beaming smiles. It was tastefully done and both families were relaxed in each other's company as we celebrated the official joining of our two families.  I say official, because let's face it, Ali and Scott are an institution in this family.  Scott has been around since the year Andy's daughter Natasha was born;  none of Wendy and Dave's grandchildren children have ever known a life without him. 

 Jake, Tasha, Baby Archie, Alex and Connor

Dave, Wendy and their grandchildren

They have been a fantastic Aunt and Uncle to Andy's children over the years and we are looking forward to returning the favour.  Both Alison and Scott are already looking into future events and scheduling time for us to spend with this child.  The one event they have planned that has already meant the world to me is occurring in two weeks:  Despite the fact that they have declined to find out the sex of the baby in order to have a nice surprise come February, they are opting for a 3-D scan on the 13th November.  Alison rang me a few weeks ago to say that they would really like it if I was there with them for this, but only if I wanted to... um, I think the answer here was a big, resounding yes.  True to my natural self, I answered with a catch in my throat and tears in my eyes.  But only if they were 100% sure, after all this is a very private moment.  Alison answered my questions with the words 'I told you I would share this baby with you, and that is exactly what I'm doing.  We are expecting you to play a big role in this baby's life, and what better time to start?'

The Newlyweds with the Bride's family

The Newlywed's with the Groom's family

I don't know what I've done to deserve another sister like this in my life, but I'm not questioning it.  I can't look around me and begrudge what I don't have in this life, because what I do have surpasses it by miles

Both Andy and I wish them a lifetime filled with joy and love. 

(Andy was the photographer throughout the day and captured some awesome pictures)

 Connor Tasha and Alex
(it was hard work getting them to be serious!!!

Love their goofy ways

 Zoe and Archie

I think I might have a framer here :)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

One Down, 29 to go and I will see this through

After months of thinking about it and after ages spent trying to figure out when the best possible time to begin
would be (as well as convincing myself I could commit), I finally ordered the 30 Day Shred.

I’ve read a number of other blogs by women who have embarked on this program and although it seemed slightly daunting, I was up for the challenge. As it is exercise based, with the encouragement of following a healthy diet, I knew I would stand a better chance of seeing this through to the end than if it were a strict diet that had me doing something ridiculous like giving up diet coke (although I am down to one a day!). 30 Days of twenty minute work-outs is a bit of a commitment (and we all know how great I am at honouring those) yet it is only a month and I really want to do this. (As well as still get to the gym for a run on the treadmill every few days.)


Yesterday, the 1st of November was Day 1.

I waited until my sweet potatoes and vegetables were roasting in the oven then pushed aside the coffee table and began Level 1. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be which was surprising because a number of women reported that they were left feeling so achy the next morning they had a hard time facing Day 2. Maybe I didn't find it as challenging because I’ve been working out off and on for the last 15 years, or my weights weren’t heavy enough, something I will modify by level 2. I was pleased that I didn’t have to follow the woman that was demonstrating the ‘moderate’ exercises other than when doing the push-ups. Although I will probably be screaming a different song when I get to level 3.

The hardest part for me was not laughing when Molly sat in front of me with the obvious question of ‘what exactly are you doing?’ written all over her face while I was doing the push-up segment, or even better, when she started hopping around when I moved on to jumping jacks. She quickly realized that I wasn’t playing a game with her and went to sulk by the couch.

Today I feel ok, a little sore in my arms and thighs but nothing like how I feel after a body-pump class I haven’t been to in months. It’s that good feeling you get, when you know you’ve had a good work out and begin looking forward to the next.

I’m going to report in at the end of each level to let you know how I’m getting on. I’ve told a lot of people I’m doing this because I want to finish this and come out the other end feeling good and looking that much better and will stand a better chance of doing so if I don't have to report that I've given up.  Besides, and most importantly, I don't want to let myself down. I’ve taken my measurements and weighed in so hopefully in a month's time the bar at the top of this page will have moved, or I will at least have lost a dress size.

Wish me luck.

(I only realized when I started to write this that it’s been a week since I last posted. Yesterday, we spent a wonderful day with Andy’s family celebrating a joyous event and I’m looking forward to sharing the photos with you when I get a chance later this week.)