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

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

When something as boring yet necessary as breathing gets in the way....

Thursday at work I had to ring one of the secretaries at the adult mental health team; after we talked business we got down to more important issues such as summer holiday plans, our kids and of course a plan to hopefully meet up soon over a few glasses of wine; she is after all one of my good friends. (Dee is not only an efficient and brilliant PA but also an amazing cake designer - you must remember the awesome Superdry cake she made for Alex's 21st?). At some point in the conversation Dee mentioned how well I've been doing at running. In the past few weeks I've been hearing lots of positive feedback over my 'running', which only makes the fact that I haven't been out in almost two weeks even more annoying. 

I was just getting my groove on with this running lark again when Mother Nature lobbed a soft ball at me that whacked me straight in the chest. For years I have been proud of my commitment to difficult workouts and even more recently that I have also been running for over 30 minutes. Not a major feat for some, and you might laugh if you have run a marathon or two, but considering I've had asthma most of my life, I will mark my pathetic little jaunts as an achievement. 

(Quite proud of myself after a rainy run with Molly) 

So about this breathing issue... I went out two Sundays ago and although I had just run on the Saturday I went for it; not five minutes in my chest was screaming at me due to all the rape seed and other annoying aromatic weeds that spring up here round this time of year, yet I carried on. I was (slowly)running against the high winds and I'm not sure that I would have continued if I wasn't accompanied by my young running partner Jess. It was one of those runs that just didn't feel right, and even when it was over I didn't feel the rush of accomplishment I normally do. I was to busy trying not to die while I found one of my six inhalers. Of course I got my breathing sorted and get this, it only took a few days! However I am a pro at this remember (the asthma, not the running). However just the slightest bit of exertion still becomes uncomfortable and makes my chest prove its unwillingness to cooperate. It's frustrating especially in light of the fact we are heading back out to Greece in a few weeks and I wanted to be a bit more fit than I currently am. I did manage a workout once last week and if I don't go walking through the fields (kind of hard to avoid when there isn't just one, but *two labs that need their exercise as well). I reckon I should be able to get back on track with my Ripped in 30 program. That's provided my back and hip continue to cooperate and not trip me up like in recent months. Oh the perks of being a 40 year old asthmatic with bad joints. It is what it is though and like always I will work thorough it. It could be a lot worse. 

Its a three day weekend here in England and we plan to make the best of it been despite the forecast for rain. I hope you are enjoying your weekend and that you are doing something that makes your heart happy. I'm off to get dressed and take the dogs out with Andy. 

I plan to spend the rest of my weekend doing whatever I feel like, be it something or nothing. 

* We currently have the cantankerous but loveable old boy Carter stopping with us while Dawn & Rob are soaking up the rays in Ibiza. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

The best gift she gave me

First of all I will apologise for promising to be back just after Jayden's 2nd Birthday and Easter with pictures and a tale to tell of what we all got up to.  Life became a bit hectic again and time just ran away from me. I'm back now and will hopefully not stay away so long.


Yesterday was Canadian Mother's Day;  I made sure that I rang my Mom to tell her how much I love her and miss her and hoped she had a lovely day.  I apologised that her card might be a few days late, however she already knew that it wouldn't be on time as I'd told her in an earlier conversation that week.  I love it that Mom and I talk at least four days out of the seven in a week.  Depending what's happening in our lives, we can sometimes talk every day.  I love this.  I don't know if living so far away from her would have been as bearable 20 years ago when phone calls were much more expensive.  Now that we have Skype and Facetime, it's so much better. I love that whenever Jayden sees the I-pad he says 'Nanny?'.  (We actually have a Skype date with Mom this evening).

In honour of yesterday being Mother's Day, I'm going to publish a re-post from 2010; My mother has given me enough love, understanding, support and friendship to see me through the rest of my life, however the best gift she has ever given me was the siblings who followed me. So thank you Mom, for not only being everything that you are, but for giving me the gift of three little sisters and a brother.  It might not have always seemed it but I love being the eldest of this eclectic group of people. 

And then there was five...
Initially published in June 2010

When my Mom had me she wasn’t married to my dad. For all accounts it was just me and her (and a gaggle of aunts who seemingly fought over me). It was a very real possibility that I might end up being an only child. However that was not to be.

When I was two and a half, mom married dad and a few months later came the arrival of my sister Tawny. I think she was a prettier baby than me, with dark curly hair and big brown eyes. Mom said I wasn’t a jealous big sister and I was happy to share with her although there were apparently times when I did give her the odd pinch (sorry!); more often than not I was pleased about the baby, so much so that once mom found me trying to stuff her into my doll’s crib – my own baby. Tawny was creative and agreeable, often following me from place to place – once following me out of the apartment at 7 am on a Saturday morning in our night dresses; another time she packed her bags with me to run God knows where when we were visiting our Nan one summer when I was eight and she was six; Thank goodness she wizened up to following me around – I was going nowhere fast evidently!

A few years later came another sister during my parent’s quest to have a son. Because Sandra has never conformed, it was only logical that she was not a boy. She had red hair and a fiery personality to match. Unlike Tawny and I, she wasn’t so agreeable and certainly marched to her own drummer, strong and independent. She was quick to say I hate you, but even quicker to say I love you.  Sandra definitely threw some variety into the mix. When there is a crisis, she's always there.

Finally, when I was nine, mom successfully gave my father his namesake. Turns out though, that John with his big liquid brown eyes and disgustingly beautiful long lashes shares only his name with dad; From all that Mom has told us, I believe he is much more in nature like our maternal grand-father than our own dad. John is obviously a man that grew up surrounded by females: he is quiet, gentle, respectful and knows when to disappear. If he ever marries he will have one lucky wife.

That was supposed to be it.

Although we had moved from an apartment to a house after dad left the navy, I was still sharing a room with my two sisters when at the age of 11, mom made the proclamation that there would be one more. I freaked out. I knew it would be a girl and that there would be four of us crammed into one little room.

But I was wrong (and right):

Mom and Dad built Tawny and I a room of our own downstairs and the following May came our very last sister. My parents had promised I could name the dark-haired baby with the pretty birth mark on her cheek and I chose Stacy (she is so not a Jennifer or Susan – what my father wanted). Because I was 12 and by then very used to babies, having had lots of practice with John and my cousins, mom let me have almost free reign with Stacy. She kind of became my own baby and rather than put her into a doll’s carriage, mom let me take her for long walks in her pram. I used to love taking our sweet natured little sister, with the softest voice you can imagine out for walks and to my school to show her off. By the time she was a toddler Tawny and I were spoiling her at every chance we could. She was our baby – she still is in so many ways although now a beautiful, confident young woman.

We are now all grown and settling into our adult lives. Most of us remain close, friends even, although a few of us are very far apart in geographical terms. We’ve had the usual family fall-outs but we always manage to pull together; Never more so than these last few months of mom’s illness.

I was watching Sense and Sensibility the other night (one of my favourite Austin adaptations) and it got me thinking about the relationships between siblings, sisters especially. How fortunate are we to have this incredible bond that will last us a lifetime no matter what is thrown at us?  I adore our amazing and flawed tribe and I couldn’t imagine what my life would have been like without them. Sure we have had our differences and I’m certain there are a few more brewing on the horizon, but we always recover and come back to what’s important – the friendships, the laughter, the love.

Stacy, Sandra, John, Me and Tawny (with our Clara on board)

(Goodness have us girls  lost weight since then - John of course looks just as fit as he always does).