Plan B, C, and D

I actually dreamed about helicopters last night. Yikes.

I love that I’m giving so much thought to my challenges. So much thought, in fact, that I’m actually dreaming about them.  When I first looked at the list, I originally thought, “No sweat. At all.” Although I have 344 days left to complete everything, the thought has crossed my mind that I might need to cram some of these things together.

I’ve come up with some scenarios to make sure I’ve done all of this in time.

1) How about dance class? While naked. Of course, I should take a stripping class–in Vegas, when I take my husband, and we’ll go via helicopter. Then I’ll shoot a zipline from…wait, I’m naked. Right. I have nowhere to carry the zipline, so I won’t zipline to the stripper’s class.

And/or…

2) I go to Vancouver with my son, and we hang there while I’m vegan. I’m pretty sure the word “vegan” means “starvation” in old Serbian. So, I’m going to blog about me wasting away with no meat or cheese (oh cod…no cheese) and then I’ll do a self-portrait (naked!) to show my emaciated frame and sell it on Etsy as an evocative and provocative social commentary on the male gaze. I’m not sure how to fit ziplining in this scenario.

And/or…

3) My daughter and I go to Los Angeles. My friend Natasha meets us there and we scramble Space Mountain in Disneyland—that counts, right? As we’re walking down Sunset Boulevard after our scramble, I’m hand-picked off the street to star in rap music videos. I agree to this because I’ve agreed to try new things. At this point, I’m thinking I should have starved (aka gone vegan) and ran the 10KM before going to LA because I’m going to be rap video star. I also thinking I should have taken twerking classes instead of classical ballet.

I’m not sure how to fit ziplining in this scenario, either.

Finally…

I can eat whatever bug flies into my mouth while I’m screaming during ziplining. I’m sure there are naturally occurring chocolate-covered grasshoppers.

 

 

 

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The will and intention were there, I swear

Achieving a goal has a recipe for success. There’s no magic ingredient (let’s just go with this metaphor, even though it’s…wait for it…stale). Achieving a goal is making a conscious decision to achieve something, breaking it down into manageable steps, and then working your a$$ off until it’s done. Goal achievement is persisting even when things seem daunting. Decide, commit, and achieve. Simple, right?

Oh, I also forgot. You need time. I need time to achieve some of my challenges and of course I was too tired to work towards some of my goals.

Last minute urgent work at work, and I ended up working just over 12 hours today. I looked at my gym bag, packed so optimistically with my running shoes and even my sports bra, and I sighed. I was totally prepared to walk diagonally because of treadmill vertigo today. I then looked at the dusky frozen wasteland outside and realized that I left work right after, I could theoretically be home in 45 minutes. Rush hour traffic, see? At that point, I realized that I just could not bring myself to work out after work and be at the office for 14 hours. I was hungry, exhausted and I felt guilty about setting more time aside for non-family time. No workout, but I finished the crazy last minute assignment.

I have been home an hour now. I inhaled the dinner my husband made. I asked my kids about their days, and that’s when things took a downturn in my communication abilities. I’m incoherent and my kids are both in shiny, cheerful moods. It’s a twisted joke by fate. Having a teenager and a preteen both in a good mood at the same time is an amazing rare gift. I think I mumbled something in approval when my daughter massaged my shoulders with her forehead. I have great kids.

Maybe this is the reason I have put off some goals is because I have finite time and energy. Maybe I need to reorganize my time. I just simply tried to insert goal work into current life. It’s not working. I have no workouts, no helicopters, and no bugs. Tomorrow, I will change my strategy but right now, I’m going to go collapse in bed after a half-a$$ed tooth brushing.

Good night y’all.

10K to zero

Five years ago, I declared that the only way that I’d ever go for a run was if someone were chasing me. I remember saying this, and then taking a drag on a cigarette and cackling.

So much has changed since then, and I am so mortified by that statement now.

I don’t know if it’s the threat of more weight gain after quitting smoking, or a determination to live just a little bit longer, but guess who runs like their a$$ is on fire? It’s not only the sudden realization of my mortality or my consternation at my ever-expanding caboose following quitting smoking that keeps me running. I also like the slightly light-headed feeling I have after a particularly satisfying run outside in the fresh, car-exhaust enhanced air. I like the feeling of accomplishment after running 5K without stopping. I like listening to a running list that contains songs that are actually embarrassing to own otherwise, but it’s OK, because they’re good for running. No judging.

It’s now been three weeks since we had a dump of snow that created slippery patches of death on the sidewalks, and I’m staring longingly outside. Even though Snowmaggedon is over and the sun is shining brightly today, this is the reality outside:

Cold

It will probably stay this frigid more or less until spring now. I’ve already got cabin fever. Also, although I’m pretty sure this is just my imagination, I feel myself blowing up and expanding. The pounds are catching up to me, grabbing on, and I’m afraid they’ll never let go. I’m afraid I’ll become like my friend Charmie’s dog Hammy who has no survival instinct. When he goes outside in the winter and it’s too cold, he doesn’t try and save himself.  He lays down in the snow, and is all like, “Well, I’ve had a good run” and waits to die. My friend has to rescue him frequently by carrying him the one metre to the back door. Like Hammy, I feel like the pounds will jump on, and I’ll lay down in the metaphorical snow.

How do I train for a 10K run if I can’t actually run?

There are options of course and I know I’m being a little melodramatic but my cod, I hate running on treadmills. I really hate stepping off the treadmill after the workout is done, and walking diagonally because my treadmill-induced vertigo prevents me from walking a straight line. The alternative to walking diagonally would be to pay $6.00 every run to use a nearby indoor running track. Running every second day at $6.00 is $90 a month, not to mention time lost by commuting to running track and gas. Winter here lasts about six months, so let’s place the grand total at $750. That’s enough for a back alley liposuction by a doctor with a printed medical degree from a university I’ve never heard of!  And there’s no car-exhaust enhanced air at the indoor running track —just recycled body odour from the hippies who use ineffective deodorant as well the mild gaminess from everyone else because their stank is trapped.

I will have to opt for one or the other, however. I really have no other choice but diagonal walking or gamey people if I want to meet the challenge.

I was the Lovely Owl yesterday

My blog post today has nothing to do with challenges, or aging, or commentary on the psychology of pushing myself beyond my limits to maximize my life enjoyment. Today’s blog post is all about surrendering to forces on your body to maximize enjoyment: specifically, 90 minutes of skilled deep-tissue massage therapy.

Good cod, was it good. It was like fat, fluffy puppies good. It was like melted cheese on soft, warm bread good. It was Lovely Owl good.

owl gif

And for an hour after, I had no pain in my body, and I was blissed out. That was my birthday present from my family and it was in the words of Macklemore, “f*cking awesome.”

As Dawn (one of my new favourite people because she is an AMAZING MASSAGE THERAPIST) skillfully stretched and manipulated each gnarled point, I imagined what each knot was made out of. I know (thanks WiseGeek! Boo to you Wikipedia!) that knots are muscle tissue that are in a continual state of contraction and knots have an abnormally high protein content. So basically, something I always suspected is true—I am literally never relaxed. There are parts of me that hold on to tension like people hold on to bars on a rollercoaster.

I imagine the moments my life that caused that muscle to initially contract and stay that way. I feel like I can dissect and identify each part. Say the knot in my right shoulder is made of trying to haul ten bags of groceries in one trip from the car up the stairs into my house on a day when I have exactly 20 minutes to start dinner so that it will cook in time before I have to drive my irritable kids to their lessons before we have two must-do social engagements. But before that, the dog threw up on the rug and someone needs to clean it.  Meanwhile, I had someone tear apart my work at work that day and make me doubt my competence. My commute, normally half an hour, took an hour and 10 minutes. No reason. It just did. The night before, I lay down with a migraine and prayed that it would be gone by morning.  My prayer had been mostly answered, but I felt hung over with a post-migraine achiness that threatens to roar back to life with every flashing light or strong odour. As Dawn kneaded the knot, I imagined the pain, self-doubt, and the traces of that long day be pushed out and into the soft dark corners of that massage room where I can only hope they die quickly and are vacuumed out at the end of the day.

Of course, each knot wasn’t built in a day. I have many days like the one I just described. And I think I lied to you at the beginning of this post. This post may be about growth, after all.

Are we not supposed to make lemonades from life lemons? Maybe it’s time to just weed out the knot-causing annoyances and start from a smooth place. Maybe it’s time for me to take the rotten lemons and throw them back, or maybe throw them at the sh*tty drivers on my commute home instead of flipping them off (maybe one of those drivers is a really nice person at work who tells you that you flipped them off when you’re introduced). Maybe one of my lessons this year is to take what I hold to be true and unravel it. Maybe I push it, and knead it and stretch it until I get to the centre, and make it smooth. And then start again.

Bugs again

I’m sorry–I can’t stop thinking about bugs. Before you get all pedantic on me, I know that spiders are not insects, but arachnids. In the interest of condensing my word count, I lump all of the nasty buggers into the rather inelegant category of bugs.

Saying I have an aversion to bugs is like saying Superstorm Sandy was a rain shower. I have not an ounce of shame when I leaped onto a chair in grad school. I took the below picture of a giant spider outside of my classroom and the damn thing followed me into the classroom. Granted, I wasn’t the only one jumping onto my chair, but I was the only one shrieking. This picture here shows the offending spider, and a dramatized version given my reaction artistically rendered by my friend Carol:

Some people claim there was no spider (yes, I’m talking about you Hilary) so I’ve circled it in red:

with spider

I went down some rabbit holes while doing some research on entomophagy. Holy sh*t, you guys, there’s some messed up sh*t out there. And I will probably never sleep again.

There was a woman recently who went to eat a banana and Brazilian wandering spiders burst out of it.  My reaction?

http://gif-central.blogspot.ca/2013/07/nope-badger.html

 

How about deep-fried scorpion?

wah

Should you choose to click on the link for deep-fried scorpion, please look at whole slide show. The description of the paste that oozes out of a cooked tarantula on that one slide…well, this is my reaction:

Oh+hell+no+_5527b4e6f027652e9e51c6ab696e0025

I will probably not love bugs after eating a grasshopper. Maybe all this exposure to the Things that Must Not Be Named will help reduce my aversion/phobia?

Let me know if you think so when you stop laughing.

My first old lady rant

Due to a terrible migraine tonight, my blog entry is rather abbreviated and I will tell what you I hate about aging.

 

1)      I’m a 13 year old kid trapped in an 80 year old body. I have arthritis, and I think I have hot flashes. I also get acne so everything is confusing. I don’t even know what cream to put on my face anymore. I rub three different ones on, and hope for the best.

 

2)      Grey facial hair as a woman is really depressing. On the bright side, it’s not as visible.

 

3)      All that stuff I said about aging gracefully when I was younger? I take it all back. Mother Nature will take my youth from me by wrestling with me for every last bit of it. Even then, the last bit of it will have to be pried from my cold, dead hands.  Literally.

 

4)      I’ve learned enough in life already to know that I know less than I did ten years ago. I also know that I’ll be less certain of even more things in ten years. In other words, I don’t know anything right now and I’ll know even less soon.

 

5)      Every time I forget to do something, I’m terrified that dementia has already arrived. The day when I forget to pull up my pants after using the washroom will soon be here. No one needs to see that really, but there it is.  You’ve been warned.

 

What has been read cannot be unread

It is November in Canada, and I need to find insects to eat.

The practice of eating bugs is known as entomophagy—people deliberately picking bugs up and putting them into their mouths, deliberately. We’ve all seen the pictures from Bangkok, Thailand where some of the “street meat” is larvae and deep fried cockroaches. If not, here, have a look, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Insect_food_stall

 

I like how they added some greenery to make it festive and “appetizing.” It’s not working. Parsley doesn’t dress up mealworm to look like anything edible, in my opinion. All the barbeque sauce in the world won’t make it go down without at least one dry-heave. I get entomophagy is culturally-specific, and it’s learned, and there are various benefits to eating bugs. I read about how bugs are an environmentally-friendly alternative to feeding the world’s booming population filled with disgusting nutritiousness. Awesome. I don’t care.

I’ve swallowed some insects—inadvertently, of course. During one of my runs in the spring, I swallowed two mosquitoes when they flew too far back in my throat to spit out. Or gag and hack out, more accurately. I also don’t know if that statistic about swallowing bugs in your sleep is true. I know I’ve also inadvertently eaten larvae on fruit skin and insect parts in processed foods.  I don’t know how I feel about eating something I have no problems killing out of sheer revulsion. Like, picking up its crunchy, oozing carcass and chomping on that mother*cker? Getting insect legs stuck between my teeth?

Did you also know about natural contaminants? Do you want to know about natural contaminants? No?  Well, I’m going to tell you about natural contaminants. Because you need to know this.

According to FDA (I don’t have any relevant Canadian resources, so if you have anything more recent, please feel free to keep it to yourself because I am completely squicked out by this), there are acceptable levels of “insect parts” and “insect filth” in our food. It’s not only acceptable, it’s good! The more insect parts, the less insecticide! More protein! Also, throw in some rodent hair because, why not? It’s organic.*

However, a challenge is a challenge, and I have committed to eating a bug. I’m looking for chocolate-covered grasshoppers because I’m thinking I can pretend it’s something else. I‘m not going to love it, and I may vomit. It could be worse, though, as eating a tarantula was the first suggestion.

I’ve found that I can buy chocolate covered grasshoppers at the Gummi Boutique here in Calgary. Only $2.99. $2.99, one bug, one challenge down. Who wants the rest of the box?

*Maybe read this if you never want to eat chocolate again: http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/06/29/how_many_insect_parts_and_rodent_hairs_are_allowed_in_your_food.htm