Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Last Vent of the Pre-Holiday Season

Ever feel like a warm wallet?  Ever get your back up when every where you go someone is asking you for more and more money?  For my husband and I it seems the last few holidays have been brutal for this.  Now my husband works for Sick Kids Foundation and sees where the money goes.  Not a day goes by when he hasn't seen a biography of a very sick child and his/her resume of treatments and surgeries (though they have these long necklaces of beads, each representing some sort of treatment/surgery).

Always reminded of the many hardships their family's have endured to find help for their children.  It weighs on him heavily and on me in return.  We've never begrudged a dime of the money we donate to that cause and always wish we could do more. 

Then there are the 5 million other causes that ask, and ask, and ask, all year long.  Programs all very, very worthy and so vastly under funded that their only real sources of income come from charitable giving.  Then there are schools fund raising events, churches, and after school activities.  It never ends.  Really, it never ends!  Of course I run the risk of people hating me for even putting this in print.  I am an adult and can say no to a cause when it comes to extra giving.  Everyone is entitled to their limit.  But everyone has a limit to how much their beating heart can be twisted.

There are those special charities like Harvest, Adopt-a-family, and any other where the goods actually get put right into the hands of the people who need it, with the fewest people in between.  These are the ones I target the most.  I never actually need to see them to know that "there by the grace of God, go I".  I just happen to be the lucky one that gets to give instead of it being the other way around.

I have been blue all day thinking of the young girl who will be the recipient of one of the charitable projects that E's class is doing this year.  Yes, a homeless girl.  Can you imagine such a thing?  Sadly, I can.  I lived in a city center where I got to see lots of that.  It was heart breaking.  I spent the morning shopping with my youngest, for this particular girl.  I intend to go back and pick up the rest of the list that doesn't get picked out by the other classmate's parents.  It's the very least I can do because I can't rush in and save her.

The final slap was an email circulated today for a donation to a gift for an after school activity instructor whom I will not name nor give hint to what activity (He is very well paid I should add before I'm BBQ'd).  The email suggested that the gift was in the hundreds.  Really?  All I could think was, Wow! That's extravagant given that though he is a great instructor, such an expensive gift seems ill placed.  Then there was the question as to motive.  Why such an expensive gift? Do people really expect such elaborate things?  Likely not.  Then why? What is this person getting out of arranging such a ridiculous display?  And there it is....the ugly side of Holiday Stress.

Have I turned into a Grinch?  Have I become a judgy-judgerson?  Or is this just a symptom of being stung by the needs of the world and the guilt that comes from living in a materialistic world?  There are days when I want to shrug it all off and go live in the mountains.  Today is one of those days.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Who Are You Looking At?

"Hurry up? Geez you're so slow...don't you want to get out there and run?"

"Well, yeah, but why rush? Both boys are in school and I've got lots of time. "

"Yeah, time to be a turtle. I've got a goal and you're going to come a long so hurry up."

Out in the open air the sun glinting off the bits of pavement recently thawed. The fields littered with ragged weeds and strewn tumble weeds of litter. The occasional squirrel clucking at us as we run past.

People driving toward us gawking and shaking their heads. As if a foot race is the most foreign concept to them at that moment. A nod or a hand wave from the rare driver who without the car is a runner, as well. An unspoken bond. Secret handshake.

With new music downloaded and a nice supply of energy I thumb through the playlist looking for the perfect song to match a pace beat too. It's a challenge. My run partner is always just a few beats quicker. Shooting me frustrated looks. "Go faster....screw negative split conservation, let's go! The return trip takes care of itself!"

I find a song and then fall casually into pace. Enjoying the feel of being back at the distance. Emptying my mind of all the important things. Letting things fall away until I feel a tug at my jacket..."come on!!!"

Needing to stop and wait out a light I get more sour puss stares but I turn my head and take a sip of water and get ready to cross the street and keep going. Once back at a steady pace I'm able to take a look around. It's 28 days till Christmas and everyone is getting into the swing. I see deflated snowman, Santas and snow globes just waiting for the right time to be pumped up to greet the children as they pass. I say a silent hello to them anyway. I kinda know how they feel. I'm starting to fatigue and my partner is pissing me off.

On the return I'm harped at even more. Thankfully, it seems a faster return than I had expected. Though now it's mostly on an up hill grade. Trying very hard to shut the mind off but with every tweet of my Garmin my partner looks like she's going to kick me. I'm amazed she hasn't started calling me worse names yet.

Only 2K left. I pick up my pace slightly and see my partner sneer. We start rounding our way through the streets leading to the end of the run and she picks up her pace. I look at my Garmin and skip the last walk break and start to find that rhythmic pattern so that I can increase the pace. 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 on and on and on and around the corner the end in sight. Breaking free, building faster and faster. Across the line. 10.05K complete. Cooling down. Finally my partner grabs my wrist with the Garmin and regards it for a minute. I bristle waiting for her to tear a strip off me.

"Huh, how long has it been?"

"8 months give or take a couple of days."

"meh, not too shabby" and she turns and bounds up the stairs and into the house.

I look down. 1 hr 12 mins. Yeah, not too shabby.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Anticipation/Frustration...hey they rhyme!

If you are a friend of mine you know that I've had a real fun time replacing a dishwasher. The fiasco started back when we moved into our house 5 years ago. When we moved in we really didn't question why the owner never bothered to fill the whole under the cabinet where the dishwasher ought to have been. We had a portable that was only purchased just over a year before so there was no rush to purchase something to fill the gap. Instead, we put a shelf in the space and put our microwave and bar fridge in there. This was a nice compromise.

I never much liked the portable, it did the job well and I was too cheap to get rid of it so long as it was functioning. Then last May the bottom sprayers some how magically became clogged. I asked my husband to take one of my plastic knitting needles and unclog it but I guess he thought the job was too disgusting to attempt and the next thing I knew we had purchased a nice new shiny dishwasher. Finally, I was going to get all that space back that the portable was taking up. We'd relocate the microwave and fridge. I'd get a dishwasher right across from the sink! Hallelujah!

Nope, not even close. Turns out it couldn't be done. The reason the owner never bothered was because he made a huge mistake when he changed the location of the sink causing the builder to relocate the cold air return vents which now ran directly under the island where the dishwasher needed to be. There was no hope of running any sort of plumbing when there was the venting there.

Finally, after staring at the very big box with my nice shiny new all the bells and whistles dishwasher for five months. The vents got moved. Then after both a plumber and electrician came in to install it, it's up and running in fabulous form. No more sink full of dishes. No more doing them by hand. Only thing is now it takes 3-4 hours a load. Some new energy economizing function on this machine. If it stretches out the length it takes for the loads to complete the less energy it requires. You'd think that would be important what with the hydro rates sky rocketing. JUMPING JESUS ON A POGO STICK!!!!! Are you kidding me???

Gahhhh what's a girl got to do to get some clean dishes? I could hand wash every cup, knife, fork and dish in the house plus my wedding china and crystal in the time it takes to do a lousy simple load of dishes. I'd still have time to polish the silver too!

I'd laugh if it wasn't so completely freaking ridiculous. You all wonder why I threaten to drink all the time?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Little Things in Life

You know when I'm not blogging I feel a little lost. It's the oddest thing but my creativity flows best when I'm putting things out there into the great void. Now I know some of you read this blog but when I started I figured that mostly it would go ignored (which is fine) and it would just turn into a diary of sorts. Like a message in a bottle. A peg to hang a hat on.

As I write, it's snowing out. The first real snow fall of the season and I should be out running with the club but have elected to stay home and hang out with L while husband and E are at a karate competition. It makes for a little bit of a boring morning. That snow is calling me...come run, come run. I feel like I do when I really want a diet coke.

That feeling of being a little wistful had me on the search for Vibrams again. I tried back on Tuesday to find a store location in the GTA but sadly each place that I contacted said that they were on back order and that the orders were incredibly slow to come in. I didn't want to order straight from the site because of the fit. Vibrams are notoriously difficult to fit blindly. You must measure both feet in a particular manner and then pick the longest foots measurement convert it and voila, either a good fit or a really bad fit.

Then the pair that I wanted most couldn't be ordered through the site but rather in the store. I guess I gave up the hunt at that point. But then Misty said she got her hands on some through a client (measurement goof) and she loved them. So it spurred me on. I went back to the website at 7:00 am barely awake. Coffee cup in one hand credit card in the other. And now I'm going to go and sit by the front door window waiting for my package! Ok so no I'm not that silly but I am anxious and can't wait to get out there in them. Aren't they pretty? Ok they are henious to look at and I'll look like a hobbit what with my cankles and all but so what? I wasn't winning any Running World cover shoots anyway.

Oh it's so beautiful out there...a thin blanket of perfection while more fluffy flakes flutter downward. I'm nearly tempted to bundle L up and pull out the jogging stroller, weigh down the empty seat, next to him and do a 5K trot. Ohhhh the idea is planted!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wow, It's been a long time!

Gosh it's been what? Two, three weeks since the last blog? Gee you'd think I didn't have anything to say. Yeah I know, hard to believe.

There has actually been way too much going on for the last three weeks. Lots of stress, less time than is required and a lot of crazy. But then doesn't that sound like everyone's life too. Yep we aren't immune.

The good news is that my training has ramped up again. Feeling stronger than I have in a long time. Seeing some improvements and getting my mojo back. I have to thank my awesome friends Sheree and Misty for kicking my ass repeatedly to get me to snap out of my comfort zone. I wont kid you, I've made just about every excuse I could. Letting my fears of re-injury keep me in a holding pattern. I suppose there just comes a point when you see what you want and know you are just not going to acheive it by standing there watching everyone else.

Now comes the process of getting back to a healthier lifestyle. Moving toward a better diet and better rest. Better quality everything.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Wow, it's come and gone. The frantic race to design and sew two unique costumes. Then decorating the house and reeving the kids up for the day. I took out just about every book left in the library with a Halloween theme and read them in a crazy marathon of bedtime stories.

October is always a rush and each year it becomes an event that is more fun. The kids still howl if they see a haunted house and skirt the scary displays outside of the occasional house but they require less and less prompting each year. This year E was up there pounding on the door and yelling trick or treat as if his life depended on it. L was all in too but had me biting my lip each time I watched him navigate a pair of hazardous looking stairs. He was a real champ and was the last to give up the Halloween Hunt.

Once the booty was poured out on the floor he got the idea that he wanted to roll around in the pile the way adults dream of rolling around in a big pile of lottery winnings. It was all too hilarious. Though apparently, I'm the type of parent who utters "eat the whole sucker, no wasting!" *eye roll*

I have to admit I think I enjoy Halloween more as Mommy watching her boys have the fun she had as a kid. Not only can I relive that bygone fun but I can help spread the spooky sticky-handed joy.