Sunday, June 3

A Quiet Weekend

It was a very quiet weekend for me, I watched some movies, read some books and did nothing beyond a little housework.  It actually was pretty nice to be lazy, as the week gets started again I'll be busy with school work but we're over the halfway point.  Time to start working on some papers and final presentations.  I can't believe that in a few weeks I'll be done and have two months off.  I've offered to housesit for my parents for a few weeks of that but I'm not sure what I want to do with the rest.  I'll meet in the next week or two with my cooperating teacher for the fall and then I'll know when I need to be back to school with them.  I'm excited and nervous about spending the fall/winter in kindergarten.  I'm glad that I'll have an experienced teacher to help guide me as I head into this new adventure.

I've been doing a little searching and I could teach in the UK, in fact with a few shots and a pet passport even tybalt could come with me.  I'll put my application in to the grad studies program but part of me wouldn't mind spending a year or two teaching abroad.  I'm a little torn about it but I think I'll end up in Edmonton.  However, my feet are itchy to travel.  I've been in one place too long, I guess.  Part of why I'm willing to go abroad now is that while I'd miss my family lots there's not much here for me.  I'm realizing I can't just go back to my old life because it doesn't fit anymore.  Everyone moved on, including me and I can't pretend nothing changed.

Thursday, May 24

The Promised Art Post

Finally I get around to actually posting some art (the crowd cheers).  These are all from my art journal which was supposed to be a one year journal but it's going slower than that so it'll be a two year journal.  Glad it's flexible, like all art!!! I've also been busy reorganizing my art studio and it's almost done but I have 4 boxes of items to donate.  Anyone interested in digging through them are welcome to come over.

Friday, May 18

Don't Forget

I don't know why but this spring has been a hard one for me.  It hit me that it's been 3years since Armin died.  I think that it finally sunk in that this isn't a passing thing but a forever thing.  I've finally stopped looking for him to come through the door but the loss of that hope killed a part of me.  I'm also realizing that this means I'm really alone now and that doesn't show any signs of changing anytime soon.  When I think about living the rest of my life this way I just shut down.  I would give everything I have right now up in a second if it meant more time with him.  Yeah I'm doing much better and for the most part life is fine but there's an emptiness I can't quite fill.  I keep moving forward but I never quite leave the grief behind, there's a piece of me that is always missing.

I've also had a hard time lately watching so many of my friends starting their families.  I don't mean that I'm not happy for them because I am thrilled for them.  I just want that too, however it doesn't seem to be in the plans for me.  I adore my nephew and I love spending time with him but apart of me wishes he was mine.  I guess it's just biological clock ticking but it eats me up a little bit.  I'm trying to not dwell on it and try to focus on the good things but life just feels pretty empty.  I realized the other day that if something happened to me it would be days before anyone even noticed.  Not that I think something is going to happen but still it made me realize how empty my life is.

Does this mean I'm ready to date? I really don't know....the truth is it sure doesn't seem like the right time and there aren't any likely candidates around so that seems to say that it's not.  So what do I do to give my life some sort of meaning.  Sometimes I feel like I'm just filling time while I wait for something to happen to give me a purpose or reason.  Is a career enough? I don't know.  I think about the future and I see myself always alone at the fringes of things.  It just again feels empty.

Sorry tonight was a pity fest and I don't mean to worry anyone, just wanted to say what I've been feeling.

Monday, May 14

Catching Up...Again

Time just keeps flying by and since I've been diligently blogging on my education blog and updating my website (access both at I figure I should update on here.  I finished my semester with an 87% average so I'm pleased to say I'll make the dean's list once again.  It was a tough semester for some reason and I found myself really overwhelmed I think it's because it was split between class work and teaching in the field, I just couldn't seem to get into any kind of groove.

My field placement went really well I spent three weeks teaching a writing unit to the grade 2/3 class I was in and we all made it to the other side with stories to be proud of.  I did struggle at the beginning to figure out the students level and adapt for such a diverse group and I have ideas for how I'd change the unit for the next time I teach it.  However, that's the took me a while to figure out that the point wasn't to teach a flawless unit but to learn from teaching a unit.  Sometimes being a perfectionist isn't a good thing.  I really stressed myself out but thankfully didn't stress the kids.  It sure helped having a mom who is a teacher to talk to about the experience and to help me debrief my feelings about how the three weeks went.  She really understood what I was going through and why I might be feeling stressed.

 I wish I could share the pictures of the students with you but I don't have parental consent for that but for my prayer warrior friends please remember them in your prayers.  One of the hardest things was knowing that these students face incredible obstacles in coming to school and learning.  It was an inner city school and community which means a high poverty rate and high aboriginal population.  All of these students have stories that can break your heart but yet they would be there with smiles on most days and trying their best.  Our society does not create an equal playing field for these students.  I pray that they keep coming to school and trying their best because that is the only way they have of changing their future.   Already in grade 2/3 I could see the boys mimicking the gang behaviour of the older boys.  When asked about what they want to be when they grow up most of the girls responded "a mom".  They really don't see any options for themselves.  Also pray for their parents and families, these aren't bad parents they just lack the resources society requires of parents to produce successful children.  They are battling issues of addiction, poverty, and racism while trying to be good parents.  I had to learn to hold part of my heart back or I would have given everything to the students and had nothing left.  The system is trying to help but there is just never quite enough.

I had a nice three week break mostly spent in Edmonton with family and friends just lots of visiting and catching up. I still didn't get to see everyone but did pretty good.  It seems every time I turn around more of my friends are having children so there are more little people to meet and cuddle.  I also spent a lot of time with my nephew watching him discover new skills every day.  He's sooo close to walking and talking and I'm watching the baby turn into a toddler.  It's so much fun to see him grow and I'm glad I get to see him so much when I'm there because it helps make sure he knows Auntie Megan.  Here is is wearing his first baseball cap (from me) I totally spoil him.  I also got him a Lightning McQueen and Mater stuffed toys and he seems to really like chewing on Mater.  He'll actually chew on anything right now because he has two teeth in on the bottom and I'm sure there's some top teeth coming soon.

I did spend one whole weekend embracing my inner geek at the Calgary Comic Expo.  For the first time all the original members of the Star Trek the Next Generation cast were in one place and for trekkies this was a big deal.  I really enjoyed myself and will totally go to the Expo again but next time I'm dressing up!  I got to go to discussion panels about things like steampunk and roller derby.  Learn tips from various artists and collect signed pieces of their work.  I also got to see my jr. high crush Will Wheaton in person (although I didn't pay the money for an autograph or photo). I promise I didn't scream or embarrass myself but I was a little giddy.  My 13 year old self would have had a meltdown but at almost 33 I was able to handle the excitement.  LOL!
I also got to drool over James Marsters (Spike from Buffy) and enjoy a rare musical performance by him.  He's actually a pretty talented musician as well as being one of the handsomest men on TV.  The thing that impressed me the most at the celebrity panels I was at was how down to earth and genuinely nice all of them were.  Some seemed even a little stunned by the large crowds they were presenting to.  A big highlight was getting to hear Sir Patrick Stewart speak about his career in both film and theatre.  I don't know what I expected but he was just a genuinely humble and well spoken man.  The only time he bragged was about his son's success in the theatre.  All in all it was a great time.  I met up with a bunch of my cousins and we had a chat over a late (really late) supper.  I also met my good friend Carmen and her fiancĂ©, chatted with Shannon the SIL of my friend Kathryn several times and ran into my sister once(but she was too good for us dweebs so turned her phone off).  Yep the only thing missing was a great costume but I have a year to work on that for next year.  I did pull off some purple hair and cat ears so it wasn't a complete waste :)

Whew what a lot to say! This is what happens when you neglect your blog for months.  I won't promise daily blogs but I'm aiming for weekly because I miss sharing my life with my friends and family this way. Next time an art update but for a preview I've posted some of my new stuff on my webpage under samples.

Friday, March 9

I lost a few months and my mind

So it's been a few months and I've been crazy with school work.  This compressed semester was intense but now the hard part is over and it's off into the classroom we go for three weeks.  Since I've been soo busy nothing has really been getting down around my place.  It's been go, come back and dump things.  Half the time dishes weren't getting done and things have been kind of gross.  So the goal for this weekend was to regain my sanity and get my place under control.

This morning was getting off to a slow start when the fire alarm went off.  I started to get my shoes on and then it was turned off.  Whew false alarm I thought.  Then I heard a funny noise.  It sounded like rain on the roof....wait i don't have a roof....I only have an apartment upstairs....hmmm....maybe a tap is dripping.  No no taps dripping...hmmm   Suddenly I realize there's water in the hall closet...pouring down.  Wait now it's coming down in the kitchen!  I run downstairs to the lobby to tell the building manager and then the chaos begins.  I spent the whole morning moving things out the the water path, putting down buckets and mopping up spots.  Then once it stopped coming down so much I began the clean up.  The bathroom now sparkles, the closet is reorganized, the kitchen is cleaned top to bottom.  The living room is dry and vacuumed.  I'm well ahead of my spring cleaning schedule thanks to this little emergency.

Tonight I'm starting the craft room reorganized and straighten up.  It'll take most of tomorrow too I suspect but then I'll finally move onto clothes reorganization.  Packing up sweaters (since spring seems to be here) and bringing out the work clothes for teaching.  I should probably also make sure I have my stuff together for day one of my teaching :-)  My brain already feels less crowded and crazy.

In other news I decided to embrace my inner dweeb and bought tickets and booked a hotel room for the calgary comic con.  It should be good especially since a large number of my cousins will also be there.  Apparently nerd is genetic LOL!

I pulled off a great birthday surprise for my grandma and family last weekend.  I worked super hard all week to get ahead on my homework and I then drove down friday for the birthday dinner and back again on sunday.  It was a very short visit but I got to see everyone and cuddle my little cole-bear.  He's getting so big and soooo much fun.  He loves to bounce and is almost crawling.  He's also started eating solids and he's a real chow hound.  He even cuddled with me at the end of the evening, really melted my heart. He even wore the bear suit I got him because we all call him cole-bear.

My diet hit a bit of hiccup, stress eating is a particular weakness of mine.  However, I've been doing okay but mostly because I haven't been buying junk food.  I didn't lose any weight but didn't gain any either.  I'm hoping to be better now my stress level is dropping and being in the classroom teaching is a lot more active than sitting in a lecture.

So that's my life for the last little bit and how I lost but hopefully am finding my mind again.

Wednesday, January 25

Portion Distortion

Ok I totally stole the title for my post from this picture I found on pintrest.  This picture totally shows one of the biggest challenges for me in weight loss...portions.  I just don't know what a healthy portion size is of most foods.  Everything is super-sized and I just have lost the ability to judge a portion size.  So I spend a lot of my time at home measuring things, reading labels and trying to figure out what a portion should be.  This means that eating out is really hard right now because I just don't have the skills to easily judge a portion and yet I know what they brought me is way way way too much.  There is also a lot of hidden fat in restaurant foods.  I've read that some places put butter on top of their meat before serving to add extra juiciness, if it can be fried they'll do it and there are a lot of sauces with sugars and fats in them.  We are programmed to like unhealthy food and too much of it.  
Good Ole Meat and Potatoes
The second problem I face is that I grew up in a meat and potatoes family, not that my parents were bad, they cooked fairly healthy food and worked on helping us discuss healthy portions and eating.  However, I'm learning that for my body, starch just doesn't work, I am very efficient at turning starch into fat.  So I need to rethink what I put on my plate and how I plan a meal.  So instead of picking a meat and starch and then adding a vegetable, I need to pick two veggies, a lean protein and just a side of starch.  So far this is actually working and feeling pretty good.  I do crave starch but it's not because I'm hungry but because so many of the foods that I am familiar with or find "comfortable" are starchy.  So once a week I give myself permission to have a starchier comfort meal.  In addition I'm continuing my attempt to eat vegetarian 3 times a week, to break my habit of relying on that old meat and potatoes.  I also know that eating vegetarian is actually better for the environment, lowers my carbon footprint and is healthier.  It also can be cheaper in some cases because meat is quite expensive especially when you are buying smaller amounts like I do because there is just me.  A small package of 3 chicken breasts is 3 meals for me but costs more than the super pack of 12 (which is a ridiculous 12 meals) in comparison a can of chickpeas is a lot cheaper :-)
My new plate looks more like this

Also I lost another pound this week, despite a fall of the tracks Saturday, so I'm proud of myself.  I fell off the tracks but got back on and pulled it together again, which is why this isn't a diet so much as a healthy lifestyle.  In a healthy lifestyle you sometimes make bad choices but you realize it, forgive yourself and next time make better choices.  

Tuesday, January 17

Wordless no more

I knew the state of having nothing to say couldn't last :D I know some people might wish I would shut up but I seem to always have an opinion or something to say.  So I'm realizing I am an emotional eater...yep...I get stressed I eat.  I get upset I eat.  I get depressed I eat.  I feel happy I eat.  You get the picture, heck I even eat cuz Im bored.  So I need some new strategies, problem is I don't actually know a healthy way to deal with these emotions.  I recognize that eating is just another way of repressing my emotions.  I need to address this if I'm going to have long term success.

So I've put a sign on the fridge and the cupboard door it says "WHY are you eating?"to try to get me to think before I reach for food.  I also started reading the book "The Life You Want" by Bob Greene.  It discusses emotional eating, as well as how to deal with cravings for starches and sugars.  I don't know why starches and sugars are so addicting to me but they are the hardest thing to control.  I grew up on starches and so they are my comfort food of choice.  However, everything I'm learning says that reducing my starch intake is the secret to long term success.  I don't struggle as much with sugary treats since my brain has always recognized that a little goes a long way.

So this is what I'm learning about; it's not just about control but figuring out why I eat and finding other ways to deal with those emotions.

Monday, January 16

Week 2 weigh in

Hooray down 7lbs. so I'm off to a good start.  However the first few weeks are the easiest.  I'm beginning to really want something starchy so I might save up my extra points this week and splurge on fries from McD's but we'll see how the week goes.  Sorry this is going to be short but I've really got not much to say...hmmm...that doesn't happen often but apparently this is one of those rare moments.

Monday, January 9

Weigh In Day 1

Well it's my weigh in day and I'll be honest it was good news I've gone down but I didn't work very hard.  I tend to lose quickly at the beginning just by eating a bunch more veggies and cutting out little things like chips/ice cream and fast food.  So I wasn't particularly tough on myself and didn't track really well but I took the first steps and that's important.  I'm addicted to pintrest and I created a board for healthy 2012 for inspiring quotes, healthy tips and recipes that I find.  It's frustrating though because you look up healthy and all you get are pictures of really skinny women usually dressed skimpily.
Typical Fitness Photo...grrr...

Now I know you can be skinny and healthy but having a sister that suffers with an eating disorder makes this a sore subject for me.  She could be one of these women but she is far from healthy.  She exercises obsessively and binges and purges to maintain the physique that we idealize as healthy.  I wish there were more pictures of "real" women who are healthy out there people I could look too for inspiration that maybe aren't super skinny but are healthy. I mean who says that only a size 0 is healthy you can be curvy and sexy.  My goal is to get down to a size 16 this year...still wouldn't be considered skinny by most standards but for me that would be a big deal.  When I get there I will celebrate by buying a new dress; then I'll re-evaluate and set a new goal but I don't think that a size 0 is ever realistic for my frame.

This is better! 

This picture shows the amazing diversity of athletic builds that can be out there so why don't we see and hear more about all types of women.  I hate that our society has come to define beauty as only one thing and something that isn't healthy or attainable for everyone.  I hate that even if I get healthy I might still not be considered beautiful or thin enough.  That's why I set my goal for the year as health not just weight loss.  I may need to loose some weight to be healthy but I don't want to just define this year by how "skinny" I get because I recognize that I can be healthy and not "skinny".  So I'll get off my beauty soapbox but if you like what I'm saying check out a video on youtube called killing us softly (version 4 is the latest).

Well that's what I have to say this week! Let me know how you are doing with your healthy goals.

Sunday, January 1

New goal

Well I haven't been writing much lately mostly because I haven't had any ideas. This year I'm focusing in on my health. I'm going to add a new challenge each month so by the end of the year I'll have 12 healthy new habits. This blog will be the place where I will share my progress, insights and struggles. This way I can keep sharing my life with all of you but with a reason for writing I will be more consistent in my blogging.

This months goal is to get back on track with my weight loss program so I'm rejoining weight watchers or chubby club as my mom calls it. My weigh in day is Mondays so I'll be checking in for sure on Mondays to report my progress. Even if you aren't doing the weight watchers thing I am sure others will be interested in joining me on this journey.

So what new years resolutions did you make? How are you helping yourself stay on track?