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Healthy Living

Healthy Living

The Moveable Feast

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Mom Says: My Mother in Law is a wise woman. (& I’m not just saying that cause I know she reads our blog).

I’m saying it because she taught me a concept so powerful that it fundamentally changed the way I view life.

Changed the way I set up expectations, helped me let go when I was upset, helped me NOT get upset and it set me free.

She taught me The Moveable Feast.

As we enter into the mayhem of  Christmas, I have a number of friends who’s Christmas plans are not exactly shaping up how they were supposed to. People can’t make it, someone is sick, someone is hurt, someone has passed away. Life happens. But when you have your mind set on Christmas dinner with the family, nothing can be more heartbreaking that not having them there.

Take a step back.

Change the way you look at the “event” of Christmas and ask yourself,

“Would this be just as special if we didn’t celebrate it right on Christmas Day?”

The answer is yes.

It’s the people that you are with that should matter most, not the event itself.

Although it was great at the time, (we got married July 2nd), we didn’t realize how silly it would become to expect to celebrate our anniversary on the actual day of our anniversary. July long weekend is a guarantee up at the cottage and for 10 years now, a guarantee for a lot of people around.l It doesn’t quite spell the romantic ideal of an anniversary dinner or date.

This year's anniversary was Prosecco on a rock
This year’s anniversary was Prosecco on a rock

The Moveable Feast became our saving grace. It’s recognizing the day of the event isn’t important. What is important is simply making time TO celebrate at some point. With that, we have sometimes celebrated our anniversary 3 months later. Sometimes the next week. It makes it more casual yes, but it also allows us to strip away the pomp & circumstance of the day. To concentrate what is important. To celebrate us.

Pizza and a beautiful wine in Sept
Pizza and a beautiful wine celebrating July in September

If things aren’t working out 100% this holiday season, just think about the Moveable Feast. It might just save Christmas.

Dad Says: Ok, here’s a little secret I have to share.  I am calendar deficient.  I would make the worst witness for the big trial…where were you the night of the 15th?  I have no idea. Literally.  Unless there is picture evidence or a grand event to remind me, I just don’t associate happenings with days.

So when this concept was introduced into my life, I was more than happy.  I know the history of my mom’s idea: she has a birthday that far too often gets overshadowed by international holiday celebrations.  She wasn’t going to be able to move the holiday, so she moved her birthday.  First, it was just a few days here or there.  Then, for her 50th, she moved it 6 months. Seriously. Just picked it up because it worked better for her.  And this life lesson has certainly served us well.

We have been able to manoeuvre through life focusing on the reason not the date.  This is fantastic, as you are able to step back from societal demands and look to your own reason for celebrating, and I think that quite often you will find a bigger reason to raise a glass.

Cheers all.

Our turkey dinner became Christmas fondue days later
Our turkey dinner became Christmas fondue days later
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Healthy Living

For the Love of Hockey- Moms turn to play

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Mom Says:

I started playing hockey as another challenge to take on heading into my 40th year.

We kind of did it on a lark…

I had just taken a Learn to Skate with Parks & Rec the year before and along with my dear friend Wendy, I threw together a Play It Again Sports Hockey Kit and set out for my first game.

It was awful.

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Our first hockey game

I think I probably fell on my own about 15 times, ran into about 10 other players and nearly broke my back from wrenching from straight up fear of falling again.

I hated it. I ended up at the Chiropractor A LOT.

I promptly set about adding a hockey skills class at my local Canlan arena, two gals in a sea of guys trying to up our game.

Week after week I endured the frustration and challenge of not being able to keep the puck on my stick, giving it away like a hot potato, falling, crashing, learning to stop. You name it. I sucked at it.

There is something incredibly humbling about being really bad at the start of something new.

We kept going. We finished Winter Hockey and signed up for summer.

Somewhere along the way, I started loving playing hockey.

We have convinced almost all these moms to play
We have convinced almost all these moms to play

I had missed being on a team. I had missed being competitive about sport. I had missed pushing myself to get better at something.

This winter I am now in 2 hockey leagues, I practice once a week and I still do the hockey skills with the guys. We even convinced another friend to join us. If its an early game, all our kids come to cheer us on and nothing spurs you on more than a “GO Mommy GO!” The difference NOW is that I am smiling and SO proud when they come to watch us play.

Dad says:

Ok, so my son is not going to play in the NHL. Most likely because he doesn’t play hockey, which is a whole other post.  Daughter doesn’t look destined to crack the bigs, as she keeps outvoting weekday broadcasts with Winx Club. So Hockey blood doesn’t run too deep in my house.  Till now.

Jenn started playing hockey, if I recall, when she was asked why not.  She couldn’t come up with a good answer, and wound up on skates after conning a few friends into a women’s beginner league.  It was as expected. No skill, little knowledge, lots of apologizing for not being able to stop.  Oh, and it was FUN.  They came off the ice absolutely beaming about that one time they: stopped. hit the puck. did I mentioned stopped?  It was awesome, but rudimentary. The ref seldom called interference because really, no intent or ability to turn…

Then they started taking classes.  Words like edging, crossovers, and bar down crept into conversations.  And the quality of hockey improved so dramatically the refs were gobsmacked by change, and said so!

Our version of The Hockey Life
Our version of The Hockey Life

I thought things were changing when it came to watching the game.  Phrases changed from ‘whats offside again?’ to ‘Kadri was SO offside again!’.  For a period.  Then I get the push to head upstairs to finish on the kitchen tv while she dives through Netflix. Baby steps man.

The topic of playing together has come up a few times, but I am a bit different on the ice, and I am not sure our marriage is built to survive me screaming for a shift change using words that rhyme with puck…

 

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Healthy Living

Peace & the need for nature

Briars Resort

Mom Says:

I sit here watching the snow softly stream to the ground below. The retro notes of Madonna’s La Isla Bonita playing softly in the background  and a steaming cup of cappuccino on the table.

When my dear friend, Leigh suggested getting out of town for a day or two I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I love the bustle of Toronto, love the access to culture, sports, entertainment, the vibe and the energy. It’s fast. It’s dynamic.

Recently I have started recognizing that without the influence of nature in my world, I start to feel claustrophobic. The cottage affords us that reconnection piece throughout the summer and fall but as winter starts peaking through the clouds I crave that time away to just breathe.

My view  - Briars Resort
My view – Briars Resort

I was inspired by a post Erin had written on All the Little Lights earlier in the year about checking into a hotel to give her some space for writing and time for herself to regroup. I have to admit at first I looked at her post enviously, taking a day a month to regroup for yourself seemed…luxurious but then as I thought about it, I started thinking about how much more present I could be if I took the time to take care of myself.

Someone recently mentioned to me the fact that we budget money to pay for maintenance on our car and yet we tend to not provide ourselves the same budget for maintenance. Hmmmm?

The Briars Tower. Such a cool room
The Briars Tower. Such a cool room

We rely more heavily on our body, our mind and and our hearts than we do on our car & yet we don’t stop to think of what our maintenance schedule looks like.

Guys are great at Boys weekends and Fishing trips. Yes I am TOTALLY generalizing but I am talking from my personal experience. Our exchange in terms of him heading out for the weekend tends to go like so. Chris will simply say “Hey, thinking of a boys weekend” at which point I say “Hey. Cool” .

I am really great at being active in the building business, networking and charity events kind of space. When I start to think about time for myself, like actual downtime and relaxing, I think of how often I have been away and then promptly sabotage the idea.

Why do I do that?

What misdirected sense of responsibility drives me to replace healthy & well for crazy & overwhelmed?

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Thing is, I have a pretty stellar husband who almost forces me to make the time for maintenance. When I mentioned the chance to head up to Briars Resort (which by the way is beautifully out of the way, full of nature and just on the edge of Lake Simcoe) to find a little peace spot for writing and focus on some strategy plans, he didn’t even question.

He just said GO.

Dad Says:

Illustrious husband weighs in: Yes, most of the accolades are true. and when it comes to mental self-preservation, I have an edge.  More often than not I get the cranial shutdown opportunity of tickle fights, cookie creation, pancake production. Hells ya I wanna build a snowman Elsa!  I think a forced attendance at the ‘simple thing’ class sets me up for a calmer mind.  That said, I have also heard the question ‘Do you take ANYTHING seriously?  Seriously?!’  Well, I try not to.  And when it comes to an opportunity to get away to front load a bit of boy time,  I am so in.

These events are seldom as ridiculous as they seem.  The get-togethers have make believe themes, like gentlemen’s book club or the laborious sounding ‘take the snow off the roof at the cottage’, but in reality its a bunch of lads chillin’.  We eat well, drink well, make up better endings to stories we have all told and heard before.  It’s an interesting dynamic; everybody finds their own way of letting go. A walk in the snow, staring at the fire, too many adult beverages, everyone finds their way.  Sorry ladies. Good to be a guy I guess. Oh, and we talk about how awesome our wives are. That’s a given. Regardless, in order for us to stay healthy and strong together, we got each others back in those moments when we look forward to being apart.

Skating rink

 

Briars Resort
A winter wonderland walk through the trails at Briars Resort

 

 

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Healthy Living

The Social life: Living in Social Media

Twitter pals

I was in conversation the other day with someone who defined my work from home lifestyle as relaxed and easy. I asked why they thought that and was met with a response of less pressure, how much stuff I can get done in a day, just sitting and being on Facebook & Twitter all the time.

Hmmmm….

It took a lot not to tell them to go suck an egg.

In some ways, 100% yes it is fabulous.

You get the flexibility to define your schedule and your life but it also means you don’t have such a thing as a set schedule.

Working in social media doesn’t happen from 9-5, and being a parent while working in social media means finding that precious balance between the work you have to do and making sure you are there (& present) for your family.

If you are an entrepreneur, a business owner, active in the influencer world or social media space, your world looks a fair amount different than other people’s.

So I thought I would give you an inside view of what its like when I “sit and do social media” all day.

1) You have had conference calls as early as 5am and as late as midnight.

2) Your posture sucks and your chiropractor has been actively calling you chicken neck.

3) On a good day, you take that as a great opportunity to create your own perfect day with a mix of work, knocking off errands, working out, lunch with a friend and quality time with the kids.

4) On a bad day, you just cry.

5) You have had conference calls while waiting at the gyno office, the coffee shop, getting your Visa for Africa (I will own that one), picking out lice, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, folding laundry, skiing, at the hockey arena, dance studio, having sex (I will own that one too…sometimes if the kids are away, you just have take advantage and its too late to reschedule the call), on the road, in many an airport, this list could go on forever.

6) You are now smitten with brands that in the past have wouldn’t have been on your radar and have now become part of your every day language. Special shoutout to Canadian Lentils & Manitoba Hemp Hearts on this one. (Discovered them both at BlissDom Canada).

I met this lovely lady, @Shasherslife on Twitter
I met this lovely lady, @Shasherslife on Twitter

7) Your brand affinities and loyalties are greatly determined by the interactions you have had with said brand on social media. Special shoutout to West Jet, Via Rail, Tim Hortons, Intrepid Travel

8) There is a dent in the comfy chair in the living room because that is where you get up early mornings to write, where almost all of your computer work even though you have a desk.

9) You have rules about putting away your phone during certain times at home.

10) You can jump on a Skype call or Google Hangout with a nice top and make-up and Goofy Disney pajames on under the table.

11) Your water cooler is Twitter and part of your job is being social on social.

12) You can be a volunteer at your kid’s school anytime you want.

13) You can get the kids to school every day and the only time pressure is to make sure THEY aren’t late for school not whether you ARE late for work.

14) You can take a day off and just play hooky, but it is kind of like cheating at solitaire …

15) If you started a blog/work from home while on mat leave, you mastered the ability of balancing boob, baby or bottle in one arm while simultaneously typing, tweeting or texting on the other.

16) Location: You have had business calls in the bathroom, car, laundry room, lobby, in the corner of an event, at Starbucks, and wherever there is a decent quiet place and reasonable wifi.

17) You have had Skype calls/Google Hangouts where your kids jump their faces in and introduce themselves or say Hi and usually wave at the kid on the other side of the Skype call /Google Hangout.

18) Your kids understand what a Twitter Party is and if you are running one, they (most of the time) understand that hour Mommy is typing frantically, can’t move from her computer and will chat/yell from the living room.

19) You can pick up the kids from school as early as you want or grab them for lunch..cause that’s how you roll.

20) Your car (most likely van) is your mobile office and you have perfected the charging station of plugging in your computer to charge your phone because inevitably you have lost the square plug piece to put the cord into AGAIN.

21) Your local food bank, day care, school, good will have received many donations from you of extra food, toys or products.

22) You can usually put a great basket together for raffle prizes because you have a schwack load of this-does-not-make-sense, why-did-they-spend-money-on-this branded schwag you received at an event.

23) You question whether something you are about to put out on social media is over-sharing, risks affecting your kids, your privacy, will it bring out trolls (those mean, anonymous types on social), yeah pretty sure it will bring out trolls and hit publish anyways.

24) You have met some of your closest friends because of Twitter and couldn’t be more grateful for those in your life. I could write a list of all the amazing people I have met through the years because of Twitter and BlissDom Canada but the list is actually far too long. Too all you social awesomes out there…see you at the Water Cooler.

Lisa - RentfrockRepeat.com and I met via Twitter and have enjoyed an amazing work and friendship because of it.
Lisa – RentfrockRepeat.com and I met via Twitter and have enjoyed an amazing work and friendship because of it.
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Healthy Living

Is it You or Me?

Feeling the love

It’s not you. It’s me.

October had to have been one of the weirdest months I have experienced in a long time. I think it was for so many people. Record numbers of people were experiencing bouts of anxiety (me too) and depression; crashes that hit hard when they  are generally happy people; snarky, mean, aggressive people; ones that simply couldn’t cut a break.

Call me crazy but I feel like Facebook is at it again… (or at least in some ways I am hoping so).

I thought it was Mercury in retrograde. One of the hottest buzz words of 2014, Mercury in retrograde at least would explain all the aggression. The planets were out of alignment, the moon was full. Whatever you want to take from it, its been messing with our happy chi.

Then I thought later in the month it was because of the Jian story breaking, one which for Canadians became instantly so unbelievably uncomfortable it has just set EVERYONE off with an opinion.

I wondered too if because of the Jian piece and the #BeenRapedNeverReported #Ibelieveher hashtags that people’s emotions are just SO raw that we have bubbled to the surface as a collective group of burnt out social media types..exhausted and spent from the anger that has been flooding our feeds.

And then I thought…Wait.

 

Love and Hate in social
Can’t we all just get along?

 

Anger has been FLOODING our feeds. It has become a hot bed of discussion on rape culture, women’s rights, consent, feminism conversations, exposes on celebrity abusers, so many loud opinions… its just too much.

Is my feed showing all this because according to Facebook’s algorithm, that’s what I am asking for?

Is there just a copious amount of anger that people need to release into the world? Is Facebook back at doing some random testing on the positive and negative effects of posting emotional content again?

The truth? I am kind of hoping so, because in some ways it would explain how we have become so malicious to our fellow man.

Facebook is starting to feel like that bite-your-head-off, snarky asshole you totally happily say “Hi!” to in the morning at work and they snap back with a scowl on their face.

When did it become so righteous to have such cutting, judgemental opinions? As much as its being written in social its carrying over into real life. I am seeing regular Joe guys being attacked for simply being part of a gender that very specific, singular people have done harm as. I am seeing women put out so much angry hate on for another woman I simply can’t understand. They are talking about violence against women on one hand then using their words to cut deep on the other. THEY are HUMAN BEINGS.

I get that you are trying to move forward a movement. But movements happen with intellect and strategy, not by slaying the other person down.

Maybe I just have to take a moment away from social media and clear my head of the constant throb of rage that sits there… maybe Facebook and I need to break up for awhile, or maybe I need to start clicking more likes on kitten photos, rainbows and unicorns.

Maybe people just need to take stock of being present, being in their moment, focus on living in harmony and gratitude. Maybe people need to find more ways to pay it forward and enjoy the catharsis that happens with giving?  Why does there need to be a #gratitudechallenge? Have we gotten to the point that we can’t appreciate the amazingness of living this life?

I feel like something’s gotta give or we will end up going down a rather wretched rabbit hole where negativity (& Facebook) will continue to pull people down. Try working on embracing positive energy, feel happy, love and if you can’t…

Then it’s you and not me.

Can we find a simple place to share love instead of hate?
Can we find a simple place to share love instead of hate?

 Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness

– James Thurber – 

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Healthy Living

Let’s Talk About RAPE…Shall we?

Forced to be quiet

TRIGGER WARNING: You might not like this post as it is an account of what I went through as a person who has experienced rape. If its going to bother you, then don’t read it. If you are open-minded and willing to embrace another part of a story then please proceed. 

I accepted another challenge this month. It is a writing challenge. One of truly to goodness straight up writing…

It’s about writing from the heart.

Contemplating what to write about, I have pretty awesome ideas on posts like “how to host a wicked fairy party,” “Venus VS. Mars and the quest of the conversation between men and women,” “how fierce you get as a mom of autism,” … but the one that keeps rearing its ugly head is “Let’s Talk About RAPE.”

The funny thing is I don’t want to talk about rape. It is actually the very last thing I want to talk about on the planet but there is a part of me that just wants to say one thing. That it stays with you. It will always stay with you.

As more and more women (& men) were including the #BeenRapedNeverReported admittance on Twitter last Thursday, I felt compelled to add my own experience to the rising number of people who were “coming out.” It felt comforting. It felt like I wasn’t alone.

I tweeted it. Threw up. Then went to bed. Only to have that fabulous recurring nightmare that night for the first time in eons and not be able to sleep past 4am.

I won’t talk about the rape. No I didn’t report it. It took many years before I could even tell my parents about it in fact. What I can tell you is that it fundamentally changed me and I am pretty sure I can say the same to anyone who has been assaulted, raped or molested. You can most definitely get past it but it will never GO away.

Forced to be quiet
Forced to be quiet

Let’s talk about what happens AFTER a rape…

  • The Shame
    • I can’t truly tell you how many times I used to berate myself for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, how awful & stupid & responsible I felt for bringing this on myself. I blamed, bargained and berated myself for a really long time. I eventually stopped the shaming, but I can tell that there is still a small piece that sits with me to this day.
  • The Nightmares
    • For years I had a recurring nightmare of various scenarios from that night. Awful, violent ones that usually lasted right up until the moment I am about to get killed. I wake up flailing, out of breath, screaming–and as much as I know better, it takes me most of the night to settle down from one of those even now.
  • The Counseling
    • I had those nightmares for seven years, almost nightly, until I finally was convinced by my boyfriend at the time to go seek help. I tried numerous counselors. One had me “huff” all my grief and anger out and encouraged me to get primal with my anger. One had me scream at my assailant, which usually just exhausted me till I went home and slept for days. Nothing was helping until finally I went to Klinic Community Health Centre in Winnipeg. The counselor understood rape and we talked a lot about giving away my power and giving him so much power in terms of holding on to what had happened. I realized it was done. I couldn’t do anything to change it. I had to accept it in order to move on.
  • The Promiscuity
    • I went through some really strange relationships. On one hand, I would have relationships that were wonderful, kind, supportive and fun and I would almost inevitably fuck them up. They were too safe, or too kind, and I would want to control them. On the other hand, I would somehow be drawn to sex addicts or abusive relationships that made me feel… what? Desired? Wanted? Taken care of (see: Christian Grey & his dominant personality)? The one good thing that came out of these were that they exposed me to sex in a different light. By pushing those envelopes I somehow stopped needing to control sex and learned more to experiment with it. I started to own my body versus giving it away all the time. As bad as it was, it ultimately made me much more deeply connected to this day in what I like, who I am and how open I am willing to be.
  • The Guilt
    • I can’t tell you how many times I have wondered if he has done this to someone else. I wondered if I had said something, would things be different? People 20+ years ago were in no ways supportive of a victim’s claim of rape and for me, I was not willing or wanting to go through that process (given what I had seen others go through). Defense lawyers were primed to target all aspects of your personality and your life and for me, it simply was not worth the exchange.
  • The Forgiveness
    • Eventually, I learned to forgive myself for that night and in some ways forgave him. I had to in order for me to live my life fully and completely in present day. There will always be a scar, but scars fade.
  • The Never-Ending
    • This will stay with me for my lifetime, but how I manage it is up to me. There are SO many more layers than simply asking “why didn’t you report it?” Before passing judgment or forming any kind of opinion, please just remember that you never… really… truly… know anyone else’s story.

 

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