Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Home grown goodness.

The Strumbellas

Thursday, March 20, 2014

a river runs through it

If you haven't been to Niagara Falls recently
(and live nearby)
you should go.
The ice accumulation is incredible. 
It feels like you're in a different world.
A different, arctic world.
It's beautiful.

As much as I hope for the end of winter,
I am grateful that I got to see this.

Monday, March 17, 2014

new rules

I did realize that I needed to have a more concrete plan
in order to find success.

And if I had opted out of a trainer,
then what, exactly, was I going to do?

I looked online for a program.
I looked at magazines.
I found nothing that didn't promise a bikini body in 6 weeks
or abs that I'd always dreamed of.
Those weren't for me.
I needed something longer term
and that was easy to follow.

So I bought some books.

I bought three:

This was the winner.

It doesn't have glossy, pretty photos 
but it does have photos that clearly show the exercises.
It has a simple workout plan that takes approximately 6 months
and has reasonable degrees of difficulty as you progress.

It's kind of funny.
It's no-nonsense and doesn't assume that women aren't capable 
of achieving great results in the weight room.
(It actually has a chapter called " A Woman's Place is in the Weight Room".)

I'm one week in and doing well.
I think the moves may get a little repetitive after awhile
but you basically do each "stage" for 4 weeks 
so if you think you can't stand it any longer
then you can move on to stage 2.

So far so good.

It feels good to have a plan.
And it only cost $21.

I'll keep you posted on the results.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

fit to be tied

I have a little story about my gym experience,
or rather,
"How to feel worse walking out of the gym than when you walked into it."

I've been having a rough time.
The last 5 months have been really hard
and I have been feeling physically and emotionally weak.
I decided to join the gym because I needed something new
 and challenging
and positive
 to put my energy into.

I have a goal and I'm committed.

When I went to tour the gym
I brought a friend with me
because I have a really hard time saying no to people.
I totally cave in high pressure situations
 and I needed someone to say
"We'll think about it"
and walk me out the
before I signed on the dotted line.

When I went back to sign the contract and hand over my credit card,
the guy said that I get a free assessment with my membership
and when would I like to meet with the guy?
I was on vacation the next week so I thought
I would come down then and get it out of the way
so I could start my workouts on the Monday.

The day came and I went.
The guy was nice.
He asked me a lot of questions -
what my goals were
what I was looking for?

I had questions.
I answered his questions.
He did my weight and BMI
and told me what I should shoot for.
He took me through a bunch of exercises to test my endurance.

I did ok on some.
Terrible on others.

He put me on a couple machines
that I was unfamiliar with
so I felt a bit foolish.
He pointed out my inadequacies
and by the time we were back in the office, I felt like I knew nothing
(which isn't true. I'm rusty, but I don't know nothing.)

So - would I feel comfortable working with someone?
Well sure.

Next thing I know,
there's some other guy in there
 laying out the costs of working with a trainer
(bait and switch? Yes. I think so.)

I don't dispute the value of a trainer
but it would have quadrupled my monthly gym costs
and considering I hadn't done a single workout yet,
I wasn't ready to shell out more $$.

I told the guy that I would have to talk it over with my husband
(thinking that most couples discuss financial choices before making decisions)
but he responded by saying
that my husband would have to "let" me
or basically approve the cost.

(I went with that.
Fella isn't like that,
but what difference did it make it this guy knew that?)

He understood.

He offered me a once in a lifetime deal of one free session with a trainer
(he didn't say it was once in a lifetime. That's just what I heard.)
I said that I wouldn't sign up for a year of training sessions with someone I hadn't even met.

I had done well up to this point.
I questioned him.
I doubted.
I said no.

But then

He said that we would give me the one free session
but I just had to sign this contract to "hold my spot" with the trainer.
I asked him why I had to sign it if I wasn't committing to signing on with her.

I got a look.
And he was insulted.
He didn't like what I was implying.
Would he do that to me?
He wouldn't do that to me!
He's not that kind of guy!
Come on!

I don't know if I was just tired and / or defeated by that point
but I signed the damned contract.

I went to the locker room
and got changed and left.
I felt terrible.
Really, really terrible
and stupid.
Like I'd been completely duped.

I went to the lobby of the building and called Fella.
Told him what happened.
His question -
"why do you have to sign something that's free?
Did it say it was free on the contract?"


"Go back and get the contract. Now."

So that's what I did.
I went back upstairs and asked for the guy.
He came towards me when he saw me
 and I started shaking my head.

"It's a no-go," I said.
"My husband said I can't sign on with a trainer."
(why not say that? Takes the blame off poor little me.)

"So I'll need that contract back."

He shook his head and I followed him back to his office.
The contract was still laying on his desk
and he pick it up and I held my hand out.

He wouldn't give it to me
but he did tear it up.

Thanks Winston.

I left and felt like such crap.
Honestly, I felt like a total putz.

I told a friend the whole story a couple of days later.
She said -
"Why focus on how stupid you felt that you gave in to his high pressure tactics?
It took more guts to go back and make him tear up the contract."

Um, because that's what I do.....

Why am I sharing this story?
Because it was a daunting, hope-crushing way to start at a new gym
(which is intimidating enough on its own)

I felt like my power had been taken away
and that's a terrible way to feel.

But I rallied.

I realized that I really didn't have 
to interact with anyone at the gym from here on out, 
if I don't want to.
I was on my own.
In a good way.

 I decided to take my power back,
And I was going to stick to my plan.
And so far, I have.

Live and learn.

And try not to beat yourself up too much for being human.

Monday, March 10, 2014


"Hannah, why don't you place 
just one crumb of basic human compassion 
on this fat-free muffin 
of sociopathic detachment. 
See how it tastes."

Ray Ploshansky
season 3

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

fresh start

Sometimes, it's ok to admit defeat.
To accept that you can't figure it out
or do what you want to do
on your own.

Sometimes, you need to go back to the basics
and invest the time and money
to get a little help.


But let me back up.

I decided two weeks ago that my mini workouts at home were too easy to skip
and that I wasn't getting anywhere.
I belonged to a gym years ago and got tired of it.
The routine,
the classes,
the everything.

So I quit.
And I did bootcamp on and off for a few years.
It was great but it was pricey
and once we bought our house,
it just wasn't sustainable for me.
(I also didn't like the winter sessions that were inside an elementary school gym. Not my scene.)
So what to do?
I haven't been feeling great the past few months
and I knew that one thing that always makes me feel better 
is working out.
My next challenge was to figure out how to make it fit into my life.
Fella works on a rotating schedule which means he's not a 9-5 kind of guy.
I wanted to be able to be at home with him on the nights that he's there - to have dinner, to reconnect, you know. Spend time together during the week.

I'd been thinking about joining a gym since December. 
But there's nothing in my neighbourhood that's convenient.
So how to fit it in?

Then it came to me - 
I'm an early bird. Once I'm awake, I'm raring to go.
I'm at my best early in the day.
So there we have it - early morning workouts. 

Find a gym near my office,
go before work.

So last week, I asked a friend at work to check out some gyms with me
For some reason, I cave under pressure from sales people.
 I get caught up in the sell and give in immediately. 
I walk away wondering what just happened.
So I asked her to come with me to prevent me 
from making any rash decisions.

We checked out Hard Candy first.
It's the "Madonna gym".
I'd seen the ads.
They feature rock hard bodies pumping iron. 
"Hard Candy is eye candy" is one slogan. 
It's vile.

I'm not hard candy.
I'm more like cotton candy
soft and puffy.
But frankly, I need something that will work for me 
and I don't give a fig about Madonna or hard bodies.
I want a gym that will inspire me and make me feel better.

So we went.
It's beautiful - brand new, floor to ceiling windows, gorgeous.
And the people?
I'm sure there are lots of glambots that I will encounter 
and they may look down their noses at me.
But again -

I don't care.

I'm 43 years old and I'm over it.
This is for me and I'm going to make the most of it.

We walked away.
Checked out another gym
(that was underground and packed with people and smelled kind of funky)
And then I went back and signed up.

I figured while I was at it, it was time to invest in some new exercise gear.

Gap - $54.95
(-35% on sale!)

Gap $19.95
(-35% sale!)

Sportchek $119.99
(no sale :()

Because you know, sometimes you have to really have a fresh start
and that means new stuff with no ties to previous attempts.
Because you see, it really is mind over matter with these things.

And my mind is excited and ready to get started.

And this is the best I've felt in months.
So how can that be anything but a good thing?