Monday, January 23, 2012

I spent the weekend with a harlot

The yarn harlot, that is. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee was in town all weekend doing knitting workshops and I was there for every minute.

Friday night she gave a talk on how knitting affects our brains. Knitting releases serotonin and dopamine. These make us feel good and can also help with pain management. Knitting also allows us to enter the Theta state of mind. REM sleep is a Theta state. Theta is also the border between the conscious and the subconscious world; you are in Theta just before falling asleep, and just after waking up. You enter Theta when meditating. It is the state of mind when you feel most creative. Knitting does all of this because it is a rhythmic, repetitive movement that can be very soothing.

Okay, I know I am not explaining this very well, but that’s why Stephanie was giving the talk and not me. Suffice it to say, knitting is good for your mental health. It can help with depression, it helps to ward off alzheimer’s disease, and can even help people with ADD. There really is no downside to knitting.

Saturday, Stephanie conducted a workshop on “knitting for speed and efficiency”, and Sunday was “liking lace”. These workshops ran from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (closer to 4:30 on Sunday). Stephanie is a great teacher and she really knows her stuff. I’ll get into more details of each workshop in future posts. Right now, I am on brain overload. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I just learned how to knit attached i-cord

I am always proud of myself when I learn a new knitting technique, but this is one that I really shouldn’t be bragging about. It’s called an i-cord for a reason – any idiot can do it. But still, it is a new technique for me and I love the look of it. Youtube is always my go to website for knitting instruction and today was no exception. Go here to see how it is done.

No, I am not knitting myself a thong, this is a baby bandana bib, and I am hoping it is going to be freaking cute on my sweet little grandson. I am using Cascade 220 superwash wool, since this is a drool bib, and the wool will absorb the moisture. 

I’ll post another pic when it is done.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I should have made mindfulness one of my goals

On Saturday, the mister was teasing me about how I’m always losing things. He challenged me to find all three sets of my car keys, two of which are perpetually “misplaced.” I was actually (surprisingly) able to locate them within a few minutes and presented them to him with a smug look on my face.

On Sunday, I got up and prepared to go to the gym for a yoga class and a short run on the indoor track. I was hurriedly throwing stuff into my gym bag, and I couldn’t find my running shoes! I did a quick search of the only three places they could be in the house – not there. “Oh no!”, I thought, “I must have left them in the locker at the gym yesterday.” I checked at the front desk upon arrival at the gym, and no, there were no size 9 ½ ladies Sauconys turned in. I did a tour of the change room, looking for them in vain. At that point, I was berating myself for losing a $100 pair of almost new running shoes. And that’s when I began to think, “Debbie, you really must be more mindful. If you had double checked the bottom of the locker before leaving yesterday, you would still have your shoes.”

A couple of weeks ago, I had googled “how to manifest anything.” You see, I’ve been looking into the whole law of attraction thing to help me with my retirement plans. One of the websites I found directed me to say “I command”, followed by what I want to manifest. So yesterday, in the women’s change room at the gym, I said, “I command to find the Saucony running shoes that I had at the gym on Saturday and that I can no longer find.” When I got home, for some reason, I thought, “I’ll take a look in the spare bedroom closet”, and lo and behold, there were my missing running shoes. I have no idea why I would have put them in that closet; I have never, ever put them in that closet, but there they were. So I manifested the return of my shoes!

But, if I had been more mindful in the first place, they never would have been lost.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The 6 P's

I watched a movie on Sunday, and one of the characters said “Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.” I’ve never heard that phrase before, but I love it. I’m going to be repeating it to myself a lot.

I had last weekend all planned out, or so I thought. Here’s how it went.

I planned to go to the gym after work, do a run on the treadmill and take a yoga class. About 2:00 pm, my daughter called me at work.

Daughter: “What are you doing after work?”
Me: “Going to the gym.”
D: “Oh, I thought you might want to come to my place for dinner.”
M: “Okay, I can go to the gym another day.”
D: “I don’t want to upset your routine.”
M: “No problem, I can go to the gym anytime. But can we go for a run before dinner?”
D: “Sure, it’s my day to run, anyway.”

So, Friday’s plan went out the window, but I still got my run in, and got to spend time with my daughter and sweet little grandson.

I planned to start my run later and meet up with my running buddies in the park. We would then run back together and have a coffee before going home. I started my run at 9:00 am, and about 2 miles out, I met another friend who I haven’t seen in about 6 months. He was running the opposite direction, so we stopped and chatted for a couple of minutes. Then, who comes along, but my running buddies on their way back. I got teased a little bit about the “long” run I did.

I planned to go to the gym in the afternoon, do a little workout and sit in the hot tub. After that, I planned to start working on organizing my craft room. When I got back from my run, I told my husband, “After you leave for work, I’m going to the gym.” He said, “I have today off.” Now, the mister works almost every Saturday, but for some unknown reason, his company has given them two Saturdays off in a row. Okay, change of plans. I asked him, “Will you help me in my craft room?” He agreed, so no gym on Saturday, but we did make a lot of headway in the craft room.

I planned to go for a short run first thing in the morning and then go to my daughters to babysit my sweet little grandson so that my daughter and son-in-law could paint their basement. That went mostly to plan; however, SLG’s other grandmother also came over, so he had two grandma’s doting on him. I kind of wanted to take him for a walk, but that didn’t pan out.

Then Monday came along
I planned to get up early and go to the gym. That didn’t pan out, either. I was exhausted from all that playing on Sunday. Now, I have run every day so far this year, so I’m on a bit of a streak. I really wanted to get at least a short run in. I lay in bed making bargains with myself. “If you stay in bed, you can run on your lunch hour.” I don’t like running on my lunch hour, so I dragged myself out of bed, and went for a run.

I did my hill workout as planned with my running group. Things are looking up.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

More Rules

I also have health and fitness goals for 2012. I’ve kind of let myself go for almost two years now. So the new rules are:

  • Lose 18 lbs.
  • Run more regularly
  • Run 8 minute miles
  • Do yoga more often
  • Strengthen my back muscles
  • Do 50 pushups

I gained most of the weight just since my grandson was born last spring. I am so in love with him, that I take every chance I can to be with him, even if it means missing a run or a workout. I had planned to do two trail races last fall, but then I broke my arm in August when I tripped on a tree root while on a training run – another excuse (albeit a good one) not to exercise. Once the arm healed, I had a few more pounds on my frame. The month of December saw our office loaded with chocolate that I couldn’t resist. When I weighed myself last week and saw that I weighed almost 150, I had enough.

As for the running, I used to be fairly fast. Fast enough to qualify for Boston 3 times. I want to get my speed back and get even faster. My ultimate goal has always been to run a marathon in under four hours, so I’m planning to do a lot of treadmill speed work. There is a woman in my running group who is a couple of years older than me and she consistently runs 8 minute miles in her marathons – amazing. I told myself, she’s not much different from me – just more dedicated. If she can do it, so can I.

When I was at the gym yesterday (yes, I got up early and went before work. Yay, me), I did some stretches at the end, and couldn’t believe how stiff I was. I must do something about that, so tomorrow, I take a yoga class.

I have had a weak back for over 15 years. From time to time, my back will start to hurt, and nothing helps except lots of Tiger Balm and the strongest Tylenol I can get my hands on. In the past year, since I have let myself go, the back pains are coming more and more frequently. I want to be able to pick my grandson up without hurting myself, so I’m going to incorporate more back strengthening exercises into my routine.

I used to be able to do over 30 pushups, but like anything else, use it or lose it. Aiming for 50 pushups might be a stretch, but I just need to get down on the floor and get at them.

If I can accomplish all of these things this year, I will be extremely happy, and I know I can do it. I just need to stay motivated.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The First Roadblock (literally)

So yesterday, I got my gym clothes ready in preparation for a session at the gym before work this morning. In the afternoon it started to snow. I checked the weather forecast, and saw a storm warning. We could get up to 40 cm of snow within 24 hours. The mister and I shovelled the driveway after supper and hoped for the best. We woke up this morning to about a foot of snow (Not sure how many centimetres are in a foot. I’m always mixing up my metric and imperial measures). 

The old me would have spent $10 to park in the underground lot in my office building to avoid cleaning my car of snow after work, but the new me didn’t want to use $10 of my $50 monthly allowance on parking, so I drove to my usual outdoor lot, left my car out in the blizzard, and walked about a km to the office (it's uphill both ways). As a reward for that, the universe gave me a clean car when I got back to it after work. All of the snow had blown off of it during the day.

It cleared up enough for me to get a run in with my group this evening, so all was not lost fitness wise, but it did nothing to help me with my goal of getting to the gym. Oh well, when you live in Canada, you have to be flexible. I’ll try again tomorrow. Welcome to winter.

2012 - The Rules

The bottom line is, I want to retire, but I have never been a saver. If I see something I want, I buy it. I have a fairly well paying job, so the money has always been there to bankroll my spending habits. The mister thinks we can’t afford to retire, so, I’m starting a twelve month experiment to prove I can live on less. Here are the rules I have come up with so far. I may add more as I think of them, and as the year progresses, but this is a pretty good start. This is not meant to make me feel deprived in any way. I am going to have fun with it.

  • Save money
    • $50.00 spending money per month
  • No new clothing – shop only at thrift stores
    • Exceptions are:
      • Intimate apparel
      • Socks
      • Footwear
  • No yarn purchases unless new baby comes into the world that needs a hand knit sweater
  • The gym – use it or lose it – right now my company pays for my membership, but if I’m not going to the gym, then I can’t justify paying for it after I retire
  • Save money on household expenses
    • Not sure how I’m going to do that yet, as we already conserve energy by lowering the thermostat, hanging clothes to dry, etc. In the last five years, we have purchased all new energy efficient appliances (with the exception of the dishwasher)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

"Makin' it work"

Ganbarimasu is a Japanese term meaning "I am doing my best." My goal for 2012 is to do my best to prove to my husband, hereafter known as "the mister", that we can afford for me to retire, and that we can still live comfortably. I have set a number of goals, call them new years resolutions if you like, that I will outline in future posts. But for now, I just wanted to get this blog launched so that I could meet my first goal, and that is to record my journey this year to keep me accountable and on track to meet my goals. Stay tuned.