10 Reasons I (no longer) Run

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I’ve joined the Fitness Protection Program, not that anyone is asking why I’m not writing entertaining posts about fitness anymore.  But now that I’ve blown my cover by putting the subject out in the open, I’ve compiled a list of 10 reasons why I (may) never run (again)!

1. I’m not strong enough for prison! I own over 7 bras and none of them provide enough support! While I’m not overly concerned with my own safety, I am concerned for others. Boxers, karate masters, and navy seals have to exercise caution. One wrong move and they could be considered lethal  weapons. When I start moving, I could too.

2. I don’t want to destroy public property. Last week I went for a power walk. Within a block of home, I blew out my shoe and had to finish my journey barefoot. If I have that much power in my teeny-tiny tootsies when I’m just walking, how much power do I generate when I run?

3. I don’t want to blow the Town’s Emergency Services’ budgets unnecessarily. Last year when I went running, I kept my ears open for ambulance and fire truck sirens: ambulance, in case someone thought I was having a seizure and fire truck, in case my thighs actually started a fire.

I’m sorry I called the police for help when I saw you running. I thought you were in trouble. I didn’t realize you were doing this for fun!

4. I don’t want to be “that neighbour”. You know the one that steps outside and suddenly everyone is hiding behind bushes and peeking out at behind curtains. One small child wails, while the birds are eerily silent. I don’t want to traumatize the small children on my street or become the subject of their nightmares. There are several young families who enjoy riding their bikes and picnicking on their front lawns. Let them enjoy their innocence while they can.

5.  I don’t want my ears to hurt. I looked it up and it’s a real thing. I thought I was just crazy. Either way, when I start running and getting hot and sweaty, my ears start to ache and it’s uncomfortable. I only want achy ears because I’ve spent the night rocking out at a concert!

6. I don’t want to be a distraction to drivers. The RCMP defines distracted driving as “a form of impaired driving as a driver’s judgment is compromised when they are not fully focused on the road.”  I’m pretty sure this qualifies:

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7. I don’t want to hurry home. There will still be a pile of chores to be done, questions to be answered, and…smells to combat! I live in a houseful of men, after all (with the exception of our guinea pig who has her own aromatic issues). Running just gets me there faster! Why not stop and smell the roses instead?

8. I don’t want my body to hate me! The conversation goes like this:

Brain: Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look?
Lungs: I hate you. Feet: I’m going to turn into 20 lb weights now.
Butt: You lied. You told me I looked great!
Legs: Woo hoo! Jell-o!
Everything else: I’m going to randomly start hurting until you stop this nonsense!

9. I don’t want to find any dead bodies. Have you ever noticed that it’s the runners (especially those early morning psychos) that stumble upon remains in wooded areas? Either they are the culprit or they are really unlucky!

10. I don’t want to!

This doesn’t mean I’ll stop enjoying long, romantic walks to the fridge, or leisurely strolls around the block on recycling night (because knowing which neighbour is hooked on high-sugar cereals could be important in the event of a zombie apocalypse)!

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But if you happen to see me running any time soon, you’d better run too ‘cuz it means there’s something chasing me!

Happy Weekend!

WPC: Focus: Never Grow Old

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There’s something magical about bubbles, something fairy-like about their delicate iridescence and their fragile form. Their moment in time whispering childlike wonderment and happy memories as they float away.

This week’s challenge was about focus, and anyone who has made soap bubbles knows that it takes focus and patience, and often multiple attempts to form these airy spheres. Little Guy was my assistant on this particular sunny day, as I attempted over and over to capture these bubbles in time. Instead, my camera shifted the focus from the bubble to my boy, and I captured a even better moment in time! Just like this bubble, this precious child is growing up and the little boy I adore is floating away. I marvel at who he is becoming and like a bubble, I have to set him free so that he may attain his full beauty. And as he grows older, I pray his spirit never grows old.

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Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. – Franz Kafka

To see more photos, in-focus or out-of-focus, click here.

Happy Father’s Day

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As usual, I’m running behind posting. The idea is there (or sometimes it’s not) and I’ve written and re-written it in my head, usually in the middle of the night when I’m too lazy tired to get out of bed and look for a pencil and paper.  That, and risk exciting our guinea pig who thinks breakfast starts the moment someone stirs after a long period of silence. But I digress…

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Yeah, he would look good in this! (@Pixabay)

It seems everyone, with “Daddy’s day” just around the corner, is talking about great gifts for Dad. I’m sure my Dad wouldn’t object to a new car or an Alaskan cruise, but he has me for a daughter, and I just don’t have that kind of cash. Unless the car is a Hot Wheels®.

But no, my Dad endured the annual celebration complete with lots of hugs and the usual round of crappy gifts – smeared artwork, tie cards, and jars of peanuts. One year I knit him a pair of slippers. There are only 7 shades in the rainbow…my slippers boasted 13! First, my Dad never wore slippers. Second, I didn’t have an allowance. Third, I was 11 and I didn’t know how to knit. He kept them in his dresser drawer (probably because  Mom told him he wasn’t allowed to throw them out)! They may still be there. He listens to my Mom!

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Another year, I made him a jar of pickled bums! I couldn’t find the photo but it looked like this (only my “bums” were also various colours of the rainbow). I was a creative child!

I told him to throw those out last year.

One year he even got his own blog post. You should read it – I worked really hard on it and you’ll see just why he deserves so much better!

My Dad is a great guy…quiet, unassuming and patient. SO very patient! The rest of the year he put up with my fairy-princess-drama-queen-girly-girl behaviour. He even let me practice “walking down the aisle” when we walked home from figure skating practice (I think he hated every moment of it), but the practice paid off!

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This year, I baked him brownies. There were from a mix. And he had to share them with the rest of the family. But in my defence, I still don’t have an allowance and it’s the thought that counts. Right?

Love you Dad!

The Beacon is Lit

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What mid-life crisis would be complete without wearing something completely inappropriate and totally embarrassing to my pre-teen in public?

I know the focus of my blog posts has shifted lately from pushing myself to try new things to sitting back and observing (and laughing through) the opera of the every day.

Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you – Mel Brooks

I think it’s been a combination of learning to be content with where I am and learning to laugh wherever that may be, plus a combination of the usual lack of time, energy, motivation, cash, and inspiration. BUT – inspiration took form one sunny day last Summer, as I perused the racks and racks of lycra postage-stamp-sized bikinis.
And I thought to myself:

  •  inappropriate? Check!
  •  totally embarrassing for offspring? Check!
  • In my size? Sold!

What  was I waiting for?

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I can remember wearing a bikini outside the confines of my bedroom, only twice: my Mom’s bikini with little kittens when I was 8, and a black bikini heavily veiled under a thick t-shirt when I was pregnant with Little Guy! It’s now or never!

So I bought a black bikini top last Summer, brought it home and promptly buried it in my room. Every time I found it, I’d stare at it and ask myself, “what was I thinking?”

***

I dug it out on the weekend because we had been invited to a “pool party”.
But would I carry through…

Step 1: Put on bikini.

It sounded so simple until it came time to do it and I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to snap it up behind. After fumbling for several minutes, I used the “tried and true” technique – do it up in the front where you can actually see what you’re doing, and slide it around. Check!

Step 2: Stand in front of mirror for closer inspection.

I tripped over a shoe because I was wrestling with step 3.

Step 3: Put hand over mouth to stifle scream and open eyes.

It looked fantastic…in the dark. The curtains were tightly drawn; the door closed. The lights off. And everyone in the house had been warned within an inch of their life to leave me alone!

Step 4: Turn on the lights and inspect.

Once my eyes adjusted to the glare of the light off my abdomen, and the initial shock wore off, I moved in for a closer inspection. Stand up straight, suck it in, smile and turn…?

Undecided and out of time, I threw on a sundress and prayed for rain!

***

Most of the husbands (and teenagers) didn’t make it to the party, which increased my comfort level significantly. But I still wasn’t convinced the world was ready for this!  I wasn’t convinced I was ready for this! Instead, I hoisted my skirts and dilly-dallied on the steps in the shallow end. That is, until the women moved to the hot tub and urged me to join them.

Moment of truth…

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No asked me to leave or called Greenpeace to deal with a beached whale.

The horrified glint in Little Guy’s eyes confirmed that I had not failed my duty to embarrass!

The heavens didn’t fall from the sky.

But yes…the beacon is lit!

 

 

 

Audition for a Wife

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Standing in line at the grocery store, I snickered when I read the headline “Tom Cruise Auditioning for New Wife”. Judging by the source of the headline, it was snicker-worthy. I suspect there isn’t much truth to anything in that rag apart from a few words like “is” and “the” so I didn’t take it seriously.  But seriously? What an idea for a blog post!

Initially I thought about what I would look for in a new husband, but I already have one of those. A few years ago, a friend of ours lost his dear wife to cancer and it started the wheels turning faster in our own cob-webbed brains. One night Hubby asked me out of the blue, would I re-marry. I blurted “NOPE!” (rather too hastily and loudly). Seeing the hurt in his eyes, I quickly explained that our early years as a blended family, even just as a couple, were too painful to repeat. I was so thankful God helped us through it. I was happy now. Why would I want to fight over the empty toilet paper roll with anyone else?

Empty roll

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NB: Empty toilet paper rolls are one of the Top 50 Things Couples Fight About.

It was recently reported that women in long-term relationships continue to shoulder much more responsibility than men when it comes to household chores like buying groceries, cooking meals, household cleaning, and planning social activities…

• Buying groceries: (65% of men, 90% of women)
• Cooking/preparing meals: (48% of men, 85% of women)
• Household cleaning (48% of men, 88% of women)
• Planning social activities (26% of men, 57% of women)

…as well as caregiving for loved ones, including kids and aging relatives (55% women to 39% men) [B.Stalsburg, PhD, Whitman Insight Strategies]

I can’t say I’m surprised!

First, in the audition, she would have to WOW me with her cleaning skills, cooking skills, financial skills, childcare skills, driving skills and home reno skills. She would have to be charming, patient, creative, and a noble wife of character (Prov. 31:10-31). A pretty face and a sweet disposition wouldn’t hurt…and a good sense of humour.

Just for fun,  I gave myself 10 minutes to fire out any question that came to mind, no matter how practical or random:

  • Are you willing to buy chips every week and tuck them away in a safe place until Friday night, even though they aren’t good for me?
  • Can you stick to a budget? Are you willing to browse flyers and “price-match” to stay within budget but also willing to scrimp in one place in order to buy a “treat” for the family?
  • What brand names do you consider “essential”? [Let’s be honest – No Name cheese is an abomination and No Name cereal tastes like soggy cardboard. Yuck!]
  • What is the ratio of your listening skills vs. your communication skills? [If the conversation is always one-sided, I’m not interested.]
  • Do you handle creepy-crawlies, tiny critters, and mosquitoes in the middle of the night?
  • Coke or Pepsi? [The correct answer is Coke]
  • Do you “breathe” at night? Snore? Roll around? [It’s not a deal-breaker. It just means we have to live as a “sleep divorced” couple.]
  • Do you notice the little things [like dust on the bathroom tiles, the rice krispie trail across the living floor, or the full laundry basket waiting (and blocking) the bottom of the stairs]?
  • Will you fold my underwear?
  • How are your driving skills [like when it’s sleeting and you’re late for school or in a life-threatening situation, like the school parking lot]?
  • Do you change bed sheets, kitchen linens, and toilet paper rolls?
  • Snacks – salty or sweet? Favourite dessert?
  • What are  your hobbies,  your decorating style, your favourite colours, your favourite t.v. shows, your favourite author, and your favourite doughnut flavour?
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? [The answer is Both] Original show/movies, or later shows/movies? [The answer is Original for both]
  • What will you do for me when I’m sick? [Buy me gingerale]
  • When you throw dirty clothes in the basket, do you turn them right-side out first?
  • Are you organized enough to handle all the gift-giving, card-writing (& mailing), appointment making (& keeping), record-keeping, and re-stocking of food & clothing items needed by the family – extended and immediate – and to do it on a budget?
  • Can you bathe and style a guinea pig?
  • Can you handle patronizing car mechanics at the shop, dumb retail salespeople, and prissy Passport office employees? [If so, tell me how…please!!!]
  • How much do you love chocolate and tea?

Phew…10 Minutes goes by pretty fast and I’ve barely scratched the surface! It’s important to find a good wife because “A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm” (Prov. 27:15).

Inquiring Minds Want to Know – what would you be looking for,
if you were to audition for a wife?

 

Happy Weekend!

 

Future Chef

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My friends on Facebook already heard this news. What good is Facebook if you can’t brag a little about your kids from time to time?!?

This week I tried a couple more new recipes – and they were disasters!

First, I tried to make a dessert using strawberries and rhubarb. The shortbread crust was a beautiful golden colour, but it crumbled when I tried to put it on the plate. And my tart compote wouldn’t thicken. What’s a girl to do?

When the freshly baked cookies crumble, put them on ice cream – jennsmidlifecrisis

The second recipe I attempted was cauliflower fritters. Despite sticking to the non-stick frying pan, the texture was spongy and soggy, and just…wrong! Surprisingly, the one person in our family who won’t eat cauliflower thought they were delicious. My Dad (a fellow cauliflower-hater ) would disappointed!

Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.- Mark Twain

Thankfully, Little Guy’s baking attempt fared much better.

This week, his class held a Bake-Off! In addition to researching the nutritional value of their healthy meal or dessert, they had to bring in and display their goodies for 6 judges. Here’s where the bragging comes in: Little Guy won the title of Jr. Chef Champion for 2017, which included a chef’s hat and apron, and the coveted Golden Spoon Trophy!

He was pretty excited! Me too! Thank you to Mama Wears Mascara who shared this recipe a few years ago:

Black Bean Chocolate Cupcakes (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)

1 (14oz) can organic black beans
4 eggs
1/2 cup agave syrup or honey, or 3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tbsp. safflower or sunflower oil, or coconut butter (melted)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cups.

Drain and rinse black beans well.

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until beans are fully pureed.

Pour the batter into cups and bake 20-25 min. or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.

I didn’t get to taste a single cupcake! I hope I can talk my future chef into making more!

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
-Charles M. Schulz

Wilderness Wednesday: Hello, Old Friend

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It’s funny. For years, I dreamed of the day when I could trade my small town for the wide world, but after a short time, I started to miss rambling down familiar streets. I missed the stars overhead at night, and the smell of the river in the Spring. Of everything I’ve come to love this town, I look forward to time near the river. I don’t know if it’s because it wends its way predictably and constantly in a world that is anything but constant. Or if it’s because it conjures up memories of bike rides to it in the summer, or McDonald’s picnics on a Sunday afternoon, or even stolen kisses with a sweetheart, the rushing water covering the pounding of my heart.  Whatever it is, its draw is unmistakable, and whenever I see it, I feel like I’m visiting an old friend.

On the long May weekend, I packed the boys (and the guinea pig because who doesn’t like driving for 3 hours with a small barn in the back seat) and visited my folks. We went for a walk along the river to see if the water, which had been overflowing the banks earlier in the week, had receded. In most places it was, except along the western edge where the mouth of the river widened.

I wish I had appreciated the beauty and character of my small town more before I moved away, but I’m thankful that I can always come home to say “hello, old friend”.

So old friends you must forget what you had to forgive
And let love be stronger than the feelings
That rage and run beneath the bridge
Knowin’ morning follows evening
Makes each new day come as a gift
– Rich Mullins, Hello Old Friend