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Our Recent Posts

Slow Progress

Cheryl's Flotsam & Jetsam - Thu, 07/31/2014 - 02:22

A little over a month ago, I set myself the goal to try to be more positive — I even came up with a mantra Be present, be patient, be calm, be open, be thankful, move on.”

That worked on and off for a few days. I should have written it down and posted it around me: at work, near my laptop, and especially in the car. Initially Shawn was also pointing out when I was slipping, but it got to the point where that was annoying to both of us. Then we got sidetracked with the troublesome neighbours and around the time that problem was corrected, I set other goals for self-improvement. I decided to tackle some health goals:

  1. Drink more water
  2. Walk and bike regularly
  3. Increase my flexibility
  4. Change my snack habits

For the first time in my life, I am actually getting a reasonable amount of water. The purchase of a new water bottle for work plus the support from Shawn and other friends has made that a total win; it’s rare a day goes by when I am not meeting my minimum goal of 2L — however, it has been warm and I don’t know if that will change when the weather cools down.

As far as walking and biking, I have tried to be supportive and go for walks with Shawn as much as practical and, rather than bike to work in this heat, have been using our exercise bike at least 30 minutes per week. So, while I am not at that goal completely, I am still inching forward.

I’ve done nothing about working yoga or other exercise into my weekly schedule. Sucks but something had to fall off the side of this plan initially.

Snacking. Hmm. This one is a constant battle but I am at least conscious of what I am snacking on and when; this is a big step.

Of course there is one (big) thing that has fallen to the side is my energy for getting projects done. The last couple of days I was just plain exhausted — the heat was beating me down and I couldn’t concentrate. Tonight, I should have been able to… but UUUUUuuuugh. Now I just can’t face it. I know with the book, I’m at the 90% mark now… but that last 10% of formatting and promoting is not what I love doing even though I know it needs to be done and can easily be broken down into a few steps.

I’m not going to beat myself up over it but tonight is the last “slack” night. I have to get back to work on it tomorrow. Tonight, I am going to read.

Mother-Daughter Ear Piercings

Cheryl's Flotsam & Jetsam - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 00:30

A while ago, I promised Alice that when she was ready to get her ears pierced I would go with her. I asked her to do some research and she did — so did I — and we came to the same conclusion. We did not want to go to a mall store that used a piercing gun because the risk of infection is far greater.

We also put out the ask on Facebook to get recommendations from our friends. A good number suggested Blank Generation, located downtown. They don’t have a website or even a Facebook page, just a group. Flaky, but whatever, I figured if they came highly recommended, I would suck it up. I was able to sort out the pricing and figured we would just drop in today.

Everything seemed good up until the piercer asked for Alice’s age.

“Oooh,” he winced, “I won’t pierce anyone under 14.”

Not that he would do it with parental consent, just flat out no one under 14. OK, that’s his rule.* I was frustrated and disappointed but asked him to suggest someone else who might (I mean, come on, surely not every kid whose ears are pierced had them done with a gun, right?). He gave us a couple of suggestions and we went on our way. Of the two shops he suggested, one was off the list right away, as there was a bad history for us with them. The other was not in walking distance.

I was starting to feel like this was a repeat of my experience of trying to get a tattoo.

We didn’t give up. Hubby started looking at other options right away, and phoned a few places — we came up empty on a lot of them. I called another salon he’d identified but they had no available time until after August 7th. We were down to one other local shop, Urge Tattoo, who we couldn’t get through to on the phone. After lunch, we drove there. With parental consent and photo ID for both of us, they were happy to do the piercings.

We waited a while because the piercer was still finishing another client then had to clean her station. When everything was ready, we both went down and Alice climbed in the chair, and Hannah was comprehensive in explaining the pros and cons of each type of jewellery, and of how the whole process was going to work. She was very careful to stay sterile through the process (which was really great to see). Alice was great, only flinching a little at the point the needle entered her flesh then laughing. SO MUCH LAUGHING. I think my kid might be hardcore.

When we started to talk about what would happen when it was my turn, we discovered a there had been a miscommunication between the guys at the desk and the piercer — Hannah had another client booked in and would have to re-book for me. However, it was only a small delay, I returned about 2 hours later to have mine done. I made slightly more noise during the actual piercing part and Alice perfectly captured the moment on camera — but overall, it wasn’t bad, considering I’d waited over 30 years to get it done.

 

It was only a brief moment of disgust (on hearing the sound of my flesh being run through) and discomfort then I was all smiles again:

Once they’ve healed (or as Hubby says, once the flesh is “permanently modified”) I will be able to get myself some nice shepherds’ hook findings and merrily make as many different earrings as I’d wish. Alice is already window shopping for new jewellery and doing the math as to when the healing will be complete (6-8 weeks).

We’re pretty happy campers, and I would happily recommend Hannah to anyone who asked. Here we are after both were finished.


After all this, however, I started to think you could probably make a good living selling basic ear piercings as well as temporary tattoos (decals, airbrush work, maybe even henna) and combine that with hair and nail services for kids in an “edgier” type of salon that appeals to their pierced and tattooed parents and so the kids can look “just like Mom/Dad.” On the piercing side, I think there should still be limits (and a cleared-by-several-lawyers consent form), but ultimately, if the parent gives consent and the kid isn’t clawing her or his way out of the chair, it’s probably going to be OK.

* Now, for those who might be curious about the age thing (as I was), it is entirely up to the piercing artist in BC. The guidelines merely require informed consent:

“… operators should satisfy themselves that customers are undertaking the procedure of their own free will and not as a result of a bet or a dare, that they are not under the influence of alcohol or other judgement-altering drugs, and that they are aware that piercing carries health risks, although these risks are reduced if these guidelines are followed. In order to give their informed consent  minors must have the maturity to and must understand all the implications of being pierced. It is recommended that operators require minors to obtain parental consent.”

Guidelines for Ear and Body Piercing, BC Ministry of Health.

 

Balance, Habit and Accountability

Cheryl's Flotsam & Jetsam - Sun, 07/13/2014 - 21:07

I spend a fair bit of time thinking about goals, responsibility, and accountability. I need to spend a bit more time thinking about balance — and then spend time actually achieving some.

Last week, Shawn and our friend Renée made a goal of 10 weeks toward better health. They created an open FB group that has taken off: “10 weeks of feeling fine” with the goals of:

  • regular walking (30 min a day at least 3 days a week)
  • increased water intake
  • getting more greens (officially a salad-a-day).

It’s not about weight loss and there will be no weigh-in, it’s about health and making simple conscious changes toward improvement.

At first I didn’t want to join in — don’t I have enough to worry about with work, writing, gardening, and other responsibilities? Thing is, I know I need more water. I could definitely do with more activity. Salad? Meh. But whatever. So I joined. Will joining a FB group help me with accountability? Who knows? It was helping somewhat with a little “super secret” group a few of us made for goal setting and getting stuff done… but that has fallen quiet.

It’s tricky to get that balance right and no matter how much outside accountability I try to find through friends, family, apps, or other nags, ultimately I know it has to come from me. Ultimately, I have to build habits that allow me to keep things even and maybe if I build enough good habits there will be no more room in the schedule for the lousy habits.

So, at the risk of public failure, I am going to declare four things I want to change about my health in the next 6 months:

1. Drink more water. I started by alternating water with coffee at work instead of just reaching for more coffee. Now I am keeping a tumbler of water beside me through the day while I am home. I am tracking right now, but hopefully by the end of 10 weeks I will just be used to drinking a given amount (around 2 L per day) and it will be a habit.

2. Walk and bike regularly. I would like to aim for one day a week of biking to and from work plus walks a few days a week. Problem with biking is that I am a sissy. I do not enjoy arriving at work drenched in sweat or soaked through with rain (coming home in crap weather is more manageable). Problem with walking is, well, I get bored of it. Also, crummy weather makes me not want to walk I just have to get over it.

3. Increase my flexibility. I have a bunch of yoga and exercise DVDs literally gathering dust (pictured, right). I need to work these back into my schedule (and try those I haven’t even cracked open yet), probably by adjusting my morning routine. I also need to figure out a true measure for flexibility — something I can’t do now but want to be able to do six months from now.

4. Change my snack habits. I need to either replace my crappy snacks with better ones or stop snacking. I was getting pretty good at not eating crappy salt/sugar/fat bombs but I’ve lapsed. I need to go back to having better snacks in the house but also breaking my habit of snacking-when-bored.

I believe these are all do-able — but the exercise ones will be trickier for me.

Fieldwork

Cheryl's Flotsam & Jetsam - Tue, 07/08/2014 - 03:21

When I was quite young (maybe 5 or 6 years old), my mother took me along with some of our extended family to pick strawberries in the u-pick fields on the Saanich Peninsula. I couldn’t tell you which farm it was, but I do remember being handed an empty 4L ice cream pail and shown which berries were ripe and ready to pick.

When I started, they all went into the bucket but as the time wore on it got to be one for me and one for the bucket. Then two for me and one for the bucket. And so on. After we’d weighed the total and the berries had been paid for, we climbed into the car, berries packed in between us. We pulled out of the farm along the bumpy dirt road and that was all it took.

I barfed up a torrent of strawberries.

After the initial “Oh NO!” and a quick stop to clean me up and open all the windows, I mostly recall everyone laughing about it as I hung my head out the window like a dog, trying not to puke again.

I don’t think I consciously made a choice not to u-pick again, but the incident had enough of an impact that the activity didn’t make it back on my to-do list until this past weekend.

Happily, I was able to resist eating the berries as I picked. Between the three of us we gathered a little over 9 lbs in about an hour of careful picking. The car smelled amazing on the way home — there is really nothing like fresh berries.

Once home, about 5 lbs went straight into the freezer, IQF style. More were prepped for strawberry shortcake desserts. Some are still in the fridge for smoothies and snacks and a few went to my Mother in Law’s.

Proud Mom

Cheryl's Flotsam & Jetsam - Sun, 07/06/2014 - 21:06

OK, so despite my last post — or maybe because of it — Kiddo excitedly asked any of her friends if they wanted to join her in the parade. Because it was last minute, no one else was available but I stood by my promise to go if she wanted. She wore her tiara and painted her nails (rainbow polka-dots on one hand, “PRIDE” on the other).

Having never been, we weren’t sure exactly what the process was but we knew groups would be gathered along Pandora and Broad streets. Shawn dropped us on the Douglas side of City Hall and we wandered in search of people we knew to join. I had open invites to walk with both the Labour group and the Lisa Helps group, plus we knew people walking with other floats and groups too. The easiest to find was the large Labour contingent so we settled in there. Kiddo was so excited she couldn’t stand still. She kept herself busy by photobombing many, many photos.

We walked the whole route — Shawn joined us along the way, after taking photos of Lisa Helps and her group. There was some stop and go but it was fun and nice to see people we knew watching along the way. We didn’t stick around McDonald Park after but instead headed to a late brunch at Heron Rock Bistro before making our way back to the car and home.