Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Time to face the music

It started slowly. A pair of pants with a snap that wouldn't stay done up, a little tightness here, a gaping button there. I wasn't going to the gym regularly. I was eating out too much. I was snacking too much (on the wrong things) at home. I knew all these things, but I was in denial that it was actually making that big a difference. Then I went shopping with my friend D this weekend. And everything I bought had to be a size larger than the last time I went clothes shopping. And this morning, I got on the scale, for the first time in months. And had to come face to face with the knowledge that I have gained 15 pounds in the last year, and am now officially at my heaviest weight ever.


So I can no longer ignore or deny the facts. I know what happened and why. I know what I need to do to start fixing it (eat less, move more -- it's not rocket science). But it's easier said than done, of course. Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight knows that. One of my biggest issues with losing weight is that a lot of my identity is tied up in the weight. I'm the fat girl. It provides me with excuses, it provides me with justifications, it provides me with reasons for behaviours and attitudes. I think about it every day. It's always with me, every time I look in the mirror. I've been big for so long, I don't know who I am without the weight. So as much as I'd like to lose it, I always find myself sabotaging efforts to do so, because it's about more than the weight. It's about who I am, and who I want to be.

So we start small. Change one thing at a time, Serdic tells me. I have a couple of goals in mind -- we leave in six weeks (yay!) for our visit with PetDoc and Noise, and I want to be in better shape by then. I want to be able to climb hills in Edinburgh without needing half an hour to recover after each one (I am informed that Edinburgh is very hilly). So I am taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, and going for a walk at lunch time. I bought some exercise equipment so I can do light work outs at home in the evenings (getting back to the gym regularly is not something that is going to happen right now, but it is in my long term plan once some other things settle down). My other more long term goal is a hypothetical totally-not-being-planned-yet happy event that might happen sometime in the not too distant future. I want to enjoy that time, and feel and look my best. I know I will no matter what weight and size I am, but it's something to think about.

I'll never be skinny. I'm not built that way, and I enjoy food too much to count every calorie that goes in my mouth. But I make a lot of unhealthy choices, and I need to make fewer of them. Break some of those habits and form new ones. That's really want it boils down to. Skinny is not my goal. Healthy is.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Random updates

As I keep saying, never a dull moment around here. As you may have read elsewhere, Serdic was offered a new job last week and has accepted it. He will finish out this month at his old place of employment and will be starting up the new job after the August long weekend. To say that we are delighted would be an understatement. I'm very proud of him -- this is something he really wanted and he went after it with determination and confidence, and he got it. It will mean some changes for us, but life would be boring without change, no? And knowing he is somewhere where he is happy and challenged and valued will make all the difference.

We were down home for a quick visit this weekend, to celebrate my Aunt C's birthday and have some time out on my parents' new (to them) boat (purchased last fall at the end of the boating season). The boat has been the source of some worry lately, as it needed some repairs and a great chunk of the summer (prime boating time!) has been lost with the boat sitting in the shop, but she's running beautifully now and my parents are making up for lost time. We had a beautiful afternoon/evening out on her on Saturday, and I even got a swim in the river (that's how I really know it's summer!).

I also discovered the joy that is skype this weekend, and got to spend some time talking to PetDoc and Noise via webcam. Wow. What a wild and wacky thing that was. We even rigged it up so that they could be part of Aunt C's birthday party, with PetDoc looming in the corner of the family room on Mom and Dad's big screen tv. Freaky. It was my first time "seeing" them since they moved, though, so it was pretty awesome. We are definitely counting the days until our trip to London (49!).

And coming back Sunday night I was attacked by a vicious cold and have been, in Serdic's words, Sicky McSickerson ever since. I'm back at work today, but moving slow and my coworkers are giving me a wide berth. Blergh.

So I think that's all the news that's fit to print. For now, anyway.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Busy weekend

This has been a great weekend. I would hesitate, however, to say it has been a relaxing one. ;-) After a long week at work, Friday night we went down to Bluesfest (Ottawa's largest annual music festival, although they really lost the "Blues" part a long time ago, so they really should look into changing the name) to hear my beloved Great Big Sea boys perform (see above -- GBS are most decidedly not "blues" -- not that I'm complaining!). This was my 5th time hearing GBS and they never fail to delight. They have so much energy and so clearly love what they do, and that translates into a wonderful experience for the audience. The thing I love the most about GBS's music is that it is always hopeful. It's not always happy, but it's never angry or unpleasant. Their message is always one of enjoying the day you've been given, counting your blessings, and taking pleasure in the simple moments in life. Sometimes life is hard, but there's always something to be grateful for and the hope that it'll get better. That's an attitude I try to have in my own life and so their music really speaks to me.

I have to admit that this was not my favourite time I've seen them ... not because of anything the boys did (other than that they were promoting their new album, so some of their songs weren't as familiar to me, but they played all the classics as well, and the new stuff is great) but just because of the set up of Bluesfest. Serdic and I both might have been overheard to remark more than once that we're too old for this. 50,000 people in a field, with beer cheap and plentiful ... not my favourite way to attend a concert. It has to be a band I really, really want to see and hear (GBS fits that criteria, obviously) but I'm not good in crowds -- I find the pushing and shoving and drunkeness very distracting, and it takes away from my enjoyment of the music. We met up with a friend who has been "Bluesfesting" all week and she said that Friday night she would be seeing her 29th, 30th and 31st bands, and all I could think was "why would anyone want to do that?" Of course, I do lots of things that I suppose other people think are crazy, so if she's enjoying it more power to her.

Saturday morning we had a bit of a late start (and I had no voice until noon!), but after a late breakfast we packed up the car and headed to Wakefield, Quebec, for a mini-getaway. SerdMom and SerdDad had stayed at the Wakefield Mill inn recently and really enjoyed it, so we decided to do the same. Wakefield is great in that it's only a 40 minute drive from downtown Ottawa, but you really feel like you've gone somewhere different. It's a little community with the usual artists and cafes and gift shops you find in a "tourist" town, in a beautiful setting right on the Gatineau river. We were only gone from Ottawa for 24 hours (we came back after lunch today) but it really feels like we went "away" for a longer time than that.

The highlight of the whole excursion was definitely dinner last night (included with our package at the inn). The dining room was lovely, overlooking the falls that used to power the mill when it was in operation, and we had a two and a half hour culinary feast. It started with an "amuse bouche" of wasabi sour cream over julienned cucumber with toasted sesame. Then as an appetizer I had cream of asparagus soup and Serdic had breaded goat cheese with a yam and roasted almond chutney. Both were yummy -- the soup was divine and I was glad Serdic ordered the goat cheese as I love it, but a little goes a long way for me (it's so rich!) and this way I could just have a couple bites. After this course they brought us a shot to cleanse the palate -- cranberry juice, coconut juice and rum. Yum. The main course was beef tenderloin with a herbed bread pudding in roasted shallot sauce for me, bison shank wrapped in endive (and we weren't sure what all else) for Serdic. The tenderloin was perfect ... I could literally pull it apart with my fork and barely needed a knife, and Serdic all but licked his plate clean so I guess he enjoyed his meal as well. ;-) Dessert was a chocolate mousse cake type thingie, with a banana rum puree, and fresh fruit. Throughout, the service and presentation were impeccable, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. As, it was clear, everyone else in the restaurant was doing. It's always great to sit in a room where you know everyone is enjoying themselves and their meals. It's a great atmosphere.

The room at the inn was the weak point in our stay, as it was quite small and under the sloped roof (we both hit our heads repeatedly, and neither of us is all that tall!). I would suggest to friends and family members wanting to stay at the inn to request a room on the 2nd or 3rd floor, not the 4th. However, it was the last room they had and considering we booked it on a Wednesday for the Saturday of the same week in the middle of July, we weren't expecting the best room in the house. We have stayed in nicer rooms for less money, though, so we were slightly disappointed. The dinner, and brunch this morning (also included in our package, and a fantabulous feast), made up for it, though.

So now we are back in the city, getting ready for another week at work. We are hoping to get home next weekend, to have some time with our respective parents and celebrate my Aunt C's birthday with her. Never a dull moment around here, that's for sure!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

C, eh, N, eh, D, eh!

It's official. Serdic and I throw great parties. This evening we hosted a Canada Day party for a few friends and it was a great success, if I do say so myself. I was a little worried because a lot of the people we had invited hadn't met each other before, but everyone clicked very quickly and seemed to enjoy themselves immensely. We decided to take advantage of our new BBQ and so that was the starting point for the meal -- Serdic grilled chicken, salmon, and portobello mushrooms, along with some veggie skewers. I was responsible for the "inside" portion, and made a potato salad, a broccoli salad, and tzatziki as an appetizer. Rounding out the meal were the dishes our lovely friends brought (a pasta salad, strawberries and whipped cream and chocolate chip cookies for dessert, lots of fresh veggies and fruit) and we all stuffed ourselves.

I was particularly proud of the potato salad, as it was my first time attempting such a thing. It has been a long standing family tradition that I ask for my grandmother's potato salad at any meal taking place between May and October, and it is understood that I get the first helping and have first dibs on any leftovers. So when we decided to host a barbeque I knew I had to try to carry on the tradition. I called her last night and got the recipe, and was surprised by how simple it was. I was expecting some grand secret ingredient (Serdic tells me that ingredient is "love," but he's corny like that) but it was surprisingly easy. I won't say that it was AS good as my grandmother's, but I was very pleased with it all the same. That recipe is definitely a keeper.

It was a little weird not to be downtown, in the heart of the action so to speak, for Canada Day, as I have been for the last four years. There are times when I really miss living downtown and today was one of them. Although I don't miss the crowds and the noise. But I did miss standing out on my balcony watching the fireworks. We talked about going downtown to watch them but by the time our guests left we were pooped. A long day of cooking and cleaning will do that to a person! We're definitely getting better at this dinner party thing ... we have our timing down to a science now, and we are even learning how to share the kitchen (a hard fought battle)! This was our first time actually serving dinner to this many people at once and it went surprisingly well. We're lucky in that we both enjoy entertaining and we like to share the tasks involved. It's something we do particularly well as a couple -- we were both good at it individually, and we're even better at it together.

Happy Canada Day, everyone!