6 December 2013

The Friday Five Catch-Up Post: Lots of Lists

Hey faithful readers,

I am so far behind in the Friday Fives that I will just do one big uninspiring post. When you are done reading my lame thoughts, go see the far more inspiring thoughts on this issues by visiting the blogs of A Warm Cup of Jo and The Brooding Woman. I suck.

Top Five Favourite Charities (originally supposed to be published November 8th).
5) Catholic Social Services & Chalice
Both Catholic agencies do amazing work and are highly rated as top charities in Canada. CSS deals with many inner-city and immigration services. Chalice (the #1 rated charity in Canada with the lowest administrative fees) helps people around the world.

4) The WIN House (Edmonton's Woman Shelter) 
Without going into too much detail, I've lived in one of their shelters. They helped my mom during a horrible time of domestic and familial abuse. So thus, I help them. They do good things for women, getting them back on their feet and directing them to the resources to help them get out of abusive situations.

3) The Royal Canadian Legion's Poppy Fund
One of the easiest ways to help veterans, who did so much for us, is to make a donation and wear your poppy. It requires next to no effort, yet does so much good.

2) The Stollery Children's Hospital Charitable Foundation
When I was sick with Lofgren's Syndrome, I spent a lot of time at the University of Alberta Hospital visiting doctors or doing tests. Many of my appointments were near the Stollery Children's Hospital ER. Seeing these little vulnerable children suffering put my own into perspective.

1) The Edmonton Food Bank
Again, another super easy charity to help that does SO MUCH for the community. Having been on the recipient end of their assistance during my childhood, I value what they do. It takes no effort to leave an extra box or tin in the donation booth at Safeway. Or to bring a bag of non-perishable items from your pantry to events like Heritage Days or Candy Cane Lane.

Top Five Things in My Purse (originally supposed to be published November 15th)
5) My inhaler (can't leave home without it, especially in the winter)
4) Tampons (do they really need to be explained?)
3) Chapstick (winter wreaks havoc on my lips)
2) Coupons/Stamp Cards (I love bargains)
1) Starbucks free Ipad app/music cards (I keep picking them up. Probably should use them soon)

Top Five Things I Would Do If I Won the Lottery (originally supposed to be published November 22)
5) Donate to select charities: see above

4) Buy a Lake House
Doesn't have to be particularly large or fancy. Just a modest house on the lake within driving distance of Edmonton that we, along with friends and family, can get away to. Probably Ma-Me-O Beach or Wizard Lake.

3) Buy my mom a house
She did a lot for me. The least I can do for her, so that she can save the money she is paying in rent and put it towards her retirement and leisure pursuits.

2) Buy a vacation home in Vegas
We go there a lot. It's central to other travel destinations. My parent-in-laws and some of their relations travel there every year. Why not?

1) Travel 
Oh this great world. So many places to go. So little money. A lottery might change that reality!


I think that is it. I am all caught up! Except for today's post. There might be a simple recipe post I missed, but who am I fooling saying I cook with any great consistency. Boston Pizza exists for a reason.

4 December 2013

Friday's Top Five: Childhood Toys

Total Truth.
*Note: Still catching-up...this should have been published on November 1st. Ahem. Don't forget to check the blogs of A Warm Cup of Jo & The Brooding Woman, and A Piece of Apple for their takes.

Hello faithful readers of five!

Today is one of the rare days where I am not only caught up on my work, but also caught up on my make-work projects. I mean, I suppose there is things I could do. But why bother, when I can blog instead? In any event, I am so far behind in my Friday Five blogs that today is as good as any to catch-up.

There is much to love about the 80's. As a kid the 80's, toys were awesome. Toys are o.k. now I suppose, but they are all "safe for kids & the environment." Boring. Life is not lived unless there is a real risk of injury or lead-poisoning.

Without further ado, here are my favourite childhood toys.

5) The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine.

If you want to know why childhood obesity really took a foothold in the eighties, I present you with the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. This was the first toy I can remember wanting so bad. Every kid wanted to make their own slushie. This led to other culinary food-as-toys like the E-Z Bake Oven. It was cool for a while, until I discovered it was a lot easier to just run out and grab some snow from the backyard...

4) The Rubix Cube

Ah, the timeless rubix cube. It was a great time waster. Until you got frustrated and just peeled the stickers off.

3) The Cabbage Patch Doll

Sad story that really speaks to the poverty of my childhood. When every kid in the world was getting this toy, I begged my mom for one. She obviously couldn't afford a real doll, so she got me a "imitation" Cabbage Patch. I knew it wasn't real, but other kids didn't. I wrote the signature on the bum myself, created a fake certificate using crayons, and named her Rebecca (my favourite name as a grade 2 kid). I think I eventually got a real one when Dad got a job in the patch. But I didn't love the fancy one as much as I loved Rebecca.

2) Atari

It's hard to believe in the world of Play Stations, X-Box's, and Smart phones that at one time, this was cutting edge technology. I spent hours trying to save my 2-dimensional pixels from the fire in towering inferno.

1) Board Games

There was nothing that passed the time better than board games...or 'bored' games depending on how you view this past-time. The game of Life in particular was one of my favourites. You built a life depending on the spin and route you took, with the choices you made earlier in the game having consequences later on. Which is kind of like real life. Except I am pretty sure I will never have the kind of money my character did in the board game, 'cuz real life sucks.

7 November 2013

Friday's Top Five: Movies I Have Watched Repeatedly.

Hello faithful readers of five,

This is yet another catch-up post that I was going to originally blog about on October 18th until work interfered with my life, as it is apt to do.

This was a difficult topic to blog about because I had to narrow my choices down to five. I am that person who re-watches movies. I could probably make this a list of 12, and still struggle to narrow it down. I decided to use the "is-it-on-TV-a-lot-and-do-you-stop-every-time-to-watch-it" criteria. I eliminated Labyrinth and Willow primarily because they are never shown on TV. But that still leaves me with 10. Damn it.

To hell with it. It's my blog. So I will present to you my Top 10 movies I have watched repeatedly!

10) Pride & Prejudice (the 1995 BBC Version staring Colin Firth).

It's the movie that started my Austen-mania crazy. It is also the movie that introduced me to Colin Firth, for which I will be forever grateful. It also satisfies my inner-petticoat-fan girl. Plus any movie that showcases the Promenade dancing style is perfect. Simply perfect.

9) Tremors

This movie is hilarious. It is about underground worm-like monsters that try to swallow-up an isolated town. It stars Kevin Bacon and Reba. I could, and have, watched this repeatedly. It's low-budget but high entertainment. We shall never speak of the sequels, but this one is solid gold.

8) The Sandlot

You guys, this is a great movie. I have blogged about my love of this movie before, but I really cannot emphasise how much I love this movie. It is narrated in that nostalgic wonder-years type of format, but it is a great coming-of-age type of movie. It captures that innocent moment of youth that we all long to return to and hope our children experience. It's a baseball movie...but it is so much more than that. Even better if you can watch it on a big screen in the middle of a baseball field, like I did with Joanne and Steve that one perfect summer.

7) You've Got Mail/When Harry Met Sally

I know I am cheating by including two movies into one. But both these movies have two common links:
  • they both star Meg Ryan
  • they both perfectly capture the era of my youth
In WHMS, you have two people who meet at various stages of their life but do not hook up because the timing is not right. Then the timing becomes right, but that means a sacrifice of the safety of a platonic friendship.

In YGM, you have two people who meet on this new-found phenomenon called the internet, with it's dial-up-AOL-chat glory (hilarious in retrospect). In real life, they are "enemies" who become "frenimies" who become "friends" and finally a couple.

Both movies are like peeling back a layer of an onion to get to that magical romantic place.

6) The Breakfast Club

Don't you, forget about me.

Still relevant for today's youth. It's definitely showing it's age, but aren't we all? LOL.

5) Dirty Dancing

Nobody puts Baby in the corner. I watched this movie 100 times with my cousin Samantha and my aunt Shauna. When my cousin and I were younger, we would watch, rewind, watch again, rewind, watch again. And again. And again...

4) James Bond Movies (all of them)

My husband is a big James Bond fan. When I casually admitted last-year that I had never seen a Bond movie, my husband made sure to rectify that situation. So over a period of a few weeks, I watched ever single Bond movie in order that my husband preferred. I have become such a big fan. I engage in the debates over who the best Bond is, what is the best Bond movie, intro, girl, villain and so forth. No wonder this movie franchise will not die. Because it's good, yo!

3) Forrest Gump

This is one of my favourite all-time movies. I love the simplicity against the backdrop of a complex and fascinating history. A classic of our era.

2) A League of Their Own

I mad-love this movie. It is one of those movies that will appear on TV repeatedly every year over the summer. It is about women in baseball, but has depth and emotion. It's great, and has a killer good soundtrack too.

1) Love Actually

This is my husband and mine's favourite movie. We watch it every winter (and sometimes again in the Spring/Summer). We even had our wedding song based from this movie. It is "our" movie. I watch it when I am looking for hope in humanity, or want to spend a romantic evening with my husband. This is my favorite movie of all time. The intro above is food for thought.

Head over to A Warm Cup of Jo, The Brooding Woman and A Piece of Apple to see what they like!

4 November 2013

Friday's Top Five: Myths Debunked

Hello faithful readers of five:

This is yet another catch-up post. This was supposed to be posted on October 11, but alas, work interferes with my social life again. I am pretty sure it was Joanne who came up with this topic, and it's a toughie. My responses are more anecdotal. I am not sure if they technically count as debunked if I was stupid enough to fall for the lie to begin with. As well, I am going to suggest things that maybe haven't been debunked. But this is my blog, and all that really matters is my opinion really. LOL.

5) Activity has no effect on weigh-loss (it will only help with maintenance).

I have heard repeatedly from different sources (including the Weight Wise Clinic of the hospital) that activity doesn't have as much an effect on weight-loss as diet. The rational is that you need to do a significant amount of exercise (more than the average person can reasonably do) to burn off any significant calories. I understand the point of what they are saying - that thinking if you go to the gym for an hour, that it will negate the DQ Blizzard you ate on the way home. So that extent, yes, that is true.

However, I know that if I have weeks where I don't do at least three slow-to-moderate paced walks of one hour long walks, I gain wait or stay the same. Activity seems to be the difference when all other things are equal.

4) A University degree is your meal-ticket to a more prosperous job compared to any other level of post secondary education.


3) Working for a non-profit charitable or religious organisation means the employer will treat the employee better.

Let's just put it this way. There is a difference between doing God's work, and working for the Church. At the end of the day, you are still just an employee. An underpaid one at that.

2) T.V. Shows and Movies you loved as a child are just as good now.

I will argue over and over again that comedies/dramas were better "back in the day" then they are now. That is largely true. But truthfully, not every show has stood the test of time. I am looking at you Alf.

1) You will have the wedding of your dreams.

I loved getting married. I love my husband to death and back. But to clarify, I am referring to the actual wedding ceremony itself.

You can have all the images you want of the type of wedding you will have growing up. The type of dress. The colour choices. Where you will go. Who you will have as your attendants. What your first song will be.

Then you meet the guy. And oh, he has a large family who he is close to. So there goes the "wedding in Banff" idea. That fall wedding you dreamed of becomes a summer wedding to accommodate your teacher friends and out-of-town guests. The colours you want, you can't find. The dress you want you can't find because that is not the style. Things are more expensive then you anticipated, so there goes the chair covers and big centerpieces. One of your attendant dies/moves/get's pregnant. Your mom/mother-in-law have their own wish lists. He can't stand the song you like. The reality of what you have budgeted doesn't match the reality of the true cost of getting married. The list goes on. And on. And on.

You can still have a dream-wedding. But, like the rest of your married life, be prepared for compromise.

Check out what A Warm Cup of Jo, The Brooding Woman, and A Piece of Apple have to say on this topic.

15 October 2013

Friday's Top Five: Favourite Places to Visit in Edmonton

Source: thelocalgood.ca

Hello faithful readers of five,

I am a few blogs late. This should have been published on October 4th. My life was crazy busy, especially at work. And stressful. And kind of shitty. That's how it goes sometimes. Which is why this post is particularly apt.

When I need to get away from it all, but travelling out of the city is not an option, then here are some really great gems that I visit in Edmonton. They are only a small list of the fabulous places to visit, and some places have either been left off (since the list is 5, not 50)....or combined for similarity.

5) 124th Street

Source: avenueedmonton.com

Back in early days of Edmonton's history, 124th street was a vibrant avenue with many shops, being that it was one of the "main" streets of Edmonton. Then as time went on, it sort of fell into this dreary street of riff-raff and disrepair. I remember as a kid there not being much to 124th street except for Pinnochio's Ice Cream. Some time around the mid-90's, the push to revitalize downtown emerged. 124th Street is a textbook example of what happens when people of passion and vision come together. This street is wonderful to visit, with so many trendy and classy places to eat and shop at, all the while maintaining it's historical charm and inviting atmosphere. I haven't walked the full street in a while, because I keep getting distracted by the yummy gelato at Cocoa Choclatiers!

4) Telus World of Science

I used to find this place boring as a kid. Primarily because I didn't particularly care for science. But as an adult, I have come to love this place. They have brought some very neat exhibits, like The Star Wars exhibit and the upcoming Harry Potter exhibit. The Imax films are imcredible. It is simply fun. 

3) Art Gallery of Alberta

True story: I fell in love with the man that is now my husband at the Art Gallery. It was our third date, and my first time there. We were at the Yousef Karsh exhibit. We have been there a few times. I was initially critical of building this. I am now grateful the AGA exists. 

2) Alberta Legislature Grounds

My husband and I come here after church to walk and hangout. It's "our" place. We had our wedding photos there. Canada Day at the legislature grounds is our tradition, where we participate in the oath. They have done a good job with the design, making it a great place for individuals, couples and families to hang out.  

1) Beaumaris Lake

This is my hidden gem, and close to my home. I go there for a few times a week. It is an enjoyabe walking path, and greatly designed to look natural. Everytime we go there, there is something slightly different to see, depending on the weather or season etc. The pic above is mine, taken at sunset in summer, with no photo edit. Same with the following, which was taken in fall. 

I have other places I like, like Hawrelak Park, The Museum, and so on. There is a lot to enjoy in Edmonton. 

Check out Joanne's, Karen's & Bronwyn's blog to see where they like to go in Edmonton. 

P.S. Still can't figure out how to link on the blogspot app! 

28 September 2013

Friday's Top Five - Five Things I Love About Fall

Hello faithful readers of five, 

Autumn is my favourite time of the year. I could write a list of twenty, but alas. The crisp but pleasant weather, the beautiful colours....what is not to love? But the obvious reasons aside, there are some lesser reasons why Fall is the greatest season. Without further ado...

5) Harvest Fruits & Vegetables
We have had to buy very little vegetables this month because my husbands parents keep giving us vegetables from the garden. From beets to zucchini, cucumber to carrots, and endless tomatoes, our fridge crisper looks like a cornucopia of plenty. Famers markets have endless goodies, and the fresh stuff tastes awesome! I sit in eager anticipation of Safeway's annual apple sale, where the much loved Ambrosia apple makes a comeback. I have traditionally done the best on my diet in Fall. Is there any wonder why? 

4) Maple & Pumpkin & Apple flavoured EVERYTHING
I love the flavour of Maple. Maple syrup, maple candy, maple coffee... I also love Pumpkin flavoured things like pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice latte. Then there are apple pies and apple crisps and apple ciders. Autumn is when bakers and coffee makers seem to switch from the refreshing flavours of berry and citrus, to the warm and cozy flavours like pumpkin, maple, and apple. I heartily approve! 

3) Goodbye frizzy summer hair! 
Autumn is awesome three-month period of the year where I don't like I stuck my finger into an electrical socket. There is no humidity. Now granted, there is no humidity in winter wither, but the toque ruins everything. So for three blessed months, my hair is awesome and shiny and FLAT. This summer was particularly bad for humidity, and my hair was aweful, to my great anxiety. As a bonus, I also like that I can wear pants again, which means I can go a day or two, or three, or four without shaving! 

2) Walks are enjoyable...and bearable. 
As I said in my previous post on summer, my husband and I go for a lot of walks. Walks in the summer are great in that I don't have to wear a jacket and the scenery is nice. But summer walking also has pitfalls. Mosquitos, rain, heat...all can make a pleasant walk less so (or not at all). In Autumn, there are no mosquitos, and the weather is largely moderate with little to no rain. The temperature is crisp, but not cold. In fact, most days are warm, and all you need is a light sweater. But the sun doesn't beat down on you like a furnace. Add the gorgeous colours and nice smells, and walking in Autumn is simply great. 

1) The return to routine.
Summer is great, but it is also an extremely disruptive season. School is out so the kids are at home. Bus schedules change. People go on vacations, so work sort of comes to a stop (or alternately, you end up having to always "cover" a position which adds to your workload). Every event or vacation or summer wedding blows your diet all to hell. Programs at the gym seem to take a hiatus. Everything on TV is reruns.The pace of summer just seems to either slow down in a lazy way, or is so busy to the point of franticness. In Autumn, everyone is more-or-less back from holidays. Kids are back to school. New & returning programs come to TV and in the gyms. I feel a bit more in control of life. It's a good thing, especially for my diet? Lol. 

So that is it. Mosey over to see what Joanne, Karen & Bronwyn like about fall. 

P.S. I typed this on my IPad Blogger app, so sorry for any errors. Still not sure how to hyperlink my friends blogs, so I will do so on Monday. 

24 September 2013

Friday's Top Five - Things I Did This Summer

Hello faithful readers of five,

I am a bit late in posting this, but this weekend was crazy busy. Meh, what are you going to do? 

So Joanne sends an email saying "why don't we blog about things we accomplished this summer?" My immediate response was "nothing." That isn't far from the truth. Seriously. If being lazy is an accomplishment, then I get a gold star!

But I have to come up with 5 things. Most of these are a stretch to call them accomplishments, but they are something.

5) Started a new job at the current place of employment.

I did a bit of a lateral move within my position. We are currently undergoing an "operation review." I have been through that twice with previous employers. The first resulted in in a buy-out of my position. The second employer laid me off. So when an opportunity came to secure a position that in its very nature is secure, regardless of changes, I jumped on the chance. I do like the job. It has a bit more routine, but I am using my brain a bit more too. In the big scheme of life, administrative work is not my passion, but sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

4) Started the medical journey of fertility treatment.

Husband and I want a baby. Things aren't really happening yet. So I started the journey of pursuing fertility options. The first part is to rule out the medical issues, so this summer, I pissed in cups, drew blood, and had my vagina probed. Apparently I have something called Uterine Adenomyosis. From what I read on Dr. Google, the bigger risk is carrying a baby to term safely. I don't know what this all means, and I will find out in November when I go to my gynecologist.

3) Hung out with friends (BBQ/fire pit/one-on-one/girls night).

It is increasingly hard to get together with all my friends, with kids and other life responsibilities in the way. But that said, I was able to attend some events and even hosted a girls night. Good fun all around.

2) Beaumaris Lake walks (and other fun walking adventures).

I definitely wanted to be more active for the obvious health benefits. This summer, I went on walks almost every day. Most of them were to Beaumaris Lake or in my neighbourhood, accompanied by my husband. We also explored different walking trails in the River Valley and at Hawrelak Park that we have never walked before. Sundays we have a new habit of going for a walk after Church, time permitting.

1) I made a major decision regarding my weight-loss journey.

I am going to save this for a separate blog, but I made a decision about the journey I am on. I had lengthy discussions with my husband, did some research, and weighed the pros and cons carefully. I am satisfied and content with my choice. I recognized that at some point, the training wheels have to come off. Again, I will go into more detail in a later blog (hopefully this week?). But know that just getting to the point of making a decision, recognizing how far I have come, and realizing how much I have learned, was eye-opening for me. The rewards are already happening.

So that's it for me. Leave in the comments what you have accomplished (or link to your own blog post if you wish!).

And hop over to the following blogs to see what my friends have accomplished:

10 September 2013

Friday's Top Five - Songs of Summer 2013

Hello faithful readers of five!

It's been a while since I have blogged. Took a bit of a summer break (because admitting I was lazy is simply not going to happen). But it is time to dust-off the cobwebs and get back into the swing of things. Joanne and Karen are participating in this weeks (which should have been posted on Friday the 6th) Friday's Top Five: Songs of Summer 2013.

My list is definitely the weakest of the three. They both (especially Karen) posted meaningful songs that speak to their lives. By comparison, mine is pretty lame. That is partly to do with the fact that I have Sirius Sattelite Radio in the car, so I haven't really made a point to listen to anything...you know...modern.  Also, to be honest, I haven't really listened to a lot of music, period. And life is pretty ok right now. I have issues, but is there a song out there that speaks to dealing with uterine adenomyosis? Probably not.

But there are songs that, when I hear them, might make me think of Summer 2013. So here is my fluffy list. Add your songs of summer in the comments!

5) Cups - Anna Kendrick (Original Song by Pitch Perfect)

This is a fun little song I discovered by accident but quite enjoy. The video makes the song.

4) Give Your Heart A Break - Demi Lovato

Another Nickleodean star turned musician, but perhaps not as famous as the Miley "twerk" Cyrus, I actually don't mind her music. It's catchy. Although she did have a summer hit with her song Heart Attack, this new-to-me song was in my head all summer. I heard it quite a bit at the Mandalay Bay pool in Las Vegas too.

3) Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson

I saw Cirque Du Soleil's "ONE" at Mandalay Bay with my husband. This was easily one of the best shows I have ever seen, Vegas or otherwise. This tribute to Michael Jackson reminded me how much I actually like his music. We bought some of his CD's and played it frequently in our car on local road trips. This song is just one of many to choose from. (The below is a small clip from the show)

2) Roar - Katy Perry

This came out late in the summer, and I love the message. I often felt this way to be honest, even amongst my friends and family. But I have gained a voice (I think blogging, and counselling through the Weight Wise Clinic, has helped my confidence). This song resonates with me. It is also my new unofficial weightloss motivation song!

1) Today is Your Day (Why Not?) - Shania Twain

This is another artist I saw in Las Vegas. It was an awesome concert and left me with more fond memories. This particular song I had never heard before. When I heard it in Vegas, I loved it. I also love the positive message. I have spent all summer seeking positivity in my daily life.


18 June 2013

I saw a pelican and did not take a picture. Why that matters.

Hello faithful readers of five,

Yesterday, while out for a walk at Beaumaris Lake, I saw a pelican. Yes, a pelican. The jowly member of the avian species.  But I didn't take a picture of this exciting moment. That matters.

Rewind a few months - ever since I got my iPhone in November, I have become one of them. You know, the person who takes pictures of everything. I have joined the hoards of people who feel the need to capture everything: kids, animals, food, the fart in the wind. 

Taking pictures of amazing things isn't necessarily a problem. But there are three problems I see with taking pictures of every amazing thing.

1) Not everything is awesome. In fact, we've started to dilute what awesome really means.

There is a difference between taking a picture of a gourmet meal served by the finest chef at the finest restaurant, and taking a picture of your taco from the food court.

That breakfast in Vegas that was the bomb? The world sees a plate of eggs and a bowl of fruit. 

The kid taking their first steps? Awesome. The kid sitting on the potty? Not so much.

The scene of a beautiful waterfall in the mountains? That's cool. The pic of the dead bug on your windshield? Mmm-kay then.

2) We are becoming rude company.

When was the last time you visited with friends and didn't take a picture? When was the last time you had dinner with company at a restaurant and you didn't take a pic of your wasabi-roll? Of course, if it was just the pic you were taking, that would be one thing. But nope, we have to instantly facebook/tweet/whatever it. 

Don't mind the other person sitting there. They are not as important as letting your virtual pals knowing you are having a great evening.

3) In trying to capture the memory, we are missing out on the experience of what is around us. Experiences become meaningless.

When was the last time you just watched the sunset without whipping out your camera? When was the last time you simply enjoyed your dinner, without snapping a shot? When was the last time you travelled somewhere and just took one picture of the skyscraper, and not 10 pictures?  Or none at all?
When was the last time you watched your child hit a milestone without sharing it with the world? When was the last time you viewed something not through your camera viewer?

When was the last time you just lived the experience, and not captured the experience? When was the last time you lived in the moment?

I am guilty of all the above. I can't remember the last time I went anywhere and didn't have at least 10 pictures to account for the moment.

Last night, I had to leave my camera behind because I didn't have a pocket. I saw an amazing thing. I shared that moment with my husband. It was awesome. It was private. It was an experience.

I think we all need to find our pelican moment.

3 May 2013

Friday's Top Five - Pinterest Ideas I'd like to try

I am not crafty. I suck. I can't even make a macaroni-owl without it looking like it flew on the short-bus. I'm also sort of lazy and imperialist in my view of crafty things...why make when I can buy? I am also not addicted to Pinterest like 3/4 of my female friends.

Joane: "let's do a blog about five Pinterest items we would like to try." 
Me: "Sure."
Me to self: "Crap, I guess that means I should probably look at Pinterest and see what my hypothetical crafty-self would hypothetically like to do."

2 hours later....
Me to self: "Are these women in la-la land? I call bullshit that anything pinned here is possible."

3 hours later...
Me to self: "Oooh, that's totally neat."

4 hours later...
Me to self: "Oh, I can do that. I can SO do that!"

So without further ado, here are the five things I'd like to try...because I can totally do this and my project will look exactly the same, right?

5) Summer Workout Lists

Oh, I am so going to Jane Fonda my ass this summer. Just you wait and see. I don't really know what an oblique twist is. Is that like some type of cocktail? Workout while drinking? Don't mind if I do...

4) Boozy Popsicle thingy

Margarita Popsicles? WIN! Never mind the fact that I can't even cut a lime to look like that, or that I don't technically own any popsicle sticks. Minor details.

2) Individual homemade Jell-o fruit snacks

These little bastards are pricey, so I would save us money too! And they will look EXACTLY LIKE THAT.

2) Nifty patio lanterns and planters

Isn't that romantic and beautiful? I mean, what could possibly go wrong with a candle-lit lantern in my ghetto neighbourhood? And of course, since Edmonton is a summer climate, I can enjoy this for a long time. And it doesn't appear that this project will attract moths and mosquito's like my light porch does. I am so doing this.

1) Hair styles.

Although I have absolutely no hair talent, my hair right now is thin, frizzy and grey. There is no way I can fix this right? Challenge accepted! If I follow the handy step-by-step tips, I can totally look like the above.

So mosey over to Joanne's blog to check out what she is is going to try. If When I do the above, I will let you know the results!

19 April 2013

Friday's Top Five: Favourite Old-Country Artists

Hey faithful readers of five,

Let's face it. It's been a shit week. Boston. Texas. I've got nothing to say that hasn't been said a thousand times before. I'm sad. I'm depressed at the state of the world right now. I need hope. I need comfort.

When I was young, when things (or life) was shit, I would go to my room, shut the door, turn on an old country radio station, and listen to the sweet comforts of old-school country music. Country music, the music that speaks of life. The music that speaks to life. 

Although this topic was planned in advance with Joanne (click to see her list), it's timely that this week, when I need an escape, I once again turn to country music for comfort. Here is my list of top five favourite old-country artists...

5) Kenny Rogers
Song attached: Coward of the County

Kenny Rogers was a huge part of my childhood. Fast forward 30+ years, and I meet a man who is a huge fan of the guy. In fact, it was a Kenny Rogers song that made my husband realize he loved & missed me while he was on vacation. (Awww!). 

Funny story: at our wedding, we had put She Believe in Me on our must play list. The DJ entered the wrong code, and Coward of the County came on. We still laugh about it, and thus this song now has a place in my heart. As does Kenny.

4) Willie Nelson
Song attached: The City of New Orleans

I have always like Willie's free-spirt. He is a refreshing voice, and personality, in the country music genre. Joanne put this song on our road-trip CD when we first went to the US on our epic road trip along the eastern seaboard.

3) Conway Twitty
Song attached: Hello Darlin'

"Ladies & gentlement, Mr. Conway Twitty." Fans of Family Guy will get why I chose him. Conway has the second most amount of #1 top-40 hits in country music ever. Impressive.

2) Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Song attached: Face on the Cutting Room Floor

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band are probably most famous for songs like Cadillac Ranch and Fishing in The Dark (if you have ever been to a bar or wedding, you have danced to these songs, rest assured).

However, they actually have an impressive body of work and fabulous songs. Back when I was in grade 5, I went to Jasper with my grandparents, aunts and uncles. My aunt had a portable radio and a NGDB cassette tape. We played the tapes over, and over, and over, and over again. We even "bathed" to this music (if you call a sponge-bath in the Pocahontas campground bathrooms "bathing").

They remain to this day one of my favourite bands of all time.

1) Ronnie Milsap
Song attached: Smoky Mountain Rain

I mad-love the music of Ronnie Milsap. He is easily one of my favourite country artists, period. Ronnie Milsap grew up with his grandma after his single-mother left him, not able to deal with a child who is blind.

He went on to be one of the biggest and most influential country star in the 1970s & 1980s, and even enjoyed cross-over success in the pop genre. This surprised me, but he has the third-most amount of #1 top-40 hits. Who knew?

My husband and I both enjoy his music. In fact, we actually have his music DVD of greatest hits currently in our car. 

Bonus: Honourable mention - George Strait
Song selected: Run

George is my absolute favourite if I am honest. He has the most #1 top-40 hits of any country artist. Even though he could technically be considered old-school (given his longevity in the industry), I have chosen not to count him as old-school. Why? Because he's still churning out great #1 hits. Booyah!

Question: which old-school country artists would fall in your top-five list? Leave comments!

12 April 2013

Friday's Top Five - Fitness Goals for 2013 & Beyond!

This is my truth!

Hello faithful readers of five,

It's spring-time the late stages of winter up her in the hinterland. Winter has been harsh, both weather-wise, and on my ass. I have improved on creating safe spaces. I have improved on establishing food-related routines. I have started tracking regularly. I am eating better. I am doing all the right things. I am seeing results of those changes. However, when it comes to excercize, I am lazy. Sloths are more active than me. If there is an excuse-train running, I'm hitching a ride.

It's time for me to set some fitness-related goals. I know from the experience of the last two years of being on Weight Watchers™ (plus a side-stint in the Weight Wise Clinic™) that when it comes to goal-setting, I need to be SMART:

For my fitness objectives, I asked myself these questions:
  1. What excuse do I have that would prevent me from acheiving my goal?
  2. What specific, measureable, attainable, relevent and time-bound technique will I use to achieve this goal?
  3. What potential barrier exists that could potentially derail my efforts?
  4. What is the hidden reward (the unintendend postive consequence) that could come out of my efforts?
  5. What do I ultimately hope to achieve (long-term) by setting this goal?
Ahem. Truth.

 Here are my fitness goals for 2013 and beyond!

5) Find activities that I enjoy.
  • Excuses: activity is boring; I've hurt myself trying some activities; it's too hard.
  • SMART Goal: sign-up/try-out the variety of classes offered at the YMCA/larger community.
  • Potential Barrier: cost or conflicts with schedule may limit the kinds of activity I could try; the potential for actual injury by doing something more advanced than my ability.
  • Hidden Reward: enjoying my activity makes it effortless; easier to plan my week around activity if I know there is *something* I can do.
  • Ultimate Goal: that activity becomes exciting, enjoyable, and a regular routine of my life.
4) Track my activity accurately (& honestly reflect my effort).

Body Fit Media™
  • Excuses: activity doesn't make a difference anways in "the big scheme of things"; it's not worth the effort (litte reward); the little bit I do counts (it all adds up).
  • SMART goal: to use my BoydFit Media™ armband to count my caloric burn, and track my activity honestly in my Weight Watchers™ tracker.
  • Potential barrier: coulda fall into a trap of "eating because I earned it" mentality to justify bad food choices.
  • Hidden reward: become a better tracker of what I consume & burn; a greater self-awareness of my choices; accelerate my weight-loss efforts.
  • Ultimate goal: that tracking become second nature, like brushing my teeth or riding my bike.
We've all been there. The circle of dishonesty....

3) Plan daily/weekly/monthly/vaction-time/yearly activity...and commit to those plans.
  • Excuses: I don't have time to write everything; I can't plan for the unexpected (weather/illness..); I have to plan around other people's schedule (husband/family); activity comflicts with family time.
  • SMART goal: schedule 3-4 activity times for two-weeks at a time (to coordinate around husband schedule/other events/14-day weather forcasts). Plan vacations to incorporate some activity (walking, swimming, hiking). Sign-up for a charity event that involves activity (walk for the ___).
  • Potential barrier: there is never a "good time"; I use external reasons as a crutch for not doing something; I plan but don't follow through; vacations don't provide activity opportunities.
  • Hidden reward: feeling of accomplishment by meeting goals; improving goal-setting techniques.
  • Ultimate goal: that activity becomes a priority like other events/people.
2) Keep working hard, every day, and don't give up.

  • Excuses: I am not seeing results so why am I trying?; this is too much work; success happens to others but never to me; I am not worthy of success.
  • SMART goal: create a non-food reward system for recognizing my accomplishments, goals, and milestones.
  • Potential barrier: loss of motivation (especially if results don't reflect effort); my mental doesn't match my physical changes; reward system is not meaningful.
  • Hidden reward: the growth in self-esteem; success in my athleticism & weightloss efforts; personal growth; new wardrobe!
  • Ultimate goal: to feel successful, & have that reflect in my exterior and interior -self.
1) Don't let self-doubt be a barrier to the journey towards my authentic self. Go easy on myself when I fall, and let the process unfold. Don't put-up obstacles out of fear. Stop all-or-nothing thinking.

  • Excuses: I can't do this; I am not capable of doing this activity; my fear of _____ prevents me from pushing harder; I fell off the wagon, so I my as well stop being active this week.
  • SMART goal: take monthly pictures showing my progress; use other ways of recording progress (such as measuring inches, clothing size, activity progression, etc...). Blog my journey, recording my emotions and progress, so I have something tangible to reflect back about.
  • Potential barrier: all-or-nothing thinking.
  • Hidden reward: Everything I dreamed of being comes true.
  • Ultimate goal:  Living the life I want to live and know I am capable of living. Being an "athlete."

Well, I got to head out to the gym. Check Joanne's blog for her five fitness goals.


29 March 2013

Friday's Top Five - Baseball Themed ANYTHING

Baseball season is upon us, and there is no better time to blog my love for this beautiful sport than now. And it's Friday, so what better way than in my semi (when-I-have-time) regular feature, the Friday Five!

This isn't the first time I have posted about baseball. If you have time, go read:
I present to you my top-five baseball themed anything:

5. Baseball memes
Oh peoples of the interwebz. What would I do without you there to amuse me?  Baseball memes are funny. Especially the one's that poke fun at Steve's beloved Mets.
It's funny 'cuz it's true!

4. Baseball movies

I love sports movies. Baseball movies are great because sometimes, they don't always end with an underdog victory, like with football movies. Sometimes the underdog remains the underdog. I walk away inspired anyways.

While I have yet to watch a baseball movie I didn't like, the two that stand out the most for me are A League of Their Own (which deals with women in professional baseball during World War II), and The Sandlot (a fabulous movie that deals with kids playing baseball, narrated in a similar fashion to The Wonder Years). I will watch these movies over and over again.

My favourite song by Madonna: This Used to Be My Playground

3. Baseball (a documentary by Ken Burns)

Ken Burns, a prominent documentary film maker, made a 10 "innings" Baseball documentary, covering every decade of baseball. He seamlessly weaved the story of baseball in the context of what was going on in America (and the world). He featured prominent (and lesser-known) players, fields and actions that would impact the game forever. This documentary changed the way I view baseball, and it gave me a profound appreciation for just how important baseball is the world.

2. Vintage baseball pictures

Baseball is not just men in uniforms playing in the dirt. Baseball is not just an escape from the problems of the world; it is a reflection of the world. Vintage photographs not only conjure up romantic nostalgia. They also, when chronologically placed, reflect real issues in the world.Overcoming adversity in the face of illness, World War II, gender and racial barriers being broken...it's all there. Some issues will always remain (women in professional baseball), but baseball led the way when it came to facing these issues --- whether it wanted to or not.

Lou Gehrig's famous retirement speech after being diagnosed with ALS
Women served in professional baseball during WWII
Jackie Robinson broke racial and colour barriers

Joltin' Joe DiMaggio was just awesome. Plus he served in WW2. But I put this here because he was awesome!

 Center Field by John Fogarty. This song was inducted into the Baseball HOF.

1. Baseball games (MLB, Local, Little League, Beer League, amongst friends)
There is something about attending baseball games, at any level, that is enjoyable. I've attended a New York Yankees game in New York, numerous games at John Ducey Park in Edmonton (Trappers, Edmonton Capitals, whatever the next team, if any, will be). I've watched kids play in little-league with their full hearts. I've watched my dad play in a community beer-league team, just for fun. I've gone to the park simply to play with my friends.
John Ducey Park (a.k.a. Telus Field) in Edmonton
Each time has been nothing but enjoyable. Baseball, even at the MLB level, is one of the cheapest forms of entertainment out there. For less than $20.00 at the semi-professional local level in Edmonton, you can get a ticket, a hot dog, a beer, a pop, and a 50/50 ticket. You sit in the lazy summer sun. You cheer and chat with the people around you. You heckle when heckling is needed. If you really want to get involved, you keep stats. If you don't, you just sit there and watch. It's peaceful and engaging.
This is how I plan on funding my retirement. Baby boo better have a good arm.
And for free, go out and watch a game locally (in your community-league). It's a great sport for kids. It's great for wanna-be kids. It's a great game to play if you just want to go out doors on a lazy summer day.

A great song by Kenny Rogers

I can't wait for the new season, or summer for that matter. Go check out Joanne's awesome list at A Warm Cup of Jo, and I think her husband Steve from Wayward Yankee will contribute as well! 

Play Ball!