Archive for March, 2011

A Bonnie Day Indeed….

March 17th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Top of the morning to you. It’s been a bonnie Saint Patrick’s Day for many, hasn’t it??!! Indeed it has!! The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the birds were singin’ and shoots have sprung out of the dormant-looking garden already. It feels like father winter is trying his hardest to morph into spring in one fell swoop. And for that pot of gold, what bit of luck has emerged at the end of your rainbow on this fine day?

For many people, finding that is a life long journey, looking, reaching, seeking often feeling as if they need to continue to this quest. Our point of view; however, can change those bearings to help realize that, for many, we’ve already found that pot of gold. You don’t need a bonnie St. Paddy’s Day to take stock. Just last evening I was treated to another lovely birthday dinner with fabulous friends while my Mother Dearest will be doing the same for me this evening. How lucky and I’m not even Irish!!

True friends and family glisten more than a pot of gold by being there through thick and thin. And that new niece I told you about on August 18, 2010, yes Nature Girl is our latest edition to our family’s pot. A colleague of my husband’s family lived a 100 meters off shore of where that horrific tsunami hit last week. After a few days he received word that they are ok. For many, the news isn’t all that hopeful.

So on this fine day, may the luck of the Irish fill you up with joy and hope. Celebrate with some yummy Irish stew and green beer or whatever your fancy. Join together in appreciation. And may the sentiment of this day rest in your heart the whole year through. Make yours a bonnie day indeed!!

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The Ole Monkey Wrench in the Plan Trick…NOT!

March 16th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Since turning the big 5-0 I barely turned the page on the decade and I hurt my foot smack dab in the middle of all of the festivities – ug. It’s as if the warranty expired on the equipment, then poof!! In light of the tsunami and real problems in the world I’ve been hobbling about quietly indoors feeling like a shut-in. Quite the site…..

As much as I’m dying to “go outside and play” with the milder temperatures, lighter evenings and birdies singing the pain from plantar fasciitis has not allowed me. It has made me mindful of the expedient need to adjust my regimen and FAST. I have cut back on portions, types of snacks, eating when bored along with the odd glass of celebratory vino pronto already. All the while I’ve been filling up on fruit plus keeping a watchful eye on those hunger and satiety cues.

I have talked about that age old energy balance equation. At my new ripe old age these laws are true in spades. In order to maintain weight one needs to balance “energy in” with “energy out”. Now, my “energy out” has decreased consederably, that’s for sure. If I ignore this biological law by sticking my head in the sand I will be regretting my actions when my trusty jeans don’t zip up.

I am also mindful of including new forms of activity in the coming days if my paw continues to throb. A quick change-up into a pool might help me blow off steam, get me moving without aggravating the injury.

Overall, being flexible with your entire regimen will not allow a monkey wrench ruin your plan. I can hardly wait for my foot to get better as those blue swede shoes I wrote about September 17, 2010 are signing my card for their next dance. We will overcome!!

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Business Travel Bupkiss – Round the World

March 15th, 2011 No Comments

Just like Bilbo Baggins wrote “There and Back Again”, travelling to the opposite side of the globe can be an adventure for the soul, a blessing for the spirit yet could be a grind for you routine if you don’t have your wits about you. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart flying to the other side of the globe. With mindful planning, you can meander through it all, enjoy it to the max and still manage to stay on track most of the time.

For some reason travelling from home around the globe doesn’t seem to be as big of a problem than travelling back. Perhaps it’s the anticipation of the trip. I find it helps sneaking a few bottles of water in your checked luggage and stashing a few extra salt free packaged snacks in your carry-on. These can help get you through the long waiting stretches when your blood sugar might plummet. Overall it’s a balancing act of adjustment of sleeping and eating patterns, that’s for sure.

Aim to partake in the various flight meals and ensure you get enough fluids. Travelling in economy class doesn’t really pose a problem to your plan with the miniature serving sizes, but getting upgraded may (see post September 14 & October 18, 2010). Remember that both caffeine and alcohol have diuretics principles, meaning they flush fluids out of your system. They don’t necessarily help your cause when you’re trying to stay well hydrated, so drink water, water and more water when offered. This is especially important if you’re travelling from a cooler climate to a sweltering one. Take it from me, I have fainted in Hanoi, Vietnam a few years back because I didn’t follow this, then later in the day…..ker-plunk….down I went in a restaurant of all places…..

The readjustment period is pivotal to maximal enjoyment. If you try to ignore your fatigue and get yourself rundown you can get sick then ruin your entire trip. Therefore it’s important to be flexible and aware of your bodily cues. Of paramount importance is trying to stay in the present moment, yet be aware of your body’s signals as you shift. If you’re now 12 hours ahead of home time, avoid repeating the old “it’s 3:00am at home and I should be nestled in my bed – oh my”. You’ll never adjust if you keep doing this during your stay, trust me. If you can though, plan for a lighter schedule or even a down time with reading in anticipation as you readjust.

If you got stuck in economy class, unable to lye down your ankles might look like an elephant’s once you reach your destination. Do try to move around to get your circulation going during the flight and a little lie down period getting horizontal once you unpack might certainly be in order. As far as your activity schedule goes If there is a gym plan on visiting it even for short intervals early on, then build up if your schedule permits it. Follow your cues closely and only work out as long as you can handle. Don’t push it and try to be a hero.

Do partake in the cultural culinary delights yet be mindful of your quantities. If chop sticks are available to eat with try to use them – you know the old adage “when in Rome do what the Romans do”!! This is a super way to enjoy the food AND slow yourself down. If you’re an amateur you might be needing to use the laundry service early, but what the hay, you’ll get full points for trying!! Remember, when you’re a little sleep deprived you might confuse hunger and satiety written about on September 8, 2010. Try to limit having caffeine only in the morning to give you a jolt and avoid it for the balance of the day. Excess caffeine might hold back your full readjustment if you have too much of it throughout the day.

Travelling back home affords the same adjustments. I needed to bounce right back to work the day after my most recent arrival from Jakarta, but tried to lighten my load the first few afternoons when my head buzz was at a maximum. For the first few days I took extra vitamin C and D with plenty of fluids and fruit. Data shows it takes as many days to adjust as the hours of the time-change of your destination, as a general rule of thumb. I have tried to deny it, but it is a fairly accurate estimate. The first few nights I was wide awake feeling hungry because that would have been lunch time in the mid-afternoon. As much as I tried my hardest to sleep my mind kept racing so I got up a few times and had extra water then forced myself back to bed. If you make the mistake of fixing yourself a snack, it will take much longer to adjust back to home time.

What’s most important is to remember that being able to travel is a privilege. Try to observe the day to day ebb and flow of your destination. Be mindful that there are truly more than a 1,000 ways to do the same thing right. Realize we have more similarities of our fundamental wants and needs in this world than most might think. And you might just learn and grow in your perspective by adopting a piece of the new culture you’re exposed to. You won’t need to declare that at customs either!!

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Dieting for Dummies….The Sequel

March 14th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Well folks, there’s yet another new diet in town that promises speedy weight loss of up to one to two pounds per day. You’ll have to limit your intake to a scanty 500 calories a day and get daily injections of hCG, a hormone the female body produces in pregnant women. Hmmmmm, what can I say about this?? Run for the hills, as fast as your little legs can carry you – hurry, hurry, hurry.

I poo-pooed taking drugs and potions to lose weight on July 22, 2010 and I have NOT changed my position on this. Well the so-called experts who thought this cuckoo-combo up should have their credentials reviewed. What happens to your body when you eventually cease the injections?? Fooling with the likes of Mother Nature will only blow up in your face, every single time. First off, any adult who limits their calories to 500 calories/day WILL lose weight  quickly- every single person. Key experts tell us that the lowest in energy we should EVER go is 1,200 for women and 1,500 for men. A far cry to this delinquent dietary regimen suggested on this plan. As far as being injected with a hormone my body wasn’t suppose to be getting, I personally wouldn’t want to take the chance on this one. Would you??

Many, many moons ago when I was young, naive and a little bit stupid I went on a “medically supervised” 500 calorie per day diet because I wanted to speed up reaching my weight loss “dream goal” at a place called The Weight Loss Clinic. You know that’ “last 10 pounds” phenomenon. Oh ya, I lost weight quickly with a few pounds to boot in a few short weeks – whoohooo. In time though I ended up losing total control of my eating behaviour as I went into a binge and starve mode for weeks, months and years following – booohooo. I was A LOT stupid, seeking an unrealistic nirvana even trying this – nay nay I say….. If I only waited the course at what I was already doing I could have saved myself a lot of angst around this.

In hindsight, my body was trying to replenish itself from the damage I did to it by going on this nutty-noshless-fest. Just like a game of Snakes and Ladders, going on this was for me was like hitting a real-life snake that held me back for years. Nothing like learning the hard way – huh. I’m divulging this tale with the hope that you don’t make the same mistake. For decades following I received mailers to try to entice me to return to this second rate outfit. The sad thing for many, they think they failed. But an ultra low intake diet like this fails the user, every single time. Quite the marketing ploy and business case though. They were just trying to capitalize on those seeking false hope. Been there, done than and WON’T do it again….EVER….

So folks, slow and steady DOES win the race – every dang time. If you want to refresh your perspective on these details as you prepare for shorts and bathing suit season review May 3 and December 11, 2010 or the Successful Loser Logic category. Your physical, mental and emotional health and well being depend on it.

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March 13th, 2011 No Comments

While the continuation of my 50th birthday celebration goes on into next week like a Polish wedding, I have been lit up with fireworks of well wishes. There were times on Friday that I was truly overwhelmed by the love and good wishes from family, friends and colleagues from around the globe. How amazing!!

I have been trying to stay in the moment of it all riding that wave of positivity into now my 51st year. It’s funny, Katy Perry’s song Firework was playing in my head affixed in my spirit – especially when I needed to blow out the many candles!! Sometimes we might not think that dropping a little line to a special someone means much, but the sparks of love from all of these acts of kindness and gestures have set off the fireworks in my heart, that’s for sure.

I am now on chapter 5 of A New Earth, that age old book I read every year. It’s funny, after finishing chapter 4 I had to stop as if I read it for the first time. It’s so chocked full of wisdom that jumped out at me during this time in my life especially “The Secret of Happiness”. Well folks, when you have family and friends in your heart that’s truly a start and all you really need.

I’ll be heading off to my Mom & Dad’s, our family’s Nan & Pops for an Italian feast extravaganza to die for to have yet another celebratory dinner. Ahh this is the life. There will be more sparks of love and joy to go round for all of us to share. Over the coming week think about your spark. How bright does it shine?? Only you know for sure. But know this, when you light it with love for others your spark will surely result in a firework to soar with….

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Nifty 50 Finest Gifts – Peace

March 11th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

As I take the plunge into the age 50 cesspool of life I thought I’d end this series about the gift of peace. Peace man. After all I am a baby boomer and secretly gravitate to bellbottoms and tie die. I have written about peace on Thanksgiving and Remembrance  Day and other times. When I reflect on peace I think about it on many different levels.

Many of us know we want it in our world. There are even wars in far off places to find peace. I think finding peace within ourselves one person at a time from home to home, to neighbourhood to neighbourhood, to borough to borough, to city to city, to country to country is the secret to finding world peace. I had lunch with my folks on this fine birthday day and my Mom said “a kind word begets two kind words” – how wise and true.

I was in Jakarta, Indonesia a few weeks ago which was a truly enriching experience. I have travelled to many far off places in this world, so it struck me how peaceful the people were. Some of our time was spent for hours on end in snarly traffic jams – cars, trucks, motor bikes, bicycles in the hundred-plus degree heat and at no time did anyone ever get bent out of shape. On the contrary at home and other cities I’ve visited I’ve witnessed horns honking, yelling, naughty fingers flying in a similar circumstance.

Finding peace in your heart is a true gift. It is perhaps one of life’s finest gifts to bestow peace in your heart. The ripple effect that this will have in you, your family, your neighbourhood and beyond will surely make your world a better place and everybody else’s.

So as I turn 50 I will continue to ponder life’s most important gifts. For me tomorrow and every day is a new frontier to look in the mirror and take stock. My friend Isla sent me a great book idea. Hmmmm what can I do to be better, healthier, kinder…

Happy birthday to me and thank you for walking with me on my journey to make my life richer……..

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Nifty 50 Finest Gifts – Oh What a Night….

March 10th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

Ever had one of those mornings after one of those nights? Ya, you know where you wake up in a thick fog. You lie there wondering what happened to put you in such a state. Then a faint a-ha reminds you that your sister who’s the Number 1 Ambassador of Fun treated you to an evening out on the town to celebrate your 50th birthday. (I wrote about  her legendary party planning on June 4). Oh ya, oh what a night!! Then you wonder, what colour did we paint the town exactly??!!

All bleary eyed as your creaking bones try to put one foot in front of the other to down yet another glass of wa-wa. With some of my coif up on one side while an eye is crusted shut I gingerly make my way to the kitchen and fumble with the espresso pot as my saving grace. I wonder, hmmmmmm, maybe I’ll hook myself up to this inter venously, perhaps that’ll get my blood pressure out of my boots. Now my stomach is lodging a formal complaint with me about how the champaign bubbles are not necessarily getting along with the exotic Moroccan spices from last evening’s fine dinner extravaganza. Did I mention – oh what a night??!!

As the kettle whistles it’s morning tune to mix with my bland porridge and the espresso pot blows off steam I realize the only thing holding me in the semi-upright position is the counter. Thank goodness. I peer through my kitchen window onto the drizzly world and find my Party Hearty sister with a jump in her step vigorously waving at me from across the street. Her smile’s so wide and cheery it could crack even Rachel Ray’s face – GOOD MORNING……you angel-devil you…. I would have staggered to the front door to be congenial but I thought I’d probably fall out. She scampers off knowing full well what state she left me in. Hmmmm, I think, and I’m the younger one, perhaps my liver’s less efficient than hers….I am clearly out of party training….

As the buzz of my bender wears off as the day wears on I fill up with feelings of joy, love and appreciation. I muster the energy to paint a smile affixed to my face for the balance of the day. Oh for the joy of true celebration that only 2 sisters as friends could share. We are two people who could not be any more different if we tried partying hearty, sharing stories, reminiscing, laughing until our gigglers burst and crying that we’ll be forever friends despite our differences.

Of all the gifts we can bestow in life is the commitment to build our relationship as friends. With each pitching in with the heavy lifting as life meanders forward with it’s characteristic ebb and flow. Yes in life you do get what you give. I stole away her childhood and lime light when I was born and she tormented me like only an older sister could. How lucky am I?!! And last night she was in fine form. Oh what a very sweet night!!

I would have wrote this in a thank you card, but I don’t think I could have made it down to the mailbox….I’ll have another glass of water, this time on the rocks……Don’t forget, payback’s a bitch!!

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Nifty 50 Finest Gifts – Spirit of Growth

March 9th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , ,

I wanted to continue on the theme of our life’s journey as I approach turning fifty this week. Today my focus is on the spirit of growth. I’m not talking about this from a physical sense but from a mental, emotional and spiritual perspective. I love the notion that change is in each and every person’s grasp. It’s there for the taking for all of us, if we so choose. No matter how “perfect” and smug we might think we are in life it’s important to be our own worst critic and see where and how we can improve in life, to become better people.

My good friend Joan told me about this great book that she’s reading about a gnarly old fellow who lived his life miserably but then had an A-Ha moment and made a 180 degree turn for the better and became kinder. She described to me how his life changed from this one, vital paradigm shift. How heart warming!! This isn’t a fairy tale but something we can do at any time.

It’s unfortunate that for many who take stock in life use a superficial yardstick and focus on stuff – you know a type of home, kind of car, work situation, fancy purse, status filled friends and being part of the “in” crowd. I do hope you go deeper using meaningful measuring sticks as your guide as you evaluate the richness of your life’s relationships, doing good deeds for others, etc.

In each of our lives there are role models whose example we can aspire to. Have a watchful eye and make a choice to be more like these people. We’re surrounded!! There is room to grow every single day on our journey we just need to decide to take the first step.

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Nifty 50 Finest Gifts – Joy & Happiness

March 8th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

Oh for the love of having smiling lines as I’m about to turn fifty. Our bodies, biology and Mother Nature don’t lie, do they? I have truly embraced aging, after all what choice to I have??!! Both gravity and wrinkles comes with the territory. When I think deeply of one of my saving graces in life for me, has truly been a good sense of humour.

Between you, me and the gatepost I’m a closet-case comedy fan. Bring on Robin Williams, Dame Edna, John Pinette and the like, I love them all. Have that translate into every day life to take on the world on the bright side with joy, happiness and humour. I think too many people take themselves much too seriously – getting all caught up in titles, status, self importance, social ladders and the like.

I used to enjoy working with kids in their families and still truly treasure being around them. They have such an innocent, pure, truthful and humorous way of calling a spade a spade. Yes, “out of the mouthes of babes” is wisdom to take heed by. Kids truly have a sense of knowing truth that we adults can learn from.

Look to youngin’s as an example to find pure joy, happiness and humour to help find the child within. Smiling lines will be your gift, your trophy and the joy in your heart will be a boundless treasure.

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Nifty 50 Finest Gifts – Contentment & Bliss

March 7th, 2011 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Continuing on the topic of bestowing the finest gifts in life as I approach the big 5-0 the topic of contentment in life emerged as an important gift. Whether you think of it as fulfillment, self actualization or whatever you call it, I think we all know what it is when we sense it.

You don’t need to be turning any pivotal age to take stock in your own life. I do feel that it’s useful though to do this once in a while. Finding some quiet time to search your soul is a worthwhile exercise to consider what’s important to you in life and to hold that up to where you are. Are you where you’re meant to be at this very moment, doing what you were meant to do? Finding your bliss, your calling, your vocation is a true blessing in life and a gift to yourself.

You may be at a place in life that you simply cannot put the brakes on and go back to school, or change jobs from being a lawyer to a trapeze artist. But if it has taken more time for you to realize in your heart what your true calling is, you can consider to work this into your life as a hobby or a cause perhaps.

Life truly is a journey and you can enrich yours with what fills you up to the brim of contentment. When your compass points to your own “true north” that will surely give you meaning in life.

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