All In a Good Day

What makes a day a good one?

The answer to that question would vary drastically depending on the person providing the answer, and perhaps even those responses would vary depending on the day or situation. Personally, I know that my definition of a good day can be extremely broad and diverse. As best as I can call to mind in this moment, here is a partial list of things that can help make my day a good one:

  • sunshine
  • rain
  • a hot air balloon
  • crisp, fallen leaves beneath my feet
  • a productive day around the house
  • meaningful connections with customers
  • a delightfully delicious meal
  • time spent with good friends
  • hanging out with my kids
  • a good training session
  • a good playlist
  • escaping into Star Wars or Wonder Woman or Doctor Who
  • a good cup of coffee
  • a good glass of wine
  • time to myself
  • quiet & solitude
  • worship music
  • freshly painted toenails
  • hot baths
  • holding my husband’s hand
  • freshly cut & coloured hair
  • PRs in the gym or on the platform
  • watching my kids do their things
  • colouring
  • writing
  • journalling
  • making lists and checking things off
  • salted caramel anything
  • chocolate with hazelnut
  • Abby’s artwork
  • board/card games
  • working with amazing people
  • my weird, odd, crazy, random dreams
  • maple trees
  • lions, tigers, jaguars, and cheetahs
  • underdog stories
  • rainbows
  • thunderstorms
  • roses
  • flowers, in general
  • heartfelt cards and notes and gestures
  • Willow Tree figurines
  • books by beloved authors
  • highlighters and coloured pens
  • notebooks, journals, and paper
  • funky socks for a bare food loving girl
  • trips down memory lane
  • daydreams
  • walks (used to be running)
  • finding a perfect gift or card for someone
  • words of unexpected praise
  • a solid night’s sleep
  • flip flops
  • risotto
  • turkey dinner
  • comfort foods like cabbage rolls or scalloped potatoes
  • warm, cozy throw blankets
  • the scents of lavender, lilac, rosemary
  • walking past the treadmills to head to the free weights
  • quotes
  • Winston Churchill
  • silver
  • garnet
  • dangly earrings
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Clutter & Margins

After finishing work early this afternoon, I spent a couple of hours attacking the clutter that had been accumulating in and on a cabinet that I use to house most of my scrapbooking supplies. I am always on a mission to eliminate clutter, but it isn’t always easy to stay on top of things. A week or so ago I started a list of rooms and areas in need of decluttering or reorganizing around the house, because I live off of lists and my tolerance of clutter is growing thin. The problem with trying to address clutter is that the clutter has a tendency to overwhelm and terrorize one into submission. You see the entirety of the project and wonder how it can ever be conquered. That’s when procrastination begins to seep in. That’s when you start with gusto only to find your gumption has got up and gone before you’ve barely made a dent in the mountain. I fall into that trap on a regular basis, but too much clutter weighs me down in a multitude of ways.

Today’s decluttering session wasn’t overly taxing physically. I was able to sit on a chair while sorting through papers, stickers, scissors, and embellishments. I was ruthless with my sorting of things to keep, recycle, toss in the trash, or pass along to Value Village. As I reorganized things back in the cabinet, my goal was to keep the space looking clean and neat. The last thing I want is to remove some clutter only to have the space continue to look sloppy! It feels so good to have accomplished this one task this afternoon. Not only did I conquer my little craft corner, but I also tackled some of the clutter on the china cabinet beside it and tackled a bit more clutter on the desk. Small steps of progress have the potential to lead to more steps forward, and actually I have been taking small steps for the past few days, a drawer here or a cupboard there.

My ‘to-do’ list of decluttering is quite lengthy; however, part of the length comes from making each job as small and manageable as possible. It might take only a few minutes to purge through the winter mittens and toques or a closet or cupboard, while some jobs will require more time and determination, such as the storage space under the stairs or one of my kids’ bedrooms. Experience has taught me that a smaller task will frequently blossom into more progress than expected, while a bigger task will often end up unfinished.

One of my children has been “cleaning” his room the past couple of days. Today I discovered that he had tossed a throw blanket and two Snuggies behind the loveseat in the living room. Obviously he doesn’t want them in his bedroom anymore, but why does he think that the living room is the best place to dispose of them?! This is part of my struggle…other people causing clutter more quickly than I can remove it. But it is time for me to get ruthless with clutter. I don’t mind my home looking lived in, but I really enjoy having margins in my life. Margins take many forms and not feeling cluttered by objects and mess is one such form.

The End of Summer

“In the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other. Out of school, everything was on pause and yet happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.”

―Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

Time is always a funny thing with its ability to simultaneously fly by at the speed of sound and slowly ooze like the pouring of molasses on a winter’s day. In the early days of this summer, I remember feeling as if the days were streaking past my cockpit as I traveled at hyperspeed, but now that summer is nearly over I find myself feeling quite the opposite. For me, this summer seems to have been a long one.

I am not sure why this summer didn’t fly by for me, as this summer wasn’t a whole lot different from any other summer. I worked. I had a competition. Actually, now that I think about it, I worked more this summer than I did last year, and my work schedule looks quite different from a year ago, too. Unlike previous years, I did have the opportunity to get to the Farmer’s Market a couple of times this summer. My husband and I enjoyed a long weekend away to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and that weekend in itself was an enjoyably languid holiday. My husband was also recovering from surgery for the first part of the summer, which meant that he was not as busy as he typically is, or at least he wasn’t supposed to be! I had a coaching change and a new gym to call home.

This summer has been different, but I cannot say that I would change much of anything. Now that my kids are all adults, summer tends to be just the continuation of normalcy but with more heat, daylight, and smokey haze. We eat, sleep, work, work out, pay bills, do laundry, and try to enjoy days off as we get them. This summer was all of those every day routine things and then some, and yet it was also something more. Intangible, perhaps, but enjoyable and relaxed.

On this final summer long weekend, my family is doing things. My daughter is excited to be back in college in a few days. My youngest son is looking forward to not being in school for a while. My eldest son is taking a hunting course this weekend. My husband will continue catching up on paper work, I think. And me? I’m working all weekend long, and that’s okay. I have had a good summer.

Express Yourself

Admittedly I haven’t been blogging a whole lot lately, at least not much more than posts about my training sessions. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog. There have been days when I have felt the need or desire to blog but I didn’t. There are many reasons for the lack of blog posts, ranging from the “I have nothing to say” to the “I don’t know what I can say”. In a way, I feel sort of handcuffed in what I can say on my own blog, because someone has chosen to twist my words into something drastically different than what I have ever said or intended. While I obviously cannot control how people may interpret my words, I know my heart and my intent and I am at peace with both. Despite the peace I feel in this situation, I have been feeling reluctant to blog about much of anything beyond the basics of training. I know this is a season of sorts, and I will get past it to blog more candidly once again.

I have to admit that part of my reluctance to blog flows out of the knowledge that my blog could be read by those who choose to twist my words into something I never intended. Obviously, if you find something on the internet personally offensive to you, you have complete freedom to NOT continue to read it, right?! This is my blog. It is about me and my journey. This is my journey of self-discovery, of growing comfortable in my own skin, and knowing who I am. Sometimes my journey towards becoming Angela involves other people, because we do not go through life without being touched by others and in turn touching others. This is my journey. If you don’t like it…don’t read it. Plain and simple! I don’t blog for personal glory or recognition or followers. I have no expectation that anyone reads my blog and won’t be offended if nobody does.

And still, I hesitate. I open my WordPress site with the intention of blogging and then I hesitate. I think about who might read my blog, about who might take my innocent words and twist them into something ugly. So I pause until I have no more time to blog, or I simply blog about my training, all the while feeling censored.

Despite how I feel in regards to blogging, I am feeling perfectly fine. I am sleeping well. I am happy and at peace with myself. Although I have been hurt and rejected recently, I am doing very well. My husband and I were talking about that situation the other day, and he asked me if I had forgiven the offending party. I was kind of taken by surprise by his question, because I don’t even look at that turn of events as being worth my time or attention. Was I hurt? Yes. Am I holding onto any of that hurt or resentment? Heck no! While I do not agree in any way shape or form with the other point of view in this situation, I also don’t consider this to be worth holding onto. It’s difficult to explain how I feel without going into more detail in the situation, which is something I am not going to do. Suffice it to say that I am completely comfortable with who I am to know that I am not at fault in this situation, and as such my forgiveness is essentially automatic. Would I be comfortable bumping into this person in public unexpectedly? Probably not but that’s just me and my non-confrontational nature potentially pushed into an uncontrollable scenario! Am I losing sleep or stressed out over what has happened? Absolutely not! Like I said, I know who I am. I know my own heart and my intentions. I can put my head on my pillow each night knowing that I was true to myself, to my family, and to my friends. If someone sees that differently, then that is their problem and not mine.

I suppose this post is where I draw a line in the sand and say, “No more!” This is my blog. This blog is about me and my journey and what makes me who I am. If you have a problem with that, then feel free to stop visiting! If, on the other hand, my journey interests you, then please follow along. I cannot promise that my journey will always be cool or exciting, but I will always strive to be real and honest. I am no one of consequence or importance. I am merely Angela, a 45 year old woman, a wife of 25 years and mother of 3. I am a friend, a powerlifter, a barista, someone who is thankful for everything and entitled to nothing. Although my education is limited, I am a lover of words, and writing is how I express myself best. And this is my blog.

The F Word

My husband needs a new hip. In fact, he is tentatively scheduled for hip replacement surgery for next Monday. I say ‘tentatively’, because he was originally scheduled for last Friday…until he was bumped. Even though he is now a week out from surgery, there is always the potential for being bumped again. I sure hope that doesn’t happen for several reasons, but mainly for his own health & well-being and then so that he might be recovered enough to come to Provincials with me. It’s more important for my husband to get his new hip in order to get back to living without the pain and physical limitations he’s lived with for the past several years, but I’d be presented with a bunch of logistical complications if he weren’t able to come to Provincials. But I can’t worry about those details yet!

I had a chiropractic appointment about an hour ago, and I was in a fair bit of pain once again. The pain drags frustration and despair along with it. My face was long as I stood in the waiting room (standing because I cannot sit), and my gaze was boring a hole in the floor in an effort to keep tears at bay. Has there ever been a time that my chiropractor hasn’t made me laugh when I’ve been in the depths of despair? I don’t think so! As he pushed and poked and determined that the left SI joint was the problem more than the disc, he made a comment about me never being as f’ed up as I think I am. I laughed. Even now, replaying the comment puts a smile on my face and makes my heart feel a few pounds lighter, despite the fact that the SI joint is seriously throbbing.

Since the end of January, I have had an SI joint problem on the right side, a disc problem, and now the left SI joint problem. The pain has ebbed and flowed in intensity and in triggers, but pain has been present every day since the end of January. Quite frankly, my dear, I’m sick of it! I want it gone. I want to get back to being able to do whatever I want to do without pain. Like seriously…tying my shoes? Eating dinner at the dining room table instead of while laying on the floor? It shouldn’t hurt to put on shoes or sit for more than a few minutes. Anything and everything that I have been told to do to help the SI joints or the disc, I have done. When it comes to rehabbing, I am one of the most consistent and committed patients around. I want to be healthy and mobile and active. Being in constant pain sucks. Not being able to move your body the way you want to sucks. I’ve been living the past three months in pain, frustration, and restriction, and I do not like it one bit.

Perspective is important though. I’ve been living in pain for three months. My husband has been living in pain for more years than I can even accurately recall. He needs a new hip. While I might wish I had a different back in this moment, the truth is that I am not as f’ed up as I think I am. Discs heal. The SI joint will heal. One day this will be a memory. These past months will be footnotes in my scrapbook, challenges that I have overcome.

Today’s training session wasn’t all that I hoped it would be; however, despite the pain I experienced in the process, Michael said it was still a decent session.

1a. squats-low bar, with sleeves

45 lbs x 8, 95 x 5

with belt: 135 x 5, 155 x 5, 175 x 5, 175 x 5, 175 x 5

The back started to feel quite achy when I started at 175 pounds. I think my bar path was generally good and consistent. Bar speed might have slowed a bit on various reps in the final two sets due to the back not being too happy with me.

1b. bench press-competition grip, last rep paused

43 lbs x 10, 73 x 6, 93 x 5, 110 x 5

Then Michael decided to stay at the same weight but slow the eccentric to about 3 seconds.

110 lbs x 4, 110 x 5, 110 x 5

The first set with the slow eccentric felt a bit tough, but the following sets were better.

2a. Frankenstein squats

93 lbs x 8, 113 x 7

These were less bothersome on the back but very chokey on the throat.

2b. flat dumbbell presses-for speed, touch and go

25 lbs x 25, 25 lbs x 22

The second set was done with my feet on the bench, because the back was not happy with arching. My chiropractor thinks the left SI joint might be cranky, because I recently resumed arching during bench presses after not arching for most of the past three months. Sometimes it feels like I just can’t catch a break…

But at least I’m not f’ed up!

The Perfect Storm

With the exception of momentary glimpses of sunshine, I have been grumpy for days. Most people probably wouldn’t even know it without me saying so, because I am pretty good at putting on the happy face mask in public and I don’t remove that mask for very many people. Even if I do comment on my grumpiness, the true depth of it is simply not on display. In public. Unfortunately, my family sees much more of my grumpiness than anyone else. I feel bad about that fact, at least when my family isn’t directly the cause of my black mood. Unfortunately for them, they often are! I still love them. I do get over it eventually, but it doesn’t slide off as quickly or easily as my annoyance with say a bad driver or an inconsiderate shopper blocking the aisle. Mostly I just bottle it up.

I like to think that I am generally a fairly steady and easy-going person who is able to bounce back quickly, so for me to linger in a grumpy state usually requires a combination of ingredients to create that perfect storm.

Inadequate sleep. Pain. Frustration. Poor eating habits. Being disrespected. Being ignored. Being taken for granted. Feeling disconnected. Being treated like a child. Talked to like a child. Lack of help around the house. Complaints about lack of food or what has been prepared. The “I can’t help with ____, because I’m studying” excuses. Lack of sunshine. There are dozen things that can collide and send my mood spiraling out of control. It seems to be cyclical yet without a constant rhythm.

When I ask my grown children to help me out by considering meals that they could prepare and I ask for feedback on days that would work best for them to help…I am saying that I want some help. I know you work and/or go to school and have a social life. Guess what? I do, too! I’m not asking for you to do all the work; I’m asking for a little more help and a little less complaining.

When I make comments about the lack of help with housework, I am being completely honest. My husband does wash the dishes. Mostly and most of them. Most of my kids are capable of doing laundry and will do a load now and then. My daughter will take care of the litter box, after she’s been reminded and nagged about a dozen times. One son will sweep the bathroom floor if I am doing laundry and have shaken out the bathmat before putting it in the wash and he is taking a shower before I get back to the bathroom. Judging by his vehemence in claiming that he cleans the bathroom, I’d say that sweeping that teeny bit of floor constitutes cleaning the entire bathroom. Just like cleaning the kitchen is as simple as piling all the dirty dishes in one spot on the counter and maybe putting a few things back into the cupboards. Can you hear my dripping sarcasm through the screen?

I don’t expect to have a perfect looking home, but I am so weary of every room, every space being treated like a dumping ground for everyone’s junk. I don’t have the energy or motivation to do basic housework, like vacuuming or dusting, because I’d first have to pick up and remove everyone’s stuff. My desire to purge clutter sputters and dies, because where do I begin when the clutter is everywhere! How can I scrape up any enthusiasm for meal planning and preparation when 2 or 3 will turn up their noses and complain? Or when I do put in the effort to plan and make a meal only to have no one home to eat it or to have it go mostly uneaten and wasted? I hate, like really hate, having my time and energy wasted.

I stopped in at Chapters this morning in search of a cookbook to help me in my current food struggles. I didn’t have any book specifically in mind, but I wanted something that would have simple, healthy meals that could be prepared quickly and by anyone. While I did find several that met my requirements, I flipped through the pages and felt only a growing sense of impending failure. Every single book went back on the shelf, and I walked out without a purchase. I have lots of cookbooks at home. A new cookbook isn’t going to help me succeed in meal planning, because there isn’t a cookbook anywhere that addresses my actual challenges. Picky eaters. Variable schedules. Lack of willing helpers. I have tons of recipes. Big deal. Lots of recipes mean nothing if the food goes uneaten. I don’t need another cookbook. Somehow that truth only makes me feel more defeated.

Escape Artists

Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. We celebrated today by going to Exit, one of those places where you need to solve a bunch of clues to escape through a series of rooms. We being myself, my husband, our daughter and two sons, and our youngest son’s girlfriend. With the exception of my daughter, this was the first time any of the rest of us had been to Exit. I’m not sure what my husband’s expectations were, but I know that I wanted to succeed. Really, I do not like to lose. At anything!

I am competitive. I always want to win. All the time. Every time. However, I have the ability to be a gracious loser, and I am always thrilled by an exciting game/competition regardless of the final outcome. I am okay with losing, if such is the case, but I always want to win. Even if it is just a card/board game with the family or a powerlifting competition.

The challenge of Exit was so much fun. It did take a little while to acclimate to the method of the puzzles, but we all were able to contribute in one way or another. The closer we got to the final door, the more we wanted to be successful. With only a couple of minutes left, we were ever so close. We were reasonably certain that we had the final numbers required for the final lock, but we were striking out with every entry of the combination. Then, with five seconds left before our time ran out, Casey entered a series of numbers, which he can no longer even recall. The light on the lock turned green and the door opened. We made it! I hate to lose. My kids must take after me, because they all felt the same way. 🙂

We went out for dinner after and enjoyed some good food and many laughs. I think it was a good day. It isn’t often that the entire family is able to get together for a meal, let alone some sort of fun activity, so I’m glad we could do all of that today.