Late winter / early spring skiing: animal tracks and animated moods

The snow was sticky today.

It was a balmy -1C when my son and I finally got back out to the ski hill, with a wind chill of -5. Perfect blue sky with the half-moon faintly hanging above. Glorious. There were only four other kids skiing and snowboarding, so we essentially had the slopes to ourselves. I think I would have enjoyed myself more with colder temperatures, though, as crazy as that sounds after our long and bitter winter.

You see, sticky snow is a hazard. It catches up the skis, snagging them in unexpected places and tripping me up when I least expected it. I nearly wiped out (peed myself a little in the process, too) a couple of times, just managing to save myself from what would have been violent tumbles. I’ve never yet broken an arm or a leg but I’m pretty certain that today would have been the day — glad to have dodged that bullet! Although I should have remembered to wear the bladder protection padding . . .

But it was still gorgeous up on that hill, perfect views all around and the added delight of more animal tracks! I saw squirrel, rabbit, and I later learned, fox and lynx.

Jack had a great time also, taking enormous pleasure in following me directly down three or four runs and irritating the heck out of me. I told him, “It’s not that I don’t trust YOU, it’s that if I get caught up and fall you’ll end up running me over and maybe getting hurt yourself!” Silly boy.

Jack had a great time also, taking enormous pleasure in following me directly down three or four runs and irritating the heck out of me. I told him, “It’s not that I don’t trust YOU, it’s that if I get caught up and fall you’ll end up running me over and maybe getting hurt yourself!” Silly boy.

And of course, shortly after getting home, I had a lovely nap. Bridget went to a birthday party later on, her dad taking her so I could sleep, and had some fun bowling, and then Jack went out again to the local Twoonie Skate so he could practice his hard-stops, cross-overs, and spins.

The other day, one of my colleagues commented to me, approvingly and with some surprise, how active I’ve become with my kids. I said, I’ve been trying, for sure. It’s not only good for them (and I do feel like I’ve been playing a bit of catch-up to compensate for the years where we didn’t do much of anything — that refrain “The years before five last the rest of their lives” repeating through my head), but it’s good for me, too. I’m still twenty pounds over the limit of my dress pants’ waistband, and we’re not active every day, but it’s been on a steady increase. And I think we’re seeing benefits in both my son’s and my mental health as well — he’s experienced far less incidents of anxiety, or been better able to cope. I still take my pills, of course (mental note: replenish stock this week), but it’s absolutely true that getting out into the fresh air and sunshine fires bullets at my depression when it rises.

So why was it that I kept yawning on the way up the ski lift?

I’m not Super-Mom.

LogoColorNoTextTwo days left. Well, a day and a half, really. Time to take stock of my to-do list for March Break (https://torilridgewood.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/will-she-or-wont-she-darn-those-march-break-resolutions/):

1) Laundry isn’t put away yet, though it’s all clean. I made a bit of a dent, did a little ironing, but I’m actually a bit concerned that the pile will fall on me if I start taking things from it to fold…nothing worse than clean clothes and sheets hitting the floor. Particularly as the floor is covered in dog hair. (The clean laundry sits on our dog’s cage, conveniently located next to the washer and dryer.)

2) My daughter’s room is still a complete and utter mess. I’ve asked for my hubby to tackle it this weekend.

3) I have been given a reprieve on picking up dog poop in the yard by virtue of the fact that it’s been snowing almost every day this week. I think we’ve had five hours of sunshine, total.

4) Haven’t gotten to the floors, windows, or curtains. But they have been swept and picked up, so that’s something.

5) Haven’t gotten to the bathroom, either. :-/

6) I got the typo-checking done! That felt good, accomplishing those edits.

7) I managed to read one novel — the one I was helping with typos.

8) I’m up to Chapter 6 on my edits for Wind and Shadow. Getting there, little by little… But I got a first look at cover designs! That’s exciting! I shall do a cover reveal post soon!

9) Haven’t gotten to my candle-making yet, though I keep looking wistfully at the box… I kind of want to do it when my children are out of the house or in bed. Maybe later tonight…

10) Course outlines haven’t been looked at.

11) Marking hasn’t made it out of the bag yet.

12) A few walks have been had, but between the freezing rain earlier this week, lots of snowfall, and not feeling well off and on, we haven’t gotten out of the house as often as I’d hoped.

13) I ended up going back to brunette. The hairdresser gave me a dark brown that is fairly close to my natural colour. It’s taking me a little time to get used to it, though. I really miss my blonde look with the purple/pink streak. My children are happier, but I’m not. Plus, I’m not thrilled with the cut. Oh, well, it will grow and I will fix it.

14) Tea tree oil for my dry scalp — yeah, gotta get to that…

15) 1 km a day — what was I thinking? It doesn’t help that the event I wanted to join isn’t going to happen. The Run For Your Lives zombie obstacle course race isn’t coming to Canada this year. Sadness…

16) Reducing wheat consumption — yes, I’ve been doing that. And I’m noticing improvement, though I’m still not feeling great due to some other things. I gave in yesterday, though, after an uncomfortable doctor’s appointment, and ate three muffins and two pastries over the course of the afternoon. But I’ve stopped eating peanut butter and jam on toast every morning, improved my in-take of raw veggies and protein, and cleaned out my fridge. All positive!

17) I completed my blog post for the March Madness Giveaway — my contribution is a fab Swag Bag for March 25 on Unwritten (http://mystiparker.blogspot.ca), promoting my latest publishing: “Tabitha’s Solution” in Having My Baby (Melange Books, 2012). The only thing I’m waiting for is the swag stuff to actually arrive, and then I will take pics and post them for the giveaway, too. Something to look forward to!

18) Bad road conditions, appointments, other things coming up, including hubby’s busy work hours — we didn’t go to laser tag or to a movie. Sadness…

19) Car is still sitting in the driveway. Hubby’s made arrangements to drop it off on Monday.

20) The driveway’s been okay, with the wind helping to keep it clear. But we need to pick up some ice-melter stuff. According to the local forecast, we’re not going to see a significant change in the weather until like, mid-April.

21) Nails aren’t done. But I ground up egg shells and fed my plants, cleaned up my mini rose bush…and tried to save some of my baby flowers from dying slowly because it’s just not the right time yet. Or I’m just really bad at plants.

22) Haven’t called a shelter yet about a companion dog. But I did clear my voicemail…

23) Arts and crafts — did do a little. Taught myself and my daughter how to do French Knitting from a kit she got for Christmas!

24) Short stories — jotted down some ideas.

25) Boardgames — nope.

26) Playing in the snow — nope.

So, I’m not Super-Mom. I didn’t make it through all of my list, although I did manage to keep up with the dishes (for the most part), clean our clothes, feed the children, and read to my daughter. I helped a friend, got some rest, took care of myself. I still feel badly that I didn’t get through more of the things I wanted to do, even though I was reminded that I need give myself permission to relax. I have a hard time with that. I feel incredibly guilty about wanting to relax — like there’s always something I should be doing.

I know that a lot of people worked their regular jobs this week. My husband was one of them — and he was doing two paid jobs. I focused on my unpaid labour: parenting and housework. Those tasks took priority over everything else. As much as I would have loved to have traveled, at least I had some nice days with my children, spending time together.

I have a day and a half left to get my marking done. Finish my course outlines. Edit my book. Help my son with his homework. Sort and put the laundry away (or encourage the kids to do their own). They did help with some of the cleaning, too — sweeping, putting away, dishes…

But I wish I had more time. I feel like I’ve just started on all the things I want to complete, but when I go back to work on Monday, home things will lose their priority status, and that’s not right. I wish sometimes I could put my home tasks first, or at least, more often.

Post-Script:
Good things I did achieve during my March Break: Started working on my passport application, wrote three poems, had excellent conversations with good friends… And took care of me.

Will she or won’t she? Darn those March Break Resolutions!

Every year, it’s the same. I start my spring break filled with goals and aspirations for accomplishing a multitude of tasks, some of which need doing (e.g., spring cleaning) and some of which I just really want to do (e.g., read a good book). However…I am a consummate procrastinator. Without fail, my good intentions burn away as quickly as I make them. How many of us are lulled into complacency by the prospect of a whole week before the routine returns?

I am determined, though, to make it happen, Cap’n. This time, procrastination will not win out. I will be victorious over my nemesis, with your support. Here, dear readers / fellow bloggers / friends, is my to-do list for the next seven days:

In no particular order:
1) Put away the clean laundry so I don’t have to fish through the pile every day for socks. (Sometimes, I call it Laundry Diving.)
2) Help my daughter to clean and organize her room so we can find that Dora the Explorer library book she lost two months ago.
3) Pick up the first layer of dog poop being revealed by the spring melt.

Hubby has once again promised to help with cleaning up her winter poop this spring! Erm -- all of it this time, right, honey?

Hubby has once again promised to help with cleaning up her winter poop this spring! Erm — all of it this time, right, honey?


4) Wash the floors, curtains, and windows. May not be able to open them yet, but by gosh, they will be clean!
5) Clean the bathroom. Thoroughly. Like, on the verge of gutting it.
6) Check my friend’s novel for typos.
7) Read three books.
8) Edit and revise my own novel, because Wind and Shadow: Book One of the Talbot Trilogy is coming out this April! (Yeah, had to put a little plug in there!)
9) Make some candles out of the sheets of beeswax I ordered two months ago and have not looked at since.
10) Finish my course outlines for school.
11) Do the marking I brought home from school. (Maybe I should do this first, so it doesn’t get left until the night before we go back to class? o.O)
12) Go for a walk with the dog and children every day. A nice long jaunt. Preferably ending with a nice snack that is non-fattening but will likely be donuts.
Our wonderful family dog -- she is an enormous suck, loves garbage parties, sticks food in the corners of the couch, and is fat and happy.

Our wonderful family dog — she is an enormous suck, loves garbage parties, sticks food in the corners of the couch, and is fat and happy.


13) Decide whether to keep the blonde and purple (which has, btw, faded to a lovely pink) or go back to brunette, and head to the hairdresser for some pampering and a trim. Scalp’s been suffering a bit from my experiment with colour.
14) Pick up some tea tree oil and dose scalp a few times.
15) Attempt to run/walk 1 km every day. Or every other day. Maybe I could combine that with going on jaunts with the kiddies?
16) Reduce how much bread I eat — I am learning that I feel better when I don’t eat bread during the day. Something about that Wheat Belly thing I’ve been hearing about from friends.
17) Write my blog post for the March Madness Giveaway I’m doing March 25 on Mysti Parker’s blog Unwritten (SWAG! SWAG!! FREE BOOK AND SWAG!!! Another shameless plug, evil that I am…)
Visit for a Giveaway!

Visit for a Giveaway!


18) Take the children to a movie and/or a round of laser tag in Timmins.
19) Get the car fixed.
20) In the event that we get another 13 cm of snow, clear the driveway that we just had ploughed.
21) Paint my nails. Maybe have my daughter do them, like last time! And do something about my cuticles so I stop picking at them. Pedicure by 7-yr-old!
22) Call a local animal shelter about any small/tiny dogs up for adoption.
23) Write some short stories for coming anthologies.
24) Write some poetry for coming contests.
25) Finish (?) reading The Secret Garden with my daughter.
26) Do arts and crafts projects (at least 1?) with the kids (they got some great kits for Christmas/Yule!)
27) Play boardgames with the kids (especially the new ones they got for Christmas that they haven’t…even…opened… :/)
28) Enjoy what might be the last week of snow by sliding, building a snowman…Horribly enjoyable watching said snowman melting away…

Wow. I think that’s it! It’s a doable list, I think, if I can stay on top of it. So far, I’ve managed to keep up some of my New Year’s resolutions: I’ve made a loan through Kiva in January, February, and done it for this month (my plan is to help someone somewhere through Kiva with a $25 loan, once a month for the whole year — 3/12 loans complete!); I’ve been exercising / working out fairly regularly (well, until my gym shut down, that is. Back to the drawing board on that one…if I can get my house cleaned up, I can use the living room to lift my little weights for toning. Not sure I want to join the other gym in town, as it’s so crowded. My, this is a long parenthetical comment!)

So, for those of you who are staying home or continuing to work through Spring Break (whether it’s this week coming up, or a different time altogether), what do you hope to accomplish and what are the chances of actually getting your to-do list done? Do you think I’ll get mine done? I’m already stressing about it, to be perfectly honest… Last year, I virtually slept through the whole week, but I was anemic and depressed. This year, I am healthy and strong like bull! But am I setting myself up for failure with my mondo-list of things to do while I’m supposed to be resting and recharging for the rest of the semester?

I’ve made myself accountable, now, by posting this for all to see, commiserate, possibly mock… I will update as the week goes on. I must remember, in order to be successful at these things, to breathe. Take each thing one at a time, a step at a time. Maybe work in chunks of time — an hour at this, twenty minutes at that. Assign jobs to the children (HAH! Well, the twelve-year-old will probably want to help, but the seven-year-old can make a bigger mess while cleaning than the original clutter…but I must cultivate patience and remember to breathe.), and the spouse.

One thing at a time.

Confession…

I’ve been working on this post for five days. That’s not really my confession, it’s just that wording it has been difficult.

One of my resolutions this coming year is to exercise — get active, get out of the house, do more physical activity, and especially build up my upper body strength. So here’s the thing: When money was tighter, I used to avoid exercise because I worried that working out would make me more hungry, and I’d have to spend more on food. There. I’ve said it. I actually used to be afraid that getting healthy would be more expensive than…well, not. For the same reason, I used to drink pop all the time to save the juice for the kids, eat peanut butter and jam twice a day so the kids would have all the cereals, soups, mini ravioli, etc.

But things have been getting better. I cut out most of my pop drinking last year, or at least the non-diet. I know that the diet pops are just as bad for me in different ways, so I’m trying to focus back on the herbal teas. It’s the fizz that’s the hardest to let go of — I like fizz. Bubbles on my tongue just make me happy.

The exercising, though — I need to do that. I’m not sure whether it’s going to make me more hungry, but I have to dive in, anyway. There will always be bills to pay, but I won’t always have my health.

I’m afraid of making this resolution and not keeping it, but I asked my husband for a membership to a local gym, and the wonderful man obliged. Now the hard part is breaking my pattern and actually getting there…but last night I found my workout clothes (old-ish leggings and some workout tops donated by a friend who lost some weight), and on the weekend I retrieved my running (lol) shoes from work. The only thing stopping me now is *me*… well, that and making sure my kids are good. The gym doesn’t have babysitting, but my son is just about old enough to babysit his little sister. It’s making sure they’re fed and happy before I go, but it’s probably better for my peace of mind if I wait until my hubby gets home from work. I’m very, very good at making excuses to NOT go to the gym, but I’ve also been making an effort to get out of the house on walks, so going to exercise is something I am GOING to do.

Now, here’s a question: two years ago, I got back into yoga for a bit (which I want to do again, if I can make space in this small house to do it) and I tried running. I lasted until a big heat wave. I found, though, that on the days I exercised, I wasn’t able to do very much writing. In fact, barely any. On the days when I sat around on my bum, I did a ton of writing. So how do I find the balance between the two? Also, those were things I did in the summertime, when I wasn’t teaching. Can I find a balance between these during the regular school year? Teaching all day…parenting when I get home and in the early morning…going to the gym at least three times a week, after school (or evenings, maybe)…writing when? At bed time? On the days I’m not at the gym — maybe while waiting for the kids during their activities (karate & dance)? There’s reading for my own pleasure, too. And cleaning. Let’s not forget the cleaning.

Sometimes I think I should be like Sheldon on TBBT, scheduling time for everything. I’m not sure how well it would work, though. Something always comes up, when I’ve tried that in the past. And not accomplishing something in the time I have allocated is simply bruising to my self-esteem.

But I need to have time to write — the third book in my trilogy has been percolating and it feels like it wants to take shape. And promoting, I have to make time for contacting reviewers and bloggers. Book One of the Talbot Trilogy will be coming at me any day now for edits, and Book Two needs revisions and editing. At the same time, I need to get out and be active (in some way that doesn’t hurt my stupid ankle), spend time with my kids and help them with their homework, spend time with my hubby, keep up the house with their help (and spend time training them to do so)… Is it any wonder that hiding in my bed seems like a much easier alternative?

I am not a Type A personality, or whatever — so if you’re like me, how do you keep it all together? What do you do when you have to let something go in order to get other things done? How do you prioritize?