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?

My Beardie is making me eat healthier!

I realized this the other day: because Elizabeth Reptile eats fresh endive, fruits, and berries, in addition to crickets, I’ve been picking up small packets of mixed whole fruit pieces and berries every few days. She doesn’t eat them all, of course — I learned that the hard way, when I thought a tray of raspberries would last for her, and the majority ended up going bad. So we get to enjoy! And it’s much better to keep the fresh stuff on hand than cookies or doughnuts.

I went through an overdose of chocolate right before and the week after Valentine’s Day. Hubby’s been making me big baggies of vegetable sticks (carrots, peppers, celery, cucumbers) to take to work, when he has the time and we’ve been shopping to get them. I should start planning out my box gardens to produce my own, although I won’t be able to do anything for months yet. We might be fortunate enough to see melting in March, but even if the snow goes by April, nothing can go in the ground until May. And even then, there’s risk of frost until well into June.

So goes life in Northeastern Ontario.

It was a lovely day for skiing today, and this is why my thoughts are turning to spring. I may have gotten mild frostbite on my cheeks a few weeks ago, possibly when I was downhill skiing and my face was uncovered. (Skiing plus scarf over face near glasses = Tori can’t see worth a damn going down the hill.) There’s this feeling of dampness, icy and unpleasant, when my face gets cold outside, as if snow is melting there that I can’t wipe away. Or a feeling of mild tingling. I’m fortunate that it’s not worse than an annoyance: I haven’t experienced any peeling or visible irritation, but it’s a reminder to me to be careful and find a better way to protect my skin. I’m going to have to look into vented goggles for next year, too. But the good news is that we’re coming out of February and into March. It’s rather like moving “from the freezer and into the fridge” (Icequake). I’m optimistic that we might have seen the last of the -30 C temperatures for the year. Today it was a balmy -7 C on the hill, just gorgeous. Tomorrow should be more of the same.

I almost didn’t go skiing today, though. Woke up feeling grumpy and wiped out and I wanted to ignore the sunshine and blue sky. But having to pick up the fresh food for Elizabeth, and take Bridget to her ski lesson, got me moving. And at first, I figured I wasn’t up for skiing, myself — I’d just take a book to read, bring my knitting, do some marking. But by the time I got home with the goodies and was loading up the vehicle, I figured I should put my own equipment in the car in case I changed my mind. And by the time we arrived at the hill, after a nice warm drive in the sunlight — after I’d gotten more sun on my face and the fresh air — I was getting my own boots and skis on as soon as Bridget was off on her lesson.

Oh, but funny thing: while I was enjoying my afternoon (that hour of skiing went way too quickly this time, I could have happily stayed out all day), I wanted to take some pictures of the animal tracks I’d noticed in the otherwise unmarked snow next to the T-bar lift trail. So I pulled out my phone and pretty immediately dropped it. No stopping to pick it up — all I could do was watch helplessly, craning my neck behind me, as the T-bar pulled me further up the hill. The young snowboarders behind me saw the the phone (thank heavens I’d dropped it case-up, so its TARDIS design was highly visible) and tried to get it, but they missed. I decided to wait at the top of the lift to see if anyone else would see it and grab it, and fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long. But I decided not to try getting pics again. It’s too bad, because those tracks are really neat. I think I was seeing stories about mice foraging and chipmunks evading capture from foxes. I downloaded an app to help me identify the tracks. Maybe next time, I’ll hold my phone in my bare hand and do video instead — no messing with gloves, no clicking, just keep it smooth.

What can you do to be fit and healthy? Try the SlimKicker Challenge & Giveaway!

Fitness/Health Challenge Time! Leave a comment on my blog for a great idea, like “doing 20 pushups a day for 1 week”, or “squatting during commercials”. Your suggestion could be chosen by SlimKicker as the best idea posted here, and used on their site to promote health and fitness — and if it is, you’ll win* a free Hamilton-Beach Power Multi-Function Blender, courtesy of SlimKicker!

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The contest is open for one week, starting Sunday, March 31 and closing on Saturday, April 6.

*Please note, the giveaway is limited to USA residents only.

Background: Why am I offering this contest?

In January 2012, I ordered myself some clothing in my normal, post-childbearing size and was shocked when it arrived and didn’t fit! I weighed nearly as much as I had while I was pregnant with my children, and this was disturbing.

Instead of sending the clothes back, I joined Weight Watchers, and over the course of four or five months, dropped 22 lbs. In the summer, I attempted to get back into yoga and tried running a few times, but I couldn’t keep the routine up. Then, this past Christmas, my husband bought me a 3-month gym membership, and it was great! I went frequently, felt empowered and strong, sweated almost every day for a week or two at a time. Terrific.

And then the gym closed.

And the winter was long.

Doughnuts are again my comfort food.

But no more!

I’ve found SlimKicker. It’s a lot of like Weight Watchers, but I like it better because it’s like a game. When I record my food and activity, I get points toward a reward I give myself. Achieving a challenge means levelling up. It’s really positive and empowering, and I’m feeling enthusiastic again about portioning and getting active. SlimKicker also has lots of coupon codes such as Bowflex promo codes.

So get in on this, folks! Let’s do some brainstorming on little ways that will make a big impact on being fit and healthy! I can’t wait to see who’ll be expecting a blender on their doorstep next month!

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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?