Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Snow and Licorice Tea.

Cool boots huh! Sadly, not mine.
The weather has definitely taken a turn towards winter here on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.  The winter coat, hat, gloves AND boots have come out.  And this morning, there was snow on the ground.

The students are in a state of bliss.  So many of these kids never see snow at all. Mind you, we just had a sprinkling, not the amounts that the city saw and no where near what Buffalo NY is experiencing. Poor people! I'm praying for their safety.

Like so many people, my thoughts these days go towards Christmas. I'm in a great spot this year as I brought gifts home to my family when I visited this summer (no expensive post), I have one student's gifts purchased, something in mind for #2 student and my kids are happy with cash to spend as they like. So, other than a number of Xmas activities with the students over the next 4 weeks, I have time to think about things like baking and tree decorating TV Xmas movies and the heady anticipation of most of us being together this season .... 

.... time to focus on the most important aspects of Christmas: family, love and the Christ child.

It's quiet here at the office; just me listening to intermittent hammering downstairs from the carpenter who is himself listening to the country music radio. Quiet and warm and peaceful; just me and my Maria cracker and my licorice tea.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

How to lose 40+ lb instantly!

In my never ending search for simplicity and clarity, I spent the weekend power purging the "wreck" room -- a roughly 20' x 24' room. I moved every piece of furniture, opened every drawer, box and suitcase; rearranged, dusted, washed, boxed and bagged.  I worked in increments of 2 hours with a 20-30 min break (for old tired bones and feet, ya know). I ate healthy snacks (Is caramel corn healthy?) and drank lots of water.  And then I treated myself to a healthy yet instant meal from the supermarket after which I indulged in a much deserved epsom salts bath complete with Corona 'n' lime, relaxing music and candle light. I was almost looking like my old self by the time the girls got home from the city. 

Looking at what needed to be done down there was extremely overwhelming. It's something I've been contemplating and procrastinating about for almost a year. I thought about yard sales ...... but I can't carry those boxes up and down stairs alone.  I thought about at least trying to sell some of my Xmas goods at a local sale .... but the tables were gone when I called one.  I'd tried to get my daughters to give a list of what they want .... but nothing has materialized to date.  And then I realized that as I age, my energy and health keeps deteriorating; so it was never going to get any easier. 

This weekend, I had 2 full days, some energy and the willpower to tackle the job. And I'm so glad I did it. Saying goodbye to new and/or nearly new Xmas goods (that would have brought good money at a yard sale) was the hardest things to let go of. Parting with the books was kinda hard. But finally letting go of the clothes "that will fit me when I lose 20 lb" ..... that was easy. It's just NOT going to happen.

What a sense of accomplishment! In total, 4 bags of Christmas, 4 boxes of books and 16 --- yes 16 --- black garbage bags of clothing and knick-knacks have left the building, Elvis! 
(Psst: A lot of them are actually lining my upstairs hallway waiting their turn to get packed into the trunk of the car and brought to some happy local thrift shop.)

Ahhhh!  I feel lighter already -- mentally as well as physically. 

And I can find stuff. 

And my body didn't fare too badly given all the ups and downs on the stepladder and the climbing stairs.  

Except for my poor tootsies.  About 2-3 years ago, the fat pads from my feet migrated to my waist and hips. I'm not into crocs and support hose yet (the future looms big!), but a foot soak and some soft slippers are my best friends. Next to that Corona and caramel corn, that is!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lest We Forget ....

I have a German student this year, my sweet darling Lena. She's been asking questions about Remembrance Day -- what happens on that day? How do we honour the fallen? Do I have anyone who was directly connected to either of the wars. She said that she finds it wonderful and new to be in a country where we celebrate our military and honour those who have died defending our country and our freedom. Her grandmother's brother was killed on the Russian front and his body never recovered: her grandma cried one year after reading his letters. He was just 22 years of age.

Germans don't study German history at any time in their education because of the guilt and shame they still feel to this day. Do you want to know Germany remembers the wars?

Each year, holocaust survivors come to German schools and speak to the Grade 10 and up students about their experiences in the concentration camps -- about what was done to them; how horrible it was; how horrible it still is for some in remembering that they survived while thousands didn't. Lena heard 2 Polish survivors last year and cried throughout the talk. 

It has given me a whole new perspective on "Lest We Forget".

Our brave guys may not have come home, but we hold our heads high for them and we honour them by remembering their sacrifice. Not only do we have the blessing of being victors, but we also have the blessing of pride because of what these brave men (and women) have done and continue to do.

Thank you: we will not forget.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Body Talk

Rabbit, Rabbit!
I know, I know; I'm late by a few days. But I've had a flu bug for the past week and my body has found new places to ache. Yes, in addition to my usual chronic back and shoulder pain, I now have pain in other areas. Like my knee. 

What's with the knee hurting? I haven't done anything to that knee that would make it want to treat me this way.  At least, not in almost 40 years. (Minor car accident in 1978; hit knee on gear stick.)  I've thought about this a lot; and I have developed a theory that any place that was hurt or damaged in some way in my youth WILL exhibit arthritis in my older age.  That's the only explanation I can come up with.  

Yeah, I know! But lately it's not using very nice language.
It was raised better than that!

"I treat you well," I tell my body. "Other bodies would be proud to be treated the way you are! I don't binge drink or do drugs. I don't race cars.  I eat healthy food; for goodness sake, I'm almost vegetarian these days. And I give you all the dark chocolate you could possibly want.  (Yeah, sometimes just to shut you up.) I breathe deeply; I get bi-weekly massages; we have lengthy, rejuvenating epsom salts baths together with candle light and wine, I would remind you! I pray and meditate. I try to give you gentle exercise so you don't hurt: you know, an occasional walk, a little yoga. What more could you want, for goodness sake? Blood? You've got it!"

You know, this feels like a huge betrayal to me. I'd break up with my body ................ but I'm not a quitter.  We're in this together for life.  But if we could only just learn to be happy as we grow old together.

I found this site How Can I Love My Body When it Continues to Betray Me?   It made some very valid points -- like my body is doing the best it can do and how I need to look for things about my body that I can love and really shift the focus on what it does well. Okay:  here goes.
I Love my Heart.
It works really well, my heart. Day after day for the past 60 years, it has done it's job faithfully.  Even though it overflows with love for certain people, it can miraculously always find room to fit in someone else.  It contains a huge space for love of life; and the love of laughter space is enormous.  It even has a fair size space for forgiveness and one for mercy.  As well, it's open to receiving as well as to giving.  
Yup, I LOVE my heart!

And ya want to hear even more good news?

Therefore, in reverse: 
Behind every kind of pain, there is some beautiful thing!  




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