Update on Change #62: Progress Report On The Beautiful and Damned

I am currently sitting on page 336.

There are 388 pages.

Thanks to a 2 hour car appointment on Thursday last week, and the 3 hour hair appointment on Saturday, there are only 52 pages that remain to be read.

I will not fail. 

Deadline: February 28th at midnight.

By tomorrow at midnight, I will know how the story of Anthony and Gloria ends. So far, it’s been an interesting read with moments of quiet reflection on life. Mostly, from the perspective of other characters.

Stay tuned.

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Change #64 & #65: A 5 KM Run, Blonde Hair and Poutine

Done are the days when I would only lace up my shoes for a minimum 5 KM run. Here are the days when 5 KM will kick my butt. 

I ran 5 KM today. Well, according to my watch 4.91 KM. I will not reach my  objective now, to reach 36 KM as per originally stipulated in my training schedule that I created at the beginning of this month. (I am delusional most of the time, but sometimes you must admit it is too, too late.) My objective now is simple – come ill-prepared for the Hypothermic 10 KM run on Saturday (that’s right, it’s 1 week from today) but try not to break anything or die on the course.

My run today was to be 7 km as this would give me a good indicator of how terrible I will feel after the run on Saturday. (It would be 70% of the course.) But as usual, after my walk with my friend and her two dogs, as well as my old faithful Hershey this morning, I made the catastrophic mistake of settling in front of my computer to revise the first 10 pages to the second part to Dragon in the Mirror while thinking it won’t take that long. (Dragon in the Mirror was a short story I wrote last year. I originally thought the story would be a single story, but it’s been well received, and I now have an idea for a second part.) Nonetheless, the 30 minutes I allotted turned into 45 minutes, and then there was 20 minutes fussing with trying to locate my watch, my ID band, and my MP3 player. And as I had a hair appointment at 12 PM, the run was cut short. AGAIN.

5KM it was. As I ran I felt tired, but I only had 40 minutes to complete the run. I ran it in about 37 minutes and change. Apparently if I have poorly managed my time, I can hustle and run quickly if I have somewhere else to be. I know, it’s slow. But for me, it’s in keeping with about the average time I have previously completed 5 KM in with training.  Given my complete and utter lack of training, and my inability to complete more than 3.5 KM in the last month, I thought the time was good.

What wasn’t good, was the fact that I felt exhausted afterwards as I “faked” stretching, tried to hustle through my shower, to Starbucks, and  could barely focus as I drove across the city to my hair appointment.

I incredibly arrived at my hair appointment at the Hair Co-Op that is located on Bank Street with 10 minutes to spare. Caroline is a woman who was originally my hair stylist, but now I also rank her as my friend. I have known her for more than a decade and she has seen me through my father’s cancer, my brother’s accident, and later my brother’s death. As I arrived, Caroline greeted me as warmly as ever.

But I had failed to warn her about what I planned.  I meant to text her to say, it will be different this time. There is a plan for something bigger. Something different. Something WAY outside of my comfort zone. The text never happened. And all I thought was, I’m simply getting “a colour”.

As we made our way to the back of the salon I asked her in a cautious tone, “Did you mix it already?” (That’s right. Don’t mock me. I get the same colour every single time. Although, a couple of times I did highlights.)

She said, “No.”

And I answered that was good, because I wanted to go blonde. I, in an I’m-in-charge-manner, flipped open the book to see my colour options.

Caroline asked me, “Do you know what’s involved?”

My head popped up. All I thought was, what’s involved? It’s colour. It’s yellow colour. That’s it. That’s all. 

She  said it would take a bit longer, probably 2-3 hours. I sat in a chair and looked at my hiking boots, contemplating. In my mind I saw the words that are written on the walls of the Tube in London. The words, WAY OUT. (Translation – EXIT.)

I was already starting to buckle. My child-self had returned. I was afraid. I had no scheduled appointments after. I was not meeting a friend. But, it seemed like a good excuse. The good old-fashioned, time excuse. My fallback. The one I picked up and waved the white flag too whenever I failed to do something.

Then she asked me, “Do you have anything scheduled after?”

I said, “No.”

As she sat beside me she asked,”Did you want to go full blonde? Because we could just do highlights?”

I sat in the chair and continued looking down at my hiking boots and thought, WAY OUT.

And then I said, “We should probably do blonde. I’m doing it for my blog. I’m suppose to do things that make me feel uncomfortable. And, it’s just hair”

Caroline smiled at me and said, “OK. ” She proceeded to go off to do the first mixture. (It’s a 3-step process. Does everyone know that? 3 Steps. Minimum.)

This woman knows me, and knows me well. She’s watched me rotate between the same two hairstyles for almost a decade, watched me barely give an inch in terms of colour preference, and it took some doing on her part to convince me to get highlights. (I loved them, by the way.) She understands me and gets me. And I absolutely trust her.

As she lathered my head with the first solution, she explained the process. Now, I was somewhat traumatized as I sat there wondering, what am I doing?  How will I explain this at work?  but the general process was like this: do the edges with some stuff, then do the scalp separately (I have dark roots), and finally put the colour in.  Later as she watched me carefully, she reassured me not to panic. Because she was taking the colour out (this would not be my colour) and then she was going to put it back in.

When she popped off the plastic cap after the first step, I saw white streaks with dark roots. IT WAS DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT. I would by lying to you if I said that I didn’t want to jump up and run out the door. I could see the headlines now:

WOMAN RUNS DOWN BANK STREET, WITH PLASTIC APRON FLAPPING WITH HALF-DONE HAIR SAYS, “IT WAS FOR A BLOG POST”

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And I told her at one point I thought this.  She laughed.

The problem is once you’re in the middle of something like colouring your hair blonde, and you commit to it, you have to follow through.

Caroline was my counselor through this process. She took the time to explain each step, reassured me repeatedly, this is not your colour, and warned me that when she applied the stuff to my scalp it may tingle a bit. (That it did.)

(Did I mention how wonderful she was? And how I completely messed up her day with the much longer appointment that I planned, that I never told her about?)

When she revealed the final hair it was blonde. She trimmed it, styled it, and now in the short time frame of 3 hours (my appointment started at noon) I was a blonde. I liked it. But like all major changes, it takes time to adjust. To settle.

As well, something bothered me. And I realized it almost right away.

The mistake I made was not doing my make-up. I am religiously lazy about NOT doing my make-up. Can’t be bothered most days. And here’s the thing about being me and not sleeping enough, not eating right, and most days – not exercising: I look tired and haggard all the time. When you have dark hair, like dark clothes, you can hide.  With blonde hair, there’s no hiding. YOU ARE OUT THERE. Whether you want to be or not.

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It’s funny though, as soon as I applied some lipstick it made all the difference in the world. Maybe that’s the reason why blonde’s have more fun. They have to make the effort.

I spent a little time after my appointment downtown and then went home. My hubby looked at my hair and said he liked it. (YEAH!) Afterwards, we headed downtown together for date night.

I have never had poutine in my life. And today was to be the day.

Actually, yesterday was to be the day – but hubby and I were both tired so we forfeited it and rescheduled to today.  We went to the Elgin Street Diner and ordered the standard poutine. (They had other varieties, but as I had never had the basic, we thought we should start there.) The poutine arrived with cheese curds and gravy that sat on top of french fries. Hubby and I split one plate between the two of us.

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The poutine was alright, but I did not love it. It simply tasted like french fries, gravy and cheese. It was reassuring to know that I wasn’t missing anything in all my years skipping poutine.

That be done – I completed two changes today:

  1. Go blonde or go home
  2. Eat poutine

Mission accomplished, I vote today a success.

And what of the 5 KM run? I failed the challenge of completing 36 KM of scheduled training before the race. I plan to do at least one more 7 KM (maybe 8) before race day and that’s probably it for “training”. One post has already been removed from this blog, so we’re even.

And for those who run that ask, but you are to taper this week? Trust me on this: I need not taper, as I never trained.

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Don’t be fooled. Beneath the Goldilocks hair, lies the goofy brunette that mimicks her canine-child, Hershey’s face that he makes as he waits for cheese to be dispensed.

 

Change #63: Summoning The Little Girl Within, Eating Bubble Gum Ice Cream

Bubble gum ice cream I have never tasted. NEVER.

Tonight, my challenge was to remedy that and be the old woman, with slightly greying hair  (to be corrected this weekend), eating bubble gum ice cream at the mall. It would be mine; the rainbow of fluorescent colours of blue, green, red and white ice cream. I would FINALLY be – THAT KID!

But the Ice Cream God had different ideas. He pushed and prodded all the wee little tots, toddlers and sweet skipping rosy-cheeked kids to Purdys Chocolatier and they gobbled up all the Bubble Gum ice cream.

I was too late. No bubble gum ice cream for me tonight.

The Purdys Chocolatier stood in front of me ready to scoop the flavour I selected. I told her slightly crestfallen, I had come for the bubble gum ice cream because I never had it. She described to me how much she loved it, and declared it was her favourite. I decided with her testament, that it sounded well worth a second attempt at a later date.

As I looked at the ice cream options, I decided not to be beaten by the next generation of sugar consumers.  A quick survey showed me two possible options that were similar to Bubble Gum: the Candy Cane or the Birthday Cake Ice Cream. I leaned quite heavily to Door #2, with the blue swirls that twisted and turned throughout luscious whiteness.

This little girl, wanted to be sure she was making the right choice though. With the Chocolatier standing before me I decided to ask the expert, “If I were a 5-year old little girl, which ice cream would I pick?”

Without hesitation the Chocolatier pronounced, “Oh, it would definitely be the Birthday Cake.”

I beamed proudly and said, “that’s what I thought.” It was reassuring to know that the child within me is still alive and well.

I grabbed my ice cream in a cup (no cone today as I needed to capture a picture) and found myself a seat at the Carlingwood Mall. As I scooped a bit up and heaved it into my mouth, there was that familiar taste of white cake with icing. Except, in this particular instance, it was cold. It was gorgeously delicious and well worth every sinful calorie.

Now some may ask themselves, is this Pushing Boundaries?

For me it was. 

At a certain age, there are certain things that to me – are forbidden. Rainbow coloured ice cream are reserved for children; skipping along the pavement is taboo.  At my age, the ice cream flavours I should choose are limited to vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or if I really want to push things – mint chocolate!

I don’t know if these are my assumptions, things I learned as I got older, beliefs that were instilled in me by watching how the adults in my life behaved when I was a child, or if they are societal norms that I learned by watching how other people behave. All I know is that for me, eating Birthday Cake ice cream is not something I should have done.

But I did it anyways. 

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Updates on 10 KM Training AND Reading THAT book!

  1. 10 KM Training – Yeah, not going well. I have only run an additional 3.50 km on Monday. But I’m still doing the race. Who cares if I come in last?  And you never know, maybe I can crank out another 30 KM in the next week. The universe is a vast and mysterious place. Anything can happen.
  2. The Damned and Beautiful – Thanks to a 2 hr car appointment tonight, I am now on page 226. Whoo!!

Change #62: Remember, The Beautiful and Damned?

And it’s still a work in progress….

That’s a sad state – because if you’ve seen my profile on Goodreads, you know that I started it around October 18th, 2016. (Here’s a confession: I tend to be late entering my books on Goodreads. Therefore, there’s a good chance I already had it for a month before I logged it in the system.)

Don’t let my lack of commitment in  completing the book, be an indicator of my like or dislike of it. I like the book. It took me a little time to get into it, but I do want to see how it ends. But for some reason, I fail to make the time. Every single day.  For that reason, I sit currently on page 194. (There are 388 pages in the copy of the book I own.)

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This leads me to reflect on boundaries that I create, when I want to try something new. My obstacles seem to consist primarily of the following:

  1. Time constraints (You know this already. It’s been mentioned in multiple posts.)
  2. Money (Swimming with Beluga whales in June, in Churchill Manitoba is expensive. It’s not going to happen.)
  3. Lack of commitment in completing the task (Ahem, 10 KM training schedule)
  4. Good old fear/self-preservation (Polar Plunge)

Sometimes it’s all of these obstacles, sometimes it’s just one, and other times it’s a combination of a few of these. I know there are other obstacles, but right now as I type this blog post – that’s all I got.

The problem is that for each time I procrastinate in completing one thing, means that I can’t begin something else. For example, I just purchased Sophia Kinsella’s new book, My (not so) Perfect life that I plan to read; I have Jenny Lawson’s Furiously Happy that’s been waiting for me to read for over a year (my sister-in-law gave it to me as a Christmas present two years ago because I loved the first one, but I still haven’t made the time to read the next book); and then there are countless others that I WANT TO READ. Every time I enter Chapters, I gaze longingly at books that I’ve considered reading for over a year. But, I feel I must complete my current book, read the other ones, and then I can buy something else.

And that brings me to the point of this blog post.

My mission, if I choose to accept it, is this: Finish The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald by February 28th at midnight.  No excuses. Get it done already.

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Did you notice my change in wording when I wrote about not completing the book?  I previously would post: I don’t have the time.

But now I know, I do have the time. It’s limited, that’s for certain, but the reality is:  I fail to make the time. Sure, there are reasons: I have to work, I need to exercise, Hershey wants his walk, my floors are filthy. I still need to own it.

Change #61: Montreal, Leather Pants, Red Shirt & General Tso Salad

As everyone knows, I purchased my leather pants and red shirt a couple of weeks ago, thought briefly about wearing them to work, then decided I simply couldn’t do it. The red shirt did make a brief appearance at work last week as part of my wear-a-coloured-shirt-to-work-5-days-in-a-row-segment. But the leather pants began their mission of dust-collecting in my closet.

We went to Montreal this weekend as a small escape from the daily pulse of work, chores, and doing the same thing every day/on the weekend.  It seemed that if there was anywhere in the world where I MIGHT be a little more comfortable wearing leather pants and a red shirt that screamed, HEY, LOOK AT ME!– it would be there.

Thus, while I hastily packed on Saturday morning, I threw them into my suitcase and hoped that I might summon the Montreal spirit and find the nerve to actually pull them on, and wear them out the door of our hotel for public display, somewhere.

If at anytime faux leather pants (let’s be honest, they’re not real for what I paid for them) might be acceptable, it would be in the fashionable and brave world of Montreal where women walk in stiletto heels, with curve hugging clothes that are perfectly coordinated, with fashionable jackets with faux fur necklines, clutching small handbags in one arm while their other arm is looped through the swaggering arm of their beautiful boyfriend/husband. The boyfriend/husband wears blue jeans, with some perfectly cut shirt that is hidden underneath a leather jacket. A man scarf is draped across their necks, with their heads topped with hat in similar fashion from the 1930’s.

Yeah, this is not the place I belong as my clunky grey hiking boots pound against the sidewalks in snow and ice. I may not belong, but I love Montreal just the same. You can’t help but be excited when you’re in Montreal.

I thought I couldn’t do it. But Saturday night, it finally happened.

I brought out my black faux leather pants, fussed with the red shirt a bit as I stretched and pulled at it, finished my make-up and hair and somehow forced myself out the door of the hotel as hubby and I went on the hunt for dinner.

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And the shoes I was wearing? Those clunky grey hiking boots of course.

Hey, it’s who I  am.

We made our way to a funky “diner” called the Deville Dinerbar, that offered an array of salads, appetizers, and burgers. But like most things in Montreal, it wasn’t your simple diner. There was music that played in the background; HUGE and interesting drinks had been ordered and sat on almost every table; and as the food floated past us it wasn’t your simple salads and burgers. They were all uniquely created.

I ordered the General Tso Salad and was in awe when it arrived. As I sat there on my stool, with hubby by my side, I watched people pass by the window as we looked out on the Montreal street. I wiggled in my stool, and every once in awhile throughout our meal, I stretched out my arms a bit and grooved to the beat. Because when you wear leather pants and a bright red shirt – you can’t hide. You make your own rules.  And those rules include: being perched on a stool, swaggering to the sound of the music, while enjoying every bit of your artistically, beautifully crafted, General Tso Salad.

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Did anyone notice? I removed one entry from the blog series. This entry should have been #62. (Numbers 57-61 were the 5 days of colour.)

So far, it’s doubtful if I’ll pass the mark of reaching 36 KM in the next month in training for the upcoming 10 KM Hypothermic Run on March 4th. If I manage to complete it, I’ll add it back in. If not, at least I don’t have to go back and wonder, did I remove it? Did I? Did I?

It’s just easier this way.

Sometimes When You Win, You Fail

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” 

~Winston Churchill

We are at Change #61.

Well, maybe change #60.

I successfully completed my 5 days wearing a brightly coloured (ok, brightly coloured for me) top to work 5 days in a row even though on some days I did miss my black and grey sweaters/shirts a little.  Three cheers for me! Yeah! Success!

But, do you remember that 10 KM training schedule? The one I said I needed to complete 36.4 KM in training time before my run, and if I didn’t meet that objective, I would remove it from the count?

Well, so far, not so good. After I built it, I proceeded not to run one day this week.(In my defence, there was snow almost every day this week that meant I was trapped in my car for almost 2 hours one day crawling to work, then 1.5 hours the next day. I know. I know. Stop making excuses.)

I just finished 3.33 KM this morning. With that added in (although, I’ll need to review the post and see if I promised everyone I would do it on the day I scheduled the run. I think I would have been smarter than that, because if there’s freezing rain I would have moved it to another day. But, then again, I sometimes forget important details like that.) I stand a VERY SMALL chance of successfully completing the training schedule.  With the runs left, if I complete them all as scheduled, I will have run 36 KM. (Again, with today’s run I’ll be at 39 KM).

But, I shall try even though there maybe a great possibility of failure as Winston’s Churchill’s words ring in my ears.

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Yes, I checked off my rest day. Give me a break. 

Oh, did anyone notice at the top I typed “Marathon Schedule?” Oops, that’s where I got the template to build this one. My bad.

 

 

 

Update: Star Trek Thoughts For Today

During my morning commute to work, wearing my Star Trek shirt (see blog post below), I had time to reflect on who I am. In combination with my shirt, and a Facebook friend’s comments the night before, it gave me a lot to think about while crawling in traffic.

My friend had posted that I was pretty – and asked me why I can’t see the person that everyone else sees? As I read her comments, I blinked at my computer screen in confusion. Pretty? Surely, not. But she wrote it, and posted it for all my friend’s and family to see. Maybe she believes it.

Then I started thinking, what happens if I’m getting it wrong?  I believe sometimes that people look at me and think she’s stupid, too heavy (fat), or she’s just a waste of time. Many of these comments are rooted in my make-up: things ingrained in the fabric of who I am now, because of words repeatedly said to me as a child.

But at my age, there’s no one left to blame but myself. Now, it’s just me that says those things. Occasionally, someone I know well, or don’t know, will come close to saying those words but they didn’t. But in my ears, all I hear is I’m worthless and it lingers in my ears for days, weeks or months.

Here’s the fallout though: If I believe much of the time, I’m not smart; do I portray that to other people in actions or in words? If  I feel like I’m unimportant in someone’s life, do I make the other person feel the same way too by distancing myself?  Perhaps my insecurity is not other people’s fault, it’s mine.  And as such, I need to address the person within me, that continues to sabotage my chances of success.

Day 4: Star Trek Sweater

To boldly go where I have never gone before.

Ok, I think I’ve worn a week of colour in my lifetime, but it’s been so long I really can’t remember when it last happened.

This shirt in particular has sat on the floor of my bedroom waiting – waiting to be dry cleaned, waiting to be worn, just waiting. And then, the occasion arose with this blog. I had this shirt and the blue sweater I wore yesterday, submitted for dry cleaning on the weekend and was thrilled that he said they would be ready by Tuesday. My black/grey wardrobe is in overabundance; the wardrobe of colours seems non-existent.

Now it’s been awhile since I wore this shirt, so last night when I realized that it’s been some time and it might not fit as it did several years ago (I won’t mention it again, you all know the reason why) I hastily washed a green sweater and a green and white shirt. With 4 days into possibly successfully completing this series of blog posts, I don’t want to fail now.

Your probably wondering why I call this my Star Trek shirt right? Well, look at it! To me it kind of looks like the shirts that they wore on that show minus the A that is located, I believe, on the top right side of the shirt.  (What does that stand for?) It’s kinda cool, kinda funky and it wouldn’t have been something that I would have picked for myself. My mother-in-law bought it for me at Christmas time at  least 3 years ago as she was convinced even back then, I should wear more colour. I know it’s been 3 years at least, because she’s been gone for that long and I haven’t worn it since she passed. As it turns out, my mother-in-law may have been on to something.

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Yes, there is some black in the shirt. But it’s only along the edges so I’m counting this as fulfilling my colour requirement.

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P.S. My dear friend, who asked that I wear something with a pattern.

I believe this counts as one.

Day 3: My Blue Sweater

I honestly thought that I would quit this challenge yesterday. I was not in the right frame of mind to wear something bold that says, look at me, I’m a force to be reckoned with!  Instead, my emotions ran along the lines of please, I just want to hide/disappear. 

Then an odd thing happened to me within an hour of wearing that red shirt. I felt fearless and in control of my life as if every moment is mine, and I can choose what I do with it.

I felt like that until I spilled tea all over it. (This is normal for me.) You can dress me up but you can’t take me out.

I’m kidding. In spite of the tea stains, I still felt in control.

And maybe that’s the point of dressing better. On days when I feel defeated, wearing nicer, brighter clothes gives me the extra boost in confidence and makes me feel like I AM in charge, and I can do anything.

Nothing major happened yesterday. I am not up for a promotion as CEO of a company, nor did a major movie producer contact me to say he/she wants to turn one of my short stories into a movie. All indications show that my life is exactly the same as it was the day before. But, I felt better about myself wearing the red shirt.

Today, I’m wearing a blue sweater that I haven’t worn in 6 months. I believe even though this is not red, the lighter colour of blue (versus grey or black) will make a difference in how I feel.

It would seem that if I am already slightly blue (pun!), and I dress in dark clothing, it exasperates the feeling of helplessness that I sometimes feel. It would never have occurred to me that the small choices I made in relation to colours of clothing, could contribute to my sense of well-being.  If I never started this blog, bought the red shirt, or wore it to work (it all happened because of this blog) I would never have known.

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Tomorrow – my STAR TREK SWEATER!!