Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo Reflections

And with that, ladies and gentlemen...National Novel Writing Month has left the building.

The goal?  To bring my manuscript to 100,000 words by the end of November.

The Reality?

My manuscript as of today is at 75, 856 words.    During NaNoWriMo, I wrote 24,181 new words and edited the majority of the writing I did last November.   Do I feel like I failed?   Nah.   I think that considering that I work full time, have 2 year old twins who seem to have given up napping AND am trying to balance my life....I think I did pretty good and I can't beat myself up over it.  Of course, I don't get to order the hoodie I promised myself if I did it. 

Guess that gives me something to plan for next year.

If I had been writing all fresh prose, I think I would have hit the 50,000 words.  I learned something really important this month.   Editing is time consuming and HARD.   I would spend some of those days, adding only 800 words and feeling completely exhausted from staring at the screen.  

The Loracian Stone is no longer a finished novel, but it will be.   I have a few more chapters to add to make the story more cohesive.   That's the fun part.

Now that NaNo is over, I plan to schedule some time to write regularly.   I need to finish this book so I can decide what I want to do with it.  I am still thinking of serializing it - if only to get it out there.   Perhaps I'll self publish it.  Maybe, I'll do both.   I have time to decide.   Honestly, I've only had one person actually ask to read it.

I like the story, though.  It isn't the greatest fantasy novel ever written, but  it was fun to write and I can't wait to see how it turns out :)

Did you NaNo?   How did it go for you this year?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today's Goals - Nov 30

Today I will:

  • Write: 2500 words (last day of nano)
  • Bike: 40 mins
  • Pushups: 20
  • Food: Drink lots of water, stick to calorie allowance

Yesterday, I got on the bike for 40 mins and did another 20 pushups (this time, I did a couple on my toes...kinda).  I was good at my eating all day, but after the workout, I did get into some cookie dough...and chips...and chocolate.  Good thing I burned them off first.   

I didn't make 2500 words.   Wrote less than a thousand, which makes me think I am not even going to hit 30,000 words for November.  But that's okay.  I've accepted the fact that I am a busy gal.  I am going to try to make the manuscript reach 100,000 words by the end of January instead.  This will keep me motivated to keep writing without making myself feel like I need to turn my entire life over to it.   So, tonight, I'll still aim for 2500 for the last day of NaNoWriMo...but if I fall short - I'm okay with how much I did accomplish.

Today's goals - Nov 29

Ok - to keep me on track - I am going to post my goals at the start of each day and then recap how I met the goals of the previous day.

Today I will:
  • Write: 2500 words (only 2 days left in NaNoWriMo)
  • Bike: 40 mins
  • Pushups: 20
  • Food: I will clear out the junk from the pantry so I won't be tempted

I wasn't going to, but I stepped on the scale this morning and am up TWO POUNDS!   Ladies and gentlemen - THIS is why you shouldn't weigh in daily.   I KNOW I am not actually up that much.  So I am going to put away the scale and only weigh in on Sundays.   Having it out in the open is just making it too tempting to do it everyday and then it ends up defining my day.

Yesterday I did good. I already posted about it so I'm not going to do a ful recap.  I think the only thing I would change is how late I started my workout last night.  I waited until the girls were asleep before I headed down to the workout room.  Tonight I plan to get them in bed earlier and let Hubby deal with anything that arises until they are asleep.  That way, I can be done by 8pm instead of 10pm.

What are your goals for the day?  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Off to a good start...

Tonight had all the makings of a failure.  Changing into comfy pants.  Gorging myself on veggie spareribs and after eight sticks.   Plopping onto the sofa to watch my daughters on the spy cam in their room.

And then I remembered the promise I made myself.   I hauled my ass off the sofa and into my workout clothes, turned on Gossip Girl and hopped on the bike for a hearty 40 min workout.  Then, I capped it off with 20 pushups - not on my toes but still strong on my knees.   Better than I thought they'd be.   Hope I can do the same on my toes by the end of the month.

Christmas with Toddlers

The twins are at an age now where they are recognizing the icons that come with the holidays.   Halloween was insane with the word "PUNKINS" being screamed at the sight of anything even slightly orange coloured.   Now with Christmas upon us - it is all about the "Ho Hos"  

"Look mommy - ho ho kistmist lights"
"Look mommy ho ho"
"Look mommy - ho ho kistmist tree"
"Look mommy - waki wakis" (waki Wakis are penguins - not sure where it came from but it's super cute)
"Look mommy.  Ho ho kistmist balls.  HUGE kistmist balls"
"Look mommy. MOMMY!  Listen!.  Ho Ho snow mans"

and yes - everything is always preceded by "Look mommy"  I am constantly acknowledging the kistmist - er, Christmas - stuff.

On Saturday night, we decided to indulge them with a walk to look at Christmas lights (there may have been the ulterior motive of the fresh air knocking them out so they'd sleep in their big girl beds). They loved wandering the neighbourhood int he dark, looking at the early light displays.  Of course, now when the sun goes down I hear:

"Mommy. Walk? Kistmist lights?"

Then, on Sunday, we took them to the Spruce Meadows Christmas Market.  Of course, it was Hurricane season in Calgary so we had to battle strong winds to get there and then felt as though the tents were going to blow away with us inside.   But it was good - we went to see "Ho Hos reindeers" and wandered the stalls looking at the gifty things.  Doodle spent a good 15 minutes telling me what everything in one of the tchotkes stands was.   She's a shopper - that one.

To build on their excitement, I decided that Grey Cup time was as good a time as any to haul the tree out of storage and set 'er up.  Hubby said that was fine with him as long as we stayed clear of the TV :P

I did the actual assembling and lights on the tree and then handed Doodle and Buggie their little baggie of ornaments that are their own.  In no time, they were putting them all on the tree.   Then they tore into the other ornaments and splashed those across the branches...everything super concentrated in the bottom 2 feet.  I had to be super quick to get the really special ones out of their hands and onto branches far from their reach.

Doodle, ever the perfectionist, was really concentrated on those lower branches and before long my MIL figured out what she was doing.

"She's matching the ornaments" she laughed.

Sure enough - Dood had gone through the ornaments and was putting the ones that were the same onto the same branch (she really likes memory games so this is no big surprise).  

All in all, though, the decorating exercise was a success.   We only broke a couple ornaments (none of them super special and all of them easily fixable).  The girlies felt super involved in the decorating and it was nice to have some enthusiasm in decorating the tree because I usually do it alone.   No way are we putting the presents under it, though.  I'm brave, but I'm not stupid.  I am just hoping they will be content to look - not touch - the tree for the rest of the season!   

Our next adventure? This weekend we will take them for their Ho Ho photos (er, I mean Santa).  Might as well get them while they're excited.  I just hope Doodle doesn't start talking about "Scary Ho Hos" again like after we went to the Enchanted Forest.

Early Start on December

I'm getting the impression that Ia m not the only one doing this.  December doesn't actually get here until Thursday but I have been treating today as though it were December first.   I have this overwhelming need to just have November be done so I can refocus myself onto getting healthy and fit again.

First, I have a couple of confessions to make. 

Confession #1
I'm not going to meet my NaNoWriMo goal this year.   Sure, I was just editing and adding.  Sure, I did make almost 25,000 words added to my manuscript.  But also true - this is HALF of what I had hoped.  I just didn't expect working full time to be as much of a hinderance to writing as it has been.   I have been up at 4am almost every day all month PLUS spending every lunch hour in the cafe in my building.  I've written A LOT!   But not enough.  So, I don't get my naNo hoodie this year.  I've readjusted my writing goal to be 30,000 words (I think I can manage another 5000 words in November).  My book, however, will not be done.  I am going to dedicate myself to writing a couple of days a week until I can wrap it up without sacrificing every minute of my life to it.  Maybe by the end of the year or early into 2012, I will be able to call it done.

Confession #2
I have totally let myself go this month and the scale is screaming at me to put a stop to it.   In all honesty - I've kind of let myself go since my marathon.  I've barely worked out at all this month - just a couple of runs.  I'm at 171lbs.  Some of that might be hormonal because the number has been fluctuating between 168 and 171 for a few days now.  I'm realistic, but I'm also disgusted with myself.   Worst of all, in the last week, I've felt parts of my body start to feel like they have given up.   The thighs feel flobblier.  The tummy doesn't hold itself in as nicely.   I'm falling apart and it's my own damn fault because I haven't stayed dedicated.  This is the biggest reason I need december to start early.  I'm just hoping I don't fall too short of my end of the year goal.

Ok - now that I have those off my chest - I can move forward and just get back on track.   I bought myself a ginormous whiteboard at Costco that I am going to mount in my workout room tonight.  This will be my goal board.   I'll write that nasty horrible number at the top and work at bringing it waaaay down before the end of the year.  I'll also litter it with motivational stuff.

My fitness goals for December are to get back ont he bike and to add in some strength training.  Minimum 4 days a week.  Preferably 5-6.  

I am also hoping to rein in my eating, but that might be hard with the holidays upon us.  I'll do my best, though.  My eating has been completely terrible since my MIL has moved in.  When someone else is cooking for me and I am not carefully checking ingredients and knowing th calorie counts - I just find it impossible to keep up with tracking.   I am also drinking too much coffee and the way I like my coffee means extra calories there as well.   So this month, I need to get the food back on track.  I already forgive myself for the upcoming family holiday meals.  It's one day - I'll move on after that.  I am not a baker so there won't be cookies in the house.  I just need to avoid the boxes of chocolates (um - I may  have brought 2 into the house yesterday) but this is do-able.  I will track onestly in My Fitness Pal and we'll see how it goes. 

I doubt I'll hit my weight loss goal by dec 31, but we never know.   I'd just like to see a big dent.

It's been a while since I checked in on my new years resolutions so I suppose I should do that now...

1) Lose 25 more pounds

I'm down only 7 lbs right now.  Not ggood, considering I was at 156 in june....

2) Aim for one race each month

Still holding strong.  I will actually hit 13 races by the end of the year and I am registered in teh Santa Shuffle fun run this weekend.

3) Eat less junk food and aim for good nutrition 75% of the time. (c'mon - I KNOW I won't meet 100%)

I'd rather not talk about it.  

4) De-clutter our home considerably.  If we don't use it - we lose it.

Still in progress :)  Adding another adult to our house has made me realize we still have too much stuff - though I have made HUGE progress this year.   The basement justneeds a little help.  and possibly some storage shelving....

5) Work on my posture.   I know I will look considerably slimmer if I just improve that.

Again - don't want to talk about it, but I do fix it if I catch myself.

6) Be able to do pushups on my toes like a big girl.   100 Pushups will be my best friend.

Um...failing miserably.  I think I will work on this this month.

7) Edit my Nano Novel

Considerable progress since last update.  I've edited almost all of what I wrote last year and have added 23,000 words to the manuscript this month.

8) Complete at least one university course for my degree

No :(  But I have been taking several professional development courses.   Working 35hours a week plus being a mom has just not been conducive to getting my university hat on.

9) Download Garmin at least once a week

Now that I have the new garmin, I don't even need to think about it.   I just put it near my computer and it loads automatically.  

So maybe I'm not failing as miserably as I think I am.   I've managed to keep my resolutions somewhat on track this year.   I just haven't come as far as I would have liked becasue my life has changed dramatically this year.   I guess I just need to adjust my thinking accordingly.

MOMday: Big Girl Beds

In the last week or so, somehow my daughters suddenly became escape artists!   GONE is their fear of trying something new.  Not that they have ever been particularly shy about trying stuff...they usually prefer to stay pretty close to us.  However - recently we are have been having BIG TIME trouble keeping them in their cribs.

Friday was the last straw.  MIL had been caring for them all day and they kept leaving their cribs, opening their door and then roaming the house.  No downtime for gramma - that's for sure.  We thought that the lack of a nap would spell super tired babies for bedtime.  Um.  Nope.  Enter escape artist part 2.

The night started off ok.  They went right to sleep.  We thought we were in the clear.   But we were wrong.  Around 10pm, Buggie was out of bed and needing snuggles and snacks.  I had a little talk with her about not freaking out when she went back to bed because Doodle needed her sleep.  Of course, Buggie was apparently suffering from post-bedtime deafness because the first thing she did upon being put in her crib was to start yelling her sisters name AND then crawling out of the crib to wake her up.  Before long, two toddlers were roaming the halls.  We'd put them back to bed and two minutes later they would be out and running.

Hubby and I really wanted to just let them be - just keep putting them back in the cribs whenever they escaped - but it was pointless.  They were out as fast as we could put them in.   Finally, it became a safety thing.  We wanted to go to bed and we didn't want to have injured toddlers on our hands when they officially got too tired to climb out with ease.  We were forced to admit that it was time for the toddler beds.

We bought convertible cribs so we just needed to remove the rails and part of the end piece.  Of course, we never saw ourselves doing it when we were exhausted and it was 1:30 in the morning!  This was supposed to be a long weekend project!  It was made all the more difficult by the bouncing, hyper twins that were bouncing off the walls as we did it (and we needed to contain them in the same room so they wouldn't wake Gramma up).   Somehow we did it, though, and before long the girls were in big girl beds.  And out of big girl beds.  And being walked back to their big girl beds.  Yeah - it was a fun night.  Even Gramma ended up getting in on the return to bed fun.

Buggie had gotten me up at 3am on Friday so I was completely done by the time I'd been up 24 hours.   I fell into bed...dead apparently.  I didn't even notice that Hubby ended up sleeping on their bedroom floor so they would finally just stay asleep!  Unfortunately, they were up again at 6am.

After my run, I headed out on a mission to buy more childproofing supplies - doorknob covers (no prob finding these), light switch lock (no luck there).  The things we'd need to secure the room until they understood the boundaries.  Hubby sent me a text with cryptic messages about video surveillance systems.   I thought he was joking until he started to send me links to products in the stores I was in.

I ended up bringing home a 2 camera system from Costco - one camera for their room, one for the yard (we have 2 dogs who need monitoring as well).  Hubby went right to work installing it - he'd just endured a much too short naptime with the Big Girl Bed Bandits.   I can't say I blame Gramma's decision to spend that night at a hotel...

After dinner, we took the twins for a walk around the neighbourhood for a) some fresh air to tucker them out and b) to look at "kistmist lights"  Then it was bedtime.  I read a book about Elmo and his big kid bed.   They liked it so much that it was the first thing they headed for after we killed the lights, taped the switch down and closed them into their cell (er, bedroom) for the night.   Off came the tape and on went the lights.

Then there was a bit of this for a while:

We went up a few times to try to devise solutions to our light switch issues (I'm still seeking DIY tips if anyone has any for securing the switches off - hubby finally just took the bulbs out)

But, I am happy to report that they were asleep just over an hour after we put them to bed.  Not too bad for the first night in the big girl beds.

From the monitor:

Later, Hubby was talking to a former coworker with twins and she was laughing at us.  Her response to the big kid beds?  A believe the quote went something like this:

"We put them in separate rooms before we attempted big kid beds.  You guys are idiots" (I may have added in the idiots part to embellish a bit. But yeah - that's about how we feel this weekend.

Overall that first full night went well. They were up at 2am again and hubby slept on the floor between them for a couple of hours and then they slept til 8.   I'd call that a success.  Here's hoping it continues to improve.   Maybe I'll keep them after all...

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm still here...

...I've just had a super busy week.  I didn't even realize I'd been so neglectful of my blog until tonight!!!   I'm still around.  Turning 35 didn't kill me LOL.   I promise I'll be better about posting when December gets here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today, I am 35.   I don't feel old.  I don't feel young.  I don't feel like 5 years from today will bring my 40s.

Today, Hubby and I are taking the day off to have a date day. The kids are going to the dayhome and we get to be adults for a day (fitting, since I am apparently old enough now). We're going to go shopping and eat out and drink fancy coffees and just relax.  I'll probably pick up my birthday gift from Sephora and spend some time drinking coffee and writing in a cafe.  I hope there are enough hours in the day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Anna!

Today my original Runner Girl turns 50.  For those of you who have been following - Anna is the whole reason I started running.  When she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in late 2009, I vowed to learn to run and raise money for a charity race for her cancer.

I would like to celebrate Anna's milestone birthday (and remission) with a donation drive to end the cancer she fought and won!

So, if you have a few dollars and would like to honour her special day, can I ask that you make a donation to my close friend and running coach, Sheena, who is running the Goofy this January to raise money to end blood cancers.  You can find her donation page at:

And to honour Anna's milestone - simple make it whatever dollar amount you want and add 50 cents to mark it in honour of her birthday!

Every donation counts - no matter how big or small. (a $10 minimum is required to get a tax receipt, though)

Thank you!  And Happy Birthday, Anna!  Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Techy Tuesday: Kid Zone Zoodles App (Android)

I know, I know.  It's been a while since I did a Techy Tuesday.  Guess that shows how many non-ereader posts I really had.  I've been thinking I may move those posts back from GADGETreads since I just don't have the time to maintain two blogs.

Anyway - today I come to you with a great Geeky Mom entry about something my twinners are LOVING lately.   Kid Zone by Zoodles.  I am going to cover the Android app, primarily, because I am not impressed with the iOS version (iOS only has videos and drawing) and have not played with any of the other platforms.

When I first acquired my tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 inch), I immediately went looking for apps to occupy my toddlers.  I wanted storybook apps, video apps and some game apps.   Then, I discovered KidZone by Zoodles.   This was all of that and so much more...and was FREE!  The funny thing is that I didn't appreciate it until I suddenly received an email one day - an email summarizing what Doodle had done in the app that week.  She had apparently gone in on her own and started to play.  This email I received told me how the games she played and videos she watched related to school subjects.  It also sent me images of the drawings she had made.  I was completely blown away and it made me take a closer look at the app itself and the many features it has.

1) Age specific videos and games - When you first set up zoodles, it asks you to list the age, gender etc of your child(ren).  It then sets up an age appropriate section for each child to log in.  You can add photos of your kids so they can select their own picture to access them.  

At the toddler stage, the videos are mainly simple cartoons and sesame street music videos.   Doodle found a Barney game in there that she will play for long stretches.  As soon as I taught her how to find the "play again" button, she stopped bugging me each time it ended.

2) Simple drawing tool - the drawing program in this app is really good. Among the best I have seen for toddlers.  It is easy to select different colours and thicknesses and super easy to reset the screen and start over.
Not MY kids artwork...yet

3) Storybooks - there are an assortment of picture books available.  You get a couple for free and to obtain more, they are around $3 each.  I think the thing I like best about the books is that you can log in to the Parent dashboard and film yourself reading the book to your child on your webcam.  Then, when they select that book, there will be a video of you reading to them.  I think this would be fantastic for families where one parent travels often because that parent could record several books for their child to "read together" while they are away.  Also - your kids can request which books they would like and Zoodles will email the parent to let them know.
4) Video mail - In the parent dashboard, you can also configure video mail for your child, which allows you to send video messages to your kids.  You can also set it up so grandparents and other people are able to log in to record messages as well.   We haven't played with this year, but I think they will really love it when we do - especially if we can get the grandparents and cousins to do it.

5) Superb Parent Dashboard - I've mentioned this a couple of times, but it deserves to be a category on its own.   The parent dashboard is what really makes this app sing.   Through the dashboard, a parent can lock down the home button to keep the kid inside the program instead of wandering around the tablet!  This is only in the Android version - iOS can still be escaped.  I love that I can set the girls up on the tablet and know that they will be entertained for a long time without worrying that the rest of my information is accessible (and delete-able).  

The parent dashboard is where you can manage the accounts of each of your children and manage email notifications.  I like to receive a weekly summary of each kid - especially when I may not have been able to see their drawings as they did them.  

It is within the dashboard that you can also identify other users to connect grandparents and other family members to your child's accounts.  

You are also able to download jpeg images of your children's drawings to use as desktop wallpaper if you want. Or, you can share them directly to Facebook or Twitter.   As soon as that first real masterpiece arrives, I will totally be doing that.   actually - I'm tempted to do it with the "A" that Doodle drew last weekend.

I have talked a great deal about the features Doodle uses because she is the twin with the greater concentration.  She will sit with the tablet for an hour at a time.  Buggie has a shorter attention span and it is hard to know if the details on her account are actually her work.   I set her up on the iPad with the app and she drew for 10-15 mins and then lost interest...but even that is good for a 2.5 year old!  

Of all of the toddler apps I have played with, I am most impressed by this one and highly recommend it.   I look forward to seeing how their interests and abilities improve the more they use it. 

The only downside is that Doodle now thinks my tablet is hers! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Running as a Spectator Sport

Yesterday, JS was running the Last Chance Half solo, so J and I decided to come out and be her cheerleading squad, providing support along the course.  When we arrived at Eau Claire, we were suddenly let in on a really big surprise.  Not only was JS running the half...her hubby, Mr. JS, was running it as well - his first half.   How fun!

I knew several others who were running this race so I had plenty of people to cheer for.   As our twosome headed off toward 10th street, we grabbed some coffees and hurried to the bridge with our pom poms to cheer as they passed us.   Because it took too long to get those coffees, it was quite the hustle and I may have ended up covered in a geyser of latte.  But we were on a mission so we laughed and barely made it in time to catch them on the first pass!

Then we hopped into the Forester and headed east.  Just behind the zoo, we found a sheltered bench and sat down to wait for our amazing duo to reach us.  Most of the early start people were passing by and suddenly the elites from the main start blew right by.  The race was on!  I'll still never get used to seeing guys in singlets and shorts running in the cold of November in Calgary!

Before long Mr & Mrs JS were there and we waved our pom poms like mad - cheering them past!   Then, once they were out of sight, we hopped back into the Forester and headed for Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.   We had a bit of a wait, once we were there and the wind made it very cold so we shook our pom poms for everyone.  While we waited, suddenly Coach Cyndi (the other TNT coach) passed us.  The MR & Mrs JS came soon after and we walked with them a moment while they drank the water we had for them. 

The turn around was just a kilometre or so up the road so we chose to wait and cheer for the other runners until they passed us again.  Lucky that we did, because soon one of V's friends passed us and then Sue (from Sylvan lake) was not far behind.   The cheering part was becoming really fun - people watching and seeing how many people were running sans footwear IN NOVEMBER!!!!

Once Mr & Mrs JS passed us again, we headed for the sanctuary of the Forester and it's wonderful heated seats and booted it back to the parking lot behind the zoo once more.   I was so grateful that this was a porta-potty stop for the race ;)   We decided to set up shop on the elevated base of a power pole at exactly the 15K mark and cheer for everyone as they came down the hill.  Anyone who regularly runs half marathons knows that the 15K point is tough.   It is where the weight of the distance starts to weigh heavily.   The runners were losing steam and we decided that it was our duty to help perk them up a bit.  Between our bells, pom poms and encouraging words, we were greeted with smiles and waves.  So many people told us how appreciative they were that we had come out to cheer.   It was incredibly rewarding to both J and I.   We decided that even after Mr & Mrs JS had passed, we would stay to keep cheering.

Even after we acknowledged that we needed to hurry to get back, we wanted to keep cheering so we followed the race route as we headed back to Eau Claire - I honked the horn and J hung the pom poms and bells out the window for all of the runners we passed.  Poor girl nearly froze her hand off!   Because we had seen Mr & Mrs JS on the St. Patricks Island Bridge, we figured we still had time and hopped across the river to continue our car-cheering along memorial (sorry to all of the drivers who were caught behind this crazy lady in the blue Forester on Sunday - it was for a good cause).  Even as we drove - runners were waving and cheering back. 

As we were turning onto St. Georges Drive to get back to the other side of the river, we came right up beside Mr & Mrs JS (see above pic).   It was so fun to get to give them one last cheer to the finish!

Time was getting a bit crunched now so we booted back to Eau Claire and parked the car.  We made it in plenty of time, though, so cheered our little hearts out for everyone coming down the finish chute.  When Mr & Mrs JS arrived, J suggested we flank them with the pom poms as they approached the finish.  With the four of us laughing our way to the finish line - I took off to capture them crossing the finish line!  They finished strong in around 2:35!!!   The medals this year ROCKED, btw.   Much better than last year.  I am so jealous!

After congratulatory hugs and photos were done, they headed inside and I went back tot eh chute to see V's friend and Sue cross.   I ran Sue in to the finish and caught her crossing as well. 

I passed the comment over coffee, later, that it is a good thing I enjoy running races too, because the fun of being a spectator could quickly become my preference!   It has made me believe that we need to really bring running to the forefront as a spectator sport!

On course cheering at most of the races I have been in has been abysmal.   People just don't come out for it.  The vacant stretches of my marathon this fall proved that much.  Sure, we'll crowd arenas to watch team sport players bash each others heads in, but to cheer on someone who is out there, struggling to achieve a personal goal just doesn't seem to be as worthwhile to most.   As someone who has been in those arena crowds, I can tell you this.  Spectating a running event and cheering the participants on was a trillion times more rewarding.  No question about it. 

I think it should start with the running community.  Why not pick a race and set yourself up where you know other runners will hit a wall.  where your cheers will be most appreciated.  Don't be afraid to look foolish - they don't care how you look, but they do care that you were there!  Bring some of your stash of gels with you and a couple extra bottles of water - you might be able to help out someone who is visibly struggling.   You don't even need to be as mobile as we were yesterday - you can park yourself in one spot and get comfortable for a while.   Stay as long as you are able.   Make signs.  Cheer til you are hoarse or just shake your pom poms (c'mon they only cost a dollar at the dollar store).

Not my sign, but you get the idea!

Just know that it is appreciated and could improve the race experience for someone out there.  When I think back to my own marathon and how sad the last 10K were as all of the spectators who came for the half marathoners were gone and the marshals stopped caring and the water stations were being packed up...what I wouldn't have given for random pockets of cheerleaders.  The funny thing is that it isn't like this everywhere.  In the States, the big marathons are an experience where the spectators are as much of a draw as the race itself.

So, whadya say - are you ready to help start the movement for running as a spectator sport?  I know I'll be out there as often as I can be - whether I know someone in the race or not.  I'll even welcome people joining me so I'll be sure to let y'all know when I'm sitting out to cheer!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Poem: The Runner

I wrote this poem several years ago and only recently rediscovered it.   It was originally titled "Anonymous City" but when I re-read it, I found that title to be completely wrong.  The words described the feeling I get when I am in a race.  They described it perfectly.  As though the poet inside me knew that running would be a part of my future.  I thought I would share it here :)

The Runner

A rush of wind through the canyons
A whisper of people rushing by

surrounded, yet alone
And peaceful in all its manic energy

Hiding in the open air,
I find myself

The me I tried to be is left behind
with all of its pain

And I am free to fly amongst the towers
of the anonymous city.

Where my soul has found its release.

Some new NaNoWriMo motivation

I just went into the NaNo site to see if the same calendar word count widget I used last year was available again.  It was so I quickly added it to my blog.  And got to see how badly I've been muddling this month so far.  Too many yellow blocks on there, which mean I am not reaching my daily goal most days.  (forewarning - if you are reading this after today, the widget will update as I go so hopefully there will be more green days than yellow on there going forward)


So I am going to strive to do better. I really want to reach my 50,000 words this year - I promised myself a NaNo hoodie if I reach it and I really want that hoodie :)

So, what am I going to do about it.

1) talk to my family about dedicated writing time.  Last year I locked myself away more than I have been this year.

2) Not feel the need to entertain my MIL.  She lives here now and will need to understand that this is important to me and that too much gabbing is cutting into my writing time.

3) Just get writing.   I have alot of work to do on this novel and I know that editing as I go is making me struggle at the word count goal BUT both are important to me and I need to JUST DO IT!   My marathon mantra applies here: Don't think about it.  Just do it.

Well, I do need to think about it...but you know what I mean.

I have a great deal of catching up to do over the next 2 days.   By Sunday night, I need to be at 23,338 words.

I am currently at 9558.  
This mean 13,780 words to write in 2 days.   
Around 6900 words each day.  


Edited to add: Ok - reality check here.  Trying to catch up in 2 days is a bit more than I think can realistically happen.  So, I am revising my writing goal to get me caught up my Friday.  I can do that on around 3000 words a day.  That is much more do-able.  If I can do more than that over the next couple of days, I will, but my goal now is to catch up by next Friday :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Reads: A Decision

While I'm not reviewing any books this month (only because I haven't had time to read any), I thought I would use this space to bounce something off of you, my loyal readers :)

At the end of November, when I am done my book...I am considering serializing it here.  Perhaps posting a chapter each week.   Would that be of interest to you all?   I am starting to get really curious about what people's reactions to it might be and figured, I might as well use what I have at hand to get it out there.  If the reaction is good, I will probably look into further editing and then self-publishing.

So, in the comments section, please let me know what you think.  Would you be interested in reading a fantasy novel in serial format over the course of a few months?  It's more magic and quest than war and violence and I am getting eager to share it and get some feedback.

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Interesting Body Image Website

I was flipping through my most recent edition of Fitness magazine (for around the hundredth time), I suddenly noticed an article I had missed.  It talked about a new website that had been started that was geared towards being realistic about how you actually look.   Most women tend to overestimate their actual size (not talking clothing sizes here) and this site gives a place where women of varying heights and weights can enter their measurements and see other women that size to gain perspective about themselves.

I waffle back and forth about my own body image.  Some days I think I look humongous.  Others, I feel teeny tiny.  My own impression of my body is seldom positive, though I have come to see areas that I like and try to focus on those instead of the ones I hate.  It's been much healthier for me to think this way, instead of always obsessing about what I want to change.

I really liked this website.  By entering my height and weight, I saw photos of women of all different shapes and it showed me that I am "normal".  I probably don't look fat to other people and I likely don't look stick thin.  It was nice to read the stories that accompanied the photos, where people talked about their own insecurities and comforts around their bodies.

The site is great as a reference point, as you can see women with similar builds to yourself as you set your own weight loss goals.   It is still a new site so there is not a huge database of photos yet, but it is growing and they allow you to upload your own photos as well (you get the option to conceal your identity when you do - most have black lines across the faces).  I will probably be adding my own photo over the weekend.

Check it out:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Workout Wednesday: One Month After

Today marks one month since I ran my marathon.  ONLY. ONE. MONTH.  That's insanity!  It feels like it was a year ago!

So, where am I one month later?  Well, the weight I gained during training is finally coming off...slowly.  My motivation to work out at all is really weak.   I just can't bring myself to do it and I am suddenly so busy in all aspects of my life that I am too tired (there's the catch-22, because I realize it might help with my energy level if I did it).   I'm swamped at work.  I'm swamped at home.  Adding an extra person to the household has been much more draining than I expected it would be.    I'm swamped with kid stuff and with dealing with my "spirited" child.  

I have run exactly 3 times.  3K, 5K and 8K.   Working my way up again to maintain a base, I suppose.  I don't have a real race in the near future - just the Resolution Run on New Years, though I am thinking I should do a Christmas fun run again...maybe the Santa Shuffle.  Anyone in?  I need a race on the horizon to keep me moving forward.  Next year may be the year I strive to excel at the 10K distance.

I haven't spent as much time thinking over my marathon experience.  People (runner friends) keep asking me if I am going to maintain my pre-marathon position of never doing another full.  Honesty time? I have kind of softened on that but I know if I do another it will have a list of unbreakable conditions:

1) It has to be HUGE!  A New York.  A Rock & Roll. A London.  Something that is an absolutely GINORMOUS marathon because I never want to be completely alone on a race course ever again. And I want race swag.   Okanagan had nothing. 

2) I will train and run it with a friend - again, NEVER running that distance alone again.

3) I'd have a better spectaor plan.  Missing all of my spectators for the entire race (hubby excluded) really sucked.  I thought we had set something up clearly but apparently we hadn't because it never happened.  That totally sucked.

4) I'd be clearer with what I actually wanted.   When I signed up for Okanagan, there were lots of people who were going to come out and run the half to support me while I did the full.  As the race approached, they dropped away one by one and I pretended to be okay with it.  It sucked.   I should stop pretending I don't care because it never benefits me.

5) Tied to a cause.   Nike was a real experience for me last year.  Not only because it was huge but because it had so much more meaning than anything I had done since.  I think if I do another full, I'll do it for a charity again so I can have a stronger connection to it than I did to Okanagan. 

6) I would train properly.  because I didn't for this one. and it showed.

7) My daughters will be significantly older.  Because it's crazy to work full time and train for a marathon when you have two toddlers.  INSANITY!

In the end, my marathon was just 42.2K (26.2 miles).  I wasn't emotional crossing the finish line - I was just relieved it was over.   I didn't even feel a huge sense of accomplishment...and I should have.  It IS an accomplishment to just finish.  But as many times as I have feigned pride - I don't really feel it.  I feel like it could have just been a better overall experience if I'd done it differently.

So there is me - frankly being more honest than I have been throughout the past month.  Sorry if I lied to your face, but it was what it was and this is where I really am.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Ok - my Dear Food Diary week was a good test for me.  I've decided not to continue it a) because I am so darn busy that my mind is just elsewhere right now and b) just looking at all of those photos of the food I eat made me realize I have a whole bunch of work to do on reinventing my diet.  I didn't want to look at those pictures so I can't imagine you did either.   Healthy Tipping Point, I am not.

Also, being onto the second week of NaNoWriMo,I am going to scale back my daily word count updates and just do them here weekly.  You can always follow the day to day saga on Twitter  I will still impart the nuggests of wisdom I discover as I go, though, since other Wrimos might find them helpful as they stumble along through butchering their novels this week (I only speak form my own experience - your novel may well be perfect)

So your feed readers won't be as clogged by me now :)  you're welcome!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dear Food Diary: Nov 6

I didn't take a single photo today - too rushed it seemed.  But I will list the food here, just to keep me accountable.

Breakfast: One egg, sunny side up and 2 pieces of whole grain toast.  Coffee with coffeemate and almond syrup
Morning Snack: White chocolate mocha
Lunch: Boston Pizza Individual Pizza (Mushroom and Pineapple) and a slice of cheesecake
Dinner: nachos with guac and salsa and a couple pieces of halloween candy

Add to this, the nearly 4 hours of walking all over the zoo and I think I did pretty well...

Nano Day 6

Today's pathetic word count: 218
Total for 2011 so far: 5456
New manuscript total:  57,131

My parents came down to spend the day at the zoo with all of their grandkids - so I spent the day outside in the fresh air.  Can't feel bad about a day well spent - even if it wasn't spent writing.  I think I may actually take my birthday off to write.   Might be a plan.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dear Food Diary: Nov 5

A combination of good and bad choices today...

First - a plain bagel and PB to fuel pre-run

Then an 8K kinda run with JS.  I say "kinda" because we walked a chunk of it thanks to my laziness, the icy paths and the nagging knee discomfort I was having.

Then a latte and a cranberry blondie that I forgot to snap a pic of.

I ran some errands around the city then came home and made myself nachos with salsa and guac for late lunch/snackie.  Buggie helped me with these so I didn;t eat the entire plate and probably only got half the guac.

and some chocolate covered craisins.  I have no clue how much of this bag I ate since the twins helped me through it.  I'm going to guess I ate half...

Then there were Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna rolls for dinner.  The photo shows a bun too, but I assure you that I only got a single, small bite of it because the twins confiscated it for their own nourishment.

Then I gnawed on a tootsie roll for evening snack.

Good thing I ran.  And good thing I took a picture of the craisins or I may have forgotten to add them to My Fitness Pal...

Nanowrimo Day 5

Today's word count: 848
Total 2011 word count: 5238
New manuscript total: 56,913

Ok - not so great for a weekend day.  In my defense, I took time off for a run and to complete a few errands.   It is alright, though.   I can still make the 50,000 mark if I type 1791 words each day.  I am sure I will have many days in the coming weeks where I surpass that, so I am not too worried.  Last year, I missed 3-4 days and still finished 3 days before the end of the month.

Are you nano-ing?  How's it going so far?  What's your word count?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dear Food Diary: Nov 4

Well, I really suck at taking photos of my meals today.  Got breakfast, forgot to take lunch, and remembered dinner after several bites.

Breakfast was a greek yogurt and bagel drizzled with honey.  Oh - and a coffee too.

Lunch was a small lentil stew from Good Earth and a piece of that magical 200 cal carrot cake.

and dinner was leftover chinese food from last night.

Running tomorrow.   I hope next week I can bet better about the whole exercising thing.  I REALLY SUCKED THIS WEEK!

Nanowrimo - Day 4

Today's word count: 1527

Manuscript total: 56,056

My eyes are toast.  But I had 3-500 word sessions so I feel productive at least.  I'm hoping to have a couple of 2000 word days this weekend. Thank goodness there is an extra hour this week!

Meet Q - My QR Code

I took an Introduction to Digital Marketing and Communications course last weekend at SAIT, my Alma Mater.  One of the topics we discussed was around QR codes and how much easier they are for catching people who are on the go with their smartphones.   The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to have one of my own.

I must first admit, though, that I have never actually scanned one myself!  Eep!   It's not that I don't want to - I just never think to.   I know how to bring up my own on my BBM so someone can add me, but I've never added anyone from one.  I think they are brilliant for real estate agents...put a qr code on an ad or a sign and instantly prospective buyers can see more detail about the house they are standing in front of.

So, today, I decided to get a QR Code for my blog. I've been pondering ordering "business cards" (blogger cards?) and I thought it might be a nice addition to put on them.  I am going to have several events in the coming months where I might like to hand out the information and this seems like a quick and inexpensive way to do it.

First, I needed that code.  A quick Google later, I found Smarty Tags - a website that would create my code and allow me to track it (for free)

Meet Q (I know - I'm such an original namer) - the official QR Code for my blog

and, yes, I did scan it as my first QR code scan - because I was curious what it would do.

Too freaking cool.  Took me right to my blog (it did ask for my location but that wasn't mandatory).  Then, when I checked it online it told me where the code had been scanned.  I know this isn't new to those of you who already use QR codes all the time - but it was pretty cool for me as a first timer. 

Now, it's your turn :D

Friday Reads: A Hiatus

NaNo has eaten my November and I just don't have time to read.  At ALL! (*sob*)  I haven't opened my Kobo in several days and am only a few pages into the sequel to The Magicians. 

So, I am cutting myself a little slack.  Until NaNoWriMo is over, I will likely not be able to read anything but The Loracan Stone and that will mean no Friday Reads for a few weeks.  However - perhaps I will post a review of my own book when the month ends - since I will have read it over and over again all month!!!

Of course - that is entirely dependent on whether or not I manage to turn it into a flaming ball of crap in the meantime....

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo - Day 3

Today's word count: 895
Current manuscript total: 54,529

It was a pretty good day of writing today.  I had a slow start - too many days at 4am really starts to wear on me - but I did it regardless.  Forgot to eat breakfast again, though, so was starving by the time I got to work.

Today, I brought my own laptop in, instead of copying the chapter into Yarny.  While the online program works great - I am finding I need to get away from my desk to write.  Too many people ignore the headphones and try to engage me in conversation when I need to focus on the story and getting my words in.  Since I needed to buy lunch, I hauled my laptop down to the cafe in my building and set up shop there.  Much more productive.

I am finding it a challenge to get the time in.  I really only get a half hour in the morning to write and I end up being forced to wrap it up just as I am getting into it.   Lunch works ok, but somedays there are other things I need to get done.

So, I didn't get in 2000 words today, like I'd hoped, but came in just shy of 900 words added to Chapter three.  I will try to make up extra words on the weekends when there is more time to write.

For all you fellow Wrimos, I thought I would share a couple of resources I found to help me on my way :)

1) A word count chart. 
Chris Baty lists one in his NaNo guide "No Plot, No Problem" (an excellent read, btw, with great inspiration to keep you going).  I gave away my copy this summer but still needed the chart so I needed to re-create the chart for my own purposes.  Thought I'd share in case it can help some of you as well:

Word Count Total

2) Name generators
I had most of the names done in my book, but was lacking on a name for the "world" I write about.  Especially since I changed veins with that halfway through last year.   Today, I was faced with needing that name before I could go any further and stumbled upon the first little generator which is awesome for inspiration.  I didn't really care for the names it presented me, but it gave me a jumping off point to the name I ended up choosing.  There are several different name generators in there so, if you're stuck, give it a whirl.  There are several other online resources so I've listed a couple of others, as well.

Happy NaNo-ing!

Cori the Medal Bearer!

A few months ago, you may remember that I entered the contest to become a medal bearer in the Rick Hansen Relay.  I didn't actually think they would select me since I am not living with a disability or stepping out to change the world in some huge way.  I'm just a mommy blogger who learned to run, dropped some pounds and decided to blog about it along the way.  I'd like to think that I inspire a few people and that people who come to my blog find some value in the information I post, but I have no delusions of grandeur.

I knew the draw for the contest was in October sometime, but as November arrived, I figured I hadn't been selected.  Then the email arrived...

As I announced on Twitter a few minutes ago, I was chosen!  I won the opportunity to be a part of this really huge thing!    I was at work when I got the email and I must say my eyes took on a little water for a few minutes.  It was insane!  I feel so honoured.

I started to share the news with the people most important to me and then I knew there was one more person I had to tell.  Anna.  If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have become a runner.   Of that, I have no doubt.  I mentioned to a coworker that I wished she was in the building because I wanted to tell her in person and he said "She was here earlier - I saw her a couple of hours ago!"

Craziness ensued as I raced to track her down - texting, tweeting, stalking...yeah - that was this girl.  Finally the secretary for her department told her I was hunting her and she came to find me.   I think she was almost as excited as I was.

When we were driving home tonight, my phone suddenly rang and it was Anna.   Turns out she was selected as well!  YAY!  We will likely be running different days so we should be able to come out to support each other along the way!  I am so freaking excited!!!

So, tonight I filled out all of the waivers and paperwork and sent them off...

Once they confirm they have the paperwork - it will all become official and I guess we'll see where it goes after that.  rest assured - I'll be blogging every step of the way (well, maybe not during the actual relay - but I'm sure y'all will understand)

I think the thing I am most excited about is the fact that I can bring the girlies on the relay with me.  What an experience for them - to be a part of something this big, so early in their lives.  To see how important it was to their mommy to get healthy and to take them with her on the journey.  To see her celebrate her achievement and her efforts to affect positive change in the lives of others.  I can't think of a better gift to give them so early in life!  As long as it isn't too cold that day - it is in late February, after all -  I will run with my babies.  The leg is only 250 metres so I think they can go that far.

oh - and I get a special medal for doing it...and you all know how I am with medals....

Dear Food Diary: Nov 3

I was so bad about taking photos today, but I didn't eat too badly - even with takeout on the menu for dinner.

Breakfast was a coffee and, later, a slice of carrot cake

Totally forgot to take a picture of the veggie breakfast panini at Good Earth, but somehow managed to snap the mini choco bar that I swiped from my coworker...

Then hubby got a craving for chinese on the way home so we checked his iPhone for the nearest place and ended up at this hole in the wall in Marlborough.  Looked sketchy on the outside but was insanely yummy.

Oops - mid-meal pic...the plate was full when I started.  Lots of veggies, though.  Definitely over half of the plate.

So now I am done for the day.  I'll be posting my big news, as hinted on twitter, shortly.  Trust me - it's super exciting

Halloween Overflow

Last night when we got home, the girlies were told that we would be talking to their Bappa (my dad) on Skype so they could sing him happy birthday on his special day. 

Soon, they were asking for their costumes.  I assumed they just wanted to dress up to show him on the computer.

Nope - as soon as the costumes were on they grabbed their buckets and headed tot he door.  One said "hanoween"  the other said "walk, mommy"

Yep - we're at that phase.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo - day 2

1141 words today.  The total count is now 53,634 words!   Still shy of the 2000 a day word count I had planned, but I'll still get there :)

Dear Food Diary: Nov 2

Kept it pretty simple today.  Coffee and a banana nut muffin while writing at 4am.

Frozen meal and a rice pudding for lunch

My MIL made a super yummy butternut squash fritatta for dinner.  (with a butter bun of course)
so good, I had seconds.  Yum.

And a few choice pieces from the haul as a special treat :)  

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dear Food Diary: Nov 1

Today, I had my coffee with my writing...and completely forgot to have breakfast! 

I ended up grabbing a piece of carrot cake at Good Earth but it wasn't the same as a real breakfast.  (I forgot to snap a pic of it)

Then lunch was a frozen dinner and some rice pudding

Dinner was french toast. I had 2 pieces and then I wanted another I did...

Boring meals.  Tomorrow should have some yummy-ness, though, since we have a butternut squash to cook for dinner :)

Nanowrimo Day 1

The day dawned early here on the first day of National Novel Writing Month.  I was up at 4am and, with coffee in my hands, I started the first day of overhauling my novel - The Loracian Stone.

Last year, I wrote 51,675 words for the win.  This year, my goal is to hopefully bring it to 100,000 words and clean it up a helluva lot as I go  Technically, I'm a big ol' NaNo cheater by continuing on with the novel I wrote last year, instead of starting a fresh and new one.  I don't care.  I don't intend to "win" and take advantage of the winner goodies this year - I just want to use the structure of NaNo to get me writing again.

So, how did day one go?  Not too bad.   I am going to need to reign in my morning routine a bit.  I need to be in the shower by 5am so that hour is important for getting in writing time.  I found that by the time I stumbled from the bed and found my way to the coffeemaker, it was 4:05 and then I sat down to write but I hadn't really gotten the file configured so that took me a few minutes to get going.  By the time I got into the writing, it was 4:30 and I was just hitting my stride by 5.   I copied the rest of the chapter into Yarny so I could work on it from the office on my lunch break.

At lunch, I put on the headphones and got to work - plowing through the rest of the chapter in that hour (less eating time, of course).

Word count for the day?  818.  Half of what I actually need to meet the daily goal, but not bad for adding to the shortest chapter in the book that I had already edited during my lame attempt at NaNoEdMo in March.   Chapter two scares me...but that is where I am headed needs major work and I will definitely see some pretty big leaps to the ol' word count there...

Manuscript word count as of tonight: 52, 493

Getting it...

As much as I work out for myself so I can be healthy and strong and maintain a good weight...I also work out to show my kids that it is important to take care of ourselves.

Sunday, when I was getting ready to go for my run, Buggie started jumping up and down excitedly,  yelling "Mommy gonna running!  Mommy gonna running!"

She gets it.