I’m still kicking around….

Good morning!

I just wanted to swing by to say that I’m here. I’m still alive. I know it’s been a few weeks since my last post. That is not a reflection on how much I like to write or how much I value this here blog. It’s a reflection on how busy my life has become lately.

Work is becoming increasingly challenging (in a good way), I have 10,000 steps to get on my Fitbit every day, school has just begun and Kidlet’s academic needs are at the top of my mind, I’m growing out my hair, which requires the whole segment of brain that produces patience, I’ve recently started a new activity and, of course, there is my budding romance with Boyfriend.¬†Even though my life is becoming fuller and fuller with every week that passes, there is room for you and room for the Mind Maze. I just have to re-calibrate.

I’ll be back soon to regale you with a bunch of stories from my charming life!

In the meantime, please play nicely among yourselves, be happy and keep on smiling.

Have a good week ahead. ūüôā

Vikera

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The iron have me so bazodee…literally!

Morning!

My heading is the lyrics from a song about steelpan music: the “iron” is the steelpan music and “bazodee” means overwhelmed, confused, dazed in Trinidadian. Now, the original song was about enjoying steelpan music, but my heading means that my actual iron levels are low and I am literally overwhelmed, confused and dazed.

A few weeks ago, I collapsed in the washroom. I passed out for a few minutes and when I woke up, I had twisted my ankle and bitten through my lower lip. After getting bloodwork done and going through the agonizing twenty four hours after being told I had to come in to discuss the results and when I actually met with the doctor, I was told that there was virtually no iron in my blood. Sigh.

As a vegetarian, we’re always reminded that we need to keep up our protein. I do try to include protein in every meal and those close to me know that I’m always lecturing about protein in meals. Somewhere along the line, I guess I lost sight of the iron part of things. The doctor met with me and discussed the levels and while he didn’t try to make me start eating meat again, he did ask me a few times if I would consider eating meat, “not that I want to judge your lifestyle”. Hmmmm…

I can’t actually fathom chewing on and swallowing a piece of chicken or bacon on salmon. I actually can’t. Now I know the body is resilient and if I wanted to, I probably could actually do it, but the reality is that I’m not going to. The fact remains that I have been a vegetarian since high school and can’t go back now. If I can incubate a human and take care of two of us on this diet, I can surely take care of myself, right?

So like the lactose intolerant revelation a few months ago, now there’s this bombshell. I mean, seriously? Does my body want me to eat nothing at all? Sigh. To add insult to injury, since last year, I have given up juice and pop and have stuck to drinking only water and tea: I go through a cup of orange pekoe in the morning, 750 ml a day of green tea at my desk at work and then I drink unsweetened homemade iced tea at home (that I brew myself) and on doing my iron absorption research, I’ve come to find out that properties in tea (tannins) inhibit iron absorption. Here’s the kicker: tannins only affect iron absorption in iron found in non-meat sources. So essentially, because of the all-day tea drinking, my body has not been able to absorb any iron I’ve been consuming.¬†What the f….annoying!

So now what? Now what do I do? I fear I might have to become those meal-planning, own-food-bringing, nutritional-content-scrutinizing people. I don’t have time for all of that! Can’t I just eat three beets and call it a day? I never want to reject food or bad talk food or shun food.¬†I like to eat!! I have been doing research and my loved ones have been providing a lot of information and advice for me to consider, so that’s good, but I still can’t be bothered! hahahaha…I’m kidding.

Over the last three days, I’ve had to make changes. I have to take my iron supplements twice a day with food, but not with dairy (since that inhibits absorption) and try to have it with Vitamin C (which helps absorption), but after one hour of having tea, which affects absorption. It’s like an algebra formula! I just want to eat!!!!

Okay, enough with the whining.

I’m not invincible and despite how free-wheeling I want to live my life, diligence and organization is necessary. The amount of attention¬†my body needs¬†is growing and so to be healthy, I have to make a concentrated effort. No more fainting spells and low energy because I have my life to live. I have a son to raise and a job and a boyfriend and hobbies and this blog and my family and my Fitbit to keep busy. I don’t have time to have low iron!!! Right now, I have to work hard to get the iron levels UP and then maintained! That will take some effort, but pretty soon, it’ll be automatic and my body will be happier and I will be happier.¬†This low iron thing is¬†not going to¬†keep me bazodee!

So on I go, one meal at a time.

Have a good week!

Vikera

One step at a time

Good morning!

So I got an activity tracker. It’s a long story, but the gist of it is that we got one for one of my besties and I thought it was a brilliant idea, so I got one too. I know what you’re thinking, “Laziest woman in the world, why are you wasting your money?”¬†

I’ve never been a fan of exercise. Everybody knows that. I have spent quite a bit of time avoiding it actually. In recent years though, I’ve been trying to get my act together and be more active.¬†So here I am in 2015 with an activity tracker masquerading as a person¬†who gives a damn about the inches on her waistline.

Let me tell you why I like this device: it makes it all count. Because I’m prone to sloth, there are times when it’s hard to get motivated to even get the bike out from the balcony, let alone go for an actual bike ride, for example. Because my Fitbit¬†tracks the activity from the time I get up in the morning, I’m not starting from zero by the time I have an opportunity to ‘exercise’.

The common goal for a step count is 10,000 steps a day. When I first got it, I put my goal as 5,000 because I didn’t know how many steps I did – I didn’t want to get discouraged. In the first few days, I smoked that goal. Then I went to 8,000 and soon enough I was getting close to that, so I decided to go whole hog and try to get 10,000, so I could push myself!

Here’s how my Fitbit has been working: by the time I get to work in the morning, I have 1,000 steps logged, half of them from my all-over-the-place method of getting ready in the morning.¬†T-minus 15 minutes to walking out the door: oh, I forgot to pack my lunch (kitchen)…dammit, where’s my red shoes (my bedroom)…ack! my hair (washroom)…where’s that thingamabob (living room)? Hey, is Kidlet ready? Um, what IS he doing in his bedroom (Kidlet’s bedroom)? Vitamins (kitchen)! Hmm…did I put on deodorant (washroom)?

Basically, being disorganized is a very active lifestyle!

This continues on throughout the day at work too…walk over to the printer waiting for my printout out…oh wait, I never did hit “print” did I? walk back to my desk, hit “print”, walk back to the printer then walk back to my desk. Rinse and repeat 10 times a day = 500 more steps. My daily flask of tea? Go to the kitchen at the back of the office to put the kettle on, get sidetracked with gossip, come back to my desk, forget to put the kettle on, go back, put it on. Get back to my desk, forget the kettle was on, go back to refresh the kettle, go back to my desk. Remember the kettle, go back to the kitchen then come back to my desk with tea…another 300 steps logged.

With the Fitbit, all the unintentional exercise counts. By the very nature of how it works, it’s very forgiving. For me and how my mind is wired, it works. It doesn’t judge my lazy days. It tells me, “Hey, you didn’t do exercise on purpose today, but you still logged 3,000 steps! Good for you!” Now, having said that I’d have to be asleep or completely immobile to log 0 steps a day, so it does reward very minimum effort. For me, though, I plan to not do less than 5,000 steps a day, so that’ll keep me moving.

So what’s the point of this? The point is that I’ve become much more active since getting this tracker. It validates the things I’m doing right and pushes me to do more.¬†Because I had to be out the door early and was busy at work and didn’t take my lunch walk, by the time I came home last night, I had only logged 2,000 steps. I got my butt out for an hour of walking around my neighbourhood. The tracker tells me I walked 4 km. (Really? Who is this person?) I came back home, exhausted, invigorated and excited. Checked on my step count: 8500? Seriously? WTF! I didn’t even meet my goal. I wasn’t even mad. I did more than I would have that’s for sure. I tried walking on the spot, but after about a few hundred¬†steps or so, my thighs were NOT amused, so I gave it up and passed out forthwith!

Anyway, long story short, I’m slowly changing my lifestyle to a more active one. One step goal at a time. For me to do this whole thing is a reflection of how I live my life. I really just am doing the best I can. I push myself when I want, but I also cut myself slack when I need it. I don’t want a perfect life, I just want to be happy and comfortable and healthy.

*******

Steps taken while I was typing this post? 0
Steps as a result of writing¬†this post before work and now I have 10 minutes to get out the door: 1,000 ūüėõ

Have a great week, folks!

Vikera

PS. With all this walking, I’m going to have even more AMAZING thighs by the end of the year. EEEEK!

Sink or float

Good morning!

First of all, I am MELTING in this heat. Phew!!! Okay, so I was born and raised in Trinidad Рan island almost ON the Equator Рso I should be used to 30+ C temperatures every day, but damn. 

I don’t know if I’ve shared this before, but I can’t swim. Yes, I know I just said I was born and raised on an island, but the truth is that my dad grew up near the sea and is an amazing swimmer, but that talent had not been passed down to us. As children, we ALWAYS went to the very safe¬†beach: no waves, not very deep. We did go to the beach often, but out of an abundance of caution, we were never allowed to venture out to swim. We would play on the shore under Mummy’s very watchful eye and one by one, my dad would take us out to the deep for 15 minutes. We would get dunked and just hang out there for a bit, but make no mistake, our tiny fingers were clenched around Daddy’s neck the whole time. After all six of us were washed and had our time, my dad would go out by himself for about 20 minutes and swim and float and just enjoy the water in a way someone who is absolutely comfortable with it is. My mum almost never went in.

I’ve never thought of that before – the fact that my dad is such a strong swimmer, yet none of us were taught how to swim. Hmmmm…the fact that we weren’t taught how to ride a bike either as children was also because we weren’t allowed to venture. Hmmm…very, very interesting.

I love the smell of introspection in the morning!

Flashforward 30 years and now I have my own son and I don’t know how to swim. Lame! Kidlet’s dad didn’t know how to swim either, so we decided that swimming was something that HAD to be learned. The next generation HAD to be better than ours, so from very early on, he was in swimming lessons.

It’s a strange feeling watching your small child do something that (frankly) scares you.¬†I often wondered if I was holding him back. He would go to the pool, but I would have a super watchful eye on him (just like my Mum), making sure he didn’t go too far or didn’t lose his footing. I was overly cautious because as his mother, I knew fully well that if something were to happen, I wouldn’t be able to help him. So basically, my inability to swim (which is my own problem) had made him cautious of the water as well. Sigh. For a long time, this bothered me and we stopped going to the pool for a bit because the last thing I want to do is hold him back. Over time though, as he got more comfortable in the water, I did take him to the pool, but I would sit it out, letting him swim at his own pace and test his own boundaries while I watched¬†him from the sidelines. I wanted him to trust his own ability and not let my fear literally drag him down.

Last night, he had swimming lessons. He had made it to Star Level 1, which is an intermediate level, and I promised him I would go down to the far end of the pool, which parents aren’t really allowed, to watch him. There was no seating, so I stood there for half an hour, watching my child, the fruit of my loins do laps in the full length pool effortlessly. He was a natural, swimming up and down, on his back, submerged, on his tummy, on his side. The pride in my heart was overwhelming. I hadn’t broken him! He loved it and despite my fear of the water, he was not afraid! I had a big smile on my face the whole time! As soon as he made it out of the pool, I said very exuberantly (and a little too loudly), “Wow! You’re amazing!” to which I was immediately and vigorously shushed! haha

He’s such an inspiration to me. Pushing himself past his circumstances at a very young age. I do credit myself with taking him to the pool often and getting out of his way, but ultimately, it would be easy for him to still be scared and cautious, but he pushed himself and that’s a testament to his developing character.

I don’t know if it was sign, but at the pool, right in the area where I was standing, what do you think was going on: adult swim lessons. There were four adults – three men and one 60+ woman – learning how to float. I could see the panic, I could see the distrust of the water and of themselves. I felt vindicated looking at them. I felt like saying, “See? It IS scary!!!” but then¬†I looked over to Kidlet, flippers on, arms threading in and out of the water, swimming exclusively due to his own determination,¬†I¬†thought, “I can do it!”

Life: the spoils of war

Good morning!

Just a quickie today.

In the diary that I kept while I was taking a creative writing course a couple years ago, I stumbled upon a poem that yelled at me from the page. If I listened carefully, I can hear trumpets and a shout spurring me to action. This poem came from my insides Рfrom a place that I had just discovered. In it, I hear my voice full of pain, but also full of triumph and pride.

They come.
They take.
They push.

But now,
I push back.
I shove back.

“IT’S MY LIFE!”

Earned
Fought for
Almost died for
My real self nearly lost forever.

Now

I will enjoy the spoils of the war.

Live your life, have fun, enjoy being who you are, enjoy being the self you’re fighting or you fought to be.

Have a good week, my friends!

Vikera ‚̧

What weekends are made for…

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Mine! Mine! Mine!

Photo taken by Vikera Hunte. Mine! Mine! Mine!

Good morning, my lovelies!

So I had a spectacular weekend! Full of mini events, nothing super big, but pretty awesome things.

  1. I was in bed in pajamas with a bowl of cereal and Netflix by¬†7 pm on Friday. Now, one may view this as the height of laziness, but I choose to look at it as my right to enjoy my first child-free night whichever way I choose. Sure, I could have cooked something, but that’s the point of being an adult – the choice to make silly decisions is not always one you can make, but sometimes, just sometimes, you can just go for it! If you’re wondering what kind of cereal it was, it was leftover adult cereal and a healthy serving of sugary kids cereal. Now that I can enjoy cereal without intestinal trauma, life is good! I watched three movies (a triple feature?), one of which annoyed me.¬†It was a great romance until the last five minutes of the movie: the couple¬†shared a healthy chug each of a rat poison and wine cocktail and then promptly died, so yeah. Meh.
  2. Saturday morning, I had a VERY exciting meeting at the bank where I was told that things are not as grim as I thought. Being off work for six months and having car payments¬†put a strain on things BUT my lovely financial advisor pointed me to the light at the end of the tunnel far off in the distance. I hinted that the¬†light we saw¬†may be on shining from¬†my very own condo..but we’ll see if I kick my shoe/nail polish addiction long enough to actually reach said¬†light.
  3. Spent a couple hours at the beach with New Boyfriend and children. It was weird being without my kidlet. It turns out that for me, being a parent is nothing something I can switch back and forth from. While I was giddy on Friday night with cereal in bed, when I’m around kids, even if they’re not my own, I’m very Mumsy complete with tissues, water, chapstick and snacks at the ready from my humongous handbag. ūüėõ
  4. Saturday night: no cereal, no Netflix. Passed out almost immediately. I blame the ocean air and not the old age.
  5. Sunday morning, I woke up with a lot of energy. I was up at 6 and braided my hair. Even though I took hours to do it, I knew I wouldn’t leave it as is, but would fuss with it more when I had time. It’s my hobby, that’s how I roll. I ran a few errands, took out the garbage and then I made sweet potato and chickpea enchiladas from scratch for my girls, who came over for lunch. We had a gossipfest, made very terrible jokes, talked about boys, tried on clothes, ate chocolate and braided our hair. Yes, I know we’re in our thirties, we’re mothers, we have careers BUT we also love each other and enjoy spending time with each other and hey, that’s what girls do! When I spend time with them, I am reminded that I grew up with five brothers and here, life has given me four sisters. Aren’t I blessed? ‚̧
  6. Sunday afternoon, went for a massage. Turns out I’m a ball of knots. The gigantic masseuse, whose handspan pretty much covered my whole back and who could probably break me with little effort, declared that my muscles were ALL tight. In my mind, I was thinking, “Well, don’t tell me that…get on it!” All in all, pretty relaxing 45 minutes.
  7. After the massage, I ended up at the mall. I walked around for a couple hours and had a decaf soy frappuccino Рfirst time for me. Not bad. Managed to only buy a pair of socks and a pair of earrings. That made me happy.
  8. I came home and fussed with my hair AGAIN. I put in extensions, which look kinda cute. I haven’t worn it like this before, so I’m excited.
  9. Now, I’m sitting here waiting for New Boyfriend to come over for a visit. I’m tired, and all the dishes from lunch are in the sink and I don’t know what I’m wearing to work tomorrow OR what’s for lunch, since I ate the leftovers that I was supposed to have taken to work. Sigh.

Even though it wasn’t super productive with laundry and a clean kitchen and a fridge full of groceries, all in all, I think this weekend was a success: a little bit of fun, romance, laughter, beauty, shopping, good food, movies, cereal, good sleep, the beach and relaxation.

I hope this week at work is as successful for me and for you too whatever happens! ūüôā

Have fun!

Love,
Vikera

This Monday’s resolutions!

Good morning!

I noticed that this will be the 120th post to my blog! Astounding!

I hope everyone had a good weekend. Ours was fun. I’m so much happier when I’m with Kidlet! Siiiigh. We had a marathon birthday party at friend’s, I baked a banana bread, we went to the park for play time and a walk through the gardens and I sent my Christmas cards to print. I started a book last night, so that’s the best ending to a weekend, well not THE best ending, but a pretty good ending anyway. ūüėČ

This week is a short work week for me. You know what short work weeks mean: compress five days of¬†work into less days. Fun! ūüė¶ There is a sweet reward at the end of the compression though: fun with friends, meeting new people and dancing kizomba all day and hopefully all night for a few days. Very exciting! It’ll be well worth the crunch I’ll be under in the next few days.

This Monday, I’m resolving to be happy:

1. Take my lunch break every day and read while I eat my lunch because when I’m reading I’m happy.
2. Braid my hair in a cute style for the weekend because when I look good, I feel good.
3. Listening to Feels good by Rahsaan Patterson every morning because¬†that song and the¬†smile in his voice when he’s singing makes me smile.
4. I will try to choose the things to stress about rather than stressing about everything because¬†stressing about things I can’t change is pointless.

Life will be good this week because I will make it so!

Have a super great week ahead everyone!

V