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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I only needed one week

So I’m back from a week off work sandwiched in between¬†weekends away from home. Well, let me tell you, I learned something about myself and about life these past 9 days.

My vacation at home (or staycation as the cool kids call it) was one of the most relaxing times I’ve had. Usually, wherever I’ve worked, I would bank all my vacation time to be able to go back to Trinidad for a few weeks. I never just took days off. I always needed all my days to be able to have a long enough trip to travel to Trinidad. With this job, I have quite a bit of time off, so with my decision not to go to Trinidad this year, I am up to my eyeballs in time off eligibility. As Kidlet’s school vacation was winding¬†down, I took a week off to spend with him. In the meantime, I planned a weekend away to go camping with my friend and her boys to start off the week and Boyfriend and I planned a child-free weekend after Kidlet went to his dad’s.

First of all, it was weird spending vacation time in town. It felt indulgent. Most people (and I used to be one of them) squeeze out all their time off to hop on a plane and travel or at least to go away for a week; I just stayed at my house to noodle around! Ha! What a luxury! I had planned a few things for us to do: amusement park, aquarium, a day trip that included a bike ride, possible play dates. In the end, Kidlet and I just spent a lot of time at home together, just being together. We watched movies, ate out, did¬†6 loads of laundry at the laundromat, went¬†back-to-school shopping, got him a fancy haircut and went to the park. It wasn’t anything particularly postcard-worthy, but just being with him, being his mum and spending time together uninterrupted was amazing. Spending this alone time with him really made me see what a remarkable young man he is¬†becoming and how funny he is! My pride runneth over. ‚̧

After that week being a full-time mother, I got Kidlet ready to go off to his dad’s and then got myself ready to take on my role as a full-time girlfriend for the weekend (a process that involves a lot of prep, let me tell you! Ha!).

Boyfriend and I are cut from the same cloth. We get along extremely well and what I realize is that a lot of our happiness comes from our ability to just take things with stride. We too had lofty plans of doing things on the weekend and sightseeing and dinners out. In the end, we ended up spending one day at the mall, taking funny pics in a photo booth, and buying groceries and cooking at home. Again, it was this alone time that really hit home that we are building on something and I how happy I really am.

You know, when I took my current job, part of the appeal was the vacation allowance and the flexibility it would provide to go to Trinidad for weeks at a time. Little did I know, all I needed was one week to have a really good vacation.

This week has taught me:

  • despite being an early morning person my whole life, I quickly learnt how to sleep in until at least 9 am…I kinda like it!
  • while I am a city girl at heart, I thoroughly enjoyed camping
  • my life was becoming way too stressful and that the things that I spent time and energy worrying about on a day to day basis, are¬†really just NOT that big a deal in reality, for example, cooking ūüėõ
  • my job is not my life and I am blessed to have a job that I can go hard at 5 days a week, but can also walk away from for a week without looking back
  • as much as I value and feel protective of my independence, having someone in my¬†life who respects me¬†enough to let me¬†be myself, but also who wants me¬†to know that he has my back is a wonderful discovery
  • you really don’t need a lot of money to really enjoy the things that make you happy (but I already knew that!)

So I have a few days of vacation left (Still? WHAT?!) and I am looking forward to spending it wisely. Doing what? Who knows!

Have a great week!

Vikera (no longer a woman of leisure)

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!

What a difference a year makes….

Good morning!

I was sitting here reminiscing on last summer. It seems so different from this summer. Last summer, I had just started working again and funds were not for spending, but for replenishing my withering bank account after six months of being off work. In other aspects though, my life was the same, but different back then. I was very involved with the Trinidadian society out here: going to meetings and volunteering. I was seriously single. I didn’t have the new car and still felt awkward driving my old car. I was living a very sedentary life. I didn’t have the new phone or maybe I just got it and was still figuring it all out. I was dancing kizomba religiously every two weeks. I certainly didn’t have Whatsapp to communicate with my brothers. I was rocking short hair. I didn’t have four tattoos.¬†Flashforward a year and a lot of this has changed.

Isn’t it amazing how life changes? None of these things I had really planned on changing; they just happened over the course of the year. Life has a way of moving along nicely, doesn’t it?

You know me, I have always been a planner and I’m not extremely spontaneous, however, it’s becoming clear to me that despite my best efforts, things are going to happen that I didn’t plan for or didn’t see coming and it’s not always a bad thing! Hmmm…imagine that!

  1. I am grateful to have people in my life who love me and want what’s best for me.
  2. I am grateful that I am able to provide for Kidlet and we both have more than we need and are able to have some of what we want.
  3. I am grateful that my heart remembers how to love and the person that I’ve entrusted it to is taking care of it nicely.
  4. I am grateful that I’m becoming more active. (I bought a Fitbit activity tracker…more on that next week!)
  5. I am grateful that I have a challenging and rewarding (and frustrating and sometimes overwhelming) job!
  6. I am grateful that Kidlet is happy and healthy and just an all-round super duper wonderful person. ‚̧
  7. I am grateful that I’m making peace with my hair. It’s getting longer and it’s a lot more work than a bi-weekly haircut, but when it’s big and fluffy and my curls are all over the place, it feels magical.
  8. I am grateful that after 10 years, the homesickness for Trini food is now manageable.
  9. I am grateful that I held out for a job with a short commute, so when I’m working on this blog post in the morning when I should be in the shower, I can still get to work on time! ACK! ūüėõ

It’s important to focus on the positive. Last year, my life was good.¬†It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. This year, my life still isn’t perfect, but it’s still good. Happiness and contentment live with me and for THAT¬†I am ever grateful!

Have a good week all!

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!”

Don’t get lippy!

Good morning!

After a relaxing long weekend, I’m back to the grind. Instead of doing things around the house and being a responsible adult, I spent many, many hours shopping. I didn’t buy much at all, but what I did buy was a FABULOUS lipstick!

Ahem...this is my picture. Git yer own!

Ahem…this is my picture. Git yer own!

By way of pleasure, this little purchase really packs a punch. It makes me happy to see my smile (moreso) when I look in the mirror. Even though I was home alone yesterday, I reapplied a few times to make sure I kept my purple smile. I’m going to wear that sucker until it begs for mercy! haha…

I went to get a mini makeover for a girls day out this weekend. Historically, I’ve never been a big fan of makeup. It’s only recently, like this last year, that I’ve been interested in it. I have time on my hands when Kidlet is with his dad, so I experiment and do research. I’m not confident yet to proclaim that I have any kind of true knowledge, so getting my makeup done was quite the experience.

[Note: this is not the makeover makeup. This is me fooling around….poorly.]

The second time for the month, I was told what ‘good’ lips I have. The first time was at my dentist’s office. I had been going over¬†my teeth cleaning bill with¬†the receptionist and we started talking about what’s covered under extended health benefits. We got around to talking about boob implants and that someone she heard of was able to have her implants¬†covered. She then told me about the time she paid about $1000 to get her lips plumped. She told me, “You’re lucky you have good lips.” I thought, “Huh?” I smiled and thanked her. Like tanning, I just don’t get it. A friend has to keep explaining to me that I don’t understand¬†those things because I don’t need those things. I feel like, why would I NEED better¬†lips…I don’t get it.

Then at the makeup place too, over the weekend, I was told that “you can pull off any colour because you’ve got great lips”. What are great lips, I wonder…If I had to walk around worrying about the list of things I already worry about and then have to obsess over lips too, it would make for a very stressful life.

Currently on my worry list:

My three loads of laundry waiting to be done.

What am I making for dinner for me and New Boyfriend tonight?

I have about ten reports to prepare for work.

How am I going to stay awake today?

What’s for lunch?

Should I wash the car after work today?

I have to take the garbage out.

It’s 7.37 and I haven’t showered AND I’m still writing this post.

What shoes am I wearing with my new dress to work?

This is what I’m currently worrying about since I woke up an hour ago. To think that I would have to think about my lips too? Sigh.

I don’t want to diminish anyone’s feelings (that’s a new thing I’m trying to work on – not diminishing people’s feelings just because I don’t see things the same way), but the way I figure, if we can’t or won’t change things, can’t we just learn to accept it?

Having said that, I will admit to you, if I had $5000 free and clear, I would get a boob lift before you can say “lip plumper”! It’s not something I worry about too much, but it’s one of those things like a clean house and keeping the kitchen sink clean for a week and staying up past 10 pm…you know…like a genie wish! ūüôā

Going to jump in the shower and put my lipstick on ūüėõ

Have a great week today, my friends!

Vikera