Blog Archives

The importance of my morning yoga!

frog-1109792_1280I learned much over the last three weeks while I dealt with a severe ear infection. Due to fluid moving around in my ear, it was quite painful and I couldn’t move my head around or down towards the floor, or even lie down for that matter without some sort of pain. So, my regular workout routine became nul and void. No yoga, no gym. I did continue to walk the dogs two miles each day, until it snowed again… (I’m a total suck when it comes to the cold, but so are my dogs.)

For the first several days I was still able to maintain watching my diet and spent a lot of time sleeping. After the first round of meds did nothing, I started my second round of stronger meds and noticed that by then it had been 10 days where my schedule was kyboshed and slowly, my healthy eating habits had diminished. Not completely, but slowly it became easier to make a quick processed food supper or it was too much effort to cut veggies for a salad. My calorie intake on My Fitness Pal was rising, slowly – not a lot, but enough to notice my good habits slipping. And most importantly my blood sugar readings moved up a number or two. All small changes, but significant to me. I had experienced so much success that this was bothering me greatly.  And a note of interest – my last blood tests with my doctor showed ALL of my numbers in the normal range, plus I’m down forty pounds. I was so proud of myself, this was not the time to get sick. All my work has my diabetes under control, all within four months of diagnosis. So, seeing those numbers change on my daily tests, even though they were small, sent up a red flag.

Being true to my analytical self, I looked at the scope of what was going on. I couldn’t do my usual workout, but why was I struggling to stick to my diet decisions. I determined that my morning yoga was the key.

pavilion-1660462_1280My usual routine being the following:

  • get up
  • get the boys off to school
  • do 35 minutes of yoga
  • drink a raw vegan smoothie
  • work
  • creative raw vegan salad for lunch
  • work
  • workout at gym
  • work
  • make supper (based around salad)
  • walk the dogs with the boys
  • bedtime for them
  • write
  • unwind with Netflix
  • bedtime for me and repeat… somewhat.

But the all important key was starting my day with yoga – it created my mindset for the rest of the day. Even if I didn’t feel like doing my yoga, on those days I picked a slightly easier flow, but I still did it. And always, always, I was ready to face my day, I felt good, my mind was clear, focused and I could go on. But that 35 minutes set me up for my success for the day. Without it, evidently, frog-1109789_1280complacency nudged in.

With my ear 95% better, yesterday morning I woke up, got the boys off to school, completed 35 mins of yoga, made a smoothie, and got on about my day. Today, the same, but this afternoon I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym. And just like that, my mood is better, my day is brighter, I’m focused and ready.

I understand that at times I’m going to get hit with an illness and that will disrupt my routine, but this was a real eye-opener into how important my morning fitness routine is to maintaining my overall well being.

A Minute of Time with Pat Trottier

pat-trottierI have asked friend, author, and fellow Anita Factory member, Pat, the following two questions:

What inspires you?

Watching people giving their utmost to make a difference in others’ lives. The weekend Free Press highlighted Grant Park high school students, living with cognitive and physical disabilities, preparing for their January performance, The Little Mermaid.

These talented students present two musicals every year with the support of their amazing teachers, educational assistants and peers who work with students to pick the best play, to practicing their parts and sewing beautiful costumes to highlight each student’s performance gift. This extraordinary community has eight years and 16 shows under its belt. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/special/goodnews/soul-music-416354724.html

Image result for all the light we cannot seeRead anything lately you’d like to recommend?

After reading All The Light We Cannot See [by Anthony Doerr], I would definitely recommend this book as a great read. It’s a masterfully crafted story of two children growing up in different worlds and how their lives become entwined and impact each other. This is one of my all- time favourites!

Please connect with Pat:

Website: Pat Trottier Books
Twitter: @PatPattrott

pat-relationships-comp-d

 

Bio:

Pat Trottier, M.Ed., has been actively involved in education in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for more than thirty years. Pat has worked with students in the early, middle, and senior years as a teacher, resource specialist, and administrator. Her extensive support of students in and outside of the classroom includes leading volunteer programs, preparing students for the work force, student council leadership, and helping parents with issues around child development and study skills. She recognizes the important role of physical activity and has coordinated a girl’s hockey team and Irish dancing classes. Committed to the professional development of teachers, Pat has been involved in developing a writing curriculum with early year’s teachers and an award-winning video, “To Do The Same Thing.”

As an author, Pat self-published The Other “R” in Education: Relationships in 2014 and this fall, 2016 published Relationships Make The Difference for Pembroke Publishers.

A Minute of Time with Christina Albig

christina-author-picDiving right in to getting to know my fellow Anitas (& Anito!) better, I asked long time Anita Factor member, Christina, the following two questions:

You’re a new addition to a box of crayons. What colour would you be and why?

[I would be] a deep tomato red. I love the intensity and vibrancy of the color and how it’s full of life.tomatoes-892414_1280

 

 

Finished reading anything worth recommending lately?

The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. This series is a middle grade fantasy that is unlike any fantasy I’ve ever read. Full of unique characters and concepts.

Please connect with Christina:

Website: Ink and Attic
Facebook: Christina Albig Janz
Instagram: Christina Albig Janz – see Christina’s cakes!

Bio:
Christina likes the quirky and the queer, and enjoys trying to come up with characters and settings that fit in her writing. She writes for middle grade children.

A Minute of Time with Jodi Carmichael

jodi author pic

Award-winning author, Jodi Carmichael, is a fellow founding member of the Anita Factor writing group. She was the first of our group (with the members at the time) to be published with her middle grade novel, Spaghetti is Not a Finger Food (and other life lessons). We were all so excited for her!

Jodi is a spunky bundle of energy who is always excited about something writerly. She works hard at her craft (especially plotting cartoon-1817570_640) and writes wonderful stories with her natural brand of humour. I rarely see Jodi without a smile, so contagious.

I asked Jodi the following two questions:

What was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?Image result for a monster calls book cover

The last book I read was, A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. It had me with the first line. “The Monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.” How could anyone not love this opening. I highly recommend it and don’t forget to read the note the author included about writing the novel. To me, this made this story all the more special.

Do you base your fictional characters on real people?

I don’t typically base my characters on real people, except when I do! What an answer. Until my most recent novel, my characters and their stories were complete fiction. The book I am now working on is loosely based on my Grandfather’s mysterious World War 2 years. His war records keep getting resealed, which made me wonder, why? What did he do that is still so top secret? From there, my imagination took flight.

Please connect with Jodi:

Website: www.jodicarmichael.com
Twitter: @Jodi_Carmichael
Facebook: Jodi Carmichael
Instagram: Jodi Carmichael

Bio:
Image result for forever julia book cover
Jodi writes for kids and teens of all ages and is the award-winning author of young adult novel, Forever Julia and chapter book, Spaghetti is NOT a Finger Food. She is currently working on an action packed middle grade novel that is full of mystery, clairvoyance, and double agents.

 

A Minute of Time with Christina Albig

christina-author-picChristina and I have known each other a long time. We were both members of the Vast Imaginations writing group, prior to the formation of the Anita Factor. Christina is one of the most creative people I know, not only does she have excellent story ideas, but she’s creative in everything in her life – from writing, to DIY home renos and decor, to arts and crafts, to drawing. And most recently cake decorating – all self-taught. Her creativity oozes from every cell. She’s simply amazing!

I asked Christina the following two questions:

What was the last book you read and you would you recommend it?Mistletoe and Murder (Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, #5)

The last book I read was Murder and Mistletoe by Robin Stevens, a middle grade read, part of a series, about two girls who solve a murder at their school. An enjoyable read.

What do you think about when your alone in the car?

I drive a lot of highway miles, leaving me free to think unhindered. And after a few minutes my creative mind kicks in and I start to work on whatever project I happen to be working on at home. Sometimes that means trying to sort a way to tackle a DIY home project in the most feasible and efficient manner, or a craft project I want to do. [Pictured: Christina’s book lamp and hand-bound journals.]

 

But often my brain turns to a writing project I’m in the middle of and almost lazily mulls over different aspects of the story to come up with quirks and details of the piece that surprise me pleasantly. The things my muse comes up with aren’t necessarily things I can work into the story but help me learn my characters better or my setting, which affects my writing positively.

Please connect with Christina:

Website: Ink and Attic
Facebook: Christina Albig Janz
Instagram: Christina Albig Janz – see Christina’s cakes!

Bio:
Christina likes the quirky and the queer, and enjoys trying to come up with characters and settings hat fit that in her writing. She writes for middle grade children

A Minute of Time with Pat Trottier

pat-trottierPat is a fellow founding member of the Anita Factor writing group. Since we’ve met, she has retired from a teaching career, but her passion for children and learning is evident in her retired life. Pat is non-stop go – her energy is inspiring!

Being one of the most positive people I know, with Pat, there is ALWAYS a silver lining, and I love her for it! Her critiques of our writing are always glowing with way more positives than “heads up moments.” She is a constant reminder to look on the bright side.

I asked Pat the following two questions:

I have watched you learn a lot of new skills over the past two years. Which new skill was the most fun to learn?

It’s been so rewarding working with my Anita friends as I have learned so much about writing during our meetings, readings and sharing. The Anita’s constantly give me encouragement to keep moving forward.

This past year I’ve enjoyed learning to use Twitter. Pembroke Publishing as well as the Anita’s have given me a lot of direction and feedback on using tweetdeck.twitter.com while I’m connecting with educational chat groups. Twitter has connected me with writers and educators in Canada, the United States and around the world. It’s a great tool to communicate with like-minded people and share ideas. I still have lots to learn but know help is just a tweet away.

What was the last book you finished? Would you recommend it?

Nujeen: One Girl's Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair by [Mustafa, Nujeen, Lamb, Christina]I am just finishing Nujeen – One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-Torn Syria in a Wheelchair by Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb. Nujeen and her sister bravely travelled 3,593 miles from Syria to Germany. Her sister pushed Nujeen’s wheelchair most of the way; sometimes they paid for rides on a boat, bus, car and a train. In Germany, Nujeen attended school for the first time in her life. I recommend this book because it gives an honest look into the daily struggles and fears of watching war move closer to your home and then quickly deciding that you needed to flee to save your life. Before leaving they needed to figure out a safe escape route and gather money to help pay their way.

Please connect with Pat:

Website: Pat Trottier Books
Twitter: @PatPattrott

pat-relationships-comp-dBio:

Pat Trottier, M.Ed., has been actively involved in education in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for more than thirty years. Pat has worked with students in the early, middle, and senior years as a teacher, resource specialist, and administrator. Her extensive support of students in and outside of the classroom includes leading volunteer programs, preparing students for the work force, student council leadership, and helping parents with issues around child development and study skills. She recognizes the important role of physical activity and has coordinated a girl’s hockey team and Irish dancing classes. Committed to the professional development of teachers, Pat has been involved in developing a writing curriculum with early year’s teachers and an award-winning video, “To Do The Same Thing.”

As an author, Pat self-published The Other “R” in Education: Relationships in 2014 and this fall, 2016 published Relationships Make The Difference for Pembroke Publishers.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies

img_9041

My three boys had an ugly Christmas sweater cookie decorating afternoon. I think they enjoyed this way more than the gingerbread houses of prior years.

Living Ideology – Fitting in Self-Care

I’m a busy person, looking after a busy family. With eight people and seven four-legged creatures living under one roof, it makes for chaos at the best of times. Try 20141216_205547planning dinner — who’s here? who’s working? what time is each person home? What activities are we rushing to? Did I make enough? … Nope (oops!) It happens. . . (sorry David!)

Always being on the run, “chauffeur” should be on my resume — along with “master time manager.” 🙂

We make sure that James and I get us-time. (Special thanks to our respite workers!) It’s a relationship saver.

But sometimes… just sometimes… I need me time. I did some thinking on my self-care tactics and realized that I’ve actually developed some good habits at taking time when I need it. I’m also pretty good at sneaking in me time even when I’m hanging out with the family – it’s always possible if the TV is on!

Sometimes I create a self-spa with a bubble bath, music, candles and a good book. 20141227_223504See you in a couple hours.

 

You’re all well aware that I love photography. I like to take my camera and go by myself somewhere. Getting a great shot is a huge rush for me. And I mean a great shot by my standards, not someone else’s. Self-care isn’t about what others think, it’s about enjoying yourself immensely.

I read a lot.

I enjoy absolute silence. (When all the kids are at school and pets are all napping.) This is actually rare.

I accomplish self-care while hanging out with the family usually during TV/movie time. I’m in the room, I’m interacting with others, but I’m also fawn - Copybeing creative at the same time. I have “my” corner of the sofa. Near it I have my “tools” – whatever it is I’m into at the time. (Important to note: It’s OK for interests to change!)

I’ve been creating photo albums for about fifteen years. I used to make actual Creative Memories (TM) scrapbooks with real developed photos – you know, back in the day… but now, I use online services and once or twice a year,  photo books appear in our home. I’m still about two years behind in general family 20150515_143246_resizedphotos, however, I make sure our holidays are recorded as soon as possible. Disney/Universal took me about six months, committing about three to four hours per week to the project. The important thing is that when it felt like a chore, I stopped. Self-care, remember!

 

I occasionally teach myself zen-tangling:

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A few minutes getting a cuddle from Mr. Stevens definitely counts as self-care. 20141114_135740

Recently, I’m into “adult” colouring books — not X-rated!! I mean highly detailed!

20150515_143007_resizedEven bought myself my own set of pencil crayons and a sharpener that no one else is allowed to use.

That’s something else I’ve noted is important. I need to have the right tools in order to not be stressed. No sense trying to do something unless you have everything you need to make it fun. My kids have their own bin of crayons. They don’t need to use mine. Against popular demand – mothers do not need to sacrifice everything for their children. Those are my crayons dammit. 🙂

Anyway, where was I… oh, yes. I’ve also recently discovered a fabulous nail polish brand. My other new thing is painting my nails. (I get ideas from Laura at Fun Lovin’ Travelers and then add my own twist.) I’m particularly proud of these ones and thought they were photo-worthy.

20150513_135410_resizedYou may be waiting for me to add writing to my list. Novel writing is now my “job,” so not a self-care activity. I should mention however that I love my writing job!

Oh, and I should mention my favourite self-care activity – napping. Sometimes at 2:00 p.m. I just can’t focus any more, so twenty minutes on the sofa does wonders. Yes, one of the luxuries of working from home, I know.

I hope you have several ways of taking care of yourself, or are inspired to start if you aren’t making some time. I’d love to hear how you spend your one-on-one you time. Leave a comment. 🙂