Random thoughts of an upbeat mind

Sad News

This past Monday, I received an email from my Uncle letting our family know that his wife had passed away that morning.

I had no idea she was not well, much less was admitted to hospital the Friday before. Mind you, they do live overseas, but still.

My heart breaks for my cousins and my uncle. They seem to be coping well, but I’m not sure it is real to them yet.

I was going to try to attend the funeral that was held yesterday, but plane tickets were $2000!?! I love my Aunt but this is too much. I was telling a friend who works for an airlines that I wanted to go but cost is prohibitive and he looked to see if there is anything he could do. While he was able to find a route for significantly cheaper but it was standby with a stop in Miami. My gut told me that I would be able to get to Miami but no further and the way the flights were I would have had to leave on Thursday in order to make the funeral on Saturday. I learned all of this on Wednesday.

Much too rushed for my liking.

I miss my Aunt. She taught me to cook and more importantly provided some valuable insight into my family, more specifically my mother, when I was growing up which helped pave the way for a better relationship between us.

I am sad that I was not able to be there with my family, although it seems like more of us didn’t make the trip than did. To be fair, my family is huge, my Grandfather had 17 kids and most of them had at least 2 kids.

Maybe it is time for me to properly plan a trip.


Trying new things

This past week I was offered the opportunity to go ice fishing. This year I am determined to try new things. And even though it is my no spend month, I figured when next would I really go. Let’s just say ice fishing, the way I went, is not for the financially challenged.

We set out at 6 am for a day on frozen Lake Simcoe on Tuesday. Having no idea what to expect I deferred to my friend who is a regular. His tendency is to stop at Tim Horton’s on the way to stock up on food. Not a huge fan of Tim’s food as it is mainly sandwiches and bagels, but when in Rome … Not exactly good for my low gluten, sugar & dairy eating plan, but one day won’t hurt, right?


This is the ice at the front door of the hut. It was a total mind #$%$^# as at some parts it did not look like it was frozen enough to support my weight.


Above is the view from the front door of my hut to the outhouse on the left. It was a long shuffle that I only made once. I refused to drink much for the rest of the day having made that trek. Once was enough.

It was a cold day but it was relatively warm in the hut. There is a propane stove that offers heat and means to make a meal. There were 2 long rectangular holes in the bottom of the hut to allow access to the lake. It was a little nerve racking at first.


The views were quite lovely, even though it was cold. It was a great day for my first experience at ice fishing.

All told I would definitely do it again. I almost went again today, except I knew it would completely mess up my no spend month as I need a day to prep for the week ahead. The next time I will be walking with food and a pot to cook in.

No Spend Challenge

Towards the end of last year my spending on food was out of control. I used my busyness and tiredness as an excuse to eat out. I have reduced it somewhat in January but decided that a no spend challenge for the month of February might just be the thing to get me back on track.

For those of you new to the party, a no spend challenge is a period of time in which you abstain from non-essential spending. I tried a week and it was easy to defer purchases for 7 days. A month makes it more of a challenge. And for someone who socializes by eating out this is going to be a bit more difficult than I’d like it to be.


The plan is to cook enough on Sundays to carry me through most of the week. Last week I tried it out. I am in need of practice as I burnt myself and managed to make a big mess by spilling grease on the floor.

The food lasted longer than I intended as I ate out for lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday, we had the last hurrah at lunch for me. We usually eat sushi every Friday and since Feb 1 was Friday we moved it to Wednesday. Thursday, I went out to lunch with a coworker who looks like he was at the end of his rope. Working at my company is not for the week. Friday was the sous chef’s last day. She makes the best fried chicken and I was not going to miss out, so since the menu is posted every Monday, I gave my coworker the price of the meal on Monday. So technically I did not spend on Friday. 😉

The roast and chili were the only items that were finished last week, so I froze the rest. I intended to cook pork chops, a one pot rice dish and soup but since I have so much food left over I only made the rice. I will bake the pork chops on Thursday and it should be enough to get me through the week.

I’m excited to be focused on getting my self together. I’m hoping that all these new habits take shape and stick.

This year I am determined to get back to healthy. The tipping point for me was feeling my back fat when walking around. Not a fan LOL

Until the end of March, I am reducing the amount of carbs, sugar and dairy that I eat. I have one cheat day when we have our monthly town hall meeting at work and there is cake. I bought more tea than is reasonable over the holidays and that is my after dinner “treat”. It is taking some getting used to but I’ll get there. Flavours like Red Velvet Cake and Creme Caramel help a lot. 🙂

In addition, to watching what I eat, I am also exercising 5 times a week.


These 4 DVDs are in heavy rotation now. I have committed to doing each of the Callanetics workouts once a week and the other two are done in some combination for the remaining 3 days.

Mondays and Fridays are my rest days as those are my longest work days. Now if I could only move my workouts to first thing in the morning, that would be ideal. Small steps, right?

Still not in a routine

It was only yesterday that I realized that I did not blog on Sunday. Will have to write this in my planner as my mind and routine have not yet adjusted (read remembered) this additional task.

This past weekend has been colder than cold. I worked as usual on Saturday. I was supposed to meet up for lunch with a new friend, but she cancelled. She is a tropical bird and was not on board with choosing to leave the warmth of her house for a meal. We have rescheduled for this Saturday.

I am still working out strong, getting a 5 workouts every week. I forgot to take before measurements and my scale needs a new battery so I am using the way my clothes fit as a way of keeping track. I took a pair of jeans out of the dryer and was able to put them on without any issue. I’ll take that as a win!

This month, my challenge is to reduce the amount of sugar, gluten and dairy I eat. I was out of control over the holidays and need to reign it in. My plan is to do this eating plan until at least the end of March. I am going to cheat on our monthly town hall meetings at work which come with cake 🙂 Three different types of cake!!

Next month I will be putting myself on a no spend challenge. Having a cafeteria at my workplace is a blessing and a curse. It is filled with healthy eats for $7/meal, but the portions received are more than I should be eating in one sitting. I used to split my meal into 2 and eat the second half for dinner but that restraint has left me. I also find that it is hit or miss in terms of taste. So it is better for my waistline and my wallet to bring my lunch. It gets a little tricky on the days I go to my night job as it means I really do have to have all my ducks in a row and pack both meals. So next month Sunday meal prep and cooking will take priority.

I bought an Instant Pot far too long ago and I have not used it. It will be dusted off and I will figure out how to use it. Hopefully this will help on Sundays. My cousin has highly recommended it so I will try to get on the bandwagon.


A quick update

Oh gosh time is flying. The past 2 weeks have gone by in a blur. I have gotten into a reasonably good routine of working and exercise. I could do with a bit more socializing but one thing at a time.

Last Sunday, I had intended to write a post, but my cousins’ Grandmother died and her funeral was on Saturday and Sunday was spent hanging out with some of my cousins. We had brunch and wandered the city, going into many unique furniture stores. I need to stay out of these places, as I feel in love with a $2300 couch … O_o

I have been battling a head cold for the past week or more. I need more rest but I just can’t seem to slow down long enough to get well. I tried going to bed earlier most of last week and it seemed to help. Now if I could only lose the cough, life would be ideal.

Last night I went to see Trevor Noah live and he did not disappoint. I took transit downtown which is a change for me. But I figured that would be the better financial decision and it gave me time to read. It was an easy ride down and back.

Today I surprised myself with how productive I was. I cooked, cleaned and did laundry. If it could stay this way all the time … I would be dancing in the streets. I still need to dust but I am slowly going to get to it.

I have been trying my best to declutter. It is a work in progress. I started small with my spice cupboard. I threw out quite a few spices that expired in 2014. My plan moving forward is to reassess my spices every January. This was I can get rid of the ones that are not in use.

My intention is to finally do my kitchen renovations, late summer. To get ready I want to reduce the amount of things I own so there will be less to store, plus I could certainly own less.

My closet is my next target. I turned all my hangers the wrong way last year and I need to go through which ones I can let go and give away the ones I haven’t worn in a year. It helps that I am no longer that size and my style has changed a bit.

Enough talk about cleaning, time to motivate myself to workout.



Happy New Year!

I know it’s been far too long. Unfortunately I let life get in the way of blogging. I over-committed myself, in addition to my full time job and part time job, I took the H&R Block tax course. When I signed up for it, I did not realize that it was a 13 week commitment. So every Sunday from 10 – 4:30-ish, I learned about taxes. It is all over now and I passed with flying colours. 🙂 I am slowly adjusting to have a bit more free time. My house looks like it has been neglected for far too long. And I have been procrastinating dealing with it.

My plan is to return to this space with more consistency. Right now I just wanted to drop this short note to say hi. Hope all is well on your end.