Category Archives: Me

The habit of failure

Do you ever think to yourself, ‘gee, I’d sure like to exercise/read/write more, eat less, get up earlier, have a clean house (and not just when company is coming), watch less tv, be on facebook less, [insert your goal here]’?

*crickets chirping*

I will take your uncomfortable silence as aggreement. 

After a very difficult year, I have been wanting to make some changes. I am no longer waiting for the next big thing, I’m done having children, we are settled.  I should probably start acting like an adult.  (Do you think that will make me feel like one? That’s another post altogether.)

The two areas of my life that bother me the most are my weight and my house.  Both feel cluttered.  I think I had this idea that somehow I would just start moving more one day and the extra weight would just melt off.  Or I would just not worry about my weight (because, after all, we are all beautiful, right?) and it wouldn’t have any real effect on my life.  But while I was trying to love my body no matter what, I felt like crap.  My stomach hurt, all the time. I had no energy and was not wanting to do anything with the kids.  I couldn’t afford to buy new clothes and because I was constantly eating whether I was hungry or not (although I really did feel like I was constantly hungry) I was slowly but surely growing out of everything.  As much as I tried to convince myself that salads and fruit were the way to go, I was not making any healthy choices.  And for as much as I wanted to see myself as beautiful, I didn’t even recognize the person in the mirror.  Something had to give.  So I bit the bullet and went to my GP and got a referral to Weight Watchers.  I have been going for 13 weeks now and have lost 19 lbs.  Doesn’t sound like failure, does it?  I’m actually quite shocked, myself.  I fully expected to crash out or for it just not to work.  And I struggle with keeping positive as I feel like it was failure on my part to a) get to this place in the first place and b) need help from a program when I should be capable of dealing with this myself.  I still worry that as soon as I’m ‘allowed’ I’m going to go back to scarfing down the krispy kremes at every given opportunity, but we shall see.  What habits will I have at the end of this program?  Will they stick? Will I see food differently?  Will my appetite really change enough to keep me from putting it all back on again?  I don’t know.  I have to say, at this point, I don’t really have a lot of faith in myself.  I’ve disappointed myself too many times. (I know, I’m being a real Debbie Downer today, but I can’t just blog when I have something cute to say.)

That brings me to my house. I went back to the FlyLady website a couple of months back.  I’ve been there before, and tried a few things but never really stuck to it.  I just couldn’t get past the kitchen sink.  Well, all that changed when we finally got a dishwasher.  I love my dishwasher.  So this time, I got past the kitchen sink, I had a whole couple of weeks were I got dressed every day, made my bed, did a load of laundry, did weekly cleaning bits, scheduled my week, kept a proper diary.  I was working my way through the baby steps, building myself a control journal, feeling a little less cluttered, more in control.  Then, in the space of a week I got my period (which is somewhat debilitating at this time) and had to take some terrible medicine in preparation for a colonoscopy.  (Are you still with me, gentle reader?) Fun times. Needless to say I didn’t do much that week and by the time it was all said and done, I was back at square one; all my counters were cluttered, my sink was dirty, my laundry was backed up, and everything was dusty.  It was like all the good I’d done had never happened.  I still haven’t recovered. 

Everyone selling self-help/organizational books like to tell you that it takes at least 3 weeks to develop a good habit.  Apparently it only takes a couple of days to completely throw it out the window. And then where are you? Back at the beginning? Starting all over again?  How many times do I have to go through those three weeks before it becomes a habit that’s not quite so easily broken?

I am so tired of being deflated. Tired of feeling like it’s only a matter of time before something derails me and it all goes back to square one.  Tired of feeling like my life is cluttered with a bunch of crap that I don’t need or want but can’t seem to get rid of. 

I wish I had an inspirational ending to this post.  I would love to say, ‘this is how I conquered this problem’, but I got nothin’.  I’m open to suggestions. 



And where is our intrepid hero now?

Stress.  So much stress.

Not like a season of 24 stress (which I have been watching for the first time lately) but a constant, low-level, thrumming drone of stress.

This has been quite the year (and a half). At the same time that The Rocket Scientist was starting to interview for a complete career change, we were welcoming our little Cuddlebug into the world.  That welcoming had its own stress, besides being a c-section which I was not looking forward to, I was not going to be convinced that she would really be okay until she was in my arms.  As it turned out, even that didn’t do much to alleviate my fears.  It’s very frustrating to be constantly afraid while your brain chews you out for such irrational fears.  And with all my energy going into a new baby and any excess energy being taken up with unwarranted fears and with more energy that I didn’t have being taken up with worrying about an impending career change and what it would mean for our family (and what it would mean for us if it did not happen), I did not have a lot left over to be supportive of The Rocket Scientist while he went through much the same thing (only without quite the same fears over our Cuddlebug). Let’s just say, we were not getting on well.

And then what we were expecting to take 3 to 6 months turned into 7.  Then 8.  Then 9.  At which point we no longer had a place to live.  The weekend before my birthday (on my Dove’s first birthday), we moved all of our belongings into a storage locker.  We couldn’t sign a contract for another house because if we didn’t have a job in another 2 months we would have had to go back to Canada, and even if we did find a job we had no idea where it would be. Sheffield? London? Oxford? New York?  So we lived out of suitcases on the kindness of friends and acquaintances.

Then it was 10. Then 11. 3 Weeks from his job ending at the University we were faced with a choice of two jobs.  Neither one was ideal except that they were a job.  One of our big concerns with the new job is that it had to pay enough for us to be able to afford Indefinite Leave to Remain in 3 months (an astronomical cost for all of us) and the pay being offered wasn’t going to cut it.  Until one of them offered to cover the cost.  Completely.  For the whole family.

What a relief.

It was over.

Within a month, The Rocket Scientist finished off his job in Oxford and started his new one in London, we got to spend a couple of weeks at a corporate apartment in London (where our Cuddlebug caught her little toe in a door and partially amputated it so instead of wandering around our favourite city we spent most of the two weeks in one hospital or another), we found our new home in Leighton Buzzard, and finally got all our stuff out of the storage locker. It was like Christmas.

Then came the settling in to a new city, not having any friends around to relax with, not having a church to fellowship with, adjusting to The Rocket Scientist having significantly longer hours than he did as an academic.  And our first Christmas without Grammie (she had come in September to help out for a few weeks and couldn’t afford to visit again so soon).

Well, we’ve been in Leighton Buzzard for 7 months now, all three of the kids have had a birthday in this house and we have found a church to call home.  Friends are coming a bit slower but I remind myself not to feel rushed.  The Rocket Scientist and I are, for the first time since we met, not waiting to move on, not thinking about having to leave our friends and make new ones.

We are settled.


Did I mention that we are also homeschooling (and have been for the last year)? I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way and I don’t really find it stressful, but not having much in the way of time to myself is hard.  More on those adventures later.

So what, then, is the source of that undercurrent of stress?  I am waiting.  Holding my breath.  For once I am not pregnant although we are anticipating a new arrival to our household.  As soon as someone up there in the Great White North buys my mum’s house, she’s buying a one-way ticket and coming to live with us.  I’m sure it will be an adjustment for everyone involved but the pros far outweigh the cons.  It is killing me that there is no date on the calendar, nothing to count down to, just the waiting.

for someday





Have you seen this woman?

How does one come back to a blog that has been neglected for, well, a long, long, long, long time?  Is there some protocol? Netiquette that one must follow? I suppose mostly, it’s just sucking up your pride and getting on with it, after all, it’s not terribly likely that anyone except family and facebook friends will read this and they know all the stuff already. But that’s okay, this is mostly for me.  And my mother who always asks me two things: “Do you have more pictures” and “Why aren’t you writing”. 

Honestly, I waffle.  I like writing.  I love going back and reading a year or two later and remembering all the little nuances of life that I had forgotten.  On the other hand, I hate feeling lazy and unreliable and nothing makes me feel that more than setting myself goals/routines/schedules and having none of them last more than a few weeks days hours.

Also, I’ve noticed a pattern.  When life gets intense, I stop writing.  I always thought I was good at getting my thoughts/emotions/stuff out, I always thought I was a very open book, what you see is what you get, but I have had a bit of a personal revelation in the last few years.  I am really good at sharing what I am comfortable with and making it sound like I am baring my soul.  When it comes to the real dig-deep kind of soul baring, however, I do. not. share.  And more than that, if something really big is going on that I can’t share, because it’s the only thing on my mind, I just stop talking, stop communicating, stop going out of the house on the off chance that I might see someone and be forced to say ‘hi’. 

So, the question becomes, why bother having a blog at all? That happens to be my question about a lot of things and honestly it’s a crappy question.  I hate it.  I hate that it feels proven right more times than not.  But I have to believe that change is possible.  I have to believe that what I have is a bad habit, a really, deeply-ingrained, hard-core bad habit, and not a massive character flaw. 

Okay, then let’s change the question a bit: Why do I want a blog? I do like writing.  When it’s going well, I love writing.  Even when it’s not going that well, I love writing.  I love having these snippets of life to relive when I’m feeling stagnant.  I hope my kids will enjoy reading this someday.  I like to believe that family and friends (of whom so many are scattered across the globe) enjoy keeping up with the mini adventures of our little family (and if they had blogs, I would be an avid reader. just sayin’. hint, hint).  I like sharing reflections on life, the universe, and everything and having people come back with their own. 

Yes, I miss my blog.  Who knows what tomorrow brings? Not me, so today I blog.

Here we go

He’s leaving again. Only three weeks this time and it will go quickly for him, he’ll be very busy. But tonight as I sit here not wanting to go to bed so tomorrow doesn’t come just quite yet I don’t care how fast or slow it goes, I am realizing I just don’t want him to go. We have to be grownups and sacrificial and understand that sometimes we have to fore-go what we want now for a better life but every now and then I catch glimpses of the not-so-grownup me inside that just wants to cry and wail and demand this not be so. I realized sometime this week that he will be gone more than he will be home this next year and suddenly the air goes out of the room. By the time he’s back for good, Doodle will be turning 4 and we’ll be planning ZuZu’s 2nd birthday party. It’s those moments that I fear we’ve made a terrible mistake. But I have embraced the British way: Keep Calm Carry On. And I am very good at it.

Letters to RS – 3

Dearest Love,

Between emails and facebook and skype, by the time I get to this, I have no idea what I’ve said and haven’t said.  But I’ll just try to make note of the salient points of the day…for posterity’s sake? And I’ll try to do it at not 10:30 as my primary goal is hurry up and sleep at this point.

Mumsy left today.  That was hard, it made this all very real.  And looking at a calendar was bad.  We’ve still 4 weeks to go, less a day.  Right now, that day doesn’t make enough of a difference.

I hate neighborhood cats and I hate the ice cream truck.  Just sayin’.

I was trying to explain to Doodle that it’s okay to be sad when we got home from the airport, telling that I was sad, too because Grammie is my Mummy and I miss her when she’s not here and how when we’re sad it’s nice to get hugs and cuddles from people around us who love us so we can feel better.  He turned around and said, “Can I give you a cuddle, Mummy? Does that make you feel better?”.  And then he let me give him a cuddle, too.  I am happy he was able to take comfort this time.

ZuZu is fearless.  Did not matter how many times she slipped in the bath or took great mouthfuls of water, she still kept trying to crawl up the back of the tub and kept a big cheesy grin through it all.  Good grief! What are we going to do once she’s running?

I am really looking forward to Blenheim Palace tomorrow.  I wanted to do this last year but I was in a wheelchair and I think I wasn’t sure how your parents would do.  Once the kids are older, I’ll want to do something more Christ centered but this year won’t really have any meaning either way, it’ll just be a fun day out.  I even got some extra eggs and a decorating kit for Doodle since he seems to be enjoying art and projects these days.

But I must get some sleep tonight. More than mead.

Love, me

Letters to RS – 2

Dearest Love,

This will be easier when I don’t have someone to talk to after the kids go down.  Not because I say it to Mumsy, I don’t, I have all manner of thoughts in my head, I just have trouble focusing with someone else in the room and by the time I get upstairs, I’m wiped and just want to go to sleep.

But my thought for the evening: Doodle has had someone to wake up downstairs for almost a month now.  While I’m looking forward to getting my house back, I’m feeling bad for the little man that he’s going to have to downgrade to only attention from me for a while.  My dear sweet boy.  Will I be enough for him?  Even for this short time?  It’s after midnight, time to sleep.

Love, me

Letters to RS – 1

Dearest Love,

I know in my email I said I wasn’t going to write tonight but as I was getting into bed I remembered something cool.  I was working on waving with ZuZu at lunch today.  I still feel bad that it took Aunt S to teach Doodle to wave, it just never occurred to me.  Apparently it didn’t this time either because even with it falling to Aunt S, Doodle could still wave by now.  So we were trying to wave at lunch, she was having fun just cause we were all talking to her, Doodle included.  But then tonight as we were getting ready for bed, she had crawled out to the hall and was standing by the stairs looking down through the bars, casually holding on with only one hand, when Doodle peaks around the door and says, “hello, ZuZu”. And she grins at him all pleased with herself and waves at him!  Yay!  So that’s my tidbit for today.

Love, me