Monday, May 6, 2013

Extreme Couponing Ontario Style

I know, I know, I missed two days of my 30 day challenge for blogging.  Yes, it happened only 3 days in but I have a very good excuse. I was so sick, I could barely make it out of bed.  I didn't do any of my challenges, instead, I laid as still as possible to avoid emptying my stomach.  It was a horrible way to spend two days and today is the first day that I haven't spent with my stomach in my throat.

So to make it short, I am restarting the 30 day challenge with today being day 1 again.  As you know, if you fail, you can just pick yourself up and start over.  There is no reason to give up and throw in the towel.  While I didn't fail exactly, I still want to start at day 1 instead of carrying on.  Partly due to the fact that I am still not a 100% recovered from the flu and partly because I want to succeed from start to finish without any delays along the way.

But now that you know exactly what happened to me over the last two days, I just want to share an experience that I had on Saturday.

First, where I live, we don't coupon.  There is no extreme couponing and you are lucky to find one or two coupons on a trip to the store.  I am not sure if this is a Canada wide phenomenon but every place in Canada that I have lived have been devoid of coupons.  I don't think much of it, except for days when I read articles about buying $500 worth of groceries for less than $80.

However, what we do have in Canada is that some stores will offer you 20% less (Rates vary depending on the store) if you can find the exact same product in a different store for a lower price.  Most people don't really do this but as I stumbled into the grocery store on Saturday, trying to deny the fact that I was, in fact, sick; I came across a woman and her husband that did exactly this.

Somehow, I made it through the shopping. I pulled into a line that looked like it was going fast.  I stood there as the woman took out huge stacks of grocery store flyer's and started flipping through it.  Odd, I thought to myself.  Then I watched in disbelief as she continued to flip through each flyer trying to locate all of the items she was buying. The cashier was being very patient but as I stood there, bile began to rise up my throat and the bathroom sign across the way was looking like my only salvation in the store.

Twenty minutes later...when I was ready to scream, the woman finally admitted defeat over one item that she had been arguing over for 5 minutes and said she would go to customer service.  I understand the why of extreme couponing but as I stood there, clutching my stomach, singing the words to the Lego Lord of the Rings game in a futile attempt to calm my stomach, I realized that there should be a special place for it.

I am all for letting people have special "couponing" lines so the poor, miserable person who doesn't want to save...namely me when my temperature is spiking up to a 103, doesn't have to wait in line behind them.  So what do you think?  Should couponers have their own line?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods from One Shore
Today, the warmth of the sun is filling my home and my keyboard.  Literally.  As I sat outside in the sun, I could feel the laptop slowly heating up until I realized that it was time to take it in to cool it off.  It is a beautiful spring day and the temperature reminds me of early summer, not the beginning of May.

I am looking forward to swimming.  I love swimming actually and I am a water child completely, which is suitable as I am a Scorpio.  Actually, I find that I feel my best when there is water surrounding me - I am the women who stands in the shower, the warm water beating down on her, and thinks, "This is it, I am never getting out again."

With large bodies of water, I am exactly the same. I love feeling the pull of the water that threatens to drag you down into the depths.  I used to be terrified of it.  Used to wonder if I would drown the next time I stepped into the cold waves.  I had nearly drowned several times - once in a backyard pool - but when I was 15, I overcame my fear completely and began swimming in a lake on my own.

Actually, it had become a ritual for me that summer.  I would wake up every morning, well before any of my friends would be up, and scramble out of bed.  The short 5 minute jog to the lake would leave me breathless standing on the shores of Lake of the Woods.  I would stand on the shore, gazing at the large rocks on the opposite side, the wild forest stretching out as far as my imagination would take it.

The cold water would look like a slate of gray and I would always hesitate, the cool air prickling the bare skin my bikini wouldn't cover.  Then, with a deep breathe, I would wade into the water and launch myself into its depths.

The lake was bottomless, or at least that was what I was told.  I found out later that it was only 12 metres in depth but when I was 15, there was something exhilerating thinking the bottom hadn't been found.  There was a whole world sliding under my floating body.  I could feel it, just below me, as curious about me as I was about it.

I would swim across the lake, my chest burning as I neared the far shore and I would scramble up onto the rocks and catch my breath.  My teeth would chatter at the change of temperature but I would feel at peace.  Nothing was ever at the lake except the local wildlife and it was exactly how I wanted it.  I would go early enough to beat the daily swimmers and I could imagine that the lake was mine.

Occasionally, I would stop swimming in the middle of the lake and turn over onto my back.  I would float on the gray expanse and think to myself, "This is it, I am never getting out."

My long, dirty blond hair would float on the surface of the water around me, getting heavier and darker the longer I floated on my back. I would focus on that hair.  Feeling its weight pulling me down into the water before I allowed it to drag me into the dark depths.

I would relax into the coolness of the water as it closed over my head, my breath trapped in my chest, straining to get out. I would wait, eyes closed, face turned up toward the sunlight trickling dimly through the water and feel the strange combination of warmth and cold.

When my chest began to burn, I would burst from the water and draw in as much oxygen as I could.  Then I would turn my eyes back to the shore I had come from and return to it.  Usually by the time I managed to make it back, the early swimmers would be walking down the hill to the lake.

I would collect my stuff and head home, my lake no longer mine.  I knew then that I shouldn't have been swimming on my own.  So much could have happened but if it hadn't been for that summer, I don't think I would have loved the water as much as I do now.

And that is what I was thinking about today as the sun was trickling through the tree branches, how lovely it would be to swim in my lake today.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

You Thought I Wouldn't Make It

...But I did.  I made my second post just under the wire with a little over an hour to spare.  But really, what can I talk about that has changed from yesterday.  The answer is, not a whole lot.  But that isn't what matters.  What matters is that I take the time to write and meet the challenge I have created for myself.  I have done two days of squats, crunches and planking and while I am still in the low numbers, I am feeling great about myself.

It seems like the biggest hurdle for me is the animals.  Yes, I love animals and I have quite the menagerie of animals in my home.   Two dogs and 1 cat.  It used to be a lot more than that but this last year has been a hard one.  In the summer of 2012, my 16 year old cat passed away.  Winter of 2013, my son's 8 year old bearded dragon passed away as well.  Now we have a 9 year old Labrador Retriever, a 18 month old English Mastiff and a 5 year old orange tabby.

While I love all the animals in my home, the English Mastiff is my girl.  An absolutely amazing dog and I will never go without one in my home after Daisy.  I love the breed and they are wonderful with children and other animals.  She is playful and calm and my biggest complaint about her is that she has the worst gas imaginable.  I mean, she could make a grown man cry...and has on a few occasions.  But regardless, English Mastiffs are the breed for me.

And to end this post, I thought I would show you a video of my little English Mastiff when she was first brought home.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

30 Days of Challenges

One thing that I have found over the last few years is that it is very easy to just put my own health to the side.  There are always thousands of other things that I need to do and the kids need this or that.  By the end, I am too tired to do something for myself.

That is one of the reason why this blog has tumbled into the state that it is in but this year is all about recharging.  I will be recharging my business, my home, my garden and myself.  Time to spend a bit of time on myself and not use all of my time on the family, the dogs and the clients that I have.  Yes, I will still get my work done and I really enjoy working with my clients.  I also enjoy spending my time with my family and the dogs but I need to spend some time just for me.

So, let the recharge begin.  First with this blog and the challenges that I have set for myself.

Challenges that I am doing for the month of May, starting today, are:

30 Days of Blog Posts

Yes, this is day one of blog posts and by the end of 30 days, hopefully, I will have a blog post a day on here, and growing.

30 Days of Squats

The whole 30 days of challenges started when I came across this post on my facebook page.  30 days of squats starting with 50 squats.  I swallowed that kernel of fear that was choking me as I said I would join the group.  This morning, after the kids went to school, I got down to business and did 50 squats.  I could feel the burn in my body but I managed through it.  Hopefully, I will be able to keep going with this.

30 Days of Planks

Just like the squats, I decided to do the planks.  Day one was horrible and I barely made it the 20 seconds for the plank.  My arms were quivering as I watched the stop watch placed beside me.  I don't trust myself to do the count in my head. I know that 20 seconds would go a lot faster if I was the one counting it.  So yes, as each millisecond slid onto the screen, I kept wondering if the stopwatch was broken.

30 Days of Crunches

And finally, I will be doing 30 days of crunches.  Another one that is going to be really hard for me.  Crunches are probably one of the top exercises that I hate and I often avoid doing it but here's hoping I will stick to it.

I do have a slave mean a support group for this.  My husband is happy to make sure that I am sticking to the challenge.  He is very good, almost too good, at keeping me on task when I set one for myself  About 6 months ago, I quite drinking coffee and even now, when I hint at having a coffee (or try to have a coffee), he makes sure I don't.  So the first hint that I am going to quit, I am sure he will be on me.

At the end of the month, if I succeed, I will give myself a huge husband thinks I should join the kwoon he goes to so I can punish my body even more...I guess.  So if you are interested in doing the challenges with me.  Please sign up in the comments section.