I run to lose weight….(wait for it…)

I got home from an exceptionally long Monday & was on the brink of shrugging off my originally planned run. Excuses were there for the taking: I was tired. (Yeah I know..join the club). I’d already missed the last 4 days..what’s one more? I can’t leave the kids for another 30 minutes, that’s poor parenting. (Psst…they’re too busy playing outside with their friends to notice). I’ve pretty much lost my layer of hibernation so what’s the point? 

Then I read a post by Jennifer Pastiloff who, looking fierce AF stated, “I exercise because if I don’t, I’m a mess.” #preach 

Running clothes on & out the door I started to think about why I run and realized it IS to lose weight. The kind of weight that sits in my mind. It’s not clutter or cobwebs or dustbunnies. It’s heavy & makes it hard to move. It’s atrophic. Being outside alone with my thoughts & minimal distraction helps me shake that shit loose. I practice my own style of active meditation (even though I like to insist I suck at meditation). I come home clearer. And lighter. 

Side benefit is setting a good example for the kids about how to deal with daily stress & anxiety. Had I not gone running, I most likely would have poured a glass of wine for dinner &/or scrolled through social media numbing my brain. And let’s be honest, I still might pour a glass of wine & tada here I am on social media..cause (thank Gawd) I’m not perfect but I’ve managed to changed the tone of my evening. 

I’m not fast. Nor do I typically run more than 5km at a time. But this is not a contest. And even though I’m not trying to win anything, I gain so much …. by losing this weight. 

Thanks for the reminder Jennifer!!! 

How do you lose that extra weight in your mind?

xo,
e

(Ps-how lucky am I to have this gorgeous lake to run around?!?!)

twitter: @pixiepaperdoll7

instagram: @pixiepaperdoll

Advertisements

And Sew It Goes..

It’s been a cozy weekend and as I am puttering around and mulling over writing a new post, I’m drawn to this older one I wrote just over 2 years ago.  It’s about the practice of mending: fabric and emotions.  It was published in Bunch Family and they even secured amazing photos by Karyn Valino to accompany the writing.

A couple of years makes a huge difference. These days, it’s very rare that I sit down to stitch up worn out knees or repair a ripped stuffed animal. Their toys tend to require more technical and less traditional support these days. Rain still destroys all of his clothes but he prefers to wear them ripped as a badge of honour.

So today this post is reflective at the realization of how life changes, within a stitch in time.

And Sew it goes..

 

Hurrah! At last I’m 40!

*Preface: As I write this, I feel all of my 40 years. I took off on my bike to find a quiet place to write and my knees are super achy from my (very rare these days) morning run + 3 days of gardening (yes, I was delighted to spend my May long weekend at home playing in dirt and plants).  Also, I had to choose a place to write that was close enough to home that I could get back for when, inevitably, I have to pee (I’m partly blaming childbirth on this one!)

40.

A new Decade.

I like the sound of that.

It’s not that my 30s were terrible. There were some definite highlights:

I gave birth to my 2nd child, Moxie and have immensely enjoyed spending this past decade with her and her older brother, Rain. 

I traveled. I had developed the desire to travel (alone) when I was 26 and spent almost 3 months with my backpack throughout Guatemala, Honduras and Belize.  In my 30s, I explored more of the region in Costa Rica (10 day adventure tour) and Nicaragua (a week of scuba diving on my favourite place in the world, Little Corn Island).  I embarked on a supa-dupa-triple-fun solo road trip throughout the Maritimes and landed in Fredericton at my besties Beth and Joe’s wedding.  Speaking of road-trips, I drove the kids from Mississauga across Canada to Vancouver Island and then down to Seattle.  We met up with great friends and a family along the way.  (Kim, Dottie, Tim, Joel, Andrew, Leanne, Carmanah, Tuna, guard dogs, chickens, and Jill – thanks for opening your homes and hearts to us) It was a trip of a lifetime!

I distinctly remember turning 30 (which I guess I should, it’s only been 10 years..and 40’s not *that* old..). I was 7 months pregnant and living a life that fit me like a beautiful wool turtleneck. It looked so perfect from the outside but inside it felt uncomfortable and constricting. It didn’t fit and it was unraveling.

Two years later, I was a single mom. I had made a decision to leave 95% of all my friends and belongings so that I could start again. 

If my previous life had been a sweater, this new phase was like running around topless. It felt free and terrifying and yet I was suddenly quite comfortable in my own skin.

I had no idea what I was doing and I made a ridiculous amount of mistakes (daily).

But I was doing it. On my own. With my kids. We were a team. We were Team Adventurers!

Just as things were becoming familiar and comfortable, we lost their father to suicide. This shifted all of our journeys in life. It still does. 

Last year, I started dating K and we quickly decided to join families in Peterborough. The kids and I needed a change and I liked the idea of what Peterborough had to offer as a small, artsy community (confession: The first time I ever visited Peterborough was when K and I signed our lease. I tend to move through life on gut feelings.)  So I quit my job and we rented a gorgeous house near the water within walking distance to downtown and easily adapted to our new surroundings.

We all felt completely at home in Ptbo, but combining families is apparently more difficult that I had thought and by the end of 2015, I was a single mom again.  Only this time, I was in a new community, had no job, and was recovering from open hernia surgery.

This is when I start running around looking for that sweater again.

Thankfully, I didn’t find it.  

And thankfully, I am surrounded by amazing friends and family (old and new). You all deserve gold stars in supportive friendmanship.

Since then, I have gained employment (though my contract is up next month, if anyone has any leads…), purchased our home (thanks for your help Mom and Dad), and started dating K again. .. only slower.

The kids are thriving and I am in love with showing them small community ways of life (I was raised in a community of 2,600 so Ptbo is more in line with my roots).

Life is good.

This is exactly how I want to start my 40s.

Now I feel like I should offer some sort of old age wisdom…… Or is that what you do when you turn 50?

Let me share some of the things I’ve learned (the hard way), particularly in my 30s.

  • Break up with word “should”. Do not believe that you should have to act, think, feel, dress a certain way. If that sweater doesn’t fit, take it off. And don’t get caught up in what should or shouldn’t happen. Trust me, they happen.  Or they don’t. That’s just it.
  • You are only responsible for your own happiness. Be kind. Be respectful. Be responsible for your actions. But don’t obsess over the happiness of others. You are not responsible for the happiness of your friends, colleagues, random people you meet on the street, your family and not even your kids. Happiness is an inside gig and they will have to figure it out on their own. Just as you will have to do the same. Do what makes you happy.
  • Enjoy your own company. Yearn for it. Make it a priority. Make friends with the voice inside your head. She’s pretty dang cool. And this voice will stay with you and keep you company for the rest of your days.

Music break!

“If I get old I’m living easy

Find a nice old country home.

Let the land do what she wants to

Leave her wild and overgrown.

And when I’m sure my days are numbered,

Find a nice place in the fields.

And thank that little voice inside my head

For such great company.”

~Elliott Brood, If I get Old

  • Be real with yourself.  Life is not perfect nor does it have to look that way. It’s messy and gorgeous and sometimes a lot of the time, it’s really fucking hard. Experience every emotion unapologetically. And don’t trust people who are always telling you to smile.
  • Lastly, make goals. And as cheese bread as it sounds, write them down. This is where I struggle. I can think of hundreds of things I want to do but putting it to paper scares the bejeebers out of me. I used to think that it was because I had commitment issues. (I even wrote about them: http://commuterlit.com/2012/05/monday-the-empty-space/) And maybe that’s partly true. I have also blamed my limited attention span – squirrel!! But I think I’m most afraid of fucking up. What if I never get to check it off the list? What if I fail? I mean, I guess I could write new/revised goals…but what would my journal think??  *Sigh… My goal for my 40s is to write down my goals.

So that’s it – thanks for being part of my new decade celebration – let’s go for a drink sometime! But for now….. I have to pee!!!

xoxoxo,

e

@pixiepaperdoll7

#BellLetstalk Day (2016)

It’s #BellLetsTalk Day (2016) and instead of writing another full post about how mental health has impacted our family, I’ll let my previous writing speak for itself.

Regardless of whether you become involved in this campaign, I do encourage everyone to keep talking about mental health.  I wish I had insisted on more of those conversations. As difficult as they would have been, they would have been easier than the conversations I’ve had to have with Rain and Moxie since Jason’s death. Not to mention the conversations I’ve had to have with myself.

Stigma Fighters – my story

Dear Jerk

Dear Jerk (6 months later)

Happy Birthday Jason

Happy Birthday Jason (2015)

The Black Dog

In the words of Bob Dylan, Play it Fu**ing Loud!

Hoop’s Memorial Hockey Game

My Life with (and without) kids. Before and After.

#BellLetsTalk Day (2015)

Fantastic (Canadian) videos in support of mental health awareness:

Amelia Curran – You Are Not Alone

Brian Byrne – I miss you most – The Arizona Project

Keep talking. You are not alone.

xo,

e

#TeamAdventurers

@pixiepaperdoll7

 

Santa on Speed Dial

T’was a month before Christmas and all through our home
came the whining and arguing from each of my spawn.

They fought over books. They fought over toys.
I could not hear myself think over their noise noise noise noise!

The blowing cold wind had kept us inside
until finally I held up my cell phone and cried,

“You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I’m telling you why.
I have Santa’s phone number on speed dial.

They both went as silent as a holy night.
Until one of them whispered, ‘do you think she’s alright?’

I stood with my phone in my outstretched palm
Their worried eyes stared at me; could I really go on?

But today I was feeling so smart and so slick,
That I thought up a lie and I thought it up quick.

“Yes, of course I have Santa’s phone number, my dears.
He gave it to all parents at the mall last year.”

And this snowball kept growing, not quite according to plan
until suddenly it was larger than Frosty the Snowman.

I led them down a tale of homes where Santa’s sleigh won’t drop.
And I only paused a moment when I heard someone holler, “Stop!”

“Enough! Enough! No need for alarm.
We’ll play nicely. Please! Put down that phone!”

And what happened next? Well my children might say
That they watched my heart grow 3 sizes that day.

Will I really stop Christmas from coming this year?
Let’s just see how things look as we get even nearer.

We will still hang our stockings by the chimney with care
with almost full certainty Santa will be there.

And they heard me repeat as I walked out of sight,
“Peaceful Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

Erica Richmond
@pixiepaperdoll7

#InstaFarce

I snapped a photo of the kids outside painting this afternoon and was about to post it on Instagram (’cause why else take a picture) when I realized the absurdity of the situation.

The picture shows how these kids are happy, healthy (eating a nutritional snack), creative and outdoors. By all rights, I am portrayed as a mom-of-the-year!

What the picture doesn’t show is that this was their first breath of fresh air for the day and this was also the first time they got off their iPads/electronics ALL DAY! and it was at 4pm!

Mom-of-the-year award instrarevoked!!!

I still posted the picture but I ‘fessed up and owned my day. Sure I could reason that the kids were exhausted from a long week outdoors and that I needed to spend the day doing housework and job-searching (electronically induced children make for quiet houses). But if I’m really going to own my shit, then I need to admit that somedays this is just how we roll.  No excuses.

“MOM!!!!” (currently being yelled throughout the house, complete with running and doors slamming)

I guess quiet time is over.

peace & love,

e

Twitter: @pixiepaperdoll7

Instagram: @pixiepaperdoll

The completed masterpieces

The completed masterpieces

Taking Time

During her first visit to our new home, my 8 year old daughter looked out at the row of backyards and asked,

“Do you have to have a clothes line to live in Peterborough?

“Yes, it’s the law.”

Not having had a clothes line myself since I was a kid, I am slowly learning the fine art of this labour of love. Lucky for me, my family of five produces lots and lots of love for me to practice.

And through practice I have learned that if you use too many clothes pins, you’re at risk of running out before the bottom of the basket; but not enough clothes pins and your neighbours may question your intentions. (We have already had to fish my bra out of the blackberry bushes with a hockey stick.)

Cramming the washing machine full of clothes is a futile effort because our clothesline holds only a perfectly balanced load. And there should be no overcrowding on the line because much like a family (in particular, our new blended family) each unique member needs their own space to breathe.

And so I have learned am learning to relax, enjoy the moment and appreciate that this will take some time.

It’s another reminder for me to slow down and inhale the beautifully blended aroma of clean clothes, freshly cut grass and tomato plants.

It’s a reminder to appreciate the simplicity of a line full of memories: past, present and future.

A reminder to allow myself to get lost in their dance as they each move to their own rhythm in the same gentle breeze; stretching their independence while always remaining connected.

And at the end of a long summer day I can reflect on each moment of time and fall asleep in a bed of pure sunshine.

xo

Team Adventurers

Erica Richmond

@PixiePaperDoll7