Chasing the teenagers

I started a C25K program back in March. For those of you not in the know – it brings you from doing no activity to running (jogging) 5 km in about 8 weeks.

I have been jogging 3 times a week unless injured or on vacation. I’m still on week 5. Which is still amazing for me. I’m still getting active, keeping active, and I can see and feel the changes in my body.

I’m still fat. WAY fat. Over 200lbs now. But I was 210 in the summer – which was lots of fun for finding clothes for my brother’s wedding.

But I’m feeling better. And I’m doing this slowly, and really listening to my body.

My kids are on a cross country team. I’m one of the coaches. (this is where you giggle and click away because I’m obviously full of shit).

Still here? I coach the 5-8 year olds. They run 800 meters in their race.

But the teenagers…oh those teenagers. They run 3km. Adults also run the 3km race.

So I’ve been training. Turns out my training routes were about 3km. So I’ve actually been training quite well. Feeling quite proud of myself for getting to this point.

I ran with the kids at our practice this week. They are runners. I just jog along behind them. But at least I’m getting moving. Which is more than most of the parents sitting around drinking coffee while their kids huff and puff and work their way into shape (not that I’m bitter. honest).


Sylvain asked: 2. In your last post, you talked about meeting your horse. Tell me more about it. When was this and what was draws you to horses and to riding?

(The post in question was written a long time ago.  It was about meeting My Boy, who was put down last year.  Read it here.)

Meeting My Boy was the most wonderful experience.  It was wild.  I waited my whole life for a horse.  I got him in my 30s.  I can honestly say I had wanted my “very own horse” for 30 years.

I started riding when I was 2 or 3.  I don’t have much memory of that, but I look perfectly adorable in the photos.  Riding was a rite of passage for every youg Irish girl, and despite my families financial situation, money was found/made/saved for me to take occasional lessons.  As I grew older, my love and dedication to the “way of the horse” grew and grew.  It was my big “hobby”.  My siblings were rep hockey and soccer players.  I played house league.  And rode.  Weekly lessons turned into weekly lessons, plus a trail ride if I spent the day mucking out stalls and cleaning tack.  Hard work, but worth it.  Nothing like hanging in the barn with a bunch of horse crazy tweens and then going for a ride without an instructor.  Oh the freedom.

The awesome thing about horses, is that you really can’t MAKE them do anything.  You can make doing what you want them to do easier, you can ask nicely, you can use neat tricks and position your body in such a way that they will do what you want, but the bottom line is that even the smallest horse can do serious damage to a human if they wanted to.  Heck, even by accident.

My new horse (I have had her for 6 months now) is a Clydesdale.  I am regularly amazed that she doesn’t choose to kill me.  Because she could.  In a heartbeat.  She weighs at least 1600 pounds (she will likely finish at 1800-1900 pounds).  She is currently 16.3 hands.  Which means (for the non-horsey-people), that her withers (where her neck starts from her back) are 5’6″ from the ground.  I’m a tall person.  I can barely see over her at her withers.  She will likely grow another couple of inches.  It is not uncommon for Clydesdales to be 18 hands.  That is 6 feet from the ground to the top of her back.  That is a tall horse.

People, even horse people, are surprised to see how much I can get her to do without many of the “harsher” training methods.  Granted, I have been known to  hand out a well deserved smack, and I do use a whip when training (she HATES the sound of it hitting my leg).  But generally, I use methods that make doing the right thing easy, and the wrong thing hard.  And I generally assume that if Baby doesn’t get it, then I am asking her the wrong way.

But, I can never REALLY make her do something.  She is always going to be bigger and stronger than me.  She chooses to do what I ask.  She chooses not to kill me.  And that is really amazing.

I don’t ride Baby yet.  She is still too young (almost 3 years now), in my opinion.  I’m teaching her to pull a cart.  Breaking her to drive.

But riding a horse is such a great way to see the world.  I love trail rides.  Exploring the woods on horseback is really cool.  And underlying it all is that this amazing creature lets you ride it.  It is an incredible relationship.

From Sylvain:  1. Did you have a best friend growing up? What is your fondest memory of time spent with this person? Also, what was the absolute craziest thing you two did?

I had several best friends growing up.
Two have had lifelong impacts on me.
J lived on the next street over.  We were together daily in the summer through grade school and junior high.  She was the youngest of four, and was largely unsupervised.  I love playing at her house.  J and I did wild and crazy things like jumping on trampolines, playing barbies despite our older ages, and deciding which of the Monkeys we wanted as our boyfriends.  We had a public life, which looked like everyone else’s.  But in our private times, we were silly and playful, and were able to be the little girls we needed to be.
Sadly, we lost J to suicide when I was 16.  She was 15.  I knew she was in trouble.  I knew.  And I was brave and strong enough to tell a teacher.  Just like you are supposed to do.  The teacher did do what she was supposed to do, and followed up.  The parents were aware of the situation, and J was seeing a therapist and was on anti-depressants (which, in fact, she was hiding away to take all at once).  I will never forget coming home from a summer at camp, and going to her funeral.  It was horrifying.  It changed everything.  My own battle with mental illness got even more intense after loosing her.

B and I met in grade 4.  We clicked right away, and became part of a group of 4.  J&J&B&K.  We were inseparable.  Well, until one J moved away and the other one killed herself.  Desperate times sealed us as friends for life.  She was one on the only ones I could talk to about my own problems, and I was her closest confident for years.  Her mother practically adopted me, and I could come over anytime, day or night, to talk, eat, or sleep.  Whatever I needed.  I always thought B had it made.  Her parents were broken up, she had free reins.  Compared to the trouble her other siblings got into, she was an angel, so could do anything she wanted.  As university students, she slept over at my parents house one Easter weekend.  And participated in her first Easter Egg hunt.  She showed me that my family was not just the horrible beasts that I had thought they were.  I had taken so much for granted.  B has had much loss.  Her mother died in a car crash, her brother killed himself.  She hasn’t had an easy run of it.  And she has always been there for me.  And me for her.  We are still very close, and I’m blessed to call her a friend.
As for crazy things.  Gosh.  I don’t know.  We had a lot of extra curricular activities back then. Got into a lot of trouble apart, actually.  We ran in separate circles.  Good thing too.  Not sure the world could have handled us together.

My new baby

So loosing two horses in 6 months just sucks, no matter what.

My Boy was euthanized August 31 last year.  It was horrible.  But no doubt that it was the right thing to do.

In his last months, I wavered between “I’m never getting another horse again” and “I’m getting the first critter who is nice to me”.

When he was gone, I ached for him.  Not only did I miss “him” and all the neat stuff about him, I missed Horse.  I missed the barn.  I missed grooming.  I missed hanging out, training, working with a horse.  I missed horse hugs and horse goobers.  I missed Horse.

I started looking in the early fall.

I found a couple of prospects.  My vet said to walk away.  My vet and I have been through so much together.  He knows my loss.  He knows what I can take.  He knows how I am with my horses.

He directed me to a small farm, long time clients of his vet practice.  6-8 horses at a time.  They breed, they show, they take really good care of thier horses.  They don’t skimp on vet care, or on training.  Nice horses.

In early December, I found myself the proud (and very surprised) owner of a 2 year old, unbroken, untrained baby Clydesdale.

Because, as you know, I have nothing better to do with my “free” time.

The upside…

The upside of buying a 1989 Class C RV and getting completely screwed over in the process is that you get to learn a lot about a lot of things you had never even considered before.

For example.  A Class C RV is like a house…and a truck.  Which means, that you need to look at all the things you would look at when you buy a truck (engine, tires, certification, etc) as well as all the things you look at when you buy a house (walls, floors, electrical, plumbing).

We did very little inspection.  I fell in love with the layout.  So I convinced my partner that it was the best thing ever, and I bought it.

When we got home (literally, seconds after we parked it), we discovered that the entire back end was completely rotten.  Initial quote for repair – 3-4 grand.

The fine folks at the repair shop took off the back wall. Then called me in.  It was worse that they thought.  Partial floor and partial side wall replacement was also necessary.

I cried a lot.  Final bill from the RV repair shop – 6 grand.

That of course, doesn’t include all the actual internal work that we have done/are planning to do.  We spent 6 grand.  And it looks just like when we bought it.


Getting used to it

“They” say that women start subsequent pregnancies heavier than the one before.

Is it because they are older? Or because they are less active?

Some people believe that most women just don’t get down to their pre-pregnancy weight again. Ever.

I buy that. Totally.

I remember being very pregnant, after gaining 50 pounds. I was huge. I was fat to start with. And just got bigger. I didn’t even go full term. But I was huge.

And by the time I had lost 30 pounds, I saw a teeny tiny woman in the mirror. I really did. I lost 30 pounds in a month. And that felt amazing.  (I was 225 pounds)

It is so hard to get motivated to continue loosing weight when you already look fabulous!

I believe now I’m just used to being fat. It just doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it used to.

It doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it should.

Flurry of a weekend

Once upon a time, weekends were a time for sleeping in, morning playtimes, and lots of relaxation.  Chores would get done, yes.  But it was not uncommon to only accomplished on a handful of tasks on a Sunday.  Mow the lawn, grocery shop and make a lasagna, say.  Wow – busy day, I would say, and sit on the sofa from dinner time on, content with the amount I had achieved.

And now.

My word.

With 3 kids and 2 adults in various activities, the weekend just flies by.

Last weekend, there were 3 hockey games BEFORE 10 AM on Saturday.  Yep.

2 more were in the afternoon.

Add in the basketball and the hockey on Sunday.  Don’t forget the grocery shopping.

Somewhere in there is the parenting.

No wonder I hit Sunday night with an exhausted “thump”.

Granted – I know I could cut back on the activities.  But where is the fun in that?

My kids have lots of informal activities, and several loosely structured ones through our various homeschooling groups.

But formal activities have value.  And they are fun.  And they all seem to fall on the weekend.  My kids are each doing 2.

Making Monday a very calm, relaxing day off at home for us all.

Except my partner.  Who heads back to work wearily on a Monday looking forward, no doubt, to sitting at a desk drinking coffee instead of trying to keep warm in yet another arena.