Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#124. or, One over par.

You haven't been getting all that many posts from me lately. As much as I'd like to be writing, it's just been really hard the last little while.

  Luckily for me, the Pish Posh 8 Week Challenge has brought me back here almost every week for the last 2 months.

  If you read my last post, which was only a few days back, you're aware that I didn't really do all that well on this challenge. I didn't achieve my weight goal, didn't exercise or get to the track anywhere near as much as I had planned on. At first glance, it seems, that I may have failed miserably in this go round of the challenge. The same challenge, that I had done so well on, the first time around.

  It might seem, that maybe, for all intents and purposes,  I was just there.

  But......maybe that's just it? I was there. I know that every time I made a decision on what I was looking at to eat, the challenge was in the back of my mind. At the end of every stress filled day, when I'd get in and think to myself, "Good Lord, I could use a beer right now!", the thought of being in this challenge was there. When all that I wanted to do was melt into the couch and watch the mind numbing crap that seems to pass for TV these days, there was this germ in my head that I could walk or stretch or anything really, to try to make my tired body better than it is. Because I was there.

  I didn't reach my goal. Whether it was time, or stress, or lack of motivation, or a combination of all of them, I didn't reach my goal. Yet, the goal remains. I haven't given up, or thrown in the towel. The goal stands. Be better. I can't say for certain, but I'm pretty sure, if I didn't have that tiny Pish Posh, sitting on my shoulder these last 8 weeks, I wouldn't be flush. That I'd be digging out of a hole, trying to get back to where I started  to be a better me. I think that's good.

  There's some really inspiring people involved in this challenge. People that I'm proud to call my friends. New and old. Brett, who posted every day through the last 8 weeks. That was pretty incredible. Peach, whose working on hand stand push ups! (and I'm certain could snap me like a twig!) Carrie, who's dealing with all kinds of shit. Literally! Reanna, trying to quit smoking, Michelle, with no power cause she's dealing with a fricken hurricane. Pansies & Sunflowers, whose also dealing with the hurricane but also, juggling life as a single parent while trying to be healthy at the same time. Jules, who wants to drink less coffee. (but for the life of me I can't even begin to fathom that.) The anonymus DSLikesit, who made excellent progress to healthier living and his weight loss goals. Or Kianwi, who had her 5K marathon goal cut short because she has to wear a Franken-boot to fix her wonky foot.And to anybody I missed, you all inspire me to be better.

 (Just a side note, Kianwi and I are currently in the planning stages of some type of virtual Blogger 5k marathon sometime this winter. I'll give you more info on that and how you can be a part of it as we figure things out.)

  And to Pish Posh herself, who has a plate so full of crappy life right now, that I'd just like to give her a big hug and tell her that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, even if she can't quite see it just yet. She looked after us like a mother hen, sitting out in the rain, dealing with life, while we all took a little bit of refuge under her protective wings. She's truly one of a kind.

  So it's over. The Pish Posh 8 week Challenge is done. But not really. There's still work to be done. I've got a ways to go to be where I want to be. And whether or not we can come here to link up every week and share our stories and struggles, I need to keep moving, and Pish Poshing my ass off if I have any hope whatsoever in meeting those goals.

So I will. And I'll be better.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

#123. or, Par

  I'm having some trouble trying to stay on track in regards to doing the things that I need to do to get healthier. I've been trying to work toward some goals in this round of the Pish Posh 8 week Challenge, but honestly, I'm not doing all that well.

 It's not like I set myself up for failure with unachievable goals. I mean, just now, I looked back at the post that I started this whole thing with, and I was shooting for 7 pounds. Yet, I'm about the same weight that I was when I started.

  Par.   (pär)   An equality of status, level, or value; equal footing:

  It hasn't really been the peachy-ist 8 weeks that I've ever had. I've been running through them (figuratively, not literally.) with long hours, little sleep at times, and the majority of my meals eaten out of a lunch box while I drove a tractor or a combine.

  That being said, I've been reading the posts of the others in the challenge and there isn't anybody who doesn't have a struggle of some type going on. That's pretty much why we're here. To try fix something.  Do something better. Be a better person.  Did I do that? I don't know? I feel the same. Maybe a little more tired. I was able to squeeze going to the track once. Once in the last 8 weeks. But when I was there, I did a little better than I thought I would. So that's good.

  But like everyone else in the challenge, I'm aware of what I need to do. The goals are still there. Hopefully, I can get caught up with things, get back into a schedule where I can take the time to make a better lunch, perhaps eat a few more vegetables. Or maybe get to the track 2 or 3 times in a week.

 The goals are still there. It isn't my plan to stop trying when the challenge ends. I've still got targets for Christmas, and the end of January. Targets that I intend to achieve.

  But for now.....I'm par. If this was golf, that would be pretty good.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

#122. or, I forgot to tell you I'm finished

  This morning marked one week since I've finished my combining. There's still plenty to do around here as the ground freezes and the the winter makes it's eminent arrival. But getting that done was certainly a relief. I've mentioned before that while it's probably one of my favourite jobs that I do, it's almost certainly the most favourite job that I like to see get finished.

  September was a remarkable month for combining. It seems that there is a shift of sorts happening because as a rule, October has historically been the the month that most of the harvesting took place around here. As it was, October turned out to be rather terrible in that regard this year. Whatever you didn't get done in September, had to be stolen from the field this October.

  I cannot BEGIN to tell you the idiocy in trying to replace ones combine, the week prior to starting the harvest. I don't know whet the hell I was thinking. While the wheels started to turn on the combines of all my neighbours, I waited while they tried to find, then make the combine that I had bought ready to use. Then I had some breakdowns and just the whole process of shaking the bugs out of the thing and learning how to run this newer combine lost me the better part of a week. That's an extremely valuable week when it's time to harvest. But I thought it would be OK, because we'd have a good stretch in October and all would be well.

  October was the shits!

  I waited and waited to get back into the field. There was other jobs to do so it was busy, but what I really wanted was to be done with the harvest. It rained and drizzled and was miserable. Then, it began to look promising. And two weeks ago now, I started that big green beasty up and got back into the field. The first night, there was heavenly breeze and the conditions were extremely combiney. I was able to go until 5:30 in the morning. That whole week I didn't shut down before 1:00 in the morning.

 But there were darkling shadows on the horizon. On Friday, it was supposed to snow. And turn cold. And that would be the end of it. Whatever didn't get combined would have to be left to be done in the spring. And that would suck! Like REALLY SUCK!

  Friday morning, I had one field left to go, the clock was ticking. The fricken weather app on my phone said I had until noon before the rain would start, that would in turn become snow. So I fricken combined like I had never combined before.

  I need to stop here and say that we also had hay out that needed to be baled. The help of some great neighbours, one who baled that  hay, and one who had come earlier in the week with a combine and gave me a day, was the only reason that I was in the position of being able to be on the last field on the last possible day to combine for the year. I couldn't have done it without them. Thanks guys!

  So.....I was combining like a bat out of hell, my son had gotten off work and spelled off our neighbour that had been baling. And for some unknown reason, the weather gods smiled on me. The rain held off. He finished the hay and showed up to bale the straw that was left behind as I combined. And somewhere around 11:30 PM, I finished. I would have liked to do some sort of freaky victory dance (because every time I dance, the result is freaky) but there was still 70 acres of straw that needed baling. And the snow was coming. And this was the last day. So I sent my son home with the combine, jumped into the baler tractor, and baled straw like I had never baled straw before! Until 7:30 in the fricken morning!

  And as I finished off the last 4 or 5 rows, the snow slowly started to fall from the sky and I knew the all of those long hours and the time, and the fatigue, had been worth it because in a few hours, the ground would be a blanket of white. I went home and crawled into bed.

  Except it didn't snow. Whatever fell as I finished off and drove home was all there was. It's been a week now and still no snow. Oh, it's been snowing. There's snow in the south, there's snow in the north, but no snow at home. I could have taken my time and finished the harvest at my leisure. Because these days, it takes me far longer to recover from a week of  late nights than it did, even say, 5 years ago. When I look in the mirror, I look a little worse for wear. Tired, grizzled, and all leather faced. I can't help but wonder if there's some statistic, like how smoking each cigarette takes however many minutes off of the span of your life. How many years does each harvest takes off your life when it's all said and done?

  But there's still plenty to do. It looks like we might not be able to finish getting everything cultivated unless we get some more warm days. There's manure to haul out, cows to bring home, fences to mend, bales to haul, equipment to repair, grain to market, calves to sell, it just goes on and on. I'm happy to be done combining though.

  .............One other thing. When I said I combined like I had never combined before, I actually meant since last year. It seems to be the same thing every season.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

#121. or, Do you have something on your cheek?

  Our Little son has a tendency to talk a bit of smack.

  He has flair for the dramatic, and quite the imagination, both of which I have no idea whatsoever, whose genes that came from. My suspicions, however, lean a bit more toward the parent who spends a good deal of time in a tractor......I'm not mentioning any names though.

  Really, the blame doesn't land entirely on his shoulders. He's spent his whole life watching his two older brothers fight like cats and dogs. It only stands to reason that some of the wonderfully, intellectual insults, hurled between two teenage boys, were going to be absorbed into his brain through osmosis. And trust me, he was like a sponge! He soaked up everything. I hope that his brothers realize the monster that they've created here, and I'm certain that they do, because for the most part, his inappropriate jabs are directed at the two of them.

  So, his mouth tends to get him into a bit of trouble now and then. Occasionally, my wife or myself will  have to tell him to tone it down a bit. Sometimes though, we leave him to suffer the consequences of his actions after he's pushed one too many buttons on one of his brothers.

  Oldest son will generally just ask him to stop. But if Little son continues to poke at him with a stick, he'll get growled at, and that seems to usually be enough to calm the playing field. Hostilities don't usually escalate between those two. It's sort of like a banana republic threatening a super power nation. You would be foolish to test their resolve.

  The dynamic with Middle son is a little different. Little son will push until Middle son snaps and does something like jamming one of his dirty work boot socks into Little son's mouth to try shut him up. A couple weeks ago, he hauled Little son outside and tossed into the pool. Being early fall, it was well past the time to take the pool down for the year and the water was pretty cool. He looked like a drowned cat standing at the door wanting to get back in, but we made him take off all of his wet clothes outside before he was allowed in.

  Yesterday at breakfast, the topic of Little son's swirly came up. Now, in case you've been living under a rock since say....the 50's, a swirly is when somebody larger than you holds your head, upside down in the toilet and flushes it. Usually to punish you for some ill deed, but sometimes just because you had to wear tape on your glasses or had the hem of your pants half way between your ankles and knees. Really, I think the advent of the flush toilet facilitated the swirly, because having to manually rotate your victim while his head was in the crapper, must have been a colossal pain in the ass.

  Anyways, I had been unaware of any swirly's handed out in our house.

  A couple weeks back, it was discovered that we had a bastard mouse take up residence in our basement. That event, expedited the complete clean-up of the basement where the two older boys live. It also required a team effort between all the boys and my wife to get the job done. A lot of things came out and went to the dump. Anything useful that we didn't need any more got sent to donations.

  My wife explained that, Little son was being his usual self, and being a bit of a pain in the ass while the clean up was going on. Eventually, the two older boys decided that enough was enough and hauled Little son upstairs to the toilet where I do my business and give him a swirly. For some reason that made it worse, but I'm not really so sure why? As she was telling me about this, Little son sat across the table looking rather annoyed, yet sheepish that this event took place. Apparently, he took a 30 minute shower afterwards just in case there was any spackle stuck to the side of his head. I hope he learned a bit of humility.

   Later, I was talking to my wife about this, and asked her what she had been doing while the swirly was being applied. It seems, Little son is very wirey and it took both of his brothers to hold him in place to keep him from escaping...........

    ...................somebody had to flush the toilet!

   I am submitting this post to Dude write this week. It's where guy bloggers come together to submit posts, that get voted on from Sunday to Tuesday evening to see whose was most popular. I encourage you to pop over and take a look at them and maybe come back and vote on your favourites. 
You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK!

Friday, October 12, 2012

#120. or, Where would you go?

So my friend Carrie, over at Hammock in The Honeysuckle, is having this incredible give-away contest. She's giving away a trip! A freaking TRIP for goodness sakes! Why on earth would she go and do something like that you might be wondering? Actually, the answer is pretty simple.......cause she's AWESOME that way.

 To get in on her Great-Get-Away-Give-Away contest, all you have to do is answer a question. One question, each week, until December. So I plan to do that, because frankly, I'm a pretty big fan of trips. Especially trips that I don't have to pay for.

 Did I already mention how awesome she is?

 So this weeks question is:

  Name the top five places that you would like to visit but have never been.

 1. Bora Bora. I would love to go to Bora Bora and stay in one of those grass huts on stilts, thingys on the ocean. I think that would be an incredible experience.

And of course I had to choose the picture I found that included a hammock!

  2. Any place in Europe that has stone castles.
  3. I'd like to go to Hawaii and see the Pearl Harbour exhibit.
  4. To the East coast of Canada and visit the maritimes.
  5. This might seem odd but I'd like to visit Mongolia. There's a lot of history there and it would be interesting to visit the people that nearly conquered the world.

  This isn't a list that can be closed with just five choices. I mean, there's so many places that I'd like to visit that I couldn't include. San Francisco, New Orleans, The Alamo in Texas. I'd like to go to Cuba and tour cigar factories. I'd like to see the Panama Canal. Maybe Egypt, or Africa on a safari?  But all in all, there's nothing more relaxing for me in the world than a mile of beach and the ocean lapping at my feet.

  Someplace else that interests me is Australia. But like Rachel, over at Turtle Tracks, whose afraid of the giant spiders, it seems like a pretty dangerous place. It's almost like everything God created that can kill you got put on a list and at the end of the day they didn't know where to send them all so they packaged the whole works up and sent them to Australia. I'm not certain that I'm rugged enough for Australia?

  So, you feel like going on a trip? A trip that's, for the most part, completely paid for? Then get your butt over to see my friend Carrie, the hammock whisperer. All you need to do is answer a question. Easy peasy.

  ............Of course, you'll want to hang around and visit a bit with her. Like I said earlier, she's just cool that way.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

#119. or, You have to move (updated)

  I've been trying to be healthier about the things I do. I wish I made better choices but the honest truth is that I've been having a bit of a difficult time trying to focus on, and commit to the things that I need to do, to actually see a change.

  It's not that I don't really give a shit or anything. I do! I want to look better, I want to get into some sort of routine that I can maintain and just be healthy. I want to look good in clothes. I want to stand naked in front of the mirror and not have to suck in any belly or sigh inside because I'm disappointed in what I see. The only way that's going to happen though is if I start to move.

  It's week 6 of The Pish Posh 8 Week Challenge and for the last 3 at least, I've been afraid to even stet foot on a scale. When I started this, I thought that I could make a difference by just changing the way I eat. It's a start, I know that it's a big step toward being healthier, but even that has been hard to keep up with.

  You know what else sucks? Every fitness related thing that you can join up for in town begins in October. Which I understand, but for me, I can't even begin to think about taking part in anything like that until the middle of November at the earliest.

  Sitting in the cab of a combine for 12 hours or more over the course of a day doesn't help. It's been raining in October, but I've spent the days that I can't combine, fixing stuff and trying to prepare things for winter. I think it's safe to say that I'm experiencing a bit of stress as the clock ticks away until freeze up and the list that's already as long as my arm with jobs to do before that happens,  seems to grow each day.

 So I eat cookies. And sugary crap because it makes me feel better. For a bit. Then I feel like shit because it's....well, sugary crap. That and beer.

  It's to the point where my back is sore and I'm living off Advils for the last three days because I've got this nagging headache. And when I get off the couch, or climb over the front of a pick-up to work on an engine (which I've been doing for last couple days) I make this annoying grunting noise. SHIT!


  I've been reading the posts of others who've been taking part in this challenge. We all have slightly different goals we're trying to achieve in being here. Whether it's  getting fit, doing more writing, or making better life choices because if we don't, could die! But the thing is, all of the people involved who are doing well at the challenge are making a difference in their lives because they decided to start moving.

  I'm going to do something. Anything. Just move. And not be afraid if I go to the track and all I can do is walk. Not be afraid to get on the scale. Not be afraid to stand in front of the mirror and actually exhale. Because I know, while moving is only the beginning, it's a start. And that start is what is going to make me feel better. Better in that, I won't need those damned sugary cookies to boost my mood. Better in that, I'll be making the difference that my body has been asking me to make every time it complains when I try to drag it off the fricken couch because I'm too sore and exhausted to move.

  So, there it is. TODAY I WILL MOVE. Tomorrow, October 12th, I'll update this post, and tell you what I did. Whatever it is. Hold me accountable, take me to town. I'm not afraid.

  October 12th post update:

   So I went to the track last night after supper. Passed up on reading blogs and headed to town at 8:00 PM. I had intended to be there for an hour, but I only did 45 minutes. Now, according to the giant painted sign on the wall, 5 laps is a kilometer. 8 is a mile. I did somewhere between 25 and 30 laps. I was going to stop at the 5km mark, but I'm pretty sure that I miscounted a couple so I threw in a few extra for good measure.

  Besides being a little stiff in the hips and legs, I feel pretty good. A little tired maybe. I had intended to roll out of bed when my wife got up to shower and do some stretches, but I fell back to sleep until she returned. By then it was time to get things rolling, so I'll try to add that to my mornings in the next day or so.

  I will try to keep this up on some of the evenings that I'm not out in the tractor, until it freezes up and I can set up a weekly routine of going to the track. I've been taking with my wife about zumba. (which is already going.) Everybody she asks says that it's almost always, only women there so I'm a bit apprehensive about showing up there and sweating all over the place. I guess we'll see?

...........OH, also, because this post ended up being way more negative than I had intended, I need to give you something happier to leave you with. The puppies have opened their eyes! That and their doing this awesome little puppy waddle walk. It's awesome!  :)

Sunday, October 07, 2012

#118. or, Dog Pile!

 I have news!  Old news, really. About a week old. We now have 13 dogs. Which sounds rather hillbilly-ish, I know, but it's not quite like we're crazy dog hoarders......just yet, anyways.

  Remember a couple months back when I posted about helping our good old male Labrador Retriever, Tuke,  find a little quiet time to get jiggy with our other, sexy young Lab? (you can read about it here.)

  Turns out that the old boy still had it in him and now we have 10 new puppies. Now, I realize that sort of makes me some type of dog pimp, but I live on the farm and we get to call it animal husbandry, which makes it all good.

  Anyways. the puppies.

   It had been obvious that Abby, the mother, was pregnant for the last month or so. She was getting rounder by the day. The week before she gave birth, I could put my hand on her while she was laying down and feel a bustle of activity going on inside of her belly. She had been spending some of her time looking for private places to hide. We had to follow her about and board up places that she seemed to find interesting, to keep her from burrowing under a shed or someplace we couldn't get to her when she had pups. I was a little concerned that she might crawl under the deck and I'd have to shimmy under there on my belly to get them all out. In an effort to encourage her to take advantage of the dog house, I had Little Son get a bale of straw and pack it in there to make it cozy and more appealing. Then we hoped for the best.

  The days before she gave birth were like each one was Christmas morning for Little Son. He'd get up and go to check if the puppies had arrived. On the day they did, it was pretty obvious. Tuke was practically beside himself. Anybody that came into the yard, received the same treatment. He's come barrelling up to you, full of excitement, spin about in a tizzy, then go bounding back toward the dog house. Like, COME QUICK! LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING!!! Thankfully, Abby had decided to give birth in the dog house.

  When she was done, she had 10 puppies. 4 yellow, 5 black, and 1 brown. You could nestle them nicely in your hand, their fat little bellies resting in your palm. When you'd walk up to the dog house, you could hear them all  squeaking away inside as they all crawled over each other, struggling to find their way toward lunch.


about a day or 2 old

  It's been about 10 days since Abby had her pups. The tiny pile of dog in the nest of straw in the doghouse has gotten substantially larger. Now one pup spills out of your hands when you cup them together. They don't even have their eyes open yet, but I can tell we're going to have to set up new diggs before too long. It's hard to believe how fast they are growing.

that's a pile of dog!

about 10 days old
  While Abby is busy being a good mother to her new puppies, I don't have any doubt that Tuke will be an equally good daddy. One time when he was younger, a neighbour stopped over for coffee on his way home from the veterinarian after having his box of puppies there for vaccinations. He set the box out of the truck for us to look at his little dogs and as they'd scramble out and scurry off, Tuke would run after them, pick them up by the scruff of the neck and bring them back and drop them into the box. While he's beginning to show the signs of getting a little older, I think he's still as excited as any new young dad could be.

  So, the plan is to not keep all of these adorable little puppies. The thought was to see how their personalities develop and maybe keep one that appealed to us. Right now though, they're all pretty damned appealing. We may have underestimated our ability to resist the adorable cuteness of a basket of puppies.


   I am submitting this post to Dude write this week. It's where guy bloggers come together to submit posts, that get voted on from Sunday to Tuesday evening to see whose was most popular. I encourage you to pop over and take a look at them and maybe come back and vote on your favourites. 
You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK.