Vacation Over and Time to Be Fifty

It’s been quite a while since my last post.  A birthday vacation, of sorts.

Actually, I’ve been spending some time on blog construction –  not this one, but an additional one with my younger sister Susan.

It’s called Ess & Jae V2.0.  Get it?  Ess (S) and Jae (J)…..?  The V2.0 stands for the second half of life.

We actually started it after a dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Allium in Westboro, where we did a lot of complaining about how much weight we had gained over the summer, eating out, drinking wine, sitting on patios…..you get my drift.

The blog started out as an accountability tool with us posting our weight loss each week.  However, it’s morphed into a lifestyle blog about being 40+ or 50+ and enjoying the best things that life has to offer.

We don’t always work compatibly together, so this should be an interesting ride.   Time will tell….

On another note, we had our annual Sister’s Weekend in Vermont this year.  I chose the location and Burlington was awesome.  Love the town, loved the valley, loved the people and loved the atmosphere.  Of course, there was big food and lotsa wine, but we managed to squeak in a hike (that nearly killed me!).  Pictures are following…..

Now you can see our pores and everything.

That’s me in the middle.  As you can see, I’ve gained some weight this summer.  Enjoyed every minute of it.  But not enjoying the fact that my pants don’t fit.  And I have a roll around my belly.  Geez, I’m looking like Mom.  I sure don’t want to look like Mom.  Love her, but she’s struggled with her weight all her life.  Nope.  Not good.

So, I have started a new program based on what I’ve learned about my eating habits and physiology this year.  It has been a great year for learning things.

I’m eating moderately high protein, high fat (yum!) and low carb.  After two decades of trying to muscle through the hunger of low-fat dieting, this feels different.  I’m also eating reckless amounts of vegetables.  Observations so far:  this keeps me full longer, on fewer calories.  My skin has cleared up.  And (TMI ahead – brace yourself) a lot less bloating and gas.  It’s been several weeks and I’m down 5 pounds since just before Labour Day.

I plan to continue this blog as well because….well…..sometimes a girl’s words just have to be hers alone.  Not shared.  Just a personal truth.  And maybe a little more frankness than in a family situation.

Thanks for coming back.

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We still mourn with you

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A Backlog of Words

Workouts:  don’t even ask.  Actually, that’s not true.  There have been some token workouts, but all-in-all, it’s been quite pathetic really.

The birthday season will officially end tomorrow with a last dinner with some business associates.  My enjoyment of the festivities has definitely reached a saturation point.

I need life to get back to normal.  Quiet-normal.  Boring-normal.  Most of all, thin-normal.

This summer of socializing has re-introduced a few pounds to my backside.  A new weight loss project is underway, with a focus on healthy eating, moving more, and a little more accountability.  I’ll blog about that within a few days, hopefully.

As for a backlog of words, not only have the frequency of my posts been suffering, my reading time has been severely diminished.

I have literary constipation, if you will.

Here’s the line-up of the books on my nightstand:

1.  Chi Running.  I haven’t even cracked it open yet.

2.  The Life of Pi.

A gift from Older Sis.


3.  The Glass Castle.  Another present from Older Sis.  Canadian author.

4.  Some mags and easy reading…..

and this (note the “easy fall recipes”!)

5. And last, but certainly not least, this was in my mailbox last week.  It’s an end-of-summer ritual….

6.  This neat gift has also not even been opened, although it’s been sitting on the coffee table for 3 weeks.

I’ve been wanting this for ages!

These don’t even include the cheesy cowboy-romance book that Junior Finance Guy (and his wife) included in my little cadeau.  You can bet that I’ll be enjoying that one sometime very soon, especially the steamy parts where the cowboy hero takes off those chaps.  Oh my……..

I may get in a little reading time tonight.  :-)

 

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Onwards with Fifty

Workouts:  Socializing.  That is all.

It’s been a crazy two weeks.  And I’ve loved every minute of it.

So, now I’m 50.

Let me tell you about my world.  I’ve done 5 dinners.  2 lunches.  Drinks on a couple of patios.  A weekend away.  Way too much eating and considerable consummation of beverages.  :-)

I had a great weekend away in Niagara-On-The-Lake.  What a beautiful, beautiful little town.

This is main street.  Gorgeous, eh?  This is someone else’s picture – check out the website on the bottom.

Cottage Girl, Best Friend and I shared Belfry Cottage which was just outside of town.  This pic is from the website…much better than the ones I took.  I think I need  new camera.  Couldn’t be my photography skills.  Nope, couldn’t be that.

Cottage Girl’s room (I did take this picture).

Best Friend and I shared this room (yup, took this one too).  Note the bags on the bed.  Good photography.

We toured town, took in a production of My Fair Lady at the Shaw festival, the play being written by George Bernard Shaw of course, and the festival also celebrating it’s 50th birthday.  What a coincidence!

That was Friday evening of last weekend.  Saturday, it was all about wine.

Cattail Creek Winery was the first we visited.  Small, young winery, big success and great wines.  Of course, I bought some of their product…um….maybe 3 bottles.  :-)

Coyote’s Run Estate Winery was the next adventure and we had a great experience here!  I would highly recommend the wines and the staff were incredible. Bought some wine here too…um….4 bottles.

They had a Yoga in the Vineyard program!!  How groovy is that?   Except it’s 6 hours from my house.  Sadly.

Wine + yoga = ZEN, I think.

Saturday night, it was all about food (with a little wine thrown in, of course).

We had dinner at The Oban Inn.

Oh, my word, it was gorgeous.  You can check out the food photos here, because we ate much too quickly to take any pictures.

Definitely a weekend to remember.  With some of my favorite girls.   Both 50-something glorious women.

Note the wine glasses in hand and the blur!  It was a good trip.

And a new program begins today.  More on that later.

Ta-ta.  Enjoy your Saturday evening.

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The Day After The Big Day!

Well, that’s it!  I’m 50. 

I can hardly believe it.

The day was filled with great energy, good food, good wine, streamers (in my office!!) and cupcakes.  How could that not be anything but good?  :-)

I’m headed off to Niagara-On-The-Lake for a long weekend with Best Friend and Cottage Girl.

Have a nice weekend.

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Productive Sundays – Pasta, Plants & Preparations

Sunday morning workout:  gardening, 1 hr.

It’s not even 9:00am yet, and I’ve spent an hour weeding, pruning and mulching the front garden.

Don’t be impressed – I let it get completely overgrown.  It was very shabby.  The virginia creeper was taking over the front walkway.  The postie was in danger of getting swallowed up by creeping ivy when he delivered my mail.  They make horror moves about yards like mine.

OK, it’s not this bad, but it was pretty bad.

Now, I’m drinking coffee, roasting a spaghetti squash in the oven before it gets too hot, blogging (obviously) and watching a Sunday morning TV program called  It\’s Just Food.

It’s a groovy little Canadian program that shows how simple cooking really is.  This morning is fresh homemade pasta.  Who knew it was so easy??!  Makes my creative juices start flowing while I”m making my grocery list.  Bacon, spinach and cheese ravioli.  YUM!!

Also on the agenda for today are groceries, some meal  planning, and a trip to the Rideau Center for some shopping.  Best Friend is looking for a new watch and I’m always happy to window shop.  Except the fall clothes are out…..and it’s going to be 90 degrees here today.  Talk about a disconnect!  Who can look at cozy sweaters when it’s sweltering outside.

It’s going to be a busy week!  Monday, I’m having dinner with Younger Sis to celebrate our mutual birthdays.  We’re almost twins except that we’re 6 years apart.  That’s probably why we get along so well.

We’re checking out the new small plates menu at Allium.   Check it out…it looks awesome.

Tuesday is a free day – must get some serious exercise and maybe some yoga.

Wednesday is my 50TH BIRTHDAY!!!  That means I’m going out for lunch with my fun work peeps at Stoneface Dollys which is one of my favorite restaurants.  We’re not inviting Obnoxious Sales Guy.  Picture stolen from the website.

After work, Younger Sis and I are planning to go to a new yoga studio called Empower Me Yoga. 

I plan to get my Zen on and set my intention for the coming year and perhaps the coming decade too.

After that, we’re going for gelato at Truffle Treasures  which makes the most amazing chocolate-peanut butter creation you have ever tasted!

On to Thursday,  I’m having dinner with Cottage Girl and my real estate agent.  Who is also a friend.  Who I don’t see often enough. I love spending time with fabulous girlfriends – both of these women can teach me lots about rockin’ 50.

And then, early, early, early on Friday morning, Best Friend, Cottage Girl and I are going on a road trip – Niagara-On-The-Lake!  It’s a picturesque community not far from Niagara Falls that has lots of quaint towns, award-winning wineries and the Shaw Festival.  We’re going to see My Fair Lady!  We’ve rented a guest cottage on an estate so that we can relax and drink coffee…and wine, of course….on our very own patio.

Whew!  What a week it will be.

On a couple of other completely unrelated notes, I’m going to drop into Chapters today to look for this book:

I’m a terrible runner and I want to enjoy it more.  There has to be a way to train smarter, rather than harder.

I think I just experienced one of the benefits of being 50…..smarter, not harder.  Maturity.  Wisdom.  :-)

And way off topic, call me crazy but is anyone disturbed that Michelle Bachman just won the Ames Straw Poll?  Far be it from me to stick my nose into US politics when our Canadian version isn’t a whole lot better, but can’t anyone see that this woman is a wing-nut???  Good grief.  Don’t the folks in Iowa get any decent media coverage?

Soapbox moment over.

Happy Sunday.

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Life Choices

Workouts:  sadly, hit-and-miss this week.  And I’m going into birthday week…..no telling how little will get accomplished!  5 days to 50!!

People are funny, aren’t they?

Warning:  philosophical meanderings ahead.

Everyone has a story;  everyone makes choices that seem completely unfathomable to other people, I’ve observed.  Life is complicated and yet, really, it’s very simple, isn’t it?

I had drinks last night with a friend on a lovely patio.  It was a beautiful August evening – perfect for sitting outside with cocktails, patio food and conversation.

Patio Friend talked long and solemnly about the challenges in her marriage and with her grown children.  And believe me, these are serious challenges.  It’s not a life I would take, despite the large home, backyard pool, new vehicles, big screen TV’s, financial comfort, secure pensions…..

We ended the conversation where she told me she had put considerable thought into leaving, but in the end, had decided that she couldn’t part with her material standing.  She hated her life, but she didn’t want  mine.  She actually said that.  Single, with a tiny house, less than adequate retirement savings ( but not for long…and she’s a lot older than I am), older car, no kids, less financial security.

At first I was extremely insulted although I said nothing because I was astonished anyone would say such a thing.  How rude!

I came home and puttered around the house for awhile, had another glass of wine, read on the deck (until it got too dark….the days are getting shorter!!), and then cozied into bed with my new Chatelaine magazine.  And I thought long and hard about what she had said.

My first thought was that she is selling her soul for a pool and a new car.

But then I realized that this coin has two sides – I wouldn’t want her life either!  I’m just too mannerly to say such a thing to her face.

I love the fact that my life is calm.  My house is tiny but it’s very comfortable – and it takes no time to clean and tidy.  My car is old but it’s very reliable and I haven’t had a car payment in more than 10 years.   I have an active social life although it requires much more work because I don’t have a regular date to socialize with.  I have much less interest in material possessions – I couldn’t care less about TV’s and electronic gadgets, expensive furniture, fancy vehicles and granite counter tops (although I do yearn for a new stove). I have lots of quiet time to think about life, about what I want and what’s important to me.

I have come to the realization that if I added these material things to my life, I’d still just be…..well,  me, living in my life, with the same thoughts, same likes and dislikes, same emotions and same body.

Only we can change or enhance our own life.  Stuff doesn’t change our lives, we do, and occasionally, if we’re very lucky, other wonderful people do.

And if we want to change it, it’s as simple as a decision.  The details are sometimes messy, but the principles are very simple.  If you don’t like the ball someone is throwing to you, don’t catch it.

But people are different.  Friend couldn’t imagine living without her stuff and the crises her children and difficult marriage seem to generate (drama addict?) or her big house.  I couldn’t imagine living without peace and serenity.

I think I’m going to like being 50.

Gratitude.

 

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