Friday, 7 June 2013


I'm still reading.  Ever since starting up again last fall I always have a book on the go.  I don't always read them as fast as I'd like since I don't have much time, but I try to read a little bit every night before bed.  This means that I get less sleep and am pretty tired, but it's worth it to have that little bit of escape.
So the last time I posted about reading, I was just getting through The Kitchen House, which was as I suspected very sad and disturbing but a good read.  Not my kind of book but I did find it hard to put down. 
After I finished that I read The Book of Negroes, which was a bit slower but I did really enjoy the story.  Many sad parts as well but it was rather uplifting and it was a good book.  It was interesting to read the history that went along with it, and the main character though she suffered many hardships, was so likeable and her courage was inspiring.
Then onto The Help which was highly recommended by my friends and it was an excellent book.  I can see why it was made into a movie (Academy Award Winning at that).  I haven't actually watched the movie yet (I saw the first little bit at our 'girl's movie night', but had to leave because Lily woke up and I had to go home!), but I would like to finish watching it some time.  It was a great book, it touched on some very serious issues but in a rather comedic way.  The characters were fantastic.  I would recommend it to others.
I think the next one I read after that was Life of Pi.  It is not a new book and I had heard of it but didn't know what it was about.  Then I saw a trailer for the movie which had just come out, and I really wanted to see it but not until I read the book.  Another friend had said it was amazing, so I ran out and bought it, and it really was amazing.  I loved it.  It wasn't even that it was particularly gripping, but the main character, Pi was so fascinating and it was such a cool story which a twist at the end.  The very night I finished the book we watched the movie and I was happy with how it was adapted to the big screen.  I felt the movie did the book justice and was just as powerful and moving.  I think I would put Life of Pi right up there with some of my favourite books.
Finally we got our book club started, and the first book we read as a group was The Paris Wife.  It was a work of fiction based on Ernest Hemingway's first marriage to a woman named Hadley.  It basically followed their whirlwind romance, marriage, and time together in Paris.  It was good, and very sad because it shows their decline as Hemingway becomes more engrossed in his budding career and less interested in the relationship with his wife.  I was so sad for her as she learns of his infidelity and the way he treats her after that.  Even though the book was fiction, all the characters and events really did happen and I found myself a little bit obsessed with Ernest Hemingway after reading it.  My heart broke for Hadley and what she had to go through, but in the end she came out of it stronger and had a wonderful life so that made having to read her heartache worth it.
In between book club books I read another Margaret Atwood book called Life Before Man.  It was actually one of her works from the seventies and I picked it up at the local book store.  I don't know why I chose that one, I guess because I had like the other book written by her that I had read.  This one was ok.  It wasn't gripping, or fascinating, or particularly anything really, but it did portray a very real story about three people in a love triangle and what they were feeling while going through it all.  I didn't think it was horrible but I wouldn't recommend it.
Our second book club book was In Between Oceans and it was another heart wrenching story, this time about a lighthouse keeper and his wife who suffer the loss of several children (two miscarriages and a stillborn), and then one day find a baby alive in a boat that washes up on their island, and against better judgement decide to keep her as their own.  They discover their choice had devastating consequences when the child's real mother was in fact alive, and throughout the story must make the decision to return the child after raising her as their own for 4 years.  This book was very hard to read as a mother, both for the adopted mother (who suffered so many losses) and the real mother (who believed her child to be dead).  It was so sad but it was a beautiful story, and I could appreciate it very much. 
So many books that I have read have been so hard to read and have been so depressing in many ways.  I wouldn't normally choose books like this for myself, I tend to like to read things that are so far from reality that I can't identify with the emotions.  It's just easier that way.  That is why I like fantasy and sci-fi.  But I am happy that I have branched out and read more of this kind of literature.
However now I feel like I need a break from the intense stuff and so I have started the Harry Potter books, something that I have wanted to read for awhile and I know I will love.  I love the movies and I know the books will be great too.  I have read the Philosopher's Stone already and enjoyed it.  It was a very easy read (obviously since the books are for children and young adults) and pretty much exactly like the movie (or should I say they did a wonderful job making the movies exactly like the book).  I really like getting into these books because it makes me feel like I am watching the movies all over again.  I can't wait to start the next one.
I think I will continue with the book club selections in between reading the Harry Potter books, just to keep up with the girls.  Though we haven't picked out our next book yet.
Once again I am so glad I have rediscovered a love of reading, and am a regular bookworm these days!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hoop Progress

I was in a huge hooping rut for months.  There was just never enough time, enough space, or enough energy to practice.  I was frustrated with my hoops (one too big to use in the house, and the other too small to learn new tricks with).  I was frustrated with myself.  I felt like I was in a complete standoff with my hoops.  I would watch videos and tutorials and just feel deflated.
But I'm past that now!  I've recently met a lady a few towns over who makes and sells hoops, and who is also a Hoopnotica certified instructor.  She has admitted that I am likely already too advanced for the classes she offers, but meeting another hooper who is somewhat local has given me motivation to get back into it.  I have purchased a couple of hoops from her.  Finally I have one that is in between my other two hoops in size which is perfect for me.  And I have also bought a couple of kids hoops from her (for my kids, who currently can't hoop, but who are trying.  Hey, I figured they could double as minis for me to practice my isolations with, win-win!).
So I'm back, and as with so many other things in life I have found that after this little hiatus I am better than I was before.  I'm learning new tricks and finding more flow.  The weather is nice so I can finally hoop outside where I have space to properly practice and not worry about hitting things or scaring Tyler with the loud bangs as my hoop flies across the dining room.  Slowly but surely I am getting better.
Now I need to find some people to hoop with.  It is surprising how difficult this has been.  I know a few ladies in Collingwood who do it, but haven't really connected with them.  The one I just met is about half an hour away or so, and while we had briefly talked about maybe getting together, that hasn't happened yet.  I am seriously considering posting flyers around town inviting people to join me.  We need more hula hooping in this town.
I've been back online too, watching hooping tutorials or just videos of some of the most amazing hoopers, trying to study their techniques and styles.  I find watching these talented people to be inspiring, but also a little depressing as they are just so fantastic that I can't even fathom being that good.  It also makes me wish I had started hooping when I was young, or at the very least had been more athletic so I wouldn't have to start from scratch now.  I wish I were stronger, more coordinated, more flexible, and had better rhythm.  I guess the good news is I know it is not to late to be all these things, it's just a slow process working exercise and practice into my schedule with a family and three kids.  But I know I will get there.  I also know that even though I'm not great, I'm still better than almost everyone I know, so that is something.
I'm getting pretty decent at the on the body hooping, and better at off the body stuff.  What I am finding particularly challenging are the different kinds of isolations.  I'm hoping that by working on strengthening my arms will help me master some of these moves.
Some of my favourite hoopers right now are Breken Rivera, Hoopalicious, Babz and Katie Emmitt.  I've watched some truly amazing videos from all of them, and I'll leave with you some now.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Update from the Moody Laptop

As usual I have been seriously slacking in the blogging department.  This is not helped by the fact that my laptop seems to be dying a slow and painful death.  This always happens to us, because we usually cannot afford to buy anything better than the cheapest laptop available at the time, and therefore it usually has a short life span.  This one is only three years old (and the battery itself died ages ago, it only works when plugged in).  I have a feeling it will not last much longer.  It is very temperamental and I never know when it is going to work.  Because of this, I figured that I had better write something since I don't know when the next chance I'll be able to post is.  I do have my tablet but it's not exactly great for typing long posts, so you won't catch me writing from there.  Luckily we do have another computer.  It's set up in the basement, aka the cellar, aka the dungeon, so you won't find me going down there where the house centipedes live to use it.  But we are brainstorming a way to somehow fit a mini 'office' into our living room and bring it up, so as soon as we figure out how to cram a small desk and chair into our already crowded upstairs, we'll move it.
It is February, and as with every other February in the history of my life I am starting to get tired of winter and feel ready for spring.  I don't mind winter, I really don't.  But it gets old around February.  Not helped by the fact that we just got buried in snow this past week.  Snow that will not likely be gone until May.  Woo hoo.  But on the upside the kids love it, and it's been great for playing in and skiing.  Yesterday I participated in the Romp to Stomp out breast cancer snowshoe walk for the second year in a row and it was amazing because of all the fresh snow.  So I guess I shouldn't complain.
We had the most perfect day for the Romp to Stomp and it was fantastic.  It was sunny and warm (well, warm for February).  We did the 5k walk at the Scenic Caves.  I loved it, but it seemed a lot harder than I remember from last year.  And last year I was 4 months pregnant.  I swear I'm in much better shape this year so I'm not sure why I found it so hard, but it was a good workout.  I think I should take up snowshoeing every winter, as it is a lot of fun and great exercise.  I think the kids would enjoy it, especially Tristan.  I'm thinking of trying to take him snowshoeing soon, maybe at the farm.
The Romp was the only exercise I got in last week (except for a bit of hooping at home here and there) because I had somehow managed to injure my shoulder.  I have no idea how it happened.  I woke up Monday morning and my shoulder hurt a lot.  I muscled through the day thinking it wasn't anything major, but around 2am Tuesday morning when I woke up to feed Lily I was in so much pain I had to go get Tylenol before going back to sleep.  When I got up that morning it had worn off and I was in much more pain, so I took some Ibuprofen.  I have been trying so hard to avoid painkillers all week but it's been so hard.  Just when I think it's getting better, it gets worse again, usually towards the end of the day.  The problem in my shoulder spread to my neck and has been affecting my arm as well.  I know it is related and aggravated by carrying Lily around on my left side.  My hip has been hurting as well.  My whole left side is a mess.  Now my shoulder seems better, but my neck has been in a lot of pain and very stiff.  If it's not one thing it's another.
I also got a cold last week.  It's been mild, but combined with my shoulder/neck issues it's been a rough week.  Plus Lily hasn't been sleeping well so I'm tired.  Plus Tyler has been working extra long hours trying to get work done before the rented equipment has to go back, so he has not been around.  Plus he is also sick, and his gut problems are flaring up, and he is tired and cranky, and spends all day huffing and puffing.  He still works hard and helps out, but I am annoyed.  Annoyed because just for once, I would like to get sick and/or injured on my own, and not have to 'share' the misery with someone else.  Seems like whenever I'm ill (which is rare), Tyler has it worse and then it's all boo hoo for him and no sympathy for me.  Bah!  I'm just being a complainer though.
Ranting aside, I do spend most of my days feeling incredibly thankful for the family I do have.  Tyler, sickness aside, has been the world's best husband this winter.  He has been around a lot and helping with the kids a lot, especially getting up in the mornings with him on really rough nights so I can sleep in (but only just a tiny bit, heaven forbid they let me stay in bed past 7:30am).  My kids are amazing and I am so grateful to have them here.  The older the get, the more things I hear happening to other people, the more thankful I am for my children.  Thankful that I got pregnant easily with them, that they arrived safely, that they are healthy, and that I have them to share every day with.
We have been doing a whole diet overhaul for the family this year.  Once again Tyler had had enough of his gut issues, and Finn had been suffering from awful eczema.  Determined to get to the bottom of all of this once and for all, we have been meeting with a naturopathic doctor.  She has agreed with Tyler's existing candida diagnosis, and as well has suggested a diet free of any foods he might be sensitive too (with his leaky gut, that means he is likely sensitive to almost everything under the sun).  She has put him on a strict paleo/candida hybrid type of diet for several months to get back on track.  For Finn she has agreed with my suspicions that his eczema is caused by a dairy intolerance and has recommended a dairy and gluten free diet for him.  So with Tyler and Finn's diets taken into consideration, we have been working hard as a family to eat healthier as a whole.  The paleo diet is made up mostly of meat, followed by vegetables, then fruits, then nuts.  So no dairy and no grains.  The candida diet is free of all starches, yeasts, and sugars which means that in addition to the restrictions of the paleo diet, Tyler can't have anything sugary as well (which includes most fruits). 
This all sounds very overwhelming, but we have embraced it and are actually finding it quite easy, and enjoyable, to eat this way.  Any other person in the world would be moping over the fact that their diet is so restricted, but Tyler has seen it as a new challenge.  He is always trying to come up with new and tasty paleo meals, and everything he has made so far has been amazing.  Giving up things like pasta has not been as hard as I thought.  If we want a pasta dish, we use zucchini sliced up like spaghetti, or spaghetti squash.  If we want something with 'rice', we use grated cauliflower.  We have done cauliflower mash instead of mashed potato.  We've had waffles and pancakes made with almond and coconut flours.  Everything has been fantastic.  We all feel healthier.  Finn's legs are slowly getting better.  Tyler feels better than ever.  And the best part is, the kids are eating better than ever.  By removing almost all carbs from their diets and most dairy as well, they are not filling up on that stuff and so they are eating all of their protein and vegetables at mealtimes.  It's brilliant. 
Tyler is also waiting on blood tests to see if there are any indications that he has celiac disease.  I really hope not, but there is a chance and so we need to know.
So it has been a rather exciting year so far, and we're only a month and a bit into it.  We're doing great and we're looking forward to so much in 2013. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

To be great by April

Today I was walking into the Y and one of the instructors was walking out.  She stopped me to ask if I'd be interested in hooping again at the Y ride like I did last year.  Um, yes!  To be honest, last year I was 6 1/2 months pregnant and probably looked like a fool.  This year I fully intend to look like I somewhat know what I am doing. 
This is great, it gives me a goal to work towards!  I mean, I have already been working towards getting better anyway, but now I have more motivation to practice practice practice!  I'm learning lots of new tricks every week and just have to keep working at perfecting them.
I've gone and made my first couple of hoops the other day.  Ok correction, my husband made them.  He had some extra irrigation tubing at the farm anyway so he just bought some connectors and cut them for me, and fastened them together.  They're not great, the tubing is too thin and flimsy, but I think they will work well for working my hand, arm and off the body tricks.  I got some coloured duck tape too to make them look funky.  Would still like to buy another new hoop though, if that lady in town that sells them ever gets back to me! 
Now, if only I had more time and space to practice!  I do what I can at home, but I have had very little extra time lately.  And I do what I can at the Y, but I haven't even been getting there as much.  I just have to try harder!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

My Goal for 2013

Happy New Year!  My new years was not terribly exciting.  In fact we spent it at home, like we always do.  And I spent pretty much the whole evening watching hula hooping tutorials on my new tablet. 
Which brings me to my goal for this year:  To become a great hooper. 
Bet you thought I was going to say something like, to lose weight, or to eat better, or to be a better parent.  Here's the reason why I didn't mention those as my goals - I already feel like I've got a pretty good handle on that stuff.  Of course I'll continue to work on it, but I don't feel lacking in any way in those departments, only that I will continue growing forward.
But hooping, that is something I really want to get good at.
So for Christmas, I got some money.  I decided to register for some online hooping classes with Safire from Hoop City.  I have been working on my Hoopnotica stuff and have found it really helpful, but Safire's tutorials are really great and the unique part about taking her classes is that you can ask her questions and post videos to get feedback.  It's very interactive. 
I noticed that she had a boxing day sale and classes were 30% off, so I thought that was the perfect opportunity to sign up.  I registered for Seeding 1 & 2, and got a bonus class (Planting) for free.
Now I spend any spare minute I have watching all the videos.  There are tons!  The Planting class was more just information on hooping.  It was rather boring but I wanted to make sure I got it all covered, so I read all the information and watched the videos.  Now I am working my way through Seeding 1.  I already know how to do pretty much everything covered in this class, but again I like to be thorough so I don't want to skip anything.  Besides there may be some stuff that even know I already know how to do it, it could use some fine tuning.  Or I might hear of some little tricks I didn't know before.  It's also reminded me that I need to work on hooping both ways.  I have only been hooping and learning tricks with my dominant side, which is really not good because when the time comes to do reversals or when I get good enough to properly hoop dance, I will be limited because I won't be able to do things both ways.  It also keeps my body balanced if I can work both sides.  So even though I don't enjoy hooping my less dominant way, I have been forcing myself to do it and to practice the tricks that way as well, even though it's like starting from scratch because it's so much harder in that direction.
I'm really excited, and I've already learned how to do so many more things and am getting so much better.  Still a long way off from being able to properly hoop dance, but I am getting there.  I often feel like I'm never going to be that good, but when I look at where I started I know I'm already better than I was. 
I love the feeling of nailing a trick for the first time after trying for so long and not getting it.  It's like all of a sudden something click and my body and mind go, "Ah ha!!!"  I can do quite a few tricks now, and it's just a matter of putting it altogether and making it flow.
I just need to practice practice practice!
I think I might start making my own hoops as well.  I wanted to buy one but the lady who makes and sells them hasn't gotten back to me (and the ones online are just too expensive!).  It looks easy enough to make, I just need to get the right irrigation tubing and some tape.  Hoop tape isn't really cheap either, but I figure I could start small and build my collection of tape, and then I'll have lots of make as many hoops as I want.  For now I just want to make one simple one that is in between the sizes of the two I already have, and I'd like to make a couple of mini hoops as well so that soon I can start experimenting with mini-hooping off the body, because it looks so cool.
For now I'll just leave with a video of Safire hooping with mini-LED hoops.  I thought it was pretty cool, and I love the music too.