Victoria Day Weekend in Winnipeg is spent in one of two ways; either at the lake or working on outdoor projects. My long weekends generally are spent in an unproductive combination of sweat pants, sleeping in and not brushing my hair. This long weekend was a little bit different. I  celebrated the long weekend by doing what so many home owners do – yard work.

My mom and my grandfather have the most intense green thumbs. My mom still has my poinsettia from Grade 12 which has morphed into a tree. Between the two of them, I grew up with the idea that summer means plants and a large garden. Until now I haven’t had a huge interest nor had the resources to pursue gardening as a hobby. I’m not sure what has changed that. Possibly feeling more connected with prairies. Maybe just feeling like I’m putting my own roots down. More likely, it’s the feeling of horror when the cashier rings up the bill for our groceries. Whatever the reason,  I had green ambitions this year. In March I had done a bunch of research and compiled a list of plants that met the following requirements:

-rabbit resistent

– bee & butterfly friendly

-native to the prairies

This list is on a grubby sticky note that I have been carrying around with me for roughly 3 months, and prior to the weekend, I had yet to actually pick up any of the listed plants. This isn’t because I haven’t tried. Every time I walk into a garden centre I get super overwhelmed and after wandering around the aisles not finding a single item on my list, just beeline it out of there. Did I mention that most of my list has the latin names of the plants? No wonder I haven’t been able to pick them out.

Mike sent me to on an expedition to pick up some yard waste bags. As I was driving I knew May Long weekend was the reckoning. The do-or-die moment of planting.  My first stop was a stand full of seed packets. Who knew there were so many kinds of tomato?  I randomly grabbed a few packets, carrots, peppers, catgrass. After I threw those in the cart, I was questioning whether or not they would have time to grow. So then I moved into the live plant area and successfully found one of the plants on my list (salvia). After about an hour I made my way back home and started unloading my purchases, only to have Mike point out that we actually were not prepared to plant anything because we had nowhere prepared to plant them. Right. This hobby takes a little more planning than video games. We spent most of Sunday afternoon weeding and raking up the existing flower beds.  Only to have to clean the gutters out….directly into the flower beds that we had just finished clearing out. Sigh. Apparently there is a method to this yard work madness.

Monday we went to my parents place. We nabbed a few plants off of my list including lamb’s ears, lily of the valley and bog lilies (they look nicer than they sound).  The trunk of my car was stuffed with plants before we left. We transplanted all the flowers Monday evening with our furry overlord supervising. We always bring the cat into the backyard while we work. Normally it’s without incident, but last night a rabbit hopped into the yard. It was one of those time slows down moments and I was watching in horror as Rocky tried to cut off the rabbit as it ran towards the fence. Luckily the rabbit was smarter than the cat (not a huge achievement) and it got away. And that was when I realized I should let go of Mike’s shirt which I was clutching with both hands.

So everyone made it through a working weekend alive. So far at least. I keep anxiously checking on the plants to make sure they haven’t died. I’m hoping that I have inherited a green thumb. If not, there’s always St. Norbert’s Farmers Market.


Don’t Wake Me, I Plan on Sleeping in

How many times do you hit the snooze button every morning? This morning I managed a personal best with 4 rounds of delaying the inevitable. This left me with about 13 minutes to get ready and be out the door if I was going to be anything resembling punctual. The effect adrenaline has on my efficiency is incredible. No limb goes unused. I’ll pull my pants on as I go down the stairs while brushing my hair. I’m a one-armed barista making a leftie latte while my right hand scoops cat food into a dish. Meanwhile I’m visually searching the room to see where my belongings are to minimize any further lost time. Today I grabbed my coffee, phone, purse and…I couldn’t find my keys. I searched my purse, then the kitchen, followed by the entire house. At this point I was standing around overheated and anxious while debating whether to call a cab, call in sick (will this day get better? Probably not) or check a bus schedule. I called Mike and bless his organized heart, he knew where my spare car key was. I had no idea whether the spare key was in the house let alone where it would be. I was at work ten minutes later.

I really do try to give myself more time; to leave 15 minutes earlier, prepare ahead of time, designate a place for my stuff. And it works for a while. I’ll be on top of things. And then life happens. I have a busy day or a really bad day. I change my routine. Ultimately the problem is my brain. No matter where I am physically, I’m rarely 100% there mentally or emotionally. My brain takes me to last week to relive an embarrassing experience or I’m thinking about next week and where I’ll be. Sometimes all it takes is hearing a certain word or seeing a familiar place and I wander off on a mental journey returning to the present some time later.

One of my good friends went to India this year for a month long yoga and meditation retreat. It was inspiring listening to her experiences. My 2016 doesn’t look like it’s going to include a meditation retreat in India. Instead I found the Winnipeg Sri Chinmoy Centre which offers free meditation classes. Sri Chinmoy was a spiritual master from India who spent his life teaching meditation with the philosophy that practicing meditation brings inner peace and stimulates creativity. I had signed up in February and to be honest, I had forgotten about it until the centre called me last week. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time because I was in the middle of an awful week . The first session is tonight. My hope is that the mindfulness will transfer into my daily life and leave me feeling more present. My friend told me that meditating was incredibly difficult for her. In the beginning she would get angry. She would be sitting in a room full of serenity and the harder she tried to relax, the more angry she would become. She overcame her frustration and has continued to practice meditation on her own. I don’t think I’ll have the same reaction she did. I think it’s more likely that my challenge will be preventing falling asleep while I’m supposed to be meditating. On the bright side, if I do nod off I won’t have a 13 minute adrenaline-fueled panic attack. Unless I lose my keys again of course.

Another Lost Weekend

As I’m writing this (it’s Monday), I’m in rough shape. I’m not too proud to admit that I spent almost all of Sunday on the couch because my entire body hurt. I drank water. I sipped Gatorade. I summoned up the strength to shower. I did not go near a pair of real pants. I made it to work today, but not without attracting my coworkers’ attention. Some sympathetic comments, but mostly mockery. I’m almost 30 and here I am. How can I not know my limits by  now? It’s all fun and games and then BAM. Days spent recovering.

Yep. You guessed it. I worked out. Hard. Saturday was boxing bootcamp at the United Boxing Club. Sunday morning I ran 6.6 miles as part of the Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon. As a result, I can’t fully extend my arms. Climbing the half stair to the washroom is like scaling Machu Picchu. Coming down the stairs is even worse. At this point I am seriously considering installing one of those mechanical seats that slide you up and down. A fit 90 year old nearly ran me over with her walker as I shuffled  down the sidewalk. Every muscle in my body hurts and in weird places, like the crooks of my elbows.Who knew that coughing and sneezing could be so unpleasant.

Truthfully, I’m not a gifted athlete. See the Accept & Ski post for proof. I’ve never been the fastest or the strongest. I don’t love the gym or getting sweaty. I have almost zero competitive drive. But I feel good when I move. After a few months of non-movement, I get itchy to exercise. Back in February, I signed up with a coworker to run the WPS Half-Marathon relay. I was not feeling keen on it,but signed up anyway. I’m really happy that I did. There is something so amazing about taking part in a marathon event. If you want to experience a feeling of community – sign up for a run. You can always walk if running isn’t your thing. It is one of the most positive ways to experience our community. The number of residents who wake up early and spend their entire morning to cheer each runner is inspiring.  The volunteers who fill countless cups of Gatorade and water are godsends. The planning and organizing that creates safe routes for runners enable us to see the city in ways that are normally inaccessible. Despite the stiffness and the soreness, it was totally worth it. The Manitoba Marathon is coming up in June and I think it’s calling your name.