Sunday, January 31, 2010

My dog is over weight!

My dog is over weight. And of course you know what they say about overweight dogs... their owners don't get enough exercise! The old girl is 6 years old and really hasn't gotten walked enough, especially after the kids came.

So we've signed up for a learn to run program. Okay really it's me signing up and doing the learning part. I've never been a runner, ever. I have tried many different times and always pushed too hard the first one or two times out trying to go from couch potato to Olympic athlete in only 2 weeks.

This time I'm doing it right! The walk-run program at my local running store starts off very gently and increases intensity slowly. The only problem is that most people already are runners! They're extremely fit and some just don't want to move onto the next stage which would take them from running 5km to 10km. I have to say that its very disconcerting to be left in the dust by a bunch of senior citizens some of whom are probably into their 70's! Anyway me and the 40ish smoker are making up the back of the pack, but the main thing is we're doing it!

Now I've reached a part of my training where I am actually starting to understand why people like running. The other night I went for a run to work on my clinic "homework" and I felt rotten and didn't want to go and it was dark and... The excuses not to go were endless, but I went anyway wearing my ├╝ber-dorky reflective safety vest (not the cool ones you see real runners wearing, but rather the construction worker kind). I took my dog just in case I needed protecting (not that I think she would be protection except from a squirrel or cat) and because I feel guilty leaving her behind. As I started off the walking portion I felt fine. When it came time for the first run segment I mentally prepared myself to feel the stiff achy muscles as they worked to propel my body forward, but it didn't come. What I did feel was freedom, my muscles working smoothly and the wind in my hair! It was great! Now don't get me wrong I'm not at the marathon running stage yet (or even a 5km run) so I was glad for the walking break after my 3 mins were up.

Back to my dog for a minute. She is a husky crossed with a few other breeds (one of a kind really). She has a curly tail that is sort of like her happiness meter. When we are in the car, which she really doesn't enjoy, her tail is straight and tucked between her hind legs and up under her body. As we were running together her tail was quite possibly a double spiral curl!

I think that the dog and I are going to do just fine "learning to run".

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Talking to myself??!!

I talk to myself... there I said it. I always have talked to myself its not a new thing. I sometimes rehash previous conversations or review things with myself. Sometimes I start thinking about things that I want to talk about with other people. This talking to myself is sometime verbal and sometimes just thoughts where I carry on my inner conversation.

Most of the time I remember that I haven't actually discussed these topics yet, but my poor hubby usually gets the random ends of conversations that we have yet to actually speak. It usually goes like this... hubby and I discussing some event (like what to have for dinner) and then out of left field with the proverbial hockey stick I say I think we should buy it, get it, get rid of it. I get the look like what is "IT" and then I realize that as we are discussing something (or even just sitting quietly) I am thinking things through in my head. It could be a new couch or a vacation spot or pretty much anything. It all makes perfect sense to me (after all I was privy to the whole conversation). My hubby seems to think that I've flipped my lid or maybe I'm talking to someone else although he's the only person in the room with me. Of course now that we've been married eight years he's used to it and mostly mocks me about this trait (habit, flaw... whatever).

It reminds me of the cartoon "Pinky and the Brain" when Brain would say to Pinky: "Are you pondering what I'm pondering" and Pinky would reply something nonsensical like: "Yeah, but how did they get the elephant into the tutu?"

Of course now I have a chatty 3 year old son who is always listening to every word I've had to curtail my actually talking to myself out loud. Every time he hears it I'm peppered with questions and demands for explanation... why, why is that a funny thing, who, where... .

So now I'm blogging. My theory is that blogging is the ultimate form of talking to oneself and its not considered eccentric or crazy in any way.... Ahhh now we're talking!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Evolution of the Road trip...

The idea of a road trip has always been near and dear to my heart, however, it has evolved over time and probably will continue to do so.

My family lived in a small town when I was growing up. We did not live near any extended family so our road trips were mainly trips to visit grandparents who doted on my brother and I. They were long, boring, motion sick trips that involved a lot of poking and bickering about who was allowed which part of the enormous bench seat of the ancient Jimmy my parents owned. However they always ended well with a great visit with relatives and shopping trips to the big city malls! When I was older and involved in more sporting events road trips had more purpose such as weekend swimmeets and school volleyball tournaments. Mostly it was social where I got to hang out with my friends and eat at fast food places (Mclishious)!! When I got my drivers license my mom would let me borrow her car for daytrips so that I could drive 3hrs each way to go shopping with my friends!

When I met my husband we would take great road trip adventures! We'd leave around supper time on a trip where our destination was at least 7 hours away... finally arriving around midnight with no problems getting up the next day, staying a couple of days and then repeating the trek home again. After we were married we moved to Northern Alberta where even the simplest shopping trip was hours away, but that didn't stop us! We'd make mixed CD's to commemorate the drive and listen to them endlessly, much to my hubby's chagrin!

We were fearless of weather and mindless of time. We ate when we were hungry and didn't worry schedules! That was then, this is now. Fast forward several years, a major move, 1 dog and 2 kids later. Road trips are not spontaneous events, they are meticulously planned out trips with multiple contingency plans. There is a DVD player to entertain bored kids (and hopefully lull them to sleep), snacks to feed 10 people (even though there are only 3 or 4 travelling).

On trips that I travel more frequently I start taking note of all the handy playgrounds so that we can stop and run the kids! There are no side trips or backroads or lingering dinners. There are potty breaks, accidents and the occasional vomiting incident. There is trying to distract a child by pointing out interesting things so they don't ask, "How much longer..." (in the whiniest voice ever) 30 minute into the 7 hour trip. Now the CD changer is no longer filled with the latest and greatest hits... its filled with stuff that was new about 5 years ago, but is losing ground to the kiddie CD's!

However, despite all the changes to my road trip style I refuse to stop taking them! I am not afraid to travel 7 hours (or more) with my kids with or without my hubby. I will not become one of those people who don't travel more than an hour from their home unaccomanied because little johnny or suzy don't handle car rides. I figure that this gives us some much needed together time when Mom and Dad don't have other distractions such as social media (which I love) or obligations such as cooking and cleaning (which I hate). Plus you never know you just might learn something new about your kids or you might meet interesting people who seem much more likely to talk to you when you are traveling with little ones.

Monday, January 18, 2010

To work or not to work: a mommy conundrum.

I'm considering going back to work (for money, outside the house, not just stepping away from my game of bejewelled blitz and switching the laundry or vacuuming). It has been an internal struggle that is plaguing me. By training I'm an engineer... I worked hard at school to become an engineer... I worked hard to be a good engineer once I was finished school. Then I had a baby. I went back to work after my oldest son was 1 and my maternity leave was finished. It was crazy busy, my husband and I were both working for the same company and were both away from home 11 hrs a day. We did it, our son thrived in daycare. We had more disposable income and were able to take nice vacations (as nice as you can with a toddler in tow). Then we decided that it was time to further expand our family and "we" became pregnant for a second time. Then we decided that we had lived in Northern Alberta for long enough and decided to move back to BC for the nicer weather and to be closer to family.

When we moved I quit my job and chose to stay home for a while. With only one of us working we began to question how we were able to manage to both work and not go insane. When the second child came I had already been off work for about 5 months. It was certainly helpful with the chaos of the move and getting my then 2 year old settled. Now my baby is almost 15 months old, my maternity leave benefits are long gone and I'm starting to be conflicted by what my priorities are. I didn't have kids so that someone else can raise them (though I'd gladly let "someone else" handle the tantrums) and I didn't become an engineer to give it up after only 6 working years!

Solution: I need part time work (or to win the lottery??). Problem: this is very uncommon in my field! Especially since I moved away from most of my work contacts. Also this economy (despite what our esteemed mp's say) has not really picked up yet (and I don't buy lottery tickets very often). I am being choosy about which jobs I apply to since if I can't find part time I at least don't want a long commute which is very possible in this city! If I do find something that is suitable I get to embark on the fun task of finding appropriate child care! (I think I'll save that for a different post)

Then I start to think... well it is almost spring and I don't want to start work in the summer... and well after that it's fall and I don't want to start too close to Christmas... its really a vicious cycle... but for now I'm off for a road trip with my kids for a few days to visit grandma!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's in a name??

How is it that dreaming up a blog name was more difficult than naming my kids? I considered calling it "Life of Riley" since my last name is Riley, but Riley is my married name so is it really my life or would it be more about everyone else in my life. In university one of my classmates would call me shananigans, which I alway secretly loved. Shananigans sounded like I was interesting, free spirited and a little wild. Of course this appealed to the do-gooder, follow all the rules girl that I was (and still am). Shananigans, nearly 10 years later, now seems to refer more to the parts of my life which are chaotic, although fun and fulfilling. The chaos that is my life is shared with (caused by) my two kids, one dog and my husband.

I am not a nickname person. I do not like nicknames. I purposely chose my kids names so that they weren't names that were commonly shortened or nicknamed. Why name you kid William and then call him Billy? Or why give them a first and middle name and commonly call them by their middle name?

Of course now that I have kids we have used all sorts of joking names for them. When my oldest was a baby we occasionally referred to him as the "Rear Admiral Poopy Pants", luckily it didn't last. My youngest has red hair and I am trying to refrain from calling him "little red" especially since I don't want him to be one of the 300 lb grown-ups called "tiny". The one nickname that has stuck with our family is may-may. That is the nickname given to our dog Maggie by my older son when he was first learning to talk.

For someone who doesn't like/want nicknames my life does seem to be full of them... now I am known by many names: Dear, Sweety, Mom, Mommy (on a bad day whined: Moooommmmmmyyyy) and yes occasionally Shannon.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Finally I have set up my own blog. No longer will I be restricted by facebook or twitter. I can join the rambling masses and say what needs to be said!