The Daily EO: May 9th, 2012

I sign up for e-mails and surveys if there is something immediate in it for me.  If I am asked for my opinion on something I am not going to give it to you for free nor even the “chance to win”.  If you want me to tell you my opinion, I need something now.  (Um, except when my opinion is on my blog – what a deal you are getting!)  Some goes with my e-mail address.  Marketers, you want my e-mail address?  Then you better give me something for it.  Like AirMiles, or Petro Points, a Point of Sale discount, a cupcake, or something.

A while ago, I was shopping in Banana Republic.  They asked if I wanted my receipt on paper, or e-mailed to me.  As well, if I gave them my e-mail address, I would get 25% off my purchase today.  25%?  No thinking required.  Here is my e-mail address.  The girl told me that I would get some pretty good deals.   Sure, I would, honey.  At worse, I could just point them to the spam bucket.

This practice of POS discounts at the company that owns Banana Republic, The Gap and Old Navy eventually led to all three brands having my e-mail address.  I mean a discount is a discount – and I’m a sucker for a deal.   Last time I purchased something at Banana Republic, they gave me 40% to give them my e-mail address again.   Whaaa?

Well, I will tell you – that girl was right.  There isn’t a week that passes without me receiving an email from each of these retailers with a sale or discounted price.  And regularly it is 40% off regularly priced items, and free shipping over $50.

But there is a price for these crazy deals.   Today I received my 8th, 9th and 10th email from these companies this month (yes, 10 in 9 days!).  4 from Banana Republic, 3 from The Gap and 3 from Old Navy.  Seriously Guys, maybe you should focus on other marketing techniques?

May 9th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Volume discounts from retailers.  And I mean volume.  Hope your inbox (and credit card)can take it.

Maintenance May Day 9:
Called my grandma (family).
Called my grandpa (family).
Sent a note to my Nurse Practitioner to thank him for my blood work (body/connection) and curing me.
Baked and delivered gluten-free/low calorie muffins to my friend who deserves them.  (connection).

The Daily EO: May 8th, 2012

Oh my God.  If you have more oxygen moving around your body, you can run further.  This may seem elementary to you, and it is elementary to me.  But sometimes it just needs proving.  My body was like a busy Dim Sum restaurant’s conveyor belt – a bunch of empty plates and little food.

I told you about my iron issue a week or so ago.  And for over a week now I have taken 54 mg of iron* with Vitamin C and B12 a day in addition to my usual diet.  I hit the track today awaiting my old friend “the stitch” to return about the 1.0 km mark like it usually does.   Nope.   Not at 1.2.  Not at 1.4.  A twinge at 1.6.  And back again at 1.8.   Hmmmm.  This is strange.   Have I done anything different?  No, less sleep than I should have.  Less breakfast than I should have.  So, I was not set-up for a good run.  Yet, for the first time since the Chocolate Race, I was able to run 1.8 km without stopping.  I tried the same thing today and found the same result – 2.0 km without stopping.  And a little stitch at that point, but nothing too bothersome.

It’s a Miracle!  I’m cured!  Now if my stupid calves/shins would stop complaining all the time we’d be in business.

May 8th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Being able to start to the push to build my endurance to 5 km.  Hooray! . . . . . . . . Wait, if I am cured, I have no excuse to stop running.  Dammit.

*I will be dropping my intake once I get my levels to normal.

Maintenance May Day 8:

Visited the Trinity United Church to watch a movie about Dr. Burzynski and his fight for his seemingly effective cancer treatment to be accepted by the general medical community.  Definitely one side documentary.  Definitely where you hang out on Tuesday nights in Huntsville if you are a bit crazy.  Definitely one of those nights where you wish your youthful good looks didn’t stand out so much in the blue hair forest.  Definitely made us talk on the drive home.  Definitely going to the next movie next Tuesday night – after all the crazies are the most fun.  (knowledge)

Completed a personality test as a pre-screen for an interview.  Hopefully, I have a personality.  (career)


The Daily EO: May 7th, 2012

I have a blister on my left hand in that awkward place between the thumb and pointer finger.  I was wearing gloves while I raked, but apparently these soft office – um. . . unemployed – hands can’t take too much wear and tear.  It hurts.

That’s just an aside, I really want to talk to you about High Interest Saving Accounts Rates in Canada.  When Emile and I sold our house, we needed somewhere to put the equity until we bought a new house.  We couldn’t lock it in or put it into RRSP as at any time we could need that money (um. .  the best laid plans of mice and men . .).  And that left pretty much nothing but a savings account.  But just like I explained that every good thing has a price – low mortgage rates come with low savings account rates.  I shopped around and found the highest rate in Canada: 2.5%.

This was a reasonably large amount of money that we had, and the 1.75% with our current financial institution – which for legal reasons I will refer to as Typical Bank – meant we were missing out on modest returns.  Plus, we didn’t want our house equity easily accessible if I decided to start raising miniature ponies and needed seed money.  So we moved our money to a Credit Union in Manitoba – which for legal reasons I will refer to as Runaround Credit Union.   And it was good.  I bragged.  I told friends.  And then I got an email from Runaround Bank saying that “credit economic conditions meant adjusting the rate to 2.25%”.   Well, okay, still the highest savings account in Canada.   Then the second email:  2.0%.

I got the final e-mail from Hubert ( today. . . oops, I mean Runaround Credit Union.  They now dropped their interest rate to 1.85%.  Blah.

I’d move the money back to Typical Bank, but they inflated their interest rates during RRSP season and well. . . . that pissed me off.   Manulife* . ..  damn I did it again. . . I mean, Typical Bank and Runaround Credit Union wouldn’t call it Bait and Switch, but I do.

May 7th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Getting tricked by the old bait-and-switch game.  Good thing I am not on the streets of New York, I would have lost all my pennies to street performers.  “Find the Queen!  Keep your eye on the Queen!”

Maintenance May Day 7:
Fostering an abused dog to help re-socialize him so he can be adopted by a loving little boy living on a farm.  (Lie)
Not lying on my blog about doing something I didn’t.  (Soul)
I was unsuccessful in finding something worthy of Maintenance May today.  It is pretty hard to complete something everyday.  I’ll try harder.

* This is my homage to Tina Fey – reading BossyPants now.  She’s funny.

The Daily EO: May 6th, 2012

Part of the learning I had from the dietician we visited last week was to try to do all of your exercise at one time in the day.  Your body starts off by burning carbohydrates, then moves on to burning fat after that.  If you do little spurts, you probably will not burn as much fat if you completed it all at a time.  This caused my husband – who just last week nodded his head in agreement of my assessment of endurance runners as crazy – to increase his running distance to 10K.    But both Saturday and Sunday, he ran 10K (only walking a couple of laps).   Now I think he is crazy too.

This lead me to change the way that I do exercise too.  Often, I would do two or three bouts of working out in a day as I accomplished other things.  Sunday, I completed 66 minutes of cardio/strength training followed directly by a 3K run.  This was not fun, but I’ll try it to see if it garners better results for me.

I choose to run on a side road out here near my house.  The local tracks are great, but the continuous round and round – I think I am going to tip over sometimes.  And I lose count.  (How hard is it to count to 12.5 or 25?)  No only that – it was a nice spring day out – people were out.  When I run with other people around, I don’t want them to see me stop or collapse.  So I push myself to go a bit further around the bend until the people are out of sight.  It is effective.

I do not trust dogs.  Several of you have dogs and you know that I rarely touch them (they smell) and I don’t like to be close to them.  I think it is because I could be seriously injured or killed by a dog.  I know, I know . ..  you will all say to me. . . “Buttons here is so gentle, so well trained”, but the fact remains if Buttons decided to use his teeth and weight to attack me, I would be maimed.  My cat often decides to attack me and it is generally futile – he doesn’t have the strength to be able to seriously injure me beyond a deadly case of cat scratch fever.    I was assaulted by a Doberman while swimming in Fairy River a couple of years ago.  He wanted to play, but in water over my head he was much too strong for me.  I was badly scratched on my legs and I was certain I was going to drown.    The dog was not on a leash nor was he trained well enough to return to his owner when called.  (Please note, I did not engage this dog in any way except being in the same beach area.)  That was one of the most terrifying events of my life.

I am not writing this to say that dogs are evil, or dogs should be destroyed, but I do believe that a dog must be trained and kept on a leash (if not at home).  For the dog’s safety as well as mine.  Bottom line: if my cat wanted to kill me, he’d probably have to sneak into my bed and put arsenic in my mouth.  If a dog wanted to kill me, most wouldn’t need arsenic.

So, I am nervous around dogs – big and small (they are all dogs).  While I ran down the street, I passed a house where everyone was gathered at the foot of the driveway in lawn chairs.  Why do people sit in the front of their property like that?  When I ran by, all FOUR of their dogs started chasing me and barking at me.  They did not return home when their owners called them.  It was frightening, and I burned some more fat by bumping up the pace trying to outrun their territory.

May 6th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Running down the street with four tiny little yappy dogs (mini yorkshire terriers?) barking their hearts out at me.  I was frightened and felt ridiculous about feeling frightened.  Afterall, wearing other clothes I could have been an heiress with my accessory dogs on Rodeo Drive.

Maintenance May Day 6:
Agreed to have my résumé presented to another employer by a recruiter.  (Career)

The Daily EO: May 5th, 2012

We found ourselves in Gravenhurst today and I thought for fun we would head to Sobey’s to do our grocery shopping as it is the only one in Muskoka.  The shoulder seasons are pretty quiet around here.  You make your own excitement.

I like grocery shopping and I like shopping at different places that offer different things.  It’s fun in the US especially because they get all of those crazy products that you really shouldn’t eat in the first place.  Sobey’s isn’t that much different from the other stores in the area – but I did find a nice tube of fresh roasted garlic purée.

My husband is Dutch – he was born in Canada about 2 years after his parents immigrated from Holland.  So, although raised in Canada, he also was raised in a Dutch home.  As we were strolling down the aisles of Sobey’s, the following sign caught my eye:

Dutch?  I mean, you get the Asian section, the Mexican section, and usually the “International” section, but I have never seen a Dutch section.  Especially in a small town grocery store.  Even in St. Catharines (where Emile grew up) if you want Dutch treats you head over the Dutch store, not the grocery store.

We headed over to check this section out.   It was a doozy!

May 5th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Stroop Waffles, Double Salted Licorice, King Peppermints, Windmill Cookies and all sorts of Dutch treats at the grocery store.

Maintenance May Day 5:  Donated needed supplies to a friend who greatly appreciated it.  (Friendship)

The Daily EO: May 4th, 2012

I received my exam results today.  I didn’t study much, although did a lot of cramming for it in April.  It was was kind of like an IQ test – a lot of it depended on my DNA and upbringing.  But as I listened to the exam results, I felt relief, then pride.  After all, didn’t I just do swimmingly?

When I run, I start finding it difficult around the 1 km mark.  I have often wondered, “Do other people have the same problems and they are mentally strong enough to will their bodies to carry on?”  Or is there something wrong with me?  Am I just not built for running?  Between pain in my calves and my lungs feeling like they are not getting enough oxygen, I then think that people who are endurance runners are completely crazy and the mentally strongest people on earth.  But maybe they have better bodies than me?

For those of you who have followed a Couch to 5K officially program, you know they usually start you out on something like walk 1 minute, run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute etc.   When I first saw these instructions, I thought “Who can run 5 minutes?”.  Really?  There are people who are sitting on the couch who can just get up and run 5 minutes?  Wow, I am quite unfit.

But back to acing my exam – except for 1 aspect.  Everything else – cholesterol, triglycerides, vitamins, platelets, White Blood Cell Count, Albumin, Creatinine, CK, Glucose Serum Fasting, you name it – exactly where it should be!  My blood pressure was 85/40.  Alas, the iron ruined my perfect result.  My ferritin levels are 12: “Iron Deficient”.  (the lowest category on the scale).  Interestingly, iron carries oxygen on the red blood cells to the muscles in the body – hmmm.

Did you know that Iron absorption in the body is hindered by some items?  Polyphenols in tea; Phytate in legumes, soybeans and whole grains; Oxalate in spinach, chard, kale, and sweet potatoes; vegetable proteins and calcium?  Um, is that not my diet right now?  I live on tea, I always eat whole grains, I eschew white rice for quinoa, I eat kale and spinach in smoothies, etc?  And these things – though required and good for me too – actually help to block iron absorption?  No wonder there are so many diet books out there – this stuff is complicated.

My calf pain also may have a cause – Chromic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS).  Doesn’t that sound terrible?  It basically means that when your muscles expand during exercise they are trying to expand beyond the “muscle compartment”.  As you can imagine, this causes pain.  But we’ll see about that – I am going to get a referral to a sports doctor to confirm.

May 4th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  It’s not my fault!  I am mentally strong!  It’s the iron and the potential CECS!  I knew it!

Maintenance May Day 4:
Visit to the Nurse Practitioner (NPs in Canada can do anything a doctor can except prescribe narcotics) for a full review of my health.  And they actually spend time talking to you. And the appointments start on time. (body)
Consultation with a Registered Dietician with Emile to review our diets and fitness regimes. (body)
Updated my immunizations for Tetanus, Whooping Cough and Diphtheria. (body)
Visit to the spa to get a pedicure.  Hello beautiful blue toes! (body).

PS  Yes, I have already added a iron supplement to my vitamin intake.

The Daily EO: May 3rd, 2012

It was a dark and stormy night.  The rain poured down, the winds buffeted the trees.  And what does that mean in Northern Ontario?  A power failure.  The lights flickered for most of the evening before giving up for good about 9:00 pm.  It was just me and the cat here – Emile was playing poker with the boys – so I sat quietly in the dark for a minute, trying to think of something to do.  I could go to bed, but a little early really.  I could  .  um . . make some tea.  No, Susan think about this.  There is NO Power.   Um . . .I could read a book.   No, candle light is not enough light and I don’t want to read via flashlight.   I could make something to eat.  No, I can’t open the fridge or use an appliance to make food because the Power is Out.   Susan, pull your head together.  I could use the comp. . . No.   I could play games on my cell phone.  Yes, I could do that!  Okay, that lasted a minute.

So, in the car I got and headed to a friend’s house.  She was watching American Idol.  So I watched American Idol.   I remember why I don’t watch the show any more.  Children prancing around in too short skirts, judge’s inane comments (“You’re the best singer I’ve seen in 50 years”) and ridiculous Ford music videos.  But there was power and company.

May 3rd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  The moment in the yard before getting into the car.  So dark, so still, so quiet.

Maintenance May Day 3:
Pre-paid at Well Fed Deli for my friend the owner to treat someone’s lunch on May 4th.  (Soul)
Drove to Newmarket for a job interview.  (Career)

The Daily EO: May 2nd, 2012

In my kitchen growing up, there were three main food preparation areas.  One is to the left of the kitchen sink that is covered by a wooden cutting board.  This area – even now – is by far the busiest area.  Food is chopped on the cutting board, dirty dishes sit here awaiting the dishwasher unload (which was my chore growing up, so some times there was a bit of a wait), and quick meals are eaten from it.  It is constantly wiped and cleaned.  Over the dishwasher is the second area where the electric frying pan is plugged in when it is time for grilled cheese and the toaster and coffee maker.  I distinctly remember making Easter Nests and Baklava with my mother at this spot.  Who makes baklava with their non-greek mother?  I did.  I called the layers dirt, paper and glue (the nuts, the phyllo and the butter/honey mixture).

The other space that is not really there any more, is to the left of the fridge.  It’s there obviously, but now is taken up by the microwave.  It is where I remember my dad kneading bread, rolling pastry and for some reason I remember clearly – making Tomato Pinwheels from the Fleischman’s Bread Baking Cookbook.  I remember so well because he was so frustrated rolling out the dough.  You needed to roll it to certain dimensions, cut it, and then create the pinwheels.  But it kept shrinking.  And he was getting upset.  I don’t remember if they tasted good or not, I just remember thinking “How is it possible that my dad can’t do something?”

Today I thought of home and these memories and wanted to bake.  But baking does not really fit with the lifestyle changes we have made.  So, I took to the internet and found myself a low-carb and low-calorie recipe for Pumpkin Coconut Muffins.  The flour used was coconut flour – what the heck is that? – apparently it’s made from ground coconut meat and is also defatted to remove much of the coconut oil and milk.  I wonder if the Bulk Barn carries it?  And my lucky day – in the huge gluten-free section – they did.   It smelled pleasingly like suntan lotion and it was cream coloured.  Not too expensive either.

May 2nd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  Mini yummy muffins that only have 31 calories each with 1 grams of fibre and 2 grams of protein in each.  Though, I would not recommend using rock salt instead of kosher salt – makes for a some unexpected saltiness at times.  I like this coconut flour stuff.

Maintenance May Day 2:
$25 Micro-loan via Kiva to Folly Loko in Togo, Africa to purchase a washing machine and iron for his laundry business.  Emile’s choice. (Soul)
$25 Micro-loan via Kiva to Adama in Mali to purchase scrap metal to support his metal working business.   He is a married father of two in his thirties – like my dad was when he died.  (Family)
Supported Hariyo Chowk via with $25 to help create an urban green space in Katmandu.  Reward is my Dad’s name on a hand painted mural in the park once completed. (Family)
Supported Flyover Farm via with $10 to help create a rooftop garden in Mumbai, India to help provide organic produce in a low-income area.  Reward is my Dad’s name on their facebook page as a donor. (Connection)

The Daily EO: May 1st, 2012

Well, it has arrived.  May.  My nemesis.  But this time I am prepared.  Because it is the start of a new “thing“.    This Month is Maintenance May.    What is Maintenance May?  Well, it is the obvious as well as a little further than that.

This month I am going to continue what we started in April with Fit April, but also expand that to include the maintenance of all things in my life.  Maintenance of my body, my brain, my soul, my stuff, my career, my training, my knowledge and my heart.  Each day will be a challenge to do something to expand my thoughts and myself about myself and my world.  To better connect with those around me and maybe grow a little in the process.  Things I don’t normally do, things that make me anxious to think about.  Not random kindnesses, but purposeful.  Feel free to give a suggestion or two – I might need them.

Emile will be following along as well, as he booked his Comptia A+ Networks exam for May 31st.  He is going to maintain his career this month, and will participate somewhat as well.

Today as I headed to my massage appointment, I drove up main street and by our Algonquin Theatre.  Huh!?  My eyes deceived me surely.  I turned my car around and discovered what I saw was actually happening.   There really was an “Occupy Huntsville” protest happening.   I’d heard this and that about a May Day “General Strike” in the US, but I hadn’t expected to see 6 or so protesters here in my 18,000 strong town.   I felt the fool gawking at them, so I took terrible, surreptitious photos from my car down the street.

May 1st, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:  The inability to hide your face in this crowd.  If you are going to protest in Huntsville, you are right out there.  Proudly declaring your beliefs without the anonymity afforded in a large city.  I am the 99% too, but I wasn’t out there letting people know.


Maintenance May, Day 1 Items:
Wrote a note to Emile’s cousin to tell her how much I enjoyed meeting her when I was in Holland in 2009.  It’s not too late.  (Heart)
Registered for a 5K run in June, Band on the Run in Huntsville.  (Body)