I am so dirty!

Pardon, last garden post I did where I mentioned being the dirtiest mom on the planet, I got like a ka-billion hits! 

Everyone wave to the creepy lurkers!

Well sorry to disappoint you "honestly I am just here for the article" types, but this is a post about getting dirty in the actual Dirt.    As in My Garden.

No, not a euphemism.
Moving on.

No actually; I don't want to move.   I've been moving All Day!
First, I helped my parents with their yard sale.   Which was actually quite fun talking to all the residents in their new condo.
Old people are funny y'all.

And I don't mean false teeth fall into their drink funny..... although that was.   Rather their perspective on life and how they can just cut to the chase about certain things.  They sum up the little mysteries and intricacies of life in an amusing way.   If you ever get the chance to sit down and talk with a bunch of our wonderful elderly - do take it.

They also make interesting drinks like Golden Cadillac's and Old Fashioned's and play old swing music for their yard sales.  On Fleek people. 

Yeah, I said that.
I'm hanging out with old people and swinging and playing in the dirt people -- were you expecting lofty intellect in this post?  

After all that, I still had energy to come home and work for 3 hours in my gardens.  New flowers and plants, hanging baskets and containers Oh My!   Left Brain got me the gift of every country gal's heart:  dirt.

So my garden's have a fresh layer of compost, dirt and some red cedar mulch.
And so do I.
Literally everywhere.   I think this is officially the dirtiest I have ever been.

*still here lurkers?*

By the time I was done, it was time for supper --- but not before a cool shower with a very strong scrub brush.  It was too late to get some pictures for you today.  And I think things need to fill in a bit more.  But as I sit sipping my cup of tea and browsing through some garden photos of the past; an idea hit me.
The. Past.

So yeah, this was my very boring probably to those who came here hoping for something else segue into Hey Look - I made some sorta vintage looking flower prints. 

Nothing particularly special here.  I had no real game plan, other than to get a vintage feel.

This was not about having any specific end result in mind, but just to experiment and see what the photo becomes.   I really enjoyed the process because it allowed me to see my photography in a new light.   Some of these pictures are 2 or 3 years old, and it's nice to find a good use for them -- other than just sitting on my hard drive. 

Maybe they will become something more:  a photo card to a friend, a print for a wall, or one day something for sale.  Who knows. 

Just another step in the journey of incorporating more Art into my world.

Saturday Art @ ImagesByCW
I have completed my latest fitness challenge!
I'd really like to take a big nap now, because this one was killer.   Eight long weeks of just daily pushing through, followed by body aches and pains that never really had time to recover.

So... why?  Just why all that work and pain?
Because strong is my new sexy.

Take careful note of the applicable "S" word:  STRONG.  Not Skinny.

I want to be stronger, as per what that looks like to me... for me.  I don't have to be that girl up there in the image.  Just the best version of ME. 

So I keep pushing through all my excuses, all the pain of sore muscles, and strive towards my goal to be healthier.   It's a daily choice, because let's be honest:  there are daily excuses and temptations bombarding us from all sides. 

I did take a whole week off; except for some simple yoga stretches so I could check in with my body and see what areas required the most healing.   That is something I strongly urge any of you to do if you are pursuing any workout regime.  LISTEN to your body.   If something hurts for too long; it needs rest.  That's probably an Injury -- which is entirely different than just a worked muscle. 

While I was in Rest Mode, the single most important thing in order to maintain all the gains I had made, was to keep my diet consistent.  Sure, I had birthday cake on my birthday because Life is meant to be enjoyed.  And maybe I had a slice of pizza this week too.  But I didn't go crazy; I still kept all things in moderation.

You may hear this bit of advice regarding maintaining weight:  Calories In, Calories Out.
And that is true - to an extent.   If you want to have the extra carbs included in the slice of garlic bread with your dinner, you will have to work that off.

But running an extra few miles so you can justify that chocolate bar?   Yeah, still putting junk into your body.  You may not gain any weight because you calculated the calories you needed to burn and hit that treadmill: still totally non essential fat and sugar going into your body.  It will manifest in some way - now or later.

By all means, have a chocolate bar if you want to!  It's your life and you are in control.   Just don't trick your mind into thinking you've erased the negative nutritional value of that candy.  Or, that it's a suitable reward for hard work.
Unless you absolutely want to eat "clean;" it's a bit unrealistic to think we should, or could totally eradicate those tasty fun things from our lives.   I think we simple have to redefine how we "reward" ourselves for doing a good workout, so that we don't immediately undo all our efforts. 

One of my favourite "treats" is Greek Yogurt.  And yes I am going to talk about a specific product, but I also must be forthcoming and inform you this product is not available in Canada, and thus I have not specifically tried it.   I was contacted by the company to share information, however, this is not a sponsored post.  I am simply sharing some information I have found to be very helpful in my own health pursuits.

I love that I can take something like a Greek Yogurt, such as those by Chobani, and have a healthy, filling snack after a workout.  Or for breakfast with some fresh fruit.  Or a snack at night if I feel a bit hungry; and I am not sacrificing any of my hard work.   

It's so versatile! 
One of my faves?  Vanilla with strawberries, blueberries and just a bit of coconut cocoa granola on top to satisfy that chocolate lover in me that sometimes screams to be heard.   Am I right ladies? The important thing is to know your applicable portion control to ensure the proper serving. 

After workout?
Plain yogurt with a frozen Caribbean blend of strawberry, mango and peach, and half a fresh banana mixed with my protein powder.   A great way to repair your muscles after an intense workout, and keep you feeling full until your next meal.  Pretending you are on a tropical beach with toes in the sand and salty breeze on your skin optional. 

An actual hot summer day at the beach with your kids?
Make frozen yogurt pops ahead of time for a healthy, cool me down snack on the go.   Or just put some fun Super Hero themed kids size packs in your cooler.  There are even toddler sized portions.  The kids will love them, and yes it's completely important to their future healthy selves to lead by example.  

I have also substituted Greek yogurt in place of sour cream to make various vegetable and fruit dips.  A great way to reduce your calories if you find eating unadorned broccoli a bit blah.   And I do indeed.

All these simple choices are big steps towards a healthier life style!   And lucky for you, Chobani has many of these options already made for you!   Easy button.

With their new Simply 100® Crunch Line, Chobani is making it even easier for you to "crunch the numbers" to obtain a healthier you.   Whether you choose 100 extra steps per day, 100 crunches before bed, or just reduce your overall calories per day by 100; it all matters!

Being fit is about more than just exercise.  It gives birth to so much other positive energy within your life.  Making positive changes is a catalyst to living not just healthier - but happier!  If you have been following my journey, you already know I am as much about growing mentally, spiritually, as well as physically stronger.   It's all connected.

Besides, I already know what giving up looks like.
I want to know what happens when I don't.

Here's a handy infographic from Chobani that might help you on your way to making life a little lighter:

Personally, I am in the mood for a little kitchen dance party with my kids when they arrive back home from school. 

What will you choose to kick start a healthier you?

Feel free to share any favourite yogurt or smoothie recipes in the comments.

You can follow Chobani in all the places:

 Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter.
Good Morning and welcome to Coffee Chat!!

I am your host Rory (or Leslie to those in the know) and... I'm Listening.

Have you ever read Dear Abby?
Or written to an advice column?

Wait, you've been seeing someone else to chat?!!!
You're..... cheating on me?

Please... was her coffee better than mine?

Time out for Mom

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Congrats - you're the new Ask Abby!!!  
What's the first letter you choose to answer? 
(write the letter and your answer.)

I thought this would be fun to do.   
The way I thought of it was rather odd, as it was while I was trying to get back into the flow of my Sunset Cool Down story -- now that I have my Word program functioning properly again.   I am a part where I will have to write some long conversation between Mike and Callie (with much interjection from one nervous and excited little boy), and also cutting to scenes with dialogue with Mike's sister and her husband where they are talking about Mike's personal situation.

And I was just.... how... do... you.....  Words??
It's a LOT easier to speak, than it is to write my friends. 

Hence; writing project.   But make it fun.
Because who doesn't need some good advice every now and then.

Dear Abby,

I have this friend who is prone to making very bad life choices.    Like the time she invited me to dinner with her and husband, and attempted to set me up with another gentleman guest, and I discovered she was actually having an affair with this man.  I mean really?  She invited her lover to dinner at the family home?!   When I spoke to her about this the next day, I told her "I knew that you didn't like motorcross that much!!  Is this bike racer the reason you have been going to the races so much?"   And can you believe she replied, "No - that guy had a bad accident and is in the hospital with a back brace... this guy is his room mate. We met while I was visiting at the hospital."   Wait, I said -- do you mean to say you are cheating on the man you were cheating with?!   Oh yes she was Abby.  But the real kicker proved a greater shock: she's pregnant!!   Your guess is as good as mine as to which one is the father.   Honestly, I don't know if I can continue being friends with this person. I know we all have struggles and things we deal with; but this kind of behaviour just seems pointless and so hurtful.   What do I do?  Is it time to ditch my friend?

Single with Morals in Wampa

Dear Single:

I was relieved to see you sign "Single," because I think it's a fairly good bet if you were not; your "friend" would no doubt soon have your boyfriend in her bed.  And I fear it's already over crowded in there.   You are right: we all deserve happiness -- but you're not supposed to lie and cheat to get it.  Being purposely hurtful is just plain mean.   Her putting you in the middle of her affairs is not what a good friend should do.  I will not judge your friend being willing to express her sexuality; as you may not be aware of any bedroom issues within her marriage.  However,  she did take vows with ONE man, and if she cannot uphold them: best to move along.   And now a child will be dragged along into the messes she creates.  If you care about her enough and want to help, by all means that is your choice.  You may be a better friend than I.    Her behaviour is self destructive in nature, and the only warning I can give is if you decide to continue the friendship, is that you will be likely be sucked down into the same pit she occupies.  Remember that old proverb about lying down with dogs?   It's probably the same regarding alley cats.   

Sincerely, Abby

Can you just?

Well, this actually happened to  me.   
Meaning I was the friend put in the middle.  Don't worry!!  Me and Left Brain are just fine.   All is A Ok.    
To be honest though, this situation is ever so much more messy if I had provided all the details - but I won't.   I would rather forget this period of my life ever happened.  Though I do think about that "friend" quite often and wonder how she is doing.  And whom.

So it just goes to show you -- those letters that seem so "out there" are actually not so far fetched.   There are real people behind them.  Which I guess it's good to keep that other proverb in mind:  that everyone has a story and you don't know what pain someone is hiding.   With the wisdom that comes with age and experience, I now realize that my friend back then must have been hurting quite deeply.   Young as I was, I would not have been able to likely help her much.  But I hope that she did find someone who could be a good friend and listening ear. 
And yeah, hopefully they are single!   

Feel free to write a sample letter for your post.   You can answer it as "Abby" or let your readers answer in the comments.   There are lots of Hot Topics to choose from these days.   In particular I find Etiquette Questions so very interesting because I fear basic manners are slowly becoming a thing of the past. 

If you don't want to write a letter, perhaps write about the best advice you've ever been given.

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