Insane Insomnia

I love sleep. I love that feeling that I get just before I fall asleep, and the feeling of waking up after a good sleep or a nap.

I have always prided myself on the ability to fall asleep quickly, and anywhere. Moving vehicle? I’m out. Couch? No problem. In fact, I can fall asleep pretty much 90 seconds after getting horizontal. I can fall asleep in the light and with noise.

I think my falling asleep abilities make some people jealous. I have heard horror stories about people who can’t “shut off” their brains to fall asleep at night, and take hours to do what I can do in less time than it takes to tie up shoelaces.

Also, up until about 2 years ago, I could wake up in the middle of the night and then be able to fall back asleep.

Not so much these days. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m pretty sure that if it keeps up much longer I will have to do something a little more deliberate.

For the past 3 nights I have suffered from insomnia. Now, I hesitate to use the word “suffer” lightly. Cancer patients suffer. Impoverished communities suffer. Disaster victims suffer. But the inability to sleep being referred to as “suffer?” I dunno. Seems a bit extreme, doesn’t it?

But, ya, I’m suffering. I struggle to contain myself. I’m snappy, short-tempered, forgetful and illogical. And, I’m awake. And it’s 2:42am. I’ve been awake since 1:17, and I have no reason to believe that I am going to be able to fall asleep anytime soon.

The internet has some pretty funny stuff on insomnia, doesn’t it? It seems that those of us that can’t sleep try the most ridiculous things to achieve sleep. Here are the top 10 silliest things I have read on how to fall asleep.

10 – Get a massage. I don’t even want to know what would happen if I woke Brent up at 1:17 in the morning and told him that I couldn’t sleep and that he needed to give me a massage. I also don’t have an in house massage therapist, but I will say that my irrational sleep deprived mind is trying to figure out how to work this into the household budget right now.

9 – Drink milk. Specifically, warm milk. This is wrong on so many levels.

8 – Eat a banana. Ha! My mother was right! I can’t find any scientific reasoning why eating a banana will help me fall back asleep, but I assure you there is currently a banana working its way through my digestive system.

7 – Get up earlier in the morning – Brilliant! Except…waitaminute…it IS early in the morning and idontwannabeawake!!!!! Besides, I get up at 5:25 every day. One would think that I would drop into bed each night and stay there without any issue.

6 – Count sheep. Where did this come from anyway? Why sheep? Why not…chickens? Or money? Counting sheep for me goes something like this: 1….2….3….I really should remember tomorrow to address that email that Jane sent me….4…5…crap! I forgot to do that calculation…6…7…pizza money for the girls in their lunch…8…lunches…do we have bread? Did they put the jam away after their snack? What did Brent mean earlier when he walked right past me with his toothbrush in his mouth? I wonder if Zoom is going to be busy tomorrow. I really need to get started on that project that Bob asked me about…what was I trying to do? Oh yes. Sheep. Or was it chickens?

5 – If you can’t sleep, get up. Well this I understand, I guess. I’m up now, at my desk. I have a splitting headache. I’m debating coffee (yes, I know that’s wrong.) One thing is certain, I’m not asleep.

4 – Sleep with your head facing north – I think if I went into my bedroom right now and flipped my bed around so my head faced north, my husband would wake up pretty pissed and our bed would be on some crazy diagonal angle in our bedroom. Also, since insomnia has been a pretty new issue for me, I’m sure that my non-north facing habits haven’t caused it.

3 – Sleep with your head facing south – oh boy.

2 – Imagine it’s time to get up – Whaaa? Is this some sort of backwards psychology? Well, I did this. Guess what happened? I got up. Imagine that.

And the silliest insomnia cure I have read tonight is:

1 – Smoke yourself to sleep. I actually laughed out loud when I read this. Then, I clicked on the link, expecting to find this huge article on how smoking up is scientifically linked to better sleep complete with some plug about making this legal. Here is what it said, in it’s entirety:

“I’ve found the best thing to get me asleep is cannabis—and all the people I know who smoke it agree.” – Anonymous

Well, that settles it now, doesn’t it? Anonymous and all his high-as-a-kite friends are sound asleep.

To keep the record straight, me and my partially digested banana are going to try to have a bath. Good night!

 

Love is kind

It’s been a crazy month and a half. I couldn’t believe it when I logged in to find out my last post was in January. I would like to humbly admit that my first attempt at my second attempt of the love dare didn’t go well. To be brutally honest, Brent and I have had a rough six weeks.

I understand that most of the nonsense in our marriage is a direct result of my terrible sense of self worth and my lack of self confidence. It was some time after my last post that I realized that there is actually nothing about myself that I like. Now, before you all start awwww-ing, just hear me out. I’m actually ok with realizing that I don’t like anything about myself, because from there I was able to identify and conquer these items.

I have some broad goals for this year, in no particular order:

1) Get my body in better shape.

I don’t quite have this mapped out just yet, but I am struggling through the ongoing frustration of having drastically changed so much about my eating and activity habits only to see absolutely no changes in my physical appearance. 5 years ago I gave up soda pop, fast food and started actively exercising. Then, two years ago I gave up gluten, and started eating more fruits and veggies daily. Then last year, I started running regularly. Guess what the result was? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I haven’t lost any weight or dropped any inches.

My new view of this is that a dedicated and serious attempt is required: mindful eating of whole clean foods only. The only liquid to enter my mouth is water, 64oz per day minimum and sweat-inducing workouts 4 days per week. I have decided to track this for the next 12 weeks (with your help, Dear Reader, of course!)

2) Get my marriage in better shape.

Isn’t falling in love fantastic? Isn’t staying in love the most difficult thing in the whole world? Why does no one point this out in a clear fashion *before* married couples find themselves on the brink of emotional disaster? Truth is that Brent and I love each other terribly. I know this. I have read pretty much every relationship book there is, and the basic premises of these writings all make perfect sense – and all seem to completely vanish in the moment of a good argument. Our last big fight was on Valentine’s Day – how ironic. I miss being romanced and being doted on, something Brent pointed out was not in our wedding vows.

He has told me clearly that he has no intentions of being more romantic or changing in any way, so the reins are in my hands on this one. I’m going to try again.

3) Get my house in better shape

All five kids have grown since we last went through their closets, my room and kitchen need a major overhaul and the basement, well…ya. I am blessed to have Katie Miller in my life – she is coming to give me a hand at the end of the month. I find that I am much more relaxed when I feel like the house is in order.

4) Get work in better shape

All things considered, work is going pretty well. I have already completed a bunch of training this year and have a clearer idea of where I want the companies to go – implementation will begin May 1.

So – back to my love dare. On the topic of kindness to Brent, I have a long way to go. Some “journal” thoughts are this:

How would your husband describe you on the kindness meter? – Very low, ashamedly.
How harsh are you? – In general, I feel I come off as very harsh. This is not intentional. Brent has said to me “you have no idea how you sound” and I hate that about myself.
How gentle and helpful are you? – I feel like I am quite helpful. I try to lighten his household burden, but I get frustrated when it goes seemingly unnoticed. As for being gentle, yes, I am, but it’s intentional instead of natural.

I guess what I am realizing is that love needs to exist in me, even if I don’t feel I am receiving it. So, for the next 3 days I will say nothing negative to Brent, and I will show him at least one act of kindness per day.

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you.”- Ephesians 4:32

The Love Dare, Round 2

Last year I very quietly read, and (tried to) implement(ed) the Love Dare and the Respect Dare. At the same time.

They aren’t written by the same authors, but their 40-dare systems allow for integration, somewhat. So it worked…ish. I think most people that read these books operate like this is a “one time thing” because each dare gets more challenging than the next. They are geared towards a happy marriage, creating one, fixing one or preventing undue stress. I don’t consider myself to be a marriage expert by any means, but lately I have found odd trinkets of advice come out of my mouth. Brent and I are constantly talking about and trying to improve our marriage, and we can both humbly admit that we have said and done things to each other that were far less than what we’d expect from ourselves.

My goals this year include learning more about myself and expanding my consulting/teaching aspects of my job. I firmly believe that one cannot give what one does not have, so I have decided to take the Love Dare and the Respect Dare journeys again, only this time slower, and one at a time. I am starting with the Love Dare.

I would like to integrate each dare for a series of days, for three reasons:
1) I sometimes fail, (like I did with this first dare when I tried it, oh, 4 days ago!)
2) I don’t want to forget the progress. I want to make these 40 dares more like 40 habits, so I think I will decide on a number of days to practice each dare.
3) I need time to process the impact of each dare before moving on to the next one.

Dare #1 – Based on the principle that love is patient, my challenge for the next 3 days is to demonstrate patience by not saying anything negative to Brent.

When most of us hear “love is patient” I bet our minds wander to the popular bible verse from 1 Corinthians. Although that is a great verse, and I’m sure our friends at Hallmark must have made just a fortune on artsy “I’m sorry” cards with it, the premise behind my dare is to pause for a moment so I can fully listen to what Brent is trying to say to me without interrupting. I feel like mastering this will make my thoughts wise, my emotions more controlled, and my marriage stronger.

If anyone chooses to join me on this journey – welcome. Reach out to me if you wish, I would love it! Here is my first bit of encouragement: Few of us do patience well, and NONE of us do it naturally. What this means is that this “unnatural” calm is something we need to work at, to allow those around us to fail without feeling shame from us. There is nothing more rewarding than actively giving someone more time than they need to correct a mistake, and visibly avoiding an argument. Trust me, it’s exhilarating! Too often we feel the need to lash out, or give our spouse the gears. I bet all of us feel bad afterward, even just a little bit. Take this dare with me, and try extending extra patience to your significant other.

2014! The year of less….and more :)

Those who know me will not be surprised to hear that I have a list as long of my arm of New Year’s “resolutions”. Sometimes I wonder why each year I continue to go through this exercise in biting off more than I, or anyone else, can chew. On one hand, I like to have a to do list, and a good reminder of things that I have accomplished, and things that I need to work on. Sometimes though, I feel overwhelmed and a sense of failure.

Around December 28th, Brent nonchalantly announced “I think 2014 will be the year of doing less.”

Well no kidding. Here is a short list of the 2013 highlights:
– spent January in Victoria BC and finished my MBA
– bought a laundromat (like, what??)
– bought the building next door, gutted it and renovated it from top to bottom, inside and out
– took on a major renovation at our Cumberland property
– got married

In all of this, we worked at our full time jobs, kept the businesses growing, kept the kids fed, and still managed a family vacation and a lot of time at the cottage this summer. All things considered, 2013 wasn’t a bad year. But we did find that a lot of our days started with “I have to .” We didn’t connect with each other, our children, our family or our friends as much as we should have. As much as we *wanted* to.

So, I resolve that 2014 will be different. You’ll be seeing more of me, friends. When you call me to arrange a time to get together, I will say “Sure, how’s today? Or tomorrow? Or next week?” I’ll cook you dinner or make you tea. You can come visit me, or we can go for a walk. Or a run. We can go to the movies, or for dinner, or play a card game. Whatever you want to do, just ask.

Handy-dandy Travelling Kitchen Kit

Travelling as a family of 7 is never easy, but Brent and I agree that it is a good idea to expose the kids to travel as much as possible. There is nothing better than the ear-to-ear grins and the contagious excitement that literally flows out of them as they come spinning down the waterslides here at Wisconsin Dells Wilderness Lodge.

I chose this place for the condo-type accommodations. I firmly believe that even after 2 or 3 days of vacations, we all need some space from each other. The standard hotel-room setup just won’t work for so many reasons, the main one being food.

I love the idea of having a kitchen where I can prepare meals for the kids. Dining out as a family just is not a sustainable option for a week long vacation. Besides the obvious price impact (I can healthily feed our team on a budget of $300-$400 per week, where trying to get 21 meals in restaurants would cost at least twice that!) it is really difficult to get everyone to sit still long enough to not cause tears, yelling, broken furniture and wasted food.

I must say, this kitchen setup, while good in concept, came rather understocked. So, I decided to make myself a travelling kitchen kit, filled with my essentials.

Knives

There is nothing – and I mean *nothing* – more frustrating than trying to cut with a dull or improper knife. Our family loves when I make the chopped salsa which means that I have to cut tomatoes, peppers, avocados, garlic and onion. Try doing that with a sucky knife. I bought these two and a cutting board and my happiness level increased dramatically.

Oven mitt

Don’t you think it’s just awesome when you the timer on your hotel oven dings and the frantic search for a proper oven mitt ensues? No, me either. Grabbed these, and saved myself the “do you think I should try to use a bath towel to get the chicken out” debate.

Measuring cups

Let’s just say things taste much better when they have the right quantity of ingredients in them. I’m not one of those eyeball each recipe and it always just works out sort of cooks. My food tastes great because I measure out everything and get it right.

Spatula

Go ahead, try to get overeasy eggs off the hotel-provided pan without a spatula. If you love cleaning egg goo out of stove elements as much as I do, you’re going to want to make sure you have a heat-resistant spatula on hand.

Corkscrew

I’m travelling with 5 children. Do I need to explain this one any further?

Sponges

Since hotels don’t always leave everything as clean as I would like it, scrubbing sponges are a must.

Tote
Everything fits nicely into my stacking “Snapware” tote. Throw it in the back of the van, and we’re in business. My idea is that I’m going to leave it packed at all times and store it with the suitcases so it is ready to go at a moments notice. (self back pat) 🙂

All Things Book

I have no idea what this blog is really about. The other day someone said “oh! I read your blog. So, what is your blog theme anyway?”

I returned a blank stare.

I guess this blog is about….me….and all parts of me? I have no idea. I have often thought about sticking with one theme or another, but I’m really not *that well versed* in much of anything. So I guess this blog is really about anything.

I haven’t really given poor blog a lot of attention these days, primarily because I have so many things on the go right now and different projects scattered about my life. Today was a rather overwhelming day, pretty much from the time I got up until about 30 minutes ago. Today I decided that I will try to streamline “the nadia mode” a bit, and start to actually focus on something. What that something is remains to be seen.

What most of you don’t know about me is that I am a HUGE book reader. I love reading all sorts of books, from Douglas Adams (side note, Brent casually suggested that we watch the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie the other day, and I actually got chest pains) to Jodi Piccult, to Stephen King to John Grisham to Margaret Atwood to A.J. Jacobs to Craig Groschel. I read fiction, non-fiction, biographies, fantasy, true crime, anything. However, I have felt a bit out of touch with books these days due to lack of time and the overwhelming “what to read next” dilemma. Combine this with my scattered life, I decided to focus my reading on calming myself down and getting happy again.

So, I hit Chapters this evening, and picked up a few idea books and motivational starters. I settled on two authors: Gretchen Rubin and Keri Smith.

A few years back, I started – and did not finish – my own happiness project. So, I will certainly be picking that up again. The problem is that as soon as I get a little happier, I think “who needs a happiness project when you are already happy?” and out the window it goes.
I’ll try to stick with it a bit longer this time.

Keri Smith books are so awesome everyone should own one. I decided on “Wreck This Journal” which brings me to my “All things Book” topic of this blog entry. On page 1, Journal suggests “Crack the Spine.” I flipped the book to the middle, and bent it back. In return, I got the most satisfying spine crack, complete with new book smell. And I broke out into a wide grin 😀

Memories of my childhood flooded back to me. My mom bringing home books from work, my dad taking me to the library every week, and walking with him in the mall after leaving Cole’s bookstore as a young kid with my brother. We each had a good armload of books. I asked him “Dad, are you sure you don’t mind that you spent all that money on these books?” I will never forget the way he looked at me when he said “I *never* mind spending money on books for you guys. I’m the luckiest dad in the world because my kids love to read.”

It’s been sooooooo long since I actually read a book that isn’t through my kindle or via some audio podcast. I had been looking for some inspiration and I found it! So happy.

The Circular Effect of the Lack of Weight Loss

April 15, 2013
Current Weight: 161lbs
Goal: Something, anything!
C25K Progress: Week 6(ish)(again)(I suck)

So, I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock with running, working out and weight loss. A good swift kick in the butt is what I need. See, I get frustrated with the unfairness of it all.

If I took a snapshot of what I used to do, eat, and drink 2 years ago and compared it to today, there is no question that there is a bit of a mystery here when it comes to my scale. My all accounts, I should be wayyyyyy lighter. I eat healthy, Derek continually drives me through grueling workouts, I’m generally less stressed than I used to be, and I have cut out gluten, pop, alcohol and restaurant food. What else is there? The theories abound: I eat too much, I eat too little, I exercise wrong, not enough, too much, I eat too early, too late, too much fruit, not enough vegetables, wine is good, wine is bad, Calgon take me away.

The Circular Effect of the Lack of Weight Loss results in me participating in activities that do not promote weight loss. My self-proclaimed rationale is that if I’m not losing weight anyway, why don’t I just eat the {insert crappy food here}.

A few nights ago I was experiencing my occasional bout of insomnia, and it hit me: Isagenix. I was on Isagenix about 14 months ago, and it worked. I had lost about 18lbs (since recovered, safe and sound, and right back on my ass and gut where it used to be). So why am I fretting over whatever I put in my mouth if I have a solution in my cupboard? I decided to start the very next day.

And I did.

And it worked*.

I lost 4lbs last week! 🙂

* Side note – on Saturday I was scheduled to have a cleanse day. However, I forgot I had to babysit for Rhonda and Steve, and subsequently forgot to bring my cleanse juice to their house. So, instead I ordered a pizza. And then I ate the pizza. We’ll try again next week, stay tuned.

So close…and yet so far

I’m so close. So, so close. 6 days, 2 assignments, and one kickbutt project and I’ll be Nadia La Russa, MBA. It’s been long, and yet it has flown by. It’s been tough, yet I’ve learned so much. I’ve met new people, and met a new me.

And I have absolutely no idea what I will do next.

A Keynote Address by Donald Bell

I’m attending the annual Simply Accounting Conference, this year held in Vancouver, BC.  I try to attend every year, despite the fact that I derive absolutely NO useful information from the conference content.  I’ve been using the software for 13 years now….I pretty much have it down pat.  Basically, in order to maintain my elite “Gold Certified Consultant” status, I am required to attend.

The perks:

1) a “business trip” for Sherilyn and I.

2) the keynote speaker

If there’s one thing that Simply does right each year, it’s rope good keynote speakers to present to a room full of bookkeepers. I have been fortunate enough to hear and meet Merge Gupta-Sunderji, Andrew Brash, and David Chilton.  This year, they brought in Donald Bell, co-founder of Westjet.

I couldn’t have been happier.

Those trusty faithful blog followers know my abosulte disdain for Air Canada.  By default, this makes me LOVE Westjet. The fact that I have had SEVERAL positive experiences flying Westjet tips the scales even further.

I have always been slightly curious.  You know that “How DO they make everyone love them so much” fleeting thought.  Well, now I know.

The story of Westjet began under much duress.  Mr. Bell detailed the struggles they had raising capital, raising faith, and writing a business plan they believed in.  He presented the graveyard of airlines that our continent has buried.  He persisted despite being told time and time again that airlines, in general, fail miserably.

Here are some of the “notable” quotes from today’s keynote address that I found interesting and wanted to share:

“Becoming a millionare is easy.  Just become a billionaire first, then buy an airline.”

“We decided when choosing our employes that we didn’t want to hire anyone that worked at Air Canada or Revenue Canada” ** – note, bookkeepers and accountants find this on particularly funny.

Top 10 rules:

1) Find a model and copy it

2) First get the business plan, then get the money

3) Treat employees as #1

4) Share the wealth

5) Hire for attitude, train for skills

6) Empower the front lines

7) Embrace technology

8) Keep it simple

9) Fly union free

10) Party party party

This is starting to sound alot like….well….me!!!

EEEKK! Without even knowing it, I have the SAME BUSINESS MODEL as Westjet!! That’s right, WESTJET. The household name who’s brand identity rivals Tim Hortons, and who’s growth and profits have put banks and gold mines to shame.

I couldn’t be happier.  Those of you who know me will be most happy to learn that I did “not* run up to him like a 14 year old at a Taylor Swift concert shreiking “omg we are EXACTLY the same!”

🙂 I feel empowered and motivated. Stand back.

Air Canada – no more?

It seems like my favorite topic of discussion is Air Canada. I flew Westjet yesterday, out of a snowstorm in Thunder Bay and landed in Toronto a hilarious THREE HOURS before the suckers on the Jazz flight that was scheduled to leave at the same time.

On my flight, I caught the CNN “Air Canada Crisis” update. Here is what I learned.

1) Air Canada had an operating deficit of 1 billion dollars last year
2) Air Canada owes 3 billion dollars to it’s employees pension plan
3) Air Canada has turfed it’s CEO Montie Brewer and re-appointed Calin Rovinescu to clean up the mess
4) Air Canada has foolishly locked itself into a fixed fuel cost of $99 per barrell or some stupid thing.

So, they are once again on the brink of closure.

I cannot imagine how this is even possible. I mean seriously, your pricing is competitive to Westjet, you have a larger coverage area, more flights, smaller planes, fewer flight attendants and you aren’t even comtributing to the pension plan. How on EARTH did you manage to lose one freaking billion dollars????

I guess it can only be because you have fewer travellers.

Well I have some advice 🙂 here it is:

Air Canada, if you want more business, BE NICE.

That’s right. Be NICE to your travellers. Because let me tell ya, travelling is stressfull enough, the LAST thing you need is crakyass airline personnel. I cannot remember the last time I had an issue with Air Canada and I was treated respectfully.

I get it, air travellers are occasionally difficult to deal with. We’re cranky, sometimes we’re late, sometimes we don’t have the proper paperwork. Do you think snapping and bitching will help? I guess it might, if you dont want to be an airline anymore.

Let’s take your archnemesis, Westjet. They are nice. See? They have friendly, smiling staff. They treat all their customers the same (no elite, you get to board first, here are special fancy bag tags etc) they don’t lose luggage, and when they screw up, they tell you they are sorry. I had bad service ONCE in my life with Westjet. ONCE. So I phoned them. I said “Hey, ummm…ya, I had bad service. I’m kinda not used to that.” You know what they said? They said “What!!! Bad service! We’re sorry! Here is a free flight.”

Take notes, Air Canada 🙂