We don't have many photos of Marion when she was a child. Frankly it was always hard to get a shot of her as she would avoid the camera her whole life You can see her in the back row on the top step second from the left. She was the only daugher to John (Jack) and Ellen Hay. She was the middle child to older brother John and baby brother Bill. Marion was close to her Mom. She told us stories about how warm and welcoming her Mother was, how there was always coffee on the stove and enough food to go round for any guest who showed up at the door. There was a lovely story of her mom teachering Marion how to make biscuits. They of course cooked on a wood stove. Marion said her Mom got the recipe from a lady down the road who made the best fluffiest biscuits. So Marion and her Mom went about making biscuits. They turned out fine but rather flat. Not anything like the neighbours. So the next day her Mom took Marion by the hand and they walked over to the neighbours to watch her make biscuits. The neighbour was surprised as she had taken great care in copying out the recipe. The process was the same until the neighbour dipped her cup into the fresh bucket of milk. Marion's Mom said "Ah you didn't tell me to use the cream off the top you just said milk". Off home they went to make the perfect biscuit. It was those stories that Marion told us of her mother that became our only memories of our Grandmother Hay. When Grandma Hay died Marion was only 13. Marion had known her mother was sick but didn't realise until she over heard a friend's mother talking about her mother dying that her mother was going to leave her. When Marion's mother died she had to take took over the huge job of running the house. It's hard to imagine how a 13 year old girl could have handled that workload. She continued to go to school and finished high school, but at the same time making sure all the meals were cooked and the house was clean and the laundry was done for her father, our father Bill and later her father's brother Big Bill. They didn't have electrity, there was a hand pump for water in the kitchen and all cooking was done on a wood stove.
When our Mom and Dad got married near the end of the war, Mom told us that Dad had explained to her that he owed his upbringing to Marion and that if she needed help they would have to be there for her. Frankly Marion was alway there for our family. She always was giving.
Marion looked after her father, Granpa Hay until he had a stoke. Marion would have been about 43 years old then and she had never worked outside of the family home. This kind of a change this late in life might have broken someone else, Marion just did what she had to do to look after herself and make a future on her own. Marion moved in with her cousin Molly and went back to school refreshing her secretarial skills. After getting her skills up to scatch, now in her mid 40's she moved out into her first bachelor apartment on Cartier Street in Ottawa and her first full time job as a public servant.
I've always wanted a real stone wall fence. It is not a project you can finish on a weekend so while work was still occupying my time I wasn't going to tackle this dream. Now I don't have work as an excuse and so this weekend I started building my stone fence. I did my research, thank you Pinterest and found out what has to be done to build a dry stone wall.
Step one dig a ditch.
Your ditch has to be about 8 inches deep and about 2 feet wide. My property is solid clay so this time of year is the best time to be digging. Another couple of weeks later the clay would be rock hard and almost impossible to dig.
Step 2 start placing your rocks.
The last couple of weeks I've been collecting rocks from around the property. We live in Lanark County where rocks are the most prolific crop in any field. The blades of the John Deere lawn mower are always finding rocks sticking up through the grass so we have started digging up the worst offenders.
Step 3.....Keep stacking rocks uptil you hit the 2 foot mark. That's as high a jump I want. I plan to have a rail over the top.
That's as far as I got today. I ran out of rocks so tomorrow I'll have to go out and gather more. The project continues.
Well it's Monday and I got on the scale. Not happy, I'm up 2 lbs. Very frustratiing. Of course as I look back over the last week I realise that I ate too much of the wrong food. That's life, you put more fuel in than your body can burn and you gain weight. But still seeing the scale go the wrong way does bother me.
Then I think about a commercial that really bugs me. It's a cartoon of a dancing fat woman who decides with the new year to go on a diet. She starts out and then life gets in the way. Her she gains 2 lbs because of social commitments after losing a couple of lbs. Her only solution, an elastic band around her stomach so she can't eat as much. When I see that ad I get angry. Surely on set back doesn't mean you throw out all the work you've done to have a medical intervention. So now I have to do the hard work. Actually apply what my brain tells me is right and follow it. Then as if I needed a back up on my thoughts Yoni Freedhoff writes a kick as blog today in Weighty Matters http://www.weightymatters.ca/2015/03/why-im-not-fazed-by-long-term-weight.html. I put this link here because I'll need to read this blog over and over this week.
I will not let this weeks numbers take me off track. I will be a healthy fit woman in spite of myself.
Going to the gym is finally paying off. And by paying off I don't just mean that I'm losing weight. I have lost 10 lbs, so that's great but what I'm really talking about is my improved quality of life. I can now go down the stairs one foot after another. I know this is normal for most folk, but I've had to go down the stairs sideways for over a year now. I can also get up into the back of the truck almost every time without having to roll in, I can step on the bumper and pull myself up and on the truck. So big improvement in my leg strength.
This past week I got to the gym 5 times. I have been working on my cardio. I do 3 miles on the treadmill. I am starting to push my speed. I can get a little run in now in the session. So far I've only been able to run 1/4 of a mile at a time but my endurance is improving and my heart rates isn't as high as when I started.
I am eating better. I wouldn't say I'm dieting, but I'm eating a good balanced diet and I'm trying to limit snacking. Snacking is a stuggle, but I'm improving. It all helps with warmer weather and increased day length. I'm working in the barn longer and enjoying the horses more and more as it warms up.
I know these are all baby steps but they are steps in the right direction. I'm celebrating every improvement in my health.
Well I got the fox painting finished today. I struggled with this one. Sometimes it's like that with a painting. Your mind and your hand just don't communicate the way you want them too. I think it's just because I'm out of practice. There's an easy solution to that start another painting. I was originally going to do another fox right away, but I think now I'll do a hunt scene with hounds. I think I need a break from "Charlie", to my non horse friends Charlie is slang for fox. Besides the board I'm priming for the next painting better suits a hunt scene.
Today I didn't get to the gym. I did get a lot of work done. A load of shavings in the barn and stalls. It feels good to get a load of shavings into the barn. I think it helps keep the barn warm. This winter the barn needs all the help it can get.
Tomorrow I'm taking the commuter bus into Ottawa. That means I'm going to have to get my butt in gear early if I'm going to catch the 7:35am bus into town. John is already in Ottawa he'll pick me up to do some cell phone shopping and have lunch with my Aunt Marge. It's been a long cold winter for everyone. I am very much looking forward to a salad I don't have to make. Marge told me on the phone she's going stir crazy and is just looking forward to lunch outside the retirement home.
Another miserable day of winter outside. Today's wind was cutting. I put the horses out at noon and brought them in at 4:30 this afternoon. Normally if they were out for such a short period of time I'd get a lot of discussion about coming in. Not today, again they practically ran into their stalls. I'm looking at the forecast for the rest of the week and while the temperatures don't look that bad at this point I really can't believe we will ever get any relief from this cold.
My sister is in South Carolina. She and her husband rent a place there for Feburary and March, my last note from her is the weather has been colder than usual and there and apparently snow was expected this week. It worries me that we are experiencing such a cold winter after a very cold winter last year. I think we should all expect to pay much more for oranges and grapefruit this year.
On a lighter note. My trips to the gym are paying off. I am now very comfortable walking out 3 miles or 5 km on the treadmill. On Sunday I actually ran a 1/4 mile twice in the session. It was pushing myself to the max but I got it done and was really pleased about it. I can feel the difference. It's easier to move, and I'm feeling better, not so many down or dark days as I like to call them. So I'm really pleased that the hard work is paying off.
I've also been working on a painting of a fox. It is arguing with me more than I'd like. Sometimes you pick up a paint brush and everything falls into place other times the board and the paints seem to fight your every move. In the past I'd give up, not going to happen this time. I think with some work tonight and tomorrow I might just get it finished. Photos will follow soon I promise.
Yet another Extreme Cold Warning today. Not the way I like to start the week but I think and I hope this is the last extreme cold warning for this winter. Please don't hold me to this.
Last week a number of people noticed I didn't weigh in. I couldn't face it, so I didn't. This week though I forced myself to get on the scales. It was needed as I could feel my diet moving to a less healthy zone. Anyway it was good news, I'm down another two pounds and have now broken the 200lb mark. It's a boost to my moral. It gives me incentive to keep plugging away at this journey.
I let the horses stay in the barn this morning. I will let them out for noon sun while I do stalls. They are fed up with this weather as well. I can tell as there is no funny business about coming back into the barn these days. I open the gate to their paddock and they trot into their stalls without any cursing or swearing from me. If the weather forecast holds true for next week I'll have to keep a bag of mints in my pocket in order to get a halter over Rolo's giraffe high head.
I've started a fox painting, I can't figure out if I'm pleased with it or not yet. It's still a little Grandma Moses for me right now. Not that there's anything wrong with Grandma Moses...but I really feel I should make my own path. It's a good afternoon to get some work done on that, photos to come.