Whatever It Takes

My life has reached a comfortable and calming rhythm and I’m super grateful about that. It’s been so chaotically busy, but it’s a good busy. I’ve been building up my writing career nicely, I’m still working on those driving lessons, and I’ve been more successful at my day job than I have been in months. That means more money for me, and a better way to provide for the famjam. I’ve also been without fast food, alcohol, or caffeine for 22 of thirty days. I’m looking better, my skin is better, and I feel more alert and focused. 

This makes me wonder if I should resume my Red Bull filled life after the month is over.

These past few weeks have been very eye opening. Much like when you rid yourself of toxic people, not having caffeine has been the same for me. First I felt really shitty. But now, my mind is clear, I’m focusing better, I’m less tired because I’m sleeping better. My workouts are better (with the exception of the damn geese).  But  iced coffee is also really delicious. So, the struggle is real. 

Maybe I need to reevaluate how much caffeine I’m consuming. Maybe limit it to that one cup of tea or one Red Bull a day. Or even treat it like I do with alcohol and have it as a rare, once every few months treat. But I wonder if anyone else struggles with a quasi unhealthy love of caffeine? I mean, I don’t eat much fast food because it’s not good for you. I avoid alcohol because it isn’t good for you. But I guzzle caffeinated drinks like water even though I know they’re bad for me. Why am I giving this kind of poison a pass? Shouldn’t I keep it out of my life like I do all other poisons, food, human or otherwise? Or am I overthinking this? 


I guess I’m wondering if I’m sabotaging my best life by adding poison to my body and saying it’s okay because it’s just coffee. It’s just an energy drink. I’ve gone without for three weeks and I’ve been emotionally, physically, and mentally better. Maybe this thing we’re taught helps us stay alert is actually holding us back. Or maybe, I just really want a damn coffee and I’m trying to suppress the cravings with justifications that I don’t care about it hahaha. 

I want to be my healthiest, happiest self. Maybe that does mean caffeine free, alcohol, and fast food free (until I remember that there’s a Popeye’s five minutes from my house). I mean, it’s been three years since I’ve had soda & that’s been okay. Maybe cutting the cord on coffee won’t be so bad. I’ll probably feel better long term. But I’m not sure if I can stick to it. Maybe I’ll keep replacing it with my delicious David’s Tea until I forget about it forever…maybe. 

But for now, it’s time to consider ending my long term relationship with caffeine. It’s not you coffee, it’s me. I want to be a healthier, happier person and I’m afraid you might be holding me back. 

Work Bitch

For those of you who are new to my world, let me catch you up to speed; I am absolutely terrified of geese. Every once in awhile, I try to pretend that the geese aren’t scary af, but in the end, I always go right back to remembering that geese are the minions of Satan, and are probably out to get me. 


Anywho, I often see these dark creatures of evil while I’m running and I normally turn around and run home. Why? Because I don’t want to die. Duh. But yesterday, I was feeling pretty buoyed by the Oilers big win and wanted to get my 5K in. So, I’m running and feeling all good about myself when up ahead I see…that’s right, the feathered horror itself; Mr. Goose. But, as fate would have it, my playlist switched to the greatest icon of my generation; Britney Spears. 


If you’ve lived under a rock, let me bring up to speed: Britney Spears is an icon. Anyone you consider an icon that isn’t Britney means that you are wrong. Deep down, everyone likes Britney Spears. You know that you secretly mouth the lyrics to Baby One More Time when you’re alone. It’s okay. But I digress. So, I’m running, and Britney’s Stronger comes on. Again, I don’t care who you are, if Britney Spears’s Stronger comes on, and you don’t feel like a bad bitch, then who are you really. Suddenly, I’m an invincible goddess, much like Britney. If she can survive 2007, I can survive a damn goose! So I jog right past that feathery fucker and keep on going. I can run 5K. Why? Because I slay. Queen Britney has empowered me. 


I’ve always said that music can change your mood. That’s why my running playlist is mostly hard rock, Britney Spears, and also Brie Bella’s entrance music (which is also my ring tone, because it’s the best thing ever). 

Stuff like this keeps me pumped up. Unlike Crossfit, where I have coaches and teammates to keep me motivated; I have only myself. Sometimes, I want to just give up early. I’m tired. I’m not feeling it. My hips are sore. Whatever. But I can’t do that or I’ll never progress or get triathlon ready. So, I use music that will elevate my spirits and keep me energized to finish my run, just like I choose music during my day to pick me up. Back to the story, I was doing so well. I was making great time, I had Britney Spears and Brie Mode, I was the fittest person ever. I was fearless guys, FEARLESS. I was almost positive that no goose would scare me off from my run…

Almost

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t invincible. But part of life means putting on your big people pants and putting up with stuff we don’t like. For me, it’s geese. Eventually, I’ll get to the point where they aren’t terrifying…or I’ll use my fear to run faster. Maybe. 

The Sound of Silence

I get asked the same question a lot; “when do you find time for yourself?”

When men ask, they specifically mean “how are you going to find time to sleep with me and cater to my every need while I ignore yours (or at least this has been the case of every man I’ve ever known)?” When my friends ask, it’s because I haven’t spent any time with them in weeks, mostly because I have no time. I guess I have spread myself pretty thin. I’m working on four different pieces for three different publications. I work full time. I’m raising the kidlets. I’m getting better at getting the gym in there. But I could understand why an outsider would think I never have “me time.” 

The truth is that I’m finding more and more that my “me time” is running. Yes, running. That thing that I used to hate is quickly becoming my personal time. Don’t get me wrong, I still love me my crossfit, and my post WOD yoga, but running is the best for clearing my head. 

I work a lot. I’m kind of a workaholic. I love my family & I want to be the best kind of mom. Well, it’s hard to be the best kind of mom when you’re constantly trying to squeeze 100 things into one 24 hour period. I’m answering emails on the way to work. I’m coming up with ideas that I think are great (spoiler alert; are probably weird) & story pitches while signing permission slips and hearing about how Kiara is mad at her boyfriend because reasons and Jade took the boyfriend’s side and now the teen is in the middle and “OH MY GOSH MOM. YOU HAVE NO IDEA.” That’s a lot of information to be cramming into one mind. When I go running, I get 35 minutes to decompress. I listen to my running playlist and enjoy the music, while getting a great sweat sesh in (arms too, thanks to Stratusphere FitGloves!), and no one is calling or emailing me or asking me where their phone charger is. It’s just my alone time. 

All of my bomb playlists
I can understand why this wouldn’t seem terribly soothing to some; running is sweaty, tiring, and just kind of gross. But it is the one time of day that I get to disconnect from life and recharge. It helps my self esteem, as every time I finish a bit better than the day before, I’m pretty proud of myself. I feel accomplished and proud (& then I text my best friend, who’s started her own blog that I think you should all read) & tell her and we share our common interest. I find that my professional writings come together much better after I’ve gone running. My closing shifts are better after my morning run because I’m in a positive headspace and I’m more focused. I eat better because I don’t want to undo my run with the frappucino or Thai Express. I’m stronger at the gym. There is literally no downside, as no one regrets their workout!


I know I need more of a social life (I miss my friends too hahaha), and there is more to life than family, work, and fitness. But it works for me. I’m the happiest I’ve been since I lived in London (and my life was family, work, fitness). It works for me. Maybe I need to stop letting everyone tell me what works for me & let me just do what works…& this works. Running is my alone time (as crossfit has coaches and a class hahaha). Fitness is always going to be my downtime, whether it’s to relieve stress, or just to be happy, fitness is my key. And anything that helps me feel good inside, look good outside, and keeps me healthier longer, can only be a good thing. 

Somebody’s Love


After eight months, I’ve said goodbye to the world of major retail big box chains. 

Peace out.

I left my manager & DM thank you notes, as well as the store manager. Much like when I left the St. Albert location, my coworkers were gifted a bucket of snacky foods and a thank you letter, although this time, there was a welcome letter for the new hire, who has been a good friend to me since I started. I feel it’s important to make sure that those who worked hard with you during your tenure know you appreciate them. I’ve been fortunate to work with a strong manager and a District Manager who is a role model for all women in wireless. She loves her team, works hard for those who work for her and doesn’t take anyone’s crap. I hope that I can lead my new team with the same level of integrity and success that she has.

I’m so freaking excited to be moving forward. In this past month, I’ve taken my new position and I’m so excited to get started. I was under the impression that I’d be shadowing the manager for my probationary ninety days, but he’s made it clear that my new store will be “my baby” after two weeks, and a crash course in wireless leadership. That’s both awesome and frightening, but then I remind myself that they’re trusting me with this because I’ve proven that I can do it. My work history demonstrates that I can be a capable leader. So, it’s about calming the nerves, taking a deep breath and stepping up to the plate.

My writing career is booming too. My first article under my new editor was a success, which makes me happy. When I started with Great West Newspapers, I was afraid to pitch a story. I didn’t think I should. What do I know about Alberta and the lifestyles of people here? I accepted my assignments as they came and when a story idea that I carefully crafted was given to another writer, I wanted to give up. I felt like a fish out of water and maybe I’m not the talented journalist I always thought I was. But when I got the email that there was a change of the guard, I decided to suck it up and be brave. I came up with two ideas and pitched them both. My new editor replied with that both were good, but one was a better fit for the summer months. So, I got to work and when I got the email saying that there were no revisions necessary and it was being printed, I was elated! One of my pieces for My Trending Stories was very well received and I’ve mentioned it before, but the editor of a major Edmonton newspaper told me my blog was witty and clever and he couldn’t wait to read my published work. All of a sudden, I felt very much like the person I have worked my entire life to become. Pitching stories is such a huge part of what I do, so my lack of confidence, much like my lack of driving, has held me back.

Nothing holds me back anymore.


When the editor of a local newspaper set out a call for freelance writers, I brainstormed with a friend (who also happens to be as passionate about radio as I am about writing) and we came up with an idea that could be really interesting. I drew up a little proposal and explained why I thought readers would like it and sent it off. I haven’t heard back yet, which I’m taking as a positive sign. Had he hated it (or required more pictures of Spiderman), he would have just said so. But when some friends asked me about my idea, I told them, and as I was saying “You’ll think it’s silly…” they replied “That sounds really interesting!” I’ve booked interviews already. I’m so excited about how this is turning out. Maybe he won’t want to run with it. If not, I’ll finish it and sell it to another magazine here in YEG. Because why not? The more publications that print my work, the better it is for my career.

Don’t we all Mr. Jameson

I guess I need to stop being so damn timid whenever I feel out of my element and just go out there and kick ass and be a bad ass. My body of work speaks for itself, so I need to stand behind it. I need to stop being afraid that I cannot do something and just focus on the fact that I can and I will do well if I work hard, treat people with kindness and respect and believe that I can be the best journalist and cell phone boss lady that I can be. So, it’s one day off to recharge the batteries then it’s back into the cell phone game as the lady of the house, while getting those crossfit workouts, thrice weekly runs and interviews for my next article done.

It’s a busy, beautiful life and I’m so grateful to be the one who gets to live it.

And I have this one on Team MH. She’s good people

Forget Me Now

Today I did a thing. 

It’s not a super exciting thing, but for those who know me well, it’ll be a funny story. And you’ll probably giggle a bit. 

In case you’re new to the wonderful world of ASH Multimedia, let me bring you up to speed. I used to be really fat. Now, I am 92lbs lighter (as I lost the last of that pesky 15lbs I gained during my commute from Hell) & I have 43lbs left to reach my goal weight. I’ve worked super hard to get healthy. Part of that includes running. I effing HATE running. I have dedicated many a blog post to my hatred of running. But, combined with Crossfit, it helps me reach my goals. I want to be healthy, in shape, set a good example for my girls. But running is still stupid. 

Every other day, I go for my morning run around the lake near my house. But I never actually make it because the harbingers of doom are always hanging out. You know, GEESE. 

Again, if you’re new, let me catch you up; geese are the absolute fucking worst. WORST. They’re evil & scary & will likely murder me. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have watched my epic boss battle with Satan’s unholy army (which can be found here & here). You can actually pinpoint on my Runkeeper Go maps EXACTLY when I encountered these evil creatures because it’s where I turn around in terror. 

See?

Well, I’ve made it my personal mission to actually run all the way around the lake & not “run until Honky McTerrorface & his evil family appear.” So, like every other morning, I got up, did my yoga & went running. All was well until…you guessed it. GEESE. 

Fortunately, our evil feathered creatures of death were distracted by a elderly man taking photos of them, for what I can only assume is a coffee table book called “The most evil monsters known to mankind.” I sped up, fearing for my personal safety, assuming I’d be one of those people who gets chased or murdered by the unholy spawn of Satan & all that would be left of me would be a plaque with my face while people gathered around it feeding bread to the mother fucking geese, having learned nothing from the tragedy. However, Satan’s minions were excited for their Snapchat debut (they dig filters I guess. Unrelated side note; I reactivated my Snapchat at work this week. It lasted maybe 10 minutes before I decided it was the stupidest & deleted it again. I didn’t even send a snap to my favourite Snapchat friend because I’m an asshole) & ignored me…& I finished my run & finally made it all the way around the lake. 


This might seem like a stupid story, mostly because it totally is. But it’s fun & not everything needs to be some metaphor for some deeper lesson. I wanted to reach my little goal more than I wanted to be afraid of the goose. So I was. By achieving this mini goal, it helps me stay on course to achieve my next fitness goal (regain all of my crossfit strength & set a back squat PR# of 150 by year’s end). Every time I achieve a little goal, I can accomplish more until my fitness goals are about getting stronger & maintaining & not losing weight. It’ll be nice. But to do that, sometimes I’ve gotta do unpleasant things, like risk being murdered by geese…

…sometimes. 

Literally my worst nightmare

Running With The Wild Things

Do you know how much easier it is to go to your job when you know you only have to go 11 more times?!

Seriously. Super awesome. I’m like “let’s hit this target guys so I can get out of here!” I MAY be excited to start my new job. I am so grateful for the opportunities that this gig has afforded me, but it’s time to move on and I’m REALLY excited to move on. Haha. However, this is not my old universe, so I’ll have to remember some very important managerial rules;

  1. I am not friends with my boss, so I can no longer say bitch on conference calls…unless of course, I become friends with him and find it is socially acceptable to use the word bitch in conference calls. I probably should limit my use of the word bitch in my store. Maybe. I can’t promise miracles yo.
  2. I am the manager in training, which means in a few months I will be running my ship, which means I can no longer pin my hair on my head however I feel like. I must actually make the bitch bun look nice, and look like the cell phone boss lady that I am about to become. That means waking up early to do my hair AND run. Boo lol.
  3. I will once again get to say “I AM the manager,” when someone asks for a manager.
  4. Many of my new team members are new to wireless, so I get to add “Bad ass cell phone trainer/boss lady,” to my list of skills.
  5. Seriously, stop saying the word bitch so much MHC.

I have to be a responsible adult. Boo.

But the thing I am happiest about is the outpouring of love, congrats and support I received from my former co-workers, friends, and family. I received a message from my former co-worker/quasi-sibling/pretend nemesis Chaddy Chad offering to revive our friendly rivalry, as well as congratulating me, saying he knew I deserved to take the lead. My old boss reminded me that yes, he made a phone call, but I’m the one who earned the job and he was happy for me…but if I don’t kick butt, he will hunt me down. Texts from friends, colleagues, etc. wishing me well. I am so incredibly fortunate to have so many people who love me and want me to succeed. It’s funny; when you surround yourself with people who love you (and you love right back) & want to support one another, how far you can go. My people are a zillion miles away (except for about three people), but they still have my back in all things. Those are the kinds of people I want in my life. Thank you for being those kinds of awesome people.

I’m just utterly in love with my life right now. I have the wireless career plan that I had worked so hard at Target to build (and then ended) back on track. I am part of a company that has a culture and people that I love. I’m part of an organization that I respect and admire and I want to build a long term career with (if a long term journalism job doesn’t ever pan out). But while right now it’s the Dave & MHC show, once I prove myself, it’ll be my store, my team. I get to cultivate people & help them reach their goals! I’m freelancing with a National Newspaper Award winning editor who sees a lot of potential in my writing and my story ideas. And as I learn to drive and buy my own car, I can keep working towards the goal. I’ve been doing home repair, putting up curtains and hanging pictures and making my home feel like MY home. The kids are doing well. I was afraid I’d have to start over at Crossfit, but no, I still have a lot of strength in me.  I guess life is a little like running. Running is stupid, but it’s necessary to remain healthy and active. But there’s a big ass hill by my house. When I moved here, walking up that stupid hill was enough to wind me. This week I ran up that hill as part of a 5.5 KM run. Even after running almost 4.5 KM first, I made it up the hill and still managed to finish the run. And when you run uphill, your legs get stronger. I guess, as always, I’ve gotten stronger. And because I’ve gotten stronger, I have gotten almost everything I’ve ever wanted, which makes me the happiest MHC in the whole wide world.


 

Run For Your Life

Every other morning, my alarm goes off @ 7am & I haul my tired ass out of bed & go running. I turn on my Runkeeper app & my angry white boy music & run for 35 minutes in the hope that I’ll get closer to my goal of a 6 minute mile. I’m hoping to participate in a 5K zombie run with some friends this autumn, and cardio is a big part of my weight loss plan.

However, I kind of hate running. Like, a lot. It’s tiring and sweaty & makes my hamstrings sore & crappy. But, I do it because I have a somewhat masochistic relationship with running, because when my Runkeeper app says “activity complete,” and my time was faster than the day before & I ran further than I did that day, I’m sickeningly happy.

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My masochistic relationship with running has been helping me cut out my love of garbage food. After my month of no junk food, I kind of went on a bit of a binge, and my weight loss has stalled (the three pound loss this month, bringing the total I’ve lost to 63lbs hammers that point home) & I have to realize that, like everything in life, I need to be accountable for what I put in my body.

There was a time, just four months ago, that I couldn’t run for a minute without being winded. When I started Couch to 5K, that one minute killed me. But I kept at it & I can run almost 5K. As is with everything in life, little victories, get us to where we want to be. That one minute turned to three, then five, to where I am now. Everything requires work & perseverance, & then you’ll get there.

This brings me to my masochistic relationship with running & my love of junk food. When I eat that donut, I’ve just erased that run…that horrible, horrible run. That twisted sense of accomplishment when I’ve gotten better than I did the previous run was just undone by a freaking donut. Why would I torture my body for the sick thrill of that victory just to ruin it because donuts are really yummy?

So, it’s time that I break up with junk food. Healthy living is 80% diet & I’m probably only doing 60% & that’s just not good enough. I have health & fitness goals & I’m not going to achieve them if I’m not giving them my all.

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So, I’m sorry donuts. While I’m sure we’ll get together every once in awhile, every couple of months or so, I have goals to reach & long term health to think about so it’s not you, it’s me. I’m thinking about what’s best for me, my body & what I want to teach my daughters about food choices & donuts, they don’t include you.

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