Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lonely but healthy

The house is empty and quiet... and messy, but that's besides the point. Music, that's what's missing. I need some exercise. I'll dance around the house while I tidy up. Do you have any idea how important it is to keep active? And I don't mean walking around a shopping mall! I mean regular brisk walking or a half hour of shaking your booty in the house, or even in public if that's your desire. Whatever your pleasure, remember to get daily exercise. You must stay in shape.

I have recently faced a medical scare and I realize that whatever happens to us, we will fight it a lot better if our bodies are fit and strong. And a fit and strong body usually means a fit and strong mind.

I've been a bit of a health nut for the last 25 years. I never reached the extreme, but I tried to limit my meat consumption, I eat tofu and fish once a week, never touch white flour or white sugar, and I force myself to eat veggies. Eating veggies isn't as hard as you think. We've lost perspective on serving sizes. For example, a huge steak that should feed four is gobbled down in one sitting by a single person. A 'serving' of vegetables is a handful of lettuce or ready made coleslaw, a bit of red peppers, brocolli shaved into the bowl, snow peas, oil, honey, garlic, and a few walnuts or pecans. And voila, a healthy and delicious salad.

Concentrating on my health and what I put into my body helps me stay busy and feel less lonely. I just conjured up what I hope will be a yummy treat in just a few minutes. The music was playing, my booty was still shaking and I began to get creative. I cut up a pear and some apple into a baking dish, added frozen blackberries and raspberries (basically whatever fruit I had on hand). I broke up a natures valley granola bar as finely as I could, added some raw oatmeal and a bit of maple syrup. It's baking in the toaster oven as we speak. Who has time to be lonely when you're conjuring? Your mind is focused on doing the healthiest things for your body. And it doesn't have to stop at a fruit cobler. Make a few items for the week. Research healthy foods, like quinoe! It's fabulously healthy and delicious. It takes 15 minutes to cook. Shave some brocolli into it and have it with your favourite main dish. You can even add a few raisons. Look it up, it's full of protein.

You don't have to choose lonely, you can choose healthy instead. Believe me, it works!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saving as a single parent

How easy is it to save money as a single parent? It's almost impossible, but, in my opinion, you should do everything you can to save.

So, how do you tuck away money when you're a single guy who has to take a woman out now and then? By the time you're finished paying child support and picking up your half of soccer, and any other activity your child's involved in, your rent is due. And then, well, there isn't even enough to take yourself out for a bite. The problem is, though, without a little bit of savings, sudden emergencies can leave you in a panic. Your car breaks down or your prescription changes on your glasses. Or, if you're an older parent, your child comes to you and wants help paying for a wedding.

Let me tell you my story. I lost everything in the divorce... just like many single parents. Well, I shouldn't say everything. I have a few nice pieces of jewelry. Having those few nice things helped me not crave anything material. I didn't need to get a new pair of pants every few months, or new shoes, or a coat. I shopped at thrift stores. And yes, you can find some incredible things there! Half the woman in my offices look like a million bucks dressed in thrift store finds! If I wanted to take my children on an outing, it would be somewhere free.

The point is, don't think for a second that those lattes and biscottis every afternoon aren't adding up. Do the math. Keep a bag in your car and get a receipt for every item you buy. Add up those receipts at the end of the month, and see how much it comes out to. Cut back on spending those dollars, and voila, you can pay for an oil change, a brake job, and, if you keep at it, even your daughter's wedding. It's a matter of discipline and sacrifice. Forgo the frivolous for the valuable. That's my two cents.

I understand how tough things can be, believe me. And I know how important it is to treat yourself. It's just that it is the greatest feeling not stressing when that big ticket item comes knocking at your door.

If you have any questions, I'd be delighted to elaborate or help.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

young people with no coats

A few years ago, I stumbled upon a young man hunched down on the ground at a bus stop. I decided to go get gas and see just how cold it was out there before figuring out what to do about him. He seemed so cold. As I pumped my gas, the wind howled, and I realized we were in the thick of it. Rather than take my usual way home, I turned the corner to see if he was still there. Sure enough he was in tears as his bus had not yet arrived. I turned into a parking lot, opened my trunk, and started pulling out gloves, jackets, scarves, and ran to him. Ever since then, I keep supplies in my trunk. Last week, I was driving home from work, and there was a young man walking down Hunt Club Road. Hunt Club has no protection and it was windy that day. He had no coat on. It was too late for me to stop, so I turned all the way around the entire neighbourhood and went running after him in the street with a scarf and jacket. I looked like a crazy woman running in the street flailing a scarfe, but what the heck. What was up with that???!!! I asked myself. The very next day, I'm in my car again driving to go see my children who were visiting from out of town. Still in the suburbs, I notice a young man sitting at the bus stop, once again wearing no coat, no gloves, no hat! I still have stuff in my trunk...I yelled out the window, Can I give you a jacket and scarf? I thought for sure he'd be a punk. But so very politely, he answered thank you very much. He made no excuse for sitting at the bus stop on the coldest day of the year with no coat on; I didn't ask. I'm not sure how many more of these young people I will find this winter, but suffice it to say, I have re-supplied my trunk!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ottawa Citizen article published!

Did anyone happen to catch the story on Flying Solo in the paper today? I was interviewed about a week ago, and the story finally came out! I hope that this little bit of publicity will help get word out about Flying Solo. The cartoons not only leave people feeling less alone, but bring humour into otherwise difficult situations. I did create this series to help people who are divorced, widowed, or single parents, after all!

Check out the article online:


Hopefully more stories in the news will come!