Motivate Yourself to Work Out in 5 Easy Steps

Me no work out. And when I do, it must be short. Fifteen minutes max. There’s no point in buying me a gym membership because I won’t go. If I can’t work out in my pyjamas in my living room, well, it ain’t gonna happen because I ain’t doing my beached whale moves/crunches where any skinny gym rats can see me.

Science has proven that wearing something made by Lululemon causes you to burn 25% more calories

Nevertheless, I’ve worked out for two months straight now, because I have my motivation strategy all worked out. And now, you can be motivated too! Here are five steps to motivation:

1. Tell Yourself How Good it is For You

You’ll sleep better, you’ll have better
circulation. It’ll clear the mental fog–but most of all, it will keep you limber. And for me, being able to finally sit cross-legged is a big deal.

Not kidding.

That failing, move to:

2. Stand in Front of a Mirror–In Your Underwear

First, flex your muscles and admire the biceps you have developed. Second, squeeze the jelly roll around your middle. Those reverse crunches? Oh yeah, it’ll be gone.

But if that doesn’t work.

3. Kick Your Own Butt

I say to myself “Who’s the boss? Who’s the boss?”

**meekly** “I am.”

“Then get out there!”

I’ve got my game face on.

But if you’re still on the couch, try:

4. Promise Yourself Something

If I work out four times this week I’ll:

Eat chips.


Buy the next book in The Mortal Instruments series. Ding Ding Ding!

But, if you cannot possibly bring yourself to do a squat, lunge or a step on the treadmill, there is one last maneuver you can try.

5. Watch Extreme Makeover: Weightloss Edition

If this doesn’t scare you into your workout gear, at very least it will inspire you. They always look so beautiful at the end, and they have so much confidence!

That’s all we want, right?

Friends, I’m a royal wimp when it comes to working out, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that doing what you said you would does wonders for the mind, body and soul.

So put on the sweats. Tie back the hair. Off the couch in three, two, one… go!


The Top 10: Swapping Heads, Swapping Stories

How many stupid things can one person do in a year?  And write about them?

Yes, I’ve been blogging for a year now, and as I look back over what I’ve written, I realized that much more has happened than I thought.  I’ve lost weight, I’ve written a book–and I’ve had my foot run over by a truck.

I began writing while unemployed, and now, doubly employed, I’m still going strong.  This is post 101, and to celebrate, I’m listing off my top 10 posts.

1. For Trade: One Head

Have you ever wished you could escape from your own head?  In a moment of silliness and disillusionment, I wrote an ad, trying to sell my head.  Read through the comments section to see other’s ads for their heads.  Some are hilarious, others are heart-breaking.

2. I Don’t Plan on Getting Married

Single gals can get pretty desperate around Valentines day.  I decided that this time, I wouldn’t be the one saying “I’m okay with being single,” because I wasn’t.  The response to this article was amazing.


3. The Funny Version 

Tragedy plus time equals humour, I was told.  So when my foot was run over by a truck, I tried to reframe it as a comedy.  By the way, if you want to meet cute medics, put your foot in front of a truck.

4. Why I Left Christian Music

If I love Jesus, why don’t I love Jesus music?  Btw, few things will bring out the therapist in your Christian friends more than admitting you don’t like Christian music.

5. Fat Girl’s Guide to Fashion Freedom

Do you ever look at pictures and say “I can’t believe I wore that?”  When I was little I was fearless about my fashion choices, but when I grew into a chunky, acne riddled teen, my confidence evaporated.  How could I get it back?

purple and pink me

6. The Great Pizza Failure

After an epic quest for low-carb pizza produced disgusting results, I had a small existential crisis.  In hindsight it was pretty funny.

7. Trim Healthy What?

After enough people asked me ‘aren’t you doing some diet thing,’ I decided to own up to it and explain what Trim Healthy Mama is about.  Update: I am indeed still on that ‘diet’, and have dropped two pant-sizes.


8. 5 Ways to Name Your Baby (Or Not)

I don’t have a baby, but I think this is how to name one–if the baby names I’ve been hearing are any indication.  Did that Mom just call her kid ‘Satan’?

9. I Caught the Bouquet. Now What?

I caught the bouquet at my friends wedding.  I know that’s supposed to mean that I’m next to get married, but I’m not holding my breath.

And I still maintain that I did NOT knock that girl over.

10. Comment Section Wars: 3 Ways to Rise Above

Some people truly enjoy a good fight.  If you want to attend one, pick a YouTube video at random and scroll down to the comment section.  After reading through a comment section debate, I offered these three tips on how to succeed in this blood sport.

I’ve gained a bit more experience in this topic now, but I still stand by these three points.

Well, those are my ten–to a degree, in no particular order.  Now that I pick them I can think of others, but there we are.  Friends, it’s been a good year. Thanks for meeting me in the coffee shop and saying, ‘hey, I read your blog’.  It still gives me a thrill.  Thanks for  your ‘therapeutic’ advice.  Thanks for offering up your head when I needed to swap mine.

Here’s to a new year.



My Life as a Zoo Animal

This must be what it feels like to be a bear in a zoo, or an ape or something.

A group of gaping tourists stand outside my doors, goggling through the big windows. A lady in a white lab-coat waves her hands and says: “Observe, a female of the species ‘Coateris Pharmeceuticalis’.”


So I make sure I’m doing something ‘coater-like’–i.e. looking over my paperwork. But as soon as they’ve passed by, I return to my original posture–slumped in my chair, deep in thought, or with my nose pressed up against the window of the coating pan, watching the guns spray, lulled into a stupor by the soothing sounds of, say, two industrial mixers running full tilt!

(Coateris pharmaceuticalis have been observed with peculiar bits of chartreuse foam in their ears. It is suspected this is to dull the noise of the roaring mixers)

I spend many a day in a box-shaped room, alone. My companions are a huge machine called a coating pan, tanks, mixers, and various other implements I need to do my job. But most of the time I don’t use them. The pan runs on it’s own, and I just take readings every quarter-hour.

So I pace: round and round and round. Every now and again, my zoo-keeper/supervisor will stick his head in and ask if I need something.

Coffee. I need coffee.

No coffee for coateris pharmaceuticalis!


I’ve considered bringing more of my life into the coating room. Back in the day I’d write blog posts on paper towels, but I found out this was strictly verboten and was forced to cease and desist. They can’t stop me from composing them mentally, though, along with grocery lists, to-do lists, menu plans–heck, even monthly budgets.

I also thought about working out while the pan was running (after all you can do squats anywhere). But the thought of being observed by a troop of people in white lab-coats while performing a set of lunges was a bit too far to stretch my imagination.

Pacing it is.

The good news is that I have plenty of time to contemplate the deep mysteries of life–like, if I was a zoo animal, what animal would I be?

After much thought, I decided I was an ape because I could totally see an ape (in blue scrubs) doing my job (while whistling).


The difficulty would be the hairnet…

I know there is life outside the process room, and if some ninja-penguins or PETA activists would just bust me out, I’d see it. So tell me: what zoo animal are you, and what does your habitat look like? Then when I’m stuck pacing in mine I’ll have something to think about.

And how do I get them to bring me coffee?

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

Spring is here, Sah-puh-ring is here!

And in honour of spring, and my most detested bird, I give you this sadistic tune by Tom Lehrer.

I first heard this ditty performed by my beloved voice teacher at her own birthday party (all dressed up as an old lady) and it has been my song every since–whether performing it in front of an adjudicator in a festival, or singing it with an almost inebriated gusto in the halls at work.

One way to alarm your coworkers, I do assure thee.

I must add that if you had pigeons living on your balcony (and dropping frequent payloads there) you would detest them as well–but, my animal-loving friends, I would never ACTUALLY do the things in the song.  Not to worry.

Enjoy.  I hope this adds a smile to your spring day.

The Icky Life of a Writer: Writing Process Blog Hop

Writing is a glamorous job: an office with an antique oak desk, dark-rimmed glassed, whimsical scarf, typing away in an ecstasy of inspiration until voila! A novel is written, which becomes a best-seller and is made into a movie starring a man who looks good enough to eat.  All of this is done while drinking like a fish and/or consuming copious quantities of illegal drugs.

So I’m told, anyway.  Never tried it.  At least I got the dark rimmed glasses.

The writer in her natural habitat

Kim Rempel, a fellow “Inkster”, a hawk-eyed editor with a (self-proclaimed) built in BS meter, and a knack for writing articles that touch hearts, graciously shanghaied invited me to share my writing process as part of a blog hop.  I don’t know what a blog hop is, but I’ll do my best.  Be sure and read her post about her ‘beastly’ writing!  She may already be regretting that she asked me to do this.

It’s an Icky Process

My writing process is… untidy.  Today my ‘writing uniform’ is blue scrubs, hair frizzy from the steam of cleaning my process room, and stinky purple socks. My desk is my knees, my office is a stainless steel bench.

One day I hope to have a studio, complete with an espresso maker and a big picture window and a sound system that plays Bon Iver in crystal clear surround sound.  Then I’ll be able to close a door and write for three hours straight.  But right now, I accomplish what I can, under everyone else’s noses.

Blog posts come from jokes with colleagues (head-swapping, for instance), from books I read I the bathroom, and from things I meditate on while my coating pan is running. They’re written on my iPhone while on lunch-break, edited on the next break, and posted when I get home.

Scenes for my novel are imagined in my head while working, and written at 1:00 am after a late shift.  Sometimes I temporarily become these characters and let them ‘see through my eyes’ as I work. That can be fun or traumatic, depending on the circumstance. In this way I learn to know my character. It is a bit like an actor talking about being ‘in character.’ The good actors make you believe you are that person, and I strive to do the same thing with my characters. For me, the characters ARE the story.

Social networking is done while brushing my teeth, on the breaks when I’m not writing blog posts, and on the toilet.  TMI?  It’s the icky truth.

Now, what else was I supposed to say?

What am I working on? I am in the mid-stages of editing an apocalyptic/zombie/love-story. I hope to publish late June, early July.

What makes me different? I doubt there has ever been such a character-driven zombie novel.  In spite of the guts, guns, and gore, it is a love story at it’s heart.

Why do I write what I write? I write what fires my imagination. I get a kick out of taking a scenario, adding a big twist, and seeing what happens. For example, I work in a pharmaceutical plant. I once asked myself “What if we were manufacturing humans?” That idea became an entire novel–next in line to be edited after the one I’m working on.

And that, my friends, is all.

Ashely Kaboha is a photographer who is also participating in this blog hop.  Her photos are BEAUTIFUL, and she has a real passion for helping women discover their own unique beauty.


Dinner With Bill Gates (and other bewildering dreams)

Last night I dreamt I was having dinner with Bill Gates and his wife. I have no idea where this came from. I don’t even own a PC.

Not that I’d mind having dinner with the couple. I bet they’re interesting. I’d just have to hide my iPhone. Or better yet, avoid the topic of technology all together.

Vivid dreams are normal for me. I’ve always had them. I can remember a wacky dream I had when I was seven or eight about this lion that was stalking our house and throwing apple-shaped bananas at the window. No joke.

My dreams come in a few different varieties: the adventure type (my favourite) in which I embody a character in a scary or adventurous scenario. There are the ‘searching dreams.’ I hate these. In these I search for something Important, I.e. my keys, my shoes or my swipe-card for work. I can never find it, and I’m always running late. Torture.

I recently dreamt that I was missing my work shoes, and by the time I found them and went onto the production floor, no one was there. They were all in the pool (my work doesn’t have a pool…) and outside there was a thunderstorm, and the rock formations around the building collapsed and blew out the windows and there was dust everywhere so I waded over to the gowning station and put on a dust mask. I mean, obviously a pharmaceutical plant would have dust masks in its pool room.

Oh, and then there are the embarrassing dreams. Usually these involve nudity.

A couple weeks ago I dreamt that I was at my parents house, and decided to streak from the shower to my bedroom. I came sauntering out, in the buck, just as two guests arrived. I greeted them with great dignity, and then dashed into the bathroom to hide. I’d just wrapped myself in a towel when I heard someone clear their throat. I turned, and there was a friend of mine, sitting on the toilet.

Why did they leave the door unlocked, anyway?!

Anyone who interprets dreams would have a heyday on me. What does this mean? I am afraid of being exposed? Afraid of swimming pools? Afraid of losing?

I lose things all the time, so I suppose that’s true.

The upside: my dreams have inspired me more than once. We The Living: an Apocalypse, the novel which I intend to publish mid-year, was inspired by a dream about zombies.

But Bill Gates?

Well, I’ve never had a prophetic dream yet, so I guess my MacBook is safe.

Roll Up the Rim is Gambling! (A True Theological Dilemma)

I’m on such a losing streak. I’ve yet to win anything in Roll up the Rim. Nothing, not even a donut. This year each cup even has two rolls on it and I’m still skunked.


But I roll anyway, because I remember The Streak. It was a college kid’s dream. I rolled a rim and won a coffee, which won another coffee, which won another coffee, which won another. Tim Hortons didn’t make any money on me that year, oh no. Never mind that I was only buying coffee there because it was Roll up the Rim…

The other day, my sister and I had a perfectly serious conversation about what we would do if we won the car (sell it), and this morning as I pulled into the drive-through, I said “Oh Lord, if I could only win something big…”

It dawned on me this morning, as I rolled out of the drive-through, that this Roll up the Rim thing may be… it might be **whispers** gambling.


You don’t say. A good Mennonite? Gambling?

Well, if you think about it, a cup of coffee is almost the same price as a bet at the local horse races (that place of sin and debauchery).

What is a Mennonite to do? Maybe I need help. Maybe I should buy coffee exclusively at McDonalds where I am at least guaranteed a sticker for my rewards card–a return on my investment. Perhaps that would be better stewardship of my God-given resources.

Or maybe buying coffee at Tim's is too worldly all together! Never mind that NOT going to Timmies makes me un-Canadian or something. Mennonites don't really do the patriotism thing. Everyone knows that.

Well, if I ever win the car, I will tithe once I sell it. I promise. That makes it okay, right? Right?

I hope my good Mennonite friends will recognize satire when they see it 🙂

Illegal Baby Names

And speaking of babies, there are actually baby names that are illegal! And thus, to make sure that you remain a law-abiding citizen, watch this video.

Why do I keep ranting about baby names? Well, I’ve named my baby at long last… My novel, that is.

It is called We The Living. It is an apocalyptic story (which may include the odd zombie horde) and is due to be published mid year.

Are there book names that are illegal? Well, I guess I don’t know. But if it involves ‘fifty’ or ‘shades’ or ‘grey’ or (heaven forbid) ‘twilight,’ I heartily recommend jail time.

5 Ways to Name a Baby (Or Not)

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to name a baby. I mean, that’s the name they’ll be called their whole life. Never mind that there’s nine months to think about it, I’d probably be one of those parents who waits four or five days before officially naming the kid.

And once you do name your child, there’s no guarantee everyone likes it. I remember a former boss who called her grandson ‘it’ for the first few days because she hated the name he had been given.

So how do you choose a name? I’ve never named a baby, but by my observation, these are the options.

1. Choose a solid, traditional name. Now, this depends on your nationality, I know. But for argument’s sake, let’s say you name your little boy Peter, James or John and your girl Martha, or Mary or (heaven forbid) Bertha. They aren’t stylish, but they’ll never be out of style either.

2. Choose a stylish name.
Back in the day when I was born and given the unconventional moniker of ‘Geralyn’, my peers were being named Jessica and Amanda, which is why I’ve known at least five of each. There will be a lot of sixty-year-old Amanda’s in forty years, a lot of sixtyish Tylers in fifty years, and a pile of grandmas named Emma in sixty years.

3. Name your child after a family member.
This is great and all, but how do you choose which relative? What if you don’t have enough kids to name them after all the important relatives. I dunno. Risky. And what if they have an awful name? I mean, I’m sorry, but I’m not naming my little boy Helmut. I’m just not (my apologies if your name is Helmut).

4. Make something up.
I swear this is what some parents do. One day, when I was working retail, a mom yelled at her little boy “Satan!”
I drew back in horror as she dragged the little boy to the till. Then I realized that his name was Saden. I bet that looked good on paper. Yikes.

5. Respell a conventional name to make it cool.
This is actually quite simple. Say you like the name Taylor, but you’re like “oh, that’s boring.” First, you drop the ‘y’, then you add at least one extra ‘e’. Taelor. Then add a silent ‘h’. Taehlor. Bingo. Isn’t that exotic?

Other options include, naming your child a foreign name and then mispronouncing it, naming them after an inanimate object, after a popular celebrity or book character (i.e. the little girls I’ve seen named Esme and Arwen), and plenty other others I’ve missed.

Why did I go through all that? Nope, I’m not pregnant. I’ve finally named my novel. It’s due to be published mid-year, and I’ve gone through three or four different titles. But now (hear ye, hear ye) It shall be called We The Living, since it is an apocalyptic story about carrying on after all is lost.

Don’t like it? Oh dear. Well, it is my baby.

An Ode to Strawberry, My Little Car

Oh, Strawberry. Was there ever a car more loved than thee?

You, my long awaited wheels–whom I searched for like a precious jewel, and when I found you, named you on sight.

You, though you have no majesty to recommend you. Who can only boast that you are “good on gas” and “cute” and maybe “red–very red.”

You, who have no power locks or windows. Who boasts a mediocre stereo. Who handles like a gutless go-cart, and whose short wheel-base makes winter driving a terror.

You, whom I toil so hard to maintain, taking up a full quarter of my salary to own, the sole reason I work two jobs. Whom I shall soon ransom from the bank.

Still, I wish thee a cheery ‘good night’ every evening. I bid you ‘be good’ when I leave you in the parking lot, and ‘good evening’ when I emerge from the factory. I feed you with the finest regular unleaded gasoline, and plug you in to keep you warm, though it cost me dearly.

I must love you truly.