Week 2 of The Perfect 10 – Goals Review & Update

  • NO potato chips – no problem
  • at least three one-hour high intensity cardio sessions/week – completed this morning, but I shall have to revise this goal for the remaining weeks of the challenge.  New Year’s Resolutions have kicked in to high gear all around me and I am now teaching 19 classes per week!  Along with personal training clients, nutritional counseling clients, and other work commitments, cardio will have to fall lower on my list (which I secretly love since I am not an endurance athlete except for birthing)
  • a minimum of four days/week of  45 minute mindfulness practice – I’ve  practiced both QiGong and mindfulness meditation and shall include the yoga class I take, not those I teach
  • five crazy body weight challenges to be performed one per week in two cycles – you’ll find week 2’s program posted under taking up the slack, Sunday January 10th
  • one ‘legs day’ per week – combined with my body weight challenge, this was completed on Sunday past.  Ouch.

This week I want to introduce you to the two women who, aside from my mother, have most shaped my life.  These women are my most amazing, ever-present energies; they keep me happy and seeking and connected.  My relationship with them pervades my being.

Georgie Stevens Chappell was born a girl when her father wanted a son.  In 1888 Georgie was not a flattering name with which to bless a daughter and the lack of a middle name led her adopt her original surname as a middle name after her marriage.  Is that why she grew to be a strong, feisty and bright woman?  I don’t know but  I do know she was exacting, proper, mannered, a bit frightening to a young child, and literary.

She taught me to love books and to appreciate some of the nuances of the english language, though I never did develop her skill at penning the short story.  Her front room was filled with beautifully covered classics which smelled faintly of must and mildew.  As a child I was never left uncorrected when I ended a sentence with a preposition or left a participle dangling.

She taught us, her grandchildren, to eat with proper britishesque manners, to set a table precisely, to use the correct utensil. In her presence, meals were all very civil and quite enjoyable if a bit stifled.  I always loved her request of the pope’s nose – the turkey’s arse – with her airs of refined comportment at christmas dinners.

She kept a closet full of discarded dresses, robes, high heels, capes, and odd furry things with which her grandchildren could dress and imagine.  She had a low lying kitchen cabinet which housed in its cavernous belly child-sized baking pans, rolling pins, and other items which allowed us to bake along side her.

Granny Georgie, as I knew my paternal grandmother, was a plain-spoken critically thinking woman who remained incisive and inquisitive until she died at the age of 92.  I like to think there is something of her in my character.

Then there is my sister, Claudia Anne Chappell MacKinnon.  Four years older than me, the first of four children.  Claudia was named after my paternal grandfather, Claude, and had far more of Granny Georgie in her than she was ever willing to admit.

Claudia was very bright – a top student – but far too opinionated and outspoken to survive well in a school system.  She was short in stature, which she passed on to my oldest daughter, but she was big in brains and attitude.  She had a wonderful skill with writing short stories and poetry, a fast tongue, a sharp temper.

Experiencing adolescence during the 60’s let Claudia take her rebelliously coloured independence to its limits.  I was very watchful during these years, not close to her, but observant and thoughtful and analytical.  Much of who I am now arose from the drama she brought into our family life during these years.

Claudia and I became better friends as I entered my late teens and with each year that passed we became even better friends – best friends.  We were very different temperamentally, critical of each other, great listeners and better laughers.  Her home was welcoming and her kitchen always had tea on the stove top and home made tia maria in the cupboard.  She was raucous and bawdy and fun-loving.

At the age of 42 Claudia died.  She died of lung cancer and she died a death she resisted heart and soul to the bitterest of ends.  Having been predeceased by her husband, she lived until her inevitable leaving with the fierce love of a mother orphaning her three sons.  I learned much about tenacity, about not selling short, about warrior spirit, about grace from my sister.  With each day that passes I miss her more than yesterday, but she stays with me always.  I talk to her often and I sometimes see her in my children.  I no longer smoke because of her fatal wisdom and my life is rich in sisterliness.   There isn’t anything better than a sister in life.

This was rather a long, personal disclosure.  I apologize for the length and thank you for reading…I had another very useful cry while writing this.  I share my sister and grandmother with you because they are important in my life.  I know you didn’t know them well before today but they are sort of my ‘secret weapon’ in life.  Watch out!

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