Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm A Quitter! (Or How I Admitted Defeat and Acknowledged a Peanut Butter Addiction)

This is the post where I throw my hands up in defeat. This is where I throw in the towel. This is where I admit that I am weak and cannot do it. Oh, I'm not quitting blogging (sorry, you don't get off that easy, people!). I'm quitting the Food Bank Hamper Challenge.

It's been three weeks now. I was asked to live off the contents of a food hamper that would be given to a single person. And I started this with every good intention to stick to it and see it through - but we all know what the road to hell is paved with, and my good intention is part of that black road to darkness.

I suppose my breaking point was realizing that I have another week to go, and no energy to face it. I've learned my entire life revolves around food, and I was starting to get a bit obsessive about it - when I could eat, what I would eat. And then, when I ran out of peanut butter, it was the straw that broke the camel's back. That jar of peanut butter has been my savior, and with it gone I lost all hope. Suddenly I was staring at a can of corned beef and tins of soup as far as the eye could see.

I feel like a failure, certainly, and a wimp. I also feel bloody fortunate that I have the option to quit, an option those who depend on the food bank do not have. But I also know my own limits, and so do those around me. When the Intrepid Junior Blogger came to me and said "Mom, you should quit - you aren't good at this, and it's not good for you", I saw wisdom in those 13-year old eyes. She is right. I'm not good at it, given my cheating, and it hasn't been good for me, given my loss in weight, energy, and attitude.

But oh the things I have learned! I've learned I need to learn to cook, for instance, because I'm hopeless. I've learned how lucky I am. I've learned that a single mandarin orange can be a luxurious treat if you have been denied them. I've learned I crave salads and fruits and vegetables. And I've learned that what the food bank does should not be underestimated, and that those who rely on it are far tougher than I.

This weekend the Wood Buffalo Food Bank will join with Syncrude for their annual food bank drive. You'll find trucks waiting outside every grocery store, ready to receive your food donations and cash. They are still seeking volunteers, too, and I'll put the link at the bottom of this post. On this day, the day I admit defeat, I encourage you to donate your time, cash, or food to the food bank. I have now witnessed what they do - I have sorted food, stocked shelves, filled food hampers, and lived off a hamper for almost one month - and my respect for them, and the people they serve, has increased immensely. My own self-image has taken a bit of a pummelling and I think for some time I will ponder my own lack of fortitude. For now, though, I am putting that off while I go to the grocery store, buy a fresh jar of peanut butter and a box of mandarin oranges, and settle in for a wee feast. I've never put peanut butter on an orange, but frankly there is a first for everything, and today might just be that day.

I encourage you to volunteer at and/or donate to

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