Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Who I really am

I can feel a change coming… I can feel it scratching just inside my consciousness… just inside my soul… scratching to get out… twisting things in and out and up and down in an effort to alert my conscious self to its existence…

It seems like an odd time to be having this feeling of metamorphosis… it’s not Back to School, it’s not yet New Year’s… it’s certainly not spring… all the times that are generally the seasons of change… and yet here I am… feeling the itch to move along down the road of life.

I’ve been listening to the voice… to the scratching… to the incessant rubbing on my psyche like a burr under a saddle…. And it’s got a message.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

Is it weird that the scratching is a Dr. Seuss quote? Maybe. I’m okay with that.

I feel as tho I am moving into the next incarnation of who I am meant to be. And the scratching is telling me to embrace it.

The voice in my heart is telling me that who I am is okay.

It’s okay to be an introvert. So the world thinks I’m an extrovert…outgoing, social and brave. I’m not. I prefer my alone time to a group of people. I don’t like loud noises or overwhelming sounds. I’m habitual to a fault and I’d rather have a scant handful of close friends than a gymnasium full of people that I only sort of know… And it’s okay to be honest with myself that I’m am a more reserved person… and I don’t necessarily always have to be a pretend extrovert… sure it’s helpful in certain situations but the more situations in which I am honest with myself, the better.

It’s okay to love yourself regardless of body shape. This is not to say that it’s not a positive endeavor to do what I can to be the most healthy I can be. What it does say is that it’s not okay to withhold self-love until I reach a goal. My grandparents have shown in the past that they value us more as people when we are housed in a thin frame. If it’s not okay for someone else to treat me like that, then it can’t be okay to treat myself like that. Maybe that’s the missing piece… maybe that’s the thought that I will finally derive success from… I am me… Can I be a better me? Sure! In all aspects… life is about self improvement and moving forward no matter what. But waiting until I am a ‘better’ me to like myself is just not okay.

It’s okay to want change. It’s okay to honor who I have been in years past and yet not want to be that person anymore. It’s okay to want to take my life in an alternate direction… even if I don’t know what that direction is exactly… It brings to mind a quote that was sent to me last year…

‘It doesn’t’ matter if the path you start down and the path you end on are the same, as long as you start down a path’.

I’ve committed my time, energy and talents to something new starting in January. I’m both nervous and excited and I’m looking so forward to putting myself out there… using my mind and my self to help others. I think to do this, I need to be an honest version of myself and while that is ever a work in progress, I need to at least be on the road there…

So I’m going to end this year… all seven weeks of it listening to the voice in my soul that is saying that I can embrace the new and better me that is itching to get out….

Monday, October 15, 2012

No Guilt

This past year I've been working really hard on getting my ducks in a row and one of the things that I did somewhat subconsciously was to do a lot of the knitting I've done this year from yarn I already own.  In the knitting community this is referred to as Knitting from Stash.  I consider 'Stash' to be any yarn that is either a year or so old, or yarn that was purchased with no particular project in mind.  That being said, I have a fair amount of 'stash' but it's tiny comparatively speaking.  But since what I have isn't being compared to what others have, I decided that since I only buy what I love and I bought the yarn in my stash, I must love it and therefore want to knit it up.

I've knit pretty close to 10,000 yards of yarn this year (and we're not done yet). That's equal to about 9 KM or 6 miles.  I've been reasonably diligent, mostly in the back half of the year.  The first half of the year saw me knit about 2600 yards in new purpose purchased yarn, which is great! I knit a sweater and a shawl that make up about 2/3 of that total.

The rest was knit with yarn that was purchased over a year ago... I'm still working on knitting with yarn I already own... but this weekend was the big fibre festival and my stash needed a little enhancement.

I've just taken up spinning for real on my spinning wheel... I'm not that good at it yet, but I'm planning on taking a class and then I think it's off to the races.  I can get yarn out of it, but it's not good yarn and I think I just need a bit of technical help.

So part of my purchases this weekend included wool to spin my own yarn.  I'm not interested in spinning enough for a sweater or anything so I bought little bits that I can use to hone my skills and then knit mitts or use for trim on a shawl.
The top three were purchased from Caliope's Fibre (spelled the Canadian way because she, and I, are Canadian!)
These are three layered batts with a base of wool and then sparkles and noils and everything lovely sandwiched in.  These are likely not 'practice' pieces as I'd like to get some good looking yarn out of them.  The fourth picture is a Shetland batt with some colorful silk threads added in.  I bought it from Everything Old.  Both ladies were very charming and talented!

I did also buy some prespun yarn too.  I bought one skein that was just too beautiful to pass up but I have no project in mind... two of the others are going to be mitts and the last two (one not pictured) were 'just because'.
The first one that I bought was a skein of Little Red Bicycle.  I'd seen her stuff on Ravelry and some friends of mine have had some and knit with it so it was one of those 'yarn fan' purchases... don't need to have it, but want some of her stuff.  I bought a OOAK (one of a kind) skein too that was the most dark plum color it is almost black and for obvious reasons didn't photograph it...

The next two skeins I bought were one each from Caliope and Everything Old.  Caliope's is a self striping handspun yarn that is one stripe of a soft mint green/soft yellow bamboo and then one stripe of a crazier ribbony multi fibre... I don't know what to do with it yet because I have to swatch (*gasp*) to see how the stripes work out.  The one I bought from Everything Old is a 100% BFL in a colorway called Film Noir.  It was one of the reasons I went back to the show the second day.  It's mostly gray with some red splashes thrown in and I think it will look amazing as a pair of mittens. It's a bit washed out in this photo but it's gorgeous in real life!

I also bought a skein of yarn that was dyed by local dyer Sweet Georgia, specifically for the show.  The colorway is gorgeous and it actually screams Vancouver to me...
Here it's shown wound into a ball (half a ball) and then knit into a partial mitt.  Unfortunately I have to rip that mitt out and reknit it on a bigger needle.  The fabric is gorgeous but a little bullet proof for mittens... Plus, on those small needles, the row gauge is off and they're going to be pretty short!

In that top picture of everything together there's also a cute little owl hat and some colored sticks... the colored sticks are actually colored pencils with felt balls on top.  My plan is to use them as shawl pins altho in trying this morning, it is clear that the tips need a little sandpaper... they're a bit rough for soft wool!
The hat was a bit of a lark... I was playing around trying it on and the artist was trying to convince me to buy it (for $30, which is perfectly reasonable for a hand knit wool hat).  I wanted to I told her but I only had $10 cash dollars left... and that's when she said she'd take my ten bux and I could have the hat because she wanted it to go to a loving home!  I love the owl hat... he needs a bath because some jerk spilled coffee on him right before I bought him but I can wash that out no problem.

That's pretty much the extent of my weekend... I'm hoping to make connection with someone I know that will teach me how to use my spinning wheel and then I will press my Mickey Mouse apron in to service and start spinning! (apron because otherwise you end up covered in wool).

I have no guilt about how much I bought at all!  Also, someone (wise) mentioned that 'souvenier yarn doesn't count' so there's that too!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Well then...

Fall has arrived... and by 'fall' I mean the part of fall that feels like winter here in Vancouver and it's started to rain.  I'm told that the rain won't last for long and that we're to have a mild, dry winter.  Let's hope so because it's raining today for the first day in months and I don't like it!

Last night I made spicy meatballs in a soup-ish sauce and Curry Fish Stew... Normally when I come on here and say that I made things, I share the recipe and gloat a little bit that while I don't enjoy cooking and I'm not all that 'cheffy', I can come up with some pretty yummy things with nary a cookbook in sight.

I will suffice it to say that I was not entirely successful last night and there are some inedible things in the house right now that I'm hoping Mr. Fluffypants takes upon himself to dispose of while I'm at work (I'm sure I'll be disappointed and he'll just snooze on the bed until I get home to take care of it!)

So, since it's fall and my apartment doesn't have any heat, and after spending a few nights on the sofa, looking like this,

and like this, 

 I took some twitterly advice and took myself down to Costco to buy a Parabolic heater.  For the suggested $40 it seemed like a good idea... Well when I got there the heater was actually $65 and the box said it heats 'you' but not the air... Not exactly what I was looking for and to be honest, with tax and environmental fee, that little heater would have been almost $75!  So I wandered through the store and stumbled down the blankie aisle... and for $12.99 bought myself a twin bed sized sherpa and microfibre blanket.  It's big enough to cover me from tippy toe to tippy top of my head when I'm laying on the sofa and it's as soft as a cloud.  Obviously that won't heat up the air either, but it was $13 and that'll have to do for now.

Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada.  Normally a huge dinner is had with family and friends but that's not quite how it worked out for me this year, altho I'm certainly not complaining!
On Saturday my friend and I had a little studio time and we stopped at a butcher and liquor store before arriving to get a snack.

She worked on cleaning up a mess we made last time we were there and I worked on making myself a wreath for my door.  Back in my younger days I made quite a few wreaths... Most of them have been given away so I thought it would be nice for my door to have a seasonal decoration.  The neighbors I've spoken to have really really liked it and I think it's been well received.  Except for the crazy guy that lives upstairs that makes rude face and hand gestures toward it everytime he walks by..

On Sunday evening, the more popular day for the big Thanksgiving Feast, I made salt and pepper chicken wings and sliced tomatoes with bacon seasalt.  I was cozied up on the sofa with my knitting and my kitty and some tea.  Not a bad way to spend Thanksgiving.  I felt very thankful!

Last weekend I started and finished a little hat out of scraps for myself.  It was touch and go for a few minutes and I think at one point I was actually just knitting the idea of yarn and not actual yarn, but in the end it turned out cute...

It's a sock monkey 'inspired' hat but I've been told it would be more effective with a pompom.  Since the only thing I have left from the scraps is the yarn fumes, there will be no pom pom... maybe next time.

After I finished this last item a week ago, the only thing I could think of to knit was another one in a different yarn.  I tried everything to find a new project, but the only way around being obsessed with something is through it, so I went and got myself a little ball of sunshine and started knitting.  I wish it was done today... all this rain already and I need a little sunshine wrapped around my neck!

The other thing I'm making is my Christmas Hat.  Normally I make myself a Birthday hat every year but I'm probably going to be pretty busy around that time this year, so I figured I'd take a different route.
I had to start early because it's tiny yarn on tiny needles and it's going to take a while but I already love it!
You can see the yarn in the picture with the chicken wings and yes, it is sparkly.  The yarn is woven with a strand of real sterling silver... very cool!  The hat is going to be a double thickness and reversible... it'll be this glittery red on one side and on the other side i'm going to stripe in some cream so it is remeniscent of... a CANDY CANE!  What better Christmas hat than that!

And finally, altho it seems like 'no big deal', Charlie seems to be more interested in actual snuggling now... not lap snuggling, but normally he doesn't make much of an effort to touch me unless he's whapping me with his eagle talons.. so this is a big step! It could be because it's about -10 in the apartment...

That's about it.  I'm hoping to go to KnitCity this weekend with a friend but if she bails, I'll just go on my own...
For those of you in Vancouver (and surrounding area) who have not heard of it, this is Vancouver's very first Fibre Festival!
Here's the info!

Feel free to wander over to another blog that I contribute to with my sister.  It’s one that we both post to; pictures, recipes, anecdotes.  Anything light and fun that maybe doesn’t quite fit on our regular blogs.  Go see Half A Pear

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Squasha Sauce

Doesn't that sound exotic and tasty?  It's not, but the name makes me giggle.
Basically, I made pasta sauce... but since I don't eat pasta, but I DO talk about what I cook, I figured that I should probably change the name to avoid the 'but you said you don't eat wheat' conversations.
I'll give you the recipe here, but I encourage you, if you want to make Squasha sauce, to use YOUR favorite vegetables and seasonings and then take all the credit for inventing Squasha Sauce to your friends and family!
I'm going to give the quantities here that I used (estimated) but basically the amount you make is going to depend on the size of your pot and freezer space or the number of hungry mouths you have to feed.
In a large pot, brown one onion, five or six chopped cloves of garlic and fresh sliced mushrooms in olive oil (I used about 14 sliced white stuffer mushrooms).  When the mushrooms have cooked down, add in chopped peppers (as many as you want... I put two pimento peppers, one orange, one yellow and a sweet red pepper in).  Continue to cook down and then add chopped zucchini (I used two medium zukes, cut lengthwise and then lengthwise again and then chopped).
Add your seasoning.  For this batch, I used one finely chopped Cherry Pepper (purchased at the farmers market... when unique peppers are not seasonal, I usually use chiracha and some cayenne).
Add about two dozen chopped ripe roma tomatoes. (I chopped them, left them on the cutting board, sprinkled coarse seasalt on them and let them rest for a couple min before adding to get the juices flowing).
In another pan, brown your ground beef (or chicken, or pork or turkey or sausage), sprinkle generously with cayenne pepper and sea salt and then add to your stock pot.
I added two jars of Classico pasta sauce, one jar of water and two teaspoons of Tabasco (it was all I had left) to the pot at this point and then simmered.
That's your basic Squasha Sauce.  Ground meat of choice (or no meat for a veggie option), coarsley chopped veg of your choice (before I went 'modified paleo' I used to add corn and peas...) salt, pepper and some heat seasonings (peppers, chili pepper, tabasco sauce etc...) as to your own liking.
Because I'm dumb, I didn't have the spagetti squash cooking while I was mucking about with the sauce, so by the time the sauce was done I was starving and didn't want to wait for the squash.  I ate a bowl of squasha sauce for dinner.  It was actually VERY yummy by itself and I would suspect that if a bit more liquid was added, you could have a nice chunky fall soup out of this same recipe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nesting and how there's more to life than food

When I went home last night I realized that I hadn't taken anything out of the fridge for dinner, I didn't care about dinner and I wanted to go shopping.  I watched a pvr'd version of Dr. Phil while laying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself and then I put some clothes on and headed out to Costco.
On the way out the door I ran into the neighbor that lives across the hall and has actually seen my cat because one of the days that the kitty was really sick, he escaped out into the hallway.  On that day, neighbor told me that he had a kitty that looked JUST like Charlie Fluffypants but that his Tigger had passed in March.  So sad!  So when I saw him in the laundry room on my way out the door I took a deep breath and asked him if he was going to be around for Christmas because Mr. Fluffypants needed a babysitter.  He was fantastic and said that yes he was probably going to be around but that if he wasn't for a day, Don, our upstairs neighbor and Neil (across the hall neighbor)'s best friend would be home and between them, they'd make sure my furbaby was taken care of!  He also exclaimed how cute he thought Charlie was and I was sold that it was the best plan to keep Charlie at home and let the neighbors fuss over him for a few days.
Anyway, once I was done my Costco trip in which I bought Shrimp Cocktail, ground beef to make curried meatballs and Mexican Pasta Sauce and chicken wings to make... well, chicken wings (which I think should be a food group unto itself and one of my FAVORITE  things to eat ever!), I came home.
I sat on the sofa for the remainder of the evening and worked through my Goals book.  If you don't know, every year I write down my goals in categories of Family, Friends, Relationships, Financial, Education, Health and Beauty, Home and Outrageous.  Usually I go through the list quarterly to see how I'm doing but I was a bit busy this year and until last night had completely forgotten that I'd even done it.
I crossed off a LOT of things... Things like 'spend a week with Dad'... I crossed that off because even tho it hasn't happened yet, the plane ticket is booked.  Things like 'Pay Tax Arrears by end of year', 'move to a 2 bedroom apartment', ...  There are obviously a lot of things still left on the list and some which it is clear won't be completed by the end of the year.  And that is OK.  Some will be carried forward to next year, some will be evaluated for usefullness based on what I feel is going on next year and some will be ditched because they're either no longer a priority or they've changed, or they don't count now because something has changed (like buy a new bbq for bunker... no more bunker, no need for bbq).
The second thing I did with that Goal book was to make a second section at the end of every category labelled Oct-Dec.  I took the goals I thought I could complete or the ones I wanted to focus on in the last quarter of the year and re-wrote them under that heading.  I also added new ones or modified existing ones.  That's the nice thing about goals... you can change them as your life changes.
When I was done I put my pen down and my book down and went to bed... and as I was getting comfy and cozy I realized that not a single one of those goals and thoughts had to do with food.
Food has gotten the better of me in the past and it was well on it's way to getting the better of me just recently.  Food, in my opinion, is to nourish your body.  People and goals and sunshine and kittens and puppies nourish your soul.  That's the way it is for me... and from now until December, my one and only food related goal will be to remember this.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Assess... and Re-assess

Thank you to both my sister and my friend for the nice comments last night... I didn't eat a single one of those things... in fact I ate a roasted chicken breast with sundried tomatoes on it over a salad of mixed greens and a bit of avocado, tomato and mushrooms.
Then I took two Advil Cold and Sinus and told the cat 'lets go lay on the bed for a minute until mommy's headache goes away'. Well, two guesses how that turned out!
I think I've figured out what the problem is... or what A problem is.
I'm bored.  I've never been a good cook or chef altho I can whip up yummy things to eat.  I'm not imaginative or inspired in the kitchen... Pattypan squashes stuffed with bacon and spinach? Sounds divine... probably wouldn't make it.
Butter Chicken over Spagetti squash?  LOOKS divine and yet, there's a good chance I'm not making that either... altho it has a better chance cause it's two of my favorite foods.
I'm bored of putting stuff on salad... I'm bored of trying to think up things to make for dinner... I'm bored of smoothies for breakfast... altho every morning they are my favorite thing, I'm bored of making them and buying the ingredients for them and thinking about them.
I know what I need to do... I need to nest... I need to pull out the crockpot and make things... Mexican Pasta Sauce (it's basically chili without the beans), chunky pasta sauce for pouring over squash.  Cabbage roll soup and Curry Chicken Soup.
I need to be able to pull something out of the freezer and not have to think about it.  I want to go back to a time when I didn't constantly think about food.  That was one of the biggest reasons why I didn't want to join the Zone or Weight Watchers... I don't like to be and don't want to be obsessed with food...even so far as not wanting to have to 'dream up' dinner.
The last sentance in my last post was And I want to not care when I eat it....
I do not want to care... Not in the way that I don't care what I eat and how I feel... just that I don't want to give food so much attention.  Giving it this much attention for me gives it an awful lot of power... and that power turns into obsession...
So, now that I know what A PART of the problem is, how do I fix it?
I go back to that which I know... if food is easy, I stop caring about it in an active way.  A bagel and cheddar cheese was the easiest meal I ever made.  Not the best or most healthy, but I knew what I was having when I was on the bus on the way home, I knew it took little effort, it tasted good and when I was done, I was done.  I believe I should be able to translate those requirements to actual food and putting a bunch of stuff in the freezer will be very helpful.
I also think that even with all the stuff in the freezer, I'm going to start making a weekly meal plan. That way I only need to think about food the one time.
I hope this helps... any suggestions in this vein of not wanting to have to think about food are welcome!
And I won't be eating cupcakes anytime soon... I promise!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Give me a CUPCAKE!

You know what I want to do?
I want to go to Cupcakes and buy two dozen cupcakes and eat them all.  I want to go to McDonalds and eat one of everything and five orders of french fries...
Croissants, donuts, sandwiches...  Tuna Noodle Casserole, Breaded Lemon Chicken and a giant pie, no cake... NO BOTH! for dessert... and by dessert, I mean whatever I eat right before I eat grilled cheese sandwiches and oreos until I puke...
What the fuck is wrong with me?
I'm not going to do any of this because it's not healthy, it's not reasonable and I don't have that much money...
I'm a responsible adult that knows that all of those things, in such great quantity and especially TOGETHER are going to make me feel like a big gigantic piece of crap.
Part of me doesn't care.  Part of me thinks that I have been doing this grain/lentil free thing for almost two months and I've seen very little results except for an uptick in my awesome cooking abilities and a downtick in upset stomach and sudden poo-explosions...
I want cupcakes and cream cheese icing.  And I want to not care when I eat it....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whole(y) Cow!

Are you still doing your silly 'grain free thingy'
That was a question that I was asked today.  It was because the person asking wanted to share a pastry treat with me but the over all theme of people that are NOT doing it is that it's 'silly' and that 'grains are good for you'.
It stands to reason... Canada's Food Guide suggests that you eat 6-7 servings of grains a day.  What's a serving?  Glad you asked.  It's 1 cup of brown rice.  So they're suggesting that you eat SEVEN CUPS of rice a day.
Okay... let's just at least check and see what they recommend for protien... being someone that has had great success on The Zone (similar to versions of South Beach), I know that carbs, fat and protien should be eaten in a balanced ratio.
Canada Food Guide suggests that you eat 2 servings of protien a day... that means that one of your meals and all of your snacks (if you snack) are protein free... I guess that makes sense because you've got seven cups of rice to eat!
It's really unfortunate that a federally funded program such as Health Canada has changed so little in the last decades... No allowance seems to have been given for any other WOE (way of eating) other than filliing up on simple carbs.
What's worse is that the food guide RECOMMENDS you eat soy... you can go hang with your friend Google for a while to see just why that's a terrible TERRIBLE recommendation.
Also on the 'tips' is 'use soft margarine'.  Uh, that stuff is one molecular structure away from being plastic.  It's terrible for you... the softer it is, the more crap they put in it... it also recommends that you steer away from 'butter'. 
Also in 'tips'... Have meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often'.  OMG, you get two measly servings of meat a day and they want you to substitute often for carbs??  That's insane... INSANE!
So while it's still annoying and offensive to be judged for your food choices, it's not exactly surprising when the common sentiment is that it's heart healthy and responsible to consume grains and grain by products.
That being said, I have had great success being grain free.  These people see only the way I look and not how I feel.  Which again, is annoying but understandable.
So I know that the reaction to my new plan of joining my friend Tara on the Whole30 plan is going to get even more dirty looks.
In order to do it, I shouldn't have to change what I do too much... no dairy, which isn't that big of a deal... coconut milk in coffee works and I don't NEED to eat cheese and ice cream.
No alcohol... again, not much of a problem... patio season is over (said as I type with stone cold fingers) and I've often gone months between moments of drinking.
No grains or legumes... already doing that.... even tho I write forlourn love letters to peanut butter on a pretty consistent basis...
No potatoes... no problem.. I always forget about potatoes anyway so 30 days isn't a killer
No artificial anything ... no problem... I've grown quite attached to food that doesn't have an arms length of 'ingredients'...
30 days... Tara is starting on the 16th and I think that's reasonable for me too.  30 days brings me to October 16, which works fine because my dinner party is on Oct 20th, altho since it's MY dinner party, it shoudln't matter one iota... Roasted pork with home made ceaser salad and my sister's 'crack' crackers with pate (will check the ingredients on that) sounds pretty dang yummy and completely made of whole foods... 
Go to Whole9 if you're interested in joining or even just reading about it...

Monday, September 10, 2012

I've Fall(en)

I think the weather has officially turned and is heading in the direction of Fall.  This makes me VERY happy.  Don't get me wrong, I do like Summer but I feel like Summer has all these expectations that Fall doesn't have.
In Summer you can't have a lazy day on the weekend because it's 'too nice out'...Summer expects constant activity, late nights, many many bottles of chilled wine, beaches and laying out.  Summer expects bbq's and picnics and every manner of social life.  That's not to say that I don't like these things, but the expectations of Summer can get onerous...
Fall is layed back.  Fall expects you to relax.  Fall expects cool walks and bags of apples.  It expects dusted off crockpots and hearty warm meals.  It gives a few very warm days to remind you of Summer but without the expectation of removing almost all your clothes and laying out.  It expects some lazy days in preparation for hibernation.  Fall is a chilled out, calmed down version of Summer.  I feel like it's the only season that only wants whatever is best for your mental health.  Winter is harsh and while it has few expectations, it is a slave driver... it's a beast that pushes your limits.  Spring has even higher expectations than Summer.  After surviving the abuse of Winter, Spring expects you to come out of hibernation a new and refreshed being... and expects you to worship it's warmer weather and summer-like moments more than Summer.
That being said, I'm quite ready to let myself get enveloped in Fall.  For its gorgeous colors to inspire me and calm me.  To walk in it's crisp air and indulge in the bounty of the harvest!  I. CAN'T. WAIT!
I'm madly knitting my Winter 12/13 collection of accessories to keep me warm in the winter... I've got three hats and another one waiting in the wings.  Three shawl/cowls and a pair of elbow length alpaca gloves.  Just taking a time out from my collection to knit a hat for a friend... I don't think I've actually given away any knit wear this year yet, so it's about time... the year is almost up.  I'm almost thinking also of pulling out all my old winter wear that I've knit and see if any of it can be sold... or given away maybe.  It's silly to hold on to so many hats when every year I make more...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Just Relax!

Not as easy done as said my friends.  There's this thing I like to call my Brain Baggage.  It's a never ending loop of worries and responsibilities and expectations.  It's also creative thoughts, ideas, plans, dreams, goals.  Not all negative, but the result of carrying it all around at all times of the day (and night) is negative.
I don't stop thinking about it, and certainly, it goes everywhere with me. Work, home, the bathroom, bedtime... anywhere I am, my pack of baggage is.  It's hard to relax when you're carrying that around.  It's heavy and it constantly reminds you of it's presence.  It strains your shoulders, burns your neck... your head and back ache from the strain of pretending that you don't have an elephant strapped to your back... to your mind.
The answer then most definitely would be to set the damn pack down every once in a while and allow yourself to feel lighter wouldn't it? To stretch your arms and legs... your back and shoulders and see what just being feels like... without being suffocated and weighed down.  Do you think if you set it down often enough, you could figure out how to pick less of it up every time.  How to differenciate between what is essential, and what can be left in storage.
Where do you store that non essential stuff so you don't have to pack it around? I guess every person has a different storage system.  A blog, a list, a book. 
I often buy books... beautiful blank notebooks and then never write a spec in them.  I find the blank pages to be refreshing and an inspiration.  Perhaps I should let the book hold the brain baggage and let my mind be refreshing and an inspiration.
I've decided to commit to learning how to physically relax.. To putting down that Brain Baggage for a time...  I don't relax.  I don't ever ask my body to let go of what it's holding on to and rejeuvenate.  I tried that last night... I've been having a terrible time sleeping... I can't get to sleep and then when I'm asleep I feel like I'm busy the whole time so when I wake up, I need a nap to recover from being so 'busy' all night and I think that it's not a great idea to have to take Gravol every night.
My friend Kathleen suggested I download an app (there's an app for that!) that was a guided meditation... I did... it guided me through relaxing... from my tippy toes to the top of my head... Altho I guess you're supposed to end up in some sort of 'trance', my mind was still beebopping all over the place but I could feel my body relaxing.  One thing at a time I told myself, so I allowed myself to just get what I could out of it, which was to feel my body relax.  I didn't particularly care for her voice, so when that was done (30 min) I downloaded a different one.  It was a male voice and I'm not sure if it was because I had also taken a half a Gravol, or because I was really relaxed, but I managed to fall asleep.  Of course then I woke up, realized I'd been asleep, rejoiced a bit, took the headphones off, rolled over and then was WIDE AWAKE worrying about how I was going to fall back asleep.
I think putting my brain baggage in a book, setting down the pack every once in a while and learning how to breath and relax so as to give my body and mind a chance at relaxation will be immensely helpful.  Maybe I'll still have to take a Gravol to go to sleep but I think that now that I have no toxins in my body, no toxins on my body, my mind deserves a break from all those toxins too.
It's funny, this 'grain free' thing... When I committed to doing it, and found within days that it was a pleasant result, it started a snowball effect that continues on.  It made me realize how good it felt to treat that one part of myself well... and it made me want to sort out other parts... even ones that I wasn't aware were bothering me...
Life is a constant renewal and reassessment... I guess I've been out of the loop in this for a while, but to me it seems like such an exciting adventure!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

30 Days and Nights

So I made a commitment to spend 30 days grain and legume free.  I add in 'legume free' because altho I don't eat beans much, I DO have an inappropriate love affair with peanut butter and apparently my bestfriend the Peanut is a legume.  I'm hoping that one day, in moderation (LOL!) I can renew a reasonable relationship with peanut butter...

That being said, I am sincerely amazed at how life changing a measly 30 days has been.  It jump started my mental process to a point that I was moving forward again.  To a point that I was making decisions for myself based on my own health and wellbeing and not just the innate urge to survive.

I took an even bigger plunge when I decided that no toxic crap IN my body should be matched with no toxic crap ON my body... I've written about that already... The baking soda shampoo is over a week in and fabulous, the deodorant is fabulous, the Dr. Bronners body wash is fantastic... I also became obsessed with nail polish (which is fabulous but obviously not toxin free) and I blame my sister!

I haven't seen a big change in the scale since I started, altho I didn't weigh myself until halfway in, so there's no way of knowing how much I weighed when I started.  I did lose 4.6 pounds in 16 days, so that's not bad... assuming that I lost the same in the first 14 days.... I did go down two belt holes in the last 30 days, so that's saying something.  I'm less concerned about my waist line tho than I am with feeling good. It's a very VERY weird thing to hear myself say because in the past, WEIGHT was the driving factor of feeling good... but that's not necessarily healthy... I don't feel obsessed with food like I've felt in the past when doing the Zone... I know a couple friends that had that 'obsessed with food' feeling on WW as well and it seems to be a non started for people doing grain/legume free... 

I will spend the next month documenting every morsel I put into my mouth in order to see what I'm actually eating... it made sense to me to eat this way and not be too worried about calories for the first 30 days... one can't have it all and since I couldn't have my old comfort foods, I figured that it was reasonable to eat until I was full and see what results that got me.  Now I want to see WHAT I'm eating, in what quantities and how that relates to weight loss or gain.

I'm also planning (once it's not so hot out) to pack my workout clothes, change after work, take the bus to W 12th Ave and then walk home from there.  It's 5.9km... Since once I get home there's not really anywhere to go from here that is pleasant, I figured if I get my workout in while doing something necessary like getting home, then I'd kill two birds with one stone.  Plus, I don't think taking the bus when it's raining outside is going to be pleasant and with the right attire, walking in the rain will probably be more favorable so I'll 'practice' while it's nice out... And the plus side of that is if on some days I don't think I can make it, or whatever, there's always a bus around the corner to save me... 

So here's to another 30 days and nights... I'll check back in about this on September 20th.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Way the Water Sparkles

I took today off of work... because I can... I cleaned my house last night and this morning woke up and had a lovely day with the kitty and my knitting and coffee.  I also roasted 4 pork loins (two lime, two sundried tomato and rosemary) so I could slice them up and freeze them.  My freezer is having a fit and trying to throw things out the door any time it opens, so I'm hoping I can slice up the loins and tetris them in there a bit better!

Tomorrow is my successful completion of 30 days grain free and I have to say that it's certainly not the end, altho the physical 'side effects' haven't been what I was expecting... More on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's my new project that I'm working on.  It's completely mindless and very fast knitting and I'm smitten... I dyed two of the three yarns (both the teal colors) and they're going perfectly with the silk/merino blend of the gray and blue one.

I feel as tho I'm coming down with something... I"m achy and crampy and out of sorts and would kill someone to go to bed right this second (6:04pm).


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Red Flag

This is a red flag.  I know what they mean when I see them now.  I lived a long and arduous part of my past ignorning red flags.  Maybe my tolerance for red flags is tinier now than it used to be. 

Even itty bitty red flags are a HUGE problem for me. 

To me, itty bitty white lies about unimportant things are just as important and hurtful as great big huge lies about very important things...

My bullshit meter (as Kathleen says) starts at Bullshit and ppl outside my inner circle need to work at getting it to drop down... Earning trust I think is what it's called.  I used to give my trust away... to anyone... at anytime.  Now... no.  Now, when you have no history with me... no past trust built up and then you lie to me, even about itty bitty things, it makes my bullshit meter soar right past bullshit... the only thing on that meter past Bullshit is the great wide open in which I am no longer interested in any sort of relationship...

Do I think this is sad?  Yes.  Because I think there are people in life that deserve second chances.  I believe that we all have bad days.  Am I going to let it slide?  No.  Because I can NOT have gone through five years of hell and then a year of recovering from hell only to go down a path that could potentially hurt me again.  Maybe 'itty bitty white lie' was a one time thing... maybe 'itty bitty white lie' wouldn't be a big deal to someone else.  But when you want to be in any sort of relationship, you need to respect the person's past.  And my past says, friends, lovers, co workers, family... no one gets to let a lie slide past me... I don't live like that ANYMORE!  Yes, it's true that not everyone knows what my particular past is.  In my opinion you shouldn't need to.  Treat me with respect and then we have no problem.  Decide not to... only one. little. itty. bitty. time and you find out that my tolerance is zero for that behavior.  I dont' think you need to know my history in order to know what not to do... it's not that hard...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dear Diary

I know this is going to sound cheesy, but what I've been doing in the last few weeks has completely changed my life.
I have six days left on my 30 day grain/legume free trial.  It won't matter tho... the only thing that '30 days' is going to signify is that I get to buy myself a present.  Because I don't think I'd go back.  Here are the positives of the new plan that are unrelated to waist line... things I had no idea would change with a new eating arrangement.
I wake up alert every day, almost no matter what time I go to bed.
I wake up in a good mood EVERY day.
My bathroom habits are more regular and I haven't had tummy troubles at all!
My skin is fantastic, altho I'm sure that's more to do with the next part of this post.
I have energy to do things like walk 10 km and go out after work
I say happy things to the kitty and I have WAY more patience, even in the middle of the night when he's being a baby!
I feel more alert throughout the day
I'm committed to bringing my breakfast, lunch, and snacks to work and I cook for myself every night.
I don't have to go into a grocery store a dozen times a month... I HATE grocery stores!
My nails are stronger and growing faster. 
My hair feels healthier
I am in more control
I'm saving a TON of money!
It doesn't hurt that I went down two belt holes in the last 24 days...
Now, as far as my skin goes... I'm sticking to my plan of removing bad and toxic things from my body care regimine.  Don't put toxic shit IN your body... don't put toxic shit ON your body.  That said, I made my own deodorant on the weekend.  The idea of putting toxic chemicals into an area of your body that is very suceptible to 'absorbing' didn't sit well with me.  So I decided to bite the bullet and make my own.  It's honestly better than store bought.  It smells lovely (tea tree oil) and moisturizes (coconut oil) and absorbs moisture (arrowroot powder and baking soda).  That's it.  Those are the ingredients.  The original recipe suggested Grapefruit oil, which I'm sure would work, but Tea Tree kills everything and that's helpful when you want to kill bacteria that might cause a smell.  Plus, having tea tree oil in the house is helpful for bug bites, scratches, burns and zits.
Once I had the deodorant down pat and realized that natural things work if you get the right ingredients together, I decided the next thing to get rid of was shampoo. I have very fine hair, so I did a bit of research, as I'm still vain enough to know I want to look good... and the hive mind opinion was straight baking soda.  I mix two teaspoons into a paste (I have short hair) and massage it into my hair and scalp.  I leave it on while I wash my face and body and then rinse.  It leaves my hair squeaky clean and insanely soft.  And my styling ritual isn't affected by the change in care products at all... so I look exactly the same but a bit more smug because I'm not putting chemicals on my body.
And finally, after removing the store bought moisturizer from my ritual and buying this,
  I thought it would be good to get rid of the scented Bath and Body Works addiction I have and switch to something a big more natural.  So I bought a sampler of Dr. Bronners Peppermint 18 in 1 Hemp Soap 
 It's amazing.  It smells amazing, it lathers amazing on my bath puff and you need about four drops.  I even shaved my legs after sudsing up with it and the shave was perfect!
I feel fantastic with my new body cleansing ritual... next up is finding a way to make my own tinted moisturizer so I don't have to use commercial foundation... I found a recipe for making your own bronzing powder with cinammon or nutmeg (depending on your 'tone') and I might just use moisturizer and that...
It's very mentally freeing to be making your own choices about what you put on and in your body... and it can be substantially cheaper, depending on what you are choosing.
So, that's my update... I was going to wait until my 30 days was up, but I'm pretty sure that nothing is going to be so drastically different and I was so happy this morning that I couldn't hold it in!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Sixth Seat

I was originally going to post some pictures of a nice outing that Sam and I went on last night, and I still will, but something more exciting...

If you live in the Vancouver area, you may have seen a crazy woman carrying a chair down the street in the 24 degree (around 75F) heat this afternoon... That was me.  I was on a walkthrough of a VERY shitty old building on our campus and stumbled across this beautiful chair.  Since the area is pretty much condemmed anyway, this chair was sitting around doing nothing but getting a bit dirty...

So I picked it up and humped it down the street.  It's not much to look at in photos but I'm pretty sure its teakwood and with a light sanding and new vinyl upholstery, it's going to be the belle of the table ball AND look amazing in the corner with my antique stainless steel medical cart.

Now, last night, Sam and I went to Iona Point in Richmond. It's a park (provincial maybe?) that has a jetty you can walk on that sticks 4KM out into the ocean.  We didn't walk it as we got there pretty late and we were having way too much fun fooling around with the blackberry bushes...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


So what happens when you are at home, bored, it's thunder/lightening out like crazy for hours on end...

Well if you're an artist, you create.  If you're a fibre artist, you can also create... some things more beautiful than others.

First up is the beautiful.  In December when Sam and I went to San Francisco for Christmas we popped into a gorgeous little yarn store in Petaluma CA called Knitterly.  The staff there were gorgeous human beings and both of us loved it.  Sam, having been to numerous yarn stores with me (both local and not local) knows what a GOOD yarn store feels like and declared just the other day that Knitterly was such a nice store.  He also declared that Imaginknit in San Fran was horrible and that the staff were rude and it wasn't a nice place... yup, pretty spot on!

Anyway, I bought some Alpaca lace yarn in Dark Gray, Light Gray and a Rust Orange.  My inspiration for the project came from our dusk drive through the California Redwood forest and as soon as I got home I cast on and started knitting.

The colors were beautiful, the shawl was amazing...  I steeked (cut in half) it, knotted the fringe and gave it a nice wash... and that's when I realized that I didn't plan it very well and the miles of stockinette stitch made the thing turn into a worm... It hibernated for a while before I decided to go to the local discount fabric store and find something to bind the edges with.  Success came in the form of a wool bias tape... My trustee sewing machine, a few million pins and an hour braiding the fringe and I finally have something I can wear.
It's gorgeous (in my opinion) and now I"m planning to knit another... with a different edging so as to avoid the curling problem... It's such a functional and lovely scarf... I'm planning a big trip next year to somewhere warm that also may have some dress requirements for women, so it will be nice to have a wide light weight wrap to cover up with if necessary... Thinking of maybe knitting it in linen but not sure if my poor hands can take that...

The other 'thing' I made is not as nice... not at all... but it's funny... to me.
I decided since my iphone case broke that I needed another cozy for it... The last cozy I had met it's fateful demise when it spent 24 hours in a gutter being run over.  I thought I'd saved it but it unravelled....
So I made a new one... and then 'decorated' it.  Everyone who's seen it says it's the ugliest thing they've ever seen.  I find it funny because I know I can make beautiful things... I just chose not to this time...