Monday, 2 June 2014

Jasper 2014

There are two things in the world that bring an instant sense of peace, awe and serenity to my soul.  The ocean and the mountains.   I don’t live very close to an ocean, although there is one close enough to visit once in a while, but I live in a great province with some majestic mountain ranges.  And they are accessible – quite easily.
I get this feeling as soon as I see them in the distance, snowcapped peaks, and clouds drifting lazily across the summit, majestic creations.  They always bring out such a powerful sense in me of what nature is capable of.

Two weeks ago, I reserved a cabin at the place I have gone almost every year for the last 5 years.  I think it was 2 weeks ago but it felt like longer because the anticipation of packing up and getting on the road was overwhelming this time.   See, I have been blessed to have crossed paths with an amazing person and this was our first weekend away so not only was I thrilled to be able to spend some time with nature, but I was additionally thrilled that I would be spending it with someone whose company and time I enjoy so very much.  Really, if you had seen me Thursday night you would have thought it was Christmas Eve and I was a child waiting for Santa to get there.
So we are packed up and on the road (thank you for driving) having an enjoyable drive with great conversation – one bathroom break at some shady outhouse (thank you for having hand sanitizer!) and 3 hours later – through a bug streaked window, there they are, in the distance, bringing me that instant sense of ease, erasing any stresses that I have been hanging onto.

Friday evening was just spent unpacking,  exploring the campground, precariously (well for me) crossing a fallen log to the other side of a brook,  relaxing with a couple of glasses of wine, an amazing outdoor cooked steak dinner, and enjoying the view that Mother Nature decided to throw our way.  (How could you NOT feel at peace with that as your view!!!).
Saturday was hiking day.  I have hiked Maligne Canyon before but it has always been with children and they are not very forgiving of the terrain so I am generally turning back before I want to.  This time I also had a proper pair of hiking boots – one of the nicest gifts anyone has ever given me – and a gift that I plan on using a lot!  We started out at the Tea House, with plans to hike all the way to the 6th Bridge and back again.  I have never made it to the 6th bridge; I usually get to the 4th bridge when the ones with little legs want to go back!  The whole hike there and back is about 7.5 km and takes between 2-4 hours, depending on how often you stop to bask in the beauty of the canyon or find some great photo opportunities.  (I have a lot of pictures!)

I can’t even begin to explain how beautiful it is there.  I would not do it justice with just words, pictures don’t even do it justice but the roar of the water, or the peacefulness and stillness when you are in the wooded area is phenomenal.  Shhh, but we even snuck under a fenced area to sit on a rock to enjoy our trail mix and the sound of the water as it created new crevices in the rocks!
We made it to the 6th Bridge just in time to have the Park Ranger come speeding in through the gate to investigate a bear sighting (we did not see any bears).  Had a lovely picnic lunch of kielbasa, smoked Gouda, blueberries and raspberries right at the edge of the river – I think that qualifies as my picnic in the mountains and I can cross that off my list!  

Hike back up to the top, and decide that we have times to go and visit Athabasca Falls.  Again, another place where words can't do it justice.  Not as long of a walk to get around there but bringing up our walking time to A LOT!  And thanks to my lovely boots, I have no sore feet, my legs are feeling surprisingly okay, although a little shaky.  LOL, from my descriptions, can you tell which place I prefer :)

We drove back into Jasper to have a drink and a bite to eat at the Japser Park Brewery and to take an obligatory picture with Jasper the Bear and after a walk around for a bit it is time to head back to the cabin and see if we can actually stay awake to see the stars!  (And we managed to mostly make it!).  I reluctantly woke up on Sunday knowing that it was time to head back to home and back to reality (although a good friend of mine has pointed out that I need not be sad because this is my reality now!!)

When I started writing this blog again, it was to share my journey, the walk I was taking down my new path, a sort of therapeutic practice for myself, not even necessarily to share with the universe (although, thanks for reading!).  It's been an amazing journey so far and I KNOW that I am going to have a lot of new experiences and adventures to share.  I remember being so afraid standing at the proverbial fork in the road wondering which way I was going to choose, knowing it was my choice and that I was going to be fully responsible for the direction my life took.  I have to say I have chosen well. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Bucket List

I have these written down on a scrappy piece of paper.  I must have opened and closed it hundreds of times, added some more things I want to do, crossed off some that no longer appeal to me and spent hours looking at it wondering if I will ever get around to crossing them off because I have actually done them.

So in case I ever lose my bucket list (or it falls apart from the folding and unfolding) here is what I would love to do in my lifetime:

  1. Visit Bali - and stay in one of those ocean huts with the see-through floors.
  2. Go to the airport, pick a random flight, get on it and go.
  3. Learn to scuba dive.
  4. Go zip lining.
  5. Swim with the dolphins.
  6. Go to Hawaii.
  7. Have a picnic in the mountains (no wild animals invited)
  8. Catch fireflies.
  9. Have a dirty martini (I tried a martini when I was 19 and it tasted horrible)
  10. Go parasailing.
  11. Visit New Zealand.
  12. Visit Ireland.
  13. Get a tattoo.
  14. Take a cruise.
  15. Go to a yoga retreat.
  16. Take a train from coast to coast.
  17. Meet the friends I have known for 14 years but never met.
  18. Complete the 365 photo a day challenge.
  19. Take a cooking class.
  20. Send a message in a bottle.
  21. Go whitewater rafting.
  22. Spend an entire day at a spa (oh heaven!!)
  23. Helicopter over Niagara Falls.
  24. Hand out bagged lunches on Christmas Eve.
  25. Sleep in a castle.
  26. Put a "Love Lock" on the fence in France.
  27. Write something in wet cement.
  28. Go to Alcatraz.
  29. Plant a tree.
  30. Learn one magic trick.
  31. Start a web blog.
  32. Conquer my fear of claustrophobia and go through the Chunnel.
  33. Make a jar of sand from all the beaches I visit.
  34. Ballroom Dance - getting crossed off as we speak
There are so many more things I want to do in my life and I am sure that someday I will find myself doing something and thinking "Well that should have been on my bucket list!"  This next while I plan on crossing off a few more of these things. 

Friday, 25 April 2014

Too many minds...

It's Sunday, the child is still sleeping and it is quiet...eerily quiet.  I am still laying in bed, with a cup of coffee and a dog at my feet, contemplating life and how everything changes and somehow still remains the same.

There is a calmness in my life now that even today I am adjusting to.  There is that small part of me that still expects "something to go wrong" but I am learning to push that aside and look at things for what they really are, not what I imagine them to be.  I was having a conversation the other day about how horrible our minds could actually be and how hard it is sometimes to take a thought and purposefully change it.  For example:

Seriously, what is with that???  I had to laugh because I have had a lot of these cross my mind, particularly the "Insists you forgot something" one.  I have had days when I really wanted to turn the car around because my mind is insisting that I left my hair straightener on at 450F and I will return home to the ashes of what was once my apartment.

The mind truly is a powerful object weapon tool .  In yoga they teach you to let go of your mind and your thoughts while you are in practice and even then I find myself attempting tree pose with the items on my grocery list coursing through my subconscious.  Again, it is acknowledging your thoughts and purposefully changing them because a lot of times, you mind is just a big, fat liar. 

My child has not been abducted when she doesn't answer the phone, she is having too good a time with her friends and doesn't hear it ringing. The semi -driver I am beside on the highway isn't going to quickly turn his wheel and run me off the road; but if you saw me drive next to a semi - you would think just that, or at least I am thinking just that.  Sometimes a noise is just a noise, not some burglar breaking into my apartment to steal all my belongings - or worse.

My mind has been infamous for going the wrong way.  The doom and gloom way, the negative way, the way that can quickly escalate into a shitload of anxiety if I don't rein it in.  I don't know what it was in my life that caused my mind to react like that and it has been horribly difficult to try to train it to react in the exact opposite way.  BUT...I am doing it and having success.  It's the pause before the reaction.  The question of "is that real or is that me trying to mess myself up?"  

Don't get me wrong - I can't get it every time, sometimes my mind decides that no matter what, I just need to feel a little bit of anxiety, just a little reminder that the brain is still there and sometimes it's still a little bit of a jerk.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Gumby Doesn't Even Bend That Way

Your life is a sacred journey.  It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way.  You are on the path…exactly where you are meant to be right now…and from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity and of love.”  ~ Caroline Adams
Wow my path is taking me in some great directions.  I have to stop along the way and make sure that those are actually my feet down there.  On March 25 this year I decided to join my oldest for a drop-in yoga class.  Hot Yoga.  Yes, where they purposefully crank the heat to a sweltering 40⁰C or 104⁰F and then tell you to get all bendy.  They actually will give you a special towel to place on your mat because you drip sweat so much that your mat (without the towel) becomes a slippery, death hazard.   Yes, this is the first class that my beloved daughter decided to take me to.

I knew no poses so had to look up to see what everyone else was doing, I am sure the perplexed and shocked look on my face when hearing “let’s get into the pigeon” was quite amusing.  I dripped, I panted, I drank my water faster than should be normal but I did it.  I walked out of that class with my hair stuck to my face and the back of my neck, sweat in places I didn’t even know you could sweat but I WALKED out of that class.  No one had to carry me, no ambulances were called, no one had to go and throw me in a cold shower – I completed an entire hour of hot yoga and then signed up for a 4-week introduction pass.

Yoga is more than just poses.  It is about finding that connection with yourself and being honest and true to that person inside and to tell you the truth, sometimes when you find that honesty it is difficult. and emotional  There have been a couple of times that I have discovered tears on my face because I have connected with myself and have allowed myself the time and the quiet to be truthful.

One of the things that I have really been enjoying besides the workouts and the stretching and the silence is leaving my ego behind.  You are there for you, not the person beside you, the person who came with you.  You go into the class with your soul not your ego.  This is great for me because I know it has been my ego in the past that has prevented me from doing some of the things that scare me – only I feel it as butterflies in my stomach and sometimes hear the voice in my head that screams “you can’t do it – You’ll look stupid – You’ll fail and everyone will laugh at you.”  So in this sense, consciously and routinely walking into the room without my ego has been doing some great things for me outside the studio as well.
The other thing that has been helping me is the necessity of being in the “now” when you are in practice.  You need to not only be in the moment, you need to feel in the moment.  You need to connect in the moment.  This is a great lesson to carry out into the real world as well.  I cannot change yesterday and I don’t know what will happen tomorrow but I am here, right now, in this moment and this moment is a great place for me to be.  I really am happy in this moment.  It’s quite difficult to explain because you actually need to experience it for yourself and I am pretty sure that another's experience might be different than my own. 

Last night I went to Relax and Restore (and yes, it feels as good as it sounds.) You are only doing a few of the poses in the 75 minute class but you are holding those poses for several minutes and you are using props, such as blocks or a bolster to do the work for you – hello, getting the benefit without doing the work!!!  People will often fall asleep in that class because it is so relaxing.  I had one of those odd moments last night and had become so much in the moment that when the instructor spoke, she startled me.
Basically, what I am trying to get across is that I am grateful, so very grateful to my daughter for introducing me to the practice of yoga.  I enjoy going so much and have become so passionate about it that I will be renewing my pass for an additional 4 months.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Holy Hard Work Batman

So, it's out there.  I am filing for divorce. My friends and family now know and if you read this blog, congratulations - you now know too.   I wasn't ready in my head yet to say it out loud and although a few close friends were aware, I just wasn't ready for everyone.  I actually finished up all the paperwork on Monday, April 1st which is cruel in many ways. It's April Fool's Day and it was our 5-year wedding anniversary. I actually didn't plan it that way but that's the way it worked out and it was a little on the painful side.

I have realized quite a few things throughout the past few months.  Separation and divorce is shameful.  I was literally embarrassed to finally say the words "My marriage is over, I am seeking a divorce" Not only am a seeking a divorce, I am seeking a second divorce.  I am sure this shame is in my own head and when I posted on Facebook that I was changing the relationship status - it took a really long time for me to hit submit.

Am I not a strong enough person to push through stuff?  Other people push through.  Am I damaged goods?  I must be, holy crap - 2 divorces!!  And it almost makes it worse in a hysterical sort of way that Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" keeps playing any time I turn on the radio.  Google the words of that song if you need to know what I am talking about.

This is not a blog post to blame.  There are 2 parties in a marriage, there are 2 parties in a divorce.  This post was because I wanted to talk about the feelings I had been having and why it is so important to have or find a good support group. I have an amazing group of friends, who are supportive and kind and there for a shoulder for me to cry on and even a distraction - thanks again for the poker game :)  

I originally wanted to do what I have always done when faced with something of this magnitude...hide away in my bedroom, sleep when I could, stop eating properly and be depressed.  I am glad I have not.  I have asked for help and am getting the help and have been surprised at how many people are there for me.

Divorce is scary because you can't really get your mind into a place in the future. A future that doesn't involve crying when you open a fridge door and see a condiment you would never eat but your husband did.  A future where checking off the single box really isn't a bad thing. A future where going to an event alone isn't going to involve a spotlight on you all night (albeit an imagined spotlight).

There is life after marriage.  And sometimes this is an easier transition for some because you may have spent a lot of time alone in the marriage anyway.  One of the things that has helped me when I have felt particularly down and sad is that realizing I have been mourning the loss of what I wanted my marriage to be and not mourning what my marriage actually was.  We all want the happily ever after, the knight in shining armour, rescuing the princess and being the hero as you ride off into the sunset together :)  BUT, you need to be honest with the reality. You may have had different ideas of what you wanted it to be but my marriage isn't over because of what I wanted it to be, my marriage is over because of what it was.

This isn't all doom and gloom.  I have realized I am a pretty strong woman.  I have changed what was wrong for me in my life and am remaining true to myself.  I am learning new and wonderful things about Melanie the person, the single person. I am not alone, if I feel like I am alone, all I have to do is turn around and see all those who support me standing behind me.  It is not shameful, it is life. It is what happens when any relationship breaks down.

This past week, I have been changing all my id back to my maiden name.  That's is a ton of work - phew.  No one at work has known me by my maiden name so it has been confusing for some people and quite amusing as I see the look of confusion while they try to remember the email I sent out and what I said my name was.  I have new business cards, a new nameplate on my office, a new email address.  To be honest it has been kind of liberating taking me back :)

So in conclusion, divorce sucks.  But so does being unhappy for the rest of your life.  So does staying in a relationship because you are afraid to be alone or you don't think you can make it on your own.  If you are reading this and you are stuck - reach out, don't struggle and drown on your own because you are ashamed.  And to those of you that have been there for me - thank you from the bottom of my heart for handing me Kleenex and letting me cry on your shoulder and for getting me out into the land of the living.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What You Get When You Give - Even if it is Just a Little

For a good portion of my life I have been afraid to try new things.  It isn't just the fear of failing what I try, it's the fear of failing what I try AND looking foolish while I am horribly failing at it.  I have walked away from some pretty cool experiences because I have been afraid. 

Not this year!  This year, when I am asked to do something or am looking at doing something, the SECOND I get that *OMG* feeling in my stomach, I make the decision that I am going to give it my best shot.  I don't <really> listen to the voice in my head that is screaming at me that I am going to look stupid.  I hear it and acknowledge it but have decided that this is the year that I push past that.  And I have already had some really great results.

This blog.  I started it 3 years ago and then listened to that shithead in my brain that said, "Naw girl...don't be wasting your time doing this - Ain't nobody got time to read what you write."  I know people read this because Google Analytics tells me that but even if it was just me putting thoughts to paper (or keyboard) I would be happy because I am writing again.

My new way of eating.  It's only been 79 days since I decided to change things up in the eating department and it has been going great.  Not only am I getting the benefits of weight loss, I am feeling better, looking better and learning all sorts of different things to cook - and I LOVE cooking.

Not being a doormat.  This is huge for me.  I am done getting walked on.  I am done being used.  I am done feeling like I have to say yes. I am done taking care of everyone else so much so that I became lost.  I still struggle with this because, well I still allow buttons to get pushed and I have not yet mastered the difference between assertive and aggressive.  I think part of the problem is that I have been a pretty passive up to now.  Never really saying much until I just couldn't handle it anymore and then like an active volcano I would just erupt.

Getting out.  I am an introvert, I actually enjoy being an introvert but I also enjoy life and so I have been making myself go out and socialize, mix, mingle, make new friends and have fun.  I have met some new and really wonderful people doing this and even though I love to just be at home re-energizing myself away from people - I have been having a good time.

Exercise.  Hate it.  I wish that I could hire someone to do it for me and sit back on the couch with a beer and watch them do it.  However, it doesn't work like that.  But...drumroll...I have actually been doing it :)  I don't always want to but I push myself.  If I had pushed myself initially when I started realizing that the scale was moving up, I wouldn't be here.  And here I am - trying to get back to where I was LOL. 

I have never really found anything I like - swimming comes the closest but ugh, all the after work that goes with swimming.  I actually bought a swim cap so not to get my hair wet - yeah, those caps don't work for that, it is just to keep your hair out of your face.  So not only did I embarrass the hell out of my daughter with my cap, I got wet hair.

Well, I am thinking I have finally found something I enjoy.  My daughter is back from her six month stint in Mexico (yay for returning daughters) and she asked me to accompany her to Yoga - specifically hot yoga.  If you have not experienced this form of torture exercise, just jog on down to your local pool, hop on into that sauna and start working out :)  Actually it isn't torture.  I quite liked it.  I admit I was ready to walk out of the room towards the end and have never been so happy to hear, "please, lay down on your mats."  I was shiny and dewy and soaking wet but my body felt good.  I have been back to the studio yesterday for Relax and Restore which was heaven - no impact at all, stretching and breathing and tonight I am going again to actually learn the moves with a beginner's foundation class. 

I have also been enjoying my weights.  Again, by the end of my reps my <insert muscle group here> is screaming at me to just stop the insanity but I am starting to see results.

So in closing, I am still afraid to try new things, I am still afraid of looking foolish, I am still afraid of failing - but I am more afraid of life coming to an end and having regrets so I do it anyway.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Jack Frost, you have been given your eviction notice.

I live in Canada, specifically Alberta and I hate the fact that 8 months out of the year I am cold, there is snow and summer always seems so far away. I guess maybe embracing winter sports might solve the absolute hatred... no, I can't think of a reason why I would like winter.

I go to work in the morning, it is dark. I come home at night and it is dark. I get to a point where my cabin fever is over the top and I longingly gaze at all my summer spots on the drive home. I don't want to run out in my pj's and start my car, hoping that while I am back in the warmth, the windows will defrost and I will be able to back up without worry because I can see out the back window. I don't want to look at my closet because I see all the lovely, flowing skirts that would cause me to have some rather nasty frostbite if I dare wear them out in this weather.

I wake up in the morning and hear the weather forecast. I hold my breath, cross my fingers and then want to drive to the radio station and punch someone in their junk. We had such an unseasonably warm December, with rain even. The grass was starting to show and I know...don't get your hopes up, it's not really halfway
through yet, but man. What a let down to go from +10C to -30C. (For my US friends that's 50F to -22F or FREAKING COLD). We have a windchill on top of that and I am sure all of us in Canada become a little envious when we hear about the cancellations of life in the US when snow falls in some States. I don't remember ever having a snow day in the 33 years I have lived here.

Then comes February and the multiple ground-hogs who all see something different. So who even knows how many more weeks we have left and why are we relying on a rodent to tell us this??? I try hard to look for the positive starting around this time to carry me through to April/May. I do this trick - how far can I drive before I have to turn my lights on. I am now pulling into the parking lot of my apartment and still don't have to turn my lights on. Positive #1. I don't have to drive to work with my lights on any more either - Positive #2.

I know it will end. It always does. Alberta doesn't have spring per se. You go to sleep one night and the trees are bare, get up the next morning and they are covered with leaves. We don't really have plants that poke their heads up to see what's going on. Here, like winter, spring is sort of BAM! Here I am.

We also have been having some nicer weather since I started writing this. We have now turned into the ugly, brown city for a while. You can see the grass, but it is brown. The snow is going but now you can see the garbage that people threw away and was hidden by the winter months. The roads are clear but full of sand and dirt. And I think in the past week, half my paycheque has gone towards washer fluid. My ride to work has become a rickety, wooden roller coaster ride as the potholes that had been smoothed out by the snow are now resurfacing - (do NOT drink coffee in your car during the thaw!!) There is this smell that fills the city for a couple of months - rotting leaves that were covered in snow before they were raked up, dog poop, oh the dog poop but again, this is a sign of better things to come.

We have now had our Daylight Savings weekend so we move a little backwards again. My day that had some light to the start of it has now become dark again BUT...I don't have to turn lights on in the house until about 6:45 pm. Every year I threaten to pack up all my belongings and move to British Columbia. I hear the complaints about the rain, but hello...I was born and lived in England. Every year I cover up my itchy winter skin with moisturizers and start looking for jobs either on the island or the mainland and tell everyone "this is it...this is the year that I really have had enough winter." And every year - I get to the point where the snow is melting and I breathe a sigh of relief and pat myself on the back because I managed to get through yet another winter. (Not that we have yet, it is only March - but Jack Frost - you have been given your eviction notice!!!)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Wait....what? I am how old?

March 9, 1970 - a child is born.  Me!!  This memorable event took place 44 years ago - FORTY-FOUR years ago.  I look at that number and it boggles my mind that it is my age.  I am older now than when I remember my mom the best.  She was in her mid 30's - I in my teens. 

I have to say, I have good genes.  I been told I don't look 44 and I certainly don't act it.  I am at heart and in mind a kid.  I am and probably always will be a class clown.  I have an incredibly stupid sense of humour.  I laugh when people trip and fall (as long as they aren't hurt).  I darn near cry watching practical jokes on YouTube and I have been known to make people bleed with my sharp wit (ha ya like that???).

I often wonder if my mind is going to clue in and eventually catch up with my age.  To be honest it kind of scares me a little.  I don't have anything against aging, it is inevitable and I am doing it every day.  I see the lines getting deeper, the skin isn't as taut as it once was, the grey hairs appear a little faster but my mind looks in the mirror and sees 21.  But I really hope that my state of mind stays with me as I age.  I want to be the one on time out in the senior's home for toilet papering the Director's car.

One of the things that keeps me feeling young is my kids.  Oh my - they got the best of their dad and me.  My son is fast with the comments, I think my wit is sharp - his is killer.  My oldest daughter has this innocent way of just dropping stuff that is so unexpected, you aren't quite sure how to react.  My youngest daughter is me.  Her sense of humour, like mine, borders on inappropriate but she really does it well.  All of them do. 

I like where I am in life.  It isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination but I happen to be happy here in this moment.  I am learning new things about myself, experimenting a little with life, trying out some things I have never done before and looking a little more to the future.  I have a great job that I don't plan on leaving until I retire now, it is stable and consistent and the people I work with and for are great.  I have my ladybug (my lovely little red Focus).  I have my cozy little home.  Oh it's a small, 2-bedroom apartment but it is welcoming and inviting and cozy and I FEEL at home there.  I have 3 great kids and I am not speaking with mom bias, they really are great kids and I had something to do with that. 

Don't get me wrong, there are parts of my life that aren't good right now and that probably aren't going to get better.  It's looking like I am on my way to a second divorce (god, please don't let me become Elizabeth Taylor) but I am choosing to remain positive and "young" at heart and deal with things with a smile on my face and a spring in my step.  

Forty-four years of life and learning and mistakes and loss has brought me to this moment, this right now and I am pretty darn good with that.  It doesn't make everyone happy - but everyone isn't me.

I got to celebrate my birthday with some wonderful people and great friends.  I was very spoiled and feel very blessed that they are all in my life.  Went to Montana's for dinner and had a drink I had never even heard of before - it was probably the most hysterical time I have ever had drinking a drink.  It was called a Muff Dive and it was a B-52 basically buried in a glass of whipped cream.  It was entertaining for all - I am sure.  Of course it's Montana's so I got to wear the moose antlers!

I got some beautiful flowers and teddy bear from my wonderful friend
Joisey Joe.  An awesome cookbook that has recipes catered to how I am eating right now and a TON of birthday wishes from the people that mean so much to me.

So for those of you in my life, thanks for putting up with my humour, my wit, my inappropriateness, all my recent changes and my Peter Pan syndrome.  And I am sorry but I don't have any plans of "growing up" in the near future either :P

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Redirection - Help I Need a Map

In the past 2 months I have been really committed to growing, personally and emotionally and in a positive way.  I have a thought of the day sent to my inbox, I find one positive thing about my day when it comes to a close and I write it down and if my thoughts start going to places they don't need to, I am trying to redirect them.

The redirection of thoughts is the hardest thing.  It is so sad that the norm is to just get pissed off if something isn't going your way.  A lot of people, including myself, don't take the time to breathe and examine the moment.  No instead they shoot from the hip and sometimes damage the people around them with those bullets.  I have been an observer of someone losing their ever loving mind at a customer service clerk, barely out of her teens because something wasn't "their way."  I can only imagine the damage done to that poor girl's self.  And yes, I have been guilty of it too, however my shooting from the hip has usually been done at the people who are not strangers in my life and I have directed my bullets at people I love.

So back to redirecting thoughts for a moment.  Like I said, it is hard.  It isn't comfortable because it isn't my norm.  My norm has been to over-react and examine it later.  So now I am forcing myself to identify that feeling I get before I feel like I am going to lose it and stop the thoughts.  I am getting "better" at it because I have been committed to doing it for more than 2 months now.  It is now becoming a habit and part of who I am. Oh I still have the occasional moment but even knowing that I am committed to trying makes it seem a lot easier to do (if that makes sense???).

Another worthy redirection - people who don't like me and worse, people who don't even know me and don't like me.  I really used to be offended and really hurt when people didn't like me.  I HAD to figure out why and then fix it.  I think back now to the times I did that and what a waste it was.   One of these times involved a person's family member who I had never even met and judgement was passed based on something someone else had said.  I spent a lot of energy thinking on how I could fix that situation and let them see me for who I am. Then I realized, if I had gone through life and had never met that person would it have mattered?  No, it wouldn't.  I hadn't known that person before and my life was what it was.  I was who I was - I am who I am - NOTHING was changed by how this person felt about me.

I am not responsible for how those people feel, especially the ones who really haven't taken the time to get to know me and have just taken the words of another as truth.  I know who I am as a person.  I know what I have to give.  I am not perfect.  I struggle with life like all the other millions of people on this planet.  Some days I love myself more than other days, but I like me and when it comes down to it - me liking me is what really matters.

Do I have regrets - sure I do, but I am learning now to recognize regrets as learning experiences.  I have never walked away from a regret without a lesson - I just don't always see the lesson in the moment (see redirection of thought works in a lot of places!!)

I am a work in progress but I am progressing in the direction that I need to be going.  Not everyone likes that, and not everyone needs to.  In the words of one of my favourite quotes "If you want something you've never had, you must be will to do something you've never done." - Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Porn...of the best kind - FOOD!!!!

So I have been eating a ketogenic diet now for almost 2 months - it will be 2 months on March 6, 2014. I can't believe how well I feel.  I really thought that I would miss sugar, but now I find if I have anything sweet, it is too much.  I had a Coke Zero the other day and I had to double check that I wasn't drinking just a plain, regular coke.

What do I eat...good lord...where do I begin.  I eat stuff like this:

The beginning of a bacon cheddar explosion.  This is ground pork rolled up with a bacon weave and cheddar in the centre.
 And then you wrap it up in another bacon weave...

 And it comes out looking like this thing of beauty.

Bacon wrapped chicken stuffed with cream cheese and spinach and some mushrooms in a cream sauce.  There really is quite a bit of bacon in this way of eating.
Brie stuffed burger on a bed of baby arugula.

 Cheddar cheese crisps and salsa.  These are nifty.  You turn your oven on to about 350 and on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, drop mounds of shredded cheese.  This cheese was Kraft Habanero Heat (a fave of mine).  You need to watch these because they crisp and brown up pretty fast.  When they are done, take them out, let them cool and voila - chips.  I had these with salsa but I have also had them with cream cheese and just a sour cream dip.
Chia breakfast pudding.  Yes...Chia as in Chia pets.  These little seeds plump up when left overnight in a glass of almond milk, vanilla extract and some liquid sweetener and you end up with a sort of milk pudding.  The chia seeds still have a bit of a crunch to it.  I was a little hesitant at first, but love this.  This particular batch is 2 servings.  Full of fibre and very filling.
Chocolate whipped cream mousse with some dark chocolate.  Simplest thing I have made.  2 tablespoons of whipping cream, some unsweetened cocoa and some liquid sweetener.  Blend that up and add a bit of 85% dark chocolate.
Mint chocolate mousse.  Same procedure as above but add some mint extract at the end.  I also do this and use orange extract - tastes just like a Terry's Chocolate Orange.
 Peanut butter almond chocolate fat bombs.  Fat bombs - what are fat bombs.  Well they are pretty much a sweet way to get extra fat into your diet.  These ones are composed of cocoa, coconut oil, butter, almond butter, all melted and poured into foil cupcake liners.  Then I topped these ones with unsweetened peanut butter and added a dollop of fresh cream.
Curry fritata.  I make a lot of fritatas as they are just eggs and you can add what you want to them.  They have the consistency of a crustless quiche and are extremely filling.
 Lemon fat bombs and almond crackers.  Mmm fat bombs again. This time made with lemon juice, lemon zest, cream cheese, butter, coconut oil and shredded unsweetened coconut.

Not that fond of the almond crackers but needed to give them a try as I eat a ton of cheese.  All different kinds of cheese.  Om nom nom.
Fathead pizza - with a shitload of meat, cheese and jalapenos. You just have to Google this.  I didn't think it would turn out - heck I was wrong.  I thought I would now be one of those people that had to pick off all the toppings off my pizza because I couldn't have a crust.  I was wrong.
 Cheddar jalapeno biscuits.  OMG these were to die for.  Like seriously to die for.  There is also a copycat recipe for the Red Lobster biscuits as well.  I ended up making my own "Sausage and Egg Muffin" with one of these and it was great.
 A buried burger - stuffed with goat cheese, sirracha mayo, avocado on a bed of lettuce.  I have a thing for goat cheese.  I love goat cheese, heck I love all cheeses but goat cheese has this tanginess that just bites with this burger.  I am sure a lamb burger would be better suited with the cheese, but I certainly wasn't complaining.

 Lamb chops and bacon with fried kale covered in bacon ranch dressing.  I have always loved lamb.  It's fatty and crisps up, it has a gamier taste to it, it's good.  So this has been one of my go to items of meat while I have been eating like this.  I cannot wait for bbq season and throw some of these on the grill.
 Non-grain nut cereal.  I miss having a bowl of cereal and so this seems to work out perfectly.  It is pecans, slivered almonds, coconut and slivered hazelnuts.  Toasted in the frying pan with some butter and lightly sweetened with Truvia.  Two tablespoons of this with a half cup of almond milk or coconut milk hits the spot.
 Spinach and mushroom omelette with a side of bacon.  I have a lot of breakfast for supper eating this way.
Roast with a side of green beans and cheddar .
Pork rind crusted chicken with a side of cauliflower/garlic/cheese mash.  Right, so I can't use your conventional flour and I didn't have almond flour so I saw that some people crushed pork rinds and made a coating for chicken.  It was phenomenal.  Crispy and yummy and my chicken was still juicy.

And if you haven't tried really should.
Pork rind nachos.  Yep, pork rind nachos.  Chicken, beef, whatever you would like to toss on there that is Keto friendly.
 Roast with fried kale and ranch dressing.
 A little snack of salami layered with cream cheese.  I had this before my work's Winter Gala.  Fat is very filling so I wanted to make sure I had something just in case I got to dinner and couldn't eat anything.  This is 7 pieces of salami with some chive cream cheese in between each slice.
 Salmon patties with a sirracha sauce and roasted cabbage
 Steak and Shirataki noodles (done stir fry style).  Shirataki noodles or the miracle noodle.  Barely any calories and no carbs.  I think they are an acquired taste.  These were the thin noodles and I prefer the ones that look like fettuccine noodles.  They are a little more chewy than your normal pasta but they are great for a side or to throw together with some cream sauce and meatballs.
Stuffed green pepper.  Gotta have a stuffed pepper.

So that's pretty much it. Well actually it isn't, I have a lot of food pictures because I like to annoy my Facebook friends with them, but if you are reading this, we are likely friends, and you are likely on my Facebook and you have likely seen this. get to see them again.  Like I said, this is the best I have felt in a long time.  My skin is better, I feel better, I am not craving carbs at all.  I don't feel like I am sacrificing anything in the name of a "diet".  I am enjoying what I am eating.  All in all I would say that is a win-win situation.And everyone needs a win-win situation now and again.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Reading, Riting, Rithmatic

Let’s just get that “Rithmatic” shit out of the way.  I don’t like it, I don’t do it (other than to dish out equal portions to 3 children who screamed unfairness that their sibling got “more than they did.”  I think I unconsciously gravitated to the helping careers because there was no math involved.  So that’s out of the way.

I love, love, love to read.  I think reading is a gateway for a time out or an escape from the harsh confounds of life.  What I have read has not really changed since I began reading in my younger years, however how I read has.  I cringed when my favourite book was released – in hardcover only.  See I read in bed and hardcover books are cumbersome and annoying and don’t sit properly.  I hate breaking the spine and usually with a hardcover (take a big breath fellow book reader), I get frustrated and snap the spine.  So it was a choice, muddle through a hardcover, or wait for the paperback.  I usually waited for the paperback.

Now I read digitally.  Again, not always the greatest way to read.  You have never experienced pain until the tablet you are reading your latest novel from, falls on your face as you realize you have actually drifted off to sleep.  I am always grateful that I don’t need my glasses to read as I only imagine that would intensify the pain.

I really had a sullen part of childhood.  I was a brooder; I spent a lot of time in my room.  My introvert side was quite prevalent as a child and young adult. Of course there are only so many books you can read before your eyes get crossed and so one day I decided to pick up a pen and write. 

My family is famous for writing stupid poetry to each other, poems about tripping over pigs and the like (never said I came from normality!).  My poems were harsh.  They were written from a place of pain and sadness and confusion and rarely were they about rainbows and butterflies.  I wrote a few stories, one of which I handed in as an English assignment and is still in the school library to this day.  I didn’t ever have any goals of becoming published.  I did it because I liked it.  I did it because it brought me some peace while my mind was occupied in the imagination zone.  I was able to scratch the scab and let it bleed if you will. (Like I said sullen, brooder).

I am not sure why I stopped writing.  I think a big part of it was that life got more enjoyable.  I got married and had children – oh, wait, there’s my answer right there.  Any parent knows that any recreational activity that requires aloneness and concentration cannot be achieved with little people under the age of 5.  Heck, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom alone until they were older and one of those little people still tries to talk to me through the door.

I also think that my ego kicked in and my inner voice let me know, quite loudly that I probably wasn’t good enough and should just stop wasting my time.  I am working even to this day to change that voice – it criticizes me in a lot of areas in my life.
So here I am, on this journey to rediscover Melanie.  The person, the woman.  Not the mother or the wife or the ex-wife or the friend, or the co-worker.  I know that person, but I have lost me, the person I once spent a lot of time alone with.  I have spent a good many years being all things for everyone else and have stepped off my own path, only to discover that I don’t know where I am anymore.  I don't think that everyone is going to like the fact that I am looking for my path, or like it when I get back on it and that's okay because you can't please everyone all the time and honestly I am pretty tired of trying to.