Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Weighty Subject

No, I'm not referring to the tree which by the way was light as a feather HAH!
No...I'm referring to my own weight.
I did something I've never done before while at the doctor's office last week but forgot
to mention it in yesterday's post.
The nurse wanted my height and weight.
Nothing unusual about that.
When I stepped on the scale I just looked at the ceiling.
YUP, never done that before. 
Usually I anxiously watch the scale and want to tell the nurse that my
clothing must weigh at least 10lbs so please deduct that from the overall total!!
But...I don't need to know my weight any more or obsess about it.
I don't care what I weigh. 
It took me awhile to find a photo of myself in my khaki hiking pants
but I finally did. Why?
These are my favourite pants of all time.
As long as they fit then my weight is perfect!
There have been times when the zipper is hard to do up so
I modify my diet a bit and/or exercise more.
But when I put them on last week for my jaunt through Kilally Meadows 
they slipped on and did up easily.
That's all I need to know.
I'm the perfect weight!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Medical Report - Gross Photo Warning!!

Last week was a very physical week - 6 hours of volleyball, long sweaty bike rides in rather steamy weather ( I am NOT complaining) and a trip to the doctor's office!

As for my health...I've had no call back after my pap test last week so hurrah for that!

I had a "push biopsy" scheduled for today with regard for a bump on my shoulder but since the doctor made that appointment the bump gradually got smaller and eventually fell off!! Woohoo - the biopsy was cancelled after the doctor had a look.  Which is fantastic as here is a description of a "push biopsy" -
a metal, rodlike instrument with one pointed or cavitied end and one propulsion end to be pushed hard with the palm of the hand or driven with a hammer in order to drive a hole or to excise a small round piece of tissue. punch biopsy. a circular piece of skin excised by a hand driven biopsy punch.

And another different kind of bump on my back was frozen off a couple of weeks ago and has healed perfectly! I'm batting a thousand so far!!

* gross photo warning

There is just one area where the healing FEET! ...specifically my toe nails!

Warned ya!
My poor toesies

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Workshop Weather

4C this morning - YIKES! On Sunday it was 28C! I suggest a petition that the temperature only decrease by 1C a day...or week!! These sudden changes cause me seasonal anxiety! And also cause me to overuse exclamation marks!!!!!!!!

At least the sun is back. We had 5 or 6 straight days of rain. Which means no biking, no long walks through the does mean the workshop is now open for business!

From unpolished...

to polished!

 The leaf is a piece I snapped off a larger carving - I wasn't happy with it and this small piece didn't seem to belong. I turned it into a leaf and gave it to my artist brother who has recently named his studio "The Silver Branch". He put the leaf in his storefront window underneath a large vase holding a silver branch. It looks as though the leaf has fallen from the branch! :) I'll take my camera with me next time I visit him so you can see how it all looks.


...polished!  * The base is made of soapstone as are the pieces above. Soapstone comes in a variety of colours - I really like the rich browns in this piece.  I didn't alter the quartz.

In progress...(this is the sculpture that I took the piece off of which became the leaf). More shaping to be done before I begin to polish...

This one is partially polished...will finish tomorrow. I am going to place this one in a shadow box as it is a thin relief sculpture and needs support. I like the other side better but didn't photograph it for some reason.

This one is partially shaped; will work on it more tomorrow.

Future works of art :) Both are quite large so I will be taking a hammer and chisel to them first to make several sculptures out of both - I prefer to work with small pieces.
And there you have it!
This is week two in the shop - I am quite pleased with what I've accomplished so far. As they keeps me off the streets!

Friday, October 13, 2017

So Far So Good

So far so good with the food budget. I made a big pot of turkey soup, didn't use a recipe just used up leftovers that needed to be used along with what started as 1 cup of soup mix (various dried beans, split peas, lentils, rice, quinoa etc) and turned into 4-5 cups after absorbing lots of water while being soaked. I threw in some oldish carrots and some limp celery, half of a leftover sweet onion, about half a can of tomatoes that had lingered in the fridge long enough and a bunch of soft and squishy grape tomatoes, cut in half. I added some chopped up turkey, of course and some basil, thyme, and a healthy serving of crushed chilli peppers to spice it up a bit (a whole lot!)
                                                          I have to say it is delicious!
*I didn't take any photos so am using google photos that look similar to what I made.

While rummaging around in the fridge I realized I had four green peppers and Kazi's favourite meal is stuffed peppers. It is one of my favourites too because once again it allows me to hide things in the mixture :) Kazi saw the peas ( about half a cup leftover from Thanksgiving dinner) but she didn't identify the leftover stuffing!! Kind of apropos don't you think? Stuffing in stuffed peppers? I mixed it up with some of the soup mix, the leftover peas, some marinara sauce and lots of grated cheddar. You can hide a lot of stuff under cheddar! Oh, I almost forgot...I had half of a medium-sized zucchini which I chopped up and sauteed in a little olive oil and added to the peppers. Yum!

Today I did take myself off to the grocery store as planned as I needed to reload up on fruits and veg, along with a few staples like bread, soy milk and a large package of chicken breasts 30% off. I spent about $60 and hope to NOT shop again for at least a week, preferably 10 days but we'll see. After today there is only about $60 left in the food budget. I'll be making mostly meals that stretch to two nights instead of the usual one.

Future meals will include:
Chicken fajitas (always lasts two nights :)
Cheese and spinach ravioli
Spinach and mozzarella omlettes with mashed potato & onion patties
Shrimp & veggie linguine
Greek lentil soup (get 2-3 meals out of this)
Veggie chilli ( several meals)
Salmon steaks and sweet potato fries
Cheese and potato pierogies
Tuna Melts

We have tons of fresh veg and fruit on hand to augment meals, plus a lot of frozen fruit for smoothies. There is always a pot of soup for lunches and we both eat oatmeal in the morning. This should work. I don't usually make a meal plan I can definitely see the purpose.

Do you plan your meals by the day, week, or month?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October Budget a Bit of a Challenge

Are you squeezing your budget extra tight this month in order to stay in the black? Me too! Just about everyone whose blog I read is trying to make the most of their food budget in order to stay on track.  I just went through Thanksgiving Day long weekend and spent twice as much on food/drinks as I usually spend in an ordinary month.  I have a fridge full of leftovers but we're a little tired of eating turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. It looks like I need to freeze the remaining food and haul it out again in a couple of weeks when I won't be faced with moans and groans...and that's just ME!

But here's the problem: there are three weeks left in October but there is not three weeks of grocery money left! So how to get to the end of October, providing a variety of healthy meals, while staying within the remaining budget. The age old problem. Doesn't seem possible does it?

And this is where you think I'm going to present an imaginative and tasty solution but I'm afraid I'm going to let you down. Because I don't know. If there were only two weeks left in this month I think it would be a snap...but three? Without hauling out the frozen leftovers? This is when having another freezer would come in handy. But I don't have one and never have so I have to work with what I've got.

Yes...I should have increased the food budget for October but the money still has to come from somewhere! So...I've decided to transfer the $80 I set aside for gas for the as yet unnamed car into the food budget line. Fortunately when I purchased the car they filled it up with gas. It still has over 3/4 of a tank so I won't need to put anymore in til next month, and maybe not then either. There, with a little bit of budget magic, I have my three weeks of groceries covered. That being said, I'm still going to try to get to Friday, my usual grocery day, without going to the grocery store.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Happier Thanksgiving

Recently I came across an article with a phrase that I keep at the forefront of my mind at all times now. It really has caused a paradigm shift in my way of thinking and so I thought that on this long weekend of feasting and giving thanks here in Canada I would share it with you.

The phrase is "self-compassion".  Think about it for a minute or two......what does it mean to you? Don't confuse it with "self-pity", that's a different kettle of fish altogether.

I don't think it was a coincidence that I encountered the phrase shortly after my aborted trip to Scotland. I was being pretty hard on myself for not pushing through the pain and the injuries which in retrospect don't seem that bad now.

Showing myself compassion has always been difficult for me to do. Family members and friends (which includes my wonderful readers) showed me a lot of compassion and understanding and NO judgement after I came home.

So why am I so hard on myself? Is that a female trait? Is it just me and my particular set of circumstances? Don't I love myself? Speaking recently with a sister I wondered why I'm not more compassionate to myself? Why do I set myself such big challenges? How can I show myself compassion instead of punishment?

My first action in being more compassionate with myself was buying my new car. Why was I making my life so difficult when it didn't have to be?

Then I ordered myself a full-size Yamaha keyboard and am anticipating it's arrival with great joy! I took lessons for years and years and was my piano teacher's top student. It was during a search in a used bookshop in Bracebridge that I came across some sheet music that I thought my brother would love and which I bought for his birthday. That compelled me to dig out my big box full of piano books that my siblings and I shared over the many years we took piano lessons. That was quite a teary trip down memory lane looking at those books so I decided to give myself the gift of music which always soothes my soul  :)

I am going to try to be more self-aware and treat myself with compassion accordingly. Last night the first of my toenails fell off; several more to go. I can't imagine how I would have survived hiking another 150kms with my feet in the shape they were so I will ease up on myself and accept that that journey was not meant to be but there are more trips and adventures in my future.

Being thankful for my life can't be celebrated in just one weekend. It has to be on-going the whole year through.  Everyday when I wake up I immediately lay down on my yoga mat and through my practise I feel such a sense of well-being. Instead of only directing those good feelings towards others I must remember to also direct them inwards. Finding ways to show myself compassion everyday won't be easy but it is a necessary and worthwhile cause.

All through the year I march and protest for I will march for myself.  I hope you will join me.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Back to Walking

Words cannot express my happy feelings for being back in Kilally Meadows, my home away from home. I walked for a couple hours and my toes caused me no grief.

I received as a birthday gift this year the book called "The Hidden Life of Trees" and it is fabulous. If you are a lover of forests, as I am, you should read this book. It is an amazing read and the research will help you understand that trees live in very social communities and are much better at supporting each other and communicating with each other than we are. 

Anyhoo...there is still a lot going on in the forest at this time of year. We've had cold weather and hot weather and everything in between. Except for rain - we really need more of that! I went on a sunny day that was around 18c and it was perfect.

          So inviting isn't it?

I love fungi! Fungi play a huge role in the lives of trees in the forest.

I've always loved the way fallen branches create works of forest art.

Look at these sweet little seed fluffies. (definitely a scientific term!)

Still lots of colour to be found.

And lots of wildflowers still blooming brightly!

The last of the phlox. 

I chased this Clouded Sulpher butterfly around til it settled long enough for a photo. 

This is the ugly part of things - invasive species.  Mostly we should leave forests alone.
But sometimes certain invasive species try to take over and kill the whole forest and then
man must step in to try and stem the flow.
In this case it is the European Buckthorn population that has been taking over.

For some reason these milkweed pods below remind me of 
Heckle and Jeckle :)

I'm dating myself! 

Whatever flowers these were is a mystery that will
have to wait until next spring.

Two very fat ducks - they better stay hidden until after Thanksgiving!
.....this weekend in Canada.

A clothesline of sumac leaves - such glorious colours.
And that's it for this week's walk. Hopefully I will get to Kilally Meadows again soon; possibly tomorrow. Today is volleyball - I played a couple hours on Tuesday and am happy to report that my fingers held up quite well :)  And yesterday we had the first rain in weeks so I took the opportunity to work on a couple of soapstone carvings.

I LOVE autumn!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

I Caved

A few things have happened that have nudged me towards car ownership once again.

  • my 71 year old neighbour has lost her license; she had an accident a couple months ago which was deemed her fault. She got a driving coach and then tried once again for her license. She didn't pass. She has taken me to appointments and vice versa - I was feeling vulnerable for both of us.
  • my daughter, like me, suffers from anxiety. I could tell she was nervous about me not having a vehicle. She was very happy when I would rent a car from her place of work but I can't do that all of the time.
  • I didn't like the restrictions in my life due to not having wheels especially with winter coming up. I was worried about being more isolated and unable to attend activities in and around and outside the city.
  • I don't like hitching a ride with others - I want to rely on myself. There will come a time when I'll have to give up driving but for the next 20 years or so I'd like to drive myself.
  • Figuring out how to get to an event/protest etc (other than using my bicycle) is a pain in the arse!
  • Can't be spontaneous. (Hey, you want to go to the beach? Sure, just a minute while I rent a car!)
  • My best friends don't drive so I feel I need to. 
  • I found a used car that my daughter (the car expert!) deemed good enough for me :) She doesn't want me driving a sub-compact car. It was within my budget (about $1500 under budget). It's also a Honda Civic Econ model that uses less gas when in Econ mode :) Two thumbs up!!
  • I  calculated how many kms per year I was putting on Dougie the Dodge and it worked out to be about 8,000km per year and that includes three 2000km trips to PEI! Obviously I don't drive the average number of kms that most people do. At that rate this car should last me about 15+ years!!! And now I can visit my two sisters - one in PEI and one in Bracebridge, ON (about a 4.5 hour drive). (One sister can't drive more than 30 minutes at a time due to back pain and the other sister never got her license.)
  • I've had the newish car now since last Wednesday and have driven it twice. I continue to use my feet and my bicycle :) I think the combination of walking, biking and occasional driving is the best fit for me and my lifestyle. Sunday I cycled 20km and yesterday I cycled 30km. Today I am walking to where I play volleyball and then walking to the grocery store which is right on my way home. If I can avoid using the car I will. 
  • I have a brother who doesn't drive and I usually pick him up to attend family events. It makes things rather awkward if I don't have a vehicle. I am imagining taking a taxi to Christmas dinner along with all of our gifts and food!

Going car-free, even for such a short time, has helped me sort out my needs and wants when it comes to car ownership. I could live car-free but find I don't want to. Not yet anyway. As far as my budget goes I have put the insurance and gas budget lines back. I paid cash for the car as I refuse to have any debt. So now it's SAVE SAVE SAVE until I get my savings back to what they were before. That would take about a year or so except for the fact that I am already thinking about three possible trips for next year. Whether I can do all three remains to be seen but so far I'm thinking about British Columbia (again), walking in the Cotswolds (again and with Annie), and Scotland (again) with my brother.