Thursday, October 23, 2014

Look At All My Check-Marks, Honey!

When I became a housewife 2 years and 10 months ago, I was really bad at it. Like, really bad! To be fair, I was pregnant with a broken collar bone and off my medication, but after giving birth to my daughter and starting to work part-time, I did not improve much at all.

You see, I have always hated cleaning ever since I was a child. My room was always a mess. I hated chores, especially the dishes! Cleaning sucks. It's not fun to do, it takes a long time, and it's energy I'd rather spend doing something more enjoyable like sitting on my ass in front of a screen. Cleaning is a never ending project that you cannot win at. No matter how often you clean a room or a thing, you will always have to clean it again. I think I despise the repetitive nature of cleaning the most.

So, a couple of years ago, I did some research and came up with my very own personalized weekly chore chart. I posted it on the fridge and never followed it haha. Recently I revamped the chart now that I live in a house instead of an apartment and I have to say, it's working out quite well for me. I've been following it for almost 2 weeks now in conjunction with a daily planner chart. Check it out!
That weird type-o should say Take out recycling lol I don't know what happened there.
The fonts don't match as I adapted this from a free DL from Great site!

I put them in those plastic sheet covering things, like you use for projects in duo-tangs in school, that way I can use a dry erase marker and save on paper and they're in plain sight on the fridge. Every night I fill in my daily planner for the following day. When I wake up, my day has been roughly planned and I can avoid decision fatigue. As I complete tasks throughout the day, I make a check-mark in the box.

It sounds so juvenile, but those check-marks are incredibly satisfying! I crave check-marks! When Bob comes home from work, I proudly display them like Vana White and say, "Look at all my check-marks, honey!"

The whole concept is that on any given day of the week, at least one area of your house will be clean. The work is pretty evenly spread out, with some days being easier than others. If something doesn't get done for whatever reason, you can leave it and know that in exactly one week you will get to it.

I was reading an article about how you should treat being a stay at home mom as real job. I'm supposed to wake up on time, get dressed, even put on shoes, follow a routine ect. I read another article about decision fatigue that said your will power rises and falls throughout the day, but you have the most will power at the beginning of  the day, and after meals, so plan your most important tasks for after breakfast and after lunch and you will more likely have the will power to achieve them. Spending too much time making too many small decisions eats away at your will power. (Deciding what to eat, what to wear ect) The more you decide ahead of time, the more you will have scheduled, the more will power you will have to spend on more important tasks. Trivial decisions should be made at the end of the day so you can wake up fresh, ready to tackle your most important task, (like exercising or starting a special project, or something career related.) And that's how you accomplish everything you want to in a day.

I believe it to be true! I feel like my chore chart and my daily planner help me avoid decision fatigue in a big way by adding structure to my day. Every day is planned out, I just follow my schedule. For once it feels like I have time to do all that I want to do and I actually get it done on time. It's a great feeling and the proof is in all my check-marks!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Feezer Meals Was an Epic Fail

Perhaps epic is too strong of a word. It was a slightly larger than moderate fail.

The majority of the meals I made tasted terrible and ended up in the garbage. I'm usually not an idealist, but I must say, I am surprised I failed at this. I thought this was going to be an awesome idea, yet here I am feeling foolish. I did not save any money. I threw my money and my time into the trash, wasting it nearly completely. The food tasted bland. It needed salt. It all smelled great while I was cooking it, but perhaps the freezer zapped the flavour? Is that why commercial freezer meals are loaded with sodium? Everything needed salt!

A couple recipes did turn out though. Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs was my favourite. It's a marinade you pour over raw chicken in a bag and freeze. When you want to thaw it out, the chicken sits in the marinade in the fridge, slowly thawing, and by the time it's ready to cook, it's perfectly marinated. Nothing else is worth mentioning.

So, my master plan of stocking my freezer with food to eat for when baby comes is a bust. I've had to come up with a new plan. There was a sale on Smart Ones at Superstore, an okay tasting TV dinner, so I bought about 2 dozen. I also got individual microwaveable soup and Chef Boyardee bowls. I've been finding great deals at Costco and stocking up the pantry with easy meals and snacks. A lot of it is organic, but let's be honest, it's still convenience food and it's not Primal.

It's not the best food, but it will do in a pinch. I know my limits and for my son's first month of being alive, I need to cut corners where I can so I can focus on the new baby and caring for myself. I don't know how much time I'll have. I don't know how much energy I'll have. But to have those convenience meals on hand that can be prepared in less than 5 minutes will definitely save my sanity if I feel myself start to spiral out of control. It's like a little safety net. One less thing for me to worry about.

As it stands now, I am still eating grains and gluten. I hope to be completely Primal again by the New Year. Tesla and Bob will need more time to be weaned, so it might be a slower transition for them and Christmas isn't going to do me any favours either. I just hope both sides of the family are more supportive this time around.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Around 5 weeks ago I started feeling slightly depressed. I had 2 panic attacks. I was feeling irritable, I was crying about dumb stuff, and was feeling overwhelmed by all that had to be done. But I was still able to (mostly) keep on top of all that needed to be done. I blamed the pregnancy for my mood swings at first, but soon I could tell it was more than just the pregnancy.

Last week I quit my canvassing job. It was becoming too physical and the canvassing season was about to end anyway. Coincidentally, I have had no daycare kids this week either as the family is on vacation and won't be back until the end of August. I thought that my stress would go down, since I'd have less to do, but my stress has actually skyrocketed. My manageable depression has become unmanageable.

I don't clean. I cook once every couple days. Getting dressed and self care is hit and miss. My appetite is lower. My patience is lower. I just want to sleep or have quiet time in front of a screen and live in a bubble where I cannot be bothered.

Taking care of Tesla is incredibly taxing. She wants to play outside, to be read to, to be played with, talked to... I can't. I would love to, but at the same time, I really don't want to at all. I don't want to deal with her. I'm not even taking care of myself properly, how am I supposed to take care of a toddler? Thankfully my mom takes her once a week, usually overnight, and it's something Tesla and I both look forward to.

My psychiatrist is currently on vacation, so I hope to see her as soon as she comes back. I told my gyno about how I was feeling and she wants this addressed as soon as possible given my history. I feel very unhappy and useless, especially since I haven't been working.

I've made it pretty well known that I hate being pregnant. But, I am looking forward to raising this baby and I am looking forward to giving birth. I'm getting along with all of my friends and family and have been keeping up with my correspondences. A bunch of special events are coming up soon that I'm looking forward to attending. For once, money isn't an issue. There's lots of stuff I'm happy and excited about. I don't know why I feel this way and it's frustrating to feel like shit and to not have a good reason, or any reason for that matter.

And I think the worst part is not knowing how to push through it or how to get motivated to at least try to give a damn. I don't care about accountability. My psychiatrist has always been very good at helping me take off my blinders and see things in a new way. Who knows when I'll get an appointment with her though. It could take months. I can't wait that long!

I know about all the stuff that I "should" do to help myself, this is not my first rodeo, but it's still really hard to follow through on my own. I still want and need someone to hold my hand and coach me through it. Unfortunately, the person I want to have help me the most has never been good at that sort of thing, pleads ignorance all the time, and often practices avoidance strategies in order to not have to deal with me. You probably think that sounded a tad bitter, and maybe I am a little bit, but it is what it is. I'm trying to accept it and get over it.

I can't hardly wait for this year to end. I'm sick of summer. I'm fed up with pregnancy. I just want to get on with the next phase of my life already.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How To Win Friends & Influence People In The Digital Age

Earlier this week I ordered this book online and I just finished reading it. It was such a great book, I just had to sing my praises!

How To Win Friends & Influence People In The Digital Age is adapted from one of the best selling self-help books of all time written by Dale Carnegie. Published in 1936, it has sold 15 million copies worldwide!

I opted to buy the updated version which covers the aspects of using social media to your advantage or detriment. I've never read the original, but according to many reviews I read online before purchasing, the core information from decades ago is timeless and this book just uses a modern perspective with some updated examples and references.

Bob asked me why I would want to read this book. I first learned of it while watching Big Brother 14. Wil Heuser and Janelle Pierzina were talking about it during Big Brother After Dark. I had actually forgotten about it until this week, (Big Brother 16 woot woot!) but I found it online while I was researching some other books on Amazon. After reading about it and many reviews, I thought maybe it might help me with my canvassing. That and I recently read an article that said the difference between poor people and rich people is that poor people read fiction for fun and rich people read non-fiction for self-improvement.

Initial thoughts: Everyone can benefit from reading this book. It is slightly geared toward someone who is working in a management position toward the end, but really anyone, employed or not, can benefit from the majority of this book. It's really insightful, and shows you how changes in the way you speak to others, how you react to others, and even changes in the way you think about others, will have a lasting impact over time, make you a more likeable person, and make you a more successful person. You'll be able to form connections faster and more easily.

There were so many great quotes in this book. Here's one of my favourite ones that really resonated with me:
"Many are accustomed to to holding a sword called the First Amendment in one hand and a shield called the Fifth in the other."
He's talking about how prevalent criticism and judgement have become online. With so many digital soapboxes, people feel like they can say whatever they want, when they want, especially when they think they are in the right, and then refuse to open their mouth when it is they who are wrong. Acting in this manner will most definitely stunt your success and it could even lead to your downfall.

What it really boils down to, if you want to have better relationships with others and become a more respected, trusted person, you need to be positive more often than not, take a genuine interest in others, be transparent, forgiving, patient, empathetic, and encouraging. That's the essence of this book. It sounds a little bit hokey and simplistic when I lay it out like that, however those are the main points I took away from the book. The examples and anecdotes included really flesh things out obviously and can help alter your current perspective on things.

And something that really drove home these points was as I was reading this book I could visualize certain people, famous or ordinary or in my life, who seem to naturally have some of these qualities and characteristics. They're popular, they're charismatic, they're leaders.
"The two highest levels of influence are achieved when 1) People follow you because of what you have done for them, and 2) People follow you because of who you are."
I believe that.

You should read this book and tell me what you think about it!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chocolate Chip Bacon Fat Cookies

Ever since I started cooking all the food to freeze, I've been sort of on a roll cooking different comfort foods. I bought rice flour pasta and made macaroni and cheese with jalapenos in my homemade cheese sauce. And then I made a homemade bolognese sauce for rice flour spaghetti. Finally I invented a cookie recipe. Chocolate chip bacon fat cookies! Sounds disgusting, but it's not!

During my freezer cooking thing, I saved all my bacon drippings. I had at least a solid cup of bacon fat leftover. I enjoy cooking with bacon fat for certain foods, eggs and hashbrowns, toasting nuts in it, adding it to vegetables ect, but I don't use much of it at a time and I don't use it nearly as often as other fats and oils because the flavour is strong by comparison.

I started doing some research on what I could do with all this fat and I came across a traditional cookie recipe that I thought I might be able to convert to grain free. I've done a lot of experimenting with grain free baking in the last year, which included a lot of failed recipes thrown in the trash, so I wasn't sure if my made up recipe was going to work, but it actually did!. If you want to check out the original recipe, visit Something Swanky. It's quite different from mine, but that's where the inspiration came from.

  • 1/2 cup cold bacon fat
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups paleo flour (4 parts coconut flour, 4 parts almond flour, 1 part tapioca flour and 1 part arrowroot flour)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
In a food processor, I mixed the first 5 ingredients together, then added the baking soda once the batter was smooth and kept it running till it mixed in. The batter did not smell sweet like cookie dough usually does, it smelled like warm bacon fat and I was worried it would taste too salty and briefly contemplated adding agave or something else to sweeten it, but I carried on. I dumped my batter into a bowl and added the paleo flour and then folded in the chocolate chips. I ended up mixing it by hand because it was easier.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper I shaped a tablespoon of dough into a ball and flattened it a bit. Once the tray was full, I put it in the freezer to chill while I worked on the next tray. I didn't want my cookies to freeze, but once it had chilled for 10-15 minutes and the fat was cold, I popped it in the oven for 9 minutes at 375 degrees F. This recipe yeilded 2 dozen small cookies. Don't try to make a dozen large cookies, they won't turn out. Trust, me I've learned the hard way with past recipes lol.

I was so nervous while they were baking, but when I opened the oven and pulled out these delicious smelling cookies I knew everything was right in the world. Straight from the oven, the chocolate was gooey and the cookie was smokey and soft. In fact, it was chewier than I expected. I thought it would be more crumbly and cake like since grain free baking has that effect, but it was just as a cookie should be. Must be all that fat!

I left them on the cooling racks over night and in the morning put them in a ziplock bag and put them in the fridge. After lunch I grabbed a cold cookie, wondering if they would taste different, but they were still fantastic! They were so smooth and velvety, like it melted in my mouth. I think I like them better cold than I did warm!

I'm so excited to go to Costco and buy more bulk bacon so I can fry it all up and make these cookies again! Oh, and eat more bacon of course.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Adventures in Freezer Cooking

For those who don't know, Bob and I have bought my mom's old house and are officially living in it as of yesterday, (though we started moving in a couple weeks ago.) We've already done some upgrades and made some major purchases.

It's going to be very tight for the rest of the year. I plan to stop working near the end of September. The baby will be born at the end of October and then there's Christmas. Plus, Bob's car needs major repairs, but it will cost more than the car is worth so we plan on buying a vehicle this month. We're going to be broke!

Which leads me to my point: Freezer cooking. In an effort to save time and money, I decided to give freezer cooking another try. It was something I did a couple times in the past, but wasn't entirely satisfied with the results. This time I did my research. I found a website called Once a Month Meals. It's fantastic!

There's hundred of recipes all for different lifestyles, including Paleo, Whole 30, and Gluten/Dairy Free. There's a menu builder, where you pick out 15 different recipes and a shopping list is generated for you, plus a prep list of things to do before your big cook day, full cooking instructions, labels you can print off for when it's time to freeze, and thawing instructions! You have to be a member and that costs $16 a month for the Pro Membership. It's totally worth the money guys!

The whole process is supposed to take 3-4 days. You go shopping one day and spend anywhere from $300-$600 worth of groceries. The groceries you have to buy will depend on the recipes you've chosen and what you have available in your house already. I definitely spent on the high end cooking all primal and paleo meals, plus my new kitchen was void of food due to the move. A lot of the shelf stable items will carry forward into the next month's mass cooking spree making my next big grocery shop cheaper than this one.

The second day, you prep the food. Chop up veggies, steam veggies, make rice and pasta, brown your meat and chop it ect.

The third day is when you put it all together. You're expected to spend 8-12 hours cooking depending on the recipes you've chosen and how many dishes you have to wash in between.

For me, this process has already taken 7 days and I'm still not done. I couldn't prep in a day. I didn't have enough room in my fridge for everything. I definitely bit off more than I could chew trying to cook 15 different double batches of meals. I completed about 8 recipes and then I said fuck it I can't cook any more!

Tesla's in my way all the time, my ankles would swell slightly from being on my feet for hours, my portable dishwasher takes up the entire kitchen so I can't do much while dishes are washing except try and rest. Bob refused to help me for longer than an hour. I still have my canvassing job to go to. It was too much! I froze what I prepped so it wouldn't spoil, but I still have more vegetables to prep including sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and carrots.

On the plus side, I learned a lot about freezer cooking and what to do next time. There will definitely be a next time! I want to get good at this so that in September and October I can fill my freezer with food and then when the baby's born, I won't have to cook for a couple months and can use that time I would have spent cooking on doing other things.

We've been spending a lot of money on eating out the last few weeks and it seems like there's never anything ready to eat at home. My goal with freezer cooking is to save money by going grocery shopping less often, buying in bulk, and wasting less fresh food. I even got a costco membership!

As it stands now, all we have to buy for the month of June is dairy, fresh fruit, and salad stuff.

I hope I can one day feed my family for less than $10 a day, because right now it's costing me double that. But this is just month one. As I stock up my pantry with more items and get better at freezing meals, I'll actually be able to fully utilize the deals I find in stores on fresh produce and meat. That's something I never did before, a lot got wasted, so I'm excited about it!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Effing Cat Food

Emilio's weight loss journey is the most obnoxious thing ever! After spending $50 on all this specially-formulated-for-weight-loss canned food, Emilio doesn't want to eat it. Introducing a new cat food can be tricky and time consuming. You have to do it just right, mixing the old stuff with the new, but Emilio's always preferred kibble to wet food.

After him refusing to eat even his old wet food for a week, I bought the specially-formulated-for-weight-loss kibble from the vet. He seems to enjoy it a lot more then the wet food, but he still pines for his old stuff.

Not knowing what to do with all this canned food, I decided to give it to Crush since he is just as fat as Emilio. He likes it more than Emilio does, but still prefers his original kibble. I tried giving him some of the diet kibble, but he doesn't want to eat it either.

The only one who does want to eat this diet wet food is Dale and he doesn't need it! He is still being served the old fatty-fat-cat kibble, but he doesn't want it. It's so frustrating. Nobody wants the food they're being served and each one thinks the other cats have a better deal. I can't win!

I have to segregate all the cats into different rooms to eat and shut the door for an hour hoping they'll eat what they've been given. If I don't, they try to eat each others food. In the past I've witnessed the fat cats bully Dale into giving up his food bowl to them. When they don't eat enough, they're whining an hour later to be fed, but it's so much work splitting them up and getting all their food sorted out, I usually just force them to wait until the next meal time so they'll be hungry enough to eat more. I can't leave food out to let them graze like they're used to since they're all on different diets and you can't leave wet food out for hours on end anyway.

None of the cats will eat leftover wet cat food either. They want it fresh out of the can and refuse to touch cold cat food or microwaved cat food. I am so sick of these prima donna cats! I know it's going to take a while to get them used to timed-feedings and it's better for their health overall, but it's still exhausting. If you hear of any vets offering gastric by-pass surgery for cats, let me know.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Emilio's Weight Loss Journey

My eldest cat, Emilio, is 6 years old and sadly, obese. He's gained 6 pounds in the last 2 years alone. That's an astronomical number for a cat. He's in terrible shape. He's on the fast track for developing diabetes or arthritis.

The average cat weighs 8-10 pounds. Dale, my fittest cat, weighs 11 pounds, so he's doing quite well. He has a healthy silhouette, is active, and no health problems. Crush on the other hand weighs 20 pounds, which would be considered obese, though he's never had any health problems to date. Those extra 10 pounds on him is a big deal though. Apparently it's like 140 extra pounds on a should-be 140 pound woman.

But Emilio comes in at 23 pounds. My daughter only weighs 3.5 pounds more than him. Emilio's weight is the equivalent of a 322 pound women who should weigh 140 pounds. You can imagine what that looks like on a person. He has a lot of weight to lose!

It's affecting his health. He can't jump over the baby-gate in the hallway because he's too big. We had to buy a wider litter box for him to do his business because he didn't have enough room. He's had trouble wit his intestines and bowels on multiple occasions. I bought the largest cat harness and leash at the pet store to take him outside for walks and he was too fat to fit in it. I'm going to have to get a small dog harness.

He's on some fancy diet food now. I purchased 24 cans for $50 and he gets a can a day. The vet had been pressuring me for a couple years now to put Emilio on his prescription diet food, but I always turned it down, trying cheaper alternatives. My way obviously isn't working and Emilio needs an intervention. I want him to live long enough for Tesla to be able to pronounce his name properly. (She currently call him Crush or Dill-ee-yole-yo.)

Crush should really be on this diet as well, but I can't afford to spend over $100 a month on cat food alone. Like, my family needs to eat too! Emilio's the fattest and the sickest, so we'll start with him and see how it goes over the next year. For Crush, I'm going to focus on the exercise and getting him outside to play while more closely monitoring his food intake and limiting when food is available to be eaten.

Hopefully this helps. Expect before and after pictures.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rice Cakes

I made some rice cakes this afternoon. I adapted the recipe from Robert Rose's "Rice Cakes With Tomato Puree." I made the original recipe once, and it was pretty good, but this time I took a few short cuts and made it less fancy.

1 cup stock
1 cup minute rice
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup grated marble cheese
2 tbls parmesean cheese
1 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, and dried parsley

Preheat oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Cook the rice in the stock according to package directions
Let the rice cool slightly
Add the rest of the ingredients, starting with the egg, and combine together until well mixed
Using a 1/4 measuring cup, form cakes and space evenly on prepared baking sheet.
Bake 10 minutes, flip, and bake another 10 minutes or until browned.

The original recipe from the book says it can be served with tomato soup and a salad for a complete meal. I didn't have any soup or salad. I just chowed down. It was a delicious snack! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. I wish I would have flattened them a bit more and tomato puree for dipping would have been nice. The recipe is supposed to make 10, but I only got 7 cakes out of it. I didn't really measure the cakes too terribly accurately though.

While searching for a link to the original recipe, since my recipe came from a physical book, I found Rose Reisman's Blog and there is a copy of the recipe there. She made a couple minor adjustments to the recipe, but it's essentially the same. The picture she used is even the same as my book.

If you're looking for an easy appetizer, or a light lunch, give this recipe a try.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

What a Surprise, Kinder Surprise!

Last night I had a craving for Kinder brand chocolate. I think they're called Kinder Chocolate Sticks. Bob couldn't find any at Target, so he bought me 6 Kinder Surprise eggs. They were so delicious, I gobbled down 4 eggs at once. I haven't touched the other 2 yet since it's just morning, but they'll be eaten today at some point.

Of course, I never bothered to look at the "surprise" inside. I just tossed it to the side. I'll put them in Tesla's closet and give them to her to put together in a couple of years, I thought. But out of curiosity, I decided to crack them open just to see what was inside. Three of them were some sort of car and one of them was a paper ball that you blow up. It was made to look like a monster.

At first I thought, what are the odds of getting 3 cars? That's weird. Back in the day I remember getting all sorts of different toys, especially little figurines of things, usually animals or people. That's when it hit me. When Kinder Surprise came out with Kinder eggs just for girls, they must have decided that the original Kinder Surprise should now be just for boys. It all makes sense.

I don't remember seeing any marketing promoting the original as just for boys. I just remember them promoting their stupid girly Kinder Surprises. I assumed the original would just be gender neutral as always and the girl one would be overtly girly and disgustingly pink. But now the original seems very limited and boyish to me.

After doing some reading about the issue, (people have sent petitions asking the company to revert back to offering gender neutral toys and original labeling,) I saw that Ferrero, the company that produces the eggs, said that they did a survey asking parents if "pink" and "blue" eggs were a good idea and 66% said yes. They're just giving the people what they want.

It bothers me so many people agree with gender stereotyping, but what can you do, right? Throw the toy out and eat the chocolate, I guess. I'd rather deal with this then the racist toys you could get in Kinder Surprise. (Hopefully those have all been phased out by now.)

For the record, the other two Kinder Surprises were a gorilla and a boat.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Buying a Home With a Group

I was reading a boring article this morning about how Canada's first-time home buyers are "exploring new paths." There was honestly nothing interesting about the article except that it mentioned buying a home as a group is becoming more popular. The advantage is with a higher combined income, you can qualify to buy "more home." The disadvantage is trying to sort things out when someone decides to move out.

Before, I never would have considered moving in with friends, never mind buying a house with  friends. In fact, I've never lived with a girlfriend. I've always lived with a boyfriend or by myself. But with the way the housing market is, it actually makes sense for 4 adults to pool their money and purchase a home together. Depending on everyone's income, you could probably get a $300K home. Each adult is paying $600 a month for mortgage and utilities or less if they've saved a big down payment. I think that's a good deal.

But you'd have to be really good friends. I mean really good friends. Some friendships dissolve under the pressure of living together. Some people are just better friends than they are roommates. Take me for example... I think I'm a wonderful friend but a terrible person to live with. I'm messy. I have 3 cats and they're messy. I have a child and she's messy. I'm going to have another child and that child will be messy. My boyfriend's messy. Who would want to live with us? Equally messy friends I guess.

We'll have to purchase a home the traditional way.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Or You Could Just Wear a Pin...

Of all the ways you can support a person struggling to beat cancer, it seems as though drastically changing your hair style is the only thing some kids can think of to do. That's kind of sad.

- Battle over teen's pink mohawk

- Nine year old girl suspended for shaving head bald

A 17 year old boy died his mohawk pink to show support for his mom who has cancer. This violates his school's dress code and he was told if he wanted to continue to be on the track team, he had to change his hair. He chose to leave the track team so he could keep his hair. He says he chose "family."

A 9 year old girl shaved her head bald to support her friend who's going through chemo right now. She was suspended from school for a day because it violated her school's dress code, but was allowed to come back after mounting pressure from the public.

When I see a teen with a pink mohawk, my first thought is, "That kid looks like a hooligan," and not, "Does that guy know someone with cancer?" Why a pink mohawk? How does that possibly represent support for cancer research/people who have cancer? There are so many other things you can do to show support in a much more recognizable way. Pin a ribbon to your shirt or bag. Wear a custom shirt. Donate money. Hold a fundraiser. Create some jewellery. Make some art or write a song and share it with others. Dying your mohawk pink is not the best way to show your support, especially if it gets you kicked off the track team! That's not choosing family, that's choosing stupidity!

As for the 9 year old who shaved her hair off - while that may have seemed like a brave and noble thing to do at the time, it was actually a really stupid thing to do. Her school's dress code made it clear that skin-heads aren't allowed. School's have dress codes and hair policies for a reason and you can't just start breaking whatever rules you want in order to "support" certain people or causes. Support your causes within the rules. The parents should have applauded their daughter's idea because it was a nice thought, but it was ultimately the wrong gesture.

This generation is so gung-ho about their "rights" that they don't ever consider the consequences of their actions. You can't just do whatever the hell you want in name of a "good cause." That's not how the real world works. Then the whiny public jumps in crying, "...but it's for cancer!!!" like somehow that's supposed to make a difference. You can support your causes and look professional at the same time! There is no need for crazy hair.

Schools have some pretty stupid rules nowadays, but the one thing I agree with is students having professional hair and dress. If you want to look like a clown, go join the circus.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

It's Like Losing A Leg

I had another vivid dream last night. It was about my Grandma and this dream felt very real. She was alive and she'd done some baking. Company was over. I was so surprised to see her, I kept staring at her and she looked right into my eyes and smiled. I thought if I touched her she'd disintegrate into black ash, but I threw my arms around her and hugged her so tight. The way she felt in my arms, the way she smelled, it was real, I didn't want to let go. We were both so happy!

I woke up in her Laz-e-boy I inherited in my living room at 5 in the morning. It was disorienting, but then I remembered how laying in the bed made me feel sick. I didn't feel sick any more so I crawled into bed and cried a bit thinking about Grandma.

Before bed, Bob and I were watching a crime series on Netflix. A lovely old woman was talking about what it felt like to have her child murdered. She said you never get over it and life never gets easier, you just learn to live without. It's like losing a leg; you learn to get on with your life and you become proficient without it. But even if you received a prosthetic leg, you would always want your real leg.

That's exactly how I feel about Grandma. I will always wish she were still alive, even when I have great-grandchildren of my own.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vivid Pregnancy Dreams

I love analyzing my dreams. I love when I wake up and I remember everything so clearly just before it fades away. Lately, I've been having very realistic dreams. All my senses are ignited and it honestly feels so real even when the situation makes no sense. (Like when I dreamed Backstreet Boys were going to be playing a private concert in Woodridge. So mad that wasn't real!)

They're different dreams every time. Last night I was on the back of a taller than average roller-coaster and my car disconnected and fell off the track. An ex-boyfriend was in the car that stayed on the track and the look of fear in his eyes was so real. I screamed, "I love you!" but he never responded. After I thought, maybe my last words should have been, "Tell my family I love them," but he was out of ear shot.

I was so high up in the air, the ground looked like a quilt and it was cool and windy. I was panicked, freaking out, I knew I was going to die, so I just let my body go limp. I completely relaxed it and the fall felt very nice. I had my eyes closed, enjoying the ride, not bracing for contact with the ground at all and then my eyes fluttered open in real life and I was in my bed. I felt so relaxed and comfortable when I woke up. It was incredible. I never wake up feeling good like that.

The falling, the ex-boyfriend, the events leading up to the roller-coaster (which included magically flying up to it)... it's got to mean something. I know flying dreams are supposed to have positive overtones and falling dreams are typically a negative dream to have, but there was no twitching or jerking or fear just before hitting the ground. Plus, I felt more apprehensive flying up to the roller-coaster than I did falling from it. This was a positive dream with a positive meaning, I think. Perhaps a reflection dream?

Apparently it's normal for pregnant ladies to have more vivid dreams. Here's a little quote from WebMD I found interesting:
"There is a greater amount of actual dreaming and dream recall when a woman is pregnant than at any other time during her life," says Patricia Garfield, PhD. "The dreams will relate to her condition of pregnancy, the trimester she is in, and what is going on in her body at the time."
I'm not sure how falling to my death because of a faulty roller-coaster relates to my first trimester. According to the same website, woman usually have fertility dreams during the first trimester; dreams about water, gardens, fruit, flowers, swimming. Sounds nice, but not like anything I've been dreaming about lately.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Minimalistic Frugal Sustainable

Minimalistic, frugal, and sustainable.

Those are the 3 words that I want to use to describe my lifestyle this year and for years to come. With my Grandma dying almost a week ago now, I've been thinking a lot about how she lived her life and how I can implement those ideas into my own life. I've already been hard at work these last couple days.

Minimalistic: Every human seems to love wide open spaces and usually tries to avoid being in cramped, tight spaces for too long. I spend the majority of my time in my apartment and I would absolutely love to have more space! I've decided to embark on a 30 day challenge which requires me to remove at least 1 thing from my home that I've been saving, every day, for 30 days. Trash it, recycle it, sell it, donate it... it doesn't matter what I do with it, so long as it is out of here. I'll let you know how it goes in a month.

Frugal: It's not the first word that comes to mind when I think of my spending habits, but hopefully I can get there soon. While I do try to buy things on sale or use coupons when available, the issue for me is not always the sale price, but how much stuff I'm trying to buy. I like to shop. I like to spend money. My grandma only bought what she truly needed, or what she could share with others. Going over board with groceries is me getting my shopping high under the guise of "it's for the family." But I'm really going to make a conscious effort to scale back, and use up what I have in the cupboard before going out and getting more. This ties in with being a minimalist.

Sustainable: This one I have trouble with as it can often clash with minimalism if you're not careful. In my opinion, a sustainable life is one of frugality, where you reduce what you bring in and throw out, reuse what you can, for as long as you can, and recycle everything else. Grandma saved and reused margarine and yogurt containers. She washed and reused aluminum foil. Old shirts became rags for cleaning. Sometimes people find that they start hoarding all this stuff with the intention of using it for something else later. I'm definitely the type of person to start a project and not finish it, so hopefully I can keep a good balance here.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject for now. Get rid of all the stuff I'm saving for no good reason, stop bringing in more stuff, and find a way to use up the stuff I already have.

Friday, January 31, 2014


I remember believing in a lot of different things when I was very young. I was spiritual and superstitious as many children are. Humans are constantly searching for meaning where none exists, attaching worth to unworthy events. As a person who adamantly denies the existence of god, I find it strange how I'm reverting back to foolish, childhood ways.

The thing with the oatmeal yesterday; it's a coincidence. Or is it? We hardly ever eat oatmeal.
While Grandma lays on her deathbed, the woman whose kids I look after is about to have her baby any day now. The circle of life.
A bunch of things with batteries in them have died or are starting to die in my house, including Tesla's mobile which is very creep to listen to now.
When I went to get Tesla out of bed this morning, she was talking in her demonic voice, saying "Die!" over and over again, like she randomly sometimes does. I asked her if GiGi was going to die and she didn't answer, or give me any hints. Then I felt like an idiot for thinking she might know something I didn't.

But that's what humans do. We keep vigilant watch, looking for signs where there are none.

Long goodbyes are not my thing. I feel like I've been saying goodbye to Grandma for half a year already. Nothing's been the same since she broke her leg in the summer and the lung cancer was discovered. She hasn't really been herself and she's been in a lot of pain. I just want her to be free from that. To ask her to stay any longer would be for selfish reasons.

I could see her struggling to stay awake last night. Her breathing wasn't always even. I've been finding it hard to breathe too. Daroll said, don't feel like you need to stay awake. You can go back to sleep if you want to. But she stayed awake, with a hint of a smile. I think she really wanted to see us and enjoy her family surrounding her. Maybe that will be the last time we're all together like that.

For selfish reasons, I hope we get one more time.

Thursday, January 30, 2014


My Grandma hasn't got much time left. I got the call today that she's got fluid in her lungs, her morphine has been upped and she won't make it through too many more days. I called Bob at work, asking him to come home so we could go visit Grandma, and he did.

Mom and Daroll were there. My sister and her boyfriend were there. My uncle was there too, but not my aunt or cousins. We just hung around the room, watching Grandma sleep and let Tesla be our ice breaker. At one point I left the room to go get some crayons for Tesla and she started crying so loud that Grandma actually woke up.

Daroll came to find me I ran down the hall back to the room. Grandma was smiling. She was so happy to see everyone, and a little surprised too. We all hugged and kissed her, told her we loved her and just enjoyed her company. Tesla was overtired, so we were the first to leave, but it was nice having an excuse. I could have stayed there all night. Grandma was awake to say goodbye.

I told her about how Tesla and I had oatmeal for supper, I was thinking of her, and it was shortly afterward that we got the call from Daroll. I said it was just funny how that worked out and Grandma just smiled and held my hand and said she knew why that would be funny to me. (Grandma misses having her oatmeal for breakfast every morning and she knows I've always associated oatmeal with her.)

Tesla made her smile the most, pointing at her and saying GiGi and just being her usual cute self.

I thought I would cry more, but I really didn't cry at all. I just used one tissue. I didn't even feel like crying. I was just glad I got to see Grandma awake and she knew who we all were and could hold up a conversation. If I were on my deathbed, I wouldn't want my family to stand around crying over me, so I guess that's why I put on a happy face and tried to smile as much as I could.

Everything I've ever wanted to say to her has been said. There's no guilt or remorse or grudges. The time we have left together is so pure and I am so fucking lucky! I have the best grandmother anyone could have asked for. There are nothing but happy memories of her etched into my brain. Memories like the oatmeal that I've shared with her so many times before.

When she goes, it will hurt to lose someone I love so much, but on the other hand, it won't hurt because I know she'll have died happy. She's lived a life so full of friendship, love, and adventure, I hope my golden years are even a fraction as exciting as hers have been.

I finally started sobbing once I was buckling Tesla up in her car seat. This strange depression washed over me. I felt ill. I felt like I needed a drink because I had the worst migraine, so we stopped at the liquor mart to buy some booze. Bob has to work extra hours tomorrow, but I plan to go visit Grandma again. I don't know if seeing her will be harder or easier the second time, but I've stocked up on liquor either way.

When Grandma's life ends, mine will go on and that makes me feel weird. Nobody close to me has ever died before. I want to make the world stop spinning, if only for a minute, so everyone can pause and admire my grandmother's wonderful life. A woman who is 89.25 years old deserves at least that.

If you are reading this and you have a grandparent still alive, you should go over for a visit.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Natural Hair Care Fail

Today was my first time washing my hair with store-bought shampoo and conditioner in a month!
It. Was. Glorious!

I've had an interest in natural health remedies ever since I found a book about it in the spare room of my parent's old house in Ste. Anne. It was a very informative book and after getting the internet in the late 90's, I continued to search for information and recipes.

After graduating from college, I sort of got out of it and stopped caring. But since becoming  interested in eating primal almost a year ago now, I've been very interested in using natural products to cure what ails me as well as for health and beauty.

I can't remember the last time I used soap or body wash in the shower. I wash my hands with soap but that's about it. I use an oil and sugar scrub which doesn't dry out my skin or make it itch like all the different commercial products I've tried. I clean my face with oil and honey. All the facial cleansers I've tried irritate my skin and dry it out. Every hand and body lotion I've ever used has dried out my skin. The easiest solution was to just stop using these commercial products.

After having great success for many, many months not using soaps and lotions, I thought, surely there's got to be a natural solution to maintaining my hair? My hair has always been fine, dry,and limp. When I was a little kid it wasn't, but as I got older, starting showering every day and using hair products, I definitely noticed my hair change. It never felt touchable, it was getting harder to style and it never looked healthy.

The commercial solution is add more product to your hair. More hair serum, more anti-frizz creme, more volumizing hair spray. When you wake up your hair is absolutely disgusting. It's a mess. You have to wash all that junk out, dry it, flat-iron it, add in more products and go about your day. How exhausting. I couldn't be bothered to do all that after high school, so I used less and less hair products and only washed my hair every other day.

This worked out okay for me for many years. Since becoming a stay at home mom though, I can honestly go a week without showering. It's too cold to leave the house and nobody ever comes over here except more kids who don't give a damn what I look like . It probably sounds disgusting, but it's not that bad. I brush my hair and teeth every day! I'm not a total slob.

Commercial shampoo cleans the hair too much. It strips everything away. So then you use a commercial conditioner which uses chemicals that bond to your hair in an effort to replace some of what the shampoo stripped away. Then the scalp goes nuts producing extra oil to try to protect the hair, but it's for nothing because you just wash your hair again the next day.

So, after much reading, I decided I would attempt to only use natural hair cleansers, like vinegar. I kept reading about the "transition phase" and how it can take several weeks for your hair to adapt to any natural and homemade hair cleansers. And if your hair never adapts, try another recipe because "hair care is personal" and not all cleansers will be right for all hair.

I was getting sick of all that and read on someone's blog they just use water to wash their hair and then they have a special brushing routine to distribute the oils down to the ends of the hair. So, I started doing that for a bit. At first I noticed my roots were lifted and my hair had more volume. When I styled it, it actually stayed in place. But then my hair kept feeling thicker and heavier and oilier and after a month I couldn't take it anymore!

Fuck the transition phase! Store-bought shampoo and conditioner make my hair feel awesome. It feels lighter, cleaner, it smells like flowers, and it's very soft. I'm not going to use it every day, but perhaps only washing it once a week combined with the new brushing technique I learned will be a better compromise.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Back On The Primal Bandwagon

Sunday I committed myself to eating primal again. I like eating that way and I like the way it makes me feel. After going on a month long hiatus and having nothing but problems, I felt like I needed to go back to what works. Three days in, I'm so happy I started eating this way again!

I'm using again to help me stay on track for the first little bit. I have to reteach myself how to eat again haha. (But it's not taking me long to relearn! Just like riding a bicycle!)

50% of my calories come from fat (89 grams a day)
25% of my calories come from protein (100 grams a day)
25% of my calories come from carbs (100 grams a day)

Because I'm not eating grains, I only need about 15 g of fiber a day and even though my carbs are very low, I'm still getting more than enough vitamin A & C. I'm not taking any supplements either. (Though I might start taking my prenatal vitamin again.)

I'm aiming to eat 1600 calories a day, but I keep coming in slightly under calories. Part of it is I'm not eating back all my calories I burn working out and the other part is I'm just not hungry. Fat really does make you feel full! My calorie deficit has been averaging 700 calories too! I think that's a pretty decent number for steady, sustainable weight loss, especially since my meals are very satisfying.

So, everything seems to be going good so far, but I'm adding in one more element that I've always wanted to try, and that is intermittent fasting. In my research I've discovered that your body starts to burn fat as fuel only 12 hours or so after eating. If you shorten your window of eating to less than 12 hours and do a morning work out, you can burn off more fat. (And this effect should be compounded by the fact that I'm only eating 400 calories worth of carbohydrates daily.)

I start "feasting" at 9am and I try to eat all of my calories by 8pm. From 8pm to 9am I am fasting. It's only a 13 hour fast, and I do a 20-30 minutes workout before I eat breakfast at 9am. I'm hoping to work my way up to a 16 hour fast in the next few months.

My scale tracks weight and body fat, so I really hope I see some positive results in the next few weeks. I hope to reach my ideal weight before the end of the year. Once I do reach my ideal weight, I'll probably ease up on the fasting, allowing me to snack socially, and I'll also increase my carb intake slightly, allowing me eat more things like fruit and chocolate.

We'll see how it goes!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


I have been trying very hard to find a paleo bread recipe to make a damn sandwich and I keep failing. I have thrown out half a dozen recipes already, straight from the oven directly to the garbage. They all taste so salty! And the coconut flour sometimes has an odd flavour. The almond flour often burns. Sometimes the dough isn't binding. Ugh, such a hassle! I just want a recipe to come out right for a change!

I have one recipe that always works for me, but it's a banana bread recipe, so it's on the sweeter, softer side and not conducive to sandwich making. I've always sucked at making normal bread and now I suck at making paleo bread too. The difference is that the ingredients are now more expensive and it's that much more infuriating when they get wasted. At least back in the day I was able to make biscuits or a simple quick bread with wheat flour.

I've even tried to adapt a normal recipe into a paleo recipe, but both times that was a disaster too. Very discouraging. I'm so close to going out and buying some gluten-free bread just to get over this odd obsession with making a sandwich. I don't even like sandwiches. I've never liked them. I don't know what's with me. I mean, certain sandwiches are okay, but I've never craved one before like I have been recently. It's so weird. It won't go away! It must be satisfied!!

There are SO many paleo "bread" recipes. Sifting through them is horrible. I've looked through at least 100 recipes. It's overwhelming. There are too many recipes in my bookmark menu and in multiple windows on multiple tabs. I'm trying to compare recipes and comments and I don't have all the ingredients I need or I lose the damn recipe by closing the tab by accident then I don't know where to find it because I've looked at too many recipes already. It's just a blur.

Maybe I'll go to Chapters and pick up a paleo recipe book or two. You know, recipes written by real chefs and bakers who actually know about paleo baking, and not some know-it-all internet person who only exists on the internet and keeps a food blog. You know, the kind of food blog where you just want to get to the damn recipe but you have to scroll through all this anecdotal crap and a slew of artistic pictures of them carefully and artfully mixing each ingredient and then of course several final products shots that all look the same. (I don't care about your journey! Get to the damn recipe)

And the 200 comments below all say the exact same thing: "Sounds yummy! Can't wait to try it!" No constructive feedback whatsoever. No opinions from people who actually made the bread and ate it.

Yes, I'm bitter and this is gone on too long, but I needed to rant.