Thursday, August 30, 2012

happiness is...

A great haircut and the perfectly made Earl Grey Tea latte made with soy milk.  Stylist was sufficiently apologetic, so I deigned to reschedule.  GREAT haircut!  It will look demented when I wake up tomorrow, but it's now manageable and won't look like Carrot-top or Sideshow Bob.  Followed up by a trip to Starbucks, where the perfect soy latte was purchased and consumed whilst listening to Green Day on the way home.

One more day of getting for school and then the long weekend.  Life is good.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


The countdown is on.  One week before the kiddos are back in school.  Of course, I've already been back for a week, and what a week that was!  BUSY!  And that's without kids!  The next week is all booked up already too, it's amazing how much stuff goes on behind the scenes in a big school, that no one ever sees.  Even I didn't know just how much.  I do know that without students I was so busy that on a couple days I didn't have time for lunch.  I ate on the run. 

So, eating on the run, while not good for your body, is the way it's going to be.  I literally do not sit down in my office for more than a few minutes at a time, and that's only for making phone calls or interviewing teachers for open jobs.  I need to pack healthy, easy to eat lunches.  Stuff that I can graze on all day.  That kind of leaves leftovers from dinner out.  I have to be intentional about what I pack (and pack it the night before, not as I'm running out the door).  It will be good for me.  But since I also know myself, I am going to stash some little cans of tuna, lentil soup (canned), protein bars and portioned protein/greens powder in my desk drawer.  If I'm caught without enough (or forget my lunch), I'll at least be able to get through the day.  Maybe some applesauce too, and take some fruit/veggies to leave in the fridge for the week too. We'll see.  I know that I eat healthy as long as there are options ready for me.  When there's not....well, it's just too easy to slide into unhealthy choices.

I also need to make my life easier by organizing my closet and getting clothes for the following day out in the evening.  Madly trying to find something to wear in the morning does not get the day off to a smooth start....we all know that.  And given the distance I will be travelling each morning, and the fast pace of the job, I need smooth beginnings to the day.  There's enough that can go wrong once I'm there, I need to be in a calm, rational frame of mind.

I had some nice comments (on the blog and by email) following my last post.  It was just one of those days, and the simple act of writing about it made me feel better.  I was able to see the humour later.  Seriously, who cries over hair and tea?!  Although, given the state of my hair, maybe it wasn't an unreasonable response.... :)  Thank you to everyone who cared enough to comment.  Knowing that others are empathizing and get what you're complaining about makes it all feel better.  As crazy as that is!

Autoimmune Girl commented about the changing seasons causing stress.  Back to school time always causes those in education stress, but she has a very good point.  Changing seasons, changing weather, all of these changes cause stress--when you think of it, what triggers migraines and physical feelings of unwellness?  For me it's changing seasons and weather.  Go figure that I would be having a tough day!  I am still feeling a little out of sorts, but really only when I have time to sit and think about it.  One good reason to be back to work--less time to think obsess about everything.

Weather here in southern Ontario has been beautiful the past week, really hot yesterday and again today.  So I am doing the only thing that a sane person can--I'm heading to the beach.  It might be one of my last beach days.  I always try to get to the beach the last week of August, and I'm not going to mess with tradition.

Enjoy the last countdown week, we'll be waiting for your kids :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

One of those days...

It's been one of those days.  I feel like Alexander in the book, "Alexander's Very Bad, Horrible Day".  Since the moment I opened my eyes this morning.  Things that have contributed:
1.  Stress about the upcoming school year.  I'm in top stressed form.
2.  Stress about my practicum project and Ministry of Education grant funded project--which are intertwined and getting too big and OMG!  (although did get about $10 000 more funding to expand the project to new school).
3.  Stress over my teenagers.  Need I say more?
4.  Today is my last paycheque for a month because my role has changed and the pay schedule is different.  All will be well, but it means watching what I spend.  And I'm not overly good at that.  (good at all actually)
5.  Had an appointment to FINALLY get my hair cut.  Sat at the salon for half and hour waiting for my stylist (who is very fickle, but I have followed her from salon to salon for YEARS).  I love how she understands my very baby fine yet wacko curly hair.  I am terrified to try to find someone else.  TERRIFIED!  I have hair issues.  Anyway, after driving the half hour into town, waiting half an hour, I get a text from her that she's had something come up and can't do my hair.  Which is absolutely wild.  And I go back to work Monday and need to look like a professional, not like a madwoman who combs her hair with a weedwhacker.
6.  Huffily proceeded to Starbucks to drown my sorrows in a venti Earl Grey latte made with soy, only to be informed they didn't have any soy (AGAIN!), but could make it with milk.  Hello?  People who order soy want frigging soy, not dairy.  I have an allergy! 
7.  Utterly incensed, make my way back to van, and cry in parking lot over hair and tea.  Puhleeeze!
8.  Drive half hour back home with disastrous hair, no tea latte and a bad attitude.  Drink lime Perrier as a substitute and consider killing the bottle of Sauv Blanc in the fridge, only realize will result in wine hangover and another horrid day tomorrow.  And will still have to face hair tomorrow anyway.
9.  Wish I was at Summerfolk, Blue Rodeo or Havelock for the weekend instead of obsessing over tea, hair and work.  Not necessarily in that order.
10.  Am resigned to crappy day, looking forward to a fresh start tomorrow.  And desperately trying to find the humour in my day today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

random ramblings....

I've been enjoying the peace of the first morning I didn't have to be somewhere this week.  Nice!  Drinking coffee, chat on fb with Julie, reading blogs.  Found another design blog that I love, quirky stuff, just how I like it.  Also clicked on another blog only to have flipping music start playing.  I need to remember to turn the sound on the laptop off while surfing blogland, I know lots of people love it, but I am not a fan of music playing on blogs.  It's usually some happy music that kind of makes me gag.  Not very nice, but there it is. 

I've been reading a few blogs in which the writer has concerns about offending someone.  And deciding to not worry so much about it.  As  you can see above, that doesn't concern me so much.  I don't wish to offend, but really, if you don't like the way I write, then don't read my blog.  I'm not making anyone read it, right?  And I don't think I'm very controversial anyway.  I'm just me in all my outspoken glory :)

In other news, it's been a very busy week.  Not the way I wanted to spend my last week of relative freedom before heading back to school.  But it is what it is.  I'm just glad to get to take it easy this morning and only go to an appointment later this afternoon.  Which brings me to Dr. Adam and his office of pain (kidding!  It feels great after).  I've been working on healing my back, which is supposed to be the cause of all my hip problems.  Guess what?!  It's not all my back (I knew it!).  I actually have something wrong with my psoas too.  It was all I could do not to say I told you so to him when I was there last week.  But since he was working very hard to make it feel better, I restrained myself.  He broke a sweat.  I'm going again today, and he's going to work on it again.  My personal favourite?  The part where he puts a strap around his torso and around my leg (he looked like he might die of embarrassment when he asked me to adjust it so that it was as close to my hip joint as possible, after almost touching my crotch trying to adjust it.....maybe it was my smirk? lol), and then pulls my thigh bone slightly out of joint to relieve the pressure.  That's when he broke a sweat.  He had to work very hard.  And although I was skeptical at first, it did relieve the pressure and felt fantastic.  I had my doubts.  But although it's disheartening in that it's been almost a year that's it's really been giving me trouble, it's heartening in that if it's not L1 and L2, then I will be able to go to yoga!!!  And do forward folds!  Not just the half-assed practice I've been trying to do (admittedly, very sporadically).  I will still need to be careful (no plough pose!), but I gives me hope.  The best my stupid hip has ever felt is when I was going to vinyasa 2x a week for a year.  I'm going to try to build up to 2 vinyasa practices a week, with some restorative and gentle hatha in between for good measure.  Happiness!

On the chelation/thyroid front, things seem to be improving.  But I've started having hot flashes.  Big time.  Which tells me my hormones are adjusting to something, maybe my estrogen dominance is finally fading?  I don't know for sure, but I do know that I feel like ripping off all of my clothes and running naked through a sprinkler or jumping into Georgian Bay once or twice a day.  Definitely something to consult with my ND about.  It could be that my thyroid is swinging to overactive--something that happens with Hashimoto's.  The logical part of me knows that's not healthy either, but it would be nice to drop the weight that having an underactive thyroid has caused to creep on.  The human hormonal body is a precarious thing!

The other big news in my life is that the course I was going to take in France next summer is being offered in London instead.  And I have no desire to go to England.  In the least.  Very disappointing, so much so I couldn't even write about it.  It would seem that every time I'm planning a summer (or part thereof) in France it falls through.  All through no fault of my own.  It's just not meant to be.  So I'm now considering taking said course during the school year and spending the trip money on a trip with my family.  Like to Nova Scotia or my personal favourite, PEI.  Or maybe I should just spend it on a saltwater pool in my backyard.  Or a trailer.  We'll see.  But I won't be in Europe :(  However I work it, it will require some juggling of my work life to take the course.  Which is required for work.  Quite a coincidence, wouldn't you say?  I have to request the time from the director of education, in order to miss work.  Which I was totally willing to do to go to France, but not so much to do it here in Ontario.  What a dilemma!

Time for me to get my butt in gear and actually do something other than write or play on the computer.  I have a few house projects planned (not necessarily for today), and I really need to clean my closet.  I have to be able to find my nice work clothes for next week.  Have I mentioned I'm not ready for summer to be over?  Or to dress like a professional grown-up and not a professional beach/yoga bum?  I'm trying to figure out a way to wear yoga pants to work everyday and still look like a vice-principal.  I haven't worked it out yet, but if there's a way, I will find it.  I'll keep you posted :)  In the meantime, I guess professional clothes it is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I've been pondering all of these wonderful homesteading blogs that I enjoy reading.  And chuckling to myself, because this new homesteading craze--it's how I grew up.  We all did.  All of us country kids anyway.  Our momma's had huge gardens (which we were pressed into weeding and picking), we helped make preserves and pickles and jams, we bought sides of beef and chickens from the neighbours to fill the freezer for winter.  My mom made bread for us, muffins and cookies--I don't think I had store bought bread until my early teen years, not at home anyway.  We had fish that we caught with our dad, and venison from my grandpa.  We didn't have hens, 'cause they smell according to my dad, but we got farm fresh eggs from the neighbour.  My parents huge garden had a compost heap (long before plastic composters were to be had), the garden was fertilized with manure from the family farm.

Don't get me wrong, I love that homesteading has become a new way of being/living for so many newly rural folk.  But I do chuckle at the notion that this self-sustaining way of living is new.  I was at a friend's house yesterday morning, a friend who grew up in the city.  He planted his very first garden this year.  Let's just say that this single man planted a garden that would provide for a family of 15.  He has enough tomatoes and beans to feed himself for about 5 years, if he gets it all into the freezer or canned.  I offered to teach him how to do canning and preserving.  He looked at me like I had just sprouted another head.  I offered him some gardening advice.  Again with the second head look.  I finally asked him what the heck was the matter.  His reply--"how do you know this stuff?"  I guess I have A LOT of knowledge tucked away in the back of my head, stuff that I haven't used in years.

I haven't had a garden for years.  Between kids sports, spring being the busiest time of year for a teacher, and just not enough steam to get things rolling in the spring, I just haven't done it.  I also moved a few years ago to a new house without the benefit of pre-made gardens.  A blessing and a curse.  Every year I have the best of intentions, but just never get there somehow.  But looking at the bounty of my friend's garden made me pine for it like crazy.  I think I might put the teenagers to work helping me get gardens dug and amended this fall, so that in the spring I can easily plant.  I have a vision!  And my hubs is likely cringing if he reads this, he knows what that means :)

My good friend shares the bounty of his garden and gave me a lovely basket filled with 5 types of tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and onions straight from the garden.  A beautiful basket lined with a cloth, all piled up.  I ate a bunch of tomatoes and a cucumber with supper last night.  Nothing compares to produce picked that same day for flavour!  And he's offered more--I will gladly take him up on that offer, and he will be receiving some pickles and chili sauce made with his produce in return.

Speaking of chili sauce, I made a batch last night, with Ontario tomatoes purchased from the market.  Not as good as my friend's tomatoes, but they made a mean batch of chili sauce.  I need to make another 2 or 3 batches, 4 jars of this delicious sauce does not go far in a family of this size.  I think I'll make a batch of salsa with some of the tomatoes he gave me, and the ones I had leftover from the chili sauce.  He gave me some gold tomatoes, along with some kind of burgundy coloured ones (I don't know the name) and I think they will make a beautiful salsa--to look at and to eat!  I found a fresh salsa on pinterest (no 100 year old salsa recipes from my Scottish/Irish grandmother's!), that looks amazing.  I'll let you know.  And that reminds me to say what an awesome feeling it is to make something from a recipe that you know is at least as old as your great-grandmother would have been, 'cause it came from her recipe book.  You know, the handwritten, notes on the sides kind.  One of my most treasured possessions is a handwritten recipe from my grandmother--written in her beautiful handwriting, with her little notes to me on the side.  The best recipes ever!

I may even raise the hen issue with my hubs again....we go through a lot of eggs around here, it would be wonderful to have them right from our own hens.....that may be a bit of a hard sell.

My friend the Cargillwitch (hi ML!) posted an article on facebook yesterday (a link from the Toronto Star) about young, educated women taking up farming.  Great article, but some of the comments were even better.  The state of agriculture in North America is appalling.  The article was timely for me, given the thoughts I was already having about homesteading and gardening and such.  And I saw a Harrowsmith mag at my friend's house (I miss Harrowsmith, a "homesteading" kind of mag from waaaaay back that has gone out of publication).  Makes me ponder.

Today, no gardening, preserving or such.  Going to IKEA with my mom.  And likely some shopping too.  Talk about a change in pace!

Enjoy this overcast possibly rainy day :)

Friday, August 10, 2012


I took some great pictures of Flowerpot Island and Tobermory when hubs and I were there for a 2 night getaway...sans enfants!  But of course, my computer won't read my memory card.  So no pictures for my blog.  :(

Anyway....we went to Tobermory for 2 nights, and had a fabulous time!  We wandered "the Tub" and ate at a few little restaurants, and we took a boat over to Flowerpot Island.  It's an island about 6 km off the mainland, that has naturally occurring "flowerpots" carved out of the limestone by the waves of Georgian Bay.  We hiked the island, visited the lighthouse, the marl bed and sat on the rocky shore watching the water and the waves.  Georgian Bay is good for the soul.  So is Lake Huron.  Heck, any of the Great Lakes!

It was a much needed getaway, the kind that every long marriage needs from time to time.  The kind that we are not good at taking.  Of course, I worried about the kids and whether my house would be standing when we got home (it was) and what kind of drama would unfold in our absence.  I managed to set it aside for the most part.  Little art galleries, touristy shops, outfitters, diving shops and lots of walking around, and down the boardwalk. 

I am never happier than when out on the water, or sitting on the shore contemplating the waves.  I would love to live on the water.  Someday, someday.  It was delightful to spend time alone with my hubs, talking about our plans for the future, the kids, careers...all of the things that couples discuss. 

And we did return home to teenage drama (of course!), but it was soon resolved--as much as teenaged drama can be.  The pets were all alive and in one piece and very glad to see Mom.  It's just not the same when Mom is away!  The house was unscathed (thank you Jess!), and the dishes were even done.

Next getaway planned--fall yurt camping!  For my hubs 44th birthday.  Looking forward to spending more time in nature, this time on Lake Huron, at a provincial park.  And I will get pictures again, and hopefully the computer will read the card :)  I may try my daughter's laptop and see if I have anymore luck with it.  If I can get pics on any computer I will upload them--the beauty of Ontario nature must be shared!

Oh--and on the way home, we stopped by a potter's studio.  We bought a cream and sugar from the same potter not long after we were engaged 21 years ago, which over the years and through 3 kids gradually were broken beyond repair.  This time we bought a set of 3 small dishes, it was so nice to be able to buy something from him again.  His daughter is also a potter, and if she's in studio the next time we head up the peninsula we're going to check her work out too.  If you're ever in Wiarton, go see Don Dubois at his studio--it's a beautiful converted barn, and his work is gorgeous.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

on dogs and thunderstorms

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my dog.  Chase the Wonderdog is an 8 year old lab/border collie mix, smart as a whip and the best dog ever.  Hands down.  Fantastic friend, walking partner, great with kids, all  around sweetheart.  In the past six months or so, Chasey has developed a fear phobia of thunderstorms.  Last night in my part of Ontario we had a thunderstorm.  Hours of delightful cuddling with my favourite dog.  If by delightful one imagines panting, drooling, pacing, up on the bed, down on the floor, roaring at the cheeky cat, back up on the bed, on top of me, licking my hands, back on the floor, down the hall to check on the kids (which incidentally gets my daughter's boyfriend's dog who was visiting going), roaring at the cat again and chasing him down the stairs, thundering back up the stairs, back onto the bed and repeat.  Incessantly.  In between the cheeky cat (who worships the dog) gets up one the to "comfort" her, purring at the top of his lungs, rubbing up against her, licking her face, walking the full length of my body several times (it's very important to never walk directly on the mattress).

Either the dog gets valium or I do.  This particular morning I don't care which.  I've given her Bach's Rescue Remedy in the past, but having it sprayed in her mouth freaks her out as much as the storm.  So sedatives it is.  Wonder if the dr. would prescribe them for me so my extended health insurance would pay?  After all, it's ultimately for the benefit of my health...KIDDING!!! 

I am exhausted this morning.  I feel like I used to when I had toddlers that were up off and on half the bloody night.  Like crap.  Chase is curled up napping on the couch, next to me in her regular spot.  How cruel would it be to repeatedly wake her up every time she drifts off to sleep today?  Ok, I won't do that, it looks like we could get more storms, which will take care of her sleeping.

Chasey-dog, you are a lucky, spoiled doggy.  I love you.  And I am going to drug you so we can sleep.

Friday, August 3, 2012


I have a love/hate relationship with August.  August makes me melancholy.  It makes me think about all of the things I haven't accomplished in July--I always have huge plans, and don't achieve many of them.  It makes me realize that it's almost school time again.  While I love my job, the insane pace that life takes on once school starts, not so much.  I love August weather, hate that it signals the waning summer.  Days are getting conspiculously shorter.  Makes me a bit panicky, I have to say.  I love the bounty of the farmer's market, hate that it also means Thanksgiving will be here before we know it.

Maybe part of my problem with this August is that I was taking a very intensive course for the first 2 weeks of July.  My personal life has had more than its share of bumps along the way recently.  Happily we are getting through them, things are better than ever, but it hasn't been especially easy.  And hasn't made this summer especially wonderful--and now August in all her freaking glory is here already.  *sigh*  See, melancholy.

But--good things are on the horizon.  Hubs and I are going away for a couple of days, just the 2 of us!  I'm excited.  Although I really miss having little guys, this is one benefit.  Big kids (ok, the girl is an adult...) can fend for themselves, keep the menagerie alive in my absence and my house will be standing at the end of it all.  Blackberries are a wonderful thing--I can check in with them whenever I need to be sure all is well.  We've decided to go to Tobermory, one of our favourite places on earth.  Have I mentioned I can't wait?!

We've also booked a yurt for the hubs birthday weekend in September.  I love camping, but neither one of us can sleep on the ground in a tent anymore (middle aged backs are not fans of that!).  So we've planned another weekend sans enfants, camping in a yurt.  A yurt is kind of like a cabin, only circular shaped.  It comes with beds and all the stuff you need for camping.  Another bonus.  Fall camping is the absolute best kind of camping.  Again--can't wait!  And the girl has agreed to come home from university to help make sure her brothers survive (and don't have a high school party and trash my house).

I've just realized that in addition to my angst about my new job (exciting and terrifying!), my girl will soon be heading back to university.  Which she loves.  So much that she doesn't come home very often and I really miss her when she's gone.  She's living in a house this year, and has to cook for herself.  Maybe I'll see her more often so she can come home to be fed up :) 

Another reason for feeling some melancholy this year--my geriatric kitty has started peeing in inappropriate places.  Like my bed.  With me in it.  I think she's maybe lost her marbles.  And it pangs me to think that we are maybe going to have to make a very difficult decision.  But I need to be a realist.  I can't afford to replace all the things that get ruined when covered in cat urine.  Like my purple haze purse (periwinkle nubuck leather Roots....).  My mattress.  The carpet.  She's been to the vet, there's nothing physically wrong.  There are enough litter boxes placed strategically around the house for 10 cats.  I repeat--I think she's lost her marbles.

August is not a good month around here for grief.  It seems to be the emotion of the month.  In response, I am determined to not wallow in self-pity (I know, doesn't sound like it, does it?).  But I will make the best of a difficult month.  I will be excited about school.  I will be excited about cooler days ahead.  I will enjoy these last few weeks of beach weather.  I promise.

The worst thing about August--I just get into the swing of summer living and it's time to get thinking about fall. 

What do you do to get ready for fall?