May 2, 2015

One foot in front of another

This morning I ran my first timed race of the year. It was the Benny Bulldog 5k that supports a racing group called Girls Gone Gazelle. The race took place at a park in my hometown, and while the trails were mostly in good shape, they had to re-route to avoid some snow on the trail. Snow. It's May 2nd. Snow on the trail at this point in the spring makes me want to weep.

But back to today's run. It was not my best. It was not my worst, but it was dang close. My feet hurt and my calves hurt. Basically my body reminded me that I need to dedicate more time to training! BUT, I earned my medal and it now hangs with all my others.

At the end of it all, I had fun... and isn't that really what matters?

April 26, 2015

Making the Cut: Donating my Hair

About a year ago, I decided that my long/healthy/uncoloured hair would be destined for donation to make a wig for someone who needed it this spring. So I let it grow. I conditioned it. I combed it gently.

A few weeks ago, I booked my appointment for the big cut.

Then last week, a cancer diagnosis that hit far too close to home solidified my resolve. I was donating my hair so that someone's mother/sister/daughter/friend could have the chance to feel beautiful.

And yesterday, the big cut happened! I'm loving my new short locks!

If you think you might be interested in donating your hair, please check out the Pantene Beautiful Lengths donation requirements, and get growing!

Before... such long hair! It measured to be about 3 inches above my waist. I'm sure I will miss it, but I am so pleased with cutting it and giving it for donation!

The hair all sectioned into ponytails, all set to cut! Once the hairdresser had it sectioned, she made sure I was ready for the big change :) Then they were gone!

My new short haircut! I keep reaching back to move my hair out of the way (because it seemed it was always in the way for some reason) but there's nothing there! Phantom hair!

I've been asked if I'm planning on putting colour in it now, and I think I will, but one new thing at a time. For years I had my hair coloured blonde, and I really liked it blonde (my mom particularly liked it blonde) so I may go that route again with highlights. For now though, I'll just adjust to my lack of ponytails and braids!

Hair cut happened at Life Salon Spa in Dartmouth Crossing by the talented Kelly Scallion.

Donation made to Pantene Beautiful Lengths in Canada

And please, please PLEASE check yourself for any changes in your breast health, and if you do happen to discover something unusual, go see your doctor. And do NOT avoid getting a mammogram because you've heard they are horrific. Yes, it's uncomfortable but it's over with quickly and isn't your health and your life worth it?

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has lots of info on how you can support your community.

April 19, 2015

I am a Runner because I Run

Super cute necklace from Etsy
A little over a year ago, an awesome friend convinced me to try running with her, despite my misgivings and repeated whining of "I don't run". And I enjoyed myself. It was challenging and sweaty, but I felt accomplished.

So I kept running. I signed up for my first race with my friend. The night before we ran, she texted me and said she was fighting a nasty cold and since she was flying to Europe for vacation the day after the scheduled run, she was going to put her health in first place and bow out of the run. So there I was by myself with no encouraging voice beside me, a little bit terrified but also encouraged. Some people just looked "fast". But there were ordinary looking folk too. People stretching, laughing, and checking watches.

I figured once the signal went to start, I'd leap around the race route like a fawn in the woods and follow the pack till it was all over with. My mantra was "someone's gotta come in last". But it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. I didn't come in last, and my finish time was respectable for a newbie. I've since done a few other timed races, always hoping to beat my own personal best time. Uplifted when I do, bummed when I don't. Some runs feel easy, while others are a struggle from start to finish.

I read this great piece tonight, and it seemed like something I needed to share to remind myself that I so long as I do my best given my capabilities and how I've trained, I should feel accomplished. I'm not fast. I'm not elite. But I put my feet to the pavement and go. I am a runner because I run.

March 15, 2015

Make-ahead Breakfast Bowls

I stopped eating cold cereal on a regular basis about a year and a half ago. I have discovered that taking the time in a work morning to make a more robust, warm breakfast made it easier to feel fuller and satisfied. And really, a proper meal is almost always a good thing.

But there are some many mornings where I end up wrapping up my typical breakfast sandwich (egg, sliced cheddar and spinach on flat-bread type bun) and taking it with me for the trip in to work - eating in the passenger seat, not driving! But was there a way to make the mornings just that much easier? Sure, why not?

Make ahead breakfast bowls are an easy way to eat a healthy warm breakfast while on a tight morning timeline!

Each bowl contains about 1 cup of seasoned and pan-fried frozen hash browns, one scrambled egg, some broccoli florets, finely shredded cheddar cheese and one slice of (sadly overcooked) bacon. A couple teaspoons of chia seeds sprinkled over each serving will complete the bowls.

The three in the clear glass blows will be put into the fridge for breakfasts this week (the other two work days I'll likely have oatmeal, or my old standby the breakfast sandwich). The two in the white bowls will be frozen for future breakfasts.

Do you enjoy a skillet type breakfast, a hearty oatmeal, or are you still dedicated to your cold cereal?


March 19, 2014

Overdue update aka. Dude, do you even blog?

I think about writing blog posts all the time. I make something in the kitchen and thing “ahh I should totally share this recipe”. Or I share something and someone asks for the recipe and I think “I should put that on my blog”. Only it never happens. I start drafting what I want to write in my head, and sometimes I even make notes, but that is as far as it goes. Why? No reason really, other than life getting in the way which is my reality, but a terrible excuse.

So what’s new? Well, we moved! We had said we’d be in the old house for 5 years and then move on, but we were there 7 years since we liked the place. We left a nice little semi-detached house on teeny lot on a quiet cul-de-sac in a nice suburban neighbourhood and moved into the dream home, a three-dormer Cape Cod on a little over an acre in a very quiet rural subdivision in a small town on the outskirts of our municipality. Some people have been critical that we are two people (and dog and cat) moving into a larger home, and what could we possibly want all that room for. Well, we love this home and every day we love it a little bit more. The naysayers and negative people are not welcome… we are responsible adults who made a grown-up choice, and we are happy with it.

Home Sweet Home!

We moved in just before the beginning of winter (such a long, cold winter this year!) so we’ve enjoyed the tractor with snowblower for moving the snow and the animals have enjoyed exploring the yard as well as the visiting wildlife. So far we’ve seen lots of songbirds, a pheasant and as of last weekend a family of deer!

We live closer to some great friends and have taken advantage of this and we get together regularly for dinner at each other’s houses. One of the couples hunt and this winter I have had venison shanks and rabbit confit. Both were delicious, and it’s nice trying new things… especially with a bottle of wine (or three!).

Venison shanks!

He-of-the-good-ideas joined our local volunteer fire department and absolutely loves being a part of it. He responds to every call that comes through his pager when we are home and has helped out around the fire hall when something needs to be done. I am very proud of him! He came home from the weekly meeting at the hall last night with a department uniform (my hubby in a uniform? Mee-ow!). It needs to be laundered and he said something about ironing… I hope the laundry fairy is going to do it for him!

My volunteer firefighter <3 

Back in January I had sort of a personal awakening regarding my health and have been making some lifestyle changes. Basically I am trying eat as “clean” as possible (but I’m not perfect by any means) and increased my activity level tenfold. I take a Zumba class (love!) an Aqua Zumba class (love!), and I am taking in some yoga classes both at a gym in my new town plus some classes in my favourite studio in my old town. I started P90X3 but since I am involved in other stuff I am not doing it every single day. I also signed myself up for a 5km women’s road race in June. The last time I tried to be a runner it was a miserable experience that always resulted in very sore knees and I always felt more exhausted than exhilarated. Turns out trying to keep up with seasoned runners and not starting at a pace for a beginner is bad. And discouraging. This time I am actually training for something specific and while I know I can’t run the whole time, I will be out there with my sneakers on, giving it my best shot! Bonus points for having an awesome runner friend who is encouraging and helpful and a huge inspiration.

I am planning on putting in a vegetable garden this spring, so keep watch for sprouting plants and hopefully a bountiful harvest!

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, and even though sub-zero temps and snow are in the forecast, I am hopeful to be outside in just my shirtsleeves before too long!

Winter`s been fun, but how about some spring weather

April 11, 2013

A Must Read: "A Letter To My Son About Consent"

In my hometown this week, it was reported that a girl who went to the high school I graduated from took her own life. She was bullied and tormented with hateful taunts from classmates after a horiffic incident where she was raped by four boys and somehow one of them thought to take pictures as if somehow, somewhere that is even remotely acceptable behaviour. And instead of being helped by the authorites she reported the incident to, the case wasn't taken seriously enough and nothing happened to punish the boys due to an allegend lack of evidence. So life goes on, the classmates who tormented her over an incident she had no control over will weep on television and claim they didn't talk poorly of her.

Our evening news is full of stories of this seemingly sweet girl and what good she was doing in the community and what a lovely person she was. Too little, too late. This girl was failed. By classmates, teachers, school officials, law enforcement, our legal system, and... possibly most importantly of all, the parents of the boys who raped her. The parents who could have taken the time to reinforce how to treat a member of the opposite sex. I am not a parent, so I implore the parents of boys to read this article. All parents actually, it's a sound message.

The article is A Letter To My Son About Consent written by Finn Wightman

Rehteah Parsons was so traumatized by the miserable way her 17 year old world fell apart, she felt her only escape was to end her young life. She has been failed so many times over, and I hope the reports all over the news about justice for her are followed through and that the next time someone comes forward to report a situation it recieves an appropriate response.

April 8, 2013

Anticipation of Tomorrow

Tomorrow is a big day for me.

Tomorrow marks a day I have been looking forward to for a long time.

Tomorrow... my braces get removed!!

It's been 2 years, 7 months and 7 days. Or 135 weeks, 5 days. Or 950 days. But who's keeping track? Heh.

In September 2010 I had a full set of upper and lower braces put on. I had an underbite, and a jaw that didn't fit in my mouth because it was too wide and positioned too far forward. So, after consultation with my dentist, orthodontist and an oral surgeon, it was decided that I would have jaw surgery to correct my bite and I'd need the braces to move all the teeth into position for surgery, then to adjust them after.

The surgery, in February 2012 was... interesting. I ended up with pnuemonia which made my recovery that much harder. Coughing with your jaw wired shut is miserable. And consuming all my food (read: thin liquids) through a large syringe stuck in the corner of my cartoonishly swollen mouth was brutal.

I can eat most foods now, though my jaw gets tired fairly quickly. I've done everything my surgeon & orthodontist have told me to in an effort to make sure I get these braces of in the shortest possible time frame. I've never popped off a bracket because of eating something I shouldn't have, and I have (by all accounts) taken meticulous care of my teeth and it hasn't been easy. I actually miss flossing (yes dad, you read that right) and I look forward to not brutalizing toothbrush bristles on a regular basis!

So yeah, tomorrow. Eight AM. I feel like a kid waiting for Santa!

Here are my before and after surgery x-rays... before on the RIGHT and after on the LEFT

I'll be sure to share what I eat first... and how my mouth feels!