Friday, April 22, 2016

On Turning 40

It happened.  It was bound to, I guess.  40.  It just sort of slipped in like a letter under the door.  There,  but in an unassuming, unabtrusive way, whether you want to acknowledge it or not.

I'm having a party tomorrow to celebrate with some friends (and W's parents).  Looking forward to it.  A few people cancelled last minute so I fear we have too much food to know what to do with, but... #firstworldproblems.

I've had a pretty good birthday month so far.  W. gave me the best gift of all - a private session to play the cello.  It's been on my Bucket List for a little while (okay, it was the only item on said list and the first time I've ever created the list) and I got to play one.  It was a complete surprise (and I'm hard to surprise!).  It was so great and I want to do it again!  Lessons would be awesome, though not affordable at this time.

I also got to volunteer with TEDx last week.  That was pretty awesome, too.  A very long and a very tiring day, but very, very enjoyable.  At the end of the day I even got to fill in for a participant who didn't show and sit in for a dinner.  I was at the table with 3 lovely gentlemen and the conversation was absolutely fantastic.  An evening I won't be soon to forget.

I don't have time to blog like I used to.  The starting of a business really eats my time.  Not that I'm complaining; I'm really enjoying it.  Okay, stressing out a little, but that's part 'n parcel to starting a business.  It's a 'fun' sort of stress, if that makes any sense.  You never know how many facets you have to think of, behind a business.  Website design (and writing content on said website, which takes for-ev-er), the "small print", marketing, liability and insurance, separate banking accounts, separate travels cards (in my case), having to record the time it takes to do *everything* so you can declare it to be eligible for the tax benefits that come to small businesses, sending out a few samples to spread the word, getting reviews for said product (or from previous family and friends), further development of business (future planning), getting professional photos of products for easier sell, learning a new tax system, learning a new tax system for businesses, and hey, while you're at it learn it in Dutch ONLY, testing new products for sale, then testing again, and so on, and so on.

It's an extraordinary new world.  You learn new things about yourself, that's for sure and I love that.  Abilities get pushed.  New knowledge learned.  My website will be live first of May.  Can post link at that time.  It's pretty much done now, barring any remaining translation (it's in English and Dutch) and finalizing of post and payment accounts etc. Once the website and launch is done, I'll be able to concentrate more on other avenues I'd like to take with my business. #vaguebooking

We're STILL waiting on a house.  This process is testing my patience.  I want to move NOW.

Okay, I gotta keep moving.  The joy of groceries must be had.  Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Job That Wasn't

Last time I wrote it was about my dilemma about being sick, the long days, etc.  I had to make a decision; return to work and stick it out, or leave and look for other avenues.  I don't call it 'quitting' (that sounds so harsh, and I have not at all quit with what I want to do) but I do call it as I see it - not a great fit.

It wasn't an easy decision to make. I agonized over it.  For days.  In tears.  You have no idea.  But some of the hardest decisions we make with such anguish are great learning opportunities.  And I don't just think for yourself, but for those on the other side, too.  Your decision affects other people, even if you don't always see it.  I'm sure there's a ripple effect that goes on.  When I was making this decision, it felt like this: I might have felt 80-90% happy to work there, but there was that 10-20% of me that didn't like it on certain terms.  While the 20% might have been 'smaller', it felt much heavier, and I can't explain why.  One of those, you know there's a reason, you just can't put it into words.

I didn't return.  At the end of the day, I didn't feel comfortable waiting for public transportation (bus and train) for over an hour and having it take me 2 hours to get home.  If a shift was 12 hours, I would be having a 16 hr day with transportation.  I would also be waiting for said transit late at night alone, and that didn't make me feel great either.  I have been in touch with the chef since and he's been pulling 14-15 hour days.  No thanks.  I'm not at all sorry I left.  I could leave certain criticisms, but it's not my business so I'll keep them to myself.  I'm sad about it, don't get me wrong.  We just have different values.  They didn't mesh.

It was viewed by my former boss that I was 'giving up'.  I believe this was the industry speaking, not her.  She's very intelligent and likes to ask the right questions and challenge people.  But I told you how it was, the industry is very unforgiving.  But that doesn't mean that it's *all* cookie-cutter.  There will be that one place that doesn't hold the same values or opinions of said industry and they'll be different.  That's why it'll be a good fit, cause I'm different, too.

With my time off I've kept up certain momentum with my business.  I've found someone who will help me create a website (yay!) in exchange for some baking (colour me grateful) and I've found the perfect box to ship my brownies.  I'm writing content for the webpage and looking at other ideas for packaging to make it more presentable.  It's really fun, getting to pick a team you want to work with and cultivating a product from beginning to end.

Otherwise I'm back in the jobbank pool.  Slightly depressing, but I'm trying not to lose hope.  I'm confident there's a better fit out there with better conditions.  Think positive!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Conflicting Values

I write to you troubled today, dear reader.  I have been brought to the ultimate juxtaposition in my current life (stage).

It's proving very quickly that my body is not ready for this job.  More specifically, my body and current health status are not ready for 11-hour days (which turn into 13(!) with commute).  Aside from my current health issues, I'm just recuperating being off work sick for a week.  I had a cold from hell and some sleepless nights (admittedly, due partly to anxiety).  The last shift I worked before falling ill (overnight) was 11 hours.  That did me in.  My body was trying to tell me something (and has been since, in other ways!).

I said I'll be able to return Wednesday this week.  I was warned they will be long days, at 10-12 hours each.  Maybe they can let me keep 9 hour shifts.  Maybe I can start off slow and ease into it until I'm used to everything.

The problem is... in the food industry, this isn't acceptable.  The food industry has a pretty big macho, "Suck it up or get out" mentality.  There's no half-assed.  There's no doing things only half way.  There's little to no "meeting in the middle".

This isn't the only industry who has mandatory long days.  Healthcare is another prime example.  Nurses work 12 hours and doctors even longer.  It's ironic that positions in the health industry aren't condusive to good health, but I digress.  I don't think it's healthy to demand so much of ourselves while we're serving others.  Long shifts don't benefit anyone; you get tired and mistakes are made.  I realize these are my values and not the industry's.  How do we find time for ourselves (also important for personal health and well-being) and our family?  Why are we making it okay to just get up, go to work, come home and eat and go to bed - day after day?  How does someone with chronic health issues work in an industry they enjoy that otherwise wants to shut them out?

So... how does one work in an industry they enjoy when it clashes with one of their values?  Such a big question with a seemingly impossible answer.  But there has to be a way.  I'm too stubborn to admit otherwise.  I've always wanted to bake and I've always wanted to make a difference in the world with my baking - but I've never had the answer how.  Maybe it's not the baking itself, but the path.  Maybe I'm keeping my thinking too narrow.

I don't know.  And I don't know if there's ever an answer for what I'm asking.  I always want to jump 10 steps ahead; I know what I want in the end, but I never know how to get there.  My creativity falls short along the way and then I lose momentum and it's gone.

Aaaaand..I'm losing battery on my laptop.  I take that as a queue for dinner time.

I don't know if my rambling has made any sense.  Maybe someone identifies with it (in which case, that'll be a miracle).  Otherwise, I'll see you on the flip side :)

Happy Sunday!


Thursday, September 3, 2015

On the Up!

Remember that depression I wrote about before?  Gone.  I think it was a combination of things; low Vitamin D levels, hormones, etc. both of which have been ammended or passed.

There's been a lot of change lately (and as usual, all at once).  A lot of good change.  First: W got a new job.  Decent hours, I think (contrary to his last job) and even if he doesn't get the proper hours it's more per hour, so that'll help out (either way).  He's off this week before he starts his new job (Monday).  He was off for a couple weeks for vacation a couple weeks ago and it was nice having him home.  Now?  Now I'm ready to have him back out again :P  Said with love, of course ;)

Second: I got a job.  Finally!  After 2 years I was ready to kill myself.  Listen, one can only occupy oneself for so long.  It's so great and I'm really blessed.  It's with a small catering company (who seem to do a lot of business, even in slow season) and the people really are fantastic.  I talk to my boss on the phone more than my friends!  Usually we'll start talking business, but lead off to other things.  I think we're around the same age, give or take a year (or two? or five? I really have no idea).  I work in the kitchen and while it's only been a couple days, I seem to be doing more sweet/dessert stuff than other things.  I think I'm their gluten-free and dessert consult (which isn't her chef's specialty; he's more of a meat/mains/soup guy).  I mean really, I'm asked about what I think they should do for / this / or / that /.  It's... weird; I'm asked my opinion and it... matters!  I'm still in shock! :P  My passion for food is embraced and encouraged (as the owner & chef also have said passion) and mistakes in the kitchen are okay; it's how you fix them (and I usually do).  I was a bit down about how a couple recipes I made didn't turn out (really, I stressed about this cause it's time and money/ingredients, right?) but I was encouraged not to stress out about it.  Just fix it and move on.  Taste everything; ingredients, almost-finished product, finished product.  I can ask for ingredients for recipes with no questions.  They'll even go high and low to get them (and she has).  I gave her a list one day on the phone and W. said after it's like having my own personal shopper *lol*.  So far it seems I'll just be working a couple days a week and that's fine with me until I get back into the rhythm of working (it's very taxing physically, as with most kitchens.  Most days are long, 9 hrs +/-.  One day was 11!).  And part-time lets me still concentrate on my business on the side (which I still need help setting up a webpage..arrgh!).  We can do the webpage, but it takes time, which neither of us really have.  Okay, find someone who can do it for free..and...go!

Also something to note; jobs are a little different here.  Or, the process at least.  Temp agencies are used 75% of the time, or more.  It's rare (but not unheard of) to be hired directly.  Why?  I haven't really understood yet.  There's pros and cons to each (and for the employer himself).  So yes, I'm employed through a temp agency to work in the kitchen at my job.  W. is also hired by a temp agency for his (try to get a mortgage when you're at a temp agency, I dare ya) :/   Travel expenses are also covered by the employer here, usually in full.  Imagine that; your travel expenses, by any medium (car, transit) is (usually) completely covered.

It's odd to share stories w/W. and say, "At work.. this happened.." or "I have to work Tues and Wed next week." Just to say the word 'work' is so..weird.  W. says after a couple years (of being out of work) it's allowed to be (weird).  Some things some people take for granted, like a job, is easy when you have one.

We were accepted for a (rental) house in a town we want to live in, but had to decline as it was not desirable at all (no fence or bike shed, which would have cost a couple thousand easily.  Can you imagine that?  Spending that much money on a rental property?  No thanks.).  We want to buy (and incidentally found the perfect house), but with starting new jobs is not realistic right now.  Why is life cruel like that?  You find the perfect house and then .. nope, sorry, you can't have it yet.  /frustrated

Well, I can't think of anything else to write about right now, specific to the topics at hand.  I want to write a post about diets and healthy eating (and how the information can be overwhelming), but can't seem to find the time for that yet, sadly.

Well, I think I'm going to bake some cookies and find time for dinner (romanesco tonight!  Very good for you, and good for the ladies; hormone-balancing).  I'll have mine with rice.  W. will be having his rice with salmon.  It's aaaaaall for him.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

On Fighting Depression

I don't know who, if anyone knows, but I suffered from depression in my teens.  It was an awful time.  Met a therapist who, God love her, was fantastic.  She taught me a lot.  Said depression came and went over the years.  Subsided for (most of) the time I was in G-town, but it's decided to rear it's ugly head lately.  Two years being out of work, reduced funds and almost no social life will do that to ya.


Except now I saw it a *lot* more easily than I used to before.  Not only was I aware it was/is happening, but I now have the tools to properly deal with it.  It's funny, cause I think back in the day when I used to have it (when I was younger) and I had no idea what was happening; how to sort through my thoughts and feelings, how to approach it holistically and not by medication (to be fair, there was only one time I medicated), how *not* to think I was crazy.


Now I know I'm not crazy (okay, maybe that's still open for debate...teehee).  Now I know how to approach mindfulness, either through quiet time, meditation or prayer.  Now I know that by controlling my diet and activity, my energy and my body are a bit more relaxed.  Now I know how important self-care is.

That's a lot to be thankful for.

The external circumstances haven't changed, but my outlook towards them has.  The big message the universe is drilling through me is 'gratitude'.  It's been happening for a while now; I'll always find something to be thankful for, even in the worst of situations, but it's continual now.  Find gratitude.  Find gratitude.  Find gratitude.  I almost feel this is my life purpose and I'm to bring this way of thinking to others.  I'm only partly joking.

Find gratitude, and you will have (be given? I'm not sure of the right term here) grace.  Grace, in turn, will continuously flow back to you.

Oprah once said, "Be grateful for what you have, and you will attract more to be grateful for." I whole-heartedly believe this.  Why?  Because it's proven itself in my life time and time again.

Don't get me wrong, I still have bad days.  Sometimes our personal life situations (which in themselves are stressful, especially lately) are too much and I'm in tears.  But I no longer 'wallow' in self-pity and sit and nom at a batch of cookie dough.  I feel shitty for a day, maybe I cry, I move on... because now I know no other way.  I've trained myself so well that I can't do that (wallowing) anymore in good conscience.  I'm stronger than that and I know I deserve more than that.  And I know those around me deserve more than that, too.

It's funny (though not at the time) that it sucks, cause when I'm low, I hate that I know I'm still strong.  Sometimes you still want to bury yourself under a pile of blankets, not exist, eat a tub of Ben & Jerry's and feed into the self-loathing.  Unfortunately that's too easy and I'm someone who likes a challenge.  You just gotta keep on keepin' on.

We've also been sugar-free for over a month now and I wanted to do a blurb on the new opinions I've been having about the type of diet to have (not just me, but everyone), but perhaps when I find more time I will write another post.

Be well, people.  Do something special for youself this weekend (an hour of quiet time sans kids? A walk through a city garden?  Buy that one thing for the house you've had your eye on for a while? ).  Then after you do that, pass it on and do a Random Act of Kindness for someone else.  That'll make you feel good, too :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Detoxing - What I've Learned So Far

It's been a while since you've heard from me, I know.  It seems the more time goes on, the less time I have to blog.  I have difficulty as of late prioritizing.  That's not like me; I usually know what I want and in what order to do it in.  The thing is, I have several issues that have (or are close to) similar priority, that that's when I have trouble deciding/choosing.  So each day, if I don't pick what I want to focus on in the morning, I get overwhelmed about mid-day and don't become productive at all.  Is my brain getting less functional as I get older??

I wanted to talk about the recent sugar detox we've been on, that you may or may not know about (via Facebook).  Three weeks ago we cut out all sugars from our diet (otherwise known as a 'candida cleanse').  No refined sugar, no natural sugars (honey, agave, maple syrup, etc), no fruit, no breads, no alcohol of any form, no coffee, no processed (even sliced meat) or canned food with any form of sugar in it, no pastries or sweets (of course), no foods that have or are potential to molds (peanuts, black tea and mushrooms).  I had an idea how much sugar was in everything because of my background, but it was an eye opener for W.  He had no idea and I think went into a bit of shock.  Gluten-free grains were permissible (buckwheat) and baking got a lot more creative (I now have a love for dates that provide sweetness).

The first week I detoxed pretty bad (him not as much).  The second week came along better, especially near the end of the second week when we introduced agave, green apples (low pectin) and yogurt (allowed; probiotics). (Third week included spelt.)  You'd be surprised how much that opens up your menu options.  The first couple weeks were hell.  I hate meal planning on the best of days, but this was torture.  Into week three we've brought in all fruit but limit consumption to max one serving a day.  For now.

Coming onto the end of week three we're doing *really* well.  No sweet cravings, still holding fast to no sugar or sugar in processed products.  I've gone from severe detox symptoms (horrible digestion, headaches, skin itchiness, etc) to none of those anymore (except digestion is still not perfect), PLUS I feel lighter, can sit/stand up straight with my shoulders back easier and have slightly more energy.  My anxiety?  I'd say 60-70% reduced.  I can't tell you how much a relief that is and how much "weight" that takes off my being.  Oh weight; I've lost 2 kilos (approx 4.5 lbs) to date and holding steady.  W. didn't have many health issues aside from eczema on his head and even that is starting to clear up.  I think our bodies are still detoxing.  We've had *such* a build-up of by-products of sugar in our bodies, they're still trying to harmonize themselves with the new way.  And even if you don't believe that, I believe 100% that our bodies are learning to function differently without the dependence of sugar and what it does to our individual organs (thus creating a domino effect with others).  W. said he's actually 'tasting' food for the first time as it is.  His entire life has consisted of processed foods and frequent desserts after dinner that he didn't know what real food tasted like.  And now he's starting to see.  How fantastic is that?!  He's *really* learning a new relationship with food and I think that's so wonderful.

A detox, by definition, is impermanent.  We're in the midst of deciding our long-term goals.  The more we stay away from societal (incl. BigAg, BigSug, BigPharm, etc) dietary pressures, the more I feel back to nature, more harmonized, Reading 'Nourishing Traditions' is also helping a lot (thanks to a borrowed copy from a friend).  It's causing me to look more at the source of my food (buy local!), develop deeper relationships with my green grocer and butcher and spend a LOT more time in the kitchen since we're on a whole-food diet.  A win-win all around, I think.  Long term I would like us to stay away from refined sugar and try to stay closer to natural sugars.  Baking will become a challenge for me if not downright impossible.  I know there will be social situations when eating processed products, breads or sweets is inevitable, but I'm okay with that.  Then we can go back to the way we want to eat.  I don't think those days are bad, but I'd like to keep them more in check than before.  I don't know; this is something we'll have to discuss further.

Oh, something else detoxing has taught me: my relationship to food based on mood.  I'll go straight for the chocolate if I'm sad, depressed or otherwise down.  Like a moth to a flame.  I noticed that a lot since of course, I couldn't go for the chocolate at certain times.  I miss coffee.  A lot.  Still.  I'm not ready to try it again yet since I fear I would develop another dependence to it (which would also do no favour to my digestive system).  We have cheat days, but the 'cheating' is minor; a square of good quality dark chocolate for me, black tea for him.

So, on that note I shall get on with my day.  I have a sink of dishes waiting for me and have to choose my "priorities" for the day.  I hope you have a FABULOUS weekend.  We're hoping to do something a little more cultural this weekend; it feels like it's been a while.  And God-willing if the sun is out and the rain has stopped, stay outside a bit more.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

On Turning 39

39.  One year from f..  f.... fffffffffforty.  Gosh that was hard to say.  Am I there already?  When did that happen?

I'm one of the self-reflective types when it comes to birthdays.  Or at least milestone birthdays, or in this case - close - to milestone birthdays.  I damn near had a nervous breakdown when I turned 30.  When you're young you set the ideals I want this, this and that by the time I'm 30.  I didn't have this, this and that and when I didn't, I felt as if I failed. In reflection, how could I feel as if I failed myself?  Life was going as it was meant to.  It was society that failed me.  Society that builds up the "must-have's" for milestone birthdays.  I was given wise words by a then co-worker; the 30's is about relaxing.  It's about being comfortable in who you are.  It's about speaking up for yourself and not minding doing so.  You know what?  He was right.  My 30's were (for the most part) fantastic.  I felt more comfortable in myself than I had - ever.  I did things for me, not because of how others felt I should do things.

As I approach f.. ff... fffffff.... well, that'age, I continue to take stock of what *I* want in my life, not what someone else dictates for me.  My generation is all about shedding society ideals and letting go and having fun (at least, some of the people I'm surrounded by) and that indeed, brace yourself, 40 is NOT old.  Perhaps it's European culture.  The Dutch (for the majority) are very easy going and not about being held-down by emotions, the past, etc.  Don't think they don't have ordeals, crisis or difficulties.  They do!  But they try not to let it hold them back or ever miss out on opportunities.  They don't have the heavy weight on their shoulders that I impose upon myself (sometimes).  If they do I don't see it.

Anyways, when I reflect for next year, I want to try to let go of a lot of self-imposed barriers.  I don't want to stipulate, "I want to have this, this and live here and.. " because that's unrealistic and we all know as soon as you set a plan for life, it changes.  I have less desire for materials things and more for connections of those around me.  I have less desire for self-punishment and more for accepting and forgiving the self (a continual work in progress).  I've been asking myself why we think it's okay and conducive to beat ourselves up all the time when the opposite is true, but that's another blog post for another time.

I have to end this now.  I'm having a few ladies over for what was going to be a high-tea (W is working today) which has turned into sort of a potluck, mesh of.. stuff.  Long story.  I need to do some last-minute cleaning before guests arrive.

Have a wonderful day!  It's sunny here and it looks like it's going to be lovely.  Happy weekend!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

New Addition

We have a new addition to the family.  Meet Eise (a Dutch name, pronounced "eyeszuh" in English), our new four-legged feline friend.

Eise is a rescue.  We have been looking for a while and while a couple of cats in the local shelters appealled to us, none stuck out like this one did.  We were scouting online on Marktplaats (akin to Kijiji) and a lady had posted that this cat was kicked out by the previous owners, under 2 years, that he was very sweet and looking for a new home.  We exchanged a few emails and went to visit.

She had been caring for the cat the best she could but has a few of her own so wasn't able to take him on permanently.  The previous owners were abusive and discarded cats/animals as soon as they got bored with them (I guess they've been called-on by the authorities before for this) and Sir Orange here was kicked outside.  She fed him when possible and brought him in when her other cats were outside.  She was right; he had a really sweet temperament, despite being scared as hell around new people.  He had a face you just wanted to squish (well I did, anyways).  We decided to take him home.

Poor thing was petrified, rightly so.  There was a bit of a kerfuffle when he first got in the house (glass almost smashed, water everywhere, I'll leave the rest of it up to your imagination) but once we quarantined him to the bathroom he became a lot more calm.  While limp and mostly unreactive, he did let you put him in your lap and pet him.  Noises terrified him (the people who had him yelled at their animals - a lot).  He had an aversion to men (I could go near him or pick him up but W. couldn't and the previous lady also noticed he ran away when her husband in the room).  He stayed in there a couple days to get a bit more comfortable then he was actually the one to let us know when he was ready to explore more.  So, we introducted him to a room or section of a house, 24 hours at a time.  He's definitely required patience (but we're not complaining).

We've had him less than 2 weeks now and he's really starting to come into his own.  He's relaxed a lot more but some noises still spook him.  Even random ones, like the when the downstairs neighbour is outside.  He eats like a fiend and hasn't gotten used to the thought of having food guaranteed and delivered to him twice a day.  Often asks for more during the day, but I'm hoping that'll stop in time.  He's also been pissing on the area rug and I can't determine if it's behavioural, medical or spraying.  If you catch him right before he does it and tell him no and he needs to go downstairs (where his litter box is), he does.  His vet visit is this coming Tuesday so he'll get fixed, vaccinated and chipped (for a fraction of the cost in Canada!).

 Starting to get more comfortable being with us.

He's such a soft fuzzball. Loves napping on your lap.

He's such a lap cat.  Loves attention and scratches.  Especially his nose :)  W. and his dad built him a post to jump up on/scratching post yesterday.  He used the scratching part at the bottom right away, but is not yet too keen on heights.  We think we need to cover the platforms to give traction and that'll help.
We found the wooden tree post outside and brought it in. Total project: €25. 

Well, expect more stories and pictures of Eise :)
Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Social Media Devil - A Vent

Preface: It's 'wordy' and long, I apologize in advance.  Had a hard time articulating myself. 

For the past few weeks I've been able to detach myself from the distraction that is Facebook.  It's been nice.  I feel less obligated to often check a constant source of feed, comments & messages.  I feel lighter, less... I don't know.  It's hard to put into words.  I was also getting frustrated with a lot of memes and nonsense that was taking up a lot of space when all I wanted was to see what my friends had to say about their lives or pictures they wanted to post.  Thing is, I'm also missing feeds from pages I follow, but fortunately I get most of those via email as well.  I'm doing my best to cut down the million notifications that I feel like I get on a daily basis (slightly overly dramatic, but you get the idea).  

Still, I took it upon myself to comment on a thread the other day in one of my groups.  Someone asked me to expand on why I thought what I did (it was about food and nutritional content of said food, what's best to consume, etc) and when I gave it today I was accused by a supposed friend for 'telling people what to do' and 'turning my nose down in judgement about their choices'.  I was flabergasted.  And upset.  It was the straw that broke the camels back. 

One thing about me that not many people know is that I don't like it when people assume anything of me.  It's a trigger.  This was a classic example and it felt like an attack for no reason.  It was assumed the way I came across that I was telling someone how they should eat, when if they a) knew me and b) were the friend they were supposed to be and have my back, understood that I was suggesting eating based on a nutritional point of view.  What anyone does with that info is up to them.  After that I excused myself from the conversation as I was not being understood (and instead was being accused).  I shut off notifications for the post.  I went back to check the thread anyways (because I'm a glutton for punishment) and they commented that it was "no big deal".. but no... because you called me out on shit in front of 50 people.. apparently it was.  Thing is, I went to the original poster/question and I didn't offend her at all, so it was just that one person's opinion.  

I got upset.  A lot.  Yesterday I came to the realization that I have nothing in common with any friend I have here because they're rather too busy to get together (due to work or families) or have babies (this accounts for most), or age differences, so when I take a hit from a friend and it feels like they're dropping like flies (because believe me, if they're going to act like this, I don't want to have anything to do with them), I feel it.  I find myself thinking about Canada a lot.  Today.. just made it all come together.  I thought who I thought would have my back doesn't and.. my whole world came crashing down. I miss my friends.  I miss the balance I had.  Now?  No balance.  My one reason for being here has been validated a long time ago and I'm left with teetering scales; I have W. on one side and it's empty on the other.   I don't know how to handle the imbalance anymore, or how to differently look at the situation.  

It's not without trying.  I've tried approaching a couple of businesses in town about volunteer positions and they won't take me (I need to try to stay in town to keep travel expenses to a minimum).  Short of waiting for a job, I don't know what else to do... but something has to change.   

I'm living in a world where I realize nothing is permanent.  People who I could have sworn on my grandmother's grave that I would be friends with for life, aren't.  Boyfriends and fiancés who I thought I'd be with for life, aren't.  Knowledge I thought I would always have in my head, I forget.  Health I thought I would have, has declined.  Maybe this is a realization you have when you get older.  Maybe it's just me.  The only thing I can think of to do with this - is not take anything for granted.  I'm not with W. because I think we're meant to be together.  No; I'm consciously choosing to be with him and love him every day.  And every day after that.  And every day after that.  Everything else?  I try not to.  I really consciously try not to. 

The thing I struggled with most today was finding something to be grateful for.  Every day I can tell you something I'm grateful for, but when I'm this upset and this.. desolate.. it's difficult.  I don't want to look for anything!  I'm angry!  The thing is, to find something you're grateful for in a situation that feels shitty and has crumpled around you.. that is the time for the most opportunity for growth.  But do you wanna know a secret?  I'm tired.  I've worked so hard to get where I am and maintain some sort of sanity that.. I'm tired.  I'm tired of personal growth.  I'm tired of having to adjust to circumstances around me.  I said to W. tonight that I wish I was the type that could give up.  

"So where are you?" (in my head) he asks and I said, "I don't know." I'm stewing.  I'm fixed in a cycle and the machine needs to be kicked to get back into gear. I'm trying to step back from the situation and look at it from the outside but it's hard. 

That's what's on my mind today.  I'm going to head to bed and call it a day.  Thanks for listening to my babble, as always :)  Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A (Late) New Years Greeting

Hello!  Are you still standing after the holidays?  A couple pounds more, perhaps?  Less?  Happy to get back to routine, I bet.  I know I am.  I won't go into my holidays; they were absolutely dreadful (missing friends and my town).  I haven't adjusted yet when it comes to the holidays; they just aren't the same here as they leave me feeling a lot is lacking.  However you found them, I hope you got to spend it with the people you love doing things you enjoy :)  A Happy late New Years to you :)

The temperatures have been nice lately, between 5-9 C this past week.  Windy though, with some rain.  I'm contemplating what I should have for lunch today.  We went to IKEA last week (oh, the dreaded crowds) and got large jars that will hold some of my flours and I feel much more secure they won't be bothered.  I found a mouse had eaten through one of my good flours (I get from a local mill) and I'd had enough.  We even went so far this week as to buy a (humane) mouse trap when W. saw it scurrying across the kitchen floor the other day.  Speaking of which, I also need to reorganize my pantry.  I remember I wanted to do that today also.  Re-pot a couple of over-grown plants, read new (borrowed) books, prep dessert for dinner tonight (Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Mousse!), with whipped cream, naturally ;)

The past year has been ups and downs; adjusting (still) and trying to gain employment.  A possible decisive shift in careers.  I call it 'the year without faith' when in essence it was with faith albeit at times broken, deteriorating, challenging thought processes, and little to no church time.  While it's easy to see any possible 'negatives' or fears of distance or departure, in reflection I've found church has been a catalyst (not a crutch or filler) for my faith; it helped keep what I've learned active and it relayed the importance and warmth I felt in the sense of community and being surrounded by others of your faith.  The reciting of prayers together, the shaking of hands during the sign of peace.  Those meant a lot to me in the beginning and I find still mean a lot to me now.  The questions and challenges I had about Catholicism in the beginning continue to be questions and challenges now, amplified.  So there's a common theme - the things I held dear have now isolated themselves as those things I continue to hold dear, and the things I questioned ever since Day One continue to isolate themselves to be questioned.  Does this make sense?  Do I believe in God any less?  Absolutely not.  Trust me, I tried.  I felt it would be a disservice to everything I've experienced the last several years and it almost made me feel.. gosh.. I can't even put it in words...sucked in a black hole, empty and (contrary to stereotypical views of Catholicism) - guilt.    I do however continue to attempt to challenge His place in my life and how He fits in it.  That's sort of an inaccurate statement and sort of not.  It's very hard to verbalize what I'm thinking.  Does He fit with a Catholicism view of faith, or not?  Can He fit without it?  Once I've made a few more decisions about how I feel about it, I might take them to my priest and discuss it with him; he's very easy to talk to.  Then I'll sit with it some more.  I can imagine some of the COOLers are a bit worried and are haste to suggest to me to "be careful" or some other sage advice.  Please respect I need to do this.  I am not certain anymore anything is constant and permanent, including our views of faith, and I need to always challenge the world around me.  The world - and our views - are constantly evolving.  It's not a bad thing.

You're quote for the week : Lean into the discomfort. ~author unknown (or that I forget)

Hope you're having a good Sunday and it finds you relaxed.. and with a good meal!

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