29 April 2011

thank god for blogs....

as much as I love to write, I love to read.  here's a little something I stumbled upon today reading someone else's blog.... 


 pretty much exactly what I needed to hear right now... thanks ryan in boise, idaho!

tears....

I admit it - I woke up early to watch the wedding. Thanks to Ruby the alarm kitten I am usually awakened by 4:30am to play but rather than kick her cute little kitten butt out of the room like usual, we got up, made coffee and snuggled to watch the cnn.com broadcast (thankfully since I don't own a tv). 

I'm a total die-hard romantic sucker.  She looked stunning and when you could read his lips to tell her she looked beautiful, I cried. Ok, I'll be honest I cried through most of it.  Not unusual for me as I do normally bawl my way through weddings (I never made a really good bridesmaid!!). They looked so genuinely happy even dealing with all the pomp and circumstance and millions of people watching their every move. 

Anyways I don't know if it's cuz I'm now a bit over tired or what but I can't stop crying today.  I guess it's just one of those days. 

27 April 2011

wet t-shirt contest

I didn't feel like running at all today but the 1/2 marathon is only 10 days away so I can't be skipping runs at this point in the game! I had a really awful long run on Saturday so it's making me second guess my readiness for this - I want to just have a good run.  I want to do it for so many reasons - for Emma, for the LLSOC, and to get a new PR as something for me.  I'm nervous that I can't do it - that I haven't trained enough - that I haven't done enough hill work or tempo runs.  I just want to run a sub 2:30.  

As I sat at my dining room table gnawing on a hunk of cheese (yes a chunk of piave) I got a text from Ness of little Em trying to put on Mr Potato Head's glasses.  Even though she's mid-treatment and on tons of steroids, she had a mischievous smile on her face and her beautiful hair all grown in.... so I laced up my shoes and set out for a run. 

I took a new route because it was insane windy again today so I decided to start out running in to it so my way home it would be at my back.  It was sunny and bright when I left... in my white tank top.  About 3 miles in, I felt the rain.... 

So I turned around and headed back looking like a moron in sunglasses and a soaking wet white tank top (and white bra).  The prospect of running in a completely soaking wet top did give me a little spring in my step and made my pace quicker... The forecast for race day doesn't look good so perhaps I should plan on something less see-through and hope that it carries me quickly to the finish line! 

I came across this quote today and it kinda stuck with me: "You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching, Love like you'll never be hurt,  Sing like there's nobody listening,  And live like it's heaven on earth." 

What I'm taking for it is to live in the moment and live for yourself. Just be happy - sing and dance and run around for yourself and don't worry what others may think. Move forward and try not to let your past dictate your future and always take the leap to love again. Or run in the rain and try not to care that you're giving motorists a free show! All in all I have to just keep reminding myself that I'm running because I love it and no matter what I do, it's still a success. I'm trying to chalk that bad run up to the fact that I had been working in heels for 9 hours before my attempt to run 11 miles at 5pm and that fact that allergy season is in full swing so the whole inability to breathe through my nose has also thrown a wrench in my training! I don't want to have excuses - I just want a good run so hopefully I can log some good miles this week and one last long run this weekend... 

25 April 2011

Happy East!

My Nana (as with most old Italian ladies) tended to usually leave off the last syllable of certain words.  Toronto = Toront.... Take it easy = Take Ease ... and Happy Easter was always Happy East! Even though she's no longer with us, no one can break us of the habit. 


Yesterday was a beautiful day as we celebrated the wonder of Jesus rising from the dead.  Symbolic for me in that hoping that no matter what cross we are given to bear, that at some point we can have faith that we will rise again.  As you know I cherish my family more than words can express so celebrating the holiday with them was great.  Living away for so many years has certainly taught me to appreciate those moments.  


Another thing about my family is we are slightly obsessed with food.  Here was the Easter Dinner menu - keep in mind everything is from scratch! 


Appetizers 
- Edamame Hummus & Tortilla crisps 
- Antipasto platter of roasted red peppers, olives, grilled artichoke hearts, and a few other things I'm forgetting! 
- Cheese ball encrusted in walnuts 


1st course 
- Gnocchi with meat sauce 
- Pumpkin & Goat Cheese Ravioli 
- Green Sala 


Mains 
- Roasted Lamb 
- Glazed Ham 
- Stuffed Pork Loin
- Roasted Carrots 
- Green Bean Salad 
- Mashed Potato
- Scallop Potato
- Roasted Green Beans 


And then dessert... made by ME! I've been waiting pretty much all of Lent to bake and found this yummy Carrot Cake recipe  so I of course adapted it.  I've linked the recipe so you can see for yourself because it's a long one but I'll list my adaptations for you.... 


So first off rather I substituted Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour mix for regular flour - I try to use a mixture of rice, tapioca and potato flour as they make it less dense.  


Rather than the full amount of sugar I subbed in 1/2 a cup of organic cane sugar plus a few squirts of light agave nectar.  I also added in a jar of organic strained carrot baby food for extra moisture rather than pineapple.  (Usually I add in baby food to baking rather than oil - apple sauce in light flavoured things and prunes in anything chocolate).  And I omitted the nutmeg and just doubled the cinnamon.  And I added in 1 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. 


As for the icing, I again cut down the amount of icing sugar to 1/2 a cup and added in a 60ml container of greek yoghurt with honey that I happened to have and only used 1 container of cream cheese.  


Now I really wanted to do the four layers however my sis convinced me that it was a dangerous move so to just leave it at the two layers.  I think it would have looked prettier with the four layers and would have been an effective distribution of icing which is important to me!! We sprinkled the top with coconut and cinnamon and stuck a few candles in it to celebrate my Auntie's birthday since it's Tuesday and we were all together! 


It was delicious if I do say so myself - the piece I had this morning for breakfast was even better!! Happy East! 

23 April 2011

A record setting kind of day...

Today I made the Guinness Book of World records - well my store did really but it sounds much cooler to say that I made it in there!! And it's all thanks to all the parents, grandparents and aunts who came out to change 25 little bums into a cloth diaper in honour of Earth Day! 

Check out some great photos from the event on some of our local media like WINDSORITE.CA and THEWINDSORSTAR.COM It was pretty much pure chaos all morning and the store was completely turned around and rearranged to try to make room for this change.  We were a part of a bigger initiative that took place in over 400 locations worldwide and everyone changed their little one into a cloth diaper at the exact same time called The Great Cloth Diaper Change. 

It was a ton of prep to get ready for it and I sound hilarious in all of my interviews with local media since I have full blown allergies and can barely breathe and lost my voice for a while last week!! But all in all it was a fun event, love being back in the store and now I'm completely exhausted and heading to bed! 

22 April 2011

40 days & 40 nights

As of this morning, lent is officially over as we celebrate Easter weekend and are thankful of God's ultimate sacrifice - his son who died for our sins.  In Christian religions, Good Friday is one of two most important holidays - the other being Christmas and the birth of Christ.  
 
my treat for the day!
Now my attendance record in church isn't that great - sometimes I feel like I get a good message out of it and sometimes I'm just there making to-do lists in my head.  I prefer to send my prayers up privately and use other moments such as Sunday long runs to be thankful for all God's miracles and connect to him on my own.  

I went to Catholic school my whole life - complete with a (usually too short) kilt with knee socks and lenten sacrifices for some reason have always stood out to me.  It's like a daily reminder of giving something material up out of respect for the big guy.   I have given up some pretty good ones although many make people not like me or lent very much.  One year I gave up prime time TV and missed both the Oscars & Superbowl.  Another year was coffee and tea (tea only because I felt like I would compensate for the lack of coffee), another year I gave up the elevator and had to take the stairs to everything above ground level including my 5th floor office, and probably the least liked year was the time I gave up shopping! I was allowed to buy essential items like groceries and toilet paper etc but nothing fun like clothes, accessories or shoes and had to ignore all good deals.  I did try to find a loop hole and asked my boss repeatedly if options such as buying online or putting it on a credit card and not paying until after lent would still be considered shopping!! I think those 40 days were hardest on those around me!! 

So this year was junk food - with the exception of corn chips & fresh salsa as I felt that wasn't too junky.  I did break down and have half a scoop of coconut ice cream in mexico and a handful of m&m's on a bad day! I saw these gf fig newtons a few weeks ago at whole foods and have patiently been waiting to buy a pack as fig newtons have to be one of my favorite cookies and one of my favourite things to carry on long runs for extra energy.  They were delicious and well worth the wait. 


So now it's time to get ready for Good Friday fish dinner of Halibut, Fresh Mango Salsa, Roasted Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Red Potato, Salad and Almond Cake for dessert.  Have a happy holiday weekend everyone!

20 April 2011

It's all about the outfit

I cannot ice skate.  I am 100% convinced that I could if I had the proper ice skating attire such as a sequined embroidered polyester outfit, nude hose and a lot of glitter make-up.  Trust me, each year during Winterlude while living in our nations great capital, Bob & Claudia would take us kids down to the canal (with the promise of Beavertails) and I'd attempt to skate.  Once I fell on a child.  No joke.  

So... as with most sports or activities and pretty much in general, I think your aptitude is usually related back to the outfit that you are sporting.  (One of my favourite parts of ballet class is coming up with a cute outfit each week)

The 1/2 marathon is but a few weeks away now and since the weather is 90degrees one day and then 32 the next I have begun contemplating what I will be wearing for this race. I run in a skirt - it makes it infinitely more fun in my opinion.  So now I'm just trying to decide which one and I'm sure I won't be able to decide until the weather report closer to the run... But then I start thinking hmm should I wear my compression socks - well only if I wear the skirt with shorts not capris - and then if I do should I layer a long-sleeve under my Leukemia Society Tee or should I wear arm bands... I'm sure over the next few weeks I'll post my options and you can help me choose.  

However while online today registering for a chocolate 10miler in August (yes ladies chocolate milk and truffles at the "water" stations!! and an I Run for Chocolate medal!!) I came across these tee shirts which are things I have either thought or said as a runner.  I was pretty much laughing out loud to myself at one point!! 


Although of them all I think this one below is my favourite seeing as I always tend to ask how something makes my booty look like!




The last dilemma for me is eye wear - it's always been the bane of my running wardrobe as I need to have prescription lenses.   And although I know I look insane wearing my big giant Burberry sunglasses, athletic ones just look so horrible on me and only some can actually take a prescription.  So I went to see my optometrist who luckily I've know since elementary school and who convinced me to try contacts.  


Now I'm sure when he suggested contacts and I retorted with "I don't know, I'm not good with things near my eyes", he didn't realize the full depth of that statement.  What should have probably taken 15 min took close to an hour, we were both sweating and I think I asked him like 10 times to assure me that there wasn't anyway for the contacts to roll up into my eye socket where I could never retrieve them.  I didn't even put them in myself - he put them in - I swatted his arm away at one point in a minor freak out and I'm pretty sure next time someone tells him "I'm not good with things near my eyes" that he may heed this warning with a little more caution.   He taught me how to take them out at home, told me to try them for the month and see how I liked them.   Removing them did take two tries and I was a bit nauseous at one point but I got them out.  And in great customer service he phoned the next day to make sure that I did manage to get them out and then told me he went home to have a drink after our appointment..... ha!

19 April 2011

sunshine on a rainy day.....

It's gloomy and rainy out today but I guess that's spring and as they say April showers bring May flowers and all that jazz.... 


However this morning I received this beautiful bouquet of my favourite flower which completely brightened my day.  


Yesterday I met my fundraising goal for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as I prepare to run in Emma's name in a few weeks time AND THEN I surpassed it!! I am so grateful for everyones support so thank you all! Miss Emma is going to be so excited of how much we raised to "smackdown" this disease! 


This little bundle of brightness comes from my "mom & dad" Bob & Claudia all the way in Ottawa, my little sis Vanessa, sis-in-law Laleah and of course little miss Emma.... I love you all so much and this totally made my day! Ok it made my whole week! 


Plus my other sis-in-law brought me in Starbucks this morning for a visit, I'm heading to 2-for-1 tapas for dinner and then ballet tonight.  Seems today is a pretty great day.  xo 

17 April 2011

Today's run brought to you by Bob Segar

I am without a doubt, my father's daughter.  He has instilled the love of Bob Segar in me since I was a little girl.  When he moved me up to University, when he moved me home to Windsor and every other road trip we've taken, Mr Bob Segar has accompanied us! Today's run I was most certainly channeling the song "Against the Wind." 

Today's scheduled run distance was 10 miles - I was hoping to feel great and do 11.  Heading out I did actually feel great which is odd because usually it takes a few miles for me to warm up.  It was slightly windy but I was heading in to it at an angle so it wasn't too bad.  And then I turned down towards the river at miles 6 and BAM - it nearly knocked me right over.  And I'm not a little waif girl!! 

I shortened my stride, gritted my teeth and pulled with my arms and propelled myself forward.  I'm not going to lie - I got some strange looks from drivers who had looks of amazement that I was running in to this wind.  I don't know if it shifted or what but there were literally moments where I was doing all I could to move forward and yet I don't think I was moving at all!! I was mainly concerned about blowing into the street since there are parts of The Drive that don't have a shoulder.  

At mile 8 it was now a mental workout as much as it was physical.  Digging deep I tried to channel Miss Emma and Steve and all those who have endured chemo and radiation and test after test who I'm sure at times felt like they were being pushed back by the wind.  I focused on objects along the way - making myself just get to that point and then finding a new focus a few hundred metres away.  I found those songs on my iPod that always give me a little more spring in my step and then at mile 9...it died.  So I had to guess at my time and then re-map my distance when I got home.  

Last mile in silence was just about focusing and turning back up towards home with the wind now on an angle again so at least I wasn't heading directly in to it.  But I made it - I got in the required 10miles.  I think I could have done the 11 for sure if it wasn't for the tornado-like conditions so that makes me feel good with the race 3 weeks away and after a week relaxing in the tropics! 

Thank goodness for the other runners out there for their waves of encouragement as they were running past me in the other direction with the wind at their backs! I apologize to anyone who may have heard the occasional curse word today as I think I may have shouted 'you've got to be f-ing kidding me' a few times.  And for those who gave me crazy looks I was just singing out loud to keep my mind on something else! 

Happy Sunday all! 

PS the countdown to the end of Lent is now on! Giving up sweets and junk food is always good for the waistline however I am planning on a Good Friday bake-off to celebrate Easter weekend! 

And for those of you in need of a little Bob Segar - Click here!

16 April 2011

meh-hi-co

The colour of the ocean was pretty surreal - especially contrasted against the whiteness of the sand.  This photo was captured from our little cabana on the beach and was certainly a beautiful and relaxing site to gaze at each day.  

We made sure to swim in the ocean pretty much every afternoon - jumping the waves and attempting to retain both our bathing suits and our sunglasses without being knocked over! Although the bandeau top was great for tanning....swimming in the ocean, not so much!  
As I mentioned before, as with most days and wherever I happen to be, much of my focus is usually around food because as much as I love to cook, I love to eat! Here is a little taste of the delicacies that Rawna and I enjoyed.  


Top left were the tostadas with shrimp ceviche that were amazing (and that we ate twice!), next going clockwise is my caprese salad with cilantro pesto, chicken enchiladas in mole sauce with fresh guacamole, and fresh grouper with sort of a puttanesca sauce involving olives and red peppers on a bed of rice.  Needless to say this isn't all we ate but they were my favourites and I truly did not want to bore you completely with my entire line up of food photographs! 

But I do have to share a story about our romantic dinner on our first evening there.... so being that we arrived around noon we did not have a chance to make reservations for that evening in either of the a la carte restaurants.  While waiting in line for another restaurant I dash over to Marias (Mexican fine dining) to see if they may have a spot open.  It's just after eight and he says that yes he has an opening at 9 if we wish to wait in the lobby bar, he'll come and find us if anything else opens up earlier.  


And so, not a few moments after we sat down does he come over to get us and say that they had a cancellation so they could seat us now....and then he led us into this glass enclosed wine cellar in the middle of the restaurant.  Here was this beautiful underlit table topped with candles, tulle, and rose petals... I jokingly ask "what did the bride & groom change their mind?" and the waiter says "yes, they decided to remain in their room for dinner" and then asks us to sit.  He closes the door and we turn to each other and crack up laughing! Seriously!?  It took a few tries to get him to leave the door open and to understand that we didn't need (or want) the romantic privacy.  We couldn't help but laugh at everyone's impressions as they walked by the room and looked in on us in wonderment!

So our days pretty much consisted of the following schedule:
- wake up 7am, grab coffee from the 24hr snack bar, drink it on patio so not to wake sleeping sis
- wake up sis - hit the gym for treadmill run & spin class
- breakfast - complete with custom omelets at the buffet
- shower, sunscreen and bikini
- sunbathe, read and people watch 
- lunch 
- sunbathe, read and people watch 
- 5pm-ish grab nachos and slushy drink from snack bar and watch 90's tv sitcoms like Dawson's Creek and Felicity! 
- shower #2, dinner
- people watching in hotel lobby bar including viewing some bad, tequila-induced karaoke!
- 10pm bedtime :) 




The hotel was very clean, the setting was pretty, beach was gorgeous, the gym was well equipped and the people were wonderful.  It was a great trip and although I could have stayed another week, I'm grateful for time that I did have to relax.  

Now that we are back home it's rainy and gloomy so I'm missing the beach for sure! I'm ready for summer and no more socks nor jackets however the weather is not co-operating with me!! I'm thinking ahead to a summer of weekend road trips and some more relaxing time up at Mary's cottage.  It was just enough to recharge and find the fuel to keep moving forward - it's amazing what a little sunshine will do for your soul.  xo mexico gracias por todo!













15 April 2011

The road ahead....

I'm back from vacation - slightly browned and ready for the road ahead.  

It's been only 5 days that I have been without my computer but I have been itching to write so I warn you that this post may be quite lengthy!  I tried to write while away but really it's not easy to journal sitting at the beach - my hands were very slippery from the sunscreen and the salt water of the ocean and plus  it made me look really geeky to be writing and not relaxing... I did manage to organize a few thoughts but I apologize in advance for the multitude of posts, the upcoming rambling of words and spewing of ideas.  

Five days in the sun always helps with perspective - just time alone with your thoughts to process and move forward.  I quite honestly could have done with a few more days but unfortunately owning your own business doesn't allow for many lengthy vacations without access to email.   I'm now back home with Ruby cuddled to my side (she won't let me out of her sight!), bags unpacked (mostly!), and laundry washing (everything always smells of mexico).  I will post again with a few pics from our trip however I warn you that they will mostly all be about food, which you may have already realized is usually my favourite part of most days.  

Here is another something you may have garnered about me - I like quotations.  I subscribe to an email that sends me a positive note each day or an uplifting photo in hopes to inspire happy thoughts.  Some days I search out quotes that help me express what I'm thinking.  Today, this one struck a chord with me - "It's not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain" I think it's because I've been thinking so much lately about making the conscience choice to find the positive even in the dreariest situations. 

And then I read this "Right now there are millions of people wishing they had exactly what you do, no more, and a lot less even. May we all spend more time being grateful and a lot less time complaining about what we have not" which is also very true.  

I realized, and have come to terms with the fact, that I am mourning the dream of the future I planned on.  It doesn't mean that what I want out of life will not ever be, it just means that my plans have changed.  I have to now have faith that they have changed for the right reasons and that I will find the next right path.  There are many people I would never have met or loved or been inspired by had I not met, loved and married T.  I would not even be close to the person I am now and I like the girl that I am so I'm pretty glad that life has led me where it has.  Sometimes I have to remind myself to be appreciative and to yes give myself the time to mourn the dream, but also to find the courage to dream a new dream, to lay the new path and hopefully to find new love.  

The way I see it is that when faced with challenges and adversity, we have choices. We can make the best of the situation or focus on the negative.  We can resist the change or accept the reality.  So much of our suffering comes from continuing to resist what is. Life does not move in a straight, perfect line. It is messy and painful and wonderful and curious.  The joys don’t come from having it all and it all being perfect. The joys come from learning how to be present enough in our lives so that we see and appreciate what and who is around us, even when it’s broken and imperfect.  

No one has the perfect life. We are all struggling in our own ways and it's true, there probably is someone out there who has had a much crappier go of it than I have. Someone who wishes to have a loving family, supportive friends, a successful business and a healthy body.   I truly like who I am.  I am adventurous and optimistic. I'm organized, dedicated, creative and thoughtful.   I am curvy and imperfect and I love to make people laugh.  I am honest and hard-working and I wear my heart on my sleeve.  And I'm happy being me. 

So I've loved and lost - who hasn't? I admit that it isn't something that I ever dreamed would happen but it has and it's reality and it's time to move forward.  I was lucky to have given my heart to someone and to have gained amazing family and friends that I would otherwise missed out on.  The past decade has had many great memories and those are what I need to be grateful for.   It's not about waiting for the storm to pass but it is about finding the courage to make the best of every situation and to dance in the rain.  And given my love of rainboots, I very well may look stylish while doing so!

08 April 2011

48 hours till takeoff

I have never looked forward to a vacation so much in my entire life.  I hate spring and this rain and gloomy days. I just passed the six month mark of my husband telling me that he didn't want to be married to me anymore.  I've had a full week of feeling crappy and sorry for myself and I hate that too. I am allowing myself two more days of stress, and crying fits and then it's blue skies ahead.  I'm going to park my butt on this beach and soak in the sun and remember all the reasons my life is great and remind myself of what makes me a great person.  And then when I come back it's time to start fresh and move on and be the happy me I usually am but this week I'm not. 

07 April 2011

6.5 miles and sandwiches

So I leave on vacation in three days - which means I have a lot to get done over the next 72 hours! I want to be able to park my bikini'd butt in a lounger for 5 days and not worry about the tasks waiting back at home.  Therefore it's been a busy week! Today I worked from home for the most part but I took an hour part way through the day to log a quick 6.45 miles - there were a few phone calls from the store along the way so at one point, having my phone out I decided to take this shot of my route....

Along the Detroit River - you can almost see the Renaissance Center from this vantage point.




The afternoon was crazy busy at the store and I ended up working pretty late and then once home I didn't really feel like cooking.  I've been watching the "America's Next Great Restaurant" series and thought that guy with the Grilled Cheese Sandwiches had one of the best ideas so that inspired me! Using my lovely Udi's Gluten Free Multigrain bread I made myself a tried & true.  Using smoked Provolone, Spicy cheddar and black pepper encrusted turkey meat (thank you again whole foods!) I whipped up this sammie - made a side of red lentil salad and we were good to keep working through the night! 


Red Lentil Salad (sorry no real recipe - adapt as you need!) 

Cook your lentils (use the guide on your package to determine how much you'd like to make! 
I make a big batch so you can scale down the following ingredients if you made a small one...)
1 red onion chopped 
1 clove garlic chopped 
1 cup shredded carrot 
1 cucumber - diced 
1 can chick peas (drained & rinsed)
handful of parsley chopped 
olive or grapeseed oil
balsamic vinegar 
salt & pepper to taste

06 April 2011

stirfry or curry?

a blurry view of a chef's mess!
So tonight started out as a stir-fry with grilled tofu - in the end it was more like a curry dish... but delicious all the same! 

With a marinade of siracha hot sauce, agave nectar and olive oil, I coated the strip of tofu and heated up my new cast iron grill pan that I keep attempting to cook everything in! 

Then I started chopping veggies.... carrots, red peppers, onions, green onions, broccoli, zucchini etc and stir fried them up in a bit of grapeseed oil and fresh ginger.  

Once I put my tofu in the hot grill pan I quickly realized that they weren't getting nice little grill marks and crisping up... as a matter of fact they were kinda just sticking to the pan and then falling apart when I tried to pry them off.. 
stove action shot!
And so my nice tofu steaks now became pieces and got plopped in to the stir fry pan.  

Ok so as these veggies are stir-frying away, I am looking through the spice cupboard and realize I don't have much in the way of asian sauces currently so in goes some red curry paste and a can of light coconut milk (a new whole foods find!).  

Brown rice on the stovetop as well in my cute little orange le creuset pot.... 

final product

So in go a can of sliced water chestnuts, some frozen shelled edamame, and (as with most every dish I cook) chick peas, chopped cashews and then once plated over rice, a few sliced almonds.  

There was for sure no recipe on this one as it's like 4 cultures rolled in to one but it sure was yummy!  However since I did not attempt to modify this recipe I now have lunch for tomorrow and a giant container for the freezer! 

All this chopping and cooking sure did make me long for my giant kitchen back in Finland with ample counter space but I guess less counter = less room for mess! 

the dance....

"I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance" Garth Brooks 
 
If ultimately we knew the ending of a book would we read it?  If you knew ahead of time that someone was going to leave your life, would you still open yourself up to love them for the time you had? Would you expose yourself to the potential pain that could be caused in the end, to enjoy the happy times along the way? Would you skip the dance if it meant that you would never be hurt?

I seem to have been contemplating this a lot lately as I work on my book - of which I finally decided on a title so that makes it actually seem real.  I have no idea if it would ever be published but just writing it is cathartic and healing.  But it does bring me back to this question again - do I spend the time and emotion writing it, even if I'm not guaranteed that it will ever be read by anyone other than me? 


I do truly believe that people are meant to be in our lives for a specific purpose - not everyone is meant to be there for a lifetime.   Sometimes you meet someone along the way that seems to come out of the blue, but in the end they teach you something and make you feel stronger about yourself.  The tricky part is recognizing when it's time to let them back out of your life.  I mean you will always have the imprint of them on your heart or in  your mind, but to see what their lesson was to teach you and then to stop wanting more is usually difficult.  It is for me anyways.  Once someone is in my heart, as family, friend or love, I'm not one to ever really stop caring about them.  I don't know that I truly ever let anyone go that means something to me. 


So it brings me back to my initial question - if you knew someone was only meant to be in your life for a short time, would you still allow them into your heart knowing that you would ultimately have to say goodbye?  It's a hard thought to process and I'm not sure we can ever really know the answer since it's usually not until the time you part, that you realize that person isn't meant to be in your life forever.  


I've been thinking a lot lately about the people who have come in and out of my life - people who fought hard battles yet were taken too young, friends that I have had forever that I cannot imagine my life without, the strength of family that loves each other fiercely, and others that may have been brief encounters which ended up still making an impact.   Though sometimes it is hard to feel a strong connection to someone and know they can't be in your life forever,  we have to try to focus on why it is that they were sent to us - the lesson they were meant to teach us or the gift they were meant to give.  And then, leaving a special place for them in your heart, let them go. 


Looking back, I don't think that I would have ever changed a thing so far in my life.  It's the dance that is the important part - the journey through life - not the endings or the pain afterwards.  I think life would be too boring without "the dance". It's usually the pain of letting go that shows us that we did truly care about that person or people.  Perhaps feeling that hurt in a way is a good thing because it demonstrates that yes, we did open ourselves up to love and that person was meant to leave a footprint on our path.  


So.... 
dance, 
love, 
hurt, 
heal, 
fall, 
rise up,
love, 
dance, 
live.


xo

05 April 2011

good morning sunshine....

since I tend to still just sleep on my side of the bed..... 
here's who takes up the other half
   
                          
 miss ruby-lou
   


04 April 2011

Clean eating

Starting the week with a trip to Whole Foods always makes me a happy camper.  Not only do they carry such lovely organic & local produce, but their staff is so helpful (I love that the girl at the meat counter remembers me and the fact that I don't like fennel!) and everything is so clearly marked gluten-free which makes shopping a breeze. 

So prior to our bikini shopping extravaganza we hit the grocery store and started off with a nice fresh lunch where my sister decided that she would ideally like to live in a world where she had a salad bar in her house.  We can always dream right?  (My suggestion was to go home and chop everything she buys into tiny pieces, store in various containers and then take them all out on the counter when she is ready to prepare a meal to recreate the experience!) 

I stocked up on nice fresh veggies, Udi's gluten-free bread (the best ever!) and a few goodies from the meat and fish counters. Of course I also purchased all the birthday and anniversary cards for those celebrating in the month of April and spent the rest of the night organizing who gets which one! 

Fresh tilapia was on sale so I bought a few pieces and came up with this for dinner in hopes to eat cleanly this week prior to said bikini wearing! 

After marinating (in grapeseed oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, siracha hot sauce and fresh cilantro) I grilled these babies up on my new cast iron grill pan.  

Laid over a salad with greens, carrots, chick peas, strawberries, fresh cilantro, green onions, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds and balsamic vinaigrette, it was a delicious and healthy meal.  

03 April 2011

Good days, bad days....

..... and then there are the days where you go bikini shopping.

Gran Caribe Real Cancun
In one week from today, thanks to my very generous mother, my sister and I will be leaving for this beautiful resort.  Four nights & five days of sunshine, warm air and relaxing! I can't think of anything else that would be better to help me clear my mind right now.  Laying in the sun, reading books, eating delicious food, afternoon workouts cheesy nightly hotel entertainment and 24hr all-inclusive room service.... 

So since this is a last minute booking (and since I'm still without most of my summer wardrobe) I'm in a pinch to find a bathing suit.  So being pms & bloated and after eating a nice big lunch @ whole foods, along with downing a litre of water, it seemed like the perfect time to try on bathing suits.  Or have a temper tantrum in the dressing room & threaten to slit my wrists to the gentleman (yes a man) inside the room, giving his opinion to his wife trying on clothes.   Seriously.  

Now not only did I go in with one handful, a glutton for punishment, I went BACK to the bikini section for round two.  Then after careful consideration I decided that the dressing rooms were actually the reason I looked so awful and that I looked way cuter fully clothed and perhaps I should spend the rest of the day that way.  

So here is my opinion, I think that there should be special change rooms allotted for those trying on jeans, swimsuits or bras as shopping for those three items are just about enough to drive a woman over the edge to insanity.  In these special dressing rooms should be a pleasant and neutral wall colour; warm, soft lighting; a skinny mirror perhaps etched with the words "you look beautiful" on it; and even a nice comfy settee and a box of tissues for those who still manage to break down.  

ke$ha & her bikini
I honestly don't really care about those imperfections I see in the changing room once I am actually there on the beach.  And truth be told, I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin with all it's curves and my booty.   I am very grateful just to be sitting my butt in the sun with my sis.
And so, as we leave the change room area and head in to the store my sister turns to me and simply says..."well at least we still look better than Ke$ha." Amen sister - that we do!

01 April 2011

Mr Sandman...where are you?

It's 12.24am. 
I cannot fall asleep as much I would like to. 
I worked all day, ate dinner and then worked all evening trying to wrap up the loose ends on my financials so I can finally hand them over to my accountant.  
I'm exhausted and would really like to sleep.
I didn't run today - maybe that's the problem..... 
I've tried all my tried and trues (ie: gone pee, made toast, made tomorrow's to-do list, made next week's to-do list, wrote two thank you cards, and had a little cry feeling sorry for myself) and NOTHING is working! 
I am a "head on pillow, out like a light" kinda girl so not sleeping drives me a bit bonkers and I usually end up in tears.  
My table inspiration....
So what else is a girl with an empty 2 bedroom apartment to do in the middle of the night but online shop?  I took a few moments to browse kijiji to see what sort of treasures I could find.   I did send in an offer for 4 dining chairs that will match the ones I just bought the other day.  And by match I mean they are both black laquer and uniquely shaped with seats I can reupholster - my idea of matching isn't like most! I think I may have convinced daddy-dearest to assist me with my attempt to build my own dining room table so these chairs would be great to have and I love a project or two!

It's quite amazing to me people's ideas of "mint" condition in their listings where it's pretty obvious the piece they are trying to hock is completely trashed.  And then there is the listing for an overstuffed armchair - in poor condition, with a big rip down the middle of the seat and stuffing exposed.  I know honesty is the best policy but I think it's probably time to retire that chair and not try to pawn it off on someone else for $10.  Just a thought here in the middle of the night...

On to some actual reputable stores... found two danish wood end tables that I'm thinking would make lovely bedside tables however they could also fit nicely in my stark living room!  I can't wait to have my "stuff" home with me - I really do love my apartment but I don't quite feel like it's home yet.  Currently the dining room is strewn with paperwork, files and catalogs for fall/winter buying (which is on this week's to-do list!).  I have great plans but would really like to settle in, hang photos, put out my books and start this new life which seems to be looming on the horizon not happening in the here and now.  

I am most certainly my parents (borderline hoarders) child.  I do treasure things and relish good finds and admit it's sometimes difficult to part with those items that are tied to certain memories.  But that said, after having moved close to a dozen times this past decade, I've pared down to really what matters most to me and I'm kinda missing that 'stuff' right now.  If this is it - "my new life" - then I'd like to get started.  There are times when it still feels like I'm going to wake up from this bad dream.  I think I need my 'stuff' back with me to solidify that this really is my new home and I'm already awake and new adventures lie ahead.  I know it's not the 'stuff' in  your life that's important - it's the people you share it with and lives you touch along the way.  But that said, we also need a place to call home and in that home, you need 'stuff'.