Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What Do You Need Vs. What Do You Want

Hello Friends,

I've been in deep thought lately. My life is really changing these days. As most of my friends know, Alex and I found some squirrels in our basement walls back in early June. We released them this week and they're doing just fine, sticking close to the back yard, which is really nice. :) I never thought I'd become a wildlife rescuer, ha ha! ;)

Our six pets are also doing really well. All healthy and happy! Though I had to stop the dog walks because there is a very dangerous loose dog near the trails where I used to walk. It attacked Jack a few weeks back and now I just don't feel safe at all. I called the police, they spoke to the owner, but not much else can be done so it's a frustrating situation. This village is a cesspool for irresponsible pet owners, sigh. Breaks my heart for the animals.

But...our home, though a rental, is cozy and comfy.

Food is good, I'm making lots of cheese and starting to preserve what's in season.

The garden is flourishing, my next task is to pick all of those yellow and green beans!

My relationship is on track and we're happy.

My health though...well, I have a few issues. Not just the anxiety that causes me to have difficulties swallowing food and digesting it, but I've developed sciatica in my right leg. The food thing will always be with me, and though I will never EVER get used to it, I accept it.

The sciatica though, NO WAY am I living with that pain for my entire life. It really started in April when I made two road trips to visit houses for sale. The first road trip was 23 hours of driving in a 48 hour period - it was brutal. The second road trip was a 14 hour drive in 24 hours - again really difficult. And they were about 2 weeks apart. I remember driving home from the second trip - in tears and wailing out loud that I felt like I was being tortured.

I dislocated my right knee back in the late 2000's and I was already dealing with chronic joint pain there. The sciatica made it feel like a knife stabbing my knee relentlessly.

Pain killers and Rain don't mix. Besides Tylenol (which doesn't work for this kind of pain), pain killers make me nauseous so I can't really take them - even if I'm desperate. No win situation.

Doctors are all quacks around here - IF you're lucky enough to even see one who cares - 'nuf said. I can't afford physical therapy so I'm basically on my own.

After doing hours and hours of research, I realized that the driving messed me up. Most car seats are "bucket" style seats and they aren't very ergonomically correct for a healthy spine and skeletal system. My sciatica is on my right side, my driving leg side.

When I analyzed my driving posture, my's is horrid, my legs are not parallel to the ground, my legs are so short I have to be right up against the steering wheel, and the head rest is pushed forward, causing me to goose neck out in front. No wonder I'm in pain.

It's gotten to the point where I can't even sit through a movie without shouting out in agony. I realized that nobody is going to help me but MYSELF so I have some big changes to make.

I know that being forced to stop the daily dog walks in the woods have made me less active. I went through a bit of a depression in July and I stopped all of my exercise as well. This all made for a perfect recipe of pain and suffering (oh how dramatic!).

Since I'm the driver of our little family, I need to make sure I don't continue to injure myself. Next spring when we start the house hunt again, I'll be taking many long road trips and I need to be pain-free to do it.

1. I'm looking into cushions, bolts and gadgets to make driving easier with sciatica pain.

2. I'm going to reset my seat in the car so I'm not as close to the steering wheel, and also fix that damn headrest. I have to find a way to adjust the seat so my legs aren't dangling - cutting off my circulation. 

3. I have already found videos on You Tube that show where to massage for the "trigger points" of where my pain seems to be coming from. I can self-massage or Alex will help me with that one.

4. I have found exercises I can do at home to help my healing.

5. I am actually considering joining a gym so I can go 5-6 times a week to exercise properly with good machines and proper weights. If the cost is too much, I have to set up a home gym here which will require buying some equipment.

6. Because doing lots of cardio activity irritates my digestion, I have to ensure a meditation routine twice a day again to make sure I can actually eat the food I cook.

Do I WANT to do all of this? Honestly - NO. It feels like it's taking precious time away from me where I could be in the garden, painting, drawing, loving my pets, cooking and baking and spending time with Alex.

Do I NEED to do all of this? YES.

This got me thinking about needs versus wants. I WANT nice clothes, nice furniture, a big old pick up truck...I WANT an RV...I WANT a big house and an art studio, I WANT to buy lots of hats and some cowboy boots...I WANT to have all the money in my bank account dedicated to cheese making and cooking. I want I want I want...

Chuck Black Painting - One Of My Heroes!

What do I NEED to be happy?

- Love
- Alex
- Our pets
- A forever home (next spring is IT, we decided, do or die, we ARE buying a house)
- A garden
- Nature
- Supportive and loving friends
- A pain-free (as much as possible) life
- Good health
- Enough money to pay our bills and live below our means
- Beauty and creativity in art and my hobbies
- Creativity in the kitchen through baking, preserving and cooking
- Frugality, a simple life
- Quiet and peace - no society, no neighbours, no weekenders, no condo developments

What do I WANT to be happy?


So doesn't that mean I need to do whatever it takes to get what I need and want in life? YES. That means I need a different perspective - the exercise and money I need to spend to help with my body pain is NECESSARY to get what I want. If I keep telling myself this, it will become my truth! If I need to dedicate $150 a month (gym fees and gas money) plus 3-4 hours of my time daily to making myself as healthy and pain-free as possible...why am I resisting? To save a few bucks? To somehow be lazy? Ugh...did life really start going downhill at 50???? If I want to stay active into my 100's (because I plan to live well over 100 years old!!), I need to take care of my aching body NOW.

Or am I making excuses and having a pity party? Well, either way I'm sick of it, so I'm taking action!

Oh my, I had a lot on my mind today! :) When Rain has a THOUGHT, I definitely have a deep one.

What do you need versus what you want? What are you able/willing to do to get it? What have you accepted that you can't have? How do you cope and live your best life despite your challenges? And most importantly, are you grateful for what you have?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Ready For A Change!

Have you ever been in one of those moods where you just want to take a really good look at your life, how you live it, what you miss, what you've given up and what changes you'd like to make?

I've been in that mood lately so I made this Tarot spread to help me get through it. I think when you decide to make a big change in your life, the first thing you need is the will. If you aren't willing to make the change and see it through, no matter how much you try to convince yourself and others you're ready, you'll always give up. 

I also think you need to be prepared. You can't just wing things because if you don't have a plan, you may give up after a few steps back. When I make big changes, I always have a plan of action and a list of back up plans; and I've been successful that way. Mind you, I'm also a creature of habit and LOVE routine, so lists and directions help me out a lot!

Life is good but it can always be greater.

There is no better time like the present to make changes that you need or want to make! :)

Friday, May 17, 2019

It's Never Too Late

Hello Friends :)

I hope you all had a great week and (in Canada) have a nice long weekend ahead! (I'll be hiding from the weekenders lol!)

It's never too late to start something new or change your path.

- Julia Child started cooking classes when she was nearly 40.
- Colonel Sanders started franchising his chicken restaurants when he was 62.
- Martha Stewart's fame and success came in her early 40's when she published her first book on entertaining.
- Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of the Species in his 50's.

....I remember when I was 21 years old, thinking that it was too late for me to go back to University to start a degree in Business. After high school, I did one year of Cegep ** and never got my diploma so I figured I was just a deadbeat and I'd never succeed...oh my gosh how naive I was (and how influenced by judgmental family too)! A year later I faced my fear of failure because I regretted wasting that entire year and went back to Concordia University in Montreal and got my Business degree. Too late? It's never too late!!!

**Cegep is a Quebec phenomena...high school goes to grade 11, then students do 2 years of Cegep (which is like college but with more mandatory courses to control the recently "freed" high school kids)...then you go on to University. I read that it was invented to keep kids in school longer during a time where jobs were scarce.

Tomorrow's moon is a special one: the Full Flower Blue Moon. Most people know that a Blue Moon is defined as the second full moon in a month. I learned something new today in the Farmer's Almanac. The traditional meaning of a Blue Moon is the third full moon to occur in an astronomical season. Since March's full moon occurred on the Equinox, May's full moon will be the third this spring, making it a Blue Moon. Interesting stuff in that almanac!

May's Full Flower Moon symbolizes blossoming flowers and gradual growth. It's a good time to push through the darkness and allow ourselves to flourish by:

- casting away what's been dragging us down

- acknowledging areas where we have neglected ourselves and attending to them

- soaking up the brightness of the Moon and the warmth of the Sun to gather energy and self-awareness

- shedding the "outer skin" that's been trapping us

- looking at ourselves in a whole new light

- embracing change

Full moons always give off intense energy and you might feel pulled towards creativity and celebration - so embrace that! I am! I ordered a digital pen and mouse pad yesterday, my creative juices are flowing and I'm finally going to try out some digital painting and drawing! I can't wait for it to arrive. I found one that plugs right into my laptop since I don't have a tablet! 

Blue moons don't come around too often, neither do second chances or opportunities...if you were waiting for a good time for a second chance or to seize an opportunity, it's here, take it and use it!

If you want to do a little kitchen witch ritual for luck tomorrow, light candles that represent the colours of flowers - pink, blue, green, yellow...and cook up something with cinnamon. Why not make my Cinnamon Crunch Knots? :) When you stir, do so clockwise (also called Deosil in Gaelic) to attract positivity and luck. (Stirring counter-clockwise, or Widdershins, repels negativity and banishes).

Cinnamon is for luck, but be creative, this is a magical ritual after all :)  If you're wishing for luck in health, add lemons or pumpkins to your recipe; luck in love, add some chocolate or honey; luck for success, use sunflower seeds; and just for luck in general, add some orange to your baking! Pour your positive energy into everything you do! :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Reminder For All Of Us

Foggy Night in 2018

1. Procrastinating.
2. Blaming.
3. Avoiding change.
4. Trying to control what's uncontrollable.
5. Criticizing yourself and others.
6. Minimizing your problems and fears.
7. Overemphasizing your problems and fears.
8. Living for tomorrow.
9. Living in the past.
10. Trying to be someone you are not.
11. Being ungrateful.
12. Allowing negative, toxic people to influence you or upset your life.

Sunset on Prince Edward Island 2010


You are alive. You have a roof over your head. You had a meal before bed last night. You can see a doctor if you get sick. You have a person or a beloved pet who loves you and trusts you. You have a choice of how to live your life. You can feel the warmth of the sun and the cold of the wind. You can read. You have clean drinking water. You can taste the sweetness of chocolate and the sourness of a lemon. You are a great person and people appreciate you!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Day 30 of 30 Days of Self Love: Pray

"Morning Frost" (oil)

Good morning Friends! :)

A month has flown by...I hope you spent the last 30 days practicing self love; and I hope you continue to do so for the rest of your life! :)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to pray. Regardless of our religious and/or spiritual beliefs, most of us practice some form of prayer. I turned my back on any form of spirituality for years, I had such pessimism and figured all was lost anyway - I was so deep in depression. But as I worked through the pain of depression and educated myself on the different religions of the world and the vast spiritual doctrines based on Nature, Science and the Universe - I started to feel a pull. It took me decades to find my path and the journey was absolutely fascinating!

As many of you know, I follow a Nature-based spirituality which can be defined as Paganism, though I've never been rigid with any kind of dogma. I found what makes me happy. Spirituality and prayer really gives me a sense of comfort and hope and I think that if anyone, whatever they believe, feels that sense of comfort, hope and unconditional love through religion, spirituality and prayer, then they are one of the lucky ones! :) 

In my case, prayer is asking the Universe for kindness, empathy and guidance; trusting that everything will work out for me as long as I continue to love myself. 

I also feel that the Law of Attraction is a form of prayer for me. When I ask the Universe to help manifest things I want in my life, I follow it up with actions that support my thoughts, dreams, emotions and words. I try to project out positivity to attract it back. 

"Forest Home" (oil)

I do this every morning when I'm out walking the dogs. As soon as I leave the village center and make my way onto the back roads and then into the woods, I feel my spirituality strengthening and I begin to pray. I feel a gush of gratitude and happiness when I'm chatting with Nature and the Universe! I've often thought that I'm feeling Mother Nature hugging me. :)

Thanks to all those who took part in my challenge this month! I loved reading your comments, it was a lot of fun! I learned a lot about you and you gave me lots of insight and food for thought!

I have a book called The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie. It's a wonderful book with daily meditations and prayers. Today's prayer is a very powerful one, so I'll end my post with it and wish you a wonderful day!

"Today, help me focus on a peaceful pace rather than a harried one. I will keep moving forward gently, not frantically. Help me let go of my need to be anxious, upset, and harried. Help me replace it with a need to be at peace and in harmony."

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Day 29 of 30 Days of Self Love: Drink Water!

Swimming in the river with Charlie a few summers back

Hello Friends :)

Sunday's nice and quiet here, I'm the only one awake! Alex is a night owl and sleeps until afternoon some days. All six pets are twitching and snoring's POURING RAIN outside so the snowmobiles are's a peaceful and solitary time for me! :)

Today's Self Love Challenge seems so simple: DRINK WATER. We all know the benefits of staying hydrated, heck it's vital for life.

I've had an up and down relationship with drinking water. For the longest time I found it sickeningly sweet. That's when I lived in Montreal, I hated the drinking water there. I put it through filters and I just always felt nauseous drinking it.

Waterfall in the woods

Then I started on bottled water, but either always suffered dry mouth or heartburn from it. It got to the point where I was only drinking a brand called Montellier, it's an effervescent mineral water. I was going through 2 bottles a day of that stuff and it was getting expensive. There were times when I couldn't find the amount of bottles I needed for a month's supply and I ended up getting dehydrated a lot, drinking high sugar juices and sodas when I was thirsty.

The water in our current rental was always rusty and I didn't want to even try drinking it because my water-drinking experiences were always so bad. November, the price of Montellier water doubled so I had no choice but to figure out why I was having so much trouble drinking water! I did a lot of research and discovered that bottled waters fall into two categories:

Alkaline with a PH of over 7
Acidic with a PH of under 7

After doing more research, I read that some people react badly to acidic waters, they suffer dry mouth and heartburn, indigestion and swollen tongues! That sounded like me, so I did a few tests. I have a PH meter that I'd bought for my cheese-making, so I pulled it out and did tests on the water we had in the house.

Water refill from grocery store (no brand): 5.3
Naya: 5
Esca: 7.2
Nestle Pure Life: 7.8
Tap: 8.1
Tap through a Brita filter: 7.9

For me, the Naya water was the worst. I had immediate dry mouth and a swollen white tongue. I decided I wanted to get used to tap water again, so I got the water tested and it was fine for drinking, even though there was a little rust/iron in it, the lab suggested using the Brita filter to help with that.

Waterworks at the duck pond

The big day for me was November 16th - I drank my first glass of filtered tap water in years! Huzzah! No dry mouth, no heartburn, no swollen tongue! :) I still found it a little sweet for me, but I have gotten used to it now. I find that if I have it cold on ice, the sweetness is cut a little bit.

I remember as a kid, hating lemonade, especially pink lemonade because it made me so thirsty!! I still can't drink lemonade! (Minute Maid Lemonade has a PH of less than 3! Very acidic!!) I read a fun fact, battery acid has a PH of 1.0. 😇

When you're dehydrated, you are at risk for many problems. I remember one time my heart was racing so fast, I felt faint...and it was all due to lack of hydration. A friend of mine told me she was dehydrated one day and felt so weak, she thought she was having a heart attack.

We know that being hydrated is great for your skin and your digestion, your organs, your entire well-being and health. It also helps to keep the weight at a healthy range and it keeps your muscles supple.

I just had a memory...when I was in grade school, we used to have gym outside on hot days. The gym teacher had us running around for hours, there were no water bottles or anything like that for us. So many of us kids would have terrible cramps in our sides...all due to dehydration. The gym teacher would tell us to just walk it off. Yikes.

Are you a fan of water? How do you make sure you drink enough?

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Day 28 of 30 Days of Self Love: Why Are You A Good Catch?

Fishing on Bass Lake last spring

Hi Friends :)

Happy Saturday! Oh guess what? IT'S SNOWING. if this surprises me...though at this time of year, it won't stick around too long. We have freezing rain in the forecast this afternoon so I really hope we don't lose power!

I'm spending the day in the kitchen. For many months now, I've felt like I was going through the motions as I made meals and sweet treats. My heart just wasn't into it. But in the last few days, I've been getting my "kitchen mojo" back! :) I decided today I'm making a real Italian meal...I have some bread rising, some homemade Ricotta draining in the cheesecloth for my Italian Cheesecake...dinner will be a pasta dish from my Dom Deluise "Eat This" cookbook...and of course, red wine! :) I can't wait to eat!!! (I'll post all of the recipes on my main blog in a day or so!)

So today's Self Love Challenge is to write down a list of why you are a "good catch". Whether you are in a relationship or not, want to be or not, I think it's a good exercise to think about all of the great things you have to offer another person, your family or society! By doing this exercise, you reinforce to yourself all of your great qualities. :)

I think I'm a good catch because:

- I have a big heart that is filled with love, compassion, empathy, generosity and care.
- I have a great sense of humour.
- I like to be active and do fun things.
- I am very handy for small repairs around the house.
- I am a passionate cook and baker (getting back quickly to that!!).
- I'm great with finances, know how to budget and invest (within my own risk comfort!).
- I can have a great conversation.
- I'm creative with my art and my crafts.

As I write things out, I think of more and more things I can add to the list! If nobody else appreciates why you are a good catch...that's okay, because YOU do! :)

Why are you a good catch? :)