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? :)

Friday, March 29, 2019

Day 27 of 30 Days of Self Love: Unplug!

A gorgeous drake at the duck pond!

Hello my Friends! :)

Is there another word for hypocritical??? I don't want to say I'm a hypocrite, but today's challenge may put me in that position lol... ;)

Today's Self Love Challenge is to UNPLUG. Stay off the internet, don't be glued to your phone, don't be tempted to check your email or social media account when you hear a "beep" notification! I realize that I'm on the internet writing a post and I've been on the internet all morning answering me telling you to unplug may seem slightly duplicitous....(oooh big word lol, I have my thesaurus handy!!!)

Seriously though, are you old enough to remember the days BEFORE the internet, before smart phones and Facebook and Instagram? I am. I only learned to use a computer when I went to secretarial school in 1987. After I left home, I spent a few years partying and working in bars, then I realized I needed a better job. The secretarial school taught me to type and take shorthand, and taught me how to use a computer. It wasn't like the computers of today though...kind of looked like this:

MS Dos was the language before "Windows"...When I got my first job in finance, I was on a training program to learn how to use Windows 3.1. That was in 1993 before Windows 95 came out. I remember thinking at that time that life as I knew it had completely changed! Remember that dial-up modem sound?  :)

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the internet. Information at my finger tips...communication with friends any time I want...paying bills, checking bank accounts, shopping...and now finding real definitely has made life much easier for a hermit like me! :)

But once in a while, it's good to focus on the non-technical...the garden, Nature, your pets, your family, your a book, go for a walk, open a cook book and make something in the kitchen, do some photography, some art, some home get the idea! :) Enjoy some time in the REAL world!!! :)

On that note, I just want to say that I am slowly but surely removing myself from social media. I never had a Facebook account, but I have been on Instagram for the last year or so. I initially opened an account to follow a few art challenges, but I noticed over the last year that I started to become too "into" the platform by posting photos of the pets, my garden, myself and day to day things. I find myself checking my phone MANY times a day to see if I got "likes" or comments. I was never like that before and I want to get back to the person I was. I will always have my blogs and I love visiting my friend's blogs too! But I think that Blogger will be the only platform I use from now on! That's my way of disconnecting from technology a little bit more!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Day 26 of 30 Days of Self Love: Sleep Well

Sleepy Dana

Hello Friends :)

I hope you're all happy and healthy! It's a grey day today, and it's raining. This worries me since there is still a tremendous amount of snow out there...we're on basement watch these days, any sign of water infiltration and we're emptying everything out of there.

Today's Self Love Challenge is to sleep well. Sleep is SO important...and it took me until I was in my 40's to really appreciate a good night's sleep. I used to brag about how I only needed 4-5 hours of sleep each night - this was during my working days when I worked 100 hours a week and probably went through 10 cups of coffee each day. We all know how that turned out!

Jack: He loves a tummy rub before bed!

Sleep deprivation is responsible for the following:

1. Temporary memory lapses and distorted perception.

2. Moodiness, crankiness and irritability.

3. Lack of coordination and a slower reaction time.

4. A compromised immune system.

5. Your appetite goes into overdrive because your satiety sensation suffers.

6. You probably don't look as good as you normally do: puffy eyes, bags, circles...lack of sleep promotes wrinkles too. 

7. Continued lack of sleep can increase blood pressure and make you prone to cardiovascular disease.

Ready for bed! :)

I know that when I don't get enough sleep, my digestion suffers and my dysphagia really acts up (that's a problem swallowing food). I also have lack of energy, motivation and an overall drive to do things I normally wouldn't think twice doing. I feel anxiety easier and I also find that my heart beats a lot faster when I do simple things like climbing the stairs. I tire so easily.

A long time ago, I decided I wanted to make my bedroom a sanctuary. Though it's true that Alex and I use the bedroom as our living room of sorts - we watch movies in bed and play board games in bed; once 10pm rolls around, the computers, cell phones and remote controls are banished. I try to read a little bit while sipping a chamomile tea to really relax myself for a good night's sleep.

I also do some stretches before bed and a body scan. By body scan, I mean when I'm lying down, I start at my toes and work my way all the way up to my face. I tense up my muscles for a few seconds, one at a time, then relax them. It does wonders!

Charlie and Marlene love to sleep on the futon.

I used to let some of the pets sleep with me, but they really move around a lot, so Jack is the only one allowed in the bedroom now, and he has his own bed on the floor. He's the type of dog who needs coaxing to GET UP in the morning, so he doesn't bother my sleep during the night! The cats never want to stay in one place and the two huskies love to sleep in Alex's office on the extra futon we have there. Alex is more of a light sleeper so he wears ear plugs to bed now.

Another important change we made was that dinner is no later than 6pm now. I personally can't sleep if I haven't digested well.

Exercise during the day helps to tire the body out so you can remain asleep for the time you need.

Last year we invested money in a new mattress, some very good pillows and comfy bedding, that really helps a lot. Since we have 6 pets, and yes, they are all allowed up on the bed during movies...we make sure that we have clean linen regularly. When you're relaxed, comfy and cozy, sleep is easier!

Do you have a sleep routine?