Back to Basics

So, now that my mind seems to be behaving in a somewhat consistent pattern (I didn’t even nap this weekend!), it’s time to work the idea of excersise in to my life!
Do I want to go to the gym?  No…
Do I want to run 10KM races?  Not now
Do I want to obsess about calories vs excersise? No!
I used to do all of that… I used to read the labels of packages and be excited when I found some new yummy snack that was a ‘perfect zone snack’.  I used to really care about that stuff.  And in the last few years, I stopped caring about everything… it was survival you see.
When I was in my coma of survival mode, I thought many times about my health and fitness. I was just sure that it would come a time when I went back to my old ways.  When my excitement came from discussing calories and excersise technique and reading fitness magazines.  When that was what drove me out of bed every morning and drove me into bed in anticipation of the next day every night.
What surprised me is that not only has that not come back, but I’ve been vehemently opposed to it.  Being a self reflective type of person, I figured I’d better go inside myself and find out why this was not my new and burning desire… why the thought of doing what I knew I once loved was so bitter tasting to me.
Well, I think I’ve got it.
The overarching theme of my feelings, thinking back over the last few (and the last two and a half in particular) years was instability.  A lack of calm.  A lack of real and true love…  Of being alone in a sinking ship and not knowing how to save it or myself.  A real and total loss of control.
If you know me at all, you know I like to be in control.  I like to make plans, I like to know what’s going on and I don’t particularly care for surprises.
When I gave up my control in the past couple years, I figured the most important thing to me would be getting it back.  And in part I have.  I now have a clean house, I cook what I want, I do what I want and I certainly don’t do a single thing that I don’t want to do…
When I think about that in relation to fitness and health, you’d think for sure that what I want the most is the control of counting calories, being my own boss and really monitoring and controling what I am eating and what fitness I’m doing.
Turns out that THE MOST important thing to me, out of all the things I lost was a sense of calm.  Of peacefulness.  Because worse than having no control was having no peace.  No sense of calm comfort.
I have that now… intermitently at times, but I have my calm. My mind is at peace, which I have not been able to say for some time.
When I think about fitness, the thing I want most is to maintain that sense of calm.  Maybe that won’t be important to me in two months, but right now, it’s THE most important thing.
So I made some plans with that in mind.
Sam and I are going to start walking around the Stanley Park Seawall (8.9KM) on the weekends in the morning. Sundays to start but Saturdays probably when he’s not in school.
Sharon and I are going to take the dogs for woods walks on the weekend (alternating days to the wall)
I think back to the basics is the key here… and keeping my calm and peaceful state of mind.

Pilot Project

The other day I made a Smash Book page dedicated to me.  I figured that I made one for my sister, Sam and Kathleen and wrote lovely things about them, put pictures and stickers and sayings about what they meant to me… and I thought I deserved one for me.  I called it Love Letter 2 Me and I wrote lovely things about myself, what I like about myself and my strengths and offerings in the world.  I sent it to Kathleen and she texted me back with a beautiful text message longer than my iphone screen that said such wonderful things about me.  It was totally unexpected but really amazing to read.
In discussing the message, we came up with sort of plan, based on a memory Kathleen had from college.  Basically you would give a number of your closest friends and relatives an index card and ask them to write something about you.  In Kathleen’s case the respondees wrote the unique qualities about her.  In my case, I wouldn’t care what someone wrote…as long as it was kind and uplifting.  My unique qualities, the characteristics about me that they like the most, a favorite memory of me or us together…
And don’t think this is selfish undertaking.  I think that everyone that wants to have it done for them needs to ensure that they’re willing to do it for others.  So if I give you a card to fill out about me, I’d fill one out about you.  If you give someone a card to fill out about you, you have to be willing to fill one out for everyone that returns it to you.
I should think that your family and close friends (whether you’ve ever met them in person or not) would be the ideal candidates.
What do you think?  Would you be interested in being involved in this?  Not necessarily with me, but with your own group of friends and family?  I’d like to judge response and then I would like to host a monthly sharing time on this blog for people to share how it touched them and how they’ve touched others.

Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats

On Friday night my girlfriend slept over… We drank a LOT of wine (some of us drank a bit more than others… some of us also think we should plan our next sleep over soon so some of us can drink MORE wine).
Knowing what I know about us, I knew that I should have a plan for breakfast.
So plan I did… and then, when I got up at the crack of dawn (after having drank what I would define as a LOT of wine), I realized I didn’t have two of the ingredients to make my planned breakfast.  So I put my coat on over my pajamas and troddled off to the store… lucky for me, there’s no one out and about at 7am on a Saturday morning… Lucky because my flannel pants made me look like I was a 14 year old girl that’s trying to rebel against the world.  When I got home from my flannel clad excursion, I was ready to make us a hearty and healthy breakfast.  Make sure you eat this in your favorite flannel pj’s with your favorite girlfriend.  Tastes best that way!
Recipe from The Kitchn
My notes in red.
Baked Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal
serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided I don’t actually think you need the first amount of butter to toast the oats.  Next time I’d leave that off)
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup pumpkin or squash puree I used canned pumpkin.  Next time I’d use the whole can of pumpkin (14 floz)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg I used pumpkin pie spice because I’m lazy.  Put a lot in!
2 cups milk  Apparently you can do this with any type of dairy or non dairy milk.  I bet almond milk would be good!
2 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla I scraped out half a vanilla bean and also cooked the pod in the oats.
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat the oven to 375°F. In a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. (Your burner shouldn’t be on at full blast, but the butter should melt quickly.) When the butter foams up, stir in the oats and fry them, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until they smell toasted.
Push the oats up against the side of the pan, (I took them out entirely because the pan I was using was too small) and drop the second tablespoon of butter in the now clear center of the pan. Dump in the pumpkin puree. Fry it in the butter, only stirring after about a minute. Stir in the sugar and spices and continue frying the puree for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the color darkens slightly and the raw smell disappears. It’s OK if a few dark brown spots appear as the puree sticks to the pan.
Pour in the milk and whisk everything to combine. Whisk in the water, vanilla and salt. Put a lid on the pan and put it in the oven. Bake for 35 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, and carefully lift the lid (be cautious as steam will billow out). Stir the oatmeal. It will look quite loose still, but the oats should be al dente and tender. The oatmeal will thicken rapidly as it cools.
Eat immediately with a drizzle of cream or milk and maple syrup, or let cool and then refrigerate. Heat up bowls in the microwave or on the stovetop.  This is actually very good cold straight from the fridge.  It’s a bit custardy and the oats are perfectly cooked.  Tastes like dessert for breakfast.  I don’t put anything else on it (no need for added sugar or dairy!)

Repeat after me:

Yesterday I felt calm…

Today I feel free…

I’m not going to say there aren’t going to be difficult times and there aren’t going to be any more memory bombs that come at me out of nowhere, but today is the first day that I can look at the last nine months and see that I’ve walked through and closed the door on that chapter. 

I know on the other side of that door is turmoil and pain and that will have played a part in creating a new and different me… a little less trusting, a litte more cautious… 

But I feel like I’m finally not a prisoner in my own mind anymore!
I feel like I can make decisions, instead of drifting through a horizontal space… That I can have ups and downs and still survive.  That I am in control of myself.
I made and brought my lunch for five days this week.  That may not seem like a big deal, but for someone that couldn’t find the will to do anything other than lay on the couch and stare, that’s a pretty big deal.  Not only did I make and bring my lunch… it was plain chicken breast and shed loads of fresh, raw vegetables.  Broccoli, carrots (yes, I even ate carrots!), pea pods, tomatoes and cauliflower.  I barely ate any arrowroots, drank only lemon water or plain water and didn’t snack in the evenings.  That’s a big deal!  If you’ve ever been depressed, you KNOW that’s a big deal!
I made my friend a treat like I said I would do and I have plans for crock pot cooking that isn’t just a pipe dream.  I’ve made goals and started to stick to them, I’ve made plans and I know they’re acheivable.  It feels like I have my heart-brain back… you know, the combination of the two that propell you forward… engage you in your own life.  That was missing.  I’m not saying that every day will be sunshine and rainbows, but I can only see a steady increase… My friend said back in May that my life would be on the upswing… Little did we all know what a long and dark slide I would have to endure before the climbing could begin… but climbing it is… only climbing from now on…

I woke up the other night with the following words blaring on repeat in my mind… 
I think the true and genuine me has finally gotten enough courage and strength to be more powerful than the me that was abused.

“Repeat after me: I did what I had to do to survive the situation at the time.  There is no shame in that”


Today I feel calm.  I feel secure… like a baby, swaddled in an extra thick flannel blanket.
I’m very tired.  I’ve been going through an intense emotional experience, but today, I feel calm.
I like calm…. I haven’t felt it for a while and it’s good to have it back.

I’m sorry Karma!

Well, I think Karma is teaching me a lesson… Yesterday my dad called from Tumbler Ridge where it is currently -28 and with the wind chill, feels like -41 (For my American friends, that translates to -18, with the wind chill feels like -36).  He was calling, hoping to mock me a little bit for the ‘blizzard’ that we were currently having.  Being a smartass myself, I laughed at him and told him that it was GORGEOUS out yesterday!  Blue skies, puffy white clouds and the sun glinting on the fresh snow in the distant mountains made it almost perfect.  I gloated and gloated… and this morning I woke up and it’s -7 (18F) and snowing… and snowing and snowing.  It is so cold in fact (relatively speaking, since I’ve lived here more than ten years and it’s never really gotten too cold) that I wore an alpaca hat this morning.  I knit this hat ages ago and never wore it because it’s bulky alpaca… just a bit warm for a place where it MAYBE reaches 0 (32F).  Well it certainly wasn’t too warm to wear it today!
How do you apologize to Karma for being cheeky?