Just Relax!

Not as easy done as said my friends.  There’s this thing I like to call my Brain Baggage.  It’s a never ending loop of worries and responsibilities and expectations.  It’s also creative thoughts, ideas, plans, dreams, goals.  Not all negative, but the result of carrying it all around at all times of the day (and night) is negative.
I don’t stop thinking about it, and certainly, it goes everywhere with me. Work, home, the bathroom, bedtime… anywhere I am, my pack of baggage is.  It’s hard to relax when you’re carrying that around.  It’s heavy and it constantly reminds you of it’s presence.  It strains your shoulders, burns your neck… your head and back ache from the strain of pretending that you don’t have an elephant strapped to your back… to your mind.
 
The answer then most definitely would be to set the damn pack down every once in a while and allow yourself to feel lighter wouldn’t it? To stretch your arms and legs… your back and shoulders and see what just being feels like… without being suffocated and weighed down.  Do you think if you set it down often enough, you could figure out how to pick less of it up every time.  How to differenciate between what is essential, and what can be left in storage.
 
Where do you store that non essential stuff so you don’t have to pack it around? I guess every person has a different storage system.  A blog, a list, a book. 
I often buy books… beautiful blank notebooks and then never write a spec in them.  I find the blank pages to be refreshing and an inspiration.  Perhaps I should let the book hold the brain baggage and let my mind be refreshing and an inspiration.
 
I’ve decided to commit to learning how to physically relax.. To putting down that Brain Baggage for a time…  I don’t relax.  I don’t ever ask my body to let go of what it’s holding on to and rejeuvenate.  I tried that last night… I’ve been having a terrible time sleeping… I can’t get to sleep and then when I’m asleep I feel like I’m busy the whole time so when I wake up, I need a nap to recover from being so ‘busy’ all night and I think that it’s not a great idea to have to take Gravol every night.
 
My friend Kathleen suggested I download an app (there’s an app for that!) that was a guided meditation… I did… it guided me through relaxing… from my tippy toes to the top of my head… Altho I guess you’re supposed to end up in some sort of ‘trance’, my mind was still beebopping all over the place but I could feel my body relaxing.  One thing at a time I told myself, so I allowed myself to just get what I could out of it, which was to feel my body relax.  I didn’t particularly care for her voice, so when that was done (30 min) I downloaded a different one.  It was a male voice and I’m not sure if it was because I had also taken a half a Gravol, or because I was really relaxed, but I managed to fall asleep.  Of course then I woke up, realized I’d been asleep, rejoiced a bit, took the headphones off, rolled over and then was WIDE AWAKE worrying about how I was going to fall back asleep.
 
I think putting my brain baggage in a book, setting down the pack every once in a while and learning how to breath and relax so as to give my body and mind a chance at relaxation will be immensely helpful.  Maybe I’ll still have to take a Gravol to go to sleep but I think that now that I have no toxins in my body, no toxins on my body, my mind deserves a break from all those toxins too.
 
It’s funny, this ‘grain free’ thing… When I committed to doing it, and found within days that it was a pleasant result, it started a snowball effect that continues on.  It made me realize how good it felt to treat that one part of myself well… and it made me want to sort out other parts… even ones that I wasn’t aware were bothering me…
 
Life is a constant renewal and reassessment… I guess I’ve been out of the loop in this for a while, but to me it seems like such an exciting adventure!

30 Days and Nights

So I made a commitment to spend 30 days grain and legume free.  I add in ‘legume free’ because altho I don’t eat beans much, I DO have an inappropriate love affair with peanut butter and apparently my bestfriend the Peanut is a legume.  I’m hoping that one day, in moderation (LOL!) I can renew a reasonable relationship with peanut butter…

That being said, I am sincerely amazed at how life changing a measly 30 days has been.  It jump started my mental process to a point that I was moving forward again.  To a point that I was making decisions for myself based on my own health and wellbeing and not just the innate urge to survive.

I took an even bigger plunge when I decided that no toxic crap IN my body should be matched with no toxic crap ON my body… I’ve written about that already… The baking soda shampoo is over a week in and fabulous, the deodorant is fabulous, the Dr. Bronners body wash is fantastic… I also became obsessed with nail polish (which is fabulous but obviously not toxin free) and I blame my sister!

I haven’t seen a big change in the scale since I started, altho I didn’t weigh myself until halfway in, so there’s no way of knowing how much I weighed when I started.  I did lose 4.6 pounds in 16 days, so that’s not bad… assuming that I lost the same in the first 14 days…. I did go down two belt holes in the last 30 days, so that’s saying something.  I’m less concerned about my waist line tho than I am with feeling good. It’s a very VERY weird thing to hear myself say because in the past, WEIGHT was the driving factor of feeling good… but that’s not necessarily healthy… I don’t feel obsessed with food like I’ve felt in the past when doing the Zone… I know a couple friends that had that ‘obsessed with food’ feeling on WW as well and it seems to be a non started for people doing grain/legume free… 

I will spend the next month documenting every morsel I put into my mouth in order to see what I’m actually eating… it made sense to me to eat this way and not be too worried about calories for the first 30 days… one can’t have it all and since I couldn’t have my old comfort foods, I figured that it was reasonable to eat until I was full and see what results that got me.  Now I want to see WHAT I’m eating, in what quantities and how that relates to weight loss or gain.

I’m also planning (once it’s not so hot out) to pack my workout clothes, change after work, take the bus to W 12th Ave and then walk home from there.  It’s 5.9km… Since once I get home there’s not really anywhere to go from here that is pleasant, I figured if I get my workout in while doing something necessary like getting home, then I’d kill two birds with one stone.  Plus, I don’t think taking the bus when it’s raining outside is going to be pleasant and with the right attire, walking in the rain will probably be more favorable so I’ll ‘practice’ while it’s nice out… And the plus side of that is if on some days I don’t think I can make it, or whatever, there’s always a bus around the corner to save me… 

So here’s to another 30 days and nights… I’ll check back in about this on September 20th.

The Way the Water Sparkles

I took today off of work… because I can… I cleaned my house last night and this morning woke up and had a lovely day with the kitty and my knitting and coffee.  I also roasted 4 pork loins (two lime, two sundried tomato and rosemary) so I could slice them up and freeze them.  My freezer is having a fit and trying to throw things out the door any time it opens, so I’m hoping I can slice up the loins and tetris them in there a bit better!

Tomorrow is my successful completion of 30 days grain free and I have to say that it’s certainly not the end, altho the physical ‘side effects’ haven’t been what I was expecting… More on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s my new project that I’m working on.  It’s completely mindless and very fast knitting and I’m smitten… I dyed two of the three yarns (both the teal colors) and they’re going perfectly with the silk/merino blend of the gray and blue one.

I feel as tho I’m coming down with something… I”m achy and crampy and out of sorts and would kill someone to go to bed right this second (6:04pm).

 

Red Flag

This is a red flag.  I know what they mean when I see them now.  I lived a long and arduous part of my past ignorning red flags.  Maybe my tolerance for red flags is tinier now than it used to be. 
Even itty bitty red flags are a HUGE problem for me. 

To me, itty bitty white lies about unimportant things are just as important and hurtful as great big huge lies about very important things…

My bullshit meter (as Kathleen says) starts at Bullshit and ppl outside my inner circle need to work at getting it to drop down… Earning trust I think is what it’s called.  I used to give my trust away… to anyone… at anytime.  Now… no.  Now, when you have no history with me… no past trust built up and then you lie to me, even about itty bitty things, it makes my bullshit meter soar right past bullshit… the only thing on that meter past Bullshit is the great wide open in which I am no longer interested in any sort of relationship…

Do I think this is sad?  Yes.  Because I think there are people in life that deserve second chances.  I believe that we all have bad days.  Am I going to let it slide?  No.  Because I can NOT have gone through five years of hell and then a year of recovering from hell only to go down a path that could potentially hurt me again.  Maybe ‘itty bitty white lie’ was a one time thing… maybe ‘itty bitty white lie’ wouldn’t be a big deal to someone else.  But when you want to be in any sort of relationship, you need to respect the person’s past.  And my past says, friends, lovers, co workers, family… no one gets to let a lie slide past me… I don’t live like that ANYMORE!  Yes, it’s true that not everyone knows what my particular past is.  In my opinion you shouldn’t need to.  Treat me with respect and then we have no problem.  Decide not to… only one. little. itty. bitty. time and you find out that my tolerance is zero for that behavior.  I dont’ think you need to know my history in order to know what not to do… it’s not that hard…

Dear Diary

I know this is going to sound cheesy, but what I’ve been doing in the last few weeks has completely changed my life.
I have six days left on my 30 day grain/legume free trial.  It won’t matter tho… the only thing that ’30 days’ is going to signify is that I get to buy myself a present.  Because I don’t think I’d go back.  Here are the positives of the new plan that are unrelated to waist line… things I had no idea would change with a new eating arrangement.
 
I wake up alert every day, almost no matter what time I go to bed.
I wake up in a good mood EVERY day.
My bathroom habits are more regular and I haven’t had tummy troubles at all!
My skin is fantastic, altho I’m sure that’s more to do with the next part of this post.
I have energy to do things like walk 10 km and go out after work
I say happy things to the kitty and I have WAY more patience, even in the middle of the night when he’s being a baby!
I feel more alert throughout the day
I’m committed to bringing my breakfast, lunch, and snacks to work and I cook for myself every night.
I don’t have to go into a grocery store a dozen times a month… I HATE grocery stores!
My nails are stronger and growing faster. 
My hair feels healthier
I am in more control
I’m saving a TON of money!
 
It doesn’t hurt that I went down two belt holes in the last 24 days…
 
Now, as far as my skin goes… I’m sticking to my plan of removing bad and toxic things from my body care regimine.  Don’t put toxic shit IN your body… don’t put toxic shit ON your body.  That said, I made my own deodorant on the weekend.  The idea of putting toxic chemicals into an area of your body that is very suceptible to ‘absorbing’ didn’t sit well with me.  So I decided to bite the bullet and make my own.  It’s honestly better than store bought.  It smells lovely (tea tree oil) and moisturizes (coconut oil) and absorbs moisture (arrowroot powder and baking soda).  That’s it.  Those are the ingredients.  The original recipe suggested Grapefruit oil, which I’m sure would work, but Tea Tree kills everything and that’s helpful when you want to kill bacteria that might cause a smell.  Plus, having tea tree oil in the house is helpful for bug bites, scratches, burns and zits.
 
Once I had the deodorant down pat and realized that natural things work if you get the right ingredients together, I decided the next thing to get rid of was shampoo. I have very fine hair, so I did a bit of research, as I’m still vain enough to know I want to look good… and the hive mind opinion was straight baking soda.  I mix two teaspoons into a paste (I have short hair) and massage it into my hair and scalp.  I leave it on while I wash my face and body and then rinse.  It leaves my hair squeaky clean and insanely soft.  And my styling ritual isn’t affected by the change in care products at all… so I look exactly the same but a bit more smug because I’m not putting chemicals on my body.
 
And finally, after removing the store bought moisturizer from my ritual and buying this,
  I thought it would be good to get rid of the scented Bath and Body Works addiction I have and switch to something a big more natural.  So I bought a sampler of Dr. Bronners Peppermint 18 in 1 Hemp Soap 
 It’s amazing.  It smells amazing, it lathers amazing on my bath puff and you need about four drops.  I even shaved my legs after sudsing up with it and the shave was perfect!
 
I feel fantastic with my new body cleansing ritual… next up is finding a way to make my own tinted moisturizer so I don’t have to use commercial foundation… I found a recipe for making your own bronzing powder with cinammon or nutmeg (depending on your ‘tone’) and I might just use moisturizer and that…
 
It’s very mentally freeing to be making your own choices about what you put on and in your body… and it can be substantially cheaper, depending on what you are choosing.
 
So, that’s my update… I was going to wait until my 30 days was up, but I’m pretty sure that nothing is going to be so drastically different and I was so happy this morning that I couldn’t hold it in!

The Sixth Seat

I was originally going to post some pictures of a nice outing that Sam and I went on last night, and I still will, but something more exciting…

If you live in the Vancouver area, you may have seen a crazy woman carrying a chair down the street in the 24 degree (around 75F) heat this afternoon… That was me.  I was on a walkthrough of a VERY shitty old building on our campus and stumbled across this beautiful chair.  Since the area is pretty much condemmed anyway, this chair was sitting around doing nothing but getting a bit dirty…

So I picked it up and humped it down the street.  It’s not much to look at in photos but I’m pretty sure its teakwood and with a light sanding and new vinyl upholstery, it’s going to be the belle of the table ball AND look amazing in the corner with my antique stainless steel medical cart.

Now, last night, Sam and I went to Iona Point in Richmond. It’s a park (provincial maybe?) that has a jetty you can walk on that sticks 4KM out into the ocean.  We didn’t walk it as we got there pretty late and we were having way too much fun fooling around with the blackberry bushes…

Output

So what happens when you are at home, bored, it’s thunder/lightening out like crazy for hours on end…

Well if you’re an artist, you create.  If you’re a fibre artist, you can also create… some things more beautiful than others.

First up is the beautiful.  In December when Sam and I went to San Francisco for Christmas we popped into a gorgeous little yarn store in Petaluma CA called Knitterly.  The staff there were gorgeous human beings and both of us loved it.  Sam, having been to numerous yarn stores with me (both local and not local) knows what a GOOD yarn store feels like and declared just the other day that Knitterly was such a nice store.  He also declared that Imaginknit in San Fran was horrible and that the staff were rude and it wasn’t a nice place… yup, pretty spot on!

Anyway, I bought some Alpaca lace yarn in Dark Gray, Light Gray and a Rust Orange.  My inspiration for the project came from our dusk drive through the California Redwood forest and as soon as I got home I cast on and started knitting.

The colors were beautiful, the shawl was amazing…  I steeked (cut in half) it, knotted the fringe and gave it a nice wash… and that’s when I realized that I didn’t plan it very well and the miles of stockinette stitch made the thing turn into a worm… It hibernated for a while before I decided to go to the local discount fabric store and find something to bind the edges with.  Success came in the form of a wool bias tape… My trustee sewing machine, a few million pins and an hour braiding the fringe and I finally have something I can wear.
It’s gorgeous (in my opinion) and now I”m planning to knit another… with a different edging so as to avoid the curling problem… It’s such a functional and lovely scarf… I’m planning a big trip next year to somewhere warm that also may have some dress requirements for women, so it will be nice to have a wide light weight wrap to cover up with if necessary… Thinking of maybe knitting it in linen but not sure if my poor hands can take that…

The other ‘thing’ I made is not as nice… not at all… but it’s funny… to me.
I decided since my iphone case broke that I needed another cozy for it… The last cozy I had met it’s fateful demise when it spent 24 hours in a gutter being run over.  I thought I’d saved it but it unravelled….
So I made a new one… and then ‘decorated’ it.  Everyone who’s seen it says it’s the ugliest thing they’ve ever seen.  I find it funny because I know I can make beautiful things… I just chose not to this time…