Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bump in the road

You know that feeling when you're cruising along living life and feel you have finally turned a corner and things almost feel 'normal' and then just as quickly as you take notice of the normality WHAM your feet get knocked out from under you? Well that about sums up the last couple of weeks for me.

 I was driving to pick up my nephews the other day and on my way there was a fawn that had been hit by a car laying in the roadway .  The fawn was still moving its leg like it was trying to continue running.  All I could think about was that fawn's mother watching her baby die and I was overcome with such a deep sadness.  Even as I type this out my eyes fill with water and I can feel that mama deer's pain.  I had to pull over to gather myself.  I was going to see my nephews and I did not want them to see me like that.  I often get upset when I see dead animals on the road, but I shake it off and keep driving, this time I was upset on a whole other level. *On a side note there was a police car driving behind me which I saw pull over and put the fawn down.

  I see mothers with their children that would be roughly the same age as little Amy would be now and it hurts my heart so much.  I wonder if as she would have grown, and I see children at the age this pain will still knock me off my feet at times. It feels like this sadness that has become such a deep  part of me that it has become my new normal.

This love of a mother for a child has nowhere to go.  Don't get me wrong, I love my nephews and nieces ridiculously, but it is different then that love of a parent for a child.  I think about other people in my life who had so badly wanted to be parents and it didn't happen and I think to myself how do they get through it?  Then I think about how I get through it, and it's because I have no other choice, life continues on and I must move with it.

So what I can do right now is focus on what I can control and take charge of and my physical health is in the forefront these days.  The one thing that has become my positive constant is my persistence with jogging. This week I was notified by the Couch to 5k app that I am halfway through the training program. Really??? I am halfway to jogging 5 kilometers solid?  Well it must be true of the app tells me so!  I would be lying if I said I enjoy it, but one of the things I do enjoy about it is that when I am jogging I am fully present in my body and my mind is clear.

I have invested in a few things since I started running, which I believe have made me less distracted and more committed, because when I spend money on something I want to use it!  I am all about having the right gear before taking on something new, which I think helps with both making it easier and solidifying my commitment to whatever the new thing is I am taking on.  I noticed this helpful with my last new thing which was yoga.  I invested in a good mat, bolsters, and good yoga clothing so I wouldn't be constantly tugging at my clothes.  Although I haven't been as dedicated to my practice the past couple of years as I would like to be, I know his is something I will always return to so I feel I can justify the cost of proper clothing & equipment.  I did the same thing this time with jogging, although I have been discovering things along the way as well.  I had a good pair of runners, and a good sports bra, which I had invested in quite a few years ago when I was using the treadmill on a regular basis.  My friend mentioned to have good socks that won't fall down so that is also something I picked up.  I thought I had good pants, but it turned out I was constantly tugging at them so as suggested by the same friend I got a pair of drawstring pants which have a bonus that I can tie my house key onto my pants.  I started off with some issues in my right knee, so I bought a tensor, and ended up getting one for my left knee as well.  The knee pain is diminishing and I am hoping before I know it that will no longer be an issue.  I was using my iPhone headphones which my Dad was not happy to see as he worries about my safety.  I ordered a pair of wireless open ear headphones on Amazon which are decent and do the job. The last thing I ordered on Amazon which I haven't received yet is my waterproof armband to put my phone in.  Once that arrives I think I have everything I need, at least until the weather shifts and I need a couple long sleeve shirts, and a jacket.
I have tried to be a runner in the past and it hasn't lasted very long. Usually when the knee pain starts I take 'a little break' which really means I give up, but this time it is different. Why is it different? What is working for me this time?  I think the biggest things is my sense of readiness.  With any change I find my greatest indicator of success is how ready I am to make the change.  I know myself well enough that I know I need to be fully ready to begin a change, and my experience as a Counsellor tells me I am not alone in that.  For change to be lasting it needs to be driven by the person making the change when they are ready to do it.

Some other things I have found helpful for me include:
  • Using the Couch to 5k app and syncing it to a great playlist of tunes. The fact that a voice comes over the headphones and tells me when to jog or brisk walk is my favourite feature of the app.  Also not looking at the app to see how much longer I will be running, as I find looking at the app just makes it harder and impacts my motivation. I just hit start and shift my interval as it comes over my headset.   
  • Going first thing in the morning.  My alarm is set for 8am most days.  On a jogging day I wake up put on my clothes, put on some chapstick, pop a piece of gum in my mouth and go.  This way I have no food or drink in my belly sloshing around, or time to talk myself out of going.
  • Drinking lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.  I do not take water with me on my jog, I think this has been something that has hindered me in the past because if I have it I drink it & then I have too much water in my tummy and then to add it it I will need to pee, and cramping.  This may change as my distance becomes longer but for now no water.  It's not like I am going great distances so it's not a huge concern so long as I am drinking plenty of water throughout the rest of the day & week.
  • Internal dialogue/stubbornness.  I do not allow thoughts into my head that say I can't do it.  When it gets tough and I feel vulnerable to self-doubt I start my internal dialogue.  I tell myself just do it, or you can do it, or keep going, or you did this the other day you can do it now, or you have been doing this for weeks you are not going to throw that away.  My personality comes with a stubborn streak and sometimes it comes in handy.  At some points I would say it is shear stubbornness that has kept me going.  Like this week when I had to jog for 8 solid minutes twice and my period was at it's heaviest, and I just wanted to stay in bed or go back to bed.  Stubbornness I tell ya, it can come in handy! I could shift my language to perseverance or determination, but my family would tell you it is stubbornness;) Maybe it's a combination of them all!

When I get back from my jog I have a nice cold shower & then some breakfast.  The past few weeks I have really been enjoying a piece of multigrain toast with Adams crunchy peanut butter and sliced bananas with a boiled egg with pink sea salt & pepper.  I quite enjoy this breakfast and have been having it most days the past few weeks.  I may try shifting it up with putting avocado my toast, so I don't get bored.

The rare day I sleep in I make myself a fried egg sandwich for brunch.  I put mayo, grainy mustard, fried egg, bacon, avocado, and spinach on. This also makes a great quick lazy dinner. Yum!

A Tasha original creation!  I made Prawn Taco Rice Bowl.  I made rice and instead of water used a can of enchilada sauce and some vegetable broth. While that cooked I boiled some corn on the cob briefly then slathered it in olive oil, sea salt, & pepper and put it on the barbecue.  After it was grilled I sliced it off of the cob and mixed it with a can of black beans, red onion, lime juice, and cilantro.  When the rice was cooked I let it to sit and tossed some prawns in a spice seasoning which was a combo of cumin, chili powder, paprika, and sea salt & pepper.  I sauteed them and as they cooked I sliced up some cabbage.  I plated some rice and topped it with the cabbage, black bean & corn mixture, sliced avocado, the prawns, and then some cilantro and a couple slices of lime to squeeze over it.  It was delicious!

The following evening I had the leftover and added some drizzles of cashew cream as well.  I will make this again, but probably with red cabbage for the colour.

Salad topped with grilled ahi tuna.  I got this tuna previously frozen from the grocery store so I didn't have the confidence not to cook it all the way through.  In hindsight I probably should have just gotten some fresh from somewhere I trust and enjoyed it medium rare.  I had chopped romaine lettuce with shredded beets and carrots, a combination of sprouts, sliced cucumber, and snap peas.  I sprinkled the tuna with sea salt & pepper and seared it in ceramic frying pan with sesame oil.  I used Renee's Tangerine & Lime salad dressing, which I recently tried at a friend's house and loved!

I will leave it there for now:)

A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence. ~James N. Watkins

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Getting Settled

It has been a crazy month! The week before the move went by in the blink of an eye and the 2 weeks following our move were pretty chaotic.  Just at the point I thought things would slow down and we would settle in, my mom ended up in the hospital in critical condition with a urinary tract infection and aspiration pneumonia.  My mom has very advanced Multiple Sclerosis and has been hospitalized more times then I am able to count for UTI & sepsis, the pneumonia isn't as frequent but a very serious concern especially with her condition.  My mother's health journey has been an intense rollercoaster for her and the rest of our family.  She spent a week in the hospital and was released just before the weekend.  Now I am able to take a deep breath of relief knowing we got through another event of nearly losing her.  As I sat at her bedside I called on little Amy to be with her grandmother if she was making the journey to the next place (as my mom refers to it).  It gave me some comfort knowing that I was with my mom in her physical form and Amy would be with her if she left us.  I knew she wouldn't be alone.  My mother has survived so much, so if you wonder where I get my strength from...

I have had such mixed feelings about moving back to my home town.  There are many things I would prefer to forget about this place, and the lack of diversity in this community is one of the reasons I was so happy to leave.  Having said that, I am back, and there must be some learning in this.  One of the things I feel gratitude for in returning is that I am so close to my mom when a health crisis arises.  This will also give us the opportunity to continue to work on our relationship, which can only be a good thing.

Healing is a journey that happens in its own time.  I am taking a break from work to put my energy in to my self and getting back to a place that I can say I know who I am. As I have said previously I am unfamiliar with this version of me and I need to take the time to get reacquainted with the part of me that remains, and get to know the parts of me that have changed and evolved.

Healing is what I am working towards; healing from the past; healing from the loss; healing my soul.  I suppose there is no better place to do that than home.  The moment I entered this house I felt good about it, and the moment we arrived in our new house it felt like home.

 My focus right now is on getting healthy as a whole being.  The area I have lacked the most with my health is physical activity.  I started using the Couch to 5k app to start jogging, and just completed my second week.  Action shot, and breath...

I have found what works best for me is going right when I get up.  I brush my teeth, get dressed and hit the pavement.  Another key for me is good music.  I made a play list and the app connects to this play list and plays the songs randomly which I like.  My favourite thing about the Couch to 5k app is that I start it and don't have to look at it.  The voice comes over the music and tells me when to warm up, when my interval is jog or brisk walk, when I am half way, and when to cool down.  I am in a new neighborhood I am not familiar with I have my google map open so I know where to go, since my first couple of days I found myself a bit lost (I have a very poor sense of direction).  I just ordered wireless open ear headphones, which should please my dad since he wasn't happy to see me jogging with both my earbuds in.  I understand his concerns around my safety, so it gave me something to consider.  I have been running in my neighbourhood on the sidewalk with a large boulevard for the most part so have felt very safe, but these headphones will come in handy if I decide to do trails or somewhere closer to traffic.

The first week I had some knee issues, which isn't a surprise given my knees have been a challenge since I was a teen.  They were the reason I stopped playing basketball in highschool, and why I previously failed at attempting to be a runner.  I bought a pull on tensor and am using Therapain roll on just before I leave for my jog. This week I have noticed the pain is less prominent & that gives me hope.  If it returns I am going to go see a physiotherapist to get some information on how I am running and if I need to make adjustments to how I am running.

I have returned to my yoga practice, beginning with evening Yin. I created a space in our new home to practice yoga and it feels good.  I have been doing it sporadically but I would like to build up to doing it 4-5 days a week. I have also been practicing Sun Salutations Surya Namaskara A & B, and would like to incorporate this practice regularly on the mornings when I am not jogging.  I will get there acknowledging I am imperfect.

We had our first home cooked dinner in our new house which was a steak I had marinated overnight, and cooked on the barbecue alongside baked potato, corn on the cob, and asparagus, served with sauteed mushrooms and homemade HP sauce.  It had been so long since I last ate steak that I can't even remember, but what I do remember after eating the steak is the pain red meat inflicts on my tummy.  This is a meal I will not be having again any time soon, at least until I forget how much that hurt much like last time.

 Panko Crusted Snapper which I made one adjustment of adding parmesan cheese to the breading. 

We had the snapper with steamed carrots, cauliflower, and asparagus and potato salad.  I made my potato salad with new red potatoes, boiled egg, green onion, mayo mustard, sea salt, pepper, & paprika.

We eat Portobello mushrooms quite regularly as they provide that meaty satisfaction without the meat.  I like the lightness it leaves my stomach with after a meal.  The sides I serve depend on if I am cooking them on the barbecue or in the oven.  This time we had it with barbecued wit corn o the cob, steamed green beans, and macaroni salad.

These ones were done in the oven alongside brussel sprouts & beets tossed in olive oil, sea salt & pepper, served with steamed asparagus & broccolini, and a wild rice quinoa blend from Costco.

My sweetie is in Australia for the next few weeks so I am going to pay extra attention to eating properly.  In the past when he hasn't been home I have quickly defaulted to cereal for dinner, and kraft dinner for lunch.  Not this time...

I expect the next while to be a lot like my journey to become a runner, some bumpy patches, but continuing to carry on. Look out world this phoenix has risen!

 When the roots are deep there is no reason to fear the wind. ~African Proverb

Monday, June 26, 2017


I have disappeared for the last little while as things have been pretty crazy around here.  We are in the process of relocating, which will consume the entire week ahead, and most of next week as well.  Wrapping up work and getting ready for the move has been pretty intense and I am looking forward to unpacking and the down time that will come with being unemployed. I feel a desperate need for a break and a slower pace.

June 30 is fast approaching and I have felt a heaviness in my heart the past week or so. Not only will June 30 be the first full day in our new home, it is also Amy's due date.  Around this time we would be celebrating her first birthday.  I cant help but think about the things we are missing out on.

Last year we bought a weeping red-bud tree in memory of Amy.  I enjoyed watching it bloom this spring and the leaves are growing.

I have made some decisions about changes moving forward and the one foremost in my mind is getting back to a physically fit state.  After we get settled we are going to buy a couple of bicycles, and I have decided to give running a try again.  I am also going to set up my own room to do yoga and setting up some space for my sewing machine.  I'm looking forward to having more space, and a room I can create a sanctuary for myself.

We have been eating out more than usual with the craziness of the move coming up and saying goodbyes over meals, and I don't see cooking in the near future other than maybe hotdogs and mac and cheese!  it will be nice to get back to eating our more regular diet.  I had stomach pain last night for the first time in as long as I can remember so my body is letting me know it doesn't like this.

I find my evening yogurt key to keeping my tummy happy.  I can never eat my yogurt in peace as my cat watches me eat each spoonful waiting to enjoy the little bit I leave for him.  He likes yogurt as much as I do.

We have had meals from our regular rotation as of late, but I am hopeful once settled to start experimenting with food again.  We had halibut poached in cooking wine.  It fell apart when I took it out of the pan but it was tasty! I sprinkled it with dill & served it alongside roasted cauliflower, beets, & radishes tossed in olive oil, sea salt & pepper, and True Grain quinoa wild rice blend.

A regular in the rotation yummy butternut squash agnolotti tossed in olive oil & italian seasoning, served with steamed asparagus, sauteed cremini mushrooms, & seared scallops, with a balsamic reduction and fresh basil.  This is such a light & easy meal.

My favourite Pinterest recipe Thai Cashew Coconut Rice with Ginger Peanut Sauce.  This makes so much & I have finally figured out I need to make half the recipe.

I am loving all the summer fruit & berries! Great for a variety of flavours on the go.

I will likely be laying low on the blog the next couple of weeks as we settle in to our new home.  Once settled I will be back to share the journey of moving back to my home town as well as some of the healthy changes I will be making so stay tuned!

Sometimes she feels something is missing.  Not a piece of her heart or any feeling of inadequacy, but her soul misses something intangible.  The way a star misses the darkness in the morning.
~Michelle Schaper

Saturday, May 13, 2017

It's THAT weekend again...

Mother's Day. A day I have come to dread.

That piece of my heart will continue to be missing every year...

I have this continual dialogue in my head questioning if I qualify as a Mom having never raised a child.  The moment I found out I was pregnant I felt like a mother, and thinking of myself that way feels more validating of my loss and continual sense that something is missing.  The ultrasounds I was able to see that little bean growing were magical, and I felt so connected to her I knew this love was unlike any other.

I had one of those moments last weekend that knock the wind about of you. My sweetie and I were out of town heading to breakfast with my family. I was driving and all of a sudden felt my body vibrating and my heart pounding. I pulled over and said to my sweetie I was having a moment and needed him to drive the rest of the way.  I safely stopped as my eyes filled with tears and I felt a moment of utter panic.  I had been driving quietly lost in my thoughts, and my sweetie said he had seen the process unfolding wondering about my silence.  I didn't anticipate it, but retraced afterward and saw how my thoughts led me there.  It led me to the moment I said goodbye to our daughter. Literally I was reliving it all.  I could not pull myself together, but I knew it was okay that I was a mess.

I have felt sadness to the depth of my soul and thought about different moments before and after.  That is the mark of time now: before and after the loss of Amy.  That was the first time I was back in that moment, and it hurt just as much as it did when I experienced it first hand.  To feel a child in you, moving around and then to feel utter emptiness, there is nothing like it.

I try to carry on and often find myself frustrated with how deeply it still hurts.  Every pregnant belly I see comes with an intense sense of resentment.  Every pregnancy and birth announcement is a reminder of our loss and our longing.  Every time someone asks me if I have kids my heart sinks.  Do I say I had a daughter but she's an angel? Or no I don't, which doesn't validate the place she holds in my heart.  The worst is when someone asks if I want to have kids.  I can't imagine asking someone that, but some people think nothing of it.  Do I say I can't have kids or no I don't, just to shut them up & get them to leave me alone.  Every single time I have one of those conversations I find myself just trying to get through it until I can get away before I cry.   I thought it would get easier but it hasn't.  One thing that has changed is that I have gotten better at hiding it.  Time and practice I suppose.

I just try to continue living life as best I can, sometimes that means I am on autopilot and that's okay.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the busyness and then when I slow down it hits me like a rock.  I was at a community event yesterday for work and as I was leaving someone had wished me a happy mother's day.  I didn't say anything, but smiled at the person and carried on.  I left and ran in the pouring rain to my car and once out of sight burst into tears.  I had my cry, wiped my eyes, and carried on with the rest of my work day.  That is my life now.  Have a moment, be in the moment, take a breath, and carry on.
I have been reading a few good articles the past few days and thought I would add some links if you are interested.  I will say I am not always a fan of the language used but the messages really resonated with me.
How to Help Your Infertile Friend
A Letter to Mom's for Whom Mother's Day is Hard
For Childless Mothers
Those of Us Struggling with Infertility on Mother's Day

If all you can do is crawl, start crawling. ~ Rumi

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Spring Change

Well Spring has finally arrived and I am feeling a sense of spring within myself.  I feel like a caterpillar in the cocoon, I am not yet ready to fly but I know it is inevitable.  I have been feeling like I am in hibernation.  My wellness is probably at an all time low.  I just feel like staying in bed. All. The. Time.

I feel like staying in bed, but the busyness of life hasn't allowed it, which is probably a good thing. Yup I'm in a slump. I know I'm in a slump.  But, change is right there. A move to a new town is on the horizon and that change will be filled with lots of growth and health.  It's kind of strange because I know I am not in a good place, but I am not ready to change it just yet.  Weird right? I'm not giving up but I am just not there yet.

I do know what I need in order to feel better. First up, I need to get off my lazy butt & actually get some exercise. I actually have a plan for this! I plan on getting out walking and hiking, dusting off my kayak, and getting back to my yoga mat.  I also want to invest in a bicycle, and once we get settled in our new home start going swimming.

To get myself back to holistic wellness I want to make the most of this summer.  I want to spend time with my family, visit with friends, go camping, enjoy the beach, and do a little bit of traveling.  I also need to make sure I don't get too busy and give myself time for quiet and reflection.

I am not there yet, but I am heading in that direction, and I will get there.

This slump has also rippled into my cooking. I haven't had much creativity and have been opting for quick and easy meals.  Tonight I made tri-colour cheese mini ravioli tossed in olive oil & Italian seasoning, with steamed asparagus and sauteed shiitake mushrooms and a pile of chopped fresh basil.

 I took this dairy free Mushroom Stroganoff and switched out the beef for cremini mushrooms.  I love the richness of stroganoff, and enjoy the lightness of the egg noodles. 

Just to add some more veggies and colour I steamed carrots and peas to serve alongside it.

Porkchops with Mushroom Gravy which we had with mashed potatoes, corn, peas and steamed carrots.  These were a healthier spin on a recipe I used to make using canned mushroom soup.  It satisfied the craving, but won't likely be a regular recipe in the mix.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza, which I should probably call pineapple pizza. I used a pre-made pizza crust and spread some barbecue sauce and then added slices of red onion, chicken left over from a whole chicken we had eaten a couple days before, lots of pineapple, white cheddar, and cilantro. Yum!

She was no longer wrestling with her grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts. ~ George Eliot