Changing my world, one step at a time

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Suffice it to say that life hasn't been easy lately. There's been health stuff and family stuff, and going back to work (it's been over a year) stuff and well, LIFE stuff.

I didn't do any new projects in April. Adding something more to my plate was an impossibility. Sometimes that's just the way life is and we just have to accept that the best thing we can do is to maintain the status quo. 

I got another Christmas gift done. This is a cardigan for a special woman....I really hope that she enjoys it. I'm just finishing up a pair of Christmas socks for one of my sons. Then I'll be moving on to another shawl. I was going great guns for awhile but seem to have lost some steam. I'll have to ramp things up a bit and get back on track. 

I had my grandson for an overnight last Friday. So much fun to spend time with him. We ate ice cream, watched movies, he drew lots of pictures of different characters and I cut them out for him. and I made him french toast in the morning. Just like when he lived here. He's growing so fast and changing so much. He'll always be my little bear though! Grandchildren are so precious.

I saw a duck swimming in the creek near the house last week. And today I noticed that the trees are finally budding! And we've had a few bulbs bloom in the garden. Spring looks like it's finally, actually here. 

I cooked up a pork tenderloin Sunday night. I just drizzled it with olive oil and sprinkled it with a roasted garlic and pepper mix. Baked at 425 for 22 minutes and it was perfect! I served it with a salad of beet greens, kale, broccoli slaw. Drizzled with an avocado herb dressing and topped with feta, roasted quinoa and almonds. Probably the best meal I've made in the last month. Might even be one of the ONLY meals I've made in the past month! 

It took too long to recover from the surgery and the post-op infection that followed. Then there was the house painting to contend with (just the kitchen, bathroom and stairwell left!). The strained and swollen knee. Going back to work. Gastro. Crohn's flare up. Pain. Exhaustion. This has been my reality for the past month. But all's well that ends well.....and I've come through to the other side.

C   xo 

Thursday, March 23, 2017


I'm slowly recovering from my surgery on Monday. Still having some pain and serious lack of energy but every day it's getting a little better.

I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my parents after my surgery. They cheered me up immensely! I love cut flowers and haven't had any in the house for quite awhile so that made these extra special.

While I've been sitting here on pain medication and healing, I've gotten busy and finished this Beach Shawl. Another Christmas gift is done and in the bag! So glad that have the opportunity to finish so many Christmas projects ahead of time. It's such a I'm moving on to another pair of socks.

I know this post isn't very exciting but I just don't have the energy to write more. Hopefully, I'll be back to myself soon.

Friday, March 17, 2017

This and That

There's been a whole lot of this and that in the past week. My Buy Nothing project is going well. Staying out of stores is the single most helpful thing that I'm doing. The only store I've been in is when I've bought some groceries. And those groceries have been staples that can be used to make multiple meals.

I had the pleasure of seeing my youngest daughter in a lead role in a play last week. It was a dark comedy called "Criminal Genius". She did such a fantastic job. After three years studying theater in college she's really grown in her acting ability. Today she let me know that she'd gotten a job with a stage technician company. I'm really grateful that she's getting the opportunity to work in her chosen field. Theater is her love and her passion. I also got some news this week from my youngest son letting me know that he'd gotten a summer internship with the federal government. I'm really proud of him for going after what he wants and his perseverance in doing so! He's still got two years of university left and it's exciting watching his life unfold.

I spent a night at my oldest daughter's house this week and got to enjoy time with this wonderful little man. He's such a joy to be around...five year olds are absolutely great. And my daughter is doing a good job raising him on her own. It's not an easy job being a single mother. Something I know first hand.

The walls of the house are slowly getting painted. The dining room, living room and front hallway are finally done! Renovating a house and getting it ready to sell is such an exhausting undertaking! One I wouldn't want to repeat any time soon. I'm looking forward to being done with it and finding something small and cozy in the country. Or at least a small town. Somewhere that we could have a garden. And chickens. And room to breathe! Away from the hustle and bustle and traffic.

My husband made a great dinner one night. Pan fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans in an onion cream sauce. He even lit the candles! So nice to be spoilt.

Another night a friend brought over dinner. She made a delicious butternut squash soup and this fabulous wrap with lettuce, marinated chicken, tomato, cucumber, carrot and a wonderful homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. I so appreciate her doing this. And helping with painting on time of it! Carol you have no idea how much I appreciate you :)

I'm going to spend the weekend doing schoolwork (business plan....ugh) and getting ready for my surgery on Monday. I'm not looking forward to it to say the least!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! And thanks for reading....

C   xo

Monday, March 13, 2017

Living with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is unlike any other medical issue….it can’t be seen or measured (except subjectively) and there’s no one way to “make it better”. These complicated factors make it really difficult to communicate to others what you’re going through. Unlike other illnesses most people don’t understand chronic pain and its effects. And unless they’ve been through it themselves, those that think they do know are sometimes misinformed and often judgmental.

Living most of the day in chronic pain and exhaustion makes me not a lot of fun to be around sometimes. Trust me when I say, that I don’t want to be this way! I still want to enjoy my life. I wish I could do all the things that others do. I wish that I could just get up and get things done. But my life isn’t like that. There are days where the pain is so severe that I either end up spending most of the day crying and cringing or medicated to cope with it but too zoned out to function. If I’m having a good day, chances are that I will push myself to make up for what I’ve missed out on and pay for it later. It’s hard not to be depressed when it seems like the rest of the world is moving forward, making plans and living their dreams. I have been dealing with this for years. I try really hard to be happy within my own unique circumstances. It doesn’t mean that I’m not in pain or exhausted or am “getting better”. It means that I’m happy despite these things. The chronic pain is still there.

People tend to get upset when I say no to going shopping or going out for dinner or going for a walk. If standing for 5 minutes is exhausting and pain inducing there’s no way I can spend 2 hours walking around a mall. If I can’t sit without a heating pad how can I enjoy dinner? If pain kept me up all night I’m not going to be very sociable. I find myself making plans, then forcing myself to physically and emotionally go through with them so as not to disappoint others. Because people have a really hard time understanding when I have to cancel. One of the most frustrating things about chronic pain is not knowing from day to day how I’m going to feel. And if I go through with those plans anyway? Chances are I will pay later. So, I wish people would understand that and not take it personally if I’m unable to go through with something. I have to take care of myself first. Only I know what it’s like to live in my body. Chronic pain is such a variable thing. What I can do one day becomes impossible the next. This is maddening, I know. But that’s the way it is. If I tell you that I have to sit down or take something for pain, I really mean it. It means my body is screaming at me and I need to take care of it right away.

Chronic pain wreaks havoc on the body and the mind. It’s exhausting and frustrating. Learning to live life while dealing with it is hard. Quite often it just doesn’t get “fixed”. It continues despite a myriad of treatments. People need to understand that it’s real. Living with chronic pain is a lonely thing.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Clean Fifteen and the Dirty Dozen

We all know that as adults we should be eating 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But if we stop and think about the amount a pesticide residue we could be consuming it can get a little scary. That's why paying attention to the yearly listing of the "clean fifteen" and the "dirty dozen" is so important. The "clean fifteen" lists those fruits and vegetables that we can eat without worrying so much about pesticide residue. The "dirty dozen" lists those that we should be buying organic.

Here's this year's lists:

The Clean Fifteen

1.   sweet corn
2.   avocados
3.   pineapples
4.   cabbage
5.   onions
6.   frozen sweet peas
7.   papayas
8.   asparagus
9.   mangoes
10. eggplant
11. honeydew melon
12. kiwi
13. cantaloupe
14. cauliflower
15. grapefruit

The Dirty Dozen

1.   strawberries
2.   spinach
3.   nectarines
4.   apples
5.   peaches
6.   pears
7.   cherries
8.   grapes
9.   celery
10. tomatoes
11. sweet bell peppers
12. potatoes

It would be nice to be able to always eat organic but when you can't afford to do so these lists provide a little guidance of what produce is lower in pesticides.

Personal care products are another area where small choices can make a big difference in our toxic load. Handmade (by you or someone else) with little or no chemicals is definitely the way to go!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

This week

Hey there!
Well I’ve made it through the week. There’s been some yoga, some toning exercises and NO SPENDING…except for gas for the car and that’s on the necessities list so it doesn’t count.

I’ve finished my “happy shawl” and am pretty happy with how it turned out. Another Christmas gift is done! Now I’m working on some fingerless mitts and have the yarn for another pair of socks and another shawl. I’m determined to get the majority of my Christmas knitting done by summer. Then I can move on to some sewing projects. I haven’t sewn in over twenty years so that should be fun.

I’m in the midst of working on Business assignments for school. Not my forte. To say this is difficult for me is an understatement. I’ve managed to write the test dealing with the legalities of working as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and am now finishing up an assignment. Then I’ll be moving on to writing a business plan. Something I have absolutely zero experience with.

Despite this awful cold I managed to make it to church on Sunday. I went with my Dad and it was nice to spend some alone time with him as it doesn’t happen often.

I’m reading “All the Single Ladies” by Dorothea Benton Frank right now. I just love her books, they have such a great Southern, Lowcountry flavour. I adore everything southern! The food, the accents, the culture, the people. I made my first trip south back in 2004. A friend and I took a road trip with the intention of driving to Florida but the vehicle broke down in Myrtle Beach. Because of the time it took to fix it we decided to only go as far as Charleston, South Carolina. I fell in love with the magic of the place. All of Frank’s books are set in the Lowcountry and with every one that I read I’m whisked back to the south.

I’d love to return one day. And until then at least there are books and cookbooks that help me feel like I’m there. As long as I don’t look out the window and see all the snow!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Buy Nothing Project

So, this is the big one for March! I’ve been reading a couple of books and I’ve decided to bite the bullet. I’ll also continue to eat as unprocessed as I can and move daily (unless I’m coughing and wheezing like I am now, stupid cold!) whenever and however I can. The purpose of these projects is to incorporate positive change into my life. Hopefully, for the long haul. I’ve lost 8 pounds since January 1st. It might not seem like a lot but at least it is a step in the right direction…only 52 left to go!

For the Buy Nothing Project the main goal is to break the spending habit. Doing so will help me to pay down my debt, instead of frittering money away without thought. Filling our time with the wanting, searching and attaining of STUFF is not living! It’s not that I’m opposed to going for coffee or out for lunch. I just would like to break the habit of it and be more intentional with my spending. That means no buying books! I’ve got plenty to read so I surely won’t be lacking and it’ll feel good to see the “to be read” pile go down.

The two main books I’m using to base this project on are “The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living” by Anna Newell Jones and “31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero” by Ruth Soukup. Now I have to clarify what I mean by “buy nothing”. It doesn’t mean being unable to buy groceries of toilet paper. It doesn’t mean not being able to pay bills. It does mean buying only basic groceries and leaving the plushy toilet paper on the shelf. It means making a list of my needs and wants and leaving the wants on the shelf. There will be no prime rib this month but there will be healthy food. It also means buying paint for the house since we are slowly getting ready to sell. We do have a gift certificate to help with that however. We are planning the purchase ahead of time and since it needs to be done it’s going on the “needs” list. The other thing that I’m spending money on is a planned day pass to a great gym. It’ll come midway through the month (before a planned surgery) and after some of the painting gets done. Again this is planned so I’m not going to feel bad about it!

Needs list
cell phone (I’m cutting down on my internet data this month…that’ll save me $40)
food (from the grocery store, in season fruits and vegetables or non-brand name frozen, and only when I run out of items I already have on hand)
prescription meds and supplements that are necessary
credit card payments
bank fees

Now before wonder about the mortgage, utilities etc…, I need to clarify that I’m not working right now. I’m in school. So, my husband pays for the mortgage, condo fees, insurance, utilities, his cell phone and basic internet access at home.  If I was working these would go onto the needs list. We do try to keep expenses down as much as possible in these areas, especially utilities.

Wants list
Coffee at Starbucks
Clothes (I have lots!)
Personal care products (I’ll be making my own if I run out of anything)
Eating out
Yoga videos
Wool for knitting (I’ll use up what I’ve got this month)
Home d├ęcor (not including paint)

Let’s see how this goes! More next week…

C   xo