Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ode to Friends

Friends are brave and join you at Zumba
Friends share a strange love of La Bamba
Friends drag you out of your comfort zone
Friends just know when you can't be alone
Friends will make you laugh till you split your gut
Friends know just when to compliment your butt
Friends' ties that bind are like having a twin
Friends become much more than just next of kin
Friends love joining you for 4 hour walks
Friends are with whom forever isn't enough time to talk
Friends are appreciative of the little things
Friends will lift you up until you grow wings
Friends enhance and catalyze, creating synergies
Friends are protective and outraged at your injuries
Friends recognize your true inner and outer beauty
Friends have courage to stand by you, not just duty
Friends stay close no matter how far away
Friends know what to pray for before you ask them to pray
Friends will feel your pain just as deeply as you
Friends will do anything to pull you through
Friends are naturals at planting inspirational seeds
Friends are all the therapy you'll ever need

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A different kind of Christmas Letter

Normally the purpose of a Christmas letter, well, my previous Christmas letters anyway, is to recap for friends & family, and even myself, all that was notable over the last year, especially for those people who do not get to hear about your life regularly.
Honestly, I would rather not hash out this year again, in the frame of my mind I've been in lately, will quite frankly it would be like trying to reflect fondly on a hospital stay.   So, instead I'm going to try something different.  I'm going to make a Thankful For 2010 list.  Positive spin :)

In 2010 we are thankful for:
1. Parents who are just as healthy or healthier than they were at the beginning of the year.  There have been quite a few doctors visits and hospital stays this year but thankfully those issues are all behind us now, with a new appreciation for health and taking care of it.

2. Surrounded by family, who are increasing in numbers.  To have family so close (even if Steinbach & Altona don't always FEEL close) is a huge blessing, quality time with them doesn't ever feel like enough.  They are the people I could be around (and could be around me) 24/7....which we did for a week in August that was awesome!  The laughter and the love we share is a joy.  Even the little ones, getting to an age where our connection is much more, they are engaging us and interacting with us on a whole new level that is such a delight.
Every year that we have the family we love so much surrounding us is a blessing, so it is an even greater blessing if another person to love is added to the fold. This year my nephew became a much anticipated and much loved member of our family, and though the love of 8 adults is now 'split' between 4 children it feels like it's multiplied instead.

3. Financial security.  In a year where most people spent recovering from, and maybe even still being hit by, an economic down swing, we have been very fortunate and blessed.  We continue to have stable, well paying jobs that have provided us with; a great mortgage, the ability to maintain that home with renovations and outfit it with fiscally & environmentally responsible appliances, a 'new' 2009 Journey, and the ability to be generous to those not as financially fortunate as us.

4. Growing.  Growing comes from two places, a desire to meet higher standards, or failure so significant you have to grow just to survive.  Plenty of both have happened this year.  Pursuit of our ideals, moving towards a life that we value and feel God leading us towards.  Healing from choices and circumstances, this year, and years past.  But growing, whether it's pursued or healing, is still growing, and we are thankful we are moving forward, whatever it requires of us.

5. Our Church.  Although it was a hard decision to leave a Church we loved so much, Riverwood has grown into the community we've been wanting and needing.  Partly because we took the initiative to be intentionally involved, partly because I believe God has orchestrated people from our past also coming to Riverwood.  And he has blessed our efforts with some great new friends recently that have come to mean a lot to me.

6. Friendship.  If there is one thing that makes growing pains easier it is having friends to bare the burdens with you.  The friendships we have, whether from within our families, our work, our Church, and even our internet friends (hey, that's you!!), are so heartening!  No matter where we turn, we have you by our side, you have our back, you lift us up, we are so thankful to have a life blessed by friends like you.  You have helped more than you know these last few months.

7. Love.  Most of all I think we are thankful that we still have so much love for each other.  10 years ago this season, an employee took a chance and asked his boss to dance.  A Christ-loving young lady took a leap of faith dating a Fatherless young man.  Two heart-broken people took a risk that they would find love in each other.  They not only found love, they found healing in the love they shared and they continue to find healing by continuing to share love.

Thank you for sharing this year with us, in one form or another, and God bless us, everyone.

Year in Statuses 2010

Since I haven't been able to summon up a good reflection of 2010 in the form of a Christmas Letter, I'll post this for now, a summary of my year in Facebook statuses.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blue Christmas

A Blue Christmas Star 31000 Images

I had never heard of a Blue Christmas before but the moment I discovered what that was, just a few weeks ago, it really resonated with me. I'll get to more about Blue Christmas in a moment. 
Typically Christmas is my favorite time of year, in addition to being grateful for the reason for the season, I can't get enough of friend & family gatherings, the lights, the carols, the pageants, the decorating, giving gifts & cards, the cheer, the joy, the food :)  I like my Christmas red, green, gold, silver, purple, pink even!
This year my spirit just isn't quite as celebratory, I just can't quite get into the festive parts.  There are absolutely no decorations up in my home, the only ones I've considered are candles and beautiful dead red branches from a bush we have in the yard.  I've been listening to the mellow carols, I have no gifts wrapped yet, and I have a general lack of enthusiasm for most things merry & bright. This is not the typical way I celebrate Christmas.
Then I found a phrase that perfectly described what I'm feeling.
"Blue Christmas services are not a traditional Christmas service, it is one that represents the winter of our souls instead." 
That is definitely the season my spirit has been in for the last while.
And trying to contrive the cheer, the merry, the bright, the bell jingling, etc. just isn't sitting right.  I'm thankful our Church doesn't typically do the knee-high shepards and angels parade, but I know I won't be able to go into our Church without wading through swarms of children in their shiny, velvety, best. I just don't think I can take that this year.
As many people can't.  Those who are missing someone or something from their lives. Those who don't have a family to surround them.  Those that don't have healthy family gatherings.  Those that don't have anything to give or receive.
We want....I want...a 'silent night' and 'all is calm'.  The only glowing I want to see is candles. The only baby I want to think of is the one in the manger.
And this year, the one year I need this, I will have it. 
Our Church is holding a Blue Christmas service Dec. 21st. It's a night to focus on what everyone can celebrate, the birth of our saviour and the enduring hope he brings us.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No I didn't!

So, this morning I did not wear 2.5" heels that did not hook on our carpet at the entrance after I did not turn off the light prematurely, which did not result in me tripping, nor falling.  Then I was definitely not saved by the over-sized straps on my over-sized purse

catching on the bannister, not preventing me from falling more than 2 steps backwards an not leaving me with only this bruised fingernail to show for it : /

Hmmmm, me thinks its a good reason to love big purses (that save lives!) and a new manicure :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm getting there

It finally feels like I'm making progress, saying no to things if I 'want' to do them just because I feel like I 'should'.  If I have no really good reason why, then I don't!  People may be a little disappointed they aren't getting a handmade card from me this year, but these are the same people who every year say 'I can't believe you hand make all your Christmas cards!'  Besides, the photo card was hand/digitally made by me :)

My Tuesday nights are over now, a slight relief, but I'm already missing my new friends. One new friend has been really great, we facilitated together and I gave her a ride a few times, and the times we've talked have really connected us and she's just the kind of friend I've been needing. Uplifting, inspirational, she's a really godly woman and she's been through something similar to my past.  It's interesting because every time I saw her at Church before this, she just had this 'something' about her that drew me to her and now we're friends.  Orchestrated me thinks :)  Ever since we've grown closer I just don't feel like there is so much weightyness in my soul....that's the best way to describe it.  I'm feeling very blessed and looking forward to a continued friendship, even when we're not facilitating group.

And although seasonal busyness is picking up and I'm not able to avoid all things goal-oriented, I'm not feeling the pressure I was even a month ago.  Work load has been at 90% instead of 150%, so some pressure off there.  Other issues have both increased and decreased but I'm finding I'm determined to communicate about them in the moment to avoid unnecessary worry which was leading to anxiety before.  Some people aren't liking the communcation so much, not entirely sure what to do about that situation yet, but at least I've tried, and I have some great people to vent to in the mean time.

I'm actually past the point where I'm itching to do things just because I'm restless and need to fill up empty time and I'm wanting to do things for the enjoyment of doing them.  I think that's a good sign I'm healing, and hopefully on pace to start the new year off ready to fully engage in life again!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Black Friday

I'm usually the first person to see the glass half full, think positively, and all that jazz, even when wronged I forgive and forget very easily.  But lately I just can't snap out of this negative nelly stage I've been in, and even as things have been getting better I still take a turn to the dark side at the slightest frustration.  Yesterday I had my own Black Friday of sorts, despite more going right than it went wrong, I kept letting those little things get to me and the dark side won. 
Today I've decided I desperately need to add some whitener to this blackness I've been brewing in, so for every struggle I've been wanting to complain about I'm going to instead list the victories I've been blessed with, however small they may seem today, even one little ray of light seems bright when it shines into darkness.

Struggle                     Victory
~a friendship              ~several new friendships and friendships
                                    that have grown closer
~work                       ~I received a lot of thanks & recognition
                                    for my hard work this week, AND
                                    most of the extra work is now DONE!
~entrepreneurship      ~I've been able to have some great visits
                                   crafting in very small groups
~hubby's struggles      ~he initiated Church membership and
                                    wants to take the spiritual gifts course
                                    to learn where best to serve
~weight                     ~at least I've avoided the eggnog so far
~spend 'therapy'        ~'free' Christmas gift for Sean and I, a
                                    PS3 bought with airmiles!
~purpose                   ~if I quit busying myself looking for it
                                    maybe I'll actually notice when it

So good-bye Black Friday, I hope we don't see you again next year, or any year for that matter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Top Ten Thursdays

I have a real sense of impatience these days, for EVERYTHING it seems! Waiting has never been my strong suit, but usually it's because I'm waiting for a trip, or a gift, or a gathering, all good stuff. These days I'm impatiently waiting to get beyond just surviving! Taking a break from goals couldn't have been timed better because I'm barely keeping up with life.
Therefore I'm impatient for:
1. Work to slow down! In addition to my usual duties, I've got to help prep for 2 external Health & Safety audits, 1 internal project management audit, and assist with part of a 2-person project that has turned into a 8-person project (we only have 12 in our office, only 2 in the appropriate dept.), and more!  Being barely able to breathe has been a far too common theme in my life lately, as I mentioned in early fall I burdened myself too much with personal goals, then with similar/other issues got hit with another anxiety attack (the kind where I literally have trouble breathing), and now I can't catch my breath at work either. I'd like just one area in my life that gives significant reprieve.
2. Emotional healing so I can get on with my life! I put all goal-oriented activities on hold in early fall, as already mentioned, but I'm getting really antsy over all the things I want to but 'can't' do.  It's obviously for the best, considering number 1, and considering the lack of breathing impairs energy too, I know it's for the best, but I feel my emotional healing is stunting my physical, spiritual and intellectual health.  Long term, I'm not very good at being content with complacency and couch-potato-ness.
3. As usual, answers to the question(s) of motherhood, as this seems to be the initial domino to fall and bringing others down with it.
4. The end of the recovery group I facilitate once per week.  Don't get me wrong, I love it, I feel like I'm meant to be there and that I'm getting so much out of it and am so blessed to see people healing, but I likely would waited until next session had I been asked just a month or two later.  Not only because I'm already exhausted and didn't need one more commitment, but it's also emotionally draining hearing about the difficult emotional injuries my new friends have had to recover from.  I love it but I'm looking forward to only 2 more weeks of it until the next session in spring, when hopefully I'll be much more emotionally able to handle it.
5. Kid therapy!!  If there is one thing that can heal AND distract, it's my nieces and nephews.  Winter is the time of year that holds sparsely sprinkled holidays that gather families and so seeing my precious little ones requires more effort, so I miss them even more this time of year.  I miss them even more since I was able to spend a whole week with them all in August, and I got addicted to each one of them even more, if that was possible.  I was looking through pictures of them the other day just to get a 'fix' and really need to make that effort to go see them before Christmas.
6. Puppy therapy!! Like pregnant bellies and babies seem to be everywhere when you want a baby, puppies are coming at me from all directions!  Two people I know have fostered/adopted rescued puppies recently and it's making me very impatient to find that perfect puppy for us to rescue!
7. Vacation therapy.  Considering I just had a vacation a month ago, this won't be happening until Christmas holidays, but I'm just about counting down the days!
8. A few gatherings that will provide some friend and family therapy before Christmas holidays :)
9. Since I haven't got ready access to my therapies, then distractions will have to do.  I'm impatient for Voyage of the Dawn Treader, coming in December! Waiting for that one for ages it feels!!
10. Waiting for the one night of the week that I have 4 hour long shows and 2 half hour shows that actually make it easy to be a couch-potato for once.....oh wait that's tonight!! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Top Ten Thursdays

I'm trying to psyche myself up for winter, especially now that it's November, an official winter month in Winterpeg (no matter what the solstice says).  I don't like being cold, layering clothes, heavy coats and boots and socks, sitting in cold vehicles waiting for both of us to warm-up, I could go on, but that would defeat the purpose of this post :)  Here are my top ten reasons I actually do love winter (in doses :)

1. Gingerbread and Eggnog lattes from Starbucks, yum!
2. Whatever it is in the cold air that makes sunrises and sunsets more amazingly breathtaking than any other time of year.

3. Hoarfrost, self explanatory
4. My new crocheted toque, handmade by my talented sister Tami, who is selling them by the way, hint hint ;) This isn't mine, this is hers, but it will be like this, only brown.

 5. Christmas parties with friends and co-workers

6. Hopefully getting in a photoshoot in some freshly fallen snow, underneath some picturesque crystallized snow, painted on some overhanging branches.

7. Making pretty Christmas cards and hanging pretty Christmas decorations
8. Christmas carols, fa lalala la

9. My office practically shuts down for a week over the holidays, another reason I love my job.

10. Christmas gatherings with familyOk, so apparently Christmas is one of the only reasons I can get through our long winters, but it is my fav holiday for a reason!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Top Ten Thursdays

So I'm doing fairly well on my break, most urges to do stuff I quell successfully :)  A few exceptions for some important things, but I'm happy to report a top ten list of things I am doing that are NOT goal oriented :)

1. A week long stay-cation that accomplished just about nothing.

2. Christmas shopping, gotta LOVE an excuse to go shopping!

3. Playing with mindless (but fun!) applications on my new iPhone.
4. Babysitting my teeniest nephew, yay!

5. Lots of time with friends during the whirlwind engagement/marriage of a friend....in last 2 months went to her social, shower, stagette, wedding, and then one last girl's night out with the gang while an out of town friend was still around from the festivities. Fun, fun, fun!!

6. A FABULOUS fall foto-shoot with a great photographer! Who can complain about a beautiful autumn day saunter, cuddlin' and smoochin' all the way and then some awesome pics to show for it!

7. Taking majestic sky photos that are just so awe-inspiring, I can't help myself, especially since my phone can take the pics and upload them to share every where I go!
8. Reading blogs, and resisting temptation to write them (until yesterday that was :)

9. Starting to plan a vacation to Las Vegas next year!

10. Creating the perfect butt groove on my couch ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fill er' up!

The human body (including mind and soul) is a machine, operated by biological circuitry, vehicles, computers, coding, etc., therefore it stands to reason we need fuel.  It's a very common analogy that we fuel ourselves with food.  Well taking that analogy a step further, the human machine is slightly bovine in design, having in fact four fuel tanks.

There is the obvious aformentioned 'stomach tank', using food as fuel, and the health of our biological systems depends on the quality and quantity of that fuel. 

Then there is the 'purpose tank', where fuel is the opportunities to fullfill our purpose.  I discovered this one a few months ago in my spiritual gifts course, how success and serving can still feel us leaving empty if we're not using our God given skills and talents they way he designed us for.  Everything we do doesn't have to tie into our purpose, but if we are not utilizing them in some capacity it can be hard to feel like we're accomplishing much.

Then there is the 'love tank', where fuel is the love we receive from people.  This one I discovered years ago in a book called The Five Love Languages.  If you've never read it I highly recommend it as it helps discover the five different expressions of love and which one fills up your love tank the best, and of course then you can better understand other people's 'love fuel' as well. Like a vehicle, the engine is designed to work with a specific fuel, leaded, unleaded, diesel, well so is our love tank.  When we receive love fuel that doesn't meet our specs it can be only partially/temporarily useful or even completely ineffective. Having an empty love tank not only leads to trouble in a relationship but also to deeper emotional issues like anxiety or depression, not to mention you can't give love to others when your own tank is empty.  An empty love tank can also affect other areas of your life that are not love related, you can have a full 'purpose' bank and still feel unfulfilled.

Lastly there is the 'spiritual tank', also known as the God shaped hole in all of us.  Fuel, of course, is a closer relationship with God.  I think Philippians 4:8-9 sums it up:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."  If God is the most important relationship and ultimate purpose in our life then I believe even running on empty in the other 3 tanks can't take away the peace he can give us.
Just as most of us wouldn't even consider letting our bodies run out of food fuel to the point of not being able to run our physical body, don't let yourself run out of the other fuels either.  It may not be as easy to tell we're on empty like a growling stomach but the emptiness will have it's own way of crying out for each tank. Let me tell you, it can get just as painful as a starving stomach.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We interrupt this regularly scheduled programming

I need to give myself a break, figuretively and literally. Ever since I've realized having children is not a likely future for us I have been a little obsessed with re-shaping my life and my purpose, and for some reason I have felt I needed to impliment every idea I ever had to fill the 'empty' life this would leave me with. I've created one list after another of things I feel I need/want to accomplish with this different future, a list of attributes/skills/characteristics I can shape in myself now that I won't have a life focused on raising children.
And I needed to act on it all NOW. Maybe so I wouldn't feel a void, maybe because I never was good at being idle, resting, relaxing.
I, being a natural born planner and scheduler, planned and scheduled all these new goals of mine with next to no wiggle room. I even put just about every goal in my Outlook calendar, reminders and all. I thought I accounted for the freedom to follow a God-led purpose, I realize now that embracing gifts he gave me didn't mean I had to use them all and so frequently. And I totally didn't account for 'life happens'.
And it did.
Life happened. What did I think I would do when work got crazy? How did I not see I had far too many priorities? Why didn't I slow down when people close to me started struggling? Or when I started struggling? My calendar reminders didn't stop appearing when those started. But amidst it all, I've continued to feel obligated to keep up with my schedule, after all, I have this person I'm trying to become, it was my choice to make these priorities, these goals. I would guiltally press 'Snooze' on all those reminders with good intentions of getting back to them all later, but they just piled up, overwhelming me even more.
I forgot to schedule time to.just.be.
So that's what I'm doing now. No more lists, no more goals, no more 'how am I doing' type blog entries. This is going to be a little weird for me because this is just part of who I am, my 'regularly scheduled programming' is self-improving, planning, preparing, purpose-driven, etc. I'm finally giving myself a break.
Don't know how long I'll need, but until I stop feeling so overwhelmed and unaccomplished, I'm on hiatus from all things goal-oriented.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Marrital Health

I once heard about a husband and wife who were in an accident together, recouperating in a hospital together in the same room. The wife finds herself getting better, choosing to be positive and overcome the situation, but her husband, disillusioned because of misfortune, stays ill. She doesn't want to be apart from him, she doesn't want to leave him behind, either in physical location or in health, so she allows herself to remain sick enough to stay in the hospital, with him.

It can be the same way with spiritual health. On more than one occasion I have seen a woman hold herself back spiritually because she doesn't want to leave her husband behind. She doesn't want to grow apart from him, be healthier than him, because of the seperation it creates between them. I have done it, and sometimes still do it. It just so happens it's a Biblical principal that men are to be the spiritual leaders in the household, is it no wonder women have this natural inclination to hold back their own spiritual growth so that their husbands can be that leader? I don't know why women think it's so offensive to be led, especially if that's who God has created men to be. He has created us to help men, not in a sub-servient way, but service is something he has made women good at because men aren't perfect, they need the kind of help God created women to be. They need our help to be leaders.

Sometimes I can begrudge the feeling I need to hold back my growth, but I'm beginning to learn, it's not holding myself back if I shift my focus on helping my husband grow instead. I am growing in God by leaps and bounds when my focus is on my husband's spirituality rather than my own.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lori Goes On Vacation

Long overdue vacay recap.

With promises of time with nieces and nephews, much missed cousins, and nature, and camping (Braun style that is), and a lake, and camp fires, it was impossible to turn down the opportunity to drive to Shell Lake (near Prince Albert, Sask) with most of my immediate family to meet most of my mom's side of the family. Here are some highlights of my wonderful week of vacation!

loved being out in the thick of nature, the beauty, the truly outdoor smell, most of the little creatures.....most of which I didn't get a chance to capture unfortunately

the lake and beach, sure brings back camp memories! the only thing disappointing was the boat wasn't working, no tubing :(

the kids had a blast, it was hard to tear them away! the floating dock was a really fun reprieve from the cold water.

family from Sask and Alberta, whom we really don't get to see often enough!

the kids, who are all really awesome, and a RIOT! :)

mini-golf with the family!

time spent with my cutie pies!

Fun stuff not captured on film....throwing powder in the fire that made it glow bright green and blue, smores!!, me and my sisters enjoying a blue raspberry dipped icecream cone, playing all sorts of board games - Scattegories was probably the funniest time playing ever!!, highlighting Tami's hair (we did a pretty good job!), lots of good food, soaking in the sun on the beach - at least for a brief time, learning a few chords on the guitar thanks to Kellin, and far too many fun/funny moments with the kids to even list, but I did put a note on Facebook to document some of our conversations, along with many more pics, but not quite all 550 that I took!

I wish I had a bit more sunny skies, and therefore more of a tan to show for my camping week, but the clouds not only blocked my rays but the stars and any northern lights that may have shone down on us as well. But of course everything else already listed above MORE than made up for the few things I was looking forward to that didn't happen. Maybe next time, cuz there HAS to be a next time! That was just too much fun not to do it again :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Geek's Guide to God's Word

Ok, I know I'm a bit of a geek, and I search different interpretations and synonyms for things I'm reading, just for fun, but I would highly recommended applying this to Bible Verses.

I LOVE Love LOVE Biblegateway.com's passage look up, you can search any book, chapter, verse, in whatever version you wish! Well I often will check out other versions to try and get a wider paradigm of the meaning of the verse. Reading The Message version actually inspired me to try something new last night as well, I also decided to look up in the thesaurus the key words in this verse, or those that seemed a little vague or ambiguous, especially to people not familiar with Christian-ese. I tried it with one of my favorite verses (a favorite actually because it's one of my fav worship songs) Psalm 51:10-13 and MAN! did it really bring the words to life, it really gave so much more meaning to to a verse that had meant more to me emotionally than intellectually.

I loved what I was discovering so much that I actually wrote it out and have made it a personal prayer. I'm printing out copies, posting as my laptop background, putting it all around me. I just love it, and it's become so powerful to me, all because I found synonymous words that meant more to me. I can't wait to try it some more verses, but for the time being I thought I'd share my take on Psalm 51:10-13.

Cleanse my blemished heart and make it gleam, as only you can FatherAnd renew in me a spirit of faith and perseverance
Please do not abandon me to my darkness, away from your light
Or take away from me your Comforter and Counsellor
Restore the joy I had when my life was first spared by you
Sustain my strength and zealous spirit
Then I can share your truth with those who are lost
Make me a beacon of your light to guide them back to you


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Another 101 Update - Greening and Growing

Well, I seem to be updating my list in themes, the last one being food related, this one is going to be related to being green, both sustainably speaking and biologically speaking, since I likely won't have much to add to this area of my list until next year.
I must say, for my first time gardening and composting, pretty much allowing myself a 'test season', I think I did pretty good!

83. Grow my own food; vegetables, fruit, herbs (NTKOG)
First I should probably explain why I labelled this a NTKOG list item. It's not that I didn't love the idea of a vegetable garden, we grew up renting a house in Edmonton where the owner had corn, peas, carrots, potatoes, and raspberries growing behind the garage and I loved it! Not just the yummy fresh food but I just loved being in the garden, the smells, the fascination of growing food, etc. Then after moving to Steinbach I discovered my grandma's large garden that I also loved picking from, and getting the canned goods that came from it as well that were so delicious. Trouble is, with my first planting experience, with just some small house plants, I seemed to just keep killing them, I was pretty sure I had a black thumb! So I just resigned myself to never being able to keep plants alive. That is until I actually started desiring a simpler and greener life and figured, what they hey, I will try again. First of all, outdoor plants aren't a solo job, and I figured I'd test it out at least once.
So, with a yard that actually had some room for a garden, and some tips, courtesy of Google, on growing the few items I wanted to try, I started some seedlings inside this last April. It was recommended I should plant them outdoors May long, which I was going to do but we started getting really heavy rains all the way through to the first weekend in June, when I finally planted them outside, but even then, just a few days later we got another really heavy rain storm and strong winds.
These poor little tomato and cucumber seedlings I had grown so lovingly inside were about 3 inches high when I planted them outside June 2, but after that rain they disappeared and never returned! My potatoes planted this same weekend did last, in this pic they are on the left, underground.
Then July 1st we went to our first Farmer's Market in St. Norbert and tomato plants were only $1.39-2 each! So I bought 3 beefseak plants and 3 Manitoba tomato plants, here they are, a little wilted, at the top left and right of the pic, planted on July 4th. I also found oregano, the one with purple flowers near the middle, and my potatoes are at the very bottom of the picture.
I've always loved the idea of a herb garden as well, cutting little clippings to flavor each meal with the taste of fresh spices. I also found basil, chives, and parsley at the Farmer's Market, and planted that as well, they are in the front milk carton, so I could take it inside during bad weather. In the tall milk carton was a clove of garlic I also planted. That one didn't do so well, the dirt kept growing mould so I composted it after a few weeks.
Here's my flourishing, and blooming, garden the last week in July-ish.
Here's my first produce, a tomato and small potato, from the first week in August.
This is half my potato crop that I harvested last night! And I've picked 3 other tomatoes, and have about 7 more still growing. I'm very excited about my produce and can't wait to try more next year! I've learned a lot this year that should make it easier next year, especially with wanting to add more veggies, like carrots and cucumbers and peas!

20. 100 mile meal once a month
Well, considering the hours of Farmer's Markets are not all that convenient, and my test garden has only recently started mass producing the two whole veggie varieties I have, I haven't done this as much this summer as I had hoped. My hope when I made this list item was that that I would have more vegetables in my garden and then my produce would provide half of the 100 mile meal (potatoes, veggies, and spices) and then I'd just have to find local meat, and maybe a local made sauce or two. I hope to get one more visit into a local market and stock up a bunch of local food, and then freeze them to acheive some more 100 mile meals between now and next summer, but we'll see. I also found an actual store that proclaims all local produce, so we'll see what they have during the winter. Oh, and Fude, my new favorite Wpg restaurant uses all Manitoba grown/made food, so my birthday dinner there totally counts for my 100 mile meal in July, haha!
For now, my potato harvest will be a good chunk of our crock pot meal tonight, as well as some Canadian carrots, gotta start somewhere, right? :)
84. Start composting, get a kitchen compost caddy (NTKOG)
Honestly, 5 years ago I thought of myself as mostly a city girl, country living was a romantic notion for me, a fantasy that I just wasn't sure would ever happen. Especially not the down and dirty country living, like real homesteading, or the 'hippie' commune type living, the kind of worlds were composting seemed to belong. Then I became part of an environmental company, and made friends who made it seem a lot more feasible to have this lifestyle I idealized. Composting all of a sudden was an easy thing I could try, even currently being a 'city' girl.
So far, I haven't bought a compost caddy yet for the kitchen, but I have re-used some large containers and started building up some compostable scraps in the beginning of May for the compost hole I was going to dig in my back yard. I ended up digging my compost hole up when I was going to originally plant my garden, May long, and have been adding scraps to it ever since. Boy has it made for some really great soil to add to my garden!! It actually decomposes pretty quick and I've been able to move compost soil to my garden 3 times as of last night. I also added the last of scraps to my compost pile since I'm not sure if I'll be able to add to the pile again before it's too cold, and I don't want scraps stinking up my kitchen from now till next thaw.
And boy, my wormie friends are really loving my compost, I think when I first dug the hole I found about 4-5 worms, then the next time it was probably closer to 10, this time I couldn't stick my little spade in without pulling up 2 each time! Probably had 30-40 in there! Now to remove the annoying bush (#85) from my compost pile (actually it's a dirt bed for this bush, but I'd rather have the compost than the bush) so that I can actually have a big pile instead of a small 1 1/2 ft cubed hole. By next year I will have such good soil! How exciting for my future veggies!
89. Lawn care without pesticide/herbicide use
Part of my simpler and greener living was to treat my living things with simpler, greener and healthier solutions. I tried a vinegar, detergent, salt and water mixture I read up about but by the time I was able to spray it on our weeds (due to all that rain again) there were too many and they were too strong, for this mixture. I tried it twice but they just kept growing stronger than ever. To be fair, there were a lot more weeds than normal this year, and my neighbors who would rather spend their free time at the cabin didn't exactly stop theirs from spreading more to our yard. I don't think I caught them early enough either, so I will try again next year, having the mixture on hand and ready for the first sign of weeds to be trounced.
Same with pesticide for my garden. By the time I realized I had bugs I couldn't afford to take the time to make an organic pesticide. I'll be much better prepared next year and then I can better judge if it's something I'll be able to continue or need to modify again.
Overall, I'm very happy with my growing and greening in the few short months I've been working at it, and am already very excited for next spring summer, only 8 months to go...haha.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

If you were a kid in the 70's...

I got this email circulating around and thought it was a great opportunity to reminisce. I only spent 3 years in the 70's but it's surprising how much still applies to me :)

You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked.
Yup, used it on my dad a lot.

You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it.
Yup, had that, mine was purple.

You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels.
Yup, had that, except mine were blue with red stripes.

You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute (admit it!)
Yup, although sometimes there was another kid on who was cuter, but Gopher was definitely the cutest from the main cast.

You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island.
Actually I really liked that show!

You had either a 'bowl cut' or 'pixie', not to mention the 'Dorothy Hamill'. People sometimes thought you were a boy.
Yup, had that up until gr. 5!! (1987) - that's me at about age 5 with the puppy.

You had rubber boots for rainy days and Moon boots for snowy days.
Don't really see anything particularly retro about the rubber boots but I recall those winter boots, although I never had a pair.

You owned a 'Slip-n-Slide' , on which you injured yourself on a sprinkler head more than once.
Oh yeah! I had lots of associated injuries but that never stopped me from going back for more!

You owned 'Klick-Klacks' and smacked yourself in the face more than once!
A friend had those and of course I hit myself in the head!

Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession.
Actually I think mine was a Holly Hobbie blanket.

You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers.
Yup, I had more than a few ponchos, I think almost all of them were crocheted.

You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon.
Was one of the first games I ever played, along with Hungry Hungry Hippo.

You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple satiny shredded outfits, or the sunshine family.
This one was a little before my time, I was an adult before I knew who Donnie & Marie were.

You spent hours in your backyard on your metal swing set with the trapeze. The swing set tipped over at least once.
Ours didn't have the trapeze, and it came THIS close to tipping but never did :)

You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color. (Oh yeah!)
Yup, had a few of those and also those plastic Goody barrettes, flowers, butterflies, bunnies, etc.

You had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals (the ones with hard sole & the buckle). You also had a pair of salt-water sandals.
The clogs (as I called them) were a friend’s, in her dress up clothes actually, and FAR too big on us but we loved them! But I did have a cute pair of the salt-water sandals as a toddler.

You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad; you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck in at least one school picture; and you despised Nellie Oleson!
Yup, had that except it wasn’t plaid, it was polka-dotted, I had a plaid one too but no high neck.

You wanted your first kiss to be at a roller rink!
Didn’t know a rink was an option at the time, mine was in the kindergarten coat closet.

PONG! ('video tennis' ) was the most remarkable futuristic game you've ever heard of!
Funny enough, I only heard about Pong in the late 90s.

Your hairstyle was described as having 'wings' or 'feathers' and you kept it 'pretty' with the comb you kept in your back pocket. When you walked, the 'wings' flapped up and down, looked like you were gonna 'take off'.
Nope, bowl cut was, as I mentioned, THE 'do' until almost the 90's!

You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends, Blueberry Muffin and Huckleberry Pie.
Yup, one of my fav shows and toys.

You carried a Muppets lunch box to school and it was metal, not plastic. With the thermos inside some were glass and broke the first time you dropped them.
No, metal lunch boxes were out by the time I hit school, and mine was the Cabbage Patch Kids, but I LOVED watching the Muppets every Sunday night.

You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend.
Had no clue at the time, but now I say the blond one ;)

You had Star Wars action figures, too!
Again, had no clue at the time, only saw part of it in the late 80s, took until late 90s to see the whole movie, and trilogy. Now big sci-fi geek am I!

It was a big event in your household each year when the 'Wizard of Oz' would come on TV. Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags!
YES! One of my fav family traditions!! So weird, I thought we were the only ones!

You often asked your Magic-8 ball the question: 'Who will I marry. Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, or David Cassidy?'
Who? What? Magic-8 balls were also a mystery until adulthood.

You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack record album.
Not exactly. The closest I got to this was Fame being on a 'mixed' record of various soundtrack songs, all pretty tame comparatively, The Rose, Music Box Dancer, and the like.

You tried to do lots of arts and crafts, like yarn and Popsicle-stick God's eyes, decoupage, or those weird potholders made on a plastic loom.
More like that's the only craft people knew how to do with us kids, Popsicle-sticks were in just about EVERY craft!

You made Shrinky-Dinks and put iron-on kittens on your t-shirts!
Had a few shrinky-dinks (teehee) but no iron-ons…most of my clothes were hand-me downs with iron-ons already on, lol.

You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker.
Yup, but again, that was more like 1988.

You had subscriptions to Dynamite and Tiger Beat.
Yup, but once again, that was more like 1988, Ricky Schroeder from Silver Spoons *Sigh*.

You learned everything you needed to know about teenage issues from Judy Blume books.
I had seen this book but don’t recall if I actually read it.

You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer.
Had no clue at the time and even now I can't say I've ever seen a performance, it's always been a 70's cliche reference for me.

You thought Olivia Newton John's song 'Physical' was about aerobics. (?? its not??)
Yup, and I actually liked watching and doing aerobics from the t.v. HAHA!

You glopped your lips in Strawberry Roll-on lip-gloss till it dripped off. (Kissing Potion, I believe it was called).
Oh yes, the kissing potion!! That and Lipsmackers!! LOVED them!!!

You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or r a i n b o w designs.
Yup, ALL over my shoes!! And especially in rainbow colours, I LOVED rainbows (still do actually :)

You drowned yourself in Love's Baby Soft - which was the first 'real' perfume you ever owned.
Yup, first perfume indeed. I think whoever wrote this email is stalking me or something!!
Oh, so much fun to reminisce sometimes. Which items bring back memories for you?
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