A Gift

I was gifted 4 hours yesterday. Four hours where I would have normally been otherwise engaged until such time as it was time to start cooking dinner. From 1:30 – 5:30 last night, I was FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! At around noon, the power lines outside of our office building came down in a huge ball of white flames. Arcing and firing and killing the power to our complex (ironic since we are a high voltage electrical service firm, LOL!). We all hung around chatting and wondering what was going to happen until around 1pm when I finally took it upon myself to go and talk to the utility line crew and ask what the ETA on restoration would be. “Several hours” was the answer…..and with that? FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So what does a high functioning woman such as myself DO with 4 whole hours of unspoken for time? The following list tore through my head (and yes, I did think I could get it all done if I just worked quick enough):


  • Mow the lawn
  • Weed the garden
  • Clean the house
  • Wash my bike
  • Vacuum my car
  • Go to the bookstore


Fortunately I had a solid 6 minute commute to come to my senses. No one knew I would be home. Just me. And my dog. And I would be no further behind than I was right at that moment if I did none of those things. And no one would ever know! So NOW what’s a woman to do? Whatever in the whole world I wanted (that took no more than 4 hours and didn’t cost any money).

The one thing that I have been missing a whole bunch lately is the time and sunshine to take my dog for a long and unhurried walk. I have a long route that I do as a treat from time to time and I have been itching to do for a couple of weeks now. A gorgeous and sunny bonus afternoon of secret time seemed like the perfect opportunity!


Since the point of the walk wasn’t to set any sort of speed record and I had as much time as I wanted, we set off at a nice moderate pace. No music, just sunshine and a breeze and my dog.


Our “destination” was Como Lake Park…a teensy little lake in tucked in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The actual path around the lake is not long, just a kilometer but it’s really pretty and you are right along the edge of the water.

Willow Lake

On the way there I’d spotted something out of the corner of my eye that I’d never seen before and wanted to take a look at it on the way back.


A beautiful (and VERY tall) totem pole on the grounds of a rec centre and at the entrance to a public rose garden. Of course none of the roses were up yet but the totem pole was really cool to see. At the base of the totem pole was a time capsule…..I should have taken a picture of that, woops. In all, a really neat little stop along our way back home.

Our 7.70km walk (4.8 miles) took us about an hour and a quarter…which included lots of sniff-stops for Gracie and the photos along the way. It was so enjoyable and it completely recharged my spirit. Once home and showered off, I still had over 2 hours to spend alone….so I listened to my heart and went and laid on the couch. Yes. My heart told me to go watch television. I haven’t watched TV in almost 3 weeks except for the news in the morning. But on this day, this bonus day of secret time……me, the PVR, a juicy gala apple and a handful of nuts. Oh yes! As much as my spirit needed the sunny walk with my dog, it also needed to sit undisturbed on the couch and do nothing.

Today, my secret time is but a memory; wiped away with the start of a new day. But while the time itself might be gone, the small spark that landed here within me stayed lit….and I feel good today. Great even. Energized and positive and free. I will take that!


Enter February!

So February is underway, the sun is shining brilliantly and I’m ready to go.  I had an unexpected injury late last week that couched me for four days (dislocated shoulder from years ago acts up from time to time) but I’m a LOT better now.  Still a little tender but at least now I can comb my hair, LOL!

This past Saturday was February 1st and I took a well thought out break from a couple of my goals so that I could enjoy a little treat and not have to mark it down as a failure.  It seemed unreasonable to go from one month to the next without having a “break day” in between to have a sweet or buy a new nail polish.  So…I allowed February 1st to be a day that didn’t fall under the January goals or the February goals.  It just seemed like smart planning.  I’m planning March 1st to be off the grid as well!

On Saturday, after a treatment at the chiropractor (which hurt SO much at one point that I thought I was going to faint), we went for coffee and I had a delicious red tea latte (made with coconut milk) and a little gluten free sugar cookie with pink icing and little white sprinkles.  It was amazing and perfect and just what I needed!  Unfortunately, the sugar in that and the teeeeeensy bit of honey in my chia seed pudding awoke my treats dragon and I’ve been clawing around for the last two days searching for something……..something sweet, something to make it go away, something to munch on, just….something.  Not cool!  So now, four days into February, the banishment of treats or sweets begins anew.  I do not suffer at all with what I eat and often I will have a dessert planned (an orange or coconut chips or a kombucha) and I go days without having it because I’m full from dinner and just don’t need it.  I enjoyed the chocolate chia pudding parfait that I had over the weekend but I enjoyed that more on a strange emotional plane than a physical enjoyment one.  On Sunday morning, parked on the couch drinking our coffee and watching a dumb movie, we ate the rest of the raspberries and blueberries plain right out of their lit6tle clamshells and I enjoyed that more than the pudding parfait, go figure. 


Aside from recovering from my injury and doing some cooking on Saturday, we didn’t get up to much. My cooking “hour” has morphed into about a 3 hour time investment on Saturday and another hour on Sunday.  It’s a good chunk of time to devote to preparing food but my time investment during the week is reduced to about 10 minutes (not including heating/baking time) and that has created quite a bit more time for me each day which is so nice.  I make or prep all the ingredients for the breakfast we’ll eat all week as well as every dinner (we take leftovers for lunches).  I go as far as I can possibly go with each dish and then it all gets stored in the refrigerator downstairs with the weekly menu posted on the fridge upstairs.  I predetermine the menu before grocery shopping and that way I typically don’t buy anything that’s not on the plan to eat, thereby reducing waste. No baby cukes in the fridge rotting, no box of salad going slimy because it seemed like a good idea to buy it but it wasn’t anywhere on the menu.  Granted, the type of preparation that I rely on really screws me when I’m not feeling well or if we have plans or if something comes up…..but since I usually schedule in the cooking on Saturday afternoon, we can work around it.  It’s important to me to be prepared and organized and it would have to be something pretty remarkable going on to make me delay it.

Because I have no holidays this year to speak of, I have been “reserving” our Sundays for just the two of us. We typically go down to the mall and I’ll get a tea (gift card, doesn’t count in the no spending, ha!) and Ray will get a coffee and we’ll window shop for a bit and then carry on.  I hate the mall….but strangely I love our Sunday jaunts.  This past Sunday, as part of my goals for February, we went somewhere new for a walk with Gracie and had a blast.  We’d been there before but it’s a nice change of scenery instead of the forested park we walk around all the time by our house.  The weather was clear and crisp and gorgeous and Gracie ran around like a demon, she loved it!  We ended up walking 6.3 kilometers (3.9 miles) before heading home for a shower and some alone time.  It was a perfect Sunday and fully recharged me for this week ahead. 

photo 2

Right before she lost her mind and crashed right into me!

photo 1

So happy!

photo 3


photo 4

This is my favourite, she looks partially deranged!

photo 5

Ray said he watched her deke over to one side like she was going to go around me and then changed her mind and tried to go right through me!


My two favourite beasts.


This week:

  • Gym x 3
  • Dinner at the table x 3
  • No handheld technology after 6pm
  • Television-less Friday
  • Paint nails


Have a good one!


After I declared this morning that my body wants me to exercise more, I felt a sense of….I don’t know….correctness?  A sense that I had put my finger on a big part of my current issues and that things were going to improve from here.  That’s a nice feeling!  If you know me at all, you know I like a challenge….anything that I can work on or toward that has a goal and a finish line/date.  If you do know me, you would also know that I believe that things open up in the world as we are ready for them; the window I jumped through 7 years ago when I decided to shake up my life, the window 6 years ago when I decided to quit smoking, the window when I quit my job and moved into a new phase of my life.  I think it’s always important to be striving for things but I really feel like certain windows open up as you become ready, you just have to be aware enough to notice them.

So, today I declared “more exercise” and what my plan was to do it.  Then, later in the afternoon I clicked through to a blog and found someone doing a “100 Miles Challenge” and a lightbulb went off in my head, that is exactly what I need!  Now, being Canadian, I can’t do a 100 MILE challenge because, well…..we’re metric and I enjoy my metricocity.  But I’m going to do a 100 KILOMETER challenge, a “century”.  Technically a Century is a 100km bicycle ride but I get to make my own rules so I’m going to refer to my challenge as:


“Century” because it’s one hundred kilometers and “Life Ride” because it’s going to be any combination of rowing, running or walking (indoors at the gym or outside on the road/trail).  Whatever activity that I do (with purpose) that propels me forward gets logged as relevant kilometers.  The finish line is 100 Kilometers before March 1st.  That’s 45 days from today, January 15th, and works out to an average of 2.3 kilometers per day.  I would like to think that I’ve given myself a pretty achievable goal but I wasn’t absolutely positive how this would work out so I didn’t want to make it unattainable.  The reward for achieving the goal is a reflexology foot treatment (make sense, right, my feet are mostly going to be the ones getting me there!).

Does anyone want to join in?  Leave a note in the comments so that we can check in with each other along the way!  If you’re in the US, it’s 62.13 miles in the 45 days…. same overall measurement.  There are no real rules, just start logging your distances for any walk, run or row and then report back on March 1st!

I’m excited about this!

Strike, Day Three

Here we are, on Day Three of the Strike….and one day before the company goes forward with the Lockout.  Obviosuly, as I’m sure you can guess, things are awesome!  Haha.

I’ve been up at 4am every morning and on the road at 4:45 to get to the “undisclosed shuttle location” to be picked up and dropped at my desk to begin work at 5:40am.  It’s frigging rough and I hate it.

Yesterday I was supposed to work until 5pm (an 11.5 hour day) and I was completely resigned to it.  Then?  At 2:30?  There was an area wide power outage.  No power?  No workie!  I hopped the shuttle, got to my bike and rode myself the hell home.  We packed up a little picnic of ribs and greek salad from the night before, gathered the dog and ourselves into the car and went on a mid-week date.  First stop was a favourite coffee shop where we sat at lovely tables on a little breezy plaza and drank iced coffee (and tea) while chatting and people watching.  Next stop was a park that we’ve ridden our bikes past many times but never stopped in.

We took a 1km uphill hike to a beautiful water fall and then walked back and had our picnic.  Last stop was a shared sundae (shared between the two of us and the dog) and then home and into bed. 

It was refreshing and good for the soul.  The gorgeous bushes and great bush smell and the water fall and the air and sun and sand (at the river’s edge) was amazing and just what we needed!

Today is a new day and it’ll be a busy one.  Ray will go and pick up his daughter’s puppy this afternoon though and bring him back to play with Grace so there’ll be some fun and puppy antics when I get home!

Couple videos from yesterday for you and a picture of the water fall.



Cliff Falls

A Full Weekend

It’s Monday morning and I feel like I’ve been off work for a week, not just the two day weekend.  That’s a nice feeling though, not complaining!  It was much nicer out this weekend than was predicted and we took full advantage! 

Friday night to celebrate the exam being over and passed, we went out for a nice dinner with Ray’s daughter and her husband.  I had an Ahi tuna sandwich but wrapped in lettuce instead of bread, slathered in red pepper relish and guacamole, it was amazing!  Being toast from the week and month previous, I went to bed with Grace almost as soon as we got home from dinner and slept until 9 the next morning. 

Saturday morning I left the comfort of the bed and had a bath in the main bathroom while Ray was showering in the en suite.  And when I got out of the bath, this is what I found:

Grace Bed

She’d kicked all the blankets onto the floor and made herself at home Right. On. My. Pillow.  Frigging spoiled dog!  No shame, either!

Saturday we ran a tonne of errands including jewelry repair, knife sharpening (they sharpened my knife for free…..after I paid $145 for a new chef’s chopping knife to go with the slicing one I already had!), tea purchasing and dirt buying. 

Ray decided that Sunday morning he should get me up earlier so that we would have more day to work with….in theory I agreed with that, but the actual practice of it sucked so he bribed me with breakfast out.  Works every time!  After breakfast we headed home under sunny skies and Ray went and washed the back deck while I spent three hours weeding my front garden.  Three hours….a third of the garden done.  I called it quits and we took our dog and walked 3km up to McDonald’s for smoothies.  I realize that while McD calls them Real Fruit Smoothies, they are probably more crap than fruit….but it’s a nice treat!  Hoofed it back home to find Ray’s daughter had stopped by with her puppy and wanted to go for a walk.  Since Ray’s son was already there the four of us headed out into the park and ended up walking another 4km.  Our dog was pooped by the end of the day….as was I!  3 hours of gardening plus 7km of walking, done for the day!

Ray with our dog, our grand-dog, his daughter and son.

Ray with our dog, our grand-dog, his daughter and son.

This week is supposed to be gorgeous and our plan is to insure my motorcycle, go for a couple evening refresher rides on Tuesday & Wednesday so that on Thursday and Friday when the weather is extra gorgeous, I can ride my bike to work!  Ideally I would like to ride my motorcycle to work at least two days a week through this season, weather permitting.  It’s cheaper on fuel and much more fun than my car!  The only sucky part is having to pack with me a change of clothes for work as well as bundling up for the morning and then finding somewhere to put all those layers for the warm ride home.  Sometimes it feels like more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth!

Anyway, since I try to balance healthy with reality, I need to put the focus back on the “healthy aspect” this month.  It’s not that long until summer when everything gets derailed in favour of sitting on the patio with a cold beverage.  Studying and the stress that came with that is gone now so from now until June my focus is going to be on my fitness and overall health (good sleep, vitamins, hydration).  Ray is going to be gone for a week out of the month and there’s a long weekend coming up and I have some huge plans for that week/weekend, yardwork related.  I’ll have the pickup truck, no one to cook for and no one to tell me they don’t like my yard renovation ideas so I’m going to go gangbusters!  Can’t wait!  Were there a certain family member who reads this blog who wanted to come out on May 18th and get some good, natural exercise digging, raking, pulling, pruning and shoveling,  in exchange for some sort of lunch or dinner, that would be great!  Hint-hint-hint  😉

That’s it for me today, it’s a Monday, I’d rather be home digging in the dirt than sitting at a desk indoors……..so I’ll dig when I get home, dinner is made and in the fridge marinating, just has to be pan fried!


Friday:  snow

Saturday:  tank top & cut offs while gardening

Sunday: feather vest and sweatshirt, long pants


On Friday when I pulled into our neighborhood and saw that it was snowing, I promptly drove myself to the liquor store to get some wine….for medicinal purposes, of course.


We didn’t get up to much on Friday night and then on Saturday morning we had a club meeting.  Following the meeting we got groceries and ran a couple errands and then went home and did this:


Where you can now see lava rock, it was all overgrown rhododendron.  We ripped and cut it back, leveled the ground, laid down some landscaping fabric and a “barrier” tie at the back and then filled it in with lava rock.  I called it my 20 minute garden….probably it was more like an hour of work between the two of us, but still, quick and done!  That spot right there (and on the sidewalk) is the hottest side of our house in the summer and tomatoes flourish there.  Historically we each get our own tomato plant and then our plants duke it out over the summer to see who the best producer is!  We end up with way more tomatoes than we can eat though and everyone else we know also grows them so there’s no one to give them to.  So, this year I decided to clear cut a spot and plant container blueberries and raspberries instead.  Hence the lava rock garden and pots! 


Saturday night while watching random television I decided to try making coconut chips.  They turned out AWESOME, too good.  I used this recipe but next time would severely limit (or eliminate) the salt, I found them much too salty for my personal taste.

 Coconut Chips 

On Sunday after going out for breakfast (somehow this has become tradition) we went back home and picked up Grace and then went to a park in a neighboring town for a walk.  It’s always refreshing to go somewhere new, while we are blessed to live on the doorstep of a beautiful forest with well maintained trails, it gets a bit overdone walking the same ones day after day so we set off somewhere new.  We went about 5-6km in a gorgeous cool sunshine.  We all loved the change of scenery!

 Deer Lake 

After our walk we started on some yardwork.  I mowed and edged both of our lawns, did doo-doo pickup and raked up old leaves while Ray worked on his new hanging tomato system.  I got the total short end of that stick (the back yard hadn’t been mowed yet this year, the grass was 8” tall, thick and damp) but it was great exercise!  And, after a good walk and the yardwork, we had a delicious fresh dinner.  It was a recipe that originally came from my late boss but which I very slightly adapted.  Pretty much just marinated chicken chunks which are sautéed with a sweet onion, garlic and tomatoes (canned-drained or fresh) and then tossed with roasted spaghetti squash until warm through and then sprinked with feta.  So delicious!


So, that’s what happened in the past, what’s coming this week?  Studying…….gym…….staying away from snacks/sugar……..more studying.  I’m such a creature of habit that having this exam hanging over my head is really messing with my feeling of balance.   I think it’s maybe a bit why I’ve been feeling almost like I’m depressed (I’m not).  It could also be because I’m now taking an exam for something that I won’t, in the forseeable future, actually be able to use.  Either way, I want the exam to come never but also tomorrow so that it’s over with.  That depressive, out of balance feeling is probably driving an urge to “feel better” that I’m trying to assuage by eating sugar and carbs (serotonin, anyone?). 


What’s on this week for everyone else?  Anything looming on the horizon that is messing with your regular balance?

People Need Crackers!

A while ago we bought a trio of flavoured goat cheeses from Costco.  The flavours were Fig, Bruschetta and Herbs de Provence.  The fig one was the first to get opened and Ray enjoyed his spread on crackers while I tried dipping carrots into it, I tried spreading it on slices of farmer sausage and I tried eating it right off the little spreader knife.  None of those were a good fit and I decided right then that life needs crackers.  But since life doesn’t need grains, I needed to make my own crackers. 

Last night was my first try at cracker making and man alive, they turned out GREAT!  There are only four ingredients besides herbs and spices and they’re all normal ingredients.  Next time I would roll them out much thinner and bake them a little longer, but flavor and texture wise, they were absolutely fantastic!  I had to put them away and go to bed or I’d have eaten every single one of them!  I cannot wait to try them with a bit of creamy goat cheese spread on top this weekend!


Grain free Crack-ers

1 cup almond meal (very finely ground if you do it yourself)

¼ cup parmesan cheese

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp Italian Seasoning (or combo of basil, oregano, thyme, sage)

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp paprika

Salt & Pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1 egg white

Mix the dry (except for the S & P) until well combined.  Add the olive oil and the egg white and mix (squish by hand) until you can squeeze it into a ball.

Spray two large pieces of parchment with oil.  Put dough ball between the sheets and roll out to quite thin.  You’ll probably have to try it first to see how thin, I made mine too thick although they were still good.Peel the top piece of parchment off carefully and slide the second piece of parchment with the dough onto a baking sheet.  Score with a knife or pizza wheel to your desired shape and then sprinkle with salt & pepper and pat that on gently so that it sticks.

Bake 350 for around 15 minutes, check after 12 minutes and watch closely, once they start browning they’ll go quickly.  You want them to become a nice, golden brown colour.  Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before breaking them apart.  Store airtight once cool!

Before the cracker making we had another adventure last night.  Grace had her first trip to an off leash dog park.  She started out pretty solid, was curious and respectful for the first few minutes. Then about 6 other dogs all showed up at the same time and that was too much for her.  She rolled an English bulldog and tried to beat up another little dog.  I had her lay down and watch for awhile after that before we left so that she left there on good terms.  I decided to try her walking off leash on the way home and it worked out fairly well!  It definitely helped that I had a handful of pork to keep her focus from wandering but even after the pork ran out she was still pretty good.  We walk her lots, usually 10km/day, but what she also needs is mental stimulation such as off leash walks and dog friends.  Everyone arrived home in one piece so I have to chalk the day up as a success!

Lots of fun stuff this long weekend for us.  We’re staying home but we have some cool plans.  Ray’s been on afternoon shift for three straight weeks so these three days off together will give us a chance to reconnect with each other and recharge our batteries.  Can’t wait!

Hope your long weekend is filled with relaxation and alcohol, I know mine will be!

Fast & Furious

It is blissfully sunny out (finally!) and I am insanely busy at work so have been getting there early to start work…which eats into my blogging time.  😉

An update of things ongoing in point form, shall we?

  • Grace is catching on to life with us…in most respects.  It is becoming apparent that she never spent any time outdoors.  She is nervous and insecure about absolutely every little noise, movement, breeze or bug.  It’ll take time but she’s a smart girl, she’ll get used to it.
  • We are more careful about keeping her under our control (leash) than we were at first, now that she’s gaining confidence her little firecracker personality is coming out and she has no hesitation about chasing cats in our neighborhood or even chasing a motorcycle down the road at top speed.
  • We discovered yesterday during a visit with our adoption co-ordinator that she was not abandoned on the side of the freeway as we first understood.  She and her brother were tossed out of a moving vehicle at freeway speed and the car that was behind her car pulled over and went back for them while the owners just sped off.  I just about puked when I heard that.  And then cried. 
  • I rode my motorcycle to work on Friday for the first time!
  • Going back a little ways since I haven’t been posting much, our family dinner worked out absolutely beautifully, everyone was on their best behavior and got along well enough that I would not hesitate to do it again (and we may, in September)
  • On the exercise front I have walked 40.1 kilometers in the last 7 days.  This is, apparently, enough for me to not only maintain my weight but to help strip off a little more fat in the legs and belly and replace with lean tissue.  Perfect!  Especially since, because the weather is gorgeous, we are certainly drinking more than we do when it’s raining out. 
  • There was a cougar reported in our area late last week, freaks me the hell out!
  • We went to a dinner party at Ray’s ex wife’s house last night, she was at our house on Saturday with George so they could meet Grace and she is coming to Ray’s mom’s b’day dinner and then to our house for coffee & cake this coming Sunday.  I am definitely struggling at this point, I don’t mind her, she’s a nice person, I love her dog…….but it’s a strain on my good humour and sociability to crank out a happy face when nerves and upset is what I’m feeling inside.  And Ray, per normal, pays absolutely no attention to my discomfort whether I specifically mention it or not.  It’s a problem.

So, that’s what HAS happened, and here’s what’s coming:

  • Grace has a vet appt tomorrow.  We thought she had an ouchie foot because of all the walking however it could be because of how she was….um….surrendered.  She needs to get that looked at.
  • Tara is coming over for dinner on Wednesday so that we can drink a nice rose in the driveway and so she can meet Grace
  • Ray’s mom is turning 75 on Sunday (hence the birthday dinner and get together at our house).  She just took a tumble yesterday and may have broken her wrist…which is not great, she’s not a great exerciser to begin with and has little confidence in walking to begin with and this won’t help.  Plus, she’s going to Israel and Jordan in September so she needs to get up and going.
  • Saturday we have a Harley meeting, a chiropractor appt (that Gracie gets to go to…and he offered to take a look at her and see if he can help her at all) and then a memorial service in the afternoon. 

So that’s about it. It’s too beautiful here to spend anytime indoors and I’m too busy at work to do anything but swear and bang my head against the desk.  Three weeks from now we’re going on holidays as well and that is going to be crazy to get ready for, we’re camping just the two of us and our dog and also towing our big boat up there and going to spend at least a week on the water fishing and swimming and hanging out…..at this point I have requested two weeks off and only had one approved so we can’t even determine how long we’ll be gone for….which really blows.