Thursday, January 18, 2018

Vitamin D, Tea and Me

What with being sick lately, I haven't spent much time outdoors. And most days have been so cold that you only want to dash from car to building. Brrrr! Today is a warmer, calmer day: there isn't actually any snow falling from the sky! But where am I? In the office, of course, looking longingly out the window. 

I've been noticing myself becoming angry easier, grumbling while driving (because everyone else is an idiot!), and feeling a little down. Yes, I've been housebound; and the weather has been terrible. But let's be proactive here! This is MY health .... and I don't like it when I am an ogre. So what's to be done about the lack of Vitamin D?

Well, I turn to good ole Google to refresh my memory of what I should be doing. 

Key food sources of Vitamin D:
  • Oily fish; salmon, sardines
  • Orange juice
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Red meats
  • Egg yolk
  • Cheese 
  • Tofu
  • Fortified products
I'm good in the egg yolks and cheese department. I eat small portions of red meat; and I enjoy tofu occasionally. I eat fish weekly, but oily fish like salmon are an expensive treat. Orange juice gives me heartburn, but I have been eating at least one orange a day since I've been sick. I don't care for breakfast cereals, and they contain a lot of sugar and/or preservatives as do most fortified products. This site didn't mention Vitamin D drops as did others. 

My best defense is awareness, I suppose; remembering to increase my intake of these items this time of year. And trying to get outside as much as possible. Perhaps I'll pick up some lovely salmon today; I'm worth it!

In the meantime, I know where I'm having my tea break today....... 

Right here in front of the big office window.

Perhaps I'll dream of sunny weekends ...
and Spring.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Weekend Wanderings

I stopped taking Symbicort over a week ago but was (am) still experiencing side effects. One of the worse was the depression and anxiety -- something I don't experience normally. So, I took Friday afternoon off for some much needed "Me" time. And as it was a drizzly, cool day, I crawled the mall.  I still had a Xmas gift card and gifted money (whatever wasn't spent on medications!), and it was burning a hole in my pocket. And I needed socks. 

I think most of my hometown was at the grocery store stocking up for the upcoming weather. There weren't a lot of other shoppers around. So, I leisurely strolled through the shops -- Reitman's, Cleo, Ricki's, Spring, Cole's Bookstores and Northern Reflections. I only had to hold my nose twice as I scurried past the smellier shops. I spent hours and hours, touching and looking; I tried on several items and hemmed and hawed. Most items were marked an additional 50% off. So, I was a very savy shopper.

Here's my haul.

Okay! I admit that I may have gone overboard with the socks. I was aiming for 3-4 pairs and ended up with 10 pairs. The jewellery was in the $2-$3 each range. And the sweater! Ahhhh! Well, the sweater has polka dots -- on both sides so you can roll up the sleeves and have alternate colored polka dots! And who doesn't love polka dots!

On my way home, I dropped into Winner's. I wasn't looking for clothing; I was looking for food! My little (hick) town doesn't carry a lot of variety in foodstuffs. These were sale items again. 

Saturday I began taking down my Xmas decorations. And when I stopped for an afternoon break, I was very happy with my selections. I had a macha latte (with a sprinke of chocolate) and a most delicious chocolate orange biscotti. Fortification for the tedious task of undecorating the tree.  That evening, I prepared a really nice dinner for myself and (Happy gasp!) poured myself a large glass of wine -- the first since early December! "Merry Xmas, Sandy", I said with a smile!

Sunday brought news about the devastation we suffered on the west coast of Newfoundland after the warm temperatures and torrential rains all day Saturday and the resulting snow melt and runoff. The rains continued into Sunday as well. And by late afternoon, Corner Brook was one of 4 communities that declared a state of emergency.

These people lost their house, garage and truck (which you can't see because it's under water!) The smaller villages on both sides of our very long bay were completely cut off with high flood waters and washouts. Half of them are still cut off today with crews working as hard as they can.
Roads in the city as well as several areas on our major highway collapsed. For a while, CB residents were told NOT to try to leave the city. And anyone who needed emergency medical services were told to call the Coast Guard as boat was the only way to get into the city. It was (and is) a mess. But no one lost their lives, thank God.

Early Sunday evening took us back into the deep freeze. So today, although it's clear and at times sunny, my city of hills is a skating rink. 

But as happens everywhere on this beautiful planet, at times like these, people come together to help others. We will rally and smile and sing and survive!  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Houseplant Appreciation Day

My favorite new calendar is one which tells me how to celebrate each and every day of 2018. Today it's Houseplant Appreciation Day. 

When I first moved home to Newfoundland into an apartment, I knew I would miss my flower garden and I wanted a little greenery. So I purchased a few plants at yard sales that I thought would be hearty enough to survive living in a basement apartment as well as the long NL winters. They have given me much joy (and hope for the return of spring). Sometimes I like to gather them together on the deep window sill in front of the biggest, brightest window and tell them how great they are. Here are my green children. 

Because of their beauty (and fearing for their lives), I brought these 2 to my office which gets much more light. 

 And in spite of my encouragement, love and best efforts, this is how Ivy repaid me during Xmas. Her leaves dried, fell off, and she all but dried up. Oh dear! 

I have been careful not to speak disparaging words to her; but I feel she may already feel it in my body language ... and the fact that I've segregated her to the bright kitchen window location. 

Prayer is requested!

Today as it seems most days now, Corner Brook is experiencing "snow squalls". (snowsquall (or snow squall) is a sudden moderately heavy snow fall with blowing snow and strong, gusty surface winds.[1] It is often referred to as a whiteout and is similar to a blizzard but is localized in time or in location and snow accumulations may or may not be significant.)

This is the view from my office window. We are on a hill, and normally, we can see other houses and the bay! I felt so bad for that fat little black bird which huddled all by herself on the wire for upwards of 30 min. She's gone now, so I can only hope she found her flock and a warmer place to dwell. 

And as soon as they free me from my workplace, I too shall flock home to the warmth of my wire. And I think I'll gather my green children round me .... even those that disappoint me .... and tell them how much I appreciate their life, their color and their tenacity.

Happy Hump Day, y'all!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Smiling from the Deep Freeze

It seems that we're all experiencing terribly cold temperatures this winter. The news is full of stories about this. We should be used to it here in Newfoundland; but although we're used to lots of snow, it doesn't usually get this cold this early in the season.These are February temperatures! This morning it's -9 C (15.8 deg F).  My car was parked at the bottom of my hill, so I dressed with extra layers and care to make the short walk down.

I'm healing from my bronchitis. But try as I did, the side effects from my daily asthma medication were too harsh. I was unable to function yesterday afternoon --  in such pain and even my eyesight was affected! So, after checking with a local nurse, I stopped taking them last night. It's so hard to be positive and optimistic when you've been ill for so long and the meds are making things worse. But I tried my best.

In spite of the cold weather and my ailments, I went outside both Saturday and Sunday to get some fresh air and natural light. The sun even came out for 20 min which was wonderful! The snow was light and powdery, making it easy to clean off the car and easy to walk in. I stood in the driveway and turned my face to the sky and just luxuriated in the chill in my cheeks and the wonderful feeling of warmth in the rest of my body. I so want to enjoy this season. (And I'm pretty sure there's still time to do that! Egad!)

When I went back inside, I put on my new purple fairy-slippers and ate soup and hot buttered toast. Yummy! Saturday I spent the afternoon watching cooking shows on Public Television. And Sunday afternoon, I took a much needed 2 hour nap. I feel very fortunate to be able to do these things. Living alone has many perks!

Today my focus is on continued healing. I'm looking for pockets of sunshine and positivity. I often find these when I read your blogs. So, I'd like to share this one from MA at "On the Bright Side" ( This is a good one practice any day of the week! 

Decide to be happy today, to live with what is yours – your family, your business, your job, your luck. If you can’t have what you like, maybe you can like what you have.
Just for today, be kind, cheerful, agreeable, responsive, caring, and understanding. Be your best, dress your best, talk softly, and look for thebright side of things. Praise people for what they do and do not criticize them for what they cannot do. If someone does something stupid, forgive and forget. After all, it’s just for one day.

Who knows, it might turn out to be a nice day.

Cheers! And keep smiling!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

More Non-Scents Please!

When I began blogging, I vowed to try to always be positive. No one wants to hear you griping and complaining, right? 

So, I won't talk about what a terrible Christmas I had because I was sick from the 20th of December on and am only today feeling like I'm on the road to recovery. I had asthmatic bronchitis which was brought on by an asthma attack I experienced while at a lovely Bethlehem Night at a local church. People and their perfume, aftershave and hair spray! I think most people think that if you're asking them not to wear scent that it's a personal preference. But no, for some of us, it's actually life threatening. My immune system is already compromised, and an asthma attack weakens it further.

I won't talk about the terrible/wonderful drugs they give you to heal and all the side effects.

No, instead I shall wax poetic about the joys of recovery; you know, when you can begin to enjoy being sick. Like the lovely feeling of being able to breathe again. Or the deliciousness of being able to savor a piece of hot buttered toast with crunchy peanut butter. And how nice it is to enjoy lying on your couch wrapped in a faux fur blanket, hot water bottle at your lower back and wearing the prettiest pair of fairy-shoe-like crocheted slippers from your eldest daughter (who never gives gifts).

I shall say how fortunate I was to be able to catch up on almost every movie from the 90's -- Beverly Hills Cop, 16 Candles, Breakfast Club to name just a few. (I was raising children in the 90'd so I missed most of them.) 

I shall speak of the comfort of soup: turkey noodle, bacon and red lentil, Mulligatawny, French onion; these are the food of the Gods when you're sick. And it's totally okay to eat 6 or 7 bowls a day -- totally guilt free food!

I shall sing the praises of TV's Gusto and the Food channels ..... and for the lovely Jamie Oliver for keeping me sane when I'd had it up to here with 90's movies! 

And I shall state that endless days all alone feeling like crap meant I could indulge in hours and hours of videos from when the children were young. After all, no one else wants to watch 10-12 hours of someone else's kids, right! And oh! Sigh! How uplifting it was to see young, wrinkle-free, slim Sandy who had curves instead of happy lumps 'n' bumps. What a dish I was/am!

I am so happy to see the back end of last year! But in spite of the scale for 2017 being heavy on the negative side (it was a very rough year for me), it wasn't all bad. And this FB meme summed it up perfectly. 

For anyone else who didn't get to experience the joys of the season, I hope this will lighten your heart as it did mine.

Happy New Year, everyone! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas in My Little Town ...

This is my little town. 

 It snowed last weekend, and the trees were laden with beautiful, pristine snow. It was so pretty.

We had rain last night, so much of the snow is gone today. But no one in Newfoundland complains about no snow: we manufacture it here!

This was the library and city hall last night as I drove home after our work Xmas dinner. 

I've been in a Christmas-y mood since last weekend when I had my first opportunity to do some Xmas food prep. I made cranberry sauce -- one bottle to share with everyone round the Xmas dinner table at my daughters ..... and one bottle for me to hold on my lap and spoon into my eager mouth between the turkey and stuffing.

I made a traditional German Stollen. I've made the yeast versions many times with great success. But my last German student's grandma sent us stollen; and it was magnificant! This one doesn't use yeast, but it was rich and dense and moist! Yummy! I tried to follow Grandma's recipe as closely as possible. But you cannot buy 'quark' in Corner Brook NL (substitute cottage cheese). And although she doesn't add marzipan (and I adore it), I grated in a log of it. It needs to cure. So fingers crossed that it will be even a fraction as tasty as Grandma Holsts' stollen. 

And then because there was still a smidge of glace fruit and slivered almonds left, I cooked up a few apples and made a sort of poor-man's version of mincemeat. I'm the only one who likes it in my family.

I've started to make dates with myself for baking and my favorite sappy movies. (Do you folks do that?) Trying to get the most I can out of this season!

So, what's on your baking list? Share a recipe (or a link to) if you wish.