Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rx = Sunshine

Yes, my friends, I did try snowshoeing this weekend. And no, I did not fall as anticipated.  But I decided to snowshoe at Margaret Bowater Park rather than on the trail as I was visiting my Dad and it was on the way. It was a gorgeous sunny day!

I had no trouble putting on my showshoes. I tromped around and got comfortable with them -- made sure I could walk without falling down. But as I started on the trail, quite a few people passed me coming the other way; and I found that the trail was so well trodden, that snowshoes weren't necessary. I didn't want other people to have to dodge my wider 'n' longer than normal feet! So, I went back to the car and took them off in favor of a 'walk' in the park.

Glenmill Inn in the distance.

It was so beautiful! The deeper I walked in the forest, the quieter it became; I stopped and sat on a snowy bench before I began the mostly uphill climb back. All I could hear was the Corner Brook stream bubbling past me and several birds chirping. And I must have scared a tiny squirrel because he sure scared me when he suddenly began loudly screaming at me to move on. 

Back in the car and on my way to my dad's house, I grabbed a quick lunch snack -- something that I haven't had since early December -- a large order of french fries.  

Then as I drove along the Humber River, mountains on either side of me, sun streaming from the Heavens, happily munching fries, I listened to Newfie music on Uncle Tom's Shed, a weekend local music program. As we say here on The Rock, "Sure I was only in da car and I was already havin' a toime!"

Sometimes, a little sunshine is just what the doctor ordered. It was a real boost for me, and I can approach the rest of winter with a bit more of a spring in my step. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Pondering 'n' Planning

Now that I'm a free and swinging bachelorette living the good (???) life here in Newfoundland, my weekends are my own to ponder upon and make plans. I have lots planned for my wild weekend!

Just like that time in Narnia, it's eternal winter here. So, there's not too far I can wander in sub zero temperatures. But it calls for actually sunshine tomorrow, so I'm excited to try out my daughter's snowshoes -- I've never snowshoed before. This is how I envision my snowshoe journey: I will walk up a very steep hill to reach the old railway line; pant and groan for a few minutes, clutching heart; spend several more minutes cursing (and appologizing to God) as I put the snowshoes on. I will begin to walk: lift leg high, put leg down, lift other leg, put leg down, go 2 more steps, fall on face, cuss, get up ..... and repeat this "walk" until I get to where the trail meets my back yard. Then I shall attempt to traverse the deep, deep snow in the back yard rather than go back the way I came. (I shall have the landlords watching for my return and provide them with plenty of rope in case they find me neck deep in said snow.) And that's the first part of what I call a good time.

As part of trying to curb my evening munching, I spent last night denying myself a slice of toast with peanut butter (as evening eating interferes with my sleep as well as being able to fit into my pants). I was successful in this denial only by pondering what was on the menu for my weekend gorgefest. 

Yum! Homemade burgers and home fries for tonight. And I have homemade carrot muffins with cream cheese icing. And I used the last of my sour cream and cream cheese to make a delicious Epicure Oregano/Chili dip last night .... which will be really good with those new light, crispy tortilla chips I bought. Then there were visions of teriyaki salmon with fluffy Japanese rice. And another mocha latte with biscotti (after all that snowshoeing). And did I see a Lindt chocolate bar tucked away in the china cabinet? And on Sunday, I'll make a big pot of spicy chili to go with my planned cornbread. OMG! My mouth is watering!

Does anyone else wax poetic in their minds about anticipated food?

Or am I just 6 cats short of being completely hopeless?

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Power of Puppy Kisses

I think I mentioned that I'd been feeling down lately. I sometimes have sad days, but this time it's been harder to shake and more dark than I've ever experienced before. I totally blame it on either the Prednizone or Symbicort (both of which come with warnings of mood swings and mental depression). So, I've been taking extra care of myself.

Today, I seem to have shaken my blues, and I feel like I'm finally climbing out of this particular dark hole. I'm sure my hibernation weekend helped. AND getting outside more. AND taking Vitamin D drops. AND feeling physically better and treating myself to a payday breakfast from my favorite cafe was pretty darn nice this morning. Yummy!

But what really worked was a visit from my daughter and her two puppies last night. 

Jack the dachund was the first dog in almost 40 years that I fell in love with: he's a anxiety-ridden, quiet, patient, lovely little puppy who loves to visit Nanny's house. He knows where the treats are! He first visited me a year and a half ago and was immediately drawn to the basket where I kept my chargers and phone cords and my yoga balls. At $15, I quickly moved them to a spot where he couldn't reach (which is almost anywhere for a dachund!) But EVERY time he's come to visit, that basket is the first place he goes (even though they're not there any longer). He'll search and search; and when he does finally come to the new hiding place, he'll sit and cry. Nanny consoles him with treats and belly rubs.

And then there's Olive Mae, the pug. Olive was born last August and she is just a bundle of energy and joy. She drives her brother Jack crazy sometimes; and as I'm rubbing Jack, I often come across signs of Olive's over-zealous love bites! Olive ran around the apartment exploring all the new spots she could find, ate her doggie treat, and was quite content to sit next to us on the couch and chew on her dog toy. Her favourite things are her Mommy, her brother Jack and chewing on any sticks she can find. Taking her out for a tinkle last night was painful for her as she discovered the rose bush "sticks" and ended up with a sore nose. 

Someday when I can afford the care of a dog, I believe I'll get one. They are wonderful for stress and depression. But for now, Jack and Olive seem to have magical qualities in helping Nanny beat the blues.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Hibernation Weekend!

Feeling a little world weary and worn from my illness, I decided to spend my weekend focusing on self care. This required a little preparation. So the first thing I did was to call any of my peeps who might worry if they didn't hear from me.

You can see where my interests lie!
The second bit of prep work was more enjoyable. I took Friday  afternoon off because the sun was shining: I'm extremely fortunate to be  able to do that occasionally. I really needed to walk, so I parked the car at one end of West Street and walked to the library in the cold, crisp air. After loading up on magazines and cookbooks, I walked to one of my favorite cafes where I ate a delicious falafel wrap and sipped my latte while sitting at the window with the sun pouring in. I felt like a lazy cat! 

Back at home, my self-enforced hibernation began with couch time. Soft music was playing, I had a cup of lemon ginger tea and I took my time going through a few of my library finds. A not-too-far-in-the-past Zoomer magazine featured these talented ladies from "Alias Grace". (If you haven't seen this series, I encourage you to watch it. It was wonderful!) And look at the way Margaret Atwood stands her own in that amazing jacket. I want to have that kind of confidence and presence when I grow up!

Saturday was National Cheese Day; so brunch was baked brie with cranberry marmalade. Yummy! I spent the whole day zig-zagging from yoga to reading cookbooks; shovelling a path to the car and sitting on a snowy bench with my face to the sky catching snowflakes; and arranging and pasting to bring my journal up to date. That evening I re-watched one of my kid's favourite movies, Totoro. How great it was to revisit that after so many years:  such a gentle sweet movie. 

Sunday I decided I really needed to get out of the house and walk again. So, in spite of the weather, I dug out my snow pants, dressed warmly and walked until my legs ached from trudging through the deep snow on the road's edge. I stopped and sat on these steps, looking down at the icy water in the bay and listening to the surf. It was very calming.

The walk back home was a little more difficult because I was walking directly into the wind and it was a fair trek back! But I wrapped my scarf around my mouth, and focused on deeply breathing in the wonderful fresh air, on the feel of my arms swinging back and forth as I walked, and how warm my body felt in spite of the cold all around me. Back in the warmth of my little cave, I felt so glad I'd done the walk. 

I cooked a pork shoulder with apples and cranberries and roasted potatoes for my dinner. And that evening as I watched Star Trek Discovery and Victoria, I slowly ate one of the gourmet chocolate bars my daughter had sent me for Xmas.

OMG! This bar was wonderful. The quality of the chocolate was sublime. And no one flavour was overpowering but they were perfectly melded: the raspberry being the first flavour to hit you, then the subtle hint of rose water, and finally those delicious chewy fennel seeds at the end. Pure luxury!

In terms of rejuvenation and peace, the weekend was a complete success. I feel so much better this morning, more able to face the work week and the challenges that often come my way.

How do you recharge? Do you sometimes feel the need to "hibernate"? 

Whatever you do, I hope you got to practice a little "Hygie" this past weekend.


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! 


  Sorry! I thought I could return to a normal schedule. But my sense of 'normal' has changed. After the past 5 years of various ailm...