full circle

. . .from an upward battle of struggles and emotions to a journey of healing, growth, and laughter. . .


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I think I can, I think I can…

For someone who watches a lot of TV and takes a lot of naps, I’ve been pretty lazy busy and unmotivated to write about my life. And May was even an exciting month, showcasing 31+ days of celebrating my 40th birthday. I threw another fantabulous birthday party and even wore a tiara for the occasion. tiara{I’ve always wanted a tiara, ha! and found one on sale at a new store near work just a couple of weeks before the party}. My big birthday trip this year was to Niagara Falls {why did everybody ask me if I was going to the American side? I live in Canada, duh!}. I’m still editing my photos…well, I edited one out of seven folders, so y’all just have to wait…probably a really long time…because I have three more trips this summer, and I don’t know when I’ll find the time…because I’m so lazy busy.

Last week, I removed two close friends from my Facebook. I was having a particularly bad day—irritated with everybody to the maximum, exhausted from life. I never did determine what caused that rush of short-tempered emotions. One friend posted an old photo that included me at my heaviest. I politely asked her to remove it because I didn’t want that photo of me on Facebook. I assumed she would understand, considering she’s always talking about being fat and needing to lose weight {by the way, she is so thin. Why do skinny people insist on talking about their weight to people who are overweight or obese? Such self-absorbed, inconsiderate biotches!}. Well, I saw that she had read my message but never replied… and didn’t remove the photo. I gave her the benefit of the doubt—maybe she posted that photo and then had to run to an appointment. An hour later, the photo was still there, and our mutual friends were seeing it. I sent her another message asking if she was going to remove the photo. No response. I went to a movie and returned two hours later. She had finally removed the photo. But the damage had been done. She completely ignored my messages—she didn’t feel it was important to acknowledge or respond. Off my friends list!

The other situation was that I posted a link to an article about the new websites at our corporate and regional sites (I’m at a regional site). There were three regional sites (mine was one of them) who were never consulted during development of the new websites. I was pissed off about the article talking about how they (website company) had to keep every regional sites’ goals in mind blah x 3. We were never, not even once, asked to participate. And now we’re having to fit into a template that doesn’t meet our needs. Anyways, I bitched about that briefly on FB, and that other friend emailed me at my work email saying I was violating policy and asking if I was aware that I had directed my negative comments to her. OMG. I did not. And if you criticize my posts, you’ll be promptly unfriended. (Everybody knows that!) And don’t freaking email me at WORK about my PERSONAL social media account. {insert big scream here}

I discovered the most magnificent, most indulgent, most expensive vegan cheese. It’s made in Oregon, and oh, it’s also the most divine and most delish. It was cashew cranberry brie. I can never go back to any other kind of vegan cheese.

cheese1          cheese2


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#vegan for the animals, vegan for myself

One year ago today, I made one of the most important decisions I’ll ever make, to begin a lifetime journey of enlightenment.

After The Break Up, I found a new passion for animals that first started with cats. Being a cat guardian led me to volunteer with the cat rescue, which led me to tolerate dogs {lol}, which led me to love all animals. After burning out with the rescue group, I looked for different ways to be involved with my passion and love for animals. I went back to school and earned my animal welfare certificate. And then an animal welfare mini-conference opportunity presented itself, so I went.

In truth, the Animal Advocacy Camp turned out to be a big gathering of vegans and vegetarians. I felt so uncomfortable and guilty. I was afraid to tell anyone that I was a meat-eater. After the first day, after all I had heard, I knew I had to be vegetarian from that day forward. On the second day, Jo-Anne McArthur spoke. I cried. And cried. At 38, I felt so ignorant that I had no idea that dairy cows had their babies taken away from them the minute they were born. No idea. That was the moment I knew I had to be vegan.

The last 12 months has been a wonderful journey into a world I wish I had been part of my whole life. I am happier, healthier, discovering amazing new ingredients to explore with in my cooking, and relieved of the guilt of knowing the role I had previously played in the suffering of animals. Many colleagues and friends have told me it must be so hard and that they couldn’t do it. I told them if they believed in something as strongly as I believed in not killing animals, it would be easy for them to do. Their problem is that they are close-minded and ignorant, just like I was before. I had started reading Living Among Meat Eaters in which the author introduces an interesting concept. I don’t know whether it’s her own theory or if it has been tested {because I never ended up finishing the book}, but she asserts that everyone is a blocked vegetarian—for many reasons, they’re just not open to it yet.

So, the hard part wasn’t giving up meat or milk or cheese, etc. The hard part was dealing with the ignorance of others, especially friends. While it would be amazing if they all converted with me, I didn’t want to preach. I wanted to educate them, as I had been at the conference. {If you want a punch in the face, just say “Oh, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”} If you’re going to eat meat and dairy, at least be informed about where your food comes from and what’s happening to the animals. It’s encouraged to be informed about GMO and labelling and advertising, but it’s not ok to tell people about the horrors of mama cows who are artificially forced to produce milk for 10 months out of the year, even after their baby calves no longer need to be fed {and who, as mentioned, were taken away at birth anyways}.

vegan2People—our culture, our society, our world—don’t value animals, not truly. Superficially, we care. There are animal abuse cases every day in the media {another part of my advocacy efforts}, and society cares and is appalled when the horrific acts are against companion animals. But when it comes to “food,” the horrible acts against animals are acceptable. Why? Because society places a lower value on those animals. But guess what? WE ARE ALL ANIMALS. There is NO reason why humans should be above animals. NONE. Watch Speciesism, and you’ll understand.

So many thoughts and emotions running around in my mind during this anniversary. But it all fits—for once—neatly into one little package: my love for cats, my desire to help animals, my passion to make a difference. I’m vegan for the animals. I’m vegan for myself.


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accidental fading

i’ve had a lot to say but not much energy to say it. the last few weeks have been a blur. nothing bad per se, just lots going on. saw my doc and was pleased to tell her my allergies to the kitties have been minimal. unfortunately, i’d been eating a shitload of junk food, and my blood pressure is a bit high now. i’m supposed to cut out the salt/junk food (which i have started to do) and exercise (not yet {sigh}) to lower it in the coming weeks before my next appointment. yah, i have to get on it. the good news is that last month, i didn’t have any bad headaches and didn’t have to take any naproxen. that’s the first time in two years or more, so i was quite pleased about that, too. i went on the scale a couple of weeks ago and was nearing my heaviest. i’ve probably surpassed that now, so i’m too scared to get on the scale again. it’s shitty to be fat during winter because none of my coats fit, so i look even fatter. ugh. good thing my feet haven’t gotten fatter – i bought a pair of mini-stilettos and two pairs of boots today. that was an accident – i was actually on my way to my hair appointment, and the shoe store was next door, and i was a few minutes early, and. . . well. . . 😉

i’ve had some sad moods at times – partly to do with my friend in australia and his lack of understanding and compassion {we are talking again, but it hasn’t been the same}, and partly to do with T. the longer time passes, the more content i become with being alone, i.e. being without him, but the more my hope fades. some may say that’s a good thing, but i don’t want it to fade. in my heart, i still love him. and no one could ever take his place.

my fur kids are my treasures. aside from the occasional sadness, i don’t feel as depressed as i did in the summer. i have a few days off this week (making up for last month when i was called into work on my vacation. . . twice), and we’ve all been spending quality time together. oreo allows me to hold him now (albeit for only 30 seconds, but that’s still a big improvement). clea is still naughty, but when she crawls into bed with me in the mornings and sets her head on the pillow next to mine so she can have a cuddle, i forget about her naughtiness. tomorrow is my last day off, and i can’t wait to wake up with her next to me. =)

i keep my camera handy – there is always something cute or funny that they are doing. it’s hard to pick a few favorites to display here, but i narrowed it down to 25 (lol), or you can see all of the pix here and videos here.






























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shells

my sister, two nieces, nephew, brother, brother’s girlfriend, and brother’s girlfriend’s daughter came to visit me this past weekend. my sister and the kids flew in to visit my parents on the island last week and came to vancouver to see me for the weekend. five of us sleeping and eight of us hanging out in my 1-bed apartment!!! craziness!!

it was great to see the kids. i’ve been lucky because usually, i see them only once every two years, but last year, i crashed their disney world vacation, and then they came out here. i think i’ve finally gotten used to their getting older. but my eldest niece is 15, and that still makes me nervous – i don’t want her to be a teenager, lol! my younger niece is 12, and she confessed to me that i was one of her idols because of all the places i’ve travelled, and she wants to travel, too. i was so touched. it was such a good feeling in my heart to know i’m making a positive impact in her life. living in a different city, i don’t get to see them much, so what she said meant a lot to me. and my nephew is 10 and a typical goofball when you want him to pose for a photo and runs away when you want to kiss him (heehee).

we went to the beach down the street from my apartment on saturday afternoon, and for the first time in five years of living there, i actually went right down to the water, got my feet wet (i wouldn’t dare swim), and helped them pick up shells. i couldn’t believe how beautifully purple all the shells were. i picked up a few to add to my collection surrounding my candle (shells from sydney, italy, vancouver, maybe england).

we went out to dinner twice (mexican and italian, yum!), and one night my brother actually barbecued for all of us! my sister and brother did the shopping, my sister made the salad and served everyone, and my eldest niece fought with me to do the dishes (we both like doing dishes… i’ve never admitted that to anyone except her, lol), so i didn’t have to do a thing except enjoy it all!

i’m glad they all came to visit. it was really good for me to have some fun with family.

i have other exciting news… i am going to see kittens tomorrow after work. they live with a “foster family” and are ready for adoption. if the kittens like me, and i like them (pffft, of course i’ll like them, lol), then i can take them home! i’m so nervous and a little scared, lol. watch this space!

some sad news… a friend at work whose cancer had come back a year ago passed away yesterday. she was only 50. there will be a memorial at work, but i don’t know if i can go. i don’t do death very well. it was one of the reasons i left canada 10 years ago – my boyfriend at the time was killed by a drunk driver. it was the second worst time in my life (it had been the worst time until T and i broke up – that bumped the list). J was so kind and funny, and everyone liked her. she was surrounded by lots of family when she died. as another close friend of mine said, i’m honoured to have known her.


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all about the butter…nut… butter

omg. remember the night i had butternut squash ravioli with pan-seared scallops, truffle beurre blanc [white butter] sauce, and pine nuts? the chef was rob feenie (the first canadian to win iron chef america), and our waitress told us that he had been there an hour earlier. i laughed and said it was ok cuz we’d just see him on TV (he and some other famous chefs in town have been collaborating with a more casual, inexpensive restaurant to create some new dishes, and they’ve been doing commercials for the last year or so). a few days later, i googled to see if i could get the recipe – some of his recipes were posted on the restaurant website, but not the one i wanted.

anyways, some of us at work decided to go for drinks this evening, and i suggested this place. i jokingly asked the waitress if rob feenie was there because i wanted to ask him for the recipe {and yes, i couldn’t resist ordering it again}. ironically, she said he had been there two hours earlier.

we carried on with our evening, and then the waitress happened to come by and mentioned that rob feenie was back. i looked to where she was pointing, but i couldn’t see him. not too long after, i noticed he was sitting on the patio, which just happened to be next to our window. we joked about me going over to him, but i said i wouldn’t interrupt him because he was already sitting down {and i didn’t want to be a celebrity stalker, sheesh}.

then martha said something about putting a note up on the window, and i said “ok!” and grabbed my napkin. she fished out an eyeliner from her purse {yes, i had a pen, but we were past the point of logical}, and i told her to write “ravioli recipe please”. her eyeliner was a bit thick, so it didn’t write that clearly on the napkin, but it was sufficiently legible. she propped the napkin against the window next to her (she was sitting on the same side as rob feenie). we tried to get his attention, but i think his tablemates saw the napkin first, then he turned to it and started squinting. he smiled when he read it, and i was thrilled. then i thought, well, that was entertaining, but how am i going to get my recipe?

then martha noticed he took his blackberry out, and she suggested i put my email address on the napkin. i thought that was a great idea! so, she wrote down my email address and put the napkin back on the window. rob feenie noticed and actually starting inputting it into his blackberry, but we weren’t sure he could read it, so martha suggested i put my business card up on the window. {yes, martha has great ideas!}

since he was clearly willing to take my email address, i decided it would be ok to walk over and give him my card. at the same time i walked through the door to the patio, one of his tablemates (his son? a chef?) came through the other side to get it from me. {yah, not giving up my opportunity!} i walked over and told rob feenie that i had come before and loved the dish and came back specifically for it and vowed if i ever ran into him, i would ask for the recipe {i didn’t add that i only would have done that after having a drink or two… by the way, i discovered a new yummy drink – yellowglen pink sparkling wine from australia} and clarified which recipe it was (he has another similar butternut squash ravioli). he was so serious and solemnly asked me if it was ok if he emailed it to me tomorrow. um…… yah…… let me think about that for a second………

OH! MA! GOD!

i am still in awe that not only did i have the balls to ask him for the recipe, but he actually said yes!!!!!!!!!!!!! that was wayyyyy cool. i’ll let you know if he actually sends it.