Category Archives: personal growth

Awesome weekend


Just a quick post to say Hi. I’ve been out of town this weekend. There was a group of seven women in two vehicles and I was one of the drivers. I didn’t set the trip meter but there were many hours of driving. From here to the coast on Friday, around the city every day, and back home today. I am converted to the use of a GPS as I couldn’t have done it without one! Well, my fellow passengers could have used a paper map but it would have probably taken longer to get around.

The weekend was full of spiritual and physical food, new friends, great experiences. We were welcomed by so many people, entertained, accommodated and fed.  Highlights include sushi making class, learning the Chinese tea ceremony, yoga, visiting Steveston Landing in Richmond, BC, and a high wind that blew through Vancouver with such a force that many tree branches and leaves ended up on the road and the power went out in many places.

Not only did our group of seven have a great bonding experience, with lots of laughs and hugs, but we met new people who just flowed out love, generosity, selflessness. It was a true life lesson and I want to keep that feeling and draw on it in my daily life.

Now that I’m back, I need to make a list of a few priorities, like getting my middle son registered for courses at the local college, preparing a talk for next weekend, and deciding what scrap projects I want to crochet with my stash of acrylics! I have a lot of greens, blues and pinks in older acrylic, and my plan is to combine them with black somehow to make another blanket. I welcome any ideas for colourful stained-glass type afghans.

I ordered myself some birthday yarn from Deramores. They had a 25% off deal and I have invested in some more Stylecraft yarn. This time, it’s the Special DK and the Harlequin. Plus some Aran weight in black. I think one can combine more colours in an attractive way if one borders the motifs with a single neutral. Having said that, I was browsing through people’s Ravelry projects just now and saw a gorgeous Groovyghan which was VERY bright. I had to Favourite it with a click on the Heart. Maybe I’ll make another Groovyghan with the stash. But first, I know, I should get on with the current WIP. I didn’t get a stitch of crochet done over the weekend – one of the downsides of being the driver.

I think it’s time to write down my priorities and actually attend to them each day. Now that the weather has cooled down, there are fewer excuses for things like daily walks. I will leave you with this from my weekend of spiritual sustenance:


Christmas Eve

Our Somewhat Wonky Christmas Tree!

Our Somewhat Wonky Christmas Tree!

Hello everyone. I hope you are all having a peaceful, joyful, non-stressful Christmas experience so far.

Christmas has become so commercialized, with too many people just spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need. This isn’t a rant, honest! For years, we didn’t really “do” Christmas. Well, we kept the traditions we liked, and shed parts we didn’t.

When the boys were younger…I think ds1 was about 12, so the younger ones would have been 9 and 6…it got to the stage where having “Santa” come to our house on Christmas Eve and leave presents on the bottom of their beds became too difficult. It was the oldest who used to get so excited that he couldn’t sleep, and I was having to stay up later every year to get the presents delivered to their rooms so I could go to bed. That year that ds1 was about 12, I said to him that if he couldn’t get to sleep then Santa would just leave his gifts downstairs by the fireplace instead. And that’s what happened.

Afterwards, I rehashed Christmas entirely. Santa no longer came to the house. I broke it to them that Santa wasn’t real (they didn’t seem too surprised!) and that we were going to celebrate by giving each other gifts. From that year on, Santa was persona non grata and we called it Yule! We started having our main dinner on the Solstice, the 21st, I no longer sent Christmas cards, we kept the tradition of the tree and lights and explored other pagan roots of the season. For a few years, we went wassailing around the garden, leaving donations of bread and apple juice for future fertility. The boys made a huge effort to give each other numerous small gifts so that the base of the tree was loaded with fun stuff to open, and we didn’t miss Santa at all.

Gradually, we settled into a tradition that felt right for us. A small family gathering (because all of our extended family are on the other side of the Atlantic), a big vegan dinner, gifts with a reasonable budget. Baking which might include fruit cake, gingerbread cookies, mince pies. A couple of years running, we delivered gingerbread cookies to the neighbours…that was lovely. And of course a real tree.

As the boys have grown, things have changed slightly. Ds1 is now 22 and living with room-mates. We work around his festivities with friends. Tai Chi Man has only certain days off over Christmas and New Year. And now I have work hours too – I worked on the Solstice and will also be working New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

This year, the plan is to actually have our big dinner on Christmas Day and give gifts then. (When Tai Chi Man and I first met, I adopted the Swiss way of giving gifts on Christmas Eve. Then it became the Solstice. Now it’s any time that works for everyone.)

Now I am flexible. Have you noticed that the less rigid you are about something, the less stress you have? It’s taken me a long time to realize that I have less control than I think, and that trying to control everything invariably leads to stress. Best to relax and go with the flow. If that means having Christmas dinner on a different day, then so be it. I think the important thing is to enjoy being with family and be grateful for the abundance of good food. This year, of course, Tai Chi Man is thousands of miles away – his mum’s funeral was Monday and he will be spending Christmas with his dad and two brothers. My plan is to have a second Christmas when he gets back.

The fewer attachments we have to the outcome of things, the easier it is to accept what happens.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, however you choose to celebrate it (or not), and a healthy, happy, peaceful and joyful New Year.

The Question of Indigo Children and others


For the first time, I am moved to reblog someone else’s post. This is written by a new friend and I really think all parents need to listen to this excerpt from Abraham about “indigo” children.

Artist Kasia Rachfall

I’ve been listening a lot to Abraham Hicks since January because I find the message keeps me on track. Now that I understand more and more about what they say and feel the truth of it, I have made it a daily practice to listen to a few short segments of Abraham on Youtube. Usually it’s whatever pops up in my recommendations. It’s always exactly what I need to hear that day.

Tonight as I was packing and cleaning various places in the house we are vacating soon I carried around my Ipad and listened to Abraham. This video popped up and just hit home.

My husband and I have been told we have indigo children. I don’t know much about what that means and I don’t really subscribe to labels because they are limiting. (We are always more than what we think we are.) The way that Abraham describes…

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apologies may be necessary


I am in the process of resizing the images from my blog, possibly even deleting old photos completely. Hopefully that doesn’t mean that my subscribers will get a slew of old posts coming up in their feeds, but I need to do this so that I can free up space for new blog posts.

Bear with me for a while!

Edited to add:

Wow, what an experience, reading the stuff I wrote in 2008. I was still using Blogger at the time rather than WordPress, and I had recently set up my own blog, having separated from a group of friends with whom I used to blog. There’s a lot of negativity about various aspects of my life – I obviously wasn’t in a good place emotionally. But then I re-read this (below) and I felt so relieved and grateful that the old me found this book and was actually able to put the advice into practice and become a better person as a result. And I feel that the blog posts I write now are so much more upbeat, reflecting the person I am today.


I have just re-read this book, Radical Forgiveness, by Colin C Tipping. I read it a few years ago, then was reminded of it when Amanda mentioned it. I believe in synchronicity. I put the book on hold at the library and have enjoyed reading it a second time.

I don’t subscribe to any organised religion. My beliefs are an eclectic mix, and I have respect for some of the beliefs from various cultures including Buddhism, Wicca and Native American. Having an open mind is important while reading this book.

The book talks about people as being spiritual beings having a human experience. It says that we decide on the learning experience that we will have on earth before we are born into our physical bodies. If we are upset by someone, we are being given the chance to heal past hurts. We need to get away from the victim mentality and recognise that everything that happens to us is created by us for a reason.

Towards the end of the book, the author gives a worksheet to enable the reader to work through a specific problem. Long before I reached that worksheet, I had already found myself at a place where I was able to see that the strife with my friends a few months ago was meant to happen – I created it, even though I didn’t see it at the time. I have played the victim role, complaining about what happened, and my internal dialogue was making me miserable.

I have now moved on to a state of radical forgiveness, which is unlike traditional forgiveness. Radical Forgiveness involves realising that there is nothing to forgive – my friends and I played our roles as we were meant to. If for some reason I do not learn my life lesson this time, then I will continue to attract similar situations until I succeed.

I have no doubt that anger and resentment can cause disease in the body. I have had to visit the doctor recently and, whilst he treated the symptoms, he made no indication of knowing the real cause of my problem. But I do. It was emotional stress and tension. Now that I have dealt with the real cause, my physical problem is going away.

I don’t know what will happen to the relationships that were affected by all this “personal growth”, but I am feeling better in myself, I feel happy again, and I am no longer dwelling on the past or making assumptions about the future. I definitely recommend this book!

on to more serious topics


I have minimal energy today and have to assume it’s the 34 degree weather outside. The house is hot and stuffy and I feel like I’m moving through molasses. We have to keep the windows, at least on the south side, closed all day. The UV film is doing a grand job of reflecting much of the heat and glare, but these days I feel quite claustrophobic if I can’t have a window open and feel air passing over my skin.

I suppose we could go down to the beach and cool off in the lake, like we did last night, but we all seem to be satisfied to be indoors doing as little as possible. If we get the promised thunderstorm tonight, I will be out there getting wet!

I have some topics I’d like to write seriously about, to make a change from small talk and knitting. If I can get my brain cells to co-operate, I’ll tackle one today and the others later. (I even fell asleep on the sofa at lunchtime, I felt so tired.) I’ll start with the easiest for now.

One of the things I often wonder about is why women put on weight in different places. What I mean is, one of my friends has put on weight over the last couple of years, but it’s all around her middle. She’s an “apple” – her legs are as slim as ever. I, however, put on weight/keep it on around my thigh area – I’m a “pear.” Now why would there be two such different body types? Are we descended from two very different genetic types? Why wouldn’t we just put on weight evenly all over? Actually, since I continued to put on weight, it has distributed itself all over my body eventually, working its way up and down from the aforementioned thigh area. Now that I am making a concerted effort to eat less, it will be interesting to see what shrinks first! If only it would NOT be my boobs!!

Another thing I have been curious about is how our bodies change as we age. I have a senior friend who writes a column for the local newspaper and she thinks that someone should write a book called, “What to Expect when You’re Aging,” similar to the format of “What to Expect when You’re Expecting!”

I will be celebrating my 50th birthday this month – yes, really celebrating, I have actually organised a party on the beach and invited a ton of friends. In the summer, we tend to show off more skin and notice what’s going on with our bodies when the winter sweaters come off. Being on the beach, surrounded by people in varying states of undress, gives you a chance to see the immense range of human bodies. The skin of a 20 year old, smooth and peachy, is so different from mine with its age spots and cellulite, which again is so different from the 80 year old grandmother with all her saggy lumpy bits. But it’s all good.

It’s taken me nearly 50 years, but I am finally learning that the body that we inhabit in this lifetime is just our “earthsuit.” Yes, it’s important to feed it well, keep it healthy and strong, because it is the vehicle for our soul, but the way it looks is nowhere near as important as the movies and magazines would have us think.

Most of the time now, I look at my body, or check in with how it feels, and feel comfortable and happy. It’s ironic that my butt is 1.5 times the size it was when I was 20 but I don’t have a problem with it any more! Occasionally I’ll catch sight of my upper arm, looking a little dangly (what is it with that upper arm thing that suddenly hits in our forties?), or look down at my legs that look like the surface of the moon, and as soon as the old negative thought starts to form I’ll nip it in the bud. It really doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside that counts.





miscellaneous update #532


I don’t know how many “miscellaneous updates” I have written over the last few years. It probably isn’t 532, though I believe I have written over 800 posts in total (WordPress will tell me when I publish this).

Firstly, dad’s health. Not sure how much I’ve revealed on the blog so far, but if you’ve been reading for a while you know my dad has lung cancer. Well, since my trip to the UK in April and May, his health has declined. He had a CT scan last Friday and is due to meet with the oncologist tomorrow. My family knows the scan results, but he doesn’t, so I will reveal more in a day or two.

Second, a very healthy dessert recipe, which I made for a potluck baby shower at the weekend. Triple Almond Cherry Crumble Squares. I forgot to prebake the base before adding the cherry jam and topping. My squares were quite delicate, but nice all the same. Not overly sweet.

The blanket is now about 22.5 inches long and getting quite heavy. It’s a bit lumpy and bumpy at the moment because of the different weights of yarn. Not sure how I will wash/block it yet.

And as for my beach knitting, I have reached the end of the first ball of Knitpicks Comfy and have Russian-joined the next ball on. The scarf is now about 25 inches long, so obviously I’m anticipating a scarf that is about 50 inches when finished, plus a possible extra bit after blocking.

This yarn is very soft and I am loving to knit with it. My friend oohed and aahed over it yesterday.

The 12 row repeat is very simple to follow. This would be an excellent first lace project.

And yet more miscellaneousness – I mean, miscellany. I haven’t shampooed my hair all week. No, it’s not icky at all. Instead I have been using conditioner only in the shower, massaging it into my scalp and all the way through to the ends. It feels very soft and looks clean. I do still add a little mousse if I want some curl definition. I know many people have stopped using shampoo and I have tried it before, experimenting with baking soda and vinegar, but the conditioner-only thing seems to be working well for now.

And finally…the Fifty Percent Plan. For the last month, I have been applying a new principle. Eating 50% of what I was eating before. Half size smoothies; muesli in a really small bowl with only a quarter cup of oats and half a banana (plus some other stuff); one sandwich; one bagel; one serving of dinner and salad on a small plate. You know you’ve been eating too much when you can cut it in half and don’t feel hungry.

My motivation was that (a) I knew I was eating too much – it was a bad habit, (b) I didn’t want to get any bigger, and (c) I didn’t like feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable after I’d eaten. I haven’t weighed or measured myself but I do feel more comfortable in my clothes. On the occasions that I’ve allowed myself to have an extra bagel, or whatever, I’ve done it consciously, in the full awareness that I don’t need it and I’ll probably regret it later!

Eating mindfully is an important part of this effort. Feeling thankful for the food, not multi-tasking, and eating more slowly all contribute to making it easier to eat less.

So I think that’s us all up to speed. Have a great day!


happy new year


I have been sad to read many bloggers’ comments that they are glad to see the back of 2011 because it sucked! I am grateful to say that 2011 was a wonderful year for me. It wasn’t particularly eventful, though I certainly found plenty to talk about on this blog. No, life is good because I have learned so much about living in the present, being grateful for what I have, and getting less caught up in self-destructive thoughts. If I were to offer a prescription for good health in 2012, I would say:

  • live now
  • lose all resentment or regrets about the past
  • stop worrying about what the future may hold
  • love unconditionally
  • stop judging and criticising yourself and others
  • appreciate yourself, your body, and everything that you have
  • let go of the need to be right all the time

I’m not saying that I have managed all this yet, at least not 100% of the time, but doing your best every day is good enough.

I’m not making New Year’s Resolutions or setting goals but, as Leo on ZenHabits blog says, we can develop new habits to make our lives even better. New habits that I would like to develop are

  • to drink a green smoothie every day
  • to walk every day

Really, those are the most important – I could waffle on about other things, but that’s enough to start with. I have let my fitness slide and it doesn’t fit with my intention to stay active and flexible for my whole life. I went out yesterday and delivered all my son’s newspapers just so I could get in a two hour walk. I was pretty sore later on but glad I did it.

It would be nice to take a walk with my family this afternoon but before I came down to the computer Tai Chi Man was lying down (feeling grotty with a cold) and the boys were all in bed (they were up all night)!

I have to mention how excited I am to be able to type today’s post on my new iMac. The screen is so much bigger than our old eMac, and of course everything is up to date and faster. Tai Chi Man ordered it without telling me so it was a total surprise. It’s a refurbished one purchased direct from Apple – saved us around $300 – and because the old computer is still working we were able to import all our stuff over to the new computer rather than start from scratch (like last time).

I have talked to both my mum and my sister on the phone in the last couple of days, which has been wonderful, but I am definitely feeling like it’s time to go back to the old country for a visit this year. I don’t know whether it’ll happen, but it’s three and a half years since I last saw my parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. Too long, especially when one’s parents are in their late 70s.

Love Actually is a movie I’ve seen many times but I wanted to see it again, and this time I managed to get four Brit friends together at my house for drinks, snacks and movie-watching. Right up until the last day, I thought only two of them were going to show up, then we managed to pull it all together for the evening. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.

Having heard about Canadian butter tarts, and seeing them for sale at my local bakery, I decided to Google a vegan recipe and found one on savvyvegetarian. At first I wondered how it would turn out, as the liquid mixture that you pour into the tartshells looked really runny, but they set and tasted heavenly. The recommended quantity of pastry was too much, and I had enough for 24 small tarts plus a larger tart and still have some wrapped in the fridge. To make it really decadent, I used white flour – oh my, the texture is completely different from wholewheat pastry, so smooth. I didn’t get a photo, I’m afraid. Next experiment will have to be another Canadian institution, Nanaimo bars!

Current reading material is a huge novel called Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. It is the first of a trilogy, and I haven’t figured out whether the library has the other two books yet. I hope they do, because I’m really enjoying the story and the writing style.

Well, I think I’ve waffled on enough for one day. Happy New Year to all my readers.