Tidbits

Unintentional Hiatuses

They happen, guys. These things life throws at you that you weren’t at all ready for; these things that really throw a wrench in all your plans. Sometimes there’s a quick solution, but most times there isn’t.

I didn’t mean to take a break from blogging so early into it, but life happens.

I had high hopes for the new year. Anyone close to me knows 2015 wasn’t my best ever. So, I was going to make 2016 my bitch. (Sorry, mom.)

The first week of January, my partner found out he didn’t get a permanent position he’d interviewed for.  The very next day, I found out I don’t have multiple sclerosis (super good news!), but my doctor also told me that I do have fibromyalgia (not so good news).

So far I’d say this year has definitely had other plans than laying submissively at my feet. This year has already, in fact, exhibited shocking ballsiness and so far has done pretty much everything I told myself — crossed my fingers —  it would not do.

After a week or two or three (OK, maybe it was four) of wallowing, I decided enough was enough. I could not continue consuming Double Stuf Oreos at such a rate. (Shocking revelation, right?) Something had to be done, which roughly translated to, “I need to do something.” You know, other than Netflix and knit. Fibromyalgia might not be going anywhere, but I am sure as hell not going to let it be the boss of me.

I resumed studying medical transcription editing so I can one day — soon, hopefully — be gainfully employed from home. I started looking for part-time work. I started cooking and gasp even cleaning a little. And now I’m writing again. I’ve realized I missed it.

Life’s rhythms include ups and downs, periods of great energy and productivity, and then some where you need to take a time out — a hiatus, of sorts — from something or other.

I came back to my blog when I felt I was ready. Unlike I might have in the past, I don’t feel like a failure because I skipped out on my new blog for a few months. Life happened, and that’s OK — I’m just happy to be back.

When’s a time life got in the way of your plans? How did you bounce back? Share your thoughts in the comments! 🙂

 

 

Uncategorized

Sounds of The Season

Picking out music for my bath the other day, I was struck by a realization. My love for Christmas music isn’t much prejudiced; old, new, instrumental, whatever — I can get behind it. But when I’m looking for the sounds of my Christmas, the songs that bring me back to my parents’ bustling kitchen during the holidays, I turn to A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1

rs_xmas

This wouldn’t be so odd if this album hadn’t come out in 1987, which is actually several years before I was born. Nevertheless, its songs are the ones my ears seek out the most during this time of year. This year especially, since I’ve been away from the coast I call home for a few months now.

And so this struck me, and then it also struck me that sounds behave the same way as smells for me — they act as carriers for my memories. When I hear sirens in the middle of the night, I’m transported to my bedroom in an old apartment in Halifax, which was on a busy ambulance route. Tyson Ritter’s voice (All-American Rejects) takes me back to the summer of 7th grade (seriously). Brand New’s album Deja Entendu is sitting at my desk at my cousin’s house, writing essays in my first year of university.

While smells are certainly attached to memories for me to a degree, I can’t deny the connection with sounds seems to be stronger. Music has always been an important part of my life, so I’m not super surprised at this. But I’ve always loved scents — even though I’m too sensitive to use any now — so I would have thought the two comparable. I wonder why images don’t hit me as hard when they’re brought back by a smell. There is much Googling to be done.

In the meantime, I’m going to sit by my tree and enjoy some Christmas In Hollis.

How about you? Do you notice whether smells or sounds bring memories back stronger? Comment below!

 

Health & Beauty · No-Poo

No-Poo Perseverence

Hair-washing is a weirdly frustrating topic for me. I’ve been no-poo for over a year now, which has mostly gone superbly. I had a hiccup this summer when we were moving across the country and camping along the way. Let’s just say my hair was not flowing in the wind. Once we got to Calgary, it took a few washes to bust through the oily buildup, but I finally got my hair looking like my hair again.

Fast forward about 4 months, and my hair is giving me trouble again. I don’t know if it’s a difference in the water, the drier mountain air or simply a lack of variety in hair wash– whatever it is, my hair is not having it. My trusty buddies baking soda and lemon juice just don’t seem to be doing the trick anymore.

In desperation, I tried washing with honey, thinking a humectant might stop my scalp freaking out. It did soothe my scalp, but it didn’t do much in the way of getting my hair clean. I let my hair chill out for about a week, and then tried baking soda again. Still, it didn’t work.

Now, at this point, many people would have caved and bought a bottle of frigging shampoo already.

Well, this is where the weirdly frustrating part comes in. I’m allergic to coconut, which is found in most skin and hair care products in the form of a bajillion derivatives. I’m also extremely sensitive to scents and perfumes. Kiss My Face makes a great olive oil soap, and I use almond oil to moisturize, but I’ve yet to find a 100% coconut-free shampoo. Also I’m really stubborn and don’t want to lose the magic hair growth I’ve had since ditching the bottles. (My hair is the longest its ever been!)

So for all those health and also ego-related reasons, I wasn’t about to hop off the wagon. So I turned to eggs. Egg yolks, to be specific.

Egg yolks and my hair first became besties probably about a year ago. I was a few months out from going no-poo, and my hair was at its grossest and waxiest. I was afraid I would have to give up. So naturally I turned to Google, and I wish I could remember the name of the blog that saved my hair, because really it did. The answer was egg yolks, and just the yolks because they cook at a higher temperature than egg whites. This is really important because you will end up with breakfast in your hair at least once. And then the next time you’ll decide its worth freezing your butt off in exchange for eggless hair.

I’m not sure why I stopped using egg yolks as a hair wash, because it works really well and doesn’t seem harmful done once or twice a month. I would usually use two yolks to wash my hair, but this time I used three just to make sure I’d get through the oily buildup. I followed it with my usual lemon juice rinse and finally, finally, I have clean hair.

The hidden lesson here? If you really want something, make sure you really have exhausted all your options before you throw in the towel. You’ll probably be glad you did.

 

Friday Favourites · Links · Recipes

Friday Favourites: December 4 Edition

Growing up, I always anticipated Oprah’s Christmas special with excitement. I mean, who wouldn’t want all of Oprah’s favourite things? The woman has great taste.

I’m no Oprah, but when I find a product/recipe/book/movie I love, you’d think I was a paid sponsor. I just can’t shut up! So, full disclosure, no one is paying me to write about my favourite stuff. I just don’t want anyone to miss out!

1. These blueberry buttermilk scones

I got the recipe here, and just tweaked it by using whole wheat flour instead of white. The recipe is simple, but lemon zest makes them feel fancier. A word of warning to fellow spoonies: making these (or any scones, really) requires a bit of elbow grease because of the cold butter. For a treat — or a scone fiend like my boyfriend — they’re well worth the effort. (They’re also really great with some halved cranberries thrown in. Just saying.)

2. The “unicorn yarn” seen in the above Instagram picture

And also in this Instagram picture:

It’s Bernat Handicrafter in Candy Sprinkles, but I think it’s really made of unicorn tail hair. Either way, washing dishes is way cheerier with a colorful knit dishcloth. This yarn was also super cheap, which is a huge plus when you’re a newbie knitter like me.

3. Gilmore Girls

Right, so this TV series has raised many questions, mainly: HOW did I get to 2015 without ever watching this show?!  The coffee and the books and boys…I’ve gone through almost the entire seven seasons in probably less than seven weeks.

The second big question I have is, which Gilmore Girl am I? I feel like people usually identify either as a Lorelai or as a Rory but I feel like I’m both? Does anyone ever identify as an Emily? Does she count? And who do I really think is right for Rory? For Lorelai?! So many questions!

I can definitely see myself re-watching this show as long as it’s on Netflix —  I’ll figure out which Gilmore Girl I am eventually.

4. Netflix!

Netflix isn’t news at this point, but this is the first year I’ve taken note of added holiday content, even a Netflix Original Christmas movie. (Bill Murray? Count me in!)

There are some classics like Jingle All The Way (1996) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), but also some newer ones like Arthur Christmas (2011).

I haven’t watched any of the Christmas movies just yet — I’m that obsessed with GG — but I’m looking forward to marathoning some of them next week after we’ve put up the tree. 🙂

5. This mac & cheese and meatloaf from Brewster’s

This dish blew my mind. If you didn’t know bbq sauce went with mac & cheese, I’ll forgive you. I didn’t know it either until I ordered this last Friday. And then I went and forgot my leftovers in our friends’ fridge. Yeah.

Oh, and in case you couldn’t tell for sure — that meatloaf is indeed wrapped in bacon.

Uncategorized

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

So it’s not like nobody’s noticed yet, but it’s December. I don’t know about you, but around here, December means I’m officially allowed to decorate and listen to Christmas music. (So I’m sad to say I haven’t actually done either today.)

I mean, I listened to some jingle bell rock while I was baking yesterday, and I don’t actually have anything to decorate the tree with (yet). But it’s finally that time of year again, and with snow on the ground for weeks now, I’m ready for some serious Christmas cheer. (Music situation rectified. There’s just something about Wham!’s Last Christmas…).

I’m excited to get ornaments and put up my first tree (!), but I’m also sad I won’t be putting up the tree and spending Christmas with my family. Because I have an MRI scheduled for December 30, it didn’t make sense for us to fly back East for Christmas. Even the year I studied in France, my parents managed to get me home for the holidays, so this is the first time any of their kids won’t be there. We have friends nearby and won’t be alone, but I don’t think that will stop my mother’s worrying.

Though I really do wish I could be back home for Christmas, I’m going to make the best of things. I’m looking forward to experiencing the holiday season somewhere new. There’s seasonal locally-made gelato to try, for starters. When I had my relapse about 8 weeks ago, I was a little bummed I wouldn’t be able to go to the Christmas parade if I didn’t have a wheelchair. A quick Google search revealed what I really needed to be bummed about is that Calgary doesn’t even have a parade!

Yeah. Amateurs, I know.

Since visiting the Zoo’s light exhibit would also require a wheelchair, I can probably convince Dave to drive around in search of the best decorated neighbourhoods. And that’s probably better than a parade, really, since no one’s freezing their buns off. Now, if only our balcony could accumulate enough snow to build a snowman…