Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Life lately

Life has been good lately. Wet, but good.
Nothing big has happened, but lots of little things. According to Pinterest wisdom, at the end of our lives we will realize that the small things were the big ones? Even if we don't, I like documenting them, to imprint them in my memory.

I never want to forget that unique, cozy house with the wrap-around porch we went to yesterday - it has 2 people, 3 dogs, 4 cats (and a few friendly ghosts) living in it, and it's full of harmony and love.

There have been lots of husband-cooked meals lately, and who would have ever thought that possible?

Barely any bathroom accidents from Lily deserve a mention here as well.

Spontaneous trips to the nursery are something I never enjoyed in the past, and now I do. How people can change!

Good conversations are something I live for, in real life and online.

There should be a few treats coming by post this week, which makes every trip to the mailbox so exciting! Online shopping is da bomb. (Yo!)

A friendly face on my way to work
Pretty purple before the torrential rains started
 One of the benefits of starting work at 6:45am - beautiful sunrises
Hair experiments
Rich is cooking more and more, and I couldn't be happier about it!
A few outtakes for the Twirl contest.
Look at my legs! They appear to be screwed on backwards!
Those adoring gazes... I can't even. 

Okay friends, let's make that new week an awesome one! 
We are one giant step closer to warmer weather, that's reason to celebrate! 
I can't stop fantasizing about hammocks and warm summer breezes.

xo Miriam

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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Style: Twirl!

Do you believe in fate?

I do.

This is a big question for a small occasion, but I live for the small occasions.
You may remember my successful shopping trip from yesterday. As soon as I got home, I changed and took a few photos, amongst them: twirling photos!
Before I show you, here are a few things you need to know:
Apparently, there is a contest going on from my fave online store, ModCloth.
I was unaware of that.
Despite checking their site daily, and thinking of myself as a seasoned online browser and shopper, it escaped me.
But what are friends for? Mariah was thoughtful enough to tweet me the link, and I need to share this with you. I just copied and pasted (I hope that's allowed?), here it is:

Please click here for all the details, but let me lay down the essentials in a nutshell:
  • It's a twirling contest!
  • Twirl in your fave dress/skirt.
  • Take a picture and submit it until 9:59 am PT on March 31
  • Upload the picture to the ModCloth Style Gallery
  • Or: instagram it with hashtag #modtwirl (don't forget to follow ModCloth on IG!)
  • If it's awesome, win $350 in gift certificates
  • Don't twirl like me.
I will practice my twirling over the weekend, because damn it, I want the money! A few notes to take home: You need a twirlicious skirt (this one isn't doing the job at all). There is something else wrong with this picture, but I can't figure out what it is. The skyward gaze maybe?  The outstretched hands? Yes, definitely the hands. Too much, right? What do you think? 
Despite that, good luck to everyone!!
(Not really.)

Here are some more un-twirly photos:

Dress: H&M; hat: H&M; scarf: Forever21 (gift); cardigan: Suzy Shier (ancient); boots; thrifted; belt: ModCloth
Dog: my own (you can't have her! The chicken is debatable.)

I am not being paid for this post (even though I would make an excellent spokeswoman, right?), I just wanted to share this with you because it includes 3 awesome elements:

1. Free stuff.
2. Twirling.
3. Taking pictures of twirling. 

Triple whammy!

Good luck to me everyone! ;-)

xo Miriam (soon-to-be-twirl-expert)

Linking up with Lena and Jenny.

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Who said you can't buy yourself happiness?


Today was one of those days that started out ordinary but then turned into an unexpectedly pleasant one.
First off, I posted this silly little piece on a whim and got a ton of responses! Turns out, if you put the word 'undies' in your title, people will read it. Who knew?
Thank you all SO much for the kind words and support, you rock! Makes me feel so much better to know I'm not the only one!

I did have the best intentions to go out and buy some new, pretty underwear, and I took myself to the mall to do just that.

What happened next is an old story:
I got sidetracked. This gorgeous, versatile, and very practical item of clothing (protection, really) caught my eye.

Guys, I have become a sucker for hats. There are lots of reasons for it:
1. They are lifesavers on bad hair days.
2. They keep my hair dry.
3. They cover up greasy roots.
4. Have you seen my husband's skin? He's almost 60 years old, and his skin is better than mine! His secret: He has been wearing hats for the last 30+ years. (And also some amazing genes, lucky guy.)
5. They look so good! And stylish! (In my opinion anyway.)

So I did what any sensible woman would do: I entered the store. Which was H&M, and you can probably imagine what happened next.
I don't do the dress justice, it is way prettier in real life. It has hearts on it! And it has 3/4-sleeves, which I love! And, did I mention? It was 7 bucks!
Here I am doing a happy dance:
(Imagine me singing at the top of my lungs as well. Actually, don't imagine that.)

Since I saved so much money by getting this great deal, I couldn't help but buy myself one more thing.
It is the most gorgeous circle skirt in mint, and you can bet your sweet behind that I will feature it on here soon. Just need some sunny weather!
Needless to say though, after I splurged on these items I couldn't justify to buy anything for my behind.
Oh well, another day! (Or year.)

I had worked up quite an appetite after all the excitement. And guess what? Rich happened to be home, and he took me to lunch.

Afterwards we went to a nursery where he bought some plants for a job and I took pictures of plants for my pleasure. 

A pleasant day indeed!
I am planning to post more photos of the outfit tomorrow, including where I got it all.

How was your Wednesday?

xoxo Miriam

Linking up with Nicole.

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My undies are ugly

It's Wednesday and I have a few things I need to get off my chest.
So I am seizing the opportunity to confess with Kathy today.
One, two,three, here we go!

1. I have ugly underwear
It is sad and very, very true. See for yourself:

I sort of knew on some level, but chose to ignore it and life went on. Ignorance is bliss. But then two things happened:
(1)We had a girl's night last week (shout-out to my ladies, one of them a brand-new, fabulous fashion blogger!), and the conversation turned inevitably to clothes, sex - and lingerie. Turns out, I'm the only one who wears cotton briefs that are, on average, at least two years old. And only has two semi-decent bras in rotation. Who knew?
(2) My own husband, who claims to not care what I wear, told me just yesterday: "Usually women have nice panties to cover up a not-so-nice ass (his words, not mine), but with you it's the opposite." A compliment? An insult? All I know is, I should probably go underwear shopping. But, I really hate it.

2. I sort of like Miley Cyrus
I love her bad-ass hair. I think she's beautiful. And Wrecking Ball? I didn't think it was that scandalous. And you gotta admit, that song is really catchy.

3. This is a daily occurrence. (Don't tell Richard.)

I think I'm done for today. Quick and dirty.
Do you have any embarrassing truths to share? Link up with humpday confessions!

I'm off going underwear shopping now.
xo Miriam


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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Why I chose Canada


In my role as an x-ray tech I'm in the public eye (and ear). I get to meet new people every day, and at least a few of them ask about my accent on a daily basis. You may not realize it due to the flawless English used here (ha! *heavy sarcasm alert*), but English is my second language, acquired at the age of 23, and it didn't come easy.
It was tough going for a while, cost me a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and quite a bit of cursing (first in German, and then - hurrah! - in English).
The first time I dreamed in my new language was about six months in, and I still remember the glorious feeling of triumph I woke up with when I realized what had happened.
I rarely had a greater feeling of accomplishment.

Once my curious patients have established that my accent is German (something only a few people guess, apparently it is hard to place - I dig being mysterious), they sometimes want to know more: How and why did I come here? Why did I leave Germany? Do I like Canada?
To which the short answers are: vacation, a man, and yes, I love it.

But the long answers are the more interesting ones, and I thought I would lay them all out here today.

Growing up we went on vacation once a year, for two weeks. My parents were big fans of camping, so we would load up the old VW Van and drive to countries close to use - Northern Italy, Austria, Sweden, France.
It was fun and we loved it, but I wouldn't call myself well travelled in those days. We never stayed in hotels, we almost never ate in restaurants, I never set foot on a plane during those years. We also didn't interact with people, but stuck to ourselves - there were vacations where we managed not talking to anybody save for the campsite, museum or store employees.

What I'm trying to say here is that despite going to various countries, I didn't experience them. We basically stayed in our German bubble, seeing the sites and beautiful scenery, but being observers rather than participants.

One big reason was the language barrier: none of us spoke anything but German, despite my having to take English and French (and Latin) at school. But I was way too shy to attempt to speak it, and my parents and sister were worse. So inside the bubble we stayed.

At 17, I went to he South of France with my school class. It was the vacation of a lifetime.
We spent 10 days in Arles, and it was simply magical. We stayed at a charming old hotel. Ate in restaurants almost every day. They served us wine! We soaked up the French lifestyle in those 10 days, and I experienced for the first time in my life what it really means to travel.
That trip gave me a first taste of the possibilities out there, of a bigger world.
Many happy hours were spent on these steps back in 1997. (image source)

Like I said, I was 17. That time in people's lives when we should start figuring out what to do after high school. I had no clue. 
The thing is: I had no idea of the choices. What's out there. What sort of careers/jobs exist.
The way I grew up, in a small town, with no Internet (gasp!), no guidance from school, and no role models to look up to, I felt very limited. 

I felt like I was in prison, with the walls closing in on me. There was a prevailing sense of doom and impending failure. At a time where I should have been full of energy and excitement for the next big chapter of my life, all I felt was paralysed, scared and defeated. 
I wrote about how I decided to study forestry, and the reasons were all based on lack of knowledge, late teenage rebellion and a general cluelessness.

Through college I met people with much more exciting lives than mine. They travelled! Some had worked in different countries! I was mesmerized. My favourite thing to do in those days was hanging out with my new friends, sipping beer and soaking up their tales. We were dreaming big of the wonderful lives we would all have one day, all the adventures we would experience.

But apart from that, I was so unhappy at that time. I studied something that I despised. Didn't have a boyfriend.
There was a huge problem between my family and me.

I distanced myself more and more from my friends, felt lonely and stuck in a life I hated.
I needed a way out. A big adventure. My life couldn't go on the way it had, I just couldn't take it any longer.

Our college website had an online board where you could post whatever you wanted: looking for room mates, selling stuff, car pools, looking for fitness buddies, whatever. One day I came across an ad from a Dutch lady living in "the Wild West of BC" (that's how she put it, smart woman), looking for people to help out on her ranch in exchange for free room and board.
On a whim, I emailed her. We started an email exchange (she spoke German fluently), and I got more and more excited.

On a rainy day in March, with my heart pounding and my palms wet, I entered a travel agency. I was so nervous that I stammered in the beginning, unsure of how to do this. I had never been on a plane, never booked a flight or hotel or anything.
But the lady helping me was patient and friendly, and together we did it: I booked my very first flight, for August 5, 2002.

The story surrounding these events is actually a good one, I will have to tell it to you one day.
But for now, let's not focus on how I met Richard, and how I had to tell my parents that I would move to Canada a few weeks later.

The focus now is on Canada. How this magnificent country made me feel from the very beginning, and how it still does to this day.

It's not only the friendliness of the people, the beauty of nature and the humongous cinnamon buns I was introduced to here (there were no cinnamon buns in my youth. Just imagine), even though that is all part of it.

The greatest thing about Canada? The feeling of freedom. Of limitless opportunities. Of reaching for the stars in the firm believe that I can grasp them.
I have come from a place of "no"/"can't"/"impossible"/"unrealistic" to a place where anything is possible.

Of course, you can't blame/credit the countries alone. It's not Germany's fault that I was so unhappy there, but a combination of circumstances, family issues and myself. The same applies to Canada: As great as the country is, it alone didn't create all these opportunities. My husband plays a big role; I have changed and grown (up); and I have figured out along the way what makes me happy.

But still.  

In Germany, people like to say no. A lot. Without even considering an alternative. Being "realistic" and knowing one's place is essential. One's life path should be straight forward: school, apprenticeship/college, work for 30-40 years in that job you were trained in. No detours.
Maybe it's slowly changing now, out of necessity (not because people want to), but that's the German mindset. Germans are rigid and formal, to the point of being standoffish.

They are hardworking and efficient (the stereotype is true), but do their job without much joy or passion.
No chitchatting at the checkout counter at at store. No pleasant "How are you?" at the bank. I know people here just say that and don't really care how I am, but I like it nonetheless. It makes you feel better. It brightens your day when someone smiles at you. It may not be necessary, but it's nice!

Canadians are laid back.
In Canada, people are either more tolerant when it comes to other people's choices, or they are too polite to state their true feelings. I like honesty, but Germans take it to a whole new level. They are rude!
One example: They will look you up and down and make a snide remark about the way you are dressed that day. "Aren't you too old to be dressed like that?" is a classic, which delivers a double whammy: Rudeness about your fashion sense and your age. Bam!

Then there is the languages. I love the English language. It is the language I choose to write in because it flows so much better and is so very beautiful to me. German seems wooden and stiff in comparison.
I always disliked the formal way of addressing others (French has it too), because it makes it harder to get close to people.
English doesn't have that, you address everybody with 'you'. So much better!

In the summer of 2002, I fell in love twice. Once with Richard, and once with Canada. Both relationships are going strong, and have all the makings of being lifelong love affairs - and I couldn't be happier.

I would choose them both again in a heartbeat.

Love, Miriam

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Monday, 24 March 2014

Ach!

Last week I was tagged by the very first blog friend I ever made, the lovely and mysterious (nobody really knows who she is!) D from allerdings.
She answered all these questions, and wants me to do the same. I have Monday morning brain, so the answers may be questionable... you have been warned!

1. What's your motto?
It's a new motto - to be precise, as of about 2 minutes ago. Because I didn't have a motto. How have I lived 34 years without a motto? To solve that problem I had a quick look at my wise words pinterest board (you should too, it's good!), and saw that I pinned the above words a little while ago. According to pinterest it is a quote from J.K. Rowling, and that woman knows what she is talking about. After all, she created Dumbledore, and he is the wisest man in all the world. 

2. What's the first memory you remember having?
Umm, I think watching my dad play with my baby sister and feeling jealous. Yikes, what does that say about me? Call the shrink stat!

3. Is there a word you seem to say a lot?
Ach!

It is a versatile little word. You can use it to express loathing. Preferably coupled with a withering glance to get the point across.
It can be used at the moment when you understand something. ("Ach so! That makes sense!")
It can be used to express surprise and/or disbelief. ("Ach wirklich?" = "Really?")
It can be used to show empathy. ("Ach herrje!" = "Oh dear!")
It can also be used conversationally - "Ach nein?" = "You don't?"
It just may be the most versatile word in the entire history of language. You should all start using it.

4. If you could live anywhere, where would you choose?
In BC (where I live now), but with no rain, warm temperatures year round and exactly 2 weeks of snow over Christmas. Please and thanks.

5. What's our favourite indulgence?
The internet with all its wondrous pleasures (online shopping, blogging, Netflix), sleeping in, white wine, sour candy, Downton Abbey, vanilla coffee, a good story, the warm sun on my skin and a cool drink in my hand.

6. What's a song you have repeatedly stuck in your head?
There isn't one. All the random thoughts in my head leave no room for songs.

7. Thinking of something soft, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Puppy fur.
And that little stubbin. It's the softest little tail you will ever feel!

8. When you were a kid who did you look up to and why?
Everybody, because they were all taller than me.

9. If you could communicate with an animal, which would you choose?
Our peahens. I want to know what it feels like when your man is prettier than you?

10. What do you like to do on rainy days?
Make plans to move to a desert climate - how about New Mexico?
source

11. What do you hope to achieve this year?
Get free clothes out of this blog.

Happy Monday!

xo Miriam

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Saturday, 22 March 2014

March photos

Happy first weekend of spring!
I thought I would put together the next installment of my photography project. I have taken 80 photos so far, which means we are 80 days into 2014. How are everybody's resolutions going? ;-)

What I like so much about this project is that it turns out to be a mini diary of every day. Looking at the photos triggers a little memory that I would otherwise have forgotten by now. I was under the impression that 2014 has been pretty blah so far - but when I see my photos, that's actually not true. Nothing huge has happened (yet), but countless special little moments. Not big enough to be tale-worthy, but pretty nonetheless.

I like the everyday best, always have. The big, special moments are too few and far between. And they are too heavily burdened with big expectations.

Have a look at the last 21 days of little moments:

1. Icicles
2. I have started to eat healthy(ish) again, after a winter of too much processed foods. It must be bad when you start craving raw vegetables... Spring always does that to me, wakes up my appetite for fresh salads and veggies, another reason why I love it so much!
3. Lily loves the bathtub. When I take a bath, she's right there, licking my foot/leg. Yesterday I took a bath, and she fell in. Twice! 
4. Pretty rabbit mama with some of her many babies.


1. Moss
2. The first crocuses of the year
3. Date night with my cowboy - he wears boots and a hat 99% of the time
4. After two weeks of no walks, I started walking regularly again.

1. The sun breaking through the clouds after a few days of rain
2. The bees have arrived!
3. Did some contemplating about success. This picture was done on the trampoline with self-timer in continuous shooting mode, and edited with BeFunky.
4. Brunch date with Rich

1. Watching the grass grow
2. A little creek I walk past all the time
3. Rusty old truck I walk past all the time

1. White crocus
2. A little sunshine fun with Lily
3. Richard
4. We went on a day trip and saw this cute mother-calf pair 

1. First day of spring!
2. The bone dress has arrived

Have a wonderful weekend!

xo Miriam

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