Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Is the honeymoon over?



Last week, I was sitting on my desk, looking out the window at the sunny day, when suddenly it started to snow. But not just a few little flakes - the heavens opened and unleashed snowmargeddon. It was snowing like crazy, but the sun kept shining.
I have never seen anything like that before. It was eerily beautiful, almost as if Mother Nature wanted to show off a little - "Look what I can do if I want to. Don't mess with me."
It only lasted for maybe 15 minutes, before the snow stopped as suddenly as it had started.

Life has been like that, lately - sunny and stormy at the same time.

My initial instinct has been to skip this chapter of my life, to not share it on here. But since it seems to be lasting longer than expected, and I pride myself on honesty, I'll try to describe what's going on. It's difficult to put into words, because I'm not even sure what the hell is wrong with me. But I'll give it a good try, okay?

Let's backtrack a little. As you may know, we embarked on our house hunting adventure last July. In what was a very spontaneous decision for us, we put our beloved place on the market, and started searching.
Life was a whirlwind from that moment on. We spent every waking moment working towards this goal: Cleaning, organizing, decluttering, researching, driving all over the place to look at houses.
We dreamed, schemed, and painted our future in the most glowing colours, complete with daily adventures and rides into the sunset. It was fun!

At the same time, we were also both working, we were socializing more than normal, and still had the farm to take care of. Life was busy.

The month of moving was its own chapter of insanity, with barely enough time to stop and think. A novel experience for me, a dedicated overthinker, and not unpleasant!

In December, I travelled back and forth between our new home and my old work. It came with its own set of adventures, and, once again, I was a busy little bee.


When the new year rolled in, I was ready for a break. And boy, did I get one! January was the coldest and snowiest it had been in about 50 years. Yet, the sun came out almost every day, shining her smiling face onto a picture-perfect winter wonderland.
I was in heaven. I had no work, I was living in my dream home, I tried new activities like cross-country skiing and spontaneously popping in at the neighbours (a novelty for me).
Everything was roses and rainbows.


In February, I got a job. In town, only 15 minutes away! It can't get any better, can it?
We also got cows.
Everything seemed to fall into place.

The sun is still shining. I still love our place. Rich and I are happy.

And yet.

I've been off balance for the last few weeks, and I don't know why. Is it simply because reality has returned? Is the honeymoon phase over? Is it because winter just won't quit? Is it because of D?
My best bet is that it's a combination of all of the above.
And I'm sure it will pass.

But for now, I'm a bit fragile. I've cried a bit more than I usually do. And I thought it's important to share that even if your dreams come true?
You still get sad.
You still get annoyed.
The rainbows come with a dose of storms.

That's life.

If you're having a hard day, or week, or month, know that you're not alone! All of us struggle sometimes. But we are strong, and we will get through this.

Love you!



P.S. I send out a letter every Sunday night that finds light in the darkness. Want to check it out? Click here!



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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Books for any occasion


My brain is not functioning well lately, which is an unfortunate side effect of a bout of depression. I gleefully boasted yesterday that I had come out of it, but as it turns out, that was a bit premature. 

Because I can't put words together in a pleasing and logical manner, I thought I would share some great books I have been reading lately, written by people who are in full command of the English language. 

Books are my medicine, escape, friends, and favourite hobby, and when I'm feeling under the weather, I take a big spoonful of them. 

In case you feel the same (or you're simply always looking for a great book to read), I put them in different categories, to make it easy for you to grab what you need the most. 

For the stressed-out mom: "I Just Want to Pee Alone"


This laugh-out-loud book contains a variety of hilarious essays from mom bloggers about what life with kids is really like. Seriously, this book is gold. Let me share a couple little snippets:
"Then my son came, and I was too busy crying while searching for his User Manual to consider a manicure or a massage. I lasted about a week as a new mom before reaching out to others in my situation online. As exhausted, cranky, and confused as I was, I needed friends."
"Eat poop, laugh. No, I did not forget a comma."
"When you're a mom, crazy shit happens every single day. Your child will do things that you would probably beat the crap out of a grown-up person for doing. They will destroy everything of value. They will shit on your floors. They will draw on your walls. [...] They will swallow your earring, and shove a blueberry in their ear." 

For the non-conformist, adventurous, I'm-not-like-the-rest-of-you girl: "What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding"


  
Guys, Kristin Newman's writing is so superb, it brings tears to my eyes. Tears of envy, but mostly tears of joy. She is a comedy writer, and this exquisite book is her memoir about escaping LA for several months every year on adventures. Afraid of a binding commitment like marriage and kids, she is travelling the world and has wild, sexy romances in places like Argentina, Australia, Russia, or Iceland, while her friends are all settling into regular grown-up, middle-aged lives. It's uproariously funny and poignant, and the perfect escape. Read it.   

For the bored, will-this-winter-ever-end-I-need-an-escape person: "No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels"


This book sent shivers down my spine. It's the kind of page-turner that keeps you up into the wee hours of the morning, just to wake up three hours later and read another few chapters. I couldn't put it down. It's suspenseful, gripping, and fascinating, and as a bonus it's a true story, so you can satisfy your insatiable curiosity about the characters by Googling them incessantly. 
It's the story of the ATF undercover agent Jay "Bird" Dobyns, who infiltrated the notorious Hells Angels in an operation called "Black Biscuit". No federal agent had ever gotten in so deep and become a full patched member. In the process, Jay almost lost everything: His family, his sanity, and himself. 

For the person who is sick of giving a fuck about everything: "The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck"


Aaahh, this book is the permission slip we've all been waiting for: To stop having to pretend to care about the shit we don't. 
"If you're like me, you've been giving too many fucks about too many things for too long. You're overextended and overburdened by life. Stressed out, anxious, maybe even panic-stricken about your commitments. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck is for all of us who work too much, play too little, and never have enough time to devote to the people and things that truly makes us happy."
Sarah Knight teaches us ways to declutter our "mental fuck drawer" without alienating the people we don't give a fuck about. We want a simpler life, but there is no need to be rude. 
It's awesome! And possibly life-changing. 

If you just want to feel good: "The Rosie Project"


I wrote about this darling book here. I read it for the first time almost two years ago, and have since re-read it. It's guaranteed to make you happy!

And that's it for now. 
What have you been reading lately?




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Sunday, 19 February 2017

Freedom fighters



If you follow me on Instagram (if not, why not?) then you know that we have bought cows. But not just any old cows: Miniature Zebus.

Rich grew up on a dairy farm, and he wanted to get a few cows for as long as I have known him. I didn't grow up on a farm, and was less excited about the idea (i.e. my initial reaction was "over my dead body!"). But a dream is a dream, and I certainly don't want to stand in the way of the dream of the person who is most important to me. 
We looked at a few "normal" cows, and I resigned myself to the fact that I'd just have to get used to their big cow pies all over the place, their massive bodies and strong smell. 

But then, inspiration struck. Rich showed me some photos online of miniature cattle - and my heart melted. I mean, just look at this cute little calf
We made a deal: Let's get cows, but we'll get mini ones.
We brought them home last Friday, and I fell head over heels in love with them.  


The little brown guy is a 6-month old calf, and the cow on the right is his mom. We don't have names for them yet, we need to do some brainstorming. 
They are pretty tame, but since they don't know us yet, they are hesitant to get petted. But we'll get there!


Funny story: We picked them up with our horse trailer, and kept them there the first night. The trailer is super roomy and comfy for these little guys, and Rich planned on keeping them in there for a day, to clip their feet, check them out properly, and to get to know them a bit better before letting them out. 

Here is how that played out: 
Me: "Can you go into the trailer and stand next to them, so I can take a picture of them and show how tiny they are?"
Rich: "Ok, sure." (Let the record show that HE WAS COMPLETELY FINE WITH IT. He could have said no, but he didn't.)
Me: "Yippieh!" *runs into the house and gets camera*

Rich climbed in, and we took this picture:


He then took his measuring tape out and measured (41", in case you're curious):


What happened next was probably inevitable. 
Picture the scene: A wide-open door. A comparatively small fool, both hands occupied with the camera, the only obstacle between captivity and freedom. 
Our crafty little zebu saw her opportunity, and she didn't waste it: She bolted. I was so surprised, I stepped back instead of forward, which in hindsight, I have to admit was a mistake. Her freedom-loving sister didn't hesitate, and followed her promptly. The only one left behind was our little boy, who was just as taken aback by the swift turn of events as I was. 

"Let him go," Rich said resignedly, as I tried to quite literally close the barn door after the cows had gotten out. 


There was much excitement in the first half hour, because our horses have never seen cows. They galloped up and down in their fields, a tad agitated by these strange new creatures. But after that, they settled down, and so have the cows. They are still on the lose, having claimed their spot by the paints, and they let us come really close, to almost touching distance. 

The dogs have acquainted themselves as well:

The corgi, as usual, doesn't give a sh*t. Only interested in her own agenda. 


Tom Snow just making sure. Yes, Tom, they are. 


Looks like we have cows now. 
Free-ranging ones, no less. 😄


P.S. I got bitch-slapped last week. And it wasn't the first time. Want to find out more? Sign up right here ↓




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Thursday, 16 February 2017

My cure for everything



Have you guys seen the first episode of the new (and last, sniff!) season of Girls? I've watched it twice, cringing my way through it like I always do, but enjoying every second of it. 
(Spoiler alert: If you haven't seen it yet, skip over the next two lines, okay?
Wtf is Hannah laying her bush bare when she is sun-bathing? Why? Why?? I almost want to try it now, just to see if there is any benefit to this action. Does the sun really feel that nice there?)

Okay, you can resume reading now. Just had to get something off my chest. But if you read it by accident, you will find that it's not much of a spoiler anyway - Lena Dunham can't keep her clothes on in that show. I know her naked body almost better than mine!

Anyway, I got off track. What I'm trying to get to is what the guy she's hooking up with, Paul-Louis the surf-instructor, says to her: "The cure for anything is salt. The ocean, sweat, and tears." (I may be paraphrasing, but that's what he's getting at.) He also calls the ocean the "big blue pill", which is pretty witty when you think about it. (A blue pill curing all ailments? That's what men have been trying to tell us for decades.)


Well, this morning I received some sucky news. Not really bad, no worries. But frustrating enough for me to shed some tears and complain bitterly to Richard about it. 
(It hasn't been the best week around here to begin with, otherwise I would have handled it better.)
He listened, gave me a big, long hug, and then he told me: "Go out and feed the animals, you will feel better."

I did, and you know what? I felt about a million times better.
And that's when the quote from the previous night's Girls popped into my mind, reminding me that I, too, have a cure for everything: My furry and feathery friends. 

There really is nothing like hanging out with my four-legged buds for a while, that helps me to set my world straight again. They have a way of showing you what's important, and what isn't.


Life is rough. It's wild, beautiful, and full of wonder, but it's also filled with disappointments, annoyances, and petty little shit you wish you wouldn't have to deal with, but you still have to. 

We all need a "blue pill".
I'm so happy I have found mine. I would prefer if it came without all the poop and all the work, but you know what? It's totally worth it. I guess, if my payment for being happy and at peace is shovelling shit - I'll take it. 

What's your happy pill? 


Cardigan: I bought it from the local Work'N play store, the label is California Moon Rise
Top: SheIn
Shoes: Old Navy (similar)


We'll make it! All of us! One "blue pill" at a time.





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Sunday, 12 February 2017

We're *definitely* not in the city any more



It was a beautiful day yesterday: The snow was melting, the sun was shining, and I was antsy.
Winter is all fun and games, but I'm itching to see green again! I want to start fixing our fence, build an adorable goat house for our goats (this one would do nicely), and start living outside 90% of the time, which is why we moved to the semi-desert in the first place. Come on, spring!

Since the snow isn't moving any faster just because I want it to, I decided to take the corgi for a walk. All of us have put on some weight (damn you, carbs and wine and sweets - and that's just what the corgi has been doing, I can't even tell you my bad eating habits), so a walk was just the thing to do.

We live on a hill, which means that if I choose to walk from home, I have to go uphill the entire time until I turn back. I didn't feel like doing that, so I threw the corgi into the car, and drove down to walk along the river. It has the dual benefit of being a quiet road (which means I can let Lily off leash), and being flat. I only feel like a mountain goat on special occasions, and yesterday wasn't one of them.

Off we went, two girls on a leisurely Saturday-afternoon walk. Here is Lily, in case you haven't met:


Just to clarify, I love this little turkey with all my heart. She's exasperating at times, but she's my best buddy, and we do basically everything together.

She was running happily around, darting in and out of the woods that were flanking one side of the road. I was listening to an audiobook, soaking in the beautiful afternoon sunshine, and keeping an eye on Miss Lily. She is known for not always being a great listener, and I'm used to having to call her several times before she comes.

On the way back, I saw her standing at attention, looking at something in the woods. Then, she shot off like an arrow, scrambling across the snowy ditch, which was breaking in under her weight due to the warm temperatures (and her not being exactly a featherweight).
I didn't think much of it - a squirrel on the tree could inspire such a reaction. I was still several hundred feet away, and figured she would come out of the woods by the time I reached the spot where she had disappeared.

She didn't.

When I reached that spot, I looked at her across the ditch, partly hidden behind overhanging branches from the tree she was sitting under.

"Come on, Lily, come here!" I called, but she was just looking at me. 'What a brat,' I thought to myself, annoyed. I called a few more times, and then I decided to walk away, sure she would follow me.

She didn't.

I examined my options.
Should I just walk to the car, still another 20 minutes away, counting on her to follow me eventually? I did start to walk, but she didn't come, and I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
I turned back, and returned to the spot across from her on the other side of the ditch. She was still looking at me, and she hadn't moved an inch. This was weird.

I started to get a bad feeling about this.
"Lily, come here! Come to mama!" I cajoled, pulling out some treats from my pocket. Lily loves food, and she always comes when I pull out the big guns.
When she didn't, I knew that something was wrong.

"Lily, I'm coming!" I called out, starting to run towards her.

*Plop*

I sank into the mushy snow thigh-deep, falling forward in my attempt to get to my dog as quickly as possible. For the first time in two months, I had put on leggings and runners for my walk, because it was pretty warm, and I could feel them getting soaked right away.

It didn't matter.

I waded through the deep snow, using my arms and legs to propel myself forward.
As I was getting closer, I could see something dangling next to Lily's head.
What the hell was it ...?

And then the realization came to me, in one horrible, big swoop.

It was bait.
O.M.G. What had happened to my dog??

When I finally reached her, she was still just looking at me, motionless. I stared at the piece of meat in front of her (the foot of a deer? or a rabbit? I was too freaked out to look any closer), and then I immediately surveyed her body.
I saw a thin piece of wire trailing away from her, and I carefully turned her over: It was wrapped around her left foot. A little sling had caught her hind leg, tying her securely to the tree she was sitting next to. She wasn't hurt, thankfully. 

I pulled off the sling, causing her to leap up with joy and then running away as fast as her short legs would allow her to. I took a quick picture of the set-up, not taking the time to check if it had turned out, and then I followed her as quickly as I could.
I was freaked out. 


We were on public land, not private property. I'm fairly sure that this trap was illegal.

I have no idea if it was supposed to catch the unsuspecting animal around the neck, killing it, or if it was meant to be a live trap, catching them on the foot like it happened to Lily.

All I know is this: Holy hell, we are not in the city any more.

This is wild country. 

One thing is for sure: Lily will stay on her leash from now on.




Psst. I just sent out a letter about how to love your life 100%. Want to find out more? Sign up here ↓




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Saturday, 11 February 2017

I never thought I would ...


If I were to summarize this week with one word, that word would be: snow. We're drowning in that stuff. All the highways around our fair town were closed yesterday because of too much snow (mixed with ice-rain, yuck), our collective arms are aching from shovelling all day every day, and our toilet makes weird gurgling noises, because Rich thinks the frost got into the pipes.


Our friends came by a couple of days ago for coffee and home-baked muffins (yes, I baked!), and on the way out of our driveway they slid into the ditch next to the driveway. Despite four-wheel-drive! It took the combined effort of four people and an ATV with a winch to dig the baby out again.
It was a great team-building moment, and we all came out stronger because of it.

Not a day goes by where we don't tell each other how content we are. One of my favourite (and cheesy, beware!) marriage rituals is to ask Rich: "Are you happy?" And him responding: "I've never been happier." Insert #soblessed hashtag.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about where I am in life right now, and how surprising it is. My younger self couldn't have imagined half the things that are now a normal part of my life.

When I was younger, I never thought that ...
... many of my closest friends would be 20-30 years older than me.
... I would overcome my fear of needles, and be able to watch the lab technician draw my blood, cool as a cucumber. (I used to be a fainter when needles came too close to me.)
... I would move to Merritt. I distinctly remember driving through it about ten years ago, and commenting that "I could never live here". Ha, joke's on me! It's true what they say: never say never!
... I would stop worrying about my weight. Thanks, yoga.
... I would love winter. But I do. So does the corgi:


... buying a handheld vacuum cleaner would give me unspeakable joy. I love that thing.
... I would fall back in love with my job. Phew, what a relief!
... I would embrace farm life. Sometimes I'm still surprised by that one.



... I would still be insecure and clueless about stuff. Will it ever end?
... you really do need to work hard if you want to make your dreams come true. Hrumpf. Don't you just hate it when your parents are right?
... I would be child-free by choice. And how content it would make me.
... I would admit to having depression, talk about it openly, and take medication for it. And feel so much better because of it. 



... I would stop using anti-wrinkle eye cream. When I smile or laugh, my eyes crinkle, and that gave me major insecurities in my teens and 20s. I started using anti-wrinkle cream when I was 17 or 18 years old, and didn't stop until about three years ago. That's when I realized that no cream in the world will change the way my face is shaped, and that the laugh lines won't go away. Instead of fighting them, I have come to love them, because they tell the story of a happy life.
... I would learn to love myself.

Your turn! What did you think you would never do?


Psst. I send out love notes every Monday. Want me to get in your box? Sign up here ↓




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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Unexpected Valentine's gifts for people who hate Valentine's Day


Confession time: I hate Valentine's day. There, I said it. I love love, and I'm all for showing your special person that you love them. But that particular day irks me.
Here is why: I think it makes people feel bad about themselves.

If you are single, V-Day is the worst. Who needs an entire day dedicated to reminding you that you are alone? That's what mothers are for.
If you are in a relationship, V-Day is a minefield. There are countless ways to get it wrong:
a) By not buying anything. "Don't you love me?"
b) By being uninspired and getting the old, overpriced flowers, when she was hoping for something more personal.
c) By buying the wrong thing. "Don't you know me at all?"

Instead of having the cozy, lovey-dovey evening that all the advertisements promised you, you are now fighting. Great.

But, there is a way out of this! Obviously, you can boycott Valentine's Day. It's an approach I have taken many times myself, and it's a perfectly decent way to avoid VD-related drama and disappointment.
The only flaw with this method? It's a bit boring.  

If you want to have some fun this Valentine's Day, why not join them? It's been a long winter already, and a little gift for you lover, bestie, or yourself is just what the doctor ordered.
The key is to have fun with it, and not take VD seriously.

I searched the Internets and found nine unique gifts that will avoid all V-Day related drama, and make you and your giftee laugh!
Everybody wins. 

Truer words have never been spoken. Bubble butts, unite! 🍑

2. Funny cookies: 'Pizza is my valentine'. Yes, it is. 
I have featured Hayleycakes and Cookies on the blog before, because they are incredibly awesome and hilarious. 'Uteruses before Duderuses'? I'm dying. All I can say is: 'I hope your day is as nice as your butt'. 

3. Signs
If you read this and go like "Huh?", I get you. Until a month ago, I wouldn't have known what the hell this means, either. Two words: Ice fishing. Now it makes sense!

4. I like your face wine glass.

Don't forget the bottle (or box) of wine that goes with it.

5. Couples' pillows
A match made in heaven!

6. Cute candles.
Candles are always a good idea. These ones are personalized, which makes them more special.

7. Two peas in a pod salt and pepper shakers. 
Awww. Aren't they adorable?

8. Cute notecards.
Pro-tip: You don't even have to buy them. Just steal the quotes, write them on blank cards and pass them off as your own. Cheap and cheerful! 

If you love avocados, you know that the struggle is real. Every avocado-fanatic in your life will appreciate these babies! (Pst. They are under $10!)

What are you waiting for? Get your funny Valentine's on! 


P.S. I have a little Valentine's gift for you! Just click here to get it. Love ya, mean it!




Top image found here.


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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Dreaming and scheming


We have successfully made it through the first month of the year! How are everybody's resolutions going? 
I didn't make any, because history has taught me that I suck at keeping them. In order to avoid disappointment and beating myself up, I quit that bad habit years ago. So, I guess you could say that I'm winning in the resolutions-front, since I kept my only resolution of not making any. Huzzah!

Instead, I chose DETERMINATION (in capital letters!) as my word of the year. And you know what?
It is a very appropriate word for this year. I feel like I'm possessed. In a good way. It's as if I have been asleep for a few years, and finally, I woke up and realized what I have been missing for so long.
It's probably the excess vitamin D talking, since my system isn't used to so much sunshine in the winter. But I feel full of energy, and, lately, full of optimism, and it's awesome

I've been doing lots of reading and writing. Lots. And it's helping me in figuring out how I would like my life to look like, if I were to be the master of my destiny. Which lots of self-help books claim, I already am! Let's test them, shall we?

Here is my perfect life: 
- I want to finish my memoir this year, and find an agent and publisher. (The memoir is coming along!)
- I would love to host goat-yoga sessions at our place! We have goats, we have a gorgeous property, I love yoga - now I just have to put these puzzle pieces together. Welp!
- I want to work 2-3 times a week at the local hospital, to stay grounded, do what I love, and select material for my next book ... 💁

And that's it in a nutshell for my professional life. 

Omg, do you know that I never had such a clear vision for myself in my entire life?? And I'm 37 years old!
Turning it into reality is another challenge altogether, but to be honest, for now I'm just beyond thrilled to finally having found my passion. 
It sure took long enough!

What are your dreams and goals? Please share them in the comments, I would love to know! 


Booties: Mark's Work Wearhouse (they are currently on sale!)
Skinnies: H&M
Plaid shirt: H&M (similar)
Denim jacket: American Eagle
Circle scarf: DIY (gift)
Hat: Old Navy (similar)




Linking up with Fashion Should Be Fun, A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Rachel The Hat, Sheela writes, Elegance and Mommyhood and Shelbee on the Edge



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