Creating my happy life on the other side of fear.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Things I've learnt


There’s nothing quite like learning from our elders. I spend a considerable amount of time with people twice my age, and as I’ve pointed out before, I highly enjoy the experience.
Over the last few weeks I picked up a few new nuggets of wisdom, and they are too good not to share.

Lesson Nr. 1: There is always tomorrow
A few days ago, on yet another day with a temperature of  37° Celsius, we were sitting in the shade with our friends, shooting the breeze and drinking a cold one. Suddenly, Billy was struck by a thought, and he sat bolt upright, looking around.
“Did you ever get your hay from TJ?” he asked, looking first at TJ and then at Rich and me. We shook our heads. Billy was outraged. “Why not? I set it up weeks ago!” Looking at Rich, he said: “You could have your hay in the barn by now!”
Turning to TJ, he added: “And you could have the money in your pocket.“
TJ was unfazed. Leaning back more comfortably, he pointed up at the cloudless, blue sky (the same sky we’ve been blessed with for 2 months straight), and said easily: “I’m waiting for good weather.”


Lesson Nr. 2: The many uses for gum boots
Gum boots used to be an essential part of our life. From November–May, they were the only shoes  that made sense wearing. When we moved to the semi-desert, we took them with us, not knowing if we may need them. Well, we have since learnt that gum boots are completely unnecessary in these parts, a fact that makes me happy beyond words. I was ready to get rid of them once and for all,  when one of our cowboy friends taught me another use for them I hadn’t heard of before.
“Robert and I would use them for castrating cats,” he told me earnestly. Looking at him uncomprehendingly, he elaborated: “You stuff the cat head first into the boot. Then you need two guys to hold the legs. One won’t do, those buggers are strong! The third guy stands in between the legs, cutting off the balls. One time, when Robert made the first cut, the cat peed* right into his face! We laughed so hard, we let the cat go.”
[His balls were only safe for a few days though; they got him in the end.]

*The word he used was more vulgar than ‘peed’. But I’m a lady.  


Lesson Nr. 3: Don’t give a f*ck* about what other people think
*Apparently, not much of a lady.

Another one of our friends is the calmest person I know. Nothing upsets him, nothing gets him riled up. He is always calm, cool, and collected, and takes things as they come. I call him my zen-friend, and hope his attitude will rub off on me over time.
He once told me the story of his boat, nicknamed ‘The bag boat’.
“Why ‘the bag boat’?” I asked him.
“Because it was so ugly, my friends joked that you needed to put a bag over your head so nobody would recognize you,” he laughed.
I know nothing about boats, so I can’t tell you the make, model, or whatever else boat people care about. What made it ugly different was that our friend had built a little plywood cabin on the boat for shelter. “It rains so much on the lake where I had it, it made sense,” he explained. He didn't care about the aesthetics, just about the functionality. "It was great," he told me. "We could still fish and hang out on the lake when it rained, and we stayed nice and dry."

One day, a guy with a big, expensive boat made a snide comment about the bag-boat. Zen-friend looked at him calmly, and said the following: "You bought that fancy, big boat so other people would look at you, didn't you. Well, you know what? Everybody looks at my boat."

Have a wonderful day friends! It's almost Friday 🎉

xoxo Miriam




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Monday, 28 August 2017

Boss Women: Janice


I'm delighted to start a new series today: Boss women
Over the last several months, I have started to pay more attention to strong women: Be it celebs, women on social media or in real life, I feel drawn to women who kick ass. Having finally outgrown the last vestiges of envy when it comes to other women's success, I'm now eager to learn more about their dreams, goals and secrets. 

I'm kicking this series off with a real powerhouse: Janice.

Janice is a wife, mom, x-ray- and mammography tech, and she also runs her own business, Lucky Bum Clothing, creating fun tees for the whole family.
We met at work several years ago, and liked each other immediately. She is genuine, warm, and funny, and about the nicest person you will ever meet. Back then, neither of us had big ambitions beyond our day-jobs - that has certainly changed!

Janice started her t-shirt biz in November of 2016. I've followed her on Instagram from the beginning, and her growth in this short amount of time is incredible!
It was her iconic "Wife. Mom. Boss." tee that gave me the idea to start this series, because it sums up in just 3 words the awesomeness of so many successful women out there. It's perfection! 


She was kind enough to answer some of my most burning questions - here we go!

Q: What gave you the idea for your business?
A: Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, I started shopping at local markets and at local small shops. After having my son Jackson, I found I was wanting some more fun and affordable tees for moms and kids, so I decided to start designing and making my own tees. Just like that, Lucky Bum Clothing was born!

Q: How did you come up with the name? It's awesome!
A: My hubby Chris came up with the name. We wanted something simple, fun and catchy! 

Q: Did you always want to run your own business?
A: I honestly never thought of owning my own business. I have no experience in business whatsoever, so it has been a challenge for sure! I'm self-taught, and learn new things every day!

Q: What does a typical day look like?
A: Since I work part-time as an x-ray- and mammography-tech, most of my work for Lucky Bum is done in the evenings and on my days off, during my son's naps. I spend countless hours working on designs, and making each and every shirt. I do everything from start to finish!


Q: What is the best part about being a small business owner?
A: The best part is meeting other small shop boss mamas and my amazing customers. And seeing other people wear my designs!

Q: What is the worst part?
A: The worst part is staying up until 4 am, getting orders done, and still waking up bright and early.

Q: How do you come up with your designs?
A: The design process is by far the toughest but most fun! I will spend hours, days, weeks working on a design, going back and modifying it, before making it final. My hubby has a big part in this process and it comes quite natural for him! We make tees that we would wear, or something that our son can wear.


Q: Did you take any business classes?
A: None, and I have no background in business. I'm planning on taking some classes in the future!

Q: Do you have help, or do you do it alone?
A: I do 99% of everything on my own. I make each and every single shirt.

Q: How do you make it all work?
A: To be honest, it has been a tough adjustment, balancing being a working mom, wife, and running a business. I always put my family first, and always will. They are my world. I have learnt better time management, and recognize when to slow down, take a step back and focus on quality time with my family. 

Q: Do you have any tips for others who want to start a biz? 
A: My advice is to just go for it. Make a plan, do some research, and give it your all. And don't be afraid to ask for help! You will go through moments of struggle, and there will be times where you don't think you can make it. Always keep your head up and move forward!



Thank you so much, Janice! To see more of her awesome stuff, go to her Instagram and Facebook pages. Her website is taking a little break and will re-open on Sept 1!

xoxo Miriam



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Thursday, 24 August 2017

You wrote a book - now what?


The world of book publishing is a confusing one. Also, quite intimidating. As someone who is new to it all, with no real-life author friends, I was wondering if I would ever manage to get my baby (= my memoir) published. 
As long as I was in the writing process, I mostly ignored that pressing question and told myself I would worry about it when I finished writing the first draft.

At that point, I only knew of two publishing options: Traditional and self-publishing. 
I did quite a bit of research, and compiled a list of the pros and cons of each option:

Traditional Publishing
For the longest time, this was the only option for writers to get their books published. A publishing house buys the publication rights for the book, paying the author an advance and (usually, but not always) royalties. 

From what I learnt, no publishing house accepts proposals from authors directly, unless you are famous, and/or have a huge following on social media. You have to find an agent first, who will take a percentage of the advance and the royalties in exchange for taking you on. 
The agent will try to find a buyer (i.e. a publishing house) for your book. There are no guarantees that they will sell it, but I believe the chances are usually pretty good. 

Pros:
  • Trustworthy: Traditional publishing houses are established, trusted institutions. You can easily look up their past authors and books, and find out their success rate. 
  • Distribution: They have strong bonds with many retailers and distributors. 
  • Quality: The finished product looks polished and professional. 
  • Low cost to author: The publishing house carries all the cost for editing, production, distribution, marketing, etc., which means the author has to pay little or nothing. On the contrary, they usually get paid up front in form of an advance.
Cons:
  • Loss of control: As far as I understand it, the publishing house basically owns your book. That means that the author has little say about cover design, edits, and other details of the production and distribution.  
  • Ownership: You also give up complete ownership of your book, which may limit your use of the content for the duration of the agreement. 
  • Royalties: You don't get royalties right away. You have to earn back the advance that was paid to you, which actually doesn't happen that often. Only if your book's sales have earned back that advance do you get royalties, and they are quite low: About 5-7% for a paperback, and 10-15% for a hardcover
  • Timeline: It takes a long time to see you book in print when you go the traditional route. First, you have to find an agent, and then the agent has to find a publishing house, which can take many months or even years. Once you do have a publisher, it still usually takes more than a year before the book comes out; the entire process is drawn-out and time-consuming. 

Self-publishing
There are literally thousands of options to self-publish these days. I published my eBook How To Be You with Kindle Direct Publishing from Amazon almost two years ago, and also had some copies printed with Blurb
Self-publishing used to be frowned upon, very much like online dating, but these days, both activities have become hugely popular. There are many pros and cons to self-publishing, here are the most important ones:

Pros:
  • Ownership: You are it, baby. You are the boss. You own your book, so you alone make every single decision pertaining to your book.
  • Control: Again, it's all you
  • Sales: No middleman = more money for you. You will have to pay a percentage of every sale to the distributor (for example, Amazon keeps 35% of every sale of my ebook). 
  • Risk: If you print on demand (meaning, you get a book printed when it's ordered), you don't need to have thousands of copies printed beforehand, minimizing your cost and risk significantly.
Cons:
  • Ownership: You are it, baby. You are responsible for everything, including areas you may have zero experience in, like book layout, printing, or pricing.
  • Cost: You have to pay for everything, you are responsible for everything. 
  • Marketing: If you have never sold a product, you may be in well over your head. Add to that the writer's inherent angst and self-doubt, and it's nearly impossible to confidently sell your  book, which represents a slice (or maybe a big chunk!) of your soul. 
  • Distribution: Do you have any contacts with book stores or other wholesalers? Me, neither. (Well, actually, I did work for an independent book store for 6 months, ten years ago. Remember me?!) It may be difficult to find store willing to take on the book of an unknown author.   
  • Quality: If you decide to go with print on demand, the quality will be poorer than that of an established publishing house. 



That's all I knew when I was in the final throws of finishing my book. The last few weeks were excruciating, every word was a struggle. The last thing I was able to focus on was how this bad boy would be published, when I seriously doubted that I would ever actually finish it!

But one day, the solution came to me, literally.
In the middle of June, another author reached out to me. She had written a wonderful memoir, Everything and a Happy Ending, and published it with a publishing house I had never before heard of: Mascot Books

When I started to research it, I found that there is a third option to the publishing process: 

Independent Publishing (All numbers and facts refer to Mascot)   
In a nutshell, it's the happy medium between traditional and self-publishing. 
It has many other names: "Hybrid publishing", "author-assisted publishing", "entrepreneurial publishing", or "co-publishing". 
Authors can keep their control and ownership, but also get the quality and distribution power of traditional publishing houses. You will have to pay a fee up-front, but get to keep almost all the royalties and have much more influence in  the making of the book. 

Pros:
  • Ownership: You keep 100% of control and ownership to your book, which means you decide on the cover, font, title, distribution, packaging, etc.
  • Quality: Even though authors pay a fee, independent publishers won't accept anybody. When they do accept you, the will offer professional editing, design, and production services that rival the quality of traditional publishing houses.
  • Distribution: You may not know book sellers, but they do. They have well-established relationships with the biggest retailers, and offer assistance to place your book in local independent book stores.
  • Royalties: If you sell your books yourself, you get to keep 100% of the royalties. If they are sold through the publisher, you still keep 85% of all the sales. 
  • Flexibility: They offer a customized package for each project. It's highly individualized, because no two books are the same. 
Cons:
  • Stigma: Everything new is suspicious. Some people may not regard independent publishing as highly as traditional publishing.
  • Paying up-front: Paying up-front isn't for everybody. You may not have the funds, or may not want to take the risk. I believe in my book, and that it will help a lot of people once it's out. For me, it's like paying school fees for a career - if you invest in your dream, it will repay itself down the road.

I decided to go with option #3 - and I signed the contract earlier this week!!

My emotions have been all over the place, from wildly excited to "shit, what have I done?!"

However, I am deeply, deliriously grateful for being able to fulfil this life-long dream, and for having you all along for the ride! I wouldn't change a thing.

Love you!

xo Miriam



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Friday, 18 August 2017

Sunshine and whiskey



Guys, this summer is one for the books. Despite the fires and smoke, it's one of the best summers I've ever experienced. Sunshine every day! Dry desert heat every day! Dirty feet and messy hair every day! It's beautiful. 

So is this tee. It's soft, beautiful, and it speaks to me. While I'm too wimpy to actually drink whiskey (it burns!), I like to portray the image of the tough, cool chick that can fling hay bales all day and drink the guys under the table all night. With this outfit, you can almost believe it, right?


There is another reason why I love this tee: I know the woman who made it! Her name is Janice, and we used to work together as mammography techs. She is kind, compassionate, hardworking and fun, and she started her own clothing business last year. To top it off, she's also a mom of an adorable little boy - talk about being a busy girl! 

In fact, I'm so in awe of her, that I had an idea: I'm going to start a series here on the blog featuring kickass women who pursue their dreams. There are several that I know IRL, plus some of my blogger friends. I can't wait to introduce you to some amazing, inspiring women!



Shorts: Old Navy
Boots: borrowed from my daughter (from Stampede Tack)
Sunnies: cheap $20-pair from a gas station (where I buy most of my sunglasses haha)




Watch out for the new series that's coming soon: Boss women!

xoxo Miriam






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Thursday, 17 August 2017

It's never boring in Retire-Ville


The phone rings at 1am. I quickly pick up, expecting it to be the hospital, since I'm on call.
It's not. 

It's one of our neighbours.

"Hey, your dogs are barking so much, is everything alright? Are they in distress? Maybe there is a bear in the yard?!" I admire the approach of acting concerned. It's so much nicer than yelling at me, which must be the natural inclination at 1 in the morning.
The downside is that it makes me feel horrible.

Truth be told, I didn't hear them. When I sleep, I sleep, and a little disturbance like dogs barking won't distract me.
But now that I'm awake, I hear them. And they really are barking up a storm. There must be coyotes in the neighbourhood again. I apologize profusely, promise to make them stop, and then wake up Richard.
"Hey Rich, the neighbours called, the dogs are barking too much. Do something!"
He's uncooperative at first, but thanks to my superior skills of persuasion (i.e. incessantly poking him and telling him to get up), he eventually wakes up sufficiently to go outside and lock a couple of the dogs up. Once they're separated, they are a lot less mouthy.

As is my nature, I'm freaking out for a few days, worrying that we will have to move now, because our dogs are too noisy for tranquil retire-ville. But separating them at night does the trick, and I'm slowly calming down.


Until a few days later.

I'm returning home from an early call-back, driving towards our gate, when I see a couple of runners with a dog jogging towards our place. Wanting to close the gate safely before they reach me (because the dogs might run out to defend their property), I jump out of the car, close it and then try to quickly retreat. It's early in the morning, I haven't had coffee yet, and my introverted self doesn't want to talk to strangers.

Too late.

The runners are suddenly in front of me, waving cheerily. Sheesh, they are freakishly fast!
A moment later, I know why. "We've been wanting to meet you," the woman tells me. "We ran as fast as we can to catch you!" she adds with a laugh.

O-kay.

They live in the neighbourhood, on one of the properties that belong to the same, large subdivision we share with 30 or so other people. Even though they are far enough away that I've never met them, and only passed their house a handful of times over the last 8 months, they know us.
Or, more ominously, of us.

"Everybody is talking about all the animals you have," the guy tells me.
What, really?!
"Why?" I ask in astonishment. "Don't they have anything better to do?"
Apparently not.
We seem to be quite the hot topic of conversation, with a delegation of people having joined together with the common goal to make us more like them - less animals, more "normal".

We had a very pleasant chat, because the two runners seem like very nice, fun people - but we couldn't quite figure out what the neighbourhood's fixation with our animals is.

I have a feeling that this saga isn't over yet ...

xoxo Miriam

P.S. In my next newsletter, I will share a few more details about my book project, and what I've learnt about the various kinds of publishing. Don't miss it! Sign up → here



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Friday, 11 August 2017

Adapting to my surroundings


Humans are amazingly adaptable creatures. Put us into any environment long enough, and we will get used to it, no matter how impossible it may have seemed in the beginning. 

I've had a fascination with cowboys since I was little. One of the main reasons for coming to Canada was to live in cowboy country; and 14 years after moving to BC, we finally realized this dream of ours last December


It's interesting to see how our cowboy town has influenced my style. Over the last few months, I have noticed myself being drawn to everything country, and have embraced what I call "cowboy style". 
I've always liked plaid, jeans, and hats, and I have added several more pieces to my wardrobe since our move. 
But the biggest change? I'm ready to get my own, real pair of cowboy boots! Our daughter left her old pair at our house, and I've started to wear them regularly (I hope you don't mind girl!). 
After years of being on the fence about them, I'm ready to get my own pair!



Hat: Old Navy (similar)
Tank top: Old Navy
Skirt: old (lots of amazing midi skirts can be found here)
Boots: borrowed from my daughter (from Stampede Tack)
Necklace: Shein


Happy weekend!

xoxo Miriam


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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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

This is 37

Hi friends! I wrote the following a few months ago in the hopes of having it published.
Nobody wanted it, so I'm publishing it here 😁
That's the beauty of having your own blog lol!


It all started when I opened my camera phone. I wanted to take a picture of my dog, who was rolled up by my feet, looking so #cute! Instead of seeing corgi goodness, I stared at my own face. Duh! The curse of the selfie-camera strikes again! Before I had time to change the setting, I saw something shocking: My chins. Yes, plural. Seemingly overnight, my formerly single chin had invited a couple of friends over. I stared at my reflection in dismay, when I noticed something else: One of the chins had a pet. An impressively long, black, wiry hair snaked its way merrily along my jawline. I shrieked, threw the phone down, and rushed to the bathroom to get rid of the sucker. 

This was just the beginning. Ever since I turned 37 a few months ago, more and more unsettling things have happened to my body. Take yesterday for example: I woke up, stretched, and after scrolling through Instagram for a few minutes (okay, ten minutes), I threw the covers off and jumped out of bed. Well, that was the plan. I tried to jump out of bed, but I seemed to have lost control over my left leg. I looked down to ensure that it was still attached to my body, when I detected another surprise: Where I used to have a knee, I now had a balloon. Overnight, my knee had swollen up to three times its normal size. Why? Because I had been doing some light wall painting the day before. Apparently, climbing up and down a ladder repeatedly was suddenly too much for my aging joints. Instead of starting the day with a gentle yoga session as planned, I spent the day on the couch, icing my propped-up knee and contemplating the aging process. 

This isn’t supposed to be happening yet. Is it? I thought I’m in my so-called prime. During my twenties, I battled a severe case of adult acne, had lingering baby fat, over-plucked eyebrows, and a series of unfortunate hair cuts. Hitting the big 3-0 was a relief. My acne disappeared, the baby fat was replaced by firm(ish) muscles, and my eyebrows grew thicker. Even my decade-long hair crisis seemed to be resolved, thanks to the trend of messy: Messy buns, messy ponytails and messy braids were my salvation. 
Now it seems like the few precious years of good hair days and zero aches and pains are nothing but a distant memory. Remember the days when you could get away with three hours of sleep and still look fresh as a daisy (well, a daisy with pimples, in my case)? Me, neither. 
The pony-sized bags under my eyes will tell the world the tale of a wild night, i.e. any night where I had less than seven hours of sleep. No amount of concealer can hide those bad boys. 

I was prepared for the grey hair, the wrinkles, even the bat wings. After all, it’s part of the natural aging process, and I’m not planning on making Botox and face lifts a part of my beauty routine. To each their own, and being ‘natural’ is my jam. 
But I was completely unprepared for the chins. And the rogue hair that’s suddenly sprouting in unexpected places. The chins are not the only breeding ground, oh no. I have two words for you: Ear hair. Not inside the ear (sweet Jesus, does that come next?), but on top of the ear. Disturbing. 
I might be able to learn to live with the surprise appearances of random hair (it is almost as satisfying to plug rebellious hair as it is to squeeze pimples), but what really irks me are the unexpected aches and pains. Balloon Knee is not a singular event. 

There is also Knotty Back, which regularly gets hard and painful from innocuous activities such as sitting too long on my desk, doing a couple of plank poses, or walking my small dog. My anti-authoritarian approach in raising her resulted in less than stellar leash-walking manners. She pulls, and my back starts to seize up. Nobody wins. 
Sometimes, I wake up with Sore Neck. Want to know what made my neck sore? Sleeping. Yes, as I’m getting older, even sleeping hurts. Who can I complain to about this? 

Other body parts that make themselves known from time to time: My right wrist, my back teeth, and an insistent rash on my lower back (I say lower back in polite company, but I mean butt crack. Sorry for the mental image). 
It’s almost as if they want to say hi, to let me know that they’re still around. You might say I’m becoming more aware of my body as time passes, because of all the stabby and twingy reminders. 

I have also noticed that wounds don’t heal as fast as they used to. I’m not the clumsiest person you have ever met, but clumsy enough. Mediocre clumsiness is what I would call it. That means that nicks inflicted with my razor (still, after all these years), scratches, burns (walking with a hot cup of tea is dangerous), and mosquito bites that I couldn’t resist scratching until they bleed, don’t heal without leaving a trace. They all leave traces in the form of little scars, tiny reminders that slowly form an interesting pattern on my legs. 

The irony about aging is that despite the scars, cellulite, embarrassing rashes, chin hair and the losing battle with a slowing metabolism, I’m more appreciative and grateful for my body than ever before. I didn’t know how good I had it when I was in my teens, hiding my tight tush under oversized sweaters, because I was convinced that my ass was enormous. Oh, how little I knew. 
It’s unfair that we don’t know what we have until we lose it, but it seems to be a rite of passage every woman has to go through in order to grow up. 

The universe definitely has a sense of humour.

xoxo Miriam

P.S. My newsletter-readers saw this piece months ago. Want to be the first one in the know? Sign up here!


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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Dating is hard


What you see above is the tragic, but all-too-common story of a love triangle. Two girls, one guy - that's just asking for trouble, isn't it?!

But let me start at the beginning.
Two weeks ago, Rich went to the local pub for a pint. There, he met Will, an old, shrewd cowboy from around here. They talked for a bit, and when Rich mentioned our mini cows, Will said he would like to come over and take a look at them.


We think they are the best thing since sliced bread, but for an old cowboy, they are a bit of a joke. It doesn't matter though, to me they are the prettiest cattle in the whole valley!

The boys talked, and somehow they got it into their heads that it would be a great idea to drive an hour each way to Princeton, to pick up a stallion from a buddy of Will's. I thought that he was just a loan, to be returned after the job was done.
I was mistaken.
Apparently, the other guy didn't need him any more, and just gave him to us.


Now we own a stallion.
As it turns out, an unnamed one, because when I asked the guys what his name was, they looked at me like I was crazy, shrugged their shoulders and mumbled something along the lines of "we don't know/we forgot to ask". Seriously?!
I called him Joey for a while, but we have now named him Carl.

Yesterday, we let Carl out of his separate pasture for the first time, to hang with the ladies.
Almost instantly, the drama unfolded.

For the first minute, Carl did a run around the new pasture, checking it out, enjoying his new freedom, and scaring Stormy.
"I'm the hell outta here!"
But then, he saw Chanook.
Channok is a black Andalusian mare, and she is in heat. Carl could smell her from a mile away.
"Mmh mmh mmh ... delicious."
He was on her right away. 

Until he saw Santana.
Santana is our grey Andalusian mare, and she is younger and skinnier than Channok. As soon as Carl saw her, Chanook was history.
"Hello there!"
"How are you doin'?"
Guys can be such jerks. 
Chanook: "Hey, I'm over here!"

"Santana, I love you."
However, as soon as Carl realized that Santana was behind a fence (i.e. unavailable to him at this moment), he figured Chanook would be good enough after all. 
"Come here baby, give me some sugar."
Channok wouldn't have any of it. "Get off me! Who do you think I am?"
Carl tried to play contrite.
"I'm sorry baby, I messed up. You are the only woman for me!"
Chanook decided to give him a second chance.

Little did she know that the other woman was on her way to her man.


Who will win his heart? How many babies will we have next year?
Only time will tell. 

Here's a little video of the horses' mating behaviour. Let's just say, it's a cross between dinosaurs mating and jealous bitch-slapping at the club. I stayed safely behind the fence at all times.



xoxo Miriam



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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Intruder in the night


It’s the middle of the night. You are sound asleep, when suddenly, something wakes you up. You sit up in bed, trying to figure out what woke you. Then you hear it again – a noise. Is there someone in your house? Your heart starts pounding furiously, and you try to remember if you have anything close by that you could use as a weapon. You strain your ears to figure out where the noise is coming from, when you hear it – a loud meow. Relief floods your entire body, making you laugh out loud. It’s just your cat! But then you listen closer, frowning slightly. Why does she meow so loudly? She sounds distressed.
You jump out of bed and pad across the room, to the open door. The meowing is happening upstairs, and you turn on the light before carefully climbing up the stairs.
Something isn’t right.
Your heart is starting to pound again.
When you reach the top of the stairs, you see your cat: Her back is arched, her hair standing on end, and she is hissing at something in the shadows. Oh my god, is it a ghost? They say that cats are in touch with the spirit world, able to sense ghosts and otherworldly creatures. Your own hair in the back of your neck is standing on end, as you slowly creep closer ...

...

...

... when suddenly, something jumps you! You scream in fright and surprise, which quickly turns into a scream of pain. Something has lodged its sharp teeth into the soft flesh of your hand, and to your amazement, you realize it's a cat - but not your cat. Your cat is still standing off to the side, green eyes fixed onto the feline attached to your hand. 
It's a strange cat! You have no time to wonder how it got into your house, because the more pressing matter is to get it off your hand. It hurts like a son of a bitch, but no matter how aggressively you shake your hand, the strange cat's teeth stay firmly embedded in your flesh. 
You race down the stairs, illogically trying to run away from the pain, but also subconsciously wanting to get the intruder out of your house. 

Once in your front yard, you finally manage to pry the cat's mouth open and dislodge her from your aching hand. You fling her non-too-gently far away from you, watching her dart off into the night. 



This is the story that a patient with bite marks in his hand told me. He swore that's what happened to him: A strange cat had climbed through a window into his house in the middle of the night, and attacked him. 

I don't know if it's true, but it's wild! And also creepy. 

That's why I'm a dog person. 

Happy weekend!

xoxo Miriam

Photos found on Pixabay, a website for free stock photos. 


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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Finding your gift


It has been said that every person is born with a unique gift. Finding that gift and using it is what will make you successful.
I have spent a long time searching for my gift. Is it just me, or is it really hard figuring your own strengths? For me it is. I'm a very average person, okay at some things, but not outstanding at anything. 

But then, I figured it out. Not by myself, but with the help of others. Asking for help is another thing that's difficult for me, and I blame my parents for that. They never ask anyone for help, and it must be in my genes or something. 

Fortunately, help has come my way without me having to ask for it. People are awesome like that. 
Ever since I started opening up about my life online, kind people have responded to that. 
The emails, comments and messages I receive tell me that we all have similar fears and anxieties. But since so many of us are hiding them so well, it can feel like we are the only ones. I for sure know what it's like to think you're alone. 
I know what it's like to feel like you're a freak, because you think you're so different from everybody else around you.   
I know what it's like to want to be normal - but never quite managing it. 
I know what it's like to be met with uncomprehending faces when you tell other people about your choices. 

I learnt that owning your story takes courage. As Brene Brown said:

"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do."



Is this my gift? Laying my soul bare, sharing my truth and being as honest as possible?
I want it to be. Because it feels so right to do it, and I so hope it helps other people to not be ashamed about being themselves. 
Owning our humanness, our flaws and quirks, is something that will set us free.

One of the reasons I wrote my book is that I want to let you all know that being different is okay. 
Even if you're doing something that other people don't understand. 
Following your heart isn't always seen as the smart choice - but in my experience, it's the only way to live.

My wish is that by sharing my story, I can inspire other people to make their own unusual choices. 
Because you know what?
Your heart will never mislead you. And by listening to it, you will discover a life that's happier and more fulfilling than you ever imagined possible. 

xoxo Miriam

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