April 23, 2023 · 8:51 am
Shortly after discovering a pretty major food intolerance about 15 years ago, I quickly realized that I needed to brush up on my cooking and baking skills. A person can get bored pretty quickly on a rotation of just three “safe” dishes: shepherd’s pie, chili con carne and grilled chicken breast with a tossed salad.
I consider myself a pretty good short order cook with a natural curiosity for trying different food combinations. That being the case, removing wheat from my diet was not a catastrophe to me. In fact, I think it just spurred on my curiosity even more.
I just had to make time to practice more, to locate recipes that appealed to me and to test them until I got the desired results.
At first it was a bit stressful to explore a world without wheat and flour, especially when some of the resulting dishes didn’t look anything like the picture and tasted like cardboard. But eventually, some reliable go-to recipes emerged and things fell into place.
But along the way, I made another discovery. During that incubation period of trying new recipes, I found that cooking and baking can have a relaxing effect on me. Continue reading →
Filed under food, home, Humour, stories
Tagged as baking, cooking, cuisine, curiosity, curious, happiness, hobbies, joy, kitchen, mindful, mindfulness, recipe, recipes, relax, relaxation, serenity
June 12, 2022 · 7:31 am
About twenty years ago, a received a gift certificate for my very first registered massage therapy (RMT) session.
It was a very kind and generous gift, especially at a time when I was dealing with the grief of my Dad’s passing. At the same time, I was recovering from the final sprint to the finish line for a major project at work. The timing was absolutely right for what I would consider my first real dose of self-care.
I admit that at first I was bit shy about the whole idea, but the massage therapist assigned to me took the time to ask me questions about my health, what I was looking for from therapeutic massage and to walk me through the process.
Any apprehensions I might have had disappeared within three minutes into the treatment. I relaxed and turned into a mass of jelly which allowed the therapist to gently work out some of the knots that had accumulated over time.
By the end of the session, I was a convert. I was so deeply relaxed, I worried about the long drive home and accidentally veering off the road, but I successfully made it home in one piece.
Sadly, the distance to this particular spa made it difficult for me to promise my return. But I was immediately hooked on that amazing feeling that followed, that “clean slate” sensation when the knots and kinks are eradicated. And so began what I called “the massage therapist auditions”, closer to home. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, stories
Tagged as gentle, HSP, massage, relax, relaxation, relief, RMT, sensitive, stress, technique, therapist, therapy
October 17, 2021 · 8:22 am
Just a few years ago, I experienced an important first in my life: the first time I enjoyed a moment of serenity, relaxing in a comfortable hammock.
This happened pre-Covid-19 closures, of course, while visiting a friend’s cottage.
The minute I laid eyes on it, I felt a little rush of adrenaline accompanied by a sense of wonder deep inside. I had never been in a hammock before and in fact, “relaxing in a hammock” was on my bucket list.
I confess, my bucket list isn’t filled with thrill-seeking sports or activities to draw out extreme emotions. After a busy career that drew out my extrovert energy on a daily basis, my dream activities are much more subtle and quietly introspective in nature. Peace and calm, as I experience now in my home in the country, is very much in line with these dreams.
Whenever I noticed a hammock making a cameo appearance on a TV show or in a movie, it always seemed to be in an ideal setting, on a perfect day, when the character was enjoying a quiet, easy-going moment. Deep down, I longed for more times like that.
I asked the hostess if I could give her beautiful hammock a try, to which she graciously confirmed that I could.
It was one of those rope-style ones that looked like a fishing net. I knew I had to be ever so cautious in getting into it as I knew my coordination (or lack thereof) sometimes translated into an accident waiting to happen. If I didn’t do this carefully, I could easily end up going through, around or under the netting, to the great amusement of the other guests. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, home
Tagged as bucket list, calm, goals, gratitude, guilt, hammock, inner, joy, peace, plans, relax, relaxation, relaxing, retirement, reward, rural, self-care, shade, stillness, summer, sun, time, trees
July 12, 2020 · 8:21 am
When my partner first suggested moving to the country, I cannot say I was hugely conflicted by the question.
There were indeed a number of factors to consider and this move would be a pretty big change for this city boy. But the part that required no thought whatsoever was the prospect of having almost no neighbours… and almost no neighbour noise. That part sounded like heaven to me.
I could write a book about my dealings with noisy neighbours, having experienced the good, the bad and the ugly over the last 30 years.
When we pick a place to live, there is always a package deal of pros and cons to consider before signing on the dotted line. No matter how perfect a place may seem, there will be irritants for which patience and some degree of compromise will be needed on both parts.
And just like anything in life, nothing is really certain nor permanent. Great neighbours, as well as the lousy ones, come and go.
As much as I enjoyed my last house for 19 years, it wasn’t without its moments of blaring stereos, roaring cars, screaming kids, disobedient dogs, industrial vehicles and 3:00 a.m. parties, but that’s life in the city when you have neighbours. Part of that package deal was ideal proximity to transit, shopping and an abundance of cultural events.
It didn’t matter if “quiet enjoyment of premises” was supposed to be a reassuring clause in each of my apartment leases or in the big book of condo rules, but someone’s urge to make noise always seemed greater than my craving for the calm to recover from the roar of city life. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, home, Humour
Tagged as calm, energy, escape, extrovert, introvert, landlord, loud, music, neighbors, neighbours, noise, noise pollution, noisy, quiet, relax, relaxation, relaxing, serenity
January 19, 2020 · 8:45 am
You’d think that after 54 years, I’d know better than to start something right before bed and think, “It’ll take just five minutes.”
That’s usually when I lose track of time and the next time I look up, it is well past midnight, having overshot the estimated “five minutes” by about twenty times.
We all know that when we get ready for bed, we should be aiming to wind down to a relaxed state, to lead to a more restful sleep.
But sometimes it doesn’t take much to fall down the rabbit hole, stirring up one’s enthusiasm (or emotions) and messing up those plans.
Here they are, my 50 things that I suggest should not be done immediately before bedtime:
1. Calling a cellular/TV/Internet carrier
2. Tinkering with electronics
3. Downloading or updating apps… that’s usually when there will be technical problems like a device freezing up or a time-consuming reboot is required.
4. Learning to play a new electronic game
5. Checking out TV channels you don’t usually watch
6. Previewing the binge-worthy show everyone recommends highly
7. Watching cute pet videos
8. Watching funny baby videos
9. Watching music videos
10. Watching videos of people doing embarrassing things Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Humour, Lists
Tagged as bedtime, insomnia, racing, random, relax, relaxation, ruminating, rumination, sleep, sleepless, techniques, thoughts
July 8, 2018 · 8:04 am
I was walking down the street one evening after work, when I caught myself. I was walking at a brisk pace.
What’s wrong with walking at a brisk pace? Nothing if you are running late or have a long list of things to do and only a little time to accomplish them.
But I wasn’t late nor did I have a long list of things to do. But I was still on autopilot, at a pace more typical of “The Busy People’s Walk”. The brisk pace seems to be the norm these days, even when there’s no reason for it.
While it might be great for my cardio, it’s not exactly conducive to stopping and smelling the roses along the way.
I laughed to myself and thought, “Slow down! Enjoy the moment!” At the same time, it evoked childhood memories from when my Dad used to tell me (in French) “T’es pas au feu”, meaning “You’re not on fire”, whenever I was unnecessarily rushing through something.
Funny enough, even after consciously slowing myself down, somehow my walking speed started creeping up again and I had to remind myself that I am, in fact, not on fire and could enjoy a more leisurely pace. I slowed myself down again.
The question is… why? Has my auto-pilot always been stuck in rush mode? Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Health and Wellness, Inspiring, mental health
Tagged as appreciation, auto-pilot, body, brisk, enjoyment, fitness, gratitude, in the moment, joy, leisure, leisurely, pace, priorities, relax, relaxation, rushing, simple pleasures, slow down, stress, stress management, subconscious, time, walk, walking
November 5, 2017 · 7:29 am
If I had to pick a favourite between the “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” time change, the winner has to be “Fall Back”. Not only do we regain the hour that we lost in the spring, but in the days that follow, in feeling sleepier at bedtime and falling asleep faster, it seems to make for a more restful night’s sleep.
The downside is that we are thrown back into darkness earlier in the afternoon. Losing that hour of natural light late in the day seems to make those winter months feel like they drag on and on, thus invoking the urge to curl up on the couch with a pillow, a blanket and the remote… or is that just me?
But on the upside, that extra hour holds so many possibilities for things to do. Here are ten ideas:
10. Catch up on the things that weren’t completed when the hour was taken away last spring
In our time-starved, busy lives, it can be pretty amazing how much we can miss that hour in the spring. At a time when we are itching to shed our winter parkas and fling the windows wide open to welcome the new season with open arms, deducting an hour from the spring cleaning, gardening or outdoor sports training agenda seems counterintuitive when there is so much to do.
9. Adjusting the clocks
Thankfully, many of the clocks in the house take care of themselves now and reset automatically. But for the ones that are not connected to computers and that need a little manual intervention (and sometimes require a refresher from its user manual), it seems that a good 15 minutes can be gobbled up just on clock detail.
8. Debating the merits of the time change
Between the recent reports on regions looking to remain on Standard Time year-round, to the articles weighing the pros and cons or speculating on the actual savings of Daylight Savings Time, a reader could easily use up that extra hour just reading up on the extra hour. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Lists, Misc blogs
Tagged as batteries, children, clocks, daylight, daylight saving time, daylight savings time, Fall Back, funny, humour, listicle, observational humour, parenting, pets, relax, relaxation, sleep, sleeping in, Spring Forward, standard time, sunlight, time, time change, Turn Back Time
April 12, 2017 · 6:54 am
10- Slow down the pace
To me there is nothing better than just chilling, listening to classical music, sipping coffee and enjoying the peaceful silence of a holiday morning when everything is closed. Monday to Friday is always so busy. The extra day in a long weekend is for me, an extra chance to recharge.
9- Give the cat some extra attention… when she is looking for it
Usually by mid-day Monday on a long weekend, Miss Ivy is a little sick of having me around, but I’m certain she appreciates the bonus time to play and spend time together.
8- Indulge a little
While I generally stick to a healthy eating plan, a long weekend is a nice opportunity to break up the routine and maybe have a “cheat day”… especially if the long weekend includes a major holiday that involves feasting.
Usually, I read before going to bed. But whenever the opportunity arises to chill and read in the morning or the middle of the day is a serendipitous pleasure every time. Long weekends seem to offer that freedom of extra time to slow down the pace and check out a good book. Continue reading →
Filed under Cats, Humour, Inspiring, Lists, Misc blogs, Writing
Tagged as barbecue, books, brunch, Canada Day, Civic Holiday, dinner, Easter, family, Family Day, feast, fitness, friends, holiday, holidays, Independence Day, inner peace, Labor Day, Labour Day, listicle, long weekend, Memorial Day, naps, reading, recharge, relax, relaxation, sleep, Thanksgiving, Veteran's Day, Victoria Day
July 17, 2016 · 7:51 am
After some serious traffic tie-ups through the city in recent weeks, a few colleagues mentioned “I don’t know how you can commute day in and day out like you do.” They were interesting observations, I thought, as I mulled over the reasons while in bumper-to-bumper traffic tonight.
Here are some of the secrets to how I remain calm through approximately 444 traffic jams per year:
Have you ever arrived at a destination and then stayed in the car to let a song on the radio play out until the end because it is one of your favourites? That is the same logic I use in building commuting playlists of just my favourites. That way, even if am stuck in traffic, it doesn’t feel like I am stuck when I think to myself “Oh, I like that song!” one song after the other. That way, I don’t get irritated by commercials, news or DJ banter on topics that don’t entertain me. Also, I keep my eyes on the road as I never need to change songs, my music player does it all for me, shuffling through my list of favourites. I just set it and forget it. Before departure, I can also choose the playlist that best suits what I need in the moment, whether songs to energize or to decompress. When the playlist is perfect, it is like the music becomes the focal point and driving becomes the secondary activity.
“Go” Before I Go
Self-explanatory. That way my bladder is not complaining if I need to navigate through unexpected traffic delays.
A meal or a snack before hitting the road
With something in my tummy, I find I have a greater threshold for not sweating the small stuff, especially when behind the wheel. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Inspiring
Tagged as automobile, calm, cars, commute, commuting, good mood, music, relax, traffic, traffic jams
April 27, 2016 · 10:33 pm
I consider myself a pretty sound sleeper. Once I am out, I am out for the night. But yet there are still nights that my mind races with thoughts like this:
“When is 20th Century Fox going to change its name?”
“To prune or not to prune the blog?”
“Did I lock the front door?” (pause) “Yes, I did.”
“I before e except after c or when sounded as a such as neighbour and weigh”(… and then trying to think of all the possibilities to be sure they didn’t miss one)
“Would I come back as a contractor?”
“What will I wear tomorrow?”
“If the office is supposedly going to a paperless environment, why do I feel like I spent half of my day at the shredder today?”
“Who are the guys who said we’d save so much time with computers? I guess they weren’t anticipating software upgrades that suck up a whole evening… or cat pictures on Instagram.”
“If a cat gets restless legs syndrome, is it twice as bad as in humans?” Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Lists
Tagged as Cats, comedy, counting sheep, Dallas, funny, game shows, golf, home ownership, humor, humour, insomnia, Knots Landing, Lists, mind, racing, random thoughts, relax, relaxation, sleep, sleepless, thoughts