Thursday, 20 July 2017

A Quest for Good Health or How I Spent Lent

Wednesday February 10, 2016

Hello again, well I hope your winter was as mild as ours. We didn't get any ice on the river and no snow in town ( lots on the ski hills though, which is good for them and for refilling our water reservoirs after last years drought conditions). It only dipped below zero about 10 days total. It rained for months which is most typical for this area and as we still don't have central heating of any kind, I retreated to my bedroom to huddle away the time.

Here are some pictures from the worst of winter that we experienced.

While I was spending winter in my bedroom, I stumbled onto a TV show called "My Diet is Better Than Yours " and watched a few episodes. One of the diets was called The Wild Diet and seemed like something I could incorporate as a lifestyle rather than a diet per say, so decided to give it a try. Well it has worked wonders already! My weight is melting off and I have done little to no exercise to help that along. I do want to exercise, but I went dancing 2 weeks ago and my left knee has been killing me ever since. I have to wear a brace on it to get around now. Not sure what that's about, but as it hasn't gotten better with 2 weeks rest, I am about to start incorporating some knee exercises to see if I can stabilise it a bit.

So Lent has just started today and I usually like to quit something ( Most often chocolate) but this year I thought I would do something different, I am going to add things every day. Healthy things! I'm sure I have mentioned the Fibromyalgia that plagues me on here before. Its like having the worst flu in the world with all the aches and pains, fatigue, nausea, irritable bowel, insomnia,  that comes with that and with other treats thrown in like asthma, eczema, agonising chest pains, chronic headaches, ocular migraines, just to name a few. Did I mention the bone crushing pain and fatigue along with depression and anxiety? Anyway, its constant and it wears on me and my good humour. Over the years I have tried a great many things to try and get a grip on my symptoms. Its kind of like playing a whack-a-mole game. Knock one down, two more pop up, new day, different symptom.

So far of all the things I have tried, one of the best was a good probiotic. I started taking it when we went to Cuba a few years ago and since then my nausea , eczema, and asthma have gotten quite a bit better. They are still there, not far away, but one probiotic a day means a day I can get out of bed and get something done. Lately, I have been talking to a Naturopath and a herbalist who have given me a bunch of recommendations of more things to try.

I have been doing a lot of research to  try and cobble together a healthier lifestyle. I thought I was doing pretty good, I quit smoking years ago, quit drinking many years ago, never drank coffee or pop, way less stress since we moved, complete overhaul of all cosmetics, cleansers, skin care products to all natural alternatives, but there is always more work to do. I know moving my ass more and getting outside would probably be a great thing. It can be very hard to get motivated to do that when you cant get off the toilet or don't want to get out of bed due to pain.

Some of the things that I will be working on include:

-following the Wild diet( for me that's no carbs, no sugar, no dairy( I have yet to find raw dairy which is allowed. I have had a bad time with dairy lately and stopped using it altogether, would like to try the raw dairy and see if my body tolerates it better). I can have sweet potato for starch, wild meat, wild seafood, grass fed beef,  free range birds, organic duck eggs, lots of organic greens and veggies, some fruit, nuts, seeds, healthy oils like avocado oil, walnut oil, flax seed oil, grass fed butter, coconut oil, extra virgin cold pressed olive oil and green tea or ginger tea
(I haven't actually bought the wild meat and organic veggies due to cost but even just following the rest of the principles, I am losing all kinds of weight. I plan to fine tune this diet as I go along and my palate changes and I can afford to incorporate more of the desired ingredients one paycheck at a time).

Along with :
-pushing myself to get out more and socialise, I have become a veritable hermit over the last few years, and that's not good for moral
-getting outside in the fresh air
-doing interval type training ( 20 seconds full out, 10 seconds rest)
-getting my garden in the ground this year
-focusing on some liver and lung cleanses
- trying the supplements that have been recommended to me
- do something creative ( I am just learning to play the ukulele)
- spend time in gratitude, give thanks, give back

I found out about the wild diet a few weeks ago and slowly starting incorporating the concepts into my diet as I read through all the material. I would say I started on it in earnest on the first of February. I didn't think to take before and after pictures or measurements at the time but did so yesterday so we can see the difference down the road. I think my highest weight was 213( I am 5 foot 2, so that is wayyy too much). I got down to about 195 mostly through being very ill all the time. The weird thing is, I eat like a bird anyway, how I stay at 195 is beyond me. I still eat like a bird but now I make sure not to eat carbs/grains/dairy.

Since I started the diet ( 9 days now), I have dropped 5 pounds( now at 190lb). Because, who knows for sure what is working on what, you need to know that I also started taking a Vitamin D supplement 5,000iu a day and tinctures of Dandelion and Milk Thistle which supports the liver. Dark chocolate is allowed on this diet but I find 70 percent just too bitter for my sensitive taste buds, so I found 50% dark Chipits and when I really get a craving I eat a teaspoon full at a time and maybe 4 tsp a day max, it seems to be getting less as time goes on.

I am interested to see if anything changes for me over the next 8 weeks if I put a serious effort into taking care of myself. Right now as it stands, my energy is quite low, its pretty hard to peel myself out of bed. My left knee is quite sore and unstable. I have chronic agonising pain at my SI joint ( low back) which is really only comfortable if I am lying down. My asthma is better than it was, but I still feel a bit breathless all the time which leads to extraordinary fatigue.  I battle nausea, stomach pains, IBS daily. My stomach has raw spots in the lining from years of daily Advil intake. I have stopped for about a year now but am still plagued with stomach pain. Apparently I have blood in the stool, much less this last test than the one before but my Dr. still wants me to go get it checked out, so on the wait list for that.

Last but not least, fairly major depression. Christmas was a total write off for me. I went to bed and stayed there for days on end. I am slowly pulling out of it. Getting together with some friends, playing music, getting outside all help. When I was at my very lowest, I tried some Bach Flower Remedies with great success. Was totally shocked that they actually worked. A few drops in water and I woke up the next morning with a complete attitude adjustment!

So for the next 46 days, I am going to try and incorporate a new healthy habit every day. Some hopefully will turn into daily practises, some might be more intermittent but valuable just the same in the bigger picture of things.

 46 Days to Better Health

Day 1- finally stopped daydreaming about a garden and started to do something about it. Spent weeks researching Feng Shui for the garden, companion planting, succession planting, the Back to Eden method, and The Ruth Stout method. Armed with all that knowledge, I planned out my beds and pathways. Today I went with a measuring tape, some bamboo sticks and rolls of string and marked out the whole garden. It has many design elements to it as I want it to be a fun place for the senses and not just a field of rows. I also ordered a bunch of organic seeds online and started lining up orders of loads of compost, mulch and manure. Sadly the truck is in rough shape and not usable right now which hurts as I could get a lot of this stuff for free if I have unlimited use of a truck. But I don't, so this process is taking a bit more time and a lot more money than I would like.

-Didn't have much of an appetite, only ate once at 9 pm, ribs and salad (spinach, cucumber, tomato, avocado with raspberry vinaigrette with some dried pineapple for dessert.
-VIT D, Dandelion and Milk Thistle, Pro biotic .
-Weight- 189.5 Whoohoo! broke 190, first time in years :)

Day 2- Today I went out to a Ukulele jam in Port Moody. About 30 people with ukuleles, we are all given the same songbook and play along with the people onstage. Lots of fun. I am starting to figure out some cords and  jump in when ever I can. I just have a cheesy tourist ukulele from Hawaii that I found in a thrift store but I can still practise my cords patterns on it. I am hoping to pick up a better one soon. I was in a ton of pain today from bending over in the garden yesterday but very glad I forced myself to go anyway. I had lots of fun, saw old friends, made some new friends, and got twice as good on the ukulele as I was a few days ago! I ordered some finger protector things because callouses are not a great thing for a massage therapist to have.

- green tea for breakfast ( I am usually very nauseous in the mornings, so rarely ever eat anything much before 1-2 pm).
-Brunch was left over ribs with cucumber and tomato slices. A fresh pineapple spear.( pineapple has bromelain which is a natural anti-inflammatory so trying to eat more of it)
- Dinner was calamari with Greek salad without the dressing, served with tzasiki and edamame as a side dish. Some more dried fruit ( pineapple) and nuts for dessert. ( I shouldn't have had the breading on the calamari or the feta cheese, it was only a small amount, hoping it doesn't affect the scale tomorrow) I am trying very hard not to cheat. We are allowed one cheat day a week, so that may have been mine!
-VIT D, Dandelion and Milk Thistle, Probiotic, 5 grains of bee pollen
-Weight- 188.5

Day 3.  Had insomnia was up until 4:30 am, slept until 10 am, had to bolt out of bed to get ready for work. Felt nauseous most of the morning.

- green tea
-Lunch was miso soup, salmon sashimi, edamame, a spicy chopped scallop cone, (made with daikon radish shavings instead of rice), prawn and avocado salad.
-Dinner was left over edamame beans and some dried pineapple. I was feeling too nauseous to eat the dinner that was made for me, nibbled on the beans and pineapple throughout the evening.

-VIT D, Dandelion and Milk Thistle, Pro biotic, 6 grains of bee pollen, Calcium ,Magnesium supplement

-Weight- 190, I wonder if this much weight gain could be explained by the tiny bit of breading on the calamari and the feta cheese of which I doubt I ate more than a tablespoon or two max.

Day 4 Stomach not so queasy this morning. Lots of stomach pain and low back pain ( not sure if its my overactive imagination but it feels like my intestines are stuck to my muscles in the back and the weight  of the intestines is pulling on my back muscles and making them throb with pain. It feels more internal than just a joint pain)

-green tea
-lunch was wilted spinach cooked into scrambled eggs, no oil or butter used
 and some salad with spinach, avocado, cucumber, tomato and raspberry vinaigrette
-supper was beef stir-fry with spinach, bok choy, mushroom, onions, garlic
- some dried pineapple for desert

-pro biotic ( couldn't get my queasiness in order to take the rest of the supplements today)

-weight 191- grrr, this isn't going the way it is supposed to go! I am thinking its the edamame (beans and soy aren't supposed to be on the wild diet but I figured hey, its a vegetable and its hard enough for me to find veggies I enjoy eating, sadly I think this is going to be  another one I like and cant eat.                                                                                                                                                        

Day 5 Slight nausea, lots of low back pain and around the tops of my hips, I am in bed all day and they are screaming in pain, trying to force myself to get up and go out. Got a bunch of pallets delivered today which I am going to use to build compost bins with. Got 10 and some others covered in plywood all delivered for 30 dollars. Wish my truck was on the road, so I didn't have to pay to get everything delivered. Hopefully I can afford to get the rest of what I need and get the garden going this year. Next on the list, soil, compost and wood chips. Also looking for a nice garden bench and 4 trellises or something to build them with like concrete mesh.

- went shopping and bought a ukulele, picked up a used fluorescent  light  fixture for the seed tray for 10$ and went to a music jam after that,  a nice night with good friends, just what the soul needs!

- green tea and grapefruit
- supper- steak and mushrooms with salad
-at the party snacked on smoked salmon and pineapple/grapes, drank water

-probiotic, Vit D, 7 grains of bee pollen, calcium /magnesium supplement

-weight 189 whoohoo, its going back down!

Day 6 - Yesterday was the first time my knee didn't hurt in weeks. It felt great all day and then I woke up this morning with it all inflamed again WTF. I didn't do anything strenuous on it, drove my car, sat on my drum, stood in a corner playing ukulele, nothing that should have aggravated a knee that felt fine. More Fibromyalgia shenanigans???  My low back was in serious agony last night, some of the worst pain I have ever felt, I was almost tempted to go to the ER, it was so bad. I managed to fall asleep though at 4:30 am and it feels quite a bit better this morning.

Today, we are building the seed heating unit so I can start some seeds for the garden. My stomach and guts feel pretty good today,80% normal, a few faint twinges but nothing like the hell of yesterday. I didn't eat anything until 4:30 pm, it seems I have almost no appetite at all these days. Its like one small meal and a few snacks of fruit are enough.

I practised the ukulele for a few hours and learnt some notes to jam to blues with.  I am feeling all professional all of a sudden, lol.  I wish my knee wasn't so bad, I really want to start exercising. I guess I am going to have to get over my body shame and put on a bathing suit and hit the pool one of these days, if my knee isn't going to cooperate. I hate to be a moaner, but the weather lately isn't exactly conducive to hanging around outside. Its  been raining like a monsoon for weeks now!

-green tea and a red grapefruit
-an omelet made with spinach, mushrooms, 3 eggs and some butter
-Dinner- turkey breast with fried portabella mushroom
-dried pineapple chunks for snacks

-pro biotic, dandelion tincture

Weight - 188 -being a good girl at the party paid off :) it was hard, so many temptations, breads, dips, lots of chocolate and cheesecake, I said no to it all. Bless the person that brought the smoked salmon, that saved me!

Day 7  Had a quiet day, practiced ukulele most of the day. Went to work and did two treatments, did some grocery shopping and came home and fell back into bed, lots of pain today, nausea not bad at all. For some reason I just had no appetite today so didn't end up eating much of anything. I was quite short tempered today, probably from lack of food and excess pain.

-did dry skin brushing before my shower(good detox) and used a salt scrub in the shower to exfoliate and soften skin ( a little self care!)
- green tea and grapefruit
- a few pieces of dried pineapple and 5 dates
- probiotic
- weight 188- I had a pretty good appetite yesterday, so didn't lose any but didn't gain any either- all good!

Day 8  I finally made it over to the local Co-Op to look for garden stuff. I bought a bunch more seeds, a large roll of galvanized steel to create hoops for the beds with, a roll of black cloth for the ground and a roll of white cloth  to cover the crops. I also got a beautiful bird bath for the water feature, a cute heart shaped solar light, a soil thermometer and a bunch of  bamboo poles to build a bean teepee with. The seeds I ordered showed up today, so I have my work cut out for me now!

My stomach feels ok today, I guess food aggravates it? Lots of knee and low back pain. I went to 5 different shops today, most the size of a football field and am paying the price for all that walking. I couldn't wait to get home, take a painkiller and go to bed!

-I ate at a salad bar in the CO-OP 
-had a bowl of Thai curry soup which may have had a small amount of rice in it ( not supposed to eat rice :( ) and a  salad, lettuce, cuke, tomato, boiled egg, 2 tbsp. of crab salad-  dipped the salad lightly in thousand island dressing
- dinner was baked ribs and salad(spinach, beet greens, zucchini, cuke)
- dried pineapple

-Vit D, Cal/Mag, 8 grains of bee pollen, dandelion tincture, Bach Flower remedies ( Gorse and White Chestnut-trying to get my crabby mood under control), homeopathic remedies-coxsackie and chicken pox ( recommended to me over a year ago, forgot to take them, thought I would try it now)

- weight 186 - not surprised after not eating yesterday, wonder if it will stay off? I took some measurements today and I have lost an inch around my stomach and hips. Altogether, I have lost about 9 pounds in  18 days which is an average of half a pound a day. If I can keep this up, I will be at my goal weight by mid-june. Its weird, I am still as fat as a horse but losing 20 pounds total is noticeable to me. I feel so much thinner, that I am shocked when I see myself in the mirror and realize I am still huge.

Day 9 It finally stopped raining for a few hours this afternoon , so I decided to try and get some garden work done.  I am killing a few birds with this stone, mainly getting outside, and getting some exercise. I spent about an hour just rearranging the bamboo poles into a teepee shape until my OCD side was happy with the perfect spacing between each one. I cut black garden fabric to fit under the teepee and for each of the four beds. I started with one bed and took a garden fork and punched it into the soil and pushed the handle to the ground to lift the soil up and loosen it. I was happy to find a fair number of worms under the sod. I covered the loosened bed with the black fabric and then spread 3 old rotting straw bales that had been sitting outside since last summer over that. I topped that with two large bags of dried leaves and put bit more of the heavy wet straw  on top to hold them down. I still need to find some manure to add to it as well, but its a start. My neighbor offered me her worm composting bin today, so will look into getting that set  up.

I then decided to take a break from the fork work as my back was really starting to ache. Stupidly instead of calling it a day, I decided to try and rearrange the pallets into a compost bin shape. I picked up the first one I wanted to move and was dragging it over a log when it slipped and twisted out of my hand, wrenching my back severely as it went down. I knew right away it was bad. I stopped right then and there, picked up my tools and hobbled them over to the shed and barely made it down the ramp with tears streaming down my face. I grabbed an ice pack and hot water bottle, took 2 Demerol and went right to bed, where I spent the rest of the day. I am praying this sorts itself out in the morning as I cannot afford to miss even one day of work.

I still have next to no appetite so only ate once today at 8pm . Nausea not bad at all today, all quiet on the stomach front. Now if I could just figure out the low back pain, ( not including todays adventure)  then I could feel like I am getting my life back.

-Half a grapefruit
-Dinner was a bunch of chicken legs with the meat cut off and added to salad greens.
- dried pineapple chunks

-Vit D, Cal/Mag, Dandelion tincture, pro biotic, the coxsackie and chicken pox ( I am supposed to be taking these morning and night but you have to do it 20 mins before or after putting anything in your mouth like toothpaste, food, even smoking . So I keep forgetting that first thing in the morning and by the time I remember to take them, its too late.

- weight 185.5

Day 10  - I was up until 4:30 am alternating hot water bottles and ice packs on my back. Felt a bit better in the morning, still not able to bend much. When I got to work, my co-worker worked on it for a few minutes and was able to reset my pelvis that had gotten quite twisted. I managed to do two treatments and then went home for a break. I ended up canceling my last client as I was stiffening up again quite bad. Spent the rest of the day in bed with hot water bottles. I got up later and did some stretches and used a ball and foam roller to work out some of the deeper trigger points. The pain has gone from 10 to about 5, and is feeling more muscular now than slipped disc, which I was worried about.

Lunch- omelet with spinach and portabella mushroom
Dinner- roast beef with carrots and parsnips
-nuts and seeds, dried pineapple

-Vit D, pro biotic, dandelion tincture

-weight 186

Day 11 Slept flat on my back last night, which I never, ever do, as sleeping on my side was killing my sore low back. I actually slept really well, surprisingly, may have to try that again! Woke up quite nauseous and threw up once. Not a good start to the day but managed to make it  to work and treat 6 people. Had to take 4 Demerol and an Advil to do it, but made it through the shift. Came home and went back to bed with the hot water bottle, thank god tomorrow is Saturday! One of my clients asked me a question about something called serrapeptase. I didn't know anything about it so did some research and it turns out it is good for inflammation, think I will look for some next time I go supplement shopping.

-Lunch -12 pieces of raw salmon, bowl of miso soup and a spicy scallop cone ( didn't eat the rice end of it)
-Dinner- a couple of handfuls of nuts and dried pineapple and a left over spicy scallop cone from lunch

- Probiotic, the coxsackie and chicken pox ( twice am and pm)
-weight- 184.5

Day 12-  Got up this morning and made an omelet to eat. Only got about half way through it when I realized I wasn't feeling very well. I spent the next 14 hours with explosive diarrhea and vomiting. Lost 3 pounds in fluids alone. I really thought I was going to die. I finally managed to get a few hours sleep sitting upright in bed and sucked on a few ice chips trying to rehydrate without upsetting my stomach again.

- half an omelet with spinach and portabella mushroom

- weight- 184

Day 13- Got out of bed around noon, tried to do some housework, but after half an hour was feeling queasy and weak, so back to bed.

-weight -181


May 11/2016

Opps my bad, I forgot I started this project and didn't keep up on it. After the last day I wrote about, a few days later,I ended up going for a colonoscopy. Thankfully it came back totally normal, no issues there at all. The prep for it however,was brutal! You have to drink liters of this liquid that tastes like salty lemonade ( I don't like salty anything, anytime!) so could barely choke down half of what I was supposed to take over a period of many hours. It was sheer torture for me and I was praying it was enough as I had been so sick for the last few days, there wasn't much in my guts anyways. The stuff gives you violent diarrhea for a few days and you can't eat for a few days before the test so my diet experience got all messed up. Once the test was over, I ate whatever I could hold down.

I kept up with the basic concepts of the diet and my health started to improve in every area. I went for a lung function test on April 20th and for the first time in 15 years, I don't have asthma anymore! In fact the Dr. said my breathing function is now better then expected to be for my age etc. I can feel the difference as now I have energy again.

I have been spending hours in the garden digging out hard packed clay and replacing it with nice garden soil and manure. I found a nearby source of woodchips, so filled 100 garbage bags full and brought them back in 5 car loads to make garden paths. I ended up doing that job twice as I thought 6 inches deep of bark mulch would keep the weeds down but was wrong. I had to go back and rake them all to the side, dig out all the big weed clumps and lay cardboard down, then rake the chips back over the cardboard. Whew, who needs a gym. trying to wrestle mother nature into submission is a workout and a half!

My only source of water for the garden is a trash pump in the river. It has to push the water up a hill about 200 feet, so there is not a ton of pressure at the other end. I fill buckets with water from the hose at the edge of the road and carry it to each plant by hand. It is heavy laborious work and at this point I still have hardly anything in the ground. Once all the beds are planted it will take hours every day just to water it all. Still trying to think up a better solution for that.

I am feeling quite good these days. My stomach issues are all but gone. I used to suffer from very bad acid reflux. I had been taking a proton pump inhibitor which I was scared I had become addicted to in a rebound kind of way but haven't had to take one in over a month now. I have no more nausea/diarrhea or heartburn. I have tons of energy, up at 5:30 -6 am, work 5 days a week, then in the garden until 9-10pm every day.  My arms ache a bit but I think they deserve to with all the shovelling and water carrying I do on top of my physical job.

My low back still gives me much grief. After the wrenching of my back with the pallet incident, I went to the chiropractor and got some x-rays taken. My low back takes a sharp right, the right hip is significantly flared out and I have no discs left in my low back at all. I am researching exercises to strengthen my core to see if I can do something about this. Since the colonoscopy in February, I stopped taking all the supplements I had been taking and forgot to get back on them. The only medication I have taken in the last month is Demerol for the back pain and a few Advil after getting a tooth pulled.

I have recently broken out in ankle rashes that my Dr. thinks might be my eczema coming back,so I am going back on the probiotics to see if that helps. I plan to keep on with the wild diet principles and working out in the garden. I have a blood test form that I will take in July a few days before my next Dr. apt to check things like cholesterol, blood sugar, inflammatory markers, kidney function etc. to see if this diet is impacting these numbers in a positive way.

So far, as of this date according to my Drs. notes, I have lost a total of 35 pounds. Some of that was from being ill before I went on the diet but I have lost 24 pounds on the diet since February 1st. I haven't been as strict as I should be, had a cheat week once instead of a cheat day and my appetite has improved so I eat more now but have been able to maintain my weight at around 175 for the last month and it has dropped again to 171 in the last few days so hopefully the train is pulling out of the station and I can continue to lose some more. My ideal weight would be 130, I would be ok with 140.

One of the biggest milestones for me in this adventure, happened this week. I used to go to Wreck Beach regularly for over 15 years. Even when I first started going in 1995 and I was 20 years younger and 40 pounds lighter I struggled to climb the 400plus stairs up the cliff. Pretty much every step felt like burning fire in my legs and lungs. Always pleasantly surprised to have not had a heart attack at the top of the trail. After the Fibromyalgia took over my life, I never made it back to the beach. I couldn't face the stairs. I couldn't even do the stairs in the house. I had slept in a room downstairs for the last 2-3 years because I couldn't get up and down the stairs safely.

Well ( drumroll please......) I went to the beach, not once but twice  this week! And it didn't hurt at all! I walked up the stairs without feeling breathless, my legs didn't burn, my heart didn't pound. I wasn't even sore the next day! I am beyond flabbergasted, I never thought I would ever make it back there again. I feel like I may have cured my fibromyalgia and found a way to shift my old-age-menopausal-don't-smoke-anymore weight that has been on me like cement for the last 8 years.

The icing on the cake was having two different clients the other day, tell me they didn't recognize me as I looked so much younger! I feel younger. If you had asked me 6 months ago how old I felt, I would have said 95 going on 105. Now I feel 35 with a low back problem.

So all in all, I have to say Lent was a rousing success this year. I lost 25 pounds, stayed away from chocolate and sugars of all kinds. Got way more physically active both at work and in the garden. Got outside in nature almost every day. Spent more time with friends. Read some very informative and life changing books. Got my health, vitality, vim and vigor back.

Please if you know anyone with an inflammatory condition urge them to give this a try for a month. It may not be for everyone but I feel like a brand new person right now.

My Prescription for wellness
Follow the Wild Diet, take a non-dairy probiotic ( I take Acute Care by Metagenics which I get at Pharmasave), and get out in nature. Walk barefoot on the ground, touch the earth, get close to plants and other living things. Use the muscles in your body every day to do some hard labor. Relax afterwards with an Epsom salt bath or hot water bottles and ice packs. Drink lots of clean, chemical free water. Turn off the electronics, read a good book, get a good sleep. Feel amazing the next day! Give thanks, be joyous,'s contagious!

Update on the update... well, I continued to stay on The wild diet and the weight continued to come off. I eventually got down to 155 and was feeling a lot better in general. In the fall I started taking a Pilates class and that was the key to fixing the low back pain. One class a week kept me pain free for a good five days. I'm sure if I would have practiced at home like I was supposed to , I would have been totally pain free.  I also found out about a supplement called astaxanthin which helps remove lactic acid from muscles and speed recovery from exercise. That was the final piece of the puzzle to cope with the chronic muscular pain.

I couldn't believe it, I had totally turned my health around. My stomach was great now, no acid reflux, no nausea, no asthma, no eczema, no chest pain, no back pain, no achy, throbbing muscles keeping me up all night.

It got into the busy season at work and I was working full time for months even taking some extra shifts to earn more money for a well needed holiday. I had thought with my illness, that travel was a thing of the past for me, but now I was planning two months in Thailand! I left mid January and had the holiday of a lifetime, crossing a whole bunch of stuff off the bucket list. I walked for miles, swam for weeks, ate healthy fresh food, meditated with monks and lost another 10 pounds!

And then I came hell. Dave decided to try and steal my home from me while I was gone, changed the locks and told me I was evicted????? Long story short, 6 weeks in court to prove I had a right to the stuff in the house. He had to leave for a month, while I packed up 10 years worth of dreams and moved it all out. He came and took what was left and towed it downriver never to be heard from again. This is the last time I saw my home, goodbye to the dream.

Sooo, the Eclectic Ark is no more :(  

I struggled with many emotions over the last four months, lots of fear, anxiety, grief, anger, depression. I pushed my body beyond its limits day after day, after day, trying to deal with moving everything, digging up the garden and living in mortal fear that he would come back and try and hurt me.

I think I have burnt out my adrenal glands.  I had really bad insomnia, nightmares, severe exhaustion, and serious muscle pain. My diet sucked, I had no money at all, my friends loaned me money and I tried to make it last as long as possible. Lets just say, if I never eat another peanut butter sandwich, I am ok with that! I survived off carbs and hot chai tea by the gallon. The absolute worst diet for me!

I am back up to 180 pounds and its climbing daily. My muscle pain is back with a vengeance, and the acid reflux is starting to be a regular thing again, although I have avoided taking any meds for it so far. I have ZERO energy, I wake up exhausted, drag myself around and have naps every chance I get.

This bad turn on the health front made me remember this blog post that I started and never posted. So here I am ready to try and sort myself out again. Time to walk away from the carbs, start taking supplements,and implement regular Pilates and Yoga sessions into my days. Praying it all works as good as last time.

The one positive thing that came out of all this, is, I got my creativity back! Living alone has given me the space to explore my interests again. I have painted about ten watercolour paintings and have found a fresh interest in learning to play guitar. I LOVE YouTube, I have been teaching myself painting and lead guitar by watching videos, which is great when your broke and cant get out.

Here's some of my paintings

And this one, I actually sold!! Does that mean I am an artist now?

Well, I  have started a new job lately, so now that things have calmed down, I am ready to get back on track, looking after myself. I like the idea of adding a new good habit each day, so even though its not Lent, I am ready to try this challenge again. Wish me luck!

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Monday, 23 November 2015

The Times They Are a-Changing!

I can't believe its been almost 6 months since I posted anything. Dave has a habit of starting a project or three at the same time and rotating between them when he gets bored or frustrated. I want to wait until whatever it is, is finished before I blog about it, so time passes and all of a sudden its six months later. However, things have progressed, so here is what we have been up this summer.

Dave mounted this bit of carving that came off my old boat over the entrance to the doorway to the living room. He plans to go back and bevel it better and stain it to match the wood its attached to but nice to see it find a place in the house!

Every winter, my plants would always die as soon as the temperature dropped below zero. I got some wooden sliding glass doors for free as well as some free sidelight windows and Dave cobbled them together to close in the the space in front of the french doors. This allowed us to put a heater in there and maintain a temperature above freezing without having to heat the whole house. In the springtime, we can put shelves in this area and start seeds for the garden.


 I am loving the look of them!

I got the big brown TV cabinet for free and it served its purpose but we were finding it to be too bulky for our living room. We didn't want to just throw it out and I really liked the electric fireplace that came with it, so it got recycled throughout the house.
 The same wall without the TV cabinet. Eventually we will probably put a sectional couch along that wall. I had two nice old chairs in the living room but they had spent some time in storage and had a musty smell that Dave couldn't stand. He finally convinced me to get rid of them. As soon as I said yes, he had hauled them out, dragged them up the ramp and set them on fire just to make sure I didn't change my mind. So, the living room looks a little empty right now, but its kind of nice to have some space. We put it to good use and had some friends over for a jam and potluck dinner. We had 20 people in the living room and it was still comfortable.

 Potluck feast!

We finally got around to moving the pantry behind the kitchen, so what you are looking at now is the old pantry now turned into more workshop space. The TV cabinet got broken down into a workbench in front of the window and the doors made a storage unit for the water purifier.

 Dave is busy carving an eagle to be the back of a bench he built outside to store the generator and batteries for the solar panel system which we haven't installed just yet. Its on the list.......

 When we closed in the area in the living room for the plants, we ended up taking out the door that had led into the pantry and blocked that wall in. The doorway got moved onto the back of the workshop room wall and the beautiful wood door got put in between the living room and workshop. This looks much better and is much safer as it has a window that is protected with a Plexiglas plate over it. This allows me to look into the workshop before entering and making sure I don't scare Dave when he is working with power tools or knives. We are still contemplating more changes. We may take down that wall in front altogether and instead put a sliding patio door at the closet end of this picture. This would divide our two workshops into half instead of 1/4- 3/4 which they are now. The glass would allow us to seal off one room for messier stuff like sanding so the dust doesn't go everywhere yet still allow for maximum light from all the windows. If  Dave needs more carving space for longer poles he can open the sliding doors to make the room bigger again.

This is the bench that the eagle will be going on top of. In the summer we have it covered with nice plush pillows for a perfect suntanning spot.

 The generator and batteries are stored underneath.
 Dave has spent a ton of time carving every inch of the bench. Moon face on one side.
 An arm rest that is a phoenix rising out of the flames(they are made of different wood which was inlaid) This is all still a work in progress.
 The other armrest is a dove carrying an olive branch.
 The cats were driving me crazy making me get up and let them in and out every 20 secs all night long, so I finally got fed up and made Dave put in a cat door. We were concerned about other critters finding their way in, so we put it in a window and added a ledge for the cats to jump onto. Mamas sleeping much better now!
 Had a quiet Thanksgiving dinner for two.

Here is the new pantry. We took out the stairs that had been there and closed in the wall behind the bookcase. Its smaller than it was but we still managed to get everything we wanted in there. Its great having all the food and kitchen appliances right next to the kitchen, makes much more sense!

 This is the other side of the pantry wall. The two portholes were from my old boat as well, the window was a freebie.

I always wanted a reading nook, so Dave built me this......

 This is the view from that seat.
 The docks covered in frost, we need more tiles for this side of the house to make it safer.
 a cold November day but at least it stopped raining!
 The electric fireplace got recycled into another old fireplace mantle we had kicking around. Dave found some huge beams floating down the river and cut them into shelves to make an entertainment center against the north wall. The TV and speakers, VCR, PS3 etc is over the fireplace, the large mirror beside that hides our octopus of an electrical system, there is a bookcase built in beside that.




We had to build a box around all the electrical stuff anyway so couldn't really use that wall for anything else. By moving the TV, books and fireplace over here, it really opened up the living room. Now that we have the patio doors that allow us such a good view from living room, I wanted the couch to face out not inwards like they were before. Since we enclosed the living room with the reading nook, the plant room and the  old pantry area walled off, it feels more like a room now. The way it was before it felt like a large hallway with furniture in it. I like it way better now!

I haven't been very creative the last few years, but recently was inspired to build a few instruments. The first was this cigar box guitar. It has 3 strings and is played with a slide.

The other was this cajon. Its a wooden drum with a snare from a snare drum mounted against the front playing face. I love the sound of it and am motivated to make more of them. I need a table saw if I am going to go into production but I am sensing a change in career some day and building instruments fascinates me.

I didn't make this, but got it at the folk festival this summer for the paltry price of $35 CDN. I love didgeridoos, have three, still cant master circular breathing :(

I found this super cute old buggy in a thrift store and got it for half price when they couldn't sell it. I really couldn't justify it taking up space in my house but decided it made a useful carryall for my zillion and one musical noise makers.

 The whale bone got shifted around again. I think someday it may end up being a coffee table. It will rest on a base with wheels and have a glass top. I have been dragging this thing around for over 20 years now, it weighs ten tons but I love it!

I went to the dike down the road to set up my camera and see if I could get any decent shots of the blood moon this summer. The little white point off in the distance is Mt. Baker which I hoped the moon would rise beside. It did not, it just rose in a bare spot in the sky with nothing to add to the photos.

 This is the moon reflected in the pond.

 Here's a couple of the better shots I got.

 This was an accident when I joggled the camera but I like it!

This was another night, long exposures of the moon, venus and mars reflected in the river.

 We get a lot of amazing sunsets here, these were a few of my favorites this summer.







 This one was from a day trip to the island to visit my friend Cora and get my hair cut. I also saw a humpback whale on that trip which  was a first after 25 years of taking the ferry.


The flower baskets looked good again this year. This one was a new one on the shady side of the house and it did well so will put up more  on that side next year.

Got a couple a wicker chairs from the thrift store. very comfy!
 Dave caught a few fish.
 The grapevine I planted as two small sticks 3 years ago, finally bore fruit. They were A MA ZING, so much better than store bought, Very sweet and delicious, I couldn't be more pleased as I had no idea what they were supposed to taste like.

 I recently took in the new Bodyworlds show in Vancouver. This one was all about animals. It was quite interesting but I wish they would have had more of the human exhibit as well as it is such a good teaching tool for me.

 Check out the eye on this squid, how cool is that!

 One of my cats sat still for second, so here's a picture, Minou says HI!

And last but not least, I finally quit my job in Steveston. I really didn't want to, but the 150 km round trip commute was killing me on so many levels. I called around to see if there was a demand for massage therapy where I live and there was, so I gave my notice and shifted my practice up here. I cant believe how much better my body feels. I  knew the commute was stressful but had no idea that at least half my pain was just from that. Business is slow but steady. I am really enjoying finally getting to meet some locals. I am close enough to come home for lunch which saves me more money and if I have a quiet day, I can come home and get things done in between clients which feels more productive.

So its been a busy summer. We had lots of forest fires which was scary for the environment. We elected a new Prime Minister who promises to be good to the environment. For the first time in a long time  I feel hope again. The world is still going through a lot of growing pains but people seem to be finally waking up. Maybe if we can switch to renewable resources and get off the oil tit, we can get out of the middle east and peace can prevail.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Playing with camera effects. Goodnight from the eye in the sky!

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The Eclectic Ark