Trust-2019

Every year I choose a word or a phrase to use as a short of guidepost and inspiration for the upcoming 365 days. 

In the past my focus has been on love and truth. One year I did fun and last year I chose a phrase – I don’t know- to help me with uncertainty.

This year I choose trust. And as soon as I choose the word, an opportunity to practice it was presented to me.

Two, actually. I just LOVE that!

I was in the mall, one frequented by the elderly.( You know the type ) When a slightly unkempt man started to make a fuss. Talking to himself in distress ” This is JUST great!” he says, throwing his hands up in the air. I kept walking, ignoring him because the dude seems a little unhinged. Something was off. 

Well of course dude approaches me. They always do. I’m a magnet for weirdos. ” Excuse me?!” Fuck. I keep walking but raise an eyebrow at him and off he goes! Into a long spiel about how he’s called the police numerous times and is getting no help and he’s lost this and he’s lost that and he really needs help. Its a bullshit, cockeyed story. Dude is trying to scam me for money. I cut straight to the chase ” You want money?” Yeah, he nods at me. “Not gonna happen. The bus driver might let you on for free if you ask nicely though” and off I go. Trusting in my wisdom and not falling for his nonsense, I alerted security and they called the cops, so yay for that!

Now, I’m used to trusting my wisdom when it comes to situations like that. I have plenty of practice! ( The stories I could tell … ) What I’m not skilled at is trusting in the opposite direction. Trusting that other humans mean well. 

Enter opportunity numero dos!

I’m sitting at the bus station, minding my business when the older lady beside me strikes up a conversation. We start yapping. Soon we’re fast friends,  older versions of drunk girls in bathroom bars. Ha ha!

Her bus comes and she reaches into her bag and pulls out another bag, filled with obviously homemade doughnuts. ” Take these. I made them this morning and tucked them in my bag to give to someone along the way” she says to me kindly. I graciously accept, touched by sweetness and pop them in my own bag. Off she goes. Her name was Olga.

Now OLD Lael, would have tossed that bag of treats straight in the garbage. How would she know if they were safe to eat or not, right? Yeah, Olga seemed lovely and kind but could I really be sure? Nope.

Here’s the thing though: We can NEVER really be sure. About anything. Or anyone. Nothing is in our control. Nothing is certain. Now was I going to toss the doughnuts OR use this neat encounter to practice my 2019 word?

Enter … New Lael.


Being the bad ass soul warrior that I am, I leapt at the chance to trust. Also, doughnuts! 

They were delicious and perfectly safe. I didn’t die. I didn’t get food poisoning. I enjoyed a treat from a new friend and felt the shackles loosen a bit from around my heart.

So yes, I engaged in an act of trust with another human but more importantly, I engaged in an act of trust with MYSELF.

I trusted that I was a good judge of character in that moment. I trusted my instincts and I trusted my intellect. I trusted my HEART.  

I aim to do more of that in 2019. I’m just so curious to see where else this word takes me.

How about you? Do you chose a word for the new year? Do tell?! 

Havin’ A Time.

I’m havin’ a time. And not a good time! Boooo to that!

Some shit is happening in a loved one’s life and there is nothing I can do about any of it. As a human with a pathological need to do something this is a huge challenge! Its a challenge for most people. We want to help. We want to fix. We want to soothe. We want to make it better and we want to make it all go away.

Sadly, that’s impossible so instead I’ve turned my attention toward self care until the suffering passes. I’m distracting myself with memes!

When I worked at the child care centre, I was in charge of the Facebook page. I posted relevant things to the page like a social media whiz. I was good at it and received much praise. What they don’t know is that toward the end of my days with them, I was >this< close to posting this helpful infographic about The Scorpion Pits, ha.

Dogs!

This one always makes me laugh like a loon. Its a good, solid plan!

Seems like this would work! Plus, you’d attract all sorts of other dogs just in the day to day too, which is never bad. Unless the dogs are vicious. Then that’s bad but we’re being optimistic here! No bad days and no bad dogs!

Cats on the other hand…cats are assholes. Which is precisely why we love them!

Except for maybe these guys. Yeah…for maybe like 5 seconds! I fostered a litter of kittens and had them sleeping with me in my bedroom. THAT was an experience. Have you ever had your eyeball scratched out? Not pleasant and the thing is, they don’t care. Kittens think its perfectly reasonable to attack your fucking eyelashes as you sleep. Jerks. Cute, little fluffy jerks. I’d totally do that again. Thrill of my life!

Ha! Catthew! I’m totally naming my next cat Catthew . I’ve had cats named Ned Buckle, Wallace, Miles, Larry, December, Wizard, Hyena, Orangey, Stripey, Dot, Dust Bunny, Spider and Cornelius. Catthew seems almost normal.

This one doesn’t make me laugh so much as it inspires me.  It’s got a swear and its trying to be helpful. I like.

Distraction and silliness do work! I still have chest pain but my mind isn’t racing, so that’s something. I’m going to keep at it…I really like the idea of furiously dancing 🙂 What do you do to help yourself through tough times when you feel powerless? 

Best of October.

Hello November!

October was a challenging month for me. It was the two-year anniversary of a trauma that re injured my brain AND it was the first whole month in which I was not in Tanzania. Waaa! I had some readjusting to do, under stressful circumstances. BUT it wasn’t horrible. I’m here, alive and kicking in November. I learned some things and made it through. My goal for next October is to thrive rather than survive. But you know that’s my goal every month!

ANYway, I got thinking about it all and the good things that happened and really wanted to showcase that. Do a roundup exercise of all the awesome. Because our brains are wired for the negative, no problem there, ha ha but the positive…that’s a thing that needs cultivating. And that’s a thing that’s really, truly worthy of my attention 🙂

The Best Savoury Thing I Ate In October:

Tanzanian Pepper Beef Stew. I invented it based on my memory of a meal I ate whilst in Tanzania. I’m fine tuning it for my recipe book and will share it eventually, but if you want to make something similar, it’s basically beef and peppers with lots of black pepper and onion. At first bite, I was proud. So proud!

The Best Sweet Thing I Ate In October:

A banana crepe with Nutella at Cora, with two dear friends on a sunny Autumn morning.

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I’m not usually a sweets person but there was something about this warm, chocolate fruity glop of deliciousness that really hit the spot. A rare but welcome thing.

The Best Hot Drink I Drank In October: My last attempt at recreating spiced tea. It was almost perfect. Perfect spice, perfect sweet… I just need to tweak the milk – I’m going to try shelf stable milk – and see if that does the trick – but drinking it whilst reading a book in the warm sunlight, knowing I was so close was dreamy. At this point if the milk doesn’t make it so, it’ll be alright because it’s a damn fine cup of tea anyway.

The Best Outing I Had In October: This is a toss-up between two. The first one was a walk in the river valley with two friends. The sun was shining, there was a chill in the air, the leaves were crunchy and we were surrounded by birds and squirrels doing important animal things. I found the BEST sticks to add to my collection and there were lost of laughs and insightful realizations and just good fun.

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The second one was a surprise motorcycle ride with my man. He came home early on a sunny afternoon and asked me out. We didn’t go anywhere special, just out and back through an area close to the city but it was fun to be zooming along in the sunny air. There was a slight chill as we sped through traffic, turning into curves with total acceptance of whatever was to be. You can’t resist the turns on a bike, even as a passenger so I really had to surrender to them. Would we crash or remain upright and keep going? Only one way to find out. That was fucking scary and liberating at the same time.

Best Social Interactions In October: My fun and chatty conversation with a lady at the transit station who gave me doughnuts. I’ll detail it fully in another post but here I can tell you that it was really nice to have an honest, kind conversation with another human being, especially as we seemed to just click in seconds. People think it’s all weirdos on transit but that’s not true. I’ve met a lot of lovely humans as well.

Going to a new book club at my local library. Everyone was open and friendly, welcoming and engaging. Their words and their actions matched and it was just a really nice night.

Smartest Thing I Did In October: Get our wills made up! The sense of relief I feel is … well, relieving. I feel just a titch more grown up 🙂 One less thing to feel anxious about.

Coolest Thing I Bought: A Namaste Skeleton!

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The dead and dying in me see the dead and dying in you. Its perfect! I buy a lot of my regular home décor during Halloween sales. Ha Ha.

Best Shows I Watched: So yes I’m totally late to this but OH EM GEE …

OUTLANDER. 

I’d tried to watch it once before with the Hubs but just couldn’t get into it. I think watching it was my man was the problem because I had no issues revisiting it on my laptop with my headphones in! I’d read the books years ago and really enjoyed them. I’m happy the series is holding my attention the same way.

Salt Fat Acid Heat 

Is another one I’m liking. It’s on Netflix and its a fancy little cooking show -kind of, sorta – about how if one masters these four elements, Salt, Fat, Acid and Heat, one can transform their meals. I really like the host Samin Nosrat and the whole thing is just really interesting. If you’re passionate about food and people and places, this is a show for you.

What were some of your highlights in October? I’d love to hear all about them!

Love and squishy hugs!

Everyone Should Keep A List …(#2.)

of all the little things they love.

Special thanks to Leslie Nichole for the reminder.

Wont you play along too?

  1. Hot black coffee in the mornings.
  2. Old dogs snoring at my feet.
  3. Unexpected texts from friends.
  4. The feeling of relief and security once normalcy sets in after its absence.
  5. Snow falling but not sticking to the ground.
  6. Brisk Autumn days and warm cosy indoors.
  7. The squishy feeling after steam cleaning your carpets.
  8. Washing a really greasy face.
  9. Realizing a long time dream and it being everything you imagined and more.
  10. A cheese and sun-dried tomato sandwich on squishy cheese buns with sharp cheddar and homegrown/prepared sun-dried tomatoes.

Autumn To Do List

OK. NO fair!

I was all excited thinking Future Lael would be celebrating the Spring Equinox in Zanzibar today, as a Time Traveller! BUT dammit, according to my stupid and highly disappointing research, Spring in Zanzibar starts on September 23. What will Future Lael be doing on September 23?  Flying home to Autumn! I’ll be in the air 45 mins before the whole thing starts!

Boooooo!

Well, that’s if everything goes well. Life is uncertain, maybe Future Lael is trampled by an elephant or eaten by a lion. Who knows! I do know, I am very mad about not being able to brag about being in Spring one day and Autumn the next!

I do love Autumn. I think its my favourite season. There is just something about the warm days and cool nights, the way the sun sits in the sky and shines softer. The brilliant colours cannot be beat and the smells! Oh the smells of wood smoke and dying vegetation, warm tea and spicy everything. Big sweaters and boots. Cozy blankets and lazy days. Frost on the window and misty air…I am SO looking forward to honouring this new season upon us.

Remember when I was freaking out about Summer fading away? I really found that whole list making process so helpful in reminding me to savour every little thing. I don’t feel like I wasted my last days of Summer and was way more accepting of its end. (Like I had a choice!)

So I think I’ll do that again, this time for Autumn!

Autumn To-Do List

  1. Walk to 7-11 for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Seriously this is a thing. I hate PSLs anywhere else but 7-11 makes something so good, I break my own rules and have to enjoy at least one.
  2. Spend time outdoors, admiring the changing leaves, listening to them crunch underfoot and watching them swirl around in the wind.
  3. Spend a day under a blankey drinking tea and reading books.
  4. Make an apple pie.
  5. Decorate with rich warm tones. The dollar store is good for cheap finds you can set out year after year. Try to go no plastic.
  6. Pull out all the cold weather stuff and put away the warm.
  7. Buy a new sweater.
  8. Have a bonfire at a park that allows such things. Roast some weenies and drink mugs of apple cider too.
  9. Make a crumble out of any summer fruit you’ve frozen.
  10. Sunrises and Sunsets.
  11. Make and freeze batches of soup for those coming cold days.
  12. Make biscuits and eat them with butter and jam. Just because.
  13. Visit a pumpkin patch.
  14. Visit a Farmer’s Market.
  15. Try to maneuver out of a corn maze.
  16. Go for a drive in the country.
  17. Plant some bulbs.
  18. Set out bird feeders.
  19. Make candy apples.
  20. Make some chili.
  21. Celebrate Oktoberfest.
  22. Watch the birds fly south.
  23. Do a gratitude exercise.
  24. Knit a new hat,scarf and mitts.
  25. Honour your ancestors on Samhain
  26. Bring more light into your house by setting up fairy lights.
  27. Write letters to your friends…and send them!
  28. Get outside while the weather is still comfortable.
  29. Make homemade noodles.
  30. Read this bookThe Little Book of Hyggeand then Hygge it up!

What would you add to this? Please share!

 

Lush Review, Shampoo/Conditioner Bars: Godiva & Jungle

Have you ever seen those photos from Asia of the beaches and oceans completely inundated with plastic bits and other garbage? Shocking and hard to look at, am I right? That was the big smack upside the head for me.

I’d already heard about the Great Pacific Garbage patch and been suitably disgusted but it wasn’t until I saw the photos from Bali that I really thought long and hard about my own plastic use and made an intention to do something about it.

Its challenging because plastic is cheap and it.is.EVERYWHERE! It feels overwhelming and hopeless at times. It feels like it’d be easier to throw up my hands and say “Oh well”, leaving it at the that.

But I cant do that in good conscious. And while it IS overwhelming it is NOT hopeless. If each of us does one small thing every day, collectively we can affect change. It might come slowly but it WILL come. Just watch and see.

In preparing for my upcoming trip, I remembered that Lush makes solid shampoo and conditioner bars. The last time I tried them, frankly, they sucked. I think it was a combination of lack of knowledge on my part and unsuitability on the product’s end.

Simply put, I didn’t know how to use them and I bought the wrong kind for my hair.

I decided to give them another try but this time I did some research and gained some tips-which I will share with you-and made sure I got products that met my hair’s needs.

My hair, much like my personality, is ALL OVER the place. It’s straight in the front, wavy in the back and drier than the desert. I’m about 50% grey-which tends to run dry anyway-plus, I bleach it and bleaching is very hard on hair. (I dream of the day when I go all natural!)

ANYway, the very nice girl at Lush, in Kingsway Garden Mall recommended I try a Godiva Shampoo bar. It was the most moisturizing one out of the bunch. I wasn’t all that keen on the dominant scent-Jasmine- but bought it knowing it suited my needs.

Next up- conditioner!-Jungle was what I bought, to “soften and tame wild hair” HA! That’s exactly what I need.

I also bought a couple more metal containers to store them in and this is what the whole lot looks like:

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Smoothed over from one use.

So what’s the verdict?

I like! My hair, while still not completely smooth is SO soft! I annoyed the heck out of my husband ALL day with “Honey! Feel my hair! Soft, isn’t it?” Ha Ha Ha, poor guy.

The shampoo bar makes a very nice, rich lather and my hair felt clean. I even managed to get over the smell, finding that I liked the scent on my drying hair.

The conditioner bar was odd at first. I was able to get it to soften up and release conditioner onto my hands but ended up running the bar over my head to ensure I got something more out of it. It seemed like I wasn’t getting enough. After I combed it all through my hair though, I could see that it was indeed doing its job and felt better about the whole thing. And then after I rinsed it all off, the glorious silky feeling confirmed it for me.

So two thumbs up for both products from me. I’m happy with the results and my hair DOES feel well moisturized. The bars were super easy to use and are completely packable for travel. Leaving me with more room to haul over sunscreen, essential oils and bug spray. The best part about all of this though is that I’ve stopped contributing my shampoo and conditioner bottles to the plastic problem we all share in. Yay!

OK, now for some tips:

  1. Some people rub the shampoo bar over their heads, from forehead to nape, in one straight motion, but its better for beginners to work up a lather in their hand and then apply that to the hair.
  2. The exception to this of course is that if you are unable to work up a lather or release any cream from the conditioner bar, it might be best if you do run it over your head. Play around and see what works best for your noggin.
  3. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Paying special attention to the nape of you neck. Rinse for at least one minute.
  4. Set your bars on a small towel to dry before putting in their container or line your containers with parchment or fabric. (Cut up an old washcloth) The bars will be wet and squishy after use and will become stuck like glue. You will have one hell of a time getting them out otherwise!
  5. Identify your hair needs and buy accordingly.

Have you ever used a shampoo/conditioner bar on your hair? What was your experience? What do you do to reduce your plastic use? Do you have any tips you think are clever and helpful? Please share!