Thursday, September 30, 2010


a lot of my friends have been blogging lists of things they're grateful for. (for which they're grateful. ugh. my inner english teacher is hard to shake.) so i'm hopping on the bandwagon and creating my own.

here are ten of the things that have brought me joy in september:

1. a handsome and kind husband who is glad to be married to me even though i have pcos and may never bear children. this is a pretty big deal for a guy who has always dreamed of having a big crazy family. he got the big & crazy part ... just all bundled up in me, not spread out among 5 kids :). i am so glad he loves me. and he shows it all the time.
(tired after a long hike. not cranky. promise.)

2. this week, i'm grateful for aunt diane, who took us out for dinner (our first dinner out for months) and drove us all over town to find the spider. God is so good to let us have some family close by! she treated us to such a nice meal and she was so kind to us (as always). it's nice to be spoiled.

3. mark driscoll and mars hill church, who make their awesome solid teaching available free online. they make me laugh, help me learn, and bring me close to the place where God can speak to me. they even make me face the ugliness within that i try to hide, and give me a kick in the pants when i need it.

4. ann ortlund's book 'the disciplines of the beautiful woman.' it's pretty old school, but God used it to show me the beauty and necessity of being disciplined in all areas of my life ... especially in the area of my faith. thanks to the wisdom she shares, i've learned to prioritize & protect my time with the Lord - a huge blessing to my soul.

5. my new phone and unlimited texting. i love love love being able to text with patrick when we're apart. he's my favorite person ever, so being able to stay in touch with him all the time completely rocks. also, i have the cutest new ring tones. my current texting tone is "froggy night" and i'm in love with it. imagine a frog, sitting on a front porch, plucking a guitar. that's my ringtone.

6. caitlin, victoria, and chrissy. sigh. such good friends. they've made us feel SO welcome here in thunder bay. caitlin has even gotten up early to drive us around on errands, and stayed up late to do the same. she's the kind of friend you'd call when you're stranded on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere at 3 in the morning ... and you'd know she'd be glad you did.
victoria, caitlin, & moi.
and chrissy.

7. delightful, surprising snail mail! my loving far-away friends and family have kept in touch by sending me cards, letters, stickers, notepaper, and even a dvd! it means a lot when people stay in touch, so three hundred cheers for mailers!! (i'm really bad at this, but i'm trying to improve! if you've gotten anything from me in the mail, know that i'm working hard to tell you i love you.)

8. my kitchen. i love to cook. it makes me happy to feed people. and because i have a bar-window-pass-through thingy, i can hang out with my friends and make them food too. hurray!

9. my ... ugh, it's hard to say it, but i really am grateful for it ... job. okay okay, i don't like telemarketing. i think telemarketers are even more universally disliked than lawyers and politicians ... especially when they're doing surveys on behalf of lawyers and politicians. and i completely understand why. i'd hang up on me too. but i am grateful, because it's paying the bills and after 2 months without work, we've accumulated a lot of those. (also, i made up a superhero alter-ego, RockSolid, who can bear the brunt of telemeanness. RockSolid wears a teflon suit and everything just rolls off. :). my identity is in Jesus, and RockSolid is like my imaginary personification of that. because i'm crazy.)

10. psalm 4:8. God has kept us safe even though our neighbourhood is less than peaceful. you can check out patrick's blog for details of The Incident. basically, we were scared, there was violence, and none of it touched us. *grateful prayer.*

so there you have it. my thankfullist. make your own, send it to me, and we can all say hurray together.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the spider

for the past month, patrick and i have been taking apple cider vinegar: two teaspoons in water, three times a day. we (affectionately?) call it spider, much to the electrification of our company, who hear us nonchalantly asking one another if we would like a spider.

mama c & papa g recommended it to us, and passed along a book outlining all the good benefits that come from taking daily doses of spider. their friend, a nutritionist, recommended it to them. when i read the book, i kind of laughed. it seemed like snake oil - full of magical promises to cure everything from warts to acne to dandruff.

but i figured - why not give it a shot? the most it will cost is a few bucks and a few puckers.

so we hoofed it to bulk barn and bought some organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. apparently it's got all the goodness in it when it's kind of cloudy and murky looking. mmm, delicious. ( i didn't - and don't - really think it's delicious).

it's pretty puckery, but it gives the nicest little flare in the belly first thing in the morning that totally wakes me up. :) patrick takes his mixed with pure maple syrup in a glass of water; i take mine in a shot and chase it with water. we're both wimps in our own way: he tries to sweeten the bitter, and i try to get it over with as quickly as possible.

within a week or two, my skin had cleared up - completely. acne is one of the most annoying aspects of pcos, and i've been trying to manage it with medication which helped, but didn't totally eliminate it. not only was my skin acne-free, it was smooth and i didn't need lotion ... wahoo! i haven't changed anything else in my lifestyle, so i think it's safe to credit the spider with the improvement.

after a few weeks of enjoying luscious new skin, i started wondering if this has helped other people with pcos. so i googled, and found that there is a TON of research on the spider's effects on pcos ... all of them ranging from mildly to wildly positive.

so i'm pretty pumped about the spider. our bulk barn ran out, and patrick's aunt drove us to a health store on the far side of town. we bulked up and bought three bottles - which should hold us over for a while!! :) we had to go for a few days without it, and i really noticed the difference. boo to that. when we noticed our supply running thin, patrick stopped taking it and let me spin it out as long as possible. i am married to a very good man.

anyway, i'm totally not a remedy-of-the-month-er, but i thought i'd share. i know i've got a few pcosy readers, and i'd love to know how it goes, if you try it. as for me, i give it two thumbs up (i'd give it more, but that's all i have).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


i was feeling sick tonight, and craving something salty. i really didn't want to walk through the dark and marshy shortcut to superstore, nor did i want to take the 4km trip on the sidewalk at 1030 at night. i was sick. i just wanted to stay home. but i really really wanted something salty to settle my stomach.

so i made some slim.

(slim: the luscious marriage of whipped potato and flour, fried in butter and topped with salt.)

one minute i was standing in my kitchen, woefully nauseous and homesick ... the next minute i was sitting in nana's kitchen, taking a piece of slim off her brown-rimmed stoneware plates. she was standing at the stove in a 1970s-print apron, flipping more delectable goodness on a cast-iron skillet. my sisters and brother and i were not arguing, reading archies, or breaking the spines of l.m. montgomeries ... we were eating. silently, saltily, butterily. and thanking God in our innermost hearts that we had an old-fashioned irish grandmother who was dishing up platefuls of piping hot potato magic, as fast as we could eat it.

i love you, nana. thanks for making me feel better, a thousand miles and twenty years away.

Friday, September 10, 2010

cringing in my soul

i have a confession to make. i am terrified of creepy plane noises.
not ordinary flying passenger planes, but horrible zoomy rumbly russian-spy-sounding planes.
(patrick pooh-poohs this fear and tells me that no russian spy planes are allowed in cdn air space. well of course they aren't ... but i bet the good ones get in anyway. that's their job, right?)

(these are russian planes. let me know if you see them coming.)
i often have spectacular nightmares that i go outside and look up at the sky and suddenly it bursts into action, filled with planes zooming and shooting at each other. and i know that canada is at war and i need to join the resistance.
(this usually ends up with me on a top secret mission and running from the bad guys who have invaded halifax.)

when i was little, my mom babysat a twisted kid who told me that a ghost lived in the pencil sharpener, and that airplanes would come and get me if i was outside playing when they flew overhead.

i'm no shrink, but i think this may have something to do with it. i'm not afraid of pencil sharpeners, but freaky non-passenger planes do make my heart beat fast.

when i watched pearl harbour, i completely knew what they were feeling when the planes attacked. i've felt it, dreamed it, feared it.

once, when we were living in toronto, a huge group (squadron?) of not-normal planes zoomed over the city, flying really low. they were so loud, and so low, and all of a sudden i imagined bombs plummeting to the ground. my heart didn't stop pounding for hours. i kept waiting to hear someone with a blackberry yell that we'd been attacked. (clearly, it didn't happen).

apparently, there was an airshow nearby, and these planes were on their way. ugh.

anyway, this morning a loud, abnormal plane circled by and i cringed. i thought writing about it might help.

it probably didn't, but now you know my secret fear.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

settling in

we've been in thunder bay for three weeks now. high time for a post.

my first day here, i found a job. i was elated!
my first day of the job, i realized it was not for me. it was icky. dirty. gross. and i was supposed to spend 40 hours a week there. couldn't.
so i quit. and when they asked why, i told them the truth. even though i didn't want to hurt their feelings.
and they didn't even pay me for the day i worked.

so i've been looking for a job ever since. i don't even remember all the places i applied. haven't gotten ONE call yet. yowza. patrick too.

in between job hunts, we've been having a lot of fun. in the past 3 weeks we've had awesome company:
julie & mrs frank, mr rodgers, patrick's aunt diane, aunt chris & cousin erica, the bechards & bouchers, the clarks, and the brundages and chrissy :). some visits were super-short, some were nice & long, but all were fun. our little apartment loves having people over.

we've also: climbed mt. mckay, walked at trowbridge falls, hiked in sleeping giant provincial park, and centennial park. we've listened to mark driscoll, watched a movie (prince of persia: only watch it if you can sit by someone who will warn you when the snakes show up. shudder.), played board games, and made postcards. we've gone to meetings, gone to the cottage, gone for long walks in the cold (this city is chilly!), tracked a missing parcel all over town ... we've been busy and happy.

today patrick is doing school stuff and i'm prowling for jobs online. and i'm blogging, because i've got a few seconds alone. (NOT that i'm complaining. being busy keeps me from missing you too much.)

i've got some postcards ready to mail, and i plan to take a walk this afternoon. maybe i'll walk through the mall and pass out resumes everywhere. applying online doesn't seem to be panning out for me. :). i guess i'm just more awesome in person.

so now that you know thunder bay is awesome and fun, here are some things to make fun of:
motors & muscles. on our first day here, we saw a parking lot rally where people showed off their bikes and their lifting skills. there were lots of men with ponytails and women with bicep tattoos. i felt my neck turning red just watching.
the 80s. we saw 2 couples, separately, where the men were rocking puffy, feathery mullets, and the women had skyscraper bangs. one of the ladies had crimped hair. (crimped! is that the word?) it was great.
our neighbours. we have the strangest neighbours. the apartment building across from us houses people who love to yell out the windows at people on the street. and then, instead of using the door, just climb in and out of their living room window ... on the second storey. frequently.
scary nighttime yelling. during our first week, we woke up to the sound of a group of men yelling. it was indistinguishable at first, and then i heard "stop him! he's got a gun!" i didn't know if it was a fantasy league, larping, or real scary bad guys. i didn't want to look out the window, so i just cuddled closer to patrick.
last night we heard a breakup in stereo, just under our window. the guy called the girl a really horrible name, and stormed away. she yelled "shawn! come back! come back!" and patrick laughed, and said, "if he called me that, i wouldn't be yelling for him to come back!" good riddance for sure.

we miss our nephew and nieces so bad it hurts. wish we could be there for max-a-thousand's birthday today. hope he has a great one.
i miss my esl class. my awesome friends. my sweet sisters. my amazing parents. my paycheque.
pray for us. we need it.
we love you.