This is what I would like my life to be like when I am retired.  Joy in the little things with the person I love. :)


can you describe it?

On Tuesday we had our new downstairs neighbours move in.  They are an older couple, which I was originally quite nervous about in terms of having to keep it down all the time and potentially being limited in when we can have people over, but it seems that the two of them have a house/cottage somewhere on Georgian Bay that they visit most weekends so the crazy wild [cat] parties can continue!

The night they moved in I had a very hard time falling asleep and was tossing and turning for a good few hours.  I eventually fell asleep but was awoken to the sound of four very distinct knocks that my sleepy brain interpreted as someone knocking on our door.  I looked at my phone.  It was 4:30am.  I lay there for a while not sure how to proceed but the house was dead quiet.  I must have imagine the knock.

Is that possible?  Was I dreaming and heard the sound in my dream?  It has honestly been bugging me ever since.  If you had stopped time at the moment I woke up I would have bet you $100 that the neighbors were knocking at the door.  But then, nothing. My theories of explanation so far are poltergeist, dream, sleepwalking neighbors, ghosts, ghost cats, and a wizard of some kind (Gandalf?)


can you describe it

a new approach

I have written on here many times before about my struggle with working towards, and maintaining goals.  Judging by the amount of books, articles, research, and other writers’ blog posts there are on the subject, I am not alone.  We tend to all have a very clear idea of what we need to do to be better, healthier, smarter, more productive and yet, we all seem to struggle with making that vision a reality.

Some new research suggests that how we verbally frame our choices may make a significant difference in our behaviour.

Your words help to frame your sense of empowerment and control. Furthermore, the words that you use create a feedback loop in your brain that impacts your future behaviors.

For example, every time you tell yourself “I can’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that is a reminder of your limitations. This terminology indicates that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.

In comparison, when you tell yourself “I don’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that reminds you of your control and power over the situation. It’s a phrase that can propel you towards breaking your bad habits and following your good ones.

I think I am going to give this a shot with a few things and see what happens.  If I have any great results I will let you know!

source: toothpastefordinner.com

source: toothpastefordinner.com

a reluctant update

You know what really grinds my gears?  When I come across a blog, especially one that I have never been to before and the lead post, or at least one of the first five posts, is about how the author has just been so busy and hasn’t posted anything, but promises to do better.  And then I look at the date and that apologetic post was written five months prior with maybe a few posts since then.  For this reason I really try to not do that on here.  I would rather try to keep posting as much as possible instead of apologizing and not actually acting on that apology.  However, if you are a regular visitor of The Shanty I am sure you have noticed that the posts have been pretty few and far between.   I would like to say that this is because I am really busy, but the truth is I just don’t know what to write about.

Two weeks ago I thought that maybe trying to do daily posts is just unrealistic and thought about going to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday post schedule with Sundays being the “Extra Ingredients” which is sort of like a half post (requires some effort but not really my own ideas).  But here we are, Wednesday, and I definitely did not post anything on Monday and am writing a post about not writing posts today.

I really like doing this blog and as much I love hearing from people that they like reading it, I really enjoy doing this for myself.  I am actually quite amazed that what started off as a little experiment has turned into almost 900 posts years later.  When I scroll through the pages of this baby I am truly proud of how much work I have put into it.  However, I am a bit lost now.

When I first started, and for about two years after, I would constantly be thinking about post ideas.  I had notes on my phone of topics I spontaneously would think of as I went about my day-to-day life.  I had ideas!  Every day! And now…

source: theexaminer.com

I just can’t think of good things to write about.  Not even good things, any things.

It makes me a bit worried and it makes my brain feel a little more mushy than normal.

Maybe a shake-up is in order.  I have been thinking that for a while now, of still keeping this blog but changing it somehow.  Maybe I should just accept the inevitable and turn this into a Cat blog.  Cat photos!  Cat gifs!  Cat jokes!  Cat videos!  ALL DAY EVERY DAY!  I wonder how that would affect my readership numbers…

Hmmmm….yes, it says here that there is a direct relationship between cat videos and reported happiness levels.

inside and out

It seems like as with every year, this is the prime time for people to get sick.  My boyfriend has been sick most of the week and I started to get little twinges of a possible cold moving in on Wednesday.  Luckily, I have a lot of years of experience under my belt in terms of supporting the body and specifically the immune system, so this time around I have been following my three-prong attack on the potential sickness and it seems that outside of some minor sniffles and headaches I have remained in pretty good shape.  Thought I would share my process with you in the hopes that it will keep you healthy as the seasons change!

Part 1 – The External


Detox Baths – Baths are a good way to unclog your nasal passages and get the lymph system going once you are already sick, but they can also be used during the preventative stage to draw out the nasties in your body that could lead to getting sick.  This bath is one that can be used in either scenario.  Fill the tub with hot water (as hot as you can handle but don’t burn yourself please!).  Add in Epsom salts (about two cups), about a cup of baking soda, and thin slices of fresh Ginger root.  Essential oils can be added also.  You can do some research about which oils to use for what ailments, but you can also add in some Lavender or Eucalyptus for example just for the aroma alone. Soak for about 20 minutes.  Make sure to get all bundled up as soon as you get out the tub!

Lavender Oil – Lavender essential oil is a good oil to use as a subtle antibacterial.  I learned this when I was flying to Taiwan and was told that it is a good oil to use as a hand sanitizer as well as a defense around the nose and mouth so that germs don’t get in.  You can either put some on a handkerchief and breathe it in or rub a few drops around your nose and mouth.  So much better than the industrial strength hand sanitizer!

Bundle up – Ok maybe this one is a no brainer, but it is oh so important!  Stay warm!  You especially want to make sure that your feet are warm and do not expose your body to cool temperatures if you have a fever.  It is very tempting to unbutton that coat and take off that scarf if you have a fever, but if you are outdoors you are just making it more difficult for your body to regulate its body temperature, therefore adding even more stress to the immune system in the end.

Part 2 – The Internal


Food/Drink – There is a lot that can be said on this topic so I am going to break down some of the main things here but you can do a lot more research to see what other foods are good for preventing and dealing with being sick!

  • Garlic!  Onions!  – pungent but are great natural antibiotics.  Eat raw in salads, sandwiches, etc.
  • Apple “cider” antibacterial drink – mix 1 tbsp raw honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 2 tbsps raw apple cider vinegar into hot water and sip slowly.  Tastes like apple cider and is really great at getting rid of unwanted things in the body.  I also sometimes add cayenne pepper and fresh ginger.  A really great drink for a cold day as well!
  • Stay away from sugar and dairy – these two things really slow down the function of white blood cells and you want these little guys to be in tip top shape during cold and flu season!  Gluten is also a good thing to take out of your diet especially when already sick.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine.  Yeah yeah, I know it’s the good stuff but it really doesn’t do your body any favors, especially if it is already working overtime to keep/get you healthy.
  • Keep it simple.  Whatever you end up eating try to stick to things that are easy for your body to digest.  Steak dinner?  No.  Brown rice and steamed veggies?  Yes.  And while you are at it, add some garlic to that rice bowl!

Oil of Oregano – This oil has gained a lot of popularity as of late so I just wanted to write a little bit about it and how to best use it.  I really like this stuff for weeks like this one where I could tell I was probably about to get sick.  Taking a few drops in water throughout the day for a few days has really helped me to not let whatever has gotten into my body develop into a full out illness.  However, oil of oregano is very potent and is not very discriminatory about what kinds of germs it kills.  It’s sort of like throwing a bomb into a room and shutting the door.  Sure the bad guys are done for, but so are the good ones.  Therefore, it is really important to not overuse this one, as after prolonged usage it could end up compromising your body more by getting rid of some of its natural defenses.

Water – Duh!  Drink it!  Lots of it.

Part 3 – The Behavior

Rest – I know that we all have a lot of stuff to do.  We may have demanding jobs, kids, social commitments, world domination schemes to iron out… I get it.  But just laying back and letting your body do what it needs to do is the best, THE BEST, thing you can do when you feel like you are getting sick or trying to kick an existing cold to the curb.  The best rest?  Sleeeeeeeep!  Sleep at night, get up and maybe have some food, and go back to sleep.  Keep doing this throughout the day if possible.  Seriously.  No amount of sleep at this stage can be seen as too much.  Your body can normally handle things very well if you let it use the maximum amount of energy on keeping itself healthy.

Hope some of this stuff helps you out next time you feel a cold coming on.  The combination of these three areas of focus does wonders for me!

david foster wallace

The author David Foster Wallace ended his own life on this day in 2008.  I have never read any of his works and although I have heard the title of one of his works – Infinite Jest, I have never really paid too much attention to it.  I happened to see a story about the anniversary of his death, which mentioned a commencement address he gave in 2005 to the graduates of Kenyon College.  Apparently this speech is quite famous so maybe you have already heard this, but if you have not I would really recommend you give it a listen.

Sure made me feel better about “only” getting a Liberal Arts degree (two in fact!)

It also made me interested in reading his works.  I believe I have heard from others, and I think you can tell from his speech, that he is a quite verbose author which is sometimes quite difficult to absorb, but it seems like it is worth a shot.

Part 1

Part 2

It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

no denying it


On Wednesday night I was cuddled on the couch and was surprised to see that it was only 8:30 pm but it was already dark outside.  Thursday morning was a chilly ride to work despite the fact that I was wearing pants and a coat.  The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back.

There is no denying it.  Fall is approaching us pretty quickly and although it does not officially begin until the 22nd of this month, I am pretty sure it is safe to say that it has already snuck one foot in the door.  The cooler nights, the shorter days, the scarves…they all signal autumn’s arrival.  And even without these external signs, I can tell by my thoughts and cravings that it is almost time to burrow inside and prepare for the winter months.  Just this week I have been struck with an overwhelming desire to bake things, make squash soups, find some apple cider, get under cozy blankets, and dig some mittens and scarves out of storage.

The next few fall months also hold some exciting things:

– a girls getaway camping trip this month

– the wrap up of the Blue Jays baseball season (I have tickets to two more games)

– potentially a last camping trip to Algonquin with my boyfriend in early October to see the leaves and bid an official farewell to summer

– the trial of some fall recipes I have been squirreling away all summer such as warm cocktails with apple cider, pumpkin pie from scratch (I am determined to do this finally), and oddles of things involving squash.  I am also toying around with the idea of making some sort of elaborate Thanksgiving meal this year.

Anything you are looking forward to this fall?

-The Postliminary-

Some past autumn posts on The Shanty – here, here,  and one of my past favorites here.

welcome to august

“Can you believe it’s August already????”

Yeah yeah, calm down.  Summer always seems to fly by so it really shouldn’t be a surprise if it seems like the May 2-4 weekend was mere weeks ago.  These warm months are prime real estate to fill up with weekend adventures, weddings, out of town trips, and all sorts of fun stuff in the sun that we Canadians kind of can’t do for over half of the year.

But fear not, we {hopefully} have about a month or two left of pretty warm weather.  So now’s the time to really cease the day and start cramming every nook and cranny (did I get that right?!  I actually first wrote “neck and croonie”) with outdoorsy things!

Why, isn’t this weekend a perfect time to start?  Yes.  Yes it is.  It’s a long one folks so you have no excuses.  The bf and I are taking an even longer weekend and heading to Killbear Provincial Park for Sunday and Monday nights.  I am suspecting that the Monday night will be especially quiet and relaxing there once the long weekend campers with kids have hopefully departed.  Either way, it looks like a beautiful place so I am sure we will have a good time.  Friday after work and Saturday are still up a bit in the air but I am sure we will manage to get some summer-y things done, perhaps those involving a BBQ.  Maybe even some from this list. Yum!

Hope you have a great August starting with a fabulous long weekend!

How cute is this print called “Camping in the Woods” by Teagan White?

Available for purchase here

thanks for the advice kurt v

source: holyokelibrary.wordpress.com

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.
 — Kurt Vonnegut
I hope I have a better idea of what I should be doing with my time here by the time I am 40 but this makes me feel better at 31 that’s for sure.