Friday, October 28, 2016

Fabulous Friday with Yummy Leftovers & Cookies

Yesterday was my day off. I usually go to my Pottery Class but my teacher was ill so class was cancelled. The weather was dark and gloomy and wet, which I love, so I stayed in and baked cookies and made soup...

I also tried a new recipe from the Clean Eating magazine : Braised Chickpeas. It was quite yummy, and I brought some for my lunch today. I made some changes, as always. It called for fennel, which I have never used before.  Recipe is below...

Tomorrow we have our community garden clean-up from 9 to 12 noon. The garden needs to be put to bed for the winter. I made the oatmeal cookies for the volunteers, but doubled the recipe for those of us at home.

The best part about a Lois-Day on a cold October day, is the oven heats up half the house and I had the fireplace going from 2pm on, and by the time Husband came home the temperature was up to 21c.

Enjoying life - clean and clear.

Braised Spiced Chickpeas with Swiss Chard & Sweet Potatoes

Serves 6
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
  • 3 tbsp 
extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 
yellow onions, 
finely chopped - used 4 small
  • 2 
small fennel bulbs, cored and finely chopped - 1 bulb roughly chopped
  • ¼ tsp 
kosher salt or sea salt 
+ additional to taste
  • 7 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp 
each ground cumin 
and coriander - alas, no coriander, used some dried cilantro
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 lb 
sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes - used one sweet potato
  • 2 15-oz 
BPA-free cans unsalted chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained (TRY: Eden Organic Garbanzo Beans) - used one can, because I bought organic $2 / can!
  • 2 oz 
each dried unsweetened apricots, plums and 
figs (NOTE: Roughly 
chop apricots and 
plums; remove tough stems of figs and chop 
into quarters.) - I couldn't find organic apricots, so used regular, chopped. Also I used organic dried cranberries instead of the other dried fruit.
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth - used fresh homemade
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 lb 
rainbow chard (leaves and stems), roughly chopped - fresh from my garden!
  • Ground black pepper, 
to taste
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, 
for garnish - sadly, I was tired at this point and didn't want to wash it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Woodsmoke and Warm Socks

The weather has turned, and socks and sweaters have been found in the storage under my bed and tucked into drawers. Jackets and scarves are at hand, and hiking boots tied on my summer feet - now held captive.

It is a glorious season.

On the weekend we picked up a load of firewood and have had a cosy fire each evening since. When we bought our house last year, Husband made mention of converting our wood-burning fireplace into gas, and I quickly flattened that idea...

There is something about a fireplace that burns wood. It is primitive. It is beautiful.

We have our community garden cleanup this Sat [or Sunday] and then the garden will be put to bed for the winter months. We are taking back our old plot for the 2017 season, even though we really don't need a plot. It will give us a reason to go, and I will grow sauce tomatoes and onions and beets.

I need to bake some hearty cookies on Friday night for our garden cleanup... Tempt people with home-baked goods. Cookies work.

Tomorrow is pottery and I am not taking the extra studio time. I might simply do some hand building tomorrow, I might use the extruder and make some tiles... I might just sit at that wheel again. Depends on how tomorrow plays out.

Agitated men here at work today, soothing music helps.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Pottery Conundrum

My pottery class has been wiping me out. Hand building I find relaxing, and I love working inwards, zoning out with the clay... But when I work on the wheel - it's work. It physically exhausts me and I go home, incapable of doing anything in the evening. Two weeks in a row I have pretty much collapsed on the sofa, covered in dried muck - too pooped to cook.

I urgently desire to be skilled at the wheel. I want to make a beautiful set of mugs. My ego is fucking me up, and I have to let it go.

The reason I am taking pottery is to enrich myself. I am there to chill with the clay.  Is it supposed to be a warm, fuzzy, safe place for me to create in...  Or, am I there to be challenged? Should I force myself to get stronger, be better?

My tired self wants to sit in a corner and play with clay. My ambitious self wants to learn.

It's a conundrum.

What I have made so far, is beautiful. Even my ugly attempts at the wheel I make beautiful. I will use what I am making as well. My teacher said to use what I make, to make those pieces a part of my every day life, to learn them and to see how they work for me.

I think I'm meant to keep trying.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Restless Energy [can be] Creative Energy

Boundless, restless energy is kind of cool. Husband was working late yesterday so I stopped at my favourite thrift store on the way home and found some transitional clothes to wear as my body shrinks, and once the overly warm weather leaves I will switch out my summer for winter wardrobe.

It's a good 20 minute walk from there to home, and once there I changed and grabbed Middle Son and we walked to the nearby grocery store for barbecue food - 20 more minutes walking!

While the potatoes and chicken were cooking I worked on one of my nearly-dry pots I brought home from pottery class last week. It was one of my pottery-wheel fails that I made into a spouted vessel. I knew that if I had time I could whittle away at the ugliness and make it into a thing of interest/beauty. I am so calm when playing with clay. I love touching clay, and it grounds me. I'll do a little more on it tonight - adding some decoration.

Working on the wheel still stresses me out - but if I go into class utterly calm I am somewhat successful. If I am not calm, the wheel and I work against each other. My instructor leaves me alone now, and keeps an eye out - but it's all about me forcing the clay, me being impatient, me not breathing. Stuff I have to work out on my own.

I like using my restless energy creatively [but not at Pottery Class]. Later, after Husband came home and we watched a little television I did some sketching and that left me with so much satisfaction - it was an all-round good night.

That leaves me thinking about what I could have accomplished all these years if I hadn't wasted so much time sipping wine and chilling.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Restless and Sober

It's annoying when your partner still imbibes once you have stopped. Husband has cut out beer - during the week - but this past Friday, Saturday & Sunday, he did drink beer. Maybe not as much as he would have in the past - although I think he did, and maybe even more than usual?

What I've noticed is we aren't on the same page when relaxing. Mostly because I can't really relax, at least not like I did before.

Summer Weekend Lois Before : Husband and I would get our errands out of the way early in the day, including a stop at the LCBO for beer & wine. Anytime after 12 noon was time for a drink, and I would sit on my garden swing with a glass of wine, and he would sit beside me and we'd gaze at our house [still new to us] and talk about how much we loved our new house. In the evening, we'd barbecue [quite late] and chill on our chairs and stare at the sky, with candles on and sit and sip until it was late and time for bed.

It was lovely.

Autumn Weekend Lois Now : There is so much to do on the weekends, and I don't have time to simply sit. When I do sit, I have my journal and or sketchbook at my side, my attention is there. I carry around a thermos of tepid herbal tea, and rarely sit for more than 2 minutes before I hop up and go do something. I annoy myself. Sitting still is very difficult, but with someone who is completely mellowed out on 4 beer, and wants to have lovely vague meandering conversations - that's annoying too.

We are walking different paths right now, and I suspect he misses his drinking partner on the weekends. Last night he was all geared up to sit outside until bed, but I needed to zone out with TV for an hour - or two. The television is a good distraction these days.

When he starts to sweat out the beer in the night - now that's also annoying.

I wonder what I used to smell like?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pondering Bits at the End of the Week

I've been reading sobriety blogs. It's good to keep me aware, to keep me alert. Day 39 today, and looking forward to Day 40. A hurdle to pass.

Yesterday I had a meeting at a bank to change some signing info for our community garden. One co-signer did not show, which was annoying. It caused my Lois-Day to get backed up - and by the time I made it way across the city to my pottery course my energy levels were already lagging. This resulted in cylinders that were more like bowls.

Next Thursday my gift to myself is not booking anything on my day off, aside from Pottery. No coffee with friends, no appointments, no tasks at all.

I was covered in clay, and exhausted when I got home. So exhausted, I took a bath and after dinner, just chilled until 8:30 when I went to bed. My system is such a baby now, it needs good food and walks, it needs so much rest. I am high maintenance.

And, I want to add something else to my schedule, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea. I need to strengthen my core - really badly. When I walk slowly, like at the art gallery or with husband, my lower back kills me. It really hurts. I know it's my weak core muscles, and I need Yoga. I need meditation too - but Yoga is step one. There is a class in my old neighbourhood, which is a 15 minute bus ride away, but I really should find one here, that I can walk to.

My weight has finally started to drop. It did initially, but once constipation set in at around week 3, it all came back on again. I am feeling less swollen around my middle.

Husband was beer-free on Tues, Wed & Thurs - his own goal. We are saving oodles of money, which I promptly spend on lovely hair cuts and purses. As of today, day 39, I have saved over $400 and with husband cutting back as well, that could easily be $600. All good.

If I go forward with Yoga, I'll have to buy a top to wear... and a mat. Daughter took my yoga mat.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Rolling with Recovery

Thankful for a Sans Wine long weekend.

I am happy to note that my energy levels are up - and sleep is better as well. It did take a full 30 days for my sleep to improve, and might still get better. I used to take a 1/2 a Gravol most nights to help me sleep. Wine enabled me to get to sleep, but I would wake up around 2 and slip into anxiety about just about everything, and not get back to sleep until shortly before I needed to get up for work.

Last week I stopped taking the Gravol and have been getting to sleep quite well, and staying has improved as well. I wake up so rested. Really, really rested. And alert.

Aside from sleep, my energy has improved and euphoria has returned. Constipation appears to have left as well, and now I am waiting eagerly for all my extra pounds to drop off me in a whoosh. I really, really want to make my outside match how my inside feels.

Yesterday was a holiday and I spent it on my feet cooking all day long. This weeks lunches at work: Gluten Free muffins with broccoli and cheddar and a pot of curried squash soup. For our Harvest Thanksgiving made [with so-so success] roasted root vegetables and 2 French Canadian [with a Scottish Twist] Tortierre Meat Pies. Daughter came with her sweetie.

Daughter came and we had very little alcohol in the house. Husband had a few beers and one cider for Daughter. No flowing wine and beer for this visit and I sent her home with half a bottle of gin that she bought me during the summer.

I really do think that my ability to stop drinking stems from the intensive writing I have been doing. In 1998 I followed The Artist's Way, and it helped me unblock artistically, but also helped me prioritize my time and I saw how much time I wasted smoking. I stopped that February and have never smoked since.

This time I have not been following The Artist's Way, but have been journaling to keep my sanity in a stressful June, and forced myself to write until it became easier. And as the summer rolled on, I started to draw - and then my goal to stop drinking was the next step. And apparently the Gravol too.

Living Clean is Cool.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Euphoria Again

Yesterday my energy level soared, and it flowed into a feeling of euphoria today - I find myself thinking things like : I love my life. Crazy talk. My house is a horrific mess. My day-job is dull. There is no wine at the end of the day. But I am loving my life. I am loving sobriety.

Tonight I am getting my hair cut. I'm going quite short - shorter than I've been for a long time. I'm calling it my menopause hair because my thick hair is hot.

New life - new hair - new habits. Weight loss too - I was promised after day 30 that my body would be settling down, and now I'm ready for the pounds to magically drop.

We'll work on that one.

Day 32 - and all is good. Making plans. Going to take this all the way to Christmas.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fantastic Day 30 and Craving Change

So I made it to day 30, and feel pretty fantastic, at least at the first of the day until crushing fatigue sets in around 3pm. Every day I plan on going for a walk after dinner with our without husband, and every day after work I moan at the thought of making dinner and plant myself on the sofa, watching Netflix until 10pm, when I [hope] I can sleep.

Sleep is getting easier, last night I did not take 1/2 a Gravol but I did dream of zombies. My weight went down a few pounds, then up again, although my belly looks and feels smaller.

Hot flushes have set in, I'm pretty sure it is menopause, really haven't had any since last autumn. Could be another alcohol withdrawal symptom? Late onset, if so. Probably menopause.

Tomorrow is my day off - and I'm writing today instead of tomorrow because my Lois-Day is a little stuffed. Coffee in the morning with my friend Heather - and then Pottery.

The week has been good, I feel strong and well. My hardest time of day is when we first get home from work, when I used to reach for that bottle of red wine. Now it is either Italian Soda or really spicy Ginger Beer. Then I switch to Tiger Tea for the evening. I think that Husband is still a little lost without his beer loving partner. He has been bringing home lovely pumpkin craft beers and I will take a sniff, and say how lovely. But the beer really stinks.

I've noticed that a lot of things smell. My nose apparently is on overdrive.

I am getting a hair cut Friday. I crave change and am going quite a bit shorter. Loving the changes in my life, still treading carefully.