• This afternoon I got to do something really special, and it occurred to me I should get these thoughts written down before they start to dissipate. I figured why not share them with all of you, lest they be of a tiny bit of help or inspiration to someone else... The special thing I got to do was join a few other women on a Google hangout (ie. video call) with two of the creative women who I admire the most: visual artist and illustrator, Lisa Congdon, and founder of Design*Sponge, Grace Bonney!

  • Most of my usual blog readers can probably skip this post - it's an update about one of my health conditions that will probably be totally boring to most of you, but many of us who are dealing with this tricky condition have found it helpful to share our experiences. 

    This is a follow up post to my initial post about LPR and laryngeal granuloma. If you want the full history, or to read the many comments and updates from other people dealing with LPR, please start there!

    [EDIT: there is now a second update here.]

    My previous post left off nearly a year ago - how time flies... 

  • diamond studded

    Earlier this week, I was inspired by Vivienne's "word of the year" post, and really challenged myself to come up with one of my own for this coming year. I've half-heartedly considered choosing a word of the year before, but I've never actually done it (and I certainly felt a level of resistance around it, not sure why). This time I felt ready, but I didn't really know where to start, so of course I googled it and found a helpful worksheet that helped me to hash things out.

    I've been feeling very stuck these last couple years, like I've been trying to get somewhere, and can't seem to figure out where it is that I want to go or how to get there. I've been feeling this immense pressure to figure it out, to get healthy, to get going... but it's so counterproductive - pressure is the enemy of an anxious person with chronic illness! Round and round I've gone, wanting, yearning, but feeling held back by my body or my mind or my history or pretty much everything. It's not a nice feeling and as much as I've wanted to, it's been hard to shake. The reality is that I had expectations about where I'd be by now, and they haven't been met.

  • For a while now, I've been questioning whether or not Vancouver feels like home. Just a few weeks ago, I was ready to throw in the towel and give somewhere else a shot. 

    wilting hydrangeas

    Even if it meant leaving my amazing healthcare team, renting out our house, and (dog forbid) moving. I was just sick of being here! (This sentiment seems to come in waves and this was a particularly strong one.)

  • Black Friday. It's that time again. A time of gratitude, turkey (in the US), and crazy purchasing mania that makes me nauseous. But I'll save you the lecture I really want to give about externalities, sweatshops, and consumerism. My Black Friday mantra? Just say no.

    Ever since the one time I went Boxing Day shopping as a teenager, I will admit I've had a strong aversion to big sales and blitzes. The hungry crowds are too much for me. But nowadays even though the internet would let me easily avoid the mayhem, thanks to the blessing in disguise of a home with little storage space and the budget consciousness bestowed upon me by my health collapse, I've been working on being more conscious and conscientious about what I spend money on.

    I like to make most decisions based on these factors:

  • When Vivienne announced later in the summer she'd be doing a special edition of Be Your Own Beloved called "Beloved Body" in the fall, focusing on seeing our bodies with love and compassion, I was pretty excited. 

    BB Day 1: embarking on a very long day with compassion

    As part of my health and healing adventures, I've been working towards not seeing my body as the enemy. Even more challenging, I've been exploring how not to see my body as separate from my self or my mind, feeling like "it" is ruining all my plans and all my fun and getting in the way of things. Instead, I'm starting to see it as an ally and support that's doing its best every day, appreciating it for all that it does for me and how magical being alive at all truly is.

  • It was so timely that a friend posted this short talk by Brené Brown today, on not focusing on your critics. Just last night, while we were getting ready for bed, I said to Bruno, "If people think writing and talking about health problems and friendship changes and life challenges is so negative, why is it those topics exactly that I get such an intense response to?"

    IMG_5040

    I've had a few people confront me over the last few years about being "negative" online - I'm sure a lot more than that have had the same thought. And I guess I can understand why some people might find talking about challenges to be a negative thing. Trying to have your life appear perfect to the outside world is pervasive, both online and off. Perfect and pretty is nice and everything, but the truth is that connection doesn't happen over the fluff. Not real connection.

  • When we decided to try and extend our trip to Belgium, part of that included having time for a side trip so I could see a bit more of Europe. I agonized over where to go - flights are fairly cheap, and everything is so close together (and Bruno was fair game and let me have my pick)! In the end, I really wanted to go back to Berlin...

    Berlin

  • I started weeding through my trip photos from September a few days ago because there are some really wonderful ones I wanted to share. I ended up splitting the side trip to Berlin into a separate post because there were just far too many!

    Oostende

  • I've been thinking a lot again this past week about friends and community building. I think it's partly something that's been in the back of my mind for a while, and partly that my friend who I mentioned last time's memorial gave me a lot to think about.

    She really left us all with some strong and important messages about love and choices and embracing life - especially not letting the past or even present circumstances hold you back. She had also been one of the people who had encouraged me the most to keep writing and talking about friendship and its challenges.

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