Mike

Thirty eight years ago today, on a day very much like this one, my baby brother, Mike, came into this world and into my life. As an almost eight-year-old girl with a deep maternal instinct, this was a dream come true. I had my very own baby.

Mike was absolutely adorable with a beautiful and sunny nature that everyone loved. He was an easy baby and I took great delight in mothering him…or perhaps at times, smothering him with my devoted affection. One of my favourite memories is snuggling up in my bed and reading to Mike. And there are still times when I am reading the same books to my own kids that I will feel the presence of that delightful little guy who made my life so utterly sun-shiny.

Even though I had lived almost eight years of my life before Mike come along, I truly cannot recall a time when my beautiful brother has not been a significant part of my life. I remember his first words, his first steps, his first haircut, and his first day of school. And, I remember them all with the nostalgia of a parent.

The other first that I remember, with a bit of an ache in my heart, is the first time that I saw Mike as my friend and as my equal.

It was February of 1993 and our beloved grandfather, Poppa, was in the hospital. Mom was out of town at a quilting convention. Dad was out of town on business. My older brother, Jim, was living in Ottawa. And my younger sister, Margie, was at school in Montreal. I was working at a school in Toronto and Mike was still in high school. My grandmother, Nanny, was house-bound so Mike and I were holding down the fort and taking care of both Nanny and Poppa.

The school I was working at was a few minutes from Sunnybrook Hospital so I used to go in at lunch and after work to visit with my adorable and much-loved grandfather.

On the morning of February 16th, 1993, I dropped Mike at school on my way to work. We agreed that we would meet at the hospital after school and then go see Nanny after our hospital visit with Pop. It was a cold and very snowy day and by lunchtime my car was covered in deep snow. At that point in my career, I had an old beater of a car that needed lots of time to warm up so I left it running while I cleared the snow. When I had finished, I discovered, much to my frustration and chagrin, that I had locked my keys in the car.

I phoned Mike’s school and he arrived in a taxi with my spare set. By the time the car fiasco was dealt with my lunch hour was over and I had to go back to work. I was sorry that I didn’t get my lunch time visit with my Poppa but knew that I would see him in a few short hours. Mike and I decided that rather than going back to school, he would carry on to the hospital and spend the afternoon with Pop.

I had not been in my class very long before I got a distressed call from Mike asking me to get to the hospital…fast.

I rushed to the hospital to discover Mike standing in the hallway outside Pop’s room with a grief-stricken face. ‘Pop died’, was all he could say before he crumpled into my arms.

With the rest of our family out of town, we had only each other to lean on. And while we felt as if the world around us had suddenly gone mad, we were each other’s anchors. We held each other, we wept together, and we began the unbearable sadness of saying goodbye. The events of that afternoon are blurry. However, the thing that stands out the most is that Pop’s death was a defining moment in my relationship with Mike. It was the first time I had ever seen Mike as my friend, my comfort and my brother. Not my baby brother, but my brother.

And so, on this 28th day of February I celebrate not only the birth of my beautiful baby brother but also the deep friendship of a wonderful man.

Happy birthday Mike! I love you! xo

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Too Pooped to Party

I got up this morning at 4:30, got myself ready for work, cooked breakfast to leave for the kids, packed lunch bags and school bags and left the house at 6:00.

work-yawn-tired-400x400I ran a fabulously fun workshop in Toronto all day from 9:00 to 4:30.

Got home tonight at 6:30, cleaned up the breakfast dishes, unpacked lunch bags and fed Michael his dinner (as he is the only member of my family actually here).

Sometimes I wonder how I ever thought I was busy before I had kids…

I am now officially too pooped to party. If I thought I could get away with going to bed at 8:00, I would.

Working from home tomorrow…gotta love it! 🙂

Happy Cow

I am on Day 9 of my 21-day meat-free Clean Cleanse. Apart from my eczema which, I think, is just beginning to subside, I feel absolutely wonderful. I am loath to make any pronouncements at this point, but I have an inkling that I will not want to go back to eating meat at the end of this 21-day experiment. I am finding my raw vegan diet extremely satisfying and completely delicious. Not to mention the fact that my energy is zippy and my clarity splendid.

The only hitch to my anticipated diet strategy is how to take it on the road for my upcoming holidays.

13-2In just over two weeks Simon and I are travelling to Barcelona for a week (part business and part pleasure). Even though we don’t leave for two weeks, I am already starting to think about and plan our trip. Usually I am thinking clothes, guidebooks and maps. This time, however, I am thinking food, food and food.

I have never travelled to Spain and I have no idea how I am going to feed myself while I am there. I know that I will travel with my Magic Bullet, my raw smoothie protein powder for breakfast and LARA bars for snacks, but what about meals?

Long before I decided to remove meat from my diet, I ran into a wonderful man at Loren’s raw food café who told me about Happy Cow. Happy Cow is a website that enables vegetarians and vegans to locate restaurants all over the world which cater specifically to their needs. At the time, I didn’t pay much attention because, frankly, I didn’t need to. As a card-carrying-carnivore, I could eat anywhere I wanted with little to no fuss.

images (25)However, now all that has changed and I am thrilled to have discovered that there are people out there in the world supporting the vegan and vegetarian world travellers.

Just before jumping on this blog post, Happy Cow informed me that there are 6 vegan restaurants, 33 vegetarian restaurants and 64 health stores right in Barcelona. I even get reviews and descriptions of each and every one of them.

So now, I get to relax and enjoy the happy anticipation of our trip knowing that Happy Cow has my back.

Now, if I could just get Happy Cow to liase with Air Canada to discover what food I can bring on the airplane with me for my seven hour flight… 🙂  images (26)

The Thing About…

Enjoy the Silence_1As the mother of three sons, I seek out and deeply appreciate the quiet moments which present themselves in my life. And when I notice a quiet moment, I delve into the peace, lean into the silence and just allow my thoughts to drift.

Driving alone in my car is one of my favourite drifting spots.

My drifting moment this morning occurred just after the Gong Show of school drop-off and before I arrived to meet my girlfriend for tea.

BLQ-Eckhart-Tolle-resistance-Go-with-the-flow-quotes-and-best-life-lessons-300x300I was driving with the radio off, of course, when it struck me how energetically clear, focused and optimistic I was feeling. It felt almost as if a heavy pall had been lifted from my body, my mind, and my spirit. And as that thought was landing, it also occurred to me that the things in my life that I persistently resist, because I think they will be too hard, are the ones that end up being the most fantastic.

Even if I don’t realize it at the time, looking back on the thing I thought I couldn’t do, I can always see an incredible gift. Each and every Radical Act, from the least significant to the most, is truly incredible. My most recent Radical Act doesn’t need a few days, weeks or months for me to appreciate its quantum effect on my life. This Radical change of lifestyle is making itself felt in real-time.

So here’s the thing about the Radical Act…sometimes they seem like the worst case scenario, the scariest, the hardest, and the most risky. But really, they are incredible opportunities to venture way outside of the comfort zone without a safety net and to be reminded that we are all truly rocks stars of transformation!

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The End of the Tunnel

rainy-day-in-parisI have been off Prednisone for seven days. And I am on Day Seven of my Clean Cleanse.

Energetically I am feeling more of a spring in my step than I have felt for a very long time. The impact of coming off of Prednisone, removing meat from my diet, and starting a cleanse, is absolutely blowing my mind. And the raw live diet I am eating at the moment is feeling incredibly resonant.

Ironically, while I am feeling this incredible resonance within my body, my eczema has returned full-force. My arms, legs, abdomen and right hand are covered with a red, swollen and painful rash. My arms are the worst…it feels kind of like having a really bad sunburn that doesn’t just hurt but is also itchy to the point of driving me mad. It hurts to wear any clothing on my arms and I am back to waking myself up in the middle of the night scratching like crazy.

25199564-optimistic-word-cloud-concept-with-great-terms-such-as-hopeful-upbeat-happy-and-moreTwo months ago, when I was in the throes of this kind of eczema flare, I felt defeated. I felt powerless and hopeless and I didn’t know where to turn. The only solution I could come up with was to head to my local Emergency Room to cover up the symptoms and to get some much-needed relief. Prednisone did give me the relief I was looking for…but at a very high cost.

Two months later I am feeling more hopeful than I have done in a very long time. I feel like I am on the right track. I feel like I am deep-cleansing my body and that the eczema is simply a by-product of all the junk in my system that just wants out. And now I am living in a way that is going to allow that to happen; exercising regularly, meditating daily, eating a clean diet including wheatgrass, sprouts, blue green algae and lots and lots of pure water.

I am thrilled to realize that I now see a light at the end of the tunnel…and it’s not the oncoming train.

photo light at the end of the tunnel...

Oh Canada!

A fabulous hockey morning with my hockey-loving boys! It was such fun to gather around the TV in the wee hours this morning and cheer our country to gold.

As I sat and watched Zachary’s select team play their own game this afternoon, all I could think was; how many of these kids have been utterly inspired by watching both our women’s and men’s hockey teams bring home the gold to keep dreaming their own big dreams?

Here’s to our future Olympians!
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Ouch!

I did my very first cleanse three months ago. I had always been reluctant to attempt a cleanse for two reasons; the first being that I was concerned that I would be hungry all the time, and the second being that I had heard horror stories about the physical effects of cleansing and detoxification.

cleanprogram_post (1)Well, it turns out that I was not hungry all the time and actually loved every minute of my cleanse. And, what I hadn’t taken into consideration in terms of the ill-effects of detox, was that I had already given up all the things that cause people so much discomfort; sugar, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, and gluten. So, really, my cleanse was just learning to eat a slightly different combination of foods at more prescribed times.

No sweat at all!

This cleanse, however, is proving to be entirely different.

headaches-cartoonBy about 3:00pm yesterday afternoon, I had a headache so severe I thought that perhaps the top of my head might actually blow off with the pressure. I slept badly last night and when I awoke this morning I felt groggy and disoriented and my head did not feel much better.

By the time I had been up a few hours and had consumed massive amounts of water I could feel the headache easing off slightly. I have been able to function today and, when the house miraculously emptied of all the men in my family, the quiet time did my head a world of good. I even felt well enough to make a Raw Lemon Cheesecake and the process of juicing lemons and grating zest felt both meditative and calming and my headache has been downgraded to just mildly uncomfortable.

I am absolutely amazed that removing meat from my diet is causing me to have this physical reaction. If I were coming off coffee I could understand the headaches. But coming off meat? Seriously?

And while I do not like the sensation of the headache, I am now absolutely fascinated by what is taking place in this miraculous body.

And what will tomorrow bring? I can’t wait to find out!helthy-body-alternative