Thursday, August 29, 2013

Making the Vegan Transition!


Yesterday I wrote about my very painful experience with gallstones. Well, I have a bit of good news! After doing another ultrasound this morning it has been determined that surgery is not needed. The doctor suggested I make simple changes to my diet to reduce the chance of having to deal with gallstone pain again.

And so for the zillionth time in my life, it was suggested that I pretty much adapt a vegan diet.

Well, in my doctor’s words, “Cut back on high fat foods like cream, cheese, fatty meats, take-out and processed foods.”

Sounds like a plant-based diet to me. 

I know I could simply cut back on these foods, but why not eliminate them altogether?


My boyfriend has been a strict vegetarian (no meat, eggs or dairy) for 5 years now. And while I like many, many vegan foods I have always had a difficult time sticking to just vegan foods.

3 Reasons Why:

For one, I can’t stand beans. The taste, the texture, the smell. While I have forced myself to eat them many times because I understand that they are actually super healthy, I have always had to disguise them as well as I can. But sometimes even knowing they are there turns me off.


Another thing, one I hate to talk about, is my poor relationship with food in general. I am a food addict. Not going to lie, I love food. I love ice cream, and steak and cheese! There are indeed always great alternatives, but they aren’t quite the same as the real thing.


And lastly, the alternatives are a little bit pricier! I mean, tubs of ice cream go on sale for $2.99 all of the time! But a super tiny tub of vegan ice cream rarely dips below the $3.99 mark. Most vegan foods just don’t go on sale, ever! And while I know buying unprocessed, fresh foods, and ingredients, is truly much cheaper than buying anything processed, sometimes I just really want an Oreo (which is vegan! And does go on sale) or a veggie burger!
 
I might as well try it again, though:
 
What it comes down to is the fact that clearly my current diet is not working out for me. I’m overweight, I’m exhausted, I have gallstones and I’m just plain tired of living like this.

Because my boyfriend is vegetarian, because I have been vegan on and off, and because I have done a lot of research, own a lot of books and watched many documentaries, I know in the end that a vegan diet can do wonders for your health. So for the next little while I’m going to start the switch.

I can’t promise anyone, not even myself, that this time it will work out. I can’t guarantee I will stick to this diet for the rest of my life. But I know that for now I can start making the transition to a healthier diet.

I might even keep you guys updated on my progress ;)

How about you? Are you a vegan or vegetarian? How did you make the transition?

Thanks,
Cole
 
PS - At least most beer is vegan! And one reason Nick refuses a vegan title - He loves Guinness!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Backpacks, Gallstones and Gratitude


 
I took my daughter back to school shopping today! We got her a backpack plus many other little items such as markers, pencil crayons, scissors, glue, etc. Very exciting stuff for a five year old (and even for a twenty three old! Who doesn’t love markers?!).

When Nick is at work we always take the bus for several reasons. One, because he has the car. Two, because I need to renew my license. And three, because Sidney think it’s just SO much fun! Luckily for us our apartment is a short walk to the bus terminal downtown.

But today that walk was just too long.
 
Right after Sidney and I crossed the street, I threw my coffee cup into a garbage can and immediately keeled over as a sharp pain shot through my upper abdomen area. It came out of nowhere, as if someone stabbed me for no apparent reason. I tried to finish our walk home, but after a mere few steps I couldn’t even stand.

Squatting down, leaned up against a brick wall just a short ways down an alley (so I wasn’t RIGHT downtown), I called my mom on my cell phone bawling my eyes out. This pain was worse than child labour pains without meds, and I know this for a fact because I gave birth - naturally! And unlike child labour pains, it wasn’t going away!

After my dad picked us up we went back to their house, dropped Sid off and my mom took me to the hospital. She couldn’t stay with me because my dad needed the car, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to know what was wrong with me, and I wanted the pain to go away.

And of course, just like always, as soon as I get to the emergency room, the pain does subside a little and I started to wonder if I should just call my mom to take me home right away. But I didn’t, because I knew the pain could and most likely would come back.


The nurses did a urine test and some blood tests, and after waiting around for 5 hours, they did an ultrasound. And guess what? I have gallstones! Yippee!

Well, maybe a “yippee” isn’t a good reaction, but I’m glad it isn’t something super serious. As painful as gallstones can be at times, they’re really not that threatening.

Still, another ultrasound is needed, and it’s possible that I might need surgery. I wouldn’t want to experience that pain ever again, especially during class or while I’m out with Sidney again! That would be awful, especially if I couldn’t get a hold of anyone to pick us up.

The doctor told me that females, in their fertile years, with fair skin, have the highest risk of developing gallstones. And I’m all three, baby! Sign me up!

I guess I'm just lucky!

And really I am! Because even though I have these dang gallstones that might require surgery, I’m fortunate enough to have family to help me when I need them, to live in a country with free health care and a city with a great hospital and hospital staff! So much to be grateful for. :)

Have you ever had to deal with gallstones? Or something similar?

Thanks,
Cole

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Orientation Day


 
The day before orientation, as I packed my bag with everything I would need, I realized I didn’t receive an actual Orientation Package. Apparently it would be needed on orientation day!

So of course I felt a little bit panicky and completely unprepared. Nick calmed me down by telling me to arrive early and stop in the Registrar Office to ask about it.

Already feeling anxious, I made sure to set my clothes out the night before and to get a good night’s sleep. Everything would be okay.

Well, Nick and I slept through our alarm and woke up 40 minutes late! It was raining lightly, and much too hot and muggy to wear the clothes I picked out. I ran around my room, trying to get dressed quickly. I gave up on the idea of fixing my hair and skipped the make-up routine entirely.

As we drove there I just kept thinking, “Why is it raining today? This can’t be a good sign." (Still trying to fix my pessimist ways.)

I made it just as the Registrar Office was opening. The lady was super nice and gave me everything I needed. With the help of some orientation leaders, I found my way to the Recreation Center. (Why are school campuses so confusing?) I have a feeling I will spend a fair amount of time getting lost this semester.

While standing around in the Recreation center, surrounded by my new classmates, I couldn’t help but feel weird. I was excited, but at the same time I kept thinking, “What the heck am I doing here? I don't belong!

When talking to a couple of girls in my class, they seemed so confident, so sure of themselves and I couldn’t help but to wonder again, “What the heck am I doing here?!” Because I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time, and I rarely ever feel confident. Sad, I know, but I'm working on it. :)

The Journalism Coordinator started off by writing a number on the blackboard. He wrote 324. He told us that was how many people applied for the program and only 70 were accepted, including me. I have to admit that hearing that kind of made me feel a little bit better.

After talking to us a bit more about the program in general he had two 2013 graduates and three 2nd year students tell us a bit about their experiences at the college. All five of them already had jobs, part time or full time, within the journalism field. The graduates told us about their jobs, how they landed them and what it was like. Hearing their stories helped me feel better. Most of them didn’t consider journalism at first. The one girl even said she only took journalism because she didn’t know what else to do, but knew she liked writing.

In short, her story sounded like my own. Yet here she was, starting 2nd year and already working. Maybe I’ll do alright after all.

Afterwards, I went and got my student card as well as my library PIN. Holding that card in my hand makes me feel like a real student! It sounds kind of lame writing it down, but that’s how I feel.

As I waited for the bus to take me home, dark clouds rolled in over the campus grounds. Thunder began to rumble in the distance and lightning flashed not so far away. Eventually I had to wait under the bus stop shelter as rain pelted down in big, heavy drops. As all of this happened, I looked around at my new school and instead of taking this random thunder storm as a sign for gloomy days ahead, it just made me more excited.

Now that the day is over, I wonder why I ever felt nervous in the first place.
Thanks,
Cole

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekly Wishes #6 – RELAX + SHOP


Last week I wanted to make an effort to write more. I write every day in my personal journal as it is, but I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to make an effort to write all kinds of things this past week.

Well, I think I did pretty well on this goal! I actually wrote a short story, which was only 5 pages but it was fun. I also wrote a few rough blog posts, too. And since I forced myself to write more, I have been just a crazy idea machine! I have so many ideas written down right now! And I really want to thank everyone for all of their amazing comments last week, their encouragement, advice and support! It meant a lot to me, and I believe it played a huge role in me being successful at last week’s goal!

This week I have a completely different kind of goal in mind.

This is mine and my daughter’s last week of summer before school starts! After this week I will be a full time college student, and with that comes homework and a schedule to keep. My daughter is also entering a new phase in her life; grade one! Which will be completely new and different for her compared to Kindergarten. 

So I want to spend our last week of summer relaxing, playing at the park, watching movies, and enjoying the outdoors. To really just slow down and enjoy each moment. It’s been a pretty dull summer for us, we didn’t get a chance to do much because the weather’s been lame, or we didn’t have the money. Excuses, excuses – you don’t need a sunny day or money to have fun, I know. Summer just flew by too quickly. Time to enjoy what’s left of it!

Now, as a second goal, one that can get thrown in with my relax goal, is to go shopping!

I’m really hoping I get my money this week because Sidney and I still have back to school shopping to do! I haven’t gone back to school shopping for myself in years and I am really excited! I might even get my hair cut on the weekend, for the first time in over a year.

Now, what are your goals for the week?

Thanks,
Cole

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I Volunteer! 8 Reasons You Should, Too

  
When I was in high school you had to do 40 hours of volunteer work in order to graduate. 
 
At the time it seemed to me like having to work without a paycheck. And who wants to work for nothing? I managed to get away with claiming volunteer hours by babysitting my nieces for free, even though in return my sisters would babysit my daughter for free (I was a teen mom). 
 
For the first time in my life, I actually volunteered yesterday! 
 
For two hours I stood under a tent, handed out brochures and encouraged children to stop in and colour. Earlier this summer I decided to volunteer at my local library since I wasn’t able to find a job. I figured I might as well get out of house once in a while and interact with people. Plus, I’ve been forcing myself out of my comfort zone and since I’m super shy and introverted what better way to do that than to volunteer at special events?
  
At first I wasn’t sure what it would be like. Would the other volunteers be nice? Would the day drag on, boring and miserable? Would I enjoy myself at all? Obviously I’m quite the pessimist. 
 
I arrived ten minutes early and was signed in. Afterwards I was led outside to where the library’s tent was set up at the A Day & A Night event. Immediately the other volunteers introduced themselves and they explained what to do; hand out brochures, help kids colour and basically just hang out. Simple, right? 
 
There was also a graphic artist at our booth hanging out, drawing and explaining graphic art while promoting the different programs at the library. He was super talented and super friendly. I’m glad I got to meet him and discuss movies and books, along with our brilliant volunteer leader.
 
Even though we didn’t get many kids stopping in, I enjoyed helping out the ones who did. Two hours flew by and before I knew it we were already taking down our tables and putting the tent away. 
 
I survived my first day as a volunteer, and I actually really enjoyed it!
  
Now I look at volunteering as a free education, a great way to meet new people, network and so much more. 
 
Why you should volunteer:
  
  1. While volunteering you will be trained for new things. You will get to build new skills and work on existing ones. 
  2. Volunteering can get you the experience you need in order to get a job you really want. 
  3. Not to mention, you will build a network of employment contacts and work references. 
  4. Volunteering can be a lot of fun. You get to meet new people, make new friends and gain new experiences. It's also a lot more laid back than an actual job.
  5. Volunteering also sends out a positive message to any children that are in your life.
  6. You also get a sense of community by getting out there and interacting with people who live in your city.
  7. And you’re introduced to all sorts of amazing events and programs you may have never heard about before and can now enjoy.
  8. Plus, it gives you a really great feeling inside. Offering your time to help other people without expecting anything in return can make you feel super good about yourself and help build your self-esteem. 
 
I can’t wait to volunteer again with Cambridge Libraries
 
What sort of volunteer work have you done? What inspired you to volunteer? 
 
Thanks,
Cole

Friday, August 23, 2013

When Life Gets Busy, Slow Down!


The other day my daughter raced up to me with exciting news: she has her first wiggly tooth! 

Seeing her wiggle that little tooth, smiling and excited for it to fall out, I started thinking about how quickly she's growing up. In less than two weeks she will be starting grade one. In two months we will be celebrating her 6th birthday! And in ten years she’ll be a 16 year old, hopefully not causing trouble, but no doubt driving me crazy.

I know I’m getting ahead of myself with that last statement, but time flies when you’re having fun. If I don’t slow down to enjoy it, her 16th birthday will be upon us in what feels like no time at all.

Life can get busy; there are always going to be appointments to keep, errands and chores, work, school and extracurricular activities that keep us bustling from one to the next.

It’s when this happens that we need to slow down the most. We need to take the time to enjoy our family and friends company. To relax and have fun. There has to be balance though. That’s something I’ve never been very good at it, but as my life moves forward and I have to start adding more things to my daily schedule I know it’s a skill I must develop. 

Inspired by Erika’s Mood Lifting List, I decided that I need something similar for myself. Except, instead of calling it a Mood Lifting List I want to call it:

My Slow Down List
  • Take Sidney to the park.
  • Go to the movies.
  • Meet an old friend for coffee.
  • Meet a new friend for coffee.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Paint my nails.
  • Volunteer once a month.
  • Attend a book signing.
  • Attend a community event.
  • Write at a cafĂ©.
  • Study outdoors.
  • Buy an inspiring book.
  • Take Sidney out for ice cream.
  • Go on a date with Nick.
  • Go to a concert with our friends.
  • Go out with a classmate for a pint.
  • Shop at the farmer’s market.
  • Make someone a gift.
  • Go on a nature hike in the fall/winter with my camera.
  • Have dinner with my family. 
 
So, when things start to get hectic and I’m feeling overwhelmed, I plan to look over this list as a reminder to smell the flowers, take time out for my friends and family, and time out for myself – to do the things that I love and that really matter to me. 
 
Over the next few days I will be joining the Slow Down Challenge over at goinswriter.com. Feel free to check it out, maybe you could benefit from it, too!
 
What would you put on your list? How do you balance your busy, hectic lives? Let me know in the comments section!


Thanks,
Cole

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top 3 Reasons I'm Scared to Start College


September will be here soon, and with fall like weather comes school. It’s officially one week until my College orientation. I am beyond nervous. I’m actually quite frightened.

There's a lot about starting school that has me freaked out, but here are my top three reasons:

1. Childcare: This has been a huge concern for me. If I’m being completely honest I really haven’t been away from my daughter very much since she’s been born, when I was 17. The odd part-time job that was no more than 30 hours a week; that time I went back to school for 6 weeks to get my high school diploma; and I only kept a full-time job for three months before quitting to spend more time at home with Sidney.

Luckily my timetable is pretty awesome. None of my classes begin before 11AM so I know I will always be there to drop her off at school. My Grandma has agreed to pick her up after school and babysit her until Nick gets home from work. In reality, I shouldn’t be at all worried because my Grandma has always babysat for us whenever I worked or went to school. Yet, I’ve never had to rely on someone else to pick her up, or to be there if she gets sick and needs to go home early.
 
If I want to chase my dreams I’m going to have to learn to trust other people to care for my baby.

2. Workload: I haven’t been in school full-time since I was 16 and that was 7 years ago now! I managed to get my high school diploma through correspondence and a 6 week afternoon course through an adult learning center – it was easy. Knowing I will have 6 classes, four days a week, at a college level with homework and assignments on top of my personal hobbies (such as blogging) and family life seems almost impossible.

Even though I’m stressing myself out thinking about it, I know that when the time comes I will surprise myself. I often do. Like when I had to start work at 7AM, which sounds like hell to a night owl like myself, but I did it and I loved it. Or when I was forced to do a presentation for D3 Artworks Inc. in front of the Grand River Film Festival committee. I was a sweaty, nervous mess minutes before it was my turn to take the stage but once I was up there I managed to get through my speech just fine and everyone was able to hear me (big surprise because I’m very soft spoken!).

I clearly need to trust myself more, too.

3. Making Friends: You may have or may not have noticed I don’t blog about going out with friends, ever. The reason for that is, I don’t have many friends. And the ones I do have I don’t see very often. I’m an introvert in every way. I enjoy my alone time, I enjoy being quiet. Normally I have no problems with my introverted ways, but I want to get everything I can from college which also means meeting new people, making new friends and networking. It’s never been easy for me to go up and talk to someone new, I’m not just an introvert but I’m extremely shy. Sometimes when I think about having to do group assignments I get really worked up over it. What if no one wants to be partnered up with me? Silly, I know, to make such a big deal out of something so simple but I’m sure many quiet, shy, self-conscious or introverted person might be able to relate.

For these three reasons I’m having a difficult time keeping my cool. For the past two weeks I’ve been experiencing heart burn and now my chin is covered in stress acne.

I think it’s normal to be nervous though. I just have to figure out ways to deal with this stress appropriately.

What are some things that make/made going to school, or starting a new job scary for you? How do/did you cope with attending college/university for the first time? Or maybe even a new job?

Thanks,
Cole

Monday, August 19, 2013

Weekly Wishes #5: Start Writing More


Last week I must have set a few too many goals for myself, because I barely accomplished anything! For one, I only managed to workout on Thursday. My eating habits haven't been very good, but I blame that on not having many groceries in the house until today. I am so sick of vegetable soup and pudding! And, the one thing I really wanted to get done, my blood work, I didn't. Therefore, I'm still pretty tired all of the time.
 
I did manage to clear out the rest of the clutter and have my yard sale. Didn't make as much as I had hoped but at least all of that stuff is gone.
 
This was a very unproductive week.
 
However, I want to continue to try and eat healthier and to workout three times this week. I might as well keep this goal on my Weekly Wishes list for the rest of my life.

This week I want to mix things up a little bit.

And so for my Weekly Wishes #5 I want to: Write More!

A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to go ahead and chase my dream of becoming a writer, but I haven't been feeling very inspired lately and I can't seem to write anything. There are ideas I have in my head but whenever I sit down to write about them, my ideas seem silly or stupid and I can't get past the first sentence.

I really enjoy writing. It usually doesn't matter that I'm not very good at it. Still, I need to learn how to keep writing even when I feel silly or stupid.

So this week I want to make sure that I start writing more. I want to write every day, because you can't be a writer unless you write.

What are some of your goals for this week? How did you do last week? Hopefully better than me!

Thanks,
Cole

P.S. - I haven't been taking any pictures lately for the August Break 2013 because my DSLR camera lens is still broken. No fun!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Picture Yourself


How do you picture yourself?
 
Take a few minutes to picture yourself as the person you most want to be. I'm not talking about a celebrity or unrealistic version of you, but something that's possible.
 
  • What do you look like?
  • What are your values?
  • What's your career? 
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What do other people think about you?
 
Are you this person now? My guess is probably not, at least not entirely. I know for myself that I am far from the person I wish to be. 
 
  • I want to be thinner, and more active. I want pale, clear and soft skin. I want a better haircut and manicured nails. I want better clothes. 
  • I want to be vegan, to let my love for animals shine through in everything that I do. I want to be more Eco-friendly and loving and generous towards everyone and everything.
  • I want to be a professional writer and photographer.
  • I want to do yoga, meditation, go jogging. I want to spend my days taking and editing pictures, to write and network with other great writers. 
  • I want people to find me inspiring and motivating. I want them to look at me and think "Wow, she is such a happy, loving and patient person." 
 
And you know what? I'm not really any of those things right now.
 
I spent years being depressed and wondering why life had to be so hard, why I never seemed to get anything I truly wanted. And I was angry, impatient and fed up.
I didn't like myself back then. And slowly (very slowly) I started to pull myself up out of that awful place and started making changes towards the person I want to be, the person I described. 
 
Like I said, I'm currently not that person but I'm so much closer than I was a year ago or even just six months ago.
 
It's through little changes you make throughout the day.
 
When I feel myself to start dipping into that all too familiar dark and gloomy place deep in my mind, I recognize the thought pattern and pull myself out before it gets worse. I think of something that makes me happy.
 
I've started eating more vegetarian and vegan foods and cooking at home more often. I walk every day and can feel my body getting stronger. I've been trying to put more effort into the way I look. I force myself to be patient by breathing in deep whenever I feel those impatient bubbles start to come up. Most importantly, I make myself think positively and feel grateful, especially when my pessimistic mind tries to take over.
 
The best way to notice these bad habits in order to change them is by thinking about the type of person you want to be. If the person you want to be is more patient than you are now, and you think about it and admit it to yourself, you're going to start noticing when you're impatient and try to change it. But if you don't think about it, or admit it, you're just going to continue to be an impatient person.
 
It can be a slow process. I can accept that it's a slow process to completely change my life. I think you have to if you really want to make lasting changes. 
 
So, no, I am not the person I want to be. I'm not the person I have envisioned in my mind, but now that I have admitted this I can start working towards it.
 
How do you picture yourself? Are you this person now or are you still working towards it?
 
Thanks,
Cole

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekly Wishes #4 - Fight This Fatigue!


Last week I decided I needed to declutter my apartment, and I think I did a pretty good job! For the most part, anyway. All of the stuff I no longer want is sitting in a pile still, but it's gotten bigger and I have a yard sale planned for this coming up Saturday. It's even listed in the newspaper now, and we have signs to put up later this week. I'm hoping to make at least $100. Anything that doesn't sell will simply get donated. Only then is last week's Weekly Wish complete!
 
As for this week, I have a few goals in mind. And a lot of it has to do with how I've been feeling lately which is tired! I am tired all the time.
 
1. Stop putting it off and get blood work done! My doctor instructed me to get some blood work done in July sometime and I still haven't. It could explain why I'm so tired though. So, even though I hate getting blood taken I'm going to get it done!
 
2. Walking every day has been nice, but I think it's time to add in some more intense workouts. This week I plan on using my workout DVDs to exercise at least 3 times.
 
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat less processed foods. I've been too tired to cook proper meals lately, which might be adding to my fatigue. Everyone knows that eating healthy is the best way to fight fatigue, right?
 
And that's the plan, to conquer this never ending fatigue once in for all!

What are some of your goals for the upcoming week?
 
Thanks,
Cole

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Admitting to Myself - I am a Writer

This is a special post for the 'Writing Contest: You are a Writer' held by Positive Writer.
 
Warning: It's a bit lengthy!
 

When I was just a child, not so long ago, I used to write short stories with my cousin. We would get a spark of inspiration from anything as simple as three letters written on the side of a truck, or someone we noticed standing in line at the store. Right where we were, we’d start throwing ideas back and forth, coming up with some silly story we would later on write down.

At the time I never thought much of it. My cousin and I both loved to read. We would spend our summers side by side reading novels and then switching when we were done. I never realized that I actually loved to write as well. I just assumed I had a bit of a wild imagination, that my silly stories would make my friends and family laugh and that was enough reason to keep writing them.

As I got older and I began to change not only physically but emotionally, my short stories changed, too. Certain things had taken place in my life that were not exactly thrilling and as my world began to change so did my writing. No longer did I write my silly stories about big nosed principals, or talking mosquitos. I became a horror fan, and I loved to kill off my characters. No more happy endings. Everyone must die.

A lot of the writing I did was for school. I loved English class and even when I didn’t have to submit a short story I still wrote. All through grade 7 and 8 I wrote in my spare time. Still, I didn’t think anything of it. I wasn’t a writer, I was just someone who liked writing. It was a great way for me to deal with my emotions and the events that took place in my life.

When I entered high school I found more interesting things to do then sit around by myself writing fictional stories. I began going out with my friends more, staying out late, getting into trouble. Nothing too serious; let’s just say I was never brought home by the police or expelled. We were just teenagers having fun.

I had a baby when I was 17 and dropped out of high school. My daughter became my whole world and everything I’ve done since then, I’ve done with her in mind. I knew that graduating high school would be the best thing for her, so I did it. I knew that having a good paying job would be the best thing for her, so I aimed for that.

There was a problem though, I wasn’t happy in any job I found and it showed. I went through so many different jobs, everything from being a banquet waitress, construction labourer, cashier, sales associate, bookkeeper, etc. No matter what I did, I would eventually quit, sure that there was something better out there that would pay. Besides, my boyfriend, who is Sidney’s father, made good money and I could take the time I needed to figure things out.

Well, he and I broke up a couple of years ago. I was completely devastated, but when things just aren’t working what can you do? By this time our daughter was four years old and starting Kindergarten full-time. I was on welfare, too upset to even look for work. So I did the only thing I could think of – I began writing down my feelings, not just in my journal like I’ve always done, but I began writing short stories about love and heartbreak. I wrote while she was in school, I wrote every night, I wrote whenever I had time to myself because when I wasn’t writing all I could do was pace and stew. Heartache turned to anger, and the best way to channel those emotions was to write.

We were separated for 3 months. It was one of the most difficult three months I’ve had to go through. I had never been through a breakup before then, but I finally knew what all of those movies and books were talking about. It was like grieving his death, except I had to see him for a few minutes every Wednesday evening and every other weekend whenever he picked Sidney up and dropped her off.

Eventually we worked things out and Sid and I moved back into our old apartment. Things were different though, not just between Nick and me, but I had changed as a person. For the first time in five years I had been on my own and allowed myself to think for myself. I felt selfish, but maybe I needed that.

I told Nick I wanted to be a writer. That nothing else could do. I didn’t know if I would ever make money writing, I wasn’t sure how it could support our family financially but I finally admitted to myself that through all of the doubt and self-criticism, I was in fact a writer. Writing made me happy.

Fast forward two years from that crucial moment of finally saying, “I am a writer” and here I am today. Even in those past two years there has been doubt, and criticism and wondering. I don’t have anything published. I don’t even know what kind of writer I want to be, do I want to write fiction or non-fiction? Who knows? Who cares? All I know is that I want to write, and that I do write almost every day.

Maybe no one ever reads what I’ve written, it’s not about being noticed, not right now. All that matters is that I write, because I am a writer.

Thanks,
Cole

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Self-Love Book Club

I came across something pretty awesome on this wicked blog I've been following, The Laughing Medusa, and it's called The Self-Love Book Club!
 
Okay, I have always wanted to be part of a book club, but no body I know wants to start one and the ones around town aren't really my style.
 
However, this particular book club which will be entirely online is not just a book club but it's also a way to help you fall in love with yourself! And I think that everyone could use some self-love. I know I definitely can.
 
 
I immediately jumped at the opportunity to sign up, and I also entered the giveaway to win the first month's book Red, Hot and Holy by Sara Beak. And to my surprise, I won! I've never won a giveaway before, and the fact that I won a book is super exciting. There are very few things in life that I love more than a new book to read. Obviously things that beat new books on my favourites list includes friends, family and definitely food, but books are right up there!
 
There's plenty of time for you to join in, too. It doesn't actually start until September 1st. If you're interested, head on over to Sarah's blog The Laughing Medusa to check it out! And I suggest you stick around and read her blog, because it's pretty awesome.
 
Thanks,
Cole
 
 
 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Weekly Wishes #3 - Sell, Donate or Throw Out Clutter!

My apartment living room.

I completely ignored my goal to organize my bedroom until Thursday. Finally I decided that if I didn't hurry up and get it done, I would have disappointing news for this weeks post. Even though I couldn't get a bookcase this week, I did manage to get things organized! Well, as organized as I could but at least my desk is cleared off and everything currently has a home.

I read Leo Babauta's post on Zen Habits last week, Declutter Your Life, and it inspired me to do more! Not only did I get my room cleaned and organized, but my daughter's too! And then I tackled a few more areas. Who knew I could accumulate so much stuff? I've started making a pile of things I no longer need or want in my hallway. Every day it gets bigger. It feels really good.

And just a little side note, I've been walking almost every day still. Again, it's mostly around town completing errands and doing shopping but I feel good about it. All day my car sat in the driveway while we took the bus around the city instead.

Weekly Wishes #3: Sell,Donate or Throw Out Clutter!

After clearing out the bedrooms, and a bit of the kitchen I want to continue going through our belongings and declutter one space at a time.

I've already done my books, DVDs, kitchen cupboards, clothes, toys, craft supplies, and whatever other junk was in my room.

Now I need to move on to our coats, shoes, pantry, storage closet, and bathroom. Maybe I'll even clean out my car trunk. There seems to be a bit of junk piled up in there, too!

That's only part of it though. I can't have a pile of unwanted items laying about in my hallway. So, the things I can sell, like my old but perfectly fine Blackberry, can be sold. I might even throw a yard sale this weekend if I have enough items. Otherwise there's this Facebook page I joined called 24 Hour Auction for my city where I can post items to sell and people will bid on them. The highest bidder within 24 hours is the winner and they're supposed to come pick it up and pay for it. People sell all sort of things on there from DVDs and books to clothing, furniture, toys, everything. And what I can't sell within a week I will donate.

Plus, I could use some extra cash. Help pay off my debt and what not.

The Nectar Collective
 
I just want to thank everyone for their support over the past couple of weeks! I always look forward to reading your comments, and your own Weekly Wishes posts!
 
Thanks,
Cole

Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Month Until School - Getting Nervous!

 
 
I'm writing this post on my balcony out front. It's a nice change from the kitchen table. Two weeks ago we had a blistering hot heat wave where all you could do was sit and bake and sweat. Since then it's been too cool for me to wear shorts and a t-shirt, let alone go swimming or anything else I would normally do in the summer.
 
Summer is never long enough here in South Western Ontario. It's already August 1. Only one more month of warm weather, possibly two if September feels like dragging it out. I really hope it warms up soon, we haven't even gone camping yet!
 
Still, I would rather this cool breeze than the humidity.
 
The other night I had a dream that I went to my college orientation, except I was turned away. I was told I didn't pay on time and so I wouldn't be attending school this year.
 
Needless to say, I think I'm stressing!
 
It's true, I haven't paid for school yet and the deadline is quickly approaching. I still haven't heard anything on my college funding application - has it been accepted or denied? Will I get a free education or do I need to pay? As a back up plan I've applied for a student loan, but I haven't heard anything from them yet either.
 
Other than the whole paying for school thing, I think I'm just nervous in general! Sometimes I catch myself thinking that I don't even want to go anymore, which is a lie. I haven't been in school full-time since 2006! I don't even remember what it's like to have a ton of homework, let alone a college work load.
 
Then I start freaking out about child care. My Mom and Grandma have both agreed to help out with Sidney, picking her up from school or dropping her off, watching her while I'm in class, etc. Except, I'm the type of person who feels like no one can watch my child as good as me - which is also a lie because I'm not the mother-of-the-year type. I just hope Sidney gets to school on time, doesn't get picked up late and gets proper nutrition.
 
If that isn't enough to worry about it, I often stop to think about how I'm going to do financially. I won't be able to work, college and a five year old is enough responsibility for me at one time. Nick will be working, of course, but will it be enough?
 
And these are the thoughts that are going around in my head right now. With three weeks left until orientation and just one month before the first day of school, reality is starting to set in and I'm freakin' scared!
 
Thanks,
Cole
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