I believe we can be anyone

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you like everybody else is to fight the hardest battle you can fight--but never stop fighting! E.E. Cummings

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring 2013 Altar!

Spring has sprung!  Or has it?  Looking outside, you wouldn't think so as it's snowing again in Calgary.  We're honestly considering that we move to Mexico in the next few years.  Then, when it's winter here for 6 months of the year (or more sometimes it feels!), I will be in my bikini lying by the ocean on the beach creating art or something other than needing to put on my bloody winter boots and coat in April! 
Don't get me wrong.  I still want to live in Canada, but only when it's actually nice and warm here.  I'm finding it more and more difficult to tolerate the long and cold winters.
Anyhow, to celebrate spring (And, hopefully to bring it in full gear.  I can dream, can't I?), I finally got around on April 7th to putting up my spring altar.
For those of you that have been keeping track and following my posts over the years, you will know that every season I put together a new altar in honour of the change of the seasons.  This one came fairly easily to me.
PINK "screamed" out at me (Well, maybe not screamed but whispered in my ear.  I cannot whatsoever wear pink as it looks hideous on me.) but I love the color regardless in flowers and in decor.  There's something vibrant and alive when I see pink. 
Bright green was the obvious match for me as I searched for cards and items that could go together.  With a mix of old and some new items, the altar came together quite nicely and easily.  I love when things flow like that.
Hope you enjoy!  Happy spring everyone!
I found these 2 Ikea frames at a garage sale for $5 each a couple of years ago.  They are awesome because they perfectly hold these beautiful greeting cards.  It's a wonderful way to display artful cards as ART!  Not everyone can afford to buy a $2000 painting or even a $200 painting.  But at $5 to $10 a card, you have inexpensive art that you can change up anytime you like.
Spring altar 2013 in full view!
I've had this pink vase and silk flowers forever.  The little white bird I purchased at a decorating store for $3 or so and the pink candleholder/vase/glass I just found at Chapters this year for $8.  I decided to use it as a candleholder.  Colored glass is definitely in and it's pretty.  You can also find colored glass items at used stores or places like Value Village.

This crystal bowl on the left I have had for over 20 years now.  I decided to fill it with sparkly Easter eggs I found at Winners in colors of pink and silver.  The hot pink bird I found at a decor shop.  The silver frame with rhinestones I found at Winners for $7.  Greeting cards are too large for this frame so I took a pretty paper napkin and cut it to size to fit inside the frame.  The hot pink candleholder on the right is from a garden shop, Golden Acres.

This beautiful fairy was found at a lovely store that no longer exists in Calgary called Kalidescope.  The pictures beside her are greeting cards I taped to the wall with similar color themes.

This dresser is under the Ikea frames.  I usually have another mini altar here too.  I use more earthy colors here to match the red on the walls in the hallway.


Saturday, April 06, 2013

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup, YUM!!!!

I have been on a journey of healing my body through food for quite a while now.  Letting go of things like dairy, various forms of meat products including chicken etc., wheat, gluten and too much sugar.  Although I have to say I still have quite a sweet tooth and need to keep that in check. 
I still choose to indulge in sweets and instead, choose quality over quantity and cheap pricing.  I choose things like raw chocolate and make a lot of my own stuff now.  At least that way I know exactly the ingredients I have put in.  I'm so picky about where I go to eat now and there are only a few restaurants I like to go.  One of which is The Coup http://www.thecoup.ca/  in Calgary, Alberta.  Never had a bad meal there and the service is always good.
Below is a recipe I just made today.  I found a vegetarian cream of mushroom soup on the web and tweaked a few ingredients to make it vegan.  I'm curious and think that using different types of mushrooms combined might be interesting too.  It's the best dairy and gluten free cream of mushroom soup I have EVER had including The Coup's version. You will never want any less than excellence again!!  And it's not difficult to make at all.  Enjoy!!
Serves 8-10
1 lb sliced white mushrooms and crimini mushrooms combined plus 2 portobello mushrooms also sliced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup chopped leek or onions
2-3 garlic cloves minced
4 fresh thyme sprigs or 3 pinches of dried thyme
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
4 cups water
4 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 can coconut milk
Salt and Pepper
1.  Melt coconut oil in pot and add garlic, leeks, thyme and 1 tsp salt.
2.  Add 1/4 cup water, cover and stew for 4-5 minutes.
3.  Add mushrooms and cook 4-5 minutes.
4.  Add nutritional yeast and cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently.
5.  Add bouillon and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
6.  Puree in blender until smooth.
7.  Add coconut milk and stir.  Season to taste with pepper and extra salt if needed.
8.  Garnish with sliced green onions, fried mushrooms and/or white truffle oil if desired.

Chapter 6: I Didn't Pee My Pants!!

The interviewer asked me if I would do this again.  Honestly, at the time, it was too soon to tell.  It felt like this whole process and experience was so perfectly aligned with the stars that I don’t think and I know, that it wouldn’t or couldn’t happen like this again.  It was perfect the way it was and I’m not sure if I’m meant to do it again.  If it’s meant to be and it feels right, I’m sure I will know and I need to trust that.  Maybe I will volunteer instead next year.  Who knows??  Or, maybe there will be another adventure.

As my friends left, we headed home to change for the reception.  At the reception, I felt myself crashing and it continued for the following three days after.  The combination of all the excitement building to the event, the fundraising, plus my whole body being sore because of the physicality of rappelling (it was more physically challenging than I imagined) and the fact that I was unconsciously tensing my whole body in anticipation and fear, caused a tremendous amount of exhaustion for me.  Afterwards, I was in “hibernation” mode for a while.

This experience has been a long time coming and now that I have accomplished this, I have been in a “Now what?” place ever since.  It’s been strange because as I said, I felt like I fell “off the map” for a while after the event.  I was posting on Facebook every day, and then, once in a while and then nothing.  I have been processing all that has happened and then some since then.

Since this event, I do know and feel that my fear of heights has definitely lessened.  I feel like I could rappel down the seven stories at Crux Climbing no problem now.  I think it would be a piece of cake compared to rappelling down a 30 storey building!  Although I have to say, at the time, the seven stories did freak me out.
Crux Climbing Center training session

I look forward to going to Crux sometime and doing that again. Although rappelling down 30 stories was extremely difficult, the training certainly did help with my confidence prior to the event.  I can see why it's mandatory to do the training along with learning about safety precautions.  Prior to that, the highest I rappelled down was 3 stories.  I definitely found that taking baby steps building from 3 to 7 to 30 stories helped to build up my confidence.  Although I have to say, nothing really prepares you when you are standing on the roof of a 30 storey building.  It's not like you can practice climbing down a building beforehand!

 was blessed to have two friends and a professional photographer (who was there taking photos of her daughter at the event) take amazing photos of my journey.  This photographer said that she was touched and inspired by my journey and just gifted the photos to me.  I ordered photos from the professional photographers at the event  as well (albeit a bit pricey), but they turned out great and how could I not get some? 
It has certainly been an inspirational journey for me in so many ways; not just because of what I learnt along the way, but also seeing other people go on their journeys down the building and overcoming their fears.  Wow!   People can be so amazing!

THANKS SO MUCH to all those volunteers at Easter Seals http://www.easterseals.ab.ca/Site/index.aspx and Crux Climbing http://thecruxclimbing.com/web/ for taking the time and care to make this experience one I will never forget.  Thanks for making it safe for everyone year after year.  Thanks for your encouragement, because without you, it wouldn’t be possible.  You are truly a special group of people. 

And last but not least, thanks again to everyone (You know who you are!  There are too many to list here!) who donated financially and also energetically with your words of support, encouragement and enthusiasm.  I am truly grateful!!
So, in the end, do I recommend this experience?  Of course I do.  But, this isn't necessarily for everyone and there isn't just one "right" way that we can evolve and grow our spirits and who we are.  We all take different journeys and roads to get to the same place which is moving towards the light of who we are and becoming the best that we can be.  As long as we keep moving forward, it doesn't necessarily matter how or what we do, it will take us there regardless if we are open and willing to do so.
All I can say is if there is a voice inside of you that calls you to do something in your life, no matter what it is, pay attention to it and to the signs along the way.  What I have learnt is I have manifested this experience in my life several years ago.  And even though it was several years later that it came up again, I knew in that moment that it was meant to be and that the timing felt right.  This experience was a super strong "YES!" for me.  Because of that, it was one of the easiest flowing experiences I have had.  Everything happens for a reason and in good time. 
Pay attention, take a chance, step out of your comfort zone and you will be surprised at what you can can be, do and have.  Pay attention to the strong YES's in your life and by saying YES, you will be surprised with possibilities.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Chapter 5: One "Small" Step for Womankind ...

At some point, I started to hear the voices from the ground.  I could hear my “entourage” of supportive friends shouting out to me.  I would shout back and they heard me too.  It helped to give me encouragement and it was wonderful to feel their support.

My friend (to support her privacy, I will refer to her as R) was below supporting me.  She was someone I wanted to honor for this event because her life has been forever changed after a car accident with a drunk driver a few years ago.  “Disability” can look and come in so many different ways.  This was for her and all those whose lives that have been forever changed.  I was so grateful that she and my other friends were able to come out and be there for me. Having friendly faces witnessing this journey was so awesome I have to say!
I could tell that I was getting closer to the bottom as I was able to rappel down faster.  I lost my footing off the building at one point and was twirling around a bit.  All I could do was giggle. I had extra rope somehow and I realized I had to pull it through as I was getting a little caught in it.  It took some time to maneuver it so I could get back on track.

I could hear the MC say that I “was taking my time”.  It took me 21 minutes to get down but the important thing is, I made it down.  As I said, it wasn’t a race for me. This was my journey and it would be done in my way and my timing.
When my feet were finally close to touching the ground, all of a sudden, it felt like it went by too fast.  Then the Crux Climbing employees helped to take off the equipment.


I could hear my friends.  They came up to hug me.  I started to cry.  Then I would laugh.  I was all over the map emotionally; happy, then crying, then laughing, then crying.

Pictures were being taken.  Then I was called over for an interview (which luckily was on my video because I forgot to some extent what I had said!)

The interviewer asked me if I would recommend this to my friends and I said “Yes, but it doesn’t mean they are going to do it!”  Although my neighbour showed up to watch me and was inspired to sign up for next year’s event!  Way to go Rob!