Welcome!

Hi there,

This blog is a place for me to focus on positivity. You know, things I like, goodness, and all that. Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to email me: positiveponderings[at]hotmail[dot]ca.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Snow...Winter...It Can Be Pretty/Cute.

Snow falling.  Almost always pretty.  Blizzard conditions are the exception.  Source.

Snow, snow, snow.  It falls, it piles up, we have to shovel it and dig out our cars from underneath it, it makes driving a major pain at times.  Yet, for all its annoyances, snow can be quite lovely.  To celebrate the pretty/cute aspects of Ol' Man Winter, here are some pics from the interwebs.

Isn't this deer super presh? Source.
Aww. Source.
1.  That is faux fur.  It has to be, real fur sucks.   2.  Almost makes me wanna skate (I suck when it comes to skating). Source.
Ahhh...vintage toboggan rides.  Source.
Pretty.  Source.
Love the light.  Source.
These Snow-Children are pimpin'.  Source.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Stuff I Like: Gratitude Time!

Screenshot from: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/708/gratitude2.jpg/

My, I am getting quite slack on posting these gratitude lists, aren't I?  I hope to start doing these as a weekly feature....someday.  :)

Here's some stuff I have been grateful for as of late:

* Two months of being engaged (cheesy! true, though).
* Niece, B., saying she'll marry me.  I'm engaged again, haha!
* Holding my nieces.
* Cat purrs.
* Setting a date for the weddin'.
* Making snowflakes with munchkins.
* Holding babies.  I am a baby-hog!
* Holding Alfie Cat on my shoulder.
* Increased fitness.
* Snowshoeing.
* Twisted Push-Ups (fun!)
* Reading with B. and L.
* Belly buttons--my nieces have such cute ones.
* Challenging myself through exercise.
* Alife Cat using my face as a pillow while lying on the couch.
* Apartment planning.
* Fresh air!
* Mr. Fiancé.


PLEASE share some stuff making you smile, I love reading your comments!  :)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Oh, Holden. Cather in the Rye

Source.

Oh, Holden Caulfield.  Teenage angst and confusion oozes out of you.  A classic piece of literature, when I attempted to read you years ago I became annoyed by your stream of conscious whiny nature.  "Shut up, already!" I said and put the book down, never intending to read it again.  Well, that changed when I was assigned the task of assessing Holden Caulfield through the eyes of an interpersonal therapist for one of my courses.  Hmmmm.....kinda like a literature review paper with counselling shiz mixed in?  Might be not too bad.

So, I set down to read Holden's words, sprawled over a love seat and snuggled under a blanket.  Any you know what?  I really enjoyed it this time (which bodes well for a future counselling career, I think--if I could not stand his whining and griping, perhaps I would have rethought my chosen field).  How the heck did J.D. Salinger tap into such a messed up hormonal, adolescent, tragedy-laden whirlwind and make it believable?  I just wanted to give Ol' Holden a hug and let him know I would listen.  When the novel ended, I was all, WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?!  Obviously, I was hooked.


For those of you who haven't read the book, here's some crib notes.  Holden Cauflield, 15, from a well-off family, is kicked out of his prep school.  This is a theme with him.  He hates phonies.  Another big theme.  But, he, himself is incongruent.  He likes children (in a non-creepy way) as they remind him of innocence and he wants to help protect this innocence (the book's title comes from this desire).  His younger brother died from leukaemia at age 11 and Holden still talks to him.  He may have been molested.  He wants attention and affection, but pushes people away.  Over the course of a few days in December, Holden hides out in New York City, avoiding his parents (who do not know he's been expelled).  His erratic behaviour culminates in him being placed "here" (although never named, it is inferred to be a sanatorium).

Why, if it isn't a CATCHER in the rye....source.

I found it a fast and interesting read and really had my "therapist-in-training" mind buzzing.  Oh, Holden, you and your confused mind were irresistible to me.  I do hope you are doing better these days.

The cover of the book I read.  There's a funny story to the copy of the book.  Wanna hear it?  Sure you do.  Well, years go (sometime since high school), my aunt gave me her copy of CITR to read.  I tried it and hated it.  Sorry, L.  Last year I had to purge some books and this one went to the library.  Flashforward to 2012: I am all like, DANG IT!  why did I get rid of that book--I have to read it for school?!  So, I borrowed a copy from my friend.  I go to read it, open the cover and BAM!  There's my aunt's name written in pen.  Turns out my friend bought it from the bigass library book sale.  Funny, no?

Monday, 20 February 2012

The RING!

It feels kinda weird to be braggin' about my engagement ring, but I want to share it with you all.  A friend of mine, the super talented Jeneca Klausen (etsy shop, facebook site), made it.  It is just perfect: so me.  Organic, unique, elegant, nature-esque, and simple were what I wanted and she sure succeeded. :)


Here she is! 
Sterling silver (I LOVE silver), 14 K gold, raw diamond.

I love the texture on the band and how you can see the bottom of the rock.

I LOVE having a rough diamond.


On the finger.

Just looking at it makes me happy--it is so lovely and represents the love between Mr. Fiancé and myself (awwww, mushy!)
Thanks for indulging me in this gratuitous post!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Nails...Something Valentine's Inspired...

I painted my nails!  This is a very rare occurrence these days--nail polish chips and I am too lazy to take it off and reapply new stuff after a few days.  But, seeing some cute Love Day-inpired nails, I decided to do something fun for Valentine's.  They lasted about 2 days before I got sick of them (they were a bit "cutesy" for long term wear) but they were fun while they lasted.  Little L., not-quite-4-year-old-niece, quite enjoyed the polka dots.  Her and her sister, B., are little fashionistas!

All the nails, except for my ring finger were polka-dotted.  A heart was on the ring phalanx.

Awkward fist/hand curl. Note the chipped nature of the index finger's nail.  Very chic.

And one more.
Do you like to gussy up your nails?

Oh, I'll be posting pics of the ring of engagement shortly.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Sugar-Free Homemade Hot Cocoa

Mmm...

Happy Valentine's day, all!  I hope you're enjoying the love.  <3 <--some cyber love for my readers

Love Day and chocolate go together like butter on toast, non?  How about sugar-free hot cocoa?  Here's an easy recipe to make for your valentines and yourself.



Ingredients:
(Makes 1 mug)
* 1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa powder
* 3 scoops powdered stevia extract
* Milk, however much you want for a mug (I used skim)  or water if you roll that way for hot cocoa


Directions:
1. Mix together cocoa and stevia extract.
2. You can either stir it into milk and microwave it (my preferred method) or heat up milk on the stove and add the cocoa mixture to the liquid.  If you do microwave it, you'll have to stir it up after heating it up.  I microwaved the milk for 2 minutes.


Before microwavin' it...note the unstirred nature of the non-hot cocoa.
Poured into a class for a photo op.





Monday, 13 February 2012

Tumbleweed 'O Hair...

I am feeling like I lost 5 pounds!  How did I do it?  Easy!  I thinned out my hair.  This is a quasi-yearly occurrence, which involves me, thinning shears, and a hairy bathroom to clean.  It's been over 4 years since I have had my hair cut by anyone beside myself.  Why?  Well, first of all, I am cheap.  That's right, I embrace it.  Secondly, I know my hair and how it has a life of its own, therefore, I feel pretty confident in being my hair stylist.  Luckily, my hair's texture (dryish loose curls) is very forgiving for amateur cuts.  All I do these days is thinning and trimming, but I have, in the past cropped it pretty darn short (a curly flapper bob).  What the heck, I figure if I royally screw it up, I'll pay a professional to fix it.  Plus cutting my hair allows me to have instant gratification...no need to wait to book an appointment.

You know what is crazy about thinning my hair?  It looks pretty much the same after I take out a tumbleweed sized amount.  How much did I take out?  I'll let the pictures do the talkin'.

Hmmm...this could be really small, right?

Think again!  I added my huge-ass man-hands in there for size comparison.  Oh, and you can see my engagement ring, kinda.  I'll have to take a "real" picture of it to share sometime soonish.

I realized that this would be prime building material for birds, so I decided to toss it outside.

Forlorn in the snow...we got a huge snowfall soon after, so my locks are buried until the spring.  Which is when the best nest-buildin' happens, right?
Any of you cut-it-yourself when it comes to your hair?

Sunday, 12 February 2012

DIY Valentines!

Good 'Ol Heart Garland.
I admit it...I love V Day.  The whole "romantic" factor isn't what gets me, although spending a nice evening with Mr. Fiancé is always enjoyed.  RATHER, I love the concept of spreading love and craftin'! Hearts, lace, doilies, glitter, candies, cards, red, pink, and crafts...what's not to enjoy?  This time of year makes me remember my childhood love of seasonal holidays and the crafting/preparation that went along.  Making a mailbox for valentines out of a cardboard box?  YES, please.  While I won't be craftin' up a V-Day storm this year (just you wait, future apartment of 2013, just you wait), there's lots of inspiration floating around the interwebs.  Cue to Pinterest.  Here are some pins from my DIY Valentines Day! board:

Heart Button Covers!  I want some for me!
Paper doilies to make garland!

This would be so cute for brekkie! 
Mmm...I want to make some sugar-free style...idea... I could use my whole wheat cookies and some kind of banana "ice cream."

Friday, 10 February 2012

He's Coming For The Party?

A few summers ago I watched the entire season of Veronica Mars and decided that Kristen Bell is seriously cute.  As in, cute as a button.  And, I don't even use that phrase.  In fact, I feel a bit queasy typing it, but it is really the only way to describe her.

APPARENTLY, Ms. Bell was on Ellen recently and shared a story about how her boyfriend surprised her by having a sloth come for her birthday party.  This was a BIG DEAL for this lady and she kinda had a melt-down.  My reaction would be the same if I met an elephant, a manatee, or No Doubt.  

Watch it, it's pretty cute!

Oh, and it's been auto-tuned.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

To Confirm Your Suspicions That I Am, Indeed, a Bit Crazy...

Disclosure: I have OCD and GAD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder). And guess what?  I don't really care if everyone knows.  In fact, I want people to know.  WHY?  Well, I'm a pretty well-functioning adult (what?! I am an adult?!) who has dealt with mental health issues for her entire life and am disgusted by the stigma given to sufferers. ANYWAY, I believe mental illness/distress must be normalized (really, who doesn't feel "crazy" sometimes).  However, I don't want this blog to be all about my mental-ness.  No, it's still about being positive.

Just a picture I like: my grandparents' old homestead.

Most people are surprised (aside from my family and oldest friends) that I have OCD and GAD.  Well, that's because I am managing it as best as I can--I take my health very seriously.  Think of it this way: if someone is a diabetic and she is managing that well, can anyone tell she has an illness?  No, but she still has it.  My OCD and GAD (yay comorbidity!) are just a much a part as me as my height: I'm stuck with being 5'4 and I'm stuck with a physiology with a tendency to be anxious.

Another random image....sea life (albeit in a touch tank)...

How am I managing my mental health?  Well, I FIRMLY believe the mind and body are connected: mental and physical health cannot be separated.  Therefore the following are very important to me:

1. EXERCISE!  There is much research showing exercise helps alleviate anxiety physiologically!  I try to exercise AT LEAST 6 days a week.  It is a time commitment, but it is one I firmly believe in.

Cardio: Running calms me and gives me confidence.  Knowing I can run all of the hills behind my house is tangible evidence that I am strong.  Also, focusing on the physical activity and pushing myself makes me live in the moment versus obsessing over other things.  Don't feel like running?  A brisk walk or snowshoe session (relevant now that winter is here) are great options to getting your heart rate up.  Swimming is also lovely.  Oh, and working out with my heavy bag.

Yoga: Also calming, and to have a great practice I must focus on the moment.  It is also encouraging to see your strength and flexibility improve session by session.  PLUS it is a great balance to my more aggressive exercise (running and weight training).

Weight Training: Right now I am TOTALLY into BODYROCK.TV.  The exercises are free (!!), fast, and effective.  I feel so strong!  I have also enjoyed Jackie Warner's Xtreme Time Saving Workout and Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.

2. FRESH AIR: This is much easier to accomplish in the summer, but I try to make sure I get outside and do something active, such as snowshoeing a few times a week when the snow comes.

3.  DIET: There is research evidence that diet can help many disorders, ranging from ADHD to schizophrenia.  I find that limiting/almost reducing my sugar and refined product intake has a great effect on my mental clarity.

***I really think one reason our society has so much anxiety and depression today is due to lifestyle: humans are not made to sit on our derrieres all day inside, eating processed foods.

4. THERAPY: An effective therapist can really help you discover your own resources.  That is why I wish to be a counsellor.  Currently, I am not engaging in therapy (except for some pseudo-sessions that are a requirement of my courses) but I have found it very helpful in the past.

5. POSITIVITY:  As a teenager suffering from bouts of OCD it was easy to get down.  I have discovered the power in choosing to see the brighter side of life.  It was not easy at first to shift my gears to this mindset, but now it is second nature.  When you are positive, more things can roll off you: like water off a duck's back.  However, I do not mean to diminish the validity of negative feelings--they are natural and can be healthy.  But when they are overtaking your life? That's a problem.

6. TALKING TO MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS: Talking to my doctor made me realize medication was necessary for me at a certain point of my life.  That being said, I do not advocate everyone getting "drugged up."  No, in fact, I advocate staying off meds if possible (especially concerning children!).  I will not disclose the medication I am on, but if you are really interested, send me an email.

7. ANIMALS & NIECES & FRIENDS & FAMILY: Give me some time with Mr. Alfie-Cat and I am in bliss.  B. and L. will always make me feel HAPPY! Spending time with/talking to family and friends  is also important.  Mr. Fiancé is very good to talk to and is a real support for me!

8. MAKE SOMETHING!  Cooking, crafting, painting, sewing....they are all outlets for energy and creative expression.

If this post was TMI for you, well, I hope you stopped reading.  :)  If you find it in anyway helpful or informative, I am happy for that.  PLEASE bear in mind, this is only my experience and I am not a medical professional, and still a student learning to be a counsellor.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Grown-Up Lego

When you were playin' with Lego as a young'un, did you ever think of doing anything like this?  I was just happy if I made a straight tower.

Jan Vormann's Dispatchwork.  Source.
More by Vormann.  Source.
Vormann again.  Source.
Source.
Source.  Lego-y Night?
Ahhhh!  Psycho Lego!  Source.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Good Stuff! Making Snowflakes With Munchkins.

Blue and gold...these snowflakes are bold!

Paper.  Scissors.  Glitter glue.  Ribbon.  Tape.  Add in some adorable munchkins and you are guaranteed to have a blast.  Arts and Crafts with kids is so fun.  Seasonal decorations?  Why not?
Making paper snowflakes with munchkins is good stuff.  Yes, good stuff, indeed.

The whole lot.

A very....unique flake.