Vegetable Garden – Successes an Failures, Girl Fun and What’s Really Important

Hello everyone,

It’s been a busy and interesting couple of weeks. It seems everyone’s been grumpy for some reason, including me. I’m pleased to say, though, that I have another female to talk to in my warehouse office that, up until last week, has been dominated by men. Not that I mind men – I was always a bit of a Tom Boy, but it’s nice to talk girl talk every now and then.

At the end of a very trying week, a night out with the girls and couple of drinks put me back in a good mood. I’m the one in the middle.

Well, my first year growing vegetables has been both a a success and a failure. Not really a failure – I’ll just know what to do next year! We’ve had unusual rain storms these past couple of weeks which has waterlogged my poor plants, but now that sunshine and dry days are back, there are new shoots and leaves growing, which is a good sign.

The broccoli was a bad idea to grow in the window-box style planters as they ended up very tall and leggy with almost no fruit on them

But that’s ok, because I just realized that broccoli is what makes me so bloated, so had to cut it out of my diet anyway. Sad really as I love broccoli.

Our strawberries are growing very, very slowly. One of the plants is much bigger than the other one and it actually has one whole strawberry on it

I think the smaller one is small because I had it hanging underneath the eaves in mostly shade – I don’t think it liked that. I feel better having read that strawberries won’t produce much fruit the first season. Hopefully next year we’ll get some more. If anyone has any advice, I’d be happy to hear it – I’m just learning how to do this.

Our tomatoes, beans, peas and carrots seem to be doing well. We had to take down the wire that the beans and peas were going to creep along, so they could paint our fence, but we’ll put it back up again next week.

And the pineapple mint is going well – I actually have to find out if I can make some sort of tea out of it without poisoning myself!

Green Peppers too!
Out front I have already harvested some of the Lavender, Sage, Camomile and Rosemary and it’s in my kitchen, drying. With the next Sage and Lavender harvest, I’m going to attempt a Smudge stick.
The three geranium plants are starting to bloom – two white and a red. Very pretty.
So, after managing to lose 5 pounds and vowing to lose another 3 the following week, the office ladies arranged a pot luck and my diet went completely out of the window. I managed to not participate in the pot luck and just as I was feeling pretty good about my decision while I ate my Chickpea Chowder for lunch, a young lady showed up in my office with … horrors … chocolate cupcakes. At first I actually managed to resist thinking she would just turn around and leave. But, no! She stopped and chatted to some people, all the while waving the plate of cupcakes very close to my nose. I couldn’t resist! I had to have one. That was 8 am. She made a couple of rounds that day with more cupcakes and some chocolate cake. Again, I couldn’t resist and took one of each! To make things worse, someone showed up with donuts. By that time, my day was shot anyway, so I devoured an apple fritter with patriotic ferver.
By the end of the week, I had gained 2 pounds. Not bad considering all the chocolate I had devoured.
This week was a different story. I managed to stay the course. The Chickpea Chowder turned out to be so delicious (I know! Who would have thought?) that I had it 2 days in a row. Followed by Mexican “Lasagna” made with tortillas and beans and Montery Jack Cheese and other lovely Mexican spices. Mr. Lifeology loves Mexican food and this dish has become one of our favourites. On Wednesday I made Wonton Soup which I couldn’t get enough of and took it to work for lunch on Thursday. By Friday morning, I had lost 3 lbs! Amazing. At this point, I just want to say that I am cooking out of a book called Looney Spoons Collection by two sisters – Janet & Greta Podleski.  I have made every recipe from that book in a month and there’s been nothing we haven’t liked. It was written with weight loss in mind and everything is delicious. I save money by taking last night’s dinner for lunch the next day. Check out their website here.
Yesterday was my ‘cheat’ day. We went on a bike ride to Hope and then Mission City for a barbecue. I had 2 pieces of chicken and half a hamburger followed by several beers (that’s all they had) and half a bag of chips. It doesn’t sound very appetizing – and it wasn’t. Not a good food day.
So this morning Mr. Lifeology and I were talking on the phone. He went to work today, so communication by phone was the only option. We love to ride our motorcycle during the summer, and riding with friends makes it even better. I love that I can experience seeing Vancouver and  British Columbia this way. I just get to sit on the back and enjoy the scenery – and it’s very beautiful. We’ve been riding with a group of people for a few years, but lately I’ve been thinking about what’s really important to me. I think it’s important to have good people in our lives. People who we really care about and who care about us. I’m not interested in the drama anymore, or other peoples’ egos. I want a group of people – be it family or friends, or both – that I can hang out with. People who enjoy my company and vice versa. Where there is no competition – just to be there for each other and to have fun and enjoy the same things. I think it’s important that we all support each other in times of need or times of fun. So, when Mr. Lifeology expressed his dissatisfaction at the group we were riding with, I was kinda happy. I have made some good friends – who will always remain so. But most of the people are just there to prove something and we’re not really interested in that. 
There is another group of riders who seem to be more suited to our way of thinking and we’ve become quite close in recent months. Today we decided that life really is too short. We must decide to be happy right now and to hang around with people who share our way of thinking and like the same things we like. I mean, isn’t that what it’s all about – have the same things in common?
I’m flying to Edmonton on Tuesday to visit my kids and grandson. I am so looking forward to spending time with them. Grown up children are much more fun!
So, I guess the moral of the story is – don’t wait. Don’t wait to get a better job, or until your finances improve or your house looks just perfect. Life is happening RIGHT NOW and if you wait, it’s going to pass you by. Make sure you hang around with people that make you feel good – lose the people that don’t. Life really is too short to wait.
Until next time – look after yourselves.
Cheers,
Jane
Sunset at Canada Place, Vancouver.
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Traffic Jam, Rain Storms and Weight Loss (finally!)

These past 10 days have had me very frustrated. And angry. And a little poorer!

Vancouver is a series of islands, and so to get from one place to the next you either have to cross a bridge or go through a tunnel. To get to my office from my house, I have to cross a bridge that is lovely and wide and straight and has many lanes to choose from. There are no sharp turns, not even a gentle curve – no bumps in the road – nothing obvious that would make one lose control of their vehicle. Yet 4 times – yes, 4 times – in the last 10 days, there has been an accident preventing me from reaching my destination on time.

I have been late to work from anywhere between a half hour and an hour and a half. I sat in traffic for so long, I won 4 levels of Candy Crush! The only highlight of this whole ordeal. Such is my life.The one day, there were two accidents at the same time on either side of the bridge in the same place! One of the vehicles was actually on fire! What does it take for people to smash into each other on a perfectly, lovely, straight wide bridge in dry sunshine conditions?  I don’t get paid to sit in traffic, so it pains me to see how much money I’m losing when accidents happen. Even more heartbreaking is watching my gas gauge go down while I’m idling for hours!

To make matters worse, our lovely hot sunshiny days were replaced by tropical rain storms. Sheets of rain and loud claps of thunder – and cold! Gone were the leisurely glasses of wine on my sunny patio, gone were the hours puttering amongst my flowers and vegetables. I actually had to resort to cleaning to keep myself busy! Yesterday, I decluttered and reorganized my office/sewing room.

But, there is a silver lining. After trying everything under the sun to try and loose the weight that I put on when I quit smoking 2 years ago – I finally managed to lose 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks! I’m elated.

Not sure how I did it. In January, I started a serious life-style change in an effort to lose some weight and get fit and healthy. After all, I don’t want to be leaning on a walker in my dotage.

Armed with my meal plan and my exercise regime, I followed all the instructions and measured out and weighed all my food faithfully. After 7 days I had an enormous amount of energy from the healthy food and exercise and was feeling really good. I stood on the scale convinced I had lost a few pounds – nothing. No thing. Not. One. Single. Ounce. That’s okay, I told myself. It probably takes a couple of weeks.

Fast forward to June and several melt downs later, and still not a single pound was lost. Then, for reasons unknown, I changed my eating habits. I cut out all the snacks. I had been eating 6 small meals a day – just like my meal plan said I should do, but to be honest, I was running late every day one week and I hastily packed breakfast and lunch and one small yogurt to eat at work. In the evening, I had my usual supper and another small yogurt for dessert. After 2 days I had lost 1 pound. 2 days later – another 2. I stabilized for a couple of days and then lost another 3 pounds over the next week. A. Mazing! I found myself doing a little dance and singing in the shower! My neighbours are probably sick and tired of hearing Wisemen by James Blunt.

Cheers for now

Jane

Baby Fun & Garden Stuff

Hello everyone,

It’s finally the weekend!! It’s been quite a trying week with my staff acting like babies. But nothing a nice glass (or two) of red wine didn’t fix.

We added two new additions to our family a couple of weeks ago

Brother and sister. We named them Moggy (the runt) and Willow.
They didn’t smell very good when we got them, so we gave them a bath

Poor little things! Probably the first and last one they’ll ever get!
Not long after that, Moggy looked like he was settling in VERY well
Our grandson and his Mom came to visit from Edmonton and we had Neil, now 8 months, over the weekends. Being a Grandparent is amazing – you get to have all the fun without the stress 🙂
The first weekend it rained, so we played inside.

But the second weekend was beautiful, so we went to the beach on Saturday afternoon

And then played in the water on my patio on Sunday morning

Chewy watched from a distance after getting her fur pulled!

Our vegetables are growing beautifully and we’ve eaten most of the lettuce already.

These photos were taken 2 weeks ago – everything is much bigger now.
Until next time – have a great weekend and week ahead.
Jane