New Tattoo

I went today to get one of the last vestiges of my marriage removed.

A new more positive tattoo

A new more positive tattoo

I had a tattoo between my shoulder blades that contained my ex-husbands name.  And I was finding it hard seeing it every time I looked over my shoulder while stood in front of a mirror.  And even when I did not see it, I knew it was there.  I could feel it dragging my spirit down.  And I felt a lot of anxiety knowing that I had his name on my body.



I know that there are some risks with getting tattoos, especially when your immune system does not work as it should (like in those of us with autoimmune disorders).  I am also aware that you are more likely to get problems with red pigments.  But I wanted the phoenix because of what it symbolizes.  Phoenixes really need the red of the fire!  And if I was getting a tattoo, I was going to get one I loved, one that looked beautiful, and one that really meant something.

The phoenix really does all that for me.  I have literally risen out of the ashes of my previous life with my ex-husband.  The process has been very empowering, and very uplifting, although it has been painful as well.  The pain of getting this tattoo (and it was really REALLY painful, especially around the 3 hour mark.  I nearly called a halt at that point!) symbolizes that pain too.  I may not be quite “all there” yet, I suspect I never will be – life is, and should be, about continual growth.  And getting this was an important step to me healing and growing.

It is a lot bigger than my previous one, but that was needed to ensure that the previous one was totally covered by the dark area.  I love the way that the tail extends down my spine.  I love the detail and the shading (the shading was the most painful part as she was repeatedly having to go over already sore and inflamed areas).

But I think the final result is worth it!


I had this done by Amber at The Arthouse Inc in Kensington (Calgary).  And she did a fabulous job!  She came up with the original design, then produced this wonderful piece of body art especially for me!

New Home

I moved into my new home today!  I am so excited and happy to finally have my own place and be independant again.  And to have a place that I can really make my own.

These are a few pictures of it, taken as the moving company was just starting to bring stuff in.  (they are not the best quality pictures – just ones snapped with my phone).  It is small, but perfect for me – 2 bedrooms, and just what I need to get myself back on my feet again.

The most important room in the house!

The most important room in the house!

Another view of the kitchen - small but useable.

Another view of the kitchen – small but useable.

The main living area with the second bedroom beyond the open door.

The main living area with the second bedroom beyond the open door.

Part of the master bedroom.

Part of the master bedroom.


I will take some more, better pictures once I have everything unpacked and settled (and once I have found my camera, which is somewhere among all the boxes in the second bedroom!)

And once I have finally unpacked everything and got everything sorted, I will be able to get back to cooking and writing recipes again…..  Something that I cannot wait to do!


When Failure Is a Learning Experience

I know I said that I was not going to be posting for the next couple of weeks due to my treatment program, but I came across something that made me feel compelled to post.


All of us have experienced failure at some time in our lives…  we have done badly at a test in school.  We have failed driving tests.  We did not get the job that we applied for.  We did badly in job evaluations.  Our relationship bombed out on us and the “love of our life” rejected us…  We cheated on our diet and felt bad as a result.

And for those of us with drug or alcohol addiction problems, we may have relapsed or failed to maintain our sobriety.

What I want to highlight in this post that is failing to achieve something is not the end of the world…  it is a learning experience.  When you fail to meet your expectations or those of your peers, it is not a total failure on your part.  It is a vital part of your growth and development as a human being.

Everyone fails at some points in our lives – it is a part of being human – of being fallible… none of us are perfect!

And if you set yourself up for nothing less than perfection, you are setting yourself up to fail. And that is going to lead to more problems in the future.

If you refuse to learn from a set-back, then that is a failure on your part (but I what I would go on to say is that it is not a failure per-say, but a failure to LEARN)…  if you embrace your mistakes, learn from them, they can become valuable learning tools that can be vital to your growth and development as a well-rounded, successful human being.

So embrace your failures.  Learn to say “Yes I F**Ked up, but I am a better person because of it…”  and learn to love yourself.

Be gentle with yourself.

Never be afraid to F.A.I.L – as that is your opportunity to learn.  Your First Attempt In Learning.

And never be afraid to dream big and shoot for the stars!

A stream of consciousness

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about where I want my life to go in the future.

What I have planned and where I want to make changes.


I posted a while ago, mentioning that I was getting divorced…  well that is still going through the process, but it is messy and very unpleasant.

Why do these things have to always be so nasty?

Why can’t two people try to at least be pleasant to one another under rather unpleasant circumstances?

Well I guess that doesn’t really matter.

What matters most is that I know where I am going and what I am going to do with my future.


I am determined that I will not just sit back and let life happen to me.  I am going to grasp it with both hands and make the most of the opportunities that I have to remake a new life for myself.

One where I can do the things I wanted, one where I only have myself to please.  One where I can be happy.

My current plans are that I would like to study Holistic Nutrition…  I am thinking seriously about this course:  I don’t know yet whether I would prefer to do the class-room course or whether the online/distance learning one would be better (with the latter I could still get a job and work).

But either way, I think that this would be a great addition to my massage practice.

And it is something that I am very passionate about.

All in all, I am fairly happy about what the future can hold for me.  And I am excited about it.

Getting back in the saddle again

I know I said that I was only planning on taking a break from posting for a month or two, but it actually took me longer than that to recover, both physically and mentally.

I would not say that I am totally recovered now, but I am feeling much better, so I think it is time for me to start making more regular posts again.

There have been several changes to my life however – some minor, some more dramatic.

I am no longer with Hubby – we have been separated since October, and he filed for divorce a week or two ago.  And the girls are living with him as I am now renting a room at a friends house.

Eventually, I hope that I can change that situation and have my own place where the girls can be with me at least part of the time.  It is not the best situation as far as my mental and physical health is concerned, but it is what it is.

But for now, it is just me that I am cooking for.

I have “restarted” my AIP-journey, and gone back to the strict elimination phase.  During my period of illness, and especially when I was hospitalized, I could not eat AIP – the best that I could manage was gluten and dairy-free, and as a result my health suffered, so I felt it was time for the “restart”….

Due to very limited finances (I am not currently working due to my health issues), I have a very limited budget for food.  This means that I am having to make some compromises in what I eat, but I am trying to make them “wisely”, so that I am still eating the best possible diet for my health.  Most of the compromises include eating non-grass-fed/non-pastured meats and some non-organic vegetables.  This is done purely to make my budget stretch to cover those items that REALLY need to be organic/pastured/grass-fed.  And while not ideal, it is the best that I can manage at the moment.

The recipes that I am cooking and sharing over the next few months will no doubt reflect this.

So, if you want tips on how to manage AIP on a very limited budget, while still eating nutritionally dense, tasty food stay tuned….

Taking a break

Due to some mental health issues that I am struggling with, I have reluctantly decided that I need to take a break from blogging.  I do not have the time to sort out my issues and blog at the same time, and my mental health has to come first right now.

I am not abandoning you, the blog will still remain up and I will respond to your comments, questions and emails.

I just won’t be posting for the next month.  Think of it as me taking a vacation – although I will be staying at home and working under the care of my mental health team rather than going to have some fun in the sun – more is the pity!.

I am going to miss you guys!

See you all at the end of August!

Took a break

I took an unscheduled break for a few days for two reasons:

1:  I was sick.

2:  Remember way back in February we had a leak in our bathroom/basement?  Well the insurance company have FINALLY got round to approving the repairs that were needed – only took them 4 months!  (We will be changing our insurance company as soon as these repairs are done!  It should never have taken them this long to aprove what should have been a simple claim.)  So we have workmen repairing drywall and the ceiling in the basement and also some repairs in the kitchen where the leak originally happened (the floor, the sink unit etc).  This meant that we were without water in the kitchen…

Anyhow, while the repairs are still going on, we now have water in the kitchen, so I can get back to cooking even if the floor tiles have not been laid yet.  That means I can get back to posting recipes.

Bathroom/Basement Leak

A couple of weeks ago, on the 25th of Feb, Hubby went down to the basement, where our bedroom and bathroom are located for a shower and he discovered this:


A huge damp patch on the bathroom ceiling and water pouring through it and running down the shared wall between the bathroom and the basement storage area.



The kitchen island unit with the dishwasher, sink and garbourator were right above it, and there was a big split in the drainage pipe.  As the dishwasher was pumping out at the time, the water was gushing out of the leak.

I didn’t manage to get a picture of the water pouring out, because tbh, the first thought on my mind was to mop up all the water and not to grab the camera.  I grabbed every towel I could find in the house and used them to mop up the water on the bathroom floor and in the storage area.



Fortunately we were lucky – the only things that got wet were the contents of the vanity:


a back pack and a box of outgrown kids clothes that were destined for Goodwill:



While I was clearing up, Hubby went to call the insurance company, and they sent round a restoration company, Action  Restoration.

By 9pm, they were at our house, and for the next couple of hours they started sorting things out and taking photographs etc.  They also discovered that there was a second leak in the kitchen.  The same pipe had a second leak higher up inside the island unit and the base of the cabinet and the kitchen floor was soaked as well.  Some of the tiles were lifting up on the kitchen floor:


They left at about 11pm after dropping off 3 HUGE dehumidifiers, 2 in the basement (one in the storage area, one in the bathroom), and one in the kitchen.

At that point, Hubby and I fell into bed.  Our bedroom is also in the basement, but fortunately the floor in there didn’t get wet.

But let me tell you, sleeping with 2 dehumidifiers running just outside the room you are trying to sleep in is almost impossible!

In all, we had to leave those machines running for about 5 days, and I had the WORST sleep over that period that I have ever had (they also increased our electricity bill by around $150 as well).

The next day, we got a plumber round to fix the leaking pipes (we just didn’t use the sink unit or dishwasher until this point), so we ended up with a hole in the bathroom ceiling:


He discovered that the split in the pipe was far longer than was originally thought, so had to extend the hole further so that he could fix the pipe:

see that line on the pipe?  That is the split.

see that line on the pipe? That is the split.

In all, the split was over a foot in length and extended from above the bathroom ceiling into the storage area.

the fixed pipe

the fixed pipe

Then he fixed the leak in the kitchen cabinet.  This necessitated a hole being cut in the base:


A couple of days later, Action Restoration came round again to cut out the damaged drywall and cieling:



And this is the stage we are at now – a hole in the bathroom wall and a hole in the ceiling.  We are now awaiting the insurance companies approval of the remedial work that needs doing…  Over 3 weeks later!

Fortunately they didn’t remove the damaged kitchen floor or island unit or our kitchen would have been unusable.

All I can say is that I hope they get a move on and fix it soon!

To say that this has been a stressful 3 weeks doesn’t do it justice!

Fortunately, it could have been a LOT worse.  The leak involved the dishwasher, so it was grey water.  It could so easily have been sewage as there is a bathroom on the first floor.   It could have damaged our bedroom.  It could have been more extensive in the storage-room, as there is some irreplaceable stuff stored in there.  And relatively few of our possessions got wet.  I had to throw out the box of clothes that I was going to take to Goodwill, and we had to replace our toothbrushes and toothpaste etc.  Apart from that, the only other thing was the backpack.  I am just grateful it was confined to the bathroom and a very small area of the storage-room.




Charcut Resturant – Calgary

Way back in early December last year I mentioned that Hubby and I visited Charcut for our wedding anniversary.  And I promised to do a post about our meal.

I apologise, but I completely forgot about that until I found the receipt in my bag yesterday!

So here is the post I promised, just a month or so too late…..

The pictures are not of the best quality, partly because they were taken using a cellphone, and partly because it was so dark in there (mood lighting taken to the extreme!).  But what the pictures lack in quality was more than made up for by the food, which was excellent.

Our reservation was not until fairly late – 8pm at night, but that was OK with us as we like to make a night of it when we go out, and if we start eating earlier, we finish early and then start wondering what to do next, which usually means we end up in a bar.  At least this way, we finished eating, came home and cracked open a second bottle of wine to enjoy.

We decided to get the bus downtown because parking is expensive and we intended to have a bottle of wine.  Hubby does not like to drive if he has had even one drink, so this was a good solution.  We arrived a little early, so we visited a bar close by and had a glass of red wine, then we walked to the restaurant.

The staff are always wonderful – Hubby had told them it was our wedding anniversary when he made the reservation, so as soon as we told them our name they wished us a “Happy Anniversary”.  They took our coats and hung them up in a closet, and then we were shown to our table, which was a 2 person one tucked out of the way.  Almost as soon as we had sat down, a server showed up and asked us whether we would like still or sparkling water (both of us opted for sparkling), and they brought us an amuse of “Italian Bar Snacks” (pork jerky that I attempted to recreate here)

We had one bottle of red wine, a red called B de E:


The appetizers that we ordered were a portion of bone marrow (with added snails) each (I chose the gluten-free toast, hubby went with the regular):


and a portion of warm olives to share:


Take my advice, if you ever visit Charcut and have the bone marrow order one each.  One between 2 is really NOT enough!  You will only get a few spoonfuls of marrow and your brain will be saying “Give me MOARRRRR!” and there will be none left.

In fact, forget the “if” you order bone marrow, if you visit Charcut you simply MUST order the bone marrow!  At least one each!  It is delicious. Rich, fatty, savory and oh so satisfying.  Don’t worry if you are on the squeamish side, it isn’t gross at all…  I just tastes a bit like a meaty, fatty spread.  I was tempted to lick the cavity out of mine just so that I could get every last bit out, but I didn’t (manners and all that!)  I actually commented that perhaps next time we visit we should order 2 bone marrow each!  Seriously, it is THAT good….

We went with 2 different main courses:

I ordered a Butchers Steak (as rare as they could make it), which came with a chimichurri sauce, arugula and matchstick potato fries:


It was absolutely beautifully rare as you can see….

Hubby ordered pork belly which came with aged cheddar grits:


And we also got a side of red cabbage to share, which came in the most adorable little pot:


Of course we tasted each others main course (I didn’t try the grits as I am allergic to cows milk cheese – Hubby said that they were really good though), but Hubby’s pork was delicious, and he agreed that my steak was wonderful.

The red cabbage was a bit “Meh” – not bad, just not as wonderful as the meat, but hey, it was very good red cabbage….

Seeing as they had a sheep’s milk cheese (which I can eat) on the menu,


we then decided that we would go for a cheese course:


This was served with some Buzz Honey, a relish, some toast (which I avoided) and some seeds.  It was wonderful.

Then we went for a dessert.


Hubby had a blueberry cheesecake:


and I chose the chocolate parfait:


which was so rich that I could not eat more than a spoonful or two of it.

And we rounded the meal out with a coffee each.

Then it was a gentle walk to the bus-stop and we got the bus home, where we shared a second bottle of wine while watching some TV.

It was a wonderful evening, but I think it really should have been seeing that it cost us a whopping $221.55….

Having said that, despite the high price, it is always worth eating at Charcut – the food is always excellent, the service is wonderful, and we always end up enjoying ourselves immensely.

The food was wonderful as was the service.

If you are Paleo and want a good night out, this is the place to visit.  And even if you are not Paleo, but just enjoy eating good food (and don’t mind lots of meat), I would also recommend it.  The only people I would not recommend visiting this restaurant are vegetarians and vegans – seriously, there was only 1 thing on the menu a vegan could eat – the olives!

OK so our meal was not perfectly Paleo – Hubby had toast, we both had some sheep’s cheese, I had potatoes as a side with my main, and Hubby had those cheesy grits.  And the deserts we chose were not really Paleo either… but if you really wanted to make your meal strict Paleo I am sure you could talk to them and they would help you out.

I think if I had to give them a rating out of 10, I would probably say a good 8-9/10.

Taking a break

I have been taking a break from blogging for the last few days because I have a lot on at work.  I also have a bunch of studying that I need to do.

And all that combined with the Christmas concert season has meant that I have had precious little time for the things that I need to do.  So writing blog posts has had to take a bit of a back seat.

Never fear though, I have still been cooking and eating paleo, and have a bunch of recipes to post after the weekend….