Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hopeless Wanderer.

What a fantastic concert! 

Back in March, I wrote a post about how much I love going to concerts and listening to live music. After seeing Maroon 5 at the Saddledome, I wasn't sure how I felt about "big stadium" concerts. I loved seeing Maroon 5 and being in the same building as the gorgeous Adam Levine, but it wasn't as intimate and "special" as the smaller venue concerts I had been to. And then I went and saw Mumford & Sons...


They played at the Saddledome too, and the show was absolutely sold out. In fact, when the tickets went on sale a couple of months ago they sold out in roughly one minute. Listening to their music, I just didn't think they were the "stadium" type. I felt like their concerts were meant to be in smaller venues with that personable touch. And I'm sure a concert like that with them would be spectacular, but the concert I went to Tuesday night with Katie, Sam, and Mollie was equally as mind blowing. 

I have to take a minute and thank Cara and Amanda, two of the greatest friends, for introducing me to this beautiful band. Between listening to them in Cara's residence room in Vanier, to cruising through the state of Maine heading towards Vermont with Amanda, they began to grow on me. So much so that I downloaded their albums Sigh No More and Babel when it was released. So ladies - THANK YOU! 

Magical is probably the best word to use to describe this experience. They played every song I wanted to hear (except Broken Crown). During their encore, they moved to a stage closer to our seats (I freaked!) and did their version of a Bruce Springsteen classic, I'm On Fire. They also sang a cappella. Enough said. Also, I've never seen someone play a banjo as furiously as they did! What a work out. During their last song, Marcus Mumford sang his last note and dropped the microphone and its stand to the ground. And the crowd erupted. Just spectacular! 

This concert just reaffirmed my love for live music and saw my love for Mumford & Sons grow 200%! 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Realizations: A Real Life Teacher.

I don't know how I feel about this. I know I've had this thought before, but for some reason it really resonated with me today as I went about my business. I mean, the whole reason I went to school was to have this career path. So how come today it all of a sudden hit me with a furious punch? Am I a "bad person" for not getting as excited about this aspect of my new adventure until now? Not gonna lie, slight disappointment on my part. Or am I being too hard on myself?

But yes, I'm going to China. Every once in a while I stop in my tracks and pause: Melissa, you're going to China and that's a pretty big deal! But today, my thoughts were in a different place:


Melissa, you're going to be a teacher. And I smiled. My own classroom. My own students. My own lesson plans. Goosebumps.

A real life teacher. That's me!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday! This will be the first time I haven't been able to spend her birthday with her and it makes me a bit sad. But I know that she will be surrounded by the people that she loves on her day and that makes me happy because I know she'll be treated like a queen! Only a short 43 days separates our reunion - and I can't wait!

Mom, last year for your birthday I wrote a blog post and in it shared some of the reasons why I love you to the moon and back: click here. Of course all of those still apply today, but I would like to add some more this year...

-- you learned how to quilt and made me your very first one. I will treasure it always.

-- when I came to you and dad and expressed my interest in teaching overseas, you were nothing but supportive and encouraging and you continue to be while you help me out with the finer details of this big move.

-- when I came home for Christmas you asked what special home cooked meals I wanted AND you cooked them. Meatloaf and lasagna - yum! Your cooking skills impressed me :)

-- you still give the best hugs ever! Our reunion at the airport at Christmas time was my favourite hug!

-- when I couldn't fit everything into my suitcase when moving to Alberta and coming back after Christmas, you packed box after box and mailed them to me - and you always made sure to pack an extra little treat for me (mmm, chocolate chip cookies!)

-- you always give such sound and practical advice. You help keep me level headed, which I most definitely need sometimes.

I hope you have an amazing birthday, Mom! I'm there in spirit, and sending you lots of love from the west on your special day.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wild Rose Detox: Day 7.

So, yesterday was day seven. One week.

How I'm feeling?
Really good. I definitely see a difference in my body and I feel a difference. I feel "lighter" if that makes any sense. The food I'm putting into my body isn't weighing me down. It's free of the bad stuff and not sitting heavy in my stomach. You know that feeling when you eat too much or something too heavy and all you want to do is lay down and sleep? Yeah? Well, I haven't felt like that since starting this cleanse. 

My gosh, yes! But I'm surprised at my cravings. I thought I would be dying for some sugar days ago. That's not the case. I'll tell you what though - I'd do just about anything for a piece of bread at this point. Or some pasta. I am definitely jonesing for some carbs! I know that Saturday morning when I wake up (this being my first day off the cleanse) I fully intend to dine on toast and peanut butter! Or a bagel. Mmmm...bagels! What seems promising to me though is that I'm NOT craving sweets, so maybe my desire to eliminate my sweet tooth could be a reality. Here's hoping! 

Weight loss?
I think so. I started the cleanse on Monday, May 6th and the four days prior to that I ate REALLY badly. Like pizza, fast food, and chocolate. Really bad! So when I weighed in at Weight Watchers on Wednesday I didn't expect to see much of a loss. Surprised I was! I lost 1.5lbs. I credit this to the cleanse. I'm really anxious to get on the scales at Weight Watchers this Wednesday to see where I stand. I feel like I've lose weight because I see a difference in the mirror. But you're mind can play some sneaky games on you...

How's the ol' digestive tract?
My diet over the last seven days has consisted mostly of rice cakes and almond butter, fish, brown rice, apples and greens. So none of those items are causing my digestive issues, that's for sure! I haven't felt any pains in my stomach since starting the cleanse. My hope is that when I finish the cleanse and I start to incorporate some of the foods that I eliminated from my diet during the detox, something will trigger the digestive issues I have been experiencing therefore pinpointing where they are stemming from. Best case scenario: I never experience those pains again! 

Exercising & Energy
I definitely have energy. I feel lively. I'm still not a morning person though by any means! However, I haven't been able to go on my runs during this cleanse. I've tried and can only get about 15 minutes in before feeling faint, weak, fatigued, and exhausted. I did some research and a lot of people say to avoid strenuous work of any sort. Your body is already working in overdrive to get rid of the toxins built up in your body and other junky stuff. Running on top of that exhausts the body immensely. Needless to say, I haven't gone for a run since that day...but I did go swimming, and that went just fine.

So, I have a measly five days left. It's funny that when I started this twelve days seemed like such a long time. Worse though was having to eat this new diet for those twelve days. But I keep telling myself "Melissa, there are 365 days in a year. This is 12 days. You can do 12 days." The only time I've "cheated" is when I put hot sauce in my guacamole without thinking about its vinegar base (no vinegar or anything fermented on the this detox diet!) Ah well. No harm, no foul. Right? 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Always & Forever: For Grandad.

Two years. And I'm conflicted...

May 9th, 2011 will forever be an important date in my life, and in the lives of my family. This was the day two years ago that my Grandad died. And today, as I look back on the last two years, I'm conflicted and thinking many things. 

Firstly, the word "died" makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it's because I'm uncomfortable with the concept? My head knows he is gone in the physical sense, but my heart knows he's still with my in many ways. So, no he's not dead. I know he is still very much alive when good things come my way - like this opportunity to China, and when I talk to my Grandmom and see how well she is doing - I'm so proud of her, and when I look down at my tattoo on my foot and put on my necklace every morning. I miss him very much, but this second year of our loss saw a new stage in my grieving process. 

I can now talk about Grandad without getting emotional, and I think more about the happy times we had rather then his illness and demise in the last few months of his life. My heart is definitely heavy today, and has been for the last couple of days. With every text, message, and email of love I receive, I become more saddened by my reality, but happy to be loved.

 When I think about where I was and the state of mind I was in two years ago at this very moment, I tear up. And I think that's where I become conflicted...why do I do this to myself? Why do WE do this to ourselves? This date isn't like a birthday, or a wedding anniversary. It's not like celebrating Christmas or a reunion. It marks the anniversary of a very sad day in my life. And yet, I know the date is approaching, I prepare myself, and acknowledge it. I become sad, I mourn again, and I find comfort in my family. So why do I recognize it? I know Grandad wouldn't want me moping around feeling these intense moments of sadness because I miss him so much. So this is the promise I'm making him and myself:

Today, it's okay to shed a tear. It's okay to feel sad and miss him. But I will not hide in the dark. I will not close myself off from everyone else. And I will not stand in a puddle of my own tears. I will not feel sorry for myself. I will be proud and happy to be able to say I had such a supportive, loving, and strong Grandad. I will smile because I grew up with a Grandad who was involved in my life in so many ways. I will laugh and smile when I remember the wonderful times I had with him. And I will remind myself that even though he isn't here, he is definitely proud of the places I've been and the places I'm going. This day will be a day of remembrance, not a day of mourning again.

To my family - I would give anything to be with you all today. To remember him, talk about him, and see each other through this day. Sending all my love from Calgary <3

I miss you Grandad. Love you, always and forever: Your #1 Granddaughter.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wild Rose Detox.

Yesterday I started the Wild Rose 12-Day Herbal D-tox.

A friend at work introduced me to this cleanse. She said that it helps kick her sugar cravings and she loses weight at the same time. I have an INTENSE sweet tooth. Since starting Weight Watchers back in November, I have found my cravings for sugar-related items to be more intense. As well, I find I crave a lot of fast food. And with cravings come cavings. And I have caved a number of times in the last month or so. I've tried to get back on track, and I've succeeded most of the time, but the failures and moments of weakness are begining to increase their frequency and I need to take back control. My hope during this d-tox/cleanse is that I will be doing something good for my body - I'll be riding my body of toxins that have accumulated over a number of years, kick/control my sugar cravings, and lose a few pounds in the process. This is all part of the bigger spectrum of my goal to live a healthier lifestyle.

I've been having some digestive issues too in the last few months. I've seen a doctor about it, and neither of us can really pin point what it might be. The pains aren't constant, and they have been happening less frequently lately. However, some times when I eat the pains are so bad the only position I can stay stationary in and it not hurt is the fetal position. My doctor thinks it might be an intenstinal thing. So, I'm also hoping that this detox/cleanse will help to clean things out and start "fresh" therefore eliminating my digestive complications! (TMI? sorry...)

I think the toughest thing for me during this 12-day cleanse will be the diet. It's a gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free diet. No processed food (good bye fast food!) and your intake of certain fruits are limited (no bananas and oranges, my friends). So far, I've found a liking for rice cakes and almond butter. I can still eat my daily intake of veggies and hummus (thank god!) and I can eat apples in the morning instead of oranges. No more coffee (you ARE allowed to drink coffee, but you can't add sweetener) - but I can have all the herbal tea I want! I think I'm going to get very bored of the menu I've created for myself, but I just need to stick it out for 12 days and maybe I'll have taken on some new eating habits that are better for my body! 

On day two, I feel normal. I have to use the bathroom a lot - which I'm told isn't uncommon (TMI? Sorry, again...) I feel energetic, and I already feel like I'm doing good things for my body. In my research, I found a lot of people say day three is the worst day. Others say around day nine or ten. I'll keep you posted...

*image courtesy of