Tag Archives: thoughts

the future of dietary recommendations?

I have enjoyed my Sunday ritual of sitting at my computer and writing my weekly blog.  To those of you who follow along weekly, and for those who have popped in today or once in a while, I want to thank you for joining me.

Recently, the Canadian government released a draft of the new version of Canada’s Food Guide.  I was interested to read that under the Guiding Principle 1, there has been a shift from “meat and alternatives” to “protein-rich foods – especially plant-based sources of protein”.

Now, those who know me well would tell you that while I have a predominantly plant-based diet, with the odd bit of seafood and a little cheese once in a while, I do not force my diet or opinions on anyone.  I do believe that everyone is free to choose for themselves, and the same is true for my children.  My older son is the same as I am in his choices.  We have plant-based milk to enjoy.  I like soy milk in my coffee, and he is crazy about coconut milk.  Conversely, my younger son still enjoys dairy milk, and so I buy that for him to consume.

What the current draft of the dietary recommendations has done for me is reinforce what I have been doing.  It will also help to bring along a shift in the thoughts of the general public.  Plant-based diets are highly nutritious, providing all the essential components needed, particularly when it is a diet with a variety of different plant foods.

I know there are some people out there (my ex-husband for one) who would say that you need to eat meat in order to gain the proteins and amino acids required for a healthy body.  I am not going to argue anyone’s opinion.  But I do encourage people to do the research for themselves and choose the diet that meets their needs.  There is no one perfect diet for every person.  We are all individuals with individual needs.

For myself, and for the positive environmental impact that these changes will produce, I am quite excited to see Canada taking the bold step forward so far with these recommendations.  While it is still in a draft form and there are many changes that could still take place, I am proud to see that the steps are being taken to recognize how plant-based nutrition is advisable for the majority of people.  I would like to congratulate the Government of Canada for taking these steps, and I hope to see this movement expand beyond borders and move into other countries to create a global movement.

the ultimate rollercoaster ride

There are days where I have so many topics that I want to write about, and there are others where I sit at my computer with white page syndrome. I have nothing. Nothing wants to come out. Nothing wants to be told. Nothing is tearing at the seams, dying to be sent out to the world.

Today, there is much that I could tell you. So many things have happened this week. It’s been a week of trials. Of endings and of beginnings. It has been a week of reconnections and of goodbyes. Tears and smiles.

But at the end, sitting here on a Sunday morning with my coffee and keyboard, it has been a week ending in peace.

There are times where that roller coaster of life takes you up and down at immeasurable speed. It can flip you upside down when you’re not prepared for it, and it can take you through corners where you feel like you just might fall off the rails. But at the end, it always gently coasts you to a stop at the end of the ride.

That has been my week this week. Sometimes it feels like the whole month or maybe the year has been that way. Maybe life in general is a roller coaster ride. What it does for me is it helps me to reset. It helps me to see that even if at one moment, I am in that seat, upside down and hanging onto the harness for dear life, that it will come back to being right side up, and I will gently roll back to the point where I need to be before the ride starts all over again.

perspective

A few days ago, I met a friend for a long overdue visit.  I have been in awe of this woman since the day we met almost nine years ago.  I adore her.  We gave each other the Cole’s notes version of what has happened in our lives since our last get together, and I think every single time she tells me what she’s been up to, she continues to amaze me.  She inspires me to be a better person simply by being who she is.  She is the woman I most admire, hands down.  It isn’t because she has won the Nobel prize, or has a triple PhD.  It’s because she is completely and entirely comfortable in her own skin.  She is confident, composed, calm.  Not only that, she inspires the same in others without having any expectations other than to just be the best version of yourself that you can be, because that is what she is also trying to do.

As we sat and talked, the topic of trees came up.  Without the context, it may seem irrelevant to speak of trees, so just trust me that it had great weight in the conversation.  Two days prior, we had a storm that downed many trees in the area.  One happened to be in my neighbor’s front yard that fell into my house.  It caused some relatively minor damage and certainly an ounce of inconvenience since I could not access my front entrance very well, and had to walk around my garage to make it to my house, but nothing unmanageable.  That night, after coming home from my regular Wednesday night meeting and coffee with fellow photographers, the sun was still out and the weather shifted to become a rather welcoming late evening.  I decided to take the dog for a walk and assess the damage to the neighborhood.  Walking down residential streets and the trails, the sounds of chainsaws echoed throughout the community as neighbors cleaned the fallen trees and branches in their yards.

After our walk, I came up to the tree laying heavily on my front steps and took a good close look at her.  She was beautiful.  Even though the blooms had not been ready to open, I examined the clusters of buds on the tree top; the ones too high to be able to see when she was standing tall.  But here, she was at eye level in all her beauty.  I grabbed my camera because I felt compelled to capture this glimpse of her life before it was taken away forever.  At this point, the sun was starting to set above the rooftops.  I realized how beautiful the sunset was in behind the tree, and in several shots I was able to capture that as well.

What struck me most is how much beauty there was in the destruction that occurred mere hours before.  How this perfectly imperfect tree could still be so beautiful laying on her side, how the day could turn itself around from the hundred kilometer an hour winds and driving rains to the gorgeous burnt orange sunset I could see amongst her branches.

There is beauty despite the damage.

It seems somewhat like a metaphor that can be used in so many ways.  Many of us are like that tree or like that storm.  Perfectly imperfect, damaged but still with immeasurable beauty.  Perhaps it is in how you view your environment.  Some would surely say the tree was a nuisance, but I am glad that I took the time to thank Mother Nature for the gift she gave me, even if it was fleeting.

The tree is gone now, but I have some memories of her and some beautiful photographs with a story that needed telling.  I am grateful for my friend who saw the value of my story for many may not have understood what I was feeling.  I thank the Universe for her timely fashion in bringing us together when she did.  Long overdue, yet perfectly on time.

emotional intelligence

Managing people is a delicate thing.  Knowing how to interact with people.  Read people.  Be able to effectively communicate with people not only verbally, but with body language and the eyes.

To have a higher level of emotional intelligence is key to success.  One of those soft skills that makes a leader good at their job.  But what happens when those oh so soft skills are lacking?

Mistakes happen.  People are not treated with the dignity or respect they deserve.  They are treated like a number.  Employee satisfaction decreases and high turnover exists.  There is no such thing as it’s just business.  People are business.

It is a sad situation when the employee has a higher EQ than the manager.  When it can be clearly seen and understood by the employee.  But does it make it acceptable just because the supervisor has a lower EQ?  Absolutely not.  These are things that need addressing.  Skills that need to be present if the manager is to be good at the job.

This is not a new topic anymore.  I studied it a good decade ago during one of my degrees.  It made sense then, still makes sense now.  It would be a very good tool to be assessed when hiring people for these positions.  Success hinges more on EQ than it does on IQ.

Food for thought.

an ordinary girl

Is there such a thing as just an ordinary girl?  As I observed the women’s marches that had occurred yesterday and viewed the posts in social media, I realized just how diverse we are.  So what is ordinary anyway?  I feel like there is some 1950s-eque stereotype that is attached to the words ordinary girl.  You know, the type who has the house clean, dinner ready, and standing at the door waiting for her dear husband with pipe and slippers in hand.

Those days are gone.

What I see now is everything but ordinary.  I see women working as welders and carpenters.  Artists, doctors, dentists, marine biologists, paleontologists, corrections officers.  I see body builders and make up artists.

The only common thread I see is that we are all different.  We all dance to the beat of our own drummers.  I believe the ordinary girl is no longer.  We are all uniquely individual, and I think it’s wonderful.  We are all strong in our own right, just as it should be.

2017….

Happy new year to all.  It has been one year since I began my intention to write a blog entry once a week.  I have managed to successfully complete my personal challenge.  I am pleased with myself for having met this challenge, but also, as I read through my entries, I recall things that happened throughout the year and the reasons why I wrote the entries that I did.  Some were happy, some were sad, and some were reflective.  All of them are helping me to grow as a person.

I will continue on with my journey, and maintain my once a week blog entries.  Thank you to those who have decided to follow me.  This project was done in private, mostly away from my personal life.  I believe only two people I know and love are even aware of my blog.  For me, this means that I can write what I choose without fear of reprisal in my personal and day to day life.  For if I decide to write my personal opinion on something that perhaps is not the expected opinion from my colleagues, friends, or family, this now creates tension where tension does not belong.  This goes against what many may believe should be, but I prefer my online presence to be more about my thoughts and feelings, as personal or as raw as they may be at the time I put them to words.  I prefer to not need to defend myself as when I am face to face with others, these things may not be at the surface nor applicable to the personal situation I deal with.

We have heard that online, people tend to be bullies moreso than in real life simply because things that are said in text are easier to say than those words being said directly to someone’s face.  I believe this to be true.  I also believe the other side of the coin.  I believe that it is easier to type in one’s feelings and emotions, to be as honest with oneself in text than it is to say these things aloud.  It does not mean that these raw feelings are hurtful to others, but perhaps to oneself.  Perhaps it is easier to be vulnerable if staring at a screen instead of the eyes of the one who has hurt you.

Either way, thank you for sharing my journey this year.  I wish you all a year of love and success in all that you do.  I wish you joy instead of pain, love in place of hate, confidence not fear.  I wish you the best of you.

Namaste

 

value human interaction

I have been reminded lately of the importance of human interaction.  In this, I mean how important it is to have contact with others.  Physical contact, verbal communication, or whatever it is that satisfies that personal need.  We all need to be valued in some way.  To be appreciated.  To be wanted.

To be loved.

Remember those who play a role in your life, no matter how small.  Thank the person holding the door open for you as you enter the mall to buy those last minute gifts.  Smile at the lonely woman sitting and looking out her window as you walk to collect your children from school.  Give a compliment to a stranger for no other reason but to spread a little joy to the life of another.

In this world of smart phone abuse, I watch as people walk down the street and hallways with their faces buried in screens.  People no longer notice those around them.  I feel the isolation of technology affecting society, and I urge everyone to be part of the resistance here.  Let’s not forget our humanity and our human interaction.

the gift of joy

The old adage “‘Tis better to give than to receive” has been spoken so many times.  I feel like sometimes it has no meaning left anymore.  In this world of materialism, of keeping up with the Jones’ despite what it does to our bank accounts or stress levels knowing the financial strain it places on us just to keep up.  The world we live in wants more and more.  Gluttony abounds.

For so many years, I would go and buy presents for myself (including when I was still married because my ex couldn’t make any effort to do anything for anyone).  I would wrap them and place them under the tree.  On Christmas morning, as I unwrapped these gifts that were labelled as being from everyone else, I would pretend to be surprised by the gifts.

I am no longer doing this.  This year, I have been forthcoming with my children and told them that I do not need gifts under the tree.  You see, my sons, knowing that there is not a significant other in my life and knowing all my family lives far away, they realize that there is nobody who can take them out to buy me Christmas presents.  Their father? I think he would sooner see me dead than help them buy gifts and they know it all too well.  They don’t dare ask.

So this year, I have invited my boys to join me in choosing a senior from the community who is in need of items.  We went down to our local London Drugs and chose a card together off the tree.  They wanted to choose a man, so we did.  Many asked for essential items such as deodorant or razor blades.  Our senior did also, but he also needs a blanket and would like some socks and such.  We have gathered up the items requested, and added in some chocolates, tea, and handmade men’s slippers.  I am currently making a new hat for the gift also.  We will together write our holiday wishes into a Christmas card, and when finished, we will take the package back to the store where they will give the gift to our senior.

The other gift I am giving myself is the gift to another single parent.  Being in the position I am, I know how sometimes the holidays can be difficult without extended family nearby, and to do all the Christmas stuff yourself as a single parent.  I am gifting a photoshoot to a single parent (maybe two, dependent on time), who has no family nearby.  The photoshoot is for the parent and their family.  No strings attached.  No contracts.  No expectations for ordering images.  The photoshoot is going to be done because it feels good to give something to someone else without any expectations.  The parent will receive all the photos edited on a memory stick and they can be printed or not, shared or not.  Totally up to them.

This, to me, is what the holiday spirit is about.  It isn’t about how much you get.  It isn’t about how much you spend.  It isn’t about outdoing the other parent in a bidding war over the children’s love.  It’s about integrity, compassion, and caring for those in our lives and our communities.  Christmas is about loving one another regardless of race, creed, personal preference.  Christmas is about harmony.  Christmas is about joy.

I believe this will be my best Christmas yet.

it’s not personal, it’s just business

Listening in on a conversation amongst “professional” photographers, I have to say I have been quite discouraged.  And when I say “professional”, read that with air quotes.  As in, people who charge others for the pictures they take, however, there is no membership within photography guilds, associations, or even any certificates from courses taken from reputable sources.  So not professional by any standard.

However, as I listened in to this conversation, one individual was complaining that a client was cancelling their wedding, giving all vendors nearly six months notice, claiming that the reason was a serious illness for a close family member.  The discussion became less about the client’s amount of notice, but whether the individual should or should not return the client’s deposit.  It became about whether the client was lying about the reason or not.  And I discovered as I listened in on this conversation that there was absolutely no compassion to be found amongst these individuals.

Have we lost our humanity for the sake of the almighty dollar?  Was that few hundred dollars worth it when likely the date can be filled with another potential client?  Where did our compassion go, and if it’s gone, should we really be working in a field where we work with people as our clients and as our subjects?  Perhaps some inward reflection would be a good idea for situations like this.

I do not want to be like these people.  I do not want to lose my compassion for my fellow humans.  To feel that the money is worth more than the stress the client is undergoing.  I am not a professional photographer.  My photography is purely for enjoyment, and perhaps this is why I feel differently than these others.  Its times like these where I feel I need to disconnect from these types of photographers.  But don’t worry, it isn’t personal if it’s just business…

living a good life

This has been a challenge of a week.  It’s been a week of pondering, and of considering the words spoken to me merely seven days ago, although it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

My father has cancer.  The big C.

Huge deal right?  Well, my mother had cancer also.  She spent a couple years in treatment, and her follow up appointments have all been positive, showing no signs of new growth.  All positive.  She’s not without her health issues, and the scare we had in summer thankfully was not a malignant tumor but still dangerous in its own right.  But I digress.

The words my father spoke left me feeling oddly at ease, even though we still do not know all the details of the severity or chances of survival.  I’ve had a good life.  I have no regrets.  I have done in my life what I aimed to.

Nobody likes to consider life without their loved ones.  I am not the exception.  My father came back into my life once my marriage fell apart.  My ex kept me from having a relationship with my family, so once he was out of the picture, they were there, waiting all those 20 years for me to come back to my senses.  I feel like I have just gotten my father back, so of course I have considered life without him once again.  I’m not ready for him to go.

My father explained some things to me, and I understand completely.  He is not afraid of death, and for the record, nor am I.  I do not believe it to be the end of our existence.  He has lived the life of his choosing.  He has done all the things he has wanted to do, he has no regrets in this life.  He has lived a good life, by his standards.  He was never rich in monetary ways, but that never mattered to him.  He was rich in much better standards.  He has a family he loves dearly.  He has friends who are family of his choosing that he loves equally as much.  He gives from the depth of his heart and would give what he had if it meant someone else could use it more.  Don’t get me wrong, my father is not a saint.  He is human, and in that, he has made mistakes.  He has made some choices that were less than desirable.  But in that, he is 100% human and we all know there is no one living on earth that is perfect by any stretch.

So I considered the words he spoke.  All week, and likely still will.  I know that he will fight for his life should he need to, but if it is meant for him to leave our realm in any short time frame, he will have no regrets.  He will not weep for the things he had not yet done.  He does live a good life that will be celebrated whenever that time comes.  But I still pray that time is not too soon.