The iron have me so bazodee…literally!

Morning!

My heading is the lyrics from a song about steelpan music: the “iron” is the steelpan music and “bazodee” means overwhelmed, confused, dazed in Trinidadian. Now, the original song was about enjoying steelpan music, but my heading means that my actual iron levels are low and I am literally overwhelmed, confused and dazed.

A few weeks ago, I collapsed in the washroom. I passed out for a few minutes and when I woke up, I had twisted my ankle and bitten through my lower lip. After getting bloodwork done and going through the agonizing twenty four hours after being told I had to come in to discuss the results and when I actually met with the doctor, I was told that there was virtually no iron in my blood. Sigh.

As a vegetarian, we’re always reminded that we need to keep up our protein. I do try to include protein in every meal and those close to me know that I’m always lecturing about protein in meals. Somewhere along the line, I guess I lost sight of the iron part of things. The doctor met with me and discussed the levels and while he didn’t try to make me start eating meat again, he did ask me a few times if I would consider eating meat, “not that I want to judge your lifestyle”. Hmmmm…

I can’t actually fathom chewing on and swallowing a piece of chicken or bacon on salmon. I actually can’t. Now I know the body is resilient and if I wanted to, I probably could actually do it, but the reality is that I’m not going to. The fact remains that I have been a vegetarian since high school and can’t go back now. If I can incubate a human and take care of two of us on this diet, I can surely take care of myself, right?

So like the lactose intolerant revelation a few months ago, now there’s this bombshell. I mean, seriously? Does my body want me to eat nothing at all? Sigh. To add insult to injury, since last year, I have given up juice and pop and have stuck to drinking only water and tea: I go through a cup of orange pekoe in the morning, 750 ml a day of green tea at my desk at work and then I drink unsweetened homemade iced tea at home (that I brew myself) and on doing my iron absorption research, I’ve come to find out that properties in tea (tannins) inhibit iron absorption. Here’s the kicker: tannins only affect iron absorption in iron found in non-meat sources. So essentially, because of the all-day tea drinking, my body has not been able to absorb any iron I’ve been consuming. What the f….annoying!

So now what? Now what do I do? I fear I might have to become those meal-planning, own-food-bringing, nutritional-content-scrutinizing people. I don’t have time for all of that! Can’t I just eat three beets and call it a day? I never want to reject food or bad talk food or shun food. I like to eat!! I have been doing research and my loved ones have been providing a lot of information and advice for me to consider, so that’s good, but I still can’t be bothered! hahahaha…I’m kidding.

Over the last three days, I’ve had to make changes. I have to take my iron supplements twice a day with food, but not with dairy (since that inhibits absorption) and try to have it with Vitamin C (which helps absorption), but after one hour of having tea, which affects absorption. It’s like an algebra formula! I just want to eat!!!!

Okay, enough with the whining.

I’m not invincible and despite how free-wheeling I want to live my life, diligence and organization is necessary. The amount of attention my body needs is growing and so to be healthy, I have to make a concentrated effort. No more fainting spells and low energy because I have my life to live. I have a son to raise and a job and a boyfriend and hobbies and this blog and my family and my Fitbit to keep busy. I don’t have time to have low iron!!! Right now, I have to work hard to get the iron levels UP and then maintained! That will take some effort, but pretty soon, it’ll be automatic and my body will be happier and I will be happier. This low iron thing is not going to keep me bazodee!

So on I go, one meal at a time.

Have a good week!

Vikera

What a difference a year makes….

Good morning!

I was sitting here reminiscing on last summer. It seems so different from this summer. Last summer, I had just started working again and funds were not for spending, but for replenishing my withering bank account after six months of being off work. In other aspects though, my life was the same, but different back then. I was very involved with the Trinidadian society out here: going to meetings and volunteering. I was seriously single. I didn’t have the new car and still felt awkward driving my old car. I was living a very sedentary life. I didn’t have the new phone or maybe I just got it and was still figuring it all out. I was dancing kizomba religiously every two weeks. I certainly didn’t have Whatsapp to communicate with my brothers. I was rocking short hair. I didn’t have four tattoos. Flashforward a year and a lot of this has changed.

Isn’t it amazing how life changes? None of these things I had really planned on changing; they just happened over the course of the year. Life has a way of moving along nicely, doesn’t it?

You know me, I have always been a planner and I’m not extremely spontaneous, however, it’s becoming clear to me that despite my best efforts, things are going to happen that I didn’t plan for or didn’t see coming and it’s not always a bad thing! Hmmm…imagine that!

  1. I am grateful to have people in my life who love me and want what’s best for me.
  2. I am grateful that I am able to provide for Kidlet and we both have more than we need and are able to have some of what we want.
  3. I am grateful that my heart remembers how to love and the person that I’ve entrusted it to is taking care of it nicely.
  4. I am grateful that I’m becoming more active. (I bought a Fitbit activity tracker…more on that next week!)
  5. I am grateful that I have a challenging and rewarding (and frustrating and sometimes overwhelming) job!
  6. I am grateful that Kidlet is happy and healthy and just an all-round super duper wonderful person. ❤
  7. I am grateful that I’m making peace with my hair. It’s getting longer and it’s a lot more work than a bi-weekly haircut, but when it’s big and fluffy and my curls are all over the place, it feels magical.
  8. I am grateful that after 10 years, the homesickness for Trini food is now manageable.
  9. I am grateful that I held out for a job with a short commute, so when I’m working on this blog post in the morning when I should be in the shower, I can still get to work on time! ACK! 😛

It’s important to focus on the positive. Last year, my life was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. This year, my life still isn’t perfect, but it’s still good. Happiness and contentment live with me and for THAT I am ever grateful!

Have a good week all!

The Internet is bullsh*t

Okay, so the title is a bit strong, but read on…

So Kidlet and I were running an errand on the weekend. A song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while. Naturally, I began car dancing. I’m a GREAT car dancer. I can drive and shake my shoulders like nobody’s business. The car slowed at red light and then I really started dancing, putting my hips into it. I then felt a kick on the back of my seat, “Mum, stop!” I thought, “Huh? We’re just getting to the best part of the song!” “Mum, stop dancing!” I looked beside me and realized that both people in the car beside us were looking at me. It didn’t bother me really, but I thought, “I should be able to car dance if I want to!” I asked Kidlet, “Are you embarrassed of me?” What he said next is what blew my mind.

“Mum, do you want people to laugh at you? What if they’re taking video and then they put it on the internet? What if they put it on Facebook and then everybody just laughs at you? Is that what you want?”

Yeah. That happened.

Am I just naive? Maybe I just don’t get it. Is this something that people have to think about these days? What the hell? It took a while to process. I suppose he had a point, but it wasn’t something I never, ever thought about before. Sure, sometimes when I’m engaging in a shenanigan or two, the thought does cross my mind that perhaps what I’m doing is unseemly for a woman of my age, but my car dancing? Bite your tongue!

His reality is that people who are different or who are just living their lives are subject to JUDGEMENT on a global scale. Maybe twenty years ago, shows like American Funniest Videos were good innocent fun, but now, kids are killing themselves trying to escape from the fallout of viral videos. It weighed heavily on my mind.

Then last night, a friend on Facebook posted a picture of a female topless sunbather whose breasts had not recovered from breastfeeding. She was wearing sunglasses and looked like she was sleeping, so it could be that she didn’t even know the picture was being taken. My eyes were drawn to that picture since you know how I feel about my boobs. The woman was wearing a bikini and you can see the stretch marks across her belly, so she probably has had children. Anyway, I didn’t need to see the stretch marks, I know the cause of those boobs because I have a pair that do not look dissimilar.

The comments on that picture broke my heart. They really did. I piped in with

Vikera Hunte When you push out some chirren and feed them for a year each, then you can make any comments here….

but it didn’t make a difference. My three comments and one other were the only ones that were not negative. Everyone else seemed to think it was the worst thing they’d ever seen. The reality is though that this is how life is now. Anything is open for ridicule and judgement regardless of the cause. While I was taken aback by Kidlet’s comments in the car about my car dancing on Saturday, I had proof that he had a valid point.

The internet is a place where you can bring good and positive things to the light. It’s a place where things you never knew about can be seen, like those flowers whose petals go transparent when they’re wet (or was it frozen, I forget) or you can see what people or places look like in countries you’ll never be able to visit. The internet can also be CRUEL.

So where is the line? Can I not car dance anymore? Can I not sing (and dance) while I’m doing grocery shopping because it makes me happy? Can I not wear my bikini if I don’t have the perfect breasts and perfect body according to “people” even though my body is ravaged because I brought another human into the world?

Sigh.

Vikera

p.s. While I do not actually think that the internet is bullsh*t, it’s becoming or has become a weapon of mass destruction and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all!

Don’t get lippy!

Good morning!

After a relaxing long weekend, I’m back to the grind. Instead of doing things around the house and being a responsible adult, I spent many, many hours shopping. I didn’t buy much at all, but what I did buy was a FABULOUS lipstick!

Ahem...this is my picture. Git yer own!

Ahem…this is my picture. Git yer own!

By way of pleasure, this little purchase really packs a punch. It makes me happy to see my smile (moreso) when I look in the mirror. Even though I was home alone yesterday, I reapplied a few times to make sure I kept my purple smile. I’m going to wear that sucker until it begs for mercy! haha…

I went to get a mini makeover for a girls day out this weekend. Historically, I’ve never been a big fan of makeup. It’s only recently, like this last year, that I’ve been interested in it. I have time on my hands when Kidlet is with his dad, so I experiment and do research. I’m not confident yet to proclaim that I have any kind of true knowledge, so getting my makeup done was quite the experience.

[Note: this is not the makeover makeup. This is me fooling around….poorly.]

The second time for the month, I was told what ‘good’ lips I have. The first time was at my dentist’s office. I had been going over my teeth cleaning bill with the receptionist and we started talking about what’s covered under extended health benefits. We got around to talking about boob implants and that someone she heard of was able to have her implants covered. She then told me about the time she paid about $1000 to get her lips plumped. She told me, “You’re lucky you have good lips.” I thought, “Huh?” I smiled and thanked her. Like tanning, I just don’t get it. A friend has to keep explaining to me that I don’t understand those things because I don’t need those things. I feel like, why would I NEED better lips…I don’t get it.

Then at the makeup place too, over the weekend, I was told that “you can pull off any colour because you’ve got great lips”. What are great lips, I wonder…If I had to walk around worrying about the list of things I already worry about and then have to obsess over lips too, it would make for a very stressful life.

Currently on my worry list:

My three loads of laundry waiting to be done.

What am I making for dinner for me and New Boyfriend tonight?

I have about ten reports to prepare for work.

How am I going to stay awake today?

What’s for lunch?

Should I wash the car after work today?

I have to take the garbage out.

It’s 7.37 and I haven’t showered AND I’m still writing this post.

What shoes am I wearing with my new dress to work?

This is what I’m currently worrying about since I woke up an hour ago. To think that I would have to think about my lips too? Sigh.

I don’t want to diminish anyone’s feelings (that’s a new thing I’m trying to work on – not diminishing people’s feelings just because I don’t see things the same way), but the way I figure, if we can’t or won’t change things, can’t we just learn to accept it?

Having said that, I will admit to you, if I had $5000 free and clear, I would get a boob lift before you can say “lip plumper”! It’s not something I worry about too much, but it’s one of those things like a clean house and keeping the kitchen sink clean for a week and staying up past 10 pm…you know…like a genie wish! 🙂

Going to jump in the shower and put my lipstick on 😛

Have a great week today, my friends!

Vikera

What if I didn’t what if?

Today, I want to share about fear. Fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear of not meeting expectations, fear of actually being happy, fear of a host of irrational things. Where does it come from? Why do we let it grab a hold of our dreams and not let go?

I’ve always been an overly cautious person, choosing to look at least three times before leaping. Most big and small decisions have to be met with at a series of ‘what if?” scenarios. I’m not one of those “F**K IT!” type of people. Of course, I wish I was, and I am working on it, but I often wonder what would happen if I just leapt. What would happen if I just did what I wanted to do without thinking of the what ifs?

Recently, I thought about an experience I had years ago. I had gone out with a new friend and a couple other women. We had not hung out socially before, but it was a birthday, I don’t drink and I was child-free, so I offered to be the designated driver. The music was great, the dance floor packed, I looked good, I felt good. I was having a great time! As the night wore on, though, the women I had come with found dance partners and I ended up wandering on my own. I might have looked lost or bored or something because while I was walking through the crowd, I felt a hand on my hand and a voice say, “Hey, you wanna dance?” Even in the dark, I could see what a great smile this guy had. I thought, “Hmmmmm…” I was bored, I couldn’t find my friends and I thought, “Well, I’m the driver, so really it’s up to them to find me! Ha!” so I started chatting with this young man.

The conversation was engaging. He was an engineer, originally from an African country (I forget which one) and he had a great smile. We chatted for a while and I too started smiling. All the while I was thinking, “This guy is cute, he’s engaging, he smells good.” I don’t know if it was the fact that I was basically alone in a sea of strangers or I was just enjoying the attention, but in that moment, I remember thinking, “If he tries to kiss me, I would let him.” I didn’t stop to think about the what ifs. I didn’t stop to think,

“Is he here with someone?”
“Is he single?”
“Would my friends think I was a hussy if they walked up and I was making out with this guy?”
“Is he boyfriend material?”
“Am I sweaty?”

None of that came to mind. The only thing I was thinking was wouldn’t it be nice to see what happens? I would never get to know what could have happened because my friend’s sister found me and needed me, so I ended up just exchanging numbers with him but I never saw him again.

I still think about that night as The Time I Didn’t What If. For once, I was willing to put aside all fears, irrational or otherwise, and just live in the moment and do what I wanted, do what felt good. For that one night, I was a f**k it kind of person. I just did what I wanted, not what I thought was the right thing to do. I probably should have gone looking for my friends and I probably shouldn’t have been entertaining the idea of taking that guy back to my car (EEEK!) but I didn’t stop myself. I didn’t give into the fear. Even today, telling this story, I don’t feel judgement of myself nor am I worried about your judgement of me. I don’t feel regret for thinking any of it. Isn’t that interesting?

The point of this experience is for me to remember that I am capable of just leaping and that not every decision should be dissected and overanalyzed and that sometimes you just have to do what feels good and forget about the fear and the what ifs. Actually, I should say, remember that what ifs also include:

“What if you do this thing and it’s the best thing that ever happened to you?”
“What if I get my heart broken?” What if I fall in love and stay in love?”
“What if this is the biggest mistake of my life?” What if this is the best decision I ever made?”
“What if I look horrible?” “What if no one actually cares what I look like today?”
“What if everyone is thinking about my muffin top?” “What if everyone is looking at my smile instead of what I’m wearing?”

I guess the only what if I should be asking is,

“What if I did it anyway?”

V

Wow! Where does the time go? We’re in the last week of February already! I still remember New Year’s! Time marches along, I guess, whether you’re on board or not. I barely have a plan together for this year and we’re two thirds through the first quarter. Seriously? Sheesh!

Anyway, before I get too hard on myself for not getting my sh…self together, I have to remind myself about my new philosophy. In my defence, it’s new, so I keep forgetting about it! Whoops!

When I wasn’t working last year, I had applied for income assistance from the Government (which I didn’t end up getting, so “Boo!). In the documents they gave me, there was a tracking sheet that I would have had to submit showing how much time I had dedicated to work search on a daily basis. While I never had to submit the form, at the time, I thought it was still a good idea to use it as a motivator. Pretty soon, I was using the form every day and it helped me get through those long days when I felt like I had accomplished nothing.

While decluttering a couple weeks ago, I had come across those lists and what I noticed was that I had started making lists, not only of jobs I had applied for, but other things I had done that day. Even looking at it almost a year later, I felt accomplished. For those of you who have ever had to be off work for any length of time looking for work, it can get very discouraging and I had figured out a way of motivating myself.

This brings me to my very motivating “Done List”. This weekend, I was very busy. I had gone out both Friday and Saturday nights, coming home in the wee hours both nights. Needless to say, yesterday morning, I did not feel particularly vibrant, but there was a lot of things I wanted to do. Nevertheless, I rolled out of bed around noon and started my day. I knew that it would be extremely easy to waste the day, justifiably because of exhaustion, and watch movies all day, but I was determined to be productive. I started my “Done List”.

So this list is exactly what it sounds like: a list of things I had done for the day. I put all the things on there that I didn’t have to do, but did anyway. I put things on there that when I woke up I had no real intention of doing, but managed to do. I’m not going to lie, “Get dressed” and “Brush teeth” were on that list! Once I was up and started making the list, the rest of the day rolled along nicely with me adding items on the list. I was able to get a shocking amount of tasks done, and I’m proud of yesterday’s list.

As I lament about the time flying by, maybe I should make a little ‘Done List’ for 2015 so far, so it doesn’t seem like I’m wasting time and have accomplished precious little.

My Done List as at February 23, 2015

  • Invested in a pair of hiking boots as a first step toward being more active
  • Learned how to make delicious cornbread, which will go a long way at any potluck I have to attend
  • Learned how to braid my hair from back to front (which is a wonderful accomplishment!)
  • Sticking it out with online dating – even going on a couple dates!
  • Accepting that I may not be able to go to Trinidad this year (which is HUGE for me!)
  • Decluttering the house (with two trips to the donation centre)
  • Rearranging my bedroom after 6 years of it being the same way
  • Keeping the inside of the car relatively clean
  • Bought a tablet, so I can work online easier
  • Starting experimenting with makeup
  • Was asked to present in a creative writing forum

Okay, at first glance, this list is not earth-shattering by any means, but for me and my life, this is incredible. Even while I was thinking about the things to put on it, I amazed myself. It feels good to have done so much in such a short time.

I guess, from this point on, it’s onward and upward, and if I do nothing else for the rest of the year, I’ve done quite a bit already! When I started to write this, I felt like I didn’t have a plan for this year, meanwhile, it seems like a pretty wonderful plan is already underway!

V

Welcome 2015! Good to meet ya!

Welcome to the first post for 2015! Happy New Year! May you reach your goals this year and may the happiness found in the coming year surpass the sorrows that will find their way to you!

After my birthday post a couple of weeks ago, I took some time off to center myself. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck I want this year to be. What should this ‘reset’ bring for me? I haven’t really been happy – truly happy – for a while now. I’ve been kinda drifting through parts of my life and not rocking the boat to prevent further unhappiness and discontent. You know what I mean? It’s getting comfortable with Bad, so as to avoid Worse. I’ve grown way too comfortable with Bad. It’s time to move back to Good.

In an effort to find Good, I definitely want to get a hobby: something I can do when Kidlet is at his dad’s and something in which I find fulfillment. Photography? Salsa lessons? Knitting? I really don’t know for sure, but I have to funnel my energy and free time into something creative and constructive. It’s the only way to breathe new life into this slowly deflating routine.

Speaking of changes, this year, I didn’t do any resolutions. My only goal this year is to grow up and be a real adult. Here’s what I consider to be a real adult:

  1. Anyone can drop by and my house will be guest ready.
  2. I can whip up a meal with a moment’s notice.
  3. I always have milk, eggs and bread in the house.
  4. I bake something from scratch regularly.
  5. My house reflects my personal style.
  6. I don’t have to swear to ratify my emotions.
  7. I listen more than talk.
  8. I make eye contact more.
  9. I can talk to someone new for 10 minutes and only ask questions.
  10. Only dancing at the grocery some time and not the whole time.
  11. Saying what I mean and not try to minimize my feelings.

Okay, so this list is not what I would consider to be profound by any means. I also would not call it a list of resolutions because I am not planning to methodically manifest any or all of these. This is what I consider to be the traits of an adult as warped as it may be. Will this be me this year or the next, it’s hard to say. I guess this is what I want to be when I grow up…whenever that is.

Lastly, on the romance front. I threw out Kidlet’s high chair yesterday. Sigh. I had been holding on to it for the past 6 years since we’ve been on our own. I had hoped that I would have it to use for my next baby. I kept it all these years. I felt as long as I had it, hope was still alive. It’s like that dress or pants you hold onto from the ‘skinny years’ as you hope and wish you’d fit in it again. It’s a sign of not giving up. Yesterday, I gave up. I cleaned out my storage and let go of some things from my old married life and my old dreams. I decided to make new dreams and to live in the now and not in the future. It’s not like it was the last high chair in the world and letting go of it doesn’t directly mean that I don’t want more children or I don’t want to share our future with someone. It just means my next child will have a different high chair, that’s all. This was a big step for me. It’s a move in direction of Good. Good is where reality is. Good is where the truth is. Good is where the present is.

Well that’s all I have for the first post of the new year!

Have a great week back to work and may productivity and laziness know their roles in your day! (<–whoa, that was good. I just made that up! Nice! 🙂 )

V