Life With A Pup.

Last Thursday I went to the Timmins Humane Society to fill out paperwork for approval to adopt a beautiful puppy!  Her name was Easter.  Her and her two sisters were all brought in just before Easter so they were given theme names (Easter, Cadbury and Coco).  On Monday I got the call from the Humane Society confirming that Easter would be mine to take home! I got the call around 5 and raced all the way out there to make sure I had her by 5:30.


How could someone resist such a beautiful face?

It’s been quite the learning experience for all three of us in the house (myself, my roommate and the pup herself).  We are all getting used to this whole house breaking process.  It has meant many early mornings for myself but honestly, all the love she brings makes it worth it.  She is so cuddly.  I really hope she stays that way when she grows into her full grown self.

Her name has been changed from Easter to Perri.  In Spanish, or at least Bolivian Spanish, a puppy dog is called perrito so I just gave her the short version.  

Yesterday we went to visit my dad. It’s about an hour and a half away. She was pretty good most of the ride there.  At one point she got confused and thought she was a cat so she climbed between the seat and my back and crawled up with her face on the right side of my face at fist then wiggled her way to the other side.  I couldn’t stop laughing, it felt like such a random moment!

I’m so excited for and looking forward to all the great moments we will have together! 

Meeting Your Half Orange

I have started reading a book called Meeting Your Half Orange.  It’s about using the power of attraction to get that dream relationship you have always wanted. I am enjoying the book so far.  It is written in a heteronormative (with the assumption that the reader is a woman who is seeking a man) way however the principles could easily be used by anyone regardless of their sexual orientation. I also found that she over simplified the woman’s movement and sexual liberation but I read on through.  I think it is based on a misunderstanding or half understanding of the movement…but that isn’t the essence of the book. 

Something I found interesting was how the author suggests readers write a list of what they want from their dream relationship rather than focusing on the details specific to a man.  For example, whereas a list might say ”talk dark and handsome” for a partner, instead the quality in the relationship would be ”attraction” or something along those lines…that way there you aren’t excluding your potential soulmate based on a very narrow view of what attraction could be like for you.  

The author talks about surrounding yourself with people and things that make you happy and feel loved.  These things that make you the feel like the best you there is. It is that energy that will be put out into the world and since like attracts like, by putting out that energy of happyness and love, you will get that back from the universe. Likewise, instead of focusing on your dream relationship with a sense of loneliness because you don’t currently have it, feel those feelings that you want from the relationship even if you aren’t in it yet…again more like attracts like type of deal.

I’m slowly integrating the ideas from the book into my every day life because I am def. ready to meet the man of my dreams! I will let you know when it happens 🙂


Bring On Summer!

After a really long winter, the slowly melting snow is brightening my mood and thoughts of relaxing in the backyard under the summer sun seem so much more probable!  I am excited to buy some patio furniture and just soak up some much needed vitamin D.  I also bought a fire pit for the backyard and am really excited about having friends over for relaxing nights around a fire.  I just need to get some patio furniture or chairs so that we have a place to chill and not stand around for hours on end ahha

One thing that I am concerned about though is lawn maintenance and composting.  I worry about the two things for similar reasons. First of all, I have never been responsible for taking care of a lawn or for composting.  I literally have no idea what I am doing with a lawn mower, lawn fertilizer or with decaying fruits and veggies that should somehow be transformed into soil.  My second concern with both these things is that I have to make a purchase – both for a lawn mower and for a composting bin (also as mentioned above, some outdoor furniture). 

I’m hoping I can get the hang of it all pretty quickly.  Maybe I can even manage to manicure my greens in a way that I need not buy any furniture! This picture below inspires hope for peaceful summer days!


Deep Freeze Survival Weekend

Since the beginning of January a friend and I have been participating in an outdoor survival course.  Wednesday nights we learn different important components of survival (i.e. different types of shelter, what material is best to wear, how to do different types of knots, etc.) and there were 3 outings on Sunday mornings were we practiced navigation with map and compass, snowshoeing, fire making, quinzhee building, etc. The culmination of all this was a weekend in the bush.

Saturday morning we got to our camping area around 9 am.  We started off with a little talk about safety then went to find our location to build a quinzhee.  My friend and I paired up with two guys next to us to have a communal fire and cut down on some of the work.



The first step to building a quinzhee is to make a giant snow pile. As you pile the snow it’s important to pack it down a little so it is able to be stronger.  The next step is to let it sit for a few hours and give it time to harden.  

We skipped a pretty essential step.  The very first thing before making your snow pile is to dig out a circle where your quinzhee will be.  The reason it’s important to do that is because you don’t know what is on the ground under the snow.  In our case, there were 2 fallen tree trunks that went right through our quinzhee. Thankfully though it didn’t cause us too much grief.  We were able to place pine bowes on top to make our beds.            



While the quinzhee is setting it’s a good idea to start working on your fire.  We teamed up with the guys building next to us which ended up being a great partnership.  The guys would go and cut the trees (my friend and I each cut 1 small-ish tree) while my friend and I would saw the trunks for firewood and put the bowes aside for bedding for both groups.  

This is called an A Frame.  It’s used so you can hang something over it to cook it on the fire.  We boiled water (one of the requirements for the weekend) and we also had a dry line above that to dry out our damp or wet gear. Sadly our fire wasn’t that strong since a lot of the wood we were using was green (still pretty alive and damp) instead of dead & dry.  We had a few hotdogs for dinner and went back to working.  The next step: digging out the quinzhee.

ImageAs I continued to saw firewood, my partner in crime started to dig out our quinzhee.  She said it felt kind of claustrophobic and like you are digging out your own grave. We switched tasks part way through.  When I got in you could basically sit upright so it wasn’t the same feeling for me.  There were 3 freaky moments in there as I was digging. I heard the snow shift and make a cracking sound.  You may not be able to tell from the picture but there are a bunch of twigs or small branches stuck in the quinzhee.  They are placed there so you know how far to dig.  When you are on the inside and you hit one of those twigs you know not to dig any further.

Once it is dug out, you light a candle to crystalize the inside of the shelter.  You also put bowes down (aprox 8 inches worth) which acts as an insulating agent.  In addition to the bowes, we also each had a small mat to use.  Sadly that wasn’t enough for us.  After about 45 mins of trying to sleep in our quinzhee we couldn’t get warm and decided to go home.  I am still proud of us though.  We were out there from 9 am to 12:15ish at night. We went the following morning to pack up all our gear. 



Our gear included 3 different sizes of saws, 1 hatchet, toilet paper (there was an outhouse thankfully!), spare clothing (mittens, sweaters, scarves, pants, socks, etc.), glow sticks, matches, candles, first aid kit, food, water and power drinks (they froze so I would put one in my coat with me and as I worked my body heat would melt the drink).  I think that may also be part of the reason I felt cold throughout the day because my body heat was going to melt water instead of heating up inside my coat.  I also had a few technical difficulties with my snowpants.  They were a little too big and would fall low on me making the crotch at a really low level.  I moved and a hole ripped in the crotch area. Then throughout the day more and more it ripped.  I am sure that didn’t help with my inability to get warm ahha.  We had to wrap all our gear in a tarp to make sure that it would stay dry until we could get it in the quinzhee. 

They also taught us how to make a smoke signal, how to use a flare and bear banger.

A final activity that was done before bed was a night navigation.  With your snowshoes and compass you had to navigate in the bush.  Before leaving, each person was given a different bearing to set their compass to.  You had to walk straight and make sure the north arrow always stayed between these two lines (it’s called a house).  I was feeling nervous about doing it but told myself I could do it anyways.  When it was my turn my boots weren’t staying in my snowshoes properly which was causing me to fall.  I had to try to support myself with trees so sometimes I was going the opposite way of where I needed to go to make sure that I could support myself.  I fell twice.  The first fall I was able to get back up, the second I couldn’t and I started to panic.  Pete, one of the instructors came out and helped me.  He thought it was a better idea for me to go back the way I had come in instead of continuing with the night navigation because of my snowshoes.  I don’t know if he was just being nice but honestly I felt extra shitty, like the fat girl that couldn’t do it.  Pete told me that they do a night navigation in summer as well so if I wanted to join the unit that I could do the summer night navigation and that would be okay.  I think I will do it that way.  I will help with summer searches but from my experiences in the outdoor classes I think I will be less than useless in the winter. Oh well, practice makes progress right?


Getting Out Of Breath While Cutting Your Toenails…

…is a really bad sign.  If bringing my foot up to the sink is causing me to huff and puff, I think I need to whip myself back into shape.  I use back in to shape kind of freely.  I have never been particularly fit, but, at one time, I was on the right path…then the Northern Ontario winter happened and I hibernated as much as I could and now my lungs and my heart are paying for it.

Since soccer season is coming right around the corner (it normally starts somewhere mid-May), I figured it’s time to get out and get active so my body can handle the stress of 250 Ibs. hitting the field.  My first step was yesterday accompanying my step-dad on a snowshoe walk in the bush.  We went out for about an hour, most of that time was not in already walked in trails but in fluffy stuff thus making it more of a workout.  Today I did aquafitness with a friend and we started doing laps in the pool.  My lower back is already making me pay for this!  Tomorrow I will get back to doing my belly dancing video and I haven’t quite decided for the rest of the week yet.

Basically, I just want to feel strong in my body.  I know that I will never be thin…but I can be fit.  I want to be able to run 5K in under 35 minutes (last year my time was 44 mins and 15 seconds).  I want to be able to kayak for an hour without my arms feeling like they are going to fall out of their sockets.  I also want all of this over night. Learning to be patient is sometimes a really hard thing to do, but every day, I get better and better.

Media Interview Trainee

As part of my work, I am the lead in a committee for International Women’s Day.  In our community we have a chocolate rose campaign.  We are giving out 4 000 roses to women in and around our city.  Needless to say, this event has been getting some media coverage…and since I am the lead and no one else really wanted to do media, I am the lucky candidate.  My boss looked at me and said ”You know Jenna, it does look good on a resume”. Damn, my weak spot!! I will do a lot to build my resume.  Thankfully though there is another committee member who was willing to share the media task.  

I recorded an ad for our campaign at two radio stations.  The first time I would run out of breath halfway through because my nerves prevented me from breathing.  We had to read it one sentence at a time.  Thankfully, the radio staff have good editing skills and you couldn’t hear my heavy breathing in between each statement.  The second ad was a little easier to record because I knew what to expect.

After recording the second ad I was joined by my media counterpart to do an interview.  It aired twice.  I listened to it this morning.  I think we did really well and am really proud of us!  For most of my part you could tell that I was reading off a script but one answer I free styled and it sounded a lot better.

Yesterday I got another call for a media interview.  I asked if I could have a list of the questions to better prepare and 15 minutes later we were recording!  

This morning I was expecting another call for a media interview at 8:30 BUT the reporter showed up with a video camera. AHHH.  It added to my nervousness.  We had to do a few takes of what International Women’s Day was about because my nerves were getting the best of me.  Now that I am thinking back about the questions that were asked I could have answered so much better.  Especially for the question if men could be feminists.  I said yes.  I should have elaborated and said that yes men can be feminists and we need them as allies.  Women make up 50% of the population.  We are statistically the ones who are victims of violence and men are statistically more likely to be the abuser so we need men to change.  We need men to call out their buddies when they are abusive, when they say sexist jokes, etc.

As far as I’m concerned though, for my first media experience with the association, I think it’s pretty good.  I have to be gentle with myself for the questions I feel I didn’t answer well enough.  There is always next year.

Snowshoeing…C’est Quoi Cette Histoire?

A friend and I are taking an outdoor survival class.  Last weekend we had to go out and practice different activities on snowshoes.  It was quite the morning for me.  The snowshoes I had didn’t distribute my weight over a large enough surface.  Normally I use those snowshoes but it’s on a trail that is already quite compact…in fluffy stuff all I would do was sink and fall.  In trying to walk 100 meters, I probably fell close to 5 or 6 times.  It was not fun and really messed with my spirit.

I felt kinda like this guy here:

Image I would fall in the snow and be unable to help myself up.  People would stop by, let me push myself up by using their snowshoes, take a few extra steps and falling again.  I really hated being the fat girl who couldn’t walk in snowshoes.  Most days I am okay with the fact that I am fat but that morning, it was seriously getting to me.  People were kind and asking if I needed help but in reality I just wanted them to keep on walking and let me sit like a beached whale, unable to move, unable to get out of the sticky situation and just have a pity party.

Finally I changed my snowshoes and things seemed to be a little better…that is until my boot would slide out of the foot securing thing and would go under the snowshoe…resulting in more falls.  At that point I called it quits.  I learned that I really do not have much endurance.

Today though I used some different snowshoes while out with my step dad.  They are old school but large enough that a fat girl won’t sink so deep in the snow that she can’t move.  Hopefully our next outing goes better with these snowshoes! 

Wen Do – Walk In Confidence


I don’t know what the writing says, but you get the message.

Today, I broke a wooden plank in two using my fist.  It’s called a ”Hammer Fist” and let me tell you, it is just as powerful as any hammer!  After two long days of wen do training, it was time to show ourselves all the power we had within us!  When I went up, I was worried that the wood would not break, but honestly, there wasn’t a need for that concern!  It was definitely a powerful and concrete illustration of our strength.  What a feeling!

Wen do is a women’s self-defense training.  We learned: using your voice; the vulnerable parts on an attacker’s body; getting out of a chokehold or out of someone’s grip if they are holding us from behind; defending ourselves from laying down or on the ground; as well as defending ourselves if the attacker has a weapon.

What I appreciated most about the training was how the instructor celebrated women.  She would share success stories of women with and without wen do training who managed to stay alive and get out of potentially life threatening situations.  They also highlighted that regardless of your age, your size, level of mobility, and other presumed barriers to personal safety, you can protect yourself.  The instructor also facilitated discussions about violence against women as a societal phenomena instead of as an individual concern.  Honestly, she was phenomenal.  

I would honestly recommend to any woman to try wen do.  You will feel so much more confident in your ability to kick some ass if you ever found yourself in a sticky situation.  The Toronto Wen Do website is here

Something I found difficult during the training was using my voice and tapping into my strength.  It wasn’t something that was physically difficult, it was more on the emotional and psychological level.  As a woman who has always been fat, I have always felt like I lived with a lack of femininity. To mask my lack of lady likeness, I would do things to compensate and try to be more feminine…that includes not talking too loudly and not taking up too much space (more space than my fat body needs) or being too strong (because physical strength is masculine).  I get that all of this is b.s. I really do…but I get it on an intellectual level…I don’t feel it in my body.  This is definitely an area that I am working on and I think that breaking the piece of wood was very therapeutic for me. It felt liberating, like I now know that strength I have tried to hide away for the better part of my life was let out…and that is so empowering! 

I’m really excited to take the intermediate course at some point in the not too distant future!

Chef Jenna

Part of my new years resolution for 2014 was to cook a new dish or recipe per week…and it has been going surprisingly well!  I am really enjoying my experience in the kitchen.  I also like exploring new dishes and seeing what else is out there.  When I lived in Toronto I liked cooking but I would often prepare the same meals over and over again: stir fry, soup, chili, and more stir fry.  This time around, things will be different.  This year is the year I expand my vegetarian horizons.

Week 1: I made a lentil, pasta & vegetables dish.  The recipe called for tomato sauce.  I only had tomato paste in the cupboard so I used that instead.  I quickly learned that tomato sauce cannot be substituted for an equal portion of tomato paste.  My dish had such a strong taste!  I still liked it but I think with the sauce instead of the paste, it will be much MUCH better.


Attention kids, do not try this at home!

Week 2: This was kind of a lame excuse week as far as cooking goes.  I prepared the ”Holiday Roast” stuffed chicken.  I figured since Tofurkey is so delicious, this would be a sure bet! I stand corrected.  A weeks’ worth of sad lunches.  I was so happy when Friday came around because it meant the week of bad lunches was done! 

Week 3: Lentil and rice casserole.  Since I bought a whole bag of green lentils for the first recipe, I figured it would be a good idea to look up recipes with lentils.  This casserole turned out to be really quite good.  It made a lot (I was eating it for a good week).  I didn’t add the celery because I really dislike it.  I feel like it is just there and is kind of crunchy water but apparently, as I’m told by some friends, cooked celery adds a certain amount of flavour.  So when I told my roommate that I thought the dish was missing a little something, she told me it was the celery.  Such a clever one isn’t she?

This week will be a south-Indian style vegetable curry.  There are over 20 ingredients listed so it feels like maybe I should wait until a little further in my cooking experimentation to try it, but a friend from Toronto said it was delicious so really, I ask you, how am I supposed to wait longer? I already have the naan to go with it! Yum!

I will also be able to try other recipes shortly since my dad bought me a slow cooker.  I will likely pick it up from him next weekend. I’m already looking forward to next weeks’ butternut squash & chickpea coconut curry!

Disconnecting but not completely Disconnected.

I have been in my own home now for just a little over a month.  In that time, I haven’t had internet access at my address; however I still have access at work and at my parents’.  It’s been interesting so far.  I realize now just how much time I spent online doing nothing but viewing Facebook, refreshing the page in hopes that something interesting would suddenly show up on my feed.  Instead, I have been able to spend my time doing other things – some for maintaining a house while others are for self-care. 

Shovelling has been an activity that takes about an hour of my time each night, excluding this week.  Last Saturday I was shoveling and, because of the way I was bent, pinched something in my back.  It was so painful.  I felt very frustrated that hospital emergency rooms in Ontario don’t have a chiropractor on staff.  It’s almost been a week and I have had two chiropractic appointments and still the stiffness is there.

I also reconnected with good books.  I must admit that since I have moved from Toronto, I haven’t done that much reading.  In the city, I used to read on the TTC.  That meant that I had a solid 30 minutes minimum to and from work to read and even more time if I was feeling particularly social and visiting friends in the beaches or in the Leaside area. 

The only area that has been negatively affected by my lack of internet at home has been for my distance education class.  I am currently enrolled in a Counselling Women University Certificate from Athabasca.  My current course is “Introduction to Feminist Counselling”.  I’m about half-way done the coursework.  Working on an essay has been somewhat challenging.  I have however thought-up a plan that I will put into place to finish my coursework by the end of February 2014.  It basically consists of going to my parents’ house on Saturdays to work on my school work (as well as download some tv series to keep me occupied).  I can also go to our local library after work to do some of my research.

In short, I have really enjoyed this new balance between being connected and being disconnected.