After almost 2 years, I think small town living is growing on me. People recognize me when I go out, go into stores, or the library. The staff at my pharmacy knows my name. The library staff recognize me and know if I have books on hold. When I’m out walking, people wave at me.
And funny stuff happens when you live in a small town. An innocent conversation about my hobbies can lead to connections. My friend from Ottawa, Darlene, came to hang out today. In her words, she felt like “playing”, so we went for lunch, we DID NOT have ice cream for dessert (the ice cream was DELICIOUS), and we poked around in a few stores. While we were in Dollarama, I said I could make a dish towel ditty bag for her (anyone familiar with Brownies and Girl Guides knows what a ditty bag is). As we were talking, a woman in the aisle said it must be nice to know someone who sews. She went on to say that she always has to get her pants hemmed. After further conversation, I gave her my number, and she told me anytime I wanted to spend time by the water, I was welcome to come to her place. So I told her I would gladly trade hemming services for time at the water. We’ll see what happens.
In other news, I have an appointment with my Ontario Works caseworker this week, and I’ve decided I’m going to start looking for work after Labour Day. I’ll start with something part-time and go from there. I feel ready.
Robert Simpson Park, Arnprior
I know it has been over a week since I posted. And in that time I’ve really been paying attention to my moods. And I’m beginning to wonder if the combination of my anti-depressant with my hormonal birth control might be causing some mood swings. I will be bringing it up with my case worker this week, and my doctor next Monday. I’m still waiting for an appointment with the county’s psychiatrist, but it’s on my list of things to mention to him.
However, the point of this post is not to talk about my moods. But rather, to share some of the fun things I’ve been up to lately.
I’m really enjoying the outreach program. Not only have I met some interesting people, but I’m doing things that I never thought I’d be doing. Since starting my “therapeutic journal”, I’ve been dabbling with drawing and colour. Specifically, I’ve been playing with oil pastels. And while I’m certainly not spectacular at it, I love it. I find it very soothing to blend colours and try to recreate pictures that I’ve taken.
Miss Montreal Begonia
A little over a week ago, I spent some wonderful time with a former friend of my mother’s. It was really good for me to have some gaps filled in, especially since my mother and I didn’t talk for 5 years after my father died. This former friend was able to do that for me. She may not know this, but she helped me to remember some things about both of my parents, good and bad. And she helped me see my parents in me. I see my mom when I look in the mirror. But I see my dad when I look at my mannerisms.We spent a really awesome Sunday together. First up was breakfast at the Antrim Truck Stop. Then we poked around a couple of stores. And for lunch, we didn’t have ice cream. I DID NOT have Black Raspberry Rumble, and she DID NOT have Butter Pecan. I sure hope we can hang out again soon.
This past week I did several things that scared me. Things that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Things that made me face my anxiety head on.
- Last Sunday, I went into the town’s health food store. They had a “Help Wanted” sign in the window. I asked what they were looking for. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t end up submitting my resume. Simply because they were looking for someone with knowledge of and experience with herbal supplements and minerals and such. I don’t have that knowledge at all. But I went in and asked. Which is huge progress, I think.
- I finally made it to the Recovery Outreach program. In fact, I went both days this past week. On Wednesday, I went for a walk, weeded the garden beds and watered flowers, had lunch, and then started my first Therapeutic Journal (once I have a few more pages done, I will blog about this). On Thursday, I went on a larger group outing to the beach at Fitzroy Provincial Park. I’m not going to lie, I was terrified and anxious both days. But I went. And I’m glad I did. I’m really looking forward to this week.
- And here’s the scariest one of all. I can’t be the only person who finds it hard to make friends as I get older. Putting myself out there is so hard. But I did. And I’m hopeful. There is a lovely woman who works at my favourite clothing store here. Anytime I go in, we always have a lovely chat. So, I was in one day this past week, and I went for it. I asked if she would be interested in getting together for a drink or a coffee or something. We exchanged numbers. Of course, I now feel like a kid in middle school. Should I message her? Should I wait for her to message me? Should I just go into the store again? However, as I write this, I have decided to text her tomorrow, ask how her weekend is going, and see if she’s free at all this week.
What have you done lately that conquers your fears? I’d love to hear them.
Two weeks since my last post. Two weeks ago I was so proud of myself. Two weeks can make such a difference.
I haven’t posted in two weeks because I’ve been slipping. And all I want to do is hide. I want to hide that I’m struggling. I want to hide that I’m slipping. I want to hide that I want to just disappear.
Two weeks ago I got approved to participate in the group outreach program. And I have not gone once. I have every intention of going. Then Wednesday rolls around. And I just don’t care. I feel like it doesn’t matter whether I go. Because I’ll still be invisible. Last Thursday I spent the ENTIRE day in bed. For no other reason than I just didn’t give a flying f*ck.
I saw my GP last week and mentioned this to him. But he’s not a specialist. And he can only do so much. So this week, when I see my Case Manager, I’m going to ask her to refer me to the Mental Health Unit’s psychiatrist. Because something has to change. I can’t keep going like this.
Today I did something that I’ve been wanting to do, and trying to do, for a few months. And I know to some of you, it might seem like a rather silly accomplishment. But to me, it’s huge.
I WENT FOR A WALK TODAY!!!!! And it was a walk with no other purpose, except to get outside and walk. I did not run any errands, I did not purchase anything. I simply walked for almost 5km. I will confess, I was very anxious before I went out. There were heart palpitations and lots of sweating, and I was VERY dizzy. And for the first 10 minutes, I kept thinking that I’d only walk around the block and then head home. But I walked through it and the anxiety passed. I was so pleased with myself when I got home. I can’t wait to tell my Case Manager tomorrow.
Oh! And I finally got approval to join the Recovery Outreach Program. So Wednesday will be my first day. I’ll be participating in a plant care session and a therapeutic journaling session. I’m looking forward to it and working towards getting back to myself again.
In case any of you were wondering, I laid my poor Begonia Rex plants to rest this week. They did not survive the abundance of love and water I showered upon them. I have learned my lesson: DO NOT GET PLANTS THAT ARE EASILY OVER-WATERED.
I did want to share the latest addition to my balcony. About a month ago, I was out walking, and saw this lovely metal thing leaning up against someone’s house.
Lovely Metal Thing
As soon as I saw it, I pictured it on my balcony with ivy and some lovely colourful flowers. Yesterday, I finally got around to making this vision happen. And I love it. I got some German Ivy, Vinca Vine, a dark blue Verbena, and a lovely coral pink flower. Tomorrow I am picking up a better patio chair, and then my balcony will be complete. At least for this summer.
My latest Balcony Garden Installation
And my Beach in a Bowl is thriving. I FINALLY got the second type of palm tree to grow. And I love seeing these little trees get bigger.
My Beach in a Bowl has BOTH types of Palm Trees!
Last summer, during a camping trip, my friend Allison reintroduced me to gin. I can remember drinking gin and tonics with my parents and really enjoying them. But I got away from gin and kind of forgot about it.
Well, not anymore. This summer I came across a mixed cocktail at the LCBO: Dixon’s Gin Fusion. After buying a few cans of this, I got it into my head that I would like to try making my own. So I picked up a bottle of gin (I’m currently using Tanqueray Rangpur but you can use your favourite gin) and got experimenting.
Gin Cocktail with Cucumber, Lime, Ginger, and Mint
Ingredients for 2 drinks (measurements are approximate. You want all flavours balanced)
- 3 oz gin
- 2 oz ginger simple syrup (see note below)
- fresh lime juice (1/2 – 1 lime)
- 5-6 fresh mint leaves
- 1/3 cup sliced cucumber (I left the peel on mine, but you can peel it if you want)
- tonic or soda water to top off
- Mint leaves and cucumber slices for garnish (optional)
Note: I used an immersion blender to make this. But you could muddle your ingredients in a cocktail shaker, or use a blender. Up to you.
- In the cup of your immersion blender, combine all ingredients except the tonic or soda water. Blitz until pureed.
- In 2 glasses with ice, divide the pureed mixture. Top with soda or tonic water, and garnish with fresh mint and/or cucumber.
Note: To make my ginger simple syrup, I used the lazy method. I combined 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of hot tap water, and grated in a couple tbsps of ginger. I stirred until the sugar dissolved, pour the syrup into a bottle and put it into the fridge.
Gin Cocktail with Cucumber, Mint, Ginger, and Lime. Yummy!