This Introverted Irish Girl’s Guide to St Patrick’s Day

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.   ~ W. B Yeats

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” perfectly sums up how I feel about life in general, but is especially pertinent on St Patrick’s Day; not because it was written by an Irish poet about life in rural Ireland.  But because I seek peace, quiet, and solitude.  I long to be in a place where people are outnumbered by birds,beasts, flowers, and trees. I will celebrate a not so distant St Patrick’s Day (and many other days) in a place just like the poem mentions. Because I need it to thrive.  But for now, I am in a city in a country far away from Ireland.  And I live among a bunch of people who pretend to be Irish for one day. How do I know they are imposters –  they wear silly hats, drink green beer, and act appallingly in public in the middle of the afternoon.  I choose to not so silently judge these people.  But its ok – because I am outlining how I choose to observe the day of the Saint  who got some metaphorical snakes to follow him out of Ireland, and those rowdy types can feel free to judge my choices.

*I spent the majority of the day spring cleaning. St  Patrick’s Day seems like a good day to get rid of dirt and toxic energy. Everyone knows that weren’t actually snakes in Ireland during the 5th Century, and snakes were most likely a metaphor for evil (you know Adam and Eve and the apple). I figure cleaning is a good way to honour Ireland’s Patron Saint.
*I have a drop of whisky, with a little bit of soda, and lemon. It’s irish whisky (obviously).
*Usually I would make my mom’s potato pancake recipe, but Im not eating potatoes right now, so dinner is salmon and asparagus (green has to figure into this day somehow).
*Tonight we will watch one of my most favourite movies of all time, The Secret of Roan Irish. Its an incredible Irish fable. You can view the trailer here.

And to prove that I am not some total judgemental prude – I leave you with this.





The End is Near

I am nearing the end of a 4 week elimination diet.  And for the most part, I have done not too badly with it.  I had one day where I ate just about every carbohydrate I could find – luckily I had a total of 1/4 cup of rice and a can of kidney beans at home, and about $5 dollars in my pocket which was enough to buy a latte and a croissant at the cafe down the street.  And other than going out for dinner one time in the last 4 weeks, and had 3 bites of a very chocolatey dessert which resulted in the most wicked headache ever, I have pretty much toed the line when it comes to this diet (holy long sentence – and breathe!). And I can now pronounce that sugar is evil.

I feel FANTASTIC.  Here is the list of changes that have happened:

  • My anxiety has been greatly reduced
  • I have loads of energy
  • My jeans fit better
  • I have lost an entire shoe size (figure that one out – because I cant)
  • The only real noticeable weight that I have lost is in my chest, because I no longer have any bras that fit (figures I would lose there first). But yay for shopping days!
  • My hair is healthier, and doesn’t fall out nearly as much
  • My skin is much less dry – and dare I say, almost glowy
  • I feel terrible when I sneak in a carbohydrate
  • Berries now taste like mold.  They don’t have mold – I checked, its my taste buds that are wrecked.
  • I am managing to save a few extra $$$ a month – probably because I have to stay home now.
  • I am happier.  Like way happier.  Like super happy.

And this is what I look like after almost an entire month on this diet.


For those of you who don’t remember what I looked like when I started this journey – I looked like this 4 weeks ago.



Go ahead and tell me I look much better now – I love hearing that. Check out the fact that I no longer have humongous black circles under my eyes. I can only speculate of course, but I think they may be gone for good.

And here is the best news – because Im feeling so much better (the lack of anxiety especially), I am going to continue on this journey – with a slightly altered diet. I simply must have oranges. And tomatoes on second thought I don’t need tomatoes.. But chilies – my chamomile tea really misses those things. I’ll try it out, anyway.




Time For Me

Lately, I have been running out of time. Not just losing track of time -I am doing that, but actually finding that there are not enough hours to get everything done. It all came to a head this week, when I found that I wasn’t able to complete some projects that had a deadline. This is unusual for me.  No matter how tired I am – or how busy I get, I always manage to complete things on time. Turns out I can’t do that anymore. I’ve also noticed that I have started cancelling appointments, and sighing with relief when other people cancel on me. I find myself falling into bed completely exhausted and actually sleeping for a few hours – this is the one positive thing that has come from all this over-scheduling.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine about this- and she had a brilliant idea via Michelle Obama (not that they are friends or anything – she went to an event/lecture by her). Mrs. Obama talked about how when she is constructing her calendar, she schedules in her must do things (for herself or for her children) first, before scheduling other meetings/events/appearances.

I was listening to this, thinking I have a very different kind of life than the former First Lady, but I definitely have a scheduling problem. So, while I have a completely insane schedule for the rest of February and March (which includes working 7 days a week), I can try this out for April and the subsequent months.  Now, I already have a proposed calendar – but I have managed to do a bit of moving things around and I think I have come up with a plan. It feels like I work 80+ hrs a week. What makes it seem like I am always working, is that I don’t ever schedule in things like billing, or scheduling, or lesson prep. I do those on my own time.  And so I am often sending out invoices from my phone, while I am waiting for a movie to start on a Sunday night. This is unacceptable.  But if I take a careful look at my calendar, I notice that I have a 2.5 hr block between lessons on a tuesday, where I can do my invoicing and follow ups (and so Im going to schedule in some admin time – DONE!). I shouldn’t have to look at that every week – which gives me a few extra hours a week for practicing, and checking in with parents, and maybe even do a bit of marketing.  So instead of using that time- for scarfing down dinner or madly preparing for the next lesson, I can invest that time back into my own business.

The one aspect that my calendar is missing is time for me.  I have already made lunch hours a time to get a bit of exercise (me).  I have an entire freezer full of already prepared dinners, so I don’t have to worry about cooking for the next 3 weeks, but I rarely schedule fun.  Mostly because by the time I get around to it – Im fast asleep.

Here is what my average week looks like:

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 2.21.21 PM

Work = 40 hrs
Ensemble Rehearsal = 7.5 hrs
Lessons = 15.5hrs
Admin = 2.5 – 5 hrs
Practice= 10 hrs

And if you add in the volunteer hours I work, you can add in an average of 2 hrs a week. That brings me up to almost 80 (hah! so I was right).  But there is definitely time for me.  In fact, I am quite surprised at how much white space is in my calendar.  I don’t feel the need to schedule every single minute of my life – but I like knowing that there is room for almost everything I want to be doing.  And now that I have realized that I can reschedule things, in order for me to have a  more balanced life, I feel like I won’t be missing deadlines, or forgetting things. In fact, I feel like I have quite a lot of room to breathe. Maybe so much room, that I should take on another project. Or maybe just schedule in some fun things, until I start feeling like me again.

*I purposely don’t put my practice hours into my calendar because right now, I am feeling the need to be flexible with my playing.  Also did you notice – no therapy sessions for March! Time for a bit of a rest.

When A Diagnosis Gives You Back Your Life


Five days ago I started an elimination diet for thyroid dysfunction after I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease.  The photo on the left (where I look like a serial killer) was taken on Sunday (day 1). The photo on the right was taken this afternoon (day 5).  Neither photo has a filter, and the only makeup I am wearing in today’s photo is lipstick.  Even I can tell that the difference is fairly amazing.

So what causes the difference?  A diet that has no sugar, no dairy, no grain, no fruit, a considerable less amount of vegetables that I am used to eating, way more protein than I want to eat – which forces me to drink twice the amount of water than normal.

This is what has happened to me in the last 5 days:

  • I had a really rough start – I woke up having a panic attack in the middle of the night, and ended up in the emergency room.  I can’t 100% be sure that it is diet related (considering it happened on the first day), but eating animals is not natural for me – so it might be related. A little valium and some rest, and I am fine.
  • My skin is a lot clearer, and brighter.
  • My eyes are clear.
  • I am hungry all the time. I am obsessed with food now. If I am not eating or cooking, then I am counting down the minutes until I can be eating or cooking. I hope this passes soon – I am so tired of looking at photos of food on pinterest and instagram.
  • I have lost 7lbs in 5 days (without trying).
  • I walk faster
  • For the very first time since I have been living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I don’t have huge dark circles under my eyes.
  • I don’t crave salt! Seriously for 20 years I have basically wanted to have a salt lick installed in every room in my apartment. NO MORE!
  • I am still exhausted but its a different kind. Its the kind that is caused by over scheduling ones self.  I understand its early days still – but I am hopeful.
  • Today, I feel pretty.  And I can’t tell you the last time I was able to say that.
  • I smile

I feel a little like I am getting my life back.  I have a long way to go, but I am definitely healing. And a healing journey makes me happy.

One final lesson that I learned  – a single cinnamon red heart is enough to cause a headache for an entire night. So now we know, sugar really is detrimental.











A New Start

I got tired of waiting for Monday to come, so I thought I would start on the elimination diet today.  I’m still overwhelmed about what to eat/what not to eat, but I’m getting a better sense of it than I did a week ago.  So I decided to just jump in.

This is what I have eaten today:

Rocket tea latte – its actually quite delicious, I adapted it from a Ketogenics cookbook, and just removed the ingredients that I can’t have.  Basically it consists of black tea, coconut oil, protein powder, vanilla, and cinnamon.  The only problem I had, was that it took me so long to make (kept trying to find things I could use as a substitute – and found none), so it wasn’t very hot when I finally got to drink it. But I will get better at making them. It looks like this


Then I made muffins – and they aren’t at all delicious.  But they are healthy. They contain no dairy, no flour, no sugar, but they do have a ton of egg yolks, and cinnamon in them. I ate one – and promptly put the rest in the freezer, where they will remain until I remember that I should be eating healthy and don’t feel like baking. I won’t share the recipe, because its guaranteed that you will hate them.  But to prove to you that I made them – here is the evidence.


I also ate a little bit of spinach salad, with a tiny bit of chicken on top – but since that is almost normal eating for me, I chose not to take a photo.  I might document it for lunch tomorrow though.  Depends on how I am feeling.

Lastly, here is the photo of me- without a filter, without makeup, without even combing my hair – to document the beginning of this journey. I will try to take photos at least weekly to gauge the process. If I look less than thrilled, its because I just ate one of those muffins.


Now I am off to get ready  to go to the movies where I can have bottled water and maybe trail mix with carob. I’m really not sure about that one, will have to research before I leave.


Now That I’m Home


I’ve been struggling since I’ve been home. I’m still not sleeping well, I am living with a new auto-immune diagnosis (although its not much of a surprise, its forcing a lot of change in my life), and while I want to go outside, I think I have gone out once in the 10 days I have been home – and that was to get a bottle of wine – which I am not allowed, due to the new auto immune diagnosis. I am feeling dissatisfied with life, am extremely anxious, and am really irritable. I need to make some changes.

Here is what I propose to do – starting the moment I finish this blog post, and get out of bed. After all its 11 am on Saturday morning.

Regarding the Hashimoto’s Disease diagnosis I received last month, starting Monday I am fully committing to a 30 day elimination diet, and am researching other diets geared towards auto immune diseases.  For years I have experimented with vegetarian and vegan diets – and I feel really good on them, but its quite clear that they aren’t really helping me.  I am nervous about how I am going to feel while eating meat – my little experiments eating meat in Austria were met with a great deal of pain.  But I made a promise, so I will keep it.  My doctor thinks I can turn around the diagnosis with just diet, and not have to take hormones -so I am willing to give this a really good shot. Today is the day I go to the shops to turn my life around.

I have no idea what my fear of the outside is about – but the only way to conquer it, is to just go outside and enjoy it. So while I am not going to pressure myself so much, I am going to plan to go outside for an hour every day – rain or shine.  It should help now, that there is some extra daylight hours happening.

Being dissatisfied with my life, is nothing new. I’m kind of the girl that just keeps plugging along, thinking that this is my lot in life.  But I have some very big dreams, and I need to start pursuing them. We start small.  A business plan is the first step, and finding some like minded people to hang out with.

Finally, I have been reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and its been helpful in getting me to connect with my creative self. One of the ways it does this, is by suggesting you go out on a solo date once a week.  When I’m traveling, I do this all the time- but not so much, when Im home.  So I’m going to start doing this again.  The only rules are that you must do this alone, and it must be something that you do outside your home.  It doesn’t have to cost anything, but I think she suggests investing at least $5 into the activity – but I don’t think its necessary.  Im starting the project this weekend, by taking myself to the VIMFF Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival – where Im going to see this.  The VIMFF is my most second most favourite film festival – second only to the Samurai Festival that is shown every year or two at The Cinematheque.

What are you doing to get out of your rut – Id love to hear some suggestions.

Photo Credit –