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Outside The Bubble

This week has not been the best of weeks. And by that I mean I’ve kind of been an emotional wreck.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe because I’m now seven weeks from first hearing the C-Word and the news is really starting to sink in. Maybe it’s because my hair started falling out. Or maybe exhaustion is just getting the best of me.

I’ve kind of been a loose canon, anything can set me off crying. I’ve had to stop reading the obituaries in the paper every day. I walked passed a funeral home the other day and teared up at the sight of a full parking lot. I also broke down after trying, and miserably failing, at contacting Microsoft about a program I own. That one involved big messy sobs with lots of snot and tears. Stupid Microsoft.

There’s also chemo brain. Such a thing really does exist. Chemotherapy affects your cognitive function and ohboy am I ever losing it. Small chunks of my day sometimes go missing and I have absolutely no recollection of them, even after people fill me in. I mix up my words when speaking. I can’t follow long explanations. I have a really hard time deciding on things to do.

So when an opportunity to take a day trip to Saint John arose, I jumped on it. It sounded like just the small adventure I needed to boost my spirits and have some fun without the sickness getting in the way of it all.

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(Driving photo recreated from last week) My sister and I were able to see our grandparents who I haven’t seen in over a year! And I got to see some old friends!

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Tina and I met up at Relish, a specialty burger joint found throughout the Maritimes. She’s recovering from reconstructive surgery on her ankle so we had fun exchanging hospital war stories about everything from changing IV sites to coming out of anaesthesia. She always makes me laugh!

I finally got that Relish Burger I’ve been craving like a madwoman since being in the hospital. But it was hard to pick from their menu!

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The Greek Tycoon – crumbled feta cheese, marinated bell peppers and onions, kalamata olives, tzatziki sauce. So far this is my favourite Relish burger. The creamy tzatziki-feta mixture paired with the beef patty and signature soft poppyseed bun was perfection!

Saint John, New Brunswick is this stinky port city most well known for its oil refinery. The weather is always colder and without fail the fog rolls in at 6pm making it impossible to see. With all that said, it was quite pleasant wandering around the downtown and spotting some of the city’s finer points.

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We later hit up Britt’s Pub & Eatery for some of the best pub food I’ve had in a while. You can tell the people at Britt’s take pride in what they serve.

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I was still full from the burger, so just had half a club on a homemade grilled flatbread with thick chicken breast, thick sliced cheese, crispy bacon, and sweet mayo.

Also at the table was a tasty spinach salad with blueberries, apples, pecans, and fried goat cheese.

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And a spicy pulled pork quesadilla!

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All finished off with a few bites of homemade apple pie.

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Made in house by one of the owner’s mothers. Flaky crust, tart apples, yeah, it was good.

Now I am completely exhausted from my day trip, but the small escape was totally worth it. Sometimes as a cancer patient, I can feel like I’m living in a bubble. The kind of sterile bubble where things revolve around fast growing cells and their treatment. The kind of bubble where I can’t hug people, where my outings are to the hospital, and my dayplanner is filled with drug schedules. Even though I had to brush my teeth in restaurant washrooms, and give myself shots in the back of a (clean) parked car, it was still nice to take a step outside the bubble and be with those who see me as more than just a “sick person.”

And this time, with no tears.

Vegan Waffles: Do Not Try This At Home

Le sigh.

To be honest, I wasn’t that nervous entering vegan week. I knew I had a bunch of delicious vegan recipes up my sleeve. There was no way I would go hungry.

But there was one nagging issue.

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I mean, I’m the self-proclaimed Waffle Queen. Waffles are what I do. I often make waffles without the use of cow’s milk. But I rarely make waffles without eggs.

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I searched the internets, finding picture upon picture of successful egg-free attempts.

Just leave out the eggs? Just like that? No chia egg or flax egg?

I started up the waffle maker. Mixed up my flour, vegan protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil and almond milk.

I waited. Made coffee. Then it happened.

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The split.

The worst thing that could happen when making a waffle is for the thing to split down the middle, sticking to both sides of the press. I was screwed.

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Parts of the middle were still a little mushy, so I threw it into a frying pan and scrambled the vegan mess.

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In all fairness, the batter was downright delicious. Made only better by topping with toasted sliced almonds, coconut, blueberries and maple syrup. It was more than edible and filled my belly. Which in most cases would be a success.

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But this is my second waffle fail in a row. I would like to blame my waffle iron, but it still churns out waffled pieces of art for my roommie. I would like to blame the recipes, perhaps I should stop experimenting and stick to what I know. At this rate, I’m going to develop a waffle complex.

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At least I can still make a mean cup of coffee. Thank god coffee is vegan ;)

In other news, I am off to Ottawa tomorrow!

I’m taking the train for the first time ever.

To hang out with this girl…

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Sister Sara.

And this girl…

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Soeur Jane.

I hope to do something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid.

 
Skate on the canal in our country’s capital!

And hopefully eat more Elgin Street Diner poutine.

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Veganweekwhat?? :P

 

Question of the Day: What is one dish you feel intimidated to make? Right now croissants are at the top of my list. But I hope to tackle them soon!

Not Your Typical Anniversary

Hello friends! I hope everyone had wonderful weekends! Mine was pretty good actually! The highlights:

  • Meeting everyone doing the Santa Shuffle at the running store this weekend
  • Doing my first sub-freezing run of the season (it was slow)
  • Drinking whiskey and watching a game of beer pong
  • Going to my first Bikram yoga class! (review coming in a couple weeks once I get the full experience – promise!)

You will have to bare with me today, as I will not be yammering about nutrition for the Food For Thought Sundays series. It will continue next week – double promise!

Today, December 5th, is actually a bit of an anniversary for me and I wanted to take pause to acknowledge it.

Exactly one year ago today, I worked my last shift at the radio station. It’s an important day for me because it was the beginning of so many changes and wonderful things that started happening in my life.

For those of you catching up, it’s good to know that I wasn’t always a personal trainer living in Toronto!

After getting a Journalism and Communications degree in the spring of ‘09, I accepted a full-time position as a radio reporter. I loved working at that radio station throughout university, loved the people, and in theory was the best job for me. But once I was there permanently, I got that gut feeling I was in the wrong place. My heart was pulling me in another direction and I quickly became miserable in the city I once loved as a college student.

After crying to my mother one night, she convinced to just set a date already and stick to it. That date was December 5th. I left the station’s doors with almost three years of great memories and learned experiences. I left what had defined me for so long. I had no idea what lied ahead. No clue what my future “career” would be or how I would make enough money to live.

I worked at a Starbucks for three weeks until I got offered an amazing job out of the blue at my old university.

Not even a week after I started this new job, my four-year relationship ended. I never blogged about it much, but it was another huge adjustment.

My university job was only a four-month contract. I loved it and it was the type of environment I could see myself being in for a long time. But I was still getting that pull. I knew I needed to get out of my small city and experience life elsewhere.

I made a decision I never thought possible, to move away from my home and family and come to Canada’s biggest city.

When my contract was up in April, I packed up my car and moved home for a month.

I’m not sure if my family knows it, but that month spent at home was hands down the best I’ve had in recent memory. A psychic once told my mom that her and I could grow old together, so it was imperative she get me out of the house or else I’d never leave!

So even though we both sobbed when I left, my mom and I knew I was off to live the life I was meant to. To experience, adventure, and act my age again.

That included a life-changing week in Banff, Alberta.

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Followed by two weeks in Ottawa with my sister. We’ve now lived more years apart than together, but I feel like I left that trip with a much deeper sisterly bond.

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Then, in July, I arrived to a Toronto heat wave.

Got a full-time job as a personal trainer where I am honestly blessed with the most amazing clients and space to work in.

Got a part-time job in a running store where I spend all day talking about running with runners. And eating candy.

I re-connected with university friends and met new friends through blogging.

I’m in a city that never sleeps. A constant hub of activity with never a dull moment.

I went to Chicago to meet 200 other healthy living bloggers.

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I went to San Francisco to meet 400 other food bloggers.

In short, I’ve done things I never imagined possible from my little Fredericton bachelor apartment.

Leaving the radio station was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. It was more than a job to me. After so many years of hard work, it felt bizarre to just throw journalism away.

But I learned something very valuable that day, one year ago.

If you want something to change, you have to initiate it.

Happiness wasn’t going to fall into my lap. I had to make a lot of tough choices in order to find it. I just had the best year of my life, and none of it would have happened had I never had the guts to take that first step. Once I set that date, it put everything else into motion. It got the ball rolling. My life has been nothing but rich, fulfilling, and amazing ever since.

The best part is, a year into this adventure, and I know I still have more left :)

Pssst! This is your last chance! I’m doing a special giveaway tomorrow open ONLY to Facebook friends. Are you one yet?

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