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Friday, 30 October 2009

Happy Halloween

I have my pumpkins carved and my treats ready to go.  Looking forward to greeting all the little ghosts and vampires who visit my house on All Hallows'Eve.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Kokology - Deep in the Mountains

Are you ready to play KOKOLOGY?

What is Kokology?
  • Say the first thing that pops into your head 
  • Don ’t try to predict answers 
  • Be honest with yourself 
  • Be prepared 
  • Keep an open mind 

{pg. 32}The mountains and the sea—nature has a power that draws us to her. After all we are all nature’s children, born into her world and fed on her bounty. No matter what marvels technology may develop, getting back to nature lets us feel truly alive. Medical science may make advances, but the best medicine will always be nature’s own healing power.

Your next journey will take you back to that green world, and what better setting for you to rediscover your natural self?

1. You have set off to climb a mountain, in search of a fabulously rare stone. What is your impression of the mountain as you stand at its foot?

2. After a hard search, you still haven’t found the stone, and now the sun has fallen. What will you do next?

3. You have finally discovered the stone you were seeking. What kind of stone is it? Describe its size, weight, and value.

4. Now it is time to come down from the mountain and return home. What parting words do you have for the mountain, and what is its reply?

You can leave a comment with your answers or keep them to yourself  - it's up to you.

Note:  Reading this in Google Reader? 
Answer the questions before you continue to scroll to reveal the key to "Deep in the Mountains"
»Click to reveal key to Deep in the Mountains«

Take KOKOLOGY with you
Copy and paste the code provided below.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

What Am I Craving?

Rolo Pretzel Turtles
Salty pretzel, topped with a gooey chocolate and caramel with a crunchy pecan on top.

What you will need:
Mini pretzels
Nuts – toasted pecans (any nut will do)

Preheat your oven to 350
  1. Unwrap your Rolos. Place pretzels on baking sheet. Top with a Rolo.

  2. Bake in oven for 3-5 minutes, just until the chocolate starts to melt. The Rolo should be soft but not completely melted.

  3. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Gently push the nut down into the melted Rolo.
These little treats are totally addictive. My girls and I devoured an entire tray in a matter of minutes.
*please proceed with caution*

I made these little treat boxes for the turtle treats. So cute!

Download the PDF file:
Blue, Green, Yellow, Red

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Kokology - When Is a Door Not a Door?

Time to play a little game of Kokology. If this is your fist time playing along, you can click here for the introduction to the game.

Ready to play?

  • Say the first thing that pops into your head 
  • Don ’t try to predict answers 
  • Be honest with yourself 
  • Be prepared 
  • Keep an open mind 
It isn't every day that you have the time to take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood: a stroll without purpose or destination, a chance to stretch your legs, let the mind wander, and get reacquainted with some old familiar sights. On your way, perhaps you'd stop in at a cozy coffee shop, explore the paths of a favorite park, or take the opportunity to do some window-shopping. Then there are those days when it's enough just to let your feet decide your course...

Picture yourself on a stroll through town. The day is beautiful and you're half-lost in a daydream. You turn onto a street that you've never been down before, and as you walk you pass a beautiful house set somewhat back from the street. Pausing a moment to admire the lovely home, you notice the door is half-open. Why is the door ajar?

1. The house is being burglarized.
2. The owner forgot to close it.
3. The owner is inside, sweeping out the entrance way.

*Reading this in Google Reader? Answer the questions before you continue to scroll to see the Key to "When is a door not a door?"

Click to reveal Key to "When Is a Door Not a Door?"

Take KOKOLOGY with you
Copy and paste the code provided below.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Slightly Off-Center Indeed!

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."
- Bene Gesserit’s Litany Against Fear -Dune
I've suffered with panic attacks for as long as I can remember. When I was a child I would get anxiety so bad in the classroom and I would need to excuse myself and hide out in the washroom until the panic passed and I felt "normal again". Of course, being very young I didn't recognized the episode as a panic attack, just thought I was sick or getting sick.

As a teenager I would have frequent panic attacks while in a shopping mall with friends or in the classroom. My natural response to the attack was usually the "fight" (fight or flight) response and I would lash out at teachers or my peers. Because these episodes weren't recognized as panic attacks, I was labeled as a "difficult" or "troubled" student.

In my early 20's a young mother and wife, I had a period of 2 years where I would have really bad attacks. One time I had chocked on something I was eating which triggered a panic attack and as a result I hardly ate a thing for nearly two weeks; food in my mouth would automatically trigger panic and my throat would close up and I would feel I couldn't swallow. Answering the door to strangers would trigger panic so I sit quietly and wait for the caller to go away. Being away from my kids for any long stretch of time would make me incredibly anxious, so I stayed home with them more and more and hardly ever went to to parties or weekends away with my husband.

Now, this all makes it look like I have suffered from panic on a constant basis from a young child to an adult but that is not the case. These periods of panic and anxiety would come on for weeks, months and sometimes even years but would eventually get better and I would resume a "normal life", able to enjoy all that life had to offer.

So this brings me to the reason why I have been away from my blog for so long. Well, as you might have already guessed... They're Back!!! I really have been feeling so lousy this month. I was hoping the panic/anxiety/low mood would diminish over a week or two but no such luck. Last night I had one of the worst panic attacks ever; it came on just out of the blue while I was sitting at home doing some work on the computer. Just recently I had an attack in a restaurant, at the WalMart line, on a Sunday drive up the valley, turned down a trip to New York for fear I would have panic attacks, and the thought of just getting behind the wheel of a car sends my heart racing and makes me weak in the legs.

Two weeks ago after having another -out of blue attack- while sitting in the comfort of my home, I decided I had had enough and needed to get this under control so I called my Doctor and made an appointment. I poured my heart and soul out to my MD with my husband by my side (so supportive... love you babe), convinced that after I was finished spilling my guts, she would call the men in the white coats to come and take me away... (HA HA!). To my surprise, she didn't seem too fazed by anything that I described to her. She diagnosed me with having Panic Disorder which was most likely caused by a Neurotransmitter imbalance, prescribed a trial of Zoloft, ordered some blood work, and an EKG. I stopped taking the Zoloft after the third day because it was making me terribly jittery and irritable but I have been considering giving it another try. My blood work all came back good (except for my thyroid test which came back extremely high which set off some alarm bells considering my thyroid gland should no longer be working... but that's another post) so that pretty much rules out something being physically wrong.

I have been trying so hard not to avoid doing things because it might trigger a panic attack, but it's becoming more and more difficult to do. I am constantly worried about an attack coming on out of the blue, it's exhausting and I find it hard to relax and enjoy myself these days.

Recently I've been getting quite a few emails from readers of Slightly Off-Center wondering where I have been... (you guys are awesome btw). Truth is, I've been wanting to write a post for over a week now but didn't know how to get back into the swing of things. Do I pretend like nothing is wrong and write posts about big fluffy clouds or changing temperatures? I haven't been in the mood to take photos so that leaves those kinds of posts out. Or do I spill my guts and let it all out?
I choose the later, obviously... "Slightly Off-Center" indeed!

Ps. It's good to be back! Thank you all for you kind emails and messages... You rock :)