Autumn is like Sunday of seasons.

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I love autumn. I love the colors, the clothes you need to wear to keep yourself warm and the melancholy of it…

Let’s face it, there is a certain sadness to autumn. Summer is gone, you’ve packed away your summer dresses and flip flops and you know winter is around the corner. Autumn is like a lazy Sunday that you wish would last forever, but you know Monday is inevitably coming.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate winter. I hate just the cold, the darkness, the wet and cold feet, the chapped lips and the dry skin. I do enjoy winter for a good 2 weeks, when the snow is pure like young love and everything is magical an beautiful. And then I get my first frost bite and I can’t wait for spring. I was born in April and I have to say, it is one of my favorite months with the first warming sunshine of the year, the coltsfeet starting to bloom, birds moving back and people coming back alive.

But then again September is also one of my favorite months, so I’ll need to enjoy it while it lasts. 🙂

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Ismo and I on a walk today

Like I told you in the last post, I had a long and rough week and I’m glad it’s coming to an end. At the same time I am nervous about the next one beginning since I know I need to go to work. Lately I’ve been feeling more and more like I want to do something else. It’s not like I dislike my current job, my heart just belongs somewhere else. I need to start looking into that if I want to truly stop fearing Mondays and start enjoying my life.

Talking about things I enjoy. I love sandwiches. I could live on sandwiches. But the thing is, my stomach doesn’t really approve of wheat, barley or rye (or the gluten in them to be more exact) because of IBS, so typical sandwiches are not the best food for me. Before deciding to go vegan for 5/7 days, I was worried about not being able to quit eating cheese and butter and other important parts of a great sandwich. But then I created this little masterpiece; sliced bread made of 100% oat (which my stomach can handle) topped with a little bit of margarine, a good chunk of avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and a little bit of salt and pepper. I’ve had probably 10 of these over the last 2 weeks and they are so yummy. I don’t miss cheese even a bit when I eat these sandwiches, omnomnom.

sandwich

Take care everyone,

Hanna

Work, work and more work.

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I’m having a horrible week. Well, it’s not really that horrible. I just need to whine a bit to get it all out of my system… You know what I mean?

I do have to work a lot this week though. I won’t go to much detail about my work, because of several reasons. Let me assure you though, I’m not a secret agent, a stripper or anything interesting like that. Just a normal person in a normal job. This week I just happen to have a lot to do and no matter how much I work, there is even more work to be done!!! Do any of you ever have weeks like this? This week I have to work on Saturday too, boooo.

And how has this semi stressful week affected my eating and my overall mood? BLAAAAHHHH! I want to eat everything, and I mean everything. Like a plate of everything sounds pretty good right about now. But luckily I’ve stayed pretty strong. Also for the first time in a surprisingly long time I haven’t slept very well the last 2 nights. Sun-Mon night I fell asleep at around 02.00 and woke up at 07.00 and Mon-Tue night I slept from 23.00 to 03.00 and then for about 06.15 to 06.50 and then I just had to get up to go to work. So I’ve gotten only about 4-5 hours of sleep per night. It could be a lot worse and I’ve had it worse, but still… I’m tired.

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Really Insomnia, really? You have to step back into my life right when I most need the energy? Sure.

The most annoying thing about this week is that I’m doing the early morning shift. I usually like them, but lately I’ve gotten used to preparing and having a smoothie every morning for breakfast and I’ve been loving it. This week I have to go to work very early and I can’t use our blender that early in the morning, because it would disturb our neighbors. I don’t like making my smoothies the day before, because they tend to go brown and weird in the fridge. Does anyone know a recipe for a smoothie that doesn’t turn weird in the fridge? Or do you have any other ideas on what I could eat on early mornings? It should be quick, vegan and tasty. I would love it if it also were raw, but it’s not a must. And no, not just fruit. I don’t have time to stuff my face with enough fruit to make me feel full and satisfied until lunch.

Speaking of lunch. For lunch and dinner (yes, both because I made so much of it) I’ve been having smooth vegetable soup. I replaced the cream, that I used in the original version, with oat cream to make it vegan and it’s just as yummy. 🙂

soup

Oh and I almost forgot, I made suuuuuuper yummy vegan burgers on Friday last week. I made so many patties that I had to freeze some of them. I ate my burger so fast that I forgot to take a picture of it, oh well… Next time. 🙂

Now I really need to start getting ready for bed. I’ll try reading a book until I notice I’ve read the same line 3 or 4 times and I know I’m tired enough to put the book down and sleep. 🙂 Do you want to know other remedies I have for insomnia? How do you guys treat your insomnia?

Love,

Hanna

My little prince, Ismo (and my other best friends forever)!

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I told you I would dedicate my next post to my dog, Ismo. So I will.

Since I absolutely love animals in general, I will also tell you about other pets I’ve had/loved in my lifetime. Sometimes I even seem to develop stronger bonds with animals than people, so needless to say, I’ve loved quite a few animals in my life; dogs, cats, horses and a couple of tortoises. I will not tell about all of them simply because there have been so many and it would take me such a long time, but I will tell about the ones I either owned or otherwise had a deep impact on me. The rest of them will live on in mine and other people’s memories. 🙂

Bella – My first memory of loving a dog was my grandparent’s (mom’s parents) German Shepherd, Bella. She was the most gentle being, got a long with the many cats they had back then, and I as a toddler was able to take her to walks and hold the leash (under my parents watch of course). I don’t remember much of her, except for her kindness and loyalty and me as a kid loving her to bits. I was 5 or 6 when she passed away and I remember the moment when my grandmother called and told us about her passing and I was so so sad.

Donna – I always wanted a dog of our own. Our dad always promised we could have one, even though he was very mildly allergic to dogs, but the years went by and we never did. One day though, when I was about 9, our parents promised we could go to a pet store and look at a tortoise because he had heard there was one for sale and I fell in love with her. Well, first we thought it was a boy, but no, it was a girl and we named her Donna. Donna was a tortoise that had been given from an owner to another and she had been given the wrong kinds of foods and she was just very sick and had a deformed shell. Because of that, the vet only gave her some months to live my mom mostly handfed her for the longest time and we hoped she would make it. And she did, for 7 long years. One day we can home from wherever we had been and I discovered her lying with her little head hanging out of her shell and her eyes closed and looking lifeless next to a big pile of lettuce. It was the saddest thing I had ever seen and it broke my heart right then and there. I remember asking my mom with my voice shaking whether Donna was dead. After an evening of trying to revive her and talking to a vet, we realized she really was gone and I couldn’t handle it. I decided to walk to my best friends house (cause I just couldn’t stay home with poor Donna being there) and she met me halfway. I cried the whole evening and my friend just listened. Donna was later buried at my friend’s backyard because at that time we lived in and apartment and didn’t have our own backyard. She still rests there next to my friend’s hamsters and turtles. It makes me cry right now, even after over 10 years, thinking about how she could still be alive if it hadn’t been to her previous owners maltreating her.

Rex and Nasse – My parents separated when I was 10 and it wasn’t an easy separation. All of the kids, including me, lived with my mom adn so did our tortoise, Donna. My mom had her hands full and I never thought we’d get a dog. Rex came to us after my dad had without asking the permission from our mom bought a tiny German Shepherd puppy to my brother on their trip to Lapland to visit our grandparents (dad’s parents). My mom first thought nothing of it, because she thought the dog would live at my dad’s house, but instead he came to live with us. My mom wasn’t thrilled about it at first but she grow to love the dog. We named him Rex after “Kommissar Rex”, an Austrian show about a police dog that helped his owner solve crimes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inspector_Rex). Rex lived to be 13 years old and he was such a good dog and he will always have a place in my heart. And so will Nasse. Nasse was originally my stepdad’s dog and when both of them came to our lives Nasse, a long haired German Shepherd, was about 4 years old and I was 11. The two dogs became an inseparable team. They were such lovable, loyal, sweet, strong beautiful dogs. Nasse, being the oldest was the first to pass away at the age of 14 and Rex lived on, missing his friend, for about 3 years. Words can’t describe how much I will always love them and miss them. They had their own personalities and little quirks that I will remember forever.

Ismo  My hairy baby, my sunshine, my best friend through good and bad times, my own little ewok. This is how he came to my life: After I had graduated upper secondary school (or high school) I moved out of my mom and stepdad’s house and in together with my then boyfriend of 1,5 years. Already before we moved in together he knew someday I wanted a dog of my own (because obviously Rex and Nasse, still going strong back then, were to stay with my parents). Having lived with in a household with 2 dogs and a tortoise, I felt like I could never again be without a pet for a long time. My (ex-)boyfriend at the time wasn’t ready to commit to a pet yet even though he had had a dog as a child and he did love animals. I had to just accept it, but I kept telling him “someday”. So a year went by and I still really wanted a dog. I kept doing research on different breeds that would suit us, good breeders etc. And still my boyfriend was like “no, no and no”. I started to recent him for it a little bit, because I had always supported him in everything he wanted to do, big or small, and all I wanted was a dog and he just denied it from me time and again. He couldn’t even promise me that in 5 years I could get one. It was just “NO”! So one day after being together for almost 3 years and living together for almost half of the time and the relationship going up and down anyway, I decided I was going to get a dog whether he wants it or not and if he can’t support it, he isn’t the right person for me. That is how much I wanted a dog. One weekend I went to visit my parents. On that weekend in the summer of 2008, I was searching different breeders again and I happened to look at this one breeder’s website, that I had visited several times before, and noticed she had 2 puppies still needing a home. Both boys like I wanted, both the color and coat type I wanted and both obviously the breed I adored. I went to meet them and I FELL IN LOVE with one of them. The smallest of the litter, and he was already named Ismo. I knew this little creature, a Black & Tan Brussels Griffon, was going to be mine forever. The next day I went and bought him. I was so hapy, I felt complete and so in love. I called my boyfriend to let him know and all he said was that I shouldn’t come home anymore. He was so mad and I was heartbroken but also kinda OK with it, because I realized I couldn’t be with someone who was willing to stand between me and my happiness. After a while he calmed down though and wanted me and Ismo to come home and he also grew to love Ismo. Our relationship ended 6 months later because of something else, and at that moment I knew I had made the right decision in buying Ismo. Ismo has been with me for 6 years now, through the break up, moving to a new city, starting a new relationship, beginning my studies and graduating, my current boyfriend and I living our lives, sickness and in health, ups and downs, he’s always my light even in the darkest days. I can’t imagine what these last 6 years would’ve been like if I didn’t have him.

I realize I sound like one of those crazy people who treat their pets like babies, let them eat from their plate, sleep in their bed, carry them in a bag everywhere and dress them i tutu’s. I swear I’m not, haha! My pets are my pets, I do not treats them as human babies, even if I call them my babies. But I have to say, that some times pets can be so much more loyal than human beings and I do love the animals in my life as much as I love the humans, just in a different way. 🙂

Ismo has had his fair (and some unfair) share of ups and downs too. Only one of his testicles dropped, so the other one had to be removed by surgery and even more tragic, he lost his other eye in a fight with another dog. A dog my (current) boyfirend and I got together. He is a Brazilian Terrier called Tony. He’s a sweet, energetic and cute dog, but he just couldn’t get along with Ismo and started attacking him all the time. Before I was able to make the decision about what to do with them, one fateful day Tony attacked Ismo again and bit his face and injured Ismo’s eye. Unfortunately, despite mine and the vet’s best efforts, Ismo’s eye could not been saved. It was removed by surgery. It was a sad time i my life and I felt like such a failure as his owner. And of course I had to make the decision right then and there about what to do with Tony. I didn’t want to euthanize him, because he is so friendly to all people, and gets along with most other dogs, and I was never going to just give him to some stranger so I wouldn’t know where he’d be or how he’s treated. Luckily my parents decided they wanted to take Tony, so now he lives happily with them on a farm with lots of horses, a cat, Siru, and a tortoise, Kille. We get to see Tony as much as we want, so in the end everybody is happy, and what is more important, safe.

Yes, my Ismo is a one-eyed, one-balled dog. DON’T LAUGH YOU GUYS! Some people say he looks a bit pitiful, but most think he is such a cool dog. He’s easy going, friendly, silly and simply the cutest thing ever.

Here’s a link to Musical Tails’ song about Brussels Griffons on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mx8U3WyOXa0

This song represents Griffons so well! 🙂

Here’s some pictures of my lovelies. I haven’t got very many photos of Nasse and Rex especially on my computer, so they are not of some of these are not very high quality. But I hope you enjoy. 🙂

nassukka Nasse and I kissing

nassukka2  Nasse taking a nap

vauvaismo Baby Ismo

kiss Little Ismo getting kisses

IsmojaRex Ismo and Rex, buddies

friendsforever BFF

together Friends are forevertony Tony the handsome

Ismosilmä  Ismo after surgery

Ismoparempi  Healing

tonyjahukka  Tony and my mom’s dog Hukka, friends till the end

ismoranta Ismo enjoying his Kingdom

mamiiloveyou “I love you”

Take care everyone,

Hanna

Food, food and more food!

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I have been sick for the last 4 days. Sniffling, coughing and sneezing, eeww… But although I still have a nasty cough, I am getting better, slowly.

A couple of days ago I went to meet up with the nurse helping me with my weight loss. We talked mostly about IBS and the psychological aspects of losing weight (or not losing it) but she finally was able to write a referral to a nutritionist, yay! Tomorrow I will make an appointment to meet up with her for the first time. I am so looking forward to meeting her. I hope she’s going to be my kind of a person, a no bullsh*t type of professional, who doesn’t speak down or patronize me. I hope to gain knowledge and support from her.

Right now food has taken over my life. I suppose that is how it always is when you try to lose weight, but not only that, trying to keep away painful symptoms of a digestion problem. The hardest part for me right now is to figure out where to get my protein when I don’t want to eat meat, and beans, peas, lentils and such, give me stomach issues. Soy of course, but I don’t only want to live on soy. And I freaking love beans. Today I ended up making bean curry for dinner, even though I know it makes me bloated and achy. But boy was it yummy. Seriously…. I guess the nutritionist will be able to give me some ideas on what to eat to get enough protein and still avoid stomach problems.

I haven’t gotten too many followers yet and I don’t know if anyone is interested in hearing what I eat on daily basis, but I will tell you anyway. Here’s what I’ve eaten so far today:

8:30 Smoothie (3 bananas, big fistful of baby spinach, 4 dl water, 3 dl almond milk, teaspoon of vanilla and 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar)

11:00 A big salad (lettuce, baby spinach, tomato, cucumber, avocado, spices and a tablespoon of olive oil), 2 slices of crispbread withmargarine on top, 3 dl water

14:00 About 2 dl of grapes, a banana and fistful of oat cheerios to snack on, 3 dl water

16:30 4 pieces of Toblerone chocolate

17:30 A big plate of rice, vegan bean curry, cucumber slices, 3 dl water

I am not happy about the chocolate (obviously it’s not vegan and it’s fatty and sugary), but oh well… We still had some left in the closet from the cruise (5 days ago). I have to be happy about having not devoured it right away when we bought it, but instead enjoying a piece here and a piece there over several days. I would have never ever been able to do that before. So GO MEEE! 🙂 Now the chocolate is gone and I won’t be buying any in a while. Otherwise I’m quite happy with what I’ve eaten today. Looks like a good mix of carbs, protein and good fats and of course lots of fruit and veggies. 🙂

Smoothie time (yes, I drank all of it):

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A colorful dinner (those beans are enough for about 4 portions):

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Enough with the food already. Since my lovely spouse is visiting his aunt and uncle and I have the apartment to myself, I am going to enjoy alone time and just do me. I plan on going for a long walk with my dog (I’m gonna dedicate my next post to my dog, he’s seriously the cutest and most lovable creature in the world) and afterwards stretch a little bit while watching tv. Sound like a plan, right? 🙂

Ciao,

Hanna

Celebrating 5 years together!

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Originally posted on September 15th 2014:

Last week it was me and my boyfriend’s 5th anniversary. On the day we exchanged gifts and spent some quality time together on the couch, but saved the bigger celebrations for the weekend. On Sunday went to a spa in Tallinn, Estonia. We took the quickest cruise ship from Helsinki to Tallinn, and the trip took 2 hours. The first part of our first day in Tallinn we spent in the old city, which was beautiful and offered a lot to see and experience. We also enjoyed a lovely early dinner there. The second part of the day we spent at the spa, relaxing in a hot tub, for the most part. After that we were so tired, that we almost instantly fell asleep in the cozy hotel bed. In the morning we ate at the hotel’s nice breakfast buffet and afterward decided to go shopping for a while before checking out and leaving Tallinn behind us.
The trip, though short, was such a nice break from the sometimes boring everyday-life. It was a really lovely way to celebrate our 5 years together.

Now that we’re back and in our own bed, getting ready to sleep (and trying to face the reality of having to go to work tomorrow), I am thinking about my future as a healthier and hopefully thinner person. It is looking very bright to me. I am feeling so very confident of myself and my ability to commit to healthier eating habits and that is partly because even though we did buy (and eat) some chocolate on our trip, I managed to enjoy it sensibly and not stuff my face with it like there’s no tomorrow. I made a lot of great food choices on the trip and even at the breakfast buffet I kept the portion sizes reasonable. And you know, we fat people love buffet’s (joking, and then again not).

Lately I have been interested in learning about vegan lifestyle, and trying out vegan cooking. No, I am not fully going to commit to the lifestyle (at least yet) BUT I little by little have gotten friendly with the idea of using no or very little meat or dairy products. I have been a vegetarian before for a couple of years, but I did eat eggs and dairy. Most of my life I have been a omnivore though. The thing is, I am really getting tired of supporting maltreatment of animals (and our planet), by eating meat and dairy. Also I don’t even like meat that much… I do enjoy my cheese though!
I have decided to cook vegan 5 days a week and on weekends let myself eat meat and dairy if I feel the need to or am in a situation where it is offered. If after a while I feel comfortable with the thought of going vegan full-time, I will do that. But even if I can’t, I am and will be happy with cutting the meat and dairy products down drastically and I am absolutely sure my body will agree with me on that.

I am meeting up with my lovely nurse tomorrow, and I will have to see what she says about my plans. :) I’ll write about it later this week.

I wonder if anyone is interested in reading my food diary if I were to keep one for a week or so…?

Ciao,

Hanna

Where to begin?

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I originally started my blog on another site but because the site was really bad, I just decided to start a new blog and just copy the text’s I recently wrote from the old one to the new one. So this was written on September 13th:

My life is a constantly changing state of being. At least it has been for the last several years. But then again isn’t everyone’s? I can’t think of a time where there hasn’t been some change, big or small, going on.

Right now I’m dealing with one major thing, my health. Well, I have been trying to deal with it for my whole life, but I have come to notice there is no try, only do. It’s hard to explain everything in one post without making it too long and incoherent so I will start with my current struggle.

Warning: Graphic content. I have had a strange stomach for all my life. Even when I was a baby my mother noticed there something strange about my digestion (I pooped A LOT) and all through my childhood I suffered from an unpredictable stomach. Let’s leave it at that. For the last several, about 7 or so, years I have gotten really bad stomach aches, burning spasms to be exact. They usually come during the night time, waking me up from my sleep and they would usually end only when I used the bathroom. I would also often be really bloated. The first times it happened, I was scared and thought there is something really wrong with me but when I went to the doctor, they were able to convince me I only had a “stress stomach” whatever it means. His only advice was not to stress.
So I learned to live with my pain and the awkward bloatedness. January of 2014 the spasms started getting worse and more frequent so I decided it was time to visit the doctor (different one, luckily) again. This time he took me seriously and to make a long story short, after testing me for several things he diagnosed me with having IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

IBS is an annoying condition to have because although it is possible to control it with your diet, it takes time and effort to find out which foods suit me and which do not. I will not list all of the possibly not suitable foods for people with IBS, because it is a long list and if you, my dear reader, are interested you can google it and you will find a lot of information about it.

One of the biggest no-no’s is sugar (which I happen to love in any form, of course). And with this awkward transition I’m going to share with you my other always present struggle, weight loss (and/or maintaining a healthy weight). As a young child I used to be really thin, underweight even, but during the ever-so-lovely early years of puberty I started gaining weight. Of course a lot of kids noticed, and even though I was only roundish, I got teased because of it. My weight was an issue for me (and apparently for some reason for others too) all through my pre-teen and teen years and got worse in adulthood. During the last 10 years I have gone up and down with my weight from normal weight to obesity. Losing 25 kilograms, gaining 30 and so on and so on. Classic tale, right?

Well now that I have come to terms with getting closer to being 30 years old (I still have some years to go, wohoo), I have come to realize I really have to take care of my body before it’s too late.

For me the biggest problem is that having IBS and my stomach not quite working as it should, has a direct effect on my weight. Some issues that make losing weight and maintaining normal weight harder are occasional insomnia and PCOS (which I also have, but more about that another time). Having those issues affecting my weight and then my weight making the issues worse, it is just a damn annoying vicious circle. That is why I have decided to take this one step at a time. I have already gotten better sleeping habits, so the next step is to work on my diet which should be friendly to my ever so delicate guts and make me lose kilos, and when I lose weight it should help keep my PCOS in check. TADAA, problem solved!

Ok, it’s more easily said than done, BUT I will do it!
And I am taking you guys (if someone’s reading this) through this journey with me!

Love,

Hanna