Goodbye “Old” Nanny

Eleven years ago, I had the privilege of meeting an amazing woman. She was 84 years young and a going concern. The first day I met her it was clear that she loved to chat, she loved to bake and she was kind, sincere, hard working and generous. 

I don’t think she had an easy life, but I knew right away that she was a giver. She was always concerned with the wellbeing of everyone around her – her family, her friends, her neighbours and anyone who was fortunate enough to be welcomed into her home for a biscuit or a piece of homemade gumdrop cake.

I have so much to thank her for.

Thank you, Nanny, for giving birth to the woman who gave birth to the love of my life. Thank you for helping to raise him and care for him when your son-in-law died tragically young, leaving your daughter a widow with a baby daughter and a young son. Because of you, my family grew. I gave you two more great grand children (and three step great grand children) but, thanks to you, I got a wonderful nanny, a mother-in-law, a sister-in-law, two nephews and a niece…and all the other extended family that came along with those new family members.

But, Nanny, thank you most of all for the gifts and lessons you gave to Emma and William. They loved you. They loved to visit with you and give you hugs and make you cards and chat your ear off. (Non stop!) On our last visit, William even did a dance for you. It was never a chore for them to spend time with you. If anything, they knew better than anyone how important it was to see you and visit with you as often as possible. My only regret is that we didn’t visit you more.

Today, you helped to teach them another incredibly valuable lesson: If we are lucky enough to live 95 good years, death is not scary. Death is not bad. Death is but a welcome part of a good life. It’s what gives us freedom from the chains of our bodies when our bodies grow tired and worn. I am so grateful that they had this time with you. I know that they will always remember the love they had for you. They are so blessed to have the good fortune to learn about death, for the first time, from you – someone they loved who lived a fulfilling 95 years, instead of someone they loved who died too soon.

They have so many questions about where you are now, physically and spiritually, and it’s hard and emotional and exhausting to answer them all. But it’s also interesting and fun and rewarding to answer them all. I’m so grateful that their first encounter with death is this one. Your death makes sense in so many ways. Crazy ways. Ways that would make even the most skeptical believe that there are bigger powers at work making sure that all is at is should be. 

We have cried together in memory of, you, Nanny, and we have acknowledged how lucky all of us are to have known you, to have loved you and to have been loved by you. 

Emma wants you to know that, one day, she will tell her own children that her “old nanny” died when she was seven years old and that she was very lucky to have you for so long.

I want to thank you for today, for this weekend, for letting me say goodbye to you in the most intimate of ways. To have been included as part of your small family when you took your last breaths was a gift I will always treasure.

Rest in Peace, Nanny. We will remember you always.


I’m Still Here (and Vegan)! What I’ve been up to and 9 ways Veganism has had an impact on my life.


I just checked the calendar: I have been eating a vegan/plant-based diet for seven weeks and two days. My last post was a month ago, but I have been going strong. Life just got busy. We were camping for a month which made regular posting a challenge. Then a family member had medical problems and we were away from home for another stretch. And, since then, my evenings after work have been used to recover from/prepare for our weekend camping trips.

But, let me give you a little update on what I’ve been making, how things have been going, and the differences I notice in my life since making the change.

This right here is marinated, baked tofu. I got the recipe from a Thug Kitchen Cookbook that was lent to me by a co-worker (which I still need to return *gulp*). It is amazing and tastes kinda like turkey bacon. I LOVE discovering new vegan foods that replace some of the traditional foods that I actually miss. (Although, I don’t miss very many meat or animal products.)

A while ago, I made some squares/bars that were a lot like larabars. I forget where I got the recipe now…either over at Oh She Glows or Minimalist Baker. (Trust me when I say, you can never go wrong with recipes from either of those kitchen goddesses. Anyway….I learned a valuable lesson with this recipe: medjool dates need to be PITTED. I fished these suckers out of my food processor. (My poor food processor is having a rough few weeks….and is soon to be retired.)

Then, I played Russian roulette with these bars all week….because 36 pits went in but only 28 came out. Fortunately, no one was harmed while eating the treats. But, we did find all the missing bullets:)

I made this pasta salad to take camping this past weekend – it was so yummy! The recipe was from a cookbook I bough at Indigo, Nom Yourself. Great recipes but a lot of them are not what I would consider healthy.

Definitely, one of my most favourite things that I’ve made since my last post was this vegan “pulled pork”. I got the recipe from Minimalist Baker and…oh…my…goodness, you guys. You have to try this. For realz.

Anyway, here’s what I can tell you about the impact that becoming vegan has had on my life in the last 7 weeks and two days:

  1. I feel better. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I seriously feel happier and healthier than I have in my entire life. I feel like my mind is clear, and I am 100 percent confident that this was the right decision. For me. I am equally confident that I will never look back.
  2. I have NOT lost weight. Nor have I tried to lose weight. I wanted to see if weight would come off naturally just by not eating any animal products, but it hasn’t. I am ok with that. If and when I want to lose weight, I know what to do. (Stop eating vegan junk food like Oreos, potato chips and pop to start. This is a goal for Summer’s end.)
  3. I have maintained my weight. I weigh exactly what I weighed at the start of this journey. And, I have not counted a single calorie since very early on. I have not spent hours weighing and measuring food and inputting data. This makes me happy.
  4. I have not worked out. (Gasp!!) Life has been extra busy y’all. And, I decided that, at least in the beginning, I wanted to focus on learning as much as possible about eliminating animal products and getting all the nutrients I need while eating only plant-based food. So, I decided I would not feel guilty about taking a fitness hiatus. Come the beginning of September, I will get back into my early-morning workout routine.
  5. People have a LOT of questions when you tell them you are vegan. I try very hard not to judge or feel judged by questions, especially when they are asked in a respectful and curious way. I answer to the best of my ability but I am far from an expert. The main question I get asked is, “why vegan?”. My answer is always some variation of,  “My 19-year-old daughter made the switch, I did some research, watched some documentaries and felt compelled to try it. Now, I truly believe that eating animals (and animal products) is not necessary. I believe I am contributing to better personal health and a better world by eating a plant-based diet. And, most importantly, eating this way makes me happy.”
  6. Some people think it’s a weird lifestyle. They don’t necessarily say they think it’s weird. But, you can see it on their faces when you tell them. Or, you can hear it in their voices when they ask you a random question.
  7. Some people think it’s fascinating. They are intrigued, inspired and/or motivated when I tell them about my journey so far. This, in turn, motivates and inspires me to keep talking about it, taking pictures of my food, and writing about it here.
  8. At least 75 percent of people I tell respond with some form of, “I could never be vegan. I love [meat/dairy/cheese/whatever] too much.” I’m not sure how to respond to this. I’m not a judg-y vegan. I don’t care if you eat and love meat/dairy/cheese and want to eat it for the rest of your life. You can sit beside me with your hunk of steak and I’ll be just fine. It’s the “I could never…” statements that irk me. (I could never workout in the morning, I hate mornings. I could never workout at lunch, I hate being sweaty. I could never…insert thing someone doesn’t want to do.) People, can we just acknowledge you could if you wanted to/needed to/were inspired to. I’m not saying you should (because I despise the word should, that’s another post) but you definitely could. So, if we could refrain from saying I could never…I’d be eternally grateful. (end rant)
  9. Most of the time being vegan is ridiculously easy. Except when it’s not. It’s not easy when the unexpected happens, like unexpected travel. It’s not easy when you don’t/can’t find time to do a little planning and/or grocery shopping. But, even when it’s not easy, it’s totally possible if you’re willing to be a little creative. Example: while spending time in an out-of-province hospital while a family member was there having and recovering from heart surgery, I had to have breakfast in the hospital cafeteria. Sadly, despite boasting only “healthy” items there were very few vegan options for breakfast. So…I ordered a veggie and cheese omelette. Yes, you read that correctly. I ordered a veggie and cheese omelette – hold the cheese, hold the eggs. It took the chef a good 10 minutes to decide if he was allowed to do that…but in the end, he fried me up the veggies and slapped them on a plate for me. (I was grateful!) The point is: where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I’m still working on becoming as educated as I can be about this lifestyle. I’m still working on finding vegan meal and snack ideas that my kids won’t turn their noses up at. Sometimes they love what I cook and sometimes they don’t. My eight-year-old daughter considers herself a strict vegan…….until someone offers her ice cream or cheese…and then all bets are off. I’m ok with that. My five-year-old son does not want to be vegan. He goes back and forth between wanting to be an “everything-a-tarian” and a “normal person” whatever that is. They know I choose to be vegan because I’m not comfortable eating animals and/or what belongs to animals and because I believe eating this way is a path to good health. They respect that and know that (within reasonable limits) they are free to make their own choices about what goes into their bodies. 

Frankly, some adults could take a page out of their books. 🙂