... And just like that, we already have a month of 2011 under our belts. January is actually somewhat poignant to me. It marks the 1-year anniversary of the day I first discovered that something wasn't right in my body. We were vacationing in Cuba at the time when we noticed a small painless lump on my neck, while on the beach. It was a discovery that changed my life forever, and also helped save it. Well, here's to new beginnings!

It seems that this winter, Mother Nature is also aching to start anew, with an old-fashioned winter of sorts. The snow, and very crisp cold air was almost non existent-last year. For some it was a great thing, I must be among the minority.

I love the different seasons, and always welcome winter. Let's face it, unless this season is 20 degrees and sunny almost everyday, there's no point in being teased with a boring, uneventful, and damp winter season. What can you really do when the ground is wet, but not snow covered, and with a temperature that sits at 3 degrees? I know, I can hear some of you saying it out loud right now -3 degrees is a lot better than the -33 wind chills we had over the last week. Well, that brutal cold was a bit of an exception, and just for the record that bitter bite has a purpose to  -- it kills mosquito larvae and other teeny pests that would otherwise flourish come spring. If we are going to have a winter season, cue Dean Martin here please, "Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow."

To be fair some areas have seen A LOT more snow than us in Toronto, like Lucan (Southwestern Ontario). They recorded over 2 metres of fresh snow in December. I know it's no fun to be driving in it, however, once the shoveling is done and the roads plowed, it's a scene worthy of exploration.

I went for a walk today, I bundled right up and ventured through a nearby nature trail. The first thing you notice is how quiet it is. The snow seems to act like a muffler, silencing the city sounds in the background. There is only the crunch of your boot echoing as it squishes the ice underfoot. It's really beautiful. You know, if you close your eyes, you can almost hear nature releasing a sigh of content. The snow is like a much needed blanket, it forces almost everything underneath it to take a break for a few months. Wouldn't it be great if we could learn to take a cue from that? No, I'm not talking about a 12 week hibernation/vacation, (although that would be nice too). What I'm talking about, is taking the time to regularly reconnect with things that are important -really important to us. I call it the grounding plate. It's that special aspect of our life that make us want to get up every morning and make it count. We all need it, and in fact at times don't realize how much we depend on it, until it dwindles away.

We are always on the go, I think the holidays that just passed proved it. I guess it's partly because it all happened over 2 weekends this year, making the number of days we had off even shorter. By Monday, I along with others, were back at work with only holiday memories left. Anyway, I hope you had a great time, and judging by some of your responses on my Facebook page, it appears tasty holiday treats were aplenty. I mentioned, in my last blog, that this holiday was going to be a big test for me when it comes to sweet treats. Trying to avoid white flour and processed sugar is a challenge on a regular day, but that much harder during Christmas. However, as we soon discovered, with a little research there are many options. Agreed not always the most affordable, but that's what treats are about I guess. We ended up ordering an organic Carrot Cake, and I've got to tell yah, it was awesome. That is not to say, there weren't "other" goodies, I just tried to keep them below my radar.

I have managed to maintain my newfound weight within about 3 pounds. It's something I'm quite proud of. To me it symbolizes two things; one, my body seems to be working the way it should be, and two, the new diet can only mean I am, at the very least, a little healthier than pre-diagnosis.

It's interesting as I meet more and more people on the street since I have returned, the most common thing I hear nowadays is "Wow you have lost a lot of weight", followed by "you're much smaller in person". The funny thing is -- it really is true, TV does add 10 pounds, so I guess for some people who meet me for the first time it is a shock. My automatic response is usually "you need a smaller TV and I will look just right." ;)
Anyway that's all for now....will talk soon.

Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things,
but just look what they can do when they stick together.
Vesta M. Kelly