Friday, December 26

To do.

Figuring out how to post here via iPod.
Chrismas albums for the grandparents. (One down, two to go)

Blog post.
Post sock monkey instructions.

Thursday, December 25

holiday gratitude

On this night, in this place, I am grateful for so many things. Like so many things lately, our plans this Christmas were complicated by forces out of our control. Vancouver got a dumping of winter like none we had seen. Canadians to the east of us laugh when we're forced to show how ill-equipped we are to deal with weather the rest of the country calls a season, and we are so ill-prepared. When it snows the city shuts down - when it snows a lot, we Vancouverites go a little crazy. We take our sports cars out and spend more time stuck than not1. We trudge three kilometres through mostly un-shovelled neighbourhoods, pushing a bored toddler in a weather-inappropriate stroller2. We spend hours being "good samaritans" and shovelling our neighbours' walks, our only reward being a full body workout and lots of wet pant legs3.

We do all that and we have a ball. I am so grateful to live a life where no amount of bullshit can keep us from looking out for one another.

Other things I am grateful for:
  1. BC Ferries and portable battery packs
  2. dala
  3. our neighbour shovelling us out this morning as we left to catch a ferry
  4. my amazingly tolerant and adorable children who have rolled with every change in direction with as much grace as I could ever hope for, despite both feeling less than great (two words: snot city)
  5. my incredibly determined father who wouldn't let a little thing like 50cm of snow stop him from bringing dinner and family (two of my younger sisters) to his much less determined daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, even though it took two hours to make it 3.2km
  6. my three wonderful, beautiful younger sisters who get all the fallout (and benefit) of my missteps, mishaps and random acts of rebellion
  7. my patient, loving, amazing husband who spent his days off work keeping our neighbours' sidewalks as clear as our own
  8. my generous in-laws, who showered us in food, love and gifts and who kept the faith that we would make it here eventually
  9. my faith that there is nothing out there we can't handle
  10. my mother, who always told me that there was nothing out there I couldn't handle
  11. and finally figuring out that being able to handle things doesn't mean I handle them alone.
1. see #5
2. that was me after the first big dump - after we got home I unearthed our pull-behind baby sled. The only issue now is figuring out who gets to ride in it.
3.see #7

Sunday, December 7

looking backward

Oh man, is there really anything left to say?

I went through a bunch of my unfinished posts, there's some good stuff in there. Most of the stuff that made it up onto the blog consisted of proving that I am still alive and reasonably sane.

My life's been like that, too - just seeing people enough that they know I'm still here. And boy am I here - I've gained a load of weight since July... plus I was drinking too much and smoking ½ a pack a day. I've been miserable.

Having Andrew home all the time was more trying than freeing, mostly because I am pretty Type A and having him home threw what was already household chaos into a thrilling, but exhausting exercise in the unknown.

We were contemplating both working, or me working, or him working, or not working at all, and when the dust finally settled, Andrew will be the main bread-winner and I will try and contribute as much as I can. I don't want to get him canned by talking about anything (you never know these days) - but this is a pretty effing awesome job. There is some guarantee that the position will last until Winter 2010; the pay is less than market*, but it's a high-profile gig that'll look wicked on his CV; and we'll get benefits after 3 months.

I have postponed the possibility of paid work, but Sbux liked me enough to want me to call them back when we know that we could swing some kind of child-care arrangement. It is good, I wasn't sure we'd make it work as a two-job family. I have a feeling my kids would attach pretty strongly to the people in their lives not stressed out and irritable. Besides, I was really rocking this homemaker gig until Sean died.

Yeah, it is still bothering me.

Back to my rocking. I have been working hard on a few things, like a control binder, based on the FlyLady zone system, but adapted to our family and printed up nicely in a pretty binder (even the section tabs are lovely - this has been a year-long labour of love). I've also been thinking about a curriculum for my intrepid explorer - he is not in preschool, yes, we will likely put him in next year, (if we can afford to - that's the one bit I leave off when talking to the parents at the playground) - I want to dedicate an hour a day to "school" which will be a time to discuss the things we've seen on our trips out (every day), do crafts, practice writing & reading, et. cetera.

Oh and, we've been eating all kinds of crapola - so that's another bit I'm working on. Meal plans, I always start out with the best of intentions - luckily, we are WAY broke, so it is home-cooking or nothing.

Speaking of broke - let me tell you how much I loved Circle Craft this year. I got most of my gifts, or what I need to make gifts, at the fair this year. I spent (very) modestly and had a great time. Plus I feel warm and fuzzy about my purchases.

Hmm... I guess that sums things up.

Mom, if you're reading this, send money!!

*or it would have been a few months ago, with all those lay-offs I suppose we don't have a clue what the market is going to look like going forward.

Sunday, November 23

the long and winding road

I am pretty psyched to see the end of 2008. It has been a thrilling, incredible year, but there is so much that I would like to put a bit of time ahead of. A chance to get some perspective.

A long-standing project of mine has been to go through our old photographs, delete the crap and then back it all up. I finally made the decision to just get it done last weekend and today I finished. It was fun, especially stumbling on old videos of Sebastian. It was also a lot of work - I can see the upside of going through your photos as soon as you take them off the camera.

The very hardest part, however, was seeing how happy we all looked - even as the wheels started to come off our little family wagon. I am heartened by how resolutely we have stood together. I have renewed faith in myself and in all the choices I have made. It was hard because I don't really remember much of it. A lot of that is because I've been pretty withdrawn. Thankfully, I can change that with some work. Always with the work... heh.

It is pretty late, but I've finally managed to upload a bunch of pictures to flickr:

Friday, November 7

tiny moments

I know I haven't been around much, my life has kept up its breakneck speed - throwing challenges and choices all over the path.

Sunday, September 28

my crazy-person vacation

It isn't the first time, nor will it be the last that I have reminded myself that this parenting thing is hard. Really hard. It also isn't the first time, and I hope it isn't the last, that I remind myself that this parenting thing is wonderful.

I spent the last week in Whistler, BC, with my mum, step-dad, husband and children. Our accommodations were ample and comfortable. We were close enough to spit on the village and had the joy of leaving our car to collect dust for a full six days. Many good times were had, drinks were drank, laughs were shared, many interesting topics were covered and my children were showered with love.

It was a break I needed. It gave me a chance to gain some much-needed perspective.

It also broke me of the habit of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, though that one took some time. The close quarters encouraged us to take advantage of the free childcare, we walked, we swam in the hotel pool (late-night marco polo was especially fun), we played cribbage in the hotel lobby and we laughed.

Life with my parents was really neat. I think the neutrality of the space allowed me to shed my old habit of reverting to the age of fifteen. I held intelligent and informative conversations with my politically passionate step-father, we listened to one another. My mum and I built puzzles while sharing ideas and stories. My husband was a picture-perfect son-in-law, shining in his role of go-to parent. One morning I awoke as Andrew, Sebastian and my mum were leaving on an adventure. I puttered for a while before walking into the village with Rigby for a coffee and secret cigarette. When I met up with the explorers, they shared tales of giant creatures* and feats of daring**. Sebastian was beaming with pride and brimming with excitement.

I was sad to leave yesterday. I didn't feel ready to slip back into my regular life, but I knew that if we stayed one more day we would have stayed one day too long. We put off leaving for as long as we reasonably could, but after lunch we said our goodbyes and hit the open road. The kids howled in harmony for a few kilometres, but both fell asleep before the half-way point. Once we got home we had to deal with the chaos we'd left in our haste. We'd prepared ourselves for the worst, so were content that we could breathe the air and nothing had been stolen. But it didn't take long for my irritation at having to get so much done before we could even cook dinner to boil over. My husband, to his credit, kicked me out of the house until I cooled off.

We put the kids to bed and Andrew went out to run some errands - Sebastian stayed up for two hours playing in his room. He seemed so happy to be back in his own bed after sharing a room with his entire family. I shared his joy, snacking in my underwear while watching internet TV.

Today was more re-entry. Andrew and Sebastian spent the day hanging out - they went to Andrew's office, they cleaned his room, they built train tracks on the old bed/new train table/birthday project, that Andrew set up during quiet-time. I spent much of the day comforting poor Rigby who is cutting many teeth and going about the business of catching up on things like e-mail and I didn't even touch my phone. Neither saw much use last week, which was strange and a little wonderful. Though I feel bad that I didn't really tell anyone where we were going.

I still feel like I'm not really ready for tomorrow, my first day alone with the kids in ten days - but I miss my life, and it isn't really like I have a choice. I have things I've been putting off for too long and I can't afford to keep doing it. Tomorrow will be fine. I have a second errand to run before going to my support group, so I can take the car in clear conscience.

Speaking of tomorrow, if I don't get myself to bed I'll be setting myself up to have a short fuse. And I need my wits about me as I get the kids (and myself) off vacation time.

*slugs and a dog large enough to be initially confused with a bear.
**according to witness accounts, Sebastian scaled many rocks.

Thursday, September 18

okay, i think i am starting to get it

The news is depressing. Television, in general, is depressing. That's just how it is - life isn't all baskets of puppies.

I've taken a lot of alone time, recently. I've been pretty focused on the going's on in the world and it has just occurred to me that I am missing the good stuff. I've been dismissing the puppies and wringing my hands over events that are worlds away. Sure, this shit effects me - it effects* all of us. But worrying about it is taking up valuable head-space. It is crowding out the sections of my brain responsible for things like planning meals, nurturing a teething baby, and keeping up with a million-km/h curious and brilliant small boy.

Tomorrow, I will make a conscious effort to concern myself primarily with the things in my own life that I have influence on. I have the weekend ahead to finally sit down with the family and talk about how we'll share space before we run off to Whistler to spend then week with my mom and step-dad. I am hoping to use some of the free time I assume I will have to do a bit of goal-setting and planning. The number one thing I can control is how I use my life. I want to do great things, but have thus far been unwilling to do the leg-work. I keep laying blame for everything on those around me. But while living with other people is guaranteed to produce obstacles and conflicts, I am the one who writes them off as insurmountable. It is an easy way to avoid failing.

The dichotomies of my life are so stark to me. I feel like I'm always trying to reconcile opposing ideas and ideals. The funny part is that I know I do it, I know it is generally thought to be unhealthy, but I find it invigorating. Trying to figure some of this stuff out is pretty fascinating. Like - I am frugal and stylish, but also a mother of young children who has little time, do I spend a day at the thrift store, corralling kids and exposing myself to a case-lot of allergens, or do I spend the money I do have on clothes I hope will last and that I hope will stay reasonably un-stained and fashionable until the next wardrobe re-vamp. This time around I bought new, I got some quality** pieces that are classic and un-trendy. I am going to go to the mall and get a few casual tops from that store that rhymes with mold gravy. I am also finally going to replace my swobe, it no longer stays buttoned and smells like the back of my car (because that's where it lives "for emergencies").

Wow - did you see that paragraph take off? From deep philosophizing to swobes.

Life hasn't stopped, as much as I have been wishing it would (just for a few days while I catch up). But tonight instead of pretending to do work, I went over to a friend's where we drank cheap wine and ate cheap Chinese food. We watched Stop-Loss - an alright movie with some pretty wonderful bits and some pretty asinine bits. We talked and laughed, it was fun. I want a life that is more fun than anxiety - and I think that accepting that the anxiety will always be there, as it should be, and then setting the anxiety aside,when appropriate... well, I do believe that that is how to shift things.

*trying to remember high school English class... effect vs. affect, I think I got it right
**I hope

Monday, September 15

survival of the fattest

My doomsday worries have lifted only slightly - so far the LHC at CERN has not created the end of the universe, but I think most of us are reeling after today's financial crisis. On top of that I have friends displaced by Hurricane Ike, as well as folks who have lost power, and are facing home and garden damage.

I don't want to alarm anyone, but I'm pretty certain that there is an economic collapse coming. I am now wondering how we'll survive if costs keep rising and jobs become more uncertain. It isn't even about the "what ifs" - the chance that Andrew may lose his job because of corporate failure isn't something I am willing to entertain right now (we can always find work in the service industry - and until 2010, the construction industry here will keep going). My worry is how we'll make do on what we have.

And it pisses me off to no end that even the heads of failed institutions are getting bigger severance packages than what my family will likely make WORKING for the rest of our lives. It is such bullshit for CEOs to be making obscene wages while losing other people's money.

Friday, September 12


"You're a great cook when you're crazy."
In response to a meal I threw together between bouts of languishing on the couch and trying to follow my erratic trains of thought. It consisted of pasta, veggies, two types of cheese and an egg. I think I put salad dressing in there too. I'll never re-create it, but boy was it delicious!

"Surrender to the goat."
Read yesterday in Mommy Mantras - it means surrendering yourself to the banal things that excite and engage your kids.

"Mom, this chair is warm. You warmed it up for me with your bum."
Sebastian and I share a love for the ratty green chair that resides in our living room. Mainly because it is soft and comfortable, but also because it is the one thing in our shared space that he is encouraged to jump and climb on. We found it in an alley back in Calgary, it has an assortment of stains and rips and is the colour of baby poop - at this point it has become a kind of experiment in longevity, if it makes it to Rigby's fifth birthday, we'll celebrate by either getting it re-upholstered or putting it out of its misery.

Wednesday, September 10

meet the newest forsyth

Meet Chet - he's a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and was finished this evening just in time for books and bed.
During the last bedroom re-org, I stumbled upon a bag containing the Secret Government Sock Monkey Project (SGSM-P). Abandoned in 2006, SGSM-P remained classified and mere lore until late 2008. Speculation of a secret project of this type bounced about the internet, but sketchy accounts paled in comparison to the true size and scope of SGSM-P.

Chet here took me more than two years to complete. In fact, I still have a bag full of socks in various stages of transition to primates and had long been contemplating one for Rigby. Because she's wee, I embroidered all of his features. My favourite are the eyes, which I dove into without a plan. The tattoo on his back (not pictured) took me for-f*cking-ever and is still not to my liking. I'll go back in and touch it up, but for all intents and purposes, Chet is ready to play.



When Sebastian was small I was a toy-snob. Even before I was aware of how harmful plastics are I was wary of it. Not just because of all the chemicals, but because so much of it was terribly tacky. Most of the things we got then and continue to get now, are better products than much of what is out there. We're lucky in that we have friends who naturally gravitate to the cooler stuff that's out there (likely because so few of us are willing to leave behind our youth and style), but I would donate/exchange the occasional gift because it wasn't something I could imagine seeing, cleaning up, or listening to it for any length of time.

Over the years, my standards have softened. For example, we used to have a *no licenced apparel/toys* - well, now that Sebastian knows this stuff exists, it is harder. He sees kids in Spiderman/Dora/Cars merchandise and he's made comments, but generally he's content to wear underoos with Spidey or Mater on them. He has a Thomas back-pack and a Nemo fanny pack, and I'm okay with it.

My feelings about plastics hasn't softened, however. I am more concerned about the chemical composition of the products around me than I was in 12th-grade Chemistry. We have reduced our intake of petrochemicals, but recently we'd also reduced our turnover, so plastic is piling up a bit.

This week Andrew and the kids sorted the outside toys and filled a large bin with toys to give away. Today, I extended the cull to Rigby's toys, keeping only what we use/think is cute/was given by someone very special/does not require batteries. One day soon we will do Sebastian's toys, but there are so many to go through. For now I am simply happy to put unused/irritating toys in the closet to keep his room manageable.



The kids are both tucked in with bellies full of our current favourite dinner - brinner. We tried bacon-flavoured turkey slices and thanks to the high levels of sodium they were delicious (though not nearly as heart-cloggingly delicious as the thick-sliced back-bacon I'd been eyeing). I almost successfully made an omelet - a little melted cheese hid most traces of my ineptitude.

Andrew will return from a post-dinner walk shortly, at which point we're going to watch Infest Wisely, a lo-fi sci-fi film that Suzanne at juiceboxdotcom reviewed earlier today. Not only does it sound really interesting, it is free - which fits our budget perfectly.

It's been another beautiful week out here on the west coast, it is really nice to see all the Vancoucerites outside enjoying it. We all know, but won't say out loud, that this is the end of summer and that we'd better use it before we lose it. Think I'll make cinnamon loaf and rice crispy treats on the weekend. Hit a farmer's market for the ambiance and some pie fruit.

wednesdays with nie nie

I was reading about Stephanie Nielson, writer of the nienie dialogues and recent victim of a private airplane crash. Her story brought me to her very lovely blog and introduced me to a woman in love with motherhood. It got me thinking about my own calling to motherhood.

Getting pregnant was one of the most incredible and magical things that has ever happened to me. And now, here I am with a brilliant, charismatic boy sitting on the cusp of school and all that comes with that transition. The second time I got pregnant happened without the intent of my first insemination, but it was just as magical. Now I have a beautiful daughter with a blossoming personality. My children are fun and loving - laughs and cuddles are a regular part of any given day. They are beginning to enjoy one another's company - freeing me for brief moments to be alone... and in that solitude I resent them. I resent my loss of freedom, my necessary dedication to things like housework, I resent them for their constant needs and demands and I resent the world for not being a safe and happy place.

How sad is that? Last night, as I lay awake wondering if the LHC would bring the apocalypse, it hit me... it doesn't matter. I read this quote from Tuesdays with Morrie on a poster last week:

"'Everybody knows they're going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently,' Morrie said. 'So we kid ourselves about death,' I (Mitch) said. 'Yes, but there's a better approach. To know you're going to die and be prepared for it at any time. That's better. That way you can be actually be more involved in your life while you're living. . . Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, 'Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?... The truth is, Mitch, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live... Most of us walk around as if we're sleepwalking. We really don't experience the world fully because we're half asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do... Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.'" -- Tuesdays with Morrie

I hadn't given death much thought until recently. I had given it the cursory concern - diligently checking sleeping children for patterns of breath, but beyond that? I have been content to roll about in my bubble of denial, resentment and misery. Being depressed gives us an extra level of fear about death and thinking about death. Being depressed brings the spectre of suicide, that decidedly backwards human condition that nullifies our instinct to survive. So the bubble became not just accepted, but encouraged, with thoughts of death willed to the back of my mind for fear of where that path may take me.

But suicide's not for me. Never has been, seems like a big, fat, selfish waste. What if we die and there's nothing? That's like buying a $40 cheesecake and throwing it out after a few bites. To keep on the cheesecake metaphor, what most of us are doing with our lives amounts to letting that delicious dessert rot in the fridge, or get burned in the freezer - waiting for the day we'll take it out and enjoy it.

The end could be nigh, chances are you and I won't know until it's too late. I don't live everyday like it could be my last, but I would like to start. Which brings me back to my calling to motherhood. I chose to stay at home because I didn't want to miss anything. I felt like my parents got a raw deal, both working and leaving my primary care in the hands of others. I also stayed home because I carry resentment for growing up in what is now a typical family, but was still unusual in the 80's.

But is having a mother who grudgingly attends to their basic needs really any better? What happened to my promise to them? My promise to take care of their budding minds?

Besides, I like my kids, they're cool and fun. I like being a mother. I just happen to have had a rough year - thankfully, kids are resilient and they will be just fine. I have been terribly hard on myself this year, I'm done. Things may not be perfect and that's okay.

Saturday, September 6

drowning, not waving/waving, not drowning

I was going to write about a really cool music video we watched last night, but Andrew has left to do laundry and I haven't got a clue where to find it to show you. So, for now enjoy this:

Music video made of paper. Svelte: 'Grind Your Bones' from Svelte on Vimeo.

I feel dull, but I am starting to realise that it isn't true dullness. It is rather the dullness brought by the shock of overwhelm. As though my brain is trying to protect itself by slowing down, as a body submerged in frigid water might. Rather than fight for shore and tire half-way, my best chance is to kick determinedly, but gently, towards dry land, using the current to advantage as best I can.

It isn't something I would need to think about at length, as my limbs became heavy and numb, it would become natural to think in terms of "breathe, kick, stay alert, breathe, kick, stay alert" - just as it has become natural to me now to eat, sleep and breathe. A way to pass through a time of fear and despair, a way to make it back to shore, where the cold currents will quickly blur in memory.

The shock of landing, the comfort of knowing that regardless of what just happened you made it. A time after which life is irrevocably changed, yet strangely just the same. A period of adjustment, fingers stretched out, grasping the familiar, exploring the new.

My period of adjustment is frustratingly ongoing. Lately is has really felt like fate has been mocking my desire for normality. All this anxiety is both invigorating and exhausting. It reminds me that I am alive, that life is amazing and still so unknown, it illuminates my creativity in such a powerful way. It is exhausting for the same reasons - life is amazing and there is so much life on the planet, each of us has so little control over our collective fate, each of us has a unique mind and that is both brilliant and frightening... any number of things could bring about the end of civilization, of life, of the planet, of the universe. Any number of things could happen at any time.

I don't really "believe" in God. That isn't to say there isn't a God, or a few - I just don't believe we can ever understand or speak for God. I certainly don't think there's a bearded guy in the sky passing down judgment and absolution. What I believe in is the first law of thermodynamics - I believe that in all things there is balance. So the end of civilization, of life, of the planet or of the universe would simply be the beginning of something else. Everything we do is a tiny step along some grand process of conversion and change. In depressed times I interpret that as saying that individual and even our collective lives have no meaning. But normally I take it to mean that this opportunity we have, to be alive, to create, to grow spiritually and intellectually, is something that shouldn't be squandered. We are one part of the culmination of a grand event. Our lives are unique in the vast universe. Hitler, Hiroshima, Egypt, Beck, plastic, fashion, Palin, CERN, children, poverty, air-conditioning, cheesecake... all unique, all amazing.

Not one will change the ultimate fate of the universe, just as my ultimate fate would not change if I were to die tomorrow or in 63 years. If I do die tomorrow, that's alright - not that I want to, but if it happened it would happen; if I die at 92, that's alright, too. Either way, it won't matter much that I was correct more times than I was incorrect.

Life is pretty sweet, especially when you have cheesecake. Since the universe might end in a few days, I think I am going to make sure we have some cheesecake for dessert this week.

Tuesday, September 2

if nothing else...

... the events of the past weeks, especially today, have served to show me that I need a life of my own.

I have a new etsy store (sans the baggage) - when it has something in it I will share the link.

I have sock monkeys to finish (all done but the stitching together and making faces), I have drawings aching to get out, scarves to sew, plus prints, cards and absolute miscellany that could go up. With luck I will make a little money to help the family and have a sense of accomplishing something.

With our lives in what feels like constant turmoil, I can't see leaving my SAHM gig... though days like today leave me wondering if I am equipped to handle the pressures of marriage and family. My gut chants a chorus of "cut and run!" With the backup singers quietly humming something that sounds like "you deserve better."

I am seething with anger and resentment towards my husband. I won't go into gory details, but we are having some issues around trust and what being honest really means... I do not believe he has been unfaithful, but he has made some errors in judgment recently and it seems like each time I think it is all over and we can work on getting better, something new pops up and dumps a pound of salt into my throbbing wounds.

And when all I feel like doing is curling up and crying, my children (who I love and cherish, etc...) are in my face with their needs.

to work or not to work - that's the question

Noodle at the Aquarium:

I interviewed for a job today, a *real* job in an office and everything... an office I love, with people I like (and a couple I love), doing a job that is almost tailor-made for me... but, it would mean leaving my children in someone else's care, losing most of my freedom, and possibly working myself to overwhelm and then resenting my job and/or my kids.

It also would mean a bit more money - but most of that would be needed to off-set childcare costs... but, the job would be cool and get me some experience outside of retail while I'm still relatively young (as in <35; not that I think 35 is old, but when all you have on your resume at 35 is a series of retail positions, I think it is much more difficult to break into something deeper). Plus, it is a temporary position (maternity leave), so at the end of it I will get laid off and will have worked the 600 hours necessary to claim EI, so I could get a little money when I go back to being an at-home mom.

But, I have this nagging feeling that it isn't the right move. I really want to get my store off the ground (which is starting to sound like "my band is about to make it big," and I really don't want to miss any of this time with my children. A woman on the bus was telling me stories today about when her adult children were wee, and she got all misty and sentimental. Her final words were "Cherish their youth, they grow up too fast." Which struck me as strange since I was on my way to a job interview. Yes, I am one of those people who sees signs everywhere, and while I have no logical reason to turn down the position, all the signs I see tell me to....

But then what? I'll be mighty miserable if I keep on like this - with all the frustration and resentment, caught in my inertia, feeling like a downtrodden housewife. And, if I have already decided I could work if I wanted to, does that mean I could work on what I wanted to? Maybe I don't have someone watch my kids every day, but instead trade sitting time, or beg my friends and family to watch the kids regularly, or barter some kind of deal with someone that takes into account that we really don't have any money to spare. Any ideas??

Sorry for the blather, folks, lots a-stewing up in the ol' noggin.

Saturday, August 30

the mourning after

It's been a long month since Sean died, I've faced things that I'd always seen off on the horizon, but thought I would have time to prepare for. I miss him terribly every single day, I miss our innocent peace here, and I miss the ease of the familiar.

The dust has settled, we're fully integrated into the banalities of every day life - but I still feel like the world dropped me off and I am scrambling to catch back up. Bills and paperwork are piling up, letters are still unwritten and unmailed, I'm wandering from place to place aimlessly, searching for meaning and understanding.

It is like a vague fog that I can't shake - all I want to do is sleep (but when I get the chance, I don't). I don't blame Sean, not in so many words. I do resent his leaving, I also resent the turmoil his passing brought to my life, the demons his death awoke. I resent not being ready to deal with death, as a person and as a parent.

I resent that I still feel so much pain.

I know that much of it is my the way my mind works (or doesn't) - I guess I resent that, too. That I have this achy, icky depression. I also know that much of it is the natural process of mourning, a process that I am entirely unfamiliar with. I wish it was just over, that I could open my eyes and have erased August 2008 from memory. That would be easy.

Living is hard.

There is so much to do and see and feel - people whose lives are intertwined with mine, people whose calls and emails I can't quite bring myself to return, whose worry grows in silence. I've kept silent and numb. I understand the draw of reclusion.

But, the hard facts are these:
  1. I am alive and will be for the foreseeable future.
  2. I have two children to raise.
  3. If I stay here, alone and unfulfilled, I will be miserable.
  4. I am surrounded by people who care about me.
  1. I have a responsibility to clothe, feed, teach and love my kids.
  2. I have a responsibility to keep my house clean and safe.
  3. I made a commitment to my husband to stand by through thick and thin.
  4. I am the matriarch of my family, and as such am responsible for keeping our bills paid, cupboards stocked, and minds and bodies engaged.
Yes, I am floundering. I am facing the decision to go back to work (for a year), stay home and do what I do now or stay home and try to get some of my personal projects off the ground. I am also facing a box full of necessary projects and another full of nice-to-do creative projects.

For better or worse life has changed. I am just having trouble now getting up the courage to move on. I wish I had a map.

PS. Two great books for kids dealing with loss:
Lifetimes - Bryan Mellonie (talks about life and death as natural and expected - uses simple language and has stunning illustrations)
Someone Special Died - Joan Singleton Prestine (follows a young girl as she copes with the death of someone special - there is a parent's companion book)

Tuesday, August 26

that's what it's all about

I don't remember the last night I slept for more than a handful of hours. The usual culprits are at it, sore teeth, a cold, changing weather and garden-variety insomnia. It all add up to my being very, very tired.

Sebastian's at a stage. A talking all the time/asking questions/interrupting/stubborn stage. I'd be lying if I said I was doing any more than hanging on by a wisp.

But, that's the way it rolls and I'm fairly certain that this time will be nothing but a memory pretty soon. So, I'll glance over the pile of dishes, I will side-step the mounds of toys and laundry for another day or two - trudging through until my eyelids lose some of their weight.

Oh, and I applied for a job today. Yeah, right out of left field. It did serve as a reminder to keep a current resume around, just in case.

Saturday, August 23

also known as "why am I still awake??"

I can't get to sleep tonight, insomnia has me in her sweaty grip and as of 4am, I have lost hope of getting anything resembling a night's sleep.

I am staring at the ass-end of a relatively innocent week here at casa del forsyth. I would even call it drama-free (save for some ugly zits I developed from either not washing my face that one time I wore makeup or face goo from my phone). We're still dealing with the ghosts of the past weeks, my thorough and intrepid son keeps checking to see if there's some exception to this "every living thing dies" idea.

I am guiding him through the process as best I can, what with me being the seasoned adult - but some times I feel like I am floundering. I suppose that is to be expected, it isn't like I've ever done this before.

I feel disappointed that I didn't take advantage of more opportunities to get out and enjoy summer with him (and now Rigby, the lean, mean, crawling machine). But when I think about it, I hope he remembers all the neat things he got to do. Like spending time at dad's office (which is super-cool like woah) or spending a few days with grandparents and other family here and there. I hope he remembers the times we gathered friends together, or at least how much fun he had. I don't want my experience of the summer, and this year, be his lasting memories.

I wonder, now, how my parents would have been dealing with me at this stage. Is there any doubt in my mind that they did absolutely all they could not to pass their issues on to me? And is there any doubt in my mind that those feelings and experiences are the ones that have made me the woman I am today? I am the matriarch of a beautiful family because of the love and dedication my parents had for me - so for what it is worth, I know that it is because of them and those difficult experiences that I am strong enough to accept that when I am doing the best that I can, it is enough. It will always be enough, whether I fret about it or not.

He is actually amazing, my son, he is smart and funny, he is curious and oh. so. adorable. I am crazy about my kid, it is such a gift to be the one to watch him grow. My daughter, too - in the past few months she has blossomed a personality and is exploring the world with the innocence and vigor only a small child can experience. I figure they're good kids, who are clothed, fed and live in a vermin-free dwelling of limited size, I must be doing something right.

So, I finally get to my point. I did have one, after all. I'm a great mom. I will continue to be a great mom. I don't need to look like some hip yummy-mummy or the like, I need to be comfortable and a bit stylish. I also don't want to be a parent who is insecure in her parenting. Sure, I will fuck up royally at least a dozen times before high school, but I'd like to stop questioning my every move. I've proven to myself that when a situation strikes, I can get shit done, so no need to fret. I am so competent, so fun...

Okay, so... I may have just nodded off at the keys, I am going to take this chance for an hour or two of sleep. Thank goodness it's Saturday (right?).

Thursday, August 21

whoop - here I am

I am trying to decide if a trip to the gym tonight is a good idea. I need to go out, regardless, because there's an important banking errand to be done, but the gym? My ass is exhausted - though a workout might lead to a nice sleep tonight - or to even more insomnia - if I stayed home I'd just waste my time then complain about wasting my time - if I go to the gym, I will obsess about using the car twice today - if I go for coffee, I can ride my bike, which is exercise and eco-friendly, plus I could write a bit - if I take my bike, I will get all sweaty...

I just threw that last one in there to make it look like I hadn't already made up my mind. It is a lovely day for a bike ride or even a walk. I'll hit the wee "artist's cafe" down the street and I will be sure to get a decaf.

Today was a pretty nice day, we took the car to the food bank (which always makes me feel self-conscious, even though our car is beat-up and barely gets driven) and then went to the Family Place on "The Drive," I wanted to see if it was still pretentious. The short answer is *yes* - but it also looks like a place where Sebastian, Rigby and I could fit in. They were having a potluck today, which we skipped because a) we hadn't brought anything and b) because all three of us were funned out by 11:30. We'll give it another go, soon. We go out that way twice a week, anyways.

After lunch, we had a very peaceful quiet time. I didn't do much, we were up late last night and early this morning - everything I did today took twice as long as it would normally. I thought about writing something (anything), but really, I did dishes, listened to CBC2 surfed the tubes and shuffled around the house self-importantly. Post quiet time the kids and I hung out for a bit, then Rigby and Sebastian played together for a bit, Rigby took another nap, Sebastian watched a little TV and took a bath.

We've been invited to a baptism for our neighbour's daughter in a week and a bit. I think she's really cool, but our kids have opposing schedules, so we rarely hang out. One of these days I will make cookies and knock on her door... just not on a day where I look like I may have just gotten out of bed five minutes ago.

Damn, I just remembered, I need to drive to the bank. Frick. Okay, must get off ass, get going, get to bank, scrounge car for change for coffee.

Tuesday, August 19

jazz and tea

Today I met with my mind doctor. She listened wide-eyed as I detailed the events of the past month, asking lots of probing questions to which I had pretty mature and thoughtful, if optimistic, answers.

I feel like I am back in the "getting well and moving on with life" bit of my wee mental illness. I have amazed myself with my strength, faith, understanding and resiliency. I am feeling mindful, I am feeling bright.

I wonder sometimes how we ever really expect to connect our lives with those of our mates, and later our offspring. I try and figure out what good bits I want to pass on to my kids, and how I might go about passing them down - considering most of my best features were borne of hardship and loss. I wish it were possible to raise pampered kids to be competent adults, because I want to give my children the world. But pampering people does nothing to teach them how to live and contribute to the world - what a waste.

I made a choice when I had Sebastian to stay home with him until he was school-aged (by which point we would have explored his education options and have an idea of what our next step would be). It was important to me to be here to witness things my own parents likely missed out on because they were busy splitting up and working to keep a roof on my head, food in my belly and clothes on my back.

When Rigby was conceived, I automatically stretched out my time-line. It felt like it was the obvious thing to do and as such, when I began to mourn the loss of my original vision, I felt terrible. Why should I resent another child? What right did I have to resent it? What kind of terrible mother would feel such resentment towards a future child?

So I pushed on.

I stopped contemplating the unknown future because it had proven itself fragile and flawed. If thought of the future were explored, they were grandiose and implausible. It was easy to shoot high and stand still, after all, I have kids and a house to care for and a family to run, what else could I expect from myself?

Suddenly, I saw what I was really doing. Letting my dreams wither and fade while blaming my position as wife and mother. Resentment had grown, my husband, my son, my luck, my friends, my family... my dreams shifted to ones where I'd run off without looking back.

Staying would be into a kind of suicide.

Leaving would too.

Incredibly, it was something passionately frightening that opened my eyes.

Living is hard sometimes and incredible always. So is family. Especially a family like mine.

We're nuts, and inexperienced, and tend to talk a big game. We're peas in a pod, the four of us, and we're wicked lucky to have stumbled together.

Wednesday, August 13

told you so!!

She's not much to look at, but open her up and she's a wicked awesome little sewing centre. The green chair is on wheels and once it is out of the way, there is just enough room to open the whole thing up and sew while watching the world go by.

Tuesday, August 12

s'all gone pete tong

I am feeling the weight of the events of past weeks. To summarize without getting too personal, I have had occasion to learn a lot about the state of my marriage, my parenting "style", my early life and family of origin.

There have been moments of great despair, hopelessness, resentment, anger, understanding and enlightenment. Things aren't "fixed" but they are "kinda ok." We'll need to keep going if we want to see where we'll end up. At least we both recognize the need for change.

We have recognized for a while that we were far from the path we'd planed, but complacency is easy. The turmoil of recent weeks has forced us to face some of our most secret demons, our deepest insecurities. And our dedication to each-other and our family is giving us the balls to face up to them. It would be so easy to run off and find a nice, quiet beach hut somewhere and forget I ever had a husband and kids... but I love these freaks.

So... same old song... we're going to use this place as a jumping off point. We've been reminded off where our hearts lay and that our time is precious, too. Taking it easy isn't horrible, but taking the easy way out is pretty dull.

I don't have big pie in the sky goals, I am hanging on to the simple ones like weeding my garden and learning how to make a roast. It might seem mundane to you, but for me these would be huge.

"It will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine."

We'll be picking this baby up tonight while my sister watches the kids. I am so excited I can taste it.

Thursday, August 7

Monday, August 4

bootstraps come in handy

The veil of wretched sadness and insomnia has lifted to match the sunny weekend weather. I got things done, I baked, barbecued, cleaned (and cleaned-my house looks awesome), fell in love with a new TV series and got laid.

I even feel occasionally optimistic and happy. The first time it hit I actually had to sit down.

Someone close to me self-destructed and if I let myself, I could easily do it too. So I have been really pushing myself to push on, to keep at least one foot planted. I haven't exactly been successful, I have drank too much, isolated myself, been moody and irrational, and if I had kept pushing, I would have eventually pushed myself right off the edge.

I got some space this weekend, I spent it almost exclusively in the company of my daughter. She followed me around the house while I cleaned and listened to music. She loves it when I sing and is a fantastic dancer. I took time to take care of myself, took time to take care of my home, I even slipped in a couple cat-naps.

Time with my son has been exhausting. His curiosity and exuberance are traits I adore, but their execution has been far from reasonable. He is screaming out for attention and we've been this unpredictable blur. Thankfully, as Andrew put it on one really bad day last week: "In Sebastian's life, this will just be a blip." He went on to tell me I am an amazing and really good-looking mother.

Tomorrow will be another challenge, but I am ready to take it easy on myself and just make it through.

Thursday, July 31

dazed and confused

Maybe I shouldn't be trying to write while simultaneously tired, buzzed and listening to the frantic squeals of my baby girl. Maybe, but I am going to try anyways.

My dear friend, Sean, ended his life last week. In the days that followed his friends stumbled around in a daze, trying to make some sense of something so senseless. Andrew and I packed up the kids and drove to Calgary (12+ hours), then left the kids with my parents and sister while we did what we could to get some closure. This entailed spending the days getting to know Sean's friends and packing up most of his material possessions. We cried a lot, fought a bit (he and I argued once or twice, which is pretty rare, then the night before we left, I had an argument, followed by a very good conversation with my mother), cried some more, laughed a whole lot, and the packed up our car and headed home.

Since we got home on Monday night, things have been a blur. There are bills to be paid, kids to be fed and entertained, unpacking to do, and this unshakable numbness that hangs over everything. Questions and ideas are swirling through my mind at breakneck speeds, slowing just long enough to completely disorient me before moving on.

My place in my family right now is as the rock, the anchor. Andrew has had to return to work (we like eating and having a place to live) and I know that dealing with work and his grief leaves little room for much else. I may not like it, but one of us has to keep us from falling to pieces, and where Andrew was my rock 9 months ago, I need to be his now.

I just wish I knew where to start how to start. I have spent the better part of the past days on the couch. I've eaten far more than my body needs or even wants, barely willing to do much more than read stories to my kids and watch them play. Today I got groceries and the smart part of me sacrificed buying all organic foods so that we could have somewhat convenient foods around. Tomorrow, I'll take the car to our weekly appointment rather than transit. Hopefully that way I will have the energy to stop at the library and for a play at the park.

I don't really want to see people right now. But it has been two days and I think it is time I started out of this slump. I made plans to go to a movie tomorrow night with a girlfriend and on Friday morning I am hoping to get together with a mama-friend. On Saturday we'll (hopefully) have friends over for a BBQ - one of whom knew Sean and was the whole reason those three crazy guys came out to Vancouver eight long years ago.

Looking at that list fills me with apprehension - I feel so raw, but I know that it will do me good, which means I can be fully more present for Andrew.

Wednesday, July 30

I am sure you understand

I am feeling less than social or productive right now. I am just keeping my head above water and am trying to take it really easy.

I might not post anything for a while, though I do keep trying, so who knows?

Saturday, July 26

after the dawn

I've spent the day packing up my old friend's things. I am completely spent. His funeral is in less than an hour and I feel like I haven't done enough, though I know I have done all I could. I hope that my small effort will make things a little easier for his mother. I simply can not imagine her pain.

Andrew is on his way with my black clothes and something greasy for dinner.

I know I have a few readers out there, if you could please keep Andrew, Sean and Sean's friends and family in your hearts and prayers, it would mean the world to me.

I just want to go home and have this all be over now. There is still so much to do.

Wednesday, July 23

saying goodbye

One of the most wonderful humans I have ever had the honour to know passed away. He was my husband's best friend, my muse, my shoulder to cry on, my knight in sparkly armour. He was a cheerleader and confidante, my son called him Uncle Sean and I always pictured him getting drunk at their weddings. He was full of life, love and talent. He could always make me laugh.

We've been living apart for two years now, and not a day goes by that I don't think of him. I am going to miss him so much, there is a hole in my heart and it feels so deep.

I am going to miss you, Sean.

Wednesday, July 16

and then there was.... some

I did it myself, it needs some help at the back, but looks fucking dope! I love it. I began with scissors and then used the longest guard we had (#4) and buzzed away.

Sebastian asked if it means I'm a boy now... we had a three-year-old's discussion about how hair does not determine gender.

I am a big fat hippie

On the advice of a trusted friend and my therapist, I went out yesterday and bought The Artist's Way, a pretty notebook and a nice pen. Last night I dove in and read all the introductions and the first week's module. This morning, I started my "morning pages" and wrote affirmations (and "blurbs" - the cynical mental reactions to my affirmations).

The structure will push me along and the process feels timely. Without getting too flower-child on all y'all, I'll likely share some of my insights and frustrations as I do the 12-week program.

The writing reminds me of Birthing From Within and I managed to get through the feeling that it was too new-agey to get something meaningful out of it, so I have faith that if I am open to the ideas and the process, I'll find direction and meaning.

Tuesday, July 15

my head is on loose, but my shoes are tight

Ahhhh, the glamorous life of a girl with mental illness.

Recently, I have begun obsessing, again, about shaving my head. But then, there's Ms. Spears' famous head-shaving experience and there's a nagging feeling that, as far as it goes, this might just be my crazy talking. But then I think about the benefits of not having hair and, I got to tell you, I am nearly sold.

First, I should say that my head is well-covered in thick, unruly hair that simulates wearing a wool toque on a hot day. It makes me sweat, which if you've been paying attention, you'll know I loathe. Plus it takes time to style well and on the days I don't feel like investing time in it, no amount of dressing well or good makeup makes up for looking like I have a dead cat sitting on my head.

I will state here and now that I know that there is a much less drastic option. A stylish pixie cut, perhaps, but that would likely mean going to a salon with my heaps of no money. I have clippers here and could shave it quickly and free...

But I'm not sold. I am not entirely convinced that I really want to shave my head, I have done quite a bit of research, read personal accounts, read accounts of partners of women who shaved their heads, found a whole schwack of head-shaving porn, and have spent countless minutes staring into the mirror trying to imagine what other people would see and think if I had a bald head.

The first thing I think is that people would assume I was gay. Since adulthood I have had people wonder if I am gay or straight, and I am quite cozy in my sexuality, so that feels like a non-issue to me. I then worry that friends and family will take it as a sure sign of my diminished mental capacity. They'd have a point, it very well could be, I tend not to think so (having dreamt of having the guts to do it for 12+ years now), but casting aside my hair could be a sign of something. I wonder if I should warn people, allowing them the chance to talk me out of it, or just do it and let the chips fall where they may.

My biggest worry is that it will not feel as meaningful and liberating as I expect it to. My hair has long been a source of vanity and insecurity, to cut it all off would symbolise a rebirth, a shedding of the image I have had of myself for so long and a clean slate on which to rebuild my style and persona. It might just be a shaved head that garners stares and disapproval from friends and family. It might be the thing that causes everyone to lose faith in me, it might be just what I need.

I hate not having answers, and I hate that, in the end, something as trivial as hair has me so flummoxed.

Some part of me is sure I'll go through with it, or with some awesome change - but a small piece of me is waiting for approval, still. One of my greatest paradoxes is my desire to be unique and universally accepted. Even when the logical bit of me quite convincingly reminds me that a) everything's already been done and b) universal acceptance is a construct, not a reality.

Sunday, July 6

dawn, at last

I awoke this morning, after not quite enough sleep, with Sebastian's face pressed close to mine. He was hungry and wanted to make himself PB&J. I got up from the couch where I'd spent the night (we're night-weaning) and got him the jar of jam and a small packet of peanut butter we'd squandered from one place or another. He only needed a little help getting things open, then he set about his mission.

While he made his breakfast, I nursed my hungry baby, each sip relieving the ache of my rock-hard chest. They played peacefully for a few more minutes while I convinced myself to get up and make some coffee. Rigby is at the puppy stage, where she crawls right to my feet wherever I am, nuzzles my toes and looks up at me with her beautiful doe eyes.

It is one of those cool summer days, where the weighty heat of July seems almost impossible. A good day for cooking and baking - and I have a pristine kitchen to do that kind of work in. My freezer is empty, save for some convenience food (nuggets, fries and a stir-fry kit) and a placenta. My fridge is full of food that is making a bee-line to rotten, a testament to my best intentions. Today, I will clear it out and salvage what I can. Not a huge fan of making a whole lot of food on one day and then re-heating it later, but from where I am standing, it seems like a pretty smart course of action. Especially when I consider that a little warmth in the house would be welcome.

I am filled with a tentative optimism, a sense that none of this is out of my reach. I had a conversation with my insecurity last night, it has agreed to listen when I tell it to shut up. I am not sure I trust it, given that it has a history of deception and manipulation, but what choice do I have?

on life, hope and taking control

It is funny that most people describe things as spinning out of control, I think of it less as a spinny thing and more as a complete collapse thing. Everything falling apart, crumbling like old buildings in abandoned cities. Or flying. Sometimes it feels like flying - or more accurately, falling.

This depression thing that lives inside me, the thing that tells me to stay in bed and to eat and to check the stove a few more times just to make sure it is off, that thing sucks. It sucks the fun out of life and the will from my soul. And it just plain sucks. There's good news, though. Turns out I'm not willing to let it happen like that. Sure weeks of lounging in bed sound nice, but in reality it is dull and lonely.

Life is this funny, wonderful thing. Something I made special effort to bring into the world twice, I am not ready to turn my back on that. But there have been some dark, difficult moments. Flashes of decisions best unmade. Thankfully, I have a wonderful group of friends who have worked tirelessly by my side, pulling me back from the deep dark.

I thought I was better, but I'm not better, I am not even nearly better. But I am ready to fight on. All the hopelessness I see has another side. For all the big bad out there, there's as much goodness and hope. I feel it, in bits, between all the nagging self-doubt.

And there it is, self-doubt. I am doing this myself, my doubt is mine alone. Only I can answer it. I recently finished The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. Reading it, I saw glimpses of myself - no, I saw myself. I saw something frightening and I saw reasons to hope. In reading it, I realised that what I have been working with my whole life hasn't changed (merely magnified) and isn't likely to ever go away completely. The one thing I can do is learn to manage. And once I learn to manage, I can learn to use my unique skills to my advantage. Which will rock, because I know that when I put my mind to something, the results are amazing.

But, the first step is to manage - and that is an area I need a heap of help with. So I am going back to step one, I've been there before, I know the terrain, but I know there are things there I have forgotten, tools I can use. The part that has me frightened, is that this time I will only be accountable to myself. Sure, my family and friends will get the payoff of my not being broody and irritatingly thorough, but it is my life on the line.

In keeping with that, I am setting a goal for myself, I will read and put into action one section of the Self-Care Program that we used in therapy. I know it is helpful and it works, for a bit there things were really looking up, so it will be an excellent place to get started. I am also going to use my daytimer all week - I haven't been using it and I have been barely holding my shit together.

So, I've got life, hope and I am taking control*.

*of myself.

Thursday, July 3

impostor in coolsville

I know my mind is a bit messed. I’ve been trying so hard to hold things together. Too hard, I imagine. If I had a friend who I talked to about this, I would imagine them telling me that I am being hard on myself. They’d be right, but the way they say it, it sounds like a bad thing. Like wanting to be a better human is a character flaw that I ought to purge at once.

I disagree, I think I’ve been convinced of feeling the same way a few times. But those were times when my spirit felt crushed and my soul weary. The happy pictures I have of myself are the times when I was content with myself because I was pushing myself towards the goal of being a better person.

Okay, I will admit that those times I was also quite content with the minutia, my home ran smoothly, my libido was up, my self-image was positive, I felt fulfilled and driven. And right now, the things I would complain about would revolve around the dull topics of children, husbands, body-image and home care. I would then quickly let the listener know that I was on the verge of a “big change” that would likely fix the problem. Most of these big changes have never been realised - I am a lot of talk - and many have been undertaken and have quietly failed.

So, I suppose, I don’t really know anything about this at all.

I’ve been contemplating neticide (which I may have made up), completely removing myself from the tubes, getting a fresh start. Granted, my five readers would worry and miss me - so maybe I would let them know where to find me again, once I complete my contemplated net death and net rebirth. But then I think about how it would look, or what people might think, and would I feel the same way in another month? And then I stop and find something else to busy myself with so that I don’t have to make a decision one way or another.

I just feel like I have messed things up by not giving my “all” to this or anything in my life. And I know, I know, I know, I can’t give my all, I have kids, I have a life, I have so many things to keep up with right now and no one expects me to be perfect at everything... I know. But, I have been doing so little lately, so very little. My morale is shot, getting out of bed is my first chore of the day and they just keep coming. Giving up my ideal of being super mom hasn’t changed that - the same things remain, I just do a shittier job of them. And now, I can't find things in my house.

What this spat of writing tells me, is that I am happier when I am productive. I know I can do most of the house stuff well with a small effort, then, maybe, I can find something else to fill the time I once spent frenetically cleaning and organizing already clean and organized things (and ideally, stop moving them so that when I am looking for the tape I don’t have to tear the house apart... it was in the snack bin, of course).

I am sitting in the shade outside my neighbourhood artist’s cafe. I was going to walk to the frou-frou one on main, or the crunchy one on main, but after a spontaneous turn, I am here. Not quite ready to go in, partly because it will likely be hot (it is a small, reasonably popular space) and mostly because I fear being outed as an impostor in coolsville. My Old Navy flowly peasant top sure to give me away. Plus, I don’t remember my last shower or the last time I changed my underwear*.

My fear of being uncool isn’t as crazy as some of you might think. I am a dork, which I know many strange people love, but sometimes I can’t trust my brain not to stall out - leaving me with the blank stare of a passport photo. No, if I am going to do this, I am going to do it when I am feeling a touch more “together.” Or at least a little less “stanky.”

*both have occurred in the last 2-3 days, I assure you!

Friday, June 27

on timeouts

I am not going to get into the pros and cons of timeouts. We've played both sides of the fence and now use them sparingly - for many of the same reasons cited in the article. Trying to make an upset child take a timeout is upsetting, and we couldn't reconcile that with our parenting ideals. So, we've been working a different angle with some real success. Especially when you define success not as "a well-behaved child" but instead look at the whole picture. What does she like? What does he have to say? How can we work together to be part of a family? Do my kids trust me? Are my kids getting the things they need? What are my children capable of?

The article at Slate (thanks Sean!)

coming back

The road is life. - Jack Kerouac On The Road

I've picked this book up once again. As life roared on, I put it down and forgot about it until the other day. In a fit of frustrated tidying, I uncovered it and picked up where I'd left off.

I have been really awful to myself lately. I won't go into details here, but when life starts kicking your ass in tiny ways, you know it is time to take stock and sort out some flaws.

To that end, I have admitted to myself that I have made mistakes, have begun to accept those mistakes and do some learning. I'll keep trying - eventually, I imagine, the process will become more intuitive, but I am also starting to understand that life is unpredictable. Billions of possible outcomes, any of them as likely or unlikely, difficult or easy, as any other. The more completely I begin to understand that and accept that, the more completely I can enjoy life for what it is. A journey into the great unknown.

Saturday, June 14

scaling vast new heights of over-disclosure

Recently, I watched Law and Order..., on cable, complete with commercials. I was pretty smug that I recognized none of them, nor did they interest me much. One, however, did catch some corner of my attention. It was for cars or tires, methinks, and was a representation of a city as a Labrynth, with cars representing the marbles. The commercial, itself, didn't interest me - what did was the memories I have of playing that game. It was one of those games I was supposed to be careful with - I think it belonged to my step-father.

When I was younger, I wanted to win at everything. I didn't, but I sure wanted to. I think I was a pretty obnoxious kid. I remember a girl in Junior High using that exact term. I spent a week asking random people I encountered if I was obnoxious. Most said I was. As an obnoxious, clever, kid who was determined to win, I learned to cheat. I was the master of the "half-assed" paper that would get me the minimum mark I needed to make my parents happy. I was disorganized, sloppy, and a real smartypants. When I was younger, I could pull an honours grade out of a failing start. I was smart and I was good at hedging my bets so that I could go full out on the few projects that interested me and slack through the other ones and come out somewhere in the middle.

I was pretty smug about it. And because I pushed myself so rarely, I began to think that that was just what life was like. That I could do pretty much anything, that I could be anything. The attitude of the time was certainly on my side. Any of us could do anything - we would all be rich and successful and happy. I didn't care so much for work, though, so I shrugged and figured that would sort itself out.

I was not athletic, but we had a provincial park near my house, growing up, that I adored exploring. More often than not, my explorations were on my own - though most of my favourites were with company. Bugs didn't bother me, nor did getting dirty. As I grew older I would go to the park to find a place where I could hide out and eat/smoke/drink. Generally, I did those things on my own, too. But my fondest memories are, again, of the times when I wasn't alone.

I have beat myself up for years for not fitting in. The situations vary, but the general feeling I am left with is that I should have done a better job of fitting in. But fitting in isn't what I want. I could - there is a giant group of "regular North Americans" I could easily join by staying exactly where I am. I have always prided myself on being a little ahead of the curve. I like to "win", but what I really like is to keep pushing the envelope, I used to see how much I could get away with, now I see how much I could do. Now I just need to accept that there is only so much I can do and do it.

It's like that game, Labrynth, I am rolling along, trying not to fall into the traps of modern life. If you've played the game, you know that if you stop moving, you will most likely lose. Flow and Balance.

I want to say something to all of you who take time to read this blog, and especially those people who gave me feedback. Thank-you. I have been reminded of how very blessed I am and of the deals I've made with myself, primarily the one where I don't beat myself up. For the past two days, I have been making mistakes with purposeful abandon. That is to say, I am allowing myself to jump and fall and pick myself up. I dust myself off a tensy bit richer for the experience. I haven't actually fallen much, or at least, I have not fallen too badly (except in conversation, I have been a bit clumsy with my thoughts and words). I feel a little taller, a little stronger, and convinced that if I put in the leg-work, my life will be a-ok. Regardless of how it turns out.

Friday, June 13

my glorious freedom

Today, at 3pm, my husband and son climbed on board a ferry. Destination: Grandma and Grandpa's. Until 8pm on Sunday it's just me and Noodle... today, we throughly cleaned and washed the car, we hit Ikea for a return I'd been putting off, a glass to replace the broken one from our set, and to recycle a pile of batteries, then we stopped at Toys'R'Us for a birthday gift and some on-sale toys for squirrling away, all that was followed by a leisurely drive home listening to the CBC. It was swell, really swell.

Now we're home, Noodle's in bed (though not happy, having woken up in the car as I was unloading all our bags), and I am trying to decide whether I want to clean, go to bed, read a book or watch a movie. Given that it is only 6:30, I can likely do most of those things and still manage to take a shower.

Tomorrow we have a few more errands to run, things like toiletry shopping which is so much more leisurely when we're not being stalked by staff who worry that my son will tear their store apart (unlikely). Also, it is easier to buy a less-expensive, less branded toothbrush for Boo when he's not there - he's all about the dental-care bling.

Aha - I just got off the phone with my friend D, she's on her way over with burritos! Guess my plans have been made (I think I should still take a shower).

Wednesday, June 11

that's it, in a nutshell

simple things

a few bits that made me smile today:
*my fridge is clean, if a little empty
*I can walk, with both kids, to the laundromat, get two loads of laundry done, hit the park and enjoy the experience
*my son is at least as well-behaved as the average child
*we can afford not to have our children in child-care - we can barely afford it, but the pay-off is worth it
*I don't have a commute and my husband's is by transit, insulating us, somewhat, from rising gas prices
*Friday is pay-day
*Friday is also the day my husband and son leave for a Father's Day adventure on Vancouver Island
*our newest systems are working out pretty well
*I am only 29
*summer is coming, even through the gray I can feel it

Aunt Molly, on the slide May long-weekend.

Tuesday, June 10

go me!

Somewhat amazingly, I have just scored an hour in which I have only one child (who needs a diaper) and no chores. There are about a hundred things I could do, but I have narrowed it down to reading a book or doing some embroidery. Both will give me some of the calm I've been looking for and one will accomplish part of my goal to get all the things I have committed to send off in swaps finally gets out. I will then promptly remove myself from swap-bot, I just don't have the space in my life for it at the moment.

If I worked on the swaps, I'd be able to get everything out on Friday and free up some mental space. Sounds like I've made a plan and none too soon - Rigby's dropped her last toy and is no longer content to sit in her own filth.