Saturday, October 25, 2014

A year in the life of a 7 year old

Dear Fenner,

Seven years ago this morning I became a Mother and you joined us. To say that it was the first of many learning curves that were inspired by you is an understatement.

This past year has been a series of adventures with you. Adventures both near and far. Adventures in our kitchen, in our neighbourhood, as a family or solo with me. You are game for pretty much anything as long as you know you'll be safe and so we have had a crazy big year.

Even more thrilling to me than your willingness to try new things is your ability to set your own boundaries and stay true to them. It was an epic year to be your Mom and I loved every minute of it.  I can't wait to see how Seven plays out.

I just can't wait to see what's going to be next.



Clyde, Squid Expert

Rail Garden Square Dance

Ravine Love

Wedding Tree Climber

A cyclist is born



Ice Storm Clean Up

Who doesn't love a Stormtropper?

Fresh Snow

Winter Vacation - Allan Gardens

'Oh, Violet. You understand my pain.'

Carrot Skin is Cool

Urban Art

Pottery = Slip Shower


Apple from my Tree.

Christmas Kraken

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Go to your People.

I'm prepping for a short work trip today. It's a moment when everything is pretty idyllic - the girls are chilling out. Jason is puttering around the house enjoying the quiet and I'm trying to collect myself.

We are coming off of almost 3 weeks of semi-normalcy. We've spent the last couple of weeks with friends and each other - lots of birthdays to celebrate and neighbourhood haunts to check out. I've seen more of these people in the last 3 weeks than I have all summer I think. I love these people. We've have wild times and they can pull me back like no one else I know.

I'm still pretty detached from home life. Work and school are duking it out for my attention and I haven't figured out how to be present in all three areas of my life yet.

Since that's no way to live fully, I started going to a Mindfulness Meditation workshop to try and help manage the juggling. I know that meditating won't bend the time/space continuum to give me an extra 2 hours a day it does help me stay in the moment...This just means my work might get done with a bit less distraction, I may study for 2 hours without interruption and that my time with my friends and family might be more sacred.

I guess at the very worst there is more a chance I'll get to be aware of these moments if I start practicing awareness right?  Seems like a pretty low risk solution with a high possibility of return on investment.

And so we practice being together...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A taste of a different life

New schedules and nerves; school and friends; work dust up; Marlowe losing her constant summer companion to Grade Two and Jason reaching outward again. So much change the best we we've found to accommodate it is to spend our free time cooking and loving our home life or.....running for the hills!

Which is what we did.  We rolled up a solo weekend in with a work trip I had.  Rented a wicked apartment on the sea side, went sea kayaking, cooked and ate our faces off.

Sometimes escapism is alright.

We enjoyed the sweet release of uninterruped sleep and conversation.

We spent the morning exploring the island in the bay in sea kayaks provided to us by our cottage hosts.

It was a spectacular morning. The weather, the company, the sense of adventure. We are in the business side of our relationship - there are so many activities and people and ways to distract us from taking care of our relationship that we had forgotten a little bit what it was like to go adventuring just the two of us.

No matter what though. these guys were not the seals we though they were out in the bay. Nice guys from the Ottawa Valley and Nova Scotia - they really gave J the sales job on the diving in the hood.

We went for a talking drive (read: long drive trapped in car to talk) over to see some Toronto friends who'd recently moved out to Shelbourne to live their dreams. It was a treat to see the dream take hold and be so successful.

One couple`s dreams enabled both partner`s dreams. Her love of homesteading, chickens and crafting and his of craft brewing. It is a beautiful thing to see a family incorporate everyone's hearts into their reality.

At the end of it, I stayed for another 5 days for work meetings - this is frankly, my cue to do all of the things I don't do back in Normal Life.

Eat, drink, dance and work to excess.

You're not the boss of me Sign!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Three Years Ago Today

Dear Marlowe;

Today you are three; it's hard to believe that time is flying at this pace.

This means of course that 'You are a big girl' now.  I asked you if you could consider staying three forever and you insisted that you couldn't stop.

It is 'what you do'.  You do so much more now than even two weeks ago!

Wild with determination and will to do it makes you unstoppable. I can relate on so many levels that it takes my breath away.

In the last month though, you've been really trying to take a minute before hurling yourself into your feelings or frustration or off of a cliff. It is a wonder to watch you learning how to cope with the instinct to go wild.
I can feel you getting ready to stretch your wings and direct your attention away from me in search of a wider world and it foreshadows my last hatchling leaving babyhood behind.

You are a wonder and a force to behold. It is humbling to witness.

Happy Birthday Pork Chop.


Your Mama.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Failed Nuclear Family

We have a rule around here about September. We go nuclear.  That is to say; we re-focus our energy and attention to the home and to each other. This is always in response to the new schedule that Fall brings. Fenner starts a new grade; we have to shake off the summer's ferality and all of a sudden our home's cracks and dust and clutter starts to become apparent.

So we buckle down and prepare for the fall work ahead. It feels good to get back to's also no coincidence that the costs from any summer adventures also come to bear on our spending. So home is where we make our happiness. Being Canadian, the weather starts to cool down so I hanker for some bread and cooking.

We are feeling broke so we do things that make our dollars go further - we make more and buy local. Investing in each other and time together, reading, knitting, arguing and visiting. Our only goal is to get as much social, filial, productive bang for our buck.

This particular September is made even more intense because I paid tuition for the first time in more than 10 years. How can something I've wanted for almost 7 years be so incredibly nauseating and yet here we go, just beating the storm by minutes, only because we're running this game together.

Going nuclear as much as we's what saves us every fall. Hopefully, you'll see me hear a little more not because it's so original, the story of a working mom, goes to school and balances selling out day by day - but so I can track the memories as the days get filled up by all of our adventures.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Saddle up Ladies; Let's ride

The Bike Rally was a whole lot of everything - trying to do it justice is rendering me immobile so I'm going to do what hack writers do and publish snippets of my journal throughout the week, it was a week of extremes so buckle up.

Day One:Small hiccup
Today we started our bike ride to Montreal. My bike broke down 3 blocks in on Parliament street next to the graveyard causing us to be the last riders out of the core. I fixed it myself pretty fast and so feel pretty hardcore. The graveyard was a bit ominous.

The coup was a personal bike police escort to stop traffic until we caught up - in fact, they refused to leave us.
I was super lucky to have Steph as a riding partner and co-lead. Not many people can keep me from making stupid decisions so definitely (ehrm race the train...ehrm)

Day Two - After the Flood

Hey Mother Nature, what the actual fuck kind of storm was that last night? Nice try on drenching our tent too bad Steph and I are super uptight about prevention - jokes on you!
Also, nice attempt at intimidation - you forgot how mulish we both are in the face of a challenge. What's that?  No Coffee? No Problem. We brought our own kit!  NICE TRY FATES - also, coffee is the fastest way to make friends on the Rally.
10 degree weather though, that was a low blow - I can't believe that thoughts of hypothermia crossed my mind MULTIPLE TIMES IN JULY. Also, that 50 km headwind blowing rain into our faces for 4 hours? Nice touch but we weren't caving.

The voice of my spirit breaking at 40+ kms when we found out lunch was at 90 km as demonstrated by my youngest child. Thank the Fates we have the best team ever - our tent was set up when we arrived and Josh stocked the cooler WITH WINE AND BEER.

PS: Also, that small flask of Lagavulin in the pain bag? No regrets.

Day Three - Kingston or Red Dress Day

I had no idea that cycling could strain my armpits. I had no idea there were muscles there to strain. My legs feel nothing. Literally, I'm numb from my armpits down. At least I'm a smokin' hot broken babe in sequins because I'm pretty sure I am not going to make it to Montreal.

J and the girls met me in Kingston where Marlowe immediately got down to business. I can't lie. It was exhausting and life draining business but boy she evened out fast after a 15 minute snuggle.

When business was done I was ready to eat everything. I considered it preparation for Auntie Yvonne's 'Feed the Team' event; lunch(re: all the food), a bath (re: deep clawfoot tub soak) and a nap (re: food coma knockout)

Day 4: Chasing the Dragon

The sweet sweet release of a warm gentle sun and delicious tailwind with Advil every two hours - THIS IS WHAT CYCLING IS ABOUT. I'm totally signing up for 2015 TONIGHT. I love everything about the Bike Rally, it's the best! 

This is the best day ever. Tomorrow is going to be amazing - how could it not be?

Cherry on top of today? Best campsite and swim spot of the week after which our amazing team taught the whole rally a round for the talent show. Glampy Victory!
 Day 5 - In which the rains return

Fuck you Mother Nature. Honestly, this ends right after Steph, Sam, David, David, Pato are finished sweeping this bloody morning.

I think that Steph is contemplating cutting me. I wish she would, the sweet release of death might be warm. How did Matt and Matt handle Day 2? They must be dead inside it was so cold.
I wish it was warmer so we could enjoy the prettiest ride of the week without risking death by hypothermia or electrocution. Thank goodness there was a fire at break.
At least the weather cleared for the candle light vigil of the rally. This event is a really enormous undertaking, in every way and this is the night that we are reminded of the incredible work that the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation does to help folks every day - how all the fundraising and volunteering really changes lives in the long game. 

It is humbling to behold but it was also dry and almost warm too which was kind of the Fates.

Day 6: Ou est la poutine?

Oh my god we made it and there was not a single tornado. Our team is amazing - taking care of each other when they were injured, closing bins and tents when the rains came back, pitching tents and delivering gear, cheering, sticking together and helping out in any way possible - including providing beer, advil, voltaren, back rubs and comedy. So much comedy.
The best beer was this beer.
This year was a tough one and I am not sure I would have survived the cold long dark tea times of the soul with out my co-lead and fellow difficult Lady. As a co-lead I could not have asked for anyone better.  Whenever I needed to tag out she tagged in and vice versa - often without exchanging the tag. I don't think I've ever met anyone who can shake off a bad spell as quickly as Steph - it is amazing to behold and impossible to resist.

That lady's got game.

With Steph on my wing and the rest of the riders by my side this trip was exactly as I wanted - full of significant challenges conquered, fears faced and friends made. I am beginning to think I like a hard game for good cause.