Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Magic

This is probably news to no one but me. I have found the evolution of Christmas from childhood magic to family responsibility a bit of a depressing transition.

I think we've established that this is not a holiday or a vacation of any kind for mothers and women - what with the responsibility of creating that magical glamour of Santa and presents and beautiful food without showing any visible signs of stress or effort. This particular cycle has stopped with me since I broke up with that poisonous friend Molly Martyr a couple years back.

Jason brings a lot of the magic with his non-hatred of stores. We've managed to 50/50 split most of the responsibilities and this year we had shopping, knitting (even off the rails felting) and wrapping done well before the Christmas Eve drive to the Ottawa Valley.

Our families gave us the fantastic gift of not having to worry about meals since Jason's folks hosted us and my family on Christmas Day (Mom and Dad drove to Smith's Falls from Barrie!!) and Charlotte hosted Boxing Day. What a gift not having to choose between families or to cook.

Fenner got atrociously spoiled the whole time and when we got home the evening of Dec 27th. We opened our door and found this under our tree.

A shiny new red bike. WITH AN ELEPHANT HORN!!!
Totally out of left field, unexpected and beautiful. I'm a cynical sarcastic 35/6 year old and this was a perfect moment of Christmas Glamour that I never thought I would see again.

Fenner got her first bike (and somehow knew exactly what to do with it).

I got to feel that crazy Christmas morning feeling like somehow a million gifts were bestowed upon me with no possible answer as to where they came from.

Thank you Debra. It is an impossibly generous and glowing gift.

PS: Fenner doesn't say Happy Holidays - she says Happy Chanukah!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Moving right along.

Where the hell did the Fall go? Clearly, I was riding high on the effects of better sleep patterns and healthy living in November.

Blogging is the first on the activities to go in times of sleeplessness and busy work. Sorry about that. One of my resolutions is to keep it regular if not often - my writing is getting sloppy as a result.

On that note - PICTURES!

Ill fitting cashmere hat and alpaca cables in tree.
Play date in awesome neighbourhood. I had the opportunity to look after Fenner's friend Ella of rolling rolling fame. These kids are such hams.
To end the year I give you my family's annual sleigh ride and visit with Mimi, Fenner's Great-Grandmother. In this case wearing a cashmere Pretty Thing - as a knitter during the acrylic years, Mimi deserves as much cashmere as I can get her.

Fenner loves Mimi like no kid I've ever seen and vice versa. It melts my cold dead heart every time we get together to watch them play.
One of the few and far between pictures of me with my older brother, Dan. I dig this guy - great Dad, solid husband and fine example of a brother. We had a great time at the annual Hendriks' Christmas party this year. Many laughs.
Fenner has been talking about her cousins for the past 3 months. There are 4 of them the youngest of which is Luke - who wore Fenner's snowsuit last. Every time she puts that snowsuit on we talk about Cousin Lukie. He is a year older than she and is a total snuggle bunny which is a perfectly complimentary skillset when she has been tired out by RUNNING WITH COUSIN CLAIRE!

Maddy, the eldest of the 4 cousins, has mad herding skillz when it comes to getting her siblings, cousin, adults out the door. I'm not sure when she grew up in the last 4 months but holy hannah I know adults that could learn a thing or two about patience, compromise and staying true to themselves from this person.
F and I have had a couple of evening's flying solo over the past few weeks. We've found a way to make wool together. She often requests some time to make some wool - if my reserves of patience allows it we'll take some time to spin and twirl.

A natural evolutions from rolling if you ask me.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Big Boo Boo

So I was just going along my merry way and I realized that I didn't credit Debra with the super fantastic picture of Fenner and Ella.

She's got a handy cell camera and gosh darn it she takes Fenner to some of the cutest kids in the neighborhood!

We love you Debs

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall, I was afraid you would never call me back.

I feel like Fall has finally arrived. Usually, Thanksgiving is my springboard to Fall hibernation and homemaking but it really took a while for me to get revved up this year. I think I wrote that I wasn't really present in anything I was doing at Thanksgiving and that continued for a few more weeks.

Last week I really forced myself to get off my ass and back in gear. Jason and I have been invited to a fabulous wedding at Canoe at the end of this month and winter is coming so we are really trying to get our house in shape enough to sustain us through the cold dark teatime of the soul that is winter.

The hair cut that launched a thousand projects. I was saying to Mom today that getting my haircut has really rejuvenated me. It may be crazy but a little bit of self care goes along way. It's not even that different from my old hair...just fresher.
I've started a million and one knitting projects and of them for Xmas. INSPIRATION is good stuff. It feels good to be making any progress on anything - work, spinning, knitting, cooking, family, life. So to be making small bits of progress on all of it at the same time is giving me a minute of that rare delicious feeling of balance.

That I might be doing something right without sacrificing everything else.

Life does this every once in awhile and if I'm lucky it happens at a point that I can appreciate it because it's these singular moments that keeps all working mothers chasing that mythical asshole of dragon called work/life/family balance.

Fenner has taken to participating in meal times in a whole new way.
She and Debra made delicious chicken soup and tea biscuits yesterday. I commented all day about how nice her biscuits are. That's right, I'm *that boss* you know the kind. But man, those biscuits were fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.
Debra took this pic of the quintessentially fall moment. These two babes mushify my cold dead heart. Makes me sad that I can't go play with them myself during the day.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Reading into Dumbo

So a couple of weeks back we had one of 'those' work weeks where it was just go go go all week. It culminated in me leaving for a girls weekend in the States.

This meant that not only was J was having his first flight as a single parent with a not weaned at all 2 year old but that he was doing it with a fairly empty fridge, no pre-made meals and exhausted.

We tried to prepare her by starting to wean and evolve our nighttime and morning rituals to somehow make the separation less painful for both of them and it was excruciating. Eventually, the constant fight wasn't worth it and we started discussing my impending departure upfront with no games - I nursed, she got up with Jason in the morning and he put her to bed at night. The nursing remained consistent.

"Mommy is leaving."

We didn't really have any expectations that this would work in any way and that "It would be all bad" for both J and F but at least it would only be "All Bad" for 2 nights and 3 days instead of the entire month leading up to my departure. Life is just too short.

That Friday night she got to enjoy her first movie - Dumbo. My job is not to judge because the weekend went amazingly well. I spoke to her and J every morning and night with no problems. J mentioned that she was sad but not inconsolable and was eating like a horse - including meat(!). This was interesting to me because she is pretty much a vegetarian kid - not of our making but of her own choice.

Anyway, when I got back after a 10 hour drive she was singing this phrase (minus the chip in her mouth).
Well, tonight Jason showed me the clip from the movie that she's singing and I'm trying hard not to get too wigged out by the 1941 cultural depictions. Am I getting charmed by the wordplay? The dancing crows?

I got back and she was happy to see me, still interested in nursing and seemingly not maladjusted or completely racist.

I'M ON HIGH ALERT although it's hard to be too paranoid when I imagine a rubber band or a horse fly!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Questionable new life

Well, if I ruled the world, incendiary emails would be sent earlier in the day to provide the opportunity to deal with the fall out instead of at 5:00pm to ruin multiple peoples' evenings. Luckily for everyone I have new hair now so this will be the last time it happens.

Go team new life!

Hair before after 22 months of growth.
I went to this amazing hair stylist that cut my hair and replaced the ironic 'stache with some forehead shine.

On the upside my to do list is mostly done.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Really 18 months?

It's been 18 months since I've gotten my hair cut. J was reminding me that Fenner was less than 3 months old.

I can't help but think that once I get it cut I may be reborn as someone who can stay up past 9:00 pm without feeling like she may just tip
over from exhaustion at any point.

This new hairstyle will make me socially relevant and give me enough attention span and time to read the Saturday paper in one sitting as opposed to over the entire week. I will be unstoppable

Here's a list of some of the things I will be able to do with with my new haircut:
- My to do list both personal and professional every day will be completed.
- Bake bread every night
- Plan menus for the week including one communal dinner with guests once a week
- Go to at least 1 concert, 1 movie and 1 play every two weeks
- Talk to my friends on a regular basis from home - not from a streetcar in the rain and *not* about Fenner's cuteness. Well, maybe a little bit.
- Finish spinning a fleece in less than a year without sacrificing my knitting
- Knit more gifts
- Go to F's sing song class on Wednesday mornings
- Volunteer
- Give blood
- Run
- Control the tupperware drawer that damnedable tool of the patriarchy (Martha, you know what I'm talking about)

Jeez, I hope I'm not disappointed.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


I love it when an idea comes together. Jason's plan to decorate the house involved "lots of little sheet ghosts". I wasn't exactly sure what he was talking about only that I knew there was a lot going on the week before Halloween and that "lots" of anything handmade hurt my head.
My imagination is truly lacking when it comes to understanding other peoples' ideas and how they'll be delivered. On Thursday and Friday night, J commenced decorating. 46 of these little guys were done by Friday night. Cute eh? They each had their own face.
Even the cat got some spooky enjoyment out of his decorations! The setting sun comes directly into our living room through the porch. The blustering wind really added to the effect. They looked really cool and were all made from an old ghost costume from the year before. I love that he decorated the house so well and didn't spend a dime. Yay to avoiding dollar store investing!
I contributed a couple of Boo!s from the stash.
Fenner helped carve her very first Pumpkin. She was quite frightened of it at first -the innards were really terrifying. Slowly she came around and by the end was having a great time.
Our friends Jason and Lorie came for a bite to eat and some Bloody Brain Shooters that my Jason uncharacteristically wanted to make. They were disgusting and led to a terrible terrible hangover the next day.Finally, Fenner dressed in a beautiful dress that her Fairy Godmother and family friend Terry had given her from her travels. Jason and I suggested that she might be dressed as a character from the movie "The Cove" Dark.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Begin Again.

Happy end of October! What better time to get a grip on writing with some regularity again than the beginning of a month.

I really have no excuse except for that life just started happening. Overscheduling the month of October was a killer I think I was in town 2 weekends out of the 5 and travelling alone for 2 of the weekends of the month.

This is what I learned: Hotel rooms with king sized beds, fireplaces and jacuzzi bathtubs in hotel rooms facing Niagara Falls are wasted on the young and childless. Six women with powerful personalities and opinions CAN spend 72 hours together and have an amazing time every hour of the weekend especially when a wine cellar and innumerable bottles of champagne are involved. I can use a sewing machine!

It was a really fun month and Thanksgiving was one of the highlights. My best friend Carolyn and Jay's folks joined us at the cottage where we got snowed on during our traditional Cranberry Bog tour. Usually we'd have pics of the turkey on the bbcue but we went more traditional this year. To be honest it was bloody cold and we were all slow like bees in smoke. Carolyn was amazing with the pictures and shared some gems with me.After too many indoor games with Grampa and Grama Gemmill she needed to get out and get the stink off her.

We finally got our boat running safely at the end of the summer so J got a chance to learn his way around the lake. The cold cold lake.Still happy to be outside though!
Carolyn took a lot of pics with me in them. I didn't realize that I tend to be behind the camera taking pictures. I loved all of them. It's so funny - when this picture was taken we were walking to White's Falls after having boated over. I look totally in the moment but I remember distinctly thinking: I hope the boat starts again, that the turkey is doing ok and that Steve and Debbie are enjoying themselves.

I think I have to work more at being in the moment.

It's a pretty part of our lake and we used to spend hours and hours there floating in the rapids and baking on the rocks. Fenner loved looking at all the bubbles coming over the rocks. The best part this year was that Mom and Dad were able to bring Mimi for Thanksgiving dinner. It's a difficult thing to bring a 93 year old to the cottage on blustery cold fall days and somehow Mom and Dad always make it a priority amongst so many other priorities. It was definitely a highlight this year as Fenner was entranced by her and vice versa.

They played with the nesting dolls that my grandparents brought back from their Russian/Scandanavian vacation and generally played Stadtler and Waldorf while the rest of us got dinner on.

Never one to be shy with her questions she was quite focussed on finding out who Carolyn belonged to even though they've met dozens of times. It wasn't until we told the story of the Thanksgiving that Mom and Dad couldn't come to that Carolyn (vegetarian) made the turkey for them while we were in school that Mimi remembered.

It was a good weekend especially considering that the weather was...weathery. About mid-September Liz came to stay with us for a few weeks. It was amazing to have her here for Fenner to get to know her west coast (I STILL DON'T APPROVE) Auntie.
We had a kitchen party every night while I got dinner on, F had someone to read stories and sing with. It was a sweet sweet thing for all of us.
Rubber boot nudity was not only acceptable but fully encouraged!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009


My new week's resolutions:

-> Manage new work project kickoffs (3)
-> Finish setting up new blog template (this is a killer)
-> Set up F's birthday party for friends and family.
-> Date night with J. Where the Wild Things are (tears leaking already)

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wanted: New Template

Looking for a new template after 3 years. Luckily this was on my list of things to do blog-related. I guess the Fates just lit a match under my behind.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You know you're over 35 when...

Blood in the Boardroom is a lot less of a fuck you to the man and a more of a mess when you work from home.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The weekend was so good it felt like we had 2 extra days.

After 2 hours pent singing the sound track to Free to Be You and Me , terrible attempts at rounds of My Paddle's Keen and Bright with a little bit of Deep Purple to keep our edge (Fenner does a wicked air guitar). Charlotte, Fenner and I got to the cottage around 10:00 pm. F had enough in her to kiss Mom and Dad good night and hello to Liz and then pass out.

The real start to the weekend was on Saturday morning when as soon as Fenner woke up and asked for a story Charlotte and Liz ran from their rooms to our bed. Our family has a long history of the family bed and many a Saturday morning was spent snuggled in reading books quietly or out loud.
Fenner is in deep and true love with Charlotte and hangs on her every word and movement. Look at this woman, how could you not?
We all spent the weekend hiking, splitting wood, going on boat rides and eating. There was lots and lots of eating.
Liz is getting married next spring and I'd like to introduce 'Her Ladies' - there will be delicious delicious trouble.
Hiking with a 2 year old doesn't necessarily mean going the distance but she did pretty well. We made sure Charlotte walked just ahead of her to keep the pace up.

Finished Object - Fenner's first hat of the winter. It was cold up north this weekend. Manos left over from a rug hooking did the trick keeping her warm.

It was one of those rare spectacular fall weekends when the mornings are cold enough to warrant wool and layers and the afternoons are warm and sunny. The company was superb, politics avoided and we all felt amazing by the end of it.

Weekends like this one keep us chasing the dragon.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Well, fuck the patriarchy. I'm going up to the bush to hang with these lovely bitches. Good for the heart yo.
Jason is going to have a weekend alone. I've left him an insane list of things to do - clearly I feel like uninterrupted sleeping alone TWO NIGHTS IN A ROW can impact the space time continuum in fantastic ways. Also, it gives you so much energy that you can: Clean the eavestroughs, put up the shelves in F's room, finish the custom shelves for the kitchen, clean and mop the house top to bottom, steam clean the basement, organize the winter clothes closet, go fall/winter clothes shopping for Fenner and get rid of F's summer clothes that are too small (except for the handmades please).
Every time the doorbell rings Fenner lights up and yells: "CHARCHARCHARCHAR (Charlotte) COCOCOCOCO(Auntie Coco)"

Mom is almost speechless to have all the girls up. We are all so very excited.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why my job rocks in so many ways.

I work with an amazing group of people living all over North America. I've never experienced leadership, mentorship and support (technical and professional) like I have in this company. After 3 years I've hit my first personal hump. Thems is the best odds I've had working for someone else.

My sister's advice to me was that work is not emotional it's business and I need to check the baggage at the door.

Which clearly speaks of at least 2 extreme ways of living the professional life. She's an amazingly logical thinker-linear, balanced and clearly thought out. Personal relationships are hard for her because they often(all) require enormous personal risk.

I'm an intuitive, emotionally attached, judgemental social butterfly. My clients love me and I love to make them love me *especially* when they are complete jackasses. I love my colleagues and coworkers - I'm willing to walk 60km with some of them, and drive down to JERSEY with others. 9 hrs. I love these ladies.

Anyway, I love my job. Working from home is an evolving challenge but nothing I can't cop to and when things are stressful to the point of distraction - you know the kind of stress I'm talking. I call it bumblebee stress the niggling constant concern that keeps you from staying in a straight thought you bounce from task to task until finally you say, "Fuck It"

And that's when working from home has it's very priceless privileges.

15 minutes later, I'm centred, and able again. This is a nice feature in an imperfect world.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Meet me back in 1987.

Highlight of my week. I found this picture of my class in Grade 8 doing Thriller. That's right.

I only wish we had a video. Can you find me?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shaken, not stirred please.

Got some unsettling news today. You know the kind that makes you wonder if you really knew that close friend as well as you thought. I feel a little off balance and probably way too personally invested.

Until I can really process the news I'm not sure I can write about it without using the term "Cockshow" and while soapbox ranting is unendingly satisfying I'm not sure I could do it effectively right now. Effective soapbox ranting isn't born out of insecurity and ignorance. I'm sure tomorrow will bring some answers.

Also, I just reread the last two blog posts and now I wonder if I'm actually illiterate. You'd think I could finish a complete thought at this stage of life. I appreciate everyone taking the mental energy to fill in the blanks of my sentences.

Can you tell I've fallen down on the writing every day? It's amazing how fast using cute baby pictures to fill the void of literacy can become a crutch.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Labour Day: The gateway to illness.

Last weekend we travelled down/up to Smiths Falls for the long weekend. J's dad has just retired and we wanted to celebrate by throwing Fenner at him and drinking his wine (Thanks Steve!!!)
We enjoyed the train experience and it was great. Not much knitting with a 2 year old but certainly a lot more fun that being stuck in a car for 4 hours.
We went to the Perth Fall Fair.

Fenner's butt got a hearty dose of fall sunshine and we had one of the best long weekends I can remember. Steve and Debbie always take amazing care of us and this past weekend was no exception.
Maybe it was because we arrived early in the afternoon on Monday after a relaxing train trip during which Fenner napped and we napped but we started the week feeling reinvigorated and well rested.

Maybe that's why neither J or I have shown any signs of strep and it's been almost 5 days. Thank the Fates, those bitches, since Fenner's poor caregiver came down with strep throat so badly that she had symptoms of rheumatoid arthitis so J and I had to MacGyver work schedules.

Since Debra went down I've been nursing the holy bejeezus out of Fenner, because, well, doesn't it make sense to give her the antibodies that I'm producing? A good friend of mine backed my instincts with this little gem since I'm know to be about as logical and scientific as a puddle of fingerpaint it was gratifying to know my inner compass is right.

Fenner is almost 2 and I've taken a bit of heat for still nursing her when she asks now (2-3 times in 24 hours). She spent 2 days in close contact with someone at their most contagious and has shown no signs of illness. I feel affirmed. Breast milk = good shit yo'.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Love it. All of it.

While on holiday I finished my first sweater of 2009 you can thank me for that week of heat in August. Literally, it started the day I finished this puppy at the cottage!

Bonnie from Twist Collective. This pattern is inspired. By the time I knit the sleeves the cable patterns were mine. I started it on January 1, 2009. I'm very proud of this finished object - it fits, it's warm and LOOK AT THOSE (**&^% CABLES.

Not too closely though there are 3 mistakes on the sleeve that I decided to embrace though I appreciate other more detail oriented knitters gently bringing back from the desert of my denial. You know who you are - will we ever see you again?
Seriously, that cable is a 32 row cable! I'M AMAZING HEAR ME KNIT!

Speaking of amazing. Fenner's favourite book right now is a book Jason got for me, for inspiration, when we were just fresh in love. He is still very romantic and Fenner loves Bette Midler. Not sure what it means right now but I think it's cute when she spends 30 minutes pouring over this book - especially when I'm making dinner.
She's been expressing herself through a variety of art projects. This is a Friday night at home with Dad. It looks like a good time.