Saturday, December 31, 2011
This year is starting with a blank slate and a fresh beginning. The potential for adventure and life change is epic and my little family and I are going to start it right by playing at our cottage in the snow.
I hope you get all the new beginnings that you love!
Monday, December 05, 2011
Life is great and my girls are a great posse but finding time to write coherently about any one subject is virtually impossible.
Perhaps snippets are the way to go.
Also pictures, I'm finally getting a loose grip on my new camera - prepare yourselves for experimental amateur pictures galore.
Friday, November 04, 2011
On Wednesdays we go to the local Early Years Centre for a play date with a couple of Fenner's neighborhood friends. It's a great place to go for coffee someone else makes, snacks and
playtime. Especially on rainy days.
I don't know if other provinces have this program but basically the program is run out of public schools or libraries and offer resources for young mothers and children. It is a lifesaver in the middle of winter - toys, snacks, friends, adults, networking resources to help working mothers find childcare. Priceless.
Knitting can only be accomplished when Fenner is fed, watered, and entertaining herself. This cannot always be guarenteed so I have to make hay when I can. On Thursday and Friday she goes to daycare before and after school so if Marlowe is cooperating I have a chance.
Yesterday I proceeded to have my way with Shalom. It's going great - I expect to have a gauge, yarn or a tangle issue of some sort to occur at any moment.
Editor's Note: The term 'leisure time' used at the beginning of this post is used to describe the sense of luxury a working mother might feel at being accountable for an incredibly important and brief part of her families life together. Believe it or not. It is far more difficult and far more gratifying to take care of one's family than it is a client's report.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
I am halfway through the yoke of my sweater. Did not get beat up in the school yard nor was I forced to bludgeon anyone. Both children and my partner in crime are alive and, to the best of my knowledge, most of my satellite relationships are intact.
This is satisfactory progress. I'd like to think I could be at the end of the yoke and be starting the short sleeves tomorrow but that is pretty aggressive.
Perhaps tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled programming of adorable babies and children, perhaps a cat shot.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Since having Marlowe I feel re-energized again. I need to do something extreme to reboot my knitting passion again. As such, I am attempting NaNoSweMo. In a moment of sheer insanity I was going to try NaNoWriMo but then I had to hold a baby for 5 hours. I can knit and carry a baby but I cannot string a coherant story together at the same time.
I needed something simple, warm and bulky to help me through this winter and thus I chose the Shalom Cardigan in Cascade Eco Wool. Lettuce Knit has a bunch of cardis in this style and I love the cosiness of them.
On Day 1 I picked up the yarn after dropping F off at school and cast on after dinner. By the end of Day 1 I had the first repeat of the pattern completed.
The morning of Day 1 was spent exploring a ravine park just 2 blocks east of our house. While going for a walk with Jason we went down some stairs by the side of the road and ended up in a huge ravine!
There was a small creek that Fenner thinks is perfect for fishing and I think is perfect for not drowning in. There is a forest! It's a low woodsy 'hike' to take energetic 4 year olds.
Easy access, low effort and high return on investment. Fenner was exhausted last night from climbing on logs and bridges.
No one has ever mentioned this place to me. Is it a secret? Is this how the sane seeming mothers on the street keep it together?
It is an amazing find - it will be great in the winter for Fenner to practice snowshoeing and exhausting play. Maybe it was the sun shining through the last of the fall leaves but it was a breathtaking find.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Logically, I recognize that I should not be amazed this delicious little pork bun who made me a fierce Mom.
Picture taken by the fabulous Jacquie Blackman
Grew into this little baby with a charming disposition.
Picture by Michelle Hotchin
This amazing little person who travels easily (as long as we let her roam). Charming the pants off of the most hardened of stewards and passengers. Be it by plane, car or boat she has got game.
Not only is she game for adventure but she has become this insatiably curious person who loves to check out the world around her. A person who loves to be at the cottage in all seasons and climes.
On cold days with appropriate gear she's endless for the outside.
To be able to watch this person trying out the world on her own schedule widens my perspective and expands my own horizons. To see her strike out in the unknown gives me courage to try new things and to practice what is hard to do at first go.
I know that these are all the natural stepping stones of humanity and that given proper care and treatment all kids go through these stages.
It just seems so very dangerous and unlikely. She was so small and helpless it seems impossible that they could make it through the gauntlet of my clumsiness and of life's twists. For god's sake her head was so big her spine couldn't hold it up and her feet were only ONE INCH LONG.
Such questionable engineering that leads to such a magical person.
Look at her now. Happy Fourth Fenner.
Monday, October 24, 2011
The last time he felt this hankering he delivered a homemade spectacular Lemon Meringue Pie.
We do not get in the way of the Pie Man.
The process is not so solitary now - he will start it up but then Fenner gets in to "help" and I come in to help the four year old 'help' thus preventing foul language of frustration from the chef and Fenner. Turns out the kid is aces at pastry work in her 3 minute window of focus.
Marlowe passed out in her rocker and required picking up only when we were engaged in dough rolling, cutting, peeling or whatever else. The point being, it's impossible to deliver a project from start to finish without interruption anymore.
Once Marlowe engages, I'm tagged out and Fenner starts to 'help' me. This usually involves some story reading to the two of them. If Fenner is lucky, a puzzle gets pulled out. She recently informed me that I can no longer play Strawberry Shortcake because I don't do it right.
I'm so totally cool with that rejection.
This pie crust presented Jason a couple of opportunities:: his first lattice work and the first time using Lard from the Flying Pigs Farm. If it wasn't for the recent vaginal delivery of a 9 lb baby I would have totally put out. That shit is sexy yo.
At this point it has taken two adults and the questionably defined aid of a four year old almost three hours to bake a pie.
Give in to the reality that this is slow cooking at it's best.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The whole family gathers with a couple of close friends for dinner and walks in the woods. It is my favourite weekend at the cottage. This is the weekend that keeps me chasing the dragon of the perfect long cottage weekend.
The weekend includes everything that is priceless about having a family cottage. The Ontario landscape, fresh air, space to explore and the family to explore it with. We relive Thanksgiving turkey hijinks from years gone by. Like the year it snowed 6 inches and we lost power intermittently so that we had to move the turkey from oven to barbecue and back again every time the power flickered. The old folks estimate that the bird of 1991 still had more mileage on it than my family who had driven over 1000 km to the cottage did.
There was also the first year we barbecued the turkey over an open fire. With a broomstick...and lots of beer for the person responsible for turning the spit.
But mostly I love the majestic foliage. It takes my breath away.
Inspiration springs eternal in fall. The moss is lush, the forest explorable and Echo Rock gets climbed from the woods instead of the lake giving us a completely different experience of a rock that we've been climbing all our lives.
It's too cold for swimming which inspires creative exploration of the forest which had been ignored throughout the hot summer.
The fresh air knocks everyone out in front of the fire, books get read, knitting gets knit and quiet moments are fully appreciated.
After all, when you wake up from your nap you are engulfed by the almost two dozen people waiting to snuggle, 'discuss', cook and opine with you.
Ah, c'est la belle vie!
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
When it all goes right there is nothing that feels more victorious. I'm sure I'll get into the swing of it again but this week feels a lot like a grind. It took four days to recover from a long weekend away. No food, no money, no energy.
Not sure what I was thinking when I set up a play date on the first day back with an empty fridge and my mushed up mind. It's Friday tomorrow and if I play my cards right tonight I might be ready for the weekend.
Yeesh. Someone out there needs to buy their local Mom a cocktail. At least these two are mostly so sweet..
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
On September 13th at 11:17 Marlowe Francis was born. Sixteen days past her estimated date of confinement. At home. It was amazing. She is four weeks old today and my memories of her birth are starting to get romantic. I have a shitty first draft of her birth story that I am working on and have been since I started maternity leave.
If you'd like to read about the experience from our Doula's perspective you can check it out on my dear friend Steph's website.
Maybe one day I'll share it here. All I will say, is that the name of this blog has never been more appropriate.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
What I'm actually saying is that I have fallen prey to a rookie parenting mistake; reading in bed. Don't even get me started about writing, if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time - you may have enjoyed more prolific periods in my past. Long ago. I believe that
I'm reading Anne Lamont's book, Bird by Bird; some Instructions on Writing and Life right now. I haven't read any of her books but she has been recommended to my by some incredibly funny, literate and talented women.
It's taking awhile but I have been laughing obnoxiously on the streetcar. Something that needs to be done every day. That's what I'm missing, now to find out how and where. There has to be some time to be found.
I also deeply appreciated the entire chapter on 'Shitty First Drafts' - without which there can never be spectacular essays.
I've always thought the finished product just happened if you had any talent. Turns out the difference between a hack and a writer is that a writer can make it through that first draft.
It's nice to know I'm not a complete imbecile - just unfocussed. I wonder if this second child will help me get through my second draft.
Friday, July 29, 2011
"I was raised up believing I was somehow unique
like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes
unique in each way you can see;
and now after some thinking,
I'd say I'd rather be
a functioning cog in some great machinery
serving something beyond me.
But I don't know I don't know what that would be."
Monday, July 25, 2011
She is stirring and fighting the sleep. I can hear the undercurrent of her father's patience being tested and she starts to cry sadly with her father cooing tiredly beside her. The happy noises have jumped tracks and the evening moves into an edgy territory - where patience can fly out the door and the beautiful evening sounds break.
I get up to poke my head in after listening for the code we have asking me not to disturb their dance from her father. I get no sign to hold off and enter the room. Fenner is sitting cross legged crying for me to come and snuggle her.
After a weekend away with my friends I did not need to be invited twice. I curl up next to her and she tangles her limbs in mine, her chubby kid fingers tangled in my hair. She spoons my belly and sighs.
I run my hands through her sweaty curls and we snuggle tightly. She falls asleep in my arms, wound around my belly and my body like the part of me that she is. I lie there for an hour not wanting to break apart from this moment, knowing that there are going to be fewer and fewer of them as she grows up and away.
It is a strange sensation to be learning how to be that safe harbour of motherhood that will last for the rest of her life.
Knowing that even now, as a successful professional woman, artist, wife and mother, when I am sick and sad and troubled, I long for my mother's touch brushing my hair away from my forehead and gently rocking me to sleep in her safe embrace.
It takes me months to read a book and we don't need any equipment for the new bean.
Baby cravings in a consumer society.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
My cottage family went out into the swampy wilderness to collect beautiful bull rushes, fire weed and Queen Anne's Lace to decorate our wedding. The power didn't go out, it didn't rain on us and we've been blessed ever since.
This guy makes me laugh, brings me perspective when I'm so wound up I can't see straight, anchors me when I want to run to the wild blue yonder and supports me through some of the hardest times of my life.
Did I mention that he makes me laugh?
Thursday, July 07, 2011
This last trip we acquired a fantastic toy.
When Fenner was less than a year old I went to New York for business. I was a fresh Mom and she was a fresh baby and we didn't want to be apart so Jason and Fenner came with me. She was too wee to appreciate anything and we were a little tight on cash but Jason saw the 'Make a Muppet' and it became an item on his bucket list.
I think we'll invest in a couple of sock puppets to be portable creative fun toys as inspired by this Muppet.
He and Fenner made a muppet on this last trip. Oddly, the Muppet (Purple Miss) reminds me of my Auntie Anne.
Fenner signing off on her design.
My creative outlet is a little bit more portable, while they enjoyed their Muppet making, I finished my Ishbel shawl. Made out of some amazing Indigodragonfly MCN that I bought over a year ago.
These pictures were taken at the Union Square kids park a block North of the flat my friend kindly lent me.
It turned out exactly right, a small portable scarf for cool evenings in the country or the city. When I started knitting, the colours made me think of my friend Judy; muted steel, with hints of jewel tones that really pop out at you. It is soft and smooshy and comforting.
Exactly like my friend.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Let's redirect your energy to city hall shall we? I hear the Jarvis bike lane (which I used every day) is in jeopardy. Saving that bike lane would keep me and my unborn child safer than heckling me. Swear to god.
Pregnant women are unsinkable in the ocean in Jamaica. Demonstrated by my inability to snorkel more than four inches below the surface. Swear to god - snorkeling poses no danger to myself no matter how hard I tried!
This was the most enjoyable myth to debunk I have to be honest!
We've had a fantastic last 2 months here at Casa De Breeders. Many laughs and luxurious trips - we are hunkering down for the last 7 weeks as a threesome family. Trying to get all the snuggles, adventures and family moments locked down in memory before the chaos of a newborn throws us all for a loop.
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
It was great. I love language and the different ways to play with it. The speakers came at the theme from a number of different perspectives: A linguist, an anthropologist, a PR student, some Fundraisers and a musician to name a few.
Margaux Smith spoke about being new to the workplace environment and referenced something called the Imposter Syndrome. This really created a context for the discomfort I feel in my professional life. I particularly love the recommended resolution to it "Fake it til you make it." Don't lie but live the the life you want to be living. It takes practise but start it up.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Jason, Fenner and I just got back from our 8 day New York City adventure. Our close friend and Fenner’s Godmother, Carolyn (Coco), joined us for the first 4 days and really made the weekend luxurious – three adults to one child really facilitates sanity.
If Fenner had to choose anyone to go on adventures with, it would be with Coco. You see, Coco, is Scottish in work ethic and drive. Coco, doesn’t need naps and Coco is very very clear about her expectations of good behavior and good manners. Clear rules are a relief to three year old people.
At FAO Schwartz Storytime gummy bears in tow
Fenner, being a quick study, learned very quickly that with good manners and a respect for logic she could finnagle a bulk candy store at FAO Schwartz and score the good stuff.
I have been friends with Carolyn for almost 17 years now somehow making it through tenuous relationships, distance and douchey behaviour. We were both raised fairly nomadic and seem to have the same pragmatic view of saying adieu when moving away.
I think that outside of my family my friendship with Coco is the longest relationship I've had. A particularly nice thing considering her incredibly irritating habit of slipping into a prosecutorial tone when she disagrees with me and my incredibly irritating habit of judging harshly on a whim.
Always game for an adventure in Algonquin Park, New York City or Canoe she can do it all, exactly the type of woman you would want your daughters to be exposed to. She is moving off for adventures overseas next year and we are going to miss her greatly. How magical that Coco will always be the person that introduced Fenner to the piano at FAO.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
It’s Day 6 of our NYC adventure and we are slowing down.
I tried to go see the Moth in SoHo tonight. Due to an extended subway ride (missed my stop) I ended up near the end of the very extensive line up. Sold out 10 people in front of me – ouch! This event is verging on mythical levels of difficulty to see.
Not one to give up my solo evening in SoHo, I went for a fancy glass of wine and dinner by myself in a “Deli” full of excruciatingly hip and hungry looking people.
The waiter bought the wine for me and called me “Darling’ from the moment I sat down. I suspect my vertical striped shirt hid my delicate condition…until I got stuck between two tables trying to leave anyway.
I got home at 8:30 and am debating a late night show at UCB…tune in next time to see if the very pregnant Mamma stays awake past 10:00 pm!
Fenner climbed the Alice in Wonderland statue at Central Park, our go to on sunny hot days it seems. It’s kind of fun that we’re reading Stuart Little right now and had just finished the story of the boat race in the pond across from this statue.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
When your daughter is crabby for one to seven days it could be regression due to a new fundamental skill acquisition. If your daughter is crabby and coughing like she had been smoking for 35 years....you probably have a dose of the croupe. There is nothing you can do for this except for go out or dumplings after you find out there is nothing you can do.
Good news: Cold air helps relieve the coughing.
Easter Monday is a stat holiday for daycares and public schools. Not for private companies though. Fresh homemade donuts help smooth the way for bring your kid to work day.
My daughter and I have completely different early childhood cultural exposure. I, when given the opportunity to choose my lunch before the age of 19, would have chosen poutine. She chooses Sushi.
We are in New York City right now and Fenner has been absolutely amazing. It is more fun and challenging than I thought it would be to travel with my family like this. I'm glad we started practicing with this trip.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Something had to change. I had lost perspective on my work and that can lead nowhere fulfilling and strengthening. I unplugged on Friday and Saturday and began again this morning.
To begin again, I tried to focus on the moment I was in. I got up with Fenner, we engaged in our favorite morning baking scones while Jason got some much deserved sleep. He gave me my sleep on Friday and Saturday, it's only fair.
We started strong by wisely ignoring the weather shit show. She makes the cold look sweet but it's because she's a grifter.
I did the work I needed to do to set up my week, did some writing, played with my family at the park and am now going to settle in for knitting. So far there has been no shit. The reverse Midas touch has been held at bay for the first day of the week.
The game is afoot and I'm off to a decent start.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
This has never happened. Just like spontaneous sleeping has never occurred. This kid wants to be a part of the action as long as anyone is awake.
In the past three weeks I think she realized that she has a limited monopoly on our attention and has decided to try and max it out. It's been hard. She hasn't been this clingy since she was an infant.
I have some great rainy day pics trapped on the phone which isn't communicating with the laptop. Treats for another day. In the meantime I'm enjoying listening to her read herself to sleep.
Friday, March 11, 2011
The sense of empowerment got me through until this afternoon when the burn from the week kicked in. One of the amazing mothers on the street picked Fenner up from school and I met them there for a chat and a sit down after work.
We got an amazing gift this week from my Aunt Sally that I will be writing about as soon as there is enough light to take pictures.
A beautiful dress for Fenner made in the colours of spring. It is everything a 3 year old girl wants, colourful, spinny, there are flowers sewn onto it and it is hand smocked. Fenner calls the smocking her rainbow.
Highlight of the last two weeks.
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
My prolific friend is quite right when she described me as a denialist (MADE UP WORD!). I've been known to be a denier of reality in all sorts of charming contexts. Jason may contest this claim as he perhaps has witnessed the less charming moments of this terrible habit. You might say "Impossible!" but it's true.
Perhaps the case of Dr. Frank's champagne purchased while I was on holiday in the Finger Lakes WAS over kill. Perhaps. If I admit to that though, I would be suggesting that the delicious champers I enjoyed through the fall and winter was a terrible mistake.
Perhaps it was while under the influence of aforementioned champers, that I thought 100 extra stitches at the cast on end of my Birch Shawl was a whole lot of nothing. It is a dissatisfying moment in this knitter's cast off career to have my finished object be too small to be a shawl and too large to be a shawlette.
100 stitches in KidSilk Haze is nothing more than a couple of champagne corks lined up in a row! That's nothing!
Well, 2 months later in November, as I was nearing the end of my third and last ball of the Liquor Colourway (the irony didn't escape me either). I did what any professionial denialist would do.
I stopped knitting. When I revisited my leviathan 1 month later. I could no longer deny that those tiny 100 stitches were going to equal close to an additional 2 balls of yarn. This was quickly becoming the pet project of a mad scientist planning to take over the world with the beautiful halo of a high end mohair/silk blend.After raiding Romni's and Dr. Steph's last Liquor stash. I finally got to the end. What was until that fateful night, the fabled last stitch.
I cast her off. She is magnificent, worth every moment of blatant denial of reality and logic. She is warm and large. The perfect shield against what some people are suggesting is the continuation of winter.
Fools, from behind this lacy deliciousness, hope springs eternal!