Friday, October 25, 2013

Six Years Old and So Much Fun

Dear Fenner,

Six years ago last night you joined us. What a trip. We weren't really sure what kind of person  you were going to be and we've been waiting with bated breath. Turns out you're pretty much game for any kind of adventure as long as you know that specific requirements are being met. Food, drink, safety, no competition and fun.

You've been up for some pretty amazing family adventures - near and far. Seeing the world with you has been a luxury that we have been lucky to have.

As we get ready to go on another great adventure to Washington, a trip that has been totally inspired by a random news clip you heard on CBC about giant squid. It's clear that you are someone who is curious about the world around them and inspires the same curiousity in us. I hope that we can give each other enough space to let that curiosity take root.

It makes life together so much more thrilling and unexpected. I'm sure we'll travel more challenging roads together as you start to ride your own ride but for the time being you make a great partner in crime.

Happy Birthday.


PS: This will forever be the year that you finally started sleeping through the night...most of the time. It's life affirming way to start another awesome year.

Old Woman Bay, Lake Superior

New York, New York

Glasgow, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Friday, October 18, 2013

Thanksgiving Privilege..

I'm in the car heading back up to my cottage for closing weekend as we speak.  After having a full on family Thanksgiving, this weekend is for putting the cottage to bed for the winter.

Thanksgiving weekend is my favourite weekend at the cottage, it is only because we changed our routine so we didn't close the cottage on the same weekend. It is the last weekend of the season for enjoying the cottage for what it is.

I got one last cottage run in. The trees really put out like the queens they are on this weekend.  Unlike the true Northern Ontario, cottage country trees peak a little later and Thanksgiving weekend is always a good show.

Thanksgiving weekend is for collecting the last few bouquets, sitting by the fire, and watching the world go by on a rainy day while enjoying a cuppa (wine or tea).

It is a slow weekend. This year Marlowe fell in the lake at the park so we could cross "fall swimming" off the list. She's a nice one that kid.

The kids spent the weekend running through the woods, setting up forts and some G Rated version of deer hunter with the kids from the Bay and cousins.

The weather was spectacular and we are going to miss having this place to go and stretch our legs at.
I know it's early but I pulled out the snow shoes this morning looking for my wool winter shirt. Now that the girls are bigger I am really hoping to get in some winter cottage time in this season.
We are so fucking lucky to have this place to congregate at separated from the crazy of day to day living.  It's a treat to go and shed the skin of day to day business and settle in. Next summer it will be great to settle into a work groove in that space a bit more.

I missed not getting to lean into it this year like I did while I was on maternity leave.That will be the summer that keeps me chasing the summer dragon man.

With a forecast of 90% rain, this closing weekend promises to be the less romantic of all summer weekends. It is so legendarily "no fun" that we couldn't even convince Fenner that it would be worth coming up for.

Smart kid that one.

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to enjoy "re-entry into normal life' insteald of feeling like normal life is enjoying "rear-entry" with you.

I was away for a whopping ten days.  That means that my partner in crime was responsible for everything on the home front without any real respite.  We have two children who are late blooming sleepers. That is to say that our eldest has JUST started sleeping through the night reliably.

Frankly, even though it was a work trip and lots of work was done...working without having to co-manage a home and family is the same as being on an all inclusive vacation.  I WISH I COULD LIE BUT I CAN'T.

I wish I could take my 26 year old tequila, dance soaked self and punch her in the face.

The rub lay in the fact that it really does feel like an all inclusive vacation. Going for dinner, a trip to Drumheller, a run in the Rockies or TO THE BATHROOM without having to negotiate with a two year old or to let the six year old know where I am....does feel like my less compromising and more self-centered twenties.

So on Thursday afternoon when I called Jason from the airport we talked about what were were going to do to get through the next 3 days of "re-entry" or as I fondly refer to coming back from time away "rear-entry".

I am sorry if I am supposed to pretend that coming home was like walking into a room full of butterfly kisses...I just can't.  The night I arrived at midnight, M woke up 30 minutes after I got in the door and proceeded to nurse for 5 days straight. I shit you not.

Here's how we tried to keep resentments, bitterness and all the feelings that belong with all transitions (birth on now that I think of it) to a minimum.

Here it goes:

1. Be nice. Do not look at or call attention to anything that is in any way "Less than".  Shitty coffee in the freezer?  Fuck it. The children are alive and Jason doesn't show any signs of running away.  Go to the local coffee shop and buy a pound of premium espresso beans. Then bring him a cup of motherfucking great coffee first thing on Friday morning.

2. Do all of your favourite things with your children immediately. Do not pass go. Life with only work is so much fun for 10 days that it is easy to resent the true normal loves of your life. Go see them do the crazy shit they learned how to do while you were away.

3. For the love of god, the queen and your country. Be alone and a little bit drunk with your Partner in Crime what may or may not come of it is not the point....well maybe it is. It's likely that if anything does come of it, it will be anywhere but in your bedroom which could be construed as reliving the early months of dating - right?!
4. Go to your favourite local places with your family. These are the adventures that fill me up on desperate winter days or days that the crowd of Toronto is crushing.
5. This is most important when your Partner in Crime has found a new ravine and left it unexplored until you get back from your trip. Go. Be quiet.
6. Make your own food. It is almost impossible to eat well while traveling even in the best of areas you are still eating restaurant food - delicious but detached.  You usually haven't touch a prep utensil in a week. That shit is bad for the soul.
 Eat a carrot. Then chop a shit load up and make yourself some killer whole food to eat with your peeps.
7. Don't make any plans so that if you want you can spend a morning catching up over a warm oven and some delicious scones. Marlowe developed sentences and a brand new voice while I was away. WTF people.
 8. Get up early and go for what might be one of your last dawn bike rides to the spectacular west end with your cycling partner. 
Reminisce about how much time you have spent together over the past summer, express your astonishment at the continuation of your mutual love and then laugh hard when she calls you out on your fear of commitment (it runs so deep!) Also, enjoy the fall colours!

9. Get your local shit under control. Reach out to friends, favourite local clients, and do your goddamned homework before the midterm exam.

10. Lots of space. Give yourself and everyone around yourself lots of space and time to adjust to your (perhaps) more abrasive, brash way of being. Everyone has to readjust, be thick skinned and kind to yourself and your people.

Off the record, I talk in my sleep and this time I had a lot of super active dreams about transitioning from Banff to Calgary to Toronto - there may have been an indepth dream sequence about what kind of 'Salutations' Jason manages that ended in me suggesting that he doesn't know how to manage a database for shit..

He super loved that.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Work hard but make sure to play harder.

I just returned from a work trip that involved five days in Banff and five days in Calgary.  For the record, I have not been away from Jason for that long since we locked it down for better or worse.  Once I knew I was going to be away for that long I knew that I'd be maximizing the time away and I'm not talking in a tequila shot sort of way....although that may have happened too.

In an epic Canadian Rockies/Badlands/Drumheller sort of a way.

The owners of my firm gave me the opportunity to pick the post session activities with very few boundaries except to make space for my colleagues' possible comfort zones.  The results were lots of outside activities with mitigated risk.

After spending 6 hours talking project management practice and rigour we went out and played. Horseback riding, 'Voyageur' canoeing and hiking followed by great food and company was the way we let the steam out.

After working hard without really knowing who you're working with it is a lot of fun to hook up with someone I'd developed a long distance kinship with  for a beer and some work for a couple of hours in the afternoon, or in some cases a morning run WHICH I HAVE NEVER DONE BEFORE.
So we worked, we ate, we drank and we enjoyed the outside. Banff is pretty aggressive about making you pay attention to it.  I kind of felt like it was trying to kill me by exhilaration.

It was awesome to meet my new company and I was pretty charmed by everyone. The lack of irony was super refreshing and while hijinks were had, my social hangover was minimal compared to my twenties - with that as a yardstick you can be sure there was still recovery.

This was my level of real rebellion. Going past the barrier to hang out on the undercut rock of Johnston Canyon  and take some amateur rock shots.  I stand by the decision.
I was slated to be onsite at a client's for the week afterwards which left me with Sunday to play with. Calgary is no cheap nor easy trip to make so I was determined to max that shit out.

Drumheller and the Badlands were on my list and my killer new partner in crime Amanda committed to being the Louise to my Thelma for the post Banff trip.
We cued up this playlist and headed to something called the m*therf*cking Badlands.  How cool is that? Within 24 hours I traveled from the Rockies, through some pretty perfect prairies to the Alberta Badlands.

In less than 300 km. Guys, this country blows my mind out.

After such an amazing start, I was ill prepared for the isolation and lack of physical movement that my Calgary airport hotel afforded. I've made better plans to enjoy the city on my next trip.

I did work hard to expend significant energy with hotel room dance parties I was horrified when on my last day there my coworker said, "I heard the ruckus last night!" and I thought she was talking about my dance wasn't; but for a second there I had no where to go.