Monday, November 30, 2009

Things my daughter says

Sitting at the table with a book, she was pointing at letters and making me say them: "Momma you're a very clever girl. High-five!"

Me: "Naomi, carry your bag upstairs please."
Naomi: "But Momma, the bag wants you!"

This morning, the kids were outside catching snowflakes on their tongues.
Me: "Ben what does yours taste like?"
Ben: "Like sugar!"
Me: "Naomi, what does yours taste like?"
Naomi: "Mine tastes like socks!"

Tonight, while giving me a hug: "You're the good Momma".

That snowy feeling

Woke up this morning with a foot in my ear-my daughter climbed in and slept fitfully from about 3am. When I got out of the shower and got the kids up, I walked into the kitchen and looked out the window for the first time and realised that there was snow on the ground. I immediately yelled to the kids to go and look out the front window. The next thing that I heard was their squeals of delight and I joined them to see the light coating of wet white on the trees, the lawns, the cars. Here we go again.
I don't always like snow and winter, but how can you not get excited when you see the big flakes falling and your children are jumping up and down? It's not here too early, I didn't have to shovel, I have new snow tires, I'm ready baby!
Talk immediately turned to Christmas. I have not been a fan of Christmas in recent years. I hate the hype, the shopping, the spending, the feeling that it's something to rush through and then it's over and I'm tired and I feel like I missed it. This year I will try to do what I want to do - Christmas baking, if I have time make a few things for people, getting together with friends, stopping to enjoy moments through the eyes of my kids. Yes, it will probably still run by, but I think I'm ready to try to love it again. And it will start with a little music...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How lucky can one gal be?

This week was interesting, challenging, weird, and a little confusing. Some things were made blindingly obvious to me though, and that kind of clarity has given me a kick to the head, in a very positive way.
I spent the weekend with friends and family, sharing my dreams, laughing, learning, and eating. It felt like life was catching me up into a big warm hug.
The kids and I drove up to see my folks today and the kids had a blast running around the house and outside.
This week is going to be very busy, but at the end of the week I have another concert to look forward to and maybe some friend time midweek, so it's all good.
Must get organized and get the weekapalooza ready to go!
Life's gonna be beautiful :-)
You can guess what I'm thinking right now.......

Friday, November 27, 2009

A church and some Bach

Went to a great concert at a church last night. I almost never go into churches for obvious reasons (flame retardant clothing is expensive and generally not stylish), but when I do go in I always regret not having had a peek before. This city has so many churches, and I should really get around to seeing a few more of them before they get converted into condos, libraries, stores, and community centres. A couple of years ago I was downtown with my son and the doors were open to the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral and he wanted to go in. After explaining "church rules", we quietly walked inside and up to the front, and then Ben decided he wanted to sit down for a while. We chose an out-of-the-way corner and sat and took in the church and watched the people coming in and leaving. Ben loved it, a quiet, peaceful place amidst a busy city; I loved it because for the first time I understood the calm being in a place of worship can have on a person.
So, I heard all of the Brandenburg Concertos performed in one evening. The only down side to this was that I was sitting on a hard wooden pew, the upside was that it's a catholic church so at least there are "foot rests".
Classical music sounds so amazing in an old church, the acoustics are generally good and as I sat there enjoying the music, I was able to look up at the paintings, the architecture, the ornament, and appreciate it and wonder how many people have done the same in the nearly 100 years that the church has been sitting there. I let the music take me away a few times, and closed my eyes and listened to the harmony, the layers of sound, and I felt another sort of peace settle down on me. This music will probably exist forever, there is so much time in this world.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I was sitting down trying to get Ben to do his homework tonight. His assignment was to count by fives to one hundred. I assumed that they had learned this at school and we would just be reviewing, but it soon became obvious that this was something either not covered or that Ben had not grasped. We sat at the table, and I tried explaining what I was asking, then I removed the penci and eraser he was fiddling with, then the sheet of paper. He let out a frustrated "Ahhh!" as I asked him to pay attention in a strict voice. Sometimes, knowledge must be forced into the brain. It took a while, and some tearful, "I don't knows", but eventually he started to understand what I was asking. I could see him visualizing the numbers (I told him to think about pennies), the light went on. With each right answer, his face became more animated and his smile brighter. We got through the exercise three times successfully. Then I let him watch this:

I could not be prouder, what a kid.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

D's knees

(image borrowed from:

I went to the physiotherapist today bracing myself for the worst. I expected that she would tell me to stop running for a while. This would kill me. Yes, I did go for a *tiny* run this morning just in case she said "no more". And I ran to the appointment... well, come on, I was wearing my running shoes!
Ok, ok, so she had a good look and made me do all sorts of bending and she poked and asked questions and prodded and asked me if that hurt, how about that? I think after a bit she was trying to get me to scream.
Good news! I had an alignment problem of my sacrum that was throwing everything off and ultimately causing my right knee to turn in. And my right butt muscle is weak. She made the adjustment and I have exercises to do. This is so much better than I'd hoped, so guess who will be doing her exercises? She also suggested that I tone down the mileage until I build up the muscle and she's sure that the alignment takes.
I think I can live with that :-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

ADD it up

Exam taken, there's nothing to see, move along. The darn thing is so subjective, I really won't know how well I did until I get the letter in a few months. Seriously.
The good thing: I walked in, sat down, talked to the other candidates, then when the time came, I wrote it. For nearly three hours I focused on one thing, I didn't think about my meeting in the afternoon, groceries that needed to be bought, my stupid personal life, my other junk that constantly floats through my head distracting me. All I did was concentrate on the text and think and write the exam. That's all.
I'm very proud of myself for that. I hope that this does not mean that I have to move my office to the Diocese to get anything properly accomplished......
I think it may be time to pull the plug on a few more devices, as useful as they are, and examine how much they are blocking me from the tasks in my hands.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My brain - the big exploding Deathstar of doom

After three episodes of Spongebob my children are hyper and running around the dining room table and I have taken a break from studying. My exam is tomorrow, so really I'm just at the stage where I feel ill-prepared and stupid anyway.
I have so many personal projects now partially in the works that it is getting ridiculous. One of my key issues has always been failing to work on one thing in a linear time line, truth be told, I seem to function in a starburst pattern. I have to stop and focus on one thing. I know which thing I have to focus on. Here is where the problem starts. I begin working on the one thing, I start thinking about it and researching it, then I'm driving my kids to school and a question, spun off from the thinking and research, hits me. By the time I drop the kids off and get to work, I already have an outline and an opening paragraph worked out for the spin-off article.
I know that there are drugs that I can take for this, but then who will think about the twenty-three other articles yet to be written?
So, first thing: write exam. Second thing: go to work and sit in meeting for project for my real job. Did I mention that I also have a new project that just popped up late last week and has to be done in two weeks?
Third thing: get home and start working on ONE THING AT A TIME!
And figure out how to get to Helsinki.....soon......and learn Finnish......

I hate my brain.......

Friday, November 20, 2009

I spy in my little mind......

play day
Up this morning and out for a run in the rain. It wasn't a downpour, but it was more than a drizzle. A friend reminded me this morning about a conversation we had about running years ago. He's a runner and I was saying that I just didn't understand people out in all the nasty weather running down the streets, they must be insane! He gave a knowing nod and probably said something like, "Eh, you never know".
Well colour me purple and put a big flower on my head because I am now one of those loons. I cut this morning's run short to rest my knee and to get home and get some work done with Europe first thing.
Ben arrived at my door just after 9. He has a ped day today, so he's spending the day with me while I work/study from home. We will also run a few errands and later we will go to his playgroup/swim night.
When he's here alone he can play by himself for hours, immersed in his world of legos and transformers. I listen to him creating scenarios and worlds, digging around in the toy box, the sound of plastic being stirred around before it becomes a spaceship, a base station, a control panel, completely in awe of his limitless imagination. He doesn't need a tv to entertain him, or another person. I remember what it was like to slip into that land of pretend where all was possible, all was magical, a cocoon of happy dreams and endless amusement. Although some of us never lose that, it does dim and it seems harder and harder to get back to as the years go by, and our attention is constantly competing with life's other daily tasks.
If we were released from all the responsibility, could we go back and experience it and love it as much as we do when we are 6?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

why I do this

Rolling out of bed, it's still dark, minutes before the sky will start to lighten,my feet hit the floor. I slide into the bathroom, the cat has beat me to the sink and is already butting her head against the tap and making trilling sounds at me to turn the water on. I ignore her and pee and put my hair into a ponytail, remove her from the sink, wash my hands and head back to the bedroom to dress. Running pants, long-sleeved shirt, socks, running shoes. I find my gum and my ipod, walk out into the front hall and collect my coat. I stretch, holding, counting, thinking of what I have to do today as I look through the living room window and see the light hitting the cars, their frosty windows reflecting the morning up to me. I breathe, then turn and head downstairs. Locking the door, I turn on my music and suddenly a favorite band is playing a favorite song and I am transported out of time. I run down my street towards the huge orange sun rising over the supermarket, my mind clears, my body responds, this is all that there is.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life in bullets

  • Was feeling so tired last night that I was in tears by the time I got my kids in bed.
  • Daughter climbed in with me at some point during the night and at 3am informed me that she peed. Dealt with bed, inconsolable wailing of child, and managed to get back to sleep....eventually.
  • Son decided it was hot out this morning and he didn't want to wear his coat, even after he went outside in short sleeves, stubborn little boy.
  • Running more practise tests for my exam this weekend and have hit a few that make me feel like a complete moron - drat.
  • Sun is shining - yippee!!
  • Knee was fine during tread-run yesterday. Hoping for a run today.
  • Making chicken tonight for supper!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thank heaven for little girls

I went out with the gals last night. We were at this bar on the Plateau with more drinks on the menu than you could count. I was drinking something vodka-based that was red. For some reason I am drawn to those things.
So there we were, a group of women of a certain age, and we were telling stories and laughing and catching up and comparing drinks and admiring our waiter (!), when my friends sitting across from me starting motioning for me to turn around. There were two girls behind us sitting at the bar, obviously very drunk, wearing nearly nuthin', and dancing so wildly to some retro-80s music that one was falling out of her top and the other was about to just fall over. They were young, they were attractive, they did not need bras.....and they were complete ninnies. I looked at the ladies with me, older, less toned, more lined, smart, funny, fearless - it suddenly struck me how much more attractive I thought we were.
As I've gotten older I have come to accept a lot of things about aging, and certainly you tell yourself how much better you are now than when you were 19, but it suddenly hit me how incredibly beautiful and sexy a woman is who really knows who the hell she is.
Thank you little twinkie girls, and I hope those puke stains come out of your shoes too. Good luck!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Really hope he's not doing this at school.....

My son was supposed to be getting dressed for school this morning. I was in my room drying my hair when he appeared in my doorway, not a stitch on, holding his Transformer underpants and saying, "Momma, for Christmas, I really need a Transformer like this one", pointing to the back of the underwear in his hand.
When you see a woman at the toy store holding a pair of boy's underwear while standing in front of the Transformer section and squinting, you'll understand why.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

knees and needs

I think that I need to do something about my knee. This week I have had some amazing runs. The weather's been sunny and cool, coming out of the house and taking off right away, enjoying the quiet, the leaves on the ground, the frost on the grass, the sun rising and the moon hanging in the sky. My mind clears, I let go of the things weighing on me, and I just go. I am light, I am at peace, and about 5km in, my right knee starts to nag. I'm disappointed in my knee, it should know better. It's not being a team player. The rest of my body is ready and willing and completely psyched for more, and that knee is wrecking our happy time. I am taking a break from running tomorrow and hoping that the knee will feel some guilt and get over itself. Barring that, I will stretch even more, take some Advil, and probably make an appointment with a physiotherapist to get some help so I can continue to do this. I figured out that if I don't run, a part of me explodes. This evening it's started to nag again a bit, it was fine apart from the stairs all day. I am concerned and a bit apprehensive for Saturday morning.
I have a lot of stuff whirling in my head, there a lot of ideas to be written down. The calm is still with me, with the occasional flare up. I needed a hug tonight. I had my kids and was busy getting things done and acting cheerful, but I needed a hug, it was on my mind. My daughter came into the kitchen and said, "hug, hug, hug!", and it was all I could do not to cry as she wrapped her arms around me.
It's ok, it's more than ok, I'm doing it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A morning

I'm getting too serious about stuff, walls, beh!
I wrote out my morning earlier for a friend, but hey, we're all friends, so here:

Naomi woke up first and crawled in with me and we had some excellent cuddle and talk time. She was explaining why her stuffed fluffy dog (which she calls a bear) was on the floor this morning. Apparently he had been out roaming the house last night and ate everything in the fridge. He was too tired and fat to climb back into bed with her we surmised, therefore he collapsed on the rug. We checked the fridge later and a few things did look suspiciously pawed at, I will have to be more vigilant.
Then she went to wake up her brother and all hell broke loose. Of course, having your little sister run into your room when you are still asleep, rip off your blankets, and then crawl all over you giving you hugs and kisses is not everyone's cup of tea. Next thing you know, he's screaming and she's laughing which is making him scream more and the morning has officially begun. The two then teamed up to whine about me not letting them watch tv, breakfast was tragic because I cut up the banana, and then we finally got our bearings again over tooth brushing.
At one point my daughter looked at me and said, "I'm cranky", and I said, "yeah, I guessed that". She was also fascinated with nipples this morning, yeah, I know, my kid.....
Got the kids organized, into shoes and coats, and out the door. There was an altercation at the door downstairs, but it was manageable. Dropped off the girl, got back in the car, a bit flustered and bedraggled, and headed for Ben's school.
We picked up Ben's shadow on the way to school because I saw her walking from the station. My hair is curly today and I just pulled it back with a barrette and she told me how sexy I looked this morning - bless her :-) She's from Trinidad and she's amazing and a total kick in the pants. You wouldn't think that having a Trinidadian lady call you sexy would make your day, but some days you take what you can get :-)


I'm working on my own walls now. There are so many barriers I put up to protect myself from hurt, pity, disappointment, judgment, truth. The image that we construct for others is truly impenetrable at times and useful for some things, but when we buy into it and use it to hide away, it's time to pull it all down.
There are many friends who have access over the walls, and some people in my life have just walked through them like they're not there at all. I am so thankful to have those people, to know that no matter what I say or do that I will be loved.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

This morning was glorious and warm and the sun was rising while the moon still hung in the sky and running into the sun was warm and sweet. Sunday runs are the best because there are even fewer people out in the morning than the rest of the week. We went out to the park today, it was too nice to stay inside. I wanted to go to Beaver Lake, but there was no parking and the people were crazy, so we doubled back and went to Westmount instead. There were tons of people out enjoying the weather, lots of kids. The Westmount parents are a laugh. We stayed out and played for hours, not too many days like this left. My kids are running around the house, they have invented a game where they do exercises and show me their muscles.
Was watching a tv show and they were showing bits of Stockholm that I've been to and I realised that I really miss it and I want to go back. I miss my friends there, I miss walking around Gamla Stan and taking the ferries. Sigh.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Saturday

Another good day. Run, coffee, made a salad with Israeli couscous, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, feta, lemon juice and went with Jen and the salad to a clothing swap. It was in an amazing apartment, big and bright with a kitchen and back patio to die for! I met a ton of accomplished, smart ladies there and ate and drank coffee, and then we took turns opening our bags of clothes and sharing each piece and passing it along to whoever wanted it. There was a lot of laughter as stories came out about some of the items and we ooo'ed and awww'd about some of the stuff and suggested it for each other. I came back with a fantastic wool sweater, a skirt, and some cute tops. Everything not snapped up went into bags for charity. Some of the gals have been getting together and doing this for years and I can't wait to get together with them again.
Came home, had some tea with Jen, and then did a bit of work. After that, I started prepping for my 10-hour slow cooker beef stew. I snagged a sirloin tip roast Friday night and cut up half of it. I'll make another batch of stew and use up the remaining half later this week. It's cooking even as I type.
A calm descended on me this week. I can't explain why right now, but I'm trying to hold on to this feeling and keep it going. I'm trying hard to only make room in my life for the positive stuff and let all the rest go.
Been running quite a bit this week since I changed my shoes. This morning the trees were raining the rest of their leaves in the light breeze and the world was quiet as I ran down the streets and witnessed Fall getting ready to come to a close. How amazing it is to move, to breathe that cool morning air, and feel so alive.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Run around

Sometimes, despite my love of novelty, I have to accept that change is not a good thing.
I needed to replace my running shoes, badly. From everything that I know, you are supposed to change your runners every 500-800 kilometers, depending on how heavy a runner you are. I should have changed them in June, but June passed, then July, next thing you know the leaves are falling and I started getting twinges in my knees, my shins, my heel. I knew I was looking at an injury if I kept this up. Off to the running store! The guy looked at my old ones and brought out new ones that looked just like my old ones, and another brand.
Ooooo, another brand......
They were a different colour. They were lighter, they fit nicely and had more support in the arch. I ran back and forth around the store and decided that I would try them out and see. The first run with them the next day outside wasn't great. I had arch pain in my right foot for the first 3km. The next day it was for 2km, but after that I felt a twinge in my knee. I tried them for another 20km on treadmills and something about that right shoe just wasn't working out. I switched back to my old shoes and my arch stopped hurting, but the knee pain was still there, which isn't surprising considering the condition of my old shoes. I called the store and they told me to clean them up and bring them back. I did my best and I came home with a new pair of my old shoes. My first run on them was amazing!
Lesson learned: when you find something that works you just keep going with it, but if it's irritating the hell out of you from the beginning you should know that it's only gonna get worse.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Little weekend recap

Naomi's birthday party was a success!

rabbit hat

It was her first party with little friends and four girls showed up and played, and screamed, and giggled in their party dresses. Then Maggie's boys showed up and Robert was a good sport and pretended to be a monster, eliciting more screams and running up and down the hallway. Last year the cake was Disney Princesses vs. Dinosaurs and this year Naomi insisted that her cake also have princesses and dinosaurs, so after a conversation with my friend Dan, the concept of the tea party was born. I think it turned out pretty good, and Naomi loved it.


After a little more playing everyone went home and then it was on to trick-or-treating! The kids got into their costumes and we went out. We only did two streets, but it was a lot of fun and the kids were great and polite and so excited about the candy.

princessoptimus prime
I was supposed to go to an adult party that night, but was too pooped so I went to bed instead. Perhaps one party is all this old lady can take in a day.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Naomi get the moon for me

Tonight was the first night picking up the kids after the time change and it was dark. It was also a full moon. Ben and I picked up Naomi, and as we came out of the building, the clouds had moved away and the moon was bright and huge and amazing. Ben and I started howling at it, but Naomi just stared and then said that she was going to make it follow us home. She yelled her instructions up into the sky, then we got into the car and rolled down the windows and called to the moon while Naomi kept an eye on it to make sure it didn't lag behind. We lost it a couple of times, but when we got home there it was over the house.
My daughter is mighty indeed......