Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My year in nouns

This post is hard to write because there's just so much to say that it's hard to organize. As the year draws closed, I am of course thinking about all that has happened: realising how unhappy I had become and learning to express it, a soul-searching trip, my marriage ending, moving, sorting out the kids, writing, finding my voice, stumbling, getting out into the world, learning some new lessons, realising that I'm just fine. It's been a wild ride. I think the best way to sort it out is by quoting School House Rock, "I find it quite interesting, a noun's a person, place, or thing".

Persons

People come into your life for a reason. I have always believed this. This year I made a few new friends, reconnected with some old ones, forged stronger relationships with many, and discovered hope and joy and new branches within my family.
I also met a few men who taught me a lot about relationships and myself, some of it amazing, and some of it not. There was disappointment, but for every ending something new is gained and begun. I know this even though some days I feel less than the beautiful person I am. The big one: I deserve nothing less than the best, most sincere, feel-it-in-your-gut love.
I discovered just how many friends I truly have this year and they've put up with the mania and the pity parties and the broken record affirmations and will have to continue putting up with it for a while yet. Sorry..... I am getting better.
The bigger one: I have so many people in this world who love me. I cannot take that for granted, it is something to be thankful for and mindful of. Relationships take effort and if you don't make the honest effort, you will not be rewarded. Sometimes when I'm feeling lonely and tired and down, I close my eyes and remember that I am loved in this world, that I have love, that I deserve it because I give it out every day. The people in my life are my greatest gift, every one there to help me, guide me, teach me, give me laughter and sometimes feed me. I love you all.



Not pictured, but I love you too!: Bev, Kim, Mark, Danny, Lisa, Alison, and Adriana's mom. And of course Ken, an asshole and I do not love him, but significant.

My one big sticking point is Richard, my heart is still full of the man I wanted him to be. I deeply miss that man; although imaginary, he was lovely. I know he doesn't deserve anything and that he's not that man, I'm just being honest.
Adriana's mom sent along some advice, "Fuck a issa". Says it all, really.

Places

I was miserable, things were coming to a head, I felt trapped and I didn't know what to do. At exactly that moment, a long business trip saved my soul, confirmed my sanity, set me on the path I needed to take even though it was the hardest thing to do. The universe gives you what you need, you have to use it. After that came my new place, another gift from the universe: the right size and location. For the rest of the year I have been exploring, alone and with the kids. I did a lot of hiking, took architectural tours of the city, took a trip to visit friends in Ontario and drank my way through some wineries, went out and spent time with friends, went to concerts, lectures, let myself follow all my interests and indulge in my favorite thing - discovering. I never want it to stop......



Things
I have discovered this year that many things are not important and I have to let go of them. Moving showed me that I don't need a lot of things - I say this even though my house still seems to be bursting with too much stuff. In any case, there were many things that did have a huge place in my life this year: Music - Bach, Vince Guaraldi, Elbow, Tchaikovsky, Bela Fleck, Stevie Wonder, Holly Cole, and anything on my running ipod. Books - too many to count, but certainly Elizabeth Gilbert, Eric Siblin, Stieg Larsson, Jane Austen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jane Jacobs, and Pearl S Buck. Thoughts and ideas, about life, who I am, what I'm doing, happiness, what is fair, what is right, what matters and what does not in my life all came to be very important and I know I overthought everything. There were also new acquisitions: the cursed car, some fabulous shoes, a camera, appliances, and now a sofa. Whether all of these were required is yet to be determined.



Some other categories also come to mind.

Food

This is just a smattering of the food from the year. Next year brings so much more!



Family

The most important part of my life and what has really kept me going is the support of my family and my superfantastic amazingo children. What adventures we will have next year!



What did I say? Long post? I did leave one thing for very last, which perhaps should be first: me.



I love me and will continue to love me more, love my friends and family more, love food, and music, and writing, and discovering, and even the assholes and the disappointments because they are all part of me.
Life is good.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Composure returning to normal, must learn to not pay attention to anything my ex does. It's not worth it.
Big girl pants - ahoy!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Me day

As part of my new Christmas traditions, I think I will create a me day, that is, a day over the holidays where I do nothing but sit around lazily and do stuff I can never justify doing all day. Today my ex picked up the kids to take them to Ottawa and my folks left soon after that, so I had the house to myself. I did not clean, or do laundry, or bake, or cook, or catch up on work. Instead, I sat on the sofa and read, watched dvds, ate a ton of leftover holiday food, started crocheting a robot, and listened to music. I also took a bath and painted my toenails. It was a day of complete and total idleness, the only thing missing was a nap. Too many times I find that I never take the time for me, I think that it's selfish to put me first, or when I do I feel guilty about it and it lessens the joy of the time I am taking. NO MORE! I deserve to stop moving, working, cleaning and whatever else once in a while and I'm doing it! Perhaps I will try to take one day a month and just stop the world. A bit of self-imposed sloth is good for the soul.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Keep in mind I love my dad

There's a famous Twitter feed called Shit My Dad Says, well, this is my version. Every year we go through this, and if I don't laugh, I might cry.

Things my Dad has discovered this Christmas, again.....

  • My stairs are too steep.
  • I have neighbours.
  • I have neighbours and he can hear them, and wonders what they are doing.
  • His incredibly expensive hearing aid only works if he takes it out of his bag and inserts it into his ear (I'm still waiting).
  • The kids talk fast.
  • The tv still functions at volumes under 20.
  • My ipod shuffle. Yes there's music on that little thing, it's not a radio.
  • Boris Karloff is the voice of the Grinch.
  • Lime-flavoured fizzy water.
  • I don't like cranberry sauce.
  • I only get two English tv stations, and I don't care.
  • I read a lot.
  • That temperatures and distances are given in metric.
  • I've always had that mole.
  • I don't need to know the weather, I can look outside and figure it out.
  • The number of electrical outlets in my house (there are not that many).
  • Pomegranates.
  • What I do for a living.
  • Hummus.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day's done

morning

The day is over! It started for me at about 3am when my daughter woke up and came looking for me, banging her head into my bedroom door, closed because her grandparents were sleeping there. She crawled on to the sofa with me, a tight space to say the least, and cuddled into me as I held onto her to keep her from falling off, and she fell back to sleep. I slept fitfully after that of course, but my arm fell asleep, so part of me was well rested at least. Did I mention that she's getting sick and is coughing and a little ball of phlegm? Yup, lucky me......
My son woke up at 7 and ran out to inspect the scene, then ran in to tell the grandfolks. After that we were all up, children were excited, Ben was a bit unimpressed that Santa did not finish all the cookies. Coffee was made, then we all sat around and Ben did an excellent job of handing out gifts. Transformers, princesses, ponies, puzzles, games, clothes, and books were opened and appreciated. I got my winter car mats, although they will have to sit in the stairwell until my car returns from the shop. It was a great morning. After, we walked over singing Christmas songs to Steve's place where he had prepared a brunch and there were more presents from Santa. I left the kids and the folks there for a couple of hours and came home, got changed, and went for a glorious run. My running schedule has been sporadic lately and today was mild and the roads were fairly clear. I got home and put the squash in the oven and sat on the sofa with a novel and a blanket and enjoyed some me time. Then came the clean up, and the dinner prep. The family returned, dinner was completed and served, the kids did not try most of the food on the table, but did very well with dessert. We watched the Grinch, then everyone went to bed, including my folks. I'm about to collapse too. Let's hope there are no nighttime wanderings tonight.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

and to all a good night

herald

It is now the night before Christmas. The sofa arrived first thing this morning, the kids were watching cartoons and we were in our jammies when the men delivered, unwrapped, and attached the legs, leaving a nice place to sit and slushy mud on the floor. The children had it disassembled into cushions on the floor and were hanging off it at funny angles within 20 minutes - how and why kids do this I have NO idea. I had a chance to sit on it for about 15 minutes and it seems just fine. The rest of my day was spent tidying and prepping salads and such. The folks arrived and by the time they got upstairs already seemed like they'd run a marathon. Coffee was prepared, sandwiches were made. The kids were out of their heads with excitement. They wanted to show Grandma and Poppy everything! My mom helped the kids make little graham cracker houses and decorate them. The kids decided to have a storytelling session in Ben's room with a lantern. They took turns making up stories, combinations of super heroes, spongebob, princesses, and curiously, Peter and the Wolf. After supper there were baths and then Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, my all-time favorite. My folks stayed up for a while, but now they've gone to bed and I have the livingroom to myself, enjoying the Vince Guaraldi on the stereo, the nightcap, the pretty lights on the tree, and sneaking some of Santa's cookies.
I have lots more to say about the year, and I will, but right now let me just say to the three people who read this with any regularity, Merry Christmas. I hope that you are enjoying the spirit of the holiday, taking the time to smile and laugh with a neighbour, share some food with friends, hug your family, love this incredible life and hold it close. This moment, sitting here, taking in the scene, complete with messy house, is still so sweet. I have everything I need.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twas the day before the day before Christmas

Project Christmas My Way is so far pretty smooth. I just finished some baking this morning so that I could put together the daycare Christmas goodie packages for all the ladies. They look forward to my baking all year, bless their hearts. All the bags are done - phew!
Ben is with me today, so we played for a bit this morning and then ran out to do groceries, mail Christmas cards, and buy some coffee. Anthony at the coffeeshop made Ben a special vanilla drink when he offered Ben hot chocolate and Ben told him he only liked vanilla. Is there anything dreamier than a man who can make the perfect coffee AND concocts the perfect drink for your son? I have a little crush now ;-)
The only thing not ready is the house, it is a disorganized mess. The kitchen especially looks like I emptied all the cupboards on the counters and then sprinkled the lot with flour. Tomorrow the morning will be spent trying to tidy up so that my new sofa can be delivered without incident and my folks aren't tripping over transformers, shoes, and Disney princesses.
Last night I wrapped presents and started watching True Blood, a vampire series that Steve loaned me. I really like it so far, it's quirky, it's funny, it's oddly acted.
Ok, so the car. It's bad, several thousand dollars bad. I was coming up to an intersection, the light turned yellow, the guy in front of me didn't slow, so I thought he was going for it, then he changed his mind. I slammed on my brakes when he stopped fairly suddenly, but slid into him at a pretty fast clip. The front of the car crumpled, emergency vehicles arrived, luckily I was alone and the guy was alone and neither of us was hurt in any way that required the ambulance. My car was not drivable, so was towed to my bodyshop and I have a loaner until they can repair it. I'm still a bit sore and feeling dumb. Honestly, what was my hurry? The universe is telling me to slow down, I have to try to learn this lesson. I have all the time in the world.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And then I wrecked the car......

Sing it loud

Oh no, she got my singing voice.....at least you can hear her.....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mind, matter

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -Dr. Seuss

I love this quote because it sums up, and at the same time excuses, my life.
Sums up because I am an open, sincere person who blurts out her feelings and has a "life's too short" attitude; excuses because sometimes I make mistakes and I'd like to believe that the true people in my life are the people who are still around after I express myself, when I implode, and when I really need them.

For a while I stopped being this person. I've learned the importance of saying what I feel the hard way, a way that ended up being a lesson for more than me. It's hard to say what you feel sometimes when you think that your truth will hurt others. It's difficult for people like me, overly sensitive to others, to realise that I'm not doing anyone any favours by holding my tongue. When I have stopped telling people how I feel, my relationships with those people have died. You have to be able to say anything to the people you love and know that they will always be there for you, not turn away. It takes a lot of courage sometimes to take that leap of faith. I have a very good friend who I have confided in over the years who has never minded anything I have said. It's strange because in many ways we are not close, but I know that I can look this person in the eye and say anything with complete faith that this person will be there the next day. That is a person who matters. I want to be a friend like that.
I am resolved to say what I feel now, no matter what, and it has brought me some upset recently. A friendship failed and I failed to judge the sincerity of the friend. I said exactly what I felt, I was completely honest, but in the end it was with a person who didn't matter. I guess I'm a little wiser for it, and I know now that I still have the capacity to forgive and move on.
I'll be the person who matters from now on.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Give me something sweet

biscotti

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love baking. It started with cookies, chocolate chip cookies to be precise. When I was a kid I went on the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and I made batch after batch with different recipes and different chips until I found a combination that I loved. I drooled over Kitchenaid mixers like some people drool over sports cars, and for my bridal shower my friends all chipped in and got me one. It is the most beautiful appliance ever. I like eating what I bake, but to tell the truth I don't actually eat that much of it; the pleasure for me is watching other people enjoy it, giving it away and watching people smile and eat. For many people baking is like a lost art, they think that making a batch of cookies or baking a cake is almost impossible or it takes too much time (it really doesn't). I think that it goes beyond the fact that it tastes one hundred times better. You are offering people love when you give food, something that you took the time to prepare, something you planned and made the effort to create for them. That is what is so amazing about the gesture.

But really people, it's just a cookie :-)

cookies

So this weekend I made up some Christmas cookie doughs and headed over to Lysanne's place for cookiepalooza. I brought gingerbread, spice, and cinnamon sugar, she made up a batch of pistachio cranberry biscotti and these moist molasses cookies that were divine and kinda healthy, and we baked all afternoon and each got some of the other's goods.

biscotti

I still have much more baking to do, but it was a great start and it's so much fun getting together with a friend and sharing a laugh and some recipes.
The kids still have to help me with some gingerbread too, it's my favorite part of the holidays. They love to roll the dough and cut out the shapes and decorate, and then eat - love in every delicious bite.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ok, I have got to get over myself.......

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My thoughts exactly

Career advice from Charlie Hoehn:

"Therein lies the best career advice I could possibly dispense: just DO things. Chase after the things that interest you and make you happy. Stop acting like you have a set path, because you don’t. No one does. You shouldn’t be trying to check off the boxes of life; they aren’t real and they were created by other people, not you. There is no explicit path I’m following, and I’m not walking in anyone else’s footsteps. I’m making it up as I go."

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Trying to be positive, trying only to let the good things in, but sometimes it's hard trying to figure out what the good thing is at this moment. It'll come to me in time....
Until then, the other good things:
My kids seem to have survived a long car trip in good spirits.
I have finished making a toy airplane for Ben for Christmas.
I got some baking done. My yeast died, so no stollen, but there's now fudge and crackle, and tomorrow - cookies!
I recovered something I lost.
Tomorrow looks like it will be warm enough for an outdoor run.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Big dig 1

It has not been the greatest week. My most pressing concern, which has put a few things in perspective, is my kids. We had our first big dump of snow and it's been a joy watching the kids relish in hiking through it, laying in it, and eating it and embracing the snow pants. They've gone a bit Christmas insane, decorating, talking about Santa, singing the carols they're learning for their pageants. When I've had a crap day it's the best thing in the world to see the magic in their eyes.
I've needed my friends again like crazy this week and they have once again delivered. I promise them that one day I will be there for them as much as they have been there for me, reminding me that I'm an awesome, huge-hearted, creative, beautiful gal with a great sense of humour and great gams :-)
So first snow has come and now the clean up begins, clearing it up, regaining the spaces taken up with the chaos of snowbanks and buried cars. The city is returning to normal, I'm returning to normal, a bit more exhausted from the shovelling out.

My favorite elves

Christmas tree

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

CSI: My Livingroom

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every living room must be in want of a sofa. When I moved a friend of mine told me I could have her old living room set, but that fell through for various reasons, and I've been getting by with a chair and the window seat. I don't sit in there often, I rarely watch tv and most of the time I'm working in the dining room or the kitchen. My kids share the chair, or more often, and I have started doing this myself, sit on the coffee table. It is a large, sturdy table built by my dad, and it's quite comfy. But with Christmas coming up, and my folks coming into town, and people visiting, I figured that it might be time to break down and buy something more substantial to entertain. So two weeks ago I dragged a girlfriend to the furniture store (she was a very good sport about it and provided some needed wisdom) to browse and sit. We were amazed at all the comfy looking furniture that just wasn't. The salesman suggested that I go home with all the measurements from various pieces and draw them out on the floor with masking tape to get an idea of what would fit properly. I went home and did this and decided on a condo sofa and matching ottoman. I left the tape on the floor, and the funny upshot is that when people come in it's a bit like a bizarre couch crime scene. You keep expecting that red-headed guy to come in, take off his sun glasses, and say something not-so-witty.
So the sofa is ordered and should arrive the night before Christmas - ho ho ho!!!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Weekend recap

The closing concert was fantastic! The musicians were a lively, animated group and it was fun seeing them enjoy playing so much. The basilica was an amazing venue, just looking at the ceiling is an experience. Old Montreal is so beautiful right now. The only thing missing is some snow on the ground (note: we got a dusting overnight) the lights are wonderful, I live in a beautiful city.
My kids are completely in the Christmas craze. They kept asking to do the tree, but I'm holding out for another week. We did make some decorations though, and we'll have to start baking.
I also made it out to a store this weekend and bought a new winter coat. My old one was about four sizes too large and in need of replacement. I got a knee-length down puffy thing with a hood that should keep me toasty. I'll keep the big orange monster for goofing around with the kiddies at the park.
More snow is falling, I think winter is finally committed to happening. I have a feeling I'm going to start missing my car starter soon.......

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Perfect random mornings

Breakfast is done, kids are entertained, I am coffee'd, sun is shining.
Simple things, appreciating the uneventful. With all the things going on in my brain, it's nice to have pockets of nothing.
I finished the big project from last week on time, tonight I am going to the closing concert of the Bach festival at Notre Dame. I've never been to a concert there and I'm really looking forward to it.
I had a very nice dream last night. I won't go into details, but I think it was more of a hope, and realising that my subconscious is hoping is a very good thing. As I think we all know, there has been a lot of lingering doubt in my mind for awhile. That doubt has been slowly dissipating, clearing out of parts of my life in a chain reaction. I have time to do it all, and all the time in the world to get some things right in my life.
The smell of pine trees is making me smile lately. I think I could get used to Christmas tradition.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Living up to expectations

I did a nice thing yesterday for a friend. Sometimes we forget it's not all about us, sometimes we forget that everyone has failings and needs to be forgiven, sometimes we forget that everyone needs. We all deserve compassion and understanding and when you put your pride down for a moment and reach out and help, you make a bigger difference than you realise. In the end, I think that I got back more than I gave. I'm really happy right now.