Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunshine on my Table

Sunshine on my table

I had a really nice visit with my folks last night. We stayed up too late and probably drank too much, but aren't suffering as much as we could have been. As is my wont, problems of the world were tackled. We don't necessarily solve them, but we bond and make our worlds better because of it. The rough mornings that sometimes follow late night ramblings are accepted as penance for over-imbibing, but I would not change them. A strong bond is forged in love and understanding. We make mistakes. We walk paths that are strewn with the debris of life's challenges. Together we hold hands and look at the path and make peace with the journey. We recognize that it is not always easy. Time gives insight. Family is there. Their role changes with time's passing. They will be family forever. Today their beauty is in friendship.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


   My kids are clean and fed. Flowers decorate my table. Stories are being told to hopefully sleepy kiddies. I am sitting sipping wine. In the kitchen. No hand in putting children to bed. Or truly in feeding them. Certainly didn't bath them.

I love my Mom! :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Give me a break

   The spectre of that evil monster, that icky trickster, the dreaded and ever lurking COLD has struck again. Yes, a cold has descended upon our house. This is not new, as last weekend I was snuffling and snortelling. My kleenex box has not gone far from my side this week. In fact I have blown through a box or two in various rooms of my house. I even had a friend bring me some back-up packs when we went for coffee earlier in the week. Still, I soldier on. A little eucalyptus oil rubbed into the chest and perhaps a night cap to seal the deal. Good to go. My cold hasn't slowed me down. I can tick off book club, yoga, drum circle, shopping, swimming lessons, laundry and of course house cleaning to my list of activities of the week.
   Now I sit in between loads of ever-present laundry, despairing of being stopped in my tracks. Yup, I drew the line. I can push me as much as I want, but I managed to infect the darling angels under my roof as well. Bad Mommy. That has been the chant around here the last few days from my eldest. "Bad Mommy! Bad Mommy!" has resonated off my flittering frame. She is lucky that my skin has thickened up over the last little while. Even if it is in jest (or perhaps not?), a short time ago this would have had me headed to the kleenex box, but not for the cold I suffer through this week. The tenderness and loving kindnesses I have allowed myself and accepted from others has changed my outlook. I might still have my days (I am a single parent of two under 5 years. Give me a break!), but I try to add more smiles than tears to their plates. So this morning I debated again whether I would pack myself and the girls into the van and head State-side to visit friends. I really wanted to visit, but had a confab with Brad and decided that it was probably better to let the girls have a low-key day. After their busy week, they needed some down-time too. Nothing like enjoying your own space and walking at your own pace versus plunking into the van for a 3-hour tour, trekking across the border and then racing after bigger kids all weekend. It takes enough out of us on a good day. We are not on our a-game, so why push it? So we are planning on pizza and movies tonight and are making up for it with a visit from grandma tomorrow. Hopefully good vibes will bring good germs back our way. And for now another load of laundry calls...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Winter winds

   Alas, No windows today. The wind is howling and it is darn cold. My guy did not want the windows to crack and I don't really want to have big gaping openings as he maneuvers windows in place. Yes David, I have broken down and admitted there is something I cannot do. I cannot install windows. In truth, I do not want to install windows. I am super-Mom extraordinaire, but I have to put my foot down somewhere. So, no windows for me. Actually, I even cheated and had a friend install one of the light fixtures I bought. Again, something I have never done, but have seen done so many times I feel I could do it successfully. I told someone that asked me how I know how to do all my little projects (ie. mudding, sanding, etc.) and my answer was osmosis. When you play assistant time and time again, you really do pick up most of the tricks. It just requires one extra little thing called confidence. Or maybe obstinance? Stubbornness? Hmm, ah, we will give me the benefit of the doubt and just call it a sense of safety. Still hold a good wallop of fear over electricity, engines and most power tools. I am willing to push my envelope though. I try.
   So, since I am released from window detail today, I should probably pick up another task. I did some grocery shopping and need to cut some roasts up to put in the freezer. Also bought a colourful organizer cart for the girls for their arts and crafts. Some assembly required. And I also picked up anchors finally. No excuse now not to finish hanging the last of the living room paraphernalia. Off I go then. Bye!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


   A self-indulgence kind of day. Really more like week. Since hanging my paint brush up, I have not done a thing. Barely even accomplished groceries (dire straights on the weekend as we ran out of milk!). This morning I went out for coffee with a friend and if anyone has ever done coffee with me before, you know it takes a while! The coffee is the excuse, but the conversation is the key. I really do love my coffee. Such wonderful thoughts drift through my head and the air in a coffee shop. Can you blame it on the brew? Probably not, but it could help with its warmth and caffeine to wake up the brain. Set it on a new level. Yup, I like it.
   I follow my coffee date with more me time this aft. Embrace me in the warmth of an ohm at my weekly yoga class. I don't know what I would have done without it over the years. Stands me up, bends me over and makes life flow again. I walk out taller on most days. ahh. The day will wind down with a newer monthly activity; drumming. This is a surprising activity that I have fallen in love with as well. Meditation on the skin of a drum and the edge of singing bowl. Shake away all the shadows with rain sticks and maracas (well shakers of one sort or another). Drift me out and make me smile.
   So I have peace on today. My day of me. I am trying to just be plain old happy about it. No guilt parades allowed! Leave your shoulds at the door. Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow I get windows.

morning thoughts

Snow flies outside my window
  (cover all the winter uglies)
Mama earth is taking winter back!
 drive carefully my pretties
   My lovelies
For raindrops from days past
  will catch you
    and send you
       for unwanted rides....

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Gift

I have oceans surrounding me
   on my pillows.
Salty hair catching
   love thoughts from cheeks
Beautiful shadows
pass briefly through
day dreams

   I am living.
   I have lived.
   They are gone...

If I blink,
will I miss them?
Thoughts and cares
   given and gone.
Do I value enough?
Have I cherished enough?
Every tear drop
   a gift from yesterday's song

A passing gives us stop.
The stop offers a dawn
For all the crushing waves
   light flickers
Even dark
  a dark of nowhere
The dark is not complete
  sparkle, fizzle, sputter
Somewhere a gray dawn

A hand emerges
Accepting, offering
My unasked for gift.
A screamed for need
Silent eyes begging for mercy
  And you were there.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Happens, flows

Does it matter what we learn?
We all die.

Spirits exist
I know that.
I know that.
I know that.

Hug. Smile

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Too Many Sorrows

   Tomorrow night I meet with the ladies from my book club. This is a relatively new experience for me. I have never been a member of a book club before. In fact there are very few clubs I have really belonged to at all. Oh sure, when I was a kid I took swimming lessons, joined brownies and was on a baseball team, but there are not too terribly many groups I have joined as an adult. As I am really much more social now, I suppose this is a bit of a shame. I have been a product of my generation  and perhaps pushed by the time period of my life. Who has time to think of me or I, when there are babies and young children that are needing one's attention.  Not to mention the challenges of a life threatening disease descended upon one's household. Certainly no time for me, but I am slowly working on that. Not that I have put my children out on the street or even find myself out living the high life every night. Far from it, but I have carved out a few niches just for me. No "Mommies" allowed (although most of us have children). Just women with the common interest of books and companionship. It is very refreshing. It also helps that nibblies and bevvies are offered as well. One can never get too highbrow for yummy nibbly bits.

   So tomorrow we shall be discussing a book by Alice Munro entitled "Too Much Happiness". I did review the first story in the book a while back in my blog. It peeked my interest. I have to say though that the rest of the book left me feeling a little dark. I have not read many of Alice Munro's previous books. Truth be told, I can only say that I remember having read one other book of hers, but can not truly remember much aside from that it was also a collection of short stories. The present  book was the winner of the 2009 Man Booked International Prize. That means it must be good, right?  Well, I am not sure, but I am intrigued to hear the critiques tomorrow evening.

   "Too Much Happiness"  is a collection of ten stories that in my opinion are all on the dark side. While the opening story "Dimension" holds a glimmer of hope for rebirth, this feeling does not necessarily carry through the rest of the stories. The stories are generally told from a first person's perspective, mostly from that of a woman (aside from Face and Wood). Many of the characters have lived through great personal struggles (death- Dimensions, Deep Holes & Free Radicals, divorce - Fiction, disfigurement - Face). While sometimes there is closure for the character at the end of the story (Marlene finally faces a childhood tragedy in Child's Play, Sophia has all her heart's desires about to come true in Too Much Happiness) more often they are left with more questions (why did this all happen in Wenlock's Edge, what direction is life headed next in Wood). There is  personal struggle abounding in the stories on these pages, many that are life changing (Sally discovers that after the loss of her husband and estrangement from her son, she can begin again in Deep Holes), some that are just recounted as a blip in time (a woman recounts working for a dying man in her youth and the intricacies of human relationships that unfold that summer in Some Women). What I find lacking is any excuse to smile. I do not always need a happy ending or humour abounding, but life is not all tragedy and gloom. Someone asked me if I felt the title pulled the stories together. Interesting thought, but happiness is not illustrated in any of these people's lives. They are all serious and not really asking for our sympathies. They certainly do not want to share any joys. In a word, I feel the book could be titled differently. "Too Many Sorrows", speaks more volumes in my books. Of course I did not write the book and I am not receiving the royalties from it. So hey, what do I know?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sniff... oh whoa is me...sniff

After all the renos have been done and now I can stop to relax, guess what? I have crashed. My eldest suggested  that I should have taken more breaks. She is so smart sometimes. Alas, I did not, knowing that the longer I took to complete said project, the longer I had to deal with the chaos in my living room. So now the living room is complete, but I have a cold. Lovely. Sniffle... A pile of Kleenexes sit beside me and I have been slathering on chapstick, as I was a bit of a mouth breather last night. Pretty picture, I know. So I am going to regale you with something a friend posted on her blog. Here we go...

1. What is your current obsession?
just coming out of a renovation obsession :) Other than that, it is blogland

2. What are you wearing today?
jeans and a comfy red striped hooded sweater. Not feeling overly glamorous today sniffle

3. What’s for dinner?
it was supposed to be the Mandarin for a bday dinner, but I think I have been bumped for being a contaminated soul :(

4. What’s the last thing you bought?
 a birthday present for Miss Ella's birthday - No, wait! gas and a car wash! Gotta love car washes. they are fun!!

5. What are you listening to right now?
I can faintly hear Treehouse from the basement - perhaps Dora?

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?
she has a great sense of humour and needs to believe in herself more. I do!

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
I kind of like my neighbourhood right now, as my neighbours are absolutely wonderful, but I wish we were closer to the ocean or some other large body of water

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?
sandals and tank tops

9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
South Africa to go visit with relatives and soak up some sun

10. Which language do you want to learn?
hmm, maybe Spanish or a little more french

11. What’s your favourite quote?
I don't really have a favourite quote, but loving kindness is pretty special. How about a metta meditation;
   May I be filled with loving kindness
   May I be peaceful and at ease
   May I be safe from inner and outer harm
   May I be happy, joyfully caring for myself and others

12. Who do you want to meet right now?
the Buckley's man or Fisherman's friend dude

13. What is your favourite colour?
I love red (burgundy really), but also try to appreciate other colours for their strengths (blue -cooling, peace; green - healing; white -peace, healing; purple - higher consciousness)

14. Give us 3 styling tips that work for you.
-get a hairstyle that fits your lifestyle and the time that you are willing to offer it (kid friendly!)
-dress to make yourself feel good about yourself. When you feel happy and confident, others will see that too
-ummh round brush?

15. What is your dream job?
Tempting to steal This is an easy one! A writer. yup, gonna do it

16. What’s your favorite magazine?
err I get National Geographic and used to get Martha Stewart Living (which I really liked, but don't tell my aunt), but I also like Yoga

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?
me :), probably not, but I can dream about lobster, king crab....mmmm

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?
nasty track pants

19. Who according to you is the most over-rated style icon?
don't follow style icons really

20. What kind of haircut do you prefer?
short, edgy, trying not to be to Mommy-ish

21. What are you going to do after this?
maybe see what kind of mess the kids have created in the basement

22. What are your favourite movies?
don't really have a favourite -like PS I Love You & Lord of the Ring Trilogies

23. What inspires you?
friends, my kids

24. What do your friends call you most commonly?
not Mommy blissfully...

25. Would you prefer coffee or tea?
coffee usually, but this morning I had an herbal tea for my sniffles (am I milking it yet?)

26. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?
write, cry, go for walks near running water if I can find it

27. What makes you go wild?
can't think the last time I went wild

28. Which other blogs do you love visiting? - for reality -for pics - for laughs - for crafts

29. Favorite Dessert/Sweet?
I love pie. Any kind of pie. I LOVE pie

30. How many tabs are turned on in your browser right now?
three at present

31. Favorite Season?
probably summer, as I can go swimming then (and gardening)

32. If I come to your house now, what would u cook for me?
soup, maybe Mr Noodles :) feeling the need for comfort food

33. What is the right way to avoid people who purposefully hurt you?
try to not see them in your daily life I suppose

34. What are you afraid of the most?
Have to second the notion here;
Something bad happening to one of my kids.

35. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
yup, cracked dry lips. Definitely a mouth breather last night. sigh...

36. What brings a smile on your face instantly?
hugs, especially from my girls

37. A word that you say a lot?
"Eat!", "Stop!"

38. What would you do if you were made President for one day?
I have enough problems being Lord and Master of my house let alone having the responsibility of a country

39. What is that one thing that keeps you going?
My children wake me up in the morning and put a smile on my face when I kiss them to bed at night. Everything in between is just to get me to these points

40. What word drives you crazy when you hear it?
"help" - Not because I mind helping, but when there is no effort put into something on their own behalf.

And now I have a little girl who has been very patient and wants to play a game on the computer. So, consider yourself tagged! Please take a stab at these questions on your own blog. Post a comment letting me know if you do, I'll want to come and see how your answers compare to mine!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Project Friday

So, I lied. There was more painting to be done.

This time I pulled out the big guns though.

I am not messing around this time. It is time to call in the professionals. They work cheap (Bear Paws and juice boxes). I will let you know how it turns out. Not sure how fast they work. If they are anything like their Mother, it may take a while...


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sing a Song of Thursday

I've got blue skies
on a wintry day!
When it's cold outside
pushing a vacuum warms me up, I'd say...

Yes, I'd say on Thursday
that a clean house
is more welcome for play.

So mopping, mopping, mopping
Is what I'll do today.
Yeah mopping, mopping, mopping
May the floors come clean, I pray!

Laundry spins
and toys have been put away
lunch is gone,
but yet  at the table I stay
I don't want to do it,
but the floor is embarrassingly gray.

So mopping, mopping, mopping
Is what I'll do today.
Yeah mopping, mopping, mopping
May the floors come clean, I pray!

Ohhh, mopping, mopping, mopping!
Lord my nerves they fray,
but mopping, mopping, mopping
Needs to be done, so good day...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January Sun

Sunny days
Few and far between.
Catch the fleeting rays
   When they are to be seen

Cold, frosty breath
Icicles trace timelines
Winter at its finest
   Glittering  against crystal blue skylines

The warmth is in the heart
Sun drops tipping heads up
Surrender a widening smile
   To the bottom of the coffee cup

The faces walking by
Do they feel the sun's kiss?
Embrace the best of the season!
   Can we tell it is something we miss?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Put your paintbrushes down
Slowly, slowly. That's it.

It is done.

That's right. You heard me. The last coat of paint is drying on the bay window. The brushes and rollers are downstairs washed and drying. And I don't even have to go flying out the door to pick up the kids and deliver them to a wet world. AMAZING. To be fair the room has not yet been put back together, but OMG the paint cans are GONE!! I have even hung a couple of pictures. I haven't tried my hand at the electrical yet, but I thought I would share (just in case that step goes badly). AHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

J & G: part IV

This old man sits staring through damaged eyes. How many years ago did he become old? Was it yesterday that this body had these wrinkles? When did these scars appear? By whose hand? Mine? Oh. Yes, it all comes back to me.

The scars on the surface are minor. They mask the scars that still throb on the inside. They are old and often forgotten, but not gone. A flip of the hand in a certain way brings back flashes. The flashes will never fade. Old eyes still look into a boy’s soul. Can I ever have been so young? Could I ever have been so vulnerable? Yes. Sadly, yes. A lifetime of running and searching. Running from a nightmare that will never end. The nightmare that started so many years ago, by a man that has walked the spirit world many years himself. Such power in such awful acts. Uncaring acts that leave the search for peace an odyssey with no horizon in sight. Absolution for an unasked for violation. That is what is sought.

Monday, January 18, 2010

What You Can do to Help

    Last night I was chatting with a friend of mine on Facebook. She knows that we battled cancer in our household and asked if she could ask me a question. "Question away", I said. Well she had a friend who had been recently diagnosed with cancer and was in the beginning throes of the chaos that a cancer diagnosis brings. I am a member of Wellspring and often spout the benefits that I have reaped from this wonderful place. If you have never heard of it, it is a cancer support centre that offers emotional support to those in need. It offers many programs to its members and is free to anyone who has cancer, is a caregiver or friend of someone dealing with cancer. They have been a lifeline to me in my journey the last few years. She was asking me about what exactly they offer and what I knew about children's programs for families dealing with cancer. Ultimately what she wanted to know was "how can I help?". She, like so many others, is afraid of saying something wrong. The unfortunate part of that is that often people just back up and leave you alone, for fear of making you upset. That, in my opinion, is exactly the wrong thing to do. Imagine yourself being faced with a life changing/challenging/threatening disease and having surgery/chemotherapy/radiation thrown at you in a short period of time. Once diagnosis has been made, speed is of the essence and there is no time to sit back and analyse what this means to you and how you feel about it. Seemingly the rest of your life is asked to be put on hold, so that you can tackle the disease. This can become your life. Everything else takes a back seat. It is different and scary and makes you feel alone. This is not a time when you want people to abandon you. You may not be able to fix the problem that is rearing its ugly head, but you can still do something.  I wanted to share the chat I had last night, but unfortunately  lost it. Then I remembered that many moons ago I pondered what was beneficial for me when I was going through the crisis of cancer. I thought I would share those thoughts with you here. Make of them what you will and take whatever you need to;

What You Can do to Help

  • Listen

  • Offer hugs, compassion, empathy

  • Food

    • it is the last thing one worries about when dealing with a crisis, but important

  • Shovel snow

  • Cut grass

  • Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if they seem odd or dumb
    • it is my life however chaotic and your interest is better than pretending nothing is going on and nothing is wrong (EVERYTHING is WRONG!)
  • Help with babysitting if appropriate or visit with the sick person so the caregiver can get a break
  • Keep calling and keep offering
    • some days I am stronger than others and some days I might need more than I've got
  • Offer to go to doctor appointments, so the caregiver can get a break
  • Offer help with picking up medication, groceries or going to a class together (ex. yoga, meditation), even doing the laundry might help
  • Make some days "normal" just by visiting, going for coffee or a drink
    • normal is gone, but stability is desperately sought after
I then highlighted in my little book important people to me and why they had been important. I guess it won't hurt to share that either.

My Important People were
  • Cris (close girlfriend with children similar age)  - babysitting, playdates (normal), talking about anything, asking questions, Hugs
  • Kerry (out-of-town sister)  - daily phone calls and love, listening, visits during crisis with meal making
  • Mom (out-of-town) - empathy, love, offering personal insights from her experience (my Father also died from cancer when she had two girls under 5 years of age), regular visits, presence during crisis, meals, laundry, "normal" phone calls
  • Carole (yoga teacher and cancer survivor) - asking questions, empathy, sharing personal experiences
  • John (friend) - help with painting, listening, offering love
  • Jim (husband's co-worker and friend) - regular calls and visits, help with household projects, smiles, love
  • Neighbours - friendly smiles, encouragement, help with house maintenance (raking leaves, snow shovelling, coffee/drinks)
  • Wellspring - listening, sharing experiences, hugs, safe spot to cry, remind me of loving kindness to self
  • Daycare - child minding, help in crisis, listening
This list is not comprehensive, but is what struck me at the time. Some of these people were helpful before and/or after Brad died. I share just to give examples of what might help. I also thought this might be more interesting than my fair of the last week. Be well my friends.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Finished product...

Unfinished product...

Ugh. It won't end. Led to chinese restaurant for dinner. Good, as I have been nothing but grumpy. I figured it was the one nice thing I could do for the girls today.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Exhausted fingers bang out a feeble attempt at a blog post - Day 6 in Reno Land

   I am exhausted. It is 9:05 as I write this and I think I might just go to bed when I finish my post. I have no witticisms tonight. I continued on my quest to redo my living room. The girls and I went to buy more paint this morning and also picked up two new light fixtures for the front door and hallway. We returned home for lunch and when they went down for nap, I grudgingly picked up a paint brush again. Today's task was trim. I suppose I only started around one this afternoon, but I kept at it till dinner. Even then, I only stopped long enough to eat my gourmet chicken pie and noodles and sauce, then pushed myself back to the task at hand. By just before bedtime all the crown mold and baseboard was painted, as well as all the trim around doorways. Perhaps I just work slow, but alas I did not get the doors painted (there are 7 of them). Also, I need to put a second coat of paint on the half wall at the front door and sand the bay window. Of course once the bay window is sanded, it too will need to see paint. Tonight I just don't care anymore though. I did manage to swiffer a little bit of the floor and dust the wine rack, cabinet and end table. They were put back into place. The vacuum needs to make an appearance though before too much more can be moved back into place. I cannot lift another finger though tonight. I give up. And as for tomorrow? On the seven day after creating my world, I shall rest. I promised the girls we would do something fun. They have put up with a lot while I have been busy transforming our world. Either outside play (skating, snowmen?) or a play space of some kind is in order. Monday is another day...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 5 - Will it Ever End?

   Ok, I am feeling tired. It is shortly after 4:00 PM and I have knocked off for the day. While I have to admit my living room looks heaps better, I just want it done now! Perhaps a cocktail will perk me up?

   There, that's better! Now where was I? Sip my daiquiri, ahh "turn me loose, turn me loose, turn me loose. I gotta do it my way!" That is what I am doing. Painting my way! I have been listening to to BOB FM this week to keep me company while the work slogs along. Their motto is 80s, 90s and whatever. It amuses me if nothing else (Foreigner, Gowan, Nickleback, Prince, U2 - pretty eclectic). It also helps to give background noise to my brain as it drifts along on the paint fumes. I have attempted conversations on the phone, but find it difficult to stick my tongue out of the side of my mouth, wield a paint brush and think up articulate thoughts in response to friends. Nope, BOB is the perfect background fluff to the single-minded determination to transform my world. If I can convince the girls to let me paint one more day, tomorrow will be even more pertinent to have no distractions. Tomorrow is the hardest day of them all. Tomorrow I have to paint trim. I dread it. Thus far, everything is pretty forgiving. Once I begin the trim though, it is precision work. I am not so good at precision. In words yes, but take away my thesaurus and the world is just good enough. I must try to keep a steady hand. phhauuuughhh. Yuck. I sense the expletives already. I am just about there though. I will persevere and perhaps look forward to a world without paint in it for a moment or two (my bedroom is still on the list of rooms to paint. Colour is picked. Last room to paint). For today,  I close  my dear readers with picks of my progress. Hopefully tomorrow I will step in to the world of cleaning and putting my world back together. That is another days project though.

Be well.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting there - Day 4

   So I figured I would inundate you with more gory details of my week's progress. I managed to get out and buy another gallon of paint this morning, as well as supplies for dinner this evening. I returned home with all my purchases, bent my head to the floor, took a deep breath and picked up the paint brush. It began. I edged everything, blotting out the peach from my world. I rolled the edger around and around, but also wielded the paint brush into corners it could not reach or precision areas around the ceiling. I just painted the ceiling yesterday and damned if I wanted to do that again! Careful, careful and around we go! Amazingly, I finally met up with the beginning. I put the paint brush down and turned to my next weapon of choice; the roller.Ah, a beautiful thing that just seems to make work go quicker. Slip roller into tray, saturate roller with paint, whisk roller to a new spot on the wall and continue. Roll, roll, roll. The radio occasionally rhymed off the hour and I half-hazardly noted the minutes disappearing in my day.
   "Must keep rolling", I advised myself. "I will feed you when we are done.(if there is any edible food in the fridge)."
   What a slave driver! I reached the end of the room and the end of the can of paint at miraculously the same time. Oh joy, oh bliss the can covered it! Even better, I could eat! No rest yet though. I had 45 minutes to eat, make dinner, clean the bathroom and somewhat mop the floors. I slapped together a mediocre sandwich of cheese, pickles and lettuce (home-made pickles don't you know!) and ate it while I dumped beef into a pot. Chili was on the menu for the adults and the children were to dine on gourmet hot dogs. Yum. When the onions and tomatoes sizzled and simmered I retreated to the bathroom. I cannot stand a dirty bathroom and the dust was killing me! So, while occasionally popping out to stir the chili pot and through in a spice or two, I whicked away the offending drywall dust that had accumulated everywhere. With the bathroom more sparkly, I tasted the chili, added more chili powder and pulled out my swiffer wet jet. I feel silly for even owning one of these new fangled fad-things, but it did the trick in the hallway. I only managed to unearth the original wood in the hallway and add more spices to the chili pot before it was time to go. The kid's daycare was closing early, so It would all just have to do. Here is what you have been missing.

So far I have one coat of paint throughout, but another coat is yet to be done. If I could finish there I would be thrilled, but alas, there is much trim to paint. Baseboard, crown mold and a bay window need freshening up before I can call this little project near to done. What else could I possibly have to do, you ask? Just the last ugly task that will probably just about kill me. Yes, to clean. Lord, I wish I was a better house wife, but I hate to clean. Bathrooms are an exception, but the rest of my house challenges me. At present there is a nice fat coating of dust on just about everything. The floor is the easy part. I tried to be smart and move plants to safer climes, but there are a few that I could write my initials on at present. If I can keep my momentum going, it will be a wonderful, deliriously happy day that I will be able to celebrate, but I also know me too well. I seem to have a knack of not quite finishing projects (note: my basement renovations from last year were immaculate and done, but for the runner on the stairs, that never got purchased, let alone installed ...sigh) Please let this project wind up smoothly and completely done. Please, please and soon! I know that my will will fade before I can blink and I dread another unfinished mess. so to paint again I go... tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Change of plans for Day 3

There might be a slight change in final deadline in my present project. My littlest girl was up last night throwing up. Once just after bedtime and then again at 5:30 AM. She was fine this morning, but banned from daycare for the day. Alas, alack-a-day, what can I say? I still managed to clean the walls this morning, in between setting up craft projects. We just had macaroni and cheese (her absolute favourite). When she goes down for nap, I will paint the ceiling. I don't anticipate the walls will see paint today now. Hopefully tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mud wars

I have taken a break for lunch. My living room looks like a mud bomb went off there. It is absolutely, insanely covered in blick mud. I am going to embarrass myself by showing you the work in progress.

This is what my living room wall looks like at the break.

   This is all fine and dandy, but the next step is going to be infinitely worse. Once all this skim coat is dry I have to sand everything. Now we are talking serious mess. uuhhhh...
   Ok, I have to go and get some old sheets to drape over everything that is still in the living room. See ya later! When you see me next I am sure I will be looking like Casper the ghost, but I will be one step closer to paint. Gotta go...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Step 1: Ugly wallpaper gone

Oh my GOD! What have I done? This is going to be SOOooooo much work! Ackk.
What pray tell am I talking about? This...

And this...

And even down here...

   Renovations begin again. The wallpaper is gone thanks to help for my good friend Nancy, but the work is just beginning. The wallpaper peeled off a good chunk of paint with it, thankfully taking the backing with it, but jeez! Now I have to sand the walls! The mirror that had been at the end of the wall was about fifty million pounds (give or take), therefore absolutely monstrous plugs were used to hold it up. They came out easy enough, but I am going to be playing in mud for a while before I can even think about paint. A little TSP has been suggested as well, as I should clean the walls (step 4 in case you were counting- Oh you're not? Well I am!). Finally I will get a chance to wield a paint brush and roller, when the ceiling gets slathered. Then, finally then, the walls will see some colour (I bought paint that has primer in it, so at least that is one step I get to skip - I'll let you know how it turns out if you are interested.). Hopefully the colour I have chosen works out or else I will be back to the paint store to stare at the wall of paint chips for another hour. The colour I chose was Sand Fossil. Sounds exciting doesn't it? Yeah, it's beige. Whipdee, but I think it will work with what else is going on in the room. I won't see it for a while yet though, so we will see. So, home stretch, but not quite done at that point. Oh no, I have trim to tackle as well. I am sure there are many of you out there that are experts and have no problem with precision, but this is where it gets niggly in my books. There is crown mold and baseboard and a bay window with a nice window nook. All need to get painted. To top it all off, I have this...

That I do not want to deal with at all. This wall is at my front door and all it serves to do is block out valuable sunlight. I would love to tear it down, but still want something there. Just not this. For the interim, it will probably see paint as well though. Perhaps in the spring I will have it reconstructed, but today I shake my head at the tasks in front of me. I bemoaned that this would take me months to complete to Nancy and David as I left them this afternoon.
   "It has to be done by Thursday when we come for dinner!" Nancy stated with a smirk.

Groan! I think I have to go now. I have some mud that is calling my name...

Sunday, January 10, 2010


   Grief. What does it mean to me today? It has been a close personal friend of mine over the last two years, but has graced me with its presence at other points in my life as well. Today, it is a badge I can say I have worn with ... not pride. No. I can say I survived with pride. Or I am surviving. The new year brings with it some old familiar twists in my life. Spasms that are not pleasant, but can anticipate, therefore hopefully not be as bad. Last year near this time, I was beginning to anticipate an upcoming stress. I tried to head it off by becoming busy, but only succeeded in flailing and floundering. The stress I knew about piled on "should's" by the yard, but it was an anniversary that I had not anticipated that threatened to wash me away. I tried to face expectations, but just managed to pile them over top of me until I could not breathe. I was trying to take on life and I was not ready. I had been handling all the life I could, and the should I threw at myself pushed me to the edge. I broke, but I reached out a hand and grabbed onto whatever lifeline I could. I was told to be kind. I was offered prayers of peace. I was reminded that this was grief. The wave would recede. I would survive. It was bad, but it was a lesson. Next time, perhaps I could anticipate better. Reach out for help. Not feel alone. There are people there.
   Many have walked through the dark tunnel of grief. It is something we do not talk about. We should. I am constantly surprised by how hard this journey is. Many, many, many moons ago I remember sitting in Wellspring (a wonderful Cancer support centre) after a yoga class. It was my first yoga session after Brad died. A few ladies convinced me to join them for tea after class, as they could see I was upset. They asked me what my story was. I felt sick. It was not my "story"! It was my life! It was raw and more than I could bear. Indeed, it has turned into my story to tell though. It has been a painful story and it is not over yet. I do not have so much pain any more, but I still struggle with who I am and where I am going. This, I am learning, is a common thread though. Sharing my experiences helps me. It not only helps me though. I know my sharing has given others hope and strength where little has been. No one can make all the pain go away. You must walk your path. You must pick up and look at everything along the path of your grief. It is hard work. It takes a long time. Relationships are hard work though and they take time to establish as well. It should not be surprising that grief can cause suffering for so long. We have lost someone that means something to us. One person can fill so many parts of our life. That means that we need to wade through, find all those pieces, accept and mourn every single one of those pieces we have lost. It is a lot of work. It hurts, but for me it has brought great love.
   So why this path today? Is it because I had dinner with my Aunt who is suffering through her own loss? Is it because an anticipated stressor is coming back to the table again? Or is it my little notebook that travelled in my purse last year catching snippets of my life on the fly, that fell across my table this morning and revealed pieces of painful me last year? Or is it just because this is who I am? Grief has touched me. It is a part of me and always will be. I will not always be actively grieving, but my grief will be there forever. I grieve my father, who I could have been, my husband, who we were supposed to be and what we were supposed to have and I grieve the loss of me and who I was. There is a new me that I work on every day. Some days it is not hard. Many days were. Today I reflect.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Contain the new

Frosty sunshine
fills me up with
winter smiles
Too few for any decent body to withstand.

Crunch, crunch
go stomping feet
as laughter peals out
over white and blue you

Ice is everywhere
treetops, eavestroughs
dripping in my heart
Carefully melting in sun with wintery edges

Why heart o' heart
should you melt this way
is not your ice intact
for another day?

It holds me close
Secure in a vise
thoughts held at bay
shards broken and diced

What? broken
why diced?
Not today with play on the way,
.... but on horizons advice.

A new day
A new year
A new start
Let go the fear

So sunshine, o' my sunshine
make me happy
I pray of you
For all the days of yesterday
  cannot contain the new

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stop Playing with your Food!

The morning passed pleasantly in pretend play for my girls.

I was inspired to do a little creativity myself.
And hoped that it would inspire a pleasant eating experience.

It worked for me.
Happy eating!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Love Me

   Thank you, thank you for all the encouraging words my lovies! Some days I just go, go, go and feel energized by the productivity. I crossed a few other things off my (mental) list since writing last. NO, I am not totally mental, thank you very much! Again, thanks for the support! Oh, that's my right brain teasing me. Oops.  Maybe you are as well, but I digress. My other activities were not near so exciting as the list that rolled onto the floor and out the door yesterday. Check mark on making eye appointments for myself and both the girls (first time for my littlest baby!) and picking up eye solution, so that I do not have to peel my contacts from my eyes next week with tongs. I hear you say "Oh glamorous!" and ignore you. For those of you who have been bugging me (mostly my brain again. It is my biggest critic) I finally got my knee looked at. An unexpected opening, so zapped with the old radiation and wait to see if anything comes of it. The rest of the day will find me sifting laundry perhaps (the life of a house wife doesn't get any better! Really!!) and hopefully writing. Probably better stuff than this blog post. I can put on a happy face though and pat me on the back for my little accomplishments. A few phone calls finally made. It is the little things that count. Some days I do not remember this or believe this. I try to remind myself of a comment my Uncle made to my Aunt of three young children many years ago when she was stressed out and upset at the end of the day.
  "Did the kid's eat today? Did they have fun and laugh at all? Did you all survive to the end of the day? If so, it was a good day."
   Don't beat yourself up for what you didn't do. Applaud yourself for making it to the end of the day. The sun is still shining (even if there are clouds in front of it) and your heart is still beating. Someone out there loves you (maybe me!). Maybe it should be you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Wanderings

   The day winds down and it was good. Somewhat a surprise, as there was not a huge game plan in place at the beginning of the day. Even more especially as I was awake at 4 in the morning pleading with my brain to go back to sleep. That is the second night this week I have looked at the clock to see 4:00 burning into my brain. A quick trip to the bathroom did not coax my thoughts back to dream land and away from such nasty thoughts as a full bladder. I know that some of you do this too, but I just do not enjoy trying to shut down my brain and knowing that the clock is ticking off minutes into hours. I know that the morning will see me grumpy and moving slower, but somehow I cannot convince the ole bod to win out over consciousness. Perhaps sleep will win over tonight. Fingers crossed and toes too!
   So why was my day a good one, you ask? Well, it proved to be productive again. While I love to relax, I find it hard not feeling guilty when I am not keeping busy. Being a single Mother there is only one adult in my household to accomplish all the tasks set before me. Yes, some are the mundane laundry, meal prep, clean the toilet bowls, etc, but there are other things that stretch my abilities. What you ask? I do not enjoy mopping floors, but the children force this issue with spilled milk on a regular basis. My kitchen counters are my dumping grounds for paperwork and I just cannot seem to ever get to the bottom of those piles. I know that you have some little corner of your home that is just as bad as mine, if not worse. Well, maybe it isn't that bad, but I have seen some of your clutter piles and they aren't pretty! hmmph.
   Ok, off topic. What was I talking about? Hmmm... Oh, my day! Geez, it must have been real exciting if I can still get myself worked up over my weak points. Oh well, perhaps you might still have a wee bit of interest waning. Shopping! I love to shop. Not all days, but often household purchases put a smile on my face. Today I conquered the wet world at my door step and met it head on. I could not take the wet socks any more.I  broke down and   bought a little mat for the back door. Hurray!
   Wait! Come back! I did more! I bought mitts, paint and a lamp. I replaced the hat I lost last week and decided that the rug at Home Sense just had to be tried out in my living room. I even bought a birthday present for T's birthday next month. I picked up a prescription and gas. Wow, this all sounds just sooo exciting. Don't you think? Me too! With the satisfaction come from some of my new house finds, I even took the sacrificial first step into my next home renovation project. I started pulling down some of the wallpaper in the hallway! There is no going back now (it is an atrocious gray blue, green and peach underneath). You shall find me bitching about this upcoming project next week, I'm sure. I still have to pick a colour and buy paint, but I am almost there.
   Give me one more minute, because the best is yet to come! No patience today, I swear! Well, today was Wednesday and that is generally my favourite day of the week, as it is my yoga day. We had been on a break for the last two weeks, so I got to see all my favourite yoginis today and gather up some smiles and hugs. That put a bigger smile on my face and reminded me that I had in fact come up with a plan at around 4:30 for my day. Oops, well there was still time. I headed the car into a parking space on the street and went inside the former Galleria Mall. It has now been converted into a variety of schools and businesses, with a few shops to boot. My destination was the continuing education department of Western University. Perhaps my tale today will have some of you shaking your heads at my decision, but I have signed up for a creative writing class "Writing in the Digital Age". It is an online class starting next week. I am excited to see what it might offer and want to send a little shout out to a certain friend for inspiring me yet again. I think you know who you are.
   So there, that is my icing on the cake moment. Yes, a long and convoluted way of coming out with a wee bit of newsy bits, but that is just the mood I am in! And with that, I think I will trundle off to bed in hopes that I will sleep the night through. Be well my friends.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Lay on the Hands

Lay on the hands
That is what someone said to me.
The energy is strong
I can feel its hum when I breathe
  slow down and stop to listen
Listen and feel.

There is a truth there
A truth to give direction
Purpose, re-purpose

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goodbye Christmas

   I prevail! The Christmas tree has been stripped of its decor. I pulled and pushed, grappled and grunted and finally managed to yank it from the house with a satisfactory POP! I dragged it kicking and screaming to the van. It managed to grab hold of a lantern hung by the driveway with care, but the lantern could not save it. With a crack the lantern let go and the tree faced the final goodbye. All the doors on the van stood open, as I debated what was the best way to squash it into the confines of my automobile. I pushed it in the side door and jumped out to try and pull it from the other end. For my efforts, I was stuck by a handful of needles. The tree would not give up easily. Anon, I pulled the tree back out again and attacked from the rear of the van. Again I jumped into the van and pulled with all my might to wedge the last of the Christmas cheer into my van. It was time! It is the 4th of January already. The time is well neigh, but the tree fought back with needles itching into whatever contact I offered it. It desperately tried to stick it's top out the back door, but a bend at this rate was nothing to fear. The love was lost and I wanted my house back. Another few grunts and pushes and the door was slammed shut with finality. After sweeping and vacuuming up the last of the evidence, it was time. I headed out to the van. As I opened the driver's door I was assaulted with the scent of pine. A sweet smell that I love, but I would not be swayed. I turned the key in the ignition and we were off. The poor tree tried to block my view in a last ditch effort, but it was no use. We arrived at the depot and a mountain of discarded trees met us. So much love. Now done. I opened the door and was hit by a wave of the aroma of pine. I truly appreciate the smell, but Christmas was over. I yanked the tree out of the back of the van, with a few prickle pinches for good measure. I propped it up and wished it well. A fond farewell to the holidays. May you find a new home in mulch for me to enjoy next spring! I thank you for  the season. Merry christmas is done. Goodbye.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Given er - New Year's Purge

   After spending New Year's Eve at my sister's house, I was weak and listless. Ah the beauty of a ahem h a n g o v e r to allow one to sit and do absolutely nothing for the day. I can never sit still for that long on a regular basis. We returned home yesterday afternoon and today has been a whirlwind of activity. Back to real life! To look at my living room or kitchen counters you still cannot tell, but I spent the morning givin er in the cleaning department. Laundry has been going constantly and the dishwasher is on its dry cycle. I mopped the kitchen floor and even swished the mop around a few other rooms. The recycling bins are jammed full as are the garbages. This week is finally garbage day again (we are on a 6-day cycle, not including weekends) and we get to put out unlimited garbage. I think I just might finally get rid of some items that have been taking up space in the thought that perhaps one day I will fix them, reuse them or re-purpose them. Some items have been waiting a long time and I think it is TIME. Goodbye old kiddie pool with a hole in it! So long lovely carpet that I could perhaps get the stink of cat pee out of, but know will never be the same. Perhaps I will even call up the OCPF to see if they will come collect some reusable items. They usually call about 4X per year to see if I have any donations, but I think I will beat them to it this year. Toys the kids no longer play with and have had no interest on kijiji. Old clothes that cannot be passed on to a next generation of babies, as the younger set is now male and his Daddy won't allow him in all the pink from all the older girls. PURGE, purge, purge! The Christmas tree will finally get undecorated tomorrow when the girls are back at school and Christmas will disappear from the house. I want my house back. I feel surrounded and am going to fling it all away. Watch out or an old housecoat will slap you in the face in my frenzy! Beware the baby socks that are marching towards the door. They will mow you down and aren't stopping. It takes everything I've got to get up the will to attack it all. Deep breath. Here I go again. Wish me strength. I hope I make it back. Goodbye!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

J & G: part III

Today lint is the biggest part of tattered pockets. Fight the man, but the stomach growls that somebody better feed it soon. How to run pennies together into sustenance? I will work for the joy of working. I will work for food. I will work for shelter. I will work for today, as today is all that I have. I am not ready to face tomorrow. My yesterdays are all past and stay there. Please. So I manage to gladly strain my back for the day. I get promises of more for tomorrow and possibly tomorrow. This is as far as I can go. It is good. Groceries grace my world and my friend’s tables. Music plays in my ear and soul. Laugh while the time is right. It is right today. Yes, today is good.

Yesterdays, yesterday awoke badly. They did not understand. They were blinded by the man. How can they not see the evils that they follow? The story thumps again. It is unjust. Why does it unfold again. The pain in my inner heart cannot bear it. No one knows. No one can know. It is ugly and chases me. Those old rough hands tear my world apart again and I run crying as the child I always will be. I am a man. How can I fill these shoes, so large. I do not understand how they ever got so big. When did I grow up? How come I did not become wise, as we are all supposed to be. When will I be a wise old sage? I aspire, but alas the elixirs I imbibe only hope in a blink. Sage goes in the turkey. Stuff me when I am done.



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