October 2, 2013

No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk . . .?


Not even if it's one of a series of mishaps in your day?

Not even if, hypothetically, you're a stay-at-home-mom who has had a cold for almost a week and your child also has said cold. And it's raining. And you've spent the morning next to a difficult person in the name of being "helpful" and "welcoming." And THEN you drop your glass bottle of milk on the concrete - the one that is locally-bottled and organic and more expensive than the other milks that you buy to be more environmentally responsible - and it leaves a white trail on the rain-soaked sidewalk as you try to find a garbage can to dump it in before inevitably going back to the store to get another bottle. And, say, you're pushing your 1.5 year old in the stroller all this time.

Not enough to justify tears?

What if then you come home to find that your child threw up on the carpet before you had the above-stated difficult morning and you didn't notice . . . until 4 hours later . . . and now your hall stinks like throw up?

Cry on, mama, cry on.

June 26, 2013

Putting off breathing

So, I was really excited about doing my 7 minutes a day breathing app and blogging about it . . . and then life happened. I did it for 4 days then my son and I both got colds and he's been sick off and on since. But those are excuses, I still could have found 7 minutes a day to breathe, but I didn't. I'm not very disciplined and am excellent at finding reasons to get out of things, even if they are really good for me. I wonder why that is? Anyway, I've felt guilty about it and like I couldn't blog about other things because I needed to follow up on the breathing post and so I would say I'd do it the next few days then report back . . . didn't happen, so I'm coming clean.

The days I did the breathing were interesting though. The first 2 days I actually felt more anxious, which was discouraging, but I think it was just all my tension surfacing. The next 2 days helped me to let go of that tension. I definitely see why it is called a "practice" because it probably takes a long time to be able to focus on your breath in the moment and not on the laundry that needs done or the child coughing in the other room or what you'll eat for supper. I'll keep trying to practice or at least take time out to breathe during the day.

June 1, 2013

7 minutes a day to better health

I am not the healthiest person.

I don't like to exercise or eat my veggies, but I do enjoy complaining when my body isn't working to its full potential. I love to moan self-pityingly "why does this happen to me, i'm so young, i walk a lot, this is not fair. . . " Which, shockingly, doesn't help matters. It also doesn't help that every spare moment I have is spent staring at a screen of some sort or filling my ears with sound and I never actually process all the information coming into my body. SUPER helpful . . . Or not.

So I want to try something and have you 5 people who read my blog help keep me accountable.
I'm going to breathe deeply for 7 minutes a day. That's it, just breathing. I'm going to be using an app called Universal Breathing by Saagara. It has music that ebbs and flows as you inhale and exhale. I know, I know, "why do we need an app for everything?", "don't you already know how to breathe?" Truthfully, no, I don't think that I do know how to breathe. Not in a way that helps my body relax and my tense muscles let go of the stress of the day. In this busy world that's always 'on', I need help relaxing, and, yes, there's an app for that.  

P.S. This is not an ad for a certain app, just trying to document what I'm doing and hoping it will inspire others.

May 30, 2013

Domestically Disabled

Being a stay at home mom doesn't mean I have the skills of a 1950s housewife. . . and I certainly do not. I love staying home because it's great to spend my days watching my son discover the world
around him and be able to see his 'first' everythings, but along with this comes the duty of actually keeping the house in some orderly enough condition that I don't throw temper tantrums alongside my child. The cooking part I have adapted to fairly easily, learning simple recipes that keep my family fed and not pressuring myself to be Julia Child.
The cleaning part on the other hand . . .
I have a bit of a procrastination problem when it comes to keeping the house clean. While other people do not enjoy cleaning tasks yet see them as a part of life and do them anyway, I spend my time trying to think up ways I can get out of them even though I know from previous experience that it inevitably needs to be done. Like vacuuming for instance. We have a lot of stairs in our home, all of which are carpeted, and I think it's a pain in the butt to clean them. So instead, I wait until they visibly need to be done, then wait a few more days until I'm embarrassed to have people over, then wait another week for good measure. . . a perfect system? maybe not . . . perhaps I can train my son to take over the chore?

April 25, 2013

Bleak to Chic

This is often how my hair looks in the morning - lovely, I know. People often tell me that if they had my hair they would let it fly free and big in its natural glory . . . well, here it is folks and it ain't no Diana Ross afro. So what's a gal to do when she doesn't have time or, frankly, doesn't want to wash her hair?

Put a scarf on it!
A friend of mine rocks this look often and I love it. I asked her to show me how to do it, to which she replied, with an eye roll, "Jenny! It's so easy. Just flip your head over, tie it, tuck in the corners so you don't look like a cat." Ok!
So here are step by step instructions for those who want to try it.
Flip your head over and tie the scarf, folded into a triangle, at the top of your head.
 Make a bow. or a double knot. or some fancy sailing knot. whatever works.
Tuck your hair into the scarf and bring the triangle tip forward to tuck under the bow.
And don't forget to tuck in the corners so you don't look like a cat!

I also put a bobby pin on each side to ensure no slippage.

April 17, 2013

Ya gotta have skills

Of the many skills I imagined I would need as a parent, the one that seems most useful currently, that I would never have thought of, is calf-roping. Seriously.

Changing my son's diaper looks nothing like this angelic meeting of the minds and is in reality much closer to this cowboy and his calf in the rodeo ring. It is an all-out battle of the wills that has to happen up to EIGHT times a day! ( oy!)
I feel totally ill-prepared for such daily war.

If only I'd worked on a farm in my youth like my mother would have wanted . . .

March 3, 2013

a bunch of hot air

Back to obsessing about my hair . . .

As most women (I think), I feel awesome after a trip to the salon. I've been pampered and someone has spent an hour making my hair look great, which only happens when I go to the salon. My hair looks so good, in fact, that I can hardly believe it is my hair. Thus, I end every salon session begging my stylist to show me how to make my hair look like this at home, and the conversation inevitably goes like this:

me: "wow! how can I do this at home?"
stylist: "Take your diffuser - "
me: "I don't have a diffuser"
stylist: "get a diffuser"
me: "i don't even have a hair dryer. i'm not going to get a diffuser. aren't they expensive? isn't there anything else I can do?"
stylist: "you don't have a hair dryer?!"

look how great i will look upside down!
Then I forget her advice until 4-6 months later when I return to have my hair done and we have the aforementioned conversation again.

But this time was different. This time I decided I would finally cave and get a hair dryer and diffuser. SHOCKING, I know. It only took me about 15 years of refusing many stylists' recommendations and even longer of insisting that I am a 'low maintenance woman.' I still think i'm pretty low maintenance and hopefully using a hair dryer won't amp it up that much. I have yet to use it and am hoping it will up my hair confidence. I'll let you know how it goes . . .

February 19, 2013

Who Run The World? GIRLS! ... Apparently not.

My family and I attended a free screening of the short documentary, "A Long Journey Home: The Rainier Story" yesterday. It is the story of a Downtown Eastside (DTES) treatment centre for women, The Rainier Hotel, which has recently lost their government funding.

I didn't realize until recently that of the many programs meeting various needs in the DTES, there are few treatment programs (this might be the only one, actually) that focus on Women's rehabilitation. This is shocking to me. Are we the only people in the world that don't understand that educating and empowering women is fundamental for a functional society? We carry, birth, and (mostly) care for children, so without women we have no society, right? So why aren't we treated that way?

It was so inspiring to hear Rainier residents speak. These women who have been entrenched in various addictions, abuse, and sometimes prostitution, are now beginning to see their worth and build up their confidence, they are beginning to have contact with estranged family members, they are starting to volunteer and give back in their community. All because they feel supported by Rainier staff, because someone decided to give a damn about them. But funding for that staff is being taken away and with that, the hope these women have begun to feel for their future. Click over to Twitter to find out how to help SAVE THE RAINIER.  

And now, I warn you, I am going to go on a bit of a rant . . .

I looked at the women last night and thought, "these are someone's daughters, sisters, nieces, cousins, wives, mothers." They are all these things to all these people and yet have apparently never felt loved or supported enough by any of them. Shame on us! What are we missing in our own families, our own communities? We treat these women like crap, even though it could be any of us in their situation needing support. When women fall on hard times and are less than the caregivers, providers, partners that we expect them to be, how do we help them? Apparently, we don't. We send them away or ignore them or say "That could never be me!" When I spend time with people who are down on their luck, I think, "It's sure NICE of me to come off my middle class high horse to hang out with them, aren't I so GOOD?!" And that's easy for me to think because I'm sure I'd never have it so rough. But who's to say I wouldn't?

I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a loving family surrounded by supportive friends and community, I have not suffered abuse, and I have a supportive husband who is involved in our son's life. So, I think, if something terrible happened people would surround me and help me out and I could get through it without turning to drugs or alcohol or harming myself. But what if it wasn't enough? What if my husband or my child was murdered, then what? Can I really say that I would be able to pull it together, that I would accept the help my family wanted to give me? Can I really say that I would never turn to vices to escape my horrid situation? Of course not. I could literally be one tragedy away from crumbling to the ground and not knowing how to pick myself up. And if that happened to you or to someone you loved, wouldn't you want to know that there was a supportive program like The Rainier there to help?

January 26, 2013

getting knitty with it

                                                                                I have been knitting for the last 10 years or so, off and on. I assumed that getting pregnant and having a little one would spin me into a knitting frenzy and my child would wear many chic knits made by mom. That is not quite what happened . . .

During pregnancy, i was too tired, uncomfortable and mentally foggy to focus on many creative projects. Plus my hands ached as my ligaments loosened to make space for my growing belly and baby. I didn't anticipate that.

I thought i would have increased energy and the nesting instinct would get my creative juices flowing and my needles clacking. Instead, my son came 3 weeks early and the big nesting burst everyone talks about never fully kicked in.

After I had my baby, I heard rumours of moms who would knit as their child breastfed and were just pumping out toques and socks and blankets for their little ones. To me this sounded like some fantastical story of fairies and ogo pogos and wizards. I couldn't even get out of my pyjamas for 3 weeks.

But sure enough, I started to be able to carve out time for myself as my son grew and am now happy to say that i am knitting my way through a cabled sweater for myself. It's also a great activity to do while exhaustedly watching netflix in the evenings. ;o)

January 16, 2013

Free at last . . .

Since becoming a mom I've done a few things which the general public may refer to as "letting myself go", but I think of as "free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!"

1. I stopped dyeing my hair, even though I have greys.
Our society puts great emphasis on looking polished and has infinite options for making every part of our bodies very shiny. I dyed my hair for 16 years and loved the instant re-invention it allowed, especially as a teen, but it started to feel like a hole I was throwing money into for no good reason except the fear of looking like a zebra as I grew it out. I did look like a zebra for awhile, but now I finally feel confident with my natural hair colour (greys and all).

2. I started wearing comfortable shoes.
I am on the ultimate search for fall/winter footwear that manages to gracefully combine function and fashion (and have been for most of my life), but since I haven't found it yet I wear the same Blundstone boots almost everyday, even though they are not really my style. (And I wait for summer when I can live in my silver Birkenstock flip flops - those are the perfect fashion/function sandal). Fortunately, a lot of people in my neighbourhood also wear similar boots every day so I don't stick out that much. There's a strange freedom in giving myself less choice and just knowing what I'm going to wear (at least on my feet). Maybe that's what the private school kids have been talking about all these years?

3. I wear my hair naturally, sans product.
There was a time in my life when I would have never left the house without product in my hair. The frizz alone . . . But nowadays, if i'm on my own with my son, I will never get to leave the house if I live by this rule. It takes long enough to get us both dressed, fed, and out the door. So I bought myself a toque to plop on my head on messy hair days and sometimes even go a little crazy and just wear my hair big, combed-out 70s style.

4. I dress like a boy.
Or, excusez moi, I follow the "menswear-inspired" and "boyfriend ____" trends. This started when I was pregnant and just amped up once I started breastfeeding because button-up shirts (or even better, snap-up) allow for easy access. And always one to have to have a 'look' I started pairing them with coloured jeans and big sweaters and the aforementioned boots and toque. This is liberating because I have always been a bit of a tomboy (in style and wanting to run through mud barefoot only, no athletic ability here, friends) but have fought it for most of my 20s. The fight is over.

5. I stopped pretending to wear make-up.
For a few years there I really made an effort to be a make-up person like my mom and sister always wanted, but aside from the occasional blush for a little colour, I'm just not into it and now I have the perfect excuse to stop trying. Also, now that I rarely wear make-up, when I do make a small effort for a special event people compliment me like mad and it's awesome.

January 15, 2013

My Very Own Real-life Doll

When I first found out I was pregnant I desperately wanted a baby girl. I grew up surrounded by girls and thought I'd have no idea what to do with a boy. Besides, I love fashion and there's nothing fun to dress boys in, right?

Fast forward almost 2 years and I could not imagine life without my little boy. Almost all my friends with kids have boys and I get great joy out of watching these little men grow. I also have tons of fun dressing my boy! Maybe there are more options out there now or I just never noticed before, but boys' clothes are cute today. There are skinny jeans and plaid shirts and little hats and booties and polo shirt onesies and cardigans with elbow patches. And everything really is cuter small.

I also love living vicariously through my son's closet. How fun is it to change over your clothing options every few months? Granted, we've been very blessed with gifts and hand me downs, so i haven't had to do the growing boy shuffle, running around town looking desperately for the right size and style of clothing before he pops out of his current collection. I may feel differently then, but for now I get a kick out of dressing this kid. Here are a few outfit highlights: 

lumberjack chic
business casual
bearded for halloween
retro sweats

January 14, 2013

Nouveau Chapter

It's been awhile since I've posted anything here. I got a bit pre-occupied the last few years by getting pregnant and having a baby (the understatement of my life!)

Almost a year later, I am still adapting (and re-adapting and re-adapting again) to life as a full-time mom and needless to say, I don't think of my hair as obsessively as I once did. A fetus taking over your body and a baby taking over your days will snap the vanity right out of you (or at least put it way further down the to-do list). 

In the few precious hours I get to myself each day I have to balance doing things for the house, the family, and myself. And usually once me time comes around I am so tired I end up flopping on the couch to watch Netflix or read other people's blogs. Often when reading said blogs, I feel envious and wonder why I don't do one anymore. So, after encouragement from an old friend, I am starting up again.

What will I write about? I don't know. I have no great plan or niche reading market in mind, just a desire to carve out a little space for myself on the interwebs and see what comes of it.