Thursday, December 31, 2015

What A Year

I'm still here,  even though it feels as though I've been floating outside myself for most of this year. Honestly,  I will never be able to top the sheer craziness and wonderment the past 12 months has brought. With all the changes, life is completely different and yet I am the same person even though my reason for existing has shifted and turned me into a bit of a mess.

The world itself is a bit scarier and bigger, while my personal bubble has shrunk down to a tiny being with an impish smirk. Though the scariness remains the same. Big and small, how can the world be both at the same time? An eternal mystery.

I am me. Who I've always been. A little broken and a bit childish.  And yet I am mother now. Mama. Mum. Even though I had 9 months to come to terms and understand this,  it is still wholey unexpected and I dare say new every morning.

I cannot say what 2016 will bring but I have hopes.

Hopes for more love and kindness and excitement. Hopes for old friendships and new. Hopes to perhaps return to writing. Hopes to continue adventuring through the woods and across the world with the Timbit wrapped up close to me. Hopes for cake and hot baths.

Hopes for happiness.

2015 saw me breathing life into new person, wise beyond his four months, and watching him come into the world is more magical and frightening and wonderful than any other  thing. For that, this year will go down in history. My history.

Huh. I have a history!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


I believe in magic.

Today, I walked past the ocean and ventured into the woods. The earth was damp from the tears Mother Nature shed the night before, leaving behind a sodden pathway and the most invigorating scent. And as I walked, I noticed the raindrops hanging off the withered leaves and bare branches. They sparkled in the sunshine, reminding me of the white lights we adorn our trees with, and I stopped to take notice.

It's easy not to notice. Easy to keep walking. Have headphones in and our eyes on our shoes. It's easy to pass the magic right on by.

No one has to tell winter to come. No one has to tell the season to change. The cycle continues no matter what. It turns and the warmth leaves as the cold rushes in. The year goes by. Leaves fall, only to grow again when spring returns.

This is magic.

To smell a new day. To hear the birds playing in the underbrush. To see the life of fungi poking up among the decay of Fall and to hold leaves bigger than our heads in our hands. To exist and be a part of something out of our control, something that will continue no matter what we do or say.

Magic is all around me.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Newsworthy - Or So I Think

The news is slowly creeping out, spreading to the far reaches of the world (a bit of a hyperbole), and is being met with astonishment, happiness, uncertainty and a bit of disbelief. Some people are over-the-moon, while there are those who are nursing hurt feelings, put off by being kept in the dark. It's hard to understand, I suppose, why one would keep the most wonderful thing they've ever done to themselves and their small inner circle. All these emotions are perfectly normal, but even though I can understand them, my little masterpiece is just that - my little masterpiece.

In the beginning, I wanted to keep it hush-hush because it was new and scary. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, what the outcome would be, and all that mattered was keeping it close to me. As time went by, I realized this was our experience, the Sidekick's and mine, and it wasn't necessary to share it with the entire world. Really, in the past nine months, the entire world has been just the two three of us. It didn't matter what other people thought. I didn't care to share it with everyone because I wanted to keep it to myself. It was my secret to revel in and enjoy. It was my journey. 

Yes, I could have posted belly photos and foetal updates, which many people do and is perfectly fine, except it was intimate for me. It was something I wanted to experience without the pressure of other opinions. Besides, I've always felt to live happily and healthily in this world one must keep a modicum of anonymity. Sounds crazy, huh? The girl who blogs and vlogs, who puts her face and words out into the world, actually advocates the power of privacy. This isn't a new thing. I've always felt this way and worked diligently to protect the privacy of friends, family and myself.    

We are so accustomed to seeing every part of everyone's lives and it's weird when we aren't in the loop. But I am a firm believer the loop isn't for everyone. The loop isn't intended for every Tom, Dick and Henry. The loop isn't made for all the people you have ever known, ever will know, and may know in the future. With social media comes responsibility. We are responsible for what we post, who we allow to see it, how safe we keep ourselves, and some of us open ourselves to be vulnerable in a space where vulnerability can be exploited. We've all seen someone (or many someones) post about the lack of support, love, responses, attention their updates receive. That's because even when you have nine billion friends on Facebook, you can still be overlooked, missed, and ignored. Quantity really is no replacement for quality, and that applies to social media and networking too. In private moments of need we turn to those people in our loop and if your loop includes everyone then you are going to end up being disappointed and, probably, feeling alone.  

My loop is reserved for those who have supported and loved me, shown me friendship in the dark times and celebrated in the light with me. 

Maybe this is hard for people to understand. Or maybe I'm making complete sense, for once in my life. But if anyone is taking it personally, please don't. It isn't personal - not for you. For me, it is. Very personal. For the Sidekick, too. And the Timbit, who came three weeks early and is utter perfection. Like I said, this is the most wonderful (and hard) thing I have ever done and I cannot tell you how incredible it has been. I am proud to be a mother. Incredibly in love with the little man who is sleeping soundly on my right side as I write this. And thoroughly amazed our family unit has grown. It's all so surreal. 

It's all so amazing. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

My Water Is Boiling Over

It feels like improper etiquette to disappear from blogging for ages only to pop up with a moan. I most likely could have come up with some fluff to post before the ho-hum of this post. Perhaps some marshmallow fluffiness to make you smile. Then again, if you can't be starkly honest on your blog, then where the hell can you? Fluffiness be damned.

For a long time, I used this space as a safe place to sound off and order my thoughts, to mend the rough mental path I was on. At one point, I totally found my way through the darkness and, I think, with some work, I'll get there again. When I reread those posts, I stumble through all those life changing realizations, only to come to the understanding that I am not happy. Not now. Not today.

Well, that's depressing to see in this Georgia font so plain and out there. 

Allow me to follow up with an amendment to that unpleasant factoid, I do have happy moments - sometimes often, sometimes many, but at the core of my everyday life, I am not happy. I am exhausted and worried, frustrated and lost. And honestly, I think this is how a lot of people feel. I do not think I am exceptional in my uncertainty or unique in my weariness. Quite the opposite, really. I think I am like most people. I am bumbling along, not sure what I am doing, trying to make a better situation for myself, holding out hope it will change, and I am making the right decisions. I don't know, though, not for sure. 

The funny think about happy moments? Those glimmering moments of happiness and freedom, the shiny spots in an otherwise scuffed and worn out life, are enough ... for now. Eventually, they will stop being enough, and I am hoping I can find my way back to peacefulness before they cease helping me out of bed and putting me to sleep. 

This is not a red flag. One does not need to send the cavalry to help, or post me care packages, nor do you have to fret over whether I will be okay. Because isn't that what we do? We push and pull through, we figure it out and solve the puzzle, we work through it. 

It's like boiling water. How you set a pot on the stove, turn on the heat and think to yourself how much time you have before it boils. You go off to fold the laundry, sweep the house, or open a small business, and when you come back those miniature bubbles are forming, and you think, "Boy, it takes a long time for water to boil, I'll go finish up a few other things." So, you set to it, trying to get as much done as you can, even though you know there is a pot on the stove, and it is going to boil. I mean, it's a certainty, barring the electric being shut off, or you running out of gas, if you have one of those types of ranges - you know that water is going to boil. Except, somewhere between driving a thousand kilometres a week, working six of the last seven days, and trying to prepare for the unpreparable (not a real word), you've forgotten about the pot and, low and behold, it's boiling over, the water spilling down the sides and hissing out its anger on the unforgiving element. You run for it, to take it off the heat, salvage the water inside, but sometimes it boils dry and you ruin a perfectly good pot. 

Well, my water is boiling over. And this post is me running to shut off the heat and save a perfectly good pot. As I sit here in my truck, parked at the side of the road, watching the sun and smelling the ocean, I know life isn't terrible, but that doesn't stop it from feeling terrible at times. Sometimes I simply hate self reflection. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Little Forethought Goes A Long Way

So, Michael Buble posted a photo of an unsuspecting woman in short-shorts on his Instagram with him smirking away in the foreground as her cheeky-cheeks winked cheekily in the background. He even dressed the post up with some hashtags about her hungry albeit beautiful bum and it turned out to be the internet news of the day. A lot of people are perplex about why this is a big deal, a few are wondering where the cries of 'body-shaming' are coming from, and some are wondering why his post has garnered such attention, especially when the post was intended to be complimentary.

After removing the controversial picture, Mr. Buble posted a statement about how he would never intentionally be 'insulting to a human' and how he thought women should be 'loved, celebrated and respected'. Well, I call bullshit, and this why what he did is unacceptable, rude, sexist and disconcerting (to me, at least). 

1. A lot of opinionated folks feel the only reason Mr. Buble is getting flack is because he's famous. In a lot of ways, this is correct, mostly because if an average Joe posted a photo of some unsuspecting woman on his Instagram it wouldn't have gone viral. Most people don't have over a million people on their Instagram accounts, or nearly eight million on their Facebook fan pages, which is where the picture appeared. An average, bonehead dude wouldn't be able to reach a million people with a press of a button, so one might think with the sheer girth of his social media platform, Mr. Buble (and wife) might have used their heads and thought, "Hey, maybe this isn't a good idea?" But they didn't. Of course, this doesn't mean they shouldn't be held responsible for the tripe they put into the world, right? 

2. After addressing his popularity, let's take it away - because it doesn't actually matter when you think of the underlying issue. The fact that he is a world-famous singer has only allowed us to shed light on the complete lack of privacy we live with. In the world of social media, it is easy to wave goodbye to our privacy, and this story simply proves we are a poor clothing choice and a share button away from being the next viral sensation. This doesn't change the fact that it actually isn't okay to pass along pictures or information of other people. As humans, it'd be nice if we respected each other enough not to take covert snapshots and share them to our social media followers ... unfortunately, this isn't the case. Simply put, if you want to share your own lives, clothing, children, work, then feel free, but exposing someone else without permission is a violation of their privacy. And it's wrong. No matter if you are Michael Buble or not. 

3. What bothers me most about this picture is the poster actually thought it was complimentary! I suppose the logic correlates with when men catcall women from the side of the road. As if this woman should be happy that her 'humps' are plastered all over the internet, that she should be thrilled because a celebrity found it attractive, and that she should accept his 'beautiful bum' hashtag with pride. Because nothing makes you feel better than being objectified, right? Who wouldn't want to be turned into a piece of meat and thrown to eight million rabid fans? And yet, I noticed he didn't say these things to her face - maybe because to have said them to her would have been super disrespectful. Well, that's just confounding, right? 

The core of the issue is that the objectification of women is so rampant most of Buble's fans (which are predominately female) jumped to his defence, claiming he was being 'nice' and 'flattering', and very few seemed to see the flip side - the extremely common oppression of women and acceptance of sexism. Even more irritating is Buble's claim of lack of intent. So, you didn't mean to be chauvinistic? Oh, I guess all is forgiven then. It's the 'boys will be boys' mentality, and quite honestly, it's getting pretty damn old. Imagine if this was your daughter. The girl in the picture could have been fourteen, for all we know. Horrifying, right?

And some people wonder why we still need feminism. Because every day we facilitate this type of behaviour, excusing it and condoning it. 

4. Alright, let's say the man just didn't think, and he honestly does love, respect and celebrate women, and he was just being funny ... One must ask the question: has he never been on the internet before? Has he never read comments on YouTube or Twitter? Did he seriously think this picture was going to be met with the same (cough) love, (cough) respect, and (cough) celebration he posted it with? (The coughing is because the words were sticking in my virtual throat and causing me to choke on the irony) This might be a newsflash to Buble, but the internet isn't exactly a nice place. People are mean, usually just for the sake of being mean, and he put this woman on display, holding her under a spotlight for the masses to critique. Now, I only read a handful of the comments, but I was disgusted. People were calling her fat, asking if she was blind, saying she clearly forgot her pants, and there were even utterances of 'whore'. Not only was she body-shamed, but her intelligence was called into question, and all I kept thinking was, she looks far better than I would in short-shorts.     

5. And through all the harsh comments and abrasive observations, there was a very unsettling theme of her responsibility. After all, she went out in public in the shorts, she was begging for the attention, she knew she looked good, and obviously she brought it on herself. Let's all call this what it truly is,  victimization and our ever-present ability to blame the victim when they are taken advantage of, violated and exploited. 

More annoying are the people who are asking WHY she wore shorts like that out in public. First off, it's Miami, I hear it gets hot there. Second, maybe she went for a run and they rode up a bit, or perhaps she has a huge wedgie and didn't feel a restaurant an appropriate place to pick it. Hell, maybe she wanted to show off the obvious hard work she puts into her body. The truth is, it doesn't matter the reasons behind WHY she put the shorts on and went out - she doesn't deserve to be plastered all over the internet and mistreated for wearing them. Whether or not we want to admit is, rape culture is pervasive in our society and it's evident when things like this happen. This woman is a victim of her privacy being violated, and is on the receiving end of sexism.

In the end, a little forethought goes a long way, especially when your platform can reach millions. The truth is, these types of things happen all the time, to women every day, and instances of sexism and exploitation are readily accepted to the point where a lot of us don't even bat an eye. From where I stand, if you truly love and respect women and want to celebrate them, then perhaps allowing them privacy would be a great first step. And I am talking to other women too. We do the exact same thing. Heck, it was Buble's wife who snapped the picture in the first place! This world is already so hard, how about making it a bit easier by thinking about how our actions and words can affect those around us. Make each post count. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Time Travel

Time travel?, you say, raising a brow in interest.

If only I could tell you my hiatus from this blog is from figuring out how to actually travel through time and space. I wish I could tell you I have patented my algorithm and am giving everyone who comments on this blog a million dollars. Alas, I cannot. I have never been very science or math minded, so if I am actually going to time travel to the last sixties, because that's where I would go, someone will have to figure it out for me.

It's been a whirlwind. Life is a bit on the crazy side and while there have been many times I've wanted to sit down and simply write, I haven't been able to find the time. Then there are those who say, you find time to do the things you love. This isn't necessarily true. It's nice when you find the time to do what you love, but most of us don't work that way. We find the time to get done what needs getting done, like laundry, dinners, painting, flooring, running errands, filling our gas tank, but when it comes to what we truly enjoy we compromise. Probably not even intentionally. We promise to do it later. Maybe at the weekend. Or the next holiday.

Now, I love writing. If that comes as a surprise, you haven't been paying attention and I owe you spanking. I've always enjoyed writing, ever since I was a chubby-faced, scraggly-haired, sensitive Sally. And I've always tried to write, and I think that's important to clarify. I do try to write. I want to be good. But a simple truth is, while I can meticulously join sentences and breathe life into characters people care about now, this hadn't always been the case, and tonight I find myself thinking about those who were subjected to my early writings. Perhaps an apology is needed.

Last week, I time travelled. I literally (though, not really literally, more so figuratively) was thrown back in time over a decade when through the door of our newly opened tattoo shop strolled my grade twelve creative writing teacher. Surely, I looked the epitome of confused because she said to me, "It's Mrs. D."

And I knew. I never forget a face, let alone one I confided in when I honestly wasn't sure I'd make it through being a teenager. How emo sounding, right? Except, it's the truth. I struggled through being a teenager. I loved school because it was a reprieve from a rather daunting family life, I had wonderful friends, without whom I wonder where I might have ended up, and I was stubborn and dwelling in darkness. What? You don't believe me? I have my creative writing book to prove it.

It looks far cheerier than it actually is. Honestly, when I reread some of the atrocities I wrote, I cringe. Not only because I clearly didn't have a grasp on the English language, but because I wasn't happy. I was struggling. And I knew at the end of the day it was my job to fix it. To mend myself. Also, I roll my eyes over how emotional and raw everything I wrote was. How dramatic. And I realize I'm officially an adult, discounting the blues of another teenager, except this one is myself, and I actually lived with those demons.

Lived? Why the hell is that past tense? I still live with some of those demons. We're good friends now. Fully aware of each other. Cohabiting rather well on most days. On others, it's grim, but in a encouraging way. A 'fuck you' demons kind of way. A 'I'm going to get through this and have the last bloody laugh if it kills us all' type of existence. 

Now Mrs. D, who isn't Mrs. D anymore, but Ms. S was (and is) a very influential person on me and in my life. Strangely enough, at the time, I didn't realize it. While she certainly encouraged my writing, she actually influenced me emotionally more than creatively. That sounds bad, but I don't mean it to. In fact, I'd take an emotional influence over a creative one any day. I've always had a rampant imagination and would ideally like someone to simmer the fire instead of stoking it, perhaps then sleep might come easier.

Way back when I seemed to be clawing my way through life before life had even really started, Ms. S validated my feelings. It's hard to explain why this is so important. I suppose one might need a bit more back-story, but I really don't plan on marching back down a road I left behind a long time ago. After the most tedious cycle of confrontation, acceptance, grieving, anger, sadness, ignoring, and so on, I eventually learned how to forgive and let go. To move on. It's been a long second half to my life, but I doubt I would have been able to get through it without someone saying: 

It's okay to feel lost, alone, and afraid. 
It's okay to dwell in the darkness with your demons.
It's okay to be angry, sad, and hurt.  

At a time when I felt wrong for feeling bad, I needed a blunt lesson in life. Ms. S provided it for me. Of course, she didn't say it so bare bones-y. She was, and is, an English teacher. Her words of wisdom came often and much more articulate than those bold sentences above, but at the core of everything she said, I heard "You are not alone. You will be alright." And that was more important than the writing encouragement or grade I received. 

Although, I must say, the demons never truly go away. You just get to know them to the point of realizing what/who they are and they aren't so scary anymore. We rarely get the opportunity to actually express to someone what it is they did for us. I'm lucky to have that chance. 

Also, I am so glad I don't write poetry anymore. Good grief, I wish someone had of told me how terrible it was. Of course, I was an emotional teenager, so that might not have been a good idea. After this unexpected visit, I find myself pondering over who will walk through the door next. 

Will it be you?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tough Week, Eat A Treat

The silence around these parts has been next to unbearable. Just between us, I needed a little bit of time to myself. With the new year, comes new resolutions, and a brand new inspiring to-do list. 2015 is going to be the year of change, I feel it in my bones.

So far, January isn't treating me all too well. It's been rough. I started it sick as a dog, hacking up a lung and struggling to get out of bed in the mornings. When the cold left, a new sweeping illness stormed in, and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't messing with my head.

Honestly, I'm sad. This week, if not the last eighteen days, meaning this year, has been a tough one. I have been dragging myself through them, not really participating. Under the weariness and nausea, I feel as though I've lost track of who I am, which is rather unfortunate because it took a good solid year of being alone to figure that out. For some reason, I feel as though I have been compromising myself a lot lately. It's left me unsettled.

So, this journey is beginning again. The one where I find my soul again. Goodness, it sounds so tedious, I simply don't have the energy to do this all over again. This morning I took the first step, though. A walk in the rain with the hounds. Then, I baked something. I created something. A treat.

Treats help cope with the things we cannot change today.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites (Vegan, of course)

Makes 20

Preheat oven 350°


5 Tbsp - Earth Balance Margarine
1/4 Cup - Walnuts
1/2 Cup - Flour
1/2 Cup - Brown Sugar

4 Ounces - Faux Cream Cheese (I used Tofutti)
1/2 Cup - Plain Coconut Yogourt
1/2 Cup - Sugar
2 Tbsp - Pineapple Juice
1 Tsp - Vanilla
6 - Fresh Strawberries
3 Tbsp - Minute Tapioca 
2 Tsp - Egg Replacer (just the powder, not mixed with water) 

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a 8X8 pan with parchment paper. In a food processor, blend Earth Balance, walnuts, brown sugar and flour. Once it is course, press down into your prepared pan. 

2. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. 

3. While the crust is baking, mix cream cheese, yogourt and sugar in the food processor. Ensure to use a spatula to press down the sides. 

4. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend all together. 

5. Take the crust out, put the filling in and bake for another 25 minutes. 

6. Remove from oven and chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours, until it has set. 

Now, these are delicious, but certainly not good for you. You also have to keep them refrigerator afterwards, or at least that's what I am doing. 

They are divine, though.