Thursday, May 31, 2007

lunch dates

Yesterday I went in to work to officially hyphenate my name (yes, I am one of those women. I really struggled with it, do I drop my last name, do I stay the same.. do I do the hyphen??? I decided that the middle ground was to hyphenate.. then I could be who I am for work and school, and then we have our family name for the rest, it sits well for me. It helps that our names work well together.. talked to a few other girlfriends about this conundrum, and well, I got off easy with how our names sound linked, where they didn't... funny how that can make this decision that much easier). But, I digress. Ran in to a whole bunch of coworkers, and went out with my mom and a friend. It was nice, but reinforced that I really don't intend to parade my son around work and visit all the departments, etc. Not in me. Not that social. If I am really honest, I just don't care that much about most of the people more than superficially and that just doesn't cut it. Time is precious.

Then today, I went out for lunch with the ladies from my office. One was absent, and one has since retired. One is pregnant and will be gone before I get back!! Which is too bad in a sense, but Brandon will have another new friend!! Which was cool sitting across from her, and realizing that soon, there will be another little person to meet! We have a few new comers, and every one enjoyed spending time with Brandon. It amazes me how good he is in restaurants - it has not been what I expected. I guess time will tell, and really, I haven't been out that much and he isn't that old yet and fully mobile or talking.

I felt weird being with every one. Like nothing, but everything had changed. I really hope that in January it works to go to the second location I have available full time rather than just part of the time, that would be ideal.. will cross my fingers it works out like that. I am glad that I will have a flexible schedule, and only be with everyone three days a week. The politics are still full on - and I just don't want to care... although it is hard not to when it is going on around you. Becoming a parent toughens you up, making you a little more crusty, and for me, a little more honest (not that I am not, just more of the filter is disappearing, although I do try to remain tactful, doesn't always work that way, this is where the conflict resolution courses that I have taken come in handy). I am also better at advocating for myself and what I need, because I shut up about it way too much in the past.

As Candy mentioned, our maternity benefits in Canada are way better than they are stateside. I could not imagine what it would have been like to go back to work when Brandon was 3 months old - like holy shit, what do these people expect the poor moms to do?? Ah yes, pump like fiends all day at work if they want to continue with breast feeding, are completely tired and bleary eyed, missing their babes, and god only knows what else is going on hormonally. Plus, the poor babes miss out on all that bonding time.. or if you do stay home for a while, you take a real financial hit which is hard to recover from (yes, I know we all make choices, but some are harder than others). So I am doing my damnedest to enjoy every last minute of my mat leave that I can, trying to appreciate the moments I have now before I have to go back to work, and trying not to worry about what it will be like handing him over at daycare. It is all part and parcel of it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dirty Hands

I looked down today, and my hands were caked in dirt. And dry. With lots of grime under my nails. It felt great. The last week has been my backyard project, volumes 1 through whatever it has taken to get to this place. At first glance, I think, what the hell took me so long?? Then I remember the painting, and the touch ups, and the weeding, and the planting, and the playing with Brandon in his playpen, and the sweeping, and the moving around of my plant pots, moving of allen blocks, and the cleaning up of a lot of bird shit. I am sure I have missed something in that mundane list of backyard chores, but tonight we got to kick back with a strongbow and enjoy the twilight.

It was totally worth it and it is only MAY!!!! It isn't even summer yet and I feel like I have a handle on the chores that I have assigned myself. I even got my vegetable garden planted, and after watering everything, the plants look like they will survive. YAY! Thank god for small miracles. I guess I can't really complain because I tend to have a green thumb. It is just nice to enjoy being outside in good weather.

Last night was book club, and it was just great to hang with some new and old friends, talking books, but really, talking about everything else too. There was a 5 week old baby there, and it blew my mind to realize just how much Brandon has grown and to visualize the difference between a month and 10 months old. It is worlds apart already. I can feel myself get pretty hyper - talking to adults!!!!! but also, getting to know new people, rediscovering parts of myself and getting to know the latest version of me. Weeks are going by way too fast. I am acutely aware of when that day marking the end of my mat leave is coming up and I have mixed feelings. I am sure once I am back in to it, and in to a whole new routine it will look a little different, but right now it feels like a foreign concept and I feel a new list being formed - making sure I get out and do the important stuff, and do some visiting as well while I am off because damn, where the hell did the last 10 months go?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Go Giants Go!

Today rocked.

Started out by going to the flea market and getting some plants to reinvent my garden, to doing a little gambling, to getting ready to head out on a date with my man!!! Which meant that we went out, and Brandon stayed home!!! Woo Hoo!!!!

We headed to the final game of the Memorial Cup. The Giants pulled through for a rematch against the Tigers for the Cup. In case you don't have a clue what I am referring to, this is the final game of a junior hockey tournament that involves the host city and the 3 winning teams from the 3 junior hockey leagues across Canada. This is a few steps away from the NHL, and the kids playing are laying it all on the line because this is the time to be noticed, and hopefully pave their way to the show. The Giants were the host team, but lost out for the Western league championship but a hairbreadth in a nailbiter best of seven series a few weeks ago, against their nemesis for 2007 - the Medicine Hat Tigers.. which if you recall, was ironically enough the team we got to see play at the Saddle Dome when we were in CowTown a while back. Funny how it all works out, eh?

To make a long story short, the game was a sell out - even the standing room tickets were long sold. There were artifacts from the hockey hall of fame, a huge beer garden (although the only choices were Canadian and Coors light, like WTF??? I choked down a Canadian, and well, won't be going that route again soon, I like the dark stuff), and so many people it took 15 minutes to walk a lap of the Colliseum. There were white towels on our seat backs, and people wearing amatuer jerseys from all over. The Memorial Cup is like the Grey Cup in that fans come from all over, and they are representing where they are from. The vibe in that building was unreal.

I will save you from a blow by blow of the action, but when great saves, great hits, goals, and plays happened, the noise erupted and filled the building, and there was a breeze that would lift my hair as the towels waved. The Giants pulled out a huge win, and it was amazing to be there for that moment - and to be there for the win, and the rituals of the cup being brought out and then awarded, to see the unadulterated joy on those kids faces when they won, and the tears on the faces of the winners and the losers. Junior hockey seems to have something that you don't always see in the big leagues, the heart, and putting it all on the line, and then unknown factor about not knowing what the future will hold. Back in the day, when Ken and I were a courting, he introduced me to junior hockey, and it has taken a hold. He was in his Giants jersey, and me in my team Canada one, and it was a great date, perfect for us.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Completely random.

I really want to do some camping this year. I want to get out and kick back on a lawn chair and soak it all in. I want to hang out in the woods, and have a fire, play some cards, and spend time with my family outside and not at home. See something new. Experience some new places. We have some ideas for the summer months, so it will be interesting to see how we fare camping with child.

I am reading up a storm. I brought back an embarrassingly full bag of books from the flatlands as carry on luggage. Only me and my insatiable urge to read. It has been a period of "ooooooooh, I have a stockpile of books, so I must read them as fast as I can." I am so bizarre at times. So in the last few weeks, I have read:
  • Prey by Michael Crighton, which is a somewhat distburbing book that delves in to nanotechnology for a thriller
  • The Soul Catcher by Alex Kava, a new suspense writer that really grew on me the farther in to the book I got
  • The Camel Club by David Baldacci - he always delivers
  • The Cove by Catherine Coulter, it was ok. More of a quick read that dragged on a bit towards the end
  • Saucer: The Conquest by Stephen Coonts, just a lot of fun. The sequel to Saucer, just a really fun read that was a page turner to see what would happen to earth!
  • and I am currently up to my eyeballs in The Bed of Nails by Michael Slade. I am hooked on the Slade books, they are awesome. Well researched, well written, and I like the wry, dark sense of humor that penetrates their books
I actually cleaned out my closest (yes, I know again, this is a process for me) and have gotten rid of a substantial amount of clothes. Like holy shit, I can move things in my closet and actually see what I have! Who knew?

My to do list is also shrinking! I have been doing some touch up painting, and even that is getting closer to being done.

Faceb0ok is a cool and odd thing. It is neat to see what happened to folks from highschool, or through networks of friends that you haven't thought about for a while. It is a glorified way to see what happened to the people you knew in a not so gossipy kind of way because you are controlling the information. For me, it is neat to see that the folks from the old high school gang are all pretty much at the stage of married with kids.. or something like that. We aren't the kids any more. I can't see myself getting too sucked in to it because I think it could become a huge time consuming thing, and I don't feel the need to be that dedicated to it. I have other priorities for my spare time. It is interesting in a "woah, looks what going on over there" kind of way. It is also kind of neat that I have nieces and nephews on there. There are times where I think it is amazing how big my family is now that I have two sides and that I get called Auntie Kazzy! Tee hee. I am a grown up. Still floors me sometimes.

It seems to be once a week where I get the chance to post, and I try to remember the funny ditties or instances that happen to me, and not always do they come off as interesting to relate. Ah well. So long for anothe day!

I aged.

So this is what 34 looks like. Not much different than what 33 looked like a few days ago. I had a great birthday and felt totally spoiled and then some. I got some amazing earrings, and a few other things that made my day and were bang on for me and some of the stuff I didn't know I wanted!

It felt like one of those charmed days, my man took the day off work and we grabbed my brother and took Brandon to the beach for a day in the sun, dropped my bro off and then we hung out for the afternoon around the house and had some quiet time, then out for a steak dinner. Damn fine if you ask me... although the creme brulee left a little to be desired, if that is all I can complain abuot on a day where I age... life is damn fine. I even saw a bald eagle at the beach, and a heron stalking it's prey! And I found a bunch of golf balls in a tidal pool?! I love going to the beach, you never know what you will find, or what you will do, but you know that you are guaranteed to have a good time! I even got to see a bald eagle, a heron stalking it's prey successfully (on film too!!), and found a bunch of golf balls in a tidal pool. I love going to the beach - you never know what you are going to find or see, but you know that you will have a good time. I love breathing in the salty air, and feeling the sand beneath my toes. The shoes come off almost immediately, and then my shoes usually end up not going back on again. As you can see from my pic, it was a gorgeous day and I was getting a little sun (although I loaded up the sunscreen on my nose...been burned one too many times that I actually take care of it now.. another side effect of aging!!)

I've even had the chance to talk to most of my bestest girlfriends, and I am enjoying a few quiet moments right now to soak it all in, and well, fritter away from time on the net. It was a great way to start this year. Looking back, I can't believe how intensely busy the last year has been. A year ago I was preparing to go to Calgary, I was getting very pregnant, we'd just gotten married, we were starting our current wave of renovations, I was still at work, still on a board (which will come to an end at this point of my life in August), helping put on a conference in June.. egads. Where did I have the time or energy to breath? And then all the joys and new adventures that come with motherhood. I can't tell you how grateful I am that I have a year for my mat leave. I couldn't imagine having had to go back to work when Brandon was 3, or 6, or now, even 9 months old. I am loving being home, and the days are going by way too quickly. But in the last few days, I have also had the chance to appreciate being able to slow down a lot and enjoy my new roles as a mom, and a wife. Gives me a chance to evolve and grow in to the latest version of me.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

To be a mom

I am feeling a little inspired by Nej, and a little inspired by the fact that my birthday is around the corner and I am normally a little melancholic and philosophical about this time of the year.

Being a mom has been an amazing experience. I have made a lot of new discoveries, and yes, I am just like the rest of the moms out there that figure there kidlet is just **so damn cute** and the apple of our eye. There have been incredible challenges to overcome, and I am proud that I stuck it out with breastfeeding, and that we made it through the rough patches with Brandon, and are (all crossables crossed) through to the other side of it all. We have learned that life with a shunt is not any different than life without. Just a different set of challenges and things to be aware of. Brandon is doing exactly what he should be, in fact, probably doing some stuff earlier than others, which warms the cockles of my heart.

Being a mom some times is like being given new chances every day to try again. If something doesn't work, or if the day doesn't go completely right (like the baby food you made has gone over like a lead fart), you have a chance to do it all over again with a few twists and tweaks. Kind of like the rest of life (if we are lucky) and aware enough to take that to heart and dust ourselves off and get back on the horse.

I am grateful that everything doesn't happen over night, even if the time seems to fly by, because you have time to grow in to the next set of stages that you are going through. It is amazing how being a parent is very much being in the moment, because the past is already moving in to something to be nostalgic about but not somewhere to dwell because things change fast with little ones and you need to be on your toes. It is an adventure, and you tend to gravitate towards others who seem to have similar attitudes as yourself/as a family.

Some days I am fricken tired and I think I am just not putting my best foot forward. Other days, I don't have a lot to say, or am not really in a big mood to be really interactive and thinking outside of the box. These are rare days, but they happen. I think part of parenthood is learning how to let go of those feelings, own em for what they are move on because times like this pass and all of a sudden you are on to the next adventure.

Being a mom is a journey, I am sure that Ken finds this to be true of being a dad. We are figuring it out as we go along. I felt pretty spesh today - getting a beautiful mom pendant from Brandon that I will wear with pride (when I can safely wear it without little hands prying all the time) and a great breakfast with Ken's side and then dinner with my side. I know I am coming off all "rose tinted glasses", but for me this has just been an amazing experience. I had no idea if I would ever get to walk in these shoes and frankly, after what doctors told me when I was a teen, I didn't put a lot of stock in to it happening.. and here I am! I have to pinch myself sometimes to realize this is our life - what we have created - and it blows me away. I can look back in to the diaries I kept when I was younger, and when I would keep myself busy 24-7 to fill up the empty spaces in my life that your dearest friends can't fill no matter how much you love them, and here I am - my life is rich and full and I feel blessed. I know I can weather out the storms because I found my safe harbor with Ken, we have a family, I know where I stand.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

before and after....

As the chaos began...

As you can tell from this pic, just about everything was stripped out of B's room prior to really get in to things. This was taken just prior to starting in on the walls after the ceiling had been painted and the walls filled.

Lines blurred between the grass and the sky... (old and the new)

Viola! Almost everything is back where it belongs in the new digs...

It really doesn't look the same room... there is open space, and it is so much cleaner and brighter, and well, just looks like a room where you can have so much more fun in than before. Did I mention that I love the colour??? Gone are the days of pastels and whites in my life!

PS I finally gave up that bookcase for Brandon. Although technically those Harry P0tter books are technically mine...the hope being that he will enjoy them in time..

Spring Clean Up week

Continuing on the theme of getting rid of excess belongings, this is spring clean up week in my community. Looking in our alley, we really did get rid of a lot of crap. Where the hell does all this stuff come from, and why if half of what we had in our shed is in the alley, can we still not move in our shed?? That remains a mystery.

It is also a mystery why I can have such a hard time letting go of things. Some stuff is easy to part with, other stuff, it is a struggle and at times it was all I could do to not go out in the yard and put it back in our shed. I resisted, but it was close a few times, especially with a doll's crib my grandpa had made for me... what thirtysomething years ago.. it has a huge foot print, and ultimately, I can't see any of my friend's kids using it, or us, if it ever came that. It is cool, but I can't see it staying in our shed forever... not doing much of anything except taking up space. So, here I have immortalized that piece with words, and am letting it go. I hope that some one cruises our alley and has the right person for that. If not, I am not going to be around tomorrow when the garbage trucks come by because I would rather not know. Silly eh?

I do love the spring clean up week, it is almost like a glorified freecycle to your hearts content, or someone else's garbage is someone else's treasure week. So, our shed still not being all that spacious could have something to do with my cruising of the local hood to see what I could score in return for letting some of our things go. I got a new kitchen chair (nice hardwood, probably maple) in almost the same style as the other chairs, but without two posts broken and repaired too many times to count (that chair now sits in the alley, forelorn); a really cool old school wooden tobaggan that needs just a little luvin to be right as rain, and a kids table and chair set - which to my consternation met the previous owner of as I parked in front of their house to abscond with said items. I look forward to painting the table a bright red to go in Brandon's new room :D

Amazing how many pack rats there are around. Some streets there is nothing, other streets, there is crap everywhere. Anything you can imagine - some real steals, and some total crap that really does need to go. And lots of people cruising. I think this week is great - some people get stuff that has lots of potential, others get rid of unwanted clutter, and everyone wins!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More renos

The last week has gone by with a flurry of cerulean blue paint, different carpeting, a bright white ceiling, and hopefully in the next day or so, a new light fixture as well. Brandon's room is just about "officially" done. Looking back over the years, the room has gone through many, many evolutions. From it's first life as our office, hockey equipment air out room, and general room that contains "I am not sure what the hell to do with this, maybe I should just store it in here" area to being a boys room. Now I can let Brandon loose in there and he can play to his heart's content and I don't have to worry about him getting splinters from the very old and battered wooden floor (I won't even grace that old floor with the term "hardwood").

I think Ken has mixed feelings about me being home (half kidding)- especially since the only shows I generally tend to watch during the day are the home improvement shows. In the last year we have redone the kitchen floor, painted the living room and hallway, and now done a complete renovation of Brandon's room. We have pretty much redone our entire since we moved in. I still have a list of little things to do (don't we all, plus it helps with mommy brain to not forget about what you intended to do in some future lifetime). Of course, add to that my ongoing phase of "letting go" of the excess belongings. We timed this reno right - it is spring clean up week and I can see a lot of stuff getting to the curb. I get twitches when I am driving around though - I can see potential in so many other people's piles that could be useful, but I resist and continue driving.

It made the weekend chaos. I had high hopes of being done by 5pm on Saturday night. Yah, right. Needless to say I am nothing if I am not an optimist. Wednesday night we got the carpet, Thursday I started to move furniture and prep the room, Friday I painted the ceiling, Saturday Ken helped me start the painting (before going out for Surf and Turf, you wait, my time will come.. LOL), and I finished up, Sunday Ken and my dad laid the carpet, I then attempted to help (somewhat with the kicker), and Sunday night we moved furniture back in.. yesterday I did some touch ups, put more stuff away, brought the clothes back in to the closet, and today I will put the curtains back up and do the last do-dads. So, if you haven't heard a damn thing from me in the last week, now you know why. Nothing personal, just up to my eyeballs in renos and thank god we are both handy around the house!!!!

I feel oddly content right now. The house is in good shape, Brandon has lots of space to move in, he actually has a room we feel good about letting him loose in, our to do list has shrunk significantly, and best of all, summer is around the corner! I am in bare feet again and can't wait to get out and spend more time outside!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A view images from our trip to Alberta...

Who knew there were white outs the week before?
Hey, has anyone seen my dog???

Out in the back 40, 100 miles east of Calgary

The old, red barn. The quintessential part of any farm.

Bison, meet Brandon (just outside of Fort Calgary).

Lake Louise, a little socked in so you can't see the glacier at the end of the lake... there were some snow drifts around the lake which came up past my knees... and yes, I found that out that hard way!! The lake is just starting to break up, and there were home made "caution, thin ice" signs posted all over the place, which to me seemed a bit incongruous considering the location and how much it costs to stay here! You can just the outline of the shinny rink!