Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I think I have some funny beliefs. In recent years, I have come to believe that even if things don't come completely full circle, it seems that some lessons and life experiences we have do happen for a reason.

I think back to when I was in my 20s and I used to volunteer with a friend and her horses. I didn't do it to ride, I just loved being around the horses. They were beautiful, and it was a truly grounding experience. Spin forward 15 years and that love of horses and relationship evolved in to knowing about therapeutic riding and getting B in to riding at a young age. Truly - where he can go with it is pretty endless depending on his love and his drive (and our access to money, ha ha).

Besides all those public speaking competitions in grade school, kissing the blarney stone, and being a generally outgoing person... the years I have spent working in my life of work (student finance to be vague enough) have also taught me how to advocate and put together appeals for people, and with B, how to be persistent, and put together arguments or to lobby on his behalf for services, or better quality care. Even to stand up for him, for us. Tonight was one of those nights. I attended a board meeting to advocate for changes not to their rules, but to their guiding principals. I had previously asked for an exception to be made for priority access to the next care level for B, since he will no longer have a space at the daycare centre he is for grade 1, which was denied last month because of said rules (movement between levels is based on date of entry in to childcare centre), and once I removed the personal element of the decision out of it, I spoke to the board tonight about what a parent like me goes through when decisions like that are made ... we don't have a problem with kids waiting to get in to a program, but to ask for a different kind of priority be given for kids that have community supports in place due to permanent disabilities to move between the levels instead of being kicked out in a school age program because there isn't enough space between the levels.

It is hard to say your child isn't like other kids. That your kid has barriers and challenges, that not every one does. Every one has a story, but ours is a little different. I do not see B as disabled - he is a kid that walks funny. However, at the end of the day, he is different, he gets tired, he falls, he has different challenges than most of us. After speaking tonight... I think the board was willing to make a different decision, even though I was asking about a greater policy change to take principals in to consideration and not just rules. That we weren't just trying to queue jump, and that we did take it seriously about wait lists and priority.

Well, after I spoke... there was some discussion and then the board immediately moved in camera. Which was because I think they were going to revisit this original decision because I think some people were moved by what I had to say, and how I structured my argument.

I am verklempt (one of those rare moments I can use this word in a sentence). This is a hard one to process. Telling our story to the board, persisting, my stomach all rolling about, feeling hyper and the adrenaline rush... and then back to hopeful. I am hopeful that perhaps B can be next on the list, rather than 10th. Hopeful that he can stay where he is, rather than wait for 6 months that hopefully enough spaces will open up that this has all been just an exercise in patience.

My fingers are crossed, I am hopeful... for B to be able to move on to the next level seamlessly and not have to worry about changing daycare and schools is a BIG DEAL. I can handle hopeful. To have advocated for future kids with special needs (I hate this term but it fits) to perhaps be given a different kind of consideration in future... is a big deal. To tie it all together.. all those years of public speaking, and doing my job, have all brought me full circle to be able to speak up, and be persistent, and fight these kind of battles.. when many people would have accepted the first no, and stopped the fight there. It certainly isn't easy.. but I couldn't imagine it any other way.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Just not at the same time....

Talking to other career moms, we are all tired. Time management of self and family, meal planning, not enough sleep, weekends passing too quickly, leftover laundry, and overwhelming lists is a pretty common theme. Talking to a fellow career mom, they cracked a joke about Shirley Maclaine saying in the 80s that women could have it all. The reality now in the 2010's... is that women can have it all... just not all at the same time.

Something has to give. After a full day of work, and picking up the kids, and then traffic, and then making dinner, and resting for a moment and trying to get caught up on everyone's day, and then avoiding dishes, and bath routines, and reading to the kids and hoping they fall asleep in a timely manner... there just isn't a lot left in the tank. For me, for my dear hubby, for the house... and we are back to time management, and making lists, and being organized. All the things I had no idea that I would become. Yet, by becoming those things, you can achieve so much more! It is an evil cycle. I am trying to fit in some physical exercise, and I am struggling to find the time (and the motivation). A few of my loved ones are making it happen, and I am just not sure where my time is going, because getting out for a jog is still an idea that hasn't become a reality. In a way, it is an excuse to say I am busy... but really, I am! This is the heart of this post - it isn't just about me whining (although you can definitely get a whiff of that in this post) it is more a reflection of how busy life is, and trying to fit in the things that matter.

I am grateful for my books, for being able to sit down and knit, for book club nights, and nights out with fellow moms... I am really grateful for date nights when they happen - when I can be away from my kids and with my husband at the same time! I am also really grateful for getaways, and for tax returns! For making things easier at this time of the year. HA HA.

Yes, this post is a bit of a whinge, but truly, mentally I have returnede to this thought a few times over the last few weeks "women can have it all, just not at the same time". It rings true. It is hard being a supermom, there are always frayed edges, no matter how hard you try. Some nights you crash out at 8pm and don't rise again until a new day. Some days you are a rock star, crossing off items like crazy off of your list and feeling like you can accomplish anything, and then there are the moments you come crashing back down. For me it has been all about adjustment. Realizing I don't have to do everything at once, about picking my battles, and not having a perfect house. Knowing that most jobs around the house can wait, and the biggest thing is that my loved ones know they are loved, even if I am not perfect all the time and don't always get a chance to reach out.

Friday, March 9, 2012

First pair of socks...

Well, they aren't perfect, but they were a learning experience. I learned about the magic loop method (very cool) and about turning a heel, and the parts of a sock. My second sock was somewhat smaller than the first as I started to get paranoid that the yarn was not going to make it through the to end. I was surprised at how LONG my son's feet are, and all in all, a satisfying project. Looking at this pair, they don't look like they would fit a 5 year old.

Next time I will use a different yarn blend, and I need to get my own sock needles. I get the feeling that there is this whole sock culture out there of folks knitting really intricate patterns. At this point, I am all about comfort and utility. I don't really need to incorporate cables and fancy patterns in to my socks... I want to master the art of the" lets figure out how to make some socks, fairly quickly that fit without big holes around the heel flap that scream out comfort". The kind of socks you would wear in front of the fireplace with a tea beside you, a good book in your lap, your kids happily doing their thing, and your hubby doing his thing...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Damn coffee maker, didn't even make a year.

It was a year ago I lamented the slow decline and then demise of my espresso maker. I knew at the time, the next one wasn't going to be nearly as good.

In a gnarly voice "they don't make'em like they used too".....

So, after a little research, and a damn good deal on one of those big giant websites, we got a new cuisinart espresso machine. I must admit, I didn't love it from the start. It wasn't a positive change from our old one, but one I tried to embrace. It took a few months to get the hang of the machine, and my DH never did try. I think my initial hesitation to embrace the machine from the beginning was a deterrent. It was a pain in the ass to make coffee with - in the morning it would take about 15 minutes from start to finish to make my latte, and my patience was wearing a bit thin.

Last week was one of those weeks that had it's moments, and first thing Monday morning, the wand broke off of the machine. So all the machine could do now is pull an espresso shot. Lovely. I was pissed. We paid good money for a machine that you figured you would get a few years use out of... after all, I got 11 years out of a used machine the last time around!!! Not even a year with this one... Of course, this got me thinking. Really, at this point do I need to spend 15 minutes every morning prepping my coffee? In the past, fiddling with the machine was fun and I never did treat myself to a coffee out. Now, between working full-time and the family... I justify having coffees in the afternoon way more than I did in the past... hence the need for a home-made latte has decreased drastically.

After some deliberation, I cracked. No more espresso machine, hello Keurig! Making my environmental self happy, I did get the filter pod that you can buy so I am not always using the convenient little pods in the morning and throwing them after one use.... it arrived from airmiles yesterday (another bonus)... and this morning, my coffee was ready in under a minute.

Ah. I will register the machine so I can take advantage of the warranty if I need to. I am glad to not have to go through the muss and the fuss of making a latte now. I need enough second cups throughout the day, that a latte isn't so much of a treat that it used to be. A good, easy cup of coffee with some half and half in it.. life is good.

It does piss me off I have to hold on to receipts, and then advocate when products break down prematurely. Frustrating as hell when you think you are buying it right the first time. I also have to follow up about the bed we bought for C-man. It is already having issues on one side and is collapsing. Bah - this bed isn't even 4 months old!!!!!! It is a 35 pound kid sleeping in a captain's bed! I will save the rent for the bed giant. I am glad they stand behind their product, but they can't be making much money if folks like us have bought two beds and both beds have been warranty claims!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Concept of the Wild

My dear hubby got me this book a few years ago after we watched the movie, and for some reason I put off reading it. I wasn't sure what to expect - if the novel would be a tear-jerker, or how it would pan out. I really wasn't quite sure how I would emotionally respond to this story. I recall the movie being pretty powerful at the time. All in all, a really good read. A blend of non-fiction, some storytelling elements as the life of Chris McCandless is exposed, and then part tale of an adventuring spirit lured by the idea of the wild, and the wilderness of Alaska. This is not a tear jerker, and in some ways, it is like a socratic argument in the sense that you return to the beginning again by the end of the story but with a slightly different sense of appreciation. Krakauer is a good writer, and he understands the lure of wild places. The idea of "wilderness" is one that has intrigued me over the years. The idea of "heading west" that would have lured our forefathers out to the west coast, getting away from it all, and of heading in to the bush. It is ironic to note how close Chris was to being able to save himself, and he took himself off of the grid by throwing away his map. I have been struck in the past of how our footprints are everywhere. If you seek out the wilderness, isolated places, it is truly hard to get away - planes fly overhead, you find litter, you come to a clearing in a bush and the half-buried tracks of an old logging road. It is hard to get away - I do believe we need wild places - places where everything is not paved over. We need wild places, our kids need to know and embrace nature. Our kids need to get dirty!Hence, it never surprises me when I take my kids for a walk and let them splash around in puddles, and the dog walkers are always thrilled I let my kids be kids. Hell - I can throw them in the shower and wash their clothes... there is nothing like jumping and splashing in puddles and coming home to warm up! Long live inner kids!!!