Saturday, September 26, 2009

Trusting the Process...

A phrase I heard close to daily by faculty and students when I worked directly with the Leadership programs at RRU. Some days it was the winning phrase in Educational Bullshit Bingo… but other days it really did have some meaning. Right now I am working on my own personal and meaningful challenges where this has become the answer. I’m rather frustrated right now that I don’t have things exactly as I would like them – particularly on the home front. It hit me hard when I was pregnant and it’s hitting me a lot again lately – I really wish I had a home of our own for me and Kaia. Unfortunately that isn’t working out right now as I still have a bunch of debt (for way too many things) that I’m working on paying off. Not to mention staying on top of the normal day to day expenses for a single mom and a growing toddler. As much as I am learning to live without a lot of things… there are a lot of required expenses for KEW and myself. Sooo… finding money for a down payment and to know I can cover the monthly mortgage and household bills… well it just isn’t in the stars right now. So what do I tell myself when I get down and sad and angry and bitter – trust the process. Everything happens when it is supposed to and to who it is supposed to happen to. There is a lesson in all of this for me… so I have to move on from the feelings and find the truth behind it all. I think the hardest part of all of that trusting of process “stuff” is not to lose the dream.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cupcakes and Water...

No, it’s not what I could live on for the rest of my life… it’s describing our “day out” on Sunday and the frustration that keeps rattling around in my brain.

First the good stuff – Sunday lunch with R and C. KEW and I crossed through the Tweed Curtain and in to Oak Bay to have lunch at Crumsby’s. I’ve heard about this place from so many folks in the last while, I decided it was a great excuse to get the girls out for some food and to catch up on gossip. Crumsby’s is great little coffee shop on Estevan just up from Willows Beach - and they have some of the best little cupcakes that I’ve ever eaten!!! It is also a very kid friendly environment… which is great since KEW seems to be in the “not sitting still” stage of life. The shop has a bright and comfortable atmosphere, great lunch menu of panini and salads, friendly staff and a wonderful selection of little cupcakes loaded with lots of tasty icing (mmmmm… icing). There are wonderful Adirondack chairs to lounge and read a book in, tables inside and out to enjoy a meal at and a whole section of kiddie toys for the little ones to play with while Mama sits by with friends (or just a good cuppa coffee or tea). R and I ended up moving on to the lunch portion without C as SOMEONE forgot about our date (no really, I’m not hurt…). Although there was a bit of an adventure for R to actually get her lunch, all was worthwhile. Once C joined us we were ready for some treats. Ok, we had already had a couple of free sample cupcakes… so I guess we were ready for some MORE treats. KEW also seemed to know exactly what a cupcake was when I asked her if she would like one… and she knew exactly where to go to find them. She did make an attempt to go around the counter to help herself… but she was caught in the nick of time. I made a selection of 6 little treats (buy 5, get one free) and returned to the table to sample. I think I ended up wearing most of KEW’s little berry cupcake… but it did keep her busy for a while. As for the others… well they were pretty dang good! As those who know me know, I do love my chocolate. However, I have to say that the vanilla cupcake with lemon vanilla butter cream icing was about the best thing I have eaten in quite some time. I may be trying to reproduce that treat sometime in the near future! Oh ya, I almost forgot! One of the coolest things while we were at lunch - meeting another young girl (8-ish?) who had the same name with the same spelling as my KEW. I’ve heard of a few others with the same name, but this was the first I’ve encountered with the same spelling. Of course my KEW didn’t have the same YSL purse (no, it wasn’t a knock off) or the same Oak Bay glow about her (there must be something in the water over there)… but they did have one thing in common!

OK, now on to my rant. What the frack is with all of the people buying bottled water still? It could be that I am just noticing it more… but it really feels like I am seeing more and more individual plastic bottles of water lately. I honestly don’t know why people have to buy water in that way… especially when we have such great water here in our beautiful city! Not to mention that pretty much any where you go these days you can get a sports bottle or aluminum water bottle for free or pretty darn cheap. Ok, so maybe you don’t have access to good water for some reason… but why then not buy a big jug of water? Do you really need 24 little bottles of water? Sure, yes, I have heard the excuse that you can recycle the plastic water bottles and they won’t end up in the landfill forever. Great, good to hear that you are recycling, but don’t you get that the energy it takes to actually recycle those water bottles is something we could do without (hello… pollution at so many levels there folks). Oh wait, how about we start with the big ass truck that is hauling all of those crates of water bottles from the “factory” to the stores. Those trucks aren’t exactly putting pink fluffy clouds in to the air!

Oy… I’m getting tired and can’t rant any more. My plea instead is for people to just think twice about their bottled water purchase. Turn on the tap instead. And if you really need a water bottle, let me know – I’ll try to hook you up.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Things I’ve learned lately about being a mother…

After many years of wondering, I can now truly understand why my mother doesn’t sit down (or is rarely sitting down and sitting still). The fact is you can’t – there is just way too much stuff to get done around the house when you have that little creature depending on you. If you don’t get the chores done “on time” then not only do you have them and the build up the next day… but you have a whole lotta chaos with it! If you do find a moment to yourself to say, watch TV or write a little blog… a little thing called guilt starts to creep in and remind you that there is something that needs doing. You might not even know what that something is… but you haven’t done it yet so you’d better get on it!

I’ve also learned how strong the “Mother Bear” instinct is. I am honestly struggling to put in to words the emotions running through my brain and body over the last few days when I think of the sicko creepy sex offender living in Sidney. The anger towards our Canadian Justice system for letting a freak like that walk the streets in the communities I love. I’m also feeling a huge amount of protectiveness over my daughter and ever other young girl in this town that might come across the path of this heinous creature. Then there is the hints of fear for “what if”… and the related defensiveness to the “I pity the fool who comes too close to my girl”. And worst of all, the worry of how to raise my daughter to be strong and independent and open and trusting yet cautious and aware… and not scare the crap out of her when there are “bad people” out there who might be interested in hurting her. I don’t want a creep like this to put so much fear in to my life or my community… but to provide a good life for myself and KEW I need to keep my eyes and ears open just as much as my heart.

Friday, September 11, 2009

With or Without...

Over the last couple of years I have learned a lot about what I really need versus what I want… and ultimately what I can live without. Being pregnant and preparing for life as a single mother made me spend some serious time evaluating “stuff”. I had been an independent single woman for some time and really had a lot of freedom with what I did with my time, money and space.

There has been many a day over the recent months where I really start to wonder where all my money went in my life pre-KEW. Now that I have to pay for daycare, diapers, clothes and food for another little person in my life… a lot had to change. All those things that I’ve listed (and the ones that I didn’t) add up to a pretty penny by the end of each month! I don’t have Stacha or Bailey or their respective vet bills any more, but the KEW expenses generally add up to more than my fur-baby expenses ever did! So where did all that money go to… and how the heck do I make it work today??? Although Ikea seems to be surviving without me (shocking as it is), I also seem to be surviving without them (or at least without a shopping trip in nearly 2 years)! Gone are the regular take out dinners. Gone are the many many tabloid magazines filling up my recycling bag. Gone are the shopping bags of clothes and shoes and “stuff” that I just had to have. And the part that I never would have learned without KEW – I’m ok without all that stuff. Ok… I do miss my trips to Ikea – but I think that is more about missing my girls’ day trips to the store with R and C!!!

I’ve had a lot of wake up calls over the last while about how lucky I am in life… and I’m really working hard not to push the snooze button on that lesson. Sure, I have crappy days (don’t we all)… but there are a lot of folks out there in the world a lot worse off. One of those wake up calls came through a powerpoint that is similar to the show at The Miniature Earth. If you haven't seen it... do check it out. It's a bit of a reality check.

I had an "ah ha" kinda moment yesterday. Driving home after our trip to the Backyardigans (ya gotta be a parent of a wee one to really get the coolness of this reference) show at the Mac I crept along Blanshard with the rest of the rush hour traffic. As usual, there were some street folks at the intersections begging for cash or handouts of any kind. I’m generally not to keen on the street people thing… but I had a few recent reminders pop in to my head –“see, an example of someone who is worse off” and “what you give comes back to you”. So I started thinking of what I could do to help. I didn’t have cash with me to give to this guy… but I did have a big juicy nectarine in my purse. His sign said something like “Homeless and hungry. Anything will help”. Well, if he really is hungry, then that nectarine will taste really good. Down went the window when the light turned red and I offered up the fruit. He took it with a very grateful thank you. When he went to return to the curbside, the American with the thick accent in the car beside me stopped him and gave him some cash (apologizing profusely that she had to give him American dollars – LOL). Then the car behind them called him over and gave him some cash. I’ll be honest… I don’t think I’ve ever been at a stop light and noticed people in the waiting cars giving to the people asking for hand outs. I was surprised by the chain reaction of support that started with my offer of a nectarine… and I was even more surprised by how good it felt to give and how great it felt to see others give as well. The reminder that popped in to my head was right – I did get something back when I gave to someone else. I don’t even care what the guy used the cash for or if he ate the nectarine… I’m grateful to know that we as a society haven’t given up on charity and hope and supporting each other… myself included.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Extra Strength Advil Kinda Day…

For once in a long while, I’m not tired - yeah! However, I have just started my period and boy oh boy, I got me some whomper menstrual cramps! I’m sure any man reading this has just run from the computer in fear - but sorry, like farting, it is a natural body function! My current Advil calm is starting to wear off… so I’m feeling kinda uncomfortable and in the mood for a rant. I want to put something out there that has bothered me for years… and I really don’t know where else to go with it.

So we have all these taxes in life that we have to pay, and the government has deemed themselves kind enough not to tax food as it is considered an ‘essential’. So why exactly do essentials stop at food – are there not other things out there that really are essentials? And no, I’m not looking for a deal on some great shoes – I’m talking feminine hygiene products. I’m sure these things are taxed because some man out there is the one who determines what is taxed and what isn’t… but if those things aren’t essential, I really don’t know what is! Gone are the Clan of the Cave Bear days when we can turn animal furs in to our monthly friend – tampons and pads (or other such products) are a necessity to every woman at some stage of life. It’s bad enough that we have to pay so much for them as it is… but to also have to give some extra to the government while making such purchases…GRRRRR!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Filters and Firemen

I’m just back from the annual vacation to the family cabin in Qualicum. It’s an amazing spot – right on the beach and far from the tourist zone. This was KEW’s second trip to the cabin and much more of an adventure than her first trip. Last year she was only 6 ½ months old… so the little gnome basically just sat on the sand and tried to eat whatever her little hands could reach. This year included everything from combing the beach for shells and crabs to splashing in the water. We also took the usual trip to Coombs and a new trip to the Little Qualicum Cheese Works. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I will say it again – I love to see the world again through KEW’s fresh eyes. When she is seeing things for the first time, I feel like I get to experience them for the first time as well. All of the little things that we ignore on a daily basis because we have seen them all before… are so new and interesting and exciting to kids. What has made it even more interesting is that KEW is speaking so much – there are new words every day (if not every hour). She can now put verbal descriptives to the things she is encountering… but also how she is feeling. Kids don’t have filters – they just tell you what they see, how they feel, what they want… and yes, what they don’t want.

I was reading a post on Kids In Victoria last week about a mother of a child with a disability and her frustrations when encountering others (adults and kids alike) who would stare at her child and in some cases making ‘rude’ comments. There were a lot of responses in regards to how some people just aren’t raised to be respectful and some that noted small children don’t have filters. It really got me thinking about how to teach KEW about the polite way to deal with people or things that are ‘different’. Now this week I am struggling with that concept even more. I wonder now if we have too many filters in our world. It seems that so many of us are challenged in general by communications… and I can’t help but think that part of the problem is that we have so many filters programmed in to our brains of what is right, what is wrong, what is acceptable, what is not, what is politically correct… and so on. No doubt communications are hard when the message itself has to go through so many filters before it can actually escape from our lips (or finger tips). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that filters don’t have their place… but man, it sure is easy to understand how a one and a half year old is feeling about something when they just come out and express their feelings (good or bad)!!!

Now I’ll move on to the second part of my note for today – the firemen. No, sorry, for those of you searching for some great calendar photos of hot firemen… you’re not getting a story about anything like that. Although, I will admit that there was a young cutie on scene! After a 2 ½ hour trip down the island on the way home from Qualicum, I turn up our street with that joyous feeling of being so close to home… when I see a big red fire truck in my driveway. It always amazes me how many things can fly through your brain when we come across something that is generally associated with something gone wrong…

“OMG – what the????”
“Is everyone alright???”
“Did I leave the toaster plugged in???”
“It’s ok, KEW and I are here in the car and not in the house… whatever is going
on in there.”

“Crap… I’ve got so much personal stuff in there that I want… this is really
gonna suck.”

“It’s only stuff.”

“Thank Gawd that I’ve got renter’s insurance.”

“OK, get out of the car and go find out what is going on.”

So I hop out of Gigi the Wonder Jeep (loaded to the brim with all our “stuff”) and start to walk up towards the big red fire truck. One of the neighbours’ nanny meets me part way and explains that there is a gas leak. The fireman from the BRFT comes to meet me and asks if I live up the hill. I explain that I live in the house at the end of the driveway where they are parked. He explains all of the details of the construction next door and the resulting broken gas pipe and thus the need to evacuate the area. Wow… a lot to absorb in a few minutes. Ultimately it means that I can’t go near my house for a while until the gas has disbursed in to the air more. Alrighty then… back on the road we go and hang out at my parents house for a bit rather than sitting in the Jeep and watching more of The Little Mermaid (and I really gotta pee).

We came back about 45 minutes later and the truck was still there – more disappointment. At least this time I know what is going on! Another walk up the hill to the BRFT and a chat with a fireman (the young cutie mentioned earlier) and an update that I should be allowed back home in the next few minutes. By the time I walked back to the Jeep I was getting the thumbs up and the BRFT was moving out of my driveway.

Never before did going home feel so good!!!