my top five favourite animals

library lessons

i love the library.

i love that i can walk to it and i love that i can leave with an armload of books that i don't have to pay for. i love when i go with jeremy and we split off in different directions and meet up in the reading area, with the armchairs and the big windows, like old friends in a market comparing our goods.

there's something so lovely about the cycle of taking the books and then bringing the books back, pondering on all the homes and hands that will hold the books in their book lifetime.

like a lesson in letting go, you can't take out more until you've returned what you've taken. one at a time. or in my case, four novels and an audio book at a time.

go to the library! maybe one time we'll hold a book in common and both be part of its long and interesting history of secrets.

through the looking glass

i'll show you mine.

so i’ve had a bit of a rough time this past month. this may or may not be shocking to you assuming i mostly emote a rainbow brite likeness, but i have. it might have been winters death rattle or a particularly stressful time at work or a collection of small but collectively looming inconsequentials but whatever the root, it was whacking me in the face with its musty overcoat and putting me in bed at 8pm.

worse than the shameful for seniors bed time was my inability to openly discuss my blues with anyone, including jeremy, who often times would lay beside me, hand on my brow, looking on with patience and care and a bit of worry.

going through tough times is hard and almost harder (or more annoying?) when there isn’t a clear direction to point the blame. when your life is good but you feel like a poop-sicle the only person who can pull you from the trenches is you.

after landing on some strategies to save myself from myself, i thought i’d share. after all, what’s the point of going through anything alone if you can’t tell a story on the other side?

strategy number 1: no eating in front of the television. we already did away with cable almost two years ago which means no more commercials but doesn’t mean we’re immune to dvd/netflix marathons and zoning out in front of the boob tube has started to feel less like entertainment and more like escapism. plus, i’d rather BE buffy the vampire slayer than WATCH buffy the vampire slayer.

eating your food and looking at your food and thinking about your food has some definite benefits too, like awareness and conscious chewing and thankfulness for my husbands face looking at me while i learn how to eat without slopping pasta sauce down my front.

strategy number 2: meditate for 15 minutes every day. i hesitate to write this strategy down yet because i’m TERRIBLE at it. like so bad it’s embarrassing. the minute i close my eyes it’s like every thought i’ve ever had, am having, or will ever have comes crashing into mind like a battering ram without manners. i’m trying ‘mindfulness meditation’ which is the best kind for me because it allows these thoughts to continue naturally, the trick is to not hang on to any of them. it’s without a doubt the hardest thing i’ve ever attempted but i’m trying and i believe that it will have a positive effect on my life.

maybe this strategy could more accurately be called ‘try something every day you’re terrible at’ and maybe the lesson i’m learning isn’t meditation, but perseverance.

jeremy got me a cd from the library that has sounds of the ocean paired with wood instrument music which is more new age than it sounds if that’s possible. i light some candles and i sit on a cushion and i try to get through it without my brain exploding and i think there’s something to that. and maybe there’s something to sharing that too.

strategy number 3: eat less sugar. i don’t actually eat a lot of sugar anyways (apart from when i bake something and eat half as a test) so this strategy is an easy way to decrease my stress level. sugar is bad for you. especially refined. and it does crazy things to your internal stuff like spikes everything upwards quickly and throws it down a hill shortly after. those aren’t medical terms but you get the picture. i’ve been looking at lots of different stress reduction tips and this is on almost all of them.

also on those lists is drinking less coffee but i only have one cup a day and let’s not be dramatic.

strategy number 4: breathe deeply and drink more water. these are like caveman basics and yet i find it super trooper challenging to take a big, deep breath and remember to drink 8 glasses of water a day. jeremy suggested a deep breathing exercise not long ago and i physically could not which was worrisome and upsetting and might have been the proverbial straw on my imaginary camel's back. my breath would get stuck in my chest or my throat and i had no connection to it and the more i tried the more i felt like i was just gasping for air.

breath and water are everything. they're life. and not just as quoted on a lululemon bag, it’s the gospel gosh honest truth. breathing delivers oxygen to all the places it’s needed (everywhere) and water keeps our insides functioning smoothly and gladly and we are made of water and we are alive because we breathe. if all i do in a day is take some time to breathe deeply and drink plenty of water, i want to feel like a success because of that. i might even give myself a sticker.

jeremy is always telling me to breathe and drink water and i'm usually like WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING but it has EVERYTHING to do with EVERYTHING and jeremy is a wise teacher without even knowing it.

strategy number 5: less internet on the weekends. this past weekend i didn’t go on the internet once and it had a dramatic impact on how i felt. working in an office i stare at a computer most of my day and oddly, find myself back there when i get home not because i love the tranquil buzz of the monitor but because it’s habit and i’m bored. it’s tricky because my blog is online and i love writing on here, but writing while facebook and youtube and etsy and gmail are up and running is completely different than writing with no other windows up and no other intent than to write.

strategy number 6: less multi-tasking, more single-tasking. why do one thing when you can do three? because you aren’t doing any of those three things justice. you aren’t giving them your full attention or focus or mindfulness. multi-tasking stops being effective and starts being detrimental when you actually start to lose your ability to focus on one thing at a time like i feel i have. i can vacuum and feather dust and do the fox trot whilst juggling but i can’t read a book without looking to see where the chapter ends and wondering what i should wear to our 10th anniversary. that's a problem and i`m committed to trying to fix it. right after i sew a quilt and swing at this pinata.

strategy number 7: i don’t know what i’m talking about. i love these strategies. i love these strategies and i love that when i’m writing them and thinking about them i’m convincing myself they will work in helping me become more aware, happier, more connected to the inner me. i love these strategies because i’m attached to lists to help me get somewhere and i don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. so this seventh strategy is in place to remind myself that i know nothing and that my only real goal is to try with honesty and patience and a bit of good humour.

you have to go easy on yourself. allow gaps for mistakes. do some video tape yoga with your husband in the livingroom and crack up at the parts where the instructor chants. we’re not images of perfection in the boring sense of the word. what we are is glorious and flawed and collectively unsure of the giant everything that we don't know. or as leonard cohen tells us:

“there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

yeah yeah – exactly.

those tulips you sent, they brought me spring.

a truthism.

the dictionary is full of words that i don’t know which means my life’s been full of missed opportunities to win at scrabble.

ode to my omelette

you're so handsome with your colours and your folded neatness and your bountiful insides spilling out on my plate.


red-tailed hawks are following me around which means i have a mystical connection with them or i smell like something they want to eat.

within the span of a couple days one has flown by my window at work, circled overhead on my way home and perched just to my left as i took out the recycling.

i'm like a falconer! or a lunatic! if i was seeing things that weren't there and the things were pleasant and meaningful in some uncertain way i would choose to continue the illusion. i wonder what that says about me? i should ask the hawk what he thinks.

in the name of science

dear jeremy,

our chalkboard learning centre is awesome. i love when you draw with the chalk even though you don't like how it feels because it shows me how committed you are to knowledge.


your lab partner

why do people have pets?

they sleep all day and chew things they shouldn't and never listen when you tell them to tie their shoes.

maybe it's because it's nice to care for something that can't thank you? maybe it's because well fed souls make a home feel warm?

i thought pets would teach me to relinquish some control but i'm still re-arranging their wood chips every night to look more aesthetically pleasing.

everything's a process.

just a spoonful

"i've always been interested in the perfect spoon. it is delectable in a multisensory way: the appearance, the balance and feeling as you pick it up off the table, then the sensation as it touches your lips and you taste the contents."

bill moggridge, director of the smithsonian national design museum, new york city.

nature's hand, perfectly cupped, lets the snow rest one last time before the melt.

my international mom

international anythings can feel so lofty. while lofty is good when connective and empowering, i prefer to mold it into something personal and meaningful. people take action when things directly impact them and while linking up to the larger notion is important, why it matters to you is equally so.

when i think about women's day, i think about my mom. about how she raised me and provided for me and how she was brave in the face of not always knowing the answers. i get my creative bone from her. i get my restless bone from her. i get my philanthropic bone from her.

i look at her now, still creating and questioning and wondering what she'll do with her life, and i am inspired by her commitment to keep trying. i'm inspired by her relationship to my step-dad and i'm inspired by our own relationship that's changed and grown and become a real and honest friendship.

international women's day is about human rights and sexual rights and the rights of women to have a voice without boundaries. it's also about me, thanking you, for everything.


reporting on the headline news

"inspired by the pixar film 'up', a house is lifted into the air using a cluster of balloons"

i really suck at some things

like laser tag. i'm so bad at laser tag. the last time i played i shot at myself in a mirror for ten minutes before realizing it was me. i blame it on the dim lighting and dry ice.

when they announced the winners and started at the first place loser i yelled YAHOO that it was me. i wanted to congratulate my fearless participation in something that i so utterly sucked at.

or i wanted to pretend that i sucked on purpose.

sometimes i think if it wasn't for jeremy i'd just be eating sour cream and bacon chips for dinner every night

like i am right now. because he's at school.

and he doesn't just improve my dietary intake. when i think about all the ways that he makes me a better version of myself i wonder what the pay off is for him? besides his wife not having early onset diabetes?

in general i think he makes me more responsible which sounds boring but what i mean to say is i look at life differently knowing i'm living mine for the two of us. work takes on a more important function when it's providing for our family. health moves to the front burner when you want to spend your life with someone and you want that life to be a long one. questions unfold into more questions when you're considering the thoughts and feelings and well being of someone other than just you.

this may all sound so obvious but truthfully i have lots to learn about being selfless. jeremy teaches me these lessons by the way that he loves and accepts and encourages and considers me before all else. before even himself. sometimes i wonder if i'm capable of that sort of abandon. sometimes i wonder if there are reasons for my being guarded other than just that i like being the boss of me. i like to wake up and make noise. i like to go to sleep in my own nook. i like to wear jeremy's fresh clean socks as ear muffs at the same time he needs to put them on and leave for work.

but the way that he is with me. the way that he sees me. the way that he can hug me when i'm worked up in a tizzy and in that way rescue me from myself - well i've never experienced anything like that.

in the gooshiest possible way, jeremy makes me a better person. and the road to that just may begin with eating all four food groups.

i'm henry the eighth, i am!

one thing you can do if you have netflix is you can kill all your weeknights for a substantial chunk of time watching all the tudors episodes and i really recommend that you do.

it’s GOOD. like history and intrigue and murder and corset heaving kind of good. king henry viii was a mercurial ruler which doesn’t mean he was poisonous if ingested but does mean he was moody and changeable and ruthless in the finality and quick execution of his decisions.

i use the word ‘execution’ on purpose because he did, execute, almost everyone who was at one time close to him. it makes for interesting television because each season is a whole new host of characters but it also makes for nerve-wracking television if you like a character because you never know when they'll fall out of favour and onto the block.

if you were in the kings court and weren’t beheaded, or drawn and courted, or stripped of your riches/houses/priestly robes, you probably died of a swift and deadly disease for which there was no known cure. in fact only one of the kings long standing dukes, (charles brandon), and two of his six wives (anne of cleves and catherine parr) survived his wrath. uncle wikipedia says 'he beheaded more english notables than any monarch before or since'. i wonder if they put that in his yearbook. i wonder if anyone signed it.

i love the dresses and the jewels and the royal swan pies. i love the court dancing and the music and the uncomfortable pairing of royal pomp with torture and execution. it is a savage time when people were at once in love with the beauty of finery and luxury but not yet beyond the savagery of unjust persecution, changeable law and toilets that didn't flush.

it’s like a soap opera! with be-headings!

history is fascinating because everything is so different. i can't watch that show without wondering what their underwear was like and not just because i'm perverted but because i'm a student of everything new. or in this case old. i want to know what they thought about. what they worried about. how their life was different with the absence of the ability to communicate in the immediate way available to us now. i wonder if social media would have saved anne boleyn! we could have made a facebook page and liked it and king henry viii would have had to call the whole thing off because, after all, we're only slaves to popular opinion.

watch the tudors! and wear your courtly jewels! maybe just ixnay the corset if you're going to have snacks. those things aren't kind to digestion.