Archive for December, 2010


Reverb10: Part 2

Here is the second installment of the Reverb10 prompts, the last one will come out tomorrow, but I somehow think that it will be the most meaningful, and will probably deserve it’s own post, hence why I’m answering these ones today.

December 22 – Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? Travelling in 2010? Yeah right! The only place I really travelled to, other than a few surrounding cities to do some shopping was to my family cabins near Clinton, BC, and that was only overnight. It was by car, and the ride to the cabins was heart-in-throat scary after Neil’s dirtbike fell off the trailer and was dragged for several hundred feet. After getting some more straps about an hour and a half later we rested easy, and the remainder of the travelling was delightfully easy and forgetable. I would love to do some travelling this upcoming year, but I very much doubt that will happen with little Andrew in tow. I hope to make it to the cabins again at least twice this year, and hopefully for a few days each time, but other than that, I plan to have a relaxing 2011.

December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? Big surprise to many of you, I would choose Elinor. I love the way that name sounds, and the kind of imagery it inspires. It speaks of someone who is probably older, from another time even, and it embodies elegance, sophistication, and a certain amount of class and respect. I think of someone with a straight back, nice manners, and possibly a shawl over her shoulders who sips tea, reads books, and takes gentle walks outside in the garden of her beautiful British estate. I think to Jane Austen’s time, and to an era when people didn’t wear short skirts, and when rap music hadn’t been invented yet.

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead? After spending a very sleepless night with Neil and Andrew our first day back from the hospital, my mother came over and gave us a hand with him. When she walked in, I came over to her in tears, upset that the reason he had been crying had been all my fault, and she put my fears to rest and explained that having a baby was going to be a guessing game a lot of the time, and that it was okay to make mistakes. That lesson has stayed with me, and I think I will hear her voice everytime I discover some new mistake or error I’ve made.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

I think this photo of me shows me fairly truly. I’m sitting down at my computer, with my eyes closed, enjoying the feel of the warmth of the sunshine on my skin for probably the first time that spring about 2 years ago. I was just starting to date Neil, and I knew I was totally head over heels in love with him. I think I look content, happy, and like I’m totally living in the moment. I try to live like that all the time, enjoying the happy moments, and even being truly present in the unhappy ones. There aren’t very many photos of me that aren’t staged or posed, and this one is the best of them.

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? Believe it or not, nachos from Boston Pizza. There was one date that Neil and I went on soon after we found out I was pregnant, and I was craving them. They tasted so good, and the conversation and the dreaming we did that night matched how I felt about those nachos and that date. They were exhilerating, delicious, and satisfactory.

December 27 – Ordinary Joy Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? It was one of my days off from work, and I decided to do a little journal writing. Shortly into it, I noticed how perfect that moment was – the house was absolutely quiet and still, it was sunny outside, but not too bright in the house, my tea was the perfect drinking temperature, and my journal was in just the right spot where it was completely and totally comfortable to write in. My pen was one of my favorite kinds, the black gelly ink kind that write smoothly, and I had an Earl Grey cupcake to munch on.

December 28 – Achieve What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. What I want to achieve most in 2011 is being a good parent, and not just to Andrew. I have not always been the most patient person with Morgan, she can be very demanding on your attention and affection and I am sometimes too quick to react. I don’t think this is something I will ever completely “achieve.” There will always be a Mary Poppins-idealistic view of what a “good parent” is in my head, and I may never completely achieve it, but I will always aspire to it. 10 things I can do to get closer to achieving it are:

1) Be more patient. 2) Do more activities with Morgan that are focused solely on her. 3) Be more quick to praise, and less quick to scold. 4) Talk directly to the kids, not across the room or even from separate rooms. 5) Listen more. And remember to listen more to other people too, not just to the kids. 6) Stop setting such high expecations for myself. 7) Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and be less quick to be harsh about it, towards both the kids, and my spouse and myself. 8) Talk in a quieter voice when things get tense, and stop trying to top other people’s volume. 9) When the going gets tough, remove myself from the room until I can be calm. 10) Try to be less reactive, and more empathetic.

December 29 – Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. My defining moment was when Andrew was placed in my arms right after delivering him. My entire life changed in that instant, and I finally knew what it was to love unconditionally and completely. I could never go back to life without him, he completes my world, he completes ME.

December 30 – Gift Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? When my two best friends, Chelsea and Jessica, wrote such beautiful things to me in the baby memory/advice book that I was given at the baby shower. Jessica called me her best friend, which I hadn’t heard from anyone in a long time, and Chelsea wrote that she had never seen me more sure of myself than when I was pregnant and preparing for the baby. The gift of love, support, and friendship was the best thing I ever got this year. But I must admit, Neil giving me a Wii for Christmas was pretty nice too (that man has a better idea of what’s in my head than I do, I swear!).

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Reverb10

I came across this concept website while reading another blog, Tranquility Du Jour. Reverb10 is a daily prompt for the month of December, which you respond to in any way that you desire. You can do this privately, or like I am, publically on my blog. I love the concept, it’s a great way to reflect before 2011 is rung in. I’m coming to it late in the game, so I’m posting all the prompts up to this point in this post. Visit their website to learn more: http://www.reverb10.com/

December 1 – One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? My word for 2010: Change. I hope my word for 2011 will be: Balance.

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? Quite frankly, I avoid my writing these days. My journal stays packed away in a drawer for the most part, and I can’t find my favorite pens when I do want to write. I can eliminate this block by putting my journal out in the open where I will see it, and the guilt of avoiding it will make me pick it up and write. I can also schedule a bit of writing time each day; Neil can take the baby for a few minutes while I vent out any frustrations, or simply record a few things that happened that day, and how they made me feel. I forget how much writing in my journal keeps me sane, so I should work it back into my life when I really need it the most.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). When I found out I was pregnant, it was the greatest moment all year. I was waiting the dreaded two minutes for the test to percolate, and I was avoiding looking at it as it sat on the kitchen table. I was sitting on the back of the couch, Morgan was playing in her room and I could hear her singing. It was March, and the wind was whipping things around, I could hear the “wooing” as it rushed past the house, and the jingle of my wind chime. I could taste my anxiety as I waited, and the house smelled like tea. When I saw that it was positive, I scooped Morgan up in a hug, and raced for the phone to call Neil. I didn’t stop shaking and squealing with excitement at various times all night.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? All I had to do was look at a pregnancy book, or touch my growing belly, or think about babies at all. The changes in my body amazed me, and I was in complete and utter awe at my ultrasounds and doctors appointments when I could see and hear the changes that were happening to my baby.

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? I let go of my negative emotions about food. I have forever been worried about my weight and my size, and conscious of how being the size that I am affects other women who wish they were in my position. While I was pregnant, I took a vacation from those thoughts by eating what I wanted, when I wanted it, and the quantity that I wanted. I gained 35 pounds during my pregnancy, and it didn’t bother me a bit, in fact, it made me excited. After giving birth, I decided I needed to start eating healthier again (for baby and I) but I’ve allowed myself to have that food without guilt that people will think I’m trying to maintain a certain figure or look. I indulge with less guilt that people seeing me eat the stuff won’t be thinking “I hope it goes straight to her thighs.”

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? I made a stuffed knitted toy for my baby-to-be. I used wool yarn and a little bit of acrylic, my bamboo double pointed needles, a tapestry needle, and scissors. I want to keep knitting of course, but the time for that will open up as I get more and more comfortable with managing my time and my baby.

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? I’ve recently reconnected with my sisters at TarValon.net in the Gray Ajah. After being absent from them during most of my pregnancy and then my birth, I came back in when there was some personal drama going on. I’m glad I came back then, because it made me remember how much I missed that closeness with them.

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. What makes me different is the way I do things. I am a person of contradictions, I like action movies and video games where I can shoot people, but then I also love my antique tea cups, Victorian things, and beautiful images as well. I’m a loner for the most part, preferring to stay at home quietly, until it drives me nuts, then I can’t get enough of socialization for another period of time. This switch between one extreme and the other is what makes me different, and it makes me beautiful. I feel it is balanced, and helps make me a better person. My curly hair when everyone else is straightening theirs also makes me beautiful. I stand out where others blend in, and yet not offensively so. I love to read and I cultivate sophistication and class when others are shortening their skirts and lowering their necklines, and I apply makeup and accesories with a reseved hand, where others go overboard. I do not follow the trends, and I do not attempt to be like everyone else anymore. Being oneself is truly beautiful.

December 9 – Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. All the family gatherings I’ve been to have been exciting and good for my soul. Too many of them to describe, and the food and drink were not really memorable, but the advice I received from my aunts, grandmother, and parents during these events, the sense of belonging and love I felt while there, and the connections we all shared, that will never leave my memory.

December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? The wisest decision I made was to look for work and stand up for myself to my boss when my hours were threatened. I made it clear that her lack of warning that my hours were going to drop dramatically, and my assertion that I was going to look for work and take another job if I had to made it clear to her that I wan’t okay with her behavior, and that I deserved better and was willing to go somewhere else to get it. It resulted in a lot more respect for me on her part, and a much better relationship between the two of us. I’m actually glad that nothing else panned out, and that I was able to remain at that job.

December 11 – 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 1. Drama 2. Disrespect 3. Imbalance 4. Stress 5. Lonliness 6. Laziness 7. Sickness 8. Attempting to do it all 9. Perfection 10. Taking things for granted 11. Blame

I will elminate these things by tackling them head on. Drama – handling it like an adult, or staying out of things. Loneliness – by getting out of the house, and connecting with my friends. Attempting to do it all – by asking for help, or demanding a little free time to do something that I want to do. Blame – By taking responsibility for the things I do wrong, and not holding wrong doings agains other people. How will this change my life? It will make it for the better, it will reduce my stress, and it will allow love to be cultivated, not just within my family, but within myself.

December 12 – Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? I felt it the most during my labour. Every muscle twitch, bone crack, movement and motion was made aware to me. I felt everything more keenly, and I was not really even able to control it. I had to deal with pain in a way I never had before, and rely on others for help. I felt more like me than I ever had before, and I had to deal with that, it was very overwhelming and liberating at the same time, letting others help me and do things for me when normally I have to do everything for myself.

December 13 – Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step? My next step is to take it one day at a time. My aspiration is to be the best mother that I can be, and I can only do it by taking it one day at a time. I need to forgive myself for my mistakes (like not burping the poor guy) and take on the new challenges with the same eagerness that I took on the first ones. I need to allow myself to feel emotions like doubt, anger, sadness, and confusion, absorb the emotion, deal with it, and then find a solution to it and move on and not let them get in my way or avoid them.

December 14 – Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it? Time to myself. That shower I have when Andrew is asleep or with his father, those moments I get to write in my journal when the hosue is peaceful and quiet, and those few minutes I take to sip my tea and just be with my thoughts for a few minutes, they are the most precious to me. I express my gratitude by allowing myself to take those moments everyday, despite how selfish I might feel initially when I start to do it.

December 15 – 5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. I want to remember every detail about my pregnancy and labour. I want to remember every day that I’ve had with Andrew, all those sounds, facial expessions, the hard times we had figuring each other out, and the joyful moments we’ve shared, like his smiles, how sweet he looks when he’s sleeping, and the way he looks for me when he’s hungry and being held by someone else. The relief he portrays so beautifully when he’s back in my arms is overwhelming – I feel so loved, so needed! I want to remember the talks I’ve had with my mom about family, and what it means to us, and our experiences and the emotions we’ve shared. Her advice has been indespensible. I want to remembe the way Morgan looked when she saw her brother for the first time, and the wondeful moments we’ve shared together as a family. I want to remember the hugs and kisses she’s given me, and the way she imitates how I take care of my baby on her dolls. I want to remember the feeling of support Neil gave me during my labour, and the love and caring he had for me right after. I want to remember that look in his eyes as he saw his son for the first time, and the look he gave me right after. I want to remember the love in all of his hugs, and how well he took care of me, especially in my last trimester as more and more things got difficult.

December 16 – Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? Andrea changed my perception by becoming my friend so quickly and easily. We spent an entire day together getting to know one another, and discovered how much we had in common, and the other times I saw her after that were just not enough. We keep in touch over the internet as much as possible, but its hard to be separated from her like this. Its sad that after making a friend like that, that she was gone so quickly, but I know that as her friend, I’m happy that she left, because she’s with the man that she loves, and who loves her. She made me realize that I had been too separate before from the people I connect with online, because to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t connecting with them as much as I should have. I’ve been making conscious efforts recently to get to know these women again, and I’m so happy that I have been given this glimpse once again.

December 17 – Lesson Learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? I learned how much I withdraw when I’m upset at someone. I am never able to communicate when I get to that point, so I was able to have a conversation with Neil and tell him how to deal with me when I’m like that, so we can get somewhere. Despite how much I know I shouldn’t bottle things up, I do when I get to a certain point, unless that person takes some time to break down my wall. It’s not very strong or high, so it doesn’t take much time or effort. It’s amazing how good it feels to have the person you’re upset with make that effort to get right again in your books, and how good the make-up hug feels once the feelings have been aired.

December 18 – Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it? I want to try to go for my driver’s license again this year. It felt like a weight off my shoulders at first when I let my license expire in August, but over the last couple of months it’s felt like a hamper more than anything. I’m going to go and renew my L soon, and get back on the road, and try for my N again. There’s no shame in failure the first time, and there’s no shame in fear. What there is shame in is letting that fear control me. I need to grab this fear by the horns and face it, and the only way I’ll do that is by going out on the road again.

December 19 – Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? Having a conversation with my mother soon after Uncle Bill’s funeral, and finding out that my aunt wasn’t mad at me afterall. She was upset about this time of the year, and I found out she wasn’t just pulling away from me, and isolating me, but she was actually pulling away from everyone and isolating herself. It wasn’t my fault, and I allowed myself to understand this and let those feelings of guilt and ownership go. I also have allowed myself to let go of the idea that I can be the one to bring her back. That is not my battle to fight, and it is not my responsibility. There are other people that need to talk to her first, and a lot of owning up to her own feelings that have to come from her, and not anyone else.

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) See December 18, my driver’s license.

December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? Not to take on too much at once, and to give myself time to do things on my own. I would advise myself not to take things personally, a 6 year old does not know the impact of her words or actions yet, and can’t take responsibility for them. I would advise myself to make time for my husband, and to try to get over that feeling of absolute depression surrounding my birthday – life is too short to hold onto those memories, and if I don’t like the ones I have, I should make new ones.

I’ll post the last 10 I think on New Year’s Eve… these have been eye-openers for me, and they’ve got me seriously thinking about my goals (notice, goals, not “resolutions”) are going to be for 2011. So much has changed in my life with Andrew coming into this world and changing mine so completely, that I feel the need to sit down and reflect on what I want for myself and for my son this upcoming year.

Beautiful Things

As a knitter, over the years I have made a lot of beautiful things. My shawls especially come to mind, but really, isn’t it wonderful that a person can take 2 pointed sticks and a ball of yarn and make something lacey, or something cabled, or something textured, and make fabric out of it, and then turn that fabric into something wearable, or practical? I sure think so. But despite how beautiful I find a lot of the projects I’ve knitted, nothing, and I mean nothing compares to the beauty of my latest creation.

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Andrew Ross J. was born on November 21, 2010 at 3:08am. I went through 20 hours of back labour to get him, but he was worth every second, every ounce of pain, and he’s the light of my life. He is doing very well at just over 2 weeks old, he’s gained probably 2 pounds already, and outgrown newborn size clothes and diapers. I am also doing well, I am getting sleep (in stages, of course), and I am eating, and I’m even getting the occassional bit of housework done too! I have not, however, touched my knitting needles since just before I went into labour, I was retaining too much water to be able to do it comfortably, and of course since we brought him home, I have been too busy getting accustomed to my new role, and getting ready for the holidays.

Hopefully this blog won’t die, but I’m not making any promises right now! Happy holidays if I don’t post before then, and happy knitting too!