Friday, February 27, 2009

loss and regrets

I just woke sweaty and filled with the sense of loss that only dreams can force you to relive after an event has occurred.
I was brought back to my childhood home by my father. I ran up the steps looking for my mom and crying because I was so elated to be 'home' again. When I found my mom, she wouldn't talk to me. I drove her to the hospital thinking there must be something wrong and worried that she didn't love me. I caught the bus back searching desperately to again find this home I have always loved the most. The place I have always associated with safety and security. I found one of my closest childhood friends on the bus, but this time, I couldn't talk. She thought I was ignoring her and vowed to never speak to me again. I arrived at a museum. A man implored me to never forget Albert Einstein. I swore I wouldn't as I hid in a closet of his clothes. A terrifying man searched for me as I hid in the back corner under a soft camel coloured wool coat. I escaped when he looked away and found Jeff's boat tied to a wharf close by. I climbed aboard sure that I would find him and everything would be okay. I would be safe. We would be happy. His boat was suddenly huge and there were so very many people there. I was trying to ask everyone if they had seen him. I searched the engine room. I looked for his sea bag to see if he had been there recently. I looked for his charts. I called out for him. I screamed for him. He didn't come. I had been too late. He was gone. I felt at fault. I started to cry.........I woke with tears rolling down my cheeks, sweat soaking the small of my back and with such a sense of loss that the tears flowed fresh. He was gone. I couldn't change it. I am helpless and I miss him so terribly that when I feel his loss so acutely, I wish I had gone too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


We have a new incubator, just received some Jersey Giant, White Orpington and Auracana eggs in the mail and are just stabilizing the temperature and humidity in the bator. Finding a place that is safe from Fuckles, has stable temperature and won't be too enticing to the kids/me to peak inside constantly has been difficult.
But we are SO excited to start our next chicken hatching adventure. In the mean time, we found this hilarious little video on Youtube...

and a site that has enlightened me to the fact that there are other people out there who are as interested in their chicken's behaviour as I am. I have noticed that although I give the girls all sorts of yummy veggies and fruit, there favourites are grapes and bananas. My girls come when I call out "Chick! Chick!" They love to dig and have forced me to pile logs and rocks against the fence after finding them wandering the neighbour's yard twice. Sara loves to have her head rubbed and closes her eyes with pleasure as you do it. Stella does not enjoy a cuddle but the other two will hunker down and lower themselves to the ground when you reach to pick them up. See?! So interesting!

Wish us and the little eggs luck! We're going to need it!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

alive and kicking

We have all recovered from one of the most revolting and unflattering bouts of the flu we have had. I have thought of posting often, but in all honesty, I am exhausted and am enjoying a bit of a hiatus.

I am attempting to keep the house more in order again. The rythmns of our home more intact. The jobs on the job list in a state of activity. I am finding that my sanity is more intact when I can see the floor. When I know which jobs I am actually going to be able to accomplish in one day and which ones are just plain ridiculous and setting myself up for self-loathing. The kids seem to prosper when we actually do what I say we will be doing and still to the plan rather than follow my poor distractable mind.

With these rediscovered gifts, I am enjoying time to sit with the kids on the floor and draw. Play playdough. Or look out the window at a new bird. I am relishing a moment with my kids. I am drawing deep breaths and calming down.

These last few days have been restful and sedate. I am hoping that this is a new leaf. I know that there are things that I probably 'should' be doing, but I am 'pleased at the moment to be pleased with the moment'.

So please forgive my sporadic posting, I am hopefully sitting with a little one in my lap, sipping a cup of tea and happily rocking to the sound of Bobs and Lolo...or attempting to take a 'normal' family portrait of the three of us....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

buckets of illness

The stomach flu is yet again making its' rounds through our small household. Liv, evidently, has a stronger immune system than Briar and me since the duration of her illness was marked by hours, not days. Briar gets ill, bounces back, and then gets sick again. It is amazing to me how kids can do that. Act all normal and chipper until the bucket is actually under their nose and then run away laughing again afterward.
I, other the other hand, feel like shit. I am pleased that this most recent ailment (we seem to get sick far more often than the general population) didn't hit me full bore until the kids were on the mend (holding back someone else's hair whille ralphing in the same bucket is close to impossible). BUT feeling like you'd prefer death over the squeals and laughter as little ones jump on your bed while you lay prone and covered in your own filth is not a happy occurrance either.
My mom came over night and whisked the kids off to playgrounds, Tim Horton's, swimming and other sought after locales so I at least don't feel that they were neglected at all. In fact, Briar wanted to go home with her rather than stay here with me and my vomit receptacle.
But now, I am here to entertain, feed and stand mostly upright while fighting off the urge to close my eyes and long for one of those flashes of light and a quick replay of my life's events before being whisked off to some cloud-filled utopia.
I so fucking hate doing this alone.

Friday, February 13, 2009

budding personalities

As my little ones grow, I see their likes and attitudes unfurling like a vibrant banner. Neither of them seem to do anything 'small'. They have inherited their father's larger than life aura. At 33 years old, I seem to be more 'who I will be when I grow up?' than they are. Their personalities seem so evident to me, however, they evolve.

Briar is a trickster and giggler. He loves dress-up and to copy anything his sister does. Recently, we were at a restaurant together with Briar confidently donning his crown and cape. A woman entered and asked Briar if he was a 'Power Ranger'. Briar stood with his back against my knees and gave her an amazing rendition of 'stink eye'. She then asked if he was 'Batman'. "No," he slowly says as if sizing her up, "I'm Bwio (Briar)." "A gladiator?", this persistent woman asked. Briar ceases to lean against me, thrusts out his little chest and announces, "NO. I'm a PWINCESS! (princess)"

This event smacked of his father so completely, I couldn't help but feel proud. I realize that to people who didn't know Jeff or some who may be concerned with their small child's activities portraying possible socially questionable gender roles, this may be shocking. But Jeff was different. He WAS a redneck....but an evolved redneck. He used to tell Liv that when he grew up, he wanted to be a fairy. She'd protest that he couldn't be since he was male. He'd declare that it was totally unfair that he, as a man, could not possess wings and live in a magical land. She'd then offer that he could not be a fairy because he was already grown up. He would tell her that this 'fact' was a matter of opinion.

Liv took a nervous little friend, Madeline, with her to a group Valentine party this week. They sat on the rug, Liv on one side of her shy pal and her very tall friend, Jaiden, on the other. Madeline's mommy expressed a wish that her little one feel comfortable soon. Overhearing this, Jaiden's mom speaks up, "Oh, she'll be just fine. She's got 'the size' on one side and 'the mouth' on the other!" I laughed hearing Liv described as 'the mouth' as it is such a fitting description.

Jeff was never one to keep quiet if he felt there was something to say. Never. I am glad that Liv possesses this gift. Although it could possibly cause her problems, I am glad that she will be able to protect herself, at least verbally, and have the balls to do it.

*Please excuse the blur of Briar's photo. The vast majority of pictures with my little man in them show him as a moving streak of colour.*

Thursday, February 12, 2009

silence and vulnerability

The middle of the night is where I feel your void most intensely. I attempt to busy my brain with other less painful activities. I lay in our nightlight lit room listening to the drippy wet sounds of the aquarium down the hall, the monotonous whirr of the bathroom fan left on, the refrigerator starting up yet again. I attempt to make a mental list of activities that I'd like to do with the kids. A registry of people not yet called, thanked or contacted. A calendar of events that are upcoming.
But no matter what asinine or tedious thought temporarily enters my searching mind, it is constantly forced aside by thoughts of you.
I replay my walk down the aisle of the church...both on the day of our wedding and the day of your funeral. Both times, you waited for me near the altar.
On the day of our wedding, as I walked down that strip of red carpet, we smiled at each other, felt comfort in each other's presence and became the only two in the church. The day of your funeral, I clutched Liv's small hand and held Briar's little body close on my hip. I walked that same carpet with nervousness again, but this time not with nervous excitement. This time, it was terror and loss.
Although the tranquilizers administered to me by the doctor allowed me to stare out from my body with my mouth silent and closed, with my head erect, I felt far from 'tranquil'.
I saw the same faces staring at me from the front of the church as I saw on our wedding day. Their swollen and tear streaked faces a constant reminder of why we were there. But you were missing.
I saw your coffin. You were always the biggest in the room, the centre of attention, the one I looked to when unsure. Now you were a box. A big, wooden box. Liv asked if 'you' were in there. She thought she could hear your snoring. While I smiled at her, I could only imagine you, your shell, laying there, oblivious to the events that were taking place. Completely unknowing that today would be the last day that your body and mine shared the same space. Ignorant of the pain that all of us within that church felt without you there to sing out your laughter, grin your famous smile, make some completely looney joke or tell a far-fetched story.
Without you, without your presence, I felt lost. Adrift. Vulnerable. I still do. I long to hear you. But I shy away from listening to your still recorder answering machine messages. I wish I could feel the comfort of my hand enveloped by yours. But the thought of it reminds me that I will never feel them again no matter how I can remember the shape and the feeling of your immense hand. The touch of your mouth. The softness of your earlobe. The shape of your knees.
On our wedding day, there were the sorts of issues that cause stress at all marriage ceremonies. Seating. Flowers. It was...interesting. But you were there. You would NOT let anything ruin our day. And we were together. That was all that mattered. We were together. The day signified our 'togetherness'.
Your funeral conveyed the separation of you from all of us left behind. A ceremony to let all of us know that we would never again walk with you, work with you, laugh with you, hold you.
As I followed you from the church once again, I had tears of loss and fear slipping over my cheeks marking my coat with wet dots. Gone were the tears of laughter and joy that we shared the day we married.
Liv was with us both days. And this one fact reminds me of what I still need to live for. If only it is to see both of our little ones grown and happy, I must keep breathing until I can see you again. So I lay in this bed and listen to the appliances that surround me. I stare at the box beside our bed that contains your ashes in the orange glow of the nightlight and I miss you. God, how I miss you. And I wish only that first ceremony had happened. The second should not have happened....not yet.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

painting with water

One of the things that I am finding that can always entertain ALL the kids no matter what their age is painting. We have tried so many types of paints over Liv's life as a creative little being. We've used acrylics - don't wash out of clothing when dry. Tempera - kind of messy and they go mouldy in their containers. Cheap watercolours - lumpy, non homogenized colour. Then, for Christmas, Liv received some Stockmar paints. Only the red, blue and yellow.

These paints are awesome. BEAUTIFUL, continuous colour. Concentrated making it able to add as much or as little water to create whichever intensity you'd like. I admit, they are pricey at $8 for each 20 ml bottle but I am now a true believer that they are worth it.
We mix the colours to create green, orange, purple, brown in a muffin tin and fly at it. SO. MUCH. FUN. We've been creating hearts for one our seasonal tree. It has gone bare for the Winter long enough, I figure.

Liv has been creating art for the Artist Trading Cards Swap. She's been having a great time working with various media to get what she believes is her best work for the project. I can't wait to send them off and she can't wait to receive some in the mail form other budding artists! Like a chain letter that is more creative! (Although I do hope that she gets a few in the mail - I never did receive replies for any chain letters. Did you?)

I'll take some photos of the new updated tree in the light of day and add them to the post tomorrow.....

up and running

I've been so worried about how I will provide for my children by myself. Not just worrying about how I will provide for them on a single income but how I will manage this while staying home with them AND homeschooling Liv.
This week, I've begun my journey towards accomplishing this goal without having to be in constant fear of making ends least, this is the hope.
I've started doing daycare. I've been doing this one day a week for my sister's twins but I am now doing it five days a week.
It's pretty fabulous to be able to care for my children as well as others from my home AND, hopefully, make a living. So far, one of the best things has been that all the kids are children that my little ones regularly play with! This makes it like a regular playdate!
Days are busy, but really fun and I actually find that it is helping me to return to many of my formerly organized habits. I have a plan of things I hope to do with the kids each day. I make sure we have food for meals before hand. I am trying to hoping to ensure that toys from one activity are tidied up before we pull out new ones as this is the source of some of my panic and impatience as of late. I feel much calmer when the house is not resembling a bombsite. I am constantly thinking of activities that all the children will enjoy and will help Liv with her homeschooling interests.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

25 random things

I have received this in my facebook mailbox more times than I can count. I have yet to do it or anysort of 'meme', so I thought I'd do it for fun here on the blog.....*staring at the screen unsure of any points of interest in my life*

1. If I could eat only one food for the rest of my life, it would be yogourt and granola, my standard breakfast fare.

2. We have a beaver in our backyard. Just weeks before Jeff died, he had informed me of this. I hadn't seen it in the months since his death and had actually began to think that it was one of those jokes he LOVED to play on my poor gullible mind. (While working on gear in a harbour, he once told me that the sound of the howling wind past the buildings was actually the sound of whales stuck in the harbour from the storm. I believed him. I'm not 'stupid', I just always think that people are telling the truth. He adored playing these tricks on me.) Suddenly this week, Liv excitedly announced to me that there was a beaver lounging in the sun on the other side of the back fence. She was right! It's silly, but I was so pleased to know that it was there. I felt a connection to Jeff and the last bit of time before he was taken. I love my beaver. *snicker* (The above picture is of the beaver through the bushes...Hard to see but there....)

3. I've never had a cavity. This is good because of number 6. I once locked myself in the bathroom and then told the dentist I would bite him if he came any closer when he was going to remove my wisdom teeth. In my defence, I was only 12.
4. My first car was a white '68 Volkswagen bug. I painted green paisleys on the exterior and handprints and footprints on the interior. It had no floor. My grandfather and I built one out of plywood. I feel that Bugs are the ultimate vehicle. They can honestly be fixed with safety pins and elastic bands. I learned a lot about mechanics from that car. I installed an emergency brake, clutch and two generators (yes, generators. not alternators). I had so many adventures with that car including having it as my place of residence for a time with a former boyfriend.

5. I have let fear of trying, fear of the unknown, fear of judgement dictate too many things in my life. I am reaching an age or stage that fear no longer inhibits my desire to try something. Childcare is the largest hindrance at this stage. One day, I'll be the most adventurous and able seventy year old I know. Fuck fear!
Speaking of fear, spiders, snakes and heights do not scare me. But I am terrified of needles. There was a time in my life that the sight of a syringe could cause me to faint in seconds....The idea that the universe goes on forever kind of freaks me out too. Not sure why. It's one of those things that I don't like to think about.
6. I'd prefer to go out in public with a child's rendition of an orange cat painted on my face than something stuck in my teeth or a boogie stuck in my nose. Maybe it's because I know the creation is adorning my face or maybe I just dislike exhibiting normal bodily functions. Who knows?
7. I love chickens. You all know this. But I thought I'd state the obvious again. Chickens are awesome pets. Chickens rock.

8. When I first met Jeff, I hated him. I thought he was loud and obnoxious. I was right. BUT he was also kind, funny, loving and generous.

9. My favourite stress release is chopping wood. I love swinging the ax hard, splitting the one piece into two and having it stick into the chopping block. Success. Strength. Control. Destruction. Fabulous relief.

10. I respect people who tell the truth. I have great difficulty associating with people who do not recognize honesty as one of the most important virtues. I am ridiculously gullible and will believe most of what is told to me. When I find out that I was deceived, I find it confusing and upsetting. (Unless it was a joke in good fun.)

11. I am a procrastinator with a short attention span. This makes it extremely difficult to finish any project that I have set up for myself in this remarkably small window of time. I recently read my grade two report card in which it was reported that I had a hard time staying 'on task'. It is interesting to me that I have had this issue for most, if not all, my life. (I haven't worked much on this cross-stitch in weeks....I am trying to stay focused but....)

12. I love to read. As a 'tween', I would read everything and anything I could get my hands on. This would get me into trouble because I wouldn't do my homework...I was too busy reading. It was not unheard of for me to go through a 300 page book in one day.
13. While playing house as a little one, my husband was always 'Ponch' from CHiPS. My friend, Lila's husband was always Jon from CHiPS as well. I secretly thought she was getting the raw deal.
14. I'm named after my grandfather. So is Briar. His middle name is Jack. Grandpa and I called each other 'Bub'. 15. I have a terrible memory. Fighting it drives me insane. I've decided that I need to look ahead and to not worry so much about what I forgot that was behind me. People may think I'm insane and have forgotten key moments but I'll be mentally peaceful. Now if I can remember to remember my decision.

16. I don't like raisins. I can eat them 'raw'. But when they are plump and cooked in food, they make me feel nauseous.

17. I love to create. Crafting, drawing and sewing are when I am at my happiest. I feel complete. I feel able and passionate. This shows in my craft area. It regularly is cleaned and organized only to be in complete turmoil the next day as some new project overtakes me.
18. I have always lived on the island. My children are actually fifth generation islanders. This is rare to those of you who have never been here. I have travelled to many countries and have enjoyed myself immensely but I love home the best. Although, if I had to pick another country to live in, I'd chose Scotland....or Norway.

19. I'm left handed. Did you know that a higher percentage of the prison population is left handed than within outside society? These hands are almost always cold. So are my feet and my nose. I always say that these are the things that are farthest from the warmth of my body.

20. I can knit a straight line. This makes it possible to knit scarves. Doll blankets. Hats if knitting with circular needles. BUT I am envious of people who can knit socks. I SO WANT to knit socks for my eternally cold feet but my issues with procrastination, inability to stay 'on task' and terrible memory make it impossible.
21. I love nothing better than to lay with my little ones bodies cosy in the crook of my arm and snuggle down for a warm nap on a wintry afternoon after reading a book. Heaven.

22. I struggle with patience. I believe that I was more able to keep cool and calm before Jeff died. I don't completely know if this is an accurate perception but I do feel that I have a MUCH shorter fuse than before. I am less able to remember that they are little ones who need me to show them by actions rather than by telling by words all the time. I don't think I'm as good a mother as I was before. My mothering was a source of pride before. Now I worry that I am not great for this job. I worry that they will bear mental scars not just from witnessing the death of their daddy but scars from the impatience and sadness of their mother. I am NOT the mother I had planned to be. I should really start saving for therapy for them now.

23. My feet, at size 10 and now 11, seem to have grown to even larger proportions in the last few years. Jeff called them 'flipper-like feet'.

24. I dislike tiny purses. It makes proportions just strange.

25. I am a boring eater. I find one thing I like and stick to it. This includes the fare at restaurants. If I've eaten it before and enjoyed it, I never veer from ordering it again. I can't handle spicy foods. Calamari and equally questionable looking foods scare me. I can't watch as others eat them. This was especially interesting having Jeff as a husband. He was an adventurous eater. He would eat extremely questionable foods and implore me to try them too. I would stick with my regular foods and be quite happy.

Monday, February 02, 2009

real life

I was inspired when I found a post about what our homes are 'really' like and was so pleased to see that there is even a flickr group of photos depicting what the inside of our homes are like most often. I know when I am scouting around in the 'blogosphere' I am often dismayed to see that these people's homes are immaculate and that they manage to finish the crafts that are started with their children.

I am happy to see that I am not alone in my imperfections. It is wonderful that there are others out there who just use their forearm to clear off the kitchen table in order to take a photograph or realize after they've taken a picture of their beautiful little angels that there is a great green slime sliding down their upper lip.

So in the spirit of being human, here is a normal day at our house...

It actually gets difficult to enter/exit the house often with all the shoes, bags and coats that litter the floor in this location.
This is Briar and my bedroom. It is a minor miracle that my bed is made.
Liv's room. I often just shut the door.
The counters are completely filled and cleaned off multiple times a day. Where does all this 'stuff' come from?! And, yup, Liv is skipping in the kitchen and that is still one of the Christmas decorations hanging above the table.
Bloody Tinker Toys. Everywhere. We haven't gotten into the small lego yet and I am sure that it is the only toy that rivals these bits the extremely painful feeling when trod on. Briar is going through a phase where he can't just get toys out that he'd like to play with - he must empty the ENTIRE container onto the floor. As I tidy, I keep trying to assure myself that the physical activity of the action outweighs the annoyance I have for needing to pick up for the fifth time in one day.

What I should have done is take a photo of my craft table. THAT is a mess. An ever evolving mess!

gung hey fat choy

Liv and Briar went to the Chinese New Year celebrations with my mom. I met them in China town to pick them up and for some delicious food!

There is nothing better in the world than looking up to see someone so happy to see you. I wish the pictures would have come out more clearly. I am so very lucky to have such amazing little ones.

I love China town. There are so many opportunities to photograph things from a different culture...also, there is so much RED! I love red. I used to think that if I had a favourite colour, it was blue....but I actually think in many cases, it's red. So cheery and bright!

Did you know that 'Gung Hey Fat Choy' doesn't actually mean 'Happy New Year'? I had no idea that it means "Wishing you prosperity and wealth"....Maybe everyone else does know that, but these things are truly one of the joys of homeschooling. Liv asks questions and we learn the answers. She flourishes with this type of learning. Hands-on. What she herself is interested in. Immersed in 'real' life. I am sure most homeschooling mothers, like me, have moments of self-doubt. But then there are the glorious moments when you see that they are learning, they are soaking it all in and they are truly excited to learn.
Briar was completely intrigued by the 'dragons' (which we also found out are actually dancing lions). It's hard to not ask him repeatedly to reenact the 'dragon dance' and watch his little body wiggle back and forth in jerking spasms with an expectant grin on his little face. It's one of those moments that I can just imagine Jeff laughing his belly laugh with joy and pride....So sweet and a bit tinged with sadness and loss as everything seems these days.

These little 'bombs' were a hit. Throw them down and hear the ensuing *bang*! I have to admit, I enjoyed them as much as they did.

Instead of 'wealth and prosperity', I wish you all happiness and calm this year....although I am sure wealth and prosperity would not be unwelcome.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


There are few things that can't be eased by the feeling of warm water on your body. Whether it is a cup of tea, a bubble bath, a hot water bottle or even warm water with which to wash your hands, it helps to soothe the body and somehow, the soul.

Is it just me?