17
Jul 15

Just a rainy day, chocolate-free, word-light post.

I’m a blogger of few words today. It’s rainy, I have a ton to get done, and I am completely out of chocolate. The main issue really is the latter point only, if I’m to be honest.

So, I’m signing off this week of blogging with a few pictures and even fewer words.

I love our library.

I have always been a huge fan of the library. So many books! So many choices!

These are two of the books I’m currently working on. The Food Babe book because I like to read non-scientific hysteria-driven books about food (I’m always looking for ways to motivate myself to eat healthier and am not above scaring the shit out of myself to meet that goal) and Star Island because Skink is BACK! Dirty shower cap, braids, roadkill dinners and all. Lord, I’ve missed him.

My life-long bag addiction remains an active vice.

My life-long bag addiction remains an active vice.

I have carried a ‘purse’ more aptly called a duffle bag for almost ten years. It’s doubled as a diaper bag, emergency supplies bag, snack bag, camera bag, work bag and shopping bag. This is my attempt to get back to a reasonably sized purse. With no zipper, the snap does not stay closed but I have no idea what to stop carrying. It’s all so essential. You’ll notice there are no diapers, so I’ve already eliminated a once essential item. *thud*

This happened this morning. My potato plants have been wilting and dying for the past week or so. And usually, this would mean that there are potatoes ready for harvesting, but it's only JULY and I've always harvested in September/October. So I had pretty much decided that the potatoes had failed, a victim of the crazy amount of rain we've had since I planted them. R.I.P. potatoes, right? WRONG! Here is my mid-July harvest with more plants still alive and more seed potatoes planted, it looks like it's going to be a good year for potatoes after all!

So, this happened this morning. My potato plants have been wilting and dying for the past week or so. And usually, this would mean that there are potatoes ready for harvesting, but it’s only mid-JULY and I’ve always harvested in September/October. So I had pretty much decided that the potatoes had failed, defenceless victims of the crazy volume of rain that has befallen their delicate selves since I planted them in May. R.I.P. potatoes, right? WRONG! Here is my mid-July harvest – 17 beautiful, blemish-free, robust yukon golds with more plants still alive and growing and now more seed potatoes planted, it looks like it’s going to be a good year for potatoes after all! *I’ll spare you the video, but insert my happy dance here*

Sooooooo. Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll likely be offline next week, but I’ll make sure to take notes on the absurdities I encounter while unplugged and report back, with pictures if at all possible.

 


14
Jul 15

Almost three weeks in, time for a 2015 Summer Bucket List Check-In

I thought today may be a good time check in with my Summer 2015 Bucket List and take stock of how I’m doing, where I’m winning and where I’m tanking.

1. Go for daily walks (not strolls) for a minimum of 45 minutes.
I’m calling is a partial – 50/50 win/tank. Room for improvement, so a good walk is on tap for later today. Get ready for it feet!

Keswick sunsets are simply breathtaking. I love walking in the evening, even if I am a mosquito magnet.

Keswick sunsets are simply breathtaking. I love walking in the evening, even if I am a mosquito magnet.

2. Organize and declutter the linen closet.
Not yet. Although I did get the suitcase put away in there again, but organized and decluttered the closet is not.

3. Go for a bike ride with the kids three times a week (at least).
The kids have ridden their bikes almost daily. My bike is still hiding in the shed. Probably terrified at the thought of having to cart me around the block a time or two. But I did buy a helmet, so I’m on the right track on this one.

4. Go to the library weekly.
We are rocking this one! The smalls are loving the summer reading club and have been reading like mad. Once or twice a week to the library is our norm so far. Yay, us!

Miranda's rocking her library swag! The kids want to wear these bags everywhere now - LOL!

Miranda’s rocking her library swag! The kids want to wear these bags everywhere now – LOL!

5. Do a family field trip to see a Blue Jays game.
Not yet. Am thinking this will be an August event.

6. Paint the laundry/powder room, including refinishing the cabinets.
Not even close. I still need to empty the cabinets, take everything off the walls and as Mr. K.B. to sort out the baseboard situation behind the washer and dryer before any real painting can start. So, am thinking this will end up being an August project as well.

7. Take my minion army to a splash pad at least once a week.
We went to the Whipper Watson splash pad. But it was one of the colder days of summer, so it wasn’t quite the fun we were anticipating. Running through the sprinkler the following week was a much bigger hit though!

8. Deal with ‘Draft’ blog posts once and for all.
I’ve been hammering on this one left and right. I think that I have either finished writing, trashed or published eight posts, previously known as ‘Drafts’ since deciding to make doing so a priority.

9. Do a big family field trip to the ROM, complete with GO Train rides.
Another August event, methinks.

10. Go and visit with Nana once a week.
We’ve done well with this one. And we’ll see her later this week as well. So far, so good.

11. Create, frame, and hang individual chore lists for each of my minions.
Need to get on this one. Chores are one of those slow, agonizing things around here unless there’s a great deal of crying and whining involved and I really want to bring the volume down around here. And regain some of my dignity. My children are beginning to think that I’m just a big baby with all of my whining.

12. Go for one lunch and one dinner picnic each week.
We’ve done well picnicking on the weekends, but so far, all of our weekday lunches have been at home. I’ll need to start setting up picnics in the backyard for them.

13. Blog twice a week.
This has been happening. At least twice a week. Plus I’ve been miles better about posting regularly to the  blog’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. :)

14. Set up a new bed for Pax, re-arrange the furniture all the minion’s rooms to optimize their spaces.
Have not yet set up the bed but some furniture has been re-arranged and we have done a preliminary clean out and purge of some high-risk areas (desks and closets).

15. Make sure we get some family time at the cottage.
Hoping to get some cottage time later this month, but we shall see.

16. Read one book a week (for myself, sans pictures and large font).
I’m working my way through a book at a snail’s pace, but I’m reading, so I’m claiming this one as a quasi-win. It’s hard to take/make time to read for myself, but I do so enjoy it.

17. Go for nature walks weekly.
We have yet to get into our forest, it’s been buggy as heck lately, but we’re exploring nature on our regular daily and weekend outings.
IMG_6052

18. Wash the car with the kids twice a month.
Hasn’t happened yet. Maybe a fun Friday activity. We shall see.

19. Re-vamp the basement space.
Have gotten some clearing done in the dance room and bar area, but I’m still miles from being able to call this accomplished.

20. Crochet blankets (lapghan or better) and/or scarves for my minions.
This one I haven’t touched yet, but really need to get on or else I am running the risk of not having them all completed in time (I crochet s-l-o-w-l-y).

Next Bucket List check in will be the first week in August. I’ll try to have some impressive results by then. I’m a slow starter, I suppose. Also, I need to remember to bring out my camera more often – I’ve just realized that I’m super light on July pictures this year. 😉

 


13
Jul 15

If you say ‘Excuse me’ it won’t stink and other sound bytes from my minion army

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but I love my kids. I may have even given them their own hashtag (or pound sign, as I still insist on thinking of it) – #LoveMySmalls. They say the most profound, funny, thought-provoking and twisted things. I wish that I thought and spoke more like they do – I’d be a sensation, I just know it. I’ve been trying to jot down little exchanges as they occur and these are a few them:

*child farts*
*other child looking disgusted and really pissed off at farter* “UGH! Say excuse me! If you say ‘excuse me’ it won’t STINK!”
I never thought of that. But it makes perfect sense why he would believe that ‘excuse me’ is a natural air freshener. A little bit weird, a little bit genius (although please note, it did not actually work. It still stunk).

*in the car, pondering the weather and the dark clouds looming overhead*
Mas “I think it’s going to rain. A tornado of rain!”
Me: “Um, I don’t think it will. I’m sure the radio report would have mentioned if there was a tornado watch in effect. I think it’s just going to rain soon.”
“Well, they wouldn’t know. THEY aren’t even here, they’re in Toronto or something, so they can’t know what is happening here!”
*Deacon interjects* “Yeah, but Mas, I think that they have satellites in the sky that tell them the weather and stuff.”
*Mas snorts and quips* “Oh, yeah. Yeah. I knew that.”
*Deacon just shakes his head*

Pax – When you grow up, you have to take care of and help the people who helped you when you were little. That’s just the way it is. Right, Mummy?

Pax – Miranda, when you grow up and have a baby, do you hope that it’s a boy?
Miranda – No, why?
Pax – Because boys run faster and are stronger [editted to mention that we will be discussing this one later!], except that they pee straight up in the air when they’re babies
Miranda – Do girls pee when they’re babies?
Pax – I think so. But you have to be happy with whatever baby you get. If it’s a boy or a girl, you just have to be happy with it. Right, Mummy?

One night as I’m serving dinner:
Paxton: Is that chicken from a farm?
Me: Yes.
Paxton: I don’t want to eat chicken that lives on a farm!  I just want to eat regular chicken!

At Superstore in the seafood section and we see lobster tails:
Paxton:  What?!?!? They cut off their tails?  That isn’t nice! *tears welling up*

As we pull up to the US border customs window in Fort Erie:
Miranda:  (loud whisper) Paxie! We’re getting donuts! (clearly thinking it was one of our rare trips through a drive-thru)
Paxton: (louder whisper and a little disgusted at her faux pas) Ugh! No, we’re not Mur-an-da.

*Driving in the car recently*
Deacon: Well, when we have another baby, we’ll…
Me: Um, I don’t think we’re having another baby, honey. Why would you want another baby? We have lots of people already, don’t we?
Deacon: Yeah, but I want a baby. Because then I would have another little brother or sister. And I want another sibling. And I like babies better. That’s why I always want to sit with Miranda. I don’t really get along so good with Paxton.
Mason: I get along with Paxton but not really with Deacon. And ya, babies are so cute and they don’t hurt you, they’re just so soft and cute and stuff.
Miranda: I get along with everyone! And I LOVE BABIES! If we had a baby she would sleep in my room and I would take care of her with Mummy. Right, Mummy?
Me: Guys, I don’t think we’ll be having another baby. But you’re all right, babies are amazing. And all of you guys were amazing babies and now you’re amazing bigger kids, right?
Deacon: Well, yeeeeeahhhh. But I still want another baby. *pouting*

Earlier this month, at Dufferin Islands Conservation Park in Niagara. The last time we really explored this park, I was five days away from having Miranda, almost exactly five years ago now. #LuckiestMumOf5Ever

Earlier this month, at Dufferin Islands Conservation Park in Niagara. The last time we really explored this park, I was five days away from having Miranda, almost exactly five years ago now. #LuckiestMumOf5Ever

#LoveMySmalls.

P.S.  If you’ have not ‘Liked’ The Keswick Blog on Facebook or ‘Followed’ along on TwitterInstagram or checked out The Keswick Blog on Pinterest, then you’re missing out on micro-blogging that happens when time or circumstances do not allow for a full-blown blog entry :)  Come on over and jump on my crazy train!
 

 


10
Jul 15

I no longer so much object to being fat, but I do object to these three fat’ish issues

Having been overweight (real or imagined) just about all of my life, I’ve pretty much come to terms with being the ‘funny’ one or the ‘smart’ one and not the ‘so-adorably-tiny-let-me-keep-you-in-my-pocket’ one or the ‘so-thin-and-fit-that-the-perfection-is-almost-painful’ one.

And you know what?  I’m good with it.  It has taken a few (will not admit how many) decades, but I’m finally in a place where I accept myself as I am and figure that I’m not so bad.  I accept my cellulite, my jiggly bits, my non-supermodel hair and skin, my freckles (all eleventy billion of them), my deviated septum (accepted but still getting that shit straightened out – accepting it is all fine and dandy but not being able to breathe, well, that pushes the limits of my tolerance).  I’ve finally accepted that my body in whatever shape it is in, at any given moment in time, is just fine. Now, I’m not a fat activist and I don’t pretend to be one. I’m merely one woman, who is a daughter, wife, and mother that has struggled and dealt with weight issues all my life. I’ve seen the fat cloud from both sides now.

And all that said, it turns out that being “fat”, in and of itself does not bother me.  But these three things irritate the holy ever-loving double chocolate cheesecake out of me.

1.  That I have never been able to find a pair of knee-high boots to fit my legs. I see other women, both my size and larger (by a lot!) wearing this style of boot ALL THE TIME. I see chicas tipping the scales at 300 pounds wearing sexy or jaunty knee-high leather boots. And it pisses me right off.  I think that I use anger to avoid dealing with my deep-seated feeling of jealousy. I do not believe that being fat is the problem (after all, they are fat as well).  Rather, I’ve convinced myself that I have an innate leg disadvantage that no amount of dieting or exercise will overcome. The rest of the first world population has skinny, boot-zipper-overable calves, and I just do not. But I’m not horribly disfigured either. They look perfectly normal, not tree-trunkish or stump-like at all. It is patently unfair. And before you tell me that if I lost weight, I would be a knee-high boot wearing diva in no time, I assure you, that I would not. Those boots would not zip up when I was 110 pounds, which was me being at least 15 pounds UNDER weight.  It just doesn’t matter where my weight sits, my legs may look normal, but they harbor a sick vendetta against me. But, the upside is that they do support and carry me around, everywhere I want to go, no matter what scales tells me every morning.

2.  That the clothing industry is a well-oiled, corrupt, vacuous pit of darkness designed to extract money and inject sadness into women really gets my XL tunic in a twist. If they are able to extract enough money,  they inject a false sense of happiness into said previously mentioned women. Not enough money to extract? Well, you get to feel like shit about yourself and wear ill-fitting and unflattering clothes until you either come up with the money or lose weight. Ha! Gotcha. There needs to be standardized sizing across the board. At my current height and weight, there is no way that I should even glance at a size 10, but if I’m willing to spend enough money, there are designers out there who would have me believe that I am a size 10, rather than the 12,14,16, whatever size I actually am. And, please tell me – how can any woman be a size ZERO? Zero equals NOTHING. How can a living, breathing, walking around, shopping woman have a body the size of, well, nothing? I can wrap my head around a size one or two, but a zero? No, that’s just absurd and such blatant manipulation that it is beyond insulting to suggest that intelligent, grown, healthy women want to be or aspire to become a zero. Does men’s clothing come similarly sized? No. Of course, it does not. Why? Because the industry would not get away with suggesting that a man was a zero anything. Men would NOT tolerate being condescended to in such a manner, while, for whatever multitude of reasons, women are taught to not only tolerate it, but to seek it out. Fuckers.

This list is complete and utter bullshit. It's insulting, degrading and condescending.  Found on Pinterest.

This list is complete and utter bullshit. It’s insulting, degrading and condescending. I find it enraging, to be honest. Found on Pinterest.

3. That I reduce myself entirely and base the sum total of my worth as a woman, a person, a partner and a mother, in part, on the preceding two points. And even worse than that, I live in fear that I will somehow inadvertently burden my daughter with these ridiculous and senseless insecurities and self-esteem issues. Or that she will be so inundated by bullshit media images and messages that her self-confidence and self-esteem will diminish until her innate sparkle is lost. My daughter is not overweight (she’s five) but maybe one day she will be and should that happen, will I find her any less clever, smart, sweet or beautiful? Not a chance. But may others see her and treat her differently? Absolutely, they will. Because no matter how much jumping up and down people do about ‘fat shaming’ and ‘you do you’ and ‘ love your body’ the truth remains that our society still idealizes tiny waists, slim legs, big boobs and flawless skin. None of these attributes are synonymous with being fat, overweight or larger than a size six and there are no current buzzwords or hashtags that actually do anything to change the way people think, the way media portrays what is a desirable or worthwhile woman, or the way we’re raising our sons and daughters who internalize these messages and perpetuate exactly that which needs to change.

More bullshit. Why are these okay messages to put out there? And then people wonder why there are so many food-related mental health issues? Image found on Pinterest - I certainly don't want credit for it.

More bullshit. Why are these okay messages to put out there? And then people wonder why there are so many food-related mental health issues? Image found on Pinterest – I certainly don’t want credit for it.

Finally, just a few quick points to round this all out and make the final point of how broken the whole issue is. Over 1/3 of American adults are classified as obese. Some or many of the other 2/3 may be overweight or believe themselves to be. As a result of this obsession with weight and the fatness of people, last year in the US, consumers spent between 50 and 60 BILLION dollars on weight loss products and programs. In addition to this, they also spent more than 12 BILLION dollars on cosmetic procedures. The number one cosmetic procedure? Wait for it. LIPOSUCTION was the number one procedure for both women and men last year. And Liposuction procedures have increased 94% since 1997. In the US, 9.6 million women and 1 million men had at least one cosmetic procedure in 2014.

And people are still fat and getting fatter, despite spending between 62 and 72 BILLION dollars to get thin and fit. Factor in the fashion and beauty industries and it’s not hard to see that it is really NOT in the best interest of big business for consumers to actually ever attain these highly touted ideals of thinness and fitness, good health, or less fatness. Fat and insecure = revenue. BIG revenue. These industries are making it rain and they have all of the fat people to thank.

And, at the end of the day, I still can’t find boots that will fit over my calves, or reliably know my dress or pant size so that I can shop with any kind of confidence of an article of clothing fitting properly. And I still try to cover up as much of myself as possible, not only to hide from the sun but to hide what I’ve been conditioned to think of something shameful. My soft, fluffy center and jiggly bits. Hmmmm. That sounds a whole lot cuter when I use words like soft and fluffy, instead of squishy and fat, doesn’t it? As long as I’m healthy and able to keep up with my kids, I, for one, will contribute one more dollar to those many billions of dollars going into the diet industry’s pockets. No ma’am, they’re not getting anymore of my family’s money.

Better. Short, non-judgemental, non-preachy, leaves 'good' open to interpretation. Better. Again, found on Pinterest.

Better. Short, non-judgemental, non-preachy, leaves ‘good’ open to interpretation. Just better. Again, found on Pinterest.

Imma spend my money this weekend to buy myself a delicious baked panzerotti from Pizzaville (Sutton location, if you please), eat fresh home-made and locally grown food the rest of the time, and I’ll be just fine. Fluff and all.

Finally. A message acknowledging that fitness and fatness are not the only determiners of happiness or that their pursuit or race to abolish are the only worthwhile ways to spend our time. Happily found on Pinterest.

Finally. A message acknowledging that fitness and fatness are not the only determiners of happiness or that their pursuit or race to abolish are the only worthwhile ways to spend our time. Happily found on Pinterest.

P.S. Another ‘draft’ post dealt with. Yay, me! I may reform my procrastinating ways yet.


08
Jul 15

I’ve been

The complexity and perplexity of living a full life, as I see it.

I’ve been in trouble
I’ve been in a pickle
I’ve been in a funk
I’ve been in hot water

I’ve been on thin ice
I’ve been on cloud nine
I’ve been on the way up
I’ve been on the hook

I’ve been off the deep end
I’ve been off my head
I’ve been off to the races
I’ve been off the wall

I’ve been proud
I’ve been ashamed
I’ve been thoughtful
I’ve been selfish

I’ve been out on a limb
I’ve been out of my mind
I’ve been out of work
I’ve been out of time

I’ve been in lust
I’ve been in love
I’ve been in pain
I’ve been in luck

I’ve been desperate
I’ve been alone
I’ve been powerful
I’ve been surrounded

I’ve been up
I’ve been down
I’ve been in
I’ve been out

I’ve been drunk
I’ve been sober
I’ve been devasted
I’ve been elated

I’ve been lost
I’ve been found
I’ve been here
I’ve been gone

I’ve been sweet
I’ve been sour
I’ve been fierce
I’ve been tame

I’ve been exhausted
I’ve been exhilarated
I’ve been strong
I’ve been weak

I’ve been fat
I’ve been thin
I’ve been loud
I’ve been silent

I’ve been hurt
I’ve been hurtful
I’ve been loved
I’ve been blessed.
IMG_0528

 


08
Jul 15

I still have it – there’s more life in this mama yet

Please note: I wrote this about ten months ago now. It’s been sitting in my ‘Drafts’ folder ever since. I’ve done a few touch ups tonight, but it is basically as it sat languishing for these past months. As part of my initiative to stop procrastinating, I made a vow to deal with my draft posts, so, here I am, dealing with one.

I had my first baby the month after I turned 21. I was in my thirties when I had my next ones. And each was easier than the last in terms of sleeping (or not sleeping), nursing, crying, and my general mental health and exhaustion. But it’s been over five years now since I’ve had a newborn baby or infant to care for and I have become accustomed to (mostly) sleeping through the night once again.

But it’s 3:45 am right now and I am up and awake. No, I’m not drunk, thankyouverymuch. One of my sonshines had a low-grade fever all day and it spiked throughout the night. He cried out and because I was up, I heard his faint cry and was able to tend to him quickly and without stumbling around. Had I been fast asleep, he would have come to find me and I still would have taken care of him, but you just know that I would have stubbed my baby toe on the bed post and walked straight into a door (likely leaving some type of bruising on my person.

And while I may be dog tired tomorrow, this is just one night out not enough nights that I will get to cuddle and soothe this sonshine and so it is worth every second of lost sleep. And that’s how I feel about what amounts to years of lost sleep over past twenty years tending to my babies. I wouldn’t trade a single moment of those middle-of-the-night feedings and cuddles and cries. To have missed out on even one night of having my baby sleep on my chest or snuggle into me when feeling sad and feverish would be just about the biggest regret that I could have.

People often get to a point where they feel they are too old to have another baby – they don’t want to start from square one again, don’t want to deal with diapers, nursing, strollers and sleepless nights. And I admit, there are days when I feel that way too, days when I feel too tired or old to handle even the idea of another baby, but then I have a night like tonight and I realize that there’s a whole lot of ‘mothering’ left in this mama and that I would welcome another round of sleepless nights in exchange for the wonderment and absolute joy of holding another one of my magical little being in my arms, for just one more go-around. Call me crazy, but I really would do it all again.

My last baby, just hours after she was born and she and I were alone in our hospital room. Armed only with my iPod Nano, this is me adoring her and her sleepily ignoring me. Also, this is me still not believing that we had a daughter. With four sonshines at home, we were all but positive that we would be adding a fifth son to our family. We couldn’t have been wronger or happier to be wrong. 


06
Jul 15

Everyone uses vodka bottles as decor accents. Right?

So, this is not a secret, but it’s not generally something that I talk about. I don’t drink. And before this gets weird, it’s not that I can’t drink. I’m not in recovery or denial or a convent or a correctional facility, I just choose not to drink. I like the idea of it a whole lot though. And that may be one reason why I abstain. Because I really love the idea of chocolate as well and just look where that’s landed me ( as I undo the top button on my jeans because they are cutting into my delicate fluffy center while I sit here trying to write).

So anyway, I don’t drink. I think I may have mentioned that. But not being a drinker does not preclude me from hoarding the bottles that contain that which I do not consume, does it? Oh, good, because I have long loved airplane sized bottles (when I was a kid, they were actually real GLASS – so much cooler).

A while ago when I visited my mum, I realized that I had left my airplane bottle collection at her house when I moved out. So I quickly remedied that situation by tossing about ten little bottles of liquor in my purse. Luckily, I made it home without police interference, so I didn’t have to walk the line, recite the alphabet backwards or try to explain exactly why I had a mini-LCBO stowed away inside my purse. When I got back to the ‘wick, I set up my precious little bottles in our curio cabinet and promptly forgot about them again. Because I don’t drink (or I’m in the early stages of non-alcohol induced senility).

IMG_6090

And then Christmas rolled around, predictably so, and my annual trip to the big person LCBO was upon me. And after picking up the bottles of gift wine for various people, I scanned the shelves by the cash and saw this:

IMG_6099And how was I expected to just leave it there on the shelf? So I bought it, vodka and all and gave it a place of honour in my office, overlooking where I sit. So that when I’m in there working (right now I’m typing away at the kitchen table because it makes me far more accessible to my smalls), I am being watched over and guided by the coolest vodka bottle I’ve ever owned. And I’ve owned some bottles, let me tell you.

Even better, this vodka is made by a company owned by Dan Aykroyd. Who just happens to be Canadian. And the vodka (Crystal Head) is additive-free and distilled in Newfoundland after it is quadruple-distilled and filtered seven times, with the final 3 filtrations through Herkimer diamond crystals. The Crystal Skull bottle was designed by artist John Alexander and is manufactured by Milan-based glass-manufacturer Bruni Glass. So, even better than a bottle hoarder, I’m a patriot, a champion of natural ingredients and healthy choices, a supporter of fellow Canadian artists and companies with a sparkling and international flair, not to mention damn fine taste in interior design.

Betty Boop, Olaf and a glass skull full of fine Canadian vodka. What more could I possibly ask for?

Betty Boop, Olaf and a glass skull full of fine Canadian vodka. What more could I possibly need or ask for?

I’m not entirely sure what ‘on fleek’ means, but I’m pretty sure this qualifies. That is all. Now, go forth and conquer your Monday rites and rituals but come and see me again later this week. I’ll likely still be sober and of not the soundest of minds.

P.S. We’re still rocking the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts fairly regularly, so feel free to stop on by and leave a Like, Follow, comment or suggestion or just come by and see what other Keswick randomness is brewing up in here.


03
Jul 15

Greed and resentment

I found myself at the school yard this afternoon with my minion army. They were playing together while I sat on the grass and watched them, read my book and enjoyed the unseasonably lovely, warm breeze.

And that is when it hit me. There are only 59 more days of summer vacation. I only have 59 days to enjoy this time with them. And, if the previous years are anything to go by, these next 59 days will fly by in the blink of an eye and then school, work, the bitter cold weather, the grind will start all over again.

And it was then that I felt the darkness start to fall over me this afternoon. In spite of the warm, bright sun. In spite of the clear blue sky and green lushness that surrounded me in the beauty of soft grass and forests. Despite my laughing, playing children enjoying the width and breadth and freedom of having the entire school yard to themselves. The darkness crept up and pricked the backs of my eyes, causing them to sting and tear. The darkness sat himself on my shoulder and hissed in my ear ” it’s slipping away from you. It’s all slipping away and you can’t stop it.” And I felt my heart beat heavier, slower, painfully slower while I counted and re-counted the days left before I would have to relinquish them back into their schools.

And I as I watched them play through my tears, I cursed myself for being stupid, for being upset over ‘nothing’ and letting the darkness win. I berated myself for being weak and pathetic, allowing sadness into an otherwise perfect day. I chastised myself for risking letting my children seeing me cry, without provocation or obvious cause. A crying mother is a sure-fire way to create anxiety and darkness in her children, I reminded myself.

And then, as quickly as he came, the darkness lifted. And my heartbeat sped up, lightened up and resumed its normal healthy rhythm. My tears evaporated just as they threatened to spill over my lower lashline and before leaving their tell-tale signs of streaky mascara for my children to see and question. The hissing whisper stopped and was replaced with the sound of one of my babies giggling at one of the others who was growling like a bear to elicit said giggles from his sibling. It was replaced by the sound of the leaves on the trees swaying gently in the wind, their song soft and subtle with the promise of new beginnings and the sunny, carefree summer days ahead during which I would be given the opportunity to bask in and absorb every precious moment of the childhoods that surrounded me.

I found myself feeling upset and greedy, resenting the rapid passage time and greedily wishing for more, although not able to explain, even to myself, why I felt that I deserved more.I forgot to appreciate the time that I do have with them and risked the quality of our time by being sad, bitter or depressed all because eventually it will end. These feelings of greed and resentment brought on the darkness and gave him space in my head. It was greed, not time who was the real enemy. And having faced this ugly fact, felt the feelings, admitted to myself what it all meant, they are now gone and I am left with an enormous amount of gratitude for each hour and minute that I get to spend ‘just being’ with my little people this summer. And once again, my heart is happy. At least it is until the next time I have to fight off the darkness, but at this moment, I am happy.


01
Jul 15

Here are a few things that I know to be true of me

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In my life of seemingly never-ending existential questions, quandaries and crises and my ongoing efforts to sort through them all, I have decided to share a few things that I know to be true of me.

1. I was created and am here to do good things. To make a difference, to have an impact, to leave the world a better place for having been here, for at least one person, for however long I am allowed to stay.

2. I was born into the family I grew up in and found, then created the family I now have to help the other members feel happier, safer, or less alone. To help them to laugh and feel loved and to navigate our world with the knowledge that someone ALWAYS has their back. No matter what, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve spoken, no matter what they think, say or feel about me at any particular moment in time. If we were family once, then we are family still. If we choose to be family, that’s what we remain.

3. I was born blessed with a highly emotional and creative spirit and nature. With the DNA sources that co-mingled to conceive me, there was really no avoiding this outcome. But this does not mean that I was born devoid of intelligence, logic or rational thought. Quite the opposite is true of me although it does partially mean that I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m scared, lonely, overwhelmed or proud. And sometimes I cry without knowing why I am crying. I also laugh, big and loud, sometimes it’s unstoppable and uncontrollable, sometimes it involves snorting and a serious lack of oxygen. And sometimes I laugh without knowing why. I’m comfortable with solitude and my own company, am able to go long stretches without feeling the need to say a word, content in my own sparkly little world and at the same time I also enjoy socializing with others and can talk non-stop at frightful speeds for prolonged periods of time when the mood strikes. I favour the ridiculous, absurd and witty in life and art. I appreciate a dry, cutting wit and banter. I feel all emotions so very, very deeply that as an adult, I have taught myself to ‘shut everything off’ just to survive at times, rather than turning those feelings into music, writing or another creative outlet. Rather than letting all of that energy serve any of my greater purposes, I have contorted it into something useless, draining and misshapen. Rather than stand up and own that this is how and who I am and this is what I want to do or say or make or be, I apologize for myself and the way that I am. I hide and I apologize for being me. I apologize. Without end. To others and myself. But no more, not any longer. Not for that.

4. I know to be true that I was born with the purpose of, specifically, being ‘Mum’ to the five lovelies who call me “Mummy.” Each one of them is the sole owner of a chunk of my heart – and no, not one chunk is bigger than the other. Not one of my children is truly like another and I like it that way. Each one of them drives me crazy at times. Makes me cry at times. Can make me laugh until my belly hurts or make me so frustrated that I can’t see straight. Each one of them can make me feel angrier than I ever imagined possible. Each one melts me with their absolute them-ness. Each one can bring out the almost rabid, fiercely protective mother instinct in me. Each one of them can break my heart with their tears, their strength, their spirit. Each one makes me feel prouder than I have ever felt of myself. Each one has the power to destroy me, entirely, either with their words or their actions. Without them, there is no ‘me.’ My challenge is to be able to wrap them all in my protective ‘mother bubble’ while still giving them the confidence and freedom to make their lives their own and fulfill their own individual paths and purposes.

5. I know that I may not have been born to be rich, famous, or beautiful. I think that I am okay with that. I’ve made peace with that probability and I am working every day on finding my contentment, my happiness, my peace within the life that I have and continue to build. I still dream big dreams, I still have a list longer than myself of things that I would like to accomplish before the world pulls my visitor visa and sends me packing, bagged and tagged onto my next adventure.

6. (Because 6 is my number) I know that I no longer know what my future holds and that maybe it has never ‘held’ anything. That maybe it has been up to me this whole time to MAKE my future and my life what I want it to be. This idea is not a new one, it is not an original one, but it is one that heard a million times will mean nothing until you find your way to it your own way. Fear, self-doubt, insecurity, uncertainty, and the opinions of others all delay arriving at this very real and true realization. Sometimes the delay is forever. The sooner and younger you are when you release this truth the better, but it is never too late to blaze your own path towards the life you want, the destiny you were meant for and the purpose(s) you have yet to fulfill. It is not a matter of not letting anyone or anything get in your way, it is a matter of getting out of your own way and achieving your potential without diminishing or reducing anyone else with whom you share even a moment during your journey.

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28
Jun 15

A surprising scrumptious and easy breakfast cookie recipe

Since I’ve had a few people request the recipe for the Breakfast Cookies that I baked for the teachers this past week I thought that it would be a good idea to post the recipe on the blog  and not flake out and just do a quicky Facebook post (this also ensures that if I lose my copy that I have another one to refer to!).

IMG_5965Breakfast Cookies (baking notes to follow at the end of the recipe)

Makes 36 cookies

Preheat oven 325°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Ingredients

1½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt (see end note)
¾ cups lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup softened butter
¼ cup canola or coconut oil (can use vegetable oil) (see end note)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup flax seeds
¼ cup chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2½ cups 9-grain cereal (see end note)
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc)

Directions

Combine the first four ingredients and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, butter and oils until smooth. Beat in eggs, seeds and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour mixture until combined. Stir in cereal, coconut and dried fruit.

Drop by tablespoon, 2 inches apart. Flatten with the back of a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown. Allow to sit on cookie sheet to cool for 10 minutes then remove and finish cooling on the cooling rack.

Notes

* Omit salt if using salted butter.
* Can omit the ¼ cup of coconut or canola oil with little-to-no effect on the finished product.    Can also replace it with applesauce if desired.
*  9-grain cereal – I use 1¾ – 2 cups of oats and ¾-½ cup of wheat bran. Others making these cookies have used a granola cereal like Quaker Harvest Crunch, but be aware that this option increases caloric, sugar and fat content exponentially, and depending on the granola cereal you choose, may no longer be nut-free / school-safe (although it will taste divine!).
*  These freeze well, so bake them up, throw them in a ziplock and enjoy breakfast cookies for a week. Also, if I don’t freeze them, they won’t survive two days around here!)

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