The Pink Solution.

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When I hear the preciously annoying words, “I’m done!” I know it means one of two things. If it comes from Sean, it means he is done with the triple pandemonium running around in our living room, throwing mammoth-sized cushions off the couch for the 100th time, because a fort is in the making, or the nonstop feet smashing against the kitchen cupboards as the children try to hoist themselves up on the counter top to rummage through our ever fading and perishing of goods. If it is the third crying out, “I am done,” it means he has had bowel movement, or what I would call it, a boone, and needs help wiping. As I was preparing tonight’s salad, getting ready in a hurry for 2’s pre-school graduation, I could hear 3 crying out, “I’m done! I’m really done!” I asked Sean if he was going to tend to him or if he would like me to…well not so pleasantly or smooth like that, more so, are you going to deal with him? As I look at my feta cheese infested hands and chopped veggies all around…Well, 2 comes down the stairs and informs us, as Sean is making his way upstairs, that 3 has actually booned all over their bedroom area rug and is sitting in it. And sure enough, smudged in his toes, foot prints all over the white area rug, and a half naked little boy, is sitting in a liquid mess of goo, not poo, but really, goo. Ugh. Not tonight, not right now, really? Sean’s says, ‘let’s roll this rug up and chuck it.’ However, as I lift 3 from the goo and carry him to the bathtub, I know there has to be another solution…to throw that rug out, would be a shame. I remember getting such a good deal on it from Urban Barn a few months before 2 was born, there are memories, there is a sentiment to that crazy poo stained rug, I can’t just throw it out, indeed there just has to be a way around this, and that is when I thought of my friend, I call BFF. I thought in a sci-fi millisecond, what would BFF do in this situation? The solution…Pink Solution, of course! Oh man, I have never used it before on anything, other than clothes with stains, but this stuff works! White area rug! Cleaned of brown goo!! NO WAY! But it is true; Pink Solution really works, and like it says on its container…”The one cleaner that is only limited by your imagination!” FOR SURE!

Wanderlust.

A good friend introduced me to this concept, Wanderlust. The definition of Wanderlust is: a strong desire to travel.
“a man consumed by wanderlust” Though I have no real desire to travel, this song does cause me to travel to a time in twelfth grade. My friend Nicole Bach and I would drive to White Rock listening to Ani DiFranco, while sharing with each other fears and concerns for life in the now. Time can be such an enemy, but at the same time, it can be such a friend. It was during this time I established great memories and presently have feelings of nostalgia, looking back at it all. It was a difficult year for me, however, these little drives with the company of a friend and a soundtrack to this particular year, became like a homecoming to me.

Fear is real.

Driving the other morning I was strangely awoken by the realization of the different layers of fears that occupy my mind. There was a time in which I would have a reoccurring dream when I was about 8 years old where twin girls, like the ones from The Shining, would beckon me to play with them and their red wagon. We would be on the field of the school that was up the road from my childhood house. I remember never wanting to play with them and would wake up in the midst of the struggle trying to run away. It was weird and it was bizarre, it also was a realization of the realness fear could play in my life, even through my dreams. As I was driving, through the small city, in which I reside, I began to visualize each random layer of fear that tries to inhabit me on an hourly basis. I am only being honest. I fear so many different things, but they are all categorized. I am sure I am not the only one, but there are times in all fairness I feel like a lone vessel, trying to figure it out. I have the fears of a daughter, wanting to please my parents, I have the fears of a wife, making sure I sustain a healthy relationship with my husband, I have the fears of a mother, desiring to be the best role model to my children, a safe person, a stable figure in which instability will not be something they will resent, but at the same time, wanting to be the fittest for their ever creating minds and developing behaviors. As a sister, I want to be in sync, but not conformable, as a friend, I want to be a non-toxic person. I want to know I won’t be insulted or rejected. As a stranger, I fear judgement or ridicule, as a person, I fear misunderstanding or manipulation. There are different fears for the different roles I have in my daily walk. I have to continue die to those fears and allow for them to not control me, or I would never get out of bed, or my house, or my car. Fear is real, however I am more real and it is a constant choice each waking hour to not let fear take me down into a place no help can be found.
My favorite verse in this song is, “I have my fears, but they do not have me.”

Grave clothes.

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“I am concerned for you.” She said it in an honest way, which shook her silent curls. Her brown eyes bore a warm calmness to the much chaotic-ness in my heart. Yes. It was now three days of wearing those ugly brown vintage velour pants he had given me, my once a knight in shining armor, and an old high school rugby shirt. Had it really been three days? I felt like I had been dead for three days, the clothes seemed to resemble a certain burial within themselves, grave clothes, indeed. I honestly didn’t know how to respond to her. I felt my mouth move, but what was said, I have no remembrance. I was captivated by the gray sackcloth that covered my naked body and the ashes over my eyes. “Agony”, I probably whispered in a broken cracked voice. I remember pushing my head against the headrest. To face this day, while the pathways in which I knew we would grossly cross, were inevitable. We thought we ruled this place and this place was our domain. But the security of the comrades was now divorced and half lay wrecked and bloody; a victim of war, the war of love departed. It became a war for the uncontrolled. It was the war I fought so hard to win; only to realize there was no winning to this war. Now to pick up my books and binders, to learn as though nothing pertaining to absolute rejection was my daily bread, I entered the school’s hallways as zombie. I was indeed a dead man walking. I was indeed walking in death, reaching for a hope whitewashed against the struggles of a crimson gray, immersing me whole.

Image Credit:Antique Shed door found in http://maritimegardener.blogspot.ca/

To live.

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The sparks from the fire alert me with their out of bounds invasion. They have no fear, no with-holding, and no concern. They want to break free, so they break free. They want to live, so they live. They want to be heard, seen, and felt, and yes, I hear, see, and feel them, all around me, in my face, on my skin, and in my ears. This fire’s presence is known and without reservations. Was I depressed this day? I am not sure, I wasn’t too sure of many things. I found myself escaping, alone before the fire; finding warmth for my soul and solace for my bruised heart. The night before I had set my tears, pain, and heart on the six strings of my guitar and sang the melody of loss and bitterness. Today, wearing the same clothes in the parking lot of the future of possibilities, I stared out in despair over the steering wheel of my dad’s Ford pick-up truck. Everything, every second, every breath wore the shade of gray in which no peace, hope, or future breathed. It was the aftermath, the reality, the impossible with outstretched arms, gripping mine, waiting to twirl me around and to live within it for eternity. My new friend, my old company, my familiarity. As I twirled, conquered, in my slept in clothes, spinning in hypnotic abstraction, as the gray rejoiced in my defeated presence, I fell down dizzy, discombobulated. My face on the gray ground, perceiving the gray matter was all that mattered, for in this state of ruin, I longed to be fearless, with no reservation, to break free, and to live without hesitation.

Image Credit: After the rain, by Robert Louis Ferrucci

Goldilocks and the Three Cakes.

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There has always been something about Goldilocks and me. I had to write a mock fairy tale when I was in 8th grade, so I decided to use Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but with a twist. I put a little bit of my quirky clumsiness into the character of Goldi and called the story, ‘Accident Prone Goldilocks and the Three Bears.’ It was a hit. I loved it. I so loved it that I was rather disappointed when my teacher never returned it back to me. I do have an old VHS taping of it, me with my boy haircut, a mixed up American drawl, white Nike shorts with black Nike shoes; did I ever mention I used to be a huge Nike fan? Perhaps it was more of an Air Jordan fan, because it was the nineties and I sported an Air Jordan Jersey, like no other(this all said with absolute mockery). Well, a trillion years later, Goldilocks is still a part of my life in a strange way. I am sure I have mentioned this in previous posts, but it is TRADITION, and I am all about TRADITIONS, that I get a Goldilocks cake for my birthday. Goldilocks is a great Filipino bakery downtown Vancouver, in which my grandma would order cakes from and now I, too, order cakes from, however they have to be transported to me, because I don’t live in the city. Thankfully my sister, Joelle, will be picking THEM up for me, because a birthday party is just not a birthday party without a cake (or cakes) from Goldilocks! Thanks sister Joelle! Thanks Goldilocks!

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole

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Tomorrow I am having a play-date with one of my oldest friends. We grew up on the same street and went to the same school until my family moved away when I was 11. We didn’t reconnect until we both began having children, many years later. Our kids happen to be all the same ages, just give or take a couple months apart, and it has been like we have just picked up from where we left off 2o years ago. Mind you, we are not doing cartwheels in clown costumes on our front yards, having lemonade-popcorn stands, or climbing trees, but we are watching our kids begin to be adventurous and curious, seeing glimpses of our creative natures resonating inside of them.  We have both highly intelligent, little adult first borns, quiet, secretly smart second borns, and then our thirds. No words, perhaps not enough words to describe their little fear-less personalities. It has been a great joy doing life with Jen and being able to tackle all the obstacles life brings in our way together as sounding boards for one another. For sure there is always something to laugh about, it is just a given. I know I am going to miss her greatly when she moves next month, but I also know that this is just part of the story of the greater picture. What that picture is, I am not exactly sure, but I do know there is a preparation taking place for the perfect plan designed for her life. I am excited to see how it all unfolds for her and her family. They will be impacting, inspiring and influencing all those they meet in Fort St. John, and they themselves will be impacted, inspired and influenced, too. God is good.
Tomorrow we will be breaking bread with this meal from Oh She Glows.

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole

Inspired by: Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

For the spaghetti squash:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • ground cumin
  • ground chili powder (I didn’t use)
  • dried oregano
  • salt & pepper

For the black bean guacamole:

  • 2 avocados, pitted and flesh scooped out
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1.5 cups cooked beans)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste

How To Play:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice off the stem of the squash and place the squash cut side down on a cutting board. With a chef’s knife, carefully slice through the squash lengthwise to create two long halves. Scoop out the seeds and guts with an ice cream scoop. Brush some olive oil onto the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet and roast for 30-50 minutes, depending on how large your squash is. When the squash is tender and you can easily scrape the strands with a fork, it’s ready. Be sure not to cook for too long or it will turn mushy.
  2. While the squash is roasting, prepare the black bean guacamole. Mash the avocado flesh in a large bowl. Fold in the onion, tomato, drained and rinsed black beans, and cilantro. Season to taste with lime juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Remove squash from the oven, flip over, and scrape the flesh with a fork in vertical motions. Do this until you’ve scraped all the strands off the skin. Now sprinkle on some chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper (as much or as little as you want). Top the squash with guacamole and serve warm. You can also plate the spaghetti squash, if preferred.

Enjoy.

Thirty-Five with a Chickpea Sandwich…for Jill.

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I am thirty five. I can’t believe I am thirty five. While vacuuming, obsessively pondering and churning with emotion of this realism, I thought about all the others before me, who have been thirty five at some point in their life. Did they have these feelings of vacancy, grief, or even disbelief? I am sure they have and did, some must have! However, as I continued vacuuming up all the million particles that can end up on one’s floor, I started to ask myself if I would want to hang out with someone like me who was not so excited about aging. The truth is, no I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want to hang out with me and the moodiness of self-pity that I have pulled, like a blanket from a linen closet to wrap my whiny self in. I would want to be alongside with someone who embraces age with every wrinkle, spot, and limitation. I would want the atmosphere around me to be lit with excitement and hope, adventure and awe, of the amazing, fruitful things that can only be revealed through time and grace. I made a commitment to myself, this afternoon, vacuum in hand, which I will no longer stretch the truth about my age, telling people I am 28, when in actuality, I am thirty five. It is time to stop this nonsense of the stunted growth syndrome, and be the age appropriate woman I really am. To age or not to age, is no longer the question. I am aging. I feel like I need a buy a cake with a cape on it to symbolize the breaking out of the old self into the new self, like the way a superhero breaks forth with force out of the restrictions, bondages, and restraints from his oppressors. It is a new hour, a new day, and a new challenge, one in which I will do with acceptance, grace, and forbearance.

As I no longer mourn being thirty four, but rejoice in being thirty five, I have prepared for myself a sandwich filled with nutrients, freshness, and promise. My life is no longer what I don’t have, but what I do have.

Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Inspired by Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

1-15oz can chickpeas rinsed and drained
2 stalks celery, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2-3 tbsp vegannaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
2 tsp minced fresh dill
1 1/2-3 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper.
Toasted bread crackers tortillas or lettuce for serving.

How To Play:
In a large bowl, mash chickpeas until they are flaky in texture. Add remaining ingredients and serve with toasted bread, crackers, or lettuce. I loved it with spinach, sprouts and avocado! MMMMMMMMMMMM so good!!!

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Enjoy.

North Country.

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In a place where miles are numbered and numbers are named to the places where small town, like minded folk dwell and share, there is an awakening to the life they live. They share their love, their thoughts, and their similarities in likes for tea leaves and garden décor. My eyes absorb and take in the scenery that I have seen twenty years earlier. My heart is like a train track, following openly while travelling through canyons and mountain sides under skies of thunder. There is a deep thirst, a burning hunger for an absolute that can’t be determined by the weather, because it is unpredictable like the breeze that gently welcomes my aging skin. The absolute certainty, hides perfectly clear, for He is not hidden at all, but the contrary. It is I hidden in Him. I am hidden in the landscape of His creative touch, in the landscape of His creative breath, and in the landscape of His creative word.