Welcome January.

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“You’ve got some work to do girl.” Is what my husband said to me this evening as I discovered the last time I posted anything on my blog was November 4th.  Eeks. I can’t believe American Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now New Year’s has come to an end. Wowza. Well, life remains the unpredictable honored guest, and time, its silent beat we are unable to escape.

I have been contemplating, reflecting and investigating my life. This sometimes can be a dangerous thing, for it causes me to go inward and sometimes I can stay there too much. It is almost like my inner mind is my hide out, my safe place, my undercover shelter that I can retreat to, but wonder at the same time why. I have to discipline myself to shut myself off at times, for escaping into a place where the secrets lie,the dark truths, the serious questions, can cause me to internally dance the dance of utmost freedom. It is like a freedom from the snares of the predictable or from the near sighted.

I seem to lose focus on the divine and taste of the earthly when this time of year comes. Another new year and I am not much different from the last. However, I have seen more, heard more, and felt more. I have touched brokenness above me and brokenness beside me. My raw knuckled hands, from banging on the door of God to open to me, lay wearily on the hearts of the lost, the dying, as well as the living. We are in this together, yet we don’t always see it.  Maybe we don’t believe it. However, we are in it. It is our reality and we are its infiltrator.

 

 

Image Credit: Henriette-Lucy Dillon, North Pearl Street, Albany 1800

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The Granddaughter.

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Studying the lines purposely ingrained on my grandmother’s bed ridden face, I begin to see her face as a map, a path, a distance traveled and a life lived. The contour lines circling and encompassing, inform and remind me of the tragedies encountered, the murders, the rapes, and the lives taken gruesomely in the hands that rose in fearful pride during WW2. As her eyes rest, her breathing faint, I can’t escape the outlines of her defining jaw. Her infamous cheekbones have been worn like an asset, a prize, and a trophy. She passed the beauty of that onto a pedestal, a pedestal in which she put herself on, not on purpose, but by prejudice. It was the prejudice to survive and to save; to save herself from the snares of Hitler’s regime. It was a way to preserve herself from the New World’s biases and judgments and to keep her safe from the religious condemnations. She was not only a woman, but an orphan, a refugee, my descendant. A bloodline, saturated in richness, has clothed my bloodline like a gypsy, a disguise, an impostor. My grandmother, a victor and a mystery, can be compared to the outlines of her features. As I trace the same lines on my own face, I realize an approval I fought so hard for, maybe never to be given. A name, I lost, but a face I wear. My grandmother she is and her granddaughter I am. The lines lead to the inevitable chaos. To survive is to live and to live is to survive, and we do and we will. We continue to follow the maps from one bloodline to another, from one descendant to another, and from one hope to another until the dreams passed down reveal the mysteries and secrets hidden in the dark from one lifetime to another.

Nailing it…

I have not been a very successful pinterest peep. In fact
I have only been on pinterest a couple of times. I found this through a friend and thought it was hilarious. If you feel like you need a laugh or a light moment to see that your are not alone when an attempt to something snazzy flops before your eyes, check this out. It is really funny. Honestly, I rarely find things funny and this to me is just that, probably because I can relate.

20 Failed Pinterest attempts.

And the reality is…

Pt. Roberts

Today reached a gorgeous 25 degrees, which is spectacular and close enough to summer weather to me. The forecast declares sunny and warm all weekend, which translated to me is, “Family cabin here we come! Get your sandals, pails, and shovels!” I love salt water crisped hair, the fragrance of bon-fires, and warm bronzed skin. My nickname from my sister has been Powder for ages- remember that one hit wonder from the 90’s? Anyhow, though I don’t change color, especially a nice bronze color,  it sure looks lovely on others. I honestly admire those who can tan.
I have been thinking how much the weather plays a significant role in my day to day life, especially as a mother. I felt like I should have received the mother of the year reward when I dropped 1 off at school wearing ballet flats, while the other kids in her class were all wearing gumboots. She also didn’t have a jacket. Where was my mind? Who knows? I dropped her off, got back into my vehicle…and sure enough, down came the rain.
I was once told that Canadians, are more likely than any other country folk, to check the weather continuously throughout the day. It is one of the things we base our days around. I am not sure how true that is, but I know for myself, looking at the weather forecast has become a daily task, especially after my school incident with child 1. Weather is huge for us. We like to know what is going on and how well we can be prepared it. Sad thing is, we are never 100% prepared for anything. It is the reality I have been endeavoring to come to terms with. It has been a reality in-which, as a young child I had no concept of, and perhaps didn’t begin to take notice of it until in my mid-twenties,when it came knocking at my door. I don’t regret opening the door to reality, but sometimes it seems as though it would be safer to hide from it, or tune it out. The truth about reality is, it is what we have been longing for, waiting, craving, desiring, obsessing over, and completely sacrificing all we know for it. It is a powerful uncertainty, an antidote to our deepest sufferings. It is a truth that beckons us forward to a safety in which makes little sense. It’s incomprehensible. This lack of understanding, however, is the very thing that keeps us moving forward, sleeping deep into the times of night, then waking, longing to taste once again, this wonder, this passion, this lover of our soul.

Aging in style…but am I?

I am driving my grandma’s 1991 Lebaron and lo and behold, there is a cassette tape. We currently are listening to the only tape we have in the car right now, Sheryl Crow’s first album, because I have a feeling my old mix tapes would not be kinder appropriate. I remember when my mom had bought this tape. We had just moved to Prince Rupert, from Germany. She had turned 40 and Sheryl Crow was just new on to the music scene. Now my reality is, 40 is only 7 years away from me.  What the heck? It feels like maybe 5 years ago my sister and I were rocking out to “All I wanna do is have some fun…” Well, now it is my turn, I am the mom driving with the kids in the back screaming at the top of their lungs. I have come to realize there is no escaping the inevitable, I am aging and I am doing it in 90’s style, in more ways than one.

Chapter 2


Yesterday and today I have been in my head of constant memories.  I guess it is because of the weather and the spring is resembling more of summer and it seems my brain was somehow able to consume and store more summer memories than spring ones or fall.  182.  That was an important number for me and my childhood friends.  It was ingrained into our very existence, it was our world and our safety.  Our adventures and our growth.  It embraced me as well as nurtured me into a being of calm, hyper, happy and sad.  Memories. The memory of hearing of death and cancer for the first time when my close friend lost her grandmother at a shocking young age, and seeing her 20 something year old mom crying to my mother in her kitchen.  It was hard to understand at 7 or 8 what was happening and to not understand death only brought more confusion and questions. I remember the urgency of putting on my shoes, but never fast enough with the emotions that came with playing outside with my childhood friends, Jen and Chris.  It was pure adrenaline.  Then to run up the hill a mere 2 houses away which felt like years to get there.  It was exciting. It was fun. The lemonade stands, with the occasional popcorn stand, the dressing in clown costumes and doing cartwheels as the cars drove by, screaming with determination, pleading with strangers to pull over and buy the bestest beverage in the world. The countless nights of scrubbing pitch and sap off our hands and feet.  The innumerable amounts of band-aids our moms would go through for skinned knees and elbows, or the painful sprained ankles from falling out of trees, falling off bikes, falling off homemade ramps, or falling off the blow up water bed mattresses their dad randomly would bring home from job sites.  The neighborhood parties, barbecues, and pizza nights, slip and slides, water fights, and filling burning barrels with water and remembering myself panicking I could get blood poisoning with all the rust in them. The summer never seemed to end, and probably could have continued for years more if not for transfers, divorce, death, construction, destruction, development and change.  The memories are my reminders of the delicacies of the neighborhood, the childhood, and now the parenthood in which I see a repeat in nature as well as with nurture. I understand as I watch my own kids screaming as they scramble to find their own shoes and race outside into the heated sunlight, a canvas waiting, to birth new memories in this new place in time.  I feel it, too.  The urgency to live.  The urgency to play.  The urgency to be.

Chapter 1

No one really told me or should I say prepared or forewarned me of the pressures motherhood would entail.  I remember hearing the horror stories after horror stories of women going in such great depth of detail to be sure I heard every gruesome, grotesque, and squirmish moment they had when each went into labor and then the aftermath of tearing, ripping, being cut, and so forth.  The blood, the pain, the sweat, the screams, yes, all were a messy contribution to the delivery of a baby, however, no one cared to shed some light on the pressures of making ends meet, having enough food in the fridge, gas in the car, money in the bank, or clothes without holes or shoes being too small.

I drive a lot on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Ok, it is not that much, but when we share a car and those are the days I have the car, it seems like a lot more than not at all.  As I drive, I think. I think and I think and I think.  The background sounds of music, kids, and perhaps the odd horn honking from behind, don’t compare to the loud words blaring in my head on cruise control. The thoughts come like a news headline typing words out without a break, without a breather, man, don’t they ever stop, I ask?  How can they, they are everywhere.  Everywhere I look, I am reminded.  Bumper stickers, billboards, restaurants, schools, children, low income housing, fancy cars, dream homes, farms and fields, closed for the season fruit stands, gas stations, pollution, and so many other little contributors to take my attention from reality into some twisted defiling realm where fear lives.

I thought starting new schools were chaotically arduous. I thought Math 11 was impossible. I thought deadlines for essays were brilliantly challenging. I thought the thought of dating was embarrassingly dreadful, except of course, when I met the only man I ever really dated and then married, but all these thoughts and worries, don’t truly compare to the heaviness in my heart I have at the moment of obsessively obsessing for the greatest life for not myself, but for my kids.  It is a profound ache, an indescribable longing to touch the hem of God in a way I have never done before, with a faith that can only cripple the fear with an authority to speak the truth despite the dramas and questions that puzzle my being. As a mom, and as moms, we pour out all we have to be all we are.  As a university student, I was naive to the responsibilities a wife and mother would have.  I would tell my friends, that one day my kids would come home from school to fresh baked cookies on the table and we would sit on top of the table and eat them. Last week my friend asked me, remembering my declaration of freedom, if we have eaten cookies on the table, yet.  I told her, “No, the table we have is over 100 years old, I don’t want to break it.” My slight declaration of freedom had been orderly suppressed with caution. When did this happen? Why did it happen? I am not going to blame it on life, disappointments or discouragements, instead I am going to embrace it as part of the process of my maturing and my developing of character.  It is part of the small stepping stones designed for me to skip across with renewed advantage and regained strength.  Not by my might, but by His.

The Big, Big Kid…

Tonight when I was about to have a bath to “unwind” with my unbelievable awesome bath salts, 1 knocked on the door to use the bathroom.  As I waited for her to finish, she looked at the lit candle, stared at the bath salts thrown around in the bath and asked what I was doing.  I told her I was going to have a bath.  She looked at the bath again and saw her dolls and 2’s cars on the bath’s edge and asked if I was going to play with their toys.  I told her, “No, I was too big for toys, but I used to have toys when I was younger.”  She then told me I am a big big kid with kids, because I have a mom.  I liked this.  I haven’t thought of myself as a big big kid, ever, only when I was big in other ways, but yeah, being a big, big kid is a bit foreign to me.  I used to be way more easy going, but life happened.  Exams happened.  Deadlines, pressures, and bills happened.  Making dinners, budgeting and having to buy toilet paper and expensive gas happened.  I grew up.  I became wife, a mom, a role model.  Responsibilities happened.  However, I want my daughter to see me as a big big kid, because to me, that means things aren’t impossible, life isn’t difficult or challenging, and any thing is possible.  Now, I am not into Peter Pan, but I am into dreaming big.  I want my kids to dream big and to have big dreams.  I want them to believe for the impossible and to see the impossible become a reality, because of the belief they have.  I pray I become more and more of a big, big kid and that my kids grow up to be big kids, too, never losing their creative imagination and having faith to believe in the unseen world that embraces them and defines them.

Last week when Sean’s sister was here I made this for dinner with a fancy loaf.  To me there is nothing greater than eating a tasty Chili with a fancy loaf on a blustery day.  Like mentioned before, the West Coast can be a rainy coast, and that particular day was alright by me.  I hope you have time to make this chili one day.  It is from Post Punk Kitchen and it is delish!

Red Lentil Chili

(By Post Punk Kitchen)

Olive oil (1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, however much you feel like using)
1 large yellow onion, diced medium
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes cut into ¾ inch chunks
1 cup red lentils
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable broth
2 15 oz cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
1 15 oz can lowfat coconut milk
28 oz can diced tomatoes
½ cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
Limes for garnish (optional)

How To Play:

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute onions and pepper in oil with a pinch of salt, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute a minute more.

Add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When lentils are cooked and sweet potatoes are tender, add the remaining ingredients and heat through.
Taste for salt and seasoning, top with cilantro and lime and serve!

* Note: This tastes great the way it is, two things I am going to do the next time is add 2 pounds of sweet potatoes and use regular coconut milk, as spin instructor Lauri says, you need to eat fat to burn fat!

Enjoy!