Thursday, November 25, 2010


Oh, a child's imagination... Today Kaiya placed the cards from her "Memory" game on the upturned lids of a variety of pots. She pulled out a couple of wooden spoons and then proceeded to inform me she was "making muffins." Later, she placed the cards, er, muffins, in the "oven" (the box the game came in). When I pulled out the camera to take a picture, she ran over to get hers. She will not be outdone!

Although she looks completely different here, this picture was taken a mere hour later. She had to change out of her sweater because it got wet while she was cleaning the bathroom with me. And her hair was bothering her, making all five hairclips a necessity. It makes sense, right? Here, we made an entire meal of noodles and Cheerios just by using her Playdough gadgets. She kept hunkering down out of annoyance with my picture taking.

I took part in many toddler conversations today that went something like this:
Kaiya: Are there tomatoes in this soup?
Me: Yes, but don't worry. You don't have to eat them if you don't want to.
Kaiya: But I like tomatoes.
Me: Okay, then go ahead and eat them.
Kaiya: But mommy, I don't like tomatoes!
Me: (a combination of exasperated sigh and smile)

It was a quiet day. A much-needed day of HOME. We've been reeling this week with a very abrupt and unexpected change in daycare that has left us all upset and out-of-sorts. Almost two years, suddenly cut short. Kaiya's been on the edge, acting out, and in need of many more cuddles and reassurances than usual. She was beyond happy to have a quiet day at home with me.

And me? Well, me too. I'd love for a few extra cuddles and reassurances too! It's been a beautiful fall in many ways, but a difficult one as well, with many "life" stresses that have come and not gone. We're strong, but we're tired and in need of a serious "life" break. A quiet day at home today was a good start.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My "Office"

In the middle of my mad rush of work today, I looked around and was inspired. Inspired to take some silly photos of my current “office space.” Yes, the living room floor. This is where I sit, at times leaning over the coffee table, madly putting together presentation marks. If you look closely, you can see that I give my students far too many comments. The perfectionist is alive and kicking. But don’t look too too closely. You may see the dust bunnies by the baseboard. I don’t usually sit on the floor. But I’m sick with a miserable cold this week, and somehow the floor, put together with a mug of tea and some miscellaneous toys, seems friendlier than the kitchen table. Especially when the kitchen is full of dishes and broken baking promises.

Here’s another favourite spot. You’ll notice the box of kleenex for my runny nose, the ubiquitous pb and honey, and the mug of coffee. I did say tea in the previous paragraph, didn’t I? Oh well, it’s usually tea.

I’ve had an odd teaching schedule this term of mostly late afternoon classes, resulting in me dropping off Kaiya around 10 or so in the morning at daycare just to return to the house for a frazzled mix of schoolwork and housework, which on good days leaves me feeling fulfilled and productive, and on bad days leaves me feeling, well, just frazzled.

I technically have an office at Brock, but it’s shared, and it’s cold, and it’s windowless. So apart from the times that I have meetings with students, or when Starbucks calls my name, I work here. In this cluttered, imperfect, but very inviting space.

I’ve been lucky this semester. I’m a girl who wants to have it all: family, friends, a satisfying job, and a clean and organized house. And this semester, I’ve gotten pretty close. Family? Double check. Satisfying job? Also double. Friends? Well, okay, they’ve been a bit neglected the past month, but that’s what Facebook is for, right? Ha. A clean and organized house? Of course! (But don’t you dare come over unless you call first!) ;) We’ve even managed to keep healthy meals on the table. And a weekly pot of homemade soup in the fridge. (Bragging rights!) And although I’ve been relying on a lot of peanut butter and honey sandwiches this term, the peanut butter’s all natural, the honey is local, unpasteurized goodness, and the bread is not white! So there. :P The only negative result I can gather is a slightly sticky mouse.

The balance is always delicate, isn’t it? And for each of us, it’s different. I could not be my authentic self without the professional outlet my teaching provides, but deny me of my morning cuddles with Kaiya, or my evening talks with Jeff, and I become a bear. While I’m thankful for the non-9-5 schedule which allows me a lot of home time, I easily become frustrated when the marking piles up and I lose my evenings.

But if you know me at all, you know I'm not going to settle. Yes, I may have weeks where the dust piles up and the invites are left unanswered. The past month has been a testament to that. But I will never stop striving for the perfect balance. Family, friends, work, and home. Each one plays a significant part in my life. And I'll keep working at finding the fit that works best for me, for Kaiya, for Jeff.

Who says you can't have it all?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A little serendipity

I bumped into a friend at Brock yesterday. Someone I've been meaning to get together with all fall, but time has somehow slipped through both of our hands, with semesters busier than either of us expected.

We chatted a bit at the Starbucks, me with my notebook open, pen in hand, and her standing, shifting her weight back and forth, leg to leg. A testimony of how busy both of us were feeling. Drained and multi-tasked to the core.

We were discussing future plans and hopes. I made a comment about our lives not working out to the "perfection" we had hoped for. Not exactly as we had planned.

She paused and looked at me with a look I know well. A look that she may not realize is classic HER. A thoughtful pause, combined with a slight pursing of the lips, shake of the fringe, eyes glancing up.

"Pff... What is perfection, really? I've come to realize perfection is having family, a roof over your head, enough money to pay the bills." And then she made some funny comment about being a grad student and having to find some satisfaction somewhere. :)

I felt something jump inside me, and I said, "YES! That's exactly it!" And it was a funny moment for me. Where I knew that I had met with something that resonated deep within. Admittedly, you kind of had to be there. It was something in the way she said it. I knew she wasn't coming at me with an agenda; she was simply communicating the conclusions she had come to, through whatever life circumstances had brought her there. Her honesty spoke volumes to me.

Life's had its shares of disappointments this year, but we remain thankful, probably more than ever, for what we have. I'm happier than ever for we three who reside in the rickety little house on George Street. I look around and I see the love, the anticipation, the excitement for the future. Letting go and opening up have somehow come together, intermingling in my morning mug of tea, and I have felt the healing deep inside.

And I'm thankful.