The first time I (almost) married

10 Aug

When I was in Grade 3, I had a giant crush on a boy in my class. Joel liked me, too. He would hang out with me and my best friend, Tanya, at recess. He would tease me in class. He would bring me little gifts: a lipstick, for example, or a bottle of nail polish. (Both of these used and more than likely stolen from his mother’s dresser; it seems that even in childhood, all’s fair in love and war.)

One day Tanya and I were playing house in the schoolyard. There was plenty of snow and we planned out an elaborate house with a living room, kitchen, halls, and bedrooms. We stomped down the snow in our house to make the rooms, and built up the snowy walls to further define them. Joel joined us in our game and by the end of recess the house was complete. As our crowning achievement, Joel and I decided to get married at the next recess, with Tanya acting as the officiant.

I don’t know how it happened, but word spread through the classroom and by afternoon recess, I found that the entire class was in attendance for the wedding.

I was mortified. What had begun as a sweet game with the boy I liked suddenly became a public exhibition. I couldn’t take it. I ran away and hid from my class for the rest of that recess break.

Poor Joel. My desertion had humiliated him and he never really spoke to me again. I always felt rather sorry… but I guess I learned to be careful about who I agreed to marry.

Retreat

19 Jul

My house just keeps getting worse. Summer is so chaotic . We just want to be OUT, but there’s still dishes and laundry piling up and toys always underfoot and half-finished colouring pages and used sleeping bags and half-empty bottles of sunscreen and that dead fly-covered vole Crook somehow caught despite being leashed in the backyard. Plus the actual work work that needs to be done. I’m running from one urgent must-do to another and never catching up.

I don’t mean to complain, but the truth is that the havoc wears on all of our nerves.

Today I have a rare break from the urgency — no gig coming right up that I need to write charts for, no emergency underwear situations, so I will wash a few dishes, haul out a few camping supplies to the shed… and get ready for my 3-day retreat.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever spent more than a few hours completely alone. Sunday, I’m packing up the car with food, some paper and pens, and a good book or two and I’m heading to a friend’s cabin for two nights all to myself. I’m not sure what it will be like. I can’t possibly imagine getting bored, but will I get lonely? I think I’ll be okay.

I envision some time just sitting in the woods (weather permitting) or by the lake, some serious reading time, maybe time to write down some thoughts, or even new song lyrics. I intend to do some meditation. I might even do some work… some enjoyable work that I can complete from start to finish without outside interruption.

Two nights. The possibilities seem limitless, don’t you think?

It’s after midnight

15 May

…that makes it May 16th.

Three years ago today, I recorded 2 tonic seizures in Jade’s logbook. Those were the last seizures we ever observed. Somehow, maybe because the diet was and remains so consuming and rigorous, I can’t fully comprehend that span of time.
But I know, academically at least, that 3 years is a big milestone.
And I realized earlier today that even though there are a number of Jade’s medical issues that continue to make me anxious, it’s been a long time since I fell asleep straining to hear a gasp in the night, counting another seizure. It’s been a long time since I watched her and ached over her constant fatigue from fighting seizures, and over her sedation from fighting her drugs. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to hover by her side, waiting to catch her in case a drop seizure snuck up on her to violently throw her to the ground.
Today she is going to audition for the school talent show. She’s planning to dance. She’s never taken dance, but that doesn’t matter. She believes she is wonderful. She believes she is special. She believes she is smart.
She knows herself. And she doesn’t remember having seizures.
I do. But, after three years, some of it is starting to fade, just a little. And all I can say is… thank God.

Easter

3 Apr

We had a lovely gathering at Lake Laberge, as is our tradition. The girls charmed everyone with their chatterbox ways and their “pretend” games. I marvelled at how much easier this Easter was, with Halia aged four and much more independent of me. Fire-roasted lamb and salmon, ham from the woodstove, and potluck side dishes made quite the feast indeed. I tried shooting a bow and arrow for the first time and have the proof in the form of a bruise on my arm.

It was a good time to recuperate from the marathon leading up to the release of my first album, to enjoy the company of my little family, and the the friends who make up our extended family, to soak up the sunshine.

In a word, delightful.

Singing garbage

17 Mar

My dad recently had a birthday and happened to be in China for it. Check out this story he told me when I asked him about his birthday.

Some friends brought a birthday cake with a typical Chinese gizmo — a flower-shaped candle holder, where you light one candle in the middle, which then results in the entire gizmo opening up like a lotus flower, auto-lighting more candles and squeaking an electronic Happy Birthday tune in a continuous loop sequence. Trouble is, it does not come with instructions on how to turn that tune off. We could not figure it out and ended up throwing it in the public garbage pail on the floor, where it merrily continued squeaking loud enough that I could hear it around one corner in the aisle and the thick metal door of the apartment. So, I am sure, could the neighbours. This device was obviously inexhaustible, as it was still squeaking happily away this morning, but by now from a garbage bag all tied up and waiting to be collected.

Most likely, the garbage truck driver or the staff at the dump are still enjoying the merry tune this very moment. If this were not happy, noisy China but Germany, the police would likely have come in the middle of the night on a noise complaint.

A landmark day

7 Mar

(Reblogged from http://fawnfritzen.com/a-landmark-day)

I’m exhausted, but I can’t go to bed yet. I’m ensconced in my home-away-from-home, Easter Seal House in Vancouver. In the morning, I’ll be taking my daughter for her regular neurology appointment. She hasn’t had a seizure in almost three years, but the fight against her epilepsy isn’t entirely over yet. In preparation for her EEG, she has to be sleep-deprived… which means Mama has to be sleep-deprived, too.

Ah well, no different from any other night, really.

And it was such a wonderful day. The sun was shining in a blue sky in Whitehorse. Jade was a delightful travel companion on our flight down to Vancouver; she charmed everyone around her with her happy chatter and questions.

And some other exciting things happened, too.

I got a message first thing this morning from a local woman who does a show on the local French CBC radio station; she wanted to play a song from my upcoming album and promote the release concert. I got another e-mail from a producer who broadcasts for CBC North out of Montreal and I will be doing an interview with her early next week.

So that was fun.

Then, while I was downtown running some super-quick errands in preparation for the trip, I decided to pick up a copy of our local entertainment magazine, What’s Up, Yukon. Turns out, this issue contains a review of my album. And I’m thrilled with the review. (I’ll put a link up here once it’s available.)

THEN! When Jade and I boarded our Air North flight, I pulled out the in-flight magazine, Yukon North of Ordinary. I’ve been so busy, I hadn’t had time to see if the Spring issue was out yet. So it was pretty thrilling to open up the magazine to page 79 and find this:

Yukon North of Ordinary

The article was written by local journalist / blogger / amazing mother of three (soon to be four!) Sarah Niman, and I can’t believe how much information she packed into two pages. (I’ll put an electronic copy of that up sometimes soon, too.)

THEN!!

I arrived at Easter Seal House and found that the four boxes I was expecting here had indeed been delivered. Here’s what’s inside those boxes:

Bedroom Voice CDs ready

Hot off the presses!

Just over a week left before the album release, and I have a gigantic to-do list to wrestle into submission. But it will happen. And, you know, that will be an amazing day, too.

Heavenly carrot soup

23 Feb

I wish I had the patience for food photography. There are so many wonderful blogs out there that make your mouth water just to read them because of the gorgeousness of the photography. And food should be beautiful, in my opinion, if it’s at all possible. When food is beautiful and then the taste is scrumptious, then you don’t have to wait to see if there’s a heaven after this life on earth.

I made an amazing carrot soup tonight. I know it’s bragging, and it was kind of accidental, but everyone who tasted it agreed.

So, I’d loved to have photographed it properly and presented it to you like this:

This roasted carrot soup picture looks totally awesome, and I bet it tastes divine, too. If you want to try making the soup pictured here, I stole it from http://beingsuzyhomemaker.blogspot.ca/2011/02/roasted-carrot-soup.html. Click on the pic to go there.

This roasted carrot soup picture looks totally awesome, and I bet it tastes divine, too. If you want to try making the soup pictured here, I stole it from http://beingsuzyhomemaker.blogspot.ca/2011/02/roasted-carrot-soup.html. Click on the pic to go there.

Instead, this is what I’ve got for you:

Beautiful colour, but not such an impressive picture. But you know you'll want to make this soup.

Beautiful colour, but not such an impressive picture. But you know you’ll want to make this soup.

The problem with carrot soup is that the flavour depends so much on the quality of the carrots. And let’s face it, in the middle of winter, a lot of carrots have become kind of bitter, bland, or otherwise uninspiring, when what you really want is sweetness, with just a hint of zing.

That, my friends, is what this soup delivered. Pure, sweet, carroty goodness. My method was the taste-test-add-taste-again method, but I’ll try to estimate quantities for you.

Heavenly Carrot Soup

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 5 or 6 large carrots, washed, unpeeled (so easy)
  • 1.5 – 2 L water
  • 1 tbsp savoury
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 – 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 – 3 tbsp creamed honey
  • 2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • fresh mint for garnish
  1. In a large pot, melt the coconut oil. Add chopped onions and cook until softened. Some slight browning is okay. Just let them cook while you chop the carrots.
  2. Discard the tops of the carrots and chop into 3-5mm circles. Probably you could chop into any size you want, but I wanted these to cook quickly. Add the chopped carrots to the pot.
  3. At this point I also added three peeled and chopped broccoli stems that I happened to have hanging about. I don’t think they did a thing to the flavour, but you know, in the spirit of full disclosure here…
  4. Add 1.5 to 2 L of water and bring that baby to a boil. Turn down to a slow boil or hot simmer. Whatever you feel like. I was impatient. Dinner was late as it was.
  5. Add the savoury, celery seed, and salt. I used coarse sea salt because I ran out of the fine stuff. I figured it would dissolve anyway and it wouldn’t matter. I like to be kind of generous with salt, I admit it. Salt to your own taste.
  6. Add enough honey to make the soup as sweet as summer carrots.
  7. Lemon juice adds just a slight puckery zing to the soup that is otherwise just too sweet. Don’t add too much or it’ll just taste like lemons. Fresh-squeezed is SOOOO much better than the bottled kind. I happened to have some leftover from last night’s dinner (but truly fresh-squeezed would have been even better, as I find it starts getting bitter when it sits out). But, hey, even bottled is better than none at all.
  8. After the carrots are cooked soft, get out your handy-dandy immersion blender (or transfer in batches to the other kind of blender) and whirl it all up until smooth(ish).
  9. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh mint. Ooooh, yeah. Mint and sweet carrots are a match made in heaven, baby.
  10. Michael had his soup as-is. Halia’s got the ice cube treatment. I added a splash of almond milk to the middle of mine. It was aaaaaalll good.
  11. Enjoy!

Here’s a PDF version of the recipe if you want it to be easier to print: Heavenly Carrot Soup

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