Tag Archives: life

I’m alive! And ready for your questions…

8 Apr

My apologies for the long blogging lapse. Between busy workdays with shorter breaks and my sad lack of energy (combination pregnancy and my latest cold) I just haven’t had the reserves to sit down at the computer any more than I have to, which means pretty much no “fun” computer time. Except on Sunday night when I was trying to finish up our tax stuff. Yeah, that was fun. And it’s still not done. Grmph.

Anyway, I have read — with delight! — every comment that has come in here. Thanks so much to everyone for the happy and supportive thoughts on my last post! I saw a couple of new names there and have been meaning to follow up. I swear, I’ll get to it one of these days. (Just like the dishes, the laundry, the… well, you get the picture.)

This weekend passed in a blur of sneezing, eating, extreme queasiness, and napping, so there’s not much to report there. I did, however, have another doctor’s appointment yesterday and I got a clean bill of prenatal health from Dr. Gudapati. I even had another internal exam (oh joy) and she figures that the “hard spot” my regular doc felt when he was doing my annual exam was just the natural bump of my retroverted uterus (which means my uterus tilts backward instead of forward the way most women’s do). So I guess that was much ado about nothing, but fortuitous; I don’t mind having a “better safe than sorry” kind of doc and if it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t have had an ultrasound booked for last week. So yay for that!

I can’t think of anything profound to say today — even the story of the guy at the grocery store who asked if I worked in a group home isn’t very funny today — so I’m going to turn it over to you. McMommy, one of the most recent additions to my Google Reader, did this fun little Q&A exercise yesterday, and I am totally stealing her idea.

So this is the idea: you can ask me anything you want, and I’ll pick some of your questions and post my answers on the blog. This will help me get back into the blogging groove, so please ask away!

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Golden Moments

18 Mar

Last night, as I was dragging the compost bin down to the end of the driveway for today’s collection, I paused and smiled at nothing in particular. Just because I was feeling so happy.  I love Monday nights; Mondays mean Big Band rehearsals and greasy food and laughter.  Yesterday’s rehearsal was particularly energizing because I managed to face down a number of challenging pieces I’d been worrying about.  I get a huge high out of singing anyway, but there’s no feeling like “getting” something you’ve been working at.  In moments like that, it doesn’t matter how many loads of laundry are left to be done.  Moments like that should be savoured.

It’s not every day I get to have that “all is right with the world” feeling, but I try to appreciate the small joys that do happen every day.  This may sound very capitalistic, not to mention fanciful — Hey, I am a business major. And a romantic. — but I’ve recently started thinking of those small moments of joy as, well, as gold.  And I’m interested in collecting as many as possible.

I don’t think I’m a naturally optimistic person; it’s more something I’ve learned and that I have to remind myself to do.  When my dad left the world of employment to work for himself, he had a lot of motivational training and sales training that emphasized the power of positive thinking.  It was a message he brought home that we all took to heart; I think a lot of my German friends still think of “Denk positiv!” (think positive) as my catch-phrase.

I don’t use the phrase much these days because out of the context of earnest high school philosophical discussions, it can sound preachy and trite.  Certainly, when I was told, “Just don’t worry” before my miscarriage, I was pretty annoyed at that friend for shutting down our conversation by dismissing my concerns.  “Just think positive” would have had the same effect in that context.

But if the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate goal, an optimistic outlook seems to me the best way to wring as much joy as possible out of each day.  And even if you don’t agree that happiness is the ultimate goal, who thinks they can do with less joy in their lives?

I’m not saying that happiness is the only important thing in life.  I’m also not saying I don’t get upset or depressed.  I’ve had some really rough patches that I’m sure would have resulted in going on anti-depressants had I thought to get “outside help”.  I know what it’s like to sink into a place where you don’t have the energy to do anything, even if you know it’ll do you good.  In those times, it’s pretty close to impossible to find those golden moments, and it might take someone else’s love and encouragement, someone else who can see the positives, to help you claw your way out of that pit.

But for “normal” stresses of “normal” life, it’s these golden moments that keep me afloat, that lift me out of the every day and give me a chance to breathe.  They don’t have to be spectacular: admiring the sparkles in the snow, a joke shared between friends, laughing at the prancing of an excited dog, noticing someone giving their all to a job.  If I pause to really appreciate those little moments, I get to have a moment of happiness that otherwise would have been squandered.  And wouldn’t that be a shame?

And then, for nights like last night where everything was momentarily right with the world?  Well, that’s just like hitting the jackpot.

Remembering to have faith

16 Mar

I like to go to church on Sunday. It does me good to get out of my own head and think about other people and our place in the world. I don’t go every week, but when I do, I am warmed by the little French community at the 10:10 a.m. mass, inspired by the boundless enthusiasm and compassion of Father Claude, energized by the dialogue, entertained by the children who actually like to be there. Everyday life can be a cynical place sometimes, so it’s revitalizing to go someplace that is really all about faith.

Many of the important aspects of our lives require faith. Before Michael and I got married, I wondered, how can you know that you’ll have to the strength to be true to your vows, to work through the hard times that will come? I concluded that it was impossible to know it, but I had faith that we’d give it everything we have.

Deciding to have children is a leap of faith, too. People asked me throughout my pregnancy with Jade, “Are you ready?” How the heck could I possibly be truly ready, knowing that my life would be changed in ways I could not yet imagine? I said to them, “Can you ever really be ready?” but thought, the decision is already made and all you can do is to have faith.

Then there was the miscarriage. Life felt so unfair, and I felt betrayed by my own body. Yet sharing the grief with others, especially those who had suffered their own losses, gave me faith in the possibility of healing. Stacie said it so beautifully earlier this week: “It is so reassuring to know there are others out there who have found the strength to get through the heartbreak.”

Last Sunday I didn’t go to church; Michael was out of town and it’s always a lot more difficult to fit church in when there are also dog-walking responsibilities. Instead, I spent the morning with my friend Anissa (we went dog-walking together) and had a grand time, but I felt rather strange the whole time. To make a long story short, I wondered enough that by the end of the day I decided to do a pregnancy test… which turned out to be positive.

I’ve felt strangely reticent since then. I’d like to be more excited, but am finding the joy is somewhat dampened by nervousness. We’re still in the very early weeks, barely halfway along the way to when my last pregnacy ended. Family were the first to find out, and a few good friends; in sharp contrast to my own reserve, almost all of them reacted with unbridled happiness. It’s been nice that others could feel such excitement when I couldn’t muster it for myself. (I did have one friend empathetically give me “cautious congratulations”, which made me laugh and allowed me the most carefree emotions I’d yet had.)

The truth is that I am at no higher risk for miscarriage than I’ve ever been; it’s experience, not facts, that makes me nervous. Though it can be hard to shed, anxiety is neither useful nor productive. Some might think me foolhardy for yet again sharing pregnancy news at such an early stage, but, hey, Easter is coming, and Easter is surely a time of faith and re-birth. Being at church this morning reminded me of the importance of having faith. Sharing this news with you is just a small thing I can do to cast off that yoke of fear, and remember to have faith.

One of those days…

12 Mar

4:30 Leave work, mentally making a list of groceries needed

4:37 Pull in at daycare centre and curse because forgot to stop at grocery store first

4:40 Arrive at door of daughter’s daycare room and witness temperature-taking in progress. Result: 100.9° F.

4:45 Buckle daughter, who is busily sucking away at a bottle, into carseat and contemplate grocery store options. Decide to go to the closest one, even though it has exorbitant prices.

4:49 Waiting to turn left into grocery store parking lot and remember why it sucks to do this after going to the daycare.

5:02 Carry daughter into store through the slushy parking lot. Attempt to stuff daughter into shopping cart, but the stupid flap that blocks the leg holes keeps flipping up. Remember other reason why it sucks to do this after daycare.

5:05 Daughter drops glass bottle, where it smashes into a thousand pieces on the floor. Gather up the biggest pieces of glass while thinking about the people who will say, “I told you so” about glass bottles. Grind teeth when 8-year-old boy gleefully says, “You have to pay for that!”

5:09 Arrive at the cash register where three cashiers are gabbing. One looks up and says she can serve me at the next counter. I wheel over there, only to have a woman rush in before self. Cashier does not bother to tell rude woman that the lady with the child and the exceedingly frazzled expression was there first.

5:15 Pay $33.00 for for 6 grocery items and curse because forgot to get bread, which was one of the most needed items.

5:20 Going ’round the bend (literally with the car, but figuratively, too) explain to daughter that her “baby” is at home. Do a blind one-handed search through daycare bag to find Cheerios to end the whining.

5:24 Arrive home. Thank goodness Michael’s back. He heads out to walk the dog (and daughter). Start cooking supper. But really, get on blog.

At least I live in Whitehorse. If I were still in Ottawa, this whole timeline would have taken a lot longer than an hour.

Once every other blue moon

29 Feb

I just did a quick Google search to see how often a blue moon happens.  Apparently, it’s every two or three years.  Which is more often than we see February 29th come around.  I have a friend or two who have their birthdays on February 29th, but for me the most significant event for the date was this day in 1996 when my Opa died.

Because I grew up in Canada and all my extended family lived in far-flung places like Germany and Taiwan, I’d never really gotten to know any of them (except for my cousin Heidi, who lived with us in Thunder Bay for one year).  But when I graduated from high school in 1995 at the age of 16, having no clue what the heck I’d want to study for my post-secondary education, my dad arranged for me to spend the year in Germany, living with Oma and Opa.

It was a great opportunity.  I learned to speak German, learned about the culture of northern Germany, made some great friends, and learned a lot about music.  But the best part of it was the opportunity to get to know my grandparents.

Opa was a complex man.  He is supposed to have spoken seven languages.  (Dad says wryly that Opa’s linguistic ability is like a fisherman’s tale; with every retelling, he could speak more languages.)  He’d been a teacher of music, math, and physics at the advanced high school; when I went to school there, some of the teachers would reminisce about being in his classes.  He wrote haikus, some of them railing against God and religion and proclaiming his own atheism (but Oma insists he wasn’t truly an atheist).  He would forcefully close the doors to his study, adjacent to the music room, when I practiced piano in there; he told me that every time I hit a wrong note it hurt him like scalding his tongue on hot soup.  He loved to cuddle his grand-daughter and was pleased to offer up his always stubbly cheek for a kiss.  He told me I pronounced my name incorrectly and wouldn’t be convinced that he was wrong until we looked it up in the dictionary.  He continued to pronounce it his way, anyway, turning it into a pet name for me by adding the German dimunitive “chen” to the end: “Faenchen”, meaning “little flag”.  Glaucoma blinded him in the last decades of his life and he lamented the fact that he hadn’t seen more, such as how many petals does this particular flower have?  He lamented no longer being able to play the piano because he couldn’t read the music anymore, although I heard him at it once or twice.  When a Japanese visitor told him his long earlobes were a sign of longevity, he said, “Don’t curse me like that!”  Every night before he went to bed, he would ring the gong he’d brought back from a temple in Taiwan.  It could be heard throughout the house, a sweet and melancholy note, tucking me in for the night.

Everyone thought it fitting that a man of such contrariness should choose this day for his passing.  Contrary, imposing, loving, and proud.  I am so grateful that I got a chance to know him.

Drowning in paper

26 Feb

I have a list 8-deep of things I wanted to blog about, but real life has been getting in the way of online life :

  1. The Sourdough Rendezvous festival kept us busy this past weekend; the little gig on Saturday was great — thanks to those who asked and double-thanks to those who came out!
  2. Yesterday I had a fabulous voice lesson from the great Jennifer Scott, who was visiting Whitehorse for a couple of days; I’m so excited about the stuff I learned from her.
  3. Tonight I was busy with more mundane things — about a year’s worth of filing to wade through, although it was made easier by the fact that Michael had already sorted most of it into piles and put them in chronological order.  But there was no more putting it off, as the 2007 RRSP contribution deadline is this Friday, so we’re scrambling to figure out our tax stuff.  Boooooring, but necessary.

I hope to be back to our regular programming (that is, whatever comes to my disorganized mind) later on this week.