Monthly Archives: October 2014

Two Hundred Eighty Six: Indigenous not Columbus

“These people are very unskilled in arms… with 50 men they could all be subjected and made to do all that one wished.”  – Christopher Columbus

Tuesday, October 14th

Christopher Columbus has never been revered in our household, nor has the holiday been celebrated. My husband used to wear a t-shirt that said, “Homeland Security – Fighting Terrorism since 1492” and he constantly got dirty looks from people. Well, now my city will be in the cadre of those who honor “Indigenous Peoples Day” instead of the man who reportedly discovered America. Now we can wear a t-shirt emblazoned with a message of hope for our First Nations friends.

Are there any holidays or cultural celebrations that you prefer to not celebrate?

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Two Hundred Eighty Five: HyperCaffeination

“I believe humans get a lot done, not because we’re smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.”  – Flash Rosenberg

Monday, October 13th

It was up in the air as to whether I could attend a preliminary meeting with parents interested in planning this year’s fundraising auction. It’s the largest fundraiser we have for the year, and I figured I have enough juice in me to help out with this as well. I was in the midst of writing an email to the organizer telling her how I could help when I received a text offering a ride. Well then, I guess I’ll go…

I had planned on grabbing a snack for my son to nosh on while I met with the parents, so it made sense for me to grab a coffee at the same time. A large Americano would do me well for the meeting. I sipped, we introduced ourselves, I sipped some more, we discussed capacity for the event, I sipped, we talked about what roles we’d like to assist with. Then the coffee was gone. Side conversations started covering different aspects of the event, and I started to feel tingly. Tingly, that is, beyond the usual thrill of coffee. This was a jolt.

The jolting continued, and I tried to focus. The meeting ended and I made my way back home to my house where I proceeded to sort all sorts of things out. Mainly, I was sending emails. The thing is, I really can’t remember exactly what I did because I felt like I was in the grips of coffee mania – straight up jittery blusterness caused by caffeine. It did not feel good and I can’t vouch as to whether it was truly productive or not if I am cleaning up the messes today.

How does coffee affect you?

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Two Hundred Eighty Four: Parent Chat

“What is a friend? I will tell you… it is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.”  – Frank Crane

Sunday, October 12th

There is a local gym that offers birthday parties in a massive inflatable bouncy obstacle course that then progresses into a cake and snacks room. Yes, the kids are having fun but I always go for the great side chat that happens between the parents. It is so rare that I am in a room with these parents for a fixed amount of time where our kids aren’t demanding attention, or we all are thinking about the next somewhere else to be. These people I know as parents become more like adults again.

We’ve all been on this school adventure together for about 18 months now, but there are still a few parents I haven’t really met yet. I introduced myself to a couple new friends and struck up some small chat. It’s funny how it quickly progressed into talk that had absolutely nothing about kids. It reminded me of how much I thirst to be taken as a “Tasha” and not as a mom, particularly by these people. We can pigeonhole one another so easily, and I like us all to break out of that mold. At the end of the day, I am still a mom but it is nice to be seen as “Tasha the Mom” not just “That Girl’s Mom”.

Do you have friends or acquaintances who pigeonhole you?

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Two Hundred Eighty Three: Climb Every Mountain

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”  – John Muir

Saturday, October 11th

Despite the fact that my husband works in the Outdoor Equipment industry, we have a difficult time making it out to the trails regularly. There are grocery runs, story times, play dates, big people dates, and other “necessities” of modern-day urban parenting. Today we joined Nature for an unrelenting and memorable hike.

I didn’t want to go. The morning was starting our productive. With husband to dress and distract the kids, I culled our collective closet and removed too-small worn-out wardrobe pieces. We folded three loads of laundry and put them away. I was feeling that the world would operate much smoother if I stayed home and continued the clean. He was going to take the kids out for a hike and offered to give me the day to stay at home and do whatever. When he started looking up mountain hikes I started mentally preparing myself for changing out of my pajamas.

The most convincing argument to go was knowing that a hike would take me two hours outside of the city. Two hours away from schedules and neighbors and gas stations. Yes, let’s go! I thought I was preparing by bringing the child carrier, a bottle of water, two power bars and rain coats. Mountains are not governed by consistent logic or prep lists. The air was humid but dry and we were only chilly if we sat in the same spot. The loop was supposed to be easily hiked by youngsters, so we wouldn’t be sitting still anyway. The kids were slow to start but quickly got into a groove on the trails. We couldn’t see the neighboring peaks in all the fog, but I asked my daughter to breathe in the clouds and feel the cloud magic fill her body. The narratives kept her moving forward and engaged with the hike. We rounded a corner and walking in the clouds quickly turned to striding in the snowfall.

At some point I realized that I was quite happy to be helping my little ones work through their feelings of dread of hiking in the rain. All the other problems that had been vexing me were far away and I was handling the circumstances of the moment.

What activity is your surefire stress reliever?

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Two Hundred Eighty Two: Late Payment

“If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.”  – Steven Wright

Friday, October 10th

I have taken ownership of the annual coupon book fundraiser at my daughter’s school and while they sell themselves, there sure are a lot of them left in the box. Regardless, today the first payment for the books that had sold was due. I had miscalculated when I needed to tell the PTA Treasurer, and my the check would be…oh so cliche…”in the mail” instead of where it was due.

Wouldn’t you know that my friends in high places made things happen and a signed check made its way out of the school on time! I wasn’t exactly late, and I learned who I had to talk to in order to get things done.

Are you on top of your finances?

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Two Hundred Eighty One: Not so Prompt

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”  – William Shakespeare

Thursday, October 9th

I like being early. Even if it’s five minutes before the rush, I enjoy having that moment to move into a transition rather than landing smack dab in the middle of one.

This time I landed in the middle of a Grade One curriculum night. My daughter’s teacher had prepared extensively to share what the children are learning in class and how we as parents can best support them at home. As it happens, I wasn’t the absolute last person to walk through the door so it seems that I was right on time.

I lament not being in the classroom more often. Now that Darling Daughter takes the bus to school almost every morning, I find myself scrubbing my toilet and doing breakfast dishes instead of bringing Daughter’s teacher coffee and reading books to the kids. This makes me look forward to Darling Son starting kindergarten so I can jump back into that circuit of assisting in the classroom.

Are you prompt?

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Two Hundred Eighty: Song

The drink you spilt all over me/’Lover’s Spit’ left on repeat/My mum and dad let me stay home/It drives you crazy, getting old.

We can talk it so good/We can make it so divine/We can talk it good/How you wish it would be all the time.

This dream isn’t feeling sweet/We’re reeling through the midnight streets/And I’ve never felt more alone/It feels so scary, getting old

I want them back/The minds we had/How all the thoughts/Moved ’round our heads

You’re the only friend I need/Sharing beds like little kids/And laughing ’til our ribs get tough/But that will never be enough.”  – Lorde

Wednesday, October 8th

This song on repeat.

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Two Hundred Seventy Nine: Doing the Cool Work That Needs to be Done

“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”   – Dorothy Day

“There must exist a paradigm, a practical model for social change that includes an understanding of ways to transform consciousness that are linked to efforts to transform structures.”  – Bell Hooks

Tuesday, October 7th

I struggle with what I’m going to do with my life when I’m grown up. But I am grown up. And I’m doing stuff, right? But every once in a rare while, I come across something new that fires me up with hope and excitement that I will find or create the meaningful soul work I was meant to do.

Today I found the Morning Side Center online. On the organization’s About page, “Morningside Center works hand in hand with educators to help young people develop the values, personal qualities, and skills they need to thrive and contribute to their communities—from the classroom to the world.” The good stuff.

While I don’t necessarily see myself working directly with children, I like the ethos of getting to the heart of things and inspiring change from within. Children are taught the intricacies of the very difficult job of resolving conflict. This is a life skill I wish every community took on for its children – embedding the social skills needed to create that more just and peaceful world we’d all like to see. Or at least the sort of world it seems hard to create on our own as well-meaning “skilled” adults.

This might be a cynical thought but I wonder if adults get to a certain age where progress seems futile, so it seems more reasonable to invest in a future generation. Lately, I have felt intrinsically the overbearing weight of resolving conflict between adults. It’s emotionally draining and it taps into every little insecurity you have. If we really…I mean, REALLY…committed to a generational shift in the emotional education of our youth then maybe new solutions would arise. Maybe these youth would grow up and challenge us to stand up or step aside in decision-making.

For now, I’m glad to see there are single organizations out there modeling a healthy way to educate our children with compassion and honesty and bravery.

If you could create any type of non-profit to change the world, what would it be?

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Two Hundred Seventy Eight: Re-Reading

“Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.”  – Phylicia Rashad

Monday, October 6th

I started a book club today.

Over the last year, I’ve developed a small group of women I’m especially fond of and I thought this would be a good way to get us working our brains together. I also have not picked up a work of fiction and read it cover-to-cover in some time now.

The phone was buzzing all day with texted ideas for titles, where to meet, favorite authors and such. I love it. It’s been far too long since I was active in a book club. The last one was based out of my workplace – just over a half-dozen women working or volunteering at an adult literacy center – and the book titles were fun and interesting. It was the only book club I’ve ever participated in so I don’t know if it’s normal that the same people skipped reading the book every month and that there was more emphasis on the food served than the book discussed. It brought us together, and that was lovely.

There are only three members in the club so far. I’m up for reading classics that I never got around to reading, along with more contemporary authors. It is always exciting to read a book that I normally wouldn’t choose off the shelves myself. Really, the only limitation is that the book should be readily accessible at our public library so we can save a few trees and a few dollars.

This also coincides with my self-realization that I might want to get my eyes checked out. I’m 40 and have never walked into either an optometrist or ophthalmologist’s office. It just never came up and I am thankful for my good vision, but I figured it’s time to check it out. I’ll be giving my peepers quite a workout after all.

What sort of activities do you like to join up with others to enjoy?

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Two Hundred Seventy Seven: So. Very. Tired.

“Everything sooner or later gets tired! A stormy sea gets tired and becomes a calm sea; a calm sea too gets tired and becomes a stormy sea! Everything sooner or later gets tired!”  – Mehmet Murat ildan

Sunday, October 5th

I lived in a hostel when I first moved to this city. My bunk was in the same room with five other beds, and people came and left at all hours. It was constant noise. I don’t know how I managed to get sleep because I’m an incredibly light sleeper, but I did. I think I wore a toque and a hoodie and sandwiched my head between two pillows. I need to find my toque and a hoodie.

I need sleep. I wake up at odd hours and can’t get back to sleep. The cats wake me up at 4 am to let them out and now my bladder is used to me waking in the middle of the night. Today I couldn’t get back to sleep. I got some emailing done and felt great until it started nearing 7 am and then I realized I should get some more sleep. That was about the time that the kids started waking up and jumping all over my husband and I.

I have PMS. We were still recuperating from yesterday’s birthday party. My husband and I had a three-hour budget meeting that also included some touchy subjects. And there was a birthday party with two live ponies scheduled for the afternoon. I lost the plot between the meeting and the birthday party. I needed a good cry and got some of that tension out, but kept my sunglasses on for a couple of hours afterwards to shield my puffy eyes.

As much as I want to catch up on this blog by writing a number of posts per evening, I might have to figure out another way to get the writing in at earlier hours. The screen time is not serving my health.

Can you operate on little sleep?

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