A story in a single image

City at night

Once I finally learned how to drive, one of my favourite times to drive around was at night. When I worked downtown at the radio station, I enjoyed the challenge of leaving the core and timing it so that I just hit each light as it turned green, and I’d get frustrated with other drivers who would mess up my patterns by driving too slowly.

I remember driving around streets at night, in the rain, with flashes of silver in front of my headlights that I realised were frogs, and slowing down almost to a crawl to try to spare them.

I remember falling asleep in the middle of winter and having to rouse myself to drive back home at 4 a.m., hoping to get away without clearing the windshield but having to pull over because every time the streetlights hit, I went blind.

I think of the first time I drove out on the motorcycle to my now-husband’s house and wondering where the hell he actually lived, given I saw nothing but cornfields and drove on a poorly-maintained, single lane road.

I remember driving late into the night from our home to my grandparents’ home in New Brunswick, staring out the windows and listening to music after it became too dark for me to read. I tried to use the streetlights, but it didn’t work well, especially not along the highway.

I always trusted that my dad would get us there safely, and I think of moments like those when I drive my kids around now — that they will have their memories of driving with me, with us, in the dark, listening to music or talking to us, and always having complete faith that they would be safe with us behind the wheel, taking them to visit their grandparents or returning home.


One-word inspiration: LOVE

Once upon a time, I dated a fair amount. I dated guys I liked, guys I cared for, guys who hurt me or who I hurt, and in a few shining instances, guys I loved.

I still think about those guys on occasion, and what they’re doing now and what might’ve been. Not because I regret my life or how things have turned out, but just out of curiosity. I wonder if they think of me, and because I usually default to the worst case scenario, assume they don’t.

But in my experience, I have found dating love to be different than married love (or long-term love), which is different from the love I have for my cats, my family, and my children.

Before I started dating my now-husband, I always felt that my brain kept a placeholder for a garbage heap, and every time there was a fight or something was otherwise off in the relationship, a piece of garbage got added to that mental pile. And once things reached a certain point, then that was it, it was time to get out. Or if I’d met someone else who was more appealing and cleaner than my garbage-infested current paramour, then it was time to go. And of course it was always easier to leave when there was someone new and shiny waiting in the wings, even if I was mourning the loss of intimacy with the person I had loved prior.

Yet with my husband, that wasn’t ever the case. We fight, we argue, we disagree, we get on each other’s nerves, and in my lower moments I’ve definitely thrown or kicked things (when no one was around — this isn’t behaviour I’d want anyone else to witness), I’ve sworn, I’ve ranted… but there’s no garbage pile. I somehow suspected early on that this relationship was going to be one that lasted, even if I had no hint that he was going to mean that before we started dating.

And in the early days, that love was bright and shiny and exciting and all the things new love is. But of course that level of shiny isn’t sustainable long-term, and that’s good. Because where we are now is at a point where we just get to be ourselves, gross and normal as we both are. Because it is inherently comforting in not having to be embarrassed that you’ve been ill from something you ate. Or having someone pick up the slack when you’re too weak from gastro to do anything beyond sleep. Or have someone understand just by looking at you that you’ve had a stressful day.

There are many times he drives me crazy. But he balances me out and (un)fortunately for his sake, he gets to be the sane one when I’m spinning off in all directions and crying over whatever’s got me going in that moment. I read somewhere that a good relationship is two pillars leaning on one another — each one could stand on its own, but together they’re stronger, and that’s how I’ve always felt a relationship should be, and how ours is. We each bring our strengths to the table and mostly cover each other’s weaknesses. We’re both procrastinators and we both are kinda messy, but we could have worse habits.

We may not tell each other we love one another often (twice a year perhaps?), but we’re pretty good at treating each other with love and respect on a daily basis, which I think is more important overall. Words can be empty, and I’ve certainly said “I love you” and not meant it or not realized at the time I didn’t mean it, but actions are harder to fake.

(I was going to turn this into a segue about how the love I have for my kids is a horse of a different colour, race, and breed, but I don’t think that’s necessary. I wrote a piece in one of my own journals that I may share eventually about love and my kids and the phrase “I love you,” but it’ll keep for now.)

Things I Wish

  • That I could love my body.
  • That I could stop eating junk food to lose weight so I could love my body.
  • That my daughter doesn’t hate her body.
  • That my daughter never gets sexually assaulted.
  • That my daughter has the confidence to stand up for herself and that she dates people who respect that.
  • That my son becomes a man who will stand up to his friends if he sees them behaving in a way that would be disrespectful to others.
  • That both of my children become strong, successful, happy, and independent adults.
  • That I will have given my children the skills they need to be independent adults.
  • That I never become estranged from my children.
  • That my friends who are trying to have children succeed.
  • That I had better time management skills.
  • That I could make a living at creative pursuits.
  • That my husband worked fewer hours.
  • That I could turn off my brain more often.
  • That I had better self-esteem and more confidence.
  • That I didn’t second-guess myself all the time.
  • That I didn’t lose my temper with my kids.
  • That I had more time to read.
  • That I was better at not spending money.
  • That we lived in a slightly bigger house.
  • That the words “I wish” hadn’t lost all meaning as I kept writing it out.

I write because…

It helps me think through problems when I’m feeling messed up about something — whether it’s relationships, friendships, work stress, general life confusion, whatever — writing about it, even if I don’t resolve it, makes me calmer.

My mind is always spinning and writing helps me put it on a straight path. I think about conversations I’ve had and what I’m getting out of them later, or what I wished I’d said, or what I wished the other person(s) had said and what I might say later.

I love the written word and what I can do with it, what I can evoke, how I can communicate, how others can communicate with me. I love to break the rules of grammar to write in my own voice and try to capture how the phrases turn in my head and try to project them into someone else’s mind.

To connect with people. Nothing makes me happier than someone telling me they loved something I wrote or my writing in general. Okay, one thing makes me happier — when someone tells me something I wrote was exactly what they were thinking or how they felt about something. It makes me feel better to know that other people feel the same way I do about things, especially when it’s something I feel is an unpopular opinion.

Maybe one day I’ll write something that will become popular, will get me recognized or known, even if it’s just amongst a small group of people. I am in awe of the authors I follow and the amazing characters and worlds they’ve created, and I want to evoke that feeling in others.

When I write I feel like I’m unblocking something inside myself. I always feel more centered when I’m pursuing my creative hobbies, and writing does something for me that I don’t get from my other craft hobbies.

Writing is a part of who I am and who I’ve always been. I’m an introvert and sometimes I feel I have trouble connecting with people, but when I write, it doesn’t matter — it’s me and words and a screen or a piece of paper, and I don’t know if anyone will ever read it and that’s okay if they don’t.

Sometimes I have things I think and want to say to others but can’t. Or I feel a way about something that I can’t discuss with others, so I write about it to get it out of my head and free my brain to obsess or think about something else.

I love it.

5 years

So next week will mark 5 years since I had to get used to referring to him as my husband. It’s weird how quickly it changed and became part of the language — not to mention how much things have changed for me in life in that time.

I’m still at the same job I was doing back then, though I’m trying to find something new to do. I need new challenges to keep myself interested, and I haven’t really found many in the last while. I’m still hopeful that I’ll be able to move into something new in the next while, but it’s hard to move around in our roles sometimes, and I’m high enough up that usually I need experience in whatever I’m trying to move into that I just don’t have. I have confidence I could do something different and be good at it (hopefully), but it’s getting there that’s a challenge. Continue reading

A small victory

Today was one of those days I’d consider a win — this whole weekend was, actually. I didn’t yell too much at the toddler, the baby didn’t quite get enough naps or sleep enough last night (cold, teething), but overall, it felt successful.

In contrast to my last update, I’ve done some adulting lately that makes me feel like I’m at least not a complete loss as I stare down what I considered to be middle-age (jfc), but my dad argued isn’t in fact the case. Of course, I’m sure part of that is that he doesn’t want to be thinking of what it would mean for him if his eldest daughter was middle-aged, but at the same time I’ve no doubt I’m being overly dramatic by classifying 35 as middle-aged.

Continue reading

Not again

I’m pretty sure I’m something of a failure as an adult.

I suck at cleaning, I find it all too easy to lose an evening reading cracked.com articles or posts in the fora (forums?) of getoffmyinternets.com, or looking at pictures on imgur.com, and I rarely meet the daily goals I set for myself.

I mean, sure, my kids are fed and clean (well, the baby is clean and the toddler is fed), but me? I just snacked on chips I didn’t need to eat out of boredom and frustration after falling asleep in front of World of Warcraft.

Somehow I became a 34-year old married person with a mortgage, car, two cats, two kids, and a decent amount of consumer debt.

I’m learning new things — the latest is jewelry-making — and I try to carve out time to read, but more often than not I look at the clock in the evening and it’s past time to go to bed and I haven’t done any of the crafting, writing, or reading I intended to do.

And getting into yet another new hobby, one that I hope to monetize, intimidates me. I’m too old, there’s too much to learn, I’ll never be great at it…

But so what? There are plenty of things I’m good at, and maybe things other people think I’m great at, and maybe that’s enough.

Of course I want to be awesome, I want to be outstanding, I want to have people think highly of me for actual skills, but that’s starting to delve into work territory and I’m trying to stay out of that realm for a little bit longer.

My husband and I are different in a lot of ways, but we seem to balance each other out well. During times of crisis, I can be counted on to see all the bad and anticipate all the worst, while he tells me there’s no point in worrying about things that haven’t happened yet. I have many insecurities, and I don’t think he has any. I’m afraid of things that rationally I know can’t hurt me, and he fears the big things. It’s a great help to have a calming influence around when I’m careening off the walls, but sometimes the lack of insecurities is frustrating.

Anyhow, no real point, just words to have words out there. Here we go again. Let’s see if this time I can make a habit of it.

Projects, part 2

As I mentioned, I recently made a scarf for my RMT out of a Cascade yarn. I promise I’m not shilling for the yarn or the store I’ve linked – it’s simply what I’ve used for these projects. I have lots of other yarns I love to work with. 🙂

That said, Cascade’s 128 Superwash feels incredible, and was wonderful to knit with. I made our daycare provider a large tubular scarf out of the Superwash that I will post shortly, and I’m actually thinking of picking some up to make myself a similar scarf this evening. I did make three cowls out of the Superwash, and they knit up super-fast. Each of the cowls was only one skein, too, which makes them perfect sizes for gifts. I even have a cowl knit up in this blend of colours that has yet to find a home. Into the gift closet I’m creating, I guess! Or maybe one day I’ll set up an Etsy shop for the miscellanea I make and don’t do anything else with.

Finally, I’ve used their Cascade 220 Paints to make the cabled tunic (60 Quick Baby Knits, pattern 43) for the kid, in this Jelly Bean shade in particular. It wasn’t as soft as the Superwash, mainly due to the composition of the yarn, but it was still very nice to work with, and not everyone is as weird about yarn textures as I am.

The full-length picture isn’t the greatest quality, but it’s meant to show what the dress looks like not on. I didn’t block the dress after it was done, so it would be possible to get the ruffles to lie flat if you were so inclined. I had to rip it apart and redo it after starting on too-small needles (I have to downsize all the time, and I downsized too far), so by the time I was done, I wasn’t too keen on doing any more work on the dress. That said, the pattern was very straightforward, and the finished result was quite nice. This dress was in 18 months, if memory serves, and still fits the kid quite well now.

Projects, part 1

Apparently as an adult, I have an inability to sit still.

Well, I do sitting really well, but I usually find I need to be doing something while I’m sitting, and just watching tv isn’t enough.

So I’m pretty much constantly with some form of knitting project or another in my hands. I enjoy the start of something new, the crafting and the creation of something out of nothing – just like with cooking, where the same half-dozen or so ingredients can create all kinds of different foods.

However, I tend to lose focus when it comes time to actually finish said projects. The weaving in of the ends, the grafting together of the pieces… it’s just not the same. Same thing for cross stitching – I find the actual development of the image to be fun, but the outlining and the detail work is more tiresome.

But, every now and again I do manage to finish projects. Usually when they’re gifts for someone else (though even then, not always). I don’t always remember to take pictures of them before I give them away, but with the Christmas gifts I have made this year, I have.

So I present to you the scarf I made for my massage therapist. (I also gave her a tin of cookies, but I didn’t bother to photograph those, since I’ll be posting pictures of those later).

The pattern came from Cascade Yarn’s 60 More Quick Knits book, and was pattern number 19, Lace-Panel Scarf, page 60. I knit it using the Cascade 220 Sport, in what if memory serves, was their Really Red. My RMT said red was her favourite colour, and with her colouring I didn’t want to go too orangey-red or too blue-red (the second being my preference for red), so I picked the red that seemed to be between the two.