Wednesday, March 13, 2013

End of an era

It would seem after four long years we've nearly come to the end of an era. Every single room in our fixer upper has been renovated, redone, refreshed and revitalized! It finally feels like home. Almost.

Our master bath, which is deep in the throes of renovation, is the last major project. Our faithful tile setter arrived today and began to work his magic on our wonky walls and strange early 90s architecture when apparently it was cool to build every room with weird angles.

The bath is a hybrid design I call Zen-Glam. All the lines will be clean and spare but I will add in a few glamorous touches to make it sparkle.

The room is smallish by modern ensuite standards and a bit awkward so we stole some space from our master bedroom, which is very spacious. Honestly, the ensuite felt like an afterthought in the strange way it was laid out. But we're experts at working with what we have by now. Plus, I never wanted palatial, just pretty.

The walls are painted a pale shimmering grey the colour of an expensive French silk nightie, fittingly called Silver Satin. All the trim will be white and the crisp white vanity is topped with gorgeous Carrera marble. We have a stunning oversized beveled mirror to top it off and a fancy classic hotel stye sconce to illuminate the space.  A curvaceous freestanding tub with dead sexy hardware will sit under the window quite nicely and the shower will be frameless glass with a shiny rain shower fixture. I really can't say much about the toilet except that it has the dual flush feature and is not beige, so yay for that.

I can't adequately express how excited I am about having a master bath again. It's been so long! It hasn't been a complete hardship sharing with the kids, but let's face it, it isn't ideal. Can't wait to soak in a tub where nobody else has showered, to spend a girly moment applying makeup which fits neatly back in its own drawer organizer or to simply pee in peace. Oh, the luxury!

Of course, I still need to buy fresh, new fluffy spa towels, a bath mat, pretty glass vessels for our cotton balls and q-tips, but might as well wait until the dust has settled. No bathroom of mine would be complete without an orchid (pink, I think), a luxe candle and a buddha, so those are on the list as well. There is nothing worthy of photographing just yet, but stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Everything is gonna be okay... maybe

I am not okay. I am not okay right now, but I will be. Hopefully soon because in an hour I have to go pick up my kids.

I am having some sort of a mental breakdown today.You see, more than once I have resolved to be a writer. Or, more precisely, to be a writer who actually writes, since I can't not be a writer. I just am. Just like I am female, caucasian, heterosexual and blond. Well, maybe not the blond part, but the point I'm trying to make is that I am inherently a writer. It's part of my genetic code, in my dna kind of a thing. And for the record, I am a natural blond. Tow-headed as a child, then deepening into a soft flaxen colour and finally a honey shade by early adulthood. But I've been *chemically enhancing* it for some time now, so who knows the truth? And who cares? Very few adults stay a pale blond throughout life. Can we move on now?

Okay, clearly I used that hair rant as a distraction from what is truly bothering me. Killing me, really. Breaking my heart. As I mentioned, I need to be a writer who writes and you know, gets published and stuff. I have managed to procrastinate since the turn of the century when I worked at a local newspaper and hated it, got totally stressed out and sick and then ran away. From that job, I mean. I am a procrastinator and I naturally seek out distractions from things I find overwhelming or scary or insurmountable. I'm not sure why this is so scary for me. I think it's because it's my truth.

 Facing the truth can be terrifying.

I've managed to kill a lot of time raising my children. They are my world. But then when they stopped being so little and moved into 'taxi mode'  (this is when Mom spends most of her time driving them around, instead of that in-depth, hands-on care that toddlers and babies require) I noticed an empty feeling. The parts of my heart dedicated to my family and marriage were full, overflowing really, while the part that was just for me felt empty. I knew this was a bad thing, because everyone knows one must care for oneself before we can take care of others properly. Just like when the oxygen masks drop down on an airplane. We are instructed to put our own masks on first, then assist those who may need help. But trust me, motherhood is the ultimate distraction from caring for oneself because there's this little thing called Mommy Guilt. It's included for free once you become a parent. Some people are strong enough to overcome this condition and are able to somehow care for their own hearts as well as their precious offsprings. I'm not that tough. I've been a mother for a decade now and even though I've filled countless journals and notebooks with writing, never once have I been able to muster up the dedication to myself to make something of it. That's right. I've procrastinated for more than ten years. What the hell is up with that?

I have, without much success, been working on saying no to things. It's hard for me to say no when my kids ask me to do something with them. Luckily, they're not particularly manipulative so I can't really blame the entire thing on them. But in terms of family obligations? I'm pretty much screwed. I do whatever it takes. Cooking, cleaning, driving, counseling, tutoring, spiritual advising, lego building whatever.

Oh, I also neglected to mention that guy. My husband, The one I am happily married to still. I believe our dedication to growing together instead of apart is one reason why we can still be in love. So, instead of spending my evenings writing, I spend them with him. Plus, I'm actually pretty pooped by evening and not feeling particularly creative. (Creativity usually pops up when I'm laying in the dark trying to sleep. Creativity and Insomnia are, like, total BFFs in my world.) Anyway, snuggle time on the sofa is more appealing than staring at a blank screen or empty notebook page while engaging in extreme self loathing for not following my dream. However, and this is a big one, I am a bit worried that eventually all of this will catch up to us and I will begin to resent him. That would be really shitty since never once has he said, "Woman, stop following your passions and sit on this couch next to me while I watch home renovation programs!" Nope. Never happened.

The fact is, it's me who has to do this. I am the one who has to force, physically force herself to sit down and write. I already know I can do it. I have to find the strength to make and take the time. No one else can follow my dream for me. It sure would be nice if someone could do some of the legwork though.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I'm a Wild Horse Running Free

Wild white horses of the Camargue gallop joyously through the water.

For as long as I can remember my sister and I have said we want to be wild horses running free. We didn't plan it and I can't even recollect how or when we started it, but we both know its depth of meaning.

It can mean feeling overwhelmed with pure joy, as in "I'm a wild horse running free!" Anyone who has ever observed the majestic, yet exuberant frolicking of wild horses running free will know what I'm talking about.

Or sometimes when we feel stuck, afraid or weighed down by life's obstacles, we say "I just want to be a wild horse running free!" It's our battle call to rise up and just go for it, whatever it may be. Be in the present and embrace a joyful moment. Don't look back.

I'm happy to report that these days I'm feeling much more pure joy. You see, there's a few things simmering away and all of them involve being 100% authentic.

For a time now I allowed the overwhelming busy-ness of my life to cast me adrift on a rocky sea of responsibilities, obligations, chores and on and on and on. Intellectually I understood I needed to be the one to take control of my life. But as a sensitive, emotional, creative type, I let my heart run the show. Things got messy.

Everything else came first. My kids, marriage, job, renovation, chores.... everything else came first. All this stuff is important to me, especially the marriage and kids, but I finally got it. I can't keep putting all this ahead of my own personal happiness. If I can't live my own truth, how can I truly be any good to them? I would be a miserable woman to be married to and not the mother I wanted to be to my kids. Children deserve a role model in their parents. The best role model is someone who is brave enough to be themselves. I needed my brain to step in and intervene on behalf of my heart.

My brain came up with a plan and my heart agreed. Find a way to carve out time to write and daydream and be creative. Find a space and hold it for creative pursuits and spiritual solace. In other words: Mommy needs alone time and I don't mean zoning out while vacuuming and crying. (Every maxed-out mom has done this, admit it!)

So I've created a new writing space within my home. It is quiet and removed from the household hubbub. The opposite of what I thought I wanted. This way I am tucked away in a spot filled with beauty and inspiration and much less likely to be struck by the urge to organize tupperware or sanitize the kitchen drawer pulls. These things need to be done, but not at the cost of breaking my inner wild horse.

PS: If you, like me, cannot get enough of the dreamy images of the fantastic French wild horses captured by the amazing Irene Suchoki of Eye Poetry, visit her Etsy shop here:

I have her print entitled 'Embrace' above the fireplace in our master bedroom. Positively romantic.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Shaking things up

I did something outrageous this weekend. Well, outrageous for me, anyway. After ten years of marriage and years of my husband begging, I had boudoir photographs taken as a Valentine's gift. I'm a little shy, so it took a bit of courage and more than one flute of pink champagne, but it happened and I must admit, it was so much fun.

I don't know what took me so long. I have nothing against boudoir photography, in fact, I love the sensual images of beautiful women who are not afraid to be powerful, sexy, feminine beings. In two hours time I went from a nervous wreck to a blissed-out glamour girl. Champagne helps, but also being pampered by a professional hair and make up artist, (thank you, Kelsey) and then romping around a luxurious hotel suite in mind bogglingly high heels, stockings, ruffles and lace while a fun and creative photographer (thank you, Angela gives endless pointers as to how to appear waaaaay sexier than one actually is... well, it was just fabulous.

I find that sometimes, as a mother, it's hard to remember who I am outside of that role. My kids are the most important thing in the world to me, just like any other mom out there. But it was so revitalizing to step outside of it for an afternoon and just forget about the endless responsibilities and obligations. For those few hours it really was all about me. I have to say, quite honestly, I enjoyed My Self.  And it wasn't like I was remembering who I used to be, not in a mid-life crisis-y kind of way. It more of an awakening to the possibilities of who I could become. Not just a sex kitten, but anything at all. Just like that, I was empowered. It was a magical moment.

Who knew running around in one's skivvies could do such a thing?

Source: Uploaded by user via Charity on Pinterest

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Back in July:

After many months of neglecting this blog, since I now have a Tumblr account and a severe Pinterest addiction, I came across this entry written last summer. My heart was too raw to post it at the time, but I'm ready now. In the spirit of putting it out there, here goes:

This is me in a 100% authentic moment of pure joy.
Apparently you can't take the country out of the girl.

I've found myself in a strange place. I've just returned home to suburban Vancouver after spending more than a week in my homeland, The Prairies. Now something just doesn't feel right. I am feeling crowded and claustrophobic. More than once the open sky of Saskatchewan caused me to weep. They don't call it the Land of Living Skies for nothing, you know? Not to mention the restless breeze rippling over the fields and the endless sunshiny horizon dotted with little farmhouses and barns. Those damn roots run deep.

My farmhouse (too heartbreakingly run down for a close-up)

We drove out to the farmhouse I grew up in. Even though it was dreadfully run down, happy memories of my childhood swept over me like the ocean waves I've grown accustomed to here on the West Coast. Standing in the disheveled barnyard where my sister and I once played for countless hours, I tried to quiet my heart, but I couldn't. It was too late. The floodgates had already been flung open. I tried to maintain some sort of composure for my kids, but it wasn't easy. Luckily the horseflies who swarmed us provided a welcome, yet terrifying distraction from the still undefinable emotions I was feeling and have felt ever since.

Country road, take me home, To the place I belong

My husband left the safety of our car and braved the evil horseflies once more to retrieve a piece of beautifully weathered barnboard from my family home. Tucking our unlikely souvenier safely in the back, he put his hand on my knee and said, "Should we check out the church?" I nodded, unable to speak. The Church is a tiny, century-old country church called St. John's Lutheran Church. It is perhaps the sweetest little white church in the entire vast landscape of where I grew up. And it was visible from my bedroom window, a constant beacon of hope and peace.

St. John's, my beautiful beacon surround by fields of gold.

So with the gravel crunching beneath the tires (one of the most comforting sounds to let you know you're in the country now) we made our way down the road which meanders quite lackadaisically through picturesque fields and around sloughs. When we pulled into the churchyard, it was empty, but not abandoned. Such a peaceful spot to walk around and just be. The bugs somehow relented and we were able to  wander through the gentle energy of the churchyard, looking at the gravestones, pointing out to the kids where their great, great, great grandparents had been laid to rest.

My son, the newly discovered farm boy, loved every second of country life.

We left for home the next day. I cried on and off all the way to Alberta. Somehow I have become homesick for a place that only exists in my memories, since nothing much is the same. It's not as though I want to uproot my family and move back there. I love my life here. I'm not sure what's missing, but you can be damn sure I won't rest until I find it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Damsel if I Don't

Source: via Charity on Pinterest

It's a damn good thing I believe in happy endings and spend much of my time gazing through rose colored glasses, because when it comes to technology, I am pretty much a damsel in distress. I seem to lack that aptitude for technology, learning at a snail's pace, and retaining the knowledge begrudgingly. Technology seems to be the nasty fire-breathing dragon in my tale.

Why, just yesterday evening my own mother showed me what she had learned on her mini-me Mac and now this morning, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and I can't remember anything she said. And by the way, in what crazy universe does a gal's mom have more computer skills than her daughter?? Well, truth be told, my mother really is quite amazing. She can also whip up a prom dress in less than 48 hours. True story. Long story, but true.

I guess when you're a romantic, you long to stay in that magical world where we can lock ourselves away in our towers and write in gilt-edged journals with Pilot pens and there is always a happy endings and the princess is always swept away by her prince. But what if we need to be rescued from ourselves?? If I am to be a writer in this modern-day kingdom, I must embrace technology. We must blog. Such a disgusting sounding word, blog is. The way I see it, blogging and blogging well are laying the groundwork for other writerly projects. It's the new way of "putting it out there," as they say. I have had this little blog for quite a while, but it could be so much more. I don't know more what, but I look at other people's blogs who are crappy writers and because they clearly know how to manipulate the blogosphere, they still look amazing.

So rescue myself I must. I don't think there's a computer-savvy prince about to burst through my door, armed with a shiny new Mac laptop, proclaiming he will set up my tumblr account and lay out my blog entries in a graphically interesting way, and monetize my blogger account, and entice me to Tweet, and teach me how to write captions on photos in that Pinterest-y way. Nope. This damsel must seek out experts who will teach me in a way I can understand so I can rescue myself from my own technological dragon of demise.

I guess I will be adding dragon slayer to my list of skills.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Writing Desk Dilemma

I had a realization today. I can't sit at my desk to write. Or, at least I don't. Ever.

 I have a pretty white desk in the window of my living room. It's exactly where I wanted it. We changed the drawer pull from boring metal to sparkly cut glass. Didn't work. So I got a beautiful crystal lamp and put that on top. Nope. A headily scented Lollia candle, a Buddha statue and a potted orchid? Still no.

 I write on the sofa curled up in the left corner, or in my big, white bed late at night, or outside on the deck if the weather is favorable.

But the pretty desk is fantastically functional as a surface for my writerly vignettes. I arrange fresh flowers and framed photographs, or pile up beautiful books and then stack a china teacup on top, then I sip my tea whilst gazing out the window at my lilies, lavender and roses and daydreaming, but not writing. The desk seems to be some sort of symbolic furniture icon reminding me that I am, indeed, a writer. I can't not have a desk. Believe me, I considered this. That coveted spot under the window is also the perfect place for a vintage settee.

What I actually want is an even prettier desk to not write at. Perhaps some sexy contemporary desk, all glossy white lacquer with chrome details like a fashion editor might sit at, or maybe a romantic antique French desk with gilded edges and secret drawers that open with an intricately forged key which I would keep safely strung on a pale blue satin ribbon and one drawer would have a false bottom where I would stash secret letters from my lover. (Yes, I admit to imaginary furniture fantasies.)

Every writer needs a desk to write or not write at. Even if mine is more of multi-dimensional inspiration board, than an actual piece of office furniture, it has its purpose. So be it.