Monday, 31 March 2014

a simple word....a complicated idea

The prompt: Spirit

"Meditation, prayer, gratitude, faith, comfort. How is this a part of your day? Do you pray? Meditate? Express daily gratitude? Go to church or participate in another sort of faith community? If none of this is a part of your life, think about where you find meaning and comfort. What does that look like in your life?"

I can say yes to some of the questions in this prompt. I can say "I don't know" to others.

I know that I think spirit doesn't have to mean a religious practice with regular attendance at church. But I know that for some people, that's exactly what it means.

I know that I see people who take great comfort in their beliefs, and that I sometimes wish that I held as much faith in something that brought me such assurance in the times that I need it.

I know that taking time to acknowledge the things I am grateful for each day is important to me and it has an impact on how I view the events and people in my life.

I know that meditation is hard, but something I should probably work at.

I know that I believe in being mindful, and I think that it can affect a person's spirit.

I don't know exactly what I believe "spirit" to be. I cannot define it or describe it.

I don't know exactly where I stand in terms of religion.

I don't know how to put blind faith in something that cannot be proven, isn't tangible, or cannot be explained.

I don't know how to quiet my mind or be patient when I attempt to meditate. Song lyrics start running through my mind (on a loop sometimes) and no matter how many times I acknowledge them and center back on my breathing, they start up again.

I know that spirit matters. I know that taking care of your spirit is important. I also know that I don't have it figured out yet.


Prompt #4 in Ali Edwards' class "31 things" through Big Picture Scrapbooking is spirit.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

currently - march 30th

time: 5:30 p.m.

location: my office.  Using a laptop and a desktop computer....that's a first.

watching: season one of Community.  After crying at the finale of Friday Night Lights yesterday, I needed something a little lighter on Netflix today.

feeling: excited about this upcoming week off of work and actually having time to do things that keep getting put on hold.  A little sad that my guy still won't be home for another week.

loving: Netflix.  I held off getting it because I had heard that the Canadian content wasn't that great, but as someone who prefers watching a full season of a show as opposed to waiting for it to air each week, there are so many options.  I've barely turned on my television in the past month and have cancelled half of my cable packages.

thinking:  about writing and this blog. I've been thinking about writing a lot to get better at it, how to make more time for it, what I have to say, and how to say it without sounding like an idiot.

making: there is a substantial list of the things I would like to make/work on in the next week.  I just started working on Project Life for this year, I have a scarf that I would like to finish (even though I won't need it much longer.  Hopefully.), the table in my entryway needs a table runner, all of my photos from Vancouver are waiting to get into an album, and the list goes on and on.

wanting: to not waste time this week, for my guy to come home

needing: to find some new recipes.  I'd like to cook more actual meals, but I need a place to start.

This idea comes from Tina at Life Love Paper

Monday, 17 March 2014


I have a thing with books.  I have a whole different thing with bookstores.  My brain releases endorphins when I walk into a bookstore.  I have always loved the smell of a new book and turning the crisp new pages for the first time.  I have a hard time walking out of a bookstore without at least one purchase, and I have been known to leave with three or four or even five new titles.

When it comes to books:

1. I have good intentions when it comes to non-fiction, but on a random night when I am looking for a book to dive into, I will almost always choose fiction.

2. I own at least 80 books that I have yet to read.  My reading rate has not kept up with my shopping rate.

3. In the past ten years, I have read more young adult literature than adult literature.

4. Of the adult literature I have read, it has probably been an even split between "chick lit" (a label I'm not fond of) and classic literature.  Crime and Punishment is up on deck right now.

5. Starting a daily routine of reading before I fall asleep is forever a goal.  It probably happens 3 nights a week right now.

6. Despite the number of books I own that I have not read, I still regularly take books out of the library.

7. I try to "work" the hold system at the library.  I'll pick a book that's available right now, then one that has a short waiting list, then one that has a long waiting list.  In theory, they should all arrive at different times and be spread out enough that I actually have a chance to read one before the next one gets here.  This theory rarely works out and I usually end up having to take books back without having a chance to have read them at all.

My current stack of library books

8. My current list of books to read (within the next couple of months) include more young adult lit, some classic lit, books about food and its effect on health, books about writing, and books about investing money.

9. I have only learned how to start parting with books within in the past year.  If I didn't enjoy a book (or wasn't even able to get through it), then it should go somewhere where someone else might.

10. I am fairly certain that for every book I have donated in the last year, there are now one - or sometimes even two - in its place.

11. I am not sure that I will be convinced to switch from actual books to an e-reader.  I like the idea of carrying an e-reader around in my purse (much easier than a big hardcover book), I like the convenience of space that an e-reader offers (versus shelves and shelves of books), but I just don't think I will ever give up turning pages in exchange for looking at another screen.

12. I am envious of people who are incredibly well read.  I am working on it.

Prompt #3 in Ali Edward's class "31 Things" through Big Picture Scrapbooking is Read.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

morning routine

6:05 - first alarm goes off
6:10 - second alarm goes off; I start reading Twitter to see what is in the news
6:15 - third alarm goes off....I really should get out of bed at this point
6:20 - shower, put make up on, etc.; always listen to a podcast while I get ready
7:00 - eat breakfast

7:20 - stretch and do some work on my weak weak core muscles (nothing near a work out....more like some basic physio moves)
7:40 - finish getting ready for work
8:15 - realize that I have somehow lost about twenty minutes of time and am now running late; pack some lunch
8:35 - leave for work

The only real change in this routine that happens on the weekends is that I will sleep until around 7:30, and I don't rush out the door for work.  But that's about it.  I'm completely a creature of habit.


"Morning routine" is the second prompt in Ali Edwards' 31 Things class through Big Picture Scrapbooking.

need a table, build a table

Maybe it's something about owning a home that I actually truly care about (versus temporarily renting an apartment), but my desire to make things for my home is unlike it ever has been before.

I have an office that is in the middle of being furnished.  I would like to get a futon or day bed of some sort to have in there, and I need to get some prints up on the walls.  I knew for awhile that I was going to need some sort of small table in that room, and I really hoped that it would be one that could double as both an end table for the futon and a table for my sewing machine.  I also knew that the size I was looking for would be tough to find, and that finding one with adjustable legs (for the different heights that I would need) would be next to impossible.

So on a whim I decided to build a table.  Now, I stopped taking woods classes after grade 9, so my skills are slim to none.  But after my guy found that Ikea sells adjustable table legs, it was just a matter of buying the wood from Home Depot and getting them to cut it to size.

A quick sanding job and a couple of coats of paint later, and I was ready to attach said legs.  Without going into great detail of how I jumped the gun and overlooked some pretty important pieces of hardware - and my guy's total and absolute patience after making another unnecessary trip to Home Depot - he helped me attach the legs and taught me how to use a drill at the same time.  I adore that man.

The finished table isn't perfect - it turns out the piece of wood I bought wasn't totally flat - but I made it and I love it.  And it's sturdy, which is the important thing.  Since the room is still not organized, the table is currently a holding place for any and all important it can take some weight.  Good thing.

The underside of the table with the adjustable legs from Ikea.

Monday, 3 March 2014


When I was a teenager, each year for Christmas my grandfather would buy me some kind of jewelry - always expensive, but nothing really appropriate for a fourteen year old girl.  Or at least not the type of jewelry that I was wearing at that age.  Gold, dainty, always some sort of stone or pearl.  I would thank him for taking the time to pick something out especially for me, but I would always end up putting the necklace/bracelet/earrings in a jewelry box at home and never actually wear them.

I think that I was fifteen the year he gave me a ring.  This gift was slightly different from the others, because this one was my birthstone specifically, not just something pretty that had caught his eye.  The extra effort alone gave this ring a fighting chance at being worn, at least once and awhile.  It was far too dressy looking to wear to school, but maybe when we went to a family dinner or some sort of occasion.

I tried wearing the ring a couple of times, but it felt uncomfortable, like the points at the top and bottom dug into my finger constantly and the stone stood out far enough that I snagged it on anything and everything.  So into the jewelry box it went with the others.

Two weeks before my 26th birthday, on a Sunday morning, the phone rang.  I was still living at home with my parents.  My grandmother was in a panic.  My grandpa was acting weird - dropping things and not talking properly.  She made him toast for breakfast and he tried to put one of the slices into the teapot on the counter.  My parents rushed over to their house and called an ambulance.  I knew before they had even left our house that he was having a stroke.

By the time they all arrived at the hospital, his speech was all but gone.  I arrived about an hour later - my parents suggested I wait until the initial chaos had settled (if that's possible) and they had some idea of what was going on.  The CT scan had been done and now it was a matter of waiting to see the damage the lack of oxygen had caused.  When I walked up to the stretcher in the hallway, everyone looked scared and the one word that my grandpa kept saying repeatedly was "hanging".  He was using it as a noun, verb, curse word, everything.  Once and awhile a "he" or "they" would slip in, but mostly it was just "hanging" again and again and again.

Miraculously, my father had figured out some way to communicate with him - maybe it was due to the fact that his own father had had a stroke thirty years prior and the only word he was left with for a few days was "shit" - but the rest of us struggled for the next couple of days and weeks.

His speech slowly improved.  He had a lot of speech therapy both at the hospital and then at the rehab center he moved into for the next two months.  My grandfather was a stubborn man, and that tenacity carried him through every moment of rehab that he could get his hands on.  Being a teacher, I was one of the few people he trusted to help him outside of his sessions, and he would wait for me to come visit so he could show me the new cards that he had been given to practice - cards that stretched his vocabulary closer to what it used to be and cards that listed words that the speech therapist noted he was having trouble pronouncing so that he would work on them in between sessions.

Eventually, he moved back home and life looked differently after that.  He had some cognitive impairments from the stroke as well - tasks that involved multiple steps were a challenge, cooking food in particular could be a bit dangerous.  But he never stopped trying.  He never stopped working to figure out what he could and couldn't do - and then he would try to find ways around the things that were difficult.

And then eventually, more strokes would come, and each one would leave more damage than the last.  When he passed away, his death followed an arduous six months in a hospital bed, where he still managed to communicate with us through lip reading and some animated facial expressions.

That first Sunday that changed everything - two weeks before I turned 26 - I slipped that ring with my birthstone on my finger as I left to go to the hospital.  I'm not sure what exactly drove me to find it that day.  My mom recognized it immediately when she held my hand and cried a few hours later.  I continued to wear that ring every day after that - to work, to run errands, to see my friends, to the rehab center, to the intensive care units, to his funeral.

I am 33 now, and I still wear that ring each and every day.  At times, wearing that ring has made me feel closer to him since he has been gone; at others, it has reminded me of all of the years I had packed it away into a jewelry box and didn't appreciate it.  That ring has brought me comfort and made me feel guilt.  That ring has also brought on panic attacks when I haven't been able to find it. I still have several of the pieces of jewelry that he bought me over the years, but this one holds more meaning to me at this point than all of the others combined.


In 2012, I signed up for an Ali Edwards class through Big Picture Scrapbooking, called 31 Things.  The class consisted of 31 different writing prompts.  Two years later and I'm finally making time to tackle them. The topic of "jewelry" was prompt #1.