Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
What can I give you, Baby?
Comfort and safety and shelter...
A father’s arms.
paper and string...
Beginnings and What-ifs and Somedays,
grown from the simplest things.
summer to fall...
Seasons to measure your time by,
delight in them all...
I’ll give you laughter and kindred spirits,
four-legged ones too…
And hobbies and pastimes and passions,
a thing to create…
something to do.
I want you to know the affect of all things
long after they’re gone…
After the shifting and swaying has settled
There are people who love you already,
steadfast and true...
A family whose circle is waiting,
completed by you.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
and another from My Letter to the World and Other Poems:
Friday, August 29, 2008
on top of a slug
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Anyway, all these coincidences are not really the point of this post. It's the story of this writer's and this architect's meeting that had me dumbstruck.
When she was fourteen and living in Vancouver, she placed a classified ad in the international section of a newspaper. She wrote that she was looking for a pen-pal, someone to swap letters with about books, geography and any other matter of international conversation.
Somewhere in Argentina, a 17-year-old boy was scouring the classified ads for a second-hand drafting table. He happened to notice the pen-pal seeker's ad and decided to respond.
They never met in person until nine years of letter writing had elapsed. Nine years!
Then at 26, he had business in Chicago (and if you're going to Chicago, you might as well swing by Vancouver) and their first meeting was arranged. Since then, there have been brief periods of separation; once while Michelle was cycling across Canada and he was out of touch in the jungles of Bolivia and they had to phone her father to receive updates on each other's adventures (who may as well have been carrying out a stint on the Space Station, judging by all the astonishing footnotes in this tale).
And well, you know how it all eventually ends; a proposal, a wedding, a marriage.
Theirs is a story of soulmates if there ever was one. Which makes me think of my rope ladder, but I'll save that post for another day....
Friday, August 15, 2008
Shotbolt, July 2008
I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth--
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth--
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.
What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--
If design govern in a thing so small.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I took this photo almost six years ago on the Greek island of Ios. It's not your typical travel shot, but I love it. It perfectly captures the mood of our existence in that moment. I remember we were enjoying a bit of respite from the clumsiness of navigating our way through crowds on train platforms, from faulty phone cards, from blistered feet. All five of us with nothing better to do than read, rest, write, think. It was quiet.
Danielle was in and out of a nap, Steph was stretching. I was casually wondering how I was going to get the bag of laundry back that I'd forgotten on Naxos. There was mention of when and where we'd replenish our bottled water supply. Oh and there was a cat, poor thing (was it three-legged?... or one-eyed?...), who followed us back to our dwelling on a previous outing and waited outside our door for whatever edible offerings we tossed its way.
And there was Joey, a stray dog who was adored by travellers (and therefore travellers were wholeheartedly adored back) and really should have come home with us to Canada. When we left Ios he tried to get on the ferry with us and, heartsick, we watched him nervously pacing the dock while the boat pulled away. I still have his photo pinned to the cork board next to my desk at work. I hope that he has a family now and that his stomach is full.
Another reason I love this photo is that I remember what is beyond the limits of its frame. Everytime I look at it, I also see the rest of the room and the vistas beyond it. If the shot was just a little wider, you'd see that to Roxanne's right is a door opened onto a balcony overlooking a ragged, other-worldly landscape cluttered with white-washed domes, seen in miniature from our vantage point high above the waters of the Aegean Sea. There's a little palm tree silhouetted by a hazy October sunset, and a gradation of land masses fading, fading, fading into the distance.
Some things are clearer when left to memory, floating on the fringe.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Dallas Eve, a little imp
So I never intended for this blog to become any kind of pregnancy journal, but today I'm feeling compelled to write about some thoughts I've been having related to this whole birth thing. Just a warning: what follows is a personal matter (that I am not opposed to sharing) and significantly strays from the style of my typical blog posts.
Before I became pregnant, and even throughout these first six months, I was certain that I would ask for an epidural if the pain became too much to bear, and would have no qualms in doing so. Even though I think I have a high threshold for pain, I kept reminding myself that labour pain is in a completely different league and that I, as a first timer, might be totally unprepared for it.
But then I began asking myself: Why do I have to feel unprepared for it? Just because it will be a sensation (likely an excruciating one) I've never felt before doesn't mean I have to be completely blind-sided by it. I would like to think that there are effective ways I could psychologically and physically cope with the intensity of labour without surrendering to chemical interventions. And my rational for hoping to avoid drugs isn't necessarily because I'm worried about side effects or consequentials, but more because of a growing determination I have to do it on my own (or more accurately, with a team of drug-free people by my side). Why shouldn't I be able to own the pain? Why not have to suffer a bit to bring my son or daughter into this world? So my thoughts have shifted and I am now approaching this as a true test of strength, as a challenge of focus, of teamwork, of self-control. I want to feel it. As absurd as this may sound, I actually want to enjoy the pain. Afterall, the reward will be more than worth the effort.
In the past when I'd hear of expectant mothers who were adamantly opposed to taking drugs I'd wonder why they would choose to suffer. I'm sure everyone has different reasons for hoping for a natural birth, and for me it's not that I'm trying to be some kind of a hero, but recently I've had an instinctive desire to do as nature intended and I feel very secure in it. My yoga instructor is big on existing in and appreciating the present moment (shocking, no?) and she talks about changing our perception of things that we are conditioned to view as a chore or something we would rather get over with quickly. A difficult yoga pose, for example. Our muscles are straining to hold it, we're struggling to balance, we feel pressure. And we're waiting for the yogi to relieve us of the task of holding it and move on to the next thing. Counting, breathing, waiting, waiting. But why can't we just embrace the difficulty of the position? More like counting, breathing, listening. We are fortunate just to have bodies that are functional enough to allow us to operate them in such a biomechanical way. We have sensation, we are living. Why not confront the difficulty? Why not enjoy it? And truly, at least with yoga, as soon as I switch over to that mentality, the experience is completely different and becomes spiritual.
Now, I am NOT comparing downward dog to labour! I may have already exposed my naivety regarding some aspects surrounding childbirth, but I by no means attempt to convince myself that labour will be a little uncomfortable at worst. I completely acknowledge the possibility of it becoming so intolerable that I start to panic, shake, vomit, scream. And that, dear friends, will be the weakest link, if it comes to it. It will be in that moment when I will beg for pain medicaton. I have experienced significant physical pain before and it's when panic sets in that I lose both my control and my focus. But it's no secret that breathing helps. When I have a migraine, or when I'm at the height of anxiety during take-off on an airplane, I rely on my breathe and turn my focus inward.
But essentially, it's that breaking point that I know I will need help with if my wish is to not surrender to it. I have total faith that Scott will be supportive and wonderful, but I know it can be a challenging and exhausting experience for partners too. So after some thinking and discussing, we have decided to interview a doula, or labour coach. Using a doula statistically (and I like statistics) lowers the instances of Caesarean births, requests for chemical interventions, the likelihood of a long labour, and improves the active participation of the partner. Not to mention, I think I'll really need another woman there, someone who is very familiar with childbirth and can give me a play-by-play of what's going on. I want to know the mechanics of what's happening in my body. The more I can visualize, the more in control I know I will feel, even if unforeseeable events occur that are totally beyond my control.
And additionally, the more I educate myself and the more support I have, the less I fear and the stronger my confidence.
This has been more of a stream-of-consciousness journal entry than anything, a way for me to articulate in writing the crux of my resolve....so I don't expect many of you to have made it to the end of this post, but if you have, thank you for sticking with me.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
1) A lovely orange garden rose from Laurel. It smells like how summer should be and makes brushing my teeth in the morning that much more lively.
2) A recent acquisition found by my sister-in-law, Danielle, at Paradise Boutique in Victoria. We were on the hunt for just such a ring.
3) It needs a good pressing, but this is the fabric sample I ordered from Spoonflower. Recognize the deer? I'm satisfied with the results, although I think I'd be better off sticking with simple line-drawn designs, solid colours, and vector graphics. I'm not sure their printing system is sophisticated enough to produce sharp images of rendered drawings. But these little fawns will do for now and will certainly make a sweet throw pillow.
*an update on the quilt:
Quilting has been put on hold due to the fact that we are in the process of moving and everything is packed up, making crafting of all kinds slightly inconvenient. Or rather it's the moving and the packing that's the inconvenient part. That, and I've started a knitting project which is much easier to work on than a quilt while teetering atop a stack of boxes, watching Scott work his magic with a tape gun.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Once again, I find myself packing a suitcase.
Friday, June 20, 2008
This is one way to get me to pick up a book on English language usage....illustrate it! The Elements of Style Illustrated (Penguin Press, 2005) is the third edition of the 1959 classic by William Strunk Jr., later revised by E.B. White. Maira Kalman's whimsical watercolour illustrations visually complement a sampling of gramatical examples and often incorporate a subtle wit. One of my favourite pages is an illustration of a mid-century Mies van der Rohe-inspired living space that accompanies the idiom People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
In other news, I am incredibly excited about an invitation I received last night! I am the newest member of Spoonflower. I had to request an invitation from their website and after a short waiting period they sent me an account confirmation which means I am now able to upload my own designs to be printed on a bolt of fabric. I've ordered a sample with my deer illustration (from a few posts back) on it and I'll let you know how it turns out when I receive the finished product in a few weeks. Maybe the next quilt I make will utilize fabric of my own design!
In other other news, I was lying on the couch last night paying attention to all the wiggling going on inside. I lifted up my shirt a bit to expose my bare skin and, poke! I actually saw something moving in there! Someone is using the inside of my belly as a punching bag. Who are you anyway, little one?
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I just loved neatly stacked fabric, don't you?
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I am a clothes sorter. I am a re-folder. I am an organize-my-closet-by-garment-colour-when-the-mood-strikes-me kind of gal. I banish spring clothes to storage in the fall, and fall clothes to storage in the spring. I like this kind of system. It keeps me calm, if not obsessive compulsive.
But packing is my wardrobial tragic flaw. Shoes especially. I usually take with me more pairs of shoes than days I am away. Add two different climates to the formula (a heat wave in Toronto and the perpetual winter of '08 on the West Coast) and I've really got a calculus problem to solve. Find: the derivative of white shorts raised to the power of two heels, multiplied by a maternity top, all divided by rain. I stand. I stare. Flies fluzz by. Chestnuts roast on an open fire.
And inevitably, the morning of my departure is an exercise in haphazardly adding last minute items to my suitcase (and purging four-legged stowaways). Boots. toothpaste. pjs. Shit! pjs!!!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Saturday night. June in Victoria (read: cold and windy). Fisherman's Wharf for dinner; shared outdoor benches, malt vinegar, bobbing houseboats and the sun low in the sky. Backlit silhouettes lined up to order and seagulls scavenging scraps from discarded baskets.
Earlier that day: a painting gone wrong. unexpected visitors. goose-bumpy legs. and a nectarine overdose.