Showing posts from 2019

Boundaries, Again

I love these people. I love cooking for these people and buying gifts for them. I am not good with staying in the guidelines, I guess. I cooked too much and bought too many presents and was scolded for messing with the rules. But it was a pleasure to do so and I wondered if that pleasure came at the expense of my ability to set and follow boundaries. I am sure I know that answer to that. Its a fine line to walk, especially when it comes to happy things, vs. difficult ones.

Christmas came, it came just the same

It came without ribbons and bows; Christmas came, just the same. Opting for no wrapping paper this year was a success. Yeah, it didn't looks as beautiful under the tree but the surprise factor was still there and no one really missed any of the bling factor anyway.

What was missed for me was the excitement of the day--life seems to have compressed into a giant pile of MEH. There just seemed to be something missing and no matter how well I had prepped for the day, I kept thinking there was something I was supposed to do or have or...


Christmas miracles

There is nothing as satisfying as laughter. It has been a long year with emotions stuck far beneath a pile of anxiety and doubt. But when we entered the store with questionable English translations, it was suddenly as though the gate in me lifted and laughter was everywhere. 
And that was a Christmas miracle.

Silver and Gold

Way back when parenthood was new to me, I joined an online forum called Linking Parents. It was a mishmash of conversations and inside jokes, of weird acronyms for our dd's and ds's (dear/damn daughters/sons) but most of all it was a place to avoid feeling alone in the world. There were moments of triumph and moments of devastation as we celebrated and mourned life coming and going. I made many treasured relationships but none more than HerMama. 
Online, people can have varied interests and tones, you never knew whether their opinions were truly theirs or just made up to fit the group, etc. But HerMama, as different as her journey was from mine, always had things to say that were in line with the things I wanted to listen to. Years later when the forums fell apart and people drifted to Facebook as a method for connection, I was lucky enough to hang onto some of those relationships--especially with HerMama, who no longer had to hide her personna behind a username. 
Now, a deca…

The Coming of Yule

In seven days it’s supposed to be the shortest day of the year, except it is today, due to a weird tilt of the Earth and each day after will get progressively brighter. This is meant to feel optimistic and enthusiastic but it means there is a week when it will be the darkest and the transition towards Yule will set us on a path of regeneration, renewal and self-reflection.
In considering these, the path forward for me is so dark and shrouded, despite a year of intensive therapy pointing out ways to regenerate through boundary setting, identification of emotional states, renewing oneself through self-care, and maintaining reflective and practices in gratitude and self-awareness. It has been a year of steep learning curves and tough choices.
And, yet, it still feels like a wilderness. Brené Brown describes the wilderness as “an unarmed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching. It is a place as dangerous as it is breathtaking, a place as sought after as it is feared. But it turns out…

“Hello, darkness, I’m ready to succumb"

“You are lost, hope is gone, but you must go on and do the next right thing" (Frozen II spoilers below, maybe)
. . . . . There are more moments than I want to admit where I sit in a state of inertia; it isn't as dramatic as Anna, literally sitting in a dark cave, but it is. Because no matter how cliche depression sounds, the analogy of sitting (slumped with grief and pain) in a cave of darkness, is pretty damn accurate. And it is heartening to see a Hollywood animated movie creating space for a character to explore her loss, even momentarily, is a breath of fresh air. The acknowledgement that the future is simply too much to even conceive of and that the darkness is waiting for one to succumb, is a vast net of importance; some days there is only the now, only the next step, the next breath, the nextright thing.
And who is to say which choice is the right one? The imperative of "must go on" loops us back to society's bootstraps but even in that moment, the relief of that…

Lost and Found

It feels like I have run out of the ability to do so many things; I tried to knit but my hands were fatigued quickly, I tried to sew but had forgotten what tensions to use, how to put patterns together; I tried to paint but found myself unable to discern the line of enough and too much pressure on the paintbrush, in the paint, how to compose art on the page; I tried writing but found the words stilted and locked up.
It is a frustrating decline for a creative person, to feel unable to create. 
But reading gets me through. I am so grateful that my ability to focus on a storyline and character development has come back and that I can lose myself in worlds beyond once again. I am glad that we re-designated space in our home for my library to grow--a place where time can lapse, as in Narnia, and I can escape my current worries and angst.
I may be unable to create for now but I can enjoy the creation of worlds beyond this one, at least for a moment, and I can hope that things lost can stil…

Over the Rainbow Bridge

Early Saturday morning, our old lady kitty passed over the rainbow bridge.  18.5 years is a ripe old age for a cat but we will miss her forever.
For most of my children, Misty had been a constant presence in their lives--having moved to four different houses in two different cities over time. She was a quieter cat, not a loud talker or always up in peoples' faces or business. She didn't knock down the Christmas tree or push things off shelves. 
She enjoyed eating--earning herself the name "Chubalicious"--until she couldn't and caught all sorts of gifts for us--mice, mostly dead but occasionally alive, but one time a bird (also alive). And, very politely, she would lay her dead gifts at the door but bring the live ones in to play. 
Misty was willing, if not happy, to endure dress up and endless games of house and to take in all the adoration and loving of four children and more. We love you and miss you, Misty.

Therapy: a metaphor in three parts

Therapy: a metaphor in three parts

Therapy has been so pivotal to really understanding my inner landscape, the dark corners I do not discuss. My psychiatrist observed that being in active therapy really softens the high walls around me and helps to modulate my defences so that the emotions and thoughts I have are actually accessible and not simply shoved down.

But being vulnerable also raises all the issues I have been ignoring. The steady creep of somatic symptoms have frightened me but they remind me that shoving the issues down haven’t made them go away or even made them easier to deal with. Instead they wind around each other, a ball of tension and grief.

And what tensions, my psychologist asks, exist to keep that ball formed and what might happen if it was taken apart? She asks in a way that is gentle but persistent and I pause to consider the idea of seeing those tensions unformed, individual and, dare I say, manageable? If each elastic tension that pulls me in all directions a…

This Ombré and Glittery World

The morning skies this week have been nothing short of spectacular—ombré tints of blues fading to pinks have a way of sharpening ones senses and cause one to cast their eyes skyward, looking up, searching for beauty deeper and more fulsome than mornings usually seem to be.

The recent snow flurries have caked the world in a blanket of sugar frosting and glittery gleams. Everywhere there is beauty and, perhaps, seeing it helps one to embrace it within themselves.

The last therapy session I had focused on emotional regulation, something that I struggle with on an ongoing basis. How to avoid falling into a trap of excited or depressed emotional loads and instead, focusing on the moment and grounding myself in the here and the now.

New Meds, Who Dis?

I can't pinpoint the moment of awareness that I don't feel anything. I guess it is more like a momentary lapse of emotion that draws my attention to the fact that feelinganythingis unusual. Did I just laugh? How? (not why) Am I frustrated, upset, angry? Where does all that energy come from? And, more importantly, where has it gone now? 

People who arent privy to mental illness, in themselves or others, might not understand what this derth is like. I think the closest description is the vast emptiness of space, squeezed into your torso. Bleakness, an endless void deadening the chaos of living.

And in this state, it is easy to skate by. It really is. People don't notice nearly as often that I have shut down--the blankness of my facial features, the curtness of my replies, the lack of social graces, the petering out of small talk. There is no excitement, but also there are no outbursts--no random explosions of rage, no endless jags of crying, no unexplanable hysteria. People…

Giddiness and Laughter

The snow, large flakes of fluff, fell a few days ago. A few days of “ripening” on the field, on the hillside. The sound of my snowpants and boots crunch through the fragile snow shelf and is so satisfying that the trudging up the hill seems fun rather than arduous. 
We arrive topside, the wind having smoothed out any traces of other sledders. Ahh, where is the best place?! The smoothest? The fastest? Closer to the ramp which might catapult one up and over? Or a safer bet to start while nerves were steeled up?
Over and over we shoot down and laugh, tumbling headlong into the field below. Negotiating sleds—this one more comfortable, that one more speedy, but both of them filled with giddiness and laughter. Both of us too.

California: A review in pictures


A Thousand Days of Trauma

I am scolded for letting three years lapse between visits. A thousand days of secret trauma lurking behind all that I saw. And now, frightening words like Glaucoma, possible blindness, surgery, incurable. Overdramatic, and true.
It is one more damn thing on this plate, heaped with worry.

Climate Strike

It is an honour to join Greta Thunberg in her climate strike. It is a drop in an ocean of uncaring and fear. Still, walking forward counts for something.

Tangled Skeins

I buy skeins of lovely potential. I dont know what to do with it but I feel like it cant be that hard to figure out, After all, craftiness is within me, right?
I untwist the pinkness, a flush of pleasure at the choice of femininity and delicateness, nut it immediately lapses. Too quickly, losing its structure and falling into a heap of yarn, incapable of turning into anything except this tangled mess laying before me.
I cry out and push against it, a hand and a foot, catching the roundness of the turn. But it is too late, the tangle is within it now and unravelling is a chore for another day. Another person, perhaps. I am defeated by my pride.
A metaphor.

When Childhood Wasn't

We came to the mountains every year, in my childhood. I don't know anything more than that.  Childhood holidays were fraught affairs of rushing from place to place and wondering what we were "supposed" to do next. Each moment was accounted for and options were chosen for us.
So the recapture, then, of childhood feelings of wonder, of slow curiosities, of picking up rocks and throwing them into streams for the pure pleasure of watching them soar up, crash down. These are the moments I have now as I try to reparent my own childhood. 

A Grounding Exercise

5 Things to Touch The hardness of the rock upon which I sitThe coldness that permeates through my jacketThe coziness of my toque on my headThe sharpness of the snow melting in my handThe flush of my cheeks, burning 4 Things to Hear The lap of the clear mountain water as it hits the rocksThe cries of delight from the surrounding touristsThe whistling freshness of the wild mountain wind in my earsThe choked cry that strangles in my throat 3 Things to See The crystal clearness of the lakeThe snow-capped mountains, white.The steadiness of the green trees ringing the shores. 2 Things to Taste The warm pizza bunThe soft saltiness of tears 1 Thing to Smell Nature, in all her glory, on this Thanksgiving weekend.

The Dragon Within

The firetable was a delight, of course. The notion of sitting outside on the deck in the midst of wintery wind was made possible by this, the warding off of the cold. But, while the others crowded round the striped cushions and sat mesmerized by the flicker, I stood, aloof.
What held me there? Why couldnt the flames warm the coldness in my soul?
I see the flames create a dragon, a reprimand to me, THIS is what is inside you! YOU are this fierce creature who does not cower at adversity! 
But, I walk back into the chalet, unconvinced.

A Blaze of Glory

The air has a crispness right now that reminds me the year is running short. I consider what this means to the leaf which has fallen, a reminder of the mortality of nature, and yet so resplendent before dying--the final bow, as it were,
Would I go down in a blaze of glory? No, I dont think I would. But I dont know what stops me.

September Musings--The Road of Metanoia

September 30-2019
The school year is underway and my role in it has shifted. It is frightening to think about the permanence of illness, of weakness, of changes of heart. But the truth is, I am not the same person I was and this journey of changing my mindset to understand, to accept, nay to embrace this change is underway as well,.
Part of this acceptance lies in the daily undoing of expectation. That things once were is not an option because of pain and fog and hurt,
Most of all, I feel the depth of my hurt as this catalyst for knowing that the old skin I was in, the one that felt too tight, too loose, too itchy, too unsuitable...shedding that skin is a process in which I reject the reluctant acceptance of the way things were.


I slip on my shoes and wonder what I am doing here at the gym, having missed my cardio class. My trainer is confused since I had texted saying that I wouldn’t make it. But when I sent that text I was eating eggs and thinking about losing a promise I had made myself to be more consistent about going to the gym. So I came anyway.
They say the hardest thing at the gym is just to get in the door and I guess that is a big part of it.  Until I sit on the spin bike. Then I change my mind. I could get to the gym but could I really do this thing? On this hard seat? And pedalling? But I try it and want to give up right away. I mean, spin bikes aren’t for everyone, right? I could do something else, anything else.

But I watch the speedometer climb—30,40, 50, 55. The music is going and I watch my feet as they work, I smooth my hand on my thighs, the muscles contracting and relaxing in turn. And, as I work, I forget about my discomfort, I forget to watch the seconds tick by, I forget to feel anxio…

Thus, we begin

“The word racconto, with its Latin root, is etymologically connected to the English “recount”: a telling again. A racconto aims to communicate a story, personally and purposefully, to a listener...
racconto is something born from intuizione, intuition.”

Thus, we begin. A place to tell a story—vignettes, really—intuitively embedded in the world of YEG.