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In a Year

15 Jun

Some people have told me not to put so much stock or value in the dates.  After all, they’re just numbers and why should I let these numbers have control over me?

Well…  I’m not sure what to say to that except…  Numbers and dates are important to me.  They don’t control my life but I’ve always enjoyed the passing of time marked by numbers and I’ve always enjoyed assigning significance to certain days.  

Such as today.

June 15th, 2017.  Mine and my husband’s 14th anniversary of being together.

Except not.

It would have been, but it’s also the one year anniversary of the end of our marriage.

It’s hard not to be sad on this day.  Last year I was so happy.  Thirteen years together and ten years married.  

We celebrated our anniversary with dinner and a movie.  

I was confident that the troubles in our marriage were secondary compared to our foundation of love.  I was still in love and really looking forward to making plans for the future.  We had been through so much together and we could undoubtedly get through a lot more.  

And now it’s been a year since my heart was broken.

A year isn’t enough time to get over some things.

Granted, I’m not in love with my ex-husband anymore.  That died pretty quick after the final death knell rang.

I’m also extremely happy with my current domestic situation: beautiful house, my three sons, and a man that loves me and appreciates  me and wants me.

If you know who you are, and you love yourself (check and check), a year is enough time to move on with acceptance and an open heart.  But no, it’s not enough time to let go of the hurt and anger.  Maybe next year.

So what have I learned in this past year?

Well, I’m still awesome.  Obvious understatement, right?  But I’ve been pretty surprised with how many people have told me how brightly my candle is burning this year.  Apparently I was hiding under a bushel without an identify of my own?  I don’t know if I agree with that assessment, but dozens of people have told me it’s like I just opened up and radiated happiness and positivity after my divorce.  Wow!  I’m both encouraged and surprised!

What else….

Maybe don’t get married at age 22. 

Do counselling before marriage to see if you’re both on the same page.  One of you might be confident whereas the other might be unsure.

Communicate with your spouse about everything.  As I’ve said before, I used to be cocky.  I considered my marriage to be superior to others.  After all, we talked about everything and everything.  We talked all the time.  Or I thought we did.

Never say never.  Up until last year I said I’d never get divorced.  I wasn’t lying to myself; I believed it with every ounce of my soul.  I’ll never say never again.  Anything can happen.

Some friends will desert you in times of life transition.  It happens.  Try not to be consumed by that and focus instead on the people who are still there.  Oh there were some amazing shows of support for me last summer, from some wonderful people.

Because some new friends will find you during transition as well, and they will become the best friends you’ve ever had.  Like brothers and sisters really.  Despite losing a great love, this past year has been more full of love than I thought would be possible.

That’s enough rambling for now.  It’s time to click off and get out of the city.  

I’m thrilled to be taking a special long weekend getaway with my amazing boyfriend.  New memories will be made on this strange weekend full of anniversaries and memories.

It’s Time to Move On

By Tom Petty

It’s time to move on, time to get going

What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing

But under my feet, baby, grass is growing

It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going

*

Broken skyline, movin’ through the airport

She’s an honest defector

Conscientious objector

Now her own protector

*

Broken skyline, which way to love land
Which way to something better

Which way to forgiveness

Which way do I go

*

Sometime later, getting the words wrong

Wasting the meaning and losing the rhyme

Nauseous adrenalin

Like breakin’ up a dogfight

Like a deer in the headlights

Frozen in real time

I’m losing my mind

*

It’s time to move on, time to get going

What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing

But under my feet, baby, grass is growing

It’s time to move on, it’s time to get going

****

Been working non-stop on my side project (which is more like the main project now): People of Port Arthur by Eating Dirt.

Been working equally hard on my new art endeavour: Pop Art Prints by Eating Dirt.

There she is, one year post divorce. Self portrait.




2016 in review

1 Jan

Summing up the year in pictures.  

Starting in December and traveling back in time to January 2016.

So many lovely friends:

Christmas with the triple Rs: 

Ashley:

A non-Christmas party success by three fun hosts:

A fun photo shoot:

A tattoo:

Got back into drawing and art:

Halloween fun:

A new blogging venture:

A therapeutic photo-shoot:

A tattoo:

New steps for my new abode:

A fun day at the amethyst mine:

August in Alberta:

Exploring my new neighbourhood:

My birthday with my boys:

Moving day:

Ashley:

Last day of school:

Last photo taken as a family of five:

 

A little boy turns one:

May in Alberta:

Speaking on a panel for online authors:

Meeting Lynn Johnston:

The big boys start learning the fun of interacting with a growing baby brother:


It was fun going through a year’s worth of pictures, but very difficult to be concise.  I’m never concise.

Looking through the pictures, it’s clear 2016 was a big one.  There was lots of change.  

The pictures don’t really show the heartbreak and sadness, but they do show the happiness.  

One special picture I’d like to share sums up the last quarter of my year is this: 


Love finds you when you’re not looking for it and when you’re definitely not expecting it. 

What a high note upon which to end this strange year.  

I have good feelings about 2017.  

Bring it on.

Cleansing by Fire

18 Nov

It’s snowing right now.  

The first snow of the year.  

A lot of people detest the arrival of winter precipitation but there is something innately beautiful about a fresh and pure blanket covering up the dirty streets and sidewalks.  

That first snow covers a multitude of sins.

Having said that, snow doesn’t have permanence.  It will eventually melt and everything underneath will once again be on display.

Fire though.  

Fire is permanent.

I was watching the snow cover the streets and thought it might be an appropriate time to share my experience with the permanence of fire.

A cleansing of fire, with fire, and through fire.

When I realized, without a doubt, that my marriage was over, my immediate reaction was, “I need to drop this last name.  I’m not that person anymore.  That part of my life is over.  I need a new name and I need do something drastic to commemorate my new identity: my reinvention, if you will.”

I thought, I’m going to burn something; I’m going to destroy something!  Natural conclusion to this line of thinking: I’m going to burn my wedding dress!

In all honesty, many people weren’t thrilled with this idea.  It was thought to be too extreme and in poor taste.  The puzzled reactions furthered my resolve to do something loud and destructive.

I approached my friend Scott, of Scott Hobbs Photography, with my vision and we set to work.  We recruited our makeup artist friend Scotia, of Sweet Cherry Spa.  We drove into the bush one Saturday afternoon and didn’t come out until things were done properly.

Makeup and hair by Scotia


***

Photography by Scott


***

Behind the scenes:


***

The Journey:










*

Oh, and we had guns.  

Because, why not?


Mission accomplished.

I am Kali, the dark one: the goddess of destruction.  I come in vengeance and fire; I destroy.  I am carnage embodied.

I am Kali, the beautiful one: the goddess of renewal and rebirth.  From the ashes of my mayhem comes something new and wonderful.

Thank you Scott and Scotia for helping me on this step of my healing and transitioning.

I was broken.  

I’m whole again.

So much love and light to you, my dear friends.

Thirty Three

11 Aug

A week ago I turned 33 years old.  I haven’t decided yet if I’ll stop aging now…

I’m very thankful to Jason for helping make my birthday even better than it was last year.

Obviously I have some mixed feelings.  I never thought I’d be approaching my mid-thirties in the position of reinvention and transition due to an ending marriage.  

It was always my hope and expectation that I’d be forever celebrating my milestones with Jason, who has been the most important person in my life for over a decade.  

Jason is still important and he will always be around when I celebrate something special.  He just won’t be with me.  Sometimes, when I think about that, I feel happy.  Sometimes I feel very sad; sometimes I feel indifferent.

But Jason knows that birthdays are important to me and he helped make it special and then stayed out of the way while I had a big birthday party/housewarming party for myself. 

I’m thankful that we will always be family; we will always love each other.  

I’m thankful that I have these three special dudes in my life who made it easier to wake up older (and wiser) on August 4th: 

And cupcakes!  I’m thankful for cupcakes! 


Even though material possessions aren’t everything, I’m still thankful for birthday presents! 
And now I have a house that is big enough for large social gatherings and I’m pretty excited and thankful for that! 

And oh my beautiful ladies!  I’m so thankful for the love and support and friendship through so many stages and changes!Thank you Tara for taking pictures with a fancy camera!

And more presents! 

The generosity of my friends will continually blow me away!  

And a car!  I’m thankful for a new vehicle that will transport all the children with no space issues! 

And debt free!  The money for the house came in and all our debts were paid.  To start again at zero is liberating and thrilling.  

I may not have what I thought I’d have (at this time last year), but I’m very blessed and full of hope.  

My mind and my heart are open and ready.  Do your best, thirty-three, bring it on!

Home

8 Jul

On June 28th, we put the house up for sale.  

There was one showing on July 1st and another on July 2nd.  

On July 3rd, we accepted an offer and on July 4th a home inspector came.  On July 5th, we agreed to a lower price (because let’s face it, this place needs work), and on July 6th, we signed all the papers which officially sealed the deal!

We sold the house; it’s done done done!  

We’ve been slowly taking boxes and furniture over to my new place since July 1st and July 16th will be our actual moving day!

The new place is a disaster with half unpacked boxes all over the place, but it’s starting to take shape.  I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff over the past month and I can see that I’ll need to get rid of even more.

Moving from one house to another is an amazing opportunity to purge unnecessary baggage from your life, both literally and figuratively.

When we bought this place six years ago, I thought it was going to be our forever home.  It was exciting at first, but it slowly became a burden.  We couldn’t afford to do renovations and repairs and as our family grew, the walls started closing in on us.  

I kept telling myself I was happy because of the great neighbourhood and the fabulous fenced in yard.  But after awhile, even the good things couldn’t compete with the bad.  

For Jason, I think, the unsaid burden of owning this house mirrored the burden of being unhappy in marriage.  In both cases, it’s difficult to say when the bad began to outweigh the good.  I was preoccupied with trying to keep the home livable amidst the chaos of three young children.  I was exhausted yet content and I failed to see that Jason was unhappy.  I believed the kids would get older, we’d alleviate stress, and continue living and loving even better than before. 

But it was too late.  

Now the house is sold and the marriage is over.  I couldn’t save either.

Next week, I’ll be unpacking boxes in my new home.  Soon, I’ll think back on our time in this current house with fondness, despite knowing it had problems and wasn’t meant to be our forever home.  

And one day, in time, I’ll look back on my relationship with Jason as a wonderful and necessary stepping stone in my journey.  I’ll always treasure the amazing memories we made and I’ll always love him as the father of my babies.  The very first time I put my arms around him, I felt like I was home.  He will always be in my life because of our kids, but maybe….

Maybe, like this house, he was never meant to be my forever home.

Nothing says ‘mother love’ like a pink bra

8 May

This morning I went searching for gifts that my older boys had hidden in their bedrooms.  We played the most ridiculous game of hot/cold ever and the first present I fond seemed more appropriate for Valentine’s Day….  

Jason snapped a picture of me with the special present that R2 picked out.  I couldn’t stop laughing and he didn’t understand why I found it so funny…

I asked R2 how he knew what size to get.  He said the salesclerk had a wheel in the store and he spun the wheel and it landed on “mommy size” and that’s how they got the right size.  

Jason says the wheel was actually for discounts and this bra ended up being 40% off.  I’m definitely ok with that kind of bargain!

If you look on the top right corner of this card R2 made for me in class, you can see he’s been thinking of the perfect Mother’s Day gift for quite awhile.  Yes…top underwear. 


But it wasn’t all pink and shiny top underwear!  As usual, my guys are pretty good at surprising me with fun little trinkets, hand made and store bought.

We went out for lunch and now we are just relaxing.  It’s been a nice day.

What would I be doing if I had never had children?  What kind of person would I be?

That’s an unanswerable question because close to eight years ago I started my motherhood journey and it’s a journey with no ending. 

A wonderful and horrible shit-show of beauty and chaos.

I love these boys so much!

A Prayer for My Sons on International Women’s Day

8 Mar

I always wanted daughters, but I was given sons.  Well, I wanted sons and daughters, but I always wanted at least one daughter.  

I think we are given the children we’re supposed to have because the universe has a plan.  I believe Jason and I were meant to have these boys because we are good parents and the world needs more decent and compassionate men. 

To my three sons

You’ve been born into a position of privilege

You have pale skin and light hair and an XY chromosome.

We’ve never gone hungry and we’ve always had shelter.

We are privileged and wealthier than most people on the planet.

I love you all so much,

but I also have worries.

Every day and every night 

I breathe out prayers to the creator:

prayers for your souls and prayers for your futures.

As parents to sons, we’ve been given a huge responsibility.

We pray for all the regular things: 

that you’ll grow up strong and healthy.

That you’ll grow up to find love,

to find happiness, 

and to find peace.

But we also want you to live consciously as an ally,

to women

to the disabled

to people of colour

to the entire spectrum of sexuality and gender

to all the disenfranchised.

We want to you to have pride and self love, 

but we have high hopes that you’ll use your position of privilege to dismantle.

Please use your voice to offer support, but don’t take over the conversation.

Use your ears to listen and offer help, but let the marginalized lead the way.

Use your voice to build people up and never let words like “faggot” and “pussy” and “retarded” and “gimpy” be used to tear people down.

Use your voice to offer kind words of respect and love, but let not harassment and cat calls cross your lips.

Use your voice to ask for consent and understand that no means no.

I pray that you will all continue to grow and understand 

that it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to show emotion and it’s ok to be friends with girls.

I pray that you’ll always remember that colours and toys and tools and vehicles do not belong to a specific gender.  

There’s no such thing as “boys will be boys” and there no such thing as “be a man!”

There’s no such thing as sugar and spice and there’s no such thing as snakes and snails.

Both boys and girls can grow up to take on the world.

Both boys and girls can grow up to be themselves.  If we let them.

I pray that you will all grow up to be beautiful individuals 

full of respect for all the daughters out there

and the sons.

To all women everywhere

we are raising our boys to be part of the solution.

My three beautiful sons…