Monday, January 31, 2011

How We See Ourselves

Keegan, myself and Quinn

First, gather the supplies (paper and oil pastels).  Second, gather the troops -- two little boys who like to do crafts but it has got to be the right project.  So our project for the day was to draw self-portraits.

I enjoyed seeing how our image of ourselves manifested itself on each piece of paper.  Keegan didn't veer far from reality, even to the green shirt he was wearing.  Quinn is not blonde but he thinks he is.  He does have much lighter brown hair than Keegan and I.  I may have once compared his hair to his father's who had blonde hair when he was just a little guy.  Hence, he always draws himself with blonde hair.  Pretty cute.  I think I stayed true except for one thing.  Do you see that light dusting of freckles on my nose?  I may actually have more freckles than that.  In fact, as I was adding the freckles, Quinnie said, "Don't forget the freckles on your neck, Mommy."  I chose to include just a few across the bridge of my nose.

Inspiration found here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Strange Sensation

In the car this morning, I experienced the strangest sensation.  It felt as though I had forgotten to wear pants.  A quick glance down assured me that I was wearing pants and still am, by the way.   Regardless, I could not seem to shake the feeling that I had forgotten my pants.  So strange.  Kind of weird too.  I often feel like I`ve forgotten something but don`t know what.  This time it was very clear what I thought I had forgotten but hadn`t.  Some time on my yoga mat seemed to help.

``Don`t create a problem.``  -- Steve, yoga instructor.

I`ll end with a picture of Toby just because he is one handsome cat.  And he has no choice.  He can`t forget his pants.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snails on the Brain

This morning I woke up thinking of snails.  I'm not sure why.  I certainly haven't seen a snail in ages.  But there you have it.  Snails.  So perhaps when I should have been getting Keegan's lunch ready, I was drawing snails. I do take partial responsibility for those mornings when we miss the bell.  It all comes down to my inability to focus on what needs to be done and instead do what I want to do.

Since I believe snails are hermaphrodites, I'm not trying to make any point about male/female priorities in a relationship.  I just thought it would be cute.  If I'm wrong about the hermaphroditic snails, please don't tell my invertebrate zoology lab instructor.  The man still scares me as much as I admire him.

Wishing everyone a small moment during the day in which to do what you want to do.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Daytime Book

When I was younger, I would often read more than one book at the same time.  In university, it was essential.  But when the boys came along, my reading time was drastically cut.  As a result, I find that trying to read more than one book at a time just doesn't work for me.  I need to stay focused.  That really should be my mantra.  I was not aware of having a focus issue until one evening a couple of months ago when I was doing the dishes while Mike was helping Keegan with his homework. As with most things in day to day life that he doesn't really want to be doing, Keegan often has trouble focusing on one thing at a time.  All we can do is help him realize how quickly things get done when you focus your attention.    As we were discussing this, I rip off the rubber gloves and exclaim, "That reminds me of something."  Five minutes later Mike finds me in the living room reading a magazine and mutters, "I can't imagine where he gets it from."  Huh?  What?  Oh yeah.  Lightbulb flashes.  Since this epiphany, I have noticed this beahviour more than once during my days.  In fact, I am subjecting you to one of those moments right now.  Focus, Tara.  Focus.

Anyways, back to books.  One book at a time for me except under special circumstances of which there are two.  The first:  my fiction-loving-self decides to read a non-fiction book.  Regardless how good that non-fiction book may be, I have to have a novel going at the same time.  Just the way it is.  The second circumstance: my scaredy-cat-self decides to read a scary book.

When this happens, I have what I call my daytime book and my nighttime book.  You guessed it.  The daytime book would be the scary book, in this case, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's book The Fall.  It is the second book in a vampire trilogy and these are not Twilight vampires, people.  These are the vampires of nightmares.  I can't read this book before bed.  Heck, when I was reading the first book last spring, I remember sneaking out to the backyard for some alone time reading and then running right back inside a few minutes later because I didn't want to be alone.  That's how my mind works sometimes.  It doesn't matter how curious I am about the fate of our vampire-fighting heroes, when the night falls, I'll be snuggling up with Diana Gabaldon's The Outlander.

I decided the vampire book needed a little brightening up so I made a bookmark for it.  It has absolutely nothing at all to do with vampires.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Sammie would like to congratulate Anushka!  I'll be contacting you soon, Anushka, and the mittens will be on their way to you soon.  I would like to thank everyone who entered my giveaway.  I appreciated each comment thank you for your extremely kind words.  It was also ridiculously fun and hope to host another giveaway in the future.

Happy weekending, everyone!

Sammie the Sock Monster was knit from a pattern designed by Rebecca Danger.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

All About Him

I had originally planned a very different post, a post, well, pretty much about me.  I don't mean to sound vain but it is my blog.  (Wow.  That really does sound vain but that is not at all how I mean it.  I mean, I could talk about Mike but I've been given strict orders not to do so.)  But when I woke up this morning, the sun was glinting off a little fresh covering of snow and I knew that I was going to make this day all about him.  

See, Keegan has not been well since the weekend -- low grade fever, sore throat, lethargic and no appetite.  His last four days have been spent moving from his bed to our bed to the couch and then back to bed.  Our home has been much quieter but not in a good way, you know.  The days have tended to be all about him, but also not in a good way.  So yesterday I brought him to the walk-in clinic and he has tonsilitis.  Just hours after starting antibiotics, he was feeling better.  Today, even more so.  And for someone who dislikes artificial flavours oh-so-very-much, he has taken his medication (cherry-flavoured) like a trooper which tells me how yucky he was feeling.  We kept him home from school for one more day of rest and I took advantage to make this a day all about him but in a good way.

After a breakfast popsicle, I bundled him up and we headed to the bookstore.  A new book and a cupcake is a pretty good start to the day.  We watched a movie, we played some video games and we played Lego.  And for a spatially-challenged person such as myself, Lego was a bit of a struggle but I did it for him.  And for supper tonight?  Spaghetti and meatballs, as requested for his first meal in four days.  You know I love you when I voluntarily stick my hands in raw meat and eggs -- a good barometer for relationships.

With Keegan in school full time now, days like today, when it is just the two of us, are rare.  I'm glad I took advantage of it.

Another reminder about the giveaway which closes tomorrow at 8 a.m. Just leave a comment with this post (the last post).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pass the Bread, Please

Life is full of entrees.
Don't fill up on the bread.
 A local bistro has this on their outdoor sign.  The first few times I passed by I thought, "I know.  Grab the bull by the horn.  Don't say 'no' to opportunities.  Go skydiving."  Yada, yada, yada.  Then the last time I drove by, I thought, "But I like bread."  Toast, sandwiches, french toast.  With butter, jam, peanut butter.  Fried, baked.  I like bread. A lot.

And then I started thinking that I also like the bread of every day life.  A good book.  Coffee and conversation with a friend.  Watching the boys play.  Listening to my oldest sing as only a 6 year old can.  Spending the afternoon with my mom, chatting and watching curling.  (Yes, curling.  We are Canadian.)  Knitting in the evening while watching . . . Wait.  Should I admit this?  Maybe I shouldn't.  If I said a documentary would you believe me?  Okay, The Bachelor.  There.  Darn this honesty thing.

So, yes, I like bread.  I also like risotto.  And curry.  A good pot of soup.  Did I mention dessert?  But rarely does a day go by that I don't have bread.  So pass the bread please.

The giveaway is still open. Just leave a comment with this post (the last post).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Little Thank You

I have never regretted my decision to stay home with the boys.  It was a decision we made together, knowing that there would be materialistic sacrifices to be made for a few years.  "Sacrifices" is actually too strong word to use because it hasn't been painful and I don't feel that I'm missing out on anything.  Having said that, about a year and a half ago, I decided to open a little shop of my hand knit items.  I love my role as a mother but I needed to carve out a little corner that was just for me.  Again, another decision I have not regretted.  Supportive family and friends has certainly helped.

But to have a blog?  That is something I never thought I would do.  I have enjoyed reading others' blogs for several years, a bit of a lurker, really.  For someone who does not like to draw attention to herself, writing a blog seemed like standing up in a crowded room and yelling, "Look at me!  Over here!"  Then I made another decision last summer to start a blog to help promote my Etsy shop.  That's what I said.  In actuality, I think I just wanted a different kind of creative outlet.  So in September, I stepped into the middle of a crowded room and started waving my arms, not sure what was going to happen next.  What I found was a place where I could express myself in different forms and the confidence to try something new.  I also found a supportive community.    I want to show my appreciation of each person who has visited my little corner, who has left a comment and who has emailed me.

So I'm giving away a pair of my Little Bit o' Love Fingerless mittens.   Just leave a comment here to be entered.  Don't forget to leave a way I can contact you.   Comments will be open until 8 a.m. Friday, January 21.  I will randomly choose a winner and announce the winner later in the day.

Thank you for welcoming me to the party.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why Can't I?

I can sense it happening, quickly moving towards the inevitable.  The set mouth.  The clenched hands.  The realization that things are not going to go as planned.  But it's not one of them.  it's me.

I want to scream.  I want to growl.  Yes, growl to show my displeasure.  I want things to go my way.  Why can't I have a tantrum?  Although socially unacceptable (and for very good reasons), there is a certain cathartic appeal to one.  Instead, I become silent.  I breathe deeply.  I may even step around the corner for a moment. Then it is back to getting little bodies ready for the outdoors.  Eventually, I accept the new plan for the day.  Time helps.  Writing helps.

So does chocolate frosting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hugs and Kisses Mittens

My sister requested a pair of mittens and I was more than happy to oblige.  I just hope she likes them.  I know I do.  In fact, I like them so much I added them to my shop.  I also think I have to make a pair for myself.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bare Branches

From a distance, beautiful but stark.

Upon closer inspection, so much is revealed of the year to come.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Good Day

Clear, sunny day following a light snowfall.

Drawing, yoga and the expectation of knitting this evening.

Watching our oldest find his legs on his new snowboard, his self-proclaimed favourite Christmas gift.  Never a child to take risks, we, okay, I was hesitant to get him the snowboard.  But he has amazed with his comfort level on his snowboard, with how quickly he found his balance.

A little bit of baking too.  And a glass of red wine.  Before you start thinking I live in an ideal world, I also did laundry, a little bit of cleaning and some vacuuming.  But all these things, yes, even the vacuuming, combined to make it a great day.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Following Your Star

inspired by the drawings of illustrator and writer Peter H. Reynolds

The boy realized at that moment that everyone has a different journey, different signs -- and different stars. Their own constellations.  -- Peter H. Reynolds, "The North Star"

I need to work on my star.  Actually, no.  I don't.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny for Yarn Along today.

On the needles, a pair of simple socks.  Currently reading and completely engrossed by the graphic novel by Seth called It's a Good Life, If You Weaken.  Yes, I said graphic novel.  It was a Christmas present from my brother-in-law who has been attempting to bring me over to the dark side, the dark side being the world of graphic novels.  (Mike just smirks when I call such book graphic novels.  "You mean comic book.")  Well, he succeeded several years ago.  I even have a small collection of comic books on my book shelf.  But this book  is different.  It is actually a novel but it just happens to be in the form of a comic book.  The drawings are beautiful, simple but dotted with the details of everyday life.


On his quest to find information about a New Yorker cartoonist from the '40s, the main character, a cartoonist himself, returns to his childhood home.  "Often when you return to a place you knew only as a child, you discover how empty and unfamiliar that place has  become.  I don't know anything here.  What I knew was how the grass looked between the curb and the sidewalk . . . or which tree in the backyard had the hornet's nest . . . or where the big puddle always formed after a rain."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Simple Lines

I am not one for New Year's resolutions.  I'm as likely to try something new or strive for "self-improvement" in July as I am in August.  On that note, I am as likely to revert back to my old ways at any time of the year.  But the idea of taking on a new project that is solely for me appeals to me.  Motivated by my desire to bring pen to paper and inspired by Maribeth's paintings, yesterday I decided that I would draw a little something each day.  Just a simple drawing of something from my day.

I'm keeping it simple because I don't want to be discouraged.  I just want to enjoy each moment, each drawing.  So far, I like what I'm doing.  Focusing on the small things, not the big picture.  Such simple drawings but three months ago I think I would have been staring at a blank page.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cell Phone Cozy

I am not what you would call a phone person.  I don't tend to call someone up just to chit chat.  I call with purpose, say what has to be said and then say good-bye.  When Keegan was born, Mike decided it was a good idea for me to have a cell phone for safety issues.  I agreed.  It would sit in my bag until the batteries died, sometimes I would charge it.  To be honest, most of the time I didn't even know where my phone was.  Please don't ask me for my number because I could only find it for you if my cell phone was turned on which was difficult to do when I didn't know where it was.  Do you see the cycle of cell phone non-usage?  It really irked Mike.  Really irked.

About a month ago, he had the opportunity to get me a new phone in the hopes that I would use it more.  He threw a little guilt into the mix as well.  I took it as a challenge and I am doing much better.  I remember it 75% of the time.  Still don't know the number but I know how to find it.  And I have actually used it a couple of times.  Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Since I had a new phone, I decided I needed a nice little cozy for it.  you know, something pretty.  So I made one.  I love hand sewing with wool felt.  So much so, (sew much sew -- i know, dorky little pun but it amuses me) that I made another one for the shop.  I see more such cozies in my future, just because I enjoy making them.