Organizing for Creativity

With a baby around, it probably won’t come as a huge shock when I say that I haven’t been creating very much lately. However, this is about to change! Last week, I returned to work, and my handsomer half has taken up the taxing job of being lead parent. I’m happy to be back having discussions with other adults and drinking my coffee while it’s still hot, and he’s happy to be away from the day job for a while. It’s an interesting reversal of roles, but I think it’s going well.

Now that I’m back at work I’ve got about 1.5 hours a day commuting time. I take public transit, so this could, theoretically, amount to creative time! There’s also, theoretically, a few hours a day after KRH goes to sleep. So, I needed to get myself organized.

Over the last eight months (I can’t believe KRH is eight months old already!), life has felt complicated, hectic, and disorganized. My husband and I recently agreed to work on changing that. My new motto for life is “Joyfully Simple” and I’ve spent the last month or so organizing and purging our home to get rid of the possessions that we no longer use and to make sure that everything had a home so that there were no more piles of things by the front door or all over the kitchen counters. As part of this, I finally completed the longstanding goal of turning an unused room in our basement into a sweet little playroom for KRH (and the cats).

That work is now done, and our house already feels so much more open, clean, and welcoming! There’s still work to do, here and there, and the never-ending chores of home ownership, but I feel so much more at peace in our house. Getting rid of some of the things that we no longer use has opened up room for our family to play and grow and be. Another upshot? I’ve found several uncompleted projects that I’ve started to complete – look for those to come up on the blog soon.

Now we just have to keep the house this way! We’ve agreed to spend a few minutes at the end of each day tidying up and putting everything back where it belongs, which is sometimes a feat with a busy little boy. Next on the list: sort out a routine and some habits to simplify our life and make sure that the important things get done while still leaving us time to raise our son, spend time as a couple, and create!

A Different Kind of Creativity

I need to find new ways to be creative, and that’s stretching me a bit.

Let me sum up:


We are now three (five if you count the cats), and have been for almost four months now. The time has absolutely flown by in a whirlwind of figuring out this small person (who shall be known as KRH) who has stolen our hearts.

As noted by the title of this post, this requires a certain amount of creativity, but a kind of creativity I’ve not used before. There’s the usual ‘try everything until we figure out why the baby’s crying’ creativity, but also a certain amount of flexibility is required to make our new family work, to give my husband and myself time to do the things that keep us sane and healthy, while making sure that KRH has everything that he needs to grow. Fortunately, we are really lucky that we have a supportive family and community backing us up.

It hasn’t always been easy, but we are slowly starting to find our balance there. It helps that KRH is (*knocks on wood*) approaching something resembling a nap schedule, which leaves me freer during the day to do the day to day stuff of life, rather than relying on my husband for everything (often literally spoon-feeding me in the early days). This, in turn, is starting to free him up to focus on his health and writing.

My creativity is being stretched in other ways, too, to figure out how to entertain this small person for an entire day by myself. KRH isn’t a huge fan of lying down on his play mat for long periods anymore, but can’t quite sit up or crawl yet, so he’s not able to entertain himself very well and there’s only so many times I can make funny noises or faces at him before I get tired. Still, we’re getting out of the house to activities and appointments and, once the weather gets better, I’d like to go for more regular walks and have some outside time.

I don’t intend to talk about KRH much on this blog, but I figured he deserved at least one post, so there you go. It’s not the same as knitting or writing, but he’s certainly stretching my creative muscles!

He’s also growing. A lot. (This picture is already a month old).

Welcome to the world, little guy! I look forward to writing you many stories. <3!

Why I Didn’t Write This Weekend

Internet, I swear… I have a really good reason.


His name is Saffron.


Let me ‘splain.


Saturday was “annual kitty torturing day” at my house.  For those of you new to the party, that’s how my cats view their annual checkup.  It’s nothing horrendous: the usual listen to heart and lungs, palpitate abdomen, check eyes, ears, and teeth, stick thermometer up butt, and stab with a needle or two (vaccine SCIENCE!).  But, apparently, this is a really big deal when you’re a 14 pound cat.


I mean, I don’t enjoy my doctor’s visits either, but I have to shut up when he does most of the above (though the thermometer goes in my mouth because I’m a big girl).  I also have the benefit of understanding the importance of the visit; a bit of trivia I have not succeeded in imparting onto the cats.  So for them, this time of year is a REALLY BIG DEAL.


In fact, my boy kitty hates it so much that last year we had to drug him just to get through unscathed.


Fortunately, last year, it worked.  This year… not so much.


It looked promising, he took the meds easily and tolerated the wonderful tech weighing him to see if he’d lost weight like he was supposed to (he hadn’t).  He explored the exam room like a champ with slightly wobbly legs.  He even jumped onto my lap for a snuggle and attempted to get up on the exam table.


Then he saw his sister, who was hiding behind the black laptop like she does every year, trying to blend in and hope that, this once, we forget to examine her.  Apparently, this was a traumatic thing for Saffron, and he started to growl and hiss (the working theory is that he didn’t recognize her.  Or that he was being a jerk).  I thought it was still going to be manageable, if difficult.  The vet came in, did her essential oil magic (the cats smelled really good) and gave Saffron some (dried and fresh) catnip, which calmed him enough that he didn’t mind us being there, examining Socks, whom he was still growling at.


He started to get antsy so we ended up taking Socks to the back room (surgery) to give him a break with the lights out, and finished her exam there.  For various disgusting reasons involving glands needing to be expressed, it turned out to be a good thing that we’d moved.  Then we put Socks in her carrier in the hallway and went back to get Saffron.


Who had spent the whole time prowling and stalking and generally pretending to be a wild jungle cat.  We (the vet and I) had come in to get his vaccines to prep in the back room in preparation for the usual brief exam, stabby, and put kitty back in carrier when we made the unforgivable mistake of trying to leave the room without him getting out.


Internet… my cat bit the vet.  He ran into the hallway, clawed onto her leg, and bit her knee.  And when she tried to close the other exam room door (which was open to the front, where he could escape, he metaphorically lost his sh*t.  When I tried to help the vet, he attacked me.


I have to say, that having a cat claw in your bottom lip while simultaneously having your index finger bitten is not pleasant.  Nor is having a cat claw stuck in your forearm with said cat growling and hissing while you’re trying to contain the copious amounts of blood gushing from your lip.  My utmost support to the vet tech trainee who did what neither the vet nor I could do and caught Saffron underneath a quilt and held him there without getting a scratch.  At this point, he also literally lost his sh*t.


At this point, I decided that Saffron had enough and needed to take a nice, long nap.  So we put him in a box.




And then we filled that box with gas (kitty nitrous oxide) and waited until he fell asleep.  Then we pulled him out and got on with many things we couldn’t when he was awake.




It was a more thorough exam than I usually get, and included blood and urine panels (and faeces, fresh from the floor) because why not?  He’s the cat version of middle aged and he’s probably due for a good workup.  And it wouldn’t hurt to check his blood work since he’s overweight.


We plopped his doped up body into the cat carrier (he barely fit all splayed out like that), I nursed my wounds, hung around until he was more or less awake, paid up, and headed home.


Where I had a VERY snuggly Saffron.




They warned me that he would be snuggly, but I was unprepared for how vocal he would be.  He spent most of Saturday sitting and crying, even when asleep.  It was kind of heartbreaking.


He also spent about two hours carrying a yellow toy mouse around in his mouth like it was his baby.  He barely put it down to eat.  And yes, my big macho cat cuddled with it.




Even on Sunday, he was still pretty snuggly, which made it hard to get any work done.


But Internet?  With something this cute, I find it hard to justify doing anything else but cuddle all day.




I’m sure you understand.

Four Years and Four Weeks



Four years and four weeks ago, I sat down at a table in a local family restaurant, not knowing for a moment that my life was about to change.


It had been a rough year for me, you see: I had moved from Grande Prairie back to my hometown and I was struggling to fit back in.  I was still living out of boxes in parent’s basement (until I found a place of my own) and my former high school friends had their own lives.  A lot changes when you haven’t lived at home for seven years.


I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo that year.  I had decided it.  It was too much trouble and too much stress.  The last two years had been marginal successes, at best.  And I didn’t need that kind of stress in my life.  Or so I had told myself.  Of course, my friends, and fate, had other plans.  When I expressed the above to a good friend, she immediately shut down all of my rational excuses why I wouldn’t be writing a novel in a month.  Instead, she gave me a new challenge: “write 5,000 words and meet new friends.”


I wrote 5,000 words that first weekend and just kept going.  You see, for the first time since I had started NaNo, I was spending a significant amount of time around people like me: other Wrimos.  That changed everything, including my outlook on writing.  Of course, I was writing a horrible Mary Sue fanfic that shall never see the light of day… but I was writing.  And having fun.  And meeting people!


And then, November 14, 2008 came.  The day when I innocently sat all alone at a table at the Ricky’s.  You see, fate had plans for me that day; thank goodness it’s more clever than I was.


I wasn’t alone for long.  One of the other Wrimos that I had sort-of-befriended came to keep me from feeling too lonely.  Then the Municipal Liaison at the time sat two “shy” girls at the table.  Of course, the four of us ended up singing songs from Harry Potter Puppet Pals, but who cares?  We were having fun, and I was hanging out with people that got me.  I was smiling.


And then someone else joined the table.  A young man with an amusing shirt, a hat, and an engaging smile.  I don’t really remember much else about what he looked like then, but I do recall that I couldn’t seem to stop talking to him.  I still haven’t stopped.


Three weeks ago, four years and one week to the day that we had met, that man asked me to marry him.


Of course, I said yes.  The last four years have been among the most amazing and life changing years ever.  He has laughed with me, cried with me, grieved with me, and grown with me.  He has challenged my beliefs and everything I thought that I wanted from life without ever making me feel like less of a person.  He has supported me without question no matter what was going right or wrong in my life.  He stood by my side when my world crumbled around me, and he was still there when the chaos stopped.


He constantly inspires me to aim for new heights, both as a writer and a person, mostly without even trying.  He pushes me to be better, to do better, and to set goals that I never would have otherwise considered.  He always listens to me vent when I just need to vent, but offers amazingly insightful advice when that’s what I need.  He likes my friends and loves my family (and I love his).  He completes me in nearly every way that it is physically and emotionally possible to do so, and I find myself loving him even more every day.


I don’t have the words to express how honored and humbled I am to have found him and I cannot wait to celebrate the next phase of our lives together, in front of the family and friends that have helped to shape us and our relationships.  I love him more than any mere words can say, and I cannot wait to see what other plans fate has in store for us.

So… This Happened



This happened.




Then this happened.


All in all, it’s been a pretty amazing week so far (and it’s not over yet!).  Some highlights include:

  • Tea with friends new and old
  • Meeting an adorable pair of newlyweds and some newcomers at the Meet and Greet
  • Writing in a neat little bagel shop we discovered
  • Reaching my 50K in NaNo (and promptly doing nothing for 48 hours afterwards)
  • Overdosing on candy
  • Finding the perfect gift for my ML Secret Santa
  • Petting a shark and a ray
  • Eating my first sushi boat
  • Visiting the Office of Letters and Light and learning that I look great in a Viking hat
  • Watching a beautiful Pacific Octopus charm the employees of the aquarium
  • Baby Ostriches!!!
  • Dim sum in China Town
  • Meeting colourful characters on the streets of San Fran


Watch for more pictures and updates next week, as I’ll have more to share soon!  Tomorrow, we bike across the Golden Gate.  Wish my rear end luck (it’ll need it).  Until then?


Have a baby ostrich.