Monday, November 28, 2011

I learned two important things in the last two days. First, it is not a good idea to go shopping when you are tired, hungry and stressed. After a long day of work, I was exhausted and emotionally drained. It was so cold outside, the kind of cold that covers your skin and then soaks in. All I wanted to do was get a hot meal, some food that would warm me up from my stomach out. By the time the shopping was done I was $20.00 poorer, and all I bought were potato chips, cheezies, popcorn twists, candy bars, and chocolate milk. I didn't have to buy soda because I had some at home already. I then topped it off with some spicy Vietnamese food and spring rolls, but they were extra. By the time I was done, my stomach felt like it would burst, but I was ready for bed. I woke up the next morning with a food hangover. This brought me to the second important lesson I learned recently. Don't start a 5 day cleanse with a baby who has a fever and you are up all night. It is not the best set of circumstances to refrain from solid food, withdraw from caffeine (in the form of soda)and do it all when all I really want to do is nap. Can't wait to see what tomorrow teaches me...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The worst week

Well this has been that kind of week...well, that kind of month actually. I have lost two of my three puppies. My beautiful Belle, who was 14 years old with cancer. There is no doubt it was her time, but that didn't stop me from crying when I saw a picture of a puppy that looked just like my girl who needed a good home. Our other girl was 12, and seemed healthy. Just one day she had a stroke and the end was quick. That was the first week of November. Our sweet boy son then spent the next two weeks in the hospital. I have never been so stressed out, and he spends a lot of time in the hospital. This time he was so sick and none of the treatment would work. He just seemed to get worse and worse. Poor little guy. Then, suddenly he seemed to rally. Then on Monday, I had my student teachers show up a week earlier than expected. I was frazzled and flustered, and completely convinced that the situation was 'so' stressful...little did I know what was coming. Tuesday was round after round of fire alarms at my school, followed by standing out in the Northern, Canadian, cold. Then when I got home I was excited to have a nice evening, having dinner with my family. However, that dinner was not meant to be. Instead I was told that my oldest daughter had gotten into trouble at school. As we were discussing the situation with daughter #1, the phone rang. This call was to let us know that our daughter, who was already in trouble, had called Child Welfare to tell us that her biological family wanted to re-initiate their request for custody of our girl. Moreover, our girl had been sneaking them information for weeks (eg. the name of the social worker on her adoption order.) Would we be willing to sit down with them to discuss the situation?? The shock hits you in waves. First, they want custody of our girl. They want to open this all up AGAIN! Then, she has been their confederate. And lastly, they want to talk about it with us like it is the most natural thing in the world. Oh but wait!! My week was not over yet...When I get a call from my oldest daughter's school. The situation from yesterday has escalated and she needed to be picked up from school...oh yeah, and the other situation had escalated and she now has a plan to run away on Thursday. When I went to pick her up, I found my son throwing up in the bathroom. He is under the weather and would need to go home for the rest of the day, and my girl is defiant. Convinced that at 14 she was "like totally mature enough to make my own decisions." But the best part is that it was Parent Teacher interview day, so the day was long. The next morning with our boy sick and our daughter convinced that she was going to run away I needed to find somewhere for the kids to go. Getting up very early in the morning, I squared away the kids at my mother in-laws. Then I get rear-ended in my car on my way to work. Showing up two hours late, with student teachers a little dazed and confused trying to hold the class together, is a great way to provide them a first class student teaching experience. By the time I get home, I am exhausted and can barely keep my eyes open. I go to bed before the kids... Then I wake up with a sore throat, headache and a fever...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Air is Hot

The air in Alberta is dry. The heat at noon on a summer's day is like an invitation to play. We go outside because it is too hot to work anymore. We seek any breeze that we can create, with our bikes, on our trampolines, or splashing in the cool water that sprays on the decks at the park. By dinner time, that heat feels like a weight almost to heavy to carry. Dinners are cooked on the grill to avoid the heat of the house. Dinner is eaten in the basements, where it is cool, or outside where there is the hope that a breeze might provide us some relief. After dinner, the heat divides us, makes us seek the solace of a cooler corner. Many Alberta nights we go to bed, too exhausted from the heat to remember to reconnect with one another. Just dropping on to our beds, and if we share them with another, careful not to touch. The heat hangs in the air, almost choking us, weighing down on us so that even as we try to sleep it presses down on us. But every few days, the sky turns grey, and the thunder breaks up the brittle blanket of thick hot air. A cool wind blows through...reprieve. So that even as we prepare for sleep, with the sound of rain beating against the walls and the windows, it is cool enough for us to remember to reconnect. The sound of the thunder, the sound of the rain, the sound of water spraying up from the streets as cars rush past our house, they become the chorus. They are background music to the whispers and the quiet laughter of summer time moments where it is good to remember why we reach out, why we reconnect. As I sit here listening to the rain, and feeling the air blow over me, my head is filled with wonder at simple moments...and longing...and gratitude...and now I shall seek rest...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Canadian Winter

Well we sure love snow up here in Canada. From the time that it starts to snow, there is very little I don't love about it. I love the way it makes the air smell, I love the way it looks as it falls like crystal to form tiny little mountains all around us. Snow creates its own little playgrounds for kids of all ages and sizes to enjoy. defines us as Canadians, our collective identity. Yet, this winter, I have found myself feeling fed up with it. The constant dump of the white, wet soggy albatross. Shovelling my car off three to four times a day, is not cute or charming, it is becoming a chore. Driving, fearful of crashing, or worse yet, getting stuck. Day after day, the fear, the frustration, building ever so gradually until it had reached fed up proportions. Then, walking out of an appointment, I am stopped by the sight of 5-6 people pushing a little volkswagon bug out of the spot where it had been trapped by the 50cm of snow that had fallen in 5 days. When they were successful, we all cheered. The pushers, the driver, and those of us captivated by the sight of strangers, who came together to help a fellow motorist, and then it hits me. Adversity inspires community...the sense that we are connected to one another by our need for help. Secondly, the answer to the age old question, "Why are Canadians so nice?" Because we have to be, our survival depends on it.