Thursday, January 21, 2010

Groundhog Day

“Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.” - Philip Andrew Adams

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? If not, the basic premise is that this weatherman Phil (played by Bill Murray) is sent to Pennsylvania to cover the big groundhog day event and gets stuck in a time warp and he wakes up the next day and he ends up repeating the same day over and over...this morning I'm kind of thinking my life feels a little bit like that movie. So it's 6:30 a.m. and I am following my regular routine, make coffee, take coffee to computer, browse for inspiration, and check clock realizing I have to get ready for work any minute. Despite the fact that ideally I should be getting ready for work I am called to write this blog while it's fresh. I've come to realize that today as I look at it my life seems to be a day to day regurgitated version of the day before that. I guess some people would say it's safe and stable on a positive note. There's no major dramas, not the soap opera days of my youth, just Alex and I trying our best to be good parents and hold together this humble life of ours.
Most of my weeks usually unfold in a similar way... Mondays I get together with Stacey and Kelly to watch the Bachelor and Thursdays we reprise with Grey's Anatomy. There's usually some sort of cheesy spinach dip, carrots cucumbers and pita bread and cheap red wine served on the side. I get home from my morning shift at work each day to Alex running out the door and giving me a quick kiss as he rushes passed. I look down to 2 sets of big brown eyes who are usually looking to mommy for snuggles and snacks. I drop Jalen and Ruby off at daycare each day at the same time and put on the same "indoor shoes", give the same good-bye kisses and "I Love You's", I tell Jalen to give Ruby a hug and a few days a week Ruby screams and cries at the window for mommy and it breaks my heart the same way. Likely my day will usually include a bowl of crunchy Kashi cereal and a banana, I usually read a few pages of my current novel of choice or if I need a spiritual lift, a few excerpts from my favourite inspiring reads. Then, a nap with the alarm set for 2:30 p.m. to get up and go back to work. I make my second coffee of the day in my Tassimo (one of my most cherished posessions) freshen up the face and hair and head to work.

So I work as a supervisor at a before and after-school program at Ryerson Public School. I arrive at work for my after-noon shift and set up the chairs at the same tables. Pull out the same "guess-who" game and markers and lego. My Ryerson kids will likely want to play Octopus as an outdoor game or maybe switch it up and play "finger foods." I will serve them same snacks like carrots sticks and ranch, yogurt parfaits or some chips and salsa because that's what the already decided for me menu tells me I have to serve.
I'll come home at 6pm and ask my kids how their days were, Jalen will say something very similar to "good...I played with blocks." and Ruby will say "Good day...I bite Autumn" Which I have to add she did once, she bit a girl in her class named Autumn one day, and she got such a big reaction from Alex and I that she figured that it was her best material. Then I proceed to say..."No don't bite Autumn." And she grins with glee, because she loves the predictable answer. Kids love when you react in predictable ways, and they can know that everything is right with their world when mommy responds just the same way she did the day before.
My life is often so routine that I can go about my day on auto-pilot and sometimes arrive at work and not even remember the drive. Get through a bedtime routine with my kids or prepare the peanut butter on toast with a side of banana and a sippy cup of milk for Jalen and Ruby's breakfast with my eyes closed. Including reading "Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you see?" by memory.
So, how do I keep a stable home environment for my kids while also catering to my inner child who craves a little drama and excitement every once in a while, who needs to get away from the everyday mundane tasks...With a little research, a common theme seems to be the quite simple suggestion of "Trying something new everyday." I decided to make a list of things I would like to try so here goes:
1. Go to Michael's and browse the aisle for a new craft I can try, purchase some different art materials. Beadery, applique, papercraft, florals...Make something for someone.
2. Prepare a recipe that I've never made before out of my cookbooks like that polenta with mushrooms that has always called to me.

3. Create a playlist of music that is completely different from my other music.

4. Learn how to do those sudoku puzzles finally.
5. Wear my hair down or even better try a new hairstyle!
6. Set the table with candles and the "good dishes" for a simple weeknight dinner
7. Drive to and from work a different way(this will take you off auto-pilot!)
8. Go eat at a restaurant that I've been hearing about and always wanted to try.
9. Learn some new songs to sing with my kids, sing them out loud as we drive around town.
10. Grocery shop somewhere I've never shopped at before, find something new to try, like in the organic and health food section.

11. Instead of that tall mild blend coffee I usually order from Starbucks, order that exotic bold choice on the menu

12. Explore a new topic I've always wondered about, for example I've always been interested in buddism and I picked up a little pocket sized book with all the basics of buddism.
13. Instead of settling in for the night with the tv remote, play a board game.

14. Watch an oscar winning movie that I've never "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest." This movie came out in the 70's and won a few oscar's. I've always wanted to see it.

15. Find a paint project, nothing cures a rut like a fresh coat of paint!

16. Say Yes, when I would usually say No, to invites or ideas.
17. Treat my kids at work to a surprise special snack, like warm chocolate chip cookies and milk
or for the morning program make a fancy breakfast for everyone, with muffins for parents to take as they drop their kids off.
As the movie Groundhog day unfolds Bill Murray realizes that there are no consequences for his actions because the same day will be repeated the very next day without fail. He begins taking risks by robbing banks, pigging out on food and seducing women. Eventually, he decides to make the most out of this situation and start to see the beauty in "today." Once he does that he is able to get out of his day repeating nightmare. So I suppose I could look at my current situation in that way too...I can start taking some risks and trying something new, but also take the time to appreciate the beauty in the routine and safe predictable life I've created. How many days to we just go through the moments and toss them aside without really seeing the opportunity that each day could really possess? A conversation that slips by and you don't say what you really meant to say, or a project you mindlessly put together, or dinner you prepare without any love put in it or kiss that gets planted on your husband as he rushes out the door as you are busy looking at something else. Our auto-pilot mode of living, often makes us miss that there are extraordinary wonders hidden in this ordinary day. So yes, let us take risks and try something new today, but let us also wake up to the beauty that this ordinary day may possess.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


So the truth is this...I think I am SAD....other wise know as suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I try to find joy in the overcast snowy filled season but I don't have a chalet in ski town and I'm pretty sure if I did I would end up sleeping the day away in the chalet. Winter makes me want to sleep, winter makes me want to cry and I count down the days till I see the peek-a-boo of my crocuses and the green of the grass again. So...what to do...If I was a bear I would have it easy, I would curl up in my bear cave and not show my grumpy bear face for the duration of winter...but I'm not a bear...I'm a working mommy and wife and friend and "the show must go on."

How do I find solace in time when all of my fundamentals of joy and peace go out the winter?(lol, that's funny, but i meant to say window) How do I tell the difference between a bad week and true depression? I've been struggling with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) for a large part of my life and I can feel it coming on like the weight of 30 pounds of snow on my chest. Usually it arrives Mid January, Christmas has long sailed away, the hope of a New Years resolution has long sailed away, and I'm left here on the shore of my life. I can only explain it like suddenly life has this foggy dark filter through which I see everything. I see the smile in my children's faces, in the midst of what is supposed to be a "fun" girls night out, in the middle of a warm consolling hug from my husband...the dark cloud covers it all.

I get angry and I fight it some days but I find it makes it worse, other days I am caring to myself and I allow myself to sleep and mope and eat comfort foods like the oat bar they have at starbucks that is chewy and carb-filled and tastes like an oatmeal cookie only better. I start the day with a fresh outlook most days, I say to myself, "okay, today is going to be better..." I eat a healthy breakfast, write in my journal and remind myself that I have SO much to be grateful for. The day carries on and gets darker and darker and by dinner hour when all daylight has said good-bye, I feel this sense of dread.

So how do you know if you too are SAD? Here are the criteria:

1. Depression that starts and stops suddenly at regular times of the year

2. Eating more than usual

3. Craving carbohydrates and sweets

4. Weight gain as a result of satisfying these cravings

5. Extreme tiredness

6. Sleeping more than usual

7. Lack of energy and loss of interest in activities

8. Sleep disturbance

9. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness

10. Cognitive problems; difficulty concentrating and making decisions. Tasks you previously found simple now seem complicated

11. Drinking more alcohol than usual

12. Drinking more coffee and tea than usual

13. Anxiety, tension, and low tolerance of stress

14. Phobias

15. Irritability

16. Social withdrawal

17. Blaming others or circumstances

18. Wanting to stay at home rather than go out

19. Loss of libido

20. Menstrual problems. Premenstrual tension may be worse than usual, with attendant irritability, sleep problems, appetite changes, and low energy levels

21. Low body temperature

My emotional wellness has been something that I have strived to better and I take care of always, so it frustrates me when suddenly it feels out of my control. I have doubled up on vitamin D, soaked up any ray of sun I can (including from this light therapy light we have here that is made specifically for SAD) and brought a taste of spring home from the grocery store in the form of fresh flowers. I haven't resigned to it and someday I hope to get through an entire winter season without getting here again. Until then, I will meditate upon these daisies I brought home.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Feeling Inspired by...Car Moebel

I love this dining area!

While searching for home decor and interior design ideas online, I happened to stumble upon the most wonderful online catalogue at a website called Car Moebel. Now, this is a German company so I blindly found my way around the site, excited to guess that lampe might have something to do with lighting, and "sitz"mobel was the catagory with chairs and benches. I feel like Car Moebel is a blend of IKEA and Pottery Barn, with a touch more whimsy and charm. It is white, with gorgeous splashes of bright colour and I am LOVING this site.

I love the blue colour of this simple chair

This fuschia chair just makes me smile to look at it.

This white family room looks so fresh and clean

What a simply beautiful little girls room with touches of pink and green.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Joy Blog...Photography

It wasn't one of my original intentions for 2010 but I would like to add that I am trying my hand at photography this year. Now I've always had an interest, I love to edit photos and I love to even look at other peoples photography blogs, just admiring the beautiful photography. I was lucky enough that Santa brought me a gorgeous camera this year and I couldn't be more thrilled to get started. However, I am extremely overwhelmed. This is not the point and click variety of camera I'm used to. There are buttons, bells, whistles and things I have not a clue what it is. As I'm reading the manual, I'm wondering...Is this english? So, here begins my journey with my new camera. These are some of my first photographs, Jalen was at Nana's house so I only had Ruby to practice with. My practice shots and a compilation of expressions from my Darling Daughter. I welcome any advice or tricks of the trade from you guys out there.