Wednesday, May 28

Writing Styles & Swirling Thoughts

One fabulous thing about blogs is that we each have our own voice, our own focus, our own style.  If you read back to early posts for a lot of bloggers, they don't sound quite the same.  I think it's because we ease into our writing style.

Sometimes, I write from the heart.  I am not saying it doesn't need editing or polishing, but it just... flows.  I miss that.  It was actually easier to write like that about infertility.  I don't feel that way very often.

Sometimes I have thoughts, but it's stuck between my head and my fingers.  When I write, excessive amounts of detail come through to the point it sounds like a play by play my life.  I don't think that's good reading.  Quite often I can trim these posts down to something manageable, removing sections, summarizing others.  

Sometimes I just start again.

Guess which day today is?

I have thoughts, big thoughts, swirling thoughts.  We started our 27 hours of parenting training required to adopt in Ontario.  Half of it was last weekend, we get this weekend off and then we wrap up June 7-8.  I can't seem to stop talking about what I've learned, what I see in other peoples relationships, what I see in myself.

But it's not coming out right.  And even when I trim my novel of a post down, the focus of the story isn't there.  Possibly because the class is only half way done.  

It's all straggly little trees of facts, without the forest of a story.

That's frustrating because this is exactly the kind of place I want to sort these swirling thoughts out.  I learn about my own thoughts while writing for my blog by looking at all those details and trees and try to find the theme, the basis of what I am thinking.  What the forest is.

So, part of this forest includes:
  • We're on the right track.
  • We have good instincts.
  • All of my reading, thinking and observing has paid off.
  • Dealing with the losses as they came was a good thing, I am ready for this.
Hopefully I can connect a few more dots and speak about my experiences without sounding like a lecture on attachment and parenting like I spewed all over my mom and my brother and his fiance and my coworker and....

Wednesday, May 21

Not-So-Fun Mom

Last weekend was a long weekend in Canada - Victoria Day.  We did the usual for us, camping with almost 30 people.  It was a bit chilly this year but mostly dry.  If you dress right, cold is manageable, but cold and wet is miserable.  I didn't pack quite enough extra blankets so it was a bit cold over night on Friday.  Thankfully we camp close enough to home I could pop back and pick up some flannel sheets so we were toasty the rest of the weekend.

The down time was good but certainly had some challenging moments.  Some friends camp with their kids, others just drop by for an afternoon, this year there were anywhere from 5-12 kids running around ages 10 right down to a visiting baby.  The one challenge with this kind of extensive time with other peoples kids is that I get a little annoyed with some of them.  It becomes clear to me, I'm not going to be a fun mom.  I'll be a good mom and there will be lots of love and fun moments, but I'm not going to be a fun mom.  My kids are going to hear no, and I am going to mean it.  When I read about adoptive parenting, I see the need for consistent and firm parenting.  I suppose with longer exposure to other families while camping, I see what happens when any child doesn't get that.  When no means maybe, or not yet, or someone else will say yes.  I see the manipulation that goes on and how often the kids win when no doesn't mean no and it irritates me over the weekend. 

Sunday afternoon, I was making dinner.  Jambalaya in my cast iron dutch oven on the fire.  It's a bit fussy only because it's hard to tell just how hot the coals/pot are but I'm getting better with practice and burning the bottom less.  I brought little silicone pot holders with me to the fire, they look like frogs and worked pretty well with the hot cast iron.
From Cilantro Cooks

Mr. Lina was wearing my pot holders and chasing kids around the camp site while the jambalaya simmered.  It was pretty funny as he stomped around snapping the frogs open and shut.  One of the (non-chasing) kidlets asked me for s'mores.  I'm not sure what made her think I was the owner of any marshmallows, chocolate or graham crackers as I watched my dinner cook.  I said no, she should ask her dad.  Which is also the answer I gave when asked if she could have a drink the previous day, and when asked for a snack earlier in the day.  You see the pattern?  She wandered off and came back with a huge bag of marshmallows (which I'm pretty sure did not belong to her family) and pestered me again to make her s'mores.  She wasn't the only kid around, another parent was giving his 3 kids popcorn as a post-dinner snack (hoping salty snacks would make for better bed time than sweet).  The middle kid (about 3 I think) in that family had been the focus of the Mr. Frog-a-Lina chasing and wanted in on the marshmallows, more because Mr. Frog-a-Lina was there and they wanted to feed the frogs popcorn and marshmallows.  At this point, Mr Frog-a-Lina got silly about the desire for popcorn s'mores, knowing I did not pack any of the required ingredients and could not fulfill what he was asking me to do and in my head I wasn't sure how well hot melted marshmallow, chocolate and popcorn were going to work on small fingers.  The popcorn wasn't going to offer much protection from the hot parts.  I got tired of  being pestered for stuff they should ask their parents for and knowing that at least one father probably didn't want his kids having popcorn s'mores and my inability to actually do what they (or I) wanted to do, and I lost it on Mr. Lina.  

Thus popping the bubble of happy fun time for Mr. Frog-a-Lina and the kidlets.  

We went for a walk so I could get away from the s'mores insanity and apologize for my behaviour.  I knew I was snapping at Mr. Lina because he was there and an easy target compared to the kids that weren't mine to discipline.  I don't lose my cool often so it has more impact when I do (at least on Mr. Lina, I don't think the kids were all that phased).  A few tears were shed and oddly not by me.  Mr. Lina loved running around and being silly, but it was also leaving him feeling sad that those weren't his own kids he was chasing after.  And boy, do I understand that.  Popping that happy bubble was pretty bad timing.  

After a little walk around, we went back to the site, we had dinner.  I had a little alone time while I changed into warmer clothing for the evening and prepped the tent for bed time.  Mr. Frog-a-Lina returned for more chase, with even more kids involved.  I could hear him (and the kids laughing) 4 sites down as I walked to the washroom.  I ended up with a 3 year old frog-chaser snuggling up with me as the sun was setting.  Not surprisingly, Mr. Lina fell asleep at the fire at dark o'clock (camping is not about clock watching).  Who knew pot holders could be such great exercise?  And did you know they come in monkeys and dogs and pigs and roosters...

Wednesday, May 14

Is Spring Finally Here?

You know how sometimes a room has to look worse to be cleaner?  Yeah....  I can barely get into my sewing room.  But I have shredded a whole lot of old financial statements and put less sensitive paper out for recycling, so I know there is progress.  Even if it doesn't look like it.  We were going to go to an open house on Sunday only to get there and it was cancelled.  Pout.  We are getting closer...

We did a little spending at the garden centre on the weekend and worked on making the outside of the house look pretty.  What is it with dandelions?  Do they hate us that much?  By the time we dug them all out of the back yard it looked like a heard of elephants trampled what little grass was left.  On the plus side, my perennials look much nicer without all the dead leaves from last fall around them.  I still have to plant the annuals but the risk of frost is still real here until May long weekend, so I'm not worried about that just yet. 

Speaking of annuals... I usually do some container gardening on our back deck.  A few tomatoes, some herbs, maybe some radishes and a hot pepper plant.  I wasn't going to bother this year, just sticking to flowers and herbs that would be easier to care for and still provide a little colour.  Then we saw Bhut Jolokia peppers (aka ghost peppers, one of the hottest peppers out there, 400 times hotter than Tabasco according to wikipedia).  Usually I can't find anything more exotic than cayenne or hot banana peppers (which is fine, I don't mean to complain) so I don't know that I'll ever see Jolokia seedlings again which made it worth the purchase.  We'll see how that goes, my backyard isn't exactly the same as it's natural home climate of Northern India and I'm not one for babying plants (hence the purchase of seedlings, not seeds).

This is the first week it's finally been warm enough to not wear socks.  At long last, my open toed shoes can be worn again.  Sadly with the warmer weather seems to come rain (mostly scattered showers/thunder storm, not all day depressing rain) and the temperatures are dropping slightly just in time for the upcoming long weekend (Victoria Day).  Figures.  We camp every year, in the rain and occasionally the snow.  Temperatures of 15C during the day and 5C at night aren't so bad if it stays dry.  If.

I really should make a water proof jacket one of these days.

I also think I should send my parents to the Northwest Territories for Mother's Day next year.  I swear this was the most sane Mother's Day I've ever had.  No tears, no stress, I was very relaxed about it all.  I didn't forget about it but I didn't really think about it.  I did buy my traditional gift of a fuchsia hanging basket and hung it up at her house so she'd come home to it when I picked my parents up from the airport.  Really, we might be on to something here.

Wednesday, May 7

How to Declutter - Film a Movie

We've been picking away at decluttering the house and we have made headway, but it seems that the key to doing it was film.  Mr. Lina filmed a short fake trailer on Saturday.  It's amazing the effort that goes into 90 seconds of film.  Somehow it managed to involve every room in the house except my sewing room.  Either it was in frame, space used by lighting/camera, or it was space to serve food and chill.  So pretty much every room needed some level of decluttering, admittedly some more than others.  My sewing room being the one exception.  Things were hidden in that room.

Here's a behind the scene shot of one of the death scenes in my kitchen.

Notice the vast quantities of fake blood on that actress (her shirt has white and coral stripes under that blood).  As much as I knew this was going to be a horror trailer, and in the 80's slasher style, I didn't QUITE do the math on how much fake blood would be involved.  Nor how far the splatter would go.  The upstairs bathroom (shower death scene being a requirement in most slasher films as an excuse to show a little more skin) looked like Dexter visited and forgot his plastic sheeting.  The bathroom and kitchen are cleaner than I think they have ever been because I kept finding splatters of fake blood everywhere.  For example, I don't think I've ever taken a tooth brush to the grout on the floor in my upstairs bathroom.  Washed the floor, sure, but scrubbing on my knees with a tooth brush?  Not really my typical cleaning style.  There was fake blood on the inside of my oven door, under the burners, on the back splash, the little indents under the counters...  It was just... everywhere.  There are a couple of spots I think we're going to need to paint because the red isn't coming out of the porous material.

No sewing was needed for this film set, but I did craft services again. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for a much smaller group than some of the other film sets (a benefit of a 90 second shoot and a minimal crew).  It was enough to keep me on my toes.  Everything went so smoothly they finished up the shoot a few hours early.  Unheard of I tell you.  I think the only thing that went wrong was my spider plant falling.  This happened before the picture above, we were moving the other actors around and getting the lighting right when the spider plant got hooked on someones pants or something and fell, missing her head by maybe 2".
She's got reflexes like a cat that one.  I kept trying to see the plus side of things and for this one, it's that A) the actress moved and was fine, and B) that spider plant was pretty pot bound, it seems a new pot was in order anyhow.  We should have decluttered that corner too, but it wasn't going to be in frame.  Lesson learned.

Past that, it's okay.  I seem to be in a quiet sad spot at the moment.  Not teary or anything, but I lack focus and interest in work.  It's harder to get out the door in the morning, when I get there I don't know where to start, I don't want to call in for my client team meetings.  Not quite sure what to do about it or what to make of it.  I'm on week 2 of some PMS symptoms, I'm thinking that's probably a factor but not the only one.  It seems to be more work focused than home focused (I was a-okay fine on the film set, even with cleaning up the blood), maybe this 5 day a week client facing is just too much.

And amusing to me, my youngest brother Clone and his wife have decided that the name they picked for their son doesn't fit.  So they changed it.  I'm not quite sure why I find it funny, but I do.  Parents pick names so early and who says that it's going to fit the face and personality that you see when the baby is born?  I am pleased they made the change now if they weren't happy, it can't be easy to admit the name you picked just didn't work.  You know my parents only had a girls name for me (my paternal grandmothers name, most of Dad's family died in a car accident 4 years earlier) and only a boys name for Scot, and no name for Clone when we were born.  My mom was convinced I was going to be a boy (to the point she argued with the doctor when he said "it's a girl!") so it's kind of funny they didn't have a boys name for me but there you go.