Daily Life

A fine line

This post has been bubbling around my mind for the last week or so. I apologize if this comes out as a stream-of-consciousness thing, rather than really clear points. I’m still pretty in the middle of it, so it’s hard to write it out without musing a bit.

I am the daughter of a very strong, well respected lady. My mother, Pat, was small in size, but full of piss and vinegar (as my father would say). People didn’t screw with my Mom. I never really saw her lose it on anyone, but she had a quiet confidence and really clear boundaries that everyone respected.

Pat - One hell of a woman

I remember hearing a story from her time with the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force). She only ever got as far as Captain, despite her long career with the military. When asked why, she responded that she loved being a nurse. She loved being in the OR and seeing interesting cases. She loved continuing to learn and marvel at the human body. She did not love, however, paper work. A promotion or a rise in rank would require a desk job, which would have been  miserable for her. Despite stepping on many toes and dashing many plans, my mother refused to leave surgery, and when the military couldn’t offer her more, she retired and went to a local hospital instead.

My mother was a spit-fire. She was everyone’s big sister, and somehow brought a family of feuding Sutherlands together during some really hard times. She had a look that shut the loudest of mouths, and a presence that terrified the crap out of all of my guy friends in high school. She didn’t put up with crap from anyone, including my father. An example:

My mother loved her version of camping (which was so far from roughing it, it was laughable. She owned a giant parking trailer, with three queen beds, a full kitchen, a full bathroom and a TV). Growing up, the trailer was parked at a site where I had friends, and where my Dad’s best friend camped. As years went by, we all stopped going up – except for Mum. She decided that she wanted to move the trailer to a site that suited her needs and where she had friends. I didn’t mind, but Dad was pissed. Even though he never went up he liked having the option to see his oldest buddy up at this campsite. Mum explained her side (She went up every weekend during the summer, Dad went maybe one weekend a season, she wanted friends to spend time with, Dad wasn’t as close with his friend anymore, etc…), Dad argued and eventually it came down to an ultimatum – If Mum moved the trailer, Dad would never go up again. So there. He was mighty pleased with himself, thinking that he had put a stop to that nonsense. The next summer, the trailer was moved to a much fancier park (The old one only had a natural lake and a corner store about 30 minutes away by foot. The new one? Man made quarry, a pool, a hot tub, a bingo hall, an icecream parlour and a store…plus, her besties all camped there). Mum loved it. I have never seen her happier then when she spent a summer at the trailer.

My Dad? Not impressed. Eventually, Mum would spend WEEKS at the trailer, always inviting him, but he always turned her down. She never backed down though. She refused to sit at home and mope like my father. She wanted to be out, having fun and spending time with her friends, so she went. Dad got more and more bitter about it, and she tried to convince him to come, but she never backed down (even when there were whispers that he wanted to leave her, because it’s not like she spent any time with him during the summer anyway. Oh Dad, you melodramatic boob). Eventually, I think , he spent maybe 2 weekends with her before he passed away.

So, the point of these stories? Aside from sharing how awesome my Mum was, I wanted to point out that she stood up for herself, knew when to put her foot down and stuck to her guns, even up against my father (who could pout and sulk with the best of them). Why? Because in my 28 years of life, no one ever called her a bitch. Now, this could have been out of fear. She was fierce when she was pissed. I just wonder what I’m doing wrong that I’m being perceived a completely different way.

When my mother died, the Sutherland family fell apart. Maybe it was because she was the glue that held us together. Maybe she brought out the best in everyone and kept us in line. I don’t know. It might be something as simple as grief and greed. No matter the cause, the family was split and with her death, I lost not only the children my father had from his first marriage, but their children, their friends, and, sadly, most of my Mum’s local friends (specifically one who was like an aunt to me, and was there, beside me, when Mum had her stroke in my arms). Why? Well, from what I’ve heard the common belief is that I’m a manipulative, greedy, pathetic, power hungry bitch.

It was a big family, once. (Not shown: one nephew and my Dad.) Faces not blacked out: Mum, Tracy, Me, Pat.

There have been many reasons given about why I’ve been treated the way I have been, and why this is the popular belief held by these people who have known me most of my life. I will certainly admit that I haven’t always been the picture of grace and civility since my mother died, however I don’t know anyone who could be. The issues that I’m dealing with now, however, are a bit tricky. We’re getting near the end, which is a wonderful amazing thing. There are a few things that are a Big Deal and my job as co-executor is to protect my sister and I during this process. That’s why I was chosen. So, I’ve been putting my foot down, and unfortunately, and not unexpectedly, the reaction hasn’t been good. People are PISSED.

Beyond the estate, I’m struggling with this in my daily life as well. I am a definitely a child of both my parents: I have my mother’s fire and stubbornness, but I also have my father’s deep well of emotions and sensitivities. I feel, and I feel strongly. I care very much what people think of me, and I’ve realized that I’ve done a lot and put up with a lot in my life for the sake of being liked. I don’t like causing waves, I don’t like bringing up difficult topics. For me, it seems to make more sense to suffer through, rather than put other people in a difficult position.

In my personal relationships, I have been pushed to the point of putting my foot down and in some cases, the result was the end of a relationship or friendship. In every case, I feel as though I did right by me, and that I’m happier for it today. (In one specific case, I had watched the fiance of a close friend treat her like shit for a long period of time. I told her she deserved better, and when I suspected that he was cheating, I told her. She chose to marry him anyway, and I stood up there with her as her maid of honour, because I supported her right to making her own decisions and her desire for happiness. Within months of the wedding, she was shocked to discover that he wanted an open marriage and that he had been seeing someone else. I provided her support, but told her I wouldn’t be involved in the separation. I could give her comfort, but I would not play spy or pick sides (I had close ties with the husband that I couldn’t break at the time. Didn’t make me happy, but it was complicated). This wasn’t good enough, and I was asked to choose sides on a number of occasions. I refused. I stood my ground and told her I needed space until the situation was resolved. Our friendship ended.  In another case, I had a friend who felt that when my parents were sick, she couldn’t handle that kind of heaviness in our relationship, so she asked me to hide that part of my life from her. She also felt that Pat wasn’t attractive enough or good enough for me. She told me this on many occasions and told me to leave him all the time. I refused to be a fair weather friend or listen to someone bash my boyfriend. I  ended the friendship. I don’t regret these decisions or the outcomes.

At work, like in many of my past jobs, I have not been treated very well. Pat is beside himself with me and the situation, because he is such a fighter. He can’t stand injustice or bullying. He faces it head on, for others and for himself. I have a really hard time defending or sticking up for myself, and often, I find myself completely miserable and beaten down because I’ve allowed things to get so bad (Often, people will continue to take advantage and stomp on you if they know they can get away with it, and will continue to do so until you break or are forced out).  Right now I’m in an especially perilous situation because I’m a part-time contract worker at a college that always has a ton of people looking for work and, of course, because I’m pregnant.  So, do I stand up for myself against permanent full time union members? Do I stand up to my manager, who could replace me in a matter of hours? Or do I keep my mouth shut and do my job for the next 4 1/2 months?

Me, ~20 y.o.

So, how do I balance this fine line between doormat and bitch? How do I learn from my mother and remain true to myself, despite immense pressure to be “nice”, “civil” and “easy-going”. I have learned, wrongly, over the years that to be happy I need to be liked. To be liked, I have to be the constant easy-going “Yes” person. I want to be respected. I want to be a person of integrity. I want to be happy, because whatever this is, it isn’t it. I am about to be a mother. I want to someone that my child looks up to. I want to be able to teach them that they are someone worth defending too.

Crafting, Daily Life, Paganism

A rambling fall post

It’s been one of those weeks that just wears you right down to the ground. There’s been family drama, estate drama, the death of my year old iPhone, work troubles, hormones, nightmares, illness, serious money troubles, you name it. October has been hard on us. Today S and her wee ones popped by for a visit and some running around. I swear, there’s nothing like having your nearest and dearest around when you’re going through hell. I also heard that L is coming to town next week for work, so I’m going to be even more spoiled with some bestie time.

You can feel autumn in the air, the chill, and the smell of the leaves. I usually love this season, but it’s always a hard time of reviewing what you have around you and the drawing end of the year. I’ve been thinking a lot about Samhain and what we’re going to do this year. I haven’t really been practicing much. Honestly, since losing my mother, I’ve been afraid to get back in touch with my faith. It’s like that saying “Once bitten, twice shy”. I’ve been so afraid of getting in touch with that part of myself. I’m thinking I’m going to make either Red Moon’s Honey and Lavender cake or some kind of spice cake. I’m thinking about doing some kind of ritual for the dead. I don’t know. Being pregnant, I’m not in the mood to go out partying like in past years. Maybe we’ll just stay home and watch scary movies. I’ve been dreaming of my parents almost every night this month.

On a cheerier note, my workplace has decided that we should dress up for Halloween. Being preggo makes that difficult for me, until I saw this:

Yes. It has been purchased and shipped. I picked up a black shirt from Old Navy today while out with S. You can be a fashionable preggo this Halloween too! Here’s the shop where I found it.

The cold is helping to revive my creative spirit though, which is nice. I’m plotting some knitting projects (finish the hat for Pat, start on a scarf for a friend and of course – BABY STUFF). I’ve been thinking about getting back into journaling and maybe even drawing. Being forced inside isn’t always a bad thing I suppose. Also, I’ve been recently inspired to try my hand at a few new crafts. Firstly, here is a LOVELY wreath that Danielle made over at PHIT:

Didn't she do an amazing job? I love those colours!

Seriously, run over to her blog and tell her how amazing that is. My friend Krista of Dandelion Express made a wreath too:

Again, aren't these ladies super talented?

I just need some felt, I think, and these could be mine. I even have a foam wreath frame thingie from when I was thinking about making a mobile for a co-workers baby. (PS, don’t try making a hand knit mobile for a co-workers baby 2 weeks before the baby is due. You will never finish.) The mobile in question:

How cute, right?

I have the worm dragonfly body done. Yeah. That’s it. Here’s the Rav pattern page.

BUT! Despite that failure, I am considering attempting some felt mobile ideas for Babeh. I came across from obscenely cute ones on etsy:

Adorable! So colourful and happy! All for the low low price of…65?! Yeaaaaah, no. It gets worse too. We’re thinking about doing a woodland themed nursery (by we, I mean me. Heh.) She has a woodland themed mobile:

NEED IT.

It’s 75$. Yes. 75$. So, I’m thinking of spending maybe 20$ on felt and supplies and going from there. I think I can do it :D  Here’s the etsy store if you are interested.

Anyway, I’m off to listen to some more Neko Case and maybe even enjoy a book. Have a great weekend everyone <3

Daily Life

Tuesday Day Book and Preggo Update

I’ve been so exhausted lately, I have a hard time putting together a real post, so in the mean time, I think I’m going to continue with my Tuesday Day Book and maybe move them to Fridays add  Preggo posting. I’ll put mine together today to give you a bit of a catch up on the preggo before diving into week 15 at the end of this week.

A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): Exhausted and emotional. I have been all over the emotional roller-coaster. Unfortunately, I’m also fighting some nausea again (that’s what I get for speaking too soon about it being gone). I’ve also been pretty stressed out over estate/family/other stuff, which isn’t helping. Overall though, the pregnancy has been good. I wasn’t severely sick at any point, and my family/friends have been really understanding about my lack of energy. Looooots of nightmares lately, which isn’t fun. Seem to be having many reoccurring dreams about my family home and my parents.

EDD: We’re telling people we’re due early/mid April.

How far along am I? At this point, I’m 15 weeks.

I am thinking… a lot. Dreaming and plotting for baby, considering our options, what we need, what we want, etc… Thinking about family and loss, and how life will be without our parents to help us. Plotting the nursery, for sure!

I am thankful for… really understanding co-workers, being invited to a woman’s full moon native group (more on that later!), finding a GP who is taking patients who happens to work with a pediatrician, having a great husband who happens to be my very best friend.

From the kitchen… Nothing interesting. We’ve been on a really tight budget, and have been trying to eat as cheaply as possible. Baked Spagetti has been feeding us this week, and I’m going to be making some kind of chicken dish in the next couple of days. Plotting freezer meals for when baby comes so that I’m not stressed about food.

I am wearing…Maternity clothes! my body has moved on to full on bump, so very little from my normal wardrobe still fits. Also, finally got myself some new bras from Bravissimo. SO MUCH COMFIER.

I am creating… A toque for the hubby, and not much else. Been thinking about getting back to my art journal that I started forever ago. Plotting baby projects (another post to come)

I am going… to a children’s museum this weekend with Sarah and her little girl. Can’t wait!

I am reading… Living with the Dead, by Kelley Armstrong, The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (SO GOOD) and The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer

I am hoping… for a break! Life has been nuts lately!

I am hearing… The new Tori album, and lots of Neko Case.

Around the house…Lots of change. We’re hoping to do some major work to the house within the next 6 months. Starting this weekend, we’re going to be doing some purging, with plans to completely re-do the basement and either turn the space down there into our new living space (office, tv, etc…)

One of my favorite things…The Walking Dead. SO GOOD. Also, the gifts for baby that we’ve already received. Whenever I had a rough day, I go through our bag of stuff and daydream.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Cleaning and then hanging out with Sarah this weekend. Otherwise, just get through the week.
Weight Gain: So far, I’ve gained about 5lbs in the first trimester. I’m now in the 2nd. Woo!
Movement/Signs o’ Baby: Nothing yet. Soon hopefully. Heartbeat has always been good at all of our appointments, so that’s good!
Cravings: Lately? Chocolate milk.
Other Random Babeh/Pregnancy thoughts: We’re hoping to have a intervention free birth. This means, ideally, we don’t want any medical inductions, no pain medication as a little interference from the medical world as possible. That said, I am open to all of these things if emergency dictates.
Daily Life

Rainy Day

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Honestly, I haven’t had much to say. I’ve been feeling like crap lately, and am absolutely exhausted by the time I get home from work. To top that off, with the beginning of the new school year, things are crazy here at the college, which means that I’ve been having my schedule change almost daily.

This past weekend, my lovely friend Leigh came to town to hang out and for a work thing. We chatted, snarked at bad movies, ate lots of comfort food and basically enjoyed each other’s company. Sunday, I crashed at her hotel downtown. We wandered my old neighbourhood (just after University, I moved downtown with a friend for about 8 months), and did some shopping. We had dinner at our regular place (Zak’s, a cute 24 hour diner) and then grabbed some dessert at Oh So Good (I had the Pink Velvet cake. SO AMAZING. OMG, delicious.). We retired back to the hotel to bum around while she worked on her work stuff. It was a great time.

This coming weekend I’ll be taking the train to Montreal as part of my Maid of Honour duties for her. We’re going dress shopping on Saturday and a bridesmaid brunch on Sunday. The following Monday is my nephew’s birthday, so it’s a very busy weekend! I’m glad I have the Friday off.

Another big thing going on right now is that we’ve discovered that we’re going to have to tear out our finished basement. There’s a leak, somewhere, and some mould has been growing along the baseboards. I’m really really upset about this, as it’s going to be a very expensive fix, but there’s nothing we can do about it. Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to have some contractors in for estimates and then we’ll meet with the bank and discuss our options. So not good timing at all.

Anyway, I should get back to work. Again, sorry for the meh updates. Been way too busy and tired to write much.

Daily Life

Wednesday Day Book

A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): Recovering. I was very very sick last week and am on the mend. Still feeling off and weak. Didn’t get any cleaning done at all.

I am thinking… about the meeting I’m going to have today with my boss. I’m being put in charge of social networking for our department and I’m hoping to ask for some more responsibility on top of that. Things have been a little odd in the office lately, so I’m nervous about this discussion.

I am thankful for… ginger tea, my husband, my best friends, and the deep well of calm that I seem to be able to tap into when drama rears its ugly head (happening more and more frequently it seems)

From the kitchen… Actually cooking a lot lately. This week we did the Baked Spaghetti again, pork chops in a mushroom gravy with rice and fajitas. This weekend I’m planning on a chicken enchilada bake.

I am wearing…my brown dress with my schnazzy bedazzled cami from Ricki’s underneath. Again. Hrm. Apparently, I’m in a wardrobe rut.

I am creating… a big craft project, details to come.

I am going… to my SIL’s birthday party this weekend.

I am reading… Dance with Dragons. Just started last night. eee!! Also reading some mindless fluff, Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong.

I am hoping… for my body to calm down. I’m sick of feeling sick. Also, for some peace. Seriously, I need it.

I am hearing… Weepies. With the recent stress and drama I wanted something to both calm me down and bring me back to a happy place, so I’ve been thinking a lot about my last trip to Calgary to visit my sister.

Around the house…Dust hippos, dirty dishes and clutter. I really need to get my ass going and do some cleaning.

One of my favorite things…Watching TV with my husband. Lately we’ve been catching up on Dexter (season 3), True Blood (the current season, season 4) and Dr. Who (season 2)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Hopefully some cleaning, attending a birthday party this weekend and then prepping for my dear and darling L who’s visiting next weekend.

Here is picture! Yay!

A recent picture of me getting some kitty love from my man, Byron.
Daily Life

Wednesday Day Book

Monday was a civic holiday, so it’s soooooort of Tuesday today. It’s close enough, right? Right.

A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): Not good for the most part. See password protected post for more (message me with your email address if you’d like the password). On the up side I got to meet S&K’s new baby boy, which was AWESOME!

I am thinking… about family and estate law, my plans for the rest of the month, the fact that it’s almost fall (YAY!!!)

I am thankful for… tea, my husband, my friends, and that new baby smell. Honestly, they get me through the rough patches.

From the kitchen… Nothing this week, though I’m hoping to make my Mum’s banana bread sometime this week, which I’ll share with you when I do.

I am wearing…my brown dress with my schnazzy bedazzled cami from Ricki’s underneath. Love it :D

I am creating… nothing. Been too stressed and down. Thinking about socks and crochet though, so that’s something!

I am going… Montreal at the end of the month/early September! :D WOO!

I am reading… A Feast For Crows. I am just devouring this series! Also looking forward for my Amazon order to come in. I have Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story on the way. MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO HARRY!

I am hoping… for some peace. For some healing. Some relief from my blues and maybe some inspiration to be creative again.

I am hearing… Lots of Sarah Harmer.

Around the house…Not much. Finally got our wedding photobook done and am waiting for it to arrive. Can’t wait to see it!

One of my favorite things…Painting my nails. My current colour? Merino Cool:

Taadaa!
Merino Cool by Essie

A few plans for the rest of the week: Date night with the husband this weeken (hopefully going out to dinner), relax a bit. I need “Me” time.

Here is picture! Yay!

Daily Life

Heat, Baby & a Review

Holy heatwave, batman!

We’re roasting up here today. It’s brutal. I’m spending the day in my A/C’d office, worrying about my furbabies and hoping I gave them enough water and ice to get them through the day safely.  How hot is it? Well, this past year I travelled to two southern locals to warm up. In both cases, the locals told me it’s a humid hell in the summer and that they don’t recommend people visiting during this time. Today, we are hotter here than both of those places.

I am not ok with this. (For those in the US, that’s 95F, feeling like 117F here). I am one of those people who do best in the spring and fall. I can’t handle the extremes of the weather. It’s days like this (and days in January) that make me question my choice of cities.  We’ve been surviving thanks to popsicles, fans, and mostly naked lounging.

In more exciting and much less uncomfortable news, I’m a proud auntie (again!). S&K welcomed their baby boy yesterday afternoon. Both Mum and Babe are happy and healthy. I can’t wait to meet the little man <3

Gorgeous, right? Sigh. A ladykiller already <3

Reading my blogs and posts this morning, I fell in love with this from PHIT. I think it’s really important to ask yourself these questions every so often. Do a bit of a tally of sort, a review of where your life is.

1. Who do I love, and what am I doing about it? I love my husband, my family, my close friends and our pets. My husband and I have been through some really tough times together and haven’t always been good to each other. These days, I make a serious effort to let him know how much he means to me and to make time for him and for us. While I don’t necessarily agree that all relationships are “work”, I do feel that they require effort to stay healthy. We talk now more than ever and I think we have a better relationship now than we ever have.

After everything that’s happened over the last couple of years, the last bit of family that I have left is really dear to me. We all make an effort to stay in contact as best we can and see each other as often as we can afford to. I am very open about my love and devotion to them, having lost so much.

As for my close friends, this is something that’s always been a struggle for me. I tend to come on too strong, or am too flighty for people (A gemini thing, I think. It’s all or nothing for me, and I’m very fickle). Having said that, there are people in my life now that have gotten me through the worst and best moments that I’ll ever know and I cherish them more than almost anything. I call them family, and I would do anything for them. Despite never being a phone person, I make an effort to call and text when I can. We email and FB all the time and I try to show them in actions how important they are to me.

2. Am I pursuing my dream, or is fear stopping me? I am a person of many dreams. I dream about being a mother. I dream about working somewhere that I am happy and fulfilled. I dream of having a beautiful home that I’m proud of. We’re working towards our dreams as much as we can, though certain things are holding me back. I don’t know what that “dream job” is, or what to do to obtain it. I try to be honest with myself and try out as much as I can. I hope that one of these days I fumble into it and hold on tight once I’ve found it.

3. Am I doing something that matters? I think so. I work at the local college, helping students find work both during their education and after. I didn’t have this support from my University, so I am proud to help out students and grads today as they face such a difficult economic time. It’s super rewarding when we heard back from them that they’ve found work and that they are happy. I always told myself that I don’t want to Live to Work, but rather will Work to Live, so so long as whatever job I was in made me pretty happy and had a positive effect on the community, I would be content. I definitely have that :)

4. What am I doing to help others? Aside from what I do at work, I have been a volunteer with Mothercraft Ottawa, which is a non-profit organization which provides advocacy and support to mothers and families. I was a volunteer doula for young mothers, new immigrant mum’s and families in need. It was a super rewarding experience and I hope to get back to it when life calms down a little. Also, I do what I can to support the Canadian Cancer Society (right now that’s donations, but I will probably volunteer in the future as well) and RAINN. I could definitely do more, however I have spent the last 5 years of my life being a caregiver to my ailing parents, so my husband and I both feel that we need to take time for us now or else I’d burn out.

5. Am I as good a person as I want to be? I try to be, however I know I have faults. The estate drama has certainly brought out my less than appealing features. I’m impatient, lazy, a procrastinator and can be quick to anger. I’m emotional, sensitive and have worked hard to better myself. I do know that I am hugely devoted to the people I love, that I have a big heart and that I am reliable and trust worthy. We all ave room for improvement, right? Otherwise, what would the point of living be?

6. What am I doing to live life with passion, health and energy? Right now, I have to be honest and say that I’m not. I’m trying to make changes to that though. I need to live healthier. I need to find motivation and energy to be excited about life again. I do live with passion, but you need more than that.