Winter is Coming

Some people say it’s here already, in fact. All of a sudden, we woke up to snow falling yesterday and today, the temperature dropped significantly. Liam was too wee to play in the snow last year, so he had his first real snow encounter yesterday. It was awesome.

Yeah, he was in love. We were frozen to the bone when we finally dragged him inside. He could have easily stayed out there longer. It may be time for me to pick up some snow pants so that I can stay as toasty as possible while little man explores :D Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Samhain Eve

There is something about this time of year. It gets into my blood, into my bones. I feel super unsettled, like I’ve had too many coffees. It’s deeper than coffee though – I feel it in my chest. I am more prone to anxiety, to excitement. I feel like I’m nesting, but in preparation for the coming cold and snow rather than a wee babe.

I’ve been driven by madness, it seems, to declutter like mad. I tore through our main floor yesterday. I stuffed and sorted diapers, listing those that I didn’t love. I did dishes, sorted through papers, I cleaned out corners and organized toys. I scrubbed and vacuumed. Over the weekend, I tackled our outdoors. Not so much the gardens, but I moved all the outdoor play stuff into the backyard. I cleared the deck of crap. The UFYH people would have been proud. Clearly my instincts were right – I woke this morning to a light blanket of snow covering everything outside. Halloween usually marks the first snow here, so I had a feeling it would be coming soon.

The snow was already gone when I went to take a picture.

The snow was already gone when I went to take a picture.

I’m still not sure what we’re doing to celebrate tomorrow. I’m going to take the little man to the local mall for some costume fun, and then I’ll probably take him to a couple houses for some treats. I was thinking about doing some “ancestral food” for dinner (Right now the plan is for latkes and perhaps steak. The latkes celebrate my mom, and the steak is for Pat’s dad). We’ve done some decorating and some craft projects. It’s going to be so fun when he’s older to really get into it!

photo 4 photo 3

We’ll leave some milk and honey outside and I think I’ll do my annual tarot reading. Every year I try to do one big reading for myself to get a feel for the upcoming year. I think this year I’m going to focus on the wisdom and lessons of the past.

On that note, I’d like to offer 5 readings for my followers. Comment on this post, be sure to include your email address. I’ll get back to you and confirm what it is you’d like to know. Be as specific or as vague as you’d like.  I’ll email you your reading once I’ve done it.

Going in a completely different direction, I found a super cute nail polish that is perfect for Halloween.

photo 1

Meet Revlon Elusive #736. I just happened to come across it on sale at Shoppers when I was picking up some late night groceries the other day and couldn’t resist. It’s a matte black with flecks of beautiful teal glitter. It dries super fast. The coverage is fantastic. I’m only wearing one coat in the picture. I could use another one, but…

notime

 

On that note, this momma has to get going. I’m working on some top secret Christmas/Yule crafts. SHHHH! Details to come later, I promise! Don’t forget to comment if you want a reading. <3 If you are comfortable with me posting the results, let me know! I’ll do a post if people are cool with it.

Big Tuesday Post

Another freezing winter’s day. Yesterday was especially tough. Made it that much harder to get out of bed and return to work when the wind chill is around -34C (about -33F).  Add to that some more dead parent nightmares. Yeah, it was a fun morning. Despite my post the other day, my whole day had this downness to it. I discovered around lunch time that my iphone has a massive crack on the back from it falling out of my purse over the weekend. My new iphone. Sigh. Then, on the way home from workmy new purse had its strap break. Literally as I was walking off the bus into the freezing cold night.

So, I went home, sat in front of the television, and refused to do anything. I didn’t cook. I didn’t clean. I didn’t do anything more than lay my ass down with an afghan, two cats and the dog. The husband forced me to eat something when he got home from karate (which he cooked because I refused otherwise. Yes, really mature, I know. I know my limits, and I know that in the mood I was in, I was likely to hurt myself if I tried to make anything more complicated than open-and-microwave)

On the plus side, I had a great weekend. Friday night, the hubby and I went to my mother’s home/estate to work on things there. Afterwards, as a treat, we went to see The Rite. I have a strange love for demon related movies (Constantine, Devil’s Advocate, you get the idea) and really enjoyed it. I love Anthony Hopkins, and really enjoyed him in another creepy role.

Saturday involved first going out with our friends S&K to see The Green Hornet (which was better than I was expecting. It was lots of fun) followed by some hardcore knitting to finish up a project that I’ve been super excited about. My Super Sekrit Knitting Project? It was a gift a friend of mine who had a baby shower this weekend. Pat and I are good friends with her and her husband and often give each other gag gifts at birthdays and the like. For the baby, I wanted to do something that was functional, handmade and hilariously awesome.  So,  I made this:

Cole the unwilling Viking

Pattern: Bella Knitting’s Viking Boy Hat

Yarn: Lang Yarns Merino 120 Super Wash

My Rav Project Page

And, as you can see, I also made some matching booties. I altered a pretty straight forward pattern to match the hat details. I’m really happy with how it all turned out, and have since had a few requests for more from a few of my other friends. Woo!

Pattern:  Textured Cuff Bootees by Zoë Mellor (from 50 Baby Bootees to Knit)

Yarn: Lang Yarns Merino 120 Super Wash

My Rav Project Page

Yay for actual crafting content! Sunday was the shower, and the gifts were very well received. :D

Unfortunately, the weekend also held some really sad news. The father of one of our friends passed away on Friday night. He had been fighting cancer for a while, and had a very similar experience as Pat’s Dad (healthy guy, suddenly afflicted with a very aggressive cancer). This Imbolc I’ll be lighting a candle in his honour and for his family. It’s so hard when close friends are going through such a difficult time.  I may, if we can afford it and if I have the time, make them a meal or a snack. It’s not much, but I know when I lost my parents, not having to prepare a meal was a god send.

Speaking of Imbolc, the lovely Laura Marjorie Miller shared another one of her great posts. Definitely check it out. My plans are pretty basic, actually. I’ll probably have a cleansing bath, maybe do a reading. I’m debating doing some kind of fertility thing…any recommendations?  I’ve heard that it’s traditional to open all the doors and windows to welcome Bridget in. Are we supposed to do that tonight, or tomorrow? I may also make a list of things that I’d like to have gone from my life and then feed the list to a fire.

We have plans with friends to visit my favourite Irish pub in town, Patty’s. It happens to be the very same Pub that Charles de Lint, his wife, MaryAnn and their band play at occasionally. Afterwards, we’ll be visiting L & S as an after-funeral gathering. It’s going to be a busy today.

Anyway, to wrap up this post, here’s my Tuesday Day Book entry:

Outside my window… is the impending storm.  It’s not supposed to be as bad here in Ottawa as other places (I hear apocalypse is being thrown around as a descriptor in the states for the storm. Really? It’s going to be bad, but not that bad people.)

I am thinking…about my upcoming trip to New Orleans! I haven’t talked about this here yet, because it was still being planned. One of my closest friends in the world is this lovely gentleman by the name of Isaac.

Isaac and I, about 7 years ago. Neither of us look much like this anymore.

He is currently in a fantastic job that earns him an obscene number of aeroplan points. He has invited me on a 5 day trip to New Orleans with him! We’ve been talking about traveling there together for as long as we’ve been friends (going on 12 years now). It’s going to be EPIC. We’re leaving in March and will be there for about 5 nights. SO EXCITED.

I am thankful for… my husband. I know, I say that a lot, but he puts up with a whole bucket of crazy for me. He’s super sweet and very good at helping me through crap times.

From the kitchen… I’m super happy with how my first attempt at home made Beef Stroganoff went.  I’ve been eating it happily for days now.

I am wearing… Plaid pants with a dark blue top. I have my wedding flats on too. Woo

I am creating… Hopefully tonight, the Guiness Gingerbread. YUM. I love you, Nigella.

I am going… to be running around like mad tomorrow.

I am reading… First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher.  Last in the series, I think.

I am hoping… to have enough money for both of my trips in the coming months. New Orleans in March, Calgary in May. Busy busy

I am hearing… A lot of crazy people freaking out over the weather.

Around the house… I’m hoping to keep the house clean for longer than a day. yeah. Right.

One of my favorite things… Planning and plotting for trips! I have a list of things we should do/see/eat while in NO. :D

A few plans for the rest of the week: Wednesday holds Imbolc, a pub trip and comforting friends. Friday is work on the estate, with Sunday holding the return of Family Dinners with Jan and co.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…


Coming Out

Happy Monday everyone!

It’s extremely cold in Ottawa today. We broke a record, in fact. Unfortunately, as a result, our car wouldn’t start this morning, forcing Pat and I to face the cold head-on. Thank the gods for efficient public transportation! Thanks to this cold snap, the office is a little strange today. Not a lot of people in, so its both very quiet and very busy.

A lot of people in the blog world have been talking about The Bloggess’ recent post about mental health. I am definitely going to join in. So, first, go  here and read her entry. When you’re done, come on back.

All done? Thanks for taking the time to read that. Just like the lady asked, I’m joining in.

This is something that I feel very strongly about. I’ve posted about it before. Too often I hear about men and women suffering in silence, unwilling to “burden” their loved ones with their problems. Mental illness is a disease, not a weakness of character. It requires treatment from the medical community and support from your loved ones.

At the age of 10, I saw my first psychologist. I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder which was manifesting in OCD behaviours. I was taking all my stress and any external issues (fight with my parents, troubles at school) and taking it all upon myself. I had a massive guilt complex that would spiral completely out of control. I would end up physical ill due to all of this anxiety.  My treatment involved therapy sessions, meditation techniques and journal writing.

In my teens, my whole immediate family attended family counseling sessions. My sister and I were fighting with my parents a lot. We weren’t doing well in school and our teachers were concerned about us. We were both diagnosed with depression and as a family, we attended counselling sessions to work through our differences.

In university, I attended free therapy sessions with the on-campus counselor to assist me with my anxiety and issues surrounding the illnesses in my family. It was also then that I first started taking medication for my sleep issues and my depression.

Two years ago, after my father passed away, I started having terrible nightmares and as a result, had a really hard time sleeping. I had run out of my sleep aid, so I booked an appointment with my GP. He told told me he wouldn’t write me another prescription unless I went to see a psychologist regularly. So, I did. She turned out to be one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met, and I’ve been going regularly ever since. I am no longer on medication for sleep, and I have many coping strategies that I use to manage my post-traumatic stress disorder, my anxiety and my depression. It’s still a battle, but I have had incredible support from my friends, Pat and my in-laws.

I can say, with absolutely certainty, that I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t taken a moment to tell my parents, my doctor or my husband how I felt.  Mental illness is something that is common in my family. My father struggled with depression and alcoholism for most of his life. I have a nephew who is schizophrenic, and both my sister and I have depression and anxiety. My parents created an atmosphere in which we were able to come to them when we were going through a hard time.

It’s so important to be there for our loved ones, to let them know that we are there to support them, and that we love them the way that they are. As someone who may be facing a difficult time, it is important to know that the first step is to speak to someone about what you’re going through. There is help out there, but you need to be willing to talk to someone you trust. Trust me when I say that they want you in their lives, no matter how broken or fucked up you feel.

Please, take a breath, reflect on the people you love and speak up. You’re not alone.

EDIT: I wanted to take a moment to add to this post. I’ve had a day to ponder more on the subject and I want to make sure I’m not misunderstood. Sometimes we go through hard times, and we need support and care from our loved ones. This isn’t necessarily mental illness, however I think it’s still important to ask for that help and support when you need it. Stress and hard times can be hell, without mental illness entering into the picture. Please don’t take from this that I think you are “sick” if you need support. That isn’t the point at all, but rather that everyone needs help sometimes. If you do have depression/anxiety/etc… or if you just need some understanding and support, know that there isn’t anything wrong with you, as an individual, and that it isn’t your fault.

Also, I think North American society has a tendency to diagnose and medicate every issue that comes up. I am not in support of medicating our problems away, however I am aware that some mental illnesses require medication for treatment. That is up to the individual and their caregivers. Whether you seek support from the medical community or from your loved ones, know that if you are going through a hard time that you are not alone and that there is help out there.

Thanks :)

Winter’s sleep

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I’m very glad that Samhain has passed. The fall seems like such a busy time that it’s a bit of a relief when the last big event finally passes by. Nothing that has been planned for this fall has actually worked out the way we expected. My mother’s house still is far from being ready for sale. My house is still full of boxes and wedding things that need to be returned. I’m not too worried about it though. The knowledge of the coming winter is almost a comfort to me. It’s an insulated time. With the fall of snow and temperatures, you’re forced to stay inside and work on things there. I feel like I need that white, cold buffer between me and the world right now.

Have gone through an incredible amount of change the last year, and I feel that this winter will help me adjust and accept those changes. I am married, and with that not only has my name changed, but I am tied to another person for, hopefully, a lifetime. We are planning to start a family soon, which will bring a whole new set of changes. I have a new family, and new home and identity. I feel like we have our own nest now, and that this is our time.

My parents are both dead. I knew that this would happen eventually, but it’s still very difficult for me to accept that it is reality now. It is an incredible loss that I can’t even begin to explain, that I would never wish on anyone. It has very suddenly removed a support system that I have been relying on very heavily my whole life. It’s like learning to walk all over again.

In a week, I will be once again unemployed. I have applied for a job that I desperately want and feel very strongly about, but there is a chance that I won’t get it. I need to decide at some point if I want to keep doing the same things and moving in the same direction, or if I want to try something new.

It’s a scary and difficult time in my life, but it’s also an incredibly exciting one. Everything is new to me. This is definitely a time of learning and creating. I can already see the changes in and around me. I’m drawing again. I’m reading voraciously. I’m changing the relationships I have with the people in my life. I’m excited to see where this all leads me :)