Friday, March 26, 2010
Time, time, time .... passing ..... too bloody quickly perhaps.
One of my fave bloggers, the amazing Amber, has blogged about age, aging, not feeling your age, getting older..... I've felt at least double my age because of a cold, a domestic upset and the start of Spring Break among other things.
And this week I realised that, for the first time in my life, I am now older than the actor who plays James Bond. Humph!
Time is conspiring against me?
I'm sure that as I get older there are fewer hours in the day. I never felt so rushed when I was younger, or is it now that since I am statistically closer to the event, I realise that time is marching on leaving me with less of it to accomplish what I hope to? Is time giving me a kick in the pants to get with living before It's Too Late?
Maybe I am more aware of my own mortality, something that is missing in the invincibility of youth. There is nothing more sobering than realising that middle aged is exactly what it means ie. halfway thru, and that you really should try to stick around as long as possible for the child which you postponed having until your late thirties.
Whatever, I really should start getting the message and living each day yada yada yada ..........
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
So what now? What does all this "friday forte" stuff really mean?
This is not a cry for help or for commiseration.
It's not seeking sympathy or pointing accusing fingers (though I really do rant on a lot about it).
It's not begging for solutions though I love your comments. They are thoughtful and insightful and supportive. Although no one can tell me what to do, the mere fact that you are dropping by to leave your mark is a great boost to me. Thank you.
No, this is me choosing to publicly (well as publicly as you can get with a blog readership of 28) describe what I'm going through right now. These posts are what is happening inside my head as I try to justify and make sense of the way I feel right now at this point in my life. It's not pretty and it's quite scrappy; to be completely honest I would rather not be having to do this.
Simply put, I am trying to move thru all of this emotional and other baggage to get out on the other side. I'm trying to discover how I should make my way thru the rest of my life, with enthusiasm and passion and confidence abounding to pass onto the Wee Guy. It's something I really do need to work out for myself - I've done it before, possibly more painfully, and arrived on a good path to take ... and it's been all my own work ..... which I've been more at ease with eventually than with someone else's solution. Where do I go now?
One of the most influential books in my life has been Dale Carnegie's How to Stop Worrying and Start Living which I got my hands on (and no doubt extra worries) when my husband moved in with his vast eclectic library of self help books (ranging from writing a resume to the tao of sex!). The main thing I learned from Dale was that I should name and prioritise my worries before facing them. It still works for me hence the blogging about it.
So far I've faced and 'beaten down' image (new hairstyle, and revamped wardrobe), adding a little spring in my step. I've tackled what I need to do every day by timetabling/prioritising, and tried to paste in a little 'me' time once in a while. Following some seriously depressing online counseling I've made more effort to widen my circle; as an avowed hermit this is not easy. I've stepped up the exercise. I've also identified what was stopping me in my tracks and boosted my babysitting options. My home business is benefiting.
Spring is bursting in on the scene and with all that I've achieved so far, I'm feeling very optimistic. On reflection and in hindsight, maybe I should have planned the motherhood thing and mid life crisis not to happen at exactly the same time, but with efficiency I can knock two birds on the head at once! Still on the drawing board are the biggies; career/employment/further education, business planning for pomo mama design, family life/relationships/parenting (an ongoing work of art!), my dreams. Stay tuned!
More Friday forte posts here
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I'm not really sure ...... but here's a typical day with the crafting (and business side of crafting) slotted in.
- Wake up - if this is a good day there will be basket of laundry ready to fling in the machine before breakfast
- Wake up the Wee Guy (on a good day he'll already be awake, and might even had breakfast)
- Breakfast prep - includes feeding the Wee Guy and packing school lunch/snack, corralling school items and gently (or not so gently) reminding Wee Guy he needs to eat all his breakfast up pronto.
- Breakfast (for me) - includes dealing with emails, catching up on The Archers podcast and drinking coffee
- School - on a good day I'll get the laundry in the dryer before heading off on the school run, on a bad day success is getting out of the front door with clothing appropriate to the season (him and me)
- Laundry - might be done, might not even be assembled!
- Emails and internet stuff - with focus and discipline I can finish before 9.30am ...... nuff said!
- Crafting project ........ damn, there goes the washer/dryer/guinea pigs to feed
- Phone calls - screened thru voicemail (sorry, but sometimes I feel like being a real hermit)
- Computer on frizz/camera battery dead/website not behaving - damn
- Several hours later - back to crafting project (if I'm lucky and there's no grocery shopping, minor emergency housework which cannot be put off, or school volunteering)
- Laundry most likely, creased and forgotten in dryer - shake and fold.
- Meal plan - what am I going to feed the hordes this evening?
- School pickup comes waaaaaay too soon.
- End of day aka start of domestic stuff
- Too tired to finish off abandoned project in evening - bath/tv/mindless internet surfing which requires no conscious thought process/bed
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Well, the answer is location ... location, location, location .......and a recent snowfall.
The boys, with cross country ski passes for Cypress burning holes in their pockets, took very little persuading to leave the house together this Saturday.
Childcare - check!
Leaving me peace and quiet to get some housework done ..... pardon?
Not a chance! I was 'oot the door' off to the local Swaporamarama meet up at Douglas College in Coquitlam.
What an absolute blast! - tables of sewing machines (thanks to Sundrop Textiles who were a major sponsor of the event), embroidery by hand and by machine, screen printing (sponsored by Yudu), overlocking/serging services (from PoCo Sewing Machine and Vacuum Ltd) and tables of clothes just begging to be upcycled into fabulous!
The event was in full swing when I arrived (late, thanks Translink). I picked a T shirt and some fabric scraps then tackled a modern sewing machine (my current at-home model is about 25 years young).
Ten minutes later; sewing machine 1, human nil.
Luckily help was at hand for the threading up and installing the bobbin (totally defeated me and I know how to machine sew!). Once all my loopy threads were corrected I settled down to make flower ruffles for the neckline of the simple green T shirt.
It was great fun!
There is something truly relaxing but inspiring sitting crafting away from the home. For one thing, there's no housework or dirty corners giving you the evil eye. For another, the company was truly inspiring. Entire garments were being stripped down, refashioned, re-assembled and joined with other elements. Simple jersey became funky fashion pieces, skirts became jackets and plain fabric embellished with paint. Awesome!
After stitching yards of ruffle I joined the hand embroidery table to stitch my creations. To my right a pair of flannel PJ trousers had their snowflakes embellished while the embroiderer talked about her sister's doll making. Krista, running a smooth and quirky embroidery table, talked about combining creating with a science background. Students dropped by to ask questions.
Eventually my T shirt was done, photographed and clean up commenced ...... and I was ready in time for the boys to give me a ride back on their way home from skiing.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Let's take a little look .....
According to Raj Patel's book, "The Value of Nothing" the unpaid work in the world amounts to the grand total of 16 trillion dollars in unpaid salary cheques! It will come as no surprise that this massive effort is mostly bankrolled by women who are not paid for the bulk of childcare, reproduction, homemaking and civic work which makes the world go round. How do I contribute?
I am neither a starfleet commander nor clever with extreme financial politics but I do know how much it would cost, on a very basic level, to replace me in the home.
In other words, how much does my frugal-ness contribute to the family income by leaving the cash in the bank (and we're being very frugal here right now ever since our spanking brilliant new floor was installed, thus eating up some of our savings)? It's an exercise I've run thru in my head ever since my father-in-law asked the dreaded question, "So what are you doing with your time these days, Amanda?" regarding my new immigrant-ish just followed the spouse on HIS relocation unemployed status.
Well, I am a SAHM (say it loud, say it proud cos no one else has a fucking clue). In translation I am never far from the homestead if my family needs me. Thus I take care of the childcare (five afternoons of after school care at $150 per week, lordy knows how much at the weekend), the housework (I'm guessing at $100 per visit every two weeks) and a full home-cooked meal service (priceless apparently from the looks on faces at the dining table most evenings) usually from scratch.
So far I've "saved" about $800 CAD per month.
I also do all the grocery shopping in person (no delivery service though I have used one when I was too sick to move). I ferry the Wee Guy to his piano, swimming and skating lessons. I pay our bills and deal with household admin myself.
I maintain our major investment ie. our house, trying to keep it looking good to realise its maximum re-sale potential. This week I stripped down, olied and replaced the sticky lock on our front door, thus saving the pricey visit from a locksmith when we got locked out.
I clip coupons for our necessities and shop around for AirMiles deals (saved approximately $15 this month alone). I scuttle around our banking accounts to pay off credit card bills promptly without incurring interest (you would not believe the amounts of interest we were paying during the brief financial holiday I took leaving my DH in sole charge - turns pale at the memory). I source stuff we need from thrift stores and Freecycle. I don't heat the house when it's just me at home. I mend. I make. I improvise. In short I am frugal with the money I don't earn.
But what do I cost my family to have me with them? Well, I get a haircut every 6-8 weeks ($55), and I need clothes every so often (thrift or Value Village mostly). I eat (not too much) and I like chocolate (in moderation) and I need a roof over my head. Wine is nice sometimes, I have no expensive eating out habits (since that comes from the household budget and is thus subject to my frugal-ness). I drive the car but then again, I save on taxi fares. I don't haunt the spa and wait a minute! my craft business pays for all my treats, gifts and sundries anyway.
By my extremely conservative estimates I am at least stopping an extra $1000 CAD from leaving the family coffers each month and in return I am 'paid' my board and lodgings. So should my annual salary be $12000 CAD or the $135,519 I calculated on that old chestnut, the Mom Salary Wizard?
Heck, I contribute majorly! (and I'm proud)....
PS: BTW, I don't think my husband is anymore paid for being a dad going out to earn the family's bread and butter than I am for being a SAHM, it's just that his name is on the pay cheque and he doesn't get the vacant looks when asked by a salaried member of the human race what he does. IMHO (ok not so humble, more rant-y) we both should be paid an allowance from the household income for what we do to support the family.
More Friday Forte posts here
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Fans - I have discovered the secret to eternal youth, or at least a rapid fix for wrinkles ..... and I'm willing to share it with you without recourse to Facebook spam ads or shady pleas for cash.
Over expose the heck out of your self portraits.
Works every time (also bleaches out age spots, freckles, pimples, ...)
PS: the fascinator shown in the pic is not yet finished, I'm still playing around with the placement of the wire crochet stars. Eventually I will be satisfied and wire them on securely. I'll be selling them at the Blim Community Market, Sunday March 28th in Heritage Hall, Vancouver.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 08, 2010
So today was lost. I had some needlefelting calling to me but I was feeling too incoordinated to wield the sharp stuff. My neck was too stiff for some knitting dolly work so the necklace remains unfinished. Bleh!
.... but I did manage to photo this ring from yesterday's crafting!
... and I cast on and knit a few rows on a new knitting project, fed the family a nutritious meal, and tidied the kitchen so it wasn't all bad.
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Amidst all the mid-life crisisness I am still crafting away in, around and in spite of the family (not sure how sane it's keeping me but imagine how nuts I would be if I didn't have this distraction!).
I'm managing to get most of the admin/paperwork done during the day when I'm at my (?)sparkiest and leave the creative work until the evening when I can hang up my concious mind and just get on with making stuff. Usually I've been thinking about projects all day in my head so when the evening comes around all I need are my materials and tools for the idea to take shape.
The pic shows me working on a new design of seaglass cufflinks (shown below) from what's turning into the "simplicty" collection of classic, unadorned pieces. I'm starting to think more in terms of themes when creating now. Another new deisng I'm very pleased with incorporates needlefelting, a new skill, as shown in the purple poppy ring below. It's good to have some distractions (and recent sales too!).
simple drilled seaglass and sterling cufflinks
wire and fibre poppy ring
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Just playing around with fd's flickr toys to see what pics of mine have made it to Explore so far (some people have hundreds there!).
I'm more than pleased with my little selection.
1. embroidery initial K, 2. flotsam brooch - dill pickle wannabe, 3. my portable bezel setting and pre-polishing kit, 4. constellations cuff - Milky Way, 5. constellations wire crochet cuff, 6. hallelujah!, 7. self portrait thursday, 8. copper wire crochet cuff with handmade felt,
9. flower embroidery - step into my garden
Created with fd's Flickr Toys
Friday, March 05, 2010
OK so this week could be seen in some ways a heck of a setback for my plans for
world domination a meaningful existence as a SAHM. This week I voluntarily gave up my only afternoon of after school care.
There - I said it!
Luckily I don't need to rely on having the time childfree (heck, it's not as if I'm doing anything important!!!!) so there's no angst involved in placating employers or speed-dating a whole bunch of other child care providers ...... but it still ... hurts.
So why did I do it?
Well, check out the Wee Guy on the right above. He's the reason. He just wasn't happy. There was a personality clash which brought out his worst (and oh boy, he has some personality for a wee guy) and was making him lose confidence in his won abilities. There were some childcare issues I wasn't comfortable with (like bleaching the toilets before all the kids had left for the day, meaning they were then denied access to the loo; tidying all the toys away before all the kids had left, and a few other iffy-to-me decisions) which were causing the Wee Guy some frustrations. He was coming home at the end of the day demoralised and depressed. Last week was a last straw issue so I gave our notice, checked in with the Wee Guy (who said he didn't want to go back) and pulled him out.
Somehow my needs pale into insignificance when compared with this stoic little future citizen-in-waiting I'm guiding into the world.
I am so grateful that I do indeed have the luxury of not having to compromise his well-being.
PS: I did get banged-up this week, it looks a bit curly right now cos we "went wild" with the hot irons - I'll post straighter pics after the first wash and style (but I think you'll like it!) /end of vanity moment
Thursday, March 04, 2010
I can now officially confirm that spring is with us.
Over on my other blog, I'm running a series of posts thru March with the theme "Make It March" which is meant to encourage me to be creative and make some carp. So far I've tackled my website (which is now the aforementioned blog thanks to Blogger adding static pages into the mix) and gone thru the agony of photographing, describing and listing some more jewelry in my Etsy shop.
the noisy antics soon draw a crowd of
Thanks to mild weather and increasing daylight, the guinea pigs thought they would make their contribution to Make It (Out) March too. She (Becca) came into oestrus, and he (Gullible) spent yesterday shagging (NB: link poss NSFW!) her senseless. It all involved a lot of chasing around the cage and squeaking noisily in an aggrieved manner.
That is, until she discovered the power of the contraceptive igloo! and re-discovered the mathematical perfection that states two into one will not go.
impossible to hump, inside or outside
Gullible likewise made a discovery. There is not enough room in a pigloo in which to swing into action.
Contrary to last year, he's now the one wearing the look of disappointment!
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
From our downtown olympic adventure, please offer up your applause for the medals.
- most unexpected moment of the day: close tie between the much shorter queue for the Vancouver Art Gallery (V.A.G.) after lunch, and the walk right up to view the olympic cauldron thru the security fence (wow!)
- most BC moment of the day: viewing the Kevin Schmidt video installation at V.A.G. playing Stairway to Heaven on a generator-powered guitar and am combo during sunset on Long Beach (so BC)
- most touristy moment: being photographed with the olympic torch in the Bell Canada igloo
- most emotional moment: watching the Wee Guy get his hug from Sumi, one of the olympic mascots, at last!
- most wtf? moment: watching parents letting their kids chase after and stamp at the pigeons in Kidspace on Granville Island (shame on you, parents! do you let them beat up smaller kids too and sit back doing nothing? great way to breed psychopaths)
- most kid-friendly moment: traveling on the Canada Line to collect the Olympic streetcar to Granville Island (we both loved that journey)
Thank you for reading.
Monday, March 01, 2010
It started waaaaaaaaay back with not being able to get out on the ice with the mascots. Oh the disappointment!
.. followed by waiting in the dark really early in the morning for the torch relay (followed by side trip to ER later in the day)