Friday, January 28, 2011

friday forte: normal service

on display, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Apologies for yesterday's post. It really was "one of those days" and I am so annoyed (annoyed) with myself for letting it get to me. In essence, nothing really dreadful happened but an accumulation of little niggly things finally reached critical mass ...

Anyways, my thoughts last night were churning around and mulling over why exactly I'm trying to Do All Of This. Why am I going back to college part time? Why do I keep on crafting and making stuff? Why do I volunteer? Why do I fill my days when I have no direct parenting to do and the housework is long done (cough - or ignored)? Why do I keep myself sooooo busy that every day is an essay in prioritising? What exactly is the point of doing all of this when it feels like my feet are running in mid air, I'm not making any money, and it makes me stressed? Why? What am I aiming for?

Today was a Pro D day.
The Wee Guy was in childcare cos I thought I would be teaching a wire crochet class in town (I wasn't).
I had homework to do, website writing to plan, marketing, creating, reading .... same as any other day but I did nothing (or as near to nothing as possible).

After dropping off Wee Guy and mr ebb, I called in at City Hall to photograph the Blackberry Artists display (see above). Each month the exhibition is changed out so I try to capture some images for the blog. I'm really pleased with the way the vignette app for Android captures such charming images. This new array of four is a recent 'find'.

Then I paid my business license for the year (it gives me advertising at City Hall among other perks).
I cleaned out mrs pig's floor pen (she was happy).
I printed out some work for the college course and sent off the files to other members of the group project. Even as a part timer, I can contribute.

Then I called in at Tri Cities Family Place to collect the diaries for the newsletter I send out each month. I stayed chatting with Christine for almost three hours .. three hours! It was an absolute tonic. Christine has known me since I arrived in Port Moody. She wrote a reference for my college application. She is full of really great practical advice about parenting and children. She makes my heart sing and my brain engage. She makes me feel that I'm making a difference, that my contributions are valuable. She makes me feel that what I'm doing is worthwhile and possible.

I paid in a cheque at the bank; picked up some dishwasher detergent at Costco; I drove home and finished sewing a cardigan together (am wearing it now).


So - what is the point of what I'm doing?
I'm trying to craft a meaningful life for myself - something that makes sense and helps me fulfill my roles as wife and mother. I'm not approaching it by conventional means and the end result ie. employment, will not be a job in the conventional 9-5 sense. I don't have a map or a plan showing me how to get to what I'm aiming for. I don't even have the guide book to tell me it'll be worthwhile when I get there. Heck, I don't even know if 'there' exists!

There is no single role model in my life who is forging the same path that I can follow along, but there are many, many strong women I am honoured to know, who each give me an idea of how to go forward, how to keep on going forward. Thank you.

i'd like to give each and every one of you who responded to yesterday's post, on Facebook and here on Blogger, a huge hug. thank you for your kind and beautiful comments, and support. i hope one day to deliver the hug and my thanks in person :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

self portrait thursday: a snapshot of a not very great day

spt thursday 27th jan 2011

Being in celebration of the Etsy Self Portrait Thursday challenge where a bunch of Etsy sellers indulge in online vanity by taking pics of themselves

Today I have been mostly feeling frustrated.
Which makes me feel crap.

I feel like I'm not getting anywhere.
I feel like I'm too old to get anywhere.
I really worry that I've left it too late.

I have no job, no pension, no career - at 45 I should not be where I am today.

I'm tired of bending myself round family and parenting, trying to find the path thru it all. I'm really tired of trying to forge my own way.

I'd like a role model. I'd like a pre-made roadmap. I'd like ti handed to me on a goddam plate!
I'd like to find other older mothers, immigrants with no employment history here, making a return to a more purposeful, satisfying existence in, around and in spite of their families. I should stop comparing myself (unfavourably) with younger women who don't have the same "end of life" urgency about clawing their way back to work. They have their own set of concerns and demons but time isn't running out for them in the way I feel it is for me. They have age/time on their side, as well as domestic employment history, network, qualifications, work experience ... family.
I'd really like a role model to show me it's all possible, or to quietly tell me to stop bashing my head against the wall and give up.

Right now, emigrating has cost me far more than I've gained.
I've lost my family, my friends, my home, my career ... my network was left behind. I didn't step from one job into another, with its ready network and camaraderie and anchorage. I can't step easily into the profession I qualified for. I've now been unemployed for too long to easily step into any job.
I'm not finding it easy.

Would I have done it differently if I had realised how much was at stake, how much I would have to give up?

I would not be here now. The price is too high. The rewards don't compensate. I'm losing the belief that I can make It happen for me here.
But I'm stuck.

It's just 'one of those days'.
It's just one of those many days.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

wordless wednesday: it must be sunny

a view today
playtime in the park
the solar-powered flower is nodding

Sunday, January 23, 2011

plainly speaking

wirework for today
would much rather be doing this

My latest homework has been pure torture.
Precis I don't mind.
Editing and reducing the word count - no problem.
But plain english? Ugh (two paragraphs, in the style of .... wish me luck).

Plain English, also known as Plain Language,  is the art of writing effectively without unnecessary clutter.  

The Plain Language movement started with 14th Century authors, such as Chaucer,  writing in everyday english rather than french (used in the royal court) or church latin. Writing in everyday language and speech patterns meant more people could understand. A century later the printing press was invented and books were available to more people. Coupled with Plain Language, reading became popular in the general population. Information was more readily available. By the mid 20th century the modern Plain English movement began. In 1946, English author, George Orwell, criticised the misuse of language by politicians. He stated that political writing existed "to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Orwell championed Plain English instead of using "meaningless words and hackneyed phrases".  The British Plain English movement began in 1979 with a dramatic shredding of hundreds of indecipherable official forms. It continued with development of the Crystal Mark seal of approval for document clarity. In 1978, the United States government decided all federal regulations should be written in Plain English (Executive Order from President Carter). In Canada, a Plain Language Society of Vancouver was founded in the 1980's.  Global businesses and governments have worked hard to make information clearly understandable to their readers since these early days.   

Plain language is best suited for business writing and technical texts, where surplus words confuse the reader. Documents written in plain language are easy to read and understand at first sight.  
Avoid - 
  • unnecessary jargon, slang, and clichĂ©s 
  • lengthy and complex sentences  
  • abbreviations, acronyms, and foreign words 
Simplicity and brevity are essential.   
Use simple words, short sentence structure, and a conversational tone to engage instead of confuse the reader. Strong, active verbs get the message across and cut down sentence length. Keep gender neutral - don't alienate your audience. Focus your writing by researching your audience. Ease the reading process as much as possible.  

Remove superfluous verbiage. 

In a nutshell, cut the crap.

PS: There is a website (Drivel Defence) which you can plug your text into and check for Plain English use. It's offered by the Plain English Society. According to their analysis, my paragraphs above fare quite well.

Friday, January 21, 2011

friday forte: running so fast i'm standing still

little forest pendants in fine silver
i can see the woods for the trees, dammit

Three quarters of the way thru January and I still don't feel as though I can stop running to keep up. It's been busy (busy) but I'm feeling OK about how I've been coping so far.
  • third week of college completed (homework less so but the deadlines are more than a week away)
  • gallery exhibit pieces finished and delivered
  • bricks-and-mortars re-stocked (a fancy way of saying that I've renewed inventory in all the shops I consign in)
  • housework almost there
  • bills paid
  • family fed, in clean clothes, sane
I'm almost on top of my to-do pile. I'm still prioritising like mad every single day (and would love to get off the wheel). So far nothing, apart from a delayed newsletter, has slipped through (that I know of).
I know what I need to do and how to do it.
But I would really like some kind of structure to my working week.

Last night I sat down with pen and paper to write out all my tasks for the month. From that list I tried to group them; business, volunteer, domestic, and so on, and that divided them into daily/weekly/monthly tasks. From this pattern I can plan out my week, allotting blocks of time to each type of task. If I draw up a master list, a. nothing should slip through, and b. I will never be at a loose end for something to do.

Heck! I might even feel like I'm making progress.
Gee! I might even schedule a day off :)

PS: I will be stepping off the wheel until mid week - I've got one post scheduled and then there's Monday when I will participate in shared reading, followed a skype interview with the awesome Amber for her Crafting My Life course, a school skating trip, and finally an anger management session for the Wee Guy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

self portrait thursday: brr plainly nippy out

there is no way snow is going down this neck
Being in celebration of the Etsy Self Portrait Thursday challenge where a bunch of Etsy sellers indulge in online vanity by taking pics of themselves

It's that time of the week again, and this time of the week is a snow day. Wee Guy was enormously excited (and well enough) to go to school this morning (I got a call from school yesterday mid-morning to pick him up cos of one episode of vomit)(!)(which he recovered from before I even wrangled him to the car) and I managed to struggle in to college to read the email from the tutor telling me that class was cancelled.

c'est la vie

Which brings me on to Plain English. My homework for today's invisible class.
So, in the interests of clarity, I really shouldn't have included a foreign phrase in my post.
But I have done.
Because there is nothing business-y about a self portrait thursday post.
The two paragraphs on Plain English aka Plain Language will be rendered unto Caesar in due course (which, in translation, means before next thursday).

This morning the world was encased in a wondrous whiteness which the Wee Guy and I gazed on in amazement prior to consuming our morning repast. Suitably attired (see above picture - i cannot bear anything cold down the back of my neck) we ventured forth in pursuit of our day's activities, he to the tender care of his in loco parentis supervision, and myself variously to my literary studies, my communications, and to a local seat of higher learning where I diligently pursued my studies. After sufficient and earnest application to my books I thence returned via snowy avenues to restock the household perishables, appraise myself of the morrow's ventures and ultimately to resume parental activities with the fruit of my partner's loins. Following ample repast, we completed ablutions and fell into blissful slumber.

It had snowed during the night which made the Wee Guy very excited and the roads crap to drive on. After breakfast I dumped him at daycare then scrambled thru homework, emails and drove to a non-existent class at college. Pissed around for a while at college then drove back thru slush. Bought veggies, prepped for a wire crochet class tomorrow then collected the wee blighter. Fed him, made sure he washed properly then went to bed.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

wordless wednesday: pictures in an exhibition

Currently on display at Leigh Square, Port Coquitlam in the Roots gallery exhibition.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

pssst! wanna learn something new?

multi strand bracelet
In the midst of all the excitement about the upcoming group show at Leigh Square, I completely forgot to plug another of my ventures, namely a new venue for wire crochet classes.

I'll be teaching my first class for beginners at the excellent Bird On A Wire on Main Street (at Broadway) in Vancouver this Friday, 21st January. The first class will cover basic chain stitch and we will make a wonderful multi-stranded bracelet. The following Friday there will be another class and a new stitch to be practised with a stunning gemchip wire mesh cuff as the result.

gem chip wire mesh cuff
I'll be repeating these classes towards the end of February/ early March (for details please check out the newly updated Classes tab above).

I've been busy - the Events tab is also updated with new craft fairs, exihibitions and local shopping links :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

change of scene

Saturday so it must be Grouse. Mr ebb, the Wee Guy and I have rather recklessly signed away a number of our weekends in the pursuit of betterment in winter sports, aka bloody early starts for ski lessons. This seemed a Good Idea at the tail end of 2010; in the cold (early) light of day, it seems Truly Dumb.

Today's seemed Incredibly Dumb.
Moguls in flat light are no joke on a snowboard. One moment there is contact with <i>terra firma</i>, and the next either your knees are round your ears or the ground has vanished into the air. It is a good learning moment but it's not exactly relaxing. The cloud sitting firmly atop Grouse Mountain reduced visibility to hand-in-front-of-face only. Navigation was tricky, not helped by a complete absence of signage at crucial steepnesses. In some areas there was absolutely no point of reference for orientation, truly a magical mystery tour. Still, this aging shred betty and her even older (by a couple of months) companion managed the Tour de Grouse in style.

Shame Beavertails wasn't open (can anyone confirm if Rusty Rail ever is?)

Friday, January 14, 2011

friday forte: MIA (mi acorn!)

My acorn!, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

I adore social media. I love being able to reach out across the globe to my online life, to friends in other countries and just down the street, to family in a different time zone, and all when it suits me in my crazy, busy life. No more coughing awkwardly on the phone trying to escape, or eyeballing the letter sitting in the hall patiently awaiting either a stamp or a trip to the mailbox (ain't gonna happen any time soon) - contact is easy to make as when it suits.

But, oh boy, can it be an interruption! Recently I feel as though I've been MIA, especially from twitter. I'm sure my Klout will take a nose dive, but a lot of social media is time consuming and a tempting diversion from That Which Needs To Be Done.

So I have been MIA .... and above is the reason. The load-in for the exhibition at Leigh Square is on Wednesday, and as of this morning I was still "missing" four pieces. In addition to this new school thang, my time has been in short enough supply - tweeting had to go (temporarily). I've been up to my armpits in dragonflies, acorns, little trees, and lichen. I've forgotten what colour my bench is!

But it's been worth it :) Of the last four projects, one is now completed and framed, another is awaiting polishing having been fired this afternoon, and the last ones are well on the way. This morning they, er, didn't really exist much.

PS: yes, that is my acorn on the exhibition poster :)

self portait thursday: me

Me, in my fifth decade.
Am I really only just starting out or is this just another new beginning? Is one life meant to be just one continuous stretch, or should it be a patchwork portfolio of experiences?
I have no answers. I only have questions.
When will I know?
Will I know?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

wordless wednesday: change of scene

Monday, January 10, 2011

time in motion monday

my Gullible, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

woke up*shower and wash hair* check Wee Guy is waking and getting dressed*dry hair and get self dressed* breakfast prep Wee Guy*breakfast prep for the pigs*check Gullible - not willing to drink today*first load of laundry*breakfast for self while checking emails*tumble sterling earwire order with stainless steel shot*prep for evening meal*check school bag for day*school run*shared reading with the Wee Guy at school*phone vet*cuddle pigs*first sortie round house cleaning up*first dryer load*second laundry load with pieces for felting*dig pit in garden border*work on jewelry pieces for exhibition*prime and paint cradled panels for gallery show*vet appointment*cuddle Gullible until he falls asleep and stops breathing*home*pizza delivery at school*rescue second pair of outdoor shoes from cubbyhole at school*brief lunch stop*check in on PayPal account for shipping info and pay invoice*package earwire order*lunchtime walk to post office with friend*check in on emails and social media*second coat for cradled panels*fold dryer load*second dryer load*fill pit and replace soil*school pick up*snacks*mop kitchen floor post juice spill*child wrangling*abortive cycling practice*explain about heaven and getting a letter delivered there*counseling appointment*read two chapters of homework for school tomorrow while waiting for Wee Guy*start 'time in motion monday' list*wait for Wee Guy*still waiting*learn about bubble blowing and balloons as aids in anger management*stop off at Kin's for greens for mrs pig*home reading, piano practice and spelling while meal prep takes place*spy school lesson from Wee Guy*fold second dryer load*dinner*short nap on couch with mrs pig*more wine*two phone calls*blogging*chat with friend who is round to collect her gorgeous art dolls*wine*shower*bed*zzzz's

Saturday, January 08, 2011


On my 'to do' list currently; gallery pieces (for two group shows, one due completed next week), start thinking about ideas for my solo show (!), blogging, re-stock one B&M*, housework, attend to my online stores, website revamp volunteer project, school work, construct meal plan for January ... I'm sure there's more ....... I've definitely forgotten something .............

But today I went snowboarding on Grouse with mr ebb :)

Priorities dear gal, priorities!

friday forte:

Would rather have been a million miles away from departures at YVR this afternoon; lil sis flew back to the UK.
Summer cannot come soon enough. Sometimes being an expat sucks.
And today is one of those times.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

SPT 6th January 2011: sisters, sisters

... did you ever see such sisters?

Sadly, she's flying home tomorrow :(
We've (well, I've) had a blast having her to stay this Christmas and New Year. It's been great having someone to natter with, who knows what to do during meal prep without being asked. She's been an aunty par excellence and has wowed the Wee Guy with the biggest book of science yet (bravely arming him with the knowledge to disprove all her wacky theories).

We've been cross country skiing, snowshoing, shopping, thrifting and art gallerying. I've had adult company (though not always the most mature - pixies and chlorophyll for example) and a buddy for my daily errands, but tomorrow evening we have to stop the fun, board the plane and put the revelry aside for six months until I can head back to Scotland for the summer.

wordless wednesday: pictures from an exhibition

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

First day back at school

First day back at school for (cough cough) 22 years.
First wrong text book purchased.
First afternoon skiving off to the mall to try out Sephora lip crayons (and purchase correct textbook).

Monday, January 03, 2011

shout out sunday but we had internet problems

SPT Thursday January 3rd 2008

disclaimer: internet connection issues have delayed this post (honest, really!)
 BTW, this still isn't the year in review post or the 2011 resolutions issue
but please keep reading ..

 The start of a new year seems to signify a great deal of navel gazing and introspection and reminiscing in the blogosphere; it won't be any different here once I get rid of my holiday guests and the family goes back to work/school get back to a regular work routine so don't despair. I do have my plans (one of them is to steer well clear of resolutions - I might adopt a targets approach instead which, IMO, is less nebulous than promising to do good) but I also have a lot of hard work ahead for the next few months viz, going back to college, two group gallery exhibits, a website revamp and a possible website "instigate", ongoing blogging, and the usual home business stuff (incredibly important this year as it's paying my college tuition) including my own solo gallery show (a first!). I cannot possibly fit self improvement into the daily timeline! My life will be self-focused enough up until April (when I'm not dealing with the usual domestic issues as per the norm).

Although I'll be ruminating long and loud about myself, I thought it would be a nice break for all concerned to give a shout out to three other 'ladies of the internet' who will be doing some ruminating themselves during 2011. I've met all of them in real life (!), their blogs are on my Reader, and they always have something worth reading. I wish them well during their own personal journeys in 2011 - we should all have great 'year in review' posts to read by December 31st.

Snowshoes adventure

My first shout out is to my little sister who blogs about what she'd like to do when she grows up. She's been bravely forging a new life for herself, exploring single living and contentment after some crappy life events ... She is a total inspiration to me as nothing seems to keep her felled for long ... and she's doing it all by herself. Along with the IRL career girl stuff, Becca also writes about wheat intolerance and recipes, her beloved Stirling (yes, back in bonnie Scotland), learning to tango, and boldly going out on a limb being brave stuff. She reminds me of what life is like back in the world of work i.e. it's not all wine and roses, but she still offers sage advice on my plans to dabble there. She is also a most excellent Aunty B to the Wee Guy! (She also writes great solo travel posts for her blog - check out Spain and Wales over there).

My next shout out is to the amazing Amber, the social media hublet of the Tri Cities. I think she commented on a blog post of mine a couple of years ago, or followed my tweets and I followed back ... the rest is history. She is an awesome connection within my neighbourhood social media, awesome in real life, and is crafting herself a new direction after her job disappeared while on maternity leave. She's talked candidly and eloquently on how it feels to be the mother of two young children and suddenly have the rug pulled from under you at a very vulnerable time. As well as blogging about family and domestic life, she's also produced a series of posts comparing maternity leave regulations in different countries, is collecting stories for a new book on becoming a parent, and is launching an online course on getting the best out of Your life (click on the button above for more info, to sign up, and so on. and check out my new sidebar button too). She's a total inspiration on getting things done in, around and in spite of the family.


My last shout out is to a totally new friend who I've gotten to know her over the internet this year, and finally met up with this Christmas at last. Frances very nobly suffered non-stop turkey with us this year after bravely accepting an invite to come visit after Christmas. She arrived on Boxing Day to assist with eating up the rest of the festive bird at almost every mealtime. She brought homemade truffles and easy conversation and new friendship. Why is Frances on my blog reading list? She is also an inspiration in forging a new life, making a new path, following a dream. Her blog posts tackle everything from fostering/new parenting to grief to finding joy and making pickles. I know she has plans for 2011 and it's a privilege to be able to read along.

inlet walk - Becca and Frances

So ladies - excuse the gushing, but 2011 (no pressure!)
All the best :)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

happy new year

All best wishes for 2011 - may your heart's desires be within easy reach :)

ebb and flo by pomo mama design click to shop pomo mama design online!