Saturday, March 31, 2012

for pleasure

This is my son, the Wee Guy (though it's only a few more years until he and I swap places in the family heirarchy), hard at work. He's learning.
In front of the computer screen he's learning to construct and publish his web site, tapping through the very same html that i'm chewing my way through for college assignments. In front of aNother screen he's absorbing knowledge at Science World and enjoying every single second of the process. Unlike me, who's just focused on churning out another assignment to meet a college deadline.
Learning for pleasure vs. Learning for GPA? Which one would I rather be doing?

Friday, March 30, 2012

friday forte: the return

the return
old photo, on topic
The wanderer returned this afternoon. He doesn't travel for business very often; his sojourns are irregular making parental planning a potential nightmare. I've achieved very little in terms of Real Work this week while mr ebb has been away (and ditto two weeks ago during his last absence) so I'm left catching up with homework, projects, and so bloody on into the wee small hours.

Time when he's away seems very fractured; the chunks of time for a project get whittled down or interrupted wit other domestic necessities. I find there's a bitty piecemeal air to the whole day, not conducive to getting much done ... so I tend to fritter the precious time.

Next time around I shall schedule more and tightly regulate my day. I've also created a Work user account on my laptop, devoid of social media temptation or distraction so I'm not, um, tempted or distracted away from Getting Stuff Done.

Luckily I don't solo parent very often but, when I do, it painfully highlights my defective time management skills under pressure. Live and learn I hope.
Single parents - I tip my hat to you. Bravo!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

self portrait thursday: adventures in zero visibility

Yesterday it looked like this ...
adventures in zero visibility
so I put on this ...
adventures in zero visibility
and headed for the trees at the side of the run where the visibility is better.
self portrait: thursday, 29th March 2012
Today, there are no trees but I think I can see just fine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

wordless wednesday: vindication

velvet and chocolate, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

(not) waiting to exhale

marine boy

Front crawl, as I learned five years ago, is all about exhaling. Apart from some shaky arm swings and awkward head positioning, one of the vital pieces of the puzzle missing from my freestyle was breathing ... at the right time ... and not holding my breath.

My instructor patiently corrected my head positioning (look backwards, not forwards) and bent my arm at the elbow (no more windmill flailing) before moving on to oxygenation. I wasn't making progress because I wasn't breathing with my face in the water. Holding my breath meant I tensed up and then gasped uselessly on the surface. No wonder I wasn't getting anywhere fast!

As a mammal with a very very strong epiglottal dive reflex, the idea of letting go of precious bubbles underwater was an absolute no-no. I have a strong fear of water and only swim where I feel comfortable. Before my freestyle lessons, I felt very uneasy breathing out underwater and had a total horror of running out of air while submerged.

But Penny persevered and showed me how exhaling while my face was submerged meant I could snatch a much deeper oxygenating breath as I rolled with every third stroke. And that's the pattern I've stuck with, slowly noticing improvements in stamina and speed. To swim fast and efficiently your muscles need well-oxygenated blood; to get well-oxygenated blood you need to spend your surface time breathing in, not out. Simples!

And so with life currently.
Stop. Breathe out when you're under.
Breathe in when you're on top.
Rinse and repeat.

Monday, March 26, 2012

purple day: epilepsy awareness

pastels purple constellation cuff

Today is Purple Day, a global initiative to raise awareness about epilepsy worldwide.
A couple of years ago I wrote a short post on the subject for a local website. Read on!

What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is actually a group of syndromes, all characterized by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The result of this abnormal activity is commonly a seizure of which there are numerous different manifestations.

Story behind Purple Day
Purple Day was started by Cassidy Megan, a nine year old girl from Nova Scotia who decided to inform the general public about epilepsy and increase awareness of the condition. Worldwide, 50 million people have epilepsy and in Canada approximately 1% of the population is affected. It tends to be more common in the very young or the elderly, but it can occur at any age.

Why purple?
Lavender is the international colour associated with epilepsy

Not always what it seems!
Not all disabilities are visible and the reminder to wear purple to highlight Epilepsy Awareness is a good example. Surely I’m not the only person who winces when I hear an overeaction by a child or an adult as, ".... and then she just threw a fit!"?

You cannot tell that someone has epilepsy just by looking at them; they're not taller, shorter, clumsier or walk with a stick. This means that many people with epilepsy can quietly go about their everyday life leaving those who they meet none the wiser about their condition. And many choose to do this as epilepsy carries quite a stigma in society. There is a lot of misinformation, ranging from incorrect first aid advice (please do read the First Aid tips linked below - it will help both you and your patient avoid injury) thru full blown prejudice about mental impairment to active discrimination in employment, the legal system, parenting and education.
With appropriate medication epilepsy is not a barrier to daily life, for children or adults. Certainly some adjustments do have to be made; swimming or bathing alone can be a definite no-no for example, and certain sports are generally not advised.
But sometimes you can spot epilepsy. A dreamy child might be going thru a petit mal seizure so inattention in class is involuntary, not willful. An apparently intoxicated co-worker might be struggling with a new anti-seizure regime. Resisting physical confinement may not be aggressive; it could be the manifestation of a certain type of seizure and so on. Approximately 1% of the population has epilepsy so it's possible you have already witnessed a seizure but not known it.
... so please read the information in the links and wear your purple with pride or maybe even just choose a different figure of speech to describe someone’s behaviour on March 26th.

Useful Links:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

back to nature

back to nature, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Looks like it's sunny again today so we'll be off romping thru nature for the day.

YOUR SUNDAY IS TO BE ENJOYED, as my instructor would say (in passive voice).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

the return of the daily griz

I've started quite a few 365 day projects, crafting, self-portraits, views from the deck, to name but a few, and then abandoned them after a month. I've successfully completed a few one month projects and they've usually been a useful spur to be more creative. I even managed a a few one week wardrobe challenges and the resulting sartorial elegance(?)  has been worth wrestling with the tripod and timers.
But a whole year? Stretching forward into the hazy future? Somehow, no.
Except for The Daily Griz, which is a more sporadic than daily portraiture of the family cat but still holds more promise in the long term.
It also boosts my flickr stats since I can tag every pic as pussy :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

friday forte: week of words

jewelry design class
just be yourself: it's OK
A week chock-full of words.
One parcel of words submitted in the form of the first draft of an assignment for editing.
Monday's Wordle and pondering on the meaning of the term 'professional mother'.
Wednesday's wordful wordlessness at Pecha Kucha in my own words.
Last night's singsong words at the opera, and today's words around the table with my lovely class of jewelry design students.
Words said - words unsaid.

Not just my own words.
  • On CBC Radio One's Q, Jian Ghomeshi talked with Lily Rothman about her spirited promotion of the word gal, to be used instead of the infantilising term, girl, for women as an alternative/equal to guy.
  • Reading words - Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique
  • Instructions - how to and how not to, Adobe Dreamweaver and Illustrator and Photoshop (oh my)
Is it just this week, or are all my weeks so chock-full of words?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

self portrait thursday: (not late) to the opera

Fantastic evening out (solo; not late either) to see the Vancouver Opera production of Rossini's Barber of Seville.
note to self: Rossini, not Mozart - he wrote the other Figaro opera!
Great evening out; must work on drumming up some company for these nights out.
Any offers?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

wordless wednesday: words of my own

from last month's Pecha Kucha night in Coquitlam, hosted by Artsconnect

Monday, March 19, 2012

midlife monday: words words words

all about me, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Big fat juicy ones, long tall skinny ones, eat them up and throw the skins away.

OK not about words unless you change a consonant.

So which words would I like to see banned from everyday use? or more precisely, which string of words?

I nominate that essentially (IMO) redundant phrase, working mother. And this is why. What exactly is a working mother? I suppose it's a woman who has a child or children in her care, who also works. So the opposite of a working mother is one who doesn't do any work. And this is where the problem lies - the definition of work.

If by work you mean gainful employment for a salary, then the term working mother naturally excludes women who are the stay-at-home parent in the relationship. Technically they do no work. Hmmm - should 'housework' be reclassified?

So, when the working mother comes home at the end of her day she can then put her feet up because she has no work to do?

And what about fathers - is a dad who works for pay more properly termed a working father? Can't say I've heard that particular phrase in common use.

What about mothers who work part-time? Are they only half-working mothers, or are they semi-amateur?

What about professional mothers? Is this another tier of working above mere working working? or does it refer to those who devote themselves solely to being a parent by staying home and being non-working mothers? Professional dads anyone?

Is work only work if it comes with a salary?
Should SAHMs be known as non-working mothers? How does that make you feel?

I'll leave you to ponder.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

fallen behind

the ones that didn't get away: bug collection at Science World
Oh the complete irony! - enrolled in a professional writing program and doing relatively little of the stuff, or so it seems. I am doing a lot of writing these days but very little of it ends up here. There's a huge time crunch in my life right now. Writing these days seems solely to Get Assignments Done. The last straw was probably blogging for class! The novelty of higher education is wearing thin as the time for yet another blog post flies out of the window. Ditto creative time too - I'm twitchy from not enough crafty moments making stuff.

I'm also experiencing a frisson of frustration at still being so far from IRL with my endeavours. While churning out homework, nothing seems to translate into concrete experience; I seem far from Re-Launch. Though when I do look at Those About To Graduate, I am glad it's not me. I have so far to go compared with these embryonic professionals I share classes with currently. (Don't take my word for it, btw - come to the Print Futures Portfolio show on April 14th to see some real writers in action!)

So between the frustration of still chugging away at Plan C and the impending terror of Making It Real, I'm cultivating patience and foresight. Over the years of volunteering and teach-yourself-software I've developed a not-too-shabby portfolio of skills, and this can only get better.

But in the meantime I need to give myself a break, establish some much-needed regular exercise and get back into gear with some recreational writing. So far this semester you've missed reading about my weekend away in Victoria, the angst of interviews for a summer internship, assorted domestic woes, adventures in counselling, and I've not yet expanded on my llama farm project!

Stay tuned :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

self portrait thursday: we feel fine

we feel fine, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

Please see my post from 2007 for some explanation and to check out where the original photo came from (and ended up!).

Yes - that old familiar feeling is crawling back into my life. I didn't ask but it came, totally uninvited. Thank you, now leave.
So I kicked its ass with a brisk 500m freestyle in the pool at lunchtime then settled down for some homework bashing at Caffe Divano. I haven't 'written out' for so long now.
What have I been thinking?
What have I been missing?

I find it amazing that even at four years or more, I'm still battling feelings of being overwhelmed by life around me. The additive effects of Spring Break coupled with a week of solo parenting have doubled the frustration of Not Really Getting Anywhere Fast ... Or have they?

If I take a step backwards (in sensible grown up shoes) I can see how much progress I am making right now. Life is crazy busy but my hard work seems to be paying off. Spring Break and mr ebb away on a business trip (hello Kiev!) have doubled (tripled??) the time crunch but I've had some wonderful days out with the Wee Guy this week. I'm teaching next week or, in 'working mum' speak, earning some money. Good news, even if it does mean an extra heap of prep into the wee small hours. ... and please don't mention the homework deadlines looming, or the fact I forgot the jump rings for chainmailling!

I remind myself - this too shall pass, and you'll manage OK. OK is good enough, and your OK is better than most.

I feel fine :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

wordless wednesday: spring break duties

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

glimpse: spain

glimpse: spain, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

I was going to blog Something Substantial but tonight's homework ate up all my spare time ... well, it didn't really; I had a great evening with my Wee Guy and then, once he was safely in bed, I took a "quick peek" at some web design stuff.
Multiple tweaks and four new pages later - OMG, it's after 11pm!
Grrr! I always stay up much later than I should when solo parenting :(
Anyway, feast your eyes on this chicken scratch of yesterday's leisure time-waster!

Corel Draw using the photograph below as a reference image
thru the arched window

Monday, March 12, 2012

month of eats: menu-time again

Voila! - another month of eats (a week late so we've already guzzelled thru Week One).
I'm cheating somewhat - a couple of prepared meals snuck in there, but I do have two weeks of Spring Break plus a whole slew of deadlines to contend with.
I'm allowed some easy outs.

PS: I'm not the only blogger who preps a month ahead - check out Planning Queen's March meal plan plus shopping list and iPhone app here.

Week One:
  • Monday =  soup (freezer), homemade bread and cheese 
  • Tuesday = butter chicken with garlicky naan bread (freezer meal)
  • Wednesday = baked potatoes (wrapped in foil, slow cooker on HI for the day) served with cream cheese and coleslaw
  • Thursday = slow cooker pork stew with olives (ended up in a rush so added pork chops, pasta sauce, red wine and olives to slow cooker - it worked!)
  • Friday = breaded fish fillets, oven-baked with fries

Week Two:
Week Three:
  • Monday = beans lasagne or pastichio (yes, the beans!)
  • Tuesday = chilli (ready meal) with rice (freezer meal)
  • Wednesday = baked potatoes (again)
  • Thursday = slow-cook spaghetti bolognese
  • Friday = pork tenderloin maple glazed with a brie salad dressing (from the latest All You Need is Cheese magazine)

Week Four:
  • Monday = spaghetti cheese pie (made with cooked spaghetti mixed with a couple of whisked eggs, topped with grated cheese then baked until cheese melted)
  • Tuesday = fajita chicken soup (commercial) with homemade bread
  • Wednesday = chicken goujons with salad
  • Thursday = homemade burgers with fries and salad
  • Friday = out!
Bon appetit!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

works in progress

works in progress:

works in progress, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.
it might be quiet on the blog, but my desk is a hive of busy-ness
mixed media projects on the go

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Elusive Higgs boson may nearly be cornered

from the Wee Guy

See! I'm not completely nuts!

Elusive Higgs boson may nearly be cornered: New measurements announced by scientists from the CDF and DZero collaborations at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory indicate that the elusive Higgs boson may nearly be cornered. After analyzing the full data set from the Tevatron accelerator, which completed its last run in September 2011, the two independent experiments see hints of a Higgs boson.

Friday, March 09, 2012

friday forte: playing with daddy's ipad

And so begins two weeks of Spring Break.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

self-portrait thursday: the day before edition


So, i'm cheating; the spt is from yesterday. But whatever! I haven't exactly been posting great content here recently so be grateful for what you get ;)
Today is International Women's Day. I posted the Daniel Craig/Judy Dench video last year, mused about how little had changed for women during my lifetime (and got a textual tongue-lashing for it over on FB) and followed up with some posts about the amazing women who have been players in my life.
So - what's happened since then for women in general?
I don't take notes so please excuse if my observations seem a little unsubstantial.
Apparently, there are now more women teaching in afghanistan and thus more girls in education but this gain is vulnerable due to the political/religious system.
Women still do not have lifetime earnings parity, and this worsens with each break in career for childrearing.
In the EU, a majority of countries have still not signed up to achieve gender-parity in the boardroom.
Women are now being urged to have plastic surgery to tend to unsightly external genitalia - yes, even in Canada, the home of the beaver!

Not many gains?
So how about next year? Even if I could report the rise in surgical dick and sack enhancement clinics (botox anti-wrinkle treatments, guys), i'd be happy.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

wordless wednesday: art is happening

work in progress, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

my desk, a couple of weeks ago ... what's happened since?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


raven, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

playing with tracing, photos and ArtRage last night

Monday, March 05, 2012

Sad News

Please click Sad News for more details

: I am very sad to tell you that Melissa died on Friday afternoon. She was at her parents' home with them and did not die alone.
Please send your thoughts and prayers for her family.

Melissa's funeral service will be at Mountainview Alliance Church in Langley on Thursday the 8th, at 2:00pm.
The church's address is;
7640 200th Street
Langley, BC
V2Y 1S4

Please pass on this information to anyone else that you think would like to attend

Sunday, March 04, 2012

super sunday: tuck in

Brunch at Hart House with the boys, mmmmm!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

whale watching

whale watching, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.

If in doubt, try some digital art for a creative pause :)

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