Friday, 21 December 2012

That Christmas Vibe

This is the best part of Christmas.  The before part.  When everyone is happy and full of joy and smiles and festive cheer.  The anticipation of what’s to come.  The sound of corny Christmas songs floating through the air.

I love it.

Though, to be completely honest, I haven’t embraced this Christmas as much as I wanted to.  I REALLY wanted to throw myself into a festive whirlwind with myself in the middle, as calm and serene as a … erm... a calm and serene person (*brain fail*).


BUT, it hasn’t quite worked out that way and I’ve had a few really cranky moments, lots of snappy snipes at Kalani and Dan, and one or two full blown meltdowns.

However, all that’s about to change.

Tonight a very good friend arrives to spend Christmas with us, and that makes me so happy.  I’m smiling as I type this.

Today is my last day of work until next year - and Kalani’s last day of daycare as well.  That means that for over a week I can let him sleep late in the mornings without worrying if we’re going to be late for work.  We can take our time over everything instead of constantly rushing around trying to fit our lives into the too short days.

We’re pretty much ready for the big day - the tree is decorated, most of the presents are purchased and wrapped, the lights are lit and the house is warm and cosy. 

And now I’m going to relax and soak up the festive happy vibes.  Life is good.

So Merry Christmas to all of you, and thank you for being here with me during the last year.  Doing this keeps me sane, particularly knowing that you’re reading and caring and sending back love.  Mushy stuff I know, but it really helps, so a big big thank you.

Merry merry
Joy joy
And lots and lots of hugs


Thursday, 13 December 2012

Little Happy

I knew I wouldn't last until Christmas... here I am again! 

I've still been writing a lot over the last several weeks, but it's all been sad and dreary and some of it has been quite ranty as well.  I made a deal with myself that I wouldn't publish anything here until I had something happy to write about since it's not much fun for anyone out there to have to constantly read depressing drivel, and so I've been waiting.

And waiting ...

And STILL waiting, almost making myself feel super-crazy-depressed because I didn't have something really happy and joyous to write about.

And then today a few things happened...

I got into the car at lunchtime to come home for my walk that I still do every lunch hour - even though Jazzy isn't here anymore - I still love that time that I get to myself.  I also say hi to Jazzy every time I walk past his little drinking spot, which made me cry the first week or so, but now it makes me smile.  Anyway, I got into the car and had to look in the backseat to see if Jazz was there because I could suddenly smell him.  Nope - no Jazzy in the backseat, but still that really strong sense that he was there.  So, I came home, went for my walk, and then on the way back to work I stopped at the petrol station to fill up (I have a total phobia about filling up the car with petrol - but I'll save that for another time) and while standing there looked into the boot of the car where I saw the still unwashed Jazzy cushions that I'd put in a few days earlier.  So Jazzy didn't come and visit me from the 'other side', but it felt like he was close by me for a lot of today.

Also at lunchtime, I ran into a friend's husband who told me that this friend has just had emergency surgery this week, but she's now fine and will be going home tomorrow.  I cried while I walked away from him, from the shock of the news, the relief that she's okay, and the realization that all of this, this life, can be taken away at any moment, and she is so lucky to be alive.

Then I went to pick up Kalani from daycare.  He normally doesn't really like to get dropped off in the morning, but geez does he hate to get picked up.  He does NOT want to come home with me.  I normally have some kind of bribe to lure him away with - grapes in the car, a surprise guest at home, the promise of licking the chocolate cake mixture from the bowl.  Today was no different from any other day, he really didn't want to come with me, so I chatted to one of the (amazing) girls who works at the daycare while he finished playing.  She told me that he's quite different from other 2 year old's - he thinks about things differently and in a lot more depth than any of the other's do!  She said that she finds it really interesting looking after him because he is so different (and she means different in a good way - I checked ... a few times).  Now I'm not saying that Kalani is any kind of genius because he's not - he's just an average 2 year old who has good and bad moments, but still - it's really nice to get good feedback about your kid.  I tried to hold on to that thought while I dragged him screaming to the car.

So - what am I trying to say?  

Basically, I had a good day.  Not because of any one thing - but more because lots of nice, happy moments happened today.

And then I look back at the last few months, and with the exception of a few really really awful days, every day has been like today.  There is always happy in each day, I just need to notice it more.  

I don't need to wait for a big happy event, because there probably won't be one.  What there will be, is lots and lots and LOTS of little happy moments.  Moments when you stop, even for just a millisecond, and think "I'm so glad to be here".

And I'm so glad to be back :)

Some Christmas related rambles will be coming soon.

Monday, 12 November 2012


So I haven't really been around much lately.  And I know that you're not sitting out there anxiously waiting for new updates/pictures, but still, I feel like I've been way too quiet recently.

There are a few reasons.  Dan's been away quite a bit which puts me on sole parenting, dog-walking, stop-the-cat-from-eating-the-house duty which all takes time.  But I'm also not in a great place right now.  More bad, crappy, life can be so terribly unfair stuff has happened, and the bounce back from that is taking a long time.

That's not to say that there's no happiness left - because there definitely is.  I cannot wait for Christmas.  Normally I don't get into the swing of things until the last moment, and then I regret how short the season is.  Not this year.  We're going to have mulled wine on the stove top from now until January.  The decoration box will come out in the next few weeks (and yup, we only have 1 box at the moment - but we WILL get more).  The cards will be sent out soon, and the presents will start to be wrapped.  I'm even going to dig out our Reggae Christmas Carol CD and put it on repeat.  

So Christmas is making me happy.  And so are small things.  I've been noticing birds a lot lately - maybe because I've been trying to look around me and appreciate what I have right now in my life, instead of walking with my head down just concentrating on putting one foot in front of another.  Today when I was driving home from getting my winter tires put on (yup, it's that time of year also), I saw a huge huge flock of those tiny little sparrow-like birds flying around.  There must have been a few hundred of them.  It was a moment of beauty and grace and magic.  A happy, life-is-great moment.

So between Christmas and the birds and the people I love, things are not so bad.  However, things may continue to be fairly quiet on this front, at least for the next little while.  

But I'll see you on the other side, and if I manage to stay quiet until Christmas (which is highly unlikely - I'll probably be back boring you with more Kalani related dramas in a week), then big fantabulous Christmas hugs to all of you.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wanted: 1 Hobby

Today somebody asked me what 'activities' I was interested in - i.e. what did I do for a hobby in my spare time.


Spare time?

Sheeesh - all my time goes into basic survival.  Work, keep house clean(ish), keep husband and child fed and clean(ish), keep pets alive.  And that's it.

As I was driving home, I thought about this and realised that I am boring.  Very boring.  I don't do ANYTHING other than just get by.  I never feel as if I have enough time to take on anything new.

Dan has surfing which requires some sacrifices.  On both our parts.  He sacrifices sleep since he gets up around 4ish to go out for a dawn session, and I sacrifice having him at home letting me sleep in/have spare time.  But it's definitely worth it.  He can be having a god awful time with life and work and his wife (!!!), and then he'll go surfing for a day and come home a totally different man.  Well, not totally different, but definitely rejuvenated.  It's his passion and I'm happy(ish) to give up my sleep-in's so that he can keep surfing.

So I need an interest too.  Something outside of work and home and children.  I'm losing myself in my mundane life and I need to find my own passion.

Now obviously I'm not about to start surfing.  Not here.  For many reasons:
  1. I'm not an idiot;
  2. I don't like the cold - and the water here is very cold (the surfers here put vaseline on their faces in winter to stop ice forming);
  3. I like sleeping in;
  4. I hate being held under water, and that happens a lot when you surf.  Unless you're Kelly Slater.  Actually, I think that even he gets dumped all the time.

Anyway, so I need an 'interest'.  I do a bit of yoga, but only because I feel like I should - so that doesn't really count.  I do this (blogging), but this is more like therapy than a hobby.  I sometimes play WoW (and no I'm not 'finished' yet!), but I now just end up feeling that each quest is just yet another thing I need to do.

So - I'm open to suggestions.  I'd like a really interesting hobby, that makes people think "Wow - she might be a Mum, and old, but She. Is. Cool".  

PS - I'm not interested in sky-diving, though it ticks a lot of the 'cool hobby' boxes.  I think it's more of an anti-lifestyle choice, and while my life may be kind of boring, I still like it very much thank you.

PPS - I'm also not interested in knitting.  It would be very handy to be able to make my own sweaters etc, but it doesn't tick any boxes. 

Friday, 12 October 2012

I'll Fix You Mummy

So the last few months have been kind of awful, and the emotional healing process for this mc is taking a lot longer than the others.  Perhaps because I'm coming to the realisation that there won't be another baby and that's really difficult to get past.

I've made a big effort not to be sad around Kalani, but it appears that perhaps he's picked up on the fact that I'm still not feeling whole.

This morning I was sitting on the couch with my cup of coffee and he came over with his tools.

"I'll fix you Mummy"

Ahh.. innocent fun with tape measures I thought.  No problem.

And then ... "This won't hurt a bit" and out came the saw.

I think he realised that sawing someone's head in half isn't a very nice thing to do, so he tried to hide the evidence ...

Strangely - I did feel a lot better afterwards.

Kalani the Healing Handyman.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Awesome August and Sizzling September

I haven't done one of these for a while and I really love doing these pictastic photo journal type things.  The quality of the pictures isn't that great, and the shots are all unsteady and non-creative, but it's really enjoyable looking back over the last few weeks and remembering.

Kalani is going to be pro surfer....  only we can't get him into the pool to learn how to swim.  No matter - he practices his pop-ups with Dan, and occasionally they go surfing together.

I celebrated my birthday in August.  I turned 29 for the 10th time.  It's a lovely age.

We've had the most wonderful summer.  Really hot.  There were only a few days that were really wet.  One of them drew all the monsters out into the street.

Cute monsters though ...

And another crazy weather day brought down one of our trees into the neighbours back garden.  Luckily Kalani was on hand to help with the clean-up operation.

 Kalani has also been trying his hand at photography.

And I've been trying to do more of these types of photo's.  Ideally they'd have Dan in them as well, but he keeps buggering off to different places for work and play, so bleuuehh ..

A wonderful friend got married.  The whole event was lovely apart from Kalani having a total meltdown in the middle of the ceremony which resulted in me taking him outside and yelling at him, only to later discover that the church door had been left open so everyone could hear me yelling "Come and lie down you awful child, I need to change your stupid poopy bottom".  *sigh*  Nothing like the house of God to let everyone see what an awful parent you are!

This was Kalani's expression just before we had to leave the church
Much to my surprise, it seems that Kalani knows a bit of yoga. Normally I don't practice until after he's in bed, but I guess that at some stage he's seen something since one afternoon he got out the mat and started to do a little flow ...

And finally, there's been music.  Lotsa music.  At the wedding he sung "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to the (partly emptied) reception over the microphone.  He was a little upset that I wouldn't let him up to perform on the stage.

Until next time chickadee's.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Christmas Cod Anyone?

I don't normally send out Christmas cards.  Mostly because I can't really be bothered.  Even back when I did have time.

But now I've reached a crisis point.  My "just can't be bothered"-ness is at war with my "I can't handle having unused cluttery stuff all over the place"-ness because of this ...

Yup - those free flipping Xmas cards that all the charities keep sending (and yes, they keep sending them because I'm a total sucker and always mail them a cheque back because I feel so bad that they've sent me something for free).  And now, after 5 years of receiving these cards and stockpiling them in a box, it's time to purge.

The obviously nice spin-off is that everyone who gets a card will think that we're awesome (unless you read this blog, and then you know that you've just received some seasonal de-clutter).

Whatever the reason, send me your address and I will send back a cute card with puppies on it.

Merry Xmas.

Oh crap, it really is too early for this isn't it?  It's only flipping October.  *sigh*

As a total aside, the name of this post was inspired (ha ha) by a conversation I had with a shop-keeper shortly after we arrived in Newfoundland.  I asked him if he had any blank card's.  He thought I was asking for blank cod's.  We were in an outdoor clothing store.  We were both very confused.

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Africa Diaries: The End

(If you've missed any of the previous posts about Africa, then you can find them all here)

Once I arrived back in Ghana (where everyone spoke English again - yay) I caught a bus to a small town on the coast called ... Cape Coast.

You might have heard of it?  It was the largest slave-trading centre in West Africa, and the castle (Cape Coast Castle) was one of the departure ports for slaves being transported to America.

The first thing I did after checking into my hotel (which had a TV AND a private toilet - luxury luxury luxury) was to go on a tour of Cape Coast Castle.

It was horrifying.

The following photo isn't great, but it's one of the 'rooms' that the slaves were kept in - sometimes for many weeks - until the next ship came to pick them up.

There would have been well over 100 men living and sleeping in this room.  Around the sides of the room and running through the middle are trenches.  Very shallow trenches.  These were used to move the waste out of the room.  I'm sure they weren't that effective.

This is the 'Door of No Return'.  It was the last door that the slaves (I don't want to keep calling them that, but I don't know how else to refer to them) passed through before they left Africa.  They would never return to their homes again.  Ever.  Just imagine how that must have felt.  

Ironically the castle was quite beautiful in an old, crumbly type way, and the scenery was, once again, amazing.

It was an incredibly moving experience, and while it was terribly terribly sad, it was also eye-opening.  Sometimes it's worth a bit of grief if it makes you a little less ignorant.

So after that, it was back to town ...

.. and then on to a Nature Reserve for a walk among the tree-tops.

Now I'm not normally that scared of heights, but we were up very very high ...

.. and the walkways felt a little flimsy ...

... and sometimes we were above the tree canopy (that's the tops of trees beneath my foot!).

Pretty amazing views though.

Unfortunately I didn't catch any on camera, but there are some excellent signs in the Cape Coast area.  These are some that I remembered afterwards and so wrote down ...

Virgins Preparatory School

Gaylords Theological College

"Everything But God" Spare Parts

Ah - classic.

And so that was it.  My journey was over.  I caught a bus back to Accra and then flew to New York and then finally back to St. John's.

It was really quite a short trip - only a few weeks - but it felt like so much longer.  And now that I've gone through all the photo's again, and re-read my travel journal (which also dwells on toilets and toilet experiences a lot), the number of memories I have seem to span a year, not just a couple of weeks.

I started this as a bit of tongue-in-cheek laugh at my toilet 'needs', but it's become more than that and has been so much fun to write.  So thank you for joining me in my memories - it's been great sharing them with you.

Me and the boys having a cup of tea

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Africa Diaries: I Predict a Riot

(If you've missed any of the previous posts about Africa, then you can find them all here)

After a day-long journey by car, we arrived in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.  The main (European) language in Burkina is also French, so we were glad to be travelling with Kay and Mikael (Mikael was a local so obviously didn't have the same communication issues that we did).

We found a hotel, booked in (there were Western style toilets - yay yay yay!), met a French woman who was teaching in Cameroon, and went out for a night of posh nosh and good music.  Unfortunately we didn't find the good music (which was a massive shame, since I'm a huge fan of lots of different African artists) but we did find the posh nosh.  We noshed and drank wine (ahh.. wine).  I went to the super super posh toilets as many times as I could without it seeming like I had a bad stomach.  It was a great night.

The next day we parted company, and Allison and I went for our last journey together - to Bobo Diolasso - a small town a few hours bus ride away from Ouaga.  I can't even remember why we wanted to go there in the first place - there were probably some lovely monuments/museums/artifacts that would have been interesting to see - it's just that when we happened to be there, so did a riot.  With riot police.  Right outside our hotel.

To begin with, things looked like this ...

 .. and then 'things' deteriorated quite quickly to this ...

.. and what we found most distressing was this type of thing - where dozens of school children had to run past the riot police and the fires and the danger, just to get to safety ...

... doesn't it make our journey to work/school/daycare/the grocery store/wherever, seem wonderful.  Safe and assured and wonderful.

On the plus side, we met a few of the other people who were staying the same hotel as us ...

... and one of them (the guy with the blue turban) is very very good friends with my 2nd cousin (who I'm not close to, but it just shows how small the world has become).  I also experienced the effects of tear-gas for the first time.  It wasn't that close to where we were, but it was bad enough to cause tears (thus the name - duh) and coughing and general discomfort.

Soo - we did venture out that night in Bobo since the rioting had stopped, and everything seemed calm again, and we 'discovered' a bar with some mediocre music and some truly great interpretive dancers.  We were befriended by a boy who must have only been about 18.  He was very nice, even though he thought I was Allison's mother!  Ratbag.

And that was it.  The next morning I got on a bus to head back to Ouaga, and Allison went on to another town in Burkina where she got caught in the middle of another riot which meant she spent 2 days shut inside her hotel room, hoping she'd make it out alive (which she did).

Once back in Ouaga I caught a plane back to Ghana where I had a few more days of Africa before heading back home to Canada.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Africa Diaries: Dogon Country (below)

(If you've missed any of the previous posts about Africa, then you can find them all here)

All our adventures so far in the Dogon Country where at the top of the escarpment, and now it was time to descend.  To descend down this ...

... over great big rifts that fall down to ... erm, I'm not sure what was at the bottom because it was so far down you couldn't see the bottom!!  And these flimsy looking sticks are what you use to scramble across the big gaps ... 

I was wearing birkenstocks (which were the only shoes I'd brought on the hike with me), and they were totally useless.  They kept falling off and making me slip, so I ended up taking them off.  And while the next picture is in the shade, the vast majority of the walk was NOT in the shade and the rocks we were walking over were hot.  Very very hot.  My feet did not thank me.

But then we reached the bottom and had lunch here ...

... gazing back up the cliffs where we'd come from.

I'm not a big soft-drink/pop drinker, but I have never been as glad to see a coke as I was that day.

We rested for a while, and then continued on.  Not much really happened (to do with toilets or otherwise), so here's a few piccies ...

It was very very cold at night.... and very very dark.  Thus the attire.

Blacksmithing Africa stylie ...

Water collection... 

On our journey through the Dogon Country, we met an amazing Irish woman, Kay, and her guide Mikael.  They were both a lot of fun, and also on their way to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.  We arranged to travel down with them (for a price of course) which was a relief, since neither Allison nor I spoke French very well, so getting through the border without a visa may have been a little bit of a challenge!!

Photo's by both Allison AND Liffey in this post! *very smug photographer*