Friday, March 10, 2017

You're sure not working at the library anymore...

The aftermath of the week we celebrated women - and in my own workplace I am still blazing trails.

It is exhausting to always be on guard for the next 'girl' comment or having to correct a neanderthal co-worker who thought that telling a customer that 'the girl' was in tears she was so upset - when in fact - administration was quite in control and extremely professional.

Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I've had a very difficult 6 months here at my [brutally industrial] workplace. I've had acting managers swear at me. I've had a co-worker suddenly spout abuse at me because of something my husband [co-worker John] did or did not say - 2 years ago.

I've had the cleaner ask me how many girls work at head office.

And I think - should I bother? Should I let the small comments go? And I wonder. And I muster up the resolve to carefully place words in the space between me and the men, to help them see in a different light.

And they sometimes get it - but mostly - they look at me and I can see in their eyes : Oh here she goes - and I hear the excuses - well you know I didn't mean it, I was being yelled at by the customer - I was trying to help you out.

And they probably call me a bitch in the back.

And I breathe through it and keep on putting my library face on - all that training - never let them take away your professionalism. Never let them take that away.

And they are not all like that.

I will survive, I will carry on, I will not be shelved.
I will post this picture of my filled in drawing, that I did with my new watercolours.
I will have a lovely weekend.
And I hope you all out there keep fighting the fight.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Paint Party Friday - Ladies and Houses...

I drew a lot over February - and feel good about what I have been doing and excited about what is yet to come...

Yesterday after my good results from my specialist - I celebrated by going to the nearby art supply store and buying some watercolours - more fun yet to come.

Old habits past and New skills future

Oh my goodness - I missed February. Altogether. It was a busy month full of squeezing baby Evelyn, drawing, painting my kitchen & dining room, hosting friends for dinner, taking a week off work and going on a romantic getaway.

Which left me very little time to write, and I went with the flow.

March brings milestones reached and new skills to learn...

  • This one I initially forgot to add, and it deserves to be here at the top -  it is the most important. 6 years since my kidney cancer - and my recent test results were clear. My cancer experience was life-altering. Every day is a gift. I do not take life for granted, and am so thankful that I am still here, 6 years later. 
  • Six Months Sober! This makes me sound like I had been a huge binge drinker - which I wasn't - I was a habitual drinker - able to hide it from the world. I grew up with a binge drinker - and do feel I'd rather be habitual than a binge drinker - but I'm sure both have equally terrible consequences. But back to it - I love not drinking. I love not thinking about it and I love feeling in control of that aspect of my life. All good. Freedom.
  • Two Months Old Baby Evelyn! She is such a lovely little soul. She smiles now and coos, and holds her hands up to her face like she is giving the royal wave. We are besotted with our tiny granddaughter.
  • Next week Husband and I begin a Stained Glass course - together. In all our years, we have never taken a course together. We've been on the waiting list for 6 months, and begin next Thursday night. Should be fun. 
  • Pottery was a blast this semester. All the angst I felt in the Autumn semester - is behind me. I have come a long way with my patience and regaining it - it is all tied up with sobriety, as I found I had been dulling myself for a long time, probably because I was so bored, and when I stopped all the restlessness bubbled up and didn't know how to function for a while.
  • House decorating has finally begun. I spent a weekend in February transforming my kitchen/dining space from a tired butter yellow - which wasn't bad, but not my kind of yellow - to a gorgeous grey-blue. Like the colour of a winter sky.
Can I say how much I have loved this winter? The hours I spent drawing, basking in front of the fire and Netflix? The absolute hibernation? It has been so good for my spirit. Every dull day was a gift - and as much as I love spring and summer gardening - I am a quiet cave dweller at my core.

And I will leave a baby photo here for anyone who made it to the end of my long self-post.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Eve of the Weekend

This week was incredibly Full and Bursting. Today is Friday and I am quite weary... 
But in a good way.

On Tuesday after work I traveled to the small town where Eldest lives with his family, and I stayed overnight and squeezed my little Evee and helped out Lovely Lu on my Wednesday day off. Nursing is going well, although I am still peeved that the Midwife recommended nipple shields on day 5. A little baby with a little mouth can become nipple confused so easily, and now she struggles to break that habit.

But she is growing and she is eating, and all is well.

Last night at pottery I made handles for my mugs, all my imperfect, shapely mugs. Handles are bizarre and messy to make, but I managed to get them done, adding some 'me' embellishment, to make them my own, as the teacher recommended. He came by and said good job, so I have [some] faith that my handles will hold.

I am becoming more patient. I can feel that I have slowed down, and am breathing through the frustration, breathing through the challenges. I am enjoying this semester so much more than the one in the autumn. In the autumn my energy was all buzzy and jittery. I would get home from pottery exhausted and emotionally bruised. I'm in an entirely different head-space now.

I have not had time to do much drawing this week, but did draw two houses, and inked them.

I am excited about the next one; a regal semi that has survived being in a questionable neighbourhood for well over 100 years. I suppose when it was built, it was not a questionable area though.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Intention : to make something beautiful every day

Creating with Intention

Week 2 of pottery and finally I am making cylinders with careful success.
Apparently I was pulling on the left instead of the right, I blame my mysterious dyslexia. Whatever the reason, certainly the potting and the pulling is happening with ease now, and I have returned to the potting zone. The crumpled pot will be glazed in the Raku outside kiln, and used in my office to house my paper-clips and other bits.

The latest house, vacant and boarded up in Hamilton. It was a fine old mansion, converted into apartments and now it costs less to simply maintain the grounds than to make it livable again.

I liked the upper windows on this house.
Just a brick house with cool windows... I like the front entrance as well. 

Not my creation, but lovely Evee - all wrapped up in her mother's arms.
She looks a little milk-drunk.

Happy Paint Party Friday!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Self Nurturing in the Dark Season : Hiber-Nurture

[Long and pondering post ahead...]

A friend wanted me to reschedule my week so we could meet for a visit. I feel selfish because I didn't want to do this, and struggled with saying no. There have been big changes in my life over the last 6 months, truly wonderful changes but change is exhausting.

With intention I began to journal in the summer - forcing myself to write at first one page a day, and later three. I had to loosen my words from this gummed up self, and I had to pry them out until there was a trickling flow.

Once I was able to write with less prodding and pushing, things began to unlock inside.I registered for a pottery course, which was fantastic because I was able to play in the mud, to touch the clay and be tactile. It was exactly what I needed. 

Then one day in August I thought to myself :  I want a sketchbook. And I began to draw.

And the artist unblocking next led me to stop drinking. Just like so many years ago the artist unblocking led me to stop smoking.

Four months later, I am blissfully sober, taking my third pottery course and still drawing. But my time - all this takes time. Add in a fresh new Grand-baby - and now I am balancing very carefully my spare time. 

Because now I also want to sew - to sew little baby pants - LamPants - that I used to make my own babies. What next? Who knows!

My day off is precious to me. At this time I had to tell her that I can't move around my time for her, that for the month of January I am practicing Hiber-Nurture.  Hibernation and Self-nurturing. 

I had to examine all my emotions, and I had to choose me. I had to also admit that I am jealous of her spare time - she does not work right now - and I resented her asking me to move around my week to accommodate her Yoga class. Maybe this is her way of beginning her own journey.

Friends who are still in an addictive place in their lives - as this friend is - are red-flags. They make up reasons why their addictions are not the same as my addictions. She says her habit of smoking hash every day [not until after 2pm!] is not addiction, because it is helping her to cope with trauma. 

When you stop smoking cigarettes, everyone celebrates with you. When you stop drinking, they pause and wonder why. It is a shameful thing to be addicted to alcohol, and you must be weak. When you use drugs for coping with PTSD, you are above addiction, and seem to have a free pass to smoke whenever you want. 

Something is weird about the way we think.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lovely Little Evelyn Eileen

Probably as I wrote last Friday the birth was happening...

Eldest and his Lovely Lu had a beautiful home birth, with midwives and a doula in attendence.

Evelyn was 6lb8oz, and squirmy from the get-go, rooting around and wiggling. A good survival instinct, she has.

Today she is 4 days old, and Mama Lu's milk is in, her nipples are sore and the new family is managing beautifully. 


And Karen, I know exactly what you meant when you said the circle was complete... I thought that on our way home on Sunday night.

Mimi has muffins to bake tomorrow, and tiny baby pants to sew.