Category: Winter

It went and got cold

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It went and got cold.

AppleApple had an outdoor practice in a snowstorm on Saturday morning, at which I could have chosen to go for a run in solidarity. Instead, I stayed in the car letting the sunshine warm me while starting Hell Going, by Lynn Coady, which I’d purchased on my Kobo awhile back. We passed three car accidents on the way to the soccer field, all fender-benders caused by drivers who had forgotten how to drive in winter conditions. As in: slow the heck down, people! It was a white-knuckle trip, and we were most terrified that someone, travelling too fast, would simply slide into us.

Other activities this weekend included a date night out with friends (no children) on Friday evening, three soccer games and two more practices, one gigantic homework project (still unfinished), and a birthday dinner at a sushi restaurant that was appallingly, and ultimately comically, dreadful. “The only logical way this can end is in food poisoning,” observed one of my brothers. He was hungry — we all were, as wait staff appeared to “lose” our orders in a potted plant near the cash register — but was hesitating to eat what looked like leftover stir-fry rice fashioned into a maki roll, battered, and deep-fried.

I squeezed in a run yesterday afternoon, double-layered, and relished the wind and snow flashing into my face. All was well and good.

But then I crashed. I left Kevin with the supper dishes and crawled into bed early. This turned out to be the perfect medicine. Three of the kids (including my very biggest) snuggled with me and I read them several chapters in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, which is the book we’ve chosen post-Little-House. They’re loving it. CJ almost couldn’t get to bed he was so caught up in wondering when the Lion would come in to the story, and would it be a real lion?

Then I read for pure pleasure for another hour, and then two, and then, finally, slept. Up early for kettlebell class. Dithered a bit, considered skipping, but couldn’t sleep anyway. I’ve trained my body to wake like clockwork around 5AM. I knew class would be hard, but worth it, and it was, and it was. I so appreciate having a comforting, familiar place to go to in the early morning, and a friend to go with.

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Fooey’s Christmas wish list, my copy; also on desk right now: inspirational “go!” artwork, also by Fooey; and a much-scribbled-in calendar

I can’t believe it’s almost advent.

Will I put up the advent activity calendar that so disappointed my children last year? Can I slow down even the slightest in order to prepare for the season? So many things I would like to do: bake cookies, put up a tree, take a family photo for Christmas cards, buy something special for each of the kids, dream up delicious menus for dinners …

Snow day in Canada

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Yup. It’s a real snow day, school cancelled, library cancelled, extra-curricular activities cancelled, children playing in snow drifts, people walking by in the street because the sidewalks are too messy, snow, snow, snow coming down, down, down.

I’m happy for the kids, who were praying for a snow day, but oh how I really wanted to keep on writing in my new book. Yesterday’s hair-pulling session netted me 1800 new words, bringing the book to 78,000 words, and three new scenes. (Scrivener has handy “project targets” and “project statistics” features to which I am utterly addicted. I do realize that stats mean nothing if those 78,000 words do not work together to move the reader. But it’s comforting to quantify my efforts.) I have about four new scenes to write, plus another six or seven to revise before this draft is complete. I’m not looking for new material, I just need the time/space to write what has already been plotted out in my head. Unfortunately, my current situation is not conducive to scene-writing: two children and two dogs crowded into my office, dogs to sleep, and children to chew gum, sit in dog beds, listen to songs, and generally disrupt the quiet every two seconds with requests, wonderings, and commentary. The smallest is at this very moment stamping his feet for some perceived wrong I’m not entirely clear about. Maybe it’s the typing I’m doing on this here computer.

So … here’s what I plan to do with the rest of our snow day.
* bake cookies
* make yogurt
* make dough for homemade pizza
* shovel the sidewalk since I won’t be running tonight (no soccer skills means that my regularly scheduled Friday run, which I do no matter the weather, is also cancelled)
* pull smallest on sled while we walk second smallest to play date
* put in movie for part of the afternoon and sneak in some writing

For the purposes of reality checking, here’s what I’ve actually accomplished so far.
* chatted with sister-in-law on the phone
* almost finished one cup of coffee (gone cold ages ago)
* fed everyone breakfast, and a few people lunch
* tried to talk husband out of leaving for his boys’ cottage weekend in the middle of this storm (doesn’t seem to be working)
* put in load of laundry
* cleaned up dog poop in upstairs bedroom (c’mon, DJ, if Suzi can go outside, you can go outside!)
* read front section of newspaper
* answered a few work-related emails
* took photographs of snow
* puttered. Really, mostly I’ve puttered.

Mid-winter calm

where the dogs walk
paths made by dogs

How weird is this: my eldest daughter found my water bottle. So check that item off the “lost list.”

She knew where it was all along. In fact, it was in her messy room, as pictured in yesterday’s post! Apparently I brought it to her myself on Friday night, around 3 o’clock in the morning, when she was having a croupy coughing fit. I remember the croupy cough (and the momentary fear that it might progress, like CJ’s did last fall, to emergency room proportions). I remember, vaguely, rushing to her room with concern. I remember nothing about fetching her a water bottle, let alone my water bottle. She’s been drinking out of it ever since.

Guess I was tired.

Early this morning, when the location of my bottle was still a mystery, I took a glass canning jar to hot yoga. It worked quite well, actually.

*

My week days have a very particular shape right now, which I find soothing. Mid-winter calm.

Early morning, dark: exercise, usually with a friend.

Breakfast: with children, prepare for school.

Naptime.

Mid-morning til early afternoon: cup of coffee, office, writing.

Somewhere between 1 and 2: lunch, leftovers. If really lucky, meet husband or friend for lunch.

Mid-afternoon: more writing, somewhat frantic, one eye on clock.

3:45: children home. Save work, leave office.

Late afternoon: snacks, supper prep, laundry, catching up, homework, piano practice, hugs, listening, radio (sometimes), noise, dogs, friends.

Early evening: ferry children to and from activities.

Supper: sometimes early, sometimes late, as together as we can manage.

After supper: dishes, snacks, homework, laundry, piano, teeth, reading, talking, children to bed.

After 9pm: sit on couch with tea and dogs and Kevin (when possible), talk with big kids (sometimes), read in bed (always).

*

At yoga, and when I run, I tend to meditate on staying in the moment. Be here now, I tell myself.

I love my schedule right now, as plotted out above. But I know that it will change, as every schedule I’ve ever enjoyed has changed, and drastically. The point is not to worry about what may come, and how all the pieces will fit together in the future, but to enjoy what is here, right now.

Right now I am watching the wind blow the snow around, and hey, there’s a neighbour I know walking by! (Yes, neighbours, I watch you walk by all day). I am enjoying the feeling of having met a deadline. I am finishing a square of dark chocolate. There are black beans with garlic simmering on the stove, and they smell really good. My office is toasty warm. The dogs are sleeping near me in their beds.

It is so quiet.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed

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Celebrating a birthday, a Burns day, and a full moon. We dined on “cockadoodle soup” (aka cockaleekie soup, which sounds just as odd, come to think of it) and haggis. There were kilts. The songs all had bagpipes. The girls found their ghillies and performed. And today I am tired and my head aches just a wee bit. Seems just about perfect for the end of January, hey.

Ten-minute tidy

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I do almost all of my exercise in the dark these days.

Spin and weights on Mondays, now, and spin again on Tuesdays, both with the same friend. We catch up on the drives to and from class.

On Wednesdays, I run with another friend. This has been our ritual for several years now, and we go no matter the weather, though we did consider heading for the track yesterday. It was -27C on her outdoor thermometer, so we layered up, and ran a loop around the ‘hood rather than running out to the “country” to see the sunrise. We felt like heroes. But I was so cold by the end that I honestly thought I might perish on my own front porch while my stiff fingers failed to operate the house key — brain apparently had frozen too.

This morning I went to yoga. It was light by the time I got home.

On Friday evenings I run while the kids are at soccer. It’s dark, dark, dark. The photo above was taken on one of those runs. I wear a headlamp and go no matter the weather. I tell myself: if I can do this now, I can do this forever.

On Sundays I play soccer; it’s not dark, but it’s also indoors.

I love watching the light return. But there is something exhilerating about being awake while the world is still sleeping. In my early twenties, I loved being awake and writing at 3 o’clock in the morning. In my late thirties, I love being awake and moving just a few hours later.

*

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Yesterday, my friend Tricia and I taped an interview for our Amazing Race audition video. We are getting help from a friend who is a professional videographer. He brought stuff, including a cameraman and lights. We were in Tricia’s living-room but it felt like being on a set. (She blogged about it too.)
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It was nerve-wracking because one’s strengths and weaknesses felt instantly apparent. I have too much nervous energy! I can’t sit still! It also challenges me to get out of my head, where I’m living rather intensely these days, working on this historical feminist sports romance I seem to be writing.

But it was also really fun. Really fun. I won’t post any photos from yesterday’s shoot (they’re not really mine to post), but here’s one I took last week while our kids were playing. Tricia is trying to teach me how to “frown-smile.” Apparently, I can’t frown-smile. This is more like sad-clown-smile.

Today, Saturday

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Wake to a winter wonderland.

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Date with daughter: Starbucks and errands uptown. Such a good start to the day, I’m thinking every Saturday morning should begin with a date with one of my kids. Albus calls the next one.

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Advent begins. “Mom is so freaky organized she’s got an envelope in her office with advent activities!” (This is true. I just put them away from last year’s calendar, knowing the season would come around before we knew it. And here it is. Looks like we had a lot “hot chocolate for breakfast” last year.)

Today’s activity: Get a tree!

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Uh oh. First we have to clean up the gigantic Lego living-room mess.

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Good opportunity to create a new Lego playspace upstairs instead. Buy small area carpet while shopping for the tree, which comes in a box. Yes, we bought a tree in a box.

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Tree-in-box was family decision: it’s economical and reusable. And it’s not like we’ve been hiking out to our back forty and chopping down an adorable and unique tree replete with picturesque memories that the children will carry with them forever. No, for the past couple of years, following some truly disastrous never-again hiking-around-tree-farm-experiences, we’ve purchased our tree in a Dairy Queen parking lot. So, really …

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Also this afternoon: big kids had their second babysitting gig (he’s the other curly head in the foreground).

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And now it’s dark, and we still haven’t had supper. Kevin and the boys are out picking up a take-out Thai order. I’ve got a very hungry and grumpy child curled in the rocking chair beside me, and another trying to solve a sudoko puzzle at the dining-room table (and she’s stuck on something, from the sounds of it). Also crossed off the list today: fresh sheets for everyone, tons of laundry, library run, creative Shakespeare presentation completed, and — still in the works — bread baking.

Hey, food’s here! As Fooey says, “Let’s eat! Let’s eat!”

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