Around Us

In Honour of Now

Time marches, and, we its slaves
Must carry forth, and carry on
The road that, from this vantage
Seems infinitely long

But truth lies in the ritual
As days slip past like sand
We watch worlds  shift, take other forms
It was never in our hands

‘We could do more
We could be more
Have and give and mould
We can manufacture destiny’
But, always, we’ll grow old

And back, well gaze
Upon those days
Lost on discontent
We’ll think, ‘they were true
And we never knew’
Must we be hell bent

On change, on more, on looking on ?
On missing what is here?
For what’s here is now, what we’ll look back
Upon as golden years.

How good we had it then, well say,
It happens,  without fail,
But  in the moment, a seeming storm,
Do we only feel the hail?

The best years seem to lie ahead
We strive and reach and run,
But let’s rest a minute, take a breath
For herein lies the sun.

If we can breathe and look around,
And be happy where we be,
Maybe we dont have to grow old
For our golden years to see.


From the start, we’re taught to strive for the next stages in life.  School, high school, college,  career, marriage, parenting,  etc. Each stage one might wander through in his or her life has its sub sections. There are various educational levels, we prepare for each,  afraid to let a moment slide, lest we lose our hold on tomorrow. 

As parents, we inevitably prepare for our children’s evolution. We steer them where we must, teaching them the skills they require to succeed. 

We prepare ourselves to expand our families, feel pressure to fulfill expectations,  create an ideal family unit. Beyond that, we face the pressure to reclaim ‘post baby bodies’, to maintain work,  career. We feel stressed to prove that we are taking time for ourselves,  to illustrate that, as parents,  as mothers, we’re not lost to the world.

I’ve felt pressure my whole life to be better and to be more. To improve, instead of maintain. To change, rather than to embrace myself.

I admit,  much of this may be interpretation. Were I to confront the sources of these pressures, they’d surely recant, insisting that’s not what they meant.

But as I grow older, I become more myself.  I care so much less what others think I should do, what path I should be on. 

Of course, I’ll still raise my child with growth in mind, but I hope I can teach her to embrace each moment a little,  too.

This morning, she and I watched the sunrise. Pepper chattered happily,  inexplicably describing the shifting colors to curious George.  (Sure, why not?)

I tried to soak it in, because,  though maybe I haven’t reached all the goals I’ve aimed for, all the standards set for me, I think I’ll look back on these days, and think, how great we had things then.

So, out of shape,  messy housed, disorganized, high school educated me is choosing to invest my energy into loving now, loving today. My split ends abound, I have a hole in my pocket.  I dress a little ‘weird’, I cry a lot, I feel everything. I’m not tough, I’m not strong, I don’t stand up for mysekf like I should. But, today, I can see the greatest thing I’ve ever done,  and she’s my world, and, for this moment, at least, I’m hers. So, I can’t help but love today.

Because, time has shown us,  again and again, that it’s always better than we thought it was, and if we can love each day, even a little, as we are now, that, in itself is a worthwhile growth. That is evolution.

Not every day can be perfect. We will be wounded, hurt.  And I have been. The battles ive faced have shaped me. We may be shattered from time to time.  But, as our scars heal, we all find,  slowly, the moments of life that bring joy. And when our eyes reopen to them, sometimes,  what we’ve learned in the fray remains clear.

Let us strive for todays; golden days that build to years that blend into a life. If we think every stage is precious,  every stage is amazing. …..then won’t they always be?


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The Perks of Being Leftovers

Leftovers suck.

Forgive my ineloquence, but popping last night’s meal into the microwave and slapping it down on the table certainly conjures images of limp chicken breasts,  soggy green beans and the inevitable lump of cold in the middle mashed potatoes. Not the most appealing option.

Even as a child, I despised leftovers. Unless you were pizza, you had no love from me if you were cooked yesterday.

But then, I grew up.

And had a child to feed.

And a husband to make take to work meals for. It no longer seems feasible to make from scratch  meals every night.

Enter the concept of repurposing leftovers!

Imagine,  turning tuesdays chicken breasts into Wednesdays chicken Pasta into Thursdays chicken pizza?!

I get excited about cooing, it’s true.

So, what were we faced with, this week? Leftover porkchops, peas and mashed sweet potatoes. We had turned some of the meat and peas into an Alfredo pasta, which was well received,  but with another meal to make and too much remaining to justify tossing it, I was faced with a challenge.

A tour of the pantry left me with a can of coconut milk and another of pineapple,  and a bag of rice, and a container of bred crumbs. The gears began turning. Maybe a little smoke billowed from my ears.

The result??


Coconut fried rice with pork, peas and pineapple (the letter of the day is P) and parmasean and sweet potato fritters. A dollop of Greek yogurt for dipping (topped with pepper sauce for mom).

Is there a Nobel prize for leftovers?

On a barely related note,  anyone else watching this season of The Leftovers? Madness abounds.

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Auld Accquaintance

As it comes to a close, we’re,  most of us, lucky. More often than not, we reflect on the highs of the year, and unless plagued by life changing lows, we can often forget our woes.


2015. Like all the years before, we never emerge entirely unscathed, but the scars and wounds are structure, no?  Our trips and falls build next year’s you, someone who looks a lot like last year’s you, but, let’s face it, she’s a little wiser. One more year to grow,  and to age, to become, perhaps a little more tired and weary in body, but, hopefully, enriched in mind, soul and spirit.

Who among us can manage to meet this day without reflection? The very young, of course, because new years will come and go forever. Even 20 year old me felt excitement for the party of the day; drinks, dance, awkward sweaty selfies. Before, of course,  we called them selfies.

But as the years add up, and time lets us see that were not infallible, we must take more away than a hangover. A new year lies in wait.  Maybe this will be the year you read 50 books. Maybe this will be the year you lose 30 pounds. Maybe this is the year you get married. Or divorced. Maybe this is the year you make no promises, but time lets you grow wiser anyway.


If the only gain we wander out of 2016 with is another year under our belts and 365 more experiences, let us hope that in one year,  still, we can all find things to be grateful for.

In this year? This 2015? A list:
Baby steps,
Mountain lakes,
First words,
A dear friend’s wedding,
Flour,  sugar, kneading,  making,
Ink and art, expression,
Road trips, motels, diners and new paths,
Work (sometimes…. )
And home.

Maybe not so unlike the years before it, but another list of days, moments and experiences to warm the heart. Slow walks in the woods, Pep’s memorable trick or treating, my 30th birthday in the mountains, a lot of ground covered under foot and in heart.


To you, 2015, may your successor bring us joy and love and happiness.  Wishing all of us wisdom and peace, and a good book and a cup of coffee.

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Big kid, now

Today, I found the husband’s socks in the couch as I straightened up. 
‘Oh, socks.’ Said Pep.

‘Dad’s socks.’ I replied, balling them up.

‘Oh, Dad.’ She said.

‘Can you please put these in the hamper?’ I asked, handing them out to her.

Without question,  she took them from me and scampered purposefully away, returning quickly.

I thanked her and gave her a kiss, somewhat incredulous that my tiny baby is, fully, a kid. We’re having conversations (she chatters about colors,  shapes,  letters, puppies, kitties, ho ho aka Santa,  and a host of other topics).

Today, we painted. She declared ‘rainbow!’ and slathered streaks of color about,  then asked mom, ‘rainbow song?’ (Somewhere Over the Rainbow ).


She was playing at the table this morning, dropped a toy, grunted dramatically, declared ‘reach’ in a defeated tone (as in ‘can’t reach’). I suggested she pick it up. She gave me a cheesy smile, squinted her eyes and chirped, ‘ mom do it!’.

Christmas is coming, quickly,  and I’m busying myself daily doing as much handmaking and gift baking as I can. Every time I haul out the flour, Pep announces, ‘bread!’ and attempts to climb the counters to help.

She occasionally kisses the ornaments on the tree goodnight. 


She has figured out that cookies are plentiful right now.

She did not appreciate Santa.  She proclaimed, ‘oh no!’ But was excited to wave goodbye. ‘Bye, ho ho!’

This year, Christmas is going to be amazing.

She’s a full blown kid, alright. 

I wonder if those socks are in the garbage…..

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A Remembered Day

My morning started, early,  with sleepy cuddles in bed, my sweet Pepper curled below my chin as I grasped for just a few more minutes of sleep. Her deep breaths synced with mine, and, gently, she curled her fingers around my hair. And I was so, so grateful to have her in my life.

Today is a holiday in a Canada, Remembrance Day, a day to acknowledge our country’s veterans,  thus, a day off from school. A day I was lucky enough to spend with my baby.


But I found myself growing irritable.




You can try to get a 1 year old to hug you, but they’ll only do it on their terms,  not yours.

It took some time to click in to me that my mood may, in fact,  be an annual occurrence.  Today is my first, lost baby’s due date. She might have been two.

Leafing up to today,  I didn’t expect anxiety or pain, I was sure the hurt wouldn’t be lying in wait, eager to pounce. And, so, it caught me off guard.

I couldn’t shake my mood, and of course  felt guilty for my grief, all while I had my wonderful rainbow in front of me.

I felt a desperate need to be acknowledged, I needed someone to validate my pain, to say,  I remembered, too. I’m sorry it hurts,  and I understand that you’ll always think of it, today.


My husband was, and is, unaware of why I’m acting so strangely.  I couldn’t bring myself to remind him. If he wasn’t hurting, why hurt him? And, admittedly,  I worried he’d roll his eyes and shrug it off. And that would be so much worse than feeling alone.

I felt this great urge to shout it out. I had a baby, once, who’s gone, and today might have been her birthday. She was real, she was here, and she mattered. And I’m hurting.

I posted on a Facebook group I’m a member of, for loss moms.

And as the hours and hours went by, without reply, from the only venue literally set up for my comfort,  I began to feel seriously invalidated.

It’s been 2 years.

You never even met that baby.

You have another child.

It was ‘just’ a miscarriage.

You have nothing to complain about.  You have another daughter.

I let those imaginary comments,  that hateful inner voice grow louder and louder. Pepper, semi oblivious to my mood began to take note.  ‘Cry.’ She’d say, pointing to my eyes.

Then I got a text.

From the one friend who really did remember. She remembered that I would be remembering.

‘I’m thinking of you today.’

And that made all the difference.

Someone remembered that life,  not just me. The tiny ripples made by my first child made a connection with someone else on this earth, even if only through me.

And I realized that having a rainbow baby, while a blessing, a wonderful joy in my life, is not going to make my pain go away.

And it shouldn’t.

Because, while she’s healed my heart so much, it’s not Pepper’s job to carry me when my heart is heavy.  It’s not her job to erase the past.

Those hurts were real.

And they still are, sometimes.

And, on this Remembrance Day, someone remembered.

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Beat by Beat

I. Love. Halloween.


Always have. I love horror movies (yeah,  I’ve got a blog for that, too). I love dressing up. As a kid, I was drawn to Goosebumps and Fear Street novels, thriving on the gloom and doom, savoring the scares.  My costumes tended towards the gruesome, vampires, zombies, fake blood and wounds.  Even as an adult, I felt more comfortable covered in gore than I did attempting to pout and be coy with sexy animal ears and risqué necklines.

I love the parties, the buzz, the excitement; pumpkin carving,  handing out candy, the cheesy soundtracks featuring Monster Mash.

The husband proposed to me on Halloween. 

I love Halloween. 

Two years ago, on Halloween, I had my second ultrasound with Pep.

The first pegged her at 6 weeks.

This scan was just a few days past 12 weeks.

This scan had me anxious, shaking. This scan had me in tears on the way to the hospital.

This scan had me dredging up aching memories, had me hearing an echo, an eternal echo that will ring in my mind forever.  A distant echo, softly saying, ‘there’s no heartbeat. I’m so sorry.’

And with it, more than an echo of a hurt that still exists and still shocks me, even now.  A Fracture on the time line of my life, on my heart. That jolt that shuddered through me as I knew my baby was gone.

Two years ago, I waited. Tears pushed against my eyes, eager to burst forth and free. My breathing was shallow and staggered. 

I walked into that room, where my heart once shattered. I could hear that sharp crash resounding in the dim light,  the memories of joyous moments and devastating losses permeating the very walls, my own tragedy just one of a million.

My heart pounded furiously as I recalled that fateful scan at 17 weeks that revealed a child dead at 11w 6 days.  Heart breakingly shy of the proverbial safe zone of 12 weeks.

Dread hung over me, heavy like cement, as I lay waiting for information.  Trying not to be certain that this baby,  too, hadn’t made it to 12 weeks.

The silence of an ultrasound tech can be the loudest silence some of us will ever hear.

That Halloween,  two years ago,  is when I heard Pep’s steady, healthy heart,  beating strong,  healing my own, just a bit, with every tiny thud.

Two years, I saw the image of my sweet, strong girl,  alive. She had lived. She was living.

Somehow on this Halloween,  I believed that she could.


We floated home, giddy, on a cloud. We spied excited trick or treaters, and headed in to make popcorn and watch some cheesy horror as our little Pep carried on and on, right there with us.


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As Gourd As It Gets

It’s autumn, the pumpkin spice is in the air. Cinnamon, nutmeg, awkward orange dye. Pumpkin is in the spotlight as THE fall flavour.

I say, nuts to that, let’s get squashing!!!! (For reals though,  pumpkin overnight oats?! Yes ma’am! )

Ladies and gentlemen,  I think I’ve just created Butternut Squaffles. Patent pending.


There are times when breakfast deserves to be dinner. I love it, you love it, for goodness sake,  kids love it.

The bad news? It’s tough to make breakfast-dinner feel like it’s even a little good for you. You know, not dessert?

Enter, the butternut squaffle!

The way I see it, if you can make a pumpkin pancake,  a pumpkin donut, a pumpkin oreo, even, why not try adding a little velvety, sweet,  cinnamon spiced butternut squash?

By adding last night’s roasted squash puree to a fairly straightforward waffle batter,  adding a heavy dose of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla and a hint of nutmeg,  I’ve ended up with crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, rich,  sweet and earthy waffles.

So they’re still waffles, but squash! So, at least we can feel a little better about waffles if vegetables are present.

Served with a huge pile of blackberries, a sprinkle of homemade pumpkin spice granola  (ok,OK,  I like pumpkin too ), a drizzle of honey and a spoonful of Greek yogurt,  butternut squaffles were a hit, and managed a bit of good for you too.

Butternut Squaffles

2 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
Dash of salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I probably doubled this. I never measure cinnamon and nobody ever complains )
Dash nutmeg

1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
I tsp vanilla (see :cinnamon )
3/4 cup butternut squash puree  (last night’s leftovers!)
1/4 cup sunflower oil

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, mix wet ingredients  (except squash)

Add wet to dry, then add squash. Whisk batter to break up and distribute the squash. Batter should be thick.

Spray waffle iron with cooking oil before using.


This made us a batch of 10 waffles, most of which will be frozen and reheated in the toaster.

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