Rain, rain

My daughter has lately taken to singing ‘rain, rain go away, come again another day.’ How appropriate, as we all passed yet another rain-filled few days this long weekend.  We did get outside, at least, for the brief periods between rain, and spent a few hours enjoying local parks and moments spent together.

In particular, we went to a local walking trail that’s a favourite of ours.  The trail is quite short, just a couple of km, but weaves through quite a picturesque landscape of older trees and glacial erratic boulders.  The trail also passes close to the shore of a small lake, and crosses a little stream.  I sat next to the stream for a few minutes and just listened to the water bubble past the rocks.  This has to be one of my most relaxing sounds, and even five minutes there, spent in relative quite apart from the voice of the stream, was refreshing.  The three of us also stopped at the lakeshore, where my daughter spent several minutes watching the ducks.  This girl loves ducks.  The hubby and I sat on a nearby bench and watched a light fog waft over the lake’s still surface.  What a lovely way to spend a potentially dreary morning.  Unfortunately the camera didn’t make the trip with us, but I’ve stored a few great mental snapshots, to be sure.


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May 21, 2013 · 6:14 pm

The good in now

I’ve been struggling a lot lately, with a nagging sense of discontent about the where I am, and what I’m doing.  That’s super vague, I know, but I’ve been consciously keeping an open mind when trying to sift through the feelings of discouragement, and root out the underlying cause.

I suspect much of the problem is the particular work I’m doing now, which has shifted over the past couple of years, in relatively subtle ways, such that the tasks before me now no longer line up with my passions.   For that matter, I don’t feel my paid is particularly well aligned with my skill set right now, either.  What makes up this program of study, for me, has morphed slowly into distorted version of my original vision for the project, and I no longer feel it’s representative of my goals (professional or personal).

In particular, I spend a lot of time inside, at a computer (all my thesis work is computer-based).  The only exception to this is when I have the opportunity to teach, which doesn’t come around in the summer months.  I honed in on the importance of the computer-based work this past semester, when I opted not to take on any teaching work (under a certain amount of pressure to focus on the research).  In narrowing the scope of my paid work to include only the research, as now defined, towards my thesis, I have become progressively less passionate about what I do day to day.  This is a problem.

There’s more to the discontent than just my work, to be sure.  This place where we now live contributes as well, for reasons that relate to community, family, and our connectivity to nature (or lack thereof). I’ll save this discussion for another time.

Some good has come out of the time devoted to considering this discontent, in that I now have a much more clear idea of what’s causing the problem, and what I can do to improve the situation.  Plans are in motion to change up our living situation, to transport ourselves to a place better suited to the lifestyle we want.  In the mean time, I’m making an effort to focus on what is actually great about the here and now.  Here are a few things I’ve come up with so far.

1. Teaching.  While I haven’t done much of this in the past few months, the opportunity to get more involved in teaching will return, either in the fall semester (though I’ll be on leave), or in the term after that.  I have derived a great deal of satisfaction from the teaching experiences I’ve had so far during this doctorate, and certainly would not have been able to develop my practice nearly so much over the past three years were I not here, taking this degree.

2. Writing.  Being back at a university setting has provided both inspiration and opportunity for writing.  While I’m definitely still new on this scene, I’ve done very much more writing over the past couple of years than I had in the few years before returning to school.  I know now that writing brings me much satisfaction, and I will take that knowledge with me wherever I go next.

3. Time.  This is a tricky one, as the typical course of graduate studies can be very demanding on one’s time.  It’s certainly true that my particular circumstances here, the people I work with, make enormous demands on my time.  What is also true, however, is that I have considerable control over my schedule and, when push comes to shove, I can set limits on how my time will be used.  This has taken me three years to fully realize, but I now understand how valuable it is to me to have that control over my time, how much I benefit from making time for myself and my family.  I will come away from this experience with a much more clear picture of how I want to balance my time between work and family, in the future.

4.  Family.  This is an obvious one, but I think it’s also a point that’s easy to pass over without really thinking through.  My husband and I have started our family here, in this place, while I’ve been working towards this degree.  It’s been a wondrous and also a tremendously challenging experience.  Now over two years into my role as a parent, I find it very easy to let the days sweep past me, moving from one necessary task to the next, from work to home and laundry, cleaning, bathing and feeding the little one.  It is essential to step back periodically and notice how dramatically different our lives are since having our daughter, how much she adds to our days, how much of ourselves are now intertwined with the life of this new little person.  It would be so easy to miss this, caught up as I’ve been in the demands of my current work.

This list is, I suppose, written out more or less in reserve order of importance.  I’m not certain precisely how the next several months will pan out, or when the plans we’re crafting will come to fruition.  I do know that the changes I want to effect will see me have more time, more energy to devote to my family, to myself and my own passions, and will see my work shift away from research, towards teaching or other interests.  Between now and then, I will try, each day, to notice the good in now, in this day.

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Mumma’s cat in the hat

Most nights my husband reads the bed time story, after I help our little girl put on her jammies and brush her hair.  He does such a great job of this, always reading with such enthusiasm, bringing the characters to life.  I know she loves these story session with Dad, and I suspect for him it’s a nice outlet for his inner child.  It’s a ritual we all enjoy.

Today, though, was one of those days we found ourselves rushed at bed time (which is also when hubby leaves for work), so mum filled in with the story.  Now I also love reading to our little girl, but lately the combination of a full work day, a sore back, and quickly diminishing lap space has left me a little less than enthusiastic for the longer books she enjoys these days.  Fortunately, she doesn’t seem to mind when I improvise a slightly faster paced version of her favourites.  Tonight was cat in the hat, mum style, with far less rhyming than the original, definitely a little less enthusiasm than dad typically supplies, but with all the warmth and toddler cuddles we’ve come to expect from this time in our day (though I use the term ‘cuddle’ loosely – she’s not a very physically affection person, our little girl; if she consents to sit on my lap for 2 minutes worth of book reading, I consider that a win).

I’m a little surprised she doesn’t mind my made up versions of stories, given that she’s so particular in almost everything she does.  Perhaps she enjoys the creativity of exploring a new take on an old favourite?  Whatever the reason, I’m glad we can enjoy story time together, even when my body dictates that it be a little shorter than normal.

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A restful (nearly) sleepless night

Phew, what a night.  With my daughter nearly two and a half now it’s an infrequent experience to be up with her several times in the night.  For quite some time now she’s been generally sleeping well.  Of course there are always exceptions to any rule, and last night was definitely one of those.

The poor little girl has had trouble sleeping, on and off, for the past week or so.  I can’t be certain, but I think her last molar is making its way into place.  Most of her teeth have come in  a little ahead of schedule, but for whatever reason this last molar has been a hold out.  Last night was particularly bad, with her having a lot of trouble sleeping, and me making several trips back and forth between her bed and mine.  In the end I brought her into my bed, and we managed a couple of hours rest before morning.

She’s been in her own bed for a long time, almost from the start, really. She’s always been a very independent little girl, and from the time she was a baby she’s shown a clear preference for her own physical space.  As she’s grown, she has consented to a little more physical closeness, and I can count on the odd hug or snuggle, but it’s a rare occasion that we share a moment of this sort of physical intimacy.

I certainly didn’t sleep well, and woke several times during the couple of hours that she slept next to me, but it was, in some ways, a restful experience.  With a child so independent as my little girl, there is great satisfaction in knowing that, from time to time, she is comforted to have me close by.

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A weekend indoors

It’s rained all weekend here, the sort of heavy rain with wind that keeps people inside.  We made the most of it, with a little shopping, a trip to the market, and plenty of play time at home.  I tried a new recipe for our mother’s day dinner (a creamy tomato soup, based loosely on this one), and followed up with an old favourite for dessert.  And yes, cooking for the family was precisely what I wanted to do with the evening (there was breakfast in bed earlier in the day, so I did indeed feel spoiled on mother’s day).  We would have loved to get outdoors, especially at this time of year when, after a long grey winter everyone is itching for sunny days spent in a freshly green world.  But, given the weather, I think we did a great job of enjoying our days off together, finding joy in the undercurrent of time spent with those we love.


Checking out rabbits at the market.


Trying on some new (thrifted) skirts.  They’re a little long just now, but should last through the warmer weather ahead.

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At the end of the end of the work week, after a particularly crummy sleep, I wake up to another day of grey, drippy skies.  On a morning like this it’s easy to focus on the negative, to leap to the list of tasks I ought to get through today, or begrudge the beginning of the weekend this weary weather.

Instead, I choose to notice this wonderful in my morning.  I’m grateful to spend my first hour of the day in a comfortable apartment, surrounded by the sort of perpetually disheveled appearance that only comes from sharing space with a toddler.  I’m grateful for a loving husband who, upon returning from his night shift asks how I slept, and when the answer is ‘not well’ offers to handle the morning routine so I can catch a little more rest.  I live with people who care for me and depend on me. I feel loved.

So here’s to five minutes spent quietly, before launching into one more work day.


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It’s a rainy day here in my coastal town – grey, dreary, characteristic coastal weather, the kind that ushers people indoors (at least that’s how I feel about it today).  No matter, though, I have plenty of work to be done on my thesis that, in truth, I’ve been somewhat neglecting the past two days.  Time to get down to business.

So today, just a quick note, and a simple photo, capturing a quiet moment of solitude (or as  close to solitude as a pregnant mum can get!).  My goodness that belly is growing.. hard to believe we’ve got three more months of getting even bigger.


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