Friday, June 27, 2008

salmonberries


Yesterday Christi and Adelaide and I went salmonberry picking. Having a kid is awesome for berry picking, because you always have plenty of buckets lying around! Salmonberries can be quite tart but they're refreshing and incredibly high in vitamin C and antioxidants. And they are everywhere here on this mountain!

We went for almost three hours and Addie slept most of the time. Julia lent me their Tough Traveler hiking backpack and it's awesome, I think I want to get one for us to use all of the time. Adelaide seems to like being up in it up at everyone's face level, so it's so nice to be able to get some sort of exercise again. Lately Addie won't really sit in the stroller anymore, and she toddles around at about .05 km/h, so I've noticed that I am getting thicker!!!


We haven't officially decided what to do with the salmonberries yet - we want to make perhaps a jam or chutney with them, or maybe even candies! We are just looking for a good recipe still. So we will go picking a few more times and freeze them and to get a good stash before preserving them. If they last that long!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

breakfast, evening

It is 2:47 am and once again I find myself awake. I despise these nights when I awaken from nowhere with a start, heart racing, head full of ideas, and then cannot seem to fall back to sleep again. So I'm sitting here in the silent darkness and I thought that I'd post some photographs from our days.


Every morning Adelaide and I share a simple meal together. Here is our breakfast from this morning... marmalade on toast, sliced fuji apple, and gouda cheese. I always quickly cut our cheese with a japanese cherry blossom cutter which I picked up a little set of at Daiso a while back. With this it is so quick to slice up some cheese, fruit, or vegetables for Adelaide, and it helps her to eat more. And they also make our meals a little bit nicer, too.


And, an evening in the grass. I love visiting this spot by our house at dusk when the north shore mountains are turning pink by the ending day. The grass here is so very long and green and cool, and Adelaide loves bounding around in it. It reaches far above her head!

The other day when we were here at this spot, a big beautiful barred owl was sitting only a few meters away just peering down at us. Amazing! And then later on we saw her sitting again just outside our living room window. So beautiful. I couldn't help but feel like she was bringing us some sort of good luck. Or maybe she was just thinking that our poor kitties looked kind of tasty - they all ran in real quick!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

with daddy


I met Charles and we became fast friends. I remember thinking to myself "I want to hang out with him more". I had no idea that years later here we'd be... together a little family.

One evening after we had officially been a couple a few weeks or so, we were having dinner and he said to me that if I ever got pregnant, then we were going to have a baby, together. I remember being a little taken aback at this as I had never had a boyfriend who talked like that before. All my previous boyfriends would take off running at the mere mention of ever having children. It was really sweet to finally hear that someone saw that with me.

Several years passed and whenever we passed a little family on the street we'd both be like "oh! I want a baby!" I had always loosely thought that I would want to be a mom someday, but when it came down to it I wasn't sure. I thought a good year about it, back and fourth, back and fourth. I couldn't decide for sure if that was what I truly wanted.

And then a tragedy occurred to a beautiful friend a half a world away... my most favourite girlfriend lost her little newborn baby. And I woke up one morning and knew completely that I wanted to take that chance. And If i was ever so lucky to be blessed with a child it was never something to be taken forgranted - for it is the most special thing that could ever happen. And I knew then that I did want to be a mama one day.

We tried once. Once! and I knew. and I was absolutely terrified. Scared shitless. I was so incredibly, terribly sick for month after month after month. It was horrible. And then, 56 hours of hard back labour. I was at home but finally I chose to go to the hospital. Our baby wasn't getting enough oxygen, our baby's heartbeat kept faltering. When they finally told me that they had to cut her out of me I just sobbed.

Oh, but that feels like forever ago now. And oh my, was it all ever worth it. But the point of this post is not about these things. But what I meant to say is how very pleased I am by the type of father my Charlie has become. There are many of the sweet types of things in this world, but to me one of them has got to be witnessing a man who truly loves his child and takes pride in being a great father. I am fortunate enough in this life of mine to have learned from past mistakes and am now with a man who is great to me and even greater to our little daughter.

Neither of us have ever been too interested in marriage in the big wedding sense. I've never been one of those girls who wanted a wedding - Actually I couldn't think of anything more embarrassing! I guess it's just not my thing. So we never have. I'm not sure if we ever will - its just not important to us.

But we are together, the three of us, our little family. And oh, our love together: It is Grand!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

university day

Lately Addie and I have been going down to the university to explore. She wanders as she wishes and I follow along obediently... and this is what we did again today.

A university campus is a great place for a little kid to explore. There are always many things happening - dancers practicing their routines, musicians playing and composing, and today, some scientists constructing some huge type of sphere. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies, sculptures and artworks, fields and gardens and groves and fish-filled ponds to explore. Adelaide is in heaven when we're here!

I am certain, however, that we often take students by surprise - I guess it doesn't occur to the average university student that there are hundreds of little children that live on their campus, too. Often we get odd looks which at first used to make me feel awkward, but now amuse me. Adelaide doesn't seem to mind at all.

My little amazing girl - she's growing up so quickly right in front of me. Every day there is a slight shift forward for her. Last week sometime (I missed exactly when) she suddenly sprouted these long legs and she's been using them to run like wild, frontwards and backwards. She spins over and over in circles, one way, and then back around the other way. She dances for no one in particular, simply for the joy of being. I never grow tired of watching her in awe, for it still hasn't really hit me that this beautiful child is mine.


And she rarely, if ever, will hold my hand anymore. This makes my heart hurt a little, so today when she grabbed my hand (for what seems like no reason in particular) I quickly, awkwardly, snapped a photo, to try to capture this moment for myself forever. I am so glad that I caught it.

After running around the campus I love to take her to our Indian Restaurant for a buffet lunch. We've been taking Adelaide here since she was a little baby, and it's her favourite place to eat. Every day is something new, but today we feasted on fish curry, chana masala, matar vindaloo, tandoori chicken, and fresh naan. I mix a little bit of curry in rice for Adelaide, with a bit of chicken and chickpeas and she is one happy girl!


And after many hours away Addie and I head back home, tired out, and covered in chalk. Together we will have a bubble bath and a nap. We arrived to find our kitty Jack waiting for us on our front stoop - which (can you even tell?) absolutely thrilled Adelaide. You can kind of see Jack's cheek poking out beside Addie's artwork on the chalkboard posts. She adores her furry brothers!


I've been feeling happy again, and we've been having really great days. The kind that make me wish that I could bottle them up and keep them forever.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

collaborations


Tonight, Adelaide and I made muffins.

For a long while now I've been waiting and waiting for my daughter Adelaide to be big enough to make with me. I've been collecting up bins and jars of craft supplies - scraps of fabric, papers, ribbon and string. I'm saving up a big jar of laundry lint to use as stuffing for animals and other stuffed things we will make someday. (is this gross or what? I can't decide as it feels like it should be. laundry lint. well, at least I know it's clean!)


Last week Adelaide started to make chalk drawings around the neighbourhood with me and this makes me very happy. Previously, she would just eat the chalk but now shes happy to carry several pieces along with her and every so often she stoops down and makes marks!


Addie's marks look kind of like underwater reeds or twigs so I like to collaborate with her. I will add fish to swim in her reeds, or flowers or leaves to her twigs. She seems to like collaborating with me. Here we are drawing an underwater scene this weekend beside our neighbour Susanna's patio. Susanna is lovely and seems A-OK with the public art projects happening just outside her door. She even took this picture and sent it to us. Thanks Susanna!


Recently I've also realised that Addie really likes "helping" me cook and bake. At 16 months she's still pretty little to really help that much, but I put her up in her little high chair and let her assist me. Tonight we made berry muffins and she loved it! I tell her what I am doing and let her watch me mix together all the ingredients and let her mix and pour a little bit, too. I let her lick the spoon and she was very good at snatching blueberries out of the batter, too. She was pretty proud of our accomplishment!


Here is our recipe for mixed berry muffins. I've been making these muffins for about 15 years now. It's a simple but good recipe, somewhat like berry cupcakes really. The tart berries go nicely with the slightly sweet muffin and they are a nice substitute to cake or when you want a dessert that isn't overwhelmingly sweet. I try to use as many organic ingredients as possible which makes them a little bit nicer, too. 


Fresh Berry Muffins

ingredients:

2 cups flour

2.5 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup soft butter (room temperature)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs (room temperature)

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup milk (room temperature)

2-3 cups fresh or frozen berries - (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries)


directions:

- preheat oven to 375. f.

- beat butter until fluffy

- add sugar, mix well.

- stir in eggs and vanilla

- in another bowl, mix the dry ingredients

- add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then stir in half of the milk

- stir in remainder of the dry ingredients and then the rest of the milk.

- plop a heaping spoonful of the batter into each of 12 paper-lined muffin tins.

- place berries all over each spoonful of batter, and then add one more heaping spoonful of batter on top. Then place berries all over the very top. (this stops the berries from staining the batter all purple which happens when you stir the berries into all of the batter in one go)

- bake at 375. f. for 30 minutes. Ease open the oven slowly when done, so that the cool air doesn't sink the muffins

- allow to cool slightly, but these muffins are best when warm. and don't forget to lick the spoon!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

on inspiration


Lately I have been feeling melancholy and it feels like perhaps maybe a part of my life is ending. It feels that my work and my style - a big part of my heart and soul - is about to become really really played out. Perhaps it already has. This is hurting my heart and making me feel a bit parinoid, as it seems as though I can't even go on the internet without seeing yet another person inspired by my work (i.e. ripping me off)

I'm not totally naive. I mean, I am sure when you see someone who is obviously copying your work for their own profit it feels crap to you too. I am sure it happens to everybody with talent. And really, if you put things out there what do you expect? I have never contacted anyone and accused them of stealing, or asked them to stop, or anything like that. I think that, even in the most blatant cases, I would only end up looking bitchy...

I realise that the only solution to copycats is to keep on doing new work, to keep on making things, to keep on being inspired, and to keep on creating simply for the love of creating. To me, the act of creating must come from a pure place. I have to always try and forget about those things, and keep on doing what I have always done. Keep on making things because that is just who I am.

However, I can't really dedicate too much time these days to my work - as being a new mama doesn't really allow completely for this. Often I get so inspired to do new things, but then I begin to start out and I soon I realise that doing my work to the level that I want to takes so much time and love from me, that it is not at all fair to my new little daughter at all.

There are so many things that I want to to do, but I find myself spreading myself too thin. Being a mom is really important to me, and even more important than doing my work. I went into this with my eyes wide open, knowing in my heart and mind what I wanted. In the overall scheme of things, what's a few years away so I can be the mama that I really want to be? I guess. I wish... that i wasn't being overwhelmed with copy-cats in the meantime. Maybe people think that I've just gone away and so my work is fair game. Maybe they're just so excited to be making that they don't realise that they are stealing and hurting someone else. Will I ever really know?

And all the while pondering these things I also think "oh, get over yourself!!!" These days have been the happiest of my entire life so what do I even have to complain about... Boohoo!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

out and about

Here now is a small photo journal of our walking (dawdling) tour today around the neighbourhood. I have found that bringing along my camera saves me from becoming too bored or impatient. Thank goodness it's fixed!

We began on a walking path through some bushes on our way to visit the mailbox. Addie is a big fan of lugging my keys all around with her. This walk would normally take me about 3 minutes, but with Addie these days it takes around half an hour or so.


Passing by our neighbour Thomas' house is a big event for Adelaide, as he has a water table and other assorted kid bait on his front stoop. It doesn't seem to matter to Addie if Thomas is home or not, and everyday we have to stop by and check out the goods. What is it with little kids and other people's toys?

I adore her pose here - as she has no idea that she's posing at all. I love the way she is just a little girl without being too much. Pure sweetness. I wonder if she will still melt my heart when she is 15? 25? 50? Does that ever end? 


There are a lot of little boys in this neighbourhood, and watching Adelaide trot after them reminds me of when I was a kid! 

Here is Addie with her friend and across-the-way neighbour Thomas now, we run into him and his beautiful mama most afternoons. Tom's parents are both scientists at the university, and I suspect that Thomas, at age 20 months, may be smarter than me. Thomas and Addie are very sweet together and they seem to enjoy each other's company very much. I never really realise just how brown my little bean is until she hangs out with Tom - and it's not even summer yet!

Pretty much anywhere you are in the Vancouver area, you can see the water tower at SFU on top of Burnaby Mountain. This Playground is right beneath the water tower (you can kind of see the concrete of it in the background here) I think its kind of neat that wherever you are in the city, if you look up you can see where there are always happy little kids playing, way above all else...


3 hours later, Addie and I are headed back home again through the forest trail. I've found a big old tree stump that I can set up and take a photo of us together. This photograph reminds me of a 70's Sears portrait studio shot! All that is missing is the fuzzy faux-sheepskin rug to kneel on!

It was a good day. Hope you had a good day, too.

looking down, looking up



Today I stood in one spot in the forest and took a photo looking down, and then a photo looking up!

I have no idea what these little "star" flowers are. But they are really tiny and sweet - smaller than 1 cm each. The tree and leaves are from a Vine Maple. The Thompson Native Indians used the wood from Vine Maples to make cradles for their babies, which makes these little trees even sweeter! I have all these nerdy tree facts memorized from researching and making all those tree posters. Coming in handy somewhat these days...

Looking at these photos now, I once again almost feel and smell the air in the forest - it is so deep and musty yet refreshing and cool all at once. It is wonderful!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

crashed


Tonight, our friend Chris came over and he was sweet enough to fix my camera for me. He was just in time for me to capture this moment... Sorting through fabrics can really wear a girl out, no? Thanks, Chris!