Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Smile


I finished writing + submitting my final paper for my final course today - The Evolution of Public Relations, if you must know... And I wrote about the last ten years of public relations and the effect of blogging, microblogging, and social media on our profession, using the marketing of The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, and Scott Pilgrim vs The World as case studies.

Oh yes, I did. While my classmates were researching genocide and historical political campaigns, I was reading about Comic-Con. True story. Impressive, I know ;)

Assuming that my ridiculous topic won't prevent me from passing this course, I can now add a Diploma in Public Relations from the University of Victoria to my long list of auspicious achievements (tongue firmly planted in cheek).

I can't even tell you how happy I am. I honestly wasn't expecting this to be a big deal, but I sat here and cried after I uploaded the file. Actual tears. Turns out that I'm more proud of this diploma than I was of my first degree... Funny how that works. I'm just so ridiculously proud of myself for finishing despite all the challenges the universe has thrown our way lately. It feels a little bit like finishing that marathon. And it feels a lot like something worth celebrating :)

Thanks for sharing this victory with me. I know there were many people praying me through the home stretch.

Now which program should I tackle next? Accreditation? My Masters? Or should I go straight for my MBA?... JUST KIDDING. I'll wait now until Briony's in Grade One. At least. Because... SCHOOL'S OUT FOR THE SUMMER!

Sorry. I had to.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What I Want Is An Avocado

I read this earlier in the week and I've been back a bunch more times to read it again - a lovely little post from Redhead Writing entitled How Avocados Changed My Life and Other Work-Life Bullshit (I'm going to add a PG13 warning to this link).

How many times have we missed out on something just because we're scared? Or decided that we didn't like something - without ever even giving it a chance?

So many times, I feel myself pursuing things that I don't even necessarily WANT - but I feel pressure to want them anyway just because I SHOULD. The more birthdays I have, the better I get at sorting through all the crap to find the heart of the matter and figuring out what I want. It's a good thing I still have so many more birthdays to go :)

This is my life. I can't control everything about it, but I can choose how I live it. I am so grateful to have married a man who supports me wholeheartedly in this pursuit, and whose journey parallels mine in so many ways.

I'm going to stop saying SHOULD. And I'm going to eat more avocados (they are SO YUMMY).

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Know how they say that you should do one thing every day that scares you? I should be good for a while, I'm thinking, because I did something today that scared the s&$# out of me.

I grew up making frequent summertime visits to Big Whiteshell Lake. There's a huge rock there by the water where people jump into the lake. It's probably only ten feet high, but it scared me SO MUCH when I was little. It still makes my hands sweaty to think about it. I jumped... Many times. And there's really nothing quite like that feeling of flying through the air, full of adrenaline and so much LIFE. The sad thing is that I'm all grown up now, and I think I'm probably too scared to ever do it again.

There's nothing really earth-shattering about jumping off a rock into a lake. But we face opportunities to make risky decisions of all scales every single day - whether it's pursuing a dream or trying something new at Starbucks (I'm still working my way up to that one).

Nothing annoys me more than someone who sits complacently, just waiting for great things to happen to them (and complaining about it when nothing changes). So today - with a stomach full of butterflies - I took a little jump. It might land me right back where I started. Or it could the start of something beautiful. Either way, I can live with the wonderful knowledge that I tried. And that's really all we can do.

What have you done that's scared you? What scary thing have you been contemplating - and what's stopping you from jumping?

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Monday, July 26, 2010


I am honestly starting to believe that there are no wrong decisions in life, merely decisions that land you in a different place than you might have ended up otherwise. My life has been built from a string of things I did not necessarily plan - and I love my life. It takes a lot for this Type A to admit that it's turning out better than I could have planned it myself.

Today, I've been thinking a lot about change and transitions. Nothing super deep, and probably a lot to do with the fact that I'm trying to finish up the last paper for my course this week. This fall, I will graduate from a program I've been plugging away at since 2002. Kind of bizarre from someone who finds a little part of her identity in being a student.

But I don't think that's all... For the last little while, I have definitely been feeling that something is about to change - and it's giving me butterflies. I don't know what or why or how, and I don't know if it's going to be soon or if God is just laying the groundwork for something in my future. Maybe it's just a change in my understanding of who I am.

Something is coming. And I'm a little bit excited to find out what.

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Monday Secret


Ode to Parents

Know who rocks? PARENTS.

Geoff was working nights all weekend, so my parents graciously extended an invitation to Briony + I to hang out at their place so they could help me take care of her. It was so nice to spend some extra time with them, and even nicer to have some extra help. Even with all their help, my back and shoulders are pretty messed up today and I'm just generally in pain and having lots of difficulty.

And beginning on Thursday, Geoff is working something like 8 out of 10 consecutive shifts - which sucks for him (for obvious reasons) but also sucks for me (see above paragraph re: my ongoing flare and the fact we have a toddler in our house). Once again, it's parents to the rescue... Briony + I will be flying out with my parents on Thursday morning and then spending those aforementioned horrid days with Geoff's parents in Abbotsford so that, once again, I can get some extra help.

Incredible, isn't it? I'm sure it helps to have a pretty cute kid... But I don't take any of this for granted. We are so very blessed to have a life full of people who love us - including parents who are so willing to pitch in. I have no idea how we'd be surviving without all of you.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Moment With Briony

All the Sharon, Lois, and Bram we listen to here has officially paid off. Today during breakfast, Briony looked at me and sang, 'I looooove you, boop boop dee doo!'


Holy Vocabulary, Batman

It's not exactly a newsflash that my kid talks. Kind of a lot. The number of people who are even a little bit surprised about this: 0. You see, I was a talker - and totally that kid who was reading very well before my first day of kindergarten. If Briony had come out as quiet as Geoff, I would not have had a clue what to do with her (I suck at staring contests).

It was so much fun to see how her vocabulary grew and blossomed since she first uttered the word 'tickle' almost a year ago. But honestly, we've heard very few NEW words in the last few months. Right at the age where NORMAL children are starting to talk, she's been talking - but not really acquiring a lot of NEW vocabulary. Instead, she learned to walk and just kind of took a break from language acquisition. A little backwards, maybe, but it worked.


The point is that in the last week, she's started acquiring vocabulary again, at a kind of astonishing rate. It's been hilarious. It's also been very cool to see how those words - old and new - are starting to wind their way into bigger and more complicated sentences. It's kind of hard not to laugh at her these days.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Taste of Lilith

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Tutu Not Required

Just unpacking from my trip and unloading some of my purchases... I'm thinking that the sparkly silver tutu for Briony was probably unnecessary.

But it is SO CUTE.

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The Smallest Things

Know what's making me happy today?


Specifically, NEW dishes.

More specifically, new dishes that simplify the whole dishes situation in the Wright household.

My parents wanted to know what to get my for my birthday. My suggestion was quick and easy: money to spend in Minneapolis this past weekend. I put it to good use and took the opportunity to snag a few pieces from Ikea, missing pieces that were standing between me and my dream of ditching two older sets of dishes that are taking up some very precious real estate in our smallish house. There's nothing wrong with them, they are just nine and eleven years old respectively - and they reflect a different style and a different era. They'll find new homes with grateful new owners, and we will move on.

We received some simple white dishes at one of our wedding showers, and I am in love with them other than the lack of usable bowls. But we have simple white bowls now (God bless Ikea). So all my dishes are now basic white and entirely interchangeable.

It sounds like such a small thing, but it's making me SO HAPPY. Hooray for pretty, simple things. And maybe for therapists too, because I'm not entirely sure that my dishes-related glee is normal :)

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OH MY GOSH did I ever need this past weekend. Life has just been coming at me a million miles an hour lately and by the end of last week I must have been a total treat to be around... Sarcasm, my friends.

This was EXACTLY what I had been needing. Emily, Melanie, Kathy, and I met up *early* on Saturday morning (thank you, Paul!) and began our roadtrip down to Minneapolis. I seriously think we talked the entire way there, pausing only to sip some Starbucks or have a quick bathroom break.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love drama-free girls? The only drama on the way down was the nasty-looking sky. I've never been more worried about a tornado in my life, and after arriving safely in Minneapolis, we saw on the news that there had actually been a couple of touch-downs in that area just after we drove through. SHUDDER. The weather was ominous in the city and the sky was black as night in the middle of the evening, but we were troopers and headed out to Ikea anyway (hehe).

After a bit of a lazy start, Sunday was spent at the Mall of America and then at Lilith. Ah, Lilith... You did not disappoint me in any way. We took in performances by Metric, Kate Nash, Court Yard Hounds (two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks), Heart, Mary J Blige, and Sarah McLachlan. It would have been fun to see ALL the performers - there were a few more earlier in the day - but there was no way I was up to that. The ones we saw were incredible, the only exception being Kate Nash. Her voice was awesome, but honestly, her attitude was so repulsive that the music didn't even matter anymore.

I was struck by how these musicians - with the exception of Kate - were all so grateful to be there and so in love with what they were doing. They were all STRONG women, in their own totally unique ways, and sharing their incredible musical gifts in their own totally unique styles. We heard almost every kind of music, without a single bad note. It was awesome, and the little bit of feminism that resides in my heart was smiling. There was a lot of singing, a lot of dancing, and a lot of screaming. Awesomeness.

After the concert, we caught the train back out of downtown and stopped off for a late-night snack before crashing WAY TOO LATE. As a result, the morning was a little sluggish, but we were on the road in decent time and did some moderate damage at the outlets in Albertville before hitting the road for real. We were again delayed because of bizarre (and kind of dangerous) circumstances - there was a major accident that shut down the I-94 and forced us to take a pretty major detour. We eventually arrived home, tired but happy.

It was a great weekend. It reminded me how important it is to maintain my own friendships and take time out for myself every once in a while - reconnecting with the things I loved to do before I was Lindsay the Wife and Lindsay the Mom, and just be Lindsay for a bit. I forgot how much I like her. I laughed a lot this weekend.

Cheers to Kathy for braving the hotel lounge with Mel and I in yoga pants and no makeup... hehe. It meant so much to be able to spend some real time with you, my friend. You are one of the most beautiful people I've been lucky enough to know.

Cheers to Mel for helping me sing my way through most of the Glee soundtrack on the way home. Life has gotten so busy, and you are one of those friends who I don't see nearly often enough - but when we do, it feels just like always. I love that.

Cheers to Emily for being your lovely, flexible self and for an entire weekend of Lindsay + Emily time. I miss you so much when we get so busy. You're one of those friends who just loves me unconditionally exactly where I am, and that's *so* special.

And, of course, cheers to Geoff for giving me such an incredible birthday gift :)

(Photos and videos to follow.)

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Secret

Saturday, July 17, 2010

And We're Off...

We're off to Lilith in a couple of minutes. I'm achy and exhausted, with a half-dozen posts about the artists I'm so excited to see (and the fabulous girls I'll be travelling with) - but finishing them was not a priority for me this week. Meeting some client deadlines and my second-last school assignment were. And lots of snuggles for Briony. This Mama Bear is going to seriously miss her baby this weekend (Geoff too, of course - hehe). I'm praying that it's exactly what I need to start to feel a little more like myself again. If nothing else, a break from picking up B should help heal my back and shoulders, which are starting to hurt like they're dislocated.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Smile

Okay, I have been waiting ALL WEEK for Friday so that I could share this... :)

Undercover Karaoke with Jewel from Jewel

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

At Last, Some Good News

So I had a little bit of faith restored today - in the form of a letter informing me that the province's top rheumatologist has accepted me as a patient, and I'll be seeing him on October 4. THANK YOU, GOD.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Here's to Tomorrow

Just as I thought I could not possibly say anything NEW that's wonderful about Katie - Briony's babysitter extraordinaire - she went and outdid herself last night.

Geoff + I had a little movie date planned, and she showed up with her arms full of mysterious goodies that turned out to be all the ingredients to leave us with a pre-fab fab breakfast this morning (baked french toast with fresh berries and almonds). I very nearly burst into tears right on the spot.

A few hours later, we came home to a sleeping (and freshly bathed) toddler and a house that smelled deliciously of my favourite pumpkin cranberry muffins. Again with the almost-crying. I am wise enough to know that not every babysitter is like Katie. We have quite literally found ourselves - and our precious daughter - a treasure. I speak the truth when I say that I do not know how we would have survived this past year without Katie, and that fact has never been more clear than it's been this month as I deal with day after disappointing day of feeling like sh!t. She's such an important member of our little village.

I fell into bed exhausted enough that I actually slept 6 or 7 hours. And this morning, I woke up with a smile knowing that there was a super yummy breakfast sitting in my fridge just waiting to be popped into the oven and then consumed. As I went to pull the baking dish off the bottom shelf, I checked the sticky note on top for directions - and found this note stuck beside it.

Here's to tomorrow. And here's to each and every tomorrow that brings me one step closer to living an arthritis-free life again.

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OH MY GOSH. Do you remember this baby? I love her. She was full up to her fuzzy mostly-bald head with giggles and cuddles. And I spent large portions of every day kissing those ridiculous baby rolls.

This photo was taken on her first trip to the zoo last July. I can't believe how much she's grown up. But don't get me wrong... As much as I love this baby, I REALLY love my toddler. Looking back on this photo is total evidence that we did it - WE SURVIVED THE BABY STAGE. Yay Geoff + Lindsay!

This concludes today's entirely self-indulgent blog post :)

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Family Photo Fail

Emily attempted to take a photo of the three of us at Fort Whyte on Sunday. Here's the result... CLASSIC. These photos are making my heart smile today :)

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Portrait of a Flare

This won't be eloquent, but I think it's important.

I'm not doing okay today.

So many people have been asking how it feels, and I sent this to a friend last night:

It's so hard to explain to people what this is like. Have you ever tried waterskiing? Or learned how to snowboard? The only thing I can think of to start to explain my pain is to get people to think about how their body felt the day after something like that - where you hurt from head to toe, and in places you didn't even know could hurt. Then imagine that you just got back from a trip to Europe - that really nasty jetlag that leaves you so tired that you speak a sentence then pause and try to remember what you said, panicking a little that the words might have come out in a completely different order than you'd intended them to. A lot of energy goes into not just curling up wherever I am and closing my eyes, concentrating to try to keep normal facial expressions and keep up with the conversations happening around me. Now with the side effects of my meds, I've had a nonstop headache and am constantly queasy like I'm coming down with the stomach flu. I haven't actually thrown up yet, but around 1 am tonight was the closest I've come so far. And that's pretty much been the last three weeks of my life.

This isn't a pity thing at all. I've lived through this before, and I will again. It's just important to me that the people I love are able to understand somehow - so that when they spend time with me and things seem 'off' (like they were tonight), you know that it's not really me. It always feels a little bit cyclical - like I have enough energy to fight for a while, then I need to stop and refuel before I can start fighting again. I guess I'm refuelling this week. Thanks for loving me anyway :)

I was too queasy to eat anything yesterday morning, so I only ended up taking one pill at dinner. As a result, I was in too much pain to sleep last night - I just couldn't get comfortable. Just as I was dropping off, Briony woke up. She was only up for a couple of minutes, but it threw me off - and then I spent some time in the bathroom gagging and trying not to puke from my meds. Lovely.

I finally dropped off around 04.00, so when Briony woke up at 07.30, I wanted to pull the pillow over my head and cry. Geoff took in the whole situation very quickly and went to go get her from her crib and feed her breakfast. The next thing I remember, it was 10.30 and I was still queasy and in pain, but feeling *much* more human.

I had a conference call at 11.30 that was tough because - with this level of fatigue - it's so hard to concentrate on all the different voices talking over each other on an imperfect connection. But I think I managed, and then it was time to try to swallow a few bites of food (because I'm so queasy, I'm pretty much on an all-bagel diet before 18.00 on any given day... it's getting crazy) before jumping in the shower to prep for a surprise in-person meeting this afternoon.

I told my client that 14.30 would work for me. She wanted it earlier. I said that 14.30 was the earliest I could do, but that I would try to be early for the meeting if I could. A few minutes later, I received an iCal invitation for a 14.00 meeting (with a note that 'Lindsay might be a couple of minutes late'). I rushed as quickly as a sicko can to make it to my client's office for 14.00 and arrived exactly on time. And now it's 14.25, and I'm sitting here waiting for my meeting to start because - apparently - 14.30 is going to work better for everyone else here now. It's taking everything in me not to cry right now over the wasted spoons strewn all over the floor around my feet.

To be honest - and this is NOT a guilt or pity thing - I've been feeling a little bit alone this week. Geoff is home, which I know gives people permission to take 'time off' from helping - but I've also had only a few friends think to check in and see how I'm doing. Geoff is being amazing. But he's also still trying to figure out how to help. He's eighteen years behind my family in figuring this all out. There's also the factor of what I like to call 'flare fatigue' - it's so easy to help someone for a day or two post-surgery, but hard to remember (or to be willing to reschedule your own life) for weeks or months on end. And I'm not sick at that level where I'm stuck in bed all day. I'm still doing some normal things... I'm just really struggling to accomplish them. But the fact that I'm attempting it probably means that other people just forget or don't realize. It's my eternal plight, isn't it? :)

Once this meeting finally starts, I'll just have an hour of work to go because I can head for home (via Safeway for a couple of groceries) - and then Katie is coming so that Geoff + I can go see a movie. We haven't picked one yet. I'll either need lots of laughter or lots of explosions tonight, I think. I feel like an awful mom for not spending the evening with Briony, but I think that we need this. I'm starting to feel more like a patient or a child than a wife, and I HATE IT. I hate it so much that I wanted to use an exclamation point right there.

And that's life for me today. It is what it is. I feel like we're doing our very best to navigate this flare, and I wish we were able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we're still waiting. Maybe tomorrow.

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One Moment With Briony

Little known fact about my daughter: When she's colouring, she will often pick up a crayon and toddle over to Geoff or I, crouch down, and jam a crayon upright between two of our toes (followed by lots of laughter and running away). I'm sitting at our dining room table right now, trying to get some work done on my laptop - and I have a yellow crayon in my left foot and a purple one in my right. She crawled underneath the table and scared me to death TWICE. Sneaky little crayon ninja.

(It's now two seconds later, and an orange crayon has joined the yellow one in my left foot.)

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Feeling Lucky?

Three months ago today, I was having Chinese with Amber + Geoff and opened this fortune...

I taped it onto my calendar so that I'd remember. And now I sit waiting for awesomeness to start raining down on me. Any time now... hehe.

So far, today is a wash. I forgot my BlackBerry at home, which is messing with my day to an extent that is almost embarrassing. I totally feel like I'm naked and missing a limb. But it's Daddy Day today while I'm at work - and I nailed my first meeting. But I'm missing a pool party with some other moms and babies this afternoon. But I'm excited for Girls Night tonight. But I'm having a bad hair day. No evidence of a 'lucky star' - but I suppose it's still early in the day.

My theory is that the cookie I opened was intended for Amber... But we'll see if my theory proves correct :)

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One Moment With Briony

Briony generally wakes up happy, chattering away to all her toys, greeting them all, and making plans for the day (I can only assume...). I'll generally wait to go and get her until she's been up for a bit, as long as she's happy in there. Once she's done, she'll let me know by starting to call for me. If I don't come immediately, she'll keep trying...

Usually overheard in the morning:
Mama? Mama? Maaaamaaaaaaaaa...
Gamma. Gaaaammmmaaaa...

Overheard this morning:
Mama? Mama? Maaaamaaaaaaaaa...
Dada... Dada... GEOFF!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lovely Day

We spent the morning at Fort Whyte with Emily + Paul today, walking around and soaking up sunshine - and the closest thing to a lake experience us city folk can get without actually driving out to the lake. It's kind of a magical place (minus the random building full of taxidermied animals... WHY). We had such a great time. Briony's a lucky girl to have such a fabulous *bonus* aunt and uncle in Emily + Paul.

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On Friday, after shockingly little discussion, I booked a flight to Vancouver for the end of this month. I realize that planning something three weeks in advance would be considered very good planning by some people. I am *so* not some people. My head is still spinning a little bit :)

The catalyst was the fact that my brother and sister-in-law are moving from White Rock to downtown Vancouver over August Long Weekend, and I really wanted to be able to help (as much as I am able to in my somewhat gimpy state). Geoff is working, but Geoff's mom graciously volunteered to host Briony + I (and even babysit so I can *actually* help vs being one of those awful people who shows up with a toddler and 'helps'). He's working all week, so there's no big rush for us to get back... And so we ended up booking flights to go out there with my parents on Thursday, July 29, and we'll be returning on our own on Saturday, August 7.

I'm slowly getting more and more excited... I'm obviously nervous about flying alone with Briony when I'm not 100% healthy, but she's a good little flyer - and we booked a direct flight during her happiest time of day, and at a time that will allow Geoff to pick us up at the airport.

Apparently, I already have plans to watch the finale of The Bachelorette with Jason + Amy (probably more Amy than Jason, hehe). It will be so nice to spend some *bonus* time with our west coast family + friends this summer. And it's a tiny little miracle for me to have Marilyn to help with Briony during the very worst week of Geoff's work rotation - especially while I'm in the throes of a flare up. I've been in tears a few times just thinking about how I was going to manage it. And now - just like that - I have an answer to a prayer I hadn't even thought to pray yet. YAY GOD.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

Cleaning House

We have a couple more things we're looking to get rid of this month... It's stuff that I'd rather go to a friend (or a friend of a friend) instead of a random consignment store shopper or Kijiji browser - so I thought I'd try this first.

It's all in excellent used condition (purchased new for Briony). If you're interested in any of this, message me for a price and we'll figure something out :)

1. Jolly Jumper
The old school blue hangs-from-a-doorframe kind (but it's not old, don't worry). Used A LOT by one baby girl who would have been content to bounce nonstop until she started kindergarten. Translation: excellent used condition.

2. Bumblebee Halloween Costume
Size 18 months (Briony was 11.5 months old when she wore it). Comes with the little hooded bumblebee suit (zips up in the back) + the ridiculously cute tights with printed-on mary janes. Again, excellent used condition. Obviously. She wore it for about three hours :)

3. Winnie the Pooh Snowsuit
Size 0-6 months. Two pieces - a full fleece hooded suit with fold-over mittens + a bunting bag with shoulder buttons. Light pink with embriodery. Tasteful embroidery. If you doubt that, then we've never met. Bunting bag has holes for car seat straps. Together with the Bundle Me (below) we didn't need a snowsuit at all for Briony's first winter.

4. JJ Cole Bundle Me
Infant size (fits perfectly in an infant car seat). Dark grey microfleece exterior with ivory fleece lining. I won't hesitate to say that this is possibly the best baby item we had in terms of convenience and practicality and an absolute no-brainer if you live in Manitoba and reproduce.

5. JJ Cole Bundle Me Lite
Infant size (fits perfectly in an infant car seat). Dark grey rain resistant exterior with ivory cotton lining. We loved this for spring/summer/fall weather in the mornings, evenings, and on rainy or windy days.

6. Nursing Pillow + Cover
Jolly Jumper nursing pillow with dark brown zippered slipcover. Gorgeous dark brown printed nursing cover from Small Potatoes. My blog readers will know that I breastfed for about nine seconds, so the pillow was used a few times to prop up Briony when she was having tummy time or learning to sit, and the nursing cover was used exactly once. Sigh. I WAS SO PREPARED.

7. Magnet Locks
We purchased a bunch of KidCo magnetic cupboard locks + keys for our kitchen and bathroom and - DARN IT - they don't work on our cupboards. Could you hear my swearing from wherever you live? Anyway. They're fabulous and came highly recommended, but we can't use them. And we can't return them. But if you need them, this is your lucky day :)

More to come, I'm sure! This house is NOT big enough for all this extra stuff...

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Friday Smile

I know I posted this one in the middle of all our camping photos the other day... But seriously. LOOK AT THIS MONKEY FACE. If this doesn't make you smile, there is something seriously wrong with you.

Do you remember when life felt like this? When nothing in your life could make you upset for more than about eight seconds and you experienced everything with complete and unabandoned JOY?

Having a toddler in the house kind of forces you to look at the world this way... In our house, we can never be too busy for a dance party (or a tea party). Adventures always take priority over dishes. And there are ALWAYS random hugs and messy kisses to be shared. I know that she'll grow up... But I hope that we're learning something now that we will never, ever lose. Parenting a toddler is sometimes exactly the opposite of what my Type A personality feels it wants, but it's full of so much of what I need.

Oh, and another thing that has me smiling on a Friday? My dad came to help me this morning. He is currently out adventuring with my daughter - special Grandpa + Briony time - while I try to do some catch-up work on client deadlines. How amazing is that? :)

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Searching for a Speaker

Just throwing this out there...

I'm helping organize our MOMs Group this year, and we're looking for someone who'd be willing to come in a talk to us about better understanding our kids' personalities and temperaments (or even love languages) and how to adapt our parenting styles to be the best mommies possible for each of them.

If you can recommend someone who'd do a great job (and who'd be available on Thursday, September 30 for about an hour in the morning), please let me know! Thanks :)

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Strange Men Who Live in Cupboards

I hate myself for even thinking to complain about this. Don't even waste your energy judging me. I've totally already judged myself. And I was MEAN. Because you know what's awesome? Being at a place in our lives where we've been able to afford to hire someone who comes to help clean our house.

Know what makes it even better? When 'Josy Day' lands at the end of a too-long flare up week, on a day that also happens to be the day before we're having some friends over to help celebrate my recent birthday. YAY for good planning that results in major stress reduction.

But what ISN'T awesome? The fact that I'm exhausted and very much in pain and seriously in need of sleeeeep... And I still need to do some quick decluttering so that Josy can actually FIND our floors and furniture to clean tomorrow.

Emphasis is on the word QUICK, of course. I am SO not that person who cleans before the cleaning lady comes. But I wish I could just get a robot or something. Or freaking MARY POPPINS. Who could come and live with us. FOREVER. And magically clean up rooms while singing and dancing and whistling. Hmmm...

Maintaining a home is something pretty much every mom I know struggles with. Nevermind the moms who also work. Nevermind the moms who also work who also deal with chronic illness. I think that some dude should pop his head out of a cupboard and slip a medal around my neck every time I manage to empty the dishwasher within 24 hours of turning it on. When that happens on a day when I actually cooked a healthy and nutritious meal for my family and/or did the laundry, he should do it while singing a theme song he's composed for such an occasion.

That's right. I WANT A THEME SONG.

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Greetings From The Pit

So after treating myself to a late-night cocktail of codeine, arthritis meds, and melatonin, I slept poorly. Oh, come on... Did you really think that sentence would end differently? It's never that simple. The decisions I made yesterday have set me back a week. And that fact is making me a little bit cranky today. Okay, okay... Maybe a LOT cranky.

I woke up feeling like crap and dug deep to get myself ready for work. We hit Starbucks on the way in and it took 20 minutes to get my latte, a sure sign that your day is going to pot in a hurry. Geoff + Briony dropped me off and I managed three consecutive meetings before calling it quits - I still have tons of stuff to do between now and the end of Friday, but it's so much easier for me to work from home right now. My headache is back. I'm still super queasy. And I'm in a foul mood. My poor, poor family.

Today's treatment plan? I stopped by the mall after work and bought myself a pretty new cardigan and $100 worth of stuff Briony didn't need that was on clearance at Baby Gap (okay, SOME of it was on clearance... I MAY have picked up one or two of their new fall things). Now I'm eating mass quantities of Nibs (which aren't making me queasy for some strange reason) and feeling generally overwhelmed. Geoff signed up to work an unscheduled night shift tonight back when it seemed like I was getting better. Now I'll be doing the single mom thing tonight + tomorrow which is unfortunate, but what can you do.

Sorry. This was depressing. What can I add that will make it seem slightly less abysmal (because contrary to what this sounds like, I'm a little frustrated but not despondent)? Our silver lining this week has absolutely been Briony. She's been her incredible self with naps and bedtimes, and during her waking hours she's been full of conversation, giggles, and hilarious new dance moves. This pit would be *so* much deeper without my little family beside me.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010


I did something a little bit stupid today. And I'm trying not to beat myself up over it.

I started back on arthritis meds a week ago and while they did what they needed to in terms of cutting down on my pain, the side effects have been making me batty. Tuesday was a tough day in terms of toughing it out, and my frustration started to peek through in the way I started treating everyone around me like a total psycho bitch.

I was thinking about my situation last night and I convinced myself that maybe - just maybe - last week's flare was just a blip. A speed bump, if you will. I wondered to myself if maybe I was actually pretty much okay underneath this cover of drugs and if maybe I'd be okay without them. I decided to try. Honestly, it was a reasonable risk given how lousy the side effects have been making me feel and the quality of life they've been sucking away from me. And so I didn't take my meds today.

The result? It is currently midnight, and I am sitting here forcefeeding myself a muffin that I am totally not hungry for so that I can take a dose of my meds + a strong painkiller. Then I'm going to curl up on the couch, watch TV, and pray that I'll eventually doze off because I am in *way* too much pain to sleep this way. And of course, tomorrow morning is my first morning back in the office since The Big Flare. And of course, Geoff's going in for a shift later tomorrow because we thought I'd be okay.

See what I mean? STUPID.

Stupid and also a little bit scary, because I'm obviously still sick like crazy underneath all these meds (which actually explains why I feel so incredibly worn out). ARGH.


The End is Near

In the midst of my crazy, crazy catch-up week, I got tonight's school assignment in on time (a few hours early, actually). This means that I am now officially ONE activity and ONE major assignment away from finishing my PR diploma. Not that I'm counting down and excited about finishing or anything... But YAY ME!


Book Review: Out of the Spin Cycle

This month, I reviewed two new 'mommy' books. After the fiasco that was last month, I was wary to say the least. When I read the author bio and saw that she's a pastor's wife, I braced myself for 175 pages of stories that would make me feel completely inadequate as a new Christian mother.

Jen Hatmaker's new devotional book, Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten Your Mother Load, was such a pleasant surprise. In fact, it was something I'd been wanting and needing.

Each chapter is designed to be read in one short sitting and talks about a completely down-to-earth aspect of motherhood - things like worrying and comparing and trying to do it all and losing your sense of self - in a way that makes you think THIS WOMAN'S GOT KIDS. I actually found myself laughing out loud a couple of times - and I cried when I read that she'd found the 'new baby' season of parenting a little bit traumatizing because I'd never heard anyone say that before (and it's true). Her authenticity is so refreshing, and she ties in verses or other references to the Bible in a way that feels organic and didn't make me roll my eyes once. And at the end of each chapter, she asks one or two good questions that I found myself thinking about for the rest of the day.

I found her writing engaging and casual in a way that makes you feel like you got to spend some quality time with a friend - when all you really did was grab three minutes for yourself while your first pot of coffee was brewing and your kid was watching TV and munching on a pre-breakfast appetizer of Cheerios (oh wait... was I supposed to admit to that?).

I realize that the concept of a 'devotional book' is incredibly Evangelical Christian, but I wish that ALL moms would take the time to spend a few minutes every day in this type of reflection and walk away encouraged and challenged and affirmed. But if you're not scared of some Jesus stuff and you're looking for a devotional book that meets you right where you're at, I'd highly encourage you to check this one out.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


The Book Was So Much Better Night #1: Eat Pray Love

So the Book Club I tried starting this past year didn't really work out. We were all too busy. LINDSAY was too busy (me, not the other Lindsay - hehe). It made me sad, but I was just too darn tired to do anything about it. And so it just kind of faded off and died.

The whole experience got me thinking... We're obviously all too busy for regular commitments at this point in our lives. But why not plan an occasional one-off Girls Night Out that involves going to see a movie based on a book we've all read, and then grabbing coffee and talking about it after? No commitment other than reading a book and showing up for a fun night out. If you can make it to this one, great. If you can't make it, then we'll catch you next time. But no pressure to ever show up again unless you want to and it fits into your life whenever it happens. Awesomeness.

I'm planning the first one for Tuesday, August 17. We'll go see Eat Pray Love and then grab some coffee and talk about it. You've got a month to read the book, and I'll bring the nerdy discussion questions :)

Interested? Send me a message and I'll hook you up with all the details.

(Enough people have asked now that I'm adding this note: I do have a copy, but I'm re-reading the book now so I can't loan it out... Sorry! But I just checked and you can buy it online from Chapters for around $10. Happy reading!)

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The Lost Art of Subtlety

I found this on our fridge last week. I think it's a hint from my husband. What do you think?


Wednesday Smile

I love getting mail that isn't bills. One of the very best parts about working freelance in receiving physical cheques in the mail. Seriously. I'm all about the convenience of direct deposit, but there's something very cool about holding an actual cheque in your hand and receiving something tangible in exchange for your work.

But this post isn't about freelance or cheques or how things were so much better in the olden days.

Yesterday when we got home from the lake, there was a big package in our mailbox from Chapters that was addressed to Miss Briony Wright. I was kind of confused because we didn't order her anything. And it's nowhere near her birthday or Christmas.

I opened it up and saw a children's book about a bunny.

Still confused.

Then I picked up the packing slip and scanned it for a clue. This is what I discovered. And it made me smile for the rest of the evening.

It's nice to know that people read my blog (hehe). And it's even nicer to know that our family - spread out across the country - loves our baby girl as much as they do.

And Briony capital letters LOVES the book. She couldn't stop looking at it and kissing the pages :)

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Dishes + Gratitude

We got home from four days at the lake today.

When we leave the lake, I usually feel sad. When we pull into our back lane, I usually feel excited. When we walk in the back door, I usually feel overwhelmed. Real life just hits you SO FAST. There was dinner to scavenge for, laundry to sort, a dishwasher to unload (and before long, to reload), messages to listen to, bills to open and pay... And I know that I'll be hit with a tsunami of work and school stuff first thing tomorrow.

An hour or so later, I found myself in the kitchen - emptying and reloading the dishwasher, washing Briony's sippy cups, starting a grocery list for tomorrow... And I took a second to just let it all sink in. These were all the things I wanted SO DESPERATELY to be able to do last week while I was deep in the valley of a flare, too sick to take care of myself nevermind my family. And today, I was doing them. I found my eyes filling up with happy tears, so full of gratitude that it was just literally spilling out of me. Over DISHES.

I don't expect this feeling to last forever (or even until the end of this week), but I hope that I'll remember when it counts.

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Passive Voice

This is *far* from the first time I've talked about how much I appreciate (and Jenni, the fabulous ChronicBabe who runs it). I got my weekly newsletter today and it just got me RIGHT HERE and summed up exactly what I've been trying to figure out how to say about this latest complication in my life - and how I'm trying to deal with it. I got Jenni's permission to share the whole thing here, in hopes that I'm not the only one out there who will find encouragement in her words.


“You can’t live your whole life in passive voice,” my pal Amanda said recently. We were talking about how complicated life gets and how easy it can be to blame outside forces for all the negativity we experience. There are some people who walk through this life feeling like victims, getting overwhelmed and frustrated by bad circumstances - and letting those situations get the best of them.

Those people are living in passive voice. They focus on what happened to them, what someone else did, what they were told to do. When you’re sick, and tired, it’s easy to fall into that rhythm; once you’re there, it’s hard to get out of it. And then you become a victim, someone to whom life just happens.

Now please don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to say we aren’t allowed to get pissed off or depressed about things that happen. Of course we are! But when that’s ALL we can see, when we can’t ALSO see what WE can do about our situation, then we’re in trouble.

But you’re here, reading this and working on being a ChronicBabe - and that means you’re not living in passive voice. You’re not just letting life happen to you. You’re a fighter! A rock star! A creative thinker who’s looking for solutions! You’re fabulous! You’re a ChronicBabe!

I get really excited about this subject because it holds so much power. When we develop the ability to step back a little, to see the bigger picture of our situation, we not only see what has happened to us; we begin to see what we can do to make our lives better. We see the people surrounding us, who can help us in many ways. We see that we’re able to change, adapt, and grow emotionally. That we can get stronger. That we can take charge of the direction of our life.

Yes, you are sick. Yes, that sucks. Yes, there are other frustrating forces in your life. I can relate. There are some days when it feels like too much, and I want to blame someone else for my situation. I want to blame someone (or something) else for making me late to a meeting, or for eating candy when I should be eating an apple, or for not landing the freelance writing gig I badly wanted. But if I sit back and blame something else, I become a victim, and then I’m living in passive voice - I’m just letting life roll over me, not taking responsibility for what I can do. What I CAN do is set a second alarm clock so I’m not late, I can buy fruit at the nearby farmer’s market so I have healthy snacks in the house, and I can work harder to create presentations that impress clients with my awesomeness. I don’t have total control over my situation, but I can do SOMETHING.

This is a big piece of the ChronicBabe puzzle, Babes. Do not live in the passive voice. Do not take the easy route and play victim to your circumstances. When you can, stand back and observe. Find your options, and take charge of the things you can change or improve. It’s not usually the easy way, but trust me: You’ll feel better for taking responsibility, and for being an active participant in your life. I promise to keep practicing what I preach! (And I know my pals will call me on my B.S. if I don’t.)


Need some ChronicBabe wisdom in your life? You can sign up to receive Jenni's weekly newsletters in your own inbox (and I highly recommend it).

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Birthday at the Lake (in photos)

Geoff gave Briony a bite of brownie on the way to the lake... I didn't notice until I looked back and - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This is after I'd already used an entire wipe. Gah. I am *so* not the fun parent. And this is photographic evidence to explain WHY:

Fun with Grandpa + Dada:

Crazy almost-naked baby on the loose in the camper...

We're on a boat!

Fun on the beach:

Crazy deer who is not at all afraid of humans (note that this particular human is definitely afraid of IT, or more specifically that it might bite, lick, or get within ten thousand feet of my daughter):

Briony + Grandpa:

This is our official 'after' photo from the drive home :)

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Full of Love

Today was kind of incredible. I'm still making slow and steady progress - I'd say my pain has now been cut in half from when I started on my meds again, though I'm dealing with some pretty frustrating side effects. What made my day incredible was the support I felt from so many people. Geoff had to work today, but my friend Kathy came and spent the day with Briony + I. Then my friend Christine came and took the evening shift. During the day, yet another friend emailed to see if she could drop off any groceries for us. And I've had *so* many encouraging messages hit my inbox. There is no way we could be doing this on our own. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to feel this level of love and support from our friends.

Now I'm getting ready for an extra-long weekend at the lake - four days beginning tomorrow. Four days set aside to heal my body and celebrate my birthday with the people in this world who are most important to me.

This Monday, I am having my last birthday ever (the last one I'll ever admit to, anyway). Turning 29 feels strange, but only because it's the last birthday before I turn 30. And 30 scares me, but not for the reasons you might think. I'm actually really excited to begin my 30s... But the year I'm 30 will also be the year I 'celebrate' 20 years of living with a chronic illness. Crazy, isn't it? There are *so* many emotions attached to that, and even more given the events of this past week. We're toying with the idea of doing something BIG to ensure that it's a true celebration, because there really is *so* much to celebrate in my life... You'll be hearing more about this as the time approaches, I'm sure.

In some ways, it's scary to celebrate a birthday in the middle of this mess. It kind of makes me wonder what we're in for this year. In other ways, it's okay because - no matter what happens - my life is so very full of love. And really, what more can a girl ask for?

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Friday Smile

Have you been following this story about the deep cover Russian spy ring in the US? I totally understand that it's terrible and dangerous and all that... But it's also a tiny little bit INCREDIBLY COOL.

These spies were totally generic suburban people who passed intelligence using old school methods like switching bags in a train and notes that used invisible ink. INVISIBLE INK! I'm secretly a little bit delighted to find out that the spy stuff in the movies and television shows and books I love oh so much ACTUALLY HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE. With limited success, apparently, because they totally got caught... But STILL.

(Just in case CSIS is reading this, I would make a kick-ass deep cover spy somewhere like... um... Hawaii. Or anywhere in western Europe. I'm sure you already know how to contact me.)

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Countdown to Lilith: Heart

I'm seeing Heart in 15 days.



I would be the world's biggest liar if I said this wasn't one of the very biggest reasons I wanted to go to Lilith Fair this year. I have loved Heart for a long time. They occupy the space in my heart right next door to Pat Benatar and just around the corner from Roxette.

What can I say? I'm a girl who loves a good power ballad.

And yes, I know I was only born in 1981 - do not ask me to make sense of this. You know those people who say that they would have loved to live in Victorian England or New York in the 1920s or other ridiculous things like that? Not me. In terms of music, I was likely intended to come of age in the eighties. The NINETEEN eighties.

I digress.

From what I've heard, I will NOT be disappointed. The Wilson girls can SING. And I will be gloriously happen to listen.

(The video won't embed... So you'll have to visit this link to get all excited about Heart with me. You know you love this song. Everybody loves this song. I'll bet your grandma loves this song. And I'm going to be hearing it LIVE in... you guessed it... 15 DAYS!)

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One Moment With Briony

Today, I was sitting in Briony's room after her bath and reading books with her (one of the few things I've been able to do in this state). She would run over and grab a book, then bring it to me, and we'd sit and read it a couple of times. Then she'd hop down and repeat our little pattern.

On her fourth or fifth trip, she came back with a book that we don't usually read - it's basically an illustrated version of the children's book 'Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes' - but she didn't bring it all the way to me. She put it down on the ottoman, opened it up to the first page, and started singing incoherently while frantically touching her knees, then her toes, then her knees, then her toes, then her head... I could not stop laughing at her. I've never sung the song for her before, but clearly SOMEONE has (Geoff? Katie? Mom? SOMEONE needs to fess up! hehe).

We ended up singing it together - with actions - about a million times in a row because every time I stopped she'd clap and cheer and then say, 'More?'

Sometimes, I honestly forget that she's so little. We expose her to 'cool' music and she'll sing and dance, and then she'll hear 'The Wheels on the Bus' and get so excited and totally rock out to it. SIGH.


One Moment With Briony

This one's a few weeks old, but I needed to make sure it was documented...

Briony has started pointing to my mug in the morning and saying very seriously, 'It's Mama's juice. It's COFFEE.'

Damn right it is. And Mama needs it to stay alive.


Choosing to Celebrate

So as I mentioned in an earlier post, my doctor's appointment on Monday was nothing short of disappointing. As I spent the weekend getting sicker and sicker, I knew that I only needed to make it until my appointment to get some help. But I went and I got NO help.

My family doctor agreed that it seemed like arthritis. He agreed that I should see a rheumatologist again, and he wrote a referral (but I need to go back to the bottom of the waiting list to see one again - I'm told the wait could be up to a year). I asked what I could do in the meantime, for both pain management and to ensure my joints are not being seriously damaged while I wait. His answer was NOTHING. He was not willing to give me anything for pain or any anti-inflammatories until a rheumatologist officially re-diagnoses me. It shocked me because I was obviously sitting there with uncontrolled pain. And it made me angry because I know that every day I live with arthritis off anti-inflammatories, I am doing permanent damage to my joints. I've worked SO HARD for SO LONG to avoid that outcome, and I was terrified of undoing it all now before I'm even 30 years old.

I tried to reason with him. I cried (a lot). I even yelled a little bit. It didn't change anything, but it made me feel like I did everything I could to try to get help from him. Then I went home and cried some more. And then I made a plan.

Over the past couple of days, I have worked every angle I can think of to try to fast-track myself on the rheumatology waiting list. And early Wednesday morning, Geoff brought me to a walk-in clinic. The saddest part of my entire experience this week was that - within two minutes of seeing a walk-in clinic doctor who has never met me before in her life - I was holding a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and offered a prescription for painkillers, exactly what I had needed 48 hours earlier from my family doctor who's been seeing me for a decade.

Allow me to pause and state the obvious: EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT IS WRONG.

But I came home and I took my first anti-inflammatory pill. Later that night, I took my second. And this morning, my third. By this afternoon, I looked at Geoff with tears in my eyes and told him that I was going to be okay. I'm freaking EXHAUSTED but my pain has been reduced by around 40% in a day and a half.

I'm still dealing with a significant amount of pain. And I'm having side effects from the meds. It might be a little bit of a journey still before I'm feeling like myself again, and I definitely need to see a rheumatologist. I'm days behind on client work, on homework, on cleaning my house. I missed going to the zoo with Geoff + Briony today, and we missed my friend's daughter's birthday party this afternoon (sorry, Sonja + Elizabeth... we'll do a playdate soon!).

Someday soon, I will need to stop and mourn the fact that the immediate success of these anti-inflammatories means that this really is a return of my arthritis - and I might need to deal with what that means for our future. But I'm MOVING... And I'm moving in the right direction. Today, I choose to celebrate that.