Thursday, November 25, 2010


This Oxalis was a gift from a friend, when I got it it looked dead, all crackly vegetation and dry dirt, but my friend assured me that it would start growing again, that it was simply dormant. He knew this because he'd had another one, and just when he was ready to get rid of it, it started to put up new shoots. I think it's beautiful, this system that nature has. The idea of dormancy, that one could rest and collect enough energy for the rest of the year, or that after having spent so much of your energy living-a period of quiet is required before you can start again. It's a nice thought, and one that I come back to again and again as the days shorten, and we spend so much time in darkness.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ahhh... The Mommy Wars...

I've been following the debate surrounding Erica Jong's article in the wall street journal critiquing Attachment parenting, mainly for being too demanding on women, and not allowing them the time to be involved in political activism, in fact she calls it a tool for the political right. Now, I don't usually rant in this space- but excuse me just this once.

I've been noticing this trend for a while- that the tenets of attachment parenting come under attack for being too hard on the mothers- things like Baby wearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping all exist under a microscope, any possible danger is weighed so carefully and the practice is questioned. These things make life much easier for the mother, you can either carry your kid everywhere, or put it in a sling, buy food for it or breastfeed it, wake up at night and disturb your own sleep or sleep with the kid, it's not about fashion, or a choice, because for most women the choice is not there, they can't afford child care and so if you have a child you care for it,- in whatever way is easiest for you, it's that simple. I have a theory that these practices are so challenged in mainstream society because they are so politically challenging, they challenge the way we look at individualism, and food supply, and western ideas and ideals.

The assumption that Ms. Jong makes is that women who are at home raising their children (especially the ones in the "prison" of attachment parenting), are operating only in the private sphere, she assumes as do many academic feminists, that mothering takes place outside of the public sphere- meaning that it does not affect our public institutions, politics, economics, or practices. I would argue the opposite, the raising of children is most definitely a political act; in the ways that we sort out the challenges of feeding our families, divide labour in the home, and shape our children's viewpoints. While they occur in the private sphere, these actions affect the public sphere in many ways.

The personal is political after all- a mother who buys organic, and cloth diapers, and breast feeds, one who raises her children to know how to solve conflict in a gentle manner, or even to cook is affecting how our world runs. Not to get too Marxist here, but the idea that women's unpaid labour somehow exists outside of the political is naive at best, and it does women a great disservice- it assumes that the work that falls to women (and likely always will-unless someone figures out how to get a man pregnant), such as mothering, is less important than paid work outside the home. It assumes that the only way for women to affect change, and to impact the world we live in, is to put aside 'women's work' for 'men's work', and that argument is a dangerous one.

Okay, rant done, thanks for indulging me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter Time to-do's

Hi there, I'm Angela, and I'm a procrastinator, and not just with unpleasant things. I say that I want to do stuff, simple stuff, like make sourdough bread, or clean out a closet- then it takes me months- or years even- to do it. Don't get me wrong, I get stuff done- but I always seem to p have a few things that take forever to get done, when they shouldn't.

And so, I'm going to write a list of things I want to finish- and you all can hold me to it- all of these things must be done by Spring, some things must be done sooner, and some things will be ongoing. My hope is that by writing it all down in a public place I'll be shamed into action, and just get it done.

so here goes, I've tried to go a bit easy on myself, so bear with me:

1. Make good Sourdough Bread- this will require some experimentation, I've tried but not really produced a great loaf, and it's my favorite type of bread.

2. Make Mozza cheese, I recently bought some rennet, and while this will probably also require experimentation, I'm very excited about it.

3. Organize and finish decorating N's room- I know, she's 15 months old for god's sake- see what I mean about procrastinating- I started this room when she in the womb!!!

4. Give my wardrobe a makeover- I'm sick of schlepping around the house, It's fine to wear house clothes (yoga pants, hubby's sweaters, painting clothes) around the house when you don't spend roughly all your time there, but when you work from home- plus stay at home, it gets to be a bit much.

5. Finish decorating the living room. -I need to hang some art, and make some cushions, and arrange my shelves, it's not too bad in here- but I have projects and plans and they're hanging over my head.

6. Establish a studio practice for clay- One where I work a little every week at least- maybe only a couple of days a week, maybe every other day, but I need to set myself some time where I do this work, it's important for so many reasons, and this is possibly the biggest thing I can do to avoid the major meltdown of working that always happens for me before a deadline.

Okay that's it- I promise to post about my progress- and you all can keep me in line- in person or in the comments- deal?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snow Day

Sorry about the hiatus- we were away for a short trip out west- and then once we were home we got sick, a short cold by all accounts, but a rough one- even K was down for the count and he usually toughs out a cold by watching war shows and drinking hot toddies for an evening (if you can call that toughing it). N still has a few sniffles, but everyone is feeling much better, so I actually got to some of my fall cleaning- right before we finally got some snow- well more than some actually- lots of snow which fell in big fat flakes, and reminded me why I love winter.

And allowed us to give N her first taste of Snow, she wasn't a huge fan of being bundled up- but I've been letting her walk around in her snow boots for a bit (is there a more Canadian skill?), so she has the hang of that at least. The snow wasn't cleared in front of the house so she had a hard time walking around, but she seemed to enjoy it- she was surprised that it was cold when she touched it to her face- ooh how fun is this winter going to be?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Remembrance

This is my Grandma and Grandpa- both passed on now- on their wedding day in 1942. My Grandpa fought overseas in the Second World War, my grandmother waited anxiously for letters from him, my mother had to wait until she was two before she met her father. It's hard sometimes to remember how close we are to that war, how many people were truly affected, and the impact it had on us, all of us. This picture does that for me, the fact that my grandfather was married in his uniform brings it all home, the sacrifices, and fear, and pride that were all part of that time period, things that I don't have to deal with, and things that other families deal with even now, sadly. My heart goes out to anyone who has a family member in the military, I hope they're safe and sound.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Fog

This fog has hung around our house for the past few days- I'm taking it as a sign that winter is on it's way- even though the forecast is only calling for a touch of snow. When the yard is like this, it feels like we're separate from the rest of the world somehow, as though you'd need some sort of password to get through. Despite its potential gloominess, I love this weather, it makes our home feel even more like a sanctuary to me.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Inspiration: Work

"Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."- Albert Einstein

"I put all my genius into life; I put only my talent into my works."- Oscar Wilde

"Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it."- Buddha

My house is slowly emerging out of its clutter. It has been a long process but I actually think we're at the halfway point right now- maybe slightly more disorganized than organized, but we're working on it. Hence the inspiration today; work around the house has me thinking of divisions of labour, unpaid work, paid work, the prices of continency work, the differences between work from home and work at home.

And work from the university me taking heart in that Oscar Wilde quote- not that marking papers requires any talent- but it is something that I just have to do- not to fulfill myself or anything- but just to get it done and out of the way, so that I can put myself into my other jobs- parenting and home, art and cooking.

When I worked outside the house, I used to say I'm working around the house today to mean that I'm doing housework-cooking cleaning, sewing etc.- but now I do my work for pay from home as well, it all feels hectic- there is no Monday to Friday- the part time hours that I work for the university happen in spurts all day long- so there is no designated evening and weekend cleaning. Such is the predicament of the person who works from home, it's a balance I find difficult to maintain in all honesty.

I had to turn down some work last week- and it's still not quite sitting right with me- I think it's because I could technically have done it- I could have put off my laundry and vacuuming, window washing and cooking and got the work done, but instead I stepped back and realized that the money wasn't worth it- the client wanted a lot of attention in a short period at the drop of a hat, and I can't do that, not right now, anyways, not while I have other demanding clients- such as my kid, and myself to think of. It's a hard thing to turn down work, but I think it might just be the biggest bonus about being your own boss.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Play Time

N was given this Kitchen when she was very small, and the other day we set it up for her, not sure if she was old enough yet- but it turns out that she is most certainly old enough for it. She hasn't played with anything else since we put it up. She walks around carrying a salt shaker and a fried egg on a plate- gives mama and dada tastes of her soups, and loves stashing things in the oven.

It's a great play set because it works with her other toys as well, and it's all natural soft wood- which I love, I think I need to get busy making some felt food toys for our little chef!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Little Lamb

N was a lamb for Halloween, her store bought costume( 1/2 price!) was warm and cozy, and sweet, and she loved it. When I first put it on her she didn't want to take it off, she so enjoyed being a big stuffed animal. The top picture is her newest face- it's hilarious, she pulls her mouth into this tight little surprised "oh!", and she uses it whenever she's really impressed with something. I hope she keeps it for a while, it's so funny and cute. She's changing by the minute, this girl.

Monday, November 1, 2010

One Small Change: November

This month for One Small Change, I plan to bring some of the outside in, by starting to keep houseplants. This probably seems like nothing- so many people do this naturally, with out giving it a second thought, but I have cats, and my cats disturb things, or so I thought before I brought in some Herb Plants. I started with some thyme on my kitchen counter, and when they left that alone, I added some tarragon, then I started some chives, all of these have done fine, so apparently my cats don't like herbs. Now I've stepped it up a bit, and brought my Rosemary and Peppermint in from outside. I have no idea if this will work, if they will thrive inside or be left alone for long by my feline friends, but I think it's Worth a shot.

Indoor plants are really good for the air quality of your home, and if these ones work, they could also serve as natural air fresheners, the mint smells heavenly when you brush it, and they're tasty to boot. So I'll follow some directives for growing herbs indoors, and if all goes well maybe I'll even try to grow some greens for eating.