Tag Archive | Canada

What I Learned About Myself in 3 Weeks…

So it is common knowledge that I got a tattoo the week after our 17 year anniversary. What surprised me is what I learned about myself in the three weeks healing time afterwards.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

Day 2 and the beginning of the healing process.

  1. Well I definitely don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, it is on proud and vibrant display on my left calf. And I hope people ask me about it. As the wife of a man who has been diagnosed not only with severe depression, but also CAPD, I found my symbol in his fight to control and manage his illnesses. The depression is represented by the semi colon or body of my butterfly. A more and more common symbol of depression and mental illness, it is a constant reminder for me of how I will never truly grasp how close I came to losing my husband and love of my life for ever on 2 separate occasions. Had he chosen to end his story instead of continuing on, my life, and the lives of my children would be very different right now. I have often spoken about how I feel the need to be an advocate for mental health awareness. Two helpful links – Project ; and in case you need help in knowing what to say  Make It Ok.org. Maybe one day someone will see my butterfly while I work out, or on a walk… or even peeking out in a fancy dress and ask me and I will have the chance to listen or share. If I can share my story, Ken’s story and help someone find help or become a source of support… icing on the cake. The other half of the butterfly is a wee bit obvious – maple leaf, Canada: you can take the girl out of Canada, but my origins are a massive part of my personality.Project-Semicolon-760x410
  2. Altering my body permanently was neither as earth shattering or life changing as I expected. Granted when I first got it done and posted it up on Facebook my little corner of the world shared its opinion and got excited. Some were impressed, some quick to admit they would never do the same, others wanted explanation of the image and many were surprised. But, the greater world, life in general… a blip on the radar. And you know what? That was more than OK! I love the reminder that some ink on my body was nothing more than a personal choice that I would now live with forever (proudly I might add). What was way more important is that my own children are super proud of their mom! It was an opportunity to remind them of the struggle dad has with his own mental health, and that it is OK to be sad, to need help. But they also need to be aware that mom really wants them to tell her… any time, any place, and if not her any responsible adult. Needles and healing and a choice that is permanent was simply that… a choice I made. Not the end of my life, though Ken was quick to tease me about his tatted up wife and how much of a rebel I was!IMG_20180704_125226_971
  3. Keeping my legs covered for 3 weeks seem to have given me the permission to embrace colour. My sari skirts were a bit of an impulse buy (Ken edit: If you call agonizing over a purchase for 3 weeks an ‘impulse buy’) if a bit difficult to pair up with shirts on hand, but for 3 weeks I have been colorful. Since some of the skirts only matched some crop tops I purchased recently belly baring became commonplace. It is a movement from worrying about fitting in, matching my clothes to my “life” and into comfort and colour and embracing the fact that I love brighter feathers. Plus, they make a lovely swish when I walk and I have always loved swishing and twirling since I was a little girl – why should that change now?20180628_152211
  4. Baths make me calmer and 3 weeks without that has been a bit of a struggle. I am not a girl who loves a hot shower, give me a long soak to relax away the tension and frustration of a long day anytime. The kids also enjoy the respite from mom after lunch when I took my lunch break. Maybe I really am more mermaid at heart than I like to admit? 
  5. That little square of skin is now the softest skin on my entire body, I swear! Lotion lotion lotion. Washing and lotion, no sun and then the itching. No one mentioned how high maintenance this small patch of skin would be, but worth it! Self care is so important, and this was a reminder to me that maybe I need to pay more attention. When you have to alter your life to look after a single body part… like my time spent on what we thought was my hip, but is now believed to be a slightly slipped disk from when I almost fell in the winter. The reality is I am growing older, and in order to do so gracefully and healthily I need to be more aware. Yoga, workouts, long walks, R.I.P.P.E.D. classes at the YMCA… they take on an even greater meaning when looked at from the perspective not of losing weight or strengthening up but of self care. Taking time for a nap without guilt (seriously I have to convince myself, idleness in my mind, becomes laziness or neglect… I have a very hard time just taking a moment and stopping), spending a few extra minutes working on your appearance and standing tall with confidence that you look awesome. I am learning more and more about these moments. I love myself, my insides and outsides, the family I have created, the life style I live. It is flawed and confusing and at times difficult but it is all amazing. The life I live, the appearance I put out there in the world is all proof that I love myself. That I take the time to care for myself and the ones I love. 

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

    No filter, not needed. Just hard work and comfortable in my own skin!

  6. I like feeling a little the rebel. Granted, many see me and my family as a bit more than a “little” rebellious with our large family size and homeschooling, or my lack of ability to drive and my insistence that we celebrate both Canadian and American holidays PLUS Chinese New Year. Ok… so I was already a bit of a rebel, but having a tattoo… that feels like a “cool” rebel. All that other stuff is more necessity or not a choice but a calling. I CHOSE to get a tattoo, I CHOSE the design and then had one of my oldest and dearest friends not only hold my hand through it all, but take pictures AND help with the design. Who else could be so lucky but to have someone who is basically a sister also be an amazing artist who can take my crazy ramblings and make something amazing on paper?? Thanks again Shandai! You ROCK! They say it takes a village to raise a family, well it sometimes takes friends to help create the perfect family unit too. I have been doubly blessed with an amazing community AND friends who are family to round out the flesh and blood relatives we were born with. (Plus Shandai is pretty cool, rebellious and all round awesome herself)

So there you have it, 6 things I learned about myself all from 30 min of tiny needles, ink and the hand of an amazing artist at Rose in No Man’s Land. I can’t say I won’t go back… My butterfly may need something sweet to land on yet. But for now… My heart is out there, open book. Ask me, share your story with me, read my story here (just search the word “depression” in my search box), my heart is open and I have found that sharing is so much more than simply caring. 

All healed up!

All healed up!

Examining October

Well, you can already see pictures from Halloween HERE, as usually it was a fun time.

Neko-Chan and her Halloween prop

Neko-Chan and her Halloween prop

Echo’s wedding dress photos are HERE.

October was also Ken’s birthday… his 40th if you can believe it! We kept it low key, just as the birthday boy requested. He is not a big party animal. But he also was given an award for his hard work involved in getting his mental health under control and advocating for the association that helped him. We got to dress up and everything!20171005_183253

20171005_183352

20171005_190625

20171005_190716

New outfit and all

New outfit and all

It was a fun sort of duo season month with time to jump in leaves (and rake them up, slightly less fun)…20171023_132448

20171023_132912

20171023_133312

Gavin

Gavin

And a bit of snow to toy with as well.20171027_100640

20171027_120142

We even had TWO foreign visitors, Jeff flew down from Canada to hang out. Never a bad thing, friends and family flying down when we still can’t return ourselves.20171024_170421

With Jeff there is ALWAYS yummy curry.

With Jeff there is ALWAYS yummy curry.

And Karyn!!! A shorter visit than her normal yearly visit but we packed in the fun and hugs and … shopping of course!20171010_115528

20171010_115546

UNO

UNO

20171007_184255

So we may enable each other... just a little... and we like it that way!

So we may enable each other… just a little… and we like it that way!

Message_1507592952306

20171010_163046

We had our yearly pumpkin patch trip with our friend Trish and her two kids. Always fun and thankfully on a day when the weather mostly cooperated.

I am so grateful that Trish is willing to embrace our loud and crazy family.

I am so grateful that Trish is willing to embrace our loud and crazy family.

20171020_160718

20171020_153922

20171020_151928

20171020_154431

20171020_150620Ken made pumpkin pie from scratch.20171022_111019

The twins took on acolyting at church.IMG_20171022_095158_027

20171029_091707We worked on all sorts of school stuff from crafts to book work and more.20171031_135121

20171031_093855

20171031_093754We had the Novaks over for VR fun.20171014_201627

20171014_201637

I continued my obsession with Neko-Chan pictures.IMG_20171022_000542_936

20171008_222304

20171001_094210

20171027_091519

We had a bonfire with the Schwartz family and I got my cat fix.20171013_205711

20171013_180746

I worked my buns off at the YMCA, with the family in tow, of course.20171022_173545

IMG_20171014_111430_192

Emanuel and Trinity even got their YELLOW belts!!20171012_181358

20171012_185103

And I crafted, my sanity is very closely tied to crafting it seems.

Seasonal!

Seasonal!

Of course more images to enjoy. Fall really was pretty last year!IMG_20171022_151323_502

IMG_20171023_012256_331

Face painting!

Face painting!

20171020_150115

...asleep

…asleep

Choices Made, Changes Result

Well, June seems to have been my month of change. There will, of course, be a month overview post WHEN I finally catch up this darn blog, but I feel like I should just jump in and share my stuff.

Anyway, I finally caved and dealt with the hair that I totally fried dying it a year ago (remember the blue hair? Yah, not my best adventure). Sadly it was over bleached in places so there was no fixing it, I grew it as long as I could and then went into the salon. I chose a place referred to my by Renee, had a loose image of what I wanted and threw in a lot of trust. Snip snip and my curls are back, one product and some scrunching and my look is done. Simple enough that even I can do it, and my hair skills are… sad!!!IMG_20180616_110030_865

This coincided with a VERY busy weekend – our anniversary – number 17, and Father’s Day. This year our present was special and already introduced… Check out Momo HERE.20180616_161359

We went out to dinner the night before, Broadway Pizza and kept it low key. Choices had to be made… spendy night or kitten. No brainer right? My original plan was to head out to a hotel for a night, but Ken is in the middle of a massive project that also cancels our July 4th plans. Maybe in the fall we will sneak in a tiny get away? Any sitters offering???20180615_183356

20180615_191338Father’s Day was also a rather quiet day. There was a kitten to enjoy and Ken’s wanted quiet. He also made a cat post for Momo. Which OF COURSE had us to Home Depot for some small random things and Ken and the kids making Momo her own scratching post. We celebrated Dad by enjoying time together, quiet moments and working with our hands. OH and No Name steaks and brats for dinner. YUM!IMG_20180624_221509_950

My birthday was on the 24th! It fell on a Sunday so of course I ended up at the YMCA to workout with my usual R.I.P.P.E.D. class. In the morning Renee and Chris came over and spoiled us with birthday pancakes! And Renee got in some kitten snuggles.IMG_20180624_124123_869

20180624_114649I got in my own snuggles and nap.IMG_20180624_223436_333

And ended the day with poutine made fresh by Ken. It was an amazing day. 39 feels absolutely amazing.IMG_20180624_221214_795

Now for the final big change… I finally found the right image for myself and jumped in with both feet. My very first tattoo, and it is very meaningful to me. I chose to go with a semi colon (a symbol for depression) butterfly with maple leaf wings (Canada, of course). In honor of Ken’s and many of my friend’s struggle with mental image and of course my own roots which are deep in Canada.IMG_20180618_201838210

Even better – Shandai, who has been with me since high school, been involved in so many of my big changes and fun choices, was able to not only help design but take me and basically hold my hand while I had it done. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime.

This is the face of a kitty put out cuz I felt the need to play with my niece

This is the face of a kitty put out cuz I felt the need to play with my niece

And the face of my niece when I had the audacity to pet the cat! I couldn't win!

And the face of my niece when I had the audacity to pet the cat! I couldn’t win!

And the artist and staff at the tattoo parlor – Rose in No Man’s Land Tattoo and Piercing were amazing. I could not have been happier with Marx Berry. Amazing! And a lot less painful for the most part than I expected. No regrets here… except for 2-3 weeks of no shaving a portion of my leg in the middle of summer. Oh well, worth it!IMG_20180618_200050837_HDR

IMG_20180618_201422120

 

IMG-20180618-WA0001

So June has been my month of actually doing some things I have not only wanted but at times been a bit scared to do. And funny enough, my kids are super PROUD of me getting the tattoo and the day after told EVERYONE at the YMCA that Mom had a new tattoo… I joked with Shandai, good thing I didn’t get it in an intimate place!!! What a month!IMG_20180624_134932_352