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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!

First Week of Honest Photos

Remember my proposed experiment using photography that I blogged about HERE? Well we have already reached the conclusion of the first week of images which I have posted to my Facebook and Instagram accounts. So now it is time to share the first 7 posts here on my blog. Enjoy!

DAY 1IMG_20170901_132846_372

“I wish I had a sound recording of the arguing and the directing of the stroller through the garbage containers. Last day of summer program, 5th day in a row of mornings at the YMCA… Careful carry to avoid potential tire puncture… Welcome to September.”

DAY 220170902_124205

“Once a year Ken and I go out for a day to cut loose at the Renaissance Festival. I usually take most of the photos and am critical of what is taken of me. Here is a quick one Ken took. This is the only time other than the pool that I bare my midriff post babies.”

DAY 320170903_104941

“Remember all those perfect little girl rooms out there? Yah… not my house. This was deemed ‘clean’ after church by the residents. I struggle with the idea of a super tidy room and the reality of 2 girls who are comfortable in the room as is. No magazine spreads here… Unless we are the ‘before’ picture lol.”

DAY 420170904_103252

“Anyone who follows me on Instagram is probably aware that I have committed myself to a minimum of 4 days of working out a week at the YMCA. I post my elliptical times to keep myself honest. But what you don’t see is my often day glow self booking along. Ken took this one for me today. It isn’t pretty but the results have been fantastic. And honestly I think I look ridiculously awkward and gawky.”

DAY 520170905_092202

“Day 5 photo comes early today… ‘Look up here and say cheese kids.” *click*… Among the smiles was coughs and yawns. We are not tidy or early morning learners. There always seems to be unfinished assignments and at least one ongoing argument between scholars at any given time. But… it is our room and our chaos. And tomorrow you may get to see the teacher 🙂 messy hair and all.

DAY 620170906_085157

“Day 6 photo is my most ‘naked’ too date I think… Meet the teacher. No make up, glasses, messy hair, sweater from my old university, yoga pants (you can’t see the Totoro on my socks). I roll out of bed and make myself some tea and the day begins. No glamour, no magic, just… me.

Photo credit goes to Trinity with her exquisite point and click skills (Zander tried and got fuzzy images but he had just woken up.”

DAY 7IMG_20170907_090852_050

“Day 7 and the last family member in our classroom. Every morning I clean out Neko-Chan’s cage. Scrape the dirty papers out, add hay, check food and water. On a perky morning I also spend half my time stopping her from eating my spoon and climbing out her door. To some she is just a rodent. To me she is a joy. I have not had a true pet in over 10 yrs. I didn’t even realize the true magnitude of the void until she came along fill it. Plus… SHE’S SO FLUFFY!!!!”

And there you have it, week one of my photo project up for all to see! I hope everyone is enjoying this candid peek into my life. Any suggestions of things you would like to see, moments, events… do share! And check back in 7 days for the next batch!!!

Busy Busy Fingers

I know I haven’t posted much in the way of an update on the stitching. The time just seems to dart away with you. BUT I do have progress on the Rainbow Ripple Blanket… I am still in love with this project, though the orange in my third rainbow gave me all sorts of trouble. Progress has been spotty on it, thankfully I am not even close to out of time!IMAG2463

However, I did have OTHER completions come and go these past weeks. 13 Valentine themed tiny bags were done up in no time flat. Some for our family and some for the kids to gift. HERE thanks to Blackstone Designs.IMAG2315

I also finished some of the most adorable baby sweaters that were quickly posted in the mail to the newest twins of our acquaintance. I am making a third of this pattern for the county fair! I will share the pictures of that one too. HERE thanks to Sinead Deegan.IMAG2462

A one day free pattern from Snappy Tots HERE has me hooking up a Valentine’s themed scarf.IMG_3086

A special SUPER late birthday present was also completed and finally posted in the mail. A bag we (Ken and I) converted into a backpack. Perfect for toting a few things for school or home. HERE thanks to Red Heart.IMAG2479

What else, what else… well with the donation of yarn from a friend who was downsizing I was finally able to finish a shawlette I started ages ago. It reminds the girls of Frozen (colour scheme I guess). HERE thanks to Crochetspot.com … though NOT a free pattern.IMAG2515

The same wonderful gift has me FINALLY starting a cupcake blanket in baby pink. This is a classroom only project, for when I have down time between lessons or the kids are presenting or crafting. They love the cupcakes and I love the repetition. I have opted to have a single colour as the bulk of the blanket with the border in a second colour. Here’s hoping that there is enough of the colour in my stash now. HERE thanks to Roseanna Beck.IMG_3096

In honour of Chinese New Year (year of the monkey) I made a lucky orange tree. The pattern is thanks to Little Mee Creations. We made a few alterations… we put a plastic canvas base and instead of the suggested straw used a wider dowel with thinner dowels for the branches. This did alter my stitch count around both the trunk and branches but it worked. I also made mine a taller tree, which the kids LOVE. Either way… if you are a crochet enthusiast give it a go. So worth it! HEREIMG_20160208_101910

I have decreased my unfinished work pile and am staring temptation in the face to add more to it. 6 gifted skeins of a specific colour of Homespun sitting in a pile in my room… I swear it is taunting me… and I have, perhaps, found a pattern that I would not mind making… so let’s see if I can add that to my schedule!

That is not to say I haven’t been working on the rainbow. I am hoping to put some good time in on it during the second half of February. Short month, but lots of time to sneak away and stitch. If I am careful!IMAG2520

As a matter of fact, my Etsy store HERE has not been a rip roaring success these past months… I have done very well at Christmas time but not so much over the rest of the year. SO, my plan is to stop renewing my adds over the next few months and revamp my Facebook It’s a Hoot page HERE. Hopefully, over the next few weeks I can sort it out so you can view anything I have for sale there. Feel free to check it out, share the link… put someone who may be interested on the path… I would love to send some of these finished pieces on to a new home!!!IMAG2464