Monthly Archives: October 2013

Mad Men

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Cast as one of my favorite fictional men: Sam Heughan. Source: Twitter.com

Cast as one of my favorite fictional men, Jamie Fraser in Outlander: Actor Sam Heughan. Source: Twitter.com

Men are awesome.

I mean that in the most literal sense. They invoke awe and feelings of fear and wonder to name a few. They can be formidable, dreadful or extremely good.  But what is it I love about them the most? Maybe their consistency?  Their forgiveness? Their cool under pressure demeanour? Maybe I am just describing my perfect version of a man. Perhaps what I love about them is that they are just so different from women. Thank God!

I love that men can be so direct, so simple. No games. Of course, this is not always the case. There are many exceptions. But let it stand that the men I love don’t play games or have an agenda. There are only a few things they really need in their lives. Give them basic things like food, love, laughs and good beer and they just keep coming back for more!

So today, I want to celebrate the best parts of men. Especially since Mo-vember is lurking around the corner (dreading it). One big positive moment before I want to look away from all their hairy faces for a whole month.

Here are some of my fav bits about men… online bits that is. 😉

The epic Man Cold video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbmbMSrsZVQ

46 reasons why Men are Amazing: http://suzie81.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/46-reasons-why-men-are-amazing/

One of the most endearing traits of men: http://davidkanigan.com/2013/10/16/yep-about-right-4/

Because they make amazing fathers: http://thebhj.com/

Blogs that can help ease my headache… teaching you how to rock your manliness.

I particularly love the dress and grooming section of this blog: http://www.artofmanliness.com/category/dress-grooming/

“Balance and fall prevention for Seniors”

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Any style, any time. Photo: artandsoulcanada.com

Any style, any time.
Photo: artandsoulcanada.com

I am back in the dance studio again. There are not many places in this world that I have this reaction to. When I walk into a dance studio, I feel alive. I feel nervous, light, eager, whole and centered. It doesn’t matter what kind of class it is. Dance is dance. The expression of what I feel through my body, be it celebratory, heart-breaking or passionate. It is life.

My return to the studio is taking place in an adult contemporary class. Our weekly class routine consists of an intense, mommy-chub-busting warm up followed by jumps and turns across the floor and then choreography. I couldn’t pick a favorite moment if I tried.

I am, however, experiencing the disappointment of a new inability to do endless amounts of turns across the floor. I used to be able to keep going forever. ‘Turn and turn and, turn-and-turn-and-turn and… you know the type. Spotting the wall. Crisp and perfect.

So imagine my great annoyance to find some bizarre spinning sensation at the end of the room to greet me. Holy crap! I have to fight to stay upright. Kind of like a good night out that was side-swiped by a wayward friend pushing the tequila shots. The happy moment is gone and WHAMO!  You’re left trying to keep it together and not embarrass yourself. The only saving grace in my situation was that I was apparently not alone. The other ‘adult’ dancers were feeling it too. Being all ladies and all mothers we pondered: Is this some cruel postpartum phenomenon or is it non-gender biased?

A detail from an anecdote of my husband’s glimmers in my mind. Something about a ride at the local fair that he took our 5-year-old on and almost tossed his lunch with all the spinning. So maybe this isn’t just a female affliction? 

I used our great accomplice Google to search this new, adult-onset dizziness and was greeted by a website with the heading “Balance and Fall Prevention for Seniors.” Oh nice. Right. Well I suppose that is the extreme case of what I am experiencing. Although I am far from a senior just yet.  But that heading does get me thinking about the mind and the body disconnection that begin as we age or are stricken with a disability.

I can’t help but think that if I were to practice enough, doing turns again and again, that this might improve. Isn’t there some inner-ear muscle that I can pump to give me super-spinning powers again? But that’s very unlikely. And so , I am left with an experience that is reminiscent of old days, yet subtly changed forever. But I am not swayed. Not even an inch. My physical being may not be as pristine, but my mental strength has never been so tenacious. In the realm of dance, particularly contemporary, emotional maturity can be fortifying. At age 14, my heart was relatively unclouded. It had not yet experienced great love and fear, disappointment and shame. I had not yet known immense joy or sadness.

How my heart feels when I dance Source: balletnews.co.uk Photo by Jason Trozer. Northern Ballet dancer Hannah Bateman

How my heart feels when I dance
Source: balletnews.co.uk
Photo by Jason Trozer. Northern Ballet dancer Hannah Bateman

So while I may battle with small challenges of the physical, my heart brings more power to the floor than ever before. A tiny fleck of gray on my canvas, hidden by otherwise radiant color. True art must come from the heart and as long as my body is willing I will write it a love letter every week to remind it… “Dear Body, Keep up! There is so much more to come”.

CB

Single parent for the weekend

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Parental escape…Go big or go home  always say! Photo credit:lasvegas360.com

Parental escape…Go big or go home is our motto!
Photo credit:lasvegas360.com

My little family keeps busy in a great way and we all work hard to get our breaks away. My breaks are usually for dancing  and my husband’s typically for business but occasionally for guy time. This time apart always refreshes our tolerance for the routine and the frustrating parts of parenting. We remember why we chose family. We remember how being alone was not a desired option in the long term. When we escape together, our romantic weekends away are fantastic even 6 years into our marriage but we cannot wait to get back for those little arms to wrap around our necks and squeeze. Those little faces lighting up on our return. What a powerful feeling. Love, full-throttle. No hesitation.

When we take separate time away though, the experience for one of us is very different. When I see the looming dates blocked out in green on my calendar, I get antsy. ‘Dave in Vegas’ scrawled across 4 full days. Anxiety creeps in so I shut down the app and try not to think about it.

When the day arrives, we are so swept up in the morning routine to get to school, we barely say goodbye. “Gotta run, have fun!” The rest of the day pans out as normal since Dad is always at work anyways. The hardest part of the day for me as a temporary single parent is late afternoon. Kids are tired, I am craving a moment to myself and dInner is yet to be served. Instead of thinking “How can I make this day special and have fun with the kids?” I am thinking “Please just let this day be over!”. It is a different kind of exhaustion than my regular work. More emotional and seemingly endless.

There is no competition between a 12 hr critical care shift full of resuscitation and transports. 12 hours with two small children is way more challenging. Even at work there are moments where I am only responsible for my own hunger, my own bathroom breaks. Childcare is relentless. I am needed non-stop.

Late day moments are the hardest. I have looming thoughts of the kids never ever getting to sleep or at least taking 2 hours to complete the process. Knowing it will all repeat the next day makes it worse. It becomes a challenge of just making it through the weekend, not enjoying the time together.

However, there are some truly unique things that occur when I am a single parent for the weekend. Situations that make the parenting just a little easier in a way. I never expect them and always forget they exist, hence the anxiety.

One benefit is that there are no conflicts in leadership. I am the boss. I make the plan (or so the kids have me fooled into thinking). I don’t have to think out loud or ask for help with the basic tasks. It is all me. No communication blunders here. It’s a one-woman show!

Another perk of the partner-less weekends are that family and friends are more willing to help you out. (I realize that I may be in a unique situation here as some families have no helpers around). Invitations for the three of us abound for dinner, visits and play dates. Have pity on the Mom at home while husband is off in Las Vegas. (More so pity the Dad left alone with kids because ‘What on earth will they eat all weekend?’). My husband once skirted out of every single meal when I was away for the weekend with takeout and family BBQ invites. He was quite proud he didn’t have to cook once. I was honestly relieved! We don’t have a fire-extinguisher in the house!

This is not my husband, but this IS the only cooking tool he knows how to use. Gotta love a stir-fry!  Photo credit:dadsthatcook.com

This is not my husband, but this IS the only cooking tool he knows how to use. Gotta love a stir-fry!
Photo credit:dadsthatcook.com

The last perk that I can find is that I get Me time at the end of the day. No discussion about whether to read or watch a show. The brain just winds down doing whatever I like. I often choose my solo pastimes here; painting, blogging, reading or catching a quick show on Netflix.

But that is where I run out of positives. I’ve stated before on my blog that I marvel at the sanity of full-time single parents. I cannot imagine not having backup. No respite for days on end. Wishing the days over instead of seeing them as opportunities for growth, fun and play. If I was a single Mom, I don’t know if I would be able to really slow down and practice gratitude. Those moments would be few and far between. I also marvel at multigenerational family living. Is this as easy as the families make it look? Having grandparents in the same home to engage in every day life. Having extra eyes and hands for the little ones. Do these benefits outweigh the lack of privacy?

I am grateful for what I have. Grateful for all the good moments and also the ones that drive me toward my favorite Riesling. The changes keep us thinking, learning and growing as parents, which is also what I ask of my children. Monkey see, monkey do. Or so I hope. The change and the time away gives us a Super-Mario style power-boost. If it wasn’t my turn this time to relinquish my parental duties, then the anticipation of planning the next trip is tantalizing enough. Heck, maybe next time, we’ll all just go to Disneyland!

CB

Dear Momma,

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Dear Momma, 

I love it when you look at me. I love to see your face. When you hold my hand to walk down the street, I feel strong and safe and happy. 

But sometimes Momma, you make me sad.

The times you walk ahead without me. I can see you but you can not see me. What if I fall?  Will you see me then? Will you know? Will I be alone?

I love you most in the world Momma. If I could I would never let you go.

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My son just started kindergarten and I have a newly widened social circle. With that becomes new experiences, some good, some bad. Of the things that I noticed, one was a habit that a few parents have when they pick up their children from school. They collect them from their class and then proceed to turn their back and walk in front of them to their vehicles or homes. They seem to expect the children to just follow them like ducklings. Survival of the fittest?

So, I am really interested in opinion on this subject. Are parents just distracted and get ahead of their kids without realizing it? Do you really trust them to just follow you? (I am referring to young ones here…like ages 3-6). Do you have such disinterest in your children that you don’t want to see there faces and speak to them up close? Are you not aware of the myriad of teachable moments that can occur when you walk with your children?

Of course, we see this behaviour in many animals: ducks, horses and elephants to name a few. But aren’t we different? We have an awareness of our own mortality that sets us apart from animals. So I am curious about this behaviour. What drives it? What reinforces it? To me, it seems to disregard the child. A turning away with disinterest.

Either way it makes me sad. So if I feel that way, I would imagine the children in question are as much or more disheartened by the practice.

CB