Friday, October 26, 2012

Ten things on my birthday

1. I love birthdays so, so much. I love my birthday, your birthday, her birthday. I've been ridiculed a fair amount in my thirty-five years about my love of celebrating, but no matter, it won't stop me. Birthdays are renewing, as are the celebrations that can come from them. Feeling blue? Bake a cake for someone who is an entire year older now! Turning a year older yourself? Turn to your friends for some old-fashioned self-indulgence. Eat a good meal and reminisce about your silly youth. Or your silly last year. You won't regret it.

2. Yesterday I spent eleven dollars on pink sparkly nail polish for me, Alyce and Shira to wear on my birthday. Nothing says birthday quite like pink sparkles.

3. I have come to understand that mistakes are good. You can't make mistakes unless you are acting in the world, moving forward.

4. My preference for birthday cake is chocolate with butter cream icing. I don't really enjoy fondant. But I'll enjoy pies, brownies, ice cream sundays, and any and all cookies if chocolate cake is unavailable because this is just the kind of person I am. I also only want to indulge in these things if you'll share them with me.

5. I have watched two babies enter the world this year. I always knew my calling, but now I really know. Those mistakes I've made in my life? This is most certainly not one of them.

6. I'm braver than I think.

7. As a parent birthdays are less about yourself and more about watching your children rip open the presents they wrapped themselves the night before in Tinkerbell wrapping paper. Birthdays also now include no less than six cards, most of which have Snow White on them. I couldn't love them more.

8. Turning thirty-five doesn't make me old. But what it does make me is a person with wrinkles around my eyes. I've always thought smiling eye wrinkles a beautiful part of a person's face, but at the same time it never quite occurred to me that I, too, would smile my way into a face full of them. But I've certainly earned them, what with all the smiling I've done in my life, and I couldn't be luckier.

9. One year for my birthday I would like to host an enormous dinner where I would cook for all of my favourite people. I would celebrate another year by saying thank you to the people I love the most. Doesn't that sound lovely? I think that's how I'll celebrate turning forty. Save the date.

10. I'm still on-call for a good friend waiting to give birth to her first child. If she's wondering what to do for my birthday, a baby would do nicely. I would be honoured to share my birthday.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

On the depths of their emotions

We have a firm rule in our house, one that you might need in yours, too: stickers go on paper and people. Repeat with me: paper and people. Everybody: paper and people! You get the idea. If any of you have tried to scrape off a worn-in sticker from a nice stretch of hardwood floor or a freshly painted wall, you understand where I'm coming from. I have no interest in standing against the magic of stickers, but as with most things in life, boundaries are important.

For the most part the girls follow this rule but we do have missteps from time to time. I usually roll my eyes to the high heavens when I spot a misplaced sticker, but when I came across this yesterday I could only smile. I don't know where Alyce received the alphabet stickers, and I don't know when she escaped to her bedroom to stick them on her bedside table, but at some point in the past few days Alyce used rainbow letters to spell out the name of her best friend. A friend left behind at her old school in another town, but who is obviously never far away in her thoughts. 

I find myself constantly underestimating the emotional depth of children. Yes, Alyce and Shira bounce along a spectrum of emotion every day, jumping from feeling to feeling with almost a new one every minute. It would take only a short visit at our house to stand witness to the highs and lows of childhood. There is excitement over opening the paints, devastation over one sister's discovery of the other sister's hidden treasure, thoughtfulness in a moment when one recognizes the other is hurt and needs help, over-the-moon delight when I finally agree to a cup of hot chocolate. But it's the depths of these emotions that get me every time. 

I think many of my struggles as a parent to Alyce and Shira comes from not acknowledging how real these highs and lows feel to them. I grow frustrated, as I did this morning, over Alyce dragging her feet to choose a dress for school, but maybe I would be less so if I took a moment to remember how upset she was when she awoke from a nightmare this morning, how those raw feelings might still be lingering only thirty minutes later. Or maybe if I thought about how much joy she feels wearing an outfit crafted exclusively, if not quickly, by her. When Alyce feels sad about her new school, something she is feeling less and less these days, I need to remind myself that she misses her friend. Alyce is not a baby but a sensitive, loving, excited, joyful, and stubborn little girl whose feelings for her friends--or her toys or her favourite food--are as real as yours or mine. They can't be dismissed. I love my own friends deeply; so does she.

It helps me to remember these things. Parenting books are often so preoccupied with helping us through all the (very important) basics of food and sleep and safety that we're all at risk of forgetting how one of the greatest challenges and gifts of parenting your children is learning who they are, how they feel. I sometimes get so preoccupied with the details of care and how to manage these details within the organization of our larger family, that I forget that one of my most important jobs, and probably the most fun, is to watch. Just watch. 

The controlling perfectionist grown-up in me often ends up worrying about routine and habits and structure, all fine things in their place, but I hope I can remember more often that I can still parent from the background. It's such a balance, isn't it, to let our children feel these depths without trying to manage them? They need these depths, just like we do, to learn who they are in the world. They need to love their friends and feel sad about sisters colouring on the wrong paper and get angry over their mama saying, No, Alyce and Shira, we can't stay up and read anymore, it's bedtime. Just like I need to cry sometimes when my day juggling work and life is hard, or how I need to dance sometimes because I'm just so happy to be near my family.

How do you remember these things?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When did this Monday become a Tuesday? And an invitation to dinner.

Last week was a really good one, for more reasons than I can list. Alyce made me her usual 2397 drawings (do you like my new bookmark?), I attended my first crazy intense parent council meeting at her new school, and waited (and am still waiting) with a good friend as she enters the final week(s) of her pregnancy. I'm extra excited because I have a special invitation to attend her birth as her doula. We ate mac and cheese and cookies, because isn't that what one does in preparation for labour? That's what I do, anyway, and I will encourage you to, as well. I might tell you that preparing for my friend's birth is also the reason behind all the muffins I've been baking, but that would be stretching the truth a bit, because we all know that I'll use any and all excuses to make muffins. This week I made these apple muffins from Smitten Kitchen (I grated the apples instead of dicing on account of not wanting to offend Alyce's fine sensibilities) and these lemon millet muffins from 101 Cookbooks (you can leave out the lemon and add chocolate chips if you like, which I often do, but the lemon is almost as delicious). Both were hits and both are gone.

My weeks are always filled with so much and trying to balance it all can be a bit overwhelming. The days have been so busy that I started this post eagerly on a Monday morning and am finishing it now on a Tuesday close to lunch. Where did yesterday go? Can I tell you a quick story that might let you in on the status of a mind pulled in a few one hundred different directions? I drove the girls across town yesterday for Alyce's medical appointment, and then rushed them back home to spend the afternoon with a friend so that I could drive all the way back across town for my own appointment . As I stood in front of the nurse at the front desk, panting and not a little bit sweaty from all the rushing, she informed me, kindly, that my appointment was for the 22nd of November. Yesterday was the 22nd of October. Not the same month, it turns out. I handled the disappointment quite well and made the most of the rest of my afternoon. While an overwhelmed mind sometimes leads to crying at the first sign of a struggle, it can also jump to the next task without too much concern. Appointment doesn't exist? No matter, I can do those other twelve things I need to finish today.

What I'm trying to tell you is that I'm busy but happy. All the projects I'm finally getting to are helping me to feel more and more settled. I've mentioned a few times here that adjusting to living in Toronto again hasn't always been easy. I am grateful to be back, but I'm learning that nothing is simple. It isn't as easy as dropping back into a former life. We have new habits, new routines, new obligations, new children. Our friends, at least the ones who are still here, have welcomed us back, but they have busy lives, too. Something that I've been giving a lot of thought to since returning to Toronto is how difficult it can be to maintain community as we grow older. My entire life has been marked by relationships with exceptional friends and I'm learning that growing older means more and more work to maintain these friendships. It isn't for lack of caring or love that we see our friends less, but the way in which our own families drive our busy days, weeks, and months. Most of us have partners and families and careers and projects and it's a wonder that we ever just find the time to sit together, with friends, to enjoy it all happening. But I think we should fight the good fight against this tendency to collapse into our own families. I think we should all take little steps to stay connected with the people we are lucky enough to have in our lives. And maybe we should meet a few more.

We celebrate Shabbat every week beginning Friday night. Shabbat means different things to different people, but one of my most favourite things in the world is knowing that every Friday night, no matter what is going on in the rest of our chaos, Matt and I have a chance to sit down for a dinner, some wine, and hopefully some excellent company. As the day comes to a close at the end of week I can feel my entire body calming down, in spite of my rushing around the kitchen preparing dinner. Sometimes we include the girls in a big dinner; other times Alyce and Shira help me light the candles but Matt and I save dinner for later in the (quieter) evening. Some of my favourite nights are those when friends join us for dinner. And so here comes my challenge: why aren't we sharing meals friends more often? Why aren't we inviting new friends to our tables? I am going to invite friends (both old and new) to our table for dinner or lunch three weekends out of four. I can't promise they'll say yes, but I am going to send out my invitations nonetheless. I hope we can make it an offer they won't refuse. Busy weeks be damned.

I'm looking forward to dinner already.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Are you brave?

Who has nerve? My four year old! The other night while I was busy nursing Shira before bed, Alyce, who wasn't happy with my turning down her request for more snack, let herself out of the apartment and asked our upstairs neighbour to get her one. As in: she unlocked our door, climbed the stairs in her footy pajamas with the cats on the feet, and told Peggy an elaborate story about how she couldn't find her Papa (who was working) and how she was so very hungry. She had forgotten to mention that I was home and had already said no. I discovered the two of them in our kitchen, Peggy washing strawberries for my Alyce, who was evidently wasting away in hunger. Seriously.

But I wasn't upset with Alyce, though we did review all the reasons one ought to disturb the neighbours, needing an extra snack not being one of them. If I can confess something to you, I was a bit jealous. This girl of mine has so much courage! Lately I have tended to let things stand in my way (though if we're being friends here, very little stands in the way between me and a good snack). I've written before about having lost my sparkle (here and here), of wanting to feel vibrant again. To feel vibrant I need to make some changes in my life, both big and small, and very slowly I'm working on these. What I discovered recently, however, is that in order to feel vibrant again I needed some courage. Confidence, pride, energy, call it what you will, sometimes I think it is courage that I need. I want that courage displayed by children who celebrate this big, beautiful world that seems was made just for them, the courage I seemed to have lost as I've gotten older.

I'm working on it, specifically in an online course I'm taking from Andrea at Superhero Life called Cultivating Courage. Upon entering the class we had to answer the question: if I were the bravest possible version of myself I would... Here is my answer, you know, since we're friends:
I would wake up and (most days!) feel powerful. I wouldn't be afraid of making another mistake and would instead encourage myself to make new mistakes and learn and live in the world. I would see possibility instead of failure. I would listen to the counsel of my friends and family but make the decisions I thought were best. I would start listening to myself. I would take less comfort in the ordinary. I would trust myself .
The details of the course are something I would like to keep for myself, but I will let you in on a few of the results: I have spoken more directly with friends, I have found a writing partner, and I attended a rather frightening parent council meeting at my daughter's new school (these are some serious school parents). All in one week! Next up? Skydiving.

(As if.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

On not yelling at my children

It turns out that I'm not a perfect parent. I'll give you a moment while you pick your jaw up off the floor. Then you can take a second to roll your eyes. Go ahead, I'll wait.

I've been struggling with my imperfections lately. While this is sort of the story of my life, it's felt especially raw lately when it comes to my learning how to parent my almost-five year old. I'm not going to sugarcoat this for you: all of a sudden I've discovered that I'm a parent who raises her voice. No matter your own approach to parenting, this is not a strategy I wish to continue. Anger is one thing, yelling is another. Anger is an intense emotion connected to feelings of hurt, frustration, and helplessness. Yelling is an act of aggression.

I'm not a yeller by nature. I don't remember my parents yelling beyond a few arguments with each other now and then. Once I spent a week with another family where yelling was the primary mode of communication and all I wanted to do was run home and hide under the covers. Sure, I got excited from time to time and raised my voice, but yelling was not my thing. It made anger feel terrifying. Expressing feelings of anger and frustration are good things, and to be honest I wish I'd done more of that growing up. Instead I spent most of my time ensuring that other people were happy so as to avoid anger in the first place. The healthiest emotional habit? Maybe not, but this is me.

I adore these children of mine, love the family we have created. But I've learned that certain conditions lead me to feeling helpless against how I angry I feel sometimes. Did you know that a four year old can make you really angry? She's filled with rainbows and sunshine yet sometimes I find myself irritated beyond measure by her behaviour. I know, she's four. She's pushing boundaries, testing limits, learning (far too quickly, I might add) how to stand on her own in the world. Sometimes my anger comes from pure frustration (will she please FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THE THINGS just put her shoes on), other times from hurt feelings. No matter the source of these feelings, the reality is that I am the parent and she is the child learning from me. What do we learn from yelling? We learn to dominate, to use force, and to act unkindly in the face of a challenge. I'm pretty certain that these are not the messages I want to pass along to my children.

Yes, yes, of course we all have moments. Does it feel good to yell sometimes in anger? Yes. Does it feel good to yell sometimes in anger at your child? Never. In fact I never want to do it again.

Fortunately our home is a wonderful place to be, and this yelling habit of mine is new and infrequent. But I know in my heart that yelling is just not for me. I prefer my passion in the form of kisses. I have no interest in hiding my strong emotions but I want my family to see me channel these emotions for good, not evil. I want to show Alyce that we can speak to each other kindly even when we disagree. I am human, I make mistakes, but I can still work toward an ideal I hold so dearly. Alyce isn't blind, she can see me struggling, but my hope is that what she will see--what she will remember--is not that I yelled sometimes, but that I tried so hard to learn from my mistakes. And the best part is that she is learning, too.
How do you handle yelling in your house?

P.S. Just for the record, Shira is in a fort in that top photo, not a prison. I swear.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kid Therapy

You know what I haven't written about much lately? Parenting. Yes, that's right, I have two children and we spend a lot of time together. You must be tired of me going on and on about myself lately, am I right (maybe don't answer that)? No matter how relieved I have been to return to Toronto, life has felt awfully heavy lately, sort of molasses-like. I'm dragging a bit, can you tell?

One of the markers of parenthood for me is how no matter what else is going on in my life, my young children don't care. Struggling with new career steps? Not their concern. Worrying about a decision you made two years ago? They'd rather paint. I should rephrase that part about caring, though, because while they don't care in that traditional "what accommodations can we make to help you through this transition" kind of way, they'll get right and dirty to help me relax and get over myself. Feeling a bit indecisive about life lately? I suggest you take your four year old to an outdoor showing of The Lorax, popcorn and cookies included. Having a rough day managing deadlines? Relax a minute and just get under the covers with your two year old already. Read that book together, you know you'll feel better. This isn't about playing the role of martyr and ignoring all those very real grown-up concerns, but taking full opportunity of the way my children know how to take care of me. Sure, Alyce can't carry on a decent conversation about savings accounts, but she did make me fourteen drawings last week, with no less than 6442 hearts. I'd be silly not to take that therapy when it's being excitedly thrown at me each day after school.

I started this blog as a way to remember the details of our chaos and lately I've had a few moments that have left me hoping that I don't forget any of it. Do you know that feeling? I'm going about my day when all of a sudden I find myself in the middle of an act or experience or sentence that I know--I just know--I'll want to keep with me. None of these moments are transformational or even original. I expect that parents the world over have felt the same way with their own children, in that universal way in which parents are made to smile that soft, knowing smile  as they watch their children be, well, children.

Like yesterday when Alyce's kindergarten teacher informed me that Alyce has been hiding her own possessions in the lost and found box, again. This time it was her lunch bag. She does this because she finds such delight in the act of solving the mystery of her missing item. She's lost and found multiple pairs of shoes, mittens, more than one jacket. Come to think of it we're currently "missing" a few items right now. Thanks, Alyce. Or how a friend noticed yesterday that Shira rolls her eyes back into her head a bit as she descends into a kiss. Ecstasy, these kisses are to Shira, she could give them all day long. Then there was that time were those times I walked in the room to find her naked as the day she entered this world. She's growing up, that Shira, and so learning the freedom that comes from declaring that clothes-free is far better than clothed.

Yes, Shira, it certainly is. And today I'll take an extra moment to remember that. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Do feminists care that I changed my name?

A friend and reader of this blog submitted a comment on my last post about changing my last name that has been making me think for weeks. Weeks. I asked her if she wouldn't mind me making her thoughtful observations a little more public and she agreed. Stacey is an exceedingly useful friend to have, always reminding me to look at things a different way. Below I'll share her comments and offer my own responses.

Is it all a matter of choice?
I always find myself surprised when women change their names. I would think that the pain-in-the-ass of going through the paperwork of the name change itself (for every piece of ID, bank account, email address, etc etc etc etc), and forever having to explain to people "yes, I am *that* Stacey, that was my maiden name" would be pretty annoying too.
I was always surprised when a friend chose to change her name, too. I was even more surprised that I wanted to change my name. I thought I knew myself pretty well. But five years of marriage and two children later, I regretted my decision, as I described here and here. Even just considering a name change felt foreign to me, but in the end it still felt good. Yes, it is terribly annoying to change all the details. Here in Ontario most people just assume a new name in marriage (rather than having it legally changed), which is both cheaper and easier to reverse. This is what I did. Changing my license and health card took five minutes, but changing everything else is a bit of headache. There was a new email address sent to contacts, which annoys me just thinking about it (I've always groaned when friends change their details because I'm terrible with following through with these details). I can change my name at the bank but need about ten documents to do so (haven't done that yet). The HR department at my job is rolling its eyes at me, since this change requires action across a few different university systems. But you know what? I want my name changed enough to deal with all the headaches, annoying as they are. I like it when one of us calls out our name and we all come running, because it is the name we all share.

Giving in

But I know Stacey's comments are more about understanding my choice within the context of feminism. Stacey and I are friends and she knows that I come to many things from a feminist perspective. Here are her comments about making choices as a feminist:

[I]t's reassuring to me somehow to know you're conflicted about it Danielle! :) We are *all* walking contradictions, and being a feminist doesn't mean you have to be "pure". But at the same time, the fact that we "choose" something doesn't make it feminist. Sometimes feminists are going to capitulate to the patriarchy because it makes their lives easier in some way -- our culture makes it a struggle to resist the patriarchy and rewards us richly for conformity. And so we all choose to capitulate in one way or another -- I shave my legs because I don't want to feel self-conscious and have people staring at me. It doesn't make me less of a feminist.

Each of us has to figure out how to best navigate our lives in a sexist culture, and sometimes we're going to resist and other times we're going to capitulate. We definitely don't need to be beating ourselves up over it, but at the same time let's not kid ourselves: shaving our legs (or changing our names) *is* a capitulation to the patriarchy. That's cool. We don't have to fight everything all the time. If you'll excuse me now, I'm going to go upstairs and re-do the nail polish on my toes.

Is changing my name necessarily a capitulation? This is what's got me thinking the most, but let me get back to this in a moment. First, I agree with Stacey that couching a decision as feminist simply on account of having made a choice between different options (my name, his name, a hyphenated name), doesn't work for me. Feminism has given (and keeps on giving, let's not forget) a lot of things, but the range of choices facing women today on account of feminist activism is about specific rights, dignities, and freedoms, not about a general ability to choose. Yes, feminism has widened the choices women make, but it isn't as relative as some might think. The choices women make are complicated, of course, but they are not feminist decisions simply on account of being made. Sometimes I hear women defend choosing a particular decision by declaring that even though it might not look like a feminist choice (because it might go against a common feminist position on work or health, for example), the content of the decision doesn't matter because it was the choice itself that was valuable (privileging the act of choosing over the actual choice itself). I don't see my own decision to take my husband's name as our family name in this light. If feminism is only the choice itself than it loses its sense of urgency, its game plan. But let me explain some more.

If you are a feminist, do all decisions need to be feminist ones? Does this decision in particular need to be feminist? Patriarchy is certainly behind women losing their own family name when they marry. Marriage started out entirely as a religious event for most people in the world, and if my long, long, long years spent in academia have taught me anything, it's that patriarchy loves religion. It loves to divide women and men along their gender lines and often arranges them hierarchically. Religious marriage has historically been a process by which men acquire a wife, and even if many people no longer understand marriage this way and relinquish any desires of "acquiring" anyone, I don't think we can entirely distance ourselves from this history. (In many ways I have little interest in distancing myself from this history because I married Matt in a traditional Jewish wedding celebration with no pretense of stepping beyond history, though we did take steps beyond tradition with some of our ritual choices. And the knowledge that the only thing we were "acquiring" was each other's student debt. While it was very important to both of us that our marriage be rooted in traditional Judaism, we certainly understood our relationship in the context of our other values, like feminism, for me. But this will have to wait for another post.)


Do feminists only make feminist choices?

Stacey suggests that navigating a sexist culture involves resistance and capitulation. Am I capitulating to a patriarchal institution? I guess I am. My primary reason for changing my name is that I felt left out of the party, the odd woman out. I was tired of reminding people--at Alyce's school, at the doctor's office, on the bus when that woman told me there was no way that these blonde children were mine-- that yes, I was a part of this family, too. The truth was that not everyone was playing by the same rules. I am well aware that our culture is structurally designed to privilege not only a particular kind of gender roles, but a particular kind of family as well. This family has a mother, a father, and the same last name. Feminism has led the way in critiquing this status quo, in part by making the bold suggestion that women aren't required to buy in to the traditional understanding of marriage and family, and this has helped other critiques develop and to support a new definition of family. So yes, I am conflicted by my own decision to reach back to a tradition I am grateful that feminism helped to dismantle. I admit that changing my name makes me fit better within a system stuck in an old structural model.

What catches me is that my original decision to keep my previous name was most definitely a feminist one. I was choosing to value a woman's right, my right, to maintain my independence as an individual. I understood my decision to keep my original name as a public commentary on how I thought marriage ought to be understood-- the joining together of two people, equal before all. It was a non-issue for the both of us. But now, five years later, as I've come to regret my original decision and change my mind, taking Matt's last name does not feel feminist. What I'm struggling with now, having considered Stacey's comments, is trying to figure out if it doesn't feel feminist because it stands against feminism (or disagrees with feminism, which sounds nicer), or if it doesn't feel feminist because I didn't give feminism a role in the decision making. The distinction is important to me and it's something I don't have an answer to yet.

I'm not apologizing to feminism for my decision. Whereas I never would have imagined that I would "give in" to the status quo, I also never would have imagined what it would feel like to have a family, to have a partner and two little girls standing next to me. The world looks different from here and that's ok. While the act of choosing my husband's name as our family's name, myself included, might not be a feminist decision, it remains a part of a larger feminist conversation nonetheless. Frankly, I don't know how to engage with the world otherwise. I am coming to understand that I can redefine my boundaries of feminism as it continues to change and adapt. I am also confident that my marriage to Matt reflects the part of feminism I have always adored. We treat each other with respect and kindness and define our roles based on our mutual needs, not on according to any predetermined structure. Our daughters will grow to see both traditional and non-traditional roles in our family (I build stuff, Matt does the laundry; I light the Shabbat candles and Matt teaches the girls Hebrew). They will learn to respect themselves, their bodies, and the dignity of all people. That we will do all of this under my husband's name troubles me not at all.

I love that Stacey's comments have challenged me to think more critically about all this. Mostly I love that she celebrates the complicated, even in her critique. I also found (via Cup of Jo) a wonderful site that collects peoples' reflections on why they did or did not change their name in marriage. Read more about The Last Name Project over at The Feminist Mystique.

Thanks for your comments, Stacey!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A list of thanks

It's Thanksgiving in Canada and so I offer you a list. I am thankful for my children. I am thankful for Matt. I am eternally thankful that we joined forces and brave the world together.

I am grateful for two year old girls in rain boots and stripy leggings. I am grateful for shared hot chocolates.

I am grateful for this glorious fall season, walks to the market, and the colour yellow.

I am grateful that my husband now loves kale.

I am grateful for imagination, bears. and tea parties.

I am grateful for little feet.

I hope it's been a good holiday at your house, and for those of you beyond Canada, I hope you could feel our collective gratitude the world over.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ten things that happened to me today

I feel like we need some new introductions around here. I started this blog two (holy cow) years ago and  let's face it, things change. Okay, I'll go first. I'm Danielle and here is a list:

Ten things that happened to me today

1. I spent approximately 458 hours in traffic.

2. I bought Alyce a new pair of shoes and she is currently sleeping with them.

3. I did not have a successful day in my quest to eat only unprocessed food in October.

4. I inhaled this favourite season of mine, drizzle and all.

5. I made some pumpkin bread to pack in Alyce's lunch tomorrow because, according to my daughter, her lunch bag doesn't have enough food in it and she never has enough food to last until third snack. The poor girl is wasting away and just needs some food already.

6. I gave some thought to some new opportunities.

7. I took Alyce on a date (french toast for dinner+libray).

8. I signed up for some courage.

9. I missed some friends I haven't seen in a long time and made a note to plan visits.

10. I ate still warm pumpkin bread in bed with my husband.

My mother asked me earlier this evening whether or not I was ever going to replace that dreaded photo of my empty pizza plate on the first page of my blog. Fair question. I haven't posted in over a week and I think the cause is a general feeling of unsettled-ness. I'm a little bit antsy and a little bit tired, all the while still methodically trying to plant roots in our new home. I feel like we been moving for five years! Somebody ground me already, bury my feet in the Toronto dirt. Remind me that this is our new (again) home, no matter where we might find ourselves in the future. Today this is where we live.