I’m approaching my fourth blogoversary with work in progress… in a few weeks time. And for a blog that I started on a whim, with no real thought as to where it would go or what I would write about, or even if it would last more than a few posts, I think that’s a pretty great milestone. But, for at least the last year, I’ve been realizing that the blog is not doing for me what it once did.

I know, in part, it’s my own fault. For various reasons, I’ve been censoring myself much more in the last few years. I know when it started – when I was in the process of starting the old job at the place that shall not be named. I had to go through a huge security process and at one point they called me in to discuss the blog, specifically some things I’d written about – public events and political figures – that worried them. And while I said to myself I wouldn’t let that stop me expressing my opinions, in many ways it did. And for reasons I understand, but won’t share, it’s continued, even though I’ve moved on to a new job and new environment. And where the blog has gone, is not a place I want to keep going…

There’s been a lot of great things about blogging – I’ve ‘met’ some wonderful people, read some amazing stories, had some powerful conversations. The blog has helped me put into words so much that I’ve been trying to figure out. Through it, and the connections it’s helped me make, I’ve come much closer to being a finished work of art, rather than a work in progress. I know there’s still many steps on my journey, but, for now, for this part of the journey, I think I’m done.

More and more lately, I’ve been feeling the need to unplug, back away from the internet for a while, to engage more with ‘real’ life. Mike and I have been making more of an effort to create the life that we both want for ourselves which includes more activity and engagement and less mindless entertainment and escapism. We’ve cancelled our cable package. We’re looking at houses downtown where we can park the car and walk most places. We’re taking active steps towards building a life that will make us happy long term, which is wonderful. But it also means that I’m reexamining my priorities and I’ve realized the blog, she is not one of them… at least not right now.

I want to thank you, those of you who left comments, and those of you who reached out to me through this medium, and those of you who lurked in the shadows. Thank you to those of you who I read, and will continue to read, whose stories and words have touched me in some way. Thank you for being a part of this road of my journey.

I leave you now with one of my new favourite finds on the internet. Enjoy…

I’m in love 🙂

my niece!!!!

It’s a girl!!! I have a new niece sitting somewhere in a Toronto hospital and I’ve never been so sad to live in Ottawa in my whole life, because I’m not there to see her and take in all of her little fingers and toes. She was born early this morning and, according to my brother and my mother, she is perfect. And they’re not biased. No, not at all.

She was born on her maternal uncle’s birthday and she shares a name with her paternal great-grandfather. Claire. And she’s already family. I’m promised pictures when my parents return on Sunday, my mom’s newly purchased digital camera properly used and full by the weekend’s end.

And while my instinct is to buy the first ticket to Toronto I can get my hands on, instead, this weekend we are off to a chalet in the snow to ski Mont Tremblant…planned months ago, long before we knew that this baby would be making her appearance this week. (Her! I was so sure it was a boy, until about a month ago…As was my mom, my brother, my sister-in-law and apparently so was even the nurse at the delivery sure it was a boy. Until she came out, that is…) I’m sure I won’t be able to wait until March when they plan to come to Ottawa to see her for myself, so I think a trip to Toronto is in the cards for me soon!

Happy birthday Baby Girl!!! I can’t wait to meet you 🙂

Random thoughts that have no cohesive thread…

I have been sick for four days now. I’ve slept more in the last few days than I have in the last month and yet, I’m still tired. Not just kinda tired but some coffee will perk me up tired either. Bone-achingly tired. I made myself get up and go to work today and I’m already regretting that decision. Or maybe I’m just regretting reading the newspaper over breakfast, as it was full of nothing but bad news, the kind that makes me want to hide my head under the covers and hibernate until summer. Wow, I am seven kinds of sunshine today 🙂

Because I have felt like doing nothing but sleep for the last four days, I have completely ignored the computer for the most part and now there are so many items in my Google Reader that it has stopped counting and simply tells me there are 1000+ items in my unread folder. I may have to resort to ‘mark all as read’. Let me know if you’ve written something fantabulous in the last few days in case I miss it…

I maybe love the TV show ‘the office’ too much. Over the last week a sign has appeared on our office microwave requesting that people please clean up their microwave messes. I have, so far, successfully resisted the temptation of adding “Sincerely, Disappointed” to the bottom of the sign. But now people are starting to wonder why I snicker everytime I walk past the microwave…

My soon-to-be-born niece or nephew has continued my family baby tradition of paying absolutely no attention to things like its due date (which was yesterday) and is still happily hidden in my sister-in-law’s womb. We still don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl and we’re getting kind of anxious to find out. Her doctor has said that if the baby doesn’t come by Thursday he’ll induce, so to keep me entertained until then, I’m proposing we play a little game: Is it a boy or a girl? Whaddya think internet? Am I going to have a niece or a nephew by weeks end? Vote now in the comments!

I’m sick.

I blame my germ-sharing husband.

Luckily, it is the weekend, so I’ve been able to spend my convalescence in my own bed.

Excuse me while I go hack up a lung.

There will be an update about skiing soon. I swear. I’m just not in the mood to write it between coughs…

Send soup. Lipton Chicken Noodle is a personal comfort food…

I have discovered that I can live with my in laws for a total of 11 days (just over two weeks minus weekends spent in our separate abodes) before I start to want to claw out eyes. Theirs, mine, strangers, it doesn’t matter. Not that living with them has been particularly stressful, and, I realize I don’t sound it, but we are very grateful to them for letting us take over their basement room so we don’t have to face the hell that is the highway to our suburban home during the week. But at some point you just get tired of not having your normal routines. And your own bed. That one is important. I miss my bed.

Staying with his parents however, has made us realize just how much more convenient living somewhere other than one of the far ends of the city really is. Over the weekend, Mike mentioned that maybe we should start contemplating selling the house and looking for somewhere closer to downtown. Which means this is a vague thought in his mind that he’s playing over, contemplating, not yet ready to act on. So, of course I’ve jumped on it and created it a reality in my mind. Which is why I’ve spent every free minute in the last two and a half days scouring the multiple-listing service website looking at what houses like ours are listed for and for houses that might, possibly be in our price-range and suit our needs and dreaming of what might be. Of course, I’ve fallen in love with a house that is just shy of $900,000 – because I stupidly forgot to set a price limit on the houses I was looking at, and also I am completely impractical. There will never be a time in our life when we will need 7 bedrooms. Or 4 bathrooms. But isn’t it purdy…)

In my head our house is already on the market and we’re moving into a funky downtown abode in time to save me from in-law induced insanity. But in reality I know that nothing can possibly be done until we’ve painted the downstairs bathroom, and our bedroom, got all the cat hair out of the vents, put a fresh coat of paint on all the windowsills and possibly even painted the entire basement, at the very least. Oh, and declutter. And pack away about 3/4 of our stuff. Also, now is not really the ideal time to sell – a lesson learned by watching our friends struggle to find buyers for their (far nicer than ours) house that’s been on the market since September. So, this may be nothing more than some mumbling and fantasizing. But if wishing and hoping of a home within walking distance of my office gets me through this bus strike without clawing out someone’s eyes, it’ll be worth it…

It is possible to dress warmly enough that -24C temperatures do not bother you at the top of a hill.

The heat from your warmly-dressed body, however, when meeting the cold panes of your glasses, will condense and quickly form ice.

When learning to ski, it is best if you can see.

Guess who’s calling her optometrist for contact lenses this morning?

I, in my infinite wisdom and endless quest for self-improvement (and, apparently, the desire to scare myself silly), have agreed to downhill ski lessons. Because I am insane. Clearly.

When I was six years old, my parents moved us from the Niagara region of Ontario to the flat, flat prairies of Manitoba. This is where I spent my formative years. My winters were cold, yes and snow-filled. But they were flat, damn it So flat they had to build giant slides for toboggans just so we could go sledding. There was no such thing as a ski hill. I remember it was a thrill when we’d cross country ski and find a little bump in the road to ski over. So a basis in downhill skiing, I do not have.

When I was 12 and a half my parents uprooted us once more, back to Southern Ontario. Few ski hills could be found where I spent my high-school years, but there was a hill, about two hours away, that a friend of mine went to often. Once he offered to take me and a few of my friends. The four of us bundled into his car, and I was completely unaware of what I was in for – no ski pants, no proper gloves. I think I might even have worn jeans. We got through the rental lines and I found out they ask you what you weigh (which, for a heavy teenage girl, was almost enough to make me turn tail and run). I don’t remember how I managed to get the freakin’ boots on my feet (seriously, downhill ski boots are awful – they are enough to make me want to give up this sport and I’ve barely begun…) or make my way to the top of the bunny slope to meet our instructor (since my friend was the only one with real down-hill ski experience, we decided to hire a private instructor for a lesson). What I do remember, however, was my first attempt down the hill. Where I lost balance within seconds of take off and tumbled, head over heels to the bottom of the hill, my skis and poles flying in all directions. I slid to a stop and for a few moments couldn’t move – I’d knocked the wind out of me and my friends (and instructor) were convinced I had broken some very important parts of my anatomy. But no broken bones, or bruises even (aside from my ego) mean that once I could breathe again, we went back up the hill. I spent the rest of the hour being babied by the instructor and by the end of the lesson I was so tired of the boots and the snow and of feeling like a complete idiot that I spent the rest of the day hanging out by the fire in the lodge while my friends skiied. And swore I’d never do it again.

Except, I have a husband who loves to ski. And I have a need to find a winter activity to make me not hate this freakin’ cold and snow we get a good five months of the year in the area where I’ve chosen to live. So I agreed to try downhill skiing. I took a beginner’s lesson last spring when we went to Mt. Tremblant and loved it (once I got over the fear) and so formal lessons this winter sounded like a good idea. Except the fear is back, and I’ve forgotten how to get over it. And the boots hurt my feet. A lot. (whine) Which is why I’m in my in-law’s basement tonight, with what feel like moon boots on my feet, hoping that tomorrow, when I have my second lesson (why yes, I did have a lesson last week. No, I don’t want to talk about it…), I will be able to stand and ski without my feet feeling like they’re about to snap in two at the arch and fall off. Everyone tells me you just have to get used to them, and they may be right, because they’ve been on for more than an hour and they’re feeling much better than they have any time before…

Anyway, tomorrow evening, I’ll be attempting to face two of my biggest fears – of heights and of making a fool of myself – on the ski hill. Think of me about 8 pm EST. I’ll be white knuckled on a chair lift trying to find my inner lion (courage!) in what looks like it will be -26C weather. Good times!

Yesterday was not a good day. By the time I got ‘home’ to my in-laws, I was so tired and cranky and feeling like crap that I excused myself from the dinner table – my dinner hardly touched, and crawled into bed. And that is where I stayed until the alarm went off this morning. And I woke feeling better than I did last night, but not nearly as well as I should have considering I slept for 12 hours. Except, it was an interrupted sleep, full of odd, bad dreams that kept waking me up. Guess that explains it…

Obviously I needed the sleep last night, even though I’ve been sleeping a lot lately. So I wondered why I was so tired, but when I got to thinking about it, I realized that most of the last few weeks has been filled with putting on a happy face. I put a happy face on for work. I put a happy face on all last week for Mike’s parents. And I stayed at my parents’ place on Sunday night so I could get to my doctor the next morning with ease – my doctor’s office is only a kilometre from their place, vs many kilometres from mine. Add to that the on-going saga of the bus strike, and I’ve been sleeping in a lot of beds that are not my own lately… so the happy face was on for my parents. And when you’re not feeling happy, the happy face? Exausting…

The depression has gotten worse. While still mostly functioning, I’m now crying at the drop of a hat, and the binging is out of control. The scale is reading 10lbs up, in less than six weeks. And it’s getting harder and harder to pretend nothing’s wrong. So yesterday, I got the prescription and filled it yesterday afternoon. According to the doc, this one has fewer side effects than the one I’d been on years ago, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m hoping it will help make the happy face feel less like a happy face and more like my ‘normal’ state soon…

And on that happy note, I give you a meme after the jump. Because who doesn’t love a meme?
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It’s that time again. National Delurk Day. The one day where we drop all pretense and ask flat out for comments. So, if you’re a lurky-loo and even if you’re not, leave a comment, say hi, recommend a book for me to read this year, or what you’d like me to blog about someday, or tell me your favourite kind of cheese…just comment, already 🙂

(eta. Yes, I’m using the graphic from last year. I’m too lazy to go get the new one… I got my butt over to Greeblemonkey to get the updated 2009 logo, because I felt guilty since Aimee did go to all that work to make it for us…)