Gone Coastal

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Back to the drawing board

Way back in the summer I'd made a few posts about a book I was working through called The Creative Call. The last chapters I was reading and posting on were about making time and space to pursue that creative call. Well, it's been awhile, but I recently got back to the book. And I recently finished doing a little rearranging in the nursery to incorporate a little workspace for myself. (I feel like I've written some of this before, but hopefully it was just in e-mails - forgive me if I'm repeating myself). I also managed to migrate most of my art supplies upstairs, including a few old canvases from another abandoned project, and taken a little inventory.
Which leaves me at every artist's favourite spot - getting something started. Along with the usual barriers to starting something (lack of ideas is not currently one of them), my biggest thing right now is not knowing quite how much time I'll ever have at one shot to do anything. So while I've been able to leave a pencil out and do some preliminary scribbling on those canvases, it'll take a bit more courage to actually get some paint out, or anything else that might require a bit of set up before and cleanup after. I'm afraid I'll just get all the paints and brushes out and opened, and then I'll find myself busy 'on call' for four or five hours and wind up wasting paint and ruining brushes. I'm sure I'll find a way around it eventually if I try.
In the meantime, though, I've been chatting with one of my colleagues from my pre-maternity days who's facing the same challenge to get something started. After comparing fears and talking about the pros of taking a class just to allocate specific time, we've decided to have our own little 'class'. We're going to get together once or twice as the holiday schedules allow, and then in January try to start a regular weekly thing of getting together. We may work on stuff. Or share ideas. Or share progress on stuff we're working on. Or whatever. It's mostly deciding to allocate time to do what we need to do to keep our artist alive and in practice.
I'm eager to see what comes of it.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Well done

A week ago today T and I had our last appointment with my maternity doc, Doc Green. Last week also had a few more of the rough, weepy days than I've had in awhile. I wondered later in the week if the two might be related. For about 10 months I'd been going to see her at least once a month, and as the date came closer, of course, much more often. She marked a lot of the milestones with us. And the whole maternity and birth and new motherhood thing is such an intimate and emotional process. You get rather attached to that consistent voice of experience. And Doc Green did a very fine job. She wasn't one to 'medicalize' things unnecessarily, which suited me perfectly. Just follow the progress, answer questions, explain the options when decisions were required, and unless there were really strong reasons not too, just let the baby follow her own course.
I think especially with all the roller coaster of those early post-partum weeks, I'd come to find a certain security in knowing there'd be another appointment with Dr. Green. Another chance for a sanity check, and a word that I was doing a decent job, from a professional I'd come to respect. Just the prospect of a 'Well done' alone was enough at times to keep me looking to the next appointment.
We're still looking for a regular doctor for T, they're not so easily found in this town. I had an appointment for an interview with one this morning, but this doctor didn't show because of the snow. I've another appointment with another doctor on Wednesday, and one other doctor taking patients that I still need to call. I'm praying I can find a family doctor that I'll be even half as comfortable with as I came to be with Dr. Green. And I'm a little sad that we won't likely be back with her if we go down this road again. Consensus was, after this one went so quick and smooth, that we might want to plan for a homebirth, which means midwife. I have no issues at all with midwives, except it excludes Dr. Green. But we'll see.

So, anyhow, to Dr. Green, I just want to say thanks. And, "Well done."


Catching up

A few years ago, we had been considering serving overseas, the Bear as a pilot and both of us adding our varied technical experience to whatever posting was available. Just over two years ago, we went through a candidacy course with 3 other couples and another young guy with Mission Aviation Fellowship Canada. For various reasons, it didn't work out for us to go forward with them
at the time, but I recently got some updated contact info for the other folks that went through the training with us, and I've been starting to catch up with them.
One young couple departed for Madagascar earlier this year, with their young son (then just 4 months old). I sent them an e-mail to say hello, but I've been reading through their blog to get caught up on their side of the story. I confess I jumped back to the months leading up to Judah's arrival last December, to compare experiences with the whole introduction to motherhood. But with that I was reading much of their experiences in preparing for departure and their first couple of months in a new field (that's as far as I've got with the time between mommy duties). Many of the more candid observations from Jocelyn about how things have proceeded are things I, too, thought about when a posting overseas was on our horizon. And other things, like the daily life of a new mother and the decisions, challenges and pitfalls thereof, are very much common on either side of the world. I've refrained from posting all my empathetic comments on their blog, both because their likely onto other issues and challenges and so as not to flood their limited internet access with a year or more of bits and pieces. But if you should happen to come to my blog and read this Jocelyn, know that I've enjoyed the reading of both your posts, and been challenged more than once by some of your own shared personal challenges.
One less profound thing I came away with from what I've read of their blog was to worry less about flooding my blog with T updates. For one, posting updates on T doesn't keep me from posting on other things 'more in line' with my original intent for this blog. For another, I've sure enjoyed watching Judah change and grow and getting the little updates, so probably at least a few of my readers will feel the same. And those who don't can just check back when I post something less maternal.

So, it's been a busy few weeks for T in terms of milestones. She's been starting to reach for things, and has managed to grab onto and shake her rattles and rings a few times. The biggest thing, just 'cause it's been a little slow according to official guidelines, is her improved head control. I can't quite say she's holding it straight up all the time, but every day she seems to need a little less support and guarding to keep her head from flopping over and sending the rest of her lurching to one side with the weight. I figure with a head as big as hers, it's quite alright that she takes a bit longer to build those bigger muscles to hold it :) And she's been smiling more and more, though it's been pretty tough to catch it on camera. I think the camera is a stranger to her, so however big a smile she had on, it would disappear as soon as I disappeared behind the camera. One of her favourite games is 'head and shoulders, knees and toes' while lying back on my lap - I can often get a smile out of her when I scrunch her up to reach her toes.
Hhere's a couple of shots - one with a slightly fuzzy smile I caught last week, and the other of her spending tummy time with her monkey and without flailing, crying protests.

Oh, and one more very important milestone! She's starting to sleep through the night, and I'm starting to be able to not get up when she squawks once or twice in the night (a big step for the paranoid :)
One of those 'other' posts will hopefully appear later.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Fly on the Wall

We've all heard it said. "I'd like to be a fly on the wall in there..." And if you've said it, you know the implication is that something is happening, somewhere beyond your own reach, and you'll never get the full story without being there, in the room. But being there either isn't possible, or it would change the way things happened. It expresses a desire to see the full picture, not filtered through anyone else's perspective.
But have you ever wished that perhaps there could be a fly on your wall? An objective perspective that sees everything that happens, everything that's said, everything you've got on your plate. And from that perspective, the fly could maybe justify those choices that you've made but aren't quite comfortable with. Or tell you that you really are out of line. Or determine whether you've any right to feel the way you do. Essentially, to give you what you hope is an objective, complete perspective on those questions that nag you about your marriage, other relationships, how you manage your household, parenting, work, ministry, whatever.
Sometimes we're able to get honest insight from a close confidant, but we know that their view will be influenced by how we explain the situation, and what they know of us and any other people involved. Or we may not feel free to fully share a situation that involves other people. Hence the fly. We're not conscious of it. It certainly doesn't influence us to do things differently. It's not partial to us over anyone else in the room.
But flies don't talk. And even if you had a fly that could speak at the right time and that followed you incognito everywhere you went, its perspective would still be limited. And it wouldn't know what you, or anyone else was really thinking. You'd need an army of super-intelligent flies (a swarm of which would somehow go unnoticed) to follow everyone in your life around and then get together and compare notes and hypothesize and form subcommittees and report their findings back to you.
Which brings me to another expression you've no doubt heard. "God only knows." So I guess I'm back to asking Him and learning to listen for an answer.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Farewell Starfish

for about two years prior to my mat leave, I worked downtown at a client site, and often took the time over lunch on our many nice spring and summer days (no, it's not always raining here - definitely less than the mainland) to go walking. One of my favourite spots to stop in was just a block and a bit away, Starfish Glassworks. They had an open, working studio and anyone could come in and watch the artists working the glass from a mezzanine gallery. They also offered classes to the public. I had tried last year to get into one of their workshops, but missed the last spot in the spring dates by about an hour, and I had a pretty good idea that I wasn't going to have much time for that in September.
So I checked in this morning at their site as it's getting close to the time when they announce the next year's classes, and I was determined not to delay this year. I was very disappointed to find a note at the top of the workshops page stating that there would be no classes offered in 2007. And as I poked around a little more, I was saddened to read in their latest newsletter that they are closing their doors at the end of the year.
The glassworks will be greatly missed downtown - I know a lot of folks who would stop in from time to time who wouldn't otherwise visit a gallery. I wish each of the artists involved good luck in their future endeavors and hope to see more works from them at other venues.
Farewell Starfish


Sunday, November 12, 2006


The second of our typical seasonal island windstorms is blowing outside, and carrying with it a big dose of the wet stuff the coast is famous for. It's ugly enough that when I went through the checkout at the supermarket an hour ago, the staff practically insisted on giving me car service so they could load the groceries while I bundled T up in the car seat. The gentleman providing the car service even offered to go get my car and bring it to the front of the store. Never let it be said that service is dead.
The first storm rolled through on Thursday night. It was largely dry until the morning as the winds were tapering off. But I was thankful in the middle of that night that T's not old enough to understand what's happening around her, 'cause this old house really rattles and rolls when the winds get going, especially the top floor where the bedroom and nursery are. I had to get up and secure the window in the upstairs bathroom (a little top-hung casement) because the winds kept sucking it out and dropping it back, and taking the shower curtain with it, making a horrible noise.
We'll see how she takes it next year if we're still here. Perhaps in time she'll even grow to enjoy a good storm like her mom.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006


So, Papa Bear should be back home sometime today. He's been up in the kootenays for just over a week now, wrapping up work on a wireless project there before winter closes in. And none too soon, it seems. He tried to come home yesterday, but Cancelgar was closed and his alternate flight out of Trail was cancelled just as they got to the airport. So he took a bus outta there last night to Kelowna where he knows he can get a flight out today.
It'll be good to have him home again. And it'll be interesting for him to see the changes in T over the last week. She's no doubt grown some more, though her appetite was lighter this week, so probably less of a leap there. Her personality continues to develop and present itself as she's awake and alert more. She's smiling more and sleeping more consistently at night now, both of which make looking after her when I'm on my own far more manageable (amazing what a string of little smiles just for you will do for your motivation).
Looking back after just two months, I'm so grateful that we've been given such a calm, happy little girl. Sure, she has her days where she won't rest unless she's held and even then it takes finding that right mix of walking, rocking, music, talking or noise to soothe her. But even at her worst she's not so bad. I know, too, to expect plenty of changes over the next twenty years (or days), but we'll take 'em one at a time, and trust in God's continuing grace.
She's a little bit camera shy, but if I can catch a smile, I'll be sure to post it!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Two weekends ago I went over to the mainland with T to visit family. I stayed at my mom's place and visited my sister and her family and my dad while I was there.
Our first trip on the ferry was lots of fun - there are lots of captive parents stuck on a big boat and its easy to strike up a conversation. On the way back I even had a complete stranger, who was coming back after visiting another new arrival in the interior, walk me back to my car way at the back of the ferry lot, carrying my warming bottle so I'd have both hands available for T.
The trip was a reminder to me of how much I need to keep my family members in my prayers. Each of them, like all of us, have their struggles. For some their burdens right now are much heavier. But to date they all face them alone, without knowledge of God, without the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
So here are some pics of T meeting her family. Those of you who know me can now be awed by some of the family resemblances. First stop was Mormor's (my mom)

Then to her Auntie Sue's for dinner, where she met her Opa (my dad - I'm sure you could guess)

and her cousin Melissa

This is her cousin Samuel, who loves babies and came running up to meet her as soon as we arrived, but who never sat still with her for a picture (though he was happy to pose for this and show me his many faces)

I stopped at my sister's again on my way out on Monday. Things were a little less hectic and she got her own turn at holding her niece.

And since it was daylight on my second visit, I had to snap a shot of the infamous bus. They acquired this a couple of years ago when they were still in Quebec. They did a lot of work to convert it into a home on the road in anticipation of coming across to the west coast again. Unfortunately, they didn't get on the road as early as they'd hoped and weather and mechanical hiccups kept them from getting it past Ontario. My brother in law went out with a couple of friends last month and drove it the rest of the way to where they are now.