Friday, July 3, 2015

Completed Project: I-Cord

It's taken me forever to do, but it's finally completed:

It's a crocheted circle cord, 5 stitches, i-cord (link takes you to a lesson on how to make one of your own). It's massive. Like feet upon feet massive and thick like a rope. But it's done and ready to be gifted. I started it as a Yule gift if that gives you any idea of my timeline on things these days.

It's the second I've made. The first was for myself and mine was smaller and thinner (I think I did 3 stitches) but this one is for a much larger circle (as opposed to my personal circles) so it's fitting that it has more weight to it.


Friday, June 26, 2015

unpacking symbolism and the modern reader

One of the things that often gets talked about in my field of work (education) is that current readers/students seem to be losing the ability to think critically; that they are becoming decoders of information but not necessarily "understanders" of information.

photo credit: Day 24. via photopin
In other words, we, as a society, are becoming, potentially through the use of Internet and social media, readers who read for recognition and not necessarily comprehension.

We recognize what we read but we don't necessarily think about what the words themselves mean. And this is becoming more and more pronounced in younger generations who are used to skimming for ideas in blogs, web pages, texts, etc. As a whole, we are learning to look for main ideas, key points, and general synopsis without necessarily thinking about the bigger meanings behind the points or interconnections between them.

Of course there are going to be those who disagree with me. And there are always exceptions to the rule. But honestly, after working in education for 9+ years, I'm inclined to believe this is actually happening based on my personal experience with students and how much harder it is to help many students make analytical leaps in processing information.

Lately I've been thinking about what this means in terms of spiritual literacy. When we think about so much of our spiritual literature being allegorical or metaphorical in nature, decoding becomes a HUGE issue and lends itself to overly literal interpretations of said texts. That thought kind of scares me. And not just from an other spiritual perspective. It worries me in regards to pagan faiths too.

To read Crowley or Valiente without understanding the symbolic nature of what is described means never truly understanding the deeper meanings and mysteries being explored or depicted. I don't know how many times my teachers have brought my attention to some deeper interpretation of a text, one that I missed or didn't have the foundation knowledge for, that has blown me away.

Is this the role of a good teacher, especially nowadays when information is so readily available (seemingly so at least): to decode the symbolic narratives so that mythic illumination is possible? Is this work we can do alone or do we benefit more when we work together to unpack deeper meaning?

What do you think?


Thursday, June 25, 2015

yesterday's post, in art journal form...

2015 has been a hard year for me so far. Not in the sense of everything is falling apart kind of hard, but rather in that I've been struggling to make peace with some longstanding family issues and personal patterns of behaviour that have been blocking me. I honestly don't know that I'm any closer to finding that peace and balance, but I'm still trying.

On some level, I'd like to think that acknowledging that these issues exist and that I'm feeding my inner furies is part of the spiritual growth process but honestly, some days this feels more/less true than others. It's a 1 step forward, 1 step back, 2 forward, 1 back, 1 forward, 2 back kind of deal.

And that's ok. It's part of the journey.

I'm just trying, in the meantime, to nurture that journey with the teachings of my craft in order to do the best I can. While I am not always successful, I can say, without a doubt, that striving to remember my path in the hardest moments has helped me appreciate the teachings so much more as I realize how rich they are.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

belated solstice blessings

I don't know about you, but I am so happy that summer is here. It's been a long 2015 this year in Faye-land.
We finally finished our front yard. The hostas along the
drive were the last detail to be taken care of.

I'm transitioning into a new job in a few days (after much ado and bureaucracy, always fun) and working hard on getting back into shape. Both of which have really taken my focus away from blogging and crafting. When my energies haven't been sapped by the work dramas, my focus has been hard at work re-evaluating my attitudes towards food and fitness.

It's been a humbling process, I have to admit.

I've been facing some hard truths about my relationship with food and how lazy I let myself be. Because really, I can be quite lazy, which isn't a comfortable thing to admit to oneself! And the
cycle of laziness sort of feeds itself and becomes an ongoing pattern of socially accepted self-destructive behaviour.

While I was not sitting in front of the TV, vegging; I was sitting with a book (usually mind numbing drivel) and vegging instead. I was unhappy with stuff at work, with my weight, family dynamics, and even my marriage and instead of being present and doing the work, I was ignoring it all by escaping into pulp fiction.

You see, I'm a lit geek from way back (master degree in literature) who has an unhealthy relationship with fiction. I don't read. I binge read. On top of which, all too often, I read to escape and avoid my life, which only then makes me even more unsatisfied with my life.

Baby Faye works out with Mama
It's a vicious cycle and I've really spent the past 6 months battling with it. I feel like, for now, it's safe to say that I am making headway.

I am reading a book. The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi, very, very slowly. Like painfully slowly for me (as in I get about 2 pages in, every few days slowly). At this rate, I'll be done it by fall. But that's ok.

In the meantime, I am exercising. Doing sit ups, squats, planks, and lunges daily (using 3 challenges from this site) in front of my son, who thinks it's a hoot. I am also doing 30 minute workouts on a regular basis at home (I'm working up to about 5 times a week). My body didn't appreciate the shift into a more active lifestyle and kicked back quite a bit, but I can happily say now that my squats are getting lower, my planks longer, and I'm doing way less modifications in the workout routine than before (push ups are still a week point for me, as are some ab exercises).

And then there's the food. Ah food. I never wanted to be one of those calorie counting ladies, obsessed with everything she puts in her mouth. I believe that quality of life is important. That it's ok to have a treat every now and again.

But if I am honest with myself, there is a fine line between enjoying a quality of life and letting it be an excuse, which is what I was doing. I was eating too many treats and I was far too addicted to sugar. So I'm working on. I'm counting stupid calories and watching my serving sizes. GRRR. But as much as it has become a bit all consuming, it's been illuminating.

I don't eat enough veggies. And I'm a vegetarian. I rely on way too many carbs. I crave sugar and fatty foods like nobody's business just before my period. I need to be better about getting more protein in my diet, which is challenging as a vegetarian. Not impossible, but challenging because often many veg friendly proteins are high in fats (hello beans, nuts). I actually rethought my commitment to vegetarianism. I ate meat. For the first time in 20 years. Local, bio, sustainable farmed meats (for the most part... fish is a challenge). I see merit in the 100 mile diet and this is a far more challenging choice as a vegetarian.

My foray into meat eating has taught me this:

I still love turkey. I hate chicken. I used to love chicken. I tried pork. My mother is allergic to pork so this was a first for me. It's pretty good but pungent. I tried salmon. I don't dig it. I just can't do red meat. To be honest, I can't really do any of it. When I say that I tried meat, I mean that I ate at most, 4 bites of any given meat. My tummy isn't super keen on it. My mind even less so. I don't think it's going to take. I just don't really enjoy meat. So I'm pretty sure that my commitment to 20 years of vegetarianism has been re-affirmed. Lentils are my friends. And even though beans make me toot, I like them.

Long story made sort of short: I've been doing a lot of rethinking about things in my life. I've been trying new things and growing (smaller hopefully). I'm being open to change and learning a lot from the things change brings my way. I'm eating more leafy greens and carrot sticks. I'm exercising and reading more healthily. It's still all a challenge. I'm doing the work even though some days it makes me cranky because I think it's important.

The catch of course is that I recognize that fitness and food can easily become a new obsession and I need to be careful about replacing one form of escapism for another.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

It's amazing, in a few short days (literally days), we've gone from -4C to +14C. It's quite something. We went on our first adventure to the river the other night. Watching Baby Faye's face as the geese landed on the water, I was once again I am reminded of why we chose to move out this way.

I am honestly beyond awed by my son's joy and general amazingness these days. I am so very happy that where we live with provide him with a slew of amazing childhood adventures to grew up to.

And can I just say, honestly, heart to heart here, that I am falling more and more in love with my son every day these days, which is just so flipping amazing after struggling so much during that first year.

I remember feeling, in those first months, so guilty because I didn't feel like I radiated maternal love. I felt raw and bitter. Overwhelmed and isolated. And most importantly, like I couldn't be honest about how I felt without being judged a bad mother because I wasn't over the moon with love for my child. I "knew" that I cared but I didn't feel the awe and love that so many mothers ascribed to the mother-child bond.

But my god do I feel it now. And it's amazing. Despite all the trials and tribulations of parenthood these days, I can finally say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I love this kid like I've never loved anyone or anything else. That each day he fills me with awe and wonder (and often frustration too but that's a given).

I'm just amazed by him and the things he does and is learning. Seeing the world through his eyes is an absolute gift and I'm so very thankful for the joy he has brought into my life. This age, so far, is his best age yet. Even with the temper tantrums and terrible twos.

Before he was born, before I knew he was a boy, I dreamed of him at this age. He was a blonde, blue eyed, chubby cheeked boy, walking and holding my hand. I awoke from that dreaming knowing not only that we would have a boy, but that he would be just that, blonde, blue eyed with chubby cheeks. The other day, as I walked with him from daycare, I was totally overwhelmed by the realization that this is it, this is exactly the baby boy I dreamed of in that moment. He is the exact age of that little boy in my dream and he's such a joy. From the way he points his finger and tells us "don't you do that" to the way he lifts his bowl and says "more" to pasta and oranges or the way he rocks out on his toy guitar (I kid you not, he really rocks out and neither of us have any idea where he learned it from).

More importantly, I am just so utterly relieved to finally feel like I am truly over the postpartum anger that coloured much of my first year of motherhood. And having come so far from those days, I also feel like I can be much more honest about those days now without fear of how negative I sound or the judgement of others. I think women (and men) need to be more honest about how hard the early years are.

Ironically, there are those who are, but often you only find them much later, after you're already drowning in the days of new parenthood and looking for solace. People tell you that it gets better, easier, but in the eye of the storm it really doesn't feel like calmer days will ever come. But they do. I promise.