Home Life & Projects

Posted April 1st, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

The girls run a small stuffed animal clinic in the living room. Leena got a doctor’s kit for her birthday, and even though I’m not in clinical practice, it’s lovely that the girls know that Mom is a physician. I’m able to show them everything I learned from Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking.

Meanwhile, our basil and thyme are growing on the sill. Too soon to plan the pesto, but I remain optimistic. Leena is on daily plant watch.

The girls come home from daycare with fantastic artwork. Sonya drew this scene from Star Wars. Notice Darth Vader (bottom right) and the Storm Troopers. Also notice the Millennium Falcon heading towards Planet Earth. See Han Solo and Chewbacca in the front? And at the top, Sonya Astronaut Horse and Leena Astronaut Cat? So proud to be a geek parent! We’re raising some kickass girls.

Slowly, because all crafting has fallen by the wayside as my work projects get more demanding (oh, end of fiscal year!), I’ve managed to piece together more of the girls’ baby clothes quilt with the help of my Incredible Ironing Sidekick, Molly Ann. I’m so pleased with how it’s evolving!

Sadly, I haven’t made much progress on Sonya’s cardigan. Which makes me feel horrible. But there’s still snow on the ground, and maybe I can treat myself to an evening of TV and knitting sometime soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Just finished Shannon Hale’s wonderful Princess Academy and its sequel Palace of Stone. The target audience is 10-15 year old girls, but I just loved these two books and recommend them highly! Then my book club has chosen the 771-page Donna Tartt book The Goldfinch, and I’m about half-way, slogging through the slow middle. See the cool bookmarks I got laminated? Sonya drew me blasting off in a rocket ship on a tax form. And there’s Nepal money that came as a bonus with my yak yarn.

The Goldfinch included this quote. It really resonated with me. I could probably write an essay about how I’ve disguised myself to myself. But now, I think I’m coming into my authentic self. Leading a writer’s life. A creative life. Growing, observing, holding onto what’s real. What matters.

I owe Derek for always believing in me and reminding me to FOCUS and FINISH my drafts. When Sonya was born, my medical career took a detour. And I wandered and I worried for a couple years. Then when Leena was born, I realized that I wasn’t on a detour. I was finally on the right path. Because I HAVE to write. I’m MEANT to write.

These past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to meet some amazing writers in my Monday night short story workshop with Elise Moser, and I’ve learned so much! I get critiqued next week, and I’m really anxious and nervous! But looking forward to getting better with the feedback!

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Posted March 24th, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

This was the view from our front window on Saturday morning. There was a snowfall for my birthday brunch. Inside, it was warm and festive, but it’s past the equinox and I want spring!

Just in front of that view, we’ve planted basil and thyme seeds. They just sprouted! Fingers crossed they grow big enough to use in the kitchen.

For our weekly movie night on Friday, we watched Frozen. Leena loved Olaf and the horse. Which is why she is clutching that DVD in the picture. Also, in honor of my birthday party, the girls got to wear make-up. We had fun with shimmery purple eyeshadow to match their dresses.

And here is the cake [first made on Sonya's 3rd birthday]! It was a fun Friday afternoon baking with the girls (first, trekking to the store to get the ingredients, then stopping for hot chocolate at the bakery, and then making a mess of the kitchen). Sonya made our family of bees for decoration. I’m on the far right.

After the candles were blown out, things went downhill, unfortunately, and I spent the rest of the weekend mostly sleeping, but I feel better now. Very, very well taken care of by my other loving bees. I’ve managed to hold my dinner, so things look bright for my actual birthday.

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Let’s Draw Cute Animals!

Posted March 14th, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Derek suggested that in the evenings when I have a hard time getting into a writing groove, I should doodle to get my creative juices flowing.

For inspiration, I ordered two books by Sachiko Umoto: Let’s Draw Cute Animals and Let’s Draw Happy People (which I gave to my sister one Christmas, but have since wanted for myself).

I leave the book on my desk to keep it handy. Sonya loves cute animals! She’s been copying the illustrations. Hers are so much cuter and expressive than mine.

This is Sonya and Leena in the serengeti on a warm sunny day. They are enjoying the shade of a strawberry-lemon tree (the purple fruit are strawberries and the pink fruit are lemons).

Meanwhile, I’ve signed up for an eight-week short story workshop. The first session was last Monday after ballet.

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Leena’s Birthday Party

Posted March 8th, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Leena had two requests for her birthday. (1) She wanted her party to be at home. (2) She wanted chocolate cupcakes with purple frosting.

Done and done. Success!

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Can we do some mo toolin?

Posted March 3rd, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

We got the girls a little toolbox with a hand drill, 8 oz. claw hammer, nails, and measuring tape and took a trip to Home Depot for wood. They absolutely love starting little holes and hammering nails into their boards. Two or three times a day, Leena asks, “Can we do some mo toolin?”

They feel powerful to be using real tools, not play tools, working with real nails and real wood and a real hammer and a real drill. Leena has already hammered her thumb a few times, but she just keeps on working like a pro carpenter.

Meanwhile, slowly but surely, I’m making headway on a number of projects, including a quilt of the girls’ baby clothes. To keep it simple, I cut uniform squares out of each outfit.

“I remember this one!” Sonya said. “Oh, and this one! Me and Leena wore this!” Then she touched the squares to her face, one by one, to rub in the memory before placing it in the grid.

“These elephant jammies were Leena’s favorite! You remember that Mommy?” Sonya asked.

As winter stretches out for another several weeks, I enjoy our time outdoors skating and sledding and walking through the snow, but I enjoy our time indoors especially, because at heart, despite my love for travel and adventure, I’m really a home body. I like being at home. And this time of year, I enjoy keeping busy with all these projects. Handwork is really important (knitting, sewing, painting, drilling, hammering) while it’s cold outside. We all feel productive and occupied between the meals that anchor our day. Especially while Drex is in California again this week, I feel grateful for my girls and our daily rhythms. Lately, we’ve just been toolin’ around.

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Out on the ice in Stanstead

Posted March 1st, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

We went to visit our friends who moved to Stanstead in the Eastern Townships, very close to the U.S. border. They have an outdoor rink just down the street from their house. The girls clapped for me as I crossed the ice. They’re both much more confident (and dare I say far, far better) skaters than me. Leena has double-blade bobskates strapped onto her snow boots, which give her greater mobility than her hockey skates. She was fearless. And Sonya, man Sonya was extremely impressive! Both girls passed the “stick test” Drex devised― in order to get their own hockey sticks, they had to cross the ice without holding onto anything. (I also passed― but with a shuffle, not a glide).

That’s Leena eating meatballs and Sonya eating spaghetti. The text is meant to say: “Food, I love you!”

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More Chicken Soup!

Posted February 28th, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

I’m on a roll with another published story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book [see here and here]! This edition is The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide [you can read the whole story on pp. 13-15 of the Amazon preview]. “How I Became a Ballerina at Thirty” was written last June after my ballet debut as a cuckoo bird.

I’m awkward, clumsy, and have all the rhythm of a quarter clanking in the dryer.

I have Derek to thank for that fabulous metaphor.

… as a grown-up, I spend time doing things, but I don’t allow myself to be those things. I fear criticism, ridicule, and dismissal. I seek perfection. Why is it that I have to be good at something in order to be that thing?

Heart nervously fluttering in my chest, waiting for the music’s opening flutes on stage, I realized that I may not be a professional ballerina— I may not even be a good ballerina— but I am a ballerina.

Sonya and I are still enjoying our weekly lessons at Ballet Coppelia. In two weeks, I begin preparing for my next ballet show in June.

Even though I don’t delve into it in this story, that little bit of wisdom, that I allow myself to BE something in each moment is really at the heart of how I’m trying to live right now. When I do, everything flows.

Sonya got a box of stencils for Christmas. She’s been incorporating them in her artwork. And I swear I don’t know how it happened, but she and Leena are both obsessed with pink and purple. And there are so many pink and purple “this is for girls!” products on the market that I’m surprised nobody’s made a box of markers with only pink and purple. We need a box like that.

Sweet Leena is also making more complex artwork, trying to capture the vivid and interesting ideas in her head. This is a picture of Leena helping me poach eggs. This week, breakfast has been all about poached eggs. We’re pros at poaching now. Surprisingly, the girls like the yoke runny. Which seems like the kind of thing they’d shun as being yucky.

But life is full of surprises, big and small.

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Home by sled

Posted February 19th, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Lots of people are surprised by how physically strong and capable the girls are. Sonya can pull Leena in the sled, lift wooden tree stumps at her daycare, and carry a sack of grapefruit from the front door to the kitchen. Leena can crab walk, do somersaults, lift Sonya off the ground and even walk a few steps. I like how active and adventurous they are. It makes the winter fun. Despite the cold, we spend a lot of time outdoors.

When we get home in the evening, “kittles” is puddled on the gray mat by the door, all soft stripy and purring. I pry off six snow boots. The girls hang their snow pants and jackets up and line their wet mittens on the radiator. I allow myself a thirty minute sanity break to knit, read, or stare off into the space while the girls get into pajamas… and then change into a different set of pajamas… and in general, systematically wreck, I mean, reorder their room to optimize creative play. Then I warm up the dinner my friends Pamela and Tania prepared. Last night was boeuf bourguignon with vegan remoulade. Exactly what I wanted to eat on a cold cold day with a sore throat and stuffy nose. The days of February are passing unremarkably, and yet there is so much that happens in each ordinary day. I’m enjoying life and the good company around me. It took time to build, but we have a fabulous community in Montreal.

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Hearts & hugs

Posted February 13th, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

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Posted February 9th, 2014 in Uncategorized by Mitsy

Every day more beautiful and more amazing. Hard to believe five is around the corner. And then school! Yikes! Wow!

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