Posts Tagged "Amelia"

Combining past and present selves

Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

“If we think of Baudrillard’s division of collectors into the young and the old, we might account for the seriousness of the older collector by noting that often the nostalgia involved in a hobby is to do with the wish to reanimate an earlier incarnation of the hobbyist.” – In Defense of Hobbies I’ve been thinking about this article–and, in particular, this quote–a lot lately. It seems that my hobby is walking, and watching any animals I find. It doesn’t have to be anywhere in particular, and there doesn’t have to be a destination. If I’m outdoors, I’m happy. I especially love hikes in the woods. I always say that I wouldn’t go back to my younger days because I love the life I live now, and some aspects of my childhood were challenging. But, there are little pockets in my memory that are calm and happy. There was one fall, somewhere between 1996-2000–Dad and I can’t seem to agree on the year–that the two of us were out for a little drive through the Laverty Lake auto trail. We got out of the car when we reached the lake and we took a little look around. I heard a rustling nearby, and I turned around to see a small baby raccoon lying on its back and tossing a leaf around with its little paws. It continued to play, mostly unaware of or unconcerned with our presence, until we drove off. I named the little raccoon Meeko–Disney’s Pochahontas film had been released around this time–and we occasionally drove back, hoping to see it again. We never did. I thought about it for a long time. Recently, I took my daughter down to Alma again for a brief visit with my parents in the middle of the week, just after Halloween. Mom, Amelia, and I decided to go to McLaren Pond in Fundy Park together and walk around the little trail loop that encircled it. We got a little way in and saw a large beaver dam, and watched as four beavers started swimming and working around it. After a few minutes, a little way down the path, a massive beaver–one of the adults, we later learned–wandered into our line of sight. She grabbed a stick in her jaws and tossed it in the air until it got the correct balance, then went back into the water to continue working. We continued down the path, and the second adult walked out of the water further ahead. He turned his head to observe us, and my daughter pointed at him and said “hug!”–she wanted to go over and give the beaver a hug. Something about this entire experience brought back the long-forgotten feelings of that day by the lake, with the baby raccoon tossing leaves in the air nearby. Suddenly, I was a much younger version of myself, standing there and watching the creatures swimming around us and standing before us. The lost feelings of humanity intermingling with nature and the desire to embrace it fully bubbled back to the surface. This feeling of nostalgia that I felt that day was a visitation by my past self. It’s amazing how parenthood forces so many of us to relive our past in a new way: with heightened awareness and appreciation for experiences we may have taken for granted earlier on in our lives. Our children invoke often unexpected memories. November is a strangely nostalgic month for me. It’s the stillness between Halloween and Christmas, and that’s why I like to wait until December first to even start thinking about holiday preparation. This time of year, I’m obsessed with the smell of smoke, and anything that tastes smokey. I love woodsmoke smells and the tastes of smoky coffee, beer, cheese, and Lapsang Souchong tea. It’s a comforting smell during the colder months, but I think a big part of it is the nostalgic reflection I subconsciously feel when I smell it. At our home in Alma, we had a wood stove that Dad would light to keep us warm in the winter. Smelling wood smoke brings me back to cold days at home as a...

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Surprising ways that Pokémon GO has impacted my life

Posted by on Oct 3, 2016 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

The date is Sunday, July 17th, 2016, and the time is 4:30 PM. I’d been waiting all week to hear any news of the official Canadian release of Pokémon GO, having decided to wait for official release rather than download the APK file. I’m hanging out in the kitchen at work and I decide to take a peek in the App Store, as I hadn’t all day. I type “pokemon go” into the search bar and I’m shocked when I’m met with the legitimate game as the first result. All week, I’d had fake duplicates staring back at me. My excitement was probably a little unreasonable for a 30-year old mom. I’m not going to lie: I’ve been waiting basically my entire life for Pokémon GO. My love for Pokémon in general hasn’t wavered since I discovered it in grade 7. There was a brief period in my life in which I treated Pokémon Diamond as though it was my full-time job. In short: I love Pokémon. As a mom to a very busy toddler, I don’t really get many chances to play video games. That makes me a little sad sometimes, as I do truly love gaming and have a lot of feelings about video games in general. Pokémon GO shone in the distance like a beacon of light in my dark, stagnant gaming life. Finally: a game I could play while out with my daughter. There was nothing I couldn’t love about this. It was perfect for me. And it still is, 2 and a half months later. So, here are some ways that Pokémon GO has impacted me. I’m looking at my phone far less (and therefore using less data) This is the one that surprised me the most. I thought I would be using my phone more. Before GO, I would often open up my phone and browse through Facebook while out on walks, checking my notifications and sometimes making posts. Not only has GO forced me to be more aware of my data usage, but it’s kicked Facebook off my data usage list altogether, along with the similarly high-cost Snapchat. I’ve been more productive With my mind away from my phone, I’ve been free to think of other things, and those thoughts have wandered back into the creative realm after a bit of a pause. Walking gets my creative juices flowing, too. Because of these things, and because of PoGO’s ease of use, I’ve been thinking more about what I can write while I’m out for a walk. I am attributing my recent resurgence in posting on this blog to that. I really am! I’m exercising more Don’t get me wrong: I usually do exercise quite a bit and I feel I lead a fairly active lifestyle. Nonetheless, I have found that GO has gotten me up and motivated on several occasions–particularly if I have an egg that’s close to hatching. I’m bonding with strangers and friends in new ways Within the first few days of playing the game, I ran into a couple of teenage boys who both had their phones out. Since you can usually tell who is playing by a glance, they called out to me “Pokémon GO?”. We high-fived in passing, then I proceeded to utterly fail at taking their gym from them. My point is this: I would never have interacted with these guys on a normal day. I rarely interact with people I know if I can help it, let alone strangers. I have gone on 2 AM Poké-hunts with co-workers and ridden in a car alongside a friend in PJs, and have simultaneously done a hostile takeover of gyms in Albert County with my friend while he was on his delivery route (Team Mystic for life). PoGO has led to some amusing and often impromptu social situations. For someone who resists spontaneity, this has been a refreshing change of pace. It has diversified daily outings with my daughter, and we’ve had some unique family outings Knowing that Centennial Park was a nest for Machops was reason enough to go, but the fact that...

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Okay, 30. I’m ready for you.

Posted by on Feb 26, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s 9 PM on a Monday night in early June. The baby’s in bed, and Brad’s home, so I take a walk down by the bridge that leads to the university. The weather is perfect: it’s a bit warm for this hour, but with a cool breeze. I bought a bottle of apple juice at the store, because why not? On top of it, my new favourite album–Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Nightwish–is blaring in my headphones. It’s a nice night, and one of the few chances I get for a few minutes to myself. After a half hour or so of walking to the bridge and taking the long way home, I stop by the park on our street and sit on a swing. It’s not the first time I’ve done this. I reflect on the past few years as my legs push the air forward and pump back, my body a pendulum in the night air. 30 was such a daunting number a few years ago. “Late twenties with nothing to show for it,” I would lament to myself in the years prior, a bottle of beer in my hand as I scrolled aimlessly through Tumblr. I had an unfinished degree that I should have completed several years before. I didn’t complete any of my creative projects. I was still working retail, which I’d wanted to get out of for a very long time. My twenties were an incredible decade in my life. I learned so much about myself. I learned that I operate best when under my own schedule; I learned ways to treat my growing anxiety. I accomplished things I never thought I would, such as returning to school and finishing my degree. I made the best friends I’ve ever had. I sang onstage. I acted. I had a baby. It wasn’t all positive. I remember as I was in the midst of my early twenties, my mom said to me “your twenties are really for figuring yourself out and making mistakes”. I definitely made a few. I lost friends and alienated people. I worked a job I hated because I thought I needed the money. I dropped out of university because I couldn’t handle the pressure.  I still don’t have my driver’s license. On this, the eve of my 30th birthday, I can look back at the missed opportunities of my twenties and feel at ease. Nobody gets every goal they want done at this point in their lives. In some ways, I’m not as far as I would have liked to be, but in others, I’m a lot farther. Let’s do this, 30. I’m...

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Project updates

Posted by on Jul 9, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Every now and again, I like to give an update on new or current projects I’m working on. This may come as a surprise, but I actually have quite a few things on the go right now! Retail Hell I’ve started a webcomic! I’ve been wanting to do this for several years now, but always had been searching for an artist to collaborate with. After about 3 years of asking around to no success, I decided I’d do it on my own. I used to draw all the time, after all. So far, I’m having a blast with it! The comic updates every Wednesday. For now, I’m hosting it on Tumblr, but I hope to have a domain name for it eventually. Population: 1, Redux Population: 1 was an experimental interactive blog project I did from 2012-2013. Unfortunately, I didn’t know about Twine at the time, as it would have made a much better Twine game. Thus, I have decided to re-imagine and re-release the project through Twine! This will be my first full, finished game, and the scope of it is pretty large. It’s been going well, so far, though. Look for Population: 1 to be finished later in 2015. Tutoring I’ve been taking on clients for English tutoring. I’d love for this to be my new job, so I’m trying to promote this home business of mine as much as possible. If you know of anyone in need, please get them in touch with me! Amelia She’s not the same as other projects, but she does take up most of my time! She’s six months old now, which I’m having a hard time coming to terms with. She’s happy, healthy, and just the ray of sunshine my life needed. I’ve worked a lot of jobs, but being a mom is my favourite, by far. I mean… just look at that FACE. NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge Back in January, I entered NYC Midnight’s Short Story Challenge, and when I saw the registration for this one opening up, I knew I had to enter this one, too. Feedback comes with entry, also, which is worth the fee in itself! The challenge is that entrants are assigned objects, locations, and genres, and they must write stories based on what they’re assigned. The Short Story Challenge was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to this one! Maritime Fan-Demonium I have been working on the editing and some articles for this magazine project. As usual, I’m still open to collaborations, so please shoot me an e-mail if you have anything in...

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Even more unsolicited advice for parents-to-be

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

1. Don’t Google anything–ESPECIALLY related to baby sleep patterns Here is what my life was like for the first two and a half months: The baby wakes up every hour for a two-week period. Why is she doing this? TO GOOGLE! “8 week old wakes hourly”. Read. Oh my God, my baby isn’t normal. Oh no. Wait. What do you MEAN I’m supposed to be putting her down awake but drowsy?! Google “when should I be putting my baby down awake but drowsy?”. Use a swing?! My baby hates her swing. Google “how to help baby like swing”. Lather, rinse, repeat. I say “don’t do this” knowing full well you’re going to. I told myself daily that I wasn’t going to Google anything else. Five minutes later, I’d typed “wonder week leap 2” and “9 week growth spurt?” into the search engine. The truth is this: you’re going to Google things, but at the end of the day, you know your baby. Yes your baby is normal. Every baby is different. There is no magical reason or solution to a lot of things newborns do–often they simply do them. Newborns are new to the world–they have literally no context for anything that happens to them. In the first three months, try (and I know it’s hard!) not to think you’re doing anything wrong. You’re probably not. You’re probably doing amazingly. 2. Don’t ever go into any night expecting you’re going to sleep well I know this one may seem like a no-brainer. No new parent goes into this thing thinking “I’m gonna get so much sleep!”. But, man, you’ll find yourself hopeful. “Maybe this night will be different”, you’ll say. And yes, it likely will be different, but probably not for the reason you want it to be. Maybe your newborn will wake up hourly. Maybe he won’t sleep between the hours of 1:30 – 4:30 AM one night (or several). Maybe he’ll sleep for five hours straight one night, only to be followed by a night that he wants to party with you at 2 AM. Maybe he’ll sleep through the night one night, then two days later wake up every two hours. Don’t be hopeful. Prepare for the worst. You’ll be less disappointed this way, and if your baby sleeps a longer stretch, it will feel like Christmas. 3. Keep your phone well charged for the night shift The nights can be very, very long, unless you happen to have a unicorn baby who sleeps through the night at 6 weeks (you’re welcome, Mom and Dad). Nights are also lonely, especially if one of you is exclusively taking the night shift. I’ve whiled away the deep sleep waits on Reddit and playing Puzzle and Dragons, mainly, but I’ve also managed to do some work on creative projects and, let’s face it, talk to my Mom. Thank goodness she’s a night owl. 4. For the love of God, hold that baby You can’t spoil a newborn. You can’t spoil a newborn. YOU CAN’T. SPOIL. A NEWBORN. Keep in mind that your little one was being held in a cozy, warm environment for nine whole months, and she just got into the harsh, loud, freezing cold world where suddenly hunger is a thing and she isn’t being constantly rocked or swayed to sleep. You can’t expect her to just adapt immediately. There’s a reason the first 3 months of a baby’s life are often referred to as the fourth trimester. If someone says that you’re spoiling your baby by holding her too much, politely inform them that they’re incorrect. If they argue with you, remind them that this is your baby and they’re welcome to have their own if they feel so strongly about it. Also, if anyone says “why don’t you sleep while the baby sleeps?”, punch them in the face. Okay, don’t actually punch them. It’s really good advice, and the people who say it mean well. But if your baby wants needs to be held all day, you may find that you can’t sleep while the child is sleeping. Sleep deprivation is very real...

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