i have tried in my way to be free

so i have been operating on a fairly low frequency today. the continued snow and ridiculousy cold weather combined with my junk food binge hangover and sadness at silvija's departure are all contributing to the blah's. it is little wonder that these photos i took today are all desolate and sad and cold. but there has been lots of good news lately everywhere else and i haven't been sharing so maybe i will do that now so that you will all be able to look at my photographs without crying. so here is the warning, this post requires zero boxes of kleenex. i promise (unless you have a cold in which case i can't be responsible for your kleenex needs).

first up would be the news from the north. the cat came out of the bag a couple of weeks ago now and i have yet to formally acknowledge it but there is a baby on the way and a new house for him/her to come home to. that's right my brother aaron and his wife laisha are expecting their first child at the end of may and they recently bought there very first home. my brother aaron and i grew up the best of friends and continue to be very close which is why it is so great that we are going to have kids so close in age. as for the house? well they may have had to move hundreds of miles away to be able to afford it but i am still incredibly jealous. the idea of owning a home seems completely foreign to me, living in such an expensive city. still, i can't wait to come visit and hang out in your sauna on a snowy day. i am nothing but thrilled for you both (or should i say three?)!

the other great news around these parts is that marita is having her poetry manuscript published. i had not had the opportunity to read any of her poems before but she was so kind as to put up some links and i suggest you march on over and check them out and then tell her how great she is, because she is, great that is. i know that this means a lot to her and it is a big step in the right direction, plus it is confirmation that she is talented and as those of you that are new moms know, sometimes we need to be reminded just how deserving of recognition we are as individuals and not just moms. i will be sure to keep everyone posted when it comes out so that you can all scoop up your very own copy.

oh and speaking of talented you must go see the table that kle made for the red shoe event. i can't believe she is worried it won't sell. there is just no way. i already told you but it is an amazing piece and you have nothing to worry about, well except for letting it go.

so that is all my happy news. it is still snowing and the sidewalks are still slippery which means we stay inside all day but we have heat and food and music and really what more could a mom and a baby need?


like the deserts miss the rain

i hate goodbyes. i hate them even more than burning the shit out of one of my fingers by accidentally coming in contact with an unbelievably hot metal spoon. lucky for me, today i got both.

the spoon can be explained easily:

melancholy + cravings for comfort food + deep fried potatoes (complete with curry mayo) + hot oil laden slotted spoon + misguided hand = son of a bitch

but the fries were still good and although i did have to hold frozen items on the wound for a couple of hours, due to my inability to face the pain cold turkey, i am still alive with only a blister and some residual numbness to remind me of the folly.

the goodbye though, well that is another story. i have been giving some thought to how i would talk about it here, or if i would at all and to be honest i never really came to a conclusion. i am going to miss her, silvija that is or baka to many of you. i am going to miss her way more than i ever would have imagined. i know that if cohen could understand her absence he would miss her just as terribly as me, but for this year i may have to go it alone. saying i am going to miss her sort of sounds flat and silly in this context though. i suppose it is what it is, but of course there is more.

all the deeply personal and introspective conversations, even if they were in a language foreign and uncertain to her. the seeing so much of myself in her words and her actions and her kindness. all the sadness and regret and lessons about life and love which she chose to share with me. to teach me. there was sharing of recipes, her amazing gnocchi sauce and my soups. there was the eating of sushi for the first time and her attempt at chopsticks, then fingers, then a fork. afternoon lattes and the watching of er (or emergency room as she calls it). and there was laughter. so much laughter. and some tears, both of joy and of sadness.

this morning she told me about her mother, she has been in ill health the last few years and her mind is starting to go. "she isn't the same" she said, "but one thing about her that has never changed is that whenever i leave to go back home from a visit she cries". i knew what was coming next, the tears were already there as she was telling, "today i understand the tears", she said. "today i understand how that feels".

i didn't have the right words to tell her how much i like her, appreciate her. love her. even if i did they probably would have gotten lost in translation. i can only hope that it is one of those things that is understood. a month ago i was worried that it would be too difficult to have someone here with me, a disruption too great. i was nervous and anxious and scared. i was wrong.


you can't start a fire without a spark

so today was my third photography class and the assignment we were supposed to bring in to class was a portrait (or three) that incorporated interesting lighting. she never expounded on the interesting and so i heard it as quirky or strange. i had thought of several things i wanted to do, most of them involving galena and incredibly large shadows or the glow of a candle but come last night i had not gotten around to any of them. in fact, i had all but decided that i was going to go empty handed to class. but then as i lay in bed wrestling with sleep i had pangs of guilt and this dreaded feeling that i was just being a lazy whiney ass so i got up (well past midnight)and rallied marko into the dark bedroom to play with a flashlight. these are what i came up with and in the end i am glad i brought something.

i still think my creative lighting needs some work though. try and try again they say. we'll see.


share and share alike

this was taken about a month and a half ago before cohen could sit or really hold toys very well. i only recently uploaded it to my computer from the camera and it was too cute not to share. one day soon i will have a video of the two of them having a battle to the death (ok not really) over that monkey. don't worry, when the time comes i will be taking bets on the victor.



feel it on my fingertips, here it on my windowpane

let me start by saying, is this rain ever going to stop? even the deep rarely seen corners of my soul are starting to feel a little damp. now you naysayers may note that there have been moments here and there where the sun has come up for a good ten minutes and you are right, it has, but it isn't enough god damn it. winter is here (although not in any technical sense)and it has brought with it the blah's. i have been combating it with a healthy dose of crafts and homemade soup, so far winter is losing the battle but another week of this rain and i fear that even soup won't be enough.

so what is new with cohen? to be honest it is hard for me to remember his newness from week to week. i do know that this morning when we woke up i put him down on the puzzle mat and he sat perfectly erect with no support from me and he had no wobble, no slight tilt, just him sitting there completely content. that was a first. he has also gotten much more dexterous, grabbing toys and shoving them in his mouth, moving them from hand to hand and flailing them through the air. he loves to be flown around the room like an airplane and giggles infectiously when bounced on the bed or danced heartily to bosa nova. he eats a ton, more than i would have thought, but of course much less than i know one day he will. he loves pears but isn't so crazy about sweet potato. he has a thing with blankets and insists on having one with him almost all the time. he will only sleep with one covering his face (much to my chagrin) and can be found awake in the morning with one shoved firmly in his mouth.

he has taken to rolling and his newest trick is rolling in the crib during naps so that when i go in to check on him ten minutes after putting him down he can be found on his belly, his head held high by his arms, chatting away to the curtains or his monkey depending on the day. he still loves to splash in the bath (although the water problem has all but erased that for him lately) and have his belly kissed before bed and he loves books, especially the ones with pictures of children in them. he likes to watch other babies, seemingly fascinated with their every move. he especially loves it when atticus, whom he studies with great interest, comes over to visit.

mostly he is happy and content but sometimes i see melancholy in him. a longing for something that he just isn't sure of, maybe our walks, which as of late have been all but nonexistent, or maybe just the feel of the sun on his face. i guess it hits us all around now. on sunday we are going to put up the christmas tree so that silvija (baka) can be a part of that with us. maybe the lights will be enough to dry out those wet places in my soul and rid cohen of his longing. maybe christmas will be just the thing we need to tide us over until spring.


what were you thinking?

this post isn't going to be about cohen at all. i know that happens here from time to time but i just thought i would warn everyone up front. this post is, however, going to be all about me and my neurotic tendencies to over think every little thing.

so i started this photography course two weeks ago on a sunday. i was excited and a little nervous but mostly optimistic. i wanted to believe that this continuing studies class was going to be different then the others i had taken. photography is something i feel competent at. oh sure i knew there would be hot shots in the class, there always is and i also knew there would be some intimidation but i was hoping it would be just enough for me to handle. what i hadn't figured into the equation was art, or my lack there of.

you see this is at emily carr which is an art school, it isn't a photography school or a journalism school or even a community college where anything can fly. it is an art school. my first clue that something was amiss was during our dreaded introductions when we had to explain what it was we hoped to get out of the class (and seriously what is up with this question?) and my response of "to improve my portrait taking technique" was met with what i perceived to be a hint of a rolled eye from the instructor. as the class progressed it became clear, portrait photographers are to artist photographers as subway sandwich artists are to gourmet chefs. there was much discussion about composition and meaning and the word installation was thrown around like a pronoun. she, the instructor, is the variety of photographer that sets up shots with everything being completely inorganic and then takes a carefully crafted shot that she believes expresses some greater idea. in class she even said that there are two types of photographers in the world, photojournalists that take technically perfect shots of the world to express something and artists whose work is more finely tuned and crafted. i don't disagree with this at all but she said it in a way that made it clear that this class was intended for the latter. i am only interested in the former.

ay there's the rub.

so in my usual long winded fashion i am asking for opinions. this weekend i go back for my second class and we were asked to bring with us 3-4 straight photos (not set-up or photoshopped) for us to discuss in class (which at this moment is the equivalent of asking me to come with all of my fingernails in tact so that they can be removed with rusty pliers). so if you were me would you

1. bring in some portraits that i am proud of, art be damned and try not to sound like a total idiot when i say "ummmm actually i didn't have any larger meaning to this, it is just a photo i like"
2. spend some time tomorrow trying to take what the instructor might likely believe to be artistic and then try and bullshit my way through it without feeling dirty and cheap
3. bring a cd that is all scratched to shit and then act surprised that it doesn't work in the drive

i know the answer should be one but it just isn't that easy. maybe it is. maybe the answer is easy, maybe i am the one that is difficult. crap shoot really. sigh.


five months

i am starting to really notice that he is getting older now. i suppose that later when he is fourteen and in trouble at school because he met the wrong friend and changed overnight i will reflect on this time and wonder how i ever could have used the word older but right now it feels that way. every time he hides his face under the covers and waits for me to move in closer before he peels back the sheet and giggles or the times when i leave a clean diaper beside him as i rush the dirty one into the bathroom and then return to find the new clean one stuffed in his mouth wet and unusable, his face painted with a grin, the way he reaches for my fork and sways his legs to the music, in every moment it is there. my baby is becoming a little boy. they say that babies are neediest when they are first born, dependent on you for everything but i am not so sure. these days he needs me in a more definable and desperate way. he needs a hug and will grasp on to me if i don't cuddle long enough. he needs me to play with him and will look at me with what seems like contempt if i don't pull out the book or find him his monkey. i know he can't express any of this with words but he tells me none the less. he needs me to be there in the same way i need him.

this has become even clearer tonight. he hasn't been sleeping well the last few nights. the worst it has ever been in fact. at first i thought it was teething but he didn't seem unhappy or in pain at all. then i thought it was a growth spurt, something i would just have to wait out. but then tonight as i went to put him into his crib he grabbed for me and gave me this sad look that said "please don't", so i tucked him in our bed beside me instead. it only took him a moment to move himself closer so that his head was tucked neatly by my side and there he fell fast asleep with a little grin on his face (and there that he remains even now as i write this). lately we haven't had much time where it is just him and i and i think he misses it. our mornings spent sleeping in and reading books, the afternoon walks and me making dinner with him sitting beside me on the floor, watching me chop. i know that soon baka will be going home and it is going to be sad. we are going to miss her a lot, no question. but still, i think it is going to be good to go back to the familiar. for both of us.

here are some more pictures we took today.

(my scarf and cohen's hat and sweater are all byproducts of the great cohen knitoff 2006)


parts and accessories

it all started last week when i mentioned to marko in passing that i thought those miniature towns that people make are interesting. he raised an eyebrow tilted his head slightly to the left and said "miniature towns?". gulp. you see, marko is interested in all hobbies that come with accessories, lots of accessories. some might even say his hobby is finding hobbies with accessories. i knew from his enthusiastic questioning that he was thinking about how many accessories a miniature village must have. i was in trouble.

after ample questions and some preliminary looking online we decided to go for a late night walk to canadian tire (a luxury which we had all but forgotten in months of late) to peruse their christmas department. marko was immediately drawn to the little train with it's little track. i had anticipated this though and was armed with my convincing argument about why we don't need a miniature train. turns out that it wasn't to scale though (seriously look at those people in that house, they would never fit in that train!) and so it just wouldn't do. how could i have been so foolish? so we looked at the little houses and churches and bookstores instead and then we said "let's think about it" and trudged back home in the torrential rain that has been plaguing us everyday.

it was the next day when we went to costco though that my will to resist broke down. they had a complete set and the buildings were nicer than the ones at canadian tire. it had all the things a small town could want, a bookstore, city hall, a denominationally ambiguous church, toys and a skate rink with little men that actually play hockey (or at the very least jitter around on magnets). i sat there in the aisle staring at it in awe. marko sat there thinking about how well it would go with the $300 train he planned on talking me in to. i couldn't resist, i needed this little village to be mine.

so that was the start of what turned out to be a very involved, perfection "just a little more to the left" based project. after two more trips to canadian tire to buy...yes you guessed it, accessories, (which in this case meant trees and lights and little garbage cans that have raccoons eating out of them) and then 4 hours of poking and prodding, pondering and philosophizing, we ended up with this, our own little utopia bought, built and displayed weeks before such a thing is technically acceptable. it is our nerdliness at it's finest.

i would like to say that we did it for cohen but that would be a lie, or at least most of a lie and a quarter of a truth. we did it for us, but in the end i think cohen is the one who loved it the most (followed closely by baka who shed a tear when we first plugged in the lights). he still sits there staring in wonder at the lights and the moving hockey players and all those trees. his eyes ask the obvious question, how did that get here? and why? and his smile tells me that in a few years he will be the one out at the canadian tire buying one more car for that expensive train that dad will inevitably make me buy next year to make the city just right.


the rain still never ending the wonder in my heart

i haven't been by in awhile, i am going to blame it on the rain, no that isn't it, how about a lack of recent cute pictures then? in fact, i haven't been taking any pictures at all since i went to my first photography class. coincidence? probably not, but we will save that for another day. i always have some out takes in the vault for occasions just like this so the excuse stops here. the photos are from a trip to the park one long ago (ok about 2 weeks) sunny day.

i had a great weekend. friday night i went over to nicole's and laughed harder than i have in as long as i can remember. it included much borat and arrested development and a couple of beers as well. it felt like old times but with a twist. the twist being that i kept thinking i heard a baby crying in the other room. ahhhh being a mom, there is no looking back, which is actually a very comforting thought to me.

saturday we savoured serbian food and visited with all of my family. the menu included, among many other things, some variety of mushroom/onion/sour cream/cheese tart baked in puff pastry dough that has left me thinking about it for days. i watched silvija make it and i wrote down the ingredients but i guarantee i will never make it as good as her. cooking is like that. damn cooking.

sunday i went to the paramount and saw babel which i really enjoyed. i didn't much care for 21 grams and typically i loathe the super long movie but this movie didn't seem long nor was it as gut wrenching as 21 grams (although there was some wrenching of the gut to be sure). it is one of those movies that lingers and even now more than 24 hours later i still find my mind wandering back to it. it beats the heck out of the movie i saw last week at movies 4 mommies. although cohen really seemed to enjoy that one. i think he is a big swayze fan.

the weekend also involved the new costco downtown, two late night walks to canadian tire, rain followed by some more rain and then about 20 minutes of sun, dinner at the noodle box on fourth (mmmmmm sooo good, go if you haven't been yet) christmas gift shopping (and nearly completing) and the creation of a miniature eighteenth century village in our livingroom. (the village will have it's own post soon because it is just that cool. honest.)

oh and it also included this lame dear diary post. my mom says that it doesn't matter what is in the box it is how it is wrapped. clearly i did not heed her advice tonight . i must have a brightly coloured bow around here somewhere....


you're so brave to expose those popsicle toes

so last night as cohen played on his new puzzle mats in the living room, arms flailing, feet banging on the ground with glee, baka and i embarked on a craft journey. she was busy knitting away at atticus' toque (which i won't show a picture of as i don't want to ruin the surprise, my guess is that you will be able to see it in all it's wool cap glory over at his site later...stay tuned!) so i needed to find something to do. after some minor contemplation i decided to make a doll. i will admit that i was inspired by kleja who is the god of all things crafty. i know i will never aspire to that level but it is fun to make things none the less. so here she is, my clown like doll. 3 minutes after handing her over to cohen she became completely soaked in saliva and her leg found it's way to the back of his mouth. i didn't here her complain though, so it must be a good match.

i guess she needs a name, any suggestions?


i'll take you just the way you are

i have been feeding cohen solids for about 3 weeks now. i haven't talked about it here, i am not exactly sure why but i suspect it has something to so with a fear of judgement. you see, these days they say to wait until six months before starting them. i had intended to do just that, but cohen had ideas of his own. always watching me eat with a longing that would rival galena and gestures that could be described as grabbing towards my hand at meal time. it wasn't that he was unsatisfied with only the milk but he was definitely curious about what i had. so i started on rice cereal and he opened and swished and swallowed and i knew he was ready. it was just a tiny bit at first then the wait and see. there were no problems and so we moved on. first to apples and then carrots and then pear, his favourite. or at least his favourite until today.

today we gave him blueberries with a little pear and it was clearly a winning combination. his head would move towards the spoon with quick jerks, his mouth wide in anticipation, a hunger in his eyes. spoon after spoon he gobbled it all up. about half way through the meal baka (who was the one feeding him) turns to me and says "he my son" and i thought she meant that he reminded her of marko and i said "yes, they look very much alike" but she paused slightly confused and then realized i misunderstood. she sat thinking of the right word for almost a minute and then she turned to me and said "cohen...my sun....shine?" and put her hand over her heart and smiled.

mine too, baka, mine too.


twenty weeks

cohen's baka knits and crochets. so of course me loving all things handmade put her to work right away. we braved the wind and the rain yesterday afternoon to get to the wool shop where we stocked up and last night she started the great cohen knit off 2006. the first order of business was this hat. we couldn't decide on how to fasten it but in the end went with a wooden button which was the finishing touch on what was already a small piece of perfection.

today is all about socks. i figure by next week i will have her knitting a ferrari (thanks to nancy for that).

oh and in other cohen news this morning he realized he was one week older and so to celebrate he sucked on his big toe for the first time and then figured out how to unvelcro his diaper. cheeky monkey.


then the rain let up and the sun came up, we were getting dry

i know i have said it here a couple of times now, but i am going to say it one more time. i love autumn. i suppose it has something to do with my inclination towards burnt oranges and reds and the smell of fires burning inside homes on cold nights. i love the crispness in the air, the way your cheeks get rosy without the pain of the the winter cold. the crunch of the leaves under foot. everything about it is okay in my book.

this affinity towards all things autumn goes back all the way to my childhood when i would play for hours in the leaves out front, raking up piles and then splashing into them, leaves scattering everywhere waiting to once again be raked. halloween meant a bonfire at juan de fuca rec centre and that smell, oh how i loved that smell. so a lot, actually most, of my clear memories as a kid happened in the fall and now as an adult i have flashbacks to that time in my life. it doesn't take much to get me there, often just the faintest of smells and my memory comes alive.

this year has been no different in that respect, yet it is different. you see now when i have them i think of cohen and how he is just starting on the journey of memory. when i have that moment where it all comes back as clear as yesterday i wonder if he is soaking it in as well, if someday his memory will flood back to a time he can't quite remember but is familiar all the same. it is in these moments that everything comes full circle for me. the looking back and the looking ahead. a contentment settles in and i feel what can only be described as proud. proud that i made it to this place, to this moment in all it's perfection and proud in knowing that someday cohen will look back and remember and that i, well i will play a part in that. i hope that one day his memories are as sweet as mine.