Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Coldest Day of the Year

I don't know if it really is the coldest day of the year but it was -17 this morning and that is pretty dang cold for here. For the second time in the 13 years I have lived here, you can skate on Kal Lake and that is exactly what we did yesterday morning with some friends of ours.

But this morning, I opened the 'incubator' to check the humidity levels as were were hoping for hatching sometime tonight and tomorrow morning. Instead, right there by the edge of the pan, was this wee little spark of life. I can't help it. Birth amazes me. And to think this came from an egg we could have just as easily eaten for breakfast or baked into a cake or made into mayo. But instead here it is. And we were delighted to realize that this is one of the 4 eggs that were 'fertilized' by Edgar the rooster we hatched and raised who is looking after Mary Sue's hens right now. She has 2 Ameraucana hens so here we have another Ameraucana chick. Really hoping that it is a hen. I want some blue eggs!

I am holding her (I'm hopeful!) here in front of the bitterly cold landscape. All of nature sleeps but here it is starting to wake up!

And then there were 2. And this one is from Lacy. We are excited and it is sweet to hear the dulcet sound of their wee peeps again on the kitchen counter.

Some warm excitement for a cold, cold day!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Living With The Seasons

Winter has been really different for me this year. Really it is the culmination of changes that I have made this year. I have become a lot more conscious about the footprint I am leaving on this earth and the cost of our unconscious consumption. Listening to David Suzuki's talk, reading "The Humanure Handbook", "Living the Good Life" by Linda Cockburn and Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Vegetable Miracle", this article and the company of like minded friends has all had an indelible impact. It wasn't a really dramatic, big change, more small, slow, gradual changes. Composting more, flushing less, less garbage because we are using less, more recycling, less consumption, more homemade, less plastic, more awareness.

Probably the biggest impact was reading "Animal Vegetable Miracle". I absolutely adore Barbara Kingsolver - I've read all of her novels and own most of them. I loved the look into her family life. And I loved that indeed, my impression of her from reading her novels was right! She is a kindred spirit! (as Anne would say) I was so inspired by her families efforts to be 'locavores' for a year. Inspired to become more self-sufficient myself. Inspired to eat more seasonally. This winter I have bought hardly any fresh fruit compared with other years - a few boxes of Chinese oranges at Christmas, a few bananas... and that's about it. We are eating our own apples and the fruit I dried and froze during the summer. And no has bleeding gums or other signs of scurvy yet. In fact, we seem to be a healthy lot. I bet my dried plums are a lot better for us than fruit that has travelled thousands of miles to get here, picked long before it was ripe. I have bought fresh veggies about every other week - an occasional dose of broccoli and carrots to go along with the squash from our garden and local farmers that I bought at the farmer's market at the end of the season. It is so much easier, in one sense, to give up trying to eat like it is still summer in December - with leafy salads and lots of fresh fruit. In another sense , it has not been so easy as it has required new recipes and habits. It has been fun learning to use those delicious slow roasted tomatoes from my garden. And every time we eat more of them, I dream about the tomatoes I will plant this year...

And all of that has changed they way I feel about winter, too. I had come to dread winter. The cold. The bundling up. The socks. Cold feet. Cold hands. Ice and snow. Darkness. I hated it, hunkered down and dreamed about spring and summer. But somehow living more in tune with the rhythm of the seasons, has changed all that. I am sure that the chickens in the back yard have helped, too. I am outside at least 4 times everyday feeding them, changing their water, letting them out or closing them in. I am living in the winter in my own yard and it just feels different. It now seems to me kind of like our whole culture fights against the changing of the seasons - like it somehow 'should' be the same all year round - the same food, the same activities, etc. It is amazing how much more enjoyment I am getting out of my life just accepting that this is not so - even when it comes to heating our house. Although we are very grateful to the advent of central heating, we have kept our house much cooler this year and we are looking forward to the heat of summer.

Anyways, all of this thinking and changing has led me to start a new blog called "Living With the Seasons". The goal of this blog is to document a year in the life of me and 2 of my good friends as we strive to live more in tune with nature in the way we live our lives - our activities and what we eat. The plan for the end result is to publish it as a book (through that site that you can convert your blog into a book) that will be both a resource of recipes, knitting and crocheting patterns, green cleaning tips, gardening and a keepsake for ourselves and our children. This will be my first post on that blog.


It has been a wonderful, magical introspective week for me. I have been processing the messages of my dreams, considering my life and development. I have written pages and pages in my journal. It is interesting to me - this rhythm of life. Sometimes I can't live without a good novel on the go and lots of time out of the house connecting with friends. And other times, I can barely be moved to read anything the least bit fanciful and home is where I want to be. Other than a gloriously piggish session ordering seeds and eating chocolate with my dear friend on Friday afternoon, I have been home except for taking my kids to lessons.

In fact, this Saturday I was pretty much like Sampson here with only his paw sticking out of his 'house'. I actually turned the ringer off on all of my phones. I worked on a painting, processed my patterns, wrote in my journal, cleaned my house, read to Rhiannon and went to bed by 9pm. When I was ready for an intrusion, I checked my messages and my e-mail. Other than that, it was very quiet except for the Brandenburg Concertos playing in the background. It was exactly what I needed.

This whole month, I have felt a great drawing in - an assessing of my life. Accompanying it has been my traditional symbolic housecleaning - getting into the corners and dark places that haven't see the light or a broom or rag in a long time. I have probably written more in my journal in the last month than I did in the previous 6 months. It has felt wonderful. And hard sometimes. Hard to see the parts of myself that haven't seen the light of my own consciousness in awhile but good to see them, too.

I had a wonderful symbol as a gift from my knitting buddies who were over on an afternoon and rearranged my furniture and for the first time my 'homeschooling/craft' room is opened up. And I can't believe how great they got my house to look with furniture I already had. It has totally changed the way I feel about my living room and the 'homeschooling/craft' room. Previously I spent all my time in the kitchen which was my favourite room in this house. Suddenly the whole main floor has opened up. The whole family has spent a lot more time in all of them. For the first few days, I just kept watching into the living room just to look at it - amazed that it was part of my house! I even like the way it looks when it is messy!

So, sorry I haven't been posting much. My energies have been turned inwards instead of outwards but I am starting to emerge. February is around the corner and that means the end of winter in the Okanagan and time to plant seeds for later transplanting.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What it all means (to me) Part 6 of 6

So, what it all means. Are you getting sick of my navel-gazing-dreams? At least Amy is enjoying my inner sojourn. That is enough to keep me writing as I fear I am boring everyone else...
Overall for me, there is a sense of events coming - things just around the corner - something just out of my grasp that I am working towards. And not so much the sense of things inevitably coming towards me but of me working towards these events - the fulfilment of my dreams and my heart's wishes. I had another dream the night before last - this time of eggs - eggs that had not had ideal incubation and I thought wouldn't hatch yet they hatched perfectly - even the way they cracked out of their shells was perfect - the shells were cracked perfectly in half.
These dreams reveal to me my own power that I am currently unaware of - that my fears that my inadequacies have sabotaged my dreams are unfounded. Yet it reveals to me the thoughts and beliefs that are currently limiting me.

And how does it all relate to Bozenka's story? Well, recently I have "bumped into an old cedar" and been "stung on the head" and I realize this is a loving reminder of my purpose in life. That all things happen for my good - for my edification.

And what is my purpose in life? I believe that my purpose in life is to be Andrea and that all the things that happen to me and the things I strive towards are about actualizing myself. I believe that is the purpose of everyone's life. And for some, religion might help them do that. For others being an artist, or an engineer, or a mother or a father or a window washer or...? might help them. Usually there are different things at different times in our lives that lead us to ourselves. I know that for Dean and I, that our window washing business is a means to keep us afloat right now and we are grateful for it but it is not the end. Dean is actively working towards what is fulfilling and meaningful to him with his music. Of course for me, I have many fulfilling things in my life - like being a mother, my friendships with women who inspire me. And I know there is more. And these recent 'bumps and stings' have been to refocus me on these other pursuits in the unfolding of myself to myself.

I have the sense that I am on the threshold. I grew up with a lot of struggle and struggle has been a big part of my life. For a long time I think I mistook struggle for effort - that in order to accomplish things, I had to suffer and struggle. I feel like I am finally moving past this idea - hence my word for 2008 is EFFORT as I contemplate this year the difference between effort and struggle. This year I want to put effort toward what is really important to me instead of struggling toward my goals. And in my dreams, there is a sense of accomplishing it - of having accomplishing with ease. And also reassuringly in my dreams is the reassurance that my dreams are still potent. Sometimes I fear that I have permanently sabotaged myself but I see that despite my own freaking out and fears that the effort I have put in and am currently putting in will indeed come to fruition. Kind of like only giving myself credit for my destructive power and not credit for my power to create. I am still processing what these dreams mean to me but I am encouraged, uplifted and inspired by them and refocused. I am reminded to act like the Queen I Am. I am reminded of my gifts and to challenge my beliefs that limit me. I am reassured that despite my freaking out, 'it' is coming. And my heart is encouraged that one day it will all be easy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dream number 4 - Part 5 of 6

The last dream I don't have until 3 days after the previous dream. It was brief. I am living somewhere warm - a foreign country like Spain or something like that - somewhere warm in Europe. I am living in a beautiful apartment with the child of the previous dream who has grown and is beautiful. Our life is easy and I am very happy. That was it.

This dream was about ease - the weather was perfect - not too hot just so that dressing and moving about was easy (not like here right now). It is an important key to the other 3 dreams - the finishing piece. More about that tomorrow.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Dream number 3, Part 4 of 6

Taken from my journal dated January 5, 2008...

"I wake up tired after another dream. This one of birth. In this dream is Carly, a 12 year old girl I know who plays cello. Although she didn't look pregnant, she was having a baby. There was no implication, in the dream, that she had had sex or that there was anything wrong with her having a baby. There was also an understanding that she would obviously not keep the baby and the baby was mine. When she realized that she was in labour, she started to freak out. But I could easily distract her by playing board games with her and she would completely forget about labour and the coming baby.

"Finally the baby was coming and it was coming too fast for the Dr to get there so I delivered the baby. It came out in 2 pushes. I was alone in the room with Carly and her parents were in another room. The baby was clearly a boy and it was very big an long - almost half the size of Carly herself (who is very tall).

"I brought her parents into the room to see the baby. The baby was growing and changing before our eyes - the blood and gunk magically disappearing.

"Then I was under a tree outside in a grassy hill, overlooking a meadow. I was sitting with Carly's mother and the baby was laying in the grass beside us. It now looked like a girl and seemed to be a girl but I remembered that it had had a penis when it was born. We were talking about how fast the baby was growing and I mentioned that it now looked like a girl. The baby had a full head of hair now and it had had a hair cut. When it opened its mouth and spoke and I saw that it had all its teeth."

I can see myself in this dream. I am Carly on the brink of birthing something and terrified of the change that this means to me and busy distracting myself, playing games (and eating - eating is a great distracter.... what did that just taste like?). Yet I see in the dream that the change is coming inevitably despite my 'freaking out'. And that when it comes it will grow quickly and in unexpected ways. And I am also my wiser self who is watching and attending and knows that everything is going to be okay. It is also interesting that someone else is giving birth. I have some ideas about what this means to be discussed later...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dream number 2, Part 3 of 6

Taken from my journal dated January 4, 2008

"Another dream last night. This time I dreamt we moved to Cranbrook. I wanted a job as a teacher. I had a resume that someone had made for me. It had pictures on it but I couldn't see them until I showed the resume to someone else. I had an interview at a school in Cranbrook and when I handed my resume to the lady conducting the interview, I could see they were beautiful pictures of me interacting with children. Even I was in awe of this view of myself.

"The woman conducting the interview was amazed by the pictures and she said it was clear that I had 'the gift' - that she could see it clearly in the way I was with children.

"But then I thought to myself, "What were you thinking? You don't even have a teaching degree."

To me, this dream explains the dream of the night before about being a Queen and not acting like it. It is the same dream from different aspects. This shows me my belief that keeps me from acting like the 'queen' I am. I do have a gift for working with children. I adore children and I have always loved working with them - ever since I first became the music person for Jr Sunday School when I was barely 12 myself. I adore my little dance students and I absolutely love dancing with them. And I yearn to realize my dream of having a school that is a part of a community and is based on the actual data we have about how the brain works and how people learn - a school based on 'unschooling' principles and one that looks at the entire person and not just academics and that values all kinds of learning and skills and that serves children as they are and recognizes different learning modalities instead of trying to make everyone fit into the same mould and if they don't sending them to learning assistance. A school that doesn't separate children from parents and take over home life. A school that serves children instead of children serving the institution.... and I could go on and on.

And yet I have been going about my life half-baked. I do have a degree. A degree in psychology. I don't regret getting it but it was more about proving to myself that I could get it - that I could follow through and do it. I always intended to do counselling with my degree. Yet I knew even before I graduated that really a BA is not enough to do it with. Although BC has no licensing procedure for counselling or therapy, in order to qualify to be apart of any registering body or to be covered by EAP programs, a BA is not enough. Besides that I am not your traditional counsellor or therapist. I am actually good at what I do - very good, even. I have a gift for connecting with people and helping them that has nothing to do with my degree. And I have been counselling since I got my degree. I struggled for a time to do it fulltime and I have been doing it very part time for the last several years. I have been doing the whole thing half baked. Not quite one thing or another and believing deep down that I should have an MA but not wanting one and having a conflicting belief that I didn't need one to do what I do.

In fact, this whole dream was an insight into my half-baked-ness - into conflicting beliefs and their consequences. The conflict of my insight into myself and my gifts that others also see and then my belief about why I can't do it. I had lots to process about this dream....

And sometimes it is easier to just forget about all that mess that I find confusing and disappointing and frustrating and just have a window washing business and who cares about all of that?.... That is when I bump into the old cedar tree or get a bee sting on the top of my head...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dream number 1, Part 2 of 6

From my journal dated January 4:

"In the dream I had a vague sense that I was a Lady or a Princess in the days of castles. I was married to an important man. I had a baby. In the dream, it was totally normal but the baby was a wee black lizard that lived mostly in water. I kept it in an aquarium. I loved this little lizard and was very proud of it.

I went out with my husband to some kind of party or something like that. There I met my brother (Layne). I told him all about the baby. I was so excited, we decided to leave the party and go home so I could show him the baby.

He went to pick it up out of the water but it was gone. We searched everywhere through the water but it wasn't there. The rocks in the bottom of the aquarium were black so it was a bit hard to see. Instead there was 1 fishnet stocking in there. He picked it out and threw it at me. I was extremely distraught. Beside myself with grief. Our enemies had taken the baby.

I came upon the gardener and I was angry at him for not protecting the baby. He remained calm and told me 50 men had come to take the baby led by Curtis Pettipaw and that they had a proclamation signed by the 50, important men which my gardener gave to me. I was astounded. I had thought that bandits had taken the baby but these were important men. In my astonishment, I realized that I was more important than I thought I was. My husband was a King so I was really a Queen but I wasn't acting like it."

So from this dream I get that I am more important than I think I am - I am a Queen but I am not acting like it and I am not taking care of what is mine to take care of appropriately. And this isn't about being important to other people it was more like being aware of my own personal power and my influence. I have more questions about the black lizard. I sense that it symbolizes something and it was beautiful in the dream and I loved it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dreams for the New Year Part 1 of 6

Okay impatient littlest sister, here they come. At least I know one person is reading my blog! Following is the story that is the context for my dreams. It is part of Lesson 7 that you can sign up for here. (and have you signed up for those lessons yet? And why not? You don't even have to pay if you are not able and all you have to do is ask... and they are the most amazing lessons I have ever encountered - incomparable, really). I first read Lesson 7 while in Mexico and then started off at the beginning and read them all through again up to lesson 7. Then over the holidays I read lesson 7 and then reread it as it seemed so applicable to where I was at. And I could feel it shifting things deep inside of me. And after that came 4 dreams that were a wondrous insight into myself and my process and what I need to do and what stops me. The dreams will follow. Bozenka, the author of this story, has given her permission to reprint this story here. It is copyrighted to the Inner World School, all rights reserved. So please don't repost this without her permission but do sign up for the lessons and get your own copy!

And to help the story make sense without having read the previous 6 lessons: Its Majesty and Its Holiness are 2 halves of the ego - Mama Ego is their mother to whom they are attached. Spiders are the hurts that grow and hurt others. And grandmother represents our highest self.

Hey, little Bozenka, what is the function of the big, bad wolf lurking in the forest? No point in
speculating on that. Just remember there are actually two wolves. One is called Its Majesty and
the other Its Holiness. Don’t get off your tricycle, child, if you want to reach grandmother’s
house. Grandmother is a storyteller. Hurry, child. Don’t get distracted by the pretty flowers in the woods. Grandmother wants to see you more than she wants to see the flowers.

Two hours later…

Huh! Little Bozenka finally arrived at grandmother’s house. She got lost in the forest but she did
not get off her tricycle. Her journey was watched closely by the Ego family.

“We tried our best to get her off,” said Its Majesty, “but it didn’t work.”

“I told her that her grandmother would love her more if she brought her some of the flowers that grow in the special cellar in the forest. It was very tempting and little Bozenka would certainly have gotten off her tricycle if she had not had an accident. She bumped her head on an old cedar tree and it hurt so much the child forgot all about the flowers. All she wanted was to be
comforted by her grandmother.”

“I tried to help,” frowned Its Majesty. “I told the child to get off of the tricycle and wash her
face in that amazing, sparkling, friendly creek near the entrance to the cellar. I told her that if
her grandmother saw her tears she would know that Bozenka was a bad little girl who got lost,
who does not listen. Naturally, I went on with all of my shrinking might, and it almost worked. It
would have worked if the child had not suddenly gotten stung by a ferocious bee, right on top of
her head. That bee sting hurt so much the child forgot everything except that her grandmother
knows how to make all things better.”

“To make a long story short, that’s how we lost her,” concluded Its Holiness.

“There will be other opportunities,” assured Mama Ego, and to cheer up her precious, defeated
children, she started to make poisonous spider dumplings with brown sugar and cream.

What an amazing coincidence. When little Bozenka finally parked her tricycle at Grandmother’s
house, her grandmother was busy making cherry dumplings. Through the window, Grandmother could see the precious child all in tears. The old woman rushed out without even wiping her hands. She took little Bozenka into her arms.

“Aaaaaaaaaah,” cried little Bozenka.

“Aaaaaaaaaah,” smiled Grandmother, patting the little head and leaving traces of flour
everywhere. Then Grandmother went on kissing that floury head. After many kisses,
Grandmother’s nose had turned white.

The little girl giggled. “Your nose is all white, Grandma.”

“Oh, my! I forgot to wipe my hands when I saw you all in tears. What has happened?” smiled

“I had two terrible accidents. I bumped into a big tree because I was looking at the prettiest
flowers. I wanted to get them for you,” said the little girl.

“It’s a good thing you didn’t get them because those were not the prettiest flowers. You see, you
are my most pretty flower,” said Grandmother.

The child touched her bruised forehead.

“That must have hurt a lot. Let me kiss it better,” offered Grandmother.
Grandmother’s get-better kisses were so magical that the child did not mind anymore about
hitting the tree.

“What happened then?” asked Grandmother.

“Then a ferocious bee stung me on the top of my head, just as I was about to wash my face so
that you didn’t think that I was a bad girl who does not listen,” explained little Bozenka.

“But you did not listen.” Grandmother’s eyes twinkled.

“Do you think that I am a bad little girl then?

“Why would I think that when I know for sure that you are not?”

“Do you want to see my bee sting and make it better?” asked little Bozenka.

Of course, and after that maybe you could help me finish making your favourite treat.”
Grandmother’s eyes continued to twinkle.

“Are you making me cherry dumplings with brown sugar and cream?” cried the child, her eyes
opening wide and beginning to twinkle as well.

Grandmother nodded her head.

“Then let’s go right now!” urged the little girl.

“What about your bee sting?” Grandmother wanted to know.

“A miracle has happened, Grandma. All the pain is gone. Can we go in the house now?”

At that same moment, Its Holiness said to Its Majesty, “We can’t go in there. That is the house of unconditional love.”

“Who cares for cherry dumplings anyway when our mommy is making yummy poisonous spider
dumplings for us,” said Its Majesty.

“How long for the spider treat, Mom?” asked the children.

“It will be a while yet. You have enough time to finish your chores. And don’t forget the rules in
the cellar,” smiled Mama Ego.

“We promise not to nibble on the spider sausages that are marinating in yummy poisons, and we
will use people’s pain to divide the cellar from the rest of the house,” the children assured their

“Make sure you have enough addictions in store. You don’t want to run out,” reminded Mama

“Don’t worry, Mom! We have an ample supply of the old types of addiction,” said Its Majesty.

“And I brought in a new lot of the latest spiritual addictions for those who are proud of their
superior spiritual path,” added Its Holiness.

“Well done, my children! Off you go, then. Shrink them and expand them as much as they can
take. And keep the angels out of their sight.” And with those words Mama Ego went into the
kitchen full of cosmic furnaces.

Its Majesty took out the key to unlock the cellar door.

(c) Inner World School 2008 all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Symbol for the New Year

I have a series of posts bumping about in my head but I haven't had a chance to write about them because I have been consumed by the homeschooling ski program. I volunteered to organize it and when I called the ski hill to make arrangements, I said we would be 10 - 20 people. Well, 2 other places that organize homeschooling skiing are not this year so I am organizing this for 120 people instead. It became a fulltime job the last few days. But the dust has settled, the paper work has been sent in and there is a lull until Thursday when we actually go for our first day of skiing.

And so I have a chance to post this blog that I have been meaning to since Jan 3.

This is my symbol for 2008. This is a pomegranate plant. Rhiannon and I grew it from seed last winter. It grew tall and put out leaves and then in the fall, it lost almost all of its leaves. And now just recently, it has put out these new leaves. So my pomegranate plant is my symbol for the new year. Pomegranates are symbols of rebirth and of course, are very full of seeds. They take effort to eat the delicious fruit.

And this pomegranate plant is building on last year's plant. It is putting out new leaves in the cold of winter sitting in my kitchen window.

I've had some great dreams in the New Year, too. Stay tuned to hear about them!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

And Happy New Year

It was one of my favourite kinds of New Year's. Dean was gone (that wasn't the favourite part) to play in Radium so it was just me and the kids. New Year's Eve we scoured the house and made goodies. Kaetlyn had a friend over (Drew couldn't find one who didn't have plans), Rhiannon had a long nap. We made pizza from scratch and played scrabble (here called squabble) while we ate it. Then we watched Beverly Hills Ninja which I hadn't seen - so we had some good laughs. We mixed up the first of the saft that we made in the summer from elderberry blossoms (it was SO good!). And then we played Sorry to bring in the New Year. We wished Happy New Year and fell into clean beds (and well, I had to sweep the floor in my bedroom because I couldn't start the New Year with a dirty floor...)

We also had some time for this. Is that jumps made out of snow? Why yes, it is. Is that my son flying over them? Why, yes, yes it is. And that is me not having a coronary taking the picture. What can I say? I am just happy they are not in my garden.

And New Year's Day had us playing more games but of the online sort. Rhiannon got a Webkinz for Christmas and we have all had fun looking after her virtual pet. Here Andrew is helping her earn more money on the arcade games.

And me? I spent some time writing in my journal and reflecting on the new beginning. My word for this year is EFFORT. Last year it was DISCIPLINE. And this year I will be contemplating/learning/studying/doing more about this aspect of discipline. Effort as opposed to struggle. I think for most of my life, effort has been equated with struggle. Lots to think about and you can be sure I will write more about it! But now it is light out and it is time to go let the chickens out and collect the eggs!