Monday, January 2, 2012

A Look Ahead at 2012

Here we are, at the start of another new year. I swear the years are getting shorter, but, well, that's probably that pesky ageing process. In any event, we're here, and we have a whole new year laid out before us on which to imprint a little bit of ourselves.

You're most likely going to read a slew of posts in the next little while talking about resolutions. This won't be one of them.  I don't really make resolutions. I believe that if you want or need to make a change in your life, you should do it when it feels right, and maybe that way you'll find it easier to stick to.  Why wait until some random moment to improve? Live in the moment!

That said, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that this time of year does tend to push me into doing some deep thinking and analysis of where my life is headed. I look  at the past twelve months and try to figure out what, if anything, I've learned, and where I'd like to see myself going in the next year. Then I decide how to make that happen. Are they resolutions? I'm sure some people will say so, but I don't call them that. To me, a resolution is just something you think of because you feel like you have to do something. I set loose goals, things I want to do, things I will do, but they're not the standard things like losing weight, or quitting smoking, or any of those things.

If you read my last post, which I hope you did, you'd see I learned quite a lot about myself. I started this blog, which pretty much triggered a landslide of creative endeavours.  I discovered photography, and I started painting again. Most of all, I felt GOOD about these things. As a kid, I was very creative, and imaginative, but it wasn't really ever nurtured in me, so I never really accepted that I was any good at anything creative. I don't think it was intentional, so this won't turn into a huge 'bash Tara's parents' post. It's just how it was.

In 2011, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with people who really helped me see that I could try my hands at whatever I wanted, and not stress so much about the end result. Sure, I'd love for everything I do to turn out well, but art for me is so much more about the process.  When I create, it feeds something in me, and when that part of me is sated, it just sends so much energy to the rest of me that makes me so good inside. And when you feel good, you tend to spread  that feeling to others. Don't get me wrong, I'm by no means a master of every art form I attempt, but you know what? Who cares? It's okay.

I feel like 2012 is my year. I've got some big big plans.  I want to continue to improve my writing, so to that end, I'm going to be building my own personal website, which I hope to have going by mid to late January. The website will be the new home for this blog.  I'm also starting a new blog, which I've finally named. It will be called Epic WINnipeg, and it will be all about my passion for my hometown.  I really hope you'll like it.

I would also like to continue learning and growing as a photographer. I have no formal training, but I am learning all the time, and it's a huge labour of love for me. Froot Loops and family will have a role in this progression too. They have a big big project coming up, but I'm not going to tell you what that is. You'll have to wait for my website to be up to find out!  Soon, my pretties!

I'm also going to be working on my painting. Of all the things I do, I'm probably least comfortable with my painting skills, which means I need to do it more! Practice practice practice! I'm a big fan of doing things that make you uncomfortable, since it's a sure fire way to find growth. 

Away from the creative side, I want to continue to enjoy life with my boy and friends and family. I've really enjoyed how much more relaxed as a person I've been the last year. Things haven't gone entirely smoothly, but overall I find I'm just in a better place, and I think that benefits others just as much as it benefits me. I'd like to be able to pay it forward too. I've had a lot of people who've been so helpful and supportive, and I'd like to give back in that regard. In the last little while, I was able to do that financially, and I did, but that won't always be the case, so I look forward to finding other ways to make life better for those around me.

Big big things ahead this year for me! What are you looking forward to in 2012? Leave me a note in the comments below!


Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Letter To 2011

Dear 2011,

Wow! What a year you were! I can't say you were always good, in fact, some days, you were a wretched, wretched beast, but you know what? I learned something from you each and every day. How awesome is that?

You were a very moody year, 2011, especially in terms of weather. You came in like a cold, angry bitch, and dragged us through a tough winter and cold, wet spring. But then you redeemed yourself. You gave us a wonderfully hot and sunny summer, a gorgeous fall, and, well, I can't even believe that it's winter now. It was above zero on December 31, nice work.

Thank you, 2011, for the last 365 days we spent together. You brought me enormous personal growth, both emotional and spiritual. You brought me into contact with some great people, and opened my eyes to people who were already there, and I saw them in a new way.

During 2011, I started this blog, and rekindled my passion for writing. I had no clue how much I'd missed it until I started again. I discovered a passion (ok-obsession) for photography, and I wish I'd found it sooner. Or not.  Maybe I wouldn't have appreciated it if you hadn't brought it to me. Thanks, 2011!

You also taught me to trust others (and myself) enough to let out my creative side. You found opportunities to put me together with people who would help me nurture that part of me that had gone so long ignored. This has been your greatest gift to me.

I had a lot of good days while you were here. Partly by circumstance, but mostly, because I CHOSE to have good days. If there was one thing I learned this year, it was that every day is a gift, and we can create the outcome. We can wallow in all the negative stuff that life throws our way (and you did a great job at that, 2011), or we can look deep within ourselves, and our situation, to find some glimmer of hope, and something we can learn from. Life is all about growth, and never has that been so clear to me as this last year.

You went by to quickly, it seems, but I understand. You're probably tired too.  Thanks for stopping by, and farewell. It's been a great year, but I'm moving on.  Love you!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This Is Why You Should Not Let Me Name Things.


I've decided to start another blog.  I'm going to keep this one, but it's my personal one, and I have a lot of passions/opinions that I want to get out there.  That's great and all, but I'm not sure my personal blog is the place to do it.  I'm pretty good about saying what I need to say, but this is more or less my "happy place," and I'd kind of like to keep it that way.

They say you should write about what you know, and what you love.  To that end, I've decided that I am going to start a blog dedicated to my love of my hometown, Winnipeg. I've been thinking about it, and gathering ideas, and I'm really excited.  I've got some things I want to talk about, and ideas as to where I'd like to take the blog, but I'm not going to over-think it, because I want it to progress organically, and see what happens.

So. I have my blog idea, and I've got some design ideas, and all I need is a name.  One would think this would be a fairly simple task.  I am a creative person, this is true, but I am also a bit of a perfectionist.  I can think of ideas, then I worry that they suck. Most of the time they're pretty good, but I think I just obsess too much.

I've always been this way too.  I struggle to name everything.  My pets, my blogs, my stories.  I'm actually glad I adopted my child, because if it had been up to me to name him, I think he'd likely have a stupid name like "Breckin" or something.  This is where I apologize to all the Breckins in the world, but it really is a dumb name. 

I'm really excited about the blog to be, and I hope you will be too.  Look for it soon... if I can ever think of a name. 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Story Of David

I know that some of you know this story already, but some of my newer friends may not, and I'm often asked to retell it, so I thought I'd post today the story of how my true love David and I became a forever family. 

First, a little back story.  I am unable to conceive children on my own.  I lost one of my ovaries at the age of twelve to a large, gangrenous cyst that almost killed me.  At the age of 24, I lost the other ovary, and I seldom discuss details of that time, just because I still find it hurtful.  And, really, the fact is that the fine details really aren't important to the story.  So, I found myself, at the age of 24 in menopause (and suddenly able to relate to all that women have been complaining about for years).  

The loss of my fertility was a big one for me, as it is for so many.  The biggest dream I ever had in life was to be a mother, and suddenly (and it was emergency surgery, so it was definitely sudden) there it was, being ripped away.  I didn't know what to do, or what to think, and my body was doing all numbers of nasty things to me.  There were some dark times.  This was the winter of 1999.

For a number of years, I was on hormone replacement therapy so that I could keep my uterus healthy in the off chance I decided to try fertility treatment.  I knew that adoption was also an option, but for the longest time, I left it on the back burner, and thought of it as a second best.  

I'm not sure exactly what changed.  In the late spring/early summer of 2003, I started experiencing baby fever.  Badly.  All I could think about was babies. I was 28, still not married, and unable to get pregnant.  It was almost like a light bulb going off.  I was going to "research" adoption.  My first move was to go online and see how to go about the process.  I called the number for the Child and Family Services adoption department, thinking I would ask for information, and maybe they would send me a pamphlet or something, to help with my decision.

What they sent, was an application.  I decided it was a sign.  I filled it out, gathered the appropriate documentation, and sent it in.  And then I waited.  Adoption is quite the process.  It's a series of action, then waiting, and then action, then waiting.  There's a lot of waiting.  And it's nerve wracking.  But it's worth it.

They say, all told, when you adopt through Child and family services as I did, it takes roughly a year to get on the waiting list.  It took me about eleven months.  I'm pretty good about doing what I need to do when I want something badly enough.  Once you get on the list, who knows how long you wait.  It all depends on whether you want a newborn, or are okay with an older child or special needs child.  I opted to go the route of a toddler/special needs child.

Now this is where it gets good.  Usually, parents have their own worker, and kids have  another.  In June of 2004, I got a call from my social worker.  My application was approved, and it was time to finally sign off on all my paper work so I could be added to the list of waiting parents.  Great! I could be added to the list and start waiting!

But there was another thing, she explained to me on the phone that fateful day.  There was a child whose file had recently fallen on her caseload.  A 17 month old boy who had been in foster care since birth, and had recently been officially named a ward of the state (his birth parents were given a year to see if they could get their lives on track and regain their ability to parent).  She hadn't listed him as available yet, because she just "had a feeling" that this child was meant to  be mine.

This meant it was even more important to get me sign my paperwork and get me registered.  She drove all the way across town to meet me for coffee at my workplace so I could get everything done.  Then, a few days later, drove all the way back with the registration papers.  In the meantime, she "accidentally forgot" to register the little one for adoption so that no one else would see his file until I was one the list and allowed to see it.  That same day, we also set an appointment for a few days later to review the file.

The morning before my appointment, I got a call from my social worker, saying that the child and I had both hit the waiting list the previous day, and that another worker was thinking of presenting the file to another family.  Could I possibly come down? I called my Mom in an excited state, and she had me at the office in about 20 minutes.  I don't even think that is possible considering where she lives! Ha!  

At the office, I was shown an 8x10 photo of a brief bio of a very cute little baby whose name was David.  My worker told me she had a really good feeling that this little boy was meant to be mine.  She gave me some time to think, and upon her return, asked if I wanted to meet the foster mom (but not the child) to ask about him in order to help with my decision.  I had pretty much decided, but didn't want to appear too eager, so I said yes.

The foster mom was a fantastic woman, and answered any and all questions I had.  I knew that this child would be mine.  I agreed to adopt David that day.  Now, because he is older, there is a bit of an introduction process, so it was either start the next day, or wait a month, since the social worker was about to go on vacation for three weeks. I opted to wait a month, as difficult as it was, because I knew I had to arrange for vacation time and parental leave, as well as get stocked up.  I sent the foster mom a few photos of me, which she was to put out for David a few days before we met to get him used to the idea of his new mother.  She broke the rules and started right away telling D all about his new "mama."  We even met for a doctor appointment during this time, and David was all over me and calling me Mama.  By the time we "officially" met, he was very used to the idea.

The process was very smooth.  I visited the foster home, at first to watch his routines, and then participate in them to make it easier.  After a few days, I took him out on small trips alone, and then the foster parents brought him to visit his new home.  Finally, on September 14, 2004, David came for his first overnight, and we signed the placement agreement the next day with much fanfare.  I knew that I was going to love this boy forever.  The adoption became final on May 12, 2005, not quite two weeks before my 30th birthday.  Who can ask for a better gift than that?

David and I have been mother and son for seven years now, and there is not a single day that I don't thank that social worker for bringing us together and following through on her gut feeling.  David could not be any more my child if I gave birth to him.  He's so much like me that it's scary, and I can say it's definitely meant to be.  Never before have I truly understood the phrase that an adopted child is not born in your womb, but rather born in your heart.  David was born in my heart, and in my heart he will forever remain.  I love you always, my boy.

If you made it through, congratulations! I know it was long.  Thanks for reading my story.


Friday, November 25, 2011

One of Those Days

Ever have "one of those days," where it starts out bad and you wonder what could possibly happen next? Yep.   Today is one of them. 

I had a lot of stuff to do this morning before we headed out, and I know I should have done at least some of it last night, but of course, I put it off, which is always a recipe for disaster, isn't it?  Then, literally as soon as my alarm went off this morning, I got a text with some distressing news about someone I know (but it turned out relatively okay in the end), which added a tiny bit to my workload, but that is okay, because it could not be avoided.  I was more worried about the person than anything.

Basically, I started the day at a bit of a disadvantage, and it kind of spiralled from there.  Add to that a sky which is a lovely shade of dark grey, and a lack of motivation, and it's really no wonder I felt so blah.

Anyway.  I did what I needed to do (hampered slightly by stiffness from a fall I suffered yesterday after I was attacked by an icy sidewalk), and headed out to parent teacher.  And wonder of wonders, the day actually started to look up!

We got to parent teacher a bit late, but we got there.  It's so much fun to see all that my child is learning and how much he's changed.  I learned he is struggling a little bit in math (which is surprising when your mom is a big math nerd), but we got some good suggestions to help that.  Here's the awesome thing:  the kid who struggled so much with his reading last year, to the point where he needed intervention, is now the top reader in his class!  He's got mad comprehension skills!  And his spelling is awesome too!  Words cannot express how proud I am of this boy and his dedication to learning.

After that we went to the library so he could get a library card, and take out a book or two.  We had limited time, and it was hilarious to watch him zipping through the rows of books trying to pick something.

At this point, Gramma announced she was coming to get the boy, and we zipped back home (thank you, downtown skywalk system) to meet her.  She was happy to hear he did so well, and decided she should send mommy off to have lunch on her!  Yay!  She also filled me in on the boy's Christmas gift, and I know the boy is going to be VERY surprised, since I told him Santa would likely not be bringing that item to him.

After lunch, I decided to come back to the library and do some research, because, sometimes it's nice to have a change of scenery.  The day got even better after that, because I ran into a friend, and we sat and had a bit of a visit.   Didn't get much research done, but I am actually okay with that.  I suppose I should really go home soon, but it's been nice to be out.

That's been my day today.  Started out badly, but all it took was one little thing to shift my perspective, and it's turned out to be quite a lovely day.  I love it when that happens.  


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Busy Little Monkeys

Greetings, friends!
It's been a while since I posted, so I figured it was time for an update!  Big big stuff going on here, and I hope life is treating you all well too!

Been in a little bit of a funk, lately, but I find myself coming out of it, even though I am sure the head cold I've been fighting hasn't helped my mood either!  The transition from the work I've always done to finding something that's more suitable for a slightly vestibularly challenged individual has been a bit rough. I know I can't do the job I was doing, but I'm slowly figuring out how to transfer the skills I've gained into a new career. It's frustrating, sure, because I've never really NOT worked, and sometimes I let it get to me.

No more of that. I'm going to focus on what I can do, and while I am in  transition, I'm going to try to get a couple things going on my own, because, if you want help, you need to be able to help yourself as well.  To that end, I'm going to start putting more effort into my blog, and for those who don't know, I've also opened a webstore  here to show off some of my favourite photographic works, and as a vehicle for people to catch up with their favourite sock monkey Frootloops!  In the future, I plan to sell my photography directly, but this is a good place to start while I'm still learning and growing as a photographer. I am self taught, so it's a process for me, and it's quite enjoyable.  The feedback I've had thus far has been really helpful too, so thanks, everyone.

Now, for those of you who don't remember, Frootloops is my little sock monkey friend who loves having adventures.  He's a very fun little guy, and quite photogenic as well. In May, he went travelling, and had the opportunity to visit some fantastic people and places. He went to New Hampshire, Connecticut, Oregon, and even Australia!  He's more travelled than me! 

He recently returned home, and, in his travels he found a wonderful woman, Coco and they became engaged!  En route to Australia, they also welcomed a daughter, Trixie!  Ah, they were busy monkeys indeed.  Now that he's home, he's been busy trying to prepare his family for the upcoming Winnipeg winter, and he looks forward to showing off his hometown.  He also got to meet the little girl monkey I adopted while he was away, Honeycomb.  It's a big happy family.

Frootloops and family have a lot planned this winter, and are excited to share their adventures with you all. If you want to see what they're up to, catch them on Facebook here.  Like the page to get the updates!  


Wednesday, October 12, 2011