Sunday, 22 September 2013

Through the seasons...

"and the leaves were telling secrets to the wind...that falling is just another way to fly."  That quote seems so delightfully appropriate as we celebrate the fall equinox. This moment of balance between light and dark.

I have journeyed through the dark, and danced in the light. It's amazing what you go through, not just as a mother but as a person when your world shifts from light to dark and back again - from falling to flying as the quote suggests. We all go through these transitions, the cycles of the seasons within ourselves - over and over - it's never ending. We plant seeds, we watch them grow, we harvest them and we hibernate.

As we get closer to the end of this year's cycle I see how balanced the falling has helped me become. How much more centered I feel being aware of what season I'm in, within myself. 

I used to celebrate each turn of the year with formal, sometimes elaborate, rituals. Over the past few years, however; I have come to mark the season's changes through participation - my physical actions a meditation for the changes within that coincide. To mark the harvest we canned, we picked apples and roasted vegetables, and as we did this I thought much about the seeds I had planted in the spring for myself...

 thought about how today marks the beginning of the next chapter of the year and
how abundant our harvest will be. 

have always struggled in my relationships - professional and personal - co-worker, sister, daughter, lover, mother... often it didn't matter. My depression fed insecurities. 

Once I started to deal with the dark and learn to be okay in the light, I was able to make more of an effort to give energy back to those who gave it to me. I always doubted the happy, feeling more comfortable in the lows than the highs. Once I became aware of this I made a conscious decision to have relationships that were fair and equal exchanges of energy.  

Rather than simply planting a seed and seeing what would happen, I nurtured my relationships; I watered and sunned what sprouted. And I am forever grateful the seasons helped me do that. 

This time of year is indeed about harvesting; for me it's about being grateful for the gatherings that took place all summer which enriched those relationships, and myself by proxy. I now sit calmly knowing that I have love and respect coming from so many different directions and where before I would doubt it, or its sincerity, I now unquestionably accept it as part of my bountiful harvest. I know that I'm deserving of it, because I helped it grow. 

A blessed Mabon/Autumn Equinox. 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mama's night out - dishcrawl style

It's Mama's night out and I'm on a dishcrawl. 

What's a dishcrawl you ask? It's like a pub crawl, but rather than have your head swimming from too much booze, your stomach is bloated and delightfully full from all the food you've eaten.

We stumble all the same.

For the next three hours we will visit four restaurants, with three samples at each. The theme: a foodie's paradise. NOM NOM.

The night starts off with a glass of wine at the first restaurant and I'm delighted to see an old co-worker has joined the tour. I catch up on all the gossip from my old radio station - which is indeed juicy with news of former co-workers, and I fall into a relaxed rhythm of chatting with a handful of the other people doing the crawl. It turns out I know a few people and the night turns into a little bit like work as I network and possibly score myself a new freelance client. 

I take out my fancy new phone that takes great photos - then I realize restaurants and pubs are dimly lit and i should have brought the good camera. 

The other mama shows up. She has brought her husband. So much for a mama's night out. But I really like her husband so it's okay. Kiss kiss. More wine please, and bring on the food. 

Arnaud, who manages the Tir N'an Og downtown gives a delightful spiel on the pulled pork hoagie we're about to ingest - it's on a pretzel bun and it's AMAZING. Gluten-free goes out the window for the night. 

Good thing, because after a beef and mushroom pot accompanied by a yummy grapefruit draught (only 2% - it's so light it tastes a bit like juice... if juice had hops) they bring us the temptress that is a deep fried red velvet donut dusted with sugar and drizzled with white chocolate. 

It goes great with the last of my wine. We are rushed out of the pub as we are running late. I will get a smaller glass of wine next time.

I'm pleasantly fuzzy as we trek to the next stop on the tour, which happens to be one of my favorite spots downtown Sir John A's Public House. Here I get giddy with excitement for Scottish fare - yes haggis with gravy is included and it's all melt-in-your-mouth-joy-on-the-palette. (piccalilli relish ftw!)

Paul, the owner, regales us with tales of the food we're about to eat and how it's prepared. 

This evening is delicious and educational - who knew!?

We are whisked off to the next location, Chez Piggy. It's beautiful but I love the pub and wish we could have stayed there longer. 

My attitude quickly changes as the chef chats about the local and sustainable food choices they are serving. Organic Enright Cattle - deepfried oysters - and the most exquisite cheese I have ever tasted, sourced from Woodstock ON -- "We sell it next door in our bakery," Chef Ian says - which causes me to dance on the inside knowing I'll be back tomorrow for more. 

My editor from one of the papers I write for shows up and we decide to slowly finish our glasses of wine. We get so caught up with work talk that we miss the group going to the next and final stop for dessert. I know it's amazing carrot cake from SIPPS but rather than rush for it, we realize they'll be half way through by now, and I trust my pregnant mama friend to eat my portion so we finish our night on a work note. 

Being able to taste all these samplings from a restaurant's menu and do so from FOUR different spots was an incredible experience. I'm happy dishcrawl has come to Kingston and honestly, can't wait to go on the next one Wednesday, October 23. This next one I'm sure will see a group of mamas trekking through the downtown core tasting from place to place. It's too good a deal not to. Christine, the organizer (that's her below) tells me she's aiming for a haunted theme. Awesome.

***update: So it turns out Christine likes the blog and has offered a free ticket to the next event to give a deserving mama the chance to join us!

Enter by telling us in the comments below why you need a mama's (or papa's) night out and you could win a free ticket to the next dishcrawl! (value: $60)

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

clowns, rides, sugar and a petting zoo - what could possibly be wrong with this equation?

Okay, so she didn't get any sugar. I know, I know - I'm a shitty mom. Take your kid to the fall fair and don't let them get cotton candy or a candy apple. We will all be thankful at bedtime tonight and my natural mama instincts will be glad that I didn't allow my child to ingest a pound of refined sugar. 

But still, what an asshole. 

I did, however; completely guilt trip my partner into taking us so the afternoon was about rides - primarily so he could get me to shut my trap about not having been on one since way before mamadom 3 years ago - it was also about demolition derby (no, I'm not joking actually) and attempting to get our child excited about goats and chickens, donkeys and llamas. The llamas she dug. The rest she didn't really have any use for. 

Until she saw the horses of the merry-go-round. I never got why they called it the "merry"-go-round. I mean, yeah I'm not so dense that I miss the "go-round" part, but I never found the ride exceptionally happy. Now I get it. The look on a two year old's face when, after picking out her favorite color of horse (oooge), going round and round and up and down, registers that she is indeed holding on to a horse and going round and round and up and down. 

  Also, when she spots her papa filming from the crowd and yells out a "HI PAPA" so loud I'm convinced he can hear it over the insane clowns-a-dancing-carnival music. He cannot. 

The slide was the other ride she got to experience. I have a photo of me and my grandfather on one of these from when I was 3. Who was I to deny the kid the slide.
She didn't love it. It was just... well, it was. Not as much excitement as I had hoped for. Expectations right? 

Interspersed with all of this I got to go on a ride with my friend Liz - who seems to be the only person in my life who isn't lame and will go on rides with me - and even the reluctant grump went on a ride.... 

and LOVED IT. 

The fair is so much more fun when you go on rides. Even when you don't get the sugar.