Sunday, December 21, 2008

Of Nightingales and Lover's Plights

When I was about 14 years old, I happened upon a little book that contained a collection of poems by William Blake. I read through, or rather I devoured the pages, and I realized that I had found my favorite poet. His darker poems and the fact that he was viewed as a harmless lunatic (which may seem odd) endeared him to me even more and to this day he is still one of my favorites.

Although I like to believe that I can write, I mean I get paid for it, I don't fancy myself a poet. I am much happier meandering through a paragraph than stressing over a stanza. I would rather draw a picture with words than have a few lines to illustrate my point. Still, I get the occasional inspiration for a poem and I will jot them down. Most of them remain completely and utterly secretive and not even my husband gets to experience any of my poems but a few make their way out into the spotlight and I haven't been boo'ed off a stage yet. (Not that I have been on a stage.)

Tonight I thought it would be nice to post two poems that I wrote a few years ago. Feel free to post what you think.
by Sirena Van Schaik

It whispers in the starless night,
As nightingales take to flight.
The moonlight echoes between the leaves,
My love lost in the breeze.

The sadness that has become my bed,
Is stained with tears where I lay my head.
And I wish for the morning sun,
For the happiness that will never come.

Telling secrets of my lover's hate,
The night whispers of my fate.
And the nightingales sing with voices clear,
Lamenting the funeral I no longer fear.

And the second one:

Lover's Plight
by Sirena Van Schaik

I found my lover by the stream,
And I knew right then he was my dream.
But my lover has no need of me,
Of my love he wants to be free.

I have searched for him all my life,
And for what do I have but a soul of strife.
But my love does not love me back,
In me, something he did see lack.

The secret kisses that he stole,
Are painful memories of a fool.
Now this dagger has found its rest,
Within my broken heart and chest.

And on the ground I lie so still,
My lover's life I no longer live to fill.
May my lover find me dead,
And my grief be his instead.

That I carried both day and night,
Because my lover gave me not but spite.
As I breathe my last deep sigh,
I wish my love did not die.

Have a great night.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Clothes Only Come in Gift Bags

Every year and almost every occasion, whether it is a birthday, Easter or Christmas, one thing always stays the same at my house:

"Clothes only come in gift bags."

This doesn't mean that other items can't be found in a gift bag but there is a 98% chance that if you receive a gift bag from me, it means I got you clothes. I'm not sure where I started this. I don't remember gift bags as a kid and I think it became a traditional thing after I moved to Ontario and started celebrating holidays with my in-laws.

Although I began using and enjoying gift bags after I moved to Ontario, I rarely received clothes in the gift bags. Instead I received all sorts of little goodies and my husband's grandmother would always load up gift bags with nuts and chocolates and all the other little treats that people indulge in. So it leaves me wondering why gift bags have become the wrapping of choice for clothes.

I think part of the reason is that I don't like to have frumpy packages under the tree. I prefer to have beautiful wrapped boxes intermingled with boxes. The whole aesthetic thing, you know. It has become such a common thing that my children will immediately say, "Oh, a gift bag, that's just clothes."

This year; however, I have decided to break from the norm and every gift bag under the tree will hold other items besides clothes. The kids will be in for a shock of their life and I will have to deal with frumpy packages (unless I run down to the store to pick up a few gift boxes).

And that sort of brings me to Christmas. Although it is only five days away, I haven't really felt that Christmassy. I am finished shopping outside of a few odds and ends (namely stocking stuffers) but I still have about 80% of the wrapping to do. I'm hoping that I will be in the Christmas mood soon enough but if not, it will kick in a few hours before Christmas morning.

That is always a tradition too. No matter how off I feel or how worn out, I stay awake most of Christmas Eve waiting for 6 o'clock so I can sneak downstairs, turn on all the Christmas lights, and set up the coffee pot so it is ready while the kids are opening their stockings. I used to go and wake the kids up after I had everything done but now I go back upstairs around quarter to seven and lay in bed, pretending to sleep so the kids can burst into the room and experience all the joys of waking their parents up on Christmas morning.

My planning may seem a bit silly but I never leave Christmas lights on when I sleep (call me overly cautious) and I want the kids to come down the stairs to a fully lit tree. There is so much magic in that first glimpse of the tree; fully lit, the angel shining brightly in the darkened living room, the presents piled under and around it. Magic on Christmas morning.

Well, on that note, I should sign off. I have presents to wrap and I told my husband I would wrap them tonight.

Have a good night and Happy Holidays.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Articles, Articles and More Articles

I have been very busy over the several months, probably the reason why I have been neglecting my own blog, and I have finally finished a lot of articles. And I do mean a lot. I have been working for a client creating a number of mini articles, ones that range between 400 and 600 words. The topics have been about a range of things, all of them assigned to me. Some are topics that I have written about before and others were ones that I would never have thought of writing if I hadn't been asked.

Anyway, my client sent me a long list of all the articles I sent with all the links to them so I thought I would post them here. There are too many to post in my link list so it is better just to keep them in one post.

I hope you enjoy them.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


My husband and I went Christmas shopping today and on the way home we started talking about vampires. Do not ask me how we get from Christmas to blood sucking fiends...oh wait...crowded stores sucking the life blood from my wallet. Okay, obviously there is a connection.

Anyway, we were talking about various movies, books and television shows that are centered around vampires and my husband happened to mention the movie, "Bitten." It wasn't the best movie that we have seen but it had a few good moments. One of those was the fact that the vampire was more of the traditional style of vampire. She needed to eat all the time, when she ate there was dead people. At this point, the characters in the movie were left with a body to deal with, which a blood hungry monster would obviously leave behind.

Of course, this conversation led to other conversations, all surrounding the undead and I came up with a great little scene involving vampires.

Okay, picture the background. Nice living room, two guys (not sure why I'm thinking guys) sitting on the couch, blankly staring at the television with a bored expression on their faces. The first one turns to the second and says, "What do you want to do?"

The second continues to stare at the television screen and begins picking his long fangs," I don't know, what do you want to do?"

"I don't know, what do you want to do?"

"I don't know. There's nothing to do."

Long pause as the vampires watch the television for a few minutes before the first one jerks up, "How 'bout we go and kill someone?"

Second one thinks about it for a few seconds, "Nah, I killed someone last night. I hate to say this but killing people just isn't as fun as it once was. I mean, no one screams in terror, they just laugh and say, 'Nice fangs, moron.' Where's the fun in that? I could just stay home if I wanted to be insulted."

"Oh," long pause," Well, we could go and get a drink."

"Yeah, we could but I just had a snack not that long ago. She wasn't that tasty, too much McDonald's but it hit the spot."

"Yeah, yeah, I ate too," even longer pause, "Hey, I hear the old Dracula movie is playing on the movie channel tonight. Want to watch it."

Second vampire nods his head, "Yeah, sounds great. Let's do that."

Of course, mine isn't that funny but when you think up the undead, there really isn't that much to do at night. Sure, you can go to a couple clubs, hang out with other like minded individuals but the bars close eventually and then what, hang out at the all night Walmart. Now there's a way to spend eternity. Even if you have an active "vampire life," there are going to be a lot of nights that are mind numbingly boring.

Anyway, there is my little thing on vampires. And just in time for Christmas too!


Friday, October 17, 2008

The Licked Thumb

When I was a little girl, (I asked my mother...just kidding no songs of Kai sera) I swore that one thing I would never do to my children was lick my thumb and then wash their faces. Nope, not me. I mean the habit is completely disgusting and you aren't really washing it, simply removing dirt and adding germs.

I still feel the same way, but... Yep, you guessed it. I have washed my kid's faces by licking my thumb and then wiping it all over their face. I grumble about having to do it and my kids get upset about me wiping them clean with my spit, which in turn creates more grumbling from me about having to do it.

It is a horrible cycle and one I try to avoid but occasionally, like once every month or so, we are out somewhere and I look over and see a dirty face right before we walk in. Can't have that, out comes the thumb, the tongue swipes over it and like an eagle bearing down on a rabbit, I grasp my squirming kid's, ignore the pleas to not wipe my spit across their face and continue to clean them up. I wince inwardly the whole time but I do what needs to be done.

Today, as my wet thumb was descending toward my oldest son's face, him squirming for his life, he suddenly started dry heaving. He is so disgusted by it, and the fact that I am spreading germs to his face that it makes him gag.

I tried not to laugh, really I did but I couldn't help it. Here I was, holding him steady with one hand while my other wiped spit across his pale face. He was shaking his head back and forth, eyes squinted in disgust and then he started going "harumph, harumph." I thought that he was going to throw up on me for sure.

So after that, we have come to an agreement. He is going to try his hardest to wash his face and I am going to try my hardest not to use the licked thumb routine.

I would leave you with a song for Kai Sera but I think I will be nice.

Have a great weekend by the way.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Memory Lane: The First of Many

I was going through some of the boxes that I have downstairs, pulling out stuff that could be chucked, transferring other items into boxes so it was organized when I came across a file folder filled with old stories that I wrote when I was a teen.

Going through all the old stories really made me shake my head and I wonder what it was about my writing that earned me an award in high school. I have the whole teen angst, I know everything there is to know in life, thing going on but I don't think I expressed it very well.

Other times, I would start a story and then just leave it, never realizing the full potential or anything else. I have pages of pages of ramblings so I thought what better way to enjoy those ramblings than to share them with anyone who is reading my blog.

I will probably post one or two a month, whenever the mood hits. Tonight, I thought I would start off with a story that I started when I was nineteen. I remember starting it when I was at work. I worked retail and no one came in during a certain time of day so after dusting and various other tasks, I was often left twiddling my thumbs or reading. Then I got the bright idea that I could start writing again. Usually, I would just start a story and someone would come in and my train of thought would be lost. (Obviously I had a very short attention span.)

So without further introduction, here is the story (untitled) that I had started. (unedited of course to preserve the authenticity.)

As the last light of day slips gently out of my eyes, I feel the scream of anguish fill my sore throat. It is night now, the eternal shadow that clings painfully to day's side. Night, where the dead hide in shadows and the darkness clothes the damned. Why do I fear what I cannot see? Why do I feel dread at the sight of dusk? Why do I continue this impossible quest? Because I, because I, Alexander Simmons, do not have the answers. It was so clear when I was 20, even when I was 40 but now my mind and my body have out aged the answers. My body is weak and frail where it once stood strong and heavy. The answers are still there but they are not solid to an old man's ears but they may be solid to yours. Please take the time and hear my tale.


And that was it. I have no idea where the story was going or why I chose Simmons as a last name. Still, even with that, the first few sentences are pretty strong and then I wander off, singing a song of regret and fear and suddenly I introduce you to Alexander Simmons, the long lost brother of Richard Simmons and he is actually terrified that he will need to work out. And shouldn't it be outlived not out aged.

Okay, a little harsh about my own work but if I can't look back and laugh at some of the thoughts that came out of my head, I'm afraid that I will never be able to catch up with all the newest ones that try to tumble out.

I hope you enjoyed tonight's installment of memory lane, tune in next week for another story that will leave you hanging. VBG.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Elections are Coming!

The Elections are coming! The Elections are coming! Quick, run for your lives! Get out! Flee! Retreat! Do something, don't just stand there!

God, how I hate elections. I'm so not a fan of listening to various government officials talking out of their asses and pretending their breath doesn't stink. Not too jaded, am I.

If you aren't sure what I am talking about, the Canadian elections are scheduled for October 14th, at least I think it's the 14th. If it isn't, I know my husband will point me in the direction of the nearest polling station and like a good little civilian, I will wearily go into the voting box and make my choice.

My husband and I have made it a matter of marital harmony to not discuss who we are voting for. We used to but it was too much. I would usually end the conversation by calling him a name (rhymes with lass) and telling him that he had no sense. He would end it by shivering in revulsion at my tried and true, eenie, meenie, minie, mo form of voting. (Okay, it isn't quite that bad but I have on several occasions thrown away my vote, which is probably the same in his eyes.)

This year, we have broached the subject a few times since there really isn't any party that either of us would want to vote for. None of the leaders really strike confidence in my heart and it's become a "six in one, half dozen in the other" type of election year. I have even asked my three year old who I should vote for.

He, of course, was very helpful and decided that I should vote conservative, my husband should vote NDP and he, my youngest, would vote for Liberal since Stephan Dion sounds very silly. (His words, not mine.) I guess when your three, silly goes a long way.

This election has actually become my running ground for being silly. I have asked a three year old who to vote for (be assured that I probably won't take his advice, you know, "eenie..." still comes in handy) and I have had little running tirades on just about every party.

I have decided that I would love to go and get all of the parties' signs and stick them in my yard. I will make an elaborate maze with them and then at the end of the maze I will stick in a sign that I make. It will have a huge question mark on it and it will say, "Are you as confused as I am?"

My husband doesn't think the parties would like my idea very much so I decided that I would need to get the Sign Bandit to come up here to start taking down all the signs. Probably not a good idea but I hate getting up each morning, looking out my window and seeing this giant face looking back at me. (One of the parties has erected this huge sign across the road from me, on public property, featuring this huge mug shot. To top it off, it's a party I haven't even heard of. Not a great way to start the day.)

My last idea was to start a whole online campaign where I have a website that people can send in their videos on why Canadians should vote for them. It could be called Vote For Me (but not me, more like vote for you). Completely satirical but this idea came too late in the whole election process and I have enough work as it is. Besides, knowing Murphy's law, I would get elected and me...Canada won't want that to happen. VBG.

Hopefully, this election will pass and Canadians will go back to never hearing from their politicians. I swear they disappear as soon as they are elected, and isn't Parliament shut down 11months of the year. Yes, I know it isn't that bad but still.

Okay, I better sign off for now. I am having a grumpy day, obviously and needed to rant a little (I guess). Hope everyone else is enjoying the elections and if you aren't, don't worry, they will pass.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

A few changes

I decided I needed to make a few changes to the blog. I have been contributing to it a bit more than I usually do so the overall appearance was starting to get to me. I have added a few things, including, ick...a picture of me, and I will be playing around with layout and everything over the next few weeks.

Hopefully, I will have everything finished up within a few weeks and no one will feel displaced by the changes.

So I hope you enjoy the changes.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Book Woes

I am an avid reader, actually I once thought I had a reading addiction after reading a sign, "Are you a compulsive reader? There is help." I was standing in the bank and I felt a moment of panic, "Oh my God!" when I realized that I must be a "compulsive reader" since I was reading the sign.

Yes, I read everything but it wasn't something I needed to do so thankfully I wasn't that bad and didn't need to seek help, although I probably should have seeked help for a few other reasons. ;o)

My oldest son, like me, loves to read. He is only 7 but he goes through books faster than I can. At first I thought he wasn't really reading when he would say, "I've read to page 64 of Journey to the Center of the Earth (the classic, not the movie version)," in the same amount of time it took me to read half that amount. It's not a light read and although there were a few words he didn't understand, mostly place names, he was retaining enough to get the just of the story.

Still, I decided that he should read to me so I was sure he was actually reading something. Much to my surprise, he was reading fluently and was even able to pronunciate the harder words, except those words that no one knows how to pronounce.

Yeah for my little boy! Unfortunately, he is often found with his nose stuck in a book. If we are driving anywhere, his nose is in the book, even a 5 minute drive to the grocery store and I find that I have to compete with a book just to talk to him.

This isn't a bad thing, he loves learning about new things but last night I wondered if maybe we were going a little too far with reading and learning.

I was in my office trying to work after the kids had gone to bed. My youngest was crashed, he'd had a meltdown earlier in the evening from being overtired and I was a little stressed by it all. My oldest was enjoying his reading time before lights out. He was curled up with a huge encyclopedia that answered questions about animals around the world from both the past and the present.

He seemed happy reading about lizards when I left until I heard a yell, "MOM!"

I went into his bedroom, hearing a loud thump as he dropped the book onto the floor, to find him laying with his face buried into his pillow and loud sobs coming from him.

My first reaction was, did he get hurt, but when I asked what was wrong, he said something I wasn't expecting, "There wasn't enough information in that book."

I had to fight to keep from laughing in relief and saying, "Is that all?"

Instead, after a few questions, I found that he was upset that the information on dinosaurs was limited, only a few pages in fact. I said, "Oh, well all that means is that you need to cross reference."


"Well, you find out the information in this book and if it doesn't cover everything or if your not sure if it is right, you find another book to see if the fact is right and to learn more."

He looked up at me in hope, "Really, you can do that."

The giggle was really hard to suppress as I sat down on his bed, "Sure, most books don't have all the facts so you need to go hunting for more information and piece them all together."

"But that book hardly had any information," he pouted.

"But that book was just a general book. It wasn't a specific book about dinosaurs so if you want more information, you need to bring home books that are only about dinosaurs."

He sighed in relief, promised to bring home some dinosaur books today from school and went to sleep.

I just shook my head and wondered if I was making matters worse or better. Sometimes I am just amazed how kids are. I remember when he was only 3, he was sitting in bed reading a book (we started the habit young) and suddenly he started crying in pain. I was stuck because I was in the middle of breastfeeding but my husband raced up to his room only to find out that my son had gotten his nose caught when he had closed a book. In the middle of his tear filled screams he had yelled, "I got my nose stuck in a book."

And since that day, we haven't been able to get it unstuck.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sick Today

Just a little post today since I am dealing with the first cold of the new school year. My oldest brought it home with him and he was actually looking forward to being sick. I blame this little oddity on the fact that both of my kids have had great experiences with doctors and hospitals. To them, getting sick and having to go to the hospital means Popsicles and videos (the children's hospital really is amazing).

Unfortunately for my oldest, he missed getting really sick but he managed to make his little brother sick, he missed school on Monday and finally me sick today. I haven't been able to work at all, my head is all fuzzy but the worst is the sneezing. I swear I haven't sneezed so much in my life. Hopefully I will be feeling much better by the morning but for right now, I'm going to curl up with a nice cup of tea and nurse my head cold. Now that I had my little whine. ;o)

Hope everyone else makes it through the fall without a cold or anything else.


Friday, September 12, 2008


When I was a little girl, I lived near the ocean. Not right beside it but for many who live in the lower mainland of British Columbia, the closeness of the ocean is well known. I loved the ocean. Loved spending days exploring the beaches, staring at star fish, digging up sand dollars and I loved taking the ferry over to the Island. At one point in my life, I had wanted to be a Marine Biologist.

Still, even with my love of the ocean, I was partly afraid of it. This was the body of water that had sea monsters in it after all; sharks patrolled the depths, and I had heard horror stories of Blue Sharks and Mako Sharks. Forget about the Great Whites, there were lots of other monster sharks in the sea and they were all longing for a chance to taste human flesh. (I have mentioned before that I have an active imagination, now pair that with a little girl and her imagination)

Needless to say, I was terrified but it didn't drive me from the ocean and I wanted to swim through the water even more. I didn't really give any thought towards fishing sharks and after I moved away from the ocean, I didn't give much thought to sharks at all. They weren't a concern for me anymore since I was landlocked.

It seems to be a sentiment that so many people share. It's not a concern that affects me, so why be concerned. I was instinctively afraid of sharks and although I couldn't condone this instinctual fear when it was targeted against my favorite animal, the wolf, I could condone it against sharks.

It wasn't until I was an adult and living in Cincinnati that I really saw the error of how I was thinking. There I was, enjoying the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky (for those who aren't familiar with the area, Cincinnati is just across the river from Newport, Kentucky) and I decided to stop in and see the shark show. The divers in the tank seemed completely at home but they weren't what captivated my attention, it was the beautiful sharks that glided around them. They were breathtaking and I realized that my fear of them was a little outdated. My son was in awe and after the show, we quickly moved to the tunnels where the sharks would be swimming around us.

And that was amazing. I longed to be in the water, touching them as they swam past and it was almost overwhelming being in a tunnel where they swam over my head or under my feet. They were pure grace and although they were predators, I didn't feel the dislike I had as a child.

I wasn't so reformed that I rushed out to the nearest ocean and went diving. For one thing, I didn't have immediate access to the ocean, for another, I know absolutely nothing about scuba diving (although I have done snorkeling). The only thing that had changed was my opinion of them and I found myself watching documentaries about them.

Which is what I did last night. I watched Sharkwater. I had wanted to see it since it was in the theatre but I rarely see anything in the theatre and the last few movies that I have seen has been children's movies. Then, much like countless other movies that I had wanted to see, I forgot about it until I saw it advertised on a movie station.

In regards to movies, I probably wouldn't say that it was a must have for me but I will say that it is definitely a must watch. Everyone should watch it because this is a problem that everyone is a part of. Whether you eat shark fin soup or not, it is up to everyone to try and save the creatures that share this planet with us.

You might not believe in evolution, you might not believe in creation, but regardless of what you believe there is an infinite truth; everything in this world has a purpose. Each life force on this planet lives off another, whether it is the herbivores that eat the plants or the carnivores that eat the herbivores, every animal has a role to fill. Sharks are an apex predator and one thing that I have always been aware of is that man usually hates apex predators. Maybe we see ourselves in them, maybe we see competition for the top spot but regardless of what it is that we see, we often fear them.

There are countless stories of the evil of wolves, countless stories about lions, countless stories about apex predators and how they will try to devour humans at any opportunity. Despite these stories, we have come to realize that these animals are merely that, animals. When they attack, it is often a case of mistaken identity, starvation, protection or even disease. It is not premeditated, it is not evil.

Ok, I'm am starting to rant so it is probably best if I stop right now. My main point of all of this is that things should be done to save sharks. Long-line fishing should be banned across the planet, much like whaling, and people should stop eating shark fin soup. I'm not overly squeamish but watching people hack off the fins of sharks, while they are still alive, made me close my eyes.

So, I am recommending that you watch Sharkwater and I also recommend that you stop by a few of the sites promoted by the movie. Regardless of your feelings about sharks, they are an apex predator and something that we have seen time and time again is the fact that apex predators are essential for the health of the eco-system around them.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

A little chat

I talked to my sister last night. Probably for most people, that phrase is pretty standard but I haven't talked to my sister in years, if you don't count one phone conversation a year or so ago. It was great to talk to her, and if you are wondering about everything, I had a conversation with my half sister.

I think I have eluded to it more than once but if I haven't, I was adopted by my aunt when I was three months old. When I was about 4, my biological mother moved to the states and I didn't see her or her children until I was close to 12. When I finally met her, I learned that I had two half sisters and a half brother (on my biological mom's side) and it was a great. My family grew even larger.

Unfortunately, I fell out of touch with everyone and finally had the clever idea to actually check facebook to see if she was on there. And she was so after sending her an "add friend" request, she sent me her number and I was able to talk to her.

It was really nice. I, of course, rambled. I find that when I am nervous I ramble. About everything, about nothing, just keep talking and you might be able to fight through those nerves, Sirena. It never works and I find it very embarrassing. I hang up the phone and wonder, sheesh did I just talk (the person's) ear off. Probably.

I long for those days when I was the quiet shy girl that had to have conversations dragged out of her but I'm not. Somewhere from there to here, I just started rambling whenever my nerves were playing havoc.

Needless to say, I rambled last night, probably a lot and I could just imagine that my sister was saying, "Damn, that girl never shuts up," because I was saying to myself, "Damn, I never shut up."

Hopefully, the nerves will be calmed a lot more the next time that I talk to her and that horrible habit of rambling can be put on hold.

Still, even with my nerves and active mouth, I had a nice conversation and I hope that we stay in touch a little bit more than we have in the past. It is great to catch up with people you haven't talked to in a long time and even better when they are family.

Well, I think I'm finished rambling for today. I just realized that I posted more than once this month. I better slow down. VBG.

Take care,


*On a side note, I found it really interesting that we gave our youngest children the same name.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Junior Kindergarten

Just a quick note today before I head off to start working. I am feeling really out of sorts since today was the first day that my youngest started school. The house seems so empty without him here and it feels strange carting two of them out the door in the morning.

Thankfully, it's not every day but when I dropped them both off at school, and I watched my little boy (he's only three by the way, darn end of year birthdays) wander through the school door, over sized backpack on his shoulders, I had to wipe some tears from my eyes.

It is such a mixed feeling watching my boys grow up. On one hand, I am happy that they are growing up and discovering the world around them but on the other hand, I don't think they've stayed little long enough.

Still, he is overjoyed with being at school and his brother is happy that he is there (especially since his classroom is just across the hall), so that is what is important. A weepy mom will just have to get over herself. ;)

Anyway, I am off to work, writing birth stories about the little boys that are now big boys at their school. Boy, I think I should put a box of Kleenex on my desk for today.

Take care,


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Universal Truth

My oldest son has a very difficult time with transitions. He hates new routines and will usually fight them since he has a lot of anxiety over them. We have had him assessed and he has seen a developmental paediatrician and it basically comes down to the fact that he has a "slow to warm up" personality and he is of "superior intelligence" (as they refer to it), or as the rest of the world would say, "he's really smart."

Anyway, the new school year was causing him a little anxiety and although we have been warning him for the last three weeks that school will be starting, he was starting to get a little worked up about all the changes. Instead of complicating the matter even more, I decided I would resort to bribery and I told him he could have any meal he wanted as a special treat if he had a great first week of school.

He jumped at the chance and said he wanted me to cook a turkey. A turkey! Not, let's go to McDonald's, nope not my kid, he wants a turkey dinner. I agreed and that is why you find me today, cooking a turkey.

As I was preparing the turkey, I realized that there is a universal truth about cooking turkeys and I wanted to share it with you.

So are you ready...drum roll please....

The Universal Truth of Cooking a Turkey...

"No matter what you do, the moment you stick your hands up a turkey's butt, you will have an excruciating itch somewhere on your face."

Oh, you try to ignore it, that little itch just above the eyebrow or the little twinge on the nose, your hands are, after all, covered in turkey fat and other nastiness found on the inside of a turkey, but the little itch grows and you find that it is so annoying you just have to scratch it, even if it is just with the inside of your bicep.

This does nothing for the itch but it leaves you looking like you are rehearsing for the world's worst adaptation of the chicken dance. One foot raised up on tiptoes, your head slumped down, your arm up and covering your face as a turkey wobbles to and fro on your hands. It is just pathetic, but you don't want to take your hands out of the turkey, wash them off, scratch the itch and the moment you stick them back in a new itch begins.

So you tough it out, slightly dancing in impatience, knowing that if you don't scratch that spot soon, you are going to start crying. Then, when you are finally done, your hands are extracted from the turkey's butt (okay, it's not really the butt but it's pretty close) and you have washed away the turkey grime completely... the itch is gone (that is until you start stuffing the turkey).

And what is the moral of my universal truth...

...Probably that you should never stick your hands up a turkey's butt...


Monday, September 8, 2008

Resident EvilER

My husband is a huge fan of zombie movies. I swear that I have read more zombie books and seen more zombie movies than I ever cared to see simply so I could share an interest with him. After having some pretty nasty nightmares, I decided that we would need to find a different interest.

I detest zombies. Can't stand them and I prefer to not watch anything with a zombie in it. I'm not sure why I feel this strongly but I think it has something to do with the whole flesh eating thing. Give me a zombie that doesn't devour flesh and hey, I'm cool with it. "Who cares if you are the walking dead, just eat vegetarian please."

Regardless of how I feel about zombies, whenever my husband brings in a new book, I'll usually read it. Sometimes the stories are very clever and the writers are very talented at crafting their genre. It makes for a fun (can't believe I used that word with an apocalyptic genre) read and I can usually cope with all the "mmm...brains" scenes that fill the books. Movies, not so much, thank you Hollywood and all your special effects.

Still, I watched the Resident Evil movies, and I am Legend, and Shaun of the Dead (very funny movie actually and I am a fan of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost now because of it.) So I have had my fill of zombie movies.

So where am I going with this. Okay, now I need to set the scene because, of course, there is a story behind all this rambling. I was flipping through the PVR guide (similar to tivo) and I noticed a movie called Doomsday. I mentioned off hand that there was a movie that I figured my husband would want to see. He came running into the living room (okay, he didn't really run but he scampered...hurried...shuffled like the undead into the living room).

"Yeah, I wanted to see that," he shuffles from one foot to the next before sitting on the arm of the couch (yes, I allow that awful habit and it's actually one of my preferred spots to perch).

I ignore him and continue to flip through the tv guide. Yep, nothing on...oh wait a minute...the sequel to Dirty Dancing is on. DH laughs before I can even say anything, "I can't believe they made a sequel to that movie...I guess I shouldn't be, lots of people liked it."

I grin, "I was a closet Dirty Dancing lover. I wouldn't let anyone know that I loved that movie and only watched it when no one was around."

This makes him laugh. Of all the things to be ashamed about but the thing is, I was a bit of a tomboy growing up and if I always felt that liking "girlie" things made me less of one.

Anyway, back to the story. After I cycled through all the stations, DH still sitting on his perch, waiting for me to give in, I finally say, "Do you want me to record it for you?"

Without missing a beat since we both knew what movie I was talking about he says, "Yeah sure, but it will probably suck."

"They all suck. I mean even Resident Evil-er sucked."

He shakes his head, "Resident Evil-er?"

"Yeah, the third one. It was called Resident Evil-er, wasn't it."


"Oh yeah, it wasn't," I pause deep in thought," You know, they should make a movie and call it Resident Evil-er. You could have the deep voice over guy say," I clear my throat and try to create a masculine voice-over-guy tone," You've seen Resident Evil, now prepare for the scare of your life with Resident Evil-ER."

At that, DH laughed at me (something he does a lot) and I lost my train of thought but I could totally (yeah, like totally) see a movie called Resident Evil-ER. You have to stress the errrrrr because those zombies aren't just evil in my movie, they are evilerrrrr.

Needless to say, DH will be watching another zombie type movie and I will be doing something else tonight. Maybe I will be working on my manuscript for Resident Evil-ER but probably not.

At least I got on here to post, although I am sure at this moment, you are probably wishing that I took another two months off.

Happy Zombie-ing!

Sirena Van Schaik

*Edited to say that as it turned out Doomsday did not have Zombies but did have cannibals and it was bad, bad, bad, bad.*

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Okay, I hate starting blogs up again after I have been absent for a while. I know I always say the same thing, I'll keep up on blog posts but when it comes to my personal blog, I just don't think I have anything interesting to update.

Just to give you a quick update, I am working on many freelance projects right now. Over the summer, I finished a recipe book and a baby name book for two separate clients. Loved the former, and really berated myself about the latter. If I ever see someone looking for another baby name book, I am going to turn off the computer and run away.

I just started an online writing course on how to write sexual tension into a scene. Generally, I don't write much in the way of romance but any story can have sexual tension and the one novel idea that I have been researching for the last 3 months will rely on some of the elements that I learn about in this course. It is a dark suspense and really has nothing to do with romance but there are a few elements here and there. I am, after all, a woman so I tend to enjoy the occasional romantic gesture.

September, wait it's September now, my article for Mothering Magazine will be published. If you can get your hands on it, pick up a copy and let me know how it is. I haven't received contributors copies yet but hopefully soon. It takes time but I am so eager to see it, I will have to hunt it down. According to Mothering Magazine, they are sold in Chapters in Canada so I will have to take a trip over to Chapters when I get 5 minutes.

And there is a little recap. I'm not going to promise to write everyday; let's face it, I don't stick to that promise but I will stop by when my schedule allows it or I have a thought I want to share.

Actually, I often have a thought to share but it is always when I am away from home or busy doing something else and by the time I can write something here, the thought is gone or I don't have the time to punch in a few words. '

So bear with me and maybe, just maybe, I will be blogging away happily about all the misadventures of being me.

Take care,


Saturday, May 10, 2008


I've been suffering from nightmares again. I always attribute it to my over active imagination and the lack of writing. I'm not sure why I'm having nightmares since I am writing every day but I think it might be do to the fact that I'm not writing fiction. I have a lot of non-fiction articles to write right now and I'm finding it hard to balance the fiction with the non. I know that I have to do something and not for the sake of simply getting rid of these nightmares.

They have been very bad and it has made me not want to sleep, not want to dream. Since I don't want to sleep, I stay up until I am exhausted and have no choice but to go into the bedroom and fall asleep. Then I am up again a few hours later because I have had another nightmare. It has been ongoing and when I try to sit down to actually get some writing done, I find that I am too tired to think properly.

I will be working on a new schedule, trying to find time to post here everyday and to write a little fiction, even if it is only one or two pages. I know I can do it and all it takes is a little planning.

For today though, I'm going out to enjoy the sunshine and get some vitamin d. I might feel much better by the time I get back inside.

All the best,


Monday, April 14, 2008

Baby Shower

Thought I would list a new site where you can find a couple articles from me. It is and it really is the place to go if you are throwing a baby shower and I'm not just saying that because I have written for them.

I also wanted to mention that you can go and read my other blogs at and

And that's about it for tonight. I will have more tomorrow, possibly about zombies since I have been reading some of my husbands books but for now, I will sign off.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Walking for Kid's Help Phone

I woke up this morning still feeling a bit of the melancholy of yesterday but as the sun slipped above the horizon, that melancholy went away really quickly. I did spend most of my day outside, enjoying the sunshine and getting the yard organized. It is amazing how rough it can look by the end of the winter but it looks much nicer now and all I need to do is wait for some of my spring bulbs to come up to really make a difference. I'm going to have to see about setting up an office outside this season so I can write in the sunshine.

Before I made it outside, I came across the Bell Walk for Kids Help Phone. At first I wasn't going to sign up and I went off to check my email. Sure enough, I cycled back to the page and I decided that I would do it. So on May 4th, I will be walking for the Kids Help Phone and my kids will be pulled behind me in a wagon. I am taking pledges so if you happen by and want to pledge, either hit the widget in the side bar or click here. My goal is 500 so hopefully I can get there.

If not, I will still go out and walk it. I have a lot of conditioning to do over the next few weeks but who knows, I might become addicted to marathons. Let's hope not though. VBG.

So it was a much better day today than yesterday but isn't that how the song goes.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April 1st

I haven't posted in a little while and I actually wasn't going to post today but decided that I would just to vent a little of the emotion that is fogging up my brain. Today is April's 1st, the day of fools for so many people. I used to love this day but 16 years ago on this day, the only grandmother that I had ever known passed away. I was only 15.

I find it odd that since that day I have never celebrated April Fool's Day. I have never played a trick or been sarcastic on this day (about the only day of the year when I am not sarcastic). I'm not grieving anymore for my grandmother but I do feel a sense of melancholy every year on this day.

Today was no different than any of the other years and it really creates an understanding of how important a person can be if you still miss them 16 years after they have been gone. Maybe if I could go and visit Lynn Valley, the place where her ashes are spread, the melancholy wouldn't affect me as much but I live over 3000 miles from Lynn Valley now and that isn't an easy trip to make anymore.

Instead, I went for a drive and watched the water rising in the river (there was a lot of snow this year so it looks like there may be flooding) and I got a little work done but not as much as I wanted to. Oh well, there is always tomorrow and from what I understand, it will be bright and shining with spring sunshine trickling between the bare branches of the trees surrounding my home. Tomorrow the melancholy will pass for another year and maybe next year will be the first time in 16 years that I can truly enjoy April Fool's.

Until tomorrow,


Wednesday, March 19, 2008


When my son asked me if he could have a cat, I told him that there is no way that I was ever going to get another cat. "We have one," I told him, "and I don't want another cat after Lobo. Besides you are too young to get a cat."
Sure enough, I stuck to my guns for oh, about two months. I have to say that I am amazed I had held out that long. My reluctnace over getting a cat came solely from the fact that we lost a cat a little over a year ago during the food recalls. Colonel had liver failure and we found out that the food we were feeding him had been recalled. Colonel was only 2 when we lost him and it was really hard for everyone.

So, I'm a slow healer. It takes me a while to warm up to the idea that maybe getting another cat won't be too bad. I finally got it, something my son had gotten a long time ago and we opened our home to a rescue kitten.

She is very cute, very spunky and fits into our home very well. I do have one problem with her, though. She has decided that laying on my chest at night is perfect for sleeping and if I kick her off my chest, then snuggling as close to me as possible is the second best. Plus, if she is pressed right against me, she can take advantage and lick my elbow all night.

I'm hoping this is just a phase and she will go and sleep with the kids as soon as she is big enough to jump up on their beds. For some reason mine is easier to get at.
Anyway, here is Leena.

And here is Leena and Lobo (if you can't tell, they are already friends but Lobo is still a little miffed at me.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Blog Roll

I thought I would take a few minutes to just let you know that I installed a new blogroll on the side bar of the blog. There are many wonderful sites there so I encourage you to take the time and read some of them. You never know what wonderful tips you will find.

Enjoy and I should have more soon.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

New Blogs

Just a quick post tonight since I am very tired. I wasn't going to post today since I was feeling a little overwhelmed with work and everything else in life but at 13 minutes to 12 I decided to get in a post last minute. Boy, did I cut it close.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I am officially writing for two blogs. One I can't give you the URL for just yet but soon I hope. The second is Love of Labs, which is for another client.

Oh, speaking of blogs, go check out my husband's new blog at From the Knife's Edge. It's a sculpting blog if you are wondering.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Days I hate being a freelance writer...

Usually, I love that I am a writer. I enjoy putting those words to the paper and creating something new. Sometimes, freelance writing can become a bit boring, especially if I am writing about something that I am not particularly interested in...all for that pay check at the end...but most of the time, I enjoy it.

And what's not to love. Not only to I get to put word to paper and try to craft something exceptional (which doesn't always happen) but I also get to research. I'm probably a complete nerd since I love learning new things and chasing down facts but it is one of the facets of freelance writing that I really enjoy.

The one thing that I hate about freelance writing is chasing the pay check. It is a necessary evil, no work, no money, no money and I have to go find a real job (lol). I have been very fortunate with work. I have found some great clients, and I have had a lot of short term contracts but I still have to put in the time to get those clients and when one doesn't work out, I kind of feel like I'm not good enough.

I know there are 1000's of other writers out there looking for work so I shouldn't feel too bad but sometimes I get very frustrated, especially when writers are offering only 3 bucks per article. For one point, why bother asking for pay at that point and for the other, how can you feel good about what you do when you only charge that much.

This last week, I had a potential client pursuing me pretty relentlessly. I opened up my email to find 4 emails from her over a course of an hour pushing to get going on a project that I hadn't officially accepted yet. I have to admit that the tone of the emails, and everything else made me hesitant to work for the client but I continued with the negotiating phase since I enjoy the content she wanted. I also felt that maybe after I had ironed out the specifics of the contract, everything else would calm down.

The client came back with different word counts and asking me how much each would cost. I stayed pretty firm on my quote but at times, I actually undercut myself because I started worrying about charging too much. Then I found out that instead of going with me, the client chose a writer that was only charging 75 dollars for 25 articles. I'm fine that the client chose someone else but I felt that flush of frustration over the whole thing.

I think it has more to do with how the client pursued me and then how they decided that I just wasn't cheap enough. I can't understand how anyone can expect a well written article for that low of a price and even a seasoned writer with tons of experience and thousands of awards would skimp on a job that was only paying them 3 dollars an article. You would want to get at least 3 written in an hour to feel like you were making at least minimum wage and with research, writing and revisions that just wouldn't happen. Not to mentioned a seasoned freelance writer isn't about to take a position for that low.

Oh, well, to each their own and as a potential client once said to me after offering me only 7 dollars per 1000 word article, "I used to pay $4 for articles but I had to stop because I got what I paid for."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Writing Class

I'm taking another online class about finding the joy of writing again. It is ways to get over writing blocks and also ways to be inspired. So far it has been wonderful and I am learning a few things from it. I might not be inspired just yet but I have only been taking it for a week so I still have 3 weeks to go.

I find that I need to be inspired right now and when it comes to the novel, always. I will put it to the side because it is the dream, the thing I do for myself and I don't pursue things for myself. I have always put myself last in a long list of others so the novel suffers for that.

Hopefully, this class will help center me and I will be able to focus on the novel each day, if only for a few minutes at a time.

On a side note, I took a telephone conference this weekend as well and the speaker of the conference strongly recommended taking 15 minutes for writing each day. This is recommended for those writers that work full time in a different career but I am going to apply it to my situation. Maybe I write more than 15 minutes per day but it is for clients so from now on, I will put aside 15 minutes for my novel each day.

I really hope I keep up with it.

Until the next time I take 5 minutes to blog, have a good week.

Monday, March 3, 2008

"Shake Hands with the Devil"

This last weekend I watched the movie, "Shake Hands with the Devil." I'm not sure but I think that it must be a theme for me. First I see the article about Anne Frank's "One true love" and then I am watching a movie about the genocide in Rwanda.

No, I'm not usually this fixated on the sadder aspects of life but I guess it is something that is not too far from my mind. I am aware of the plight of others but I can't relate to what others have been through. I mean how can I honestly say that I can empathize when I have lived a western life. Maybe I wasn't sheltered and I did see some of the negative aspects of humanity but I have never experienced anything even close to what those who have lived through genocide have seen.

I guess all I can really do is try to raise awareness and to try to help those that I can. I'm not this great superhero but I think that I can make some changes to the world, even if they are little changes.

Shake Hands with the Devil really got my mind working. I have read the book by Romeo Dallaire so I knew the story behind Rwanda and the time he served there. It was an excellent book and I spent a lot of time crying while I was reading it. I found the movie was just as strong and it stayed pretty close to the book. I strongly suggest that you read it or at least watch the movie.

All I can say is that things like Rwanda should not be allowed to happen. We need to make a stand, push our governments into acting and to help those in need. We need to educate ourselves about what is going on in the world and not try to hide from it.

I know, I know, two semi political posts in a row but I really wanted to share the way my thoughts are going right now. And I guess that is all I really have to say today.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Anne Frank's "One True Love"

The other day I came across an article about Anne Frank and how they finally have a picture of Anne Frank's "one true love." You can read it here if you haven't yet,

If you haven't read the Diary of Anne Frank, I would strongly suggest that you do so. I read it a few years ago and it has become one of my most honored books. You don't approach the book looking for a good read (although it is very strong) or witty plot lines carefully pieced together by some writer. You approach it as what it truly is, the world through the eyes of a young Jewish girl during World War 2.

You really see who Anne Frank was and you share in the world that she knew for over 2 years, it is not filled with just unhappiness (there are some very unhappy parts) but it is also filled with the human spirit and its ability to continue on despite horrible odds. Anne Frank mentions her "one true love" in the book and I never really thought about the fact that he wasn't pictured. I never really thought much about him, but after reading the article I was really happy that a part of his story will be remembered and that a little boy with "beautiful brown eyes" will not be forgotten.

It is sad that so many people have been lost and it is even sadder that no matter how many people we lose to atrocities throughout the decades, and not only atrocities in World War 2 but also atrocities that are still being carried out right now, those people are forgotten when the next big break on Angelina's (supposed? I'm not really up on this) pregnancy or Paris Hilton's DUI is headlined.

What we do remember, however; are the aggressors, the murderers, and we forget the people who should really be remembered. We should remember Anne Frank and Peter Schiff. We should remember the countless people that have been lost to genocide and to senseless crimes, we should remember our humanity.

And that is really why I was touched when I read this article about Peter Schiff, because it is a shining example of remembering those that have been lost.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"R-r-r-r-oll Up the Rim" Again

Well, it's that time of year again. No not spring cleaning although that isn't too far away, and it's not Easter. Nope, it's that wonderful time of year that every Tim Horton's mean...consumer waits for.

It's time to "roll up the rim!"

I should have realized that it was almost upon us when I joked about the silly coffee cup rim roller that a certain store was selling but I didn't. I just laughed with the cashier about the absurdity of paying 2.99 for something that has the same function as your teeth or thumbs. After that, I completely forgot about it.

Today though, I stopped by Tim's (as it is affectionately called) and ordered a medium regular for my husband. I longed to say the words, "and a large double double" but refrained from it. You see I am a big time Timmie's junkie. I know my vice and I have fought the addiction for years.

For those of you who drink Tim's, you'll know what I'm talking about when I describe how great it tasted every morning. Other coffee just can't compare. I remember when I lived in Cincinnati for a year, I would drive 30 minutes out of my way to go to the only Tim's near me. The coffee wasn't that great but it was Tim's so I had to have my fix. Sure I was able to calm the addiction a little and only go once or twice a month but it was very sad since there was a great bagel and coffee place only 5 minutes from me. Whenever I would go home to Canada, the first stop after the border was the Tim's. Didn't matter if we crossed in the morning, afternoon or two in the morning, we needed the Tim's.

Still, I ignored the fact that maybe I had a problem and just went on with my merry life.

Then a few years ago, I decided maybe I was drinking a little too much and maybe it was time to quit. This coincided with the beginning of February, which is my month of change. Don't ask me why that is but every February I cut my hair or dye my hair or quit a habit. Maybe it's because I need that change so I can make it through the rest of winter or maybe I am officially crazy. Whatever the reason, I always cut myself off from Tim's in February.

Even if I am doing a great job at avoiding my habit, I always get tricked into drinking Tim's when the "roll up the rim" event starts. I lie to myself and say, "Just one cup to see if I can win." One cup leads to two, which leads to three, which leads to me being hooked again until the following February.

This year I decided to give up Tim's again but it was for reasons besides change. It is after all the season of Lent and I gave up the one thing I didn't think I could live without. I have been doing very well, no Tim's, very few cravings and I can actually go to the drive through and order a coffee for DH without feeling the need to order for myself.

Now it's that horrible time again and those red coffee cups with their yellow "Roll" are beckoning to me but I am going to win this battle. I am doing this for myself and it will benefit my health, and my wallet (because let's face it 365 days of large double doubles at 1.37 per cup that is a whole lot of money). So the next few weeks of the roll event, I will be tempted more than once but hopefully I will get through it and be Timmie's free on the other side.

For those of you still enjoying Tim's, please "roll up the rim" for me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

First Rejection Letter

I sent out queries for my first novel about a week ago and I wasn't actually expecting answers back yet so I was a little surprised when I found the envelope sitting in my mailbox.

I knew there would be a rejection letter the moment I opened the door to my mailbox but I was a little confused when I opened the envelope to find my query letter stuffed inside. I almost missed the little 1 inch x 3 inch cut piece of paper that said, "It doesn't meet our present needs." I opened it up outside so I almost lost it in the snow.

I thought I would be disappointed but I wasn't at all. Maybe that will kick in later. I did actually say, "Thank, God. If that is how they send back rejection letters, I don't want them for my agent."

I'm not sure why but I just felt a little jipped. I mean where was the form letter stating yadda, yadda, yadda, etc, etc, etc...No, we don't want your manuscript.

The fact that I was indignant about how small my rejection letter was just made me laugh and I think that is the whole reason why I don't feel destroyed.

Thank you Mrs. Agent Woman. You started the rejections on a positive note for me. So all you other Agents with a mighty pen in your hand (or in this day and age a mighty keyboard), bring it on!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hello again

Well, it's been a while.

(Embarrassed pause, shuffling of feet.)

I know that I said I would write more than I had at the end of the year but like all great resolutions, that one fell to the wayside. I can say that I have been busy and that is the main reason behind my not writing. I have had lots of work and when it comes to getting the deadlines done, it always comes down to not writing personal things.

This blog is one of the personal things that I have not done but thankfully this week will be an open week for me. I just finished up a series of articles today and will be finished the next series by Tuesday, only one left and I just need to find a loaf of bread. That is a long story and I'm under an NDA so I can't tell it to you.

That will give me Wednesday through to Sunday, and possibly all the following week to finish up one last contract, and get some personal writing done. The novel for one, the website for two and the blog for three.

So just a little post but I will try to get on tomorrow and post something about how wonderful my new kitchen table is or something. Until then...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Well, I'm a parent!

When I was 9 years old, I found myself watching a program on television. Children wearing next to nothing stared back at me from inside the TV, their eyes dead and pain filled, all hope washed away from souls as they focused only on living. Their limps were thin and their bellies were swollen from lack of nourishment.

I sat there for a long time and thought about the children that were sick and dying, children that had lost hope and needed someone to help them. My heart wept for them but when I asked to sponsor one my parents told me no. It was a heart wrenching experience because I knew that I needed to help in someway but I had no idea how to.

The years went by and I have always thought about donating to Foster Parent Plan but I hadn't. There was always one more bill to pay, one more item to buy, one more thing that we needed and I never thought that I had the money to support a child in Africa or some other war torn country.

Then one day I woke up and looked at my house filled with the clutter of too much stuff. Things that I don't need but believed that I did to feel fulfillment of the soul. Sure I appeased that part of me that wanted to give. I don't throw garage sales but instead I give my gently used items to good will. I purchase the occasional food bag for the Salvation Army and give money whenever I see a charity asking for it. I buy the stars and rainbows for a dollar and write someone else's name on it (namely my kids) and I donate the toy at Christmas. I know that enough little things can equate to one big gesture but I needed to feel like I was doing something, even if it was sponsoring just one child.

So 12 years later, I have finally done what I wanted to. I have enrolled to sponsor a child in Kenya. My kids helped with the process of choosing the country and it will be a family sponsorship. I hope that through helping others I can teach my children what it means to give and to care about others. I know that I may not have tons of money but if I can go and buy Tim's every day of the week, I can afford to sponsor at least one child. I'll lose my Tim's but I really don't need the coffee.

So I am excited that I made the decision to help and I hope that others will do so as well. We receive all the information in 2 to 4 weeks so I can't wait to get it and start reading about the child that we are helping. It has been a long time in the making and this time I didn't need to ask my mom for permission. :o)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ramblings from Somewhere out There

"Hello, my dear friend. It is so nice of you to come by and visit me. You fill my days with endless minutes, each one ticking by with excruciating slowness. What's that? Oh no, I don't mind the visit. Um, pardon me for seeming like an ungracious host, but when exactly are you leaving?"

My guest doesn't really talk and its not one that you can usher out the door. I am quite familiar with this guest and she has visited me many times in my life. I think of her as a muse, maybe not of anything constructive and I am sure that she has driven many to the brink of insanity but still she inspires in people something that they didn't know they had. If you are still scratching your head and wondering who I am talking about. It is my sweet friend, Insomnia.

Yes, she has decided to visit me again. I'm not exactly excited by her visit this time (not that I ever am) and yes I know that it is a medical condition more than it is a presence but have you ever wondered what it was that keeps you awake for long periods of time. It could be a number of things; the presence of stress, the presence of fatigue, the presence of excitement or the presence of worry. If all of those are present and accounted for, then why shouldn't insomnia be as well.

It hasn't been too bad, this time around. I have been able to go to sleep at about one or two. Then it is a night of waking up every half hour or so to stare at the open doorway to my room for an hour or two. That is always fun, the way my eyes slide from door to clock, from clock to ceiling, from ceiling to the sleeping form of my husband, from my husband to my door. Sometimes I sit up, defeated into believing that I should just get up. Then I lay down and realize that with only two hours sleep, most of it interrupted, there is no way I can get up at 3:30 in the morning and start working. So I lay down and begin my wanderings again. My husband's alarm at 6 tells my weary mind that it is time to go to sleep finally, and I tumble into a deep slumber until 7 when I need to get up out of bed. Usually I get about 4 hours of sleep, not too bad but I'm sure I can do much better.

This isn't the worse case of insomnia that I've had. The worst was when my oldest was only a year and a half. I went 6 weeks with only one to two hours of sleep each night. I'm not sure how I managed those 6 weeks but I was pretty sure that I had the whole world figured out and if people would just listen to me, they too would understand the meaning of life and the secrets of the universe. Actually, it wasn't quite that bad but I had very clear ideas about the war in Iraq and it turned out that somehow my weary mind must have rooted out the truth because all my allegations came true a few months after that. Too bad I didn't tape myself but I did manage a "See I told you so," to my husband.

The end of those 6 weeks came in the form of a couple drinks with a friend. I ended up drinking 2 Margaritas over the course of several hours, I know the heavy drinker. I'm not sure if it was because I hadn't really had a drink in almost two years (9 months spent pregnant and then not wanting to drink after my son had arrived) or if it was because I was just so tired. Anyway, two drinks, I was drunk. She drove me home, dropped me off at my door. I stumbled in, baby was sleeping, husband was playing a video game and I went to the bathroom, threw up, stumbled into bed and slept until 6 the next morning. I was so embarrassed that I had gotten drunk but the next morning I felt magnificent. The insomnia was gone, my unwanted house guest had left and I could function again without being a conspiracy theorist.

I'm not quite back in the same spot today but I really want to sleep. Last night I thought I could, I was tired at 10 and I shuffled into bed by 11. I think I was asleep by 11:30, a feat for me even when I don't have insomnia. Turns out both kids wanted to stay up last night. First I woke up to both of them giggling in their sleep. I love listening to that sound. It is an uncontrolled laughter. The way laughter should be when there is no fear of being embarrassed if you snort or shoot milk out of your nose. It is a full laugh and hearing kids laugh in their sleep makes you feel like the world is right, at least for a moment.

So I listened until they fell back into a dreamless or at least a quiet sleep. Then I fell asleep again almost instantly. I awoke a few hours later to first one, then a second request to sleep in my bed. Soon I found myself perched on the edge of my mattress, my back turning to ice as the blanket is pulled away from me, revealing my thin pj's. OK, no problem. I get up, and grab a second blanket. A survival instinct that kicked in by the time my oldest was about 3. (although kids sleeping in my bed is a rare occurrence).

Warm and finally able to curl back up on my 2 inches of mattress, I fall asleep only to be woken up by a loud shout. "STOP KICKING ME!" I jerk awake to find my youngest has turned in the bed and is now kicking his brother in the head as he sleeps. The yelling came from my oldest who is trying to avoid the flailing 3 year old's feet. Instant mom comes raring to the surface, or was it instant drill Sergeant. You, stop kicking, you sleep there, you sleep there, both of you sleep in your own room. No one budged from the bed but I did manage to get some order and the kids were back to sleep before I could even fluff my overcrowded pillow.

A few hours, or maybe minutes later..."I need my pillow." I crack my eye open to see my oldest sitting up. My husband has finally woken up and I hear him say, "Go get it then." I watch my son hop off the bed, run to his room and run back with his over sized pillow that looks really good compared to my flat pillow. He then places it at the end of my bed and my 2 inches is cut in half and I am now perched on the last inch of mattress (you know the part, that hard seam).

"I need a drink of water," rouses me from my doze. What time is it? 4:30am. "OK, I'll get you a drink of water," I say to my youngest as I stumble to the kitchen and pour a fresh glass of water from the fridge. He is asleep when I get back to the room and I take a long drink for myself. The sound of my drinking must have roused him so he asks for the water again. I give it to him, place it on my dresser, stare at the alarm clock for a minute. Okay, I'm not going to be getting up at 6. My husband doesn't need to get up at that time today and I was going to get up to do some work before the kids got up. No way is that going to happen so I reset the alarm clock for seven and squeeze back onto my edge of the bed.

5:00am, the cat, my prince, my old man who I love dearly has decided that it is time to get in on the bed action. He doesn't like to be wedged between people but prefers to lay beside me on the outside of the bed. Somehow in my sleep, I have managed to squeeze my legs into half an inch of space with my son on one side and a ten year old cat on the other. My neck is groaning in pain from the strange angle I am sleeping in. My left arm is numb and seems to be attached to the headboard somehow (my attempt to keep it out of the way has resulted in shoulder strain). The cat is purring softly as I try to ignore the aches and pains that are already there and the new ones that are starting to form. Only a few more hours and I really need the sleep.

5:30am "I love you Lobo, but you really need to sleep on the couch," I say as I gently push the cat off the bed. He shoots me a dirty look and I know that he will be mad at me when I get up but that extra inch of room is like having a seat in first class open up. Heavenly. I glance at my husband who is still sleeping on his stomach. How can he get that much room and I am on the edge of the bed. I fight down the urge to wake him up but I figure if I did that the kids would wake up. I try to settle back down, my first class seat reverting to economy (or worse) after I realized how much room my husband has.

The shrill cry of the alarm clock pierces the room. I ignore it. No way am I getting up to get that one. The kids are still blissfully asleep and I pretend to sleep as I hear my husband climb out of bed and turn off the alarm. I feel him looking at me and hear him sigh. He is probably thinking that I should get up first for a change. I listen to him having a shower, the kids slowly wake up and start laughing and talking. I try to ignore the indications that day has started but climb out of bed to get them dressed.

My husband comes out of the shower and I gripe at him and the fact that he didn't get up once to help me last night. He says, "You need to wake me up to get me to help," I bite back the retort but think to myself, If I have to wake you up then I might as well do it myself.

I say instead, "I did and you didn't get up."

He looks at me blankly, "Really? I don't remember getting up at all last night. You know you really have to kick me to wake me up."

I grind my teeth and flee the bedroom to have a shower because I am pretty sure another minute would find me kicking him to make sure he was up. As I close the bathroom door, I am sure I can hear the muse, Insomnia, laughing at me and my foiled attempts at sleep.

So this is where I leave my ramblings. I know I probably sound a little strange but hopefully, I will be fast asleep tonight and my kids will sleep through. If not, I will ramble tomorrow and maybe just maybe I will feel much better with each rambling.

Take care for tonight and happy dreams to those who can sleep.