Tag Archives: extraordinary life

Just Beyond the Stones

When I was a little kid, I was often curious about the white stone signage you’d see on the side of the Gardiner Expressway.  I wondered who made those things?  How did they do it?  How did they access the side of the highway like that?  And what was on the other side of that hill?  Who were the people that lived there?

Flash forward, 30 some odd years, almost every morning, I walk down to King Street, and look over to the Gardiner, and see those white stone marquees peaking up at me from under the snow as I wait for the streetcar.  It brings me so much joy, knowing those little white stones are there.  I look down at the frustrated folks stuck in their cars commuting into downtown and feel gross satisfaction that I am where I am, overlooking that highway just above those pretty little rocks.

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Lake Ontario, beyond the Gardiner

A few months ago I thought that it might be time to end my love affair with Toronto.  Living in the city with two kids definitely has its challenges.  And sometimes, those challenges are enough to make you throw up your hands and consider high tailing it out of here. There’s no space!  There’s no time!  It’s dirty, and it’s noisy and traffic is always a nightmare.  I have no lawn, and my front yard is a receptacle for the neighbourhood garbage. My yard also acts as a toilet for some hard pressed folks.

 People poop in my driveway, my friends.  Poop.

Even at it’s grimiest, Toronto is expensive and everything is  always busy.  The transit overcrowding is unbearable.  Furthermore, owning property is an unattainable pipe dream, with the most recent studies saying that the average (AVERAGE!) price of a detached home in Toronto is ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

It’s easy to wonder: “WHY WOULD ANYONE LIVE HERE?????  I certainly started to wonder, and then I started to consider the alternative.  I visited other places, I did some research, I talked to friends who live that alternative and I thought maybe we could make it work somewhere else.  I had started to feel like living in Toronto wasn’t working anymore and that me, and my family, just didn’t fit in.

After all that I had my feelings resolved and the logistics worked out.  I had started to plan our departure.  Then I stepped outside and I heard a dinging streetcar.  A pigeon shat on my hand as I pushed the double stroller down Queen street.  I smiled at my fortune and a lady asked me for money.  The same lady asks me a second time when I pass her again later.  And now I see the people, the traffic, the aging retro storefront signs.  I see a new Kizmet piece, or a KPS tag or manage to spot a new Lovebot.  I smile and wave at my neighbours, I talk to the independent shop-keeps and I slink by the abandoned mattresses that abound on the streets of Parkdale.  And though I’m a teensy bit sad about the sacrifices Marigold and Alice will have to make by growing up in the city, I’m  excited for the life and electricity and culture they will experience by growing up here.  And in it all I realize I can’t leave.  Not now, and maybe not ever.

 

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Nine years, this March , I’ve been here in this city and I still have no idea who looks after those little rock signs.  I still get excited to see those white stone marquees lining the Gardiner Expressway, just as I did when I was a kid,    Only now,  when I look up, I know my home is there, just beyond the stones….Where I still belong.

 

Happy Anniversary, Toronto.

CN Tower

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Just Me and My Parkdale

Every once in a while, all things align to make for a great day. A really special day. The best day even.

A day where plans are loose, some freedom is in sight, and your best pal is in town.

People on the streets are happy and the air is light. No where to be, no one’s schedule to follow and the day just unfolds itself for you with almost no effort.

And at the end of the day you just can’t seem to fire your way into the number one spot for all time galactic hero, but it doesn’t matter because there’s still the walk home. It’s quiet and oddly bright and it feels like you have the night all to yourself. Just you and your Parkdale.

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The Sound of Silver

You’ll have to excuse me. I haven’t quite been myself for the last little while.

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I’ve done things, said things, not done things, not said things–all amounting to a compilation of actions or non actions that are not part of my true character, things that do not reflect who I truly am.  So, I’m sorry for the emails I never sent, the texts I didn’t respond to, the thank you notes I never wrote, the phone calls I never answered, the plans I blew off, the mean things I said, the hurtful way that I acted, and even the secret angry feelings that I had that no one knew about.

I think/hope it’s behind me now.  The postpartum depression, that is.   More than five months have passed since I gave birth, and I should be on the other side of it by now.  At least it feels like I am.

At the times when I felt my most low, I wanted to write about it.  I wanted to work through it with words and I wanted to share it but I never knew if it was really real. Mostly, I really and truly desperately wanted to look at the bright side, find the silver lining, but there were some days where I just couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t allow myself to feel the sunshine in my life.  And some days I was much more successful than others–feeling good, looking good and setting all the bad feelings aside so that I could enjoy this extraordinary life of mine.

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I didn’t talk to my doctor about it, no one confirmed it for me.  I’m pretty sure, though, it was the good ole baby blues.   The part after giving birth that no one tells you about because they simply can’t explain it to you in a way that will help you understand what you’re about to go through, should it happen to you.  I wouldn’t typically recommend the “wait and see” approach when it comes to mental health matters.  If you’re feeling sad, anxious and might be suffering from any sort of depression, talk to your doctor.  She can help.  But in this case I felt strongly that if I waited long enough, I could see it through.

It probably wasn’t that bad, looking at the bigger picture, and comparative to other women who suffer much much worse than I ever did, but it was very real, and I felt very, very inexplicably sad.

Martin would lovingly ask questions that I couldn’t really answer, and make suggestions that I really didn’t want to hear.  I was just sad, and I was so sad that I just didn’t want to do anything about it other than move far away from everyone and everything. And the guilt–guilt for being sad when in my head I knew how fortunate I was to have such an amazing, loving and supportive husband, two of the most beautiful and hilarious children ever to grace the earth, an awesome job, and great friends, and food to eat, and a charming apartment in a city that I love.  How could I possibly be sad when I have all those things and there are so many people that have so much less? But I WAS sad.  Those feelings were real.

I turned to Google for advice, naturally.  I then felt strongly that the people who had written these articles for the internet about what to do when you have postpartum never actually had postpartum depression, because I certainly did NOT want to

  • Talk to someone
  • Get exercise
  • Eat healthy

I wanted to

  • lay on the couch
  • eat copious amounts of potato chips and chocolate bars, and drink gallons of Jones Cream Soda
  • never see or talk to anyone I knew ever again, aside from the people that lived in my house

I felt so alone, and I was the least amount of physically alone that I’ve ever been for my entire life.  And I wanted to shine, I wanted to be me, I wanted things to be normal but I just couldn’t bring myself to turn it all around.  I did, however, keep telling myself that it won’t last, it’s only temporary, and that it isn’t me.  And then it went away.  Mostly.

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The loneliness is still here.  But motherhood, in general, has been rather lonely for me.  It feels so strange to admit that.  I feel like an outsider in the realm of motherhood, which is a feeling that is so foreign to me.  Usually, I’m right in the middle of things–I’m the one making the plans, organizing, keeping shit together and getting the party going.  This is a whole different playing field.  I’m shy, and self conscious and feel like the other mums are judging me.  Judging me because somehow they know that I let my kid eat food that’s fallen of the floor sometimes, that the amount of hair on my bathroom floor is disgusting, and that I put brown sugar on my daughter’s Shreddies and sometimes I let her pee in the park .  I feel as though my attempts at forging friendships haven’t really been that well received.  Maybe I’m simply not as congenial on the playground as I typically am in a bar after a few tequila sodas, But I’m working on it.

A lot of the loneliness probably stems from missing my friends, my crew.  My life changed…our lives have changed.  The scene changed, we’re doing different things.  And I’m ok with that, but I miss it.  And I think it’s ok to miss it. isn’t it?  But missing it does makes me lonely.

I remember on a particularly sad day walking along Queen, by the park, listening to LCD Soundsystem’s All my Friends.  I was walking along and people were smiling at me and my beautiful baby.  I was wearing sunglasses and tears were streaming down my face.  I don’t think anyone noticed I was crying.  But James Murphy was blasting in my ear, singing “You spent the first five years trying to get with the plan and the next five years trying to get with your friends”.  I couldn’t NOT cry.  And later he sings, repeatedly, “If I could see all my friends tonight”.  And honestly I thought, if I could see all my friends tonight!  It would make me feel better.  Because I miss them.  And I’m thinking it again now!  But now I’m excited, because I’m feeling better and I’m looking forward to seeing them all again.  Yo dudes, what’s up?  I miss you guys.  Let’s hang.  August 6th? Yeah!

So there it is.  It’s out there.  The last 5 months haven’t been the absolutely most best and amazing and shiny times in my life.  I don’t write this because I want your sympathy, or your pity or because I’m feeling sorry for myself.  I’m writing because this is what I do.  I write to remember it all.  I want to remember that I felt bad for a little while after my little baby was born, it’s part of me and it will serve as a reminder to be additionally grateful on brighter days in the future.  And now, I’ll pick up and return from this little detour and re-focus on living an extraordinary life.  It’s time to polish it up–don’t just live, Peatts–SHINE!

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Living a Life of Love

The weeks and months leading up to my maternity leave were slightly stressful. Stressful only because the pressure I put on myself of course. I love working. I love working hard–I love accomplishing things and being good at what I do. I also enjoy being a part of a growing company and building a team and providing products and services I believe in. While it sounds like a cushy deal, taking a year off for maternity leave, for me, is a lot harder than it sounds.

Don’t be mistaken, I love my family, and I love being a mummy to Marigold and a wife to Martin, but it really doesn’t define me as a person.  It’s not the be all, end all of me.  Neither is my job.  I am the sum of these things and many others–all of which make me who I am.

While my current job isn’t exactly my dream job, it’s still awesome and I like the company and love my boss and the people I work with.  The hardest part is the timing, of course.  Putting my career on hold when things are positioned for growth in a major way isn’t the ideal scenario I had imagined when I first found myself with child.  I hadn’t expected that I would be getting a new boss, and that I would need to make a new and lasting impression on someone when I was tired, bloated and irritable. I didn’t think that I was about to miss out on something really rad for the next year.  I hate to miss out on things–I love to be right in the action!

I’m sure tons of other women and men go through the same thing when they take their respective parental leaves. I truly am grateful for the opportunity to take the full 50 weeks to spend time focusing on my new baby and growing family.

The last time I went on mat leave, I was literally counting the minutes before I could walk out the door and not return for several months, even though I was still there late on my last day.  This time I was really sad to go.  I was having sleepless nights thinking about the many projects I had on the go just before clocking out for the next year, and as my last day crept closer, I had expected my stress level to spike, but it slowly dissipated.  I was ready to go, and I know that I’m not in any real danger of being left behind at work.  I’m confident that I’ll be able to return and pick up where I left off and just spend this year focusing on real life–and my family.  What a treasure.

Almost three years ago now, I revived my blog because of this overwhelming need to write it all down.  I needed to tell everyone how I had never loved as much as I loved right then. With hormones running rampant, I’m sure, I was plagued with so many feelings and emotions, but it was the love that overflowed.

When I first discovered I was pregnant with my second child, of course I was thrilled, but there were hesitations that I hadn’t expected. I was worried about how I could possibly have TWO children (people survive with many more, I know I’m ridiculous) and look after them successfully. I was worried about our finances, and the size of our apartment. I was worried how Marigold will adapt. But most of all I was worried that I couldn’t possibly have any more love to give to another child. I just loved my little Marigold so much that I didn’t think it possible to have the capacity to love a new addition to our little family.

Two Peas on the floor, under a blanket

Two Peas on the floor, under a blanket

Martin gently reminded me that love multiplies as a family grows–and we have a never ending supply! We have found love in places that we never even knew existed.

The hardest part has definitely been dealing with my feelings for Marigold.  It’s weird, but I miss her.  I still spend time with her everyday, but she’s no longer my one and only, and I feel bad that my attention is divided.  This has been the greatest source of postpartum tears.  She is the most amazing big sister in all of the land, and I’m so proud with how she is handling it all.  She is a huge help with Baby Alice, and I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard her say “Don’t worry, Baby Alice.  Big sister’s right here” in the last 10 days.  And it melts my heart every time.

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One night I went to lay in Marigold’s bed with her before she went to sleep because I just missed her so.  I couldn’t stop the tears from coming, as they so often do these days.  I talked it over with Marigold, and for a not yet three year old, I’m impressed with her understanding.  I apologized for not spending as much time with her as I used to.  I got up to let her fall asleep, she said to me as I was leaving “Baby Alice needs you, Mummy.”  She totally gets it, and it just made me cry harder.  I’m so proud of her and I’m amazed at how awesome she is every single day.


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Baby Alice is just perfect from head to toe and I loved her just as much as I did Marigold when she was placed in my arms.  It’s like there’s a love explosion in your heart when you give birth–I would do it over and over again because the feeling is incredible.  And the results–well, they’re incomparable.

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So our love has grown.  Martin was right–I didn’t have anything to worry about.  We’re a family of four now.  I’m truly grateful for all the things that I have in this life, and I honestly don’t take it for granted.  I came from nothing, and now– I have everything.  And it’s definitely not lost on me, this extraordinary life of love.

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Alice's First Bath

And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter

Laugh if you want to, but my favourite book is Anne of Green Gables.  I’ve read the entire series a few times, and some particular installments in the series,  more times that I can even remember.  Lucy Maude is a great story teller.  And if you’ll remember back to when you read Anne, or even if you didn’t read the story, you probably can probably recall bits of the tv movie that aired on the CBC or you took a class trip to some high school performance of the play.  You might even remember Anne’ bosom chum, Diana.  On January 1st, my bosom chum got on a plane.  And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter.

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It hasn’t been such a sweet place as of late–the political storms, the weather issues, and the transit follies.  Surprisingly to me, I find myself sometimes wondering why we continue to live here.  Though today, I drove through the city, and I’m happy to report that it was easy to find all my old loving feelings for the city.

I took the long way home and remembered that there are so many places around with so many great memories attached.  Memories of me and my bosom chum–the things we did, and the places we met up, the places we took pictures.  I’ll sure miss her while she’s gone.

Magical Adventures

Magical Adventures

I had already lost her earlier this year.  A result of  the time and space and the things happening in our lives that began to naturally separate us.  An undesired side affect of desirable life changes, I suppose.

I met her in December 2005, at my kindred’s birthday party on Robert.  She was wearing mauve, and I knew instantly I wanted to be friends with her.   Later, I saw her kitchen and wondered even more about how we were going to become friends. And then, months later, after having moved to Toronto, I found myself meeting her at Spadina and Dundas on our way to see Final Fantasy at the Music Gallery.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before.

After watching Owen Pallett perform incredible magic on his violin, we headed back to my apartment on Robert for leftovers of the food I had made earlier in the day.  There was souvlaki, spanokopita, dolmades and tzaziki–probably the most elaborate Greek meal I had ever prepared.  I played her all my favourites from the latest Belle and Sebastian album.  We danced around my apartment, smoked a bit and I’m sure had some drinks all before exiting the back door to make our way to the Cloak.  There was nothing unusual about the path we took on our way over to see the Gospel Sundays, but AJ’s keen eye noticed a weird lumpy case sitting on top of a postal box.  After stopping and inspecting the case, we revealed the contents.  A violin.

We found a fucking violin on the side of the road after having just attended a concert featuring the violin!  

There was no one to be seen in the immediate proximity of the violin, and we left a note on the post box for the owner to contact us.  We never found it’s rightful owner.  AJ still has it today.  I don’t think she brought it on the plane though, but one day, she’ll learn to play.

It’s a special and unique friendship story that I will carry in my heart forever….re-telling it at whatever chance I get. A cosmic beginning to the friendship I had been looking for all my life.  I don’t know how else to describe it–our friendship that is.  I have a lot of people I really truly love in my life that are special to me in a lot of different ways.  Friends for greater than 30 years, some.  Others I’ve known only for a short time, and others still, who I never see or talk to, yet they continue to reside deeply in my heart.

What developed with AJ is a cosmic friendship with a bosom chum.  And I’m sure she feels the same way too.

Bosom Chums

Bosom Chums

I miss her, I do.  But I already missed her.  In a lot of ways I feel alone without her, and I have for the last while.  I’ve shared some of the most incredible moments of my life with her.   She has this ability to make any event, situation or circumstance magical.  At times I wonder if she IS in fact some magical and mystical creature like Loch Ness or Big Foot.  But she photographs well and I’ve seen her reflection in the mirror with my own eyes.

I have three biological sisters, and I am not close with any of them, and speak to them very little, if at all.  There’s a myriad of reasons for this I suppose…distance, age gaps, lack of common ground.  I haven’t thought about it enough to really understand why…but we’ve never been close, so I’ve never felt that that sister connection was missing in my life nor was I even aware that there even is such a thing as a sisterly connection.

As AJ and I grew closer over time, I grew to love her immensely and care about her in a way that was unfamiliar to me.  The only way I can describe it is that I must love her the way that sister’s love each other.  And it is a love that will never die.

The second time one of your very best friends moves away in a matter of months isn’t fun/  It is, in fact,  exponentially lonelier.  I don’t think I have fully accepted the fact that she is gone, and I’ll probably become drastically more aware, when she is not here when this little baby arrives.  I know for certain, though, that her pursuits are noble and I’m excited for the chapters that will unfold for her after her short stint away at school in Northern Alberta.

So I wait for her return, and I think of her fondly.  My magical, amazing and lovely bosom chum.  Sweet, sweet Alana.

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My 30th birthday sleep over

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In the Alley by the Pie

Giant Guinness

A stroll after Saturday Afternoon high tea

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Turkey Coma on her favourite holiday

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Straight from the bottle

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On our way to see Mates of State

8 Things

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been writing at all.   I am a bit disappointed in myself because one of my goals for 2013 was to write more to ensure that I remember it all.  I started the year off pretty good, but as life began to change, writing became less of a priority, more of a chore, and frankly, I felt like the things I have to say on the inside are not what I want other people to read.  I hope that I was still focusing my energy on my output and creative pursuits rather than consumption of things.  But a small part of me thinks that I’ve spent far too much time in front of the television in the last few months–television is a soul-sucking-life-eating time waster, and if I stop to think about it, I shudder at how it seems to drain the motivation right out of me.  I’ll have to work on that this year.

I haven’t quite put together my intentions, goals or plans for 2014 just yet.  That is disappointing in itself, but I’ve been having a rough go of it since the holidays started.  I’ll spare you the details but I’m just not feeling myself.  It is a real let down because I love the New Year.  I love the chance to start fresh–to create a purpose for myself and my life and re-focus my energy on all the things I want to accomplish in the coming months.   The truth is that I’m in this funny place–my life is about to be consumed by another human, I’ve got 5 weeks left on the job and there are no real and desirable goals that are jumping out at me aside from all the things that need to get done RIGHT NOW!  I don’t even have a fucking motto or theme song for this year yet.

But I can’t let that get me down.  It will come.  It just didn’t come before January 1st.  And I’m trying on a few candidate songs for 2014, so that’s something…

Though I’m not quite ramped up for 2014, I can still take the time to reflect on the things that have happened in the last year.  It seems, based on my facebook feed, that people were happy to leave 2013 behind them.  When I first started thinking about it, I realized I had a lot of great things to remember.  So here they are, in no particular order, 8 things that happened in 2013 that make me happy.

Pee and a Plus Sign–We knew that we wanted to have more children, so what better time was there after we got married?  I was late 4 whole days before Martin would let me take a pregnancy test.  He didn’t think it was likely after only a few weeks, but I knew deep down there was a baby in my tummy.  Sure enough, we put Marigold to bed, I peed on a stick, and a plus sign appeared.  It’s been a bumpy ride, this pregnancy.  I’ve had some minor scares, I’ve found myself much more emotional and much more exhausted.  Only 7 weeks left to go until this child is scheduled to arrive.  We’ll see if I can last that long.

The newest McWaters at 19 weeks

The newest McWaters at 19 weeks

The Begonia EP–While I didn’t do anything personally to accomplish this, it gives me a great deal of pleasure that Gord finally released some of his own music.  It was a long time coming and I’m proud of the time and effort he put into it.  It really is a great album.

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I’ve got a New Boss Now –I really liked my last boss.  He was awesome and hilarious and I literally cried for days when I found out he was leaving.  I was certain that there was no way that the new boss would be awesome or good or that really anything positive could come of the change.   Well, I was wrong, new boss is great.  Awesome and amazing even.  I’m actually quite sad to be going on maternity leave!

Hoops and Skeins and Fabric, oh my!–I’m not too sure where I got the idea for needlepoint from, but I had been thinking about it for a long while (I guess as an extension of my sewing dreams).  Finally one day, I went to the Workroom and dropped less than twenty bones on the supplies I needed to get started.  Turns out embroidery is a really simple and inexpensive hobby.  It’s similar to tracing, except you’re using thread and the results are really impressive!

The first actual thing I embroidered

The first actual thing I embroidered

Hoot!

Hoot!

Marigold admiring the scene I did for her

Marigold admiring the scene I did for her

Paying it All Off–I have had this deep dark secret for so very long that I have ignored and shoved aside as much as I possibly could, but it was still always bringing me down.  When I put my list together of things I wanted to for 2013, I included details on the things I wanted to accomplish.  I didn’t want to acknowledge my financial issues–so I just put a line in my list that said “get financially on track”.

I had terrible credit and huge amounts of debt for a really long time and thinking about it made me feel ill to the bone, so instead of dealing with it head on, I just pretended like it didn’t exist.  Turns out that doesn’t make it go away, and it doesn’t make you feel good, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t actually forget about it.

Anyways–through a variety of methods–tax returns, savings and what not, I was able to pay off my student loan, and the majority of my debt in 2013.  I am no where near as good as I want to be with handling my cash, but I’m definitely a lot better than I was in 2012.  I’m paying my bills and saving–I think that’s a good place to start!  And for the first time in a really long time–I’m not afraid to answer my phone when it says “unknown caller” because it’s definitely not someone that I owe money to.  The tremendous relief I feel is inexplicable.

Everything I’ve Longed For–I have loved Hayden and his music since the 90’s.  I would have to say that “Everything I Long For” is probably the most played album I have ever owned.  Actually–come to think of it, I don’t even think I own it–I borrowed it from my pal in  1997 and just never bothered to return it because I loved it so much.  

Hayden, live!

Hayden, live!

I have cried more tears over the lyrics and songs on that album than I could ever dream of counting.  They were a solace I could always count on for any break up.  My good friend, Ryan T., also loves Hayden as much as I do.  It is a special bond that we have shared for over a decade.  At the end of November, I finally got to see Hayden in concert–with Ryan T. sitting a few rows behind me.    It was pretty rad–the show was great, Hayden was hilarious and awesome–it was everything I ever could’ve wanted in seeing him live for the first time.

Nothing Better–Seeing Hayden live was a lot more likely than ever getting the chance to see the Postal Service.  They did one album 10 years ago, and I think they only ever did one tour.  I had often dreamed about getting the chance to see them live so when they announced a 10th anniversary tour, I would’ve paid just about anything to see them.

I went alone to the show at the ACC–it was a night just for me.  I ate dinner at my favourite Mexican restaurant, did some shots of tequila and went to the show.  As an added bonus, Mates of State were opening–they are always good live and also another one of my favourite bands.

Nothing better....

Nothing better….

Seeing the Postal Service was surreal.  The music was fantastic, the lights were amazing and they loved every minute of being on stage.   My heart was practically beating out of my chest and I felt like I had been tele-ported to 2004.  The show was outstanding.

From this Day On–I always wanted a husband, pretty much for as long as I can remember.  It was getting a bit dicey 5 or 6 years ago–I was beginning to think it was never going to happen.  I was happy with my life, and was ok with the idea that maybe I wouldn’t get to have a husband one day.  I always thought that I would make a pretty good wife.  Turns out I make a great wife–just ask Martin.  And really, being a wife and having a husband isn’t really what makes me happy–it’s the person that my husband is.  His personality, his beliefs and convictions, his compassion and interests, his strength and honour–all of those things make him an amazing person.  I’m thankful on a daily basis that he chose me to become his Mrs. McWaters.  I laugh to myself from time to time about how unsure I was in the beginning when we started dating.  And now, I couldn’t imagine my life without him.  I really do love him more and more each day and really look for forward to spending the rest of my life with him.

15a32-recession

2013 was great in a lot of ways.  Of course there were some bad times–but what good is it to focus on that?  It’s the bright spots that will keep you going…pining over the dark days will only bring you down! 2014 is going to be a busy one for us, and it’s a little scary to think about what we’re up against, but after writing this, I’m finally getting excited about setting some goals and planning for what I want to accomplish in 14.

WOOOOO!

Songs on Repeat: Modern Girl

I think I always knew about Sleater-Kinney, but I never really listened to them before I heard this song.  Like really heard it.

Sunny days and nights

Sunny days and nights

If I had to guess, I would say that the song is probably supposed to be sarcastic in undertones, judging solely on what I’ve learned about Carrie Brownstein’s sense of humour on Portlandia.  And since they’re sortof punk rock, it might just be a commentary on how people rely on material possessions to bring them happiness.  Here’s what comes to mind when I put it on repeat.

Listening to Modern Girl reminds me of the way I felt about Hole’s “Violet” back in the 90s.  It makes me want to wake up really early, drink coffee and smoke lots of cigarettes while I drive a really long distance shouting the lyrics at the top of my lungs.  This song picks me up, it perks me up and makes me feel like I can face the world.  The entire world.  It doesn’t matter to me what social commentary Sleater Kinney meant to disseminate with Modern Girl.  I blast this as my anthem–not because I’m a punk rock socialist. It is my anthem because my life, my whole life, IS a picture of the sunny day.

DSC01380
I have a beautiful baby who loves me.  I have an amazing husband who loves me.  I can get a really fucking awesome donut if I want, and buy a television if I really wanted to.  And even if I didn’t have any of those things, my life would still be full of sunshine.  Because that’s how I want to see it.

There are so many things that can stand in the way of happiness.  Things that seem so important to the value of our lives, but instead of propelling us forward, they push us down or hold us back.  Negative thoughts and actions have no purpose, but rather, they simply sap your drive to live and your will to see all that is good and lovely.

I don’t live in some weird euphoric utopian paradise zombie state, though reading back on what I’ve written, it may sound that way.  I hurt and I cry and sometimes I think I simply can’t go on.    Dwelling on those horrific feelings, while it seems to temporarily offer comfort and relief, doesn’t really offer any value, to me or anyone else.  It simply draws energy away from the things I want to accomplish in this life.

Kensington Sunshine

Kensington Sunshine

I grew up in a pretty negative environment, surrounded by some pretty significant negative influences.  I was so negative I can remember an era in my life where I would actually say to people that I didn’t want to live past 30.  My first thought now is to laugh at such immature rationale, but when I really reflect on the implications of those things I was saying, I get scared.  If things hadn’t changed and I hadn’t made a conscious effort to shed the negativity, I might not have made it to 30.  And I never would’ve been able to enjoy this extraordinary life that I get to live today.

Happiness is a choice, and several years ago I made that choice to be happy.  Surely I have days now and again where again I find myself smack in the middle of misery and despair.  But I try to remind myself about the choice I made as quickly as I can.  Rather than slowly wasting away in the dismal and gray, I can choose to live on and thrive in the shining sun.

Peruvian Sunshine

Peruvian Sunshine

Thank you, Sleater-Kinney, for writing and recording Modern Girl.  It helps me remember to make that choice.  Over and over again.  And that’s what makes me a modern girl.

When the rain clears and out comes the sun, it's accompanied by a rainbow.

When the rain clears and out comes the sun, it’s accompanied by a rainbow.

From This Day On….

I wish I’d taken more time to painstakenly savour each moment.  Instead it felt as though the entire night was racing past us.  All day and night I couldn’t wait to get to the party. The biggest party we’ve ever thrown with cheese, and booze, and music, and donuts and special lights and everyone we know and love. At the very core of my being is a hostess, and it brings me so much joy.  It makes me so happy to have people in my home. This hostessness allows me to share and aid in the merry-making of my dearest friends and it is a pleasure unmatched for me on this earth.  At the most base level, I really fucking love to party.  And you know who else loves to party?  My husband.

I’ve always thought having a surprise house party wedding would be really cool, but pulling off a surprise wedding is a lot harder than it sounds.  We decided in February that we were to be married in May.  May 11th to be exact.  Less than 3 months is surprise enough, no?

Years ago, before I’d even met Martin, I was driving along in the good old battle Saturn with my cronies, Gord and AJ, talking about boys, of course (I really was quite boy crazy, remember?).  I turned to them and said, I’m going to get married on May 11, 2013.  I passed AJ my Samsung flip phone and had her look up the date.  Sure enough it was a Saturday.  I didn’t have a boyfriend, or really have my sights set on a particular fella, but I knew my wedding date.  And somehow, I managed to meet, fall in love and marry my dearest, all in the nick of time.  I’d like to say it was clarvoyance, but it’s probably better categorized as a self fulfilling prophecy.

Bottom line?  The date was special.

I had spent weeks and months preparing for the celebration, only for the night itself to quickly fade away as I tossed my bouquet to a small clan of ladies on my porch.  I stole off into the night with my lover, my husband. I spent every spare second I had in the weeks leading up to the wedding cutting and pasting and planning and scheming and downloading and curating and thinking it all through over and over and over again.  And in all that time I never anticipated that the party would go by so quickly.  I got to spend 5 short hours buzzing from room to room basking in the glow of the best people on the planet, save a few, doing what we all love best: Partying.  And I wish I could do it all over again.  Despite how fast the night passed me by, I enjoyed every minute–I had a really really great time.

red wedding
Me and my new husband, flashing his gold ring.

For me, it all came down to crafts, a 4+ disc mixed CD set, an 8 1/2 pound cheese order, and 5 dozen donuts.   Not necessarily traditional, but a Peattie-McWaters wedding it was.

Courtesy of the Thin Blue Line
8 1/2 pounds of pure dairy gold
DIY Decorations
Pennant made from antique sheet music
Glory Hole Donuts as Wedding Cake
A small fraction of the 60 glory hole donuts
DIY Craft Bags
Hand crafted Sacs Aux Surprise!

Smoky smoky
Porch Party

All of those really awesome things aside, there was love.  So much love, our apartment was bursting at the seams.  My love for Martin, his love for me, and our love for little Marigold was multiplied exponentially by the love of those surrounding us that night.  I felt like was floating.  On a sweet cloud of love all night logn.  And I’m totally serious.

Eddie Bo-From this Day On

I was welcomed as a McWaters with a resounding “Yay” and narry a “Nay”, and the feelings are more than reciprocal.

So we danced and we drank, and we smoked, and I untraditionally swore through my speech. We floated through our home around the people that have come to mean so much to us.  An outstanding amount of love surrounds our lives and it will shine through us, from this day on.

Special thanks to all our friends that took photos!!!

Anniversary Traditions

I just looked it up.  It was actually March 5th.  Turns out that’s actually my pal’s Parks’ birthday…funny coincidence.  I didn’t even know there was a Park’s when I moved to Toronto.

In 2006, I made a pretty significant life decision.  I quit my job, packed up my shit and moved here.  I had exactly 4 friends on the north shore of Lake Ontario.  And now, this is my life.  Lake Ontario at the bottom  of my street, and Queen Street is just steps to the north.  I listen to Parkdale sounds as I fall asleep at night, and I wake to Parkdale sounds in the morning.  Deep in the throbbing heart of Parkdale, I am at home in my Parkdale House Of Dreams.  Until 2006, I didn’t even know what a Parkdale was.

West Queen West upon entering Parkdale  “You’ve Changed”

Coming to the decision to move away from my friends, my family, my love, was actually easier than I thought it was at the time.  I had been to visit my dear Kindred on several occasions, and cried whenever I left.  So I moved, and my life changed. Of course I miss my friends, and it was challenging to make new ones, so that part wasn’t easy. But the rest really was pretty simple.  It didn’t matter that I was surrounded by tons of really rad people who I really really really  love a whole lot, I always felt lonely in the Cath.  I knew that if I stayed in Niagara I would live a sad lonely life.  I needed things to change.  I needed to be alone to end the loneliness.

I had some ideas about what I was walking into by leaving, but I can assure you that those ideas are so vastly different than what I found once I arrived. There was this thing that was happening when I moved here, and I’ve realized that time was standing still for me then.  It was standing still for all of us. I really wish that I could actually paint more than just paint by numbers, because I would paint it all as a giant mural.  And it’s a big fucking party mural.  A really fun party.  The one night only affair that lasted for years, that still finds itself revived in a pub or on a deck, or in a kitchen–over a hot stove here and there.

The Cloak
The cove children

I don’t actually believe that things happen for a reason, and I don’t really believe in fate or pre-destination.  It doesn’t actually matter, fate or no fate,  when you’re too busy living.  Sometimes the universe owes you a favour–you simply accept its kind offer of amazing and be thankful.  So, thank you, universe, for this, and all the other things that have followed.
There hasn’t been much else in my life more right than that move I made in ’06.  A few things, but not many. Anyways, I’m big on anniversaries, and starting annual traditions and reflecting on special times in my life.  It’s all very special and amazing.  I do love it when there are things to celebrate.  Birthdays, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Mondays.  Celebrations truly are some of the best times of our lives, wouldn’t you say?

There I was yesterday.  Here I am now and where I’ll be tomorrow–ever so much to celebrate!  I know March 5th, 2013 has come and gone, but each year I try, at the very least, to remember the time with celebratory thoughts.  I try to remember how I felt then, and how it feels more right every day.  

From Rancho Relaxo, to the Starbank, The Market, Neutral, Maggie’s, the Cloak and Dagger, the backdoor of 106, Croft, Sneaky Dees, The Magpie, The Press Club, Euclid, Roxton,  to the corner of Grace and Harbord.  

The Dakota, Lakeview, The Gypsy, The Park, 909 and my dress, the dog bowl, Squirrelys, The Paper Place, Preloved, Queen and Dovercourt, The Cock and Tail, The Gladstone.  The Dufferin jog, the now bricked up stairway under the GO overpass. Streetcars, Lamport, the amphitheatre, the Caddy, Salvador, the Rhino, Meher’s deck, Capital, Not my dog, The Village of Parkdale mural, Thrift Town.  Mezzrows and Tibetan protests.  The CN Tower. Going Steady.  The Golden Dogs, White Cowbell Oklahoma, and the Wednesday night residency at the Cameron. Bikes. The people.  The people on bikes. The transit.  The vibe.  The sounds.  The weather.  The fresh flowers on the street corners.  I look around me at the city and I am in love.  In love with the people and the places.  I have never in my life felt more at home.

On the sunny Sunday afternoon that Cindy and Juliee drove me into town, this song by Bjork came on.  Just as it was supposed to–this song played and I laid eyes on the city that had become my new home just at the moment where Bjork says “this is where I’m staying.  this is my home.”  In March 2006 I came home for the first time. Happy anniversary, Toronto.

Roommates Ruling Supreme

Every spring I used to plan a party with Gord to celebrate another year of us ruling supreme as roommates.   This spring, I’m planning a different kindof party.  A party that I’ll surely celebrate for the rest of my life.  I look forward to the traditions that will follow.

Fires, Love and Dishes Done

I met Christine Delay in 2005 at a housewarming party for her and some other people I didn’t know at the time (Gord).  In time, I came to know her and her “delayservision” well at 106 and beyond.  And though she’d likely deny it, she has grown to become one of the most influential people in my life.  There isn’t enough space on the entirety of internet to describe it all, but I can tell you, she was by my side as I explored the new world around me.  She was there as I began to discover who I really and truly was during a pretty siginficant era.  Christine Delay has helped me to reflect on where I’ve come from, enabled me to live and enjoy life freely, supported me in my dreams, and has created ridiculous amounts of laughter in my life.  We are musically and cosmically connected, and when I’m with her, I feel like I’m on fucking steroids.  She was, and is, the Lungsy, to my Ballsy. 

A few nights ago I asked Delay this:

I write this blog, not sure if you’ve read it. Thought you might be interested in doing a guest post about something I would want to remember. It would be subject to me as an editor and likely writing a preface…. 

The purpose of my blog is so that I don’t forget any of it, and I would love one day to remember a piece of my life through your eyes.”

And this is what she wrote:

Endings — by Christine Delay

I seem to be swimming in them lately. Years ago, our beginning was born from an epic one at that. You ask me what I remember of that time, those places, these people we still know who have grown their limbs in subtle ways. I can tell you that I am still sitting by that window in that grungy apartment on Robert Street, having dinner for the first time speaking in excited spurts, like comic book bubbles bursting with idealistic hope. I can tell you that my hope was spotty at best but my idealism big and true, strong like a submarine. I remember my surprise when weeks later we were neighbours and together we muddled through, in the prime of our lives, and anxious to see what was up ahead just beyond the scope of our reach. I remember mistakes, but they are not so important unless we see them for the bricks they really were. I remember loud, reckless weekends followed by sullen Sundays spent aimlessly roaming the streets in packs, just happy to have each other. And then Mondays.

Chain smoking. We did a lot of that. Fires, and love, dishes done together, children and then adults, near misses, long shots… and now babies and jobs. I don’t remember crossing that bridge. 

Mostly I don’t know what I remember from those days. As I sit and rummage through the snippets of fractured memory made blurry by time’s passage, I hear the buzz of many conversations, and feel the anticipation of the night’s beginning. Yet it is done and I am done with it, for there is not enough room in the past for me. But let me say this. I remember you, and I miss you. I remember you, and I do… I miss you. 

That time, just like a river. It is a beast, this creature that breathes and pulses full of currents of blood. Like the hair in the mane, mostly unaware that it is a part of something larger. 

I remember that it happened and I hope that it mattered. Mostly I remember that we were children then adults, near misses, long shots…. fires, love, and dishes done – together.

The Night We Met , totally money.

We didn’t have a clue what was in store for us.

It sounds thin.

So Sunday was like a super bonus day.  It was so beautiful–warm and sunny and breezy.  It. was. great.

We got up and did the usual morning stuff, then we went to Sneaky Dee’s for brunch!  Marigold has never been to Sneaky Dee’s before, and I don’t care what anyone says.  I fucking love the brunch there.

I’ll have a grilled cheese.

We sat in one of the back booths on the right hand side, which is like my favourite place to sit.  Then I started thinking about the first time I had brunch there, And then I started thinking about what Toronto was like when I first moved here and all the things I felt.  I really do love Toronto.  In fact, just this morning I was sitting on the street car riding along Queen looking up at all the 3 floors of all the old buildings  The faded signs, the graffiti.  The shops and the restaurants and even the grimy Queen and Bathurst.  And I absolutely love the feelings I have about Toronto.

Recently a friend asked me if I would ever move back to Niagara… St. Catharines to be specific.  And actually I think she may have even slightly implied that I would be moving back there someday.  The thought has never even crossed my mind.  Not even when I retire.  I can’t imagine living anywhere other than right here.

I am terrified, though, that this house will get sold and I will have to move again.  It’s such a terrible thing.  I do love this apartment.

Ugh–today I just felt so wretched.  Slowly though, as I think about the things that I love, I’m beginning to cheer up.  My little rascal-face is sleeping upstairs, and so is her dad.  I can hear the cat snoring from here, just slightly louder than The Breeders.

The more time that I spending loving things (people, places, times, things), the happier I am.  I have not spent a considerable amount of time loving in the last couple of days, and I feel like that MUST have played a significant role in my foul mood earlier.

I love Martin
I love Marigold
I love my apartment
I love my cat
I love my blog
I love my commute to work
I love my friends
I love the city
I love my street
I love my boss
I love my coworkers
I love streetcars
I love the Paper Place
I love that poster of Trinity Bellwoods that you can see/get at the Type bookstore
I love Andrew McCarthy, circa 1986
I love the Smiths
I love my perfume
I love friendships
I love walking
I love makeup
I love my hair
I love my skin
I love pyrex
I love food, oh god HOW COULD I FORGET THAT I LOVE FOOD.
I LOVE MUSIC. I almost forgot that too!

Anyways, how can anyone feel bad after so much love?

Literally this song just came on at random.  Have a listen while you check out the pictures.

 

You Wanted a Hit.

If you want a hit, you’ve got to make it happen.
I fuck things up all the time. Like seriously, all. the. time.
Somehow I keep doing the exact opposite of what I want to do. There are things I want to be better at. 
Things that I want to improve. And for eff sakes, it takes a lot of fucking focus and determination.  Mostly it’s just shit that only I notice. The impact on others is minimal, I’m sure. Maybe it’s not. Who knows.
The bottom line is that I have a lot to do and I’m having a hard time staying on top of life. I don’t mean menial daily tasks–I washed the bathroom floor with baby wipes while Marigold was in the bath the other night. Wait, does that make me a bad mother?? Whatever, it was efficient.
I’m talking about personal improvements, quality of life goals. Making things better for other people. Having an impact. Living an extraordnary life. And doing it all in a way that makes sense for my little family.

I want a hit. And maybe just wanting it is enough? Because I still feel pretty good.

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