Summertime and the livin’s easy.

I’m pretty sure that my boyfriend had his son’s summer fully planned (campgrounds booked, summer camps registered, family visits scheduled) in March.  I’m also pretty sure that was when I was first asked to submit my own summer vacation requests at work.

Yo guys. It’s still snowing. I can barely make plans to put on real pants and leave the house let alone plan my summer.

The actual date of my final vacation request submission: June 27th (2 days before the last day of school).

I’m not much of a planner. (this is the secret to all of my kick-ass road trips!)

And to be fair, Rain and Moxie are now old enough that they don’t need constant adult supervision, nor do they want it. Trust me, I’ve put in my time of coordinating 10 weeks of summer. I’m done.

But mostly, I just didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to have to wake them up before work and drag them out of bed to make lunches for summer camp.

I didn’t want to spend hours searching out summer vacation spots and all the logistics that go along with that. (how many pairs of underwear do we need? did we pack enough food?)

I didn’t want to feel like I was rushing all summer long to cram as much awesomeness down our throats in fear that otherwise we’d be wasting this time sensitive and precious season.

So I didn’t.

Well not really.

I did book us tickets to go camping at Shelter Valley Folk Festival for a weekend.

I will be coordinating the merchandise table at the Peterborough Folk Festival again this year (come visit!)

We are going camping with my bf and his son for a week (three cheers to him for booking the campsite in March!!).

The kids will spend about a week with each set of grandparents. (Yahoo!)

We will spend a weekend in our hometown having some much needed family-time with aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and grandparents!

And there will be incredible paddling trips sprinkled into the mix with a close, family friend. (they’ve already been happening almost weekly since April).

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So for sure, there will definitely be some pretty awesome stuff coming at us. But in between those weeks, it will be unstructured, easy breezy summertime sublime.

Doin’ Time – Sublime

Last week was week 1 and a blank slate.

I was at work and the kids were home all day. They stayed up late every night reading, giggling and sneaking their iPads while I slept (somewhat) soundly in my upstairs bedroom.

They slept late every morning. I left a note with a couple chores to do and reminders (eat breakfast, brush teeth, put clothes on…).  The first couple days, they spent a LOT of time on their iPads. In their pjs. Typically in bed. Food was optional. As was teeth-brushing. (So much for my reminders).

I’ve never really set limits on screen time. Mostly because they’ve always been able to self-regulate at a pace I can live with so it didn’t seem worth the hassle of timing, tantrums and god forbid – planning – their screen time usage for the day!

And sure enough this week they did decide on their own to go outside to play road hockey, climb their favourite trees at the end of the street and they traded their iPads for paper (books/drawing/writing).

On their second day home, they biked downtown to the Farmer’s Market. I’d suggested they could go get a snack with their allowance. Moxie bought 4 tarts and Rain bought a whole pie, all of which became their entire lunch that day. (Eat lunch. check).

The next day they biked to the beach (fresh air AND exercise!). This also included a stop at Mister Convenience where they pooled their money so Rain could get some groovy new sunglasses and Moxie could get candy. (Eat lunch. Check.)

By the end of the week they were on their iPads less and less. They rediscovered the giant Lego bin and they (along with the neighbours) spent hours in our living building all sorts of creations.

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I’ve also started a musician of the week activity where they have to listen to 3 songs by a featured artist and be prepared for a family discussion about them and their music at the end of the week. First was Joni Mitchell, this week is Run DMC.

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Rain is also playing baseball a couple nights/week and refereeing soccer about once/week. (you gotta make some dough to buy the pies)

All in all it was a pretty rad week.

This week they’re spending about 4 days at my parents.  No doubt, they will all have a blast!

Me? I’m working and living the easy summer life at home with Lucy. She totally feels me on this summer lifestyle thing.

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I’m also learning how to fix my bike up at our community bike hub, checking out (mostly free) live music in town whenever I can, going for runs around the lake and spending a lot of time on my back deck with popsicles. I love the slow pace of hanging my clothes on the clothesline, stopping at the farmers market before work and picking herbs out of my garden. Nothing epic to see here…just bliss.

 

And secret confession? Tonight’s the first night they’re gone and despite my list of things I was going to get done around the house, I’ve brought home take-out, went for a run and then just sat outside on the deck writing for hours.  (apparently I follow check-lists as well as Rain and Moxie do in the summer.)

The kids will be back home by the weekend and they’ll have about a week and a half before the next grandparent trip.

Maybe they’ll spend it sleeping, eating sugar and staring at a screen until their eyes are completely glazed over. They’ll survive.

Guys look, I love adventure. I mean, I love it in a way that burns through my veins and gives me cravings that keep me up at night.  And if you are off having an epic adventure somewhere in the world, I will definitely feel pangs of envy. But right now, I’m pushing the summertime easy button and it’s kinda like magic.

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xo
e

#TeamAdventurers
@pixiepaperdoll7 (Twitter)
@pixiepaperdoll (Instagram)

 

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City fix.

Last week I went into Toronto for the first time since moving to Peterborough over a year ago. After over 20 years of living in the GTA, this was the longest I’ve gone without a city fix and I didn’t realize how much I needed it until I made plans to go.

Don’t get me wrong, I have thrown myself into this new community – heart first! It’s been a great place to live and the friends I’ve met in such a short time feel like souls who have been part of me throughout all my lives.

I have no doubt that my peeps across the 401 have watched me unfold and wondered who has stolen their non-conformist friend and replaced her with this love-drenched, socially active member of society.  For most of my life, I was a self-declared ‘non-joiner’.  I rolled my eyes at community involvement and group outings.  I had a great clan of close friends and when we were together, it was non-stop fun. But everyone was busy with their own lives (myself included) and our outings would be sporadic.  And to be honest, I liked being alone.

I grew up in small rural town of only 2700, where you couldn’t get away from community if you tried.  And I did. I spent high school lusting to live in the city while secretly loving the small town life. Maybe too much. My mom was the local librarian and would find out everything I’d done that day before I’d even get home from school.  Typically this would result in being banished to the basement of the old town library with a bag of pencil which I’d have to sharpen by hand with the wall-mounted sharpener.  Where she ever found so many dull pencils, I’ll never know.

I think it’s my roots that have drawn me into the depths of Peterborough.  It felt right to live somewhere that you will always meet up with someone you know, no matter where you go. And typically at least 5 more people who know someone you know.

But after months of weaving my own thread through this new town, meeting so many people and expanding my tribe, I started to feel a bit like that angst-filled teenager in Dresden.  I needed a city fix before I ended up in the basement sharpening pencils.

I started to crave anonymity and being immersed in a city where I could be invisible. Oh how I’d missed that place where nobody knows your name.

I couldn’t wait to move, with purpose, through the crowds in head-down, eyes-forward angst. And for my mouth to be poised in a 1/2 scowl which is city-speak for ‘you stay outta my way and I’ll stay outta yours.’

I yearned to become swallowed by sounds that hold no ties to me: random conversations, street cars, sirens and horns.  To be deafened by the noise around me, my mind could finally become a cocoon of focus. This is a meditation I can get from no other place.

And last week, I got that fix .. well ..  sort of.  But also something else that merged both worlds into one.

It started at the subway station.

I was about to walk into the Wilson station when approached by an older man asking, “Token? Do you have a token?” Before I could respond, a guy coming out of the subway told him that he could buy tokens inside from the machine.  The man looked at me with sweet pleading eyes and of course I said

“Come on, let me show you how to do this.”

So he shuffled along beside me with a big smile repeating, “It’s okay. It’s alright.”

I showed him how to put his money into the machine and take the tokens that spilled out of the dispensary.  I was about to get my own token when he gave me one of his and said in this thick accent,

“From Russia, with love.”

Next, I demonstrated how to put the token in (no, that’s a nickel) and push through the metal gate (push harder!).  We were heading in the same direction so we found our way to the platform together. The whole time he spoke to me with such happiness.  Over and over I heard, “I’m 81 years old. I don’t know how. I can’t believe I’m 81 years old. Where does the time go? It’s okay. It’s alright.”

He told me his name was Levi and that in Russian it meant ‘lion’ and in Hebrew it meant ‘heart’.

“So your name is Lionheart?”

He smiled and gave me some candy.

“From Russia, with love.”

We rode together most of the way.  He got off the stop before me giving me more candy, a pat on my shoulder and murmurs of “It’s okay, It’s alright. From Russia, with love.”

So much for my scowl.

I called my brother when I made my way up to sidewalk to firm up our plans of meeting for pre-TIFF dinner.  He had also just got off the subway and would you believe that we had been riding on the same train. He actually got off at the same stop as Levi, though he wasn’t lucky enough to get candies.

So much for anonymity.

Keeping my eyes forward, I meditated my way through Queen Street and into Kensington. Unable to resist the $10 rack outside a 2nd-hand (or rather 3rd or 4th hand) store, I grabbed a handful of clothes and lurked inside to embrace the cluttered dark space. I eventually landed in the change room and when I came out to inspect my choices in front of the only mirror, I head a voice from the front:

“Holy shit – that looks so good on you!”

Before I knew it, my city armour was displaced by a change room of treasures and I was in fits of giggles with the girl who was working. She kept tossing me new clothes to try on and we’d debate each item as we laughed and shared random stories. I left with a ridiculous amount of bags, a grin and eyes that were now wide open and awaiting my next encounter.

So much for angst.

The day continued with these unexpected meetings, including the girl who took my shoulder while waiting for the light to change and pointed at some chaos happening across the street.

“Yikes – let’s stay safe together over here!”

She walked with me to the next block and waved good-bye.

So much for staying out of each other’s way.

Later on, I met up with my brother and we had a great visit over dinner (mmmm… Salad King).  Then we watched the film Those Who Make Revolution HalfWay Only Dig Their Own Graves which just further exemplified that even those who oppose everything about establishment still maintain their own sense of community.

On my late night/early morning drive home, I sucked on my candy from Russia and contemplated my day.

As much as I had driven there this afternoon eager to detach myself from everyone, I have since realized that there is no escaping this big community called life.  It’s always around us. There are good people and new friends around every corner and subway stop.

The thread I’ve been weaving in Peterborough has actually been with me since birth and I’m starting to see the beauty and feel the warmth of the massive quilt it’s been creating all along.  And I know that because of this, I will always have comfort and love, no matter where I end up.

It’s okay. It’s alright.

From Erica,

With Love.

@pixiepaperdoll7

 

Hurrah! At last I’m 40!

*Preface: As I write this, I feel all of my 40 years. I took off on my bike to find a quiet place to write and my knees are super achy from my (very rare these days) morning run + 3 days of gardening (yes, I was delighted to spend my May long weekend at home playing in dirt and plants).  Also, I had to choose a place to write that was close enough to home that I could get back for when, inevitably, I have to pee (I’m partly blaming childbirth on this one!)

40.

A new Decade.

I like the sound of that.

It’s not that my 30s were terrible. There were some definite highlights:

I gave birth to my 2nd child, Moxie and have immensely enjoyed spending this past decade with her and her older brother, Rain. 

I traveled. I had developed the desire to travel (alone) when I was 26 and spent almost 3 months with my backpack throughout Guatemala, Honduras and Belize.  In my 30s, I explored more of the region in Costa Rica (10 day adventure tour) and Nicaragua (a week of scuba diving on my favourite place in the world, Little Corn Island).  I embarked on a supa-dupa-triple-fun solo road trip throughout the Maritimes and landed in Fredericton at my besties Beth and Joe’s wedding.  Speaking of road-trips, I drove the kids from Mississauga across Canada to Vancouver Island and then down to Seattle.  We met up with great friends and a family along the way.  (Kim, Dottie, Tim, Joel, Andrew, Leanne, Carmanah, Tuna, guard dogs, chickens, and Jill – thanks for opening your homes and hearts to us) It was a trip of a lifetime!

I distinctly remember turning 30 (which I guess I should, it’s only been 10 years..and 40’s not *that* old..). I was 7 months pregnant and living a life that fit me like a beautiful wool turtleneck. It looked so perfect from the outside but inside it felt uncomfortable and constricting. It didn’t fit and it was unraveling.

Two years later, I was a single mom. I had made a decision to leave 95% of all my friends and belongings so that I could start again. 

If my previous life had been a sweater, this new phase was like running around topless. It felt free and terrifying and yet I was suddenly quite comfortable in my own skin.

I had no idea what I was doing and I made a ridiculous amount of mistakes (daily).

But I was doing it. On my own. With my kids. We were a team. We were Team Adventurers!

Just as things were becoming familiar and comfortable, we lost their father to suicide. This shifted all of our journeys in life. It still does. 

Last year, I started dating K and we quickly decided to join families in Peterborough. The kids and I needed a change and I liked the idea of what Peterborough had to offer as a small, artsy community (confession: The first time I ever visited Peterborough was when K and I signed our lease. I tend to move through life on gut feelings.)  So I quit my job and we rented a gorgeous house near the water within walking distance to downtown and easily adapted to our new surroundings.

We all felt completely at home in Ptbo, but combining families is apparently more difficult that I had thought and by the end of 2015, I was a single mom again.  Only this time, I was in a new community, had no job, and was recovering from open hernia surgery.

This is when I start running around looking for that sweater again.

Thankfully, I didn’t find it.  

And thankfully, I am surrounded by amazing friends and family (old and new). You all deserve gold stars in supportive friendmanship.

Since then, I have gained employment (though my contract is up next month, if anyone has any leads…), purchased our home (thanks for your help Mom and Dad), and started dating K again. .. only slower.

The kids are thriving and I am in love with showing them small community ways of life (I was raised in a community of 2,600 so Ptbo is more in line with my roots).

Life is good.

This is exactly how I want to start my 40s.

Now I feel like I should offer some sort of old age wisdom…… Or is that what you do when you turn 50?

Let me share some of the things I’ve learned (the hard way), particularly in my 30s.

  • Break up with word “should”. Do not believe that you should have to act, think, feel, dress a certain way. If that sweater doesn’t fit, take it off. And don’t get caught up in what should or shouldn’t happen. Trust me, they happen.  Or they don’t. That’s just it.
  • You are only responsible for your own happiness. Be kind. Be respectful. Be responsible for your actions. But don’t obsess over the happiness of others. You are not responsible for the happiness of your friends, colleagues, random people you meet on the street, your family and not even your kids. Happiness is an inside gig and they will have to figure it out on their own. Just as you will have to do the same. Do what makes you happy.
  • Enjoy your own company. Yearn for it. Make it a priority. Make friends with the voice inside your head. She’s pretty dang cool. And this voice will stay with you and keep you company for the rest of your days.

Music break!

“If I get old I’m living easy

Find a nice old country home.

Let the land do what she wants to

Leave her wild and overgrown.

And when I’m sure my days are numbered,

Find a nice place in the fields.

And thank that little voice inside my head

For such great company.”

~Elliott Brood, If I get Old

  • Be real with yourself.  Life is not perfect nor does it have to look that way. It’s messy and gorgeous and sometimes a lot of the time, it’s really fucking hard. Experience every emotion unapologetically. And don’t trust people who are always telling you to smile.
  • Lastly, make goals. And as cheese bread as it sounds, write them down. This is where I struggle. I can think of hundreds of things I want to do but putting it to paper scares the bejeebers out of me. I used to think that it was because I had commitment issues. (I even wrote about them: http://commuterlit.com/2012/05/monday-the-empty-space/) And maybe that’s partly true. I have also blamed my limited attention span – squirrel!! But I think I’m most afraid of fucking up. What if I never get to check it off the list? What if I fail? I mean, I guess I could write new/revised goals…but what would my journal think??  *Sigh… My goal for my 40s is to write down my goals.

So that’s it – thanks for being part of my new decade celebration – let’s go for a drink sometime! But for now….. I have to pee!!!

xoxoxo,

e

@pixiepaperdoll7

Another day (in the Kawarthas) another beach (or two)

Since moving to Peterborough at the end of June, we have mostly stuck close to home. And really…why wouldn’t we? We have beautiful water at either end of our street and are a 10 minute bike ride to two beaches and downtown. It’s truly been like living at the cottage.

But today when I was out for my (semi-regular) morning run, it dawned on me that we are living in an entire region of lakes and beaches and since school is only a week away we should really start exploring! I think I am in a back-to-school nesting phase: trying to do everything that we didn’t do this summer in the last final moments before our freedom is restricted.

So I jumped on my best sources of travel advice: Google, Twitter and my handy Kawartha region map. I decided to start our adventure by heading out toward Buckhorn and visit Sandy Beach.

Just outside of Buckhorn we stopped at McLean Buckhorn Berry Farm for some beach snacks: mixed pack of plums, cheese curds and butter tarts! (yum, yum and yummmmmmm)

While there we also got affirmation that Sandy Beach was the place to be as well directions – thank you! The directions I’d found until then were somewhat sketchy and the kids are rarely amused with my ‘hmm… i think we are going the right way..’ mutterings.

In no time at all, we were at the beach!

Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach

It seemed oddly named at first since there was very little sandy area but then we soon realized that you could walk on and on in under waist deep water. Rain and Moxie explored and swam and explored some more. They are currently collecting shells which they hope to sell and use profits for either candy or university. I alternated joining them in their fun and sitting in the shade writing in my journal. It was a perfect spot, lots of shade and lots of water! We stayed for over 3 hours before I finally dragged them out of the water, into the car and onto our next adventure…

Lakefield!

When we first hit town, we made a quick stop at the beach but Rain was starving (I guess growing boys need more than snack food to survive) so we decided to find dinner.  We strolled downtown Lakefield (cutest town ever!!) and ended up on the Canoe & Paddle Pub patio.

Bangers 'n Mash

Bangers ‘n Mash

'Draw a component and pass to the person next to you' game while waiting for dinner

‘Draw a component and pass to the person next to you’ game while waiting for dinner

The food and service were superb – as was my pint of 5 Paddles Home Sweet Home beer (mmm…..refreshing…..) Moxie received a free kids ice cream coupon for the Kawartha Dairy ice cream shop next door as part of her kids meal so we obviously headed there next.  Ice cream for kids, cappuccino for me and more amazing service! Life is good here in the Kawarthas.

Ice Cream Challenge - who's in?

Ice Cream Challenge – who’s in?

“Can we go back to the beach?”

Sure – one more dip to cool off before heading home. It is a shame to let that great beach go to waste.. (just don’t go far out – it hasn’t been 1/2 since you ate and as much as I will rescue you, I’m kinda happy just chillin’ with my cappuccino)

Lakefield Beach

Lakefield Beach

Refreshed, full and getting sleepy, we loaded back in the car for our quick 20 minute drive home (my goal is to bike to Lakefield by end of the year – only 17km each way – piece of cake!)

Today, our adventures reminded me of our Western Canada road trip which we did last summer. Traveling around in a hap-hazard way. Vague plans but easily side-tracked. Lots of snacking and giggling. I love our team.

Once home and everyone had showered, I had one more burst of energy. I decided to hang white Christmas lights on the patio. Yes of course I realize it is NOT Christmas but … I have wanted to have lights outside on a summer patio for as long as I can remember.. so I did it. And I love it. And I’m sitting out here right now. And I might even sleep out here.  Okay.. no not really.

My new happy place

My new happy place

But I am going to play my guitar for a bit so sweet dreams to you and cheers to another day of adventure!

xo

e

@pixiepaperdoll7

Freedom 39

Today was my last day of work (at the organization we’ll call, E**) where I have supported kids with physical and developmental disabilities and their families for the past 13 years.  It was also Rain’s Grad 5 graduation, which turned out to be way more emotional than I had anticipated (so proud of that lil dude and damn his dad have been proud of him too). Needless to say it was an emotional roller coaster day but I am so happy and so ready for this new adventure that waits for us in Peterborough.  Keith – we are making progress !! Here is the good-bye email I sent my friends/colleagues.. So surreal:

Thirteen years at the same organization. Wow. And here I thought I had commitment issues. I did not anticipate staying here for 13 years nor did I expect to make some of my greatest and most truly phenomenal friends imaginable yet, here we are.  And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Not only have I witnessed a lot of changes within E**, but this organization has also seen a lot of changes with me.  It was there during the purchase my first house, the birth of both of my kids, the survival a separation, and provided me comfort during the sudden death of Rain and Moxie’s dad. And now as I start this new exciting adventure in Peterborough with an evolving heart and family, it’s time to reflect on how far we have come.

Throughout the years, I have been employed in various roles, shuffled between most of our sites and worked with a variety of equally amazing teams. But through all the changes, E** has always felt like my second home; and I think I have spent just as much time cleaning up dishes in that kitchen as I have my own. (Although I have learned to bring my own cutlery because scavenging to find forks for soups and spoons for salad just didn’t cut it after a while – The other day I was had to choose between eating my yogurt with a butter knife or an ice cream scoop).  Ps. I’ve recently discovered the secret stash of bowls. (SCORE!!) and I’m open to bribes for the hidden location.

When I first started my journey here, I was determined to make a difference (in some epic fashion) – I wanted to change the world and solve everyone’s problems (talk about a heavy load). I also really wanted to prove how much I knew and how smart I was.  However, it turned out that the people I wanted to prove my brains to and solve problems for ended up being the very ones who taught me how to be a better person.  And then somewhere along the road that desire to fix, became a desire to simply help.  Genuinely.  From the depths of my heart. And within all the constraints that exist within a large organization. Nothing epic. Just help.

I’ll leave you with three small reminders that I have learned along the way (again, nothing epic; just reminders):

1.      One person can make a difference (even if it’s not the difference you had intended on making)

2.      Don’t judge upon appearance.  This is nothing new but made even more clear as I met these resilient kids and their families.  Some of the most frail by appearances can be the most stubborn determined fighters that you will ever meet.  And some that appear to be the strongest might just spend an hour sobbing in your office.  Please take that hour. Give your shoulder. And refer to point #1.

3.      Don’t take your job so seriously. Remember to laugh. Remember that we’re supporting kids. Have some fun. If at all possible, come to the Drop In or the Teen Dance, (you will quickly be reminded of the drama which is high school) And oh yes, Drama – come to the drama production or a music show and watch our clients radiate on a stage as an entire audience cheers them on.

I am incredibly honoured to have had the opportunity to work with you.  All of you. Thanks for all you have taught me. Thanks for all you do.

xo

Erica

#TeamAdventurers

@pixiepaperdoll7

Progress – The House is Sold (And we Are Never Cleaning Again!)

Team Adventurers have made another step toward our new adventure and move to Peterborough. We have sold our house! {Ta-Da!!}

As I take small reprieve between staging and packing, I reflect on the last couple of weeks.

It has become quite clear that as much as Team Adventurers love a great adventure, we are also deep-rooted homebodies. Sure at the beginning it was all bike rides and gelato but after weeks of being kicked out of our house at the last minute and sometimes for hours, there were unison groans of ‘Can’t we just stay home?’

I’m sure we could have survived the temporary homelessness if it weren’t for the frantic cleaning that came before each departure. I had recently toyed with the idea of starting my day a little earlier to take time to meditate but setting my alarm an hour early to vacuum, clean bathroom, switch our everyday towels and pillowcases with white towels (because we cannot be trusted with white linens) and tidy up before leaving for work was not quite the mindful solitude I had in mind.

If nothing else, we definitely demonstrated our ability to act as a team. Rain and Moxie pulled their weight – and then some! (okay truth be told, I often banished them to the front porch for hours while I cleaned the house, shouting ‘don’t come in!’ every time I heard the door creak!) But before their banishment they learned to make their beds each morning, keep their toys tidy in ways they never knew possible and they even cleaned the bathroom on occasion (sort of).

I tried to enjoy coming home to an immaculately clean house at the end of a long work day but it was just too stressful to keep clean. As Moxie said sighed dramatically,

“Messes mean you’re having fun and our house is too clean!”

Agreed.

We were not having fun. I obsessed. Would anyone buy the house if they found a water mark on the shower tap or a tissue in the garbage? I drove around with dirty dishes, dirty laundry and even my bread basket in my car during times when I just ran out of hiding places. Who lives like this??

I officially distrust the sanity of anyone who has an immaculately clean house.

For me the breaking point was about three weeks into the listing when the kids discovered an invasion of ants under the kitchen sink 30 minutes before there was to be back-to-back showings of the house. As our dinner burned on the BBQ, we smashed big crunchy ants with our bare hands while they crawled up our arms. (well Rain and I smashed them while Moxie stood on the kitchen chair yelling ‘I don’t like ants!!’ to which I replied ‘you are not helping!!!!’) I frantically sprayed Raid throughout the kitchen and then panicked about the smell so I picked lilacs to mask the odour (mmmm…. lilac scented raid).

“Somebody get Grandpa on the phone now!!!!”

(No doubt Grandpa is quite happy to have a new guy around to share the load of my frantic phone calls!)

Now that this first-world ordeal is finally over, I’m a little worried. I’ve been gifted this superpower of clean eyes. I am now able to spot each streaked mirror, every piece of lint and speck of dirt in all corners of the house (sometimes simultaneously) and I think I can actually hear Lucy shedding. But let’s be honest. I am simply not prepared for this type of power. I want to live peacefully with dustbunnies once again and not wage war on fingerprint smudges. I am not a dirt-shamer! Give this power to someone who will use it for good, not evil.

Moving forward (see what I did there?):

  • We WILL use white towels and not give a fuck if we get them dirty. (actually we’ll just stick with our dark covered towels and get them even dirtier)
  • We WILL have Kleenex boxes out in public – yes, we blow our noses without shame!
  • We WILL keep our microwave on the counter for everyone to see that we reduce our counter space specifically to radiate ourselves on a daily basis.
  • We WILL boil eggs and cook fish – maybe we’ll even eat curried boiled eggs with fish that’s been reheated in our counter hogging microwave.
  • We WILL NOT empty our garbage 2 times/day because dammit – we make waste!! (although we do try our best to reduce, reuse and recycle)
  • And most of all we WILL make messes because ‘Messes mean you’re having fun!”

xo,

Team Adventurers

@pixiepaperdoll7

The House is Sold: youtube video

Shit is getting real

 Erica Richmond

@pixiepaperdoll7

Team Adventurers are about to embark on our biggest and most exciting adventure yet – We are joining families with my dreamy beau, Keith & his cool kid Kai, and we are moving to Peterborough, Ontario!!!

Making the decision to move was the easy part, getting the house ready to sell on the other hand has been … well.. let’s go with ‘hectic’.

In the last month or so, I have spent a lot of time (read: a gazillion hours) purging and sorting through all of our earthly possessions. As I sit here contemplating whether I should keep this mirror or give away that bowl I am consciously aware of three things :

  1. How much crap one (or 3 ones) can accumulate in the 5 years since living in this house.
  2. How much I have changed (as a person, as a parent, as a lover, as a friend) in the past 6 years since separating from my ex.
  3. The physical contrast that exists between my previous move which had felt so heart-wrenchingly heavy and this move that feels so light and exhilarating.

This process has brought me back to one of my favourite pieces I’ve written. Six years ago last October marked the definitive life-changing time when I chose to leave almost everything (friends, possessions and even some family) for the sake of my spirit and the hope of peace and solidity for those (mainly my kids) who kept near to me.

My remaining tight circle of friends and family supported us with a landslide of pre-loved odds and ends, which kept our first home-on-our-own  furnished and functional. A year later when the kids and I moved into our current and more spacious home I was tasked with searching for some missing living room pieces.

Previously published by Commuter Lit: http://commuterlit.com/2012/05/monday-the-empty-space/

The Empty Space
Erica Richmond

There’s an empty space where a couch should be and perhaps it is a metaphor … for something.

Perhaps this space is an acknowledgement of my suspected commitment issues. After all there is a very good chance that this next couch could be a part of our family for the rest of my life; passed down to the next generations landing in the common room of a small Northern Ontario university residence. It will appear in countless family photographs and receive multiple tags on Face Book. And I have only enough space to commit to one couch. One couch to last a lifetime.

And so plans to occupy this space are quickly thwarted: not enough money, not enough time, not enough selection. Even the sight of furniture stores leaves me gasping to release the anxiety that has filled my lungs.

The same feeling I once experienced on a first date with a hopeful young daydreamer who went into detail describing his future wedding.  By the time he listed his groomsmen I think I was purple. I couldn’t date for an entire year after that.

Perhaps this space serves as a reminder of how I started.

Of how I left.

Of how leaving was all that mattered.

Of how I learned to let go of all things that do not hold a place in my heart and even some things that do.

Of how the thought of forgetting terrifies me more than remembering.

And even though I’ve re-acquired belongings; this empty space remains … as a metaphor … for something.

And yes, we truly did live in this house for about 3 years without any living room furniture. My friends will remember the winter that I dragged my outside lawn furniture into the living room (along with some hibernating spiders, I’m sure) and the kids I got a glimpse of what sitting on pseudo furniture is like. It was kind of nice.  Luckily I was spared having to make any further sufficating trips to furniture stores because my good friends continued to show their love and were kind enough to pass along their lovely gently used pieces, which have since made the living space more livable.

Flash forward six years to the present, where I’ve accumulated more furniture and household possessions than I care to admit and more than I care to move.

But what about those commitment issues you (and everyone else who knows me) may ask? Simple. I just wasn’t ready then. And I’m so fucking proud of myself that I recognized that.  I didn’t rush anything or feel like I needed someone to save me or complete me. I didn’t cave to societal pressures. I knew what I needed and I took the time required to meet those needs.  I needed that time on my own. With my kids. I needed to sort my own shit out before introducing anyone else into my life. It was all part of my amazing journey to get to where I am now. And I wouldn’t change a segment of that highway.

And at some point during the journey, it became clear that not only the rooms in my house were getting full, but that metaphorical empty space was no longer empty either. Keith came by at just the right time and hot damn, he’s certainly overflowed our lives with a mutual abundance of love that we never knew existed. No anxiety. No turning purple.  And I tag him on FaceBook with gusto.

I will never (nor should never) forget about my past but I have my sights facing forward and am so incredibly ready for this grand new adventure!

I’ve been waiting and saving it all ..

https://youtu.be/9HCDV5APkFY