Look & Listen

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I’m sure I sound like a broken record but I really cannot believe how fast the days fly by. Have you ever felt like the hours whiz past you and before you know it, it’s 4 days later and you’re not quite sure how you got there?

It’s a constant struggle for me to stay mindful and really experience the present moment. There is always something ‘else’ going on. The baby needs something, my husband needs something, my parents, my sister, my friends.

This month in particular is pretty brutal when it comes to time being sucked in a whirlwind. This last week alone I’ve prepped for two parties and co-hosted one, spent hours baking and driving and planning for more gatherings. It’s really quite ridiculous but I love this time of year all the same.

This is why I treasure my time outdoors right now more than ever! The fresh air helps me breathe deeply and the exercise I get from roaming my little corner of the world allows me to truly focus on whatever my mind.

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This is a type of post that I truly love and want to do more of. A post of observances and appreciation. Of stopping in my tracks to really notice bits and pieces of the world around me and sharing those pieces.

So, without further ado, here are five things I have to appreciate this week.

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1) The crunch crunch crunch sound of snow underfoot. It’s a sound that is totally unique to a snow globe world.

2) When the wind whips up a recent dusting of snow and swirls it around, creating a sparkly little funnel cloud.

3) Tis the season of lights! Walking outside after 5pm means being in the dark but every day more houses are being adorned with pretty coloured lights, and other cute decorations, that create a most cheerful atmosphere.

4) The last street lamp at the edge of town throws it’s light only so far. Although I know what lies beyond in the dark, it’s fun to pretend the unseen world is an eerie mystery.

5) The dizzying shimmer of snow in the lamp light or sun. I swear, it sparkles like a field of diamonds!

I’m back!

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Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written here!
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Life got in the way and writing on here has taken a backseat compared with other priorities, mostly familial. But the good news is even though I haven’t written about it, I’ve kept to my goal of spending more and more time outside every day. I’m now at 21 minutes! (It may not sound like a lot, but compared to when I started spending just 5 minutes outdoors every day, I’m happy with my progress!)

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I’ve been thinking about this blog and how to make it more interesting, since I’m never sure that my personal ramblings about my outdoor experiences are quite what people want to hear or read about. Perhaps I can make it more organized, you know, talk about ‘this’ on Monday, talk about ‘that’ on Tuesday. Or come up with ‘guides’ or adventures available around here. I don’t know, what do you think? Is that too mainstream? Too eager? I’m certainly not one for product reviews, so that’s out.

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My main point for having this blog is to remain honest to myself and to showcase my love and appreciation for my little corner of the world. My goal for spending more and more time outdoors is a result of realizing that I was experiencing a disconnection between myself and the natural world around me which was bringing on a state of depression and basically not being ‘aware’, if you know what I mean.

My goal for this blog, as I see it now, is to successfully showcase my appreciation for the world around me. I mean to do this by showing pictures and writing blurbs about the things I see and am inspired by.

With Love,

Caleigh

A dash of Winnipeg

Monday November 10, 2014

Temperature: -10*C (14*F)

Goal time to spend outdoors: 18 minutes (goal not reached, double sad face)

Today I drove to Winnipeg with Little C, and picked my mom up along the way. First we browsed around Polo Park because I wanted to check out the new wing on the upper floor of the mall (which used to be a Zellers but is now a mix of mostly-new-to-us stores) that had been developed and OF COURSE they put The Disney Store right next to Anthropologie! Now Little C will probably (okay, always) get to visit his soon-to-be favourite store while I visit mine!

After our mall adventure we whipped around the city to be on time for my appointment to get my hearing aid checked out. My device has been acting up, draining battery power ridiculously fast so it’s either go broke getting it fixed or go broke buying hearing aid batteries.

After my appointment we went to a chain restaurant (Perkins) for lunch and then drove out of the city, since by then it was 3pm and I didn’t want to be too late arriving home. It’s not fair for Little C to have a late night just because I’d like to shop!

Once we arrived home it was dark out (as it will be now at 5pm), my husband wasn’t back from work yet and the last thing I wanted to do was stick the baby in the stroller again after he’d been cooped up all day. Because of all this I stayed home until Big C arrived, which happened to be later than usual (an unexpected truck showed up to load grain, which backed everything up).

I intended to go outside once Big C had showered and could watch the baby, when a knock on the door sent the baby and puppy into a tailspin. A friend had dropped by to give us a toque that her mom had knitted for the baby (which was super cute but unfortunately too small) and stayed for a short visit.

After she left I got distracted by social media (SO easy to do, amirite people?!) and then all of the sudden it was time for Little C to have his bath.

After Little C went to sleep I suddenly realized it was after 8pm and I wanted something to eat. I whipped up a simple salad and ate that, followed by leftover cake and watched our Monday night programs in the living room. I know it’s a terrible habit, watching tv while eating supper. But it was late! And Castle was on! Excuses, excuses.

After tv was over it was 11pm and I was ready for bed. I felt kind of ashamed, I knew I had totally put aside spending time outdoors in favour of lazy pleasures and easy ways out. I was too ‘busy’ which is a total crock of bull since I easily could have made time in the evening if I had forgone tv and food. It’s amazing how I can convince myself I’m too busy when in reality I’m just not very good at organizing my time.

Indoor Kitty

Sunday November 9, 2014

Temperature: maaaaaybe -4*C (maaaaaybe 24*F)

Goal time to spend outdoors: 18 minutes (Goal not reached. Sad face.)

So today I baked a cake. And then baked another cake. And kept Little C out of trouble. And kept Peggy Sue out of trouble. And visited with my sister and bro-in-law when they stopped by to pick up a freezer. And made a salad. And drove to my parents’ place to celebrate family members’ birthdays. And ate a lot of food. And watched a slide show of my sister’s wedding photos. And drove home, almost falling asleep along the way, which forced Big C to carry the conversation with me so I’d stay awake. And clambered into bed immediately after we arrived home. And fell promptly into glorious sleep which I did not wake up from until 7:30am the next day.

But I don’t think I was outside for more than 10 minutes the whole day. I was an indoor kitty, and I yearned to be free.

Family Time

Saturday November 8, 2014

Temperature: -7*C with the windchill (19*F with the windchill)

Goal time to spend outdoors: 17 minutes (goal achieved)

Yet another overcast day. What the heck?! It’s usually very sunny here so I don’t know what’s going on. Ah well. I’m hoping when it’s finally sunny again I’ll appreciate those warm(ish) rays that much more.

Today I had a lot of company on this walk. Besides the baby, Big C and Peggy Sue came along which was a lovely change of pace. It’s always nice to enjoy the fresh air with people you adore and are able to converse with about everything and anything that comes to your mind.

We walked up the first avenue, down the highway along the edge of the village and then back into the shelter of houses along the middle avenue (yeah, there are only three avenues here). Being first time parents ‘n all we were a bit concerned about Little C not being warm enough, but he was bundled up in his outer clothes and thick blanket and we rolled the ‘window’ part of the cover down so no cold air could get through, so I wasn’t terribly worried. I have a feeling though that it’s time to properly figure out what an 8 month old baby should be wearing in sub-zero temps…

The strong northwest wind blew chilly air on our cheeks, although we were fairly prepared for today’s foray, bundling up in toques and gloves. (well, I was only wearing one mitten since I couldn’t find it’s pair. Yes, I am that person. Whatever.)

My lone mitten. Yes it's old and ratty. But it still does the job of keeping my hand warm! If only I could find it's pair...

My lone mitten. Yes it’s old and ratty. But it still does the job of keeping my hand warm! If only I could find it’s pair…

We braced ourselves while walking west, squinting into the wind and talking out the side of our mouths. We tried to walk quickly along the highway and hurry back into town to enjoy the second half of our walk with the wind at our back. Sometimes I swear that wind could just pick me up and blow me away. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But seriously. It’s windy. Did I mention it’s windy? Ok, I’ll shut up about it now.)

I SO enjoy spending time with my little family, talking with my husband and doting on our pets and baby with him. We don’t get much time to spend together, and sometimes the hours we do have together is spent ignoring each other for the sake of technology (damn you, smartphones!). So when we do make an effort to REALLY be together, it’s very wonderful 🙂

Nostalgia

Thursday November 6, 2014

Temperature: 2*C (36*F)

Goal time to spend outdoors: 17 minutes (goal achieved)

This morning I was in my hometown of Treherne because I had an appointment to get my INR levels checked at the hospital (I developed a blood clot after giving birth to Little C so am now on blood thinners). After my appointment I drove down a few streets in town and parked the car in front of the town restaurant (yes, at the moment there is only one. We are THAT small.) that happened to be my place of employment during my high schools years. Oh, the memories!

It was a clear, crisp, sunny day plus I had brought along Little C’s stroller with us (you never know what you need, and babies need a lot of STUFF) and I had some time to kill before lunch, so out came the stroller. I clicked Little C’s bucket into the base, packed the blanket on top of him for warmth, adjusted his hat and away we went.

I walked down a hill, past the church I attended as a child, past the plot of land where my babysitter used to live (the house has been torn down and a mini-McMansion is being built in it’s place), past the land where my grandma used to have a house (we tore it down when she passed away and whoever bought the land brought a ratty trailer onto the space), past the lodge that my grandma lived in for a short time, past the stores and banks on the main streets of town that I used to frequent, past the empty plot of land the hardware my parents used to own (the building has been torn down).

I kept thinking that everything is so weird now. Bits of the town are totally unchanged and other pieces are flat out gone from this world, remaining only in my heart and memory. I took a moment to travel back in time, if only in my head, and saw my friend’s house that is now gone and replaced by another house, and a building that used to be a cafe and is now a physical therapy office.

Things are always changing.

Businesses, families, the weather. Everything just keeps rolling and moving and growing and breaking apart, only to keep moving and grow again. Sometimes it’s a little too much for my heart to take. Once in a while I fleetingly wish things would just stay still, that time would slow down to a crawl. But then I remember that change is the correct way of the world. That facing the things we fear is good for the soul (or essence, or personality, however you want to describe it) and that being sad once in a while is okay, since it makes being happy that much more special.

I wasn’t sad, not really. I felt nostalgic and bittersweet. I hadn’t lived here in over 10 years. The past is past, what’s done is done. If anything, I think I was a little sad for the girl I had once been and was no longer. She was a great girl, I think, and sometimes I miss her and her naivete. I had a lovely childhood. My home was a safe and loving home, my town was a safe and picturesque town.

As I strolled past the credit union I waved to a man who was once a little boy that went to the same babysitter as me. He parked a pick-up truck with his name on the back declaring he owned a construction business. I laughed a little. I remembered him dancing with me in a living room and being embarrassed that he liked to dance. His sister once bit me on my arm so hard she drew blood and their brother, who I went to school with, was the golden boy in our grade, well-liked by almost everyone.

How time flies. How things change. How some of it remains eternal. I love it all.

That Mild Feeling

Wednesday November 5, 2014

Temperature:  2*C (36*F)

Goal time to spend outdoors: 17 minutes (goal achieved!)

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Pretty sight, but didn’t give myself time to get a good shot. Next time!

This afternoon Little C and I got ourselves organized (although, let’s be real here, I do most of the heavy lifting) and smoothly transitioned (meaning the baby didn’t fight like a deranged animal to resist putting his arms through the jacket sleeves and his feet into shoes) from indoor hermits into outdoor butterflies.

We walked to the credit union, where I am currently on maternity leave from, and I had a nice chat with my co-workers and my supervisor while I got some financial things taken care of. Of course they all had to have a good look at Little C, and my supervisor – who is the awesomest supervisor I could ask for, no really I just adore her to bits – played with the baby for a minute (or 3 or 4 or more).

As we left the credit union I steered the stroller down the main street in town and enjoyed the crisp fall air and bright sights. The world was slightly grey, but my mood was so shiny it might as well have been sunny out. It was such a nice change to walk around town during the day, I felt like it had been ages since I had done so (even though I’m sure it hasn’t been THAT long).

I decided to roam around the east edge of town, which goes slightly downhill, and there I noticed the construction site at the highway where the province is rebuilding a bridge. I made a mental note that if I’m going out of town during the day to use a different entrance as to avoid the hassle of backed-up traffic (I just don’t have the patience for that).

Around the corner we turned and back into town we were. I pushed the stroller up a steep incline and noticed objects in bushes and ditches that had been thrown away, essentially garbage. I had the fleeting thought that spring and fall are very revealing seasons. Things that were tossed away to be hidden underneath piles of snow will be revealed in the spring and things that were set aside in the summer trees will be revealed in autumn once the leaves fall.

Today was an extremely mild walk and really this was the kind of day that I savor.  Light breeze, light sounds, light step. Nothing heavy. Nothing stark or dark. A truly pleasant walk on a crisp fall day is a rare bird indeed, and one that I’m thankful for!