Dear A. & A.,
This morning, I took Hobbes out for his morning outing and it was just too cold for me. With the wind, we are hitting -25ºC today which isn’t what we are used to here in Toronto. I actually like winter, but this is colder than I would like it to be! Burrrrrr!
Hobbes doesn’t mind, though. His fur is very thick and curly. When the wind blows he jumps around in it all happy.
Yesterday, Chaeli had her first tryout for the Varsity Co-Ed Badminton team (grade 4 to 6). She has her second tryout session next Thursday morning so we will let everyone know if she moves on from there.
It is hard for people in her grade level because they are up against kids much older and who have been playing badminton for a while. But that’s okay. We told Chaeli to just try her best and more importantly, to have fun! Because if trying out for a sport isn’t fun, then what’s the point?
She did have fun, she said. A lot of fun and is looking forward to next week’s tryout.
Chaeli’s school is also celebrating International Day next Friday. They have to bring some type of food that represents where they are from. In the past, Chaeli has brought things like Italian meatball to represent Grandma’s Italian side and Tatty-Scones to represent Papa’s Scottish side. This year, we think she will bring some Chinese deserts to represent the Chinese side of my side of the family. She will probably where a Chinese outfit customary to what girls use to wear in China (and still do on special occasions).
Anyway, attached to this letter is also a recipe I would like to pass on to your mom and dad. It is a no-fail recipe we enjoy making a lot. Please tell your mom and dad to substitute the chorizo sausage for Italian sausage if they can not get a hold of that type of Spanish sausage (here in Toronto, we would have to go to a special butcher to get them).
Hope all is well! Stay warm!
Love, Auntie Shy.
i know my last bit of posts have all been pretty deep – and very much about me.
the intention of this blog was for me to document a variety of aspects of my life as well as just an escape for creativity and fun.
and so… some random updates on my offspring!
- we woke up at almost an hour earlier today (5:30am) because we had to be at school before 7:15 am for chaeli to change and get ready for her varsity team tryouts. what is she trying out for? co-ed badminton. i’m not at all sure where this interest came from but both doug and i thought it was a great idea. the catch, however, is that she is trying out against kids from grade 4 to 6. most first time grade 4 students have a difficult time making it since they are up against bigger and more experienced kids. but doug and i had told her to just try her best and have fun. i’m sure if it was for alpine skiing tryouts, chaeli would probably be jumping at the chance – but badminton is not her main focus so this is just for fun. and she did have fun, as i learned after picking her up from school.
- walking around her school, i was amazed at all the team canada, olympic posters hung on many of their hall walls. every corridor i turned had 2 to 5 of these massive posters, each one focusing on one of our olympic athletes. between them, were class projects, each focusing on a different athlete and their sport. they even were pulled out of the class to watch the last half of the women’s gold medal game and the men’s semi-final game against the US. on certain days, they got to ditch their uniform and come in red and white colours to support canada. chaeli’s class focused on the Dufour-LaPoint sisters. quite fitting as she’s now quite the skiing addict:
- she is reading the secret garden; therefore, i am too, which makes this my third book in my new year’s resolution of ‘ten books.’ my mind has been distracted though, so it’s nice to be able to ask her about the book whenever i require clarification. and i think she gets a kick about knowing more than me as she is completely giddy at times to help me out when i’m confused about how some characters connect.
- chaeli has this book about learning how to write in code and other ‘secret agent’ stuff. it includes an invisible marker where the words appear when you shine a black-light pen on it (included with the book). she’s been passing doug and i these messages in code (similar to pig latin) and we’ve been decoding them so we can answer her questions. yes – it’s a long way to something as simple as, “do i have time to read before bed” but i have to admit it’s also fun.
- i suppose a quick update on hobbes is in order. a few weeks ago, we were having hot pot at my aunt’s and uncle’s. we left the table where the leftover hotpot sat in the centre to sit and digest in the living room area. i have no idea how long hobbes was being sneaky for, but basically, i got up to go to the kitchen for something and caught him standing on his hind legs on one of the centre dining room chairs, front paws digging into the plastic table sheets, which basically moved and gathered where the hot pot was, and lo-and-behold, his entire head was right in the pot. who knows how much he ate – but i gathered it was a lot. the next morning up to mid-afternoon, i was taking him out on the hour due to a crazy case of diarrhea. i would say, “serves him right!” but it was me who suffered along with him since i had to be the one to clean up after him. thank god for snow – you can at least use the snow to pack up the mess.
my last therapy session was good – very good. we did a lot of digging. so much was uncovered that i added another session between this last one and the next one which i had planned for early may.
i figured, before the session, that i would be ready to go every couple of months as planned. but as soon as i got home, i emailed the lovely, friendly receptionist (they chose a good candidate to take care of business in their office) and asked for another session between now and then. so about 5-6 weeks appart between each sessions.
this was my own decision and my therapists never puts any pressure on me as to when i feel the need to return. everyone is differnet. some people need to go weekly, some monthly and some, just go ever other month or so for a “tune-up”. some need more time to process the information and put it to good use before the next session. and some require the frequency to be more intense because it helps with the motivation.
i chose to make it sooner than later because i feel we’re at a crucial part of this digging.
it’s tiring, though. and painful. what i mean is that old wounds were open. i went home and for the past week since i saw my therapist, have been flooded with painful memories of my childhood. memories not forgotten but simply put away or off to the side.
there was some frustration though… these are memories i thought i was over. things that have been dealt with. i want to move on with them. i thought i had moved on from them. but the reality is that these things from the past are still here in the present. perhaps they are disguised in different shapes and forms, but they are very much still here. either metaphorically as the culprit of my anxiety/depression issues. or, evern more painfully, embedded in my current relationship with my parents.
now, as i mentioned already, i do not want to hold any ill-feelings towards my parents of my childhood. which is probably why i am frustrated with these haunting memories that have caused so much emotions.
but the truth is that, perhaps, my frustration lies in our relationship at the present moment. and i’m aware now that something happened between my father and i this past friday, just a couple of days after my therapy session, which angered me and opened up the flood gates to some of these horrible memories.
it’s a reminder – when something happens in the present, it automatically links, for me, to the past. and until i deal with my personal demons – and learn how to handle my current relationships – this will always be the case. at the least, through my progress in therapy, i’m able to link this cause and effect relationship.
it’s tricky – to be strong enough to go through all this digging, opening old wounds and NOT go to that dark place where it’s easier to just point fingers and blame them and think, you did this to me! this is the way i am because of you!
i don’t want to go there but during the most painful parts of these past few days, the temptation was there. but what point would that be? it would be vengeful and spiteful – and that will not help me in the end. plus, i know my parents just didn’t know any better way – they were raised in probably a harsher and/or more abusive way than how i grew up. and part-way through my adult life, i could see there was regret on their part.
the best thing i can do is to try and deal with this – and move forward. i’m lucky, very lucky, to be more self-aware of what is going on inside of me. unlike my parents who still to this day struggle with the concept of self-awareness.
i use this ability of mine to make sure i be a better parent to my own daughter. because i don’t want to put her through what i went through – i don’t want to pass on this anxiety/depression issue to her. i hope she has a future of much greater freedom than this type of inner prison i’ve been trapped in for decades.
i simply love this post from dooce:
I was recently having a conversation with a friend about the things in my life that make me joyous in an effort to experience more of that emotion in my life. She was very specific to point out that my anxiety likes to confuse feelings of joy with feelings of safety, and for me to really dig deep and make the distinction. That’s the really shitty thing about anxiety, it can take the kid inside you who used to marvel at rainbows and dance around in public and tell her that there is way too much to worry about to ever feel like that again. continue reading…
she goes on about how she finds joy in daily things such as exercising, diet, organizing… but in the end, all those things she listed were really just relief from the order it gave her life.
i am, as i am discovering, the exact same way. i suppose on some level, i really do enjoy some aspects of my workout… such as yoga. it gives me joy simply because when i am doing yoga, my body feels so alive and, well, loved. i’m giving many moments during my yoga practice to be kind to my body. and therefore, show myself how much i do love the inner me.
and while i think a lot of other things i do in my fitness regime is fun, the bottom line is that i like the order it creates in my daily grind. it’s a way to control something… in this case, it’s having some control over my body.
she also goes on to explain how one true joy is the laughter of her children – and i couldn’t agree more. and so, one way she finds joy in her everyday life is to add some level of silliness with her children.
this brought me back to our last trip to disney world.
to be honest, the exact moment and location escapes me. but basically, doug, chaeli and i were sitting at some restaurant within one of the theme parks, talking about what we planned to do that day. i believe we had plans to head into epcot and how we would make sure to drop by and see crush the talking turtle. (and yes, he talks to the kids in the audience, this animated turtle on a screen that looks like you’re looking into an aquarium, in real time – apparently, it uses digital-puppetry.)
doug and i both started to talk like crush the turtle and this set chaeli into fits of giggles. sure, people were probably walking by, thinking we were nuts. then again, this was disney. people who go to disney and love disney and want to wrap themselves in all-things-disney GET it. no need to explain. “see those people? they get being here. they’re happy. why wouldn’t they be talking like crush the turtle?”
i look back in my ten years and honestly, it’s like i’ve forgotten how to just be in that moment where i find joy. and it’s always over the small stuff. it’s not like a big production is needed. at all.
dooce is right. anxiety really does take the kid out of a person.
and it’s times like these that i realize that the best teacher to teach me about how to have that type of fun again… is my own kid.
last saturday, we had a belated 10th birthday dinner celebration for chaeli. my family came, as well as chaeli’s godparents, auntie ada and uncle hoa.
throughout the evening, i saw from the corner of my eyes, ada and chaeli busy posing for photos using ada’s iphone.
she sent me those photos by email later, adding a series which she found on her phone when she got home. they were ALL of chaeli – dozens of selfies.
this is so typical chaeli.