Wednesday, November 27, 2013

and we begin again....

I'm back for a wee bit! With the holidays approaching and life in the fast lane with my two beautiful and growing children, I thought I had better pop in here for a hot minute and say hello. ;) My Captain's exam process begins in April and culminates in May. Looking forward to getting the dang exams over with and getting my full fledged Captain's stripes soon thereafter. :). So my nose is buried again in books and study notes. Time management is the issue these days. The children are five and seven now and so much more independent but now there are soccer and swimming and gymnastic lessons to add to the mix. And the older one wants to play the piano and the little one wants to play the electric drums of course. ;) I've settled into my new station quite well after they blew up my previous crew because of some interesting 'politicking' manoeuvers. I must say after the initial shock of losing my crew that I had grown to love, my new crew is strong and capable and it is working out just fine. As with anything, it takes a bit of time for things to adjust. Speaking of which, I am single again and even though I never thought I'd say this, I am quite relieved. You see, it turns out I had fallen madly in love with the idea of having a 'family' again, instead of falling in love with eyes open and seeing the man before me for who is actually was. Now I would like to think that I am a strong sensible woman and usually I am. But when it comes to matters of the heart I can easily be misguided by wanting something so badly that I don't see the forest for the trees. Luckily I listened to that little voice in my head and said enough is enough after the third (or fourth or fifth....geez) he lost his cool on me. Without getting into gory details I realized I was dealing with a fellow who had this. *deep breath here*. I realized through all of this I was still grieving the loss of my marriage and wanted so badly to recreate a reasonable facsimile, but then realized how unreasonable this idea was. Because you see, me and the children are enough. We aren't lacking anything. I am enough. I know who I am and will not have a lover undermine my fortitude and resilience. My children's father is present in their lives and is a terrific dad and we are becoming the good friends we ought to have been in our marriage. So life is good. And recalibrated. Besides, I have my study notes to keep me warm this winter ;)and beautiful friends and rocks I can still climb and fires to put out and children who are my greatest blessings. It's good to stand my ground and be on my own two feet. It's about time I own that. xo

Saturday, September 21, 2013

more new beginnings

Not only did I suffer the loss of my little family being split through divorce, I have had to watch my fire crew getting picked off and moved to different stations, myself included. The repercussions on morale have been indescribable. Almost like a divorce, there is this sense of shock, denial, pain, feeling of rejection. And grief from the separation. The higher powers that be in this paramilitary system called the fire department decided it was time to split up my crew..... one that has worked incredibly  well together for so long. But with every challenge, there is a silver lining. Time marches on and we realize, well at least I do, that there are new adventures to be had even if it means we are scared shitless of what lies in the unknown. And that the only way to stop feeling afraid is to put one foot in front of the other even if you really don't feel like it sometimes.


Been feeling sad that I haven't been faithful to my little blog but my lame reason is that my computer is fried and I can't seem to figure out how to blog from my iphone. I get inspired to write and put my myriad of musings in to the 'notes' section of my phone but can't seem to get the dang info onto the blog. So my notes sit there, trapped in this small 3 x 5 inch piece of technology for all of eternity. I try to blog from work if I get a break but inevitably when I do someone walks into my office and I quickly pull the page down from the screen as if I was some furtive teenage boy caught looking at porn. You see, what I write here is usually painfully private which mystifies me as to why I choose to share it. It's more the work colleague sharing thing that I worry about. I mean, what would they think? Would they still respect me for my vulnerability? Would they see me as a leader anymore? Or would they appreciate me just the same or perhaps even more because I have shown pieces of my heart and soul? Or would they shut me out for not being superhuman anymore? I have learned a big lesson over the summer while on vacation with a man I have fallen in love with. Which is totally scary and exhilirating but a whole other post for another day. We had a fight because I fell off a lead climb that I should not have been on in the first place. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I messed up and just wanted to hold it together. He was quite upset that I deflected how frightened I was. And pointed out I shouldn't try to be brave when clearly I am feeling terrified. And that I should back off when I am in over my head. Instead of seeing that he was there for me and just trying to be supportive, and that he was just plain scared for me, I had a bit on an existential meltdown and started quistioning who I was, what I stood for, and wondered if I was a terrible fake or a fantastic actress putting up a front to the world that yes, I AM FINE. Even if I am not. :( I literally cried in front of him. All.Day.Long. In the mountains in one of the most beautiful places in Canada. We did not climb for days afterwards. I was paralyzed with fear and grieved and sobbed. I sobbed for so many reasons: the guilt of not being with my children in while in the mountains(even though I was with them for over 2 weeks straight on vacation just prior). That my mother doesn't understand me. That my sister will never be close to me. That I cannot show weakness in front of my father. I cried a torrent of tears to the point my eyes were like puffballs. I questioned whether or not I should be a captain because in the culture of firefighting one cannot admit to being scared because it is seen as a sign of weakness and can be unsettling to those looking to their commander for direction. I questioned my ability to love in a relationship because if I showed the weak parts of me then would I be loved by this fellow I fell head over heels with and who my children adore? I cried. And it felt horrible. And it was terrifying for me. Because I have not lost my cool like that in so many, many years. We were both very rattled and inside I was like "well... you wanted to see me vulnerable. You just got more that you bargained for mister' But the beauty of it was because he loves me he did not walk away. He did not hate me or think less of me. Yes he was rattled. Yes he was a bit shell shocked. But in that moment he was patient and loving. And this was an epiphany because I realized I have not been patient nor kind to myself. I am my own worst critic and beat myself up for my misgivings. Which is not loving to my soul. And through my crisis it reaffirmed my need to treat myself like I would my best friend. And to get down on my knees and thank the universe for bringing this man into my life who has the courage to speak his mind to me because he wants to go the distance and get to know and love all the parts of me. Even the broken ones.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

letting go

I have decided to finally live in a conscious loving relationship. Which is something I have never done before in a romantic relationship my entire life. Not even during my marriage which led to my subsequent divorce.  I was a master of self-sabotage which befuddles me somewhat but also makes perfect sense to those who know me and who know what has wounded me deeply in the past.  But to continue living a self-protective arms-length distance from love just doesn't serve me anymore. So here I go world. And here I go Mike. I'm here. I'm present. My heart is wide open. And I thank you for your strength, your patience, and of course, your love.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

tired to the bone

I used to think motherhood was hard. It isn't really. You feed the children, bathe them, nurture, teach them right from wrong......  It's all quite simple really. But inasmuch motherhood isn't hard, it's freaking relentless. Especially when outnumbered two kids to one me.  A hamster wheel of sorts. Or groundhog day. Or a box of chocolates where you never know what you're gonna get with their moods, their sleep patterns, foods they live on one day and dislike the next.

Today my neck and back hurt from wearing my air pack longer than I cared to last shift so I am crawling back to bed and just gonna hibernate for awhile. At least until school pickup anyway.  Mama bear is tired today.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

sending my admiration

It's a tumultuous day weather-wise here in the city with Mama Nature's outbursts changing from one moment of calm, to rain, hail and thunderstorms the next. Then sunshine again before another cloudburst hits. I find it quite ironic or quite fitting that this kind of unpredictable weather happens to be on Mother's Day. I realize that my days (my life really) is moment to moment. And very unpredictable but soothing in the sense that storms will pass and I won't be in the dark forever if at times it feels as such. So I take the moments of sunshine and joy and run full tilt with them when I can. My kids are at that competitive age with each other so I spend a lot of my time playing referee which is no fun at all. I've surrendered to the fact that motherhood is relentless but thankfully not that difficult. I've been blessed in so many ways even though I miss having an intact family. There are times I do feel isolated, not having a man around the house or a shoulder to cry on, or strong arms to run home to after a particularly hard shift. But it's all par for the course and perhaps one day, in due time, my idea of a modern family might fall into place. At least I haven't given up on the hope.  :)

I just wanted to dedicate this post to all the mothers out there. Especially the single mothers. The single mothers out there. I send you my love and support.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


When I asked what my four-year-old kindergartener did at school yesterday, she coolly replied 'We had lockdown practice, mama.'. I could have cried. Maiya, in her still lispy vernacular, explained to me that they had to lie down on the floor while the teacher closed the curtains and locked the door. I am pretty sure she didn't understand what a lockdown procedure was actually for, but I suppose I am relieved that she knows what to do if ever it were necessary, blissfully unaware of the magnitude of it  all.


I still believe the world is a good place.

I have to.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Just saw that I've only posted ONCE so far this year!

Well twice now. ;)

Thursday, April 11, 2013


I know I've been completely MIA. Been a loooooong winter and it was bloody hailing today with an inch of slush on the ground.

Been doing lots of soul-searching and self-discovery. This winter was a particularly difficult one with 2 new rookies (one of whom hasn't been getting the hang of the job).  And a crewmate senior to me in tenure but junior to me in rank is proving to be a major pain in the ass with his negativity and lack of moral courage.   It's been one of the biggest challenges I've had to face in a leadership role.

Been physically exhausted. February was the worst with a cold that lasted 3 weeks. And the single mom thing has me running ragged at times. But I try to live 5 minutes at a time. Meaning if I can get through the next 5 minutes I will be fine.

I've been dating this fella. I find the whole thing interesting.   Have no clue  how dating is  'supposed' to be done. But hey, 5 minutes at a time.

On a milestone note, my birthday is this weekend. Lots of friends and family coming over so I'm pretty excited about that. Especially excited because the kids are excited. Parties are always better with my children there to share in the experience.

I've started studying for my full-fledged Captain's exam even though it's not for another year till I write. But this way it will seem less daunting if I stay active in the books.

What else?  Just living life, climbing, still discovering myself and tryin to find calm when I can.

I promise I will be here more. I have missed sitting down wih my thoughts.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012


This is the first Christmas in years that I have really been excited and happy about.  Perhaps because I don't feel broken anymore.  Even though my family is 'fractured', I feel we are the better for it in some roundabout way.......

Anyway, just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a very merry christmas.  xo

Peace and blessings..... xo

Friday, December 21, 2012

bug off christian mingle

Well it was bound to happen. My email account made it to the spam list and now my inbox is being grenaded with eharmony, and Christian mingle dating sites. Not sure what the universe is trying to say but thank you very little I am doing just fine on my own. ;)

Friday, December 14, 2012

boulder holder :)

Entering my first rockclimbing competition tonight, and.... mildly freaking out......................  The funny thing is that I was told I should clean up the category because I will be in the Master's Division.  Which is a polite way of saying Old  Fart's Division.  Ha.  I don't know if I should be flattered or insulted.... lol.  Doesn't matter anyway, it will be a blast cranking it out.  Just horribly nervous because I have been focusing on endurance climbing routes, and have lost a bit of explosive power required for bouldering and comps in general.  I managed to squeeze in a bouldering session last week.... we shall see what tonight brings....  should be loads of fun and a nice time to hang with other climbers I haven't seen in a long time.  If only I can keep my eyes open until then....  ;) xo

a little bit of narcissism goes a long way for the self esteem

I am sad to admit, but I feel it in my bones on more days than not.... the aches, the pain, the slow recovery time from over- exertion that reminds me that I am getting older.  My pack feels heavier, my reactions perhaps not as quick as I'd like them to be.  But I remind myself that steady wins the race and maybe part of being a more mature firefighter is to not waste energy on the little things.  But still, I don't ever remember being this sore.........

So it's nice to participate again this year in the charity calendar.  On the days I am feeling creaky and low energy, I can look at these pictures of me and think perhaps foolishly I am still 25 yrs old.  ;)  They went with the second photo in the calendar but if you want to see the other guys and gals, click on the above link and for a great cause and fantastic Christmas gift, they are available for purchase.

i'm back!

Phew!  It has been a whirlwind the past few months and I do apologize for being so absent in posting.  I hit the ground running once I returned from Vegas on Oct. 30th meeting the kids on their return from England with their Dad.  We did Halloween on the 31st of course and I was back at work the following day.  Between then and now, it's been non-stop catching up on the homefront, dealing with head lice that my children somehow picked up (nasty gross little buggers and for any of you parents such as myself who didn't want to use chemicals call LiceSquad.  Trust me.  These folks are amazing), a gallbladder attack that laid me out for weeks, my daughter's fourth birthday, and a calendar launch........  and climbing of course.  lol

But first things first.  And one thing at a time!

Vegas!  I have to say apart from childbirth, and moments on the job, my experience climbing in Red Rocks was the most profound and challenging, intimate, and life-changing thing I have ever had in my life.  The unpredictable desert climate, the alpine start, the winds, fatigue, long approach, all these factors humbled me to the core.  And I still can't put into words how I felt.  It was exhilarating, difficult, exhausting, frightening, satisfying and beautiful.  I think the best way to explain is to show you the photos........

I trad seconded the right hand crack in the shadows and suffered from hypothermia.  Multipitch is exhilirating but long, long days.  14-16 hour days.......  Then on a following day smartened up and sport climbed the left face in the sun which was much more comfortable even though it was a tougher grade:

On our "rest" days we climbed single pitch on the red rocks.  So beautiful.  You can get the idea of scale looking at my climbing partner in the photo.

Photo shot between my legs from a hanging belay station.  We're probably about 800 feet up with still lots more to go.  I love seeing the climbers below us moving up gingerly with concentration.

More red rocks.  So prehistoric looking......


And the climb that started it all...........  left face.  Which is where I fell in love without even trying.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

big big love

So I've dabbled in the dating world for an iota of a second and quite honestly, it isn't for me. Right now anyway. Perhaps it is because I am newly divorced. Perhaps because my life is so tremendously fulfilling and satisfying regarding my work and my children. And my climbing of course. It would take someone very special who could pry me away from those I love the most.  People ask me if I am lonely. And the thought hasn't crossed my mind. I am surrounded by a crew of stable, strong men at work who I trust with my life. I have my children who I live my life for. And I have me....  This person that I am getting to know again because I no longer have to worry, impress, convince, or be loveable to anyone but myself. Besides, the dating world is weird. There are the cheapskates, the narcissists, the alcoholics, the players......  I can spot them a mile away and I'm like, 'uh, no thanks'.

My mother, who practices Buddhism, has this term she calls 'big, big love'.  It's about because you don't have the 'one', you are able to love and care for the 'many'.  Which at this point in my life, is exactly where I want to be. Because my love isn't channeled and focused into one so-called man, I am instead able to channel and focus all my love into mankind. And this warms my heart. I am able to love all children as if they were my own, take care of patients at work like they were my own family, and just appreciate the lessons, good and bad, that come with people I meet.  It's as simple as that and it gives me peace. I find soon as relationships start to unfold on an intimate level all of a sudden there are expectations which are a set up for disappointment. A friend of mine asked me why I don't allow myself to be loved by a man. To which I replied, 'Because I have something bigger than that'.  I have been blessed with that thing called big big love and there is nothing more powerful than that. XO

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Vegas baby!

I have 10 guilt free mom days coming up next month. Jake and Maiya will be traveling with their dad to England. So it's Vegas for this gal. Not for gambling mind you, but for climbing the big walls of The Red Rock canyon. I have this dream of sleeping in a bivouac a thousand feet up in the air. We shall see what adventures this trip brings.............

Flying out to meet a friend who climbs strong and steady and knows the crag well.  I can't wait to feel the desert sun on my back and kiss the ground and the sandstone and the sky.  And on my rest days I will sleep by the pool and maybe go for a walk along the Vegas strip and watch all the weird freaky gamblers.  In any event, it will be quite the experience because there is nothing like the feeling of free climbing...... Because while I climb, everything washes away... My mind  becomes so still and focused and calm. It is pure joy. Plain and simple.

And whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Lol

Can't stinking wait.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Funny how emotions can turn on a dime.
I just woke up from a much needed nap and just felt sad all of a sudden. My kids are in school and my home feels empty. And I feel more than slightly alone. I am not ok in this moment. And I guess it's about time I admit that it's ok in not being ok. And that I don't always have to hold it together. I'll allow myself a little cry right now and a two minute pity party. Then I will head out my door and face the world and see what life brings me.....

a bit of elbow grease and a lot of heart

I did something I haven't done in years..........

I decided to do some volunteer work twice a week at a local school's hot lunch program, making sure children were fed a good, healthy meal.

By 12:30 yesterday I was elbow deep in pasta sauce, parmesan cheese and fruit salad.  Then bussed all the tables and washed and organized the never-ending pile of dishes eaten by hungry children.  I was run off my feet.  lol.  The best part of it all was meeting the women behind the program, mostly low income single mothers who wanted to make a difference in the community.  I cannot tell you how much I laughed and smiled with these women who were complete strangers to me up until a few hours when I first stepped into that kitchen.  We shared stories of our lives, of our children, of our hopes and our dreams.  One mom rocked her one-year-old in his stroller while she prepped food.... she also had a 23-year-old and two children in between.  Another mom told me how she left her drug addicted husband and was now piecing her life back together but had the triumph of winning full custody of her children.  Another mom giggled non-stop and asked me a myriad of questions of the firemen I worked with, and if they could come and help out in the kitchen too.  I cannot tell you how safe I felt in that humid little kitchen in the basement of that building.  It reminded me that no matter our background, we were all mothers who loved our children dearly.  And in doing so, in experiencing that fierce, fierce love, it gives us that capacity and strength to make this world a better place in our own special way.  This day reminded me how lucky I am to be a woman.  Because women get to experience the beating of their child's heart beneath their own as it grows inside their belly.  And it continues to do so, on good days and the bad ones, beating steady and strong................

So I will have to remind myself on those sleepless nights when I am tossing and turning worrying about our future, I just have to remember that the future will take care of itself and to just breathe and savour the now.

Friday, September 14, 2012


First day back on the trucks after a marvelous 5 week summer holiday.

I cannot tell you how good it feels to be back in my blues and give hugs to the guys.

Whatever calls we get today, bring it on.

I'm home. xo