Baby Button Needs You To Stop Praying For Him Now

8 weeks ago, I wrote a story about the journey our baby was taking us on, and how we were praying that my body would survive being pregnant just 7 more weeks to give him the best chance. So many of you responded in love and prayers and genuine care.

I truly believe it worked because my body proceeded to need a total of 3 amniotic fluid drains, plus a dramatic 3 night stay in the hospital because I was having very real contractions every 5 minutes…and then suddenly everything stopped. I went home. Life has resumed at an almost-usual routine for the last 4 weeks. Baby Button has grown big and strong, we have a safety-approved place for him to sleep and travel, and my mom made it here without complication.

So now? I need y’all to stop praying. I turned the corner on 38 weeks yesterday, and I am done.

I know every third-trimester mother says that, but I don’t think you understand.

I am “answering questionnaires for concerned psychiatrists/sense of humor completely gone/collapsing into tears for no reason at least once a day” done.

I have survived the Apocalypse. I have lived in fear of the government and deportation. I have moved houses at least as many times as I’ve had birthdays. I’ve seen a childhood friend die right in front of me. I have endured losing a relationship with my father 2 months after it began. I have gotten lost in Europe, lost a baby, lost jobs, and been one paycheck ahead of financial disaster for years.

But 9 months of pregnancy, one of life’s greatest mysteries that I was looking forward to the most, is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I feel sad. I feel angry. I feel needy. I feel weak.

And so I feel lost. My identity is shifting. I’m the girl who writes about all the crazy shit that happens to her, and still manages to make people smile. I’m the Chandler Bing, I’m the Spartan who keeps on trucking, I’m the one who has heard time and again, “Wow. Looking at you, listening to you, I would never have guessed that you survived all THAT. You’re amazing, and you should probably write a book.”

My shit has always been a little messy, but it was my mess, and it made me stronger.

Now? After being pregnant and sick and worried and unprepared for 267 days in a row (including being displaced from home for 60+ days in a cramped house with 4 animals and 4 in-laws out of that)?

All I want is to go to sleep, and wake up in my own bed with a fresh mani/pedi, a killer haircut, a multi-ethnic buffet, and an impossibly adorable baby who never cries longer than 5 minutes or makes me question whether I am mentally and emotionally capable of becoming a mother in the first place.

I feel gross for even admitting it. Because I can see all you ladies who have been moms for years, who are laughing at my innocence and thinking, “Just you wait, honey, it gets worse.” I can see all you ladies who have been thinking they’d like to get pregnant, and now I’ve just ruined it for you. I can see all you ladies who had magical unicorn pregnancies with babies made from Jesus’ eyelashes, and are secretly judging me for being so dramatic and non-sacrificial.

And honestly, I’m going to play the Pregnant Bitch card and say up front: I don’t need to hear from you right now.

The only thing that keeps me typing so vulnerably is the off-chance that maybe some lady will read this and think, Thank GOD I’m not alone. Maybe I’ll wait one more day before checking myself in to the closest institution. Hi, Carly. I’m your new messy mama friend. Let’s keep talking.

13 days or less…

 

The Story of Poppy

A few months ago, I shared a story about a very special golden retriever who got her ear in a predicament.

Her name is Poppy, and she has changed our lives.

When we first met her last winter, we were just helping out one of the families I nanny for. She belonged to them, you see. They’d rescued her from a shelter a couple of years ago, and so she’d been showered with love from 3 kids and two cats since then. But occasionally, they travel, so we happily opened our home to have Poppy stay with us whenever they went away.

Then, something strange happened.

Every time they came home to their busy lives, they noticed Poppy seemed to be a little…less. Less happy, less energetic, less Poppy. They felt concerned, and a little guilty that they couldn’t devote more attention.

So, while it was painful, they decided to do what was best for her. They gave her to us. They would feel better knowing she could have more space out of town to run, and to be adored by a family that wasn’t quite as busy. The kids were consoled knowing that I could bring Poppy for visits when I came to nanny them. And me? Well, I was like a kid on Christmas morning. The golden retriever I’d always dreamed of having was now a reality.

In the past few months, we have learned many things about Miss Poppy.

1. She is made to adore.

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Her eyes are pools of dark melted chocolate, and they speak volumes. If we’ve been separated for a few hours, her reaction to seeing us again will instantly change our mood. She jumps and hops and *smiles* in absolute exuberant joy at our existence. I’m not gonna lie, it feels pretty damn good.

2. She’s cool with Walter.

Which is just an amazing bonus. I love that we are a little family of rescuers and the rescued.

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But even she knows better than to cross paths with him in a catnip-induced hallway hangout.

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3. She knows what the words “car ride” mean.

And it.jazzes.her.right.up.

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4. Playing a game of tag with her will lighten your soul.

Without a doubt, this beautiful creature is teaching me how to play again. Can you believe she is 8 years old? I’m half her age in human years, and her energy puts me to glorious shame.

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5. As strongly as she loves, she just as strongly hates.

She actually cannot handle thunder, the vacuum cleaner, anyone squeezing her ears or touching her food bowl when she’s not done eating. We don’t really know what to do about that, but we’re working on it.

6. She has the soul of a wanderer.

We have a very big yard where we live, and it’s completely fenced in – which is perfect for Poppy (and friends) because, while we rent a large property, there is a raging highway and a thick forest full of bear and moose not far from our house.

About a month ago, I had a day off at home, so I was relaxing on the deck in the beautiful sun while Poppy chased her purple squeezy ball around the yard.

After a while, I went inside to make some lunch, leaving the dog outside. In the distance, I heard a roll of thunder, but didn’t think too much of it. We’d been having thunder every day for almost a week now; I opened the screen door to let Poppy inside.

She was gone.

I searched every inch of the yard, looked under the house, called and called. She was mischievous occasionally when it came to the fence, but she always came back when I called.

There were no obvious openings in the fence, and she was not coming to my call.

Lunch forgotten, I grabbed her leash and jumped in my car, preparing to peruse the neighborhood street, preparing myself to *not think* about the highway and the forest.

After an hour of driving and calling, I phoned Steven at work. I tried to keep the worry from my voice, but his mind went to the exact same place mine already had.

“Shit,” he muttered, “I can’t leave work. Just pray, and keep calling. Let me know if she shows up.”

It would be 4 hours before Steve could get home, and so for the next 4 hours, I screamed and prayed and swore into the atmosphere that if she didn’t get her GD-effing-ass home right now, Mama was gonna lose her shit. Because there was no way we were ready to lose *another* precious family member after last summer.

When Steve got home, I had almost no voice left. With slight relief, he told me that he had not seen any dogs on the highway, alive or dead.

We decided to go to all the places we had ever taken Poppy, starting with our landlords farm just down the road. They weren’t home, but we felt free to explore their property and call her for the 57,000th time.

No sign of her.

So we posted a LOST sign on the neighborhood mailbox, and went the opposite way on the highway. A knot of dread sat in my stomach as I pictured her beautiful amber fur matted with blood, her energy and passion sapped and lifeless…

Nothing. No news is good news.

We went back to our neighborhood, deciding to go door-to-door now that it was almost evening.

Starting with the abandoned property directly across the street from us, we parked the truck.

“POPPY! PAAHHHHPPY!”

Like a dream, we heard a reply coming from our house.

“She’s here!”

We abandoned the truck and ran down our driveway. A farm truck we’d never seen before was parked at our house, and guess who was in the passenger seat.

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We all but fell at the farmer’s rubber boots in gratitude. He shrugged, like it was no big deal.

“She showed up at my place a few hours ago, and jumped in my truck like we were best friends. So I figured I’d better go around and find her home.”

(Yes, of course this would happen before we’ve had a chance to get her a proper dog tag!)

“Took her up to Gweek Riding Center, and Cindy thought she looked a lot like pictures she’d seen online and sent me over here.”

(Bless Cindy. And bless Facebook pictures.)

“Where do you live?” We asked him.

“‘Bout two kilometers up the highway. She was soaking wet when she showed up; I figger she swam all the way up Deep Creek.”

Two kilometers. Up a creek. Returned to us because of Facebook and good neighbors. Without a scratch on her.

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Moments after this photo was taken, she barfed up a gallon of creek water and grass on the kitchen floor, then took a long nap.

We didn’t mind at all.

She hasn’t tried to escape since then. It’s like she knows what she put us through. She knows that we need her, for just a little while longer. And for that, we’re grateful.

Welcome to the family, Poppy. We love you.

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Her Name Was Lola…

Is it weird to write a love letter to a car? Oh well.

Dear Lola the Corolla,

4 1/2 years ago, you came into my life freely, without expectation or guile. You were a surprise, a gift, an apology for all the years I had not been able to drive.

4 1/2 years, a lifetime of memories, experiences, and “firsts” in my early 20’s.

And yesterday, you retired. Not to a junk yard, thankfully. You probably have at least 100k left in your hearty soul. But my mom really needed you, so I gave you back to her. A surprise, a gift, an apology for all the years I hadn’t been able to take care of her.

I remember the day I drove you for the first time. It was a bitterly cold January day, but I didn’t care. I was warmed from head to toe by the freedom of the open road. Granted, that “open road” was actually the Prince George highway full of snow, ice and hidden craters. But as far as I was concerned, anything was possible now. wpid-screenshot_2015-05-26-12-35-11.png Although you were almost 20 years old, you were immaculate. Your pure gold outsides were as clean as your insides; your standard shifter as smooth as Sinatra and your brakes as abrupt as Snape. I tried my hardest to keep you that way. But you see, I have no depth perception and I’m clumsy, awkward. I’m sorry. wpid-screenshot_2015-05-26-12-35-47.png As a Thank You, I want to share some of my favourite memories.

Spring 2011

My mom visited us again, and she decided that we should go for a drive to downtown PG. I was eager to show her how I’d learned to drive Lola with ease. But in a moment that could only be described as movie-perfect, I took a right turn down a street that neither one of us was aware was a one-way street.

When we saw 3 lanes of traffic rapidly heading toward us, we figured it out pretty quickly.

When I saw that a cop car with flashing lights was at the very front of one of those lanes of traffic, I knew I was about to get my first ticket. Damn.

He waved me into a parking lot; I started trembling and overheating. He was an older gentleman; he probably could have done time as a mall Santa with his white hair and near-jolly spirit.

“Clearly, you weren’t going the right way, eh?”

“No, sir. I didn’t even see a sign for a one-way street! I’m so sorry.” He looked at my license, saw that I was a learner, and traveling appropriately with an adult. He did a slow circle around my car (the worst!) and came back to my window.

“Are you aware that your L is missing?” (For those not Canadian, new drivers start out with a Learner’s, and it’s a red magnet that goes on the back of your car with a big L on it. When you graduate to Novice, you get a big green N magnet. Kids these days call them Losers and Nerds.)

In shock, I stepped out of Lola, ran to the back and sure enough! No Loser.

Tears started to clog my throat. “I HAD it this morning, I promise! Look, you can see the dust outline where it was!” I outlined the empty square with my hands for emphasis.

I *think* my cop was trying to hide a grin. “Well, at least let me see your companion’s driver’s license.” I sighed with relief. She was my mom, she would be able to set this whole thing straight somehow.

Mom riffled through her things for a moment. “Huh. I must have forgotten my wallet back at the house.”

My heart sank. Three strikes; I would definitely be out.

“I see.” The officer started writing furiously in his notepad. Minutes passed. I kept my head down, waiting for the verdict.

“Well, your ticket would probably be around $450. But today, you get to go home.”

My head snapped up in disbelief. “What?”

“Your mother can drive you home, just don’t get pulled over again. Get another L and watch out for those one-way streets. See you later.”

I stared.

He leaned down into my window sternly. “Get outta here.”

Feeling like a prisoner on death row just given parole, I thanked him over and over. As we were leaving the parking lot, another car turned erroneously down the one-way street, and my cop just waved them on into my old “parking spot.”

To this day, we have never gotten a ticket.

January 2012

I discovered how much cargo Lola could carry when my church had a Young Adults weekend retreat, and I was everyone’s “Friend With A Car.”

Lola seats 5 full-grown people almost comfortably. So once we loaded the trunk with 5 sleeping bags, 5 pillows, and 5 suitcases, we piled in. Oh, did I forget to mention that one of my friends was responsible for the food for everyone for the entire weekend? Let me rephrase: we loaded 5 sleeping bags, pillows and suitcases in the trunk, stuffed food in any cracks available, got in the car, and arranged food carefully around each one of us in a delicious pyramid, from head to toe.

When we drove up Connaught Hill, my friend with the *full license* had the pedal pressed to the floor and we went a slow but steady 50km/hr all the way up. I pretended we were the Flintstones and tried to make the car go faster by shuffling my feet because I’m a nerd.

Two days later, Lola brought everyone and everything home safely without so much as a hiccup.

Valentine’s Day 2012

At 8:30pm, instead of being out with someone special, I was working in the coffee shop up at the University. During my break, I checked Facebook and saw that my friend Kim had been in a horrible car accident just outside of Jasper, Alberta, nearly 5 hours away. Her car had been totalled but she was okay.

I started texting her. She had no money left and she was stranded in a bar. Jasper was a big enough tourist place to be expensive, but too small to have a Greyhound bus that didn’t arrive at an outside stop at 4am and then drive away at 4:03am.

The coffee shop was pretty dead (I mean, it was Valentine’s Day) so I texted my boss and asked if I could close up early for an emergency. She said yes, so I began to move like lightning. I had no idea what I was going to actually do, but I couldn’t leave Kim there. Even if she did have money for a bus, it wouldn’t come for another 7 hours and Jasper might as well be the Arctic at this time of year.

When I got home, I announced to my roommates that I would be taking an unexpected road trip. When they found out what had happened and what I was thinking, they all protested. It was after 9pm now; I wouldn’t get to Jasper until after 2am.

There’s a two hour stretch of highway that is literally abandoned wilderness. No gas stations, no houses, no cell service, nothing. Like, if you wanted to dump a body that would never be found, the road between McBride and Jasper is your safest bet. And I would be there in the middle of the night.

But they saw that I was determined to help Kim, so my roommate Alissa offered to go with me. We could take turns driving, and at the very least, not die alone. We would text our other roommates as often as we could, and pray like hell we weren’t making a huge mistake.

Thankfully, we found Kim, took her to the impound, helped her empty what was left of her car (I still feel sick in my stomach when I picture that car in my mind. It was NOT OKAY.), found the only gas station that was open to get some microwave food and energy drinks, and were back on the road at 3:30am. We made it home by 8am, crashed for a few hours, Kim got picked up by family, Alissa and I high-fived our success and went to work for 8 hours. Our good friend was alive, and so were we.

Best. Valentine’s Day. Ever.

Now

Well, now, I say goodbye. Lola, you were the best car a newly legal immigrant with barely a license or experience could have needed. 80,000k in 4 1/2 years; there was nothing you couldn’t do.

And now, you get to rest. Occasionally cruise the open road. Be even more appreciated by someone with actual depth perception. I’ll see you again.

Love, Carly

The only car I could be happy with after Lola, is one that is her sister by make &  model, just 10 years newer and a little bit safer. Meet Gandalf Moonshadow.

The only car I could be happy with after Lola, is one that is her sister by make & model, just 10 years newer and a little bit safer.
Meet Gandalf Moonshadow.

This New Year

On this day in 1999, I was fearing for my life.

Before The Walking Dead or Katniss Everdeen had even been thought of, I was preparing for my world to become apocalyptic. I was 12.

15 years later, Y2K still hasn’t happened. The Mayan calendar didn’t really mean much either. However, we face our own little apocalypses each year, don’t we? They have nothing to do with ancient prophecy or computer malfunction. They just happen without warning, and change us forever. But if you’re reading this, you’re still here. You’re a God-blessed survivor even if you don’t feel like one.

I’ll be honest, 2014 was a rough one. Misunderstandings, loneliness, lost jobs and a lost babe, confusion and clarity alternating like a roller coaster ride.

Occasionally, the darkness cracked and some light peered in. It’s why I’m still here too.

Can I tell you about them? Can I give you some hope? Will my thoughts mean anything to you?

Tell you what. Keep reading, and when you get to the bottom, you’ll see a link to my best friend’s site, where she’ll also be reminiscing about the positive things that happened in her life this year.  I am so thankful for her. Best friends for at least 20 years now – the kind of friends that drop everything and get on a plane to go be with each other when there’s a crisis.
We are women forged by fire, but rather than sacrificing ourselves to be burned up, we’re going to allow our hearts and minds to flow and curve like water, quenching the heat, refreshing our souls, going forward.

Don’t let your hearts remain stagnant or burnt. Winter is here, but Spring is coming. Join us. Tell us your stories of 2014, and what your dreams are for 2015. Alone we are enough, but together we are stronger.

~

This year, I witnessed another precious little girl-soul come into this world. She took her first breath in the glowing light of an early July morning, in her own nursery at her parents house. A holy moment.

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Soon, my goal will be accomplished through a little piece of paper that says “Carly Hutton, Certified Birth Doula” so that I can keep drinking in those holy moments, keep helping those other women forged by fire become mothers – even if I never become one myself.

~

In September, I was a bridesmaid for the first time. It was easier than I thought it would be. I put on a purple dress, did my makeup, and ripped only 2 pairs of panty hose while someone else far more capable did my hair.
My former roommate and bride of the day gave me a pearl necklace and earrings that she made herself. Treasure, only gained by letting a granule of sand itch the shit out of you until you’re pure.

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I witnessed 2 of my best friends commit their lives to each other. They sang their vows and yet they still wanted ME to sing a song for them. So I did. It was called “Dancing in the Minefields” because that’s not only what marriage is, but life itself.

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That day was the most I’ve smiled since I lost our baby. I mean, I kinda legally had to for photogenic reasons, but it was the first time I WANTED to.

joanna wedding 2~

I passed my 4-year anniversary of blogging, and at least half of my 200 followers are real people.

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And finally, we moved back to the town where I grew up. I did enjoy most of the Vancouver experience, but home it was not. Too much water; my fire almost went out.

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Here in Smithers, I am known. By the people, by the snow-capped mountain, by the back roads and the river wild.

And? My new house has a bathtub.

~

It’s New Year’s Eve. It’s only a matter of one day’s difference, and yet, it holds so much shiny promise. All the shit we’ve gone through recently, we can finally say, “That happened last year.”

I used to be the kind to make resolutions. Not anymore. But for the sake of being traditional:

In 2015, I resolve to lose weight.

The weight of condemnation and shame and guilt of decisions past. The weight of trying to be liked by all and keep everyone happy. The weight of perfection. I want to lose it. And if, in doing so, it prompts me to live a healthier life that actually affects scale, then so be it.

And in 2015, I resolve to be the 7-11 in Smithers on Christmas Eve.

It was the only place open and serving food past 6pm when my husband, my mom and I were starving. Hot dogs never tasted so good.

No matter what store it is, though, I always feel a spark of hope rise whenever I see a glowing red OPEN sign. Knowing that I’ll be able to get what I came for, what I need, today.

That’s how I want others to feel when they see me. Open. Mind, heart and arms, ready to do messy, beautiful business at any given time. Never turned away.

As this year ends, I have high hopes for 2015.

Hopes that suddenly, everyone will have an a-ha moment. An a-ha that realizes we need something else. Something different. An a-ha that knows we are meant for more than what we have been content with living.

Hopes that, this new year, shooting up schools and shooting up veins will no longer be the go-to solution for long unanswered cries for help and understanding.

Hopes that, this new year, the Battle of the Sexes will run out of ammunition.

Hopes that, this new year, we will see through skin colours, to the hearts and minds that brew underneath. Every culture and race has its heroes and assholes; let’s stand up and recognize. I repeat: PEOPLE ARE MORE THAN THEIR SKIN AND REPUTATION AND STEREOTYPE. CHECK. YOURSELF.

Hopes that, this new year, toddlers and teenagers on the brink of dreams and inspiration – adults burned low on chips and bills – elderly melting on the ice floes of their last lives – will all be valued and held accountable and loved for who they are.

Hopes that, this new year, the corrupt will be exposed and the honourable will be exalted.

Hopes that, this new year, these words will ring true:

“And in despair, I hung my head
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said.
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men….’
Then rang the bells more loud and deep,
God is not dead nor doth he sleep!
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Let it be so.

:: A Year in my BFF’s Life ::

Carly the Barista & the Blustery Day

Level Of Desperation To Blog: Sitting At A Laundromat.

You guys. SO MUCH has happened in the past 2 weeks.

I became a certified barista, and even had an apron pin to prove it until it got chewed up in the washer.

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(Bonus: I think, in general, people like me.)

I joined Zumba and Spin classes, and hiked a mountain and didn’t die.

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Crater Lake!

I was a bridesmaid for the first time.

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Team Bride, partyin’ round the walls of “Jerica!” (Joanna & Eric’s celebrity couple name…needs work…)

I celebrated being married myself for 2 years.

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And last, but certainly not least – I found us a place to live, and last weekend, we moved in. It’s utter chaos right now, and it’s awesome.

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Being adorable and excited.

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This is our backyard.

We have been so busy and so blessed and so tired. But with it comes a peace and happiness that we have not known for quite some time. When we wake up in the morning, we make coffee to sit and gaze lovingly at our backyard out the living room window.
Smithereens are a little incredulous that we’ve actually chosen to live a little ways out of town – 20 minutes to be exact. We just laugh and reassure them that we used to drive that far for the ocean or the skytrain or the local movie theatre – and in a sea of traffic, no less. 20 minutes of highway miles, autumnal colours and wildlife is NOT hard on our gas tank or eyes AT ALL. We breathe in relief and exhale “thank you” on a regular basis in this place.

But as with any transition, there comes a little upheaval and paperwork. We still have to change the hydro bill into our names, hook up Internets and Cable – and I’m at said laundromat because our well needs to be transformed from “egg fart” water into “nice clean drinky bathy water.”

That’s okay. It will come.

In the meantime, I realized today that WIND has been a theme in my life lately, and I don’t know what that means. I’m not talking about the Winds of Change – like, literal wind.

Blustery Event  #1:

I had my first, all-on-my-own, “closing shift” at Starbucks last week. I was a little nervous, but I had a clear to-do list to help me remember all the important tasks. I was supposed to “clock out” and be done by 9:15pm, with Safeway closing at 10pm.

I was getting to the end of the evening, and it had been pretty quiet for most of the night, so I figured I was pretty safe to start cleaning espresso machinery 10 minutes before I closed.

8 minutes before I closed, six people showed up ALL needing espresso-related drinks.

Whatever, I could clean it again.

But I couldn’t find any of the tools used to scrape encrusted milk and coffee droplets from what was supposed to be shiny metal.

Eh, I can wipe that down pretty spic and span for now.

The finish line was in sight – all I needed to do was clean the sinks, and vacuum the counters of any remaining bits of coffee grinds. I had been told the vacuum cleaner resided in the back of the store, in a place called “Starbucks Storage Room.” I had been there before; it wasn’t very big, so I had no doubt I would find a vacuum-like object pretty easily.

So I did what we do: I loaded up a grocery cart with full trash bags to take back to the disposal, intending to bring the vacuum with me on the return trip.

When I got into the storage room, it was like a cardboard box maze. And the only apparatus I could see that had a long nozzle, a handle and an electrical cord was way in the back. I did my best to suck in my cheeks (nope, not those ones) so I could squeeze my way through. Yes! Victory! *Must grab vacuum cleaner, squeeze cheeks once more and get through the maze.* Home run approaching.

I unwound the electrical cord, plugged it in and WWWWHHHHHIIIIRRRRRR.

The expected noise of a vacuum cleaner, no?

NO.

A mushroom cloud of dirt, hair, leaves and dust bunnies exploded FROM the nozzle. My pristine counters and displays and floors were no more.

What fresh hell is this? I thought as I angrily yanked the electrical cord from its socket. I peered at the dirty offender very closely….sure enough, in tiny black lettering, it said: electric leaf blower AKA boom sucka.

And so I did not “clock out” until the actual Safeway store started shutting their lights off.

I still have absolutely no idea what an effing LEAF BLOWER was doing in a Starbucks Storage Room.


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Blustery Incident #2:

Steven left for Langley again this morning, to take his dad back home, who had graciously given up his week to help us move. In return, I was given a to-do list to help me remember all the important tasks…again. One of those things was to get a post office box. (I thought about mentioning here that Steven put his own name on the to-do list, but then I thought, “Mmm, better not.”)

I knew I would get off work at 3pm today, with plenty of time to take our rental agreement to the post office and get a mailbox. But it ended up being incredibly busy, so I stayed until 3:30pm. On my way out of town, I filled up at the gas station. I was done and ready to drive away – but then a gust of wind THRUST my debit card away from me and UNDERNEATH the gas fill-up station. There was a car waiting to drive in after me, but I got down on my hands and knees; I could see my card, but after a few tries, I knew that it was *just* beyond my fingertips. Plus side: at least no one else in heaven or earth would have access to it either.

So I made an unplanned trek to the Credit Union to get a new card. By the time I ACTUALLY got out of town to open up a mail box, it was almost 4:30pm.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the post office was still open! (Hey, it was almost 5 on a Tuesday – you never know! #smalltownlife)

And now I’m happy to announce that:

AGENT BUTTON HAS A MAIL BOX!!! I AM BIGGER THAN BLUSTERY DAY!!!

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When I finally got to the laundromat 2 hours later, feeling like I’d just run a marathon, I had to laugh. How could I not appreciate the pure drama of this scene? Winter be like “Games of Thrones was right…I’m COMING for you, boys and girls!”

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Welcome to Autumn in the North, mutha lovah.

Blustery Incident #3:

It hasn’t actually happened yet. But I feel like…tomorrow….it just *could*. I learned today that my boss’s boss’s BOSS is arriving to inspect and survey the entire store + employees.

And so today has been like


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Blustery night, barista’s delight?

Bring it, boss’s boss’s BOSS!!! I have a Facebook wall full of happy customers, and now I know the difference between a leaf blower and a vacuum cleaner AND I KNOW HOW TO USE IT.

Pray for us.

Apparently Birds and I Have a Thing Now

It seems my life has come full circle.

Last week, I shared a story about finding a helpless baby crow/raven/black thing and how it challenged my view of parenthood.

And as of yesterday, that’s all been flipped on its head again. By another winged creature.

(Is my life secretly a Darren Aronofsky film?)

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June and summertime are here in full force. TIME FOR NOMMING ALL THE FRESH STRAWBABIES!!!

Last summer, I caught the last 3 weeks of Driediger Farm’s berry season. I worked my butt off sorting berries, weighing berries, selling berries, standing in fields making sure other people properly picked the berries without STRAYING INTO THE GOSHDARN PARTS OF THE FIELD THAT ARE VERY OBVIOUSLY TAPED OFF FOR A REASON.

It was really fun.

I was overjoyed when they hired me back this summer, for the entire season. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries galore. Juice-stained fingers and happy smiles and puppies.

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I am not even joking.

I got paid to do this for 10 minutes yesterday.

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Did I say this story was about a bird? That’s weird.

For approximately one hour of our shift, we go out to the fields with a cold water bottle (and a black umbrella if it’s really a scorcher) to walk up and down the rows, making sure all the berries are getting picked and the customers are happy.

Yesterday, I’d been fielding for 20 minutes, when I saw one of my co-workers walking towards me, holding a blue strawberry carton in one hand and covering the top with her other hand.

“Hey Carly, I’ve got something for you!”

I was excited. I thought maybe it was an ice cream bar we couldn’t sell because the wrapper tore prematurely, and she was protecting it until it got to me.

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Nope. Definitely not an ice cream bar.

“Some customers found him flopping around half-flying on the road, and we DON’T know where he came from, and we DON’T want him to get hurt, but we CAN’T have him in the market. Can you watch him until we figure this out, and make sure he doesn’t fly towards the road?”

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Obviously this face just screams “BIRD WHISPERER.”

So I held the box very delicately as I walked gently through the fields. He chirped constantly. Bro was MAD.

And then he started getting ballsy.

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One millisecond later, he pooped.

 He tried to fly off of my hand into the trees and ended up just flopping into the field and squawking. It was pretty pathetic. I very quietly and subtly chased after him, saying, “No, precious! It’s not safe! Come back to me. GET IN THE BOOOOXXXX!!!”

 We did this for a couple rounds. No one else in the field even noticed, so consumed were they in the passionate hunt for strawberries.

The third time he left the box, he fluttered onto my shoulder. Everything so happened so fast after that.

From my shoulder, he decided that my hair looked like it would make a nice nest, so he hopped onto my noggin and declared it HIS with much pomp and deliberation.

My feelings were a little muddled.

Oh, um. Okay. There's a tiny ruffled bird in my luscious locks.

Oh, um. Okay. There’s a tiny ruffled bird in my luscious locks.

Should I panic?

Should I panic?

Aww, look at the cute little baby squawk!

Aww, look at the cute little baby squawk!

OMG please don't poop in my hair too.

OMG please don’t poop in my hair too.

And then…(what I can only assume was) the MOTHER showed up.

She was flapping. She was dive-bombing. She was swarming. If her mouth hadn’t been bursting with fat, green worms, she would have been screaming motherly obscenities at me.

Now. I like birds. I really do. But if they start to do that flappy-screamy-possibly peck your eyes out business near my face, I always very calmly try to GTFO as quickly as possible.

This is it. This is how it ends.

I called my co-worker. “Baby bird is stuck on my head, and its mother found me, I’m pretty sure she’s angry, and Idon’tknowwhattodoHAYULLPP.”

She rushed across the field. Mother Bird gave up on me for a moment and soared into the nearest tree. Probably spewing out those worms to save room for my eyes.

Gracious Co-Worker untangled Baby Bird from my head, and he took off – as was his habit.

But this time — I kid you NOT — Mother Bird and another Bird swooped down on either side of Baby and helped him FLY into the nearest tree.

I don’t know if I almost passed out because my Personal Nightmare was over, or because I was pretty sure I’d just witnessed a Miracle of Nature.

And STILL, the berry pickers never noticed a THING.

It’s gonna be a good summer, my darlings. A gooooooood summer.

bright lights, big city. halloween nights, grumpy kitty.

For the past couple of days, I have been eating fruit gummies and my own words. Both taste kind of delicious.

Last Friday, I spent a portion of my blog in mild therapy, relating how the past while has been a struggle, once again, in the job search. I wasn’t trying to complain, just be honest. And whenever I have times where I feel like I’m not being heard or I’m not good enough or I’m just plain tired of feeling the way I do — I always try to add a little note up to God afterwards. It goes something like this:

“Please do something so awesome that all the things I just said and feels I just felt result in my embarrassment. Because I know you are good and I am just being a silly child, and I would love for you to prove me right on that.”

And boy, that Father of mine, he always takes me up on an opportunity to humble me. Mere hours after I posted the blog, a girl from LUSH called me and offered me the seasonal job. I was (and am) SO. FRICKEN. EXCITED.  I get to work in a place that is all about smelling amazing, helping people, and being as quirky as you possibly can. (This is also a current working title for my self-help/autobiographical novel.)

On Monday night, I went downtown to fill out some paperwork. As I was riding the skytrain into the sunset, it hit me: this is my life for the next 2 months. I’m 26, married, commuting to work in downtown Vancouver and I have money in my bank account.

By all appearances…

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When the dang heck did that happen?

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Maybe you’re not aware, but — that’s okay, I like being educational! — when Journey sings, “Just a small town girl…” I’m pretty sure it’s me they’re talking about. The smallest town I’ve ever lived in featured approximately 1500 souls (go Bella Coola!) and the biggest city I’ve ever lived in before coming to the lower mainland had maybe somewhere between 50-100,000 people. And THAT was a scary learning curve.

Now I’ve gone downtown to LUSH a grand total of 3 times.

I have been lost and confused every single one of those times.

I get off the skytrain at Burrard Station, which, in my opinion, is one of the nicest stations of them all. Its foliage reminds one of a mini Garden of Eden. However, similar to that Garden, it comes with a catch: it has two exits. And it sits on a part of the gridded streetway that is NOT in a perfect tic-tac-toe style square, but on a curved bend. I don’t know why. To people who can actually figure out where they’re going, this is not a problem. To the directionally challenged such as myself, it’s an evil labyrinth.

So I developed a system and I plan to master it.
Get off the skytrain – get out of the tunnel on the right side – take the escalator and stay on the right-hand side unless you’re walking up because that’s just proper city etiquette that everyone should know, capisce? – get off the escalator and take the left side stairs. Do NOT go straight. – Exit the station. Are you on a curve? Yes? Do you see a shwarma falafel truck on your right? Yes? Then go towards that delicious smelling truck but walk past it. – walk uphill for 3ish blocks. – turn left on Robson St., or is it right? Crap. Like I said, I’ll master it. – when you’ve passed the two cheesy Canadiana trinket stores and the Cafe Crepe Express, you’ll find LUSH.

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Simple, right? **smh**

Once I figured that out on Monday, I went into LUSH, met more fantastic people that I get to work with, and got some dates figured out for my training schedule. The 6 days following this weekend are gonna be cray-cray, yo. But I’m so ready to submerge myself into fresh fruit, veggies, oils, bath bombs, massage bars, perfume, deodorant, bubbles, glitter and more.

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I can’t be certain, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Oompa-Loompas are involved here cause that sh*t looks good enough to eat.

Speaking of sh*t good enough to eat….

I THINK MY DIET AND I ARE BREAKING UP BECAUSE HOLY MOTHER OF SUSHI FALAFEL PANCAKES, THERE IS SO MUCH FOOD TO BE DISCOVERED.

I think I already mentioned that there is a Cafe Crepe Express two doors down from my store. TWO DOORS DOWN. That’s not even enough to make a cover band, how do they expect me to walk by it every day and not go in? Or rather, stop? Since it’s an express and all you have to do is stand outside and yell your order through a window and then you watch it being made.

After I filled out my paperwork, I was starving. So two of the gals working there said I needed to go there and get….are you ready for this?…..a nutella milkshake.

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The seeker in me just had to know if this was true. Cause, you know, I’ve had dreams about stuff like this before and waking up has always been a problem for my amazing night inventions.

So I casually traipsed two doors over and ordered a strawberry crepe and NuMlkShk.

$14 later (gahhh!), I bit into the crepe.

The heavens opened and I could hear angels singing.

I sipped the NuMlkShk and I’m pretty sure Satan ran and hid under a bush, it was so pure and beautiful and good.

It’s a good thing I’m buying new clothes for work cause the old ones ain’t gon’ fit no’ mo’.

But actually, in all seriousness, I will most likely stick to my 1400-calorie, 15 sit-ups and 50 jumping jacks-a-day regimen. This is currently the hardest thing to control in my life and I want to dominate it. (Commuting an hour each way will either definitely help keep me in shape from stress…or be a d-bag and do the opposite and keep me starving always.) But ya know what’ll keep me goin’?

Casual Friday.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that Casual Friday rocks. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be on a Friday, just whatever your Friday happens to be. For some, it might be wearing jeans instead of black dress pants. For others, it might be stuffing your face with all of the goodies that you’ve been withholding from yourself all week and passing out into a food coma on the skytrain.

Oh, that’s just me? Okay, cool.

Now the only tragedy that comes with this new job is the fact that I get super discounts on all the stuff, and I have no bathtub in my house with which to use all the stuff. My in-laws are going to start seeing a lot more of me…er, no wait, what I mean is that they are going to start seeing a lot less of their bathroom. They will NOT be seeing a lot more of me because I will most likely be naked during my Lushie experiments, just to clarify. Aaaand moving on. (Hey, much of the LUSH packaging tells me to get naked and I don’t want them to fire me for disobeying orders so I GOTS TO GIT NIKK-ID!)

So yeah. I’m doing pretty great. I’m thankful and happy and Lushie and silly and clean. Oooh, but I DO have one more confession to make….

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I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!! I successfully brainwashed Walter into letting me put this costume on him by using manipulation, Stockholm syndrome, deception, incrementalism, and just plain sleepiness. First, I caught him napping so deep that he was snoring. I gently laid the costume on top of him, and when he stirred, I petted him right back into dreamland. Then, I gently tucked his ears into the holes. He didn’t like that as much and tried to move. But then I reached under his neck and scratched his favourite spot, and when he lifted his head up for “Moar! Moar! Moar!”  I velcroed the strap underneath him like a ninja. He gave me one slit-eyed look that said, “Fine. You win, b*tch,” and went back to sleep. I took approximately 10,000 photos of him because I know I’ll never get this chance again, and then I took the costume straight off. After all, I’m not cruel.

Isn’t he sooooooo cah-yewwwwwwwwt?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?

Aiming for “Best Mom of the Year,”

Carly xo

i don’t know any tricks, but i’m feelin 26?

Wow, what a month. I didn’t mean to take such a hiatus, but life totally gets the blame here. She took me, made me happy, gave me rest, warmed my heart, kicked me in the crotch, said sorry about that, made me laugh and sent me on my way.

I could tell many stories about all of that, but I figure the best way to not bore you to death is to use point form, complete with bold headers and cutesy pictures. Are ya ready? Vamonos!

1. Second Honeymoons Are So Worth It

We did it. We drove the crap out of that road, stayed the crap out of that castle, visited the crap out of our Calgary friends, slept the crap out of our fluffy King-sized beds I never wanted to leave, pictured the crap out of our new camera, and we honeyed. the crap. outta that moon.

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2. I’m Kinda Full Of It

You see the title of the post I wrote before this one? “Aging with Grace,” I called it. Well, apparently, I need to go back and do my homework because two weeks ago, I turned one year older and I’ve been nothin’ but trouble ever since.

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3. There are 6 more days until Halloween.

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Which essentially means that I only have 5 more days to change Walter’s mind about this. If you take note of the body language, he’s clearly not happy. In fact, you’d think you had truly burdened him with the weight of the world and it physically restrains him from being able to move. The only thing he can do is give you dead eyes that speak of betrayal.But since we are good parents, we’ve decided upon the art of trickery. We sprinkled this costume with catnip and let it lay among Walter’s toys and mutilated bits of furniture. It won’t be long now. The twain SHALL meet and it will be glorious.

4. Eva Sofia is one of the most precious things that has ever happened to me.

If you don’t remember her, have a look at this and read the story of how I was given the special privilege of bringing her into the world 7ish weeks ago.

This past Thanksgiving weekend, she came to see me and everything was wonderful. Mom and Dad looked pretty well rested and happy and in love with their girly. They let me take a few family photos that I am just in love with…2013-10-14 08.30.34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My heart is officially a puddle on the floor.

5. My mom is a badass.

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Aaaaaaand this is all you need to know that.


6.  Money can make Weddings Beautiful and
Marriage Difficult.

It’s been a long, hard week, to be honest. On my wedding day 13 months ago, when everything was smiles and kisses and flowers and laughter, I didn’t know there would be weeks like this. Weeks where it feels like I’ve been looking for work forever. Weeks where it feels like I’m not the right person to live down here, where I don’t fit in, where I don’t seem to meet the standards just by being myself. (I have been blessed enough to interview with LUSH this week and get a call-back for a 2nd interview right away, but now I’m at the waiting stage and it is trying to kill me.) Weeks where Steve and I forget that we are partners, allies, in this together. Thoughts get thought, words get said, actions are made, and sometimes you worry that it can’t be fixed. Yesterday, I thought, Oh God…he’s finally had enough of me…one day, I’m going to be a lonely old woman – nope, not even with cats to surround me! – and I’m going to look back on this week and say, “Yes. That was the beginning of the end. How did I not see it?”

Ever worry that it might be ruined?

Yeah, but it’s not. Not today. Not this week, not this month and I’m banking on not this year.

And does it make you wanna cry?

Yes, and I do. And I pray and I fight and I kiss and I make-up and I fall in love again.

Where there is desire, there is gonna be a flame,
Where there is a flame, someone’s bound to get burned,
But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
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You’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.

P!nk, my girl, you have created the marriage anthem and I don’t care what anyone says about that.

The truth is, there will probably always be a reason to be upset. At your partner, at life, at yourself. I have been all three this week. But it will drain your life, your joy away, and change nothing. So I am determined more than ever to do that whole thing where I stop believing the lies are true and the truth is too good to be true.

I am loved and so is he and we will carry ever on.

7. HOW IS BREAKING BAD SO AMAZING?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!???????

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Like. I just. Can’t.

We are in the early stages of season 5, and I am in the early stages of having a heart attack. These characters have completely sucked us into their world — and miraculously, I have continued on through all of my internetting and NOT YET BEEN SPOILED BY HOW IT ENDS.

Like, the other day, I was at the LUSH hiring fair, and all I overheard another applicant say was, “Breaking Bad Finale,” and I interrupted him, saying, “LALALALALALALALALALALA NOT LISTENING DO NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD PLEASE.” And he was like, “Um, I’ve actually never watched the show, it’s just all my friends are talking about and I don’t know why.” And I was like,

“Oh.”

That’s what Breaking Bad has done to me. It makes me LALALALALALA at complete strangers.

8. I Now Know Why People Make Fun Of Me For Being Mexican

HAPPY WEEKEND!!!!! XOXOXO

Here Comes Baby!

Nope, not mine.

Neener neener neener.

So, for the past 36 hours, I have been a little jittery. Can’t eat, can barely sleep, and when I wake up, my neck refuses to move. My phone has not left my side.

Let me tell you why.

Soon and very soon, a little lady is going to make a scene for my dear friends Tom & Emily. And they have graciously allowed ME to be a part of their birthing experience, as the assisting doula. My very first time “having” a baby could be tomorrow, could be next week, could be any minute now. And there are just some things I need to chat about.

Last March, when I decided to start the journey to become a doula, I had no idea where it would take me. The people I would meet, the knowledge I would gain, the emotions I would feel. And now, here I am, on the cusp of the real thing. All the videos, books, stories and teachings have led me (and us) to this moment.

Are we ready?

I personally think Tomily are. They have taken full intentions to be informed about the pregnancy and birth of their little one – to the point of teaching me a few things as well. With Tom’s love of books and Emily’s practice in nursing, they are a dream team. Of course, they are bound to be nervous and afraid. They will make mistakes along the way, just like everyone else does. But knowing their story and where they’ve come from, I have full confidence that Baby Girl will never want for love and a helping hand through this world.

Am I ready? Only God knows.

Throughout this whole journey of learning, I have had my moments.

My blubbering “omg birth is such a beautiful, amazing, miraculous experience, look at those little fingers and toes, so perfect, i want to love all the babies in all the world” moments.

And my “hahaha EFF no I am never doing that, kthanxbai” moments.

Which, I’m sure, is nothing new. But, to me, everything is new. I am literally about to see and do something I have never seen or done before, and I have no idea what to expect. Videos don’t count, stories don’t count. For me, for Tomily, for this little one, everything is a clean whiteboard that will have a completely unique experience drawn into it with permanent marker. And somewhere in that piece of art, I’ll be there.

I would like to be a splash of green and a hint of purple.

Green because I want to see growth; in myself as a doula and in Tomily as partners and now parents.

Purple because this is a moment of royalty. Tom and Emily will become the King & Queen of their home, with a Princess in their arms. Even I, the slave (which the word “doula” is originally derived from), will become more than that.

I have the strong feeling that all of us will be changed in an instant. Purple and green all over the place.

And so while I may not feel totally ready, I’m ready to get ready. To face the moment of truth, where Heaven kisses Earth and says, “Here is another gift. Peace be with you.”

I can’t wait.

xo Carly xo