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2014/10/02 / Shanan

CRAB-APPLES

This past week we have had the sick running through our household, so we’ve been a bunch of grumpy crab-apples. Somehow Theo managed to be spared the worst of it (maybe those 2+ years of breastfeeding really did pay off in the immunity department?!) but it was the first time that Chris and I had been sick at the same time… not fun.  I’m told that it takes longer to recover when you’re pregnant, so my cold is lingering around a little more than it probably should be.

I’ve been caught somewhere in between trying to jack up my bootstraps (note: I have no idea what the real expression is here) and get on with the daily business of work and parenthood and such, and sniffling in bed with the iPad, convincing myself that I absolutely NEED this bag, and that this is acceptable entertainment journalism (oh internet, don’t ever change).

Blah. Got any good home remedies to suggest?

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2014/09/24 / Shanan

SHARING IS CARING

Chris came across this article last week and I thought it was such a novel (and dead simple) idea: Pumpipumpe, a community project based in Switzerland, is offering free stickers to people to display on their mailboxes which show illustrations of household items they’re willing to lend out to neighbours.  These range from power tools to a pasta machine, snowshoes to ping-pong sets — in other words, the sorts of things that you store in your basement and probably only use once in a blue moon.

I can already think of a ton of stuff I’d be willing to get rid of lend out, like golf clubs or our sous-vide cooker or fabric steamer.  And surprise surprise, I have to say that I’m also a fan of the analog nature of the enterprise.  You’d think we would have gotten to know more of our neighbours here by now, but the truth is we have not.  Nothing like knocking on a (potential) stranger’s door to ask to borrow their disco ball.  Maybe they can join your party, too?

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2014/09/19 / Shanan

INTO THE WILD

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made it a point to pick up my camera again after what feels like too long of a hiatus.  I know that documenting one’s every move can seem like the most tedious thing in the world these days, but taking photos when I’m out and about is refreshing once again.  I’m viewing our everyday activities in a new, special light.  And, apparently I blinked and my daughter has become a full-fledged little girl.  When did that happen?  We spent some time being intrepid explorers in the backyard and this is what I captured of my little beauty…

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Telling stories on her ‘mountain house’ in the ‘forest.’

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The classic look of skepticism (my sister and I make this exact same face).

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More and more and more stories.

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“Isn’t it a beautiful day, Mum?” / “It’s a pretty nice temperature out here!” / “What’s yogurt made from?” / “Watch this!!” / “Why doesn’t Daddy wear pyjamas?”

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Picking flowers, always.

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Discovering milkweed pods and their contents.

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Tumbles in the grass (or, the Nottawa version of Christina’s World ? Apologies to Andrew Wyeth <or not>).  Did I really have a hand in creating this imaginative, sensitive, joyous person? Unbelievable.

Enjoy your weekend, everybody.  We plan to hit up the Great Northern Exhibition in Collingwood to see the prize-winning animals and maybe have some pie. Hey, it works for us these days…

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2014/09/15 / Shanan

SUNDAY BRUNCH AT THE MAD MAPLE INN

Chris and I haven’t been out on a date in, oh, sixty years or so? I mean, give or take.  It was clearly time to bust out of that rut with some ye olde romantic country brunch action.

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I recently had the pleasure of meeting lovely Miriam, who runs the Mad Maple Inn with her husband (he’s in the photo above!) near the town of Creemore.  It’s the most gorgeous little bed + breakfast spot and I was dying to try their food – which was both delicious and charming and exceeded all expectations.

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We feasted on farm-fresh egg frittata, homemade sausage patties, yogurt with plum crumble parfait, just-pressed apple cider, mini scones with strawberry jam, potatoes sautéed in more butter than might be actually legal… I could go on.  Clearly we tucked in quicker than I could whip out my camera.

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Everything was served on beautiful vintage dishware and wooden boards, with herbs and edible flowers and the whole nine yards.  We had the most perfect, relaxing meal.

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Afterwards we took a little walk around the property to see their chickens and vegetable garden and wildflowers. Note that at this stage in the pregnancy I can only be shot from a distance of 100 yards (much like a wild game animal).

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Mutual admiration society: I coveted the chicken’s hairdo’s while they checked out my vintage boots.  Caramel brown for fall, folks.

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No really — how’s my hair?

Thank you, Miriam and Neil, for such a fantastic morning.  Marriage.  Saved.  Visit the Mad Maple Country Inn at their website and on Instagram.

xx Shanan

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2014/09/01 / Shanan

IT’S OH SO QUIET

I know.  I KNOW.  Hi, it’s been awhile.

I’ve kind of had a month-long unexplained absence from The Symmetric and I’ve been wrestling with guilt and crappy feelings over it all.

It’s been a weird time for me.  This second pregnancy has, to be honest, been wreaking havoc with my body and emotions a lot more than I was expecting.  Physical blah-blah-woman-stuff has forced me to be off my feet quite a bit, which has meant limited time to do all the regular household things and take care of my design work, and also lots of mom guilt (“Sure, you can watch another Caillou…”).  I’ve realized that I just need to let go of trying to do everything, and focus on taking better care of myself.  At least for the next few months.

That being said, there have been plenty of great things that have happened through this last gasp of summer…

I finally got my m*therf*cking driver’s license.

My dearest friend Natalia came up to visit from NYC and we got to be single gals in the city for a couple of days.

I threw a really lovely baby shower brunch for my sister, who is due in just under a month (!).

We finished renovating our basement – photos to come, if I ever get it together to pick up my camera again.

And, despite the woeful neglect happening in our garden, we are now harvesting buckets upon buckets of heirloom tomatoes, which could safely be classified as my favourite food on earth.

I have a TON to be thankful for; I guess I just feel a little lost right now.

I have missed this space, though — writing, taking photos, collecting ideas… it’s felt like there’s an important piece of me missing.  I need to start flexing that creative muscle again.  I hope you’ll come back my way — I’ll keep writing if you’ll keep reading.  Missed ya.

xx Shanan