Thursday, April 28, 2011


When I created this blog all those months ago, I intended it to be a place where I could write creatively and share my love of music (hence, why it's called the Chickadee "Tweet"). I followed every post with lyrics from some of my favourite songs. Slowly over time, my blog morphed into something new; I began talking more about mothering, and shared my journey into a new job and new interests.

I still like to get back to my love of music, and now that I've figured out how to share YouTube videos on here (it really wasn't hard - I just needed to find the button!) I get to post some of my favourites for you all to listen to! I'm sure there are millions of music-related blogs out there, but my goal is not to review artists or records. It's more about combining what goes on in my everyday life with lyrics and songs. It's all about what's inspiring and moving at a particular moment.

I listened to a great interview with Ron Sexsmith the other day. Everyone has probably heard of Ron, but it was surprising to hear that he's never really gained fame and fortune throughout his career. He's still plodding along, making enough to live comfortably, but without all the perks of stardom. You might think that's a good thing, but he spoke about how discouraging it's been not to be recognized for his accomplishments. And accomplishments he has! Not receiving his first recording contract until 1995 (when he was over 30 years old), Ron has since released 11 albums, and has collaborated with folks like Chris Martin, Elvis Costello, Elton John and Sheryl Crow. He's widely known in the music biz, so it's not surprising to hear him say that he's felt disappointed in the past with his level of success.

We all feel that sense of disappointment sometimes - when we stop and wonder what it's all about. When our kids are ungrateful, or our co-workers overlook our hard work, we wish for more recognition for the things we do.

And so, I would like to recognize Ron today as a super-duper Canadian talent, and someone worth the $15 for his latest album Long Player Late Bloomer. Here's a great release from the ablum, Love Shines:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kale Chips

In my effort to eat a well balanced diet, I am trying to find ways to incorporate more dark, leafy greens into my day. There must be a million ways to prepare greens, but I always seem to end up relying on the same old - steamed brocolli. Not very exciting, and definitely not enticing enough for a 19-month old to try.

Lately though, I have discovered a fantastic trick. When you bake kale in the oven for a short period of time, it comes out crunchy and crispy, just like chips! Lightly coated with olive oil and sea salt, you might actually believe you were eating a bag of potato chips (Tom disagrees - he thinks they have a funny aftertaste. OK, yes, they don't exactly taste like potato chips, but who wouldn't enjoy trying something hot, salty, oily and crunchy? And bonus: A loves them too!)

To prepare, purchase a bunch of kale (most supermarkets carry the softer/leafier kind - you can find some very tough varieties at farmer's markets, but they're better suited for soups/stews). Break off the stems and wash. Now, VERY IMPORTANT: make sure to dry thoroughly with a towel! If you attempt to put kale pieces into the oven with even a few drops of water on them, they will turn into a soggy mess.

Place kale in a big bowl, pour in some olive oil (I never measure...maybe 1-2tbsp?). With you hands, toss and rub the oil all over the kale to make sure the pieces are well covered.

Place pieces on a baking sheet lined with tin foil; bake in 325 degree oven for exactly 12 minutes. No longer, or you will end up with overcooked kale chips! If you have a hot oven, check them out at 10 or 11 minutes.

Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy warm!

(Kale chips are now being sold in bags at natural food stores, and I found one the other day for almost $10 - ridiculous! My advice is to stick to the homemade version; if you can find it in season, kale is around $2-3)

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I have not been successful in completing many blog posts lately. I think of interesting things to write about during the day, and by the time I'm home and have a few moments to myself, I usually just want to relax with a good book or show.

However, I did discover a wonderful song recently, due to my recent foray into country music. I've never been a country music fan (unless you count the crossover stars, who don't really sound country at all!), but for some reason lately, I find myself cranking the country music station in my car while driving to various appointments. Maybe it's the simplicity of the music that appeals to me - when things feel complicated, listening to a man drone on about his truck seems very soothing.

Happy Easter everyone, and have a listen to "Colder Weather" by the Zac Brown band:

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I heard Judy Collins' version of this song this morning on CBC. Listening to it, I could hear the rain pinging against the window and see the wind shaking the branches of our gigantic pine tree. It made me fell very safe and cozy in my home.

Take a listen....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Coming to my senses

What does it mean to "come to our senses?" We say this all the time when chatting with friends and families about decisions that we make, but it's interesting to take a look at the saying in more detail. To me, it suggests that I have somehow been existing outside of my physical body, and have been caught up in the thoughts of my mind. The thinking brain vs. the feeling body. So instead of taking time to smell, touch, see, hear and taste, I have been.....just thinking!

In my opinion, living in our minds is a huge problem in our society. Instead of relying on intuition and kinesthetic learning, we bury our noses in books and rely on the expertise of others. It's not our fault - our entire educational system teaches us to do this. And at first, we reap many rewards from being "bookish." We get high marks in school, apply to the best post-secondary programs, and go on to graduate with top honours. We get good jobs, more money, and a better lifestyle.

But at some point, many of us begin to wonder what it's all about: "where has all this thinking gotten me, and why the hell am I not happy?" To quote Shakespeare, "therin lies the rub..." (in other words, there's the catch!)

Keeping in mind that this is entirely my opinion, "the catch" is that all of this thinking, reading, memorizing and studying has led nowhere, as we have neglected to pay attention to our bodies. Our raw, soft and animal-like bodies, that used to rely so much on our senses in order to survive. Because don't forget, we are mammals, and have much in common with every other mammal on this earth. The only difference seems to be our cognition.

If I'm losing you here, let me get back to the point of this post. Up until this point, I seem to have been operating much more in my thinking mind than in my sensual body. Here are examples of my thoughts:

1) I need to have another baby this year
2) I must do this because my daughter needs a sibling, and I need to keep up with all the other friends who are having second babies
3) I should do this, because to have one child is to be a selfish mother - to be happy with the extra time I have now as my daughter grows older and becomes more independent
4) To be a good mother, I must give all of myself - have multiple children, stay home, and attend to their needs until they are old enough to fly the nest.

A lot of these thoughts have been subconscious, but as of late, I have managed to uncover them, and have realized a need to acknowledge them for what they truly are - just thoughts, and not reality.

The reality is that my life seems happily full right now. I'm enjoying the challenges of my jobs; I have established a great social network here in Ottawa and enjoy spending time with all my friends; I have a wonderful husband, daughter and cute little pug who require a lot of my attention; and there isn't too much extra time to focus entirely on me.

To add a second baby to the mix would take any tiny bit of time I have reserved for me, as well as time for other people and projects. And I've realized that it's not something I'm willing to do (at least at this time - I can always change my mind!) What I do need to do is help myself to see that I'm a good wife/mother just as I am, and don't need to prove anything by continually taking on challenges. As well, I don't handle stress well in the best of times, so a newborn baby would not bode well for our happy family life!

I am sad that I've come to this decision, because I had THE PLAN all laid out perfectly. But coming to my senses means allowing myself the option to stop thinking - to throw the plan out the window with the bathwater, and get back to the basics.

How have you come to your senses? For those of you who regularly read my blog, I invite you to become a "follower" by clicking on the link on the righthand side of this page.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


A's view from the plane in Toronto
We're back from our vacation! We left during a snowstorm and came back to the sights and sounds of spring.

Do you ever go on vacation, and make promises to yourself that you're going to take more time once you get home? Slow down and enjoy your life? I do it all the time, but once I'm home, things seem to get crazy for a while and I'm anything but slow and steady.

Children can certainly sense this lack of routine that follows vacation time (or starts during vacation time!) and it usually leads to troubles with sleeping, eating and behaviour. And this leads to even more tired Mommies and Daddies.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how to reduce the amount of stress in my life, while keeping my busy schedule the way it is. I have my research assistant job at the hospital 3 days a week, which brings in nice, steady income and I get to work with a great team of researchers. The downside? It's very boring - I spend my day at a computer doing data entry or data analyses. To compensate for this, I have my doula business on the side, but attending a birth for 15+ hours makes it hard to get up in the morning and feel refreshed for my day at the office!

One solution could be to focus all my time on doula work, which would take away the guilt that I feel about my desk job (i.e. am I not focused enough at work? Not spending enough time on my projects?). However, in order to make an income that would allow us to eat and have a roof over our heads, I would have to take 4 clients per month at $550 each. First off, it could be a struggle getting 4 clients per month. What if I only had 2 one month? How could we survive on half our income? Secondly, I'm not at a stage where I feel comfortable charging that much for my services. Doula fees are unregulated, but there is still a general understanding that you're worth more with experience, and I would definitely need another year or more before considering an increase in fees.

So my only option at this time is to just stay where I am, and keep doing what I'm doing. But it means sacrificing time I might need for extra rest, exercise, and a proper diet (it's a wonder why all doulas aren't 4am the only thing that keeps me going is an Oh Henry bar and a coffee!!) My goal is to begin to carve out space during the day that is being used as time wasters - those things that we tell ourselves we must do (e.g. check my email at 10pm before bed), but really, would be better left until the morning. Instead, how can I motivate myself to stretch out on my yoga mat and do some deep breathing for 10min rather than surfing the web?

How do you take time each day to relax? Is it working for you?