The Quiet Ones have the Strongest Stomachs

18 years ago (ack!) I was eating banana pancakes on a roof in Taiwan. Run by kind, English-speaking Janice, the Green House Café was an unofficial drop-in centre for expats in Tainan, a small city south of cosmopolitan Taipei. Unlike the capital, Tainan’s signs displayed only Chinese characters and Westerners were so rare that strangers…

Our Folk’s Fest

The first time my man and I went to Vancouver’s Folk Fest I was nine months pregnant with our first child. I was a fan for life. Not only are there five stages of music and so much good food, there’s a special hippy rule that pregnant women don’t wait in line for the porta-potties….

Secrets of a former loser

“And what was your high school experience like?” I’m sitting round a dinner table with three women I’ve only met once before. Two are my fellow volunteers for a poetry outreach society (how cool is that?!). The questioner is the society’s kindly executive director who pays us monthly with a savoury home-cooked meal, red wine…

The rush of knowing you’re not (that) Crazy anymore

One of the coolest benefits of mental health is that remembering yourself crazy can give you quick hit of endorphins, a kind of hindsight superpower. What I mean is that nowadays, no matter what is going on or wrong, I can easily call up a memory from Before – i.e. before I found the medication,…

Why I got FED UP and Signed Up to Homeschool

Big Brother had his last day of kindergarten last week, but you wouldn’t know it by activities going on. No last day party, no family picnic, no mini-graduation. Just a small grocery bag of papers and art projects from the year. Maybe this wouldn’t niggle me so much, except the French Immersion classes, in the…

Walking in Circles

I was worried on our trip that my older son, nearly six, would get bored and then pester everyone to death for more tv, more treats and generally more attention. He’d deserve it too, since his little brother, two, is very clever at staying in the cute spotlight, and his only nearby playmate would be…

Saying ‘So what?’ to flaws

(Halfway through our 9-hour flight home. Looking tired, but still smiling) One reason I keep comparing this recent family holiday to England with the one four years ago is because the similar circumstances let me compare the real-world effects of my work to deal with depression and anxiety. The first trip I was just about…

10 Apples Up on Skewers

While freaking out about the impending summer holidays, I found this cute 10 Apples Up on Top craft that I thought both Big and Little Brother might get into. And then I thought, Hey! I could be one of those moms. The ones that take pictures inside the Paint Zone and then post to show…

Travelling Crazy – a two-, four-, six-year study

It’s easier to travel while sane than crazy. As evidence I produce my two nearly identical holiday circumstances: 3 weeks with in-laws 8 time zones away, plus toddler(s). The first trip, four years ago, resulted in my decision to take anti-depressants for the rest of my life. The second, last month, with double the preschoolers, resulted…

Where does the body feel Unbelonging?

I’m taking a 5-week course called Trauma-sensitive Yoga for Depression and Anxiety at my favourite Vancouver studio, Ocean and Crow. This is a weekly record of my unraveling … and hopefully my knitting back together. In our first class, we learn that every emotion has a corresponding sensation in the body. Conversely, every bodily sensation…

Teacher training

Since graduating from yoga teacher training at Langara College and trying to find yoga work, I struggle regularly with my “right” to teach yoga. What makes me any better than the zillions of other yoga teachers in Vancouver? I can’t even do a headstand or an arm balance, or even a full forward fold. (Damn…