Adventures of a Vegan Mummy

Life is “trying things to see if they work” – Ray Bradbury

Not another mommy essay… May 7, 2009

Filed under: Life in General,Parenting,Rants,writing — krysk @ 8:53 pm

As a mother and a writer I often resent the implications that I somehow must limit my writings and thoughts to motherhood – as if I have no more valid experiences that are worthy to mention. Despite the explosion of mom lit that has occurred over these past few years (or maybe I just notice it more now that I am a mother) I am not sure that I really need to read about a mother’s sleepless nights or the struggles she may have at the dinner table. I don’t want to limit my writing to these subjects.

Yet it seems there are many pulls towards keeping some sort of mommy journal that excessively details the lives of my children. And while I don’t want to forget many moments of their lives (although there are already so many that are long gone) I also don’t believe in obsessively documenting every poopy diaper or runny nose in order to share these momentous occurences with others.

While many mommy essayists have a beautiful way of tying their personal experience into a larger, more prosaic picture of child rearing or human behavior – many writers instead seem to focus on whining about how difficulty and horribly un-stimulating motherhood is – to these I say “what exactly did you expect?”

So, while I do write about my children I want to move beyond, to deeper thoughts and connections, and experiences. I would like to write about the whole me and not only one small fraction of my already fragmented self…


Rules to live by… March 5, 2009

Filed under: 1,inspiration,Life in General — krysk @ 1:55 pm
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I am not sure where I found these rules, they are something I have had taped above my desk, forever. I haven’t posted in a  long while – I have been trying to ignore the elephant in the room  – a.k.a. my dissertation – which has, as promised by legions of other doctoral students, taken over most of my waking moments! However, I want to, in fact I need to, commit to posting at least twice a week – my brain needs a rest from researching the “borrowing and lending of early childhood education programs in post-socialist countries” – or at least I think that is what my dissertation is supposed to be about…

Rules to live by

1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

2. Memorize your favorite poem.

3.Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.

4. Talk slowly, but think quickly.

5. Remember that great love and great achievement involve great risk.

6. When you lose – don’t lose the lesson.

7. Remember the three R’s – respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for your actions.

8. Spend some time alone.

9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.

10. Read between the lines.

11. Read more books and watch less T.V.


Don’t Give Up on the Boys July 19, 2008

Filed under: 1,Children,Family,Parenting — krysk @ 9:23 am
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My son is 2 1/2. He is the sweetest, cuddliest thing around. Way more cuddly than my daughter was at this age – he still wants to get into bed and snuggle in the morning, which usually gains me an extra 30 -45 minutes of sleep – which I am all for. He also just comes over to me during the day and wants to sit on my lap – with his pacifier in mouth and his head on my shoulder, he is still my little babe…

I want to remember this time for when he is 15 and 16 years old and struggling to put as much space between me and himself as he possibly can, and I don’t want to remember this in order to embarrass him, but instead to remind me that he isn’t all gruff talk and gangling limbs – that underneath all that adolescent awkwardness and angst – he remains a sweet, and sensitive, and confused child. I think too often we just let our boys drift – we go all psycho on our daughters and all of a sudden over analyze their every move and action once they hit about 14, but somehow boys are able to drift right along. 

As I teacher I heard over and over again “Oh, he’s just acting like a boy”, “Boys, will be boys”, which are such hollow empty phrases – when our boys really do deserve better. This attitude is like giving a child a free pass to behave however they want. I don’t agree. I think as a whole we need to hold our boys to higher standards and also keep them closer…

My mother recently acknowledged that she should have spent more time worrying about my brother. She wishes that she had made more time for him, to get to know him better. He is 36 now and married, and while he and my mother do have a relationship, so much of it is simply cordial – there isn’t that knowledge there that comes with asking the deep questions and taking the time to listen.

My brother turned out fine and all that, but it was always my sister and I who were the recipients of those “talks” – which lasted well into adulthood and for the most part which I guess I finally outgrew when I became a mother myself – maybe it was because I finally started behaving better, who knows.  However, my mother and I still talk a lot, about everything under the sun, and maybe part of it can be explained away because as women we do go through similar experiences, but I think if you take that position it is too easy of a cop-out.

The point is my mother regrets all those years when my brother was lost to her – he was always a good kid, played hockey, stayed above water in school – but if he tended to drift around on the weekends, or missed his curfew, or slept most of the day – there was nothing…

I don’t want to be in this position with my son…


Looking for a few good writers… July 16, 2008

Filed under: 1,Rants,writing — krysk @ 7:33 pm
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I am feeling frustrated of late as I sit and try to find some fellow writers to connect with. I have joined some of the “mommy writer” listservs, but they are too centered on being a mommy. Yes, I already know that I am a mommy and just sitting around and dissing about the absurdities that fill my day – do absolutley nothing for my writing. I would like a little more focus on the craft, and a little less focus on the diaper changes.

The other frustrating thing about these groups are that many of them were established ages ago, and have about one million members, so that there is really no accounting, or welcoming, or acknowledging of new members. Therefore, many of the posts are centered on inside jokes, or are the tell all emails to the entire group, that I am not really sure that I need to be reading.

Anyway, I would love to be part of a community, of serious (yet fun-loving – if that isn’t too contradictory) women (mothers or not) who have a passion for writing and are searching for ways to move their writing forward. As of the moment I am still looking! However, my idea for the fall is to put a “call to arms” (otherwise known as an advertisement) in our community paper and see if I can kick start a writing group, and see where it leads me to. I figure if you can’t join ’em you might as well beat ’em, or something to that effect…


The Mother I Am… May 7, 2008

I often wonder what kind of a mother I am. Where do I fit on the spectrum of motherliness? And what exactly is on that spectrum anyway? I say this not because I am insecure in my relationship with my children, but I  wonder what kind of a mother I am in relation to my own mother.

I have been thinking a lot about that lately – about the things my mother did, and didn’t do, and I wonder why she made particular decisions. For example, why did she think it was a good idea for me to get a perm in grade 4? Looking back at family pictures it certainly wasn’t because it was attractive.

I wonder why on earth she didn’t censor the make up choices I made in Grade 7? I mean I realize it was the early 80’s, but come on, the blue frosted eye shadow up to my eyebrows was a bit much! I wonder this particularly because my mother always looked so put together, and I don’t recall seeing any family photos of her with blue eyeshadow up to there!

I also wonder about recent comments my mother has made to me, that she allowed my brother too much freedom, and that she wasn’t there emotionally for him when he most needed it.

I wonder all these things as I slowly engage in the struggle to raise both a daughter and a son. And by struggle I don’t mean in the sense that it is a chore that I could do without. I mean struggle in the sense that not a day goes by that I do not engage in making decisions, and sorting through choices – whose outcomes and resolutions will impact the lives of all involved.

These moments of choice can be overwhelming at times. Moments building upon moments – as each decision rests upon the one that came before – and your destination becomes something that was not recognizable at the outset.

My children are still young, but time has a way of moving at lightning speed once you become the grown up, and I see choices having more weight to bear as the future draws near. I trust that I will be ready to make these decisions as my children grow older, and that they will join me in this journey as they become more able to take part.

However, I am already set to veto the blue eyeshadow…


After awhile… April 22, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,poetry — krysk @ 8:42 pm
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A) I realize that is has been a long while since I have posted.

B) I also realize that it is kind of cheap to re-enter the world of blogging by posting someone else’s words, but…

C) April is poetry month, and this is one of my favorite poems. Not very uplifting, although it is in a roundabout way, and as someone who is soon to be pushing 40, I realize it is my defeats, much more than my successes, that have allowed me to expand my thinking and my growing…


After Awhile

by Veronica Shoffstall

After awhile you learn the difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul

and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

and company doesn’t mean security,

and you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

and presents aren’t promises

and you begin to accept your defeats

with your head up and your eyes open

with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

and you learn to build all your roads on today

because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans

and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight

and after awhile you learn.

That even sunshine burns if you get too much

so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.

Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

and you learn that you really can endure…

that you really are strong, and you really do have worth

and you learn, and you learn, with every good-bye you learn.


Recipe for a six room poem… February 14, 2008

Filed under: Children,writing — krysk @ 4:50 pm
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As a writer I am always looking for words and images that will help me see the world a little more clearly – to really be able to describe the exact shade of purple I saw in the fading of the sunset, or how the yellow bowl filled with green apples looked set in the middle of the dining room table.

I find reading anything by Georgia Heard helps me to do this (Awakening the Heart; Creatures of Earth, Sea, & Sky; For the Good of the Earth & the Sun; Writing Towards Home).  Simplistic and stripped down, her writing simply illuminates the obvious, the stuff that was sitting right in front of your nose.  Yet it also provides enough detail that things can lodge themselves in my mind – helps me to see the small things that I might otherwise have overlooked.

One of the most useful of Georgia’s exercises is the writing of the “Six Room Poem”.  I don’t use it just to write poetry, but find it particularly helpful when I am trying to create/recreate an image, set the scene, or simply trying to breathe a little more life and a little more poetry into my everyday writing.  I have also used this exercise in a classroom setting with children to help them create poems.

This is how you do it: 

  • Divide a piece of paper into six squares.
  • In the 1st “room” think of something that you have seen that is amazing, beautiful, interesting, or that has just stayed in your mind.  Simply describe and write down what comes to your mind.
  • In the 2nd room look at the same image in the first room – but just focus on the quality of light that surrounds the image (soft/harsh/daylight/moonlight), and what colors do you associate with the image.
  • 3rd room – picture the same image but this time focus on only the sounds.  Are there any voices?  What is in the background?  What kind of silence do you hear?  Lonely?  Peaceful?
  • 4th room – write down any questions you have about the image.  Anything you want to know more about?
  • 5th room – write down any feelings you have about this same image.  Rage? Frustration? Peace?
  • 6th room – look over the five rooms and select one word, or a few words/phrase/or sentence that feels important and repeat it three times.

Finished!  Now all you need to do is spend some time looking over what you wrote.  Other ideas/feelings might arise about the image as you spend some time reflecting on the image.  Now you are ready to create your poem/paragraph/whatever you want to accomplish with the image – by rearranging and eliminating the words or sentences you have created.

 Have fun!  I will try to post one of my “images” in the next few days.