Kim Stewart

Canadian Métis Artist

home life

Life in dark places

home life, my opinionsKim StewartComment

We have been carefully removing clutter from our place and recently discovered these growing in the cold room drawers. They are the leftovers from last year's potatoes. Too small to peel, they sat neglected until now. It is amazing the growth that happens in dark places. Places we normally do not look. I'm not sure, but I think there is a metaphor in there somewhere.

Gas prices are changing my life

home life, my opinionsKim Stewart2 Comments

We have changed our lives a lot over the last couple of years, reducing the amount of trips to town and combining activities to reduce our gas consumption. We live about 40kms from the city and it takes about 35 to 40 minutes to drive to the heart of town. The whole family used to attend sports activities in town 2-3 times a week, as well as trips to work, grocery shop, etc. Over the last year especially, we have dropped our town activities completely, we go in maybe twice a week during the summer for essentials. In the fall, we will have to carpool to save on gas where we used to take separate vehicles to accommodate for different schedules . Everyone in our family either works or goes to school in the city. This will mean more hours of hanging around in the car, waiting for each other. The car is like our second living room. I am considering stocking it with a bar fridge, hotplate, and fold out tables for kids to do homework. (Hey, maybe I am on to something!) I really don't think we can cut back any more than we have. We are people who have chosen a lifestyle that takes us away from the violence, crime and stress of the city, back into nature, gardens, peace and quiet, but we are taking a beating financially for our choice. Others must feel the same. Will this force people to move to the cities, ending a way of life? It seems less and less financially feasible to live and work in the country. These are interesting times, full of change. It is tough to make decisions that will reflect well on both the environment, and the mental and physical well being of my family.

climbing the walls

faith and spirituality, home life, my opinionsKim Stewart1 Comment

I think it is good to push myself beyond my comfort zone and opportunities come at surprising times. Last weekend my family went out to our local Bible camp and conference centre as volunteers for their big spring clean up. Lots of maintenance and preparation was required for new equipment to come in. Yep, this is not kids camp as you remember it. This place is decked out with amazing toys! Situated on Ness Lake, the camp has the usual canoes, Kayaks, and cabins, but they also have a huge jungle swing, a zip line that runs high above the ground, an indoor climbing wall, and gymnasium. This year's big project was to clear treed area for the new high wire course that is being installed. These facilities are used to challenge kids and adults alike to physical and spiritual strengths they never knew they had. Once the work was done, we were able to check out the equipment. I have never climbed before so I was thrilled to be able to use the climbing wall. My kids and the dad-guy all climbed as well. Fun stuff!

Kim scales the climbing wall at Ness Lake

and it goes on

creative motivation, home lifeKim Stewart2 Comments

I do not take naturally to what I call domestic work. Those nasty chores that fall under the category of housework are never finished. I have been working for a month on staging our home. 3 weeks ago we listed it on the real estate market with the hopes that it will sell, freeing us to buy a home and property closer to the city of Prince George. We are about 38kms away right now. That translates to a 40 minute highway drive in good weather to reach the centre of town. The 'dad-guy' and I pounded away at replacing counter tops, installing tile on our backsplash and refinishing kitchen cabinets. The results are stunning. (I'd show you, but my son (14) has taken my camera cord to his room and it has 'disappeared' in there.) After weeks of 'cramming' to complete improvements, I have lost interest. There are still some details that should be looked after, but I can't seem to motivate myself to do them. Cleaning out storage cubbies, scraping old paint, and reorganizing basement clutter is not at the top of my 'holiday fun' list. Maybe I need a reward system, something like an ice cream cone, or a new toy for motivation. A search on google nets this information:

One principle that underlies these conceptions is that some people will focus more on challenging themselves to achieve by choosing moderately difficult tasks, persisting in the face of setbacks, etc. while others try to avoid situations of moderately difficult tasks where their self-esteem would be at risk (Atkinson & Feather, 1974). Those who are risk averse tend to choose either very simple tasks or very hard ones. In the former case they are confident they will succeed, and in the latter case nobody will expect them to succeed. Dweck and Leggett [1988]

Another site tells me I need good role models, and specific goals. It goes on to say that if I am a high achiever, I will need a moderately difficult task. Maybe that's the problem. How hard could it be to clean out a cubby hole? Should I think about all the skills I will use to clean? Should I picture the space as it might look once it is organized? Maybe I could trick myself into thinking it is an important task. After a while of this non-purposeful thinking, nothing is done and my head feels thick.

my brains feel like mush.

'excessories'

home life, my opinionsKim Stewart6 Comments

I have been cleaning, purging my household of 'excessories'; those items without a purpose that seem to build up around the place. They arrive in the arms of well meaning friends and kids who's parents have told them to get rid of their junk. It would seem that junk carries an energy necessary to its survival. Some people unconsciously feel this energy and have a hard time letting go. As an alternative to chucking it out, they try to find a new home for it. This is an admirable thing to do considering how full our landfills are becoming, but my question is "where did the junk come from in the first place?" I think this is a complicated question with more than one answer. While in the Anchorage, Alaska airport last summer, my daughter and I spent a lot of time watching planes land and take off from the cargo runways. We were shocked at the number of cargo planes from China. They stop at Anchorage to refuel before continuing on to their destinations. I was puzzled at first until I made a connection between all the labels on my items at home, "Made in China". It is rare now to find items that are not made in China . It's all about marketing. Lower production cost, lower retail cost. The lower price is so enticing that many times I have bought an item on impulse because the price was so good. I am working on breaking that habit, separating 'needs' from 'wants', after all, how much 'stuff' do I really need?

barely daring to breath...

home life, painKim Stewart3 Comments

 Mom_2007 My Mom is in a fight for her life. She is in the good care of doctors and nurses at the hospital but her future is uncertain. She has been given some tough choices to make, none of them appealing, all of them potentially life-saving and life-threatening. She feels the weight of her decision. In a blur of contradictory advice from 'experts', she tries to think. This is her life they are talking about. As she sorts through the large amount of information that has come her way in a matter of days, everyone else waits for her decision barely daring to breath.

Award

home lifeKim Stewart4 Comments

Sirdar over at Sirdar Inc. has offered me a friendship award. I was pleased to receive it, although I have no place to post it. I wanted to thank Sirdar for his friendship and his family's friendship. His wife Dawn and I have know each other since high school and it has been a lot of fun keeping in touch through our blogs. Thanks again Sirdar!

Pain

home life, painKim Stewart2 Comments

I am in pain. My back slipped out of place last Wednesday while bending down to pick up a piece of paper. I wish I could say it was something spectacular that caused the sacrum to shift, but it was only a simple movement. On Friday my massage therapist was able to put things back in place. Now I must wait for the damage to heal. I can stand, walk and lie down, but not sit. (sounds like a puppy in training!). This has happened before. It usually takes about 2 weeks for things to settle down.

early to rise?

home lifeKim Stewart3 Comments

I have thought about getting up early for days, but it has not happened. It would have been truly humorous for you to see my efforts over these last 2 weeks. I raised one eyelid, sometimes I lifted my head up before 6:30am, and ONCE I actually got out of bed, used the washroom but promptly headed straight back to the warmth of the duvet. Okay, perhaps that is just a bit of an exaggeration. We actually had to take turns getting up to let our bossy dog out. Her alarm is set for 6:30am. Sometimes she will sleep until 7:00 am before she starts barking loudly from her kennel. Although she is a loved member of this family, she truly tested my patience over the holiday. Sheba

give and take

home life, my opinionsKim Stewart2 Comments

I received a gift today, during this season of giving (and taking). It is an invoice from Canada Revenue Agency(CRA) for over $400.00. Their timing is impeccable, this day being December 24th, a day when most people would like to set the worries of the world aside and concentration on family. In this world of hard, cold business, is there no time in which these corporations rest?

completion

home life, my opinions, teachingKim Stewart2 Comments

It feels so good to reach the end of something that you have worked so hard at. The fall semester is finished at the College where I teach. I have submitted final marks for everyone....my students, if you are reading this, breath easy, you all passed. Excellent work and I am looking forward to the learning we will do next semester. It it will be like a fresh field of snow. In the meantime I am going to rest, spend time with my kids, play, eat...maybe too much, and enjoy the many Blessings that are in my life! Shalom, peace to all over the holidays!

missing my man [or my man is missing.]

home lifeKim Stewart3 Comments

He left on Friday at 6:30am with 2 other guys, the snow roaring up behind the truck in an indignant cloud as they peeled out of our driveway. He has been planning this trip for months. He grew a beard, he shopped for pepperoni sticks, he organized his gear for 3 days straight. I watched him pack with nervous anticipation.... {It is winter here. The temperature averages between -9 and -18 celsius. This house is heated by a wood furnace. The wood furnace requires large amounts of wood because it is old; 25 years old. The wood must be hauled and split every day. We often get heavy snowfalls, so heavy that we cannot get out of our driveway. As you read in my previous posting, sometimes we are without power, phone, or water. In the spring, we flood. It is a gamble every time my man leaves. Sometimes nothing happens, sometimes it is like the apocalypse. Does he know how much he means to this home and this family? Not only is he my best friend and my only love, he is the glue that holds this place together.}

...I followed him down the stairs and gave him a hug and a kiss. Have a good time, I told him. Try not to worry about us, I say. He needs a break. He will come home refreshed. The kids and I will manage, we always do.

Introduction to the Preserves project

home life, remember when---Kim Stewart3 Comments

You may not have noticed that I have a new page on my site called "Preserves - the introduction". I would like to encourage you to visit it. I have begun a storytelling project that will span decades. I am a 'keeper' of all things past and I have many  interesting objects, letters and photos, each with an interesting story to tell. I will be posting them to pages on my wordpress blog for now so please watch for additional pages. Carrie Gullion in Pants

A rare photo, go to my Preserves page and check it out.

squeezed

friends, home lifeKim Stewart3 Comments

I feel squeezed like a lemon tonight. I even made some sour comments earlier to the Dad-guy as he got up and announced his nightly trip to the bedroom. It is very late and I have been awake and unable to sleep. So I spent some time going around and visiting you online, my blogging and facebook friends. I expect some of you might have protested if I were to pick up the phone and call you at this unsightly hour, but I felt comforted and close to you as I looked at your postings of thoughts, doings and photos from this last week. I could feel myself smiling, relaxing, feeling a bit, well, a bit like I could go to sleep. All I need now is a good bedtime story! Thanks for being there.

damp, but not dampened.

home life, my opinionsKim Stewart1 Comment

I allowed the hundreds of people to pour their gazes over my face as we slowly moved through the line. I was unable to see the end, just a snaking cord of strangers who glanced, then looked away. This was the last of many lines I had to negotiate before entrance through the gates of homeland security and onto the flight that took me to Anchorage. For those who know me, you know that I am not good in crowds. The energy pulses off of each body and assaults me until I want to run to freedom, wherever that might be. It's a huge contrast to the amount of space in the unpopulated areas of Alaska. My family has been traveling for 3 days by motorhome from one spectacular location to another. Today has been a day of new experiences starting with a visit to Sea World in Seward. Not like the ones in California where carefully coreographed routines are played out by bored sea mammals, this place was very natural and allowed us to view creature behaviour without disturbing them. Later we braved the 3 mile hike to Exit Glacier while the rain poured on. We were not disappointed. My daughter was struck by the deep azure blue of the crevases and the cool wind that forces its way off the glacier and down the path of its retreat. I smiled contently and watched through water-spotted lenses as the kids ran down the mountain. Tonight we are clean, dry and relaxed thanks to this wonderfully run RV site, which also has wireless internet access. Tomorrow we take a 6 hour cruise to the whale feeding grounds and the tidewater Glaciers. If I run into another wireless location, I will let you know how that goes. The weather report is calling for more rain...in fact, rain all week but I will not let it dampen my trip!