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I’m starting to make my way. I’m getting set to finish my classes and move forward into the next part of my life and career. Moving forward generally means thinking about you, Jack, and what it would have been like if you were still with us. How long I would have stayed in my job, where the party would be now and how I would feel about it.

Moving forward also makes me wonder what I will do without the guidance I sought out from you, Dad. And the work you gave me that demonstrated your growing trust. Showing me that you had forgiven the things I failed to do when I was younger and that you knew that I was learning, I am skilled, I am smart.

So now I have to look back for your guidance and example. I have to learn by myself what your could have shown me.

Dad, there are many things about you I don’t want to copy. I will celebrate my birthday this year and I won’t wonder if you’ll forget again. But your career, your love of your work. That is where I want to follow in your footsteps.

But if my family starts to suffer, I choose family.

If you were a little bit proud of me – and I think you were – I can only imagine what you would think of her. She’s so awesome and you only got to know a little bit of that.

I’m thinking of you both and I miss you in very different ways. Jack, I miss you in the world. Dad, I miss you in my world.

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We are one week from reading week, which marks the halfway point of this semester, which means only the end is nigh. Course work ends the second week of April and after that the world sort of opens up.

The other day I starting thinking more about what comes next. (Big red glittery letters – WHAT COMES NEXT) and I’m starting to get really exciting about what I can do.

This journey has not been easy, particularly with some of the extra work I have taken on…

I’m very close to burned out, and I’m very close to major life changes. But I’m also so close to major life changes. You know?

We’re moving forward, things are changing but all of these great friends and family will still be right there with me. Cheering me on, helping me, letting me help them. It’s pretty awesome.

I’m turning 35 at the end of the month

What’s another leap at this point?

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Joe and I went to the Capital Hoops Classic today. Carleton vs Ottawa U. I missed last year’s, but Dad would have reminded me he would have gotten me tickets.

This was the 10th Capital Hoops and, as far as I know, the first one my father missed.

While I was there, watching the Ravens forget how to hit a basket, I thought back to my favourite times with my Dad.

The most time I ever spent with him was at Carleton’s old gym. He always sat in the same place and I knew where to find him on Friday and Saturday nights. He always sat in the back row on the right side. He knew the names of all the referees and felt free to yell at them.

I spent almost every Saturday with him at basketball during my last year of high school. It was the most time we’d ever spent together. And on Fridays he would occasionally join us at the weekly 67’s game.

I don’t think I became a sports fan to spend more time with my dad, but when I became a sports fan that’s certainly what happened.

It’s only fitting that I posed for a picture, my toque in Dad classic style, and realized how much I actually do look like him. People have always said.

A tribute

A tribute

It has been a long time since I’ve posted. It might be a longer time between posts than ever. The fact is I’m feeling not quite myself. I’m feeling sort of like an odd version of myself, or an outline of myself.

I have so many unanswered questions going forward that I’m hoping that’s what’s wrong. That once I figure out what comes after my coursework and what comes next it will all feel better again.

Maybe.

Part of that is that I have this kid, and she and I have always been a team, and I’m not sure if I’m ready and willing to jump back in to the workforce. It’s almost terrifying, the idea of having to find child care and commute and make our lives work like that. Even though I know thousands do it in this city. In my neighbourhood even.

I want to be all the mother my daughter needs. But at the same time I feel like I’m not doing my best on that front. She’s my favourite person in the whole world and she wears me out like no one else.

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It’s not fun to feel like I’d be failing somehow by going back to work and finding a great, fulfilling job while also feeling that I’d be failing if I don’t.

I went to get a blood test this week because I’m so sure that something must be wrong. There are days that I’m so exhausted I could cry. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if this is how everyone feels. And if it is how they possibly function.

I am trying my hardest to keep myself organized. I have paper and online calendars and to-do lists. I spent part of Saturday prepping meals and snacks for the week. I got started. I asked for help and people gave it. I have advice to help me move forward.

And so I am thankful for my family, my husband and my daughter, my friends who are there when I reach out via Facebook to rant. And my classmates and professors who are always up for great passionate discussions. And amongst them I sometimes feel like who I am supposed to be, and maybe the percentage will start to increase as I figure more things out.

I read the news today, oh boy

January 20th, 2016 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Canadiana | Issues | Ottawa - (Comments Off)

I have been feeling sick to my stomach almost all day.

I took a nap this morning and when I woke up there was a message from Joe asking whether I had seen what was going on at Postmedia. Mergers, layoffs. Very bad news.

You see, I stopped being a journalist a long time ago. Well, not really – once a journalist, always a journalist. I stopped trying to work as a journalist but I still have a passion for journalism. I was raised on journalism. Both of my parents studied it, it was all around me. People with great respect for the trade and its product.

This is devastation.

And my biggest fear is that a majority of people don’t know what they lost today.

You see, I don’t believe in citizen journalism, and I don’t believe good reporting can be done for free. Just because you have a police scanner app on your phone doesn’t mean that you have access. Just because you have a blog doesn’t mean you’re a reporter.

Good journalism, real journalism, is a very special skill. It’s access and instinct. It’s time spent digging. Talking to the right people and asking the right questions.

Too many people don’t understand the real value of great journalism. They want it for free and they think it will be the same.

I have been feeling sick to my stomach all day because a lot of people lost their jobs today, most of them hard-working people who were dedicated to jobs that have bad pay and shitty hours because they saw the promise of what good journalism can do.

I don’t know how we reverse this trend, but we would all benefit if we could figure it out.

Six years ago right about now my labour was about to go from zero to sixty, as they say. I had finally been admitted to the hospital and hooked up to the IV to start my induction. And then things really started to suck.

Six years ago right now I couldn’t imagine what the next day was going to look like, let alone the next decade.

Six years ago right now I had no clue how much love I could hold in my heart for one person.

It is almost unimaginable that six years ago I had never met my little girl. Never held her or called her by name or cuddled her or been frustrated by her. Never read to her or danced with her or embarrassed myself for her.

Surely she’s been here forever.

But really, just six years ago I was looking into unknowns. I didn’t know how my labour was going to progress, whether she would be born healthy, I had questions about how I would feel about her, what kind of mother I would be.

And then six years ago today I was given the part of me that was missing. A part of me that has made me stronger, more loving, more humble, more saner. She has made me everything I was supposed to be and more.

I will be forever thankful.

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2015

January 9th, 2016 | Posted by Amy Boughner in #MommyScholar | Parenting | Personal - (Comments Off)

2015 has been wound down and I’ve been back full throttle in 2016 for the last few days. Today, however, I am in bed with a fever, possibly the flu, and I’ve been thinking about the many things that happened in 2015.

When 2015 started I was headed into my last semester of undergrad and starting the statistics course I had avoided taking the first time around. I was terrified and I ended up with an A. Actually, one of the last emails I exchange with my father, who had told me I would be fine, was to tell him my mark.

In 2014 my daughter started school and she continued to excel in SK. There were some rough moments but it seems to be fairly smooth now. She’s about to turn 6 and I’m already thinking about Grade 1.

This time last year I didn’t yet know if I had been accepted for the Master’s program. I didn’t hear back until April and I was so worried that I wouldn’t get in. If I hadn’t gotten in then going back to school would have been pointless. But I did, and I ended my first semester with two As, an A+ and an A-. So basically I rock.

That’s something I would love to share with my father, who actually suggested to me that I apply for this program as though it was something I should obviously do. But in May of 2015 he died suddenly. An article I read recently described it as an untimely death, which seems a bit silly since the man was 82.

I wondered a lot over the years how I would react when my father died. I mostly reacted by just wanting more time. I wanted him to have more time with my kid, I wanted him to see me graduate and set off on a great career.

Though even though I love my program and I’m having a great time learning I’m still trying to figure out how I want to use this degree.

2015 also saw me try to balance working an election campaign while also doing my Master’s degree. I mostly managed, except for winding up in the ER with severe bronchitis and an asthma attack. And so 2015 also marked the beginning of my trying to live with asthma as a adult. I had it as a kid but stopped using my inhaler regularly years ago. Now if I’m out in the cold wind for a few minutes I’m desperate for it.

This could also be a result of the fact that I ended 2015 about 20 pounds heavier than I started. That is also related to the fact that I feel like an idiot who must just be out of control.

So, I guess 2016 will be a bit of an adventure. Growth and learning and seeking out answers. But at this point I don’t really know.

Capping off 2015:

I spent the day cleaning our bedroom so when we wake up it will be fresh and clean.

We went to dinner at St. Hubert’s just like I used to do with my mom and my sister every year when there were more St. Hubert’s in Ottawa and one was walking distance from our house. Joe and I shared sangria.

We drove home dancing and singing, When we got here we had an early celebration – as the clock struck midnight in Britain because we have a five year old and why not.

We popped some Christmas crackers and played Happy on Just Dance and then I decided to give the dog a bath so he’s fresh for 2016 too.

I look like Jughead

I look like Jughead

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In 2016:
I will turn 35
I will celebrate 9 years of marriage
I will have a 6 year old and she will start Grade 1
I will graduate with my Master’s degree
I will kick off the next part of my career
I will draw and paint regularly
I will read 50 books or more
I will watch TV while I complete jigsaw puzzles
I will push myself past more limits

2016: Challenging myself

December 30th, 2015 | Posted by Amy Boughner in #MommyScholar | Personal - (Comments Off)

I’ve been thinking about things I want to do in 2016. There are the obvious things – finish my degree and get a job (or find several jobs), get healthier, learn more, do more. But more specifically I’m trying to remind myself to do all the things that I love doing. Because I have spent part of 2015 remembering all the things I love doing.

And so I’ll take on some challenges for myself. Perhaps like my friend @yumikid I will give myself checkmarks every day I go to the gym and like @MavenofMayhem remind myself of the good I’m doing and the successes I have. I will challenge myself to actually feel better. And given my health of late that seems more important than anything.

I have been doing some painting and drawing lately and have discovered that while I enjoyed acrylics as a child I now really enjoy the effect of pen and watercolour to create. I love sitting at my desk with brushes and paper and Pinterest for inspiration. It doesn’t have to be great as long as I enjoy it. And I do, much more than the adult colouring book I tried.

I will challenge myself again to read 50 books. I’m not going to make it to 50 in 2015 but I’ve cut myself some slack given the challenges I faced this year. I’ve been in school most of the year and I lost a lot of time in the summer after my father died. But I have enjoyed book bingo again this year, and if I manage to finish The Turn of the Screw in the next 48 hours I will have completed my card. I have shelves full of fiction and non-fiction, books about politics and books to help with building my business. At some point I’ve got to ban myself from buying more books until I’ve gotten through them all.

Bookstores are so enticing.

I love to read and reading begets writing. I took on #NaNoWriMo again this year. I didn’t finish, but I do have about 20,000 words of a story that I think I like and that’s success enough for me. I have to remind myself that writing, no matter what form it takes, is great exercise for my mind and soul. Whether it’s a blog or putting pen to paper it’s cathartic, always.

Especially when you match a really good pen with smooth white paper.

Finally I’m going to allow myself time with a good puzzle and some trashy television. Something to give my brain a workout while the other one destroys it a little bit.

2016 is going to be a bit strange. I know what the first half has in store for me, and after that it’s anyone’s guess. I’ll do an internship. I might get a job in an office. I might get a job telecommuting. I might create my own job. There will be ups and downs but I fully suspect that I will come out of 2016 better than I started it. And I will have some special people by my side the whole way.

Husband

Husband

Baby Girl

Baby Girl

And a puppy

And a puppy

To the new homeowners of my father’s house

December 22nd, 2015 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal - (Comments Off)

Dear new family,

I hope you are enjoying the first month in your new home. You may not realize this but you will be celebrating the first Christmas there that’s really been celebrated in about 30 years. You see, my parents bought that house together 40 years ago. They were married, my sister and I were born, and we celebrated our first Christmases there. But then my parents split up in 1984 and since 1985 when my mother moved us to a different house in the neighbourhood that house, the beautiful old house you now call your own, hasn’t had a real family Christmas.

You see, my Dad didn’t get us on Christmas. Dad’s day was Boxing Day.

I used to tell my friends that out family Christmas was a week long celebration – we would have Chinese food from our favourite place on Christmas Eve, and in later years we would open presents that night too. Then on Christmas we would have dinner and probably watch White Christmas. On Boxing Day my sister and I would head over to Dad’s and see the whole Scanlon side of the family – sometimes for the only time of the year. The next day was my sister’s birthday, so there’d be a celebration for that, and then right on to New Year’s.

I have no real memories of living in that house, but I do have memories of sitting in front of a roaring fire in the living room with conversations going on all around me. And I know Dad loved to sit in his designated chair looking out across the room and see this whole family, each one of us at different stages in our lives.

So my Christmas wish for you, new family, is that you too celebrate great family Christmases with a roaring fire and family all around. That you spend summer days out on the porch watching the neighbourhood go by. That young children discover all the secrets of the attic crawl space. That you take advantage of everything that neighbourhood has to offer.

I wish you 40 years of Christmases, every one of them a great gathering of family full of great conversations and lots of laughter.

My first Christmas

My first Christmas

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