A piece of wax

June 28th, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Health | Personal - (Comments Off on A piece of wax)

There are a lot of things that I haven’t been doing enough of lately. Blogging is one. Writing in general, really. But I have been reading a lot.

I haven’t been exercising, but I did spend a lot of the last week cleaning and doing home improvement projects. To celebrate Canada Day the whole family is doing a 5k and I feel ready, and excited for how excited the kid will be at the end.

I haven’t been at my best, but I’ve been working on it. Pushing myself a little bit, and listening when I push back.

There is a lot going on.

Joe was away for a week and while he was gone the kid and I planted a garden and painted our front door. We’re building a deck – well, we’re having a deck built for us, hopefully by the end of summer. And on that deck we will put a gorgeous cedar glider being purchased for us for our 10th wedding anniversary.

I don’t know how we’ve been married almost 10 years, but then I think about our 7-year-old who is almost finished Grade 1. I think about the five years we’ve been in this house together. I think about our puppy, who turns 12 this year and remains in good health.


This week I started re-reading one of my absolute favourite books of all time – The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde. It is the first of the Nextian series, which is made up of seven books (and I think he’s done). I bought the first two books at the Chapters in Belleville while I was living there for college. I’ve re-read it multiple times, now I’ve had it for 14 years.

Time doesn’t make any sense to me at all any more. It seems like we’ve been married for a minute. That our daughter is still new to us, but has still always been a part of our lives.

All of this, and I still feel like I’m a kid myself. Until I spend some time with people in their 20s.


Can’t wait for tomorrow

June 11th, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Health | Personal - (Comments Off on Can’t wait for tomorrow)

I’m am currently in a period of depression. I know this because everything seems hard and I get tired easily.

I want to want to clean the house but I don’t know where to start, so I haven’t.

I want to eat better, but preparing food is too much.

I want to focus on things for a long period of time without getting distracted. I want to read things and remember them.

I want to want to cook and bake and take care of my family, but instead they’re taking care of me.

There have been times when I’ve been able to push myself to do something – take the kid to the park, watch her play soccer, go out with friends. But everything is just a little bit hard and I always feel a bit tired or tentative.

I’m having to push myself to do more and more things – like shower in the morning, or leave the house to get a meal. Sometimes even picking a TV show to watch is so much harder than just sitting in the quiet.

Of course, when I do push myself and get outside, take my daughter to play, sit in the sun and the breeze, it’s glorious and much-needed.

But it can be so hard to remember what feels good – and also that I deserve to.

A Hammer, Some Nails

June 3rd, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on A Hammer, Some Nails)

When I was a kid, I idolized my Gramps. Growing up in a house with a single mother and a sister, Gramps was my male role model. I knew that he loved us unconditionally, I knew that he would always support us in whatever ways he could. I wanted to be like him, I wanted to be with him, and so I wanted to learn to help him do the things he always did for us around the house.

He taught me to sketch, he taught me to build things, he taught me how to drive a car and change a tire. When I moved out he gifted me a toolbox with all the things I would need for the basic stuff. I could bang a nail, drill a hole, use a saw, put Ikea furniture together with no instructions necessary.

In our house, when I moved home after college, I did a lot of the heavy lifting.

I knew from my mother’s example and my grandfather’s teacher that a woman could take care of anything in her home that needed to be done. And I believed I could.

And then I moved in with Joe.

Suddenly it was easier for him to carry the heavy stuff. When we work together to build something he gets frustrated and my feelings get hurt, so I leave him to it. I still hang pictures, but if a hole need to be drilled, that’s not for me.

Now sometimes it feels as though I barely do anything at all around the house. Sometimes I cook, sometimes I clean, sometimes I put on a load of laundry. But I don’t mow the lawn or plunge the toilet. I only empty the dishwasher and take out the garbage if he’s away and I have to.

(I really hate emptying the dishwasher, I don’t know why).

Part of me wants to get out in our garden and rip out the dead plants and stupid paving stones. I want to build that shelf I saved on Pinterest. I want to get dirty and fix stuff that needs it. I want to have the energy and faith that I used to have when I knew I had to do things on my own.

I want to fight my way back to being the girl who knew that she could, because her Gramps showed her how.

Me and my Gramps in Peggy’s Cove, 1990, Sketching


Into It

June 3rd, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Books - (Comments Off on Into It)

I recently read the book Big Girl by Kelsey Miller. It was an interesting read and I saw a bit of myself in her, though she faced more extreme struggles than I did certainly. I don’t consider any part of my childhood to have been an extreme hardship. But still, we found ourselves in similar positions as adults – overweight, struggling to figure ourselves out, scared of relationships.

But this is not a fat girl got thin book, and that’s what I like about it. Through something called intuitive eating, Kelsey Miller changed her relationship with food without getting skinny and suddenly having it all.

This book made me understand more about what it is I really want. I’m never going to be skinny. I never really have been – close in body but certainly never mentally. I have no real desire to diet. I have a desire to feel better. Less sick, less tired, less bloated, more capable of doing things that other people do.

I want to know what I want to eat, how it’s going to make me feel, how it’s going to fuel me. I want to know what I want to it and have it satisfy me when I do. I want to realize that when I am eating something and enjoying it I can and should stop when I’m full, because chances are I will have food that tasty again.

I want to not be thinking about food all the time. That I should eat, what I should eat, when I should eat, what I shouldn’t have, what I feel like having.

Now that I’ve read this book I know that I should do some more reading.

The marathon

June 2nd, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Health | Personal - (Comments Off on The marathon)

I am struggling. I’m am struggling to focus. I’m struggling to eat well. I’m struggling to deal with the knowledge that my struggles with confidence are probably related to my depression. I am struggling to give myself permission to do what I need.

The house is a bit of a mess, despite the fact that I’m home now and if I need a focus break from work I can and should do some tidying. I haven’t been exercising, despite the fact that I can go for walks around the neighbourhood with the dog when he needs to go out, up to the coffee shop with my laptop, or even on the treadmill where Joe set up a little desk for me. Hell, I could take my lunch hour at the gym, but I don’t.

I don’t remember the last time I did something fun and creative.

I’m biting my nails again. I’m not eating right.

Maybe it’s a reaction to finishing The West Wing and not having CJ’s support anymore. Maybe it’s an incredible fear of failing and being a disappointment.

I’m spending too much time scared. And waiting to start. I need to find my routine again. When I worked downtown in an office on the hill I had such a good routine. I have no recollection of developing that routine, I just knew what needed to get done first, and what would be good to do next, and then how the rest of my day should do.

I need to figure that out again. Except instead I’m floundering, unfocused, bouncing from one thing to the next.

But I have been doing one thing right: I have been taking my daughter to the park. I have been walking with her to the local splash pad. I have been surprising her with play. I have been inviting her friends along. That is one thing I have been doing well. We have been together. We danced in the rain.

There is that.


May 31st, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Health | Parenting - (Comments Off on Persisting)

I had a panic attack last Saturday. I couldn’t stop the tears. I was filled with fear.

I had just returned from a work trip to Toronto, I was tired, things had been moving rapidly and I was full of doubt. I signed up for a 5k race that I was not prepared for, but I couldn’t just not go. I’ve done that before – panicked and not let myself try. But I’ve done this before. I had to at least try.

But then getting downtown in time to get my race kit – first getting dropped off at the wrong place and having to walk up to a totally different location, fast as my shin splints could carry me, to make sure I got there on time, rocked my confidence.

If it hurt to walk for 10 minutes as fast as I could, how could I possibly make it through a 5k. Why was I stupid enough to not only sign up, but advertise the fact that I was doing this?

I just didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to quit, but what if I hurt myself?

And then my little girl wrote me a note. She wrote a note that said, quite simply: You can do it, I believe in you.

I swear, I don’t know what I did to deserve her. To have her there, not only assuring me that I was capable, but cheering me on when I did, in fact, cross that finish line, that was something.

And I crossed that finish line. I turned up my music, I pumped myself up, and I walked – with a bit of jogging – and I finished that race in less time than the last one. Not only did it take less time, but it also felt a lot better. So the next one – now scheduled for July 1 – will be even better.



May 16th, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Work - (Comments Off on Junkie)

All my life I have been a bit of a breaking news junkie. I didn’t really realize this until I went to journalism school and figured out that I was a quick, precise writer. Unfortunately at the time I did not figure out that political journalism was a better fit for me than sports journalism.

Now, I had known that thoughts transfer from my brain to my hands quickly since high school when I was always first done in exams. But to understand this was not just a quirk but a skill was a boon to my confidence.

Then once I finally figured out that I was not a sports journalist and tried being a political junkie things really came together. And then I got the job I was made to do. I was a media monitor and analyst. And I was good.

Watching the media, seeing where the story starts and what it is then boiled downed to, sharing what people should and need to know, that’s my jam.

It’s fascinating. Someone presents the media with a story – an idea, a report, an open letter – and the media then picks the top two or three things they want to say about it, and then other people respond and so the story lives or dies and how it might evolve.

And it was my job to watch the process from start to finish. Not only to watch, but to share with others how the story was involving and what was changing when.

Now I’m taking on that role on a grander scale, monitoring more and different things. I got the opportunity to jump back into my old, more specific role this week and it reminded me how good this feels and how good I am at it.

Slowing down, looking at the bigger picture, gathering information and analyzing it more deeply, that’s the next step.

Everybody can succeed, all you need is to believe

May 15th, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Canadiana | Personal - (Comments Off on Everybody can succeed, all you need is to believe)

It used to be that I would get home from school, get myself a snack and switch on the TV. In elementary school, especially after my sister started high school and we no longer got home at the same time, the TV was mine and I could choose what I wanted. And what I usually wanted was Degrassi reruns.

Last weekend was Ottawa Comic Con, my annual Mothers’ Day present to myself, and the cast of Degrassi was there. Specifically Joey Jeremiah, Caitlyn, Snake and Tessa, who do all have real names but that doesn’t really matter, because I grew up with Joey, Caitlyn, Snake and Tessa, etc.

(Though Snake always seemed like a really nice guy, and Spike was awesome, Lucy was always my favourite).

Degrassi covered all the topics a show for young people should in those days – pregnancy, abortion, teen suicide, HIV/AIDS, drug use, sexual assault, even small things that every teenager thinks that they’re dealing with all alone.

One of the things that has always struck me, thinking back on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High is that the actors looked like real kids, and the stories were stories no one else seemed to want to tell. The actors on the panel this weekend talked about the fact that grown ups would sometimes question the stories they were telling, but always let them tell those stories.

I cannot say how important that was to those of us growing up with the kids from Degrassi.

And yes, my generation’s Degrassi continues to be the best.

Growth Rate

May 7th, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Parenting - (Comments Off on Growth Rate)

Something disturbing has been happening in this household recently and I can’t ignore it any more. You see, a few years ago I had a baby — it seems both forever ago, as she’s always been here, but also like it must have been last week — and I cannot now find that baby.

Here she is:

You see her? She’s sleeping soundly beside me on the couch, taking up less room than one full cushion on our love seat. I often place her there, until she figured out how to roll and it was no longer safe. Then she started walking and she had to reach up above her head to hold my hand.

She could barely see over the coffee table.

And even though we knew she was big for her age, she was always so little.

I guess it was happening gradually and I only sort of noticed. But then I walked downstairs and she was spread out on the couch and she was stretched from one end to the other. I look at her and I see a difference in her face. There are moments when it hits me right in the heart that she’s growing up and it’s happening faster than I was prepared for.

There are the good things – she can take herself to the bathroom, dress herself, make her own snacks. She’s got activities of her own, and friends she loves. We can have conversations and laugh together. She loves school and she’s a good learner.

She has her own personality. She is a person now.


We are rapidly getting to that place where I won’t be able to pick her up any more.

We are getting to a place where we have to have more serious conversations because she is able to do more things on her own.

We are getting to a place where I am reminded, when I notice the rapidity of her growing up, that soon she won’t want or need me around as much, and then at all. And my heart starts missing her already.

Even though I can still sneak into her room after she’s asleep and pull her covers over her and kiss her forehead, and she might wake up just a little bit and smile because she knows her mommy is there.



Things I Love This Week

April 28th, 2017 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Personal - (Comments Off on Things I Love This Week)
  1. Gelly Roll gel pens – Historically I have not been a huge fan of gel pens. In my pen snobbery I find them less than reliable. However, I purchased a few Gelly Roll pens based on seeing the creative work of others, and have since bought many more because I love them. I love doodling with them, I love the colours. I love the smooth way they roll onto the paper of my notebook. Every night I open a blank page and I start my bit of  creativity and lately these pens are all I’ve been using. 
  2. Joe Clark. I went to see a play about him this weekend with my mother and sister. He was Canada’s 16th Prime Minister (that number seems low, but that’s because we don’t have term limits and two guys took up a whole chunk of time during our history). I’ve seen Mr. Clark speak and I’ve gotten the chance to shake his hand. He’s a kind man, a man of integrity. A man with a fantastic wife
  3. Broadchurch. I started watching this show because I will watch anything David Tennant does, but after the first season and it’s hard topics, I came back for Olivia Colman. She’s a force. Also David Tennant’s natural accent. But really. Season three also has Julie Hesmondhalgh, who I knew I recognized but I had to look her up before I realized it was from Coronation Street.
  4. Allison Janney. Seriously. We’re watching her on West Wing, I’ve watched her on Mom, she was nominated for a Tony for her role in the musical 9 to 5 and during the break from filming Mom this summer she’s starring on Broadway in Six Degrees of Separation. She is just outstanding.
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