Sunday, 24 March 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol. 4)

--- 1 ---
I missed doing a quick takes last week because it was my last week in Canada and I was busy packing up. I also had a nasty case of the flu, and Walter had a slightly-less-nasty case of the flu (which took forever to clear up), and it was a bit of rough going for a few days. We both are recovered, but this virus is so contagious that David managed to catch it from us over a week-and-a-half from when we had it. I am so tired of being sick (so far it's been fairly steady for either Walter or I to be sick for the past 6 weeks) and I'm hoping this is the end of it for awhile.
--- 2 ---
It took us 22 hours to get from Vancouver to Cambridge and this time around I realised what it is that I hate so much about travel -- it's the sheer humiliation & degradation levied towards the innocent traveler by those in positions of authority. Think of how many bullies it attracts! This time around there was the utterly horrible US Immigration Officer Lady who accused me of committing fraud and didn't want to believe that I actually had the right to travel with my son to take him back to his father. I know that you're supposed to get a letter of consent to travel without one parent, but circumstance made this difficult (I couldn't get a signed letter from David by the time of our flight) and the guidance from the Government of Canada is that you need it to travel away from your country of residence -- we were traveling to our country of residence. It took a marriage certificate, birth certificates, and David's Cambridge admission letter to convince her that I wasn't abducting Walter. Following from this there were also the horrible stewardesses which American Airlines seems to hire (I don't know why they have such a hard time bringing water for a baby, but this is the second time that Walter's had to go without food because they couldn't be bothered to bring water after I asked for I spent the bulk of our trip dehydrating myself so that I could save all my water for mixing his food), and there were the incompetents at Heathrow who couldn't manage to get anyone's strollers to the gate (we were lucky as our flight terminated there -- there were a couple of families who had to continue their journey without adequate transport around the airport for the children because the strollers were left dumped in the baggage collection area). Try lugging a 20lb infant and several carryons through a massive airport and see how awful you look/feel.

The funny thing about the above list of  grievances is that this was a relatively good journey! UK Immigration was awesome and gave me no trouble, our connections all worked out, and the taxi company sent us a huge van instead of the estate car I'd paid for, meaning we could ride to Cambridge in comfort. I'm really grateful for how smoothly everything worked out, but I think travel is just destined to be unpleasant...
--- 3 ---
When I was born, the in-vogue craft seemed to be cross stitch, as I have a few cross stitched pictures celebrating my arrival. 29 years later and the trend seems to be quilting, as my little son has received four handmade quilts so far. Three of the quilts were made by friends or family (the fourth was purchased from a craft fair) so they are incredibly special to us, but I am almost jealous that he has more quilts than I do (although my one & only baby quilt was made by my Auntie Helen out of my mother's wedding dress). They are all very different and I love them all:

Bright Pinwheels made by my friend Nicole. Walter spent a lot of time on this when he was first born. Not only is it beautiful, but our whole family loves it as a reminder of the amazing, kind, and generous friends we've made in England.
Bedtime Bears -- it's a really large quilt so I'm looking forward to using it when he has a bigger bed.
My Auntie Helen made him this Canadian-themed one. The blue heart in the top-left corner is cut from one of my Grossmutter's dresses, and Walter's name & birthdate are embroidered around it. Needless to say it has a lot of sentimental value for everyone in my family.

The lovely quilty blanket our friend Alice just made for him. The colours are the same as the ones in the wedding quilt that my Aunt Helen made for my parents and it's just perfect for our growing boy.

--- 4 ---
On with the picture theme, here is my favourite 3 Generation picture of Porter-Men:

--- 5 ---
 It's currently snowing. In March. In Cambridge. Maybe this serves me right for not being overly sympathetic to all the Albertans complaining about their latest huge dump of snow, but in my experience on the prairies a March blizzard dump was nothing to be surprised about. The year it happened in late April was a giant pain, but March is still winter in that part of the world, regardless of what the calendar says. Don't hold me to this if we ever move back to central Canada!

--- 6 ---
This morning on my walk in to Mass I realised that I could pretty much describe my life as "purgatory". For me this was a major breakthrough. It may not sound that great, but for the past year and a half I'd been more apt to describe my life as hell -- a seeming endless series of hard events, tough decisions, and disasters that in many ways kept getting worse and with no real end in sight. Now, although things are still really difficult and some days I wonder how I can keep going, it no longer feels like we're doomed to suffer forever. God is giving me grace right now to seek Him in these experiences and to use it as a way of strengthening my faith and my ability to relate to all sorts of people. Sure, I wish my life were quite easier, but the struggle no longer seems pointlessly overwhelming.
--- 7 ---
 I'm late on my Quick Takes, as you may notice since it's now Sunday, not Friday. But I have a jet-lagged baby, a husband with the flu, and a huge amount of errands to run. The good thing about them being late is that I can finish off by mentioning just how awesome it was to return to our very own Fisher House for Mass this morning. We saw so many friends, friends who we could relate some of our most recent struggles to, friends who were instantly supportive. It was so nice. I can't really talk about a lot of our problems by blogging, because I don't want to commit certain things to writing (that blasted paper trail always comes back to haunt one, especially in the UK if the papers are to be believed) so it was nice to reconnect with friends. And this morning's experience wasn't the only chance meeting -- on Friday we bumped into a dear friend, unplanned, because we both happened to choose the same pub at the same time, and on Saturday another dear friend met up with us because she just happened to be in town over the weekend. It's been great.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Aw... we had sick family here for a week (a few weeks ago too) and it's not fun. Especially when you are traveling. I love the quilts! All my friends knit so I've gotten quite a few knitted things for my daughters - which is funny because I have some knitted things for them from when I was a baby, that my mom saved... so some things never go out of style! :)

    1. So true! Handmade things are always a precious keepsake and in style. Even some of the colours on the afghans my mum knitted in the 70s have come back :)

  2. I love pictures of generations! I need more of our son with my husband's family