April 21, 2016

Prince

Say it isn't so. This morning I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me hearing the news that Prince had passed away. I am not exaggerating when I say that he single handedly influenced my life's soundtrack more than any other soul. He was my number one, by such a lengthy distance, that I don't even know who number two would be.
When I was 10 years old and heard the song 1999 for the first time, I was immediately hooked. It was like my passion for music exploded. I watched the video repeatedly, awestruck by this charismatic singer who seemed to come out of nowhere. I read everything I could about him. I ran out immediately and got the album and desperately wished I was in his band. I devoured everything that he put out: I ran out and bought some of his older albums like Dirty Mind and Controversy...and as the years went on: Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, Parade, Sing O The Times, Lovesexy, Batman, Graffiti Bridge, Diamonds and Pearls, Love Symbol, The Hits, Come, The Gold Experience, Emancipation....I even remember taking a bus into Vancouver specifically because I heard a record store had a rare copy of the Black Album.  I remember finding out one of my college professors liked Prince, and we would engage in these incredible discussions about how he influenced us. I think I belong to a giant legion of fans who just appreciated what he was doing - that he was constantly re-emerging with new sounds, pushing the envelope, taking a genre and turning it on it's head....I felt moved listening to his music, I felt sexy, I felt like I wanted to dance until I couldn't dance anymore. I wanted to be Sheila E and play the drums for him. I wanted to be part of his band The Revolution in any capacity I could. I would dance night after night in our basement to his music, determined that one day I'd be a back up dancer for him on his tour. I just wanted so desperately to be in the vicinity of his creativity because something about his music connected to me on a scale that no one else had. I bought up sheet music to his songs to play on the piano, bought up albums of artists that he mentored, like Sheila E, The Time, Wendy & Lisa...I just loved his funky hook, his sexy riffs and how he emancipated himself from his record label so that he could keep doing what he loved, without restrictions. I love the fact that he was so shy to interview, but when he hit a stage, he was larger than life, he had the dance moves of Michael Jackson/James Brown, and the guitar skills of a funkier Jimi Hendrix. I am so thrilled that I got to take some of my best friends and my hubby to some of his shows, to share him with them. The last Prince show I went to, I was six days overdue, and people thought I was crazy for getting tickets. But, it ended up being my favourite show of his, and I went into labour when I got home. I love that he is part of our birth story and I can't wait to introduce my daughter to his music.

You might not know that Prince also wrote several songs for other artists, like: Nothing Compares to U (performed by Sinead O Connor), The Glamorous Life  & A Love Bizarre (Sheila E), Manic Monday (The Bangles), Love, Thy Will Be Done (Martika), How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore (Alicia Keys), When You Were Mine (Cyndi Lauper) It's been an emotional day, but a beautiful day too. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the artists who site him as their biggest influence....artists who I really respect. His genius was far reaching and as sad as I am that I will never get to see him perform live again....I have been listening to his music all evening which is like embracing a friend you haven't seen in awhile....
His music was bar none, one of the greatest gifts my life has ever received.
I like to think he's up there throwing a giant party tonight.....

You are all familiar with his hits, but here's a few of my all time favourite songs, in case you haven't caught them:
The Beautiful Ones
Computer Blue
Controversy
Darling Nikki
Paisley Park
It
If I was Your Girlfriend
Sexy MF
Erotic City
17 Days


Rest In Peace sweet Prince. xo

April 20, 2016

digging deep




Hello friends! It's been a long time since I've had a chance to sit down and write in this space. Over the stressful period of the past 8 weeks, between dad's lengthy hospital stay, courses, work, being a mom to a preschooler, I felt like I hit my emotional bottom, like I had completely emptied the well. I felt like there wasn't a moment of my day where I wasn't needed. There were so many challenges along the way, from being called into the hospital repeatedly to try and help dad with particularly bad bouts of delirium, to being called in the middle of the night to say he's been put on life support, to having him look me right in the eyes and then speak jibberish. But last week,  when dad was home with 24 hour care, I remember going to his home, meeting with a nurse to get the low down on his care, running up to the colostomy clinic to get his supplies, and while I was there, his care aid's boss called with an earful of complaints, then while I was trying to leave the supply store, I was getting more calls from Dad with grocery requests, then I was trying to go pick up supplies for him from the red cross, and this was just one day off. I remember standing on the sidewalk outside, tears rolling down my cheeks, thinking, I am going to get sick. And then something clicked in me, I had to make space for myself again. I had re-fuel. And as soon as I made that decision, life didn't feel overwhelming anymore. This past weekend, I went swimming with my family, did laps for half an hour, sat in a steam room and felt like I was on vacation....it felt like the biggest treat I had (who knew $3.50 at a public pool could be my oasis?).....I went to a bbq later that evening with friends and kept catching myself looking around thinking, I am having the best time......I went to the beach with one of my friends and her daughter a few days later and while we sat in the sun, watching our girls play, I thought, I am so lucky to be experiencing this.....It's funny how just taking a bit of time for yourself can shift your perspective. Instead of setting up my tent in Camp Feel Sorry For Myself, I began to realize, everyone has tough things they are going through, but if you balance it out with whatever brings you joy, not only will you get through it, you won't lose your spark in the process. The photos on this post are all within the first three weeks of losing my mom. It was the single hardest time of my life, but I kept carving out space for joy, and it is what got me though it all. Looking at the photos you would never know that my heart was in a million pieces at that time. My mom passed away at 9 pm on a Monday night, and I remember the very next morning taking my daughter to her sports class. I sat there in a daze watching her, and sure enough, before long, I was smiling. Watching her abundant joy in that class always brought me happiness and I knew it was worth a shot to see if it could lift me. Always keep close tabs on what makes you happiest and make sure you carve out time for it. Think of it as essential as eating and sleeping. For myself, my happy place looks like: walking in beautiful parks with my family, taking photos, dinner parties with friends, setting up our home, feeling the sun on my face, it's the adrenaline rush of exercise, pushing myself in dance classes, hiking, camping, travelling, putting my feet in the sand, exploring farms, swimming in the ocean, staying in a cabin, it's being woken up by my daughter jumping into bed, it's late night cups of tea with Craig, it's hearing a song you love performed live, outdoor concerts, watching an inspiring documentary, a book you can't put down, a brilliant comedian, laughing so hard you pee (a little), but most of all its a full house of friends/family. If you feel like life is out of balance and that you are run ragged in your days, turn off your phone for a bit, you know, like in the olden days (the 90s) when we didn't have to be available 24/7......pick something from your list of what brings you joy, and invest back in yourself. Namaste. xoxo

March 27, 2016

Aldor Acres












Today we ventured out to Aldor Acres for the first time and it was straight up amazing. If my living options were the city or a farm, I would choose a farm without a moment's hesitation. We walked around the property, saw the most beautiful baby bunnies, lambs, baby goats, baby chicks, you name it, we saw it's baby form today. The hay ride took us on the perimeter of the farm, stopping to feed the cows and horses. The farm's owners even came out to greet us when we arrived. And I'm pretty sure I fell in love with the baby goat (4th photo from the top). It's to the point where I've brought up that baby goat to at least five different people today. Seriously people, this place is magic. xo

March 6, 2016

in a heartbeat, everything can change



Hi friends, it's been awhile since I had a chance to write. Two weeks ago my dad was admitted into the hospital with stomach pains. It started out as no big deal. He was diagnosed with diverticulitis and they were going to try and treat it with medication for a few days and see how it went. Dad sent me home to collect some of his things to bring to the hospital for him, including his Proactiv Skin Care line, which made me giggle. He said, it really works, the infomercials don't lie! But then, three days into hospitalization, things took a turn, his Diverticulitis ruptured, which only happens to approx. 5% of patients, and it turns the body septic. They had to do emergency surgery and perform a colostomy. It was their worst case scenario, but one in which he was expected to bounce back from. Then a few days later, things went from bad to worse. During his recovery, he vomited into his lungs, which can be fatal. Right away he had to have his lungs drained and he was put on life support. Suddenly it was touch and go. It was hard for me to process, the fact that in one quick week he went from stomach pains to life support. After a week on life support, they were finally able to get him to start breathing on his own. It was a huge turning point because he had two failed attempts to breathe without machines in the days leading up. But since then, his brain has not bounced back. He has pneumonia and is completely delirious. It is hell trying to talk to him because he'll look right into my eyes and then blurt things out that don't make any sense. I can tell you that I've never missed my mother more and yet I'm so glad she's not here to see this. She hasn't even been gone a year, so it's hard to believe we're right back to this level of living with day to day uncertainty.  I'm so lucky in that I have a kick ass uncle, aunt, my friend's parents and my bro who have formed this network to keep each other up to date with any info we find out because with nurses changing daily and doctors on rotation, it's easy for information to get missed.
Juggling this with our daughter who has been sick now for a week, and the busyness of work/home/classes, life has never felt more like Life, capital L. So, if you ever feel bored because you don't have much going on, maybe take a moment to realize, those are the times we should be grateful, when things are quiet, when things are ticking along per usual. Sleep tight friends. xo

February 21, 2016

catching up

Hello friends! I hope you've been well. This space has been terribly neglected and I have missed writing here. Because of the delays between posts on my blog, I've decided not to use this blog to play catch up on my photo-a-day project. If you'd like to follow along on my 366, please look me up: kellyalexwilliams on Instagram. For those of you who don't use Instagram, you can create an account without ever posting photos. Personally, I love Instagram way more than Facebook, so much so that I hardly ever look at Facebook anymore. I love perusing people's amazing photos and reading their creative captions. I hope you'll try checking it out if you haven't.
For the past week, my hubby and I have been doing a cleanse: no alcohol, dairy, wheat, or sugar for two weeks. Sounds fun right? Honestly, I haven't felt this good in so long. It makes me realize that something in my diet was making me feel terribly sluggish. I haven't felt that afternoon crash in energy since we started eating this way and my clothes are feeling looser around the waist. Surprisingly, it isn't too hard to eat with these restrictions. We've been varying our breakfasts between oatmeal and eggs, have been eating a lot of salads for lunch and dinners have consisted of grilled chicken or fish and veggies, sushi, chilli, things along those lines.  On this plan, you're allowed to have coffee, but no dairy, so I've been putting soy milk in it. I think I just heard you shudder. The first day I thought the soy/coffee combo tasted like ass, but because I cannot forgo my java, I've grown used to the flavour and don't mind it now. Unfortunately, there's no black tea on this plan, since it contains yeast, so my hubby, who is a giant tea drinker, has had to switch to herbal tea. I'm pretty sure I saw a tear fall into his first mug of herbal tea. He said by far it has been his biggest adjustment on this plan. We have definitely found this to be a great experiment and it has shown us where there was room for improvement in our diet before. Have you ever tried to re-vamp your diet? What did you discover? I definitely have discovered that snacking on cheese is a lot more fun than brown rice cakes, and that beer is more delicious on a Friday than shouting cheers over a pair of ice waters with lemon slices, but we are definitely feeling a lot better.
Here are a few of my favourite shots from the week. I promise to write more often and hope that you all had a fantastic weekend!





xo


February 8, 2016

the week in photos....

 2.2.16 You had me at lemon square.
 2.3.16 I sometimes think only children are given a bad rap about being "spoiled". I haven't met one yet who falls into that stereotype. Most of my daughter's friends are only children and my mom was too, and let me tell you, they are the warmest souls whose friendships go the extra mile. They adopt their own people to be the siblings of their dreams.
 2.4.16 This is what happens when it is 11 pm and I haven't taken my photo of the day yet. This is my little inspiration corner of the office where I rotate photos from our travels and books that inspire me.
 2.5.16 We had a wonderful date night in the city. Craig's company held a 10 course Chinese dinner in celebration of the New Year. It was a surreal experience from start to finish at the restaurant, watching one woman grab the microphone, and start singing original songs, and to see the reaction of others videotaping her and snapping photos like she was a rock legend. We snuck out to Portland Craft and before we knew it, 10 of the funniest people from our dinner joined us - it was an awesome night.

 2.6.16 We were out celebrating my friend Janet's birthday. I have known her since I was a baby and she is everything you could hope for in a friend. I would happily celebrate her any day.
2.7.16 I snapped this after a beautiful day spent in Fort Langley. I found this quote which seems to sum up perfectly how I feel after time spent in the great outdoors: "I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees."
2.8.16 Family Day. It was a gorgeous day from the get go. We spent the morning exploring one of our favourite parks, brought Craig's mom some flowers for receiving great news from her doctor and I had some time for myself, to sit in the sun on mom's grave, and to thank her for her extraordinary love that was so tangible in all the years we shared. This day was such a gift. My family means everything to me - I'd honestly follow my big loves anywhere. xo

February 1, 2016

for the love of....




I can honestly tell you, that today was one of those great days. I'm so eternally grateful that my happiness stems from simplicity, because not only is it affordable (I don't have to be standing on the Eiffel tower for this magnitude of bliss), but it is also plentiful. Today I got to watch my nephew read a book to us, slowly sounding out some words, but always piecing it together on his own. I got to share giggles over waffles at a delicious local favourite spot with my dad and his grandchildren. We went on a crisp, sunny walk around the bay, pointing out Eagles and picking up sticks. Then after our visit, my daughter and I took my friend's dog for a walk to help her out, and had our own mini adventure exploring trail after beautiful trail with no set timelines. On our way home, we saw a soccer ball sitting on a local field, and pulled over to play a mini pick up game, then left it there for the next kids. Dinner with my loves was followed by another fun dance class, and movement combined with great music almost (almost) makes me forget I'm exercising. Everyone is different, and for that I am truly grateful, but I can't help but try, and try, and try again, to let you in on a secret, that simplicity is the key to happiness. Don't pack your days with so many things that you schedule away your happiness. Also, don't try to buy into someone else's idea of what you should be doing to be happy. Don't forget to try and inject some small thing into each day that brings you true joy. Pay attention. What is really lifting your spirit? What makes you feel so alive in the moment that you forget time is passing by? Today somehow the simple combination of: running outside, time with family, sharing coffee with my dad, taking photos, feeling the sun on my face, kicking a soccer ball, listening to my niece and nephew animatedly relay tiny details of their lives, recapping the day with my love over tea - somehow was the right combination to make this day feel remarkable.
xoxo