The Knight’s Lover

Facebook reminded me that, 6 years ago today, I went to the Earth Body Spirit Expo in my hometown. At that Expo, there was a small booth for the local New Age shop. And in that booth, one of their resident experts was doing a small 3-card Tarot spread for $10. I figured it was kind of like an investment in my future, so down went my money and my name. When it was my turn, I was suddenly afraid. I only really half-believe in this stuff, and yet there I was, shaking with nerves; I still can’t explain why. I shuffled and split the deck as directed, and chose my three cards. The reader, a perfect caricature of a gypsy woman, smiled at me and began.

I don’t remember what the first card was, just what it represented: struggle. Struggle in everything – love, work, finances, health. Everything was a struggle. And it’s true. That summer was one of the toughest of my whole adult life. I was working at a job I had grown to hate (and I don’t use “hate” lightly). I was living with my parents because I was struggling with depression as a result. I had gained a lot of weight because I was eating my feelings and not interested in taking care of myself as a consequence. I was house-sitting for a friend, and so lonely that I would spend my nights watching Stargate SG1 reruns. So when she turned the struggle card over, all I could do was nod in resignation. Yes, life was currently a struggle, and here she was telling me it wasn’t going to let up any time soon.

Her mouth formed a thin line as she said, “the next card is the near future”, already fearing the worst for me. And then she turned the upright Knight of Wands. For those who don’t know, the Knight of Wands is a Casanova. He’s a flirt, representing passion and lust; a real lady killer. Upright means it was in the positive – I was definitely going to meet this man. And the details were even more important: he was a knight, in armour, riding his trusted steed. He was literally coming to my rescue. Her face lit up a bit, as though the good news was not what she expected. But she cautioned me, because the Knight of Wands is such a goer, he has a tendency to leave once he gets bored. So I’d have some excitement around the end of the summer, but it would be fleeting.

And then she turned the last card.

Her smile turned into a wolf of a grin. She had turned an upright The Lovers. I don’t think I need to elaborate on what that card means, other than to say that upright means everything is bathed in a positive, wonderful light. She began to fan herself as she told me what the draw meant, particularly in conjunction with The Knight before it. I would never have to worry about my struggles again, because before the year was out, I would have found my perfect partner. The one that all the books are written about, the soul that completes my own, the yin to my yang. He would ride in, save me from myself, and stick through everything. She suggested I visit the sex toy booth before leaving the Expo, because things were going to get hot.

I took it all with a grain of salt, but I couldn’t help feeling like good things were going to come my way as I stood and left the table. I didn’t stop at the sex shop, but I held tight to that image of my Knight in shining armour riding in to rescue me. And though I still had some struggling ahead of me, there was a bright, beautiful light waiting for me at the end of the tunnel.

6 years ago, two months after this card reading, I got a message from my good friend telling me that she had “met the man of your dreams”. A Captain in the Canadian Army, he was literally my Knight in armoured vehicle. It was painted green, and his trusted steed was a Leopard 2 tank. By the end of the year, he proved to be The One That Stuck. I did become the Knight’s Lover; he swept me off my feet and we have been riding steadily into Happily Ever After together ever since. But it all started with tarot cards on a purple tablecloth, a woman wearing a scarf on her hair, and $10.

So thank you, Marilyn, weird gypsy Tarot woman, for giving me the gift of hope 6 years ago.


2016: A Year of Reaping


Happy 2016, everyone! I just know in my heart that this is the Year of Krista, and I am looking forward to making the most of it.

We could call last year “The Road to High Readiness”, in true army fashion. It saw a lot of ups and downs, for me and our little family.

We all started the year off with terrible colds, and I managed to get lice, an eye infection, and a lung infection on top of that over the holidays. Grunt decided he would start furniture walking as soon as I got sick, too, and became much more mobile while I attempted to get better. The constant barrage of demands from the condo board and MiniSir’s trip to Europe in March nearly did me in as I tried to be a mum, a home owner, and run the condo board all by myself.

But… we celebrated Easter in Walt Disney World and had a wonderful underwater-themed first birthday party for Grunt when we arrived back home.

We put the house on the market right as the price of oil collapsed, and nearly sold it twice only to have the buyer unable to get financing. I hired a management company for our condos, and struggled through our piece-meal finances with their accountant to get our books in order.

But… MiniSir got promoted, and we celebrated with the champagne he brought back from France. We had family visiting us in June, July, and August, and in between we had a whirlwind trip to Ontario.

MiniSir went to fight fires in Saskatchewan, but then we visited Banff and Lake Louise for the first time on an epic road trip, and it seemed like maybe we were finally getting ready to relax into fall.

And then my PTSD, depression, and anxiety all made a comeback and I’m back on medication to help me cope.

But… MiniSir completed an amazing “rugged” marathon called Mountain Man, a result of his hard work, training, and the loss of 50 pounds. He also got great career news and now we know we will be here in Edmonton for at least another 4 years.Grunt started walking and talking. The condo board took on new members and it now feels like we are a team instead of a one-woman show. I have lost nearly 40 pounds, with just a couple stubborn ones left to reach my goal weight. And we celebrated Christmas here, together: our little family with matching pjs in our little house.

Honestly, looking back, I can see the ups and see the downs, see the curveballs life has thrown at us and see the gifts. I wish for nothing more in the new year than for 2016 to hold more gifts than disappointments. I sowed many seeds last year, and I’m ready to reap the rewards. If I close my eyes and dream, I can see them all lying out on the path ahead of me. I know this year will be mine, and I’m ready for it.

From our home to yours: Happy New Year, and may your unexpected gifts be numerous!

Ivy, The Kindness Fairy

We started an experiment over here at the House of Whimsy. We thought, why not see if we could get a fairy to move in. It couldn’t be alIMG_4593l that hard: fairies just need a space of their own, and some faith and trust that they would appear.

In September Grunt and I picked out what we wanted to use for our fairy garden, and I assembled it one week while MiniSir was away. We wanted to make sure whatever fairy picked us as their people was comfortable and reminded of home. We included a little mail box too, because fairies are big fans of getting and receiving letters.

IMG_4717Then we waited. And a few weeks later, something magical happened! We came downstairs in the morning to discover our new fairy was a girl, and she was beautiful. We called her Ivy because her name was unpronounceable in English. She was wearing fairy armour and carrying a Bag of Holding, denoting she was a warrior fairy, so we knew right away she would fit in perfectly here in our army household.

Since she’s come to live wIMG_4829ith us, Ivy has not let us down. She reminded us around Thanksgiving that we should be generous with our thanks, and we invited 25 people to our home to celebrate the holiday with us.

On Hallowe’en, she reminded us that sometimes those who don’t ask for
treats need it the most, and the Whimsy family packed up a huge bag for the food bank, making sure to add all the ingredients for a few healthy meals, some juice boxes, and baby food for little tummies.

IMG_5023Once November 1 dawned, however, her Hallowe’en decorations were down, and she joined us in a period of solemnity leading up to Remembrance Day. We were surprised but pleased to see her poppy in the garden displayed in what looked like an old tin lunch box. She wanted us to know her thoughts were with us and our community. This in turn reminded us that we should make sure others knew of the importance of remembering, not just on November 11 but every day of the year, and I worked hard to make that happen through my Military History Twitter Essay.

IMG_5306Finally, it was time for Grunt’s Christmas letter to Santa. We wrote down the item he wished for most, and folded it up to send via fairy mail to the North Pole.

And when we came down the next morning, both the letter and Ivy were gone! She was delivering to Santa herself, apparently.

We sure miss her around here right now, but we decorated her home for her when we put up our tree in hopes that she will approve of the new decorations when she returns for the Advent. Stay tuned to Flat-Out Whimsy’s Facebook page to see what virtues Ivy will bring to our family over the holidays!



35 is the new 25, right?

Welp. I’m 35.

Remember when you were 10 and 35 seemed positively ancient? Yeah. Well, 10-year-old self, you were right about one thing: I feel positively ancient. Though I don’t think I had factored in the freakish MVA back then. But still.

When my mum turned 35, I turned 10 the same year. I wonder if she felt as ancient as I feel. And here’s the thing: when Grunt turns 10, I’ll turn 43. FORTY THREE. If 35 feels ancient, then 43 is probably decrepit. I mean, I’m just guessing here, but I assume it only gets worse.

In all honesty, with all joking aside, I do feel older this year. Now, maybe it’s because there have been so many challenges, and maybe it’s because I have been rough on myself while trying to take them all on, but for the first time, I feel my age. However, MiniSir and I were listening to the radio last week and the DJ asked what year we thought was our “best year” – the age we were at when we thought we were our best selves. MiniSir said this past year he felt like his best self.

My answer was “this next year”.

And although I can’t see the future, I can tell you that I feel good. I have 6 more pounds to lose to hit my goal weight (my weight pre-accident), and I feel amazing about that. It’s been a slow but steady loss, more of a lifestyle change than a diet. I am committing to buying myself new clothes (and nice clothes too!) to replace the ones that I have out-shrunk. My tenure as President of the Condo Board will be up in a couple of months, and I’m looking forward to enjoying new projects in my spare time that are about what interests me. Grunt will turn 2 – that magical threshold age where you can suddenly enrol him in cool stuff like baby tumbling.

Sure, we haven’t managed to sell the house, but that’s okay: MiniSir and I are making plans for basement and bathroom renos instead. Because why not make our space more like ours if we are stuck here? The excitement that comes with choosing paint and flooring and fixtures is steadily building. Plus more space for my Ponies collection. Which apparently just keeps growing.

So let’s make this next year, “The Year of Krista”. I’ll start.

35 years old, huh? Looking pretty good, kiddo. Pretty good indeed.


In an effort to be more Facebook interactive and generate some blog post ideas, I’ve decided to start the #100daysofhappy challenge here at Flat-Out. Every day I’ll post something on my social media that has made me smile.

Arbitrarily (just because I came up with it this weekend), Day 1 was yesterday: Jan 19, 2015. While most of the day didn’t exactly go my way, there were two things that made me joyful:

First, I got carded at the liquor store buying a 6 pack of PBR. I kid you not. (Ha ha, suckers! I’m twice the legal age in this province!)

Second, my stepdaughter joined Facebook on her 13th birthday and chose to list me as her mother! I was over the moon with happiness. Being a stepmum is, as you know, one of the best and most challenging things about my life, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything.

Bored? Wanna be happy too? Positive thoughts and deeds bring positive changes into your life, so you should all totally join me in my #100daysofhappy challenge. Just use the hashtag in your Facebook or Twitter posts and I’ll share them with my readers.

Be happy like this baby!

From One Survivor to Another

blog imageThis week I was asked by a dear friend to send along a note of encouragement and support to one of his family members who was unlucky enough to experience something similar to what I did two years ago. This request was very humbling but I agreed right away. Today, I would like to share what I sent with all of you. 

(PS: the recipient is a giant Doctor Who fan – I couldn’t help myself.)

… two years ago I ended up being as incredibly unlucky as you. I was crossing a street in Medicine Hat on the green light when an armoured car went through it. I ended up with three broken vertebrae, three complete breaks in my pelvis, a broken leg, broken ankles and feet, and a lot of messed up stuff in my head. It took me a long time to get better, but I wanted to write to you to let you know a few things:  
  1. IT CAN HAPPEN. It may not be 100% or occur exactly the way you expect it, and it may take a lot longer than you want it to, but with faith and courage you will suddenly reach a point where the measly 1% left won’t matter anymore, and you’ll be left with the raw strength and willpower that comes from doing something most people would find too painful to bear. I can walk, I can dance, I can bear children. No one believed I would be able to do this when my accident first happened. I did, and now I can.
  2. Besides, you should congratulating yourself. YOU’RE A SURVIVOR! No one will ever be able to take that away from you. You experienced something awful and you are kicking its butt every single day just by being here and fighting to get better.
  3. Speaking of which, YOU ARE THE ONE FIGHTING THIS which means you have the freedom to do all kinds of things you wouldn’t normally do: cry, scream, be sad, have a rough day. But it also means that somewhere deep inside you have the power to laugh, smile, dream about the future, and make plans for when “it’s all over”. Don’t feel guilty about your feelings. They are yours and there is no one else in the room who can understand exactly why you are feeling them.
  4. So, the best thing for you and your loved ones is to LET EVERYTHING OUT. Don’t bottle your feelings, and don’t ask your family and friends to bottle theirs. Everyone right now is grieving, all in their own ways, and getting through that grief so you can get to the hope that lies underneath is a huge step in figuring all this stuff out.
  5. KEEP YOUR BRAIN STRONG. Sure, that’s easier said than done in a hospital where all the walls have dumb medical equipment on them that remind you of all the pain you’ve already been through, but try. Do crosswords, have someone read aloud to you, play games, solve puzzles: there are so many options, especially with the free wi-fi courtesy of the hospital, that there is no reason why you should ever be lying in bed confronting your memories if you don’t want to. That being said…
  6. LET THE PROFESSIONALS HELP. That is what they are there for. Don’t think of them as strangers or be concerned that they might think your fears are silly. They are not the ones that survived the traumatic experience; you did. Tell them everything, no matter how ridiculous you think it is (including how scared you are of needles). You’d be surprised how healing having someone listen is. I guarantee it will drain you at first and you won’t want to talk about your sessions, but understand that you don’t have to until you are ready.
  7. People will ask (if they haven’t already) “So, are you better now?” My response was always a very simple and firm, “No”. You don’t need to apologize for your answer or qualify it in any way. If they don’t know you well enough that they ask you insensitive questions like that, don’t waste your time. LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO PUT UP WITH DUMB PEOPLE. (See also #3)
  8. It’s been two years since my accident. I have seen countless doctors, mental health professionals, physiotherapists, etc., and the one piece of advice I can safely offer about all of this is that NO ONE PERSON KNOWS ALL THE ANSWERS.
  9. I’m sure right now you’re feeling more like a prop than a patient, as all the decision makers whisk in and out and spout random bits of your medical history at you. Don’t let them make you feel like that. ASK QUESTIONS. If someone doesn’t know the answer, ask the next person that comes in. Ask the same questions over and over until they either send someone in to talk to you directly or until you get a satisfactory reply. Everyone has opinions – it takes a keen patient to differentiate between those opinions and solid medical fact. The professionals I got the most useful info from were always my physiotherapists, so even if the question wasn’t directly related, I’d still ask them. As a group they really like fixing things – it’s why they became physiotherapists in the first place. If they don’t know the answer or if there is a problem you need dealt with, they are the best people to help you “fix” it.
  10. Once you get answers to your questions, you’ll begin to feel like you’re taking charge of your own healing. This is good because NO ONE CAN HEAL YOU BUT YOU. You have to be in charge of it. That means telling your physiotherapist that today hasn’t been a good day, or letting your nurses know that you are uncomfortable and need help to move. But it also means that on good days you push yourself as far as you can. It means having achievable goals and believing you can do just a little more than yesterday. And then at some point out of the blue you will be able to turn the corner into your hospital room and walk up to your mom without any help, who will insist on taking pictures even though she’s crying and can’t really see the screen. And then, a little after that, you’ll be sleeping in your own bed at home and nothing in the world feels better than that first night at home. Nothing.

My own recovery was full of setbacks. Yours will be too. But I hope that this advice helps you push through them. Each one will peel away a little more of who you think you are, and when you reach your 99% point, you will be shiny, you will be strong, and you will believe you are the person that your mother always saw inside you. Every one of the steps you take now you are taking for you. Make the most of them.

Feel free to email me back if you have any specific questions. Like I said, I’ve done all this stuff and I not only survived it, I beat it up, stood on top of it, and shouted “I HAVE THE POWER!”

One last piece of advice: If you have a really bad day, one that you can’t possibly see the light in, remember the 9th Doctor staring down the Daleks. You are the Doctor and this is part of your reincarnation. Tell those Daleks exactly what will happen if they mess with you. Like I said, don’t hold anything back.

I’m sure you will make a grand Time Lord. Welcome to the Survivor’s Guild.

All the best,


Flat-Out Friday: Just Buy It In White

Ever since publicly announcing my pregnancy, I have received details on many “old wives tales” about how to tell the baby’s sex. MANY. It seems like everyone has some sure-fire way of telling whether the Flat-Out Offspring will be a boy or a girl. For kicks, I will list them below:

  • The Portuguese method: if your due date is closer to the new moon, it’ll be a boy.
  • The Italian method: if your due date is closer to the full moon, it’ll be a boy.
  • The Gypsy method: find or make a pendulum, and suspend it over your palm; up/down swing is boy, circular motion is girl.
  • The New Age method: find or make a pendulum, and ask it a series of yes/no answers to determine the swing for both yes and no answers; ask separately if having a boy or a girl.
  • The Chinese method: find out what lunar year you are in when you are due; complicated math and virtually throwing I Ching sticks later, formula reveals whether you’re having a girl or a boy.
  • The Vomit method: the more you throw up, the more likely it’s a girl.
  • The Heartbeat method: the faster the heart rate, the more likely it’s a girl.
  • The Cravings method: salty/hearty snack cravings suggest a boy; sweet cravings suggest a girl.

I’m going to invent a new one. It’s called The Dice method. If I roll 1-10 on a d20, it’s a boy; 11-20 is a girl. I mean it makes as much sense to me as the rest of these do. Wanna hear my results for each of the aforementioned methods?

  • Girl
  • Boy
  • Boy
  • Boy
  • Girl from Last Known Period; Boy from Conception Date
  • Girl
  • Girl
  • Boy

Unfortunately, I can’t find a D20 at this precise time or I’d include those results. It’d be the tie-breaker vote too!

Why is it that, after all the advances in modern medical science, myths like these still perpetuate themselves? One reason I think is because all women like to weigh in on a subject they feel they are uniquely qualified to speak about, especially if they’ve given birth at some point to their own children, and even more especially if one of these methods actually worked in predicting the sex of said children. One of the things you can always count on is that most people you run in to are going to have some sort of opinion about what’s happening with your body. Through my accident, I have learned that the best thing to do in these cases is listen, nod politely, and then forget everything they’ve said because dwelling on it will just make you cranky.

We are going to find out the sex if we can. By ultrasound. You know, that crazy technology that actually allows you to see whether your on-board passenger has the optional hose attachment or not. If we can’t find out out (my niece was turned completely backward and refused to let the technician see her girly parts; she’s still shy to this day), then I have a completely foolproof system for a non-gender biased nursery:

Get it all in white.