Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is It Only Tuesday?

I think my weekend of work zapped my energy. When another load of work arrived yesterday morning, I could have wept.

But I didn't. I put in almost 4 more hours while the kids were here, but I just couldn't return to it last night after I returned from my dance lesson. Instead ... I ate.

I've been doing that a lot lately. I'm still writing down everything I eat and tracking the calories. I am amazed by the amount of days that my calories soar. But I keep eating.

I bought a book "The End of Over Eating" by David Kessler. I read bits and snatches of it before I bought it (it talks of the fat/sugar/salt craving-connection that I firmly believe is true). There is a name for people like me. I'm a hypereater.

So I zipped right through to the end to see if he had any magical solutions. I didn't find any yet. He talks of making rules for yourself, recognizing the triggers in your eating ... and then I got distracted with life and I haven't returned to see what else he says (this is another one of the 3 books I have on the go).

My first step was eating all of the bad food in the house last week. Mmmm. Sort of tasty, sort of gross. Then, when the weekend arrived what did I do? I bought some more.

I can contain myself all day. It isn't even hard. I love my breakfast and lunch menus. I sit still and savor them (I wait until all of the kid-lunch mess is cleaned up and various 'digestion' issues taken care of). I don't even crave anything between meals (or if I do, I am usually easily distracted by the demands of the day). Supper is a little harder to savor because it feels like I need to run out the door somewhere or do something after supper.

It is after supper that I get into trouble. I'll think 'just one treat'. Then the fat-sugar-salt cycle grabs me and I'm out of control.

Why am I okay all day ... and not in the evening? More often than not, I think I am rewarding myself for getting through the day. I'm nurturing 'me'. I need to find a different reward system.

As I was exercising this morning, I thought I need to associate my junk food/hypereating habits with something negative. If I could just pop a pill that made me feel nauseous every time I ate something fatty/salty/sugary. Or pop that same pill after supper so I didn't want to eat at all. Maybe I should just spin around like a kid every time I have the urge to fall prey to my eating addiction.

Or ... maybe I should just go to bed at 6:30. That might work.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Contrasting Weekends

My weekend agendas have been so varied, that my head is spinning.

I had 3 weekends in a row where I had either 1 or both weekend days fully committed to some fun activity. It was fun while it lasted ... but it takes a lot of orchestrating, to free up those days in my life and by the time the 3rd weekend arrived, I was beyond exhausted.

Then there was last weekend ... Ahhh. If ever there was a weekend that I needed to let my hair (what hair?? back to the rotten haircut again!) down, that was it.

But reality had to hit sooner or later. I actually work for a living. And if committing my weekdays to borrowing other people's children (so that I can feed, entertain, discipline and watch over them) isn't enough, I seem to think that I would like a job that challenges my brain and a new direction to aspire towards. Thus, my part time book keeping job.

The year end for this company was last month and we are now tying up (many) loose ends to help them prepare what they need for their accountant. The tasks on the to-do-list are endless. And they are brutally painful. Not catching up one month of back log ... but 12 (that is, if we have all the paperwork required to do this catching up).

I devoted 9 1/2 solid hours (not counting my one hour break) to the job on Saturday and 2 + 4 hours (a 3 hour break to take Kurt to see 'The Transformers' movie) yesterday. I started each day at 8:15 am and I called it quits at 6:30.

I need another weekend.

The sad part is, that this is just the beginning. And to make matters worse, I believe that we will be trying to squeeze a lot of this work into the next 3 weeks. I was recently asked when I may have time to stop for a visit & coffee, and as I fast forwarded through my obligations to this company, my own life and the catch-up required after taking some time for my own plans ... I said, "Maybe in the fall."

Kurt looked at the work I had spread around me on Saturday and the smaller pile I was working with on Sunday and said, "At least when you worked on Saturdays, you didn't bring your work home with you." Yes - I thought that 6th work day to keep my foot in the door at the Credit Union was exhausting. But look what I've done. Not only the book keeping, but the idea of creating another family history book when I'm just a little bit over my head ... and the idea of gathering with friends and family in my down time ...

I need another weekend.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quick Thoughts

I've been pretty wordy here lately so it's time for something brief.

I'm reading the book 'Picture Perfect' (one of the 3 books that I have on the go right now) by Jodi Picoult. She is fast becoming my new favorite author ('My Sister's Keeper' is a book that she wrote that is in the theatres right now).

Anyway ....

I am in awe of her writing and the way she paints her stories. I love the fact that she has the ability to surprise me.

This is a quote from her book that I just had to write down as soon as I read it:

"There are millions of people in the world and the spirits will see that most of them, you never have to meet. But there are one or two you are tied to and the spirits will cross you back and forth, threading so many knots, until they catch and you finally get it right."

When I think of the many people who have touched my life, I like to visualize the 'knots' that keep some people close, no matter where our differing paths have led us.

I think that this quote is possibly alluding to the 'ultimate relationship' of the person you fall in love with. Perhaps I don't have that particular knot. But my life is so full and I have so many special people that touch my world, I don't feel that I'm lacking.

I think we all need to feel that connection. The ties, friendships, kinship and comraderie that one gets from being around someone who 'gets' you. It breathes life into your soul.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Reach Out and Touch Someone

I love when I know that my words have touched some one.

I write. A lot. I write in this blog, a family blog, a daycare blog for my families, a daycare blog about my families (just kidding ... it is about the experiences I've had in my 10 years of daycaring) and a friendship blog. I also have the ability to write in my dance studio's blog (but since my blog drafts never get read (?) or posted, I've quit writing there).

This blog is my journal. My many thoughts about many things. Simply how the world around me touches my life and how I feel about it.

My daycare blog for my families, is their journal. It's a way for them to have a look inside of our day here. I include menus, stories, pictures and videos to paint a visual picture of how our day went.

My other daycare blog is a place to reflect, tell my perspective on how I see things and what (I think) I've learned in my many years of daycare.

The friendship blog is for a small group of friends and was started in the hopes of gaining some momentum and a way of bridging the gap for those who have moved away.

The family blog started slowly, but is gaining some interest.

In these many blogs of mine, I have different 'audiences' and I write accordingly. The blogs that I tend to forget to write in regularly, are the ones that don't appear to have that readership. A few words of acknowledgement is all it takes for me to gain the momentum I need to write.

I email. Not as much as I used to. But to anyone that responds, I write.

I love the power of a group email to initiate a get together. It is a fantastic way of making sure everyone gets the same information and who ever doesn't respond, I know I must follow up with a phone call.

I love knowing that I can write an email any time of the day or night and that the recipient will read it if and when they have the time. I'm not interrupting their day. If they take the time to check their email, hopefully that means they have the time and energy to read it.

I write letters and notes. Not as often as I used to (because I email so much). But even (especially!) in this world of electronic communication, a personal note/letter/or card in one's physical mail box is a precious find. I love to see some one's handwriting on the outside of an envelope. My heart soars, thinking "This one is for me!!" (as compared to the bills, statements, junk mail and other assorted typed envelopes).

I use the phone sparingly. I know that I'm taking the chance of interrupting some one's day when I call. The phone rings and although we have the power to ignore it, most of the time we don't. It interrupts family time, quiet time, busy times and many other times. I have no qualms about answering my phone (though on some occasions I do ignore it) ... but I hate to interject myself into someone else's day. So I don't phone as often as I write.

Anyway ....

What inspired this post about reaching out to people, is the small amount of gifts that I have received lately.

A handful of comments on a few different blogs. The comments let me know that my words have touched a chord with someone out there. I feel like there is a reason that I have this overwhelming amount of excess words in me, when my words spark a memory, touch an emotion or some one feels a similar kinship/understanding.

Another handful of people tell me that they read my blogs and once again, I am fueled with the knowledge that I am making a small difference in some way, to someone else's day.

I find various friends and relatives in my inbox on a semi regular basis. There is nothing that excites me more, than finding a familiar name (and a lot of those names have been relatives lately) in my inbox.

This morning, I woke to find an email from a relative and 2 comments made on the family blog. What a fantastic jump start to the day!!

Yesterday, I called a friend. It was one of those phone calls that was perfectly timed. She had the time to talk ... and she needed to talk. She is one of those people that openly declares just how wonderful it was that I called and she regularly and openly acknowledges our long lasting friendship and our mutual understanding/compassion of each other.

Yes - I took a chance and actually dialed the phone. I reached out and 'touched' someone. It feels so great to be on the receiving end of those perfectly timed calls, emails or inspirational reading. It also feels pretty good to be on the giving end.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Meandering Thoughts

My thoughts are quite literally all over the map this morning. As my fingers fly over the keyboard in the few minutes that I have before my day officially begins, I know that I won't even scratch the surface.

Random thoughts:

I am 2 weeks into the worst haircut in my recent history. I physically cringe when I see the 'bowl cut' sitting on top of my head. It is so much worse at the dance studio when I see my full image, topped up with this horribly ugly hair style.

What I am grateful for:
Hair grows
3 months from now, it should be a changed look
Maybe it will look better as it grows out
I'm not shedding more hair than the cat these days
I'm not bald

We have 2 days of summer holidays behind us. The dynamics of the kids that will be spending the bulk of the time here over the course of the summer is terrible. The 'leader' loves to run, bug, draw and say 'rude things' (this is what one year of full time kindergarten taught him), has become sneaky and is encouraging his younger crowd to do things he knows they are not allowed to do.

What I am grateful for:

Only 34 more babysitting days to go, before school begins
Quiet time
My holidays
Quitting time
The 3 days of holidays that one of 'the above mentioned families' will be taking

I felt like a hero for an hour yesterday. It was awesome!

Kurt knocked over his X Box yesterday afternoon and it scratched his brand new 'Incredible Hulk' game. He was devastated. I immediately went to EBay and put in a $9.99 bid for an identical game. But the auction isn't over for 6 days and it usually takes a few weeks to receive it by mail. It was all I could do. I thought.

Then, by some cosmic fluke of random thoughts bouncing around in my brain I got to wondering about the possibility of repairing the scratched disc. I made some phone calls and 2 calls later, we were on our way to a place that said there was a very good chance they could fix the disc for just over $3.00.

This happened just as my last charge of the day was leaving and precisely one hour before my scheduled dance lesson. We raced to the other corner of the city, got the disc repaired, made it back home in time to put together some supper for Kurt and I made it to my dance lesson with 5 minutes to spare.

In the middle of this horrible afternoon that Kurt spent, bemoaning the fact that his summer holiday was wrecked and he had nothing else to do ... I finally, finally came up with the words to go with the 'movie' I promised to make of Kurt's 11th birthday fiasco.

As I drove off to my dance lesson, I felt like such a good mom, for precisely one hour. Then ... upon my return, I was greeted by the vision of this 'repaired' X Box game sitting on the kitchen counter with a note sitting on top of it, with the blazing message "IT FROZE".

So ... back to the 'repair shop' we went. We tried again. So much for my 'Mother of the Day' award. But I still felt pretty good in knowing that I did everything I could.

What I'm grateful for:

The ability to sometimes be a little bit of a 'hero' to someone who looks to me for guidance
That this all happened on an evening where everything unfolded in its own time and space and we had a second opportunity to try and fix the problem at hand
That the words finally came, to 'wrap up' Kurt's birthday movie. When an experience isn't all fun and games, it is harder to find the words to tell the story in a positive way
That I am a mom

Too much to do, it so little time!!

3 weeks until my holidays. And in that time, I must get caught up in transcribing the 'family memory' conversations that I have recorded. My uncle will be arriving the eve of the start of my holiday and I want that little recorder empty for any morsels of information that I may gather while he spends a day or two with me. I also plan to invite any friends/relatives in the neighborhood over, for an informal gathering so that he has a chance to visit with as many people as he can while he is in our fair city.

I have enough book keeping work to keep me busy all weekend. As they are wrapping up another year end, there are many onerous tasks to be tended. I've been wading through one of those tasks in my free minutes this week (not many) and I know that I must immerse myself in the job at hand this weekend.

What I'm grateful for:

The fact that I took last weekend off ... entirely ... and savored every single care-free moment that I had
That the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow is my 18 day holiday
That I am lucky enough to have my uncle come and spend some of his precious holiday time with me
That I have one more excuse to try and 'gather the clan'
That it's only 3 weeks

I love blog land. My post yesterday generated a few comments that made me feel that this big old world is a very small place. The dangers of the Internet are many, but when one can reach out to a 'virtual stranger' or have that same stranger impact your life in such a big way ... it is one of the positive sides to the Internet connections all over the world.

The mom that triggered yesterday's post made a comment shortly after I posted my blog (I made a comment on her blog that directed her to mine). I was touched to the core, that this mom reached out and made personal contact with me at a time when her world is turned upside down.

What this made me realize is - the fact that I have friends in my own personal world that are going through very trying times as well. Because I know them and the immensity of what they are enduring, to get through their days I haven't made that phone call (thinking that they don't have the time to talk) or sent that email (it feels too impersonal, when you know the person so well). So I've done nothing. How could I reach out to a virtual stranger and be so touched by their life when I have my own friends who need that personal contact so much more. I must do something to change that.

What I'm grateful for:

The ability to make a difference in someone else's day
The passion to write about what impacts my life
The Internet for helping a lot of people feel less alone in their pain - whatever that may be
My Life as I Know It

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Reason, A Season and A Lifetime

An often forwarded email that talks of the people that cross through your life's path, came to mind this morning as I was thinking of the 'heroes' in some of the blogs that I have been following lately ...

It all started with an Oprah episode when I heard Matt Logelin's story. I was in awe of the strength that it took for him to carry on after the loss of his wife (she died unexpectedly within a day of their daughter being born). His blog chronicles their story before the birth of their daughter and the 15 months (to date) afterwards.

Then, through reading Matt's blog, I found another story of the loss of 'Maddy'. Maddy was born 11 weeks premature, spent 68 days in the neonatal unit and although her prematurity left her lungs scarred, she made a vibrant imprint on everyone she touched in her world. She died unexpectedly this past April, just short of reaching her 17 month birthday. Her parent's survival story and the glorious moments of Maddy's life are all chronicled in their blogs. It is such a tribute to their daughter, to read these precious words.

Through Maddy's story, I clicked on another blog - Maddy's mother's 'partner in suck'. Gorillabuns is another story of loss. This blog is written very honestly and to the point. This mom is hurting beyond words and she doesn't censor her thoughts. Her 3 1/2 month old son died unexpectedly. There was little explanation or understanding of why he died - but the 'official' cause of death from the Medical Examiner was "unknown cause by a combination of Bronchitis and positioning of the body."

As I have been quietly and anonymously following the lives of these families, I have questioned why I am so wrapped up in the lives of people that I don't even know.

I believe much has to do with the reality that life is precious. A person's life can change in a heart beat and it is totally out of our control. Even in the chaos of every day living and all the frustrations of parenting and living ... there are small blessings. We just never know when life as we know it may change.

I work with children all day, every day. Their parents are young and many families are 'expanding' before my very eyes. Every pregnancy is a blessing and there are always risks involved. No one is immune to loss or the fear of losing what is precious. Reading the blogs of these young parents keeps me sensitive and 'young' enough to appreciate what the parents I work for, are going through.

Every day heroes inspire me. It takes a lot of courage to face the day no matter who you are. Some of us have higher mountains to climb. I read how these parents are facing their own personal 'mountain' and my heart goes out to them. I can feel their pain, mourn their loss, cherish the stories they tell and I silently cheer them on to the next day.

The risk of blogging one's thoughts is that you are putting your words out for the 'world' to see. As I scan through the many comments that are made on these various blog posts, it warms my heart to read the support, love and empathetic words of comfort from the hundreds of comments that are made to these parents.

This morning, I read a comment on one of these blogs that must have cut to the quick of the mother who wrote the blog. This mother writes what she feels and her words are raw with the pain that she is feeling. As I feel the impact her words make on me, I am glad that she is finding an outlet for her grief. She is being honest. She is hurting beyond anything that I can even imagine. I don't know how many positive words it will take, to offset that one negative comment, 'judging' her.

It is from that comment and this mother's reaction to it, that I found myself full of words this morning about these families. And my words to these parents are this:

There is a reason that the one you have lost, came into your life. You learned so much from this loved one, you laughed, you loved, you cherished and they brought you to life. Your life will never be the same because of this person. They are forever imprinted in your heart and your memory.

They remained in your life for only a season. You lost them far too soon. Your life with them was just beginning. The best was yet to come. But ... you made the most of the time you had. You wrote about them, you photographed them, you made memories together. As the pain begins to ebb, the memories will remain.

You will keep their memory in your heart for your lifetime. A song, a place, a smell, an anniversary, an event and others that touch your life will continue to twig those memories forever. As time goes on, so will the memories. You will keep on living ... and so will the one you loved. Forever in your heart.

How can I even begin to understand the pain and the grieving process when I haven't personally experienced it? I can't. But through the words written by these survivors, I am learning lessons that I will have to put to use. One day.

Until that day, I shall remember just how precious life is. I will make memories and I will document them so that as time elapses and the memory fades, I will have those memories close by. In my heart forever.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Don't Jinx Yourself"

I have noticed that I have had this phrase spoken to me on a rather regular basis lately. I don't believe it for a moment.

I regularly voice my appreciation for what is good in my life. I don't believe I am jinxing myself in any way, when I openly voice my appreciation for what is good and my many small blessings.

How can one expect the best when you are afraid to acknowledge and appreciate it?

From things as inconsequential as the weather ... to raising children ... to a financial state of ease. I am rich in so many ways and I feel that 'richness' comes from appreciating and being grateful for it. I don't care if the whole world knows how blessed I feel. I believe that I should shout from the roof tops how grateful I am for all that I have been given.

A person has no control over so many things in life. The weather is a perfect example.

When my mom and I flew to Toronto last winter, it was a week after weather conditions forced many airports to close. Mom was diligently following the Weather Channel and reporting all of the weather that was happening prior to our departure. I was actually relieved that it was happening before we left, as I felt it gave us more hope for good travelling weather when we were scheduled to travel.

I believe in miracles and they seem to happen every day. It was as if the skies parted for us and our safe arrival and departure to and from our destination. As the plane touched down when I reached my final destination, the snow and wind were just starting to wind up again. The weather turned miserable after we were both tucked safely back in our respective homes.

Did this happen because I believed it would? No. Not in a minute. We were very, very fortunate. Do I believe that one can 'jinx' the weather by speaking stating the obvious ("We've had 2 great days in a row!"). Not in a heart beat. Do I believe our wishes have any control over the weather? Not that either. But do I believe in hoping for and believing that the 'best' can happen and wishes do come true? You bet!

I feel the only way I can jinx myself is in not being grateful and acknowledging the many blessings that happen every single day.

Memory Gathering

Just when I was in need of reminding me what my priorities should be, I was greeted by a few prompts this morning.

The first email that I opened this morning was from an uncle who will be coming to visit next month. I went out to start 'collecting memories' of my dad's family last winter and I'm working on this project (but it keeps getting put on a back burner). His upcoming visit is the nudge that I need to push me into moving forward with the work I've been putting aside the past few months.

The next email I opened was of an inspirational sort - and what was it about? "Story Corps - an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.

By recording the stories of our lives with the people we care about, we experience our history, hopes, and humanity."

If this wasn't enough, the next thing I did was go to read the daily update on a blog that I'm following. I clicked on the comments that were made on the blog and randomly, I chose to click on the blog of someone who had made a comment. The blog was titled "Women Who Run With Wolves" And what was her blog about?? She was honoring the memories that she hears every time she is with her aunts who live in Belgium, who have many stories to tell.

It seemed that I was being reminded of what is truly important at every turn this morning. From the inspirational email that I receive regularly, speaking directly to me ... to the random blog that I checked out ... to the reality that my uncle will be here before I know it. And I really must get to work!!

Moss has been gathering under me as I sit and procrastinate. Forces greater than myself are telling me what is truly important.

Collecting memories, listening and writing down little pieces of family stories is something that you can't do if you put it off too long.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Too Many Ideas, Not Enough Time

At the moment, I have started reading 3 different books. I have begun the process of putting together 2 different family histories. I am running to the dance studio 3 nights out of the week (the past few weeks anyway) and I'm determined to find a way to work in practising my dancing into my days. I know that I need to exercise - I feel better when I do and it's good for me. And ... I am trying to find a way to take some courses to steer my life in the direction I want it to take.

In the mean time, I have a steady stream of kids filing through the door and I have a pile of book keeping work sitting at my side. I have run out of home made frozen lunch entrees and need to replenish my supply of muffins as well.

I am wondering how I can fit it all in to the 24 hours of each day that I have at my disposal. I think that I should petition for a longer day. 24 hours just isn't enough (unless I fore go sleeping and I refuse to do that).

In the wake of my most relaxing and luxurious weekend of not being a master to any to-do-list and following my whims ... I'm thinking that maybe I couldn't afford to take that time off. But I know that I needed to take it. So I'm glad that I did.

Now ... I need a plan.

As I was exercising this morning, a few answers came to me. I need to delegate certain parts of my day to specific tasks that I am trying to accomplish. 45 minutes first thing in the morning to exercise; 1 1/2 hours during 'quiet/nap time' to work on the family histories; squeeze the book keeping into my days when possible and nights when I must ; and dance whenever and where ever I can. I can become 'The Dancing Babysitter'!

As I research further, into the idea of taking courses to veer me in the direction of book keeping as my next career move it's a little daunting. It is still definitely where I want to end up. But I just don't think that I can fast forward my life in that direction. The wages for a small-time-book-keeper aren't as much as what I earn running my daycare. So my original idea of weaning myself in the 'book keeping' direction was right.

Yesterday morning, I had a house full of kids. They were getting along great, the games they were playing were not annoying and the noise levels were tolerable. While I was within arms reach of my charges: I made a call (researching my book keeping goal); I wrote a letter; I perused one of the 3 books that I'm reading; squeezed in some book keeping work and probably much, much more. As I was multitasking in the comfort of my own home, earning a very comfortable salary as I was doing all of the above, I realized just how fortunate that I am.

If I was working outside of my home, I doubt very much that an employer would allow me to do all of these things as well as tend to my house/yard/ laundry/supper/and tending to my own family. These are the benefits that have no monetary value. These are the reasons that I have come to love being my own boss.

Yes, I work for numerous 'other bosses' - all of the parents of the families that I tend. They are the best bosses in the world (perhaps a little fickle at times, but good people all in all).

I get to earn a good living, live a great life and be a 'hands on mom' ... all from the comfort of home. This daycare life has created the opportunity for me to follow my 'creative self'. Being around 5 and unders all day has its challenges - one of them being the craving for adult conversation. In this lack of adult contact in my days, it has pushed me into writing more, reaching out to family and friends more ... being more.

Yes, today I feel that I am following through on a few too many of those 'great ideas'. But without the ideas, the passion and the drive ... where would I be? I would be going through the paces of that 9 - 5 job among adults and trying to squeeze the mundane tasks of house/yard/laundry/making supper/and errand-running into the few hours left over at the end of a long work day.

Last week, I was completely frustrated with my days-with-kids. This week, I've researched enough options to realize that I've got it about as good as it gets.

I'm still open to the idea of adding about 5 more hours onto our 24 hour day. But as long as I have the ideas, I'm sure I'll find the time.

Monday, June 22, 2009


That would be the word that best describes this past weekend. Everything that we did was spontaneous. It was perfect. Yes ... I took a break.

I love being able to follow my whims. My whims have taken me many places these past few years. I've ventured out of the safety and security of my home and my solitude and I've 'climbed a few mountains' (maybe they were only hills, but they felt like mountains at the time). I've taken some risks and put myself out there - in the land of the living. It has been quite a ride.

That said, I am truly the happiest when I'm snuggled up in the comforts of our home. I have everything that I could possibly need within arms reach. I have work to keep me busy, family and pets to love and feel that reciprocated. I have the world at my fingertips - whether by phone, the computer or pen and paper. I am never more than a few 'words' away from anyone that I could ever hope to keep in touch with. I have my dreams. They are alive and well (although, at the moment they are overwhelming me a tad).

My heart is soaring with the contentedness that is my life. I am living the reality that dreams do come true (so I continue to dream, to hope and aspire to new heights).

This past weekend was a gift. A simple bike ride and time to sit in a park and breathe. A movie that we decided to see at a moments notice (that was in keeping with my mood of the day - 'Up'). Time to sit and watch a few movies at home (alone and as a family). Time to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.

I woke up with an uplifted spirit within me yesterday. In a word, I was happy. The Happy Glow tainted everything I did yesterday. I was full of cheer, as I greeted the people within the confines of the day. The movie we saw made me laugh ... hard. I heard myself not chuckle quietly ... but laugh. The joy I felt inside was not to be contained.

Though, as the weekend wound to a close I mourned the loss of that freedom. I went through the paces of readying myself for the week ahead and gradually, the Happy Glow faded. I only had hours of consciousness left in me and I didn't want to share them any more. I needed that time to steel myself for the week ahead.

As I think about the guilty thoughts of wanting to grab those last moments for me and me alone, I'm a little bit sad. The spontaneity was gone. I was starting to feel driven again.

I work with kids all week. If ever there was a 'career' that allowed for spontaneity to bloom, I am living it. Instead of focusing on what I don't have, I should focus on what I've already have.

That ... I believe is the true key to the Happy Glow. Living in the moment, and loving where you are at.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In the Light of Day

As I slowly awoke this morning, to a day without an agenda ... all of my worries and deep thoughts drifted off and they feel far away.

Oh! To wake up and know that I don't have to make every minute count. I have things that I'd like to do, but nothing that has to be done. It feels so liberating to simply let the day unfold.

I couldn't help but think of the lofty ideas that I've been tossing around in my head the past few days. To add the stresses of homework and studying into my life? Am I insane?

Nothing worth having comes easily. So I won't dismiss the idea of pursuing my goals and doing what it takes to attain them.

But this weekend ... I shall relax! That is the one thing on my to-do-list.

The thoughts that surface after a weekend of rest and relaxation are what I will heed. The 'right answers' always seem to come, in the light of day.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I'm considering the idea of full time schooling in the fall. Considering. At this point, I would love nothing more than to go to school from 8:45 am until 3:00 pm Monday through Friday, have 2 weeks off at Christmas and a week off in February. It is a 10 month course. If I could invest this time and know that it would take me where I want to go in my 'career' ... I'd jump at it.

But committing to that means letting go of a full time daycare income, letting go of my fall-back-job at the Credit Union. It means looking for financing. It means letting go of life as I know it. It means taking a huge leap of faith.

As I briefly mentioned the idea of going back to school in the fall (to My Youngest), he wasn't for that choice at all. I reminded him that he told me that he was tiring of the daycare life that runs our life and home. He replied, "I'm okay ... I'd just like a little break is all."

I've got 2 different scenarios running through my mind. The first, is my present-day-life-full-of-kids. I'm reaching the kid overload point and I have been for a while. The second scenario, is my ultimate goal. Being gainfully employed from the comfort of my own home. Being here before/after school and on school holidays. Eventually, running a B & B and doing book keeping as the stable part of my income ... but still working.

Getting from where I am to where I want to be is something that will take time. The wise thing to do, would be to go in stages.

My first step is to continue researching all options.

So I have new and scary ideas bouncing around in this head of mine. The state of indecision is the worst of the stages to endure. Taking forward steps are scary ... but necessary. Taking risks isn't something that I love doing. But I've done it before. I can do it again.

I have often said that I would go back to school in a heartbeat if I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Well I know.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Love Mornings!

I haven't always been a morning person, but I've developed quite a taste for it as the years go by ...

My perfect morning quite simply consists of taking care of no one's needs except my own. Whether it is by sleeping in a little, getting up and letting the day unfold quietly or whether I decide to exercise. The one thing that is a requirement is the ability to sit still, savor my breakfast smoothie and have a few cups of coffee as I deal with the excess amount of words that I wake up with every morning.

This morning is off to a good start. I am normally a rather restless sleeper - I wake up every time I move and some nights that is a lot. I 'woke up' as I rolled over and thought that a light must have been left on last night. There was brightness that seeped through my closed eyelids. To my amazement, it was actually morning! I slept through the night. I believe that my body and my brain took the night off. It felt wonderful.

I had exercised at 3 different points in the day yesterday and granted myself this morning off. An extra half hour to sleep, time to be still, time to enjoy my morning routines and write a little before the day officially begins.

I love the clarity of the morning. I wake up with answers that eluded me the day before. The 'important stuff' comes to the surface of my consciousness and I start my day with a new perspective on things.

This mornings meanderings took me to my goal of pursuing the book keeping part of my 'career'. I made several calls yesterday and talked to one person. I have literature coming in the mail, a call that is to be returned and one more call back to make. It seems that 'the answer' wasn't to come to me yesterday. Circumstances beyond my control are telling me to take it slow and think this through. And I will.

I have an idea in my head, as to how I would like to see this unfold. How my vision works in the 'real world' is unknown. But I've been pretty fortunate to see a few of my dreams come true ... so I see no reason why I can't do my best to see this through as well.

I have other free falling thoughts coming to me as the day begins. Even my thoughts seem to be in balance this morning - work, exercise, leisure and family are all at the top of my priority chain as the day warms up.

When my mornings start like this, I know I'm starting off on the right foot. No matter what life throws my way.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2 Hours Into the Day ...

My house is full today. The kids are back. All of them.

About a half hour ago, I started making calls. I want to take a book keeping course. I want to wean myself out of the daycare world. I need to.

I have 4 months left on my year leave of absence from my 21+ year 'career' at the credit union. I really don't want to leave the world of self employment. I love the benefits of working for myself - there seems to be a direct correlation between the amount I'm willing to give of myself, to the amount that I earn.

Maybe I've just been lucky, but I firmly believe that if you put your heart and soul into something it comes back to you.

So I shall take the tentative steps of checking out a new specialty. 'Numbers' and me go a long way back. Whether I make those numbers work for me in the security of being employed for someone else or if I try to make it on my own, I think that is the path I want to follow.

Book keeping and self employment are part of my long term plan. I truly want to find a way to make this work.

If I believe ... I can make it happen.

Regaining Equilibrium

I have been blessed with quiet daycare days and no book keeping work for the first 2 days of this week. I have been revelling in the peaceful and stress free days.

I'm expecting my full daycare load today and I've been warned that the book keeping work will be coming as well. It was fun while it lasted.

Whether a work slow down falls on a weekend or if I'm lucky enough to just have some quiet in amongst the busyness of a regularly scheduled week, it feels good to slow down the pace of life.

I let things get out of control. It was an internal thing. Most people would have just coasted through and got things done when they got done. But I had to be 2 steps ahead. I seem to need to know that things aren't piling up on me.

The reward of my obsession is that I haven't had any extra to-do-tasks this week. Groceries, errands and the lawn have all been tended to. That has been a god send as I faced this week without energy.

Now ... I get to focus my energy on dancing for a while. As I make up for the lessons I missed while my instructor was off (and as we will probably continue to double up some lessons to make up for holidays we are both taking), my hope is devote some time and energy to the routine that we've been working on. I haven't been putting any extra effort into it and it shows.

When I first started dancing, I was forever dancing around the house. I would practise some basic steps and a small amount of technique as I watched the kids in the park. I would race home from my lesson and spend whatever time it took, to ingrain the lesson that was fresh in my mind into my memory and feet. I would practise dancing in the kitchen. I would turn on some music and simply ... dance.

I miss those days.

Now, it seems that I squeeze my dance lessons into my week. If I'm lucky enough not to have to run errands en route or coming home from my lesson, I often have something that must be done at home. If not, I jump into my pj's an revel in the idea of taking a night off when I return from a lesson.

When I first started dance lessons, that lesson was the one guaranteed half hour of adult company that I had in my week. I was giddy with happiness, just knowing that I got to speak to another adult being for half an hour. Now, it seems my life is fuller. I have people and commitments that fill my days.

I used to have more free time. I have filled that time with friends, family, a second job and writing projects. There isn't really one of those things that I want to give up.

The one thing that keeps surfacing when I think of 'what I'm willing to give up' ... is my daycare. I think that I have quite possibly hit 'kid-overload'.

I want to have the time and energy to dance throughout my days again. The question is: How do I get from here to there?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Believe ...

I am told my true belief in Santa Claus comes from a time when my sister dressed up as The Big Man himself, and came right to our door. I saw Santa Claus with my own eyes and have had little reason to doubt his existence ever since.

Another time, I was rambling on to some friends and I told them (something to the effect of) that if I found a gift from Santa under my tree, that I would believe. Once again, my belief in Mr. Claus came true. True to form, my anonymous 'Santa' delivered a sock full of treats to my mailbox that Christmas.

I have many reasons to believe. The small miracles that unfold before me as I live my day to day life. The insurmountable road blocks that have made the impossible ... possible, as I forged my way into new territory at different turning points in my life.

Sometimes I know who my 'Santa' is ... other times he/she has been a nameless entity. I truly believe that there are some times that I haven't even realized that there has been an invisible force that has opened doors, kept me safe, guided me and rewarded me in ways that I haven't even truly acknowledged.

My most recent 'Santa Claus' (that I am aware of) made my wish of new dance shoes become a reality. It amazes me how these small miracles keep finding their way into my life.

There is something a little bit magical about the whole idea of not knowing. There is a frustration within the mystery, because you don't know who to thank or how to express your heartfelt amazement of such a gift. Because I didn't know who to thank, I told my story to many ... expressing my wonder and gratitude over and over. Surely, if I told everyone I knew about my Secret Santa the True Giver would hear my gratitude and know that their gift was received in the manner in which it was given and that I was grateful beyond words.

I sometimes sit back and wonder about the Pixie Dust that has been sprinkled over my life. How can so many good things happen to one person? How can the miracles keep revealing themselves to me? How many angels do I have watching over me?

To my angels that walk the earth and beyond ... thank you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beyond Exhausted

I did it to myself. It was purely voluntary and all under my own control. I overdid it.

I have been tired before, but nothing that even closely resembled the meltdown that I felt the past weekend.

Over reacting to a bad haircut (that in looking back, I simply shouldn't have made the time for). When I felt so upset over hair that will eventually grow back, I should have stopped in my tracks. But I didn't.

I went and exercised for a few hours. Physical exertion usually smooths out the edges of a mind that is reacting to something that it shouldn't be (back to the hair cut). As I exercised, I felt like I could have cried. I just wanted to be done. But I didn't quit. I was supposed to feel better after I exercised. But I didn't.

By this time, I was on autopilot. I thought if I woke up early and exercised the next morning, I'd be back on track. I made the time, I took full advantage of it and then I ran out. I thought I 'still had time' to blog some thoughts out of my system before the day took on a life of its own. I was wrong.

So I sat down with my company and as we had our morning coffee, I heard the unedited words flowing off of my tongue. I was talking about things that didn't matter and the words fell out of my mouth, like a faucet running full force. I needed to stop. So I showered.

I 'washed that mood down the drain', got through the morning and then headed out on our big adventure (a family anniversary celebration).

I felt physically ill as we hit the road. I didn't have time for this. So I closed my eyes and rested them. My mind was still full of the unwritten words that were sitting in the back of my mind, I was thinking about the day ahead, I was trying to cope with the nauseousness that was on the verge of becoming reality. Eventually, we got to our destination.

Once there, a minor chuckle turned into an uncontrollable giddiness. I was melting down in front of my family. I was out of control. I could have sobbed uncontrollably at that moment. But I didn't.

Instead, I turned my focus onto my empty stomach that was full of unabsorbed caffeine. Little sleep, too much coffee, lacking food and overtaxed brain neons firing uncontrollably around inside of my malnourished mind was taxing the grasp of sanity that I had left. And my hair still looked pretty bad (this whole hairy ordeal was overtaking my mind in a way no hair cut ever should).

I was more than a little forceful with my suggestion that we hunt down some supper in the fastest way possible. And we did. Hamburger on a bun satisfied the void in my stomach. If food could fill up that which was empty, maybe that fuel would turn into energy. So I turned to food. All weekend.

The evening unfolded and I managed to keep myself under control. Every now and again, I would hear myself speaking. Not in sentences. Not in a two way conversation. But in a monologue which turned a sentence not only into a paragraph ... but a chapter. I don't even think I breathed. My brain was saying, "Shhhh" ... my mouth had other ideas. But at least I wasn't crying.

My head finally hit the pillow at the end of that long, exhausting day. But it hit the pillow running. I couldn't turn off the thoughts (they were all good thoughts and I didn't care about my hair as much). My body was weary and exhausted. And it rested. It rested well. But my brain was getting pretty worn out.

The next morning, I tried filling my 'fuel tank' (stomach) to get me through the day. Breakfast didn't work, so I grabbed a dose of sugar at the first chance I got. I knew I wasn't feeding hunger at this point, but I was trying to get enough nourishment into my brain to appear coherent. It wasn't working.

I nodded off during a conversation ... I couldn't add to a conversation. I was standing, walking and functioning. But I wasn't interacting with life and people.

This weekend was 'the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow'. It was a culmination of events that led up to this celebration. I was excited about every aspect of the upcoming days. And all that I did preceding this weekend, was so that I could just sit back and enjoy it to its fullest, knowing that 'my work was done' and I would have an empty agenda facing me at the end of it all.

When we drove up to the house at the end of our two fun-filled days, I staggered out of the vehicle and wearily looked at the lawn and I was so grateful that I didn't have to mow it. I wandered into the house and I was ecstatic that I didn't have any errands to run. I met Dale for an early supper and to pick up Kurt. Once again, I gorged myself with food - trying to energize myself for the duration of the day.

We got home, I did the bare minimum and I sat down. Then I slept. All responsibilities tended, the excitement of company and the big events of the weekend behind me ... I slept. And slept.

I woke up 4 hours later and did what had to be done to lessen the load of waking up this morning and facing a 'daycare day' ... and I went back to sleep. I still wasn't 'cured' of the exhaustion because I took a 'mega pack' of Skittles to bed with me. I filled up my stomach with sugar. I'm sure my subconscious mind was looking for energy and it has been finding it in sugar the past few days.

I woke up this morning craving only my breakfast smoothie. I've spent the morning spilling the words that have been free falling around in my mind. Even while I was in a semi catatonic state, all I could think was "What am I going to write about this when I get a chance to sit still??"

I lost control of my verbiage when my Saturday morning blog got interrupted. The loss of control of everything else came from an over taxed, over extended and over exhausted me.

I'm feeling the reserves start to 'fill' again. This week is officially 'a week with no to-do-list' in my mind. I am going to let life unfold as it may.

I'm off to a good start with a dance lesson tonight (provided it doesn't get cancelled). Dancing is my favorite way of filling up on 'fun'.

And so my life beyond exhaustion goes on ...


There were a few 'milestone anniversaries' celebrated in our family this past weekend. As a group of us were together, trying to figure out which anniversary was being celebrated in one of the cases we decided to round up to the nearest 'five' because it isn't often that one celebrates a ''34th'' anniversary. I declared if I could make it 2 years in a marriage, I would celebrate.

Marriage is a work in progress. As each of these couples celebrated the milestone that they made, I couldn't help thinking of the occasions that were worthy of celebrating as they made it through each one of those years.

Simply adjusting to marriage, living with someone and learning to accept all of those little nuances that you don't really know about a person until you live with them 24/7 is the first breakthrough. I've lived on my own for so many years now, that it is almost incomprehesible to think of the idea of someone 'fitting into my life' and vice versa. One of the advantages of marrying young may be that you are still quite willing and able to change and adapt as necessary. But no matter how and when you marry ... it is an adjustment. 'Til death do you part is a long time.

There are matters of running the house, social lives (independent and together), finances, in laws, family and expectations of what one expects of the other in marriage. Many, many puzzle pieces to fit together and find out what works out best for both parties. And the puzzle just continues to grow with the years.

Add children into the family and there is a completely new dynamic. A dependent, changing roles and expectations redefines a couple and once again there is a need to add this to the ever changing puzzle and challenge of marriage.

Life throws curve balls you all of the time. One never knows what is around the next corner and how each individual will react to it. I don't think that there is a marriage that exists that hasn't had to overcome obstacles that could make or break the relationship. How one gets through the tough times is critical to what direction their marriage takes from there.

I have little hands on experience with marriage. The relationships that I've had, have taught me a lot about myself and what I need to work on. I look at the marriages all around me that have weathered the storms of life and remain solid and I see so many qualities within those married couples that I admire.

As the children of one of these couples put together a program that celebrated the marriage of their parents and the home that this couple created for their young children, my heart swelled with joy. I could only watch the faces of the couple who were being celebrated as their lives unfolded in front of them in the form of stories, poems, songs and a picture slideshow that helped the audience feel the joy and moments of celebration each step along the way.

Yes - this was a landmark celebration worthy of taking note of and shouting from the rooftops. But each small step along the way that led them to this day was equally worthy of rejoicing in.

I look at this marriage, their children and the home that each one of these children is building with their young families and I honor each moment and circumstance that has created the foundation that they are building on to this day ...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Undo Verses Redo

Life doesn't have an undo button ... but it does have a 'redo' one.

But is that a good thing? Let me think.

Having a second chance at making My Youngest's birthday more memorable was good. This week gave me many opportunities to undo last weekend's fiasco's. Starting with last Friday night.

I raced around like a crazy woman after supper last Friday. I ran and got a quick hair cut and picked up some 'cross trainers' to give my poor feet some support as I did my exercising on the basement floor.

Saturday, was our 'birthday adventure' to a hotel that didn't live up to their web site's promises. I mentioned this to one of the staff (the staff were all wonderful) and he suggested that I make a comment to that effect. So I did.

A few days later, I received a reply to my comment and a promise that they would be forwarding a voucher for a free nights lodging at any one of their hotels (with no expiry date). I was pleased with their response and the fact that the 'redo' option was available. Maybe our first experience wasn't what we expected ... but I'm all for second chances.

Then came the running shoes. They felt wonderful ... until they were put to the test. Running on the spot for 20 minutes was excruciating in every way. No shock absorbing sensation on the balls of my feet and the shoes were not wide enough across my feet. I wondered if I could still return them after putting them to the test.

The hair? It got worse every day. The hairdresser told me to come back if I had any problems as they always do. My haircuts are not always ideal at first but I rarely (if ever) take them up on their offer. But this time I thought that I would. My hair definitely needed to be thinned out and maybe some kind of style?

By the time Friday rolled around again, I was eager to try and 'undo' the mistakes of the previous Friday.

I went to the shoe store and explained that the shoes just didn't provide the comfort and support for what I needed. The clerk was very helpful and explained that I should have a different type of running shoe. They didn't have what I needed in my size. So they refunded my money. The 'undo' button in real life. The ability to return merchandise that doesn't meet your needs is a wonderful option. I would have preferred to have the running shoes that I needed but a good second choice was refunding my money. I was a satisfied customer.

Then ... came the hair. I just wanted a 'redo'. I didn't end up with the same hairdresser but the one that I got was in total agreement that the style that I ended up with, left me looking like I still needed a haircut. So she cut. And cut. And cut. Granted, I did tell her that I didn't mind if I ended up a little shorter and I was looking for a 'twispy' look that could enhance the natural curl that I have.

Long story short ... there is no 'undoing' my new haircut. It's not at all what I hoped for, she cut off all of the locks that I had painstakingly grew out ... and I'm back to where I was a year ago. Only I don't even like the style that I'm starting out with. Only time will give me the option of redoing what she has done.

Oh well. 3 out of 4 redo/undo options went well (if I count the second chance I got on My Youngest's birthday). That's really not bad odds, all things considered.

There are often chances to undo or redo things in life. If you have the option and don't take it ... there is no one to blame for it but yourself. If you have the option and you do take it ... it can still end up better/worse/or much the same. But at least you know that you tried.

There are often times when only time can undo a bad decision (or haircut). One never knows ... sometimes you need that bad 'haircut' in life to set you off in a new direction. When the undo option doesn't work, maybe there is a purpose to it after all (in the mean time, I'm grateful that I don't have a lot of mirrors in the house).

Friday, June 12, 2009

Second Chances

It was a Happy Birthday after all.

Yes ... it was My Youngest's birthday yesterday and it gave us a second chance to make his 11th birthday (if not one of the best), a better memory.

It's all in the small stuff. Really.

As I crawled out of bed and faced the day yesterday, it was My Youngest's birthday request that I take the night off of 'everything', that got me going. If I had to have an uncommitted evening, I had to get cracking.

I was so busy getting to the day, that My Youngest was up about an hour before I wished him a Happy Birthday. But when I finally did, we had a little chuckle about it when he said "Finally ... you remembered!" I immediately responded, "But you weren't even born yet."

He got a birthday card and gift from one of the parents I babysit for before he went to school ... and his birthday was starting off rather nicely.

I ordered a small cake for his birthday which he didn't know about and it hit me yesterday morning that I should take it to school and surprise him with it (I couldn't take it, because I had 7 kids underfoot all morning but one of my parents dropped it off for me after she left here). It's unfortunate that 20 people shared this small cake ... but it's the thought that counts, right?

And it counted. My Youngest couldn't believe it when the cake arrived for him. I never, ever do things like that. So it wasn't a surprise party ... but it was a surprise. Mission accomplished - I believe I made my boy happy on his birthday.

The evening was perfect. We did nothing extraordinary - we went to Toys 'R Us as per his birthday request (and found an overpriced set of Lego which we ended up returning an hour later, when we found it over $10.00 cheaper in Walmart), we ate at the mall and we quite simply just spent a leisurely evening not running my errands as I let My Youngest call the shots. That ... was the best gift of all (I believe I received as much or more than I gave, when I simply gave him my time).

My gift to him this year were 9 'Gift Coupons'. Basically gifts of time - a bike ride and an ice cream; pizza and a movie; one hour of my uninterrupted time; take a friend to the lake for a day; an activity of his choice; a bike ride and a slurpee; another ''Take the Night Off" (and spend it with him); a "Let's Go Shopping" (with a dollar limit but no restriction as to what he can spend it on); and lastly a 'Birthday Movie' which I will put together with the memories that we have of this 11th Birthday Gone Awry (but salvaged, when given a second chance).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Best Laid Plans

It's been a one step forward, two steps back kind of week ...

I was mentally prepared for a busy week. Then 2 of my dance lessons were cancelled so I relaxed ... for a moment.

Little did I know that extra time would be filled with new-things-to-do. Vital things-to-do. Things that had to get done in the time frame I would have been dancing. So the time freed up from my cancelled lessons worked out to my benefit.

All week, I've planned to exercise in the free moments of my day. It hasn't happened. My energy level has plummeted and watching My Youngest on the Dance Dance Revolution wore me out.

Finally! Last night ... after running across the city to buy My Youngest's favorite cinnamon bagels (no raisins) on the only night that they are open long enough for me go buy them ... making a pit stop at the ATM to do some banking ... buying groceries and putting them away ... I was ready to exercise. This was the night I was going to burn off the bag of potato chips (and much, much more) that I scarfed down in the 24 hours that preceded me.

Son #1 was going to drop by and pick up some parcels that he had delivered here. Oh well. I'd exercise after he left ... "I still had time ..."

Then ... the computer died. Just up and quit. The last time it did this, it was the power supply. I unplugged the computer, waited a few minutes and it did turn back on. As luck would have it, I had my resident computer expert coming over within minutes to pick up his parcels and (even more fortunate) I had a spare power supply in the house.

Long story short ... the computer died again while he was here but he had to be back home right away so he packed up the computer and power supply and called me when it was fixed.

I was so frustrated at the thought of my exercise plan going out the window ... again. But I would have been a thousand times more frustrated if my computer savvy son hadn't been able to fix my broken computer (almost on the spot).

I had book keeping work that I needed to get done. Waiting a few days for a computer service call would have been more than a little inconvenient. It would have meant I couldn't work.

As it turns out, my week-gone-awry has turned out with far more benefits than I would have had, had everything gone as planned.

Best laid plans gone awry can sometimes work out to be even better than what you expect. When everything feels like it is going wrong, it can sometimes end up being very, very right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Too Tired to Dance

What's with that?! I'm never too tired to dance! But last night by the end of the 2-group-dance-class-marathon that I endured, I was weary.

My brain couldn't absorb any more knowledge, my feet were sore, my balance was off and I was ready to go home.

45 minutes is about the perfect amount of time to spend absorbing new information and putting it to use in the dance world.

The first 45 minute lesson was wonderful. My dance instructor (who normally leads this class) has been off with an injury the past few weeks so the owner of the studio took his place. There was a 4 female to 1 male ratio last night, so I had to be in the 'lead' position a lot of the time. This is usually enough to send my stress levels through the roof ... but not last night.

My body and brain were up to the challenge. It doesn't mean that I succeeded, but I did try.

There is a lot of 'brain work' that goes into leading, when dancing. The lead has to plan about a half of a beat ahead of where they are at. I assume that there must be an autopilot that their brain starts to go on after a while, but it certainly makes me appreciate the challenge that a new 'lead dancer' faces every time that I must dance a mile in their shoes.

Being taught by a different instructor was also an unexpectedly pleasant change. I'm comfortable with my instructor, I enjoy his rapport and humor and I learn a little along the way. I've been taught by this other instructor at different stages of my dancing and he challenges a different part of my brain. Not always the part of my brain I want to challenge when I'm geared up for fun on the dance floor. But variety is the spice of life.

By the time the second 45 minute lesson came, I was teetering on overload. But it was a new instructor, a new dance and a different part of the brain and body challenge. So it worked out okay. Until the last 15 minutes. I was pretty much spent. No brain or body power left.

I came home, watched Kurt play 'Dance Dance Dynamics' on the Wii. I took a few turns in between stuffing myself with a bag of Ruffles Potato Chips (nothing healthy about them - I pretty much ate a whole days worth of calories in the half hour I watched Kurt work out on the Wii).

I went to bed early, slept like a log and tried to act ambitious this morning. I turned on the 'Wii Fit' and spent 50 minutes going through the paces. My body just wasn't working like it is capable of working. I'm tuckering out.

The thing about energy levels is, the more you do ... the more you can do. Slow down for a while ... and watch out. It's hard to rev up the energy and ambition again.

Dancing is a little bit like that. You have to slow it down to an almost unbearable pace to absorb all the technicalities of what you need to learn to make the most of your dance lesson dollar. But ... the more you move, laugh and have fun ... the more energy you have to put onto the floor.

I'm in the 'lead' position in my life. I'm always half of a beat ahead from where I need to be and my brain is continually anticipating the next move as I direct the kids, family and work flow through my days.

As long as I keep moving, my energy remains high. If I stop too long to think, I'm too tired to 'dance' through my days.

So I'm pretty content to just 'play' and follow the leader on the dance floor. When I have to work too hard, I am simply ... too tired to dance.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time Debt Load

I can't get caught up! I'm a two-steps-ahead-kind-of-girl ... and if I'm not 2 steps ahead, it feels like I'm running behind.

If I could turn off the world for 24 hours and not add distraction, new ideas and more work to what I already have ... I believe that I could catch up with what I have at hand.

The problem is, that even if I did shut the blinds, turn off the phone, lock the door and shut down my Internet connection ... I would probably come up with new and improved things-to-do.

It seems that every time that I idle, I come up with more new ways of keeping busy. The biggest reason that I can't catch up is because I keep adding to my to-do-list.

I hope today is the kind of day where I can chip away at the pile (that is growing instead of shrinking) of things that I need to be doing. There seems to be interest accumulating on this debt load of time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Brand New Week

I had an excessive amount of words in me yesterday so I blogged them all out of my system. I'm happy to report that I've let it all go and I'm ready to carry on. No need to vent this morning. It feels good.

It's good to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. That is what this week is. A second chance, starting fresh, rebuilding from what where I'm at and hopefully the week will wind up the way I anticipate. I'm sure that it will.

I took a break from my exercise/healthy eating for the weekend. I enjoyed the break but I'm not ready to jump back on that bandwagon.

What felt best was my feet. I have been doing running/jumping types of exercise on a cement floor (that is covered in laminate and 2 thin layers of carpeting) in my bare feet. The balls of my feet were a mess. I ran out and bought some indoor 'cross trainers' so I have some shock absorbers as I bounce around downstairs. Between those, some wonderful foot ointment by Dr. Scholl, my massaging/bubbling foot spa and resting my feet for a day ... I can now walk on uncarpeted surfaces without cringing. I think my feet needed a break.

It's nice to feel good about jumping right back on the exercise and mindful eating again today. I love the food choices that I have available to me. It's amazing how one does actually begin to crave healthy food when you are regularly exposed to it. Funny how that works. I like it.

A person does get used to a certain 'status quo' in their lives. Whether it is a body or mind thing.

My 'mind thing' was tested over the weekend and I know that I have worked too hard to get my 'mind' healthy and strong to let anything interfere with that. I regained a sense of peace, harmony and safety when I removed myself from an unhealthy marriage 21 1/2 years ago ... whenever that serenity was threatened, I fought hard to regain it. This new status quo is all to do with personal limitations and what negativity I will allow into my world. I have a low tolerance for it. Not on a regular basis.

I have purged myself of the thoughts that were weighing me down, I haven't started making my to-do-lists for the week ahead, my mind and body are rested and my feet are ready to go.

This is a good way to feel on a Monday. Bring it on ...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Looking Beyond the Pain

In my 'previous life', I seemed to find friendships based on mutual suffering. Few of those 21+ year old friendships survived the transition into my 'new life' but one special friendship comes to mind that survived the good, the bad and the ugly ...

It's not a friendship based only happy times or times of suffering. It is a friendship based on who we are. We've seen each other through the the best of times and the worst of times. We speak the same language. We don't hold onto the pain ... but we talk about it, confront it, take what we can learn from it and carry on. We reflect on past experiences and we can see the positive things that we salvaged from a negative experience. We realize and accept the fact that we wouldn't be where and who we are today, if we hadn't travelled the road we were on. We've each had our moments of anger and bitterness. We lived through the emotion, embraced it as long as we had to ... but in the end, we searched for the lesson we needed to learn. We retained the lesson but learned to let go of the pain.

As I think of all of the positive friendships/relationships that I have made in my 'new life', they all embrace this same concept.

I have empathy for people who are experiencing and have experienced a rough patch in life. Every one has them. Some are more vocal about it than others, but no one goes through life unchallenged in some way.

I listen, I empathize, I try to look for one morsel of good within a bad situation. I think it is good to try to get a glimpse beyond the worst moment that a person is enduring. Sometimes a person is in a position to hear it, sometimes they aren't.

In a lot of cases, there is one small step that a person can take. A baby step perhaps, but one step in a forward direction can help a person regain the feeling of taking control in an out of control situation. Once you take the first step, the second is usually easier ...

What I find most frustrating of all, is a person perpetually focusing on the negative or placing the blame on people/circumstances beyond their control. They are wasting their energy on excuses and not looking for a solution.

The solution may be a thousand steps away and taking only one small step feels inconsequential. So they take no action. They are paralyzed with fear, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate ... and taking a step in a different direction, takes them one step away from where they are at. Sometimes they are simply not ready. They stew and continue to stay stuck instead of taking one step in a new direction.

The best way to ensure repeating mistakes of the past, is to continue reacting to them in the same way. Or ... do nothing.

Look to where you want to be in life. Step out of the pain and move ahead.


Every single time I bailed out of a relationship, I felt it was to save myself. I felt void of everything that I thought I liked about myself. Each rebuilding process after the demise of a relationship felt like I was starting from scratch. Each break up taught me something that I needed to learn.

The last process of recovery has been my best one yet. I have developed an inner belief that any one or anything that detracts from this inner serenity and happiness, is some one or something that I don't want/need regular exposure to.

It is still a learning experience to expose myself to all personality types and appreciate what I can from their vantage point. But ... not at the expense of either party eroding the essence of the other person.

I will not allow some one to take away what I have built inside of myself. I have an internal barometer that measures the 'happy factor' within me, after an encounter with some one.

They can have their views and ways of dealing (or not dealing) with their life experiences. But I will not and can not embrace and encourage a friendship with some one who drains me of 'all that is good'.

If a personal encounter doesn't leave me feeling uplifted, reflective and encouraged ... I don't pursue it.

And that's all I have to say about that.

The Pessimist Verses the Optimist

I have recently heard that there is something in a person's genetic make-up that predetermines their inclination towards being an optimist or a pessimist.

I am not a firm believer of using genetics as a scape goat. Even if one is genetically inclined to behave in one way, I think that personal choice is the other part of that equation (it's all about math to me).

Anyway ... (small side bar to explain my belief that addictive behaviors linked to genetic predisposition is not an excuse but a reason to make conscious choices to be the opposite).

Back to my topic ...

As I am collecting memories from my dad's family, I am blessed to have the opportunity to build a memory of my grandpa (who I have little or no memory of). I have been collecting photos and I have a vivid picture in my mind of his physical appearance. As I collect memories, I am gaining a mental image of who he was inside.

In a word, he would be best described as an optimist. During the depression years, his often recalled quote is "Next year can't be worse." Little did he know at the time, that the next year would be as bad or worse. But instead of looking back, he looked ahead. He was a planner and a risk taker. He looked at the bright side.

I've been told that this quality was one on his maternal side. Thus, attributing these traits to his family surname could be wrong. This trait could be traced back to his mother's maiden surname.

Again! I digress. But I do have a point here. There appears to be a genetic link to this optimistic view of life. I truly believe (and try to enhance) that I have been blessed with this optimistic attitude. To think that it is connected to my unremembered grandpa and his mom's side of the family and to hope that it is a gift that I can pass along to my own children is the best legacy I can think of.

Again ... I fall off of my topic ...

As I explore my family history and some 'opposites attract' scenarios in my dad's family, I posed the question to my uncles, if they thought that may have been the case with my grandma and grandma.

Grandma was somewhat introverted and a worrier. Grandpa was more outgoing and a risk taker. In recollections where I've heard Grandpa and Grandma's (remembered) thoughts on the same topic, Grandma's thoughts seemed to reflect the negative side of the 'what if' scenario. Grandpa's also looked at the 'what if' and saw the positive.

Not to put labels on them, but each had an individual and differing dominant pessimistic or optimistic nature. According to my research, this does add credence to my opposites attract theory in their case.

In Michael J. Fox's documentary focusing on researching the optimistic nature of his personality/his book (Always Looking Up), there was research documented on the optimist verses the pessimist personality.

It was learned that each personality has their unique way of looking at life and using their dominant optimistic/pessimistic way of thinking, to provide a different way of problem resolution. To force a pessimist to 'look on the bright side' is as frustrating to them, as it is for the optimist to be inundated with negativity. They will each come to a solution, but in their individual way.

I believe that it is beneficial to look at both vantage points to gain a full spectrum of thinking. I'm not so close minded as to believe that only looking at the bright side is the right way. I don't mind being challenged in my thinking and given a new perspective. I like to believe that this dynamic worked for my grandparents and it does explain the attraction of a past relationship of my own. But ...

I don't believe a relationship should result in the subtle erosion of a person's natural born ability to perceive life's experience in the way that is natural to them.

When a person can look at the differences that attracted them to a person in the first place, and accept and embrace them it is good. The problem of real-life, is that those very opposite things that attract people are the very things that act as repellents as familiarity and comfort levels allow each party to voice their opinion of the other's way of thinking.

To take away an optimist's feeling of hope and brightness of the future is like snuffing out a dream and the essence of who they are. To tell a pessimist not to worry and hope for the best? Well .... I'm an optimist, so I don't see the harm in that. But it does undermine the person that they are. And nothing good can come of not accepting your partner 'warts and all'.


"Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they shall not be disappointed"

I know better. I've tried to teach my kids better. But I still fall into the trap of setting myself up for disappointment. I tend to get excited about the way that I expect something to happen.

First times are often the best times. Because something is new and never-before-experienced, you may have hopes but you don't have the bar set too high. If the anticipation level is low, you can often meet or exceed it.

Second and third times are a little bit like losing the 'magic of Christmas'. That ideal Christmas that just can't be beat. Expectations and the hype of the season ... learning that there is no Santa Claus ... growing up and becoming jaded when your expectations exceed the reality.

Look at children ...

You start out in life, expecting nothing. Everything is a fresh, new experience. There has been no standard set, so everything is new and a wonder to behold. Every time is "the best one yet."

It happens so gradually - the process of trying to recapture the magic that happened before. There is a little deflation, as you think this isn't what I expected ... or as good as the last time. The reality is, that in all likelihood it probably was as good as the last time. But as humans, we subconsciously expect it to be better.

I tried my best to keep my children from experiencing the let down of those magical times (birthdays and Christmas). We celebrated the day, but not in a hyped up way. I went along with the idea of Santa ... but I didn't lie to my kids and say there was one either. My intent was to try and make a special occasion or day a small family experience. Not too much hype and hopefully, not too much disappointment.

You can't protect your kids from disappointment. It comes in many forms. Maybe my kids didn't feel let down from not having expectations dashed ... but they felt the loss of not feeling the magic of anticipating something to start with. Or is it natural for a child to get excited ... and I tamped down that emotion and it was a double whammy of disappointment?

The magical moments do stand out. The year my oldest son (who was always in need of batteries and those were the meager living/strict budgeting days), got a battery charger for Christmas and was thrilled. My sister can still conger up that image, as she recalls her memory of that momentous Christmas.

Before the days of social interaction and the inevitable question "What did you get for Christmas?" from their peers, kids are so easily pleased. One Christmas, my middle son's request from Santa was for crayons and something equally as meager. It was the year that he opened up one gift and immediately sat down and played with it. He opened up his crayons and coloring book and his Christmas was complete. He got what he asked for and he colored. Expectations met, he was satisfied.

That brings me to today. We celebrated my youngest son's 11th birthday ...

Mistake #1 - we tried to recapture the magic of his 10th birthday. He was quoted as saying "This is my best birthday yet!" To try to meet and exceed that was a recipe for disaster.

We invited the same kids plus had the same theme idea. That equalled expectations. Nothing went according to plan.

I thought that this would give us the opportunity to create a new memory. I had back up plans (that unfortunately relied on the weather and the weather didn't co-operate). The fortunate thing is, that it was a sleep over. In other words, a 'do-over' opportunity this morning. "I've still got time ..." (my favorite Disney quote ) to turn this around.

I explored the Yellow Pages (we are in a hotel and I have no access to my Google connection) and I have Plans A, B, C & D to try and save the day.

This 11th birthday may be "the worst birthday yet" ... but it's good to have that experience under your belt. From here on in, it can only get better?

P.S. There is a lot to be said for a surprise party. NO expectations!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Well, my journey in trying to put a cap on this out of control weight gain is long and never ending ...

I honestly thought that I had it licked when I turned it into a math equation. Consume "X" amount of calories + burn "X" amount of calories = gradual weight loss. The equation is right, but my execution of the plan wasn't ideal.

I did well for several weeks, then I went on my first binge. I truly believe my binges are triggered by sugar. Once triggered, watch out. I'm on a full blown rampage.

Despite my bad food consumption days, I continued to exercise. In fact, I became more dedicated to burning those excessive calories I seemed powerless over consuming. I thought that even if I kept the fitness goal in mind, all is not lost.

I kept tracking my eating habits in my 'food journal', I kept my graph updated. I have 3 different lines on the same graph that track my calories consumed, calories burned and my weight.

I continued to make healthy grocery purchases. Even when I was on my binges, I was (usually - not always) consuming excess amounts of healthier and low calorie snacks. It was the quantity that was my problem.

I kept telling myself "tomorrow is a new day." I wouldn't let one day's failure take me off the course I was on. Then I would flip the page of my journal and think "it's a new page ... a clean slate ... try, try again."

All the while, I watched the lines on my graph. No matter how bad the calorie intake got, it rarely exceeded my previous eating habits. Things weren't perfect ... but they were better.

The other graph that encouraged me was the one that tracks my weight on the Wii Fit. I would not recommend weighing yourself daily. It is frightening and discouraging. But if you do ... make sure that you can look at a '3 month view' of your weight. I took another look at that this morning, and over the course of this calorie budgeting system my fluctuating weight has shifted downward one quadrant on their graph. I have definitely lost some of my recent weight and I have shifted myself to a new 'average' weight.

This week, I did a few things that I feel may be a turning point. I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again ... but this time, I truly feel like I'm onto a new way of thinking about food. I think.

#1 - I bought a 'Slim Fast' meal shake mix. On the can, it recommends having a Slim Fast shake for breakfast and lunch; have fruit for a morning and afternoon snack; add a salad with low fat dressing for lunch; eat a sensible, well balanced supper and have a light evening snack.

Hmmm ... I immediately had a Slim Fast shake for supper after I came home with my new found answer-to-all-of-my-problems. It suggested adding fruit, so I ended up recreating my morning smoothie plus the calories from the Slim Fast mix. This was not a good bargain in the calorie department (it sure tasted good though).

So I revised my plan for the next morning - I had my regular breakfast smoothie. I combine cranberry juice, a banana, frozen orange juice plus strawberries to my milk so it contains a fair amount of calories. But it jump starts my day and sustains me until lunch. If it's not broken, don't fix it.

I had a nectarine for my later morning snack; added only strawberries to the Slim Fast shake and salad for lunch; an apple for my afternoon snack and a divine supper of BBQ chicken, mixed vegetables and salad for supper; with strawberries and Cool Whip (just a bit) for dessert. I was totally satisfied and fulfilled in every way. My feet were killing me that evening, so after supper I sat still with my feet soaking in a bubbling/massaging foot spa that I purchased at a garage sale last weekend as I sipped on a cup of mint green tea as I read my book. Ahhh ... what a life! I felt so good, that I exercised for 2 hours after that. By the time I was ready for bed, I was totally satisfied. No need to gorge myself with food. I felt at peace with the day without my usual food rewards (though I did grab a 45 calorie fudgicle as I watched TV the last few minutes of my waking hours that day).

#2 - I have been devoted to my exercise plan - I work it in at some point during the day. It has taken up a lot of my time in the evenings this week, so it has done double duty by not only burning calories ... but preventing me from consuming a day's worth of calories after supper.

#3 - I sat down with my food journal and I itemized breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks that I enjoy (and are a good calorie bargain). I sat down and did the math. If I had my breakfast smoothie, the Slim Fast shake with fruit, plus a few fruit snacks during the day ... what choices did that leave me with for supper? I juggled the books. This is what I do best - juggling around a finite number amount and making it work.

I guess I needed to track my failures and successes to try and find what did and didn't work for me. I know these things:

- I am an emotional eater. I eat for a variety of reasons, all of which are triggered by something I'm feeling internally. None of my binges were triggered by hunger.

- I am a closet eater. If I'm around people, I don't need food. I could eat 1/2 of my regularly allotted calories and be perfectly content because I am being fulfilled with people in my life.

- Food is a reward for me. I remember this from my childhood, as I requested having deep fried french fries (and nothing else) for lunch to celebrate something good that had happened to me. The taste sensations of that one weekly trip to McDonald's on Sunday evening as we sat down and watched 'The Wonderful World of Disney' together. The special can of Pringles that was bought as a treat that was shared by the whole family as we watched a special on TV. I have taken that reward system to the excess.

- Sugar is a trigger. One taste of sugar sends me on a craving frenzy. Sugar makes me crave salt; salt makes me crave fatty foods; fatty foods make me crave pop; pop = sugar ... and on we go!

- I need to plan my meals. If I know ahead of time what I will be having for supper, I can put the cravings on hold so that I can appreciate my meal. There is something to be said for anticipating what is on the menu. It sets up your taste buds for something good and healthy and alleviates that desire to fill up on something instead of supper.

The most important lesson I've learned is to focus on what is working ... and persist. As my uncle just wrote to me, about something totally unrelated to weight (quoting my Grandma) ... "Rome wasn't built in a day" (and neither was this weight gain).


Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Weight Off My Shoulders

As I went on and on about my system of keeping myself organized yesterday, I wondered why so many words were coming out of my finger tips on the subject. I now realize that these many 'piles' were getting to me.

As I wrote, I tended to many tedious tasks. All very small, but one by one I started to make some of the outstanding jobs disappear.

As the day progressed, more and more areas were cleared off. The white board was almost erased; an application form finally completed and mailed; coupons dealt with and off the counter; many little 'notes to self' either dealt with or combined onto one small piece of paper. I walked by the living room table at the end of the night and did a double take. It was almost empty!

It was such a gradual thing, that I really didn't realize how things were piling up. Probably because I had things piling up in so many other areas of my life? The same could be said of how I dealt with so many small chores yesterday. It happened slowly but surely, but by the time I went to bed I felt like I had very little 'outstanding' work to do.

It's kind of like doing spring cleaning (which I don't do) or getting rid of that pile of recycling that accumulates so quickly. A person just doesn't realize how the dirt or pile is multiplying ... until it is there staring you in the face and there is no denying it.

I ended the day by exercising for a few hours and then spending the last of my energy on my book keeping job (one of those jobs that felt onerous, only because I hadn't faced up to it).

I kept my hands 'out of the cookie jar' (and everything else) all evening. I took a 45 calorie fudgicle to bed with me (as I watched TV) and I savored every morsel of that ice cream treat as my reward for a day well spent.

I woke up pretty exhausted this morning so I slept in a bit. I still wanted to do some yoga and stretch out my tired muscles. It felt wonderful.

The most surprising reward of all, is when I weighed in with my Wii Fit trainer this morning. I just hit a new 'lowest weight' record since I started keeping track. I swear that it was the weight of all the unfinished work that I was carrying around that I lost yesterday. Maybe not - because I'm sure that would have weighed a minimum of 10 pounds.

It still is a load off my mind. And my body is reflecting that! It's all good ...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Things (Were) Piling Up

I leave visual clues around the house to remind me what is left on my never ending to-do list.

The 'outgoing' stuff that I must grab when I walk out the door is on the microwave, in my shoe or already in the car so that I can't forget it. My daily reminders, lists, notes-to-self are by the fridge. Any thing that is vital (to me) to get done is on the kitchen table. On the weekend, I have the luxury of placing an end table in the living room with any 'work-in-progress' that I hope to tackle. The table in the living room is a collecting spot for my book keeping work and my family history work in progress. I have 'reminders to self' all over the place.

I set timers to remind myself of various things. Sending kids to school (I'd never want to forget that one), turning off a sprinkler or anything else that is of a time sensitive nature. I have scraps of paper to remind myself to email, write, ask or tell someone something. I write notes to myself about things I want to write about or check into. I have a whiteboard on the fridge to list upcoming dates and events and a magnetic clip beside it to hold any related paperwork.

I woke up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed Monday morning and I simply ignored everything around me. I made my breakfast smoothie, had my coffee, gave myself the morning off of exercise and just tended to myself in the 2 hours that preceded the onset of kids.

After I took that time, I went into the kitchen and simply dealt with many of the piddly little tasks that were staring me in the face. I made them disappear. It felt like a load off of my shoulders, to have the counters clear of to-do-items. I could have done it all the night before. I'm not sure why I didn't. But waking up to this small amount of to-do-overload wasn't the way I wanted to start my week.

There is my book keeping pile. The pile was quite tall at the beginning of the weekend. I was overwhelmed at what I had to accomplish. The lack of a deadline to complete the work didn't help my ambition to tackle it. But I started with the work that had the visual appearance of looking the largest (in actuality, it was the easiest job to do). It was amazing how I felt after I put 3/4 of the pile in (a new) 'done' pile. Since then, the work keeps coming and it's not going any where (it hasn't been picked up). So I have my to-do pile and my done pile. My done pile is 17 inches tall; my to-do is 1 inch. Do I feel invincible? You bet! The unfortunate part is the yet-to-be-done pile is brain intensive work. But it doesn't really matter right now, when I look at what I have accomplished.

My family history project has a few spots around the house. The albums (that have been scanned and are in the to-go-pile), the paper work that has amassed and my recorder with my many notebooks of the conversation I have transcribed. Once again, the work yet to be done has the visual appearance of taking up a small amount of space physically. The time involved to complete the task is another story.

In the (almost) 2 hours since I started this post, I have dealt with and created more cues to ensure I get as much done as I can with the time that I have available today. My 17" pile of completed book-work has been removed from the house and I feel about 10 pounds lighter.

In reality, the weight issue is still a battle I'm contending with. I must prepare the makings for a salad (empty container is on the counter so I don't forget); the nectarine that I plan to have as my mid morning snack is also in sight (to get my taste buds and mind accepting the fact that my snacks will be of a healthy variety today).

What we place in our line of vision creates what is going on inside of our minds. I should find a picture of my leaner body on the fridge (and various snack cupboards). I should design a cover for the family history books that I am working on. I should do a lot of things. I think I'll start a list ....