Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Mother, Can You Spare an Hour?"

Kurt gingerly approached me last night, as I sat at the computer (quite literally surrounded by the boxes of work that I require, to do my next book keeping task) and said that he really felt like cashing in one of his birthday coupons. The one that gave him "One hour of my time (redeemable any evening - just let me know that you need some time with me)."

I uttered the words 'Oh no', as I was knee deep in my newest work project. And he walked away. I thought that he had given up on me ... again. But he returned about a half an hour later, with his coupon in hand.

And I walked away from my work. I forewarned him that I had left a phone message for someone and I was expecting a call. But we sat down and turned on a movie anyway.

The phone rang and I was back to our movie and our 'hour' within 15 minutes.

It was wonderful.

As much as he simply needed to share some physical space with me ... I needed the same. I just didn't recognize it.

An hour was perfect. Any longer, and I would have fallen asleep. Any shorter, and it wouldn't have been long enough.

Just time. Time to sit still. Time to share a couch. Time to turn out the rest of the world and responsibilities.

Sometimes ... we all just need a little time.

I returned the coupon to Kurt. I think I need to walk away from my obligations sometime and focus on what is truly important.

I'm making time for my family.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Technical Difficulties

As I've spent the past few days fighting with a program on the computer and trying to make it work for me, I exhausted my mental resources.

I don't mind the battle, if I've got something to show for it at the end.

Yesterday, at the end of a very long evening, I had finally accomplished what I had set out to do ... but I still couldn't work with what I had. I was deflated.

Then, I took a breath and stepped away.

I decided to take one step away from technology (sending a file via email), another step sideways (saving the book to a CD) and one step forward and do whatever it takes to complete the job (send it via 'snail mail').

That is what I'm doing this morning (except there is one final revision that I want to make, which means entirely redoing everything that I did yesterday).

As the computer slowed down to what feels like a turtle's pace yesterday (in this world of hi-tech speed and efficiency), all I could think is "please ... don't break down on me now!" And it didn't.

My technology is holding up.

My trusty steed(s). A computer that just keeps going ... which reminds me of all of that I have, that makes my life so much simpler. I have a computer. And ... a car that continues to get me where I need to go ... a home that shelters my family ... a supply of groceries on hand that sustains us. But most importantly, a body that just keeps going.

Not only do I have the ability to challenge my brain by going to school, work on book projects and doing my book keeping. I have a body that is strong and hardy. It weathers the storms and just keeps ticking (for which I'm eternally grateful).

Technical difficulties or not. I'm moving on.

Monday, September 28, 2009


As a book project that I've been helping a friend work on is in the final stages before it goes to press, I'm looking at it one last time. From a new perspective.

As this book has gone from one stage to the next, we keep looking at it in new ways. From the computer screen in front of us ... to the 'print preview' (where you can see how the document will appear on the printed page) ... to printing it off and looking at it on paper. There are two of us working on the project, each with a different eye and we notice different things. We bounce ideas off of each other and we keep thinking we are done. And finally ... we have completed our mission. Or so I thought.

As I transferred this to the 'PDF file' last night/today, I'm seeing it from yet another vantage point. Little things that I missed are now glaring at me. More changes and edits.

I couldn't help but think of 'life' as I was thinking of all of these varying perspectives.

Someone I know is going through a very thorough self-examination of their life at the moment. They are examining their past, their actions, habits, relationships and every little nook and cranny of 'life as they know it.'

What impresses me most about this person, is their honesty and quest to dig to the heart of the matter. They aren't looking for easy answers or excuses. They are taking this as an opportunity to make changes that will affect their relationships and life from this point on.

They are thinking, researching, talking and listening. They are talking to friends, family and professionals. They are talking to people that see things from a different perspective than they do. And they are looking for brutally honest answers.

It's very hard to look at yourself honestly. The way you internalize and perceive life is as individual as your fingerprint. Yet most of us strive to be accepted and want to build solid relationships in our lives.

Every person in your life sees a different part of you. Every encounter with a person involves at least two different people's point of view. Two people can describe the same incident and both see a completely different side to the exact same situation.

It's all about perspective.

And as it is, with this book that I am desperately trying to send off ... I can keep coming back at it from a new direction and see many more things that I could change. The process could be endless. But at some point, I do have to be content that I've done all I can. And move forward. Even then, I'll continue to notice other things. It may be too late for this book ... but I'll know for the next time.

As is is in life. All you can do is learn as you go. Keep the important lessons, move forward, keep looking at life and yourself in different ways and remember all you've learned for the 'next time' ...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Life is What Happens ...

There's nothing more eye opening in life, than feeling like you wake up one day and life as you knew it and expected it to be ... is all but a memory.

It can happen to anyone. An accident or illness that completely upends the plans that you had for your life. An unexpected loss of a job. A family crisis. A relationship ends ...

There is such peace in waking up and feeling like you know what is in store for you. 'Ruts' as I call them. Comfortable and familiar, you walk mindlessly through your days and do the same things, act the same way, take life and relationships for granted and assume that tomorrow will be more of the same.

Even when you know 'life' isn't perfect and that there are ways you could improve it or yourself, it is far too easy to keep doing what you've always done. Living your days as you have done for what seems like an endless amount of time.

But every now and again, a person's world gets shaken.

If we are very lucky, no matter what happens ... we can pick up the pieces that remain and go on. When we pick ourselves up and carry on, we have a choice. To put the puzzle back together exactly how it was and go on doing the same thing, thereby recreating the sequence of events that got us to that low point. Or ... we can pick up some of the better pieces, cast a few of the old ones aside and try to rebuild something 'new' within ourselves.

I have 'recreated myself' a few times as life went on. Each rebuilding process hurt a little bit more than the one that preceded it. The last 'loss' in my life was the most painful of all. But you know what? In the rebuilding process, I added some brand new 'pieces' to my life. And I believe that this creation is the best one yet ...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Morning Meanderings

Ahhh! The weekend at last.

My brain started to slow down late yesterday afternoon. I completed the book work task at hand; the house was clean; a load of laundry was on the go; and 2 out of 3 of the kids I had tended had gone home. I grabbed my book, sat down ... and relaxed.

I ran one quick errand last night, I turned off my brain and turned on the TV.

Yes, the TV. As I arranged myself in a relaxed spot alone on the couch and put my feet up, it felt like it had been ages since I had granted myself a moment such as this.

The best part is, that I didn't grab something to eat as I turned on the TV. Snacking and TV had become synonymous in my mind, by the time last years TV season wound to a close. Part of my inclination to keep the TV viewing out of my life was to alleviate the temptation to return to my prior eating habits.

As Kurt and I have sat and watched movies together, we often will eat a 'take-out-meal' as we sit down in front of the TV. But the snacking has been minimal. We may have some treats at arms length ... but we nibble a bit and that's it. We ignore the temptation for the most part. Snacking and TV, my eternal friends ... seem to be parting ways.

My overeating syndrome seemed to crash to a halt, as I made my decision to wean myself off kids and pursue the idea of going back to school (thus, altering my work-from-home-path).

There has been an inner peace within me that has returned. I had been trying to remain positive in my daycare oriented world for a long time. But I was losing the battle. My insane eating habits were almost entirely related to the conflict within my mind.

I can still feel the sensation of 'filling' an already satisfied appetite. My stomach was full, but I was still running on empty. I binged on foods that I don't even normally crave. I could feel the chaos in my mind but I didn't do anything about it. Except eat.

My weight has become a non issue for me once again. As the dance showcase nears, I know that I must find new costumes. I wish that 'blasted red ballgown' fit (it haunted me, even when I weighed 10 pounds less) but ... it doesn't. I haven't even tried it on. But I know.

I'm content within my skin and my new size. If a few pounds drop off as my eating habits change, that is okay. But I'm done fighting with the scale. I think the reason I became so consumed with those numbers was because I was trying to control something within my life. My life had become consumed with kid-noise and unpredictability.

My new life has been busy. I've had some curve balls tossed this way that I wasn't expecting. It added clutter to my brain ... but not chaos. At no point, in the four weeks that I have been at school, have I turned to food to calm the chaos within. There is a calmness that has taken its place. This serenity feels unshakeable.

I'm revelling in that state of mind this glorious Saturday morning (but now, I must get to work ... I have a few attainable goals on 'the list' for today).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Overflowing Brain Syndrome

That's it. My brain is officially full.

I was talking to a neighbor that I've chatted to throughout the years (the vandalism on our street has definitely bonded the neighborhood) and I finally thought to ask her what her name was. She no sooner said it, and I forgot it. I saw her lips move. I heard her voice. But the name? Poof! Gone ...

I was talking to one of the parents I babysit for, who got a new job. He was enthusiastically telling me all about it and all that this new store sold. I asked him on 3 occasions (and I know that I've been told, at least twice before that) who he worked for. And I knew (even before he left), I had already forgotten again. I was consciously trying to remember the name. Honestly trying.

Then there was my dance lesson last night. It was definitely good for a laugh. My instructor's parting words to me as we finished off the lesson were "It's been interesting." Later on in the group class he taught, he was saying there is no such thing as 'wrong' ... 'different' maybe, but not wrong. How about 'interesting'?

I wrote 2 exams this week and my school brain can relax for the weekend (I have put in my school hours for the week and have today off, to spend with the school kids who have yet another day off of school).

Things on the home front feel a little calmer. There is still lots going on for my kids, but I'm feeling a little more grounded and I have separated myself from taking on their troubles. I'm still ready, willing and able to listen and walk with them through these unknown paths. They aren't alone ... but I'm not carrying their weight either.

My little bubble of security feels firmly back in place once again. I fell into a deep and worry-free sleep last night (as I 'watched' a movie with Kurt). Exhaustion didn't even begin to describe the sensation I felt as I lifted my weary body off the couch and maneuvered myself to my room.

Maybe I can clear a few items off the 'to-do' list today so that I can steal some time on the weekend to watch a few of the shows from the new season. The funny thing is, that I'm not even all that anxious to throw myself back into the TV habit.

I'm so ready for the weekend. These past 4 weeks in my 'new life' have felt somewhat exhausting. Change is tiring.

My brain is beyond full. I'm ready to empty out the excess, keep what's important and keep adding some new stuff. Next week ...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shattered Security

I love my little bubble.

I walk around, very much in my own little world. Feeling like 'doing unto others' is a very good way to live. And since I don't do too much that I wouldn't have done unto me ... I feel very safe, happy and at peace in the world I have created.

I don't listen to or watch the news. I don't read a paper (well actually I glance at the headlines when there is a paper at school). My news comes to me via the people I talk to, or the headlines that may catch my eye when I go to the site that contains the word puzzles that I do.

So even when our little Playhouse Fire shattered my security, I was still okay.

Except when I left for school that very same morning. The back gate was unlatched ... again. And the cupboard doors had been left open ... again.

My heart started palpitating ... again. 'They are coming back' was my thought as I drove mindlessly to school. I got to school, phoned the police to let them know that I felt that someone had already returned to the scene of the crime. I was told that they would put extra patrols in the area. I called my son and he said he'd come by and check things out during the day (he was working in the area).

I had done all I could do. All I could do was trust that things would be okay.

I couldn't help but think of all the things that we would lose in a fire. All the things that I had left 'at risk' so that I could go and educate myself that day.

First and foremost were items that didn't belong to me. Pictures that a friend had dropped off so that I could scan them and the most recent updates to the family history book we are working on. At least everything (except those most recent pictures) were in her possession as well. So not everything would be lost in a worst case scenario.

Then I thought of a few things of importance to me (they were almost all computer-related ... this could be due to the fact that I've been studying the importance of backing up all of your computer files).

Then ... I let it go.

I worked at my studies throughout the day and all was well. Then I had a moment of panic at exactly 2:28 that afternoon as I thought I smelled some kind of electrical overheating odor. I thought that it was my extrasensory perception, sensing that my own home was going up in smoke. So I packed up my books and came home.

Whew. Everything was exactly how I left it. Even the gate was latched. My peaceful bliss returned.

I cleaned up the remnants of the fire that was set and in doing so, I was certain that this was not a fire set with malicious intent. It looked like the work of 'kids at play'. Trying various items throughout the play house, seeing 'what would happen' if they burned this, that and the other thing. I'm still eternally grateful that nothing got out of control. But having the sense that it was kids with too much time, freedom and a lighter on their hands helped me regain my sense of peace.

Then came last night.

I returned home when it was dark outside. And the sensor lights we have at the back door didn't turn on.

I immediately went in the house to grab a spare bulb to change it. As soon as I started turning the bulb, it flickered. So I turned the opposite way. Sure enough, both lights had been unscrewed.

In the dark and in my panicked mind I thought "They've been back." My sense of security was back to nil again.

I stayed up as late as I could. I left the outside lights on all night. I didn't turn off the interior lights. Let 'them' think that someone is up and watching for them, was my thought as I reluctantly went to bed.

I woke up at 3 am and immediately checked outside. All was well.

It was then, that I realized that the lights had probably been unscrewed the evening that the fire was set. I just didn't realize it at the time, because I got home before dark the next night. I panicked for nothing.

I have spent the last 21 1/2 years fighting to maintain the sense of serenity and peace in and around our home.

I'll fight to the finish. But I truly believe that it is in strict violation of my (and anyone else's) rights for some one to walk into my 'safety zone' and shatter the security that I have worked so hard to attain.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"What Would You Wish For?"

I had a deep and meaningful conversation with the (almost) 6 year old that had a two hour wait from the time the other kids left, until his mom arrived yesterday.

I thought that I would pick dandelions until his mom arrived (I never did run out of dandelions ... sigh) and as I did so, I would point out the lady bugs that I found and he collected them (he never ran out of lady bugs either). The only condition was, that he had to set the lady bugs free when his mom came.

We chatted as we went and as I was picking the dandelions, he said "You can make wishes on dandelions, you know" (when they have gone to seed and you blow them). None of the dandelions that I was picking had gone to seed so I asked him what he would wish for.

He replied, "More toys"

Me: "More toys? I thought you already had all the toys that you could ever want."

He: "I'm going to give some away so that I have room for more new toys. Then when I get too many new ones, I'll give those away and get some more."

Yikes. I didn't really have a comment for that so we went on our merry ways and continued collecting dandelions and lady bugs.

A little while later he asked me, "What would you wish for?"

I hesitated for a minute and said, "I don't have anything to wish for. I already have everything I want."

He: "You do!???"

Me: "Ya, I do. I have 3 kids ... and I don't want any more kids. I have a house ... and I don't want another house. I have a car ... and I don't need 2 of those. I have a computer to do all of my work on. I have all the food that we need to eat. I can't think of anything more that I want."

Him: Silence

I thought of it later. And though originally, I think that my response was to make him realize how lucky he already is and to give him some food for thought, I really don't have anything that I would wish for.

I am rich in all the things that I told him and so much more. I don't need more friends (though I'm always open and willing to make more), I like the ones I've got. I don't need anything different from my family, because I appreciate each and every family member for who they are and the relationship we have. I don't need to ask for my dreams to come true, because life has a way of letting things unfold just the way they are meant to be. If you work hard and follow your heart, the gifts are beyond what you could ever wish for.

Money? In my world of 'having enough', I also have enough money. I have enough to pay the bills, enough to dance, enough to have some room to spend (and enough to get an alarm system put on the garage). I may not be rich, but I have enough.

Would I wish for a light heart, health and happiness for all of those who touch my world? In a heart beat.

But since blowing on dandelion puffs won't make wishes come true, I'll just keep being me and hopefully people can draw a little on a little of this peace, energy, happiness and health that I carry within me. I can't give it away but I can share it.

I like where I'm at. I'm in a place where my wish list has turned into my dream list. I'm whittling away at my dreams. It's a very good place to be.

P.S. I just remembered that just before I went to bed last night, I did come up with one thing that I would wish for. More time. The days just aren't long enough to do all that I want to do.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Life's Little Warnings

My heart is still palpitating with adrenaline from 'what could have been' ... but wasn't.

It's a little bit ironic, because I was just telling my son about the 'crimes of opportunity' that have happened in and around our home over the course of time. It seems that if you put things away and lock them up, your belongings are safe.

As I ran through the list of things stolen (mostly from our guests!), there were unlocked doors involved. In only one case, was there actually a break-in (on second thought, make that two).

I have come to feel like my home has a protective bubble over it. I feel safe and protected. When I get thinking about it, I like to think that we are surrounded by angels that watch over us and keep us from harms way.

Fast forward to this morning ...

The signs were there, but I was a disbeliever. The (walk-in) garage door was ajar ... spray cans of paint were neatly taken out of the cupboard and lined up on the floor ... the back gate was ajar. I assumed that my son had been in the garage looking for something, then got sidetracked and forgot to close things up. He's done it before. The gate doesn't latch properly ... it's not unusual for it to be open.

But then ...

The playhouse door was ajar too. Now that is out of the ordinary.

The first thing I smelled when I walked in the door was fire. Posters that had been on the wall were burned; the wall was scorched; some toys were melted and the fringe on one of the cushions for the lawn swing had been burned. Then my heart started to pound.

My first thought was 'THANK YOU'!! It could have been so much worse. Had the playhouse started burning in earnest, the garage (and my car) would have been quite literally up in smoke. I didn't even think about the house. It wasn't until the police officer mentioned the close proximity of the house to the garage ... that by the time anyone noticed, the house could have started on fire too.

I am so, so grateful for this little wake up call. Was the garage locked last night? No. But my car was (no damage what so ever there). Was the playhouse locked? Never. It will be, from now on. Was the house locked and the alarm set? You betcha.

Locks are in place and a call to the security company to look into putting an alarm on the garage is on the agenda (when they open).

I'm not ignoring this little warning. It could have been so much worse. I have the opportunity to be (a little) proactive.

I love when life gives you a little 'shake' to alert you to the potential of things that could go awry. If you ignore that, the next time could be the real tragedy. It happens to me all of the time.

P.S. Just a light note to add, to add a little levity to this post.

As the police officer was leaving, he was commenting on the play house. He said, "You must have it for your grand children ..." Grand children? Could be ... but what that comment really, really told me is that I'm looking my age these days. Take that and enjoy, big sisters!! I'm catching up with you now!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A New Week Dawning

I have a very good feeling about the week ahead. I don't know why ... I just do.

A lot of it has to do with having a productive weekend. I didn't quite accomplish all that I had hoped to do, but I got all the must-do-items on my to-do-list done.

But more importantly, I feel very, very good about things within my little family. We are starting to feel like a family and that is a pretty wonderful sensation.

I was busy, but My Youngest had a revolving door of friends come and go throughout the entire two days. A totally unchoreographed sequence of events that led to one of his very best weekends (that we spent at home), he told me as he went to bed last night.

My mom has often told me "when your kids are happy, you are happy" ... and I'm starting to feel a little happier.

I'm really rooting for my kids these days. For many different reasons, as my kids are different in who they are and what they are going through. At ages 11, 22 and 31 their challenges are vastly different.

I've often said that I've been a completely different mother to each and every one of them. Right now, I am feeling that I am 'at one' with my motherness.

I'm strong, content and happy within myself. I feel the value of living the life that I have led to this point, as my life experiences are being drawn on to walk with my kids through the spot they are in right now.

I've never felt like I was deserving of a 'Mother of the Year' award. But this past week? I feel like that I was a mom. Maybe even a mom with a capital "M" ...

Launching off the week with our 'weekly Sunday family supper' feels very good and very right. I hope my family feels a little of what I'm feeling this morning.

I think it's going to be a very good week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Rainy Sunday

I love what rain signals to my brain. A 'stay inside' day. A day to putter with things within the confines of home. A day to read a book. A day to watch a movie (and possibly doze off, in the process). A day to write, call or visit someone. A day off.

But not in my world.

The day must begin by finishing the book keeping job that consumed the day, yesterday. I thought I was done, but as I was finishing the task I realized that I will have to go back and recheck what I thought I had done correctly ...

Then, it is time to look at my extracurricular project which hasn't moved from its spot on the table in the living room since its arrival ...

Then, I must prepare for (what we hope) is the first of a succession of 'Sunday Family Suppers'.

There is lots going on, within my children's lives. And they want ... they actually want to come home and keep me updated on the goings-on in their lives (I think the food is a big part of the big draw though).

My rainy Sunday may not start off as leisurely as I had hoped. But it will be wrapped up by spending time with 'My 3 Sons' ... and isn't that what counts?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

No Time For TV

I was so relieved when the TV season wound to a close this past spring. I ceremoniously took the tape out of the VCR and turned it off. I was no longer bound to the various TV shows that I regularly taped and became addicted to.

The TV has been off all summer, except for the times that Kurt and I sit down to watch a movie together. Whether I stay awake for the entirety of the movie is another thing. I may have been fully conscious for half of the time. Maybe.

Our dance instructor (for our group formation) has a few movies he would like us to watch to help us 'get in character' for the dance we are performing (I believe the second movie is one that we will all relate to due to our shared anxiety about this routine coming together in time for our performance). My heart skips a beat at the anxiety of trying to fit watching a movie into my ever-too-short-days.

Then there is the new fall season that I am starting to hear rumblings about. I heard an advertisement for 'Dancing With the Stars' as I was a semiconscious state in the middle of the night (I do turn on the TV to lull myself back to sleep when I have a restless night). I sighed and thought that this will have to be the season that I miss out on the drama of putting those dance routines together each week. The commitment is beyond my means this year.

I am addicted to too many TV shows! I don't even want to think about the cliff hangers from the season finales. I will feel too obligated to tune in and see how things are resolved. Even as I type that sentence, I just know that I will have to tune into 'Private Practice' and check in to see how Violet survives (and I'm sure she will) the scene they left her in all of these months.

On further thought, I also realized that my fascination with the many bloggers that I have added to my reading list, may have helped to fill the gap of the TV dramas that I was lacking. I do believe that no matter what TV shows I may or may not watch, I seem to look outside of my own world for drama and entertainment.

The 'time budget' that I laid out for myself at the onset of my new school routine isn't going so well.

Week #1, I succeeded the best. No outside interference was tampering with my plan to get my book keeping done in my after-school/evening hours. I set out a schedule, followed it and just about wore myself out in the process. But the reward was a weekend completely free and clear of all work obligations.

Week #2, I ended up wasting time. Work wasn't available when I had the time. I did have the time to work on a different project, but because I didn't know ahead of time that I would have the time to work on it ... I didn't have it available to work on. The day that my book keeping work arrived (just in time for the weekend) was the same day that I could have started working on this other project. A frittered week. And a weekend that I could have worked through both days ...

Week #3 (this past week), was a different story all together. Family commitments came first. They were important to put to the top of the list. I wouldn't have done it any other way, but it is a prime example of what 'life' is like. You have to expect the unexpected.

Budgeting my time is something I'll have to iron out as the months progress. I knew that I was pushing the limits, agreeing to join the group formation. But I didn't realize that there would be movies to watch (to enhance our learning and dancing experience) and extra practise time to work in. Yikes.

Each of my sons are in a very different stage of their lives. What they are going through right now, is as individual as they are. I love the fact that they are coming to me ... to visit and update me on their lives ... or to talk and sort through things (and have found me somewhat useful as a sounding board) ... that they want to have a weekly 'family supper' ... and Kurt? He just wants me to sit still and not be so busy all of the time.

Me? I want it all. My petition for 28 hour days and an 8 day week continues. I'm doing the best with what I have, but with the limited number of hours in the day and days in the week ... I can't 'do it all'. Believe me, I'm trying.

But what I'd really like most of all, is to have 45 minutes at the end of the day to sit still and watch a favorite TV drama unfold before me. What I really, really want ... is to be able to stay awake long enough to enjoy it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dancing the Night Away

My very first dance lesson was in the middle of a time of crisis in my life. My oldest son and I were going through the worst part of our relationship and we parted ways. I had just found out I was pregnant (and in the process of finding out that I was alone in that scenario).

I was consumed by my troubles. At one point, I remember being at home and crumbling to the floor and sobbing. I rarely fall apart. It's happened only on a few occasions and that, was one of them.

This was the backdrop to my life, when I walked in the doors of the dance studio the very first time.

From the moment I walked in the door until the moment I walked out ... I completely forgot every single thing that was going on in my life. My mind was void of everything except dancing.

Dancing did that for me for years. An oasis in the dessert. The good felt better and the bad disappeared when I walked through those doors.

Eventually there came a time when I walked through the dance studio doors and I carried my little black cloud with me. I knew it was time to walk away.

But I returned.

I've been back for quite a while now. I refer to the studio my 'happy place'. Once again, no matter what is going on around me ... I walk in those doors and I am transformed.

I'm comfortable, I'm happy, I laugh and I dance. It's a perfect blend of activity, people, music, joy and relaxation.

Once again, I'm at a point where I have a lot going on around me. School is new, work is plentiful, I have projects I'm working on, friends I see and family to tend. This past week, my family has been in need. That takes a different kind of energy. It's been hard on the heart but we are making steps in a positive direction.

Last night was my dance lesson.

The biggest distraction was trying to assemble a '50's costume for the dance that was to follow my lesson and the group classes. I dug through closets, my bow and ribbon collection, searched 'The Net' and eventually I came up with an assortment of accessories that would have to do.

I walked in those doors and was immediately swept away.

My lesson was fast and action packed. My feet and brain are starting to work in sync for one of my routines ... the second, not so much. But we laugh. And we laugh. Though there is a lot of work to be done, we seem to have fun in the process of getting from 'A' to 'B'.

Then there were the group classes. The first class started with 3 women to 1 instructor. That's good and fine. We've had small classes all summer. Then more people filed in and I had to take on my 'Dave' persona once again (we've been so short of men all summer that I've been doing my best to learn to lead).

It is all light and fun. Stumbling through and learning something with people who accept you as you are. Laughing, learning, laughing, dancing, laughing and sometimes succeeding. Fun, fun, fun.

Then the dance started. Once again the high women to men ratio meant that I danced once. But that's okay. I'm in it for the company. The last half of the dance was devoted to learning the 'Shag'. Everyone participated (and I didn't have to be 'Dave' this time).

Fun, fun, fun.

By the end of the evening, my feet were throbbing. Even this morning, they are very tender.

But my heart. My heart is happy and full.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Returning to Normal

I knew that I loved my ruts. Now I know why.

When life throws you for a curve, it's nice to brainlessly step back into the rituals of life. Little things.

Getting up at the same time to face a day that is predictable. Bound by responsibilities that leave no options. A work ethic that places goals out there, no matter what else is going on in life.

Back to school. Back to the book keeping. Back to dancing.

There is still an inner dialogue that is in the background of my mind. But it's not all consuming.

I love my hum drum little life. I know what to expect ... 98% of the time anyway.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Party of Four

My family.

Rarely do we plan any little impromptu suppers or visits unless they revolve around an occasion or a visit from my mom. But last night, we did.

A small pot luck supper for my family of four.

It was a wonderful and 'healing' time. We talked little, of things that matter until the evening wound to a close.

Words spoken, that I heard for the first time only 3 days ago. The same words were reiterated last night, with a little less anguish.

Other words are being spoken for the first time. Words of appreciation for our little family.

Our 'party of four' ...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Territory

I've been given a second chance to step up to the plate. To save a relationship. To help another soul as I do so.

I feel scared as I walk out on this limb. This person needs so much. If I make a mistake, will it jeopardize all the gains we have made to get to this spot?

I have found myself digging into the recesses of my mind, recalling and reliving the last three decades of my life to try and find the areas where 'lessons of my past' can help someone else.

I don't live in the world of regret. I've walked an interesting path and I've gained a lot of insight. But I let go of the pain. Or so I thought.

As I dig up morsels of insight that may or may not be helpful, I remember.

Living in the past serves no purpose. Lessons of the past are important to hold on to. The last few days I have been living somewhere in between those 2 spots. So I do what I always do when I'm in an uncomfortable state of mind. I write. And I talk.

I fear that I crossed the line and 'wrote too much' ... 'said too much'. In searching for ways to put my own feelings into perspective, I have betrayed a confidence.

I have taken in someone else's pain and owned it as my own. As if by taking on their pain, I subconsciously thought that I could lessen their load. Or is that just the natural state of this role?

I'm grasping for the oxygen mask so that I can save myself. I must be 'okay' in order to have anything to offer another person. I did what I had to do.

Owning someone else's pain doesn't alleviate the turmoil they are going through. So I will keep doing what it takes to keep myself in a position where I can offer my best self.

When someone 'needs too much' it's daunting. It puts me in a place that I want to run from. I'm scared of saying or doing the wrong thing.

So it's best to grab that oxygen mask ... and listen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Am I Up to the Task?

(I had removed this post, but I'm reposting it with permission from 'my first born')

I have never really forgiven myself for the mother-I-wasn't for my first born son.

I was young. At age 17, I was pregnant, married and living in an abusive relationship. Our baby was born and I was still a very spoiled child myself. I had little to give and this young, innocent child was instantly a victim of my neglect.

Time went on and I bailed out of the marriage. It all happened too fast. I was 18 years old and I had moved back home with my baby. My mom carried the parental role while I grew up.

The first thing I did was get a job ... then another. I worked 2 jobs for just over a year, bought a condo and at age 19 I was finally able to step up to the plate and be a 'mom'.

Then ... I backtracked and remarried my exhusband. Little did I know then, where that road would take us.Of course the abuse continued. Abuse is a funny thing. You can feel things escalating. They finally erupt. And when there are physical marks that portray the abuse to the abuser ... there is remorse. The honeymoon phase. As long as he was remorseful and the honeymoon phase followed the months that preceded it ... I stayed or kept going back.

The words hurled between us didn't carry a physical scar. That pain was much deeper. But the pain that was deepest of all was being carried quietly within the soul of our perfect child.

Yes, perfect. I can remember thinking that he was too perfect. It's funny that I remember that and that he just recalled a little story this past weekend where he was running around the house giddy with glee and freedom of fear when his dad went off to work one time. And when I walked in the door, he became the perfect child (his words).

Why was I so blind to his pain and fear? I wish upon wishes that I could turn back the clock and erase the 10 year cycle of abuse that we lived. I wish that I had been wise enough to put myself in my child's shoes and rescue him.

I guess I'm grateful that I rescued us at all. We walked away from that life, that city and that province.

At age 27, we started a new life. My oldest son was 9 years old and I had a 3 month old child. Finally, finally ... I saw the light. I had to save my children. And in doing so, I would save myself.

I could never get my oldest son to talk to me about those first 9 years. I tried ... and I tried to voice aloud to him, what I might think if I was in his shoes. I tried to open up the communication. But he had spent his first 9 years living in fear. Why would I think that it would be that easy? Why didn't we go to counselling back then?

But we kept moving forward. My perfect child got into trouble. At age 12, the police were involved. It was beyond frightening to think that he was on the cusp of his teenage years and it was beginning. We were going to become one of those single-parent-with-children-in-trouble-statistics. So I came down hard on him. Too hard ...

Things didn't get better. We endured the teen years and by the time he graduated from school, our relationship was beyond tenuous. It finally reached the point where I could no longer see him. I saw his father when I looked at him. I knew that it wasn't healthy for either one of us for him to live with me. He was finished school, he had a job, a car and had just gotten paid. And I had him move out.

His pleas to me at the time were "I'll pay rent ... I'll get counselling ... I'll do whatever it takes ..." But I was empty. I had nothing left in me to give at the time. And I turned my back.

There are so many forks in the road, where looking back I can see the error of my ways. In almost every case, I was beyond empty when I was at those turning points. When I abandoned my relationships ... I gave it my all, until I had nothing left to give. To work on saving something that I had already spent all of my energy trying to save while I was living it, wasn't even comprehensible to me at the time. I can remember the feeling and the rationale behind my thoughts. But it doesn't make it right.

Throughout the years since then, my oldest son and I rebuilt a very fragile relationship. Each encounter got a little bit better. I wrote him cards, letters and an email to try to put a voice to my guilt and open up a dialogue between us. Then you get to the point where you think 'I write too much' ... I thought I would just follow up in positive actions from this point on. It was small, but I thought we were getting to a better place. We weren't there yet. But it was better than it was. I never let go of the guilt ... but I settled for 'better'.

Fast forward to this past weekend. He called me. I really thought that he was coming to tell me some good news. I desperately tried not to get my hopes up but the little voice inside of me was saying "What else could it be??" He is in the best place in his life so far. He has had a long term (10 years) relationship with the most wonderful girl I could ever hope he would find. They bought a house, he has been working at his job for over a year, they were aspiring to build a new house ... their future seemed certain.

But nothing in this life is certain.

My son's life is turned upside down right now. His relationship has ended ... his girlfriend sounds as empty as I was when I walked away from my 'forever relationships'. She is spent.

And he is telling her "... I'll get married ... I'll get counselling ... I'll do whatever it takes ..."

And he came to me. It's time to be the mother that he always needed.


Am I up to the task?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In the Light of Day

As with most things that feel insurmountable at one point, once you take a few small steps in a positive direction ... the mountain doesn't seem as high.

A new day, taking action where possible, talking and facing up to the situation at hand has taken away the fist-in-my-chest-sensation.

One step at a time. A family united. We will be okay. Maybe we'll even be better than we were before.

Sucker Punched

A sucker punch is a blow which is made without warning or preparation on the part of the recipient and so is usually delivered from close range. It is not possible to block such a punch and so people at risk of such blows must be alert to the proximity of potential opponents.

I wasn't expecting the blow ... but I was ready to deal with the aftermath.

There is a purpose to remembering life's lessons. Dwelling on the negatives isn't something I do. I turn it around and focus on the positives and what I've learned from the experience.

I have been writing about the empathy I have gained from all that I have lived. Now is my chance to put those lessons to use.

I'm feeling empathy in every part of my being. I can see and feel all sides to the story. My heart is hurting even though I'm not the one who is wounded.

It's time to step up to the plate and be the person that I've always wanted to be.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


We went out to an Asian restaurant last night and I had 2 fortunes tucked into my fortune cookie:

"Tomorrow will be a productive day. Don't oversleep."
"A loved one is of utmost importance at this time."

I took the first fortune to heart. This morning, I woke up (but continued to rest) about an hour before my alarm was set to go off. And even when my alarm did go off, I gave myself an extra half hour. And I still surprised myself by getting up a half hour earlier than I intended to (the clock in my room has gained a half hour and I haven't reset it because sometimes I can trick myself into getting up early if I can't remember the formula to calculate the correct time).

I have a full day ahead of me. Book keeping work to do. A book project that is in its finals stages and very close to being ready to send to the publishers. And #1 son called me last night, while I was out with #2 son (at the above mentioned Asian restaurant to belatedly celebrate his birthday). And #1 son (who never drops by without a reason) will be dropping by today. (A loved one is of utmost importance at this time .... hmm ...).

(Amusing story about the phone call that I received on my cell while we were having supper. I'm not an experienced cell phone user, but I've figured out enough to take inbound and make outbound calls. I thought I had the skills of 'hanging up and locking the phone, so numbers don't get accidentally pushed' honed as well. Apparently not. A short while after I hung up after my brief conversation with #1 son, my purse was talking. "Hello. Hello .. Hello ..." It took me a moment to find the person who was in my purse. Not only did I not lock my phone ... but the buttons to redial and switch to speaker got pushed ... and I had put the phone into a compartment I rarely use in my purse. So I felt like I made a bit of a spectacle of myself as I scrambled through my purse and then put the phone up to my ear and unknowingly continued the conversation in 'speaker' mode, so everyone within hearing distance of our table heard the ever-so-brief-conversation as I quickly wrapped up the call I hadn't intended on making. The audio of my 'talking purse' brought a smile to my face for the rest of the night).

I'm not sure what this day has in store but I'm off to an early start and anticipating the visit of a loved one.

It could be a fortuitous day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

2 Weeks Down ...

In the days before 'back to school', Kurt lamented that it just wasn't fair. Summer felt like it sped by. It felt like two weeks, not two months! Well, if the rest of the year flies by like the past 2 weeks have, it's going to be over before we know it.

I'm not quite in 'my groove' yet. This week was a far cry from last week. Possibly a balance between the two weeks would be best.

This week ... I put in 3 1/2 hours of book keeping work, verses the (almost) 20 that I squeezed into 4 days last week.

This week ... I had a few more kids and my daycare days have been longer (almost 13 hours for the 4 days that I've been available).

My school hours and my dancing hours are unchanged.

But all in all, this felt like a very laid back week. I got to go to bed early. I was rested enough to have the 'luxury' of a restless sleep on a few occasions. I had time to breathe. But I was unaccustomed to the time in the evening, so I felt like I wasted it.

I could have vacuumed, dusted and cleaned a cupboard or two. But I didn't. I should have ran over to a friends to pick up something that I had promised to help out with. But I didn't realize I'd have the time. I don't know what I did do ... I just know what I didn't do.

I'm loving the change in the flow of the days in my new world. Instead of running the dishwasher daily, it is a biweekly task (at most). I am scrambling to come up with a 'light color' load of laundry which wasn't a problem in my old world (lots of wash clothes for 'the masses'). I go through half the milk, my grocery isn't dwindling as quickly and I don't have the chore of washing all of the bedding for my many nappers on Fridays.

I'm going through more gas and more bread products (lunches) ...

But on the whole, it feels like there is much less 'consumption'. Less food, less laundry, less dishwashing, less cooking, less scheduling, less pressure, less bickering/needing/ wanting/asking, less kid-hours, less kid-noise, less mess, less confusion.

I am alone with my own thoughts for much of the day. There is very little conversation that takes place at school, my drive there and back is quiet, I start and end the days quietly. The chaos in my mind is almost nil.

The scheduling of kids/meals/bathrooming/naps/snacks/outside play/co-operative play and my many parents coming and going has been replaced. I go to and from school. I'm here for the kids before and after school. I dance 2 evenings. I do my book keeping when the work is here.

After my rant last week about how busy my new life is ... I must amend that. I'm a different kind of busy now. A good busy.

This said, after 2 weeks. I wonder what I'll be thinking 2 months from now?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Expanding the Mind

I'm diligently trying to breeze through the courses that precede what I have set out to learn (as I am trying to earn an education that will give me the tools that I need to take on more book keeping work).

Introduction to Personal Computers; Introduction to Keyboarding; Windows XP - Level 1; Keyboard Skill Building. B-O-R-I-N-G. And tedious.

But there is always more to learn, a skill that can be honed.

As I wade through the courses on computers, I am learning. I have figured out how to navigate on a computer (mostly through trial and error) but in the process there are many things that I have missed. The icons on the tool bar that I didn't understand (thus, I didn't use them); drop down boxes that I had never noticed before on the 'go back' buttons; ''Rover'' as my Search Companion (press the Start key on your computer; press the Search button on the menu that pops up and see if you have a Search Companion).

My keyboarding skills are more than adequate for my needs. Those typing classes that I took in high school gave me the tools that I needed to navigate a keyboard with ease. I thought the keyboarding classes would be a waste of time and energy. But I'm gaining speed, learning how to better navigate the number row and I'm working on accuracy.

My vision is expanding and I am seeing more on the computer and learning more than I thought that I could with these introductory classes.

Life is like that. We learn how to navigate through our lives. We do what we must do to get by. We learn things on a need-to-know-basis. And even when we do that, we continue to add to our life skills. There are always surprises around the next corner and some new 'skill' we must add to our repertoire of dealing with life's surprises.

I think that is the reason that I love to read. Granted, my reading is for entertainment value. But what I gain by reading fiction and blogs of real-life people is a different way of looking at the same situation. A person simply can't experience all that life has to offer (and you wouldn't want to), but by reading something that reaches out and touches you ... you gain more empathy and a wider vision.

I like to exercise my mind and try to expand my understanding, knowledge and view of the world. I've experienced enough 'learning curves' in my personal life to give me a wider realm of empathy. I have gained the confidence to talk to more people and learn from others (this amazed me as we acted 'the tourist' during our vacation ... every experience was enhanced by talking to and asking questions of those who were leading our tours).

As I open up my books teaching more about computers than I ever thought I would need to know, I've opened up myself. There is so much more to learn than meets the eye. So many shortcuts and helpful tools available than I ever realized.

I could have possibly passed these courses without reading the material. But 'a pass' isn't what I'm after. I have set out to gain as much as I can from this educational experience. I've set the bar high enough that I will have to work to attain what I want to from these courses.

For years,I did the same thing with my life. I eked by, learned what I needed to know, as I needed to know it and I seemed to be continually surprised by the next 'life lesson' that was tossed my way.

It has only been in the past few years that I have reached far out of my comfort zone and dared to experience life by drawing new challenges, people and dynamics into my regularly scheduled life.

I was happy before. But I'm happier now. I not only dare to dream ... but I reach out and try to make some of those dreams come true.

It's like those many tools that are available on the computer screen that I didn't even 'see' before. It's all right there in front of you. You just have to expand your horizons, your knowledge and sense of adventure ... and learn to experience and appreciate everything that is already right there in front of you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Blackboard of Life

"You get to fill the blackboard of your life with whatever you want. If you have filled it in with baggage from the past, wipe it clean. Erase everything from the past that does not serve you, and be grateful it brought you to this place now, and to a new beginning. You have a clean slate, and you can start over - right here, right now. Find your joy and live it!" - The Secret

I love the visual of 'wiping the board clean' and starting each day with a clean slate. Free of the past, free from any negative residual feelings from the days/weeks/months or years prior.

Instead, it is filled with only the thoughts that fuel you.

Family that grounds you, friends that inspire and encourage ... stories that make you laugh, make you think, make you grow ... snippets of time and little memories that make your heart sing.

My blackboard would have only uplifting items on it at the beginning of the day, yet there would be lots of room to add the contents of the day ahead.

Then, at the end of the day ... I would examine the day, take the lessons that I needed to learn from it ... and start with a clean slate the next morning.

It sounds easy. We do have the power to recreate each day from scratch. I do firmly believe in learning from all that life presents you and being grateful for all that has brought you to where you are in life right now.

I believe in the power of gratitude. I haven't walked the easy path in life. No one that I know has. The key is, to take something positive out of everything negative that may happen. That doesn't sound so easy. Sometimes it takes a while ... but it is usually there. One small glimmer of hope or sunshine in among the many storms of life.

Keep the lessons, feel the gratitude ... but wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Every moment you can.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Date With a Lawn Swing

As I entered the weekend and looked longingly at my deck and my lack of using it all last week, I made a 'date' to sit back and relax at some point over the long weekend.

Yesterday was the day. I grabbed a pillow, a book, a blanket and the phone and set out on my big adventure.

I thought of a call I could make ... but I thought that I would take time for 'me' first. I never did make the call.

The phone rang and it was for me. But somehow the voice on the other end picked up my relaxed state and talked only a short time. I was back to just me, my book and the lawn swing.

Someone dropped by and could have stopped for a short visit. But the visual of me, my book and blanket on the lawn swing must not have had an invitation written all over it. They came and went quickly. And it was just me and the lawn swing once again.

I brought out a pen and note pad because often, the moment I sit down I must figure something out or start a list or write down rambling thoughts to follow up on later.

At the end of my date with the lawn swing, I picked up the pen and empty pad of paper. My mind took a vacation and I had no thoughts that were worthy of following up on.

I took the afternoon off. I had tended to all must-do items on my agenda and granted myself the afternoon.

I finished reading a book. I nodded off from time to time. The weather was a tad on the cool side as I reclined in the shade and the wind found its way to the side of the house that I was on.

Nothing was to deter me. I grabbed a blanket, put up my feet and revelled in the ease of the day.

It's been a very, very long time since I had a date with my lawn swing and such complete ease with a day.

My mind was close to blank. No to-do-lists running through my mind. I wasn't mapping out the week ahead. I didn't have ideas to follow up on. Nothing.

Just me, my book and my lawn swing.

It was a most excellent way to spend a day off.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It Was Worth It

The frantic pace of last week had a purpose. I had the choice to slow down at any given moment. There was not one demand on my time that wasn't optional. But my goal was to complete my work so that I could relax and enjoy the weekend without any obligations hanging over my head. And I succeeded.

The weekend has been a gift.

I had a very good friend arrange a 'fun' weekend for us. A little getaway-from-it-all for each of the people who came.

I am blessed to have such amazing friends. The kind of people who sprinkle a little pixie dust where ever they go and leave a little bit of magic in their wake.

Our weekend had a very loose agenda. Kurt ended up coming along ... and my friend even managed to arrange the most perfect company for Kurt for the weekend. The boys got along so well and any time we stopped to listen, there was a quiet, easy rapport between them. They seemed to speak the same 'language', enjoy many of the same things and their time together seemed to go by very easily.

Kurt is quite accustomed to following me where ever our lives may take us. He may not love being my constant companion, but he has learned to adapt and make the best of things. He would have been okay on his own. But he was so much happier because he had a friend. My friend 'saw' this in her vision of our weekend. So not only did she arrange a most enjoyable weekend for me ... but it was so much better because Kurt was enjoying himself just as much as I was.

We met up with a friend who is a ray of sunshine, a vibrant source of energy, enthusiasm, inspiration and hope. Another one of those people that I am honored to call 'my friend'.

I think the 3 of us could have sat on a rock under a tree and had a most marvelous visit. But instead we walked a little, talked a lot and ate when necessary.

At one point in our planning, I had suggested going to get a pedicure and have a little 'group pampering session'. It was an idea that I didn't follow through on, because of our younger companions and not wanting to interrupt the flow of our visit with an appointment to rush off to. Instead ... this most amazing friend of mine arranged for a 'spa treatment' of our very own. We gave ourselves pedicures, facials and even a wax hand treatment. We were pampered, we laughed and once again ... we simply enjoyed the easy companionship of the weekend.

There is a great amount of yin and yang between this most incredible circle of friends. "Yin and yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, which constantly interact, never existing in absolute stasis." We often marvel at the ever shifting tides that have evolved over the course of our friendship. I believe that each personality within the group has a most special gift. The gifts change, evolve, ebb and flow. We have seen each other through many challenges and celebrations of life. Our lives have taken us to many different places ... yet we continue to connect. Our friendship grows along with the many changes in our lives.

I worked frantically to clear the slate for this weekend. To come home and not have a mountain of work greeting me at the door has given me the gift of being able to simply sit back and marvel over the wonder of the weekend.

A gift like no other.

"Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Letting Go of the Small Stuff

In my 'previous life', my time was committed but I wasn't overly busy. I had schedules, routines, expectations and goals that guided my days. But I wasn't busy. I had a lot of demands (kids) to deal with for 10 1/2 hours every day, but there were down times as well. I sat still from time to time. I really wasn't all that busy. Other than dancing, visiting and errand running ... my evenings were mine. I wasn't busy at all!

In my 'new life' so far, I have been busy.

I give myself 2 hours every morning to 'play'. To sit still, have my breakfast smoothie and have 2 cups of coffee. I blog, I email, I read other blogs. I sit and indulge my whims at the computer.

Then the day begins.

I'm driven to put in my 20 hours of education per week and make the most out of every hour that I am there. I take 15 minutes to eat lunch and I'm back to my books. My first 2 courses were introductory and pretty easy so I breezed through them and my goal was to have those complete and the exams written at the end of week one. Mission accomplished.

From school, I come straight home and I have moments to spare before school is out. Time to check the mail, email, phone messages and reestablish my home routines. It usually takes a half hour to settle back in.

Then I start my book keeping. This is a picture of my Wednesday, Thursday and Friday's projects (Tuesday's statements were mailed off Wednesday morning so I can't show the visual there). These 3 boxes = about 15 hours of work. That, plus Tuesday's statements = just about 20 hours of work for the week.

Then I squeezed in 3 hours of dancing into Wednesday and Thursday (which is the equivalent of almost 7 hours when you add in the prep time to get ready to go and travel back and forth).

I do stop for supper and for some reason, I seem to give myself an hour by that point in the day.

My book keeping has been keeping me up until 10 - 11:30 each night (except last night ... I finished at 9:20, thanks to having the night off of dancing!).

At that point, I sit down with my word puzzles and complete the day by challenging my weary brain.

Then I sleep.

Last night, Kurt and I were able to go and see the fireworks display that they had scheduled for of city's Fireworks Festival this weekend. It was the perfect end to a rather taxing week. We sat still and I was amazed and in awe of the pyrotechnics display that someone else went to all the work of putting together for our pleasure.

We came home and I gazed at the patio furniture on our deck ... and I wondered when I would ever have the chance to sit and enjoy the back yard again.

We walked into the house and I realized that I haven't swept the kitchen floor or vacuumed since Monday (my last day of kids). My 'Friday chores' remained undone. And it was Friday night. I still have to water the plants, dust and clean the bathroom no matter how few kids are in the house. So I watered the plants and saved their life ... but the dust remains untouched by the human hand.

The up-side of this ... is that I have an entire 3 day weekend off. Off of everything. No school work; my book keeping is caught up to the moment and the dance studio is closed (though I do have homework there). I have plans with friends and the entirety of the weekend to follow my whims.

Maybe I'll dust. Maybe I won't. But I do think that I will grab my book and sit out on the lawn swing and enjoy the day. I will be still.

Because, in my new life ... I am busy!

Friday, September 4, 2009


The one thing that I have noticed about surrounding myself with people who are interested in furthering their education, is the influence they are having on me.

The school I attend is a self study classroom environment. Each of us work independently and there are facilitators available if you run into any problems.

You walk in and everyone is busy working on their individual studies. It is quiet, conducive to concentration and there is only the 'white noise' of people at work. There isn't a lot of small talk and there are very few distractions.

Which brings me to the lunch room. A place where you can actually get to talk to some of your fellow students.

My first encounter was with a 30 year old mom who has been going to school for 2 years now. She is presently taking a course that would lead to a job with the police department. As we talked, she was so excited about the possibilities out there. It seemed that her enthusiasm was contagious because I walked out of the room wondering about my own possibilities.

Next, I overheard a conversation between 2 young students. They were paying their own way and talking of the necessity to pay for it out of their own pocket, so that they would give it their all. Being accountable and respecting the amount of money that was being spent was key to keeping them on track. As I have found a way to support my decision to go back to school and be solely responsible for the financial aspect, I was in quiet agreement with this sentiment.

Lastly, I talked to someone who is an aspiring 'Medical Administrative Assistant'. She was hoping to put some of her previous workplace skills into place as well as learning something that would give her more opportunities and diversity (and probably money) into her career. She had been laid off of her job as a book keeper and was taking this chance to upgrade her skills.

What amazed me the most when I walked in the door and glanced around at the students in my midst, was the wide array of ages. I honestly thought that I would be the 'senior student'. And though I really haven't had the opportunity to survey the average age of the student body, I certainly don't feel out of place. People of all ages are educating themselves.

I listened to the young students just carving their way into the world ... the young mom who was brimming with excitement ... the older student who was looking for a change in her career ... and I see people aspiring to be 'more' than they were before they decided to take this path.

I listen to the challenging goals that they have and question myself. Have I set my sights too low?

I sat down and had a talk with myself. I reminded myself of the reasons that I chose the course that I did. And all the reasons are still valid and right for me. I'm not out to make 'the big bucks' ... I'm looking for a way to supplement my lifestyle in a fashion that will lead to working out of my home. I'm on the right path for me. Right now.

I listen to these other students and I know that there are a multitude of possibilities. I can take this course and use it as the foot-in-the-door that I want it to be. Where I take it from there depends solely on my own ambition, drive and goals.

When I walked through the doors and started this renewal of my education, I had an end goal in sight.

But what I am fast realizing is that the people around me are influencing my thinking. Instead of this being the end ... I am thinking that it could only be a beginning.

This influence is exactly what I need and want right now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Dictionary definition: WORK expands so as to fill the time available

Isn't that the truth?? I've traded one scenario where the majority of my day was committed to being available for others ... to my new world where I'm trying to jam in as much schooling and working into the days as I can. So I can have a weekend off.

Dictionary definition: WEEKEND - a time period usually extending from Friday night through Sunday; more loosely defined as any period of successive days including one and only one Sunday

If I work diligently the next few days, I may be able to swing it. A long weekend to boot! Three consecutive uncommitted days.

Dictionary definition: LEISURE TIME - time available for ease and relaxation; "his job left him little leisure

As I tread through the days of my 'new life', I am loving the fact that I am surrounded by adults, an atmosphere of learning and the satisfaction of having a job that challenges my organizational skills and pays the bills for the biggest majority of the day.

Then ... I dance.

Last night I squeezed in an hour of dancing after school and in the middle of book keeping work that I wanted to complete.

Tonight, I have 2 hours of dancing to fit into the same time slot. 2 hours to forget everything but what my feet, arms and body are doing. Moving to music. Following the beat. Learning something fun.

Yes, my work has expanded to fill all of my time available. But I trust that as the weeks go on, I'll gain a saner pace of living figured out.

In the meantime, I'm moving some small mountains and gaining a great feeling of accomplishment. But this weekend ... I shall relax. It's on the agenda. And if it's scheduled and planned for, I usually follow through.

I'm looking forward to it! Leisure time...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Days

"What was the best part of your day?" is the question that can be asked to promote discussion and avoid one word answers. Well! There is no need to ask me an open ended question to get me talking about yesterday.

The first best thing was the quiet that preceded the day. I got up at my normally scheduled time, went through my usual routines and ... the little ones didn't start filing in at 7:15 in the morning.

Lately, I've had one or two 2 & 4 year olds arrive at 7:15; followed by 2 more (the same age) at 7:30. These 4 little girls created noise and havoc like no others. In my new life ... it is quiet.

The second best thing was the ability to still be a 'mom' and take Kurt and one of my daycare boys to school and deliver them to their new classrooms.

Kurt found his name on the list in his new classroom, found a spot for his school supplies and sat down. I took one look at his face and I knew. I glanced over at the list of names to try and find some of his best friends. They weren't on it. I looked back at Kurt and he knew that I knew what he was feeling. I made a comment about how nothing is set in stone at first ... things could change. But we've both been through this enough times to know that they rarely do. What you see on your first day of school is quite often what you get. There was nothing that I could do or say ... but I was there.

The third best thing was heading off and facing my own first day at school. I couldn't wait to settle in and tackle my books. Basic, tedious stuff - 'Introduction to Personal Computers' and basic keyboarding skills. I can find my way around a computer but I don't know the technical terminology. So I must wade through this book so that I can get through my first exam and keep heading in a forward direction.

I'm kind of glad that I have some basic courses to initiate me back into the world of learning. I just hope I don't get lost in the tedium before I start learning what I have set out to learn.

The very best thing was coming home! I breezed back into the house with only minutes to spare before my after school crowd started arriving.

Yesterday I had a grand total of 4 kids here, between the ages of 6 and 11. It was wonderful. Kurt was glad to have his friends back (they didn't come here over the summer holidays) and it was so good to hear him engaged in playing with kids. He's had friends over, over the course of the summer but he hasn't involved himself with the kids in my daycare. It was music to my ears to hear the easy companionship that was so quickly rekindled. That is the kind of kid-noise that I like.

The process of settling in 4 older kids, getting through the snack and finding something to do was so easy that I don't think I had much to do with it. The next thing I knew, they were off and playing ... and I was able to get to work.

Yes. I had book keeping work that had to be done. But that was okay. I got a nice early start to it and I worked without interruption for 2 hours while I had kids. Without interruption!! I just stood their smiling to myself as I waded through the work in front of me. No one was calling my name, no one was bickering/tattling/crying/needing/wanting or demanding anything from me. No one! I was giddy with delight.

A person is much saner when your attention isn't being divided in 6 different directions. To focus on one task, with the only distraction of just listening to kids at play (contentedly and happily) is amazingly easy. I have the ability to multitask ... but I have grown tired of honing that skill.

As our supper took care of cooking itself in the oven (as I had wound down my school day, put in the last of my kid-day and gotten a good start to my book keeping day), I was content.

It was a very, very full day. An exhausting day. A new day. But it was enveloped in familiarity.

A handful of older kids that I know well came and went throughout the before and after school hours.

Back to school where things are new ... but it's a road we've travelled before.

My book keeping work took a higher priority in the day, which is where it now belongs. It (for the most part) is not only the reason I've gone back to school, but it is paying for the vast majority of our living expenses while I am getting educated.

As first days go, it was a very good one. And I hope today is even better.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A New Day ... A New World

The day has started out like any other.

I woke up, delayed getting out of bed and went about my morning routines just like any other day.

Only this isn't just any other day.

I don't have a houseful of little people coming through the door any moment. I de-babied the house yesterday after each 'final act'. As kids woke up from naps, the bedding was tossed into the laundry and the playpens were folded up. As they finished snacks, the high chairs and booster seats found their way into a closet downstairs. Baby monitors no longer litter the kitchen counter.

A sewing desk replaces the high chair that has been in our kitchen for 11 years. A folding chair replaces the playpen that's been in my room for the majority of the last 10 1/2 years. I look around the house and I don't see 'daycare' written into every nook and cranny. It feels good.

I woke up to a whole new world this morning.

A world where I send My Youngest off to school toting a bag (and more) full of school supplies. Not only must he find his own new room but he is already thinking ahead and realizing he needs to know what rooms the boys he walks to and from school are in. I normally go and walk through the process with him (little as he really needs me to any more). It feels like the motherly thing to do.

Then I am headed off to school myself, as soon as my school kids are off and running.

My first day. And what worries me most? What to wear! What an inane thing to care about. They state they have a dress code in the student handbook but the lady that was talking to me told me that the dress code isn't enforced 'as written'. But I can't remember specifically what she said about shoes. And shoes are my biggest worry ("please wear proper footwear at all times" ... I think she said you can't go bare foot). I may pack a spare pair ...

Back to school. Time to hone the learning skills and make some of them work for me. Time for a new kind of schedule and different demands on my time.

As yesterday (my last day with the younger kids) wound to a close, I knew with each 'final act' ... that the time was right. It was time to move out of the preschool set and broaden my horizons. Those little people taught me a lot. But I'm ready to diversify my learning.

Am I eager to start this new adventure? I'm eager to get into the swing of my new routine and see how it feels for size. I'm such a creature of habit that I need to see how everything 'fits' in my new world.

At this very moment (for my book keeping job), I have 2 months (2 large Rubbermaid containers) worth of invoices to sort, label and add up the GST. Statements are en route and must be done as soon as possible. I have tonight to work at that and then majority of my free time is accounted for until next Monday. This scares me more than going back to school.

This is the first time in My Youngest's life, that I haven't been home for him. Yes, he'll be at school. I will be at home when he leaves for school. I will be home by the time school is over. I assured him that he can call me on my cell phone in case of an emergency. We have back up contingencies all worked out. Then he spoke ... "What if I get sick?" ... who will be home for him then?

It was at that moment that I realized just how much this change affects him. Even though (on the surface), it shouldn't. His sense of security in knowing that I'm here is wavering. It's new ground for him.

I have given My Youngest something that I have never given any of my other kids. My undivided ability to 'be there'.

Even as we've gradually explored new avenues to his independence, 'I'm here'. Or he knows he can get ahold of me at any moment (I love cell phones for that very reason).

As My Youngest has had one minor ailment after another for the last 6 1/2 weeks of his summer holidays, I wonder ... how much of this illness can be attributed to this upcoming change in our life? His last ailment could very well be stress related. I think there may be a connection.

I have said over and over again, that our children need us the most at the age where they are becoming independent. In very quiet and subtle ways. Knowing that they can test their wings ... but also knowing that someone 'is there' for them. They are at an age where they are testing the water but still need to have an invisible force behind them to guide them. To instill limits. To 'be there' ...

Yes, I'm off to school today. But that is the least of my worries. As I head out on this new adventure, I still want to cover all my bases.

I need to get a handle on my new workload, my lessened kid-load and leaving the confines of my home to broaden my horizons.

But most importantly ... I still want to 'be there' as a mom. I'm still just a phone call away. I'm always here.