Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Good to Be Back

My Youngest was up with his alarm first thing yesterday morning.

He showered, made his lunch, ate breakfast and was pretty pleased to still have over two hours to do as he pleased, before he had to head off to school.

I returned home from work (shortly after his school day ended), to find him and a friend happily playing on the X-box.

He relayed the information about his day with a smile and eagerness to talk. There was a aura of 'it feels good to be back' surrounding him.

Last night, I could hear him readying himself for bed a few minutes sooner than I expected. Our cat heard the tell-tale signs of bed-time and quickly hopped up onto My Youngest's bed, so that he was ready and waiting for His Boy to come and join him.

Yes, even our cat (who meowed up a storm after being abandoned all day) seems to appreciate the old routines are easily falling back into place.

Holidays are nice. But what would we compare them to, if every day was a holiday? Routines, schedules, expectations, friends and school. It is good to be back!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Something I Can Count On

For the first time in thirteen years ... I am working one job and receiving one pay cheque. That I can rely on.

I will know how much I am getting paid. I received my pay stub one day before I got paid. I know exactly what day I will be paid. I am receiving a salary, so once these first few months of adjustments, etc are behind me ... I will know how much I will be receiving from month to month!

My ability to budget will become a reality once again.

My daycare days were a budgeter's nightmare. The comings and goings of my families were never ending. Last minute changes incessantly altered my monthly income. I had some families that paid me like clock work. Others? Not so much. I could count on losing half of my income over the summer. Every single fall initiated changes that made me believe that I would not earn enough to cover the bills. The final dollar amount I received changed like the wind.

I took on a part time typing job last summer/fall/winter. It was a job where one phone call altered the course of my day. It was feast or famine. I was working weekends. Then not at all. There was absolutely no consistency. Pay days changed from month to month (depending on my ability to invoice him on my first working day of the month). It was supposedly bonus income, but due to the unreliability of my bookkeeping wage ... it wasn't.

My bookkeeping job? What was supposed to be a full-time (or more) job ... was a fight to work enough hours to cover my bills. I was told that my pay day was the first of the month. It wasn't. It was a struggle to get my much-needed pay stubs. What I received was not a pay stub and if I had to remit proof of my income, it was a struggle to get exactly what was required.

Thankfully, there have been some reliable income sources from other avenues throughout these years. My income from my second job at the bank; government cheques and student loan disbursements have been my stabilizing factor.

I could have framed this first pay stub that I received. I checked my bank account on pay day ... and it was there!!

I am thrilled to be back in a place where I am not juggling the variables of an unstable income. I am excited to know that I would be thrilled to work for this employer 'forever'. I will be beyond relieved when I pass all probationary periods and eventually find a permanent, full-time position.

Finally. One piece of the puzzle is feeling like it has fallen securely into place. Soon, I can 'glue it in' and get to work on the rest of the unsettled pieces of my life.

Job security. Something that I can count on. It is so close ...

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Day of School

My Youngest will register himself for school this morning. By himself. He is in Grade 8 and I have gone with him every single year. Until now.

I was fortunate to find a way to afford to stay home and raise My Youngest. We have walked a lot of roads together. Thanks to my daycare days, we experienced a lot elementary school issues within the safety of our home before he was face-to-face with them at school.

He has been easy to raise. His behaviour has not caused me any great concern. He does well at school. He gets along with his peers. He is a very even tempered guy. Always has been. We have gone through 13 years together and had very few challenges (toilet training was the biggest issue that I can recall).

Now here he is. Thirteen and on his own to face a brand new school year.

I am beyond relieved that this is happening this year - not next. Next year is a whole new ball of wax. High school.

Is it a fortunate twist of fate that I get to experience working in a high school the year before My Youngest faces this new world? What will I see and experience that will help him find his way next year?

Even as My Youngest starts facing the world on his own, I have found myself in a position to test the waters for the years ahead. I cannot walk him through those years but I can fortify myself with knowledge that may make a difference.

I am much more frightened of this first than My Youngest is. I have been consciously been reminding myself to simply breathe. All weekend. One moment at a time. One person at a time. One task at a time. I will get through this day and those that follow.

This morning, My Youngest will register himself for his last year in elementary school. This morning, I will face my first day of registration in high school.

School is back. Life-as-I-know-it is changing.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Days of Summer

Why does it seem like summer is over? Summer feels like it begins when school is finished and ends with the last day of holidays for the kids.

Isn't summer is a state of mind? Sunshine, longer days, vacations and planning outside events signify summer to me.

In that case, my summer began in May. Family gatherings, holidays, reunions and fun-filled days ran rampant from May to July. It was one fun thing after another. If that isn't a state of summer and holidays I don't know what is.

July and August have not been a walk in the park. The state of transition has been in the air throughout those months. I have yet to come out the other side of that change triumphant. It is close. I can feel it coming. But I haven't quite made it. Yet.

I have walked through these past few months with a cloud over my head. I peek through the haze and I see and feel the sunlight. But the sun hasn't burned off the cloud cover in its entirety. It is foggy at the best of times.

The return of school this year does not only affect My Youngest. This school year I am also facing a brand new year of faces, things to learn and adapt to. I can feel the unease of my childhood just below the surface. I am fighting to keep it at bay but it is taunting me and threatening to unleash its fury.

I am eager for my state of mind to return to the season of summer. Sunshine, happiness, a life of ease and small celebrations.

There is no reason these last days of summer must end with the last day of school holidays. I am fighting to regain my 'inner summer'. I'm not finished with this season yet!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Ride - The Video

video

Up Up and Away

After several aborted attempts ... we finally lifted off this morning.

My Oldest invited me to accompany him on a balloon ride. The weather conditions have to be ideal for balloon travel so it has taken close to two years for this to come to pass. In five words? "It was worth the wait!"

A balloon would be my transportation of choice for long distance travel. It is surreal. Whether you look towards the distant horizon or directly below ... it is completely blissful.

We heard cows mooing and dogs barking. We watched a plane take off from the airport. The cows were but a speck in a pasture and tractors looked like miniature, miniature toys.

Landing was my favorite part. We brushed the treetops as we neared the ground.

We floated above a slough where ducks were swimming and I was amused at their reaction. They skimmed the top of the water as they half flew, half walked over the water and as we approached, they dove under water and were completely out of sight.

We spooked some horses and I thought that they would run off in the opposite direction. Instead, they quite literally went back and forth, back and forth and followed us across the field.

A herd of cows went running as they heard our approach.

Our pilot had full control over where we landed. He chose a pasture that would not be damaged by our landing and was easily accessible by our chase crew (the van and trailer that trailed us and brought us back to where we began).

Not for one moment did I feel anything but completely and totally safe. We were told the direction in which we would land and on instruction each of us assumed our landing positions ... and after a brief touch down period we gently skidded into the horizontal position in which we had been told.

It all went exactly according to plan.

It could not have been a more beautiful morning for a balloon ride. It was sooo worth waiting for!


(Slideshow/video footage to follow)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Caught ... Doing Something Right

Yesterday is still resonating with me. It was a good day all around but there is one thing that stands out (well there are actually several, but I'm focusing on one).

It was when someone actually made a point of catching me in the act of doing something right. And thanked me.

It was such a small thing. But after (almost) a month of feeling that I can't do anything right ... to be acknowledged for this one small act? It was huge.

Never underestimate the power of two words - "Thank you". You will never know the difference that you have made by passing along your gratitude.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It Was a Very Good Day

Today was a good day.

It was a day that started with a co-worker asking if I would like some advise. I said “YES!”

Simple words. Kind words. Suggestions. Little things.

I took her advise, lived the day and made the best of every opportunity.

I am meeting so many new people. It is overwhelming … yet intoxicating. I feel the school spirit and an underlying belief in doing everything that we can to make the school experience a positive one for our students. Our school population is diverse and the diversity is celebrated.

I love listening to my co-workers. I am listening for positive and that is what I am hearing.

Someone asked me today how it was going. I told them that if they’ll have me, I’m a ‘lifer’. I like what I see, feel and hear within my new work environment. I foresee working here for a very, very long time ...

My day could not ended better.

A teacher thanked me for going out of my way to ensure that she received a message. She told me it was very important that this person got in touch with her. A little thing. But huge.

I thanked my co-worker who had started my day by asking if she could make a suggestion. She looked me in the eye and gave me a heart felt "Your welcome!"
Little things. That's what it is all about.
It was a most excellent day.

Searching

I have lost a vital piece of myself. If I don't find it fairly soon, I'm up and leaving this 'new girl' behind and going in search of a new personality.

I doubt absolutely everything. I feel incapable. I want someone to hold my hand and walk with me through the new-ness. I want to find the manual that tells me absolutely everything that I need to know to get me through this.

I need to take charge of one small piece of my life at a time.

Start small. Clean a room. Wash a window. Declutter a drawer. Pull some weeds. Find pride and excitement from accomplishing a small task. One step at a time, I must regain control of my sense of well being within my home.

Write a page a day. The book-project that I continually put on a back burner continues to haunt me. I have turned my life upside down and back again since I started this venture. It is time to put the excuses behind me and take it one page at a time. I will reach my destination if I continue to move forward. If I do nothing, nothing will get done.

Take ownership of my responsibilities at work. It is going to get worse before it gets better. I must buckle down and start believing that I can do this. Otherwise I will not only convince myself that I am incapable ... but my co-workers. I need to pull up my socks and forge onward.

I have this overwhelming sense of "I can't" going on within my head. It is paralyzing me.

This is absolutely ridiculous. I know that I can do most anything that I set out to do. So what has changed?

So I got a new job. Get over it. Learn. Grow. Expand. I want this job. I need this job. I must work to keep this job!

Home. Where did my ambition go? It is time to stop questioning and time to start doing.

"Fake it 'til you make it. Imitate confidence so that as the confidence produces success, it will generate real confidence." ~ David Brandt

For now, that is what I must do. I'll imitate confidence. I will keep going.

As long as I keep moving in a forward direction, I'll find what I'm searching for. My loss of confidence will become found once more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In the Moment

Do not dwell in the past,
do not dream of the future,
concentrate the mind on the present moment.
~Buddha

Can I just start this by saying how incredible my new school work environment is??
 
Everyone is warm, friendly, welcoming, understanding and helpful. There are inspirational quotes above many of the corridor's doors. There is a positive aura in the air. Creating an atmosphere to enhance learning has manifested itself within the building in which I work. It is amazing.
 
Then I received my first EFAP newsletter (the acronyms within this job are driving me crazy ... I had to Google these initials to find out that they mean "Employee and Family Assistance Program"). It is full of motivational quotes, along with an interesting and well written article on 'Being Present'.
 
Being present. Focusing on one thing at a time without allowing your mind wander. Reining in your thoughts and consciously bringing yourself into the moment you are living.
 
It was ironic that as I read this article, I had a Student Handbook on my desk which I was trying to absorb. I had my ears tuned in to pick up absolutely anything that may be useful for me to know. I was fervently making notes to try and ease me through this new transition. I was working on/staring at phone lists trying to become familiar with the names of about 115 teachers and staff at the school. I had another book at my side where I can match up pictures of the staff that I have met with their name. I had yet another booklet with all of the courses offered as well as all of the subsidiary branches and services that our school has to offer.
 
I read through the '5 Steps to Being Present' without being present. At all.
 
I walked home that afternoon and tried to focus 100% of my thoughts to what I was seeing, feeling and hearing as I strolled for fifteen short minutes. I failed. I may have lasted ten seconds at a time. My mind and thoughts are straying off into a thousand different directions and my ability to focus is next to nil.
 
I forwarded this newsletter home but I haven't made time to sit still and be present enough to fully absorb what it is telling me. Yet.
 
As I wrote this, I realized that there is one place where I am in the moment. Most of the time. It is in the dance studio - most especially during my private dance lesson where I am (almost) 100% focused on what I am doing and how I am doing it. It is during that one half hour of the week, where I am in the moment. I never realized it before, but that is most likely why I find my dance lessons are such a vital part of my life.
 
I am presently working in an environment which I find absolutely intoxicating. The uplifting people and atmosphere within the school system is exactly what I needed. Anytime in my life ... but most especially right now.
 
I took a leap of faith and believed that this was possible. I am now living the dream. All that I must do, is learn to live in the moment and appreciate each and every step as I make my way down this new path.
 
When I dance, I dance;
when I sleep, I sleep;
yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard,
if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time for some other part I lead them back again to the walk,
the orchard,
to the sweetness of this solitude,
to myself.
~ Montaigne

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Night the Lights Went Out

The lack of sound was unmistakeable. The power went out while I was cooking supper last night. Peace reigned within our little world ...

Having no idea if we would be without power for two minutes or two hours, I immediately grabbed the food that was cooking in the oven and placed it in the barbecue which was already fired up and cooking the rest of our meal.

Ahhh ... no distractions. Just cooking and visiting with My Youngest who came up out of the dark basement.

After supper, my Second Son asked My Youngest if he was bored. "Because I'm not," he stated. "Now is a good time for me to teach you how to mow the lawn."

And that is what they did.

It is hard to sit back and read a book when the rest of your family is doing something productive. I wandered into the house and noticed the motionless ceiling fans ... and all of the black cat hair they had collected throughout the spring/summer seasons. The time had come.

I had time to clean up our supper dishes, all four of the ceiling fans and sweep the kitchen floor before I heard it. The ceiling fans, the fridge, the air conditioning all kicked in at once. The sounds of restored power.

The boys were still outside mowing the lawn, so I continued my household cleaning and managed to water the plants and vacuum before everyone congregated within the house and went back to their power-sucking solo activities.

Blackout = Family Time + Productivity

Power = Segregation + Technology

I enjoyed our powerless hour. I still need to clean the windows and blinds. Maybe someone should hit the main power breaker and render us powerless more often ...

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Job With Benefits!

My New Job could very well be the best thing that has happened to me in a while ...

It is a 15 minute walk to work. A five minute drive. It's not hard to do the math. I am walking to work. Rain or shine, sleet or snow. I am walking!

The wear and tear on the car ... the gas that I'll save ... the exercise that I will get!! Wow! I feel like I've won a lottery. Lucky, lucky me!!

I have a one hour lunch. It takes 15 minutes to walk home and 15 minutes to walk back. I have exactly one half hour to tend to my needs. Just the right amount of time to find something to eat ... and eat it.

Leftovers will get eaten! I have no time to over-eat! It will be a mini-workout in the middle of the day!

I am moving again! I have walked a grand total of two days. My contract is until March 30th, so I have seven months to turn this into a habit.

It has been 13 years since I had a job with benefits. This side benefit isn't even one that is written into the contract. It is simply an unexpected bonus.

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... I am beyond blessed. I know it. I appreciate it. I am eternally grateful.

First Impressions

First impressions. I have been displaced from life-as-I-know-it a lot lately and I've been meeting a lot of new people.

First, there was  New Job #1. A job that required a hair net and a visor to compliment the dull brown uniform. If you are young, you can pull off the look.

Take a 50 year old face, pull away all hair and any other distractions (no jewellery was allowed) and there is no disguising the fact. I looked in the mirror and saw 'old' and 'ugly'.

All I could hope, was that I would not see anyone I knew while I worked there. And if I did, I deluded myself into believing that they would not recognize me.

I hoped not to make any impression there. First, last or anywhere in between. Please (I hoped), let me become the wallflower that no one sees!

Thank goodness the hours of that job didn't allow me to continue working after I was hired at New Job #2. I ceremoniously threw away my hair net, washed and neatly folded up my uniform and visor ... and returned it to its rightful owner.

The end.

Then came New Job #2. One more chance to make a good first impression.

First thing I did? I told them everything that I could not do. That dazzles people every time.

Then came the easy part. Getting dressed for work. I have a new hair cut that I thought was working for me. Then I would get home at the end of the day, look in the mirror and think to myself "Oh no! This is what people have been looking at all day?" I puttered with my hair every morning. Every night I came home with the same bad hair look.

Dressing for work should have been easy. 'Casual' is the rule of thumb over the summer. I have casual work-around-the-house or work-at-a-diesel-shop kind of wardrobe. Then I have my going-dancing clothes. Not a lot in between. I juggled around what I had and realized (after I washed it this past weekend) that I had worn a shirt with a hole in it; a T-shirt that was too small; and a shirt that was new ... but added an extra ten pounds to my 'look'. Fail.

This was all good and fine. I got over it. I would work on my hair. I would dig through my closet to find something that was more suitable to wear. Then I looked closely in the mirror. And what should I see? But an inch long, dark black chin hair. Ewww!

I plucked that one, found an extra white one which was a little less conspicuous and even managed to find a few long, white mustache hairs glimmering in the mirror. Oh. My. Gosh. I had been seen in public ... trying to make a good impression ... and I was sporting facial hair that I was oblivious to?!?

I'm getting over it. I can only move forward from here. It will be fine.

Then I looked in the mirror again this morning and found one more long, dark chin hair (this one only half an inch long). Where do these things come from??? Do they grow over night? Are they triggered by stress? Why are they dark again, when for the past many, many months they have been white (okay ... gray) and almost unnoticeable??

Well, it is time to pry myself away from the computer and go clean myself up to try and make a good fifth impression. Today will be five days on the new job. How many days do I have to try to rectify that first impression?

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"We Are a Pretty Lucky Family, Aren't We?"

I convinced My Youngest to come shopping with me this morning. We went out for breakfast and did some back-to-school clothes shopping.

I picked up a muscle shirt for him yesterday. That is the only type of shirt that he will wear. The summer clothing was on a sale rack but I didn't see the reduced price. The price tag on the shirt was $6.00 and I didn't think that was too bad. It was even better when I looked at the price it was scanned at - $1.93! You can barely buy a cup of coffee for that price. Cha-ching!! Money saved is a prize I always enjoy winning.

I looked in two major stores to find him some jeans. He has grown an inch or two this summer and his existing jeans are now well above his ankle. He is one size taller but his waistband is probably three sizes smaller than the average. I convinced him to come along with me today since I thought we could be into a whole new clothing challenge.

We lucked out. Not only did we find his usual brand of jeans, but they still come with the adjustable waist band. And when the clerk scanned them, we got two pairs for the price of one. Both pairs of jeans were scanned - I double checked. The receipt said right on it - "Your Total Purchase Savings: $16.97"

We hopped in the car and I was marvelling at how cheaply I was able to outfit him for school. He then commented to me, "We are a pretty lucky family, aren't we?"

I haven't been feeling terribly lucky this past while as I have faced the challenges of unemployment, financial instability, a negative employment experience and a few other set backs. The moment that My Youngest put me on the spot, I realized how absolutely fortunate we are.

My state of unemployment equalled precisely four working days. My finances have been in a very precarious state but due to a variety of reasons, everything is working out just fine. Some of my experiences with employers this past month have not been pleasant ... but it is not ongoing. The ties have been severed and I am no longer part of a negative situation. There have been other little things, but when I look at the situation I realize how absolutely blessed that we are to have a family that rallies together and stands up for one another.

I had a quick flashback of my entire adult life. From the outside, looking in ... there have been times where it appeared that we were far from 'lucky'. In fact there have been spots that have been down right awful. But each and every challenge brought us to a better spot in the end. The only way we would have been unlucky would have been if we had stayed where we were at and not fought to regain our footing. Aspiring towards what I believe is right and fair has led me out of the darkness and into the light. Every single time.

All of these thoughts flashed before me in a grand moment of clarity when My Youngest voiced aloud his observation about our family's good fortunate.

Life isn't always a bed of roses. But when I look at it in reverse and find the many blessings in between the thorns, I honestly replied to My Youngest, "Yes we are very lucky!"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anything is Possible

I woke up with a renewed appreciation of life-as-I-know-it this morning.

Anxiety levels, unresolved issues, worries, finances, relationships ... are all in check. My self worth feels restored to a level that I can live with and grow on. My future is still a little uncertain but the path before me feels absolutely right.

I can look back on all of the decisions that I have made and the roads that were (perhaps) better not taken ... and appreciate that they were part of the mountain that I was destined to climb.

I read what I wrote and was haunted by the inner wisdom that propelled me out of the old and into the new. I reflected back to the catalyst of the events that were precursors to change:

Mar 7 - "This time, last week I knew exactly what to expect from the week ahead. It was laid out clearly before me. I wasn't exactly excited about everything that was upcoming. But I knew what was coming. This week? Anything could happen." ... and it did.

Mar 11 - "I stopped my employer yesterday morning before she ran off to her desk. "I just want to talk with you for a minute, to be sure we are on the same page with job expectations ...", was how I started that conversation. We were most definitely on different pages." ... my work-from-home job became a work-out-of-the-home job without my knowledge or discussion.

Mar 12 - "The ground is trembling beneath me and it has nothing to do with the earthquakes and tsunamis that are threatening the safety of so many. Life as we know it ... is changing. It is my sincerest hope in that we will soon find the blessing in this." ... Mom's health became a great concern to us and we rallied as a family to walk through the unknown together.

Mar 13 - "It's time to make some changes. Or compromises. Because if I sit here and do nothing ... nothing will change." ... I knew then, that I had to initiate and follow through on shaking up my world.

Mar 15 - "Change is inevitable. The transition period is tough. Usually the end result is worth the struggle. But sometimes, I just want to fix what works for me and forge ahead with new 30 day guarantee. Renew and replace as necessary. But please don't take away what works for me. " ... little did I know what was in store.

During that week in March, my life was flipped upside down. I fell apart. I felt life-as-I-knew-it threatened from all angles. I picked myself up and carried on ...

Fast forward to today:

I spent a few hours going back reading old blog posts. I returned to Alaska. I re-walked the path of knowing that I had to make and follow through on a career change.

I didn't have to reread my recent blogs to remember. The past few weeks have been tough. They shook me to the core in a way that I cannot recall ever happening before. It took strength that was very hard to summon, to get me up out of bed in the morning and propel me through the day.

Yesterday was Friday. The day following a dance lesson. I was fortified with a sense of self that has been lost for a while. I found a vital piece of it on the dance floor.

I faced the day. I talked with my co-workers. I did everything in my power to put myself in a position to handle whatever next week at my New Job throws at me. I started to feel as though I can survive this transition.

Then I woke up this morning.

My heart is at rest. The fight or flight adrenaline will not be called on today. I feel peaceful and secure. I am starting to feel a little bit of my 'happy' returning.

I would not appreciate this sensation if I didn't have to fight for it. As I scrambled up this mountain, I felt myself slipping many, many times. But more often, I stopped and appreciated the view from where I stood in that moment. The challenges have been generously sprinkled among the days. But they pale in comparison to the blessings that I have found along the way. This journey has been a story unto itself. I am still forging ahead on a new path and have no way of knowing what lies ahead.

But I have a very, very good feeling about all of this ...

I was introduced to and met a man during that fateful week in March. All has been silent on that front for the five months that followed our last meeting. Yesterday (the day where I truly felt that I had truly survived and come out the other end of this transition) ... he sent me an email. I have no illusions of where 'this' will go. But to me, it simply feels like a positive omen.

My strength, my sanity and my sense of well-being have been tested. I am at the beginning stage of a new cycle in my life. I can feel this as strongly as when I knew that I had to make a drastic decision about my job (June 8 - "it's not too difficult to figure out which opportunities are the best. It won't be a logical decision - just something you know in your gut immediately as you confront your various options") ...

Change is in the air. And the breeze feels very good. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Bring it on. I'm ready!

Friday, August 19, 2011

There Is a Place Where I Can Multitask!

I went to a dance class last night.

Granted, it was not a class where I had to scratch my head and challenge myself too far beyond my abilities. It was a class where there were people of all stages of the learning curve.

It was a class that I needed to attend.

Lately, I have been scrutinizing my thinking processes and have quite honestly become quite frightened at the state of my brain. My ability to multitask, absorb new information and keep more than one instruction in my head at a time has been challenged to the max.

I have been forgetful, overwhelmed and sluggish in my abilities. I have reached a point where I am tired of my own company because of this newfound state of mental unrest.

Then I went dancing.

I was in a setting that is motivating, comforting and reminds me of the person that I used to be. I was among people that I know. I was doing something that I love to do. I was reminded of the many, many times where I have become overwhelmed within those happy and safe walls. I remembered the many, many times where I overcame those feelings of fear, apprehension and anxiety.

I thought of all of my new colleagues. I pictured each and every one of them being plunked into that dance studio and confronted with a brand new learning curve. I was comforted by the fact that I am not alone. Everyone has something to learn. No one walks into a new place of employment and knows everything they need to know. No one walks into a dance studio knowing all that there is to learn.

I will not feed my anxiety with all that I cannot do right now. Instead, I shall picture my colleagues in the dance studio and remember that each and everyone of us has something to learn in life. Presently, I am on the steep end of a long learning curve. But I learned to dance. I will learn this too.

Dancing is based on learning the basics and layering new information on top of what you have learned. It is one of the most fun ways to enhance your multitasking abilities that I know of.

If I can learn dance ... I can do anything. And I will. Absolutely!!

Absolutely!

Absolutely - With no qualification, restriction, or limitation; totally.

I seem to find this person no matter where my life takes me. That purely energetic, cheerful soul that sprinkles a sense of joy wherever they go.

At my New Place of Employment, there is That Girl. She oozes a sense of happy. She is the one you aspire to 'be'.

When asked a question, her answer is often a resounding, "Absolutely!" There is not a sense of holding back. No feeling that it is a "perhaps" or "I'll see what I can do". It is 100% completely heartfelt "Absolutely!"

I listen to my co-workers and hear a sense of this cheer-leader spirit in all. I hear the word "absolutely" utilized in their vocabulary. Perhaps not with the same gusto as the girl who uses the word with enthusiasm ... but the "absolutely" attitude is instilled in those within our office.

I can look back at every job and find that one person that stands out from the rest. The one with the "absolutely" attitude.

I don't aspire to be a yes-man. I strive to embrace the Absolutely Attitude and move forward through each and every part of my life without qualification, restriction or limitation. Totally.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time For a Change

I am sick and tired of thinking, living, writing and dealing with all of the work-life issues that have been scrolling through my brain, into my fingers and onto this blog.

I feel like I have become a poster child for negativity. It seems that I find drama at every turn. I am attracting negative situations to my life and it must end.

The phone rang last night and I just knew that it would be my mom. I thought that she would most likely be checking in, to see how things are going at my new job. Mind you, most people that I know are tip toeing around the work issue and most have said something to the effect of, "I'll check in with you in a week or so".

I have said enough. People are tired of the drama. It is time to skip past the beginning and fast forward to the middle of the story.

Anyway ... it was not my mom that was calling. It was my dance instructor. Ahhh ... what a great diversion. To think, talk and dream of dancing.

I took a hiatus from dancing over the summer due to finances. It was the right decision. But wrong. Wrong in so many ways.

Wrong - because that one, half hour dance lesson is a vacation from life.

When you are consumed with what your feet, arms, body and frame are doing, you don't have time to think about anything else.

Laughter and light hearted conversation dominates everything else once I walk through the dance studio doors. Surrounded by people of like mind, there is a camaraderie that transforms the world within those walls.

One-on-one instruction is a luxury that I have indulged in, over the course of my years at the dance studio. My instructor has danced me through every stage of my learning curve and knows me. If I am a slow learner, he has disguised the fact well. His patience, humor and kindness have gently molded me into a better dancer than I was when I began.

Real life takes a back seat during that lesson.

It is time to let my day-to-day life take a back seat on a regular basis. The time has come to rejoin the land of dancing ... the land of breathing ... laughing ... moving and grooving. It is time to sign up for those regular weekly lessons of joy and laughter.

It is time for a change. It is time to dance.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is it Me???

I am still undecided if this incident deserves further energy on my part or not. I was on the receiving end of one more tongue lashing today. I stood in a state of disbelief. I didn't see it coming.

The last thing in the world that I expected was a confrontation.

I felt that I had a valid reason to voice my concern. I thought that the person on the receiving end of my observation would appreciate the fact that I talked directly to them, instead of going to a superior.

I was in no way, shape or form retaliating. I just thought that something should be said so that the incident could be prevented from happening in the future.

My mistake? I put it in writing.

The one and only reason that I wrote it down, was so that if I happened to be within earshot of others, I could discreetly hand over my comment without saying it out loud. I had no reason or desire to embarrass anyone nor cause a public display.

I was in a hurry and I didn't reread what I wrote. I had absolutely no idea that the last sentence would cause the recipient of my comment to feel as though this was a personal attack. The response was immediate and unbuffered from anyone within earshot.

I could (and perhaps should) have said much more. I relayed my concern over one incident. There were others. Perhaps if there hadn't been other parallel infractions, I would have let it slide.

I walked away dumbfounded.

I had absolutely no intention on letting this matter jade my loyalty to a business. I am having second thoughts.

I do not want to approach a higher level of management. It would appear that I have a personal vendetta against this employee if I did that.

The fact of the matter is, that I honestly have a valid complaint. I like to draw attention and acknowledge good service. I have voiced my discontentment with businesses a few times in the past. It has not been personal. I didn't feel as though one employee was being placed in jeopardy. It was a general observation.

That is how all of this began. A general observation that I intended to discreetly bring to the attention of my superior. It ended in a personal affront. The response was a verbal attack where an unrelated incident was brought up, which had absolutely nothing to do with the reason that I passed along my concern.
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I am also feeling a 'disconnect' from my previous employer.

I did everything I knew how to do, to try to salvage the situation. There is no sense in rehashing the past, but I do not know what more I could have done. Yet ... when it came to the final pay cheque and paperwork, they were both lacking. So I have been placed in a position where I must to follow up.

If there was anything that could have been salvaged from that work relationship, I believe that it has been lost.

Once again, I feel that I have a valid reason to complain. But if I do so, it becomes personal. To me, it isn't personal. I just want what is due to me.
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Is it any wonder that I feel like I am walking on eggshells at my New Job?

My previous work experiences have all been very positive. In almost 35 years of work experience, I have never ever run across situations that were anything like these.

Is it me? Am I walking around with a "Kick Me When I'm Down" sign on my back??? Or have I simply been running into new and improved challenges these past few weeks??

Second Days

I am not eagerly anticipating the day before me. I am not fearful, nor over whelmed. I am simply not basking in the glow of not-having-a-clue-what-to-do at my New Job #2 (which has now become my One and Only New Job).

I would not highly recommend starting two new jobs back to back. I am grateful that my original plan of working both jobs was taken out of my hands. I am still wavering with uncertainty but I'm taking forward steps to regain my footing.

My first day at this job was the best first-day that I have ever had. The girls in the office are so nice. I have been assured and reassured that it is not expected that I know everything that I need to know. I cannot even learn a lot of things until we get busy. They expect questions, more questions and the same questions. Until I learn.

I long to regain the comfort levels which I have earned at Jobs Past. I remember that this New Phase does not last forever. I would like to fast forward through the next few months of discomfort. But I can't.

I must walk back into work today and absorb all that I possibly can. I am grateful for the calm before the storm. It will start to get busy next week. The week following will be full-force hurricane weather. There are limitations as to what I can do before I am face-to-face with the stormy weather which is forecast.

I am feeling unprepared but I am doing everything in my power to fortify the resources at hand so that I will still be standing when the storm is over.

This is only my second day. Breathe in. Breathe out. Rome wasn't built in two days.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

8 to 4

My new job begins today.

I will have defined hours of work, regular holidays, a stable pay cheque, lunch breaks (even coffee breaks!), benefits, holidays and (drum roll please) co-workers!

I have been rather isolated in my work environments the past 13 years.

During my daycare days, I was on my own. Thankfully, I had parents walk in and out of my days so I didn't lack for adult company. But the workload was mine and mine alone.

My Saturday employment during that period was what I classified as 'adult time'. I spent six hours each Saturday working with and among people. I just happened to get paid for that privilege.

Going back to school was the reintroduction of people into my days. Yet it was still a very solitary existence. The room was full of people, but each of us were working independently on our individual studies. Talking within the classroom environment was discouraged. But there was a short lunch period where I had a taste of being back among people. I liked it ...

Bookkeeping from my home was a solo venture. Once again, I was solely responsible for the work that was done. In the beginning, there was a lot of flexibility as to how I accomplished that task. I found ways to keep a balance between isolation and contact with the outside world. There were ways in which I could bring people into my days and still complete the tasks at hand.

Bookkeeping outside of my home was the beginning of the end, at my last job. Not only was I completely isolated during my work day ... but conversation with my superiors was stressful. I cringed when I knew I had to ask a question because I had no idea how they would respond. As much as I disliked working alone upstairs in among the diesel parts and furnace ... I much preferred that, to being plunked into the middle of the chaos of their workspace downstairs.

My most recent attempt at a New Job was 90% positive. My co-workers were young, encouraging, friendly and helpful. The customers were pleasant and easy going 99% of the time. I was thrilled to be in among people. Despite the pressures of a fast paced work environment, it was the contact with people that brought a smile to my face and satisfaction to my days.

I have completed those chapters of my life. I have reviewed them and I am ready to take the lessons learned and move forward.

I crave stability and structure within my work environment. I absolutely loved working from home ... but it is time to venture back into the vastness of the work-world around me. From everything that I have seen within my Brand New Work Environment, I believe that I have found what I have been searching for.

I will work 8 to 4, Monday to Friday. I will be part of a team. I will  have a defined job description. I will have training and support to get through the transition. Most of all ... my days of isolation are over. I'm ready.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Humbled ... But Not Defeated

The past few weeks have felt like a bit of a roller coaster ride. The highs have reached new heights. The lows have hit record bottom.

But today, 17 days after the last day at my old job, I have hit a most welcome plateau.

I have been hired for a position at a school. It is a temporary, but full time job. They have reworked the job position a little, to allow room for training. My small melt-down of a minor proportion during my job interview last week served a useful purpose. They are not expecting me to walk in and know everything I need to know. They are giving me the tools to succeed.

I have been interviewed by a grand total of four people at my new place of employment. I feel secure and welcomed in the transition. I have walked away from each and every phone conversation or interview with the thought "I want to work with these people" forefront in my mind.

I was almost certain that I didn't get the position within the school system that I was interviewed for last week (I had been guaranteed a job as 'substitute secretary' but there were several positions within the school system to be filled and if successful, I would be working full time at one school). It wasn't official, but I was almost certain that I would be facing more interviews. I wasn't certain that I was up to the task.

This afternoon, when I received the call that I had been chosen to fill the position that I had been interviewed for, I was both shocked and relieved. Shocked that they chose me, after all that I told them I wasn't. Relieved that they chose me, for that meant that I would not have to face another interview any time soon.

I am all out of adrenaline. I am not over the moon. I am quietly content. I am not terrified of what lies in store. I am well aware that there will be challenges and rocky roads ahead. But I am comforted in the fact that I am part of a team that will work with me to get past the tough days.

My recent experience has knocked the wind out of me. It has shown me that I have much to learn and that I must be patient with myself throughout the process. I am far from perfect and I am my own worst enemy when I expect too much of myself.

I crumbled to pieces and fell apart one day last week. But I have picked myself up and fortified myself with the lessons learned from the experience. I will forge onward.

I am taking it one step at a time. I will not give up. I may be humbled ... but I am not defeated.

Friday, August 12, 2011

When the Going Gets Tough ... The Tough Get Their Hair Done!

I went to my favorite hair salon yesterday afternoon. Those girls are great at what they do, the ambiance is happy & uplifting and I love the feeling of transformation that takes place within.

Yesterday was a day that I needed to feel a little bit of 'all of the above'.

I am rallying back from Wednesday and feeling ready to conquer the world again. Yesterday morning? Not so much.

Lucky for me, I had a job interview for a secretarial position at a high school at 10:00 yesterday morning.

It was an eye opening experience from the moment I walked up the steps leading into the school. A few kids were also entering the building and at first glance, I was perplexed. Isn't it summer holidays? The veil of my ignorance slowly lifted. This was a high school. This school's doors must be open for summer classes. This could be a 12 month position that I was applying for ...

I had arrived early so I had an opportunity to sit and absorb the atmosphere of where I would be working. I liked the vibes that I felt. I talked to one of the secretaries for a few minutes. It felt good.

Then I was invited into the office to be interviewed. They gave me a short overview of all that the school has to offer and how much it has changed since My Oldest graduated from there 15 (?) years ago. Then ... they explained the position that I was being interviewed for, the demands, the dynamics of the students/parents and some of the challenges of the job.

I am not certain if I slumped in the chair and gazed at them with my mouth open or not. All that I felt from within was "I can't do this ... I could not keep up with the pace ... I am inadequate ... I can't learn quickly enough ... I can't ... I can't ... I can't ..."

I have not had a lot of job interviews. But in all of the interviews that I have had, I have never, ever, ever unsold myself in the way that I did yesterday.

Before I started talking, I preceded what I had to say by explaining (in 20 words or less) 'the day' that I had preceding the interview. I told them that my self confidence level had reached negative numbers and I was uncertain that I was prepared to be selling myself for a job with them.

I told them all that I could not do ... while I was in the learning phase of a job position. I confessed that I would be unable to walk in and do the job proficiently. I have recent and vivid memories of the tunnel vision that one experiences when walking into something new. The learning curve is steep in a new position and while I am in that phase, I am not working anywhere close to my potential.

I briefly covered what was lacking from the job that I had just left. I explained that I require feedback, encouragement, communication and evaluations. I understand that feedback is both positive and negative. That is okay with me. I need to know where I stand.

After my confession and demands ... I proceeded to try to sell myself.

I have no idea if I succeeded or failed. If I do get the job after that interview, I will know that this is the job for me. If they hire me after me telling them all that I am not ... it means we are starting out a working relationship based on complete truths.

I walked into the interview feeling completely inadequate. I walked out of the interview thinking 'maybe I can learn to do this'.

Then I got my hair cut and colored.

I have picked myself up off of the floor, brushed myself off and got my hair done. I look at the reflection in the mirror and I like the girl with the healthy, vibrant hair.  I believe in myself again. I am ready to take on whatever I am given.

Okay world, I'm ready. Bring it on ...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Should Have Known

No jewelry was allowed. I had to take off Mom's engagement ring and leave it at home. My heart hurt each and every time I removed 'priceless' piece of family jewelery off of my hand and left it behind.

I told My Youngest that I planned to work 5:30 to 8:00 each week day morning. He said nothing. His eyes said volumes.

I wasn't comfortable. But I was determined. I thought that I needed two jobs to afford to take the job I saw in my future.

That choice was taken out of my hands yesterday.

I was told "You are of no use to me if you cannot work until 8:00 a.m." at my early morning job. I found out yesterday afternoon that my job at the school will start at 8:00. I am back down to one job.

Am I relieved? A little bit. The biggest two reasons are Mom's ring and My Youngest's reaction.

Is there any benefit to the two (or more) weeks of unemployment that lie ahead? You bet! I can drive Mom back home after her upcoming weekend visit. Then I can stay for a bit of a holiday. I can revel in two stress-free weeks before I start anew ... again.

The frustration is, that I hadn't conquered New Job #1. In fact I was a far cry from attaining that goal.

Yesterday was without a doubt, the worst day in the history of my Work Life. Yes, it was a day that broke me into pieces and left me shattered. Time ... after time ... after time. It was relentless.

It was a day that took what was left of my self esteem after my last job and threw it out the window. It was a very bad day.

But ... it was a day that made me more determined than ever, to go back and conquer my fears and inadequacies. I was going to overcome those obstacles and come out victorious. I could do it. I knew I could.

Discovering the hours of my job at the school has taken away my opportunity to do so.

I am disappointed that I cannot work at my early morning job until my next job begins. I could have used the income. I could have regained some self esteem by overcoming yesterday. But I was of no value to them. It felt like a slap in the face.

So I will take the good out of the situation and forge ahead. I will savor the unplanned two week vacation that now lies before me. I will fully appreciate those people who know and do their jobs with such ease ... and have great empathy for those who are struggling.

I will take the lessons and shed the rest. Yesterday is but a memory. Today is mine. The future is unknown but promising.

There were warning signs right from the onset. I should have known. But I'm glad that I tried.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Early Morning Musings

I start to work at 6:00 a.m. at New Job #1. Once I get started at New Job #2, this start time is scheduled to change to 5:30 a.m. I am a morning person, so I thought to myself "Why not get paid for it?" But this is severely hampering my morning blogging habits.

I have exactly ten minutes to squeeze in time to write. I can easily spend ten minutes rereading, editing and revising each post that I write. So it has become my (new) habit, to write fast and edit later.

I am five days in to my New Job #1. It is a challenging place to work (at least it is for a beginner), because the pace is fast, fast, fast. Customers have learned to expect speed, accuracy and friendliness. The entire focus of this job is on the customer. I love it.

As the reality of New Job #2 is seeping in, I am wondering "What if I am unable to do both jobs?" I am hoping that no matter what transpires, I can find a way to continue to follow the path that I've been forging at New Job #1 this past week.

Yes. One week is behind me. Some processes are beginning to run on auto pilot mode. My brain, hands and body are starting to become 'one' at my New Place of Employment. I love when I gain the security that comes from repetition, repetition, repetition.

Which brings me to one other piece of my life where repetiton has allowed me to run on auto pilot. Dancing.

I talked to my dance instructor yesterday. I have promised to go to the group classes on Thursday. I have high hopes that once my finances settle into a state of knowing what income I will have, that my private dance lessons will find their way back into my budget. The lesson of cutting corners this past month can be carried forward so that I can find a way to afford to dance.

Security and contentment in my days is coming. Laughter and joy at the dance studio is around the corner. It is all coming together ...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Free Fall is Over

Three weeks to the day that I handed in my resignation (took my Leap of Faith) ... I got the job that I had my hopes set on.

My 'leap' was preceded by a phone call. I called the school board and talked to some wonderful, encouraging soul in their Human Resources department. When I told her who I was, what I had to offer and explained my fervent desire to work for the school system, she made me feel like I had a good shot at succeeding.

As a result of that conversation, I handed in my resignation at my job and gave two weeks notice. I felt positive that placing that extra pressure of needing a job would finally propel me out of a situation that had been going downhill for a very long time.

I have enjoyed a small bit of the view as I have made my free fall towards the earth. But for the most part, it has quite honestly been a frightening descent (as I felt my faith in my parachute wavering).

Now that my parachute has finally opened, I am in awe of the panorama before me. Glancing back to where I was ... but looking forward and savoring the glimpse of what is yet to come. The landing may be bumpy, but I've survived much worse than this.

I'm wafting in the security of knowing that parachute was always there. I just didn't know if I could count on it opening soon enough.

The free fall is over. I have a small window of time to just appreciate the sensation of wafting down to earth before I am faced with the reality of landing.

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained" ... it is far easier to say than to follow through on those four words of wisdom.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wishes DO Make Dreams Come True!!!!

This afternoon, I called and left a message to talk with the person that interviewed me for The Job of My Dreams ... simply to ask for pointers as to what I could do, to work towards becoming a successful candidate for this job in the future.

It took close to two hours for her to return my call. But it was worth the wait. I got the job!!!

I had such a firm conviction and belief that this was going to work. Two weeks ago.

Since that time, I was interviewed and told that it would be close to a two week wait before I heard if I was a successful candidate for the job.

Two weeks for them to talk to people younger, more experienced and more suited for the job. Two weeks to talk myself down. When last week came and went without 'the call', I quietly accepted the fact that my job search was not over. I would have to keep looking for The Right Job.

I will be working for the school board. I have the ability to work at a job that will mirror My Youngest's school hours and holidays. I will continue to be an available parent to him. This is all that I've ever wanted. And I have been blessed. Again.

Step 2 of my 2 (or more) step plan is successful. To say that I am over the moon, is an understatement!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Seasons

My life is in a complete state of flux at the moment. I feel vulnerable, frightened, anxious ... yet hopeful. As I was trying to put words to the emotions I am feeling, I couldn't help but think of the four Seasons.

My work life is in the season of Spring. I have planted seeds, watered and done some weeding. From the surface, it looks as though nothing is growing. Do I resew or wait and hope that some of those seeds are simply taking root before signs of growth begin? I can't afford to simply sit back and do nothing. So I will leave the seeds in the hope of new life ... but I will continue to plant others. I will nurture what I have sewn but plant a back up crop.

My sense of family and friends are in the Summer of the year. In full bloom, basking in the sun and ripe with all that they have to offer. I may sit back and savor what has grown. I feel assured that I have a friend or family member to call on - to sit back and reflect on all that transpiring throughout the other the 'seasons' of our lives.

Fall represents 'my past'. I must shed what has come and gone through my life. Rake up the piles of excess and deal with the loss in the most healthy and ecological way that I know how. Compost and rebuild from the past. Discard the rest. And move on ...

Relationships with those of the male variety remain in the state of Winter. They have laid dormant for some time. From time to time I wonder 'why'. But with such a big part of my life presently in the season of Spring and all of the uncertainty that it has bred ... I know that I need to be more before I can be a part of a two way relationship. If I was to meet someone when I felt so vulnerable in such a vital part of my life, it would breed an unhealthy and unequal partnership. Winter is a necessary part of the life process. Time to rebuild from inner reserves. Time to rest. Time to process. Time to prepare for new growth ...

I am grateful that my transitions in life are represented in each of the four Seasons.

I am grateful to feel the continuing season of growth. Goals and aspirations keep me feeling alive and vital ... and the future hopeful.

I am blessed to bask in the abundance of life that previous seasons have provided. I have an abundance of intangible and immaterial wealth. I savor the season of reveling in the present.

I need to shed the remnants of the past that are not vital to my day to day living. To carry the excess is a burden. I am grateful for all that I have reaped and hope to be respectful with what has been shed.

I appreciate the dormancy which allows me time to regain what I need to learn to move forward. It may not be my favorite season, but it is a vital part of the process.

Like the seasons, each stage of life comes and goes. Like the rainbow which follows a rain ... it is a glimmer of the promise of what tomorrow will bring.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

But What if He Wasn't ....

I have a friend who has attained what I have only dreamed of. She has a healthy, supportive and strong relationship with her ex-husbands and their wives.

Her daughter got married this summer. She has been friendly with her ex-husband and his wife for a very long time. This hasn't been without its challenges, but she is a determined soul and she fights for what she believes in. She believes in friendship. She believes in doing what is best for her children.

She has always known that he is a good dad and despite their different methods of parenting and views from time to time, it became very obvious at their daughter's wedding that they each believe that the other party is a good parent - a good person. The entire family came out the other side of divorce and are friends. They embraced, they love each other ... when the song "It Looks Like We Made It" was played, they looked at each other and said "That song is for us ..."

Three weeks later, this same friend was off a family holiday with her husband and youngest son ... to visit her son's father. For a week.

The relationship between the son and father has been estranged. The marriage broke up when their son was about two years old. There were many, many issues which brought about the divorce. It was a very unhealthy situation and my friend had to resort to blocking her ex-husband from being able to contact her. From what was understood at the time, it was the only answer that could provide her and her family any peace.

Fast forward several years ... when my friend changed telephone providers and neglected to block her ex-husband's number immediately. He called.

The past two years have been a process. A process that was complete (yet only just beginning) this summer when father and son (and ex-husband, ex-wife and all of their spouses) were reunited. It was a success on every level. The comment that my friend's husband told her ex was "I didn't think that I would like you ... but I do!" The feeling was reciprocated by all four parties. Then there was the father and son ...

My friend's son was not raised by his father. He didn't know his father. Yet mannerisms, looks, ways of thinking, behaviours ... you name it ... he is his father's son. There was a sense of coming home. Of belonging. Of knowing his father. This reunion completely transformed my friend's son. He is completely at peace.

His dad is a good guy. He thought his dad was a bad guy. He knew that his dad was a part of him. And if his dad was a bad guy ... so was he. But he's not. He's a good dad. He's a good human being. Knowing that his dad is a good guy has given the son permission to believe that he is a good guy.

My heart is so happy for my friend. She has attained what I only dreamed of. I told her this. Her story has such a good ending (really, a beginning).

But what if the dad wasn't such a good guy?? My heart aches for those who don't have that sense of peace ...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Questions, Questions, Questions

Questions at work ... questions about my future ... I am second guessing and questioning myself at every turn lately.

I will be so grateful to move out of this doubtful phase and into the next. Certainly, the stage after this one will be better.

Conviction. That is what I'm aiming for. To make a decision and stick with it. Follow through and achieve.

One step at a time.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Building a Foundation

"Everything you build starts with a foundation. This week, it seems to take forever to get that foundation set up. But these initial steps are so important that you should take all the time you need to do them correctly. Stay patient. Don't sully the process with frustration. Keep putting lovely feelings into the atmosphere." ~ My Horoscope for this week

A foundation. I'm building a foundation.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Stay patient. Lovely feelings.

I can do this. If this is what is required as the rest of my (work) life falls into place, I can do this.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

My brain is all worn out after six hours at my new job.

All I have left to say is:

When you see a new cashier (or even an old one) struggling (with what appears to be easy, from your side of the counter) ... please be kind.

I hate being the new kid on the block. Thankfully, it doesn't last forever.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fresh Air, Sunshine ... and Exercise

It was a very outdoorsy kind of weekend.

Day #1 and 2 consisted of driving ... relaxing ... eating. Basically just sitting back and enjoying the view. Yesterday? Not so much.

Yesterday involved four hours of weed pulling. Four hours. Three small piles of weeds. Granted, some of those weeds had rooted themselves into the centre of the earth. But after all of that time, one would have assumed there would be more to show for your efforts.

Well? There was.

Despite the fact that I wore gardening gloves, there was dirt embedded under all of my fingernails. I wore sandals and I thought my feet may never come clean again. I felt so dirty, that the desire to hose myself off at the car wash was overwhelming.

Coming clean never felt so good.

The shower was immediate. Followed by a cool iced coffee and sustenance. Then came the pedicure and manicure.

I probably spent as many hours cleaning and polishing myself up, as I did picking weeds. My hands and feet were so happy, I swear that they were smiling.

My muscles had a work out. I basked in sunshine. I dug in the dirt. I worked. And it was good.

It was an absolutely perfect long weekend. Now ... it is back to reality.

I'm ready.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Down Home Country Weekend

It didn't happen by design ... but this weekend has been filled with country adventures.

It all started when a friend suggested that we spend Saturday afternoon driving down country roads of yesteryear. We ended up spending a quiet, nature filled afternoon at her uncle's farm.

We talked of the past, present and future. We wandered down what (used to be) a road to the farm she grew up on. Most of all ... we breathed in the fresh air, enjoyed a beautiful summer day, listened to the wind and took a step away from life.

Yesterday, my Second Son invited us out for brunch at his farm. His little family (his girlfriend and their two dogs) have been camping out at the farm all weekend.

We drove up to a cozy family setting and settled in to enjoy the moment. We ended up out at His Lake. Water levels are high this year and the slough on his property has grown to epic proportions.

I was too afraid of getting my feet dirty (or tipping over in the canoe), so My Youngest captured the essence of their canoe ride on video.

Here is a little peek at the view from The Lake:

video
Music by:
Alaskan String Band
"Farther On"