Friday, September 30, 2011

Content ... but Tired

Overall, it was a good week.

Work is still exhausting me because I am focusing so hard on being positive and I am pushing myself far beyond my comfort zone. I am starting to feel a flow about the days that is comforting but it is still hard work to be there. But it is better. So much better!

I am around people. All day. So many people! I play a game with myself as staff members enter the office. What is their first and last name? What do they teach? What extra-curricular activities are they involved in? What do I know about them? I am starting to win at this game more often than not. At one point, I counted 115 staff members at the school. I now recognize and know the vast majority of them. This simple fact helps me at my job immensely.

Then there are the students. I believe that I heard that there are approximately 850 students registered at our school. I believe that I may know two of them by name. Several, by face. But the vast majority? I couldn't identify in a line up.

And the phone calls. The fear of answering the phone and not knowing the answers is dissipating. Yesterday, someone I spoke to at the beginning of the week called back. When I answered the phone he asked, "Is this Colleen?" Immediately, I felt at one with my job. People are recognizing my telephone voice (I can't say that I am doing the same ... yet).

People. So many people!

I have come from working upstairs in an 'attic space' with the furnace and spare parts, with only the radio to keep me company ... to this. It is truly no wonder why I have been struggling. There is a little bit of culture shock tossed into the mix as well as a brand new work environment filled with oh ... about a thousand people that I've never met before in my life.

Last night, when the group dance class time was nearing ... I couldn't do it. I couldn't put myself out there any more. I didn't have the energy to push myself through the discomfort of the possibility of having to be the 'lead', in a female dominated dance environment. I just wasn't in the right space. So I stayed home.

I probably should have went. I gave in to my exhaustion and this morning, I wish I could do it again. This day will be just fine. I can do this. One more day.

But I am sure glad that it's Friday. I am becoming content in my new world. But it exhausts me. I am ready for the weekend. Again.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Next Time ... I'll Book a Dance Lesson

I went to my first-ever counselling appointment last night.

I am sure that my experience would have been different if I had gone a week or two ago. A week or two ago, I would have been a puddle on the floor. I wouldn't have had the ability to articulate and effectively communicate my thoughts. The lump in my throat prevented me from saying all that I was feeling.

Throughout my recent 'journey to the dark side', I frequently picked up the phone and talked with people. When I quit calling, I had a friend that called me. She talked me through the days when I went silent. She planted a lot of seeds that are taking root.

My family has had the fortunate experience of living with me throughout this fine experience. I have done my best not to dump everything on them. But I haven't been able to mask my inner doom and gloom. I have not been myself and even I was getting sick and tired of the Negative Nellie that had taken up residence within.

It hasn't been all bad. I've had spells where I thought that I was through the worst of it. Only to be proven wrong. The unexpected turns, jolts and not knowing how far I was going to fall before I 'hit bottom' has been the most un-fun roller coaster ride that I have endured.

I was having a hard (impossible) time stifling the negative self-talk. It was like living with a stranger. Even though I recognized that my thought processes were unhealthy, I seemed to have lost my ability to override the negativity.

So I booked an appointment with a counsellor.

I had to wait a week before I could get in to see her. A week can make a big difference. I had the ability to cancel the appointment if I deemed it unnecessary. But I knew that there can be a lot of ups and downs in one week. So I kept my appointment.

I had such a good day yesterday. I felt my inner 'happy' for the first time in months. I knew that I had turned a corner and that I would go on from 'here'. But I still wanted to incorporate some positive coping strategies into the inevitable challenges that may lie ahead. So I went to my appointment.

I felt like I was in the wrong class. I attended Beginner Counselling 101 when life experiences have fast tracked me into an Advanced Session.

I didn't need the drawing to visualize that my thoughts led to feelings which physically affected my body and behaviours. I was already telling her that I had advanced to the stage where I recognized the need to unplug, reboot and start over when I got derailed. I was focusing on making a difference - one small step at a time. Focusing on the positive. Side stepping the danger zones ...

Twenty seven years ago, Alanon meetings taught me that I cannot change others - that I am only in control of my own feelings and how I react to them. The valuable lessons I learned from Alanon have stayed with me. Yet at my Beginner Counselling 101 session, this was key.

I can't say that I walked out of that appointment feeling any different than I did when I walked in. I don't think that I learned anything that I didn't already know. Perhaps I was reminded of a thing or two. She explained the thought processes that has led to my 'running in circles' when I am uncertain and overwhelmed.

But the thing is ... this session was not free. I paid for it out of my own pocket. It is money that I will never see again. And for a mere $10.00 more ... I could have had a one hour dance lesson!

Next time? I'll dance!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Good Day ... A Very Good Day!

For the first time in a long, long time ... I can say with all honesty "It was a very good day!"

What went right?

Snippets of conversations with co-workers. I made someone smile. I learned something new about a few people. I felt like I made a small difference in the day of one student. I worked in a different office this afternoon. A lucky coincidence put me together with two other new-to-this-school employees and we had a refreshing conversation about some of our growing pains.

I walked home and felt ... happy.

I feel like I have made it through the worst. I am still going to go and talk with someone to gather some strategies so that I don't continue to perpetuate some of the negativity I have been experiencing lately. But I will be walking into that appointment with a mission and a determination to succeed (instead of a powerless, weeping soul).

I have not felt this good for a long, long time. I have definitely had moments of happiness ... but I think it is safe to say that work has not been the catalyst to any joy that I have felt (for longer than I care to dwell on).

Yesterday I came home depleted ... but not defeated. I stood up for myself. It was a small matter ... but it made a huge difference.

I believe the tides are changing ...

20 Minutes of Insomnia

I have developed the habit of waking up at 4:40 every morning.

Waking up in the middle of the night is nothing new to me. If I can't turn off my thoughts and go back to sleep, I simply turn on the TV. The moment that my head is caught up in something that I am half interested in, the words on the TV replace the words in my head. Voila! Presto! I fall back into a deep slumber.

Why do I remember that I wake up at 4:40 every morning? Because there is nothing on the TV but infomercials, news programs and various other programing that holds no interest to me.

Thus, I cannot seem to force the thoughts that have begun circulating within my head to stop. And I lie in bed, tossing and turning, flipping and checking channels and trying to feign interest in the news. Until 5:00.

Five o'clock is the magic hour. A program that interests me (enough to turn off the thought processes that are running in high gear after 20 minutes) comes on.

The program starts with a short intro and then it is straight into the credits. Beyond that point? I couldn't tell you what happens. Because the moment my head is relaxed with the thought that someone else's words are going to fill my mind, I relax. Poof! I fall fast asleep.

My alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. and I'm ready to face the day.

I'm not sure what I would do without that added half hour of sleep. I am sure that I am soon to find out ... daylight savings time is around the corner. Since everyone else in the free world (or at least within our TV station radius) turns their clocks, while we remain the same time ... my regularly scheduled programming is going to be delayed by one hour.

It could be a long winter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Am Trying ....

I've got myself caught up in a downward spiral and no matter how hard I try, I can't get a leg up and out of there.

I am trying so hard.

I am looking for and finding my own solutions more often than not.

I am acknowledging the positives where ever I see them.

I am trying to be sensitive to those around me and respecting boundaries, over taxed nerves and stressors.

I am doing the best that I can.

I am faced with road blocks that I feel powerless to overcome.

I am looking for answers. I hope to find some. Soon.

I don't know what else to do. Maybe I should just stop trying.  And just do it ...

Just Keep Moving!

I puttered my way through yesterday. It was a great way to spend a Monday.

The day had a flow about it that has been missing for a while. An easy pace ... where I simply kept moving.

I came home from work, made a salad for supper, cooked a decent supper, ironed some clothes, vacuumed a little and simply kept moving from one little job to the next.

Then I danced. A light and easy half hour retreat from my life.

I ran a few errands on my way home. I refilled and reattached the propane tank on the BBQ, ate a late supper and watched Dancing With the Stars.

As per usual, the highlight of my day was when I climbed into my PJ's and I was completely ready for bed. But I stayed awake and enjoyed hovering in the never land between 'putting the day behind me' and 'sleep'.

Last night, I was able to stay awake until 10:00. I kept myself moving throughout the day and I accomplished a few small things along the way.

It was a good way to spend a day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Time Warp

I didn't want to get up this morning.

I laid in bed longer than usual. I went through my morning routines. I wrote a blog post. A long one. And I still had time left over.

I came home for lunch this afternoon.

I made my lunch, checked my emails, had dessert, chatted with My Youngest, read a blog post and did some banking. And I still have time left over.

I am getting things accomplished, with time to burn.

Fortunately, the same thing is happening at work. I am getting the must-do jobs done, with time left over. I am asking new people questions and learning a little more. I am learning how to dodge and weave some of my prior challenges and coming out unscathed.

I wrote all of that, and I still have time left over.

If this keeps up, I should tackle some housecleaning when I get home. And still have time ...

Perpetuating the Negative

I have been rather quiet lately. I have been trying to stifle the negative thoughts going through my head and I thought if I didn't write about it, it would dissipate on its own. That didn't work.

The fact that I am now sitting still and writing my way through means that I am onto a new phase. I'm ready to release the negative and set it free.

My work situation has not been good for quite some time. A year ago, I was struggling. It went from bad to worse. By the time I handed in my resignation, I was depleted. Empty. I felt worthless.

I have walked away from relationships when they have depleted me to that point. But ... there is a big difference between walking away from a relationship, than walking away from a job.

With a relationship, I could take a break. I have never jumped from one relationship into another. I have always taken the time to heal before I try again. I would regroup, regain a sense of myself and I had something to give the next time around.

With a job, there is no such luxury. I must earn a pay cheque. I had to jump right into the next employment opportunity before I was ready. I had nothing to give ... and I found myself in a new job where I needed to give it my all. And I was empty.

I have been beating myself up because I have not been meeting my own expectations. I have found others picking up on the view that I have of myself and perpetuating the negative. I have dug myself into a hole and at times it has felt like it is caving in on me.

The desire to go back to my safe world of running a daycare from home has been overwhelming. Then I realized the other part of the equation that has made this work transition so difficult. I have not worked a full-time out-of-the-house-job from '9 to 5', Monday - Friday for thirteen years. Thirteen years!

I have been living in an altered state throughout that time. I have surrounded myself with positive and encouraging people. I gave everything that I had, to make the past thirteen years work ... and I succeeded.

Looking back, it seems that I was protected from the realities of life by a huge layer of 'bubble wrap' which I was wrapped in. I believed in myself, I convinced the people in my life to believe in me, I waded through the challenges firmly believing that "If I believed it ... it would happen". And it did.

Thirteen years of living the good life. Thirteen years to put 'being a mom' at the top of my list. Thirteen years to nestle in and make our house a home. Strengthen our family. I even had energy left over to expand my horizons and bring the outside world into my safe little bubble.

I have burst out of that bubble and I feel vulnerable. I am back in the real world, meeting new people, learning new things and stepping so far out of my comfort zone that I feel lost.

I am back in the real population. A world where I must work with a diverse number of personalities. I must get to know them and how they function. They don't know me and I have to work to build a reputation for myself.

This is hard. I have stumbled. My self worth is shaken and I am having a hard time picking myself up and moving forward.

But I have not given up.

I am recognizing the need to forgive myself for not being perfect. I am learning to shake myself off and 'reboot' after I make a mistake(s). I am trying not to tell people how imperfect I am.

I am back at square one. A new beginning. I have done this before. I can do it again. It all begins with the belief that I can do this. It is time to perpetuate the positive. The negativity must go.

Friday, September 23, 2011

As Good as You Are

"As good as you are
And as bad as I am ...
I am as good as you are,
As bad as I am"
~Author Unknown~
One of my mom's many quotable quotes

I am nearing the end of a pile of scrap paper that I use to scribble down lists and notes to myself. This morning, I found the above notation scribbled on the back of one of those pieces of paper. Thanks to another notation that I made on the same scrap, my detective skills have deduced that this piece of paper has been sitting idle on my counter for over a year.

This morning, these words found their way to me. At a time when I could really use a little quiet encouragement from my mom (without her worrying that goes along with that gift) ... I found just what I needed.

Inspiring words have been finding their way to my consciousness a lot lately. Am I simply noticing and absorbing what I need? Or are these words finding their way to me by some Divine intervention?

Possibly a little of each. But I choose to believe in Divine intervention. Words are powerful things. Used wisely, they carry the ability to make great changes.

It is time to make some of the change going on in my world into Great Change.

As bad as I am, I am as good as anyone else. With that little piece of wisdom, I shall go forth and have a Great Friday! ("Thanks, Mom")

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Am Not a Quitter

People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change.
They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in.
Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters;
they will not allow life's circumstances to push them down and hold them under.

~ Charles Swindoll ~

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Don't Stop Improving

I have started watching live TV once again.

For years and years, I taped my favorite programs and fast forwarded through the commercials. Then came the ability to watch missed episodes of  'my shows' online and once again I was not interupted (much) with advertisements.

I can stare at a TV ad and not see, hear or absorb a thing. I have managed to enjoy an advertisement and not have a clue what they are advertising.

Last night, something different happened. I saw this:

I not only saw the ad ... but I remembered the name of the company and the motto was (to me) clearly a winner. "Don't Stop Improving"

This advertisement not only made me want to dance through my life ... but to go out and move a wall while I'm at it! It was also a fun reminder - to never stop improving.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sound Sleep

Closing my eyes and turning off the world has been a coping mechanism that I have been utilizing a lot lately. I can fall asleep the moment I sit still at the best of times, but it has been different lately.

I have felt physically exhausted but I know that I am not. I have been emotionally spent. There is a difference.

Sunday nights have been the worst. Going to bed, knowing that I have five more days to endure before I get those cherished two days off. I have no memory of this level of anxiety about going to school as a child (and I had a lot of anxiety back then).

This past Sunday night was different.

My heart wasn't racing. I didn't feel the grip of anxiousness. In fact, I woke up at (my usual) 4:00 a.m. and thought (for the first time all night/morning) "Holy crap! It's Monday!!" ... and I hadn't lost a wink of sleep because of it.

I went to work yesterday and had a decent day.

I went to sleep last night ... and didn't wake up until the alarm went off this morning. I slept through the night! I cannot remember the last time I slept so soundly.

Something has changed. The tides have turned.

There has been no lack of sleep in my life lately. Sleep riddled with restlessness, anxiousness and the feeling of a fist in my chest.

Sleeping soundly is a sign that I'm through the worst of it. Armed with a good night's sleep, I am ready to take on my world once again.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Although this weekend could have most definitely used one more day, two days off has worked a little magic and I feel ready to face another week.

Change is exhausting.

This new job has knocked me off my feet and kicked me while I was down. I keep thinking that I must be over the worst of it then ... WHAM!

This past weekend, I did what I had to do. I curled up on the couch and watched movies. I talked. I released some of the negativity and I hope it wafts up into the clouds and never returns.

I long to laugh. Life has been far too serious for much too long.

I need more than a basic recharging. I need re energizing. I'll work on that ...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Lost Day

I had a spur of the moment invitation to catch a ride back to my old 'home city' first thing this morning. I should have went ...

The phone rang three times. Each call originated from that very city. The city we moved away from (almost) 24 years ago.

I watched three movies today.

I washed two loads of clothes.

I ate a can of Pringles and a Big Mac Combo.

I lost a day that I will never get back.

Tomorrow is a new day ...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Saved by a Cat Lover

Yesterday, some boys brought a little lost black kitten into the school. Their teacher brought this kitten into our office and the fate of the kitty was discussed.

My heart ached for this little black hairball. It (the gender of said fur ball remains unknown to me) was younger than our cat was when he found us. But the memories of our little black (then) adolescent cat came rushing back to the surface.

Our cat was thrown over the fence and into our yard during the school lunch hour in September, 2000. Middle Son rescued this little cat and harbored him in his room over lunch. When it came time to go back to school, he told me that he had a cat in his room and begged/instructed me not to make any rash decisions about the cat until he came home after school.

Long story short, 11 years later ... that little black cat is a vital part of our family. Each and every one of us adore our cat and can't imagine our life without him.

I admired the little black kitten yesterday and when no one else in our office could adopt him, I wondered if fate may have dropped another ball of fluff into our family's lives.

I held him and though he (it) was friendly and liked people ... he (it) didn't purr. Our cat purred with abandon when we first met. I'll never forget my first impression of that gangly, black teen-age cat. His monstrous purr ... and bad, bad gas.

Yesterday's little kitten had neither. I was still tempted to bring him home with me when ...

... a teacher walked into the room and it was love at first sight. I had to answer the phone at that moment so I relinquished the cat to her and I overheard her speak of all of the cousins that this kitten would have in her family if she took it home.

That was the last I saw of the kitten. I had no second thoughts or regrets. I was saved by a cat-lover.

But I had a most marvellous moment, as I stepped back in time and remembered the day when our little black kitty found us.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I woke up this morning to pure and utter darkness. I checked the temperature and it was -5 degrees Celsius. I am not ready for winter.

There is a sense of 'winter' to my thoughts lately. Ugly, bent and twisted. There is not enough sunshine to my days and I am feeling dormant.

I found this quote (read it in full here: Seasons of Our Life)  and it spoke to me:

If you give up when it's winter,
you will miss the promise of your spring,
the beauty of your summer,
fulfillment of your fall. 

Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.
Don't judge life by one difficult season.
Persevere throughout the difficult patches
and better times are sure to come some time or later.

Author Unknown

There is promise of good things in the air. I'm not giving in to winter.

On a positive note, this cold fall morning gave me an opportunity to wear my 'Alaska Jacket' ... a treasure that I bought while on my Alaskan Cruise. I was enveloped in warmth, security and happy memories.

Winter ... I'm ready for you. You are not going to get the best of me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sometimes ... the Words Find You

I was wandering aimlessly around Facebook last night and these words found their way to me: "Remember, the voice telling you that you cannot do something is always lying."

Immediately I googled the phrase to find out its origin and found this: 100 Ways to Be Happy ~ Author Unknown.

Many, many of the 100 suggestions spoke to me ... but last night, these were the ones that spoke the loudest:

Strive for progress, not perfection.
Remember, the voice telling you that you cannot do something is always lying.
Forgive yourself for any mistake you make, no matter how big or small.
Look at the positive side of negative situation.
Avoid seeking out other people for constant approval, because it make them the master and you the slave.
Remember that all feelings are okay.
Take responsibility for what you think, feel, and do.
Work through your problems step by step and one day at a time.
Don't condemn yourself for your imperfections.
Admit your wrongdoing and forgive yourself for it.
 I am going to print off that list of 100 Ways to Be Happy and concentrate on each point. One. Day. At. A. Time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Looking in All the Wrong Places

I have a dance lesson booked for tonight.

I sacrificed my dance lessons throughout the summer to accommodate my budget restraints. I have had one dance lesson the past two and a half months. I am soooo ready to go back!

I need to get moving again. I need that boost of endorphins that is released by exercise, music and being around people.

Dancing is a step in the right direction. But I know that I need more. I need to follow my Zumba-lust.

I need to find my happy again. I have looked for it in chip bags and the cookie jar. It's not there. I think it is hidden somewhere between dancing and Zumba.

Now if only I could find the shoes that go with that ...

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember ... turning on the TV that morning and the slow realization that what I was witnessing was a live broadcast.

I remember ... sleepwalking through the day. I did what I had to do, with my eyes focused on the TV every available moment.

I remember ... wandering through the hallway of our home and appreciating the simple fact that I felt safe. We were going through a day just like any other ... while our American neighbors were living a tragedy that touched millions.

I remember ... feeling gratitude. Gratitude for all the freedoms that living in our country allows.

I remember ... thinking that I would never forget. I would never take what we have for granted.

The world felt like a very small place. The tragedy of 9/11 brought to light that we are all vulnerable. Life as we know it can change in an instant.

I remember it well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happy Endings

"I always wanted a happy ending ...
Now I've learned, the hard way,
that some poems don't rhyme,
and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change,
taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious ambiguity."
~ Gilda Radner

Life throws us a lot of curve balls. There are many forks in the road. You make one decision and it has the ability to alter your life forever.

But really ... one decision doesn't change the final outcome. The more chances you take, the more options you find.

Travelling down the same familiar road has the potential to limit our view of the endless possibilities.

What I am learning is ... 

If I find myself on a dead end road, it is better to turn back and find an alternate route.

If that road isn't what I thought it would be, keep moving forward. All the while, looking far enough ahead to have time to consider the side roads.

Enjoy the view along the way. It is not about the destination ... it is the journey. Find the way to make the most of your journey.

I don't believe in happy endings with childlike innocense any more. The ability to continue to make new beginnings is my happy ending.

I don't want to look into a crystal ball and know what the future holds.  "Delicious ambiguity" ...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Ready For a Weekend

Working outside of my home is taking a lot more energy than I thought it would.

As I walk home, I see parents dropping off/picking up their kids at the daycare and I am taken back to my daycare years. Not all good ... but not all bad either. I miss those days.

I stroll by and see people out puttering in their yards. I used to do that a lot when I had a yard full of kids. The kids played. I puttered. I got a lot done. I miss that too.

As I walk along, I see people going about their lives. Talking to neighbors or passers-by. I see life outside the work place and it appears to be more leisurely than it actually is.

I remember the years that I looked out the window and noticed all of the people rushing off to work and their responsibilities. I never ever envied them. I was home. I was happy. I was content.

I am a fish out of water at my new place of employment. I'm still struggling. I don't quite 'fit' yet.

I have worked 17 days. I was at home for 13 years. This will take time. And energy.

I'm tired. I am ready for a weekend.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One of the Lucky Ones

As I stood in line at WalMart the other day, my eyes were drawn to the long list of part time positions available. There were a wide variety of positions and several of those positions had a number of openings to be filled. A quick tally of the total vacancies equalled somewhere around thirty.

As the cashier rang through my purchase, I commented on the amount of new staff that was needed. I asked if it was because kids were back in school. She just shook her head in dismay and said something to the effect that 'No - those are the people that just can't make it here'.

I shuddered at those words. Within a three week time span, from two brand new employers ... these were the words that I heard, "If this position is not for you, that is okay. Not everyone is cut out for this kind of job."

The first time I heard it, it was after five days at a brand new job. The second time I heard it, it was after two weeks at another new job.

There was a third time that I heard the same phrase, but it wasn't directed at me. I started talking with a clerk at the Post Office when it appeared that she was new in her position. This same phrase had been directed at her while she was still in the training stage of a brand new job.

I understand. Training a new employee is time consuming and does not come with a guarantee that the employee will stay once they have seen the job for what it really is. I would imagine that employers have this happen time and time again. Perhaps this is a new phrase to help cut their loss of training time.

As a new employee who is determined to stick it out and make it past the daunting first months, it is disheartening to hear my employers ask if I want to quit.

My answer in both cases was a resounding "No! I want to stay!!" Maybe employers need to hear that just as much as a new employee needs reassurance that they are headed in the right direction.

Small things make a difference. Just every once in a while, I need to be caught doing something right. But asking me if I want to leave? It feels like I am failing.

Thankfully, I am starting to feel things 'clicking' at my new job. I know more answers. I don't have to ask so many questions. The questions that I am asking have a little more substance than before. I am a long way from the comfort zone that I seek but I feel that I am well on my way.

I thought of the resumes that I sent off throughout my one month job search. I sent off 17 resumes. I had a friend who brushed up my resume/cover letter and sent it off to 17 contacts that she had in within our city.

Thirty four chances. Five interviews. I rejected two of those options when I found out more information. I was not successful at one. I was hired at two jobs. I am presently working at one of those jobs.

Thirty four seeds. One of those seeds took root and is being given an opportunity to grow.

If this seed takes. If I make it past my probation period. If I eventually get hired on in a permanent, full-time position ... I will know. I am one of the lucky ones. I am also one of the ones who didn't bail when their employer asked them "Is this job the right fit for you?"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Snow Tires

One of the things that excites me about my new job is the ability to walk to work. On the other hand, one of the things that challenges me the most is the need to find the appropriate walking gear.

The first two weeks were fine. I could wear my wide open sandals. My feet were unencumbered and happy. I walked to and from work, twice a day with no foot complaints.

Last week (dress codes are in place now that school has started) was another story.

I wore my dressiest shoes (rather ugly black, size 8W, Dr Scholl's) for two days. Despite using up half of a box of blister bandages, I ended up with a blood blister (half the size of my little toe) that prevented me from wearing any other shoe (except my sandals) for the rest of the week. I missed a dance lesson because it would have been impossible to wear any shoe which touched my tender toe.

My bunions were red and raw, but it was my little toe that took the brunt of the two days in shoes.

Healed and ready to go for another week, yesterday I pulled out my running shoes so that I could walk to work in those and change my footwear once I arrived. I thought that would be the answer.

After one day, the corns on my tender foot were tender and inflamed.

I have an old pair of (uglier) Dr Scholl's, with holes in the soles that I shall dig out (when I find a pair of shoes that does not irritate my tender tootsies, I tend to keep them around) in an attempt to get through the week.

I am saving a small fortune in gas because I can walk to work. The wear and tear on the car will be minimal as it remains parked throughout the week. It would be crazy to start up the car in -40 degree weather to drive five minutes. So I must solve this minor dilemma.

Winter is coming. I will need protective foot gear to get me through snow, ice and cold. I will need to invest in a pair of shoes that will not only protect me from the elements ... but not irritate my feet.

I am need of 'Snow Tires' for my feet. As challenging as shoe shopping is for me, I am beginning to think that tire shopping would be a lot less stressful.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Perfect Weekend

This past weekend was a perfect mixture of fun, friendship, family and free time to work in what needed to be done.

Last minute tickets to a sold-out play provided an evening of friendship, laughter and a short drive out of the city.

Checking out the grid road map of our province resulted in a purely spontaneous day-trip.

A phone call led to a thoroughly enjoyable visit with a friend.

There was time to run errands, time to wrap up the memories of the week and mail them off to my mom, time to spend with my family and time to appreciate a 'heroic' moment when My Youngest was the one to find a lost dog.

When we discovered the dogs had escaped from the yard, I felt utter dismay and dispair. One dog was home before we even knew she had been gone. It was the little one that was missing. My son's girlfriend's dog. It was akin to the feeling of losing someone else's child.

We took off in different directions. I asked each and every person that I saw out on the street, if they had seen our missing dog. The trail was cold. I was losing hope.

Then I got the call. My Youngest saved the day and was returning home with the Lost Pup when my son's girlfriend found them.

The lost had been found and the weekend ended as perfectly as it began.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An Accidental Day

There is nothing I like better than a spur of the moment day. Yesterday, looking at a grid map of Our Province was the catalyst for a most excellent afternoon.

My Middle Son commented that he had recently driven down the highway to my childhood farm. I immediately tried to pinpoint where I had once lived. I wistfully commented that we should go for a Sunday drive out there before the weather turns on us. He replied "What about now?" I answered "Sure!"

It was that easy.

Conversation was easy. As we turned onto the minor highway that would take us back home, I got quiet as I tried to orientate myself and grasp the few memories I have left from that piece of the highway.

Then we came to (what used to be) the country store at the top of a big hill. The landmark that told me that we had arrived.

The next right was the road to where Dad's oldest brother had lived ... further along to the left is where my cousin and wife have made a home ... just beyond where we turned to drive to our family farm is where my childhood friend (that had recently joined me on an Alaskan Cruise) had grown up.

We were almost there. To the left is where another childhood friend had lived ... and then we turned into our approach. I was home.

The house is gone and the playhouse has almost completely fallen over. There are a few buildings left from when we lived there but for the most part, all that is left is the memories.

We lived in a spot where we were surrounded by rolling hills. We climbed The Big Hill and appreciated the view.

My Son looked into my past and saw what it could be. I looked into the same horizon and remembered what was.

Memories. The place where Mom & Dad started out and raised a family. Home.

We drove down the trail that led to where Dad's brother once lived. This is the same farm where my grandparents lived. It is the place that Dad's brothers fondly recall as 'home'.

We managed to cross paths with my cousin and chatted for a bit. We drove up the road and visited with another cousin for a while.

It was so easy. It felt so right. I'm so grateful that My Son appreciates these roots and his family. It not only felt like I belonged in this scenario ... but My Son felt like another important piece to the puzzle. He gets it.

Roots. Family. History.

Embrace your past, cherish your family, appreciate your history and make your own way.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

You Can't Have It Both Ways

I miss my rut. I miss feeling like I'm in my place of comfort. I miss being in my groove. I miss knowing the answers or at least the ability to know where to find them.

I have been lamenting a lot (too much) lately that I do not enjoy this state of transition. The state where I feel like I know 'nothing'.

This morning ... I read this quote:

"You can get sympathy or you can get better but you can’t get both.
You can be in your comfort zone or you can have growth, but you can’t have both.
You can be interested or you can be sold-out-committed, but you can’t entertain both.
You can have excuses or have results, but you can’t do both.
Choose the path that develops your visceral fortitude."

- Mario Cortes
To attain growth, I must step out of my comfort zone. I am on the right track! This feels too darned uncomfortable to be anything but 'right'.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

High School Dayz

When I walked back into a high school for my first day of classes in 36 years, I found that not a lot has changed.

The first day ... I was anxious, nervous and apprehensive. I was able to keep my emotions from overwhelming me much better than I did at age 14. But they were close to the surface. I consciously inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly to keep those child-like emotions at bay.

Once I was face to face with school-as-I-will-come-to-know-it, I have been unable to mask my fear. It has been in my voice, my body language and in the entirety of my being. I have felt like I have surrounded myself in an aura that has been repelling my allies.

Then came the little things ...

School pictures. We lined up and awaited our turn. Sitting on the stool with the mottled background, tilting your head in odd contortions and smiling. I felt like I did when I was a kid.

Then came the scariest moment of all. I was called into the Principal's office.

Oh. My. Gosh. I have never been called into the office. I was having a particularly bad day. I thought 'this is it'.

I did what I always do. I confessed. I admitted my failings. I invited the principal to confer with my supervisor and she would confirm the truth. If he had any preconceived notions of talking to me about my shortcomings, I beat him to the punch.

Instead, he asked me if I enjoyed the position. Was this the right fit for me?

Of course I want to stay! I want to learn this job so well that I could do it in my sleep. I know I have the ability. It is just that there is so much to absorb all at once.

I was told that starting to work at the beginning of a school year was the most challenging time of all. I was reassured. I wasn't in trouble.

Yesterday, I walked home with my school picture proofs in my hand. I have put the first week of school behind me. I felt young again.

As I glanced at my photo, I appreciated my clear skin. I'm back in high school ... without the acne that goes with it.

Last night? I received my final gift. A zit. Front and centre ... on my chin.

High school dayz ... here I come (again)!

Friday, September 2, 2011

If It's Not Broken ...

Our downstairs computer broke around the same time that summer holidays started.

The budget was not in a place to finance a computer repair. We were going to be going away for a holiday. I worked all day so it left the upstairs computer free for My Youngest to use. Plus ... at least he would be sitting in a room full of windows verses the sun deprived basement. Fixing that computer never became a priority.

I have been seriously considering moving the TV out of the living room.

Since the TV has taken up residence in centre of the house, I have wasted more time in front of that box than I care to admit. Granted, I can rarely stay awake any longer than a half hour ... but still. If I could bank all of the extra hours that I have slept in front of the TV since it moved into the living room, I believe that I could probably stay awake for at least a week.

I'd been toying around with the idea of getting the computer fixed but I kept weighing the pros and cons. I have seen more of My Youngest since the computer broke.

I thought of moving the TV out of the living room. If the TV was gone, I would rarely be in the living room at the same time as My Youngest.

So I have done nothing.

Last night, My Youngest was at the computer. I had just sat down to watch TV. He looked over and said, "Have you noticed that after 7:00, it seems that we are always within eye contact of each other?"

We may not chat up a storm. We may not be doing something together. But we are sharing the same space. Breathing the same air. We are each doing what we want to do and not intruding on the other's space. Within the same room.

"If it's not broke don't fix it"?? What if it works better when it is broken? Don't fix it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where Does It Go?

I have been tallying up August's expenses, comparing the actual dollars spent to the budgeted amounts and looking back on previous month's spending. I am aghast.

I have been very conscious of my spending the past few months. I was meagerly successful in July. August? Not so much.

There has been an air of celebration and desperation sprinkled into my spending habits.

I've celebrated surviving July, a birthday, getting my job, working my first day, 'Friday', 'Saturday', the last day of summer holidays, my last paycheque at one job, my first paycheque at another ... you get the idea.

I have felt depleted as I rode the roller coaster ride of emotions as I started two new jobs and the challenges that each brought. The need to be nurtured has been at an all time high this past month. Where do I find that pampering? Take out food.

Back to school, once-in-a-blue-moon expenses and costs related to starting my job have nickel and dimed their way into breaking August's budget.

It seems that I have been spending money every time I turn around. Certainly there were some unexpected expenses. If it isn't one thing, it is another when it comes to the unexpected. I have learned over the years that 'The Unexpected' deserves a spot in the budget.

I have reviewed my spending over the course of the past year and I have been consistently spending more than I have been earning. The varying pay cheque was an excuse. The reality is that I have been living beyond my means.

Despite this, my financial picture isn't as bleak as one may believe. It isn't pretty ... but it isn't hopeless.

I have turned the calendar page to find a clear slate. It is called September.

This month ... I have a job, a routine, a reliable pay cheque and I am slowly making my way through the new-job transition.

This month ... I should have the ability to jump off of the emotional roller coaster that I have been on.

When I look back to when all of this began, I look back to March. Six months.

All of that is behind me. Each and every obstacle that saw before me in those early weeks of March has been confronted, dealt with and life is moving forward.

Enough excuses. My reality is very good. The future is bright.

It is time to rein in the spending and make the most of what I have, respect and adhere to the limitations of my income.

It is time to regain control. Not only my spending ... but my life. Enough is enough.

It is not only money that is slipping through my fingers. I have lost at least two months as I have spun in circles trying to regain my footing.

Where did my time go? That is something I can't get back.

Money comes and goes. Time only moves forward. Once spent ... it is gone forever.

It is time to spend wisely.