Friday, March 30, 2012

For a Day That Started Out So Crappy ...

I woke up in a bit of a funk this morning. I didn't seem to have the ability to move myself past it. I sat in my depressed state of mind and couldn't see the way out. I would have sat and steeped in that mindset all day if it hadn't been for one small thing: I had to go to work.

Deep down I knew that getting out of the house and facing real, live people was exactly what I needed. Even though it was the last thing in the world that I wanted.

I got to work and almost immediately I was told that I wasn't supposed to be there. They had tried to call and cancel me for the afternoon but The Powers That Be didn't get the message until it was too late.

There I was. I didn't really want to be there ... but I was. They didn't really need me ... but I was there. It is funny how things have a way of working out.

One of the full time staff was not feeling well. Because I was there and I knew how to do her job ... she could go home. And she did.

There was another substitute secretary booked to work for the full day. I was told her name but I didn't remember it. But that didn't matter because the moment she walked in, I already knew her!

We had known each other from our previous job at the Credit Union. We never did work together but through a mutual friend, we knew each other and conversation came easy. To be quite honest, to find a person that I actually know in this world of never knowing anyone was like finding an oasis in the desert.

We chatted easily and as we walked to our cars after work, the conversation continued. At one point I mentioned that we should have gone out for coffee and within moments we were exchanging phone numbers.

We discovered that we live minutes away from each other and when I gave her my phone number she just laughed and said, "That's funny!" ... our phone numbers are two digits apart. It was kind of like finding a winning lottery ticket in the parking lot after work.

I came home with a spring in my step and suddenly my dreary little life had a little sparkle in it again. For a day that started out so crappy, it sure ended on a high note!

The contrasts of life. We couldn't appreciate the small victories if life was all sunshine and roses. A few clouds now and again aren't the end of the world. Just keep looking for those rays of sunshine fighting to find their way through the darkness.

White Lace and Promises

White lace and promises … a kiss for luck and I was on my way.

That was February 24, 1978. Ahhh, the seventies. It was a simpler time. A time when marriage meant forever and destiny was summarized up in the phrase “happily-ever-after”.

Back in the 70’s, getting married was the answer to most everything. I didn’t worry about my financial future. The closest thing to retirement planning was dreaming that my husband and I would stay in love forever and we would figure out the rest along the way.

Life has a way of teaching you what you need to know.

Little over a year later, I was signing up for a benefit package with my new employer. I was a single mom and my boss glossed over the option to sign up for a pension. “You are young … you will probably get married and not have to worry about that.” I didn’t sign up for the pension.

The years slipped by and I continued to find myself in a perpetual state of singlehood (I would like to talk to my first boss about that pension now …). But I took hold of the reins and I had a plan. A financial plan.

I was consumed with paying off the mortgage, retirement savings and life insurance. I often joked that I could afford to retire and I could afford to die … I simply couldn’t afford to live.

Over the span of those 20 years I had gone from a young, naïve girl without a plan to a compulsive saver who felt financial security was the end all answer. I had forgotten how to live.

Life has a way of teaching you what is truly important.

My financial plan went out the window when about a year later (still single), I found myself sitting in the middle of the living room floor with my brand new baby. A ray of light shone on my present and showed me my future. All that I wanted in the world was right in front of me. I simply wanted to stay at home and raise my young family.

I found a way to support myself by working at home. My retirement savings subsidized my present instead of my future. That moment in the sun changed my life.

I never did replenish those retirement savings but what I have replaced those funds with, are years well spent. I invested in my family and in our life. I will never regret that decision.

We never know what is around that next corner. It could be bad. It could be good. To live happily-ever-after, every day of your life is a good place to start.

The land of “White Lace and Promises” remains elusive, but I will never lose the hope that I had on that day 34 years ago.

There is so much of life ahead. I have found a place where there is room to grow. I may be 51 years old, but I feel as though I have only just begun.

Life has taught me that health and happiness cannot be bought. My retirement plan has evolved from saving a specified dollar amount to an unlimited amount of hope and dreams for what lies ahead.

I want more than a pension when I retire. I want a life. Retirement planning isn’t just about the money. It is about living a full life now so that you can bring that along with you into your future. Whatever or wherever it may be.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reflecting on Your Life

Go! When you start repeating your stories when you are older, I want them to be interesting ones.”
These were the words uttered to me by my Middle Son when I took a tentative step and seriously considered the idea of going to a ballroom dance competition a few years ago.
The next year, I went on my Great Alaskan Cruise Adventure and the seed for my next (as yet untaken) Holiday Adventure was planted.
Oh! The things that I did! The places I went! Some were grand. Many were simple. Collecting family memories from Dad's family; spur of the moment adventures with friends; country drives; running out to have coffee with my sisters; and simply picking up the phone and inviting people into my life.
Life has been so very good since I started taking the reins and living it!
Lately, I have been actively seeking that-which-I-lost sometime over the course of the past year. The act of living passionately has been trickling through my fingers as the stark reality of life has overtaken my thoughts.
I have been actively seeking people and opportunities to pull me out of the quiet spot where I have cocooned myself. I have been pushing myself into new territory which is a little bit frightening. The words stopped flowing ... but I wrote what I could as I tried to release the toxic energy that seemed to be enveloping me.
I have been actively pursuing dreams which cost nothing. It has been work ... but it seems to be working.
This week, nothing has changed but my frame of mind. My eye is on the prize. I see where I want to go and I am doing what I can in order to get there.
I shall direct my energy towards the future ... but I will make the best of the roads that it takes to get there. When the day comes that I am sitting in the rocking-chair-of-life and reflecting on my memories ... I want them to be interesting ones!
"Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places" (Nathan Pyle)
... and they make for a more interesting story when you start repeating yourself when you get older.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Our independence is gained in such small increments that sometimes we don't appreciate what we have until we lose it.

From the moment we are born, we start to learn. Every milestone is one small step we take towards our independence.

Muscle control soon allows us to grasp what we want to hold onto, feed ourselves and begin to move about independently.

Communication is another tool that leads to our independence. As a baby learns to communicate their needs, they soon find ways to get what they need and want out of life. As babies grow to toddlers; toddlers to teens; teens into adults ... our ability to speak, write, listen, text, email (and the list goes on) opens many doors.

Independence is a gradual process. From crawling; to walking; to riding a trike/bike; learning to take a bus; and eventually driving ... we become less dependent on those around us to get us where we need to go.

Independence is an incredible freedom that we spend our lives working to attain.

As relationships form there is a yin and a yang of who does what to get a person where they need and want to go in life. When relationships dissolve, there comes a need to find one's independence once again. It is harder to regain that independence once you've learned to rely on someone else. But it isn't impossible.

Everyone is different as to how independent they need or want to be. It is a liberating feeling to know that you have the ability to live where you want to live, choose how to get where you want to go and make your own decisions.

Letting go of some of the material possessions that we amass as we acquire our independence can be freeing. To sell a house and move into a condo means that someone else is responsible for the yard work and snow removal. You may downsize and have less square footage to maintain and clean.

While some may equate downsizing their housing to a concession made due to their health ... others may have been waiting for this day so they were no longer a slave to the time, expense and ongoing maintenance a house demands. Not to mention the freedom condo living allows since you can pack your bags and take a summer &/or winter vacation and let someone else take care of things in your absence.

Driving and car ownership is one more aspect that we must sometimes weigh when it comes to living an independent life. Even if a person doesn't do a lot of driving, there is great peace of mind knowing that your car is there if you need it.

If you live in an urban centre, you can modify your lifestyle to accommodate living without a vehicle. Walking is often an option; as are buses and taxi cabs. You can still feel independent as long as you have choices.

Then there are the advantages. No vehicle maintenance. No more starting up a cold vehicle in the winter. Someone else gets to deal with the traffic and road conditions.

Yes, giving up a drivers license is a concession that we may have to make sooner or later. Some may do what it takes to keep that license. Others may decide that they can make do without. It is all about the ability to decide what is best for you.

We spend our lives striving to be independent. As we go through the ages and stages of life, there is great satisfaction in becoming self-sufficient. Then as time goes on, it is a blessing when we have the ability to pick and choose a lifestyle that works best for you.

When we are in a place where we are 'in the driver's seat' in our own lives ... we are still flexing our independence. It's all about choice.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Seeds of Hope

I have been sitting still and reacting to life a lot lately. My defense is that 'I am doing all that I can do' and I feel very good about where things are (eventually) headed. But taking a back seat and simply going along for the ride has not been sitting well with me.

I needed to go and seek out some answers. Talk to people and get a feel for what lies ahead. Take a proactive approach and attempt to create some sort of safety net.

Yesterday, I took action. Today there is no visible difference to my situation, but internally I feel much better.

I researched a back-up plan to find out that it is there. It isn't an end-all answer but it is there in case of emergency.

I took my first step towards seeking out a back-up solution. I have a few other ideas to consider.

I have an in-case-of-emergency plan. But I cannot use that unless I have a forecast of what the future holds. So I have asked the questions. I am simply waiting for the answers.

What should happen while I was addressing the situation that has been consuming my energy? Another glimmer of hope from one of those wide nets I threw out a few months ago. They took two months to consider my offer ... and they are going to take me up on it!

Seeds of hope. I planted a few yesterday ... I reaped something which I sewed a few months ago. Life is full of surprises. As long as you keep planting those seeds.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ready For Anything

It is Monday. It is a brand new morning of a brand new week. Anything is possible. I started this morning with a momentum that begs me to keep on moving. No matter what. And I will.

I truly believe that this 'Life of Living Idle' is my reality because it is exactly what I need to push through some of the (what feel like) daunting challenges that I have been putting off.

I have been given the gift of time. If I am not filling that vacancy with paid employment, it is up to me to take advantage of this temporary lull and make it work to my advantage.

It is time to fight off the demons called procrastination and making excuses. It is time to maximize my free time because I have no idea how long I will have it.

I am exactly where I need to be right now. Maybe it is not a place that I would choose to be, but since I have done and am doing everything in my power to make this work ... I must make the most of what I have.

I must trust that there is a purpose to this transitional phase where much of what I want and (think I) need are out of my reach. If I am doing everything in my power to make a good situation better, I must focus my excess time and energy to that-which-remains-to-be-done in my life.

And I will.

Make the most of your day. Turn what you have into what you need. Trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

Happy Monday, World!! It is going to be a banner week. I can feel it ...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

That Place Between 'Yes' and 'No'

One of my most favorite places to be is that spot somewhere in between 'yes' and 'no'.

You apply for a job and the deadline for applications has not come to pass. You extend an invitation and await a reply. You put yourself out on a limb and offer a suggestion that requires approval from another party.

The place in between yes and no gives you the gift of hope.

The word 'yes' opens up brand new doors and can be the beginning of many great things. Yes can be a springboard for new opportunities and has the potential to change the course of your life.

Yet 'yes' is sometimes a frightening proposition when it comes to something brand new. Are you up to the task? Is it going to be everything you hoped? What complications will this new dimension bring to your life if you are accepted? Sometimes it is a relief when the answer is no.

It is that place in between yes and no where you have an opportunity to dream and dare to hope. It is a safe place to be. Nothing has changed ... yet. You have yet to discover what is around the next corner and the impact it will have.

Sometimes that new reality casts a shadow on all that you dreamed it could be. 'Yes' isn't the end all answer. There is work to be done once you gain that approval.

There soon comes a plateau where you can look back on where you were, what you had and you appreciate it more from a distance. But that same plateau is a stepping stone towards where you want to go. Yes isn't the end. It is a new beginning and there is work to be done to keep climbing towards where you want to go.

I have become addicted to the idea of casting out a wide net which offers me unlimited room to dream and dare to hope. Both acceptance and rejection have the potential to paralyze me. So I must keep casting smaller nets as I move forward to keep from standing still.

Hope invigorates, energizes and inspires. Hope springs eternal ...

"We love to expect,
and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified,
we want to be again expecting."
~ Samuel Johnson

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Affirmations for Today and Beyond

I am installing a force field around me today. Only positive forces are allowed to penetrate my armor.

I started the morning by watching an episode of "Mike & Molly". I heard myself laugh out loud and I thought this is how I want to spend my weekend.

I shall find light and easy entertainment. I will pick up the 'Chicken Soup' book that My Friend gave me titled "Find Your Happiness" in the quiet moments.

I will focus on that which stirs the passionate side of me that believes that anything is possible once you make up your mind and take steps towards your goals.

I will write only positive things. I will speak uplifting words. I will think forward and spend my subconscious energy looking for the answers which have been evading me lately. I will tune in and listen to that which lifts me up and restores my belief that 'if you believe it ... anything is possible'.

I shall spend my idle computer time sifting through positive sites such as this one: Life Support System and even if I don't physically change my phone message to the one that the author of this blog cites:  "Thank you for calling. I’ve been making some changes in my life. Please leave a message. If I don’t call you back soon, you’re one of the changes." , I will follow through on the intent.

I shall focus on keeping this force field in place. Something has penetrated my armor lately and I'm not enjoying the result. It is time to batten down the hatches,  hunker down and fight back.
"Negativity cannot harm me ... my wings are like a shield of steal!"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Moving Towards the Light

I need to focus on lighter thoughts. The deepness of that which I seem to be focusing on lately is weighing me down.

Things like money, the future, insecurity, inadequacy and fear of failure are weighing heavy on my mind.

I need to lighten up! To focus on the little things that bring a smile to my heart, a spring in my step and ignite hopefulness and joy within.

I must shift my focus from that which I have no control over. I must take the days that I am given and make the most of what I have (despite the fact that my day-at-hand can change with one phone call).

Last night, I sat paralyzed on the couch. I was wide awake and unable to move.

I should have went to a Grade 8 parent meeting at the school. I didn't go because I was afraid. I was afraid there wouldn't be many parents there and I would get roped into doing a job that frightened me. I took consolation in the fact that all parents that couldn't attend will be updated with the information that will be sent home. So I stayed glued to my spot on the couch and didn't leave the house.

I could have went dancing but I just ... didn't want to.

When it boils down to it, there is a lot that I don't want to do lately. It is crippling me. I have let myself get to a place where I am fearful of treading where I have never gone before. Heavens! I am even afraid to go to familiar places because I feel like a shell of the person that I have the potential to be.

What is happening? Is coping with the instability of my job using up all of my resources so I have nothing left at the end of a day? Is treading in new territory in other areas zapping my creativity juices? Or have I simply become complacent with doing nothing ... because it has become a habit?

I know that I must push myself out of this spot. I am happiest when I am facing life head on and challenging myself. At the moment, I simply feel like I am standing still in the eye of a storm. Life is whirling on all around me ... but I am hunkering down where I feel safe and afraid to move.

I must wait until the winds subside ... and then take a step towards the light. One step in a positive direction will start me down the path that I need to take.

One step ...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Root Cause

At the rate things are going, pretty soon I will have nothing to complain about. This past while I have allocated funds and energy towards 'fixing that which is wrong' ...

My car had a short list of things which needed to be repaired. In two days, that list should be empty. Except ... I drove over a rough patch of road last night and it sounded like something gave in the front, passenger tire area (a shock?). Is it Murphy's law that something must break as other things get fixed?

My glasses broke a while ago, which meant that I had to get a new pair of specs. The prescription is up to date, the style is newer and with the amount of time that I spend at the computer my eyes are very happy. Except ... the bridge of my nose is quite sensitive as I have been back a few times to adjust the fit. I suppose this is just a natural part of the process. We'll get it right sooner or later.

My hair is cut in a style and is at a length that is working for me. The secret? A minimal amount of styling product; finger comb my hair into place; then sit and watch TV until bedtime; sleep on it; fluff in the morning. Sitting still and not touching it is key. Doing housework,doing anything that triggers the 'running my hands through my hair' instinct or going outside is off limits. Gravity (moving my hair out of where I have placed it) and wind are my enemy. Who knew hair styling could be so easy?? The only downfall? Hair grows ...

Then ... there are my feet. I have (almost) stopped complaining about them because nothing has changed. There has been a gradual increase of symptoms over the course of recent history (most notably since I started seeing a podiatrist just over a year ago). I was going to a podiatrist that was simply treating my symptoms. No matter what I asked, he had no answers except to keep coming back and he would treat things as they went wrong. I was so frustrated that I decided not to go back. I thought that I could simply convince my feet to toughen up. I was wrong.

I have all but stopped extra curricular moving because my feet are so sensitive to anything other than day-to-day usage. Exercise, walking, dancing and standing have been on a steady decline. It was time to make a change. I decided I would start with my podiatrist.

I think I found a miracle doctor last night. His initial assessment was thorough. He showed me exactly what has gone wrong and is going wrong with my feet. Absolutely every word that came out of his mouth was an answer to something I had wondered about. He talked about what orthotics could do and he placed pressure in spots that allowed my toes to automatically move to a better position. The moment he mimicked what the orthotic could do, there was instant relief (where there wasn't even pain to start with).

I was at a point where I would have done almost anything to make this foot 'thing' stop progressing. These feet of mine have a lot of miles left in them and I want to do something now, so that in five/ten/fifteen and twenty years I will still be light on my feet and going where ever I direct my feet to take me.

He is treating the source of my symptoms and simply managing the symptoms to provide temporary relief as his long term plan starts to work its magic. I would be surprised if this doesn't work because it feels like it is the answer that I have been searching for long before I knew there was a problem.

Getting to the root of an issue is the way to address anything in life. Whether it is preventative maintenance, health, relationships or even hair. Even if the solution is a long term goal, work on the root cause of the problem and the symptoms start to decrease.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Fingers Did the Walking ...

I must have some pretty physically fit fingers. Oh, the miles that they put on in a day ...

First off, I have my morning pit stop to write here for a while. This is my spot to empty my early morning thoughts. Mornings are my prime writing time. If I have emails to send, early morning is when I prefer to send them.

I have sent off hundreds of resumes/writing samples to four provinces ... all from the comfort of my computer chair. I have approached 301 newspapers about writing a column. I have received four successful replies. I could have never hand delivered that many resumes. I increased my chances by letting my fingers do the walking.

Yesterday morning, I branched out and let my fingers do some walking through the yellow pages.

Earlier this week, I booked an appointment to get my car windshield replaced. When I balked at the original price without even thinking, the person on the other end of the phone politely asked if I would like for them to check to see if they could do better on the price. Of course I said yes. They came down $110.00 from the original quote so I booked it. When I told My Son about this, he recommended that I check around a little more. He was displeased with their service the last few times he went there and thought I could do better.

My fingers did some walking and at first it seemed that their price was comparable with most others, plus they had the added convenience of being open on Saturday. I almost gave up but decided to pursue the one business that I hadn't been able to reach. I hit the bonanza. The worst-case-scenario price was $120.00 lower than the worst-case-scenario price at the place I had originally checked out. Plus, they are open Saturday. Plus they throw in a free 'Express Detail' (clean and vacuum the interior) with the deal. Plus this guy was so, so nice. He was 'all about service' and I was thoroughly impressed.

I saved myself a fair little bit of pocket change by letting my fingers do the walking.

I was so successful with that, I decided to phone another podiatrist to see if I could find an office that had hours that worked better for me. One phone call and I found a place that is not only open three evenings a week ... but they have an opening tonight. Happy feet, here I come!! Thanks to a little stroll my fingers did through the yellow pages (upon the referral of a friend) and dialing the phone. No cost savings for their service, but booking an appointment without having to make myself unavailable to work to accommodate the appointment time could save me a day's (potential) loss of wages.

My fingers and long distance phone package keep me connected to those in my life who are not email-aholics. I can hop, skip and jump all over the countryside thanks to the luxury of our Internet connection.

My fingers are powered by my brain, so my brain also receives a small work-out as I string my words together at the computer keyboard each morning.

It's a small thing, but it is something. My fingers have taken me places that I could have only dreamed of and they have provided me with some cost savings to boot.

My subconscious finger to brain connection is so keen that I am afraid what would happen to my brain if my fingers gave out on me. And vice versa.

If my brain ever stops fully functioning, would someone please pass me a computer keyboard?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


When the lights went out across a great part of our city yesterday, it added an extra dimension to a regularly scheduled day that we weren't counting on. Two separate and unrelated incidents caused a power outage that started before lunch and lasted (in some areas) until almost supper.

The power at our home was out for less than an hour, but a block away (where My Youngest goes to school) and beyond were out for more than half of the school day.

We came home and went about our business as usual. The power was on which enabled us to have a hot meal; hot water and heat were plentiful and outwardly we were unaffected by the drama of the day. That is, until I noticed the light on the phone flashing.

Upon further investigation I realized that since our phone, Internet and cable are all supplied by one provider (who must have been affected by the power outage) ... none of the above were working.

We each served up our supper plates and went to our separate spots in the house where we normally dine with the company of TV, Internet or X-Box Live to entertain our minds as we dine.

I took my plate and didn't know where to go. No TV? No Internet? What was I to do? My Middle Son soon joined me in the kitchen when he realized that my assumption that the cable was out was correct (My Youngest continued to play his video game off-line and was relatively unaffected).

So we sat down at the kitchen table and talked. We enjoyed an impromptu conversation that never would have happened if all of our luxury services had not been out of commission.

I have often marvelled at the positive that comes out of a power outage. We have become a society that takes these extravagances for granted.

Not only do we assume that our lights are going to turn on at the flick of a switch; hot water will spew out of our hot water taps on demand (cold water for that matter); heat and air conditioning are as convenient as that thermostat on our wall. Not only do we have refrigerators, stoves and deep freezes to store and cook our food ... we have food to fill them.

We are fortunate when life goes according to plan. Sometimes it is not a bad thing to become 'powerless' to remind us of all that we take for granted. We often find more memorable moments when the power goes out and unites us at the kitchen table.

Our homes may have been without the luxuries that fully functional power allows, but we gained some powerful family moments instead.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring is in the Air!

Lighter jackets, open windows, dirt, dust & mud ... and the sun shining through the windows to show you just how dirty your windows, blinds and dirty your house really are. Yes! Spring is on its way.

I wrote that sentence with visions of cleaning in my mind when the phone rang and saved me from myself. Instead of spending an unpaid day at home cleaning, I get to go to work today. And this is good.

I love what the spring air does to my mind. I didn't exactly move mountains this past weekend ... but I moved.

I puttered and accomplished something. I could have done more ... but at least I did something.

There is a lightness in the air when spring is around the corner. Yes, I know that Mother Nature could still surprise us with just about anything at this time of year. March came in like a lamb so I suppose one may assume that it could go out like a lion. But even if it does ... it is almost April!

Warm weather, green grass, trees in bud ... they are all just around the corner.

It has been a very mild winter. We have little to complain about in our neck of the woods. But it is all about the extra hours of sunshine, fresh air and the freedom to move around without winter gear.

I feel light and breezy today. It is such a shame that I can't stay at home and clean ... (she writes with a chuckle) ... but it is off to work I go!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Craving Conversation

I have been craving real, down-to-earth, honest to goodness two-way conversation lately.

I have been unable to silence the words swimming around in my head because all of a sudden I have become overly cautious of what I write here. This spot has been the place where I unload my thoughts - whether they are deep and thoughtful or frivolous and a little inane. But lately, I have been unable to relax and be myself and it's messing up my coping strategies.

Recently, I have found myself missing the days of going to a job (or having my work come to me at home) where I knew the people that I worked with and worked for. Oh, the trivial words that we unload on those we see on a regular basis. Talk to someone every day and you have a load of information to share the next day. Talk with someone once or twice a year and when asked what's new, the answer is too often, "Oh, the same old, same old ..."

I work with different people almost every day. More often than not, there is no one to talk to in the office or else no time to talk. The circumstances vary, but my work days are all about work these days. I miss the camaraderie of working with the same group of people so that you start to feel part of the work-family.

I have withdrawn into a quiet after-work life. I come home, deal with supper, clean up the loose ends of the day and get ready for bed.

I went dancing last week, but it has been so long since I was there that it didn't feel quite the same as it used to feel. That could be easily remedied by attending regularly again, but my heart just isn't in it right now. A few variables at play, but the dance studio just isn't my 'happy place' at the moment. I miss that too ...

My mom and brother came home for a funeral last week. They picked me up and we drove together, but it is hard to have a conversation in a car. My voice doesn't carry or turn corners and though I enjoyed listening, it was not quite the same as when conversation rallies back and forth between the players.

The memorial service was very good and the lunch afterwards brought old friends and neighbors together under one roof. Mom said it felt like 'Cheers' ... where everyone knows your name. It was a thoroughly enjoyable atmosphere and I was very relaxed. But once again, it was a place where polite small talk was volleyed around the room. No conversations that made your knees shake.

From there, we stopped briefly at my sisters before we headed back on the highway to my place. It was late when we got home and I had lost the ability to put words together in the form of a sentence. I was so exhausted that it hurt to stay awake.

I was booked to work the next morning and I was out the door and headed to work before my company awoke. That was disappointing. I missed the opportunity to recap the prior day and enjoy my company and that two (or three) way conversation that I had been craving.

Thankfully the tides started turning.

Friday morning, my Middle Son and I both had the morning off so we went out for a bite to eat, a few cups of coffee and conversation. Then he cooked breakfast for us all weekend and we enjoyed some light banter each morning.

A friend called last night and I was beyond relieved when I saw her number appear on the call display. Conversation a friend was exactly what I wanted and needed.

I let down my guard here yesterday morning and simply wrote what I felt for the first time in a while. The moment I released the words, I immediately felt better.

I live a quiet life. I believe that is why I have so much to write about in this little spot that I call home. When a person has a lot of people in their life, the words are released in day-to-day conversation. I don't have that. So I rely on this blog spot to unload the excess.

I need this place to feel comfortable and a spot where I can let go and ramble. Yes, often I write much about nothing. But if I stop, where will those words go? My head is tired of thinking. I just want to empty it out and move forward.

And that is just what I intend to do.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life is Drawing Without an Eraser

In lieu of forwarding an email that I received today, I am posting it here. As much as I enjoyed the entire message, I think what I like the best is the title:

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser" ~ John W. Gardner

One day a woman's husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more".

No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more "just one minute."

Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say good-bye, and "I love you."

So while we have it, it's best we love it, care for it, fix it when it's broken and heal it when it's sick.

This is true for marriage... and old cars... and children with bad report cards, and dogs with bad hips, and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, and because we are worth it.

Some things we keep -- like a best friend who moved away or a sister-in-law after divorce. There are just some things that make us happy, no matter what.

Life is important, like people we know who are special. And so, we keep them close!

Let your family and friends know you love them. Even if you think they don't love you back. And just in case I'm gone tomorrow:


Live today because tomorrow is not promised.

On We Grow!

No matter where you are at in your life, there is only one direction to go. Forward. The sun keeps rising and setting upon our days and we must find our way through.

Some times it is easier than others. To have a life that you love living makes each day an adventure. To me, waking up excited about the day that I am about to live is about as good as it gets.

Other times, it is just another day to put behind you. Going through the motions, putting in a day and marking time doesn't breed the same satisfaction. A lot of days are just like that. Sometimes those are exactly the kind of days that we need. A neutral day as we segue from one challenge onto the next.

Then there are the days when you would rather stay in bed with the covers over your head. A day that is marked by an ache in your heart &/or soul that simply can't be filled with food, sleeping, spending, drinking or your own personal vice. It feels like today could be one of those days ...

I have an ache in my soul for no apparent reason. I am empty and I don't know which way to turn to fill that void. I don't even recognize the reason why I feel this way. Perhaps it is best wrapped up by saying that my emotions are simply magnified. Fear of failure/rejection/criticism trumped by the fear of giving up. I am travelling into new territory so I suppose these are healthy and natural thoughts.

I am craving many things but I don't know which way I will turn. I just knew that the moment that my feet hit the floor this morning, that I was grateful that I hadn't stocked up on junk food. I cannot binge on fats, salt and sugar (at least this morning!). In fact, I just wandered by the grocery list and added some fruits and vegetables that I have been craving to that list. The tides are shifting ...

I do believe that I am going through some growing pains, that is all. I look ahead and the ground is unstable. And I am a little bit scared.

But there is only one way to go. Forward. So .... on I grow!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hitting a Wall

I feel like I'm up against a wall lately (visions of Pebbles Flintstone continuing to go through the motions of crawling even though she has run into a wall waft through my mind).

I walked out of work yesterday and felt disappointed. It has been a week where I have not been alone in the office. So I have been asking questions. Lots of questions. I have horrible flashbacks about asking too many questions and not advancing in my job. I have been bringing that into my dreams at night. That was then. This is now. What I have realized is that I feel better about myself when I figure out things on my own. I make small advances every time I survive one of those tough days. This has not been one of those weeks.

Then there are my feet. They are slowing me down to a crawl.

I received a notice of some upcoming Zumba classes that I would love to take. Of course there is the money situation which must be considered. But the real reason that I have not taken any more classes? My feet. I have one pair of shoes that I can wear without irritating my toes. If I go for walks in these shoes, it irritates the corns on my toes. As long as I utilize them for work and gadding about tending to life, I can make do. Any extra curricular activity and my toes are inflamed and even those shoes are uncomfortable.

Which brings me to dancing. Dancing ended at the same time as my full-time employment did. Since then, I have booked two, half-hour lessons in the middle of a day that I was not working. Just because I could and I was in a mood too good to be wasted not dancing!

Last night I had a lesson at my (previous) regularly scheduled time, which was followed by a group class and practise session. My feet were aching in new and improved ways well before the practise session started. But there was an eager, new dancer there who wanted to practise what he had learned. And who am I to say 'no' to an invitation like that?!!

He was young, full of energy and an experienced bollywood dancer. At one point, he told me that he didn't have to work today, so he could have gone all night. I laughed and said that I definitely felt that he could! My body could have went on much longer ... but it was my feet that were aching to stop.

(I just YouTubed bollywood and found this: ; they are dancing in their bare feet! Maybe this is something that I should look into ...)

Then there is the whole 'money' thing. I am quite honestly not earning enough to cover my expenses right now. I got through January and February thanks to Christmas gifts, charitable acts and donations and my income tax refund. Spring break (another unpaid week of holidays) and summer vacation is right around the corner. I must come up with a plan.

I have even hit a wall with my writing. I need to bring life and new experiences into my days so that I have something that lifts me up and out of this place I am in and I have something new to write about. My thoughts are highly recycled and reused ideas. I am so bored with my own thought processes that I put myself to sleep.

I recognized a red flag last night as I struggled to stay alert until I left the house at 6:40 p.m. to go to my dance lesson. There was nothing that I wanted more at that moment, than to climb into my pj's and curl up on the couch. It is a sad, sad day when an evening of doing absolutely nothing trumps dancing!

Are these just excuses? Or are they obstacles begging to be overcome so that I can find a new plateau? Or am I being stopped in my tracks so that I have the time and inclination to tend to that-which-I-have-been-ignoring for the past few years? Like spring cleaning and writing a book.

Energy begets energy. Lethargy begets lethargy. I think that my answer is clear. I just have to act on it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What About the Children?

The past few weeks, I have thought a lot about Dad's oldest brother's family. Kind of all-over-the-map thoughts.

There was a dredging up of the past that I didn't want to dwell on. All I could think about was here and now. I believe that was the correct place to focus my energy.

Now that the dust has settled, I continue to think of this family. A family affected by divorce, remarriage, step parents and half siblings.

It is the children that are thrown into the mix of all of the above that has grasped my attention and won't let go.

Twenty years ago, I walked away from remarriage and a blended family situation because I was afraid that I was not up to the task. I felt there was a high risk of children being hurt.

If I was to become a step parent, I would want to be like a certain step dad that I know and admire. I ran the risk of hurting innocent children. My own children were at risk of being drawn into the vortex. I had a flash forward of what could happen to all of the children involved. I walked away and I know without a doubt that it was the right thing for me to do.

I don't know if Dad and My Uncle were watching over me from above and steering me away from a decision that had the potential of exploding and hurting innocent bystanders ... but in looking back, it seems as though they could have been. I remember My Uncle once telling me (shortly before I was married) not to go ahead if I had any doubts. That time, I didn't listen ...

Step parenting when you have your own children cannot be easy. I haven't lived it. I have only lived outside of it. The step dad that is my hero, did not have his own children to bring into the marriage. Knowing the stand up kind of guy that he is, I question whether that would have made a difference. It is one factor that may have helped ...

A few days ago, I spoke ever-so-briefly to the step child of the other party involved. She said almost nothing. But what she said will stay with me. She didn't have good memories about that time of her life either.

When parents bring a brand new baby into a loving home that already has a child or children, it is complicated enough. A child that has been the center of their parent's universe must now share their parents, their home and the rest of their life with this brand new intruder. How must it feel to be a half grown child be thrown into a new family situation without any control and told they must accept this?

Marriage and divorce is tricky business. It seems to be a fact of life these days. I've been there and done that. Separating a family brings up a volatile mix of emotions and scenarios. It's bad enough when it is adults hurting adults. But what about the children?

I have been far from a perfect parent, but I am relieved to know that I made a few decisions in my life that were in the best interests of my children (and other children involved). I didn't risk my heart in doing so. If I felt my children were at risk, my heart became detached.

Maybe that makes me cold and heartless in the ways of love. I have found what is best for my children, has been the best for me. When I didn't value myself to make good choices for myself, I valued my children. I believe that saved all of us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Single White Rose

… Condolence, Remembrance and Hope ...

There are many ways of losing a loved one and one loss often does not prepare us for the next.

Where there is life, there is hope.
Where there is a hand, we can hold it.
Where there are words, there is the hope we can spark of an old memory.
Where there is communication, there may be laughter.
Where there are eyes to look into, there is a window to the soul.
Where there is love, there is eternal life.

When you carry the memories of someone precious in your heart and share them with those who touch your life, you feel their spirit within you.

Hold onto the hope
Hold some one's hand
Savor your happy memories
May you find laughter among the tears
Look into the eyes of another ... you never know what you will see
Cherish the love, the memories and all that was good
Share it with others ... so that your loved one may live within your heart forever.

"When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure."
~Author Unknown

Monday, March 12, 2012

Writer's Block

I had every intention of sitting down and letting my fingers do some talking on the weekend ... but I didn't like what they were saying. So I deleted what I started to write and thought that I would come back and write when my thoughts were a little more coherent.

I do believe that I must simply sit down and let my fingers say what they want to say. I have been working hard at stifling negativity in my days and I feel the struggle in my writing. While trying to be cautious with words, I am quietening my inner thoughts and there seems to be a dam forming in my mind. The positive is fighting to get through but there are simply too many other thoughts preventing the free-flow of words.

I came across this article on the weekend "How to Deal With Negative People". If you are fighting negative vibes in your days, I highly recommend clicking on the title and perusing the article. I found situations very close to home within several points.

One day I will decipher my thoughts and write more. But for the moment, my best advise is to check out the article. If negativity is a factor in your life, cloak yourself with an invisible shield of armor and don't let someone else's words break through your protection. Easier said than done ... but there are nine other strategies to consider. Be strong!

I understand that everyone has a right to their own thoughts and feelings. But no one has a right to attack your inner sense of harmony. This slow but steady trickle of negativity has my hackles up. The 'fight or flight' mode has been triggered ... and I'm not going anywhere.

Enough said.

I have a mish mash of thoughts pinging around in my head lately. Work stuff. Life stuff. Family stuff. Friend stuff. 98% of it is good stuff. I am working at plowing my way through the 2% of negative stuff so that I can go to town and let the positive words come forth!

I'm working on it. I'm not sure when I'll get there, but it won't be long. I'm on my way ...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Little Things ... They All Add Up

I am just a tiny bit elated this morning. I wouldn't appreciate this sensation if every day felt this way.

This past week has not been one of my better ones. No real reason. Little things, added up may be the best way to sum it up. The dawn of another Friday which will propel me forward into the weekend is a very good place to start.

I had a most exceptional day at work yesterday. No real reason. Just little things, all added up to a very good day. I like days like that.

I came home and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I visited with a few friends on the phone. We chatted about life in general. Nothing big. Just little things, that added up to some most enjoyable conversations.

We made some tentative plans. We have something to look forward to. Something on the horizon. Nothing big. Just little things made special because you are spending time with a good friend.

Suddenly the balance that I have been craving all week is shifting back to a state where work and stressful thinking doesn't trump all that is good in my life. It didn't take much. Just little things ... to get me back to where I wanted to be all along.

We wouldn't appreciate what we have if we didn't have to work a little to attain it. Weeks like this are good for us. Just keep looking towards the horizon. Savor the little things, because they all add up.

Happy Weekend, Everyone!!!

Seize the day,
Seize whatever you can ...
Because life slips away just like hourglass sand.
~ Carolyn Arends 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Living For the Weekend

Is it because I am back in school (working) again? Or is anyone else out there counting down the days to the weekend?

Last week, my work-week energized me. I found myself surrounded by people and situations that motivated me. Student counsellors, principals and teachers were a great source of inspiration. I ended the week on a high note.

This week, it has been more 'all about the job'. My work days have taken a lot of energy out of me as I try to figure out how to prioritize my responsibilities in a manner so that I can effectively do my job.

Tuesday, I learned how to do something right better ... by doing it wrong inefficiently first. I took that lesson with me into Wednesday.

Wednesday, I didn't have my priorities figured out. I started my day backwards and moved forward through it. I survived the day, but the morning was a bit of a disaster learning curve.

Today (Thursday), I will take the lessons learned from Tuesday and Wednesday and have a better day.

Friday, the students have the day off of school which means about 90% of my current responsibilities will be unnecessary. Friday frightens me more than the rest of the week combined.

Each week is full of surprises. Each school has its own set of challenges. I would rather work hard, than have to try and fill my day trying to look busy.

My week is defined by work. Therein lies my problem. I need to add an extra dimension to my weeks.

Whether it is devoting an hour of my evening towards our family's history book ... connecting with a friend ... cleaning a cupboard ... or running an errand to free up the upcoming weekend. I must do something besides come home, eat supper, read until I get weary and then fall asleep on the couch.

I need to regain some balance into my life.

Monday - Friday is defined by work. Will I work? Where will I work? Will I know what to do when I get to work? I can't wait to get back home after a day of work.

Saturday - Sunday is not defined. I have a vague idea of what I want to accomplish with those days but I tend to go with the wind. Sometimes the wind takes me exactly where I want and need to go. Other times there is no wind and I sit idle and waste those two precious days.

Balance (to me) = work + fun + family + friends + sense of accomplishment + alone time

I thrive on a sense of accomplishment. I need to bring that into my day no matter what day of the week it is (or if I am called in to work or not).

Talking with friends and family stimulates my mind, gives me an opportunity to sort out my thoughts and regain a sense of perspective by listening to others. There is a give and take to those conversations that invigorates me.

I savor the solitude in my day. I wake up early to ensure I have time to listen to my own thoughts and (usually) write my way into the morning with a cup of coffee at my side.

Routine. As much as I crave it, I love the ability to be spontaneous. The freedom and ability to do something on a whim adds a dimension of excitement into my life.

Balance. Seven days a week. That is my goal.

I may still count down the days to the weekend, but I will not fritter away five days in the hope of making up for it on the weekend.  Seven good days are better than two.

It is time to go forth and make the best of what is left of this week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Winds of Change

I have started and deleted this post four times. I cannot find a dominant thought as my head is already fast-forwarding to the day ahead of me.

I know a little of what to expect today. While that is reassuring, it is also a little daunting.

My life is full of that right now. I see what is on the horizon. I recognize where I am at right now. It is exciting, but also a little overwhelming.

My mind is consumed with all that is going on. My fingers do not know where to start.

So I will do what must be done. I will take this one day at a time. It is all that anyone can do. I would like my chaotic mind to settle in and focus on one thing at a time.

I need to get grounded so that I have a solid place to launch off from. The ground beneath me is shifting. It is unsettling but I know it won't last.

Any change,
even a change for the better,
is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.
~Arnold Bennett 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Plowing Through

I feel a sense of unease within me that I cannot shake off. I have been carrying this around with me since the weekend and it isn't dissipating.

A great deal of angst surrounds my newest venture-out-of-my-comfort-zone. Writing for an audience outside of this blog is only slightly terrifying to me at this very moment. I have yet to experience this sensation without an important life lesson around the corner. It could be good. It could be bad. At the moment, I am hovering somewhere in the vicinity of 'oh-my-gosh-what-have-I-done-this-time?!?!?'.

What is even more nerve wracking is the fact that my mom asked me to write something for a family member. I think I wrote too much into something that should have been kept very simple. I want to take it back and redo it. Where is my real life undo button?

I need to have a difficult conversation. This is a relationship where I have stopped investing my energy and I am a little bit bitter and confused that it has come to this. Again. I hope the right words come to me when I need them.

I am booked to work for the next three and a half days. I know where I am going! I am going to be working at a school that I thoroughly enjoyed. Yet I have a case of nerves that is annoying me. Maybe it is because it means that I have to deal with the onslaught of snow that is falling in our fair city, along with the masses of others making their way to destinations unknown.

It is March and I simply want to stay in hibernation.

I want to work from the safety and security of my own home. I don't want to deal with life outside of these doors.

I want to surround myself with people who are uplifting. I don't want to be dragged into the arena with someone who brings me down.

I want this uneasy feeling to go away so that I don't bring it into my writing. My fingers will not ignore what my subconscious mind is feeling.

As always, I know that I must plow through all of this. Because the answer that I didn't realize that I needed is always at the end of this journey.

The answers are right around the corner. I know it. I must plow through this blizzard and come out the other side unscathed. That is all there is to it.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I just wasted two valuable days that I will never get back.

I didn't do anything noteworthy. Nothing. I finished reading a book.

I didn't push myself to do anything. Nothing. I wrote a little something that my mom asked me to write. That is it.

I didn't eat anything that was good for me. Nothing. I ate donuts, cookies and Pringles on Saturday. And cookies and Pringles on Sunday. Oh ... my achin' stomach!

I didn't do 'Ten Impossible Things Before Lunch'. I did nothing before lunch (if you call cookies and Pringles lunch?). Well I guess I did something. I bathed. I showered. I should give myself credit for that.

I didn't do anything that mattered this weekend. I didn't push myself. No pain ... no gain.

I have 24 hours sitting here in front of me. It is time to do something. Anything!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Don't Stop

This past fall, I was seriously worried about the state of my brain's well being.

Granted, I was in the middle of some pretty intense transitional job stress at the time ... but when I sat down and wrote exactly what concerned me my symptoms were not new. I could look back and see that my brain-power had been slowly but surely slowing down over a substantial time span.

I was not only confused about what month we were in ... but the season. At one point I almost called someone who issued me a cheque. I was certain that they had accidentally dated it August 2nd when it should have been February 8th. I thought long and hard about it. Walked away and came back to it. I was at the point where I was beginning to look up the phone number that I would have to call to have the cheque reissued, when I all of a sudden realized that it was actually August. Not February.

My ability to speak coherently was faltering. I was coming out completely wrong and inappropriate words. I preferred writing over speaking because I had time to collect the proper vocabulary before communicating it.

I was getting to the point where I was irritating friends and family with my forgetfulness. Verbal conversations were hard for me to recall; I found that I was beginning to rely on the ability to reread an email to assist my memory. There was one entire conversation that left my consciousness for a spell. It did come back, but I needed to quite literally pry it out of the recesses of my mind.

I was taking classes and finding it harder to keep up with the class &/or retain the information that I just learned in order to write an exam.

My brain-to-hand/body messages were becoming very sluggish. I was dropping things. I found myself standing still and 'tipping over'.

I was losing my ability to multi-task. I couldn't keep two concurrent instructions in my head at one time.

I was overwhelmed by input and my inability to keep up. To say that I was scared is a little bit of an understatement.

I was overwhelmed with new-job-stresses. I was in a state of inner panic and turmoil. I was sobbing uncontrollably at inopportune moments. It was not a good place to be.

I had no choice but to continue to forge ahead and keep moving in a forward direction. I needed a job and I had to bulldoze my way through all of this. Thankfully, that worked for me.

Fast forward to today.

I am not only surviving at my present job ... I am starting to show signs of thriving.

I have not only retained that which I have been taught, but I have relearned the art of thinking on my feet. The wider a person's knowledge base is, the easier it is to look beyond the obvious and see a solution.

Tunnel vision and learning a brand new job are synonymous in my mind. You do truly have to zero in on what you have just learned  to try and make your way through a new situation.

You can't have an overwhelming amount of new information tossed at you at one time. You need to start with the basics and layer new data onto what you have learned. The layering effect enhances what you have just learned and adds to that. When you are doing a job that you could do in your sleep, you sometimes forget how long it took you to get to that point.

The more you know, the more you can do on auto pilot ... leaving your mind open to the ability to multi task. You not only gain the ability to layer new information, but additional tasks onto that which you are beginning to do automatically.

When your brain starts working at full speed, it starts to feel like a well oiled machine. Parts that had been inactive start firing back to life.

I have found the words that I need are now usually on the tip of my tongue. I amaze myself with my (returned) co-ordination. The neurons firing within my brain allowing me the ability to think on my feet also seem to have heightened my reflexes. I still drop things ... but man! You should see the way I'm catching them before they hit the ground!

My recall is back to where I expect it to be. If I am not mistaken, I believe my son even commented on how this has improved.

In retrospect I can see that not fully utilizing my brain for an ongoing period had hampered my ability to jump into new situations and survive. Dare I add the fact that I am also not getting any younger into that equation?

I am fortunate. My brain needed to be dusted off, exercised and lubricated a bit before it was ready to kick back into action.

What if ...

What if this had been a degenerative issue where it wasn't as simple as that? What if my ability to recall and remember was cumulative and it became progressively worse over a long period of time? What if my ability to learn was seriously impaired? What if the messages that my brain sent to my body got slower and did not recover with use?

I am grateful for a situation which brought this to light. What if ... I had continued to go down a path where I under-used my brain and my body to a state where it couldn't be revived so easily?

Don't stop learning. Don't stop moving. Don't stop ... you just never know how easy it may be to re-start again. That may not be the end all answer for a degenerative condition ... but it certainly can't hurt to keep one's brain and body active. Learning, moving, 'doing' and being around people enhances your life. Just keep moving ...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Life Hands You What You Need

I love my little ruts. I like to change them up a little from time to time, but once I get into a comfortable routine I like to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Perhaps I was getting to used to feeling comfortable. Maybe I needed life to hand me a lesson that I wasn't looking for. And it did.

I thought that leaving one line of work and forging into a completely different environment was enough of a challenge for me. I wasn't expecting an entire new set of life-lessons to be thrown my way within the first few months of that transition.

When it was suggested that I take on a substitute-secretary role at the schools, I felt my knees go week. How in the world would I survive in a world where every day was a new day without adequate training to get me through my days? I could be called to any school in the city and the likelihood of working without assistance in the office was very high.

I was tossed into a world where I wake up in the morning not knowing if, when and where I may be called to work. To say that this has been a shock to my system would be an understatement.

I am almost five months in to this new world of mine and ... I can't believe that I am saying this ... this has been exactly what I needed.

I have learned so much more than 'my job' throughout this time.

I have learned to be adaptable. Every school is unique. Each office I work in is set up differently. I can honestly say that (to this day) when I walk into an office and cannot even find a pen, I quietly begin to panic. If I can't find a pen ... how will I find anything??!???!

What I have learned is that once I become acclimatized to my surroundings, the rest comes easier. I begin to find my groove as I work within the environment that works for someone else.

I have learned to think on my feet. Nine times out of ten, the answers are logical if I just take a moment to think it through.

Not having someone to ask has taught me to think independently and look for my own answers. Ask ... and you (may) forget. Search ... and you will (most likely) remember.

I have been forced to explore our city. I have been to every corner of the city and travelled on roads that I have never seen before.

I had forgotten how scary this was to me until I found myself wanting to leave (yet another new school) at lunch yesterday. I wanted to go in a different direction than I had arrived and suddenly I was afraid of finding my way back.

I knew my fears were unfounded and irrational. But the thought of leaving a trail of bread crumbs so I could find my way back, was not entirely illogical to me at that moment.

Each and every time I push myself out of my comfort zone, I learn. I needed this. I needed to be uncomfortable so that I could get where I needed to go.

As much as things are different in every office and every school ... there is much that remains the same. The phones, the computer system that the school works within and the basics of running an office.

I can see so clearly why I needed this. It is no wonder that I was lost at sea at my first school. I had so much more to learn. Yes, I could have learned a lot of it there. But not this much.

I have learned more than just my job these past months. I have learned to expand my thinking, spread my wings and fly on my own.

They did toss me out of the nest. But it was what I needed. Who knew?

What has life handed you that turned out to be a blessing in disguise?

Friday, March 2, 2012

This Week Verses Last Week

During my most recent vacation, I was very conscious of how I spent my time, money and gas.

I had one week (nine days when you include the weekends) at my disposal with no income coming in throughout that time.

Nine days is a nice little piece of time to work with. Oh!! The places I could have went! The people I could have seen ....

But I was on a budget so I refused to let my mind wander and think of all that I wished that I could do. I focused on that which I could do at little or no cost.

I have been avoiding a lot of things around home lately so I knew that I could make quite a dent in my to-do-list with nine days at my disposal.

I worked at a leisurely pace and did what I set out to do. The days passed by very quietly. I received few emails and the phone was (almost) silent. I received very little 'input' from the outside world and I maximized on my output. It was exactly what I needed and wanted to do with those days.

I rarely left the house. I ran four quick errands and went out or met up with people on three occasions. Gas consumption was minimal.

We did splurge on take-out a few times. I kept track and we spent under $65.00 throughout the entirety of my holiday. While that still sounds like a lot, it isn't bad when you consider that was the grand sum total of all frivolous holiday spending. Normally when I am on holiday mode, it is take-out all the way. I was pleased that we reined it in.

I reflected on my holiday and was pleased in every sense of the word. I did what I set out to do. I felt a sense of accomplishment and I did not overdo in any capacity. I didn't overspend. I didn't oversleep. I didn't waste my time. It was a perfectly paced week.

Fast forward to this week. I have worked three out of four days (it is presently 6:49 a.m. and I haven't been called in to work today ... but this could change). I was out of the house after supper three out of four nights (it could have been four out of four but I was completely exhausted last night). We ate take-out food for supper three out of four nights.

The car has consumed almost twice as much gas in half of the time. We ate out three out of four working days this week. I have been out of the house three times as much in four days than I was over the course of my nine days off. Granted, I was working for two thirds of that time ... but I was working at home during my holiday.

The moral of this story?

When I am working outside of my home I spend a considerable amount more on output. In every sense of the word. I compensate with take-out food and lack of energy after hours.

Working from home invigorates and fulfills me. Less satisfies more of me when I spend my working hours being productive from the comfort of my home.

I must find a way to earn a living from home. I am ever-so-tentatively making my way. The contrast between the last few weeks has shown me just how much I want to steer my life in this direction.

Enough said. I got the call and now I must head out of the house. Again. There is work to be done and bills to be paid. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do ....

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Bonus Day!

Leap year. It comes but every four years. One bonus day tucked into a regularly scheduled year. We get 366 days for the price of 365!

One extra day every four years. If you live to age 80, that is twenty bonus days that you don't have to add to your age. Almost a month. For free!!

If you get paid by the hour ... bonus! You just got a bonus of one day tacked onto your annual pay cheque. Sorry, if you are a salary wage earner just had to work an extra day for free. It isn't all sunshine and roses.

Which means there is an inevitable downside to the bonus day as well. One extra day of wages to pay your employees. One more day of utility usage to pay for. Yada, yada, yada.

There is always a flip side. To every positive, there is a negative. But we do have a choice on which side of the coin to focus on. I choose positive!

According to my budget, I really needed to work yesterday. But I didn't get called in. Did I have control over that situation? No. If it had been a regular 28 day month of February, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to work. So I took my bonus day and made the most of it.

I happened to be sitting at the computer when a second paper officially took me on as a columnist for their weekly paper. Since I knew they were sitting at their computer, I picked up the phone and called. We had a most excellent conversation and I feel that there is a possibility that a few more doors may open because of that conversation. A conversation that I wouldn't have had, if I had not been home enjoying my Leap Year Holiday.

A slight bit of elation snuck into my day at that point. I had the day off of work and I was floating on air. Where do I most want to be when I'm having that kind of day? At the dance studio!

I called before they opened and left a message. I wondered if perhaps I could squeeze in a lesson yesterday ... but if not, that was okay. I would still get to talk with them when I booked a lesson for any other time.

Luck was with me. I got to book a dance lesson at 1:30 yesterday afternoon. When I asked myself the question, "When something wonderful happens in your life, who do you want to share the news with?" I knew my answer. I wanted to share my news with my dance instructor and dance with joy.

I talked with a few friends. I went out for a celebratory supper. I came home and came up with a third column for the first paper that hired me.

It was a day full of bonuses. Little things that would have happened March 1st, if this year wasn't a leap year. But because yesterday was a day that comes but once every four years, it truly felt like the gift that it was.

Happy Leap Year!! If you didn't celebrate your extra day yesterday, do it any time throughout 2012. You have all  year to take advantage of this once-every-four-year offer!