Sunday, March 31, 2013

Listen to the Radio ...

"Oowatanite" by April Wine was the song that sang out to me this afternoon and I followed where those thoughts took me ...

1977 was the year. I spent hours listening to the album "Forever for Now" with my high school best friend in the basement of her parent's home. We confided our innermost thoughts, swooned to the music and dreamed of life outside of that which we knew.

Our lives took us in separate directions after high school, but we reconnected as the years went on. We never ever completely lost touch, but we definitely connected on a different level when her marriage started to end.

When that song from our connected past played on the radio this afternoon, I made myself promise to call her as soon as I got home and settled in for the night. And I did ...

The moment she heard my voice and I asked the question, "And how are you?? ..." she started talking. And talking.

"Oh, you caught me at a bad moment ..." was her immediate reaction to the words that fell off her tongue. And that was just the beginning.

She had so very, very much to say. And because of my own life experiences that are vividly fresh in my mind, I could relate to her on absolutely every level that she was explaining to me. Because I had just lived through what she was talking about.

When she started talking about the good stuff going on in her world, it made me smile. She had just spent the afternoon listening to music that spoke to her soul. All these years later, she is still very much that teenage girl who is moved to the core by music and all that it makes her feel.

When I mentioned that it was a song by April Wine that played on the radio today and spurred on my call, she said that she had recently purchased that exact same CD because she 'lost it in the divorce'. She simply had to replace it. So she did. She could see it from where she sat at that very moment.

We bonded over music a few lifetimes ago. A song brought the memory of the friendship that we shared to mind today. So I called. I am glad that I did.

If you are thinking of someone, tell them. Reach out in some fashion. I think that you will be glad that you did.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Support When Needed

Years and years ago, I was fitted with wrist splints for my carpal tunnel syndrome. I can't remember what it was that triggered my symptoms initially (perhaps housecleaning?!?), but whatever it was must have went away. Because I all but abandoned my wrist splints.

Thankfully, I had them on hand when my thumbs began bothering me shortly after starting my extra-curricular job of delivering flyers.

Sore thumbs?!? What an odd symptom to have. Carrying around up to 50 pounds of papers, walking for an average of an hour and a half, three times a week ... and my thumbs were sore? Odd.

But I remembered that I had those wrist splints sitting in a drawer somewhere and I have been wearing them religiously each night for quite some time now. In fact, I have almost wore them out. One of them broke where the support goes between my thumb and index finger, so I have been hot gluing, duct taping, and wrapping and gluing whatever I think may adhere to the surface so that I can keep wearing this splint.

A few nights ago, my temporary fix broke in the middle of the night. I completely forgot to attempt to re-glue it the next morning so when I went to bed I decided to fore go the splints. Maybe they weren't making a difference after all. This would be a test ...

... it was only a test. My wrists and hands were not happy that night without the comfort of those rigid splints. My hands were tingly and uncomfortable any time I woke up. First thing the next morning, I was determined to try to come up with a 'fix' for my broken splint that would get me through the night.

Last night, I slipped my hands into the 'comfort' of my splints. It was like coming home again. Ahhh. The relief was incredible. It is hard to believe that something so hard and rigid spells relief. But it does.

Every time I woke up during the night to roll over, I quite literally sighed with relief. My wrists and hands were so, so very comfortable. I couldn't help but appreciate the support that I had when I needed it the most.

My thoughts became more tangible the closer I got to morning. I couldn't help but correlate the quiet support of these splints, to the support I have (and need) in my life-in-general.

There are times that I become an island. I think what I need is isolation. What I don't realize until I've gone through the quietness alone, is that just like those wrist splints ... it is nice to know that I have that support when it is needed.

To my friend who runs a daycare in her home five hours away from me ... you have no idea what a lifeline you are to me. We chatter about nothing in the midst of our kid-filled days once every week or so. She completely and totally gets it when I say that I am ripping my hair out one minute in my child-oriented day ... and over-the-moon happy the next.

To my friends who I manage to see on a semi-regular basis. Sometimes more than others. Each and every one of you sustains me. You are a piece to the puzzle that I am sometimes missing. We bounce words off of each other and quietly stand at each other's side in support and friendship.

To my family that I tend to ignore when life gets busy ... but I know that you are there. Always. A heartbeat away. It is like knowing that I had those wrist splints in my dresser drawer. There is a sense of security in knowing that you have my back.

My life is seasoned with gentle support. Sometimes I need a little. Sometimes I need a lot. I hope to do my best to nurture what I have so that I don't lose what I have.

As it is with my broken wrist splints, maintenance is necessary. You will lose what you have if you don't take care of it and fix it when it's broken...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Is It Just Me ...

Okay. I will admit it. I am feeling highly doubtful of my capabilities at the moment.

Life is handing me a handful of valuable lessons, but the timing is unfortunate. Either I have become extremely incompetent and self-absorbed overnight ... or perhaps there is something hormonal at play and things simply feel a little bit magnified. I am doing my best to simply add a little 'zen' to my thoughts and talk myself down from the minor incidents that have shaken my sense-of-self.

But honestly ... even our cat (Andre)  is shunning my ability to feed him.

My cooking skills are basic at the best of times. I have a few tried and true meal plans that are palatable and pleasing to the majority of our household. But they get old. Fast. I recycle and reuse our menu of family favorites, but I am really liking take-out a lot lately.

Then there is my daycare menu. They are a little bit of a fickle crowd. They tend to favor what-they-know verses trying-new-things. So once again, our meal plans are feeling repetitive and they are getting some bad reviews as the kids shun what they liked two weeks ago. I'm starting to pull my hair out just a little bit. This is getting too old too fast. What am I to do as the months go on??

But honestly. Andre's recent distaste for the canned cat food that he has been gobbling up? I am beginning to feel pretty insulted. How dare our cat become as fussy as the rest of those I am trying to feed.

My heart is breaking just a tiny bit. One iota of it is because I am feeling shunned by our cat. But the bigger picture is ... why does he not want to eat very much of his favorite food? He is a senior cat and health issues could be at play. He is a vital part of our family unit and my heart aches at the mere idea that he will not live forever.

Yes. I am worried. But it is easier to feel hurt. So ... I am adding our cat's distaste for my culinary abilities to my list of things-gone-awry this week.

Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty ... come on, Andre ... please, please, please come and eat. Please?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hanging in the Balance

There is a place between 'yes' and 'no' that is a place I enjoy. It is that temporary state of lingering between an option that has been tossed into my world where I haven't physically made a leap of faith, yet I haven't been rejected. It is a place of hope.

On the flip side ... when one lingers too long in that place of indecision, it is one of my least favorite places to be.

That place is different than that brief, lingering state of waiting for someone else's decision that can ultimately change the course of where-I-go-from here.

When one is sitting and literally waiting for the phone to ring for one day too long, it becomes very uncomfortable.

Seeds of doubt are planted and have time to grow. Incidents that may or may not be related to the initial 'seed' become intertwined in my mind and I can create some pretty fascinating stories in my mind.

I am waiting for a potential new family to call me back. They were calling my references as a mere formality. They ultimately told me that they had already chosen me to take care of their child. I am simply waiting for their final answer. And waiting.

Why am I so worried? Because I am an imperfect person in an imperfect world. I know that one of my references expects near-perfection in the person who provides care for their child. And I haven't talked to 'that parent' all week. I have intertwined the two incidents and they have become one giant mess in my mind.

I know that people get busy and distracted in their own lives. It isn't 'all about me', when someone doesn't call or react or show up. Yet there are days. Those days when the final decision simply takes one day or one moment-in-time too long.

In the past, I have contacted the person I need to talk to in an effort to nip my worries in the bud. I have embarrassed myself more times than I care to remember because I blew things out of proportion in my mind. Then actually called 'that someone' and confessed all that I was thinking.

Yesterday I decided that this was yet another case of me inventing things to worry about. So I decided to simply trust that all was fine and I would hear my answers in good time.

The time spent waiting are not the kind of days I appreciate. But they happen. That is life. There is a measure of discomfort from time to time.

The days when I hang in the balance and scrutinize and measure myself against 'perfection' ... those are not good days. Measuring myself against perfection is not a place I should be in the first place.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Just Tired

I fought exhaustion a lot over the course of the past few years. The waves were all consuming. I could sleep in, in the morning then nap in the afternoon and early evening and still sleep soundly at night. Sleep was an escape. Sleep was a coping mechanism. I lost myself (and several days) to sleep.

I was so physically tired that I thought that perhaps my body was trying to tell me something. Maybe there was a disease or sleep disorder of some kind at the root of this exhaustion. My yearly physical unveiled nothing but I was referred to another doctor who ordered a sleep study. Again, nothing extraordinary was discovered.

As I fought the waves of tiredness and slept through yet another episode of Dancing With the Stars last night ... I felt the difference.

Before, the exhaustion hit me like a tidal wave. As the exhaustion levels peaked, so did my stress levels. I was walking against the current in my life. I was fighting with everything that I had, to make an unworkable situation work. I was depressed and depressing. So I slept. Whenever possible.

Now? I am still tired. But I am going with the current in my life.

A lot of the time, I am kept awake simply by the momentum that my life has gained. I am working by day and squeezing in a handful of extra-income-opportunities by night (and weekends).

I wake up in the morning with an agenda. I can ill afford to waste my early morning hours sleeping because if I do, I will sacrifice the time in my day that I cherish the most. My early-morning reading and writing hours. These are the hours that I ground and nurture myself.

At the end of my days, I am tired. Just tired. Tired from living a full day and the desire to sleep a good, sound sleep so that I can wake up in the morning and do it all over again.

I work to attain the exhaustion I once felt. Now? It feels pretty good to simply feel tired.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Starting From Neutral

It is Monday morning and I sit and await the wonders that will behold me this week ...

{Birds are singing, the sun is shining and little animals are chattering in Disney-like voices as I create the fantasy that is that sentence}

My reality is that I am sitting here in a neutral state as I face up to whatever the day/week brings.

I felt underwhelmed with the 'person that was me' last week. I want to do better this week. As I tell my little daycare family - 'when you know better, you do better'. I must forgive my little charges for not doing better, when they know better. Because I am guilty of the same crime. I will try to do better.

Little things are niggling away at my little aura of sunshine and happiness. Things that truly don't matter in the whole realm of things. Timing is everything sometimes. Waiting for the right time and the right words eats away at my sense of 'rightness' in my world until the slate is cleared and we can start fresh once again.

My life is inching forward in a direction that feels very good and very right for me. I am taking baby steps and looking into the future. Perhaps too far into the future? Is it right to be instigating changes this far in advance? Everything inside of me is telling me that this is the right strategy. Yet experience has taught me to expect the unexpected. I have one foot in the present and the other stepping towards the future. My sense of balance is a little askew as I look forward.

I have (perhaps?) a few too many irons in the fire. I am a little bit torn and somewhat frustrated that I am not honing in on one thing and doing my best with it. Yet when I walk away and look at this from a distance, I see that I am hedging my bets a little bit here. I'm diversifying my knowledge and abilities so if one thing goes awry, I have a back-up plan (and income). And a little 'retirement planning' to boot.

I know that I am the only one who can turn this state of being neutral into driving in a forward direction. I will start today with a fresh slate and do the best I can. Some days, my best is better than others. But starting from a neutral position without a bias on the negative is a good beginning.

One never knows what the day will bring. It is truly better that way.

Take the day one step at a time and make it into the best day that you can with whatever life hands you today.

Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I May Not Be There Yet ...

Today's inspiration comes to you on behalf of a quote I found on Facebook this morning:

"I may not be there yet ... but I'm closer than I was yesterday"

There are days, weeks and months that feel like I have spun my wheels and gone no where.

I have travelled down roads that didn't take me where I thought I wanted to go, so I turned around and tried again.

I have sat in neutral and done absolutely nothing for (what feels like) days, weeks and months. Even in 'doing nothing', I did something. I absorbed what I saw, heard and felt. Even that time of 'doing nothing' did something that gave me the insight that I would utilize to take me where I needed to go.

Then there are those times where I have actively gone out and pursued my goals. I have taken tentative steps, sent out feelers and gone all out and just went boldly where I had never gone before.

The good, the bad and the ugly are all a part of this thing called 'life'. Every person we meet, every chance encounter ... it all makes a difference to the way we see ourselves and the small differences we can make within our own little world.

Making mistakes, spinning your wheels, taking chances and simply waking up each morning and putting one foot in front of the other makes an impact. We are a work in progress. Every thing we see, hear, feel and do takes us one step closer to where we hope to be.

No matter where you are today, no matter how futile yesterday felt, no matter that it feels like you are spinning your wheels or going backwards and not making headway towards that illusive place of where you hope to be ... you are closer than you were yesterday.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Children are transparent. When they smile, it lights up a room. When they laugh, it is from their heart. When they cry, it is like the world is ending. When they love, they love with their whole heart. They live and breathe what they see. They are little sponges as they absorb the world around them.

I spend the better part of my days with young children in my daycare world. I see who I am by the way they act and behave. When I am smiling, happy and content in our world it is transmitted through them. When I am not? They channel those feelings as well.

I have heard my voice come out of the two-and-a-half year old that I take care of. He is a little talker. There is little mistake what he is communicating 90% of the time. He mimics everything he sees. Everything. When I see my behaviours coming out in him, it reminds me of the great impact that I have on my borrowed children. It is a huge responsibility.

Thanks to my two-and-a-half year old little boy, I am becoming better at what I do and who I am. I am grateful.

I am better ... but not perfect.

Enter (one of) my one-and-a-half year old little girls. Yesterday, she was a little bored with the tiresome routine of childplay. So she perched herself up on the love seat, took off her sock and started picking the lint out from between her toes. She was very serious as she tended to her grooming and started overseeing the actions of her playmates.

Suddenly she looked up and she was 'wearing my face' as she sternly said, "Stop!" Oh. my. gosh! That was my face and my voice on my little one-and-a-half year old little girl. It wasn't pretty.

If you truly want to see 'who you are' and the impact you are making on those you spend time with ... hang out with one and two year olds all day. They will show you the truth. Some of it isn't pretty.

When I hear my voice channelled through these small people, I am happy when I like when I hear. It is those other times that make me sit back and take notice.

I may not have performance evaluations in this role as a daycare provider. But the transparent honesty of young children is all I need to become the person that I aspire to be.

Climbing the Mountain of Life

This morning's commitment was delayed by one hour. One hour is such a gift when it comes out of the blue.

Instead of frantically trying to squeeze in all-that-I-could-do before 8:00 a.m., I have taken my time and let the morning take me wherever I ended up going.

My voyage began with a cup of coffee and the habit of checking out the blogs that I follow to see if anyone had any new updates to read.

I started at the top of my list. 'Anna' didn't have any new updates so I reread her last post, only to discover what I missed the first time that I read it. She had written a 'guest post' over at 'Momastery.com' ... which led me to another post written by another blog author.

I read the post "2011 Lesson #2 : Don’t Carpe Diem" ...

It was a post that was written over a year ago. I could have read the words at any point in time and appreciated them. But reading them this morning? When I was feeling just a tad regretful over the week that I just 'spent'? It was Divine timing.

I was an imperfect daycare provider last week. I did not live in the moment. I got frustrated. I want the kids to learn to play independently, use their imaginations, learn strategies to get along and have fun with each other. I do everything in my power to encourage all of the above. Yet last week, I was impatient. I am working with one & two year olds for heavens sake!

At the end of the week, I looked back and all I saw was my imperfections. I didn't seize the day. I did my best to seize the moments along the way, but did I savor last week's voyage? Not in the way I expect of myself.

Then I read this post "Don't Carpe Diem" ... and at the end I gave myself permission to be imperfect in my role as a daycare provider. It is like climbing Mount Everest. Every moment, of every day ... do I want to shout to the world "I love being a daycare provider!!"? No. But at the end of my voyage, and even at the end of my days, weeks and years ... I do want to say "I love having been a daycare provider".

I want to take enough moments within each day to seize that moment in time so that the children I watch over feel a sense of me liking what I do. Maybe not every moment of every day. But I want them to know that I do love what I do and savor the good moments wherever we find them so that they can carry that forward with them throughout their lives.

As I climb this mountain called 'life', I hope to tether myself to safe and secure spots along the way ... so that if I fall (and I inevitably will), I do not want to take anyone with me.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Life's Ebbs and Flows

I feel the need to write something deep and insightful after yesterday's inane post. But I'm feeling a tad shallow today. Honestly? I'm feeling more than a little bit grouchy. Is that allowed?

Such are the ebbs and flows and life.

The week started with a sense of satisfaction after a productive weekend.

Monday was full of hope as I sent off my resume and writing samples to various newspapers across the land. I love the feeling of stepping out and taking a chance while a certain degree of hopefulness lingers in the air.

Tuesday was utter elation as I corresponded with some publications who decided to take a chance on me. To top that off, there was good news in my daycare world when a family called me to tell me that they have chosen me to take care of their daughter (in January).

Wednesday, I was gliding back down to earth. It was a gentle slide down a small slope. I was full of elation and joy as I wrote about the days that preceded my return to life-as-I-know-it.

All joy was lost when I had to deliver flyers in what (at the time) seemed like extreme winter weather, in a winter that has gone on far too long (until I heard about the truly extreme weather other cities/provinces were dealing with yesterday).

Thursday was a day of unrest. My daycare family is in drastic need of a true diversion from our day-to-day life indoors (as we await the return of moderate weather where we can go outside again). There was crying involved. It wasn't me, but I knew how my little girls felt. They were probably channelling my inner feelings. They cried hard. They cried like they have never cried before. It was a long day.

Which brings me to today - Friday. I think I've cycled through the whole realm of emotions this week. From contentment and satisfaction ... to ambition and hopefulness ... to elation and joy ... to acceptance and appreciation ... to reality, such as it is.

My reality is good.

In writing about the ebbs and flows in the week I have identified that-which-is-good and that-which-is-not ... and it is up to me to act on what I know.

I know that my sense of happiness comes from 'being present' in my days. When I sit down and focus all of my attention on what I am doing, I am in a place of joyfulness. Whether it is sitting in the middle of the living room and tending to my little daycare family ... or writing ... or visiting with someone. I need to focus my attention fully on the task at hand to fully appreciate the moment.

Enjoy the small moments of your day and the day takes care of itself. It is time for me to go and take my own advice...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Things That Really Don't Matter ...

I have the strangest ailment known to me, in my life-thus-far. I have strained a 'sitting muscle'.

The pain I feel is only noticeable when I sit down. Sitting on a chair with my feet on the floor? It hurts. Sitting on the floor with kids all over me and my feet extended outwards? It hurts. Sitting on the comfy, soft couch with my feet stretched out in front of me? It still hurts!

It is a pain akin to the that which I felt when I got caught up in an ice rut and landed on my 'sitting muscles' a while ago. I checked. There is no bruise. In fact, I hurt in a different place than the original bruise (it is still there).

I racked my brain to try and remember if I fell last night when I was delivering flyers in gale force winds, trudging through snow drifts. Nope. I didn't go down. Not even close. It was a pain in the neck to complete the job last night ... but I didn't fall.

So what did I do to deserve this 'pain in the butt' today?? I have no idea.

I guess that I have exceeded my body's sitting quota. It is time to get up and move.

Obviously, if this post is any indication of anything at all ... I won't be waking up with a head-ache tomorrow.

**This quote has little, to nothing to do with today's post ... but it arrived in my inspirational email this morning and it seemed to fit with the thoughts that have been consuming my mind lately**

"Any writer can attest in the luckiest happiest state
the words are not coming from you but through you."
~from the movie, Ruby Sparks~ 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1%

One percent is a small number that can make a big difference.

It can mean the difference between a passing and a failing grade. It can be all that stands in the way of perfection. It is so small and it shouldn't matter so much. But sometimes it does.

You can receive complements and praise 99% of the time. One harsh criticism out of 100 can be a crushing blow. You can tell yourself that 1% shouldn't take you down so far. But it can.

You can be missing one piece out of a 100 piece puzzle. It is one small 'piece of the puzzle'. But it prevents you from completing the picture. When you look at the whole picture your eye is drawn to the missing piece.

The penny has been taken out of circulation. Now that our cashiers are rounding up and down, one penny either way makes the difference between paying five cents more or five cents less (if you are paying by cash). Those pennies will have a way of adding up.

Monday morning (at 6:14 a.m., to be exact), I cast a wide net. I sent out my resume and samples of my writing to a number of weekly newspapers within my province and beyond. By Tuesday afternoon (at 1:17 p.m., to be exact), I was officially accepted to write for three more papers.

I attained a success rate of 1% within a day and I doubled  my column's exposure. I will take a 1% success rate any day.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I'm Walking With the Current

I have unintentionally directed my attentions towards 'selling myself' this past week. And it has been a rather positive experience.

I have the direct comparison of the year that I spent scouring the help wanted ads and revising my resume and cover letters in my attempt to sell what I thought that I could learn to do. I felt rather chameleon-like, as I endeavored to make myself and my abilities adapt to various work environments. It was hard work.

These days, I am selling my childcare services. I am a mom. I have practical experience. I have a home equipped with all I need to create an environment to grow and learn. I have been there. I know what it feels like to be a parent faced with the unpleasant task of leaving their child with someone they don't know.

I am comfortable with who I am and what I can provide. When I talk to people, I am genuine. I can feel the difference between 'then' (the daycare provider I used to be) and 'now' (since I reopened my daycare last fall).

The years in between 'then' and 'now', I was attempting to sell my ability to learn and adapt. It takes a good year to learn all of the ins and outs of a brand new work environment. There is so much to learn. The world out there was so foreign to me, it was very hard to adapt. My chameleon abilities were being taxed to the max.

Now ... when I talk to people, I am putting my true self forward. This isn't work. I am no chameleon. I am who I am and it is simply ... easy.

This past weekend, I brushed up my resume. My true-self resume. The resume that sells the 'writer' in me. Once again, I am putting my true self out there for the world to see.

The resume focuses on how I have brought writing into (almost) every job that I have had. And beyond. The resume speaks of jobs that I have had that define where I've been. It encompasses courses that I have taken that indicate my desire to continue to learn. It includes my hobbies and interests that provide a balance and show that I have many topics to write about.

My resume is me. It is who I have been and who I am and where I want to go. Past tense, present tense and with my eye on the future.

Then I write. Writing is what I do. A writer defines a big part of who I am. I am selling 'me'. This is so easy.

I hope there is a market for what I have to offer the world. But even if there isn't ... I am doing what is natural and easy for me.

When it doesn't 'hurt' to wake up in the morning and face the day and job ahead of you ... you know that something is right in your world.

What would your resume say if you were selling your natural and God-given talents? Write your own personal resume, if only in your mind. When 'where you are' matches up with 'what you do', you are walking with the current of your life.

It is harder than it sounds. But take small, steady steps with your eye on where you want your life to go. Relax. Trust. And go with the flow ....

** Interesting fact! I wrote that sentence and received an email from a paper I contacted yesterday at almost that exact same moment. It said, "Love your stuff Colleen ..."**

Follow your heart. Do what your soul tells you. And the 'love letters' will follow....

Monday, March 18, 2013

Inspiration

I watched a most inspirational movie "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" over the weekend and I felt rather deflated after the fact. I related with the most negative character in the movie.

'Jean Ainslie' felt completely displaced and out of her comfort zone throughout the entirety of the movie. From looking at the condo that they could afford if they stayed in England, to finding themselves in a dilapidated hotel in India of all places.

It was as if Jean's lines came directly from my subconscious mind. When I am in a strange, new world I hunker down within the smallest confines to acclimatize myself to this adjustment. Jean spent a great part of time reading within the safety zone of their hotel.

The 'man that she has been looking for' her whole life turns out to be gay. When her husband finally releases his pent up thoughts (as he has been optimistically looking for (and finding) the bright spots within their new environment) the words came right out my past. It was uncanny. I was once accused of stealing the joy and happiness out of someone's life ...

Jean was uncomfortable within her own skin. It is likely that she would have found happiness and contentment anywhere at that point in her life and their marriage. She was not comfortable with who or where she was, nor was she comfortable within her relationship with her husband.

I would like to write Jean's sequel. She would find her way after divorcing her old life. She would find herself and her happiness within. She would live an unremarkable life but be remarkably happy ... because she found herself. At last.

In a movie that was so completely full of inspiration and quotable nuggets of words, I gravitated towards the character that I know as well as I know myself. The person who is most comfortable within a life that she knows. To be plucked up and placed in a foreign country where absolutely everything around her is foreign? When she wasn't happy to start with?? Not a happy place for her.

The most quotable quote within the movie is Sonny Kapoor's mantra -  "Everything will be all right in the end and if it's not all right, then it's not yet the end."

I truly believe and aspire to live those words.

If it is not all right ... then it is not yet the end. It is time to look for a new beginning. Even if you don't get it right the first time, you will eventually. As long as you don't stop trying.

Because ... as Evelyn says, "The only real failure is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment."

Saturday, March 16, 2013

It's Been a Long Winter

March came in like a lamb ... so you know what they say. We are all expecting the arrival of the lion. But honestly? Did that lion have to start growling already?

It has simply been a very long winter. Apparently "...this is nothing compared to the winters 60 years ago...", but to the best of my recollections over the course of my adult years, this is the most snow that I can recall.

To top it all off there was a water main break in Our Fair City yesterday. When I woke up at 5:30, our water pressure was very, very low. So I went and filled up all of our water jugs, water bottles and kettle. Just in case.

We were fortunate. Our water was not affected by the water main break. There was simply an advisory to boil drinking/cooking water before consumption.

On top of this (which is truly rather minor in the whole scheme of things), our temperatures are dipping back into the -20 degree range. And it snowed (for what felt like all day, but it wasn't).

Two Saturdays ago, I was dodging puddles as I delivered papers. Not even a week later, my feet got caught up in an ice rut and I went down like a rock. Last night, I was quite literally 'dashing through the snow' ...

You can tell people are sick and tired of shovelling snow. Possibly half of the houses I delivered flyers to didn't bother shovelling their walks the last few snowfalls (these last few days). I have been out every day since Wednesday 'monitoring' the situation, since I had an extra day's worth of deliveries to make this week. The snow is piling up. And we are all getting sick of it!

I know, I know how fortunate that we truly are. Our city just missed a massive snowfall a few weeks ago.  A storm was headed our way but just missed us. The same was not true for those south of us. Highways were closed and traffic was at a standstill.

Despite a major water main break, we were fortunate enough to have water. All day. Our power has not been affected. The furnace is keeping us warm, our homes are sheltering us and we have all of the luxuries available to us at the flick of a switch or turn of a faucet.

But it has simply gone on long enough. The sky has been gray most of the winter. We are craving blue skies and green grass.

The bright side of my little gripe session is that I 'lost' two days! I went through all of yesterday thinking that it was March 13th. I didn't realize how wrong I was until I hovered the computer mouse over the time this morning and saw "March 16th". I didn't believe it. I had to go to a calendar to confirm the date. Who knew!?!??

We are half-way through the longest month of the year. The month before spring (right?? ... spring is going to peak its nose out in April, isn't it??). The lion is growling ... I do not want to hear its roar as it blasts the last of what it has to offer before it goes out like a lamb. For good.

Snow, snow ... go away. We want spring to come and stay!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Smile :)

I got a text message from Older Sister this afternoon. At first glance, I thought someone must be sending me a message from her phone. My Sister doesn't text, does she??

My Sister is eleven years older than I am, and I am no spring chicken (and I am not a big fan of texting). So ... I was duly impressed that she texts.

Our conversation went as follows (FYI: our city had a 'boil water advisory' announced due to a water main break today):

Sister: How's your water. Are you boiling it
Me: Second Son called to let me know of the advisory
Sister: Yea right you foot listen to the radio. I knew at 730
Me: You foot listen to the radio?
Sister: I guess I should read my message before sending it. Radio

You had me at "... you foot listen ..."

But "Radio"??

Choose Happiness Instead

"You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead.
Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life.
Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life."
 ~Ana├»s Nin~

These are such wise words and it sounds like it should be so easy to heed this advise...

In the real world, you wake up each morning and must walk out of the comfort of the positive zone that you have created within your heart. What if you must walk 'back into the lion's den' day in and day out? How do you win back that sense of peace that you fight to grasp onto when you are walking against the current in your work world?

What if you don't have a peaceful oasis to return home to at the end of a long, hard work day? What if you have demands and stressors within (what should be) your oasis at home? What chance do you have of trying to maintain the status quo of negative verses positive factors in your life?

Life is full of conflicting forces. Positive verses negative. Good verses evil. Health verses illness. Prosperity verses poverty. Happiness verses sadness. The list goes on ...

When you are in the thick of living your life and pushing through the hard stuff, it is hard to know if you are overcoming challenges that you will eventually triumph or if you are walking against the current and you should simply turn around and go with the natural flow.

It isn't until we are looking at our life backwards, that we see things more clearly. The answers unveil themselves and we see that certain challenges were necessary for us to learn what we needed to know, to grow.

What I've learned from where I've been, is that I need to fill myself up first. It is like grabbing the oxygen mask so that you can help others. You are no good to anyone else if you are not breathing yourself.

Secondly, you must 'maintain your oxygen supply'. Read, watch and surround yourself with that-which-is-positive. You can only take in so much fresh air at a time. Keep the flow coming in like a trickle charger for a car battery. A small, continuous amount of positive is necessary to maintain the negative energy drain that is all around us.

Do what is in your power, to change that which is bringing you down. Not many of us can afford to walk away from a job that is draining us. But can we seek the positive within that job and draw our focus to that? Can we seek alternate employment? Seek out any and all resources to find coping mechanisms and strategies. Above all - seek out positive people to walk at your side. Don't feed the negative ...

Look at your relationships with those who are an influential part of your life. Are they energy drains or do they fuel and support you? Examine those that are draining your energy. Are they expendable? Can you 'let them go'? Or are they an integral part of your life? Let go of that which is not good for you. If you can't let go of the relationship, find positive coping mechanisms. Don't take on the negative. Find strategies to help you maintain a healthy perspective within an unhealthy relationship (Alanon taught me many mantras and coping strategies that remain a part of my being, 25+ years after the fact. It is possible to separate the person from the disease).

We sometimes feel powerless, but we always have the ability to choose how we react. Sometimes that is all that we have. Maybe we can make small changes within something we cannot change. Other times we do have the power to change what feels unchangeable. If we cannot change something right now ... maybe we can strategize and make future plans. Anything we do to help us see beyond the moment empowers us.

Don't become one of those who becomes 'a destroyer of life'. Instead, "...take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life..."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Oprah Moment(s)

Oprah is coming to Our Fair City soon and a friend asked if I'd like to go with her. I would have loved to go, but I couldn't justify the cost of the tickets. So I declined the invitation (but thought to myself "... but I'd sure love to win some tickets!").

Another friend forwarded an email to me this morning about a contest that one of our radio stations is having - to win a pair of tickets to Oprah's show. All you had to do was send an email telling the radio host about your 'Oprah Moment'.

I felt a little bit wordless this morning, so I went and searched my blog with the word "Oprah" and came up with 36 posts. I sent in excerpts from six of them ...

As I reread those old posts, a spark was ignited within me. Suddenly I was feeling more upbeat and ready to take on the day.

Oprah brought a wide variety of experts and thought provoking stories onto her stage. As I replayed some of these episodes that I had written about in my mind, visions of her guests and stories came to mind. It was  not specifically 'Oprah', the person that I was thinking about ... but 'Oprah', the television show.

It was like opening a book and thumbing through the pages and stopping at a few of the chapters that caught my interest. It was a myriad of memories, thoughts, wisdom, inspiration and key phrases that resonated within.

I like to think that I keep a little morsel of that-which-inspires-me within me at all times. Simply waiting for something to fan the flame and bring it to the forefront of my thoughts from time to time.

Oprah and her television show provided me with many embers that are deeply embedded in my subconscious mind. As it is, with my day-to-day life.

Take a small moment and savor it. Keep the lesson and let it inspire you. And then carry on ...

That is the lesson that Oprah taught me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Momentum

I could have curled up into a little ball and cried when the alarm went off this morning. It felt like I had just closed my eyes. Wait!! It felt like I had just closed my eyes?!?? That meant that I slept soundly last night. It has been a while since I woke up to the alarm, with no memory of anything since setting the sleep timer on the TV. Hooray!!

The reason that I didn't want to get up was because I didn't want to face the flyers that would inevitably be dropped off this morning. Creak ... crackle ... pop... and moan. And I was out of bed.

I haven't sat still (for long) since.

The flyers were not dropped off until almost 6:45 a.m., so I couldn't get an early start. But I could get a start. So I set one foot in front of the other, grumbled and complained when I saw that the bin was crammed full of flyers (spring is in the air and all the sales associated with the change of seasons, so the flyers were thick), plus a one-page 'topper' to boot. Grumble ... grumble ... complain ... complain. And I was off.

I delivered two thirds of the flyers before my daycare family started arriving. We got every one in, fed, bathroomed and ready to go outside. Shortly after 9 a.m., I had my little daycare family of three ready to tackle more flyers. Two in the stroller and one 'helping' me push. The sidewalks are a mess and the roads are not much better. It took every muscle in my body to push the stroller as well as carry a full load of flyers in my carrier bag. Grrrr ... hrumph ... grumble ... whine ... complain. And we just kept on putting one foot ahead of the other.

My two girls (that were lucky enough to be in the stroller) fell asleep. The decision to continue to tackling the job was easy. Especially because my two-year-old was so co-operative. He was pretty amazing as a matter of fact. One hour and twenty minutes later (it would have taken no longer than 45 minutes if I didn't have three kids in tow) ... all of the flyers were delivered!! Hallelujah!!

I kept the momentum going throughout the day. Little things got done. Nothing major but a handful of little things all add up. We aren't sticking to the kitchen floor. Meter readings got done. I vacummed a little (the kids love the game of running away from the vacuum cleaner). Oh, and I did take care of three small children all day as well (man, these ages are demanding!).

It was a day that I did not want to confront. It was a day that was better off dealt with head on, than ignored. Bit by bit, step by step, hour by hour ... the day was spent.

It is a very good feeling to sit back at the end of a somewhat productive day and be happy with what you have accomplished.

I guess it was worth getting out of bed this morning. Now, I just have to do it all over again tomorrow. There will be about 166 Leisure Guides to be delivered. Not to mention that our forecast says that it is going to feel like -20 degrees in the morning (after reaching a balmy -8 this afternoon) ... grumble ... grumble ... complain ... whine ...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

98%

As I was talking with my cousin the other day, I mentioned that living with one's adult children can be 98% good ... but sometimes that 2% feels bigger than it is in reality.

Isn't that the way it is with life?

I had a minorly frustrating daycare-day yesterday. It was fueled by the fact that I was tired. I wasn't rolling with the punches the way that I am capable of doing. The kids were tired on top of my tiredness. All things tolled, it wasn't an awful day. But at the end of it, that 2% was all that I felt.

I have come to a happy realization that my return to daycare is exactly where I am meant to be right now. The families that have come to me are wonderful. In reality, I need one or two more children to make this financially feasible. But the dynamics between the children that I have are 98% good. To add one more unknown to this formula could tip the balance. I like where things are at. I believe we will focus on what we have and add more to the mix when my one-year-olds are a little older.

The flip side to this contentment is reality. My daycare income alone does not quite pay the bills. So my extra income sources are a necessity. I cannot afford to say 'no' to any opportunity right now. Each and every one of my extra jobs is 98% good. The 2% is the sacrifice I must make to fit all of this into a seven-day-week.

I like what I am doing. I am content with my life. As long as I keep my sights set on shorter (under five years) term goals, I know that I have steered my life in the direction that I want to go. When I look long term? It becomes just a tad frightening. I am 98% certain that it will all work out in the wash. It always does. Keep my eye on the prize and I will go where I am meant to go. It is that 2% of fearfulness that niggles away at my sense of security that feels bigger than it is at times.

My home life is pretty much wonderful right now. Our house is full. Three adults, a 14 year-old, two dogs and a cat take up a lot of space in a home and in a life. There is such a sense of harmony within all of the creatures within this 1000 square foot home. How did I manage to get so lucky?!? It is good 98% of the time. That nasty 2% rears its head from time to time and seeps into the contentment within these walls.

I have strong and supportive relationships within my friends and family. I am 100% happy with the people that I have in my life. Do I miss the idea of a forever-partner-in-life? Possibly .5% of the time. 99.5% of the time, I know that my life is complete, rewarding and fulfilling just the way it is. To bring a 'partnership' of foreverness into the mix would be beyond challenging. Compromise, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse ... those are big promises. Life is safe and easy this way. It is just that .5% of the time? It would be nice to have someone to hold my hand as I walk through this life.

Ninety eight percent is a pretty good overall average. I'll take it. I will savor it and be grateful for it. Life isn't perfect and it wouldn't be good for us, if it was. We need those contrasts in life to fully appreciate what we already have.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Balancing to Zero

If someone had told me that I had to do all that I did this past weekend, I would have been some kind of grumpy. Instead, it was a weekend of perpetual motion. One activity segued perfectly into the next (and the next and the next) and it was well balanced weekend.

I delivered all of the Friday and Saturday flyers/papers on Friday. It felt heavenly to know that job was done and behind me for the weekend, before I went to sleep Friday night. Why don't I always do this? Well, perhaps -20 and -30 degree weather and (what feels like) unending darkness throughout the winter months played a factor. I will endeavor to make this become a habit.

I worked for three hours Saturday morning (cleaning for a friend) and five hours Sunday afternoon (bookkeeping). As much as I don't like the idea of committing a little bit of each weekend day to extra-curricular income earning activities, I must admit that this way was better. It kept the work:play ratio in balance.

I had time to 'play' after my work was done. Supper with a friend on Friday; I met my cousin for coffee Saturday afternoon; My Youngest and I went to a movie Saturday night; and I went out for supper with My Oldest Sunday night. Each activity was played by ear and the only plan that I knew in advance was changed from 'coffee' to 'supper' on the spur-of-the-moment.

I had enough time in the mornings to write. Just a bit. I have more columns due and I must sit down and do some serious writing soon. But this past weekend? At least I had enough time to let my fingers wander the keyboard and see where they wanted to go. Time to let my subconscious speak its mind ...

Thankfully I had few errands to tend. I bought groceries and put them away. That was enough! I washed a load of laundry and completed that small task. I tidied the kitchen and readied our world for my daycare family to reenter it this morning. Even the housework and errand-running tasks were kept in perfect harmony this past weekend.

Life maintained a sense of balance. A little work, a little play, time for family, time for friends, a few household items to tend and still enough time left over to write, to sleep and to watch the episode of "The Gilmore Girls" that I had taped on Friday.

In the world of bookkeeping, life is black and white. It is right or it is wrong. There are checks and balances. Your goal is to balance to zero. In my mind, this is the vision that I have of this past weekend. It was a weekend in perfect balance.
Now the challenge is to maintain that sense of balance to the week and weekend ahead ...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Keeping the Good Habits

I have let a lot of things slide over the course of time. Life is ever-evolving and as we go with the flow of things, one must decide what is worth keeping and what is weighing you down.

I am sorry to say that housecleaning and cooking have slipped a long way down on my priority list. I developed some good habits that I wish that I would have hung onto when life got busy.

Menu-planning seemed like it took a tremendous amount of energy and it was more fun to just go with the flow of things, as my responsibilities at home lessened. But it has now gotten to the point where I have simply lost all desire to cook. Having a plan worked far better for me - cooking the meal was a snap, when I didn't have to come up with a menu.

Friday-chores became something that I squeezed into my daycare days, so that when the last child left on Friday the house was clean and not one hour of the weekend was wasted on housework. I have continued part of that habit. I don't clean on weekends. But the house doesn't get a good cleaning throughout the week either.

I used to spend hours upon hours working out my budget and calculating how I would cover the bills and pay down the mortgage and create a holiday fund and upcoming expenses. But it seemed that no matter how much I planned, the finances always managed to work out in the end. I now have a very loose budgeting system. I get paid. I pay the bills. I spend what I need to spend. And I figure out how to make it all work out in the end. I am creating the illusion of not falling behind ... but I am certainly not getting ahead either.

My evenings and weekends used to have a lot of excess time. My friends were very busy and it took a lot of energy to plan to get together. It was always special and memorable when we did plan a date to gather, but it didn't happen with great regularity. I never used to know my extended family as much as I do now. I would never have dreamt of dropping in on my aunt & uncle, nor calling a cousin on a whim. My sisters & I used to have a semi-annual-ish Sister Sleepover. Again, it was rare and took great planning. I filled a lot of that time writing letters and emails to bridge the gaps between visits.

Life has changed ...

Menu-planning has become a nightly query of "what do you want for supper?", and I throw whatever is quick and easy together and call it a meal.

The house is tidy but not clean. I have always said that. I am now saying it just a little bit louder.

My financial plan is "work". I work to pay the bills. I take on whatever job comes my way because it helps to cover off the shortfall. My retirement plan is to continue to work. I am just figuring things out as I go along.

What has filled in the void where I used to spend so much of my energy planning and cleaning and budgeting? A 'life' ...

I have become a person that calls someone on a whim and just goes with the flow of whatever that call may bring. I am also on the receiving end of many of those same calls. My after-hours life has become full and fulfilling.

Long distance phone bundles make it very easy to 'reach out and touch someone' whenever the spirit moves. I miss my weekly letters from Mom, but I can count on at least one phone visit. Maybe more.

Seeing someone in person or being able to talk with them on the phone is a gift ... but I do miss the gift of words. That card, letter or email that used to fill the gaps in between the in-person visits. I used to write so much more than I do now. Writing is one habit I do not want to give up.

Every morning, I do my best to squeeze in time to write in this spot. The words are not eloquent or well thought out or (lately) even proof-read before I hit the 'Publish' button and scurry on with my day. I read the other blogs and the way their words hit the page make me marvel at the skill that they have honed. I miss the time that I used to spend writing ...

My dream holiday would be to park myself in a quiet little house, close to my home town (as a child). I would unplug myself from the Internet and cell phone. I would take myself back to a world where my words filled up inside of me to the point where I simply had to write. I would finish the book I started working on. I would read. I would sit still and be quiet. I would have a supply of stationary and stamps and write cards and letters whenever the spirit moved me. I would write ...

The constant buzz of technology is deafening. I can't hear myself think as well as I once did. My words are getting lost before they are written down. I long for the quiet place that once felt 'lonely'. I wasn't lonely. I was alone with my own thoughts. And they kept me company as I figured out life's puzzles. It was a time of growth.

I need to continue to grow.

Right now, I do not have the luxury of that dream. But I can still write. I do not want to lose the habit of writing. So I write. It may not be deep or well thought out or humorous or anything else that I wish it was. But it is me. I am still purging my subconscious thoughts onto the page so that my brain to fingertip connection remains strong.

If ever my brain stops functioning as I now know it, could someone please put a computer keyboard in front of me? The brain-to-fingertip connection may still work. Because I have maintained one good habit in my life. Writing.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Recharging

We seem to be amassing (perhaps) a few too many cordless gadgets around here that run off battery power. You don't realize it at first. Until everything seems to need to be charged up at the same time.

I have had my netbook (mini laptop) computer up and running alot lately. With so many new demands on the main computer, I like to keep my personal online connection available to me. I don't seem to have the time to utilize that availability, but it is my security blanket. I like to know it is there if I want it. I have the ability to unplug it from the wall and take it wherever I happen to be.

My son donated a no-name kind of 'tablet' to me. I had been pondering the idea of getting an iPod or iPad, but I didn't want to spend the money, nor did I want to enable my Internet addiction any further. So this slow-moving android tablet has been fun for me to try out. I do think that one could become quickly addicted to being able to take this light, skinny little thing (with no wires!) anywhere they wanted to go.

Then there is the battery for the camera, the cordless phone, my cell phone and portable DVD players. You name it, it can be charged and wireless. Battery levels just have to be monitored, so that all of the power is available when you want to use it.

Yesterday seemed to be the day when everything ran out of power. The camera's battery no longer holds a charge, so it must be charged daily,  I was charging the tablet last night, when I noticed that my cell phone was almost dead, so I charged it overnight. I forgot to charge the cordless phone last night, so it could be on its last legs today. I am presently charging the netbook so that I know it is raring to go whenever I am.

I am feeling a little bit exhausted this morning, after a restless night (a late night delivering flyers and then I could not warm up when I went to bed, so I shivered until the early morning hours). I feel like my battery is running low.

I am fortunate. I know that good night's sleep will recharge me and I will up with the birds tomorrow morning and be raring to go. In fact, because last night's restless sleep is rare for me ... I have not only some 'reserves' within me, but I also know that I will be able to sleep soundly and fully recharge my batteries tonight.

Many, many people that I know do not have this same luxury. I am blessed and I am grateful. For my Ever-Ready rechargeable battery within ...

Friday, March 8, 2013

What Life UNteaches You

"A toddler will naturally pick up something correctly." I was told this the other day and ever since, I have observed the toddlers in my care. They have more than heavy lifting figured out right.

I take care of a one-and-a-half year old that is the definition of perpetual motion. She sits still for no more than one second at a time.

She has learned to climb onto the couch. The couch is half of her height. She has to lift her leg up to the height of her belly button, hoist her leg onto the couch, then pull herself up with her arms and upper body muscles. She will climb up onto the couch. Sit for one second. Then crawl across the couch. Then sit another millisecond. Then she will get off the couch. There is no limit to the amount of times that she will do this throughout the day.

If I had to work that hard to sit on the couch, I would undoubtedly take a well deserved rest after I achieved my goal (that is, if I didn't decide it was easier just to sit on the floor). If I moved one-eighth as much as this little dynamo moves in a day, I would be more fit than I have been most of my life!

She does nothing half way. If she wants to play with some toys, she empties the shelf. I have named hurricanes after her. Oh, to be so ambitious! To me, an empty shelf equals a floor full of stuff to be cleaned up and put away. To her, it means she has an empty shelf to play in.

If she is full, she simply stops eating. That's it. The end. If you give her more food she smushes it, ignores it or it ends up on the floor. Full is full. It looks so simple when she does it. Why do we grow up to feel we must eat that which is set before us or if we really like something, we eat too much?

She makes her own fun and is a trail blazer. Take her outside and her snow pants help her slide down the snow hills. She lands flat on her back and to get up, she must roll over on her side, brace her hands and feet and she propels herself upwards (butt first). It is a full body work out. When she gets tired, she just lays there. And waits. She doesn't cry. She doesn't complain. She knows she will be rescued. She has complete and utter faith in the world and those who care for her.

She has learned how wonderful it feels to be hugged. When the mood strikes her, she will just turn to the person she would like to hug her ... and asks for a hug. She leans in and savors the hug. She doesn't necessarily hug back, but you don't realize it. You feel loved because she asks for your affection.

She is excited to arrive in the mornings and can't wait to get her boots off so that she can get the day started. She is happy to see us and she cheerfully says good bye to her parents ... and when they arrive at the end of the day, she is just as happy to leave us and greets her parents with loving enthusiasm.

She utilizes every moment of her day. If she needs or wants something, she lets you know what you could do to make her happier ("Up??"). I have told her often, "Just relax ... you have your entire life ahead of you ... just relax and enjoy the moment", because sometimes it is as if she just wants to have it 'all' and she has no idea where to begin.

She doesn't waste a moment of her waking hours.

If you want to do something right, watch what a toddler does. They have got it right.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oh, My Aging Body!

Yesterday started with my curiosity getting the best of me. I stepped on the scale and weighed myself for the first time since last fall.

Lately, I have been noticing that I much prefer my coats to have a zipper that also zips up from the bottom. At first I thought it was simply because it was more comfortable to drive and move around. Later, I realized that my derriere must be widening. Because my long coat was tight when I zipped it up. Ewww!!!

I have gained several pounds since I last stepped on the scale. At first glance, it looked like maybe three pounds. Then again, it was more likely five, because the last time I remember what my weight was, I was weighed at the end of the day. I stepped on the scale in the morning. This usually shaves off a few pounds.

So I did the math. My coats are getting tight in the 'rear'. I have moved up several jeans sizes. I have probably gained five more pounds than my last noted weight gain.

You can imagine how pleased I was when I went to go out last night and I noticed that I felt like I had 'worked out' in the aforementioned body part area. Cool! I wondered what I did to work those gluteus maximus muscles.

I didn't think on it too hard and went on my way.

It was when I was getting ready for bed, that I remembered the tumble that I had taken while I was delivering flyers in the dark yesterday morning. I got caught up in some ice ruts and went down. Hard. I landed on my back (end) and was stuck on the ground, loaded down with the full load of papers that I was carrying (I have an over-the-shoulder bag, and half of the papers are in front; half are in back). After struggling with the thought of "how do I get myself up??" for a millisecond, I mimicked the actions of the one-and-a-half-year-old I babysit, that continually falls when she is outside. I rolled over on my side then braced my feet & hands, then walked my hands back towards my feet until I could stand, like some fancy yoga move.

I was pleased that I didn't take any more tumbles on the ice. I am feeling a tiny bit brittle these days and I am not sure how many times I can go down before I break. But I basically filed the memory away and carried on with the day.

Just before I hopped into the shower last night, I noticed a huge bruise from my fall earlier in the day. I was so disappointed to realize that the stiffness that I felt earlier was not from working any extra muscles. It was a pretty impressive bruise (not to be compared with some tobogganing and first-time-skiing bruises that were particularly memorable).

Then I went to bed. I fell into a rather restless sleep. Perhaps it had something to do with the large cup of coffee that I had after supper. The caffeine didn't prevent me from falling asleep but I believe that it was partially responsible for my brain not shutting down and letting my body fall into that deep paralysis when one dreams. Because I hurt. All night.

This morning, I woke up with the visual image of myself as of one of those paper dolls one can make with paper fasteners, where all of the joints are movable (a little bit like this: http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2012/069/b/1/ella_ooak_articulated_paper_doll_by_purplefae-d4rsjrj.jpg (minus the youthful and fit body image) ... and I thought to myself "It is like all of my 'paper fasteners' are rusted ..."

As I carried on with my morning routines, I couldn't help but think of the additional poundage that I have been gradually amassing these past years. What if I was thin and brittle and took a tumble like I did yesterday? Maybe I would just snap and break. Yep. Everything happens for a reason. I had a nice 'cushion' to fall on yesterday morning. An impressive bruise trumps a broken hip any day. I'll take the bruise.

Now, about all of those 'rusty joints' ... I think I need to lubricate them. I've been running low on potato chips lately. That must be the problem.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Treat People as They Can Be ...

Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is; treat a man as he can be and he will become as he can and should be.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My mom doesn't understand this new generation of parents. The parents of her generation just raised their children by instinct and good common sense. No big deal. When she was a child, it was a generation of "children were seen but not heard" (or as her sister clarified, they "were heard of, but not seen").

I must have been enduring a phase with one of my children where I dared not take them out in public for fear of their behaviour, when I asked Mom how she managed this kind of situation. She said that it was not even a question - when they took us out, we were expected to behave well. And we did. She did not mention our ages when this easy revelation was explained to me.

I thought about it afterwards. Mom and Dad did not discipline us. They simply expected the best from us. You did not want to be on the receiving end of 'that look' of disapproval. I still feel that way. Not a word was said. You just knew. They knew you were capable of better. That is what they expected us to be. Not perfect ... just our own personal best (which was perhaps a little better than we thought we were).

Whether it was school work or getting along with people. The bar was set high. We were treated as we could be ... and we became as good as we could and should be.

I have an amazing group of supportive people in my life. I so often feel and tell them that they see me as better than I am. I have done and been asked to do some things that I did not feel capable of doing. But because people saw me as I could be ... I became as good as I could and should be.

My children are growing and grown. I would be lying if I said parenting was as easy as Mom's words of advice, where your children were simply as good as you expected them to be. But you know what? After all is said and done ... it appears (that even though there were some hills and valleys throughout the growing-up years) now that they are adults? They have definitely become as they 'could and should be'. I could not be more proud and happy with the adults they have (and are) become (becoming).

I am presently in the business of raising other people's children, for ten hours of the day, five days of the week. I asked myself the question "Am I treating them as the children they can be?..." When a child is labeled as a follower, an instigator, a cutey-pie, quiet or loud or anything in between ... do they live up to that label and how we see them?

I have walked through the day with a renewed perspective. It has been challenged. One and two year olds, who are tired and have colds are not at their best. Neither is the caregiver who strives to monitor their behaviour at all times (sharing, trading, playing together is the focus-of-the-day). But I am doing my best.

I am treating myself as the caregiver that I have the potential to be, in the hopes that I will become as good as I can and should be.

Monday, March 4, 2013

TGIM

I have been busy lately. But it has been good. There has been balance. Things were getting done. I just kept moving and had time to catch my breath and simply breathe along the way.

I don't know if I over thought this weekend. Or if things fell horribly out of balance. Or if it is just all catching up with me now...

But this weekend? Not a favorite.

Thankfully, I moved off of the couch Friday night and worked in a few small errands. But possibly that was my downfall ... because that meant that I (almost) didn't even need to bother to wake up on Sunday.

Saturday was fully 'committed' from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until I closed them at night. It wasn't all work. But fun becomes work-like when you squeeze it into a day like that.

Sunday? Was a free day. I slept in. I went out for breakfast. I came home and slept. Then woke up and nodded off some more. Then ran out to get a few groceries (which ended up taking far, far, far longer than it should have) and came home (at 8 p.m.!!) to a home-cooked supper that was ready and waiting for me.

I should have been in my glory. But I wasn't. The day was completely and totally out of kilter.

I needed conversation. I needed to be around people. But I was empty. I had nothing in me to give. Mom called and I couldn't keep up my half of the conversation. I went out for breakfast with My Son & His Girlfriend and I had to try too hard. I wasn't myself. I had no words for emails or blogs or anything creative. I forced a few words out of myself but I literally had to rest afterwards.

The month of March is blissfully empty of commitments at the moment. I have a tentative coffee date and movie night and another when-we-can-make-it-work plan to get together with another friend. But nothing is written on my calendar.

It is the weekends that are the wild card. I don't know what they hold. Will I be booked to clean? Or do bookkeeping? Or neither? Or both? I don't know ...

When it comes to work, I like to know. When it comes to leisure, I like to play it by ear and write it down on my calendar after the fact.

I am tired. I am so very tired. And all I can say is ... I am glad it is Monday.

I hope you woke up to a day that you are grateful for today. If you didn't feel anticipation for the day at dawn, I hope you can look back on the day after it is spent and be happy with the way it unfolded.

"It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out; it's the grain of sand in your shoe."
~ Robert W. Service

P.S. I think I had better check my shoes for that grain of sand ...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"It's Saturday! It's Saturday!", she says with a sigh

"It's Friday! It's Friday!", read an early morning email that I received today. I sighed when I read the words. Friday just isn't the same as it used to be ...

Friday winds up my week of daycare. It usually arrives just in time because by Friday, I am really starting to run out of tricks. By the day's end, I definitely have the words "It's Friday! It's Friday!" running through my head. Okay, okay ... you will find me uttering it out loud as well. Friday does signify the end of the week. On one hand.

On the other hand ... I still have flyers to deliver Friday night. More papers to deliver Saturday. On one foot ... I have a Saturday morning housecleaning job. On the last foot ... I have bookkeeping duties that sound like they will creep into Sunday afternoon. 

Then I will wake up Monday morning to do it all over again. At least my Monday - Friday job is from home. I can fit a fair little bit of my own little life into the cracks of my days...

I wrote these words yesterday morning. Other than a few incoherent 'one' to 'ten' word emails that I sent (that were completely inappropriate or missed the point), my brain was mush. Thank goodness it was Friday. I guess.

It is now 4 a.m. Saturday morning ...

I am awake and afraid to go back to sleep because this just may be the only 'me' time that I have today before I must leave the house at 8:30 this morning.

I had tentative plans to get together last night with a friend. When part of her plans changed, I didn't get back to her to see if she still wanted to get together for coffee. Fail!! Instead? I took advantage of my free after supper hours to get a bad  haircut (how bad can it be? ... a chunk of my bangs are missing. A chunk!!).

I had the presence of mind to send an email to a friend at the exact time of a huge turning point in her life. An occasion that she has been anticipating for years on end. Years. What did my email say? I have no idea. It was inane. Inappropriate. Insufficient. In so many words?? Another fail!

Yesterday, I had two Excel spreadsheets open on the computer. I had a Microsoft Word document up so that I could make a quick revision and print it off. I had Google Chrome minimized on the computer (I can't add photos or videos to my daycare blog unless I do it in Google Chrome). I had Windows Movie Maker minimized as well, so that I could start splicing and dicing some video clips of the day together for my daycare blog. I also had three windows open in Internet Explorer. I had this post sitting unfinished. All day. I just had to complete my thoughts and hit 'Publish'.

And that was just on one computer. I had my netbook computer turned on and sitting on the kitchen table with various open programs also open and waiting for me to pay attention to them.Then there was a parcel to be mailed. A fax that I needed to send. Calls to make. A forgotten to-do-list sitting in my bedroom ... and a stray newspaper made it into the house, begging to be read. Oh yes, and I had two, 1-year-old girls vying for my attention (which they did get, thus everything else simply sat there and multiplied by itself throughout the course of the day).

I had flyers to deliver at the day's end. Hair that was long and shaggy and in need of attention. And all I really wanted to do was to sit down on the couch with a plate full of supper and watch a taped episode of "The Gilmore Girls".

I tended to a few must-do-items last night. But I neglected my friend that had suggested coffee ...

And today? I don't want to 'do' today. It will be fine. It always is. Just getting up and getting on with the day will propel me into action and I will be very pleased that I had something to show for the day. I will. I always do.

I just want to fast forward to the part where I climb back into bed tonight. Because tomorrow? Is free. No papers. No kids. No bookkeeping. No cleaning. No nothing. I will wake up in the morning singing, "It's Sunday! It's Sunday!!" ...

But for now? I am going to crawl back under my covers and revel in an hour more sleep. I can't wait to get back to bed tonight....and I haven't even crawled out of bed yet this morning. Sigh ...

G'night.