Friday, January 30, 2015

Is it the Weekend Yet?

I woke up with the overwhelming need for it to be Saturday this morning.

I have no idea if that is because I woke up at 1:00 a.m., with the pressing need to run and check my emails and Facebook (while I was sitting there, wide awake). This was followed by the inability to wake up and pull myself out of a nightmarish dream sometime within the next few hours. When my alarm finally went off, I was dreaming that I was exercising (of all things!).

The week has exhausted me.

I have no idea if it is because I had too much to do or not enough. I tend to do better when I am over-committed. You don't have a choice. You just go. And do. And get things done. When you don't have enough to do, everything becomes big. Washing my hair was one of my biggest chores. I should have done it sooner. Clean hair energizes me. Perhaps my hair has superpowers?

After-hours bookkeeping seemed to drain me.

Bringing home 'homework' was hard. Getting it done was harder. I don't know why it becomes so big when I take it out of its surroundings and into my home. When I work away from home, I have absolutely no distractions. At home, I find nothing but distractions. When I am getting paid to do a job, I tend to think I need to have uninterrupted time. Which rarely happens in the confines of my life-at-home. In the end, it took me four hours to complete the task at hand. It took me eleven days to do four hours worth of work. Perhaps I should have washed my hair sooner ...

I've rediscovered my work with 'little people' is something I rather enjoy.

This past while, we have had many more good daycare-days than bad. In fact the moments that I used to call 'bad' pass so quickly that I now see them as nothing more than a learning curve or a wake-up call that we need to change what we are doing when it stops working.

I have had the same 'family of three' for a year now. They have grown from one and two year olds, to two and three year olds. One year olds? Are hard. Two year olds? Are so much easier. Three year olds? I almost want to sit down and have coffee with them, they seem so 'mature' (not really, but you get my drift).

I work with great parents who are so very easy to like. One of my moms wrote me an email this week, telling me that they consider me family. Her words were a gift.

My job isn't always easy. It isn't always rewarding. It isn't even all that stimulating. But when I look back at where we were a year ago and see the little 'family' that come to play each and every day and how much they have grown, learned and evolved ... I must admit my heart swells with pride. I know it is wrong to be proud, but how can you help it when you see little two and three year olds treating each other with kindness, learning to co-operate among themselves and sprinkling their day with manners without any prodding or reminding?

I am so incredibly blessed to be living this quiet little life of mine. Within the safety and security of my home, I am earning a living. I am doing what I want to do. I am making enough money to pay the bills and afford the odd extravagance. I honestly could not ask for more.

Except perhaps, three day weekends.

My day just drove up into my driveway and this little post about nothing must come to an end.

The week is almost over and (apparently) so are my deep thoughts. Time to coast through our Friday!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Christmas in January

On the morning of Christmas Eve, I wrote a  little 'story' about a card which I didn't receive this past Christmas.

The words came straight from my heart and onto the page without editing. They were words to honor my uncle who has made a huge impact in my life and the life of so many others.

This story was shared among family and my cousin read my words to my uncle. I was touched that my words hit a chord that resonated among many.

My uncle told me my cousin had a hard time reading the words because of their emotional impact. I told him that is because they were a truth that she felt and recognized. Words that touch one's heart are hard ones to read out loud.

I haven't spoken to my uncle since Christmas. I wrote him a letter and passed along my greetings through family who have been able to go out and visit with him.

He has been busy recovering and spending time with family. That is harder than it sounds, but it seems like he is making slow and steady headway and he is on the hard road back to us.

Yesterday morning, I opened my mailbox and I found a handwritten letter to me inside. I didn't recognize the writing on the envelope but I recognized the return address. The letter was from my uncle. And it was a fat one!

He started writing to me on December 28th. He continued on January 14th, 15th and the 21st before he sealed it up and sent it on its way to me.

His words were a gift.

From a sunset he described which reminded him of a similar sunset my dad once told him about on their family farm growing up ... to remembering Dad's hair and eye color ... to his kind and grateful words as he started several of his messages in response to some of my letters or cards ... to his absolute Pride and Joy (he capitalized those words, not me) as he described the book of family memories, he helped me assemble. "I've spent hours up and down halls flogging your book. Much interest..."

I raked myself over the coals time and time again as I berated myself for taking so long assembling those memories. Yet, as I listen to the way my uncle has flaunted our book (he even has stories about telling his cleaning lady about The Book), I couldn't be more pleased that this book found its way into my uncles hands at a time where he needed something firm and tangible to hold onto.

Roots. They ground us in unfathomable ways.

Find what grounds you within your life. For one never knows when your 'root system' may be compromised.

Dig deep and hold on tightly as you weather life's storms.

My uncle seems to be coming through the other side of this latest hurricane. His world has been upended but to hear him dreaming of rebuilding his life in bright and shiny new ways makes me think 'he has his eye on the prize' and he will get beyond the point he is at and out pursue some of those dreams.

Dream big. Make the impossible possible. Look up. Try to look beyond the moment you are in. If you are in a deep, dark place, it is hard. I know. It feels impossible. Maybe it is. But only for the moment. Feel it. Let it wash over you. Don't deny the power of the eye of that hurricane. But trust the storm will pass.

From my own personal experience (in my world of fairy tale endings), the storm does pass. It may leave devastation in its wake but out of the devastation comes opportunity. Opportunity to cull the clutter of one's life. Opportunity to start over and rebuild. A clarity of seeing what is truly important in times of crisis. Out of the need to lean on and rely on others, you learn faith. Faith that stems from finding strength and support in the most unlikely of places.

My uncle has spoken fondly of many of the people he has met over the course of the past three months. "One of my many favorite people here ..."; "My new friend ..." Yet he is feeling like he is wearing out his welcome and admits he is a bit antsy about moving on.

My uncle, who has been admired and revered among family, friends, neighbors and co-workers for the entirety of his life found an oasis within his 'refuge from the storm'. A safe and supportive place where he has been allowed the freedom to 'fall'.

He has been caught in the arms of strangers as they guiding him through and past some of the toughest days he has known.

Yes, family has been waiting in the wings, supporting, cheering him on all along the way. But there are times when one must rely on powers greater than the love and support of family.

I am beyond grateful my uncle was 'exactly where he needed to be' to work his way through this stormy season of his life.

Gratitude is deeply ingrained and woven into most every word he writes. He sees the gifts in people and the many ways small actions make a profound difference. He befriends cleaning ladies, fellow-residents and speaks kindly of those he writes about.

He lavishes compliments easily and proves his point by citing examples.

He recently told me how he 'hears' Mom in my laughter and my voice. He has accidentally called me by Mom's name. I know there was a mutual admiration between the two of them so I hold these comparisons close to my heart and quietly smile. He even wrote my mom's name and then crossed it out and replaced it with mine, in his letter to me. He will never ever know what a well timed gift he gave me.

Thank you, dear uncle. Your letter was the best gift I could have ever received.

Thank you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Slow Dancing (for now)

Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night ... ("I've Got a Feeling") was the song playing on the radio this morning when I was finally ready to accept my fate and greet the day ahead.

This was the 'theme song' they played at a dance competition I attended five short years ago. Every time some big award was given out, they would play the chorus of this song:

"I gotta feeling (oooooo hoooo) that tonight's gonna be a good night 
That tonight's gonna be a good night 
That tonight's gonna be a good good night"
The Black Eyed Peas

My heart started to beat to the tempo of this song. I sat back and marvelled at those receiving awards and thought of how the memory of the evening would replay each and every time they heard that chorus. 

It was akin to the emotion I used to feel watching beauty pageants in my youth. I could put myself in their shoes and feel the tide of emotion sweep over me. 

For years (and years) every single time I heard that theme song, I was transported back in time. Back to that competition. Back to the euphoria. Back to the moments of excitement I felt during that Cinderella-at-the-ball weekend.

The song brought back a feeling of happiness, dreams-come-true and pure and utter joy.

I laid in bed this morning and heard that very same song.

I tried to muster the joy I felt when that song first walked into my life. It was as if I was watching the highlight reel of someone else's life. 

I was a different person back then.

I have changed and evolved and grown. I like a lot of the changes. I miss the passion I felt during those glory days though.

I am grateful my life isn't one big Dance Competition.

It took a lot of energy to primp and prepare for those two days of glitz. Fake tan, eyelash extensions, gel finger and toenails, crazy hair color, new hair style, costumes, evening wear, make-up and jewelry. It was fun while it lasted but it took a lot of energy to maintain the aura of 'a dancer'.

Oh, my dancing days.

It was a good run. It was a very good run! I loved every moment of it. Until I didn't.

What has changed? In a nutshell? Me.

I care more about what I look like on the 'inside' than on the 'outside'. 

I have more fun dancing like no one is watching, than worrying about the intricacies of technique and perfection because everyone is watching.

The sad part is - I don't dance anymore. No where. 

I don't dance in the kitchen like I used to. I don't go to dances. I miss the social interaction and the movement to music while surrounded with a group of people who share that passion.

It is less about the dance and more about the passion. 

I miss that girl. But I'm glad I once knew and embodied her. 

The day will come when the lyrics "Tonight's gonna be a good night..." will make my heart sing again.

Just not this morning. Just not today.

Life's ebbs and flows. I am not going to fight it. I'm just feeling what I'm feeling for as long as I need to feel it. I have the feeling if I fight it, it is going to come back and overwhelm me.

I don't feel like dancing right now. But I will. I know I will. I loved it too much not to fall back in love with it again.

In the interim, I'm just slow-dancing through the days.

Written Feb 15, 2010:

Coming Home

All good things must come to an end. So it is, with the Great Dance Adventure of 2010.

What lies on the horizon? Who knows. If someone would have told me I would have had this opportunity a year ago, I wouldn't have believed them. That fact alone makes me believe that absolutely anything is possible.

Life isn't full of grand adventures ... it is defined by how we walk through our daily routines.

The gift, is to find adventure in everything you do. Make each day the best day of your life-so-far. Every single morning, we awake to endless possibilities. Sure, they aren't all fun and games ... but even a bad day is a day to be conquered. Like climbing a mountain. You can only appreciate the view as you near the top. The view is fleeting ... the struggle is what builds your character and lasts forever.

Yes, this Dance Event has come and gone. The moment was fleeting, in the whole scheme of things. What will I remember? The challenge, the struggles, the fun, the adventure, the novelty, the people ...

Throughout this voyage, I have heard so much from so many. Encouragement, advise, support and friendship. When all of the memories fade, as memories do ... I will hold onto the words, the friends and the people who have made this such a Memorable Time in My Life.

I'm headed home as I write this ... back to earth and back to the reality that is my life. It's a good life - a life that I'm thrilled is awaiting my return. What if I didn't have that? An everyday-life that I savor, surrounded with people that inspire and fuel me. There is no Grand Adventure in the world, that could make up for not having what I've had all along.

I have a most wonderful life. I have fulfilled a most amazing dream. I am ready to put my feet back on the ground and go forward from here.

As always ... it feels good to be coming home.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Customer Service 101

I woke up with a fire in my belly this morning. And that was before I read the late-last-night email and early-this-morning text from my brother...

Let me tell you more.

In December, my sister and I planned a purely frivolous and extraordinary weekend in Vegas, to go see Dancing With the Stars Live in February.

As I was making the reservation, I kept asking my sister "Are you sure?" "Should I hit the 'I Accept' (and every other) button (there was to press along our way)?"

By the time we got off the phone that fateful night, it was a done deal. We were going to Vegas!

As if that wasn't exciting enough by itself, my sister-in-law texted me a few days later, asking me where we were staying, because she wanted to surprise my brother with the gift of a trip-for-two to Vegas (with her sister-in-laws, no less!) for Christmas; their upcoming 25th anniversary and my brother's looming 50th birthday. All in one.

The exhilaration levels rose by the moment. Between surprising my brother (he is a tough guy to surprise) and my sister with (at the time) that-which-only-my-sister-in-law-and-I-knew, was a gift unto itself.

It took (perhaps) less than a week before my brother admitted he read the confirmation email about the trip and the cat was out of the bag.

But my sister still didn't know.

We all walked around like Cheshire Cats, withholding this great surprise from my sister. It was fun and we were all anticipating her great surprise when we stumbled into my brother and his wife in Vegas, of all places. We couldn't wait to see her reaction.

Long story short, I was the one who spilled the beans to my sister. Perhaps it was meant to be, because due to circumstances beyond our control, it is looking like my brother and his wife may be backing out of the trip. Or at the very least, delaying their departure date by a day.

We had a 'conference call' between the three siblings last night. My sister and I agreed that my brother is in the hardest position of all, as we weighed out the facts we know and needed to decide whether we should all back out of our trip or not.

In the end, we thought the perfect compromise was for my brother and his wife to try and change their flight by one day.

Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Unfortunately this sounded like the best option for them because their 'comprehensive cancellation insurance package' has very strict guidelines about paying out. And our situation, as dire as it feels to us, does not meet their criteria. So they stood to lose their entire holiday and be out the full cost of the trip, plus their insurance costs.

Before I went to sleep last night, my brother emailed me to tell me that "Yes" they could change their departure date. The cost? $1800!! Their entire trip only cost $1600, so their total out-of-pocket-expense was $3400. It was 'cheaper' to bail out completely and not even go.


I woke up before my alarm this morning, with my brother and sister-in-law first and foremost in my mind. I had a plan.

I have learned a lesson within this little life of mine. "Never be afraid to ask". You still may be told 'no', but at least you gave it your best shot.

I called bright and early this morning. I was on hold for less than two minutes. I got a polite representative and once she confirmed I had enough information to continue, I asked her if she had time to hear our story.

She said she did.

Our story is not long. It is not complicated. But it is fresh, new territory for our family, as we tread into this together.

Part two of the story is my brother and his wife.

This trip was booked with the best of intentions and a heart full of love and generosity. This is a couple who works hard for every penny they have, so a trip such as this is not taken lightly. It's a big thing. They will be honoring twenty five years of marriage in four months.

While they were on their modest honeymoon twenty five years ago, my brother looked at his new bride with stars in his eyes and full of wonder and hope for their future. I am not certain what the exact words were but in my mind's eye, I see this young couple boarding a ferry and my newly wed brother (probably) said (something to the effect of) "We will go on a cruise for our 25th anniversary ..."

A three-day-trip to Vegas was a small consolation prize. And one that cost them dearly.

I plead their case to the representative. I did not deny their position of hearing every story in the book, when it comes to reasons for cancellation. But I explained this was new and foreign ground for our family and we would appreciate anything they could offer. Travel credit for a future holiday (for my brother and his wife) perhaps?

This representative listened to me without interruption and then relayed the facts to her supervisor.

Her supervisor first offered her condolences for our situation. She then offered two options (neither of which include losing the full cost of their holiday nor charging a exorbitant amount of money to switch dates).

Number 1 - I appreciated both of these representatives hearing me out. Number 2 - I was relieved neither one of them immediately defaulted to a line akin to "I'm sorry, but that is our policy". Number 3 - I was grateful to be passed along to a supervisor without having to demand that my plea be heard by someone who could make decisions that fell outside of regular company policy.

I wish they had offered my brother and his wife a free cruise as a gift for their 25th wedding anniversary but all stories do not end with a fairy tale ending.

Because the second thing my quiet little life has taught me is to "Dare to dream for impossible things".

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ready for a Weekend

The week that never ends (it goes on and on, my friend) is sliding down to a stop at the end of today.

Apparently I was in the twilight zone at 9:51 p.m., as the phone on the nightstand beside my bed rang a minimum of four times and I didn't hear a thing until my bookkeeping boss' voice woke me up as she was in the process of leaving me a message.

She has to leave town this weekend so we will be unable to work, as previously planned. I was so disappointed (not really).

I have not yet completed the project I was supposed to do at home, to lessen our load this weekend so I was just a small bit elated.

That job went from "I must get it done before I go into work tomorrow" to "I must get it done so I can fully enjoy my unexpected day off tomorrow!!"

Same end result. Different level of elation (or not).

I must have become accustomed to letting unfinished business weigh me down over the course of (not) completing my dad's family's book of memories. Because I seem to be weighed down an awful lot lately.

The ten minute task of writing my daycare receipts for my families felt daunting this year. The receipt book sat on the computer desk for almost two weeks before I wrapped up that job yesterday afternoon.

Another ten minute job related to my son's bookkeeping work has been shelved (possibly because I know this will lead up to year end tax work).

I didn't write my mom's weekly letter (which I try to do on Monday) until Wednesday.

I haven't swept the kitchen floor all week. Nor have I vacuumed. I found a sticky patch of floor in the kitchen yesterday and swiped down one piece of the floor. And nothing else.

I delayed sending an email to the family (which was of a 'copy and paste' variety) because it felt too hard to do.

I find it harder and harder to wake up in the morning. Writing has become work and something I squeeze into the minutes before my day takes over.

I think I am feeling the January Blues. I just want to curl up on the couch and read, watch TV, play solitaire and work up an appetite to want to snack (even snacking has become something that I find hard to squeeze into my day).

It has been a long month.

I know I am the one who is in control of turning things around and changing the drudgery of my days.

Morning is key for me. Sleeping in that extra hour has given me a little more wakefulness at the end of my day. But sleeping in has also deprived me of the time I used to do 'hard things'.

Six impossible things before lunch has become a daunting task. Those impossible things have boiled down to:
  1. Getting out of bed
  2. Getting dressed
  3. Opening the blinds
  4. Unlocking the door
  5. Allowing the day to 'walk in'
  6. Smiling and accepting my fate
I am tired. The more I sleep, the more I want to sleep.

I feel drained. The less I do, the more I want to do less.

I crave solitude. The more alone I feel, the more I want to be alone.

I'm teetering on the edge of sadness, but I know I am truly content underneath my exterior. I feel like I am conserving my resources for an uncertain fate.

I think it is time for a weekend. I am grateful that is exactly what is in store for me, ten hours from now.

Now it is time to make the most of these ten hours, so the weekend I think I need so badly is free and clear of obligations.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Small Victories

As I closed the door on my daycare day yesterday, I felt like running a victory lap.

It was just one of those days where (about a trillion) reminders of the 'same old', 'same old' all seemed to come together and create a friction-free kind of day.

I am not exactly certain how many times I repeat myself throughout the course of my day. It is a lot.

I say the same old things. Time and time again. Everyone gets the same lessons. Caring. Sharing. Taking turns. Be gentle. Be kind. Manners, manners, manners.

If you push, you get put to the 'back of the line'. If you don't say please, you don't get 'more'. If you want to walk in front of someone say 'excuse me'.

Reminders, reminders, reminders.

Our days are pretty loosely structured but there are many things the same.

The routines before we go outside. Everyone must go to the bathroom first. All snow gear is laid out on the floor so everyone can do their best to get dressed on their own. Coming back inside is the same thing, only in reverse.

Meal time is pretty routine. Manners are always encouraged. Chew, chew, chew, chew some more and swallow is the name of the game. Bathroom time follows meal time.

Before nap routines are another version of 'rinse and repeat'. Every day. Everyone goes to the bathroom (again) and we either settle in and read books or watch (part of) one of the three Toy Story movies.

Yesterday was an interesting day because I bought a second 'Leap Pad' game. Up until yesterday, the Leap Pad was only for the 'bigger kids'. But ages do not remain stagnant. Our one-year-olds have all turned 'two' and our two year olds have all turned 'three'. It was time to bite the bullet and introduce the little guys into the big guy's territory.

Two Leap Pads and four kids means sharing. A concept young people hear about but don't like too much when sharing involves something shiny, brand new and full of interactive fun.

As long as we had 'four', sharing was rather easy. The little guys didn't know they were going to get a turn at first, so they had absolutely no trouble sitting beside their older friends and watching. Then when the three-year-olds tired of the games and were ready to abandon them, I let the little guys have a turn. Easy peasy.

The challenge came at the end of the day. We were down to three kids and two Leap Pads. I have a timer that I set for five minutes at a time. I explained the concept to my young audience and the only one who had had first hand experience with taking turns every five minutes was the three year old. So I gave the little guys the first five minute stretch. All went well until they had to 'switch' and rotate their turn.

Two years old is a little young to grasp the idea of 'five minute turns'. But not too young to be introduced to it regardless.

My little two-year-old girl does not take kindly to a world which does not spin according to her rules. She cried. She cried so long and so loud she could not hear my assurances she would get the next turn. Thankfully she stopped crying before the five minutes were up, so she did get her turn. But the next time her time was up, she was doubly angry. She cried past the five minute mark and forfeited her next turn. By the third go-round, she still wasn't happy but she sort understood the concept.

Her two-year-old buddy was pretty dramatic when his turn came to wait out five minutes. He wiped non-existent tears off his face. He turned the corners of his lips downward and breathed very, very heavily. But he did not cry. So he did hear me saying the words reassuring him he would get another turn.

These guys have all honed the art of making their parents feel bad at the end of the day and 'pretending' they don't want to go home. My plan was, to have the Leap Pads out of circulation before parents arrived. But I missed the mark by about one minute and thirty six seconds.

Parent #1 (mom of my two-year-old boy) arrived a minute (and thirty six seconds) before his turn was up. I explained to her what we were doing and the timer was due to go off in seconds and his turn would be over. She encouraged us to finish out his last turn.

Her little guy wasn't thrilled to give up the Leap Pad at the end of his turn but was resigned to the (now) familiar routine.

#1 - Mom was totally impressed with her boy for being so accepting of giving up a coveted new play-thing.

Then her little boy decided to play the 'I don't want to go home' game and I scrouched down to his level, asked him to look at my eyes and told him we would bring out the Leap Pads tomorrow, but he had to be really good for his mom and put on his jacket. And he listened!!

#2 - I was shocked and surprised at this success. And so was his mom.

She then asked how his toilet training went that day. I said, "Perfect!" She said at home, he won't even try. He cries and screams and will not even try to go any more.

#3 - I think his mom felt a little defeated. Why is her son so different at daycare??

She left and I thought of the ways 'toilet training' is working for him here.

He is doing what 'the big kids do'. All four of them go to the bathroom before they go outside, after meals, before watching Toy Story (or reading books).

It is a routine. We do (much of) the same thing day in and day out. Often 'something good' follows going to the bathroom. We head off and do something that I don't want interrupted by one-of-four needing to go to the bathroom.

Expectations never (ever) change here.

I expect these guys to listen, be respectful (to me and to everyone else) and do their best. My mom has often reminded me "They are only two!!" and I shake my head and think "WOW!! They are only two and look how good they are doing!!"

Some of my days, I feel like I'm banging my head against a cement wall. I do the same things over and over. I say the same things over and over. I have to remind everyone of the same things over and over. I feel like Bill Murray's character in 'Ground Hog Day'. I feel like I'm caught in a time warp, running in circles and getting no where.

Then I have a day like yesterday.

All four of 'my kids' went home happily and without making their parents feel badly for working all day.

All four of 'my kids' had a relatively successful day in caring, sharing, being kind and taking turns.

All four of 'my kids' have been listening all along.

Sometimes, it is the littlest things that make the biggest difference. Watching little people be kind to one another, using their manners and doing hard things (taking turns when you are 'only two' is one of the hardest things in the world) is one of life's greatest rewards.

These little guys are going to grow up one day. If they leave my daycare with the mantra 'Be kind. Use your manners. Care. Share." running through their brains on auto replay, my work here is done.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Be Gentle Out There

I let the weight of my world fall onto my shoulders one morning and allowed myself to succumb to the emotions that came to the surface.

Heavy thoughts entered into my mind and I felt them.

I didn't know what to do with these feelings so I turned on some music, played a mindless game of solitaire and sang.

Music speaks directly to my soul. I found a song that hit home and played it over and over again. I found another song that hurt my heart. I couldn't sing the words. The tears started to roll down my cheeks and I simply felt.

I purged the emotions that hit me like waves in the solitude of my morning. I simply existed without pretense or any form of outward strength. 

I felt raw and vulnerable when I picked myself up up and had a cleansing shower before I faced the day ahead of me.

I met a friend for lunch. I dropped by to see another friend on my way home. 

I felt raw and ragged inside. I was sore and I was hurting. 

I couldn't believe that no one could see through the veneer I had erected around my outer self. I felt hollow and vulnerable but carried on in my regular, ordinary fashion. And no one saw through the cracks.

That realization stopped me in my tracks.

How many other people are out there, wading through that-which-must-be-done on a daily basis feeling broken inside?

I replayed my day and wondered what I may have missed as I spoke with friends about things-that-really-don't-matter. We had conversations which did not break beneath the surface. There is a very good chance (a certainty, I am almost sure) they had their own 'cracks' which I did not peek through and ask about what I did not see.

I was conscious of this throughout the week that followed.

I kept my iron curtain closed and talked about nothing to those who crossed my path. The better I knew a person, the less I revealed. 

I had a conversation with a friend who I tell all. I told her nothing. She told me of what was transpiring within her busy, hectic and often stressful life. It was a conversation like many others. She knows me better than I know myself but she did not hear the difference within me.

We talked a week later.

I was ready to open up and reveal my hurting heart. She said, "Why didn't you tell me?

I told her I had to come to terms with things in my own head and heart first. During that quiet week, I realized that is what I do each and every time I am standing on the precipice of a time-of-great-change. 

I get very quiet. I keep to myself. I need to think my own thoughts before I am ready to share them with the world and allow others inside. I need to be strong in my own conviction before I'm ready to buffer the opinions of those who-are-not-walking-in-my-shoes.

I explained this to my friend and she immediately found herself within my words. "I do exactly the same thing" was her thoughtful response.

Each of us opened our door of vulnerability and shared that-which-we-dared-not-speak-aloud. 

Taking the words out of your head and putting a voice to them is not an easy thing to do. 

Opening up and baring an open wound is a risk. 

No one wants their deepest fears trampled on or cast aside. No one wants to hear someone tell them what to do or how to feel. No one wants their trust to be shattered by laying it all out on the line and no one 'hearing' them.

Yet opening up and releasing the very words which you have been guarding so closely takes the power and impact of those words out of your head and out into the open where they can be seen, heard and felt with greater perspective.

There have been times I have withheld the 'good stuff' and held it near and dear to my heart just as closely. That very same 'power' is a wonderful thing when it is a head and heart full of words and emotions, that make your heart sing. They tend to lose some of their impact when shared.

Be gentle out there. You just never know what someone is not saying when you think they are telling you so much.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Diving Back In

I woke up in the middle of the morning (aka: sometime in the twilight zone before my alarm went off), and had no idea what day it was.

This story usually has a better ending because it was akin to how I usually feel when I wake up on a Saturday morning. The week is behind me and I'm anticipating my weekend.

This time, the week was behind me alright. Except I had worked through the weekend and I woke up to a Monday, of all days!

I have been very spoiled lately. I haven't had to work off-site (go to my bookkeeping job) for three weeks. It has been marvelous.

I have had more energy, time to read, time to do what I want and not be ruled by a week-that-never-ends.

I dragged myself out of the house both mornings and the moment I stepped out of the house and into the car, I was fine.

I like my bookkeeping job. I really do. I like who I work for. I enjoy the challenge of 'balancing to zero', learning the ropes and expanding my horizons.

I like that I come home and I still have an entire evening to myself.

I like everything about it. Except for the fact that I really, really like weekends too.

I brought home a bucket full of work with me. This has guaranteed me one day off next weekend, at the expense of squeezing the job into my week.

This shouldn't be a problem but I sometimes make it into one.

I am a creature of habit.

I write in the morning. I wind down at night. My days are kid-filled so it is a rare thing to accomplish something during the day. How will I fit in this into my quiet little life?

It is really not an issue unless I make it into one. The mere thought of accomplishing one small task at home buying me one day off next weekend should be enough to spur me into action.

I walked away from this for a few minutes and returned with a renewed perspective.

Lately I have been wondering why I am not more concerned about the fluctuations in my daycare income. I have a time-of-great-change coming within my daycare world and I am not feeling panicked. Why?

Perhaps the reason 'why' can be answered in three words: "Other income sources"

My other income sources don't pay the bills. But they provide security, a back-up source of revenue and room to breathe within my financial state of affairs.

I've dipped my fingers into several different 'pools' and even though I feel a little water-logged from time to time, it keeps me afloat.

I've been buoyed up for an enjoyable spell. It's hard to dive back into the water after enjoying a peaceful ride on a raft.

I'm glad I gazed up and enjoyed every moment while it lasted. It could be time to start treading water again.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Small Town Connections

I met with a new daycare family yesterday.

They found me via my website and advertising on a daycare listings site. After we had corresponded several times and decided we both felt like this could be a good 'fit' for each one of us, we discovered that our origins are from the same small town (population 118, according to 2006 census stats).

We knew many of the same people. We are semi-sorta-related through marriage (my sister is married to his dad's cousin). His parents know my cousin's family well. They heard about 'who I was' before they even met me.

What more could you ask for, when seeking daycare for your infant??

This happened one other time. The difference was that my other small-town-connection was via a referral.

But the connections we discovered once we met face-to-face were amazing to each of us.

We not only had the same small-town-origins, but her grandmother taught me piano (and just happened to be living with this family at the time), we shared the same birth date and our 'significant others' ended up working at the same place of business. When we went to a Christmas party at this place of business, one of my class-mates (from this very same home town) worked at the same place of business.

This small town connection seems to be a guiding force in my life.

I rekindled a friendship with my first-ever-best-friend-in-the-world after we met up again at our mutual home town's reunion almost nine years ago.

My dad's family ended up calling this their home town and most of Dad's brothers still live there. I managed to weave myself into their lives as I documented the 'story of their lives' over the course of the past six years.

I moved away from our small town community when I was nine years old and the past eight years have brought me back 'home' on so very many levels that I know 'this' is exactly where I am meant to be.

When a town, as small as our home-town, continues to reach out and touch me in up close and personal ways it continues to reaffirm that I have made many right choices within this life of mine.

The feeling of that small town community continues to envelope me into that small, safe world of my childhood. It keeps beckoning to me.

I wrote about this little dream of mine a long time ago:

I can still bring up the image of that dream in my mind's eye. The way that small little town we called 'home' keeps calling to me, I feel like nothing is impossible...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Incomplete Thoughts

I started three blog posts this week which I never did come back and complete.

My day started walking in earlier than anticipated and my thoughts walked off the job. Is that an excuse or an explanation?

It is an excuse.

I haven't been too inspired to write about anything, nothing or something special. My brain has been sitting in limbo and gotten stuck there. I think I just need to write without purpose for a while and see if I can unclog the brain-to-fingertip connection that usually fires up on demand.

The brain-to-fingertip connection. It is amazing to me. I can sit down and think I am going to write about one thing, but if I don't censor my thought processes, my fingertips often type out a completely different message than the one I think I have on a certain day.

Maybe I'm trying to censor my thoughts. Maybe I have simply run out of things to say (doubtful). Maybe I am not living an interesting enough life to create new thoughts and ideas. Maybe I just need 'fifteen minutes more'.

I have mourned the loss of that fifteen minutes at the onset of my day all week (with one of my daycare families arriving earlier than anticipated). Instead of taking a proactive approach and getting out of bed fifteen minutes earlier, I seem to be letting this one small change fester and grow.

Little things like an evolving nap-time within my daycare family have threatened my sense of quiet within our day.

We have routines and limits and structure within our day-at-daycare. There may be times of chaos and confusion but when it comes to nap time, I am rigid.

We all do better (me included!) after a period of quiet. I have witnessed overtired kids learn to override their 'sleep mechanisms' by jerking, twisting, moving, talking and generally doing-whatever-it-takes to keep themselves awake. Then once they miss that opportunity to let their body shut down for a short period, they cry at the drop of a pin. Emotions are over-the-top. From anger to giddiness to their ability (and desire) to listen. A tired child is not fun to be around. An overtired child? Don't get me started.

Then the 'quiet suggestions' from parents about waking a sleeping child. Or getting outside (we already were, but it was still pretty cool and we weren't out long). Or making a snowman on a day where it is too cold for the snow to make a snowball.

Some people are walking into my world ahead of schedule. Others are telling me how to run my day.

Then there is the one who is grateful for everything I do and gives me the okay to 'just be me' and direct our world in the best way I know how.

I know I am feeling super-sensitive this week. I can tell the way little things are not rolling off my back. Nothing has really changed. All that has changed is the way I am reacting to it.

It is now "fifteen minutes early" and I have opened my blinds, turned on the lights and unlocked the door. I'm begging no one to walk through said door for ten more minutes but I am trying so very hard to let myself be open to the reality that is my day.

I am meeting new people who will be starting to come to my daycare as spots open up. Even though one-year-olds are a lot of work, I am ready, willing and able to take on a new challenge and start again.

I think that is what I miss about Daycare 1.0. The first time I ran my daycare, there was much more coming and going. Different ages and stages and schedules and personalities. It was challenging. But it was never boring. I think my little two-year-old is bored. When he is bored, he gets into trouble.

Maybe we are all a little bored with the same-old, same-old around here. It is quite likely time to shake things up a little.

That is what is in store for us this year. It scares and exhilarates me at the same time.

Change is a necessary evil. Whether we like it or not, that is the only thing we can truly count on.

I am not ready for some of the change I foresee in my future. The ground beneath my feet has been unsteady. I don't like being in that place between the known and the unknown. But that seems to be exactly where I spent a great deal of time this week.

What do I know?

I know (more or less) what today will bring. I have anticipated some of the challenges and tried to prepare for them.

I know I must work this upcoming weekend. I haven't received the confirmation call but when we last spoke, it sounds like a two-day-working-weekend. This is not my favorite way to spend a weekend. Quite likely this is playing havoc with my coping skills this week.

I know I am meeting a new daycare family tomorrow. I am looking forward to this. I am looking at these young, new families and seeing the 'future'. Hope, anticipation and job security all rolled into one.

I know I have a chance to start over.

Every minute. Each morning. Every time I think I should have done better, I know I can start from that moment on and go forward.

It's been a tough week. Today could be the day it changes.

Attitude is everything. The right attitude is gratitude. And that is where I shall begin. I am grateful to feel like I know what to expect today. And tomorrow. That is much more than a lot of people have.

It is all in the moments.

The minutes are ticking by and I have been granted some of those extra minutes I lost at the onset of the week.

My family who has been arriving fifteen minutes is not yet here. I just gained twelve minutes I didn't think I may have.

My day is off to a good start.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Midnight Caller

Senior Cat stopped sleeping on my bed at night at exactly the same time I got a new comforter (about four and a half years ago).

Since my comforter is now over four years old and has a few snags here and there, I issued an invitation to Senior Cat (yes, I talk to our cats quite regularly) on my way to bed. I explained he should come and snuggle with me. It's okay (now).

He looked at me with his soulful eyes as if to say "No thanks, I'm good here." and never changed his routine.

You can tell he hurts by the way he walks and prefers not to snuggle these days. He seems to have the cushion on the back of the love seat molded to support the curves of his body and that is where he likes to stay.

His breathing is becoming more labored these days and his meow is almost non-existent.

I gaze into his eyes and look for any changes. Will he let us know when he is hurting too much? Will I be able to tell?

Any changes to his routine set off alarms and make me wonder if it is a sign that he is hurting in some new way.

He has adopted a pleasurable new snuggling routine. He finds me (often) sitting at the computer and he will sit beside me and squeak out a little noise (that used to be a meow). I will pick him up. He molds himself into the contours of my arms and neck. And purrs.

His purr is and always has been what I love most about him. When he first became sick, his purr became 'rusty' and he sounded like he needed a good 'lube job'. He went from that, to rarely purring at all.

The better he felt, the more he started to purr again. These days, he can turn up his purr so we can hear it across the room again. It does my heart good.

I continued to converse with my little black kitty, telling him he could come and snuggle up with me when I went to bed. One night, he followed me.

He changed his mind once he got into my room, but I think he fully understood the invitation was open and so was the door.

About a few weeks ago, I woke up to a little black purring machine staring me down in the middle of the night.

He sat there. And purred. I petted him and he purred louder. He acted like he wanted under my covers (it was particularly cold at the time) and I thought maybe he was feeling the night time chill and needed body heat.

He snuggled in and kneaded. And kneaded. And purred and kneaded. And purred some more. Then left.

The surprising part is, that seemed to be the first night of the rest of our lives. He has showed up, purring in my face every single night since then.

His purr is loud and insistent. He kneads and tries to snuggle, but he never stays.

Last night I felt the waves of exhaustion wash over me as he woke me up in the middle of a deep sleep and I felt his insistent kneading on my neck. Purring. Kneading. Snuggling (to a point). Then he left.

The night before, he rested one of his shoulders upon my shoulder and reached around my neck with his other paw and actually 'hugged' me.

He has done this before, but when he was lying vertically on top of me as I was stretched out on the couch. He reached up and 'grasped' me with his outstretched arm. Because his arm reached up close to my neck, I felt like he was hugging me.

This night time visit makes me smile and warms my heart.

But it is such a drastic 'change' from his norm, I wondered aloud while I was talking with my brother this past weekend. "Do you think he is trying to tell me something? Like 'I'm hurting ... help me'?"

My brother assured me I will see the pain in his eyes when that is the case. He thinks Senior is telling me "Thank you".

There is nothing like a reassuring hug from a cat to make you feel loved. They are wise and highly sensitive creatures. I think he knew I could use a little hug.

"Thank you, Senior. I needed that!"

Monday, January 12, 2015


I jumped out of bed with a pile of words sitting on my fingertips this morning.

Snippets. Phrases. Quotes. Ideas. Thoughts.

Ping! Ping! Ping!

I sped through my breakfast-making routine and went straight to an empty page to write, before the words evaporated into the day before me.

I wrote. I rewrote. I felt. I thought.

It seemed like I had something important to say and it was starting to seep out of my fingertips.

Like an artist painting a picture, I took a step back. I added, tweaked, edited, reworked my 'masterpiece'.

Close. Not quite. Better. It's coming. I think I'm onto something here.

Then I heard the familiar rumble of an engine outside. I peeked through the slats of the blinds to find one of my daycare families who had arrived fifteen minutes early. Fifteen minutes!

In the time it took for me to get dressed and greet the day, my piece of work vanished into thin air.

The feeling. The momentum. The energy. The emotion. Like a bubble that bursts after bobbing and weaving and remaining intact ten times longer than the rest. It was gone.

'This' is why I don't tend to arrive at my appointments with destiny early. One never knows what can be lost by that extra fifteen minutes 'gained' at someone else's expense.

As a rule, I am the one with something to gain. I often accomplish more in fifteen minutes than I do in three hours.

I work best when I am racing against the clock. I just hate when the 'alarm' goes off earlier than anticipated.

This is why I have a small collection of unfinished drafts of writing sitting in my collection of blog posts. My day quite often steps in and interrupts a work-in-progress. When I sit down and look at it later, it is never quite the same as it was the moment I was feeling it.

I simply have the remnants of the thoughts that begged to be written. They feel jagged, uneven and not ready for human consumption. So I put them aside and settle for the snippets of thought and ease I felt as I released them.

Sometimes a person simply needs to purge and release. Sometimes you need to be still with yourself and just feel. Other times one needs to hear the words out loud.

There is a time and a place for everything.

This morning's early arrival took the choice out of my hands.

I'm grateful life-as-I-know-it greeted me early this morning. It kept me in the present. And that is exactly where I needed to be.

Friday, January 9, 2015


The words "Good Enough" are the words I incorporated into my thinking and lifestyle as the year 2014 wound down to a close.

After many lessons (I ignored) teaching me 'perfection' is not the ultimate goal one should strive for, I finally realized 'done' is better than 'incomplete'. The goal of 'perfection' was keeping me from completing what I had set out to do. So I settled on the goal of Good Enough.

Good Enough proved to be life affirming for me.

I learned to define myself by those very words. 

I am not the best mother in the world. Nor am I the worst.

I am not the best friend, daughter, sister, daycare provider, bookkeeper, writer, yard-maintainer or house-cleaner in the world. Nor am I the worst.

I am not the best at following a budget nor setting or attaining my goals nor striving to be my best self on a day-to-day basis. Nor am I the worst.

I could be so much kinder or more generous or more compassionate or loving or any number of adjectives I use to describe those who I admire. 

I am half the person I wish I was. I am a quarter as good as others think I am. I could and should be more of who I am.

But ... despite all of that. I have given myself permission to believe:
"I am not as good as I could be. But I am good enough."

This new mantra keeps me humble, yet secure enough to accept a compliment without putting myself down in the process. 

My inner dialogue has grown from "I am not the person you believe me to be (and let me convince you how wrong you are)" to "I am not as good as you believe but I am good enough. Amen."

The year 2014 also ended on another note which (in the past) would have threatened the very ground I stand on. Financial stability.

I had recently discovered that I could be losing two out of three of my full-time daycare charges. One, due to an impending maternity leave. The other, due to a change of address (they moved to the opposite end of the city). There also came the concern that losing one three-year-old may affect the my other (part-time) three-year-old's desire to come to my daycare without her friend here.

In the past, this would have been cause for great concern. 

What I have learned from fourteen years of running a daycare, added to thirty seven years of which I have been supporting my own family, is 'it always works out in the end'.

No matter how much I have sat down and tried to budget and account for every penny coming into and going out of my pocket, there is always something I have not accounted for. There is (or at least has not been for me) no such thing as accounting for every and all contingencies (just watch a few dozen home renovation shows and you will see what I mean).

The more I worried, the more things happened.

Then something happened. I stopped worrying.

I have no idea what cosmic forces came into play when I stopped worrying about there being enough income to offset the expenses. But whatever it is, it is working.

I always have 'enough' to pay the bills. And live life, as I choose to live it, as well.

There is enough to indulge myself in that-which-makes-me-happy. Outings with friends and family. Take-out food when I feel like I need it the most. Extra-curricular spending in the form of gifts, trips or extravagances as I deem 'necessary'. There is always enough.

This past Christmas was no exception. The funds I had budgeted for Christmas seemed to get absorbed by other expenses. I gave in very moderate ways but I gave all I wanted to give as well. 

Christmas was 'paid in full' before Christmas Day arrived and I just happened to receive (more than) enough gift money to cover the remaining costs related to my trip to Vegas next month.

Then the calendar page turned and it was 2015. We are ten days into the new year and miracles continue to amaze and astound me. Remember, it takes very little to amaze me.

I ordered a photobook from Walmart and spent a total dollar amount of $9.83. It was supposed to arrive November 27th, but due to circumstances beyond my friendly neighborhood Walmart's control, it was delayed by at least a week. I had considered ordering more books if I liked the result but I couldn't the wait, so I changed my mind. 

I didn't complain but others must have. Because Walmart has voluntarily refunded the full cost of my photobook, as well as the additional photos I ordered the same day (which were also gifts). Not only that, I have a $25.00 credit with Walmart Photo AND 100 free 4" X 6" prints!

A great deal of my Christmas-giving, were pictures which I printed off and mailed to family after our reunion. And Walmart happily refunded me all (or more) than I spent. Thank you, Walmart!!

Then came the daycare-dilemma of 2015.

I didn't actively advertise but I just updated my websites, with my upcoming daycare spots coming available.

I met with one family yesterday. They hired me before they walked out the door. I am (tentatively) meeting another family very soon (to start in the fall).

There is a sense of calm which has taken over my world. Instead of focusing on there being 'too many' daycares in 'too small' of an area, I have started to believe there is still an abundance of opportunities as long as I keep believing in myself, what I do and how I do it.

Then ... I found this article written by my favorite blog author:


Thursday, January 8, 2015

So Beautiful

As I wrestle with teaching my rough and tumble little two-year-old daycare charge about 'gentleness', 'kindness', 'caring', 'sharing' and gentle, this video captivated me:

I showed it to my tiny little charges yesterday and for a moment, they were transfixed. I kept uttering the words "Look how gentle that puppy is" and "Look how kind that little boy is".

Gentleness. Kindness. Loving. Caring. Sharing.

Isn't that really what life is all about?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Super Powers (X 2)

My new Super Power of 'Wakefulness' has given me a whole new lease on life. The ability to stay awake until 10:00 p.m. on a regular basis is new and foreign ground to me. And with it, must come some new adaptations to life-as-I-know-it.

Last night, I had big plans. I had a hair appointment booked, letters to mail, groceries to buy and several Tim Hortons gift cards burning a hole in my pocket.

Wouldn't you know it? I had to drive by a Tim Hortons on my way home from my hair appointment. So, a late-night (7:30) supper it was!

Who can go to Tim Hortons without buying a coffee? Not me.

In the past (in my life-of-exhaustion, which preceded my new Wakefulness Super Power), I could easily have an after-supper-cup-of-caffeine and it may (or may not) have given me enough of a boost to stay wakeful until after 8:30. Add one 8:00 cup of coffee to a person who has been habitually falling asleep well after 10:00 p.m., with an added dose of realization that my Vegas Weekend Getaway was exactly one month away ... and that equaled ME.

I was pumped.

I started texting and didn't quite stop. I was suddenly aware that my horizons after February 8th look bleak and I started to wonder what I can add to my agenda to help me look towards the future with anticipation.

Don't worry. I didn't book a trip to Disneyland. Or Ontario. Or even Moose Jaw. All I did do, was text a friend and invite her out for a birthday supper. That's it.

But my Wakefulness Super Power was kicked up a notch.

I didn't even try to go to bed until almost 11:30. I turned on the TV and made it into not only one, but two and I believe at least the third commercial break! This never EVER happens to me! I was going to see the end of this hour long program. YAY!!

Then I woke up, face-to-face with Senior Cat (who has adopted a brand-new-to-him habit, of jumping up onto my bed, sitting beside my head and turning on his Monster Purr). I stirred, petted him and invited him to come and snuggle. Which he did. Under my covers (at his prodding).

He purred and kneaded and purred and kneaded and purred some more. Then he nuzzled his way out from under the covers and proceeded to actually snuggle up with me. It has been years since he snuggled up and slept on my bed. Years!

I was grateful for my new Super Power which gave me the gift of enjoying this brand new side of my old kitty.

It turns out I am not the only one in the house with a brand new Super Power. Our Senior Cat has been honing in on his own brand of Super Power Kitty Love. In the middle of the night.

What a perfect combination!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Running Behind But Well on My Way

Throughout my holiday, I found myself getting up to the sun. I woke up several times before the sun did. In fact, I laid in bed wide awake watching TV. But more often than not, I did not climb out of bed and face the day until my alarm told me it was time to give Senior Cat his 9:00 a.m. dose of medication.

This strategy really messed with life as I know it.

The quiet of the morning is when my brain waves are keen and fresh. There is something about early morning solitude, combined two to three cups of coffee and knowing I have a few hours to myself that makes my fingers fly across the keyboard and spill the early-morning thoughts of my brain onto the page before me. 

Waking up at 9:00 a.m. provided no such guarantee.

Numbing my brain with early morning television programming is the death of me. I can feel my own thoughts and words evaporate into thin air. By the time I walked out of my room into the vastness of the quiet of (what was left of) the morning I barely wanted to read anyone else's words. Let alone write a few of my own.

Towards the end of my holiday, I grabbed my coffee and morning smoothy and went straight to the love seat in the living room.

I had an end table nestled right up to the spot where I reclined with all the remote controls required to watch whatever combination of live, recorded, Netflix or TV on Demand combination I craved. Along with these remotes, were the house phone, my cell phone, our new iPad and a book. Oh, and my coffee.

I sat still and went with the flow of inertia. 

Inertia doesn't flow well.

I made no voluntary outbound calls, texts or emails unless it was absolutely necessary. I picked up the phone if I knew who was calling. I replied to texts. I took a few people up on invitations out of the house. But for the most part, I simply wanted to curl up in my favored lounging spot of the day and absorbed the input of the 'world' I created.

Beware of the world you create for yourself.

When my world is full of goals, ideas and dreams I feel limitless as to what I can do, accomplish or 'be'.

When I drown out my own thoughts, I become a shadow of who I am and what I feel I can accomplish.

For me, turning on the TV turns off my brain. And with it, my ambition, my self confidence and my own thoughts which define who I am.

Television creates an alternate universe for me. I lose myself. Sometimes that is a good thing and exactly what I need. But when you are a person who is trying to create alternative income sources through writing, tuning in the TV and tuning myself off is not something I want to become a habit.

Maybe that is why I have been drawn to the HGTV channel. Home renovations = retirement and income options for me. The one thing I learned about myself when I took a tentative step outside of my home in an attempt to earn a living in the great big world outside of these doors, is that I want to make my home become a source of revenue for me. Whether that is by running a daycare, taking in a border, opening up a B & B, renting a level of my home or setting up a home office for writing &/or bookkeeping. Working out of my home is where it is at for me.

Thus, my dreams don't die and the ideas don't wither up and go away when I watch house hunting and home renovations.

Something deep inside of me knows 'home' is where it is at for me. I just have to ensure I keep the television turned off and maintain my early morning writing ritual. My fingers know more than I do when I let them fly uninhibited in those dark and quiet early morning hours.

How do I know this? Because when I sat down to write this morning I was going to write about my hair.

Maybe tomorrow. Today is about fulfilling my writing, dream and work quota. I'm running behind but I'm still well on my way.

See you next time! You have been warned. It could be about my 'hairrowing' experience at a new hair stylist tonight. I must trust that I am in good hands. My trusted, tried and true hair stylist has had to abort this career and has referred me to someone he believe best suits my needs.

More on that another day. In the mean time, turn off the TV and tune in your inner self. See who you find inside, when you aren't even looking.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Off the Grid

It seems I tacked on a writing holiday onto my holiday from everything else this past week or so. I hope it isn't like the holiday I took from exercise (never to return) ...

What did I do with all that time? In a word, I read.

I lost myself in the world of fiction and drifted off into a world the author created.

I have amassed a pile of never-before-read-books within my home and I was drawn to the work of Jo Jo Moyes. Simply because a blog writer I follow made one simple comment.

I was transported and lost somewhere between the years of 1916 and 2006 and spent most of that time in France (a little in London) as I read "The Girl You Left Behind" (I believe this is the book that my Favorite Blog Author referred to in her comment).

I love it when an author sneaks a little bit of a history lesson into a fictional piece of writing. I love finding an author whose writing sweeps me up and away and into a world I never dreamed of.

I was most impressed by the fact that I didn't fall asleep every time I sat down during my vacation. Perhaps because the other hobby I enjoyed during my vacation time was sleep.

I slept in until 9:00 a lot of days.

I discovered something quite amazing to me. If I don't get up at 5:00, I don't need a nap by noon. If I follow my body's clock in the morning, I have a few more waking hours left in me at the end of the day.

What did I do with those hours (besides read)?

I had a 'Home Hunters' marathon day.

I watched 'Home Hunters - Where are They Now?'; 'Home Hunters Renovation'; 'Home Hunters International'; 'Home Hunters - Off the Grid'; and just plain 'Home Hunters'.

What did I dream of as I watched this massive array of Home Hunting Shows?

I dreamed of living off the grid.

I dreamed of my never-ending-dream of running a bed and breakfast.

I dreamed of my 'dream home' where I have a desk which is on the second floor of an old home, overlooking a quiet prairie scene.

I dreamed of convertible organization spaces to run my daycare without it looking like I run a daycare.

In the end, I (eventually) took down our Christmas decorations. I am enjoying the sleek new look of less garlands and lights and a more barren landscape.

When my ship comes in, I shall invest in living room windows and new doors. If my ship doesn't come in, I may settle for a new book shelf ...

As I ran this Home Hunters Marathon and transported myself into different countries and historical periods throughout my week-long holiday at home, I saw the world. I experienced more than I could have ever imagined. Without leaving our home or spending a penny.

It was the best holiday I could have ever imagined.

Living 'Off the Grid' was a quiet and self indulgent place to spend my time. It was exactly where I needed to be.

I'm back. But I hope I keep one foot in my holiday time zone where everything felt possible.