Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Quick Note ...

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why." - Eddy Cantor

This is a quote I need to memorize and make my mission statement! I can't begin to count the many times I haven't simply savored the moment because I am always in such a big hurry.

It's time to stop. Time to regain the sense of 'pause' in my life ....

Too Much Out of My Control

There is much too much in my life right now that I need to ask of people. It's driving me crazy!

Number one is the 'need' to find places for My Youngest to go as I have 3 outings within the next few months where he wouldn't want to be there or he can't be there. Three reasons that I should be excited and full of anticipation. Instead I am filled with dread as I know I must ask someone to help me.

This is about the one and only time that I don't enjoy being a single parent. My Youngest and his dad never did 'connect'. A companionship at arms length perhaps. Yes, I could ask if My Youngest to stay with him and there is a pretty good chance that his dad would be okay with that. The stickler? He doesn't want to go. What do you do??

Thank goodness for My Second Son!! He is coming to the rescue on Friday for me, when I go to Moose Jaw. And he may be willing to help out on Sunday when I'm invited out to Davidson. Maybe ...

The other dates ... not so much. He has plans for one of them and the other is too far off to commit himself.

Number two conundrum is our dog. I want him gone in the worst way. We are not dog people and he doesn't get any attention or appreciation from us. He's digging up new sod in the back yard. He barks, he sheds, he tracks in dirt and mud. I need to find a dog-sitter if I go anywhere over night. It's hard enough asking for help when it comes to My Youngest! To ask favors for a dog that I really don't enjoy? One way or another, he must go. I've got a week deadline set in my mind. I want him to find a home ... taking him back to the SPCA isn't the route I want to go ... but I simply want a 'divorce' from him!

Number three is the bedroom renovation that is picking up speed now. I don't think I can afford it. I can afford to pay the electrician. And I think I must get the bedroom to a state where we can 'stop production' and ask for a bill to that point, to see if it can continue. When this all started, I was pretty sure I could manage the expense. After looking at my savings a few weeks back, when I thought I could need it to support myself if I couldn't work ... all of a sudden not having a safety net is a little more frightening than it was before.

Number four is tough. A friendship of the past that isn't working anymore. I need to 'say no' to that. But ... what I did instead (rather than give up 2 precious hours to have coffee, on my only day off), was not answer the phone when I saw the number come up. Next time I need to pick up the phone and say 'no' to coffee and 'yes' to me. Out loud. I was so relieved to have the entirety of Sunday to tend to what I wanted to. I have 'lost' those hours on so many Sundays recently, when I didn't have them to spend. It's tricky ... this is a person that was a huge part of my world at one time. How does one honor the past friendship but let it go with dignity and no hard feelings?

Number five is the 'chicken pox' epidemic and the ramifications. My new 1 yr old was to start today and they are going to check with their doctor before they bring her into contact with the 'bug' here. The dad was just diagnosed with brain cancer so I am thinking that there could be a risk to him, if his daughter got the chicken pox so this is a valid concern.

The reason I've been 'okay' with my stretched budget was knowing that I had this extra income coming in May, that wasn't accounted for. I guess it's good that I wasn't counting on it, because I may not have it until this chicken pox epidemic runs its course. Then there is the lost income if kids stay home sick with it ...

Number six, is the 'up in the airness' of the plans in Moose Jaw. My cousin (that lives there) and I were hoping to work in a short visit while we were in the area. And that could have worked out ... but now I'm not so sure because I'm waiting to hear back from the other parties involved.

Then there is this tiny little part of me that realizes how much I require my health to support myself. All of these doctor appointments and tests behind me, with one more in the future. I am so certain that there is absolutely no need to be concerned. But what if?? What if I needed to take some time off to tend to my health? It is simply not an option!

I feel like I'm working without a net right now. It is not an enjoyable spot. I will endure. I always have and I always will. I need to take action and find some solutions to the things that are within my control. And when it boils right down to it, the only thing I can't control is the result of that doctors visit down the road. And that is the one thing that I'm not worried about.

So! It is time to take action and have the ''courage to change the things I can''.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Luxury of a Sunday

It was the day I had hoped for ... I spent the day at my own pace and puttered around with whatever I wanted to.

I'm now splicing together the video highlights of the visits I had, while collecting memories for 'The Book'. Another day immersed in memories.

And as I sit here and think that when I finish this project in its entirety, it will formally wrap up the book project (other than the final delivery of the books when they arrive). As with Mom's party, I am simply not ready to toss it all aside. I want to put together a DVD for each of the family members that encompasses the fun we had along the way.

Lots of fun memories. It's been a good ride ...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Precious Hours

I long for two day weekends ...

I ran a few (quick??) errands after work today. I got to take my last coffee break at the end of the day and leave early. So I was done work by 3:00. We got home around 6:00. Sigh ... there went the day.

And tonight I've been puttering around with the videos from my 'information gathering sessions' for 'The Book'. I've got yet another project in mind for those. It is a time consuming little task.

Sunday!! Oh to wake up and know the day is my own. Next weekend is going to be a marathon-weekend of places to be ...

Yikes. I just want to coast tomorrow. I remembered today, that the May long weekend is around the corner. Three uncommitted, consecutive days off. That shall be pretty wonderful. The last few long weekends have been consumed with The Book Project. To have 3 days off without The Book Work on my agenda will be rather wonderful.

I have done all I can do for tonight. My brain is mush and it's time to walk away and let my mind wander on something else.

My 'weekend' is 40 hours long. I hate to waste a moment. These hours are precious...

Friday, April 25, 2008

It Has Arrived!!!!

"The Tapestry of Our Lives" ... it is a reality!

Today Could Be The Day!

I should be getting my 'proof' copy of The Book delivered today. I am so excited!

I dreamt about it last night - I got the copy and they had added a whole bunch of extra 'stuff' to it ... they changed my table of contents ... they changed the font on my chapter headings ... lots of junk inserted in between the stories (like how magazines have 6 pages of ads to 1 or 2 pages of articles it seems, at times). You can't believe the relief I felt when I woke up and realized it was 'only a nightmare'!

I am so pumped. The reality of the dream is going to be in my hands. I started truly envisioning this reality in my mind early in The Book process. From the title, to the cover design (in part), to the chapter headings, to the fact that I really wanted to put this in a hard cover book form. And it is coming true!!

Dreams do come true! Pursuing ones goals may be filled with obstacles along the way, but if you keep taking forward steps, eventually you will 'get there'.

As my brother quoted in his speech about 'what he has learned from Mom': "No matter how big the job is, the end is always much nearer once you start moving forward."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More on Health ...

Wow. It seems the past few weeks, I've been looking up medical symptoms and facing minor medical issues on a regular basis.

Yesterday I declared a 'chicken pox alert' as one of my preschoolers became exposed to chicken pox at preschool and started displaying mild symptoms.

Instant panic, as I thought of all the young ones I have around here. 'Epidemic' came immediately to mind, as I thought of the ones already exposed (they are most contagious 1 to 2 days before the spots break out); the incubation period before the next round of break outs; the new 1 yr old that is starting next week; and the mom's that are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

Then ... as the parents started arriving last night with news of the chicken pox facing them, most of them assured me that their children were vaccinated against chicken pox.

We live in a wonderful province/country!! Yes!! All children born Jan 1, 2004 or later are automatically immunized at 12 months (and it was optional before that) for chicken pox. After surveying my parents I have found out that all of 'my kids' have been immunized. This doesn't offer 100% protection, but if they do get the chicken pox it should be a mild case.

There has been a lot of talk recently about the association of autism with vaccinations. This very small 'epidemic' really brings to mind what could happen if people start to choose not to vaccinate their children. Chicken pox is one of the less serious childhood diseases ...

I am so grateful the the children in my care are vaccinated. This little outbreak may still happen on a small scale. But to think of it happening en mass with much more serious ramifications is rather frightening. I always feel so responsible when anything contagious may run rampant through the household. We've faced head lice, colds and flus. Thankfully only one case of head lice was spread one time. The colds and flus ... are inevitable. We had one outbreak of chickenpox the first year I babysat. All in all, we have been very fortunate.

I've been 'googling' a lot lately, to find out more about the health issues that have arisen. It's wonderful to have the information so close at hand all of the time. The risk is in the misdiagnosis. I haven't done well with the diagnosis. But at least as far as the chicken pox goes, it shouldn't get too out of hand.

At this rate, I may soon have my medical degree!! (I jest, of course)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To Health

I just have to 'thank' the powers that be, for the health of myself and my family ...

I seem to be hearing so many people faced with life and death health situations this past week. It certainly puts things into perspective.

I know that I take my health for granted. When everything works as it should, a person doesn't even think about how fortunate you are. With this bit of a health concern I've had this past week, I just keep saying "I don't have time for this" and I have the utmost trust that my body will take care of itself.

My life seems to be touched with so many facing so much. It is impossible to know what those families are facing. Because it isn't just one person that gets sick. It affects their entire family. I sometimes think it is just as hard to be the one looking on, than it is to be the one who is ill. When you are powerless to do anything, it must be so hard to watch a loved one hurting.

I am so thankful for so much ...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is My Old Life Back Yet??

Yet one more untypical day for me. We got through it unscathed. I just hope 'normal' resumes soon ...

My 'first-appointment-of-the-day' at the doctors ended up with more blood work; one more perscription; and one more ultrasound. I really don't have time for this ... can I table my health until my holidays I wonder??

I called the families I babysit, to let them know I was home, as soon as I returned from my appointment. In between the time I called and the kids were dropped off, I ended up getting squeezed into an ultrasound appointment this morning. The only catch ... I had to take 2 kids with me.

Kids are capable of living up to our expectations. I can't begin to say how many times I've heard parents talk about their kids, right in front of their kids. And the parents are almost 'telling' their kids to do the wrong things.

I heard a speaker once say to tell your kids what you want them to do. Don't tell them what you don't want them to do, because all they really hear is what you have told them. For example, if you say, "Don't fight" the child hones in on and hears "fight" (very simplified example). Another thing I've noticed is all the attention that kids for being 'bad'. The bad behaviour gets talked about all of the time and that is what is getting attention. I do my best to only say positive things (or nothing at all) about the kids when they are within earshot, and if we are battling behaviour problems I feel that is better between myself and the parent (without the child listening in).

When I told one of my mom's that I was planning on taking her son and one of the other kids with me to this appointment, she looked at me like she thought I was crazy. I just told her that he would be good. There simply wasn't an option.

And he was fine. I'm sure he would have sat perfectly still, had he not had anyone else with him. But there were 2 of them, so they got a tiny bit chatty (but still good). I took along a few 'quiet toys' that they rarely see, for the time they had to spend in the office with me. That held their attention for possibly 4 or 5 minutes out of the 15 minutes we were there. But it was a distraction anyway.

When the mom picked up her child tonight, she 'told' me how he would have acted if she took him. "He would have touched everything in sight, because he had never seen anything like it before." Sure he'd touch it ... because she 'tells' him to ... and she expects him to.

I know parenting someone else's child is 100% easier than parenting your own. I know I make my mistakes and I can't see what I'm doing 'from the outside, looking in'. But I remember what Mom told me about when she took us anywhere, as kids. "It was expected" (that we would behave). This thinking seems to be the same as what I hear from varied sources. Even "The Secret" focuses on thinking/feeling/seeing the results you want and the 'reality' will follow.

I do focus on telling the kids what I do want (most of the time, anyway). I've got so many rules and stipulations and expectations that I sometimes remind myself of a drill sargeant. Yet, when everyone follows 'the rules', no one is being hurt/toys aren't being broken/no one is choking (I'm really strict at the kitchen table, because one of my main rules is "Choking is not allowed" and horseplay at the table seems to me, like it could lead to choking) etc etc.

Yes, I know I need to lighten up a notch as well. I wish I had a clone ... 'one' of me to tend to the work that needs to be done to keep things running smoothly around here ... and a 'second me' that did nothing but focus on the kids. That isn't reality though ... 'life at daycare' is a stepping stone towards 'life at school'. And I just hope that 'this' life prepares them for what is coming up next for them?

I must be back to my 'regular old life', if my focus is back on my kids and my days. I enjoy ruts. I'm ready to hop back into a nice and comfortable one!! Welcome back to my 'old life'....

Monday, April 21, 2008

One Last Technical Difficulty?

Well, The Book that I thought that I had sent off in its entirety last Wednesday didn't all make it. The 'photo section' had to be resent and that is what today's challenge was.

I think my computer is a little sick because it is moving very slowly. I'm doing my scans again tonight and hoping for the best.

I ended up having to divide the 'photo section' into 3 parts to send it off. Somewhat time consuming but nothing compared to what I've done prior. So I guess I'm just grateful it should be sent now (I'm still waiting for the message that it's been received - I think the office was closed for the day by the time I finally got it through).

More 'loose ends' tied up this morning. I think by tomorrow, I can officially 'wrap up' Mom's birthday and call it a warm memory. I've been so busy trying to preserve that memory the past week that I haven't really had the time to just savor it.

Today was yet another to-do-list kind of day. Tonight, I just got to stay home and the phone didn't even ring. It was quite enjoyable. Exhausting though ... I nodded off to sleep quite a bit tonight. It's been a long time since I've had the luxury of doing that!

May tomorrow be the beginning of the next new chapter in my life. A chapter with no technical difficulties. A chapter to sit back and savor.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Quiet Sunday at Home

It has been a most relaxing day ...

I am still puttering away with things and I doubt I could be happier. Playing around with things at my own pace with no deadlines or to-do-lists. Only wish-lists of things that I would like to do.

I am trying to refocus my mind and my blog on positive little stories out of every day events, instead of a play-by-play of things in my life (like The Book).

I watched Maria Shriver on 'Oprah' today, and there are lots of little morsels of positiveness that I should have been able to gather from that. Instead, I hope to get the book and absorb it more fully.

I immediately related to Maria Shriver's comment about being 52 years old and still not knowing what she wants to be when she grows up. She's got a few years on me, but I have often said the same thing. I like to keep thinking my options are all open. It's liberating to me. I like to know that I have choices.

Another comment Maria made was to do with 'losing herself' when she became 'Arnold's wife' or the 'First Lady' instead of the accomplished journalist that she was before her husband became governor. Now I've never been any of the above, but I certainly relate to 'losing myself'.

I have found myself again this past year ... this morning, there was a small little replay of a moment that caused me a lot of pain about 6 months ago. And I sat there and thought to myself "I don't care anymore." I don't wish any harm on a person, but there was a time that that person had the power to hurt me. He lost that. I have found myself.

I am a whole person again. I still may not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I am complete. On my own. With myself. With my life.

It's nice to have a quiet Sunday to reflect on all that I have. I have so very much.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Back to Normal?

This past week has flown by as I tended to 'wrapping up' projects on the go and tending to life at hand ...

"The Book" is out of my hands. I finally had to let it go (which was much harder than I had anticipated) and send it off to the publishing company that is going to print it up and put it into a hard cover book form.

I had technically finished the 'first draft' by March 23rd. I puttered and played. I tweaked and corrected. I read and reread (and read and reread ... and read and reread again and again). I reworded and deleted. I added, changed, edited. I formatted and reformatted.

And finally ... Wednesday afternoon, I sent it on its way. It is out of my hands now. And within the next few weeks, I should be holding the first copy they send out for my approval in my hands.

It has been like conceiving, raising and letting go of a child. Only in fast forward.

The idea was conceived 9 years ago. The idea was acted upon 3 months ago. The final product was sent 'out into the world' 3 days ago.

It has been quite a journey. 99.9% of the time it has been enjoyable. There were moments along the way when I truly questioned my ability to see it through to completion. But I had it pictured in my mind. I was committed to it. I could see it. I could feel it. It was real.

I would do it again in a heartbeat. I've taken the long road this time, as I discovered the short cuts the long way. I've learned more about 'Microsoft Word' than I thought was possible. I've discovered the effective and less effective way of gathering stories ... though even less effective ways were a lot of fun!

I have learned so very, very much. And I have gained the knowledge of some of my family's stories. And I've gotten to know a lot of my family much better.

It has been a gift. And I truly can't wait to regift those who gave so much to me, by delivering their copy of The Book to them.

Mom's birthday gathering is behind us ... The Book is out on its own ... I do believe my life will soon return to normal.

I got to enjoy living outside the 'norm'. I have gained so much these past 3 months. I'm not so sure 'normal' is where I want to return back to. I want to hold onto as much of this goodness as I can. And I shall strive to find a way to do so.

Maybe I won't return to normal. Maybe I'll create a new normal ....

Friday, April 18, 2008

This Was a Test .... It Was Only a Test ...

I like when life gives you a trial run of an emergency (especially when you find out at the end of it all, it wasn't an emergency after all) ...

This week has been a week like that.

I am blessed with a body that just doesn't quit. It seems that I can shake off or avoid most of the colds or flus that pass through the house (and with running a daycare, a lot of germs pass through this way). Any time I've had any health concern, it's just been a little 'blip' on the radar. Just a warning ... no underlying serious issue to deal with.

Sunday, I knew that something was amiss with my body. My big concern was that it could be a blood clot, and knowing that I can't afford any kind of personal emergency while I have a house full of kids, I did check it out. The doctor did say it had to be investigated further and ordered tests.

Everything seems to move in slow motion in the medical world at times. By yesterday there was still no word back on the tests and my sister convinced me to see my family doctor.

So, I innocently thought that I would be back from my 12:30 appointment with my doctor by 1:30 or 2:00. I was wrong.

My doctor sent me directly to emergency and I had 5 more hours to sit and think about my back up plans if surgery was necessary (which sounded likely at one point).

My number one blessing is my family. Had my 'symptoms' not started when I still had company from Mom's party, I doubt my family would have been any the wiser. But Mom was quick on the follow-up call and I was relieved to tell her that I had been checked out; tests were ordered and I had the situation under control. But between Mom and my sister, they kept phoning to check in (and eventually my sister wouldn't give up until I went to my own doctor).

My number two blessing is my 'back up'. I had a friend offer to babysit for me, if ever the need arose. And yesterday it arose unexpectedly. And true to her word ... she was there (or here, more aptly put). She was here and walking in my shoes (that I think 'fit' her better than they do me, perhaps!) in no time flat.

My number three blessing is the fact that I have a little bit of savings (I must admit that I did a quick scan of my account balances as the week unfolded) and I thought I could probably support myself for a month if I was suddenly unable to work. The biggest pitfall of self employment is that if you don't work, you don't get paid.

And my infinite amount of blessings are in the back up to my back up plans. I have a sister that would have dropped everything and been here, if it was necessary. I have a Mom that was immediately concerned about my finances, if I couldn't work and was ready to 'be there'. I have a son that stepped up to the plate yesterday on a moments notice and came over to relieve my friend from her babysitting commitment (one hour turned into six, was not part of my request!), and take care of Kurt until I was done. And I am blessed with a family doctor that takes action.

I do believe that the day ended up being a false alarm (my many 'diagnosises' were: a cyst; an absess; lymph node, an incarcerated hernia and the last one was a hemotoma). At a minimum, I'm relieved that I was taken seriously. I'm grateful that it turns out that all the serious options have been ruled out. But most of all ... I am at peace, knowing that I have a strong support system and Plans A, B and C to fall back on.

This was a test. It was only a test.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Most Perfect Day

Well, Mom's birthday gathering was perfect in every way. From my sister's inception of the idea last summer as they vacationed together ... to our original 'sibling sleepover' in September to start the planning process ... to the various phone calls and emails along the way ... to the final sibling meeting ... to the day itself.

Each and every one of the steps along the way was perfectly enjoyable. We had so much fun getting together and arranging this gathering. And even though my sisters had all of the food and decorating preparations fall entirely on their shoulders in the end, they got together and made it sound fun.

The day itself couldn't have been better. It was a tad overwhelming to see the people that gathered. I think we came up with a final tally of around 110 people. Relatives from both Mom and Dad's side of the family and some family friends. I could have so easily crawled into my 'quiet self' that has attended these events in the past. Crowds of people overwhelm me. But I forced myself out of that quiet sanctuary and participated in the day. My only regret is that the day went too fast and I really didn't get to visit with anyone on a one-to-one basis.

My brother is our hero. He put together a program for the event that set the tone for the day. Before the program, people were gathering together in their little groups and there was an air of discomfort as no one really knew what to do. The program united all of us. Trev has a way with words that works magic. We were 'one' as we listened and enjoyed and anticipated every little thing he had to say. Our family had absolutely no doubt in our minds that he would do a marvelous job and he exceeded our expectations. It was fun to listen to people talk to and about him later ... he won the family over in every capacity. Just by being the person he is, he is fantastic. To project himself into his family and audience in such a humorous and touching fashion, gave everyone a chance to openly express how they felt. What a gift. For him. For all of us.

And Mom. She enjoyed every moment of the day. We are so glad that she was included in knowing what we were up to this time (we surprised her on her 65th birthday and it was just too overwhelming for her). She wasn't shy about including her input and she was the perfect 'guest of honor'. She has touched so many people and it was a credit to her, how well attended this event was. She has a special place in many people's hearts and vice versa. Dad's brothers feel like brothers to her. And the feeling appears very mutual. I happened to capture a moment that encapsulated this 'feeling' on film. And it makes me smile. She is close to her sisters and it was them that sat together at the head table which was so appropriate. She has touched the lives of many nieces and nephews and inlaws ... The people that have a special place in her heart were all there. My uncle travelled from Ontario; a cousin travelled from Medicine Hat; another cousin and her family live west of Edmonton and they came. Her grandchildren travelled from all over Saskatchewan and one from Edmonton, to be there for the day. The friends that came were so glad to be a part of the day. What a special way to show someone how you feel about them. To come and make the day more special - simply by being there...

Our family truly amazes me. From our immediate family, to the extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins and beyond. Mom and Dad have given our family the absolute best gift parents can give. A home and family that is strong and united.

It was a day that will live in my heart forever. A day that reflected our life, our family and honored our Mom. Dad was there through his brothers, his son and in the hearts of many. His part in creating this most special family is present even though he is gone.

Our family. My most cherished gift. One day to pay tribute to our Mom that is a central part to all of this wonder. A day that started well before the actual date. A day that will live far beyond. A most perfect day ...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Leaky Tap

Our bathtub tap has been dripping for so long that I dare not say. It started out that you could stop the drip by really tightening the taps ... but that eventually stopped working. I put off the inevitable much longer than I should have. Our cat loved it because he had a nice fresh water source (and our cat is fascinated by drips). It was nice to entertain the cat in such a fashion, but I think that I have heard that in some countries there is actually a fine for not repairing a leaky faucet.

Anyway, I knew I had to take care of this. The drip was coming much faster and it had no where to go but worse.

So ... Saturday morning I asked the guy who is doing my basement renovations if he would mind fixing my tap while he was here. Seemed like an innocent request, right? Here's the timeline of events since then:

Saturday night:

Take apart the tap and discover that things are so badly corroded I should get new taps; I run out and pick those up right away.

Sunday morning (8:30):

The installation begins; only the manifold inside the wall needs to be replaced - everything is so badly corroded that it is impossible to attach the new pipes to the old ones.

This is where the nightmare begins ... running out and getting parts; the parts not working ; then having to stem the water flow to the bathtub taps so we can turn the main water back on; and having to wait until Monday until a more well supplied plumbing store is open. The running back and forth to stores and trying every stop-gap measure along the way took until 3:30.

Monday evening:

He arrives with just what he needs to fix the problems he was having the day before. A time consuming job, as he had to precisely measure and solder things together but this was better than having to cut a hole in the wall behind the tub and get at it from behind. So this was good.

Finally! Everything was ready to attach the new tap system to the manifold in the wall. And ... the new taps were faulty. They not only dripped, it was a steady trickle of water. Once again .. we were back to where we started ... drippy taps. So ...


He bought a new set of taps and tried them out. And they worked! Tuesday evening we could have a bath! But the hole in the wall still had to be drywalled and the tub surround was off (he wanted to make sure there were no leaks before he sealed everything back up again).


No leaks! Eureka!! So, he got the wall repaired, the tub surround back on and caulked and sealed everything back up again. All we had to do was to wait 24 hours for the silicone to dry before we could use the shower once again.


Technically, we could have a shower sometime around 10:00 this morning. Good to know.

5 days from the beginning to the end of this little saga. I haven't got my bill yet. That is a frightening prospect. But almost any price is worth it. To know that I would have run into this had I tried it on my own makes me realize how lucky I am that I asked someone I know and trust to take care of this 'small' problem.

The gift in all of this, is the person who did this for me. In a day and age of fly-by-night trades people; or the young and inexperienced; or those who want to take a short cut; or those who want to take advantage of a person .... I have a person I know personally who I feel did the job that my Dad would have done.

My Dad was the type of person who did the job right. He didn't take the shortcuts. He spent whatever time was necessary to fix the problem for good. No band-aids. You get to the bottom of the problem and you do it once.

In all the years that Dad has been gone, Mom has never found anyone that can compare to Dad, when it comes to home repair or renovation (or anything else, for that matter). I think she found his perfection in his work, a frustrating thing to live with at times but she recognized the value of the end result of Dad's work. They don't make men like Dad anymore ...

I've had the blessing of coming upon old pictures of Mom and Dad in this quest for family history. And just the other day, Mom asked if it would be too much trouble to add 'a little something' to the book to honor Dad.

I'm choking up a little bit here, as I write this. We 'lost' Dad 25 years ago when he had a massive heart attack (his body survived, but we lost every other part of him). I can talk about him, honor him, think about him and he is a warm memory. For some reason, this minor home repair gone awry and finding someone who treated the problem in the same way Dad would have ... has me missing him.

Life is funny that way. All is good ... then poof! A small incident triggers 'leaky eyes'.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

2 Steps Forward, 3 Steps Back

It was that kind of weekend. But after all is said and done I'm glad this all happened on the weekend, so that the week ahead can go 'full speed ahead'.

Nothing seemed to be as easy as it should have been this weekend. Between a minor plumbing problem (a leaky faucet) turning into a 2 day affair ... to errands that seemed endless. Minor, minor stuff. But when you try to squeeze that into the weekdays it is a whole different matter.

I'm ready to tackle the small items on my agenda this week (hopefully it is just forward steps from here on).

I puttered with The Book a lot today. I'm feeling better about it now. Taking a little break from it was what I needed.

I even seem to have a few spare words in me at the end of the day. Not too many though, because I'm ready to turn off my brain and go and read my fiction novel right now. Time to enjoy someone else's words! I'm sick of reading my own for today.

Only forward steps from here on. Onward!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Life is Like an Old Pair of Shoes

I have a very hard time giving up old shoes. The shoes that fit properly. The shoes I can actually walk in, without throbbing pain as an after effect.

I have bunions and the widest part of my foot is 4 1/2 inches across. To find shoes that I can wear without being in pain is a challenge. So when I find them, I wear them well beyond the point of where they should be worn in public.

I have bought 2 new pairs of shoes these past weeks. All I did was sit in the hairdressers chair for 2 1/2 hours, while wearing my first pair of new shoes. I sat there. And when I got home, my feet were throbbing. Today I wore a second new pair. Not so bad. No blisters. No throbbing. I still couldn't wait to toss them aside as soon as I walked in the door. It makes me realize that the thing I love best about my job running a daycare from my home is the dress code. Sock feet, bare feet, sandals and old runners are the best fringe benefits of this job, by far!!

As I faced the dilemma of having to look for new shoes ... tossing out the old ... bringing in the new, I saw a parallel to the well worn ruts I enjoy living in. I love my comfortable routines. The known, the expected. I realize that I must force myself out of those ruts and make new ones from time to time. But it's hard. It's like getting those new shoes.

A smart person would realize that the new ruts and the new shoes really shouldn't hurt. It may take a while to get used to the change but it should not cause any discomfort along the way.

So why then, when it comes to 'relationships' with men, do I seem to go for the uncomfortable fit and hope that eventually they become comfortable?

This is something that I am slowly realizing. The 2 most important relationships in my life weren't a perfect fit ... they weren't even close. Right from the beginning, I was uncomfortable. I thought I would get used to the fit. I thought they could be 'broken in', perhaps ... like a pair of shoes. But no matter what ... no matter how long ... I was never completely comfortable. I may have adapted and gotten used to them. But they weren't good for me. And if I'm honest with myself, I knew it from the start.

The good friends I have have been a perfect fit - right from the beginning. No discomfort, no pain. The friendships that have lasted throughout the years, the miles, life's transitions, the good, the bad and the ugly ... have been comfortable right from the get-go.

I'm learning.

I think I need to learn how to shop more wisely. For shoes and for relationships. I think a little 'trial run' with both feet planted firmly on the ground would be a good motto in both regards.

Just because I have bunions doesn't mean I should be in pain. Just because I am older doesn't mean I should settle.

Pain and discomfort are your body's signals to warn you. Why does a person think that you should ignore that?

I need to spend a little more time 'shopping' for the perfect fit...


I feel like I'm stuck out in limbo somewhere. The words are stuck. Actions are stuck. Completion of any one project feels stuck. It's a cool, messy spring and we are stuck indoors. You get the idea?

Anyway ... such good things are on the horizon.

Mom's birthday gathering is next weekend and that should be a memorable day in every way. Lots of little things that I need to tend to before I'm ready for the big weekend. I should stress to myself the little part. I need to write a list to make me realize that there really isn't a lot of things I need to do. It's just that everything is swimming in my mind right now and it feels like lots. There. I just wrote it down. It doesn't look as overwhelming on paper as it felt in my mind, freefalling around.

The Book. I am so close. So close, but yet so far. I can't really do too terribly much (there is always room for fine tuning and I think this is the part that overwhelms me). I'm waiting for revisions from 'The Sisters' before I go ahead with anything. Then I realized that I should probably take it with me to Mom's gathering to help fill in missing blanks and see who may be interested in getting a book before I place the order for it to be printed. So in the meantime, I can't do a lot ... yet I could do the fine tuning which it still needs. I can do it, but I don't have to do it now. I guess that's why I'm not doing anything.

I really should motivate myself to do some deeper cleaning around here. My big excuse is that there isn't a lot of sense in getting too crazy with the clean part, since there will soon be the fine drywall dust in the air from the bedroom renovation (that starts today!!). I could still do something though!! Some decluttering is necessary in a big way. I was going through old photos the last few days and noticed how uncluttered my kitchen was in those pictures. I seem to have accumulated a lot of kitchen-stuff. I guess that means I'm using it more, right?

I've got one day off between now and next weekend. I need to make the most of the day in every way!! I think if I get up and get moving tomorrow I could move mountains and get me in the place I need to be before all the activity of next weekend. It's going to be such a great weekend that I need to get my mind in a state of relaxation to just go with the flow of it and savor every moment.

Spring is on its way (eventually). So many things to anticipate.

In the meantime, I have been 'stuck'. Stuck in the past, as I went through old photo albums and made a slideshow of my family the last few days. I look at those photos and I can remember the feelings ... lots of history in my own little family ... maybe that could be my next book project ... my own family's story is just beginning ... but I could still write the introduction. Maybe that's why I'm so stuck. I'm looking back instead of ahead.

Time to look forward!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Keep Holding On

I woke up with a song in my heart this morning and this is it. "Keep Holding On". Oh ... how I'd love to dance to that ... a beautiful Viennese Waltz. I can feel it in my bones.

I love when a song grabs me the way this one does. A song to keep beat to as I 'dance' throughout the day .... Here's the song that's in my very being today:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Formatting Nightmares!

I'm glad that I started puttering around with what I thought were 'little things' with The Book early this week. When it comes to making what a novice thinks are minor changes to the formatting in Microsoft Word ... it is another challenge. Oh, how I love a challenge! (not!!) I'm up to the challenges, but after a little while a person just wants things to go smoothly.

Oh well. It's all part of the learning curve. And as I keep saying, I just need to keep using what I've learned so that next time this is old hat.

I'm inching my way through The Book again, between the formatting nightmares and fine tuning the chapters a little as I go, I'm making some progress.

I don't think I'll ever be 100% happy with what I've got written. But I'm getting happier with it, the more I putter. I should probably take writing classes to work on my shortcomings. I'm sure there are many more than I aware of!

And this cool spring weather is just not my favorite either. I can't wait to actually be able to start puttering around outside again. There is still a huge snow hill in the front yard. I'm thinking it may still be there by May 1st! Oh well, I guess it gives the kids something to play on as we wait for some warmer weather.

Bring on the green!! I'm ready for sun and warm days.

And I'm ready to put this book to rest pretty soon. My formatting days are almost done. Almost ...