Sunday, October 31, 2010

Liking Someone is an Option

I have been loved when I was not very likeable.

This .... is much better!

From my (then) 7 year old son

P.S. Even my stick figure picture is having a bad hair day ... some things never change!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough ...

... the tough go to Zumba!!

I've been a little 'off my groove' this past week. No real reason. Just a bunch of the 'same old, same old' mixed in with a little bit of life.

I was in a bit of a funk (again!!) last night and I decided to check out Facebook. This is what I found:
       "Hello Zumba gang, let's Rock the house 6:45pm at World Gym (Nelson Road)
        Let's dance for the ones who can't =)"

I jumped off of my computer chair, put on my Zumba attire (comfy, cool clothes) and was out the door 5 minutes later.

My activity level dropped about a thousand-fold (or so it felt) this past week.

I got pouty when winter arrived and didn't go register for a Wednesday night Belly Fit Class that I had intended on doing. Nor did I attend a Tuesday night Zumba class that I could have went to. Darn snow!!

I am out of sorts because the budget is in seriously in trouble (self induced I'm afraid). I pouted some more.

It was not a good week to be sitting still with my thoughts .

So when Facebook spoke to me last night, I listened. I enjoyed being able to see off my new Zumba friends as they led their last class before their move down South.

I'm so glad that I did.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I am ...

I am but a speck of dust in this entire universe ...

There are days, when it feels like the sun revolves around my own private little universe. Days when I get so caught up in my head that I forget the big picture. Days when my thoughts are too much, too big and out of proportion.

Then reality happens.

I walk out of my isolated little world of thoughts and into the real world. Then I remember that my thoughts are my own. Life goes on outside of my head, outside of my home and carries on without me.

Thank goodness.

The days when the weight of the world is sitting on my shoulders, it is such a relief to walk out of my private little universe and see that I am but one tiny part of the big picture.

Maybe I make a 'speck' of a difference by what I say and do ... but in the whole scheme of things I am only responsible for what happens within my own little world.

I am but a small piece of a whole.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stuck in the Middle

Of all of the 'people I wanted to be when I grew up', the one that seems to keep coming back to me is that of becoming a mediator.

I thought that I could be good at that occupation because I am can be a good listener. I used to listen more than I talked. Now that I've taken up being a bit of a chatterbox, I question my listening abilities. But really, on the whole? I still think I have the ability to hear beyond the words being spoken.

In almost every situation, I feel that I can relate to both sides. There are two sides to every story. Even if one side doesn't appear to have as much going for them, there is usually an emotional undercurrent that is propelling the actions that are under dispute.

Most people simply need to be heard. They need/want the other party to consider their thoughts and feelings. Putting a voice to your emotions in a non-confrontational way isn't easy. When that voice is stifled, the message becomes garbled. It can come out in destructive ways.

I believe people fall back into old habits when they are under attack. The quiet get quieter. The talkers get more verbal. The dominant become overbearing. The insecure may withdraw within themselves ... put others down ... pump themselves up ... or draw attention to themselves in ways that they have always, subconsciously done.

I have been on the sidelines of more than one situation, where one party simply wants to be heard. They have been 'shut out' in one fashion or another and they desperately want the other to party listen.

I have been on the outside, the inside and in the middle of some of these scenarios. As a rule, I am either on the outside or I am one of the parties in question. I have had one party come to me. I've listened. I've played the devil's advocate and tried to voice the other party's side of the story. I have been sorely tempted to approach the 'other party' but have talked myself out of it. It is not my place. If I haven't been invited 'to the party' by both involved, my purpose is to listen.

Then there is the occasion where both sides have approached me independently. I'm hearing both sides. I understand and relate to both parties. I see where the 'behaviour in question' is rooted. I see why things appear to be escalating. There is a bridge that needs to be built, so that both parties can feel heard. Am I to be that bridge?? Or am I to take a step away from the entire situation and let things happen as they may?

I don't have formal training to guide me. I have only common sense and apparently, I must (??) be approachable since I seem to be 'hearing' more than I need to hear. I am not prying information out of these people. They are telling me. This is truly none of my business.

At the moment, I simply feel stuck in the middle. I am uncertain if this is the beginning, middle or end of the situation-at-hand. I will not force myself or my opinions onto anyone. But it is my hope that if I continue to be the middle-man, that I will not make matters worse ... and guide each party towards direct communication between the parties involved.

I'd like to step out of the middle and back onto the sidelines where I will forget everything that I have been told. My vow of secrecy is aided with my tendency to forgetfulness. Your secrets are safe with me (because I'll never remember them!).

Maybe my current discontentment with my work situation is because I am not in a job that fuels my passions. Maybe I am meant to be 'stuck in the middle' .....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Fear Behind the Dreams

I have set some lofty goals for myself. I seem to keep setting the bar a little higher ... and I'm scaring myself.

I didn't realize how this fear daunted me until the phone rang this week. I saw the business name on the call display and I thought "Oh no ... Can I really do this??"

When I realized that destiny was not calling, I was beyond relieved.

I loved being in school. Learning, expanding, dreaming .... but not actually doing the work.

Reality kind of sucks.

I'm in the jobs of my dreams. They are flexible, I have a lot of control in some ways ... none, in others. The bottom line is, that I have the ability to say 'yes' or 'no' to what works for me. The reality is, that not having control of the work flow means not having control over my pay cheque.

I seem to be wading in uncertainty at this very moment. Even that is a choice. I can forge onward and create my own challenges. Sitting idly by and waiting for opportunities to fall into my lap is not a good strategy.

Something is lacking in my work world. The spark that ignites my enthusiasm, the satisfaction of attaining a goal, the need to push my limits ...

I am letting my work-self esteem erode before my very eyes. I'm losing something. I am becoming fearful.

I want to curl up into a little ball and hibernate. I don't feel invincible right now. Right now .... but that can be changed in an instant.

Just as they say that forcing yourself to smile even when you don't feel like smiling, tricks your brain into believing you are happy ... I believe I must propel myself through this phase of self doubt and lack of motivation.

Just because I feel like this at this moment, doesn't mean that I don't have the power to change that within the hour.

It is time to pull up my socks and create my own destiny. Today, that may mean wading through papers and numbers. Which will clear the slate for all of the tomorrows that lie ahead.

Onward! Push through the fear and take that next step ...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Month

This past month has not been typical.
  • I have refused to obsess about logging enough (work) hours to pay the bills.
  • I haven't worried about the budget.
  • I have followed my whims (and put my responsibilities on a back burner).
  • I had a 'make over' day with my sisters.
  • I went on an adventure with friends.
  • I have danced among the stars and brushed shoulders with 'celebrity'
  • I've followed where my Zumba-lust has taken me.
  • I continue to dare to dream (even though fear of the unknown threatens to overwhelms me)
  • I have been touched by the lives of others ...
The bills will be paid one way or another. It may not be an idyllic month monetarily but in the whole scheme of things, it really doesn't matter.

This month has been a gift in every way. It has been a gift because I have become actively involved in living my life. Drawing new experiences into it, walking through new doors with old friends, inviting others into this bubble of contentment.

October has been quite an adventure! And it's not over yet ...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cats and Me ...

I'm very akin to a cat.

Pursue me and I will probably run. Just be yourself and allow me to make my own choices and I will probably come to you.

I don't like to obey for the sake of obedience. Chances are, that I will choose to follow the rules. But demand me to 'sit', 'stay' and 'speak' and I will turn the other cheek and walk away.

I take great enjoyment from basking in a sunbeam and nodding off to sleep. Catnaps and me? We go together like cats and catnip.

I show my affections in many ways, but running up shamelessly like a dog and letting my inhibitions run wild is not my way. I prefer to quietly and consistently show my love in more understated ways.

I can be left along for long periods of time. I fend for myself well. I don't require adulation, regular walks and the outpouring of love the way a dog does. I enjoy the company of others and I'm grateful when my family is around me and people choose my company. But I am a self sufficient soul and I am quite content with quiet days.

I am loyal to those who are close to me. I'm not fierce, nor do I growl or bark (but under duress, I have been known to roar). My loyalty is subtle, but it is true.

I look at a sleeping cat and I feel peace. I feel the vibration of their purr and I feel calmness reverberated within. I look into the eyes of our cat and I see my quiet love reflected in his eyes.

My brother's family suffered a great loss this past weekend. Their much adored cat and faithful friend passed on.

I gazed out of our living room window and watched the raindrops fall. Yesterday afternoon, our sky wept with them.

"Bear, you will be missed ... and always remembered."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Loving Memory


"What greater gift than the love of a cat?"
~ Charles Dickens

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Some of my bestest friends in the world have invited me to partake in an 'adventure' today. These are my instructions:

"You can come at 2:30 or close to 3:00 – whatever works for you and then it should last until noon on Sunday."

"Bring good walking shoes and maybe something a little more dressy but nothing too much and of course some P.J.’s and a warm housecoat or something like that – we will be spending time building a little muscle strength in the wonders of nature, then bodily sustenance with a little fancy dining, then hopefully some mind relaxation enjoying the moonshine (not the alcoholic kind but man in the moon kind), and a whole lot of spiritual renewal with lots of laughter, a few stories, sharing of dreams and maybe a few heartaches but mostly just savouring the wonder of celebrating beautiful friendships and special birthdays."

Where do I begin to describe the adventure of becoming and being a friend to these incredible human beings?

We met because of circumstance. We have evolved from the initial 'teacher/student', 'supervisor/employee', and 'co-worker' roles ... into those of cheerleader, supporter, encourager and friend. Our lives have taken us in completely different directions, yet we continue to return to this strong circle of friendship.

I can honestly say that I have no idea 'who' I would be without the support and encouragement of these friends.

I vividly remember the first time I walked into the meeting room where we met. I was meek and timid. I spoke when I was spoken to. I have no conscious memory of outwardly reaching out to anyone. Yet one of these friend's first memory of me, is that I initiated a conversation with her (I must have sensed our mutual terror in this brand new scenario?).

In the cocoon of safeness that enveloped me during those initial years, I started developing a voice. It seemed I was continually encouraged to use that voice and as time went on, I started to feel like one small part of a whole unit.

I took this new found strength and used it in my personal life. I made hard choices, good choices, life changing choices and quite possibly even some 'not so right' choices as I walked through my life's path with these friends.

Even though our contact was limited, we made the best of the times we had. When you have real friends such as these, no time is wasted in becoming familiar and comfortable when you are in their company. Conversations pick up from where they last left off. Whether it was a week ago, a month ago or a year ago. Time and distance evaporates when in the presence of a lifetime friend.

We have gathered together for many reasons. Most of them simply being, that we enjoy and continue to be encouraged and inspired by our friendships. We have seen each other go through some of the most challenging times of our lives. We walk quietly beside each other and we are friends.

We worked together for many years before we started branching off to live our 'real lives'. It starts innocently by taking a new position in the same workplace. Then there are the moves, changes in career paths, marriage/divorce/children that impact where you spend your energy.

Yet, twenty years later, we continue to nurture and celebrate the bonds of friendship that endure because one person took the time to gather us together to celebrate a birthday one sunny Saturday. It is that same friend that initiated the adventure we are about to embark on today.

"Thank you, my friends! I can say with all honesty ... I have no idea who or where I'd be today without your support, encouragement and friendship."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Daring to Go Where I Have Never Gone Before

Lately, it seems that doors are opening up for me in so many ways. Maybe it's always been like this. The difference? I'm choosing to walk where I've only 'peeked' before.

I love the fact that my decisions are often a resounding "Yes!!", without feeling the need to weigh the guilt, money, time and ability factors.

I feel so much more adventurous than I ever have before. I want to try new things. I don't care if I go with or without another person. When I step into new surroundings by myself, I reach out and I gain so much more.

The insecurities that used to paralyze me? They still rear their ugly head at times, but not for long. Every time I have pushed myself beyond my comfort zone, I have been pleasantly surprised.

I have taken the initiative to make a friend. I talk to someone who is standing alone in a crowded room. I am take classes that interest and inspire me. I welcome people and experiences into my life and it has made my world a better place.

I am walking through new doors and the exciting part is, that each door opens a whole new realm of possibilities.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Everyday Life as I Know It

It's been one week since my latest Great Dance Adventure.

My every day life since then has included little incentives for me to push through the mundane.

Zumba, dancing and Bellyfit classes have been generously sprinkled throughout the week.

The grand adventure of wading through, selling and/or donating my daycare excesses has brought a new dimension to my regularly scheduled life. Out with the old, to make room for the new!

I have found small, unexpected blessings where I least expect them ....

Finding and returning a pair of glasses to their rightful owner led to a meaningful connection with a neighbor.

Connecting with someone I knew only at arm's length before. Or reconnecting with someone from a lifetime ago.

Snippets of conversation with people in my life who keep unveiling pieces of themselves which are interesting and inspiring.

I look at the adventures that mark the chapters of my life. Though there are definitely highlighted events that mark the time in a memorable way, in reality it is the small every day blessings that make the longest lasting impact.

This past week of returning to 'life as I know it' has been an adventure unto itself. This week (like any other) has been spectacular in its own quiet way.

Performing on a stage in front of thousands (well, maybe not quite 2,000) has a way of earmarking a place in time.

But the reality, is that we never know just how many people we touch directly or indirectly by the small deeds we do in our everyday life.

I'd rather make my mark in the world in thousands of small ways ... than to pin all my hopes in touching thousands of lives in less than a few minutes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Car

I am not a car person. When I was a teen, I think I remember my dad asking me what kind of car I liked (this seems like an odd memory to have so I'm not sure if it's mine). But I do remember after being asked that question, I started looking at the cars around me. I finally decided that a Camaro was the car that caught my eye.

Since that time, I have had a 1965 Plymouth Fury; a Dodge van; another 1965 (Chevrolet??); a Ford Tempo; a (?) station wagon; another Ford Tempo; a few forgettable cars as I went through a stage of buying cars without the help of my brother-in-law-car-salesman. For the past 12 years, I have driven an Olds Achieva.

My wish list for a car has moved up a notch or two in the past 23 years. The first time my brother-in-law asked me what I wanted in a car I replied, "Four doors, a radio and reliable enough to get me back and forth to The City I Used to Live In".

It was quite some time after that, that I finally took notice of cars. A nice interior, good speakers (so you could crank up the radio), enough power to pass a car on the highway and no rust were features that I appreciated in the cars that followed.

I have bought a few cars from my brother-in-law ... each of them basically chosen for me. All I had to do was (take out a loan) sign a cheque and drive it home. My sister would give the car her nod of approval before my brother-in-law showed it to me. It's the way I like to shop for everything. Just go in and buy it without thinking.

My car has been very good to me the past 12 years. But it is nearing 17 years of age. It should be in a retirement home. But instead, it reliably takes me where ever I want and need to go. I've travelled a lot of miles in that car. It has seen me through many life events. I still like my car. My eyes don't wander. I am faithful.

It must be the fact that my car is aging, but my thoughts have been drifting towards the idea of having to find a replacement one day. I still haven't been looking at other cars ... just thinking.

Then I saw it. The car of my dreams. It drove right up in my driveway and I only saw the back end view of it. But I'm in lust.

Look at that view! That is all I needed to see ...

I am sometimes a major annoyance to my Middle Son. He has a truck and therefore he is the one I call when I need something larger than a suitcase (exaggeration here, but I'm sure this is the way he feels at times) hauled from Point A to Point B. When I saw what this car could do with all the seats folded down? I was in love.

I know nothing about these cars. I doubt I'd recognize one if it was staring me in the face. I only saw the rear view and I liked what I saw.

The reason I am writing about this today?

It's because I believe that my fairy godmother must read my blog. One day, I am going to have to go back through the archives and record all of my wishes that have come true.

I think this happens all of the time, but because a person doesn't normally write down their (many) meandering thoughts you don't realize how often it actually occurs.

But yesterday, I got a call from someone. This person has never called me before. It was in direct response to a recent blog. There is no way in the world that this person would have read what I wrote. Yet the phone call was as if they had. The conversation unfolded exactly the way I visualized it.

I believe that there is truly something to the idea of visualizing the way you want your life to unfold. I don't think the result is a Twilight Zone type of experience, but I do think that our subconscious thoughts are powerful. You draw experiences and results into your life by what you think, feel and believe.

After this conversation, I walked downstairs and declared to my Middle Son. "I believe that I will get the Matrix that I am dreaming of. Because all of my wishes are coming true."

Thus, Blog Fairy Godmother (or Father or Angel or Whom/What Ever You May Be) ... I am dreaming of driving a Matrix. I believe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Zumba Has Lost its Zoom

I thought I noticed it the last time I had a Zumba class. Last night it was real. I have no zoom left in my Zumba ..

Those first weeks, I was hyped. I had that extra energy to take it up a notch. The last few weeks? Not so much.

Where did my 'zoom' go?

Is it because I should have been at home working, to catch up on all of the hours I'm short in my bookkeeping job?

Has my house cleaning spree taken its toll?

Am I stretched too far - adding too much to my life instead of cutting back?

Could it be that I shouldn't have been eating my supper as I was running out the door to my class?

Or that I'm having trouble following our instructor who flits around the room so I can't see what we are supposed to be doing; changes her position from facing us/to backing us and my brain has trouble translating the mixed leads; and the assumption that we know what we are doing without her step-by-step instruction?

Was it simply because my feet and joints were hurting as we kicked it up a notch and my very own body let me down?!

I like to think that I have the ability to pick myself up after a mentally exhausting day and divert my energy to doing something physical. So I'm going to keep on trying.

I am going to miss the Monday, Wednesday and Friday dance classes that I grew accustomed to, during our preparations for 'Ballroom With a Twist'. It won't be easy to find something that will take its place. But I won't stop looking.

I am planning on going to another Zumba class tonight ... and a Zumba party on Sunday. A couple that I met from our dance formation team teaches Zumba and I think I've found a way to carry a little piece of that 'something special' from our dance team and move it into my real world.

Maybe the zoom isn't missing from only my Zumba class ... maybe it is missing from my life in general. I'm not going to stop working to keep a little spice in my life ... a little pep in my step ... or a little zoom in my Zumba.

Onward! Life goes on ...

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's What's in the Middle That Counts

"... beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will..." ~ from "Hope Floats"

As it is with the ebbs and flows of life, I am ebbing back to a state of normal after a whirlwind four weeks, of preparing for and performing in 'Ballroom With a Twist'.

A lot of hype went into that 1 minute and 25 second dance routine.

As we were learning the choreography, I went through my (usual) "I shouldn't be here ... I'll never learn this ... I'm disappointing my partner/the team ..." thoughts. It happens every time. I keep shaking my head thinking "I don't belong here."

We were a group of 18. It took me a while to find my 'groove' within the whole. Our practises were from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m., so when the practise was over I was racing home to say good night to My Youngest before he went to sleep. I wasn't lingering afterwards and getting to know my team mates.

Beginnings are uncomfortable for me.

Fast forward to the end ...

Just as we were nearing the end, new hope was born. There was a chance that we may be asked to perform at the last two stops of their Canadian tour. Hope! Just as we were coming to an end there was a potential opportunity to postpone the inevitable.

It was so exciting to hold onto that dream. Hope to prolong the short mourning period of the end of our time together as a team. Hope that we could take our group on the road! Hope!

So when we didn't get the call to join the cast of 'Ballroom With a Twist' the day after our final performance - our final chance to be together as a group, it was a double whammy.

The end of a good run, coupled with the loss of a dream. It knocked the wind out of my sails. For one evening. I didn't realize how much I had wished for this ... until we didn't get 'the call'. Not even a call to say we weren't going. Nothing.

I woke up the next morning and I was back to remembering 'the middle' of this adventure.

Being involved in a group. Getting to know new people. Learning fun and peppy choreography. The primping (that drives me crazy) and all of the excitement of putting it all together.

I always look back on my involvement with these dance formation groups and remember the 'middle'. Feeling a part of a whole. No one person stands out - we are a team. It's a good feeling to belong.

This mini-adventure is just one little blip in the 'dash', which is my life.

"... For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth ..."

~an excerpt from the poem 'The Dash' by Linda Ellis

Sunday, October 17, 2010

To Whom it May Concern;

First of all, I must tell you that I understand you more than I wish that I did.

The insecurities that you wear on your sleeve for all the world to see? I used to feel that way too. About everything. I broke apart every little piece of my life and looked at it under a microscope and I was insecure about everything. To this day, when I'm wading in new territory those insecurities envelope me for a while. I'm glad that it does. I appreciate being reminded that I am far from perfect, but I've grown enough to know that I can learn to adapt and be the best I can be.

Your need for affirmation? I used to crave that. I still need a little from time to time, but the craving has subsided. I have learned to be good to myself and and allowed myself to feel good about myself. Other people's opinions are not always able to carry you through. When you learn self affirmation, you become less dependent on others. Being the best you can be should always be good enough.

Your desire for perfection? Oh, how I struggle with that one. I can remember the first time I lamented aloud, "I just want to be ... perfect". Perfect so that no one can point at me and laugh ... or put me down ... or talk behind my back ... or fire me ... or realize that I am only human and I do make mistakes. I still desire perfection. But what I've learned, is how much is to be gained by making mistakes along the way. Mistakes are simply an opportunity to learn. And grow. As much as I hate making mistakes, I know if I am patient and observant I will see how much I've gained by taking the wrong way the first time around.

Your unbridled nervous energy? Been there. Done that. Still do that. When I get in an excitable state, I annoy myself. It's almost uncontrollable some times. I do my best to channel my nerves in a positive way and I like to call it being 'bubbly'. But to those who must endure, I think it can be annoying. I try very hard to be aware of my energy and how it is affecting those around me. There are times when I wake up with a verbal hangover the next morning. All the things I said that I feel that I must make amends for. I'm doing my best. I understand where you are coming from.

Your thoughts that bounce around the room like a 'super ball'? I still visit that place ... a lot. I can't complete thoughts or sentences. I talk so fast that no one can understand me. I don't make sense. My thoughts are moving faster than my mouth at times. I can almost see your thoughts bounce around the room at times. I understand.

You are far too hard on yourself! I can see this trait in myself to this very day. Most prevalent on the 'mornings after', when I'm suffering from that verbal hangover. I have choices. I can accept and forgive myself. If I can't do that, I can make amends and try to undo the damage I feel so guilty about. It is so important to learn not to 'beat yourself up'. Because if you berate yourself, you will find that you attract people into your life that help you live up to that belief. People treat you as good as you treat yourself.

I've heard you open the door to your private world only a few times. When you are quiet and honest, I hear pain. It is my feeling that your outward actions are masking a lot of your inner agony. Perhaps it is the only safe outlet you have. You talk so little about the 'real' you, that I think there is much more than anyone could ever guess that lies beneath the surface.

They say that still waters run deep ... but so do rapid currents.

But you are hurting people in the 'community' we share. I am quietly standing by and absorbing this. I want to help but it is not my place. You haven't hurt me personally, but I'm hurting on behalf of others. You haven't approached me, but if you did I would listen. I would like to know what is really going on underneath the persona that you portray to the world.

I've walked a path that may be parallel to yours. There are times that I put up walls to protect all that I have built. I believe that you feel you can't penetrate my walls. Not in a 'needy' way.

I will not allow someone to come and 'bleed me dry'. But I can and will be a friend. I will listen.

You have approached me and I have responded with words from my experience. I always encourage you to look within for your happiness ... to acknowledge your talents ... to believe in your own decisions ... and to trust those who know more. These are not the answers you are looking for. So you keep me at a distance.

If you find your security and contentment from within, no one can (or should) take that away from you. Believe in yourself and the world will believe ...

If you came to me, this would be what I would tell you:

You must be kind to yourself and kind to those who touch your world.

You must be open to listen to others and accept that sometimes you just have to trust someone else's opinions. Sometimes in life, we are the teacher. Other times, we are the student. We have to be willing to be open enough to allow ourselves to grow.

If nothing else, simply live by the Golden Rule. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' If you lived by this one rule, you would gain so much. When I hear you talk unkindly about anyone, I hurt for them. How would you feel if they were talking badly about you?

I forgive you for all of this. Because I believe there is much that lies beneath the surface.

Someone Who's Been There

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crash Landings

When I fall off of my cloud, sometimes it's easier than others.

There are times when I don't even know the cloud is gone. The 'big event' has come and gone and I'm still walking on air. It's akin to the cartoon characters that have walked off of a cliff but haven't realized it yet, so they are still walking on a horizontal path.

There are other times when I waft slowly down to earth, appreciating the view along the way. It's a fun way to come off of a cloud.

Other times, it's a little more like I was on a cloud in the mountains. The cloud never lifted off the earth's surface, but I was still higher than sea level. I recall my brother's mountain scrambling tales about coming down the mountain being more treacherous than the climb up. As is the case in coming off of my cloud in the mountains. Not always a straight and narrow path but the mountains I've descended have been of the 'bunny hill' version.

I have fallen off of my cloud and landed on my head. That hurts. The concussion, the rehabilitation and weaning back to the real world process is a little more labor intensive. But I survive. I always survive.

This time, it was as if my cloud was hit with a lightening bolt. I was hit at approximately 3:47 a.m. yesterday. The previous day flashed before my eyes. My heart was racing. My reactions to events of the day prior, were over the top. I was 'light sensitive' for the remainder of the day.

I talked to one sister ... I emailed the other. My mom called and we were on two different plateaus of communication and I offended her. I talked to my Second Son and (at first), he suggested that I call a friend and go to see an uplifting movie. We talked some more. He then suggested that I stay home and keep my contact with the rest of the human race to a minimum. At the day's end, there was not one person in the world that I felt like talking to. I knew I had to navigate my through this on my own.

So I did what I do best. I went to bed and slept it off.

I woke up this morning and my world is back in perspective. I have work to do, goals to attain and my own little (bunny hill) mountains to scale.

And now ... I have to find something else to pin my hopes on. 'Hope' died for a moment yesterday. But I believe in reincarnation and will keep looking for new hope.

I'm a bit of a dreamer. It's fun while it lasts, but I know that I must always return to earth. Next time, I'm going to pack a parachute.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sometimes I Should ...

Sometimes I should simply keep my inane thoughts to myself. Especially when people don't know me and know that when I say something odd, there is usually an entire back-story to it.

Let me rewind the tape ...

I have been in awe of the opportunity that our dance formation team has been given. Not only were we chosen to perform at 'Ballroom With a Twist', but we got tickets to see the show and the opportunity to attend the 'Meet and Greet' with the stars afterwards. I had been telling people that I would be rubbing shoulders with the stars.

Fast forward to last night. The meet and greet was not so much of an introduction and chit chat. It involved lining up so that you could have your picture taken with the stars.

It was decided that our entire group would pose with the celebrities for our momento of the occasion. Our dance formation team ... with the 'Dancing With the Stars' team.

In a group of 22 people (18 of us; 4 of the stars), what are the chances of standing anywhere in the vicinity of one of those celebrities? The odds were 1 in 4.5 ... and I was one of the fortunate few.

In a moment of clarity, I realized that my words "rubbing shoulders with the stars" was my reality! I was standing next to Edyta Sliwinska. My shoulder was actually brushing her shoulder. Stop the tape here. Rewind. Do over. Colleen!!! Only think those words ... do not ... I repeat - DO NOT say them out loud!!

Too late. The words were out of my mouth without thinking. If she was my friend and knew me well, she would have laughed with me. But I was a complete and total stranger and I told her that I had been telling people that I would have the opportunity to be rubbing shoulders with the stars. And there I was. Shoulder to shoulder with Edyta Sliwinska.

She recoiled (did someone tell her to move at that moment or was it a reaction to my inappropriate humor??) she immediately scurried away from me. One moment of eye contact. And it was over.

But I was rubbing shoulders with a different star. I'll have to look at the picture to see who it was. I was in a moment of awe and not yet consciously aware of Edita's reaction, I repeated my 'humorous' thought to him as well.

I rewind the tape of that moment and think to myself, "Sometimes Colleen, you really need to keep your lips still and just think your thoughts (and write about them later)" ....

Edita, I apologize. In my mind, I was amused with this reality and thought you would understand where my humor was coming from. But if I was you? I would have quickly recoiled and taken solace in standing far, far away from a stalker-like person like me too. I understand.

And next time? I will just keep my thoughts to myself.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Should Be a Star ...

... because I could sure use a hair and make-up person!

Before (obviously)
After (you can see my eyes!)

Wardrobe is added for the final effect
This was the transformation from the ugly duckling to dancer on the day of 'Ballroom With a Twist' (I am not adding the close-ups ... they are much too frightening!!).

A Cinderella Kind of Day

I'm a wallflower by nature. Without makeup, I blend into the woodwork. I outline my eyes each morning with eyeliner, mascara and eyebrow pencil so that I can find my features in a mirror. But try as I might, I just don't do 'dramatic' or stage make up.

Before performing in my first ballroom dance show case, I had help from the experts at our dance studio to help me out for this event. I was told that a person should be able to see my eyes from across the room . False eyelashes and make up to accentuate the eyes are a must. Our female instructor even took time from her day to give me a lesson in applying eye make up. I have attended a class on make up application that one of the pro dancers led.

Try as I might, the most I can come up with is moderately noticeable eyes.

I have tried, tried, tried again and even tried more ... but I can't do the false eyelashes. I have taken my eye makeup and tried my best to emphasize my eyes. It seems that little applicator has a mind of its own and will not allow me to add more makeup than absolutely necessary.

Tuesday night, we were asked to come to the studio to get a picture taken for our local paper. It was the perfect chance to practise my make up application skills. I had time. I would succeed at making my eyes appear noticeable. I could do this!

Step One - eye makeup. I finally figured out why there are four different shades in my eye shadow compact. I thought it was so you had a selection. No. One color is for the brow line; second color for the lid; third color for the crease; fourth color for a dramatic emphasis at the end of the crease (now that I reread this, I realize that I was told this on my very first eye make up lesson).

First, I couldn't apply the brow line color without the darker colors bleeding through the applicator. I applied, wiped off, reapplied, wiped off this color at least four times before I 'succeeded'. The clock was ticking. I hastily applied the lid and crease color; did some fine tuning and adjusting and swabbing and then tried the fourth color for that dramatic flair. A few more swipes with the Q-tip to attempt to make my eyes match. And voila. I looked ... normal.

Step Two - false eyelashes. Even without the glue, I couldn't even come close to fitting them against my eye to see if they needed to be trimmed. Not to be deterred, I applied the glue anyway thinking that may help. Not so much. First time, the glue dried while I was counting the seconds so that it would be tacky. Second time, I succeeded in sticking the lashes somewhere in the vicinity of my eyelash line. They were off center, half glued and definitely not staying where I put them. Time was running out and I only had time to dab the glue off my lash line, reapply eye makeup on that one eye and run out the door.

Step Three - redo Step One, on one eye.

I must mention that half of my problem is that I can't see what I'm doing. Without my contact lenses, I apply eye make up by 'feel'. With my contact lenses, I am still restricted. One of my lenses is for distance; the other is for close up; my brain translates the two messages and with both eyes open, I can see. Close one of those eyes and the remaining eye can only do the function it was set out to do. Thus .. when I apply makeup to the eye that is used for close up, I am going by the blur of what my long distance vision will allow.

Add to this handicap, the fact that I was getting anxious about the time. The seconds were ticking by and I had one completely naked eye.

To make it a little more challenging, the remnants of the glue from the eyelash fiasco made the application of eyeliner impossible.

To further complicate the matter, my eyelid started twitching and I couldn't make it stop. Have you ever tried applying eyeliner with a shaky hand, a twitching eye and glue from an unsuccessful fake eyelash attempt remaining? It didn't happen.

So I hastily applied eyeshadow; threw on my gold lame wear and raced out the door. There seems to be a subconscious need for me to be running out the door without time to check my reflection when I wear gold lamé.

Okay. That is simply the makeup portion of the overall look. Then there is the hair. Oh ... the hair.

I have given up on my hair. I can't do a thing with it. I go from bad to worse. The best I can do lately, is to apply hair product to try and tame it into submission. It isn't pretty in a submissive state. There is nothing about this look that says anyone took any time to make this happen. The sad part, is that it takes two to three attempts to make it look as 'good' as I can get it. It could be worse. I could be bald. But this hair-challenge-of-the-year is such a tedious stress that it is slowly driving me crazy.

At least I have my nails! I thought my nails may not survive the latest growing out session of gel nails. I love, love, love the gel nails. I hate, hate, hate the process of growing them out. But when my real nails finally emerged again, they grew! They didn't break! They were strong and healthy again. Until ... the last few days. I broke my thumbnail on the weekend. I cracked another nail when I was dancing on Tuesday. The edges of my nails are fraying and I'm catching them on everything. My nails were letting me down when I needed them the most.

I tried to Super Glue my cracked nail back together. All I succeeded in doing was making a mess. Glue all over the table, my fingers and a little on my broken nail. The glue on my nail did not stay in one place - it was all over. I had to sand it off. Off of my nail, off of the table, off of the rest of my fingers.

Who has the energy for this?? This beautification process is aging me before my eyes. I see the stress lines multiplying before my failing eyes as I attempt to become someone I'm not.

So ... this morning, I have an appointment for make-up (and false eyelashes), nails and hair. By 1:00, I should be walking out the door, halfway to my overall Cinderella transformation. All that will be left to do, is throw on my gold lamé outfit and race off to the ball ... 'Ballroom With a Twist', that is!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Endless Possibilities ...

When I first put on my dancing shoes, I had no idea where those shoes would take me.

I not only dared to leave the house ... I dared to dance!

I danced with my instructor. I danced in our group classes. I have performed in our showcases. I have danced solo (with my instructor). I have danced as part of a group formation. I danced in a competition.

I have danced in our studio. I have danced in front of a crowd.

I dance for fun. I dance for the sport. I dance for the exercise. I dance for the challenge.

I have followed and I have lead. I hear music and my heart starts to dance!

Our group formation team will be performing in 'Ballroom With a Twist'. Last night, we were told of the possibilities of where that could take us.

Even if those possibilities don't become a reality, it is good to dream. To have hope, excitement and anticipation adds an extra sparkle to dancing!

As if dancing wasn't enough, there is more. Always more ...

Signing up for that first dance lesson was the best gift that I ever gave myself!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Living Excessively

It is exhausting to be surrounded by 'too much'.

I cleaned house this past weekend and though there is still much to be done ... I have become energized in what I have accomplished.

It's very hard to go from zero to sixty in a weekend. Did I get rid of everything I don't need? No.

I have culled through (and am still finding) the excesses of my daycare life in every nook and cranny of our home.

It is no wonder I have felt drained lately. The living room was full of my bookkeeping work. The closets, drawers and every other nook and cranny were filled with tools from my daycare days. My own personal space - closet, dressers and filing cabinet were overflowing. It has been an exhausting place to live, let alone work!

It takes time and energy to cull through the excesses of life, but the reward is in the state of mind that comes when you are nearing your goal.

My end goal is still a long way off but see how far I've come!


Now!! (note the doors that can be closed)


                                          "To go"

"To stay"

Yes ... I still have a long way to go. But as I look towards the future, I simply can't foresee that there will never be the sounds of youth in our home. So I'm holding onto some things ... but letting a lot go.

Life is like that. Keep what is important, get rid of the excess. And revisit what is important from time to time. We are eternally evolving and it is amazing how my inner turmoil is reflected 'behind closed doors (and drawers)'.

I think I have put myself back on a forward path this past weekend. It is time to let go and move on.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On Being Happy

Today is Thanksgiving. This post should be entitled 'On Being Thankful' ...

Truly, in my mind that is what being happy (for me) boils down to. Counting blessings, focusing on what I have, appreciating my family, friends and relationships and living a life with many options.

I have been belly aching about my work a lot lately. Maybe not the actual work, but the ebbs and flows and unreliable income. As of this moment, I am putting a sock in it. Enough already!!

This is what I do have:
  • I have two jobs
  • I have variety in my work
  • I work from my home (for the most part)
  • My work challenges me
  • I continue to learn-as-I-go ... I love learning!
  • I have flexibility to work in my hours when it works for me
  • I earn an income that supports my lifestyle
  • I have bosses that I admire, appreciate and enjoy
  • If I had the choice, I would choose to work for these people
  • Even if the perfect job fell into my lap, I would still want to work for these people
Last night, My Oldest was encouraging me to continue looking around and keep my options open. "Wouldn't it be nice to have one job? And work regular hours, Monday to Friday?"

I thought "Wouldn't it be nice to have one pay cheque ... that I could rely on? And benefits ... and holidays ...?!?"

My knee jerk reaction to our conversation was that I am where I am meant to be right now.

For that, and so much more .... I am beyond grateful. I live a charmed life and I know it.

I'm grateful for the challenges that help me appreciate all that I have.

"Happy Thanksgiving!"

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Selective Thinking

"You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control."

Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)

I went to see the movie 'Eat, Pray, Love' with a friend last night.

It is a movie where you should read the book first. It is full of such deep and provocative thoughts that it had my head spinning.

It didn't take me long to find the quote that resonated with me the most.

"Select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day."

I have been allowing myself to select the wrong thoughts lately. It is time to clean out my closet and cull out the negativity and self pity!

That is just what I'm going to do.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


If we can remember ... we are blessed.

Yes, there are some things in life that we'd rather forget. But most of those things have taught us a lesson. A lesson we need to remember.

If someone has memories to share with you ... you are blessed.

Often, it seems that we don't appreciate those memories until the teller of those tales cannot tell you any more. How often have I heard the words "We should have recorded their stories ... now it's too late"? Too often.

If you have the ability to make a record of your own history ... you are blessed.

Whether it is photographs, video, letters, emails, diaries or history recorded in any form. To have any tangible form of your life, the life of your parents, grandparents and beyond is precious.

When we look back on our lives or the lives of others, it is not material belongings and outward appearances we remember. We remember the way others made us feel. We remember the impact of friendships. We remember qualities of another person's personality.

Memories are our greatest legacy. Cherish them and make them worth remembering.

Friday, October 8, 2010


It feels as though I've been training for a marathon the past several weeks. Instead of making me fit and lean ... it seems to have worn me down.

I have been in the dance studio every week day night except for Tuesday the past three weeks. Due to the Thanksgiving weekend, we are taking a break tonight and Monday night. Four consecutive days without dancing. The thought of not having that 9:00 p.m. lesson is rather liberating. But it's sad. What will I do in lieu of dancing? I'll probably sleep.

My Bellyfit class is still a 'go' for this upcoming Saturday. Yay! An excuse to ready myself for the day and be out of the house before noon makes me happy. Maybe while I'm out, I'll finally have the time to make that run to WalMart. Ever since they moved our local neighborhood WalMart halfway to the nearest town, I seem to feel the need to pack a suitcase before I make the trip.

Monday's Zumba class is cancelled in lieu of the holiday ... but I have found another drop in class in my neighborhood on Tuesday. I love, love, love my Zumba classes! I'm determined to find a way to make it to at least one class next week.

The F.I.T. class is a little bit like torture with good musical accompaniment. It's harder to convince myself to go to that class (plus the fact that it is a drop in, pay-as-you-go class and I'm not financially committed). I know it's good for me ... so once this dance lesson marathon is complete, I will try and force myself to do the right thing and go. But that drop in Zumba class is on Tuesdays as well ... maybe one work out is enough?

You'd think that I'd be feeling like a lean, mean dancing machine with all of this dancing and exercise that feels like dancing. One would assume the pounds would be dropping off like crazy (they are not).

My reality?? All of this running has simply made me tired.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Early Morning Revelations

I love waking up in the morning with 'the answer' to an unsolved problem right on the tip of my consciousness.

When I was a bank teller, there were many times that I woke up knowing what my cash outage was (that had eluded me the day before).

There have been times when I knew my life was in a state of chaos. I sleep walked (slept walked?) through my days just following my instincts and getting by. I didn't know which way to turn to get out of my rut. The right answers were right there before me in the wee hours of the day - before my conscious mind woke up.

Health scares. Even though my day time mind was running through the lists of possibilities, I had a knowing feeling when I woke up one morning with the words "You are going to be okay" in my head.

Minor things. Two nights ago, I struggled and struggled to download some video footage (that was dropped off in DVD form) onto another blog. My late evening brain is not smart. I downloaded a 'file converter' and I was still having problems. I woke up yesterday morning and knew what I had to do. The answer was there all of the time.

Last night? I went to sleep with gold lame on my mind. I wore my new garb for our upcoming performance to our group dance lesson last night. It wasn't pretty. All I could think at the time was the money I spent and the fact that I couldn't return those gold lame leggings. I was stuck.

This morning? I remembered the 'exchange only' policy at the above mentioned store. Maybe I can find a way to make some other gold lame garment work.

I simply can't be seen in public in that get-up. A (near) 50 year old body which is a little on the meaty side has no business in gold lame leggings. They've got to go! I must find a way ...

Thank goodness for my early morning revelation.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


At the very beginning of my banking career, I was told to keep my work area neat and organized. It is not only the impression that you give your customer, but it is a sign of an organized mind.

I have taken that advice with me where ever I have travelled. Whether it is a desk, office, kitchen, house, yard, car &/or garage ... the state of whatever area I am working in, correlates with my state of mind.

As a teller, I kept my wicket organized and well supplied. When I had a desk and office, my habits remained. Supplies were replenished before I ran out, everything I needed was at my fingertips and there was an aura of tidiness in my work space.

When I graduated to become a full time daycare provider, my house became my office. If the kitchen was chaos, I was a mirror image. The more I needed to feel in control of the day (my life), the more I fought to maintain order within our home. This is when stock piling food became the norm for me. I became (what most would call) obsessive compulsive about my household chores. It was a fight, but my mind and home continued to be mirror images of each other. If there was order in my work place (our home), there was order in my mind.

Fast forward to today.

I have been unable to make a final decision about the end of my daycare career. At every turn, I am reminded of the quality of life that I had (and ability to be organized and work in a lot of extra curricular housecleaning activities) when I ran my daycare. So I have had a hard time making the move to donate/sell &/or throw away the excessive amount of 'kid stuff' that have amassed over the years. Toys, videos, books, puzzles, craft stuff and baby paraphernalia fill every spare nook and cranny.

What is not filled with daycare provisions, is full of excess ... stuff.

I can't fit anything more into the filing cabinet. My dresser drawers are full. My closet is so full of miscellaneous items (not to mention the clothes that I don't wear) that I cringe every time I open the doors. My Youngest hasn't seen the top of his dresser since 2008. Boxes are amassing in the laundry room ... I believe the clutter is reproducing on its own. It's taking over our home.

Then there is my work. This .... is my office (aka - living room):

Since this picture has been taken, there has been a bucket full of invoices-to-be-paid and another box of statements-to-be-done added to the kitchen. Not to mention the box in the living room that is out of camera range.

I am 95% finished each task I have been given. No one job (except statements and invoices to be paid) is ever complete.

I have lists of questions, missing paperwork, documentation of potential problems, etc, etc, etc.

My mind feels exactly like my living room. I am in a state of confusion. And I don't know where to begin.

It's no wonder that I cannot retain new information - I have to 'clean house' in every sense of the word. I must regain some control of my work life, my home life and my mind.

Thank goodness for this upcoming long weekend. Watch out clutter ... here I come!!!

P.S. Note the cat-in-the-box ... our cat loves, loves, loves cardboard boxes. You can imagine his angst when he scours the living room to see all of his favorite play toys filled with paperwork. So I set out this empty box especially for him. He hopped right in and was as happy as could be.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Things I Do For Dancing ...

First, it was the orange hair and all of the accessorizing I did, before I attended The Great Dance Adventure ...

Now? It is costuming for our dance formation team's performance at "Ballroom With a Twist" ...

Black and gold lame is the color scheme for the ladies.

So this (almost) 50 year old spent (over) $50 on a pair of gold lame pants yesterday.

I walked out of the store and my thoughts immediately returned to the orange hair that became my reality for The Great Dance Adventure.

Oh ... the things I do for the sake of dancing!! (I'm feeling a little 'Michael Jackson-ish' right now ...)

Monday, October 4, 2010


I'm just plain tired. Tired of working, tired of worrying, tired of juggling, tired of 'keeping up'. Tired of reasoning, rationalizing, tired of talking myself through.

My Oldest asked me what I'd like for my upcoming birthday. It took a little less than a nanosecond for my mouth to utter the words, "A man ..."

The same words were falling out of my mouth as my sisters and I parted ways. Only I was a little fussier, "A rich man, who works out of town a lot."

I just want to let down my guard and relax with life. I want to stop worrying and obsessing about work/bills/the future.

I know that this is a phase. It is to be expected while I'm treading in new territory. I have been working in my new chosen field for (just over) two months. It is not unusual to feel some trepidation while you search for your new normal.

I'm just tired of this treading water phase.

But there is a grain of truth to my wish. Sometimes. I just want to have someone hold my hand and walk towards an unknown future ... together.

Sometimes, I just get tired of the fight.

Give me a day or two and I'll be back to myself. But for today, I'm just going to rest.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Off to See My Sisters

One of the biggest benefits of living where I do, is the close proximity to my sisters. I feel nestled among my family - with one sister an hour and a half to the east of me; my other sister an hour and a half to the north; and my mom and brother five hours to the west. I feel snug and cozy here in the 'middle'.

I knew of other family members that lived in Our New City when we first moved here ... but I didn't know them. It was a great consolation to me, to know that I could just run out to have coffee with one of my sisters when I was adjusting to our new life here. I didn't do it. But I knew that I could.

What happened instead, was the accidental tradition of our (more or less) Annual Sister Supper &/or Sleepover. Sure, we cross paths for various reasons throughout the year ... but that 'sister time' has become something we all anticipate and enjoy.

Life is busy and the annual tradition isn't always a given. We recently took a spur of the moment trip to see our mom and it was fantastic. So really, we weren't 'due' for a Sister Sleepover any time soon.

But ... I have been having a bad hair year and an idea was born.

I believe I have hair like my older sister. Her daughter-in-law is a hairdresser and my sister always has an easy 'wash and go' hair style. That is exactly the kind of cut I'm looking for. So I emailed my sister to see if her daughter-in-law would be interested in taking on my hair.

Long story short, we are having a Sister Makeover Day in my Northern Sister's fair city today. We are all getting our hair done. I suggested we do nails and go for an entire 'girly girl' kind of day (I even invited our brother to join us but he had some lame excuse about running low on hair and wasn't keen on experimenting with what remains) but I think (the nails) idea was vetoed. But none the less, we are going to go 'get pretty' ... maybe hang out at the mall ... do lunch ... and fill the hours in between lunch and supper with Sister Fun.

It's sure to be a fun and interesting day. If you hear the echoes of laughter within your soul today, think of The Three Sisters ... it's probably us that you 'hear'.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Number Just Doesn't Matter

It has been three weeks since I tried on my ballgown and discovered what I knew all along. My life of inertia had added some poundage to my body frame and the dress was pulling and tugging in places it shouldn't.

I haven't eaten after supper since that revelation. I have since realized how often I reach for food when all I am trying to do is simply stay awake.

I have become more wakeful by adding physical activities into my schedule. Keeping active has added some bounce back into my step. It has encouraged me to work during the day and keep my evenings free for my own pleasure. I  have stayed awake by being active. And ... (drum roll please ...), I have learned to simply go to bed when I am tired.

It's been three weeks. I decided to step on the scale this morning. Drum roll (again) ... ... ... little to no change. Maybe a pound or two - three, at most. My clothes are a little bit more comfortable, but really - there hasn't been a change.

And you know what? I'm okay with that. I'm not making lifestyle changes to lose weight.

I'm making them because I feel gross after I eat a bag of chips late at night (with a sugary sweet chaser to boot).

The physical exercise has released happy endorphins within. I am feeling a little bit bubbly once again.

I work during the day. The evenings are mine, to do as I please. I sleep when I'm tired. I'm awake before my alarm goes off. My life is feeling back in balance once again.

Three months ago, I wrote about the numbers on the bathroom scale and how meaningless they were. This time, I remember the before, after and goal numbers. And do you know what? I really don't care any more.

All I want is to live a balanced life. At the moment ... I am succeeding at that goal. And that is all that really matters.