Friday, December 31, 2010

One Last Lesson From 2010

Life Lesson #2,209,309:

"Never hold your ATM deposit in the same hand as the letters you are about to mail"

Good-bye Christmas Cash .... it was nice knowin' ya. I have great faith that Canada Post will do their best to rescue my ATM deposit. On Tuesday. When they are back from their New Year Holiday Long Weekend.

But even I found it (slightly) amusing that moments after I jumped back into my car after this important Life Lesson, this song was telling me exactly what I needed to do:

video

The Year of Great Friendships

I sat in front of this empty screen this morning and pondered what to write about this Morning of the Last Day of 2010.

I let my fingers do the walking and I eventually ended up watching a 'Friendship Video' montage from 2008. The memories were two years old, but they were as fresh as the moment we captured them on video when I watched it this morning. I started reflecting on my friendships and thus, this blog post was born.

2010 has been a banner year. I don't know where to begin ...

First and foremost, was the Great Dance Adventure. The entire experience was unforgettable. But what stands out more than anything after all is said and done?? The connections that I made with the group that travelled the same path. I visited at length with so many people that I normally don't have the chance to know, in our fleeting contact at the dance studio. I got to know another side to our Dance Instructors. I stepped into the entire Dance Adventure a novice and stranger to all of this. I walked away with fantastic memories and a sense of 'knowing' the people that I joined on the adventure.

The world of dance offered many new and fun activities throughout 2010 ... from attending and hosting the potluck supper for our Dance Camp to Dancing With the Stars to simply Dancing! Walking through the doors to the dance studio has changed my life. Each year gets better than the one prior. Each and every time I walk through that door, I forget everything else in my life and 'regain my sense of happy'. The music, the dance, my instructor and the entire ambience within. I have made many friends within those four walls ...

It was a year where Dreams Made Wishes Come True . I dared to dream. I lived a lot of those dreams. 2011 is full of opportunities to continue to make those dreams come true. On March 10, 2010 ... I wrote that I would go on an Alaskan Cruise within two years. I am a year ahead of schedule. I will be going in May, 2011 instead. And that is just the beginning ...

Then there are all of my Field of Dreams experiences. They happen all of the time ... I have extended my hand on numerous occasions. The lesson learned seems to be "If I ask ... it will happen".

All of the above were magical and precious. But what lies deep beneath the surface in each and every memory I have this year? Friends.

I have extended my hand in friendship and made new friends. I have continued to strengthen the bond with old friends. I reconnected with friends of the past. I have a friend in each and every family member. My adult children are starting to connect with me on a 'friendship level'.

My family are my friends. I believe that my family taught me all that I needed to know about being a friend. Where my family left off, my friends took over. It is cyclical. The more you give (in friendship), the more you receive. It has snowballed over the years.

The year of 2010 has been a culmination of all the seeds sown in the years prior. The year has been a gift. It has been The Year of Great Friendships.

Friendships that will last "To infinity and beyond ..."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Change of Pace

I'm on an unofficially declared holiday.

In my new found world of working-from-home and a casual job on the side, I wasn't entirely certain what this week-between-Christmas-and-New-Year's would bring. But I'm enjoying what is unfolding. I have been able to simply go with the flow.

Our holiday away from home wasn't dictated by my work. What a wonderful gift.

Since we returned home, my work-from-home was able to take a back seat while I tended to my own life and responsibilities.

I have enjoyed the perfect mix of good company and enough work-around-the-house so that I appreciated the down-time.

I have tackled a few of the bigger jobs that I never get around to, with my regularly scheduled weeks. The sense of accomplishment is great when you put some of those tasks behind you.

I love the pace of these days. I love that I am not racing around running errands. I love that the panic part of Christmas is behind me and now I can just coast and enjoy ...

The only downfall is that it almost 10:30 and I have not accomplished a thing today. I guess it's just a part of going-with-the-flow.

Even on slow paced days, it is nice to have an agenda. A day without that sense of accomplishment just isn't the same.

It is time to turn this day around. I wonder what I can accomplish with the day that is yet to unfold ...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

'Happy' Floats

Fifty-three days later, this helium balloon just keeps on wafting upwards:

The remainder of its 'less optimistic' friends have been deflated:
It just goes to show ... "Happy Floats"

It Can Wait ...

Laughter

I spent a delightful evening with friends last night.

Laughter was sprinkled generously throughout the evening and our parting gift was that of one more gust of hearty laughter.

After a day spent trying to 'regain my happy', the timing was impeccable.

Laughter soothes my soul. The company of good friends is CPR for my state of well being.

And now ... I can forge on.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Mode

I woke up this morning and was pleased to wake up back in my own home after five days absence. It is good to be back.

I had hoped to jump back into my life and responsibilities with a vengeance this morning. Didn't happen. The thought "I guess I must be on holidays ..." crossed my mind.

I am the master of my domain. I can work today. Or not. So far "or not" is winning.

I have made a promise to work on my Second Son's books and organize his expenses/income for the year (to the best of my ability) by the end of this month. I am running out of days.

I am quite certain there is work to be done for my bookkeeping job. But I must make my son's books my priority for now.

My goal was to complete the home study course that I started (by the end of this month). Apparently that isn't going to happen.

I have an agenda and I must not stray too far from the time line. I have things to do, deadlines to meet and missions to accomplish.

But today? I think I'll do laundry ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Going Forward ...

I took one step backward ... to go forward.

I knew it was the right thing to do.

Not only for me ... but for others.

I had to glance backward. Back to a life I don't live any more ...

I looked back and tried to remember without getting caught up in the emotions of the past.

I walked away and I knew that we had taken a forward step. One step towards healing.

But it is the image of the one who is still caught up in a past that is their present that haunts me.

To be caught up in a life where you are not in control ...

It saddens my heart.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

To Whom Much is Given ...

.... much is expected.

I cannot help but think of the charmed life I lead. I have been 'given' a lot.

Maybe that is why I expect so much of myself. Which is compounded this time of year.

I wish that I could package up what I feel, how I feel, the excitement and enthusiasm that I have, my health, happiness and that of my family ...

I wish that I could bundle up the friendships that I have which I hold near and dear to my hearts - every single one of them ...

I wish that everyone had the 'family' that I have. To share a blood tie with someone who is also your best friend is beyond special. We are connected at the heart. Blood is thicker than water (a favorite refrain of my mom's). And we like each other too!! I wish everyone shared that gift ...

My children. My snowflakes. Unique and special. Each one of them. You are the piece of me that will live on forever ...

I shall continue to strive to give back all that I have received in my life. Not just at Christmas. Forever and for always.

Compliments of the season to you!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Making Amends

I know when I have 'unfinished business' in my life. My conscience will not be quiet.

I listen to my subconscious mind. If some thought keeps rising to the surface, I know it is something that I must address.

There have been little things. A silly name that I called a school mate when I was nine years old. It haunts me to this day.

A misunderstanding that must be addressed so that it doesn't fester. I would rather 'put the words out there' and deal with them, than to bury them under the carpet.

I have been doing a lot of housekeeping within my life.

Yesterday, I confronted one more issue that would not rest in my mind. It may have been easier to just let sleeping dogs lie. But it wasn't right - not for my children.

It is my hope that I have helped open a door that my children can walk through safely and without regret.

This one is for my children ...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

23 Years Ago ...

Little did I know that the chain of events that began December 4, 1987 would come to this.

December 4th, I packed up my children (my oldest was nine at the time; my youngest was three months) and began a new life. I had no idea how we were going to do it. I just knew without a doubt that we must.

December 7th, my dad died. My sisters had come home just before he died. We were together when Mom got the phone call from the hospital.

Within a week, a funeral was planned, carried out and I was back at Mom's. Somewhere during that week, I made the decision start our new life back 'home'. Back to where I was born and raised. We needed a fresh beginning.

I drove back to My (now) New City of Residence with a mission. Within days, I had found a job and a home.

January 1st would be the date we could move into our new life. January 11th was to be my first day of work. From December 4th to January 1st we were 'homeless'.

I have the best family in the world. My sisters watched over my children as I dealt with lawyers, created a new life and took care of the business of wrapping up one life and starting a new one.

It took only a matter of a few weeks and I was back with my children. Passing time until we could move into Our New City.

It was a whirlwind month. It was the toughest month of my life-to-that-point. But it was the month that was the catalyst to all that has happened since.

Every single step that I have taken since I walked away from My Previous Life on December 4, 1987 to this day ... has created the life which we now live.

I live a charmed life. My blessings are infinite. My heart is happy. My family is united and at peace  ...

It's been a long and winding road. But I wouldn't change a thing.

I am grateful for every single challenge that has brought us to this day.

Thank you!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Virtual Memory Minimum Too Low

"Windows Virtual Memory is too low--your system is low on virtual memory. Windows is increasing the size of your paging file. During this process requests for some applications may be denied. For more information see help."

This is the message that popped up on the computer screen yesterday morning. This is the reason that I didn't have time to blog before I started my day. While Windows was busy in the background (increasing the size of my paging file) the computer was sluggish and it took forever for it to move from one thing to another.

I walked away from my slow and sluggish computer and put in a productive day.

I was rewarded by a thoroughly enjoyable evening with friends after I put in a full day's work. It was great. Until ...

I was under the impression that I must have completely forgotten a previous conversation with my friend as she quickly jumped in where we last left off and conversed as if we had just spoken. The conversation did come back to me in bits and pieces. With the clarity of the morning, I can finally remember the vast majority of it. But it was a tad frightening to have lost a memory in the caverns of my brain.

I sat down this morning and found my 'note to self' about the computer's memory problem. And I was hit with the realization that my own personal 'virtual memory' minimum is too low!

Last night while I slept, my body worked its magic and 'increased its paging file'. But in the interim, some 'applications' were denied.

If the problem persists ... I think I may need to get help!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Breathe ...

I hit the ground running this morning. It was a most excellent way to start the day.

I have been motivated, I have had more work than there are hours in the day today. I cranked up my favorite tunes ... I sang and danced while I worked ... I booked an impromptu dance lesson in the middle of the day (in lieu of lunch) .. I came home and worked some more.

What a great day!! And now ... (like my one of my newest favorite songs) ... I shall go out with some good friends and 'Breathe' ......

Monday, December 20, 2010

When Is It Going to Start to Feel Like Christmas?

It's not starting to feel a lot like Christmas. I'm not sure it's going to happen this year ...

I have cheated myself out of what I enjoy the most. Giving of the heart.

The Christmas card exchange. It is my favorite part of the year. This year? I have responded to the cards I have received. That is okay because it's more like a conversation than a monologue about my own year. But it's just not quite the same.

I usually have a handful of gifts that only cost 'time'. This year? I had one gift that I was excited about. One gift that I couldn't wait to see the recipient open. One gift. And I didn't get to see the reaction. It was a 'Secret Santa' gift and the fun in the whole exchange is supposed to be finding out who your Santa is. It was disappointing.

I usually bake. Something. I usually end up eating the lions share of the baking because my children like sweets in small quantities. Not a fridge-full, once a year. So this year? I didn't bake. I thought I'd do myself a favor and not have to face the job of eating up all the leftovers.

The gifts I gave this year are more material than I wanted them to be. A few of them are based on a 'theme' or a future event. I have spent more money this year, than any time I can remember. Yet I feel 'cheap'. My gifts aren't right. They aren't special. They aren't 'me'.

I'm not giving the piece of me that I wanted to give this year.

I guess I'll just have to make up for it throughout the other 364 days of the year. That's what I prefer anyway. That is why I resent what this 'day' has come to. I thoroughly enjoy the gift of giving. But I like to do it in my own time, in my own way.

The spirit of giving should be a habit. Not an occasion.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

I may not have Spiderman's great power ... but I do have a great deal of power over the course of my life and my days.

This past week, I have found myself thinking (more often than not) "I love my job! I love my life!!"

My current jobs allow me a great deal of freedom. I can work from home when I want, for as long as I wish (and as long as the job gets done) and how I want to do it.

My away-from-home-job allows me the freedom to say "I am busy now, but I can come later". I can book appointments, run an errand or spend time with my family when the opportunities arise.

I absolutely love the freedoms that my jobs allow.

But with that freedom ... that power, comes great responsibility.

If I don't do the work 'then', I must do it 'now'.

Now is here. And even though it is Sunday, I must push myself out of weekend mode and get some work done!

I woke up this morning with the words, "Is laziness terminal?" coursing through my mind. I wasted a day yesterday. I did absolutely nothing of importance. When I say nothing, I quite literally mean nothing.

I didn't leave the house. I didn't make one phone call. The phone didn't ring. I did send one lonely email first thing in the morning. But that was it.

I didn't make the most of the day and hang out with My Youngest. We peacefully co-existed under the same roof, but we didn't do anything together.

I didn't work on my course. I wondered why I couldn't seem to push myself to work on that without the added push of no Internet connection.

I didn't open up the filing cabinet drawer and start to work at my Second Son's bookkeeping.

I didn't do anything productive. I didn't even pick up a book and allow myself a frivolous day of leisure. It was quite simply a waste of a good day.

Well! Sunday or not, it can't happen two days in a row.

If I want to continue to enjoy the 'power' I have, I must take it responsibly and get to work!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Do Run Out of Words Sometimes ...

Believe it or not, the words inside of this head of mine are finite. Sometimes.

Today is a day of quiet reflection.

Replaying recent conversations celebrating 'the small stuff' ... which is oh-so-big.

Looking at each of my children - unique in their own special way ... climbing their individual mountains ... and reaching new heights - makes being a 'Mom' my favorite job in the world.

Reflecting back and seeing how far we've come ... looking forward and anticipating the journey ahead ... makes 'today' a gift.

There are so many thoughts behind these few words. My fingers just don't feel like talking today.

I just want to sit back and revel in the joy of quiet, happy thoughts.

May you spend your day doing the same ...

Friday, December 17, 2010

It Was a Good Day to Be a Mom

It was just another regular, ordinary day ... that turned special.

I would have never guessed that my best parenting day (so far) would come from uttering the words, "You were right ... I was wrong" to both of my adult children.

It was not by design. But it happened.

I was talking with my Second Son yesterday the first time I uttered the words "You were right ...". He has started his own business this past year and is almost at the end of the ninth month of his chosen path.

Starting up a new business venture is not for the weak of heart. You have to spend money to make money. But it doesn't end there. You must keep spending and spending.

He has talked to me about many of his financial decisions and they make good, logical sense. His choices have been right time after time. But could I do what he's doing? Not in a heartbeat. Does it make it wrong? Far from it. He is making bold decisions and they continue to be the right ones.

He is right. Maybe I'm not wrong ... but I am definitely more cautious. Which would ultimately lead to the wrong business decision if I was in his shoes.

It seemed no sooner had I moved on from that conversation, that I received a call from My Oldest.

He has had to 'reinvent' himself this past year. The end of one life has the opportunity to create a brand new one.

The hardest part of watching My Firstborn forge his way through this year has been the memories it has brought back as we found many parallels in his present/my past situations.

At one point, very early on in his 'new life', I recognized that he was reliving a part of our lives where he was a child and powerless ... I was his mother and giving in. I didn't fight for anything (except for my children). It was the right choice for me back then, but I believe my nine year old son internalized the situation in a way that he would never let that happen to him. And it did ...

He took the reins of his life and made choices that I wouldn't have made. He risked a lot to see this through to the bitter end. He had very logical reasons for sticking to his guns. But could I have done what he did? Not in a heartbeat. Does it make it wrong? Far from it. He made some bold decisions and they proved to be the right ones.

Yesterday was the day that the past year all came to a head for him. He called and told me of the results of the day. At the end of his monologue, I told him that he was right all along. I was wrong.
 
We both knew that I was talking not only talking about his day ... but about our past and the lack of 'fight' I had for our little family 23 years ago. He took the lack of power that he had back then and he directed it towards his present day life. And he 'won'. Not in big ways - but in ways that really matter.
 
You must not allow someone walk over you. You must take a stand at times. Life is not for the weak of heart. Sometimes you must risk it 'all' and take a stand.
 
I have a feeling that my days of parenting have taken a grand turn. There comes a time when the student becomes the teacher. I have much to learn from these children of mine ...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today Feels Like a Spa Day

I've become a little bit hooked on this thing called 'pampering'.

The first time I did it, it was before a dance showcase. I enjoyed the luxury of not being tied down with a house full of daycare kids and indulged myself in a 'bling fest' and gel nails. I felt girly, glittery, young and fun. I bubbled over with glee and enjoyed the ride.

The next time I indulged myself, was in preparation for The Great Dance Adventure - a dance competition in Montreal last February. I spray tanned, got a wild and crazy hair color, gel fingernails, gel toenails and eyelash extensions. Literally - from the tip of my head, right down to my fake little toenails, nothing was really 'me'. Except the enthusiasm. That was all me. I had so much fun preparing for that competition, I look back at each and every moment and feel it was worth every single penny that I spent.

The last time I gave myself the gift of a 'spa day', it was before our dance formation group's opportunity to Dance With the Stars at 'Ballroom with a Twist'. I walked in the door of my (now) favorite salon at 9:00 a.m. and didn't leave until 2:00 that afternoon. Five hours of indulgence. It was pure joy.

That was the time that I finally discovered why people enjoy pedicures.

I have had only a few pedicures and I have not really enjoyed them. The end result was fine, but all I could think about was all of the other things I could have been doing with the time it took to 'paint my toenails'. I could have had that lotion slathered on, thrown on a pair of socks and been back home in the time that it took the technician to massage that lotion into my step-sister-ugly-feet!

But this last time? The pedicures are done in a room with 'nature' sounds softly playing in the background. The lights are dim. You sit in a chair that massages your entire body as your feet are soaking in their own private whirlpool. No cell phones are allowed in this room and they ask that you keep your voice low so that other patrons can enjoy the serenity of this room.

It was everything that I didn't know I needed that day. Time to be quiet. Time to pamper those used and abused feet. Time ...

I've been concentrating on my feet a lot this past week. I have one foot that is a little tender in the morning, but it is fine once I get moving. This morning, all I could think about was sitting in that quiet oasis and tending to my tender tootsies.

Tonight is our Christmas Dance party at the dance studio. Not a grand, festive event ... but perhaps worthy of a small amount of pampering??

That would be my wish for today. But it must not be my priority. Work must come first.

I am grateful for the excuse to pamper myself every now and again. Try it! You deserve it!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Too Much Information!

I did it again. I forgot (another) password.

The PIN number that I have had for the past 20+ years left my memory bank almost two weeks ago. I knew if I just relaxed, my fingers would remember it.

I couldn't relax. I obsessed about this forgotten PIN number. I went to my bank on three or four separate occasions, determined that I would remember it on my own. I didn't.

Finally, I went and repinned my card yesterday. I admit defeat. I still know that one day, I will be using my card and my fingers will automatically go to the numbers that are ingrained in my memory bank somewhere. They simply can't do it on demand.

I went to sign in to another on-line site this morning. This site insists that I change my password regularly. I do. And up until this point, I have remembered my changed password. Not this morning.

What is going on!??!

Is it all the excessive things-to-do this time of year? Have I over-extended myself and added too many new-things into my world? Is it the fact that I consciously decide not to worry or obsess about that-which-is-out-of-my-control ... and I've sealed up my forgotten PIN number into one area of the do-not-worry-about sections of my brain and my now-forgotten password into another?

My Second Son thinks I'm losing it. Really! I'm not!! I just can't 'find' it on demand.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Radio Silent … The Sequel

Our connection to the ‘outside world’ (Internet) is still down. It seems hard to believe in this day and age, that our technology could fail us for two days running.

Thank goodness it is only the Internet. It is enough, but it is truly an added luxury that a person doesn’t require to survive.

What if we were facing our second day without water? Or gas to run our furnace? Or power?

It’s funny how inconvenient it may seem to be without Internet, cable TV, telephone or cell service. But in reality, these are all trivial.

What has our world come to, when we rely so heavily on things that we don’t need?

It was peaceful to be without the added distraction of the Internet connection yesterday. I utilized the time to work on a course that I’m taking. I sat back and relaxed in the evening … talked with my children, wrote a letter to my mom … went to sleep when I was tired.

I didn’t fritter away my day at the computer yesterday. I did waste the better part of Saturday mindlessly checking into this, that and the other thing via the Internet. I was disgusted at myself for doing so. I am actually quite grateful for the ‘disconnection’. It has reconnected me to my real-life world, which is oh, so much more rewarding.

I just hope ‘destiny’ is not trying to email me … because I’m not answering. The connection is down, but I’m still here. I hope ‘destiny’ tries another method of communication before it gives up!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Radio Silent

Our Internet connection is down this morning. And my world is silent.

I can’t send or receive emails. I can’t check the ‘Weather Eye’ at a glance to find the weather forecast. I can’t use Google to complete the last answer to the crossword. I can’t lurk on Facebook or the blogs that I read. I can’t watch a ‘missed episode’ on our local TV channel websites. I can’t even work because I need to be connected to the Internet for that too.

All of a sudden, my world is very still.

And this is good. Different … but good.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Have a Holly Jolly Day ... Even if You Don't Feel Like It!

Forget it is the season of over indulgence. Just for one day.

Relax your mind and let thoughts free fall like the snowflakes. Let them melt in your palm. Marvel at their uniqueness and let them go.

Focus on what your heart is telling you. It is not the dollars spent this time of year, it is the act of giving. Giving of yourself. Giving what feels good. What feels right.

Give a promise. Make a date for some time in the future and plan something simple around an activity you enjoy. Half the fun is in the anticipation.

I find the less I spend, the more I give. It feels better to give a little piece of the essence of who I am, than it does to spend lavish amounts of money on something that may or may not be appreciated.

Share a special story and 'build' a gift around it. The gift itself may be nothing but a token. But the memory that you share and some how immortalize will last forever.

Give your time. Time is money they say ... and when it comes to gift giving, I do believe they are right. In this harried world of rushing, working, coping, stressing ... how often do we feel like we don't spend time nurturing ourselves, our friendships and our family?

Giving of yourself comes back to you double fold. It's a no risk investment. It is the best gift to give. It is the best gift to receive.

Don't give until it hurts. Give only until it feels great.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friends

Old friends, new friends ... work friends, play friends ... childhood friends, neighbor friends ... friends that feel like family ... family that feel like friends ... friends, friends, friends!

I was talking to a new friend last night. We talked of the importance of friendships - old and new. Old friends who know our history and who we were before we became who we are. New friends who know things about us that our old friends don't.

I have extended my hand in friendship a lot this past year. The old me was afraid of rejection. I thought 'who would want to spend time with me??' Nothing risked = nothing lost.

I spent many years sitting on the sidelines of life. Waiting for others to reach out to me. Even when someone else initiated a chance for a friendship, I was frightened. I was safe in my little cocoon of solitude.

I have incredible friends. Friends that have walked with me, through good times and bad. Friends that I can talk with ... and listen to. We talk about anything. We laugh, we share, we care, we trust and respect each other.

Each and every friend that I have made along the way has impacted my life in a unique and special way. What I remember the most, is the feeling of 'connection' ... when you find a friend when you aren't even looking. You 'speak' the same language ... where you know that the person you are talking to, hears beyond the words. They get you.

I have been marvelling a lot this past while at some of the history I have with my friends. I have held onto a good friend from every stage of my life. What I find most miraculous, is that in opening myself up ... I continue to find new friends where I least expect them.

This new friend that I was talking with last night, reminds me of another friend. They are similar in so many ways. Most of all, it is their big hearts and their capacity for caring that makes me look to them to help me learn to do the same.

As far as I've come, I have as far to go.

I am certain that each and every friend that has come into my life is here for a mutual purpose. I hope to give as much as I receive within these incredible friendships. I have received so much ...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Preventative Maintenance

One of the errands I ran yesterday morning was my very first mammogram.

I just about tossed my 'invitation' from the Screening Program for Breast Cancer into the recycling pile. I was sure it would be a test that my doctor would order the next time I saw her. But then I thought better of it. Why not go voluntarily?

To have an examination when you are not overwhelmed about the results ... because you are doing preventative screening ... is truly a blessing.

We do not have a family history of breast cancer. I have never had a scary or inexplicable lump that I have been worried about. It is simply a worry that I have put on a shelf and have not wasted any energy on.

At the end of the exam, the technician told me that 'abnormal' results are very common for a first mammogram. There is nothing to compare the results to, so it is not abnormal to be called back. That was good to hear before receiving that call-back.

I walked out of the office without a worry in the world.

Later, I got thinking about a recent conversation that I had, as we talked of two people that went in for a regular medical screening. In both of those cases, life threatening health issues were found. Early detection could have easily have saved both of these lives. At a bare minimum, the treatment was all proactive instead of reactive. Not easy either way ... but early detection may have made all the difference in the world.

I have had high blood pressure since I was in my early 20's. My brother was diagnosed with high blood pressure at an age where high blood pressure isn't normally a concern. My sister was also diagnosed with high blood pressure. My other sister has the blood pressure of a teenager ...

Heart disease is prevalent in my dad's side of the family. His father, his older brother and my dad died of heart disease at a young age. Though there have been heart issues, concerns and symptoms with several of dad's younger five brothers, yet they are all living longer and healthier lives ...

Knowledge is power. There are so many advancements in the field of health. They know things now, that could have saved my dad's life.

But what is most important, is that we (the patient) know more. We'll never know if my dad had high blood pressure that, if diagnosed and treated, could have extended his life. He (like many others in those days) didn't go to a doctor unless something was wrong. Being proactive was not the norm back then ...

I believe we are a very fortunate generation. Not only have there been amazing developments in the medical field, but 'we' are more knowledgeable as well.

Make that appointment before things start going wrong. There is nothing more reassuring than a clean bill of health. Plus I would think it is better to have a medical file on what is 'normal' for you, in the case that things do start to go wrong later on.

That said, I am going to see someone about my feet tomorrow. The (minor) symptoms of a few days ago are abating, but I plan to put a lot more miles on these feet. So I am going to do all that is in my power to ensure that my feet and I travel the roads ahead with ease.

We are a very fortunate country. Our free health coverage is something that we almost take for granted.

Now ... if my car had that same coverage, I may take it in for preventative check-ups more often. We are not much different than cars. Sure, the shiny new models have their quirks and sometimes you simply get a lemon ... but for the most part, if you take care of those cars, you can extend their life expectancy for years.

Parts may wear out and need to be repaired or replaced, but as my dad often told me, "It is cheaper to repair something before it breaks down ..."

How true, Dad. How true. How I wish you had taken your own advise and applied it to being proactive in regards to your health. There are many more conversations that I wish we could have had ...

I will apply what I know and take care of my health to the best of my ability. I plan to bore my children to tears by living a long and healthy life ... and telling them all about it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Taking Care of Business

I spent my blogging hour running errands this morning. Now I must work.

In my semi-absense, click on the link below for an almost Wordless Wednesday from me.

Enjoy!!
http://www.wimp.com/animalvoiceovers/

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Foot Pain

Yes ... I'm writing about my feet. Again. It's a little bit frightening to me, when my feet fail to live up to my expectations. I rely on them. A lot.

Not only do these tender tootsies take me everywhere that I need and want to go ... but having happy, healthy feet opens many doors for me. Ballroom dancing, Zumba, Bellyfit, Salsa, walking through a park and feeding chickadees ...

I tried out 'Scottish Country Dancing' last night. I knew the shoes would be the biggest challenge for me, right from the onset. I stumbled upon Dr. Scholl's Fast Flats and thought I had a winner.

These little stretchable, foldable, adaptable shoes looked perfect. I tried them on and they stretched to accommodate my 4 1/2 inch wide foot. They weren't pretty, but they would do.

The instructor of this Scottish dance looked at my shoes and said they were very good, but since there wasn't a strap across the ankle they could fall off. I thought to myself "These shoes are stretched beyond their capacity. They aren't going anywhere". And I was right.

In Scottish Country dancing, you dance on the ball of your foot. Foot turn-out, pointing the toes and ever conscious of dancing fully on the ball of your foot is the basis on which all else revolves.

Immediately the instructor noticed my toes that were turned up like 'Elf Shoes'. What I was doing, was stretching out my very tender ''Little Piggy Who Stayed Home", which has been inflamed for several weeks. That little piggy does not enjoy being squished into a shoe. So I stretch and flex it at every opportunity. Apparently this isn't pretty when you are in Dr. Scholl's Fast Flats and everyone (who's looking) can see what those 'little piggies' are doing within the confines of these flexible, but oh-so-revealing shoes.

It kind of hurt to dance on the balls of my feet without the cushioning of a gym shoe insole. But I did it anyway. And survived.

I didn't come home with throbbing-foot-pain, the way that I do after a two to three hour evening in ballroom dance shoes. So I didn't give my feet a second thought. Until this morning.

I woke up with pain akin to 'stepping on glass' in the ball of my good foot. The foot that doesn't have tender-toe-syndrome. So I know that at least I didn't injure my foot, trying to protect my injured toe. I have brand new, unrelated foot pain.

The good news, is that my bunions don't hurt. Just one toe on my right foot and the ball of my left foot. Heels, arches and bunions are all a-okay.

The question is ... should I stop all of these extra curricular activities which are placing unnecessary stress on my tender tootsies? I'm thinking, for a one week trial period ... I should.

Boy! Would that ever clear up my calendar. Dancing on Thursday; Bellyfit Saturday morning; and Salsa Saturday evening. I may actually have time to write a Christmas card or two, if I give my feet a week off.

Sounds like a good idea to rest my weary feet and catch up on a few other important things. Like Christmas cards ... and sleep.

When our bodies 'talk' ... we should listen.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Set a Date, a Place and a Time

One of the most valuable lessons that I learned at school last year was in a 'Thought Patterns' class. A class that made me look at the way I thought, how it determined my expectations, behaviour and outcome of my life.

One particular lesson told us 'Never make vague plans to see someone'. Don't say, "We should get together some time" ... do say, "Let's get together (here) on (what date) at (what time)".

I followed that advise. And I have rediscovered an old best friend.

In the past year, this old/new friend and I have travelled childhood roads (literally) and walked down memory lane. We talk at ease about our present day world, our children and our thoughts about life in general. We 'get' each other. It has been an incredible experience to reconnect and become better friends than we were in our childhood.

She is quite literally the first friend that I ever had. We grew up together. My family moved away when I was nine years old and we stayed connected through letters and visits. Eventually we each got married and drifted apart. For 32 years.

Last December we met at (a coffee shop) on December 19th at 10:30 one Saturday morning. I issued the invitation in my Christmas card to her, she quickly confirmed the date with a quick call saying, "Sounds great! I'll be there" ...

Not quite one year later, she has decided to join me on my Alaskan Cruise Vacation.

If we hadn't set a date, a place and a time last year ... this never would have happened.

One of life's little miracles? Or do we make our own miracles? I think it's a little of both. Make plans ... and things happen!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Are My Dreams Telling Me Something?

I had completely and totally forgotten that I was moving.

Moving day arrived and I hadn't done a thing. I hadn't even cleaned the oven!!

I was standing in the middle of my totally lived in house, completely and totally overwhelmed.

And what was the first thing I did?

I picked up the phone and called a friend to cancel our plans for the day. "Sorry ... I forgot that I'm moving today".

Sure, I was worried about how I would manage to move everything out of the house, organize the new place enough to sleep somewhere that night ... and clean the old place.

But what was even more worrisome than all of that??

When could I rebook a day to see my friend?!??

It was only a dream ... do you suppose my subconscious mind is trying to get a message across to me?

Who knows? I just know I don't have a minute to spare today as I'd like to run out shopping before my boss drops by and we go through some 'work stuff'. We must finish early because I'm off to a lunch buffet and play with a friend this afternoon. As soon as I get home, I must run out and pick up a pre-cooked roast chicken for our family's Sunday Supper, after which we are planning on turning on some Christmas tunes, having a drink and decorating the house for Christmas ... together! Then after all that, I have a phone-date with a friend. Thank goodness she lives in a time zone two hours behind us, because it will be a late phone call.

A day like this, is a day which should be totally savored. And it could have been ... had I not gone on such a Wild Turkey Chase yesterday afternoon (and I could have gotten my 'work' and shopping done yesterday). It's a long, boring story about ordering, picking up and delivering three free-range, mostly organic turkeys ... which was complicated by the fact that the PIN number that I have used for my ATM card, the past 20 plus years has completely and totally left my memory bank. The Wild Turkey Chase began only because I didn't have the cash ready and available to pay the Turkey Man, so I 'chased' him across the city which most definitely added a new dimension to a mundane little task.

What is my PIN number and where did I lose it in my mind?

I spent yesterday spinning my wheels and didn't accomplish a thing. I think it may be easier to move ..........

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Little Things ...

The Christmas season has arrived. There are many things I enjoy about the season ... but one thing that I don't. The pressure of giving.

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem in the act of gifting. I just don't enjoy it when it's expected. I don't even really enjoy receiving a gift when it feels as if it has been done under duress.

I enjoy the 'little things' ...

Like standing at the checkout at the grocery store and spotting a gift card for a coffee shop that someone was just talking about. Perfection! I could have saved it and gifted it a month later on Christmas Day. But why? The moment was 'now'. The specialness of the Christmas Coffee tastes better before Christmas day. And this way, it was a completely unexpected surprise. More fun for both the gifter and the giftee.

Like spotting the specific dessert item that was missing from a buffet dinner and 'gifting' that to the person who had a craving that wasn't fulfilled.

Like experiencing something fun and special and wanting to find a way to 'gift' that experience to a family &/or friends.

Like picking up absolutely nothing special at all ... just 'because'.

Like spending a most amazing afternoon with good friends and savoring a Magical Winter Wonderland that had nothing to do with Christmas, but everything to do with the special acts of kindness.

It's the little acts of kindness that I savor. Any month of the year.

It's like when a thoughtful son recognizes the lack of an ergonomically correct computer chair to work at, and surprises me with a brand new comfy chair one Sunday afternoon.

It's like waking up and finding a movie gift card awaiting me, at the computer desk from another perceptive son who knows how much I love the Movie Experience.

It's the little things ....

Friday, December 3, 2010

... And Then There is Work!

In all of the excitement that is my life, a little work must fall.

During the month of November, I was concerned about logging enough hours for the month ... yet I allowed myself a 'life' as well. I wasn't consumed with how much work I was or wasn't getting. I just aimed to work eight hour days, five days a week. Sometimes I succeeded. Other times I didn't. I worked on the weekends ... but not both days ... or not too many hours.

It was a good month. I approached both of my bosses about my concerns and frustrations with the instability of my work situation. There are not black and white answers in either case, but I feel better for having talked with them. At least there is an awareness on both of our parts, as to the challenges we are facing. And hopefully some solutions will come out of that.

I tallied up my hours for both jobs and between my two employers, I worked full-time! My original goal was to work full-time for Employer #1 and part-time for my Second Employer. Trying to attain that made my life feel like it was spiralling out of control. Attaining full-time hours between two jobs is attainable and ... it pays the bills!!

I wasn't frivolous with my spending in November, but I didn't hold back either. I bought what I wanted/needed to buy. I had  repair bills for both the dryer and a computer. I went out when ever I wanted and happily spent the required dollars. We utilized the groceries in the house and we dined out at times. I didn't act or feel 'poor'.

The month end figures state that expenses exceeded income by about $50.00 ... not bad. Not perfect, but not bad considering a few unexpected expenses.

Now I face 'December'. A month that I will most likely end up working only three weeks. I probably should feel a little bit panicked at that thought. But I don't. I will work as much as I can. But I am going to hold onto the life I am living. I'm not going to sacrifice one for the other. It's all about balance.

Speaking of work, it is time to pull up my socks and get at it! I have a lot I want to accomplish today. And it's not happening with me sitting here blogging about my life instead of living it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Caffeine Hangover + Adrenaline Crash = ??

I went out for supper with a friend Tuesday night. We had a most incredible visit. She officially 'signed up' to go along with me on an Alaskan Cruise. And we drank coffee. Boy! Did we drink coffee!!

I could have come home from a visit like that and been as high as a kite, had I been drinking water.

Good company, conversation that goes beyond the surface, shared history and getting reacquainted with an old friend is a recipe for elation in my world. Adrenaline kicks in and I get chatty, giddy and over-the-top-bubbly.

Add coffee to that equation and I was down right annoying.

I woke up Wednesday morning with the remains of both the caffeine and the adrenaline in my system. My eyes popped open with the alarm. My heart started racing in anticipation of the day ahead. I was pumped!

I wrote a 2 page response to an email when 20 words would have been suffice. My thoughts and energy flitted from one thing to the next during the hour of 'me time' that precedes my work day. Happy! Happy! Happy!! That was me.

Then I worked. I worked at my out-of-the-house-job all morning. I came home and had lunch. I had phone calls to return and I had work to do.

Then it happened. I crashed.

I started second guessing my actions and words of the past week. The tape in my mind rewound and I thought, "Why do you talk so much??" ... "You shouldn't have said 'that' " ... "I should have reacted differently" ... "What if "...

I seemed to have lost the ability to make simple decisions. I had phone calls to return and I didn't feel like talking. I heard my voice as I was speaking. The other person was reflecting my 'loss of self'. The conversations were brief and lacking.

I was doing my best. I had another conversation (in my head) going on at the same time telling me, "It's the after effects of the caffeine/adrenaline" ... "You are making mountains out of mole hills" ... "This won't feel like such a big deal tomorrow" ... "You will do better next time" ...

I tried quieting my thoughts and my conscience. But they were too loud.

At the same time, waves of exhaustion were hitting me with such a force that I finally succumbed to them. I had logged a 5 1/2 hour work day. My Youngest was safely home from school. I grabbed a blanket ... and I slept. And it was good.

I went to a Bellyfit class after that. Bellyfit may not be doing a lot for my body ... but it restores my soul. It's a quiet work out. We are instructed to take all of my thoughts and put them on a shelf for that hour. At the end of the hour we are told to forgive ourselves for our negative thoughts and reminded to thank ourselves for taking time for ourselves. It's a little bit of a zen-like experience. A very good experience at the end of a guilt ridden afternoon.

The answer to the equation: "Caffeine Hangover + Adrenaline Crash = ??"

?? = "A nice long snooze and a Bellyfit class"

I am cured.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Life is a "Field of Dreams"

"If you build it ... they will come" was the haunting theme that resonated throughout the movie and years afterwards (within me) after I saw the movie "Field of Dreams".

I have had a consistent sense of that "If you (do) it ... they will come" throughout the 21 years since I watched that movie.

One early experience I have of ".... they will come" was when I cooked a good meal, including dessert (I despise cooking) for absolutely no reason. And I had company drop by unexpectedly. That never, ever happens in my world. I smiled to myself and later commented, "If I cook it ... they will come".

I have lived a life fulfilling my dreams in big and small ways ever since.

"If I open it (a daycare) ... they will come"

"If I write it (a book, a blog) ... they will read it"

"If I ask (invitations to family and friends) ... they will come"

"If I believe it (working from home) ... it will (eventually) succeed"

"If I am living my life to the fullest ... people will join me on my adventure"

Last night, in my excited and coffee induced state I was euphoric. I was rambling on and on to my Second Son about "If I book it (my Alaskan Cruise) ... they will come" (in the three days since I booked my cruise, I have had three people tell me they will be Back Up Plan # 1 or #2 ... and last night a friend actually committed to joining me)... and "If I teach it (I have enrolled in a Zumba instructor course) ... they will learn" and (drum roll, please) ... "If I build (fix or find) it ... they will come!!" - my ultimate goal of running a Bed & Breakfast.

I am learning that if you live your life with intention - if you say you are going to do something, believe that you can do whatever you set your sights on, steer your life in a direction where you can pursue your dreams ... anything is possible.

Sometimes all it takes is for one person to take a step and commit to a dream ... and you find many others will come into your life and walk with you through your own personal Field of Dreams.