Friday, September 28, 2012

Gift Giving Nightmares

I had a gift-giving nightmare before my alarm went off this morning:

I gave a Co-op gift card to a thirteen year old boy. A Co-op gift card. You can buy gas, groceries, lumber, farming & building supplies at Co-op. A Co-op gift card for a thirteen year old boy?!? What was I thinking?!?!

Also in this gift-giving nightmare: I gave this boy's mom a card. It made her cry. She was so choked up that she could barely talk. I asked if it was in a good way ... and she sort of tried to say 'yes'. But it wasn't.

The gift card was symbolic of the need that I feel to give something. Anything!! The fact that I picked Co-op is probably because it is the store that I frequent the most (and possibly due to the many talks my Middle Son as he ingrains how important it is to support our local businesses). Plus ... I drive past the Co-op store almost any time I go anywhere. It is convenient. It was the easy thing to do.

What was symbolic about what I wrote in the card? Am I trying so hard not to repeat myself in these wordy cards that I write, that I accidentally struck a nerve? I had better think twice before I write ...

I love giving when there is no occasion. You see a need. You fill it. You see something fun and whimsical. You pick it up. You think of a perfect gift. You give it.

I don't do well when I am under the gun to give because it is a certain date. I am pretty much terrible at it.

I am haunted by such a date at the moment and I don't like the energy it is pulling from me. It has paralyzed me into a state where I am thinking, "I'll just buy a Co-op gift card so she can buy what she needs with that ... and take the money saved and treat herself with something that I would have never thought of."

The gifts I feel best about are the gifts that cost little more than 'time'. I seem to be coming up empty right now and it is bothering me ...

"You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."
~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Thursday, September 27, 2012


My energy levels are waning now that the adrenaline rush from the past month has worn off.

I managed to keep busy after supper last night, then stay awake until 10 p.m. ... and it zapped the last of my reserves.

I am feeling impatient with myself because my internal to-do-list is growing. Even though I am at home, I am still not accomplishing much with my days.

I think this is just part of the adjustment period. Things will stabilize soon. I can feel it.

I just want to wrap myself up in a cocoon and emerge when the process is complete. Those caterpillars just don't know how lucky they are.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Time Factor

It's just beginning ... the time factor could start to impose a threat on my new found serenity.

I am so grateful to have a side income from delivering flyers. I get paid to exercise. This will force me outside despite the weather, lack of sunshine or warmth. Fresh air, sunshine and exercise is a good combination. It is even better when it comes with a financial reward. But it is the time that will start to play havoc with how the days unfold.

One and a half hours on Wednesday. Three hours over the course of Friday and Saturday. I have the freedom to work this into my day where ever it fits. I can fully appreciate the flexibility of this responsibility after the path I've travelled of late.

It is getting just a tiny bit challenging to fit this into those time frames the past few weeks ...

Then there is my writing.

Three papers are running my column. At the moment, I have several deadlines looming. I must get some more columns submitted. I simply haven't had the energy to devote to writing lately. It is partially a time factor. The other part of the equation is that I spend a lot of my words verbally lately.

I spent the weekend with my sisters. I talked so much that I was continually the last one to finish eating what was placed in front of me. When they left, I had a few phone calls to make. By the time I hung up the phone and felt the quiet of the house envelope me ... all I could hear was the sound of my own voice ringing in my ears.

Now I'm starting up another daycare blog for my parents. This required a little time and a few more words to put it all together in one cohesive unit. Add this to the chapters that I am writing and illustrating (inserting photos that we take during our days) about our Days at Daycare and I'm coming up empty at the end of the day.

I am using up my quota of words and I still have so many places that I need to 'spend' them! I dare not even mention the book that I should have completed long ago about my dad's family history and memories ...

Then there are my friends.

I read an article about the high cost of friendship the other day. The article talked of the cost of dining out, going to the theatre, working out and other ways that we spend money when we socialize with friends. I looked at my friendships and they 'cost' me very little. The only cost is ... time.

I used to live a very quiet life. Most of my friends and family lived out of town or in another province. I wrote a lot of letters and it was a rare treat to talk to them on the phone (before long distance phone bundles became the norm). There was a small 'time' factor ... but nothing compared to what I spend today.

Investing time on friends and family is the best investment one can make. Spending my working hours at home is the best way to make the most of those little 'cracks' in the day to do that-which-I-want-to-get-done and still take care of all my responsibilities.

Why am I starting to panic ever-so-slightly?? Because I still have one part-time-at-home job to fit into all of the above. Ten hours a week. Something has got to give. I just haven't figured out what ...

I suppose I should start by turning off the TV!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Misdirected Mail?

I woke up to find an email from an acquaintance from (what feels like) a lifetime ago ...

The email was addressed to someone other than myself so I replied to let the person know that it didn't arrive at its intended destination. They replied to my reply and I reciprocated.

It was a fun little coincidence that redirected my thoughts this morning.

I love an excuse to touch base with someone that I have fell out of touch with. I like when life's little coincidences bring people back into my life. Even if it is only for a 'moment' in the whole scheme of things.

It may not make a difference to the person on the receiving end of this little misdirected email. But then again? Maybe it will.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sister Time

We enjoyed our semi-somewhat-annual(ish) Sister Sleepover weekend. And it was great!

It seems like only yesterday, when my sisters had to come to my house for these weekends because my children were young and I couldn't stray away from home for too long. Now? I can quite easily arrange to step away from my life-at-home for a day.

We visited amongst ourselves (on our newly built deck) in the back yard. We went out for supper. We came home and settled in the living room until exhaustion set in. We woke up and had breakfast. There were very few moments that our sister-time was interrupted.

There was a time when stepping out for adult-time to enjoy our Sister Supper was a highly anticipated event when we had these sleepovers. This time? There was little contrast between visiting at home and going out for supper.

The dynamics are changing a little, as my family is growing up and needs so much less of me.

I have been spreading my wings and enjoying this freedom for a few years now. As much as I love where I am at, I can appreciate how far my family is grown. There will soon come a time when no one 'needs' me ...

Oddly, I find that idea a little bit disconcerting.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kick Start Friday!

I heard the unmistakable sound of my flyers being dropped off at 5:50 this morning. I had just finished concocting my breakfast smoothie & coffee and was in the process of opening up the blinds when I heard my work arrive.

It was pitch black outside and my heart sunk at the very idea of the onset of these shortened days. Dark in the morning. Dark in the evening. Why did I think it was such a good idea to start delivering flyers anyway?!?

I knew that I should take advantage of the early morning drop off but the darkness did not shed any light on that prospect.

I sat down and consumed my breakfast and slowly made my way towards my second cup of coffee. I happened to glance out at the morning sky and saw just a glimmer of lightness starting to appear behind the clouds.

It was morning ... it was only going to get lighter. Not darker (as it would be if I waited and delivered these flyers after supper).

I abandoned  my coffee on the kitchen counter and was out the door like a shot. I could get a good portion of the job behind me before my kids arrived. The mere thought of that got me moving at lightening speed.

I was speedy. I completed the job before my work day began. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Needless to say, I abandoned my blog to take care of business at hand. A pretty boring little reason, but it sure made my day.

What made your day today??

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Get Paid For This!

I reap many rewards in my newly renovated Daycare Life ...

The ease with which we transition into the day. My kids and my parents happily say their good-byes to each other at the onset of our day. I am astonished how easy this has been. No one has cried when their parent has drove off to work. No one!

Then we spend the day spotting airplanes, buses, trucks and puppies. We count ladybugs and we discover dragonflies.

Yes, I am ready for adult conversation by the end of the day. When your day consists of repetitive phrases such as, "Yes, that is a BLUE truck!" ... "Your daddy is at work" ... "Yes, I hear an airplane. Can you see it?" ... "Your daddy is at work" ... "There are TWO puppies. One, two!" ... "Your mommy is at work" ... "Look at the crows flying. Let's count them" ... "Your daddy is at work" ... I am a little bit of a chatterbox when in the company of someone over 5 years old and I get to form full sentences that require articulation and thought.

Then my parents come home and pick up their little ones and again, everyone is smiling and happy.

Yesterday my little one-year-old (that will start in October) came for a trial run. She ran right up to me and wanted to be picked up as soon as her mom put her down. You would have thought I had known her, her whole life! It was quite amazing. She didn't cry when her mom left. She was happy throughout the day. She was happy when her mom came home. Her mom was happy. I was happy.

These little rewards come on a daily basis. The relief and gratitude that I feel from my parents when they feel that their children are safe and happy when they must go off to work. They trust me. I will work to continue earning that trust. Words are not required because we all see it and feel it. We are starting to build a family.

I like counting bugs for a living. If my kids aren't happy with something, they cry. We fix it and life goes on. When they get cranky and tired, they go for a nap. Life-as-normal resumes after an hour or two of quiet and we are ready to roll again. Before you know it, the day is winding up and happy parents are picking up happy kids.

It just doesn't get better than this ...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I don't think that I'm alone in saying that I have often considered my own mortality in this frail little thing we call 'life' ...

When I was a teen, I can remember the embarrassment of thinking that I could die (do I dare write the words?!?!) while I had my period. To quote the young and texting crowd of today. I thought "OMG!!" ... I could think of absolutely nothing more mortifying!! My thoughts at that particular stage of my life were no deeper than the physical body that I would leave behind.

While that thought never strayed all that far from my mind as I grew into adulthood, there was one other thought that took hold and never let go. For years and years, I was consumed with the thought that I must live long enough to see my children to adulthood. This line of thinking was eventually replaced with the mantra - "The only reason that I would want to know that I was going to die, was if I had dependent children. Barring that? Surprise me!"

I have lived a life of 'keeping my affairs in order' ... I remember moving to Our New City and finding myself writing letters to those that mattered to me and putting on paper, that which I thought was important to say. A few of those letters would seep out of my fingertips and then suddenly I would become obsessed with the idea that 'what if' I was being driven to write these things because I was going to die soon?? So I would feverishly complete writing to everyone that mattered. Then I would sit back and relax and know that if the unforeseen was to happen, I had said what I wanted to say.

This stage also encompassed the obsession with housecleaning. 'If I was going to die' ... I didn't want people to think that I was a slob. I was very concerned about what physical evidence I would leave behind and I kept my house with that in mind. That was a crazy obsession. It wasted a lot of good energy ... because obviously, I lived.

This fervent fear eventually died down and I have come to a point where I simply try to keep up on a day to day basis.

If someone says or does something that touches me ... I acknowledge it. If I am overwhelmed with words ... I spill them. I don't walk around telling everyone that I love them ... but I live life in a way that my actions (hopefully) portray my feelings. It has become a habit.

I took care of my will and had conversations that mattered about that subject. Doing something productive with my fears was a wise move. It puts some of the worries to rest and laid them out in a legal fashion so that 'those that are left behind' aren't left wondering what to do.

But most importantly, I simply make every attempt to live a life of gratitude and appreciating life's small gifts on a day-to-day basis. I surround myself in friendship, family and an oasis of 'that which lifts me up'. I try to keep up and put a voice to all that matters to me on a regular basis.

I don't keep score in this thing called life. I toss out the best of me that I have to give. I will call someone and leave a message, send an email or card or token gift and simply forget that I have done so. Then I will be pleasantly surprised when someone calls me back. It delights and surprises me every time that it happens.

I have simply come to terms with 'living my best life' (as Oprah would put it), on a daily basis. If life tapped me on the shoulder at any point in time and said, "Sorry, but your time is up ...", I'd like to think that I had done my best with what I was given and be at peace with that thought.

Why am I writing all of this this morning? A good friend who has been struggling with health issues and various diagnoses this past long while urged me to come over as soon as my work day ended yesterday. She told me that she had just found out that her condition is terminal.

I was numb with the news.

This morning, I woke up with one word on my mind. "Why?" ... Each and every diagnosis that she received she was told the same thing. "We never catch this disease at this stage." It filled me with hope each and every time she added this phrase to her growing list of what her body was fighting. She is a feisty and stubborn soul. I honestly had no doubt that she was going to give this disease a run for its money. But it is winning. Why? ...

Life has a way of slowing unveiling its answers. I will be whatever my friend needs me to be as these months unfold. I simply hope she finds the peace and strength that she needs to fight this fight as long as her body is willing ...

"The nicest and the sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple pleasure, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sunshine Needed

We have exactly 12 hours and 26 minutes of daylight today. We are losing four minutes of sun per day. How do I push myself out of the glum feeling that I have as the daylight hours are visibly shrinking day by day?

Number 1 - By making the most of the sunshine we have! I stayed indoors all weekend. Yesterday, I was waiting around the house for a parcel delivery so our walk consisted of a ten minute dash to the mailbox. Today? We are going to walk. And walk. And walk some more.

Number 2 - Keep motivated! My productivity comes in bits and starts. When I am motivated and I have hours of uninterrupted time on my hands, I have the ability to accomplish a lot. Whether or not I actually do anything with that time depends on my level of motivation. I need to keep myself motivated, which in turn will lead to becoming more productive with the time I have.

Number 3 - By doing something after supper! I find it very hard to motivate myself after my evening meal. Heavens ... I even find it hard to motivate myself to make supper, let alone do much of anything productive after I eat it. Do one thing. Just one thing ... keep moving after supper.

Number 4 - Regulate my sleeping hours! Turning on the TV is a surefire way for me to fall asleep despite the hour of the day. When I turn the TV on after supper, I am fast asleep before 8 p.m., which translates into waking up at 4 a.m., which in turn, means that I am exhausted by 8 o'clock that night. I need to shift my days and nights just a little bit later.

I was up before the birds and the sun this morning. My body wanted to reject its morning caffeine intake. I am feeling rather lackadaisical at the moment ...

The stroller is out and ready to roll. We will go for a walk soon. I pulled out a recipe book and I will make some muffins today. My sisters are coming this weekend and I have a small list of things that I could be puttering away at. I will do one thing on that list while the kids are napping today.

I must keep moving. If I don't, I will allow yet another day to slip through my fingers. I've lost too many days lately. I do not choose to add one more to the list.

It's time to get moving and make the most of the daylight hours. Which I hope will translate into making something of the hours after dark.

Our daylight hours are shrinking by the minute. There is no time like now, to make the most of them. There is also no better time than the present to incorporate some good habits to help make the most of the shorter days ahead.

This is hard. I'm ready for a morning nap already .... but I need a dose of sunshine to kickstart the day.

And off we roll!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Irony ...

I applied for employment insurance as soon as the school year finished and I knew that my work hours would be severely affected. I already had a part-time job lined up for the summer so I was hopeful not to have to make a claim but the one reason that I applied was because I had no idea what would happen in the fall ...

An intensive interview which questioned every decision that I had made in regards to my employment over the course of the past 12 months was almost enough to break me. I felt like offering to send them snippets from my blog to explain the reasons that I acted (and reacted) the way I did.

But within a few weeks, I was told that I qualified for a maximum of $201.00 in weekly benefits. I could earn a maximum of $80.00 and anything I earned over that would be deducted from the $201.00 benefit.

Thankfully, I never qualified for any benefits throughout the first seven weeks of my claim. I found it a bit of a pain in the neck to even bother keeping the claim open, but the very idea of the uncertainty of fall kept me completing the biweekly reports.

Because I found and worked at a completely unrelated-to-my-present-job-skills second job so that I could pay the bills over the summer, I did not need to make an EI claim. But ... if I was to quit that same job after the summer was over, chances are great that decision would have disqualified me from making a claim when I needed it the most.

My choices were narrowed down to being available to work seven days a week to qualify for insurance IF I didn't earn over $281.00 per week OR quit my second job and be disqualified (after what I can imagine only to be a nasty interview with the insurance official in charge of that department).

Either way, I could not foresee myself being in a position to pay all of my bills so ... I decided to go back to what worked for me and reopened my daycare (which was the best decision in EVERY sense of the word; the ability to (soon) be able to pay my bills was simply a bonus).

I quit the two jobs that I had when I started my claim. Two jobs that were not putting me in a viable financial position. I quit them so that I could start a job that had earning potential that far exceeded my present employment situation.

This is the irony of the situation - the final and eighth week of my claim, I qualified for a partial benefit. By my calculations, the maximum amount that EI would be required to pay out for that one week, over the course of eight weeks is $62.00.

I have told the complete and honest truth every step of the way. I have adhered to all of the rules and regulations. When I accidentally missed reporting the stat holiday pay that I received , I reported it as soon as I realized it (which was over a month, due to being paid one month after I worked it and then not automatically receiving my pay stub as usual, so I had to request it which added to the delay). I even admitted that I was not available to work one day - when I was called in to work on a weekday (which was a scheduled day off), and I declined. Even though I was available to work seven days a week. I went above and beyond to ensure that I declared every penny that I made and followed their rules to the letter.

I was so excited when I called to cancel my claim. I told them my revised work situation. I explained my decisions. In a nutshell, I quit two low paying, unreliable jobs so that I could secure one (semi) reliable, full-time wage.

I resigned from Job #2 on Aug 11th. No, I did not have a new job before I quit but the wheels were in motion, my daycare ads were posted and my new daycare was opening on September 4th. I had my first successful interviews with parents on Aug 13th.

I resigned from Job #1 on Aug 15th, after calling and talking to the person in charge of hiring to ask if she knew what I could expect in the fall (she could offer me nothing more than I already knew). I emailed the same person after I wrote my letter of resignation and before I dropped it off as a last ditch effort ...  in the hopes that they could extend an olive branch. Nothing. I was hired to do a bookkeeping job on Aug 17th. After I handed in my resignations at my existing jobs.

The error that I made was giving my employers two weeks notice. If I could have waited until I secured firm employment before I resigned, the result would be different. If I had waited, I would have been unable to open my daycare doors at the beginning of the month and the beginning of a new school year. I suppose I could have just said, "I QUIT!" and walked out on my employers before giving notice. But that isn't the way I roll. I foresaw a bright and shiny future (and the ability to pay my bills) ... so I took a small risk. I quit my jobs one week too soon.

Thus, my claim is being reviewed. Sixty two dollars (maximum) holds in the balance as they extended the two week time frame for them to review my claim. They gave themselves a deadline of "September 10th". Which was extended to "September 10th or the following business day". It now appears that the decision is in an extended limbo as this is the current message on my claim: "We have received new information on your claim but have not yet made a decision. We are making every effort to review this information as soon as possible. We have received your report. Your report will be processed when a decision has been made on your claim."

This isn't about the money. It is about being honest, doing the right thing, making thought out and careful decisions for your future ... and someone out there has the ability to wave their magic wand and make you feel like you are trying to cheat the system.

I am not trying to cheat anyone. I simply want a resolution.
If this scenario doesn't play out in a fair and just fashion, I am afraid that it taints my view that if you do the right thing, are honest and upfront ... you are rewarded.

This does not seem to be the case right now. I promise to update and amend this if and when I hear a final decision.

I'm not asking for the world here. I'm just asking them to do the 'right thing'...

** Final note **
I contacted the EI office Sept 19th. They called me back Sept 26th. I talked to a very nice lady on the phone and after our conversation, she took the 'stop' off of the payment in question. This is the message I found on my claim this morning:

"We have processed your report for the period ending Saturday August 18, 2012 which has resulted in a payment of $0.00 for this period."

The End

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Knew What I Was Fighting For

The very good thing about finding your very own sense of happiness and contentment ... is that once you have known that sensation, you fight hard to regain it if you lose it.

Moving to our New City was a pivotal point in my life. It was a time that suddenly my blinders came off and I knew that I had to walk away from a destructive cycle that I had been living. I knew it without a doubt. It was as if someone whispered in my ear, "Look at what this is doing to your children!" And I listened.

In the process of saving my children, I saved myself.

A sense of peace, harmony and safety enveloped our lives and our home. Life wasn't perfect, but oh! The feeling inside the walls that we called home was divine. My heart was happy. My Oldest Son (9 years old at the time) finally started acting like the child that he was. My Middle Son knew no other life. We were a family. We were together. We were ... good.

There came a time when that harmony was in jeopardy. I tiptoed through the house and our life. The anxiety was back. The fist in my chest. Our house was not a home anymore. I had to make some tough choices. I had to grab the oxygen mask and save myself so that I could save my children...

I can recognize the same feelings within me when I ended a relationship. Something was off. Something was pulling me away from the person that I knew that I could and should be. Familiar feelings in a different situation set off alarms within.

Instinctively, I had to reset the 'norm' and find my contentment within myself and within our home.

Looking back now, I can see this same need to 'reset' within my work world. The very last day that I worked at the financial institution that I had worked at since we moved here, the anxiety levels were running high. I was working one day a week and it was a challenge to keep up with the weekly memos, emails and changes. But that particular Saturday? There was a barrage of new products and expectations headed my way. "I can't do this ..." was my last conscious thought when I walked out of the door that day.

Two days later, I was in the hospital recovering from emergency hernia surgery. This granted me up to six to eight weeks of sick time. Which I took. Then I requested a one-year leave of absence from work. Which was granted. When the year was over, I handed in my resignation. I never did return to work after that fateful day when my anxiety levels rose to new heights.

I have been treading water within my work-world ever since.

I tried changing my career path. I kept looking for that 'normal' that I used to know. The calmness. The serenity. The peace of mind.

I have quit a handful of jobs throughout that time. I started over just as many times. Each time, fighting to find 'my happy'.

I am so glad that I knew what I was fighting for. Because now that I have this contentment back at the core of my heart and soul, I recognize the feeling. This was worth the fight.

We are fortunate when we have known that sense of peace and security. It gives us something to strive for. We recognize the feelings when life starts to feel the way that we once knew.

What about those who have not known this feeling? What happens to those who have had a rocky start to life and do not have a sense of what this feels like? How do they know what they are fighting for? Would they recognize it when they saw it? Or would they feel the fear that this feeling would be snatched away??

When you know what you are fighting for, you know when you have 'arrived'. I am grateful that I recognized when it was time to walk away. I am even more grateful to recognize when I found my way back to the place where I feel at peace again.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

She Inspires Me ...

I visited with my Middle Son's daycare provider yesterday. She set the bar for me when I first opened my daycare. Simply put? She inspires me.

My Son was two years old when we met Nettie. I was nervous about sending him off to a daycare without his older brother to be his voice if things were not right. Then we met. My mother's spidey senses didn't go off. In fact, I felt perfectly at ease with her, her home and what was important to her. She had babysat for a friend of mine and she provided a glowing reference. And we were off!

Nettie cared for My Son until he was almost 11 years old. She became a vital part of his life. She remembers the smallest things about him. Yesterday she reminded me that when he was young, he never put his hands out in front of him to protect himself when he fell. This resulted in a few 'face plants' before she taught him how to fall. "I remember teaching him how to fall with his hands out, in the grass ... he eventually learned ...", she recalled with a chuckle yesterday.

Nine years of drop-offs and pick-ups, and the stories that each one of us must have heard about the other (out of the mouths of 'babes' ... namely My Son) over the course of time gave us each a pretty good sense of knowing each other. Not in a best friend kind of way. Not in a business manner either. But a mish mash of personal and business ... and simply that feeling one gets when you are on the same wavelength as another person. Oh, and also when each party plays a vital role in raising the same child.

Little bits and pieces of our lives came into view over the course of those years. Perhaps she knew more about me and our home life because you do open the door to 'everything personal' at times, when raising a child together. She revealed little bits and pieces about herself along the way. Not the full picture. Just a glimpse.

I have spoke to Nettie a handful of times before, during and after my daycare years. So I got to know just a little more about the business side of how she made things work for her in her daycare world. I have always held her in highest regard and took what she said to heart and incorporated as much as I could into my daycare ideals.

The last time I spoke to Nettie, she was in the process of winding down her daycare. She was weaning herself down slowly. Her husband had recently passed away and she was heeding the advise "not to make any big changes during that first year" after his passing.

Then we spoke yesterday.

She hasn't changed a bit from the Nettie that I have always known. Happy, upbeat, joking around and her realistic view of the world and manner that you just make the best of things.

What I heard most of all was a deep contentment that (I don't think) a person can fake. She completed the process of weaning herself out of the daycare world but that doesn't mean that she isn't busy.

She is still in the same house, with a renovated kitchen that she absolutely adores! She has hired a neighbor to help out with mowing the lawn, but the TLC that she always gave to her yard still provides her signature touch when you walk past her house. She is actively involved with her friends and has created a sense of purpose about her that made me feel that she wakes up each morning with a mission.

She laughingly commented that her daughter said that she has spent too much time living on her own. "I don't live alone!", she replied. "I have my cats." Ahhh ... Nettie and her cats. They have always been an extension of her family. Then she went on to describe the personalities of her two cats in a way that only Nettie could.

Nettie's children and grandchildren don't live in Our City. Two of her children live a province away and her third lives a three hour drive away. She drives out to see them ... and sometimes flies out to those further away. Her grandchildren's ages vary from age 2 to 21. Her children did a marvelous job in keeping her surrounded in youth ...

We touched on the serious in a language that is shared by 'those who have been there'. She spoke of her Oldest Son's issues with his father and that he simply could not forgive him. He (the son) saw 'what his father did to his mother'... Her youngest son has acquired the ability to separate his love for his father from his hate for his actions.

Nettie brushed it off with ease. "Sure, I was afraid a lot of the time ... but there were a lot of good times too ..."

She is not living in fear any more. This is the difference that I heard in her voice. She is becoming more of the person that she has always been.

She has no regrets. Her motto is (paraphrased slightly because I cannot remember her exact words) 'You cannot live in the past. Live for today ... because tomorrow is not guaranteed'.

It just so happened that yesterday was Nettie's birthday. Her age came up a few times over the course of the years that I have known her but I always forgot it as soon as I was told. She is 'ageless' to me. Age simply never mattered. Nor does it matter to Nettie.

I reflected on our conversation and it made me ponder (ever-so-briefly) the question, "What if I had stayed ..." in a relationship where I lived in fear.

I cannot know for sure, but I am afraid that I would not have weathered the storm well. I am grateful that I got out. I have 25 good years behind me now. Twenty five years.

I can't begin to imagine what it is like to walk in another person's shoes. Like those who stay in jobs that are killing their spirit for reasons that paralyze them ... there are those who remain in relationships that are not healthy.

As long as one can look back on their past with Nettie's motto (that I truly believe that she lives and breathes) ... that decision was right for them.

But when I see a person soaring to new heights after a 'lifetime' of being in a situation that must have brought them to their knees at times ... I can't help but wonder 'why did they wait'?

Everyone's best choices for their own situation are unique. As long as one doesn't allow bitterness and regret to taint their future happiness ... as long as one can look back and reflect on the good times ... they have made the best choice that was theirs to make.

'You cannot live in the past. Live for today ... because tomorrow is not guaranteed'.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Try, Try Again

I realized with astonishment last night ... that the work-week was almost over. Friday!?!? Already?? I couldn't believe how fast the week went.

Have I mentioned lately how content I feel in my new/old life? How many ways can I put this before it becomes tedious?

Simply put ... I feel grounded once again.

I wake up in the morning, knowing that I am fully capable of handling whatever the day brings. I face my daycare responsibilities and challenges with all of the tools that I have acquired - before, during and since the last time I ran my daycare from home. I face each day and wonder how I can make the best of the hours we have at our disposal.

I have done simple things.

Like cooking. I made a few homemade soups and a dessert this week. My family is just a little bit happy to have a few different choices on the menu (I have not managed to equal that success with my daycare family ... yet).

We walk. And walk and walk. It lulls my one-year-old to sleep and provides my two-year-old with an ever-changing view of the world as we carry on a walking commentary about trucks, planes, birds, puppies and sounds.

I wrote a book yesterday. My two-year-old walks in the door in the morning and asks to read books. He shows no interest in listening to me read. What he wants is to go through books and identify that which interests him. What I have noticed is that what interests him in real life is not well depicted in the selection of books that I have. So I wrote a book about our walk and 'illustrated' it with various pictures of all of the things that we saw. Of course, him and his one-year-old Partner in Daycare were the main characters of the book. This ensured a best-seller! We may be onto something here ...

I truly forgot what it was like to be around a one and a two year old. I am relearning. There are times when it feels like I'm hitting my head against a wall. How many times can a two-year-old ask "Where'd daddy go?" Apparently over 133 times in a 10 hour period. Yes. I counted. When do kids stop putting things in their mouths? Apparently 'never', if in the company of a younger child that is leading the way. Do children eat raisins any more? It doesn't appear so. I bought some mini-boxes of raisins because they were on sale and also because they were always a hit in the past. Now? I feel like putting up a daycare advertisement - "Wanted - Children ages 2 1/2 years and up. Must like raisins".

It's been a good week. Today feels like it is going to be a good day. I have a potential 'date' to go for a walk with my previous daycare provider. I called her earlier this week to ask if she would like to walk with us and she said that she would love to. Except she had an appointment that day. Today looks like it is going to be another beautiful day, so I shall try once again to see if she would like to go for a morning stroll with us.

That is what it is all about. Try, try again until you find what works for you. This is easier said than done ...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where Ever the Road Takes Us

I have one double stroller for my daycare. We have been putting a lot of miles on it ...

I would have preferred to have a single stroller so my one-year-old could ride while my two-year-old could burn off some energy as he walked along at our side.

One (on foot) walk with my two-year-old (when my one-year-old went home sick), was enough to make me see that we had better do most of our walking before my second one-year-old joins us in October. A ten minute stroll to the mailbox turned into a half hour hike when my two-year-old set the pace.

Our days of 'two' are numbered. My new one-year-old is going to come for a few trial runs before her mom goes back to work in October. So I am indulging myself in walking where ever the road takes us, for as long as I choose for now.

Yesterday I thought we would head off in the direction of the first school I worked at last fall. As I walked the streets that I walked every day during those two months, I could feel the anxiety that I felt at that time resurface. I breathed a heavy sigh of relief knowing that I didn't have to 'walk that walk' again.

We detoured around that school and ended up walking past an elementary school that I was called out to work at a few times when I was on the sub list. Though memories of the kind and helpful staff overrode the anxiousness that I felt each and every time that I walked into a new school, again ... I was grateful that I was not walking that life of uncertainty any longer.

We continued to walk and I revelled in my renewed appreciation for my old life. We walked and walked and walked. My one-year-old dozed off to sleep. My two-year-old got stuck in a verbal rut yesterday as he asked, "Where'd my daddy go??" about a bazillion times (originally, I told My Youngest that it was at least a hundred. Then my two-year-old started again and it quickly became 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108 ... within the next minute and a half,so I am simply estimating that by the day's end it must have been close to a bazillion times).

I decided to turn back and start heading towards home when I spotted a school that I had never noticed before. I thought that we would walk past one last school and head back.

Low and behold, I spotted my neighbor at work in the school yard. She stopped and chatted with us for a while. We live across the street from each other. I used to watch her daughters before and after school. Her son bought my car. Yet we haven't spoken to each other in over a year.

It's funny how life works. Our neighbors become strangers to us ... yet we find them a half hour's walk away from home and we realize how much we have to say.

It is a small little adventure for us each day as we walk where ever the road takes us ...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Working My Way Back ...

I have started inviting people back into my life and our home lately. I never really stopped altogether ... but it became harder and harder to extend those invitations, the further I retreated into myself as I trudged through the past few years.

The first time it happened was just over a week ago.

I was responding to a one-line email which (technically) didn't even require a response. One page of words later, I found my fingers suggesting that we plan a Sister Sleepover. Four days after that, both of my sisters were on board with the idea. And voila! It was a done deal. A few weekends from now, if you listen very carefully, you will hear the characteristic laugh of the Three Sisters in the distance (at a family gathering, one of my sister's in laws came up to the three of us and commented, "You even have the same laugh!").

As I was reorganizing a closet (my make-shift pantry) the other day, I stumbled upon some angel food cake mixes.It just so happened that it was a good friend's birthday the day before I came upon this little treasure. And her favorite dessert is ... angel food cake.

Yesterday (after I made some rather tasty hamburger soup for lunch), I decided to make an angel food cake. Once it was in the oven, I picked up the phone and called 'the birthday girl' and a few friends ...

Three phone calls later, I had reached only one person (I left messages for the others) but they were pleased and happy to plan to come for supper and cake (I thought I may as well offer to share my soup as well as dessert). Unfortunately the others had plans but ... I still had the opportunity to chat with them when they returned my call. The invitations were still rewarded with an excuse for a brief visit (plus ... I still have two more angel food cake mixes so we have a future date with cake involved, before this month is over!).

We had a small gathering which was thoroughly enjoyable. Due to the spur of the moment nature of the invitation, expectation levels were low. I utilized whatever was in the house for our menu and we enjoyed the company as much as (more!) than the food that was on the table.

I love picking up the phone (or sending a quick email) and taking a chance on making these little things happen.

I have been extending myself on many levels lately. I simply have 'more' of myself to give now that I am in a better, more grounded state myself.

Working from home has limited me from taking myself out of my comfort zone and going to others. But it has grounded me in a way that I feel that I can be a better friend. From the comfort of my own home.

I am working my way back to being in a place where I have so much more of myself to offer. It feels oh-so-good (great) to be back.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It FEELS Like Home Again ...

I was a little bit disappointed in myself when I didn't step right back into the daycare mode right off the bat when I reopend my Daycare Doors last week ...

By the end of my daycare 'career', I had things running like a finely oiled machine around here. I had daily and weekly routines that worked. The house was tidy and clean. Little things got done on a regular basis. I am a putterer ... and just like the turtle in Aesop's Fable ... I slowly but surely 'won' the race (or at least managed to keep a little bit ahead of the game).

I like to 'race' but I'm more of an endurance runner. I race against time constantly. Got a tedious job that needs to get done? Race against the clock as you work at the task at hand. Have an overwhelming job that makes your knees go weak at the very thought of it?  Break it down into small, manageable pieces and imagine a timeline that you can try to beat.

When I worked out of my home (or even worked within my home without the ability to putter with things around the house at the same time that I was earning that pay cheque) housework, cooking or anything domestic became like a short distance sprint. I had a finite amount of time to do what had to be done. My long distance endurance skills did not work in my favor. I did very little with the little time that I had.

I am now into Week #2 of my renewed daycare career. Monday? I didn't do so well. Today? I did awesome (if I do say so myself!).

I got up a half hour earlier. That was the best way to kick start the day. I didn't short change myself of the quiet time that I have come to need in my day.

Then I started puttering.

Finding a few cat hairs on the one-year-old in my care yesterday reminded me of the promise that I made to myself years ago. I did not (and still do not) want my kids going home covered in cat hair. My obsession with tending to cat hair is back.

I wiped down the couch with a dual goal in mind. To get rid of any cat hair and scrub out any 'water marks'. Our cat drools when he sleeps and leaves his drool marks behind in his favorite cat-napping spots. My one-year-old is at an everything-goes-in-my-mouth stage ... which has included the couch (yuck). And my two-year-old is at a copy-whatever-you-see-anyone-else-does stage ... which means that he has also sucked on our couch a little bit (gross). Thus ... the couch was in dire need of a good scrubbing ...

Then ... I had pulled out the necessary ingredients and a recipe for Hamburger Soup. The soup will be an overkill for lunch (my one-year-old went home, after she threw up all over her mom as she was being dropped off this morning), since I am feeding 'two'. But it will be a tasty supper treat on this cool and windy fall day. Plus ... I will be able to freeze the excess.

The house smells like a home. It is starting to feel like someone who cares lives here. I've missed this place. It feels like home again ... and oh, how I've missed this feeling!

The Final Hour

I was going to write a light and fluffy post about 'The Final Hour' this morning ... the hour before my alarm clock went off today (I refused to turn on the TV and I thought sleep was going to elude me ... until I woke up from a dream/nightmare about working at yet another new job) ...

Then I realized what day this is. I have been watching several 9-11 documentaries and they are a grim reminder of how precious that final hour can be.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and we spoke of the illnesses that have consumed and taken the lives of too many of the people that we know through our (prior) workplace.

I talked to another friend who is currently battling cancer and various other physical ailments. When I asked the question "What is the common denominator?", my friend answered before I finished asking the question, "Stress ..."

It seems that you don't have to look far these days to hear of people unhappy with their job. Stress levels are reaching new proportions. Chronic stress. Stress that faces people every single work day and permeates into their time off.

I often ask these people what they feel their options are. They are stuck. Stuck in a job that pays the bills. Stuck because they rely on the benefits. Stuck just 'one more year' (or whatever time period is necessary) to get full pension or benefits or save a little more. I would also imagine that there is a certain amount of fear that paralyzes a lot of people into staying where they are at. Full-time work, job security and stability are a frail thing these days. Everyone has a reason for staying where they are. And they are very good reasons ...

But the stress of staying in a situation that is eroding your mental and physical health? Is there a dollar value that can be placed on that?

It has happened far too often, that people have stuck it out too long. By the time they walk away from the stressors of their life, the damage has already been done. They finally retire ... and then disease consumes them and steals the time they have left.

If they had known, they could have walked away a year sooner and enjoyed that final year that they 'gave' to a situation that was killing them slowly. Even if their time here on earth was predestined ... wouldn't they have chosen to spend that final year of good health doing things that they loved to do and spending time with people who lift them up?

I always thought that I sounded a little melodramatic when I said (when I left my husband for the third and final time), that I knew I would die an early death if I stayed. I never said or meant to imply that it would be anything but a stress-related demise ... but it could have gone any way at that point.

Since that time, I have learned to listen to the wise inner voice inside that knows when it is 'time to walk away' from a situation that is killing me softly.

I have 'quit' many things in my life. Each ending brings about a new beginning. As long as one keeps looking to the horizon and never stops starting over, you aren't really 'quitting'. You are just moving on.

When I look back on my life, I want to know that I spent that final year ... or that final hour wisely. A life with no (or few) regrets. I don't want to waste that 'final hour'. Nor do I want to give it to a situation that is pulling me down.

So I have restarted. Again. As I look back on last year ... even if it was my 'final year', I can find the blessings mixed in amongst the chaos of my mind. It is my goal to make this year better.

One can't live their life looking in a rear view mirror. You can only make the best of the hours, days and years at your disposal. Spend them wisely.

Eleven years ago, who innocently walked into their workplace and thought they could be facing their final hour?

Monday, September 10, 2012


My Youngest asked to use the computer this morning. 'No problem', I thought (well, actually I groaned "Ughh" and growled a little bit first and thought 'no problem' a few seconds later), 'I can use my netbook...'

That was approximately 45 minutes ago.

I signed onto my Netbook and every program or website I opened took minutes to open (verses the seconds that I have grown accustomed to). This mini computer is moves as slow as molasses and every little thing is takes forever.

Finally I was at a point where I could either write my mom's weekly letter ... or start writing a blog post ... and the mouse stopped working.

This happens sporadically with this computer. All I have to do is shut down the computer with all of the programs open ... which means the start up process is even slower as it tells me that programs were shut down unexpectedly and asks if I want to go back to where I was when everything crashed on me.

Again, on most computers this message and the extra clicking required to get back to where you want to be would take seconds. This economy mini laptop is slow. So back I went to the waiting process as I got various messages about this, that and the other thing.

Which means that my original blog post theme has left the building. I am sitting in the kitchen. My legs are curled up underneath me because I am too short to effectively type at the computer at the kitchen table (I really need a booster seat). I am sitting too close to the radio and the music is distracting me (yes, I could turn it off but music makes me happy). And the clock is ticking oh-too-quickly and my first arrival of the day is due to walk in the door in minutes.

I am a creature of habit. I have a morning routine that works for me. I can be flexible. But this morning everything is moving in slow motion (except the clock).

I laid in bed wide awake and ready to get up a half hour before the alarm went off this morning. I finally got up 15 minutes early. I think I am going to go and reset the alarm and get up that half hour earlier tomorrow morning.

I love the quiet of the morning. I don't like sharing that time too much. A little bit? Okay. Just don't ask me to give up my morning computer time. It throws me a little out of whack.

I have been displaced this morning. The words don't want to flow from the busy-ness of the kitchen. There is too much going on in this room.

I'll be back when it's quiet. But for now, I'm going to reset my alarm. I need to carve out a little bit of extra quiet time for myself in the morning.

It's all so easy ... because even though my morning has gone a little bit askew, it just doesn't matter. Because I'm working from home. I will find 'my time' later on today. Quiet time has returned to my life. I missed quiet time.

Adding a little bit of quiet time to your day can restart the day. This little computer is not the only thing that is moving a little sluggish this morning. Rebooting the computer did the trick. I am thinking that a morning walk and a dose of quiet time will do the trick for me.

I love working from home. Rebooting, restarting a little bit of quiet and surrounded in all that comforts me makes everything so easy.

I feel better already.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Saturday That FELT Like a Saturday!

It is not that I haven't had a Saturday off in a while. I have. It is not that I haven't had leisurely Saturdays. I have had those too. It is not that I have lacked in days off. I have also had my share of those. But yesterday was the first Saturday that felt like a Saturday in a very long time.

The past three years have been a little out of the norm for me.

The first year, I was in school. I had to put the required amount of hours per week, I babysat before and after school kids and I worked part-time at my bookkeeping job. I definitely had weekends and I could easily make plans. But the bookkeeping job was one of those jobs that could infringe on my weekends. If I didn't get all of my school hours logged, I could go in on a Saturday. I have no real memory of resenting anything that infringed on my weekends but ... weekends were not a 'given'.

The second year, I worked at my bookkeeping job. The work came in ebbs and flows. I could pretty well do whatever I wanted to do in and around my bookkeeping responsibilities, but there was a price to pay. If I took days off during the week, there could be a payback of having to work the weekend. When the work was available and I hadn't worked enough hours in the month ... I worked whatever hours were available, whenever I could squeeze them in so that I could to make up for lost time.

Eventually, my work was moved out of my home and the hours were confined to Monday to Friday. I had weekends at that point in time, but the restlessness from working out of my home was so prevalent that the memory of savoring a Saturday does not stand out for me in a big way right now. I know that weekends happened ... but there was a restlessness within me throughout those months. Making it to another weekend meant that I survived another week.

Then came my year of working at the school. The hours were clearly defined - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday through Friday. The only problem was ... that they weren't guaranteed. The first months were full-time, but the stress levels were so high that all that stands out, is that I slept. Alot. That period was followed by being on call for the rest of the year. Sometimes I worked. Sometimes I didn't. I ended up with unexpected days off throughout the week. I often ended up with long weekends. But when days off are a surprise and your budget is severely affected by all of those days that you don't work ... weekends came and went ... but I did not savor them in a way that you do when you work five days and earn your two days off.

Last of all, came The Summer of 2012. The summer of a job that was 'the final straw'. The schedule was all over the map. Working weekends was (almost) a given. Yes, I could book weekends off. Yes, I actually got a weekend off. But days off at that job could be changed with one phone call. I learned not to count on the schedule because it changed like the wind (not really, but it felt like it when I was on the other end of the phone agreeing to work when I wasn't scheduled).

Then came The Decision That Changed My Life. The decision to reopen my daycare and quit my other jobs. I gifted myself with two weeks off at the end of August to transition back into this lifestyle. One week of holidays, followed by one week of reorganizing our home and getting ready for the grand reopening (not so grand really). They were two very busy weeks.

This was followed by ... last week.

A week where I started a part-time bookkeeping job. A week where my daycare doors welcomed two little people into our Daycare Family. A week where I delivered flyers and completed that task - for the week - at 9:00 Friday night. It was a week that I ... worked. It was a week where ... I earned a weekend. It was a week that marked the return as Life As I Knew It ... and it felt good.

Saturday arrived and I had an excess of words. I blogged. I sent off a few emails. I called my mom. Then I sat still.

I ate when I was hungry (and when I was not hungry too). I watched TV. I did the crossword. I dozed off and on throughout the afternoon. I relaxed. I felt like a cat in a sunbeam as I felt every inch of my body melt into the couch and thought to myself ... "This is the life!"

The phone didn't ring and I didn't have the strength to lift it up and dial it after I talked with my mom. There are several people that I wanted to call ... but I just ... didn't.

I have had days like this throughout the years of transition that preceded it. But yesterday was different. There was a sense of coming home again. I was peaceful. Inside and out.

I look back at where I've been and I'm glad that I travelled that road. But I am not a thrill seeker. I don't want to live a life where my senses are on high alert at all times. I think I ran on adrenaline a lot of the time. By the end, I was riddled with anxiety and doubted myself on every level.

The thrills and chills are behind me now. I know that I tend to shake up my world a little from time to time. I'm sure that I will probably eventually raise the bar a little from where it is at the moment.

But for now? This moment? As I sit here and live and breathe my New Life? I am calm. I am happy. I am at peace. Add those sensations to a Saturday that I actually earned ... and it was a Saturday that actually felt like a Saturday.

I am home again.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Taking Care of Business

I was asked if I have a pamphlet for my daycare ... so my blogging time yesterday morning was spent fine tuning my newest promotional item. And voila! I have a brochure to add to my arsenal of hand-outs to promote my new daycare business.

Then there is the Excel spreadsheet that I created to keep track of income and expenses. I wish that I had utilized this handy tool for my previous daycare years. But I wasn't as wise to the benefits of Microsoft Office back then.

This Excel sheet is a godsend as I try to figure out a fair and equitable flat rate for varying schedules and rates. In the past, I have spent hours figuring, checking and rechecking my numbers as I try to figure out a fair-for-all rate of pay. Excel has given me the power to change one number and all of the calculations are automatic!

I haven't started a newsletter yet but you can be sure that my newsletter experience from the school will be brought into my new world.

As I develop various tools to take care of business, I am seeing the value of my schooling. I am bringing Microsoft Office into my daycare world. Microsoft Word is helping me create professional business cards, posters, pamphlets, start-up literature, contact lists and newsletters. Excel is helping me manage the financial end of things.

The ability to utilize what I have learned in my new world fulfills my need to work my brain. Working with numbers and the business end of running a daycare has always come easy to me. I thank my math skills and years of banking and bookkeeping experience for that. Creating documents, advertising and literature to promote my business fulfills my need to add my signature touch to the world we are creating here.

After spending a week communicating at the level of a one and a two year old, my brain welcomes the challenge.

Next week's challenge? Consistency and calmness must reign as I teach my new little ones the importance of treating others the way you want to be treated (translation - don't grab toys from someone just because they have them). Routines will teach my one-year-old that nap time is a very good time. Going to sleep happy means waking up happy.

Will my year of working at the school help me overcome the challenges that I see before me? I believe it will. If I start talking/thinking and writing at the level of the children I care for, I will sound the alarms and bring myself back into the adult world by remembering all that I learned last year.

I am grateful for all that I have learned throughout my hiatus from full-time daycare, as I find myself bringing all that I have learned into my new world ... as I take care of the business at hand.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Settling In

We are two days into our fall transformations and now I am looking towards the rest of our tomorrows ...

My Youngest has had two out of two good days into the initiation process at his new high school. The bus ride no longer seems daunting to him, as he met up with a friend at the bus stop and immediately realized that he would not be alone in this. He had his first lunch hour at school "... and boy! Did it seem long!!..." He found a friend to eat with and tagged along with people that he knew afterwards to pass the time. Homework is in the air but the deadlines are in the future ... so far, so good in that respect. His official first day of classes went well.

In my daycare world, Day #2 went well ... but my kids are bored and I do hope that we find some friends for them very soon. It is all good and well to check out the new toys and get the lay of the land in your new day home ... but a day is quite enough of that. Now it is time to bring in some friends!

We made the transitions. The initial days are going well. All is as good as can be expected. But I seem to have my eye on the future now. What will it bring? How can grow through the process and make this the best it can be?

We are settling into our new lives with our eye on the future ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Serenity ...

I feel peaceful.

The past little while, I have woken up in the middle of the night and gone back to sleep without turning on the TV to quieten my mind. It has been a long time coming, but it has returned. Serenity.

Yesterday was My Youngest's registration day at high school. He did it. By himself. He came home walking a little taller and with a smile on his face. A great way to kick off the new school year.

Yesterday was a first day for me too. My daycare doors reopened. I am glad. It was a quiet day. It was a day that I simply went with the flow. It was a good day.

I can sleep again.

Unfortunately my ability to drop off to sleep the moment I sit still has also returned. I guess I'll have to keep moving. Forward.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Time to Play

I have been busy the past few weeks. We had a busy holiday followed by the state of perpetual motion once we returned home, as we reorganized the house and got it daycare-ready.

My daycare doors open this morning. I am so ready for a day where I can sit down on the floor with the kids and just ... play.

I'm certain there will be separation anxiety amongst the parents and children as they drop off their little people for the first time, but I hope that when they return they will find that their kids are happy and having fun.

I plan to have a day with few expectations. I will simply be in the moment and take it minute by minute, hour by hour. I will relax with the idea of letting the day unfold naturally and hope that translates to a calmness that my new daycare family can relax with.

I am so pleased that I will be home when My Youngest sets off for school. I will be here when he gets back. This would not have happened if I was working outside of my home. I know he is capable and old enough to do this on his own ... but I just want to be accessible. That is all that I have ever wanted ...

I feel so completely and totally grounded today. It's been a long and winding road that has brought me back to where I started. I know that I needed to step away, learn and try new things ... but I feel that every step I took away, has brought me back to where I needed to be all along. I took the long way home.

Monday, September 3, 2012

It's Better Than Falling in Love!

"I forget to sleep and eat. This is almost as good as falling in love. In fact, I think it's better ... "

These are the words that fell out of my fingertips late last night as I wrote a long and windy response to a one-line email that I had received.

My fingers often get carried away and write what my subconscious mind is telling them. As I wrote that email, it reminded me of a post that I wrote about breaking up with myself. "I've been in a dysfunctional relationship with myself for the past year and I've had enough. I'm breaking it off and setting it free."

I talked about gutting my life, keeping what was good and solid, then building around what was left. "I don't know exactly what that means right now but sometimes my fingers know things that my head hasn't figured out yet." I predicted that I would reread those words in a year and figure out what my subconscious mind already knew.

Maybe a year will tell me more, but I am amazed at the difference that three months can make. This is what it feels like to make a decision that is right for yourself. Suddenly you are simply going with the current and everything feels easy ... again.

Life has a way of repeating itself. I went through this purging cycle about five years ago ... I had to remind myself how necessary it was that I 'let go' of certain aspects of my life at that time.

Letting go of what is bringing you down gives you the energy to focus on rebuilding that which is good in your life.

Once again, I was reminded of the article "66 Ways to Build Courage" by Christine Kane. "... there’s a deeper level of courage. It makes you stronger with each move you make. It makes you fall in love with yourself. It makes you fall in love with your life. That’s because, at its core, courage is about strengthening your relationship with yourself..."

I have fallen in love. With myself and my life. This is a very good place to start ... again.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lost Treasures

It's been a little bit like an Easter egg hunt around here lately as I go from room to room and do the Daycare Shuffle as each room takes on a new identity.

Our first find was a small flooding situation due to a blockage in our air conditioner's hose. While that was not a great find, I'm grateful that we found it when we did. I'm also grateful that it flooded the only two areas in the basement that are not done in laminate flooring. I hate to think what a backup of water would do to laminate floor ...

I finally found the booster seat that I could have sworn that I kept when I sold/gave away most of my daycare accumulations a few years ago. But when I went to locate it, it was nowhere to be found. I thought that I must have given it away after all. Who would have thought to look outside in the play house for that? Certainly not me ...

I found the baby gate that I assumed I must have sold. I thought if I had kept it, I would have stored it with or near the rest of the toys and that-which-I-have-saved-for-future-grandchildren. Nope. It wasn't there. It was in the laundry room beside the spare fridge. What was I thinking when I put it there? That is a spot that I wouldn't look for anything ...

Then there was the atlas that I was looking for one time when Mom was here. We were trying to find locations in and around Alaska. The only atlas that I could find was an old school atlas. We found what we were looking for but I knew that I had a good atlas. A big, thick atlas that would have had a better map. Where could it be? I looked high and low for it because I knew that was something I wouldn't give away. It was not to be found. Until last week. I had it safely stowed in and among our photo albums. Photo albums?!!? The only reason I can think that I would have filed it away there is because of its size. Yup ... makes sense. File big books together, despite their content ...

A have a few closets and a bedroom that have escaped the Great Daycare Shuffle. But I am now intrigued by what I may find if I dig through and reorganize those. They may get some attention today ...

I have reached a great stage in my life. I am at a place where I can now hide my own Easter eggs. Is it age or is it just too much in one's mind when you lose track of the 'little things'? I prefer to think of it as a little of both. By this age and stage of one's life you have so much information crammed into the recesses of your mind, that you have to file some of the less used and needed information into a deeper closet.

Oh! The treasures one could find if you could houseclean your brain the way you can go through the storage areas in your house ... I guess the next best thing is digging through your home and unearthing the memories along with what you find.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hair of the Dog

My brain was still wide awake at 4:00 this morning, even though my body laid down at 3:30 a.m. and tried to get distracted enough by the dialogue on "The Gilmore Girls" to stop the caffeine-induced rush of thoughts that simply would not cease last night.

I woke up bright and alert (with a caffeine hangover) at 7:00 a.m. ... I thought I could and should get moving with the day. But then thought better of it. I put my eye make-up on and then thought I'd just crawl back into bed and watch T.V. for a little while.

I woke up once again at 10:00 a.m. ... now ready for the day (even more ready than I had initially been because my eye make-up was already applied and I looked more alert than I felt).

The-never-ending-to-do-list goes on. And on ...

I delivered flyers last night so that I would not have to face that task today. I knew that I would be grateful for that this morning. Now that I have written the words aloud, I feel giddy. I am beyond happy that job is done. A day where my knees are still feeling a little wobbly from the exhaustion that I've been delaying.

I finished up the flyers after 9:00 p.m. and had one final errand to run. Thankfully (I checked this before I did the flyers) the store I needed to go to was open until 10:00 p.m. ... so today, if I play my cards right, I will not have to leave the house. For anything!!

I feel like I have been on the go since we left for our holiday. It was a busy holiday. It has been even busier since we returned home. There is busy-ness in my future.

Maybe that explains my need for caffeine. After I woke up the second time this morning, I was ready for my morning coffee. Now that I am on my third cup, I am fueled up and ready to go (and I still have last night's spare iced coffee awaiting me for later in the day).

 Wikipedia quote for 'a hair of the dog': "In Tanzania, the equally swahili phrase used is "kuzimua" which means 'assist to wake up after a coma'."

I needed a little assistance this morning.

2:12 a.m. and All is Well ...

My Youngest decided to come along with me to run a quick errand and then pick up an ice cream & a drink at McDonald's (you've gotta love those $1.00 drinks!!) while we were out.

This was my order:
  • One medium ice cream cone
  • One medium ice cream in a dish
  • One medium iced tea
  • One medium vanilla iced coffee
This is what we got:

My ice cream cone was already devoured before we got home and took this photo
 The girl handed us two ice cream cones (slightly melted already) and I said that we had asked for one of those in the dish. This is what we got:
My Youngest & I looked at each other in wonder but were distracted because we got double the drink order that we asked for. This was the girl's reply, "Well, that is what the receipt said!" I responded, "But that is not what we ordered". Her answer? "It says you did ..." Me: "I asked for only 2 drinks" Her: "Well do you want your money back then?"

I was so taken aback by her answers and the fact that the line-up at the drive thru was waiting behind us, that I thought to myself that it wasn't worth the argument. The drinks were cheap. So we left. My Youngest said, "I didn't even get a spoon for my ice cream ..."

The service was so bad that we simply laughed. And laughed some more as we looked at the ice cream cone that she plunked into a dish. What else could you do??

Then we got home, took these pictures for posterity (and good story telling props) then went on about our business.

A few minutes later, My Youngest wandered up to me and asked, "Did you ask for a Coke?? ... because this is either a Coke or a Diet Coke". Sure enough. It was. My Youngest doesn't like Coke. I do. But I already had double the iced coffee that I had ordered. But Coke goes flat ... so I drank it first.

Here it is .... now 2: 24 a.m. ... and I'm still wide awake.

Thanks McDonald's! I deserved a break today ... but a little sleep would be nice to go along with that.