Monday, July 29, 2013

It's Good to Be Home

Be it ever so humble ... I'm so glad to be back!

I almost extended my 'vacation' by a day. I made a phone call that could have made this day go either way but I'm glad that it went the way that it did. I needed to come back 'home'. Today.

Even though my vacation was only seven steps away from the main living area of the house ...

Even though I didn't sequester myself as completely and entirely as I had planned ...

Even though I (unfortunately) didn't completely unplug myself from the world around me ...

Even though I had some days where I didn't accomplish as much as I had hoped to do ...

Even though none of that happened, I attained my goal. A first draft of my dad's family's story is in the hands of (or in the mail to) my uncles.

It is rough, raw and needs so very, very much editing, culling and pulling the story together. But for now? It is the voices of five brothers, their wives, their children, their nephews and nieces, their old friends and neighbors. It is full of stories and memories. Light moments, realities, reflections, the serious and the frivolous. For now ... it is enough.

I will continue to hone this book and tame it down into a novella that people can wade through at their leisure. It will take time. But that is okay. Because it will get done. I have 'built' myself a semi-private oasis with a door.


It includes a closet (also with a door) with enough shelf space to store my research. Everything I need to resume this project is only five steps away (I'm relocated in the middle of the house instead of the far end. Oh well).

My holidays will now take on a life of their own. I must work tomorrow. I hope to squeeze in an appointment before we leave for Mom's on Wednesday. Mom & I have tentative plans to visit my cousin one day and my brother (and family) another day. My Youngest and I have plans for two days. I will get to see my friend. Then we will come home.

We will come home and my holidays will be over when I open my eyes the next morning.

So tonight ... I put the toy room back to its original splendor.


Playpens and cots are reassembled, with clean sheets and blankets are at the ready. The toy cupboard has been reshuffled with a new variety of toys for the kids when they return. I'm ready to go. But most of all? I am more than ready to resume life-as-I-know-it. I've missed this ...


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Freudian Slip

I didn't have time to proof read yesterday's post before I ran out the door.

I made four stops on the way to my pedicure and hair appointment and breezed in the door with a minute to spare before my appointment time (then I waited).

After five hours, I came out with pretty feet.

I made three more stops on my way home. I had left the house at 9:30 and got home at 6:30. It wasn't a productive day. Unfortunately, it wasn't a lot of fun either.

I got home, dumped the groceries on the floor and soaked my head under the tap in the kitchen sink. I towel dried my hair, put a dab of styling product in it and finger-placed my hair where I wanted it to go.

I looked in the mirror and was not impressed. Then I sat down and (finally) proofread the blog post I wrote before I ran out the door yesterday morning. And saw the title "Hatless and Lovin' I". I immediately changed the "I" to "It" and then reread the post.

The last words I wrote resonated with me "I enjoyed being without a hat this week. And after I get my hair done, it will be too 'pretty' to wear one". At that very moment in time, I was thinking a hat would be very good. But then I thought about the Freudian slip as I accidentally titled the post "Hatless and Lovin' I". I thought to myself that perhaps I should listen to those words that accidentally fell off of my fingertips before the day began. Keep the 'hat' off and love myself anyway.

I called it a day pretty early last night. I put me and my finger-styled hair to bed. I woke up this morning and went through my routine of ruffling and messing up my hair as soon as I got out of bed. By the time I made it to a mirror and checked the reflection, my hair was looking much better than it had the day prior (I have good 'morning after' hair - I must sleep on it before it has the right look). Hopefully several washings and the sun will help the color along.

So after all was said and done, I am "Hatless and Lovin' I" after all.

Today... keep your hat off and love thyself anyway. There is really no better way to go.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hatless and Lovin' It

I should have planned today one day earlier. I hit a plateau yesterday that I couldn't rise above, before the day's end. So I wasted the better part of a day. My bad ...

Instead of completing what I had set out to do, I called up an aunt and made arrangements to get together and visit with my uncle (Dad's brother) on Monday. I will bring a first draft of Our Book along with me, in whatever form it is in, on Monday morning.

I called my mom. I had sequestered myself and made her feel like she couldn't call. Though I knew that she would call if there was anything important going on, I heeded my instincts and called her. All is well ... and that is good. She was concerned about her sister when we last spoke and I just wanted to check in. So I did.

Then! Just when I needed it the most, I received an email from my uncle in Ontario. He was instrumental in encouraging me to go ahead with this Book Project and he was the first uncle I interviewed in the quest for family memories. He responded to an email that I had sent him earlier in the week and his directed me back to the task-at-hand. Just when I was losing steam. Whew! Good save...

Today? I booked myself 'a day'. I am tending to that-which-makes-me-feel-good. Hair and feet. And errands. I thought I may try and squeeze in a movie but I'm not so sure now. I want to get back to this Book Project so that at the end of tomorrow I have a decent First Draft to start distributing to dad's brothers.

In my quest for answers to the questions that my uncle's email prompted, I found an eleven page document of a conversation with my uncles that I transcribed, that has not made its way into The Book. I also found little bits and snatches of information in other sources that added a little piece that was missing to our story.

In replying to my uncle's email, I found the enthusiasm that has been slowly waning over the course of the week. Just when I needed it the most.

I suppose yesterday had to unfold in the manner that it did, to set the stage for the days ahead. It just feels like I wasted a day though ...

My days are going to fly by too quickly now. This has been the holiday of my dreams, thus far. I don't want that bubble to burst.

I have things to do and places to be. I will turn on the employee and mother and daughter and friend hat for the last six days of my vacation. I kind of enjoyed being without a hat this week. And after I get my hair done, it will be too 'pretty' to wear one. For at least a few more days...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Room With a Door

I had a vision of how I wanted last summer to go...

I was working for the school at the time, so there was little chance of being called to work over the summer. In a perfect world (a world where I didn't have to worry about paying the bills), I would have two months of summer holidays. I had an adult child at home that was willing to take care of the house over the summer and I could do anything or go anywhere I wanted. In a perfect world...

I dreamt of finding a quiet retreat. I would pack up my little laptop computer, my Book Research and all the paraphernalia that would be required to get us through the summer. I would pack up My Youngest and he would spend a summer outside, away from X-box live, the Internet and the television set. He was going to hate me for a while but after all was said and done we would look back on the summer as the-best-we-had-ever-had.

To perpetuate my dream, I found out that one of my dad's brothers had vacated their country home ... which just happened to be the last home that my dad's parents lived in together. It is a two story home and I would set up a desk and computer beside an outward facing window (insert picture of John Boy Walton here) and I would write.

I would vacation in a world that was close to my dad's family. The geography, the atmosphere, the essence, the solitude and the time would provide me with everything I needed to tackle the job that I had set before me. It was going to be wonderful.

CRASH!!! BANG!!!! BOOM!!! That is the sound of the real world invading my fantasy.

Enter reality, stage right. I found a part time job to help subsidize the high cost of living. I was called in to work at the school's head office a little. My part time job ended up being a job that had no schedule. Okay, fine. There was a schedule. But it was written in magical marker that changed before my very eyes. Days off were plagued with being called in to work. I was called in early. I stayed late. There was no planning. I just went where the wind blew. And it felt like hurricane season.

Need I say more. The Book was abandoned. Again.

CRASH!!! SHUFFLE!! BANG! That is the sound of me changing my world. Again.

Enter another new reality, stage left. I would do what it took to make a living from the safety of my own home. I did it once, I could do it again. This led to ten hour work days, three nights of delivering flyers, house cleaning, bookkeeping ...

Need I say it again? The Book was all but forgotten. I must take that back. It was never forgotten but the layers of dust that was gathering on top of it was making it harder to find. And I was developing an allergy to it.

Then came my pending holiday. Once again, I had visions of running away from it all to complete This Book project. I needed to escape my reality and responsibilities to make this happen. Then I realized ... NO!, I didn't. I simply needed a room with a door.

I have taken up residence in a bedroom in the far corner of our 1000 ft home. I am the furthest that I can be away from the back door and all of the comings and goings of my family. I could not be further from the activity within the kitchen. I am almost just as far away from the allure of the computer, TV, couch and kitty entertainment that is all contained within the living room. Make no mistake about it. I am seven steps away from the hub of activity that is our home. But I have a door...

This door has given me what I have been searching for, for longer than I care to admit. It has given me a place to call my own - where I actually stay awake long enough to enjoy it.

Yes, I have a bedroom. Yes, it has a door. But try as I might, the longest that I can stay awake (once I lay my head down upon those wonderful feather pillows) is the opening credits of the show that I think that I want to watch.

Yes, I have spent a few quiet Sundays within the quiet oasis of my bedroom with the door closed so that I can turn off the outside world. But every time I do this, I get subtle messages from my family that there is medication that can help me through this (depression).

I do not need to get away from it all. I do not need pills to make me happy. I do not need anything at all. I simply need (want) a room with a door. And I have a few. I just need to find a way to make this work once my daycare family returns and my Holiday Oasis turns back into this:

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Just What I Needed

I wake up refreshed. The dreams that linger in my consciousness in those first waking moments are light and easy. I am eager to move on with the day ahead of me.

I am on holidays. And I am lovin' it!

Gone are the anxiety-filled dreams of work and not-being-enough. Gone is the morning count down "how-many-minutes-do-I-have-left-to-myself". Gone are a houseful of little people depending on me for every little thing.

I am spending time with myself.

My solitary confinement isn't all that I made it out to be. I pop out and chat with My Son in bits and spurts throughout the day. I check my emails and the blogs I follow. I have answered the phone. Twice. In each case, it was all business and I was off the phone within a minute.

I am nourishing myself with food that is good for me.

Instead of buying chips and sweets to sustain us throughout the week, I bought fruit, vegetables and meal-oriented food. Would I eat the junk food if I had it? You betcha!! But it is not here. So I found myself craving vegetables the other night. Vegetables?!?!! Who knew?? The only trouble is that the carrots are not good and the cucumber is sour. Way'd a go and wreck a good thing.

I am filling myself up and I am filling the pages of the book that I am compiling at the same time.

Two more good, solid days should have all of my information a small bit cleaned up and all in one spot, in a format that I can work with. One or two (preferably two) days of 'cleaning it up' should put me in a place where I can print off a first draft to share with the contributors to our story. It will be so much easier to pick this up and finish it off once I get through these imperative phases.

The Book will be complete. Perhaps not immediately. But it is getting closer. Oh-so-much-closer. Once I get this to the spot where I can send it out into my family for input, suggestions and editing ... it will become easy.

I need for this to be done. I need to put this in the hands of Dad's family. Where it belongs. I have held onto this far too long. I'm ready to let it go.

I really, really needed this vacation. I haven't spent (quality) time with myself for a while. I have missed this...

Don't wait for a vacation. Give yourself the gift of indulging yourself in what-you-need-the-most a little bit every day. Don't wait for anxiety-ridden dreams to push you to that place where you don't even know what you need. Or recognizing the need and not having the ability to pursue it.

It is hard to close the door on the world. But it is necessary at times. At least for me it is ...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Four Pages

Yesterday was fraught with distraction. One mid-morning appointment threw my day out of kilter and I didn't fully recover from it.

My excuses were many. I can't write without coffee (I was on a twelve hour fast and was unable to eat or drink before my appointment). I need caffeine. I am so exhausted without my morning java. I need to go through my regular morning routines. I fell asleep on the couch until it was time to get ready to go to my 10:15 appointment.

I brought lunch home with me. I am only on Day Two of my voluntary seclusion and I felt the need to do 'something' for My Son (who am I kidding? I wanted this for myself!). I sat down at the kitchen table and ate my lunch. I never rarely eat at the table. Why could I not just take my nourishment into my Hotel Oasis and get back to my Book Project??! Who knows what my justification was. But I didn't turn on the TV. Yay for me. That was a step in the right direction.

I finished lunch. I threw a load of laundry into the washer. I waited for the mail carrier to walk by our house. I have no idea why the mail holds such fascination for me. It goes back to the days when I used to receive personal letters from time to time (insert audible sigh here). Oh, how I miss those days. Oh yes, right!! I need to get back to my writing.

Why was my Hotel Oasis not holding the same appeal as it did the day before? It was all because my morning was shot. And that was due to lack of caffeine. That's it!! I was too decaffeinated to write. So I grabbed some bottled iced coffee that I had bought for such an occasion and took it into my Oasis. This would do the trick!

That, it did. I spent the better part of the next while running to the bathroom. TMI - I know!! But this just goes on to explain just how lame my excuses were getting. I simply wanted to play. That is the long and short of it.

I kept putting myself back in My Room and shutting the door. I tried.

Then it happened. Sometime in and around the supper hour, my fingers started writing the tale that my subconscious mind had been willing them to write all along. Four pages which recap the story within the story. The story that is the root to who my grandparents were.

So much perspective (in my mind) came from those four pages. It is the basis on which the future was built.

Four pages. Not a lot. But a good, solid foundation is where I needed to begin. It explains my inability to let those stories go without being written.

Today, my agenda is to work on the next generation. My grandma and grandpa. I have a lot of data to work with. I don't think four pages will cover it.

I had my morning smoothie this morning. Coffee is at my side. A healthy lunch is at-the-ready.



All I need to do now is to close the door and carry on.

Four pages is a good goal. It is a very good place to start.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Vacation Photos

I have emerged from my Hotel Oasis to bring to you some photos from my first vacation day:

Room Service included lightly scented cinnamon aroma therapy, fruit, coffee and a book entitled "Press Pause" (which ironically, I could not sit still and pause to read more than a few captions at a time)
Reading material to stimulate my mind and try to reroute my outlook and perspective before my day officially began.
At 7:30 a.m., I closed the door and the day was my own
At 7:30 p.m., there was some light tapping on the door with a query that only I could answer... "Do you know where the package of Werther's candy went?"

Suddenly my day of solitude was shattered. Do you see one black kitty in one corner; another one that looks like a black shadow sneaking in the door? Oh, and can you spot the gold bag of Werther's candy clutched in My Son's hand?

It was slow going today. I had to go backwards before I could go forward. That is why this project has been abandoned for so long. When I can't gain and maintain a good momentum, I waste hours trying to figure out where I last left off.

The good part about forgetting where I left off, is that these memories sound even better the second and third (forth? fifth??) time around. I keep forgetting that I don't have a memory any more. So it is like a first time read-through for me. My relatives  have done a very good job of supplying  me with some good stories to share with the family.

Thirty four pages down ... I have no idea how many more to go. All I know is that I am moving in a forward direction. And I'm not going to stop now!

On Vacation!!

I have the best holiday plans. Ever! It involves no planning, no packing, no reservations, no cost, no hassle, no worry, no travel ... No travel?? Where in the world am I going? No where!! I have 'booked myself a room' within our very own home.

I have transformed our daycare toy room into a Hotel Oasis. Just for me. It has everything that I could ever want or need within those four walls. And if it doesn't? I simply open the door and step into the 'corridor' of this suite and all that I need is a few steps away.

I am 'turning off the world' for one week. I must focus on my dad's family's Book Project. I know that once I get myself focused on this (and not the bazillion other things that have distracted me over the course of the past few years), I will start to make some headway. Once I start gaining momentum, the end result will begin to feel attainable. When I overcome the obstacles that I have created in my mind, I will become fearless. And this book will come together in some form.

It won't be perfect. It will never reach the level of greatness okay-ness that I hope for. I will find flaws and disappointment within the final product. But that is okay. It simply needs to be put together in a tangible form for people to have and to hold. It will not be everything that I wanted it to be. But it will be complete. And that will be enough.

My goal for the week, is to walk out of my Hotel Oasis with a first draft in my hands. I will print it off and seriously critique and edit and question it. I will give copies of it to my dad's brothers so they can do the same (perhaps their wives will be in a better spot to critique because my uncles are too kind, too gentle and far too nice to even mention that I may have spelled their name wrong).

It will be the beginning of the end of the Great Book Project that has been drawn out far too long.

I have other exciting plans as well. I hope to watch a movie that I bought months ago. I would like to read a book. I am getting my hair done. I would love to go and see a movie. By myself.

The common theme throughout all of my plans is solitude. I seem to be feeling pulled in too many directions. This is magnified in a great part by spending ten hours a day, five days a week with three or four 2 & 3 year olds. I do need older friends. But I need to find some quiet within myself first ...

First and foremost, I had some work to do. Columns & invoicing have been tended. I bought a food supply to sustain myself, my Youngest Son and our cats throughout my self induced solitary confinement. I worked at my bookkeeping job yesterday. My true holiday begins today.

After I open the door of my Hotel Oasis and come out, I must work one more bookkeeping day and then My Youngest & I will jump in the car and head in a westerly direction to visit Mom. I have reserved a real life hotel room for the last two nights of our vacation and we have tickets to go and see an interactive dinner theatre with my friend and her family.

I am looking forward to these next two weeks in a way that I cannot quite remember anticipating a holiday ever before.

The bigger and more adventuresome the holiday, the more planning it seems to take. Not to mention the cost. I don't have to worry about leaving anyone or anything behind. I can bring in my own mail and mow my own lawn and clean my own cat's litter ...

I'm not calling in any favors to give myself this gift of time. I feel very greedy as I make it known to those in my world that I will be 'unplugged' from the Internet, the phone, cell phone and TV set...

Okay, the TV set is not affecting my ability to connect with the outside world. But I believe that it is imperative for me to turn off all mind-numbing activities and force my own thoughts back to the surface.

I am not as 'plugged in' as some ... but I am far too attached to technology. It is numbing my soul.

My time-of-greatest-accomplishments (and by that, I mean keeping the house clean, cooking and simply tending to the world and people around me) was a time when there was not a TV set in the living room.

My time-of-greater-connection was a time when I was not attached to the computer with an elasticized, invisible string that kept drawing me to it in every single crack of the day.

My time-of-more-bliss was a time when I could not be reached anywhere, any time of the day or night.

I have become addicted to all of the above. It is ironic that the more connected I have become, the more disconnected I feel.

I am wrapping myself in a cloak of solitude and disconnection. I hope to emerge with a few of my super-powers working a little more efficiently.

I need not add italics and bold print. I do not need to double underline it and make the words stand out in red. The words "I'm on vacation" are simple. But they mean so much to me right now.

I am not certain if I will allow myself to turn on the Internet and check in at the end of my days to update my blog along the way. It would probably do me good to do just that. But it is my hope that at the end of each day, I will turn to My Blog and unleash my own private thoughts (and joy!) about the day I just spent.

I'm turning off the world and entering my very own Fortress of Solitude. I am shutting the door. Listen to the quiet ...

May you find your own fortress within each day. I think we need it. More than ever before. Find your quiet spot and listen to your own thoughts. They are trying to tell you things that you can't hear above the din of our interactive world.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Cleaned a Room ... and I Think I Liked It!

It all started when I moved everything related to my dad's family's collection-of-memories into my temporary office (aka - Hotel Oasis) for my solitary 'closed door' holiday at home ...

I had a picnic cooler full of books, research, notes, etc in my bedroom. On top of that, was a binder where I had a printed copy of everything-I-have-written to date. Beside and on top of that?? Well ... that is the beginning of today's tale.

Clearing out those two family-history-related objects from the corner of my bedroom started a chain reaction of events.

One thing led to another ... and another ... and another.

My dresser tops are (almost) clean of clutter, debris and (yes!!!) even dust. I got rid of the pile of unread books on the floor beside my bed and filed them on top of a book shelf in another location. I found a spot for some unused Christmas gift ideas to save for another year. I finally filed the stack of 2012 Christmas cards and photos away...

Then I opened my closet.

At first, I could only deal with that-which-was-on-the-floor. This led to a willingness to let go of that which is only a good memory, when I came upon my first pair of ballroom dance shoes which were worn well past their expiry date. And the pair of ill-fitting shoes that followed those ones. Worn out shoes. Shoes that will never fit me. Let them go, girl ... let them go.

So I did.

Then I came back at my closet the next day and looked at the massive amount of space that ball gowns (that will never fit me again) were taking up. And the massive array of outdated and (now) too small glittery, sparkly tops that I wore when I danced. The Latin costumes that will never see the light of day again. The practice skirts that are far too small ...

I kept a few dance-related items, put the rest in a garment bag and placed them on a clothes rack downstairs along with my ill-fitting dance shoes. I could should sell these items. One day ...

Then ... I was ready to deal with the remainder of my closet. I cannot tell you how many times I have faced that closet and not been willing to let things go. Once I 'filed away' my dance wear, I was ready to deal with the rest.

I now walk into my room and I don't feel burdened by that which was taking up space everywhere I look in my room. Then ... I open my closet doors and I feel free. I am letting go. I am not holding onto items for dear life. When I let some things go ... it opens up room to allow for something new to enter.

I'm not talking about clothes now. I'm talking about 'life'.

When all of the nooks and crannies of your being are clinging on and holding on tightly to dear memories of the past ... you don't have room to let in the future. We don't have to throw away those good memories. We can carefully package them up and simply put them in a carefully selected spot. For now.

'Stuff' doesn't matter. Memories do. 'Stuff' takes up too much space. Memories are a gift that waft in and out of our days like a gentle breeze. 'Stuff' can begin to suffocate you if you let things grow. Memories are gentle reminders that will remain long after the 'stuff' is gone ...

I cannot believe how much lighter I feel. Simply by cleaning out my room. The clutter, the excess, the inability to let go was weighing me down.

I cleaned a room ... and I think I liked it!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Earplugs ~ The Newest Cat Toy Innovation

Our New Cat is addicted to earplugs. He seeks them out and hunts them down. He cannot stand the closed door that stands in the way of him and his (my Middle Son's) earplugs ...

Today he found a new spin on an old game. He plays 'hide the ear plug' ...


... I am not the only one in the house that appreciates a room with a door. The difference is in the way we both look at a closed door.

P.S. I sure need to get some painting done around here ... (at least before we have a close up shot of one of the many ways that I have let our home fall into this state of neglect)


Holiday Make Over

I slept in. I have puttered. I am having (yet another) cup of coffee. I have a loosely defined agenda today. There are things that I must do. Groceries that must be bought. But right now? I am simply going with the flow of the day and letting it take me where ever I need to go.

I am on vacation. Sort of. I have some work to do, but (for the most part) I will be complete that-which-needs-to-be-done by supper time tomorrow night. Then I will (more officially) be on vacation. From everything.

July 22nd until July 30th are 'my' days. Ahhh ...

I have a doctor's appointment to tend to one of those days. I have booked myself a spa day. Not really a day. Just 'hair' and 'feet'. I am going to let myself go wherever the day takes me after that. Other than that? I have seven completely and totally uncommitted days.

I have an agenda. I am going no further than my newly made-over toy room. And I simply could not be happier.

I have turned this:

 into this:

I have designated work spaces ... and a place to sit back take a break at the end of a long day (or change sitting positions):

I have a room with a door. And that ... is my holiday destination. I cannot wait until I arrive!!

Yes ... a small holiday makeover for the toy room will fulfil  my need to get away. Instead? I will shut the door.

A mini makeover for me will fulfil that which needs a little bit of filling up. 

I'm (almost) on vacation. And I'm lovin' every minute of it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Do What You Love!!

One sure fire way of zapping the pleasure out of life is to turn something you love ... into work.

Oh, it isn't all bad. When I'm on a roll, I feel invincible and creativity seeps into the nooks and crannies of my 'work'. But when deadlines are looming? I suddenly feel incapable, empty and void of any originality.

I write. I write a lot. I write here. I update a private daycare blog for my parents daily. I write my mom weekly letters-about-nothing. I write columns for a handful of newspapers. I am have been compiling family memories to put together in the form of a book.

Any time I have a gift to give, I default to something that I can create with pictures and words. This week I had two such gifts to bring to life. I have column deadlines to meet. Tomorrow is my self imposed deadline for those. I have a book to put together. That is weighing heavy on my mind. That is next week's project...

Last night, I either had to complete or abandon the projects that I had voluntarily placed on my to-do-list. Armed with a large iced coffee for a surge of caffeine to get me through the night, I forged through the darkness (literally...it was very late when I finally went to bed) and wrapped up two 'gifts' of photos and words. I felt as though one of the (several) elephants that has been sitting on my shoulders got up and left (I think that I completely muddled up a quote, but you get the idea).

Each and every month, I feel inadequate as my column deadlines loom. "Who do I think I am?!?" ... "What do I really have to say that is worthy of space in a paper?!?" ... "Others write so much better than I do!!" ... and it goes downhill from there.

This book project ... is big. It is the biggest elephant on my back (there!, I think I got the quote right now). I need to sit down and deal with that elephant. It's been gaining weight the longer it sits there. I think that it has 'spawned' some baby elephants since it has taken up residence on my being. I am so very, very glad that I have committed a specific block of time and energy to this particular elephant. We are going to sit down face-to-face next week as I lock myself in a room with it.

Once I deal with these elephants on my back and shoulders that are intruding on my dreams, I plan to give myself the gift of living-my-life. My lack of creativity and inspiration has been plagued by the pressures that I have placed upon myself ... but I must admit that is getting rather tedious to write-about-nothing on such a regular basis. I need more new input (or else I'm going to find myself with another pet ... or child!! Heavens!!! I just remembered that in one of my (many) anxiety dreams of late, I was pregnant!!!).

The anxiety will decrease as deadlines are met. Once I have accomplished that-which-I-have-set-out-to-do, I will be rephrasing my original statement to: "One of the best ways to bring pleasure into your life ... is to nourish what you love to the point where it doesn't feel like work."

Confucious says, "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work another day of your life."

I tend to disagree with the wisdom of Confucious. I think that the Tiny Buddha has my truth figured out: "Do what you love and the enjoyment will follow. Do what you love and you will feel more fulfilled. Do what you love and the money will seem less relevent. These things I've found are true."

The long and short of it? Simply .. do what you love!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lessons From Our New Cat

Our New Cat has been with us for almost two months now and we have come to appreciate him and all that he has brought into our home.

On the off chance that he brought worms along with him, both cats received an intensive and thorough de-worming treatment. Perhaps it was for naught because our New Cat's stomach troubles didn't dissipate after the process. But ... our Old Cat's appetite returned with a vengeance a few days after the treatment was complete. Is it related? We will never know. But in my mind, there seems to be some correlation.

Our new, younger (4-year-old) cat has made us see how our older (13-year-old) cat has slowed down. We knew this before but it was a bitter pill to swallow as the contrast between the two cats reminded us of how far our older cat has grown. But ...

... we think that our older cat has rediscovered some of his kitten-like ways as he jogs around the house in Cat Chases and has honed his old wrestling skills. He's got moves that amaze and astound us. It does a cat good to have young friends. You are as young as you feel. And I think our older cat is feeling a lot younger these days.

It is nice to have a friend at your side. One that 'speaks' your language. Someone that understands your culture and your shared genealogy. Though the dialect may differ, there is still comfort finding a friend at your side.

Our older cat appears to be perking up in the company of this younger cat. There has been a quiet acceptance (resignation) of the fate that has befallen him. He seems content in knowing that he is King Cat and never fails to remind his junior partner-in-cathood.

We have all learned a lot from our New Cat:
  • Let those around you know what you want 
  • Accept what is offered graciously
  • Lean in to life and savor all that you receive
  • Never let a closed door stop you from pursuing what you want
  • Doors open more graciously when you make your wishes known ... then await the opportunity when it presents itself
  • Be wary of those you don't know and have not yet earned your trust (steal their earplugs on a regular basis and turn them into cat-toys and that mutual trust may become more and more elusive)
  • Trust that those who love you, must do things they wish they didn't have to do (sorry about all of that medication!!)
  • Respect your elders (those who have been around longer than you appreciate the submissive moves that let them know you know who is really in charge)
  • Wrestling is all in fun, but it teaches you what you need to know in case of conflict
  • Good things come in cellophane packages with zip-lock closures!
  • Everyone loves the sweet caress of someone who is working their way into your heart
  • And last of all? Two cats can be better than one ... even when one is more than enough!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Am I Ready For This??

My 15 year old son received his learner's drivers license a month and six days ago. Yesterday, he took his maiden voyage. Under the supervision and tutelage of a professional driving instructor, he finally got behind the steering wheel of an actual car. This (in my world), is as it should be ...

He got the call that he would go for his first lesson the night before. I dusted off my parent's manual and patted myself on the back for following my instincts and leaving the teaching up to the pros. Everything that I read in the parent manual seemed to compliment my thinking. It spoke of the 'layering of learning' that is necessary when a new driver gets behind the wheel. And the manual said to 'confer with the instructor' about what had been taught ...

I was very comforted by the fact that the professional instructor would teach the basics and I would just be 'along for the ride' and provide support, assistance and guidance in my role.

I am not a teacher. I know many things. But that does not mean that I can translate my knowledge (that is instinct, muscle memory and very little conscious thought) into words and instruction. Ask me any question under pressure and my answer will (more often than not) be a fist clenched, eyes-squeezed-shut, exasperated cry of, "I DON'T KNOW!!!!"

Place a novice driver and almost 3,000 pounds of moving metal that is weaving in and out of traffic with that equation and this spells disaster (in my opinion).

Was I happy to have my son in the capable hands of a professional driving instructor? You bet your boots I was!

This is a driving course that is provided through our education system. There were thirty scheduled hours of mandated classroom instruction combined with six hours of in-car instruction. My son has completed the classroom instruction Yesterday was the first hour of six driving hours. After six hours of basic training, I would be ready. Never mind my son. It is of utmost importance that I am ready for this before we get behind the dashboard of a moving vehicle.

You can imagine my dismay when my son drove up to the house after only 45 minutes of instruction, with the added information that there will be no more lessons until school resumes. We are on our own!!

One would think that this would be nothing for a mother of two adult sons. I've been there and done that all before.

First of all, I have absolutely NO memory of ever driving with my Oldest Son when he was learning to drive. He learned through school and I believe that he came home with a passing grade and a driver's license in his hand. That was twenty years ago. A lot has changed ...

... and I believe that my Second Son may have been partially responsible for the changes that happened after he received his license. Yes, I am exaggerating ... but from where I sit, I believe this to be (partially) true.

My experience with my Second Son is only eleven years old so it is a little bit more vivid of a memory. I remember that he learned to drive at school. And we 'practised' after he received his driver's education hours with his instructor. I also remember that during that 'practise' phase, he hit a parked car. Twice. Let's not talk about how many vehicles he went through after he received his actual license. Let's also not talk about how my Oldest Son totalled our family's one and only vehicle ...

Am I just a tiny bit apprehensive? Yes.

I am making some calls today. I have a family member that is a driver instructor. I will ask for advice. I will call driving schools and see how much it would cost for some in-car driving lessons. I don't have money but that is a minor obstacle.

I'm thinking that my two older sons could help subsidize this driving instruction in some way. They are (in a small part) responsible for my nervousness. My Youngest Son has reminded me that he is not them. The past does not indicate the future.

But my concern? I am the common denominator here. I am simply not prepared to take this on again. My heart rate has increased and my palms are sweating as I sit here typing this (while My Youngest is sleeping soundly in his bed). I'm not ready for him to wake up.

I'm sure I'll be laughing over all of this in ... oh ... about ten years. I think that is about how long it took for my memories to fade before. But then again, my short term memory is fading fast. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow morning and forget yesterday ever happened.

Am I ready for this? Time will tell ...........

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kitty Caresses

Our New Cat has the habit of following (or beating) me into the bathroom whenever he knows that I am headed that way.

I think this has something to do with the fact that he knows that once I sit down, he has a captive audience and my hands are at the perfect level to pet him, scratch his ears and just basically adore him.

If I tend to forget to continue to lavish my affection on him, he stands on the floor with his front paws on my knees and his face close to mine. And the loving continues ...

This morning, he was doing just that and as we were in our face-to-face pose and I was massaging his head, his paw kept raising up in the air as if to give me a high five.

I stopped scratching and gazed into our New Cat's eyes. Mutual adoration was the result. And then it happened ...

He raised his paw and lovingly caressed my cheek. Twice.

Thanks, Kitty-Cat! You'll never know just how much I needed that. Then again?? Maybe you did ..

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blank

I want to say that my brain is empty. But it is not. My thoughts are very short sighted and skittish. They run away from me and I can't pin any of them down. It is more than a little bit frustrating when I try to zero in on something to write about in the morning. Or finish my mom's letter ...

I started a letter to her a week ago. I never finished it. I didn't send her a letter last week. I send her a letter every week. I have even managed to be diligent enough (on some occasions) to write her before I see her on a weekend, so that she still receives a letter the following week.

My letters are about nothing. Or something. Or anything. But at least they are something.

Sitting before me, is a letter I started to write on Friday. So far it says basically "I am getting a jump start on your letter ..."; "I went to my blog to see if I had anything worth sending. Not really ..."; and hours later, an update about taking my daycare family out for a walk and the lunch-rush afterwards. My words on the page end with "Maybe this letter-writing-thing won't work right now ..." THE END.

Then? I did as close to nothing as one person can do all weekend. It almost hurts to think about it.

I need to push myself out of this spot. I was more than a little bit bitter about having each and every weekend committed to something for the entire month of June. Looking back, it is exactly what I needed ... even though I didn't want it.

I feel like a petulant child. I pout when I don't get what I want. Then I get it ... and I don't want it.

Then I read this:

"When we feel stuck, going nowhere -- even starting to slip backward -- we may actually be backing up to get a running start." ~ Dan Millman

Well Dan, I really hope that you are right. And in some ways? I think you are. I've got big plans for myself in the upcoming weeks and perhaps what you say, is true. I'm backing up to make that running start to get me over this hurdle. It is a hurdle that has been standing in my way for over two years.

Enough said. I'm not going to write about my intent. I'm just going to do it. Then, I'll have too much to say! I really will.

The blank slate that is my life right now is full of unwritten words. The words will be written. Soon ...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cat Therapy

I have heard that you can empty your brain of all conscious thought when gazing into a fire or watching the ocean. I am not terribly certain if my brain has ever been that quiet. But I have found my own way of removing excess thoughts from my mind. It is by watching our cats ...

It is the simplest of things that entertains me when it comes to our black, furry family:

How many ways can I continue to be amused at our Junior Cat's preference for laying on his back?
... or both cats 'snuggling' (this is about as good as it gets)
... or Junior Cat's dog-like qualities as he 'begs' to take a cat treat out of my hand after a nasty liquid medicine treatment (the white spray on his chest is medicine - he is quite the drama king when it comes to taking medicine)
Then there is our Senior Cat's simple enjoyment of life's small pleasures ... such as hanging out in the front yard (and catching a few extra beams of warmth by laying beside the truck tire)
Or our Senior Cat tuning out the world around him as he assumes the 'time out' position in our toy cupboard ...
... then I heard a clunking sound in the same cupboard and found our Senior Cat trying to lay on his back like he has seen Junior Cat do on many occasions


My Second Son has voiced a few complaints about our Junior Cat. One of them being that he keeps losing his ear plugs. The orange looks very good on black when 'Junior' grabs the ear plug in his mouth to carry it about the house
Junior Cat makes this pose look comfortable no matter where in the world he is ...
Senior Cat is just a big kid at heart ... I think my daycare family, the toys, the activity and ever-changing scenery around here takes him back to happy memories of his younger years 
Our Senior Cat weighs in three pounds lighter and nine years older ... but when it comes to Cat Wrestling? He is reigning champ and Junior Cat knows it.  The purely submissive nature of our bigger, younger, more agile and energetic 'kitten' is endearing. I think that our Senior Cat is having a hard time disliking him because he is so darned likeable. (I like the self satisfied body language of 'I win again!'  at the end of this clip)

I started this post feeling just a little bit blue and listless. I have spent the better part of two hours looking at cat photos and videos that have accumulated over the past month. You will be happy to know that I have attached only a small portion of all that I have been enjoying...

But do you know what? I feel better. It was a little bit like gazing into a fire. My mind focused only on the simple pleasures that I reap from our little cat family.

A little Cat Therapy was all that I needed. May you find your equivalent of 'staring into an ocean' to bring some peace into your thoughts today ...

Friday, July 12, 2013

Who's Been in My Cupboards??

My elation of finding that the pepper shakers had been filled by an anonymous party was soon followed by disillusionment when I went to lightly pepper the eggs I was frying:


One needs to keep their sense of humor when living with adult children. You know that you think something is funny when you must grab your camera and capture the moment before you go and 'rescue' your meal.

It was a light moment within a heavy week. I needed that.

Tips and Tricks for Dealing With Life (or Quicksand)

The week has been a hodge podge of emotions as I adjust to the changes within my daycare world (and by extension, my budget). I feel like I have been trudging through quicksand and trying very hard to relax so that I maintain my 'buoyancy' and not sink in any further by panicking. 

Life's little potholes and quicksand are eerily similar. I googled "How to get out of quicksand" and the steps that the article encompass a few life lessons as well. I will rename my interpretation of this advice to "How to pull yourself out of emotional overload":
  1. Avoid emotional overload. This can be done by crawling into bed and covering your head with a blanket. Or ... more practically by not diving into territory that has the potential to take over rational thought.
  2. Bring a large stick when visiting emotionally charged territory. Literally or figuratively ... it never hurts to bring along a tool to assist you if you get into trouble. Perhaps beating off your emotions with a stick may be a little futile. But hey! You never know until you try it.
  3. Drop everything if you find yourself in a situation where intense emotions take over. Hunker down and pool your resources. You don't know if you are in this for the long haul or if it is just a temporary blip. Focus your energy on that which needs attention (or see step one and crawl into bed with that blanket).
  4. Relax. Relaxing is always a good answer. Park yourself in front of your favorite mind numbing activity (on the couch, in front of the TV works for me). Then again it may be a good time to step outside and breathe in some fresh air and sunshine. Just avoid quicksand while you are out there.
  5. Breathe deeply. Breathing is always a good option. The length and depth of your breaths are good things to focus on when you are feeling your emotions getting the better of you. The quick intake of breath as you sob isn't a preferred coping mechanism. But cry if you must! Get it out. Then ... take ten deep, long breaths.
  6. Get on your back. Yes, laying back in front of the TV works well for me. Then again, simply surrendering to the moment is often the way to go. You don't sink too much further once you surrender. Feel it. Live it. Breathe it. Then ever-so-slowly, roll yourself over and crawl for solid ground.
  7. Take your time. Emotional breakdowns cannot be rushed. If you don't want to find yourself back in this same predicament time and time again.... take. your. time. And lay down in front of the TV when your emotions start to feel too intense. 
  8. Take frequent breaks. Breaks are always a good thing. Eat. Sleep. Be still. Nourish yourself in ways that fill the void within you. Dealing with emotional backlash is exhausting. Rest. You need it to get yourself through this. Do you see why I spend so much time in front of the TV??
  9. Use a stick (optional). Sometimes? It is the only way. Use that stick to defend yourself if you must. But better yet, extend it to one-that-you-trust and surrender to the fact that sometimes? Just sometimes ... you need a little help from a friend to pull yourself out of where-you-are-at.
The bonus of memorizing, living and breathing these steps if you find yourself in over your head in any circumstance? Is that you also know what you need to do if you ever get caught in quicksand.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I am Not Alone

I have come across some blog authors that truly strike a chord with me. They write. I feel. They may be dealing with life circumstances that appear to be polar opposite to the hand which I was dealt ... but they write in a way that encompasses the world around them and draws you in.

Despite outward appearances, aren't we all in the same boat? Each and every one of us have been dealt a different 'hand' in life but the way we digest, internalize and cope with life's challenges unite us. Because we are all fighting our own battle.

Everyone has a story. We may feel alone and lonely ... until we listen to someone else's back story. Whenever we have one of those 'knee shaking' conversations (where we are 'real' with each other ... where pretenses are lost and you find yourself thinking "I am not the only one...") it opens the door and casts light upon that which we are aching to heal.

This week, I have been fighting to keep my head above water. It is not a intense struggle. I am simply treading water when I would rather not even be in the pool. I'm not drowning but I'm not comfortable either. It has been taking an extraordinary amount of energy to accomplish the ordinary tasks that each day brings. I feel like I am teetering on an edge that could easily go either way if I let go. So I'm hanging on ...

I don't know if it is a matter of seeing what I need to read, when I need to read it ... or if the world has spun into a different orbit and has disoriented a good portion of the population of the authors that I am reading. But it seems to me, that I am not alone in my struggle. And reading how others are dealing with the same emotions (differing in intensity ... but the underlying cause is so relatable to me) reassures me. I am not alone ...

Our ability to cope with what we are dealt comes in ebbs and flows. When you are at the top of your game and life throws you a curve ball, you take a swing at it with all that you've got and you feel that the only way you can lose is if you don't try. When you are sitting on the bench and called out to play when you would rather be cowering in a corner, you don't feel capable of 'hitting that ball' no matter how it comes at you.

This morning, I read the words "WHAT AM I GOING TO DO???" as a blog author wrote of her reaction to a kink in their summer schedule. Those simple words put me right smack dab inside of her shoes. I've been there. The anxiety, worry and over reaction to some of life's 'small stuff' when you aren't at the top of your game. I hate when it happens. But it does. I am not alone.

Then I read the words "I just wanted to tell you that I don’t talk about it (depression) either. Especially not when I’m in it" as another author wrote of the depression that she is fighting her way through. Oh, man. I get that too. Especially when it comes to those in your world who want to 'fix' you. No. I don't need to be fixed. I need to wade through this. In my own way. In my own time. I've done this before and I'll do this again. Each time I learn something that I need to know (but as this author writes ... I simply 'forget' what that magic formula was when I'm knee deep in coping). I am not alone ...

Other authors are writing through various challenges, emotions and internal battles. My life is easy compared to others. But sometimes? It simply feels harder than it needs to feel. It is simply comforting to know that I am not alone ...

On a cheerier note, my days as a daycare provider have been bringing light into my world. My new family started yesterday and it simply could not have gone better. I want to be like a two-year-old. My two little girls welcomed their new friend into their world like they have known each other forever. A little family of three moved across an ocean to bring them 'exactly to this spot' ... their little girl has found a kinship among friends in a heartbeat.

Envelop those in your world the way a two-year-old does. Don't hold back. Open the door and let life walk in. Chances are, that the person on the other side of that door needs your friendship just as much as you need theirs.

Remember ... we are not alone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hard Questions

 "I was just wondering if he (my 15 year old son) was ever left unsupervised with the children as I wouldn’t be comfortable with this..."  

These are the words that were a springboard for a day's worth of deep and soul searching thoughts. I could not stop the cycle once it began. 

First off, it was a shock to my system to look at my son the way others see him. He has grown up before my very eyes despite the fact that I still see (and hear) my young child within him. Reopening my daycare and bringing out various toys from his youth has sparked so many memories and conversations. It is interesting to hear your child talk about when they were young. I was shaken back into the reality that he has grown up to be a mini-man in front of my very eyes.

As soon as my new parent posed the question, our days flashed before my eyes. I have been open in telling my parents that My Son has been helping me throughout the summer holidays ... but have I told them how he helps? An extra set of eyes, ears and hands is so very much appreciated when dealing with a group of small children. His sense of calmness and way of reasoning with the kids is fresh and unbiased. His mere presence in my day gives me a sounding board (perhaps much more than he wishes). Plus ... he plays with the kids. I organize. I supervise. I hover. I enforce the rules. But I don't play.

Has my son ever been left unsupervised with the children? 

I have one parent who habitually 'forgets' to call when she is running late from work. I can understand when it is a half hour or less. But an hour or more? This habit became apparent early on in our daycare arrangements. I had other obligations a few nights of the week, as well as various appointments and commitments from time to time. So I asked her (in advance), in cases like this if she minded if My Son watched over her child until she arrived. He has taken a babysitting course. He babysat on a regular basis for one of my parents a few years ago. She agreed. I took advantage of the situation a few times, but always called her first. My Son always ensured that I took care of any 'bathrooming needs' before I walked out the door and the mom usually arrived within minutes. My son said the longest time may have been twenty minutes.

More often than not, I am in the same room at the same time as my son. But I have been in the kitchen. Or run downstairs. Or run outside. Or gone to the bathroom. But I have always either been within earshot or seconds away from reappearing. I can almost always hear exactly what is going on.

So the reason this parent's question resonated in my mind is because "Yes, my son has been with the children without me being present." I could not erase that reality from my mind. 

But the second part of that truth is what set me free (thank goodness for two quiet children as we strolled the city streets for an hour yesterday morning, as my thoughts finally had the chance to free fall through my mind and sift through the reason I could not quiet my thoughts). "But at no time, have I ever felt that I have put any one's children in jeopardy.

I realized then, that I have subconsciously been very aware of My Son's presence when he is with the kids. There has been a continual internal dialogue going on within my  mind that I didn't even hear. "Would a parent be comfortable with this?" is a constant. And my answer is always, always "Yes". 

Lessons learned while growing up in a daycare have taught My Son so much more than I realized. We had a few instances of "child curiosity" that sparked discussions among my young daycare family (years ago) about respecting other's privacy and 'private parts'. I have been discreet and encourage a certain amount of privacy when I am changing diapers. I am not overly demonstrative when it comes to hugging, kissing, tickling or anything that involves 'personal space' ... and I have passed this trait along to my own children. So My Son 'accepts hugs' when offered, with a respectful board-like quality (that I must admit, in cases where other people's children are involved, I appreciate).

I ran into two instances over the course of my 12 years in daycare, where the interaction among older kids made me very uneasy (personal boundaries and privacy issues were being tested). I was vigilant in my supervision in these cases, talked with parents about what I saw and felt ... and in one case, I did ask one family to leave because something just felt 'off' when their boys were here (thankfully the other matter was taken out of my hands when the child-in-question stopped coming here).  So I can fully appreciate a parent's concerns and this is something that my mother bear instincts are tuned into.    

So after recognizing the reason this question set this flurry of anxiety through me I can say with absolute conviction that at no point have I ever felt that I have placed the children in my care in any jeopardy.

When I feel a truth inside of me that is trying to escape, I like to examine the reasons why it feels so uncomfortable. The damage is done in cover-ups and excuses. I am satisfied that I have come to the bottom of my discomfort and there is nothing that I have to be hide.

Getting to the bottom of the 'hard questions' have the potential to wreak havoc with a person's peace of mind. I know from experience that I don't 'squirm' without reason. I would never have made a good criminal. I just don't have the stomach for the queasiness that comes from hidden truths.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ask Me a Question ... I Will Tell You My Truth

After almost a two week absence from daycare and a cryptic text message from a parent last Thursday (advising me that her child would be 'done daycare' in two weeks with no details other than she would explain on Monday), I found out that this child would be leaving my daycare because the mom has been offered a new job and the family will be moving out of the province.

Now ... color me jaded, but I feel that the twelve words that she could have used to explain the reason this child was leaving daycare verses the ten words that she chose to utilize was a manipulative move. I am no fan of texting and I can fully understand abbreviating a message. But this was not necessary, from where I stand.

Withholding information when you are in a relationship which involves trust and honest interaction between adults sets off alarm bells in my mind.

I have had the feeling that I am not good enough or that I haven't met the standards that this parent expected for the better part of our daycare arrangement. I have tried on many occasions to open up the door and allow this parent to talk with me. Each attempt has been met with a raised eyebrow and indifference, leaving me to feel that I am right in my assumption. And now this?

From the moment that I read the text message that upended my world, I knew within my heart of hearts ... that this was a good thing. This parent needed to place her child within an environment where she felt secure and comfortable with her child care provider. I don't think it means that I am any less than I am, nor that the parent had unfounded concerns. We were simply not a good match. It happens. I do a better job when I feel that people trust me. Believe me, this parent left me feeling inadequate and insufficient in so many ways that I feel that I did half the job that I was capable of doing. I can live without that ...

I have been in relationships where information has been held back. When this happens, a person knows and feels this within the very core of their being. You begin to play a game where you attempt to talk your way through the unknowns in an attempt to explain another person's behaviour.

I suppose I do this on so many levels, in so many ways on a day-to-day basis, that it has become second nature to me. I try to understand what our cats are thinking because they cannot communicate verbally. I work with children all day and I am continually deciphering body language and broken English. When my own children 'go quiet', I try to figure out what could be fueling their feelings. Out of respect for their need for space and privacy, I don't want to push conversations that are not yet ready to unfold.

My last relationship ended (in part) because I chose to pursue the answers to the questions he always avoided answering. He never lied to me. He just didn't tell me what he didn't think I was ready (or needed) to hear. It is dishonesty on a whole new level.

I know that friendships and relationships evolve slowly and on a need-to-know-basis. Perhaps I am too much of an open book. I lay myself on the line when nurturing a relationship that invites a certain level of trust and openness to grow. When I feel someone holding back or withholding information, I become less of who I am. And I don't enjoy that sensation. Not one little bit.

On the other hand, I have some good news to offset the unsettled feeling that crept into my world!

I met a new daycare family yesterday. Nothing is official, but our meeting was positive and I was left with the feeling that 'Yes! I am in this business for all the right reasons'. The mom wants to confer with her husband and she promised to get back to me by this afternoon.

Do you know what makes me feel oh-so-good about the entire interview process?? This mom sent me an email last night to let me know why she didn't call me last night and she had one unanswered question. "I was just wondering if he (my 15 year old son) was ever left unsupervised with the children as I wouldn’t be comfortable with this..." A perfectly honest and legitimate question. If she had felt uncomfortable asking me and simply decided not to bring her child here, I would have never known the reason why. Now I do.

This relationship is off to a good start. Asking the hard questions and being open to provide the answers in an open and honest discussion is the basis on which good, solid business arrangements and relationships begin.

Ask me a question ... I will tell you my truth. Just give me the opportunity to answer before you judge me. Is that too much to ask?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Anxious

There is an undercurrent of anxiety coursing through my thoughts. I want to run for cover, let someone wrap their big, burly arms around me and just hunker down and weather the storm. But I can't. And I won't.

Work and money are weighing heavy on my mind. There is a steady and calm mantra going on within my head. "It will all work out in the end. It always does. Things will be better than they were before this turn of events. They always are...."

These calming words that are coming from a deep sense of knowing ... help. A lot. I am doing fine. Really. But I am just a little impatient as I wait for my story to unfold.

Perhaps that is why little things feel so huge.The big stuff going on within my head has made the little stuff feel bigger than it needs to be. Deworming cats. Car repairs. Extra curricular spending that I placed upon myself. My Sunday employment ...

I ended my daycare week on a bad note. I was not happy with 'our Friday', nor the way it ended. I am unsettled over not knowing why one family has given me notice. I had an 'off' day at work yesterday. Very off ...

I kept to myself this weekend. This could have been far more beneficial if I would have made myself accomplish a few more tasks around the house. I did more than I wanted to do, so I counted that as a small 'win' for me. Now that the weekend is behind me, I can see that I was capable of much more. Productivity is a big moral booster. I know this. I must act on it! I will.

I have been foolish with my money this past long while. I have been spending my money before I make it. I stuck my neck out and went ahead with plans to build a new fence based on future income. Then my present income took a blow that I wasn't expecting. This was a very good lesson for me. Never count on tomorrow, to pay for what you buy today!

An unexpected change-of-events within my daycare has challenged my fortitude for this line of work. Families coming and going is the 'norm' in a daycare. The very fact that I have had eleven months of stability is nothing short of a miracle. Perhaps it has not been a positive thing. Because I haven't pushed myself as far as I am capable of going. I have become lackadaisical and that is never a good thing.

Monday has (in my experience) been a day when I receive more calls for people seeking out new daycare. I received a few encouraging emails yesterday. Just a glimmer of hope. "It will all work out in the end ... it always does".

I sequestered myself to a weekend of 'quiet', when a weekend of 'busy' would have been far more beneficial. Who knew that my busy-month-of-June was exactly what I needed??

Being the 'right kind of busy' is a good thing. It keeps life's little worries in perspective. Idle time and excess thoughts are not good bedfellows! But have no fear ... nothing, absolutely nothing is standing in the way of a good night's sleep for me. My mom was blessed to be able to sleep through a major thunderstorm last week. I am blessed to sleep right through the little *plough wind that is barrelling through my life at the moment.

It is time to get cracking and set this day in motion. It will be a better day than yesterday. I know it will!

* Plough wind is defined as a downburst in the online FreeDictionary ... it seems as a very good way to describe the way my life feels at the moment. Focus on limited area ... for a short time:
(Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) a very high-speed downward movement of turbulent air in a limited area for a short time. Near the ground it spreads out from its centre with high horizontal velocities Also called microburst
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Breathing in the Day

I woke up to absolutely no agenda today. It was a tad frightening because I have been known to completely waste days like this (or else go out and adopt a new cat). I had no idea how I was going to flow with this day ...

Thankfully little things happened that made the day pass in a thoroughly enjoyable way.

A few friends dropped into my inbox. I called a friend. That friend called me back when I got called away from the phone.

I picked up the car that was waiting for me at the garage. I got a few groceries (actual food items!!) while I was out. I came home and made a salad. And ... I actually assembled a supper meal.

I got the laundry caught up. I vacuumed. I puttered. I extended no more energy than the bare minimum required. But I still accomplished a few small tasks.

I spent the vast majority of the day in the living room. Surrounded in the quietness of the day, my family all tending to their own interests. And the cats ...

There is really nothing quite like enjoying a leisurely cat-like-day ...  with a cat (or two) at your side.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Trust That You are Exactly Where You are Meant to Be

Life has been upended in a sudden, yet to-be-expected way ...

I have a few too many irons in the fire. A car in the shop. A cat with undetermined digestion problems. A new fence on the horizon. Holiday plans. A school reunion. Oh yes. And then there are simply the bills-that-must-be-paid.

Money has been spent and I am committed to 'all of the above'. I can't back out now. And what happens? Yesterday, I received two weeks notice from one of my daycare families.

I am surprised. Yet I have been expecting this. I am upset. Yet I am okay. I am nervous about the precariousness of my financial-state-of-affairs. Yet I trust that it will work itself out.

Life has taught me that when the unexpected happens ... there is a reason.

I am nervous. Yet I slept like a rock. I woke up this morning and remembered where I left off last night. And these are the words that sprung to the tip of my consciousness: "Trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be..."

I trust that all will work out better than they were before yesterday. I have an inner sense of knowing that this had to happen. The present is unknown. But I believe the future will be a gift.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Scattered Thoughts

Blah. That is it. That is how I feel this morning ...

Papers are piling up around me. Little notes of things-that-are-pending in my world. Lists of known and unknown expenses ahead. Another list of pending income sources that have been delayed. Little things that I would like to do. Upcoming holidays. Notes-to-self are fluttering around in my head.

Money. I must sit down and have a talk with myself. I have been overspending. This must stop ...

I must start earning more. Or spending less. Or both. And perhaps win a small lottery. Stop that! A lottery is not the answer. I know that. I must take the reins and control the income and the outgo around here.

My thoughts are as scattered as the notes I have in front of me.

I have been reading words that are inspirational. Yet I have not been able to fully absorb what I am reading and turn the information into action in my own world. In fact, I feel less-than-I-am because I am seeing who-I-should-be and I am not living up to my own potential.

I am disappointed in myself.

Perhaps the busy-ness of the past month is catching up with me. I see one day in my future which is (as of this moment) a completely empty box on the calendar. I want to write the word "ME!" on that date and keep it clear of all commitments.

I am craving a day to call my own. A day of solitude ... a day to nourish my soul.

"I lived in solitude in the country and noticed how the monotony of quiet life stimulates the creative mind." ~ Albert Einstein

"If we fail to nourish our souls, they wither, and without soul, life ceases to have meaning.... The creative process shrivels in the absence of continual dialogue with the soul. And creativity is what makes life worth living." ~ Marion Woodman

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Overheated

The words are stuck today (I think it is the heat), so I am going to set my fingers free to let them say what they want to say. Sometimes they surprise me. Today? I'm not so sure.

Oh ... the heat! Where is the outdoor thermostat please? I don't enjoy extreme weather (who does??), but given a choice I would never choose 'hot'.

If you are cold, you can find ways to warm yourself up. But overheating? It is dangerous and it is not easy to cool down once you are overheated. I saw my mom's ankles at the end of a long, hot day of sitting, enduring the weather and travelling. It was scary. She blamed the heat.

I took my daycare family out to the mall for a 'field trip'. We spent two hours out of the house. It took twenty minutes to walk there. Twenty minutes to walk back. The kids got to sit back and ride in the stroller so they weren't adding to their body heat by expending any extra energy. I packed water and kept them hydrated. I slathered on sunscreen. I did everything that I could think to do ... but I was worried about the heat.

Extreme heat brings on extreme consequences. Tornadoes. Thunderstorms ...

A friend's tree was struck by lightening and it came crashing down on her house. My friend lives in the same neighborhood as Mom. I called Mom to see how she fared during the thunderstorm. She didn't hear a thing. She was simply grateful that it had cooled off during the night and she was busy letting all the cool air into her house.

Mom lives five hours away from here. We often get their weather a day later. I must admit that I am liking the idea of cooling off.

Today? I am grateful for air conditioning. We are going to soak up the cool air within and breathe easy. And hope that some cooler air blows this way soon ...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Creme-Filled Weekend

It was an 'Oreo' kind of weekend. Time for myself at the beginning. Time for myself at the end. With a lot of good creamy filling in between. I need those not-as-memorable wafers to act as a sandwich so that the good stuff doesn't get lost.

Saturday morning was a dream. Time to putter. Time to be quiet. I need more time-like-that. Because I really, really need time to inhale. Time to read. Time to take things in ... before I can exhale fully.

Then came the whirlwind. Cleaning. Baking (argh!!). Organizing. Rearranging. Shopping.

Thankfully my company arrived and put an end to the whirlwind cleaning spree. My world slowed down. We sat still. We visited. We ate. I cooked put together a meal. And it didn't hurt. In fact it was really quite fine. Food seasoned with good company always tastes better.

The next morning we woke up to a day where we were gathering with family to say one last farewell to an aunt. A sister. A wife. A mother. Grandmother. And great grandmother. A friend....

It was also a day that my mom went to visit her sister who is presently bouncing back from a rough stretch. The visit was more than we could have ever hoped for...

My aunt could not stop gazing at My Brother. She sees My Dad in him. That fills my heart. We may lose those we love far too soon. But they live on inside of us. And if we are very, very lucky ... we may find a glimpse of their physical presence within our family.

We spent the afternoon among family. Nestled within the confines of our home town, we found comfort. Simply ... by being together. Few words were necessary, but the words that were spoken ... or sung ... or thought ... were enough.

Then came the long ride 'home'. My mom's home. I was a passenger in the back seat of my brother's car (kudos to my anti-nausea patches - they made the impossible ... possible). Windows were open to cool us down. Conversation was not possible over the sound of the wind within the car. It was a quiet ride home. We all had lots to think about. We were silent among ourselves. But we were not alone. It was a comforting ride.

There was time to sleep, then it was time for me to make the return trip back to my own home (I have given my mom's car a home - all I had to do was pick it up).

Six hours of solitude wrapped up a very busy, thought provoking weekend. And it was good. I was sufficiently caffeinated and I made the trip home fully alert and on my game.

I came home to find My Youngest holding down the fort. He tended to our cat family, our yard and himself in my absence. He is a good guy to have around the house.

As I readied myself for the week ahead, I was happy. I was content. I was 'full'. Weekends such as the one I just lived, have the ability to wear me down. Not this one. All the good stuff was held together within the flavor of those two chocolate wafers of solitude.

It feels good to be home.