Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happiness Is ...

... a cat lapping up the sun!
(with a snowman in the background)

Living in a Bubble Wrapped World

I often wonder just how much I shield my heart from the risk of being hurt.

It's not that I don't care. I do. I appreciate out loud. I feel great empathy and I trust. I cherish the gift of friendship and treat it with reverence and respect. I share my heart, my ears and the-story-of-me easily. But I have an escape clause. I can listen, feel, empathize and care. Then, I can simply turn it all 'off' after I walk away resume life-as-I-know-it just as easily.

A friend who needed a gentle ear called me a few nights ago. She knows far too many people who know people who are getting sick. And dying. It is not just one or a few. It is not just elderly people who have had a good life. It is people our age. It is happening far too often. She is so very sensitive and she physically feels what her friends are going through. And it hurts. It hurts her so very, very much. She can't turn it off and she can't find a release valve for her pain.

In that moment, I felt for her. Ouch. I cannot imagine claiming ownership of someone else's pain, physically feeling it and taking it home with me.

I don't feel like I would be as effective as a support person if I carried the weight of another person's burden on my shoulders. I am very stoic in my supportive role. I know that when I have been the one who has crumbled and fell I need to surround myself with quiet strength. So that is what I unconsciously give.

Then again I wonder. Do I care enough?

When I hear a friend talk about their broken heart, I know that I have never loved that deeply. My heart is bubble wrapped in a protective coating that prevents me from the inevitable fall.

If someone doesn't call (or call back) there is a reason for that. I justify it in a way that I justify when potential daycare families don't follow up on their planned appointments or return phone calls. If a relationship starts out that way who needs it? And I stand by that reasoning.

My love life could be written into a Disney movie. It is pretty much (who am I kidding? it IS) non-existent. I create little fantasies over small 'school girl crushes' that I have had as the years pass me by. My heart is safe in my dream world. Then when I do actually dream of what that reality could be, the dream is of the Walt Disney variety. It consists of eyes locking and hearts beating a little faster. Then it fades to black (or daylight).

I keep my heart safe and protected in my bubble wrapped little world. I have loved before and it is intoxicating. I have also lost at love. A heartache is worse than a hangover the next morning.

My friend that wears her heart on her sleeve and takes on her friends' pain as her own is also longing to find the love-of-her-life. She is not content to sit and wait for the phone to ring. She is proactive and makes those phone calls herself. She has been rewarded at times, heartbroken at others.

What is the right way? Is there a right way?

I am completely self-sustaining within my little world. I live in a supportive and supporting environment. My heart is open to feel all that life sends my way. But it is surrounded by a porous layer of protection. Perhaps not of the bubble wrap variety after all. Maybe it is more like the styrofoam packing peanut variety. It moves and seeps into the places that need protection the most.

What is most important of all, is that I don't build up a callous from repeated wear and tear on a broken heart muscle. And that ... is simply not going to happen.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


It is going to be a snowman kind of day today. April 29th ...
And that is all that I have to say about that!


If life hands you lemons, make lemonade they say. Well? If life hands you snow on the second last day of April, I say "Make a snowman!"
 Then later in the day, all the snow had melted (except "Slushy, the Snowman")

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Wellness Vet Visit

Saturday was Vet Day in our home. We packed up our two black kitties and took them for a car ride to our friendly neighborhood vet.

I felt like a new mom as we took our cat family in for their Wellness Visit. This was not an emergency or SOS visit to the vet for the first time in a year. It was simply time for their annual check up and shots.

I hate to count the number of times we have been at our vet's office due to Junior Cat's diarrhea and Senior Cat's pneumonia/asthma/cancer (or otherwise unknown) visits.

Almost a year later we have discovered two things that have changed our cat's lives for the better. Gold Nugget Cat Food (also known as feline gastro intestinal food) and steroids.

Each of our cats has hit a plateau with their varied symptoms. Our vet confirmed that they are in a nice holding pattern, weight is good, teeth are good (all things considered) and generally they are pretty hale and hearty cats.

The ironic thing is that Junior Cat's lungs sound worse than Senior's. Senior's breathing is quiet and sounds good. Yay for the steroid medication which is doing its job! And ... Junior has a heart murmur. They don't do anything for this so it is simply a 'note in his file' for now. Our 'healthiest' cat is the one with symptoms that could go awry one day.

Junior struts his stuff around here like nobody's business. He chases ghosts, his tail, air mites, you name it. He is a feisty guy.

He is becoming pretty secure with his place within our family unit. I believe that going to the vet was a completely different experience in his Previous Life (where he lived with 20 cats, it was a long drive to the vet who gave them the best deal and vet visits were done as a group where they were dropped off in the morning and picked up at the day's end). He may or may not have been 'fostered' by other cat owners (I never thought to ask)), because when he comes home with us at the end of the office visit he simply acts grateful and relieved to come back home with his rightful family. It is subtle but it is there.

I wish that I knew more of Junior Cat's back story. You can tell that there is a novel within him by the little quirks and fears that he has. The subtle appreciation that I see in his eyes and feel in his heart each time that we have taken him to the vet and he has returned home with us in the same visit tells me that he has not felt this secure in a very, very long time.

It is a gift to love someone (or some pet) so easily. It makes one's heart swell up and beat a little faster to fall just a little bit more in love the more you get to know another. To feel that love and trust reciprocated is precious and special.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Law of Diminishing Intent

I came upon this quote a few days ago and it resonated with me. 

I printed it off, taped it on the computer desk and it was to inspire me. How could a truth such as this inspire me after (over) five years of procrastination on our Family Book Project? It felt like a slap in the face. I could hear it telling me "See! I told you that you would never finish!! I was right!"

No quote is going to talk to me like that. I hobbled into action. Almost immediately.

I spun my wheels a lot this past week. It was a week of not being able to complete one task before I dove into the next. Then the next.

I (try to) write a quarterly newsletter for my daycare family. I succeeded with spring, summer and fall last year. I skipped over winter and we are well into spring this year. I started a winter/spring newsletter a week ago.

The project got aborted because the phone rang. Then, because I was waiting to find out the outcome of some potential interviews with new families. It was further prolonged by the fact that I can't string two coherent thoughts together in the form of a sentence while my little people are here during my daycare week. But most of all? Because ... the longer I waited to do something that I had decided to do, the less probability there was of me actually completing the task.

My column was accepted by another new paper this week. I just had to make one small adjustment to the writing samples that I had submitted. I had to make them longer. I am a wordy writer. I add too many sidebars and explanations and stories. I have little problem condensing my work. But adding to it? That took a completely different set of tools and energy. I started my revisions on Thursday. I tried harder on Friday. But the job still remained UN-done. The words "The longer you wait ... the less probability of the job getting done" haunted me. What in the world do I think that I am doing? I cannot take on any more. I am setting myself up for a nosedive here if I keep adding onto my to-do list. 

I didn't have the energy or motivation to update our daycare blog this week. Normally I write a blurb about each day, fill it with pictures and give my parents a visual of what goes on here while they are at work. Monday came and went without an update. So did Tuesday. Wednesday came and I finally wrote about Monday and Tuesday. By the time Friday night rolled around all that I could think was "Do not procrastinate until tomorrow. It will ruin your day if you have to start it with uncompleted work from the week!"

This line of thinking spurred me into action. Not only did I update our daycare blog at 10:30 p.m., I tended to my banking, I cleared the clutter (aka: unfinished business) from the kitchen table and the computer desk. There is a direct correlation between the state of clutter in these two places as to the state of chaos in my brain.

The next thing that I did was write a to-do-list. It contained three items:
  • Newsletter
  • Columns
  • Chapter
Three items. Three words.

I knocked off the first two items on the list before noon. I could feel the procrastination gene rearing its ugly head once again. The words "the longer you wait ... the less probability of it getting done" taunted me.

Then I changed my tactic. One hour. I didn't have to complete one chapter within the Book Project. I would simply commit myself to one hour

Well, you know how that goes. Once I managed to reroute my thinking and change the wiring in my brain I suddenly was not setting myself up for failure. 

Thankfully the phone did not ring and no one walked into the living room to distract me. I got my hour. And then some.

I have been honing the art of procrastination a lot lately. It is robbing me of energy and motivation. It is stealing joy from my life. Unfinished tasks are weighing me down. 

I cannot take on the world all at once. I will not let the Law of Diminishing Intent win. I must reroute my old strategies and aborted attempts. I have to stop beating myself up over this. And just DO it.

I have said this so many times before. I don't know what will make this time any different than all of the rest. Except today? Sitting here at an empty computer desk and a kitchen table which is just as clean, I feel energized.

The only sad part to this tale is that I must go put in a bookkeeping day today. I must redirect this energy that I have at the onset of this day and spend it somewhere else. And that, is most likely the reason (excuse?) that the Book Project has been aborted so often and for so long. 

Since I started this project called The Book, I went back to school. I changed career paths. I started and stopped four different jobs before I returned to what-I-know-best (my home daycare). I started working at bookkeeping on (sporadic) weekends. I started writing columns for a handful of publications. I have taken part in a dance competition; gone on an Alaskan adventure; been a part of many family & friend gatherings; and simply put 'living-my-life' on the front burner. And that is a good thing.

Except ... I am so very easily distracted these days. Perhaps I have a few too many kettles in the fire. But then again, you know what they say: 

"If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do." ~ Lucille Ball

That must be what I am aiming for. But the key to accomplishing that feat is completing one small task at a time. 

Clear out the clutter that is weighing you down and start taking control of your energy today! I will try and report back to you...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

One Hour at a Time

I cleared off the kitchen table last night before I went to bed.

I updated my bank book and wrote a little bit before I shut down for the night.

I filled up the liquid soap dispenser and tossed a used towel in the laundry before I turned out the lights.

The last thing that I did last night was to write a list with three items on it.

It is now 11:00 a.m.

I woke up to an empty slate this morning. No pesky little chores to derail and distract me. There was nothing to avoid and no reason to stay in bed any longer than necessary.

I sat down at the computer desk with my breakfast smoothie and a cup of coffee.

First? I read. I absorbed. I ate. I replenished my reserves.

And then? I sat still and started on one item on my to-do-list. By 8:22 a.m., my first mission was accomplished.

Then? I moved onto the second item on my list.

By 10:35 a.m., it too was 'signed, sealed and delivered' to its intended recipients.

That left the biggie. The one item that I have been successfully been putting off for the better part of the last five years. Only today is different. Today that item doesn't say 'Write a Book'. It says simply "One chapter".

I grabbed some more nourishment. I am ready to go. I am thinking "One chapter" sounds too big and too tall and too scary. So I have reworded that task into "One hour - book".

And that is exactly what I am going to do.

One hour at a time. That is all I can ask of myself right now. That is all I expect. One hour.

One hour without distraction will move me from the spot that I am sitting in right now. I can do this. I can do hard things.

One hour at a time.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Only Eight More Months Until Christmas

I woke up this morning, then peeked out of the window. 

Now that the sun is awake before I am, I enjoy looking for it in the morning. It has been so dreary the past few days, I was looking for blue sky.

I felt myself gasp for air when this what I found instead:
My first thought? I am glad that I bought more socks

In more news that Really Doesn't Matter, I started the fall/winter season with a supply of socks. I wore through the first set (usually about six pair at a time) in November when I stocked up on yet another set of new socks. Which had to be replaced in January, which in turn were all holey by April.

Does this mean that I put on a lot of miles? Or do I buy cheap socks?

Not much more to add to those deep and provocative thoughts so I thought I would add one more snowy picture:
I wonder if Junior cat is thinking about his footwear. Or is he simply grateful for the fact that he is a 100% indoor and thoroughly loved cat. I don't think he is worried about keeping his paws warm.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Miracles Do Exist

I find myself eternally hopeful and enjoy the place where that hope comes from. Perhaps I have retained just a little bit of my childlike naivety and with it, that piece of wistful hope that miracles happen.

I went to visit my aunt on Sunday. She had been in the hospital just over a week when I saw her. To the best of my understanding, she was admitted due to internal bleeding. They had been unable to find the source of her bleeding. Through the course of running a myriad of tests to find out what was happening, her health continued to decline. The day before I went to visit her, she had decided to cease and desist all testing. They unhooked all IV's and she was willing to let nature take its course.

Her family said that almost immediately after having made this decision she started to perk up. She could eat whatever and whenever she wanted to. She wasn't attached to tubes and wires. She was free to rest and relax without the doctors and nurses continually prodding and testing.

She was surrounded by her family. She tired easily. She rested when she needed to rest. Her husband, her children and her grandchildren were at her side whenever she woke up. She has a strong faith and that certainly could not have hurt her as she waited for her body to give up or else start healing itself.

I called Mom after I had visited with her sister. I told her "If that is what faith gives a person ... I want some of that". I told Mom what I had heard from her family, what I had seen with my eyes and what I felt with my heart. It was a very peaceful conversation. 

Her doctors had told her that it could be two hours or it could be two days from the time that they unhooked all of the IV's and moniters, until her body gave up. 

After I spoke with Mom, she said that she had a strong feeling that 'it wouldn't be Monday'. I called Mom again Monday morning (to let her know that my cousin had tried to call her after she went to sleep Sunday night) and relayed all that my cousin had told me. It was pretty much what I had come to understand after my visit so there wasn't much new news.

The funny thing is when Mom actually said the words, "Well, miracles happen..." and for some reason, Mom didn't hush that quiet voice that she heard. She said she had a funny feeling that her sister just may be one of those miracles. I told Mom that I had actually thought exactly the same thing. 

The phone remained quiet on Tuesday. No news is good news, so they say. But in this case I just assumed that 'no news was simply no news'.  

Wednesday morning came and went. The phone remained blissfully silent. So I called my mom.

The first words Mom said? "There has been a miracle..."

My aunt's internal bleeding has stopped. She was strong enough to go back to the hospital in her home town. She is most definitely not out of the woods yet but she has overcome the odds and improved, despite the doctor's grim prognosis.

She refused a blood transfusion due to her religious beliefs. Her body started to shut down and she was physically unable to proceed with the testing that the doctors had ordered. She was willing to "let go and let God" and (as of this moment) she is better than she has been in a long time.

Suddenly, I am reaffirming my naive belief that miracles happen. Sometimes you simply have to let go of all of the safety nets and allow yourself to fall. You end up exactly where you are meant to be...

Image from

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I am appreciating this state of 'limbo' going on right now. 

I am not doing, going or accomplishing much of anything at all. But I am simply sitting back and enjoying my world.

Waking up on a Sunday morning and finding my two favorite furry friends beside me ...
... snuggled up (almost) together!  
My room-with-a-door was beckoning to me and Senior Cat wanted to come in but was not relaxed enough to stay. So ... I brought out his favorite red blanket. He stayed:
Then Junior Cat joined us. Gilmore Girls and my two favorite kitties. Does it get any better than this??
 Then I believe that Junior was trying to show me some yoga stretches to unkink my back, neck and shoulders. I think he was a yoga instructor in a previous life: 
Yes. My brain is empty. I am feeling fulfilled and filled with Cat Joy. These furry little critters simply make me smile. At nothing. And at everything. 

That is all. I am simply going to continue coasting for as long as I am able. This too shall pass away ...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Keeping Track of the Time

I can lose time like nobody's business.

Yesterday morning I sat down in exactly this 'space' at very close to the same time (6:37 a.m.) and I thought to myself I have lots of time to sit here and write for a while ...

So I wrote.

It wasn't much. It wasn't hard. I didn't lose myself. But suddenly it was 7:24 a.m. and my first daycare family of the day was on my doorstep. I had completely and totally lost a half hour somewhere.

Normally I look at the clock in and around 7:00 then have a quick bath, run around and do a few things and then my daycare families start filing in.

Not yesterday. I looked at the clock in and around 6:37ish and then I heard movement on the doorstep.

In and of itself, that is not a remarkable observation. The weird thing was when I got dressed.

I quickly threw on some clothes, walked down the hallway and my upper left arm started to hurt. Completely and totally out of nowhere. Weird.

And it didn't go away. Weirder.

My first thought was the left arm/heart attack correlation. I was 99% certain that was not happening but I had  just heard that the leading cause of death in heart attack victims is 'denial'. Add this weird pain to the half hour that had inexplicably slipped out of my hands (I still can't quite figure out how I lost it so thoroughly) and I slipped out of Denial Mode, then took my blood pressure. If something was amiss, surely my blood pressure would be off kilter.

It wasn't.

Step #2 - Dr. Google. I googled my symptom and quickly deduced that my sore arm was connected to my sore neck/shoulder muscles that had been getting increasingly annoying all weekend. The upper arm bone is connected to the shoulder bone; the shoulder bone is connected to the neck bone and all that jazz. I was cured.

But I simply could not help but sit and think that 'this' is how it happens. 'This' is how a life can be upended and changed on a dime. 'This' is what can happen to anybody, at any time. One unexpected twist or turn and life may never be the same.

My friend's sister was admitted into the hospital last Friday morning. She passed away yesterday afternoon. I was admitted into the hospital six years ago with the same symptoms. When they described all of the contingencies before I had an emergency hernia operation, they explained (what I consider to be) the worst case scenario. The 'worst case scenario' is exactly what happened to my friend's sister. With the added risk factors of her current state of health. I walked out of the hospital within 24 hours with nothing more than a battle scar and a little healing to do. My friend's sister? Didn't walk out again.

Life can change in a New York Minute. Yesterday? It didn't. But it did for so many others. My friend has lost another member of her family. Her attitude is to 'seize the moment' and enjoy life now because she has been reminded time and time and time and time again ... that we just don't know how long we have on this planet. She is bound and determined to make the most of every moment. She tells people she loves them. Every day. At the end of every conversation. She takes her adult family on vacations. A lot. She honors, respects and loves her husband out loud.

I don't think that a person can live in fear of what may lie ahead. But we can (and should) make the most of the little moments we find within each and every day. And try to keep track of those 'half hours' that slip idly through our fingers (I am right on track this morning and know exactly where this last  half hour went).

Monday, April 21, 2014

Just the Words I Wanted to Find Today

I don't remember which television host interviewed Nora Ephron as she promoted her book "I Feel Bad About My Neck". I just know that she made me laugh and I was affected enough by the interview that I had to go out and buy the book.

The year must have been in and around 2008 (according to the date on the copyright page). I brought the book home and I wasn't in the right mood to read it. A time or two, I packed it up and took it with me so I had some light reading material if I couldn't sleep while I was away from home. But as it is with movies that I have slept through on their maiden voyage through my life and I tend to find myself thinking "If I fell asleep through it the first time, it must not be a great movie", this book (along with many great movies in my time) have been relegated to that elusive "I'll read (or watch) it when I am in the right mood. And wide awake."

Nora Ephron's book has gone through many book reshuffling binges that I have done. It always gets 'fluffed to the top' as it remains in the yet-to-be-read pile within my little personal library. I have started giving my books away because I no longer have the fortitude to stay awake, stay still or stay interested long enough to read the first chapter, let alone an entire book.

So here I was, shuffling through my books once again as I sifted through those that I did or did not choose to donate to a worthy cause. I was getting rather cynical in my thinking "If I have not read this book by now, I will never read it" I thought to myself with a snippy little attitude in my thinking voice.

Then I thumbed through the pages and the words "The world's greatest babysitter burns out after two and a half years" jumped out at me. I kept the book and sat down and actually read 50 pages the next day. She had me at  "...the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair any more is the secret upside of death". Nora was speaking my language!

Then life got distracting (let's not kid anyone here - 'busy' is not the word that describes my inability to sit still with a book. Distracted is a much better description of my chronic epidemic at play here) and I forgot about the book. Again.

I picked up the book this afternoon. Mere hours after I wrote about the frailty of life and those who are hovering in a place between life and death at this very moment, and what do I find in the closing chapters of Nora Ephron's book but some very deep and provocative thoughts about death and dying: "Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it's your last or do you save your money on the chance you'll live twenty more years? Is life too short or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can or do you slow down to smell the roses? ...."

She wrote of her friend who had died the previous year - the person she told everything to. Her best friend, her extra sister, her true mother, sometimes even her daughter. I related to so very much of what she had already written so it was no wonder that I related to this as well. Her humorous book took a turn to the serious side (with a side order of smiles even as she walked down this path).

I closed her book and I had to Google Nora Ephron. I needed to know more. Who is this masterful writer that put words to my thoughts only more cleverly, witty and interesting that I could ever manage?

The first thing that I found was her next book "I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections". I need to find this book was my first thought. I want to read more about Nora (by now we were on a first name basis) was my next thought.

I quickly perused her bio on the sidebar of my Google search. Nora Ephron died on June 25, 2012. I was shell shocked.

My new friendship was doomed before it even began.

Why did it take me so long to read this book? Why did I pick it up right now? How did I manage to read the words that I most needed (wanted) to hear today? Written by an author who wrote them at least nine years ago. After the book had been sitting in our house for about six years.

"You are exactly where you are meant to be ..." and sometimes, just sometimes the right words find the way into your life when they can mean the most.

The Frailty of Life

Sadness prevails once again ...

This is happening far too much, far too often and touching far too many people within my little world.

People are getting sick. Going to the hospital. And not coming home.

I remember back in the days before Dad had his massive heart attack. It was a time when I thought that living and dying were black or white. You lived or you died. If you lived, you got better. I hadn't lived through living without getting better before those days.

These days? It is not as simple as living or dying. Living with illness or after your body has been dealt a debilitating blow is hard. It is hard for everyone. You may lose the essence of the person you have loved but their physical body remains.

Who am I to say what is harder? It is all hard.

I know that I wasn't ready to lose Dad. Not losing hope immediately because he remained breathing and his heart started beating again softened the blow but the long term effects were lasting.

I went to visit my aunt yesterday. I was not fully aware of the walk that her and her family have walked this past week. I was as naive as I was when I was a child and thought that Dad would get better and come home again. It was not Dad's destiny. Nor is it my aunt's ...

My aunt is just over a year older than my mom.

It is all hitting home these days. My friend's sister who was admitted into the hospital last week and not strong enough to endure the surgery she needs to save her life. Another friend's dad who has been in the hospital for close to a month who is not well enough to return home. Close friends and family have faced too many losses this year. It feels like an epidemic ...

I am not particularly enjoying this particular phase at this age and stage of my life. It is a time where I am reminded of the frailty of the human condition on a daily basis.

It is not altogether a bad thing to be reminded of. But I feel that I have learned my lesson. Can we please lay off for a little while now?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Be. Do. Write.

I had am living a long weekend without an agenda. No to-do-lists, no goals, no plans, no people. Nothing to make me feel guilty or overwhelmed or anything at all. Unknowingly, that was the first item on my unintended agenda. It happened without design or forethought. The first day, all that I did was exist.

Intuition has led me through these past few days. It was a little bit scary because I can easily immerse myself in a do-nothing, feel-nothing, speak-very-little mode for days on end. I am very good at doing nothing. So I was a little bit afraid to start out on that note.

I just knew that was where I had to begin. My word quota has been exceeded lately. I think I was in debt. I was so empty that I had no thoughts left over. Not only at the end of the day ... but at the beginning.

I live a quiet little life that fuels me. I have more words in me (as a general rule) than I have ears to listen. So I have grown accustomed to waking up with a page of 'words' in me each and every morning. Many of my words are nonsense and go nowhere in particular. But what I have found is that if I just keep writing throughout the good, the bad and the ugly there is usually something that comes of my writing. Sooner or later.

But no words? I don't wake up on empty very often. I knew I was not only running on empty. I was depleted. Plain and simple.

I require quiet and solitude the way some people need oxygen and water. It is all about survival. I fill myself up by becoming quiet with myself.

I have been pushing myself out into the world beyond my house, home and head just a little bit too regularly lately. I have had some incredible experiences and been in the company of people that fill me up and make me laugh. And think. But they also expect me to talk.

Talking is good. Interaction is great. Conversation allows me to bounce my thoughts off of another human being and see how they sound out loud. But too much talking? Exhausts me.

I was exhausted.

So Day #1, I turned on the TV and turned off my brain. My body came into this weekend fully rested but the need to interact with the world around me has exhausted my interactive thinking skills. Thank goodness for television. It numbs my mind and allows me the opportunity to 'shut down' then 'reboot' after I've been unplugged for a while.

I tried not to feel guilty about indulging myself in a completely lost and wasted day. I existed in a place that was restful and without demands. No little children requiring food, supervision, activity or any other number of demands that one to two year olds require on a minute-by-minute basis. I had time to sit and be still. Most importantly. I had an opportunity to simply 'be'.

I have had days like this before. They seem to have a way of seeping into the next day and the day that follows if I allow guilt and obligation seep into the equation. Each and every time I felt myself going there, I pulled myself back. "Do what you need to do"; "Go where you need to go"; "Breathe"; "Inhale"; "Just ... be".

So that is exactly what I did. I heard myself think "You should be reading"; "You should be writing"; "You should be doing something". But instead, I simply sat still. With a cat on my lap ... everyone needs to adopt a cat for days like this. I sat on the couch for hours on end because I was Senior Cat's chosen one. He slept. I stayed still. It was marvellous (and one is not allowed to feel guilty when a cat is sleeping soundly upon them).

I was a little bit afraid when I woke up the next morning and had no desire to get up and enter the world outside of my bedroom. There are only four of us (humans) in the house and there is a great respect for space, quiet and privacy among all. I have absolutely no complaints. Except ... I just didn't have any words in me. I did not want to do the small-talk-thing in the kitchen. So I remained in my room. And it was good.

The better thing about this, is that the moment that I decided it was time to get up, I started to move. I ripped the sheets off of my bed and tossed them in the washing machine. I cleaned cat litter. I shovelled snow. I was ready to 'do'. So I did.

I left the house and ran errands. The only real item on my agenda was to find some storage containers so that I could organize the closet at the front door. And as it so often happens (when one takes on a mission when they are not in a depleted state) one thing led to another. I ended up organizing three closets.

I am almost certain that working into the wee hours of the morning was annoying to others that live here. But I kept on moving. And doing. Because when one starts to move, momentum has the opportunity to build when you don't have 'life' pulling at you from all directions. I haven't had momentum like this for a while. I have missed this feeling. The act of doing is satisfying, fulfilling and invigorating.

The best part about accomplishing something with a day is the way you wake up the next morning.

I woke up with my alarm this morning. Perhaps three hours after I fully fell asleep last night. So I turned it off, rolled over and fell back to sleep for another hour. Then 'nature' called and required me to get up. While I was up, I thought that I would just open the kitchen blinds. Then the living room blinds. Then my room-with-a-door (which has been restored to its oasis state and fully ignored for the entirety of this weekend-thus-far) beckoned to me. "Come in, sit down, bring your coffee and start your day here!" And I have been here ever since.

Today I have one word on my agenda. "Write".

I have blogs to update. I have emails to send. I have a long overdue Daycare Newsletter to create. I would like to spend whatever energy and creativity that is within me on paper or the computer. Whatever. Pen, paper, keyboard ... it is all the same to me.

I have not been depressed. I have not been working too hard. I have not been worried or scared or overwhelmed. I have simply been 'exhaling' without taking the time to 'inhale' in an equal proportion.

Interacting with the world is an exhausting yet fulfilling place. As long as it is offset with that-which-fuels-you. The balance shifts and changes like the wind. But when you feel the need to shut down, reboot and start all over again ... follow your instincts. They tell you what you need to do. Unfortunately 'life' makes it a little difficult at times.

This Easter weekend has been rather fitting for the phases and stages I needed to go through in order to breathe life back into me, my life and where I think that I am headed. I haven't come out the other end of this weekend new and improved. Just reborn and revived. I have 'come back to life' again.

Sometimes we have to keep things simple. Toss out the endless to-do-lists and write down three words to take you where you need to go.
  • Be
  • Do
  • Write
It worked for me. What three words work for you?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Best Day

I woke up about fifteen minutes before my alarm was to go off. It wasn't the first time I woke up. It wasn't the first time that I fell back to sleep without the aid of the TV to distract my thoughts from keeping me awake. It wasn't the first time that I realized that my back and neck were not uncomfortable. It was a good night.

The alarm went off and what song would greet my day, but my new favorite "Happy" song. "It is going to be a good day" I thought to myself. But I stayed in bed enjoying the tranquillity of the day before it started. I'm not sure how much time elapsed (perhaps two songs on the radio?) and my second favorite song (that makes me feel light and breezy) "Best Day of My Life" started to play on the radio.

My day started with a smile and I wasn't even fully conscious yet...

Then I opened up my door to greet the day and who was sprawled out in front of my bedroom door (as he is each and every day)? ... but Junior Cat. With his Senior Partner in Cathood waiting patiently at the end of the hallway.

I am loved. I am happy. This is going to be the best day of my life...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I am creeping towards a weekend where I plan hope to curl up into a little ball and fill myself up with solitude, inhaling and finding my voice again.

I feel like I have had a case of 'laryngitis of the soul' this past while. I can't hear my inner voice. Most of all because I have silenced it.

Living out loud within this blog space makes me feel vulnerable and open to criticism. I am my own worst enemy and I am pretty hard on myself but I know that I always (and I stress the word always) come out of the other end of these metamorphoses stronger, more capable, more resilient and happier than I was to begin with.

Perhaps I even welcome these little dips and valleys in my life because coming out the other side of a challenge is rather invigorating and intoxicating.

I cannot pinpoint one aspect of 'life' that is bringing me down and that is most likely why I am feeling just a tad defeated at the moment (and I stress the word moment). I know that this, too shall pass away. And perhaps there is a reason that it is raining within the broad spectrum of my life. It is to push me into action.

My Daycare Days are hard. That is it in one word. I just read a blog entry from "Autism Daddy" and the energy that they must expend to take care of the needs of their ten-year-old son with severe autism made me reflect on the energy that it takes to keep my little Daycare Family safe, entertained, engaged and out of trouble. Thankfully, my life here is a walk in the park by comparison. But I felt a wash of relief to know that 'it is never so bad that it couldn't be worse'...

Then there is upheaval within my income-earning abilities that has been tossed into the mix this week. One of my daycare moms has been laid off of work. I do not yet know how this will affect their daycare needs but they have paid me (in full) for the month of April. So I have a few weeks to gain my bearings and figure out my strategy going forward.

I am berating myself for 'giving up on a child' within my daycare family (back in January). I couldn't do it. I wasn't the best person for the job. I quit. I gave up. I know in my heart of hearts that this was in everyone's best interests, but I cannot quite forgive myself for taking this route. I feel like I have played with fire here and messed up the natural order of things by giving back what (who) I was given. I have messed up my destiny because I didn't follow through and conquer my challenging child...

So ... I have not been able to fill his spot. This is just and this is fair. But it is also messing with my ability to budget.

There is tension in the air within my home and I'm responsible for it. It isn't awful. But it is the wrong kind of quiet that is happening here. It is quiet that has been born out of hurt and frustration. It is not the blissful quiet of everyone living contented and challenging lives under the same roof. Tension within the home is the hardest tension of all. I have become just a little bit unglued because of this. Home and family ground me. This is the foundation on which everything else is built...

Then there are my self-created goals and deadlines. There is no sense in beating a dead horse here. I am not succeeding at my goals. Yet. I am frustrated with myself but I know that I will push through and get past this. I just have a little 'housekeeping' to take care of before I get there.

Speaking of housekeeping, everywhere I look something needs to be done, changed, cleaned, fixed or reorganized. All that I need to 'clean' is motivation and time. I like cleaning-with-a-purpose and if I could simply reorganize my world to make things work better I would have the incentive that I need. But my plans take money. I don't have money. So I don't clean. Yes, I am over-justifying here. I could and should clean. That is within my power. But can I be honest here and simply say "I just don't want to do it (right now)"?

All of this stuff is piling up and bogging me down. I have to chip away at one small thing at a time. And I will. I always do. I even feel more equipped to start chiselling away now that I have put the mountain out there 'on paper' for me to see.

I have been holding this in and it has grown out of proportion in my mind. This is why I write. This is why I vent. This is why I tend to be a little too honest in this blog space of my mind. It is my release valve.

I am not depressed. I am not asking for help. I am not incapable of overcoming any one of the above challenges. I don't need to be fixed or consoled or challenged any more today than I needed to be a month and a half ago (I just checked my calendar and it was exactly one and a half months ago that I revelled in an unexpected quiet weekend without plans or expectations). I simply need to get these words out of my head and onto paper where I can see them and formulate a plan. One thing at a time, all will be taken care of.

Little things tend to pile up when they aren't tended to immediately. But just like the dust that is accumulating on our ceiling fans ... it doesn't go anywhere until you flip that fan into a reverse direction.

It is time to do a little spring cleaning around here and that is exactly what I intend to do. I just need a little bit of quiet cocooning time first. Then I will emerge. Perhaps not as a butterfly, but as a busy little bee instead.

That said, I must go and buzz off and tend to today. And tomorrow. After that? Let the cocooning begin!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Actively Seeking Quiet

I am so out of words that it feels like there is an echo within my soul.

Life has not been quiet. I have not been quiet. When I have found my quiet space within a conversation and reflected, I have been questioned and cautioned not to think so much.

I am not heeding that advise. Sitting still with the words, memories and feelings left over at the end of a day (or more precisely, what comes to the surface the next morning) are what it is all about for me.

I don't like it when I talk too much - when I am the one talking I am not listening. I have nothing to bring home with me and savor if all that I wake up to the next morning is the sound of my own voice. It is no wonder I wake up with verbal hangovers. I never thought of it this way before.

I worked both days this past weekend which is not entirely a bad thing. It simply depletes me when I do not have the time to exist in my quiet corner of the world.

Each and every time I find myself alone, I fall asleep. I am not getting things accomplished. I am not living a life worth writing about when all that I do is dictated by my schedule and obligations. There is nothing left over at the end of the day so I wake up in the morning without words.

I'm actively seeking quiet. I don't know exactly where I will find it but I know that I will. I always do.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Adventure Awaits Everyone Who Dares

Random thoughts are wandering through my mind this morning. Since I cannot think of any one topic to sit down and hone in on, I shall ramble. Sometimes my rambling takes me exactly where I need to go ...

First off, I sat still and read 53 pages of a book yesterday. It felt a little bit wonderful. I haven't had the attention span to read a book in so very long. This fact frightens me just a little bit. But leafing through the book "I Feel Bad About My Neck" by Nora Ephron the other night, intrigued me. I found yet another quote (among many) yesterday that made me laugh out loud - "...the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair any more is the secret upside of death". And she goes on ...

Yes!! It is not just me and my sister that have this unhealthy relationship with our hair! I related to most everything that she wrote on 'maintenance'. I think that is the greatest gift of the internet - the ability to find people out there that are going through similar journeys. There is nothing that makes the world a little smaller than the "Me too!" moments when someone puts words to the thoughts in your head. I have many "Nora Ephron Aging Epiphanies" but I don't have her flare for making the aging process sound so humorous.

I read while my one-year-olds napped yesterday morning. Immediately upon their waking, we packed ourselves up and headed out on an 'adventure'. Going anywhere with three children under the age of three is an adventure. We go on adventures every time we take a step outside of our norm here.

My little two and a half year old must walk, while her one-year-old partners in daycare get to ride in the twin stroller. Six months ago, she was the one who got to ride in the stroller. So there has been much dramatic flair as we have attempted to initiate her into the 'helping' role of pushing the stroller along with me. I do believe that it helped that her other (part-time) 2 1/2 year old daycare friend had to push along with her when we went walking earlier this week. It also helped that there was a McDonald's lunch in it for her if she could walk that far.

Yesterday was a good day for a walk. We headed out towards the library. We were a few blocks away when I asked my 2 1/2 year old if she wanted to keep walking. She did. We went to the library. We found out that the library is holding a Dance Party this morning and Toddler Story Time on Tuesdays. We borrowed some books. We found a computer at the library with educational games, with a touch screen that is very child-friendly. We will be back!

Then ... I asked the million dollar question. "Do you want to go to McDonald's for lunch?" She did. And we did. And we did very well, if I do say so myself. We succeeded on so many levels I was simply happy all over.

Then came the walk home. This is when I expected the drama of walking too far to rear its ugly head. It didn't happen! We left McDonald's at 12:30. We got home at 1:06. We did not break the sound barrier coming home. In fact I do believe that we could have raced a spider home and the spider would have won. But we did it! Without complaint, without incident and even without a lost boot or mitt.

I felt like the world of opportunity opened up on our doorstep yesterday. We have endured a very long winter within the confines of my home and yard. Out-of-yard excursions depend highly upon my pre-school children's willingness and ability to walk. I was afraid that our adventures would be few and far between with my young crowd. But I have been proven wrong. And our friendly, neighborhood library is supplying us with a worthy destination.

Ahhh ... summertime is coming. The birds are singing, the wind is blowing (and drying up all of the puddles and mud), the sun is trying to shine and we are taking it all in.

It feels good to be back. No matter how long it stays, winter always seems to last one month too long. It was a very long month. We were ready for you, spring!

Many more adventures await us. The moment we dare walk outside of our door ...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Feel Bad About ...

I've been in the Daycare Business for over 15 years (minus my three year hiatus) now. Boy ... things have changed.

I suppose the greatest change of all is 'me'. Whether I admit or accept or believe it, I suppose that I have become rigid in my expectations. I continue to walk into each and every day believing what worked for me in the past, will continue to work in the future. So I just keep doing what I have been doing. Except for one thing. It is not working. Not working well, anyway.

I cannot figure out what has happened. Do babies enter this world knowing and believing that the world revolves around them and that they are the bosses? Or do we teach them that? And even if they have been taught that at home, in my experience children adapt to new surroundings and accept new leadership and guidance from others. Except for one thing. They don't seem to care about the rules or authority figures.

Things hit a crescendo around here a while ago. There is a leadership among children and they follow what they see. If their leader is not strong in their own convictions they will follow their followers. Long story short? One year olds have been ruling the roost around here. I think that they are planning a world take-over.

I sit and I scratch my head. What am I doing wrong? Why is this cycle repeating itself again? I had a daycare family of two, 1-year-olds and one, 2 1/2 year old at the onset of my re-established daycare. A year and a half later, I have two new 1-year-olds and one new 2 1/2 year old. I am back to where I started a year and a half later.

I do not have the luxury of having the same children that I started out with. So those 'lessons learned' along the way are not being passed down the line. What seems to be happening instead, is a reaffirmation of one infraction that is taking over our household. I think that my children have a motto among themselves "The moment she turns her back, do whatever you please".

In Daycare 1.0, I had a wide variety of ages and personalities. I had quiet ones, loud ones, nurturing ones, wild and crazy ones. I had those who listened and followed my expectations and those who liked to bend and break the rules. But those who adhered to the rules of the land were a definite majority. Not to mention, I had an inside track. One of those in my care was my own flesh and blood. He was a quiet leader among all ages and I think it made more of a difference than I will ever know.

Back in Daycare 1.0, I took care of anyone and everyone who hired me. I adapted and made hard things work. In Daycare, the Sequel I have asked one child to leave (believing knowing it was best for everyone concerned) and I turned away another family that I knew was more than I could handle. Am I throwing the ecosystem off of its axis because I am not letting in a full representation of our population?

I am missing my little guy that would now be 3 1/2 years old. He was fun with a capital "F". He was a people person and brought joy into the world around him. He knew how to have fun. Unfortunately he copied inappropriate age behaviours (which wasn't terrible when he was copying those a year younger than him but definitely became an issue when it affected his toilet training, ability to count and remember how old he was). I know in my head that he needed to be around children older than him. I know this! Yet ... I miss what he brought into our days a lot of the time.

I am experiencing my annual "I cannot wait to get back out into the sunshine after an endless winter" syndrome. I will be fine as soon as I get outside and start soaking up some good old Vitamin D. But there are days that I wonder about myself. I should be better at this by now ... but they keep changing the children! I am terribly afraid that I am becoming my mother which is good in many ways. But not so great when you are a daycare provider (Mom prefers children once they reach the age of majority) ...

I talk myself through the challenging days and enjoy 'moments' whenever and wherever possible. But I could not help but feel very afraid when I was thumbing through Nora Ephron's book "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and this is the quote that I was destined to find "The world’s greatest babysitter burns out after two and a half years". This means that the previous year and a half was as good as I get or better.

Well, Nora? You have succeeded in making me feel bad about more things than my neck. Thank you very much.

I think I am going to crawl into my black turtleneck sweater now. As you say (and I fully concur on this one) "You can’t own too many black turtleneck sweaters".

(To enjoy a few more of these excerpts, click here  If you enjoy that, I can lend you her book)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wet Dish Rag Thoughts

I feel a little bit like a wet dish rag this morning. Not a lot of words spinning around in my head, not a lot of enthusiasm or gumption. I keep typing words then backtracking and erasing them. I don't know where my thoughts are headed but I think I'll just let my fingers wander the keyboard and see what they have to say for themselves...

I think that I am feeling the effects of 'the weekend past' right about now. I was interacting and around people for three days. That is a lot of socializing for a hermit like me. I think that I just wore myself out. Talking, thinking, laughing, planning. It all adds up.

I packed along my little computer for our little getaway. I am used to having unspoken words within me and I purge them here daily. Not so much this past weekend. All words were used up and spent. There are a few times that I wish I would have spoken fewer words but all in all, the speaking to listening ratio was pretty decent.

I started typing the words "I am not happy with my Daycare Provider Self" these days and then my fingers wandered off to research ideas to make this work better. I really need to find a friend for my 2 1/2 year old little girl. There is a part of me that believes that I need to become 'more of who I am' before I will attract new families into our world. Another part of me wonders if I should license my daycare to attract those who cannot afford to pay the full cost of child care. Another part of me wonders if I need to find a way to be more proactive and 'market' myself better. Another part of me is just tired ...

I woke up from a dream where I was guilty of overspending. Thankfully it was a dream and my excessive spending in real life does not compare to that which was happening in my dream. I know that my subconscious mind is concerned about my new and unimproved spending habits. I thought that there was a saying "Spend like you have the money and the money will follow" but I think I was wrong. I think that the saying is "Do what you love and the money will follow". Either way, I seem to be relying on the "... money will follow" part of that saying. And so far? It seems to be working for me. Go figure. It is a new spin on financial planning that I never read about in all of those financial planning courses I took over the years.

My mind has been all over the map this morning and I cannot even contain my thoughts. I seem to be in a do and go mode. I have readied our home for the Daycare Day ahead of me. I have made notations as to how to make this "... and the money will follow" continue to come true. I have been strategizing between the lines of this post and I am quite sure that there is not one cohesive thought that has ran through from beginning to end.

I think this wet dish rag feels like it has now been wrung out. I think I'll be all right when I dry out.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reflecting and Reminiscing - A Little R & R

At the onset of my Very Social Weekend, I stopped my world for a moment and made myself promise to be quiet and listen to all that was going on around me as I was living the weekend. I did not want to wake up with a verbal hangover after it was all over. I wanted to hear the voices of others.

It was an easy promise to keep. For the most part, there was a minimum of a 'party of four'. Four is a good number. I think it is my favorite. There is plenty of room for everyone to speak and lots of space left over to sit back and absorb. And listen.

I heard so very much as I opened my ears and shut my mouth.

My conscience speaks loudly to me when I am quiet. I sat back and listened to words that had nothing to do with me directly, but were exactly what I needed to hear.

Sometimes when you wiggle and squirm and feel uncomfortable, you know that you are hearing 'a truth'. As a rule, I hear these things and an internal conversation takes place where I berate myself and 'beat myself up'. This weekend, I felt that familiar feeling but I talked myself down.

The conversation within my head went something like this:

"Yes, you are hearing the truth. Yes, you are guilty of doing this." But then, the other side of my brain consciously thought the words "This is your conscience speaking. If what you are hearing is true, change it!"

When I listen to people speak and tell their story or the story of another, I subconsciously slip myself into their shoes. How does it feel? Why do they feel this way? How would I feel if I walked around in these shoes for a lifetime?

A person simply does not know how another person is feeling, what motivates them, what touches them and what life experiences have guided them to where they are and what they did.

When I listen to the stories of people who act in unkind and unjust ways, I tend to question why they act this way. I only know life from the experiences that I have lived so I don't know too much. In my own personal experience, I know that I want to be liked and accepted for who I am. I live in a 'bubble wrapped' world which is safe and kind so my experiences and reactions come from this place of security. When I hear the stories of others who act defensively or hatefully I wonder if that comes from being raised in a place that is not safe. A place where you have no one to fight your battles, so you come up fighting and see who is left after the fact. I try very hard not to judge what I do not know. But what do I know? When I hear these stories second, third and fourth hand, I have not been the one who has been directly 'hit' so I have the luxury of stepping back and wondering.

I listen to stories of loss and try as I might, I do not have any idea what it is like to walk in the shoes of someone who has faced devastating losses. I can only guess and wonder and listen. The writing that I have been drawn to lately has been about living after loss. I am gaining empathy by reading the honest and brutal words of people who have faced unimaginable losses. I believe that this has helped me gain a perspective that I wouldn't have otherwise. So I just keep listening. I love listening to the stories that people tell about a loved one who is no longer here to tell their own stories. It is music to my ears.

The long and winding road of living life is not a straight and narrow path. It is a road filled with potholes, detours and dead ends. It is a steep and slippery slope at times. It is a roller coaster ride filled with thrills, chills and unexpected turns.

I sat back and listened a lot this past weekend. I heard so very, very much. I hope that memories of these days-well-spent come back to me when I need them the most. I hope that everyone who was a part of the memories feels exactly the same way.

As I try to tell the story of my dad's family, I am not only collecting memories. I am trying very hard to put it all into perspective and tell the story from a wide angle lens on one hand, yet up close and personal on another. It is a little bit like the weekend that I just lived. I stepped back and listened. I sat still and absorbed. And I hope when the stories come off of my tongue, they do the memory justice. That is exactly what I hope for with my Book Project.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Gifted Weekend

I am so full that it almost hurts. Almost. I have returned from the most fun-filled, thought provoking, entertaining, fulfilling weekend ...

It all started just a little ahead of schedule. Just before my Daycare Day wound to a close on Thursday, My Sister arrived and the first leg of our Fun-Filled Weekend would begin.

My Sister got me through the last half hour of a particularly challenging Daycare Day. She was the most fun, interactive toy that my daycare family has ever found within the confines of our daycare home. They were thrilled. I was thrilled that they were thrilled. I am not certain that My Sister was as thrilled as we were but she certainly faked it well if she wasn't.

My Sister joined my family for supper. Then the two of us were left on our own and we visited throughout the evening. We woke up the next morning and by 8:30 a.m., we were headed out the door towards our Weekend Adventure.

We picked up Our Aunt before we left the city. Every family should have an aunt like our aunt. Maybe every family does. But I don't think so. I think we are pretty lucky that she married into our family. She makes life richer because of the way she sees, absorbs and reflects the world. She is a kaleidoscope of everything I enjoy in a person. And I could tell that I was not alone. I believe that Our Aunt was instrumental in bringing out the best in all of us and it was a gift (quite literally) to have her join us for our Weekend Adventure.

We drove for an hour and a half and our next stop was to join my Second Sister. She arrived at our rendezvous point minutes before we did. And that was exactly how our weekend continued to unfold. We were exactly where we were meant to be, when we were meant to be there (other than all of those yellow lights that we kept hitting which must have meant that we were running just slightly ahead of schedule at one point of our travels).

Four (or so) hours after that, we were on Our Mom's doorstep. We knew exactly how much of a gift it was to bring Our Aunt along with us, so we pinned a ribbon (and little Happy Birthday sign) to Our Aunt's lapel and had her go ahead of us and ring the doorbell to present Our Aunt to Our Mom as our gift. Mom did not understand our gesture or appreciate her gifts one at a time, because she peered out beyond Our Aunt to find the rest of us (just like a kid who rips opens their first gift and doesn't take time to stop and savor it before they tear into the next). That is not to say anything negative about Our Mom. It is to say that Mom was a little bit like an excited child because she was excited to open all of her gifts right away. And that would be us. Her daughters.

It was all precious and special. Our weekend went on to include Our Brother and His Daughter joining our party and taking Mom out for a birthday supper. It was almost anticlimactic to leave the magical environment of Mom's home and family setting to go out and eat a meal. It may have been the only thing that was less than ideal about our enchanted weekend. It brought us down to earth, broke the spell and displaced us for the duration of our meal. But Everything Good was sitting there waiting for us back at Mom's house when we returned.

And that ... was just the beginning. There was more. There was so much more.

But for this very moment in time, I just want to breathe it all back in again one small moment at a time. So I shall stop here and inhale. If the weekend had stopped right there it would have been enough. I am very happy and content with 'enough' but there were more gifts hiding around the corner.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Mother You Used to Know

My Middle Son and I sat down and had a heart-to-heart chat the other day. You know what they say about the truth? They are right. It hurts.

I walked away from that chat feeling a little bit wounded. I have let the scratches heal on their own. I haven't scratched, picked or made anything bleed anew. I simply applied a little 'antiseptic' (talking with a friend who knows me better than I know myself heals my soul) and I am back.

The words that hurt me? "You aren't the mom I used to know. You used to worry about these things (money, retirement planning, the future). You used to care about these things (about the paint that is chipping off the corners of our walls, the broken window in the garage, the caulking that needs to be replaced in the bathtub). You used to be independent and relied upon no one but yourself (before I had my son, his girlfriend and their two dogs move in with me four and a half years ago).

He has a word for what he thinks that I am. Depressed.

Well my son, I have sat back and absorbed, felt and processed your words for several days and this is what I have come up with: "No. I am no longer the mother you used to know. I am better."

Why am I better when I no longer worry or care and I depend upon another adult being from time to time? Because I have figured out the great mystery of life. It all works out in the end (and ... if it hasn't worked out, it is not yet the end).

I no longer worry, sit and fret about all the ifs, ands or buts in life. Life happens. It is a waste of energy to sit and fret about that-which-has-not-yet-happened.

Life happens.

I have spent the better part of my life budgeting, planning and worrying about my financial future. As the sole provider of my family, I guess that is part of the job description. Those were the days where I said, "I can afford to retire and I can afford to die. I just can't afford to live." They were the most restrictive years of my life.

I started spending and started to live. It was the answer to all that ailed me. What is the sense in having a retirement plan and money to fund it if you spend all the years leading up to those golden years stressed to the max? From what I have seen, too much unrelieved stress (often) leads to illness. I am not going to be one of those statistics. If I die young, I want to know that I lived my best life while I was living and breathing. If I live forever, I want to build an interesting and fulfilling life and strive to continue to be interested and fulfilled as the years go on. This means good things for you, my son. Because I am not barking at you for not conserving power/heat/water, rent and replacing casserole dishes. It's only money. I am much more concerned that we come out of the other side of this living arrangement and still like each other.

I used to care about too many little things. I used to clean the house from top to bottom with the mantra "If I die tomorrow, I don't want anyone to think I'm a slob". I used to get angry when anyone messed up my clean house. Do you know what, my son? You could not live with the old me because I would have created such a scene when the dogs started destroying that-which-was-good-enough. I would have flipped out each and every time you messed up 'my kitchen'. I would rant about the dog hair, the dishes, the extra dirt, the back entrance .... Not only would you not want to live here any longer, our relationship would suffer, I would walk around with a chip on my shoulder and let my anger define me. Instead? I look at that-which-drives-me-crazy and I say "I don't care ... I don't care ... I simply don't care anymore ... It just. Doesn't. Matter!" It is saving my sanity. And yours.

I spent the first 31 years of my adult life wishing that I could depend on someone. But I couldn't. It all boiled down to me-taking-care-of-myself. And my children. Certainly, I did not do this entirely on my own. I had back-up to help relieve some of the pressure from time to time. But the little things? Mowing the grass, shovelling snow, general house and car maintenance and all the little things it takes to run a family? It was mine. It was all mine. All of the time. Then you moved back home. And you picked up my slack. And I loved it!! I relaxed for the first time in (what felt like) forever and enjoyed the sensation of having someone share the load with me. Did I come to expect more and appreciate less? Guilty as charged. I did. I admit it. Sorry. Did this happen in and around the same time that your anticipated move date kept moving into the distant future? I would guess that there may be a correlation. That is no excuse. But please accept it as part of the reason that I am no longer vying for the title of Independent Woman of the House. Been there, done that. Will do it again.

Am I depressed? No more than you or anyone else on the street. Do you sense something is off when I sequester myself to the back corner of the house to recharge myself and then you go and read one of my (many) blogs which may depict a depressed stated of mind and then add it to all of the above? Maybe.

I am not perfect. I used to try to be. That person used to be your mother. I wore myself out and beat myself up and kept trying and trying but I never attained the height that I had set for myself. I have evolved to the stage of my life where I am happy to simply be 'enough'.

I worry enough to get that-which-needs-to-be-done, done. I care enough to get through the day and fulfil the parts of me/life that need filling up the most. I am independent enough to know that I can lean a little bit and still be self reliant. I feel enough to empathize with you when you are feeling 'life' strongly.

Life is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, ebbs and flows. I used to expect more out of life, out of myself and out of you. I have let all of us off the hook and I am content and relaxed enough to just go with the flow and trust that it will all work out in the end.

Who did you think I used to be, My Son? The perfect person that I wanted to be (but never was)? I know that you used to be proud of the way I rolled with life's challenges and was resilient to that-which-was-hard. I roll a little differently these days. The life of hard knocks has given me a bit of a reprieve lately and I haven't had to come up fighting. I am content living the 'easy' life. I am glad that you are a part of that life.

It is challenging for one and all when adult children move back home. We have weathered many storms and I know we will weather this one as well. I just hope that we all remember all that we have learned during this time. Because you just never know when I'll be moving in with you!

I may not be the mother that you used to know. I'm a little softer around the edges. I am more pliable. I am a little more relaxed. I trust that you and I are both exactly who and where we are meant to be right now (but let's hope that it isn't forever, okay??).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Night Blogging 1.0

This is my first instalment of night-blogging. This is a novelty. It feels a little bit fun. I feel like my fingers could say more than I want them to say. But I'm just going to roll with it. Shall we do a little night-blogging without editing, just to be fun? I am feeling tired as I wrote that. This may not take long ....

First off, the idea to write in the early morning was a good one. The only bad thing was that I needed to do some troubleshooting before I started. My word program shut down and I had three 'repaired copies' to deal with. This sounds tedious and boring. Trust me, it was. I was fifteen minutes 'in' to trying to properly save only ONE copy of one of the three documents that had been repaired (zzzzzzz ... if I am not falling asleep, anyone out there who may possibly read this is most likely dozing off now).

Okay. Writing at night may not be a good thing. I just deleted a paragraph and the paragraph preceding this one doesn't sound worth saving either. I just kept it in because I thought something about all of those zzz's was amusing. Yes. I am tired.

Today was 'a day'. I am not proud of the way I handled things. I am losing the battle with my one-year-olds and I am not sure how to get the upper hand. I have never been done in by someone so young before. The children are taking over my home. I am afraid. I am very afraid ...

The count down is on for our sister/aunt getaway to join our brother/sister-in-law/Mom/and cousin. Oh, the fun we will have! My fun starts tomorrow at supper time. My sister is coming for supper and sleeping over so we can get an early start the next morning. Then ... we pick up my aunt. Then my other sister.

Approximately six or so hours later, we will arrive at Mom's. On her birthday. I love how this all happened to come together on her birthday. It wasn't orchestrated to happen. It just did. It was meant to be.

There will be a birthday supper event. There will be much visiting. I can hear the laughter already. I can feel the good, positive vibes emanating from our group. I don't have high hopes ... I just know how things usually play out whenever we get together. There is the language of family that transcends all. And it is good.

The following day, will be the icing on the cake. Mom wasn't too interested in the dinner theatre part of the weekend (thus, we invited our aunt along so that they could have their own quiet evening of visiting without us loud 'kids' interrupting their conversation), so all of us siblings, plus our sister-in-law and cousin are not only going to a dinner theatre together, but we have reserved a hotel room across the street from our evening's entertainment and will be able to fully relax, have a drink or two and no one has to worry about driving.

The theatre was our excuse to get together and do this. But I do believe that it is all the visiting before, during and after the 'main event' that is what I am anticipating the most.

Okay. This night-blogging thing isn't sounding like the best idea at the moment. I stopped typing quite some time ago and I have been staring at the last words I typed, completely lost in thought as my fingers stopped moving at the same time as my eyes.

Suddenly I don't have a thing more to say. Or think. And I am considering deleting this post in its entirety but I think I will leave it, just to see how it sounds in the morning. Perhaps if I didn't write so much about writing this post, it may have had a chance.

On the other hand, I am sitting here thinking of things that are not on my to-do-list, that should be. So I shall add them here, since I have a computer at my fingertips and my to-do-list is in the living room.
  • email my cousin
  • confirm hotel reservation
  • recheck what we need to get into the dinner theatre
  • check the car's antifreeze level
If this is not the most inane, disjointed post ... I don't know what is. I am sorry. Things can only get better, right?

See why my Book Project is not getting written at night?


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Missing in Action

I have been MIA here for the past little while. It has been a combination of no words, not enough time, words that were not ready to be published and just a bit of a 'funk' going on underneath the clutter in my mind. Not necessarily a bad funk. Just not the 'me' I aspire to be. We all have days like that. Right!?!??

And that, my friend, is the basis of all-that-I-am-feeling right now.

I am quite certain that I am not the only one who goes along with the ebbs and flows of life. Most of the time, life is a little bit unremarkable. You show up. You do your best. You win some. You lose some. Then you try, try again.

The try, trying again part can feel all consuming some of the time. Other times it can fuel and invigorate you. Does it depend on the moon, the stars, endorphins (or the lack thereof), hormones or a myriad of other underlying issues?

I think more often than not, it is simply that 'last straw' that breaks us. All that preceded that 'last straw' is invisible to those who don't see all, know all and feel all that we know about ourselves.

Do we all carry a little load upon our back from day-to-day or is it just me?

The load consists of the things I need to do, the things I should do, that which I want to do and reality - that which gets done.

The obstacles are many. Time, money, enthusiasm, energy, motivation to name a few.

Then there are the mental blocks. I have many. I can almost hear the KA-CHUNG of iron doors slamming shut within my mind when it comes to that-which-I-procrastinate-over-the-most. I recognize that most of my obstacles are not obstacles. They are excuses. I keep saying the words out loud so that my voice can get it through my thick skull to STOP and DESIST that negativity which is standing in my way. It is sort of starting to work. Sort of.

I have a huge weight upon my shoulders and I am not doing a very good job of shifting the weight so that I can deal with it in small increments. I know what has to be done. Instead of tackling it one small stone at a time, I seem to walk in and think that I have to deal with the entire boulder. And it is too heavy.

I have a tentative plan but it will affect my daily musings here...

Morning is the time of day when my brain is busy and active. Positive neurons are firing around in my head after a good night's sleep and I feel the most invincible that I am going to feel all day. In the morning.

Some days? I'm not too invincible. But whatever coping strategies I have at the onset of the day are quite often the very same ones that carry me through the rest of my waking hours.

I am also beginning to see the correlation between my weekends and my weekdays.

I need a certain balance of 'something' within my weekends to sustain me through the remainder of the week. I believe the exact formula changes with the tides but I do know that solitude, quiet and down-time are a must. Thus, you will find me quarantined in a quiet corner of the house gathering my thoughts, my energy, my drive and all that it takes to propel me forward. I am not depressed. I am nourishing myself in ways that others may not recognize. The more depleted I feel, the less I do back in my little quiet corner of the world.

The need for quiet may be forfeited if I am nourished in other ways (my upcoming weekend, for example ... I will write more about that another day). I am already forecasting that I will feel more energized than depleted at the onset of next week. The only energy-drain will be the knowledge that I must work the weekend that follows that one. But energized by the fact that the Easter weekend follows thereafter...

I am better off not knowing what lies ahead. I think that I know what to expect but I don't. I can put myself into one of these little 'funks' by forecasting three weekends ahead of time and end up being completely off the mark on all counts. I believe this is why I prefer to be spontaneous. But spontaneous doesn't work a lot of the time. Thus, I must plan. Planning depletes me (do you see a vicious cycle happening here?).

Yesterday was not a perfect day. I took that-which-I-had-planned-to-do on Sunday and placed it into a Daycare Day where I was supposed to be focused on my little people. Add that to the fact that I think that my little daycare family was also influenced by their own weekend (tiredness and new old and unimproved behaviours prevailed) and it was not a winning combination.

Today is a new day.

I woke up before my alarm. Not only that, but I got out of bed and was making it when my alarm went off. This is always a good sign.

I decided to 'Just Write' this morning. Little editing has gone into this little purging of my mind. Just undiluted thoughts that strayed off the course that I had in mind when I sat down to write.

The reason I chose the title 'Missing in Action' was not only to account for the missing days here ... but to put My Plan out here for the world to see. I may continue to be MIA for an undetermined amount of time. This is my goal...

I plan to take my early-morning-brain and put it to work on my family Book Project. It is the only way that I can see getting this done.

By the end of the day and a lot of weekends, I am depleted. My little quiet oasis in the back of the house is beckoning to me (I can almost hear it call ... yes, you should probably call the men in white coats to come and take me away now). So that is the point in the day when I will come here (to my blog) to write (if I am not wrapped up and enthused about my progress in the Book Project) and debrief.

My workday has just intruded on me. The real world has barged in before it was invited and I am not liking the way I am feeling about it. I must stop this feeling now before it influences my day ...

This is why I like my room-with-a-door. I feel the need to retreat but instead, I must get dressed and face the day. With one extra 'moody girl' like me ...

Image credited to