Friday, November 28, 2014

Which Ornament Would You Choose?

Junior Cat and I seem to be at odds over how I should adorn the bookshelf by our front window. I choose Option #1 ... he seems to have another opinion. Which ornament would you choose??
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

My News as I Know It

The good news is ... my brain is not broken after all. I took a 'brain cognitive function test' yesterday and the result showed my brain performed above the norm for my age.

The bad news is ... the irritating habit of 'not remembering' is possibly related to menopause. I am not one to blame hormones for things I think I should be able to control myself. But when it comes to depression, mood swings and bad memory? Hormones seem like a good scapegoat. I'll take it for now.

The sad news is ... I took my broken brain with me into the day yesterday and we did not fare well. I was hyper-sensitive to the world, I couldn't concentrate, I spilled things (all day), I couldn't organize my thoughts nor my day and all-in-all? I didn't do well. I'd give myself a 'Fail' for Wednesday.

The better news is ... today is a new day. I stepped into the morning with no must-do-items on my early morning agenda. I've got a brand new mind-set and agenda for how-to-navigate my way through today.

The optimistic news is ... I forecast a change in my mood. Because that is one thing I have the power to control. I did not like the person-I-was yesterday and I plan to leave that girl behind in the dust. Onward!!

The best news is ... I was given another chance this morning. The good thing about a bad day is we get a chance for a do-over. Some days are worse than others. Yesterday would not even cause a blip on the Bad-Day-Richter-Scale. But my mood affected all those who touched my world. And that rates as an '8' on the wrong end of the scale in my books.

No news is good news. So I hope for a 'no news' kind of day. I just want to slide gently into tomorrow without upsetting the balance of what-works-best.

P.S. This News Report idea was stolen inspired by an email I received from My Brother yesterday. Thanks, Bro! I hope your day rates 'better than the day before' for you. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Broken

I'm not sure but I am wondering if my brain is broken.

The words "I already told you this"; "Don't you remember?"; "You said that already"; "Aren't you listening?" are ringing in my ears. I am hearing those phrases time and time again. Day after day.

My Second Son came over last night and I casually mentioned "People are being mean to me" (I am exaggerating here but it starts to feel mean when you hear the same thing over and over (and over) again. No one else knows how many times I've already heard the words "Don't you remember?" They think it is 'just them'.

Perhaps people were just giving me a break while my mind was preoccupied with our family book-assembling-project and reunion-planning. My brain continues to multitask, as I co-ordinate my daycare days with my weekend employment and extra-curricular writing and bookkeeping work.

I admit my thoughts are 'all over the map' these days. Even though the 'big stuff' is behind me, my brain is not shutting down and turning off. It is still busy scheming how to fit in what-I-want-to-do in between the cracks of what-I-must-do.

My concern still lies with so many people outside of my own doors. Christmas is coming and our family has faced great losses during the Christmas season for the past two years. My inner anxiety levels are rising for no outward reason.

I don't want to plan anything over the Christmas season because life keeps stepping in and taking over. If I don't plan, I am open to whatever comes my way. I have needed to be 'open' lately. Thus (perhaps?) my squeamishness over making any kind of plans.

I am feeling selfish about needing 'me' time. Yet when I don't take it, I start to fall apart in small but quiet ways.

Perhaps my forgetfulness is due to brain overload. But my brain is not as busy these days. Why am I still so absent minded?

My inability to hold a job outside of my home is starting to rise to the surface again. I can remember (see how much I do remember!?!!) how I felt when I could not learn what I needed to know fast enough when I was out in the big, scary world where 'nobody knew my name'. I felt the difference between my younger self and who-I-am-now.

The connections within my brain are not firing the same. I feel it. I know it. It is scary.

So when I continually hear the words "Don't you remember?", it is like another stab in the centre of my universe. I'm trying to remember! I am!!

I remember a lot. I don't remember everything.

I did fix our broken down printer connection this morning. I can troubleshoot most things that go wrong with our computer. I can still 'balance to zero' in anything number related. I can string together a whole pile of words and make them say what I want to say.

Perhaps my words are saying more than I intend for them to say as this small, quiet but continual inner anxiety surfaces to the top more and more. All I can feel is the sting of the words I sent out into the world when I knew I needed to encase myself within my 'Fortress of Solitude'. That post is akin to the letter I mailed when I should have shred it into a million pieces.

Is my brain broken? Injured? Or is it just tired? Perhaps there was a reason I was gifted a 'weekend at a spa' by my kind-hearted family.

Now I have to take my broken brain and navigate my way through the day ahead of me.

My Second Son dropped off some invoicing for me to do last night. He kept telling me not to burn the midnight oil to get it done. I took him at his word. It is still sitting here beside me. I have not lifted a finger because I can 'fit it into the cracks of my day'.

Perhaps I'm a little bitter. Because the last words he spoke to me as he walked out the door were "I already told you that..."

Ouch.

Maybe I'll find an Alzheimer test online somewhere. I'll see if I'm in the early stages of losing my memories. See? I knew there was a reason I wrote so much. One of these days, I just may need to know who I used to be.

I'm kidding. Sort of...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Early Morning Thoughts

I love the thoughts I wake up with each morning. I am ecstatic when I allow myself to run with them before afternoon seeps in and steals my confidence.

Yesterday morning I had (what I thought was) a great idea. I ran with it. I wrapped it up. I addressed it. But 'life' did not allow me the opportunity to mail it.

Afternoon crept in and told me it was a silly idea. Why in the world did it sound so good five hours ago? Silly me!

I had talked myself out of following through.

One conversation in the morning stole my confidence. A second conversation in the afternoon gave my confidence back to me.

Perhaps that is the reason I enjoy quiet.

I think, left to my own devices, I (usually) can filter the 'good' from the 'bad' ideas. I like to talk myself down. I don't like to hand that power over to others until I am firm in the direction I want to go.

This morning, I woke up from a vivid dream and simply laid still and replayed the dream before I allowed the day to seep in.

The characters within the dream were an old school friend and an acquaintance from our home town. What resonated within me long after I woke, were the smiles and the absolute sense of 'happy' I felt running into these people-I-once-knew.

In my dream, I invited them into my world and they were so pleased to be asked. I awoke and was reminded of the four and a half decades of my life when I was the one sitting on the sidelines, just hoping to be invited 'in' to someone else's world.

The neat thing about my dream, is the characters within. The first names of my school friend and family acquaintance were the very same first names of the last two people I went out with. Coincidence? Subconscious thoughts? No correlation what-so-ever? Who knows?

I do know it inspired me to reach out to a group of friends I once worked with before my day officially began.

Early morning thoughts take me where I most-need-to-go that day.

Then again, my early brain isn't all it used to be.

Yesterday morning, I looked at the sweater/cardigan combo I had decided to wear for the day. I got dressed and the sweater (which was to go on, underneath the cardigan) was still hanging there. What the heck? I looked down and I had my bra and cardigan on. Nothing else. Thank goodness I saw my sweater still sitting there. What if I had opened the door dressed this way??

Perhaps there is a reason life intervenes and helps me decipher the good from the not-so-good ideas that start my day. Perhaps there is a reason I should have a mirror reflect what I am putting out into the world. Perhaps there is a reason for every little thing that takes us where we are destined to go. Perhaps I should have stopped writing two paragraphs ago.

Listen to your early morning thoughts. Look at the reflection of what you are sending out into your day. Trust you are where you are exactly where you are meant to be today.

Go out and make yourself smile today. Chances are, you will bring along a friend or two.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Living in a Snow Globe

I have finally stumbled across one of the perks of winter. Hibernation mode!

The weekend forecast for Our Fair City was 'snow'. Lots of it. After a day of light rain on Friday, the snow was scheduled to fall. And it did.

The first thing I did was run out and get groceries Friday night. One can never be too prepared for winter. No, I didn't stock up on junk food like I did last week, but I did get milk and other staples required to get us through the upcoming week.

It was a glorious thing, to wake up Saturday morning and know I had no where to go, nothing to do and no expectations.

I sat down and 'played' with all-things-reunion. All day. I have hundreds of photos and scads of video footage. It took a day, but I believe I have wrapped up our reunion in a nice, neat package to be brought out and enjoyed again and again.

Meanwhile, it snowed. And snowed. And snowed. All day.

Finally I looked up from the computer screen and gazed out into our winter wonderland and realized I would have to shovel that white pixie dust off of the sidewalks and driveway.

I had forewarned my Youngest Son that we would divide and conquer the task at hand. But I decided to 'shovel a path' to the garage (and maybe the deck) first.

It was beautiful outside. Yes, the wind was blowing with great gusto. Yes, it was still snowing. Yes, I was still in my pajamas so I was not dressed to stay out longer than my flimsy night wear (it was just that kind of day) would allow. Yes, it was pitch black outside so none of the neighbors could witness my attire.

I never did get cold.

I shovelled. And shovelled. And shovelled. And shovelled some more. And then even more than that. There was a lot of snow!!

But it was the most blissful place in the world. Outside. Alone. Having a one-on-one with Mother Nature.

It was as if the entire city was hibernating. There was not one foot print in the snow. It was like everyone was waiting until tomorrow to deal with the aftermath of our massive snowfall. Only a few vehicles drove past the house while I was outside. 

I felt so alone, yet surrounded in the knowledge that I wasn't. I was just the only one who ventured out at that time of the night to play in the snow.

I didn't look at the clock when I left the house (to shovel a path to the garage). All I know is was after 8:30 p.m. (because I had given Senior Cat his nightly medication). I got back inside at 10:30.

I worked my brain all day and my body 'all' night. 

I did everything I did, by choice. Not obligation . I could have just as easily sat and had a 'Cat Day', watching movies. But I didn't. 

I immersed myself in memories and had a memorable day. All the while, it was snowing. It was as if I was encased in the beauty of a snow globe. No way in. No way out. But there wasn't a place on earth I would have rather been.

The best part of the day was going to bed that night, knowing the following day was going to be exactly the same.

I did it all over again, but I did it differently. The house is decorated for Christmas and I did some dejunking, dusting and vacuuming along the way.

I like hibernation mode. I like Christmas lights. The benefit of our prolonged darkness is the enjoyment factor of the Christmas lights. I feel twinkly inside when I pad around the house doing everything-I-normally-do, by the light of our Christmas lights.

I feel a little bit of Christmas stirring within my heart. And I think I like it. Most especially these days, because 'shopping from home' has never been easier.

It was a very good weekend for a snowfall. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

My Official Plunge Into the Christmas Season

Thoughts of Christmas have been bombarding me this morning. It isn't due to advertising, Christmas music or as a result of being bombarded by all-things-Christmas. It is as a result of reading my good (virtual) friend, Glennon's post http://momastery.com/blog/2014/11/17/momasterys-2014-holiday-gift-guide/ 

The Melton Family has all of their gift-buying done by the end of November, to clear up the entire month of December for absorbing the goodness of the season, making memories versus frantically crossing items off to-do-lists and running to the mall.

I read that and thought "I want that too!"

That was three days ago. I have done absolutely nothing to work my way toward that end goal. The end of November is now nine days away. I woke up this morning thinking "I can do it!"

Why not? In this world of on-line shopping and the magic of what-I-can order and create on the computer should make this a walk in the park. Or at least a plunge into a snowbank. I'm not sure which.

Why not try? I can write out my list, check it twice, decide what combination of creativity, out-and-out spending and gift cards can create the gifts I most want to give.

I am not a giver of great gifts. I am a giver of thoughtful ideas.

To me, the gift of words is the best gift I could hope to receive. I want for nothing. I have the means to purchase the necessities of life and when it comes to that-which-is-non-essential, I kind of like the game of playing with all of the what-if scenarios as I bounce ideas back and forth within my head without spending a penny (or a nickel, now that pennies are out of circulation).

So this is the foundation of most of what I give to those I know best.

I need to focus on a few defined 'themes' in order to give what I want to give. Words. It is all about the words to me.

I like to supplement that with gift cards I can distribute on a whim. Gifts which are given with absolutely no intent of receiving something in return are my most favorite gifts of all.

The theme of the year I just spent has been "It's not what my family and friends can do for me. It's what I can do for my friends and family."

It has been a most excellent year despite the heart ache and loss. Knowing what we can lose has made holding onto and making the most of what we have even more special.

And so begins my official plunge into the Christmas Season of 2014. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

And (I can't believe I'm saying this) it feels good.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

At Ground Zero

Although I pay off my credit card every month, my balance owing is a revolving one. I already have new charges racked up before I receive my statement. So even though the balance is paid in full, it is never at zero.

An interesting new phenomenon has happened the past few weeks. My credit card has stayed out of action a little bit more than usual, I paid a little bit extra (not knowing what the upcoming few months have in store financially) and my balance is sitting nice and still. At 'zero'.

Zero is my most favorite number.

I like need to 'balance to zero' in all things. Penny outages do not exist in my bank book. If I am out two cents, I look for it. In my bookkeeping world, perfection in numbers is attainable and necessary. When dealing with my family's reunion and history book funds, I was meticulous in my bookkeeping and I couldn't rest easy until I had my books balanced to zero from every which way I looked at them.

Zero is my rest and restart number.

You balance to zero and start all over again. Numbers and life are not static. They are ever-changing and evolving. Some days and months peak and others run at a deficit. But in the end, when all is right in the world, it balances back to zero.

Zero is where I am at right now.

I looked at the 'zero' balance on my credit card statements and I felt at peace. There has been much activity on those cards lately. They reflect what is going on in within my world. With much spending, comes much activity. Whether the money is spent on things seen or unseen, that rocky credit card balance tells me I am buying gas for the car, groceries for our cupboards, dining out with friends, feeding and taking care of our cat's needs and the needs of our home and the people within it.

I feel like 'all is tended to' at the moment.

My need for quiet, to rest and recharge has been running at a deficit for a while. Three days ago, I hit a crescendo and I could go no further. I stopped. Thankfully 'the world' stopped with me. Two uncommitted evenings at home (with many more in the future) reset the tenuous balance of 'too much' versus 'not enough'. I am balancing somewhere in the middle right now and loving every moment of it.

All is right with my world. I'm sitting back at ground zero again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sleep Deprivation - It Starts Early

My daycare days have not ended on a good note two out of two days this week. The problem (in my eyes) is simple. Tired children = cranky children. Cranky children cry at the drop of a pin.

The transition out of afternoon naps for one of my children has led to a screaming session at the end of two out of two days this week. The answer in my eyes is simple. Let the poor child sleep!!

It gets under my skin when I see a three year old child fight sleep in every way imaginable during the quiet time in our day. To me, you don't fight your body's cue to sleep. You succumb to it. If you learn to fight it when you are a pre-schooler, what is in store for you when you get older? I know far too many adults with sleep issues, to think that bad sleeping habits formed as a child are nothing but a bad thing.

A friend who has had chronic insomnia for more years than I know, has told me time and time again that she wishes she would have had 'someone like me' formulate her sleeping patterns when she was a child. So something tells me (namely, my friend) that I am on the right path.

Do not force tired children to stay awake! You are teaching them to ignore their body's need for sleep.

I honestly belief if this exhausted, cranky three-year-old child would close her eyes and rest, she would not sleep long enough to disrupt her evening's sleep. In fact, I (personally) believe it would enhance her sleep. In my experience, an overtired child is one of the hardest children to put to bed at night.

So I sat beside this child yesterday afternoon, simply to try and encourage her to at least relax, even if she was not sleeping. She would not be still. She moved and twitched and wiggled around and forcefully resisted any of my efforts to snuggle or calm her. It was only when Senior Cat came and snuggled up beside her, that she finally calmed.

The loss of nap time for the aforementioned child has been my undoing. A ten hour day of children without a break is ... hard. Add a tired and obstinate child to that equation and you have a recipe for disaster.

I have been sitting here staring at the spaces in between the words, trying to find the best way through and around this phase. I have a 1-1/2 year old who is already showing signs and signals of what is forthcoming in her nap-schedule (and it's not good).

We are over-stimulated in our world today. We do not sit still. I am including myself in this statement when I think of what I surround myself with, when I relax. I have a phone and computer at my side, with the TV on, a book to grab if what is on television does not interest me and perhaps a little snack &/or beverage.

Quiet time is too noisy with all of this stimulation. Perhaps it is time to turn off the world and tune into our thoughts. Myself included.

Except ... the moment the house is quiet, I am the one who is energized. Knowing I have an hour to myself is what it takes to get through a child-filled day. How do I get that back and teach my children to relax and tune out the world at the same time.

Tune in 'tomorrow' folks, for the never-ending saga on how I survived my Day at Daycare.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Fortress of Solitude

I need to crawl into my shell and regroup.

I have pushed myself through and beyond and long past my personal limits this past little while. I thought I was coming out the other side of it but I was wrong.

I have honored all commitments which have been placed before me. The little whiteboard on the side of our fridge is almost empty of dates and obligations. I want to erase it completely but I can't (instead, I cleared off some of the clutter on the kitchen counter).

I'm almost there.

I must tend to one (maybe two) more social obligations almost four weeks into the future.

Then there is work. Oh, work. I wish I was working for the money because then I would feel more in control of my weekend employment. Instead, I am working to help out a friend. It feels good when I am there. But it feels so awful when I see weekend after weekend committed. I would rather be surprised and simply not know ahead of time. I don't mind just 'showing up'. I just hate being scheduled to appear.

All I want for Christmas is an empty calendar.

A calendar which has no specified commitments or obligations. A calendar which is clear and empty and gives me the time, space and energy to show up whenever and wherever the spirit moves me.

I am good with going with where that 'spirit' takes be. It has never been wrong. I am always at the right place, at the right time when scheduling doesn't force my hand.

Do I want to go out for coffee? Yes. But let's not plan it. Let's just DO it.

Do I want to pop over for a visit? Sure. But don't ask me ahead of time. Ask me when you are ready and if I can come, I will be there.

Do I want to see a movie? Definitely! Let's just go on a whim though, okay?

I need to erase my whiteboard. I want to flip the calendar page and see ... nothing. I want to hunker down deep inside of myself and fill myself up with rest, solitude, reflection, quiet (oh, the quiet) and replenish the energy source deep inside of me.

I want to run away from it all. And I have the perfect place to go!! My family was already a step ahead of me and I have the gift cards, a gas card, spending money and a Tim Hortons gift card. All I have to do is show up.

I have it all and do you know where I want to go most of all???

I found another new room-with-a-door under my very own roof. My Second Son and his entourage moved out four and a half months ago. Since that time, I have been so wrapped up in the family book and reunion process that I had not stepped into that beautiful Fortress of Solitude until Sunday night.

I sunk deep into the sofa and lost myself to the world outside of that door. My Youngest Son and Junior Cat found me. They wandered in and out of the room at their leisure. I was surrounded by everyone and everything that means the world to me. And I was home.

I just want to enjoy my own company for a while. If you want to stop by, I will welcome you with open arms. If I don't have to leave my 'fortress', I will be a very happy camper indeed.

I have it all. And it is under this very roof. I don't have to take one step away from where I already am, to go where I most want to go.

I just need to regroup for a while. Don't be afraid to knock on my door. I will be oh-so-happy to see you. Just please don't ask me to leave for a while.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It Looks Like I Still Have a Lot of Cleaning to Do!

I was feeling a little lost this morning so I wandered over to my new inspirational page (Facebook) to find something new to think about.

I was particularly devoid of original thoughts, so I took a few Facebook Quizes and ended that little game with the answer to the question "How much time do you have left on earth?"

The answer was 47 years and 8 months. I just celebrated my 54th birthday. That means according to the powers-that-come-up-with-these-crazy-games, I could live to the ripe old age of 101 (and 8 months).

I know it is just a silly game but the mere thought of living past 100 made my knees go week. Heavens! The thought of living past age 70 is just a tad frightening, let alone to 80 and beyond.

I have spent my entire life preparing to die.

Too many references about what undergarments you may 'be caught dead in' at a very young age probably planted the seed as to how I wanted to die. Completely clothed and in pristine condition. I did not want my humanness to be visible to the naked eye. I spent years worrying about the minutia of how I wanted to look, when how I looked was out of my control.

I went from that phase, to a stage where I worried about how my house would look. I would not want people to think I was a slob. I was a meticulous housekeeper in those crazy days. They lasted a very long time.

I remember thinking it was amusing that my children may choose "She kept a clean house" as the epitaph on my gravestone because I was so busy keeping up appearances, that I was not excelling at being Mother-of-the-Year or spending quality time or creating a life of love and laughter within our home.

I eventually outgrew that particular juncture in my life and started writing in earnest.

I wrote here, there and everywhere. I started collecting memories. I wrote cards, notes and emails every time the spirit moved me. I turned 'making and collecting memories' my focal point of living. I am still pretty much in the middle of that phase.

It was and is a wonderful place to be.

When I do leave this earth, people will not remember what condition I was in when I left (please let me leave this earth in a quiet and unobtrusive way. Please!!). Nor will the state of cleanliness within my home make it to my obituary (but if it is particularly clean, can you please mention it in passing?).

My children may remember the times we laughed and collected our own personal stash of memories living our uneventful little life, where watching our cats together or a quiet country drive was a focal point of so many stories, renewed perspective and writing material.

My words will outlast me. Whether that is a good thing or a bad one depends upon what you happen to be reading. I would trade a thousand articles I have written, in exchange for one letter I wish I had never mailed.

The friends I have made as I have walked quietly through my life are gifts I would not trade for the world. I have made friends out of so many family members. I cannot begin to tell you how much that means to me. I have made many sister-friends who feel like an extension of my own family. I am equally thankful for them. My own children and my immediate family are extensions of myself and I sometimes don't know where I end and they begin.

These are the things that matter to me. This is what and who and how I want to be remembered when I no longer walk this earth.

My greatest fear is living too long. I don't want to turn into a character within this story-of-my-life who is a financial or emotional burden to anyone. I don't want to live to a stage where I cannot motivate and uplift those around me. I don't want to hit a phase where I start looking back and focus on what I didn't accomplish. I do not want to be lonely. Or broke. Or sick.

I don't want to live past my expiration date.

According to Facebook, I have a lot of decades left in me. That could be a good thing if I treat those years with respect and keep looking up and ahead of where I am.

In the meantime, I guess it is time to take a short hiatus from making, collecting and amassing memories. I have a house to clean. The dirt isn't going any where. And if I have to live with it for another 47 years and 8 months, I had better start coming to terms with that fact.

It looks like I still have a lot of cleaning to do! If only this house would clean itself. Hey, wait! Maybe it will. I just purchased one of those little self-cleaning shower gadgets. I'm on my way to finding a way to 'having it all'. A clean house and memories too.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Grocery Shopping 101


Don't ever stop for groceries on your way home from work if the last meal you ate was breakfast.


On a positive note, I bought cleaning supplies and milk too.

Anyone want to come over for supper??

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Wouldn't Have it Any Other Way

Yesterday, my Second Son challenged my 'state of happy' (most likely in comparison to his own definition of who-he-hopes-to-be, as life goes on) and asked me to compare my life to my friends who are single, retired, paid off their home and able to make decisions about their future without money being an issue.

I was aghast that he would think 'financial freedom' is a priority in the whole scheme of things. I would not sell what-I-have for anything money could buy, any day of the week!

My son surmised 'because I had children', I became less of who I could be. He dared me to dream about what I could have had or been or did if I had only myself to look after.

I dipped my toe into a state of wondering and darted right back to dry ground. I fear for who I would have become if it were not for loving my children.

At a time when I didn't value myself enough to make good decisions about my relationships, I loved my children enough to save them from a life which was not safe or healthy for them. By saving my children, I saved myself.

At another pivotal time in my life, my choice to stay home and 'just be a mom' diverted me away from a life where I obsessed about retirement plans, adequate insurance and financial planning more than I worried about my family. My priorities were all wrong.

As long as a person has enough money to take care of the essentials of living, I don't believe money should be a priority. At least not in my world.

Day after day, time after time, I see all of the things money cannot buy. It can't buy health, happiness or contentment. I am rich in all three of those areas.

Money cannot buy love, acceptance and respect. I live in a world where I feel like I give and receive 'all of the above' in equal proportions.

You can't find a 'sense of belonging', self-esteem or mental health in a store.

You can purchase substitutes (in the form of addictions of varying kinds) but those substitutions come at a price much higher than the dollars spent. I have become more grounded with each year I live.

I surround myself in a world which helps to enhance the positive qualities about myself, without forgetting there is always room for improvement.

There is simply no price one can put on emotional and mental stability. They can be snatched from our fingertips in the blink of an eye.

Life continues to show me just how delicate the balance of life-as-I-know-it is, as the world around me continues to spin and there is so very little I can control, beyond how I react to these events.

When I look at my financial net worth, I could feel poor. When I look at the life I have yet to live and wonder how I am going to pay for it all, I could become paralyzed in fear. When I compare myself to others, I could feel like there is something lacking.

Instead, I look at the life I have created and I feel richer than anyone else I know.

I have three children. Three unique specimens. Three different parts of me spread out and mixed up with another unique mixture of genes and traits, stirred up inside of a human being and I love who I see before me. My relationships with each of my boys is as unique as their personalities. But life has shown us, when something threatens our status quo, we are a unit. Money can't buy that feeling.

I am surrounded by strong relationships within family and friends. I am part of a community of good-hearted people who share many of the same values which are important to me. Even in the quietest of moments, in the loneliest of days, I know I am not alone. I feel warm in the blanket of comfort and protectiveness I feel from 'my community'. I feel safe. I feel valued. I feel good. What store sells that?

I live a good life, doing what I do best (which isn't always all that good, but it is often 'good enough'). I have a perfect balance of work, leisure, family, friends, recreation to keep my heart, body and mind fulfilled.

There is balance within my work - I do not earn my living doing one thing. I have diversified my income sources the way some people diversify their mutual fund investments. Some people may dwell on the fact they must work at two or three different jobs to pay the bills. I marvel at the fact I am gifted with three different sources of income which fulfill three different parts of who-I-am.

I look at my life and I know I have what money cannot buy. I know this wealth came at a price. I look at different life-changing moments which have got me from 'A' to 'B', all the way up to 'R' and I realize how being a parent and looking outside of myself for my own 'best answers' have led me to exactly where I was meant to be.

I used to be quiet, shy, meek and mild. My cousin described me as "A person who went from one of the quietest, shiest people we all knew, to someone who talks so much, she had to start writing books so her words could keep on going on, when her mouth wasn't!"

I am not suggesting that you use another person's 'riches' as your own barometer. Only 'you' know what makes you feel rich inside. My only suggestion is to look beyond the dollar sign (once your basic meets are met). Try to find the gift of finding your sense of contentment in a round about way. Appreciate the sense of accomplishment you receive by overcoming obstacles. It is the contrasts of life that help us appreciate the little things.

Life has taken me where I was meant to be. It just so happened to include three sons in the package. I have a life money cannot buy. I am blessed. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cat Chat

Last night, my Youngest Son and I spent time just hanging out and enjoying the antics of Junior Cat as he played 'catch'. This went on and on and on... and on.

video
Please excuse the quality of this video (my camera only works well under natural lighting conditions)

As this scene played out and after it (finally) ended, my son and I just sat on the floor and chatted.

I cannot remember the last time My Youngest and I sat down for some good old 'cat chat'. It is a little tradition that has happened between us without forethought or planning. It is a special time when we just gaze at our cats and little bits and pieces of our day come out as we sit on the floor and admire our little furry critters.

I have been overwhelmed with the book project and reunion planning. My son has been overwhelmed with school homework, assignments and looming deadlines. 

I have looked at my son and saw myself. Too serious. Too focused. Forgetting to enjoy the little moments. Just too wrapped up in his/my own head and forgetting to look up and look out.

Our cats are a most excellent conversational tool in our home. We sit and marvel at their antics the way others may gaze into a fire. They bring us out of our heads and into the moment.

Cat Chat is our bonding time. I have missed it. It was an amazing way to spend an evening.

It feels good to be back...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Coasting

I am sitting here, frittering away my second morning in a row. So little to do, with so much time to do it, in is not a winning combination for me.

I have tended to minor things.

I found a program to convert my Windows Movie Maker movies into a format that can be watched on iPads/phones/etc and I 'converted' a few videos I had posted.

I sent off the survey results to the Reunion Committee for our next family reunion (planned for the summer of 2015) and an offer to assist in whatever capacity is necessary (I should have stroked off "Program Planner" - that was hard work!!!).

I sent off an email to a friend which my fingers have been dying to type for days.

I am drinking my third cup of coffee and wondering what I will do with this day sitting in front of me.

It is an empty slate. It is exactly what I wanted. It is probably exactly what I need. But I waste time like nobody's business. I frittered away the entirety of yesterday and have nothing to show for it except a very content cat ...


Yes, I sat still.

I caught up on the missed episodes of "Dancing With the Stars" and "Grey's Anatomy". Senior Cat nestled up on my outstretched legs and absorbed my body heat. After a great deal of resting, he must have needed to take a break. He was gone for a short spell then returned and came resting face-to-face with me, kneading my neck and making eye contact. I think he was saying "Thank you". Eventually, he resumed his position of snuggling up on my legs and that is where we spent the entire afternoon.

A day spent absorbing Kitty Love is a special day indeed. I could not believe the hours that Senior Cat and I sat still with each other. I think this time-of-great-doting was long overdue. He slowed me down. I think I may have purred.

I felt so guilty wasting my day. My Youngest Son told me I probably needed a day like the one I just spent. I suppose on some level, I did. On another level, I knew that I could not make a habit of this. It is so very much easier waking up in the morning when you feel like you have a defined purpose.

I am not certain what my new purpose will be but I do know that I should deal with the dust bunnies, the clutter and the dirt that has found its way into our lives and home while I was busy tending to other matters.

To think there was a day when cleaning defined me. Oh, what an empty life I once led. It was clean. But it was not fulfilling.

I'll take 'purpose' and a little dirt any day of the week. I feel like I am at sea without a compass. It is fun for a little while but I need a new destination.

It will come. Probably while I am cleaning. Thoughts will surface and I will find my way to an uncharted path that is not yet quite formed. It will come...

Friday, November 7, 2014

My Room-With-a-Door Has Never Looked So Good

I hate to say it, but I am feeling rather greedy about my upcoming long (long) weekend. I have four days at my disposal. Four entire days. No where I have to be or go or do. Every single thing I decide to do is optional.

I know (part of) one of those days will be spent balancing our family reunion funds to zero. My mind cannot rest until I have every penny accounted for. It is silly. I know. But that is my brain for you. Logical and meticulous when it comes to handling other people's money. It is what it is. I will find this difference and put it aside.

And when I do, I can only hope and imagine that the words (that are being blocked by the numbers) will start to trickle out my fingertips.

In my best case scenario, my words will be aided and abetted by pictures. I long to immerse myself in pictures to remind me of the 'little things', to show me what I missed and to see our family reunion from the outside, looking in.

This will be the first free weekend that I have had, to do with as I please (no book to organize; no bookkeeping hours required; no reunion to plan; no plans to go anywhere) for a very, very long time.

In the five years preceding 'the completion of the book-project', I frittered away time and weekends such as this without blinking an eye (literally - I closed my eyes and slept through much of that free time).

I could look back at those weekends and be disgusted at myself for wasting so much of my time. Granted, I did waste a lot of time. Some of that down-time was necessary. A lot of it was frittered away thinking "I should be working on our book project" but not doing anything about it. 'Shoulding' yourself to death takes an incredible amount of energy. Thus, I slept.

I don't have any 'should-do' list this weekend.

Scratch that. Perhaps I should have a huge one. I should start cleaning this house of ours. That would be a perfect way to channel some of my unspent energy and use it for the greater good.

I should clean. I (think I) need to balance my reunion funds. I want to write. It is time to sit still and have a cat day (I can tell, by the way Senior Cat gazes into my eyes that we need to spend some time becoming 'one' with the couch together). I could run out and have coffee with my sister. I'd like to go out and bond with my new grand-kitty (my Second Son and His Girlfriend have gone on a five day holiday and I am on Pet Detail). I have a pending coffee date with a friend and an invitation from another ...

There is so much to do and only four short days to do it.

I already miss my secluded weekends where I locked myself into my room-with-a-door. I have just made the most incredible memories and have so many warm and happy thoughts are anxious to make their way to the surface of my consciousness. I don't want to lose them. I want to write them out, feel them, relive them and find a way to hold onto them. I want to lock myself in a room with them.

My room-with-a-door has never looked so good. Is it wrong to simply want to close out the world and hover in this place of wonder. Just for four short days??

Life gets too busy too fast. The good stuff gets lost when you don't have the time to sit still with it, hold onto it and cherish it.

That is all I hope for this weekend. Just to hold onto my life and be grateful, satisfied, content and at-one with all-things-good (our family of cats, included).

I don't know what this upcoming weekend will bring. I hope not much. I'm ready for it...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wordless (one could never tell by the following post)

My head is swimming with thoughts but I feel wordless.

Stepping back into life-as-I-know-it has felt a little bit overwhelming and a lot 'okay', but I am longing for quiet.

I want to sift through the thoughts that I barely had time to think over our family reunion weekend. I am so grateful that I don't have the pictures or videos at my fingertips right now because I feel the need to unwrap them quietly, like a gift, and relive the experience in my own way, in my own time.

When (a month ago) I booked myself an extra day off around the November long weekend, it was with absolutely no forethought. I was exhausted when I looked at that lonely Monday sitting in between a Sunday and a Holiday Tuesday and I do believe I swooned. I wanted that day to myself ...

I was granted that day off and I am beyond grateful.

I have done all-that-needs-to-be-done and I have four consecutive days off coming to me soon. Very soon.

I just need to get through this week.

I want to 'balance my books to zero'. I have collected and spent thousands upon thousands of dollars from my family. I know for a fact that every single penny is accounted for. But I have this undying need to balance to zero.

I have added and subtracted and divided and stood on my head to see things from a different perspective. But I cannot come to zero. I am within $10.00 which is close enough. But when I went to look at it again, I think I was up to $15.00 or so.

These little things do not rest within my brain. I have an accountant's mentality when it comes to numbers. There is absolutely no reason that I cannot unravel this mystery.

As I sit and play with my numbers, I cannot seem to make letters form words and words form paragraphs. My words are piling up inside of my head and I have not yet released them. I want to find an outlet for them before they get lost in the clutter of living out my regularly scheduled life.

I just need to get through the next two days. I need to turn off my internal calculator and look at the day that is sitting in front of me. I need to tune out the 'family stuff' (which I have no desire to do) and do the job that is set out before me.

Two more days.

I simply cannot wait to get back 'in the zone' of recalling and writing about my family reunion experience.

It was everything one could ever hope a family reunion to be. Laughter, joy, story-telling and simply feeling like you are a part of something great.

I still sit back and marvel at my grandparents and great-grandparents that I got to know so well as I assembled our family's memories. 'This' ... this feeling of connection and family harmony ... 'this' is what they wanted for us and guided us towards.

'Never lose touch with family' my great-grandmother told my uncle when he stayed with her. He never did....

My thoughts wander off and sit with my uncle as I write those words. He was unable to attend our reunion but he was so present with us despite that fact.

I talked with him yesterday and his voice was tonic for my soul. 'He' was behind me every single step along the way as I collected family memories and then tied it all up neatly with this little family gathering. 'He' was my inspiration, my encouragement, my guiding post, my editor and fact-finder. I am afraid I wore him out.

I am a little lost at sea as my uncle finds his own sea legs again. Maybe that is part of the reason my words are bottled up inside. I'm concerned ...

I cannot wait to submerse myself in memories this upcoming weekend. I am counting on the words flowing out of my fingertips and out of my brain. I need to put all of this together in a way I can unwrap and reread and remember ten years from now. Or even tomorrow.

I need to be quiet and revel in all that brought me to 'today'. Even the words inside of me are longing to 'balance to zero'.

Soon. Very soon...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wafting

After a weekend-well-spent, I am in no real hurry to rush through the paces of life and lose the magic of time spent nestled in among family.

This past weekend was a culmination of the past six years and two months, all wrapped up in one big gift with a bow to be slowly opened and enjoyed all weekend. And beyond...

It was my dad's family reunion. It was the weekend our book of family memories was dispersed. It was a weekend spent under one roof, where our needs were taken care of by the incredible people at Cedar Lodge (http://www.cedarlodge.org/). All we had to do was 'show up'.

We were saddened by those who wanted to come but could not attend. But we were more relieved to know that everyone was where they 'most needed to be' so they could be nurtured and cared for in the best way possible. Sometimes the tender loving care that a family can provide just isn't enough. It is hard to believe but it is true.

I felt like we were all wrapped in the arms of angels. All weekend. The sensation was overpowering and real. I walked into my room in the quiet of the first morning and I felt a 'hug' from beyond this physical plane. I knew in that instant "they are here ... they are with us". And they stayed and mingled all weekend.

You can take those words in whatever capacity you believe in. But to me, even in the most basic, elementary sense, our ancestors are woven into our physical and emotional bodies in the most intricate fashion possible.

Physical resemblances, mannerisms and personality traits are passed down the line unconsciously. I believe the best part of collecting and assembling the memories from both Mom and Dad's families, is the way I find myself woven into the tapestry of both families. I see and feel bits and pieces of myself, my siblings and my parents within the greater whole.

Stealing (and paraphrasing) a line from "Jerry Maguire", I can very openly and honestly say "My family 'completes me'."

I have not found myself looking for the love of my life to complete me. I have found myself within my family and I feel complete. I believe I have finally woven the loose ends of myself back into my soul and I am ready to go on from here.

There are so many stories, memories and anecdotes from this weekend past. I don't want to rush them outside of my memory and onto the page until I've had an opportunity to simply enjoy basking in the glow of being immersed in all-things-family. But I do want to write them down so they withstand the test of time (and lost memories).

I will be back with more. But for now, I am simply wafting gently back down to earth. I am enjoying the view as I make my way back down.