Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Feeling Grateful, Feeling Lost

This is the email that greeted me as I awoke this morning. 
Yes, checking emails is a waking moment thing for me so the words "Stop scrolling" spoke directly to me:

Pause, breathe, and then comment below with three things you are grateful for right NOW

The first three thoughts that crossed my mind were:

  1. Not having to go into work first thing this morning
  2. Jobs with flexibility
  3. Being employed
I have wandered quietly through the morning hours, quietly grateful for the fact that I told my boss to just give me a call to let me know if and when she would like me to come in. I reread this email and immediately thought of (at least) three more things I was grateful for:
  1. Purpose. Waking up in the morning with a purpose is a game changer. I don't do well without knowing my defined purpose within a day. I resent that which pushes me but I need it. 
  2. Cats. These two little furry critters make my heart sing and the corners of my mouth turn upwards inexplicably as they race around the house together, get into trouble and simply laze around and look adorable. I'd be lost without these guys.
  3. Family. This year has been earmarked "The Year of Family" in my mind. We have been drawn together for numerous reasons, the most recent of which have been fun, easy and light hearted moments. Reunioning for the sake of getting together, celebrating milestones but most of all simply for the simple pleasure of enjoying one another's company. 
I could (and probably should) sit here and list a thousand things for which I am grateful. I cannot think of something I wish for that I don't already have or have the ability to reach for the stars and try to grab hold of something just out of reach.

All I have lost is the desire to reach outside of this comfortable and cozy little world I live in. It is a blessing to feel this content within my little world. Perhaps I am a little too comfortable. Who knew I'd miss the turmoil that moved pushed me into new and uncomfortable places? 

I felt this way right around this time last year. I upended my world by handing in my notice and closing my daycare. The whirlwind of activity during that time of great change was scary, exhilarating and busy. A busy mind was exactly what I needed to climb to the next hurdle.

Well? I climbed up to that next step. And here I sit. Waiting. Waiting for what? I don't know. I am losing my ambition and my courage right along with it. I'm holding on tight to this spot I'm sitting in. Perhaps I'm afraid I may get pushed off this precipice, so I've hunkered in and found myself a cozy little cave in which to sit back and enjoy the view of life passing by.

I sat down and wrote these words to force me to focus on gratitude. I do feel grateful. Honestly, I do! I simply feel a little lost. Does anyone else feel this way?

Friday, June 16, 2017

If You Ask Them ...

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone yesterday and it was a beautiful thing. I was instantly transported back to a time when I started inviting people into my world and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

This is where one must never keep score. I could tally up the invitations sent and the response rate. But I won't. What I must remember and focus on, is the immediate response of those who were ready to simply say "Yes!"

It was intoxicating. I asked. They said yes.

Unfortunately, "yes" came too quickly to one person and they had to rescind their initial answer. So we are presently in the mode of trying to find the best date for the most people. This is where it gets harder.

I set a date, a place and a time. I was concrete in my invitation. Then when the votes started coming back, I turned all wishy washy. I am being reminded of the reason why I stopped sending out these invitations. It gets hard when one tries to please everyone.

I believe that is part of the reason I started preferring to live life spontaneously. "Do you want to go out for coffee right now?" That is a very easy yes or no answer. "Do you want to meet for coffee a week from Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.?" My immediate thought is "I don't know. I don't know. I don't know!!"

Unfortunately, when you attempt to gather more than two people (or even meet up with one one busy person), spontaneity is usually not a viable option. In order to feel success in your mission, you must cast a wide net, provide options, tally the responses then pick the place, the date and the time according to those answers. It gets complicated.

I like options.

I issued another invitation last week. It was an invitation with a few options. It was a "let's pick a date and give ourselves a few choices and back out clauses". Setting the date was key. We set the date and let the rest of our plans fall as they may. Our plans were contingent on good weather so we made a "Plan B". Our "Plan B" was a flexible and last minute option. I just received the call back on that very plan and it is a go.

We will head out today and our outing has a feeling of "being where we are meant to be". I like that feeling.

In the meantime, I will sit back and tally up today's responses and reissue a revised invitation at the day's end.

It was almost intoxicating to read those initial responses. "It's so nice to hear from you! We have been thinking of you lots recently..."; "Yes!!!!!"; "I'm soo glad you reached out..." Even those who were unable to make it were grateful for the invitation.

I must focus on the gratitude, the excitement and the mutual desire to reconnect and stay connected. It isn't about keeping score. It is about maintaining connections.

Whew! There for a while I was focusing my energy on the wrong things. I felt defeated. Now that I've sat still and started remembering how good it felt to read those initial responses, I think it is time to try hone in on doing that which terrifies me.

It is time to invite more people back into my world. I will cast a wide net and focus the positive energy generated by simply opening myself up to the possibilities. It is hard. But it is necessary. I can do hard things.

If I ask them ... they may come. If I don't ask, I can be quite certain that they won't.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Need for Acknowledgement

I posted a family photo on Facebook a few days ago and was quickly reminded why I have tried to avoid that addictive little site.

Moments after the picture was posted, I received a few "likes". Comments, more likes and several more comments followed shortly thereafter.

Like an addict who just needs one more "fix", I was drawn back into the site to see if I had heard from any more of my friends.

I use the term "friends" rather loosely in the context of Facebook. Yes, I do have a few of my very good friends, close family members and people who truly matter to me within my group of friends on Facebook.

I also have mere acquaintances and a few people I don't even know (thanks to my inept scrolling abilities on a new phone one time, I accidentally hit "Friend request" while reading some of my friend's posts and they politely accepted me).

There is a lot I like about Facebook.

I have found a few friends from school who I used to be close to. I have a friend who has (on the rare occasion) posted a cryptic status update and I knew I had to call to check in with her. It is nice to keep up with family and friends via pictures and follow the happenings of their lives by what they post.

It is the addiction factor that turns me away from this site.

I removed the app from my phone so I wouldn't be tempted to scroll just for something to do. I unfollowed everyone on my page so my Facebook feed isn't filled with updates. I have to manually go in and check in on my friends.

I enjoy finding inspirational quotes and sites within a Facebook feed. I love when an animal video brings a smile to my face. I enjoy when a positive following becomes a show of support and an online cheering section spontaneously ignites.

I like that I can message and follow my son when he heads off for his solo winter vacations across the world.

I am eternally grateful for the Facebook auction sites which helped me sell of excess daycare and household belongings around here. Facebook, you have more than paid for yourself in my eyes.

I like more than I dislike about Facebook and that is the reason my account remains active. I am chiming off a list of that which I don't enjoy in my mind right now but I refuse to give the negative its due and spend my energy there.

But personally? For me and me alone? What I do not like is Facebook's addictive quality. The need for acknowledgement is not something I want to encourage within myself.

I have spent a lifetime learning how to reach out to people. The times of great quiet serve a purpose. It is sometimes good to sit and stew with one's inner demons. In the old days, I would be rescued from myself by a making a phone call, writing a letter or a visiting with someone.

I miss those days. I know it is so much easier now to reach out and "phone a friend" so many ways. Sending off a text, an email or a cryptic Facebook status draws people into your world. Sometimes it is too easy. I've pressed the panic button one too many times. Premature texting is not a good thing.

I miss the face-to-face connections but I'm grateful for the ease of reaching out and touching base with someone. I just don't want to start score keeping. I don't want to base my own personal happiness on how many friends or likes or comments I get on Facebook. It is like a quick fix. It feels good in the moment but the emptiness is more hollow in the aftermath, thus you go searching for more.

I stopped "writing out loud" for these reasons. My writing became less about writing from the heart and more about writing for acceptance. I need to find that acceptance within myself, from a place where it can't be counted or seen by the masses.

The question I am now asking myself is "If this is the way I feel, why am I writing here?"

I am writing here because it makes me accountable. It makes me show up (almost) every morning. It forces me to just write, even when I think I have nothing to say. Writing out loud helps me focus on the positives and keeps me from whining and complaining.

My inner thoughts have been rather whiny lately. I'm trying to change that. It's not as easy as it once was. I don't know if it is because I'm in new territory or if it's because I'm lonely or if I'm just plain tired. I don't know much these days. All I know for sure is that I am not going to keep score through Facebook. There must be a better way!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ready, Set, Go!

I'm geared up and ready for the week. After an extra long weekend, I should have so much more to show for my time off. But all I can say is I rested, relaxed, mowed the lawn and vacuumed the house. That is it. That is all I have to say for myself.

I seem to be living life in a "Ready, Set, Go!" mode this past long while.

I've been keeping on top of the my own and the cat's needs and supplies, the house is as maintained as one week allows, my suitcase is perpetually half packed and ready to go, I've been keeping on top of the car's maintenance, meters are read and I'm always on top of  the bills and obligations.

I am as ready for "life" as one can be.

I look to each week ahead of me as yet another week simply to be endured...

This isn't living. This isn't a life. Living in a state of preparedness is okay. But there must be more. There has to be more.

I'll go and put in this week and see what I can find at the end of it. The light at the end of the tunnel. The weekend at the end of the week.

I think I used to feel happier than this. I must be missing something in my "Ready, Set, Go!" state of mind.

I miss counting ladybugs for a living. Little people were exhausting. But they were so life affirming. Youth and energy. I miss it more than I ever thought I would.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Changing of the Tides

The tides are ever changing within the little world we build ourselves and the bigger world around us.

My youngest son turned nineteen yesterday. Our entire little family unit met at a licensed restaurant to celebrate the day he turned old enough to drink. Not that any one of us had a drink, but it was a favorite restaurant in the past so the day the youngest member of our family was old enough to join us, we stepped back in time. Back to a place we have visited many times before.

Only you can't step back in time. The restaurant didn't feel the same. The food didn't seem to taste quite as good. The magic of discovering and enjoying something new together didn't translate well when we tried to recreate the scene.

Earlier in the day, my youngest son and I went to see a movie. Going to the movies together is something we did often when he was young. We don't do it so much any more. His birthday themes often revolved around a super hero, a movie theme or going to see a movie. We walked down the corridor of the theatre and I had a flashback of a time when I was taller than he was. When I was the one who drove us to our destination. When he looked to me for that which he was not old enough to do on his own.

Those days are gone. But we still walked down the same theatre corridor, we cashed in on our movie coupon which included popcorn and drinks. We watched "Wonder Woman" together and I looked to him to hear his take on the movie.

Gone are the days when he was a young, innocent little boy who was easily impressed by any super hero movie. These days, he looks to plausible plot lines, directing, special effects and forms his own opinions according to all he has learned along the way.

I refrained from "passenger seat driving" as we made our way to our destinations yesterday. It seems like only yesterday when he was learning to drive and my coaching was required. He hasn't been driving that long, but I now feel relaxed in the passenger seat and my purpose was simply pointing out a parking spot and directing him down a new road to a new destination.

He is a working man now. He drives his own car. He pays his own bills. He has his eye on a future which includes further education so he may backtrack a little before he moves towards a future of complete independence. But the tides have changed. I feel it with every step I take.

Before we parted ways, we took a family picture. The first picture was typical of our family. Each one of us standing close together, but independent of the other. Hands in pockets or hands at our sides. Each one of us a separate entity, but there is a feeling of unity. The second picture, my middle son grabbed hold of us and pulled us close. There is a true sense of joy in each and every one of our faces as we nestled in together and felt the physical closeness of a family united.

Two pictures are worth two thousand words.

Yes, we are strong and independent on our own. But united, we are stronger, more resilient, happier and I do believe we each feel a little more secure knowing we have each other's back.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Need to Dream

June 9, 2016

"Kids playing together and simply getting along, going with the flow, challenging their limits, inventing their own games, singing their own songs and turning drab little pebbles into something beautiful in their minds is what "being a kid" is all about. Yes, it was a blissful kind of morning."

Those were my thoughts at the end of my daycare day exactly one year ago.

As I read the paragraphs that preceded and followed this moment of bliss, I was reminded of the challenges we were facing on a daily basis. I was wearing out. But I still found these "heaven on earth" moments within our chaotic days.

It has been seven months since I worked my last day of daycare. Seven months to refocus, restructure and recreate my life, my goals, myself and my dreams.

That sounds a little more romantic than the reality.

I have been lost more often than I have felt grounded. There is a conflict between feeling over-committed and underwhelmed all at the same time. I need to live a life where I feel like I am making a difference. In doing so, the self talk within my brain is over critical, harsh, demeaning and I am about the worst boss I've ever worked for.

I need to rebuild my reserves by carving out quiet time to recharge my battery. Yet when I have extra time on my hands, I waste it. I am not making effective use of the time I crave so much.

My most favorite place to be has become on the highway between my home and Mom's. I am forced to sit still with my thoughts, stay awake with them and not numb them with any form of technology, food or sleep. I am wide awake, alert and conscious. I love that feeling. I may have become addicted to driving in order to keep my focus "in my own lane".

I miss being home.

Thus, I have started romanticizing about days gone by. I loved having my work come to greet me in my home each and every day. The dress code was right, my feet were comfortable, extreme weather conditions didn't affect my day. As long as the furnace was working, our roof sheltered out the elements of the weather and we had food in the fridge, I had everything I needed right within these very four walls.

I miss my walls.

I have often walked through my life feeling immense gratitude for "my walls". A home where I felt safe, happy and protected from the harsher elements of life and the world around me has always centered me and made me feel whole. Even during the toughest days at daycare, I found my solace within these very walls.

I am hopeful summer will lessen the load I've carried throughout this past winter. I am starting to look up more these days. Up towards the sky, as I watch the birds. And out towards the great beyond as I keep my eyes open for wildlife of the four legged kind. Unfortunately I have spending far too much time looking down, in an effort to avoid the tent caterpillars which invaded our world the past several weeks.

The tent caterpillars are almost at the end of their season. They are spinning their cocoons and entering a phase of dormancy before they come back to life as winged creatures with a whole new vantage point.

Perhaps my need for solitude is my way of cocooning myself so I can find my wings again. Maybe my focus on birds and their young families is nature's way of reminding me to look up and be aware. It may be that my attention is being drawn towards new life as a reminder that there is something new and exciting ahead.

I have lost my ability to dream. I miss my dreams. I may have walked around with my head in the clouds as I dreamed my little dreams but those very dreams propelled me into living a fuller life and a happier existence.

I see a quiet weekend at home in my future. I do believe I need to find my little place in the sun, grab an empty notebook and dream a little dream.

I miss my dreams...

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Just Write

In an effort to rekindle my brain to fingertip connection I am trying to reformulate my morning writing habit. In an effort to keep my brain from going to mush, I replaced writing with word and number puzzles. Puzzling isn't the worst thing I could do but formulating cohesive sentences out of the meandering thoughts in my brain is probably where I need to concentrate my efforts. So here I am. Again.

I'm feeling the wear and tear of my week. It has been a short work week but it is still taking a toll. It isn't awful. I'm heading off to work this morning without that pit in my stomach so that is a good thing.

Why the pit? Is it because I'm walking in new and unfamiliar territory within a familiar job? A little bit.

I do like the challenge of learning something new, applying what I know and expanding on it is exactly how I like to roll. It isn't the learning that is getting me down.

Is it the job? A little bit. I like numbers well enough. We get along fine. Errors can be found. There is right and wrong. I like balancing to zero. I love solving a number puzzle. There is a challenge there that I enjoy.

But I don't love numbers. They are too calculating. They are demanding at times. I like to walk away from that world and walk into the real world where life is many shades of gray and every color under the rainbow.

I like looking up and out into the world. I like developing relationships with people. I like knowing a little piece of my day has made a difference to someone outside my own tiny little circle of "me".

Perhaps that is the part of my number job that has me hooked. I do like the person I work for. I would never abandon her. But there are many times when I would just like to walk away from a day and return with a fresh new slate on a brand new day.

Perhaps that is why I took the opportunity when I found it yesterday.

I finished my coffee and was dealing with a nasty bout of "coffee breath". I had some gum in the car AND I had some shredding to take out to the garbage. I took a quick work break and ran out to my car for a piece of gum. I literally walked away from my day and it felt good.

It was when I was walking back to the building when life tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me of how quickly things can happen.

A couple in a car were coming out of the parking area and were waving me on so I could walk pass. I didn't need to cross their path, so I happily waved them along as I tried to indicate I was going the other direction. I was cheerfully waving when WHAM! Down onto the pavement I fell, as I literally fell off the curb.

I went down. Way, way down. I landed on the heels of my hands and my elbow. I wasn't flat out but I was close enough.

I jumped up and immediately started laughing at myself. The poor lady in the car was aghast that I had taken a nose dive right in front of them. Again, I merrily waved them along assuring them I was just fine.

I took a several steps before I dusted myself off and headed back to work. Later in the day, I noticed I had scraped up my knee. I was over-the-moon relieved when I realized I could have ripped my new capris in the tumble. My skin will heal. Finding a pair of capris that fit is a whole other story.

In the matter of one nanosecond, things could have been so different. My mom and my sister recently broke a wrist in a similar but different kind of situation. One innocent tumble and "snap". A joint was broken and their mobility was limited by a cast for the next six weeks.

One second, a person is grumbling about their lot in life. The next, "anything" could happen.

Accidents are called "accidents" for a reason. No one plans for them to happen. Then POOF! Life can change in an instant.

So I will pack up my tender knee and haul it off to work today. The day's challenges aren't pounding in my chest before I walk in the door. For that, I am very grateful. The person I work for has things coming at her from every direction and this is not a relaxing and easy time for her. I can relieve some of that burden. Just by showing up. So I shall.

I guess I do make a difference at my "numbers job" after all. And this is why I would choose to work here no matter what my bank balance is.

I'm very fortunate. Not only did my wake up call result a mere skinned knee, but I go to work each day with the knowledge that I'm quietly making a difference. That's more than money can buy.

Now, if only I can reduce my work week to three days I'll have it made in the shade! I am feeling rather "rich", after all...

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In Memory of a Mother Duck

The wonders of nature have been forefront in my mind this year as I have travelled through the months. I've spent a fair number of miles behind the wheel of my car and the landscape around me has evolved from frozen and white to the various stages of spring. My last trip, Mother Nature was really outdoing herself. The trees had come back to life, the grass in the ditches was waving in the wind and the birds were out in full force.

I love watching the birds. It starts with those V-formations in the sky as the Canadian geese head northward, spotting ducks swimming and diving in the sloughs, the hawks as they soar in the wind and even our hardy birds that weather our Canadian winters seem a little more playful as the summer weather starts to return.

I was on the road bright and early this trip and the birds were out for an early morning stroll across the highway.

I was reminiscing about an unfortunate incident from last year when I was driving home on a busy summer Sunday. I was going highway speed when I noticed something long and low to the ground in the distance. It looked like something akin to a big garbage bag wafting across the highway when I first noticed it. By the time I drove up and saw it was a mother duck and her ducklings crossing the highway, it was too late to do anything about it. I had cars coming up behind me and the only thing I could do was take my foot off the gas and not make any sudden moves.

I felt ill as I looked in my rear view mirror to see the mother duck went down behind me. Her young little family was little more than a blur when the next round of cars came upon them as quickly as I had. The feeling and visual of that little duck family is still vivid in my mind a year later.

I was thinking of this little family on my quiet morning highway drive when I noticed something on the highway ahead. Having the highway to myself, I had the luxury of slowing down before I approached whatever it was. Sure enough, it was a pair of ducks. Two adults this time. They were walking along the highway in the lane I wasn't in, so I had the opportunity to appreciate them as I coasted past them. As I got close to them, they simply flew away. They flew.

Yes, of course! Ducks can fly. When these two adult ducks had no one else to consider but themselves, they simply flew away. My mother duck from last year didn't fly away. She didn't abandon her family to save herself. She stayed where she was, at the head of the line of her family and "took the hit". She sacrificed herself for her children.

At no point since my duck accident last year, did I even consider the fact that the mother duck could have flown away the moment she realized her life was in jeopardy. It never even dawned on me. Until these two adult ducks, without a family in tow, simply flew away when I got too close.

I was still in awe of the wonder of "motherhood" in all shapes and forms when I saw something off in the distance. This time, it was a goose family. They are taller and stand out much better than a low lying duck does and this time I (once again) had the luxury of a quiet highway to slow my pace and even brake as I got closer.

A mother goose, four little goslings and a father goose bringing up the rear crossed the highway safely. When they had made it to safety and I drove past, the father lifted his wings and swooped up off the ground in what I feel was a "thank you wave".

I may not have realized what was on the horizon if it had not been for that mother duck and her duckings last year. The mother duck who lost her life for the love of her family last year has made a lasting impact within me.

I think of that mother duck often. I still quietly mourn the loss of her and her family. If only she had known not to cross the highway during peak hours, she may have been saved.

She did not die in vain. A mother will literally take a bullet to save her child. Whether they are human or a bird or many other living creatures.

I was telling my mom this story and we both marvelled at the wonder of motherhood. As our visit progressed, we started talking of mother cats and Mom mentioned that the tom cats will kill the kittens. "Once the mother has kittens, she will have nothing to do with the male so the tom will try to kill the kittens to get her attention again." "Hmmm..." I replied. "I'm even more like a cat than I realized."

I think I'd rather think like a duck.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trust Issues

I bought a new-to-me car a few days before Christmas last year. I was basically unemployed at the time. So was my son. It was a decision made out of necessity (or so I thought). I bit the bullet and bought a car I felt I didn't need in the hope that having two cars would buy us the freedom required for us to spread our wings and grow.

Within two weeks, my new car and I would take our first highway trek together. I was still filled with anxiety over the money I had spent, driving a car I did not know well. My car and I didn't have a history together. It was a brand new relationship between me and my car. It was tough going.

My previous car had abandoned me on the side of a busy road only a few weeks prior to this purchase and suddenly I didn't trust anything with four wheels. If my trusty steed had let me down, how could I begin to trust a vehicle I didn't even know?

We have had some rocky roads - me and my new car. My mechanic and I became well reacquainted as I had him investigate every little concern I had. I was just beginning to think I could trust this new set of wheels when I discovered I needed "a new set of wheels". Four summer tires to be exact. 

This purchase sent me down yet another road of discovery which was a road I did not want to travel. But travel it, we did. And by the time we reached our final destination, I was beginning to feel like I was starting to know this new car of mine. The more I invested in this relationship, the more I began to trust it.

There is something very comforting about four brand new tires. I've never appreciated new tires before. Possibly because I only replaced them on an as-needed basis. I bought my tires two at a time and rotated the tires to ensure the new tires were where they needed to be. But four brand new tires all at once? I admired them. I enjoyed the feeling of those tires between me and the pavement. I appreciated the new tread and I started to feel safe within this relationship I was building with my car.

As a "gift", my car received a thorough cleansing of the lubricating kinds. The transmission, radiator and oil were all flushed, new fluids coursed through the "heart" of my car and we were set to travel many more miles together.

I sat in my new-to-me car last night as it received the third oil change since our relationship began. Yes, logged a lot of miles - 13,451 km's to be exact. When my oil changer showed me the cabin air filter he changed, my heart sank. I honestly thought every conceivable nook and cranny had been checked, changed, cleaned &/or replaced. The condition of this filter was atrocious. It appeared to have filtered everything but a dead mouse.

I hope my car appreciates all I have done for it and rewards me with approximately 13,451 km's of worry-free miles now.

We have spent a lot of time together and I am really starting to bond with this hunk of metal. I am comfortable behind the wheel. I appreciate every mile we travel together. Each and every time we make it safely to our destination and back home again, I feel my car trust issues starting to fade. 

The freedom this new car has brought into our lives has been immeasurable. My son inherited my old car and that car has given him what he has needed to get him to school and back, then to work and back. It has given him what he needs to be independent, while me and my new car have been bonding over the many highway miles we have travelled together. 

I despise this dependency I have with my car. I miss my old world where my work came to me and all I needed my car for was to run errands and make the occasional trip. 

My new world consists of a life where I must leave the house and drive off to earn a living. I miss being home. Each and every time the lawn is mowed, all I can think of is the waste. We have a house and yard that are not being utilized. But they still need to be maintained. 

I was chatting with my son yesterday and heard myself say that all I want is a life where I am not concerned about money. I just want to have what I need and not have to worry. 

Then I stopped and reminded myself that "that" is exactly what I have right now.

I spend money that needs to be spent. There is not one job I have that I would give up if money was no object. I go out to see Mom whenever I feel the urge to go. I have a pick up and go life, where my priorities are straight and I'm living a life without regrets. 

Having all the money in the world would not change a thing. In fact, the one and only thing it may affect would be my ability to go out and buy a brand new car. But do you know where that would get me? Exactly where I was at the beginning of this post. I would have to learn to trust another vehicle once again. Brand new or used - my trust issues with anything that is new to me is a growing curve. I don't like change. I have the ability to adapt but it is uncomfortable, scary and costly.

Do you hear me, "Life"? I like things as they are. I appreciate all I have and all the relationships I have built within this little world of mine. It is a good little life. Thank you.

I just reread this post and the sentence that truly says it all is this:

"The more I invested in this relationship, the more I began to trust it."

Isn't that the truth of any relationship? I believe that is a whole new post on its own one day. I hope I continue to rekindle this relationship with my writing and come back to that one day very soon...

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sluggish Brain

I've spent the past few hours catching up on the weekend's backlog of puzzles. At the onset of this catch-up spree, I couldn't see the answers that were staring me straight in the face. I gazed at the numbers on the Sudoko page and I was oblivious to the most obvious solutions. Two hours and fifteen puzzles later, I'm starting to see past the fog. But what do I see?

I see a to-do list cropping up before me. Unfortunately there are a fair number of re-do items on that list. Not only does the car need yet another oil change and a serious de-bugging cleanse, but when I woke up this morning, I slowly realized that I did not add the Round Up to the weed sprayer when I sprayed the weeds in the back alley last night. I simply labeled the container "Round Up", re-marked the line where the concentrate must be filled, then I added water. No Round Up. Just water.

The most perplexing part of all of this is that I did not figure it out sooner. Normally when I have added water to the concentrate, there is some foaming that makes filling the container a slow process. Not this time. No foam. Hmmm. I just thought I was getting lucky or smarter (maybe I was filling up the water slow enough this time). I was nearing the end of my spraying spree (I sprayed the fence line, along the garage, deck and the entire back alley) before I realized the liquid in the container was clear. Did I put two and two together at that point? No. I guessed that perhaps I had watered down Round Up that had already been diluted.

This is not the first time I've attempted to spray all of the above areas. I did this last week as well. Five days later, a few of the weeds looked tired and droopy but most of them were simply taller. What the heck? Perhaps I diluted some already pre-mixed grass weed killer that was left over from last year. I thought I remembered that particular container having a bit of weed killer left in it, but when the container was marked "Round Up", with a line where to fill the concentrate and another line where to fill the water I simply diluted whatever was already in the container.

Not only could I not see the water line through the completely solid colored container, but the container dripped terribly. I panicked at the thought of dripping Round Up all over the lawn so I sprayed and sprayed and sprayed the back alley until the container was finally empty so I could dispose of the leaky container. It took forever to accomplish the task but I finally completed what I set out to do. Only to discover the weeds were still looking pretty hale and hardy five days later. What the heck?

So I set out to re-do that task last night. With water. Just plain water, which was in a container which once held Round Up, so maybe there was a minute amount of Round Up which was mixed in with my now well watered weeds.

When I went to bed last night, I was almost certain I had been working with a diluted Round Up solution while I was trying to deal with Mom's weeds. I thought of the weeds I had sprayed. Did I just water them as well? Did I dilute Round Up which was already watered down? The only consolation I felt was at least all the weed killer that I managed to spray in my face (twice) while I was at Mom's was not as toxic as I believed at the time.

It was only upon my waking moments that I realized I had most likely completely forgot to add Round Up to the sprayer I had at home last night (not the one I had used and left at Mom's). So I guess I sprayed myself with toxic chemicals after all.

Upon reading the instructions of the sprayer and the chemicals I felt like I should have been dressed from head to toe in a Hazmat suit:

But when dealing with water, I guess there was no reason to suit up after all. I guess if I start glowing in the dark, I'll know I've been over exposed to chemicals.

So today, I honestly feel like I'm living Bill Murray's life (as seen in the movie "Groundhog Day"). Doing the same old thing I did yesterday, the day before and the day before that. I guess I can work on correcting my mistakes this way. 

My foggy brain is not just having trouble with crossword puzzles and Suduko. It seems I'm having a little trouble following simple instructions as well. When is too soon to start worrying about brain health? Maybe a few good nights of sleep at home will help. I'll try that for a while and see how it goes.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Keeping on Top of Ongoing Maintenance

The high cost of maintenance is weighing heavy on my mind, as it has been rather expensive to live my quiet little life recently. I've been adding the expenses up, comparing my income levels to a year ago and marvelling at the fact that I have been keeping afloat despite all extra curricular costs.

The grand totals of "all of the above" boggle my mind a little bit and although that is a little bit daunting, it is truly the time it takes to keep on top of life's maintenance that has been the heavier burden to bear.

Life has been very fair about handing out only what I can manage to deal with at one time. Financial burdens were offset by the ability to bear the brunt of the cost. Time obligations were offset by the ability to put high priority items first and foremost, while life remained calm and steady on other fronts.

Now that the dust seems to be settling after treading through some of life's uncertainties, it seems I'm more available for other relationships within my little world and feels good to have the time and energy to devote to other matters.

Tending to the maintenance of life is tedious, expensive (at times) and time consuming. But it is far better to take care of a little preventative maintenance than it is, to break down on the side of the road and wait to be rescued (a little metaphor taken from a real life moment).

After losing a tooth that could not be saved, I realized the importance of taking care of another tooth in jeopardy. One tooth lost = another tooth saved. Somewhat costly and a little time consuming, but in preventing another loss, I saved myself some pain. Both physically and financially. A tooth saved is a tooth well earned.

After being stranded on the side of a busy thoroughfare on our first cold day of winter, I have been taking preventative measures to ensure my chances of a car letting me down in the future is lessened. Perhaps I've taken this a little bit overboard, as my distrust for anything with four wheels has cost me a pretty penny and I'm sure my mechanic is growing sick and tired of my endless calls. But I've been putting on a lot of miles lately and I am trying to avoid another mechanical distress call in the future. Fine tuning all that ails my car before it breaks down is cheaper (and less traumatic) than the feeling of coasting over to the shoulder just in the nick of time. This is the price of independence. It doesn't come cheap but it is well worth preserving.

A case of frozen pipes during the second cold snap winter had to dole out was yet another lesson in preservation. I am not quite certain I have done all that can be done to prevent a future occurrence but my plumbers did their best to assure me all has been done, that can be done. One doesn't realize the gift of free-flowing drainage until one loses the privilege.

I do believe our third (and final) cold snap the winter season had to dole out did not result in any further maintenance. That came when the weather warmed up and the need to replace summer tires ate up the last bit of assurance I had, that my car troubles were behind me. But, in the grand scheme of things, a brand new set of tires has bought me peace of mind that a worn out set of tires could not provide. I have many more miles to travel and now I feel road worthy and ready to leave on a moment's notice. This is a very good way to feel.

While life's bigger ticket items were wearing out on me, little things were weighing just as heavily on my mind. Like the fact that they no longer carry the "purse/wallet" I have been using for the past decade or so. The replacement purse I had on hand started falling apart mere days after I started using it. Seams were not sewn securely; a rivet came undone; the tab on the zipper wore out prematurely (unfortunately my back-up purse sat unused for well over a year, so any guarantee was null and void).

I started searching for a replacement and the sense of dread that came over me equalled the feeling I had while I was sitting on the side of the road in the dead of winter, waiting for a tow truck. Only it was worse. At least I KNEW a tow truck was on its way. At least I KNEW a rescue and repair &/or replacement mission would set me back on the road again. But the lack of knowing I could find a replacement purse that would do the same job as the ones that had preceded it?! It was a fate worse than car repair.

I spent the better part of one of a day off, scouring the Internet for a replacement purse. I found a one that may or may not have worked, but it cost four times the amount of my "original". I found a second one that would have done in a pinch but it wasn't exactly what I wanted. So I searched some more. And you will NEVER guess what I found at my friendly, neighborhood WalMart!?! An (almost) identical purse to the original. It isn't perfect but it is far superior to the others I found after a day of searching the world wide web. So guess what I did?

Yes, I did. I bought "three". One for immediate use and two spares. I know a person who likes this purse just as much as I do and we were equally stunned by the fact that we could not replace that-which-worked with an identical item. So I spread the good news to her and picked up a spare purse just in case she can't find one.

I am feeling equally torn over not being able to replace my pajamas with a pair that is identical to the ones I am wearing. I thought I had pre-empted this disaster by picking up some pj's before they disappeared off the shelves. I should have bought a bigger size, due to style/fit revisions to something that used to be perfectly fine, but thankfully I did pick up a few new bottoms. So all I needed to find was some kind of comfortable night shirt to wear in place of the ones I've grown to love and wear out (yes, the fabric is literally starting to disintegrate). I searched high and low and found this:

I put it on yesterday and wore it all day. I think this may be my new favorite thing. I should go and buy all that remain, because I doubt I'll be able to come across this item in the future.

Keeping on top of life's little things is an ongoing task. The luxuries of life we have - like cars and running water are a gift unto themselves. So when they break down, I can try to appreciate the fact that they were a gift to begin with. But the little things? Like the need to clean, maintain and replace life's less major items? It all adds up. I like to have a stockpile of items on deck so I don't have to waste my energy replacing like items with more of the same.

Excuse me now, while I go online shopping for some back-up jeans now.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Messages From the World

The week has tuckered me out. I had three "hard things" to check off my calendar this week, with several weeks of equally "hard things" behind me.

Hard things are defined (by me) as anything that forces me out of bed too early, into the world, pushing my limits and making me uncomfortable. That encompasses a lot for a wannabe-hermit, like myself.

The best part of my daycaring career was not having to leave the house to go to work every morning (the second best part was the dress code - casual, comfortable attire and the lack of shoes). Sharing a roof with a houseful of little people made leaving the house a treat.

This past week was the first time, in the five months since my daycare closed, I actually longed for the good old days of daycaring.

Getting outside and breathing in the cool, fresh air of "spring" was one of our most anticipated and life affirming events of the year. The whole world became our playground. We walked, we talked, we noticed the robins, flowers, trees coming into bud and the color "green" returning to the landscape of our lives.

One of my favorite parts of daycaring was looking at the world around me through the eyes of a child. Even bug watching was akin to the way others may feel while watching the Olympics.

Ants are the hardest working insect I know and I loved noticing a tiny little ant carrying something ten times its size and pointing this out to my little humans. "Look at that ant! See what he is carrying?!" The lesson was almost anything is possible if you are willing to do the work and have the determined attitude of an ant.

I doubt my little two and three year olds retained the lesson but it was a good reminder for me as I went about my days of daycaring feeling like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders at times, as I tended to our days, routines and child care.

One of my other favorite things about my daycare days was quiet time. I couldn't have done my job without it. We carved out a solid one and a half hours (longer, if naps prevailed) of stillness and quiet. No TV, no background noise. Just the sound of quiet, restful breathing as my little ones nodded off, one by one.

I remained still myself during that hour or two of quiet. I miss that quiet time in the middle of the day. I wonder how I could incorporate a siesta time into my new line of work. I do believe we would all do better by taking that time to unplug, recharge and reboot our systems BEFORE those very systems decide to shut us down by whatever means are necessary.

One of my present jobs is bookkeeping. My bookkeeping boss is an incredibly wise, hard working and determined lady. She reminds me of an ant, in the way she carries a load that is far too heavy to carry at times.

We have been having trouble with the internet going down a lot this past week, which plays havoc on the wireless printer's ability to print what it has been told when the connection is down. Left to its own devices, the connection did reestablish itself on its own but it took time. As I put together a trouble shooting guide to assist my boss in case this should happen over the weekend, I illustrated my guide with a step by step process of exactly what to do when things went wrong. It's a boring little process but steps "5" and "6" are key to the process:

5. Once you see this "Fixed" message, you are done. But it takes a while for the printer to catch up and print. Go grab a cup of tea and come back in a few minutes and things should take care of itself.

6. Take this as a message from The World. When things don't work, REST! UNPLUG! WALK AWAY! and REBOOT your system. It means you are working too hard!!

The world is always sending us messages and cues to stop and smell the roses. Or count the first robins of spring. Or admire the wonders of nature in all its glory.

I may not have a daycare any more but I must retain all I learned from that educational time.
  • Stop and enjoy the view. EVERY day.
  • Go for walks.
  • Have "quiet time". EVERY day.
  • Rest! Unplug! Walk away! Reboot!
Now I must unplug and take care of today's errands so I can come home and do "all of the above". I hope you do the same.

Friday, April 21, 2017

I Can Do Hard Things!

I can do hard things. Unfortunately my definition of "hard" has become easier to attain but I'm going to give myself a little break here because there for a while, even "easy" was hard. So I'm lowering my standards a little in the hope of gradually reestablishing myself on some firmer ground before I reset the bar.

I slipped into a pretty good case of the doldrums over the winter. I was rewriting my life and had upended one firmly established form of income with a great deal of faith that all would work out in the end.

The middle of this story is bleak. I kept trying to talk myself into believing it was going to work out okay. I said all the right things to myself. But I couldn't quiet the incessant voice of fear that wouldn't stop whispering in my ear.

I was exactly where I was meant to be. I knew it in my heart. Life kept unfolding in unexpected ways and I was available to simply be where I most needed and wanted to be. But the moment I wasn't feeling "needed", I lost my way.

It has been a gentle climb to solid ground ever since.

As I reflected on these words and rewound "the middle of the story" in my mind, I searched for clues as to what I was feeling in the deep, dark dire moments of the most recent winter in my life.

I unearthed last year's calendar and two documents I wrote while I was in the state of nowhere. I read what I wrote at the time and I can see how I WAS actually exactly where I needed to be. Even in my most uncomfortable moments.

Sometimes, life simply hands you a "mirror". You are unhappy with yourself, the moment and the past, present and future. You are stuck and you feel the quicksand of life pulling you down. You don't know how to save yourself until you see someone you love right beside you fighting the same battle. And somehow, unknowingly you pull yourself up, shake yourself off, find your sea legs again and simply take one step in a forward direction.

The state of inertia is the worst place in the world for me to be. The state of unknowing. The state of fear and despair. The mere act of doing nothing is worse than taking a step in the wrong direction. Taking one step in any direction is better than standing still and going under.

I looked in one of the many mirrors I had within the small little world I had created for myself at the time. In the act of trying to find the answers for someone else, I found a twig which was rooted in solid ground. I pulled myself to safety. I look back to that moment in time and I look at the present. I know the single act of "saving myself" wasn't all it took to get from "there" to "here", but I look now and I see two people pulled out of that pit of despair.

I was just starting to see the light when I wrote these words:

"I think the world is laughing in my face as I deem to believe I truly have any control over the way things will unfold from this point onward. I think this is why my feeling of being "lost at sea" is driving me. Because I truly believe I will not find my answers by searching the internet, working on my financial spreadsheets, gazing at calendars looking for direction. 

When you feel lost at sea, where do you look? Upwards. Find the North star to guide you. Looking in any one direction of endless sea, any direction you choose is a gamble. Perhaps a gamble worth taking, but perhaps it would be more prudent to follow a wayward bird in the direction of dry land. You won't find a bird anywhere but in the sky. Look upwards. Stop fearing what you don't know. Keep hydrated and perhaps keep wearing that life jacket. But "look up"..."

I read the words I wrote, looked at the calendar beside me and see how every single step I have taken since that day has been a step in a  positive direction. There have been detours and obstacles. But this time, I didn't let that stop me. This time, the detours did not distract me from my destination.

Once before, a similar set of circumstances completely derailed me and I never did get back on that particular set of tracks. Life keeps presenting you with lessons. What I didn't learn the first time around, I believe I conquered the second time.

How many times this lesson has been repeated prior to the two that are most prevalent in my mind is anyone's guess. The time you succeed is the time to remember and celebrate. And now? I am fully prepared for life to present its next lesson to me. I suspect I won't enjoy it in the moment, but if I can overcome and prevail, it will be an uncomfortable lesson well learned.

Because I can do hard things. So can you!

That said, I think I'm going to tackle one of the hardest things of all. I am going to book an appointment to get my hair cut. To be continued...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Day in the Life of Our Cats

I woke up early this morning and I still don't have words worth putting out into the world. I don't know if it is a matter of too much thinking and too much inaction OR if I simply have too much interaction within my world these days. But I really don't have a lot of spare thoughts left over at the end of a day. So I have resorted to a "cat day" kind of post.

These two black critters bring no end of joy into our little world here. As the pictures to follow suggest, they do spend a lot of time lazing about. So perhaps it is no wonder "Jet", otherwise know as our bored little cat, gets into trouble some days with all of his restless energy.

Same cats, different sleeping poses. I love how Ray flips onto his back when he is in full-out relaxed mode. For a cat that is scared of "everything", his prone position on his back always brings a smile to my face and lights up the moment.

These "hugging moments" are brought to you compliments of Ray. If Jet is snoozing and Ray comes up to him and nestles in, there is usually some mutual cat face, ears, neck washing that follows. It sometimes ends in a cat nap together. Or in this case, Ray is simply hugging a sleeping Jet and awaiting his face wash.

I wake up to Jet by my side more often than not. It is really no wonder why I have a hard time crawling out of bed when these guys make sleeping look like a sport. I just want to join in on the fun and cat nap the morning away.

Ray's early morning look out point is atop the fridge. If you look carefully, you can find his paw prints on my freshly dusted refrigerator. Yes, I dusted the top of the fridge on the weekend but never did get back to wipe off the cat prints Ray left behind.

Meanwhile, Jet hopped on my lap for a morning snuggle. This is not his most attractive angle but this view enhances the differences between our nearly identical black cats. There is definitely a difference in their nose, eyes and the way they hold their ears. 

The cupboard door was left open a little longer than usual and when I looked up, Ray was peeking through and enjoying this new vantage point from atop the fridge (our cupboards are missing a side, so are open for cats to crawl into them via the top of the fridge - no open food is stored there).

Due to the fact that these guys do wake up when I eventually crawl out of bed, cat naps are definitely in order by the afternoon. This was the sight in our living room one afternoon during nap time (could this be a residual effect of the quiet time I enforced during our daycare days?).

Jet is down for the count (his head is often near or on the pillow but he must have woke for a moment and done a semi circle turn in order to sleep on his other side).

Ray sleeps with one ear open but decided to "fake sleep" it for this picture (either that, or I just kept snapping pictures until I eventually got him when he blinked - it could be either, or).

Well, I wrote this post with pictures and captions and I still have nothing important to say. I suppose I should have spent this time studying for the exam I'm taking in two days. 

There is nothing like an exam to help me hone the fine art of procrastination. Maybe that's why there is no room for any other thoughts in my head. It is too full of the facts I'm trying to absorb for my upcoming test. Yes, that must be it. I will go with that. But if I don't return for a few days, you will know why. I will be busy studying. Either that, or I will discover it is the perfect time to clean the paw prints off the fridge top. It could be either, or.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

An Unofficial "Cat Day"

This was the scene I left behind when I woke up this morning:

I sent this picture to a friend and declared today a "cat day". She proceeded to list all she had done and what she is planning to do next.

I wish I could say my friend's ambition inspired me. Instead, I seem to be following the lead of our lazy relaxed black cats. 

Today I relax, study a bit (maybe) and make supper. Tomorrow? No promises that it will be any more ambitious than today. But I'm not going to beat myself up over it. 

Happy "Whatever Kind of Day You Want it To Be" Day!!

Celebrate the difference between what you think the world expects of you and what you expect of yourself. 

Trust that all the hard work will be done in good time. 

If you need to kick back and put up your feet, just do it!! If you feel the need to clean, maintain, cook and entertain, do that too! 

Me? I think I'm just going to hang out with our cats for a while. I kinda like their style...

Friday, April 14, 2017

Extra Special Connections

I have spent the better part of the past few days reaching out to those who I have been thinking about. The list isn't long nor inclusive of all of those who have been creeping into my thoughts. But the outcome of these conversations are nothing short of miraculous.

I sent off a quick message which ended with the words "I'm at home if it's easier to chat", which resulted in a conversation which was a gift.

I have been talking too much, not listening enough nor asking open ended questions to open the door for deeper conversation. All I asked was "And how are YOU?" and I was on the receiving end of a story which I'm grateful to have heard.

I thought of a friend whose birthday I thought I had missed, but due to my confusion over dates lately, I had actually remembered her on the exact day of her birthday. By the time I was home and the thought of her birthday crossed my mind again, I thought I was too late. But I picked up the phone and called anyway. I said little and she volunteered so much. It turned out to be a perfectly timed call and I was so grateful I didn't talk myself out of picking up the phone.

I thought of my mom, looked at the clock and thought it could be a good time to call. She literally had one shoe on and was almost ready to walk out the door when the phone rang. Normally this would lead to a very abbreviated conversation but not this time. We had the most cheerful conversation and she didn't seem to be in any hurry to end the call.

I thought of my uncle while I was writing my cousin. I quickly wrapped up my email and called my uncle before I talked myself out of the idea. He heard my voice and replied, "You won't believe this but just as you called, I was reading your name ..."  How is that for an Extra Special Connection?! (Hmm ... I actually thought those initials were going to be ESP, but you get my drift).

I was thinking of a friend and then noticed an update on her Facebook page that her father-in-law had recently passed away so I think she was also sending out an ESC (Extra Special Connection) message to me which I received and responded to.

Keep your ears to the ground, follow up on those niggling little thoughts to reach out and contact someone. You will never know how often you are being thought of unless you take the chance, reach out and call ... only to be greeted with the words, "I was just thinking of you!" Trust me when I say, I truly believe people are speaking the truth when they greet you that way. Extra Special Connections are just waiting to be made.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Creating a Fortress of Solitude

Why does it feel so easy to let go of good habits and so hard to return to what worked so well for years on end? I was thinking of my writing as I wrote this, but the minute I started this second sentence, I realized it was not the writing habit I gave up so easily. It was waking at 5:30 a.m., in order to ensure I had time to myself before the rest of the world woke up.

I remember savoring my early morning paper route for that very reason. As I walked my route, houses were dark, car traffic was minimal and the foot traffic was next to none. I remember breathing in the peace and quiet. I thought of those who were inside those dark houses, still fast asleep &/or just starting to stir as I finished my route. I saw the Northern Lights dancing in the sky, shooting stars and even the snow glistened and shone as the street lights reflected their shimmer and shine.

Early mornings are truly magical. The magic ends as soon as the rest of the world starts to enter that place of solitude. I truly miss those moments.

Instead, I have become very cat-like in my sleeping habits. 

I nod off to sleep very easily, I wake often and when morning comes I feel just like my little big black cat when he woke up this morning. He stood up, he did an on-the-spot cat stretch, walked in a semi-circle for exactly one step, then changed his mind and curled back up into a tiny little cat ball. Yep! That is exactly how I felt too. So we all enjoyed one last cat nap before we jumped out of bed and into the day.

I have another morning off today and I am without an agenda to push me into action. The cats and I took our time getting out of bed and now that we are all up, every little thing is distracting me from my new found desire to get back into the habit of writing.

I am torn between working on a Suduko puzzle, answering emails, buying tickets and unjamming the printer after buying said tickets. My attention span is very cat like. Every moving thing and little noise distracts me. I'm up and about, then down for the count. 

My brain is starting to fill with all the things I could be and should be doing but instead, I am making myself another cup of coffee. The morning is going to take care of itself and I will have very little to show for it. 

I need to bring back that-which-was-good in my life. I need to bring early morning solitude back into my days. A quiet place to start. Time to reflect. A chance to fill myself up before I go out into the world and spend my energy.

I have a sense of feeling "depleted" within me. I believe it stems from waking up at a time when the world starts beckoning to me. I need to create a "Fortress of Solitude" just like Superman. Those superpowers may have come from his deep seated knowledge that one must fulfil themselves with what they need before they can go out and save the world.

Superman and I have a lot in common that way...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Excuses, Brain Fog and Gratitude

Writing must be done before the rest of the world creeps into the day. Honestly, I think the biggest barrier between me and my place here in the land of writing out loud, is the fact that I stopped waking up early enough to carve out time alone in the morning.

I wake up, turn on the TV, fall back to sleep and get out of bed at least a half hour later than I could have if I would have simply put my feet on the floor instead of hitting the power button on the remote control.

I have turned to puzzles in an effort to wake up my sluggish brain. Two cups of coffee and a raft of word puzzles, added to my new addiction to Suduko eats up the next hour.

I'm worried about my brain. It is lethargic, foggy and isn't remembering as much as it used to.

I've stopped noticing things. Am I the only person who can walk across a parking lot, enter a building and the moment someone asks what the weather is like, reply "Hmmm, I didn't really notice"?

It takes energy to remember the day, the date, the month and the season. Is this because I'm working in the bookkeeping business and always working in the "last fiscal year" or balancing to a date in the past? I hope so.

I'm living in my own head so much that I forget to peek out of myself and notice the world around me. I have conversations with people and don't ask them about what is going on in their life. Then when I do, I forget to remember what they said.

I start one thing, get distracted and think of three other things I should be doing. At the end of a day I truly wonder what I have accomplished. I am just now remembering what I forgot to do two days ago.

This brain fog is concerning to me and as a result of that, I signed up to take a course on dementia. The upside of that, is that I am doing well on the assignments/exams to date. So while I'm learning about the possibility of the fact that there could be some grey matter in my brain that could be dying off, I am relieved to know I am still capable of learning and repeating some of what is new to me.

The brain is complicated and frightening when you really think about it. For that matter, so is one's entire body. When you think about the way each organ within our body depends on the others, it is truly a miracle we wake up each morning. When you think of the many functions our brain has, it is should not be a surprise that some of those excess thoughts get lost in the busyness of living a day.

When you think about anything too hard, it is amazing how smoothly things run. Even when things are not running smoothly.

The body's ability to heal, to overcome, to compensate and do what we ask it to do day after day, year after year, decade after decade is nothing short of miraculous. We are walking miracles! It is better to wake up with that thought in mind, than it is to turn on the TV which tends to turn off my brain.

Waking up each morning should feel like a gift. A celebration. Creating a life you are grateful to be living is another thing. I've been working on that. I've been working on that a lot.

Life has been busy. I feel like I'm wearing out my brain. The neurons may not be firing as quickly as they once did but I'm grateful they are doing as well as they are.

I have been given the gift of (most of) a day off. It is up to me to make the most of what I've been given. Shall I study for the exam I have scheduled for next week? Should I sign up for another course to keep exercising my brain? Should I spend the day running a few errands? Or taking a "cat day" just to sit back, watch the birds and all of the dust particles wafting around in the air?

Maybe I'll do a little bit of everything, maybe I won't. This day is a gift. This body that carries me around from "A" to "B" and back again, day after day is pretty amazing. My brain is a little tired though. Maybe I'll give my brain a "cat day" and spur my body into action so I can get out of my head and enjoy the day.

May you make the best of what today brings you. Take time to look up and out of your regularly scheduled life to enjoy the moment and find gratitude in the little things. This is the email which found its way to me this week:

Photo compliments of my GratiTuesday email from Project Happiness

Take one dose of gratitude and I hope to see you in the morning!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

On the Road Again

I've taken a little hiatus from writing as I created, rewrote and started living the latest chapter of my life. It was something akin to a home renovation. You just have to move out while things are under construction.

In my case, I had to abandon my little "home" here. Writing about what I was living, as I was living it would have been messy, disorganized and time consuming. It would have been mentally exhausting, not to mention tedious, to read about my deconstruction, the planning and unplanning stages and eventual revelation to simply follow the blueprint of "life as I was living it".

I'm sitting on a pleasant little plateau at the moment and appreciating the view. I've reached a point where the lessons are starting to separate themselves from the stories. So many of these stories are not my stories to tell. I have been intermingling my world with others and it is a tricky place for someone like me.

I have grown accustomed to living out loud, writing what I'm thinking about and often finding my own answers as my fingers translate the words from my brain. It's been a struggle to work without that brain to fingertip connection. I don't hear the "ping" of a revelation when the same words keep cycling around in my head.

Instead, I have been taking life one step at a time and making choices and adjustments as needed. The adage from part of a prayer from Mother Teresa "trust that you are exactly where you need to be" has been my guiding light. Trusting in the moment. Having faith it will all work out exactly how it is meant to be. Letting go of control and the need to know.

I've been feeling my way through this time like I've been walking in the dark. The territory is familiar but without a light to guide me, I've been hanging onto the walls for security. I've started letting go. I'm finding my way again.

Do you know the feeling when you have found your way after feeling lost? The path is new yet it is familiar and comforting and you just know in your heart it is "right". The resistance is gone. Each curve in the road comes a little easier.

I'm not saying I have all the answers. I am saying I know the questions I have been struggling with have been quietened. I'm figuring it out as I go along. I don't know what is at the end of this road. I simply trust it is the road I was meant to travel.

I woke up with a heavy heart one morning and this is the email that greeted me that morning:

I sent off an early morning email letting my worries out of my head and into the world. And life felt good again.

I need to let my truth exist somewhere other than inside my body. I'm back. I hope I'm here to stay.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sirens in the Morning

I woke up to our home alarm sirens blaring at 2:00 a.m. this morning. I jumped out of bed with only one motive. Find out why the alarm was set off before disarming the alarm. 

I raced through the basement with no sign of anything amiss. I ran up the stars, glanced at the alarm panel and noticed a light was lit to cue me as to why the alarm was triggered but nothing registered. I was intent on knowing our house wasn't on fire before I went any further.

It was only as I was racing down the hallway when I wondered what in the heck I was doing and what would I do if I encountered a stranger in our home. Too late. I was there.

By that time, my son was upstairs disarming the alarm. "Didn't you see that the back door was open?" Nope. I didn't notice a thing. "Didn't you see the light for the back door was lit?" Nope. Nothing registered. I looked at the panel but didn't see a thing.

Why was the back door open? Why were we standing there discussing it? Why were we relatively calm?

It was then that we noticed our Feisty Black Cat wandering in and around us with a puffed up tail. My son informed me that our Scaredy Cat bolted under his bed the second he opened his bedroom door. The wheels started turning and we realized it was Feisty Cat who had opened our back door and set off the alarm. Only then did both of us realize we had heard a mighty loud yowl come from our bored and feisty black cat in some time (probably) shortly before the alarm bells started ringing.

It was then, when the alarm company called us to check in on us. I quickly reminded my son of our password as I picked up the phone in the kitchen. It was dead. It rang, but it wasn't working. 

Immediately I remembered that I had just been fighting with the TV in the middle of the night because the cable channels weren't working properly. In my middle of the night state of confusion, I assumed the two situations were related. I ran to get my cell phone so I could call back and assure them all was well. Thank goodness my son was right beside me reminding me this had happened before. When the wall phone doesn't work, the cordless ones do. We ran off in separate directions to retrieve a cordless phone (him running to the charger while I ran to where I knew I had last left it).

At long last, the ringing phone was answered and our alarm company's representative was on the phone ensuring all was well. When I nonchalantly told her the situation was resolved and our cat had opened the door (we had apparently forgot to lock it), she sounded rather unconvinced. "Are you sure everything is okay?" as she pursued her line of questioning. "Yes, our cat opens doors" I replied as if it was the most normal response in the world.

We had a nice little middle-of-the-night chat while our feisty cat's tail returned to its normal shape and size and we all headed off to bed, while our scaredy cat still remained hidden out of sight.

It was a test. It was only a test. Thank goodness.