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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Getting Lost on Hope Road


So I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. A school counsellor! With a side of yoga teacher with a side of stay at home mom with a side of writer/poet and a teensy dessert of gardener.

The GRE I have been studying for all summer is next Saturday. On Friday, I found out I may need my teaching certification before I can go into the masters program. #Stymied. #Shouldn’tlifebeeasier. 

I’m still waiting to clarify things but for now, I’m in a holding pattern again. 

Meantime I’ve applied to volunteer or substitute teach for this school year. Either way it’s clear I need to spend some time in schools to make sure this is a path I will be happy with long term. 

It’s like the other day when I took a wrong turn and the GPS had me on some funky back roads and I was feeling stressed and confused and then I looked up and I saw it had brought me to ‘Hope road’, and I had to laugh. If you have to be lost, it’s nice to see a road out called hope.

I know I want to spend one more year at home. There are two reasons for this. Ellie. Benji.

Alright seriously, there are two reasons for this. One is this is Ellie’s last year before she goes to Kindergarten full time. And oh yes, I did NOT sign her up for pre-kindergarten. I am choosing not to stress over her falling behind academically when she’s four years old. She’s going to be fine. We’re going to spend one last year together and then she’s in school for the next hundred years. This time is precious to me.

Benji is going to end up getting the ‘that’s-rough-kid’ end of the stick because this will probably be my last year with him too, at least full-time devoted to them. He’ll be almost three when I go back to school next fall. Or work. Or maybe the time will come and I’ll say; ‘Maybe one more year?’

I don’t know. I hope not. The benefits of staying home for him are too numerous to count. Up to a point. Then his little brain slows down it’s crazy growth and he will need some social exposure as well as learning to be independent from me. Hopefully when that times comes I will bite the bullet and just do it. Some days I don’t know how I’m going to make it another year and stay sane. Some days I can’t believe how fast the time is flying and I just want to hug them and hold them and keep them babies forever.

And that’s life right? The bitter and the sweet side by side. Every decision we make holds consequences that are lovely and right, are terrible and unexpected, and everything in between.

For now I’m gathering more information, including how I feel about school vs work and I’m putting one foot in front of the other. And when I get lost, I'm looking for hope and it usually finds me.



Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hugs, High Fevers, and Holy Octopus Batman!


I’m eating ice cream right now. Lots of ice cream.

Benji has had three high fevers since May. He just kicked a dosey, but right before he did his temperature soared to 105 at midnight Wednesday night. I try not to let it seep out but the panic was there in my chest, like an Octopus on crack. When he got better he broke out in a rash. Now he’s stuffy again. Is he getting a cold? Another one?

The doctor asked us to get a CBC on Thursday and right away let me say that the counts came back normal. But the nurse was awful. Clearly her first time? 

I was sitting on the cot, Benji straddling me so I could wrap both arms around him and hold him steady. She had that needle in and couldn’t ‘get the vein’ and keep pulling it in and out and in and out and finally called for help while he screamed. And I tried to stay calm and not panic the girl with the needle in my baby’s arm. 

After it was done and he was taped up I realized Ellie had climbed up onto the cot with me and had her arms and legs wrapped around us both. That made me cry right there. A small circle of love braced against the pain the smallest of us was feeling right then. There is no end or beginning to the love I feel for those two.

Needless to say, we had ice cream that day too. Bigger than their heads ice cream that ended up melted all over their faces, chins, shirts, and car seats. Ask me how much I cared about that.

As anyone who knows me knows, that’s how my Leukemia-drama began. A high fever that wouldn’t come down. One CBC later and I was admitted to the hospital and although I didn’t know it then, I was at the height of the roller coaster called ‘kid w cancer’. 

So you can imagine the actual terror I felt. Am still feeling honestly. Stupid Octopus on crack there in my chest ready to start flailing around again at any second.

There are a lot of different ways people cope with pain. Food, alcohol, exercise, prayer, music, meditation, talking it out, not talking it out. Everyone has their own unique way of dealing with spikes of anxiety, fear, and pain. Everyone has had to figure out how to self-soothe.

I know I preach a lot about meditation and yoga and prayer but beyond clearly healthy and not healthy ways of coping I don’t think there’s any right way. Everyone needs to find it for themselves, and not judge anyone else how they find their own peace.

That’s all for today folks. Go hug your kids okay? And if they’re healthy, take a second to soak up that awesomeness. If not, pull them close because hugs are to pain like water is to oil. It’s hard to feel one when you’re overwhelmed by the other.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Following My Bliss or, Don't Eat the Sand, Eh?


So I am in the ocean at Galveston yesterday and Bill had to run to the facilities for a minute leaving me alone with both kids. 

The water was warm. The sand was soft and sucking on our toes as the water pushed and retreated. There were birds wheeling overhead or diving into the surf to catch a snack. 

Benji was toddling around and pointing to the ocean and saying ‘Pooo!’ which means, pool. Because everything is a pool. Creeks, rivers, lakes, puddles. Everything is a pool. At least, I hope so. Poo also means, well, poo.

In any case, Ellie was laughing and throwing mud into the ocean. I don’t know why. But try it. It is kind of fun. Just don't get any in your mouth. Yuck.

And then something crazy happened. I looked around, lots of people around but no one is paying attention to us because they have their own crazy kids to watch carefully.

I dropped in the shallow water and did a Vinyasa flow. I started in Cobra which is backwards but who cares. Pushed back into Down Dog. Benji laughed at me, my head upside down and he bent down and put his head in the wet sand. A toddler down dog. He has never done that before. I think he sensed my joy, my playful heart.

Then I shifted to mountain, scooping my arms up and wide, my heart open to the sun and the surf and the sand. Then down to touch my toes, half bend, then back down to plank and cobra, (spit out sand) finish up in Up-Dog. 

Then I did a few of my favorite poses, Wild Thing, sitting back bend and then I came up and just sat in Rock Pose, watching my kids. I know what you’re thinking. But people might be WATCHING you. And JUDGING you. Maybe they think you’re a crazy yoga lady!

And I have to say, yeah, maybe. But in that moment there was such profound contentment and peace that I’d rather have that, then the good opinion of people I will never see again and to whom I may not like even if I did meet them again.

I’ve been reading ‘Success Principles’ by Jack Canfield about how to be successful and how to figure out how to make money doing things you love to do. I think the theory is, you were made with a purpose and each time your heart leaps with joy, or bliss, that’s because that’s the way you were made. And you were made to follow that wherever it goes. And trust that because that’s how you were made, that’s how you are going to be taken care of. Somehow, in some form, you will find success.

Wow, right? 

So, I am going to trust that God put these desires in my heart; to write, to uplift my heart and steady my body in a yoga flow, to teach that joy to others, to fill my heart with everything that makes me happy. Loving on my kids, tending to my garden, and to follow every spark and event that arouses my curiosity. 

I am going to trust that I am who I am for a reason, and that alignment will happen at some time frame that is not my own.

I don’t know if I will ever be a full time yoga teacher, or make any money from my writing or if loving to grow things could be lucrative. No one is paying me to love every kid I come across whether I spend three minutes with them or a few years.

But I have to trust that in following these desires I will find both a way to make a living and a way to stay in my ‘happy’ place. Maybe I will find my place as an admin assistant in a yoga studio, or as an editor instead of a writer, or a school counselor or a million other ways and jobs I won’t even know exist until I start following those paths.

I will follow bliss, I will let go, and I will be grateful for what I have right now. My totally chaotic and imperfect life is filled with millions of small, perfect moments and I won't stop searching for more. Life's too short, eh?

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.” 
--Joseph Campbell

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Do They Still Make Straitjackets? And Other Things I'd Like to Order From Amazon


Do you ever wonder if your kids are trying to make you go crazy?

Example One. This morning. 7:03am:

Ellie: I want Rice Krispies with milk and honey and blueberries.

Me: (No caffeine yet, hobbling around like Grammie O, wondering what mornings will feel like twenty years from now) Okay. Rice Krispies, milk, and honey.

Ellie: AND blueberries!

Me: You want blueberries? Okay.

Meanwhile Benji wants his juice, but he says it now so it’s super cute even when I’m half dead, I mean, awake. (Juuusss?)

Ellie crawls into her old highchair (this started two weeks ago I’m not sure why) and waits. Patiently. No TV yet. No demands for TV. So far so good.

I wash the blueberries, pour the cereal and place the blueberries gently into the Rice Krispies so it doesn’t drop and make Krispies fly everywhere. I dribble some honey. Then I add the milk. 

Then I frown because you can’t see the honey anymore. Do I normally pour the honey after I pour the milk? Yes. Okay. Re-dribble the honey. Find her spoon. Peel Benji, screaming, off the gate across the stairs. 

Me: No stairs before breakfast!

Benji: WAHHHHHHHHHHH No NO NO NO NOooooo, Mommieeeee, nooooo.

Ellie: Where’s my CEREAL?? (Voice rising ten octaves on ceREAL!?)

Me: Here, here it is. Benji cut it out.

Ellie: (Wailing) I didn’t WANT blueberries!!!!

Honestly for a minute I’m like…am I going crazy? Did I make that up? WHAT IS REALITY!? OMG I’ve totally lost my mind.

And this is a pretty normal, better than average, morning with me and the kids. Where I’m wondering if I’m totally nuts and both kids are crying for no apparent reason.

Should I try getting them coffee? No, no that’s probably counter-productive.

Maybe I get up before Benji’s first morning ‘Mommmmieeeee!’? and have my tea then? So, 5:30am? You know what’s worse than hobbling around like Grammie O and wondering if I’m losing my mind? Being awake before the sun comes up. No, no, no. No. It’s unnatural. I struggle on…

Example B: WHERE: Girls Bathroom of Freebirds Burrito Restaurant 
When: Lunch time today

Ellie: (Points to the painting of Jimi Hendrix on the wall) WHO’S THAT?
Me: Jimi Hendrix. Famous singer. He died a long time ago.
Ellie: I think he’s in Heaven. Do you think he’s in Heaven?
Me: I hope so. I think he had a rough life.
Ellie: Yeah he’s in heaven because it’s for me, it’s purple and God knows that’s my favorite color.
Me: (Holding her steady on potty) Ellie I don’t always follow what you’re talking about but it’s always beautiful.
Ellie: Yeah, I think so too.

Her big thing lately is, ‘Did God make that?’ As in, “Did God make that scary black bird with bad eyes?” (Crows).
“Yes. Everything has a purpose, even the things we think are kind of scary. God made them too.”
“Did God make this dress?”
“No, man made that.”
“Did God make Benji?”
“Yes.”
“Did God make Toby?”
“Yes.”
“Did God make…the trampoline?”
“NO!” Wiping a massive poop form a squirming, flailing, screaming 20 month old while your 4 year old is trying out philosophy is really, really, really HARD TO DO.

Enter guilt. 

Hear me sigh, from the bottom of my toes as I finally tape shut his diaper and let him go. (No. Clothes are for overachievers. He’s got a diaper on he’s fine).

“Ok Ellie, basically it’s like this. Everything alive, everything beautiful or scary or awesome, God made. Everything else, everything not alive, we did.”
“Oh.”
Silence from Ellie then squeals of laughter as I catch Benji mid-jump on Toby’s back.
“So, did God make this blanket?”

Cue me, knocking my head against the nearest wall and wondering how strong to mix my dinner time ‘Mommy-juice.”
Strong. Really strong.

#gratefulformychaos

#perfectlivesareboring

#lovemycrazymakers

#dotheystillmakestraightjackets?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Gaslighter


I am here watching the world and participating from time to time when the diapers are dry and the tantrums are only simmering and I have to say…what. the. heck people!? What is going on out there? 

As a person who has been through an abusive relationship in the past (Thank you, D) I have to tell you America (Canada this doesn’t concern you) Donald Trump is abusing us. We are in an abusive relationship with a gaslighter.

Ok this is a new term for me too, I just learned it about a month ago but basically it means someone is lying in a psychological attempt to manipulate you. To make you think you’re going crazy, because more important than your sanity is THEIR…whatever. Status, reputation, freedom, ability to cheat on you uninhibited, etc.

From Psychology Today:

"Gaslighting is a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and ultimately lose her or his own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. ... Gaslighting can occur in personal relationships, at the workplace, or over an entire society."

From Wikipedia:
"Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity."

When Donald Trump said he didn’t think Russia was behind the hacking in the 2016 elections while in Russia, and then 24 hours later back on US soil was like, no, I just forgot to add ’n’t’ to the word would. I didn’t mean why it ‘WOULD’ be Russia, I mean, why WOULDN’T it be Russia. See? Case closed.

He’s lying. 

He’s lying and he’s obfuscating and he’s gaslighting an entire country. America, you are NOT going crazy. He’s lying. And although you may still love him, love his maverick style and his immovable stance on what he thinks is right no matter the consequences, this is an abusive relationship. One where he does what he wants when he wants, then lies about it to keep us in our place. Lies bold-faced. Lies while he’s looking us in the eye. This isn’t ok. This is evidence of a sociopath.

Think of the kids America, and leave this person to lie (or hopefully not) to someone else while you start living a lie-free life. One where you don’t feel like you’re either going crazy or you aren’t sure what reality/truth really is anymore.

“We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders where they’re caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more.” Barak Obama.

I just don’t know what to say guys - nothing else seems to matter quite so much as shaking someone awake out of this unhealthy relationship. (Or any other, more personal ones).

I love you, stay safe, and you deserve someone who thinks you’re too important, too smart, too wonderful to ever lie to. At least, about important things. PLEASE lie to me and tell me I look good in those white skinny jeans ok?


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Living A Thousand Lives, or Chocolate Brain-Food, or Kundalini Says What?


Amazon Prime Day Tomorrow! No they didn't pay me for that. I'm just excited.

Also, I fell asleep reading to Ellie tonight. We read ‘A Moose’s Very Canadian Christmas’ and she asked me to stay for thirteen minutes. I stayed for THIRTY minutes because I fell asleep around the seven minute mark.

I worked at the studio today but everyone was home watching Soccer (or 'Football') and/or Tennis so it was sloooow.

Then I rushed home so Bill could mow the lawn and he wasn’t home. Then I started eating an ice cream bar because, hey, I was alone in my own house and that NEVER HAPPENS. 

I had four bites and I heard the garage door go up. I shouldn’t have spent the first 17 minutes running around with my hands flapping in the air singing giddily “I AM ALOONNEEEE, WHEEEEE!”

Then I shouldn’t have spent the next 12 minutes going from the freezer to the fridge to the pantry trying to decide which unhealthy treat I wanted to indulge in by myself. Chips? Chocolate? Ice cream? What treat would give me the most YES bang for my ‘I get to eat alone’ buck?

Croatia lost. Serena lost. And my friend Lorna left to go back to Canada Saturday so there’s that. Kind of a crummy weekend, eh?

But I’m reading a new book. (Success and the Spirit if you must know.) I might be doing an intro to Kundalini yoga workshop in the fall and I am SO EXCITED! I bought three new books. One is coming allll the way from Russia. Why it’s only in print in Russia mystifies me also. It isn’t here yet. Will it smell like Russia? What does that smell like? Fur and vodka? 

But the book I’m reading now (Printed in New Mexico…much closer) has some printed lectures from Yogi Bhajan and some history about Kundalini yoga and where it came from. (Indian dude named Guru Nanak in Northern India/Pakistan, about five hundred years ago). If you must know.

He was a pretty revolutionary little guy for the time. Saying women should be educated alongside the men and your caste shouldn’t limit you from searching for happiness in whatever job you find it in. Bold. Scary stuff, eh? Also that it doesn’t matter what religion you identify with, you deserve respect, dignity, and help if you need it. 

Clearly I identify strongly with this. I’ve met kind, charitable, Muslims, Jews, Christians and Sikh’s. Each sincere in their faith, each earnestly seeking closer communion with God, and striving to be the person God wants them to be. Is it a little scary talking to someone about their faith when it is completely new territory for you? Yeah. Sure. Of course. Is it also interesting, humbling, and right? Yep.

Anyway, I've gathered two main ideas I am sharing below, filtered through my own soppy brain. Sorry. Time is short, gotta speed this up:

1) God wants you to be happy. Life is not set up for us to suffer.

2) Most people live (to varying degrees) to impress other people. What if you focused on impressing yourself? (Ba ba baaaaaa)

These two are direct quotes from his lectures:

“Life is demanding. Don’t drift. Be something.”

“To be human is to be successful, and to be successful requires that you share and uplift others.”

Eh!? Anyone out there make T-shirts? I need these on a T-shirt. Maybe just the first one. I don’t want people stopping and staring at me long enough to read the second one.

The second chapter is called ‘The Purpose Of Life’. I know. Doesn’t that seem like a final chapter kind of thing? Or a first chapter kind of topic? H-E-A-V-Y.

Luckily for me Lorna left me some books to drop off at the library bookstore for her. Lots of smutty romances, and YA fairy stories so I can alternate between this and ‘Sara - part human, part pixie, ALL in love with the rogue knight from the Under-Realms.’

Right? Momma needs chocolate ice cream for the brain too.

Oh and the kids are fine. Benji’s cutting his two year molars and Ellie is feeling anxious about it.

Toby’s back is sore but he’s doing fine as long as I can keep away the mini demolition man (Benji) from leaping gleefully on his back and scrunching his fur painfully in his tiny, tiny fist.

Some bumps, some bruises and scrapes but everyone is alive and growing taller by the second. Anyway, gotta go. I’ve got a stack of yoga poses to investigate and another fairy-vampire romance to read.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” George R.R.Martin.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Friendship eh? Or, Why Is Everyone Leaving Me!? Or, Is It Too Late To Join The FBI?


I’ve got a sink full of dirty dishes and a basket overflowing with clean clothes to put away. There’s (always) toys to pick up and the cupboards are a cluttered mess only one stage shy of total and utter chaos.

But I am sitting here in the near-dark, only the steady glow of my laptop and the flickering flames from my new candle (Havana Nights!) and I am happily typing.

A hot mug of ‘Slumber Nights’ tea, headphones in, listening to Mozart Symphony No.8 in D major and all is right with the world. All is right with my messy, messy world. Oh and I’ve got toothpaste in my hair from Ellie. Yippie, mom-life.

I just finished reading the novel ‘The Crooked Staircase’ by my favorite author Dean Koontz, which is the third installment of his Jane Hawk series and I read it in less than 2 days. 

Because…Jane is my hero. Rogue FBI agent, pianist, mom, and all around bad-guys worst nightmare. Love. It. 

I don’t have the mental fortitude to research a book like that let alone come up with all the twists and turns it takes to keep a generation like mine interested for more than three nanoseconds but I am very happy Mr Koontz does/is.

I read the book on the drive to Houston for my ‘birthday stay-cation’ and I read it at the pool, then I read it after the kids went to bed, then before they woke up, then all the way back.

Is it too late to join the FBI? Then go rogue and kick butt from here to Albuquerque? 

Ah but what I REALLY want to do is just read about it, curled up in my comfy chair with a hot cup of tea even though its 95F degrees outside. Is there anything better than a really good book? One that makes you laugh, and cry, and want to be a better person? One that takes you away from the mundane into a world that sparkles, terrifies, and enlightens?

I have good reason to want to escape into a book lately so it was perfect timing. Some family friends have moved to India this week, and I’m losing another Canadian friend back to the wilds of Toronto next week. People are flying the coop left and right.

A lot of change this season for me and my family. Bill’s job will be changing soon. Benji is starting a Mommies Day out program, and other imperfect situations I will be happy to talk about once I’ve resolved them.

But I’m practicing my three thousand year old ‘Here-Now’ philosophy and my two-thousand year old ‘Be-Still’ (and know that I am God) advice. 

I’m not waiting for things to be perfect to enjoy my life right now. I’m not waiting for someone to rescue me from boredom, or drama, or whatever is chewing at my peace of mind at the moment. 

I actively look for the joy. If I can’t find joy I look for peace. If I can’t find peace I look out my window at my Willow tree, tall and droopy and beautiful and I am reminded of the fragile beauty I am immersed in every day. 

No matter what is happening there is something that reminds me the world is not bent to darkness but to light, not to grief eternal but soothing hours of loneliness broken by bright friendships, kind souls who journey with us for a long time, or a short time. Life isn’t perfect, but it sure is beautiful, and I’m grateful for the time I did have (and maybe will again) with friends new and old.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust.

And in these divisive times, a quote from good ‘ole Tommy-boy:

“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. Thomas Jefferson.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

You Are The Boss. Really. I know. I'm Scared Too. Not for you, for me. I'm sure you'll do fine.


First, HAPPY CANADA DAY you crazy timbit-eating, toque-wearing, beer-swilling-God fearing-moose-respecting people you! I miss you, I miss PEI in the summer and Parlee Beach in Shediac on a lazy summer Sunday afternoon. 

I miss shopping at Masstown market and stopping in Aulac at the Big Stop for lunch. I miss hiking in Fundy and biking next to the Petitcodiac River. I miss beavertails and Canada Day cake at the Royal Bank. Happy 150 years guys!

So back to reality right now, we found out last week that my life isn’t perfect. Was anyone shocked? Was anyone surprised? Did anyone wonder if that means their own imperfect life is more or less on par with everyone else’s imperfect life? (It is).

Did you ever wonder what you would do if you got everything, I mean absolutely everything you ever wanted? Your kids never have a tantrum. The chocolate bar you hide in the bathroom pantry never runs out. (Is it just me that does that?) Your husband always 100% adores you. Your dog never wants outside JUST when you sit down for the first time all day.

Your bank account always holds the exact right amount of zero’s after it. You vacation where you want. You have dinner dates with fascinating people every week. Your job is fulfilling and just the right amount of challenging. You’re the boss of your entire life, you decide when, and where, and why.

And it’s true, isn’t it?

Let’s take a minute to let that sink in. You. Are. The Boss.

I’m taking that moment too. I’m the boss of my life. Doesn’t it feel…exhilarating? Terrifying? It’s juicy. It’s one of those abstract concepts that when you really bite into it you feel…everything. 

Like a delicious juicy orange zinging with orangey flavor, and the juice dribbles down your chin and you rush to get a napkin before it drips on the floor you just scrubbed and, oh, it’s SO GOOD.  Realizing I am the boss of my own life makes me feel juicy.  Overwhelmed, joyful, amazed, incredulous, terrified and at peace all at once. It’s like a roller coaster for my heart. 

Wheeeeee!

We go UP - I fall in love and get married and we have kids and we’re a FAMILY. JOY!

We go DOWN - he isn’t perfect. I’m not perfect. The kids seem to exist only to point out my many (up to now) ignored flaws in my own personality.

Choice time.

Do I fall back on the old modes of parenting and…wifeing? That’s a new word I just made up. Wifeing. Those worked for my parents. I turned out more or less ok.

Or can I take the fact that my mom was aware enough to know that HER mom didn’t treat her how she wanted to be treated as a child. She wanted more love. So she gave me (and my brother) more love. Simple. Beautiful.  

Because Mom remembered, and was aware, and strived to do better than her mom (A wonderful, sweet, God-fearing, lovely woman. With flaws like us all who didn’t get what SHE needed when she was a child) and so I am making a choice to listen to my own heart, and try to do better too.

Some people may look at my life and see success. (Snapshot - an employed husband, two healthy, sweet kids). Some see failure. (She doesn’t WORK? What does she do? What is she contributing to society? To her own retirement savings?)

But I’m learning that what matters most is what I see. Two flawed people with the same goal. A happy, healthy family. A life lived with purpose. With meaning. With striving.

At the end of the day I want my own children to be whole, and resilient, and never, ever, not for one moment, wonder if anything they do would ever make me not love them so much it could crush the whole planet.

I don’t have a quote today, I have an injunction. A command. A challenge. Go love your kids so much you crush the planet. Then move on to anyone else in your orbit. Live your best life. Why?

Because...YOU'RE THE BOSS, LADY! (and man, to that one guy who reads this blog). You Are The Boss. Scary, isn't it?



Sunday, June 24, 2018

Feeling Salubrious and Seriously Sharing Struggles


I’m feeling very salubrious today. That’s right. I’m feeling healthful. I’m promoting health. That is my GRE word for the day. Now YOU know too. You’re welcome. 

I woke up this morning and mediated for 30 seconds before Benji grabbed his dad’s electric razor and ran giggling into the bedroom. 

I had blueberries and cheerios for breakfast. I drank all my water and had tea instead of my favorite super-grande soy latte.

I did my math homework AND started on new short story. Well, I wrote down the word count and the deadline. Hey, that’s starting!

I did not actually work out but I re-arranged furniture and mopped up an apple juice spill. That counts, right?

I think the trick to being happy is low expectations coupled with a rich fantasy life.

So far this month I have read 4, FOUR self-help books, all of whom disagree with that. The latest is Women, Food, and God. An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, by Geneen Roth. Every woman I know should read this book. Seriously. So. Good.

Self-help books are my secret obsession. Don’t tell anyone ok? It’s kind of embarrassing. 

Speaking of self-help, I have a friend/neighbor mom who just posted some heart-felt encouragement on her facebook about struggling with hard times. 

Thank you Jessica! 

If more people shared their struggles we’d all be healthier. We’d finally realize there is no ‘there’ to get to. No perfect utopia of a future we think someone else has now. I’m thinking of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade.

And there is resiliency in community. In sharing openly and honestly how we’re getting through our own struggles. In my friend Jessica’s case the untimely death of her father, from cancer, which is the hardest way to go. On everyone.

There are often traumatic memories stored in these cases, and I’m thinking of my own parents as I write this. I survived, sure, but I don’t have to remember my daughter at death’s door. I can think of a few traumatic memories but that’s not suffering. Not really. 

True suffering is watching someone you love hurting and you can’t do anything to stop it. I breezed through chemo as a 16 year old. 

Now, when Ellie or Benji has a fever I completely fall apart. I’m a wreak until they're better. I can’t sleep, I don’t eat, and the flurry of prayers going around is enough to snow in God AND all the Angels.

Anyway. Between her and a high school friend (also named Jessica, weirdly) who has been sharing her struggles with divorce, and being a single mom, has inspired me to be more open and honest too.

Wait, Angela, isn’t your life PERFECT!? 

No. No it is not.

And that’s ok because life will never be perfect. As long as I can take a few moments every day, or at least every week to look over my life and improve where I can, tweak what I can, and be grateful for what I DO have, well, that’s a life worth living. And sharing, of course. 

“You can’t tell just by looking at someone what they are dealing with inside.” Danielle Rupp.

After all, we’ve got enough Judgey-Mcjudgersons and Envious Eve's around, what we need are a few more Huggy-Mchuggisons. Eh? So, hugs my friends, hugs.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Causing a Minor Domestic Ruckus and Connecting to Strangers.


 There is a cozy sort of feeling when you find literature or art that you connect to.  

A movie that moves you in surprising ways.  Right now for me, the movies ‘The Hours’ and  ‘A Wrinkle in Time!’

A book written by a stranger and yet they’ve described your own inner emotional landscape as if they were you. (‘A Tale for the Time-Being’ - Ruth Ozeki. ‘The Little Paris Bookshop’-Nina George. ‘The Alchemist!’-Paulo Coelho ‘Self-Reliance’-Ralph Waldo Emerson’)

A painting, a picture, something beautiful that makes you feel…human.  Or holy.  Or humble. (A watercolor painting of the words ‘Be Still’ by my artist friend Laura).

If we’re tuned into those feelings we can surround ourselves by beauty, by love and memories or inspirations and we feel good when we come home.

But what if you share that space with a messy roommate?  Or an uncompromising spouse or partner?  What then?  

You do what I do.  

(I’m not saying Bill is messy - no, no I’M the messy one.  I am saying he’s uncompromising.)  It’s ok to admit he isn’t perfect right?  I make no claim to be. 

But I do love that feeling you get when you come home and as soon as you walk in the door your shoulders fall from your ears.  You breathe a sigh of relief and you can’t wait to get your comfy clothes on and get settled into your space because you’ve got it just the way you want it. It just makes you feel BLISSFUL to come home.

Maybe I’m the uncompromising one.  I have a vision for what I want my living space to look like.  It’s cozy, simple, fun. Sacred and special. Zen and Maritime. Canadian and American and Indian and Irish.  

Bill and I will never agree on what that ‘ahhh’ feeling feels like.  Mostly because Bill likes it how it is. He picked the furniture (or it was given to him) and it’s old but it works.  Why change that up?  Why spend money when you have perfectly good furniture already?

Yep. I get the logic. I do. Really. I just happen to disagree. Mostly because…I wasn’t the one who picked it? I didn’t have any input. It isn’t what I would have chosen. There is no compromise because it was all him, before I bounced on the scene with my Yoga this and my Zen that and my maritime-charm this.

Anyway. That’s what’s on my mind today. (How mad would be be, really, if I arranged a curb-side pick-up of all the crappy furniture I hate and just TOTALLY REPLACED it one day?)

It’s the rebel in me, it’s the fun in me but imagining the look on his face makes me want to giggle like an eight year old girl.

I just bought the new ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ movie because it was one of my all-time favorite books as a kid and I have to admit I cried when I watched it and I watched it three times the first day. Ellie’s like…"Moooom, PLEASE can we turn it off?"

No. Eat your mushy banana and be happy.

Anyway. I love that movie. It reminds me of a time when my potential was limitless. When my life hadn’t been laid down yet. And reminds me that it’s foolish to think it’s not still that way now. Life is a lot of things but predictable? Unchanging? Boring? That it is not.

So what if I'm not a super-star best selling author? So what if I'm not flying around outer space counseling aliens and tesseracting to new worlds?

I’m in Texas. That’s like a new planet to me. And I have two beautiful, amazing babies. And two kids in Moncton that aren’t mine but who I love as if they were. (Hi Kait! Hi Dylan!) 

My old babysitter just had twins and I get to buy cute preemie outfits and visit TEENY babies and then leave and go have a latte by myself...

I’m so blessed!

I’m not counseling aliens yet but maybe they can be ‘aliens’ to the US like me until I meet some real, non-earth ‘aliens’. And, probably I should get my own emotional house in order before I can try to help others clean out theirs.

After all,  I’m on the edge of flirting with divorce by totally making the house MINE. (AKA beautiful, simple, playful and COZY).  AKA emptying the house as it is and completely redoing it. At his expense.  

What FUN!

Ok you guys go have fun today too, eh?  I mean, what’s the point of life if you’re not causing a ruckus?

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.”

-Theodore Roosevelt 

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” 

- J.D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye