Friday, 25 October 2013

One day at a time.. the journey to ME!

I have come to a point in my life where I’m coming to some harsh realizations.  I often joke about it and tell friends and family that I’m getting bitchy in my old age, but when it comes right down to it, this one has been brewing for quite a while..

One of the biggest items on that list if the fact that I am never going to have enough time to accomplish everything I want to do in my lifetime. 

Another is that no matter how hard you try, and how much you accomplish that there will always be some jerk at the ready to pee in your cornflakes and give you all the reasons that you shouldn’t have done it, didn’t do it right, didn’t do it as well as someone else -  so many unhappy people in our midst who are so un-happy themselves that it is not in them to see anyone else excel or succeed. 

I find myself dwelling a lot lately on what I vaguely term as “time management” and that perhaps I need some kind of course or training because I must have missed a key note somewhere..  but then upon careful observation I start to realize that it isn’t as much about managing time more wisely, but more an issue of portion control.  Leave it to the fat girl to make a diet reference, but it makes sense. 

As days go by I seem to pile more and more on my plate, and as we get to brainstorming among creative minds that plate begins to runneth over.  Frustration builds and before too long I’m looking at the growing pile with a bit more of a scrutiny and it comes to me.  The long ago voice of an instructor from a course I took years ago --  Ed --  one of the sweetest and most gentle spirits I have ever met.  He’d suggested I read a book called “When I say no, I feel guilty” and I remember wondering what that had to do with anything..  so he gave a bit of a Coles notes version.

I never did read the book, but my conversations with him stick firm in my mind and I recall how he reached out to me and tried to make a difference.  He hit on a key point that while hard to accept was also hard to ignore.  My plate was full because *I* had allowed it to be filled.  Often, I was the one filling up the plate. Items falling off seemed to just make more room to pile more on.  Right?  Uh yeah, that’s it!

Just like I didn’t become a packrat in a day, untangling the plate isn’t going to happen immediately either, it is a process.   I am finding however that lately my lists seem to play together – that is – that several jobs for different groups seem to run in the same circles and the duplicity there affords me a little unexpected wiggle room. 

My calendar, and my notebook have become invaluable and I’ve started  playing with Onenote.   It’s great for making lists, leaving jot notes.  You can even categorize them for different topics or tasks. 

The events of the last year have given much opportunity to re-evaluate and I find myself being more and more ruthless when it comes to purging and reclaiming my life in an effort to save what's left of my poor addled and often lonely blond brain cell. 

I don’t always make it to the end of my list on any given day, but at least I can tell you with absolute certainty that I started out with 10 things, someone else added 6 more and by the end of the day I’d completed 8 and of those how many of those were on my original list. 

It’s not much but its progress, and you know what?  I’ll take it! 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Happy Birthday to Brother Bear!

How can it be that this sweet little boy is 23 today?  

This photo was cropped from a photo taken in August 1996 as James was leaving home to help his friend and colleague Chris move to Vancouver.  

It is also the very first photo of the kids that I was ever given, not long before I got to meet them the very first time.  

If you'd have told me then, that 17 years later, I'd have many years behind me of being a wife, custodial step-parent and zookeeper,  I'd have probably laughed at the thought.  There was no part of the scenario that I'd imagined for myself.  I never dreamed I'd leave the lower mainland area to go ANYwhere else.. much less across the country.. 

Though as it seems to go in life, the best things always seem to come to me when I'm not looking for them, and often when I'm not expecting them. At least over the years I've gotten better at recognizing these blessings when they present themselves.  

Justin was just 5 years old in this picture.  I was out visiting in September that year, and we were all talking about his upcoming 6th birthday.  I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he thought for a few moments before whispering in my ear that he wanted me to come to his birthday party.  

I'd never been declared a birthday gift before, but we managed to make it happen.  There were some big happy smiles waiting for me that day.  I know *I* won't ever forget them.  

This is another favourite photo of the 3 little bears..
  Can you tell they were enjoying a little chocolate? 

Here's a photo of our youngest, and our eldest taken a couple of months ago..
Time sure flies.. 


Today, as you celebrate your 23rd trip around the sun, your father is telling the story of the salad tongs and the day of your birth.  Caelly has just exclaimed "OMG Justin is 23 today!" and is bugging Dad to see if he feels old yet.  Caryn is out in Brockville somewhere preparing to make you an uncle.  

As for me, I'm right here at home reminding you that no matter how far away from home you are, or just how old you get, that you always have a home to come home to, and loving arms to hug you.  

Back then your favourite hobbies were reading and computer games, you loved playing with Lego (or at least spreading it all over the floor for Daddy to walk on - LOL) ..  though many things in our world have changed - your hobbies remained fairly consistent. 

You may be grown now, but you will ALWAYS be our little boy, and your sisters' "brother bear."  Funny how as I type that I am reminded of the girls' and their "Mary-Kate and Ashley phase" and Caryn running around the house singing brother for sale..  some days I'd wonder how you guys all managed to survive without killing one another..   

As your stepmom -- Teemy or Teemy-Mommy as you named me way back when..  I have had the pleasure of sharing in the lives of not one, but 3 little bears who over the years have brought me to laughter and tears - sometimes all at the same time. They say that parents teach their children,  but I have learned much from you.  

On this day and every day.. I love you! 
but especially today.. your birthday.. 

Sending you an abundance of love and hugs along with my every wish that this year be the best one yet.  

You have had many trials and lessons thrown at you this year.  You've made it through the worst, the best is yet to come.  
Just hang in there babe. 

And now for a little less mushy and serious...  XO

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

What's the good word folks?

I've always considered myself to be a pretty up-beat person.  "Happy-go-lucky" my Dad always called it,  and he was always proud to boast that I'd gotten that from him..   along with his "gift of the gab".. another Daddyism that generally meant that I was a people person and didn't have any problem blending into a group and chatting with just about anybody.

I'd made an off-handed comment the other day in conversation about how there's been way too much on my plate lately,  and that I was about ready to tip my head back in Charlie Brown fashion and scream to the heavens about being granted a freakin' break already ~ this in a conversation with an acquaintance who is only semi-aware of the craziness that has been my life over this past year.  

To be honest very few know anything about it any of it, and even less than that have the whole picture ~ though some attention is inevitable, no good can come from dwelling there for long.  I find myself quoting the serenity prayer ~ a little wisdom from another very special Dad in my life and thanking my lucky stars that after everything life has thrown at me in the last 20 years that I'm still here to laugh about it, to cry about it and well as the song says..  "I'm just glad to be here!" ..  that about sums up my philosophy lately. 

In my defense, I hadn't gone into detail, nor was I initiating any kind of pity party, it was my way of explaining away some of the crazy that has been "Life in General", and my best attempt at an indication of why some things may have slid off the plate here and there..   Strangely enough I hadn't been talking about one life event or another, or the  myriad of things on my plate -- but rather that I was struggling to get back on top of everything on my personal plate to my own satisfaction. 

I was completely horrified when the person I was speaking with proceeded to respond telling me that this was life and that the feeling might never pass, going on to tell me that this is a mental state I chose...   and closed the statement sounding much like what one might find on the inside of a Hallmark fortune cookie, if they made them.  Platitudes of finding the positive and only talking about those. 

I have to admit my brain stalled just a wee bit on that first statement.  I didn't CHOOSE any of this ~ who would? That's CRAZY! 

I can hear a close friend of mine at this point speaking up with something about a long walk and a short dock.. which makes me smile..  but more to the point..  this whole thing leaves me wondering..    

I have always been a cheerleader on finding the positive aspects of most everything.  In Cancer I found many joys though it stuns people when I mention them.. the things are there when you look at them..  

I think the part that gets me most is that I considered this person to be a positive force in my life, and while my comment alluded to some of the crazy that's gone on it certainly didn't delve into anything and my intent was not to get into a big conversation about it.  Her curt response and dismissal of my feelings just left me feeling like I'd been so completely wrong about her.  Could I really have been so horribly wrong?

While I am a firm advocate of finding the positives in life - but when is it appropriate as to point them out?  

I find myself of a conversation I had with a good friend recently about having lost her husband while he was on a fishing trip and how well meaning friends were telling her to get over it and get on with her life.  

Another friend was lamenting his single-dom, and reminiscing about a recent relationship and had a friend tell him that the acceptable grief period had passed and that he should move on. 

It really leaves me wondering how many otherwise intelligent people, are out there lavishing platitudes and judgement on their grieving, hurting, and sometimes just plain overwhelmed friends ~ for what?  

Who decided that YOU get to set the bar on how long is too long, and how long is "acceptable"?  What is trivial and what is worthy of mention?   

Is the intent truly to demean the other person?  Or did you simply not want to hear what they had to say?  There are far better ways to redirect a subject or kindly let a so-called friend or colleague that these are NOT the ears they're looking for..  

Just my view from the zoo...