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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Darn Tootin!

I'm having one of those weeks - you know the ones when your washer breaks on Friday and your hot water boiler breaks on Saturday?

True.  This really happened.  Before Christmas our shower leaked too.  And our brand new vehicle's exhaust pipe got bent - somehow?  We've managed to fix most of it... none of it was a big deal.  I still have a hole in my family room ceiling but who notices that?  Oh and our air exchanger is also working improperly.... Terry is trying to fix it as I type.  Our house is only three years old... thankfully, I'm not in a place in my life to fret.  It got me thinking about how much easier it is to deal with 'life' when you have it in perspective.

So I had no problem dealing with the washer and hot water boiler breaks... of course, Terry fixed them, not me.  But my week didn't end there.  

We had snow on Saturday and I shoveled the driveway.  I have chronic neck and back issues so shoveling, although I love to be out in the snow especially after a big fall, is not really good for me.  I made a plan.  After our supper at International Flavors (yum!) I was heading to my big whirlpool tub that I have yet to use since we moved into our house... and filling it with almost too hot water, bubbles, and epsom salts... taking a book with me and getting some om.  I practically ran upstairs when we got home and filled the tub while I put the baby to bed.  My body ached from a massage the previous day too, so gawd, this was going to be soooo goooood.

Upon tub filling, candle lighting, and baby cooperating I waded my hand in the water to make sure it wasn't too hot.  Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!  Sweet lord, it was freezing!  And that was the beginning of the hot water boiler fun.  So much for my relaxing bath.  Off to bed I went, not quite unscathed but coping fine... to be woken seven or eight times until coffee time the next morning.

Yesterday, the sun was shining.  I'm pretty sure I had only three or four wakes the previous  night, so a run was in order.  If you have or are around babies, you know how long it took me to get out of the house.  By the time I got to the lake (just a short 4k run for us that day) I already had a workout.  Then I had to fit a too small weather cover over the running stroller, set up the stroller snuggli thing (it was freezing out!) and put the baby's snowsuit on in the car (because the car seat is getting too small and she doesn't fit in it with her snowsuit on!).  Phew!  By the time I had her in the stroller, nice and comfy, I had my second workout.  Time to run.... 

As you can imagine... that didn't work out so well either.  The trail was icy and bumpy and I was sliding all over the place.  I walked about half of the time but felt good that I was out there... no other mamas or papas were there with strollers (that's because they were smarter than me of course).  As I turned at the top of the lake the bitter wind hit me and my stroller flinging the g.d.  weather protector into my face.  So much for wind protection for the babe... and so the struggle against the wind began for the next 20 or so minutes.  My nose ran more than my feet.  My eyes watered.  And my poor baby's breath was taken away more than once.  I stopped numerous times to check her... tried walking backwards but the ice wasn't cooperating.  Finally we turned at the other end of the lake and the wind hit our backs..... ommmmmmm.  A nice easy run on the bare pavement to end our little adventure.  

I felt like crap throughout nearly the entire run/walk to be honest.  I was a terrible mother to bring my child into this situation.  I was not fit enough to not be able to run against the wind on the icy trail with a stroller and a weather protector in my face.  I was not enlightened enough to not get angry at the wind and call it names.  Then, a man stopped and chatted about how wonderful it was to see us outside that day.  He said he 'admired' me. That's all I needed!  Little ego boost!  And I felt like I accomplished something.  Got through the tough stuff (with a little external assistance) and there it is... ommmmm.

My baby's last month or two has been like my week.  She's had sleepless nights, upset belly, painful gums. gas (oh my how does a tiny little thing get so much gas?)... and this evening I felt it!  A tooth has broken the skin!  All that toughness (still another few nights to go I expect) and then ommmmm.  She'll be able to sleep better (so will Mommy and Daddy) and there will be no more pain... but a white pearly tooth..... to nip mommy with.  Darn tootin!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Love Is In The Air

This photo was taken at my friend's wedding about 2 1/2 years ago.  We'd recently met, but deep down, Terry and I knew we would be together for a long time.  Love was in the air that night.  And it still is.

Yesterday we made decisions for our wedding.  We have gone through the stages of courting and falling in love and living together and being faced with personal challenges and supporting each other and traveling overseas and having a baby together and buying a house together and making decisions together.  It's been a fantastic time, frankly.

I didn't really think I'd be formally married in this lifetime.  I've been in several relationships that were marriage material according to society's standards.  There was a time I didn't really believe in marriage.  My parents have been married for almost 45 years, so, no, I'm not blaming it on growing up with divorced parents.  I simply felt once you signed those papers, it all went downhill.  I didn't want to lose my independence.  I wanted my individuality.  I didn't want to lose full control of my life.  All just fears.... not real unless I make them real.

So.  I fell in real love.  And now I believe in marriage as a way to demonstrate my commitment to this person.  To make a solid intention to support this person in difficult times.  To make every effort to work through challenges.  To grow and help grow.  To communicate.  To enjoy what life brings our way.  To be equal.  To love.

I am still independent - probably interdependent is a better word though.  I am still an individual - I feel more like myself than ever before.  And I know I control every aspect of my life.

This is not to say I don't believe in divorce.  People get married when they are unaware of what love is really about.  They may be unconscious beings.  They may not put in the work required to maintain a relationship.  They may believe there are greener pastures elsewhere.  They may not be able to handle a difficult situation.  They may not love themselves enough.  All kinds of reasons for divorce. None of which I believe are right or wrong... they are what they are for the people involved.

I do not see the world in rose colored glasses.  I am well aware life is hard.  I know I make mistakes and have to face the consequences.  But I believe you create your happiness.  You make choices about how you think about something.  In happy times, that's pretty easy.  In tough times... well, there's a reason they call them tough.  I have the same number of tough times as everyone else.  I try to de-dramatize.  And being with Terry just makes it all easier - he provides strategic reminders to take a deep breath.

I feel that if you have true love inside yourself... and you have true love for others... and you respect your spouse... and you accept the things about him or her that are different from you... and you are both willing to work through the difficult times.... and you are good at laughing... and you respect yourself... then I think marriage can work.  A tall order.  But possible.  And probable.  And I'm going for it and have only intentions to be with Terry forever.

Terry and I love each other in the tough times.  He loves me when I've had no sleep and my hair is looking kinda witch-like and my eyes are surrounded by dark circles and bags and I'm cranky enough to only grunt for necessary communication.  He loves me when I rant.  He loves me when I make mistakes.  He loves me for me... even for the things he probably doesn't like.  Not a bad deal, I say.

Now, I believe marriage is a tool to support one another's personal, spiritual, and emotional growth.... with a lot of perks.

Namaste (this time to Terry)


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tick as Pea Soup

I can often be found 'parking' these days.  Now, parking doesn't have the same meaning as it did years ago.  Today, parking means I'm sitting in my car, reading, with a gorgeous view ahead of me, and a sleeping baby (also gorgeous) in the backseat.  I typically go to Middle Cove Beach or Signal Hill - both offering magnificent views of the ocean and the 'hill' also offering an amazing city view (it's one of the best places to watch the sunrise and the parking lot is blocked on a great day).  Yesterday, I chose the 'beach'.  The fog was tick (a.k.a. thick) as pea soup, so the view was limited.  But it's still magnificent.

Newfoundland's weather is well known for its many changes each day.  People don't come here for sunny skies, although you might get them.  Weather is a common topic of conversation... and unfortunately, many times a complaint.  It can go something like this...

A snowy day: "Some bad winter we're havin'."

A rainy day in the winter: "Some awful out.  But it's better than snow."

Yes... many people do not like snow here?!  Many do love it too... those that enjoy snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, etc.  I LOVE snow!

A rainy day in summer: "Not fit."

A sunny day in summer: "Some hot."

True.

You don't plan your visit to Newfoundland around the weather.  You don't plan special events around the weather.  And you don't choose to live here for the weather.  You are here for the people.  The amazing, lovely, unique, creative, inspiring, authentic people.  And the magical views (and excellent trails as mentioned in my last post).

On one of my 'beach outings' there was a guy strumming his guitar while also 'parking'.  He was playing somethin' fierce!  He looked like he was singing as loud as his vocal chords would allow.  He looked like he was writing music.  Creativity ooozed out of his little red car.  After a while, he took a break, walked the beach, had a smoke, and then got right back to business... making music.

This got me started on my quest for creativity in my life.  But like yesterday, I'm in a fog.  I'm making baby steps towards my professional future.  I'm reveling in being a mom and mommy.  I'm doing pretty good with health and fitness.  My love life rocks!  I've even been getting back to my yoga and meditation with the 21 day yoga challenge.  But I want to do something creative and I'm blocked (indeed, could use a bit of chakra balancing...).

Terry and I have a contest each Christmas... who can get the bestest cheapest gift?  We typically make something - he's seriously creative for an engineer.  This year, I had NO IDEA what to do.  It's like the cells in my brain that create are sleeping - some of the only cells these days!  And the walls in my new house are bare.  I want to create an awesome space with art and color (we have great wall colors - see earlier post, Here's Mud in Your Eye, regarding that).  I want to MAKE something... CREATE.  I know I'll be inspired at some point and I'll be like that guy making music in his car.  And it's kind of cool that I have a clean slate (a.k.a. bare walls) to start with.

I look forward to when the fog lifts.  Like all foggy days, though, I just have to surrender to it and enjoy what is.

Namaste (I'm talking to the fog)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Path Less Traveled

If you're looking for a place to travel, come to Newfoundland, Canada.  Last week, St. John's was listed as one of the top 11 most colorful cities according to The World Geography (www.theworldgeography.com).  We also have some of the best rated trails in the world.

The hiking and walking trails here vary from boardwalks to rugged coastline, from sparse bogs to thick forests. Exploring can continue for hours or days, whichever is your preference.  My favorite time to hike is the Fall, but as long as the trails are not too icy, I'll go all seasons, including winter.

You know when you're hiking, you come to a point where you have to decide which route to take, and it's always fun to explore.  Right now,  I'm at that place professionally.  I have several paths in front of me, and I'm not sure which one to take.  It's a great place to be... so many opportunities to choose from.  But each option will take work and has its benefits and drawbacks.

I want to live overseas again at some point.  My teen suggests doing this before the babe reaches Grade 4.  So working in an organization with international presence would be beneficial... not to mention my desire to do more international related projects, deal with people in different parts of the world, etc.  St. John's is definitely growing with respect to international presence, particularly in the oil and gas industry.  So I could direct my efforts there.  Terry works in that industry and we could both be marketable in the same places we travel to in the future.  That's the logical side of my brain thinking.

I want meaningful work.  No discussion there.  So I could work with not-for-profits, where much of my experience has been so far.  It's comfortable for sure.  But I want to grow.  I need to move forward.  I need to be challenged.  And, indeed, I know money isn't everything, but I do want a certain lifestyle.  Let's be honest, it takes a certain amount of money to do things.  I want to travel.  I want to snowboard.  I want to entertain my friends and family.  Indeed hiking costs nothing, but I want to hike in the middle of winter so I need good gear.  It takes money, and we all know that.  So working with a non-profit would need to provide me with a challenging role and my target income.

I want flexibility.  Yep.  I'm a Mommy again and that means my focus is right there.  My teen may be entering adulthood, but my babe will need me in the morning, noon, and night.  I've been in this place before, and flexibility has won over big leaps and bounds in my career in the past (although I did some amazing things in my career no doubt).  This time, I'm aiming for both.  So there's the option of consulting... using my past experiences and contacts made.  But am I ready for that?   And would that be good for my overseas goals?  And will I make the money I need for my desired lifestyle?

So Newfoundland may be a place less traveled.  And it's one in a million of the options when selecting a place to visit and experience.  I highly recommend it.  But I am not sure which path I recommend for myself - yet.  I've selected the path less traveled before - sometimes it was a success, sometimes not.  For now, I'm lucky to have this time to figure it out. I think I'll take my little one on a trail today to explore, revel in the beauty, and maybe get a step closer to wherever I'm going.

Namaste

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Magical Moments

Our Christmas season is almost over.  I like to celebrate right up to Old Christmas Day - January 6th.  Today is the last day for visitors.  School started this week for my oldest daughter.  Terry is back to work.  Terry's mom has returned to her home for the remainder of her treatments.  And Terry's nephew has arrived to begin a semester of school here (and stay with us).  Next week I'll start the baby's activities.  And I'm fleshing out my vision and goals for the next year.

But the season did not pass without magical moments.  And I mean put a tear in your eye (from laughing) magic.

My teen wanted to open gifts at Nanny's and Poppy's on Christmas morning.  In order to do that, we had to deliver the gifts by Christmas Eve.... there were children and, well, you know why.  After a beautiful evening at my brother's for Christmas Eve festivities, Terry,  my daughters, and I came home, put on our Christmas jammies, and watched a movie.  (We could not find our Christmas movies - still stored in some box - so we settled on The Breakfast Club.)  I fell asleep *surprise*.  At around 1:00 a.m. my daughter mentions something about gifts the next morning.... crap.  I forgot to deliver them!  So I'm cranky and tired and resisting going out in the cold to go to my parents' house.... but my teen has her heart set on all this.  So I go - with my teen.  I grumble my way out to the car with gifts packed in bags.  The air wakes me up.  Upon arrival, the lights are on, the door is unlocked, the furnace is going... but nobody is up.  We tiptoe into the living room, lay out the presents... and giggle.  And giggle.  And giggle.  We felt like true Santas.  We were trying to be quiet, and the more we tried, the louder we got.  As we left and started to drive out of the driveway, my Dad opened the door.... he'd heard voices and thought I was downstairs talking to myself!

At our third gift opening (yes, we had four in total... actually I think it was five!), we passed around family presents and all were surprised and delighted.  At the end of all the opening and thanks and ooo's and aahhhh's, I realized I hadn't received a present from my older brother.  I KNEW he and his partner would have given one to me since they always do and they'd given to everyone else.  So I figure... we're all family... I'll just mention it.

Me: "Kev, I know you had a gift for me... but I didn't open it."
Kevin and Janette in unison:  "What?!  We gave you that one of a kind, unique pottery plate and the woman who makes them donates all profits to a charity.  You opened it before dinner."
Me:  Doh!

Yep.  I'd forgotten alright.  Seriously.  What makes this more interesting is that on my 41st birthday, after opening my brother's gift, I mentioned lightly that I'm still waiting for my 40th birthday gift.  His response was, "I gave you $100 because you were moving to Singapore and didn't want anything to have to pack!"  He was right!  Indeed I'd forgotten a second present from him... not only forgotten, but was bold enough to ask where my present was!

Baby brain was with me all season.  I wondered where the stroller was and I'd just passed it in the porch.  I called my folks' to see when my brother and his family were leaving to return to Manitoba, and they'd left that morning.  I burnt almonds for the rice (had to throw them in the garbage).  I almost missed a dentist appointment.  I forgot many, many pieces of information.

Thankfully, my family is understanding and, frankly, their seasons did not go without some magical moments of their own:)  My mother put cheese in her scalloped potatoes!!!  She has NEVER put cheese in her scalloped potatoes.  My daughter and I do not eat cheese, and my mother often makes dishes that call for cheese without cheese if we're there for supper.  However, she insisted she's never made scalloped potatoes without cheese.  So I'm not sure what her excuse is, but I'm definitely blaming baby brain on my 'magical moments'.




Monday, January 2, 2012

Beginnings

The Christmas jumble was fantastic!  Terry's family members piled into our house for the holidays (in fact they are still here), and my family members arrived from away.  I've been having a terrific break, actually.  All the aunts and uncles want to take the baby.  I've hardly had to do anything except nurse her.  And I've hardly cleaned a dish, although we are certainly messing lots!  I've spent time with my niece and nephew, and am in love with them!  We started new traditions and integrated old ones.

As generations come into their own, they take on their parents' roles of preparing the dinners and hosting the parties.  It's normal.  The traditions change slightly.  New activities emerge.  Old ones sometimes disappear.  This year, we began a lot of new.

My older brother hosted Christmas Eve.  Different?  Yep.  Wonderful?  Yep.  Did my teen miss some of our old traditions?  Yep.

Christmas Day was my mom's (it's difficult to take anything away so this one remained hers for another year).  Different?  Yep!  We now have several dietary issues in the family so my mother had to prepare a plethora of dishes to satisfy everyone.  Given my younger brother and his family were staying at my parents, my soon-to-be mother-in-law was at our house not feeling 100%, and Terry's family arrived on Boxing Day and New Year's Eve, we had three gift openings (and one left!).

Both families gathered for a big street hockey game on the 27th on our street.  It couldn't have gone smoother.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of food.  A fantastical sunny day.

New Year's we all piled into our house again.  Again, lots of food... great conversations... and live music on our back step at midnight while watching many displays of fireworks around the city.  The guitar, mandolin, and accordion music continued until around 2:00 a.m. or later.  Was it a different new year's?  You bet.

And this is all detail.

Really, what we're doing is beginning.  Beginning a new family.  Beginning our next chapter.  Bringing our memories and learning to the new.  I will write my goals and accomplishments in my journal as I do every year.  But now, I'm thinking about this new beginning and how it is necessary to let go of the past in order to begin something new or to move forward.

I see older generations grasping onto the old... getting frustrated with new technologies or new ways of doing things.  My mom definitely doesn't want to let go of her role during Christmas (or any special occasion).  She has always provided the best and most nurturing environment to celebrate.  And letting go of that might seem she's giving up her role, I guess.

My oldest daughter wants Christmas morning to be like it was when she was six... sleeping at Nanny's and Poppy's... waking to turkey dinner smell in the air... feeling warm all snuggled in her bed while the cool night air hits her face.

My father wants to mummer.  Get the crowd together and go house to house for a rip roaring dance and party.

All these memories are beautiful.  And we are trying to incorporate them into our current celebrations.  But what makes us so afraid of new beginnings?  We hold on so hard to the past.  It keeps us comfortable.  We feel safe.  But we miss out if we can't bring new memories into our lives.

So I told my daughter who wants Christmas to stay the same - the new traditions will evolve and become favorites and the old ones will become good stories.  Eventually what is new will be old.  Our past year has been filled with new beginnings, though.  And it's nice to be able to bring some comfort into that.  That's just what we did and I believe it was a success!

Now, I just have to let my mom give up cooking Christmas dinner.... not sure that's gonna happen for a while yet!

I must go get some om while the babe is out with her aunts!

Happy 2012!  Here's to successfully blending old and new traditions and 2012 being full of love!