“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

― Albert Einstein

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


okay so my 39th birthday has come and gone. the days leading up to it were ...well, hard! i was emotional, anxious and felt miserable. i realized that this was definitely a mid-life crisis and acknowledged such. but i woke the morning of my birthday ready for this surprise adventure. i had a pretty good idea of what was coming, but that just made me more excited for the day!

i had such a good time that day. time for reflection. time with the kids. time to let go and let things unfold as they would. somewhere along this day something started to feel different. like the mid-life crisis turned to a mid-life awakening.

i realized how much my own expectations had been causing my funky mood. for me it's not others expectations and the fear of disappointing them that gets in my way. and it's not feeling less because i'm not keeping up with the Jones's that gets me down. it's my own made up ideas and ideals that cause me to "should" on myself. so coming up to the end of my 39th year and the beginning of the 40th, it wasn't the wrinkles or life's impermanence that was getting me into my tail spin, it was all this "should-ing". thoughts like, "by this age i should have my act more together", "i should have traveled more", "i should have myself more established." all of this i made up in my own head. And then you know what follows all this "should-ing" ... yup, blaming, "why me" and wishing.

so i let it all go! snap! just like that. i decided to just let life unfold like i did the day of my birthday. now, we did set out with a desire and an intention. and we did have a plan, which changed throughout the day, which required flexibility, spontaneity and letting go of artificial timelines. and the day required us to slow down appreciate things along the way, keep in mind the desire and intention we set out with and be patient. and most of all i let go of all expectations and just loved and laughed all along the way. using this approach there was no way to fail or fall short, just set out on a path and see how it unfolds. it's interesting and so much more enjoyable!

i'm still going to keep on going with my orginal intention of doing 39 new things. and now that i'm in my 40th year of life there are lots of things i plan to do this year to really celebrate and enjoy this landmark year! embrace it, savor it and love every minute of it! i have some fun things i'd like to try and i'm curious as ever to see how it will all pan out!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

21- caliper lake and a float plane (39th Birthday)

hard to believe living where i live that i've never been in a float plane, but it's true. not because i don't like small planes, not because i haven't known people who've owned them... really it's hard to explain. if you don't have a reason to go, money to go, or someone who will graciously invite you for a ride it just doesn't happen. i guess because the gas is costly. or maybe because so many people would ask... but it's always seemed like something "other" people did, like you had to be invited into the club.

Jer arranged the whole thing as a surprise on my birthday, apparently not so unattainable after all!

Jer figured if we were going to pay someone, we may as well pay family, so initially he asked my cousin Mike. Mike doesn't really do scenic rides and he was really busy with orders for his business that day, so he recommended we go to Northwest Flying Inc. just down the road from Mike's place in Nestor Falls. I always like going to Nestor Falls ... there is so much family history there and it is so beautiful.

Before we went to for the ride we went to Caliper Lake Provincial Park. I have driven by so many times, always saying "someday, we'll make time to stop." I am told we have stopped there when we were kids but i have no memory of that - so it kind of counts as a first.

though there was a wind, it was still warm and sunny. we had the whole beach, playground and everything all to ourselves. i was grateful because i didn't want to blind anyone with the reflection of the sun off my winter white nordic skin! the fairness of my skin is always shocking in the spring! :-) i am trying to follow through on this 30 day meditation challenge - so first i sat on a picnic table, but quickly moved into the sand... first time i have practiced outside. i learned i need to do it alone ... :-) I did go for my first lake swim... and on my birthday too!

After the beach we went back for the ride. The wait was worth it. To see from above the land and the lakes that i have zipped over and by all of these years was an amazing new perspective. Things i never knew were there, seeing the lake and river i have paddled a canoe down, seeing the expanse of the area of Lake of the Woods, so full of islands and inlets that it was hard to realize that it was all one lake and not dozens of separate ones like on the other side of the highway. i never knew Crow Lake was so huge. during the flight i thought of my mom and dad - they both worked in Nestor Falls when they were young. i thought of my grandfathers and their guiding on the lake. and i thought about my uncles and aunts who have worked and lived there. The man who owned Northwest Flying Inc, said he knew Keith and Ronnie, and Alfred of course... so I thought of all of them. Flying over Crow Lake I thought of Keith and his smile - his jovial spirit and ready smile set him apart from most people i've met.

my favourite part of the flight was the take off - the sound of the engines pulling us up and away from the earth and feeling the amazement of over coming the law of gravity. the great thing was we took off down this narrowish channel, with rocks and trees on either side. as we climbed over the tree tops it was like peeking over a fence into a totally new perspective of lush green forests. then as we got higher to see more and more water - blue and green and aqua, sometimes glistening and sometimes black. Seeing the world from that perspective really does change things - and maybe it was only for that flight, but for those moments i left my cares behind me.

ps - i was really glad we didn't crash! all of us really enjoyed our first float plane ride. oh, and the landing was as smooth as any landing I have ever felt!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Number 20 - a mural

At work I'm involved with painting a wall mural! I've painted walls before ... but with a roller, not a paint brush! It is so much fun. I wish I could take people through the process ... but it only makes sense if you see it. I know I didn't really get it until we did it. Now i want to paint a mural in every room of my house -- plain walls seem so drab to me!

So if you have a chance stop by the Kenora Recreation Centre, go to the first floor and walk the hallway to the New Horizon's Senior's Centre and then you will see what I mean.

When it's all done, I'll post some photos of it!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Number 19 - a duet

Now I have done a lot of singing in my life - I sing to myself all the time actually. In the car and in the shower, at church, at work, at play ... But it's not very often that I get asked to "perform" for a paying audience. So, I was absolutely honoured and humbled to be asked to sing a duet at the G-Clef Choir and Music Men's Spring Show! I love singing duets, I love the richness and the depth of the harmony. The song was in a challenging key for me - quite high (an F), but it was a beautiful love song called "If"! This song was actually written the year I was born and first sung by the group "Bread". I loved the arrangement we sang and loved the parts when we sang a phrase in unison and then broke into harmony! And my duet partner Pat... she made me sound so good!

We did two shows, I'm not sure how many were in the audience - over 200 each night I'd guess. There are so many talented and beautiful voices in that choir, the people behind me were the first to hear me sing and they were the audience I was most nervous to sing for. But they were all so supportive and encouraging. After I had sung in front of them so many times at rehearsal, singing for the town audience was not nerve racking at all. Rather it was my absolute pleasure and honour to sing for them.

I'm always so sad when a show ends. After so many months of rehearsal and then ... it's over and done. And the songs we sang this year!! So many favourites of mine... it was a really great show and I'm so grateful that in Kenora there exists this amazing choir that I get to sing with!

I wish I could transport you all to see and hear that show! It was great! I absolutely loved every single minute of it!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Number 18 - Olympic Gold medalists!

Well this first happened on my trip to Winnipeg with Ellie and the other Keewatin Figure Skating Club "Stars on Ice" fans!

I was so looking forward to seeing Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skate! Finding out that they were on the tour sealed the deal for me - Ellie and I were absolutely going to see them! I didn't even care who else was on the ticket. We had watched them, taped them and watched them again at the Olympics this year, so to see them live ... well it simply was not to be missed. My niece Clara was really excited to see Joannie Rochette - she's been following her for the past couple of years.

Well when we got there I was even more thrilled to see that Kurt Browning and Jamie Salle and David Pelletier were skating too!!! I love them! There was also Jeffery Buttle, Shawn Sawyer, Cynthia Phaneuf, Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon and an up-and-coming junior skater, Adam Rippon!

Kurt Browning did a number to "I Did It My Way", ... in hockey skates! Virtue and Moir did their signature move called "The Goose". Virtue poses with her knee on Moir's back, arms spread and transitions to a one-rotation jump off. Salle and Pelletier were amazing as well. They did this awesome routine to a Micheal Jackson song! All of them were spectacular!!

And we were so close, only six rows up, we could see their expressions clearly ... and that was fun to see! The lights, music, and group numbers were amazing too. I tried to take a few photos...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Number 17 - me and Ellie

Finally, Ellie got her turn!!! And this was a first for so many reasons! Ellie and I went on a bus filled with Keewatin Figure Skating Club, family and friends. Even though we were with other people, Ellie and I really spent the time one on one. And just as I found with Erik and Cole, she talked and talked and I discovered new things about my growing little girl.

This trip was truly a girls trip, because it's focus was shopping and seeing "Stars on Ice"!! I am not a typical girl who loves to shop, but there are some shopping principles that I need to pass on to my daughter even if I don't love the past time like most. And it was so good that it was just her and I so that I could spend the time with her giving her a full shopping experience! I was having many flashbacks to the ways my mother and sisters shop - going through the entire sales racks, trying thing on, putting outfits together, doing complete outfits, showing how things can be mixed and matched, talking about pricing and value of buying things on sale and considerations to make when making the final decision of what comes home and what stays in the store. There were moment that were quite funny - of mother and daughter at odds, Ellie rejecting some of my selections, me telling her "no, we aren't going to buy that because _____." Though the above description doesn't sound fun (well at least not to me, but I don't like to shop), Ellie loved it, got some really cute outfits and went bouncing out of the store!

On this trip my little girl, who just got her ears pierced a few weeks before, bought her first pair of dangling earrings and her first pair of lace up shoes!! Both of these purchased were very important to her. And I did with her many of the same things that I did with Erik and Cole.

We had a great time the whole trip and I can see the beginning of some new traditions!

Number 16- me and Cole

As promised Cole was the next to have his trip to Winnipeg. And he was dying to go because when Erik went Erik got a build a bear - a timber wolf actually and a jedi costume for the wolf, complete with light saber. We had some major sibling rivalry issues for a few days after Erik's trip. So it came up that I had some time off, Tillie needed to get back home and Cole needed his turn to Winnipeg.

He was so funny in the car! He talked and talked, telling me how he understood things, retelling me stories, making jokes and planning what we were going to do. He has quite the sense of humour and he is such a cuddly little guy. And just like the trip with Erik, I discovered things about him that were new. I saw how much he has matured and grown. There were still some five year old moments that required some skillful parenting, but I was glad that I could focus on just him for the teaching moment.

Before we went and throughout the trip he would say, "Are we going to do ______ just like Erik?" He wanted to be sure he had just as good of time and that we didn't skip any of the fun stuff. And he would just gush with giddiness and say, "just me and mom!" He really had a good time and it was fun to hang out with him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Number 15 - me and Erik

For the first time since...well since Ellie was born, Erik and I took an overnight trip to Winnipeg- just the two of us. Doing one on one things with the kids is always difficult, mostly because the others feel so left out. The catalyst to make this happen was that Erik had a medical test up in Winnipeg. It was going to be a pretty quick trip and I thought Cole and Ellie wouldn't have much fun. When Erik and I left the two of them were in tears, really upset!! I promised each of them they would have their own day with me and Jer promised to make their time with him really fun too.

It is interesting having one child. It is so easy!!! They get all of your attention so there really isn't any attention seeking behaviour. I didn't have to break up any fights. Of course there was still the need to negotiate things - "I don't think we'll be buying that." and "sorry bud, we have to go." But I found it really interesting to spend so much time with just Erik. He talked and talked. And I discovered things about him that were new. There were three times when he was a really good navigator - pointing out which way to go. We did some fun stuff. And we ate at places we don't have in Kenora or Keewatin. My favourite of getting a smoothie, some popcorn, going to a book store and a music store. Erik and I spent some time in the Mac store and drooled over the electronics! It was fun. And of course we did a photo booth. Most of this was unplanned, it was just what spontaneously happened!

It was such a great time I really look forward to doing it again and to taking Ellie and Cole on their trips to Winnipeg!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

number 14 - some stylin' socks

Several weeks ago I made an appointment with my new doctor. My knee has been acting weird and some new trouble with my shoulder. But when the appointment time came around my legs were swollen too - this being a week after my long car rides to and from Idaho, I really thought the swelling should have resolved.

I was pretty sure she was going to recommend I wear those compression socks on long trips, which she has. As she was turned to the computer to type things in, I muttered under my breath something about "old lady socks"! :-) Showing her sense of humour, my new doctor, who is several years younger than me, turned part way in her chair and pulled up her pant leg to show me her socks! "You wear them too?" I was stunned. She said that because she sits all day, she thinks it's a good idea. I sit most of the day too - so she and I both thought it'd be a good idea I try out the old lady socks! I thought that trying new socks is definitely a new thing!

As she was reviewing the treatment plan, one point was, "and you're going to join the club and get some socks." haha! YES I did! Pictured below are the navy blue ones! ;-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Number 13 - old dog learning a new trick

I have a niece who loves to knit. I have crocheted a couple of things - poorly i may add, but I have never knitted and I have always wanted to. Something about the clicking of the needles and the growing mass of beautifully knotted yarn has always facinated me.

So, when I realized that Clara and I would be on a road trip together I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for her to teach me to knit! I decided a scarf would be an achievable and easy thing for a beginner. Clara got me started and then let me go. It is fun. And I like being able to do something new that I couldn't do before. This is something you think I would have learned a long time ago - through Four-H Club, Young Women's, or somewhere. My roommate Debra could knit and crochet beautifully - but I never thought I had time for such things and was afraid to start yet another project that I wouldn't finish! :-)

Now I am about 10 inches along on a beautiful moss green scarf made of organic cotton wool. It will be lovely when it's done. I'll post a photo when I'm done!

number 12 - you could say we are both long winded.

This may be the longest converstaion i have ever had. For those of you who know me this may be hard to believe... and maybe i have had longer conversations but I don't remember them and I certainly haven't had this long of a conversation with Mike.

Very shortly after Carly's graduation, Mike, Clara and I set off to get back to Canada. We wanted to get back in time for the Keewatin Figure Skating Club's Ice Show. Ellie and Cole were in it. And Clara really wanted to get there to be in it too. It is a 18 hour car ride - without any stopping. Mike has a big diesel engine truck - it gets great gas mileage, so we hardly stopped at all! About 19 and a half hours after we left, we arrived at our destination. And except for about a half hour just before the Canadian Border we were both up and talked the whole way!! This will likely never happen again. But I have to say it was a great conversation! I won't bore you with the details, but we talked about just about every subject you can imagine!

So I know it's not a world record but talking for 16 hours straight then my little half hour nap and then talking for another 3 hours... that is up there in my record books.

Thanks Mike, for getting us home safely, in time for the Ice Show and for the conversation along the way.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Number 11 - land of the big spuds!

My first trip to BYU Idaho. Although I have zoomed past Rexburg Idaho I've never spent any time there. Carly has been there for a few years now, Josie too, both going to BYU-Idaho. Carly informs me that it is far better than BYU-Provo, so I'm glad I got to check it out for myself.

It is quite a pretty little campus. I always thought it's be pretty windy there, and it was. I was glad I was there in April and not January! There was some construction going on - I think that may always be happening. And the city that has sprung up around the university is a fun little town. They have amazing Mexican food - in fact I had the best Mexican food of my life there. I'm not exaggerating either. It was amazing!

But the real reason for making the trip was to attend Carly's graduation. She has really re-defined for me what being a "good" students means. She studied hard and graduated in the top of her class. She is an amazing student and now she is a teacher. I loved Carly's answer to the often asked question of "so, what are you going to do now?" She'd simply answer, "Anything I want." I am proud of her.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Number 10 - Quality time: one on one!

I am the fourth of five children. There has never been a time in my life that I have gone on vacation with my parents and I was the only "kid" along. But this past weekend that was the case. And it was fun! I love my parents, they are great people. We drove to my nieces graduation and along the way spent a night, just the three of us in one room. I was wondering how that would be. Dad snored and part way through the night Mum climbed in with me because Dad was so dead tired he couldn't be budged from the middle of the bed. Then we spent another night at the hotel in Rexburg. Funny thing, both nights I came in late and I was reminded of sneaking in as a teenager! Opening and closing the door as quietly as possible, tip-toeing around and navigating in the dark, and silently slipping under the cover. Now I know that I'm a woman now and part of me just simply didn't want to disrupt their slumber, but another part really didn't want the grief the next day about how late I was! It was fun though. The trip was a bit of a whirl wind adventure, but it was very fun. They were great to travel with.

My favourite memory as a kid is climbing into bed with them in the middle of the night. I remember squeezing in between them and hoping that they wouldn't make me go back to my bed. I remember the warmth, their breathing, and that feeling of letting go now that I was safe and secure from whatever had scared me that night. Sometimes I wish I had a place to go to like that now... no monsters, no fears, let go and relax, feeling safe and secure. But now I provide that for my nighttime visitors. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

number 9 - so long my friend.

This has been on my to-do list for a very long time. For many years now I have had a constant companion, a "friend" of sorts - though I have tried many tactics to rid myself of it. On my right index finger, on the outside between my first and second knuckle, I have a small wart. I can't even remember how many years it has been there. I think I may have had it as early as 1992... definately long before I got married.

When I haven't been pregnant or nursing, I have employed all over the counter, perscription and home remedies to attack and make my body recognize the invader, evict it and repair the damage. I won't go into all the remedies I have tried, but it has gotten close to surgery at home at times. I wonder how much is scare tissue from all of my failed attempts.

A few years ago I brought Erik in for "wart removal" day at the clinic to get rid of a couple on his feet and at the time I was tempted to ask Dr. Harland to splash a little dot of liquid nitrogen my way - but I never want to be a bother so I never spoke up.

Finally, when contemplating this goal to do 39 new things - I thought that this is one thing I ought to take care of - imagine being 39 and no wart on my finger. So I finally got around to calling the clinic last week and imagine my luck the liquid nitrogen had just arrived that day - wart freezing day was the next day! I was thinking it would be quite painful, but I actually ended up asking her to do it a few more times because I didn't think it was taking. Then she ripped open a bandaid and a Dora the Explorer bandaid fell out. "Once it's open we've got to use it" is what I usually tell my kids. So there I am, aging and all, with a Dora bandaid. My post treatment instructions were to keep a bandaid on it for a few days, then cover it with duct tape for the next two weeks.

postscript - After the first treatment it looked like it was alive and well and in no way leaving, so I returned for a second two weeks later. The nurse kind of scolded me for not continuously wearing the duct tape... like I was a non-compliant patient, not following the treatment plan. So I have been wearing the duct tape now! And I have also been helping things along with some salacylic acid...oh, yeah!

"nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, hey, hey, hey good-bye".