“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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

AHHHGGGG - cessories

I am not good with accessories. This is a hard truth I have had to come to terms with. It doesn’t matter if it is sun glasses, watches, jewelry - all are at risk of being misplaced or forgotten. Caring for and being watchful over them adds such an effort to my entire day that for the most part I skip them entirely. Not that I don’t like them, I do. They can be gorgeous, beautiful and add just that sparkle. I like all types of accessories . . . except purses. I don’t like them at all. Most of the time I feel purses are like a monkey hanging off my arm. My problem with accessories in general is that they take time in the morning, it’s one more thing to remember in my day and I lose them.  For example, I am always looking for my keys. My husband even bought me a key chain that beeps when you press the base just to help me find my keys.  I'm hopeless and I have come to accept it. :-)

So knowing this about myself you would think that when the Workplace Walking Challenge came to our office I would have passed on using one of the Northwestern Health Unit’s step counters. This is risky.  Not that I could lose it, but that I will lose it! If you lose it you have to pay $20. Not high stakes, but money is money.  Besides I have my very own talking pedometer . . . course I’d have to find it first.

I wanted to be a part of the team.  I didn’t want to let my team down. I wanted to count my steps and start that road to recovering from my woefully deconditioned state.  I mean I was . . . I am beyond out of shape and being on a team in a competition where we have to count our steps and other activities is exactly the motivation I needed.

Things went well for the first week, as far as not losing the step counter. One week into the challenge and the step counter went missing. I thought and thought. Retracing my day I knew with confidence that it was inside the house somewhere. While narrowing the search was helpful, only one thing could find it. TIDYING UP! That is the no fail way to find a lost item. Clean my house. If you saw my house you would know that this is no small task. Eventually, I did clean up enough to find the darn step counter! That’s what it became known as – “the darn step counter.”

My relief at finding the darn step counter was short lived as within a week it went missing AGAIN! This time after thinking of the travels of my day I realized that it fell off my waist band. This was not good. I had been to the Kenora Library, the Keewatin Library, home for five minutes and was at the pool taking the youngest to swimming lessons when the darn step counter’s disappearance was discovered. I called and texted all over to see if anyone had found “the darn step counter.”


After not finding the darn step counter in the car after swimming lessons I decided to swing by my first after work stop at the Kenora Library. Reasoning that the darn step counter would have most likely fallen off while getting in and out of a car, I thought I’d check the area I parked in. Step counters are small so this was a long shot. I parked and as I was walking towards the library I glanced back and I could not believe my eyes! There was the darn step counter a few yards behind me to my left!!!   As I walked over the thought, “middle of the street, hmmm . . . that can’t be good. But it’s so small what are the odds . . . ” Within a few steps of reaching it I saw the darn step counter was also in a puddle and I thought, “not good”. As I picked the darn step counter up I noticed that the clip didn’t look quite right. With that good feeling of finding something lost slipping away, I flipped it over to see the front cover scratched. With sinking heart I opened to confirm with the evidence of a cracked display screen that in fact the darn step counter had been run over by a car!!

Just my luck. I lose the darn step counter, but  . . .

I find the darn step counter hours after losing it . . .

 in the middle of the street . . .

in a puddle . . .

having been run over by a car.

lol!

I should have given it back at the noon hour community walk earlier that day when the impulse struck me to admit my defeat and knack for losing things, but EGO, Ego got in the way!  I am glad I found it because at least it's wasn't due to my scatterbrainedness.  Honest, this was a case of it simply falling off my waistband.


FYI.  To find the darn step counter for this photo I had to tidy my house AGAIN!


While I am out $20 what an eye opener counting my steps was! When I was a stay at home mom in Denver I easily got 10,000 steps on my pedometer. That is the last time I used it, which was 2004. The first couple of days I didn’t do anything extra. I wanted to see what a “normal” days step count was. I was shocked it was less than 4,000 and on a day of all day meetings it was less than 3,000. Keep in mind 10,000 is the goal steps for maintenance, not weight loss or fitness training. No wonder I have gained year after year of having my current job! I need to STEP IT UP! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tardy TGIF. :)

TGIF

Trusting that there is goodness and beauty and love in this world.  Trusting that goodness, love and light always triumph . . . in the end.

Grateful that I have music, singing and dancing in my life. . . and friends and family to do those things with!

Inspired by smiles . . . goodness and sweetness - found in so many places.  



Saturday, July 21, 2012

TGIF

Trusting That things will be okay. That we'll be able to get things on track at work. That I'll find the wisdom, guidance and words to use. And that at home I'll be able to get things accomplished. Grateful For my children. I count the gift of being a mother as the greatest gift of my life. I am humbled by the honor. A great lady I know once said that she was born on the day her first child was born. That is true for me too. In the first quiet moments of being alone for the first with my new born baby in my arms I had heart to heart, spirit to spirit talks with them. I thanked them for being my child. I told them how glad and joyful I felt to have them in our family. With their wide, innocent and yet knowing eyes looking up at me, I told them what an honor it is and how grateful I am to be their mother. Then I pledged to them that, while I was bound to make mistakes, I would do my very best to be the best mother. This is the most sacred and solem of vows. The three beautiful people I get the privilege to call my children are my favourite people in the world. I am eternally grateful for them. Inspired This Friday I am inspired by Maggie. I work with Maggie and yesterday she showed me again how to live in the moment and for the moment as we danced down the boardwalk of Coney Island Beach to tunes like Brickhouse, Ain't No Mountain High, Get up off of that thing, etc. I was afraid of what people would say or think - dancing in broad daylight at the beach. But with Maggie I became brave and got up and danced. I only wish now that I had got up sooner!! As Maggie always says "Onward and Upward!"

Friday, July 13, 2012

T.G.I.F.

In the last couple of months I have discovered Brené Brown!! 
 Her TED X Houston talk and then her TED talk are
insightful
and speak to my work and my life. 

 Life really is all about connection! 

Needless to say I am reading her book  The Gifts of Imperfection and in her book she talks about PRACTISING gratitude as being essential to living a whole-hearted life
- that is having Joy in your life. 

Gratitude isn't something you are -
like "be grateful"
and it's not only something you
ThinK or FeeL. 
it's not just an AttitudE. 

 Rather Gratitude is at it's most meaningful and most life changing when it is
PRACTISED
- so it is spoken, written, it is thoughtful acts of kindness, it is shown! 

One thing Brené found in her research is that the Whole-Hearted, the most resilient, joyful and happy among us,
actively do things to acknowledge and celebrate all that is  in their lives. 

Some keep gratitude journals and express gratitude out loud to those in their lives. 

 So, Brené began having Fridays be a day to PRACTICE Gratitude. 
She called it T.G.I.F.


So in the spirit of Brené .  Here is my T.G.I.F. list for today Friday July 13th, 2012.


I am TRUSTING

that with diligence,
team work
and
honest, bold actions
 by me, Jer and the kids
we will be able to cross some major (MAJOR) TO-DOs off the list TODAY!


I am GRATEFUL

for my life's path - that i married who i married, that we have chosen to bring our children into this world, that we have chosen to live where we live, all so that i could work and associate with the people i see every week
BECAUSE i am on the right track in my life.
 
And there is nothing better in the whole world than having the deep-down-in-your-soul knowing that you are right where you are meant to be!!!

so that i can learn the things i need to learn, i can give of myself to the people in my life/community and i am becoming exactly who i want to be. (when i grow up) :-)


I am INSPIRED

by people who really make time 
to be thoughtful
to connect with friends old and new
to give to others
people who are caring, compassionate, thoughtful and kind
INSPIRE ME!!

That's my first TGIF list!  and I am really glad it is Friday, especially because I have taken this day off!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Say it ain't so . . .

Well saying I'm 40 years old is coming to an end. 41 in three days. It seems anti-climatical. 40. That's something. The big 4-0! Still it feels like there is a disconnect between the number and how I feel. I still feel like I am just getting started in life. There is still so much to see, explore and enjoy. I met an interesting woman this week. She is an artist, a dancer and a teacher. She approaches art with curiosity, wonder and acceptance of what arises out of it. She was a breath of fresh air I my insane world. I know I need to slow down, need to let go and need to carve out some time to explore my dreams and follow my bliss. She lives this way. Knowing it is possible is the beginning of tweaking my schedule. Here's the plan. In the morning move - dance, yoga, or a walk. In the morning listen to music, sing. In the morning hug and kiss everyone in my house. In the morning sit down for breakfast. I don't want to seem the fool but I have to start this shift somewhere. :). Follow what intrigues you and makes you HAPPY! Making pies. Rhubarb, blueberries, raspberries and brown sugar! Those are some of the things I love.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Who has got your back?

In my teen years I worshipped the sun!! In March with the snow just beginning to melt I'd strip down as far as circumstance would allow and bask in the glorious warmth of the sun. I missed the sun during those long cold winter months. Though sometimes like a cat, I would stretch out in the golden rectangle on the red shag carpet of the living room floor only to wake shivering with the sun's long shadows stretching out the horizon.

In the 80's all the flesh in magazines had that healthy bronze glow. Unless you were Boy George or Madonna. After a while even Micheal Jackson was more pale than most magazine covers. But I digress. Everyone thought tanned looked healthier, fitter, better and more "in".

So every year I would "work" on my tan religiously. And though I am of mostly Nordric heritage (5/8th Norwegian, 1/8th Swedish, 1/8th English and 1/8th Irish/Scottish) I could actually successfully tan. Somehow I really believed I could win the tanning contests I had with my friends.

My favourite tanning story happened just before Junior High graduation. White dresses were all the rage and my best friend Holly and I thought a tan "bod" would really look really "hot" in contrast against the glistening snow white fabric. So I was over at their country home on Black Sturgeon Lake for a sleep over. It must have been a PD Day or something because we had the whole house to ourselves. It was a hot and sunny day and we wanted to tan.

We carefully planned our strategy. Discussed pro and cons of tanning on something white or black. Trying to devise the perfect set up to insta-tan. Give us a head start over all our winter pale friends. Somewhere in the brainstorming session, perhaps thinking of old MASH episodes, we had a stroke of genius! Holly's dad had some sheets of corrugated metal along the side of the shed! Perfect. Now tanning oil. What could we do for tanning oil? This is in the 80's mind, there was no SPF anything. It was Coppertone oil, best with coconut scent. Holly scanned the cupboards for last year left overs, but that was many snowflakes ago and no proper tanning oil could be found. We could use cooking oil couldn't we? It's basically the same thing right? Now these crucial elements decided, we were on to deciding bathing suits, topless or not, etc. Once outside we decide to lay the shinny metal sheeting on the hill around the corner of the house and out of sight from any rare boaters that may pass by. Laying the sheets down we squinted against the sun's reflection and learned how those battle sheilds of ancient times could come in so handy in war.

With the angles just right so we would have no shadows casting uneven rays, we were set. We oiled up and giggled at ourselves as we carefully eased down and sprawled out on the now slick metal. In a short while we were hot and wishing we had a spray bottle to spritz down with. You know, so we could tan faster and stay out longer. Always the creative improvisers,we decided to use the garden hose to cool down and while we were at it hose down the metal. Sun reflects off water too right? Shiny silver metal just wasnt enough of an accelerant. Now slick with oil and water the 15 minute turn for evenness took on new challenges. We giggled how we were roasting ourselves just like turkeys. Yup, we were turkeys alright.

We spent a long night continuing to roast in our lobster red skin. We couldn't wear our own clothes. The pain was just too great. Holly's mum leant us a couple of her flowered cotton moo moos. We slept a top the covers, grateful we were at least in the cool basement.

I treated with noxema and my blistering peel gave way to a decent tan in time to make that white dress really pop!

That was the worst burn I have ever had. Honestly though I think every year I get a burn some place or another. Increasingly I wonder if I will ever,ever learn and remember that I am beyond Haole white and embrace my Nordic Heritage. Maybe when I'm forty? Will I get it then?

As health conscious and aware of skin cancer as I was you'd think I would have taken precautions, but I would glibly dismiss it saying, "Old people get skin cancer. By the time I'm old they'll have a cure." No worries. Until as a 24 year old I sat in my American Cancer Society office of my first post university job and wrote out the receipt for a donation made by a fresh faced college girl in memory of her young roommate who had died. As I consoled and heard her sad journey, I learned that skin cancer had been her killer. It was a wake up call for sure. I changed my ways, still I'd burn accidentally every now and again and I'd hope that my past wouldn't get me.

Sometime right around age 24 a perfect, rich beauty mark appeared on my back. Someone once told me I had a sexy back. It was one of my vanities for years. I thought this addition looked like an artist had dripped a perfect drop of chocolate brown paint on my back. I loved it.

Ten years ago a demotologist at a skin cancer screening told me to keep my eye on that one because I wasn't born with it and it was largish. As a new mum I took this seriously and have been watching it ever since. I noticed some changes, but chalked up to my fat expansion stretching it. Three years ago my doctor and I had decided to remove it, just for my peace of mind. But I found myself newly pregnant as the day got closer so I cancelled, seeing as it wasn't really necessary.

About two weeks ago I scratched my back and felt something that wasn't there before. My mole had morphed. So tomorrow morning I will be having a wedge of skin cut off. Being flayed is an unsettling thought. We don't know or even think it is cancer, could just be hormones making it change. Good thing the lab gets it! What would I do with it? Bury it? Keep it in a formaldehyde jar? Better safe than sorry. Better cut than cancer.
Hey! Whatever happened to noxema?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Saddest News

Jer and I got the saddest news on Friday.  A really great guy and dear friend of ours from our days in Denver tragically died on Jan 3rd.  Solomon Roberts came into our lives at a time when Jer really needed a friend.  I think it was 2003, Ellie was just a baby, Erik just three.  Solomon came to town to manage the store.  Jer was his assistant manager.  He was such a great guy! I know people always say stuff like that about people after they've died, but Solomon was a man that everyone said it about when he was alive!  He had an easy manner about him and quick smile and kind  eyes.  He was very kind and so thoughtful.   He was adventurous and loved to travel.   He had great stories to tell, but he was humble about all the great things he had done.  He and Jer became great friends.  After Jer spent a day with Solomon, Jer was happier, lighter.  A job that was once a drudgery, was suddenly fun for Jer ... because he and Solomon were working together.

Solomon did me a huge favour for which I will always be in his debt.  You see one of the perks of being the manager was that you got to drive the company truck to and from work.  In Atlanta Jer was the manager and we had that perk - which really was a perk for me, because we only had the one car, when Jer had the company truck this meant that I had a car at home.  For a stay-at-home mom in a sprawling urban city a car is . . . well, fabulous to have!  When we moved to Denver in March of 2002, we lost the perk of the company truck. 

But a year or so later when Solomon came to town, out of the blue he suggested that he and Jer drive together to work.  It just so happened that Solomon bought a house near where we lived.  I guess we shared the desire to live on the west side of Denver, to be close to the mountains.  He loved to ski.  I used to love to ski, but mostly, I just wanted to live near the mountains.... anyway, we ended up living in the same area, went to church together too.  For he and Jer to ride together wasn't much out of his way and he and Jer became good friends during their long commutes. (nearly an hour one way, if memory serves)

Solomon didn't need to this, but I'm pretty sure he knew that this would be a nice thing for me and the kids.  If he didn't realize, I let him know how grateful I was.   This meant that the kids and I could go off on not just errands, but daily adventures!!  We went all over that city and beyond - to places like Tiny Town, to the Railroad Museum, (Erik was really into trains at the time) to the Denver Children's Museum,(which we got a membership to so we could go all the time) to Library story times, to Kindergym, to go swimming at the  Link Recreation Centre pool and even to Erik's rock climbing class for four year olds.  I think Solomon liked that Erik got to do that climbing class.  I don't remember a day that they didn't drive together and it made my life and the kids lives so great!  For this act alone I will be forever indebted to Solomon for his thoughtfulness and kindness, but add to this what his friendship did for and meant to Jer . . .

Solomon is from a huge family.  He was an uncle before he was born.  He loved his family and talked about them all the time.  I met his mother and father one day at church when they were in Denver for a visit and I think a sister was there as well.  He was a natural with Erik and Ellie.  Solomon was one of Erik's first friends.

Since moving back home in 2004 we have kept in touch on and off with Solomon, through facebook, Christmas cards and early on through occasional phone calls.  It was great to see what he was up to.  Even though, we didn't see him every day and he was more a part of our past than our present day life, I am really so very sad he is gone.  I just really loved knowing that he was out there on his adventures and that the world had such a kind, generous and fun-loving person in it.  I have hardly been able to speak of his death at all, and can't write this without shedding many tears.  He was a great man.  I was so looking forward to seeing him again, hoping he'd come on one of his adventures up north to water ski on our lakes . . . My only solace is that I do believe that I will see him again one day.  His was a life well lived!!

Solomon and I are the same age.  Born just a few weeks apart.  When I think about all this being forty business and writing about the new things I'm trying or the adventures I'm going on, from now on I'm going to be thinking of Solomon's tragic and early departure from this life, at a mere forty years old, and I will be grateful for every day I get one more.  Even if it's a miserable day.

One time Jer and I went with Solomon and Ken Lass out wake boarding.  I didn't try it.  I've decided to add that to my list.  Snowboarding too, I'm going to try that.  Life is an adventure and I will not be missing it!  

Here is a link to Solomon's obituary.  I still have a hard time believing it is true.