Human figure with thought bubbles
Human figure with thought bubbles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am stuck.

I have talked about this before. My dear blogger friend Separated Dad (I would link you to him but it’s complicated. Here is his old site) posted a comment today that was part of a collective message that I received today. He wrote

I think we can add INTROSPECTIVE to your list. It’s wildly different from introverted of course and shows how you’ve thought about the you as she appears to you and to others. Marvellous stuff…

I know he is correct, I am introspective. Sean was referring to my post about character traits I see in me. He certainly brightened my day! Remember I said collective messages? There were several. One from a old episode from Being Erica, one from some text I was reading for school, one from a management blog I read, and one from a friend who I talked to on the phone with today. Want to know what is even more interesting? All of these collective messages came from men. Clearly the universe was telling me something.

I think and mull things over to the point of obsession. I need to understand the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How’s of my world. Introspection allows me to look at my role in conjunction with others. I use to be that kid who had an excuse for everything. “It’s Not My Fault!” I would cry out from my room, quick to blame the sisters or brother who started it. However Time and Introspection have taught me that the roll I play in a conflict or situation is just as important to the reaction I get from others.

It is simple physics really. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Oh Newton, how right you were!

I learned a long time ago that blame serves no purpose. People do the best they can with the knowledge they have IN THAT MOMENT. 20/20 vision is only available in hindsight. We all know that you can never go back. You can revisit, but it is never the same. It can be better or worse depending on your attitude and the attitude of others. The trick is, adjusting your attitude to support the best possible outcome for you.

When stuck, I tend to pull or push my way out. Force the situation to free me or give me what I need. It isn’t working in this case. Yesterday I shared this feeling with my friends. They, as usual, were quite insightful. They said to me, “Perhaps you are at that moment when you aren’t suppose to do anything. Just let things unfold”. At the time I thought about what they said and dismissed it. My thinking was, you cannot stay stuck in the mud forever, you need to make a move. The question is which one?

After the events of today and hearing the same message over and over in different ways, I realize it was a sign. A big 2×4 hitting me on the head yelling in my ear to be still. My life is a chinese finger trap. The more I pull, the more I feel a pull holding me in place.

I gave this some thought. The introspective me came out and wanted to write about it. Alas I had to write for work, school, and another project I am working on first. This was good, it gave me more room to think about it. I am in several situations where I want things to be a certain way. For various reasons, job availability, education, and people’s own personal choices, I feel like my hands are tied. I want the pain of longing to go away. What I want and what I have are two very different things. Reaching for them isn’t working. Working towards my goal isn’t working either. Well, it might be, but not at the speed in which I wish it to happen. Elenore Roosevelt said, “Wishing takes as much effort as planning.” Oh Elenore, I agree! But people do not share my vision for my life, my hands are tied.

So what I am going to do about it? Well, Dr. Thom on Erica said, “Erica, it hurts, it’s painful and you have to sit in it. Live with it. The only thing that will take the pain away is time.” Oh Dr. Thom, I wish I didn’t love you because I want you to shut your stupid face! I don’t mean that…maybe I do. He always has good advice. I just don’t want to hear it.

So this is me, stuck in the mud. Looking around and no longer trying to get out because that makes the suction stronger. I will stand here in silence, look around me and listen and just be still. When the time is right I will be able to move.

For now I will just breath…

Fifty Fifty Me: Fifty Shades of Grey – Please don’t Judge me!

This week in an effort to participate in the 50/50 me project,(you can read more about it here) I finished one book and started yet another. I watched 3 movies and played taxi driver for my son. So watching Taxi Driver seemed very fitting. As for reading, hmmm. Joining goodreads as been helpful! I invite you to join it as well, and add me as a friend. You can find the link on the left of my WordPress page. I finished 50 Shades of Grey and started Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I have been so tired this week I have no made much progress with reading, but you will be updated!  Anyways…. on with the words!


I felt the world collective pressure to read 50 shades of Grey by E.L. James. The internet is such a buzz about this book I felt compelled to give it a read. It is the first book in a trilogy and can I just say, I will not be delving into the other two books. This book was for me, like reading a dime store romance with BDSM elements. It apparently was based on fan fiction of Bella and Edward from Twilight. There are stalker elements and controlling behaviour, none of which is done in a healthy light of course, but there is reasons for it and therapy is being sought. This is not great fiction, nor does it pretend to be. What it is…is… well… interesting. I am not the girl who is naive and easily shocked. I understand this book is tame by many BDSM standards. It did take me down a road that I was curious about and did it in a non-threatening way. I think that is why this appeals to so many women, and making so many men happy. It provides insight and tools to spice up a love life that may be less than interesting or stellar.

The rules of this relationship are clear and both parties go into negotiations about hard and soft limits. Speaking up for yourself is the underlying theme. Being your own advocate in situations that make you uncomfortable resonated with me. I have been needing to do that a lot.

All in all, this book was not for me. I rate it mediocre. I have moved out of the romance genre in my early 20’s and moved into books about people struggling to find their way in life. I am currently reading a thriller-ish book. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The grandfather could be my own, so it hooked me from the start. I am not reading this as quickly as I normally whip through books, so I may or may not be finished next week.

The Movie

This week I watched 3 movies. I started out with Taxi Driver and crossed that one off the AFT 100 list. THen I watched Bye Bye Birdie and Ballet Shoes. Could these three movies be any different? I am not sure if Bye Bye Birdie counts. I watched it when I was 7, but never saw it again since. It is no secret that I love musicals, Dick Van Dyke and the 60’s in THAT order. The dance sequences with Ann Margret were spectacular. The white dress with red polka dots and red flats that Janet Leigh wore in her dance sequence was so fabulous!I have only seen her in Psycho where she was a blond. Holy hottness was she stunning as a brunette!  Giving Ann Margret a run for her money. There were some great moments, the romantic leads were meh, and half the music was good. Was this my favorite? No, it came in third and THAt surprised me.

Ballet Shoes was a wonderful movie you should watch with your teenage daughter. It focuses on the importance of goals, strength of character, team work and support. Not one of the dreams was far fetched, and it showed that dreams come true only with hard work. I Loved this movie. It came in second.

Taxi Driver had a film noir feel to it, although I am not sure if it is classified as one. If it is, it need more narration

Cover of "Taxi Driver [Blu-ray]"

from De Niro. Can I just say, that man is AMAZING! I remember the scandal with Jodie Foster, her age and her role playing a prostitute. Let’s just say the times have changed and teen prostitution is no longer a taboo subject – at least in my circles – it is seen as a tragedy and a form of abduction and abuse. I think this may have been the first movie to show the seduction nature of the controlling pimps. Regardless whether it was or not, it sure got people talking about it. The seediness of New York was very fitting for this movie. After I finished it my immediate thought was, huh…wierd. But the inner struggles and character development was fantastic. I enjoyed this movie more the next day after thinking about it, then I did while watching and digesting it. If you haven’t seen it, it is on the AFI 100 for a reason. Simply amazing.

Next week I am looking to fulfill my girl talk need by watching The Jane Austen Book Club. It seems perfect for me and I am wanting to read some Austen, I haven’t read all 6 of her books so I think I might tackle Sense and Sensibility or Mansfield Park. It is only then I can say I have read all her books thoroughly.

Happy Reading and Happy Watching!

The broken heart is on the mend thanks to my strength of character

I had my heart broken today. One thing made it better. My kiddies running off the bus, running up to me and hugging me because they hadn’t seen me since Friday. I heart them. I have 9 weeks left with them and they are already fully formed butterflies waiting to take off. Luckily for me, I get to keep them until the end of June then I set them free.

Today a friend of mine questioned my character. They know me very well and made an assumption about me that I found shocking, hurtful and by the end of the day it manifested into anger and rage. I was sad for a while, now I am just annoyed. Do they know how I feel? You betcha! I am that girl who now will say “I am offended and here is why”. Did I get a reply back? Sort of…I received an email about a different topic. WTF? I didn’t reply back. I said what I had to, and as one of my students always says “Game Over”. Oh wait, I am not playing games. Maybe that is the problem. When they first met me I was not myself. I had not begun the Edmonton Tourist Journey yet. I was still trying to figure myself out. I just knew I was a work in progress and I wasn’t entirely truthful about myself, mostly because I did not really know who I was then. When I look back I wonder how I was able to wake up everyday and go to work. It remains a mystery to me.

2 years later ( 20 months to be exact) I have gain tremendous personal growth. I have worked incredibly hard to be who I am today and if they can’t see it, to bad so sad. Today I am creating a handy pocket guide to The Edmonton Tourist’s Character. You may use this reference if you are needing to predict how I may react to a certain situation, how trust worthy you think I might be, this may be the guide for you. If you don’t give a rats ass, that’s fine too. I know who I am and where I am going and I don’t need anyone’s approval, or permission to write or say what I need to. Being a Tourist in my own life has taught me more about life than you could ever imagine. Compassion, empathy and respect are just a few things I possess.  These are Character Traits that I have always had, they were just covered under dust and junk, or you never took the time to get to know me. Please feel free to challenge them or comment on them. I take my strength of character very seriously.

The Edmonton Tourist’s Handy pocket Guide to Her Character Traits

  1. ALERT – this is the opposite of unaware.Most days I lean closest to Alert. I am aware of tiny details that you may not notice, I see and hear things in the classroom that some people miss. I listen to everything you say and hold onto it. I can put those things together into a completed puzzle to understand you better. I have always had this trait.
  2. ANALYTICAL – I will ask why and investigate until I understand. If it isn’t logical I cannot wrap my head around it. It may seem that I cannot let things go. I can, but only after I understand the whole store. It may take me months of getting all the information I need, but when I do I have a pretty amazing piece of work. This is why I am an honor student.
  3. ATTENTIVENESS – What you say is important to me. I will admit to not paying attention when my brain is full or tired. But you will be informed if I am not able to give you my full attention. I am learning to balance this. I use to think I needed to solve everyone’s problems. I  learned that lesson the hard way, interfering where I had no business. It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is. I am sure I will mess up again, but know it comes from a place of caring – not vindictive.
  4. AVAILABILITY – I use to be self-centered. I was a teenager. I think that is normal. I make myself to available to some people and not available enough to others. I have learned to protect myself and put a wall up to shield me from the self-centeredness of others. Every now and then I meet someone who causes me to let my guard down and I make myself available, I don’t say no. I always end up hurting by giving too much. They never seem to feel the same way.  It sucks but I’d rather be available then self-centered everyday of the week.
  5. BOLDNESS – I like to think of it as confident, but who are we kidding…I am bold. Again, I never use to be. It is because I have learned to be my own advocate. If you won’t stand up for yourself and your dear hearts – who will? With my children I become a mother bear, with my family I will fight to the death, with friends who are family, the same applies. I am confident in my abilities because I am no longer afraid to fail. Failing is life’s greatest lesson. I will say something that may make me look like a fool in the end – but I would rather try, than fail by never giving it a shot.
  6. COMPASSION – I have to work to feed my family. If I have to work anyway, I might as well be doing something that is for the good of society. I will never be rich in wallet, but I fall asleep every night knowing I made a difference to someone that day. It is important to me to heal the hurt of others. This may annoy you, but this is who I am. If you hurt, I want to help.
  7. COOPERATION – Working together to accomplish that which cannot be done alone. I just learned this. I can’t do it alone, You know something else? Neither can you. If we work together, we can move mountains.
  8. COURAGE – There is no point in hiding or staying stagnant. Courage will move you to new heights and new places. Fear will only hold you back. If the very worst thing that can happen is someone will say no, what have you got to lose? I also learned that NO can open doors that were better than yes. It’s all good.
  9. COURTESY – This is very Canadian of me, but kind and polite is so important. A smile and a thank you go a very long way. It never hurts to be polite. I teach my children the same thing my dad taught me,you  don’t have to like the person, but you must be polite.
  10. CREATIVITY – Thinking outside the box opens new doors and expands horizons. Being open to different and looking at things in new ways is a way to a new perspective.
  11. DEPENDABILITY- if you say you are going to do it, then do it. Be reliable, be faithful, be loyal, be accountable. If you can’t, say so. That is part of being dependable. Dependable doesn’t have to mean yes.
  12. ENTHUSIASM – Going into a project with this trait makes it easier on yourself and easier on your co-workers. Enthusiasm lifts spirits and brings joy.
  13. FAITH – I expect the best out of people, yes I get disappointed – like today – without faith no one has anywhere to aspire to. It’s hard to work past judgement and just accept faith. I love to believe in everything wonderful.
  14. FORGIVENESS – this one is hard. I use to hold a grudge for ever. I learned no one cared or noticed and it just hurt me in the end. My anger didn’t matter to anyone but me. I let it go and now I look, act and feel younger. I have become indifferent to situations that I can’t control. Forgiveness is more important for you than for others. Forgiveness is like Sorry – it doesn’t end pain, but it gives you a place to start from.
  15. GENEROSITY – I come from a very long line of generous people. If someone needs it more than me, they should have it. I can mostly give of time as I do not have money. I do give things as often as I can
  16. GRATEFULNESS – to be grateful is life changing. The more grateful you are for something, the more you receive. It doesn’t make sense, it just is – it goes along with faith. I decided to be grateful for the friends in my life, and it came back to me ten-fold.
  17. RESPECTFULNESS – I respect other’s privacy. I do not need to be told to keep an embarrassing secret. I understand without saying our conversations are private. I ask questions because I care, not to blab to the world. Besides, no one is all that interested unless they care too.

It’s a long list, I stopped at R so you can tell me the Character Traits YOU are most proud of.

Fifty Fifty. Me.: When God was a Rabbit

This week in an effort to participate in the 50/50 me project,(you can read more about it here) finished one book and started yet another. I watched 2 movies and mostly did copious amounts of homework. My mind is filled with so much information, I chose drivel to read this week. I shouldn’t have done that. Fluff or drivel wounds my soul and makes my brain feel soft. There is a fine line for me to find a book that is a fun read and a book that is fluff. 50 Shades of Grey is pure fluff, and not all that fun to read. Last weeks enjoyment of A Lover’s Dictionary was fun. I think I need to start carefully assessing why I read as opposed to what people say I should read. Suggestions are wonderful, but I need to read from suggestions of people who like the same type of read as I do. Joining goodreads as been helpful! I invite you to join it as well, and add me as a friend. You can find the link on the left of my WordPress page. Anyways…. on with the words!

The Book

I read When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman. This book made me laugh, cry and smile. There was a dark cloud that followed this family yet it didn’t seem to matter, they laughed and lived in spite of it. I think it gave a truer sense into people’s lives when nothing is perfect, yet people live being as happy as they can. I loved following the main character through her life. She didn’t dwell on the painful moments, she moved on. Very british actually, stiff upper lip and all that. She felt emotion but realized life was a series of moments. Each moment builds on another to create the next moment. With that knowledge you can can choose to feel however you want about a situation. I loved that sentiment. I have always felt this way. There is no point in blaming someone else for past crimes against you. Its about taking what we learned and growing from it. The letting go is hard, but in the end worthwhile. This book spoke to me. I hope it speaks to you too.

The Movie

I watched 2 movies this week. Annie Hall by Woody Allen (- this can be crossed of the bucket list!) and the

Film poster for Annie Hall - Copyright 1977, U...
Film poster for Annie Hall - Copyright 1977, United Artists (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contagion starring Matt Damon on recommendation of my friend Chef. Her delicious blog is here.

Chef is an ex-pat Edmontonian living in Texas and we share a love for all things yummy, heathy and Matt Damon.

I thought this movie might be too much for my Howard Hughes like obsession with hand sanitizer. It does justify my freaky feeling about clean hands, but it was as scary as I thought it could have been. Although people do die at an alarming rate. Famous people kept dropping like flies. Did this help? Meh… So this was not my favorite of the bunch.

I did love Annie Hall. I love Diane Keaton. I loved how innocent she was and her fella Woody Allen encouraged her to give personal growth a try and lo and behold, she out grew him. A very common theme amongst my peers of late.  I do not get the sex appeal of Woody Allen, but I do understand his intellectual appeal. I loved the dialogue. I am coming to realize that Woody Allan movies are definitely for me. Conversation, discussion, and possibilities without a clear cut happy ending. It certainly is not an escape genre, but it fulfills a need in me. Loved this one!


This week I am finishing up 50 Shades of Grey and am NOT going to read the other 2 in the trilogy any time soon. I have two books on my list that interest me, Under the Tuscan Sun and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Can you find two vastly different books? I think not. one thing this challenge has done for me is open my mind up to knew genres that I would normally not have considered before. We shall see how I feel after 50 shades, that will determine my next choice.

As for Movies? I am in a De Niro kind of head space. I think I will watch Taxi Driver and cross that off the AFI 100 list. Perhaps there is a movie that my teens wish to watch too. Let’s see what the week brings, shall we?


Please Welcome My New Bundle of Joy!

Never did I think I would expand my family! I had the exact right amount of children, one boy and one girl. One of each and it was good. Yesterday I was reading through my blog subscriptions (85 of them people! Luckily they don’t all write regularly!) when I was reading a blog post that broke my heart. This girl was pleading for a mommy. It’s obvious that I hate children. (I work with them for a living … by CHOICE! I spend my free time with children… by CHOICE and I was ALWAYS the favorite aunty, the one who played superhero, Lego, went to Disney movies, slept under the Christmas Tree, built forts, organized family picnics, played on swings…you get the idea. I was THE fun Aunty.) But after reading about how neglected she was I had to step up to the plate and apply for adoption.

The adoption process was surprising simple. I wrote a lovely letter, the powers in charge reviewed and screened it, I was then informed after a lengthy process that my application had been accepted! I know this comes to a shock for so many of you who figured I was done with little ones now that my babies are teens…and by the way, I said I wanted a BABY – not a 16 year old…but I digress.

Her name is Molly. She looks like a ginger in her photo but she could be blonde, either way, she is beautiful. She is a neglected American girl from New York City. We are looking at the possibility of an open adoption, as her birth mother is still quite attached – although she should have thought things through carefully with her brazen favoritism of the eldest child. I know its hard not to favor the eldest – look at me for example:

  1. I came first
  2. I am the smartest of the bunch
  3. I have the awesomest qualities
  4. I have the best sense of humor
  5. I have the best taste
  6. I do not own a star fleet uniform

Why WOULDN’T mom and dad like me best? I KNOW, right?

So I do sympathize with the birth mother and open adoption may be the right thing for everyone involved. Here is an excerpt from the post pleading for an adopted family, you can read the entire post here:

So that’s it — I am taking a stand and I am officially accepting applications for my adoption. Requirements for my future parents include (but are not limited to):

1. Frequent visits to see me
2. 24/7 phone availability
3. Weekly care packages (these can contain things like homemade cookies, interesting articles from the local town newspaper, and/or fun things from the dollar section at target)
4. Sympathy when I don’t feel well
5. A deeper and more genuine love for me than for my sister
6. Constant praise and adoration

What you will get in return:

Joy and pride for all of eternity (and I am certain that your friends will be insanely jealous at your incredible parenting skills — obviously they are amazing if you were able to produce me.)

My husband will be screening all applications. You will only be contacted if I think you are up for the job.

Thank you.

After reading the qualifications, I knew I was a perfect match, so I wrote this response and the entire acceptance blog post by clicking here:

I am officially applying for the position of adopted mother. Although I had not considered more children, your plea tugged at my heart strings. First and foremost, you are my favorite and always have been. Your sister is selfish to hog your birth parents like that. I promise I would never do that.

I have my cell beside my bed, so you can call me day or night. If I don’t answer on the first ring, I will by the third. I make the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet, just ask your new brother. I also like the idea that you are a married adult living away from home!!! This is so novel, I will want to visit you regularly, but especially for special occasions, birthdays, holidays, playoffs, NYC marathon, etc. I love to shop and spend time with my girls doing what they like, that brings joy to me. I must insist that when or if a grandchild arrives, I get to come and take care of both of you. I have my degree in early childhood education, so I am fully qualified to be baby opinionated like all great grandmas! Mostly I want a free place to stay while I’m in NYC, but would happily adopt you and welcome your husband into our family! xoxox

Love mom

PS- I miss you already 🙂

Obviously I am thrilled! Who doesn’t want a perfect daughter to share activities with while staying for FREE in New York? I know, you are jealous and you should be. I am now living the Life of Riley. I can’t WAIT to go shopping on 5th Avenue to meet her!! Van Cleef’s, Harry Winston and Tiffany Molly here I come!


Insecure, Incapable and Inferior

I am stuck and not sure how to move forward. I read this quote the other day,

It takes the same amount of energy to wish for something as it does to plan for it.

Eleanore Roosevelt

She was a smart cookie.

The outside me feels pretty darn good, nice nails, goodish hair, slimmer clothes, good stamina and great skin. I couldn’t say that a year and a half ago. I have made great Edmonton Tourist style progress and feel quite proud of what I have accomplished thus far. Lately, the inside me is just not feeling it.

I found out some information that would have made a HUGE difference to my life if I knew about it one year ago. And ya, I am a bit angry and bitter about it. So what do I do with this information now? The reasonable answer is to accept it, move forward and peaceably. However, it makes me feel insecure, incapable and inferior, ESPECIALLY inferior and that annoys me. I have a decent amount of self confidence on a normal day, lately…not so much.

This is affecting my day to day living and I need to snap out of it except:

  • Work feels weird, like I should be walking on egg shells or I’m outathere! Not by my choosing but it feels different like I am doing something wrong and no one will tell me. The crazy thing is, I work with people who have no problem telling me if I am doing something wrong, so maybe it is just perception on my part.
  • Friendships feel weird, like I am walking into a conversation about me and everyone stops talking. It’s not really happening like that…but it has that weird feeling.
  • University feels weird. I get my assignments, do them, get my marks back and I feel like I didn’t earn them. They are great marks but it feels weird. I have a major project due asap and I have re-done it 7 times. SEVEN TIMES! I am NOT that person who re-does stuff!! I do things once and hand it in, I will proof read it, miss a ton of stuff like Capitalization, get marked down for thatand still get a brilliant mark…but it feels weird.

It could be because what I WANT and what I HAVE just don’t measure up yet. I can SEE where I want to be and I am a good year away from being there. It was suggested to me to write down my goals and make a plan to get there. The goal I have, it is the plan that is difficult because so much of it is reliant on other people and their pieces that need to fall into place. It’s like waiting for rope drop at Disneyland. Time ticks away and I am anxious to start now!!!

I guess I need to write my plan. First of all, come hell or high water I NEED to get my 8th version of my project done, hand it in without over thinking it and wait for feedback. I feel like Mozart and his death requiem, how he couldn’t get it just right and it was killing him. Dramatic…absolutly, but you know how it is when something hangs over your head and you HAVE to get it done? Well that is this project. I have had a couple of set backs and -HOLD THE PHONE – I just had an epiphany. I know why I am having a hard time with this project! It just dawned on me. The person who I need to ultimately hand it in to announced her retirement and I am devastated. Extreme…absolutly, but for those who know her understand. Wow, I am crying just thinking about this being the reason. If anyone says you can’t work out problems by writing, they are liars. Writing is cathartic – well for me anyways.

Earlier today, I received an email at just the right time in my life. (I haven’t heard from my bestie in a while, the odd text message now and then. They just got back from a fabulous trip and I felt left out which is RIDICULOUS but true. It adds to the Insecure, Incapable and Inferior complex I am suffering from lately.) Anyways… I read this email. I was nominated for another blogger award. I understand that these are chain mail yadda yadda yadda, but she wrote THIS about me:

5.  The Edmonton Tourist.  The first thing I like about this blog is its premise — the idea of being a tourist in your life, taking more risks, being more aware and more stimulated and more curious, just like we are when we’re in a strange place or strange circumstances.  I love her dry humor and constant ability to reach for the silver lining, without being self-righteous about it.  E.T. has the kind of presence and poise about her — and her writing — that I suspect would draw me to her as a friend were we to ever meet.

Wow wow wow… I really needed to hear that today. Thank you so much That Precarious Gait! I am touched beyond words and I feel the same 🙂

So to end this post with a silver lining, I must list the women I am thankful for in my life. They have made a HUGE differnce for me over the past few days:

Barbie Arm, Chicken Hawk, Crayonmelterhoarder, Chatterbox, Life Coach and 1/2Marathon Coach. You ladies have the unique ability to know at just the right moment when I need some girly love and hugs. xoxo me