The lure of YES

Performance reviews are coming up this week and I was given a two-page questionnaire to fill in. The main topic is about me and all the things I did this year. The first question intrigued me. ‘What are you most proud of?’ That’s easy but it isn’t polite to talk about yourself. Thinking back to my childhood I can tell you my grandma said it wasn’t polite to brag. But her mother always asked about me what I was good at. Her son (my papa bear) always asked about my day. What was good about it and what was not so good? At my old jobby job workplace, I was conditioned to do my job, keep my opinions to myself and do more with less.

I quit that place. It felt oppressive.

I’ve been with my current employer for thirteen months. I’m given the freedom to explore new ideas and express my opinion. Then they ask me what I think I’m good at. Finding words to talk about achievements is hard. No one ever wants to be that guy who is her own biggest fan. It took me two weeks to get the words out. I would have my evaluation opened in a window on my left screen and in between tasks I would go back to it and think about how to talk about myself.

I finished my evaluation today. The meeting is on Friday.  Oprah always asks her guests “What do you know for sure?” Well, Oprah, I will tell you. I know that I need to ask for what I want because no one is going to give it to me without the ask. I asked. I mapped out a plan. I set goals and I can visualize the end. I am prepared for no, but if they say yes? YES is an exciting future. YES opens new doors. YES is taking risks. YES is trying new things. Yes is harder to ask for. No is plodding along.  If no is the answer then I will keep asking because I believe in yes.

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The Halfway Point

2018 is just about halfway completed. I have been reflecting on my goals and actions and wonder if I am putting my best foot forward. For me, I find having goals to reach for important to my motivation. Without them I just plod along allowing life to happen to me rather than me living my life. I have been excited about a few things this year.

  1. 18 in 2018
  2.  Scrivener Software
  3.  Totem Project

18 in 2018 is primarily a to-do list. But I have outlined it as a series of goals and achievements that assist me with the fundamental purpose of living life. I have two lists. A personal list and an Edmonton Tourist list. I have discovered my personal list to be much more fun for me. Somethings are so mundane you might think I am dead boring. For example, one thing on my list was a series of declutter projects, my closet, the kitchen drawers, my personal hygiene space in the bathroom, my bedside drawer and the cupboard under the stairs. The last one was looked upon with dread. I did not want to face that at all. One morning I enlisted help from my hubs and we got to work. The most shocking thing happened. Apparently, we had completed this task last year, and the cupboard was fantastic. That was an easy item to cross off the list. I was surprised and how light I felt after the decluttering process. My drawers and baskets all still look fresh and clean, my closet has copious amounts of empty hangers but need some rearranging because my summer wardrobe is not easily accessible. Basically, I need to thank my mom for forcing me to endure the process as a child. I never felt as good as she claimed cleaning would make me feel, but now that I am older, simplifying my life is energizing.

I have a brunch jar, a mason jar that holds bottle return money saved for brunches! We used the cash from the jar to explore restaurants in Edmonton. Our criteria are simple, we have had to either heard great things about these places or learn of new places that we are curious about. Then we visit the restaurant. So far we have ventured off the beaten path. My next brunch place I wan to visit is Pip in Old Strathcona. My jar is ready for me to empty it! I jest need to find the time.

I have only read 14 books so far this year. I say only because my goal is 40 and in six months, I am off my target of by one book. I am currently reading Eleanor Oilphant is completely fine, and I am enjoying her quirkiness. I have read some great books this year! I started following the Hello Sunshine book club (Reese Whitherspoon), she showcases women authors and mixed genres. My favourite so far is You think it, I’ll say it by Curtis Sittenfeld. I loved the compelling characters in this book and wished I could get to know them in a novel. Hopefully one of them will pop up in a novel for my reading pleasure. I don’t usually think of myself as someone who reads short stories, but Elizabeth Strout and Maeve Binchy are stellar short story authors who I have read and thoroughly have enjoyed their offerings. So maybe I do enjoy short stories? I remember reading O. Henry in grade five (Thanks Mrs. Malone!) and his stories stuck with me. I found them compelling and riveting. All those authors have inspired me to try my hand at the short story genre. Which lead me to my second thing I have been excited about this year.

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Scrivener software and Office Lense have inspired me uncreative ways I didn’t think possible from software! I usually write in my notebook at cafes or parks because Judy Blume does. (Taking her Master Writing Class was a big deal for me, and I learned so much!) Often, I write using Word on my desktop because it is 2018. I was watching an author video on Hello Sunshine Book Club page with Jill Santopolo, author of The Light We Lost, and she mentioned using Scrivener, so I looked it up and downloaded the one-month free option. This rocked my world and cured me of wanting a smartboard in my office. I combine it with Office Lense, an app a colleague encouraged me to try, and I can convert my notes to documents and move sections around Scrivener. Its keeps notes in an easy to find section or on the bulletin board beside my main document. The simplicity of this and the usability of this has rocked my world. Uploading handwritten notes to make them useful is something I dreamed about since 1988, when I was in University for the first time. Clearly, I was ahead of my time. Now if I could combine it with software from recorded notes (maybe Dragon Speech?) my life will be complete.

Photography and visual arts is a big part of my life. I love to document my adventures through digital photography. Every now and then I like to have a purpose to my photo adventures or I find I continue to capture the same things endlessly. Trees, nature paths, architecture and my dog are my favourite things to capture. I like choosing a specific subject to photograph and create a project around it. IMG_E7974Last year I focused on the Red Chair project. A series of red Muskoka chairs were captured. The purpose was to explore the offerings of Parks Canada during the Canada 150 free entry into national parks. These chairs are off the beaten path or in well-traveled places. Finding them became a fun pursuit for me. I sat in every chair I photographed to experience the view and take in the purpose of the chair. Some of the captures can be found on Instagram by using #redchairproject or by scrolling through my feed @edmonton_tourist I am considering putting the entire collection on my Edmonton Tourist Facebook page. I enjoyed the red chair project so much, I decided to photograph totem poles. It began because as a kid I remembered poles around Edmonton and was fascinated with them, I loved the Sunwapta Pole at CRFN Television station, and the poles in Jasper. fullsizeoutput_238bI even remember having a tiny one that I bought in Banff as a child. This project became much more involved than I expected and deserves its own post, so watch for that one next Sunday.

I looked at my list and I have completed 8 items. Not bad for six months! I have 10 more to attempt. Now it is summer, I can safely explore some of the ravines with my pal Captain. The small town exploration begins next Friday, I have the day off (Thanks Flex Time!) and intend to visit Lacombe and the Farmer’s Market. Calmar and Vegerville are also on that list. It is nice to have things to look forward to. So how do you organize your goals and plan your time?

2017: The Epic 50th Year

If you sat me down a year ago and asked me where I thought I might be December 29, 2017, I would not have guessed this. I think that is the biggest takeaway from this year is not knowing what is around the corner is normal and can have wonderful surprises.

I felt the sting of betrayal, the exhaustion of health issues, the joy of appreciation, the pride of ability and the excitement of exploration.

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2017 had me exploring more of my surroundings that I had not seen before. I crossed the new bridge in Terwillegar, tasted some of the best coffee in the city, saw a sea star clinging to rocks in the ocean, visited 4 National Parks, started a new job, had meaningful and grownup conversations with my brother, was visited by death,  read the most exquisite words and dumped the worst books that I could not get through. I learned that success is not a dollar value or a title and now I feel sad for people who do. I learned fighting for victims is possibly the most important work I do. (my children and I have talked about the world and where it is headed. History is a great learning lesson and we are doomed to repeat it. I said, “I am the kind of person who will hide people to keep them safe”. They both responded with, “so are we.” I felt great pride know their values are set.)

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I learned spending free time on things I don’t like is wasting my life. If I read a book that is terrible, I close it. If I taste something not worth the calories, I don’t finish it. I don’t hug people I don’t like. I make an effort to spend time with people who mean something to me. I take 30 minutes each day for meditation, it is more important than work. Work in a place that aligns with your values, it is not my life but I spend a lot of time there so having it fit with me is important. Loyalty is precious, don’t abuse it and only give where deserved.

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I gave up things that no longer matter or bring me joy, the NHL was the first to go. I still do not drink pop of any kind and gave up aspartame 31 months ago and all carbonated beverages are going. That includes beer so it is leaving my pallet this year. Participating in events that I dread or resent, not going to happen this year.

I learned it is okay to let goals go. I worked with a young gal (Emily) who had a long time life goal of becoming a doctor. One day she realized he had everything she wanted and being a Doctor was not part of her story any longer. She had the courage to say, its okay to let that goal go. She picked a new one and changed her life. We celebrated by taking a lovely walk in Mill Creek. I admire her and have learned more from her than most people in my life. She is a beautiful human. I cry just thinking about how powerful her belief in herself is. I made big changes because I was inspired by her, Thank you Emily <3.

I achieved every goal I set out for myself in 2017:

I meditated every day. As of today, I have meditated 383 consecutive days for a total of 170 hours and 52 minutes. I credit this to be the single most important thing I did for myself and it brought significant change. Sitting with yourself in silence for 30 minutes every day is the best gift you can give yourself.

  • I am calmer
  • I let go of things that are not important
  • I can see what is important and meaningful to me
  • I smile more
  • Things (purchased items) no longer have meaning
  • I appreciate people are doing the best they can with the knowledge and tools they have

I set a goal to read 35 books, I read 43 and likely will have read 44 by New Year’s Eve.

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The best book I read this year was by Elizabeth Strout, Anything is Possible. My favorite book of all time is My name is Lucy Barton by the same author. Lucy visits Anything is Possible and it was like catching up with an old friend. It is my favorite for personal reasons and how it made me feel when I could relate to the story.

I did something epic for my 50th Birthday. I had intended to visit New York City. It was a long time goal but circumstances had me changing my mind. Instead, I went to Tofino and it was the best vacation I have had in 50 years. I consider myself to be well traveled. This vacation was valuable.

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I went on as many adventures with my pal Captain as I could. As my health improves, I suspect we will go on even greater adventures together. I hope to bring him to Vancouver in the spring so he can visit the ocean and bark at harbor seals.

I fought for friendship and let other friends go. This falls into the “I know what is important” category. I chose kindness and learned fun can also be kind.

I supported my children unconditionally. I refuse to squash my children’s dreams. I will not warn them of peril or talk them into doing something they will hate. When they say to me, “I want to do/try/experience…” I say okay. I ask what their plan is and then I ask if they need help from me. I am watching them become amazing humans and living the life I wish I had the courage to live at their age. Happily, I have that courage now.

I made epic mistakes too. I asked for advice when I wasn’t ready to hear it. Actually, I thought I would get positive and uplifting support. I didn’t. It pushed me back into darkness. I am working on getting that sparkle back. I did learn who I can trust and who I need to hold at arm’s length.

I learned family is pretty damn important. But not all family are your people. Family can mean friends too. My parents and my children are my people. I have 7 friends who are my people. You know who you are, if you are thinking” am I her people?” you probably are if I eat breakfast with you, drink wine/coffee with you or talk/text to you on the phone.

So what will 2018 bring? I have no idea. I have decided to just let things happen and be the observer of my life. I will not manipulate circumstance to make things the way I think I should have them. I have set goals because I do not want to be a sloth, life doesn’t happen by sitting on the sofa, adventure is out there!

2018 Goals:

  1. Meditate for 30 minutes daily.
    • I created a nice little spot in my room to help with consistency. I journal about it on a blog I have created. It helps me see the progress/change I am experiencing. If you are interested in following it, contact me and I can give you the address or FB page. I am keeping trolls out.
  2. Write daily.
    • As with any practice, a daily occurrence is important. I will either blog/journal or work on my book.
  3. Protect Privacy.
    • Trolls feed on personal knowledge. I am sharing my privacy with important people.
  4. Be kind
    • I will ask myself every night as I review my day, “Where could I have done better?” Did I say something that was unkind? Could I have helped someone? We don’t get better without self-reflection, this will be my learnings.

I have 3 more goals that I will keep private – as part of #3’s goal. This makes me feel empowered.

I hope you also had a wonderful 2017 and learned many new things. Here is to continuing my epic 50th year and embracing the learnings that come with it.

Happy New Year my loyal readers!

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Its a New Day

resolutions

Everyone has been talking about resolutions. When I started the Edmonton Tourist Project, I gave up resolutions because they set me up for failure and that was a never ending nightmare I wanted to escape from. I always looked at resolutions as the societal pressure to conform into something the same as everyone else. The yardstick (or meter stick) that people expected youth be measured with.

Yeah….about that conform nonsense…

I won’t do that any more.

I have also spent the last 7 years deflecting comments from people about what I should write and what I shouldn’t.

Also….about that….

I don’t care what you think I should do.

I have spent a lifetime trying to be what everyone thinks I should be. 7 years ago I started exploring what I wanted to be, explored who I am and what I like and let me tell you – not one of those things that I am is anything remotely what you think I should be. So now that we have covered that – I think we can move forward.

But before we do, I just want to mention  those people who actually called me into their office, or called me on the phone or sent me a private message about what I was learning about me – their lives have spiralled into a sad abyss. They are not the people that should mentor others or give advice. But isn’t that always the case? The people who need the most help are the ones deflecting away from themselves. Pretty concerned about me but not so much about them.

Thanks, I’m good. I muddle along daily just fine. I make mistakes and screw up big time but that is when I have my greatest learning lesson. Its a pretty important step for me. Thanks, but, I’ll land on my feet. Everything is always okay in the end, if its not okay – then you are not at the end yet.

Back to resolutions. I don’t make them but I do set goals for myself. I found that goals are a healthy way to stay focused, live in mindful moments and feel success. I have set a few new goals for myself this year.

  • Write more! That sounds vague. I write weekly, every Sunday I set time aside to write my book(s). When an outside obligation comes up – Hello Christmas – that annoyed me. It shouldn’t but it did. I felt like I gave up an important part of who I am. What I should have done was reschedule that time. I will next time. I also want to blog more. Now that I know the difference between writing and blogging – its subtle but it is different – I think I can manage both. The more I write, the better I get at it. Just like anything I suppose. Practice makes perfect, or at least practice means I am not perfect and need work, so keep practicing.

 

  • Read every day. I read a lot. I will go through 50 books a year, that is almost 1 book a week. Its a lot. I have changed my goal on GoodReads to be 35 books this year. Also a lot but when I set up a goal I work really hard to complete it. So I will read anything. I don’t want to read just anything any more. I want to read great meaningful books. My favourite book last year was My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout. You cannot become a great writer if you don’t read. Ask Stephen King. He said you want to be a writer? Read a book. Its true. The more I read, the more I write, the better I am getting. So my goal this year is to read great books and review them here. Likely Mondays. Got a great book I should read? Tell me about it. I am finding as I move forward people suggest books and I often say “read it, read it, read it” Hopefully I will find new and great reads this year. I have 5 on my night stand waiting for me. January 1st and I have finished my first book of the year. Easy to do when you are sick in bed.

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  • Explore Edmonton! I am after all the Edmonton Tourist so its a good fit. Canada turns 150 July first. I turn 50 August 16. Between us, we have had some great adventures. I am going to explore some of the Canada 150 events this year and I will tell you about them. I ordered my National Park Pass and plan to do some great National Park Day trips – I live super close to Elk Island National Park – where the Buffalo Roam and the Deer and the Antelope play… Well…Bison and deer play as well as some coyotes and wolves. So Cap and I will be exploring that more. I also see some Jasper National Park visits and likely a trip or two to Banff. Why Not? I live so close and its a world class destination! If you see me and Cap, stop and say hey!

Get ready – I am looking forward to a great year.

 

Plan A revised

img_2478It was a tough week for me.

My baby girl became an official adult. Work stress is beginning to feel like burn out. I’m too tired to relax and have fun at night. I am ready for an extended couple of days off but that is not around the corner. My usual stress decompress was missed last week and I fear it may be missed this week too.

I blame the burbs. At the time I moved in to the burbs I felt it was important. I chose my home based on school district and individual schools for my children. Living in the neighbourhood of the preferred school just made it simpler. Studies showed that schools where families have the same values about education helped promote secondary education for your own children.

Here we are with two adult children and no one remotely considering University …yet.

And I have no one to blame but myself.

I went back to school at the age of 43. Proof that school will always be there.

School is over-rated. AND ridiculously expensive.

I loved it for the most part. But I also discovered that what I loved about school, I can achieve on my own without the cost. I plain and simply love learning. I love research and I love solving problems. Non of this is education institution exclusive.

Both my kids are headed down an non-traditional career path. When you throw in conventional education, it suddenly alters the course of where they want to go. Now that they are both adults and understand responsibility, they know what needs to be done to get to their goal. I have stepped back and watched it happen before my eyes. I am there to catch them, but mostly they know where I stand. They often hear me say, “I do not care what you do as long as it isn’t hurtful to others and it productive to you and not self-destructive. Choose where you want to go and NO PLAN B. You can’t give your Plan A 100% focus if you have a plan B”

Plan B’s are for when you outgrow your goal and need a new path. I have had many paths. There is always time to reinvent yourself. I am living proof. I often defend my children as fiercely as any mother bear. “This is their choice. What worked or didn’t work for you is not our concern. My children have their own goals, their own life and their own mistakes to make. You have your own children….go be their parent.”

So with that said – my plan A is done. I need a new plan. I hate the burbs.

I want to live in one of two places. Either Edmonton’s River Valley or really close to it because that is my playground. Or I want to live in Vancouver because it is my other playground. I love both equally and have a magnet pull to be there. But my house is still full of people who need my support for a while longer.

I feel restless today. Usually that means heading to the valley with my dog and wondering around in nature because even though it is in the middle of the city, it feels like the middle of no where. I live 25km from the river valley. I need my car. My son is at work and has my car. I know everyone is thinking, “Why can he take the bus?” He can, but we live in the burbs in the City of Edmonton. It has THE WORST TRANSIT SYSTEM IN THE WORLD! a 2o minute drive to his place of work on a Saturday is the equivalent of a 2 hour one-way trip on the bus. So I let him have my car. My dog won’t go in the hubs car. He just won’t, 75lbs is a lot to lift into a car, so I won’t force him.

I want to live and play in my playground. I have earned that. This is now my new Plan A. I have no use for plan Bs

Dear Universe, I ask that you help me figure out how to move to the Valley or to Vancouver by Summer 2017.

I want to live surrounded by trees.

I want that peaceful feeling I get when I sit on a bench overlooking water.

I just don’t have that here in the burbs. I no longer feel like this is my home, its just easy.

It is easy because I don’t have to do anything. It is easy because it is familiar. It is easy because it is the same. Easy does not mean awesome. I have never been that girl who was satisfied with just good enough.

I do not need a big home. I do not need STUFF bursting from my closets.

I need a window, sunshine streaming in my room, a comfortable chair, a coffee pot and a shower that is roomy, a bed big enough to stretch and a short distance to my playground.

I have created a space that was nurturing and homey for my children. They are now grown. Now it is time to look after me. My plan is in place, and now I need to take the steps to get there.

Plan A it is.

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Yuge!

I was scrolling through my feed today and came across two very different posts from women friends of long ago whom I still admire greatly.

One has always been afraid of living huge (YUGE! with a Scottish dialect) and she has found herself taking risks and trying out new things in pursuit of her dreams and goals. I am excited for her. She has so much laid out in front of her that is ripe for the picking. The other has always lived huge, not afraid of risks and trying new things. She has had to pull back and cocoon her family. Nurture them and care for them at the expense of her goals. I love this about her. Her life is intertwined with her family, therefore she is holding them close.

Both women are strong, brilliant feminists.

I have been so inspired by both these women. They have embraced the fear and made positive choices because the need is greater than the fear.

I have been licking my wounds lately. There is something so peaceful about pulling back, reflecting and taking that quiet moment before moving forward.

Fear is a powerful deterrent.

Fear is a huge obstacle.

It is getting in my way of moving forward.

I am in the processes of figuring out some things, like if the current trajectory I am on is the best for me. There are things I really like about it but currently there are things I dislike about it more. So is it worthwhile still pursuing?

That is the thing about goals. I feel the need to see them through, I hate quitting. But if it doesn’t feel right and is stressful, is it worthwhile? Will the feeling of accomplishment be worth it in the end when the people you are working with have a very different point of view? Will we meet the end goal in just a different way than we first thought? Maybe.

I miss living huge.

I have done so many amazing things and my last amazing thing put in a place where I have to pull back on the huge part. I ran out of money to do huge. By no means is money the part that gives a huge meaning to my life, it just really helped with checking off the bucket list items.

I think my problem is I do not have a goal in front of me that I feel like pursuing. That is a big deal. I have not lived with a goal in front of me for 6 years. I feel lost.

There was a time where physical goals were my focus. That has changed to some degree. I have been given the green light to pursue a 5km. Something I am not all that sure I care very much about other than it is important for my health to keep moving. I have lost my mojo towards it. I am sure it has something to do with the fear of the excruciating pressure that builds up in my brain when I do this. So for now, walking is lovely, but it doesn’t feel like an accomplishment.

Education was a huge goal for me. I still think I want to go further in pursuit of Women in Leadership. But that takes cash that I cannot ask my family for.  I can always go back. This one will wait for me. Universe…when you have some spare cash laying around, throw it my way so I can go to Royal Roads please.

Career goals. My career is on track, I quite like what I do and the people I work with. It doesn’t keep me up at night and it is diverse enough to keep me entertained without boredom. What more could someone ask for? Oh right, a raise…. A raise would help with my lack of cash issue. But as quality of life goes, it is pretty darn great.

Family goals. I finally feel like I can worry less about my children and let them figure out their stuff. My son complained to me that I was “too chill” and I let him be too independent when he wanted to be held closer. Well, sorry? I knew independence was best for him AND me in the long run, so that is what I did. We had major bumps along the road but he is standing on his own two feet currently. Sure I will catch him if he needs me too, but right now, it is sweet relief that he is well sorted and on his way. My daughter is not too far behind, she has goals laid out before her and is in hot pursuit of them. I worry about her much less than her brother because she also communicates very well and I know what is going on with her. She is golden.

House goals. My house is in need of some TLC. Paint, flooring, furniture and a roof. I will paint it this summer. Bring it back into its former glory. Then perhaps sell it, or not. I don’t want to live in the burbs. But I am not so sure I want to live in this city either. This is where I feel restless. I feel like I am in limbo and get resistance from other members of my family when I bring up the subject of moving.

Friendship goals. I started a book club because I am searching for intellectual conversation about fictional worlds and how they relate to the world around us. This is a good substitute for the Education I am wanting. I am also on the lookout for a book club of strangers – perhaps at my local bookshop. I want to discuss books, not participate in social events. I don’t want to get too close to more people, but I want to hear what they think. This may be a tall order. People in my experience tend to get emotional and social at these kinds of events. Emotional discourse fatigues me. I have “cleaned house” of the people who have me sitting in anger. I don’t want that for my life. I want peace. I want to stop hurting every time I go do something that is supposed to be fun.  Perhaps I am not cut out for lots of people in my life. I do prefer the company of silence. But I know I am self-destructive too. When something cuts to the quick, I am dump it and fast. Maybe I need more of the same rather than different. Finding people who share the same values as me is harder than I thought. I value Loyalty, Kindness, Respect and Honesty. I give these and expect them in return. I am shocked and disgusted with the political discourse in the United States. Why is being kind and respectful such a hard thing for people?

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So this leaves me no closer with my want of HUGE. I feel like I am treading water trying to find land.

I think perhaps if I fill my life with structure the goals may manifest before me.

  • I will set aside Sunday Mornings for time with my writing. It is painful right now, I have got to the part where there is conflict and it makes me cry as I write it down. I think this is the best I have ever written so the emotional strife I am feeling is worth it.
  • I will set time aside on Saturdays to explore my world with my pup. I am a better human to live with when I ground myself in the parks of Edmonton. I will visit every River Valley Park this summer. Apparently there are 20, that is a good start. Maybe I will reinstate the traditional Family Picnic we used to do every Friday night.
  • One closet at a time. I need to simplify, I am going to purge one closet/cupboard/storage at a time until my world is free of clutter. This always makes me sleep better. I want to be minimalist where my family is not. Today I will tackle the space under the sink.

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Like it or not, I now have 3 goals laid out before me. The meditative tasks of two of them will likely help me figure out how to live large once again. Pulling back and focusing on smaller pursuits may be just what I need after my large adventure of last year. It should help with the big obstacle of fear standing in my way. Thank you my friends for being such lovely inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

So, I hear you Quit: Deuxième Partie

A week ago I wrote this: So, I hear you Quit…

Since then I have had a lot of private messages come through from fat gals like me.

When I write, I get it out and then walk away. I haven’t given much thought to the blog post since I published it. But its resonated with readers, so I went back and re-read what I wrote.

I cried all over again. DAMN YOU TOURIST PEEPS!

Okay, not really, I appreciate you and the way you make me think and feel. Apparently, you appreciate me for those same reasons.

Lots of the newsy letters and comments from you had a common theme.

  1. People are judgey
  2. Boys are mean
  3. People like it when others fail
  4. Honesty is raw and strikes a cord

Lets just get this out the of the way and then I will answer questions and respond to your comments, okay?

First things First:

Write this out and fill in the blanks, sign it and date it. Put it somewhere to light the fire you are needing to get this show on the road.

Dear (insert the name of the person who hurts you most) ______________,

I am tired of crying because of the thoughts and words that you express about me. I am tired of you telling me that I am not going to make it or I shouldn’t even try because I was not (insert adjective of your choice – in my case its READY/FIT/PREPARED).

Without your help or support I will let you know I did a myriad of things that you deemed impossible. I succeeded in spite of you and I will succeed again. And when I do, you will be the LAST PERSON ON EARTH I will celebrate with. I will turn to those who high fived me, cheered for me, cried with me, gave me a hand up, quietly supported me and secretly knew I could do it. 

I am sick to death of supporting you and being the one you lean on in this one-sided relationship. Grow a pair, and I mean ovaries because balls are just too tender and delicate for this situation. You are my emotional vampire and quite frankly I just don’t need the drama. 

When I cross the finish line/graduate/lose weight/find a career, you being there won’t make a whit of difference because you didn’t help me get there in the first place. So stay home and sulk, because it’s not about you and you wish it was. Do yourself a favour and set some goals, then maybe you will finally understand what this whole exercise is about. 

For the official record, this is my plan for the year:

I am going to (insert your major goal here)

This is how I plan to achieve it (list the steps you will take to achieve your goal here)

This is how I plan to celebrate my success (insert the celebration of choice here)

Suckit.

Sincerely,

Me (sign your name here)

Now that you have filled it out, take a deep breath.

Your person who is blocking/sabotaging/jealous of your dreams/goals/abilities is honestly not thinking all that hard about you. They don’t think you can do it, the end. They don’t lay awake at night thinking about you. They lay awake at night thinking about them. They think about stupid stuff like, how can I get what I want by getting (you) to do it for me? Or I wonder if that sale on those great boots is still on, or damn its hot in here, I hate this Old Lady Hot business.

Truth.

We all think everyone is thinking about us but its not true. WE think about us. We dwell on comments made in passing and read more into things than are necessary…. well, I do anyways. And after reading so many of your stories, a lot of you do the same thing. If I am being honest, I much rather people be judgey to my face so I can fight back than if they silently click their teeth at me and I can’t defend myself.

So on that note,lets deal with the list of common themes from you.

1. People are Judgey. Hells yes they are! But you are too. You judge them right back for being judged. Its this never ending circular movement that makes my head spin. Here is what I am going to do about it.

Do my own thing with or without approval.

Boom.

My goal will be reached. Then End. Do I care that I don’t have the support I crave? Hells yes I do! But wanting it and having it are two very different things. I will carry on and complete my goals and Boom… I win, The End. So the moral of this story? JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

2. Boys are Mean. No argument there. Boys are mean, but so are girls. That’s right, I called you on it. GIRLS ARE SO MEAN TOO! The big problem here is that males are different from females so it gets foggy in terms of hurt feelings. What one person calls truth another calls mean. its complicated. My boys were hurtful to me, but I was hurtful back. The End. Humans are stupid. Just BE NICE PEOPLE! 

3. People like it when others fail. This is human nature. I know a gal who yelled some smack that was shocking to hear. She said “someone is lying and it aint me”. True, but she was loving that the other person was failing. I wish I could say I am above this, but I heard that someone who annoys me failed and I felt smug… I didn’t want to admit it because I knew that it was shameful that I felt this way… but there was me feeling it anyways. At least I had the good sense to keep it to myself. Feelings just are. You can’t control them you can’t manipulate them, they exist without your permission. What you can do is control what you do with them. From NOT TEXTING stupid stuff, to biting your tongue when necessary. Kicking someone when they are down is inhumane and just plain cruel. You should be able to tell when a person is down, and not laughing at themselves. If you can’t, you need social queues to help you. There are books for this. But most people can figure it out. So whats the plan? JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

4. Honesty is RAW and Strikes a cord. Hells ya! You know what annoys me? When someone is just plain mean and says “I’m just being honest” Really? Or are you Judgey, mean and enjoying the fail? Honesty can take a couple of forms, 1) your friend is being an idiot and you say “What the hell are you doing? SNAP OUT OF IT MAN!” Calling someone on their actions is not the same as calling them a douche bag. Its just not. And 2) so and so did this and blablabla… That’s gossip, not honesty. Gossip is hurtful. If you wouldn’t talk to your friend about it and can’t say it to their face, its not honesty, its gossip. Totally different. Honesty can be kind and painful, but not hurtful.

Here is what I mean, 1) you are a very thoughtful person. See how that was kind and true? That’s honesty. Now, here is painful honesty, 2) when you did this _______, I felt this __________. Ouch but important to know your actions cause pain. That way you can change your act.

The bottom Line? BE NICE PEOPLE! Why is this so hard?

I don’t have an answer, I just know its hard.

So here is my goal plan:

I am running Dumbo Double Dare the September long weekend.

I am doing strength training on my knee to get it into the best possible shape before I start running again.

I will run 4 times a week, include hill training, speed work and LSDs. Core and muscle work will continue as well as weight loss.

I will cross the finish line, get my photo taken and wear my medal around my neck all damn day, then drink to my success. I am dripping with confidence.

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There you have it, my goal. Simple and it doesn’t require help. I will not turn down support, but I have enough going on that I don’t need to search for support. Once bitten, twice shy and all that jazz. I know who my supporters are, they hugged me when I failed. They will hug me when I succeed.

Boom

The End

And for crying out loud…. JUST BE NICE PEOPLE!

365 days of Awesome : Week 1 and WOW what a week!

Today is my first day off since I declared my year of Awesome Fun. I look around me and I am sitting in piles of stuff that needs attention and my eyes are a bit squinty because I am still on the sleepy side of the day (it maybe 1:14 pm MST but I had a WOW of a week and I just caught up on sleep – which is AWESOME!).

I started my new job this week and after 3 days I logged 26km of walking. The cool part is, I am keeping active during the day and this will adds loads of benefits to my overall fitness levels because I am still trying to keep up with my fitness plan – although -41C has been keeping me inside on DangerBike. I just won’t run when it is this cold for safety reasons. I am a little bit frightened of my half marathon in January, but…whatever…I’ll be in Walt Disney World, haw bad can it be?

I learned about a Beer-vent calendar and MAN I wish I knew about it in November because a different international beer a day in December sounds awesome! Next year I will give it a try.

I bought a ton on bath stuff at Bath and Body works because tub time is my favourite time of the day, me + book + bubbles = Heaven! I finally got to indulge last night because I knew I could sleep in this morning. Good thing too, because I was SO FREAKING COLD from my drive home from work at 10:00 pm, that I never ever would have fallen asleep. Best sleep EVER!

IMG_5802I have a I Heart Mickey NYC cup that I drink my water out of. It makes me stupidly happy for reason beyond comprehension. I indulge in it after coffee.

I had eggnog in my coffee this morning. Enough said.

IMG_5794My kids performed at Convocation Hall on Wednesday. Both had solo or major parts. I heard my daughter do a jazz solo on a grand piano, the kid has never had piano lessons. It was a cool experience. Their ensemble will be competing in an international competition again in California. They came in second last year. Fingers crossed they will be first this year, however…it is all about the experience, not the medal (says the mom who promotes process verses product).

A quiet morning off before I go to work is a night owl’s DREAM COME TRUE! I spent the morning laughing with my team about stupid stuff. And really, can it be more fun than laughing? I think not.

Go out there and find the fun in your day!

awesome

Read with Me: 50/50 by Dean Karnazes

Accelerade 24-Hour Endurance Run
Accelerade 24-Hour Endurance Run (Photo credit: warsze)

My son and I were having a conversation yesterday about books. He is in his senior year and is frustrated that every book he reads for English must be analyzed, it can’t be read for pure enjoyment. That’s true, I didn’t like that part of English 30 either. I liked the novel choices even less. I remember my English teacher saying things like “poor tragic Catherine” From Wuthering Heights or her hands making the motion for “out out damn spot” from MacBeth. For me it was the fact that I HAD to read the book. I confess to buying the Coles notes version of both books and it wasn’t until much later that I read Wuthering Heights for – gulp – fun.  My son gets to read Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Poor old tragic Willy Loman. I remember reading it and can’t remember why or for which class. I remember think Biff was an ungrateful slug, but now that years have changed me, I think a little differently. It takes courage to pursue your own dream and not the dream of your parents. I will look forward to that discussing with my son, although we already had a version of that topic. The big “What should I take in university?” question. We sorted that out and came to the decision that school is an opportunity to learn more than you knew the day before. Take courses that interest you and if you are lucky, you can follow a career path in that direction. Too many people get caught up in something because they perceive they are making their parents happy, then they turn 43 and go back to school to take something that interests them instead.  The pursuit of the dream is a powerful thing. If you have never done it I highly recommend it.

I read Dean Karnazes 50/50 and I rate it 3.5 out of 5. In case you don’t know, Karnazes is an amazing athlete who discovered during a midlife crisis that he is indeed a runner. Not just a 5km runner, he is the kind of fellow who packs his credit card and goes, often without a plan and 31 miles later, calls for pizza take out to be delivered to some street corner so he can eat on the run. This guy is an amazing human specimen. As with many runners, he had a dream. He wanted to run a marathon in every state with his family driving a RV and meeting  up with him at various destinations.

book-50-50I have to admit, this idea intrigues me. I love destination races, I love the variety of new routes and I love the concept of having a’crew’ to take care of things so the athlete can just run. It takes some real influential conversation to convince someone that driving behind them at 8 miles/hour will be fun. It also takes some convincing that living in a RV for 50 days driving from race to race will also be fun. The crew worries about food, first aid – have you ever seen a runners foot? At best it is ugly, at worse the skin hangs like rags from blisters gone bad. It isn’t pleasant ever. Then there is the moaning and groaning of muscles that seize up, not to mention the amount of food that needs to be consumed so the runner doesn’t lose so much weight that they can’t hold their body upright. Convincing someone to be the crew is a big deal. Particularly when you want to run a marathon every day for the summer.

Karnazes’ wife Julie, was on it. She supports him in all his adventure so she was planning this trip. He went to find sponsors to help fund it. He was already sponsored by NorthFace and thought they would help him out. That was when the planning went sideways. NorthFace planed a 50/50 tour. 50 consecutive marathons in 50 States. First off, the travel is nuts, second, there isn’t time for proper muscle recovery, third, his family couldn’t come. His point was not so much the 50 marathons, but the holiday with his family.

He goes on to explain details from every single race that include the good, the bad and the hideous. Karnazes appears super human. I enjoyed the beginning of the books and loved some of the details but his advice for beginning runners when starting out made me laugh. Run 18 minutes to start? HA! Listen pal, that is assuming new runners have a level of fitness that allows the to do that. most new runners are 40 and are getting in shape for the first time in their life. Is diet tips are kooky too. But the man understands the beauty of the Ultra.  This reason alone is worth the read. He is simply amazing in his athletic ability. The guy ran 24 hours on a treadmill and didn’t slit his wrists! That alone is amazing!

This 50/50 provided me with some much needed inspiration and concept ideas for a project I am working on.

But I will talk about that later….

Happy Reading!