Greatness

"Greatness"
“Greatness” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been feeling frustrated and caged as of late. I am finding patience as I learn to do less while recovering from a respitory ailment. The lack of Oxygen has been an issue creating barrier. From loading the dishwasher to walking up stairs, breathing is difficult. Then there is the is factor of the summer is half over. I have been in the mist of enjoying 64 Days of Awesome and trying something fun every day. I have 32 days left. Not one part of my summer has gone as planned. Funny how that works out. Making plans and then you are thrown a curveball.

I have been sitting anxiously waiting for my phone to ring and all I hear is crickets… It is enough to suck me back into the dark vortex of depression again. Can’t let that happen. I do believe there is a reason for everything, I just need to let it happen as it may, I’ve done all the work I can. Now I wait and see and keep moving forward with life.

This morning feels like a day I had a very long time ago. My parents left for vacation without me. They went to Jamaica and left me with my Grandma. That summer was hot during the day and raining at night. The air was cool in the morning while we ate breakfast on the patio. My Grandpa engaged me in a conversation about career choices. He said “Robbie, you’re a smart kiddo. Pick something that will use your brains every day so you don’t have to work hard.”

I now understand that he meant physical labour. But as I reflect on what he said, I know there was more to it than those simple words. The trick is finding what you are meant to do, then attacking it with vigor using the brains I was blessed with. It becomes a mental game. Just like last summer when I completed my first half marathon. It was 90% mental and 10% muscle memory. I trained hard, my body knew what to do. If I let the focus of the goal lose power, I wouldn’t have had a hope in finishing. I used my brains to see me through to the finish. The mental power of tenacity and determination. I suspect I will need that mental toughness to get me through another year until I complete my degree. I am nearly there and want to kick it up a notch to complete the task sooner than expected. It has become obvious to me that to advance forward, I need that paper. It’s not just the paper the degree is written on. Apparently I could buy one for $500, according to DGreezRus. That does not teach me about struggle, elevating the level of my performance and facing fear.

I need to find the something people are looking for when filling a position that is entirely foreign to my work experience. Changing a career path halfway through your life is difficult. It is like looking at the brass ring that is just slightly out of reach as you spin round on the merry-go-round. I know I can do it. I know I will be great at it. I know I need to find the person who is willing to give me a chance. I promise I will not disappoint.

It is unfortunate society demands children decide their own career fate. I had no idea at the age of 18 what I wanted to be. I heard people telling me what I should do and what I would be good at. It never really was my passion. 27 years later, I think I have found my passion. It includes writing, planning, communicating and forward thinking. It requires reflection of self and job. It requires structure and deadlines, stress and laughter. It requires me to think before I act and not drift through on autopilot because it is simple and mundane.

Until that moment, I will strive to make it happen and have my everyday become what I envision. I will have my days filled with my passion so I can conquer the mundane.

And talk to Jude Law about narrating my life along the way…

The Master Jedi Dishwasher

I was out with the girls the other day when we stumbled upon this lovely gem of a sign:

What struck me was two things, 1> the title – Master Jedi! It gave importance to the role of Dishwasher. It made me want to quit my job and work there! I bet it is amazing to be able to float the dishes into the sink from the counter. I need to perfect my Jedi skills first.

And 2> Apply with resume? Seriously? I wash dishes all the time. At work, at home at my mother’s when she has us over for dinner. It’s a simple process really. Fill the sink with hot soapy water. Add dirty dishes. Wipe with cloth. Place on counter to dry – OR have someone else dry them for you. Simple. Done. If one of those newfangled dishwashers are involved, well, I’m sure it comes with an instruction manual.

It made me think about my current position. My job title is SNA. Sure that acronym stands for something. It stands for words that explain what I do. BORING. Nothing half as exciting as Jedi Master. I have decided I need to jazz up my job title. If it is fabulous enough I am going to submit it to our HR person and ask for a formal job title change. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Super Narly Academic – I like how it makes me sound smart and cool in a disgusting way
  • Saber-tooth Neanderthal Alternative – I like the way it makes me sound aggressive
  • Soothsaying NASA Antagonist – again it makes me sound brilliant (thanks to the NASA part) yet it also says all knowing pain in the ass,which is also true!

I am open to suggestions. I need to spice up my Job Title. Maybe something that comes with a red cape might be nice…

Putting My Best Foot Forward

Today was wacky. I had a heated conversation with a colleague about what I know and don’t know. I was so angry by the time the conversation was over I wanted to walk out never to return. Instead I kept my composure, defended my position and used conversation skills I have learned in my course. Does it matter in the end? No not really. I was seriously offended though. I put it aside and went swimming instead of stewing about it. My arms hurt but I feel good. I thought about why she might say those things to me. Clearly we do not share the same belief system or values. I was questioned as to why I work so hard at what I do if I am not loving it any more. To me the answer is simple. If you do a job, do it well or go home. Just letting things “go” or ignoring situations is just not how I was raised. My Grandfather would be rolling over in his grave and my mother would ground me. I have set goals for myself and I know I will not achieve them if I do not put my best foot forward. I need to shout those goals to the Universe so everyone knows what my intentions are. Do you hear that Universe? I do not want to keep my regular position anymore, I want more.

To achieve those goals I need to remind myself of beliefs and values that are important to me. Genetic Offspring showed me his Power Point Presentation on Beliefs for his Religion class. It has inspired my list. I am writing them down because I need the reminder.

  1. Family First Always. Sometimes I forget how much my family means to me. I am not just referring to the ones living in my house. I mean the ones down the street, across town, in another city and over oceans. Family is my reason for almost everything.
  2. Doing the Right Thing is hardly ever easy. I wish it was easy. If everything was easy, life would be boring. However, would it kill you universe to make some things easy?
  3. Great Wisdom often comes from children. I have learned amazing things from my children. I don’t just mean the answer to scientific questions, but the maturity my children deal with social issues, personal problems and road blocks inspires me to be better. I think all parents can learn from their children. If you are childless, you can still eaves drop on conversations of children. Not only are the a great source of entertainment but profound things often come out of those mouths.
  4. Trust your instincts. There is a little voice or a feeling. Its something or someone trying to tell you something. Listen to that gut feeling. It is usually right. Trust yourself, you have your best interest at heart. Don’t let yourself down.
  5. Show Kindness to others. You would think this would be easy. I see children who don’t know how to be kind to each other. We need to teach that. It isn’t instinctual. My ChatterBox is the kindest person I know.
  6. Magic/Miracles/Pixie Dust are real if you believe in hard work. All of it will happen if you work for it. Look at me, I am working hard for it, a little pinch of Pixie Dust and I’ll have my goals in my pocket.
  7. Nurture yourself. I never use to believe this. I have started practicing it. It’s true, it makes a difference. You have to love yourself first then other things fall into place.
  8. No is as important as Yes. Learning to say no has been liberating. It ties in with nurturing myself. Hard to do, but essential.
  9. Yes is as important as No. Saying yes to things you normally wouldn’t do is also liberating. Hard to do, but essential.
  10. Family First Always – but don’t forget you are part of the family too.

Fake IT!

Have you ever faked it? No? Be honest… you have so! We all have.

I was attending a Professional Development today I found to be very thought provoking. The speaker asked this question, Do you think it is okay to let the people you work with know if you are having a bad day? My immediate response was yes, of course it is! We are all human. Then he brought up other another point. If you have been saving all year to fly to New York to attend a Broadway Play starring Julia Roberts. She is a bit crabby and not “feeling it” today. She walks on stage and mumbles her lines. Would you be so understanding? NO WAY! I would be ticked off!I know I am ticked off when Hockey Players don’t bring their “A” game – are you listening Edmonton Oilers?

The same holds true for going to work everyday. I don’t know about you, but I love to be around the people who smile everyday, seem happy to be there, and have a genuine positive attitude about what they do. Being around positive happy behavior, breeds positive, happy behavior! It makes me WANT to come to work. If you are grouchy, never smile, complain about everything, chances are you do not have positive relationship with your co-workers. This would breed negative, gossiping behavior. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be around someone like that everyday – ALL DAY. The sad reality is, I did work with people like that.

Working in a negative environment made me feel physically ill. I called in sick a lot. I bought copious amount of lottery tickets. Although it is important to like the work you do, it is equally important to like the people you work with.

I do know it is possible to start the seeds of change by bringing the positive attitude to work everyday. You may not feel like it, but before you walk through those doors into your office, slap a smile on your face. Fake it. Be polite! Start speaking in a positive tone. Avoid, “I can’t” and substitute “I’ll try”. Before you know it, you are not faking it, you are living it.

I know this can spill over into your every day life. For example: Someone makes a cup of Folgers coffee and hands you a hot steamy cup. Please do not take a sip and respond with, “What the hell is in my mouth?”. The polite, kind and fake thing to say is “Thank you! How lovely that you brought me a cup of coffee!” You don’t have to finish it. Let it sit on your desk, get busy, then reply “Oh dear, I got so busy I forgot to drink my coffee!”

I’m sure you can apply this “fake it” system into everyday life. It can build relationships! My friend User ( so called because she keeps EVERYTHING until she finds a use for it) always says, “Fake it ’till you make it.” Excellent advice! It works for everything you are shy about, or feel insecure about too! Walking in a neighborhood you shouldn’t be in? Walk with confidence, fake like you are the one suppose to be there. No one will mess with you!  Have to stand up in front of 100s of people to talk about something you are sure will bore them to death? Fake it! Act like they paid to come see you! Before you know it YOU will believe it.

Apparently it works for physical work outs too.

Fake it ’till you make! I am about to jump ahead with both feet taking huge risks to be apart of a new adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, I think I will need some of that fakeness tomorrow to get the ball rolling.

 

What’s in a Name?

I was sitting in a staff meeting last week talking with a colleague (who I refer to as  Trophi Girl – her nick-name will make a great blog another day) …well laughing, not talking…about names. Names are important! So please spell it correctly! I always feel devastated when I spell someone’s name wrong. I really feel for kids when their parents give them a name with odd-ball spelling. Trophi Girl has unusual spelled name – easy to spell but there is an I where a Y should be. That’s ok, I can remember and spell it correctly every time.

We weren’t laughing about names of people though, we were laughing about business names. Both of us are in agreement that people who name their business should really ask people, friends and strangers to give feed back before buying the sign. Every time Trophi Girl drives down Whyte Avenue, she passes the Wee Wee Massage Parlor. This had me holding my sides in laughter!  She the explained it was WEI WEI Massage Parlor, now we have no idea if you pronounce it WEE or WAY or WHY , but to us it looks like it might be WEE.  Of course now I drive by it and laugh by myself in my car. Sure people stare, they want in on the joke too!

This had me thinking of other unfortunate names. I did some research.

1. Schickhaus Meats in New Jersey. Mr. Schickhaus, I recommend you make people say it slow not fast.

2. Hand Job Nails and Spa in Castro District, San Francisco, CA . PLEASE tell me you were inebriated when you chose that name!

3. Dildo Run Provincial Park, Newfoundland Canada. Ok, ok… they are Newfies and KNEW the  meaning and are still having a great laugh! Thus is the beauty of Newfie Screech!

4.   Some times words are not enough

5. Seriously? Your mom was ok with that name?

6. Must have been a tough name to go through school with!

7. Oh come ON! You are a contractor! You MUST hear the jokes!!

8. Really? That is the only Reputation you have?

9.This is my very favorite. I want to go here. It looks like they do a thorough check!

I now get the beauty of a numbered company. Names are important.

I don’t want any Chocolate…It Must be Serious!

I received some news on Friday that has upset me all weekend, and by upset I mean I don’t want any chocolate. I know…it MUST be serious.

A person I greatly admire and respect, is moving on to other opportunities. I want to be excited for her, but all I feel is an overwhelming sense of loss. I was prepared for her to announce her retirement very soon, and by soon meaning – within the next five years. That way I could be “moved on” first, not last. That is when I realized I am not in control of this situation.

We all know how I like to participate in decisions being made, and by saying decisions –  I really mean telling you what to do. After all I enjoy it when Bossy Boots comes out to play. I love making decisions for other people. I love it because it enables me to live vicariously through their lives. That keeps it safe for me. My life then continues on at a steady pace, with me reaching out to attain my own goals from a safe distance. I don’t get hurt that way.

Off she will go, to brave new worlds and new situations (yes I watched Star Trek this weekend, but I am not quoting it word for word!) and to delve into uncharted waters. I guess I am envious. There is a situation in my own life that has me thinking about change. The thrill of the challenge, building a team that would need me in a way I am not needed where I am. It sounds so tantalizing and exciting. I really want to be a part of it. But that is me ALL OVER! I am always wanting to be in the thick of it, then cry because I am tired or stressed. This time, I am holding my tongue. I am standing back and only wishing it was me. The reality of my situation is I have enough going on in my life, so I need to be thankful for the challenges I do have and not create more. The Pity Party is at the table next to me, I am not going to invite myself over this time.

I am going to congratulate my friend and wish her all the best luck the world has to offer. I will wave good bye with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face. I am not being left behind, I just have a different job to do. This Tourist needs to remember that.

It’s Time to Get Things Started, It’s Time to Light the Lights…

The Muppet Show
Image via Wikipedia

I have come to the conclusion that my life has become a series of Muppet Show moments, and I am Kermit the Frog trying to orchestrate all the zany characters of my life. This morning as I left for work… I need to back up to the night before.

Last night no, I need to back up further. Several nights ago I bought some anti-nausea medication for my upcoming trip. On extended flights I can become quite ill, mostly because of the recycled air in the airplane cabin. The anti-nausea meds work quite well for both Chatter Box and I, and has the added benefit of blissful unconscious sleep. My honey, in his infinite wisdom decided to try an anti-nausea meds last night to see if it would have any adverse effects on him. In the morning, he had errands to run because of the last minute detail planning I have done. We talked about the plans the night before, but before I left for work there was a “WAIT! What do I need to do?”  He made a list the night before but he was very groggy and didn’t seem to understand a thing I was saying.

Years before when we took our eldest child at the ripe old age of 7 months to Australia. This meant 27 hours of airports and airtime. I don’t recommend it with a 7 month old but hind sight is 20/20. I was quite ill on the way down under. For the trip back I decided to take an anti-nausea med in Hawaii for the last leg of the trip. I took it in the hotel. After that I do not remember a thing until my parents picked us up in Edmonton. I do not remember changing planes in Vancouver. Nothing, that part of my history is a total blank. My poor Honey dragged me, 3 pieces of luggage, 2 carry-on, a baby AND me through 3 airports. Needless to say, I was not the favorite person on that trip.

So Karma came to visit me this morning and she wasn’t very kind. I talked to my honey 3 times about the list and left for work, stopping to treat myself to a Cafe Latte. By the time I got to work, I learned that all our money that we had been saving and converting into Euros was ( insert foreboding music here) was GONE! Well, isn’t that just craptastic! The first thing out of his mouth was, where did you put it? Excuse me? I wasn’t planning this trip, yes it was hard for me but I let others take the reins. I listed several possibilities of where the money could be. We have since learned that Honey is a squirrel. Money here, money left in this place, and money other there! Back and forth went text messages and emails and a few phone calls. Work was stressful enough. Clients had called me names, and not very flattering names. So I was dealing with this and putting out fires at home. Happily my partner was back, so we were at full complement. Work moved along at a fairly smooth rate. By lunch time, I had received email from my mother telling me about some details in Europe. She explained things to me in such a way that I needed to reassure her that her bossy daughter would be there soon and together we would rule the world! Well, our portion of it anyways. I explained to her about the Muppet Show Shenanigans that had happened earlier in the morning. I could feel her laugh from around the world. The good news is our money was not lost, squirreled away. All the money is found and orders have been given in regards to packing.

I am feeling better about things because I let Bossy Boots out of the box. I am going to let her come with me, clearly she will be needed. She packed the “Just in Case” bag and is thrilled at the opportunity to go to Europe. Even if it is with the Muppets.

Here are two videos for you to watch while I am gone. Hopefully they will remind you of me. It’s okay if you miss me,because I will miss you too!

Please Don’t Tell Me Anything, My Brain is Already Full.

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London
Image via Wikipedia

Today was one of those “bone weary” days. I know you get them. The kind where your joints and muscles ache, your skin hurts, and your eyes hurt to look at stuff. I brought it all on myself.

I had the intention of going to bed early-ish last night. Early for me is between 10:oo and 11:00 pm. I am a night owl. I feel recharged after dark and do not understand the need for early-risers to be so chipper ( yes honey this means you). Life got in the way last night, between writing letters to political members and watching Craig Ferguson, I procrastinated long enough that I went to bed 15 minutes before the pumpkin hour.

The stress is starting to build in my new Tourist Life. You know how I can tell? I cannot remember a single thing I am supposed to do. My brain fell out. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear I have pregnancy brain. I don’t, there is no way I am pregnant. If I was I would give the baby to my sister for Christmas. No, that is not the problem, but I think I know what is.

My Brain is Full.

Who knew there was a capacity? I thought there was a potential for infinite learning! So the question now is, how do I let go of the stuff I don’t need? My dad calls it a fountain of useless knowledge. I know a lot of crazy and obscure facts. Like…Who holds the record for the longest Goal Scoring streak on the Edmonton Oilers?

A> Wayne Gretzky?

B> Dave Lumely?

C>Ryan Smythe?

D> Paul Coffee?

Nope you are wrong – except my friend from Jr. High who knows this stuff too. B> Dave Lumely. Or this one, It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Or did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. If you are playing trivial pursuit, you want me on your team. I caution you, I am very competitive and wont let you answer a thing, but we will win.

I use to remember everything from all the data reports I needed for team meetings, my kids schedules, my husbands schedule, school volunteer events and dates, every birthday of every person I know, my telephone number and bank money transactions. Now I can’t even tell you what my favorite colour is! I thank Steve Jobs everyday that I have an iPhone and I know how to use it! It is so simple to use, I don’t need to remember how, it just happens. PHEW! Because without the calendar,  notes, email and contact list I would be curled up in the corner weeping uncontrollably. A friend and colleague at work today said the brain works differently with a hormone fluctuation. Well, I AM getting old, and hormones work differently, but I don’t think that is it. My Brain is full and I need to do something about it because school work and day work needs to fit in there. Hopefully one day my brain will be back in top-notch shape

So here is the plan, I am not going to take responsibility for non-essentials anymore. If you need to get to volleyball practice, set your alarm or tell your dad. If you need to plan a baby shower for a friend, email me what I need to bring. If you don’t, I won’t remember and you will be disappointed. If you are unsure how to operate the data bases at work , look it up in the manual on the black shelf, everything you need to know is in that book , no in the white one. If you need me to buy groceries, sorry I can’t. I walk in and just stand there looking at the pretty colours and forget why I am there. Email me if you need something. edmtourist@gmail.com If I have it in my phone, I can do it.

Other wise, forget it, my brain is full.

Do a Little Dance…Get Down Tonight!

KC and the Sunshine Band (album)
Image via Wikipedia

My day started out BAD. Then it became worse. I even cursed at work. Not usually like me, no clients were around – just a colleague, but still… not a proud moment. Then, like a ray of sunshine in walked one of those Angels, the kind that fixes everything, kisses the boo boo better, and makes the world all right once more. I am grateful she appeared and is staying for a while. So off I went to do my work with a little tune in my head to keep me happy.

I sat at the desk, typing away, answering messages, checking emails when the Angel appeared again and looked at me oddly. I looked up from the desk, met her gaze with a quizzical look and gave her my best Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor “Aaarroooo?” And she said “what are you listening too?”

You mean you can’t hear the music in my head? So the strange desk dance must seem odd. You see I was singing and dancing to KC and the Sunshine Band in my head. This always helps me focus, complete my tasks in a timely fashion and makes me happy. Not necessarily KC, but some other happy song always works. I come from a long line of head singers. No I don’t mean LEAD singers, HEAD singers is exactly what I mean.

I would walk into the kitchen as a kid to witness my mother in a “shakin’ her bootie” moment. Her music of choice was something from American Graffiti. I would jump in beside her, and we would dance to absent music, only available in our heads. Not cool dancing either. The kind of dork dancing that makes everyone laugh. Often my sister would join in, only she was so little, we would pick her up and twirl. Her giggles were infectious. Before long we were all doing the Happy Dance and laughing until our sides hurt.

The only way I can properly describe the Dork Dance or Happy Dance is this: please visualize Muppets dancing with their mouths open and arms flailing about. That is as close as I can describe to how cool we looked. The kicker being, this could happen anywhere. No location on the planet is to obscure or off limits. We have done the Happy Dance on Main Street USA in Disneyland. I have watched my sister Happy Dance in Paris at the age of three where countless Japanese tourists took a video her. We  even Happy Danced at my Grandfather’s funeral last year, honoring his Old Man Dance. Nothing is sacred, if you need to be happy, DANCE!

I have carried on the time honored tradition and corrupted my children. We all stopped one day in the middle of Sobey’s parking lot to Happy Dance. I cannot tell you what we were celebrating, but I do remember saying “Happy Dance!” everyone froze in their tracks and we all danced.

Tonight when I came home from work, Genetic Offspring was pretty excited about the new series “Hawaii Five-O” starting. I sang the first five notes, and suddenly the Happy Dancing started! Chatterbox and I carried it on the longest.

I must say dancing is the quickest way to cure what ails you.

Last year I forgot about dancing. I was just too wrapped up in stuff that bogged me down. So listen up fellow tourists!

Eat, Drink and most of all Dance.

Because silly makes the stress go away.

There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody a great deal of good.  ~Edwin Denby