Gratitude

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

I have been here typing away since 2010. At the start of every new year, I usually make a list of the things I learned and the things I want to achieve for the new year. I decided a while ago that I want to just see how the year will unfold without any predetermined goals or items I need to cross off my list. I have one goal for 2019, and that is to make more memories with family.

I have no idea what that is going to look like, but I have a feeling moments and opportunities with show themselves without me manipulating situations to fit my list. I have general thoughts about things to do, but we will see what happens. 2019 is shaping up to be an expectation-free year for me.

Self-awareness and reflection are key components of my growth. It’s important to look at my actions and learn from them. Everything is a learning opportunity, and I like to think about how I could have done something better, behaved nicer or examine a missed opportunity. Many changes happened over the last twelve months. Some things were horrifyingly terrible and hurtful, and some things were so completely wonderful I don’t want to forget. I think I have learned from the lines I drew in the sand, behaviour modifications and decisions. I will still reflect and continue to learn, but thinking about what I am grateful for is more important.

  1. New Friendship. In January I prayed for a friend who I could have deep and meaningful conversations with. I thought it might be someone I was already friends with and we could take it to the next level. That didn’t happen. What did happen is something so unexpected I am overwhelmed with gratitude. A new person entered my life, and we have deep and meaningful conversations about books, circumstances, spiritual connections and guidance. We help each other navigate complicated situations. This person is a gift.
  2. Synergy. Way back in the days of University in the ’80s (not to be confused with University of my 40’s) I was working on a project where we needed to achieve synergy with the team. It didn’t happen, and I said so. We were docked marks which annoyed me because I was honest. They were actually marking us on how we gelled as a team, not on the work we did. I was so angry. I didn’t believe synergy was something contrived. I still don’t. You have it or you don’t. My first teaching experience I worked with two other women and we just connected. Our planning was legendary. I naively thought my professor was correct. That this level of connection was always possible. The 1990 planning team was euphoric. It was an excitement about the work. I felt like it was my calling. It was magic for one year. Fast forward to 2010, the last time I taught in a classroom. I never found that same connection ever again. I was able to work well with others but I didn’t achieve that same feeling. I began to hate the people and the work. I left. I went back to school and changed careers. I never expected to have that same connection with staff. I just did the best I could and kept moving forward. I had a taste of something close in the job I have post graduation. The guy I worked with was a genius and I loved working with him. Our planning was creative and fun but our hands were always tied. It was close. Then I moved on again. Seven months into my new position I figured I wouldn’t stay long. I was alone. I didn’t have anyone to throw ideas around with. Then a shuffle happened and I found myself sitting next to someone who was also alone and wanting more. We began talking and sharing ideas. Suddenly I was back in 1990 and found that synergy again. I not so naive this time that I will have this forever. People move on. But I will be grateful for it as long as it lasts.
  3. Doctor Nurse Surgeon Angels. My son was injured and bed-ridden for two years. He suffered and thought his life was over. He was misdiagnosed and was told he would have to suck it up. My husband was training for a marathon with a friend and was talking about our frustrations with our son’s situation. She said she had been to a conference where the surgeon talked about this type of injury. She gave us his name in October. By April my son had a diagnosis and a surgery date. In post-op, he said he was pain-free aside from the surgical pain. He could tell it worked and walked. He climbed stairs 4 hours after surgery and never looked back. He has his life back and has made a complete recovery. His future is bright.
  4. Angels. A few times I had experiences where I couldn’t explain what had happened. Yet it did, and it was miraculous. Angels.
  5. Health. 2017 was bad. BAD BAD BAD. My daughter calls it the time I died. I didn’t die, but I was damn close. My doctor figured it out. We have a plan and its working beautifully. I have had a temporary slip back into that dark sickness again. Only this time I recognized it earlier, I sought treatment immediately and am recovering quicker. I am so grateful I understand it better. I have a lot of life to still live plus I want to meet grandkids. I will be an amazing gran or nan or oma or lola. Whatever, I will be great at it when it happens way down the road. I have lots to be healthy for.
  6. Bake-off. I had stopped doing things that brought me joy. Why did I do that? That was the stupidest thing I ever could do. I love to bake, and I love to eat baking. There is a lot of pressure to look a certain way.  I am telling you this, fuck that. My Great Grandma lived to be 99. She ate whatever the hell she wanted from cookies to jellies. Eat the damn cookie. Lick your fingers. Enjoy that glass of wine. Moderation is key. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith got me baking again. I loved every second of it, and I ate the cookies. I am thinking about all the voices who told me I should be… I needed to be… Here is what I learned: I need to do right by me. This is my life, not yours. I don’t care what you think. I am over you. The line is drawn. My life is peaceful and happy, and I have cookies.  You can continue to be angry just stay out of my yard.
  7. Siblings. I am the eldest. I don’t have a memory of being an only child. I usually spend my birthdays alone doing fun things. This year I invited my brother and sister over. It got me thinking about the shenanigans we got into as children. We talked about it and laughed. I need to do that more. I went to visit both of them over Christmas. Big hugs from both of them. More hugging is important. I am going to have them over, and we will do stupid stuff like operation or monopoly or beer pong.
  8. Captain. Me and my pal the dog went on epic adventures this year. He barked at bison, saved me from a raging river, pulled me up an icy hill and ate snacks while I ate dinner. He looks after me and is always gentle with me. He nips at my hubs playfully but never with me. I get loving kisses. He is the best thing to happen to our family.
  9. Ocean. I stood in the ocean and let the stresses wash away. It made me cry.
  10. Skype. My parents live in Europe for part of the year. I chat with them more when they are overseas than when they are home. I like feeling connected with them and am excited to see them when they come home. But I never feel like I can see them when they are home. There are lots of demands on their time from others, so I stand back. I am not going to do that this year. They are my parents. This is my line.
  11. Wildlife. I have travelled to Whistler, Vancouver Island, Jasper, Banff, Southern Alberta and Vancouver. I asked the universe to show me an abundance of wildlife. I saw two orcas swimming across the Georgia Straight. I watched a mama, and her three cubs eat tender grass in the spring up at Whistler. There was an abundance of whales, bears, elk, bighorn sheep, coyotes, eagles, hawks, sea lions, harbour seals, deer, mountain goats, moose and wolves everywhere we went this year. Those creatures are always the highlight of any year.

 

Make the most of what you have. Gratitude brings more great things into your life. Let the anger go and be grateful for what you have before its gone.

Happy New Year friends!

The Path of Evil Not Travelled

You know that saying “if choosing between the lesser of two evils, pick the one you have never done before.”?

That has been my life this year. Taking risks, trying new things and horror of horrors wonderfully enough, witnessing others trying new things too. According to all the emails I get from you readers, I have inspired some of you to give it a try. To me, that is thrilling! I love hearing about that kind of stuff.

For example, there is a random reader in South America who writes to me regularly, keeping me updated on her 52 new things to try for 2011. Shockingly, some of her new things are sexual in nature. The first time I read about how adventurous she had been in the bed with a new man in her life, I was – for lack of a better word – Gobsmacked. It’s funny to me how comfortable my readers are in sharing with me. Keep in mind we have never met in person and through the wonders of social media, I have gotten to know all of you, who correspond with me, reasonably well. I do know there is a veil of secrecy between us as there is with people in our day to day lives. Things you do not wish to share, and things I do not wish to share.

I think the sharing of self is a great thing. Especially when you trust so completely. I also think secrets are delicious. Sharing too much can be a burden to others. Finding that fine line between too much and too little is tricky business. There are those of you who I wish I could know more about and those of you where you have told me the right amount. Then there are those who share it all. I love that you feel comfortable enough with me that sharing copious amounts is freeing for you, yet I know you find it hurtful that I do not share in the practice of sharing everything. Just as I find it hurtful when I over share only to discover the person I am sharing with is holding back. Why do we hold back? Clearly trust is an issue, or just the simple fact they do not care about me in the same way…now realizing that little tidbit is MAJORLY hurtful… C’est la vie…

Here is a list of things people shared with me this past year, after choosing the path of evil not travelled. A whole bunch of firsts that rocked my world and made me laugh.

1. The day my mom told me a story about my Great Uncle and his girlfriend Pussy. It took her several days before she understood what he meant by Pussy. What rocked my socks was my mom said Pussy! Shocking and hilarious all rolled into one.

2. The day I took my Grandma to a Drag show. She had never been to a gay club before, never mind a drag show. She had seen Dame Edna on tv, but loved seeing Chris Peterson live! Now that was a birthday for me to remember!

3. The day I received a text from a friend who bought a coffee for the car behind her in Tim Hortons. The car followed her to work, left a note of her windshield for her to meet the stranger the next morning for breakfast. They wanted to treat back. She did, and they are still dating! Awwwwww…..

4. The day my sister texted me to say Rocky Horror Picture Show was playing at the local Main Stage as live theatre. She thought we should take our young girls to see. it. The ME who loves the participation aspect of this show was excited to share this experience with ChatterBox. The ME who can hear my Dad’s disapproval ringing in my ears thought no. This was a classic example of choosing the evil path not taken. I took ChatterBox along with her cousin and my sister to see this experience. We dressed up in fishnets and feather boas, wore blood red lipstick and posed for pictures with men in drag.There were shocking moments when my niece looked at me with wide eyes that made me laugh. But everything was implied, nothing visual. The pure fun of throwing Toilet Paper around the grand theatre and whipping out confetti, and yelling “Boring” and “Slut!” to the narrator made the event so fun for all of us! The best part? Dancing in the aisles to Time Warp. I’m glad I said YES! This was a great experience for all of us!

5. The gal who wrote me and decided to take a solo vacation – solo meaning no men from her life could come. She wasn’t packing for her men, feeding them, nor was she going to spend two weeks doing what THEY wanted to do. She was choosing a spot just for her and her best friend. They had the time of their lives. She came back to the men in her life looking at her with new eyes. They helped more, respected her more and now let her choose things too.

6. Then there was that other gal who likes to over share and I talked to her about to much information. She have never been to a spa before, so I said “Give it a try! you will Love it!”. I got home the next day to a long email about full body waxing and the details around the awkwardness involving the Brazillian….really? Yet it’s not awkward to tell me all about it? For all intense purposes I AM A STRANGER! But her description was soooooo funny, I told her to start a blog about her life. When it happens, I will let you know.

There are more, but the list could be endless. Try one new thing this week, then tell me or someone else about it. If there is a hint of evil to it, it might be more fun.

If I had lived this year without trying I would have never,

  1. Finished One Full Year of University with Honors
  2. Went To Disneyland without my Family
  3. Finished a half Marathon
  4. Practice Yoga
  5. Tried on Clothes that I never thought would fit…yet they DO!
  6. Worked a second job to buy luxuries like an iPad 2 and Lovelies from Tiffany’s
  7. Increased my swim lengths from 3 to 80 = 2km and that is now easy for me
  8. Tried reading new genres and found out I liked most of them!
  9. Tasted Tamarind and discovered I dislike it immensely. I couldn’t even finish it, I needed to spit it out…so now I know…
  10. Saying yes leads to more possibilities than saying no.

I have two weeks off from work before I head back. I am going to try one new thing everyday. I will keep track and write about it. 12 days of new things. This will be hard, because I have tried so many new things already! Wish me luck because the first thing on my list is Zumba. It should be great for a good laugh, just me and my wii. I may let ChatterBox record it for proof….talk about horrifying!

Roll on the New Year dear friends and keep sharing your new stuff. I find in inspiring…and funny xox

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year!!  I know think I have gone totally bonkers now. For as long as I can remember, September 1 has always felt like the start of the new year. It  has everything to do with the school year and nothing to do with my fiscal year-end. My house is buzzing with excitement, school bags are loaded and filled with crisp white paper eagerly waiting to be filled by a freshly sharpened HB. Flash drives are empty, waiting for those projects. Most importantly, phone calls are being made about what to wear, in spite of the school uniform rule.  The weather is cooler, the leaves are starting to turn, apples are fat and juicy and hanging on the tree. It is definitely a new year. So Happy New Year!!

Everyone does a New Years resolution, well almost everyone. I never have because I knew wouldn’t see it through. But this year is a little different. I just came off of a really difficult year on a personal front. A couple of things happened that made me turn inward and away from people. I am not going to get into it here other than to say, I am crawling out of it and can see the sunshine at the end of the horizon. Part of that is my decision to be a Tourist in my own life. So far so good! Blogging about it makes me accountable to myself, and I have some loyal readers that privately tell me they are with me for the journey because they need the encouragement too. Well people, its time we make our New Years list – not resolution!

Classic lists are 10 items long. Why 10? I listen to a podcast where his lists are a top 7. That doesn’t seem long enough. I am a little off centre, so I am doing a Top 11 list. Why 11? I hear my friends laughing already because they know. 11 has always been a significant number in my life. The biggest one of course is my not so secret crush on Mark Messier. 11:11 pm always seems to be the time when I look at my clock. The 11th month is when winter really starts kicking in here and I love the change of seasons. 7-11 is the maker of Slurpees and summer memories. I could go on but will just say 11 is my favorite and is my lucky number, so my list will be 11 items long. I shall call it:

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 things that make her happy.

Now at this point I want to add that there is a Buddhist saying that goes something like this; if you want to be something else, act like you are something else. One day it will be true – or something like that. You know what I mean! Coming out of a tough year, I need to act like I am happy in order to be happy. You know what? It works! I have no idea when it happened, but I realized I was happy. Which is great news, because for so long I was not. The other side of the coin is true too. Only YOU can make yourself happy.  I also want to add that it is a given that my family and close friends (you know who you are) are not on the list because you don’t make me happy, you make euphoric and that is a different list. This is a list of  daily things I can do to make me smile. So here we go in no particular order!

The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Things That Make her Happy 

  1. Hockey Smack. Nothing is more fun to me then engaging in Hockey Smack with other hockey fans. Its fun, thought-provoking and makes me laugh.
  2. Andy Williams.  As a kid my mom would listen to him all the time. His Christmas music puts me in the mood for Christmas preparations. His specials on TV were fun and so “retro old fashion family values” and his song Music to Watch Girls By just makes me want to shake my shoulders with happiness.
  3. Diet Coke. It is more of an addiction really but the sound of the sffffffffft as you crack it open sends tingles down my spine. I love it!
  4. Facebook. Whatever, you like it too! I have reconnected with old friends, made new ones, learned from strangers and laugh on it everyday.
  5. Hidden Mickey’s. The attention to detail that imaginears use in theming at The Disneyland Parks puts a HUGE smile on my face! Disney Geeks need no further explanation. If you are not a Disney Geek, feel free to pat me on the head and continue to think I am crazy, My DisFriends get me.
  6. Ink. The smell of a new book or newspaper brings back such strong and wonderful memories for me. My family knows why.
  7. Tom Hanks. From Sleepless in Seattle to That Thing You Do and Woody. I love him. Enough said.
  8. Singing. I love to sing always have and I am pretty good at it when I take it seriously. Beatles Rock Band with my family is one of the most fun ways for me to spend an evening. Karaoke with my sister is more fun then should be legal.
  9. Smelling Flowers. I use to have a great big flower garden. I can’t be bothered anymore to take care of it. However, I will stop to smell flowers growing in your garden. So thank you for growing them.
  10. Bubble Baths. I come from a long line of women who have perfected the bubble bath ritual. delightful!
  11. My iPhone. If you own one, you know why. If you don’t, get one.

What is on your happy list? I would really like to know! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!