The Birthday Snapshot

The family went to my sister’s home for cake. Her fiance had kindly invited the family, arranged the party. Mom made the cakes. Sister is the cake maker in the family but it is wrong to make your own birthday cake. Not sure why, but it just is.

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My brother, for various reasons is sometimes at family events and sometimes not. He came today. My baby brother who is 43. It was good to see him.

He walked in, said hi to my sister.  Mom said she told him it was her Wedding Day so he felt he should come. He sat down on the steps and we all laughed because we will celebrate her wedding in August.

Then my sister looked at him and said, “You come to my Wedding and you dressed like THAT?”

He had on jeans and a hoodie.

I laughed because no matter how old we get, 45, 43 and 38, we always talk to each other like we are 16, 14 and 8.

It’s great having siblings. I recommend it.

Happy Birthday Sista – Love ya!

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Dear Mom: I am now you. Not cool mom, not cool.

It has finally happened.

I have become my mother.

Every daughter has that fear and makes a pact with their sister/best friend/cousin/daughter to inform us of that moment so we can take stalk of our lives and figure out how to correct the anomaly from happening. Unfortunately for me, no one told me. I had to discover this for myself in public. So this is an open letter to my Sister and Daughter.

Dear Sister and ChatterBox,

You suck.

Love Robyn/Mom

Don’t get me wrong, my mom is awesome. She does things that we all tease about and accuse her of being crazy, but I know you do the same to your mom. That is how daughters roll. It is called evolution. Then one day it happens to us. We turn into our mothers. We hear her words in our words, we see her figure in our figure, we notice her OCD tendencies in our OCD tendencies and we realize we married our fathers.

Dear Mom,

Thanks (for nothing!) 

I love you

Love Skichucky

Yes, my parents call me Skichucky. Tease me, I dare you.

One day I was sitting in the car with my mom and sister and mom said something. I can’t recall what it was, but I said to her, “Mom, remember when you said we were to tell you when you started becoming Grandma? Well, it’s happening.”

Mom replied with, “OMG (or something worse, I can’t remember) you are right! I do sound like my mother!!!!!”

She took immediate action to alter her behaviour pattern, every now and then it comes back. I like to think of it as a birthright. It makes me feel better calling it a birthright so stop hassling me already. Your turn is coming, I promise you.

I use to work in the family business. One day my mom came into the office and she was limping.

Me: Mom? OMG Mom what happened???

Mom: What are you talking about?

Me: Mom! You are limping!!

Mom: What???

We looked at her feet and noticed she was wearing two completely different shoes. One Navy and one Black. The Navy shoe had a heel and the Black shoe was a ballerina flat.

Of course she was limping. You try walking in two different heel sizes and see what happens!!

In my infinite wisdom of 34, I said “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM How could you leave the house like that???? I am clearing you appointments and you are staying in the office today unless you are going home to change! GEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE MOM!!!”

Dear Mom,

I am sorry I criticized you and judged you.

Please forgive me.

Love Skichucky

Yesterday I went for a run. I have two different pairs of running shoes. Both are Adidas Gel 4, both have the same lacing configuration, yet each pair is a different colour. I rotate my shoes because I fear plantar fasciitis. I carefully monitor the mileage on my shoes and get new ones when they wear out. I rotate through the shoes (every run) to give each shoe the opportunity to gain the same mileage as the other. They wear out at the same rate and my feet are happy campers.

As of late, I have had a lot on my mind. I have a heavy course load because one of the projects is not pretend it is real life. I am focusing on it and think about it lots because detail will be paramount in the execution of this project. I am excited about it, but it is scary as well. I have not been sleeping well and I think the fatigue from driving home after the race in Calgary is still affecting me. I also have that tumour annoyance in my brain.

Okay…Okay…All of these are excuses.

If I turned on the light in the hallway to grab my shoes this wouldn’t have happened:

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I didn’t notice it until my 5th hill climb. Obviously I don’t look at my feet when I run.

This is what I learned from yesterday’s shoe episode:

  1. If you can’t dress yourself, hire a Lady’s Maid (Downton Abbey taught me that)
  2. If someone asks about the separate shoes, lie and say it is a training technique.
  3. Stay focused on the task at hand. Think about the project while running. That is when you do your best thinking.
  4. Start buying the same colour shoes and label them on the INSIDE
  5. Take a picture and brag about your forgetfulness before anyone can tease you first.

 Dear Mom,

Let’s get matching Lady’s Maids for us.

Then let’s go shoe shopping.

Love Skichucky

This is me and my parents in the good old days when we had it all going on and didn’t need Lady’s Maids

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I am what I need, but I need to apply what I am and other theories that are true

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I have a theory about professions people choose.

I think people go into the career field of their choice because it is what they actually need in their life.

For example: I think Social Workers need a Social Worker, Psychologists need a Psychologist, Teachers need Teachers and Accountants need Accountants.

I am a Planner with mad organization skills. I need a personal planner with mad organizational skills in my own life.

I am busily writing a monologue for a motivational speaking engagement I have coming up. I wrote out my outline on a yellow notepad  you know the kind, they are all glued at the top, the have a left hand margin and Apple used them so frequently they added a yellow notepad to their Notes App.

I can’t find my outline.

Had I been smart like I am for my clients, I would have created a OneNote file for my outline. However, when it comes to me and my needs I tend to be lazy. Now I need to go through the piles of yellow notes that I never throw away and find the outline that I am looking for. I could rewrite a new outline but I know the original had some important points I wanted to bring up, and today they just are not coming to the front of my memory.

I know I am not the only one who does this. My friend works in a position where she needs to be on top of all the important details and provides them at a moments notice. However, when it comes to her life, she throws away the instruction book for her odometer for her bike so she won’t be able to figure out how to work it and needs someone to show her.

I think deep down, we all want to be rescued and taken care of so in our personal life we sabotage ourselves in hopes that someone will come to the rescue. My Dad does it, he can manage a classroom with ease and keep track of 30+ kids on a field trip to Europe and never lose anyone, yet he will lose his keys on a daily basis.

What is it about us that we will subconsciously do this to ourselves? I love to be rescued and taken care of. I tend to be the person who holds it all together, plans out the course of action for events and activities that are important to the people or coworkers in my life, and yet when it comes to stuff I should be doing for myself – I will wing it because I have lost some major important piece that is crucial for completion of the project.

Is it that I just don’t care enough about me and my ‘stuff’ enough to take care of the details like I would for someone else? Or is it that I secretly want someone to care about me enough to look after the details for me. Show me that they care about me in the same way I care for them?

At any rate, perhaps I need to make a stronger effort to put myself first in situations where  I need to have my act together.

And whatdoyouknow?…I found my outline! I placed a sticky tab to the side so I could find it easily. Good for me, apparently I do care after all.

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Be Amazing

images (3)I follow  my kid’s school on twitter to get regular updates and happenings going on in and around the campus because here is a surprise, I don’t hear it from him until 35 seconds before I need to do something about it. Like bake for the theatre cast rehearsal.

The thing I like about those tweets is every morning they end with “Go out and be amazing today!”

I like that sentiment.

Last week was a hard week emotionally for me. I took the tragedy in Boston hard. I just found it profoundly sad that innocent people were hurt or killed and the bombers had a sucky social life and blamed Boston. I am not a vindictive person, perhaps it is my Canadian upbringing, but wow – that kid put the gun in his mouth on an apparent suicide attempt and karma still makes him face the consequences. I think about how his life might have been awesome last Monday had he did something different.

I am currently reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. The premise is the main character dies, the world goes dark and rewinds to the moment before her death with things changed slightly to prevent the death. It is an interesting concept. I think it will generate great discussion as to what moment could you change to slightly alter your life.

What would I do?

Well, I wouldn’t change anything I did last week. The events made me think about my life a little bit harder. I spent time with friends, I ran 33km, I had lots of mom time with my kids, I had a lovely dinner with the trusty steed, I made plans with dear friends, I spoke up when I felt hurt and did nice things to make others feel good. I was grateful, appreciative and thankful for my life events last week.

Weather was another story – But there was sunshine today! That always makes me smile.

So heading out into the new work week tomorrow, I am going to depart this little life changing tidbit:

Go out there and BE AMAZING this week!

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The inner workings of the Tourist’s mind

Obviously I am procrastinating.

I am working on a paper and have reached the SWOC portion of events, and needed to think about the steps. As with all things I need to think about, I turned my chair towards my window to ponder.

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Mind: Holy Hell it’s still snowing

Eyes: The snow is halfway up the shed

Feet: I am not running 6k today in THAT, that is just stupid

Mind: Feet, I am making you do it so shut it.

Legs: but I am cold already, why is there no heat in this house?

Wallet: because I am cheap

Mouth: remember that Irish Whiskey we taste tested at the liquor store on Saturday? It would taste really good in the coffee about now.

Mind: Shhh, I am focusing on the steps needed for the SWOC analysis.

Eyes: That is a lot of snow. Don’t expect it to melt anytime soon.

Feet: Seriously, I am not running today.

Mouth: The Apothic red wine is just sitting there, we could drink that!

Back: Wouldn’t warm sand feel great to lie on right now?

Feet: I’d run on sand!

Mind: Shhhh, I am trying to concentrate

Ears: Why does it sound like there are mice in the water heater?

Mind: Not mice, there are no mice.

Fear: I hate mice.

Mind: It ISN”T mice! Just squeaking coming from the furnace.

Fear: sure sounds like mice, what if it’s baby birds – can’t you think of anything worse?

Mind: There are no baby birds in the house.

Eyes: Nope, they are freezing their feathers off outside.

Fear: good, I hate birds.

Mind: STOP IT, legs turn us back around and get back to work

Feet: I am not running in that snow.

Hands: Tell me what to type and I am on it!

Mind: Okay people, focus

Feet: I am really not running, like to see you try to make me.

Fear: it sure sounds like mice

Eyes: Can’t we read something more interesting?

Mind: Shhhhhhhh, focus!

Eyes: fine, Once the internal strengths, weaknesses of an organization is identified….

Mind: I wonder if the 10k maps are up yet for Calgary…..

 

 

The Pope’s Prophecy as told by a 8 year old

When I was a kid, I went to Catholic School. The early years of my education was in Canada’s Arctic   I was instructed by Nuns who floated around the school as if they didn’t have feet but roller skates instead. When we moved back to Edmonton, my Catholic education was at the hands of a kid named Rolland. Sure I went to a Catholic School, but I only remember the lessons he taught in the school yard.

Roland was the type of person who would only know a small bit of information, add it to what he thought was true and gave examples to prove his street cred. It worked, we all believed everything that came out of his mouth. He was charismatic. Every grade three kid knew he was THE authority on all things from the Prime Minister of Canada being married to Queen Elizabeth II to when the last Pope dies the world will end.

images (1)This morning when I heard that Pope Benedict decided to retire, my first thought was, DUDE you are suppose to die as the pope. But then I remembered what Roland prophesied and was thankful The Pope decided to step down, because here is why…

We were sitting around our desks at lunch, we had just came back from getting our milk and cracked open our tin lunch boxes. Mine was the Flintstones and Roland had the Mystery Machine. We were talking, as grade 3 kids do, about the world ending. It was 1975 and I was 8. Vietnam and Watergate were being talked about at home and I didn’t really know what this meant, so I asked Roland. He watched the news and read the Edmonton Journal. He took a sip of his chocolate milk – right from the cardboard container, looked thoughtfully for a moment and said, “This is God’s way of telling us to get ready for the End of the World.”

I was shocked, and scared, of COURSE I believed him. He knew everything true.

So I asked him when that was going to be. “Apparently, there are 4 Popes left to die. When the 4th one kicks the bucket and THAT will be it.” He was so calm while saying this.

I had just seen a movie about finding Noah’s Ark and the end of that movie showed the earth burning up in a fiery ball of orange and red. That movie was a documentary of how they discovered Noah’s Ark and of course it was true. It was a documentary. So now I had the image of the Apocalypse in my head. Every movie in the 70’s was about death and destruction. So now I had proof. Roland said it would happen.

pope_paul_vi_postcard-p239354259447071593baanr_400Fast forward to 1978. Pope John VI dies. Up until that moment, he was the only Pope I ever knew. My life was a series of constants, Pierre Trudeau was the Prime Minister of Canada for my entire life (Pearson didn’t count, I wasn’t even 1 yet when he left office.), Queen Elizabeth II – the only Queen in my life time (and still hanging on! Go Bessie!), Kermit the Frog was still the front man for Sesame Street and started his own variety show. Obviously my life was shattered when Pope John VI died. It was also very interesting. I learned about how the Cardinals of Rome locked themselves in a room with a fireplace and picked the next infallible guy through divine intervention. They sent coloured smoke up the chimney to let everyone know how the progress was coming. Apparently there was some smoke signal language that I didn’t know because I was taught at the hands of Tonto from the Lone Ranger, and he could read it like it was words. Pope smoke was different.

Then Pope John Paul was picked! Be celebrations took place in Rome, there was special a mass said at our Parish. and life was great for a month. Then he died. This was when I started to get nervous. Roland said 4 more deaths. YIKES 2 down and 2 to go. Luckily the Cardinals picked a healthy dude, Pope John Paul II and he seemed like a nice guy too. john-paul-1-sized

Pope John Paul II was a good guy. people liked him, he was big on kindness and he went touring in the Pope Mobile. That was kind of cool, he even came to Edmonton. I didn’t go because, I’m not sure why other than I think I was out of town, but the souvenirs were cool, like Pope Soap on a Rope.pope-soap1 He lasted a really long time and Roland moved away and I didn’t think about the world ending until the Iran hostage crisis. But the Canadians saved them and the Pope didn’t die so all was safe in the world. Even when Desert Storm happened and 9/11 I knew the world was a lock because Pope John Paul II was still going strong.

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How could you not like a guy who goofs around?

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In 2005 he died. He was number 3. I thought about Roland for the first time since I was 9. When Pope Benedict was elected/chosen/ divinely inspired, and I realized he was the oldest pope in a very long time. I knew he wouldn’t be long for this world at 78, his healthiest years were behind him. Knowing priests on a personal level for years, I knew their diets were less than healthy. I now thought about the end of the world in real time.

Other Apocalypse predictions came and went. I thought it would be funny if the Mayan calendar considered with the passing of Pope Benedict, but that was not to be. Then news came this morning about how he is too frail to sit as Pope anymore, and he had prayed on this decision with God for a while before deciding to step down on the 28th of February. My thoughts went back to Roland. If the Pope dies before February 28th then that’s it. World over, good night nurse! But if he steps down and the new Pope is elected by Easter (March 31) we have bought ourselves some time.

According to Wikipedia (reliable? no because it is a wiki meaning anyone can change info. Don’t use Wikipedia as a source in your University papers kids!) the next Pope will be Peter

 In ꝑsecutione extrema S.R.E. ſedebit.
In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit.[66]
   Petrus Romanus, qui paſcet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus tranſactis ciuitas ſepticollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit populum ſuum.[67] Finis.
268 112 Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end. Unknown Unknown

So not only will Rome fall (do the Romans know they are just Italians now? Do they know they aren’t in charge anymore?) But the church will cease to exist. The next Pope will be the last Pope. I am not sure the world will end, but it will get interesting. It’s funny how I think of Roland in times like this. Part of me hopes he was a great Prophet. How cool would it be to tell my grandkids that I had lunch with the Great Prophet Roland? I could sell t-shirts and start a social media champagne  Perhaps sell Roland soap on a rope too.

Interesting times indeed…

Question: what is your existential crisis right now ? Seriously – I’m good, nothing to look at here. Keep moving.

Existentialism in Calvin and Hobbes
Existentialism in Calvin and Hobbes (Photo credit: Lst1984)

I had a message in my twitter feed last week that asked me this:

Question: what is your existential crisis right now ?

I looked at it and thought about it. I understood what it meant, Wikipedia explains it as this:

An existential crisis is a moment at which an individual questions the very foundations of his or her life: whether his or her life has any meaning, purpose or value.[1] This issue of the meaning and purpose of existence is the topic of the philosophical school of existentialism.

I was immediately offended. Why would someone think that my life doesn’t have purpose. Or anyone’s life for that matter? We all have a purpose, good, bad or indifferent. It doesn’t have to be job related, it could be relational. The fact of the matter is it is personal. Not something that needs to be shared – unless of course THAT is the purpose!

My answer to this question was simple:

I don’t question it. I know my life has meaning and purpose.

Some-days it is more obvious to me than other days, but purpose is there and I don’t have to look very hard. I know this question was meant to be well meaning and a conversation started on a philosophical level, but dude, I no longer need to analyze everything to death. It’s okay not to know the answer to every question. The hard part is accepting that. That could be your current purpose.