In between my crazy busy life, I take time to read. I have challenged myself to read books and genres that frightened me before. I am not talking about horror type books, because those have never been on my radar, but books that touch on mental health issues. I always have been the sensitive type that could pick up on others emotions or feelings and assimilate them into my own consciousness. Trust me, I don’t recommend this technique for developing empathy, yet here was me being able to understand a too deep of a level.

I just finished reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. Mental Health is at the root of these books trying to explain why people’s action result in unspeakable crimes. The sad part is, I can understand why these events occur. For me it is like sitting up high in the rafters of a hockey game. From that vantage point you can see the play develop in the back-end, speed through the center ice with skill and finish in the other end with finesse. It all makes sense, it unfolds in a seemingly logical way.

What these types of books have done for me – other than give me nightmares about serial killers, is have me walk around and just look at people. Wondering what their secret is and why it makes them behave in such away. Some people wear their secret on their arm as if they cut it into their flesh like Camille did in Sharp Objects, Rape, Slapped, Molested, Ignored, Unloved, Stolen, Bullied, Abused, Hated. Their secret becomes who they are and effects every facit of their life. Others simply ignore their secret and over compensate for things with, I am not my Father, If I love you enough you will love me back, This happened to me so you should have it happen to you because it’s fair.

One some level it is comforting to know that there is someone out there who understands on some level my secret or your secret. It becomes part of our need to belong or feel apart of a group. I sometimes sit in my secret place and think about my secret and how I could use it to change my life. Would it help? Would it damage? We all have some secret we either share or guard close to us. Perhaps it is why Frank Warren’s Blog PostSecret has had  586,318,599 visits in 7 years. He started an art project that invited people to anonymously send him a postcard with their secret on it. Millions of people did. I have read secrets that could have been mine, secrets that could have belonged to my love and secrets that could belong to you. We will never know who the belonged to because they are secrets, but it is nice to know we aren’t alone.

Here is a PostCard from Sunday’s PostSecret blog. I found this to be particularly sad and can think of someone in my life who might belong to this secret.


The flip side of this postcard read:

Love never dies they & I am living proof of that having been married for 50 years I am in love with someone else I can’t have. Love never dies!

Here is Frank Warren’s PostSecret Project

Rube Goldberg vs Pez Dispensers

Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin
Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ChatterBox has been working for a while on a group project for science. A Rube Goldberg project ro be more precise. Apparently Rube was this guy who made things complicated. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complex gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. Picture Doc from Back To the future and his crazy convoluted way he made toast.

This is what ChatterBox and her friends have to make, only not the toast part – they have to turn on a CD player.

The assignment is to use six simple machines to complete the task. She has a lever, pulley, screw, wedge, wheel, and an incline. I’ve seen it. It looks complicated.

We spent the evening at the Dollarama finding tape, tie downs, dowels, and marbles. We saw every kid her her class there too. The problem with Dollarama is you go for one thing (tape) and leave with stupid stuff you don’t need ( Light Sabre). The music  in the background made me want to dance (Fleetwood Mac – Sing it Stevie!) but ChatterBox wanted to sword fight…. long story short we went looking for dominos.

Can you belive the Dollarama did not have DOMINOS! I KNOW! So we called my mom. My mom has an awesome tickle trunk full of things – she calls it the laundry room, but really it is a storage plaza. Filled with everything that is useful and everything that is not. The not useful stuff is dad’s.

Dad and mom do not share the same decorating taste, so Dad gets the laundry room. My dad collects cool stuff, like bobble heads, cowboy art, waterguns, superman stuff, and Pez machines. He has easily 1000 Pez machines ranging from Ariel to Zorro. He has them all filled with candy, lined up on special shelves,  labeled and arranged into sets. For example, there is a Pixar set, Star Trek, and even a Justice League set. He even hired a gal to come in and dust them every week (that would be his granddaughter). I like to go and just look. It is like being in a Pez museum. Every time I go to peek, I discover a new collection. Todays new one was the Hello Kitty set. He has people calling him all the time “Dad, I am at 7-11 and found the 3 Stooges Pez, do you have those?” “Hang on and let me check…yes I do, but thanks for checking for me!”

We all seem to have a vested interest in his Pez collection. What makes me think is, would a Pez dispenser be considered a Rube Goldberg machine? Have you ever tried to fill one full of candy? It isn’t simple. It IS easier to just eat candy out of the package. So is it? Tell me what you think.

Random Musings from a Tourist in Her Own Life.

Friday afternoon of the most relaxing Christmas Break I have ever encountered, and I am lost in thought. A bazillion things flit through my mind in a random pattern. If you are wondering the inside of my brain looks like this:

I spent time gazing out the window looking at this:

I was reflecting on the new things I tried this week. I vowed to give 12 new things a try, so far I am up to 5 +

6. I played the Guitar on Rockband! Sure it was Lego RockBand, but the guitar is from the Beatles set and looks like Paul’s. It’s a niiiiiiiiiiiiice one. I only ever sing when playing RockBand. The guitar was pawned off on me by ChatterBox. She wanted to sing a Jackson 5 song. The setting was Super Easy, I got 5 stars because I am awesome like that.

7. I am learned a new piano tune that I have never played before.

8. I had my Tea Leaves read.

9. I refinished ChatterBox’s dresser in MacTac. I usually paint or stain furniture, but the look she was going for was more than I could bear with coat after coat to give it a high gloss finish. So I went to Home Depot bought 2 rolls of Mac Tac and covered it. It looks so fantastic! All it cost me $20 and 2 hours of work. Sweet!

10. Took my first Italian lesson. That’s right Italian. How very European of me. It is on the 50 in 50 list and a New Thing List. I will write soon about the reasons for learning Italian. Today I learned to say  una bambina è sotto un cavallo. Impressed? You should be. It means A girl is under a horse. Yes it is pornographic. I haven’t learned enough prepositions to say on or enough verbs to say riding. Baby Steps People! Cut me some slack!

That leaves 2 more new things to do. I have 3 more days because I don’t go back to work until Tuesday. This weekend I will be touristing downtown Edmonton to see Metropolus and the new Art exhibit at the AGA if all goes according to plan *spit*spit*

The new bloglove of my life nominated me with the Versatile Blogger Award. *blush* When in fact it is HIS blog that deserves all the accolades. Run – don’t walk or saunter over to Brian Westbye‘s page. His stories are magical. I want to have them put into a collection and onto my ereader. I need to figure how. His stories are short delicious visual bites that will transport you to another place for 3 minutes at a time. Here is a link to my all-time favorite so far. I haven’t read through them all yet, but I will. I am OCD like that.


The Double Dog Dare

There is a time honored tradition, a rite of passage for Canadian Kids. It ranks up there with with skating on a pond for the first time, building a snow-fort or playing street hockey. For smart kids, it only happens once. Those kids who are less fortunate…well…it can be an annual school yard tradition as it was for my brother and sister. They were blessed with a sister who could talk them into anything…

And I did just that.

You may have seen it in film and TV and think it just isn’t possible, well I assure you it is. Not only is it possible, pride is at stake. The dreaded “Double Dog Dare” taunts most children into attempting this fate because no wants want to be labeled a “chicken” or WORSE a Leafs fan.

Years ago I had a friend who let me practice this dirty deed on her brother. He had a penchant for black licorice. I told him one frosty winter morning before school, the black wrought iron railing that led to his front door tasted like licorice. What do you suppose he did with that knowledge? Licked it of course. The number one rule for Canadian winters is NEVER EVER lick metal.

You would think that would be common sense. Clearly this is a skill lacking in Canadian youth. My friend’s brother licked the railing. The tongue stuck hard and fast to the railing.

If you find yourself with your tongue stuck to a metal flag pole, the first instinct is to rip your tongue from the metal it is attached too. This is not an optimum experience. Having your taste buds torn from your tongue has it’s draw backs, the first being the amount of blood loss. The second being starvation for the next few days while it heals. The third is the sheer pain of it. I have had many painful experiences, two of them being a mother, but the pain of ripping your tongue from a flag pole is one of the most excruciating experiences of my life. (Why did I do it? I was paid $5. Was it wort it? Hell to the Yeah!)

The alternative is to wait for an adult to come by and pour liquid on your tongue. That is less painful, but your friends have left you for dead. You likely have to go to the bathroom or a blizzard is on its way. Neither of those options are pleasant either.

Teaching in a school is always fun around this time of year. A fellow teacher explained the reason for coffee so eloquently. For all those parents who think teachers drink coffee while on recess supervision for the joy of it, think again. We use the liquid to free your child from the monkey bars, or slide. Either your child was double dogged dared or the genetic pool is shallow at your house. Whatever the reason, give us more coffee for Christmas…not mugs…just saying.



You can’t be a Giver until you learn to Recieve

I sat for hours on Friday in what felt like a K-Tel add for children’s music. It was a workshop designed for improving speech and language skills in children through music. While it was informative, I realized my classroom achieves many of those goals doing the same type of thing. There is a lot of spontaneous music in my classroom. For those who know me, I have a song for every occasion. Most of the time is is a variation of a rock tune from my youth with lyrics I enhance for the situation I am in. This workshop sold the music SHE enhanced…once again, here was me wishing I had thought of it first…

For the most part, I felt like sleeping but there was one defining moment of the presentation that gave me pause.

You can’t be a Giver until you learn to receive

I wrote it down and thought about that for the rest of the day. It made quite the impact on me. I know it was meant in the context of young children and turn taking, an important skill that enables children to have back and forth conversations and good social skills. Yes, in many instances it needs to be taught in my class. sometimes the lucky teacher has the child entering the classroom with this skill already developed. This opens the door for new challenges to be had within the classroom experience….but as I pondered this thought, I realized I know many adults who don’t have this skill. Either they lost it along the way of their growth into adulthood, or were never taught this skill as children.

There are many adults who cannot accept a compliment. For example, I could say “Hey Joe, that’s a great piece of writing!” Only to hear denial or deflection of the compliment. At school I teach the children to say “Thank you” after they receive a compliment. It is called politeness or being gracious. This is becoming a lost skill for some reason. Why is it so hard for people to accept or receive a compliment or a gift? Do these people deem themselves as unworthy or undeserving? It is not to say that people who deflect kindness and compliments are not generous, because they are! There was just a step missing in their life that deny the Givers pleasure of being kind to them. This is so incredibly sad!

As a child I was always shown by example of what it is like to give. I was witness to many acts of kindness but am unable to speak of them. I was taught the giver does not give for accolades but for the shear experience of kindness. I have witnessed strangers being given rides to the hospital, boxes of food left on doorsteps, empty table settings being filled by strangers. My Grandparents often told me the story of my Great Grandmother during the depression, or the dirty 30’s. Hobo’s would come to the my Great Grandma’s door and she ALWAYS gave them food. Why you ask? She claimed you never knew if it was Christ or not. She wanted to be sure. For me, that is not the reason to give….just in case. I’m sure it wasn’t her intent either – just a “thing” you say when people are asking why you are being so charitable during a time when money and food was so tight. It made people think.

I also know people who are so tight fisted they will sell you things they don’t need before the thought occurred to them to give it away. I can clearly see the difference between those two types of people. The Givers lives are full and rich. They have more kindness and love in their life than others. Good things just “happen” for them all because – I believe – they are kind and thoughtful first.

The Keepers seem to me to have a dark cloud that sits over their life. Nothing seems to go right and there is always one thing after another that seems to go wrong – from health to money.

The Givers learned at some point in their life, what it is like to receive a gift so special and thoughtful, they strive for eternity to keep paying it forward.

This past week I talked about socks. The response from the Givers has been overwhelming and I must say a special Thank You to all of you who have send me socks and other incredible items for my students! We are so grateful, I cannot fully express it. Since I was taught to be a Receiver before I became a Giver, I simply say Thank You from the bottom of my heart. Know that your gift is very much appreciated and will go to great use!

So tell me…are you a Giver or a Keeper?

Epic Fail

This was my facebook status today

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” —Mary Pickford

I posted it to keep me from being sick. Epic failure happened to me. I needed to be reminded that I fell, I actually fell 3 times – but whose counting? I learned things that made me want to let my heart explode. But instead, I stood up, dusted myself off and began again.

Learning to forgive yourself is harder than asking someone to forgive you.

I like being the best, the top banana, the big cheese! Let’s face it, we all like feeling important. This makes me the same as you. I work hard, just like you. I am successful, just like you. I fell hard, just like you. Standing up and moving forward is what separates us from the pack.

The big learning lesson for me today is ask. It’s hard, especially when people are reluctant to share information that can help you along the way. The secret is, keep asking until you find the person who can help you. Now THAT was painful, but it turned out just fine.

I still have a sucking chest wound from the experience but that will heal. The good news is, now I know. The better news is, I don’t have to let it happen again. The best news is, I feel empowered now AND I should get a good mark to boot.

Google is Your Friend and Mine

When I get asked questions I do not know the answer to ( Strange, I know! Don’t tell the Offspring, I like to keep the illusion of brilliancy), I always answer with “Google is your friend!” Google has been my friend for a long time and Google refers a lot of readers to me. But did you know that people ask Google the craziest questions to find me? I will do my best to answer them for you people who are seeking the answer and stumbled onto my blog.

Favourite colour yoga mat: Blue, Tiffany Blue actually. If you are going to colour it in a colouring book, then use #7 peacock blue by Laurentian.

My favorite colour: Really? You needed to ask Google that? Google is not a mind reader it is a SEARCH ENGINE. I think your favorite colour is Red.

Iceberg on 11th highway in Edmonton: Hmmm, listen pal, I think you need more science education. Iceburgs are not found on highways in Edmonton. If fact, let’s throw in a geography lesson too. Edmonton does not have any highways. It has freeways and is SURROUNDED by highways. Meanwhile, go to Newfoundland to check out the icebergs.

Do drag queens wear synthetic hair? Yes and No. Some Drag Queens buy hair and some grow it. Now you know.

Am I a control freak or just bossy? Again, Google isn’t a mind reader it’s a SEARCH ENGINE. I think you are a control freak…but that is just my opinion.

Happy birthday in heaven grandma. Aw that is sweet. But Google isn’t a direct link to heaven. You can sit anywhere and just talk to her, even wish her a happy birthday…just saying.

Sick from child licking the bathroom floor. No kidding?? That makes me sick too! What a coincidence!

Express avenue escape rest room. I think you came to the wrong source looking for answers, you need GAME CHEATS…again, just saying…

Sissy wanted Edmonton. Ouch?! Am not! You are! I am rubber you are glue…

Paul Coffey sister. I am not her. Nor do I know her. However, I have met Mark Messier’s Sister and SHE is BUFF! Just saying…

There is bears in Edmonton.  Once I heard about a black bear in the river valley…just once. Don’t worry, they won’t eat you.

Face painter was mean. I was not! But if you have any complaints about my attitude…I don’t care.

“sex-training of boys”. Seriously you googled THAT to find me??? WOW. How does one respond to that?

Bossy teacher. Yes I am.

I am a genius. Me too my friend, me too.

Common sense … don’t leave home without it. That is just good practice people!

гонзо маппет. What does this mean? So I took my own advice a googled it. Gonzo Muppet is the answer. What does that say about my nose?

Master Jedi dishwasher. Yes I am. Thank you for noticing.

Thanks Google for sending all those readers to my blog. I am glad I could help.

50 in 50

As I was leaving the pool this morning, I thought about this summer verses summers past. This summer holds definite purpose for me. Not to say the others didn’t, but the certainly weren’t as focused or as meaningful as this one is turning out to be.

Last summer I set a goal of attending every Edmonton Festival Possible. The total was 11 (quite a significant number for me as you may know). I shared the pictures via facebook and emailed a ton of pics to a friend who lives across the continent. My daughter and I had the most memorable summer ever.

This summer ChatterBox is a LIT (Leader In Training for the City of Edmonton Summer Camps), so our festival time will be limited. Not that we want to attend all of them, because quite frankly, quite a few were lame. Genetic Offspring and I have plans to go to the Fringe quite a bit, but other than that, my kids are busy.

For me, I have 4 more papers to write and 2 classes to complete. I hope to be face painting a couple more times and I have my half marathon training to complete. The big day is August 22! I will continue to swim daily and eat properly so I can reach my goal of 20lbs down by September. I am giving myself the whole month of September to do it – just in case! But I am confident I will reach that goal easily. I am fortunate enough to be able to go to Disneyland, sans my family, in August. This is to celebrate my 44th birthday, 1 year as the Edmonton Tourist and to fulfill a dream. So as you can see, my summer is purposeful.

I need to start planning new goals to attain. I have been reading blogs where people have 40 things to do before they are 40. Well I missed that boat. However, I learned this year it is NEVER too late to start a list. I have also learned this year if you tell people your hopes, dreams, wishes, and desires, then anything is possible and dreams become reality. I am living proof. So, this Edmonton Tourist is going to make a 50 in 50 list. I will make the list saying “I Will” not “I want” subtle yet different. That will give me 6 years to complete. Are you interested in the list? I am making a disclaimer right here, right now *list is subject to change*. Why you may ask? Well, I am not the same person I was last year. I don’t expect to be the same person next year. The things I think I will do today may not be the reality for me in 4 years. Does that make sense? For example, I want to lay on a white sandy beach on my 50th birthday wearing a bikini and looking all thin and gorgeous. I know I will physically be able to do it, but what if a better opportunity pops up or wearing a bikini isn’t all it is cracked up to be? I want to have flexibility within my list.  Here we go!

The Edmonton Tourist’s 50 Things to Do Before She Turns 50

  1. I will lay on a white sandy beach on my 50th birthday wearing a bikini and looking slim and gorgeous!
  2. I will walk across the stage at Royal Roads University and collect my MBA
  3. I will walk the Edmonton Half Marathon in 2011
  4. I will run a 5km race in 2011
  5. I will run the Donald half Marathon at WDW
  6. I will spend 3 days touring the Louvre in Paris with a fellow art lover
  7. I will go see a Broadway musical
  8. I will go the the Fireworks Festival in Vancouver
  9. I will take a cruise from New York to Newfoundland and see an iceberg
  10. I will go to the Maritimes in the fall to see the trees different colours
  11. I will eat dinner at the California Grill while watching the Fireworks
  12. I will read 50 of Time Magazine’s Top 100 Novels
  13. I will attend Marathon Week in New York and Cheer people on
  14. I will sit in Central Park on a bench and watch people go by
  15. I will buy a pair of Christian Louboutin and wear them to dinner at the Bull and Bear restaurant at the Waldorf
  16. I will travel to Asia and visit the rest of the Disney Theme parks
  17. I will get promoted and stop working in the classroom
  18. I will wear an Armani Suit
  19. I will go to Tiffany & Co on 5th Avenue New York and Buy my key
  20. I will see magnetic hill
  21. I will drive to Whitehorse, Yukon in the summer
  22. I will enter a karaoke competition
  23. I will go to Vegas and gamble
  24. I will stand before the Grand Canyon
  25. I will skinny dip in a creek
  26. I will go sailing on the ocean
  27. I will climb to the top of a Lighthouse
  28. I will watch the entire tv series of Sex in the City
  29. I will spend several weeks in the mediterranean
  30. I will see the Parthenon
  31. I will read Greek Mythology
  32. I will learn Italian
  33. I will go to the Chelsea Flower show
  34. I will watch dwarf tossing
  35. I will go to a Stanley Cup Final
  36. I will watch AFI’s 100 movies
  37. I will make one last quit – Queen size
  38. I will explore tide pools
  39. I will drink a glass of scotch
  40. I will smoke a cigar
  41. I will photograph a collection of unusual doors
  42. I will stay up all night to watch the sunrise
  43. I will go to a comedy club
  44. I will have my full astrological chart done
  45. I will have my tea leaves read
  46. I will go fishing on the ocean
  47. I will collect tiny pieces of drift wood for a glass bowl
  48. I will finish my sand collection and collect sand from the major oceans
  49. I will nap in a hammock
  50. I will attend a clam bake


What would you add? Or do you have any questions about my list? I like it!!


Filling the Void

It is no secret that I often look to other bloggers for inspiration. Just take a peek at the side of my blog under “blogs I like to read that I didn’t write”. There are a couple I turn to more than others, but I read them all at different times to fulfill a certain need. If I want to laugh, I have a blog for that. If I want to cry, I have a blog for that. If I feel like sitting with an old friend over coffee, I have a blog for that too. Some bloggers have crossed that threshold into twitter, and some more into facebook. AnotherGoalSetter often posts very thought provoking and inspirational things in her status both on facebook and twitter. I go to her for venting and or support and she comes to me. It is a lovely relationship because we have MANY struggles that are the same yet different.

I find it interesting that the Universe has provided me with support at the exact moment I had needed it. That’s not to say that I am not surrounded by people who love and support me, because I am. But do they understand what I am going through? Mmmm no, not really. They can empathise, sympathize and can listen but the understanding component isn’t really there. I had one tremendous support. This person was there for me every time I needed to talk. Our relationship shifted and altered and now they are no longer someone I communicate with regularly. Do I miss them? Deeply. Do I wish things were back the same way? In some respects, yes. In another, no. It was time for me to face things in a way they can’t help me with. Do I wish they could support me now? You betcha! They can’t. Fair enough. Do I still love them? Forever. But thank you Universe for showing me that I am not alone in my supports. And thank you Universe for showing me them in the first place. They were able to get me this far and I am forever grateful for those moments.

Today was a wonderful day…well it started out wonderful. I had a great day at work. I was so caught up in everything that I actually was distracted from my regular life for most of the day! Amazing! I love being that busy and focused! After work, I was fortunate enough to have a massage! I went to the MacEwan University Massage Therapy Faculty. For $15, I got a delightful hour!! I know…$15!!!!! But something happened that turned my world upside down.

My therapist was massaging my back and I started to weep uncontrollably! What the heck was that about?!?! She said it often can release some inner feelings or thoughts when you are totally relaxed and not on guard or focused. WOW, that was so true! I was so emotionally drained I went home to nap.

Then I read this. It is Derek Miller’s post mortem blog. He wrote it while he was alive, knowing that cancer was ending his life.

It got me thinking about my life. I am so busy and focused on my goals, I need to step back for a moment and assess my progress. I am 5 months into the Mo, 9 months into the Edmonton Tourist and I haven’t taken a vacation day yet. It can’t all be about accomplishing things. I know WHY I need to accomplish things, it fills a void. I think it is time to step back and look at WHY there is a void.

I don’t want a void in my life. So how do I fix that? Or is that a normal part of life? Just learning to live with the void and fill it will something else? What do you think? This is where I hope to hear from everyone. I want ALL of your opinions.

By the way, I consider you all my support too. Thank you for reading, commenting and coming back. I appreciate you too.

Love ET