Smoking…definitely life changing

I am a non-smoker…now.  I smoked for 17 years of my life.  I started smoking cigarettes when I was 20.  Yup a late bloomer.  I never tried, tested, nor tasted a cigarette before then.  I hung out with the smokers when I was in high school, but I never had a puff and never had the urge.  However, once at University I was having a hard time as I had never had to study before.  School used to be easy.  I was freaking out.  I needed a solution.  It ended up being lighting up and inhaling that dastardly smog from cigarettes.

I had heard that cigarettes gave you a buzz.  Too true!  After my first inhale of the wicked stick, I coughed, choked, gasped and then felt a weird wooziness in my head.  Mission accomplished.  I found my med to relieve my desire to vomit from stress.  So began, my seventeen years of smoking a variety of ciggies.  However, this is not about being a chain smoker or what brand of smokes I found best…it’s about the life changing experiences.

My sister was a smoker.  I used to visit her all the time after she got married and one day I told her about how stressed I was at University.  I didn’t know to study.  I had so many things to read and so many reports.  I couldn’t sleep at night.  I couldn’t eat (not a problem nowadays).  I had been consuming tablespoons of instant coffee to help me stay awake.  The abuse I was subjecting my body to was criminal.  I asked my sis what it felt like to smoke.  “When you first start you get this buzz,” she said.  She warned me not to start.  Once you start it’s hard to stop.  Well, I was at my wits end and needed something.  So, I “learned” how to smoke.  With much coughing and sputtering and that awful, horrible taste.  My mouth felt like I had licked an ashtray.  So disgusting!  And so began my years of smoking.

At this point in time you could still smoke in buildings.  I remember sitting by myself at a table in front of the library at the U.  I was reading, highlighting, and basically studying.  My nerves were calm and collected.  Thank goodness for smoking.  I met a really nice guy this way too.  He was selling packages of tickets to a comedy club.  I decided to be nice and buy them.  He came back three hours later.  We chatted it up and he asked me out.  What?  That was weird and random.  Why would anyone want to date loser me?  The reason I wondered was because he was tall and handsome and had broad shoulders (that was my achilles heel with guys).  Funny thing…he wasn’t a smoker.  Now, had I not been a smoker I would never have met this wonderful guy.  Had it not been for my parents eavesdropping on my phone conversations and telling him off with an abrupt, “don’t ever talk to my daughter again” who knows what might have been.

I had lost touch with my favourite childhood cousins.  Years later they ended up at the same hall and same dance that I was at.  I was sitting and smoking at my table when I heard, “Well look at Miss Goodie Two-Shoes.”  It was my cousins.  Well, they were smokers too…by golly what luck!  We spent the rest of the night catching up and clearing up the past transgressions and filling up the ashtrays on the table.  We went back to being great cousins/friends and would hook up many times during the week at coffee shops or study halls and sit around and smoke and study together.  And guess what?  We are still hanging out.  Yay to smoking!

I could tell you many wonderful stories of how I had met wonderful people thanks to fag addiction (OMG I seriously love that the British call cigarettes fags..so cool!).  All these people are kind, friendly, and generous.  My piece de resistance is actually that, thanks again to my puff addiction, I met Wiseguy.

I was working at this one company and one of the girls there asked me if I knew this guy.  You see, we are both Croatians and apparently if you are one then you know every single one on this planet.  I smirked and sarcastically said, “Oh sure…probably.”  So, I walked with her to go and check him on her behalf.  Who did I see standing there but the man who had grown up on the same street as my brother-in-law.  The man who’s child was ring boy at my sister’s wedding.  I actually DID know him!  We chatted, reminisced and then he had to go back to work.  Huh…life is funny sometimes.

He worked afternoons and I worked afternoons and when I went out for a ciggy break, he would join me.  This went on for weeks.  Catching up on each other’s life histories and what was going on in our lives now.  This went on for about 3 months.  I met his children.  We hung out.  We got along.  We got along so well in fact, that we moved in together after those three months.  We married the year after.  So here we are 21 years later.  Still together.

So, when people say that smoking can ruin your life, I wouldn’t really say that.  I would be more inclined to say that smoking can ruin your health or your voice or your looks and it especially ruins your taste buds.  In my experience though, I am not advocating smoking, but I would say:

    Smoking…definitely life changing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Forgot to Say Thank You…

Traffic is horrific. I have been sitting here in my car for over half an hour now, inching my way home.  I hate my job.  The kids drive me crazy.  The price of food is outrageous.   My bills are getting higher. My pay isn’t increasing.  Does this sound like your typical day? If you grew up with a morning devotional prayer, you would warble out your devotion and then search out that much needed cup of coffee.  Remember the old movies and tv shows where there were little kids saying, “…and bless mommy and daddy” etc.  Whatever happened to our gratefulness and thankfulness?

First, let me explain that I am not a practising Catholic. I GREW up in a staunch Catholic family upbringing, but as I got older I started looking at the world around me and doubting many things that are part of the Catholic faith.  I learned more about science and what is believable and what isn’t believable.

As a result of my faith and school knowledge clashing against one another, I decided that I would just agree to believe in God and Jesus, but not actually attend any services or say any prayers.  I would thank them every once in awhile, but otherwise I felt I controlled my own destiny.

Then one day, or evening rather, my life changed forever…

I had quit a very stressful job.  Before starting a new job, I decided to visit my father in Croatia.  I needed some time to decompress and he was happy for me to come visit him.  It took some time for us to get used to each other’s routines.  He was an early riser and I was craving sleep ins (having previously been waking at 4 am to go to work). I was a smoker (at that time).  He hated it.  I didn’t want to go anywhere and he was instructed by mother to take me places to see the tourist hot spots.  In the end, I was becoming more my normal happy yappy self again.

After two weeks, we were sitting down eating dinner and he asked me, “Why are you here?”  I thought that was a strange question.   “I quit my job and needed a vacation,” I replied.  “I thought I would see the house that you built,” I continued.  Again he asked, “Ok, but why are you really here?”  I didn’t know what he was alluding to.  Finally I said, “I have noticed that sometimes I feel like I need to do something, but don’t know why.  Eventually the reason is shown to me.”  It sounded so hokey and nutty, but he nodded his head and then went back to eating his dinner.

During my last week there, my dad ran excitedly into the house and said, “I found bees!” He grabbed the phone and called a neighbour.  A few minutes later, and with many thanks, my father hung up the phone and had a huge grin on his face.  “Get ready!”  he exclaimed.  “We are going to get some bees!”

I was HORRIFIED!  Shaking my head vehemently I said:  “NO WAY!”  He proceeded with his litany:  it was safe and bees in a swarm don’t sting and it will be fine and finally…you can just hold the flashlight.  So, this was how my life was going to end, I thought.

We drove the car through the village and parked at the bottom of a steep cliff.  My dad, carrying a mover’s blanket, and I, carrying the flashlight, started our ascent up the cliff, using the angled rock steps to get to the top.  I could see the swarm hanging off the tree. My dad left me to go back and get something from the car.  I waited.

The sky was so clear.  The stars were so bright, I felt I could almost touch them.  Then something made me say, “Please Jesus, I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but could you please just let me live.  I would really appreciate it.  Thank you.”  I took a deep breath and by then my dad had reappeared.  He motioned for me to get closer to the hive.  “Hold the flashlight,” he whispered.  Then he threw the blanket over the swarm and yelled, “RUN!”  Boy did I run!

I ran in the opposite direction of the tree and then I heard my dad yell, “NOT THAT WAY!” My legs kept moving and suddenly my right foot hit a rock and I fell chin first on the ground.  My glasses flew off.  My knees were scraped. My teeth ached from being knocked in the chin.  My palms smarted from the scratches of the forward sliding motion.  My dad came running over to see if I was ok.  The look in his eyes…was it remorse, hurt, fear, relief?  So many emotions all in one look.  I felt like an idiot for tripping.  I ached physically, but mentally I just felt bad for him.  He looked me in the eyes and said, “Thank God you fell.  If you hadn’t tripped you would be dead.”  My look back at him was clearly wide-eyed with an are-you-kidding-me-look.  Yes, had I not tripped on that rock, in another two feet I would have fallen over the edge of the cliff and  down to my death.

I haven’t told many people this story.  It was a life changing moment for me.  It made me realize that I don’t need to say a plethora of Our Fathers or Hail Mary.  I have my buddy Jesus and I know I have angels who watch over me.  How do I know?  I have done some pretty stupid things and lived.

So, I guess I’m still here to live and learn.  To share and to try and help other people find all the good that is in their lives.  Our society focuses so much on negativity that we have been trained to be sarcastic and demeaning.  We learn to talk about everything that is bad and regurgitate it to others.

It is time to take our happy lives back and look for all the good!  I propose a simple two-step process.  Yup, only two steps.

1.  When you are feeling overwhelmed and you think you can’t cope.  Take a deep breath in through your nose (about 6 seconds), then exhale through your mouth (about 6 seconds).  Do this 3 times and suddenly things don’t seem so overwhelming.  I didn’t believe it until I tried it.  It works.

2. Don’t be the one who forgot to say thank you.  Every morning and every evening, find a couple of things that were actually really good and made you feel happy:  Thanks for getting me safely home.  Thanks for my family.  Thanks for my pets.  Thanks for my home.  Thanks for my food.  Thanks for being there, even if I can’t see you.

3. If you feel like you have time for a 3rd step.  Appreciate it all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passion Is In Fashion!

I like to live dangerously!  The thrill of zip-lining, or the rush of rock climbing.  Running a marathon.  Hiking through Europe.  Bike stunts.  Skateboarding tricks.  My goodness there are so many exhilarating moments!  Hot air balloon rides and white water rafting!  Honestly, the list is endless.  I am quite the daredevil and proud of it.  Hopefully, through my brave, adventurous life, you too will find that hidden childhood desire and live an inspiring and fulfilled life like I do.  Oh, by the way, I have never done any of these listed things, but I do find ways to live on the edge.

I ate bacon four times last week.  Yes, yes, I did and I’m not ashamed to brag about it.  Do you know what else?  I had a sunny side up fried egg to go with it.  There was also toast AND, oh yeah, it was buttered.  Booyah!  How do you like me now?  Uh huh.  I know.  I can almost palpably feel your envy at my exploits into endangerment.  Why am I being so foot loose and fancy free?

As a child I remember being unencumbered by my mortality.  I am sure you have seen kidlets jumping on a bed…up and down, and up and down, and…oops…BANG!  Too close to the edge.  Some bawling, either from actually bumping their head or just the shock of being misplaced.  Other than that they learn that they need to stay closer into the middle.  Lesson learned and more fun to be had.  How about the one year old that stands on the couch pulling at the blinds?  Yup, you know where this is going.  What makes them do such dumb things?

Are they dumb?  To us adults we can all become the Amazing Kreskin and foresee what shall happen (due to our own misfortunes and miscalculations), but to them it’s about exploring life.  That couch is their Mount Everest!  That bed is their trampoline!  Nowadays children have be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  There is no longer places for them to play alone.   They can’t even go play on the jungle gym at the park without adult supervision.  I actually feel sorry for them.  Sorry that they can’t have that freedom of adventure that we had as children.

I believe my days in the summer went something like this:  wake up and have breakfast.  Out of the house so that my mother could clean.  Meet with kids in the neighbourhood and play until someone’s mother called for them.  Lunchtime!  Rush home.  Eat lunch.  Run out the door again to play.  Someone would hear the holler of dinnertime and again…home to be fed and then out to play.  No adults were with us.  No teenagers were with us.  We got to goof off and do silly things like fall out of trees or go wandering around the forest and be amazed to see a dead rabbit.  (Two little bites in the neck.  We thought there were vampires nearby).  We would come home sweaty, dusty, or muddy… and exhausted.

As we became adults the “fun” goofy things were replaced by order and rules.  School had rules.  Jobs had rules.  Society had rules.  So many rules and so little place to have fun.  We are told, in many different ways, how we should think and what we should believe.  Commercials tell us what will make us happiest.  Buy their product and your life will be full of sunshine, roses, and unicorns.  Ahhhhh…how great our lives will be.

Weird thing is, and you might have noticed this, it seems that this is kind of where we become like children again.  We beg and pine for something and know that our lives will be incredible once we get it.  That “it” could be anything from something expensive like a car or something as simple as a hamburger.  Now, if you really think about it, that lasts for a bit and then suddenly, it’s not good enough.  There is something else you absolutely need in order to make your life the happiest thing ever!  In most cases, the feeling goes away quite quickly.  How can you change this?

Find your inner happiness.  Find your inner love.  Once you find that crazy happy place, the world around you will seem so much better.  It won’t matter what material things you have because the rest of the world will just seem so much more beautiful, colourful, alive.  Those “rose-coloured glasses” of your youth were removed by well-meaning adults, but it’s time for you to put those on again.  The world is a remarkable place, but we tend to look at what is missing in our lives and not what we already have.

Live with passion!  Live with a sense of excitement!  Find out what makes you happy and do it!  Who cares what other people think!  Those who live with a sense of adventure, spirit, and joy are the ones who are finding that gold nugget of excitement in their lives.  PASSION IS IN FASHION!

P.S.  Did I mention that egg was fried in the bacon fat?  Oh yeah…I’m living recklessly.

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Nobody cares…

I’m getting closer to my 50’s.  Yes, I refer to actual my age.  Many women prefer to lie about their age.  I am happy to be alive and well (health-wise) and LOVE telling people how old I am.  Why?  I don’t see why I should be shy or ashamed.  My real life eye wrinkles prove that I am a happy person because they are proof that I smile a lot.  The blue veins in my legs are a showcase of days when I gained waaaaay too much weight.  My whole body presents a story of my life.  To be honest, my absolute favourite parts of my body are: 1) my super-huge toothy smile and  2) my kaka-brown cow-eyes.  Why do I bring these items up?

Growing up in an environment of European descent was not easy.  There were many ways that you could be deemed unacceptable in regular society.  For example, I was diagnosed as near-sighted when I was 8 years old.  I remember going for the eye test and hoping that I wouldn’t “fail” the test because my parents would be disappointed. In the end, it was determined that I needed glasses.  I was actually ecstatic and elated and super pumped!  I even recall my eyeglass case…it was orange and there was the fuzzy head of a teddy bear on it.  I felt special.  That lasted for two days until I returned to school.  I was the only “four-eyes” in my class.  Yes…I could finally read everything on the chalkboard at the front of the room, but I was also a “loser”.  This eyeglass thing didn’t get any easier in other public domains.

My visual impairment made friendships awkward too.  My mother told me that I should not wear my glasses in public.  Why?  Wearing glasses at my young age meant I was somehow disabled.  Silly?  Absolutely, but at the time I believed my mother because she was my parent and she knew best.  At least that is what I was led to believe.

We would go to church every Sunday.  I would take my glasses off before entering.  Going up for communion was about following others so being visually impaired was no big deal.  The problem I encountered was when people thought I was ignoring them.   They would wave to me and I could really only see blobs of colours.  I appeared to be looking right at them, and yet, I myself could not actually see them.

For those who were forward, they would ask me why I ignored them and I’d make up some excuse (not mentioning the glasses).  For those who did not inquire, I became known as a very high and mighty, self-absorbed snob.  I found this out from friends after the fact.  Why do I bring this up?

It seems that our daily lives are always being judged.  Nowadays, they might even be recorded.  You never know when someone will be holding a “smart phone” ready to video or photograph whatever you are doing.  It seems that people are more concerned about recording the next “viral” video instead of thinking about how this could affect a person’s life.  In the end, I wonder…who cares?

No one really cares.  No one really cares about your life or what you are living.   No one really cares if you are happy, sad, disgruntled, ecstatic, etc.  That was generalizing, but in truth, if you are super happy, most people don’t want to share your happy news.  Why?  Most people are focusing on hardships and don’t want to hear about how good your life is.  “Misery loves company” and most would rather share woes.  Our society deals with sarcasm and belittling others to make themselves feel better.  Does this sound like a harsh judgement?  Perhaps, but oftentimes it seems that people would rather rally around those with problems than with those who are having a fantastically great life.

Perhaps I am just noticing this more often than I used to.  It could also be that I have decided to find what is good in my life instead of focusing on what I am missing.  This shift in vision took me a good two years to finally accomplish.  Why?  It’s not as easy as you think.  Here are some examples:

You wake up in the morning and the first thing you think is:  “Crap I have to get up and go to work.”  I would wake up, take a deep breath (which I can happily do) and literally tell myself to think of something positive.  So, I would say, “Wow!  I am so happy to wake up and breathe and enjoy another day of life!”  Corny?  When you start it, it does feel weird, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.  How do you re-program your thinking to be positive instead of negative?  It’s a conscious effort of changing what you are thinking.

  • Awwwww, it’s raining again! – NEGATIVE
  • Yay!  The flowers will grow and bloom; my garden will grow! – POSITIVE

Challenge!  Write down your negative thoughts and then try to find the positive.

  • My car is a piece of junk…becomes…I am grateful to have a vehicle to drive.
  • I hate my job…becomes…I have a way to pay my bills and this is only a stepping stone to my new and better job.

You can do it!  You can find something good!  (If you get stuck…look at pictures of puppies and kittens, or any other baby animal.  You can’t be grumpy after that!)   While you are on this journey of discovery and appreciation don’t think about what others are saying about you or thinking about you because you know what?  Nobody cares!

Diversity and equality…pizza anyone?

I have previously mentioned that I have a slight love of pizza.  Okay, okay, an absolute obsession.  Thick or thin crust.  Don’t care?  White or red sauce?  Either is great!  Types of toppings?  I’m open.  Cheese?  Mozzarella / feta / goat cheese…I ain’t picky.  Meats?  Any kind are fine.  Veggies?  All are welcome!  False, almost all.  I was in Croatia and got a veggie slice.  There was corn on it.  Not so great.  Picked off the corn and the rest was great!  Being a pizza fanatic I have found ways to eat pizza when the craving hits.  Today, I share with you, the diverse ways to satisfy your pizza craving.  As a bonus, I will share my newfound way of getting a pizza hit!

My mother would occasionally make pizza for dinner.  That enchanting smell emanating from the kitchen…yummy!  Pizza night was the best!  Our parents never ordered take out food.  We never went out to restaurants to eat so pizza at home was divine.  As we got older and started going out, the quickest way to satisfy a food craving at 1 a.m. was PIZZA!  We would order a pie and eat this deliciously, hot, and satisfyingly fresh piece of heaven.  Ah, nothing like pizza.  Then one day, my view of this indelible meal drastically changed.

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I was at work and realized I had left my lunch at home on the kitchen counter.  Hungry, I went to the nearby coffee shop and heard people ordering this thing called a “pizza bagel”.  A what?  It smelled like pizza.  It sounded like pizza.  New pizza heaven!  Crunchy bagel, tomato sauce, cheesy topping.  Needless to say, I became the hero at home when I reproduced this delectable feast.  Slice the bagel in half.  Toast it.  Top with pizza sauce, cheese and your choice of toppings.  Into the toaster oven and bake for about 15 minutes.  BAM!  Lunch was served.  I shared this tidbit with many a co-worker who were grateful for this wonderful and easy way to make pizza at home for their kids.

Then, one day, there were NO BAGELS!  Trauma!  Drama!  I had promised the kiddies pizza and now…well, I had to think of something quick.  I perused the contents of my fridge and inspiration came:  Greek pitas.  Pita bread pizza is so commonplace now, but I tell you, I invented this recipe!  The reason I like Greek pitas is that they don’t have a pocket.  They have a thin crust pizza thickness too.  That day, I pulled four pitas out of the bag.  I put them side by side on a cookie sheet and preheated my oven to 400 F.  Then I told the kidlets that they could put whatever toppings they wanted on their “very own, personal pizza”.  Who was the hero now?  Woot woot!  Yes, necessity is the mother of invention.

My pizza cravings have never subsided (obviously), but I have found ways to shake things up.  I make my own pizza at home with fresh pizza dough.  I still cheat with the pita bread or the bagel version if I have last minute guests.   Now, for my latest and greatest pizza version.  PIZZA EGG ROLLS!

This idea came to me when the restaurant chain, Kelsey’s, had a summer special of reuben spring rolls.  Yes, they took the reuben sandwich filling and put it in a spring roll, fried it up, cut it in half and there was a mustard dipping sauce on the side.  Incredibly yummy and crunchy.  I took that idea and came up with:

PIZZA EGG ROLLS!

Egg roll wrappers are thicker than spring rolls wraps.  You can purchase egg roll wrappers in the produce section of any grocery store.  The spring roll wrappers are usually only found at Asian markets / grocery stores.  Egg roll wrappers are easier to work with.  They are thicker so not as easy to tear and you don’t need to have a damp cloth over them, like spring rolls, because they won’t dry out while you are filling them.  Genius right?  Thank you.

THE PROCESS:

First you grate up mozzarella and chop up pepperoni into small cubes.

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Next, in a small bowl, make an egg wash  (one egg and a bit of water and with a fork mix, mix, mix).  After that, take an egg roll wrap and put it in front of you so that it is sitting like a diamond.  Put a dollop of pizza sauce in the middle.

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Add some mozzarella and some pepperoni bits on top.

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Take the bottom corner and cover the toppings.  Tuck that corner slightly under the filling.  Then take the left corner and cross over into the middle.  Do the same with the right corner.

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On the top corner, brush some of the egg wash.  This is like licking an envelope closed (for those of you who have ever had to seal an envelope.  I’m showing my age again).  It will seal the egg roll so that it doesn’t open up while you are frying.

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Put that flap into the middle and put your newly rolled pizza egg roll onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (they get kind of sticky so it’s easier to peel them off for frying if they are on paper.

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I have a deep fryer so I fry them in there, but if you are using a pot, make you sure you put in enough oil so that it will cover your egg rolls.  Heat oil to 340 F (170 C).  Put in about 4 egg rolls (in a small pot or 6 in a large pot or deep fryer).  If you put in too many the oil cools off quickly.  Since they float, you might have to flip them to get an even crunch all over so best to have only a few to deal with.

Once they turn a lovely shade of tan / brown remove them with a kitchen spider or a slotted spoon.  Place your wonderful new delectable creations onto a cookie sheet with a cooling rack on it.  This helps to let more oil drip off AND the egg rolls aren’t sitting in their own greasiness getting mushy.

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If you are feeling brave, or are not averse to getting your tongue (or the roof of your mouth burnt) take a gloriously, satisfying bite.  The crunch of the egg roll, stretchy mozzarella cheese, the yummy tomato sauce, the bits of pepperoni.  Mmmmmmm.

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Once these cool, you can freeze them for up to three months.  They can be reheated in the oven on 400 F for about 12 minutes.  You can also take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge to thaw.  Reheating would only take about 6 to 7 minutes.  The kids get impatient and just microwave them for about 40 seconds.  Not as crunchy, but still satisfying.

With regards to the filling, you can customize it as you would any pizza.  Peppers, onions, olives, pineapple…the pizza egg roll is your oyster.  You can even have a marinara sauce to dunk them in. If serving as bite size appetizers, cut them through the middle on a diagonal once reheated.  They will look colourful and smell absolutely fabulous.

I hope my newest pizza obsession is something you will try.  Very versatile.  Very portable.  Very customizable.  So many great options.  Yes, diversity and equality…found in pizza.

To Be or Not To Be…Alone

I remember hearing about people who were trying to “find themselves”.   Mostly it was people criticizing other people and I, as a child, did not know what it meant.  In our day it meant you were escaping responsibility.  Fast forward years later and I finally understand what that means.  Some of you may have already done this, purposely or accidentally, but for those of you who have not yet reached the precipice, I shall try to explain this phenomenon.

I do not claim to know the answers.  I believe life is a constant journey.  There are so many things we experience and live through.  Things we thought were super stressful in our teens seemed like blessings in our twenties.  Stuff we thought was tough in our twenties became insignificant in our thirties.  I am getting closer to my fifties and am appreciating the desire for people to support one another and fight for equality.  I watch and summarize it as:  One generation wanting peace and love for everyone.

If everyone finally looked around and said, “Hey…you’re ok!” we could all work, live, and be happy together.  However, the most important thing is loving yourself.  Every religion tells you that and many of us choose to ignore it because it seems selfish.  I was raised hearing this:   Love your neighbour as yourself.  For some reason, most of us, or all of us, missed the memo.  Love yourself?   YES!  It sounds so strange, but once you start living it (yup, through “finding yourself”) it’s amazing how much better all your relationships become after that.

One of the reasons I bring this is up is because I believe in the power of love.  I believe in the power of positive thinking.  I believe that everything will be good in your life as long as you believe it will be ok.  How did I get here?  I finally debated about “to be or not to be…” alone.  That led me to decide that I needed time to be alone, to “find myself”.  Why?  I needed to think about what my thoughts were.  Negative?  Positive?  How did I view my surroundings?

I realized that most of my life was about helping others.  I needed the approval and praise of others to feel my self-worth.  Yup, that’s where the needed “alone time” came in.  Spend time with yourself and your thoughts and find out how you feel about yourself and how you can improve on your self-love.

DON’T SAY:

  • It’s impossible and I can’t do this!

YOU CAN!

  • It’s too hard!

YOU ARE STRONG!  YOU HAVE THE POWER!

VERY, VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:  DO NOT LISTEN OR BELIEVE IN WHAT “APPEARS” REAL.  WE DO HAVE INNER POWERS AND STRENGTH AS LONG AS WE SAY:  “I CAN DO THIS!”

As children we were excited about everything.  Dandelions were roses to us!  Mud was extravagant!  Butterflies were miracles!  Sadly, along the way to adulthood, we were told to believe in hard facts, not fiction.  This is why I love children.  They are still so pure and  non-judgemental.  They can see the beauty in everyday life.  I dare you to try and wake up everyday and say I LOVE MY LIFE!  Most often, we DO forget to see all the good we have.  We have this idea that we need more “stuff” in order to make us happy.  Bigger houses, better cars, expensive clothing, etc.

Have you ever stopped to actually say, “Wow…I actually have so many wonderful things in my life.”  No.  And why not?  I think it’s because once we get something that we believe will make us happier, we realize it didn’t, so then we have to start looking for something else that will make us happy.

Which brings me right back to be being alone or not being alone.  If you really love yourself, you can look in a mirror and actually think you are wonderful.  If you love yourself then no one can bring you down.  That self-love provides such a glorious barrier to all the negative in the world.  If someone belittles you (which many workplaces or families do), it won’t matter.  If you love yourself, you can actually start loving others.  You will see that everyone is here to have fun!  It’s not all about work and getting things.  It’s about getting excited and trying new stuff.  (Like axe throwing…very excited about doing that!)  It’s about knowing that you can wish for things and believing they can happen.  If you love yourself, you will find more beauty in everything around you.  The trees will seem greener, the flowers will seem brighter, the birds will sound happier.  (Hmmm, maybe this is how people on drugs feel.  lol!)

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Is this being selfish?  Absolutely YES!  But if everyone was doing it, this would be such a magical world!  For those of you who meditate or do yoga or take long baths…kudos to you!  You know that by healing yourself with happiness and love you can, not only survive in this bizarre world, but you will thrive.  You will start enjoying life and living as you did when you were a child.  Find that happy place again.  You won’t regret it.

DEDICATION:  For those of you who are accustomed to my fantastically humorous ways, I wanted to let you know that I have someone, whom I love so much, and who needs added love and support for a “dis-ease” she has.  I know she will survive and thrive because she is a happy, loving, beautiful person, and she is making her own reality using love and positive focus.  Most importantly, she knows she is not alone and will never be alone.

P.S.  To my beautiful Sarmie, love conquers all.  You are beautiful, you are loving, you are…above all…greatly LOVED!  NEVER EVER FORGET IT!

 

 

 

Can you do me a favour?

I am sure that many of you have been asked, “Can you do me a favour?”  Harmless right?  You might have been the person asking this yourself.  In most cases, it is a quicky, easy request that you probably would have done anyway.  However, what if it is something more than you thought?  This is one of the hardest favours to fulfill.  You don’t want anyone to be offended.  You want to please others and make sure there is peace.  The older I get, the more I realize that saying “no” is something that I won’t feel bad about saying.  Why?

I am not sure if you had the same upbringing as I had, but “no” was not in our vocabulary.  We would impinge on our own family time in order to make other people happy.  My mother’s theory was that God would pay us in heaven later.  I still knew that, in many ways, she wanted praise and accolades from others.  That took me a long time to understand.  She seemed to be very helpful, but like many others, we do want to be thanked and appreciated for what we have done.  It makes us feel better as human beings; being helpful to others.   My perspective on this subject has changed dramatically over the years.

I always loved helping people.  It got so bad that I would give up my time and the daily living of my life in order to accommodate the wishes of others.  I dated a hypochondriac that would have me with him in the emergency room at least three times a week for illnesses that never existed.  All he wanted was attention.  It was actually my boss at the time, who pointed it out to me.  I thought I was being helpful and a good girlfriend, where my boss pointed out that he was just using illness as an excuse to keep me from being at work and giving him (the unemployed) more attention.  The relationship ended.  That was in my early 20s.  I dated many “fixer-uppers”, hoping to save the world one person at a time, and then finally realized that I couldn’t fix people.  I could only take care of myself and make myself happy.  Enter Wiseguy.

My hubby of 20 years was (and is) always supportive of me.  I had given up on finding someone to spend the rest of my life with.  One night I finally asked the heavens / God / the universe / all other gods…”I just want to meet someone who can make me laugh.  I want someone to have my weird sense of humour.”  Then, I decided that I would give up.  There was no one on the universe like that.  Again…enter Wiseguy.

I met my funny mate.  I met the man who would make me laugh.  I met the man who never demeaned me or made me feel stupid.  This man always elevated me and backed me in whatever I wanted to do.  Feminism?  Yes…he always wanted me to be me and pushed me to believe in myself.  Now THAT my friends is what a true mate and friend is like.

Now, you many not have found your perfect match, or you may be working on the relationship you are in…but always remember that in order for any relationship to work, you need to love yourself first.  It may sound corny or weird, as we have been taught to love others, but loving yourself and taking time for yourself let’s you be more loving to others.

And…when people ask for favours, remember, in most cases, it is a one way street.  The “favour” you do does not mean that they owe you anything back.  You do it out of the kindness of your heart.  Do NOT expect anything in return.  If you do, you might be disappointed.  This is the old lady of wisdom speaking now.  I have done many favours for many people.  I have received some thanks, but in most cases it ends up becoming “Thanks, but what have you done for me lately.”  In other cases it becomes expected and routine that you will be there so it’s not appreciated.  Be mentally and emotionally prepared for that.  If you feel that you need the accolades and believe you won’t get them, then feel free to take a deep breath in, exhale out, and kindly say, “NO.”  It is one of the hardest things to say, but saying YES all the time and being miserable about it is not good or right for you either.

Old lady lesson (yes, I am considering myself an old lady and I’m fantastically proud of it):

  • YOU CAN SAY NO!  It hurts at first, but it’s not the worst.

P.S.  Hmmmmm, sounds like a good slogan for a t-shirt

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P.P.S.  Double Hmmmm…anyone out there is the t-shirt industry…”Can you do me a favour?”