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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Oh Joy! Oh Bliss?

Spring is finally here!  How do I know?  Besides the fact that it is April, the last snowfall occurred last week.  NO MORE SHOVELING SNOW!  Also, my doorbell has been ringing consistently, signalling visitations from lawn care services.  Uh huh!  And yes…I did hear a few lawn mowers powered up today!  Spring is finally here!  Hurrah!  Joy!  Bliss!  Bzzzzzzzz.  What?  Bzzzzzz!  My yearly dreaded visitors have arrived as well.  Oh joy…oh bliss?

Our beautiful, first warm day was 24 degrees celsius (or a balmy 75F).  The air was warm, the sun was shining, the grass was green, and the birds were singing.  Tulips and daffodils are popping up around the neighbourhood.

IMG_2838Hazzah!  We can open our windows again!  I decided that it was time for me to meander around my backyard and enjoy breathing in non-frigid air.  Spring!  A time of renewal and rebirth.  Spring is also the time that I steel myself to become a Warrior Princess!

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No swords, but many a facial tissue, reliable flat shoe, or any other item that might slay my evil spring foe…the beige house spider.

Ewwww, ewwwww, ewwwwwww!  I’ll be honest, sometimes I will negotiate with the spider, “I will leave this room and come back in ten minutes.  If you are still here, then your life is over.  Your call!”  Crazy?  Maybe, but they really are good at eating little flies (which I also deplore) so it’s more like a negotiation for cohabitation.  Bugs are a fact of life, but the bane of my existence is the diminutive, annoying, buzzing, carnivore…the mosquito!

I consider myself a happy…super happy…ok, Pollyanna-happy type person.  I have consciously decided to find the good in everything; the silver lining, so to speak.  Yet, after that wonderfully, warm, spring day, I discovered something new upon my person that thwarted my normal “happy-go-lucky” days.  Bites!!!  Awful, itchy, little red welts around my ankles.  Yes, both ankles.  I showed Wiseguy my ‘skeeter’ (a.k.a. mosquito) bites and he said, “There are no mosquitos out yet.”  An easy claim for someone who NEVER, EVER, EVER, gets bit by mosquitos!  I am not only his wife, but his mosquito repellent.

My father once told me:  “Once you have been bitten by mosquitos 50 times they will stop biting you because you have so much venom in your body that your blood isn’t appealing anymore.”  Well guess what dad?  I tested that theory one year.  I had 63 bites.  You know what else?  They were still biting me!

I truly believe that I have some super sweet, absolutely amazing blood that attracts these buzzing little vixens to me.  Vixens?  Yes, only female mosquitos bite and suck blood.  You can read all about it, but I’ll summarize it for you:

  1. Females are the vampires
  2. Males prefer fruit juices
  3. Females also go for fruit juice; the blood is to feed eggs – 200 eggs!!!!!  Guess whose kids love me too?
  4. Eggs are jacuzzi-ed; drain every water puddle around you to avoid mosquitos!

Back to my original itchy horror.  Wiseguy said I didn’t get bit by mosquitos.  I have an ankle (oops…two ankles) with lumpy bite marks.  My pups don’t have ticks or fleas.  I have seen flea bites and what I have are not flea bites.  I know what a ‘squito bite looks like and feels like.  Again, I am their main blood donor.  I should just get a t-shirt that says:  Mosquito – Blood donor clinic open.  Yes, I am feeding the mosquito population; not by choice, but by popular demand.

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Did I ever mention that I had this wonderful disease called “West Nile Virus“?  Oh yes, my popular buzzing friends decided that I needed to take some time off work.  So, I received a wonderful bite from my local mosquito friend and it felt different from my usual experiences.  True enough, a couple of days later I started getting a rash.  It spread from my legs to my neck within two days.  I went to one hospital and said, “I think I have West Nile virus.”  I was told (after three hours and no tests) that I probably had a reaction to a strawberry I had devoured.  Note:  I have no food allergies.  They sent me home.

The itchy red splotches did not go away.  After a week, I found that I suddenly could not walk straight.  I was leaning left.  Emergency unit again, but a different hospital.  “You have vertigo,” said the nice doctor.  “I think I have West Nile virus,” I declared when she asked about the rash.  “Probably pesticides on strawberries or blueberries,” she proclaimed.  Hmmmm….why would no one believe me?

So, after two weeks of being off work, I needed a note from my family doctor which would state I was able to return to work.  She looked at all the new notes in my file, “Wow,” she laughed, “you’ve been busy.”  “I think I had West Nile virus,” I declared.  “Did you get tested?” she inquired.  I relayed my requests to be tested and lack of action and so SHE made sure I got tested.  Guess what?  Booyah!!!!  West Nile virus!  I did have it! Okay, it wasn’t good that I had it, but I was so thankful that:

  1. Someone believed me
  2. Someone tested me
  3. I WAS RIGHT!!!  (yes, many exclamation points, but so important after nobody believed me and I had physical proof!)

Moral of the story:  Skeeters, ‘squitos…they are VAMPIRES!

Pollyanna version:

  1.  I did need a break from work – rashes / vertigo are a solution
  2. I have the bestest, sweetest blood around!  Why wouldn’t those blood suckers seek me out.  Oh joy!  Oh bliss?

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!

 

 

 

Perspective…Pollyanna syndrome

As syndromes go, most of them have a negative connotation.  Diseases and abnormalities are the first to spring to mind when someone mentions a syndrome.  Then there is Pollyanna syndrome.  I think it’s a good syndrome to have.  For those who have never heard of it, it’s where you look for the positive instead of the negative in a situation.  This happy syndrome is particularly difficult to find in our adult species as we find laughter in sarcasm and belittling of others.  Our daily news stories focus on the ill luck and devastation in our world.  When talking to co-workers, conversations usually begin with the overwhelming work and stress in our jobs.  When talking to family it usually starts off with a complaint about chores or errands or misbehaving children.  Today I hit up your fragile exhausted mind with “Pollyannaism”.

I grew up in the age of black and white television.  There was one television set for the whole family to share and watch.  I don’t recall watching many shows.  I do remember anxiously awaiting Sunday because that was when “The Wonderful World of Disney” would be on.  I hoped for cartoons, but sometimes there would be a movie that we would watch.  One day we watched a movie called “Pollyanna”.  It had an incredible effect on my life.  For those who did not grow up sitting cross-legged watching Walt Disney, get comfortable as I tell you the tale of Pollyanna.  (Ok, this is the quickie version because you don’t have all day and attention spans nowadays are like the flight of the flitting hummingbird.)

Pollyanna was an orphan.  She went to live with her cranky aunt.  Auntie was a miserable bitty.  Pollyanna drove Auntie nuts because she was always happy and finding the silver lining in everything around her.  Her father had taught her the “Glad Game”.  No matter how crappy something was, find the positive in it.  This started when, at Christmas, the church sent a “toy-box-for-poor-kids” to her and she discovered crutches.  She had wanted a doll.  Pops said “Be glad you don’t need them.”  Get it?  Be “glad”…hence began the “Glad Game”.  (I’m sure most of you got it).  Anyhoo…ol’ bitty kept playing mean tricks on goody-two shoes Polly like locking her in the crappy attic. Happy Polly LOVED the view from the window (silver lining right?).  Grrr.  Ok, WHAM!  No soup for you!  (Seinfeld reference haha).  Polly had to sit in the kitchen with the servant and eat bread and milk.  No problem!  Wee P loved milk and bread AND she enjoyed the servant’s company.  Fast forward to big summation.  (If you want the details watch the movie or read the book.)  Chatty Pollyanna wanders around the town using her rose-coloured view of the world to change everyone’s perspective of their lives.  The grouches become grinners.  The misers become wealth sharers.  Foes become friends.  You get the idea.  There’s a part where Pollyanna gets hurt.  She gets sad and feels crummy and then all the old grumpalumps who are now new grinners come and “Pollyanna-ise” her.  HA!  A taste of her own medicine and she’s good as new.  The end.  (There!  Not too painful right?)

It seems to me that complaining and criticizing has become a fashionable way to analyze and speak about events and people around us.  When we first learn sarcasm we feel like adults because we have watched and learned from our elders how to gossip, criticize and ridicule.  It’s funny making fun of others right?  Teasing is done just to get a laugh even if that person’s feelings get hurt.  When you share distressful news, most people would rather jump on that Bandwagon of Misery and help bring you down further.  Why would someone try to help you find the bright side and a positive resolution?  True friends actually will, but true, honest friends are very difficult to find.  Why?  Well, with all the gossiping and stories being told you’re not sure if they do the same behind your back so who can you really trust?

Today I challenge (or dare) you to work at changing your perspective.  I can honestly tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds.  It’s easier to fall back on complaining about things than to stop, think and find the silver lining.  Let’s work through some examples:

  • Situation:  You’re late for a meeting and you’re stuck in traffic because of a car accident somewhere further up the road.
  • Usual reaction:  FML!  Why does this always happen to me?
  • New reaction:  choose any of the following:
    • I hope that person is ok.
    • At least I get to listen to my audio storybook CD for a bit longer.
    • Wow, look at that beautiful sky!

True, it won’t get you to work faster, but can you change the traffic situation?  No.  So instead of feeling angry or miserable about it, find the positive.

  • Situation:  You come home late from work (thanks to said car accident).  Dinner is going to be late.  The kids are cranky, the dog needs walking, you’re exhausted.
  • Usual reaction:  FML!  I’m too tired to deal with this!
  • New reaction:  choose any of the following
    • I am grateful to have made it home safely.
    • My kids are cranky, but they are safe and I’m grateful that they are in my life.
    • My dog is always happy to see me.

Crazy?  Maybe.  Easy? Heck no!  Start by catching yourself and trying to alter that maniacal evil thought into something that will make you grin and laugh.  I promise, your days will be happier and brighter.  You will find more joy in your surroundings and you will also find, that you will stop hanging out with Negative Nellie’s because you will start attracting the Positive Polly(anna)’s into your life.

Anyone up for a round of “Glad Game”?  I’ll start…I’m so glad I have finished writing this and sharing it with you.

You’re turn.

Pork and Beans and the Prized Nugget

Schools of thought.  I myself have been on both sides of the fence depending on my age and/or necessity to explain or justify what I’m doing.  Sometimes my own thoughts just don’t seem as intelligent or convincing enough so why not borrow from the tried and true?

Too many chefs spoil the broth OR many hands make light work

Absence makes the heart grow fonder OR out of sight, out of mind

The pen is mightier than the sword OR actions speak louder than words

I could go on, but you get the idea.  What got me pondering and processing proverbs?   This weekend was one that I had been happily anticipating for a few days.  Social calendar full, beautiful weather, and Wiseguy not working.  Trifecta! Perfection!  Or so we thought.

Earlier in the week I had learned that a lovely lady had passed away.  She was only 51.   (Yes, for you youngins in your 20s that’s old, but we middle agers find that to be baby status to old age).  It came suddenly and unexpectedly in the form of a heart attack.  After some tears and hugs and grieving at the funeral home I again began to look forward to my happy weekend plans and enjoy life again.   Three days later another life jolt.  Another beautiful,  young woman in her 50s had passed away.  A kind and happy person who enjoyed life and made others feel happy, comfortable when you were around her.  The question you can’t help but ask is why?

When the week was done, I looked in my rearview mirror of wisdom to try and decipher what it all meant.  Death is shocking.  There’s anger and guilt and fear and mostly denial.  Death is so final.  Death is also illuminating.  My thoughts and beliefs on death have changed many times over the years.  Maybe that’s where the wisdom kicks in, or maybe, I find more comfort in disbelieving what I had learned before.  If this was your last day on earth how would you feel and what would you do?

What about life itself?  Is there a purpose?  Is there a meaning to our lives?  We wonder how we really fit in.  We promise to take time for ourselves.  We see family at funerals and PROMISE to call and visit because the mortality punching bag hit us hard.  And then, we go back to “life“.  Work.  Pay bills.  Buy necessities.  Maybe a few days vacation.  Is that life?

As I age (gracefully, of course) I look more at children and their approach to life.  Take a 3 year old and watch them get upset when they don’t get what they want.  Tears.  Tantrums. They know.        They deserve more.  Why do we adults accept that we can’t have better?

Each person derives a message upon hearing about the death of a loved one.  Each person goes through the stages of denial and guilt and anger to final acceptance.  It’s an emotional journey that can either leave you emotionally drained and looking consistently at the sadness and unfairness in life or it will lead you to finding a new sign or life message leading you to a happier more fulfilled life.  Which side of the proverb are you on?

I am trying to find positivity in the negative.  I believe that this is a sign to live life to the fullest.  When asking why people have to die and leave us, I remind myself that we don’t know how long we have here on earth and that we do need to take time to have fun.  We assume that we will wake up the next day. I am starting to rethink my life.  I am in the baby stages of redefining the living of my life by actually making myself follow my dreams to their realization.  No more giving up for fear of failure.  I will be grateful for that first deep breath in the morning because I know I am alive and my surrounding world is full of adventures that I need to explore.  I will let myself float in the pool of happiness around me.  I will love myself and share that love with others.  I will live and love and know that when my time comes I will be grateful for this thing called “life”.

Pork and Beans.  (Stay with me here, all will be explained.)  I think it is the simplest explanation to my conundrum.  Have you ever had a can of pork and beans? I remember reading the label and thinking there would be numerous chunks of bacon with the beans.  Can opened and contents extracted.  Hmmmm, one little wee piece of bacon and MILLIONS of beans.  This can of beans was like our weekend (told you I’d explain it).  Our disheveled weekend plans became a blessing in disguise.  You will have many experiences in life that all seem the same and monotonous, like the beans and one prized “nugget” of pork experience.   That one nugget, that one day, when everyone’s life coincides in togetherness and love is as large as the full moon.  It’s magical.  Wiseguy and I did get to spend time with people we love.  We did to get to appreciate and feel good about life with the people who are still with us.

Moral:  There will be sad times in your life.  Cry, be sad, hurt, grieve.  It’s a process.  Then move on.  Change your way of life.  Stop living with the simple monotonous beans of life.  Go searching and experiencing numerous and exciting prized pork nuggets. (My analogies, you must agree, are not conventional but then, neither am I.)

For those who have lost loved ones, I understand, I feel your loss, and can only give momma hugs. Words cannot heal what you have lost, but the good memories to follow will.  XOXOXO