Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'm a Lucky Girl

I was watching a movie last night when really I should have been sound asleep.  You'd think I'd be more eager to rest given how crazy my life has become but yet, I still fight that urge.  Odd.  Anyway, I was watching this movie where this woman's life is completely upended by her husband.  She winds up being divorced.  Then she goes on an adventure only to realize that it isn't just a trip to help her get over her hurts but it's a sign that her life belongs somewhere else.  That her life has a different purpose.

I do believe in signs.  I'm odd that way.  Well anyway, in this movie she buys this old house and has to renovate it.  Then as she's in the process of gutting and rebuilding this house she reaches new lows and wonders just exactly how dumb could she be to believe that fate had something better in store.  She muses that when she had purchased this house, she dreamed of having a wedding in it.  Filling it with family and friends.  That's when a friend points out to her that she has all these things.  She has what she wished for.  It just took someone to frame it in a different light for her to see it.

When I shut off the TV and shuffled off to bed, I was thinking all that over.  How its really funny that some prayers don't get answered and that some get answered so quietly that they are hard to see, especially, if one is having trouble seeing through some bit of trouble or confusion.

6:30 am I'm snapped back into consciousness by the cute little sound of L. singing a song and laughing at a knock-knock joke he told himself.  Of course I thought he was adorable but I got up and whispered to him that he should be a little quieter and shut his door and went back to bed.  Surrendering back into that warm dullness.

7:45 am I'm awaken by K, placing a cup off coffee on my bedside table and rubbing my back to get me to open my eyes.  The countdown to our usual Sunday schedule was on.  I had probably ten minutes to wake up and come down and join them in getting ready to get out the door.  Not a shabby way to wake up, really.  Isn't my husband fantastic?  I think so!

Showered, dressed and presentable off we go.  While we were in church my older son looked up at me and blew me a kiss.  My heart skipped.  How did I get such wonderful children?  These perfect little beings.

After church, I had the chance to have breakfast and to throw on my gear and get out for a trail run with a girlfriend.  The trails were so beautiful.  The air chilly but once we got moving we were actually too warm.  Soon, we'll just fantasize about that sensation.  Everyone in the park was in excellent moods.  We got to pet dogs and even managed to get off the beaten path.  It turns out I know that park so much better than I would have given myself credit for.  We had a great time.  I love her company.

Now the Halloween preparations will be in full swing.  Some pumpkin carving, pumpkin seed roasting and some decorations.  A gorgeous dinner with a lovely bottle of red that I've been saving over the glow of some cheerful pumpkins.  I'm in such a good mood I think I'll make my men an apple pie!

I'm a lucky girl.  I know full well there are others in this world who do not have food, money or health.  They may not even have family to hold on to for comfort.  I am reminded today that I have all that I have wished for.  I am reminded today that there is more outside of myself.

Beautiful things happen on sunny days.  I'm looking forward to a nice new opportunities.  Who knows what's on the wind?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

This Much I Know is True.

Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything. - Muhammad Ali

There are some really spectacular people out there.  There really are.  I am so blessed to know a good deal of them.  My friends inspire me.  They may not know it but they make me a better person. I've learned so much from them.  I've become so much because they've pushed me forward.  Out of my comfort zone a good deal of the time.  They've broadened my perspective, they've shown me support and allowed me to do the same.  Through them I've had the chance to become a more rounded person.  A more feeling person.  I am uplifted.

I have a girlfriend who it seems no matter what lands on her plate she is completely unflappable.  She seems quite content to allow the forces of nature gently nudge her along.  She is smart and determined and a natural leader.  I love her passion for life, her love of her family and her savy.  She's a natural.  There is no artifice with her.  What you see is genuinely what you get.  From her I am learning to be patient and have faith.

I have another girlfriend who is a whirlwind.  When we first met, I'm not sure we liked each other much.  Then as time passed and I got to know her better, I was able to understand her better.  I fell into easy company with her.  Turns out we had an awful lot in common.  She's a strong woman.  I mean true grit kinda strong.  She's also just raw energy all the time.  She dedicates herself to her family in a way where I am just left in awe.  I often times feel like I've had too much coffee after being in her company but I like it.  She is honest with her opinions.  She has a way of just cutting through it and telling like it is.  She keeps me honest even when I don't want to be.  She pushes me to keep up with her.  She ups the ante.  She's a smart cookie, opinionated and brutally honest.  She doesn't seem to have any time for gentle ego stroking or white lies.  I like this, a lot more than I would have thought.  You  never need to guess where you stand with her.  She's teaching me to stand stronger and have more conviction.

I have another friend whom I just feel easy with.  I joked once that I wish she'd adopt me.  Though I don't want her to be my mom, I just want to be in her family.  She's been such a good friend.  There's this thing about her that is just so completely kick ass....She may start on a challenge that perhaps would not have been her first choice but once she is committed there is absolutely no holding this woman back from achieving her goals.  This woman has fought through injuries, self-doubt and frustration to get the job done.  I have never seen that kind of tenacity in a person before.  If it were me, I would have found a way to justify just stopping...this woman doesn't know the meaning of quit.  I hope I do not rub off on her that way.  She is teaching me to persevere without giving up what makes me who I am.

I should stop trying to describe all the fabulous women in my life.  This blog would get really, really long.  I'd also be afraid of leaving someone out.  Even the ones that have hurt me beyond anything I could have imagined, have made me a better person. Perhaps some might not like knowing that but while they were in my life, I loved them so much.  I still do.  I have tried to deal with the pain by wanting to think ill of them.  To banish them from my thoughts or memory.  I just can't bring myself to do it because that would mean I'd have to deny all the wonderful things that their friendship meant to me.  I just can't bring myself to cut free parts of my life that way.  

We call that person who has lost his father, an orphan; and a widower that man who has lost his wife. But that man who has known the immense unhappiness of losing a friend, by what name do we call him? Here every language is silent and holds its peace in impotence. - Joseph Roux

I also know that as I've been hurt by a friend or two, that I'm not innocent of doing the same to others.  I can fully admit that I haven't always been the best person I could be.  I'm not even close to being perfect.  I have reacted out of sadness and anger. I have placed faith in those who took that trust and twisted it into something ugly.  Resulting in hurting others.  There have been times when I should have known better but allowed myself to do things that I knew I couldn't be proud of.  I'm not sure how I will ever wipe clean the slate for that.  

I do not believe that friendships are disposable.  I also know that sometimes they just aren't forever.  That of course, people will pass through my life.  They will leave indelible impressions on me.  All of this shapes who I have become.   How I deal with the loss reflects upon how much that person was loved and how much they will be missed.  Even in my pain, despite missing them horribly I can't deny that they have brought out the best in me.  I honour them. 

Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them. - Francesco Guicciardini

When the time comes when my boys have their bonds and bumps.  I want to be able to model how to be a friend.  To teach them what that means.  The joys and comfort and speak honestly, as well, of the pain.  To show them that others often teach us more about ourselves then we could have imagined.  That it's ok to put yourself out there.  Never let the fear of being hurt keep you from experiencing it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What I Did on My 8th Anniversary

Eight years ago I managed somehow to wrangle a man into meeting me at the altar.  He claims that he is pleasantly happy with the way things have turned out. As am I.  We'd both say that though this is what we planned we never really imagined it would be quite like this!

This morning I was roused awake by a hurried hug and kiss and a "Happy Anniversary" and before I could even try to pull my eyelids open, he was gone.  Making a dash with what I imagine was his umbrella, backpack and coffee cup, to work.

Struggling out of bed and into my robe, downstairs to make breakfast and herd my kids into the daily routine.  That cup of coffee (made just for me) was like mother's milk.  Into the groove, bags were packed.  Kid's shoehorned into their jackets and off to school.  All the way one or both made ridiculous knock-knock jokes.  Not one of them had an actual punch line but that didn't stop the squeals of delight at their wit.

I did manage to get a little bit of work done this morning on top of consuming half a pot of coffee before tidying myself up and scarfing down lunch to head off to field trip hell.  I volunteered to accompany my youngest to the Apple Orchard today.  For some reason it's suspected that he would be unable to control himself on a school trip.  Unnecessary foreboding.  He was a total angel, needing a lot less redirection than the sum of his class.  Odd.  By noon, I was packed into an uncomfortable school bus seat with an obnoxious woman who stood up the entire ride taking pictures of her daughter...though cute, she seemed as annoyed by her shutter-bug mother, as the rest of us, were.  I spent twenty minutes requiring jittery children to plant their butts on their seats.  To stop pulling each other's hair.  It was loud and oddly damp.

The orchard experience paid for itself in sleepy snuggles with L and apples which I furtively stuffed in my pockets.  I also got a couple more laughs at the shutter-bug who loudly in a foreign language chatted on her cell phone for the entire time we were on the tour.  The tour guide seemed to enjoy her loud squawking during  her demonstration on how cider was made, on how to pick apples from the trees.  This cell phone squawking, shutter bug even managed to bleat louder than the sheep before the class tossed the apple cores into their pen.  Perhaps there should have been a chaperone for that mother rather than for my son?  At least L didn't freely pick his nose and consume it.

The rest of the day was spent making a supper no one would really eat.  In my family's haste to get to their evening activities their plates were barely touched.  The Red Ninja and Red Angry Bird marched out into the night with a harassed looking Pirate.  I'm pretty sure it was my husband.  At least he look familiar.

The rest of the evening will be spent tidying the kitchen, doing a load of laundry and packing lunches.  Putting wired and sugared up children to bed sans costumes.  I will stare at the TV for a minute or two then call it a night.  Hubby already sound asleep.

Eight years ago was the longest fastest day of my life.  The eight years that followed flew by just as fast.  It's true I never imagined life would be quite like this...I'd say it's even better!  It's a good thing we had the forethought to celebrate yesterday with the notion that this day would be too full of living.  It paid off.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Getting All Scrappy!

This story starts with my arriving at my eldest son's school yesterday at the end of the school day.  Per my normal, I'm juggling one child tugging away on one arm and my blackberry in the other trying to work and scanning the herd of kids pouring from the school's exit.  I secure E, and we start to head to the parking lot when we are approached by one of E's friends and he starts to ask how E's doing and if he's OK or scared.  Immediately, my mind freezes.  I hear the words "will he really kill you?".  WHAT???

Everything comes to a screeching halt.  All I can get out of the story is that there was a much older boy threatening to kill my son at the lunch hour recess.  That my son's friends were rallying around him to keep this kid away.  I quickly gather up the whole gang and herd them to the office.  Clearly, this is a matter that cannot wait.  My son is being bullied!  Something needs to be done right now!

We pour into the VP's office and give what little details we knew.  We don't even know the name of the older kid.  We don't know what grade or home room either.  But what we have is a death threat and the fact that the perpetrator has "crazy" hair as the only working description.  The VP promises to take the oldest of this group to each room in the morning to find the bully.  The situation is a priority and she will update me immediately upon arriving at a conclusion.

I thank E's friends, stagger off to my car with my kids and head home feeling as if I've been kicked hard.  It hadn't occurred to me that there could be a true threat of serious violence until just before I drifted off to sleep, the thought that older kids can sometimes bring weapons to schools.  There have been scatterings of stories in the news over the last couple of years.  Could that kind of thing happen in my own back yard?  The panic set in...I was wide awake!

This morning we arrived at the school.  I had a quick conference with my son's teacher.  The school was on alert and we were assured that before the first recess the boy would be in the office.  My husband K. and I sat in the office entertaining our youngest while E attended his regular class with the watchful eye of his teacher.  We sat there.   K and I were the united front.  We said we'd wait even if it took all day.  Three hours later we were escorted into the VP's office.  Armed for confrontation we bristle.

The VP recounted this story:  E had been playing over on the other side of the yard per his usual.  The more rambunctious kids from E's class were tearing around the yard and ran by some older boys sitting on the school's steps talking about a video game.  The suspect turned to his buddy and said something about killing the boss in his game when the kids ran by and heard "I'm going to kill...."  next thing you know they are asking the boy "why are you going to kill E.?"  "You can't do that!"   The older boy blows them off and goes back to his teenage angst.

With their wild imaginations they tear back to where E is playing blissfully unaware of anything else and they recount this boy's threat.  They pull E over to where the girls are gathered.  They hide him under a coat with a stuffed animal for protection and the girls stand guard while the boys gather together a somewhat large grade two army to wage war on this older boy.  After chasing the suspect around the school yard for a bit they tackle him and commence pummelling him until the guard comes over to break it up and apparently bemused by the tale she tells them to go to opposite ends of the yard and quit it.

Each time I recount the story in my mind I hear the Benny Hill theme.  I chuckle though it's funny, it's not funny.  This whole situation revisited a huge fear of ours.  Today was an amusing story.  Next time, we may not be so lucky to walk away unscathed.  I also feel bad for the boy who was pounced upon in front of his friends by a bunch of 6 year-olds.  That might be hard to live down.

All of the kids involved learned lessons today.  Unfortunately, I have the feeling that I'll be chatting with this particular VP quite a bit for the next 9 years.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Half of It....

Prepped and Ready to Go!
I ran the Scotiabank Half Marathon.  I know, I broke my rule about training in the summer but I actually didn't start training until the end of August.  I was given time off of pacing the BRC to jump in with the half marathon group.  I did hills and the long slow distances, as my knee, would allow.  It kept me out of the speed work but I had already done a fair bit of both hill repeats and speed work during July and August.  I was, as prepared as, I could be for such a spontaneous race entry.

Me with the Brooklin Run Club
Did I regret my impetuousness?  Hell no! It was the best race I ever entered.  It was so crowded.  I don't do well in crowds but I had my club with me so I just followed them through the masses of people flowing one way, then the next.  Once in the corral I settled in.  I'm not nervous about races.  I get nervous over getting to the race.  It's the same anxiety I get when travelling.  Once I'm at the starting line it's just a matter of falling into step.  Which to me is just as effortless as walking off a ledge.  I just let momentum take me.  There are no longer any more decisions to be made. My race plan never really changes.  I drink at nearly each walk break.  I take a gel at my scheduled distances.  I just keep on keeping.

What made this race so wonderful....the energy!  The crowd was excellent.  So many people out there supporting loved ones and their fellow runners.  Cow bells, clappers, bull horns, car stereos, bands, dancers and balloons and flags.  I clapped and danced my way through those cheer stations.  I thanked supporters along the way.  I took in the sights. I enjoyed myself, shamelessly.  

The best part of all!  I got to speak to my hero.  Ed Whitlock.  I spotted him in the return elite group.  I was lucky enough to be running aside of the divide and I yelled to him when we were 10 yards apart.  He called back to me.  I just hope that was ok to do?  Nonetheless, it was so cool.  I loved seeing the elites run past.  Relished their form.  It's inspiring to see someone practice the sport they were born too.  A graceful display of skill and experience.  The raw competitiveness.

My friend Charmaine put it so well today after I recounted my experience on the course, as we were spinning. She very frankly said "What other sport can you participate where you share the course with World Record Holders and Olympians?"  It's so true.  I've never been a star struck girl.  I don't think I'd ever cross the street to gush over a celebrity.  I don't really identify with them.  However, if given the chance I might have been all tongue tied and nervous getting out more than just a few crazy fan girl comments, should I ever find myself in a conversation with Ed or Paula Radcliffe.  

I finished stronger and smarter and quicker with a few more stars in my eyes, this time around.

Friday, October 14, 2011

7 Years Ago

Seven years ago my life changed.  It started with a girlfriend betting me that it wouldn't be long after being married that I'd be a Mommy.  It was that same girlfriend who told me I was pregnant before I even knew it myself.  Thanks Corina!

I took on being pregnant like a lot of the things I do in life.  It was project status!  I loved being pregnant.  There was never a happier time in my life.  I glowed.  I smiled a lot.  I also ate like a football player.  I read like crazy.  At first it was baby name books, then it was pregnancy books.  What to expect and when, where, what books.  I researched doctors.  No regular GP was going to do.  I managed to get one of Toronto's best OB's as my own.  Then I planned the nursery.  I even made a project (read: nesting crisis) out of finding the matching stool to my nursery rocker.  I had everything purchased and waiting for baby to come home.  I had my bag packed.  My birth plan mapped out.  10 months of painstaking planning cooked up the perfect pregnancy.

On the day, we were up before the crack of dawn.  At the hospital I was left on my own before the nurses came in to get me prepped.  I had a chance...just a small window to chat with my belly.  The belly would answer back in hasty nudges.  I had that one last moment to express my gratitude to this little being for choosing me as his mother.

Seven years ago, this little being changed my life.  I often wonder if a simple c-section included installing a much larger heart.  It seems my capacity to feel pain and joy, worry and elation increased 10 fold.  He came into this world with a head full of hair and crying like an opera singer.  Loud and robust.  To this day he hasn't changed a bit.  He still has that unimpressed look and is really loud.  I love everything that makes him who he is.  I love who he made me be.

Happy Birthday E!  Your crazy mother thinks you're the best thing since sliced bread.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Many Lives

What kind of old lady will I be?  Today while I was being cracked like a chicken carcass by the doctor who has been endlessly been putting me back together since I took up running.  We were chatting about the stupid things I did when I was 20'something and it evolved into a conversation about some of my former jobs but as we were chatting he referred to my adventures as former lives.

It got me thinking.  It's true.  I've had so many different "recreations"  I could be the non-famous Madonna.  It seemed I changed my life from the ground up,  more times then Madonna changed her image.  How odd?  Do all people go through the process of shedding lives as they evolve?

I'm now a stay at home mom with many hobbies and interests.  I suppose you could say I'm the unpublished version of Erma Bombeck, for 2011. Though not nearly as talented.  What will I be 10 years from now?  I can't wait to find out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I Love Thanksgiving!

I love thanksgiving so much that I'm always tempted to celebrate it twice.  There was a time when I worked exclusively with American customers and had the two days off in November.  Though sadly it meant working the Canadian holiday.  I was finished work early enough to enjoy the food, so really not such a bad trade.

This year I'm going "granola".  We'll still have the turkey but that's where the familiarity of the dinner ends.  I was inspired to try on something new.  Not often do I shrug off the traditions of my kitchen which I've created long ago.  We aren't expecting any guests this year and since the boys scarcely eat.  I thought it the right time to experiment.  Though now I feel at a loss.  This menu is so stream line that it should only take me 2 hours from start to finish.  That time is mostly consumed with the brining of the half turkey breast.  Beyond that...  what on Earth will I do with my time?

I think the reason why I love Thanksgiving so much is likely the reason that I have no outstanding memories of it as a kid.  It wasn't necessarily a holiday that meant more to us than a standard PD day.  We could play instead of going to school.  The stuff we did at school to prepare was always a lot of fun but as far as family togetherness goes.  It was a non holiday.  What I'm trying to say is that it's a blank slate.

All the traditions I have for this day are solely created within the confines of my little quartet.   From our Thanksgiving Tree which we will add to this year.  (branches with construction paper leaves on which we've written what we are thankful for each year, we write as many as we like and glue them to the tree.  Each year we just add more leaves).  The meal.  The pastimes.  Everything has been engineered by us, centred around us.  We are feathering our nest with the true happiness that comes from being a family.

Friday, October 7, 2011 much fun

I should be dashing about trying to clean up.  I really need too.  With the kids and I being sick pretty much all week the house looks horrible.  Toys and books everywhere.  Even some folded clothes camped out on one of the living room chairs.  No where can I find an empty laundry basket to move that pile of clothes upstairs and frankly I'm not about to take three trips to convey it upstairs.

I ought to be doing the dishes and load up the dryer to get the laundry moving along.  I ought to be putting the recycling out.  Instead, I sit here.  Writing.  I have no intentions on getting up until this blog is done.  Why?  Well let's see.

I am actually still sick.  I woke up late only to discover that I had not premade the boys school lunches as I usually do.  The time I would have had my usual morning coffee was spent scurrying around getting sandwiches, snacks and fruit into the proper lunch bags and into the appropriate back packs.  I have no idea if their home work was sorted properly.  I don't actually care right now.  Then when I carved out 5 mins to have that coffee I realized that the pot was empty.  NO COFFEE!!!  Never has there been a day in my whole married life when there hasn't been a pot of fresh coffee.  Quickly, I scrambled through the recipe cards in my head trying to account for any slight or neglect I may have shown my husband.  Why?  Oh why was there no coffee in the pot?  So stressful...So horrible.

With no time for me to make a pot of coffee I decide to just keep it moving.  I pushed the kids through the rest of the morning routine and got them to the first school.  It was fun watching L play with his friends.  Running around, enjoying the splendid morning.  The bell rings and the kids line up.  Out comes the teacher with a note.  How do I know that piece of paper is for me?  Hmmmm?  She apologizes for it not giving it to me sooner.  I know what that note says before I even look at it.  Sorry, the adage of no news being good news isn't going to pan out for you!

The note pretty much describes all the naughty behaviour L did on the last school day.  I promised myself I wouldn't read the note until after 4 pm.  When I had the chance to enjoy my kids without knowing the seedy-side of what they do when I'm not around.  I wasn't going to look at that note....but I did.  It was out of my control.  Bahhhh.  Perhaps it would be more entertaining if someone would just pee in my Cheerios?

My plan for getting the groceries early while the rest of the world was busy at work was a great idea.  So much so, everyone else decided to do it too.  The store was very busy.  I once again picked a cart with a malfunction that didn't become apparent until after the second aisle.  Still I promised myself that I'd stop for a vat of coffee after I got everything sorted out.    Feeling a little scrambled after not eating breakfast and not having a coffee I had just one last thing to do.  Pull up to get the wine.  I have a new best friend.  I swore my allegiance to the woman who was giving out the free samples.

So the day only being half over I'm declaring a work slow down.  Once I get my kidlets and take a mitt of Tylenol. I plan to just chuck it over and enjoy my afternoon with them.  The house is already a total wreck.  What could a couple of Lego towers hurt?

I wonder if they'd afford me a nap?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

On The Bright Side...I'm Not Actually Dead

Though I just wish I were today.  It was just after 8 pm last night when I turned to my husband and said "Can I go to bed, now?"   I had been hoping to hold out on dying just long enough to help put the kids to bed but I just couldn't hold out any longer.  When my eyeballs started drying out consistently because of my zombie stare I knew I was just pushing my luck.

I don't think I heard much beyond my son tramping through my blackened room to use my bathroom to go pee before bed because his brother was using their bathroom. Not one to be deterred by a closed door.  He just marched in with his usual chirping and banter.  Flicked on the very bright light and commenced  using the toilet with the door wide open.  My last conscious image was that of my five year-old's back side.  I think that's when I passed out.

Upon waking today I find that both my kids are still coughing but when faced with the decision to stay home with "sick mom" or go frolic with friends.  Hard to believe they didn't want to stay home and rub my freezing cold feet, or make me toast.  How ungrateful can you get?

I do have to admit the quiet is delicious.  I am wrapped in a blanket and trudging through the house trying to make tea and figure out what I should do first.  Should I do my work while I still have a few brain cells to rub together for warmth?  Should I just take a hot bath and pass out again until it's time to pick the boys up?  Or should I continue to just sit and stare at the TV and let my eyeballs dry out again?   Decisions.  Decisions.  Now I understand how my poor neglected house plants feel.  Sitting in a draft, collecting dust and drying out.

PS:  This blog is now available on Top Mommy Blogs.  Vote for my blog by clicking the banner at the top right.  I have no idea of what benefit that would be...but what the hell.  You've suffered through my inane dribble for years now.  It likely wouldn't kill you *snort*

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sick Week

It's that time of year again.  Cootie Week.  The week where it's guaranteed everyone in our house will be good and sick.  Doctors will be visited.  Rx's will be filled.  Vows to take vitamins daily and eat broccoli will be made.  Noses will be wiped raw and in my case, my voice will once again be lost.

Already I'm on the couch.  Hot drink, Kleenex box and Halls on stand-bye.  Got the netti pot ready for service with it's trusty Vicks Vaporub side kick.

The kids having been sick before me are starting to rally with an abundance of trapped energy and I'll resort to desperate measures.  Yep, play dough, craft center and a stock pile of kid friendly movies.  Already the living room looks like a tornado hit it and it's only 8:30 am.  Lego, stuffies, blankets, books, toys, and a full deck of playing cards have been scattered with reckless abandon.  "Yay! Mom's sick....she's defenceless....STRIKE NOW!!"

It's so not fair!