Where do I belong? W.I.S.E. Project 2016- Journal Notes

“Love the one you’re with”

NS
Photo Credit to: canadaclass10.wordpress.com

In 2008 we headed West, packing our lives into a U-haul, our hearts overflowing with memories, leaving behind the only home and lives our kids had ever known. After spending our growing up years and the early years of our marriage on the East Coast surrounded by family and friends I am surprised at how deeply and quickly our roots sunk in here. My husband and I credit our jobs and a few close friends for firmly rooting us in this Western life but for our children it is their home, their friends that have become family, their sense of community and the opportunities they have been afforded to do the things they are passionate about.

 

It was the summer of 2008 when we arrived at our new home in Alberta and because we had a good reason for being here it began to feel like home remarkably quickly. As a family we had been apart for eight months while my husband worked in the Alberta Oil Sands so geography seemed like a reasonable thing to try to overcome to be able to be together as a family as much as possible. But even so, the sense of belonging to a place, the feeling that where we are is where we were meant to be, still depends just as much — if not more — on our attitude about the place as it does on the place itself.

Edmonton is not my home in the sense of heart and family. I am proud to have been born and raised in the fair province of Nova Scotia. I love the ocean and will always be captivated by salty air and crashing waves. Lakes, long coastlines, beaches and sand between my toes. I love my family and nothing can replace seeing them as I often as I would like but the thing about being from a family as close as mine is the security in knowing that you are only a thought away. I credit being close to my family as the reason I was able to move across Canada and create a life. When everyone else was full of warnings about everything I would hate in Alberta it was my family that said to me that they knew that I was strong enough to assemble a life anywhere.  They would miss us at the family gatherings along the shore, for every imagined reason we could think of to get together and eat good food and tell tales but I would be in their hearts, on their minds and definitely on the tips of their tongues because with family, no matter where you go you never get left behind. There is an inclusion that happens within a family like mine that cannot be touched by time or distance. Instead of making it harder to leave, this made it easier really, knowing that they wished us well and had nothing but good thoughts and high hopes for our journey ahead. The vastness of the land between us would never sever our bonds.

That all being said eight years have come and gone since we landed in Alberta. I remember like it was yesterday how my husband whisked us off to Jasper immediately because he knew I would be enamored with the mountains and it would alleviate the heaviness in my heart. I was awestruck by the majestic Rocky Mountains, standing proud and tall and on guard, touching the sky with their monumental peaks and reminding me just how small we are in this great big, phenomenal world. Lakes of Caribbean blue that mirrored the lofty, snow capped summits made my heart ache for my ocean playground a little less. Like a John Green novel, slowly at first and then quickly all at once I fell in love.

There was a moment last summer that my husband and I decided it was time to move home to Nova Scotia. We want to be close to family and lead a simple life, watch our grandkids grow up. We were very excited and started planning a timeline and telling family, trying to convince the girls.

As it often does, life happened and almost another year has passed since making that decision. The bottom fell out of the Oil Sands and financially took a lot of our immediate choices away. The timing wasn’t right when things were good and it is even worse now when things are bad. Funny the wrenches that get thrown into your life, but I am a firm believer that there is a reason for everything that will reveal itself in time.

Looking back to last summer after we made the decision to move home we had taken a trip to our favorite spot in the East Kootenay’s along the shores of the Upper Arrow Lakes. It is our spot for calm and clarity, to unplug and unwind and remember the things that are really important. When I step onto the little ferry that takes us to Burton, British Columbia it strangely feels like coming home. I remember staring up at a starry sky over the lake and being overcome with emotion wondering how I could walk away and never see that place again. My husband took my hand and said “I get it”, knowingly; because his heart was ravaged as well.

 

Like a time aged tale of being torn between two lovers my heart is divided and may always be, no matter where our story leads us.

 

Unfortunately living your life and making a living sometimes pulls you in entirely different directions.

 

It reminds me of a saying,

“Wherever you go, there you’ll be”

 

Indeed here I am, and what am I to do but make the best of the story that I am in the middle of?

 

Another fitting quote if you will allow me,

“Wherever you are be the soul of that place”

 

I will be. I am committed to it.This place has been good to me and my family. The people have been warm and kind. The community has embraced us. We have had good times and great experiences. I know that it is not my forever but it is my right now. Like a line from the 1970 hit by Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Nash, “Love the one you’re with” 

Attitude is everything!

Nakusp 2

 

A Good Life -W.I.S.E

Hi there,

We have reached the end of the January blahs and I have uploaded a Podcast with my journal notes on what I have learned from this months W.I.S.E. Project as well as introducing February W.I.S.E Principles. Check it out HERE

Thanks for following along, choose a good life!

Keep Shining

Photo courtesy of http://www.gorillabrigade.com

Today didn’t feel quite right. I remember laying in bed this morning wide awake for quite some time because I had to pee very bad but I though I was uncomfortable I was too lazy to move. By the time I got up to pee it was time to get up anyways but I crawled back in bed and stole an extra fifteen minutes of cuddle time with my husband.

The day didn’t start unusually but from the minute I got to work I felt off and disorganized. I usually look at Mondays as an opportunity to regroup and start the week strong and fresh. In fact yesterday I went to church with a friend and we listened to a sermon on Vocational Health and I was actually quite excited to start the work week.

In the morning we had a visitor to our building who is going to be doing some work here for another company, he didn’t have an appointment but I generously let him in any way and allowed him look around. I called our Maintenance Manager to let him know and then shoved my phone into my pocket. A couple of minutes later I bent down to pick up my keys and the phone took a hard thud on the concrete. The screen had some minor cracks but the inside touch screen had issues and one side of the phone was green. I felt instantly deflated.

I was recounting my story to the mail lady when she came in and she told me she had met a co-worker for coffee and she had a bad day, she got bit by a dog, fell in a mud puddle and dropped her phone down a manhole. She had me beat and since bad things happen in threes she was done!

The mail lady said her goodbyes with a promise to see me the next day. I looked at her like she had three heads and said “You will not see me on a Saturday!” She abruptly laughed and then looked at me with a mixture of sympathy and amusement as she reminded me that it was only Monday.

Five minutes later I broke a mug in my office and sent coffee and broken glass flying everywhere. After cleaning it up I decided maybe it was time to take lunch. I enjoy texting with my teenage daughter on her lunch hour and I was able to turn my phone sideways and with a little bit of difficulty I asked how her day was and told her I broke my phone. She replied that maybe it would make me feel better to know her heart was broken? My heart swelled and I texted back “Why?” She said people hurt her feelings everyday. I replied that those people do not matter to which she replied that some of them do. I replied, “Close your eyes and picture yourself peeing on them. Now that you have peed on them they do not matter!”

Her reply to my Mother of the year advice was “LMAO I love You”

Feeling just like I imagine a mother of the year would feel I laughed and contemplated another witty reply but somehow my already broken phone slipped out of my hands and hit the floor with a tragic thud. The phone is now broken beyond repair and it could be up till three days until I receive another. The screen is just black but the blue notification light flashes mockingly!!

Mondays are awesome!! I spent the rest of my afternoon at work hoping that my fourteen year old daughter was not at school peeing all over people. She wouldn’t even be able to text me. 😦

I have the words of a Dionne Warwick ballad, keep smiling, keep shining….” playing over and over in my head like a bad dream. That is what I will do universe, I am damn well going to dust myself off and keep shining!


How was your day?

Chicken Wings and Silly Things

Find the sunshine in everyday
Find the sunshine in everyday

I really shot myself in the foot by putting it in writing that I had a free five minutes in my last post. At the end of that evening I was exhausted and I was so ready for sleep when I crawled into bed only to discover that my cat had pissed in the middle of my bed.

Apparently she is annoyed with me for going back to work and decided to show her displeasure in a big way.

After a tedious clean up and new bedding I stretched out for a short(er) but glorious sleep. I was on the verge of exquisite slumber when hubby came to bed and as usual turned on the fan in our adjoining washroom. He needs the white noise and I despise it. I wake up several times a night thinking the heat is going and then lay awake stressing about my electric bill. Sometimes from overuse the fan begins to act up and I will wake thinking a helicopter is landing on the roof. Not a great feeling. I remember the 3 1/2 months I spent in the hospital pregnant with Haley and the Helipad landing was directly above my room. I would hear that thing at all hours and near pee my pants. Perhaps that is what happened to Kitty, she had the piss scared out of her.

Yesterday was a good and upbeat day at work and I managed to leave in time to rush home and drive Haley to music lessons, pop by work for another 40 minutes, stop and get groceries, make a quick (but late) dinner for the girls, put in laundry and then go for wing night at the local pub with hubby. He wanted to take me out so we could have a chat with me….intriguing! I ordered a corona and listened intently as my husband told me that we had to put my cat to sleep, that she has been terrorizing the mailman and the local children and that on top of refusing mail delivery the mailman had put in a complaint with the city. He looked at me sadly with a sympathetic shrug and hand squeeze. Good try hubby, good try!

I never wanted a cat but Kirk saved her almost ten years ago from certain death and she chose me as her person and it will continue to be that way!

We shared some pub grub and some laughs together. I really wanted to opt for fuzzy jammies and a night on the coach but we really enjoyed each others company. My husband is really good at recognizing when we just need a step away from the ordinary.

Life doesn’t always have to be extraordinary, we just have to grasp onto the moments that make us happy and focus on making time for more of those with the people we love!

Haley just called to tell me her sister called her the asshole of the family. I assured her that there are several assholes in the family but she is not at the top of the list. She asked if she could have ice cream. The kid has her priorities.

Tonight I took Morgan to practice, stopped by the YMCA to sign a paper, picked up the items I went to the grocery store for… spent $164 and came home without, picked up Morgan’s new phone and got a haircut.

My hair had gotten so long and it is incredibly thick. I needed a trim and a “fix-up” because I tried to trim my own bangs. At first I thought they looked pretty spy but as the days went on I kept trying to even it up and I was truly buthering it.

I laid back at the hairdresser while the nice young lady from the Phillipines washed my hair. It felt so great laying back with warm water running on my head. I wanted to stay forever.

It’s 10 pm and I finally got something to eat, put my jammies on and crawled in bed to watch Greys Anatomy re-runs. My house is a disaster but I can’t find the desire to care!

It has been brutally cold. This morning it was -37 with the wind chill eeek. The good news is the days are getting longer. I love the pink sky and the rising sun as I drive to work in the morning and the fiery ball nestled above the trees as I drive home.

Sometimes it’s the little things

*Blush* Blog of the Year Nomination 2013

I am in the midst of some trying times and though it would probably be a good idea to turn to writing during the struggle I have not because I am a person that thinks way too much when something is weighing heavily on me so to my faithful readers I apologize and I promise I will give you some good (or at least mediocre) material soon.

To my delight my friend Shaz over at For The Love of Sass nominated me for 2013 Blogger of the Year.

I have been guilty of not accepting a lot of awards, some of them tend to get tedious and because of the work involved I know that others may tend to look at them as a bit of a nuisance. I assure you I madly, truly and deeply appreciate every nod of recognition from the people who support me here.

As they all do this award comes with rules and I am willing to follow them because I really needed a pick me up today and being nominated for Blog of the Year really did that for me. I have a passion for writing and sharing my stories openly and honestly has been a great help to me in accepting the woman I have become, coming to terms with past mistakes and in looking forward to the future. I have discovered a lot of amazing people and stories since I began blogging with WordPress, Shaz being one of them. She writes from her heart and really opens herself up, inviting us into her world, her struggles and her triumphs. I have the utmost admiration for people who can bare their soul and be true about who they are and how they feel at any moment in time knowing that we grow and change by the second. Shaz reminds me of a much younger version of myself and I want to give her all my wisdom in one big swoop and take away any hurt that she may be feeling. I watch her life unfold and watch her grow, endure, hurt, laugh and learn. I quietly encourage her because I think she is an amazing young lady and I know that she will be just fine.

NOW FOR THE RULES:

1. Select another blog(s) who deserve the award;

2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award;

3. Include a link back to this page and provide these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5. You can now also join our Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.

6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

My choice for Blog of the Year is HACKER. NINJA. HOOKER. SPY. by Aussa Lorens, she is real and funny, smart, a little bit of crazy, entertaining, shocking, never at a loss for words and I am simply absorbed every time I visit her site. I applaud her, I salute her and I reward her. I urge you all to go and visit her blog. She is someone I can imagine having tequila adventures with that we could never remember but were certain we had a blast! If you follow just one new blog this year you will be doing yourself a favor to choose hers. Grab a coffee and curl up somewhere comfy because once you start reading you may be there awhile. I also have to add that Aussa has a very good layout to her blog, you can tell that she puts her heart into it and that is something I appreciate. It is easy to navigate and pleasing to eye without being too busy so great job!! Three cheers for Aussa.

Thanks again to Shaz and thank you to everyone who has popped by, I love reading about your lives and I love your visits and words of encouragement.

xx
Michelle

CHEERS! Happy reading

I’m a big kid now!

Yesterday I turned forty.

I woke up with wild grey hairs in my eyebrows but after a scowl and a pluck they were gone and I really didn’t feel much different. The thing that struck me the most was that the time between 14 and forty goes by so quickly. It seems like yesterday that I was forgoing Saturday morning cartoons to lay in bed and fantasize that I was on white sand beach making love with Jon Bon Jovi. I was fourteen so I knew nothing of love or sex and even in my fantasies it was mostly rolling around on the sand slobbering in each others mouths and telling each other how hot we were and that our hair was fantastic. So technically not much different then my twenties except at twenty I was mature enough to know that sand up your ass is not sexy.

I think the days go quicker the older you get as well. It is almost impossible for me to think all the thoughts I want to think, and take all the naps I want to take and still manage to do all the things I planned on doing the day before but put off until today and now they may have to wait until tomorrow. I plugged my wax in three days ago and have yet to wax my brows so instead I took a pair of Dollarama scissors and cut my bangs off so that they fall across my eyebrows and what is happening there is now a mystery!

My Dollarama scissor haircut that covers up my greying eyebrows

This evening I brought a bottle of wine and a glass to the table. An hour later the wine remained unopened and the glass empty. Never in a million years did I think that wine would be one of those things I “didn’t get around too”

I applied for a job tonight. It’s funny because I wasn’t even looking for a job exactly and then all the sudden my dream job jumped out of the computer screen and landed on my lap seductively and stroked my face. My heart skipped a beat. I knew that technically we were not right for each other. It was a downtown job, I am an uptown girl. It’s champagne and caviar, I’m cheap red wine and Black Diamond cheese. What I am trying to get across is that there will be candidates with better “paper” qualifications then me but in the real world of experience trumps diploma I would kick the ass off this job. If they were smart they would come to my door with gifts of Lindor Chocolate Truffles and Liquor Depot gift certificates and beg me to take this job. It would be an Affair to Remember! So I realize it is a long shot but I put my hat in the race. You can’t lose something you never had so certainly no harm was done. I honestly haven’t felt passionately about a job in a very long time. I have always taken pride in my work but besides my Volunteer work that I am unquestionably committed to and get a great deal of personal reward from I can’t remember the last time I felt like I could imagine myself waking up and doing the same thing everyday. My respect to those of you who have worked hard to achieve your goals and do a job you love everyday, it is rare!

So forty rolled in pretty quietly for me. It was a Wednesday so no all night party, no jaggermeister shots and swinging from the chandelier but it was exactly what I needed. I had a quiet dinner and shared some laughs with a wonderful friend. We then went to the late show to see American Hustle. Ten Academy Award nominations and I kid you not we had the entire theatre to ourselves. We had our shoes kicked off and our feet up. There was a part in the movie when Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams go disco dancing so we got on our feet and had our very own disco party, so fun. I should mention that my friend is 37.5 weeks pregnant and she sure can bust a move.

American Hustle is set in the 70s, the movie is colorful and layered. The characters are complex and beautiful. Hair was big, bras were non-existent and though there really wasn’t any sex, the hint of it was enough and there were a couple of times when I wanted to scream “DO IT!! The movie explored relationships, consequences, ego, heart and the conflict between right and wrong. It was portrayed so eloquently that there were times I struggled in my own mind to decide what was right and what was wrong and was it really so black and white. The movie really studied the rhythms of the characters and showed you what people are capable of when their lives are in shambles. A line at the end of the movie spoken by Christian Bale (who reminded me of my dear Dad back in the 70s) stuck with me….

“The art of survival is a story that never ends”

So simply true!

My birthday treat

xo Michelle

Kick those winter blues to the snowy curb.

weather

I am writing this from snowy Edmonton, Alberta Canada where temperatures are well below freezing and we have piles of snow. The weather changed in the last week first getting unseasonably mild and dumping piles of snow on us and then we were blessed with a cold snap. My mood retaliated by putting me into hibernation mode. I spent whole days in my fuzzy blue robe, curled up with my fleece blanket watching movies. I kept the blinds closed to keep out the light and sipped coffee and baileys as if it was the magical cure for winter. I started preparing for hibernation around Thanksgiving (second week of October in Canada) by stuffing carbs into me till I had packed on some solid weight and I felt fatigued enough to sleep for months. With very few hours of daylight it seemed like the natural choice!

Unfortunately my kids were not loving he idea of winter hibernation. They have got shit to do and places to be and apparently I am their appointed chauffer. I am honestly tired of feeling tired and I miss those carefree days of summer. I miss the sun on my face, long days, bbqs, beachy music, flip flops, pretty colored cocktails with umbrellas in them and unmistakable song of the ice cream truck.

I am sitting here thinking about the best things about summer, trying to pinpoint what I miss the most and how I can use that to combat this “blue” feeling!


I miss sunshine
We are lucky to still get a fair bit of sunshine but when it is cold out it is harder and harder to get opportunities to be outside. As humans we make 90% of our vitamin D naturally by sunlight exposure to the skin.Humans spend less time in the sun today than at any point in human history – which is why more than 1 billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient. While vitamin D supplements are an alternative when sunlight exposure is not available it is not natures intended way of producing the vitamin. I read recently that taking your vitamin D supplements with red wine makes them more soluble and the vitamin is better absorbed by the body. There was no scientific evidence to back up this theory but it is certainly worth a try 😉

Back yard BBqs and flip flops
I BBQ all year around. Last week I cleaned off two feet of snow from the BBq and grilled up some rally tasty rib eye steaks. The problem was putting my boots on and taking them off became tedious. Oh how I miss flip flops.

I paired the steak with a nice green salad and some grilled asparagus. The combination felt almost tropical! Cutting back on the junk food and processed foods in favor of lean meats and fruits and vegetables can help stabilize your mood and winter weight. Make small changes to your diet and you will notice your mood and energy level soar. Remember the benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids found naturally in fatty fish. There’s a neurotransmitter called serotonin in your body, and when you eat fatty fish, or take a high-quality fish oil supplement, your serotonin levels go up, which leads to your mood going up. Win win!!

The Sounds of Summer
Sometimes Nostalgia can stimulate the brain and compensate for what is missing. I often feel like that when listening to Summer songs. I am quite honestly not ready for Christmas music so I made my own summer mix. Sometimes I close my eyes and listen to a song that takes me back to a time when the windows are rolled down and my sunglasses are on, my hair blowing in the hot summer breeze…..

Activity
I imagine this is a hard one for everyone. We all know the benefits of daily exercise to our health and well being but in the cold weather we often opt to pass on our regular activities in favor a warm house, a TV and our PJs. Adding a little bit of daily activity can certainly boost your mood. For those of you who love to sled, ski, snowshoe….wonderful for you. My favorite winter activity is coming back indoors, closing the blinds and pretending it is not winter outside, maybe put on a Zac Brown CD and have a hoola hoop contest with my girls.

Pretty Feet
Remember walking around in sandals with pretty red toenails? There is very little motivation for pretty feet in the winter because barely anyone sees them and the bottoms of your feet get rough and winter worn. There is not a more perfect time to get a pedicure. Guaranteed to lift your mood. Go to a nice place, add a massage (sometimes they will serve you wine) RELAX…pretend you are on a beach!!

GET OUT/See People
One of the biggest differences between summer and winter is the amount of socializing we do. As the malls are filling up with Christmas shoppers take advantage of winter specials at museums and art galleries. Explore your city (or town) the way you always intended. Meet a friend for brunch, go to a matinee. To heck with Book Clubs,throw an unforgettable “SUMMER GET TOGETHER” in the winter. Have your guests dress summery, bring a tropical dish and serve summer inspired cocktails. CHEERS!!

Its hard to make big changes in the winter when the days are short and our energy is low. One little change here and there will leave you feeling happier and more energetic, therefore apt to follow through with more changes.

Have a happy winter and check out my summer inspired mix below. I am off to my tepid bath where I have Hawaiian leis hung over the shower curtain and the sweet sound of Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville playing on my Samsung Smart Phone. I even hid my salt shaker, therefore it’s lost (and there is a woman to blame!). I am going in topless because somehow I know that after too many Margaritas and a day of sunshine that is how I would end up!!

Tell me how you cope with winter!