as the sun rises come earlier and earlier, my body tilts and shifts too. the gravitational pull of the earth slowly uncovers an urge to wake earlier, push away the cobwebs, and crawl out of whatever hibernation i am in.
the darkness of winter and the prolonged rain (i am a west coaster) makes even the most energetic of us waver. day after day the dark mornings, and endless days of grey make the coziness of the fire and the fluffiness of the down comforter a little more appealing. when the inevitable ‘spring forward’ of the clock comes, our sleeping patterns are shaken, not just stirred. we go to bed ‘later’ as our pattern, but the shrill of the alarm clock in the early morning screams ‘get up, get up.’ eventually wrongs are righted and we adjust, and as a reward the sun smiles earlier and flowers start to bloom.
spring is filled with possibilities and promises of warmer days to come, it teases and tempts and almost overnight grey and browns of winter are replaced with vibrant colour.
closets are reshuffled as lighter coats and shoes timidly take their place beside winter boots. both must live in harmony for a while as spring here bobs and weaves. we will have days of brilliant sun followed by April showers that pitch us back into the deep dark days of November. as spring and winter battle it out, a flurry of cleaning begins, and we are energized. cars are washed, dust bunnies are vanquished, pillows plumped and tulips appear on lawns and in vases. garage sales signs start popping up as we all clamber to clean up and clean things out.
i love this type of cleaning!! this weekend i dragged by 5 month pregnant neighbour into my spare bedroom and didn’t let her go until i had both of our arms full with boxes of ‘stuff.’ i got busy on craigslist and sold my sons run bike, donated a car seat and dusted off two strollers.
if i could as easily dust the cobwebs from my head. i know there are plenty of dusty corridors in my brain where i am not firing on all cylinders. i have an article to write and as much as the content is zipping around in my head, somehow i can’t get it out onto paper in cohesive sentences.
now if i could just turn a garden hose to my head…
i believe in honour and ethics and perhaps because i was raised Catholic I have an abundant supply of guilt…abundant!
i’m the girl who gets nervous going through a road block without even one sip sipped! i get anxiety crossing the border lest the car i am driving should have a hidden stash of something from the previous owner. getting an odd phone call with a cryptic message sends me spinning for about 30 seconds–and then i remember i’ve done nothing wrong. nothing.
…so the thought of cheating, bending the truth or omitting details crosses a well-defined line. there are no shades of grey here only a line that is as black as it is white; however, apparently this golden rule is not universal.
last week i administered my first midterm exam for an online course i am teaching and boy was i surprised when i started grading it. apparently 1/3 of my class ‘cheated.’ well what i would call cheating but apparently they don’t.
a week later and i am still floored. why?
first, the cheating was sooooo obvious. secondly, the exam wasn’t that hard. but most shocking was the belief that they would get away with it…and in a sense they did…i didn’t see it and i can’t prove but i know it. how?
well, i can ‘google’ search with the best of them; moreover, i wrote the course word for word so i am quite the expert at spotting my own ‘turns of phrase.’ yep, when i read an answer that uses the term, “the glamorous part of marketing,” i’m going to remember the words i painstakingly crafted to be enlightening, educating and conversationally interesting. and for those who ‘googled’ the answer and then plugged in concepts and terms that have never been taught, emphasized or referenced in the class but are correct, well i am just annoyed. if they are going to ‘cheat’ i want them at least to be smart enough to synthesize their learning.
and that is the ‘crux’ of what really gets under my skin…is the power of google making us lazier? is it making us learn less and rely on the power of our fingertips more? we can find anything out in 30 seconds or less–not only immediate answers to questions but opinions, insights, rants, raves and summaries of complex concepts. students can seek out answers to questions but can also google assignments, papers, essays and projects. so although the internet can be help is is also a hinderance?
a very artistic, creative and smart man, David Usher, shared one of the most profound things he has learned over the course of his career. it really impressed me, and i applauded the fact that he not only shared it, but stated it was one of the most important ideas he wants to impart to his children. his brilliance summed up in 15 words…
” you must be able to form your own impressions, own your ideas and present them.”
so in this day and age where the power of the internet can connect, enlighten and empower us we need to be mindful of owning our ideas and thoughts and synthesizing and leveraging what we learn–instead of stealing from others!
i’ve not lambasted or accused my students of anything. instead i’ve shared a carefully crafted reminder about the perils of plagiarism and have imparted Mr. Usher’s words of wisdom about owning and presenting your ideas.
its a lesson learned for me, but perhaps more importantly an opportunity to teach others. i came across this quote the other day and agreed wholeheartedly with it.
“if you had enough time to cheat, you had enough time to think about it.” ~anonymous
about that midterm, i’ve moved on, but you better believe i’m revising the FINAL.
you will know a coffeehouse the moment you step inside, it hums and vibrates with connections and conversations, and there are bumps…the physical and the metaphoric. the clientele is a kaleidoscope and collision of ages and destinations. there is coffee to go for those heading to work, and coffee mugs for those arriving to work, to sit, and to socialize. there is a subtle steam and sweat that emanates here–not from the espresso machine but from those bodies that are post run or bike. although there are a handful of heels and suits in this house, more than anything there is an abundance of denim, spandex and gortex.
sliding into line you often navigate the young and the old (old in age, but young at heart) as a random order unfolds while coffees and hot chocolates are called–some with a a side of the sweet some with savory. despite the number of steamed and heated cups ferried from counter to tables and out the doors there are seldom any spills. it’s as though a magical dance takes place between all those who enter the ‘house.’ a heightened awareness, friendliness and appreciation for the moment allows everyone to bob and weave as though choreographed.
if you have arrived alone planning to get some creative, head down work done, you will. you’ll receive a few taps on the shoulder and a quick wave or nod but you won’t be bothered because the laptop signifies a universal ‘work in progress.’ conversely if you are seeking out a coffee partner you need only to wait a few minutes before someone you know invites you to join them.
a coffeeshop fills cups and carafes as people file in and out, some in twos some alone. there is a noise, a thrum that is disconnected–it is perhaps like a house that is not yet a home–one waiting to be filled with that special blend of energy. the spark that moves dominoes from static to spiraling.
sometimes a coffehouse is lurking in the shadows of a coffeeshop awaiting the hour where it transforms–sometimes it is only glimpsed in the late evening or mid-afternoon, but if you have a coffeehouse of your own you know what i am talking about.
what’s your favourite coffeehouse?
the car before me lurched…. literally lurched forward in a burst of speed and crossed before a city bus. not the small community bus with 16 passengers but the full size two car length bus.
after his death-defying move, he got stuck in the parking lot waiting for a spot. i know this because about 35 seconds later my car was idling behind him (again). for a second time i saw his car burst forward like a rocket into the open spot.
i’m not sure what prompted him to take on the bus, or try 0-60km in less than 20 feet of space but i hope it was important….like life or death important because he was about 4 feet cashing it all in when he cut off the bus. as he got out of his car he looked a little rushed but pretty alive…and seemingly not phased by the honking and braking of the big ass bus…perhaps he was even oblivious to it.
i’m not an expert on too many things but i am pretty sure a 4 door sedan doesn’t stand much of a chance with a 12 ton, 20 foot bus. just as a 150lb human wouldn’t hold up too well against a 1.5 ton car.
so why do we see
stupid foolish acts so often. because we are in a hurry–we’ve gotten so busy taking on so many things we sometimes just need a minute to stop and slow down, and think.
generally we are rushing to answer an email, pick up the kids, get something at the store before we’ve got to be somewhere else, meet someone, squeeze something in now and not later …usually someone or something is waiting on us–NOW. those days of waiting for something in the mail, picking up your voice message when get home or watching and waiting for a fax (not it is not 1984). now everything is instant. in the palm of you hand you’ve got something that’s got you wired in–all the time …
i’m not super religious…but i think these guys have got something right.
that car bus scenario rattled me….clearly more than the driver… i’m pretty sure there is never a need to take on a bus.
it may be that technology and expectations have made us slaves to the notion of multi-tasking or taking on more than the day..and clearly it is making some of us silly, sloppy and a bit dim-witted. i for one do not want to be in that camp.
i’d rather be two minutes late than dead. how about you?
when small moments weave themselves together amidst the day-to-day it makes it a good life.
a few weeks ago i was running against the wettest and coolest of rains, ducking into the coffee shop thrilled that i had enough time to indulge in the darkest of dark java before i landed at my son’s school for 2 hours. as i silently patted myself on the back that i was able to get my coffee and still be early i reached into my purse to pay…. and of course i came up empty. oops… in a moment of sheer kindness and community a gentleman behind me paid for my coffee with only a whisper of a promise to pay it forward.
warmed by my coffee and a kind soul i assured him i would….days passed and then weeks. and then i had a text asking me about a dog crate i had posted on craigslist–and i had a chance to impart the kindness bestowed on me. it wasn’t forced or planned it just happened magically and organically–and that is why it happened. i wasn’t consciously seeking out a way to pay it forward but i had not forgotten.
leah was leaving for europe the next day to join her husband with her best friend, sam (the 4 legged kind of best friend)and was frantic with papers not filled out properly by bureaucrats, a broken dog crate, the whole hugeness of moving overseas solo and she was carless. she was on her way overseas and her life was winding down…all the normal parts of her support system were boxed up or given away. i was out and about and downtown was not on my way but not entirely out of my way. so i rejigged my plans and delivered the crate.
we met on a little side street across from her apartment and made the exchange. as she tried to pay me twice the asking price with an explanation that i must accept it for delivering i waived it aside and laughed at how silly that would be. as she teared up i reached out and hugged her–as a gesture of comfort, support, goodwill and human kindness. she hugged me back and tears that were brimming splashed down. she laughed and cried at the shock of it all.
sooner or later we all need a moment of support, whether from good friends or strangers. kindness that brings tears to our eyes might be my favourite kind.
it was so little to me, yet so much for leah. my cup of coffee was heaven yet the simple passing of a twoonie by another. we all recognize kindness when it happens–and let me tell you a little love goes a long way.
i had a moment of serendipity and synchronicity which allowed me to pay it forward. not bad for an average rainy day.
4 years ago i would have slapped myself silly if i wore pj’s out in public; but that was before i became a professional chid wrangler.
i’ve noted i am constantly running through puddles with a backpack and purse in hand either chasing my child or corralling him to school, the pool or some either time dependent activity that involves a state of dress or undress for him.
all of that effort has resulted in a little less time for me and for fashion–what i need is a little more function. as much as i love(d) my heels and pencil skirts i’m not mourning or missing the fashion pain points–skirts riding up, skinny jeans sliding down or sidewalk grates torturing your high heels and claiming them for their own.
my styleometer is waining and more often than not outfits revolve around jeans, scarves and boots but i still covet and court pretty things….but i can’t lie–i’ve got a steady stream of lululemonesque outfits that much to my chagrin are staples!
a few weeks back i found myself scrambling yet again trying to get out the door…fresh faced it was going to be. now let’s be honest, at 40, fresh faced is not my best look in the cool days of winter with my newly hued red hair. although i am a make-up minimalist–let me assure you it provides maximum effect.
so how does one right this wrong? get up earlier, plan, prioritize and find efficiencies.
i pursued effortless efficiency and this is how i wound up in public wearing pjs. i ventured out with every hair in place, bright eyed and made-up donning ‘lounge wear’ to be exact. but let’s face it, lounging in it for 8 hours in bed makes it bonafide sleepwear.
so whether i dress them up or down, the simple truth remains, i’m wearing pjs out and about–in my mind i think i look a little like this…….
carefree and comfortable….not disheveled and worn…and perhaps i do perhaps i don’t, but what surprised me the most when pondering my predilection for pjs is is the proliferation of loungwear out there. clearly i am no alone…when sourcing fashion forward pjs to dash off to school in i found these polarities.
i think i’ll skip the heels…but clearly this is not a silo’d phenom–it seems moms of the world are showing up in droves at drop off , in pjs. so much so that a British school issued a ban on bed wear for parents…
“We respectfully request that parents who drop off their children and pick them up from school follow all of the dress code expectations that students are expected to follow including the rule stating that pajamas are not to be worn.” – Babycentre. co.uk
as much as it makes me smile at the things i never thought would come to pass… i’ll be honest, i’m not as shamed as i thought i would be. so never say never…oh no…
next i’ll be driving a mini-van…
sunday morning arrived with a red hair hangover…a red what? glimpsing fiery red hair at 7:00 am sunday morning can kind a throw a girl.
it started with my then 3 year olds excitement over all things batman which then evolved to fascination with every superhero. i mean why not, there are these fantastic men and women who fight evil, always triumph and can climb walls, leap over buildings in a single bound, fly invisible planes, topple bad guys with cool moves without even a hair out of place. who wouldn’t like to live behind a mask and a cape?
spring forward a year and i’ve morphed from the mom who purchased of a few batman shirts to a full contender for cosplay (a subculture or type of performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea). note contender is used illustratively.
as i sat on the couch yesterday afternoon chatting amiably about thor, martian manhunter and how spiderman fits in with the avengers i paused–really, really paused. how did i get here? short answer, when i started learning how to be a little more childlike. one of the best things about children is catching a little bit of their soul, they are contagious! they’ve got the ‘go for it’ virus and it spreads! they don’t question themselves or talk themselves out of things because of what others might think…and that is how i woke up this morning with a red hair hangover…..
it started out so small….
but wouldn’t you know it…keeping it real and authentic…ended up here
so for the next 30 days or so, i’ll be channeling my version of natasha romanoff aka black widow–let’s see how badass i can be? so far, i’ve turned a few heads….mainly my neighbours. my buddy rudy wasn’t used to me rockin’ spandex and heels–he’s more familiar with the sweat, spandex and red faced me…the new red haired me took him by surprise…me too.
this is what you get when you go for it. not bad. anyone else gone for it lately?
yes, september can be a rough one. summer is slipping away and dusk dances across the horizon much earlier, its inevitable temperatures cool and pedi’s fade. it is back to school and work. it can be exhausting, exhilarating and invigorating–all at the same time.
not one to miss out, i embraced september with a ‘let’s kick this into high gear’ attitude. i decided to get down to brass tacks– i opted for a treatment (medication) that i had been avoiding for 4 years. on september 11 (that mighta been a tip-off) i went for it.
it took 3 weeks to get me to crazy. it wasn’t a slow and subtle transformation, i went from 0-100k in 3 days…sort of like a roller-coaster ride… the slow anticipation as you climb to the top and then as the nose points downwards you start to smile, then scream, and before you know it you are hanging on for dear life.
it was as if overnight i became irritable, irrational, impatient and a little bit angry all of the time. moreover, i was plagued with lower back pain, hot flashes, anxiety, heart palpitations, mild to splitting headaches and bone and muscle aches. best of all, i was getting fat! medically this might be defined as “water retention,” but when your jeans are snug and your face is puffy…there is not a medical term in the world that can right that wrong.
on october 2 i called a cease and desist. no more treatment. if that was a fix i would rather be broken.
so what did i learn in my 3 weeks to crazy? well…
1>i can trust my body and myself.
2>i am so thankful for my support system. i didn’t want to live with me, so i thank those who did.
3>when you are diagnosed with anything you need to have your doctor on your side. my doctor is an angel, but i went through a few before i found her. we tried and failed, but she was on my side when i said no more!
4>my body beats to its own drum–yes i succumbed to some of the noted side effects (only seen in about 1-3% of all women) but i produced a few of my own–so i am pretty confident the side effects were not a self-fulfilling prophecy
5>i have the power to help and share with others some of the tips and tricks i’ve learned to be happier and healthier
so what is it that has me a little bit broken? i like many other women have endometriosis a condition, disorder or disease depending on who is defining it. it is one of those ‘things’ we don’t talk about it over coffee or dinner because it involves lady parts. the best way to explain it–it is like ‘weeds in the garden’–there are cells growing outside of the uterus. let me assure you, you don’t want them there. from insufferable infertility and crippling pain that morphine or oxycodone can’t touch, the road is a little bumpy. and although there are courses of ’treatment’ there is no cure.
a while ago i was trying to figure out what would light my fire? well after 3 weeks to crazy i know that was a ride i would have skipped. after 23 years i’ve got a pretty good perspective on endo (as i call it) and i know i’ve got it within me to advocate, to educate and to share.
next steps, i am going to share the good the bad and the ugly…not here (i’ll spare you that) but in a space and place where perhaps i can ‘tell it like it is’ and help other women find their way to better health and healing
it ain’t an easy ride (they never are) but if i can prevent one more 3 week ride to crazy i will. stay tuned.
puffy eyes, twinges where they shouldn’t be or a headache that swims under the surface are nuances. but however brief they should not be brushed aside like an errant piece of lint. these random attacks are your body’s way of talking to you. most likely something you are doing, or more likely, not doing must change.
if your body isn’t getting what it needs it will let you know. a dull ache, a sense of heaviness, or a tightness here and there are the first whispers and wakening to something that just isn’t right. our bodies can’t be beaten down day after day and banished into a chair starved of natural light and nourishment. they are perishable and to flourish they need water, movement and love.
even those of us who know better (and we do) know sometimes need to take a moment to reconnect and remember what is good for us. ironically what is good for us, also makes us feel good. if the weight of the world needs moved off of your shoulder find a new parking lot with long term parking. get moving, get breathing and drink some water. no one knows your body better than you… so if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
trust & respect it… and remember 9 lives are only for cats. you aren’t a cat are you?
bask in the sun, run for miles, make lists, make goals, dream, read a book, have coffee with a friend…smile.
do more of what makes you happy and less of what doesn’t–ok maybe you have to cook dinners and clean the house, but figure out how you are going to make yourself happier about it.
i love, love, love a clean bathroom so i always head there first when cleaning… i get into a groove and the rest of the clean-up is designed to catch up with my sparkling clean and minty bathrooms. although, i haven’t quite figured out how to love cooking i’ve decided i need a new plan. i’m going to set out a training schedule…. (stay-tuned for details). i figure if i can train to run 21km i can figure out how to make feeding my body a little easier!
so as the summer comes into a close and i savour every moment of freedom and sun i’m recognizing the summer was a time of wisdom and a bit of wonder. summer usually mellows me out, probably because i get to go outside every day and do awesome things!!! over the summer i fell of the grid, probably because i started it in the winter months. those days where the rain is incessant and darkness comes early. i was floundering in the evenings–tv and random internet surfing beckoned so i started to write…and then summer arrived. i had to wait for it…yes, those of you who follow me, know it took a while before arriving, but when it did i made the most of my summer days. the computer got tucked away.
we went weekend tripping from tofino to twin lakes, paddle boarded, camped out, roasted marshmallows and had bonfires. i biked, i ran, i swam, i surfed, i trained and i lounged with friends and family, talking late into the evening with a glass (or a few) of wine. as the summer passed and my birthday came and went i realized i was enjoying the moment…really, really, really enjoying it. i’ll catch you up on some of those moments, including my fabulous 40th.
as september looms i feel the tide is shifting….i’m going to make a list of what i love about summer and figure out how to work it into the next few months.
any hints on how to hang on to the sun?