Thursday, October 22, 2009

Walking in the zone...

I have been making a concerted effort of late to "parcel" my problems and concerns - standard advice that we all hear but don't always put to practical use.  My difficulties are relatively few and I am sure that, given a choice, I would choose my own over anyone else's.  However, there is one sizeable issue that never resolves, seems to worsen with each passing year, and has the power to make me nearly crazy.  It operates outside reason, fairness and logic and exists completely outside my early experiences - thus, I tend not to have any deep sense of how to navigate it from one year to the next.  When I allow myself to be impacted by it, I am torn between wanting to fight hard and wanting to lie down and wave a white flag (shades of anger and depression).  Worse, however, is the fact that my wound up emotions spill over on everyone around me - canines included.  That is what I resent the very most.  I believe that craziness and negativity are actually contagious and we all need to protect ourselves from these energies.

So, for the first time in over a decade, I am making a conscious effort to stay sane, keep my focus on the great number of things that are good in my life (recognizing that I am truly blessed), and deliberately not giving time, thought or adrenaline to the problems that never reslove.  Happily for me and those around me - it has been working like a charm.  I am feeling cheerful, empowered, grounded, and focussed.  It really is within our power (like all the books and self-help gurus say) to choose how we are going to guide ourselves and our energies. Situations are taking their course and I am getting on with my days and nights. 

Interestingly, I now find myself to be walking "in the zone".  What do I mean?  Well, finances are tight but I bought some much-needed new clothes (to the cheers of my family).  My hair was a greying low-budget affair (I am expert at cheaping-out) that I finally spent some real money on - to more familial applause.  My teaching career is humming - I am enjoying this school year's cohort of kindergarten children more than I ever have before.  Family life is lovely and our house continues to be full of people who truly enjoy each other's company.  I have stripped excess commitments and demands from my life such that I have time to be home with the people that I care most about when the work day is done.  I don't exercise beyond walking dogs and that's very okay.  Guilt has no power over me!

And so, here I am, sitting happily in the driver's seat of my life - at last.  It's important that I remember to keep myself there, instead of allowing myself to be "taken for a ride".  I am glad to have found the resolve to parcel my problems and keep them in their boxes.  I highly recommend it!

Sending you a smile,

Wondering Woman

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What a move!

We live in a former bungalow that was renovated and two-storied by the previous owners.  It met our needs as a newly blended family back in 2004 - more or less.  At that time we crammed six kids, two adults, three dogs, one cat and one hamster into the abode with all of the associated stuff that goes with people and pets.

Five years later, eldest step-daughter shares a home with her boyfriend, eldest son and youngest step-daughter are at university and we now have a "small" family of two adults, three teenagers and three dogs.  We do marvel at how small it feels as it is actually bigger than most families are in this day and age.  Proof that everything is relative!  There is less food required, less laundry to do, less garbage and recycling to put out, fewer shoes, boots and flip-flops in the front hall and less pressure on the bathrooms in the morning and evening.  It was, however, the removal of the dining room table leaf that officially marked this season's shrinking family.  But that was only the beginning....

The youngest daughters thought that we should do a living room - dining room furniture switch.  Bitten by the manic furniture moving bug, we have spent the past two days completely flipping our living room, dining room, foyer and office space in ways that make me want to spell Fung Shui in block capital letters with multiple exclamation marks!!!   Wowie, wowie, wow!!!  Not only did it make for fun family bonding time over the long week-end, it has made our house feel like new.  I couldn't wait to come home from work today so that I could do a dining room table - china cabinet flip.  One hour later and with the help of my three teen-age daughters, ta-da - new dining room!!  The females in this house truly believe that the household energy is flowing properly at last - especially in the dining room.  There are no words, really - it's all just so much better.

The best part of all - it hasn't cost us a cent.  Not yet, at least.  There is now a big bare dining room wall that is crying out for a big mirror or a tapestry.  I vote for the tapestry - one that includes a few sight hounds, horses, flora, fauna and such.  (Does anyone have any good suggestions where one can buy such a thing?)

As the temperature drops, days shorten, and more and more people come down with bugs and viruses, may I recommend to you that you move some furniture around if you need a lift.  I know that I sound like some kind of reality home show personality, but it really works. 

Happy days to all!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome HOME, Teenagers!

I teach Kindergarten.  Teaching kindergarten allows me to think that for a few hours every day, I walk on water and am the centre of the universe.  It is truly a delightful job if it is one's calling;  if not, teaching kindergarten can be a fate worse than death.  My ego seems to enjoy the "centre of the universe" aspects of the job in some measure.  I get to allow my inner child that I never outgrew to connect with forty dear, sweet, earnest little people (and they are little!) every day and the school board actually pays me to do this - how lucky am I???

In contrast, I live with teenagers.  Depending on the day, there are five teenagers in my family at home at this time.  Two have just returned  from university for Thanksgiving week-end.  Teenagers are very different from 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds.  They definitely do not think that I walk on water or that I am the centre of the universe (darn!).  In their quest for autonomy, I frequently present as  problematic and embarassing in their lives rather than the singular adult upon whom the sun rises and falls.   I would rather leave teaching than teach teenagers - which says far more about me than it does about them.  I couldn't cope and I know it. 

Life with teenagers challenges me to frequently remember where I was at at the same age.  There really is nothing new under the sun.   I have seen it and been it all before.  However, this knowledge does not always help me to warm up to our kids and their attitudes and behaviours.  I am cursed with a temperment that is judgemental with a capital J!  (Perhaps I am simply a judge who is mental?!)

So, here is the happy part of my wonderings and ponderings this evening.  At 9:00  p.m., there were seven (count 'em - seven!!) teenagers with me at our dining room table, chatting merrily, getting reconnected after time away for some at university, laughing, hurling insults, and savouring each other's company.  My husband was toiling over leaking turkey "juice" (ugh!) in the refrigerator and my mom was helping my daughter to prepare bread for tomorrow's turkey stuffing.  Chaos, comraderie, family, friends, and love.  In all aspects of life, we are reminded to "take the good with the bad".  This evening, it was all good.  For that I am very thankful!  Welcome home, teenagers!

(This post is dedicated to David, Matthew, Olivia, Katie, Emily, Suzanne and Mikaela - all ranging in age from 13 to 19 - with love and thanks!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who's your Alex?

I have two daughters in High School.  Each of them is lucky enough to have an "Alex" in her life.  Both young men have bubbled to the surface of our awarenesses in beautiful ways in recent days.

I arrived home from work yesterday to see a delightful gourd on our front porch window ledge.  Upon inquiring, my eldest daughter replied that Alex had grown it in his garden and gives one to her every year because she loves gourds.  How many 17-year-old Toronto boys do you know that grow gourds?  He is a pure, gentle soul.

My middle daughter has had a difficult ride at school around becoming a committee member, resulting in challenges and disillusionment.  It has caused all who know the situation strife and unease.  The Alex in her life demonstrated uncommon courage for a 16-year-old in making an effort to support her and was shut down by a superior.

My heart is warmed immensely by the knowledge that these young men exist and are in our orbit.  Interestingly, they are both nautical, "outdoorsy" and close to their families.  Hooray for these wonderful lads.

My hope for all of you is that there is an Alex in your life.

Have a special day!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Tonight was "Curriculum Night" in my little corner of the world.  I had the pleasure of spending an hour mixing and meeting with most of the parents of my kindergarten students and we are, on balance, a mutually happy group.

I feel as if I am finally hitting my stride as a teacher - earned by age, experience, and the confidence that comes with the aforementioned.  It's funny - I've also noticed that this is the point in my life where my grey hair is making itself strongly felt - even in my eyebrows.  Is there a connection?  Does your body send visual signals to indicate that it's time to embrace a sense of time-earned confidence and conviction?  It feels good to have finally reached a point in my life where the scale has tipped in favour of conviction over chronic self-doubt. 

Aren't we lucky as humans to be able to stand back, review where and who we've been and take stock of what we are becoming?  Let us all embrace age, wisdom, experience and greying hair.  These truly are the things that money can't buy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

"What's it all about, Alfie?"

This song title has been running through my head recently- it takes me back to days long past when it sang forth from my parents' radio and record player.  I finally took the time to listen to a few versions on YouTube and do love Barbra Streisand's.  Have yourself a listen....

Life is funny - in an ironic way.  I have many "log jams" in my life ready to burst.  That said, I found myself heading into today feeling excited even though I knew it would pose a number of challenges that are far bigger than a typical day's dose.  "Hooray for me", I exclaimed to my dear spouse this morning - "I have a tough day ahead and I actually feel grounded, ready and happy."  In addition to teaching little people and attending an IT training session, I was required to make phone calls to my lawyer and to my daughter's school - all before 11:30 a.m.  Tick, tick, tick - all done and relatively stress-free at that.

I couldn't pat myself on the back, however, because during the same "productive" morning, I ripped open my wrist on the corner of my classroom window as I was pulling across a curtain - ouch!  I'm not sure when I last cut myself like that - it was all I could do not to cry in front of a bunch of 3- and 4-year-olds! 

I arrived home a few hours later to a frustrated teenaged daughter.  "Who let the dogs out of the basement?", she asked?  She had just spent half an hour cleaning up a giant mess - picture chewed up bathroom waste, shreds and stains, in addition to dog poop scattered through the upstaris bedrooms (where the dogs are not even allowed to go).  How can dogs who are 8, 9 and 10 years old and generally well-behaved even think to do that?  (Does anyone want a free dog - including one who has chewed some of her leg stitches out, resulting in a big hole that the vet is going to give me a lecture about...?)  Needless to say I owe my daughter big-time.  I could not have dealt with that mess as a home-coming surprise!

So... happy, grounded, efficient me found herself feeling flat, exhausted, drained, sore and fed-up by 5:00 p.m.  What is it all about???  Today's conclusion -it's not really about anything.  Life just keeps rolling along, we need to continue to choose to be happy if that's what we want, and we need to actively keep the stations in our brain tuned to the channels we want to watch.  My reality check:  healthy family, great job, people who I care about that care about me, dogs that I wouldn't actually give away for anything, food in the cupboard, cars in the driveway, appliances that work, and a wound that is merely a flesh wound after all.

I do maintain that life is ironic - a theme I plan to visit at greater depth some day soon.  However, I always hang on to the thought that "the universe is unfolding as it should".  Our task is to keep our attention on the channels that are life-enhancing and continue to put one foot in front of the other.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

"With a Little Help From My Friends"

I am not sure where I stand politically anymore....not that it really matters today.  I am both delighted and enchanted by the idea of Stephen Harper playing the piano and singing this great Beatles classic, accompanied by none other than Yo-Yo Ma!  What a wonderful surprise for Canadians - and humanity!  (Yo-Yo Ma is a personal favourite - he is indeed a beautiful human being!)

Take a peek and smile!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog.  I am brand new to this blogging business and am feeling a wee bit excited about it.  I do a lot of thinking and observing (don't we all??).  I welcome your comments, thoughts, observations, recommendations and insights.

For today, here is a thought:  pay attention to how the full moon affects you and those around you.  It's actually rather fun and over time, behavioural patterns seem to emerge.  There's so much to see if only you are looking!