Lesson’s my Dad taught me: Happy Father’s Day

I was one of those lucky kids.

156993_10151359512806337_1776609388_n

You know the kind, I had a dad who would play with me. As a teacher I could always spot the kids who had a great relationship with their father, they would talk about him and tell stories or behave in such a way that reflected the good times they had together. I was one of those kids.

I learned plenty of great things and was fortunate enough to be scarred for life because of my Dad, so I decided I need to have a Dad Tribute today on my Dad’s 45th Father’s Day Milestone.

Things My Dad Taught Me by the Edmonton Tourist

  1. To love Superheroes: Sure my Dad is a Superman fan, and I think that is sad and pathetic because he is the WORST SUPERHERO EVER. But I was encouraged to be my own superhero. I was Danger Girl. I had my own cape and my own super powers. I stored lightning bolts in my chest and could throw them at a moments notice. I learned that I had my own inner power to conquer all things difficult. I just needed to put my mind to it and work for it.
  2. It never hurts to be kind: I was taught the kindness, manners and respect was a common courtesy that everyone should enjoy. This didn’t mean you had to like the people, but you had to be polite. It makes the world a better place. I’ve witnessed it.
  3. Appreciate other’s strengths: Life is too short to harbour jealousy. Everyone has a talent that should be celebrated. Embrace each other’s talent and be thankful they are good that things you are not. Work together and be a team, more can get done that way.
  4. Be a Reader: The fact that my Dad was an English Teacher is the reason I am a reader. Sure he would give me books and then talk to me about them, but that was because reading for pure joy will take you places you can never imagine. There is nothing more delightful than being so caught up in a book you think about the characters and places long after the book is over. Reading great novels has made me smarter through understanding, questioning and researching further to gain a greater understand of the events.
  5. Travel: I have been all over the world the seen things that only a handful of people have had the privilege to see. Dreams came true on holidays with my parents. I saw the Bird Lady feed the pigeons on the Steps of St. Paul, I’ve stood at the base of Vimy Ridge and felt the whispers of Canadian boys who died there so that I may live the life I have today, I learned how locks and channels work on a rare sunny evening in Amsterdam and learned about laughing until your sides hurt and tears spring from your eyes because being silly is way more fun on vacation than being serious.

Of course my dad has taught me many more life lessons, I just appreciate these ones the most and have taught my children the same life lessons.

The biggest and best lesson I learned from my Dad, is don’t take yourself to serious and laugh at yourself more often. Think about it, you are hilarious. Embrace it.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy! Love you! xxx

Me and Dadeo at the finish

Me and Dadeo at the finish

From Daydreamer to Daydoer, The Edmonton Tourist Project

November 11, 2010 047

November 11, 2010 047 (Photo credit: matt44053)

I am nearing my 2 year anniversary of the Edmonton Tourist Project. The purpose of this project was to take risks, climb out of my depression and experience  no regrets. Looking back it boggles my mind what I different person I use to be. I had a resigned nature and attitude about things. I have spent countless hours reading about other people’s journeys. I have become an active member in the blog community, so much so – there are many bloggers who I have never met, yet I count as friends. I have learned there is no destination as long as you are still traveling. Making a conscious effort to be a tourist in my own life has opened up possibilities that I had never seen before.

November 11, 2010 (again with the 11 thing)I was Freshly Pressed. All that means was the choosers here at Word Press saw my post and thought it was funny enough to place on the front cover of the WordPress Blog Site. I received close to 2000 hits that day, 50 subscribers in a single day and hundreds of comments. It was a real Rock Star moment. Looking back, that moment was fairly significant for a couple of reasons.

  1. It convinced me that I can do the impossible – or what I perceived as impossible
  2. It made connections with people I never would have otherwise known, and in return I have learned great lessons and made spectacular friends. Not just blog friends, but actual human beings who I can look in the eye and touch their hands.
  3. It taught me that everything and everyone has a story that should be told. It is from stories that I learn great things from.

I remember November 11th ever well. It was a stat holiday here so I was having a long lay-in that morning. Snuggled up and daydreaming. (I was a great daydreamer – I am a great daydoer now) when at 8:00AM my emails start going crazy. My first one was from Chef – She was from Edmonton too only now lived in Texas. I found it odd that she stumbled onto my blog.  Since then, we have commented back and forth and I even won a contest she hosted! The list of commenters grew. Then another Edmonton commenter found me.

Her name was Audrey. She was blogging from Edmonton and was struggling with the day to day problems of cancer. She was determined not to be angry but to embrace every moment she had left. She spent spare moments in nature photographing the beautiful river valley, she took art classes at the Art Gallery and she spent quality time with friends and family. Her journey was more than a day to day struggle. I learned that you don’t get moments back. She inspired me to take risks with people. Tell them the good things I think about them as they pop into my head. This has not always been welcomed, but I have no regrets about it. It doesn’t always turn out the way I hope, I get rejected in friendship – but they go away knowing I like and care about them. Some people just aren’t ready for someone to think highly of them. Sad – but true. Audrey embraced the Edmonton Tourist Spirit, always thinking of the next risk and how it would effect those around her. Kindness and compassion enveloped her.

Audrey passed over yesterday morning at 9:38 am surrounded by those she loved and who loved her back. We all should be so lucky. This is an excerpt of her final post:

Thank you to everyone for your support and caring.

 

I started the blog as a record of my journey for my family but it has become much larger than that, it became a helping tool for those in a similar journey. I am grateful if I have been helpful in anyway. I leave you with the encouragement for you and your loved ones to visit your family doctor regularly. Know that you are your own advocate, and don’t accept no as an answer.

 

I don’t know where I would be without my family. The love and support they have shown me has made my journey so much easier than I know it could have been. I am not sure I would have lived this long without them. They accepted my bumps and challenges along the way. They responded quickly to my needs and they gave me meaning to the term unconditional love. I wish I had another 40 years to return to them.

 

I love you all, take care of yourselves and each other.

 

See you in the funny papers.

 

Love Audrey

Thank you for the life lessons Audrey. I shall miss you.

 

The Superhero of My Awake

I stayed up too late last night. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was finishing When God Was a Rabbit. I loved that book and needed to finish it. So 1:30 rolls around and I realize my alarm is going to go off 5 hours and 15 minutes, so I reluctantly shut it down with 1 1/2 chapters to go. I finished it over breakfast.

I walked around in a Zombie like state this morning. Autopilot has become a friend to me. Coping not living, trying to get everything done in my life and trying to do it well. I stumbled to my coffee maker and turned it on. It’s a Keurig and I love it. One cup of perfect coffee coming right up. I heat up 1cup of milk ( to satisfy my dietician I drink my milk in my coffee, milk on its own is nasty) then place my kickass Mary Poppins Mug on my coffee maker. I load my machine with some fabulous K-Cup, today was Newman’s Own Bold…Daaaayammmm its a good cup of coffee! The sound the coffee makes as it trickles into my cup makes my spine tingle. The first sip was a hallelujah moment.

This gave me an idea.

I am going to write a theme song for my first cup of coffee. Not some lameass high kick number you see for Viagra commercials, but something that feels powerful, strong and confident. Something like a Superhero theme song. Catchy, yet makes you want to take on the world. My coffee deserves a theme song.

If my coffee could talk he would be Italian, strong, confident and full-bodied. One taste and I would be singing his praises. I can picture him now…he is starting to look like Danny Ocean…with a cape.

I do love a man with a cape, or webs or a big hammer. Hell, I like a man to hand me a cup of joe and say good morning with silence.

The perfect morning = silence + coffee

Maybe I need a perfect morning to start with ENOUGH SLEEP the night before + silence + coffee. That sounds perfect, I can provide the cape.

 

It is all about the Journey

I received an email that is circulating called 45 lessons life taught me. According to the email it was written by Regina Brett, age 90. This seems to be confused with Regina Brett, not 90, author and Pulitzer Prize finalist. She is just as inspirational…because she is the same gal. Her nifty stuff is found here.  Regina Brett, age 90 was scoped out on Snopes.com and was found to be correctly attributed, here is snopes proof. However, the age thing is wrong. They are the SAME person. Regina Brett wrote an interesting blog post about the whole internet rumor about being 90 and how she came up with the lessons. Regardless of the confusing stories, it is an inspirational list and I encourage you to read it. There are quite a few lessons on the list I have already learned the hard way since becoming The Edmonton Tourist. Looking at the entire list, #13 stands out as the most recent lesson learned. It has happened to me countless times and I have done it to others plenty. Now I have seen both sides of the fence. Sure it took me forever to get this lesson,, better late than never – right?

#13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is about.

This is so true. It is hurtful when someone thinks they know exactly what you are going through and think they know how to judge or fix it. It also is painful when some one expects you to be more than you are capable of and let them down. It all boils down to perception. It’s hard to know what another person is going through until you walk in their shoes. Empathy is a hard thing to understand.

It is not a secret that I work with children and their families that immigrate here from other countries or are refugees from war torn places. The importance of empathy and using perception in such a way that can strengthen our relationship instead of divide us further is crucial. In an effort to understand better, I watched Gandhi for the first time on Boxing Day. I can hear you all now…no I didn’t live in a box, yes I am well read, but could be better, no I have not seen every classic movie, but I am closing in. It was a hard choice for me to watch it since the World Jr. Hockey Tourny was going on here in Edmonton. Yet Something compelled me to watch it.

I wanted to know more about the man who tried to live a peaceful existence, I wanted to know more about the conflict between Pakistan and India since these are the families I mostly work with, and I wanted to challenge my mind and I wanted to perceive their situation with THEIR eyes, not mine. So Gandhi it was.

There was a point during the movie ( I am not issuing a spoiler alert because this movie was based on historical fact) where Gandhi held his wife’s hand as she lay dying. He looked up and smiled at the people who surrounded him and without a spoken word, they knew they should leave. Perception and awareness was present in the room. This gave me pause.

I am struggling right now with a relationship with a friend who I love very much. I care and worry about her situation and yet her perception and awareness of my actions has cause significant strife between us.  My problem is I get too deep and don’t realize it until I am drowning. This may be because I just want to help or I care too much. I need to tune into my feelings as well, I must be aware of hers and finding the balance is problematic for me. I have done this a million different ways with people I care about. I have felt abandoned by family because their perception of my situation was incorrect. Harsh words fly back and forth because of hurt feelings. When the reality is, we hurt because we love each other very much. There is just a lack of understanding.

A wise woman said to me, “Boundaries are important. You can’t be available for every crisis. Pick and Choose.” My Perception of the problem may not be the problem after all.  Perception and Awareness is a problem within my family as well. If we just took a moment and practiced empathy I think many problems would be solved. My New Years Wish for us is to have a greater awareness of each other’s feelings. I’m not sure that will happen but I can do my part. Not engaging in sides, not contributing to strife and offer kindness will be what I continue to do. I need to help where I am able and let the rest go. I am not the person to fix all the problems of the world. I can only start with me.

Unlike Gandhi, I have no idea what my role is in my life, but I do know by moving forward and being kind is the biggest gift I can give to my friends and family, then I can keep doing that. It may not be enough, but I am only one person doing the best she can. I need to remember that being kind is NOT fixing a problem, it is being kind. No need to fix anything. Some things are not my lesson to learn.

#13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is about

is very true. I think I need this tattooed on my arm so I can be in a constant state of mindfulness when it comes to this statement. It’s true I don’t fully grasp your journey and you can’t possible grasp mine either. We need to be mindful of that and focus on our OWN lessons to be learned.

Disappointment Tourist Style

I should have stayed in bed today. You know those kind of days I’m talking about. The kind that start out bad and get worse. Ugg.

It wasn’t like it was Friday the 13th. It was more that today was filled with disappointments. I had been on a roll lately with all these positive and fabulous things happening to me. But today….hmmm good thing that happened was…hmmm. Oh I know! I wore my brand new red leather Coach gloves to work and it was cold enough to wear them home from work! They looked pretty on my steering wheel. Crap, that was the highlight? Awesome.

Today was about disappointments. So in classic Tourist Style, here is my Top 11 disappointments for today!

  1. The Jack Rabbits are starting to turn White…Really? I know this has to do with the amount of sunlight and not the weather but GEE WHIZ I am not ready for winter!!! Very disappointing.
  2. At lunch I pulled out my bag, only to discover a sad salad and tuna. Gone are the Thanksgiving leftovers I had been eating for lunch. Very disappointing.
  3. I spilled my coffee and had to start over this morning. THAT was very upsetting, perfectly great coffee sopped up by Bounty the quicker picker upper. Yes I did consider wringing it out in my cup. Very disappointing.
  4. I lost my left Canada Olympic Mit and somehow have 2 right mitts. It is uncomfortable on my left hand. WHO HAS MY LEFT MITT? Very disappointing.
  5. I worked really hard on a project for a friend and had to TELL them to thank me….not cool, kind of hurtful and very disappointing.
  6. I was very excited about a project I was working on for work  and was told I should go back to my original idea that I am NOT excited about. Very disappointing.
  7. I’ve started training for my next half marathon and my foot still hurts. Very disappointing!
  8. I watched a little kid fall on their face. They never put their hand out to stop themselves from getting hurt. This is the 2nd time this week – different kids. I thought evolution was suppose to aid in the protection of self. Very disappointed in Evolution right now.
  9. I went to the gym and walked/ran 5km and it was only a 3km day! SO FREAKINGLY DISAPPOINTING!
  10. I had lunch with a gal who told me about her life before and after the war living in Croatia. Why can’t people just get along? How very disappointing.
  11. My parents got back from the Middle East and did not bring me back a piece of the Crucifix OR an autographed copy of the Bible. This was the most disappointing of the list. Well…not really. These are in no particular order. Clearly you can figure out what order they should be in, my readers are smart like that.

Now lets look at the bright side shall we?

    1. Jack Rabbits are cute all brown with white paws and ears…AND they looked tasty!
    2. The gravy was clogging my arteries. Salad adds ruffage and tuna omega 3s. Today was a healthier option!
    3. I had more K-Cup and made myself another cup!
    4. I have new Red Leather Coach Gloves, a right glove and a left glove, I can dream about for the drive home. Crappy right handed gloves are fine for the playground!
    5. They were sincere in their apology and promised not to take me for granted again.
    6. I don’t have to do either project and can continue just plugging along doing my daily requirements.
    7. I have shaved 2 minutes of EACH kilometer without trying!
    8. Little kids are cute with band aids on their noses.
    9. I went for 5km today and didn’t feel I needed a nap!
    10. Kindness starts with me, then I need to pay it forward.
    11. Fake souveniers are not worth anything. But they are funny. Okay, there is no bright side to #11. THIS IS SO DISAPPOINTING!

Ok Tourist, how does the bright side feel? To be honest, it feels like I am trying too hard. Sitting in disappointment is okay for a while then it will be time to move on. The good thing about the disappointments that affect me most, are the ones I have control over. I can choose to partake or not. I can help my friend or not. I can do the project or not. The Offsprings Biological Co-Creator (Honey’s new name because Mike said it sounded better and more MANLY) suggested I soak in the tub and ponder my choices. He can give good advice if I stop him at the right moment in time. If you let him go on too long…well… it becomes disappointing and I don’t want to go there. I have had enough disappointment for one day.

Edmonton Tourist? Present!

I spent my long weekend being present, in the moment and it was wonderful. That may sound odd to you, but of late, it has become difficult for me to live in the present.

My weekly yoga practice has my yogi telling me, be present. There is nowhere else you need to be, this is a gift to yourself. Be in the moment.

My entire life I have been a daydreamer. I have always been comfortable alone and still with my thoughts because I have an amazing ability to slip into another life, another world or another moment in time. Long travel trips have never bothered me because I have a rich imagination that can carry me away.

When I was 6, my family packed up and moved the Yellowknife, North West Territories in Canada’s Arctic. In fact, I changed schools 4 times before I entered grade 3. I relied on my active imagination to keep me from feeling lonely. Making new friends was hard for me. It is a skill I am very good at now, yet I would still rather be alone with my thoughts than be with more than a handful of people in my life. My grade one teacher often pulled me out into the hallway to tell me I need to stop DAYDREAMING. She would say, “Edmonton Tourist, I know you miss your family in Edmonton, but you need to pay attention at school!” For the record Mrs. Long Grade One Teacher, I had my family with me. When you are 6, your family is your parents and your brother. Sure everyone else was awesome, but at 6, my whole world was in Yellowknife. The reason I was a DAYDREAMER, was school bit. It was BORING. It moved too slow for me, so I would enter the world of imagination in my head and off I would go until the bell rang.

As a child I would act out these fairy tales that lived in my head. As I became older, I would keep these stories in my head and relive them in the car, in the bathtub, laying on my bed or just before I needed to sleep. I was Apollo and Athena’s sister in Battlestar Galatica (secretly dating Starbuck!) or I was on the run in Logan’s Run, or just simply, I was Sleeping Beauty dancing the day away with Prince Phillip. It was all good.

Even now as an adult, I can easily recreate a life I want filled with a cast of characters I have never met. It helps pass the time on long plane rides or car trips. It is part of the reason I enjoy solitude. I know this is normal for some people and completely bonkers for others. Over the past 5 years I find myself drifting more and more into my imagination. I have just recently learned the reason for this. Clearly I have not been satisfied with my life and the way it has been going. I have obviously needed change. The Edmonton Tourist Journey has begun that process for me. It is forcing me to be present and accounted for. I am not letting my life drift by unnoticed anymore. I am reaching for what I want, telling the Universe I need it and in some cases, the Universe gives it to me. It has truly become an amazing journey. Every week something exciting and unexpected happens to me. I received a couple of incredible emails today. Both of the from different people and both COMPLETELY unexpected! I had I not been present, I would have missed out on both of these. That makes me think, WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING?!?

Being present is important to my journey. I want to experience everything along the way. I can’t get caught up in boredom, because I can easily slip into my imagination to help me get past it. That is not to say I shouldn’t look towards the future, on the contrary. I need to set goals and plan for it so I can work on them in the PRESENT. Being present is the MOST CHALLENGING GOAL TO DATE!That’s not to say I am giving up my imagination. No WAY!! It is in my imagination and thoughts that my dreams are turned into reality. It gives my goals purpose, something for me to aim for.

So Edmonton Tourist, Live your best life and BE present for it!

Facebook is Bossy

Facebook is starting to annoy me with it’s bossiness.

I had a rough day, and so did the team. Then I get a text from the Honey that he is working late. Not that it is a problem, it is the time of year that he works late. I am use to it and it is WAY BETTER now that the Offspring can feed, bathe and dress themselves. (Three cheers for Teenagers!) I head over to Facebook to decompress and it is telling me I need to buy this:

Really Facebook? You think doing dishes in an ugly sink is what I need? Facebook, YOU do the dishes, I am knackered. I read Brown Road Chronicles today and I can really relate. He talks about a sabbatical. Do you hear that Facebook? A sabbatical, not doing dishes in an ugly sink. Dishes just bring me down. I have enough stuff that bring me down, I don’t need chickens in my sink too. Facebook, You should send me away for uninterrupted sleep, I would buy that! A Full nights sleep, a full 12 hours of sleep in this room Facebook:

Then Facebook, you should let me soak in this bathroom that my favorite designer put together:

This bathroom has all my favorite things Facebook, books, a terry chair, wine, a lock on the door, not shampoo bottles on the tub. Brian Gluckstein knows what I want Facebook. You should call him.

Then Facebook, I want this view:

Facebook, this is a mid-century modern home over looking the Santa Ana’s only minutes away from Disneyland. This is what you should tell me to buy Facebook. Not an ugly kitchen sink with chickens looking at me while I wash dishes. Not very funny Facebook.

Mrs. Weasley, We Should Meet for Coffee!

Apparently I am a Magical Being. Surprised? I sure am! It is just like when Harry Potter discovered he could talk to snakes and make glass disappear. He was busy being mad at Dudley when magical things started to happen to the world around him. The exact same thing happened to me this morning!

No, no, no, I cannot talk to snakes, I use to when I worked in the family business…but I digress. Nor did I make a window disappear. It was more magical than that! I was making lunches this morning. When it was time to leave for work, Chatterbox said,”Did you make me a sandwich?” I sure did! I hate making lunches, I distinctly remember making them by the coffee pot. (Sure I drooled a bit looking at the cold empty coffee maker, thinking about how delightful a hot creamy dark roast might taste.But no drool dripped onto the sandwiches, I SWEAR!) I left all the lunches and sandwiches on the counter. Everything was there except HER sandwich! What the? I was baffled. Where did it go? I checked the pantry beside the peanut butter, no- not there. I checked the fridge in the fruit bin, no- not there. I looked in the microwave, silverware drawer, coffee cup cupboard, and I even checked the trash. We simply could not find it! I started to doubt my mom skills! I looked at the clock and realized I needed to make a new sandwich for Chatterbox.

I was pretty excited as I drove to work. Think of the possibilities! I would just need to learn to harness this power! I was sure someone would show up today explaining to my about my new-found magical abilities. I couldn’t wait to be able to pop in and out of places or use charms for household tasks. I knew how it worked, I read all the Harry Potter Books! I couldn’t WAIT to get started! This theory is much more appealing than the real possibility that I am losing my mind due to old age.

I arrived home all happy and excited. I couldn’t wait to tell Honey how magical I had become. Chatterbox interrupted me in mid-sentence. “Oh, By the way, I found my sandwich in my lunch bag. So I ate two sandwiches.” Then she walked away. I was crestfallen. So much for all my fantasies coming true. I was so close to hanging out with Mrs. Weasley.

Lesson learned. Focus on the task at hand, THEN dream about magic.