Is it STILL a Man’s world?

suffragettes-300x227I had the worst time trying to fall asleep last night. The last conversation of my day was with Trusty Steed. I was telling him about my day at work – at my new job (which is awesome!) and how yesterday was particularly tough. I am being tested from a management perspective. The people I supervise are pushing limits to see where my threshold is.  I expected that. That isn’t a problem at all. I have no trouble expressing myself or my expectations. I explained about the issue I had with head office and how I dealt with it.

And Trusty Steed said – I am worried you may be shown the door because that would happen at my office.

WHAAAAAT????????????????

Apparently he works at an ‘old boys’ club where –  the generation gap exists and strong women are not strong but ‘pushy’ or ‘dragons’ and women are ‘just’ in the office typing pool.

WOW.

I thought it was 2013?

I was hired for my organizational skills, my people management skills and to create change. I am doing that. I have handled easy problems and terrible problems. I have protected staff from violent vagrant street people who have threatened them, I have managed issues from clients demanding unreasonable things and resort to name calling of my staff.

I cannot imagine trying to do my job where I need to be subservient. Impossible.

For one – I couldn’t work there. I am not a subservient kind of gal.

And two – what the hell is wrong with a world where women can’t portray themselves? I come from a very long line of strong women. They were strong when it was impossible for men to take them seriously. Yet they did it and changed the world.

I am teaching my daughter to be the same strong woman. Her brother thinks women ARE strong and his choice of companionship proves it.

At Christmas time, my daughter heard her Grand Uncle use a phase that was offensive to her. She asked him to please refrain from using it. He continued. So did she. She did it in a way that require no man to stick up for her. She was clear, concise and polite – some might say bold. I wouldn’t, because if a man said those words he is just expressing himself. She was too. I couldn’t have been more proud. At the age of 15, my daughter is strong. She is the type of person I appreciate and want to spend my time with. So that brings me back to my work place.

I work for men. However, it is not a male dominated work place. It is an equal opportunity one. Changes are happening to better serve the female clients who are the majority. My workplace understands they need a female perspective to better serve these clients. I disagree on that score. If people are treated equally – then there is no gender requirements. We are slowly achieving that perspective and I am happy to be apart of it.

The ‘Man’s World’ is on its way out. Sure there are still pockets of it all over Canada – but the up coming generation brings me great hope. They see a woman or a man in the same light. Someone who is capable because of skill, not gender.

Amen to that.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who could make babysitters cry…

06443029462bcbe897d59a3467928dc4_answer_6_xlarge10 o’clock at night and my girl is upstairs blasting Time Lord Rock while baking Rose Tyler esc cupcakes for a dear friend and fellow Whovian’s birthday. I have been told that she is quite capable of following the instructions and baking on her own. Agreed.

Then I hear “Moooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom, can I have your opinion on these cupcakes please? They are giant but liquid in the middle. How long should I put them back in for? And why do they taste like Cherry Cough Syrup?”

Good Question… Ask Grandma.

My mom was a good egg in lots of ways. She always let me listen the radio station of my choice when we were in the car. She didn’t care. Dad on the other hand would say “This stuff is utter crap, I can’t listen to this.” And the station would change to some oldie station playing Peter, Paul and Mary or the Limelighters. This would account for my obscure and amazing talent of knowing every song ever written between 1948 and 1989, this includes jingles and TV theme songs. It’s a handy talent for some great trivia games and for radio quiz shows where I get to win tickets to The Who and The Rolling Stones.

Mom would also encourage me to experiment in the kitchen. I learned the basics from her and my Aunty Mary Poppins, but the fine tuning I did on my own. I dad would eat ANYTHING I put in front of him and he would always say, “That is the best I ever had! Did I make it?” Between both my parents, that made me fearless in the kitchen. I am not a swell cook – but I am an AMAZING baker. There is a difference. I think some people can be great at both but often they are only good at one or the other.

My girl is a self proclaimed distraction in the kitchen. I let her do all kinds of baking and cooking experiments but there is usually some disaster that happens and we need to figure out how to fix it. To be honest, it isn’t always fixable, so we pack it up and give it to her Grandpa (my dad) who will eat ANYTHING and say it’s the best ever.

I remember baking on Friday nights when we had a babysitter because Mom and Dad were off Dancing  - I know…it was the olden days when people went dancing at the club – (as in country club) It sounds fancier than it was, but my parents loved it. We went through babysitters like some people go through socks. My brother and I were THE WORST KIDS EVER – not true  - were only bad if we didn’t like the babysitter. I liked the weak ones. The ones that were nice on the outside but I could make them cry in an instant. One time we had this gal, a neighbor of my grandma, she came over and wanted to play games or watch TV and I would say – no. I am baking cookies.

“Are you allowed to do that?”

Me: NO – are you kidding? Mom is going to kill you. “Yes, my mom lets me all the time.”

“Okay – call me if you need help”

Me: pfffff whatever – “okay”

I went into the pantry and pulled out all the ingredients for Quaker Oatmeal Cookies. The Just Add Water kind of cookie mix that mom would buy and add a billion things to for granola bars. I used an entire package (enough for 1000 cookies) and a gallon of water. I think it said one cup but the measuring cup was really big – I think it was 8 cups. But I filled it because it was still only one cup.

I had made cookie cake. It was liquid porridge. I couldn’t spoon it onto a cookie tray, it would run all over the place. So I left it in the bowl, put all the dirty dishes and baking garbage into the oven and shut the door.

I went to join the babysitter and my brother and said I changed my mind. I didn’t want to bake.

Later while I was fake sleeping, my mother called me into the kitchen.

She had the keen sense of Sherlock Holmes. There wasn’t a dish left out, yet she knew.

“What happened in here tonight?”

Me: I was fake tired and said “What???’ in my sleepy fake voice.

“This kitchen is a disaster!”

Me: What are you talking about? I hid the evidence. I knew I needed to stay silent.

“Were you making cookies?

Me: How does she know this stuff? Silence…………

“Where did you hide the stuff?” She looked around and likely saw a fingerprint on the oven door.

Then I remember the oven door opening and the angry voice lecturing me for what seemed like a week. But thankfully dad came home and sent me to bed.

Now that I am a parent myself, these are the thoughts that run through my head:

  1. Why would the babysitter let an 8 year old bake cookies unsupervised?
  2. Obviously mom saw the flour dust all over everything. What is clean to an 8 year old is not clean to a mom.
  3. Why didn’t my parents just lock us up under the stairs to go out? We tortured babysitters for fun. How we make it out of our childhood alive is beyond me.
  4. I always thought my mom was crazy about cleanliness – I still do.
  5. Why did my parents change babysitters so frequently? Did the girls just say no? I would – but to be fair, I could talk those girls into anything and I think they didn’t expect that from a kid. I was the evil emperor of kids needing supervision. Let’s face it, after every girl in Sherwood Park failed and became brainwashed by my charms, there wasn’t a whole lot for them to do. They became powerless. I would put my sister to bed, I would talk my brother into running away or hiding or really – anything to make the sitter never wanting to come back. I’m sure my parents paid well, but sometimes no job is EVER worth it.

Meanwhile, my daughter just made cupcakes that taste like cough syrup and I am proud like I am raising a little me. Luckily her grandfather lives a block from the school, so when her friends don’t eat the cupcakes – he will.

And the family tradition continues….only the dirty dishes better not be hidden in the stove.

Be Amazing

images (3)I follow  my kid’s school on twitter to get regular updates and happenings going on in and around the campus because here is a surprise, I don’t hear it from him until 35 seconds before I need to do something about it. Like bake for the theatre cast rehearsal.

The thing I like about those tweets is every morning they end with “Go out and be amazing today!”

I like that sentiment.

Last week was a hard week emotionally for me. I took the tragedy in Boston hard. I just found it profoundly sad that innocent people were hurt or killed and the bombers had a sucky social life and blamed Boston. I am not a vindictive person, perhaps it is my Canadian upbringing, but wow – that kid put the gun in his mouth on an apparent suicide attempt and karma still makes him face the consequences. I think about how his life might have been awesome last Monday had he did something different.

I am currently reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. The premise is the main character dies, the world goes dark and rewinds to the moment before her death with things changed slightly to prevent the death. It is an interesting concept. I think it will generate great discussion as to what moment could you change to slightly alter your life.

What would I do?

Well, I wouldn’t change anything I did last week. The events made me think about my life a little bit harder. I spent time with friends, I ran 33km, I had lots of mom time with my kids, I had a lovely dinner with the trusty steed, I made plans with dear friends, I spoke up when I felt hurt and did nice things to make others feel good. I was grateful, appreciative and thankful for my life events last week.

Weather was another story – But there was sunshine today! That always makes me smile.

So heading out into the new work week tomorrow, I am going to depart this little life changing tidbit:

Go out there and BE AMAZING this week!

routine-be-amazing

 

Stupid Choices leads to BAD decisions. Resolve the problem by reading a book with a smart ending and learn from it.

I have a real problem right now. My day started out bad – I mean reaally bad. So bad that I thought about staying in bed with the covers over my head and reading trashy novels bad.

I reached over to the nightstand and picked up a trashy novel that I am suppose to review – and it is bad too. It doesn’t make me feel excited, or caught up in the story…it is bad. An honest to goodness poorly written story that was more boring than Shades of Grey. That’s right, SHADE OF GREY IS A POORLY WRITTEN BOOK AND ITS BORING! You want to read trashy erotica, don’t succumb to media pressure and pay for that book – it truly isn’t worth it. Download it for free somewhere – do not give that author a penny of your money because she may think she has a career in writing.

I am angry. I am so angry I want to spit nails. Why? Why you ask? I WATCHED This:  The Wall Street Journal Video 

Apparently I am not the only one who is outraged that this author has normalized abuse of women and sensationalized it and worse…it is compared with great literature. I read this Times article  and agreed whole heartily. The worst of this is, a WOMAN wrote this book and betrayed us all. We need to rely on each other to stay smart, secure and self-confident.

What is the deal with smart women who buy into this kind of sensationalistic drivel? Why do we (women as a species) do this to ourselves?

I am guilty of not trusting my instincts and getting hurt so badly I am pretty sure you could hear my hear break from New York. Thankfully, that is in the past. I have learned from that mistake and have taken precautions. Where is it in the MAN Book that says it is okay to treat women in this manner, then walk away? Is it the Moms who do not teach respect? Is it the Dads who do not lead by example? Is it the English teacher who failed to teach vocabulary and plot? I am not simply talking about abuse, I think there is a deeper meaning here. One of self worth.

Do you think you are self-worthy of respect and honor? Yes? Then why do you let the media and people in general treat you this way? Why?

I have no idea. Guilty as charged. I close a chapter, and it gets reopened only apparently it is ME who doesn’t understand and I get hurt. Whaaaat? Excuse me, I am very quick on the uptake. I am pretty sure I was following the program as written.

The worst part? We do this to each other. We can’t even provide a united front. How can we expect the world to change if we cannot respect each other?

I have no answer. All I know is I am tired of women making stupid choices. I am one of them. I can’t tell you why I made the choices I did. I have no clue, other than I was dazzled by illusion. Perhaps that is the problem with fairy tales. They dazzle us with illusion and we set ourselves up for a fall. It isn’t enough to be smart, successful, kind, supportive, loving and human. Well, that is a lie. It is enough.Be yourself.

Love yourself.

Throw away your copy of Shades of Grey and go buy The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch. It is a story about a princess who rescues her prince. He abuses her so she dumps him and lives happily ever after. They way it should be.

1012320_Enlarged_1 (1)

Needy

Have you thought about the difference between want and need? I did, and it got me thinking… more than usual.

Wants are things that bring me joy.

Needs are things I will die without…literally and figuratively.

Devil and angel pulling 3d person for hands

I want to say I need Tiffany’s sparkly things draped over me. But that’s not true, I lived this long without – so far so good.

I want to say I need a regular Disney vacation and a trip to the beach to soak up the sun. Again, I can live without it but those do enhance the joy factor.

I want to say I need a library like Belle in Beauty and the Beast (Disney version) but again, that is a joy enhancement.

Wants are awesome but not life fulfilling.

Needs are. I had a couple of lengthy chats with two different, yet very great friends. Both are male and both feed a different part of my soul. One friend I can talk about fitness, family, writing and life’s ups and downs. His friendship has become a need. I feel energized after talking and I have plenty of brain food to think about.

I need Brain Food.

The other friend I talk to semi-regularly and we talk about business, ethics, values and strategy. More brain food.

I need these types of friends in my life. This is why I enjoy book club. It requires the intellect in me to discuss the books we read with insight and awakening. I enjoy the social content of the evening but the book discussion is the pinnacle for me.

I had told my friend my wish for him. I wish that he would get the things he needs to enhance his life life because we all deserve that. Needs are important. Then he said to me, so what do you need. Wow, I hesitated.

For a very long time I didn’t put my needs anywhere near where I could benefit from them. I know this is a problem for lots of women, moms in particular. Although I have learned that I am not alone, there are men who do the same thing. We are nurturers. We give because we love it, it fills us to a certain extent but then we forget to put in the plug and all kinds of goodness leaks out and the well becomes dry.

So what do I need? It is simple. Without these things I shrivel up and die. Not physically but mentally and that is worse.

1.  I need to mom. I am the mom to 2 amazing kids. I need a life that lets me put their needs ahead of mine while they are still minors. I need them to know how important they are to me and that I would move mountains for them. I need to be the dependable one, the one they know will always be there for them without judgement. The no judgement part is hard. My wish is for them to be high end achievers  but nagging them to death to study is not going to get there. I give them space to fall. I am there with a hand up or a band-aid if they require it. They rarely need a hand anymore, this fills me with pride. I see failure in their future. I want to stop it but this is how we grow, change and mature. We need failure to learn. You rarely learn from doing everything right. It will be more painful for me then it will be for them, but I will do it. I need this. I need them to know I am always in their corner.

-I wanted 4 but needed only one. Two was a bonus.

2. I need to run. This means I need the time, the support (don’t nag me that I am gone again – luckily I have support!), the space and the freedom to set goals. I need the challenge of races to shoot for both in short term and long term. I need quiet when I run. Don’t talk to me. This is my meditation. If I invite you to run it is because I want your presence. If I don’t and you ask if you can come with me, the answer is yes. But don’t talk to me. Running is my communion with nature, my release, my thoughts acknowledgement and peace.

-I want to be a gazelle, but only need to move. Gazelle status will be a bonus.

3. I need intellectual stimulus. Mindless, numbing activity is deadly. It makes me create scenarios in my brain. I’d rather live outside of my brain that live in it, but I will do both if I have too. I need to be challenged. I need intellectual conversation. I need the freedom to seek this. I like being smart because the more you learn, the more you realize you know nothing. Therefore learning is a lifelong challenge.

-I want to be a professional student and have long lengthy chats with other academics but having friends who challenge me is a bonus.

4. I need chocolate. Not everyday but when I need it, look out – it isn’t pretty.

-I want only great chocolate but any chocolate when I need it is a bonus.

I am lucky, I have my needs met. Now – on to the wants…lets start with that vacation to NYC…

The Edmonton Tourist’s Favorite Alternative to Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012

Appreciative Audience

Appreciative Audience (Photo credit: freelancing god)

Let’s be honest here for a minute Oprah, you know I love you but unless I am part of the studio audience that gets the lovely gifts from your favorite things episode, we both know I ain’t gettin’ any of those things under the tree this year NOR am I gifting them. Why you ask? Well Sweetheart, I don’t have sponsors (yet – I am leaving my options open) and I am not on Forbes wealthy women list either. I will give you this, you have fiiiiiiiiiine taste and I will leave it at that. I decided to give my readers some Tourist Options when it comes to your Favorite Things List 2012

  1. Lafco Soap Set for $238. Ummm no, it’s soap and ONLY 14 bars of it. for the same amount of money I can get a lovely key pendant from Tiffany &Co. Soap that smells nice is lovely. Dove smells nice and for $1.99 you can have a bath size bar! Dove also sends a positive message to women. Now I love Dove but for that special occasions when you need a little pampering? Put Bay leaves in your bathwater. It is relaxing and I am sure your granny will let you take one when you are at her house for Thanksgiving Dinner this week.
  2. Octane Fitness Q37ci Elliptical Trainer
    $3,099, now $2,789 with coupon (expires Dec 31, 2012) That is an awfully expensive clothes hanger. Walmart sells a bundle of hangers for $3.99 – plastic and functional.
  3. Jetson E-Bike $1800 but there is a coupon code if you click the link. It is a very nice bike. I like my bike to be a bit more functional and less pretty. Who are we kidding, I won’t ever ride the thing in the first place. I’d rather swim, walk or run. Bus pass is a nice green alternative $89 for the month depending which city you live in.
  4. Giro Sport Design Reverb Helmet $48. Now IF you give a bike as a gift, give a helmet. It is the law here but maybe not where you live. Safety First People! However, a bike helmet will look stupid with your bus pass so may I suggest a toque? My family’s toque of choice is the Jayne Hat (Firefly Geek alert) but any great hat will do! My sister will knit it for the cost of a ball of yarn slightly more maybe depending on how happy she is when you ask her. Let’s say $5.00, I am sure she won’t mind.
  5. H2O+ Marine Spa Gift Set $98  with coupon code. I think it is worth it. I use this stuff because when I stayed at the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel it was the hotel soap and shampoo. This stuff is so fabulous I paid $40 for shampoo when I left (after hoarding all the samples they leave in the room – and chocolate) So I will take advantage of this deal. the only alternative I can think of is actually going to stay at the Hotel in Disneyland and if you factor in airfare, theme park tickets and food, $98 is looking like a sweet deal! Buy it.
  6. Ralph Lauren Cable V-Neck Sweater   First of all, this is SUCH an Oprah sweater, don’t you think? For $198 I can buy 4 sweaters from the Gap, but they say GAP not RALPH LAUREN. That is a big deal to some people. I will wear a sweater forever and I am sure it feels fabulous. But I think no, not this year. Gap it is! $50.
  7. Coach Puffers  $458 for a Coach jacket. I am all about Coach but I shop Factory Coach because I can get 3 purses for $199. I don’t think $500 for a down jacket is that bad, except it better be rated for -40 and I think it’s not. I mean it’s Coach. It’s not meant to be functional. Down Jacket at the Sport Check $200 AND rated for cold Canadian Winters.
  8. Bougainvillea Bangles $31 sure they are nice but my sister can get those at the dollarama 4 for $1. How often are you going to wear them anyways?
  9. Tory Burch Michelle Tote $395. A great bag is worth it in my books but you can always get great bags at Winners. They had Tory Burch Michelle last week for $125. It’s Winners, go often.
  10. Julep Nail Polish Set $168? I don’t pay that for a mani AND a pedi. OPI $25 set of 5 colours you will only use once.
  11. Tusk Capri Double Zip Checkbook Clutch $138 for a bag that holds your wallet stuff and your phone to put in your bag? Whaaaaaa? If your purse is that big, re-think OR only buy bags with pockets on the side for your cell phone and wallet – all great bags have them! If yours isn’t a great bag, dollarama has makeup bags for $1 AND they come in fashionable-ish patterns. The best part? It holds your wallet, your phone and lipstick! You still have to fish around for it, but you were anyways for $138!

I am not going to go through Oprah’s entire list of 60 items, I think you get my point. Please feel free to contact me if you need an alternative for an Oprah gift, I am only too happy to help! Now, lets look at how much I saved you:

Oprah Top 11 Gift Total = $5787

The Edmonton Tourist’s Oprah alternatives = $516.98

That is a total savings of $5270.02!!

You’re welcome.

Serendipity

I met a man yesterday who made such a profound impact on my soul. He fleeted into my life for a moment and then left as quickly as he came in. His life story was one that was too shocking to tell, but one that had he not experienced, he would not be the person he is today. His presence and story left a permanent imprint on my being.

Throughout his journey he has learned the art of compassion and forgiveness. He understands giving and can accept receiving. These are gifts that not everyone is good at. Lots of people can be paid a complement and the words are deflected instead of received as the gift they are intended to be. I learned many things during my time with this man but the key message I need to take from this experience is this:

5 minutes or 50 years

Think about that for a moment.

If you had 5 minutes to live what would you do? Then why aren’t you doing it?

 

I’m so pretty and that is NOT a good thing

I feel like the stupidest prettiest person ever.

I have too much on my plate and it’s my phone that’s stupid.  My phone is a 3G iPhone, not 3Gs not 4 or even 4Gs. My stupid phone doesn’t even get software updates anymore. I go to type a status and my fingers move faster than the keyboard, letters get missed, end of words don’t appear and my cousin eats me alive. To be fair, it WAS hilarious. My friend started the bashing. But still…. I HATE IT WHEN I GET CAUGHT BEING STUPID PRETTY!!!!

In my family we have a saying when someone does something … not very bright or less than ideal, we tilt our head, say “You’re so pretty” and smile at them. I don’t think I have ever said this to my son, but my daughter hears it, my father hears it, my sister hears it…. then they said it to me. CRAP!

Here is what happened, a student of mine was doing a puzzle with me. A HARD 24 piece puzzle no less, when he commented that I am so smart. This was ADORABLE! You betcha kid! I am smart because I excel at preschool work! So I brag about being called smart and decided to put that in my resume and WHAMO…. I leave off some letters because it’s my PHONE THAT IS STUPID and my friends says “maybe he should read this status and take that title away” HAHAHA …. hey wait a tic…

Then my cousin weighs in and spells smart S M R T…. nice – again I laughed but geeze…..

 

We were all in the car and having a discussion about various sciences – that’s right, I live in THAT family. I had asked my son what science Meteorology falls under and before I could explain what I meant, my son says very dry and very sarcastically… “meteorology” Damn… I was caught with my pretty on.

What I intended and what I said were very different things. I meant to ask him what science class would it be in Chem, Bio or Physics. Ya… too little too late, I was busted pretty and they had the last laugh. For the record I hate kids. Especially mine. I wanted a baby not a teenager.

I work hard at being smart. Smart does not come naturally to anyone. Smart is not a measure of intelligence, smart is thinking before you speak. I got caught being pretty for DECADES, then I started to engage the brain. Some pretty examples for your viewing pleasure:

  1. My Ex father-in-law had a thermometer hanging out his truck window…don’t ask, but I looked at it and asked how could it be that accurate when you are driving? I did not mean the AIR MOVEMENT that creates windchill, I was thinking in terms of vibration. The possibility of the alcohol or mercury vibrating within the tube. Ya… he assumed I meant windchill…and he laughed his head off and I was forever branded the stupid one. Ya well… dude you had NO ROOM TO TALK!
  2. My girl say’s ManScans count as being pretty. A ManScan is when you can’t find something because you don’t look well enough. Therefore that makes me Pretty
  3. My boy claims me not taking the time to set up MSWord and adjust fonts, headers and have him do it makes me pretty.
  4. Apparently, the headset and mouse not working because they are plugged into the WRONG USB makes me pretty. I think that just makes me lazy…not pretty. I also think I am resourceful to make someone else do the work for me. That makes me GENIUS not pretty.

Note to self: Think before you act, proof read from the smart stupid phone and lazy=pretty in my children’s eyes. It’s going to be hard work not being pretty now that my kids are smarter than me.

9/11

Today was one of the days that felt like a week. It made me tired in the back of my eyes. I told my team I was leaving the room to visit the bathroom and if anyone was going to offer me a job between my classroom and the ladies room, I was taking it.

No one did, so I guess I go back to the same routine tomorrow.

My drive home today I was listening to CBC radio – that’s right I have become THAT person, the old crotchety non-NDPer (non- New Democratic Party) who listens to CBC radio. Why? It’s calm and unusual. They played k.d. Lang and interviewed Laurie Greenwood from Greenwoods Books. I love hearing about new books I might want to read. Today she talked about The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It is  Longlisted  for the Man Booker Prize. I want to read it.

It is about a fellow in England who retires and has nothing to do. He sits in his chair while his bitter wife does the chores and he wonders what is he going to do with the rest of his like. He gets a letter from an old friend he hasn’t seen or thought of in 20 years. The note says the this friends was dying from cancer and she wanted to say good bye. He writes a note and goes to the post office to mail it. He decides to go to the next post office instead. He ends up several post offices away and stops at a gas station for a cup of coffee. He meets a punk-rocker and tells her his story. She tells him the power of thought can heal. So Harold decides to send a postcard to his friend saying he is coming for a visit and just wait for him. Harold then begins to walk 600 miles across England, to meet his friend thinking this might heal them.

Sounds like an amazing journey. It made me think about other journeys and stories I have heard. I know several New Yorkers who have shared with me their story of 9/11 11 years ago. That made me think of the journey of the survivors and the victim’s loved ones. That made me think about the millions of people in New York. Then I thought about Harold Fry and his metaphoric journey.

I remember this day, 11 years ago very clearly. I was still in bed listening to the news when the unthinkable happened. A plane hit one of the towers. I got up and turned on CNN. I then watched the second plane hit the second tower. I couldn’t process what I was seeing. I went to work and my brother was listening to the news, eager to hear what was going on. Were we at war? What was going to happen?

I drove out past the airport to make deliveries for our business. These were the days of still working in the family owned business. I had stopped teaching for a while. I looked at the hundreds of airplanes that were parked at the airport. Flights had been re-routed from the States and brought to Canada. The passengers where sheltered and nurtured here in Canada while they worried frantically about their country, friends and family.

Eventually the world got back to business and airplanes went back into the sky. Travel became a hassle and people began to complain about the pain in the ass travel had become. Life went back to normal and people hated their jobs, their lives, their situation once again.

I remember thinking, I need to be more intentional about gratitude.

I also am on a journey. Mine is not the same as Harold, I am not walking 600 miles to see a dying friend. My journey is simply to understand why I am not satisfied with fine. I feel an inner pull leading somewhere and I have no idea where it is taking me. I don’t understand it, I am frustrated with it, yet I follow that pull as it leads me to destinations unknown. I think it is called faith. I have faith that I will figure it out at the end, since I haven’t figured it out yet, I can’t possibly be at the end. I have faith things will work out the way they are suppose to. In the mean time I feel the pull pushing me into finishing my degree, I feel the pull pushing outside to run, I feel the pull to be compassionate and understanding, and I feel the pull to help pick up the pieces and put them back together to support those who need the help.

I need to remember that this is my journey and excess body fluids may be part of it. I don’t have to like it, but I have to keep moving forward. Perhaps I will end  up walking 600 miles to meet my friend who needs me. But I am lucky, because I am here being needed, unlike the thousands of people who went to work that day 11 years ago and never went home to finish their journey.

I need to remember to be grateful.

Fine, Fail and a Few other F words

Sitting in my silent kitchen this morning, I was looking out my window into the back yard. August 27th and my trees have not yet started turning yellow and orange…weird. It usually starts by my birthday (the famed Dead Elvis Day). Knowing that fall is around the corner I got that sick feeling in the pit of stomach.

Not one thing happened they way I had hoped it would.

I had great hopes for this summer and did all the things you are suppose to:

  1. Had a positive attitude
  2. Worked my ass off trying to make my dreams come true
  3. didn’t let grass grow under my feet

Yet failure was a word that kept creeping into my head. Sure I have a backup plan, but the point of this exercise was NOT TO NEED ONE!

A few friends of mine asked me how I am doing. My reply was “this summer has been a soul sucking experience. I feel like a failure.” The responses I received were similar “look at what you have done! I know you are not a failure.” Ya but it still feels like failing.

You see, I have set some pretty high goals for myself because I am not satisfied with fine. I wish I was but I am not. I look at people who plug along doing the same thing day after day and are perfectly happy with the status quo. I would sooner slit my wrists thanks.

I look a women  girls who play the girl card and get what I want. You smart women know what I mean, those girls who tantrum, plead helplessness, stand their ground and have men fall all over them doing their bidding. They make me sick. They are selfish, self righteous and scoop up all the fabulous things in the world because stupid people are blinded by their powers. That leaves women like me to do things the hard way. The sad news is, the girls will have karma down their backs and their world will unravel leaving them with a bitter taste in their mouth while they have destroyed all the good things in their wake and left a pile of hurt and anguish for people like me to clean up and nurture. I can see it coming and it ain’t pretty. Liars, schemers and playa’s is the world I am no longer interested in. Been there done that, own the t-shirt and the battle scars associated with it.

So if THAT is not an option to achieve my goals, then I guess I need to keep doing what I am doing. That sucks because I am tired of trying.

I am tired of trying.

I am not all about instant gratification. I understand the hard work involved to make goals happen. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that feels better than achieving your goals. Not achieving them feels like failure, even when it’s not.

I havent reached the point where I have been told my goals are not achievable. I never will reach that point because the honest truth is, my goals ARE achievable, they are just long term. You have to make goals that are reachable. There is no point in making a goal that says “I will be the Queen of England.” That is impossible for me, but not so for other people. Why you ask? Because I am not willing to do the work involved to become Queen. That whole Royal Courtesan life is too incestuous for me. Do the work that is right for you.

I have done a pile of self-reflection and some of that was a pity party. When I need a pity party, table for one, I indulge in TV. I never watch TV, so I just lied. I did watch youtube via apple TV and watched it on the big screen in my living room instead of the iPad. Why? Because when I spend time with my future ex husband George, bigger is better. I have loved that man since Facts of Life and The Return of the Killer Tomatoes, I even liked him in his nipple suit in Batman.

I don’t like George for his good looks. I did at first, but then I saw interviews and read stuff and the nobel prize didn’t hurt either. I love him for his drive, risks and ability to do the right thing. He isn’t dazzled by stupid helpless girls. He likes to sleep with them sure, but then he moves on. Men don’t confuse sex with love. They know the difference. How can you love someone when they don’t share your passions, support your goals, and help you dissect a problem so you can find an answer? He does 2 out of 3 for me, and if he knew me, he would support my goals too – well he would in my fantasy.
Any man that stands before the Nobel Peace Prize contingent and say’s “I stand before you today as a failure” gets my vote as sexiest man alive. He set out to help people live and nothing changed from the time he started to the time he spoke to the Nobel Peace Prize UN contingent. Yet, that hasn’t stopped him from trying. The dude bought a ssatellite to take pictures of mass graves, deaths and injustices. If a country does that, it is spying. He does it and he is a guy with a lot of money. Although he admits to selling coffee and other stuff in Europe because it pays the bills. His movie career is mostly scale because he chooses films that have meaning and purpose.

Meaning and Purpose.

I told the fellow who hired me 8 years ago “I have to work to feed and cloth my family. If I have to work, then I want to do something that is meaningful and serves a purpose to society.” I think that is why he hired me.

Values.

The biggest reason I have set new goals is because of a clash of values. My values no longer line up with the work I do. That is not entirely true, some aspects are exactly the same, meaningful and purposeful. There are other aspects that clash and frustrate me. This has been my learning lesson. But I am 45, when do I get to stand up for my values and support them instead of being supportive of other’s values? This is where I struggle. This is why I search for new endeavors. This is why I fail, of feel like I am failing.

Then I heard George say this on Inside the Actors Studio, “You have to look at auditions like you are gambling with house money. You really want to nail the audition, you want the job. You don’t have the job to start, you try out, then you don’t get the job you never had. It wasn’t yours so why get upset about it.”

That was a lightbulb moment for me.

My sister said to me, the universe has big plans for you but it isn’t lined up yet. You still need to be patient and work towards your goal.

Both she and George are right. I want to be rescued, but the achievement of attaining the goal doesn’t feel as good as when you rescue yourself. Those girls who play the girl card are missing out, just like those boys who fall for their games.

So here is me, standing before you filled with anxiety about the coming year because I am not where I thought I would be by now. Time to turn on the Edmonton Tourist Show, be the person where fine isn’t acceptable, do my work with purpose and make some things happen for me as I reach my goal. THEN there will be some celebrating to do.

That is something that girl will never be able to experience.