I’m not Bossy! I just know what you should be doing!

This may come as a surprise to you, but I am a wee bit of a control freak. Laugh it up people. For those that know me, it really isn’t much of a shock. I blame my mom, my grandma and my grade 8 teacher Mrs. Anderson. Maybe “blame” isn’t the right word. Lets call it what it is. I “applaud” my mom, my grandma and my grade 8 teacher Mrs. Anderson for teaching me how to be strong and to be a leader when it is important. I just take it to the extreme.

As you may recall me mentioning before, I was always compared to Lucy from the Peanuts. Loud and Bossy, that’s me! Just ask my siblings, they will be the first to point fingers and accuse me of over stepping boundaries. Although, they also confuse “bossy” with being mean. Sure I could be mean, I AM their sister and everyone who has a sibling knows who the mean one is. It is usually  the oldest, the one with the extra responsibility placed upon their shoulders and the one who worries the most about them, so the mean bossiness manifests itself into the caretaker role as that person matures. Let me say it here and now, there is NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE (with the exception of my parents) who feels more protective over my brother and sister then me.

I learned at a very young age that the women in my family could be counted on, relied upon, they were on the ones that when all else fails, they would come through. I see strength and courage emitting from them in times when most men would curl up in a ball and cry. And yes, they were bossy, loud and could be mean…AND when I say “mean” I mean “for your own good”.

As a little kid I was the one, at the age of 4, who would organize group games, pick teams for the haunted forest hunt, decide who would play with who, and could keep track of all rock trades and keep it fair. All the while, watching out for my brother and my friend’s brother trying to keep them out of trouble. And when I say “trouble” I really mean death or worse. My brother makes Ty Pennington look calm and passive.

There was a time in my life, lets call it the DARK AGES, when I did not subscribe to the leadership tradition of the females in my family. My life fell to ruin, I gave up friends that were very important to me, I lost respect of people I cared about and most importantly I let myself down. It has taken me many years to regain what I lost but with that has come new insight. I learned that I regularly travel from one extreme to another. The last two years I have swung the pendulum the other way and became SUPER BOSSY once again. All I needed was red boots, a long beach towel cape fastened with a safety-pin, a head band to keep my curly locks from straying into my eyes, and a giant B sewn to my chest in an atomic green colour. The bossy boots was finally let out of her cage and came to work, hung out at home, took over PAC meetings and ruled the family. There is something so completely comforting about  control. Knowing where everything is, understanding the answer, moving things around to fit and controlling it all. I did learn something new though, being in total control is stressful and exhausting. I set a personal goal for me this year and it is to let go of some control and watch others take on the leadership roles.

If you are one of those control freaks, like my best friend, then you understand. You might as well have asked me to leave my newborn baby in a basket on the doorstep with a note that says “Good Luck”. This has been the HARDEST thing I have ever done. I have taken a step or two back and let other people figure it out. They come to me still, but I smile and say “well, what do you think?” I read on a Facebook status posted by a friend today “A bad decision is better than indecision – Tony Soprano”. That made me think. I still need to assert myself when I think it is chaotic and a decision needs to be made. But I like the changes I see in people around me. I feel nervous about an upcoming trip that I have not spent one minute planning ( except the Disney portion). I need to trust that others will take care of me. This is freaking me out just a little bit…And when I say “little bit” I mean I need a Valium.

However, stress is leaving my shoulders and hanging out with someone else for a change. This is important because I have taken on a lot of extra baggage for my trip as the Edmonton Tourist. That hand up I am looking for is called trust.

I’ll Have an Extra Hot Vanilla Latte or a Scotch please

Description: Coffee cortado (An latte art exam...
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I must know a million people. Yes I understand that there is only one million people in the Greater Edmonton Area, but I am sure I know most of them. I went for groceries today and it took me better part of the day because I had to stop to catch up with friends and acquaintances. Before that I was on the phone visiting with an old friend whom I haven’t talked to in quite a while. It’s great catching up, but sometimes I miss the old way of long conversations with coffee.

Coffee, just the word sends tingles down my spine. There is nothing more decadent than a Venti Extra Hot Vanilla Latte to me. It is a guilty pleasure that I thank Starbucks for. I know lots of people who think of coffee as “just” a beverage. Those are the people who drink Nescafe or Folgers or heaven help me, Sanka. I feel like I should spit after saying that word. They prefer their coffee weak loaded with sugar and skim milk, because we must watch our fat intake. At this point, if you are one of those people who enjoy a bad cup of coffee, lets just agree to disagree and please feel free to tune in tomorrow, I understand. The deep, dark, rich full body taste of proper coffee is not your thing, I get it. I’ll see you here again tomorrow!  Thanks for stopping by!

Now that they are gone, and true coffee lovers are left can we just take a moment please as I sip my decadent indulgence for a minute? Ahhhh. Just the taste alone is enough to relax the tension in my shoulders and make the world go away. The warm feeling that envelops my hands as I hold my mug because I never use the handle. I’ll just say it. Damn I love a great cup of coffee! And when I say “cup” I mean giant mug.

I can hear my mom at this point saying “how can you drink that stuff?”.  Very true mom. I didn’t always love coffee. In fact, coffee was foul-tasting for a very long time. Then why did I persist? There is something very social about coffee. I started drinking it in high school when I was a ski lift operator. It was the only free beverage available to staff and after a full day shift outside, warm liquid was a necessity. It was burnt tasting and powder whitener was gross. Add more sugar maybe that will help. No it did not. I learned to drink my coffee while it was steaming hot. So that was step one. Not very social but it was hot and that was important.

Then I graduated from school, found career work and learned about “planning meetings”. These were sessions where we were invigorated by conversation and excited by ideas and new concepts. I remember feeling so urban and sophisticated. We would drink coffee. That was before the espresso machines were in every coffee shop. That was before Coffee House’s. Then I had my very first Latte. A dear friend I worked with, who now lives on the West Coast, introduced me to the wonders of a latte. We would sit at a table in the coffee  shop and talk for hours. Thus was born the luxury and favorite pastime of cafe latte conversation. As a treat on the side, a chocolate covered coffee bean. I am drooling just thinking about it! The aroma of the coffee being brewed, the smell of the bean grinder, all heady for my senses.

The sad thing is I have let it go by the wayside. How could I do that? Sure I still stop by Starbucks and order my beverage of choice, Vanilla Latte or Cafe Misto. Then I take it into my car and drive away. I am busy and keep moving so I don’t sink. But I miss my girl friends. I miss sitting in my best friends living room just talking. Coffee was the excuse, really it was the getting together and talking  that I loved. We still get together, but it is with our husbands too. As much as we love those guys, it is not the same as girl time. I think that is part of the missing piece I am feeling. So I am going to make an effort to call her and make a date. Starbucks on an evening after dinner sans the kids and husbands. Sitting in arm chairs and catching up. Sounds so perfect, I just might cry.

Those of you reading and think you would also enjoy this ritual, email me! I want to sit and visit with you too. We will talk about our tourism adventure and what we are doing to shake up our lives! I’ll order two cafe lattes extra hot so they last longer during delightful conversation. If it is going to be a meatier conversation, I’ll bring a flask along too.

Which leads me to wonder what your decadent indulgence is…

Everyone Needs a Rumpus Room

So it happened. My birthday arrived. It had a fair bit of fanfare thanks to the wonderful people in my life. I know the burning question on your mind is…well? Do you feel different? I think not. Kind of disappointed actually. When I turned 5, my birthday was held in my Grandparent’s Rumpus Room.

Noun 1. rumpus roomrumpus room – a recreation room for noisy activities (parties or children’s play etc)

Do you know a single person OTHER then a grandparent who uses that term? Maybe my mom, but I digress…

My Aunt, who was 15 at the time, my Mary Poppins, and was the party planner. My friends from school came, we played party games like pin the tale on the donkey, we all wore party dresses, knee socks and black patent shoes. We drank pink lemonade and ate cake. At least I think we ate cake. I clearly remember the party, opening gifts but don’t remember the food.  I do remember thinking I wish could see these friends more often – and not just the one my mom thought I should play with (I never liked her, but our families were friends – you know how that works). Having a birthday in the summer was not optimal for returning social obligations. Friends were away, or I was away and often it made for a lonely party, but I always FELT different. Older, smarter, taller,  and happy.

Today led me to wander down to the Edmonton Fringe Festival in Old Strathcona. For those of you who are new to this lingo – The Fringe is described as a Theater Arts and Entertainment Festival.  You see street performers and show up at venues to watch plays. You take your chances and can see the best show ever or one that makes your ears bleed. Either way, worth the time and effort to find parking. I brought my 12-year-old daughter. She takes all day to get ready so we arrived about 4.00pm. Too late to attend the kids Fringe. So we hit the main stage. There was a gal who traveled all the way from New Zealand to be at OUR Fringe – that amazes me – Edmonton’s Fringe! She was standing on two fellows, Kyle and Sam, and hooping with 6 hoops. Very amazing. At the end she spoke of the degree she has and how proud her parents were when she became a psychologist. Then she went to clown camp and had way more fun. She said DO what you love and love what you DO.  It was an “AH HA!” moment for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate my job. It affords me the summers off, I meet amazing people with extra ordinary lives, it lets me appreciate the life I am given, but I don’t love it. Not once have I ever woken up from a deep a fabulous sleep dreaming about Chris Pine saving me from a Borg ship and thought WOOHOOOOO I get to go to work today! Yeeeeessssss!  I cannot wait!!! But I do wake up, drink coffee – copious amounts really – and think hmmm it is a nice day, maybe outside for gym. But I have always wanted more.

Due to circumstances in my life that have led me to this point, I never finished my degree. If I regret certain things, then I would be missing out on the wonderful things I have.  So I am not going to waste time going down that road. However, it is not to late for me to change that small detail. So, in keeping with my goal of being a tourist in my own life, I Robyn – the Edmonton Tourist – am going back to University at the age of 43. Now lets not get all crazy and think this is my dream degree. Noooo  sirreeeee bob! To do that it would mean leaving my family and moving to Toronto to go to Ryerson. Sometimes you have to compromise on the goal to make it work around the people you love most. For me, the degree is huge. The extra cash that comes with it will be sweeeeeeeet! Will I love my job? huh…. likely more than I do now, but I seriously doubt I would choose it over fighting Davy Jones with Captain Jack all warm and cozy in my dreams. How many of you out there are living the dream? How many of you cannot wait to get to work every morning? If I held up the Romper Room mirror whose hand would I see? OH COME ON! You seriously LOVE your job? If it’s true then tell me about it!  I would love to hear how you choose that career path and what makes it so fantastic! But if you are like me and just like your job, I think we are pretty damn lucky.

So back to your question: Well? Do I feel different now that I am 43? Bravery has poked its head out and is taking me by the hand to seek out new adventures and challenges. So, here is me changing my tune. Do I feel different? Yes.