The Loyalty Card

I learned something about myself today that I long suspected.

I value loyalty.

I love that value in my friends, I appreciate it with aquaintaces, I expect it from family (family does not just mean blood ties). What I am happy about is I know without a shadow of doubt, I am loyal. BUT…..

Did you expect THAT coming? I am loyal to a point. I must respect you, I must share similar values (hopefully the same ones) or the loyalty card just won’t fly. You would know I am loyal to you if the following were to happen:

  1. I invite you to my home. I will not expose my children to people I do not trust. If I trust you, you will find a faithful loyal friend in me.
  2. I will stand between you and someone who is verbally or physically attacking you. This happened with my aunt. My cousin started teasing her/bad-mouthing her to her face. I stepped in and let’s just say, I would defend her to the death.
  3. I will support you in whatever you choose to do. I will share my opinion, but in the end, it is your decision and I support you.

I had a job interview today. I am not positive, but I am fairly certain they will offer me a job. I will decline if they do. I was asked some questions and I found my loyalty to my place of work rise up inside me and I felt I needed to defend the amazing work we do. Quite frankly, we are a leader in our city with the work we do and there are other’s who do not want to collaborate with us. That is fine, but I felt I was being grilled by the SS to give up secrets. Ummm I don’t think so. It was at that moment I knew I valued the support of my Supervisor, Leadership and Executive Director more than I wanted a $22 000 pay increase. The defining moment was knowing I would not have the same supportive team that I have grown to love and respect.

I also learned that I am not willing to sacrifice my goals for money. That is huge. I really respect that in others. I am not willing to give up going to University for a job. That degree will bring in more money one day. Meanwhile I know I am making a difference in lives of the clients I serve and the people I work with. My daughter asked me if I was proud of my decision because she was. Well, that just sealed it. I made a choice that showed my daughter it is WHAT you do with your life that matters not how much you make.


Emotionally Intelligent?

It finally happened! My brain was challenged to the point that I stopped and thought about what I was reading. Love that feeling!

My new University Class starts tomorrow, but I have been prepping for upcoming assignments and getting a jump-start on the reading. The class itself has to do with effective communication as a leader. Going through the chapter, it was easy to to label leaders I knew, this person was that style, this person tends to lead this way, etc. What struck me was the section on Self-awareness. There was a paragraph that screamed at me,

Emotionally intelligent people are keenly aware of their strengths, weaknesses, and desires.  Those with a strong self-awareness are able to be honest with both themselves and others. They are aware of how their feelings affect them, other people, and their job performance. Self-aware people know when to ask for help, are willing to admit their mistakes, and at the same time are confident about what they can do. By sharing their imperfections, they underscore their authenticity.

Emotionally intelligent people. Wow! I always looked at people like that and thought they had it all going on, very mature, know what they want, and most importantly, I want to be like that. I think I have almost reached that pinnacle. I am keenly aware of my weaknesses. It isn’t kryptonite, but it is a powerful as kryptonite! I have a strong need to fix everything. Be the savior, the  hero, the one who kisses it better. Letting other people succeed and fail without my intervention is incredibly hard for me. Having offspring has made it easier. It is important for me to raise children who have a strong sense of self. I know you learn more from failures than successes. By standing back and watching them figure it out on their own is easier for me then watching colleagues do it. Why is that? Why am I willing to let my own children suffer, fail, try again and succeed? I love sharing in their success! At work, I just rather do it myself. That leads to a heap of other trouble for myself. I am making huge progress in that area, but I still have a huge way to go. Learning to say NO is part of that. Learning the balance between sharing my knowledge and telling someone what to do is part of the process. So yes, I do know my weakness.

My strengths. This is harder. What I think to be my strength is not something others would recognize in me. I had a job reference once and she said I was practical. To me that was a HUGE compliment. It is an important skill to possess! Knowing the difference between possible, plausible, probable and impossible can mean everything in the workplace. Secretly I want my offspring to know that everything is possible. Time has taught me this has limitations as a mantra. I do believe in putting my dreams, beliefs and wishes out to the universe. Speaking aloud what I want, desire and need is important. It goes a long way to making the impossible attainable. But is that a strength? As I become more knowledgeable and experienced( older and wiser?) I find I am less tolerant of young University Students with no life experience telling me what I need. Yes this has to do with an incident I experienced this week. I verbally put her in her place by explaining to her the entire situation and letting her know that when she witnesses a snapshot in my week, she cannot possibly have enough information to solve my problem. Books teach many things. I have huge respect for people who are able to learn AND apply the knowledge they learn from books. However, life experience is just as huge. When I have a question about my studies, I don’t always turn to the people in my life who have a degree. Often, who are we kidding, I have more respect for practical management experience then I do for those who have “book learnin'”. So I look back at my incident with her and think about how I could have handled that situation if I was her supervisor. It likely wouldn’t have occurred, however, what could I have done differently?

As I think about it, I guess my strengths are : Practical, respectful, I want to say flexible but I am not as flexible as I use to be, experience has taught me plenty. I have an ability to think on my feet. I feel my creative juices slipping away for practical things. I think I am okay with that. I can be creative in other aspects of my life. A big strength for me is new, and still in the practice stage. I take a deep breath and compose my thoughts before I engage in a life altering situation. I need to practice this when I have been attacked, but I am getting there.

Emotionally Intelligent. My new goal on my Tourist List.


Quote taken from:Brody, Ralph 2005 Effectively Managing Human Service Organizations 3rd ed. Sage       Publications

Fake IT!

Have you ever faked it? No? Be honest… you have so! We all have.

I was attending a Professional Development today I found to be very thought provoking. The speaker asked this question, Do you think it is okay to let the people you work with know if you are having a bad day? My immediate response was yes, of course it is! We are all human. Then he brought up other another point. If you have been saving all year to fly to New York to attend a Broadway Play starring Julia Roberts. She is a bit crabby and not “feeling it” today. She walks on stage and mumbles her lines. Would you be so understanding? NO WAY! I would be ticked off!I know I am ticked off when Hockey Players don’t bring their “A” game – are you listening Edmonton Oilers?

The same holds true for going to work everyday. I don’t know about you, but I love to be around the people who smile everyday, seem happy to be there, and have a genuine positive attitude about what they do. Being around positive happy behavior, breeds positive, happy behavior! It makes me WANT to come to work. If you are grouchy, never smile, complain about everything, chances are you do not have positive relationship with your co-workers. This would breed negative, gossiping behavior. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be around someone like that everyday – ALL DAY. The sad reality is, I did work with people like that.

Working in a negative environment made me feel physically ill. I called in sick a lot. I bought copious amount of lottery tickets. Although it is important to like the work you do, it is equally important to like the people you work with.

I do know it is possible to start the seeds of change by bringing the positive attitude to work everyday. You may not feel like it, but before you walk through those doors into your office, slap a smile on your face. Fake it. Be polite! Start speaking in a positive tone. Avoid, “I can’t” and substitute “I’ll try”. Before you know it, you are not faking it, you are living it.

I know this can spill over into your every day life. For example: Someone makes a cup of Folgers coffee and hands you a hot steamy cup. Please do not take a sip and respond with, “What the hell is in my mouth?”. The polite, kind and fake thing to say is “Thank you! How lovely that you brought me a cup of coffee!” You don’t have to finish it. Let it sit on your desk, get busy, then reply “Oh dear, I got so busy I forgot to drink my coffee!”

I’m sure you can apply this “fake it” system into everyday life. It can build relationships! My friend User ( so called because she keeps EVERYTHING until she finds a use for it) always says, “Fake it ’till you make it.” Excellent advice! It works for everything you are shy about, or feel insecure about too! Walking in a neighborhood you shouldn’t be in? Walk with confidence, fake like you are the one suppose to be there. No one will mess with you!  Have to stand up in front of 100s of people to talk about something you are sure will bore them to death? Fake it! Act like they paid to come see you! Before you know it YOU will believe it.

Apparently it works for physical work outs too.

Fake it ’till you make! I am about to jump ahead with both feet taking huge risks to be apart of a new adventure. I’ll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, I think I will need some of that fakeness tomorrow to get the ball rolling.


I don’t want any Chocolate…It Must be Serious!

I received some news on Friday that has upset me all weekend, and by upset I mean I don’t want any chocolate. I know…it MUST be serious.

A person I greatly admire and respect, is moving on to other opportunities. I want to be excited for her, but all I feel is an overwhelming sense of loss. I was prepared for her to announce her retirement very soon, and by soon meaning – within the next five years. That way I could be “moved on” first, not last. That is when I realized I am not in control of this situation.

We all know how I like to participate in decisions being made, and by saying decisions –  I really mean telling you what to do. After all I enjoy it when Bossy Boots comes out to play. I love making decisions for other people. I love it because it enables me to live vicariously through their lives. That keeps it safe for me. My life then continues on at a steady pace, with me reaching out to attain my own goals from a safe distance. I don’t get hurt that way.

Off she will go, to brave new worlds and new situations (yes I watched Star Trek this weekend, but I am not quoting it word for word!) and to delve into uncharted waters. I guess I am envious. There is a situation in my own life that has me thinking about change. The thrill of the challenge, building a team that would need me in a way I am not needed where I am. It sounds so tantalizing and exciting. I really want to be a part of it. But that is me ALL OVER! I am always wanting to be in the thick of it, then cry because I am tired or stressed. This time, I am holding my tongue. I am standing back and only wishing it was me. The reality of my situation is I have enough going on in my life, so I need to be thankful for the challenges I do have and not create more. The Pity Party is at the table next to me, I am not going to invite myself over this time.

I am going to congratulate my friend and wish her all the best luck the world has to offer. I will wave good bye with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face. I am not being left behind, I just have a different job to do. This Tourist needs to remember that.

I Want to take my Pail and Shovel and Move to a New Sandbox, But I won’t

After a perfectly fine day, I receive one comment that made me pause and evaluate myself. To be truthful, I felt awful. I received a bit a criticism today.



the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

the act of passing severe judgment; censure; fault-finding.

The old non-tourist me would have deleted the comment and stopped writing. I must admit, I was tempted. I sat there, looking at my iPhone, reading the comment over and over. Then a thought occurred to me. The whole point of this blog, or experiment is to try new things and take risks. I decided to leave it up and respond with the truth.  It is yesterdays blog if you wish to read it.

I am leaving it up for a couple of reasons. 1> I love to receive comments! Good, bad or indifferent comments leave room for personal growth. Sure I love to hear the good stuff more than the negative, but the negative is valid too. 2> I need to remember to think before I speak. It gets me into trouble and this in no exception. 3> I am entitled to a bad day just like you are. That was my bad day.

I am a firm believer in learning from past experiences. So this is what I have learned: What I find humorous, others can find humorless. If that is the case, this blog is not for you. I am okay with that! I know I have a target audience, my blog can’t possibly appeal to the masses. For those of you who are my regular readers and are sharing this journey with me, thank you! I value and appreciate you more than you will ever understand. I have a dark sense of humor. Not everyone understands it or appreciates it. I am okay with that! Just be aware that what goes on in my head is not PG rated, I only share that humor with a certain few. We have an ability to seek each other out and enjoy the things we find humorous.

I have also learned I am permitted to have a bad day and rant about it. It is called freedom of speech. I am also permitted to not edit if I don’t feel like it. It’s my blog. I write because it is cathartic. My Dad is the English major, not me. I am working on my Applied Human Services Degree. I use spell check when I think of it, I write like I think. Writing like I think has given me some high marks in University. It is called Critical Thinking. A skill that is coveted by many people. So sentence structure be damned!

I try not to be hurtful. If any of my readers found yesterdays blog to be hurtful I am sorry you feel that way. But I stand by my point. People need to learn to follow instructions. It will save time and money in the end.

In the end, I must thank you “someone”. You helped me face another challenge in my life. To quote a man who has taught me many things:
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

-Walt Disney

That is what I strive to do everyday.



It’s Time to Get Things Started, It’s Time to Light the Lights…

The Muppet Show
Image via Wikipedia

I have come to the conclusion that my life has become a series of Muppet Show moments, and I am Kermit the Frog trying to orchestrate all the zany characters of my life. This morning as I left for work… I need to back up to the night before.

Last night no, I need to back up further. Several nights ago I bought some anti-nausea medication for my upcoming trip. On extended flights I can become quite ill, mostly because of the recycled air in the airplane cabin. The anti-nausea meds work quite well for both Chatter Box and I, and has the added benefit of blissful unconscious sleep. My honey, in his infinite wisdom decided to try an anti-nausea meds last night to see if it would have any adverse effects on him. In the morning, he had errands to run because of the last minute detail planning I have done. We talked about the plans the night before, but before I left for work there was a “WAIT! What do I need to do?”  He made a list the night before but he was very groggy and didn’t seem to understand a thing I was saying.

Years before when we took our eldest child at the ripe old age of 7 months to Australia. This meant 27 hours of airports and airtime. I don’t recommend it with a 7 month old but hind sight is 20/20. I was quite ill on the way down under. For the trip back I decided to take an anti-nausea med in Hawaii for the last leg of the trip. I took it in the hotel. After that I do not remember a thing until my parents picked us up in Edmonton. I do not remember changing planes in Vancouver. Nothing, that part of my history is a total blank. My poor Honey dragged me, 3 pieces of luggage, 2 carry-on, a baby AND me through 3 airports. Needless to say, I was not the favorite person on that trip.

So Karma came to visit me this morning and she wasn’t very kind. I talked to my honey 3 times about the list and left for work, stopping to treat myself to a Cafe Latte. By the time I got to work, I learned that all our money that we had been saving and converting into Euros was ( insert foreboding music here) was GONE! Well, isn’t that just craptastic! The first thing out of his mouth was, where did you put it? Excuse me? I wasn’t planning this trip, yes it was hard for me but I let others take the reins. I listed several possibilities of where the money could be. We have since learned that Honey is a squirrel. Money here, money left in this place, and money other there! Back and forth went text messages and emails and a few phone calls. Work was stressful enough. Clients had called me names, and not very flattering names. So I was dealing with this and putting out fires at home. Happily my partner was back, so we were at full complement. Work moved along at a fairly smooth rate. By lunch time, I had received email from my mother telling me about some details in Europe. She explained things to me in such a way that I needed to reassure her that her bossy daughter would be there soon and together we would rule the world! Well, our portion of it anyways. I explained to her about the Muppet Show Shenanigans that had happened earlier in the morning. I could feel her laugh from around the world. The good news is our money was not lost, squirreled away. All the money is found and orders have been given in regards to packing.

I am feeling better about things because I let Bossy Boots out of the box. I am going to let her come with me, clearly she will be needed. She packed the “Just in Case” bag and is thrilled at the opportunity to go to Europe. Even if it is with the Muppets.

Here are two videos for you to watch while I am gone. Hopefully they will remind you of me. It’s okay if you miss me,because I will miss you too!

Don’t Mess with the Temporal Prime Directive!

Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, in a promoti...
Image via Wikipedia

In my spare time today….What the?!?! I had spare time? I HAD SPARE TIME! WOOP WOOP! I have just spent the last three weeks working 6 weeks ahead in my University studies. I finished yesterday so, indeed, I had SPARE TIME TODAY! You should have seen the Happy Dance! Yes I made a spectacle of myself but I digress…

So in my spare time today I had the luxury of reading other blogs. I have found some really great ones here on WordPress and have listed them in my Blogroll down on the right hand side of this page. Anyways… as I was saying, I was reading other blogs and they transported me to another place. I went for a run today in Central Park with The Bronxturtle and his arch nemesis The Tool, I went knee boarding with Open to Adventure somewhere down under, I went on a first date with Kat in Philadelphia ( she is going on 30 first dates in 3 months!)  and I learned about the first Mosque built on permafrost! It was a delightful afternoon! That is what I love about reading. Suddenly you are transported to another place and time.

I was musing about traveling to another place and time when I brought it up to Genetic Offspring. This is what he said ” if you go back in time and you change something in the past that somehow prevents you from going back in time in the first place, which really means you haven’t really gone back in time but yet you are there and changed something. Thus a paradox is created”

Did your eyes glaze over? I might have missed some of his quote because I may have drifted off for a moment. I try to listen to him, I really do, but sometimes I just don’t understand everything and my mind wanders.

Then it occurred to me. I have family and a few friends who live in the future. And by “future” I don’t mean Crazytown. I mean Australia! They are living in my tomorrow today! So I have a plan.

Australian friends and family, please send me the winning lottery numbers, I will pick those numbers today, then tomorrow it will be me who wins! I of course will split the winnings with you! Is this brilliant or what? Why have I never thought of this before? I am sure Captain Kurt, and by Kurt I mean Chris Pine NOT  William Shatner, would have something to say about the Space/Time Continuum or the Temporal Prime Directive. By the time he starts yapping at me I will be rich and not caring. And I might be drooling a bit, he is very easy on the eyes you know…

So, Who’s in?

While I am waiting for all the winning lottery numbers to start coming in, lets listen to Craig Ferguson tell you tomorrow is your future yesterday 🙂

So What’s the Plan?

I spent the better part of my morning emailing back and forth with the European Traveling Contingent of my family. They are safe and snug but didn’t think through the details they would need for a certain aspect of their trip. I was happy to help them but my first thought was: This is NOT like my mom! She is usually more on top of this! Then I thought: Maybe she was deferring to my sister for the information, thinking she would have planned this part. Or maybe she was kidnapped by terrorists needing an organized person in their fold! Or maybe my sister knocked my mom unconscious in a battle for last Chocolate Mousse! You see, I didn’t actually converse with my mom.

Now I am starting to panic.

We leave very soon for a lovely trip to the European Continent. In an earlier blog I confessed my trepidation to release the reigns and let others plan and take care of me. By now my loyal readers know I am a control freak and bossy by nature.  I wish it wasn’t true. I want to know what it feels like to have complete faith in someone, knowing they will take care of things. The reality is, that is just not possible for me, I need a backup plan. I am willing to let my Honey and my Mom, plan and navigate the trip, look after details, decide on sequence of events. However, I have packed a  “Just in Case” bag, just in case.

Just In Case:

  1. GPS – Mom said not to bring one but after this morning’s conversation, The GPS is coming with me. Better safe than sorry. No one needs to know until we need a back up plan.
  2. Extra Cash for a Cab – sure we will be camping in a caravan, but the last two nights of our stay are in a hotel close to Disneyland Paris. We have made arrangements for a shuttle to take us to the airport on our last day, but communication with the shuttle company has been less the comprehensible. Language is a barrier. Our friend had translated for us but still the company operates in a way that differs from the North American procedure that we are used to. We are taking a leap of faith and trusting the shuttle will be there on time, I’m sure this will be the case. However, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that I will need cab cash to get my family home.
  3. More Luggage – The Plan is for my family to travel with ONE suitcase, and TWO carry-on pieces of luggage. It is my understanding the closet space is minimal. Space is a premium. So we can take clothes for only 3 days. That means washing out stuff nightly or using the camp facilities for laundry. Yet I know my family well, and shopping is going to happen. So on the bottom of the suitcase will be two more collapsible bags waiting to be filled with goodies and chocolate.
  4. Food – I enjoy the luxury of having a Child with a Sensory Disorder. Translation: Picky Eater. I am bringing cereal and Carnation Instant Breakfast. Luckily the best bread and buns in the WORLD is available in European Bakeries.
  5. Earplugs – Sleeping in a Caravan that exceeds fire regulations will be cozy. Between snoring, talking, mumbling and heavy breathers, I am sure sleep will be a               premium. Luckily for me I am mostly deaf so this won’t be much of a problem for me. I do know  if the offspring are low on sleep they become high on crankiness.

The more I tell myself I need a backup, the more I think my plan is just good common sense and makes me a conscientious mother. After all I am the one ultimately responsible for my children. Or I am justifying my need to be prepared? Either way I am ready and feel better about the upcoming trip. Actually, I am starting to let myself get exceedingly excited! I miss my family and very excited to them! It has been a very long time since I have shared Europe with them. My Grandma being there is also a huge thrill for me. As a kid, Gran and I would often shared accommodation on these large family adventures! I am very excited to share this adventure with my Honey and Children. Even more so now that I have a plan.

So my dear friends, long time and recent readers, am I missing anything in my back up plan? You know I will be worrying about that until I am in the air and can no longer do anything about it. Please feel free to add to my “Just in Case” just in case.

Please Don’t Tell Me Anything, My Brain is Already Full.

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London
Image via Wikipedia

Today was one of those “bone weary” days. I know you get them. The kind where your joints and muscles ache, your skin hurts, and your eyes hurt to look at stuff. I brought it all on myself.

I had the intention of going to bed early-ish last night. Early for me is between 10:oo and 11:00 pm. I am a night owl. I feel recharged after dark and do not understand the need for early-risers to be so chipper ( yes honey this means you). Life got in the way last night, between writing letters to political members and watching Craig Ferguson, I procrastinated long enough that I went to bed 15 minutes before the pumpkin hour.

The stress is starting to build in my new Tourist Life. You know how I can tell? I cannot remember a single thing I am supposed to do. My brain fell out. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear I have pregnancy brain. I don’t, there is no way I am pregnant. If I was I would give the baby to my sister for Christmas. No, that is not the problem, but I think I know what is.

My Brain is Full.

Who knew there was a capacity? I thought there was a potential for infinite learning! So the question now is, how do I let go of the stuff I don’t need? My dad calls it a fountain of useless knowledge. I know a lot of crazy and obscure facts. Like…Who holds the record for the longest Goal Scoring streak on the Edmonton Oilers?

A> Wayne Gretzky?

B> Dave Lumely?

C>Ryan Smythe?

D> Paul Coffee?

Nope you are wrong – except my friend from Jr. High who knows this stuff too. B> Dave Lumely. Or this one, It is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open. Or did you know that Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors. If you are playing trivial pursuit, you want me on your team. I caution you, I am very competitive and wont let you answer a thing, but we will win.

I use to remember everything from all the data reports I needed for team meetings, my kids schedules, my husbands schedule, school volunteer events and dates, every birthday of every person I know, my telephone number and bank money transactions. Now I can’t even tell you what my favorite colour is! I thank Steve Jobs everyday that I have an iPhone and I know how to use it! It is so simple to use, I don’t need to remember how, it just happens. PHEW! Because without the calendar,  notes, email and contact list I would be curled up in the corner weeping uncontrollably. A friend and colleague at work today said the brain works differently with a hormone fluctuation. Well, I AM getting old, and hormones work differently, but I don’t think that is it. My Brain is full and I need to do something about it because school work and day work needs to fit in there. Hopefully one day my brain will be back in top-notch shape

So here is the plan, I am not going to take responsibility for non-essentials anymore. If you need to get to volleyball practice, set your alarm or tell your dad. If you need to plan a baby shower for a friend, email me what I need to bring. If you don’t, I won’t remember and you will be disappointed. If you are unsure how to operate the data bases at work , look it up in the manual on the black shelf, everything you need to know is in that book , no in the white one. If you need me to buy groceries, sorry I can’t. I walk in and just stand there looking at the pretty colours and forget why I am there. Email me if you need something. If I have it in my phone, I can do it.

Other wise, forget it, my brain is full.