It was a Soul Sucking Experience!

I had a soul sucking experience today. It’s time to talk about obstacles. My journey as the Edmonton Tourist has not been all fantastic, uplifting or inspiring. It HAS been those things but it has also been soul sucking, painful and depressing.

Today was the day I needed to walk 14k because tomorrow I have a lunch date with dear old relative friend. I am looking so forward to catching up and planning and learning tomorrow! However, that changed things for me. I needed to walk my long walk of the week today. I had missed out on 3 training walks this week due to events/school/university/family events/life. I still swam 3 times and did yoga once. Was it enough to get through 14k? NO FREAKING WAY! I made it to 12k. Then i stopped, did some yoga stretches, walked a bit farther, stopped drank some G2, walked a bit farther, stopped ate some power jelly beans, and stopped.

I need to back up into the beginning of the story.

I headed out into the sprinkling rain today to walk 14k! YAY me! I was feeling great! I had energy, a great pace, great tunes, it was GREAT! I had mapped out my route, chatted with my friend the Reader and received more inspiration/motivation, then I headed out. All was great until I hit 3k. The water I loaded up on came back to haunt me. Luckily, the creek was near by. Having spent a substantial amount of time in my youth living in the pit of dispair called a shed “camping” I knew how to improve when nature called! Luckily, I am the only insane person walking around in the rain…

Resumed the walk, picked up speed, and before I knew it I was at the 10th km mark listening to my sister’s future ex-husband Puck from Glee sing Sweet Caroline…then my wonderfuly unreliable iPhone died. Well wasn’t THAT craptastic. That’s ok, I was still feeling great! I had shaved off 7 minutes from last weeks 10k, it was looking good! only 4 more km to go!

Suddenly that voice popped up in my head…negative Nancy. I HATE her! She began to suck the life out me as I edged closer to my goal. Without the music in my ears, my thoughts started to take over.

Lately I have been struggling with the 3 of the 4 parts that make up me, Mental, Physical and Emotional. Spiritual me is cooking along. Faith still applies. It is the other aspects that are currently difficult.

Mentally – University classes have been brutal. I am no longer holding out for Honours with distinction. My financial course will be the death of me if I let it. I am hoping for Academic standing…it is the absolute best I can do. Being it’s my best, it is good enough… or so I keep telling myself.

Physically – I am pushing myself hard. It is difficult to fit my workout schedule into my busy days. All kinds of things are suffering, like sleep, play, did I mention sleep? But there is giant fish hook that has caught a hold of me and is reeling me in. I can’t seem to fight it…strangely I don’t want to. I love the strength I am feeling, and love the definition I am seeing. Odd situation to be in. To tired to do it, to motivated to stop.

Emotional – Emotionally my life is a giant pit of nuclear waste. Work – crazy emotional at the end of the year. Hate saying good bye to my favorites students. Friends – have been so supportive of my endeavors it makes me weep! Relationships – have been going through some growing pains. It is odd but I feel like I should live in a box or move to the cupboard under the stairs. I really feel like I need a chrysalis to climb into and just heal. The more people ask of me the more I need to shut down and sleep. This time of year…and when I say time of year, I mean June…I am exhausted. I can literally sleep for a week and not move. It was hard waking up this morning to head out for erands. I just want to stop and sleep.

So all of this was racing around in my head instead of listening to the beautiful great sounding Puckerman. It became a weight I pulled around, then dragged behind me. I got to the last km and saw my parents house. I knew I could walk up to it and call out “Mommy, Daddy, I need a ride home!” My parents being awesome like that, would do it. But instead of turning left, I struggled and turned right. Then I was walking along my sister’s street. I saw her car in the driveway. I knew I could knock on her door and say “Hey Sis, I need you” Because she is awesome like my parents, she would also drive me home – but I would get a TON of flack because she lives one block away from me. So I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Then I was home.

Lessons learned from this? You betcha!

  1. Buy a new iPhone or bring my old shuffle with me for the last half of the walk. I need the music to keep me going.
  2. I need new shoes, I walk with my toes up…odd I know but it is a yoga thing and I don’t know I am doing it. Now I have a hole in my shoe from my toe.
  3. I have walked 125km since I started the half marathon training. I want to set a distance goal on a map. Like….Esterhazy Saskatchewan. Grandpa wanted it to be the Capital of Canada, I could walk there and maybe get some press coverage and help Grandpa’s quest along.
  4. Taking two classes at once is TOO MUCH. I am NOT doing this again.

Yes, Edmonton Tourist, you can take on too much. Time to plan a vacation. But in the mean time, I hung out with my children and we watched a movie.

In spite of my soul sucking experience, life is good.


Dear Homework, Bite Me

Dear Homework,

You frustrate me.

There are days where you support me and make me feel special and smart. Those days I love you. I love how you make me think, look for the secret ingredient or challenge me in a positive way. I love it when you are easy and I can finish you in a snap. I love it when you help me learn something that enhances my job my work performance or make my relationships better. But lately you really piss me off.

I am frustrated that you do not respect my short comings. I am not a logical thinker. I am intuitive. Yet you force me to step outside my comfort zone, ask people for help, and generally make me feel like an idiot. I do not like it when you tease me with a possible short evening and here I sit night after night re-reading chapters trying to better understand them, but the information is freaking boring it flies out the window as I dream about places I’d rather be.

I also do not appreciate how you laugh at my schedule. You know darn well I am currently walking around, sleeping with my eyes open and yet you demand more. I have reached my limit. How do I know this? Chicken Hawk has come to work to fill in for Looby Loo. Her enthusiasm and energy put me to shame. I WANT TO BE LIKE THAT AGAIN!!! I think I have taken on too much. I dream of the day where I will only be busy and not bogged down. I want to play homework but you make me stay home. I can’t even go on a family picnic tomorrow because you are mean to me homework. NOT COOL!

How would YOU like it if I made you draw and paint, or blog and go to the Art Gallery or worse a MOVIE. You wouldn’t like THAT very much, would you? I should say not. Homework, you have even prevented me from laying on  my lounger on the back deck. Homework, my legs are PASTEY WHITE homework, white like that paste that weird kid in grade one ate. Again, NOT COOL! You are mean to me homework, plain old mean.

I do not want to hear it is for my own good, or this is the consequences of my actions. Shut Up Homework! No YOU Shut Up! I will never forgive you for making June suck.

…well… okay, I might forgive you one day.

I can picture that day very clearly in my head. That is the day I wear a cap and gown, walk across the stage to collect my MBA. I doubt I will be forgiving you that day. I will likely be thanking you.

Until then homework, you suck and you know it.

Yours Truly with No love at all,


The Possiblity is Inifinite

I was fortunate to attend University Classes over two full days this week. Typically, school for me is done at night, on line and weekends. By taking this particular course over two days saves me a ton of time this summer and affords me time to take another course leading me to the end of my 3rd year that much quicker. I still have 3 major papers due but I do not have weekly assignments. I did those in group projects over the 2 days. All I can say is…I wish I could go to school full time.

It takes me down the road of what if so easily. WHY WHY WHY did I not do this sooner? WHY WHY WHY did I use self doubt? I cannot answer that.  So I will put it behind me and look forward.

I learned something this week in school.

Give people a possibility to live up to not an exception.

I think you need to read it again, so I will wait a few minutes while you let it resonate within you. Doesn’t that just fill you with hope and promise? I find it just so inspiring! It generated a lot of amazing conversation with the most amazingly smart women I have ever met. I could have discussed topics with them endlessly. I felt THE SAME, included, apart of the team and brilliant all at the same time.  That was an amazing feeling for me. I learned the difference between leading and coaching. Coaching people brings out the best possible them. I wanted more.

I had a lovely conversation over lunch with the program chair and the prof. Both really encouraged me to seek out my MBA after this is done. That becomes a super duper long term goal, but one I am looking forward too because this learning business is feeding something that has been dormant for a long time.

I want more. I touched the brass ring briefly and I am going for it.

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 🙂

Hi I’m Julie McCoy, and I’ll be your Ship’s Cruise Director!

The Love Boat
Image via Wikipedia

I have spent the better part of my Sunday engaged in homework for my University Course. I was at work long before the offspring decided to emerge from their warm cozy beds at the first sign of breakfast. By time Offspring #2 said good morning, I had completed 2 of 4 minor assignments,with research and reading still needing to be done for the day. The first thing out of her mouth was “So, what are we doing today?” I almost growled “homework” but the sound was much more civil than a growl. A large sigh emerged from her lips and she sat down to visit her friends via Facebook.

Flashes of my youth appeared before my eyes. The ages of One to Four of my life are remembered as “shhhh your dad is studying”. I remember Dad hiding away in the deep dungeon of a basement, surrounded by concrete walls, one insignificant window and the smell of damp basement. In the corner opposite the stairs, sat his desk, comfortable office chair and a desk lamp,with a view of the washer and dryer. Those were the days of typewriters, pens and paper. After dinner, I would sneak to the top of the stairs and peer through the railing to spy on my dad. Mostly to see if he was actually busy, but perfectly happy just to get a glimpse of him. On days that he was at the library, my brother and I would sneak down and sit in THE CHAIR. We would take turns spinning each other and giggling ourselves into dizzy oblivion. We could not imagine our Dad to be so lucky as to have this chair to sit in for hours on end.

In contrast, I am luckier I suppose. I am also located in the basement but my walls are dry-walled and painted White Chocolate. The light streaming in is from large windows in a “walk-out” basement. The floors are cork and possess in-floor heating. Over my work space is a rather large map of Disneyland that I look at from time to time to gain inspiration from all those creative spirits before me. I am thankful for the good fortunes that have afforded me these luxuries compared to my father’s study hall.

Friday Nights were designated as Family Night. Dad would emerge from the dungeon ready for a break. Our family would go in search of inexpensive and free things to do. I often remember going for drives through Millcreek with the final destination being Dairy Queen. My brother and I would be bathed and dressed in our pajamas. We would pile into the car either with my Grandparents or just are small family. Off to our destination we would go leaving the ‘burbs headed for the city. In those days, the Dairy Queen was just an ice cream stand. It was a seasonal shop where you waited in line outside. My brother and I would order a soft serve dipped cone, my mom would often get a small marshmallow sundae and my father, without fail, would order a butterscotch milkshake. We would take the scenic route home, driving around looking at people’s homes or beautiful gardens. Usually we were asleep before the car was parked for the night with mom and dad carrying us up to bed. Sleeping or not, we would fake it to get the lift to our rooms.

I loved the undivided attention of my parents. So does the Chatterbox. She often is seeking parental attention of some form. You can often hear her say “So, what are we doing today?” As if I am the Omnipotent Being responsible for her personal entertainment. She often makes me feel like I should have been born Julie McCoy, Love Boat’s Cruise Director.

Yesterday, the Chatterbox and I went in search of clothing specific to our impending trip to Europe. We spent the better part of the afternoon laughing and looking for items that would make our stay more comfortable. While walking through Edmonton’s historical district of Old Strathcona, we stumbled upon The Walterdale Playhouse Open House. Immediately she led me through the doors knowing I would follow. We were given a tour of the main-stage and back stage. Shown how they magically transform plain people into characters that fill your imagination. Shown how they use paint and light to create elaborate illusions of grandeur. The Walterdale Playhouse is located in the old fire hall and still maintains the bell tower. 10 minutes before each production the bell is rung, signaling the need for patrons to find their seats. Chatterbox was given the opportunity to ring the bell high above Old Strathcona, telling the community that she was indeed ready to be an actress. We left armed with information of upcoming auditions, tips and a sense that we really enjoyed our time spent there as well as with each other. Our day was far from over, but the Walterdale Playhouse did enhance the rest of our experience together. We found shoes, drank ice tea at Starbucks, took crazy self-portraits together. The moments that were memorable, were unplanned. Just like Friday nights to Dairy Queen when Dad would burst into song and sing the Tennessee Bird Walk, or my brother would tell a funny story about the trouble he got into that day.

I need to remember the importance of Julie McCoy. I need to keep scheduling family time together so we can create more memorable moments as a family. I can do that. I can take a night or a day off every week to have family time. Lesson learned Mom and Dad! Thank you again for being spectacular role models that taught me everything I needed to know about being a great mom.

You can always find time to do what matters most.

Next time LOOK with your EYES!

Did you ever have a conversation something like this:

(Picture me standing in the pantry and my mom down the hall in the “rumpus room”)

Me: MOM! Where’s the peanut butter?

Mom: In the pantry.

Me: Where?

Mom: In the pantry.

Me: Where?


Me: Where?

Mom: Oh for Crying out loud ROBYN! In the pantry on the right hand, side three shelves up from the bottom behind the Ritz crackers to the left of the tomato soup.

Me: Well why didn’t you say so?

Mom: Look with your eyes next time.

My mom had details down to a science. She puts Walt Disney to shame. If you ask her what you were doing on February 17th, 1972, not only could she tell you, but she could tell you what you were wearing, what the weather was like, major historical events that occurred on that day and some funny story about dad. Mom’s details made the family and the house run smoothly. She is a savant really.Details are her thing. Details and multi-tasking. She is AMAZING! On Sundays she would make dinners for the week, several batches of cookies, cakes and squares, for lunches, and what ever potluck dish my dad promised his staff for the next day. She is an amazing cook. She can taste a sauce and tell you exactly whats in it, re-create it, improve upon it and serve it for dinner the next night.  A force to be reckoned with when it comes to details.  Mothers need that skill. It is a gift mother’s receive as payment for pregnancy brain. You know what that is if you ever were pregnant or knew a pregnant woman. No blood flow to the brain for 9 months = not the brightest bulb on the tree. The MOMENT you give birth your eye for detail is either A) Enhanced or B) granted to you brand new out of the box.

Details are not to be confused with “Helicopter Mothering”. The Helicopter Mother takes details to the next level at the Extreme Mothering Games. I can tell by the look on your face that have never heard of a Helicopter Mother. Have I a story for you!

Friday, as you may recall, was my big day! I went to the University and registered for the Fall Semester. I was the ONLY ONE in line without my mommy. I KNOW! You are thinking What the…..?!?!?! The first time I went to school, I went on my own, with my own money ( although I did borrow my mom’s car – but she was not in it) to register for school and pay my OWN tuition.  Novel concept, I know but that was the way it was done. Children, or Offspring toddle off to school on their own because at the age of 18 they are considered a legal adult here in Alberta. They are able to vote, AND engage in the ritual of Friday night Libation at the local Public House. The governing body believes that these young individuals are quite capable of making choices for themselves and therefore made it law. 18=adult

Someone forgot to tell their Mommy.

These 18 year olds had their mommies pay for their school, speak and answer ALL QUESTIONS the registrar had for them, spit into a tissue to wipe their lunch off their face and comb their hair before pictures could be taken for identification purpose. I was in a state of shock and horror. If this is what I have to compete against for marks, I am GOLDEN! I bet their mommy will call the prof too if their child gets a colourful comment or low mark on the term paper.If you are a Helicopter Mom, you are NOT doing your child a favor by taking care of ever detail in their life. They need to fall and scrape their knees at LEAST once. My 14-year-old son who is reading over my shoulder said, they need to learn to fail and learn from their mistakes. Preventing mistakes prevents a learning lesson. Pretty profound from a 14-year-old.

My Mom and Dad let me fall plenty! They were also there with a hand up. I learned the lesson, and from listening to my 14-year-old, he did too. So Thanks Mom and Dad! I think I will be pretty well equipped for school, and if I fall it will be okay because I have lots of hands to help me up. That is the point of this tourism journey. Take risks and see where that takes me.

“The Whole Universe was in a hot, dense state,” huh? Sorry I was Sleeping

big bang
Image by { pranav } via Flickr

You ever have that moment that every parent wishes for? You know what I am talking about. The point at which your offspring surpasses you. You hope for it from the moment they are born. You hope for them to be stronger, smarter, faster than you ever were. You hope they reach their full potential, unlike you did. Well, be careful what you wish for.

My 14-year-old is a self-proclaimed science geek. I had the pleasure of taking him and his friend out to the Fringe Festival last Saturday night. My kid is the type to automatically understand the workings of things. His friends know it. This young fellow says to my genetic offspring ( I only call him that to pump myself up with the knowledge that he is mine – I had a hand in creating this amazingly smart person) “Dude, I’m freaked, where is that light coming from? What is causing it?” Without skipping a beat, my genetic offspring gives him the direction and the full scientific explanation  of which I only understood, “over there”. His friend goes, “Ooooohhhhhh thanks man.” And thus new brainwaves were created in the friend. Wish it happened to me.

If you have ever watched “The Big Bang Theory” Sheldon is my son with the exception that my genetic offspring has a sense of social cues and a killer sense of humor. He gets sarcasm. This may be horrific  for some of you but sarcasm is the bread and butter of our family’s humor. Sink or swim. Eat or be eaten. We warn ALL outsiders who enter the inner sanctum, we WILL eat you alive if the opportunity presents itself. It is never meant as mean, occasionally it crosses the line, but it is dished out will love. At 14, my genetic offspring gets this and can give it full force. I love every minute of it!

The other day my genetic offspring was explaining to me some spatial concept theory he was developing. My eyes glazed over and he said, “you don’t understand do you?” HA! Nope not a chance! Then he said the nicest thing everyone could ever expect their own genetic offspring to ever say, “Mom, do you know what I love about our family? I love that you all let me talk about my scientific theories and encourage me to explore it further.” At this point I was welling up, he went on further to say, “I couldn’t ask for a better family, well who are we kidding, I could. I could have a family who was just as geeky as me and who would have a good time talking about science at dinner, but you’ll do.” That is when I burst out laughing. That’s MY BOY! Sweeten them up then smack them around the ears. I love it!

At this point I would like to publicly apologize to my parents for not meeting my full potential. I went to a seminar last night for old people who are going back to university. I was really nervous. It was a motley crew of potential students. But I got it, fully understood what was expected. It’s not like I am new to hard work, writing or research. Having 20 odd years of front-line experience will really help. I can feel the energy and am so excited to get started. I have high expectations and know I can meet them. They talked about post-graduate degrees. Then I remembered!I got a glimpse into my past. Everything flooded back. I recalled what my original dream was when I first went to school 25 years ago. I remember the road blocks, I remembered the feeling of a high-grade point average. I now have an even loftier goal today then with what I started out with June when I decided to go back to school. I am not sharing with the blogging world yet. I am going to share it with my family first. My honey knows, and then I’ll tell my parents. I am not going to look at my sister or other people with successful lives and wish I was them. I am going to be them – well, who are we kidding, I am going to be the best version of me.

I start today when I go to the registrars office and pay my tuition. Now what does a 43-year-old tourist wear to her first day of school?

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.