Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Not Quite an Old Dog Yet …


It seems I have a few things to learn about Word. Especially this new version of Word. I have been wondering for a while if there is a way to blog and save it easier than I have been doing and wouldn't you know it ? Bill Gates was thinking the same thing.

I guess this relatively young dog has some new tricks to learn after all.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And In The End


Hah - got the font before it got me.

So I finally watched "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". Films like this are usually ones I stay away from. As I am a fairly serious person by nature, in that I worry and stress, etc., I like to laugh instead of think more. If I'm going to commit 1 1/2 hours of my life to a screen of some sort, I don't want it to be wasted. In this case, it was almost 3 hours. The last movie I watched that was this long was "The Last Temptation of Christ". The only reason I saw that was you got to see Jesus' butt. Plus I was 17 and didn't know any better. Having been completely disrespectful with that comment, I did enjoy the movie and still find the message quite moving.

Back to Benjamin and his buttons. It was actually very good. Surprisingly so for me. However, it did make me think which is something I try to avoid in my off time. It made me wonder about what we value in life. It made me realize that we go out of this world exactly as we come into it. At least if all goes according to plan. Short of a car crash or some type of disease taking us out prematurely, we hope to die in our beds peacefully. At least I hope to. What I got out this movie is that life is about experiences regardless of our age. It is about loving completely and taking some chances on that love. It is about being true to ourselves and recognizing that we make our life as exciting or as boring as we decide. Life is not about stuff and status. It is not about not living the life we think we should. It is about living the best we can the way we need to.

I often shy away from experiences that require use of talent. I often question people's sanity if they admire something I've made or a creative suggestion I come up with. Why is my idea so great ? If I thought of it then someone else would have come up with it surely ? That is not the type of life I want to lead. I want to live a life that is full of creativity and pride. While Jane Austen may have eschewed the sin of pride, I think it's one we should learn to embrace. I have a right to be proud of my cakes. I have a right to be proud of my gardens. I have a right to be proud that I can write creatively. These are not common skills. These are not things that all people can do or do them well. I have a right to own those talents and live my life being proud of that.

Life is too short to let talent go to waste. Whether you come into this life a wrinkly 90 year old baby or end this life as a shining new born, it's what you do in the middle that matters. Live your life being proud of who you are and what you can do. Be proud of the fact that you can love and be loved. Show the world that you are meant to be here and have a place to stand tall. And in the end, know that you have lived your life as you could. Proudly.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Has the Time come ?

Well ....

Funnily enough I have been reading a book by Gene Simmons. Now I am one to read various authors and genres but Gene Simmons has never hit my radar. I saw the book in the library and wondered about picking it up. Also funnily enough, I left it alone but my husband picked it up. Now he is not a reader and his only genres are golf and millwright books.

So far this book has made me feel like an underachiever. I said to my husband this morning - I don't need confirmation that I don't work hard enough. I'm already aware. Gene Simmons is a a working crazy man. He has been since he was a little boy. I don't know that I'm willing to work that hard to get stuff. I don't really like stuff. I like experiences. Trips, museums, etc. I would however like to get rid of my second hand furniture so maybe some stuff wouldn't be bad.

My husband once again pointed out that I am not reading a book that will "improve" me. Not that he thinks I need improving but he does believe I should use my ability to read to do more for my life. This conversation did make me realize one thing - I don't want to read about how to write. I think I have a fairly good idea how to do that. What I need is someone to read my stuff and tell me if I should do anything with it ? Is there a genre for my type of writing that I could make money through ? Sort of like Carrie Bradshaw but without the vibrators.

So that is my next step. I think the time has come to attend some writing workshops, courses, etc. and see if I have what it takes to do something with this "talent" of mine.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Wouldn't Know What To Say ...


Ugh - this font issue is going to give me gray hairs. Oh look - it already has. Amazing.

My lizard is apparently focused on some intensely fascinating piece of I don't know what in his tank. He is stretched out straight up over his climbing wood and hasn't moved in a while. Maybe he has found his happy place. Mine is still Bora Bora ...

So after another game of catch up and get knocked back, I've decided I need to kick up this writing thing and make it happen. Are you not familiar with that game ? Let me enlighten you. This is the game where the gods of chance drop some money in your path. This can be a lucky lottery ticket, a generous relative, or in my case retroactive child tax benefits. Now as mentioned in blogs past, we are perpetually tight for money. Quite recently it was a huge decision if I could afford to buy shampoo. You get the idea. Well in this game, the gods drop this lovely bit of extra money in your path and then you sit and wait. What are you waiting for you ask ? Well the other shoe of course ! Because in this game is the whammy clause. Any money dropped in your path during times of lean income shall not be used for pleasure to help you deal with said lean times. Oh no - that would be against the rule of being perpetually tight for cash. When the money drops, so does the shoe and WHAMMY - something breaks. In my case, my computer is having anxiety attacks and the disk drive is apparently on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Thank God for my son's Cub leader who is also an IT and works for cookies and tea. Thank God I can bake like a demon with their tail on fire.

Needless to say, this has spurned me on to doing something about earning extra cash. Since I'm only down five pounds on my eating changes (aka diet - yeah for me !), swinging a pole is not an option. Plus I blush like crazy and get all goose pimply if it's breezy. Given what you wear when swinging a pole, I can guarantee this wouldn't generate much cash for me.

So I must do something. The question is, what do I talk about ? Who do I send my pearls of wisdom too ? What lord of the printing press must I dazzle with my humorous verbosity ? Well, I'm going to find out. Hopefully before both my computer and myself suffer from total breakdowns and lose the catch up get knocked back game by spending all our loot on a trip to somewhere warm. Bora Bora sounds nice ....

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Need to See a Boy About Some Clay ...


Have to get one shot in about my boy. He has gone loco in the cabasa over Lego and clay. If you are reading this via my Facebook page, have a look at his creations. This boy was recently given my brother's set of Lego from 1976. He recreated every image on the box with no instructions. EVERYTHING. And correctly I might add. He just has to be given a picture and he can recreate it. He has done just about the entire Simpson's cast out of plasticine with the most minutiae of detail. And this boy has what they call Fine Motor Visual Integration issues ! Bascially his brain is not supposed to be able to tell his hands what to do. Well apparently his brain has finally decided to start doing something right and his hands are going like mad things !

If anyone has any ideas about how we can parlay this into a career, I am all ears. Anyone work for Disney, Pixar or any other place like that ? Have I got a future claymation specialist for you !

What's A Woman To Do ?


Lately this blog has turned more into a venue for personal reflection than about my A Child but I have stuff on him too. Right now it's about me.

Do you ever wonder what it would feel like to go through a mid-life crisis ? I'm not sure what freaks me out more. The thought of having the crisis or accepting that I'm approaching middle age. I mean 40 would essentially be middle age and that is only next year so I'm not too far off the mark.

Lately I have been wondering what can I do to change my life ? I don't mean dramatically although if the 649 happened to pay out I wouldn't say no to a new house. What I mean is, how can I make it better ? Not just for me but my family. I've been throwing around career ideas mainly. The rest of my life I like. I am creative and have an outlet for that with my cakes and garden. I am contemplative and have an outlet for that with my books and friends. I tend to be more of a chief than indian and I have an outlet for that with Guides. Thank God for 9-11 year olds who still listen and a team that tolerates me !

I have many facets of my personality that I have outlets for except for work. I am trapped in plebian jobs that lead essentially no where. I don't tend to climb ladders or get promoted. I tend to buck the system and remain a staunchly independent thinker which does not usually fit well in the corporate mould. Right now I am in what is possibly the best job I've ever had. I work for Girl Guides of Canada and I love it. I love working for a company that I can share the same values and goals with. I love working with people who share ideas and creative processes. I love that we are challenged to think outside the box. I love that we are valued as people for the support we provide to Guiders and girls. I love knowing that I am part of an organization which has delivered quality program and activities for close to 100 years. That is mind blowing. 100 years !

What I don't love is the money. It is becoming about the money for me. I need to find a way to be true to myself but make more money. I cannot sell out. I cannot stand up for a product or service that I don't believe in. It destroys me when I try. This job lifts me up and I can hold my head high. What it's not lifting is my income bracket.

Hence my dilemma. Do I sacrifice this amazing opportunity to help provide fantastic program to girls in a world gone image and consumer crazy ? Do I give up on working for the greater good and go for the greater paycheque ? Isn't there a way to have both ? I am frozen in indecision. I am caught between the ideals I can live with and the money I can't live on. When my husband gets back on his feet, these thoughts may abate. He will make fantastic money once he gets his ticket. I can't wait! However, it gets me to thinking - maybe I need to find a ticket. Maybe I need to find a way to do both. Is there a way to keep my job that I love and make the money I need to live on ?

Maybe the challenge is for me to believe in myself as much as I believe in my job. Maybe the challenge is to know that I am capable of more. Maybe the challenge is to take a chance on something I've been trying to do for a long time but have been afraid. Maybe it's time to give this writing thing a shot in the real world and not just cyberspace. Maybe - but what's a woman to do ?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I Sometimes Wonder


I still can't seem to get that font thing right. Oh well, one can't be skilled in all things.

I sometimes wonder about the lives we lead. Are they meant to be for us or somehow have we stumbled into someone else's reality ? I look back on my life and think, "Really? This is what I have accomplished ? Hmmm, how disappointing." I've often thought I was meant to be doing much more with my life. I have done a lot. I have done exciting things. I have been extremely fortunate to have the kids I've always wanted to have. I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have a husband who accepts me the way I am. As one friend recently pointed out, I am a colossal bitch. His laughter could be heard through the phone from quite a distance when I said, "Of course and I'm good with that". But now I wonder, am I really ?

Is being a colossal bitch really worth not getting ahead ? Is being a colossal bitch really helping me to accomplish anything worthwhile ? I sometimes wonder how much being who I am holds me back from being who I could be. I sometimes wonder if remaining true to myself is really worth all the effort. Is being honest and hardworking what I need to be happy ? Could I live a life that I had stolen from someone else ? I sometimes wonder if I could.

I wonder what it would be like to just say, stuff you charlie I'm taking what's mine and you can't have any. I wonder what it's like to go through life with no conscience. Does it make people happy to only live for themselves and to ignore the "greater good" ? I wonder if they are able to sleep peacefully in their beds or do they toss and turn and worry like I do ?

I've been thinking alot lately about what to do with this life I have. I need it to work for me. I need it to work for my family. I need to be able to live with myself at the end of the day. I wonder how much I'll need to change in order to have a different life. I wonder if a different life would really be any better than the one I have now. I think I have a good life. I think I live in a meaningful way and yet I can't help but wonder what else there is for me to do ?

I've been exploring doing some kind of writing. I've been exploring getting into a different career. I've been wondering what else I am capable of and would anyone else believe in me enough so that I could try this new life. I know my husband believes in me. I know my kids believe in me. Of course my mom believes in me but she is biased. In fact so far all my examples of people believing in me are biased but I guess that is a good thing. I wonder about the people who don't have that belief and support system. Do they succeed in spite of it all or cave and live a life not worthy of themselves.

I sometimes wonder if I am too chicken to have another life. I wonder if it's what I should do or should be that really matters. I wonder if I would fail or succeed ? That's probably why I am still exploring. If I don't try and just stick to wondering, then I don't have to worry about failing or succeeding, I can just "explore" non committally and bump along for a few more years as my life drifts along.

I think what I need to do is stop wondering and try. I need to see if I can try to make the life that I should have. I need to move forward and find a way to be me and still succeed. I have the potential to shine if I will only turn on the light.

I sometimes wonder where to find the light switch ....

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Future


That damn font just won't stay changed. But I digress...

I guess you have to begin a thought in order to digress but I had lots of thoughts before I started to write so for me it was a digression. You'll catch on shortly.

My writing is mostly about my kids. My kids provide a lot of fodder. They also make me think alot so that's a plus. Other people and their kids make me think alot too. I also tend to read. A lot. I mean scary amounts. My husband has been bugging me to read to "better myself". Now he doesn't mean that in a malicious way. He truly believes in me and truly believes I could be doing more career wise. He is quite enamored of my crazy ability to read and would like me to channel this superpower for the good of all. In his way, it is a compliment. So I've finally started to listen. I've read books on different careers. I've read books on how to find the job that would fit my "renaissance" personality. Honestly, the book was called "The Renaissance Soul". I've read books on how to write. Well, I've taken that one out of the library and flicked through it at least. But the last book I read was quite by accident and has given me some ambition to get moving. It was "How Starbucks Saved My Life" by Michael Gates Gill. Sounds like a pretty catchy title eh ? Think you know what it's about ? I was surprised to find it wasn't what I expected at all. I won't spoil it for you but needless to say, it has impacted my life.

I grew up with a father who defined himself by his job much like the author of the afore mentioned book. Everything was about getting ahead and judging those that didn't. I have therefore never felt completely satisfied in my jobs as they have never given me the prestige or lifestyle I thought I should become accustomed to. My hindrance is that I have this inner need to help people. I love to teach. I love to show people how to do things and get them to be successful. My two years teaching college were some of the most challenging and rewarding working years I've ever had. I loved the job but hated the college. My other inner need is to be honest and conduct my life with integrity. Now I can swear like a trucker and fart like a pony but I will not lie and I will not cheat people. This college wanted me to do both which put an end to my teaching career. Another part was when asked what I did for a living I would say, "I teach the medical office administration program for a college" and I would get looks of admiration. Then I would get asked, "Where do you teach ?" and when I answered those looks changed to looks of "Poor you". That broke it for me. When I got more looks of pity than admiration, I knew it was time to go. Great hours, pretty good money, a chance to teach and change people's lives and this college had to go and be a bunch of low lifes. I see myself as representative of whatever place I work for and when people start associating me with the amoral practices of some pseudo-college, I am done. Most people can suck it up for the bigger picture. They can lay their souls down and barter with the devil if it means a fancier car and snazzy shoes. I cannot. It's the same as when people ask me what I think. My response to them ? "Do you really want to know ?" At least I give them an out before I let loose. Whether they choose to take it or not before it's too late is up to them.

Needless to say, this inner need to teach and be honest does not open a lot of corporate doors for me. I cannot bend my life around any employer who wants me to anything other than what I am. I cannot condone people getting ripped off. I cannot knowingly say to someone, "Yes, you need to lose 10 pounds and shots in the ass with some odd vitamin concoction and starving yourself is the best solution" as I had to do for one job. I lasted there less than two weeks. First job I walked out of and never walked back. Still gives me shivers to see these sorry looking women paying hundreds of dollars when all they had to do was go for a walk.

This puts the progression of my career in a bit of a holding pattern. I look to my future and I don't see a clear path. I don't see "the job" that I just have to do for the rest of my life. The thought of doing one job for the rest of my life just makes me queasy. Even teaching, which I love, would have to change and evolve in order for me to stay focused and involved. I need to switch it up.

Now as my kids are the reason I started writing in the first place, I cannot completely leave them out for my future involves them. My future, short term anyway, is helping them find their future. I often wonder about the amount of time my husband has had to waste finding his path because his parents couldn't get it together and help their kid sort himself out. Apparently kicking him to the curb at 16 seemed a reasonable solution. That's a whole other chapter right there. Had they actually pulled their heads out of their behinds and taken a look at this kid, he might be so much further along. Instead, he has to get married to a wife who won't back down from nothin' for no one in order to feel supported enough to go back to school. My husband's future is starting to look pretty bright. At 41, he has been an apprentice millwright for 5 years. It is his calling. This is what he should have been doing from the get go. He is able to build just about anything. He is fantastic with his hands (hubba, hubba). He can visualize and construct the weirdest things. This is where he should have been 20 years ago had his parents recognized his potential and supported their son.

This gets me thinking to my kids futures. What do I see them doing ? What are they interested in ? What are their strengths ? What do they need to work on ? Funnily enough, my daughter wants to teach. She comes from a long line of teachers on both sides of my family. We won't get into my husband's family - that's a whole other book. My son wants to do something with kids or cars. Mostly he wants to be a dad but as that doesn't pay well, we are trying to get him to broaden his scope. He has many possiblities but tends to like building things. He is also good with his hands and seems to like the ladies so he may have his own wife one day who can give him the "hubba hubba" complliment.

It is our job as parents to monitor our kids and support their present in order to secure their future. It is our job to expose them to different ideas and different experiences in order to give them a diverse frame of reference for career choices. It is our job to talk to our kids about the importance of school. It is our job to talk to them about the realities of running a house. It is our job to explain what happens if you don't have a good enough job to support that household because you didn't go to school. We have taken the time to discuss with them where they see themselves career wise and what they want for their future. I'm hopeful that they will see us as a resource on their career path rather than an obstacle to be over come.

This brings me to my digression. I have been thinking alot about writing as a career. I think I write quite decently. The odd spelling mistake and questionable grammar are unavoidable but overall I have a unique perspective on life that apparently most people don't share but do appreciate. My current boss, who is fabulous and likes me just the way I am (well mostly) tells me she appreciates my unique perspective and reassures me that it brings a wonderful quirky element to the office. I believe that is PC for "You are a bit freaky but we like you all the same". This has caused me to start looking at my career path and wondering do I continue to follow the current trail of bread crumbs or get off the trail, bake my own damn bread and drop my own crumbs where I want ? Do I continue to take jobs because they present themselves or recognize that I have some control over where I end up ?
Michael Gates Gill undergoes a monumental shift in his career, life and thought processes through no fault of his own during his story. While he has not control, he takes his experience and grows from it and accepts that his future isn't what he thought it would be. He finds that it's better. I don't want to wait until I am unexpectedly forced to write. I want to be able to start to do it and make some sort of a living at it. I want some control over my future and what it will bring to me. The question is, which path do I follow to find my future ? The one I am on or the one I make ?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Is it MY turn yet ?


I've spent the last 10 years or so doing stuff for other people. Ok - actually more like 20 but we'll focus on the kid years as they tend to be more obvious suckers of life. I love my children completely but as my grey hairs will attest, they wear me out. I also have a small issue with guilt about being "selfish". Having said that, if you encroach on what I consider "me time", I will get very pissy. This usually involves reading which does not require me to leave the house. The problem is - my children expect me to be around all the time. They expect me to be at their beck and call. When I take time to go to a weekend conference or out for a night, I get guilt. I get grief. I get crap. My response is usually - hey now, what do I do for myself ? They can't usually come up with an answer but that doesn't seem to matter. If my fella and I go out for a night with friends, we are evil incarnate and abandoning our offspring. This though we leave them with movies, gummies and kisses. Ugh. So sad.

Now that brings up another point. Am I somehow adding to this situation by not going out more ? My husband doesn't mind. In fact he encourages it. He recognizes far better than I do that I need time out by myself. Yet when I want to go, I want them with me. Ugh. So sad. I love being with my family. They make me feel safe. I also can feel guilty if I go without them. Ugh. So sad. I've also had to put a lot of things on hold for my husband although not because he has asked me to. His apprenticeship training has been the main focus of our lives for the past four years. It is the ticket to a relatively secure future. It gives him a feeling of security and confidence which is worth every night of staying in. I am proud of him and will continue to support him as long as he needs it. Having said that, there had best be some kind of sparkly thing at the end of this adventure and I don't mean some knock off cubic zirconia.

My children get to go out. They get to have adventures. They get to go to their friends houses and play and yuck it up. I don't guilt them or give them crap. Hell, I drive them and wave nicely ! Why can't I be allowed to go play with my friends and not feel like Mommy Dearest ? Ugh. So sad.

So that brings me to the title of this little constructive catharthis. When will it be my turn ? When can I stop giving up my life to accomodate school and guides and scouts and whatever else needs to be done. When will I be able to go out and not feel bad that I'm not doing something for someone else ? Quite frankly a little foot stomping full out tantrum might be in order. Ugh. So sad.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

He Looks Me in the Eye

I keep looking for info to understand my boy. I've read the technical books. I've signed up for websites. I've attended the Walk for Autism. I've traded emails with a parent whose child was suspected of having Aspergers. But so far none of these methods has offered an insight to how my son functions. How he feels about things. How he might perceive the world. Then I read John Robison's book "Look Me in the Eye". The title immediately caught my attention as we had spent years saying the same thing to Thomas accompanied by two fingers directed at our eyes so he had a visual. Initially, we just thought he was being rude when he wouldn't look at us. We thought we were raising him properly. As Mr. Robison alludes to in his book, people who don't look you in the eye are generally perceived as shifty or up to no good. Seeing how we started our little "eye training" at the age of 1 1/2 or so, it's doubtful Thomas was up to serious trouble. However, the fear of him growing up to be a future juvenile offender was in the back of our minds.

Since then, I have learned that this was Thomas' way to cope with stimulus. We joke now that we were inadvertently engaging in IB therapy before we even knew we needed it. He does, however, now for the most part look people in the eye when he meets them and during conversations. He has to gaze avoid now and then but hell, so do I depending on who I'm speaking to and the state of their breath.

My son is easier to speak to now. He can express more about how he is feeling or how someone makes him feel. He is quite expressive and is free from the monotone, inflexionless voice that can characterize most Asperger people. He is funny. He loves to tell jokes although the ones he makes up are for his sense of humor only. He loves to tell stories about his day or what he saw on TV. He is very empathetic to all types of situations. I mention these things because before reading Mr. Robison's book, I did not appreciate these characteristics. I did not appreciate that these things can be difficult for most Asperger's to master. I'm hopeful that we have done all we can to help him avoid some of the social pitfalls that Asperger kids can fall into. He gets bullied occasionally. He is perceived as weird or odd by some people. But overall, the feedback is that he is a polite, caring, nice little fella who is welcome in most people's homes. That's more than I can say for some of the little buggers on the playground.

My boy causes stress. My boy causes grey hair. My boy causes shouting and upset. In other words - he is "normal". Whatever that means ....