Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Summer markets are done for the season.

The days are shorter, mornings arrive to us, with darker skies.

The warm summer breeze has gone,

Replaced by the cooler wind, lending way, to fall splendor.

Happy Thanksgiving, to all my Canadian readers. Take a moment sometime today to truly be thankful for your life, and let the breeze take into the universe, one desire that you have, and watch as it comes true.

Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Prince Welcome 2 Chicago, My Personal Review

I just returned from a trip to Chicago to see a Prince Concert. It was my second time seeing Prince in concert and my second visit to The Windy City. I am not a music critic, thank goodness. On the heels of a concert performed by an artist as high calibre and with such a large following of fans as Prince, I would not want that job. I did however read many, if not all, of the reviews, and I have to say, more interesting than the reviews themselves, are the comments that people leave. I have read attacks on the writers that are discourteous and un-called for; I have read such malicious and spiteful things people have said to each other in response to sound issues of the first Welcome to Chicago show. Mostly, I have read merciless words about Prince himself. It makes me wonder how people feel they have the right to say such things, about anyone.

I read once that Prince does not like to read reviews written by people who don’t actually have musical ability or can’t offer an opinion or criticism that is not about the music itself. I don’t know if that’s true, but here’s the thing. Prince doesn’t need feedback or criticism or advice on his craft. He is a master at what he does, he continues to perfect what he does with each day, he is not new to this people!  And who are we, to judge a musician on his expert abilities, even if you are a musician yourself? I can’t imagine that anyone could offer an iota of feedback, criticism or best practice that Prince has not already thought of on his own.
Music is emotional. It is emotional for everyone, no matter what color your skin is, what God you believe in, what country you reside. You cannot dispute that, and if you do, then you should stop reading now, because the rest of what I have to say is based on emotion, not expertise.
The House of Blues and a Prince Sighting!
In the wee hours of the morning on Monday September 24, 2012 (which technically was the next day right?), I read that the concert on that Monday, was a bust. People were mad. I am not going to go into detail, because it was already written many times over by real music critics and real journalists, paid to write the story. What I cared about at the moment was what happened or rather what didn’t happen that night at the House of Blues. I cared, because I had tickets for that venue and I had expectations. I was there. I could write in detail about how disillusioned and how sad I was, that I didn’t get the show I wanted to see that night, instead, I am going to tell you what I did see of Prince, what I was a part of that night.
I could have done without the cocaine sniffing guys in front of me, but you know what, they were so entertaining to my friend and I, and nice enough guys, that in the end, they were a part of a great night. I could have done without the drink that had so much alcohol in it, my throat burned as I sipped it. I could have done without spending the money I did and the loss of sleep I endured to see a performance that did not pierce my heart with the love and inspiration that I was so anticipating.
Here is what I did love. The DJ played music from the 80’s, with videos and music by Prince, the Time, Sheila E, even Eddy Murphy’s, Party all the Time, and I danced and danced! There was a Prince Song/ video playing and I happened to look to my left to see a woman come onto the dance floor, hand cupping her wide open mouth, her eyes bright as she looked up at the screen. I knew in a split second, that she was going to be fun, and that she had just as big a crush on Prince as I had. Turns out, Jennifer was a blast and the cause for the loss of my voice that night.
Here is a cool thing, there was a point in the night when someone said to look up in the balcony and we all obeyed. There, above us, people watching from the first balcony, was Prince, in his cool dude shades! He was just taking a peak, and gave everyone a wave!
photo from Welcome to Chicago photo book
Andy Allo played that night, with an amazing band, mostly the NPG and I have to say, “People Pleaser” has been stuck in my head ever since. From where I was standing, I could see Prince, in the back corner, bopping his head back and forth. Just standing there, bopping, and watching with pride and likely his own crush, Andy Allo and the band, rocking the House of Blues. It was so great to see, this nearly private moment, as he witnessed his protégé taking over the audience. I will never forget that moment. It was evident to me that he clearly is the ideal illustration of a mentor, a leader, and a teacher of all things he is great at. Prince never did take the stage that night to delight us and get our hearts beating faster, not more than to come on stage to apologize for the police shutting the place down because it was nearing 4am. There it is, can you actually hear my heart breaking? I assure you, it did.
Who is the Spotlight for Anyway?
Now that a few days have passed, I can validate in my mind, why he didn’t come on stage sooner to perform. I know a little about being a perfectionist. He indisputably is a perfectionist and I ask myself this about his first show that week. If I was a musician, performing for 20 thousand fans, expecting perfection, and a sound system failed me, how pissed off and disappointed would I be? For a perfectionist not to have control over such a vast dynamic in their performance would be devastating, frustrating beyond belief, with regret carried on your shoulders of the 20 thousand fans bewildered. If it was you, would you recover quickly enough to perform at an after party? Perhaps it never was his intention to perform at said after party, maybe his intention was always to hand the spotlight over to his protégé. Either way, only Prince and his band know what happened, beyond that, you can’t change the night.

The Welcome 2 Chicago Performance, Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Photo via facebook
Being the true Prince lover I am, all was quickly forgiven the next night at the concert, as he rocked us all into a breathless lull with his rendition of some beautiful songs, Sometimes it Snows in April, She’s Always in my Hair, I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man. Then of course the surprise of Jennifer Hudson, singing her heart out with him to Nothing Compares 2 U. It was powerful!  As always, hearing Shelby J is an amazing experience, even if this particular night, she didn’t sing on her own too much. Cassandra O’Neal, has me appreciating the keyboards more than ever, Elisa Dease, is so soulful, and seems so lovely; I would just like to meet her. John Blackwell, oh he is one amazing drummer and plays my favorite instrument of all. I tell you, he looks like he could give a strong bear hug! Liv Warfield is so funky, and Damaris Lewis, who I don’t know much about, has legs that go on forever and I have no idea how she dances in those heels!
Pure Perfection
Prince had every person in the United Center up and dancing and in awe of not only him, but the amazing NPG, and 11 piece horn section. He had the woman behind us screaming so loud for him, over and over again, “Prince Baby, sing to me, uh huh, I hear you baby, Yeah, yeah! Sing to me Prince Baby!” I am quite certain she thought he could hear her. It made me wonder, I don’t know if Prince has a wife, or a girlfriend, but if he was my man up on stage, I would want to be in the audience, soaking up the love everyone feels for him! I would want to be witness to all the adoration he receives, and report that back to him. No doubt he feels it!
photo via facebook

Four encores ended the concert, and at that point I didn’t care that I didn’t get an up close and personal show at the House of Blues, I was only glad I flew 750 miles to see an amazing lyricist, musician, and human being perform a perfect show. Still, days later, I can close my eyes and feel the energy that encapsulated my body, and resonated in my heart and mind. Music is emotional. Prince, NPG, Chicago, thank you for a wonderful emotional ride!


Monday, October 1, 2012


My friend and I just returned from a trip to Chicago, Illinois. It was a bit of a last minute decision, coming on the heels of a Prince Concert announcement! My friend Tamara was the only one crazy enough and able to come with me. I have to say, in the beginning, my only interest in going to Chicago was to attend the concert, but in the end, Chicago was a welcome indulgence.


Chicago sure is a striking city in parts. I love the architecture of Chicago! It is remarkable to see such a collection of skyscrapers, neo classical, art deco, and so many other styles of architecture pooled together amongst landmarks and monuments. One of my favorites was the Tribune Tower, a neo Gothic building. I loved the way it looked at night when it was lit up; I love how ornate it is!

Perhaps what I love most about the Tribune Tower, is that embedded in the lower levels of the building, are rocks and bricks from a variety of historically important sites throughout the world, such as the Taj Mahal, The Alamo, The Great Wall of China, The Berlin Wall.
It could be, that I loved the little tea store that sat beside it and the lovely patio to sit at on a perfectly warm night. I could imagine myself sitting there for hours writing and just watching the people going by.
I also loved the shoreline of Chicago. We walked the water edge from Navy Pier all the way to Buckingham Palace. It was beautiful!
In fact, Chicago downtown, is beautiful at night!

I had many favorite moments and our days and nights were full! It was enjoyable. It’s always a wonderful feeling to get away and travel, even take day trips to rejuvenate your mind and soul. My feet were not feeling all that happy, but my mind was! The architecture tours were great for feeding my mind, the concert was a great source of nourishment for my soul, and the people watching and interactions will at some point be a source of reflection for me upon writing.
Coming home for me is always the same. A feeling of something missing comes over me. In the midst of living life and small adventure; I draw from within, a desire to be still, inward thinking and write. Words roll out like a long vibrant red carpet for me when I enjoy my surroundings and experiences abound. A rather large fault I have, is not taking the time to pull out a pen and book and let the words surge.  The fullness of the day, the consideration of others, always prevails. Moments, I take moments, and they are great. Today I am taking a day, just to write, ruminate and put pen to paper!
I thank my friend for joining me on this quick little adventure, and I thank Chicago for the warm welcome. I thank Prince and the NPG for a night I will not soon forget.


Until the next little adventure, thank you for stopping by!




Sunday, September 30, 2012

Uniting Mind, Body and Spirit

As I type this, I am acutely aware of the muscle pain in my legs, and I remember how it hurt to raise my arms to wash my hair in the shower this morning. All from a vigorous yoga class the other night. Vigorous, you may ask. Yes, it was not just any yoga class. With every change of the season we celebrate. Be it the Summer solstice, the Autumnal equinox, Winter equinox or Spring Vernal equinox. Our way of celebration comes in completing 108 sunsalutations.


Yes, that sequence of poses 108 times! Count them baby! The first time I completed this celebration left me in pain for 3 days, yet we keep on doing it! We must really love our class! Please check out my latest article published in our local community paper, the Lance. I am honored to be able to practice with a wonderful group of ladies and two amazing instructors Gail and Natalie from One 6 Yoga.

Please visit my story here.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

The S-Word: Parenting Through Puberty

Do you remember...growing pains of the heart? Do you remember the questions you had that kept you up at night, dreaming of that boy, contemplating all of the things you wanted to be when you grew up? Oh if only we could go back to those days and re write our stories!

My daughter is twelve, and I know that the matters of the heart will be keeping her up at night very soon. For now though, it is all about growing up! I insisted that she could not wear make up until she was 16. That was until the day I found my school pictures, age twelve, with a full on face of make up! Now I let her wear just a tiny bit, in a light color. Just enough for her to feel like she is wearing it, without it being too noticeable to others. She is too beautiful to need it. I know, I was told the same thing at her age, but didn't believe it!

Unlike me at her age, she wants to grow up. She wants to get her period, to have a teenagers room, she wants to go to a big high school.

Please take a few minutes, and go tho this link, and read my story, published on the Momoir Project blog The S-Word: Parenting Through Puberty.

Thank you so much for stopping by!


Friday, August 31, 2012

When Inspiration Comes

 It taunts us. It lurks in the corners, hides in the shadows, quivers quietly in the corner, until it decides to come out and seize us.
Photo courtesey of Photobucket
 Sometimes, my inspiration comes in the middle of the night, and I need to get out of bed and write something down. Other times, inspiration taps on my shoulder, just when I need two more minutes to finish drying my hair. I have to put down my brush and go to the keyboard, because I know in those two minutes, my words could be gone. Inspiration does not wait. This I have learned the hard way, often not being able to take the moment to write something down that broke into my mind, words that bubbled up from my soul. Now I write my words down whenever I can.

Sometimes I beg inspiration to come to me when I need her the most. She doesn’t always listen, and then I need to try something new. Like the one time, for my Momoir Project writing course, my final essay was not coming together. I read my words out loud; and re read them over and over again. I hated what I had written; it seemed like such a chronological story, dry, boring, unfeeling. And unfeeling is the last thing my story should have been, because it is a story about something that made me feel every single day. Working with a deadline freaks me out sometimes! This was one of those times.

I decided to leave, the hours could count themselves down, I was not going to do it, and that was that. Inspiration was not listening to my begging, she would have no part of it, and I was frustrated with her! So I took myself to my friendly neighborhood Starbucks for a latte!

 This one is inside a book store, and you have no idea how many times I have gone without my pen and paper, or one of the 10 journals I have made for myself, only to find myself asking someone for paper, or going to the bookstore to buy yet another blank book! Today though, I was in search of something else, a photo book of my favorite musical artist, Prince. I found it, 21 Nights, a photo book from a 21 night tour in London. When I got home, I put in the Indigo Night CD that came with the book, and you know what happened, Inspiration, she came at me like a gale force wind, ripped through my insides, took up residence in my heart, and my pen hit my paper with a fury and out came my story. My Final Essay was written, yes, but so were the words in my heart that needed to just come out. I listened to Prince play his guitar, sing his beautifully written words, and he touched me. The gift of his music, gave me the gift of my written word. This day, Inspiration, she came to me through his music.

Today, I woke up brave. Today, thanks to my bravery, I decided to share my final essay. I hope you like it!


I was visiting a friend of mine who had just had her second baby, a beautiful girl, now little sister to her big brother Andy. For most of our visit, baby was snuggled next to her momma, in a wrap. Once she started to squirm, we knew our visit would be interrupted by feeding time. But all of us moms understand that it just happens that way and we have to be okay with that.
Once my friend was done with the feeding, she held out her new, bundled, warm and glowing baby girl to me, seemingly knowing that I would want to hold her. Perhaps any other day I would, but today I am caught off guard, overtaken with sadness and sorrow that has come out of nowhere and hit me in the gut like a baseball bat swung at full speed. Because I know I can’t be rude, indifferent uncaring, I take her swaddled baby girl in my arms and I try not to look at her. I distance my heart and close my mind and I fake it. I become that master of disguise I know so well. And after what I hope is an acceptable period of time, I hand her back to her momma and I speak my regrets, but I must go, time has moved so quickly!
As I linger at the door, to say farewell, speaking my genuine heartfelt thanks for the visit, oh it’s always good to see them, I can see in the distance, Andy totally entranced by his new baby sister. I cannot help but see the glimmer in his eyes, the pride, the joy, and I am taken aback.
I start up my vehicle and pull away, not even a few houses away and the tears swell in my eyes. A memory comes to me, so clear in my mind at that moment, as tears blur my vision. My memory goes like this...While driving home from tutor a few months earlier an exchange happened between me and my daughter.
“Mom, I can’t wait to be a big sister!” she says, a big smile on her face as she looks over at me.
“Mom, did you hear me?” she prods. She thinks that every statement she makes requires an instant reply, as though she asked a question. She never gives me more than a few seconds to say something in return, and a simple “uh huh” is never good enough, her pre teen mouth would say something like “you don’t even care!”
She had only given me a few seconds to respond to a statement in which I had no idea how to reply, and we were only minutes away from home, I had to be quick.
“Honey, I know you really want to be a big sister, but I don’t think that it’s going to happen. Sweetie, I just don’t think I will be having a baby now. In fact I definitely won’t be having a baby. I’m so sorry.”
As I looked at her, I could see the tears in her eyes. They sprang up in a hot second. I had never really said it to her so adamantly before, and I made a point of doing it this time, because frankly she has been asking since she could speak, even when I was alone, with no one to have a baby with! My heart just couldn’t handle her asking this of me again. I couldn’t lie to her again. I knew I was in trouble because I was turning down the street that was going to lead us to our house, and she needed more time. We parked in front of the house, she was crying now and this is the first time she has cried about this.

She asks me why, and my head sinks down. If I say I don’t know, it will not be good enough, it will not be the right way to handle it, but I don’t know what to say. I don’t want her to place blame, but I know in my heart that I do. I just don’t want her to. My internal struggle is so immense that I want to just lie and tell her I will think about it. How will she ever understand that he just doesn’t feel that a baby will fit perfectly into our lives? How can she ever forgive him for changing his mind, for thinking he is too old? How can I possibly help her understand it all, when I don’t, when I am still working on forgiveness and acceptance myself? How can I tell her how sorry I am that I was unable to give her what I promised her we would one day have? 
Instead I try to explain that Mommy is getting older (a lie I can’t even make myself believe), it is harder to have a baby when you get older, and our time has just passed. She is thinking now of the baby I miscarried 2 years ago, and I can see the hurt scrunching up her face, causing her lips to quiver. I let her cry a bit more, as I hold her hand, and then I hug her. We have been outside the house for a while now, and I tell her we should go in and I wipe her face. I kiss her cheek.
My mind is back to the present now, of sitting at the side of the road, tears stinging my eyes, causing my head to pound. This scene goes through my mind like I am re living it and the emotions take over me in a sweeping moment and I need to get home fast. I try to push it all from my mind, the softness of the blanket wrapped around my friends baby, the sweet smell of milk on her breath, the warm, wrinkled hands, nails just a bit too long, the tugging at my heart, the lump in my throat.
Once I am at home, I succumb to my sorrow, I want to feel this, I need to feel this, and I need to get it over with. I need to grieve. I want another baby so badly that I can feel my breasts swell, my belly expand, the warmth of breath on my neck, the strain in my arms from holding and rocking a little one longer than most would say is healthy. It is true what you see in the movies, sometimes your sorrow and sadness are so powerful that your legs cannot hold you and you crumble, you drop, you become a rubber mess and you collapse to the ground.
I bring forth to my mind, an evening like most that I could not fall asleep and when I did, I was awaken a short time later to a feeling that startled me. I could feel a leg, entwined with mine, and in a haze wondered what the hell? Then I realized, it was my daughter, she still likes to sleep with me sometimes. It is comforting for her, to be in my cozy bed with me, and I indulge her, because I like it just as much. But in this moment, I am startled awake and then shocked when I realize her leg is nearly as long as mine. She is sleeping on her back, her leg over mine, her hands above her head, her face tilted to one side, just like when she was a baby. I am awake now, and I listen to her breath, I touch the soft skin on her face, I move her mass of knotted curls away from her face. I remember a time when friends would tell me not to rock her to sleep, don’t lay down with her at bedtime, it will never end, she will never go to sleep on her own, don’t hold her too much. I listened to none of them. I rocked her as long as I wanted, I sang her to sleep in my rocking chair every night of her baby life and when she was big enough to be in a bed, I lay down with her every night to talk to her until I could hear her breath, slow and steady, into a sleep. Bedtime has always been our connection time, a review of our day, our time to be together in stillness. They were all wrong.
I am hit with the reality this night that she is growing up so fast. She is no longer even a little girl; she is a pre teen, consumed with thoughts of herself, raw emotions and so many questions. I will no longer rock her, cup her whole body against mine in one swoop as we snuggle together. This night, as I remember her as a baby, look at her in the dark, as I listen to her breathing in and out, I cry. I ache with the awareness, that there will only ever be one.

Thank you for stopping by.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is This Morbid, Weird, or Thoughtful?

Have you ever gone on a trip and wondered ``what if I die``? ``What will happen to my kids, and my animals``? I don`t mean the things you would leave in a will. Have you ever wondered if you died, would the people you love know how you felt about them?  Have you wondered if you are leaving a legacy for your kids and family to be proud of? Would your children know your story?
I realize that this is not the most normal of thoughts for someone to have, and I don’t have them often, but it would be a lie if I told you I never wondered. In fact, I will admit to leaving an unknown letter once when taking a trip. I must have had a bad feeling or something, and I justified in my mind, that was the reason I left it. Of course, there never was a plane crash and the letter never did get read, just thrown in the trash.
What is this all about, you ask? I just came back from a small vacation. I was camping and when I am out in the wilderness, I tend to think a bit too much by the crackle of the fire, the mesmerizing lap of the lake water, the weightlessness I feel as my body glides under the water and waves splash over my body. A good book always helps and I am currently reading a good book, full of thought provoking chapters!
Things I Want My Daughters to Know, by Elizabeth Noble. In this book, the main character has 4 daughters, and has had 2 husbands. She has died of cancer. One day before she deteriorated too much, she decided to keep a notebook, not so much a journal, and record various accounts of her life for her daughters. In her notebook, she tells them stories that weave the fabric of her life, she gives them advice, admits some large secrets, shares with them her memories of their lives, and decisions she has made. I like the book. I like it enough, that just like a recipe that I find appealing, I decided to try it and make it my own, reworking the ingredients.

It could be that my mom is turning 80 this year, and I am seeing her weak and miserable and defeated, that I have begun to think of my life and the way I have chosen to live it. I don`t know my mom’s story, the hardships she endured before I came along, the reasons for her decisions. I don`t know why she married the men she did, why she stayed so long, what dreams she had, and what she gave up to be our mom. I know she has always been independent, stubborn, and a hard worker. I know she has a heart of gold. I also know, that if you ask her about her life, her memory fails her; or she chooses to not remember and share.

I have started to keep a book for my daughter, that is only for her, to read when I am old, or when I am gone. I will record memories I have of her as a baby, a child, a teenager and so on. I will tell her about her dad, and my decision to marry him and my reasons for not staying with him. I will tell her about my life, things I have done, places I have been, people I have loved. I have to say, with the stories floating in my mind, I don`t think it`s morbid, I think it is exciting! I wish my mom had done the same, so that my siblings and I could read her thoughts, her memories, know her story. It is exciting to know, that when I am gone, my daughter will have a very important piece of me! She will have those conversations that mother and daughter should have!

Tell me, honestly, is this something you would ever do. Is it too much, too stupid, too time consuming?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In a word - Awesome!

Have you ever had one of those days when things just seem to work out the way they were meant to be?

photo courtesy of Photobucket
I love those days!

This week, while waiting for my friend at the bookstore, I found a book that was just meant to be read by me! I just know it’s going to be a great read and give me some fabulous insight. However, I had not yet purchased it and could not take it into the cafe so I had to put it back. “Hide it somewhere so no one buys it.” My friend suggested to me. I returned it to the section it belonged in, but faced it backward. Ha, I am so sneaky! No I’m not!

As we sipped out iced lattes, she was telling me a story about a recent trip to Minneapolis that she took. While searching for a garden center that could not be found, she stumbled upon a store that her sister had wanted to go to, and so they went in, happy to have accidently come upon it. Low and behold, she ended up finding a dress that she needed to buy for a wedding! One purchase she was not looking forward to making. And she said to me, “it was just like it was meant to be!” I love when things work out that way. There is a reason for everything right?
When we were done with our overdue visit, I went back to grab my book to purchase, and it was gone! I could not remember the title, did not know the author, all I knew was this book spoke to me and I knew it was one I needed to read and now it was gone. Seriously, who would buy this random book? It was a  book written by a mom who had a daughter with a learning disability. You can’t tell me that some other person in the book store in a span of 2 hours came in and bought it up!
We searched and asked the “book straightener” (can you believe they actually have someone who does this) if he had seen it. No, of course he knew nothing about it. I was no help because I couldn’t remember the title. We were about to leave when I said that I just needed to go back, to take one more look. I was being pulled back. Have mercy, there it was, sitting on a desk, right there where I was about to walk by for my last time that night.
In a word, AWESOME! It made my night. I thought of the conversation we had just a while ago, how great it is when some things just work out the way they were supposed to! I know it sounds silly to some, that finding this book would make me walk a little lighter, put a smile on my face, and trust back in my heart, but it did. Some things just turn out the way they should....if you listen.
Photo courtesy of Photobucket
So here is another thing. When we were peaking through the bargain section, I found a book I had heard of, and I had seen the writer on a show, it is his, The Book of Awesome. I don’t know if you have ever heard about it, or read it, but I suggest you check it out. I bought it, because I want to hear what he has to say about all the things in life that are totally awesome. As awesome as me finding my book. So here is one thing that he thinks is awesome, on page 261 of his book The Book of Even More Awsome... The sound of water lapping against a dock. It sounds like the warm and windy of summer. It sounds like the cool and quiet finish to fall. AWESOME. Oh and I wanted to share a few more of his thoughts of what is awesome, because I think we all need a reminder every once in a while that we all have things to smile about.

·         Seeing an old couple holding hands.

·         The moment on vacation when you forget what day of the week it is.

·         Taking your high heels off at the end of the night and walking home bare feet.

·         Letting go of the gas pump perfectly so you end on a round number.

·         When a baby falls asleep on you. (Best feeling ever!)

·         Dancing when you’re home alone.

·         Seeing a really happy dog out for a walk.

·         When the bubbles in your drink go right to the top but not over.

·         When your pet notices you’re in a bad mood and comes to see you.

·         The moment of anticipation before the first kiss (second best feeling ever).

·         That moment at a concert when the crowd figures out what song they’re playing.

·         The sound of snow crunching under your feet.

Ok, so I will stop there, but it really goes on forever! Get the book, read it, and then make a list of your own things you think are awesome! Take that list out and read it when you are having a bad day. I hope in some small way, right now you are smiling, and admit it; you are going to think today, about all the little things you think are awesome.

If you liked this post, please click up top, that little share button, and spread the Awesomeness!

Have a great day!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Day of Feeling Full on Gratitude.


I am feeling grateful today to a few people who have helped me, or inspired me along the way.

When I began my blog, I was not sure what all my reasons were in beginning this journey. I knew that it would all come to fruition at some point. What I do know now, is what I love about blogging. Here are a few of those things.


 I have met a whole community of great bloggers, and writers alike. I have made invaluable online friends, and connections, worldwide. That is amazing to me! To think that I have written with and linked up with people from Canada, to the USA to the UK, all in a day’s work! People I admire, people who inspire me, people I enjoy connecting with!  These people have encouraged me, given me invaluable feedback and supported me, at times when it was difficult to find it close to home with friends, family and acquaintances.

Learning and Growth

Trying to build a blog is not an effortless thing to do. Creating a blog, updating it, learning about new buttons, current changes, updates to programs....not really my cup of tea. I am not the savviest person in the world when it comes to technology, I can hardly use my cell phone properly, and I don’t own an IPod, IPad or IPhone! Keeping up with two blogs, learning it all on my own, and with the help of some great blogging sites, I do an ok job of learning something new every day. I love the challenge that blogging offers, and I thrive on the knowledge that it is a never ending growth.

Documenting a Journey

Documenting our life on my blog will be a way for my daughter to know me, and read my thoughts and feelings, when the time is right. In my writing, she will ascertain how I view life, she will know how much I love her, she will learn about me, and my complexity.  I hope all of it will encourage her to be her own person and not conform to anyone’s vision of her, including my own.

I have had the pleasure of participating in writing groups, writing classes, writing challenges and online forums with some amazing people. Here are some links to just some of them. I am grateful to them, and I hope that you will enjoy their stories, their writings, what they have to offer.

Through the Momoir Project, I have shared the trial and error that comes with writing our stories. A few of us have been published here, and I wanted to share a few of my favorites, all though there are many more here if you check out the site.

A funny spin on getting your husband to pick up his own laundry – The Laundry Fairy. Oh, and getting “fancy”, or not! -  Time to get Fancy

A woman who inspires me with anything I have read of hers – A Room of My Own

How do you really answer the questions of lyrics sung by LMFAO – The Battle of LMFAO

The truth about real beauty – Smart and Beautiful

Don’t be in a hurry to let your kids grow up – Rushing Through the Baby Years

Please, come back to this page when you have time, save it to your favorites, click on the links, check out the sites, read the stories, they are really good. Honest, I would not stear you wrong!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Best Sandwich I Ever Ate

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but stop trying to be so original. Your genius is hiding in someone else’s ideas, someone else’s project.”

These are the written words I woke up to this morning as part of my writing challenge with Jeff Goins and his The 15 Habits of GreatWriters Challenge.

He encouraged us to steal, to lend our own spin of creativity on someone else’s idea. He told us to give up on our pursuit of originality and genius and just find inspiration.

I’m sure all writers do it, steal a conversation they over heard, and turn it into a topic idea, embellish someone else’s truth.  Maybe they listen to a loved one’s problem and turn it into a blog post. I remember clearly one of the times I stole an idea. I wanted to write a poem, but I was not feeling any particular pain or sadness, or the ethereal knowledge of some kind of love. I looked around the room I was in and saw a Harlequin Novel. I picked it up and flipped it over to read its synopsis. It was about a blind lover or something or other. I just know there was a blind person in the story and that’s all I needed. So I wrote a poem, I still remember...

Blind Lover

He cannot see my beauty

He cannot see the curls in my hair

He feels the softness of my skin,

He tastes the sweetness of my kiss.

He fills my mind, with thoughts, only of him.

Who is he?

He is my beautiful Blind Lover

I was thirteen, what the hell did I know? Stealing right, I think it is.

I have so many ideas for magazine articles swirling around in my head; I even have a list of topics that I keep. One day while having lunch outside with my family, flipping through my magazine, this is what happens. I turn the page; see the title, The Best Sandwich I Ever Ate, and in disgust I throw down my magazine and declare, “This wench stole my idea!” In fact she didn’t, The Best Sandwich I Ever Ate was still floating in my head and hadn’t even made it to a piece of paper yet! So you know what, because it’s my challenge of the day, I’m going to copy and I am going to write my own version of The Best Damn Sandwich I Ever Ate! Right Now, the one that has been dancing in my head for years, yes I said years! Here it goes! I may just leave out the damn though.

The Best Sandwich I Ever Ate

I’m in Phoenix, Arizona, for Spring Break of my 16th year. We flew out here, my friend and I. This is our own little adventure. Her brother and his friend drove us across the U.S border to catch a flight from Fargo to Minneapolis and on to Phoenix. It is my first time on an airplane. We have a male flight attendant. He told us he was the pilot, and when the voice came over the speaker preparing us for take-off, he winked at us, acknowledging his playful little lie. I was scared shitless of crashing, but my friend held my hand!

I love the heat of Arizona, the big old cacti in the desert, the turquoise jewelry at every flea market, the thermal radiation you see when you look at the highway and the heat rises off of the tar. I love my friends Grandparents, who have taken us in for the week or so of Spring Break. I call them my Grandma and Grandpa, because I don’t have my own.

I tell you, this Grandma makes a mean tomato sandwich! I don’t know if tomatoes grow differently out here in Arizona, but they are sweet and succulent and if it’s at all possible, they taste like the lovely bright, hot red that they are! Grandma slathers them with full fat mayonnaise, on white soft bread. The bread is so soft, that when you bite down into this sandwich, the bread sticks to the roof of your mouth. She shakes more salt and pepper on than I know a mom would allow, and she passes the plate with her petite wrinkled hand with long painted nails and offers up a smile. We feast on this sandwiches almost daily for lunch.

I love our nights, spent just my friend and I, in the hot tub, smoking American cigarettes, in the warm, night air. We submerge our heads in the hot water, come up for a drag of our smoke, and belt out the lyrics to Sinead O Connor’s “Nothing Compares to You”, trying to mend our teenage broken hearts.

I dream sometimes of that perfect tomato sandwich, the best sandwich I ever ate, and I am thankful, for the taste in my mouth, the friendship that grew fast and turbulent, the love and adventure in my heart. I think sometimes that the best damn sandwich I ever ate had nothing to do with the sandwich at all.

Surviving the IEP

I sat down today to begin a post all about preparing for your child’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting. Our end of year meeting is coming up this week, so I thought it would be a good time to share my wisdom. Wisdom? Ok, how about my preparedness? Really? Honestly, my intention was to give you something helpful.
I even considered naming it The 5 Best Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Child’s IEP. I wondered, who would my audience be? Would it be parents whose children have a visible and diagnosed learning disability? Or would it be parents whose kids have a rare diagnosis,  a parent with a kid who looked and acted like everyone else but just learned differently? Is that too much to consider? I thought I would tell you in a really smart fashion, all the right steps you should take, and it would go something like this...
1.       Consider your goals for the upcoming school year and be specific.

2.       Have your questions written down and ready to ask.

3.       Know what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are.

Oh hell, who am I kidding? I do all that, and it all goes to shit the moment we all sit down and the first words come out of someone’s mouth. I have left that school more often than not, feeling like a scorned child myself, who has not been heard, who has not been respected, and whose opinion and knowledge were cast aside because there is a curriculum that should be followed and not enough people who actually care who is learning it. When I say care, I mean really care. I don’t mean people who are doing the basics of their job just to survive the everyday crap that they have to put up with. I don’t mean the people who are putting in their time waiting for retirement. I don’t mean those who want to care, but they are too busy disciplining kids who should be better behaved but are not because they don’t learn anything constructive at home! I want teachers who care about education, learning, equipping our kids with endless amounts of knowledge, inspiration and acceptance. I had those kinds of teachers, did you?
In this post I made up in my head, I really wanted to share my knowledge of what works best at planning for your child’s IEP. I have read other peoples suggestions, talked to other parents, to no avail. Here is the thing; all our kids are so damn different. An IEP should work, because it’s “individual”, so in theory, the meetings happen, people agree to goals set, strengths and weaknesses, adaptations, the whole shebang.
When the time comes, to go to the IEP meetings, I really just want to know how to survive them, leave without crying and not have the overwhelming feeling of wanting to puke and hit someone!
This has been my experience for the last 5 years. Mine alone and I speak for no one else but me. I wonder, would it be any easier if my daughter had a diagnosis that was as common as ADHD, Autism, Down Syndrome?  I doubt it, I know some of those parents own frustrations with the school system. Oh how about this, the craziest one yet that qualifies someone for an educational assistant level 2 funding.....wait for it, behavioural issues. You don’t even want to get me started on this. Some of these kids are smart, intelligent, kids, they are capable of learning. They just never learned to be capable, responsible and respectful. There are so many times I wanted to be the bad parent and just say “honey, the next time you get upset, just punch Sally in the face!” Hey, maybe if I did this in grade one, she would have level 2 funding. I am joking of course. Right? I thought school was to teach, to learn, to get an education, not parented and controlled.
As well as I know each kid and their needs are different, I know every school, every group of teachers, and every situation has its own set of circumstances.
So here in lies the best advice I have given myself on attending, and surviving through an IEP meeting.

·         Be prepared with your goals, yes it’s a must. Make those goals for your child, and adapt them as the years go on to what the abilities of your child are, because they do change.

·         Take someone with you to take notes when you are talking, to hold your hand when you are crying, to speak for you when you are overcome by emotion. I would say here, leave your emotions at home, but we are parents, and this is the only school education they are going to get and it’s important.  Emotions creep in, no matter how strong you are.

·         Consider being as prepared as you would be for an interview. Have a set of questions written down, think about how you will respond to their questions, and be professional.

·         Tell them what has worked and what has not worked in the class for your child this year. As an example, the one thing I will say in my IEP meeting is one day to prepare for a social studies test is unacceptable! Do they not know that it took me a whole year to teach this child how to do two digit multiplications?

·         Learn the following words and their meaning as they relate to your child’s learning challenges; cognitive, input, output, integration, and storage.
I summer home school my daughter, and she sees a tutor. So here is the bottom line for me. Do I really worry so much about this IEP

This guy here is why we don't often summer school at home! We have changing destinations!

I read once that over the summer, kids lose approximately 20% of what they learned. So while my kid is forgetting 20% of what she didn't learn, I am trying to teach her at least 40% of what she should know. So where does that leave us?
One last thing I have learned, is that on the day of my child’s IEP meeting, I am prepared to come home and have a good cry, a glass of wine, and I don’t make any plans for the rest of the day, just so I can recover from the trauma! But hey, at least I know what to expect!
I would love to hear from you, your thoughts and experiences with school IEP’s. Help a girl out and tell me please, that I am not the only one who sits there feeling the need to puke and punch someone!
Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I am a Writer!

I believe that if you tell a child they are dumb, they will grow up believing it.

I believe that if you tell your daughter she is beautiful, she will grow up believing it.

I believe that if you tell yourself that you can do it, you can do anything.

I believe that if you listen to that whisper buried deep somewhere, that chirps its words of doubt, you will have fear, and not try, or worse, not give your all.

I believe that if you tell yourself you have limits, you will not see your dreams come true.

I believe that if you tell yourself you are too old, that you become stagnant and dead inside.

I am taking part of a 15 day Challenge, with Jeff Goins, Writer.

 I found it a day late, so I am a day behind, but our first challenge you ask? Declare you’re a writer.        

I declare.....

That I am a writer.

I don’t care what anyone thinks, what they say, what they mumble under their breath, or if their own insecurities cause them to groan at me or spew something negative. I am a writer. You encourage, support and embrace me, or you don’t.

I believe that I am a writer.

I declared it. Challenge number one, complete!

I told my friend the other day, that one of the things that always annoyed me about myself, was that my brain just never seemed to SHUT the hell UP! It still annoys me, but I just realized that this was my way of telling my story. All of the things in my head were my way of writing. I would take every memory I had, conversations, anything of importance that happened in a day, and it would just stay somewhere cluttered in my brain. When I write it all down, in a story, in a journal, in an essay, in a blog post or a writing submission, it makes room, for the real story that needs to be told.

I know the challenges will become increasingly more difficult, but I am up for it!

If you think that you may want to join in on this challenge, you can do it! And this is where you need to go....Have fun with it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I wish I could tell you...

You are beautiful.

You are smart, you are worthy, and you can do anything.

You are kind, sweet, and generous.

You are funny, you are brave, and you are strong.

I wish I could tell you these things, and they could make a difference. I wish when you were a baby, a child, a teenager, a young adult, that you heard these things, and that you knew they were true.

I wish...

 That you were happy.

I wish that you were not in pain, that you were not coming apart inside, that you were healthy.

I wish that the child I knew who had so much potential knew that she had it too.

I wish my tears for you would turn into magical words that could make the difference between saving you, and watching you fade away.
Photo courtesy of Photobucket

Someone I love so much has had a horrible thing happen, is in a terrible place, has had a life, set for failure from the beginning, and she is broken. My heart is aching for her and I love her so much. I know, from being broken myself, that nothing can repair you except yourself. I can’t help but wish that I could call in a favor, hand in a “free pass” card, and make it all better, take it all away, pass on some strength, some perspective, some hope.
I am reminded that our words and our actions have power. So much power that they can destroy a life, take away a childhood, cripple an emotion, wound a heart, darken a soul. I am reminded that this blessing of being a parent is so much more than feeding and clothing and providing warmth on a cold night. It is about telling your daughter that she has worth, that her voice is beautiful when she sings, even if she cannot carry a tune. It is about teaching your son that baseball can be fun and it is not always about hitting a home run. I am reminded that parenting is about lifting your children up and not putting them down, not caring if the books and the experts tell you not to rock your babies to sleep, you just do it because it works. I am reminded that being a parent is about being their mentor, and most importantly, living a life that shows them, you respect yourself, you respect them, and you respect the people you love.

This blessing of being a parent means that above all, your child needs to be loved, to be nurtured. It doesn’t mean we always get it right, that we are perfect, or that we are untouchable.  It simply means that we are here, to lead the way, to encourage them to have dreams, and ask them, how can I help make your dreams come true? It is the absolute power we hold; in making them aware that they are precious. No matter what, they are precious.