Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lessons from a marriage counsellor

Had the most interesting conversation the other night with a woman who's seen a lot of good and bad marriages in the course of her work as a counsellor.

While there is no magic bullet solution, I appreciated re-hearing some of these helpful tips:

1. touch each other OFTEN

resting your hands on his shoulders as you walk past him in the kitchen, putting your hand on his thigh while watching TV, leaning in close to talk or laugh, holding hands ... all of these touches are important to maintain the connection -- don't I know it. I love, love, love the touch too.

2. stop making your partner your best girlfriend

This one is difficult because we spend a lot of time together and it's too convenient to share with my partner emotional stuff I should just save for the girls.

3. think positively about your partner

It's far too easy to be critical of our loved ones; when I hold on to positive thoughts I'm more likely to treat him nicely then if I'm carrying resentment in my heart.

4. prioritize your people

Work has been my #1 priority lately and I don't like what it's doing to my life. My relationships are suffering and my health is in decline. The people that mean the most to me should come first, period.

5. have realistic expectations

I often focus on all the things my partner is not instead of appreciating that he is everything that counts -- he's loyal, supportive, caring and dependable. This counsellor told me that when she hears her clients complain that their partners are not romantic she puts them in their place. Romance is not what's important.

6. be appreciative

The most common reason people check out of their relationships is feeling like they no longer make a difference -- nothing they do can satisfy their partner. UGH, this is dismal because I know that I give my partner this message daily. In fact I feel so wrotten for it, that I now try to do more myself so that he won't disappoint. But this kind of over-functioning is also bad because I'm not giving him what he needs -- the opportunity to please me. Because that's all they want, is to be #1 in your eyes.

I wish I could remember the other tips, but alas the alcohol was flowing freely that night. She told me to read John Gottman for more common sense tips and I think I will.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Consumer Guilt


My partner and I binged on XMas shopping for the kids today -- didn't think it was possible to spend 2 HOURS at Toys R U, but there I was and I even had a list. I feel nauseous about how much money we burned for toys that will barely get played with. I feel even more stupid for knowing it and still doing it. What is wrong with me? I don't want to see any disappointment at XMas. I want everyone to get what they wished for. But really, XMas is never like that. Because you rarely know what it is you want and when you get it, it disappoints because it did not live up to your dreams. Yes, this is the same old metaphor of life that I blog about. Thank goodness my partner and I don't exchange gifts. It's tough not getting anything on XMas morning, but getting an outrageous CC bill is far worse. Here's hoping that I'll be able to get off this train and make it a small XMas once and for all.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Today's Porn Star

Regarding my earlier post on the banning of yoga pants at a local high school and my resulting outrage that men are attracted to teenagers, it just dawned on me that the porn industry is not helping. Yesterday's fake blond and silicone porn stars have been replaced by barely legal girls -- yes, the people you see walking to school, baby sitting your kids, working at the mall. I'm still perplexed as to why men find them so irresistible, but it's what they want. Ed Powers was a pioneer with his Dirty Debutantes and he probably didn't even know it. It's sad because the silicone porn star was somewhat of a fictional character -- nothing about her was real. She was pure fantasy. But these girls are real. And they are girls, not women. Gawd, I don't want dirty old men lusting after my daughter one day because they think that all teenagers want to suck them off. I guess this yoga pants issue is still affecting me. I'll get over it. Thankfully my partner likes old school porn -- he's into older women and that's more then fine with me.

Customer Service Highs

Nothing beats that little endorphin buzz you get from being the hero with a client. It's not everyday that I get to swoop in and provide expert advice to help solve a business problem, but when I can, it feels really good to revel a bit in the customer's gratitude. Plus I hope people will remember me should I need their support in the future. The problem with being the hero though is that it really detracts from our main priorities. If I could clone my team we'd be in a good position to provide day-to-day support AND tackle the big initiatives that are looming overhead. I'm hopeful that we will achieve our goals because I am finally working for someone new, who trusts our abilities and will support our work. But then I see the same phenomena creep up with him -- a senior exec needs help and BAM-O, we've got to drop what we are doing to help. In these times of fiscal austerity in government, everyone is doing what they can to stay visible and demonstrate their relevance. I can't blame him for wanting that customer service buzz too, I just worry that it's going to bite us in the ass when it's time to report on progress. Ugh.

Monday, December 5, 2011

If you looked as good as you did in your 20s then I'd be all over you all the time

Such sweet words uttered by my partner this morning. Asshole. When I told him how insulting that was, he immediately apologized and said that it was meant to be a compliment??? This is what I get for complaining about aging. I should tell my girlfriends or the blogsphere, not my partner. I forgave him right away because I know that he did not mean to hurt my feelings. He's completely inept when it comes to women and for that he gets a free pass for all his awkward missteps. Where is my knight in shining armour?  He does not exist.  Accept.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Yoga pants banned


A local high school recently banned yoga pants (unless covered by a long shirt) because they are too revealing. What country is this, Saudi Arabia? These are pants. Granted, our butts look awesome, but they're still just pants. What's next? Covering your hair and face? WOMEN ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW MEN REACT TO THEM. PERIOD. Nobody else seems the slightest bit outraged by this. In fact some of my liberal friends support it in favour of male teacher's rights??

The deeper I explored this issue, both with my colleagues and later with my partner, the more I came to realize that some men are very easily distracted by young women. And not just mildly distracted either --they are overcome, get stupid and can't focus. I can relate to being overcome with desire -- I've been boy crazy my entire life. But what I don't understand is the attraction with teenagers. Sure they are cute and have fresh limber bodies, but they are children on the inside. I don't look at teenage boys at all.  They are children FFS.  Why are men in their 30s, 50s, hell 80s still looking at girls ? Okay, men are visual and attracted by what they see. Thank goodness that I am attracted to people I have a connection with -- physical, intellectual, emotional. Intimacy is my drug. Tits and ass are his. We're different -- it's maddening as hell because I want him to be turned on by the amazing woman I am, not by how I look. My looks won't last! My partner will always be lusting after women who are a lot younger than I am. It's just who he is. Surely there's got to be a man out there who's turned on by a real women -- who finds a challenging mind, sharp wit and dry sense of humour sexier than young flesh? No, I am dreaming. I have never met this man. He is a women. I've got to stop trying to feminize men and ACCEPT. Most men don't act on their weaknesses after all. They can control their urges, they surf pornography and are discreet about their leering. Do I wish they weren't so turned on by strangers, sure? But it's completely unrealistic. What's important is that they know themselves and know how to keep it in check. So what about me? I've fantasized about practically every male co-worker I've ever had. That is worse because it could lead to something more damaging. But then again, nothing will come between me and my children, so I'm safe there. MEN! So frustrating.
author's note:  this entry has the highest ratings because of the selected photo.  Ugh.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Triangular Theory of Love

Intimacy + passion + commitment is the secret formula to fulfilling love apparently. So I did this on-line test to confirm what I already know --major passion deficit, commitment not doing so well either. Apparently the "well I'm still here" sentiment doesn't go far. :-)

It seems overly simplistic to carve up love like this, but I can see elements of truth here. We have a strong friendship and care for one another. Plus our commitment to the family keeps us together. It's typical of many couples to be in this state of 'companionate love' if the passion fades. But it's not like there's zero sex. There's just no abundance of affection or desire. But who dreams of their partners after nine years of marriage? According to this theory, the stronger the friendship, the stronger the intimacy. I'm not sure that I agree, unless I've got intimacy all wrong. There's definitely sharing and closeness, but that's just my nature to be open. I suppose this theory helps me more clearly define problem areas. Can they be fixed? Do I even want them fixed? Not sure.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The high highs and the low lows

I worked out and had lunch with my sister today. It was really nice doing something together, just the two of us. I miss her. We both know each other's history so well. I don't even have to finish my sentences, she just knows. When we ask each other how we are doing, we know that there's no fooling one other. "We're doing fine" never equates to "my relationship is great". But then again, whose is? It was a bit sad to hear her say that she's comfortable with the predictability and even level of happiness in her life. She's not over the moon, but she's not deeply depressed either because you can't have the highs without the lows. I know what she's talking about here. The desperate housewife craves passion but ends up alone and heartbroken because of it. Yep, life is not really a roller coaster. It's mundane and we should be content with that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Don't speak to me for the rest of the day

My day was off to a rocky start -- upset kids, asshole partner, meeting I was unprepared for. Plus I wore what I thought was a cute outfit and spent the day feeling men's awkwardness rebound back to me. My student for one had a difficult time seeing so much skin (I was still fully dressed). And the one person I wanted to notice me already thinks I'm yesterday's news, but that's a whole other depressing story. By the end of the day I was ready to just flop, but then my partner started arguing with me about the stupidest little thing AND IN FRONT OF THE KIDS AGAIN, which I hate. So I told him that we are done talking today. And now I am at peace. But then there's that tiny little feeling of yuck in my heart that needs to make friends again. But I'd rather have a drink and flop in front of the TV.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What are we getting worked up about?

It's hard to separate politics from ideology. When I look at something like the new Crime Bill, my instinct is to dislike it based on its source. I know very little of the justification for each proposed change. But I know that it is completely unnecessary because it's coming from a government that uses fear to control its people. In spite of the fact that crime rates are dropping, the Conservatives want to lock away Canadians. They want to appease their baby boomer voting base by showing that they are tough on crime. See, there I go, spewing my own dogma.

I almost wish that I could view political change without knowing what party was behind it. I tried reading the Crime Bill even and it just confused me. It's pretty sad that I have such a poor knowledge of the law in the first place. Here's an example of one of the proposed amendments: "This enactment amends the Criminal Code to eliminate the reference, in section 742.1, to serious personal injury offences and to restrict the availability of conditional sentences for all offences for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 14 years or life and for specified offences, prosecuted by way of indictment, for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years. " Huh? Give me an example of a serious personal injury offense. Is this a good thing? Do we need to be tougher on youth? Who's getting away with what? I guess it does come down to ideology for me. Punishing people does not make for a better society. Prevention is a much better use of our tax dollars.

I'd love to be able to be objective. Lately, I find myself surfing for more evidence to back up my beliefs -- see, yeah, Harper's evil man! I only talk politics with people I know who share my views. I accuse my old man for being so blinded by his beliefs that he can't even see the truth. And yet, this will be me before too long. Not good.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Ranty Blogpost




K, I guess this blog is chalk-full of rants. I love getting worked up about any number of things. Inner peace, I'm putting you on hold for a minute while I rant about ethics tonight.

I can't stand scammers. First a big caveat -- I am not a saint, many people would consider some of my behaviour incredibly unethical. They are not me. And no one should judge. Fine. But I've got to get this off my chest.

It really burns me to see people working the system, trying to get something for nothing. Tonight I heard a fellow public servant brag about working only one hour per day. He's proud of the fact that he purchased a brand new SUV he didn't need so he could have it shipped overseas and back on the fed's dime for a 2-yr foreign assignment, just so he could avoid paying taxes. He's proud of this. It turns my stomach. Someone ends up paying asshole! What is it about cheating that's so appealing? Maybe this guy feels like he's really stickin' it to the man? Problem is, it becomes a way of life, you don't even realize you're doing it anymore and you pass it on to your kids.  Also, think of the wasted time inventing new ways to scam the system. And in turn, society has to invest in anti-fraud -- people, policies, technology. I sound completely polly-anna here when I say that if everyone just did the right thing because it was the right thing to do .... I can't even finish my sentence. It's hopeless.

Next time this dude brags about his scams, I'm going to voice my objection. He won't change, but at least he'll know that not everyone thinks that this is cool.

Depressed

A friend of mine who is clinically depressed told me that he's going through a particularly bad bout of depression lately. It was so bad the other night that he couldn't get suicidal thoughts out of his head. Hearing him say that scared the shit out of me. Don't do it! Was all I could say. How comforting is that for someone who sees no other way out of the darkness. I was completely sympathetic, knowing full well how unbearably hopeless it can feel. And then part of me was angry that he laid that on me. I have a hard enough time dealing with my own neurosis. I don't even know him well enough to understand what's causing his pain. And frankly it's not my responsibility. But then we owe it to each other to be there during the tough times. Friendships aren't all sunshine and rainbows afterall. Thankfully he appears to be on the mend. Here's hoping that the next time the wave of depression smacks him down, I'll be better able to throw him a line.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I'm just glad it's over





Those are the words my 7 year old uttered when I asked him how Hallowe'en went at school. He was so jazzed up about his Willy Wonka costume, only it was lame (essentially a bathrobe, top had and goggles) and no one knew what he was and it broke my heart to see his disappointment. I want Hallowe'en to be one of his favourite days of the year. But it was a good lesson nonetheless -- a tough lesson that we've all learned. Life is full of disappointments. Don't look forward to something too much because you will be let down. Homemade costumes suck. K, well maybe not the last one. But putting yourself out there is risky. My boy did not want to just put on a pre-made costume, he wanted to be creative. And for that I should be proud. They are showing more and more independence every day. I'd love to shelter them from disappointment, but it's better to just let them fly (and crash a little). Next year I'll just help him out a bit, but not too much.

Be careful what you wish for ...

The day has finally come, my manager is moving on and I will likely be moving up ... or at least sideways. Change that I've been praying for is here. So why am I not relieved? I feel like shit. I feel anxious. There are no more excuses. I have to make this work -- my neck is on the line. It was so convenient to have a scape goat before. It's awful, but true. I'm scared shitless and just want to hide under my desk.
K, I know I can do this. There's no other way to move then up, which is great. It would be even more challenging to have to fill big shoes. I know I can motivate the team to achieve great things. It's just so fucking daunting. Bleh.
Good lesson here to be careful what you wish for!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coke is not it

A good friend of mine asked me at break today why I drink diet Coke and I really never questioned it before -- I like the taste, it's low cal and I need the caffeine hit in the afternoon. But then I started to think about the corporation behind the beverage. Who am I supporting with my Coke habit? How hypocritical am I to bash the likes of Walmart and MacDonald's, while sipping my beloved Coke.
It took only 10 mins of research tonight to remind myself that Coca-cola are not exactly good corporate citizens. Here are just a few highlights:

They sell a product that's largely the cause of obesity and diabetes.
Drinks sold in poorer countries (where regulations are easily bought) have higher levels of sugar affecting the health of the most vulnerable
They aggressively market to children, especially in schools by selling exclusivity contracts to school boards who are desperate for funding.
They own Disani bottled water which exploits local water supplies and creates millions of tons of garbage.
They are the fathers of brand management, having spent billions of dollars marketing a product they don't produce. Manufacturing is outsourced to deregulated off-shore suppliers who are free to commit a host of anti-union violence and human rights abuses. This is complicity at its worst.

OK then. Time to walk the talk D. Coke is out. xx

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Forgiveness

Beautiful fall day, kids were climbing over pumpkins and running through a corn maze, colours abounded, three happy faces basked in the sunshine... and the camera batteries were dead. I was disappointed but I put the camera away and enjoyed watching the kids play in real time. The best part was having my partner remind me that he was glad that it was me and not him and that he was not upset with me for forgetting to check the camera. Yes, had it been him, I would've torn a strip off of him. I'm grateful that he is not a tyrant and takes life's little bumps in stride. Good awareness moment for me too. I hold others to a much higher standard than I do myself, which is why I often feel let down. It's like I'm looking to be disappointed instead of accepting that everyone has their faults and that's the beauty of life. xx

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Time for some gratitude

Money, I never feel like we have to sacrifice and for that I am eternally grateful. I don't need to take a part time job delivering pizzas to pay the bills. We're both at the top of our game and we're living within our means. Thank you universe. When my partner starts complaining about how behind we are compared to our peers, I just ignore. Those financial magazines want you to despair about your future so that you'll buy their shitty investments. No thanks. We're doing great.


My kids are sweethearts. Yes, I know all parents feel this way about their offspring. Unlike my parents, I can say that I really love them for who they are, not for what they achieve. Yesterday when my 7 year old was wrestling in our blankets with his sister, he told my 2 year old "feel free to join in anytime you want." It warms my heart when they are nice to eachother without prompting. I'm very proud and very grateful because I don't think they learned this from my partner and I. In fact at times, they are my example of kindness. I'm grateful for that too.


Music. K, it's not something I'm typically grateful for, but I've found lately (especially when working from home) that it really helps stabilize my mood. It lifts my spirits, inspires many family kitchen dances, keeps me running when I'm ready to stop, puts me in the zone for work and does wonders in the bedroom :-P. Music nurtures my soul and I'm grateful for having expanded my musical taste in the past three years. I look forward to discovering much more great music.


Wow, that was fun for a Saturday night!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Getting a Job

I attended a workshop on landing the perfect job the other day and although the material was not earth-shattering, I realized that I spend way more time whinging about not having a great job instead of just preparing for the job I want. For example, I've never sat down and asked myself "What is the most interesting and unique thing about me that will allow the assessor to see how I will contribute?" I know what my strengths are, but I haven't practiced my zinger response.

Here's another thing I learned --going into an interview, I'll know that I'll be asked to answer a 'tell me about a time' question. And yet it always takes me by surprise. I should have a list of stories to pull from that can apply to many typical situations -- difficult client, changing requirements, competing priorities, etc. And from what I recall, my answer rarely covers how you're supposed to tackle those questions: 1. explain the situation 2. describe your role 3. state your actions 4. provide the result. Makes sense. I should really think about having a few of these ready, the next time that I interview (which has been over a year now sadly). I love practicing -- sports, hobbies, even work scenarios. I may not have my dream job just yet, but I can have fun practicing for it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I want ...

Unfortunately I haven't quite learned my lesson that 'wanting is bad'. The line is often blurred between wants and needs and I end up accumulating so much useless shit that I end up hating myself for wanting it in the first place. A good friend of mine suggested listing your wants and letting them simmer to make sure that they are true wants instead of consumerist impulses. We all need 'things' to some extent. I just need to make sure I'm buying things for the right reasons, not because I expect them to addess a void that cannot be filled by things.

So here goes, what do you want D?

1. organization: I need better ways to organize my life. "A place for everything" means I am not wasting my day turning the house upsidedown and yelling at everyone because I cannot find my head. In my mind, there is a landing station for mail, homework and charging devices. It has both form and function. I have already wasted a lot of time trying to find this organizational panecea and the DIY one pictured here is definitely not it.

2. scrap books: I need to carve out some time to just DO THIS. My sister's forever showing off her photobooks, I should just hand her a USB stick and $200 and be done with it. Problem here is that I want the joy of accomplishing this, yet I have no artistic abilities. I also want this to be publisher-quality, not windows clip-arty.

3. a professional wardrobe: I just need a few select pieces that will transform me from office scank to sophisticated go-getter. Problem here is that I'll end up buying uncomfortable suit jackets and other dry-clean-only numbers that will just collect dust in my closet. Again, I want something that doesn't exist.

4. I can't think of anything else that I want, except for love, respect and rommance. But alas, even if I had them I'd probably want more.

Get a maid, save your marriage

I feel like everyone I know, save my parents, has a housekeeper. With three young kids, how can you not? is the reaction I typically get. The cost is my main prohibitor -- $120 is a new pair of shoes. I work really hard to pinch pennies. How can I justify paying someone to do something I am just too lazy to do? It's not like I'm doing hundreds of hours of volunteerism, studying for my masters or training for a marathon with my free time. I will likely waste more time watching TV and surfing if I don't have to clean. Plus I will unrealistically expect the house to be spotless if I am paying someone to clean it. Then again, it will get done and my partner and I will stop resenting each other for not doing their part. He certainly helps with the day-to-day dishes, sweeping, tidying. But the big jobs get neglected by both of us, until it gets embarrassingly bad.

What to do? I'd suggest giving it a 'try' but unfortunately once you go there, you just can't go back. Perhaps if I try to prioritize and organize my time better, I will feel less guilty for how I'm using my free time and feel more deserving of a housekeeper.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street



This demonstration against corporate greed and lack of accountability both on wall street and in government makes me shudder. It's the G20 all over again. And it will produce the same outcome -- hundreds of innocent people will have their rights (rights to freedom of expression and association) stripped from them, the police will use unnecessary force to shut down dissension, the media will portray the protesters as a bunch of hippie anarchists and the rest of the world won't bat an eye. It makes me SICK.
So, what am I going to do about it? Pull my money out of the big bank? Sell my financial sector investments? Write a letter to my MP? SIGH. I will do nothing about it. My money is safer in the bank then under my mattress. The financial sector as evil as they are are make a shit load of money and are less risky then depleted resource of volatile tech companies. And I'm not even sure what I would say to my MP about commercial finance in Canada (we're more regulated thankfully). No, I suck. My heart is with those that are occupying wall street though. And unfortunately that's where my support starts and ends. Maybe I can do my part to raise awareness of what caused the financial crisis and also draw attention to the fact that no one has been held accountable for it. No one! xx

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hormonal Hell

I feel like I'm 12 again because it's the first time in a long time that I'm tracking my menstrual cycle -- not because I want to get pregnant, but so that I can better understand how hormones are affecting my mood. I also feel obliged to warn my partner. Today was a crazy day. It started out with a bang -- I awoke from the happiest dream and everything at work was perfect. But then I started to cramp up. By the end of the day I felt anxious and annoyed, let-down, tired and depressed. While everyone was getting dinner ready, I was sitting in the dark in my closet for nearly half an hour. What is wrong with me? And then I checked my calendar. So I took some ibuprofen, did some yoga, pigged out on chocolate and put on some Glee and now I feel much better. I wish I was more body-aware like my partner. What's causing these waves of depression? My circumstances, thoughts, hormones or all of the above.
Another factor could very well be the universe. A friend of mine noticed that she and I were having problems communicating recently. I had noticed as well, but could not explain it. In fact all my relationships were strained. And then she told me that Mercury was in retrograde. It happens three times a year and affects some people quite severely. I know very little about Astrology, but from what I've read this period is marked by personal misunderstandings flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications and negotiations. By Aug 23, I was supposedly back to normal. It won't be back again until Nov. 24th -- will be interesting to see if I am causing the behaviour because of my knowledge of the retrograde or if the retrograde provokes the change.
Well, good thing about tonight is that I put on a brave face (after I got out of the closet) and talked myself out of my darkness. Here's hoping that tomorrow is brighter. xx

Monday, September 26, 2011

Karma, why are you always on my ass?

No sooner do I toot my own horn about what a great single parent I am and how easy it was to take care of everything while my partner was on business, then Karma shows up to bitch slap me in the face with another business trip. WTF!!
Thankfully this one won't be as long. But why get me when I'm down? I need a break. Did I not show enough appreciation? I adore the kids, but I miss not having the freedom to just leave the house. I miss not having someone to defer to when I am not up to task. I miss not having the choice to be irresponsible. This sucks ass. BUT I do know for sure that I can do it alone and that I'll probably be stronger for it too.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcome Home!

I'm really big on letting people I care about know when they've been missed. I think we all deserve a hero's welcome when we've been away from home. I'm glad you're back. I missed you. If feels nice to know that you matter to someone else, that your absence affected them in some way. It doesn't have to be fancy (although I'll never forget how special I felt when an old boyfriend picked me up at the airport with flowers). It just has to be sincere. I even let colleagues know I'm glad to have them back in the office. Think of the good vibes you get when dear pet greets you at the door, especially after you've had a shitty day.

For me welcoming someone home is right up there with wishing them on their birthday. A birthday wish says "I'm happy that you were born." I've taken it upon myself to wish all my friends, family and colleagues, regardless if they wish me. I suppose people figure that aging past certain milestones should not be celebrated. Not me. I hope the kids learn from my example. I know that tomorrow they will adorn their dad with hugs and kisses and that it will be straight from the heart. I can't wait to see it for myself.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You Can Do It!

I deserve a gold star, if I don't say so myself. I survived two weeks of single parenthood and did a bang up job. Not only did I do my partner's regular chores -- baths, teeth, reading, garbage and dishes, but I also got down on the ground and PLAYED with the kids. We wrestled, did acrobatics, biked, baked, did crafts, played floor hockey, sang, danced. I don't know what I was dreading because it was FUN. The discipline was tough because I forgot how much I defer to my partner. I also missed not getting a break until after 10 pm and I missed exercise. But what a great experience to show me how capable I truly am and to make me grateful for having a super partner to share the load. I had forgotten about this since running the half last year -- the old adage is true -- "you can do anything you put your mind to".

I want, I want, I want

I spent a lot of time this week going off on how crappy my life is. "I want what they have." "I want my partner to do that to me." "I want simplicity". "I want to not want money."
How about wanting what you have D? Because what I have is pretty amazing. I don't even have to compare my life to the rest of the world to realize how good I have it. Appreciate. It's all about perception. If you're content with what you have, you have no reason to want anything more and surprise surprise you realize that you are indeed HAPPY!

Progress

It really burns me to see people pushing their beliefs and lifestyle on others especially when what they are selling is a load of horse shit. I feel it's particularly irresponsible to convince those in under-developed countries that our way of life is the ideal. Just look at how well we've exported our plastic garbage, manufactured entertainment, and selfish profit motive overseas. In doing so, we've messed with their perception of happiness and created in them a burning desire for materialism and consumerism. And they have no idea of all the dysfunction that emanates. This is not to say that we should not be grateful for the rights, freedoms and opportunities we have. We are fortunate in so many ways. But there's also a dark side to wealth. And we hide it so well -- the waste, the debt, the exploitation, the meds, the destruction.

When I hear others singing the praises of 'progress', I want so badly to cast a spotlight on the other side. A balanced viewpoint would curb people's enthusiasm for our destructive lifestyle. Perhaps it's just human nature to want what you don't have. I just feel like they are impressionable and that we are corrupting their spirit. Instead, we are the ones that need to take a page out of their lifestyle and learn from their simplicity, connection to nature and altruism.

This isn't a particularly uplifting post tonight, but I needed to get this out of my head before I go ape shit on my French prof again. Progress is not building a 900km highway in Africa, it's feeding and educating the planet.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stay-at-home parenting

What would our lives be like if I took a leave of absence from work and stayed at home with the kids? Visions of breaking up fights, wracking my brain for ideas to entertain them and being driven mad with their whining and fussing immediately come to mind. But then there's the connection that only comes from spending time together. I would get to experience every milestone with them. I'd be there after a rough day at school. I wouldn't feel like I am shirking my parenting responsibilities on daycare. I'd have time to take care of everyone, including myself. It seems simple enough. My youngest is still young enough to make it worth while. DO IT!
But then there's the part of me that identifies with my job. I am more than someone's mother. I have my own thing going on. Work is also my escape. I like the money too, even if half goes to daycare. And yet I know that I will have regrets about not doing this. The kids need me now, not when we finally pay off our debt. What to do? Nothing. Not brave enough.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Obligation

I keep going back and forth on the virtues of relationships. Monogomy keeps us grounded and helps us grow as we overcome adversity together. But it also makes us painfully unhappy. My married friends complain that they hate feeling obligated to make their partners happy, to have to do things for them, to get shit for forgetting about their anniversary, and to always worry about how their actions will affect their partner's feelings. They're tired of living "the dream".

This is precisely why I dislike asking my partner to do anything for me. If he doesn't want to do it of his own free will, than I am nothing more than a ball and chain. I don't ever want to be any body's fucking ball and chain. I hear this on a regular basis from my partner -- you're the one that wanted kids, not me. Fuck you! What a cop out. I feel like I'm the one that pressured him into this marriage and am holding a gun to his head to stay. GO! PLEASE, JUST LEAVE. Be free. Stop making me feel like a prison warden.

The thing about unconditional love is that you want to do your best by the other person. It makes you happy to do things for them. You have a genuine concern for their feelings. It hurts to see them hurt. You remember your anniversary because it was one of the happiest days of your life. This is the real thing. Or is it just a woman talking from her own female perspective?

Relationships, who needs 'em! Grrr

Monday, September 12, 2011

The MIM

I never thought I'd say this about academics, but I'm thinking of doing my Masters (in information management). So many thoughts running through my head -- first up, why do I want this? What will it really give me that I don't already have? It will give me credentials and the confidence to do not only my job, but practically any job in my field. That is, if the program is as good as others claim. An MBA seemed like a natural progression from my B.Comm, but I just couldn't see myself doing more boring case studies and spewing mgmt theory bullshit. Plus it's a saturated market and everyone knows how annoying know-it-all MBAs are. The MIM is a new program at Dalhousie -- it's the right combination of librarianship, IT, records management and business analysis. I think it will fill in my knowledge gaps nicely and give me the edge I need to stay on top of my game.

So what's holding me back? The commitment: part time studies will put a strain on my family. My partner will resent having to do more, the kids will see their mother less, I'll have to give up socializing, exercise and downtime spent reading, surfing and watching TV. Our lives will suck for three years. Is the pay off really worth it?

Assuming my partner agrees to let me do this (big IF), how can I minimize the pain? Some ideas: look for small windows of study time (e.g. in the early morning, at work during lunch, while I'm waiting for the kids at their activities). Take a pay cut to work fewer hours. Make more efficient use of my time doing chores. Get a maid. Buy prepared meals or order take out once in a while. Ask my parents or in laws for help with the kids -- taking them to their activities, picking them up after school, etc. Make it up to my partner (he already gets enough sex, but I could try a bit harder to please him, oh brother).

I feel like my mind is already made up and that I will do this. I'm not worried about failing because I'm a good student and I have a pretty sound knowledge base in IM. K, sign me up. Halifax here I come!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Intoxicating New Love

Listed to the most fascinating interview with Sarah Polly on Q last night. She had a lot to say about relationships in regards to her latest film which I can't wait to see. What really stuck in my head was her take on why new love is so intoxicating. She said that a new relationship gives you the opportunity to reinvent yourself. You see yourself through your lovers eyes. And since they don't really know you yet, they only see the good. You get to wash away all the bad -- the things you don't like about yourself. You get to revel in their love of you, the very best you. The disappointment that we experience once the lustre wears off is the bad that inevitably returns and we are once again forced to live with our old selves. This really struck a chord. I've heard people say that they love how their lover makes them feel about themselves. And although it rings true, I don't like to admit that because it seems awfully selfish. What about the person you supposedly love -- isn't it their wonderful qualities that you cherish?

I think we are attracted to people who have qualities we'd like to see developed in ourselves. We emulate them and are grateful that they bring out our best. When I think back to our early days, I remember being impressed with how laid back my partner was. Nothing upset him. I wanted to have that too and his serenity was contagious. I also loved that he appreciated what I thought were my worst character flaws. As selfish as it sounds, I fell in love the day he told me that he loved how out-spoken I was. Of course, I am now the more laid back between the two of us and he's done an about face.

Back to Sarah's sentiment. She said that people who crave new love are usually insecure. This too I have heard before. I thought that it had to do with the need for attention. But it makes more sense to me when I think about it in terms of new love giving you the opportunity to ignore your imperfections, albeit temporarily. Hey, if we just loved ourselves more, faults and all then maybe we'd be satisfied in our long term relationships.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I can't say enough good things about your partner

Come again? Twice in one week someone has told me about how great a soccer coach my partner is. His passion for the game is genuine and he's amazing with kids so it shouldn't be a surprise to hear other people singing his praises. But they're not just talking about his coaching, they think he's an AMAZING GUY. WTF?
I'm grateful for the perspective -- appreciate what you have D and what you have is pretty darn good. But then I'm also resentful that I get the shitty end of the stick. I often quietly watch my partner in public -- he's so engaging with others and his smile and laughter is so infectious. I want to be with THAT guy! -- not the miserable, cold and demanding jack ass that is my partner. The same is true for me. I am sweet as pie with others, even more so since my niceness manifesto. And I am a complete bitch at home -- miserable, cold and demanding. *Sigh*. Is this what marriage has done? We used to bring out each other's best. Our private time together was bliss. Now we are one in the same -- UNHAPPY. I'm clearly getting what I'm giving. But I'm too tapped out and stubborn to try and turn this around.
For now, I'll take this as a sign from the universe to cut him some slack, let go of resentment and just open my eyes to see the good person in front of me. Thank you universe.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making Nice

This is still a new way of life for me, being considerate of other people's feelings, resisting the urge to criticize, putting peace ahead of the need to be right. I can see it working in some of my relationships. Friends and colleagues seem more at ease with me and I like the feeling of being in people's good books. But then there's the real D on the inside who wants to tear a strip off her partner and hurt his feelings to feel good. I worry that my niceness is just a cover-up and that the real me will explode with words that cannot be taken back.

Some would argue that it's just plain old honesty and that we should be strong enough to take the bad with the good. I'm not so sure. Criticism builds resentment which erodes relationships. Sure, in the heat of the moment, you give your partner room to 'let you have it' and you don't take it personally when they are frustrated. But some of it sticks and continues to hurt and also builds up over time.

Even though there's bile bubbling up inside me, the small victories give me hope that this could stick. Take today, we drove all the way out to Michael's to use a coupon on two frames. I bought the first one and returned to the car so that my partner could by the 2nd one (limit one per customer? pshaw! yes, I am THAT cheap - I am my Dad). Typically, he bought the wrong one (even after I showed him which one to buy) and I didn't realize this until we were home. I did make a big stink about it, so I can't say that I'm converted (my sister would've quietly returned it without a word). But what I didn't do was get personal (e.g. why does this always happen, I can't count on you, you are such a fuck up, etc.). K, that last one even I wouldn't say. When I pointed out the error, he laughed, acted all silly, made the kids laugh and I had a good chuckle too. Much better!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Your passion will pull you into what you are good at

I'm torn between exposing my kids to a variety of interests to help them find something they will enjoy and be good at and just letting them continue with sports that they suck at, but still enjoy. The opening of this article is a good example of a mother who continued to let her child follow her dream, knowing well enough that her passion would pull her into what she was really good at.
I've got to check my competitiveness at the door here. You can still enjoydoing something, even if you're not as strong as your teammates. My son reminded me of that today -- defensive players don't score, so why do I keep asking him how many goals he's scored? I am the one that sucks!
This is my own childhood neurosis rearing its ugly head. My parents wouldn't let me quit figure skating because they valued hard work and commitment. I on the other hand, want my kids out at the first sign of difficulty. You find ballet too challenging? Let's find you something else you'll be good at. Maybe I should be encouraging them to stick it out ... how else do you learn the value of hard work? I've got to let my kids lead on this. There are plenty of things we can learn without having to take lessons. Have faith that they will discover their talents D.

Under the bus



I've got to stop the habbit of throwing my partner under the bus when telling a story. It's like I feel as if everyone is waiting for me to give them some dirt, so I spice up my story by dissing my partner in exchange for a few laughs. This is especially true with my other mommy friends -- we really cut up our partners. And then I feel awful afterwards because he doesn't desserve it and because he would never do that to me and because I know that I embellished for effect. Ugh. Golden Rule D. I'm going to work on this.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bickering



I really hate it when couples bicker in public. For example, he's telling a story, she interrupts because he's got some insignificant detail wrong -- "it wasn't Tuesday, it was Wednesday". He disagrees, she belabours the point. The listeners are sitting there feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed. More wine anyone? I think I hear my daughter calling me from the bathroom to wipe her bum. I joke, but this kind of bickering is just another way that resentment builds in a relationship. It's as if we need to put our partners in their place by correcting them. Being stopped short in the midst of a story really takes the wind out of your sails too. When I'm listening to someone else, I expect that they will embellish a little to keep my interest. When the spouse interrupts, I'm as put off as the story-teller.

I think that I'm particularly sensitive because I used to do it all the time myself. But once I realized it and pointed it out to my partner, we now both made a conscience decision to resist correcting one another in public. Now, if we could do this in private too, life would be a lot more peaceful. I guess that's what I really want, more than affection even -- PEACE in my relationships. My folks fought all the time and I know that I'm a fighter too. Not anymore. I'm really glad that with this habit at least, I'm at the point that I can see it in others and be grateful that it's behind me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Keeping it under wraps

I'm way too expressive with my emotions and I can see how it often hurts my career. Like right now, I'm working on an impossible task and I feel completely over-whelmed. My manager wants to see confidence --that he's assigned this to the right person. And all I can do is procrastinate and complain. There's no getting out of this either. It HAS to get done by an internal resource. I am the fucking schmuck! This classification structure and retention schedule (yes, I am still working on it) is so daunting. Here's what I'm up against.

I've never done this before. No one at my company has ever done this before. It hasn't been done since 1962. Many have tried, but no one has succeeded. I'm not even sure it's the right thing to do. We tell our end users that we are at risk for keeping information longer than we need it. We're not compliant, we're spending too much money storing info that has no value, the crap pollutes our search results, takes up valuable office space and needs to be dealt with. Really? Paper needed to be dealt with otherwise you would run out of physical space. But why not just buy more storage? Figure out what needs to be kept in 'active' storage, give users a way to mark "the thing" and move the rest to some other area where it can still be accessed, but it won't cloud your view of the world. The 'thing' is basically the FINAL document -- the one that provides the best evidence of what you've done. It's not even the stuff I write. It's the document that gets approved by someone important. The rest is 2nd rate and should be deleted whenever, or not!

K, I digress. My trepidation: nothing I come up with will ever be complete. How can I account for every single shit scrap of information that is produced? I'd need to consult with everyone and no one will agree because it's too late -- everyone describes information differently. There is no perfect classification scheme in the sky.

I've got to figure out a way out of this somehow. Who likes working on loser projects? I need a winner. Maybe I just wrap it up and say look -- I did this much on my own using research. It's a starting point. You want to make it better, then give me a team and we'll take it on the road. Give me a technology we can put it into and then we can be done with it. I've got to stop feeling like it's all my responsibility. Perfectionism is stifling me.

K, I know what I have to do.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pooka






My cat died yesterday and I'm not as upset as I should be. She's lived with my parents for the past 11 years, so I'm not feeling the sense of loss as deeply as they are and this makes me feel heartless.


I will miss her though. She was a real class act as far as cats go. Look at her here, even as a kitten, sitting pretty. We were single girl and cat. And I'll never forget how she comforted me during those lonely years. She also really helped my folks deal with their empty nest and gave my Mom the unconditional love and affection that had been missing in her life for years. Mom especially is not taking this well. I'm touched that my Dad is sad too. You don't realize how integral someone is to your life until they are gone. They'd give anything to have her back. This really sucks. RIP my sweet little Pooka.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I like that she is tall






My son asked me to name something about my partner that I liked, so I rhymed off a dozen or so things that immediately came to mind. He seemed to be having fun asking me to keep naming things and I was touched by this sweet family moment -- that is until he asked my partner the same question. Not one for expressing feelings, my partner stumbled awkwardly in front of us, wracking his brain for anything. "I like that she is tall" was all he could come up with, followed by "I like that she got rid of her cat when I moved in." And finally "I like that she won't be mad at me later because I can't think of anything." Sorry. I got mad. I got hurt. I got mad some more. His pathetic lame ass attempt was inexcusable. But then, after I tore a strip off of him and looked at his sad face, I remember that it truly is a handi-cap. He cannot express love. He doesn't know how. I knew it before we got married and I chose to live without it. I chose this. I can't forget that. I also have to remember that it's a small sacrifice considering everything else that we have going -- three little souls that fill my heart with love everyday. I like that she is tall -- it actually makes me laugh it's so pathetic. Thank goodness all men are not this clueless, although I think my dear partner is not alone here. I'll love myself more and keep giving what I want until the law of attraction kicks in. Who knows what could happen. xx

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Ideal Job

Before I return "Take Time for Your Life", I want to jot down a few take-aways. When my friends and I whinge about work, we often end up asking ourselves -- "k, what is it you want then?" Huh? There's a lot of pressure to find your calling -- to be doing the job you are most ideally suited to --the one that will allow you to give more than you get, and make you enjoy it so much that it won't even feel like work. With so much of our lives spent working, it's only normal to keep questioning how we're spending our time. So when I read this list of job criteria, it helped me realize that the ideal job is more than working in a hot field for lots of money.
  • Work must never cause me to compromise my integrity. Check!
  • The required hours must allow me to have a life outside of work. Check!
  • My contribution must be acknowledged and appreciated.
  • The work must be challenging and fulfilling. (what is fulfilling exactly?)
  • I must have an opportunity to use my best talents and gifts fully.
  • I must be able to provide my input for important decisions. Check!
  • My work must serve a greater purpose. Check!
  • I must be paid fairly for the work I perform. Check!
That's pretty decent! And a few of those are almost there. I feel much better about my job, having looked at it with a different perspective. Once again, things are never as bad as they seem.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Constructive Criticism

I'm reminded of some sage advice from the book "How to win friends and influence people" -- don't criticize, ever. Tonight I approached my partner about an email he wrote to our friends to cancel a camping trip we had planned with them for next weekend. The email was all business and showed no sign of remorse. It's not how I would have handled things. In fact I thought he was going to call them. Of course what's done is done. I have no idea how they feel about it, but if it were me receiving that email, I would've been pissed. So I spoke up. I even thought about how I could gently put it to him without sounding critical. And I fell flat on my face. He got all angry and defensive and told me that if I didn't like how he handled it, then I should've done it myself. Ugh. I SUCK at constructive criticism. Even as the words left my mouth, I knew it would be a mess. Why did I feel compelled to say anything. They are HIS friends afterall. Now he's pissed and I feel like crap. It was hardly a fight, but it really got me thinking about criticism and if there ever is an appropriate time to 'correct' someone. No, there is not. The world is critical enough without having to hear it at home too.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to be convincing

I finally have the ear of my Bosses Boss and I'm struggling to get him to see things my way. He's a super busy exec and doesn't have much time or patience for the IM problem which has traditionally been our defense for getting funding for IM -- the loss of corporate memory, legal risk or disposing of the wrong information, the invasion of privacy of disclosing personal info, etc. So I've got to figure out what he wants and show him that my suggestions are the only viable solution. So much fucking pressure!
The other part of me doesn't want to care. Put myself out there, only to be slammed. He's an IT guy, IM is a thorn in his side that I'm sure he'd love to be done with it. How did we go from a budget of 1 million to less than 20% of that? How did we go from a team of 7 to 4? It's pointless. I'm horrible with rejection too. When I really care about something and put myself out there, I can't help but take it personally when my ideas go no where. But then again, I should take a risk. If I don't make a case for change that I really believe in then I have no right to complain. I got up early this morning to outline the business case that was swimming around in my head last night. I'm going to do this.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In love

A couple of male co-workers were talking about how easy it is to tell when a woman stops loving you. Apparently we are so obvious about our love -- we hang on their every word, laugh at all their jokes, touch them all the time, act silly, smother them with affection ... oh please!
And when the bubble pops, it's all business -- "I'm fine". I tried to argue that it was not the end of love, but the end of the honeymoon phase. Of course neither of these bachelors have ever gotten past puppy love, so it's no wonder they don't know what I'm talking about. I sometimes wonder if I know what I'm talking about. I look at other couples who have been together a while and I can't see any of these signs of love and I wonder if their private moments are different. But then for others, I can see a certain glimmer between them. He lights up when she walks in the room, she proudly talks about something great that he's done, he hurries to her side to help her with something, she admiringly smiles at him from across the room, he rushes back to his desk to answer her email, she posts pics of them together on FB. I can tell when it's still there. *sigh*

Monday, August 15, 2011

You have a big heart

Really? A friend of mine told me this today and she's someone whose opinion I trust. WTF though. No one has ever said that about me. Ever. In fact I don't think of myself as someone who has a lot of empathy and cares about other people's feelings. But I guess my desire to be more like this is finally starting to work? Even though it was shocking, it was nice to hear. Wow, I have a big heart. ♥

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Balanced Life


We've all heard about how important it is to achieve balance in order to have a fulfilling life. But I never stopped to think about why until reading a book my Intuitive recommended --

Take Time for Your Life. There's not a lot new there that hasn't been covered in other self-help books, but there are plenty of suggestions on how to restore balance. This made sense to me: when your life is balanced you are more easily able to handle change that occurs in one area of your life, because you have the others to support you. My best example was a past relationship -- my then boyfriend was my world. I had stopped spending time doing the activities I loved, I had lost my close friendships and was devoting way too much time to the relationship. So it's no wonder that I fell apart at the seams after we broke up. Same thing goes for work. I spend way too much time thinking about work when I am not working. I would likely fall apart should my career unexpectedly change for the worse.

My life is fairly balanced today, but I could stand to devote more time to spiritual practice and fun and adventure. I look forward to making some adjustments because this idea of balance sounds very comforting.

What drains you?



Putting up and putting off -- these two acts are what drains us the most according to the book Take Time for Your Life. I always thought that having a 'To Do' list would allow me to be more efficient with my time. However what inevitably happens is that it's a reminder of what I am not doing. Even the innocuous tasks that don't require much effort, when left ignored act as a tiny sieves of your energy. I can choose to take action, bit by bit or re-prioritize. 'Someday' is not a bad thing as every task cannot be high priority.
The same goes with putting up with difficult people -- the needy friends, the negative co-workers, the depressed family members. They put chinks in your armour which wear you down. Unfortunately these can be harder to deal with. But it's not impossible. Emotional barriers help. Letting others know what your priorities are works too. Last night I reminded my partner that time alone to read was important for me to wind down before bed. It's not something I'm always consistent with, so I understand his confusion, but I'm making it a priority. I can also eliminate tasks that drain me by committing to fewer things that suck my energy and give me little joy in return. It means that I may have to let go of control and just get a house cleaner. But I think it will restore my energy which will make everyone happier in the end.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'll shift your perceptions for you...



I remember being quite confused when someone told me that perception was reality and that happiness was something I already had, even though I was in the throes of depression. But I let it simmer for a while and tried to see if I could talk myself into happiness using positive thinking, the law of attraction and gratitude. Those are definitely useful tools, but the underlying unhappiness always seems to come back. And that's perfectly normal.  According to this book, the Myth of Stress, heaping positive thinking on top of negative thoughts does not work -- changing your beliefs is your only hope. The book takes a cognitive approach to emotions with a basic belief that our thoughts are at the centre of our being. Shift your perceptions and suddenly everything is a little brighter. A good friend of mine is particularly adept at doing this -- challenge your beliefs by holding what you think makes you miserable under the microscope, put yourself in the other person's shoes, think of something worse and get yourself out of your funk.

I was a bit skeptical at first because everyone seems to have some kind of gimmicky methodology to sell that will fix your problems. But this book's tool appealed to my sense of logic and need for process. The exercise is designed to help you challenge stressful beliefs. You start by stating something that you think is causing you stress -- e.g. "She should see things my way". You write down how that makes you feel, how you react and rate the degree to which you believe the statement to be true. Then you negate the statement, preface it with "In reality, append "at this time" -- e.g. "In reality, she should not see things my way, at this time" and brain-storm all the reasons why that could be true. In this example "In reality, she should not see things my way, at this time because ... I could be wrong, she has a different set of experiences than I do, I may not have all the facts at hand, there are others who support her view, etc. You go back and rate the original stressor statement and find that it's no longer the source of your pain.

What I find remarkable about this exercise is that the process instantly diffuses my stress. If forces me to see the other side and by doing so I realize that what I thought about I situation may not be true after all. It takes a bit of practice and it's easy to turn it into an exercise in making excuses. But if you keep it constructive and dig deep to the source, it's an effective way at challenging your negative beliefs and essentially removing them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Re-thinking a career change

In my quest for happiness ... or change? I decided a few weeks ago that I should seriously look into event planning as a career option. It appeals to my need to get things done, stay organized and execute a well thought out plan. Events happen on time and then they're over whereas my projects drag on for years and never quite finish. I don't have any experience or credentials but I can feel it in my bones that I would be really good at planning events -- galas, races, conventions, ... the Olympics! I'm almost ready to commit to pursuing this. Except for days like today that remind me I am a complete bitch when I am 'planning' for an event like this camping trip. I run around like a mad woman, barking orders, pulling out my hair, screaming in exasperation. My partner and the kids finally left the house, thank goodness. My loved ones who know me best know that when I am in pre-event mode (be it a party, vacation, important meeting) there is no getting in my way. My stress level is through the roof and no one likes me. Is this the career I really want? Hmmmmm.

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Story - 4th decade

Motherhood is what's defined my 30s. I've been blessed with three amazing children who have enriched my life beyond what I thought motherhood would do to change me. I have them to thank for re-assessing my values, building emotional bonds and striving to lead by example. I'm finally choosing to live my life according to my own rules, listening to my intuition and striving for inner peace. I'm also living with a gentler me -- less abrasive, judgmental and controlling. I care way less about so many things that used to worry me -- especially other people's opinions. I've re-discovered regular exercise to be my life saviour. I'm also more interesting -- I read more, I'm exposed to more subjects, I enjoy hearing about new ideas. I think I'm more balanced.

Now that I'm past the baby stage, I feel ready to take on a new professional challenge. I know that change is just around the corner. Whether it's fulfilling the dream of running my own business or leading a team, I know I'm ready for it. If I were my own Intuitive I'd say that my 40s will see me fulfilling my own needs more, accepting instead of fighting, continuing to love myself and listening to my Wise Self more. My goodness, this sounds like a 40s manifesto. Can't wait to see if I'll be right!

My story - decade #3


I'm not having as much fun journalling my life as thought I would mainly because there's not a lot to say -- nothing memorable stands out. My life looks pretty dull and ordinary. But who knows, the process might give me insight. My twenties were both glorious and heart-breaking. I landed a job as a computer programmer for a high tech giant that gave me the best training and experience a 22 year old could ever hope for. Even though I aspired to be a business analyst, I was told that I needed to do time in the trenches before moving up and for whatever reason, I still haven't landed that dream BA job. At about that time I broke up with my first love to be in another serious relationship with a fellow business student. He was a small town, white bread, adorable, super friendly and sensitive guy and we had instant chemistry. But I was too young to live with my boyfriend in a new city with no other friends. And he was an intimacy junkie that lost interest as soon as the shimmer of new love wore off. It took me a full year to get over our break-up. And of course, the most painful experiences teach us the most. I mourned the loss of our future more than I did our relationship -- marriage, a house and kids. I thought the fighting and lack of intimacy was normal and was so fixated on the prize at the end that I could not see the relationship crumbling before me. I took my relationship baggage and started a new -- travelled, got my own place, learned a new technology, developed new interests, dropped 30 lbs and moved back to my hometown. I partied hard -- dated a lot of scrubs before meeting my partner. By then I was ready to trust again. He was the stability that I needed and we spent lots of time playing vb, golfing, running, cooking. He was and still is my #1 activity companion. My career was in full bloom during the high tech boom. I was an over-priced consultant livin' high on the hog in my very own house. Got married a few months before turning 30 and finally believed that happily ever was possible

My story - decade #2


Even though I feel like an ingrate for pissing all over my upbringing, I'll move onto journalling about the 2nd 10 years because it's always fun to reminisce. The teen years were not fun -- acne, perms gone wild, obsessive crushes, marathon phone calls and rebellious drinking sums it up. My first job in retail at the mall forced me to grow-up and learn to find my own way. It was the first time I got to know people outside of my age/socio/eco demographic -- middle-aged divorcees, party-crazed university students, single parents, Lebanese, French Canadians, Pakistanis. These were real people and I'll never forget them. Figure skating, piano, swimming gave way to shopping, working and boyfriends. I was one of those girls who plunged into serious relationships that lasted years. My first love was five years my senior, Persian and an asshole. But he adored me, his trophy girlfriend (hard to believe I was once sweet and submissive) and we were gaga for each other in spite of the crazy fights. I held on for longer than I should have probably because my parents vehemently disapproved of me dating a Muslim. They never even met him in person FFS. I know that I'm supposed to stop blaming my parents, but we lost of a lot of years and did a lot of damage to our familial relationship. I vow to never kick my kids out and to accept whomever they choose. Definitely found my groove in university amongst other capitalist, vocal Type As in B. School. The awkward puritan teen had become a hot (who wasn't hot in their prime) and confident young woman, ready to take on the business world and make a name for herself.
Wow, when I look back at how different my values were and how juxtaposed my partner is to my first serious boyfriend, it's hard to believe that I'm the same person. But then again, I still act and feel like I'm in my 20s.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Story - First Decade


Here's goes my grand summary of the first ten years:
I was raised in a middle-lower class military family by traditional, non-educated, religious and unhappy parents. Afraid of my Dad's iron fist and unappreciative of my Mom's abdication of self for the sake of mother hood, I was always pushed to excel -- in school, figure skating, the piano, swimming. I don't remember ever stepping out of line other than back talking to my poor mother who did all of the child rearing and household duties while my Dad lost himself in TV and the church. My parents yelled a lot over religion -- my Dad pushing us more and more towards right-wing fundamentalism and my Mom trying desperately to maintain some degree of moderation, although her faith in prayer remains strong today. Both of my parents pinched pennies to invest in our future -- university was not optional and figure skating and piano were meant to provide back-up teaching careers. As such, my clothes were often cheap and out-of-style hand-me-downs. That combined with my awkward nerdiness did not set me at the top of the social ladder. My friends were few, but close. I loved barbies, I loved boys. I daydreamed a lot. My mother still talks about how I needed to be 'pushed' and motivated by dessert ... hence the chubbiness, which did not drop off until puberty. I was also raised to be self conscious of my mixed nationality -- kept indoors in the summer for fear of getting too dark, and suspicious of those who were curious about my nationality, I was instructed to just tell people I was 'Canadian'. I also didn't know that I had two half brothers until I was older because my Mom felt she had shamed her Goan family by marrying a divorcee (which 'til this day, I still don't get). I had an imaginary friend and I was happy in my own world with my own rules, where I was pretty and blond.
Whoa! Lots of childhood neurosis here. But who really looks back with fondness on their childhood? There are a lot of happy memories too -- camping, Christmas, playing in my neighbourhood, even watching TV. My parents did the best they could. My Mom sacrificed her life for us and I feel like an ingrate by cutting up my family life with this post. It was typically dysfunctional in the most non-intrusive and non-damaging way possible. :-)

Journaling

I've been reading a book that strongly recommends journaling your personal history in order to gain some insight on patterns you may not be aware of. It suggests writing about major events in each decade and how they affected me -- when did I feel loved, cherished, angry, betrayed, fully seen and heard? What type of people keep popping up in my life? Who has really influenced me and how? And how have certain parts of my life affected how I carry out my life now?

It can't hurt, although I think my life is pretty nondescript. Thankfully I have not known any real tragedy. Nor have I ever had to do without. I am truly blessed. Writing out my personal story should also give me a better appreciation for all that I've been through. This book even promises a profound sense of self-love. Might as well jump start any therapy I'm headed for. :-)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Three small squeezes



I heard a personal story on DNTO this afternoon that I can't get out of my head. A woman was talking about the first time she told her husband (then boyfriend) that she loved him. She knew he was the one and blurted out her I love you, only it was not reciprocated (ugh, been there!). The rest of their walk home was awkward and silent. When they finally reached home he told her that he loved her as well and had been telling her so for weeks with a small non-verbal gesture -- when they held hands, he would give three little squeezes - I, Love, You. Years later, they still use that gesture to take them back to the early beginnings of their romance, especially when the kids are squirrely in the back seat, he'll reach across and quietly remind his wife that he loves her. I started to cry, it was so sweet. Absolutely beautiful.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Camping



When I heard myself go off on how miserable camping is the other day I couldn't help but wonder why we subject ourselves to this misery. I detest the planning (even though I am a planning freak), the packing, bugs, sweat, grime, discomfort, boredom. It's really not fun. But I know why we do it -- it's the challenge that I enjoy. Sometimes I feel like we are too soft in the city. We need to get away from the comforts of home, even if it's for 3 days a year. We need to connect with nature and disconnect from our amenities. Really, the best part about camping is pulling into our driveway and stepping into our beautiful home after three days of 'roughing it' in the bush. I love the feeling of gratitude that washes over my entire being. Any complaints I have about how messy and run down our house is are instantly replaced with an immense gratitude for a hot shower, comfy bed, clean clothes and yummy supper. It'd be nice if I could just skip the camping and jump straight to the gratitude. I certainly try, but it's not the same feeling as depriving yourself of pleasure and then rewarding yourself afterwards. So that's why we are camping -- it's tough medicine, but it's worth it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What's in the box?

Any day now the SharePoint team is going to traipse over to my desk and ask me what metadata to apply to information stored in SharePoint -- not just the fields (that's the easy part), but the controlled vocabulary too. What's in the drop down box D? Panic attack. I haven't got a clue. I have a better sense of what might work, but I have no idea how to get there. So much pressure to create a bullet-proof solution -- the right combination of terms that will let users find exactly what they are looking for, understand it's raison d'etre and allow us to systematically know when the information is no longer of value and can be removed. Oh, the fucking pressure! I can't go back to the users. It's too humiliating. How many times have we asked them to tell us about what they do, the information they create and use and how long they need it for. So I have to figure this out for the entire company on my own by reading and interpreting confusing legislation that requires focus which is not my specialty. I know I can do this but I don't like doing it and I'm motivated by work that I like. But there's no way out here. My career is on the line. I've got to just put my head down and get through this. Dig deep and interpret the legislation to the best of my ability -- don't be afraid to ask questions and just make a lot of assumptions. It's better than stalling, which is what I've been doing for the last 9 months. Oh the fucking pressure. Gotta take my medicine baby. xx

Monday, July 18, 2011

Losing my religion


My not-so-silent Sunday protest is doing more harm than good unfortunately. The kids see their mother balking the church -- outright ignoring the rituals and even falling asleep (I couldn't help it yesterday). My blatant disrespect is worse than not attending which is ironic because the only reason I go these days is to lead by example. Special thanks to a good friend of mine for helping me realize this today. I've got to make peace with religion -- figure out where I stand and be consistent with my practice or non-practice. Right now I'm really torn between going out of obligation to my partner and his family and bailing. Problem with the latter is that I'm left practicing zero spirituality -- at least as a weekly ritual. Maybe that's the problem. A good friend of mine suggested finding another practice to demonstrate family values -- a round table of gratitude, or brain-storming and doing good deeds together or even saying grace at dinner. I like these ideas, only I know we won't stick to them. Why make this into some kind of public display anyway? Shouldn't my daily behaviour be the best way to demonstrate altruism, patience, empathy, self-discipline? K, stop laughing (crazy lady here talking to my 2 readers out there). I'm done with organized religion. I don't believe in it and I'm not sure what I do believe.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Outdoor Summer Concerts

I'm a late-bloomer when it comes to concerts. Always thought live music was poorly sung, over-priced and crowded. That was until I discovered outdoor summer concerts. Just typing those three words puts a smile on my face. First the weather -- warm with a hint of cool breeze, dark skies, stars, moon ... heaven. Then there's the buzz in the air. Young and old -- people are out to have a good time and their mood is contagious. I love every part of it, even standing in line for a beer with anticipation, debating whether I should double fist it or be lady-like and drink one at a time. Then the show -- the music and effects when done well are mesmerizing. I enjoy watching the band playing with passion and really getting into their act. I enjoy watching the audience bop to the music and sing-along to their fav song. The smell of cigarettes and dope also adds to the ambiance. And luckily for me I get to round out my concert evening by biking home in the dark. FUN! I'm sitting here tonight listening to some 'Deathcab for Cutie' wishing that I had seen them at Bluesfest as well. Sadly, my outdoor summer concert experience is over for another year. It's a definite summer highlight for me that I will always look forward to. Bliss.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Laws of the universe

Even though none of what my intuitive told me five months ago has come true, her advice to 'look for the signs' has really stuck. When I hear of something more than once, I start to pay attention -- this can only be a sign. So tonight when I flicked on the TV, a therapist was telling a patient about the law of attraction. You get what you give. All you need to do is ask. This is the second time this week that I am reminded of this simple and powerful law. So what does it mean to me right now. K -- I feel stuck in my relationships and career. I'm wasting way too much time 'suffering' instead of just being happy. Be happy D. FFS, this constant state of brooding, the continuous complaining about everyone else, it's just got to stop. I can't stand to hear myself go off anymore. I have to take control of my life and force myself to either a) accept (and I mean truly accept) or b) make changes. The universe is giving me more of the same. By focusing on my unhappiness, I am finding more things to be unhappy about. Positive thinking, where are you? What I'd really like to do is forget about putting my happiness at the feet of my boss, or my partner. I'd like to tell them both to fuck off. K, not quite. But I'd like it if I was in my own world and not bothered by what they are doing or not doing. Being happy about myself -- proud of my actions and choices. This is what will bring me happiness.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lady killer

My 2 year old is going to be an amazing lover when he's grown. I can tell by how affectionate he is. First the touching -- he loves to touch women especially their legs and arms. It surprises people at first, but then it becomes rather addictive, his gentle caresses. The female daycare providers even comment on how much they love his touching! Next are the hugs. Those little arms wrapped around my neck fill me with joy. And then the kissing -- my boy loves to kiss people -- full on, straight and centre. He is one Casanova.

Doing what you love

I'm always blown away by people who really know their trade -- who know it, love it and love talking about it. Like tonight, I attended a wine tasting fund-raiser for our community association. Local wine writer Peter Ward was the star of the show. The way he spoke so fondly of his career and love of wines was infectuous. Hearing all his wonderful stories of the wineries he's been to, ineteresting people he's met and wines he's savoured was more enjoyable then the wines themselves. How sweet it was too to see him banter with his lovely wife -- they were such a cute couple, obviously still in love and so happy! Wow. I can only hope that someday I'll feel the same way about my own career and that I'll have a shared history with someone I still love and who still loves me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy Anniversary



"I can't believe we've been married 8 years already (12 since we first met!) - I am the luckiest guy in the world to be married to you. Thank you for everything you do and being who you are. Love."

When I read this on FB today I nearly puked. And then I felt green with envy. While I am happy that my friend is happily married (I know for certain that he is), I know that this kind of public display of devotion will never happen to me. I don't even get it in private. But let's be real, my partner's not feelin' it either so if he ever posted such words, I'd accuse him of an ulterior motive. At least we are honest with our disappointment. I deserve someone to be over the moon about me and be proud to be my partner. This is what I want.

Be back in an hour

Lies. We purposefully underestimate how long something will take to make it seem more saleable. When I tell my partner that I'm running an errand at the mall and will be back in half an hour I know that I am outright lying because it will take me that long in travel time alone. But I lie regardless. When he did this to me this week, I completely lost it. Not only was I caught off-guard with his sudden departure when I was expecting his help with the kids, I felt completely disrespected -- that it was somehow acceptable to ignore my needs and devalue my time. Yes, I blew this WAY out of proportion. But the silver lining here was that it made me realize that I DO THE EXACT SAME THING. I think that my white lie eases the pain of my absence when in fact it only makes things worse because it sets expectations that will not be kept. Another opportunity to improve D. Thank you universe!

The Good Marriage

This is a book that was referred to in another pop-psyche book I'm reading (asside: I've got to invest in reading something different for a change). Apparently this book looked at several successful marriages to see what they had in common. The author's study found that the majority of these relationships put their union as a high priority. They treasured being married. Most also had a romantic relationship -- intense love is what kept them together. That also included lots of sex. According to this book, my relationship is more of a companionship -- lots of commonality and a strong committment to raising a family together. But we've become like brother and sister because of it. And apparently that's typical. Can we get that dose of rommance if we never had it? Not likely. Are we doomed? Time will tell, I guess.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why Men Cheat

Big article in the Citizen this weekend on cheating. Not surprising, men cheat for sex and power. They seek what they are not getting at home. In a related article, a researcher explained that "Cheating has nothing to do with another person looking better -- it has to do with the need for feeling good". Local sex therapist Sue Mc Garvey weighed in to say that roughly "a quarter of women don’t like sex, a quarter can take it or leave it, a quarter want it a couple of times a week, and the remainder would give it once a day. That means that about half of women want sex once a month or less." Yikes, no wonder men cheat. Not fair -- lack of sex does not justify infidelity. Nothing does really. I guess what I don't get is the ignorance -- that people honestly believe that their affair will not end their marriage. Mc Garvey went on to say "Men are loyal. They will go back to the woman who has washed their underwear for the last 20 years." How could you really respect yourself if you allowed your partner to cheat? They will cheat again. I sound pretty self-righteous here. I know there are a million reasons to stay married. I just can't imagine the self loathing I'd feel living the rest of my life with a cheater. This is why I believe that "what you don't know can't hurt you". If 3/4s of men cheat then, wouldn't it'd just be a lot easier for everyone if extra-marital sex was mutually agreed upon? No dishonesty or hurt feelings. Then again, maybe just opt out of the relationship altogether and have sex with as many people as you please?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I want to hold Mommy

When my 2 year old told me this tonight, my heart melted. It's one of the sweetest things anyone has ever told me. I keep re-playing his words in my head. We love our kids regardless of how they feel about us, but being on the receiving end of their affection is a definite parenting perk. I will miss these days. I already miss never having another baby. What made today extra special was that my boy and I really bonded. We played together in the park, one-on-one. I gave him 100% of my attention and did he ever soak it up. It was difficult to ignore the other parents but I am so glad that I played with my child. I've got to do more of this before it's too late. Already my eldest is spending more time on his own or with his friends then with us. Here's my answer right here in front of me. This is how I can give back to the world.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Financial independence


A few times a year I do a financial sanity cheque to make sure we are still on target for our goals -- pay down debt as quickly as possible, live comfortably, save for the future. When it came time to renew our mortgage a few weeks ago my partner suggested upping it by $100 since he got a small raise. Sadly, I had no idea if we could afford that or not -- in fact, I have no idea how much of our income goes towards housing! So I sat down and crunched the numbers and while it would be great to be mortgage free one day, it doesn't eat away as much of our income as I thought it would. And there's no way that one of us could afford to quit our jobs when that fateful day arrives. So what does this pie chart tell me. Vacation is embarrassingly low until the kids get older. They are plenty happy doing little day trips around town, camping or weekends in Mtl -- all of which are super economical. I have not added in rainy day savings because we just drained our emergency fund to cover our solar project -- but we should start re-building it soon. I feel guilty about how little we give to charity. In fact I'm ashamed. I also feel badly that I haven't kicked my restaurant habit, eventhough I feel chained to my stove. Is there any wiggle room? Can I afford to get a housekeeper @ $240/month? FFS, I'm a Business student. I'm supposed to be good with money. Maybe I should just hand it over to my partner. He's really good at scraping pennies. He'll have us on Mr. Noodle and canned peaches in no time.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I figured it out!




With a little help :-). I think I understand the source of my relationship angst. I can't stand it when my partner talks to me like a child -- commands me to do something, demands compliance. When I tell him how this makes me feel, he defends himself with every excuse possible which makes me feel worse because he's basically telling me that my feelings don't count -- more childhood neurosis. There is no arguing with my partner -- in his mind he is rarely wrong. Feeling completely unloved and unrespected, I pull away. I am the Ice Queen for days. But it kills me inside because I don't like it when we are not getting along. The lack of any kind of affection is too much to take and finally I cave in. I apologize, we have sex and start all over again. This has been my life for the past two years. I am grateful for finally knowing exactly what it is that's pissed me off all this time. I just saved myself thousands of dollars of couples therapy! Now, how to fix it. It should be easy -- my partner has to change. WRONG ANSWER -- I cannot expect him to change. Been there with other relationships, bought the break-up t-shirt. I HAVE TO CHANGE. I have to forgive my Dad for never once considering my Mom's feelings or respecting her wishes. I have to forgive him for barking orders at us like soldiers in his platoon, for never once considering our feelings or letting us express an opposing view. I have to realize that most of us are naturally defensive when accused of a wrong-doing. I have to just accept that my partner is a defense attorney at heart and that he will not change. I should also insist that he treat me respectfully.  It's a deal breaker. Will these changes fix what's broken? Time will only tell. At least it's a start. I already feel better from just typing it.