Archive | January, 2011

Crossing the Line

31 Jan

The top ten possible reasons that the border guard pulled my friend Shelley and I over and searched my entire vehicle:

10. We were car number eight, or twelve or whatever.

9. We were two women who looked guilty.

8. I should have separated my total from Shelley’s when I told him how much we spent on groceries.

7. I should have put the backseat down instead of piling the groceries in next to and on top of our overnight bags.

6. He wanted us to be late for the basketball game.

5. They had extra staff on and had to keep them busy.

4. They have a game they play called “Let’s take everything out of their car and watch them try to pack it back in.”

3. It was the last Saturday of the month and they had to meet their quota.

2. I was chewing gum; maybe they pull over everyone who crosses the border chewing gum.

And the number one probable reason why the border guard pulled my friend and I over and searched my entire vehicle…

1. Random power tripping.

I’m thankful that our border guards do their jobs to ensure my safety. But, it sucks to be searched like a criminal when returning from a grocery run.

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Beat the Blahs!

25 Jan

It’s January 25th. Christmas was one month ago today. It’s definitely over, and all traces of it are gone at my house. The trees are down; the outside decorations are resting in the basement for another year; all the decorations we put out just at Christmastime are hidden away for another ten months or so. But, the one that isn’t gone is winter! It seems to be just getting started, even though it feels like we’ve had the whole season already. It should be spring, right? Well, it’s not, so I guess I’m going to have to deal with that. I think I have a genuine case of the blahs! So I’m writing this just as much for myself as anyone else.

Here are seven surefire ways to get rid of the blah, winter blahs or any old kind of blahs:

1) Listen to Music. This sound simple and it is. Sometimes when I find myself feeling down, music I enjoy listening to can create a different mood and it usually lifts me up.

2) Plan something you’ll look forward to. It could be as elaborate as planning your next vacation. But, it doesn’t have to be that big. Make a spa appointment, or just schedule a haircut. It could be dinner and movie date, or an outing with your family. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and plan on going for coffee. Sometimes the blahs creep in after Christmas, vacation or some other time that has been enjoyable. The best way to beat those blahs are to plan something you look forward to by counting the days. Thirty-eight more days until Spring Break, but who is counting?

3) Make a to-do list. Sometimes I get the blahs when I’m feeling overwhelmed with the number of things I have to do. I find making a list and getting things on the list completed makes me feel good. I even write things on my list that I’d have done anyway without the list. Crossing ‘to-do’ items off a list helps me feel accomplished. Once you’ve got your list, start with the most dreaded task. Just getting that one out of the way will drive those blahs away.

4) Relax on purpose. Oh sure, I relax almost every evening. After supper and homework, mine and the kids, I usually plop myself on the couch in front of the television with my laptop on my lap. That’s not what I’m talking about. Go find a spot where you don’t usually sit and get comfortable and enjoy a book. Take a leisurely bath with your favourite drink. Treat yourself to candles and music or a good book. Just don’t drop your eReader in the water; that’ll just create more blahs. Do yoga or journal. Relax on purpose in a way that you enjoy, but never make the time for it.

5) Exercise. If you don’t already exercise, find time to fit it into your schedule. I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before and all that stuff about a pot and a kettle. You know that bit about how exercise helps you have more energy, yada yada yada. It does, but it can also help lift you out of the blahs. Having more energy will help you out of the blahs, but knowing your doing something healthy for your body helps too. If regular exercise is already part of your routine, try something new. Yoga is my personal favourite. It helps me both physically and mentally.

6) Spend time with people you love. I don’t mean when you crash in front of the television at the same time. Do something together. It doesn’t have to cost money. Go for a walk. You’ll get exercise and time to talk that you probably wouldn’t have taken otherwise.

7) Do something for others. One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to give to others. Seeing the ability you have to lift someone else’s spirits will automatically lift you up out of funk.

Finally, if you’re really depressed, seek help. Depression is a real medical condition and there’s no need to be ashamed of it. I believe that happiness is a choice, for the most part. I choose to be happy because it makes my day better, but you cannot will yourself out of real depression.

So, now I’m going to take my own advice. How do you beat the blahs? Remember, this is a ‘family’ blog.

Fortune Cookies

23 Jan

We took Seldon to Miramichi this weekend for his first ever basketball tournament away from home. The first tournament was after Christmas here in Fredericton, but that’s not the same. The team stayed overnight at the Rodd Miramichi. Last night we went for dinner The Cunard. If you’re from the Maritimes you probably have grown up seeing commercials for The Cunard Restaurant. I’ve always wanted to try this place, and the verdict is… meh, it’s was okay.

However, I didn’t tell you about our dinner at the Cunard to review the restaurant. I want to tell you about one of my pet peeves, the modern day fortune cookie. Have you had a fortune cookie lately? If you have, and you’ve been expecting some fantastic fortune, chances are you were sorely disappointed. In fact, there are very few fortune cookies with actual fortunes in them anymore.

We went for dinner with the Melansons, Sherrie, Josh and Jordan, so there were six of us at the table. I actually had two fortunes inside my cookie. Josh got this fantastic fortune, or so he thought, so he kept it for himself. Hey, he’s a 13 year old boy, I bet he has lost it already. Everyone else gave me their ‘fortunes’ once they were read. This tells you how much we really believe in these things. These were our ‘fortunes’:

  • Jordan: We can learn from everyone, especially from our enemies.
  • Sherrie: Good luck is coming your way.
  • Glenn: Just be yourself, you are wonderful.
  • Seldon: Someone has complimented you today in your absence.
  • Mine #1: Good things come to those who wait but only the things left by those who hustle.
  • Mine #2: Focus on your long-term goal.

I always thought fortune cookies were supposed to deliver your fortune. So, I looked up the word ‘fortune’–“tell someone’s fortune, to profess to inform someone of future events in his or her own life.” If you look at the ‘fortunes’ we received, only Sherrie’s really works as an actual fortune. “Good luck is coming your way.” And, even that is vague and disappointing. Good luck could equal finding a five dollar bill in your coat pocket, or winning the lottery. I guess if anyone actually believes in fortune cookies, they have to be vague, but c’mon. I think they can do better than, “Good luck is coming your way.” So out of six fortunes, we got one really vague fortune and some good advice along with a few proverbial kinds of statements.

I told the boys that I got two fortunes, one for the three of them and the other for me. “Good things come to those who wait but only the things left by those who hustle.” was apropo for the boys playing basketball. And, for me, a reminder to “Focus on [my] long term goal.” I guess these little quips are amusing, but I find them annoying. I think I’ve expected to find an actual fortune inside. I don’t expect this fortune to come true; I’m not stupid. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. But, c’mon, “Just be yourself, you are wonderful.” Do you think this actually came Glenn’s way because he is wonderful? I don’t. He IS wonderful, but what if a person who is definitely NOT wonderful got this cookie? Fortune cookie makers can do better.

Content

17 Jan
A quiet sleepy little town—
“Nothing ever happens here!”
All the kids are city bound,
gone forever, parents fear.
 
Somewhere in this quiet place
young lovers meet and marry.
Longing for a slower pace,
they decide to tarry.
 
Generations come and go
and children dream their dreams.
When life’s sun is setting low,
truth comes on its beams.
 
Somewhere in this quiet place
children grow; dreams amend.
Lives are lived with quiet grace,
content to be here in the end.

Spontaneous Inspiration… Love it!

10 Jan

After posting the poem yesterday, I received an inbox from a friend on facebook. We don’t know each other well, but met last summer when our daughters played on the same basketball team.

I wasn’t happy with my poem, to the point that I almost didn’t post it to my blog. But, I like to put my writing out there in draft, to see if I can get a reaction. Plus I think it is good to allow others to see my flaws. When I ask for criticism, I’m ready to accept it. I’m glad I posted it. I don’t think I like my poem perhaps because it isn’t my experience. I took a published author’s poem, deleted half the lines and wrote in my own words, then deleted the other half of the words and that’s how I ended up with that poem.

The English teacher in my loves that my writing inspired an even better poem! Well, at least I think it is better. This is a poem written by Kim Allen-Edmondson. I asked for her permission to share her message:

I didn’t want to post any changes at all to your poem. It’s beautiful and I love it. In fact, it moved me deeply.

Your words reminded me of my own experience….prompted me to write too. I’ve based this on your words, but from a different perspective. I wanted to share it with you so you could see what you have inspired 🙂

I read your blog regularly and I love it. Thanks for sharing.

Kim

I didn’t plan this at all, but
My true love has slipped away.
I could not even attempt to hold on
And the morning…the days disappeared.
I thought we had a comfortable silence,
But it was a malevolent quiet.
The kind that sucks the life out of
Beautiful things.
Those memories, they are quiet reminders of
Painful moments.
The pleasure, the pain, the living in a dream.
But as morning dawned
The sunrise caught me by surprise
There were no words left to speak;
How could it be ending this way?
Without embrace, without a kiss
Without a sound, save for screaming souls.
We are done now.
Dreams….and hearts….broken.
Dismay is my companion.

I didn’t plan this at all

9 Jan
I didn’t plan this at all; but,
I let my true love disappear.
I didn’t even attempt
to change that morning’s fate.
I thought we had comfortable silence,
but it must have been malevolent quiet.
I’ll never forget how we spent
that evening of pure pleasure.
But, when morning approached,
the sunrise caught me by surprise
Neither of us spoke a word;
how could we let it end this way?
So, without a warm embrace
and without a kiss goodbye,
my true love walked out forever
and left me without hope.

Dear friends, don’t worry for me or my relationship. All is well. I wrote this draft/poem using a writing prompt. Fellow writers, tell me what you wonder or have questions about concerning the poem. I know it is a bit awkward in places and want to revise it. I’d love some feedback.

Post a Week 2011

8 Jan

As I was exploring the dashboard of my blog, I discovered an advertising link that read: Challenge 2011: Want to blog more often? Yes, yes I do! For the month of November I posted a blog every day for NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. During the month of November, I used my blog to set some goals for myself. A few of those goals were about writing. One, to post to my blog at least once a week for a year.

WordPress.com is running two challenges, one to blog every day for a year and another to blog once a week for a year. I’m joining that second challenge. I’ll likely post a blog three or four times a week, but at the very least once. The challenge site gives a link to a wordpress blog that gives you prompts each day, if you need help with an idea to get you started writing. I prefer coming up with my own ideas, but I’d use a prompt if I needed to. It’s a good idea.

If you’ve been thinking about blogging, or have even given it a try before and given up, I challenge you to give it another go. Linking my blog posts to facebook has been rewarding. It gives me an audience to write for. I think that’s why I gave up before. It’s difficult to write in a blog if it seems like no one is reading. So, thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and consider writing for yourself.

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