Category Archives: over it

caution to the wind

Fear is on my mind as I search for stones on the beach. It’s something I enjoy – seeking out a stone that stands out, worn by the sand and sun and water. As I pick up stones and turn them over to inspect them, I think about being afraid. How sometimes instead of pushing through fear, letting it goad me into more, it stops me. Instead of acknowledging and facing fear, I hide. I won’t run, but I let fear push me around. What if my dream doesn’t work out? What if my hard work is for nothing? What if I fail? The fear is so loud I can’t hear the beat of my heart. It’s so loud I forget how to believe. What is the point of dreaming when you’re so busy dashing your hopes? Do we stop pursuing because we can’t predict the future? Do we let go of the thrill of something new because we don’t know the outcome? Do I want a life without risking and trying? I live my life so steeped in reality and the possible pitfalls that I snuff out the what-could-be.

The problem with expecting the worst is that you begin to believe the worst. The worst creeps into everything until it clouds your vision, stunts your growth. It’s ugly because it can’t be beautiful. Futile replaces almost. There are shadows rather than light. Good doesn’t matter when it’s never good enough. ‘The worst’ is poison.

As I pick up and put down stones I think about what I want and don’t want. I put down judgment, timidity, and doubt. I pick up grace. Grace for myself and for others. I carry beauty. Beauty in the ocean stretched out in front of me, in the wondrous colors of the sky. Beauty in the softness and strength of my family playing nearby. I hang onto hope. There is hope in trying and I have to try. I am afraid of the unknown, of what I can’t control, but fear doesn’t have to be stronger than love, bigger than all that I can count on. I look at the collection of small white stones in my hand and feel the small ridges, the lightness of them in my palm, and I decide to keep what is true.

swept up

photo (2)in the beach. And throwing-caution-to-the-wind playing.

those people

I meet Scott at our back gate. “There are signs up on the mailboxes by our house.”

“What?”

“The neighbors. They put up signs saying the land is,” and I air quote at him, “starving for water.”

I whisper, “You know it’s about us.”

It got hot this summer and we let our grass go brown, although we prefer ‘golden’. It was mowed, just not watered. We live in a neighborhood where most people tend to their lawns and shrubs like it’s an extension of them, watering and pruning to perfection. While I appreciate lush green grass I also appreciate conserving water and not spending my summer creating the ideal lawn.

I overheard our neighbors talking about us. Retrieving their mail, shaking their heads. Tsk. Tsk. They need to water it every day. It’s the summer. What are they thinking? They will never get that back. Cluck. Cluck. Hose in hand, I watered our cedars (yes, there was some watering going on. I’m not completely cold. I even pruned the roses) as my face burned with shame and my head filled with everything I couldn’t say. I’m sorry I let the heather go. I know they’re kindling now, but we have plans. Big plans! We’re going to tear them out and put down rock. River rock. We are nice people! Also, grass is a weed. It will grow back. It rains here 80% of the year!

After my mental tirade I slunk back to the house. I was upset at being upset. I thought I was stronger, way past caring about what people thought of me or, rather, the state of the yard. It wasn’t personal, yet I felt attacked. Much to my dismay, I was 15 again. I still want people to like me. I want to fit in. I’m not a boat-rocker. We’re fairly new to the neighborhood and now our brown grass invited judgment. We were those people. Waving my hands at Scott, I said, “We have to fix it. People hate us.”

He said, “No. We’re going to make our own sign.”

On an 8×11 sheet of paper we crafted and typed our reasons. We placed our sign about the importance of conserving water in between the pleas about our starving land. Go golden to stay green. We took a small stand.

It was silly. My overreacting. All riled up over a yard, a few signs and some nosy neighbors. I get that I’m crazy. I need to let things go and I’m terrible at letting things go. I could use more so what and who cares. Sometimes it’s the little things that are the greatest illustrations. The lawn became a lesson. I don’t have to conform. I’m allowed to be different. And, at 37,  I still need to stick up for myself.

I’m linking up with the speakeasy at yeah write – a place where you can just be yourself.

swept up
in Homeland
I am hooked on this show I’ve been watching on DVD. Is anyone else out there watching?

summer as winter

I took a break. I didn’t mean to. The time just snuck up on me. After two years of spending many emotions tap-tapping them into words; I was empty, quiet, flat. School ended, summer really began in August, and after completing a guide for the book I powered down and switched off. Scott jumped out of planes, and the kids and I did summer.

While most people live for the season where sand, sun and swimming rule, I endure. It’s self-preservation season. Heat is hard on my skin, my legs. I become an observer, watching and waiting. I’m mom. Armed with towels and snacks. I savor summer in snapshots. A lime margarita in the afternoon. An evening bbq with friends. Ice cream cones. A day at Playland where my kids rode the rollercoaster for the first time and burst into thrill-seekers.

School is back on. The leaves, the air carry signs of fall and we will step into the rhythm of routine again. After dropping my kids off I returned home to this sorely neglected place that is my blog. I swear I saw dust fly as I logged in. I’ve missed everyone and I’m sorry I wasn’t around more. But, it hit me about a week ago that my summers come with a ring of melancholy. I wish it wasn’t there. I don’t want it to be there, but heartache reveals itself each year. I try my damndest to stay in the middle, far away from the ring, and not wallow. So. I’ve made it the season of kids and I enjoy them enjoying the summer.

Real posts coming soon. I swear.

swept up

Here are Annie and Benjamin. Back to school. (I was so ready for this)

uptight

I’m a starfish on my bed. The fan hanging from my ceiling spins mercilessly. Music loud in my ears, it is all I hear, all I feel. I need to put my head down for a while. I get so stuck inside it. My thoughts match the fan. Round and round.

Reign it in. Reign it in. Reign it in.

Sometimes I forget who I am. I’m so immersed in schedule, in the day-to-day I can’t see I’m at war. Frustrated, I want to keep the bad at bay. To be calm and cool and collected. I picture a happy place – I hear this works. An uninterrupted shower. Sun. Rows and rows of clothes. Nope. Not working.

The fan spins. To be. To be. To be.

I used to not allow myself to feel. Poker-faced, I kept everything in check. You can’t let yourself run wild. You shouldn’t be this upset, this mad. I want to feel fine. But, I’ve learned in order to arrive at peace I have to get through.

I’m holding myself hostage with ‘shoulds’ and ‘ought to be’s’. Old habits die hard and perfectionism runs deep. I need to let my feelings in, let fear and angst swirl and mix until my insides are muddy. To be human. It’s okay. As much as I want to, and, oh, how I want to, I can’t control everything.

I’m tied up, too wrapped up in me. Even chasing perspective is too demanding. While I can’t always command my circumstances, I can choose how I’ll respond. There is power in choice. I could use a little power. And right now… Right now I don’t want to care for a while.

Robyn’s Dancing on my Own fills my head. Loud (which is the way you listen to this song). It makes me feel free. It makes me feel like dancing.

Let go. Let go. Let go.

Swept up
in Hometown Heroes Lottery
I was in our newspapers, the Vancouver Sun and the Vancouver Province this weekend, supporting burn survivors and the burn unit at Vancouver General Hospital where I spent 7 months. The prizes are amazing and tickets save lives. As promised to a few of you who couldn’t get the paper, this is the article on my story. Home Town Heroes Ad

Hanging out at the yeah write hangout grid today. It’s exactly where I need to be. No pressure and with friends.

be generous

If we want a platform we have one. Twitter, FB, our blogs give us the space and freedom to say what we want and mean it. Within the week I move from those platforms to the others – school, ballet, soccer, work where I find more words, many sides which must be shared. After my day is done I am full, brimming over with opinions and attitudes. And, the truth is, I’m exhausted.

Right now I am deep-down-on-the-floor-of-the-cave revising and all I can see are the cracks, the faults of my book. Sloppy sentences and holes. Commas misplaced and chapters deserving better endings. I can’t see a poignant moment or heartfelt dialogue because I’m busy seeking the bad. Is this what we do with life? Wanting more, we’re overwhelmed with obstacles. We are burdened by flaws, blind to beauty. Insecurity lurks behind lofty words, a flippant response.

I don’t use this space to rant, but it’s been a few weeks of things that make me shake and I want to yell enough! I’m an advocate of boat-rocking and using our voices. I was born opinionated.  I’ve just grown weary of the know-it-alls, the interrupters. When did we stop choosing our words wisely? Why do we care so much about what others think and then why don’t we care more? How did we get so big behind our small screens? What happened to listening and being responsible with what we’re given? And sometimes, sometimes it’s not the words spoken; it’s what is unspoken, that something ‘off’, a brittle smile disguising true feelings.

I’m not better or less than anyone else – I’ve been guilty, an offender of doing both. I worry I’m too much and I worry I’m not enough. (I wasn’t going to get into specifics on my list of maddening, but I’ll allow myself one. When I’m playing the part of peacemaker to a disgruntled mother, I miss out on the wonder of my little girl. I’ll admit when that light turned on, it made me heartsick.) I admire honesty. I try to be honest. I am one of its biggest fans. But when it hurts people, isn’t it time to step back, to examine, to be quiet.

Sometimes we need to climb off our platforms, our high horses, and plant our feet on the ground. Cast off judgment, untangle from another thread of presumption and connect to what’s good. Notice the stars, the pink of blooming flowers. Cheer loudly. Laugh hard. Behold a beautiful story. Love your friend. Seek a soft heart.

Be generous.

In the spirit of generosity, I want to share a few posts that brought me perspective this week. To these writers, thank you, I really needed your words and your heart. Behold these beautiful stories.

Memories Captured by Galit Breen from her blog These Little Waves
On plates, my village, and hula hoops by Tara Pohlkotte from Pohlkotte Press
Monday Catch Up by Anna See from An Inch of Gray
Adventures with Cancer-Part 2
by Jennifer Liberts Weinberg from Kvetch Mom

I could go on and on linking more incredible posts, but I’ll end here. For now. And link up with Yeah Write on the Hangout Grid, where it’s cool, laid-back, and just the inspiration I need as I finish revising.

bitterball

“I’m a ball of bitter. A bitterball.”

I sat down hard on the couch and put my head on my knees. I sighed at Scott and turned my head to give him a look that pleaded with him to say something, anything nice.

I learned how to be honest with my feelings in my very early twenties. I taught myself to be clear-eyed and self-aware. I would get frustrated and wound-up and whisper, “I think I’m angry.” I’d say it out loud to the air, to the furniture in the room so there was no confusion. Before correctly indentifying my feelings I used to pretend they weren’t there or bury them. It was a temporary fix until my feelings snaked and slithered their way free. They weren’t going to be ignored or tied down. They would do damage until I could name and tame them.

Sometimes I have to be ‘in it’ and let myself feel when I would rather jump out of my skin, jam my fingers in my ears, because, you know, feelings are known to pour out of your ears, and run, shouting, “I’m feeling things!” (This is basically what I did yesterday when I drove for an hour and a half to Anthropologie in search of distraction and cute tops. I came home with cute tops and my problems totally disappeared still intact.) I need to slow down and be with myself. I heed the warnings about navel-gazing and preening our emotions. I know there’s a fine line between self-aware and self-absorbed. If I don’t spend some time being quiet and figure out what’s bugging me I become paralyzed. I’m after perspective. To know enough to say, enough! I need to do something for someone else or spend time hanging on my kids’ words or go for a walk because I need to be alone. It’s about understanding what’s going on so I can move forward.

So, I know I’m a bitterball, a ball of bitter. The kind of bitter where I look like Pig-Pen and his cloud of dust that travels with him. These days I’m part fine and part insecure and the bitter comes from the insecure. I’m grumpy and mope-y. I’m the clichéd spinning my wheels with nowhere to go. I have a bad taste in my mouth and to remedy it I’m going to make homemade mac-n-cheese, watch a movie that makes me laugh or cry (I haven’t decided yet), uncurl and start over.

Swept up

In Toms!

They’re a Canadian company and for every pair of shoes you purchase they donate a pair to someone in need. And they’re ridiculously cute and comfortable!

when friends are twerps

“Who is the boss of you?”

“I am! And, you are. Right, Mommy?”

Yup, that’s right.

In preschool both my kids learned a song called, Let’s Make Room for a Friend. And that song was carried over to two afternoons a week for a year. While they interacted with the other kids at school, they called each person a friend and under close supervision worked out the small problems that cropped up among three year olds still learning words and how-to-share. This lesson spilled over into the playground, into the next year at four year old preschool and then onto big kids’ school. Share, be kind, and make room for a friend.

I preach it, too. I talk to my kids about being inclusive, about apologizing when we’ve done something wrong, having manners and being kind. When Annie asked me, “What is compassion?” I thought, that’s a good question, before I answered her and we had a discussion about what it means to feel for others and to put others before ourselves. Sometimes. And this is where it gets tricky for me.

There aren’t preschool songs about asserting yourself with messages like ‘I don’t make room for people that are colossal jerks’. In our growing tolerance for others and believing in niceness above all else what do we do when someone isn’t playing by the rules and being nice? I’m not talking about a bad day. Everyone has those. I’m talking about consistently bad, borderline malicious behavior toward others. Bullying. I can’t believe that it even happens – that in Kindergarten kids are being steamrolled by a peer. I’m sure they are confused and hurting, too. But, my kids aren’t therapists and I don’t think they should be anyone’s punching bag.

It’s always the twerp that everyone follows. The leader of the pack is the bossiest and the meanest. Why can’t it be the kindest, the one that sets up lemonade stands to raise money for charity? I would settle for someone that just stays out of trouble and doesn’t swear. Ben likes to please, to fit in and I’m watching him being swayed this year by a twerp. I reel him in as much as I can, remind him of who he is and what our standards are. There have got to be times when you don’t make room for a friend, which is what I told him a few days ago. “You don’t have to be friends with this boy. There are plenty of other boys to play with. Good, fun boys. Friends don’t try to control you.”

This year, more than any other year, I feel like a parent. I’m cringing, hoping, stepping in, taking a step back and making impassioned pleas to my kids about everything. Like most parents, I am always wondering if I’m doing, saying the right thing as we navigate through how to be you and what is or is not okay. And if you get stomped on, what should you do? I overheard Ben and this boy, the leader of the pack, talking about a book Ben brought to school. Ben was proudly showing off the second book of a series to him, “Look at what I brought!” The boy said, “Why do you always bring those books? You brought a book like that last time.” Ben’s smile slipped for a second, “Because I like them.” And Ben walked away. It was a small step forward and I was so proud.

Swept Up

That’s right. I’m bringing it back. For my early readers you’ll remember ‘swept up’. If not, this is the portion of the blog when I tell you what I’m, well, swept up in, what I’m into. This week it’s the movie Bridesmaids. I laughed all the way through it. It’s funny and heartfelt. Go see it.

taking a deep breath…

Okay, I deleted that last post because, upon closer inspection, it didn’t come across the way I wanted it to and I was worried about how it would be received. So, it’s gone. Done. Buried in the internet graveyard.

I will quickly say this. I feel a little like shut up and do something about it already. I don’t want to continue to talk about doing more or chasing a dream or what the hell are my dreams and not do anything about it. I have lost my way a bit and I really want to find my way back or start over or something. Or something.

So, I’m figuring it out. Taking steps in a direction. Who knows if it’s the right one, but it’s better than not walking at all.

I think we’re often in such a hurry to get things right. To get it done. It’s always now and not later. I don’t want to put anything off, but I don’t want to rush through my life either for the sake of having a destination. I’m going to do my best. My very best. To find solid ground again.

Swept Up


In aromatherapy
Aromatherapy for my head. I get headaches frequently and rather than swallow a whole lot of ibuprofen which is what I normally do I found an alternative. I found it at Tap in Fort Langley. It’s a teeny, tiny bottle called Forhead. Clever and cute. Just a few drops on the temples or the back of my neck where my muscles are sore and it starts to take effect. Scott tells me I stink like a hippie when I use it. He’s right. I do. But, it works.