Thinking About National Writing Month

confrontation

“Wait.  Wait. Back up.”

“What’s wrong?”

“That car.”

“What about it?”

“It’s her car. ”

“Who’s car?”

“The daycare director’s car.”

“And?”

“The license plate.  It the license plate number that Karen gave me last week.”

“Are you sure?”

“Hang on I write it down just in case.”

She flipped through her day timer to last Wednesday as he pulled the car into an empty parking spot.

“Here it is.”

Her best friend and former next door neighbor had called her last week and told her that a red car had been parked outside her son’s dad’s house on and off all week.  She’d seen the same women coming over in the early evening and then leaving early in the morning a number of times.  Her friend wasn’t trying to be nosy (bless her heart) but with the divorce and custody not finalized yet she thought it might help.  She hadn’t really paid much attention.  It had become pretty normal for him to have “friends” over and frankly it was his life now and she had moved on.

“So what does that mean?”

“It means that my ex is sleeping with the director of my son’s daycare.”

“Are you kidding me?”

She had started to shake.  How stupid was she to think that any of this had been an accident.  That when he had suggested this daycare it had just been a coincidence.  Nothing he did ever lacked an ulterior motive.  What a stupid shit.  What was he thinking?

Her boyfriend put his hand on her knee and tried to calm her down.

“Okay, so what do you think we should do?”  He asked.

“Oh god I don’t know.  Wait I’ll call Lisa.  She’ll know what to do.”

She dialed her lawyer’s office.   This was just wrong.  Not illegal or anything but it was morally just wrong.  Her lawyer was great and calmly talked her down off the ledge.

“Well I suppose you could talk to her boss but like you said, she hasn’t really done anything wrong.  They are both allowed to have a private life.  Is it sleazy and could it have repercussions?  Of course.  But unless you want to sue her there’s really no point.”

“Of course, no, I don’t want to sue her that would just make things worse.  Thank you.  I think I can deal with this on my own.”

She was right of course.  But she couldn’t just let this slide.  He could sleep with whoever he wanted to but if things went bad between the two of them, which they would, her son would most likely pay the price.  God, how could he be so stupid?  How could she have not seen this coming.  Thank god for her friends keen eyes.

The next afternoon she pulled up to the little house where her son’s daycare was and sat for a moment.  She needed to be calm and remember that there were kids around who might hear her if it got loud.  She hadn’t completely decide what she would say.  Would she be mad?  Would she be sympathetic?  Should she just warn her?

“Screw it I’m just gonna wing it.”  She said to herself.

She walk into the little house and asked one of the girls if they knew where Jackie was.

“Oh, she’s in the infant room.  You can go in if you like?”

“No, that’s okay.  Can you ask her to meet me in her office?”

“Sure I’ll go get her.  Anything wrong?”

“No.  Just need to touch base on a couple of things.”

She sat down at the desk and looked at the colorful pictures on the walls.  Tiny toddler hands had crafted these masterpieces in the rooms down the hall.  When was this going to end?  After a year of arguments, lawyers, mean emails, hurt feelings and tears she thought that their lives had finally settled down.  The divorce was almost final, she had a new job, a new boyfriend and all the lies and manipulation were behind her.  Or were they?

“Hey, is everything okay?  You’re here early aren’t you?”  The director of the daycare came around the corner and stood in the doorway.

“Can you close the door please?”  She said quietly.

“Sure.  What’s up?”

She could feel the heat rising in her face.  Stay calm, stay calm she kept telling herself.

“So there’s something I need to tell you…….”

Thinking about taking on the challenge of National Writing Month.  

Would you want to read more about this story?

Miss Sam

dance-teacher

If you are very lucky in life, you get to combine two things that you are passionate about into a long term career that you can do anywhere in the world and can easily fit into an already busy family schedule.  This is my dream.  This is my friend Sam’s reality.

And the kicker is that it is such a beautiful thing that she does.  Sam is a dancer who took her love of dance and married it with a strong desire to teach and voila, she became a dance teacher.  Yup I’m going to admit this up front.  I am incredibly jealous.  If she wasn’t such a lovely person I could maybe hate her for having not one, but two, clear passions in her life.  And a supportive husband and three great kids.  Wow, maybe I should hate her.

Sam started dancing at a very young age in Scotland. She started with ballet then highland dancing then added tap and eventually jazz. She danced right through until she was 17 competing in highland dance and completing her RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) exams in ballet.  When she finished school she was thinking about becoming a teacher but she still found it hard to move away from dance and ended up doing a three year dance program in her home town of Edinburgh.

As we walked in the beautiful fall sunshine, with her sweet little dog Dougal, she told me how she trained in Edinburgh and eventually auditioned in London for a job dancing with the Princess Cruise Lines.  Although she still wanted to become a teacher, this opportunity was not one to turn down.  Being paid for doing what she loved and seeing the world at the same time.  Who wouldn’t?

FYI-none of these pictures are actually of Sam

cruise ship dancers

So this shy girl from Edinburg took a plane from London to LA and started training for work on the cruise ship line.  She worked for them for a number of years, eventually meeting her husband and making life long friends along the way.  Although she loved the work, when an opportunity came up back in Edinburgh for her to get her teaching degree she took it.  She was able to go to school during the winter and continue working on the ship in the summer.

I’m starting to think that this women may have a fairy godmother in her back pocket. And yes I’m still jealous.

For the next ten years she taught primary school, ran her own dance school and had three kids.  That would have continued had her husband’s job not brought her and her family here to Vancouver.  And that’s where we met.

Sam, or Miss Sam as the girls call her, is teaching my daughter ballet this year and I couldn’t be happier. When I asked my daughter how her first class with her was she said “Great, but Miss Sam is pretty strict”. Yes, I thought, that’s perfect.  I know that being a good dancer does not guarantee that you will be a good dance teacher but I sense that her approach will work well with my girl.

“Everybody, every child, learns differently and so the way you teach them needs to be different too”.

I came away thinking how incredibly lucky she was to have been able to take her loves and this great approach to teaching and have something she will be able to do for years.  But then, as it usually does, it came to me. Wow, she is a good teacher,because I just learnt something.  The Best Thing in Life is not to be jealous of somebody else’s life but to learn from them and admire their passion.

Do You Have a Personality?

personalities

It’s been about eighteen months since I started the search for my “thing”.  Some days I think I’ve found it in this blog and other days I am even more lost than before.  One thing is for sure, I am in awe of my passionate and talented friends and their ability to balance their lives with kids, exercise and whatever career/hobby/love they have taken on in their daily routine.

So as I continue to ponder what I am going to do when I grow up, I have been wondering if some of these online personality tests might be helpful.  Corporations sometimes use them to test potential employees to see if they are a good fit.  My son took one in grade twelve to help him figure out what courses he should take in university.  I did my very first personality test during the church counseling my ex-husband and I did before we got married.  Ya, that worked out great didn’t it.

But yet, I am still intrigued.  Am I the person I think I am?  Will this help me realize my potential?  If I do it, will the computer spit out the perfect job for me?  Please don’t tell me I should have been a nurse. I hate hospitals.

So I get comfy in front of the laptop and start my search for enlightenment.

I quickly realize that the mack daddy of all personality tests is the Myers-Briggs test.  The test is based on four preferences, that when combined show a personality type.  The four traits are introvert/extrovert, sensitive/intuitive, feeling/thinking, and judging/perceiving.  Through answering a number of seemingly random questions you arrive at a type.  Not even really a type.  You get a four letter designation that is supposed to tell the world (and you) what makes you tick.

Four letters.

Can you imagine introducing yourself at a party?

“Hi, I’m an ESFJ.”

MyersBriggsTypes

I took the test on a number of different web sites as they all seemed a bit different from one another.  Some of the questions were just worded differently but you could tell they were asking the same thing.  For example, on the first test the question was a yes or nor question.

You don’t usually initiate conversations. Yes or no?

On the second test you had to choose between

Likes to perform in front of people or avoids public speaking.

Clearly they are asking if are you an extrovert or an introvert.

Anyway, I tried to answer as honestly as I could without over thinking the questions and thus pre-determining the outcome.  That alone says something about me.  I’m not sure what, but I’m sure I will find out in 12-15 minutes.

The results of the first test said I was an extrovert but the second and third ones said I was an introvert.  I totally get that.  I do love to be social and am outgoing and comfortable speaking in front of groups of people.  On the other hand, I love, no crave, my alone time.  I guess it comes downs to how you ask me the question. So really this tells me nothing.  Next.

I am definitely a sensing person rather than an intuitive person.  That was clear in all the tests. I learn faster when I can be hands on.  I tend to not believe things until I have experienced them myself.  Again.  Nothing surprising about that.

I figured I would be a J. J is for judgement right?  No?  No. Judging suggests a preference for a structured lifestyle.  Given that I am an organizational junkie, this also comes as no surprise.  Although I think I can be pretty intuitive as well.  I like to think that I see the big picture when it comes to complex issues.

So that brings us to feeling versus thinking.  And really this is why I am here in the first place. There is too much overlap between my brain and my heart.  I can’t separate what I want to do and what I think I should do.  I tried not to answer too many of these questions with a neutral answer but I guess the tests picked up on that.  This is when my creative side battles with my pragmatic side and the results reflected that.

Right, so I have spent the better part of the morning reaffirming what I already knew.  Great. The Best Thing in Life is knowing your own personality .  The Worst Thing in Life is not knowing what to do with it.  My search continues.

PS.  Apparently I should have been a nurse….or an army general.

How to Gain Free Exposure for Your Blog: Reblogging

Join the reblogging party over at Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream Big, Dream Often

2Today as is my usual routine on Meet and Greet weekends, I will be reblogging posts.  Please leave the link to your post in the comments and I will review for family-friendly content and then reblog.

If you leave a link please reblog this post as a “thank you” to Dream Big.  It is appreciated!

Hope everyone has a great Friday.

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Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is…..Again

parkinsons shirt

I posted this last year after doing the 2014 Parkinson’s SuperWalk.  This Sunday I will do my second walk/run for my mom who has had Parkinson’s for 15 years.  This year I also did some fundraising.  If you would like to donate you can access my donation site HERE.  Just put in my name (Susan Hardman) and the rest is easy.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about my mom’s battle with Parkinson’s. I ended the post with a promise to myself to get more involved. Last Sunday I took my first step towards that goal and participated in the Parkinson’s Superwalk 10km run. The event included a 2km, 7km and 10km routes in Stanley Park. I chose the 10km run, signed up and paid my registration fee. There wasn’t a lot of info on the web site so I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t know how big it would be or, well anything. Early Sunday morning I drove to Ceperely Park and looked for the registration area. My first impression was that everybody was very friendly and welcoming. It wasn’t a huge group but lots of families and groups supporting friends. The group registration line up was twice the length of the individual line up. I think this says a lot about the event. People weren’t just here to do a run and get a t-shirt without knowing what it was really about. People were here to support a specific individual and were happy to be doing it.

parkinsons siwash rock

The run itself was stunning. A gorgeous sunny Fall day in Vancouver never disappoints for runners. It was hot though, especially the first half around the east side of the seawall. The Coho festival was in full swing over at Ambleside and the annual pet fundraiser Paws for a Cause was rocking at Lumberman’s Arch. Inspiring to see so many great causes being supported. I did feel a bit envious though as Paws for a Cause provided their participants (by that I mean dogs) way more water breaks than my run. Seriously considered scooping up that water bowl for some much needed refreshment. I ran for a short time with another lady who was also running for her mom. It was nice to know that somebody else was thinking the same way I was. She mentioned that she had, at first, thought she would just do the 7km but pushed herself to do the 10km. “It puts what they endure every day into perspective”.

parkinsons seawall

I don’t typically run with my phone but I knew that I would want to document this experienced as the views would be outstanding. As you can see they didn’t disappoint. Aside from enjoying the scenery, the run gave me some time alone to think about how I can continue to support Parkinson’s over the next year. I know for sure that I will do the run next year but this time will register earlier and do some fundraising on my own. At the start of the race I ran into a lady who I have met before in my area. She works for the BC Parkinson’s Society and I plan on contacting her to talk about volunteer opportunities during the next few month. This run was just dipping my toe into the waters of the Parkinson’s society.

There has been a lot of publicity and hype over the ALS ice bucket challenge this summer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great way to spread awareness and raise money for a great cause. However, when my son did it and then challenged me I told him I wouldn’t do it. “What? Why?” He couldn’t believe I would be so lame. (His words, not mine.) The reason I didn’t want to do it was simple. I have chosen my charity and want to be able to support it. We are not lacking in money at this point in time but there have been times in the past when giving to charity just wasn’t an option. I made a decision at that time to be selective in my donation dollars. There are so many amazing causes to give to. Cancer research, AIDS, MS, ALS and the list goes on. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to support them all? Perhaps we could redirect some professional sports players salaries to cover what we can’t?  The Best Thing in Life would be to have enough money to support everybody who needs it but for now the Parkinson’s Society of BC has my full support.

parkinsons finish

I’m Sorry For What I Said When I Was Hungry

thischickshangry

Just after Christmas last year my husband, daughter and I were in Victoria for a little get away.  We had done a lot of walking and sightseeing during the day and it was getting late.  And I was hungry.  No, I was hangry.  You know.  When you are so hungry that the lack of food causes you to become frustrated, snappy and well, bitchy.

We found a cool pizza place for dinner and as we walked in we noticed that all of the staff were wearing t-shirts with the slogan.

I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry

My seven-year old looked at me and smiled and my husband said.  “You need that shirt.”  What?

Okay, so I get a little cranky if I’m not fed quickly enough.  Have you seen the Snickers commercials?  But who doesn’t?  It’s pretty normal I think.  Okay, so I may take it a step too far occasionally.  Really, is it so hard to just get me some food when I need it?  I’m not a fussy eater so it could be pretty much be anything, so long as it fills my belly.

The whole thing is just basic biology.  Here’s what is happening in your body when you get hangry.

Despite the fact that your brain is only 2% of your body weight, it uses up 20-30% of the energy you consume.  So when your glucose levels are nose diving your brain starts to struggle with controlling emotions.  Since anger is the emotion that most people have difficulty regulating, it tends to be what goes first.  And you get hangry.

In my younger, not so wise days, I thought that the longer I could go without eating the better.  It meant I had will power and didn’t need food.  (Don’t shake your head ’cause I know you did it too). Now I’m not talking about starving myself.  Well, actually I guess I was.  I just didn’t know any better and thought it was good to be a little hungry.  I might even lose some weight if I could do it for enough days in a row.  This may explain a few of those temper tantrums my mom has told me about.

When I started seeing a naturopath a couple of years ago one of the first things she did was test my blood sugar.  It was probably close to 10:30 in the morning.  I had eaten breakfast but was feeling a little rumble in my stomach.  No big deal right?

“Your blood sugar is a bit low.” She told me

“But I just had breakfast. Well, I had breakfast at 7:30 this morning.”

“That was three hours ago.  You need to keep your blood sugar between 4.4 and 6.1.

I’ve learnt a lot in the last year and a half about what my body does and doesn’t need to not only function, but function well and my hangry episode are getting fewer and farther between.  My family may get me that t-shirt from the pizza place but the Best Thing in Life is that they will still love me.  Hangry or not.

FYI – Rungry is the term used when you are so hungry from a long run that you must eat everything you see.  But that’s a whole different post.

I Will Love You When You Are Ninety-Two – Tales of the Momside

hospital hallway

She’d made the walk too many times.  It was becoming an unhappy routine.  Park on 15th Street, check at the information desk, sanitize her hands, check in with the nurse and then put on a happy face.  This time it was 4 East.  Same dingy hospital just a different floor.  Frazzled nurses and the smell of cleaning solutions.  No wonder people didn’t like hospitals.

She was hoping this time would be different.  That maybe they had made a mistake and her mom was totally fine and ready to go home.  That she would look great and healthy and wouldn’t need her walker.  But this time was no different from the last three times. She didn’t look great. She looked tired and old.  The oxygen tubes in her nose wheezed a little as one had come out of one nostril.  Her eyes were closed and her mouth hung open.

Half of her wished she could back up out of the room and let her sleep and the other half wished she would wake up and see her there and they could have their visit.

Wishing. Hoping.  It seemed that she did too much of that these days.

They chatted for a while. Caught up on the latest news and gossip.  She complained about the hospital food and asked for more water.  After a while she closed her eyes and sank back in the pillows.  It was time to go and let her get some rest.

The walk back to the car was harder than the walk in.  If she left now would she be there tomorrow?

She made it to the car before it hit her.

She’s going to die.

I don’t want her to die.

Shit.  I’m going to die.

Wait.  No.  I don’t want to die.  Crap.

Why am I being so self-absorbed?  Of course I’m going to die.  Everybody dies at some point.

But she might not make it through the night?  I’ve got years to live.

But if she dies then I will die too.

I’m not ready to die.

Beep, beep, beep.

The seat belt light was blinking and beeping at her.  The rain had started again and it was getting dark.  She needed to get it together before she got home or her seven-year old would know that something was wrong as soon as she walked in the door.  She would need to put on her happy face again.

As soon as she walked in the door the questions started.

“How’s Granny?”

“She’s good honey.  I taped your picture to her bed so she can see it every time she wakes up.  It made her really happy.”

“Is she going home soon?”

“I hope so sweetie. I really hope so.”

“Does she know it’s my birthday tomorrow?”

“Yes, I told her.”

“How old is Granny?”

“She’s eighty-two.”

“How old will you be when I’m your age?”

She had to think about that for a minute.  Quick math wasn’t her strong suit.

“Ummmm. Ninety two”

No, wait that couldn’t be right.  She looked at her husband hoping she was wrong.  He nodded.  Yup.  She would be ninety-two.  Shit.

“Mommy.”

“Yes, honey?”

“I’ll still love you when you are ninety-two.”

“I know.”

“Mommy?”

“Yes, honey?”

“Does Granny know that you still love her?”

The Best Thing in Life is simple reminders that life is precious and it’s never too late to say I love you.