The Fall

the best things in life

fall leaves

I came across this piece I wrote last year. I’ve updated it a bit but the message will always be the same to me.

There’s something about the Fall that makes most of us want to, well, turn over a new leaf so to speak. For me, there’s nothing like the change of season to bring on the challenge of reorganizing a closet or room. Spring cleaning is all well and good but September seems to be my time to get rid of the old and bring in the new. Although my husband and son do not get the same gleam in their eye when I say that we need to clean out the closets, I’m happy to say that my daughter has inherited my organizing gene. She will spend hours up in her room “organizing” her stuff and loves nothing more than making a trip to Micheals to buy…

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The Upside of Technology

technology

Technology is an amazing thing.  It’s a bit ridiculous really, when you think about how far we have come in the past ten to twenty years.  We’ve gone from huge main frames to pcs to laptops to smart phones to iPads to Google Glasses in what feels like the blink of an eye.  Technology has truly changed the way we live our lives.

It does, however, sometimes get a bad rap.

For example, many feel that the increase in screen time has numbed the minds of our young.  I read an article recently comparing screen time to heroin for young children.  I personally believe that if a balance can be found with physical activity and a creative outlet, that it can’t hurt.  Don’t get me wrong, it can suck our little ones in and hold on tight if not managed properly, pulling them into a massive black hole.

Then there is the issue of distracted driving.  Not an problem until a few years ago, but now a growing concern.  The number of fatalities from distracted driving has now surpassed that of impaired driving in Canada.  Yet people still do it. I see it every single day.  Young, old, male and female.  And I know they now better because when they see me glaring at them in their cars at the stop light, they quickly put their phones away.  Ya, I do that.

But today I saw the undeniable upside of technology.  I arranged for my 83 year old mother to Skype with her twin brother who lives in England.  Neither my mom or my uncle have been able to fly for a number of years and as such have not seen each other in a long time.  Being twins they have always had a close relationship and despite regular phone calls my mom felt a bit disconnected from him.

So a Skype call was arranged.  In my mom’s eyes I performed a miracle, but in all honesty all it took was a few emails and the installation of a new app on my iPad.

The looks on their faces as they realized that they could see each another and talk to each other while sitting in their kitchens was beyond priceless.

“Your face looks fatter.”  My mom said not so tactfully.

“You’ve lost weight.  You look more like our mother now.”  He replied.

They talked about my uncles new great grandson and how his wife was doing in the facility she now lived in.  Nothing earth shattering, but you could see, and hear, that they were beyond thrilled to be on the call.  I think my mom wanted to reach out and touch the screen a few times just to make sure that it was real.  That it really was her brother on the screen and not just a mirage.

She kept saying.  “I can’t believe I can see you so clearly.”

Roughly five thousand miles away and eight hours time difference, but to them, they might as well have been in the same room. Today I saw how technology could simply make my mom’s day.  That is The Best Thing in Life and we should never take it for granted.

 

My Addiction

the best things in life

chocolate

My addiction began very early in life.  My fiends and family may have known something was up……but I don’t think they would have ever guessed how bad things got.

I have a picture of me as a very young girl in the kitchen of my parents home.  I’m standing on a stool, a big wooden spoon in my hand, chocolate pudding (or chocolate cake batter) all over my face.  I was sooooo happy.  The sweetness racing though my body and triggering the dopamine that creates the ultimate chocolate high.  It could have stopped there.  But we all know that it didn’t.  I was hooked.

choc bars

I remember being in elementary school and getting my allowance on Saturday mornings.  I would take that money and walk about a mile to the closest corner store to buy……you guessed it, chocolate.  But I felt guilty buying too much at one store so I would…

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Why I Do it

headerimage-superwalk2

Last Sunday I ran my third Parkinson’s SuperWalk 10km.  My running buddy did it with me and my husband, bless his heart, did the 5km walk with our nine year old daughters.  Guess who had more fun?

My day started at 6:00 am when I dragged myself out of bed, pulled on my running clothes and crept out of the house.  I had volunteer to help with set up for the event and I needed to be at 2nd Beach in Stanley Park by 7:00.  Having never really been a morning person I was astounded at how many other people were on the roads at that God forsaken hour.  Had they volunteered too?  It was the only reason I could think of that anybody would be awake and out of bed at that time.

When I arrived a small crowd was huddled around a coffee urn at the event site waiting for instructions from the event coordinator.  Once she showed up things stared happening quickly.  If you have ever volunteered or worked on an event you will know that the start is typically organized chaos.  Instruction is given quickly and if you don’t get it the first time around you need to find somebody else who looks confused and ask them.  I’m not saying they will know what to do, but at least you will have company in your confusion.

One of the first announcement was that we were waiting on the park ranger.  The night before a beaver had chewed through a tree and it had fallen over the walk route.  There were some rumblings about finding said beaver and making a nice hat but it was quickly shut down and everybody went back to work.  Only in Canada.

parkinsons siwash rock

At 10:00 the walk/run began.  My shift of volunteering was over and we headed out into the route.  About 2km in we fell into pace with a nice man named Jim.  Jim’s wife Peggy has Parkinson’s and they both do what they can to volunteer and get involved.  The three of us spent the next hour running and chatting about running.  Good runs to try, how to train properly, what to eat.  You know, boring stuff that runners think is cool and the rest of the world could care less about. Oh, did I mention that at 18 degrees and sunny it was the penultimate running weather.

As we closed in on the finish line I thought, once again, about my mom.  How she struggles with daily activities because of Parkinson’s Disease.  Her life irreversibly changed.  She would have loved to be out on the seawall on a day like today.

liv-and-granny

That’s why I participate in this event every year.  To remember that I am fit and able and to bring awareness to the disease that cripples so many.  The Best Thing in Life is that participation and donations were both up this year.

The Missing Piece

the missing piece

Have you read Shel Silverstein’s The Missing Piece?  No?  Why not?  Go read it right now.  It’s okay……I’ll wait.

If you’re too busy I can read it for you.  No really, I don’t mind.  You see, it’s all I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks.  A book that I read when I was young.  A book that I have read to my son and my daughter.  A classic.

It’s the story of a little ball who is missing a piece.

“It was missing a piece.

And it was not happy.”

It rolls along through life looking for it a missing piece.  Sometimes it sings a little song.

“Oh I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece

Over land and over seas

So grease my knees and fleece my bees

I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece”

It endures the elements.

“Sometimes it baked in the sun

but then the cool rain would come down.”

And other times it just observed the things it passed.

“and sometime it would pass a beetle

and sometimes the beetle would pass it”

That’s just like life isn’t it?  Sometimes you are in the fast lane driving a Maserati and sometimes you’re on the bus and it’s taking the milk run.  But always you are moving forward.  Even when you don’t think you are.

Once the ball thought it had found its piece.  But alas, the piece it found didn’t want to be taken.

“I am not your missing piece.

I am nobody’s piece.

I am my own piece.”

You can’t force things.  You can work hard and try.  But if it isn’t meant to be it won’t be.  All you die hard control freaks, take note.  Me included.

It found some other pieces but none of them were quite right.  One was too small.  One too big.  One too sharp.  One too square.

Is anything in life a perfect fit?  Rarely.  You adapt.  You make do.  You make the best of what you are dealt.

One time the ball seemed to have found the perfect piece…but it didn’t hold it tightly enough…and it lost it.  And then it found another piece and it held on too tight…..and it broke it.

If you find “it” what do you do with it?  Hold on……but leave some wiggle room.

And so it rolled along having adventures, falling into holes and running into brick walls.  Sound familiar?

Until one day it found its missing piece.  It fit perfectly.  And it was so happy.

Except now it couldn’t sing.  And it rolled so quickly that it couldn’t stop to smell the flowers or talk to the bugs.  And adventures passed it by.

“too fast for a butterfly to land”

“Aha, it thought, So that’s how it is!”

So it gave up it’s piece….and slowly rolled away.  And as it rolled it sang.

“Oh I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece

Over land and over seas

So grease my knees and fleece my bees

I’m lookin’ for my missin’ piece”

The Best Thing in Life is the quest.  That is what brings fulfillment and not the attainment of the object itself.