January 7, 2017

The year is seven days old.

When I look back on the day, the thing that I remember most clearly is a frustrating moment. Actually it was two frustrating moments. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth.

I was cleaning the bathrooms upstairs and using a spray bottle of cleaner for the top of the vanities. Half way through the second bathroom, I managed to drop the bottle and the spray nozzle broke off.

Damn.

Okay, so that bites, but I know that I have an empty spray bottle downstairs. Problem solved.

Now I’m thinking I’m a rockstar for not only solving my problem but recycling a bottle that would have gone unused. Bathroom cleaner and environmentally conscious goddess extraordinaire. This was going to be a great year.

Only it happened again. As I’m clean the bathtub I mange to bump the bottle off of the side of the tub.

This time I didn’t say damn. It was more like motherf#%&@.

Maybe this wasn’t going to be such an awesome year.

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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Why I Do it

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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 Art of the List

lists

Lists make me happy.

An article I read recently actually puts science behind the fact that lists can calm anxiety and bolster creativity.  For me, that’s just the icing on and already delicious cake.

What is it about writing out words on a note pad that is so magical?  I think it’s an OCD organizational thing.  If I feel like my life is getting out of control or becoming too chaotic, writing out tasks gives me some clarity.  By bringing some order to what needs to get done I can see that in reality my life is not quite so crazy as I think it is.

list of lists

Besides would late night tv be without David Letterman’s Top Ten List?  Even Shakespeare references lists in Hamlet.  The Bard refers to “a list of landlesse resolutes” in Act 1 Scene 1.

So what does it take to make a good list?  Well for starters you never have just one list.  On any given day you will find multiple lists in my kitchen.

  • Master To Do List
  • Thing To Do That Day ie: Wednesday
  • Groceries
  • Ideas or Posts to Work On

But it’s not that simple.  There is, I believe, an art to it.

You must have the appropriate piece of paper.

Sure, the right size is important, but so is the layout and look.  You wouldn’t put your Master To Do list on a tiny pad of paper with some realtors face on it.  But a quick shopping list?  Totally okay.  It has been suggested to me that I use my smart phone to record my lists.  It just doesn’t sit right with me.  I’m not sure if it’s an old school things or a tactile thing.  Regardless, the right tool for the job is always key.

blank page

Lists need to be about timing.

Now obviously making a Christmas card list in March is a bit of overkill.  Although, now that I’m saying it, it does make perfect sense.  What I am saying, is that one of the purposes of a list it to save time.  So make it work for you.  Writing out your grocery list in the order that you walk the aisles at the grocery store is a huge time saver.  If you have half a dozen errands to do not only will your list remind you what needs to get down but it can serve as a map for your route.

Tasks on your lists need to be realistic.

If you make a list of things to do that are unattainable, the list can’t serve it purpose.  It will only serve to frustrate you when you are unable to complete them.  There’s definitely a sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing things off of a list.  Even if you are just crossing it off because you have decided that it belongs on a different list.  Ya, that counts.  Bottom line?  World Peace shouldn’t necessarily  be on your list.

It’s really not rocket science, but lists can make you feel like a super hero. Everyone admires somebody who can keep things on track and get stuff done.  Don’t they?

The Best Thing in Life is a really good list.

I Made My Bed

messy bed

As my seven year old was getting ready for bed last night I realized that I hadn’t made my bed that morning. So I made it. Then I realized that I would be getting into and messing that bed up in an hour or so. (Ya I go to bed that early sometimes ) Anyway, I wondered if that was weird. Wouldn’t most people just crawl into the bed as it was? If my husband had been home he would have rolled his eyes, shaken his head and left the room.

Is it possible to have a lesser form of OCD? It’s not so much about dirt or mess….okay it’s a little bit about the mess….but it’s mostly about everything having a place. I like things to fit into a spot and I like them to go back to those spots should they be moved. I love organization. I’ve said that before. But this is a bit more than just being organized. It doesn’t keep me up at night….much. I just like to know where things are should I need to find them. Who knows what could be lurking in that unmade bed?

I like my towels folded a certain way and when I put them on the shelf the round edges need to be pointing out. I don’t fold my daughters undies I stack them. Two stacks. Old ones and newer ones. When I hang up my pants they all have to face the same way. My Tupperware drawer is actually organized. All the time. There’s a certain spot for pasta sauce in the pantry. In my fridge the orange juice goes in front of the milk. On the right top shelf.

Wow, writing it out makes it sound even weirder.

I spent many years in a pretty controlled relationship. I remember once we had just had our walls painted and finding myself with some free time I decided to hang all the pictures back up on the walls. My then boyfriend came home shook his head and promptly took them all down and re-hung them. I was young and in my head I thought “well I must have put them up wrong”. The reality was that the pictures were just fine. Just not precisely where HE thought they should be. They weren’t in the spot he thought they should be. I don’t want to be that person.

But I think maybe I am a bit different. I’m not a “you can’t do anything right” kind of person. But I am a ” I like things my way” kind of person. No really I am. Ask my husband.

If I could go into my daughters bedroom after a play date and put things back in the proper place I would. Not because I’m upset that it’s a mess but because…..well just because. I see you shaking your head. I don’t actually do it. That would be weird. I just think about it. Because you have to let go. You have to accept that even though somebody does something differently, doesn’t mean that they do it wrong. No, really it’s true. I didn’t believe it at first but it really is true.

So The Best Thing in Life is that I don’t seem to be worried so much anymore what people might think of me and my odd quirky habits. I’ve made my bed and now I need to lie in it.

A Year in Review

Today marks exactly twelve months since my first post.  That post is now my touch stone for when I question myself or need some focus.  Finding My Thing has made for an interesting year and when I went back and looked at all of my posts, I am astonished at just how much I have written.  I actually had forgotten a few of them.  So I have decided to remind myself, and you, of a few of them.  It’s really just shameless self promotion but I’m trying to make it sound deep and introspective.  Is it working?  So take a look, click on the links and let me know your favorites.

yoga drawing

My First Yoga class was my second ever post and it still cracks me up to think about that class.  My friend Randi continues to help me understand yoga and I am so grateful for that.   The drawback is that I now don’t need to go and see my friend Wendy quite so much for massage.  A big part of finding my thing has been reconnecting with friends like Rob and finding out about their passions.  I hope in some small way I have given back to them what they have given to me.  Aimee’s cakes are continuing to amaze me and Sarina’s commitment to soccer for women is going strong.  Jane’s struggle with Brain Injury continues but Making Pastry with her was good for both of us.

vans

My family has been the subject of a few blogs and my son actually wrote one of the most read pieces I have ever posted.  Surviving Seventeen and In Response to Surviving Seventeen started a great dialogue and now months later I have realized that I am indeed very similar to my now Eighteen Year Old son.  My seven year old is still full of Piss and Vinegar and we often bond over our Addiction to Organization.  My husband (bless his heart) supports me and regularly acts as my editor.  In Finally Learning What Love Is you can find out how our love started and has lasted fourteen years through ups and downs.  Oh, and don’t forget to call Call Your Mom.

fifty cake

Really though, it has been all about me.  LOL.  Okay not in that way, but in a good way.  In the year that I turned Fifty I have put my Darkest Times behind me and have learnt to relax.  I’ve looked at my relationships with Friends.  I’ve talked about my Regrets.  I’ve made Marathon Decisions and ended up Happy?  I’m still running but rethinking spending 33 Hours in a Van again.  I am now Sugar Free (well, only if you don’t count wine) and have never felt better.  I have questioned my motives and direction but then a friend made me realize that I will Find My Way. 

Thank you for reading and commenting.  Here to another year of adventure.

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The Fall

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 trays, holders and sorting containers. I’m so proud.

When it comes to cleaning up a messy desk or closet or room, for that matter, three basics apply. Throw it away, give it away or put it away. And this goes for almost every room of the house. The best way is to just dive in. Make three piles and most importantly be honest with yourself about which pile you put stuff in. Haven’t worn that shirt in two years? Get rid of it. Have a dozen magazines all about decorating the babies room and your baby” is now 7. Recycle it. Can’t decide? Put it aside until the end and deal with it then. But do deal with it.

messy closet

Now before you all get you knickers in a knot; throw away doesn’t necessarily mean increase the size of the GVRD landfill. Old school assignments/art, as much as you may want to reminisce, can be put in the recycle box. Magazines that you had every intention of re-reading (three years ago) can be recycled. I used to keep magazines in the hopes that one day I would have an occasion to serve 18 different varieties of cookies.  I have since realized that all magazines have excellent websites complete with archives. Ikea comes out with a new catalogue every year…just sayin’. Having said that; if you can’t remember where you got something or what it means to you and there is no recycling option…..chuck it!

Giving stuff away is one of my passions. I have a friend with a daughter a year younger than mine and for the past three or four years I have passed on my daughters gently (sometimes) worn clothes to her. It’s a great feeling to know that you are making space in your house and helping somebody out at the same time. I am also a regular customer on the Big Brother and Canadian Diabetes pick up list. They come and TAKE STUFF AWAY! For free! But best of all is a fairly regular clothing swap party that I attend with a group of other moms. We are all of various ages and sizes but somehow everybody leaves these parties with some new item to add to their wardrobe. Best of all, what’s left over goes to charity. As I write this I am wearing a shirt that I got at one of the parties. I love it and it was free.

tidy closet

I have to admit that putting away is not my favorite part of this exercise, but it is necessary. I have learnt (thanks to my husband) that keeping stuff can be good and occasionally throwing stuff away can be bad. So get a really big chest and start keeping those baby shoes, first soccer team t-shirts and countless works of art. Who knows, they may be worth something one day. When my son was about five I started keeping his shirts from sports teams, trips and special events. Last year I gave them all to my mom, the quilter, and she made them into a quilt for him. She did the same thing for my daughter with all of her receiving blankets. It’s a beautiful way to keep memories around but make them useful.

The Best Thing in Life is being organized. Okay, so maybe that’s just me and my daughter. Anybody got a closet they need organizing? One of the other perks of cleaning up and getting rid of stuff is that it gives you a clear inventory of what you really do have. And what you don’t have. And that, my friends, is a clear invitation to go shopping.