Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a bit shy?

I saw an old friend from high school today. Or, rather yesterday. I was on my way to the front door of my children's school in search of Kai and his classmate whom we carpool and she was exiting the school. I looked directly at her and was taken aback. There was no mistaking who she was as she looked entirely the same as when we were younger!

I could've said hello, squealed with excitement, chatted with her about "old times", asked about her life now, and reunited. But I didn't. Instead, my heart did a funny dance in my chest and I looked away.

I pretended I didn't see her.


It's not like we never got along; we were friends after all! And we certainly didn't leave on a bad foot or anything, or have our friendship go sour (like some). Yet, I still didn't want to "see" her or have her see me. (although I was intensely curious as to why she was there. She was carrying satchels, two of them, so I figured she must've been teaching something, or maybe showing a demontration. But of what and for whom? I remember she went to TWU for a year or two with the intention of transferring to UVic for marine biology. I don't think that transpired though. At least, there was no mention of it at the 10-year reunion a few years back, but I don't recall her current info, just that she was married with no children then.)

I watched her leave and wondered why my mouth wouldn't call out her name. I lost sight of her as she crossed into the parking lot, and I took off my glasses to wipe away the raindrops, and felt odd. Empty. Confused. These are feelings that haven't left me still hours later and I'm still wondering why I didn't say anything. When is the next time I'm going to see her? (although, I suppose it could be tomorrow if she were to return to the school, but that's beside the point!) I admit that I'm kicking myself (figuratively speaking) for being so...what's the word? Shy? No, that's not it. Scared? Yeah, maybe. But of what?

I've been thinking a lot lately about my inability to make Small Talk. I seriously suck at it. One may think I was good at it, but that's just a show. I have inherited my Father's knack for chatting up complete strangers and totally love doing so, but I can't get into a deep conversation, and it's bugging me. Maybe it's because I'm "damaged". I have hardened myself to Small Talk and would rather not engage in it after discovering that the person asking is only asking out of habit not genuine interest. When someone says to me, "hi! how are you?" I usually say the typical, fine or good. But I never ask back. And why? Because I honestly don't care. Okay, no that isn't true. I do care. But I don't trust the person asking me to care about my response so I'd really rather not start the whole charade. And I move on.

Which really does explain my lack of deep friendships and trust and loneliness, doesn't it? *sigh*

But how does one change that? How do I get past the insincerities? How do I ask the right questions? I'm really good at chatting up the cashier at the grocery store, but it's not hard to comment on the weather or the Canucks or the antics of screaming children during grocery shopping or how I "had" to buy the latest issue of People magazine, isn't it terrible about Jesse James and poor Sandra Bullock? Those conversations are good. They're safe. I leave happy and proud of myself for being able to converse with strangers! But I know that if I see them in the mall on their day off I'm not going to run up to them and start talking about those things! And I know that if I come in again a week later, the person isn't likely to remember who I am. I can accept that. But I struggle with wanting more.

I've started another training program with Stampin' Up! and it's been quite the challenge. They actually want me to talk to people! Like call them up out of the blue! Chat about things! And it's been causing me to panic just a bit. Which has got me realizing just how bad I am at this. I'm no longer just "not good" at conversing with people I sort-of know, but it's an epidemic! I really am.not.good. And it's so bad that I am getting anxiety! The idea of me calling up someone with the intention of having a deep conversation, someone I don't normally call, gets me all breathless! When did this happen? And how? I'm flabbergasted!

I didn't realize I had changed so much in the past ten years. I have slowly slipped from overconfident extrovert to a shy nervous nelly, and I don't like it! Coming to this conclusion is a good thing, I'm sure, but it's still an eye-opener for me. It's something that I need to work on! But I just don't know how.

I really wish this post had a conclusion or a nice ending or something, but I can't come up with one. I know (now) that things are bad. I know that I need (really bad) to change them. The idea terrifies me (which is also disturbing).

I'm really hoping that my old friend does come back to the school so I can start to break this No Small Talk chain, starting with her!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

SU Sneak Peek

There are many things that I love about being a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, and one of them is the chance to see new items before they come out, and another is being able to order the new things before they come out! I got this new stamp set that just may be my newest favourite! I couldn't wait to put some ink to it, but *sigh* alas! I had to wait a week or so with stamp club projects and class projects to do first. But I finally got to play the other night! (Man, I love my job!)

This stamp set is called Awash With Flowers and is a set of 18. (Yes, 18!) And is a two-step set, meaning that you have a line stamp and a "filler" stamp. (take a good look at the flowers for an example) This beautiful set will not be available until the Brand New Idea Book & Catalogue comes out in July! However, good news! You can get this for yourself next month as there will be a promotion for all who hostess in April! You'll have to get my newsletter to find out the details next month; just leave a comment if you'll like to be added to my mailing list!

But back to the card... The colours are a bit better in this picture, at least! It is stamped on Barely Banana (ooh, isn't it pretty? I'll have to post pictures of my stamp room for you to see the similarities)..oh wait! Actually, it is stamped on Whisper White and then layered on top of Barely Banana, but that's a mere technicality! I even used all the 5 colours in D's I Want Candy Colour Challenge again: Pretty In Pink (flower), Almost Amethyst (flowers), Apricot Appeal (flowers), Barely Banana, Sage Shadow (leaves and the scalloped strip of cardstock on the bottom). I also had fun with the paper piercer! *smile* Oh, and guess what? I actually came up with this card design all on my own! I'm so proud of myself! *big grin*

Doesn't this card make you smile? I'm so happy Spring is finally here!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Want Candy!

So my friend, D, has her newest Colour Challenge up! It was inspired by a stash of candy (mmm...rockets! I found out that these are the equivalent to Smarties in the States. So sad. Ours are chocolate candy coated goodness...but I digress.) I was so excited to do this challenge because these are "my" colours. Of course, every time I sat down to use them, my mind went blank. Maybe these aren't my colours after all! *pout* I am now wondering how Barely Banana happened to slip past my radar. Oh, what a yummy sunny colour! I've been addicted to So Saffron, but now I'll be going to this one! Wow! It also happens to be the colour of my newly painted stamp room walls! *smile*

After many drafts and punching and Big Shot butterflies, I have come up with my masterpiece! This is only the third edit and I think I'm done! This design has been in my inbox for over a year as it was a simple one to CASE. I'm so happy it worked! You may now gaze upon the beauty that is my I Want Candy card!
This uses all 5 of the Challenge colours: Pretty in pink, sage shadow, almost amethyst, barely banana, and apricot appeal. I'm that good! *smile* (even though you can't really tell by my picture. Phooey. But the wheel is in Pretty in Pink, the distressed cardstock under it is Sage Shadow and the larger, scored cardstock behind that is Almost Amethyst!)

Friendly Words Jumbo Wheel, Good Friend stamp set, Pretty in Pink ink, Barely Banana ink, Whisper White c/s, Sage Shadow c/s, Almost Amethyst c/s, Fresh Favourites 1 buttons, Pretty in Pink grosgrain ribbon, cutter kit, paper piercing tool, mat pack

Monday, March 15, 2010

Not Me, Monday!

Feeling embarrassed because you bought a box of Honey Nut Cheerios and ate it all before your children even knew they were in the house? Overcome with shame because when you realized there was no toilet paper left, you just didn't wipe because you only went Number One? Well, don't be! Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week. When you're finished here, of course!

This week, I've decided to participate in her Not My Child edition, as it seems my Boy has been quite...uhm...himself lately.

While shopping, I did not lose one of Rhys' socks. That's just bizarre. How would that happen? He came into the store with two socks, why wouldn't he leave with two? If he had indeed lost one sock, I certainly would've searched for it right away, like the shepherd looking for his one lost sheep, ignoring my rushed and tired self. And I definitely would not have put one mitten on his cold toes when we got to the van. Nope! Not me! Rhys' toes wouldn't have needed a mitten because his sock was on his foot where it was supposed to be.

On a rainy day, I decided to pull out the big jar of crayons, markers, pencils, etc..to keep the kids occupied. While colouring with them, I did not see my youngest innocent darling stick a small paintbrush up his nostril carefully and slowly. Nope! That's gross and wrong and not at all an interesting thing for a 20 month old to do!

I then did not proceed to lose said alleged dirty paintbrush. I would definitely keep track of something like that so that I could wash and disinfect it before reintroducing it to the other pens and such.

I also certainly did NOT catch my Baby Honey in the bathroom, with a tube a toothpaste, sucking on the top then sticking his finger in it to spread some blue goo onto his head. Nope! That's not what we do with toothpaste! My children know that! And I do not let them wander the house aimlessly as that just gets them into mischief. Therefore, my darling fourth-born did not smell minty sweet when I snuggled with him that night!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

of life, death, illness and passion.

As I sit here typing at almost-midnight, my youngest is in my lap. I don't necessarily want him here. I'd rather he be in his own bed, quietly sleeping, but that isn't going to happen. He's been sick almost a week now with some silly cold, and it's threatening to drag me down too. Not with sickness in health, just with weariness. I don't like not sleeping, and I don't like snot runs on my pant legs or my shirt, and I don't like constant whining; I'm not a very good nursemaid! But what I do like is snuggling. So I am sitting here, snuggling my son while he attempts to relax and rest. (since sleep isn't likely going to happen) And I am attempting to be okay with that.

As I snuggled with him earlier today, my thoughts ran wild. They do that often. They are so untame like that. I was thinking about how my own Dad is sick too with pneumonia (you know, old people get sick with stuff like that often. Just sayin'. I'm also just joking, Dad! Who loves ya, baby? teehee) And it got me thinking about Rhys and his illness. What if I'm wrong and it's not just a cold? What if his congestion is worse? What if his wheeziness is more and needs actual medical intervention, not just Vaporub on his feet? What if it turns into pneumonia and he is hospitalized again? What if? What if? It took me back a whole two summers ago, when he was just a newborn, and very ill, and I didn't understand the gravity of the situation. Well, not at first.

Rhys was just a month old and only home from the hospital for maybe a week, if even. We were starting to get into a routine and things were well. Except they weren't. He was sleeping an awful lot that day. I was concerned, but shrugged it off as a newborn thing. But that afternoon, I noticed he looked really pale. Now, my kids are like me and we're white. Not caucasian, white. White, as in pale. As in kleenex. As in untannable. Well, he looked more white than that. And his skin felt rubbery. I remember that and thinking it was the weirdest feeling ever. I just couldn't shake this bad feeling either, so as soon as Hunny returned from work, I took Baby Honey to the hospital. By then he looked just grey and lifeless. When the nurse got him out of his carseat (she was in a rush, I guess, and didn't wait for me to do it!) she was telling the admitting doctor that she wasn't even sure he was breathing when she first picked him up! (which shocked me) Turns out he did have moments of Apnea! The nurses started to poke and pinch him to get him to take another breath as he would stop every few inhalations, while the pediatrician was called in (who also happened to be the same doctor who saw my other boys!) and a series of tests were done.

In the end, it was determined that Rhys had aspirate pneumonia and was in the PICU for a bit, starting off on a ventilator. My life altered dramatically so quickly.

As I hold him now and the tears come to my eyes and the fear of the situation settles into my brain, I can see it as it truely was. I can let out the emotions that I held back then because I needed to be strong for him, for me, for the kids, for the family, for my own Hunny. And I can't believe how close we came to losing this Baby Honey.

Now, I know that all the What If's can kill you, and I'm not trying to get my mind going off in that direction, but I can't help but think, Wow. What if I hadn't taken him to the hospital when I did? What if he had stopped breathing while in the triage? What if it was all too late? After all, I had no idea that he was even sick. Sure, he choked on a bottle the day before, but since a whole day passed and he was breathing fine then and took bottles with no issue, I had nothing to make me think his lungs were harboring such illness. And that shocks me. To not know someone is close to death....

It makes you question your abilities to determine the severity of something. And it makes you think of how you use the time allotted to you, and the knowledge you have. For over a year I hadn't thought of Rhys' recovery as a Miracle. Should I be? Should I see this as a Second Chance? I suppose one could view it that way. There's the saying about how you should live each day as if it were your last, but to be honest, I don't know how to do that. I don't know how to live abundantly, joyously and with adandon. I don't know how to cherish each moment I have with my children, while they are still young. I don't even know how to live with such passion for myself, much less know how to teach someone else not to cling to things!

How do you change your life? That is the question that has been plaguing me all week. How do I life differently? Sure, my life has been good and fine and everyone says I have good kids, and I'm a nice person, so why do I need to change? Because I do. I can not keep living the way I do. For many reasons which I can not specify all here, the list is that long! But at the top of the list is Passion. I need to change something b/c I've lost my passion. For life. For people. Oh, the emotions are still there, but the embers need to be stoked again. I NEED to live like each day matters, like today could be the one where I say goodbye to someone I love. As much as the idea terrifies me.

So I sit here, in the dark, straining at the screen (since I took my glasses off earlier and now can't get up to retrieve them), snuggling my Baby Honey and thinking about life. And living. Really living.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Two Masters

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can not serve both God and money."
~Matthew 6:24

I've never really paid an overt amount of attention to that Bible passage, even though I've heard it many times. I don't have a problem with serving God or money. That I know of. But serving others...that's something else.

I struggle with keeping people happy. And I know that I don't have to. But I do.

I have to keep my Hunny happy. My neighbours happy. My family happy. My church happy. The teachers at my kids' school happy. The women at church happy. The strangers I meet day-to-day happy. The kids who made my grade 5 & 6 years hell happy. My friends happy. The doctors happy. The textbook authors happy. God happy. My kids happy. My customers happy. My ex happy. The other school mothers happy.

I have to do it all. Do it right. Please everyone. Not because someone says so, because it is a good thing to serve others and follow the Golden Rule, but because I say so. I put this pressure on myself and it all bubbles up inside until I feel like I'm going to explode.

Right now I feel like I'm a walking ball of confusion. There is so much I want to do, so many things I should do, so much I have to do. I can't figure out which voice to follow. When I heard a voice remind me, "No one can serve two masters."

How right that is! I've been trying to keep so many people "happy" with unknown restrictions and judgements that I feel weighted down. I can not do it. I can not look to them as the answers to my problems. There is only One who can give me what I need. Only One who knows the answers. Only One who can give me the courage to be me and the peace to live it out.

So tonight I have decided to serve One Master again. As difficult as that is for me.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympic-Sized Memories pt 1

Hello, World! *waving hi*

Well, seventeen days have come and gone and I'm left feeling quite empty and sad. It was a wonderful seventeen days and I don't want it to end! But it has.

I remember when Vancouver got the winning bid to host the Olympics all the way back in 2003. I cheered, I screamed, I even cried. (I blamed that on the hormones since I was pregnant with Kai then, but the truth is I'm an Emotional Gnome.) My sister and I talked about being Volunteers for the games and how much fun that would be! But then time passed, and years went by, and even though the building started and the plans were reveiled, the grumbling started. It was such a Long Way Off! And it was costing So Much! And I started to wonder if it was all even worth it. I mean, really? Would I see any of the promised revenue? Would I even be a part of it? And I'm sad to say this, but in January, I became "Anti-Olympic." The IOC were bullies with their threatened lawsuits to anyone using the term "Olympic" in any sales, etc. And normal people, with normal jobs, outside of metro Vancouver weren't going to have an increase in sales. How was this a Good Thing for all of BC???

But then it hit: the Wave; it came over me and the excitement started to grow. It's known as the Olympic Torch. It arrived in BC in February, after travelling from Greece in October 2009. This Torch Relay was the longest one, going 45,000 km, passing through over 1000 communities with over 12, 000 torchbearers. (My BFF's friend, Joy, carried it in their hometown on Belleville, Ontario. How exciting!) It was going to go down the main highway in my little town on Day 102 and suddenly I HAD to be there! Unfortunately, this also happened to be the time that I had to be picking up the Olders from school! What's a girl to do? I debated on taking them out of school for the day so they could see the flame as well, but then I hummed and hawed and decided in the end not to go. But oh how it pained me! (It turns out that maybe I should've gone with my first instinct of no school because 7 kids from Kai's class was missing that day as they went to different activities for the Torch Run! 11 were missing from another Gr 1 class and 5 from Abi's class. The parking lot was deserted when I went to pick them up!) They were running almost right by our house! (and when I say that, I really mean 10 blocks, but close enough!) My sister saved the day though when she offered we all come to her place and watch it go by. There was HUGE event happening at Holland Park, in Surrey, just blocks from her house, that night. Perfect!

So I packed up the kids, making sure we were all dressed in red and white! We ate dinner and our excitement started to grow. (Okay, mostly mine!) But then we noticed the time! Eek! They were going to be there soon! The run was going right past her street, and we had predicted the time they'd pass, and it was in 15 minutes...and did I mention we had to pack up 4 kids and race to the end of the street? (the condo is at the opposite end of the street they were passing!) And race we did!

We arrived JUST IN TIME! Seriously! We were within steps of the road, when I see this blur of a flame! I had just enough time to sneak my way in front of the line (I'm quick like that!), to have an official nearly push me back. Oops. How was I to know that they were doing the switch of torchbearers, literally, right in front of me? Oh, right. If we had arrived half an hour earlier (like we originally intended) we would've known! (we also would've received those awesome special-edition Coco-Cola glow drink cans too. Phooey. It still bugs me that we missed out on that. I definitely wished we'd arrived earlier. But we just lost track of time. Dang dinner had to be eaten first!)

IT'S COMING!!!!!! Do you see it? it's the bright thing in front of the yellow sign. (the other bright thing to the top left is a street lamp. don't get the two mixed up.)

don't you just love fuzzy photos?

do looking at fuzzy photos make your eyes water? just wondering.

I don't know who this Torchbearer is. I've been trying to find out, but haven't yet. If you know, please let me know. Thanks! I know who his wife is (you'd think that would make it easier, but really it's not) but more on that later!

Since we were there and missed the whole build up of the runner, but was now within the crowds, we decided to make the trek to Holland Park. I think it was only like 5 blocks, but it seemed a lot longer! I had the double stroller for the Youngers (which we all took turns pushing. I let Anne, a friend, take the longest turn because she doesn't have children and she's just newly engaged so she needs to prepare for these things. I'm nice like that.) but the Olders were forced to walk. Or rather, they were carried on backs or shoulders! (Andy is the Coolest Uncle!) Once we finally arrived (with 2,500 others or 25,000..I'm bad with numbers and can't recall where I saw the official amount written. Either way, it was a lot more than I thought!), we worked our way through the crowds til we could just see the large screens. Unfortunately, we couldn't hear a thing that was being said! In the local paper it was said that a special song was written for the Olympics that a Children's Choir was going to sing. We couldn't hear that either, which was disappointing. Needless to say, we didn't stay long. It was when we were leaving that we enjoyed it more!

We stopped in at the Best Buy to use the toilet before heading back home, and as we were leaving, the fireworks began! Yay! We weren't going to miss those after all!

you'd think Abi had never seen fireworks before! :)

a bit fuzzy, but I love how the skytrain is coming right past as the fireworks go off.

It was good time. It really set the excitement to come for the Olympics for me. Suddenly, it was no longer about cost or profit or regulations or distance, but about athletes and spirit and pride, and I couldn't wait to cheer on the Games!

to be continued.....
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